Del Mar, Calif. – Oct. 21, 2018 – Sunday’s highlight event in the Del Mar Arena was the $25,000 GGT Footing Grand Prix Series Final presented by California Horsetrader & Horsetrader.com. Sixty entries competed in their final opportunity to earn valuable points for the 2018 GGT Footing Grand Prix Series Championship. Nine horse and rider combinations were able to go clear around the Marina Azevedo-designed first round course to advance to the jump off.
First to jump off was Eduardo Menezes aboard Uchingo Imperio Egipcio. The pair put in a blazing fast jump off round that ultimately no one could beat, and earned the blue ribbon for the class.
Menezes couldn’t say enough good things about the 15-year-old chestnut Warmblood gelding owned by Carlos Hank. “Uchingo is amazing to ride,” said Menezes. “He’s easy, he has blood, he’s brave, he’s careful. When you go fast, he jumps higher. He’s just an amazing horse.” Carlos Hank purchased the gelding two years ago but he got hurt and had to take over a year off. He’s just getting back into shape and into the grand prix ring.
Coming in second was Mandy Porter on Pasilla, an 11-year-old grey Swedish Warmblood mare owned by Sarah Ballou. And in third place was Jennifer Gates on Luftikus S, a 14-year-old grey Duetches Sportpferd gelding owned by Evergate Stables.
This class marked the end of the 2018 GGT Footing Grand Prix Series, and grand prix rider Kristin Hardin earned the most points throughout the series to take the championship. Hardin won $7,500 to put towards West Palms Events shows in 2019.
Chicago 131 and Molly Volkland Win the $25,000 PCHA Children’s/Adult Jumper Championship
In three rounds over two days, PCHA riders took to the Del Mar Arena to compete for their share of $25,000 in prize money for the PCHA Children’s / Adult Jumper Championship. The first round saw 64 competitors, which was narrowed to the top 30 for the second and third rounds.
Course designer Marina Azevedo designed challenging but appropriate tracks for the 1.10m horses and riders, but ultimately only one rider was able to complete all three rounds fault-free to earn the title of champion: Molly Volkland aboard her Chicago 131, an 11-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding.
“He’s absolutely amazing,” said Volkland.”He has such a smart mind and such a good heart. I went into [the championship] confident because I knew he had my back. He gets very excited to jump off but he’s a very respectful horse. He’s great on the flat and soft in the mouth; he’s just awesome.”
Volkland has been showing at the 1.10m level for a couple years, but has only had Chicago 131 for three months. She wishes to thank Becky and Cam Smith for helping to take her riding to the next level.
Coming in second place was Tyler Hardin aboard Elle, a 15-year-old black Holsteiner mare owned by Mark Cassar. And taking third place was Tanna Seltzer on Zaira LS, a 9-year-old Club Hipico La Silla chestnut mare.
Avery Kalafatas is the 2018 Onondarka Medal Finals Champion
Sunday’s highlight event in the San Diego Ring was the Onondarka Medal Finals, held for competitors 12 and under who qualified throughout the year. The Finals consisted of three rounds plus a work-off which required demonstrating an array of equitation skills.
After all three rounds plus the work-off, 12-year-old Avery Kalafatas came out on top aboard Benetton, her 7-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding. “He’s amazing and perfect,” said Kalafatas of “Benny.” “He’s always supportive and willing to do anything.”
The Onondarka Medal Finals have a distinguished history. Many past winners have gone on to successful careers as grand prix riders and trainers, including Susie Hutchison, Francie Steinwedell, Lise Quintero, Emily Esau, Kasey Ament and Mavis Spencer.
“I’m very happy because this has been my goal for a really long time, even when I was still riding ponies,” said Kalafatas. “I’m happy I got to do it with such an amazing horse.” Kalafatas trains with Beverly Jovais.
In second place was Ariana Marnell aboard her own Imagination. Marnall trains with Denise Finch. And rounding out the podium in 3rd place was Alexandra Farfaras on Cosmopolitan. Farfaras trains with James Hagman.
Don Simington and his daughter Cindy Simington watched all rounds of the class and Mr. Simington presented the trophy. Simington is the creator of the Onondarka Medal and feels it’s important for younger equitation riders to have a place to perform among their peers. Simington was happy with the results of the 2018 final. “The talent rose to the top,” Simington said.