California Riding Magazine • August, 2008

Winner’s Circle

Mike Tracy & Aron Moon+//

AERC Honors Endurance Champions Aron Moon+// and Mike Turner
After 19 years of competing together, Mike Tracy and his 24-year-old Arabian partner, Aron Moon+//, are familiar faces on the endurance, ride & tie and competitive trail circuit. This year, the American Endurance Conference honored their partnership by awarding them one of their top honors: the 2007 Pard’ner Award.

Named for Mae Schlegel and her longtime mount, Pard, this award honors those horse and rider partners who engender a spirit of friendship, enthusiasm and championship—yet always keep good sportsmanship their priority. In his acceptance speech at the 2008 national awards banquet, Mike noted that it has always been about the horses, “You take good care of him or her, and they will take care of you down the trail. In my case, I just happened to get an exceptional animal…So, I don’t boast any accomplishment. I just give thanks to God for the gift of Aron Moon+//.”

Sarah Gavigan and Edgewoods Robin Hood.
Photo: Sheri Scott

Amateur Sarah Gavigan Snatches Victory From Pros

Patrick Seaton wanted to win the $30,000 Golden Gate Grand Prix so he could claim the Woodside Jumper Accumulator prize of $20,000. Peter Breakwell wanted to win because he was tired of finishing second to Seaton. Macella O’Neill wanted to win because she is a fierce competitor and has a string of solid jumping horses. But in the end, a former Zone 10 Young Rider, Sarah Gavigan, jumped a little higher, turned a little faster and dared to leave a stride out to claim her first grand prix victory on Edgewoods Robin Hood.

Twenty-six horses started over Jamie Alder’s challenging course that incorporated both the water jump and the grob. However, it was the middle of the course—a vertical to the liverpool in a forward three strides, followed by a steady four strides out over a square oxer, one of the two largest on the course, that caused the most problems. One rider fell off, one withdrew and quite a few had rails.

“I think a lot of riders overdid the three strides,” said Alder. “It was only two feet long, but then they couldn’t get back for the tight four strides, and it was only two feet short. However, those who had adjustable horses made the line look easy.” In the end, five horse and rider combinations made it through Adler’s first round to compete in the jump-off.
Alder designed a jump-off track that tested scope, the ability to turn, and the crowd favorite, a long run to a triple bar. The competitors did not disappoint. Duncan McFarlane and Eezy set the pace, but a rail at fence eight garnered the pair four faults. O’Neill followed, and Rock Star showed he could run and jump. As they rocketed down to the triple bar, the crowd cheered and the clock stopped at 38.436. Amateur rider Sara Jorgensen followed aboard NZ Omni, and while she executed some tight turns, her gallop was not quite a flat out run, and she settled for a time of 40.131.

Gavigan, who just graduated from U.C. Berkeley a few weeks ago, stood at the gate with her trainer, Nina Alario. “Nina told me the other riders had done 10 to the triple bar,” said Gavigan. “I told her ‘I guess I’ll do nine’.” As she landed off the vertical for the gallop to the triple bar, she gave the crowd what they came to see and the big, bay gelding skimmed over the highest rail and clocked a winning time of 38.117.

Only Breakwell and Lucas could break the spell. The pair was a little cautious and their time of 38.505 edged them in just behind O’Neill for third.

Gavigan was delighted with her win, but maintained her poise. “I knew exactly where he was as we went to the triple,” said Gavigan of her daring gallop. “We have been together for at least seven years so we really trust each other. Peter was booking it and I thought he had the jump off, but then I saw his time. This feels really good!”

This information was provided by Langer Equestrian.

West Coast Active Riders Score Big at Spruce Meadows

The West Coast Active Riders’ (WCAR) Spruce Meadows teams wrapped up their trip to Canada with placings galore and a special win in the 1.40 Meter Final Four.

Richard Neal was eliminated in the first round of the 1.40 Meter Final Four after his horse took a misstep at fence five and came to a sliding stop, then stopped at another fence eliminating the pair. Lucky for Richard, 20 points is added to the team’s highest fault, and all the other United States riders went clear or had only one fault. Richard rode all three of the other horses clear and at the end of the competition he stood atop the medal podium, gold medal in hand.
Paris Theodosakis also had an exceptional trip up north, winning the opening 1.20 meter Speed Class. She added another win in the Saturday Grand Prix for her level.

Another star for WCAR was Theo Boris. Boris rode in the 1.30 meter classes, starting off with a fourth in the Thursday Speed class, followed by a second in the Saturday Grand Prix for that level. His second in the Grand Prix earned him a spot in the Final Four, in which he finished fourth.

Jessica Petro, granddaughter of Harry and Molly Chapman, had a bit of trouble the beginning of the week, but re-grouped and hit a  massive stride in the 1.10 meter Grand Prix. She galloped on to win that class with WCAR’s own Taylor Siebel right behind her in second place. 

Julie Hancock also kept herself in the ribbons the entire week and earned a spot in the Final Four on Sunday in the 1.30 meter division. However, she had a bit of difficulty with the bigger, stronger horses from Mexico and Venezuela, and ended up fourth.

Karl Cook and Alec Lawler were in the top of just about every 1.40 class the entire week, with Karl being second consistently in all classes except the team competition where they ended in the fourth slot.

For a complete list of results visit

Richard Spooner Victorious on the Global Champions Tour

Congratulations to Richard Spooner and Cristallo on winning the 1.60 meter Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco. The Grand Prix du Prince de Monaco is the fourth leg of the Global Champions Tour.

Richard won 100,000 EURO for that class with Marcus Ehning being second. He also won another huge Grand Prix, the Coppa d’Oro Della  Comtessa Carla De Zara class, which is held in memory of the wife of Count Neni De Zara. The Count owns the biggest horse stable in Italy.

Photo: Kathy Hobstetter

Cantano wins again! Susan Hutchison piloted Cantano to the blue in the $25,000 July Themed Grand Prix at the Oaks in San Juan Capistrano on July 3. The 8-year-old Cantano is owned by El Dorado 29 and Mr. and Mrs. Jim Iverson. He has competed in four Grand Prixs this year and has won three out of four.

Congratulations to Leah Von Henkle and Mary Nicita's Second Guess. Leah piloted Second Guess to a win in the highly competitive Ride and Drive at the mid-week Signature Horse Show July 2-3 at the Del Mar Horsepark. For her efforts, Leah earned a golf cart sponsored by the show management, Equestrian Enterprises, and purchased from Mesa Golf Carts.