July 2018 - Montana Here We Come!
Written by CRM
Friday, 29 June 2018 23:40
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Area VI Junior & Young Rider teams in title defense mode at North American Youth Championships.

The Young Rider team is stacked with returnees and they’ll be needed in defending Area VI gold at the Adequan FEI North American Youth Championships. A talented Junior team also has their work cut out at the July 18-22 competition held concurrent with “The Event” at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, MT.

The six Young Riders profiled here travel to Montana as “traveling candidates.” Just prior to opening day, selectors will announce which four pairs are team riders and which two will represent Area VI as individuals. On the Junior card, our three pairs can comprise their own team by forgoing a drop score, or they may be joined by a rider from another Area.

Excitement, gratitude and unbounded love for their horses are common denominators in these riders’ paths to Rebecca Farm. We hope you enjoy getting to know them and please consider a donation to

support these neat young equestrians. It’s easy to do so at www.areavi.org at the “Young Riders” button.
“The North American Youth Championships is the first opportunity for our Young Riders, as aspiring upper level eventing riders, to experience the challenge, pressure and excitement of international team competition but it comes with a hefty price tag,” says this year’s Area VI Young Rider Coordinator Kristin Hogan. “Area VI is so grateful to our sponsors who invest in and help Area VI Young Riders realize their goals and achieve success. They are: Ariat International, Auburn Laboratories, Inc, Athletux Equine, Fleeceworks, Professional’s Choice, Sunsprite Warmbloods, Sunsprite Jumpworks and Twin Rivers Ranch.”

When speaking to me recently about this sport we all love so much, Pamela Duffy, owner of Sunsprite Warmbloods (and, herself, a former Young Rider in the show jumping discipline) explained their continued support of Area VI Young Riders by saying “the future is in our youth” and we cannot thank them enough.

Speaking of thank-yous, California Riding Magazine has a truckload of those for Kristin for corralling these profiles and photos! A gold medal effort for sure!

CICO-Young Riders (CIC2*)

Mallory Hogan & Clarissa Purisima.

Mallory Hogan & Clarissa Purisima
Trainer: Andrea Pfeiffer

Clarissa is an 11 year old 16hh chestnut Holsteiner/Thoroughbred cross, and I got her when she had only done two lower level events. At the time, I was in seventh grade so we were both pretty green. Now, as a coming senior in high school, Clarissa and I have done our first Training, Preliminary, One Star and Two Star events together. Clarissa and I won the 2017 Preliminary Challenge Rider Division in Woodside before going to our first NAYC experience in the summer of 2017. There we picked up the team gold medal and an individual bronze medal. That weekend was pretty surreal and it felt so good to see the hard work show in competition! We were then named to the 2018 USEF E18 Emerging Athletes list with coach Leslie Law, and we’ve been fortunate to participate in training sessions that have been so educational!

I’ve been lucky enough to have been coached by Andrea Pfeiffer of Chocolate Horse Farm in Petaluma for the past eight years and she has been there every step of the way, producing Clarissa and me to an upper level pair and I am so thankful for her. I’m also very thankful for my parents and family for being so supportive of my riding career. Clarissa has a big personality and it’s one of my favorite things about her. She loves going to competitions and soaks up all the care and attention. She’s small but she sure is mighty, and when she gets on the cross-country course she grows to about 18 hands (at least, she thinks!). I’m so excited to go back to NAYC and its amazing venue at Rebecca Farm and ride with such a talented group of girls!

Kaley Sapper & Tuscan Sun. Photo: Sherry Stewart

Kaley Sapper & Tuscan Sun
Trainers: Tamie Smith, Heather Morris, Bec Braitling & Andrea Baxter

Our journey to NAYC this year has been a complete dream come true. Tuscan Sun, aka “Tuk,” and I competed at NAJYRC last year, and we’re completely thrilled to be returning this year at the Two Star level.

I just wrapped up my first year as an engineering student at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and I’ve been lucky enough to bring Tuk to college with me to continue with my riding goals.

I’ve had the pleasure of riding Tuk for the past three years. He’s 15, an OTTB, and a descendant of Secretariat. Our career highlights include multiple wins at the Preliminary level, including Rebecca Farm in 2016, a gold medal on the 2017 NAJYRC CH-J* team, and several completions at the Intermediate and Two Star level. Tuk is a complete dream to ride and have in the barn. He loves his job and has the sweetest personality, wanting to be friends with everyone he meets. I am so thankful to him for teaching me an incredible amount, both riding and life lessons. He has really made my dreams come true.

