Young Jumper Championships (YJC) Western Regional Finals Showcase Future Stars


September 26, 2017 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – Developing young horses is essential to equestrian sport. Over 50 youngsters from ages four to seven came to compete in the Young Jumper Four-Year-Old Futurity and the Young Jumper Championships (YJC) Western Regional Finals during the International Jumping Festival at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. Throughout the week, these future equine stars jumped on The Oaks International Grand Prix Field, many who qualified through competing in young jumper classes for free at Blenheim EquiSports. Notably, a number of the young jumpers were bred and raised here in the United States.

Next Johnny Tops Four-Year-Old Young Jumper Futurity Regionals

With a short flat phase and simple jumping course on Wednesday and a full course over slightly larger obstacles on Thursday, a group of eleven wide-eyed yet talented four-year-olds competed on the large grass field. They were judged on rideability, jumping scope, technique, and movement. After two rounds, Guy Thomas piloted Next Johnny (Jonkheer Z x Lancelot O) to a clear win with an impressive overall score of 192.5. The big bay is owned by the Thomas’ Willow Tree Farms.

Guy Thomas and Next Johnny

Second place went to another Jonkheer Z prodigy, Emily Livermore’s Draft Pick (Jonkheer Z x Fernridge Sirroco),  ridden by Leslie Wright, who earned a 180.6 overall. The Setzer’s Eleven (Escudo I x Ilmeo), with Robert Blanchette in the irons, was voted best type by the judges and finished third overall.

Guy Thomas and Next Johnny, with Butch and Lu Thomas, Melissa Brandes, and Cheryl Frank

Contefina Captures Five-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship

The five, six, and seven-year-old finals included three rounds – one on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and a third round on Sunday. Horses that were tied in all three phases returned for a jump-off round.

Twelve horse-and-rider combinations competed for top honors in the five-year-old championship. Phase three began early Sunday morning, as the competitors returned in reverse order of standing after the first two phases. After the third phase, three horses continued to the fourth, jump-off phase with 0 faults: Carolyn Putney’s U.S. bred Mendota PR ridden by Leslie Wright, Coxe Horses, LLC’s U.S. bred Alley Oop with Will Simpson piloting, and Little Valley Farms’ Contefina, ridden by owner Ashlee Bond.

Wright and Mendota PR (NZ Madison x Fernridge Sirroco) set the tone with a quick time of 40.32, but an unlucky rail at fence two kept them from taking top honors. Simpson and Alley Oop (Mr. Whoopy x Athena) jumped a clear fourth round in a time of 42.24. But Bond and Contefina (Contefino x Southern Girl) were also quadruple clear and in an impressive winning time of 40.69.

Ashlee Bond and Contefina with Steve Bond, Hugo Ramirez, Anke Magnussen, Ionut Balasoiu,
Roy Meeus, Melissa Brandes, K.C. Branscomb, and Cheryl Frank

Bond and Contefina already have a special family connection: Bond owned and bred Contefina’s grandmother and mother. The mare’s dam, Southern Girl, proved herself by winning multiple grand prix classes with Bond throughout her career. She describes Contefina as the “best young horse she’s ever had.” Bond hopes to bring her along to the Grand Prix level, and to represent the U.S. on this talented homebred mare.

Stakkato Onyx Earns Six-Year-Old Championship

Of the seventeen to compete in the six-year-old division, seven horses were clear in the first three phases of competition, and three of those jumped clear in the fourth jump-off round. It was Kaitlin Campbell’s speedy round on her Stakkato Onyx (Stakkato Gold x Applied Economics) that captured the win. Campbell rode to an impressive time of 37.23, two seconds faster than second place Ashlee Bond, riding her Donatello 141 (Diarado x Lund).

Campbell saw a post on Facebook from a New York breeder about some Stakkato Gold babies for sale. She went to purchase one but ended up with two unbroke four-year-olds, even though the breeder indicated that one was “a special price, because he needs a special rider, in a special situation.” Her winning mount is that “special” horse. Known as “Diablo” in the barn, he’s all business when in the show ring. Campbell said the gray gelding  “surprises her every day with what he can jump”.

