California Riding Magazine • May, 2008

Winner's Circle

Kerry Kuhn wins the 2008 Extreme Equine Experience Colt Starting Challenge

Horsemen Kerry Kuhn, Patrick Hooks and horsewoman Carol Schryver packed the house at the 2008 Extreme Equine Experience Colt Starting Challenge, impressing the judges and the audience with their quiet, effective and skilled horse handling techniques.

Each contestant had only a few hours on Saturday and Sunday to work with their previously unhandled 3-year-old horses. By Sunday each horse had to be ridden at the walk, trot and lope, and had to negotiate a tricky obstacle course. Each of the contestants had their challenges, but Sunday ended with Kerry earning top score from the judges.

Newcomer Carol Schryver made a brilliant debut and Pat Hooks made some great progress with his gelding. Commentator Chris Cox interviewed the contestants during the event, asking them about their horses and techniques, as well as speaking with the judges about “old time” training versus today’s natural horsemanship approaches.

All of the judges were impressed with the efforts of all three contestants, as was the audience. Kerry will take home $10,000 for his success at Equine Experience in Paso Robles.


El Campeon’s Tosca and Will Simpson,
winners of the 1.40m Jumper Classic at the Tampa Equestrian Festival.
Photo: Jennifer Wood

Will Simpson and El Campeon’s Tosca Gallop to Victory in Florida

Will Simpson of Thousand Oaks bested a field of nine horses and riders in the jump-off of the 1.40m Jumper Classic to claim victory aboard El Campeon’s Tosca. The jumper class was one of the highlights of the Tournament of Champions, held during the final week of the Tampa Equestrian Festival in Florida, March 31- April 5.

Simpson and Tosca, a 12-year-old Belgian mare were third in Wednesday’s WEF Challenge Cup. They went first in the jump-off with a clear and fast ride, but it was not enough for the win. Simpson wanted to secure first place in the classic. “I thought she had enough speed to win (the WEF Challenge Cup), and then I got third. I thought (today) that I had to kick it up a notch,” he acknowledged. “I thought I went pretty good on the inside track and kept her moving. She’s fast anyway. It worked out really well.”

The pair were 11th to go in the first round and returned sixth in the jump-off. They were chasing the leading time with a clear round of 32.463 seconds set by McLain Ward on Quo Vadis. Simpson saw the early fast rides from Eliza Shuford and McLain Ward and thought he could make up time through one turn, “back to the gate,” he said. “The gate, if you touch it, it falls down. I saw people give it a couple extra strides there. With Tosca, she jumps those real careful, so I took a real shot to that.”

Press release provided by Phelps Media Group.


HITS’ Tony Hitchcock presents Lucy Davis the Potcreek Meadow Farm
Junior Sportsmanship Award. Davis was joined by sponsor Cara Anthony
and trainers from Brookway Stables, Archie Cox and Peter Lombardo. 
Photo: Flying Horse Photography

Accomplished Grand Prix rider Rich Fellers receiving the Jimmy Kohn
Style of Riding Perpetual Trophy, sponsored by Karen Healey Stables.
Photo: Flying Horse Photography

HITS Thermal 2008 Perpetual Trophies

Horse Shows In The Sun (HITS) at Thermal ended this year’s desert circuit championship by awarding the 2008 Perpetual Trophies. It was a long list of honors, beginning with Saer Coulter of San Francisco.

Saer was awarded the Shalanno Style of Riding Award during the DC Championship Week at HITS Thermal. The Shalanno Style of Riding Award Perpetual Trophy is presented annually to the Junior Jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation as modeled by Olympic medalists Joe Fargis, Conrad Homfeld and George Morris. The award recipient must have the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman.

“It’s a tremendous honor to win such a prestigious award,” said Saer. “It’s great knowing that all of my hard work has paid off in winning this award.” Saer is 16 years old, and attends University High School in San Francisco. According to her trainer, Mary Manfredi, she is very active in community service, as well as being dedicated to riding. Coulter has been riding under the watchful eye of Manfredi at Davenport West for the past four years. During this time, she conquered several Grand Championships aboard her trusty mount, Willy.

Another major award presented during the HITS Thermal grand finale was the Potcreek Meadow Farm Junior Sportsman Award. It was enthusiastically accepted by Los Angeles’ Lucy Davis.

According to Potcreek Meadow Farm’s Cara Anthony, the award honors the junior rider who shines at the back gate as well as in the ring. She said, “Lucy was picked this year because she exemplifies everything this award is about. She is smiling if it’s early in the morning, late in the afternoon, after a great round or after poor round.”