We’re honored to have the opportunity to return to Montana and experience the thrills of Championships for the second time.

We are so lucky to share the journey with our families- biological, barn, and eventing. My parents have made my dreams theirs and have done everything in their power to make Championships happen.

They’re my heroes and without them, none of this would be possible. The years of support and encouragement (not to forget cookie feeding!) have been the backbone of my riding. My sister has been an amazing help grooming this year, and I’m so excited to share part of the team experience with her. My barn families, Next Level Eventing and Twin Rivers, have carefully shaped me into the rider I am today, and I will always be grateful to have the opportunity to learn from the best.

Tamie, Heather and NLE have been extremely supportive as I’ve gone to college, and Andrea Baxter and Bec Braitling have welcomed me into their family, a home away from home. I’m so happy to share such an amazing sport, the highs and lows, with the incredible people of Area VI. Tuk and I can’t wait to see everyone in Montana!

Lisa Takeda & Wishbone. Photo: Callan Weiss

Lisa Takeda & Wishbone
Trainer: Auburn Excell-Brady

Wishbone is a 10-year-old, quirky Holsteiner who lives for cross-country. He is an absolute angel on the ground, but can get pretty spicy under saddle! Our partnership began at the very end of September 2017. While we have only known each other for a relatively short time, “Bones” and I have exceeded my initial expectations and we managed to qualify for my last opportunity to compete in the NAYC.

I hadn’t ridden past the CCI* level, but Bones and I made the move up to Intermediate this February after just one run at Preliminary together. He took me around a handful of Intermediates before we contested the CIC** at Aspen Farms in early June, where we finished in second.

I’m a 21-year-old, full-time college student currently studying Public Relations at the University of Southern California. It can be difficult to juggle my education and riding, but it has been made possible these last few years thanks to my longtime trainer Auburn Excell-Brady. I’ve been in Auburn’s program since I first began riding at age 6 and she’s been a constant supporter of mine, along with my parents.

Everyone always says it takes a village, and it is totally true! I feel so grateful for my village members who have made this journey possible.

I’ve had my eye on NAYC since the Training Level days, and it feels absolutely unreal to see it finally happening. It will be a very special week in Montana, and I am ready to just soak in the week with my special horse and wonderful teammates!

Madison Tempkin & Dr. Hart. Photo: Ellie Leonard Photography

Madison Tempkin & Dr. Hart
Trainer: Beth Tempkin Brown

I’m 17 and I first went to NAJYRC as a groom in Kentucky in 2014 and then was lucky enough to go again in Kentucky in 2015 and compete at the One Star level there with my horse Kingslee and finish fifth individually. I then went to NAJYRC last year to compete on Kingslee at the Two Star level, finishing fourth individually. I am very honored and excited to represent California again and am looking forward to returning to the beautiful Rebecca Farm. This venue run by the Broussard family has always been my favorite to go to and having NAYC there is very special.

Dr. Hart, aka “Hollywood,” is a 16.1hh, 11 year old off the track Thoroughbred. I’ve been riding him for about three or four years now. He came to our barn as a client and I started to compete him for my mom and his owners, as quirky Thoroughbreds are my kind of ride. He had only done one or two Beginner Novices when I started riding him and we steadily moved up the levels. If you saw Hollywood back then, you wouldn’t of even imagined he would be where he is today, but there’s something about him that is so special.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to buy him with the help of my family in April of 2017. The weekend he was “officially” ours was during the April Twin Rivers, where he won a Preliminary for the first time. Although I have so many favorite memories with him, one of the best feelings in the world was crossing the finish flags after he jumped around beautifully at the CIC2* at Galway. I was the first to leave the box on cross-country and there was an extremely hard water line that we were worried about. Hollywood went out of the box like a professional and got more and more confident as we went and finished his second Two Star with just a handful of cross-country time faults.

I am very thankful for everyone who has helped me get to where I am today. My friends, my family, my sponsors, my vet, my farrier...the list goes on and on. Without the help from all these incredible people and, of course, all the incredible horses, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Sophie Tice & Mojo.

