San Juan Capistrano, CA
- In the spring of this year, Blenheim EquiSports introduced the CashCall Mortgage U25 Futurity, a division and final where young grand prix riders could have a chance to compete among their peers. All five $7,500 qualifiers are now complete, with the $15,000 Final scheduled for Saturday, September 19th, on the Grand Prix Field at the International Jumping Festival. FEI course designer Catsy Cruz of Mexico will design the track.
Wrapping up the inaugural qualifying season, the first three classes started at 1.40m in height and the final two were set at 1.45m. The mix of competitors illustrated a solid group of show jumpers under 25 years old. Some had competed at NAJYRC in recent years, others had international experience but were riding new mounts, whereas others were garnering some great miles for the classes and years to come.
In the June qualifier, one of California's top junior riders and UCLA graduate, Zazou Hoffman, won on Paris Sellon's Umbra 34. Hoffman is working as an Assistant Trainer and rider for Meadow Grove Farm.
The DeLong family with Zazou Hoffman and Melissa Brandes
Another one of California's top junior jumper competitors, who is now working with the fabulous French rider Eric Navet, Karl Cook, joined the winner's circle on Signe Ostby's Basimodo in the second qualifier at Showpark in July. Cook also piloted The Flying Ham (Signe Ostby, owner) to the win in the final qualifier at the Showpark All Seasons Tournament.
Karl Cook and The Flying Ham
"I think it's important to have a U25 class like this," said Cook. "There needs to be something that helps people going up. That's the goal - to jump bigger, and to do better in those classes - and so having a 'pipeline' like this is good for the sport."
In July's third qualifier at Showpark, two returned for the jump-off - Paige Coles aboard her own Springhill Farm, and Martin Jimenez on Arturo Parada Vallejo's Mr. Blue. Coles laid down a clean jump-off round in a speedy 36.27, but Jimenez matched the clean and beat the time in 34.36 for the win.
Martin Jimenez and Mr. Blue
Morgan Dickerson and Balou Blom were the only entry to ride without having a rail over a difficult Leopoldo Palacios course for the fourth qualifier to take home the top prize. Along with the U25 miles, Dickerson went to the George H. Morris Gladstone Program in Chicago and NAJYRC in Lexington this past summer.
Morgan Dickerson and Balou Blom
With the five qualifiers now complete, the top 20 are invited to compete in the inaugural $15,000 CashCall Mortgage U25 Final, 1.45m, at the Blenheim International Jumping Festival. As the first class in a strong line-up of competition on Saturday, September 19th, the Final will be followed by another competitive young rider event, the final phase of the USEF Talent Search Finals West.
CashCall Mortgage and Blenheim EquiSports look forward to the future of this U25 division.
"We believe in the development of young horses and young riders," DeLong comments. "After all, they are the future of our sport." With a new company, Interactive Mortgage, about to launch, DeLong expanded his plan to include The Las Vegas National, where they will be the presenting sponsor of the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas.
Good luck to all the competitors!
Click here for updated CashCall Mortgage U25 standings