BURBANK, CA. Cyndi Merritt’s Baycrest Farms had a successful show, winning several championships an d reserves. Sisters Paige and Peyton Parker did especially well. Paige was champion in the Children’s Hunter with Special Edition and just missed reserve in the Low Children’s/Adult Jumpers on Bewitched, a new purchase. Peyton rode Julie Cesena’s Corofino to the championship in the Low Children’s Hunter. “The sisters started in my riding school,” said Merritt. “They have come so far in three years. They focus and listen well, and they are a pleasure to teach. They just purchased Bewitched, and Paige is having so much fun riding in jumpers.”
The sisters first rode at dude ranches where they both fell in love with horses. “We have a big passion for it along with commitment and love for it,” said Payton. Paige has had Special Edition for about 2 ½ years. “Special Edition is loveable – like a dog. My jumper (Bewitched) is fast and wild,” Paige said. “It’s a different kind of seat. She’s more sensitive. I have to work on not being so hands on.” Paige is enjoying her transition to the jumper ring, and the LAEC Winter Show offered a wide range of jumper classes f rom entry level to 1.35 meter classes. “I like riding the jumpers best. I like going fast and doing inside turns. Bewitched is absolutely the best horse I could ask for. She’s brave and always takes care of you.”
Peyton, the other half of the Parker due, has been riding Corofino for about two months. “He’s different than my other horse. He can jump higher and is built bigger. I have to work on making him bend. I didn’t have to work as hard with my old horse. He allows me to accomplish goals that I want to achieve, like moving up a level at the next show to the three foot Children’s Hunters.”
Merritt piloted Zandigo (Merritt and Michael Tang, owners) was Baby Green Hunter champion. “I enjoy buying young horses,” she said. “He’s just five and it was his second show. We’ve sold a number of horses into the show circuit.”
Christa Ellis and Set to Sparkle continued their success in the Green Pony Hunter arena by winning the championship. “She is very responsive,” said Ellis. “We are working really hard and are best friends. I practice keeping my leg on her; getting her to go forward, and keeping her balanced.” Already qualified, they plan to go to this year’s USEF Pony Finals.
Katie Cook (Kim Harries, trainer) won six equitation and medal classes, including the USEF Adult Equitation class and the Foxfield Medal. She did all this on a horse she’d never ridden before, Paige Sorenson’s Rocco. She was catch riding at Thermal and hadn’t planned to go to the LAEC Winter Show. “I’d been at Thermal for the whole circuit,” she said. “Kim (trainer Kim Harries) said she had a nice horse for me to ride at the LAEC Winter Show so I skipped out of the seventh week.” She rode him in a couple of hunter classes to get to know h im before she took him in the equitation and medal classes. “I love showing in equitation and medals,” she said. “Having a horse like Rocco makes it more fun. I had no idea what to expect. When I saw him, I thought ‘this is going to be a fun weekend’.” Cook doesn’t own a horse of her own so she usually borrows horses or rides horses that are for sale. “A lot of people give me new horses to ride,” she said. “Riding different horses makes it fun and challenging.” Cook has been riding with Harries for 15 years. “She loves equitation,” said Harries. “She has wonderful equitation and she has beautiful natural feel.”
Danica Dickison (Heatherly Davis, trainer) earned a well-deserved championship on Brownlands Crystal View, a pony she’s had for two years. It took all that time and a lot of work to turn her into the Children’s Pony Hunter champion. “I had a lot of trouble,” she said. “She stopped, and she didn’t do her changes.” Davis agreed, “I’ve worked on giving Danica confidence,” she said. “She has to ride a very forward ride. She needs to ride the pony, and connect with the pony’s mouth and to ride without emotion.”
Nick Karazissis, who rides for Mike Edrick rode Simply Angelic (Samantha Epstein, owner) to the First Year Green Working Hunter championship. Edrick found the mare as a young horse. “We’ve had her almost a year,” said Karazissis. “She did some dressage and last year we took her to a couple of shows as a Pre-Green Hunter. She’s a fantastic horse with a very big stride.
We had to teach her to collect, but she can lengthen in a heart beat.” Owner Samantha Epstein is moving up from a pony and this horse is 17 hands so they’ve had to work on t eaching Epstein how to adjust her stride. “Although she’s quite different than my pony, she made it easy,” said Epstein. “She’s a great horse and she’ll jump anything. Next year, I’d like to do the Junior Hunters.”
Tarah Hill (Jeni Brown, trainer) rode Sienna to a tie for champion in the Modified Junior-Amateur Hunter section, but the other horse had more over fences points so they ended up as reserve champion. This was the Dutch Warmblood import’s first show in the United States . She was lightly shown as a jumper in Europe so they’ve had to work on getting her to go in more of a hunter frame. “We didn’t do a whole bunch with her,” said Hill. “She’s really smart and she was just perfect at the show. She acted like she’d been doing it her whole life.” Since the mare is really scopey, Hill plans to do Amateur Owner Hunters, and according to Brown, Hill does most of the work with the horse herself. “Tarah is a very good rider,” Brown said. “We are working on getting the horse to go longer and lower in more of a hunter frame and going straight down the line. We are really excited. She has a soft way of going and a beautiful jump.”
The LAEC Winter Show enjoyed beautiful weather and a large turnout of horses and riders. For complete results and other information, visit the LEG website at: http://www.langershows.com/laec.php
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/laec-winter-show-04-09.html">LAEC Winter Show</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com