September 14, 2020 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – Thirty-three riders competed on Sunday morning during the final day of the Blenheim Fall Tournament, vying for a prize in the Region 8 section of the 2020 NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay Championships. Skylar Wireman rode HOT PANTS, owned by Lisa Halterman, to a solid first round, followed up with a beautiful flat phase, and then a picture perfect work-off to take a well-earned victory.
The ASPCA Regionals held throughout the country have two equally weighted phases, jumping and flat, and both count toward 50% of the overall score. For their jumping phase, Region 8 competitors rode a track designed by Kerry Kocher, that asked technical questions of the riders over a track of hunter and jumper-style fences.
In the second phase, the riders were brought back in three sections, where the honorable Robin Rost Brown and Jim Dahlquist tested their skills on the flat. Upon the completion of this phase, the judges decided to bring back their top five scoring riders for an additional round of testing.
The technical work-off course included a hand-gallop fence, and technical bending lines that were not included in the first round of competition. The top five riders asked to compete in the work-off round were Sydney Young sitting in first, Wireman, Stella Wasserman, Gabrielle Sokolow, and Stella Buckingham.
After the work-off, the top ten riders were invited into the arena for the awards ceremony.
Training with her mother, Shane Wireman, and Lisa Halterman, Wireman will be heading to Lexington for the Maclay Finals in early November. The dynamic duo are not newbies to the winner’s circle, having won all of their “Big Eq” classes this week, placing second in the CPHA Foundation 21 & Under Finals a few weeks ago, and second in the West Coast US Equestrian Talent Search Finals last season.
Going into the work-off, Wireman was sitting in second place. Wireman had a consistent and bold work-off round to move up and take the lead. “Going later in the work-off, I had seen what the other riders chose to do, and I knew that I needed to take risks. My strategy was to make all the inside turns and have a strong hand gallop to the first fence,” Wireman noted.
As the winning horse, HOT PANTS also earned the Vigo Best Equitation Horse Award. In its fourth year, the perpetual trophy is in memory of Robyn and Demí Stiegler’s amazing equitation mount, who had his retirement on this day three years ago.
Wireman and HOT PANTS have been partners for several years. “In his young years, HOT PANTS competed in NAYC Finals and jumped some very big tracks. He loves being able to compete in the equitation now because he can still play in the jumper medals. HOT PANTS is loaned to me by Lisa Halterman, and I am very grateful to be able to ride such a lovely and talented horse.”
The reserve championship went to Sydney Young, who trains with Jill Humphrey and rode her own COUER DE LION. Stella Buckingham rounded out the podium with CALVATOS Z.
Prior to the start of the competition, the Shelby Drazan Memorial Award was presented to Skylar Wireman. This special annual award is given to a rider who shows sportsmanship, integrity, and passion both in and outside of the show arena. Wireman applied with an essay that highlighted all of these qualities, as well as her life motto of, “Work hard, pay it forward, dream big, and go for it.”
The award, in its fifth year, provides the recipient with the opportunity to travel to the Indoors horse show circuit, with air and ground transportation provided for one horse and equipment. HOT PANTS, at the age of 22, is not able to travel to the east coast by trailer, but now that the Air Horse One is taking him back and forth, Wireman has the opportunity to show her long-time partner in the Finals as opposed to a catch ride. On top of the flight, provided by HE Tex Sutton Equine Air Transportation Company, the Drazan family provides $2,000 toward entry fees for any 3’6” National Medal Final.
All photos: McCool Photography
Region 8 section of the 2020 NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay Championships
RESULTSPlacing – Rider – Horse – Trainer
- 436 – Skylar Wireman – Hot Pants – Shane Wireman
- 592 – Sydnie Young – Couer De Lion – Jill Humphrey
- 176 – Stella Buckingham – Calvatos Z – Katie Gardner
- 546 – Stella Wasserman – Cohiba VDL – Dick Carvin
- 811 – Gabrielle Sokolow – Cosmopolitan – Tasha Visokay
- 362 – Isabelle Coxe – Alant – Kate Considine
- 693 – Julia Nickl – Zurich – James Hagman
- 859 – Clara McDanniel – James Hagman
- 329 – Ireland Fravel – Trevi – Jason McArdle
- 187 – Charlotte Murray – Constantinos- Jeni Brown