Monday, May. 27, 2024

Presenting The Farnam Platform/USEF National Hunter And Jumper Champions

Click here to download the full-color photo roster of 2007 USEF National Champions.
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Click here to download the full-color photo roster of 2007 USEF National Champions.

A complete listing of the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Horse Of The Year and Zone Horse Of The Year Awards can be found in the American Horses In Sport 2007, Feb. 1, 2008 issue of  The Chronicle of the Horse. To view the list of grand champions and the national rankings in each division, click here.

Grand Regular Hunter
Regular Working Hunter

Contender

Micaela Kennedy’s Contender was busy during the 2007 season winning in the professional and junior divisions with multiple riders. Kennedy not only showed her horse herself but also shared him with others including Russell Frey, Christina Jason, Maggie Jayne and Elizabeth Towell Boyd.

“He’s so wonderfully simple, and he’s been a good horse for a lot of people,” said Kennedy. “I want him to adapt to different riders, walk in any ring, jumper ring or hunter ring.”

Kennedy purchased Contender from Wilhelm Genn after she watched the horse win a 5-year-old jumper class at The Hampton Classic (N.Y.). “I like horses with a lot of scope; they may take a little bit longer to organize when they’re young, but he’s just so good at taking a rider from any spot,” she added.

Jason, who took over the ride during the final months of the show season, regularly won all five classes toward the championship in the regular working division, such as she did at the McKenzie Fall Festival (Okla.) and the American Royal (Mo.).

Contender (Capitol—Riva) also was piloted in the small junior divisions to third in the national standings and a USEF Zone 7 championship. The gray German Warmblood won tricolors at Lake St. Louis (Mo.) among other shows in the Midwest with rider Michael Burnett.

Based out of Chesterfield, Mo., Kennedy operates Kennedy Farms Equestrian Center and sends horses throughout the country to be shown. Contender continues to win in the regular working division this year and carries junior riders to ribbons as well.



Regular Conformation Hunter

White Oak

Archie Cox didn’t plan to take away the national title with Delanie Stone’s White Oak, “but he kept winning and winning and it just happened,” Cox said.

The 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Manhattan is described by Cox as “one of the most willing horses I’ve ever ridden; he has the desire to go over each jump and give 100 percent.”

Cox and White Oak collected tricolor ribbons all over the country, from Del Mar (Calif.) to the Pennsylvania National, but Cox was most impressed with his performance at the Washington International (D.C.), where they were reserve champions in their division. “Definitely the best show of the year for us; he was unbelievable in the over fences classes,” said Cox.

Stone, now 11, also shows the gelding in the junior division and even competed in a handful of regular conformation classes this past year.

Cox looks forward to splitting the duties with Stone during the 2008 season and hopes to have a repeat year.

“He’s spectacular for his owner,” Cox said. “He’s very bold but gentle at the same time, and his attitude just makes him such a great horse.”



Grand Conformation Hunter
Green Conformation Hunter

Cunningham

“He’s really not like a stallion,” said Cunningham’s owner, Mary Slouka. “He’s very easygoing and has a nice personality. He doesn’t even really like mares that much.”

Slouka purchased Cunningham (Cassini I—Iorella H) in Germany as an unbroken 2-year-old and put him under saddle herself. Now 10, the Hanoverian has been partnered with John Bragg for the past 21⁄2 years.
With Bragg in the irons, Cunningham consistently pinned at the top of his classes and garnered tricolors on the West Coast. But it was his performance at Capital Challenge (Md.) that impressed both Bragg and Slouka. As a qualifier for the WCHR Professional Finals, Bragg chose Cunningham to be one of the horses for the class.

“He was just standing there in that little alley late in the evening, watching the other horses. He didn’t mind at all that all these different riders were getting on him to jump him around,” Slouka said.

Slouka continued, “You wouldn’t know he’s such an easy horse, especially for how big he is. People underestimate his size because John’s 6’3″, but up close you realize he’s massive.”

The 17.1-hand Cunningham doesn’t seem to mind splitting his time between the show ring and his stallion duties, which sometimes would occur in the same day. “There would be times when John would show him, we’d drive him an hour back to the farm for breeding, and then he’d come back and show,” she said.

Now competing in the regular conformation division, Bragg and Cunningham have already won 20 of the 24 classes they’ve entered on the HITS Thermal (Calif.) circuit. Slouka is on-hand for all of Cunningham’s care and also prepares him in the morning for Bragg. “It was amazing to canter him around at Devon [Pa.] last year,” she said.

After a busy show season combined with breeding, Slouka plans to cut back on Cunningham’s workload, but she hopes to compete in the amateur-owner division in the future.

