Missy Froley and Ramsey show their cool and consistent style in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Photo: Sheri Scott
BJill Humphrey of Leone Equestrians showed Woodside what she's made of at the Woodside Spring Preview held April 25-28 in Woodside. To start off the week, Jill took the $2,500 Open Welcome Stake by storm by swiping first, second, and third place.
First place belongs to her Zidane, the only horse to have a clean round out of the field of 15. "I was very proud of him," Jill said, beaming. "It was his first big win and he is still pretty young, so I was glad to be able to ride him in an easy manner to build his confidence. I just wanted him to have a good experience in the show ring." Humphrey expects great things from Zidane, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood. Jill came in second on Zubliem (Alicia Foster, owner) and third on Livin' the Dream (Leone Equestrians, owner), both with four faults.
Jill's success over the weekend was just getting started. The $10,000 Woodside Spring Preview Grand Prix welcomed spectators and riders alike. A complimentary pasta dinner at tables overlooking the Grand Prix ring of GGT footing made an ideal setting for an exciting class. Course designer Anthony D' Ambrosio kept in mind that the class was an official Zone 10 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) Selection Trial when designing the course. "I wanted to meet the NAYRC requirements, but also wanted to provide a positive experience for horse and rider," Anthony explained. "It prepares them for the bigger grand prix classes because of the open water jump and somewhat difficult bending lines. I feel they will have the most difficulty with the steady six strides to the skinny vertical, followed by a forward six strides to the oxer. That particular line requires a very micromanaged ride to keep the rails up." Anthony's prediction proved true as several rails fell there.
The jump off was a contest between two riders, Guy W. Thomas and Jill Humphrey, the only two to go clean in the first round. Guy and his Peterbilt had a blazing time of 43.17, but a heartbreaking rail. "I was really happy with Peterbilt tonight; he felt great," Guy commented. "We have been on and off the last year, so this was our first time out in a while. The rail was a little bit my fault but I wasn't able to get a warm up in on Thursday so I felt we did really well considering. When you're the first one out you want to make them go catch you."
Guy and Peterbilt have quite the history, considering Guy bred the 13-year-old Holsteiner stallion and has worked with him since birth. The 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky have been a highlight of this pair's career thus far.
Jill and Zubliem followed Guy, and before setting a hoof in the ring, Jill had a set plan of what she needed to do to get the blue. "I knew I needed a clean round, but I also needed to be mindful of the time allowed," Jill recalled. "Zubliem is such a reliable horse who is generally quick and clean, so I wasn't worried. He is very careful and knows his job, despite his young age. I am very grateful to be able to ride him, and am so thankful to his owner, Alicia, for letting me ride him while she's taking time off for her pregnancy."
Jill piloted Zubliem through a clean round in a steady time of 46.50 for the win, which was a wonderful surprise for owner Alicia, who is due with her second child any day. It was a great way to cap the weekend for Jill, who plans to return to Woodside for more shows this season. "I plan my show schedule according to many things, but the most important is the footing. I absolutely love the GGT footing here and think it makes all the difference."
As a NAJYRC Zone 10 Young Rider Selection Trial, all competitors from 16 to 21 competed for a chance at a spot on the Zone 10 NAJYRC team. A total of six youngsters tackled the 1.45M course hoping for success. Haley Schwab (Macella O'Neill, trainer) aboard her own mount, Wakyra, ended up fifth, and the highest of the NAJYRC candidates of a field that mainly consisted of professionals.
The pair had an unlucky rail down off the skinny vertical but managed to finish strong. Haley was on the Zone 10 Junior team in 2012 and went to Kentucky to compete. "I had the best time qualifying for the team last year. We traveled all over, did all sorts of fun things, and made great memories. I moved to California from the Midwest and am loving it. My dad was born and raised here and I've have been riding with Macella O'Neil during the summers since I was eight, so it's awesome that I'm here full time now."
The USEF Show Jumping Talent Search is another chance for junior and young riders to shine, and the class was underway bright and early Sunday morning. The course included many of the same technical lines and open water from the previous night's grand prix. Fourteen-year-old Ransome Rombauer (Daniel Ighani, trainer) and her Casanova topped the competition with their flawless ride in the flat phase. Although they had a foot in the water in the jumping phase, they managed to come out on top due to solid jumping and flat combined. "At home, we really focus on the details of position and connection with the horse," comments her trainer, Daniel. "We do as much as we can without over-jumping the horses, since they have such a busy show schedule. Our horses' health and happiness are very important."
Jill Humphrey is queen of the jumper ring at Woodside Spring Preview.
Photo: Sheri Scott
Ransome is qualified for the CPHA Foundation Medal Final and the WCE Final, and she also plans to participate in the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final. "Casanova is a solid equitation horse in both hunter and jumper type medals. Ransome rides him well," Daniel stated.
Jayme Omand (Kelly Van Vleck, trainer) claimed second place aboard LEGIS Maloubet. Although they also had a foot in the water, Jayme was consistent in both phases. Jayme works hard at home, and it pays off in the show ring. "Kelly has us do a lot of no stirrups work while at home," she explains. "I try to ride without stirrups when just hacking as well, so my lower leg strength is really my foundation." Jayme has only been riding LEGIS Maloubet for four months, but they are already making a great pair. "We are planning on doing the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Final and hopefully, if we're ready, move up to the 1.20M Jumpers. He is such a great horse, and I'm learning so much from him."
There was also some excitement in the hunter ring during the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Missy Froley of Oak Haven Stables topped the competitive field of 38 horses aboard Ramsey (Bay Rose, LLC, owner), just one point above Paul Bennett and his veteran derby mount, Capitol Hill (Nicolette Hirt, owner). "It was really fun to have a crowd out to watch the hunters, since you don't see as much as compared to jumpers," commented Missy. "It was really cool because Ramsey was first to go in the first round and held his spot throughout the other 37 horses. The crowd were sitting on the edges of their seats during the handy round and went wild when Ramsey won by one point." The win also puts Missy in contention for the LEGIS Hunter Rider Bonus.
"This was the first national derby we have won together, and I'm so happy. He is such a cool
horse, and he doesn't really look at the especially spooky jumps like the hay bales." The pair
was also Performance Working Hunter 3'3" Reserve Champion.
For complete results, visit www.langershows.com. Press release provided by LEG Up News.