Temecula, Calif. – May 29, 2021 – Junior Hunter riders returned to the arena at Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National II, presented by Interactive Mortgage, to give it their best go at claiming the divisions’ championship honors. Taking her two mounts around the newly improved, scenic Grand Hunter Arena, it was Brooke Morin who held onto her lead in the Large Junior 3’6” Hunter 16-17 division to claim both the Champion and Reserve Champion titles.
Morin came out of the gate strong on Friday for the first phase of the division’s classes, making a great first impression on the judges to earn a blue ribbon aboard For Fun in one over fences class with a super score of 90, a red ribbon in the other with a score of 88, and a first place finish in the under saddle. Although Morin and For Fun, a 13-year-old Hanoverian owned by Troy Christiansen, were bested by Payton Potter and Chacco D’Accord in their first over fences round on Friday, she quickly established her lead in the second round that she would hold for the rest of the division.
Morin went all-in with her horses when she reentered the arena on Saturday, guiding them around the technical courses with style and ease to earn the top two placings in each round. With another high score of 89 and a blue ribbon in the second round with For Fun, Morin secured her championship title. Putting a cherry on top of her exciting win, Morin also took home the reserve champion ribbon aboard Twinkle Toes, a 9-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Irene Neuwirth.
Morin and Twinkle Toes, although sitting further down the leaderboard after Friday’s rounds despite a second place ribbon in the under saddle, upped their game going into Saturday’s competition to decide the championship. Twinkle Toes bested For Fun’s score by just .25 points in the first round to claim the class’ blue ribbon and finished just behind For Fun in the second round with 88 points. Morin’s higher placings on Twinkle Toes Saturday were enough to help the pair jump up in the standings to be named the reserve champions.
Morin, who is a frequent competitor at Nilforushan Equisport Events’ series, splits her time between the Grand Hunter Arena and the Grand Prix Arena as a U25 competitor and Grand Prix level jumper. The California native will ride Strasburg Morin INC.’s 11-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion, NKH Carrido Saturday evening for the $40,000 BioEqualizer National Grand Prix.
Hunter competition will continue on Sunday, May 30, with the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Rusty Brown Jewelry in the Grand Hunter Arena.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Brooke Morin – Large Junior 3’6” Hunter 16-17 Division Champion and Reserve Champion
On switching between the hunter ring and the jumper ring:
“I have been doing the hunters for so long it is kind of just like a sense to me – I just do it. But, it is hard switching gears and riding differently in this ring [Grand Prix Arena] because you have to ride faster and be more aware because the courses are more difficult. I have a little bit of a hard time switching, but it is not too bad.”
On For Fun:
“His barn name is Rupert, and he has only been doing the junior hunters for two years now. I started him off in the juniors and he was a 1.20m horse, but he loves the hunter ring and he just shines in it.”
On Young Rider Trials:
“I already got selected to be on the team [for Young Rider Trials] so I am going to save my horses’ legs and not do that and just wait for Michigan. I am really excited about that.”
On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“I love it, it is so fun!. Ali [Nilforushan] is my favorite. He puts on such a nice show!”