Saige Bryan (Abriana Frith, trainer) traveled all the way from Bakersfield to compete at Verdugo Hills May 10-11 in the all new $500 Carousel Hunter Derby created expressly for Children's and Adult riders. Saige and The Duke (Emma Fabbri, owner) won the class, followed by Andrea Smice (Sandrine Seifert, trainer) and her Tabaluga in second.
Riders took on a course set at 2'6'' with two higher options for bonus points. Just like in a traditional derby, the riders were judged on their ability to be handy and rewarded for taking the more challenging options. "It's a wonderful way for up and coming riders to experience a derby course and feel special," explained show secretary Melessa Lee. "In Northern California, the Carousel Hunter Derbies have really grown as a part of the Woodside shows, and I'm glad that they are finally becoming a part of the Verdugo Hills series as well."
Fourteen year-old Saige was surprised to win, considering this was her first time doing a derby and she had just started riding The Duke. "The Carousel Hunter Derby was challenging and something new for me, but I just had faith and enjoyed myself."
Andrea Smice places second in the $500 Carousel Hunter Derby.
Saige not only rides in multiple rings, but also rides a wide variety of horses. "I like riding in all three rings because it teaches me to be adjustable," she said. "I mainly do the jumpers with my own horse because I love the thrill and the pressure. I also take lessons on occasion at Flintridge Riding Club with Team McAllister, and I compete in shows for the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) with Elvenstar. In the IEA shows, you draw a horse at random and only get two warm-up jumps before you do your course. The IEA shows have really helped me progress by learning how to ride more than just one type of horse."
Saige was gearing up to compete at the IEA Hunt Seat National Finals in Massachusetts May 17-18 in the Future Intermediate division (see IEA story, page 12). Saige's heart remains in the jumper ring, and she hopes to one day ride in a Grand Prix. "My mom was the one who got me started riding at the age of 3," added Saige, who thought being at a horse show was a great way to celebrate Mother's Day—especially since the horse show office gave out Starbucks gift cards to moms who came to the show.
A Jump From Dressage
Caila Barden (Shauna Pennell, trainer) celebrated Mother's Day by taking a successful leap from dressage into jumpers with her mother's horse, Monica. "My mom is actually a dressage trainer," Caila revealed. "I think her work on the flat is really what has enabled Monica to be so adjustable in the jumper ring. Monica is still learning, so I am really happy with our rounds. We plan to keep up the cross-training; my mom will ride her dressage and I will keep showing her in the jumpers."
Caila's mom, Tamara Solange, enjoyed watching her daughter show. "I'm so glad that I got to just take a day off for Mother's Day and spend time with my daughter at the horse show, and I was excited to get a Starbuck's card!"
High school freshman Brooke Bossen (Stephanie Haney, trainer) had a successful show in the 'B' Children's Hunters aboard My Cousin Vinny (Stephanie Haney, owner), earning the reserve championship. Like Saige, Brooke's mom also got her involved in riding at a very young age. "I've been riding ever since I can remember," she said with a laugh. "My mom rides saddle seat on Morgan horses, but chose to start me in hunt seat style riding. We can really relate because we both love horses. She helps me with everything, drives me to every lesson and is always there at every show that I want to go to. We always go shopping at the tack store together. She really encourages me to do my best."
Kylie Calleton and Keepin' It Rio take a break from the ring.
Brooke rides six days per week, and clearly her hard work is paying off. "During my courses, I was focused on keeping my leg on and lifting my hand. Riding is definitely my priority because I want to move up to the Junior Hunters." Brooke has her eye on the LAHJA Champion Tack Trunk for the 'B' Children's Hunters this year.
Seventeen year-old Deni Hird (Stephanie Haney, trainer) came out to support her friend, Brooke, and catch rode Cosmo's Moon (Lisa Stroway, owner). "I work for Lisa one day per week," explained Deni. "Cosmo's Moon is really easy going and keeps getting better. I've only ridden him twice, and this was his third show ever. He's a small junior hunter prospect up for sale. We're planning to show him at Gold Coast May and the Memorial Day Classic to give him more miles and experience in the show ring. It helps my riding a lot to jump different horses and keep my eye adjusted." Because she is homeschooled, Deni is able to take the time to ride five or six horses per day.
Jumping to the jumper ring, 16-year-old Kylie Calleton (Sandrine Seifert, trainer) and her Keepin' it Rio kept their rounds consistent and won the championship in the .80M Jumpers. Kylie has big plans for the future and plans to start showing at the 3' level.
Kylie keeps up the equestrian family tradition, carrying on her grandmother's passion for horses. "My grandma actually used to ride with Susie Hutchison and my mom always wanted to ride," she explained. "My mom has always supported me in my riding. She drives me to lessons and watches me show."
Kylie's mom, Jennifer, was standing ring-side to support Kylie the entire show. "I'm really excited about the Starbucks gift cards they gave out to all the moms at the show," Jennifer commented. "We usually stop at Starbucks on the way to the barn, so it's perfect."
Kylie's trainer, Sandrine Seifert, is currently in the lead for the Verdugo Hills Outreach Trainer Incentive, and Lisa Stroway is leading the tally for the Verdugo Hills Trainer Incentive and remains in second place for the Verdugo Hills Outreach Incentive. With two more Verdugo Hills Shows this season, the competition for Trainer Incentive trips will be heating up. The winner of each Trainer Incentive can choose between a trip to Lake Tahoe, Newport Beach, Palm Desert, or Las Vegas.
"The Trainer Incentive Program is just one more way LEG shows appreciation for those who support their shows," Sandrine remarked. "They realize that trainers work countless hours for their barn, clients, and horses, and that trainers rarely take time for themselves. Last year I was fortunate enough to win an LEG Trainer Incentive trip, and I had a magnificent time in Newport Beach. I had not had a few days off in many years, and just after a weekend I felt completely revived. If I win the Outreach Trainer Incentive this year, I may choose Newport Beach again or try Lake Tahoe. No matter what I choose, I know that it will be a vacation full of relaxation and fun."
For mothers and daughters alike, Verdugo Hills May was the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day.
For more information about Verdugo Hills May, including complete results, visit the LEG website. The next Langer Equestrian Group managed show is the ever-popular Memorial Day Classic, May 21-25, including the $30,000 Memorial Day Classic Grand Prix. In Northern California, the season continues with Woodside Circuit Opener June 18-22.