California Riding Magazine • November, 2011

Show Report:
Saer Soars at LA International
LA International Jumping Festival gets medal season off to a great start.

courtesy of LEG Up News

The L.A. International Jumping Festival (Sept. 21-25) was a festival indeed, drawing riders from all over to compete in five days of jumping in seven rings that ran all day. There was something for everyone, from the Rusty Stirrup to the three big highlights of the event: the $50,000 L.A. International Grand Prix, $3,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic, and the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final. Here are just a few of the many exhibitors who got a little blue during the show.

Nineteen-year-old Saer Coulter and Springtime were the only pair to log a double clear round in the $50,000 World Cup qualifier. Mark Watring and Green Sleeps Vioco finished second, followed by Francie Steinwedell-Carvin aboard Taunus and Kirsten Coe and Angelli. Saer's Nations Cup experience in Europe this summer and coaching from Meredith and Markus Beerbaum has added terrific experience to her already solid base as an up and coming jumper rider.

Saer Coulter takes charge in the $50,000 L.A. International Grand Prix.
Photo: Flying Horse Photography

Rebecca Bruce has done very well in the hunter classics this season, having won at Memorial Day Classic in May. She did it again at the L.A. International in the $3,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic, this time with her Cirque Du Soleil. She tackled Chris Collman's course with grace and style, taking three of the higher options to earn 90 in the first round and 91 in the second for an average score of 90.5. Archie Cox came the closest to matching her, receiving of 87 and 90 for an average of 88.5 and second place.

Cirque Du Soleil also earned some ribbons with Katie Brown, winning the L.A. International Mini Hunter Classic, the Low Children's Hunters, and Short Stirrup Equitation, as well as other ribbons in those sections.

To reward the juniors and amateurs competing against the professionals, Allon sponsored the Allon High Score Amateur Rider and Allon High Score Junior Rider in all the hunter derby classes at LAEC shows this season. $50 Allon gift certificates were awarded to the high placing junior in the class, Ashley Brien aboard Manhattan (Garland Farms, owner) in seventh, and the high amateur, Laura Wasserman with her Truman, in eleventh.

Thirteen-year-old Morgan Dickerson (Deirdra Davis, trainer) has found himself in the winner's circle several times this year, and he added to his roster of ribbons while at the L.A. International Jumping Festival. He won his Children's Hunters 12-14 and the $500 Children's Hunter Classic on his LaCora.

Demi Stiegler shines in the equitation ring. Photo: Flying Horse Photography

Demi Stiegler (Robin Stiegler and Archie Cox, trainers) had an outstanding show at L.A. International, winning not only the prestigious Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final, but the CPHA Foundation Equitation Class, the USEF Zones 8,9,10 Hunter Seat Medal Regional Final, and her Equitation 16-17 classes as well. "There are some incredible riders who have won the Talent Search," Demi remarked. "It's really amazing to be in that company."

"She has great sportsmanship," said Demi's mother and trainer, Robin. "She always has a smile on her face whether she wins or loses, and if it's not her, she's always happy for whoever did win."
Demi will head off to study Criminal Justice at Texas Christian University in January, where she has a full scholarship. "I will continue riding when I have time and show when school is out," she explained. "I plan to keep riding and will hopefully get to show more in the jumper ring. I'm really passionate about it."

Michelle Morris (Karen Healey, trainer) has had a lot of success in the equitation ring. As a testament to that, she received a Silver Medal for winning 10 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search classes. The medals were distributed in a special presentation during the final on Saturday.

"The Silver Medal has a been a goal of mine ever since I got the Bronze a couple years ago," Michelle shared. "Throughout my junior years the Talent Search was my favorite because it was so different from the others. It's about more than looking pretty; you have to really ride, and the courses are more technical."

