It was a great opportunity to turn around from the East Coast Young Event Horse Championships at Fair Hill and come out here to Temecula for the West Coast Championships here at Galway Downs.
The FEI competition kicks off tomorrow with the first horse inspection, so it was all about the young horses today. The 4- and 5-year-olds rode their dressage tests this morning and jumped a challenging hybrid of show jumping and cross country this afternoon.
The same judges from Fair Hill also made the trip out this weekend: Bea di Grazia, Cathy Tucker-Slaterbeck and Ian Stark. We saw six horses in the 4-year-old championship and 12 in the 5-year-olds — a smaller class than what was at Fair Hill but nonetheless very competitive and exciting to watch.
The best of the 4-year-olds proved to be Jamie Lawrence and Pavi’s Sinfandel, who earned the highest jumping and overall impression score (which, remember, is worth 50% of the total) with a 42.5 out of 50 possible. Jamie and Pavi’s Sinfandel, owned and bred by Jamie, finished her weekend on an 81.8. Pavi’s Sinfandel is a 16 hand Trakehner mare by Pavarotti out of Sidra Holland.
David Adamo’s Rockstar earned the highest conformation marks of the day and eventually finished second overall of the 4-year-olds on a final score of 79.4. Rockstar is a 16.3 hand Hanoverian gelding by Romantic Star out of Sera Bella and owned by David and John Miller. This pair was the only other to score in the 40s on their jumping test this afternoon.
It was a very tight battle for third place between Jolie Wentworth and KF Peroni and Jen McFall and Be Real — it was KF Peroni who edged Jen out by just a tenth of a point, ending the day on a score of 77.6. KF Peroni was really lovely to watch — Jolie had three horses in the championships today, all of which are super exciting — and is owned and was bred by Tracy Bowman.
Barb Crabo took ahold of the lead after a superb jumping test with Bo and Margareta Crabo’s Quite Electric and never looked back, eventually winning the 5-year-old division on a final score of 82.3. Quite Electric is a Swedish Warmblood by Quite Easy out of Victoria’s Electric and just has that classical event horse look about him. Ears pricked and alert, he never seemed to miss a beat in his jumping and galloping test and was truly a treat to watch today.
The leader after the dressage and conformation, Erin Kellerhouse also had a lovely round aboard her own Rondelet, a keen chestnut Hanoverian mare who literally seems to be made of springs. One of (if not the) the smaller horses in the field at just 15.3, this mare has a lot more presence than her diminutive frame would portray, and I thought she had one of the better jumps and gallops of the day. This pair ended the day on a final score of 80.5 for second place overall.
Another real talent to keep an eye on is Get Rowdy, owned by Team Express and piloted by Heather Morris. Get Rowdy received the highest conformation marks of the 5-year-olds, and its easy to see why with his athletic build. Heather and Get Rowdy also made it a tough contest in this division, earning an 80.4, the final score in the 80s for this division.
I also have to make note of Andrea Baxter’s Laguna Seca, who has a dangerously (in a good way!) gallop that literally had our hearts racing as we looked on. There’s just something about watching a horse sit down like a speedboat and skim over the ground — and this horse has exactly that look. I suppose he isn’t named after a motor racetrack for nothing!
At this moment in time, Lynn Symansky and SpectraVET’s Cohiba are the highest scored YEH in the 5-year-old division after scoring an 82.38 at Fair Hill — Barb Crabo and Quite Electric earned a total score of 82.29 today. It will be interesting to see the final end of year rankings and eligibility lists for the Turner/Holekamp Young Event Horse Grant!
It’s been a whirlwind first day here in California — I literally landed in San Diego and basically drove straight here! Tomorrow, we kick off the jogs for the CCI divisions and I’ll also be walking the CCI3* cross country, which looks super fun from what I peeked at today.
Stay tuned for much more from sunny California! Sorry, East Coasters, I had to rub it in a little. Can you blame me?