Temecula, Calif. – May 25, 2019 – Saturday brought the hunters to the AON Grand Hunter Arena at the Temecula National Valley Horse Show, held at picturesque Galway Downs, where juniors and amateurs each got their turns in the grass field to compete for their respective tricolor ribbons. First up was the Junior 3’6” Hunters, where Grace Gallagher walked away as the champion with her mount, Zion. In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter division, Abigail Murphy and Dutch Brother found themselves in the winner’s circle.
Gallagher rode Zion, owned by Amy Gallagher, to the championship title in the Junior 3’6” Hunters over the weekend with smooth, consistent rounds that made her stand out to the judges among stiff competition. On Friday, the duo rode to a second place finish in the under saddle class as well as had top results over fences, and on Saturday they wowed the judges once again to take second and third place ribbons over fences, earning them valuable points towards the championship title.
While Gallagher and the reserve championship winners ended with the same points overall in the division, Gallagher’s strong over fences placings put her on top, having earned more points for her jump trips to break the tie. The reserve title was awarded to owner-rider Gabriella Zupancic and Swagger, whose two blue ribbons, one in the under saddle and one over fences Friday, secured her the reserve champion tricolor. Zupancic and Swagger also took top honors in the Junior 3’6” Hunter Classic with a total score of 164, with Gallagher and Zion earning third position in the prize money class.
Rounding out the 3’6” divisions for the day, the amateurs then took to the grass for the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunters, where Murphy rode her own Dutch Brother to the winner’s circle after consistent placings over two days. On Friday, she walked away with a blue ribbon under saddle as well as over fences, and took home two second place honors in addition to a third place finish to solidify her place as champion.
Alison Heath took home the reserve tricolor in the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter division aboard the Mayfair Farm LLC-owned entry, Classical. Among other top placings, Heath and Classical picked up a first place ribbon over fences Saturday and was awarded second place in the under saddle, earning them enough points for the reserve championship title. In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Classic, Mollie Hartung rode her own Solitaire to the win with a total score of 160.
Sunday will be the final day of the Temecula Valley National Horse Show II, with hunter action highlighted by the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, which will bring some of the West Coast’s best derby horses and riders to the forefront to vie for the top honors.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Grace Gallagher – Junior 3’6” Hunter champion
“Zion is actually my mom’s horse, but she does the jumpers now. He is 15 years old and I just started riding him. I started off in the 3’3” Juniors and now I’ve moved up. He is really fun and I like riding him a lot.”
On the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“This is my second time at this horse show. I was here last year. I really like the show, especially how the hunters are in the grass because it is a good experience. I like practicing in the grass here because there is also a slope, so that helps [riding in the AON Grand Hunter Arena.] I also do the jumpers in the Grand Prix Arena and it is really fun to see yourself on the big screen.”
Abigail Murphy – Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter champion
On Dutch Brother:
“I have had him for about seven years now. I found him in the Netherlands and I imported him as a 4-year-old. We started with all the basic hunters and have moved all the way up to the Amateur-Owners. My trainer does him in the Performance 3’6” and also in the derbies, and then I always do him in the Amateur-Owners.”
On showing in Temecula:
“I love it here; it’s one of my favorite shows because you get to practice and show on the grass. It such a nice derby field, and I really enjoy it.”
For more information, please visit www.jump-nee.com.