Las Vegas—Nov. 18
The Las Vegas National Horse Show might take place in the entertainment capital of the world, but it’s business as usual for those on the ground at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa’s South Point Equestrian Center. Get the inside scoop on some of the faces we saw on site.
Nayel Nassar And Lucifer V, The New Teammates
When Nayel Nassar entered the South Point Arena aboard Lucifer V, it looked as if the horse was in no rush to get going.
The 12-year-old Westphalian gelding isn’t one to shy away from a rear or a buck, and he knows how to put on a scene. Ring antics aside, Lucifer is quite the competitor at heart, as proven on Saturday with his first-placed finish in the $50,000 Las Vegas National Winning Round Jumper Classic.
“I’ve been riding him for about five months now; a huge thank you obviously to Evergate Stables for the ride,” said Nassar, 27. “He’s just been such a cool addition to my string. We’ve done a few shows, but I feel like I’m getting to know him better and better every time. He’s such a competitive horse; he’s such a trier. He’s got his own quirks, he likes to buck and play a little bit, but he’s definitely such a cool addition.”
The pair was one of 11 combinations to return to the jump-off where they posted an unbeatable time of 44.41 seconds.
“Our relationship is starting to improve,” said Nassar. “I can’t say I can predict him very well yet—I’m still not sure when he’s going to act up before the timers and when not.
“Today I kind of figured that he’s feeling good, he’s feeling fresh, he’s had a couple days off since his last class, and I really wanted to target this class with him,” he continued. “He jumped super; he tried his heart out, covered the ground really quickly, and luckily we could come away with the win.”
Adele, The Superstar
“Her name was Aurora when we bought her, and I wanted a different name,” said Chelsea Samuels, owner and rider of Adele. “That song ‘Rolling In The Deep’ was really popular because it had just come out, and I was riding with Archie Cox at the time, and he and I would listen to it in the car on the trip when we bought her. I kind of had that in the back of my mind and my barn mate Laura Wasserman suggested it, and it kept coming to the top of the list. I think it suits her. She has a big personality and she’s beautiful.
“She’s very sweet, but she’s always begging for cookies; she’s always kicking her stall door if you’re not paying attention to her,” Samuels continued. “She wants to play with every dog, every baby, every small child, and she loves the attention to be on her in every possible way.”
Colour Your Life, The Up-And-Comer
“She’s one of the kindest, sweetest horses you’re ever going to be around; she’s a gentle giant,” said Steve Bond, Ashlee Bond’s father. “She’s a new ride for [Ashlee]; we’ve had her for almost a year. She came with a bone bruise, and we rehabilitated her, and this is her second or third show, so this is the biggest class she jumped with Ash.”
Augusta Iwasaki And Vanderpump, The Deal Closers
Augusta Iwasaki has lived her life in the saddle, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a time and place for her to get nervous. Such was the case when she entered Round 3 of the West Coast Equestrian Junior/Amateur Medal Finals 1.5 points behind the leader.
“Round 3 was a little nerve-wracking for me,” said Iwasaki. “I’ve been showing since I was really little, so I don’t usually get super nervous, but when it’s that tight and it’s like a competitive situation, [there are] a little bit of nerves.”
Breathing exercises are a remedy Iwasaki practices, a suggestion given to her from sports psychologist Marjorie Sugarman. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s known her ride Vanderpump for nearly two years.
“He’s amazing to ride and because I’ve been riding him for so long, we just know each other so well, and it’s just very smooth, a really good feeling,” she said.
Iwasaki and the 9-year-old warmblood gelding pulled through to earn the title of WCE Medal Final Champion with a leading margin of 2.25 points.
Carlos Soriano, Groom Extraordinaire
“[I got into grooming] by accident; losing my other job and someone brought me to the horse show,” said Carlos Soriano. “From that time until now I just loved grooming. I always loved horses [though] I never had the opportunity to have one.
“[Horses are] really good. They have really good manners, and you can learn a lot every day; that’s the best thing,” he continued. I”f you’re nervous, you make your horse nervous. If you’re happy, your horse will be happy.”
Jerra Mays And Mr. Z, Two Peas In A Pod
“On the ground [he’s] super, super sweet,” said Mays. “When we get in the show ring, game on, but when we’re in the warm up—all the trainers are like, ‘Stay away from that horse!’ He totally gets like, ‘WOO,’ leaping in the air and just [being] absolutely spunky.
“I came here expecting him to totally lose it. He has problems with horses coming head on at him, but he has been an absolute trouper,” she added.
Last week, Mays and Mr. Z competed on the Zone 10 1.20/1.25-meter amateur team at the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships, held at the AON HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California. “I think that helped bring him down a little bit,” Mays said. “He’s been clear in his last two rounds, so I’m super excited. He’s been outperforming more than I expected him to.”