The So Cal Equestrian series of hunter/jumper shows is hitting its stride just as everyone is searching for the most bang for their horse show buck. Embarking on their second season, which kicks off Jan. 10-11, the So Cal Equestrian hunter/jumper shows are designed to be “A-show caliber events at county show prices,” explains Robert Kellerhouse. As manager of the new series, Robert brings plenty of experience to the task. The veteran three-day event manager’s name is nearly synonymous with the Galway Downs equestrian venue in Riverside County’s Temecula. So Cal Equestrian is a new name for the property, but its many amenities as a competition site remain the same.
In branching into the hunter/jumper market, Robert recruited the help of that discipline’s best: Stephanie Wheeler, who manages all the Blenheim EquiSports competitions at the Oaks in Orange County and Showpark in San Diego. Robert is the manager for the So Cal Equestrian competitions, but he gives Stephanie most of the credit for staging them in the best possible manner on every front.
A successful eventing competitor himself for many years, Robert believes the So Cal shows have a lot to offer anyone looking to develop their horses, students and/or their own riding skills at a reasonable price. The spacious venue offers a wonderful grass jumping field, and a large sand arena for hunter classes. Nice permanent stabling options and conveniently laid-out show grounds make for a pleasant environment for exhibitors and fans. Over-crowding is simply not an issue. Three-day events often attract 350 to 400 horses, and there are 100 or so year-round racehorse residents, but the venue easily accommodates such numbers, Robert relays. “Our warm-up arenas are huge,” he says. “You’ll never feel cramped here.” The site also features 24 full RV hook-ups and campsites. Competitors are welcome to arrive on Fridays to school.
The series consists of monthly competitions, January through May. The next dates after the Jan 10-11 weekend are Feb. 7-8 and March 7-8. All shows are approved by the Greater San Diego Hunter Jumper Assn., and offer the full slate of classes for the new San Diego Scholastic Equestrian League. Entry fees run from a very reasonable $15 for a walk/trot equitation class to $40 for the $250 Open Jumper Stake. Most of the classes in between have $20 or $25 entry fees. If there is sufficient interest, Robert says he is happy to get the shows approved by the Orange County Horse Shows Assn., or counterparts in other areas.
Cathy Simm and Joe Lombardo are on tap as judges for the January shows, and the line-up for the rest of the series will meet a high quality standard. Ditto for the course designs and the jumps themselves, which were built by the same crew that creates the fences for the Blenheim EquiSports tournaments.
“The idea is to offer a variety of classes, with good jumps, courses and judges and at a good price point,” says Robert. “We think it will be a great experience for anyone that is looking to gain points or to develop themselves, their students or their horses.”
A dressage option is a neat twist in the So Cal Equestrian Series. Competitors may be judged on the test of their choice, in either a large or small dressage court. Donna Weinberg and Peggy Sanchez are slated to judge the January classes. Looking to make maximum use of the unique venue, Robert expects that hunter/jumper exhibitors will be joined by dressage and eventing competitors who want to gain mileage in dressage and/or show jumping during these weekends.
So Cal Equestrians’ Temecula location makes it an easy drive from horsey hubs throughout Southern California. Robert expects lots of entrants from the Inland Empire in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and it’s a short trip for anyone in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, too.
Prize lists are online at both www.sceconline.com and www.horseshowtime.com. For more information, contact Robert Kellerhouse at 951-303-0405 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.