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John French and Rumba in September at the Capital

Challenge.

Photo by Diana DeRosa

but also understanding of what the horse and rider want to achieve. He’s a really good horseperson, too.” “It’s exciting to see her move to a horse” Renee adds.

“She’s done so much with the ponies and they have taught her about throughness and collection and all the things you need to know.” Isabelle quips, “I think she’ll be a little easier, too— the ponies are not easy to ride! They are a lot of a head game: Goofy’s a little devil, so Dreamy’s temperament is a lot easier.”

RUMBA SHAKES UP THE HUNTERS

An elegant gray Danish Warmblood gelding named Rumba and his rider John French have taken the hunter ring by storm in 2009, racking up a winning streak that includes more than fourteen championships, three derby wins, and the historical win at the inaugural USHJA Hunter Derby Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in August, 2009, which the pair won with a masterful performance over three separate courses. On the classic hunter course section of the championship, French and Rumba’s ride received the full set of 10 points from one panel of judges and 9 points from the other three panels for a smooth, clean round and one that included taking the higher fence options. According to a press release, “Tension was thick in Johnson Arena as the audience waited for their scores to be announced. The stadium erupted when the grey gelding’s scores came over the loud speakers. With scores in the 90s from all four sets of judges, French and Rumba had

64 January/February 2010

a resounding win with 782.” French’s win was viewed by over 30,000 hunter enthusiast via Equestrian Life.com’s live streaming coverage. Rumba is owned by Mountain Home Stables of

Woodside, California, which purchased the nine-year-old gelding in December from the Wilkinson family. Rumba was previously ridden by Erin Duffy and together they won the First Year Green Hunter Championship at the Capital Classic Challenge Horse Show in Maryland in 2008; in 2009 Rumba returned to the show with French to claim the championship in the Second Year Green Working Hunters. French knows that a horse like Rumba is something

special. “I’m lucky and grateful that I get to ride him,” he says. “You can’t dream of a horse that could do things like this. I’ve never had one that was as good as him and as easy as him. He’s probably the horse of a lifetime for me.” That is truly saying something, as French has

a remarkable career record that includes winning the Monarch International’s Show Circuit Magazine Professional World Championship Hunter Rider title in 2006 and the Chronicle of the Horse Professional World Championship Hunter Rider in 2000, as well as multiple championships at Capital Challenge, Harrisburg, Washington and New York and various regional championship awards. He is also a successful jumper rider and was second alternate and the highest placing West Coast rider in the 2004 Olympic Trials, has represented the U.S. on the Nations Cup team in Sweden, France, Belgium and Spain, and placed sixth in the Grand Prix at the 2003 World Cup Finals. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90
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