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Women take charge during Rider's Choice Mini-Prix at High Prairie Spring Final Show

Women ruled the day during the final Riderís Choice High Prairie Mini-Prix held at the High Prairie Spring Final Show (May 21-24) at the Colorado Horse Park. Lindsay Sceats, an incoming junior at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, won the event on Waldi, beating out several well-known competitors including Bjorn Ikast with Omar Shariff and Armando Hassey riding La Roche.

"I sort of got lucky," the Colorado Springs native said. "Bjorn had some time faults and Armando had a rail. It came down to Alexandra (van der Rest) and me. She had an early rail, tried to go for speed, and ended up with another rail at the end. Even though I also had a rail, I was fast enough, and clean enough, to win the class." Sceats, who rides with Michael Dennehy, brings Waldi with her to school and enjoys spending time with him there. She competes on the equestrian team and will be the team captain when she returns to Mount Holyoke in the fall. "I even take Waldi in some of the ISHA Open Jumping classes," she laughed, noting that the fence heights there are significantly lower than what she is jumping during horse show season.

Sceats is happy to be back in Colorado and showing again. Last year she was in Europe as a working student with Laura Kraut and Richard Spooner, an experience that taught her a lot about riding courses and caring for Olympic-level horses. This year she was able to send her horse home in April so Dennehy could work on preparing him for the show season. She did not make it back to the state until her finals were finished right before the start of the High Prairie Spring Classic. "I love riding at the High Prairie shows," she said. "I started out showing there in Short Stirrup and now am really excited to be showing there in the high-level divisions. The shows are always so relaxed and the derby field is super fun to ride in. I am looking forward to coming back this Summer to ride in the 1.40M or 1.45M amateur classes and maybe the Gamblerís Choice."

Over in the hunter rings, the Amateur Owner hunter division belonged once again to Benchmark and Jennifer Singer. The pair, who won just about every class in the section picked right up where they left off last fall. "These were our first shows of the season," Singer remarked. "My horse felt rested and ready to get back to work. His fitness level is amazing and he just seems to have grown up."

Singer noted that the memorial held prior to the mini prix week two to honor the horses lost in the Rancho Corazon trailer fire really put things in perspective for her, especially considering she has a personal connection to the horses lost as her motherís sister-in-law owned Carolina.

"I realized that we have to remember to appreciate what we have and appreciate our animals. We also have to have fun and thatís what I did. I sort of Ďlet goí and had a really great time with my horse." Singer gave credit for her success to her trainer, Charlie Dennehy. "Charlieís an amazing trainer with a natural eye. He really has helped me figure out things and made me a better rider."

Junior rider Megan Macpherson also had some success all over the show grounds by winning a championship in the Equitation 12-13 on By George, earning ribbons in every class aboard Color Me Ziggy in the Pony Jumpers, and with Dominick (Meridian Farm, owner) in the Childrenís Hunters. It was all in a dayís work for Macpherson who rides with Tracye Ferguson at Meridian Farm. "I really am excited to take what Iíve learned with me when I go show back east," she said.


While women may have ruled during the third week of shows, juniors took center stage the second week. Itís starting out to be a great show season for twelve year old Hannah Holik of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Holik, who just moved off ponies at the end of last year, is now taking the Childrenís Hunters by storm by winning the tri-color on Tache Rouge (Czech Mate, LLC, owner)) during the High Prairie Spring Preview and earning another during the High Prairie Spring Classic aboard Dominick (Meridian Farm, owner). According to her trainer, Jessie Lang, itís all just in a dayís work for Holik. "Hannah is a very talented, very relaxed rider," Lang said of her pupil. "She loves horses. No horse could ever do anything wrong in her eyes. Itís super fun to work with her."

Lang noted that Holik has worked hard to get where she is today. Both horses are relatively new rides for Holik, who brought them home after trying them during the winter shows in Thermal, California. She particularly enjoyed being able to spend some time getting to know them during the Spring Classic show at the Colorado Horse Park. Lang thinks that helped Holik rise to the top of a very competitive division. "Iíve been coming to the shows at the Colorado Horse Park for probably 13 years," Lang added. "Each year, the competition gets a little more difficult. Itís a great show in a great facility, and the people, especially the starters, are really good to work with. Weíll be back in July for sure."

Count Kelley Buringa and LíAmoure among those coming back to show this summer. A graduating senior at Arvada West High School, Buringa was particularly pleased with her championship in the Large Junior Hunters. "The first week was hard because there were so many things going on at school," she said. "This week I was able to be more focused. It was a blast!" According to Buringa, the courses were just challenging enough and the competition was very good. "A lot is expected of horses and riders in the Junior Hunters. I really was happy to do as well as I did."

Brooke Pettet also had a good show on a new horse. Pettet with her horse Dolce enjoyed success in the Childrenís Jumpers. An eighth-grader at Kent Denver, Pettet also borrowed a horse from Jami Jensen to ride in the equitation classes. "Brooke likes playing around in the jumpers with Dolce," said her trainer, Brianna Davis. "But her real passion is equitation." According to Davis, Pettet has set a goal of going back east to compete in the Maclay Medal Finals and compete at the indoor circuit. And to get there, Pettet knows she has to spend more time in the ring working her way through challenging courses featuring blind turns and jumps on the half-step. "Brooke is a great kid who is really dedicated to the sport and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed," Davis added. "Sheís gotten really good at walking courses and being able to relate how a course rides to how her horse goes. Itís a skill that will se rve her well and help her reach her goal of going back east."

In the Junior/Young Rider/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic, Waldi and Lindsay Sceats were champions with last weekís winner Alexandra van der Rest and Oxsona M coming in as reserve champion. In the only class the pair entered, Armando Hassey and La Roche won the $10,000 Riderís Choice Mini Prix, and edged out Bjorn Ikast who finished second on Day Dream and van der Rest who finished third on Oxsona M.

"The response to our three-week spring series has been tremendous," said Charlotte Skinner of Langer Equestrian Group. A complete list of all dates, show results, and schedules are available at http://www.langershows.com. The summer circuit of shows at the Colorado Horse Park launches at the end of June with a USHJA Emerging Athletes Program featuring Melanie Smith as the clinician. Shows start June 25 and run for four weeks through July 19, 2009. More information is available at http://www.langershows.com. Information on the USHJAís Emerging Athlete Program can be found at: http://www.ushja.org/eap/index.shtml.


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