Sophie Tice & Mojo
Trainers: James Alliston & Helen Bouscaren

Mojo and I have had a partnership since the summer of 2015. My trainers were gracious enough to allow me to ride him after selling my previous horse. I began competing with Mojo at the Novice level and, with the help of my trainers, have made it to the Intermediate/CIC2** level.

Our recent competition season has been aiming toward the goal of competing in the CIC2** at Rebecca Farm. We competed at my first Intermediate competition 2017 at the October Woodside event. Mojo and I ended up having a fantastic weekend to win. We then went to the March Galway to complete my first CIC2* competition and later did another Intermediate at the May Woodside event. We have also been attending our E18 training sessions throughout the year with plenty of good guidance from Leslie Law.

This year will be Mojo and I’s third year trying for Area VI Young Riders team. We didn’t make it in 2016, but I was very excited to be a groom. This was extremely eye opening and it prepared me to compete in the CCI1* in 2017. Competing at NAJYRC was such an amazing experience and it was so gratifying to see the Area VI team win gold. I cannot wait to represent our area again this year and hopefully make them just as proud!

The past three years have been filled with plenty of learning moments, triumphs, struggles and opportunities that could not have happened without the supportive team behind me. I’m so thankful to those who have pushed me to work hard and reach for my goals. I’m also very grateful to ride a horse who has made things that I could previously only dream about possible.

This year has been tough so far because I decided to retire my horse of a lifetime, Kingslee, after he sustained an injury on cross-country at the March Twin Rivers event. It’s hard to know that I won’t be able to go cross-country on him again. Although I am heartbroken, he taught me so much, but the best thing he has taught me is how I want my horses to feel cross-country. With all the knowledge that he gave me, although only time will tell and Kingslee will never be replaced, I only hope Hollywood will continue to develop into another upper level horse.

Delaney Vaden & RedRox Jazzman. Photo: Callie Heroux Photography

Delaney Vaden & RedRox Jazzman
Trainers: Bea & Derek DiGrazia, Matt & Cecily Brown, Volker Bromann

I am 16 and my horse RedRox Jazzman, aka “Jazz,” is a 14 year old American Warmblood (Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Clydesdale). Jazz and I have been lucky enough to bring each other up the levels. He has given me my wings and thanks to him we have been lucky enough to gain some grand accomplishments. While winning the Preliminary Challenge, making the E18 Advancing Athletes program and getting a team gold medal at Young Riders was amazing, our biggest accomplishment thus far has been competing and having a successful finish at Fairhill International in the CCI**.  We did not win by any means but it was a victory to me. We jumped around clear and had improvements on a very tough Two Star track. It was there that, with Jazz’s help, I truly discovered what I wanted to do in life: eventing!

Jazz and I were living with our trainers Bea and Derek DiGrazia in Carmel, training and taking consistent lessons with dressage coach Volker Brommann, until recently when I came to the East Coast to compete in a few shows with our other trainers, Matt and Cecily Brown. Jazz has “uber” amounts of personality and is commonly referred to as the “piglet” by Bea. He loves to get dirty but also definitely likes to perform. He is my heart horse and I owe everything to him.

NAYC – Junior Riders – CCI1*

Brianna Maroney & Kaala Jaadu

Brianna Maroney & Kaala Jaadu
Trainers: Val Owen & Bec Braitling

Young Riders has been my dream since I found out about it when I was 6. Back then it seemed more like a wild, unattainable fantasy than anything, but after grooming for the Area VI team in 2016, the championships started to feel like a possibility. Grooming for the team in Colorado was hands-down one of the best experiences of my life. Being surrounded by such talented young riders and horses was absolutely amazing. It made me more motivated than ever to come back to the Championships and represent Area VI as a rider.

I bought “Jackson” (Kaala Jaadu) from Kat Lessing in 2016. Kat started Jackson when he was 3 and she continues to be our number one fan. From the first moment that I sat on him, I knew that he was my dream horse. Jackson lives for cross-country. Although walking to the startbox can be quite an adventure, Jackson has shown me what it’s like to sit on a true cross-country machine. From our first jump lesson at home (which Bec can confirm was utterly terrifying), to placing second at our first One Star earlier this year, our partnership has grown tremendously. He has taught me an unbelievable amount about the sport and I will always wonder what I did to deserve such an amazing partner.

