Parker, Colorado. Most of us have a story about our favorite pony; Meehan Shirey of West Palm Beach, Fla., certainly does. She showed several ponies during the Colorado Circuit Opener (July 9-13), including catch-rides on three mounts plus four of her own. "Biloxi Blue is my favorite pony," Shirey said. "I like him because heís very easy and has a whole lot of personality."
The pair topped the Medium Pony Hunter section, and they also finished reserve champion in the Schooling Pony Hunters and fourth in the $1,500 Pony Hunter Classic. But, Shireyís success didnít end there. On her pony Monroe, she won the $1,500 Pony Hunter Classic, was third in the Schooling Ponies, and reserve champion in the Small Pony Hunters. "After this show, we head to the Pony Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park," Shirey added. "Both Monroe and Biloxi Blue will go."
This year marks the second time that Shirey and her crew have come to the Colorado Horse Park. The soon-to-be fifth-grader likes the Colorado venue, and trains with Frank Madden when at home and is hoping someday to turn professional. "My favorite time is the morning," she said. "Once the show gets underway, everything moves so quickly."
Kelsey Thatcher also experienced great success in the pony sections during the second of four weeks of the Colorado Summer Circuit. She topped the Schooling Pony Hunters and the Small/Medium Childrenís Pony Hunters aboard her Frankly My Dear, and was fourth in the Pony Jumpers on Bally Mac. Thatcherís sister Madeline did well too earning the championship in the Small Pony Hunters on Silver Steps. Michael Dennehy coaches both girls. Megan MacPherson (Tracye Ferguson, Trainer) was the winner in the Large Pony Hunters, riding Mapleside Magic Dancer to the tri-color.
With the sun blazing down out of the bright blue Colorado sky during the Rocky Mountain Classic (July 16-20), nowhere was the action hotter than in the jumper rings where horses and riders contested several special events including the Marshall & Sterling Childrenís and Adult Amateur Jumper Classics, the $7,500 Junior/AO Jumper Classic, the $5,000 Speed Derby and of course, the $40,000 Rocky Mountain Grand Prix.
The bad news is there will be no $100,000 Grand Prix Rider Bonus awarded this year, but ask Sarah Baldwin if that really matters to her. She and Patries (Brookwood Stables, Inc.) smoked the jump-off field in the $40,000 Rocky Mountain Grand Prix, besting several veteran grand prix riders in the process. Of the 38 competitors in the class, it took more than 10 rounds to find the first clear and then, just seven went on to the second round. Colorado native John McConnell returned home with Klein Ranchís Carolina to claim the red ribbon while last yearís class winner, Bjorn Ikast finished third aboard Brave Heart.
Every year, the Colorado Summer Circuit offers $100,000 to the jumper rider who can win all three grand prix with the same horse. If a horse and rider pair manage to win two of the three events, the rider will receive a $25,000 bonus. Last year Bjorn Ikast managed to win two of the three big classes and he pocketed $25,000 for his efforts. Many jumper riders come to Colorado hoping to take a run at the $100,000 bonus.
However, jumper prize money is not lacking during the Colorado Summer Circuit. Juan Carlos Alvarez del Castillo piloted Puertas Blue Dream to victory in the $5,000 Speed Derby. Megan Nusz and L.B. For Fun (T Ďn T Partners, owner) came in second and Kris Killam was third on Altius (Sharon Classen, owner). After claiming ninth in the Speed Derby, Megan Haag and Mr. Nobody topped 41 entries in the $7,500 Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic. Tiffany Sullivan and Barrington were second while Haylie Jayne and Orley finished third. Jayne also finished second in the Low Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic behind Oxsona M and Alexandra Van Der Rest. "I really love these Coloradohorse shows and I am enjoying my new horses and my new trainer, Steven Turilli," said Van Der Rest. "I just bought my mare, Oxsona M in Europe with Steven and Bjorn Ikastís help. She is so awesome and I am so lucky to have her."
Victor, an entry of Analisa Muti, deserved an award for versatility this week. After competing in the Second Year Green Hunters, horse and rider went on to win the Marshall & Sterling Adult Amateur Jumper Classic. Debbie Weigers and Little Lucia were second in the classic while Courtney Dickinson and Itís Twix were third. On the Childrenís card, Stella Farmís Alcantra topped the Marshall & Sterling Childrenís Jumper Classic with Caroline Beecherl in the irons. Sleepy P Ranchís Paulina and Wilton Porter were second with Goulash and Mina Yang coming in third.
Of course there were the Pony Jumpers. This week saw Emily Allard earn the tri-color riding Elizabeth Krellís Him is Smart with Amelia Drumm and Rosebelle finishing reserve champion.
The Colorado Summer Circuit concludes with the Colorado Summer Classic (July 23-27, 2008) featuring the $60,000 Grand Prix of Denver, the $15,000 USHJA Hunter Derby, and a $5,000 Team Take Your Own Line class. Complete show results are online at: http://www.langershows.com
. Langer Equestrian Group, Inc. manages the Colorado Summer Circuit for the Colorado Horse Park. This year, the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships (July 30-August 3) will immediately follow the four week Colorado Summer Circuit. For more information, go to: http://www.youngriders.org
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/colorado-circuit-opener-rocky-mountain-07-08.html">Colorado Circuit Opener & Rocky Mountain Classic</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com