December 2011 Temeculan Amber Levine Snags
a Victory at Galway Downs By Carol Malin
Along the trail at Galway Downs in Temecula, a young woman riding a sleek
brown horse streaks into view from the east. Twelve hundred pounds of flesh hurtles by at 30 MPH, head held high, the ivory-colored star on its forehead blazing in the winter sun. I can hear its rapid hoof beats pound the turf as the pair rush by me.
The rider, native Temeculan Amber Levine and her mount, Oz Poof Of Pur-
chase, secure a tied score with McManamy of Templeton, CA, nabbing the lead on November 3 in the first half of the CCI2* at the Galway Downs International Three- Day Event. As the weekend unfolds only Levine and Oz can halt a young English- man’s victory over the competition. When the final scores are tallied, Oz and Levine are named winners of the CCI1,*putting a damper on Alliston’s clean sweep.
Levine, 24, moved to Santa Rosa, CA, four years ago where she trains and shows
horses for Sonoma Valley Stables. She has been sporting mainly in the hunter-jumper world but says three years ago she turned to eventing, which incorporates dressage, cross country, and show jumping. I asked her to share with our readers her experi- ence and explain what it takes to go pro.
“I grew up in Temecula and started riding at the age of four with trainer Dianne
Grod. Later I trained with Susan Hutchison. My mom, Jenise Luttgens, bought riding lessons at a silent auction from the school I attended. I kept with it and started com- peting one year later and have been hooked ever since. My mom has always been supportive of my riding. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for her.
“I grew up in the hunter-jumper world and still work in that discipline as my ‘day job.’ I swore I would never event, due to the fact that the cross country jumps are solid. I had friends who were always trying to get me to go to cross country schooling. I finally did. This is what led me to my first event in 2008 with my horse, Nantucket Red. I acquired Nantucket, a hunter-jumper, on a trade earlier that year. We started eventing together and excelled; taking 3rd in the CCI** at Galway in 2010. We were aiming for a three star in 2011 until Nantucket was hurt earlier this year.
“I enjoy all phases of three-day
Amber Levine Photo by McCool
eventing. I love the discipline and pre- cision of the dressage, which demands perfection in so many ways. Cross country is thrilling every time I leave the start box - I always think of myself vowing that I would never do it, but now I could not imagine my life with- out it. And lastly, show jumping, which is my background and I still enjoy it.
“Riding always looks much easier than it is. As a rider your partner is an equine
athlete who has ideas of his own and you must learn to work together. It’s not a sport where you can be given a formula to solve problems, but you base it off a learned feeling and trust. It’s a difficult sport that requires a lot of time, hard work and dedi- cation.
“I currently work for a hunter-jumper barn, Sonoma Valley Stables owned by
the Glynns of Petaluma, CA. I ride and teach for them, as well as travel to shows. I generally ride an average of 6-10 horses a day but can sometimes ride up to 15.
“My practice includes every horse I sit on. Each one teaches me something new
that I may apply to my current horse, Oz Poof of Purchase. “I would consider Cedar Haven Farm and Teresa Groesbeck my biggest sponsor
at the moment. Teresa is the owner of Oz Poof of Purchase and is generous enough to give me the ride on this amazing horse. I have Voltaire Saddlery to thank for my wonderful saddles.
“I have always considered both Dianne Grod and Susan Hutchison not only my
trainers but also my mentors. As for horsemanship in the eventing world, I consider John Camlin my biggest mentor right now. He owns and operates Caber Farm, a three day eventing barn, out of Onalaska, Washington. He has been my coach in eventing and travels to California for all of the big events. We talk every week about my at-home training with Poof. John is always there to offer support or help answer any questions.
“I just applied for the 2012 Developing Riders, which are training sessions with
the US Team coach. I would love to make the list and have this opportunity. I want to run a four-star and maybe one day represent the USA at the Olympic Games.
“As for every day aspirations — I’m living it! Growing up I always wanted to be
surrounded by horses and have the opportunity to ride every day, all day. I don’t do much else besides ride. When I do have free time I try to relax and often will spend time with friends or watch movies.
“If you are new to riding and want to get into competing I would say find a
trainer who will help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be. You also need to be prepared to work hard and have dedication to the sport.”
‘Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Regrettably, the phone number to The Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills
was incorrectly reported in the last issue. The Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills, located at 41687 Temeku Drive, can be reached at 951-694-9998 at at their website www.thelegendsgc.com
for more information.”
Legends Golf Club Provides
Free Lessons To Community By Aundrea Dominguez
For the average Temecula denizen not being a golfer can put you at a serious
disadvantage when trying to fully appreciate your surroundings. Being a Temeculan, but not a golfer, can leave somebody feeling a little bit like there is ‘water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink’. If this sounds like you, fear not good citizens, The Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills is bent on providing free golf lessons to ev- erybody who wants to learn the game. Since taking over the course in April, owners Dr. Tim Somerville, who is also the founder of The Professional Golfers Career Col- lege, and his wife, Sandi Somerville, have stated that from the start this course was intended to be different than any other course in Temecula. It is more than another golf course providing a venue to enjoy a round on a sunny day, this course was being repurposed to give back to the community.
Since April, The Legends has been pulling double duty as an award-winning par
72 championship course, and also as a hands-on learning and teaching facility for the students at the Professional Golfers Career College. If you’ve been by the course you can’t help but notice the fresh faces, and the eager to please, customer-first attitudes that characterize PGCC students. And the students are not just eager to please, they are eager to teach, and teach they do, every Thursday morning.
Nick Bland, Head Golf Professional at The Legends Golf Club, notes, “Response
has been great. We typically have a student for every PGCC Student Instructor each Thursday.” Bland sees this as a great opportunity for anybody interested in the game. “Each lesson is 45 minutes which consists of a Q&A evaluation, implementing drills to overcome swing flaws, and the instructor evaluating the student concerning whether they are doing the implemented swing drills correctly.”
The Legends Golf Club doesn’t believe in the adage, “you can’t teach an old dog
new tricks;” their students run the gamut from juniors, the age of 8, to adults from 18 - 65, and it is evident that everyone is welcome. Bland recalls “the ‘buzz’ has spread fast, even having students drive down from Orange County to receive instruction.” As for the community’s response, he is heartened, noting that, “The program has expanded quite fast in the short time since its inception.”
How fast is quite fast, you wonder? Remarkably, the program, which began with
10 students six months ago, has quadrupled in size and sees no signs of slowing. Bland advises, “We encourage the community to call The Legends Golf Club to reserve a spot with an instructor ahead of time, as the program has grown in popular- ity…we also encourage students to sign up with the same instructor each week, if they would like.”
Free golf lessons are offered every Thursday from 10am to noon at The Legends Golf Club at Temeku Hills, 41687 Temeku Drive, Temecula. To reserve your spot call 951- 694-9998 or visit: www.thelegendsgc.com
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