California Riding Magazine • May, 2010

Winner's Circle

Fantastic Festival

Jan Ebeling and two horses, Sandrina and Rafalca (Ann Romney, Beth Meyer, Pat Crow and Amy Ebeling, owners) rose to the top of almost every class they competed in. The occasion was the Festival Of The Horse CDI 3* at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center March 31-April 3. In the CDI Grand Prix, Rafalca earned 67.532% for the win, followed closely by Sandrina with 67.064%. Ebeling then rode Rafalca in the Grand Prix Special and came in second with 68.167%, and he won the Grand Prix Freestyle on Sandrina with 70.850%—a full five percentage points above the second place team.

Ebeling’s student Ann Romney (part owner of Sandrina and Rafalca) rode her Happy Day to a second place finish in the Prix St. Georges Amateur/Junior/Young Rider class with a 60.526% on Friday and a third on Wednesday with 60%. Ebeling also rode Amanda Harlan’s young horse Rosenzauber 8 in the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges test, earning 69.714% in the warm-up and 67% in the qualifying class.

David Wilson of W Farms in Chino Hills also had a terrific show, earning the highest score not only of the show, but of his career. After earning a respectable score of 76% on Friday in his First Level test, Wilson asked Special Agent (Kathryn Phillips, owner) to kick it up a notch and the big stallion delivered—earning an 82.286% and winning the Markel/Cornerstone High Point Open cooler. “He’s a phenomenal horse,” said Wilson of the 5-year-old Oldenburg by Sandro Hit. “Just when you think you have enough, he gives you more.”

David Wilson & Special Agent.
Photo: Terri Miller Photography

Marisa Festerling took her Big Tyme through the CDI Prix St. Georges test with great skill, earning a 68.596% and second place in this large class. Festerling was less than two percentage points behind Olympian Steffen Peters. She repeated the feat in the Intermediaire I class, garnering a 68.947%. However, the Intermediaire Freestyle was all hers, and she took it with 71.750%.

Aiming to quality for I1 at the Festival of Champions in June, Festerling has trained with Marie Meyers for 16 years and has been her assistant for many of those years. Their student Suzanne Smith, riding Kasanova, was Upper Level Amateur High Percentage Champion thanks to her score of 64.419% in Fourth Level. The pair won both of their Fourth Level Test 1 classes.

Ebeling, Wilson and Festerling were among many participants to offer yet another year of high praise for the Festival of the Horse, managed by Glenda McElroy and her Cornerstone Events team. At the highest levels of the sport, the show’s full CDI division was great news against the previous season’s backdrop of no West Coast World Cup qualifiers due to lack of projected rider participation. Much of that situation was due to World Cup Finals/World Equestrian Games conflicts for riders, but the economy and the financial challenge of staging a CDI played their part. Conversely at the Festival, McElroy had the limit of 40 riders enter the CDI and she successfully applied for permission to include two more.

The show manager gives a big nod to sponsors. “They play a large part in the success of the Festival,” McElroy says. “We try to find a niche for all our sponsors; Markel Insurance, a long time partner, sponsors the High Point coolers, LA Saddlery the exhibitor welcome party, Marta Kauffman the Head Set Commentary, and so on. This year one of the new events that we added was the book signing with Stephen Clarke (FEI O judge) to introduce his new book, Dressage Dreams. 

We try to provide fun social activities as well as top competition.”

Coudray Coup at Galway

Overnight leader Tiana Coudray of Ojai kept her nerves in check to gallop home the winner aboard her Ringwood Magister in the CIC*** at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials in late March.

The event’s CIC divisions were run in the European format, which culminated in the cross-country phase being run in reverse order of placing. The pressure cooker of going last turned somewhat in Coudray’s favor, however, as she heard over the loudspeaker that second-placed Kelly Prather on Ballinakill Glory had suffered a run-out as she galloped around the course. Coudray knew that gave her some breathing room, and it allowed her to have 3.6 time penalties and still maintain her lead.

Prather’s misfortune vaulted overnight third-placed rider Tamra Smith of Hemet on Bubbles At Bricky into second, and Hawley Bennett-Awad of Canada flew around on Gin N’ Juice to move into third.

Bubbles At Bricky was formerly in the barn of U.S. team coach Capt. Mark Phillips, and Smith has been able to work with Phillips over the winter after being named to the USEF Developing Rider list. She has found his help invaluable in figuring the horse out. Smith is aiming Bubbles At Bricky for the Jersey Fresh CCI*** in New Jersey this month.  
Bennett-Awad, 32, had a different destination in mind for Gin N’ Juice: the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** April 22-24.

Coudray’s victory on Ringwood Magister helped alleviate the sting of being eliminated on CCI** leader Master Hill. A testing cross-country course shook up the standings, vaulting Maxance McManamy and Beacon Hill into the blue-ribbon position. David Accord of Dublin, on Good Knight, took over second, with Natalia Gurmankin, of Temecula, and Tequesteris moving into third.

 McManamy, 18, is a high school senior from Templeton, and has had Beacon Hill for four years. She did her first training level event with him,
and she’s now setting her sights on moving him to Advanced.

McManamy and Coudray both train with Bea and Derek di Grazia of Carmel, as does CIC* winner Lauren Billys and Ballingowan Ginger.
Billys, of Visalia, was standing third after dressage, but a double-clear show jumping round moved them in to the top spot overnight. A double-clear cross-country round today kept them on top. The 21-year-old rider has been working with the Irish-bred daughter of Master Imp for three years, and she was thrilled with her performance at Galway. Billys is a senior at Cal State Fresno majoring in chemistry and oenology, and she hopes to move up to intermediate with Ballingowan Ginger later this year.