nick haness young hunter championship reeses

San Juan Capistrano, CA – Thirty-two five, six and seven-year-old horses had their moment in the sun Thursday afternoon as they competed for top prizes in the $10,000 Blenheim EquiSports Young Hunter Championship, presented by Brookway Stables. Scoring an 87 in Round 1 and an impressive 89 in Round 2, it was five-year-old Reese’s, piloted by Nick Haness and owned by West Coast Equine Partners, LLC, that took home the top honors. Just one point behind was six-year-old Bellamy (Alison Baileys, owner), who earned excellent scores of 88 and 87 with Jenny Karazissis in the irons. Haness and Laura Dampf’s Althea, also a six-year-old, rounded out the top three, with scores of 87.5 and 86.

Since the spring season, the young hunter classes at each Blenheim EquiSports show were free and stall fees were discounted, offering trainers and owners an opportunity to get affordable mileage for their horses and prepare for the year-end championship. Joe Lombardo designed the inviting courses for the strong field of talented youngsters, while Bill Ellis and Liz Adler adjudicated. Closely contested, the top 12 that returned for Round 2 had scores ranging from 82 – 88.

reeses nick haness jumping

Reese’s and Nick Haness

“I’m excited that out of all the ages combined, he was really mature and held his greenness together,” Haness noted. “He was really awesome tonight.”

Haness imported Reese’s earlier this year and has been pleased with his progress. “He really has learned the American hunter style quickly, he was really a natural at it. So a few months ago, I made a phone call to Shari (Rose), and told her I had a young horse that was going to be really special, and that she should look at him for her client.”

Reese’s and Nick Haness with Polly Sweeney, Melissa Brandes, Robbie Perkins, Shari Rose and Paul Bennett

Marcia ‘Mousie’ Williams

It turned out to be a win-win situation for all. “Gail Ellis, his owner, wants to have a couple of young horses that she can enjoy watching. She has been very generous in letting me continue to show Reese’s after she bought him. I’m so excited that he pulled through and won for her.”

Along with leading the victory gallop, Nick Haness and Reese’s will be the first 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.

Reese’s was also the highest placing five-year-old, and Gail Ellis of West Coast Equine Partners received a Blenheim EquiSports cooler, a beautiful pewter trophy, prize money, and a pewter picture frame with a gift certificate to Captured Moment Photo, presented by Balmoral Farm. Shari Rose received a plaid pillow from Blue Ribbon Blankets, recognizing the Winning Trainer.


DVM Alison Baileys had her eye out for a nice young hunter when trainer Mary Morrison and rider Jenny Karazissis discovered Bellamy last year. This year, the KWPN mare has successfully competed in the Young Hunter, Green Hunter and Adult Amateur Hunter classes. She finished second overall in the championships and was the top horse in the competitive six-year-old section.

Bellamy and Jenny Karazissis

“Bella has continued to exceed our expectations. She has a truly wonderful disposition, is very easy going and loves to go do her job,” Baileys said.

Althea’s third place finish was aptly fitting for the golden palomino. The talented six-year-old looked lovely dressed in a yellow sash, with owner Laura Dampf holding a bouquet of yellow roses.

Top five-year-old Reese’s, top six-year-old Bellamy and top seven-year-old Casimiro

Returning in the 10th position after Round 1, Haness and Casimiro, owned by Sommer Smith, scored the only 90 of the day to jump into fourth place and earn the top placing seven-year-old award. With an 88 score in Round 2, Katie Taylor and Shama Alghurair’s Holland moved up from 12th to 5th overall.

The Makoto Farm Best Turned Out Groom’s Award went to Jose Rodriguez, who groomed Lindsey Schiefelbein’s six-year-old Game On. Michael Croopnick rode the young horse to a ninth place finish. Every rider who earned a top twelve spot took home a pair of Roeckl Sports gloves.

Jose Rodriguez with Game On

Two more highlight hunter events are on the calendar for Friday, September 14th, at the Blenheim Fall Tournament. The CPHA West Coast Green Hunter Incentive Championships, will kick off the morning competition in the Pacific Field. Before the class begins, Bonus Cash Awards will be presented to the top three owners and top three riders for the 2018 season. Then the ponies will gallop on the grass in the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, presented by Markel Insurance, as the final event in the Pacific Field.

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

Placing – Horse – Age – Rider – Owner – Total Score
1. 716 – Reese’s – 5 – Nick Haness – West Coast Equine Partners, LLC – 176
2. 286 – Bellamy – 6 – Jenny Karazissis – Alison Baileys – 175
3. 505 – Althea – 6 – Nick Haness – Laura Dampf – 173.5
4. 221 – Casimiro – 7 – Nick Haness – Sommer Smith – 172.75
5. 128 – Holland – 6 – Katie Taylor – Shama Alghurair – 170.25
6. 501 – Inkwell – 6 – Marisa Metzger – Tami Cabaniss – 169
7. 199 – At Last TW – 6 – Gabriela Pattinson – Jaymie Ho – 168.5
8. 219 – Beignet – 5 – Nick Haness – Nick Haness – 167.5
9. 682 – Game On – 6 – Michael Croopnick – Lindsey Schiefelbein – 163.5
10. 444 – Hlerro – 5 – Jamie Taylor – John French – 162
11. 499 – Secret Romance – 6 – Trudi Fletcher – Ashley Weiman – 160.5
12. 738 – Afterglow – 6 – Nick Haness – Enchantment Farm, LLC – 128

Photos by Captured Moment Photography & Blenheim EquiSports ###