Monday, May. 27, 2024

Omar Shariff Plays Starring Role In Scottsdale

Record heat baked the show grounds on the final day of the Scottsdale Spring Festival Horse Show. Allison Kroff was worried that the heat might have taken a little of the jump out of her Atlantis, the first of her two horses to come back for the jump-off in the $25,000 Scottsdale Spring Grand Prix, March 21 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"I didn't know if fatigue was going to set in," said the Arizona amateur. "My first horse had sat out here for a long time."

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Record heat baked the show grounds on the final day of the Scottsdale Spring Festival Horse Show. Allison Kroff was worried that the heat might have taken a little of the jump out of her Atlantis, the first of her two horses to come back for the jump-off in the $25,000 Scottsdale Spring Grand Prix, March 21 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“I didn’t know if fatigue was going to set in,” said the Arizona amateur. “My first horse had sat out here for a long time.”

Kroff need not have worried. The 9-year-old, Dutch mare by Burggraaf had plenty of energy left and didn’t rub a jump. With a clear round in hand, Kroff chose to go a little faster with Omar Shariff. The 8-year-old, Dutch gelding by Indoctro bettered his stablemate’s time by more than two seconds, which did not surprise Kroff.

“He’s naturally a little faster over the ground,” she said. “He’s always on his hind end and ready to jump and turn and go.”

Another Arizona amateur, Tracy Kenly, had a chance for the win. She and Heraklion had the last fence down, however, in a time slightly slower than Omar Shariff’s. Kenly would have to settle for third.

“This is a big win, so I’m very excited,” said Kroff, who enjoyed Brian Flynn’s long, demanding course. “The jumps weren’t very high, but it was still a test around all of it. Every aspect of it was difficult. Come around a corner, and there’s a big jump or a triple bar, rollback to an in-and-out, very technical all the way around.”

 

Just Have Fun

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Amy Lang came all the way from Austin, Texas, to be a star in the Scottsdale pony ring, winning eight blues in nine classes and the pony hunter championship on Just Do It.

The pony Lang had been riding earlier in the year was not working out, so a friend of Lang’s mother offered the use of her daughter’s pony. The little Appaloosa had spent much of the previous year standing happily in a back pasture in Kansas. Lang tried him out, and it was obvious from the first that the pair were a good match.

“He’s very kind, and he trusts me, and he’s always happy,” Lang said. “He’s always in a good mood. He’s a great jumper.”

Lang trains with Donna Cheney, who always emphasizes the positive when it’s time to go to the ring. “Don’t worry about everything and just have fun,” Lang said, quoting Cheney. “That’s what you’re here to do, have fun.”

Sandra Biermann had plenty of fun, taking advantage of a regional rule that allows riders to show in both the adult amateur and amateur-owner divisions at the same show. The catch is that it can’t be on the same horse, and both horses must be owned by the rider. Biermann, who trains with Sheri Templin and Renae Coates, was champion in the amateur-owners with Rumors, and in the adult amateurs, 36 & over, with What If.

Biermann loves both her horses, but it might be said she loves Rumors best. Sallie Cutler imported the 11-year-old gelding to Oregon. Coates first saw him in a junior under saddle class at the HITS Desert Circuit in Indio, Calif., three years ago and knew Rumors would be perfect for Biermann.

“Renae came running back and said, ‘I found your horse,’ ” Biermann recalled. When she took Rumors out for a test ride, she fell in love on the spot. “I got on him, and it was like riding a cloud,” she said. “He was the smoothest, most comfortable horse you could ride.”

He also had no trouble with the 3’6″ fences in the amateur ring. “He’s got that nice amateur jump,” said Biermann. “He jumps very nicely with his knees, but he doesn’t jump you loose.”

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Biermann’s adult hunter champion, What If, had a previous career as a junior hunter. Biermann, a corporate attorney for Arizona Blue Shield/Blue Cross, really doesn’t have the time in her busy life to develop young horses. “They’re so nice when they’re made,” she said. “They know what they’re doing.”

Experienced or not, What If still has his quirks. “He’s a character,” Biermann said, laughing. “He has his way, and if you do it his way, you’ll do well.”

One thing What If does not like is the in-gate. Biermann has gotten in the habit of giving him a treat every time they’re about to enter the ring. “He’s thinking about the cookie instead of the gate,” Biermann said.

Junior Star

Katie Rosenzweig was also a double champion, earning the high-point award in both small and large junior hunters. She took the tricolor in the small juniors with her own Who’s That, and in the larges with Pat Carleton’s Mikhail.

Each of the Thoroughbred geldings has his own characteristics in the ring, and Who’s That is the most straightforward. ” ‘Who’s’ gotten to the point where he rides a lot like a pony,” said Rosenzweig, of Scottsdale, Ariz. “Point and shoot

 

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