Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals West Kicks Off; Nicole Haseltine Earns Top Honors in Zones 8, 9, 10 Adult Equitation Finals
San Juan Capistrano, CA
- In this final week of their California season, Blenheim EquiSports proudly presents the International Jumping Festival at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano, which includes some select equitation and jumper finals as well as several highlight classes.
2014 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals West
Phase I: Flat
The 2014 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals West began the first of the infamous three phases on Saturday at noon with flatwork. Thirty riders ages 21 and under were randomly split into six groups of five for testing on the flat. Esteemed judges Ronnie Beard and Diane Langer evaluated each group as they demonstrated extensive flatwork in the indoor arena.
Riders were asked to enter the ring at the working walk tracking left, pick up a working trot rising, a working trot sitting, and then transition into a working canter. From there they were asked to show a lengthening of stride, return to a working walk, and then transition into a working canter on the counter lead. After a transition back to the working walk, they were asked to leg yield their horses to the left at the working walk to the quarter line, then halt, back three steps, and halt again. They then demonstrated a 180 degree turn on the forehand to change directions before proceeding to repeat the entire test tracking right, finishing with a 180 degree turn on the haunches to change directions and lining up at the center of the ring with their backs to the judges before exiting at the announcer's request.
After six groups completed the flatwork, scores and an order of go for the gymnastics phase were posted. Eleven of the twenty-nine entrants earned an 80 or above in this phase - Ransome Rombauer earned the highest flat phase score with an impressive 88. Genevieve Meyer was close behind with an 86, while Sarah Jane Haskins scored an 85. The highest scores returned in reverse order for the gymnastics phase at 7:00p.m.
Ransome Rombauer and Genevieve Meyer
Phase II: Gymnastics
The gymnastics phase of the finals is well known for testing the very limits of riders' abilities to adjust and adapt to an intensive array of tests over fences. Riders were required to walk the course without their trainers but could discuss their plan with them after the course walk.
The course developed by Judges Beard and Langer demanded that riders think quickly, have a precise plan, understand the questions asked and know how to adjust their horse. This included a track where the judges required particular turns, even a specific number of strides in one line.
Although scores for the gymnastics phase and an order of go aren't yet posted, the riders who handled the multitude of questions asked Saturday evening deserve a mention.
After stops and rails from the first handful of entries, Mitchell Endicott, who came back seventh in the order, was the first rider to demonstrate the course could be mastered. Several more riders lowered elements, had refusals and even falls, however the fifteenth and sixteenth competitors to enter the ring, experienced rider Kilian McGrath and an up and coming young rider Eve Jobs, both rode the course well. Later in the order, Sydney Hutchins handled the gymnastics phase with skill and poise. Sunday's Phase III: Show Jumping and the Final Four will reveal how the judges felt and the top of the group will compete in the coveted Final Four.
Mitchell Endicott and Eve Jobs
Haseltine and Magic Act Cast a Spell over Zones 8, 9, 10 Adult Equitation Finals
The 2014 Zones 8, 9, and 10 Adult Equitation Finals contested on Saturday and the Juniors will ride on Sunday of the International Jumping Festival. Course designer Joe Lombardo built a flowing track that allowed riders several opportunities to demonstrate their equitation skills with inside turns and bending lines. The top six scores were brought back for a second round, and after two excellent demonstrations of riding, the overall top score and championship went to Nicole Haseltine, trained by Archibald Cox of Brookway Stables. Janet Koppelman was second. Koppelman trains with Kost Karazissis and Far West Farms, and third went to Virginia Fout, also trained by Archibald Cox.
Haseltine was full of praise for her mount, Magic Act (Rutabega Farms, owner), who has played a longtime role in her riding career. She has enjoyed numerous wins with Magic Act, including the 2008 CPHA Amateur Medal Finals and most recently a top three finish in the 2014 CPHA Foundation Finals 22 & Over.
"Magic is an amazing horse. He has been part of the family for 11 years; I actually did the children's hunters on him when I was 14. We have formed a true partnership over the years and we really trust each other. I cannot thank Archie Cox and everyone at Brookway Stables enough for everything they have done for us. We have also been lucky enough for work with Hap Hansen and Trudi, Jessie Lang, and Sue Payne, who all helped us get to this point."
Haseltine, who works at Lincoln Financial Advisors on her path to become a financial planner, has a trip to the desert planned before the medal finals season finishes. "We are heading down to Thermal for WCE Finals in a few weeks. After that, my plan is to focus more on the jumpers. My mom is going to start doing equitation on Magic, and I am really excited for both of them!"
Nicole Haseltine wins the Zone 8, 9, 10 Adult Equitation Finals
Results: Zone 8, 9, 10 Adult Equitation Finals
Place - Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time
1. 137 - Nicole Haseltine - Archibald Cox
2. 389 - Janet Koppelman - Kost Karazissis
3. 133 - Virginia Fout - Archibald Cox
4. 135 - Karin Binz - Archibald Cox
5. 380 - Yvette Lang-Einczig - Karen Healey
6. 220 - Mollie Hartung - Victoria Lacagnina
7. 247 - Tierney Smith - Michelle Morris
8. 216 - Maya Varga - Victoria Lacagnina
9. 219 - Erin Leon - Victoria Lacagnina
10. 563 - Shelly Lachow - Hap Hansen
Photos courtesy of McCool