Huntington Beach, Calif. – Aug. 12, 2018 – It was a packed house at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center as spectators gathered at the Grand Prix arena for the $20,000 Grand Prix of Huntington Beach. As the sun set, the crowd was treated to an evening of excellent show jumping as top horses and riders took to the field to tackle the course designed by Scott Starnes. The first round course consisted of 14 jumping efforts including two double combinations, and faults were spread around the technical track. But three horse and rider pairs jumped clean and advanced to the 7-effort short course.
First to go was Michelle Parker, and she laid down an incredibly fast and tight track aboard Bella Sofia, a 9-year old grey warmblood mare owned by Antonio Ramos. “She has a huge stride and she is careful off the big gallop,” said Michelle Parker. “I felt like she was really fast today and then still careful going into the combination in the jump off.”
Next up to challenge Parker’s time was Michelle Kerivan on her own Duc de Rhoan, a 9-year-old brown Oldenburg gelding, followed by Max Doldger on his own Stakka Gold, an 8-year-old bay Oldenburg gelding. Both pairs put in exciting and clean rounds but couldn’t quite catch Parker. Doldger took second place and Kerivan rounded out the podium in third.
It could have easily gone differently for Parker and Bella Sofia, especially with the large audience: “She’s sometimes spooky about the crowds,” Parker explained. “But today she was great; she didn’t mind at all.” Parker has been riding Bella Sofia for a little less than a year, and only recently stepped up to the higher levels. But Saturday night at Huntington Beach, Bella Sofia proved she can hold her own against great competition.
$20,000 Grand Prix of Huntington Beach
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Bella Sofia / Michelle Parker / Antonio Ramos / 0 | 75.017 / 0 | 32.308
2. Stakka Gold / Max Dolger / Max Dolger / 0 | 75.854 / 0 | 34.683
3. Duc de Rhoan / Michelle Kerivan / Michelle Kerivan / 0 | 77.598 / 0 | 36.163
4. Calesco / Amanda Gomez / Amanda Gomez / 4 | 73.579
5. Calgot Hero / Katie Murray / Katie Murray / 4 | 74.579
6. Printings Pola / Michelle Rodal / Morgan Hill Partners / 4 | 75.469
7. D Valiant JF / Noelle Roberts / Monica Farms LLC / 4 | 75.735
8. DexCeminka / Danielle Lean / Danielle Lean / 4 | 77.109
9. Costo Rico / Judy Nielson / Megan Bielinski / 4 | 77.474
10. Quadrigus / Gabriela Pattinson / Susanne Coleman / 7 | 82.542
11. CCF Hibiscus Coast / Michelle Parker / Cross Creek Farms Inc. / 8 | 69.218
12. Dahlia / Amanda Gomez / Melinda Blue / 8 | 73.716
Robert Sean Leckie Catches a Blue Ribbon on Skywalker at the USHJA National Hunter Derby
On Friday afternoon, the hunters stepped into the spotlight to compete in the $3,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Twenty-one horse and rider pairs completed the classic hunter round, and 12 entries came back for the handy round. In the end, Robert Sean Leckie and Skywalker, a 7-year-old bay Hanoverian gelding owned by Brooke Mostman, earned the judges’ highest marks and took home the championship ribbon.
Leckie’s scores of 88 and 89 were impressive, but even more so because he was catch riding Skywalker. “This was my first time riding him,” said Leckie. “He was beautiful to ride: very forward, fun, and adjustable. He’s only 7 but he’s just flawless. It’s just a great opportunity and I’m grateful for Stephanie Haney and the Mostman family who gave me the opportunity. I love the environment here and the show that Dale and Adrienne put on and I’m grateful to them as well.”
Leslie Scharf rode Shauna Pennell’s Czechers to second place, and Amy Brubaker took third place honors on her own Frascati.
USHJA National Hunter Derby
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Total Score
1. Skywalker / Robert Sean Leckie / 177
2. Czechers / Shauna Pennell / Leslie Scharf / 173
3. Frascati / Amy Brubaker / Amy Brubaker / 169
4. Unique de la Chesnee / Sienna Gustafson / Sienna Gustafson / 165
5. Tangled Up In Blue / Lisa Wall / Macy Dimson / 163
6. Delmar / Dakota Emery / Judy Tapson / 162
7. Convaro / Amy Brubaker / Michelle Kerivan / 161
8. Ishta Devata / Makenna Thrasher / Makenna Thrasher / 160
9. Journey / Mark Watring / Jewels Washington / 157
10. Aquino 49 / Catherine Westling / Michelle Kerivan / 155
11. Go Pro / Amber Calvert-Jones / Donald Stewart / 148
12. Ameganson K / Shauna Pennell / Jennifer Hunter / 135
Mark Watring and Gavanta Win the $5,000 1.20m Jumpers
Friday was an exciting day in the jumper ring as well with our $5,000 1.20m jumper class. Racing to the win in the competitive class was Mark Watring on Gavanta, a 7-year-old chestnut KWPN mare ridden by Mark Watring and owned by Amy Mair of Dark Horse Farms.
“Gavanta is a young horse who will have her first Grand Prix start tonight,” said Watring. “She just turned seven, and she’s a brand new ride for me. It’s very exciting; I really like her. I was second to go in the jump off and I just really went for it.” Going for it paid off as Watring took the win by over 7 seconds.
Lindsay Gersoff took second place aboard her own Armani 224, and Michelle Parker rode to third place on Pikablue, owned by Marsha Ball.
$5,000 1.20m Jumper
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner
1. Gavanta / Mark Watring / Dark Horse Farms / 0 | 57.124 / 0 | 37.711
2. Armani 224 / Lindsay Gersoff / Lindsay Gersoff / 0 | 61.887 / 0 | 45.036
3. Pikablue / Michelle Parker / Marsha Ball / 0 | 63.60 / 0 | 45.896
4. Hindee / Erin Nichols / Erin Nichols / 0 | 57.705 / 12 | 35.63
5. Carletto / Janie Postel / Nancy Turrill / 0 | 61.218 / RT
6. Taquin de la Nutria / Madison Dunham / Juan Pablo Jimenez / 4 | 56.830
7. Viking / Michelle Parker / Amy Gallagher / 4 | 58.606
8. Eliana / Sarah Abdi / Champion Technology Group / 4 | 61.035
9. Easter HBC / Amy Hess / Patricia Manze / 4 | 63.694
10. Wylie / Courtney Shattuck / Horseworks Etc Inc / 8 | 57.683
11. Balou / Courtney Shattuck / Horseworks Etc Inc / 8 | 63.970
12. Pinot H / Darby Shattuck / Horseworks Etc Inc / 20 | 80.982