California Riding Magazine • August, 2014

Winner's Circle

Region 7 Defends Gold at Junior/Young Rider Championships

Catherine Chamberlain and Verdicci reigned supreme in dressage competition at the Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Riders Championships, held July 16-20 at the Kentucky Horse Park. They led Region 7 to a repeat team gold in the Young Rider division, then earned the Individual gold as well with a 71.789%. The pair won a third gold medal on Saturday by taking the Individual Freestyle class.

A veteran of the Championships, Catherine attributed her terrific performances this year to experienced trainers. "I just started training with David (Wightman) and Kathleen (Raine) last November, and they are so experienced," Chamberlain said. "They've been to the World Equestrian Games, and all over Germany showing, so coming to their barn was a completely new experience for me. I've had my horse for seven years now, but there's always so much more to learn, and working with them has been working on the fine points."
David and Kathleen operate Adventure Farms in the Temecula wine country.

Catherine's and Verdicci's 72.132 score set the pace for Region 7's defense of the team gold. Anna Buffini and Sundayboy (see article on page 30) finished second in the team round with a 68.921 and Cassidy Gallman and Lindsey Brewin did their part, too, for a dominating team total of 206.737. Cassidy and Grand Makana finished sixth in the Young Rider Freestyle.

Region 7 also medaled in the Junior division, finishing in the bronze spot with a team comprised of three Californians and one member from Region 7's Washington: Heather Decent. Danielle Bonavito had the Region 6/7 squad's top score with a 68.216, while Lauren Mack and Olivia Zellinger also had strong performances. Lauren also finished ninth in the Junior Individual.

Area VI held its own in eventing. Our sole contender in the Young Rider (2-star) division, Alexandra Willoughby and Tiki Car, finished fourth individually and contributed great performances in all three phases to help a combined Areas VI and V team to the silver medal. Bravo! And, Kaylawna Smith fulfilled her dream in the Junior ranks with an excellent performance on London Calling OHF. They sat first after dressage, then accrued eight penalties on cross country and four faults in show jumping to end a very respectable overall ninth place.

Medals eluded the Zone 10 show jumping squads but there were bright spots for the future. In the Junior division, Peyton Warren and Gabrielle Cirelli finished 10th and 14th in the Individual standings. Will and Nicole Simpson's daughter Sophie rode Why Me to bronze in the Junior division. She rides for Florida's Zone 4, but will always be a rider the West Coast can proudly call our own.
Hannah von Heidegger finished 11th in the individual Young Rider ranks with E-Unanime de la Hale, and two Zone 10 riders joined riders from Zone 5 for a fifth place overall team finish in that division.

Photo by McCool

Bumble Bee and Skylar Wireman win the Zone 10 West Coast Pony Hunter Challenge

Bumble Bee, a small black Welsh pony, owned by Kelly Covey, and his pilot, Skylar Wireman, won the Zone 10 Small/Medium Green Pony Hunter Challenge in San Juan Capistrano—the jumping round as well as the overall Championship in the two-day challenge. Six-year-old Bumble Bee just began his showing career with a few county shows at the end of 2013, and made his A show debut this year. "The Pony Challenge was only his third rated show, and his first time showing on grass!" reports Skylar's proud mom and trainer Shayne Wireman. Nine-year-old Skylar also made her A show debut with Bumble Bee, and the two have formed a great partnership.  

The dynamic mother-daughter duo is based out of Shayne's Chestnut Hills Equestrian Center in Bonsall. Skylar and Shayne are both very grateful to Kelly for giving Skylar the opportunity to ride and show Bumble Bee, who they describe as a "wonderful pony."

USA Para-Driving Team (left to right) Virginia Fitch, Diane Kastama and Veteran Robert Giles at the closing ceremony of the 2014 FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships June 27-29. Photo by Marie de Ronde-Oudemans. More at

Diane Kastama Contributes to USA Team Bronze

Arroyo Grande-based para-equestrian driver Diane Kastama continued her inspiring ways by contributing to team bronze at the FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships, which concluded June 29 at The Royal Estate in Sandringham, England.

Germany earned team gold, The Netherlands, silver and the USA clinched bronze with a mere 3.29 penalties behind The Netherlands. Great Britain finished in fourth place.

Individually, Diane finished 11th in the Grade 1 division. Teammates Robert Giles won the Grade 2 silver medal and Virginia "Boo" Fitch earned the Grade 2 fourth place finish. Mary Gray earned a 10th place in Grade 2. Marie De Ronde served as chef d'equipe for the USA team and Sara Schmitt served as coach.

It was the first time that these championships were hosted in England. Para-equestrian drivers from eight nations competed in a fiercely fought contest for world supremacy. Four of the nations, including the USA, fielded a team of at least three competitors required for the team awards; the other countries were represented by individual competitors. Individual medals are awarded by "grade," which is a classification by the FEI according to level of disability (with Grade I being more severely disabled than Grade II). Sixty percent of the competitors were Grade I.

Diane Kastama was paralyzed from the waist down after a 1991 car accident. She had loved horses and riding all her life, and turned to driven dressage, then combined driving, as a way to continue that passion after her accident. She has competed successfully against able-bodied drivers and has a big fan base thanks to appearances at equestrian events on the West Coast and well beyond. Diane has also been a force in para-equestrian competition since 2002,