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Young and the future

Champions crowned in Young Jumper Championships Western Regionals

special to the horsetrader S

AN JUAN CAPISTRANO—As the 2018 outdoor season comes to a close, Blenheim EquiSports welcomed the horses and riders who have prepared for the Young Jumper Championships throughout the year. About 50 young horses from ages four to seven competed on the grass of The Oaks International Grand Prix Field Sept. 23 in this year’s YJC Western Regional Finals, presented by Electronic Vet, during the International Jumping Festival. Many of the future equine stars qualifi ed

through competing in young jumper classes for free at Blenheim EquiSports. A group of six wide-eyed and wonderful 4-year-olds competed on The Oaks International Grand Prix Field in their division of the Futurity Regionals. With a fl at phase and jumping course on Wednesday, and a full course over slightly larger obstacles on Thursday, the youngsters were judged on rideability, jumping scope, technique, and movement. Two experienced horsemen, Will Simpson and Jason McArdle, adjudicated. U.S. bred C Everest (Cancara Z x Diamond Dancer by Blue Diamond), with rider and owner Kristina Cain, remained consistent over the two days to take home a well-deserved victory. “I bred him. He’s out of one of my old jumper mares who is a really good producer,” Cain said. “I’ve had him since the day he was born. He’s a lit le cheeky, but mostly very sweet, easy, brave and careful.” Another U.S.-bred gelding, Gambler’s Choice (Good Times x Vegas by Show Star 2), ridden by Jamie Sailor, and owned by Mike Edrick, won the fi rst round over fences, with only one rail over the two days. This pair fi n- ished second overall. With one round on Thursday, one on

Friday and a fi nal round on Sunday that pro- gressively increased in height and diffi culty, the 5-, 6- and 7-year-old divisions jumped tracks created by veteran course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio. Aſt er three rounds, three 5-year-olds

were triple-clean to qualify for a jump-off : John Pearce and Nicole Teague’s Corsini, Jason McArdle riding Fairbanks Valley Farm’s Nikolina, and Susan Artes aboard

Quentin VA and Susan Artes take the 5-year-old win at the Sept. 20-23 YJC Regionals in San Juan Capistrano.

Isabel Roth’s Quentin VA. Artes and the bay Holsteiner stallion, by Quarz x Trixie by Cash and Carry, rose to the top of the pack, going clear in 36.199 to beat McArdle and Nikolina’s time of 36.791 by just over a half-second. Quite pleased with the stallion, Artes

noted that although he had shown a bit this year, he rose to the challenge on the fi nal day. “Fortunately, I think the miles this year

paid off today because it was a lit le bit big- ger than what we have jumped in the past,” she said. “And he has never really done a jump-off before. He is a lit le strong but he listened to me today.” Overall, the 5-year-old horses presented at

this year’s Young Jumper Championships did not disappoint, but rather gave us all a taste of the up-and-coming talent in this coun- try—and in this region specifi cally. Of the 13 6-year-old horses who competed

in this division, four riders went clear over the fi rst two days. Aſt er Sunday’s class, only one pair fi nished triple clear over the three days. This earned Hallie But enweiser, riding Ezmeralda EH Z (owned by Altaire Ventures), the win and the title of the 2018 6-year-old Western League Young Jumper Champion. “Thursday she was a lit le fresh, Friday she

had the energy just right, and today she is a bit tired, but she is a show horse and thrives in the show ring,” But enwieser explained.

“But around the barn she is really, really easy. She just likes to lick your face.” In the 7-year-old division, fi ve horses

answered all the questions asked over the three rounds, resulting in a jump-off . The impressive group of youngsters all went quadruple clear, with speed as the deciding factor. Third to go, Keri Pot er and Jiminy Cricket, owned by Melanie Brooks, were impressive in a time of 41.850, snatching the lead from Trudi Fletcher aboard Linda Smith’s Gee Whiz. Susan Hutchison and Gameboy sped around the shortened track in 42.393, not quite catching Pot er, but beating Fletcher’s time by a fraction of a second to fi n- ish second overall, with Fletcher a close third. Pot er complimented the format of the championships. “It’s fun for the young horses to jump three

rounds,” she said. “It’s the only time during the year we get to do this. Pot er sees a future international horse

in this talented youngster and plans to do 1.40m and the Markel Insurance 1.45m class- es next season. Bringing the young horse season to a close

at Blenheim EquiSports for 2018, 5-year-old champion Artes refl ected on the positive eff ect of the program. “The free entries and discounted stall that Blenheim does play a huge role,” she said. “It allows us to bring along a lot more horses.” More online: photo

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