October 2017 - The Gallop: Langley Is Lovely!

Up & Comers: Matt Archer & Legolas on their way to third in the 6-Year-Old Showcase on Saturday.

Lost At The Last! San Diego-based French champ Eric Navet and the increasingly impressive Catypso had a truly heartbreaking rail down at the very last of 13 efforts.

Thunderbird Show Park offers happy atmosphere for highest levels of sport and all those who enjoy it or aspire to it.

photos and article by Kim F. Miller

O Canada: For years we’ve been hearing great things about Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia. We finally got to see for ourselves in late August during the Summer Fort Festival that included the kick-off of the Longines FEI World Cup™ show jumping season in the West.

The venue and the Tidball family-led team who host hunter/jumper competition and international jumping there exceeded our high expectations. The “Park” is exactly that: 88 acres of beautifully-footed arenas, stabling and lots of room to roam and breathe on woodsy trails and big grass expanses. Nice people, helpful staff and a happy atmosphere.

Plus, the Langley area, 40 miles south of Vancouver, is beautiful to visit. Country roads, organic produce stands, Christmas tree farms and “birthplace of British Columbia” history at the former Frasier River trading post of Ft. Langley. We understand why so many make a working vacation out of this event! 


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Busy Lady: San Diego-based Mandy Porter had a full dance card of terrific partners throughout the Summer Fort Festival. She’s pictured here on Wild Turkey Farm’s Coruscant in the Maplebrook Farms’ 6-Year-Old Showcase.

Not So Easy: Going first in the 27-pair World Cup field, Leah de Martini & Abunola logged a clear round that give the big crowd a false impression of the course’s difficulty. In the end, seven pairs moved onto the jump-off.

Not All Jumpers: Equitation and hunter riders get an equally beautiful showcase at Thunderbird. Here’s Peyton Freeman & Charming completing a great Maclay medal round in one of the many sand rings that comprise TBird’s “Hunterland.”

Jamie & Bo: Malibu-based Jamie Barge and Luebbo, aka “Bo,” put another notch in their impressive partnership with a third-place finish in the World Cup class.

Gotta Start Somewhere! Young riders prepare to fulfill big-ring dreams over a kids course in the stabling area.

Three Big Ones: Irishman Conor Swail and Flower won their third and biggest FEI class of the week as the last to go and fastest, by nearly four seconds, in the jump-off for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier.

Proud Outing: Meadow Grove Farm assistant trainer Zazou Hoffman finished 10th with Saree Kayne’s Samson II.

Almost Showtime: Thunderbird’s winningest rider Rich Fellers studies Alan Wade and Joseph Rycroft’s imposing Longines FEI World Cup™ course. Rich’s famous 2012 World Cup champ & Olympic mount Flexible is enjoying his first year of retirement, but we saw three of his offspring show great promise in the Maplebrook Farm Young Horse Showcase that preceded the Grand Prix. In the World Cup qualifier, Rich and his solid star Lux Lady dropped two rails.

Family Reunion: California Riding Magazine editor Kim F Miller was thrilled to meet up with her cousins Josh and Chelsea Freeman. Their daughters, Peyton, left, and Ginger, right, are accomplished riders with Matt & Lindsay Archer’s Shady Lane Farm in the East Bay Area’s Alamo.