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High Prairie Spring Preview

Despite some chilly days, the first of three weeks of horse showing kicked off at the Colorado Horse Park with some super hot rounds. Alexandra van der Rest and her Oxsona M were no exception, burning it up as champion in the Junior/Young Rider/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic and finishing second to Bjorn Ikast in the $7,500 Rider’s Choice Spring Preview Mini-Prix. "Oxie felt really good and totally on it this weekend," van der Rest said. "She really gets into the zone sometimes and there is no question that she wants to win. She is a once-in-a-lifetime horse and I am so lucky to have her."

Van der Rest, who trains with Steven Turilli, loved the week’s courses and noted that course designer Chris Collman set some challenging tracks. "Chris really tested the horses but also was very fair to the field of riders he had."

The High Prairie Spring Preview (May 7-10) also featured a few firsts. Kristina Matthews piloted her mount Cadillac around their very first full course in the Adult Amateur Jumpers and finished as show champions in the section. The pair was united just about a month ago by Matthew’s trainer Michael Dennehy and his father, Wilson. "I’ve felt comfortable on him from the very beginning," said Matthews. "He has this quirky streak that I really like and an insanely big jump. He’s just a lot of fun to ride." Better yet, it turns out that Cadillac is a half-brother to Matthew’s beloved Mr. Hula-Hula (aka Daddy), the horse Matthews lost to a devastating injury last fall.

"I didn’t know it at first – none of us did – but after a little bit of digging, I realized that both horses had the same sire. When I found that out, I knew I had to have him. It’s sort of like having Daddy all over again. It’s been amusing to me that we’ve just clicked after such a short time – beyond expectations, really."

Willoway Trainer Steve Johnson also experienced a first by taking Nicole Lyvere’s Absolute Grace in her first horse show. The mare performed extremely well and handled the pressure of being in the arena with aplomb. In fact Johnson jokingly said that he’s going to stop riding her at home and only bring her to horse shows. And perhaps he should do just that considering the pair ended up as champions in the Low Hunters. "As we were finishing our second round, I almost teared up because she was doing so well," Johnson said. "I’ve put so much work into her. It’s great to see how far she’s come. We may consider moving her up to the Pre-Greens soon. I’m so pleased with her performance."

Other big winners included Liza Dennehy who rode Now You Know to the championship in both the Pre-Green Hunters and the middle group of the Adult Amateur Hunters. She also was in the irons aboard seasoned campaigner Riff-Raff in the Amateur Owner Hunter section where the pair captured the tri-color.

Elizabeth Savoy sparkled in the junior medal classes. Riding Lolla Palooza under the tutelage of trainer Mickie Sage, Savoy took the top slot in the Maclay, the USEF and the Washington International Medal Classes.

Langer Equestrian Group expanded the spring series of hunter/jumper shows to include a third week over Memorial Day. "The two weeks of spring shows have been very popular," explained show manager Charlotte Skinner. "A date over Memorial Day came available and we decided to add a week. Competitors have responded very positively." A complete list of all dates, show results, and schedules are available at: http://www.langershows.com.


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