California Riding Magazine • October, 2008

Winner's Circle

Chelsea Vexland and her Foxlair West barnmates enjoyed a freewheeling victory lap after Chelsea and Chopstix, a.k.a. Rexy, won the Signature Ride and Drive at the Oaks. The golf cart was provided by Mesa Golf Carts. 

West Coast Victorious at The Masters
West Coast riders are making marks all over the world and the winning continued at Spruce Meadows during The Masters Tournament, Sept. 3-7 in Calgary, Canada. The week began with the United States team of Rich Fellers, Richard Spooner, Todd Minikus and Lauren Hough capturing the top spot in the Nation’s Cup. They won the top prize of $350,000 by committing just four faults in 494.52 seconds before a record crowd of 63,000.

Canada’s team finished with eight faults in 495.74 seconds, which put it in a three-way tie for second with the defending champions from Germany and the Netherlands.

Richard Spooner and Cristallo also placed third in the $1 million CN International Grand Prix on Sunday. Other Spooner top placings included a second on Ezrah in the $50,000 1.50 meter Suncor Energy Class and fifth on Black Cherry in the same class.

Californian Ashlee Bond also put in a good showing at The Masters on several different mounts. Ashlee and her Holsteiner mare, Southern Girl won the $25,000 ATCO Frontec Cup. Aboard Cadett 7 she finished fourth in the $75,000 1.50 meter BP Cup with no faults, just behind Spooner and Pako. The pair also earned a second in the $30,000 AKITA Drilling Cup.

Jacqueline Fleckenstein finished fourth in the 1.40 meter $50,000 ATCO Electric Circuit’s Six Bar Class and several other West Coast riders had top placings in the lower level divisions.

Congratulations to all the horses and riders of La Vine Equestrian.
Trainer Lauren La Vine and her students took home several champion and reserve champion titles and had numerous top five placings at the 2008 IALHA & IFSHA Regional Championship.
Adelina RLA, owned by Kurt Knechtel and Lauren La Vine claimed seven blues at the show and a few tri-colors as Half Andalusian Grand Champion Halter Horse, Half Andalusian Western Pleasure Junior Horse Champions and Reserve Champion Half Andalusian English Pleasure Open. Pip Harragin aboard Adelina won both their Half Andalusian Youth Pleasure and Half Andalusian Junior Horse classes.

Pip’s barnmate and fellow junior rider, Reba Ross and Rublo JIM, owned by Mary Ross, won both their 13 and Under Andalusian Youth Pleasure and Equitation classes. Mary and Rublo placed top five in both their Andalusian English Pleasure Vintage Riders Amateur and Andalusian Country English Pleasure Amateur classes. Lorraine Rojas also earned a third in the Amateur English Pleasure aboard her own mount, Arpeggio.

Lauren also went on to pilot Carol Carfagno’s Beau to blues in Partbred Friesian Dressage Suitability and Western as well as Champion Part Bred Champion Costume and Partbred Friesian English Pleasure Champion.

California Junior Rider Takes Home Gold in Dressage Seat Medal Finals
The 2008 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today® was held Aug. 29-30 at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL. Riders came from across the country to compete for the championship in two age divisions: 13 and Under and 14-18 division.

In the 13 and Under division, Stephanie Early of Salinas topped 10 other riders with a score of 80.333 to take the gold medal riding borrowed horse GP Sarasanna, owned by Ginna Frantz. This was Early’s first time competing at the Finals after qualifying for the championship at the Region 7 semi-finals. Early took home the Hart Trophy along with a Wintec Dressage Saddle.

With a total of 15 riders in the 14-18 age division, the championship title went to Colleen Akin of Warwick, NY, with a score of 76.667. Akin was riding a borrowed horse, Volontaire, owned by Kim Barteau.
Junior riders qualified for the Finals last year by competing in the Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Final classes held at each of the 2007 USDF Regional Championships, with the top two competitors in each age division being eligible for the finals. The purpose of the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Program is to promote and reward excellence in equitation, including correct seat, position and use of aids in the sport of dressage. This year’s judging panel included Janet Foy, Melissa Creswick and William Solyntjes.

U.S. Riders Rock the Inaugural FEI World Reining Championships
Sixteen countries sent representatives to the first FEI World Reining Championship on Sept. 12 in Manerbio, Italy. It was a close finish, but team Italy took the gold medal with a total of 667.5 points. The United States team was hot on their tails with 663.5 points, followed closely followed by Germany, which finished only one point behind.

The U.S. team was represented by Pete Kyle riding A Bueno Poco Dunit owned by Sandra Holt (222); Craig Schmersal riding Mr. Dual Rey owned by Casey Holly (221); Jordan Larson riding Lena Gallo (220.5) and Tom McCutcheon riding Ruf Hearted Jac owned by Sarah Willeman (219).

Schmersal was impressed by the first FEI World Reining Championship. “We love it here,” said Schmersal. “My goal was to make the team to compete here. I love the team competition, it is different from what we normally do.”

“We are very honored to have been able to represent our country,” said Jeff Petska, U.S. chef d’equipe. “We had a strong group of horses and great riders for U.S.A. and our hats go off to the Italians, they did a great job.”

Competitors had to score a 216 or higher to make the Individual Competition, which all four Americans did. The Individual Competition was held on Sept. 14, and 20 horse and rider combinations vied for the FEI medals.

Larson and Lena Gallo loped into the arena on Sunday and had a nearly perfect trip for the gold. “It was an honor to represent the USA at the FEI World Reining Championship,” said Larson. “Since this was my first time on a team it was unexpected to win but a huge thrill.”
Schmersal rounded out the U.S. medal count with Mr. Dual Rey when he tied for bronze with Italy’s Gennero Lendi on a score of 225.
The very first FEI World Reining Championship is organized by the Italian Reining Horse Association and was supported by the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation (FISE).

Huston Wins the Marshall & Sterling Adult Medal Final
Laura Huston came all the way from Ventura County’s Thousand Oaks to capture the blue in the Marshall & Sterling Adult Medal Final at the 2008 Marshall & Sterling League National Finals at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, NY.

Huston was in the irons aboard Holly Rebello’s veteran mount, London Fog. In fact, Friday was the first time she rode the horse. “It was a little scary being on him only one day before showing him in such a big class,” said Huston. “I was making myself sick over it. But then I said to myself what is the worst thing that can happen? So I relaxed and came out of the class the winner.”

A Circuit Champion at HITS Thermal in 2008, she made the 3,000 mile journey to ride under the watchful eye of close friend Armand Chenelle. On the West Coast she shows with renowned trainer Archie Cox.

London Fog won the Marshall & Sterling Adult Medal Final during the Finals in 2004, 2007 and now in 2008. The 18-year-old Thoroughbred also has wins in the Ariat Finals, Rhode Island Finals, New England Finals and Connecticut Finals in his illustrious career. “I am originally from Connecticut and was considering doing the Ariat Finals,” said Huston. “Armand said to come up and do these Finals first and that he would find me a horse. Boy, did he ever.”
Huston was second after a field of 49 riders went in the first round of the equitation class. The top 12 were invited back for a work off. “I really nailed the work off,” said Huston. “He had the perfect distances between the fences and his counter canter was excellent.”
The Marshall & Sterling League began in 1991, and during the year, riders from coast to coast compete at more than 980 Marshall & Sterling League member horse shows to earn points for a place at the Finals.

For complete results visit This information was provided by HITS Saugerties.