November 2018 - Area VI Eventing Championships
Written by by Chris Scarlett, Area VI Chairman
Wednesday, 31 October 2018 23:24
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Organizers, sponsors, courses & great riding make for an awesome season finale.

by Chris Scarlett, Area VI Chairman • all photos: Marcus Greene Outdoor Photography

Del Mar Eventing and the Horse Park at Woodside hosted a spectacular Area VI Championships. The October 5-7 weekend hosted 330 entries and the first Area VI Advanced championships. Robert Kellerhouse thanked the Area for allowing the Horse Park to host the Championship. He gave a special thank you to Dawn Robbins, Stacie Macaluso, Jenna Dewald, Rick Dunkerton and the sponsors at Professional’s Choice, Sabo Eventing and The Riding Academy for helping to make the championship classes happen.

nov2018 areavi1Alexis Hellfrich & London Town, Advanced Division Champs

Running concurrently with the CIC3*, the Area VI Advanced division produced champion Alexis Helffrich on London Town. “I thought the XC course for this event was both physically challenging as well as technical,” said Alexis. “The additional use of the land on the far side of the Horse Park is wonderful and Ian Stark, the course designer, did a super job, specifically with the open corner and trakehner, of presenting questions similar to those I’ve seen while competing on the East Coast. Also, the water at the far corner of the Park was a serious accuracy question that demanded an accurate ride as well as a straight, bold horse.


nov2018 areavi2Bec Braitling & Santana II, Intermediate Champs


“I thought that the stadium course was challenging, but fair,” Alexis continued. “It was definitely a game changer for the standings - which I always think is good. Overall, I think it was a super experience with two great courses. Of course, the prizes were generous and very much appreciated!” The Advanced division awarded $5,000 in prize money, coolers and ice boots from Professional’s Choice.

nov2018 areavi3Amy Luca & Saturday Sun, Sabo Eventing’s Sr. Intro Champs

All of the Champions won a halter and, for the second year, Introductory Riders were equally lucky to have a sponsored Championship, thanks to Sabo Eventing of Newport Mesa for the Senior Division, and The Riding Academy of Salinas, for the Junior division. These two Area VI riding programs believe in establishing the love of the horse and sport in our youngest riders and believe that eventing can be enjoyed by all for years. They provided the feel of a top class competition with prize money to the champions and the reserves. Their support helps generate new Area VI members which boosts our starter numbers.

nov2018 areavi4Laura Strauch & Fabled Island, Senior Beginner Novice Rider Champs. Thanks to Jan Gardner’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

The Beginner Novice champions and reserves also earned prize money to add to their ribbons, prizes and halters. This was made possible by a generous donation from Jan Gardner in memory of her horse, Jumpin’ Jack Flash. With her Arabian, Jan had years of fun competing at the Beginner Novice level. Area VI is grateful for her support and continued interest in our sport.

The Open Intermediate Champion, Rebecca Braitling riding Santana II for Lauren Burnell, said “Woodside outdid themselves with the Championships. The show jumping proved to be influential and the huge demanding cross country track designed by Ian Stark made it difficult to make the time.”

nov2018 areavi5Erin Kellerhouse & Sir Elijah Craig, Novice Horse Champs

Amber Levine was reserve with her own Carry On in the Intermediate division and Flirtini in the Novice. She also rode In Jaguar to top honors in the Beginner Novice Horse division. Reflecting on the weekend she said, “It’s always exciting to qualify for Championships. I’ve traditionally made all of my horses from scratch so getting to a Championship not only brings a smile to my face but it’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling to  see my horses do so well.”

The Junior Beginner Novice Champion was Olivia Doman, who rides with Jennifer Wooten at Trinity Eventing. Her mother had this to say: “The show was wonderful and the whole experience was an honor to be a part of.”

nov2018 areavi6Haley Turner & Orion’s Sweet Rubio, Junior Training Rider Champs

The Riding Academy Junior Introductory class reserve champion, Gracie Pitts, was another very happy customer. “I really loved being able to compete in my first Championship Division at Woodside. It was a great experience for Calli and I! We got to compete on a team for the first time as well! The facility was beautiful and the cross-country was so much fun. If I had another chance to compete here I definitely would.”

The Sabo Eventing Senior Introductory winner Amy Luca was generous with her earnings. She chose to share her good fortune by giving back to the Young Rider Advance Placement program so that a future young rider might be given an opportunity to compete. In a note to the Sabos, Amy said, “I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for your support of the Woodside Sr. Intro Championship prize. I was over the moon when my young horse, Saturday Sun (Quinn), won as he’s new to eventing and I’m new to the eventing scene in California.”

nov2018 areavi7Fiona Van Buehler & Confetti Cottontail, the Riding Academy of Salinas Junior Intro Champs

The weekend weather was perfect for the competition with cool breezes and clear skies. Bert Wood and his crew produced excellent footing and built colorful and demanding fences. They tested the horses and riders at all of the levels, from the goldfish in the new water to the imposing downhill approach to a massive log. Chris Barnard of Great Britain, with Assistant Kelly James of the USA, produced show jumping courses that changed the standings at every level of the competition.

The evening dinners and awards ceremonies made the Championships a special experience for all those competing. Area VI would like to thank Robert Kellerhouse and his team for a fantastic competition and a competitive weekend.