She placed ninth in the Talent Search Final that day, and she won the USEF Zones 8,9,10 Adult Equitation Regional Finals after topping the first round and placing second in the second round. "I was very excited. It was personally very satisfying because I rode Berjerac, a horse I've owned since 2002. He was the first horse I jumped 3'6" on and we moved up through the levels together. It's been a process teaching him to be an equitation horse so it's been a big progression. I have such a personal connection with him, so to win on him was a huge accomplishment."

Michelle is currently a senior double majoring in Mass Media Arts and Film Studies at the University of Georgia. She flew out Wednesday for L.A. International and went home on Sunday to get back to class. She is on the school's equestrian team and will coach it next year.

Diane Richie gets Dual Ribbons

Diane Richie was super happy with her two horses, particularly after placing first with Rich Paddy and second with Ragtime S in the $1,000 Adult Amateur Jumper Classic. "My horses were so good," she said. "We got there later than everyone else because we didn't start showing until Friday, but we got better each day. This was only our second show all year so I was very happy to win the classic. I was a little nervous; I just wanted to go clean and not fall off."

Erin Murphy (Lisa Westin, trainer) was a busy girl, showing three different horses. With her Tornado, she won the Children's Jumpers and the $1,000 Children's Jumper Classic, and she won the Low Child/Adult Amateur Jumper Classic and several other ribbons in the section on her Paloma Palooza. She was also third in the Onondarka Medal Class aboard Grand Turismo (Georges Bittar, owner).

Sage Flynn (Hap Hansen, trainer) was a star in both the equitation and jumper rings. She earned the top score in Phase III of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final and placed second overall in a field of 41 talented riders aboard Punkt (Melissa Doddridge, owner). Punkt was so solid during the grueling four-phase competition that he was given the Best Horse Award by the judges. On her own Hot Pants, Sage won the $5,000 Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic.

"It felt great," Sage said of her performance in the Talent Search. "Punkt was unbelievable. I did the 1.40M Jumpers at Spruce Meadows, so I knew I could do this, and all of the girls helped each other in the course walk and with the horses. It was a great experience."

In the jumper ring, Claire Gallagher (Jenni Martin-McAllister, trainer) earned several ribbons with her two horses. She piloted her Tulum to victory in the $1,000 1.20M Jumper Stake over 17 other entries. She also placed second with Tulum and third with Derby County in the 1.25M Jumpers. Claire balances her riding with her studies as a third year student at UCLA.

Riley Thomas (Rusty Stewart, trainer) made a good showing in the jumper ring, winning the $1,500 Modified Junior-Amateur Jumper Classic aboard her Sid. She also placed fourth in the $1,000 Adult Amateur Jumper Classic and Adult Amateur Jumpers with her Charmeur Z.

Jessica Pyfer (Susie Artes, trainer) moved up to the Low Junior Jumpers for the first time at L.A. International, and she rode as though she's been there all year. She won a Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumpers class and the $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic aboard her Wow Trigger, a 20-year-old horse that jumps like a horse half his age.

"I just wanted to go in there and follow the plan, get the right number of strides and keep him in front of my leg," Jessica explained. "I felt really good about it, and I want to do some more shows at this level."
Jessica's trainer Susie Artes had a good show as well, bringing home some blues in the 1.35M Jumpers and $2,000 1.35M Jumper Stake with Karina (Alix Fargo, owner) and the 1.05M Jumpers with Topaz (Alex Elardi, owner). "I was really happy with the horses," she added. "They were superstars."

Susie had a little time to enjoy the new LEG Jumper Riders Tent, which provided a quiet place to relax for jumper riders. "I thought it was great. It was nice to feel special and to have a quiet place where we could go and be away from everyone for a while."

In the Rusty Stirrup sections, Ame Austin (Jenni Martin-McAllister, trainer) got some good experience with her Starflight while adding a few ribbons to her collection. She won a Rusty Stirrup Hunters class and placed second in Rusty Stirrup Equitation, Pleasure and Hunters Under Saddle.

With classes for all levels of riders, the L.A. International is always fun for exhibitors and spectators alike.

Article courtesy of LEG UP News. For more information about the L.A. International Jumping Festival, including complete results, visit