October 2018 - Jaime Krupnick Geffen

horsepeople

CPHA Foundation victory is the latest accomplishment in an already transformative year.

by Kim F. Miller

Jaime Krupnick Geffen was still on Cloud 9 three days after winning the CPHA Foundation Adult Equitation Championships in late August. She and her soon-to-be own horse, Conux, had elegantly mastered the riding and responsiveness challenges asked over two rounds held at Blenheim EquiSports’ Showpark Summer Classic. “The more technical the better when it comes to courses,” said Jaime of her enjoyment of the weekend’s counter-canters, trot fences, bending lines and striding challenges.

 

On-course challenges aren’t the only ones that bring out Jaime’s best. Along with winning rounds in the Adult Equitation and medal divisions and, increasingly, the Hunter Derbies, Jaime juggles motherhood with owning her own events management and production company, Geffen Events, Inc. Neither are 9-to-5 responsibilities.

 

 

Jaime realized earlier this year that balancing all that had to include giving higher priority to her own health and wellness. The epiphany led to the loss of 45 pounds this year, which has given her more energy for everything, including riding.

Photo: Kristin Lee Photography

She’s no stranger to the winners circle, as a junior and an amateur, and before and after attaining her current size and fitness level. After an 18-year break to attend college, establish her career and start a family with husband Jason, Jaime returned with a splash: winning the PCHA Adult Medal Finals in 2016 in one of her first outings. The comeback gave her the added fun of becoming the first person to  win both the PCHA Junior Adult Finals and PCHA Adult Medal Finals. Having started riding at 3 and achieved top junior success nationally thanks to the good guidance of the Foxfield Riding School, she regained ribbon-winning form fast.

Jaime was pleased to find the sport relatively unchanged after the hiatus, although competing as an amateur is pleasantly quite different. “Being an amateur is so much fun,” she explains. “It’s a very supportive group and we all cheer for each other.” The two weeks of August that kicked off the medal finals season were especially fun, she notes. “We all have separate lives and this is what we do for fun, so we are all rooting for each other and are happy for each other’s successes.”

Professionals she looked up as a junior, like Karen Healey, are still active, and others she remembers as kids have joined their respected ranks. Karen’s former assistant Archie Cox, for example, has long been a star in his own right with Brookway Stables. His assistant, Karli Postel, is someone Jaime recalls as a young pony rider at Foxfield.

Today, Conux lives at Foxfield, where Jaime grooms and schools him and takes lessons. She is grateful to meet and get help from Archie and Karli at shows.

Jaime and Archie after winning the Hunter Derby at Del Mar. Photo: Rick Osteen

Conux

Early in her return to riding, Jaime got the ride on Conux through Georgy Maskrey-Segesman, a friend dating back to their Foxfield youth. Through her Whitethorne Ranch, Georgy maintains for-lease and for-sale horses and offered Jaime the ride on a few, including Conux.

“We connected immediately,” Jaime remembers of their first ride, a qualifying class for the Ariat Medal Finals. “I fell in love with him then, but he was always for sale or on lease so I considered myself lucky every time he was available.” For the next year, there were sporadic chances to ride him. She enjoyed riding other horses for Georgy, but “he was always in the back of my mind.”

Over time, it became clear to both women that Conux and Jaime should be permanent partners. “He’s my spirit animal, my forever horse,” says Jaime, who is happily in the process of buying the 9 year old Holsteiner.

The bay with the big white blaze is similar in appearance and attitude to Jaime’s top horse as a junior, a mare named Central Park. The trick with Conux, Jaime says, is embracing his strong-willed personality and letting him do his job. “He’s great at his job and I don’t interfere.”

Georgy learned of Jaime’s return to riding when they bumped into each other at Calabasas Saddlery.  When she first saw Jaime ride again, it was evident that her Foxfield friend had not lost her touch or her great eye for a distance. “She was always great, strong and had feel, and that doesn’t go away,” Georgy notes. Jaime is still “very competitive, for sure, and very funny and fun.”

She’s also “fiercely loyal” to Foxfield and Archie and those who’ve been part of her life with horses, past and present. “That’s a big part of her personality and it’s a rare thing in our business,” Georgy observes.