“I’ll never sell him—he’s so special to me,” she said. “He’s my little poodle.”



Grand Green Hunter
First Year Green Hunter

Genuine

John Bragg had a pretty good idea he was on his way to a national championship with Rosemarie Garlock’s Genuine last year. A great jump and beautiful canter were just a few of the characteristics that led to Bragg winning champion or reserve at nearly every show they attended, from the reserve circuit title at HITS Thermal (Calif.) to the grand green hunter championship at Capital Challenge (Md.).

“He’s just a beautiful horse, beautiful to look at with a great expression through the bridle,” Bragg said. “He goes in a rubber snaffle and just lopes the courses.”

Bragg purchased Genuine (Landcapitol—Pandora) from Pam and Monica Hunt in Ocala, Fla., two years ago for Garlock. He enjoyed success in the pre-green divisions but knew moving up to the 3’6″ hunters would really bring out the Oldenburg gelding’s true colors.

“I was really happy to show him in the first years, and especially indoors because I knew the bright jumps would make him look fantastic,” Bragg said. “He really rose to the occasion for me.”

Describing Genuine as one “that you never have to touch his mouth, literally just loop the reins and go,” Bragg had difficulty selling him at the end of the year to new owner Laura King-Kaplan.

“He wasn’t for sale all year, but they really wanted him and I had to let him go,” Bragg lamented.

Purchasing Genuine at Capital Challenge, King-Kaplan skipped Washington but took her new horse to the Pennsylvania National, where Kirsten Coe claimed the first year green tricolor.

“He’s a true winner,” Bragg said. “What can you say about him? He’s just a wonderful horse. I’m glad to hear he’s doing so well now.”

Coe rode Genuine to a second-placed finish in the $42,800 AHJF Hunter Spectacular at the Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular in February.



Second Year Green Hunter

Andiamo

John French won his way around the country in 2007 with Janie Andrews’ Andiamo, beginning the season with two HITS Thermal (Calif.) circuit titles in the second year and regular working divisions.
French and Andiamo, which means “hurry up” in Italian, did just that when they quickly pulled ahead of other competitors to take a staggering lead midway in the show season.

After multiple tricolors at summer shows such as Menlo Charity (Calif.), Showpark (Calif.) and Oaks Blenheim (Calif.), French traveled across the country to tackle the fall indoor circuit.

Winning high ribbons at the Capital Challenge (Md.) and the Washington International (D.C.), French and Andiamo scored a reserve tricolor in their final attempt at the Pennsylvania National.

After a year of success, French parted ways with his partner. Andiamo, a Westphalian by Arpeggio,  now resides in Virginia with owner Megan Fellows, who successfully competes him in the large junior hunter division.



Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter
Amateur-Owner Hunter, 18-35

Armani

Any competitor would be happy to win a national title, or manage to be in the top five. Ann Garnett, however, surpassed expectations and finished with the champion and reserve spots on both her horses. Garnett dominated the younger amateur-owner division with two rides, managing to beat herself with Armani for the title over her other horse, What’d I Say.

Garnett, Athens, Ga., started the year winning at Jacksonville (Fla.) and Ocala (Fla.). Top ribbons at the Ocala Masters prepared her to win the reserve tricolor the following week at the Ocala Tournament.

Continuing up the East Coast, the 23-year-old Garnett showed both horses frequently at shows such as the Atlanta Classic (Ga.), Cavalier Classic (Va.) and HITS Saugerties (N.Y.). Consistently pinning in her classes, she regularly was champion or reserve with one of her horses.
 



Amateur-Owner Hunter, 36 and Over

Elvis

Tracy Sully almost always ended up first or second in her classes with Elvis in 2007, helping her win a national title with ease. A new partner for Sully, Elvis claimed instant success during the show season including winning the HITS Thermal (Calif.) circuit title in the amateur-owner, 36 and over, division.

Elvis was originally a temporary replacement for Sully, whose other horse was rehabilitating from an injury. Wanting to resume her show career full time, Sully quickly purchased the Westphalian gelding last year. Sully had no problem adapting to her new ride and dominated her division on the West Coast.

Originally from Alder Grove, B.C., Sully moved her horses to Gilroy, Calif., for the year to spend less time hauling them to shows and to escape freezing temperatures. The duo showed far less than their other competitors, but the numerous blues helped ensure a national win.

Sully trains with John French and his team at Waldenbrook, but when not competing she takes her horses back to Canada to rest for the early winter months.



