April 2016 - On Course For College

Eager program participants and quality riding mark inaugural College Preparatory Invitational in California.

The College Preparatory Invitational enjoyed a stellar debut at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center Equidome during its inaugural California event, March 11-13.

CPI 2016 California travel grant recipients Samantha Bledsoe of St. Charles, Illinois and Morgan Londo, of Palatine, Illinois with CPI LA Judge Marnye Langer and CPI President Lindsay Martin. Photo: Rachel Peterson

Representatives from SCAD speak to prospective students at the CPI event. Photo: Rachel Peterson

The CPI held its first horse show in 2010 and since then has developed into a highly anticipated event that attracts college bound riders from grades 9-12 who apply for the opportunity to participate. This year was the first time that CPI added a second event with more than 80 young riders traveling to California from states including Illinois, Arizona, Colorado and even Alaska and Hawaii to attend educational seminars, meet with college equestrian coaches and compete in a collegiate format horse show.

The judge for the event was Marnye Langer who asked riders to show their horses and then to dismount and approach her to receive a horsemanship question that helped determine their score. She remained available at the close of each competition day to speak to students about their rides. Often citing her judge’s card, she explained their numerical scores and provided tips for improving them.

Photo: Rachel Peterson

Elvenstar’s ‘Junior’ was voted Best Hunt Seat Horse of CPI California. Photo: Rachel Peterson

United States Military Academy at West Point equestrian team coach, Peter Cashman, served as both show manager and course designer. His tracks placed an emphasis on equitation; with courses that asked the riders to consider trot fences and halts, as well as bending lines and long approaches to single fences.

The four-way tie for high point rider was broken when Judge Langer took the riders aside individually and administered a Q&A to determine the High Point Rider winner. Ultimately it was Fallon O’Connell of Scottsdale, AZ, who prevailed to take home the title.

During the event the CPI Scholarship and Educational Fund awarded scholarships to the following student riders:
1.    CPI Essay Award: Madison Luker, Coto de Caza
2.    CPI Written Horsemanship Test Award: Kate Bonham, La Canada
3.    CPI Champion of Service Award: Julia Stone, Santa Barbara

The USHJA awarded two $1,000 travel grants to student riders who wished to attend the 2016 West Coast College Preparatory Invitational. Grant recipients were required to meet one of two academic requirements—either hold a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale or be in the top 20 percent of their class—and each had be accepted to the CPI.

Photo: Rachel Peterson

Photo: Rachel Peterson

CPI 2016 California travel grant recipients included: Samantha Bledsoe of St. Charles, Illinois and Morgan Londo, of Palatine, Illinois.

As part of the CPI College Fair, the Los Angeles Equestrian Center housed colorful displays from more colleges including Sweet Briar, LIU Post, Mount Holyoke and Emory & Henry who sent admissions representatives and equestrian team coaches to meet with students and watch the competition. Throughout the weekend colleges and universities offered opportunities to learn more about their equestrian programs and met one on one to discuss their individual options.

An impressive roster of educational speakers rounded out the weekend with informative discussions about navigating the college selection and admissions processes; what to look for and expect in a college equestrian experience; and even what to expect after college in obtaining a position in the equestrian industry. Intercollegiate Horse Show Association vice president Peter Cashman offered an introduction to the IHSA and spoke to the students about strategies for showing well at the CPI competition.

“The CPI team worked tirelessly to ensure that our first ever event on the West Coast went beautifully and I’m so pleased to say that we achieved that goal,” said Lindsay Martin, CPI president. “CPI California attracted a great pool of riders and this weekend we were able to facilitate their introductions to coaches and admissions people from top colleges in the country – that is really powerful and it is what CPI is all about.”

The Elvenstar crew is ready for a big weekend. Photo: Kim F. Miller

LA Saddlery’s Renee Spurge, left, enjoys hosting an ice cream social for participants after Friday’s educational presentations. She’s pictured here with a college coach and Randi Heathman of Equestrian College Advisor, right. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Horses for the event were provided by local trainers including Jim Hagman of Elvenstar, Moorpark, CA, whose ‘Junior’ won the Best Hunt Seat Horse Award and took home a beautiful CPI scrim from sponsor, The Clothes Horse.
The weekend was punctuated with fun events sponsored by LA Saddlery including a Dessert social on Friday and a raffle that had attendees buzzing all weekend about winning the popular products that included a jacket from Animo, a pair of EGO 7 boots, a halter and ear net from Equline, Romfh breeches, a custom leather lead by Barrington Saddlery and gorgeous scarves and shirts from Ronner. Raffle winners were all smiles on Sunday afternoon when their names were chosen for the prizes.

Press release provided by CPI. To learn more, visit www.collegeprepinvitational.com.


CPI partners Christian Luneburg and Lindsay Martin with Intercollegiate Horse Shows Assn. guru, coach and course designer Peter Cashman, right. Photo: Kim F. Miller