A Foxfielder for Life

The Foxfield family tree is broad going into its 52nd year in business and Jaime’s roots extend right to its base through her grandmother Nedra Diskant.  A friend of Foxfield’s founding sisters, JoAnn Postel and Nancy Turrill, Nedra rode with the girls at the Onondarka Riding Club then joined them at Foxfield when they began building their magical facility in Westlake Village’s Sherwood Forest. Jaime’s mom, Claudia Krupnick is a lifelong Foxfielder with a top show record as a junior and an amateur.

Jaime attended University of San Diego and dove into her career after graduation. Always involved in special event staging, she established a bi-coastal career and held demanding positions in the entertainment and studio industry. She stayed in touch with equestrian friends through that period, but there was no time to ride.

When her son Cole was born eight-and-a-half years ago, “We talked about moving back to Westlake Village,” she recalls. The idea became real when he prepared for kindergarten, when school quality and proximity became concerns. The prospect of being close to Foxfield was a strong lure, too.

Jaime returned to riding around the same time as starting her own company, Geffen Events, Inc. “I’ve always admired women who are business owners and moms,” she said of joining their ranks. Organizing everything from large charity, red carpet studio and corporate events to smaller celebrations of wedding, birthdays and other personal occasions, she thrives on the variety and gratification of her work. Equestrian friends are frequent clients and that’s always a plus.

Meeting clients sees Jaime in Los Angeles most days of the week and their events are often on the weekends, frequently conflicting with a horse show. During last year’s CPHA Adult Finals, she competed in round-one in Orange County’s San Juan Capistrano on Saturday morning, then hustled back to Los Angeles to supervise a wedding that night, then back to the show venue early Sunday morning for round-two.

“It’s all about balance,” Jaime reiterates. She’s a meticulous calendar keeper and confident delegator to her established team of freelancers who help with events. Above all, she is eternally grateful to her parents, who live nearby, for their help with Cole.

Looking ahead, Jaime is excited to return to the Ariat Adult Medal Finals back East and planning to contest the inaugural CPHA Style Of Riding Championship set for the HITS Sunshine Series in November at Thermal. Next year, she anticipates more equitation focus, along with a possible move into the International Hunter Derbies. She and Conux have been the highest placing amateur pair in several National Derbies already. Having competed as a 1.4M jumper in Europe, Conux is up to the task. “I’m just wrapping my brain around the idea,” Jaime says. The Handy round in the Derbies lights up Jaime’s eyes. “That’s like an equitation round, with trot fences, etc. I know we can excel in those.”

Most of all, she looks forward to whatever comes up in her “crazy, busy” life. Just like the challenging CPHA Foundation courses, she loves the chance to test her skills and take on new goals.

 


 

Weight Lost: Energy Gained

Few who know Jaime would have guessed she had 45 pounds to lose. At 5’11”, she carried some extra weight after becoming a mother, but not an amount that prevented her from riding to several top wins before the loss and leading a busy, happy life.

Her lifestyle change was prompted by meeting Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave, initially a former competitor on the show circuit and, more recently, a Geffen Events client. The daughter of John Mellencamp, Teddi rode professionally and more recently turned amateur. She is a Real Housewives of Beverly Hill actress and owner of All In By Teddi, the “accountability” fitness and health program through which Jaime lost the weight.

“It’s a real adjustment mentally and physically and my whole lifestyle is different now,” Jaime reports. Most importantly, she makes time to take care of herself. In addition to riding, she exercises one hour every day, whether it’s at the crack of dawn before a horse show or after a long day of meetings. “I hold myself accountable and understand that it’s my responsibility to take care of myself.” In doing so, she’s a better mom, business owner and rider, she asserts. “I was never a believer in the idea that exercise gives you more energy, but I can tell you now it is 200 percent the truth.”

To her surprise, the weight loss didn’t instantly make riding easier. Instead, the big change in her body composition required learning to re-balance herself in the saddle.

“For the first few months I was asking myself, ‘Why can’t I just stay out of the saddle now that I weigh less?’” Jaime shares. “When you are heavier, you are weighted more forward. I’m finally getting it all, feeling good in my body and everything is coming together.”

Of course, the new body required all new riding apparel, along with a new saddle. “I always wanted a Butet and now I can fit into it and I love it!”