March 2018 -Season Preview

New FEI 3* jumping, March 31, highlights Blenheim EquiSport’s spring season in Southern California.

Blenheim EquiSports’ six-week Spring Series starts March 21 and is highlighted by the Spring Classic II, March 27-31, and its exciting new designation as an FEI CSI-3* jumping competition. That means several FEI-sanctioned classes culminating with a 1.5M $80,000 Grand Prix on Saturday, March 31 on the Oaks International Grand Prix field. Compared to the East Coast, FEI classes have been few and far between out West. This addition is a big boost to riders aspiring to rack up ranking points without leaving home, not to mention fans of top sport.

Ashlee Bond & Ace Of Hearts race through the timers on the Oaks International Grand Prix field, site of a new FEI 3* Jumping competition March 31. Photo: Kim F. Miller

A season-long total of nine major Grand Prix jumping classes join two International Hunter Derbies, plus qualifiers for various divisions ranging from the USHJA 3’ and 3’3” Green Hunter Incentive program to the Markel Insurance Grand Prix Series and Blenheim EquiSports U25 Series for jumpers. Reflecting the show organizer’s commitment to affordable development of young horses, free entries and discounted stabling for young hunters and jumpers returns this season. New this year are the USHJA 3’6” and 3’9” Green Hunter Incentive Stakes and the National Horse Show 3’3” Medal classes.

Grants for emerging professionals in the hunter and jumper divisions return, too. March 5 is the deadline to apply for two grants in each division, which take the form of credits that can be put toward entry fees at competitions organized by the San Juan Capistrano-based organizer. In each division it’s $5,000 and $3,000 worth of credits for the first place and runners-up, respectively. Open to those who were not declared professional before 2008, the criteria include not having passed various milestones that generally define an established professional. See for all the details.

The venues for the Spring Series include the Del Mar Horsepark and the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano. Equestrians throughout the region were thrilled with the outcome of a January San Juan Capistrano City Council meeting, at which the lease for the publicly-owned property in San Juan Capistrano was renewed throughout August of 2019. Per BE’s Facebook page:

“We wanted to take a moment and thank all of you who came (to the meeting), sent letters and messages, to show your support. Thank you to City staff who worked tirelessly to craft a tax-compliant agreement under challenging circumstances, and a huge thank you to Mayor Sergio Farias and our City Council Members for believing in what we do, loving the equestrian heritage in our town and voting to continue to have this beautiful Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano! It takes a village. In the words of Helen Keller, ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’”

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