Grand Junior Hunter, 15 and Under
Large Junior, 15 and under

Emerald Slippers

Whitney Keifer adapted to Emerald Slippers with such ease that one would never guess it was her first year showing horses. When the mare came up for sale in trainer Jeff Ayers’ barn, Keifer decided to give horses a try.

“When I moved from the ponies to her [Emerald Slippers], we only did two shows in the children’s division before competing in the juniors,” Keifer said. “My mom didn’t think it was going to work because she’s such a big horse and I’m pretty small, but I think we had a pretty good year overall.”

Winning championships at shows such as the Middleburg Classic (Va.) and the Vermont Summer Festival solidified Keifer’s move up in the junior ranks.

Though she was happy to win a national title, it was the chance to compete at indoors that made her most excited. “I’ve had ponies I’ve qualified for indoors before, but they either get sold or I can’t take them. This was my first year to be able to go, and I can’t wait to go back,” she said.

Keifer, a high school junior, helps her mother at their Hidden Fox Farm in Mohnton, Pa., and plans to find more horses to show in the junior divisions. She will, however, continue showing Emerald Slippers, 7, until a new owner comes along.

“She’s a cool horse in the barn, and I really like her personality. Every time you come in, she whinnies for you and is really glad to see you. She’s a sweet horse,” Keifer said.



Small Junior Hunter, 15 and Under

Lyle

Taylor Ann Adams made her debut in the junior hunter division with the veteran Lyle, but she didn’t feel much pressure to carry on his winning tradition. “Normally I would have been really nervous, but the owners are such good people I didn’t think about it much,” Adams remarked.

 Adams rode Lyle to championships at New York Horse & Pony, Cavalier Classic (Va.) and reserve at the Ocala Masters (Fla.). Their biggest win included the tricolor at the Pennsylvania National and top ribbons at the USEF Junior Hunter Finals-East (N.Y.).

“I have more trust in that horse than I do in myself,” Adams quipped. “He’s a good guy; he’ll do anything to save you.”

When Lyle became available for a new rider, Adams jumped at the opportunity with good reason. “I found out from Don [Stewart], and I felt so lucky that I got to ride him. I feel lucky to stand within 10 feet of that horse,” she said.

Adams named many qualities she liked about the Dutch Warmblood, such as his natural rhythm and easygoing manner. When he enters the ring, Adams said, “He makes you feel important, like you know what you’re doing.”

While she misses her brief time of competing with the gray gelding, Adams said she was fortunate to have a shot with him. “I’ll never ride a horse like that again. He’s by far the nicest horse I’ve ever sat on,” she said.

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Lyle’s owner, Stephanie Keen, is giving him time off for now, but he’ll continue to carry upcoming junior riders to ribbons in the future.



Small Junior Hunter, 16-17

Cadeaux

Zach Parks’ purchase of Cadeaux from Bob Crandall last December, resulted from settling a deal with his dad. “I told him we could get another junior horse and I would only show it for one year, in my last junior year,” Parks said.

When searching for another horse with trainer Claiborne Bishop, Charlottesville, Va., Parks knew he wanted to go after a national placing. “I wasn’t sure if winning it could be reached, but I knew I wanted a junior horse that was competitive. I was going for a finish in the top five,” he said.

Parks split his time showing Cadeaux and his other horse, Castleton, a large junior, frequently throughout the show season. He wasn’t sure if his goal would be reached as the season came to an end, though.

“In the middle of the year I was around the top five, and then after indoors I fell down on the list a bit. I didn’t think I had a chance to move up until I went to the last few shows, but I tried to not dwell on it,” he said.

Championships at Duke Benefit (N.C.) and Raleigh-UNC Healthcare Benefit (N.C.) helped Parks launch himself back to the top. “Claiborne and I weren’t out to chase points throughout the year, and I wouldn’t even tell her how I was doing. She always has focused on having me ride to the best of my ability and having fun,” he said.

He also rode Castleton to a sixth-placed finish in the national standings for the large junior, 16-17, division. When not attending classes at Virginia Tech, Parks finds time to show both horses in the amateur-owner divisions on the weekends. And true to his father’s word, Cadeaux is now for sale.



Grand Junior Hunter, 16-17
Large Junior Hunter, 16-17

Tache Rouge

The dynamic partnership that began in 2005 between Alison Baileys and Tache Rouge almost didn’t happen. While on a buying trip in Europe with trainer Mary Morrison, Baileys came across the 5-year-old, Selle Français stallion (Narcos II—Okera). With only four hours until her plane departed she had to make a quick decision. Based on the good rapport the two seemed to have, Baileys purchased “Marcos” with no regrets.