Kaitlin Campbell and Stakkato Onyx, with Cheryl Frank, Alex Wilson, Jaime Peralta,
Melissa Brandes, and K.C. Branscomb

She also indicated that the young horse support from Blenheim EquiSports and the classics sponsored by Fairbanks Valley Farm,  gave her the ability to prepare for this championship. “It costs me significantly less to show at the Blenheim shows, especially because you can jump the qualifiers and one extra class [outside of the young jumper division] for free. Towards the end of the year, as he was getting more miles, I would do two six year-old classes and another class, and I think that helped him prepare for today.”

Diabolical C Walks Away with Seven-Year-Old Championship

Fourteen horses competed in the seven-year-old championships, and only one jumped clear over the course on all three days, Jo Cho’s Diabolical C (Diarado x Clockwork III) with Keri Potter aboard.

The Oldenburg gelding was second in the Six-Year-Old Championships last year, and Potter remarked on how the two seasons have worked out.  She noted that he starts out “behind the curve, but we’ve been able to get him to peak just at the right time, two years in a row.”

“He had off from the end of October last year to April this year, just flatting and resting at home. He is so careful that he was really nervous at the jumps, so I started low and worked my way up, and he started peaking once again just at this time,” she explained. “Next we are going to try and move him up a bit, do some 1.35m classics and take him to HITS Sunshine in November.”

Keri Potter and Diabolical C with Mari Nelson, Jo Cho, Daniel Santana, Juan, Cheryl Frank, and Suzie Shea

Picking up just four faults in the third round, second and third prizes went to Will Simpson’s A Picasso de Vie (Lamm de Fetan x Kantatr du Syre), ridden by Sophie Simpson, and Carolyn Mittler’s Notable, ridden by Susan Hutchinson, respectively.

All of the crowned champions were bred in the United States, so each one also received the 2017 Branscomb Farm Highest Placing American Bred Horse Award in their respective divisions. Awards included a $1,000 cash bonus, a beautiful cooler and a ribbon.

Congratulations to all the young jumpers who came to compete this season. Offering opportunities to develop young talent is an important goal for our sport and Blenheim EquiSports continues to offer opportunities during their outdoor season.  Blenheim EquiSports, Fairbanks Valley Farm and Branscomb Farm look forward to seeing more equine stars next season.





