Temecula, Calif. – May 24, 2019 – Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Horse Show returned Friday for the week’s third day of riding, with the midway point highlighting the $5,000 Open Equitation Championship. The inventive class was held in the Audi Grand Prix Arena, presented by Evergate Stables, and allowed for professionals, juniors and amateurs to compete head-to-head. Demonstrating superior form and precision over fences, junior rider Emma Reichow earned the victory thanks to her exemplary skills aboard Breckenridge over two rounds of competition, besting a skilled and diverse field of contenders. Kicking off junior competition, Anna Fogarty and Be Our Guest positioned themselves as the pair to beat in the Junior 3’3” Hunter division after a series of smooth showings, and will resume Saturday as the division’s top contenders.
The feature class of the evening brought equitation to the forefront in the Audi Grand Prix Arena, with course designer Anderson Lima (BRA) offering exhibitors a number of opportunities to showcase their skills in front of the watchful panel of judges, comprised of Hope Glynn and Mike Rosser, during the $5,000 Open Equitation Championship. The 15-effort pattern, which included a double bounce and two option fences, aptly challenged the group of horse-and-rider combinations, with a handful of duos lessening their overall scores due to fallen rails. Following the first phase, Reichow held the lead with a score of 87, followed by Emma Mann-Meginniss, Mandy Porter, Nick Haness and Natalie Templeton with scores of 83, 82, 81 and 80, respectively.
With only seven points separating the top of the field, the top five participants were invited back for a work-off, which consisted of cantering directly from the line to fence two, counter-cantering fence eight, cantering both portions of obstacle nine, trotting fence ten and hand galloping fence 12 before returning to the line at any gait. Riding in reverse order, Reichow was tasked with riding last, and faced stiff competition. Both professionals Porter and Haness demonstrated bold gallops to the final fence and efficiently executed the counter-canter over fence eight, with Porter especially proving her mastery completing the tidy turn prior to the fence on the counter-counter, whereas Haness opted to make the turn on the proper lead, then switching once on the approach. Opting to go for broke instead of ride conservatively, Reichow navigated Breckenridge, owned by Ashland Farms, to a textbook trip around the track, following Porter’s lead and maintaining the counter-canter around between fences.
Rewarded for two smooth rounds in ideal form, Reichow was named the champion in the $5,000 Open Equitation Championship, with Porter earning second position after her rides in the irons on Beth Bowlen’s Dio Mio. Haness and Cortese, owned by West Coast Equine Partners LLC, rounded out the top three.
Earlier in the day in the junior ranks, Fogarty and Be Our Guest rode to an early lead in the Junior 3’3” Hunters, nearly sweeping the first three classes of the division to emerge as the early frontrunners headed into Saturday’s final tests. The pair earned the overall high score in the first over fences class in the grass AON Grand Hunter Arena to clinch their first blue ribbon of the day, and then returned for their second jump trip with another impressive effort, ultimately being awarded second place just one point behind the leading pair. Under saddle, Fogarty and Be Our Guest extended their status at the head of the field with the win in the class to primely position themselves heading into Saturday’s division finale.
Be Our Guest, the 7-year-old mare owned by Steele Yard, LLC, has proven her talents once already this week in Temecula, carrying Lindsay Ransom to the reserve championship in the Performance 3’6” Hunters thanks to two over fences victories and a second place finish in the hack.
In the Junior Hunter division with the fences set slightly higher at 3’6” in height, Gabriella Zupancic piloted her own Swagger to the day one lead, earning two first place finishes and a third place result to accrue the most points prior to the latter half of the division’s classes. With a first, second and third place result, Grace Gallagher and Amy Gallagher’s Zion currently sit in second position overall and will aim to overtake the early leaders Saturday to claim the championship.
Friday marks the halfway point of the third week of the Temecula Valley National Horse Show, but two more days of riding will see a new set of division and class champions crowned. Saturday will feature the conclusion of junior and amateur hunter divisions, while Sunday will be highlighted by the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Emma Reichow – $5,000 Open Equitation Championship champion
On competing in the championship:
“I have my equitation horse here and it’s such a unique class. It’s an opportunity to ride against some of the best riders in the country so we couldn’t pass it up!”
On her horse:
“His name is Breckenridge. I lease him and he is owned by Ashland Farms. I’ve had him for about three months now and he’s amazing. He’s been the best partner ever, and I owe everything to him right now. I’m pretty confident in him and he’s not really spooky, so I knew that he wasn’t going to look at any of the jumps or the atmosphere. I was pretty calm going in. We showed him in a class on Thursday in the [Audi Grand Prix] ring, so I knew he would be good.”
On her strategy:
“I was planning on just being conservative, but when Mandy [Porter] went and had an outstanding round, I knew I had to lay it all out there. I was planning on landing on the correct lead and switching to the counter-lead just to be safe, but Mandy held it so nicely. I knew my horse could do that so I decided to land on the counter-lead and we did it so nicely. It’s definitely nerve-wracking going into the work-off in first because you have everything to lose, but he’s so trustworthy.”
On the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“It’s an amazing show! The hospitality here is great, the footing is great and I love the atmosphere. I want to come back here as much as I can! They put on a great show.”
Anna Fogarty – Junior 3’3” Hunter leader
On Be Our Guest:
“This is Bell, her show name is Be Our Guest. We just leased her, so this is my second show on her. So far she has been really cool to ride and I love showing on her. She is super easygoing and a great horse to go in the ring and get confidence on.”
On the course:
“It was a lot different [in the grass ring]. It was super fun. I think the Nilforushans having this is a big plus and an attention-grabber to come to the shows. As far as riding on it, it’s a lot different, but sitting up and just knowing your horse and where you’re going around the turns is a big part of it.”
Lori De Rosa – Anna Fogarty’s trainer
On the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“We try to support it as much as possible because it’s a great horse show and it’s so nice to come somewhere different. They do an amazing job here — super friendly staff and they really try to please everyone. It’s an awesome experience every time. Every time they do something better and they always try to put back into it and make it a little nicer each time.”
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