A championship like Young Riders truly takes a village, and I am so lucky to have a group of people in my corner who work tirelessly to make my dreams a reality. My parents, although not horse people themselves, saw how much the prospect of Young Riders meant to me, and have supported me endlessly. My trainers continue to inspire and push me to be the best rider and horsewoman possible.

Special thanks to my amazing vet Kelly Zeytoonian, farrier Jamie Wells, who work to keep Jackson in top form throughout our competition season and the wonderful group of Area VI coaches and volunteers who put in countless hours behind the scenes. And the biggest thank you goes to Jackson. Thank you for continuing to make all of my dreams come true buddy. Go Area VI!

Kaitlin Vosseller & Clear Approval

Kaitlin Vosseller & Clear Approval
Trainers: Tamie Smith & Heather Morris

Clear Approval, aka “Brownie, is a 17.3 hh 12 year old Warmblood. He unexpectedly came into my life in April of 2017. I was at the Twin Rivers Horse Trials competing my other horse, Hocus Pokus, when my trainers formulated a plan with my mom to purchase Brownie. He had been for sale at my barn for a few months and I had always thought about how amazing he was and anyone would be so lucky to have him. My dream came true thanks to my incredible trainers, Tamie Smith and Heather Morris. They were certain that Brownie would be able to help me accomplish my goal of competing at NAYC while I developed my less experienced horse.  With a lot of convincing from Tamie and Heather, my mom and grandma decided Brownie would become a part of our family.  In a matter of a year, Brownie helped take me from Training Level to my first 1*! We celebrated our one-year anniversary by completing the Twin Rivers International Horse Trials CCI1* in ninth place.

I have been part of Next Level Eventing for three years and have learned more in that time than ever. Tamie and Heather have shown me how to work hard and follow your dreams. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best in the sport everyday. They inspire me to be a better horsewoman and to always put your partner before yourself. I’m so incredibly thankful to the NLE family for their endless support and encouragment. It truly does take a village.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my entire family for their love and support. Especially my mom who works tirelessly to make sure I am able to accomplish my goals whether it’s driving me to horse shows or being an incredible groom. She is my biggest supporter and I’m so thankful that we are able to share the same passion for horses. My grandmother has also been a huge supporter. She continiously believes in me and is always there to make sure I am able to succeed. I also thank the volunteers, event organizers and coaches for making Area VI the best it possibly can be. Being selected to compete at NAYC has been a dream of mine since I started eventing and I feel so fortunate to be representing Area VI with some amazing teammates by my side!

Rachel McGregor & Catch Me If You Can IV. Photo: Ellie Leonard Photography

Rachel McGregor & Catch Me If You Can IV
Trainer: Andrea Pfeiffer

I started riding horses at 5 and began eventing when I was 10. I went up to the Novice level on my Connemara pony and then decided it was time to start a new partnership with a horse that would take me up the levels, Catch Me If You Can IV, or “Lenny.” He’s 16.1hh, 10 year old Holsteiner gelding from Germany. He was 6 years old when he came to the United States from England and had only done a couple Preliminaries before competing in numerous Prelims and 1*s in the U.S. with Maddy Mazzola. I was 15 years old when I went to visit Kismet Farms to try horses and instantly fell in love with the adorable blood-bay horse.

Three years later, my dream horse and I are NAYC-bound and couldn’t be more excited! Throughout the years, we have faced many challenges but overcame those struggles with some rewarding accomplishments. Lenny and I traveled in November to compete in our first CCI* together at the Galway Downs International Event. I was able to take home third place Young Rider, and we finished 17th individually in a large and competitive FEI division on our dressage score. It was a huge accomplishment for us because we were able to overcome the struggles we had been facing during that time and come together as a team.

Last July, we finished second on our dressage score in a very competitive Junior Preliminary division at The Event at Rebecca Farm. It was our first time competing at that venue together and we are so excited to come back this year to represent Area VI! We could not have been able to accomplish our goals without the love and support from our trainer, Andrea Pfeiffer, and our wonderful team at Chocolate Horse Farm. We have been part of the CHF family for almost two years and couldn’t be more grateful for all the wonderful things each member has given us. We can’t wait to join our Area VI team at Montana this month.