Mr. Whoopy, Simone Coxe’s flamboyant bay stallion is as recognized for his antics in the ring as he is for his brilliant jumping style. However, during the $20,000 Bayfest Grand Prix (June 27) he got down to business. With nine horses returning for the jump off over Jamie Alder’s challenging track, scope and speed were paramount, and Mr. Whoopy showed that he had plenty of both. Helen McNaught tried to dislodge Duncan McFarlane and Mr. Whoopy from their lead, but aboard Lancer Farms’ Condor she finished just tenths of a second behind the winning team.
McNaught was really hoping for a victory in the Bayfest Grand Prix aboard Ocean Cat (Doug & Julie White, owners) because it would keep her in contention for the $25,000 Woodside Jumper Accumulator prize awarded to the rider who can win all three major jumper classes during the Woodside Summer Circuit aboard the same horse. Ocean Cat stunned the audience when she stopped at the vertical approaching the water, and even more surprising was McNaught’s unplanned dismount. Undaunted and determined, McNaught returned to the ring to pilot her two remaining horses to clear rounds. Again the Woodside Jumper Accumulator will go unclaimed this year, but $5,000 is still on the line if a jumper rider can win two of the three major classes aboard the same horse. At the Golden Gate Grand Prix (July 4) both McNaught and McFarlane will be vying for the top prize, but there are other horses and riders looking to take the top prize and with Anthony D’Ambrosio building the cour se the test won’t be easy.
Mariano Alario gave the leaders a run for their money with his diminutive, but talented chestnut stallion Vayrac de Ste Hermelle (Mia Beckham, owner). They were clearly the crowd favorites as they returned for the jump off and the crowd only got louder as Alario blazed around the course. They had to settle for third, but Alario still pumped his fist in the air as if to applaud his horse’s fabulous performance.
Prior to the start of the class, hunters took to the ring for the First Annual Bayfest Hunter Under Saddle Derby. "We really wanted to do something special with our grand prix classes," said Show Manager Chris Collman. "The first week the stick horse class exceeded all my expectations. The kids had fun decorating their stick horses and about 30 of them paraded around the ring right before the Woodside Jumper Classic. This week I thought it would be fun for the hunters to have a special class." Hunters, with their riders sporting formal attire, worked under the direction of Judges Dale Pederson and Sue Ashe. Gradually the judges called one horse after the other into the center of the ring, all the while asking for more tests. The buzz grew as only two horses remained on the rail. Rienzo was champion in the First Year Green Hunters and Thoughtful was champion in the Pre-Green Hunters. Finally the judges called Rienzo to the center of the ring and left Tho ughtful as the champion.
Beverly Jovais found Thoughtful, a half Thoroughbred and half Hannoverian gelding with Scott Stewart. Amateur rider Bridgett Twomey wanted a fancy horse she could campaign in both the open and amateur hunter sections. With Katharina Coleman in the irons, the pair finished as champion in the Pre Green Hunters the first two weeks of the Woodside Summer Circuit. "He is a phenomenal mover and an amazing jumper," said Coleman of the six year old gelding. "He is quiet and has such a good mind. I love his style." When asked about the Hunter Under Saddle Derby, Coleman said she and Beverly Jovais were not sure what it was all about, but they decided it would be fun. "When it got down to only four on the rail, I kept thinking I better not mess up. When they called the other horse in and I was the only one out there it was such a blast. We need to have more fun classes in our shows. I can’t wait to do this again next year!"
Jovais had a number of winners among her Chestnut Hill horses and riders. Tyler Nowell was a star aboard her new pony, Otteridge Black Hawk. The Bay Area Festival was only the pair’s second show, but they performed like veterans. They were champion in the Large Pony Hunter section and finished second in the Pony Hunter Classic. Isabella Batki won the classic with her pony, Play With Me, and was reserve champion in the Large Pony Hunters (Hope & Ned Glynn, trainers).
In the Adult Amateur Hunters, Christina Sinatra topped the 18-35 age category with Sinatra, and after winning the section tri-color, she added the $500 Adult Amateur Classic to her list of wins as well (Leslie Nelson, trainer).
Sarah Draxton dominated the Children’s Hunters 13 & Under. She rode High Resolution to the section championship and followed it up with reserve champion aboard Rienzo, where she also finished second in the Hunter Under Saddle Derby. Trainer Hope Glynn earned the First Year Green Hunter championship with Rienzo. Draxton also finished third in the PCHA Horsemanship.
Fellow Sonoma Valley Stables riders Eleanor Hellman and Avery Hellman also enjoyed equitation success. Eleanor captured the USEF Hunter Seat Medal while Avery won the CPHA Foundation. Alison Fithian wrapped up two successful weeks with wins in the USEF Talent Search and the Washington International. She also finished second in the WCE. Haley Webster won the Equitation 12-14 championship for a second week in a row, and finished second in the WIHS and third in the Maclay (Patty Ball, trainer).
Sophie Verges won the Maclay and is now qualified for all major medal finals (Benson Carroll, trainer). "I am really looking forward to going east," said Verges of her fall plans. She is going to defer her college enrollment, but she won’t be stopping her education. "I am going to Europe right after the holidays to spend some time as a working student. I know it will be really hard, but I am looking forward to the experience."
Jayme Omand will be heading to the Los Angeles National this November for the Onondarka Finals after winning a qualifying class at the Bay Area Festival (Kelly Van Vleck, trainer). Omand’s mother, Diane, was a very accomplished amateur rider who won many championships in both the hunter ring and the equitation ring.
The Secretary’s Award was presented to Vanessa Brown of Derby Hill for having the neatest and most complete entries. "I really wanted to reward the trainers who take the time to complete their entries and make sure we have all the information the Federation requires," said Show Secretary Linda McRae. "The more complete the entries are, the better we can help the trainers. They are really busy and we try to make their days a little easier." When Brown was presented with the gift basket she won, she commented, "I guess all the time I spend filling out entries is noticed and appreciated!" She and her husband, Buddy enjoy showing at Woodside. In addition to a string of winning jumper riders and horses, they also have some quality hunters and coach equitation riders.
The Woodside Summer Circuit concludes with the Golden Gate Classic (July 1-5) and the $30,000 Golden Gate Grand Prix. Complete results and schedules and are online at: http://www.langershows.com
The Woodside Summer Circuit is supported by a number of sponsors, including the Marriott Courtyard, CWD, Devoucoux, Jake’s Place, Carousel Saddlery, Equitex, Equine Insurance, and HighLine Outfitters.
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