California Riding Magazine • December, 2011

Winner's Circle

Alliston All The Way

Although the rains returned at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event on the final day, Sunday Nov. 6, they couldn't stop the juggernaut that was British rider James Alliston. He started the day by winning the CCI1* aboard Mojo, then he placed second in the CCI2* with Tivoli. And then he finished his day with a victory in the CCI3*, the last event on the PRO Tour Series, aboard India McEvoy's Jumbo's Jake. He also placed seventh in this division with his own Parker II.
"I got the day rolling the right way with the one-star win, because the round I had was pretty horrible and I got really lucky," said James. "And [all] the horses jumped great after that."

A native of England, James spent six years working for Bruce Davidson back East before moving to California, where he is based at the Graceland Equestrian Center in the East Bay Area's Castro Valley. He has had a terrific year and is continuing his ascent on the national eventing scene.

Richard Rocks It

Richard Spooner has a habit of making long trips worth his while. Most recently, he and Cristallo won the $250,000 Alltech National Horse Show Grand Prix held Nov. 5 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. He beat out Great Britain's great veteran, Nick Skelton on Carlo 273, and fast rising American star Jessica Springsteen in the win.

Medals Galore! Adult Medal Finals, Quiett Maintains Her Reign

In its inaugural year at the Las Vegas National in early November, the PCHA Victor Hugo-Vidal Adult Medal Finals challenged riders with not only built-in tests but also the indoor setting. Three riders finished the first two rounds within three percentage points of each other and returned for a work-off. Called in second, Lorri Quiett on Abigail performed well and ultimately earned the top spot. Quiett and third place finisher Lorena Christie train with Carolyn Biava of First Field Farm. Karoline Sauls finished second and is trained by Tasha Visokay of Karen Healey Stables.

Megan Gore hoped her fourth try at the CPHA Horsemanship Medal Final would be the lucky one and it was. She won this year's final in late October, during the Gold Coast 7 show at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Megan trains with Julie Conner-Daniels and was thrilled to emerge as victor among 27 contestants. Thirteen year old Karagan Lu Smith, trained by Scott Lico, finished in reserve.

At that same show, Morgan Dickerson, trained by Deirdra Davis, rode to the top in the CPHA Child/Adult Medal Final. It is the 14 year old's first medal final victory. Far West Farm student Cayley Boyd finished in reserve.

Norcal Medal Finals

The Norcal Medal Finals saw another year of strong competition in its four divisions: Senior, Junior, Pony and 3', with all levels arriving at exciting conclusions on Sunday Oct. 16 at Leone Equestrians in Sacramento.

Julia Nagler wins her first medal final. Photo: Tass Jones Photography

Julia Nagler (Benson Carroll and Candace King, trainers), who had a firm lead in the Junior Medal Final in 2010 but fell to third after a bobble in the work off, came back in 2011 to win in the Senior Final in her first year as an amateur. She rode two beautiful and consistent rounds, and her leading scores of 85.33 in Round 1 and 88 in Round 2 had her on top once again going into the work-off. Riding in reverse order of their standings, Julie topped Michelle Tobin (Joey Pedroni, trainer), who finished in reserve, and third and fourth place finishers Jacqi Maida (Diane Yeager, trainer) and Karrie Rufer (Diane Yeager, trainer).

The Junior Medal Final was a bit more of a battle, with Maggie Drysch (Kelly Van Vleck, trainer) topping the first round with 86.33 but then slipping to third in the second round when Emma Dawley (Kara Mia Clark, trainer) put in a beautiful round and passed her with an 86. However, Maggie still led overall, and the two headed for the work-off, along with Addyson Cord (Sami Milo, trainer) and Katie Mahler (Jan Pearce, trainer). While all four put in clean tests, Emma put in the best hand gallop fence to set herself apart and take the championship title. Maggie was reserve champion, with Addyson in third and Katie in fourth.

Emma Dawley tops the Nor Cal Junior Medal Final.
Photo: Tass Jones Photography

In Hunter Ring 2, the pony riders started things off with the Nor Cal Pony Final. Kathryn Kramer (John French, trainer) led both rounds, but her pony shied in the work-off and she fell to third place overall. Sarah Ryan (Sonoma Valley Stables, trainer) and Keely Laughlin (Tracy Cotchett, trainer) who went into the work-off in second and third place, respectively, both executed their tests well and moved up to earn the champion and reserve titles. Sophia Lambiase (Lynn Mullins, trainer) also rode well throughout both rounds and the work-off to claim the fourth place ribbon.

The largest of the finals was the Nor Cal 3' Medal Final, where many riders make a stop on their way up through the ranks to the bigger medals. Forty-one riders negotiated Peter Grant's courses, so the numbers alone created a lot of pressure for the juniors and amateurs who competed against each other for the top title.

Jayme Omond (Kelly Van Vleck, trainer) led the first round with a score of 83, and although she placed third in the second round, she remained at the top of the overall standings going into the work-off. She entered the ring for the final test with Katie Steiner (Denize Borges, trainer) in second place, Gwen McLaughlin (Beverly Jovais, trainer) in third, and Ransome Rombauer (Benson Carroll, trainer) in fourth. Unfortunately, both Gwen and Ransome went off course and took themselves out of contention for the top title. Katie and Jayme both put in beautifully smooth tests, and Jayme in particular made an efficient and quiet halt after the last fence followed by a confident sitting trot. In the end, she took home the championship title while Katie was reserve champion. Ransome earned the third place ribbon, while Gwen was fourth.

Thanks to LEG Up News for these last two reports.