Juniors Have Their Day at Bay Area Summer Festival

July 8th, 2013 8:38 AM | Comments Off on Juniors Have Their Day at Bay Area Summer Festival

press release

Christina Vail keeps her cool in the CPHA Horsmanship Medal Final
Photo: Sheri Scott

Junior riders stepped up to the plate at Bay Area Summer Festival (June 26-30) and showed they have what it takes to compete against amateurs and professionals. Twelve-year-old Christina Vail (Kelly Van Vleck, trainer) and Justice kept their cool in round one of the CPHA Horsemanship Medal Final and put in a beautiful round to with the blue for the first round. “I was just hoping I could get around successfully,” she shared. “I went with the flow, and it worked out really well.”

The second round of the medal finals followed the next day, and Christina didn’t let the pressure of being in the lead phase her as she entered the gate. After successful rides in the second round and work off, Christina was named champion. “Oh my gosh! It’s so exciting to win this final,” she said, beaming. “I am so happy! I’m two points away from qualifying for the Onondarka Medal Final, so I hope it goes as well as this one did.”

In the CPHA Child/Adult Medal Final, junior rider Rachel Allen (Hilary Johnson, trainer) was a surprise entry on her Colino. “I love medal classes so I thought, ‘why not try this one?’ I ended up qualifying the day before the final, which was really exciting. Hilary is really good about forming a plan before I step into the ring, so I felt pretty confident going into the final. I wasn’t putting a lot of pressure on myself about it; I just wanted to get some experience.” She placed fourth in the first and second round, but her stellar work off moved her up to first. “Hilary gave me a thumbs up from the back gate, and I just hugged my horse and started crying. It was so amazing. I was also really excited because my dad was there watching, and he hasn’t had the chance to see me show that much. The fact that he got to see it was really incredible.”

Rachel Allen wins the CPHA Child/Adult Medal Final after her eleventh hour qualification
Photo: Sheri Scott

Colino and Rachel are a fairly new pair. “I instantly fell in love with him but he is definitely different than anything I’ve ridden before so it took us awhile to adjust. I’m so glad I stuck it out because he’s turned out to be a great horse. Woodside is our most successful show we’ve had together and it makes me excited for our future.”

Junior rider success did not stop at the equitation ring. Eleven-year-old Rachel Penner (Jill Hamilton, trainer) and Don Juan (Paseo Farms, LLC, owner) have done well all year in the $500 Carousel Hunter Derby classes. Placing first or second in all of the classes they’ve entered of the series, they are currently sitting first in the high point standings with a stout lead. Don Juan showed in the 3’6” hunters and equitation with his previous owner and is helping Rachel learn the ropes. “I got Don Juan last September after his owner went off to college,” Rachel explained. “It took me a while to learn how to ride him correctly. I’ve found that when I do what I’m supposed to it works out awesome and we’ve had some really great times so far. Don Juan is my first horse, so it’s really exciting to be doing so well!”

Rachel put in a stellar round for the $500 Carousel Hunter Derby and won the class again, plus placed second on Erato (Paseo Farms LLC, owner). “It was a little later in the day and hot, so I was a little tired,” she recalled. “But before I went into the ring, I realized I needed to focus on my course and listen to my horse to get the job done. It worked out really well and my round was exactly what I hoped it would be.” Rachel plans to ride in the last of the derby series during the Nor Cal Medal Finals horse show at Sacramento with hopes to redeem her high

Rachel Penner continues her success in the $500 Carousel Hunter Derby classes Photo: Sheri Scott

point standings award: the historic Carousel Perpetual Trophy, presented by Sandra McKeon.

In the more challenging $2,500 USHJA National 3’0 Hunter Derby, John French’s assistant, Alexis Shaw, piloted Columbus (Taylor Thibault, owner) to the win with grace.  Bay Area Summer Festival was the pair’s second show together, so they are still getting to know each other. “I was really pleased with him; he’s a really good boy. He’s young so he’s a little green, but he isn’t spooky and jumps really well,” she explained. “My plan coming into the first round was to just have a solid ride for him and to give him a good experience. I took the higher options in the first round because it was a better track, and the bigger fences give the horses a chance to show off their jump.”

Although Columbus is only seven years old, he handled the course with ease. “My second round, I took all of the high options and tighter turns because I knew he could handle it,” Alexis added. “It worked out really well.” Hunter derbies are a crowd favorite and one of Alexis’s as well. “I really appreciated how Woodside made the bigger classes an event. A lot of times you still have people running around the show trying to fit in their rounds and what not, but Woodside really gave the spectators a chance to enjoy the derby.”

Alexis Shaw and Columbus have a great experience in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Photo: Sheri Scott

Riders will have one more chance to get in on the LEGIS Jumper Rider or Hunter Rider Bonus, the LEG Maui Trainer Incentive, or the Carousel Hunter Derby series at the Nor Cal Medal Final Show (Oct 9-13) in Sacramento.

For more information on the show, including complete results, visit the newly redesigned LEG website.

In Southern California, horse showing continues at LAEC with Gold Coast 5 (July 19-21), while the Verdugo Hills series of shows at Hansen Dam will wrap up the season with League Preview (Oct 25-26). The Colorado shows at Norris Penrose Equestrian Center will resume with Colorado Springs Fall Preview (Sep 5-8) and Classic (Sep 12-15).

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