Saturday is a special day at Menlo Charity Horse Show in Atherton, Calif., from the leadline to the $40,000 Stephen Silver Grand Prix; there truly is something for everyone.
As the riders prepared for the $40,000 Stephen Silver Grand Prix, the celebration of 17-year-old Peterbilt and his retirement from competitive life took center stage. Guy Thomas spoke fondly about his FEI World Equestrian Games partner.
“I haven’t ridden Peterbilt in 18 months, I was prepared for him to be wild and fresh, but he was like the perfect gentleman,” said Thomas. “He walked out into the ring, trotted around and cantered around, like he’d been working for the last two years. I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my career, my mom and dad [Butch and Lu Thomas] have always had me on the best horses that they could. Peterbilt is special because he is one that we bred and raised; I have ridden both his parents, Liocalyon and Jeribos, and he’s got the best of them both and more.
“I knew this was coming but tonight finalizes it, and it is going to be hard,” he continued. “I know it is the right thing, and it is time for him. The biggest thing is that he had colic surgery last fall, and instead of making a comeback again, we said this is it time let him go and make Peterbilt babies. Hopefully in eight or 10 years they will be winning Grand Prix, just like their dad. He will go to my parents’ Willow Tree Farm to stand at stud. We also have a 2-year-old at home from him already, so hopefully he will get some of his fathers’ qualities. Menlo is our home show, what better place to retire him. Peterbilt won the grand prix here three times, and two of which were back to back. It is a special place.”
2017 marks the first year that Stephen Silver is the sponsor of the $40,000 Grand Prix bearing his name.
“Growing up in the area, as a family we attended the Menlo Charity Horse Show since its founding,” says Stephen Silver, chairman and CEO of Stephen Silver, the leading Silicon Valley jewelry and watch retailer in the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel. “The show is part of the fabric of the community, and like our business, is committed to philanthropy in the area. We have been a sponsor for seven years now, and are delighted to have the opportunity this year to sponsor the Grand Prix, which has always been my favorite event.”
Scott Starnes set a beautiful course on the grass jumper field. The challenging course questioned both horse and rider, and only seven of the initial 25 starters posted clear rounds advancing them to the jump-off to the delight of the standing room only crowd.
Out of only four clear rounds in the jump-off, Kristin Hardin and Nicole Teague’s Firestone S, took the lead over second place finisher Jill Prieto-Gaffney aboard Carlton Café, ultimately winning by 1 full second.
“I knew I could be really fast to jumps 1, 2 and 3 and the combination,” said Hardin. “The faster you go, the more careful he gets, and the higher he jumps. I put a lot of faith in him because I was pretty fast into the combination, and I just kept kicking. He jumped better there than he ever has. He is a fantastic horse with a heart of gold. He tries so hard for me. I have been second a few times and always wanted to win this class.”