$4,500 Four Year Old Young Jumper Futurity Western Regional Final

Place – Entry # – Horse – Rider – Owner – Overall Score

1. 318 – Next Johnny – Guy Thomas – Willow Tree Farm, Inc. – 192.5

2. 311 – Draft Pick – Leslie Wright – Emily Livermore – 180.6

3. 358 – Eleven – Robert Blanchette – Lisa Setzer – 179

4. 467 – Quick Draw – Trudi Fletcher – Hap Hansen – 178

5. 188 – Nuage PR – Karl Cook – Pomponio Ranch, LLC – 162.6

6. 819 – CCF Coral Sea – Michelle Parker – Cross Creek Farms, Inc. – 161

7. 348 – Adelle – Brandee Beattie – Brandee Beattie – 154.5

8. 261 – Lutalo – Michelle Parker – Dana Nemeth – 151.5

9. 726 – Lupicorado BF – Daniel Zilla – Branscomb Farm, LLC – 151

10. 725 – Serendipity – Daniel Zilla – Vicki Juelsgaard – 129.5

11. 821 – Candy Crush – Keri Potter – Alexa Leong – 82.5

$10,000 Five Year Old Blenheim Young Jumper Western Regional Final

Place – Entry # – Horse – Rider – Owner – Rd 1/Rd 2/Rd 3/Jump-off/Jump-off Time

1. 826 – Contefina – Ashlee Bond – Little Valley Farms – 0/0/0/0/40.697

2. 550 – Alley Oop – Will Simpson – Coxe Horses, LLC – 0/0/0/0/42.241

3. 316 – Mendota PR – Leslie Wright – Carolyn Putney – 0/0/0/4/40.326

4. 598 – Skyfall – Stephen Pellett – Charis Dankert – 0/0/4

5. 317 – Mia Valeska – Leslie Wright – Carolyn Putney – 4/0/4

6. 134 – Hendrix – Mavis Spencer – Alexa Lallos – 7/0/5

7. 680 – Limbo – Alina Boyer – Alina Boyer – 4/0/8

8. 431 – Cowabunga – Emily Esau-Williams – Aundra Urban – 12/0/4

9. 335 – Contiano II BF – Daniel Zilla – Branscomb Farm, LLC – 9/2/6

10. 772 – Double Dutch – Cienwen Muma – Kimberly Brubeck Herold – 13/5/2

11. 502 – Mr. Bigshot – Nicole Yager – Nicole Yager – 14/11/9

12. 398 – WT Lebowski – Charlie Carrel – Bart Taylor – 0/4/33

$15,000 Six Year Old Blenheim Young Jumper Western Regional Final

Place – Entry # – Horse – Rider – Owner – Rd 1/Rd 2/Rd 3/Rd 3 Time

1.  592 – Stakkato Onyx – Kaitlin Campbell – Arabell Sales – 0/0/0/0/37.231

2. 827 – Donatello 141 – Ashlee Bond – Little Valley Farms – 0/0/0/0/39.001

3. 469 – Gee Whiz – Trudi Fletcher – Linda Irvine Smith – 0/0/0/0/40.167

4. 246 – Royal 36 – Erin Isom – Erin Isom – 0/0/0/4/39.238

5. 231 – Gameboy – Susan Hutchison – Susan Hutchison – 0/0/0/4/39.792

6. 272 – Jiminy Cricket – Keri Potter – Melanie Brooks – 0/0/0/4/39.870

7. 256 – CCF Hibiscus Coast – Michelle Parker – Cross Creek Farms, Inc. – 0/0/0/4/40.777

8. 480 – Gizmo Etc – Lane Clarke – Equine Trading Company, Inc. – 2/0/0

9. 103 – Centstar – Susan Artes – Whitney Strachan – 3/0/0

10. 549 – Love Affair de Laubry – Salvador Sesin – Stephanie Baxter/Bespoke – 4/0/0

11. 333 – Chromatic BF – Daniel Zilla – Branscomb Farm, LLC – 4/0/0

12. 423 – HF City Coat – Brandon Howard – Homeward Farms – 0/4/0

$20,000 Seven Year Old Blenheim Young Jumper Western Regional Final

Place – Entry # – Horse – Rider – Owner – Rd 1/Rd 2/Rd 3/Jump-off/Jump-off Time

1. 271 – Diabolical C – Keri Potter – Jo Cho – 0/0/0

2. 719 – A Picasso de Vie – Sophie Simpson – Will Simpson – 0/0/4

3. 233 – Notable – Susan Hutchison – Carolyn Mittler – 0/0/4

4. 340 – Kimmel SCF – Joie Gatlin – Laura Hite – 0/0/4

5. 109 – Floris – Ariel Black – Ariel Black – 4/4/0

6. 106 – Stakka Gold – Max Dolger – Max Dolger – 4/0/4

7. 425 – Flashdance – Jamie Sailor – Felyn Farms – 0/0/12

8. 349 – Una Bella Von Hof – Laura Ware – Laura Ware/Carolyn Biava – 8/0/8

9. 628 – Lord Valencia – Cristobal Collado – Cristobal Collado – 4/0/12

10. 108 – First Finch – Ariel Black – Ariel Black – 0/4/12

11. 247 – Universe – Alden Giacopuzzi – Alden Giacopuzzi – 3/0/13

12. 258 – CCF Yasur – Michelle Parker – Cross Creek Farms, Inc. – 0/4/16

Photos by McCool

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