Hail Hero! Champion Of The Blenheim EquiSports Young Hunter Championships, Presented By Brookway Stables

Sep 13, 2019 | Featured, Press Releases

Jamie Taylor aboard Hero with trainer Denise Finch, Missy Sullivan of Blue Ribbon Blankets, Carleton Brooks of Balmoral, and Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

September 13, 2019, San Juan Capistrano, CA With the opportunity to compete and earn valuable miles for free all season, thirty young hunters, from ages five to seven, came to show their talents in the third annual $10,000 Blenheim EquiSports Young Hunter Championships, presented by Brookway Stables. On this particular Thursday afternoon, the ‘J’ Hunter Queens were on fire as Jamie Taylor, Jamie Sailor and Jenny Karazissis took the top three spots.

Jamie Taylor and Hero

It was the six-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Hero, ridden by Taylor and owned by Marnell Sport Horses, who led the victory gallop earning consistent scores of 85 in Round 1 and 85.5 in Round 2 for an overall average of 85.25. Coming in second by a narrow margin was the seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Hopeful, with Sailor aboard (Astrid Van Leeuwen owner), who was first to go in Round 1, scoring an 84, and then an 85.75 in Round 2 for an average of 84.87, just .38 points off the lead. Karazissis rode five-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding J’Adore RW (owned by Kimberley Narlinger) to a close third place finish, with scores of 84.5 and 85, for an average of 84.75, only half of a point from the winning average.

Jamie Sailor aboard Hopeful with Missy Sullivan of Blue Ribbon Blankets, and Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

Judges Scott Hofstetter (Ocala, FL) and Tony Sgarlata (Raleigh, N.C.) found the five-year-olds to be quite impressive, as half of horses in the top twelve were just five. Four of the eleven six-year-olds returned and two seven-year-olds rounded out the top scoring horses to compete in Round 2, with scores ranging from 80.5 to 85.

Jenny Karazissis and J’Adore RW with Missy Sullivan of Blue Ribbon Blankets, and Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

Taylor expressed gratitude for the program where the horses competed for free all season, including a $1,000 Young Hunter Classic, sponsored by Brookway Stables, each show week. The championship certainly gave these up and coming stars a chance to shine.

“It’s such a nice idea to be able to show your young horses without incurring such crazy costs,” Jamie Taylor noted for owner Ariana Marnell of Marnell Sport Horses. “To be able to do this and then jump at the end of the season for $10,000 is really a treat.”

Taylor rode Hero in this class last year as a five-year-old, as a catch ride when his rider was injured. He was quite green back then, and Taylor definitely noticed the difference a year and some good miles can make.

WATCH! Second round and post-win interview with Jamie Taylor

Along with leading the victory gallop, Jamie Taylor and Hero will be the second names on the perpetual trophy donated by Polly Sweeney in honor of Marcia ‘Mousie’ Williams. A celebrated horsewoman, talented and devoted to the sport, ‘Mousie’ spent decades as a top trainer and rider, director and judge. Recognized over the years with numerous awards and honors, she is remembered fondly by her friends as an inspiration that always brought out the best in her team. Taylor also won and a pair of Roeckl gloves.

Jamie Taylor and Hero lead the victory ride

Naturally, Hero was also the highest placing six-year-old, and as the winning owner Marnell Sport Horses received a pewter tray to commemorate the victory, prize money, and a picture frame with a gift certificate to McCool Photography, presented by Balmoral Farm. Denise Finch of Hunters Edge, who trains Hero and Ariana Marnell, received a plaid pillow from Blue Ribbon Blankets, recognizing the Winning Trainer.

Roeckl gloves were also awarded to Sailor and Karazissis, the second and third place riders. And pewter boxes were given to the owners of Hopeful and J’Adore RW, who were also the top placing seven-year-old and top placing five-year-old respectively.

The Horseflight Leading Young Hunter Award was presented to the highest scoring horse in the $1,000 Young Hunter Classics, sponsored by Brookway Stables, throughout the 2019 season. The six-year-old Polish Warmblood gelding Boston, ridden by Rose Carver and owned by Alison Stocker, earned 55 points, including two wins, two seconds, two thirds and more. Stocker received a $2,500 gift certificate towards equine travel with Horseflight. 

Boston poses with owner, Alison Stocker, Roser Carver, and Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

The Makoto Farm Best Turned Out Groom’s Award went to Santa Rosa Group’s gorgeous five-year-old Brandenburg gelding, San Renier, ridden by Katie Gardner and impeccably groomed by Pepe Ortiz.

Katie Gardner aboard San Renier with groom Pepe Ortiz, Liz Riley of Makoto Farms, and Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

More highlight hunter, equitation and jumper events are on the calendar for the rest of the week, stay tuned! Congratulations to all our young hunters and best of luck going forward.


$10,000 Blenheim EquiSports Young Hunter Championship, presented by Brookway Stables

Placing – Horse – Age – Rider – Owner – Average

1. 250 – Hero – 6 – Jamie Taylor – Marnell Sport Horses – 85.25

2. 527 – Hopeful – 7 – Jamie Sailor – Astrid Van Leeuwen – 84.87

3. 427 – J’Adore RW – 5 –Jenny Karazissis – Kimberley Narlinger– 84.75

4. 580 – Deja Blue – 6 – Sophie Simpson – Lexie Looker – 84.50

5. 266 – Dance Card – 5 – Leslie Steele – Ann Thornton – 83.75

6. 328 – Bailando – 5 – Nick Haness – David May – 82.75

7. 374 – Alajolie – 5 –Nick Haness  – Farber Farms, LLC – 82.37

8. 212 – Boston – 6 – Rose Carver – Alison Stocker – 81.75

9. 528 – Gidget WT – 5 – Jamie Sailor– Michael Edrick – 81.25

10. 111 – First Look – 6 – Amanda Pitton– Ariya Nathu – 80.75

11. 252 – MTM Page 6 – 7 – Jamie Taylor – Marnell Sport Horses – 80.50

12. 303 – San Renier – 5 – Katie Gardner – Santa Rosa Group – 79.87


Photos by McCool Photography

Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors & Partners

Brookway Stables

Proud to sponsor the development of young hunters, Archie Cox of Brookway Stables has trained horses and riders to championships and medal final victories throughout the nation.

 Vist their website here


Horseflight is an international horse transportation company with multiple hubs in the US. They are known worldwide for their attention to detail and professional services with your horses’ safety and well being as their number one priority.

Vist their website here

Blenheim EquiSports, an equestrian event management company based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, produces events in three locations: San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar and Las Vegas, NV. The events include 19 USEF “Premier” rated hunter-jumper shows featuring five FEI CSI events, including a Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League event; the Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series & Final, Developing Jumper Qualifiers & Championships, USHJA International & National Hunter Derbies, Pony Derby Finals, the Whitethorne Equitation Challenge, Medal Finals and more.