Jenni McAllister Takes Top Two Spots in the $30,000 Santa Fe Fiesta Week Grand Prix at HIPICO Santa Fe

Escada VS and Jenni McAllister. Photo by Sharon McElvain.

Santa Fe—August 5, 2018— Breezy light clouds filled the sky, but the upper register notes sounded by Kaitlyn McMonigle, an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera, seemed to part the cloud filled horizon before the commencement of the $30,000 Santa Fe Fiesta Week City of Santa Fe Grand Prix. The slim, blond opera performer was elegantly transported to and from her powerful performance by Clint Mortenson in a horse drawn carriage—like Cinderella departing from a ball. The Pojoaque Youth Hoop Dancers, annual performers during the Santa Fe Summer Series, also graced the Grand Prix field—further livening the afternoon’s ambiance. Sharing New Mexico’s rich culture and history through dance and symbolic movements of the hoop, the dancers who range in age from 6 to 16, infused the day’s festivities with New Mexico’s rich culture and history. Light jazz filled the VIP Lounge as patrons congregated in the outer cabanas to watch the athletes take on Mauricio Garcia’s challenging Grand Prix course. The route was technical, had many related distances, and questioned riders’ ability to navigate a large grass field—beginning with the adobe HIPICO Santa Fe oxer.

Of the 29 entries in the class, only two went double clear to proceed to the jump-off—and those riders were Jenni McAllister and Jenni McAllister!

McAllister walked her track twice beforehand. “I knew it’d be tricky” said McAllister, adding, “There were a lot of related distances with no breaks. You had to ride, ride, ride! A lot of bending lines can get riders in trouble. You’re trying to pick up time and then you end up too early or too late, and if you’re too direct in one line, it causes problem in next one.” McAllister always makes sure she has a plan A, and a Plan B. Although it was a technical route, McAllister appreciated the course’s questions and planned strategically for her two very different mounts.

McAllister took tight inside turns on both horses, but really pressed the gas pedal on Colvados to get the fastest time, coming on the field with confidence from the pair’s Welcome Stake win earlier in the week. She cut out strides and galloped across every stretch of grass possible. McAllister impressively maneuvered the gelding to a clear first round time of 73.04, but unfortunately had a rail as she drove for the faster time, trying to catch Escada VS in the jump off.

Because Escada VS is an even newer ride to McAllister—partnering with second place Colvados for a mere two months—she rode a bit more conservatively than the mare could have gone, “I held her in the turns and did all the inside options,” McAllister said. Strides weren’t cut out in the speedy first round with a time of 70.50; McAllister dialed it down a notch by riding more conservatively in the jump-off—which proved to be a winning strategy. McAllister carefully executed the jump-off in 42.13 seconds, making Escada VS the only horse double clean in the class.

Escada VS and Jenni McAllister. Photo by Sharon McElvain.

The winning pair brought some serious fire to the arena—galloping around in a chestnut blaze, almost lighting the field aflame with the mare’s hot blood and high energy. “I had a really good feeling about this mare today. I actually woke up this morning thinking I could win this class!”, said the professional of Team McAllister in Sun Valley, California.

McAllister is a queen of adapting quickly to new mounts, because of her long catch-riding history. “I ride off instinct,” said McAllister, who will watch videos to give herself as much information about a new ride beforehand, but otherwise must trust her riding experience. McAllister has only sat on Escada VS a few times since the mare’s journey from Sweden to the United States a few weeks ago.

McAllister’s partnership with the mare started a week ago, but Team McAllister had their eye on the horse for the last two years, when they first saw Escada VS abroad. This is Escada VS’s first show in the United States, although the mare is familiar with the game—competing abroad at high levels. “She wants to win and is a real show horse. And very opinionated! When I went into the first round she was a little nervous, but then she got straight down to business. She’s a true competitor,” said McAllister. According to McAllister, Escada VS is everything one would want in a jumper, “She’s got a lot of blood, very careful, has a great hind end, is quick up-front, is very light, and wants to get the job done. You never feel like any [jump] is too big!”, said McAllister. In fact, McAllister says that when the jumps get bigger, the mare gets more powerful! Team McAllister believes Escada VS has potential to be Jenni’s World Cup horse.

Photo by Mary Neiberg.

McAllister’s natural ability to adjust quickly to new horses allowed her to take the top two placings in Sunday’s $30,000 Santa Fe Fiesta Week City of Santa Fe Grand Prix. It was certainly a successful day for Jenni McAllister—two new horses, two clear first rounds and top two finishes. HIPICO Santa Fe seems to be second home to Jenni McAllister!