The Potcreek Meadow Farm Junior Sportsmanship Award came about eight years ago. Anthony wanted the trophy to be memorable, so she selected a trophy that is nearly 40 pounds and features a giant horse head on the top of a wooden frame. 

It comes as no surprise that Oregon native, Rich Fellers, earned the Jimmy Kohn Style of Riding Perpetual Trophy, sponsored by Karen Healey Stables. Fellers and his mount Flexible won three of the four $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifiers at HITS Thermal. Fellers also won the award in 2006 before Sacramento’s Jill Humphrey took home the honors last year at HITS Thermal. The valuable points that Fellers earned at HITS Thermal put him in first for the FEI U.S. West Coast League Standings.

Rounding out the list of perpetual trophy award winners was Allison Baileys, who rode Tache Rouge to the Michael Patrick Perpetual Trophy for the High Point Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Circuit Champion.


(left to right) R.J. Brandes, CEO, Blenheim EquiSports; Arthur Hawkins;
Jenny Karazissis; and Robert Ridland, President-Blenheim EquiSports.
Photo: Captured Moment Photography

Jenny Karazissis Awarded Arthur Hawkins Award of Excellence

Blenheim EquiSports awarded the first annual Arthur Hawkins Award of Excellence at the $10,000 USHJA International High Performance Hunter Derby class on Friday, March 28. The award was given to Far West Farms trainer, Jenny Karazissis from Los Angeles Country’s Calabasas. Jenny placed fourth and fifth in the $10,000 USHJA Hunter Derby class.

Overwhelmed with surprise, Jenny said, “I was completely blown away and honored at being selected by Arthur Hawkins to be this year’s Award of Excellence recipient. When I walked into the arena and saw Arthur Hawkins and Blenheim EquiSports CEO, RJ Brandes, dressed in suits I never expected they would be presenting me with this special honor.”

The Arthur Hawkins Awards of Excellence is given annually to an individual who has contributed to the industry of show hunters in a significant way during the prior show year. This award was developed to honor the ongoing commitment and contribution of Arthur Hawkins to the show hunter industry.

Jenny says she already has a special place on her dining room table reserved for the stunning bronze and marble award.


Gina Miles & McKinlaigh.
Photo: Tass Photography

Andrea Baxter & Estrella.
Photo: Tass Photography

Locals Can’t Be Beat at Twin Rivers Horse Trials

The Advanced division at the Twin Rivers Horse Trials on Feb. 29- March 2, ended very similarly to the International Horse Trials at Twin Rivers last fall. Gina Miles of Creston took an early lead aboard McKinlaigh and never looked back. Despite incurring almost 17 time faults on cross country, Miles maintained her lead until the end.

After cross-country, Debbie Rosen and Andrea Baxter were biting at Miles’ heels. Rosen and Baxter had the fastest cross-country rides, which moved them to the top of the leader board just behind Miles and McKinlaigh. It all came down to the show jumping round on Sunday. Miles and Baxter took the top two spots at the CIC *** in September as well.

Rosen and The Alchemyst dropped two rails to fall to fourth position. This made room for Baxter and Estrella to move into second. This year Twin Rivers started a perpetual trophy that will go to the winner of the Advanced division at the March Horse Trials each year. Farrier and blacksmith, Walter Post, created a beautiful copper horse shoe and plaque which will have the engraved names of each year’s winner.

Baxter is a true Twin Rivers local, as she manages the ranch on a daily basis when Twin Rivers is not consumed by horse shows. Miles has big goals for this season. She and McKinlaigh will be heading to Rolex, and hopefully the Olympic Games in China this summer. Baxter and Estrella will try their luck at the CCI *** in New Jersey this May.

“Estrella is an amazing mare, who has found her passion,” said Baxter. “She used to be such a pain to deal with, but now her results have made me appreciate her difficult side. I wish I had re-bred her mother years ago, but I never would have thought she would have turned out to be such a top competitor. Coming in second to Gina and McKinlaigh is not too shabby. I’ll take that any day!”

The event had great attendance, with 347 competitors from all over the West Coast. People flocked to Twin Rivers from as far as Montana to enjoy the professionally run show. “Beautiful weather and wine tasting -- who could ask for a better horse show scene?,” said Canadian Olympian Chelan Kozac of the event at Twin Rivers, which is located in the heart of Paso Robles wine country.

“The event ran very smoothly,” said show organizer Connie Baxter. “We had new managers for dressage and show jumping, and we couldn’t have been happier with their organization.  Christie Janis had the dressage under control with plenty of volunteers and decorations, while Kathy LaChaine handled show jumping like an old pro, even though course designer, Sarah Kotchian, was not present for the big show.”
Twin Rivers will host another CIC*** star again in September.