$30,000 Santa Fe Fiesta Week City of Santa Fe Grand Prix results

Placing/ Entry Name/ Rider/ Owner/ First Round Faults/Second Round Faults
1/Escada VS/ Jenni McAllister/ Sateri AB Vicksburg/ 70.50/ 0/ 42.13/ 0
2/Colvados/ Jenni McAllister/ Madison Myro & Cathy Jones/ 73.04/ 0/ 40.81/ 4
3/Malibu/ Frank Owens/ DS Holdings, LLC./ 74.85/ 1/ n/a/ n/a
4/Himini/ Colleen Acosta/ Evalyn Grace, LLC./ 75.18/2/ n/a/ n/a
5/Indoktro K Van/ Susan Griffis/ Susan Griffis/ 67.43/ 4/ n/a/ n/a
6/Clock-Wise CSh/ “Happy” Comly/ Comly Sport Horses/ 67.56/ 4/n/a/ n/a
7/J.E.S. Quito/ Nicki Wilcox/ Nicki Wilcox/ 69.85/ 4/ n/a/ n/a
8/Capitano/ Trapp O’Neal/ TKO Partnership/ 72.14/ 4/ n/a/ n/a

$5,000 Sandia BMW/MINI Cooper Ride-&-Drive

Ride-&-Drive winners. Photo by Mary Neiberg.

As a spirited miniature pony galloped across the Grand Prix Field, some may have wondered if the class was actually about mini-ponies, rather than MINI Coopers! Rachel Lindsey and Bob & Dana Brawley’s son Lucas, sat atop the small chariot with an American flag in tow. The 5-year old and the adorable miniature horse named Noel from Madrone Ranch Stables in Texas, was the perfect prelude to the afternoon festivities. It was a cheerful beginning to Saturday’s $5,000 Sandia BMW/MINI Cooper Ride-&-Drive. This class marked the largest yet—with 19 entries brave enough to go out of their element in a class combining more than just doubles or triples!

Sponsored by Sandia Automotive Group, this crowd-favorite and signature Santa Fe Summer Series class is a bit like watching a tennis tournament for those in the VIP Lounge who were sandwiched between both of the arenas in action. You have to run from one side of the tent to the other to be able to catch each element of this thrilling spectacle. The class begins with each rider jumping a course in the Grand Prix Field at 1.20m. After the rider clears the last obstacle of the course, they go from an all-out gallop to a quick halt, where their trainer or groom is waiting to catch the horse. Just as the rider hits the ground in a quick dismount, they climb through the fence to sprint across the VIP Lounge to the Jumper arena on the other side. Stylishly awaiting them, was a FAST, ice blue edition MINI-Cooper S driven by Gabriel Rincon—a car enthusiast who works for BMW. After the class, Rincon confessed that in addition to each rider telling him to go as fast as possible around the arena, one rider even tried bribing him to speed up! But don’t worry, Rincon drove the same for all rider passengers as they whipped around the giant orange traffic cones in a serpentine, and through jump standards before coming to a sliding stop.

After zipping around the driving course, the rider sprints back across the VIP Lounge to execute the agility portion of the event— a limbo bar, a Liverpool, a golf shot and finishing with a shot on a pool table. Although the entire class is exclusively for the lighthearted, riders seriously prepared beforehand. New this year was an option for riders to “phone a friend” to do the golf or pool portion of the competition. The golf and pool shots proved the toughest part of the class—only one made the hole-in-one and no one made the pool shot!

After coming home with second in the class last time, this year Trapp O’Neal trapped the blue ribbon aboard Elle Fortuna-MS. Owned by Marieke Slik, the grey mare hit full speed around the course with impressive tight turns in the big grass arena. Although many riders were fast, O’Neal’s competitive advantage was to dismount off of the right side of his horse rather than the left before running across the VIP Lounge to hop in the MINI-Cooper. When asked if that’s was why he won, he said, “I think that did it—and a good horse really helped too!” His time of 92.201 was the fastest time, even though he comedically took his time at the limbo and showboated over the liverpool!

Eryn Remiger, Chief Marketing Officer with Sandia Automotive Group was having nearly as much fun as the participants! Sandia Automotive is continuous supporter of HIPICO Santa Fe and began this class two years ago, “It’s a fun class and is something different than what other places do. It shows off all the cars, all the riders, and it’s just very entertaining!” When asked why Sandia Automotive Group decided to support the class, Remiger laughed, “It makes sense—HORSEPOWER!”

$5,000 Sandia BMW/MINI Cooper Ride-&-Drive results

Placing/ Entry Name/ Rider/ Owner
1/Elle Fortuna-MS/Trapp O’Neal/ Marieke Slik
2/STS Cacharell/ Madison Myro/ Madison Myro
3/DR J/ Grant Seger/ Grey Fox Crossing
4/A&A Balthazar/ “Happy” (Amanda) Comly/ Alexandra Comly
5/Sydney’s Best/ Kylie Perkins/ Jenni McAllister
6/Aksai Chin VDL/ Jami Jensen/ Crooked Willow Farms
7/Christina 14/Jennifer Kallam/ Jennifer Kallam


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