With the aid of John French, Marcos kicked off a triumphant season in 2006 competing in the first year green division with French and the large junior division with Baileys. Both riders quickly accumulated championships throughout the West Coast in their respective divisions; Baileys took away the tricolor in only her second week showing her new horse.

Baileys duplicated another winning season in 2007. In her final year as a junior, Baileys guided Marcos to the USEF title and also won the USEF Junior Hunter Finals-West and was the Pacific Coast Horse Show Association champion.

Now in her first year as an amateur, Baileys has been champion during the HITS Thermal (Calif.) circuit. Until she attends college in the fall at Santa Clara University (Calif.), Baileys will continue competing Marcos under the guidance of French.



Small Pony Hunter

Ballou

Victoria Colvin juggled multiple pony rides throughout the year, but it was her partnership with Ballou (Bruekersheide’s Wald Konig—Amica) that was one of the most successful. The 9-year-old Colvin, from Loxahatchee, Fla., included winning the small green pony championship at the USEF Pony Finals (Ky.) as one of her biggest achievements.

Colvin’s win at Pony Finals not only included beating out top competitors, but also surviving the extreme weather conditions as well. During one of her winning rounds, Colvin was asked to pull up due to a rapid storm approaching. Undaunted, Colvin waited to try again and nailed the jumps for the blue ribbon.

Ballou, an 8-year-old Welsh pony, carried Colvin up and down the East Coast to championships at venues such as Lake Placid (N.Y.), the Florida Classic, and the National (Fla.). The pair clinched top ribbons in all the indoors shows as well.



Small Green Pony Hunter

Champlain Clementine

Chloe Johnson wasn’t fazed to begin her first year showing in the pony divisions with her green pony, Champlain Clementine. The 8-year-old, Welsh pony carried Johnson regularly to top ribbons in her classes, and the pair ended up 12th overall at the USEF Pony Finals (Ky.).

“We obviously needed a lot of help since this year was a big step up,” Lexy Johnson, Chloe’s mother, said. “We were so lucky she had the opportunity to show at so many places.”

Champlain Clementine (Rowfantina Gold Sovereign—Glenmore Daisy), nicknamed “Clemmie,” was purchased from Champlain Isle Farm (Vt.) in 2006 and debuted in the small and green pony divisions in 2007. Many horse shows were a success for Chloe, but it was the consistent rounds at the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows that helped her clinch the championships both weeks in her division.

“The first year of ponies is a lot to take in, but Chloe handled it really well,” Lexy said.

Chloe rides with her mother during the week at their Maple Lane Farm in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and meets with trainers David Belford and Chris Payne at shows.

Even though she’s recently turned 11, there are no future plans to move up to a bigger-sized mount. “At some point she may actually grow, but right now she’s still very little,” Lexy said with a laugh.

Chloe’s small size and Clemmie’s noticeable features make them stand out in the show ring. “She’s got a really big eye and a big face, and her forelock is giant, plus she’s a unique color,” Lexy said describing the roan mare. “She lives at our house, and she really is like a pet to us.”



Grand Pony Hunter
Medium Pony Hunter
Medium Green Pony Hunter

Sassafras Creek

Even at 7 years old, Sassafras Creek made it pretty easy for Taylor Ann Adams to claim two national titles in one year. “I love that she rides like a little horse,” Adams said. “It’s the best feeling when I’m going around on course.”

Adams accepted the ride on the Welsh cross from trainers Don Stewart and Bibby Farmer Hill at the beginning of 2007 and was tough to beat any time she entered the ring. The pair was the overall reserve champion in the medium green pony division at the USEF Pony Finals (Ky.) and won the medium pony hunter reserve championship at Devon (Pa.).

“I was really lucky, since I started riding her so early in the year I got to spend much more time with her,” Adams said. “All horses and ponies have their quirks, but she really does have a good heart and would give her best for me.”

Many times Adams won all five classes in the medium green pony division, including one of the weeks she spent competing at HITS Ocala (Fla.). Even though she continued to sweep her divisions, Adams didn’t expect to end the year as a national champion. “For Don, Bibby, and myself this year turned out to be so much more than we expected,” she said.



Large Pony Hunter

A Hoof And A Prayer

Chase Boggio seemed to capture his national title effortlessly in his final year of riding ponies. After purchasing A Hoof And A Prayer (JLA Sir William A—Eve B. Quick) from Christina Schlusemeyer in September of 2006, Boggio immediately began picking up championships.

“I wasn’t really surprised to win it, because we were consistently champion at shows,” Boggio said. “He’s got a really big stride, he’ll leave from anywhere, and he just really tries.”

Boggio’s highlights included winning the large pony circuit title at Gulf Coast (Miss.) and qualifying for the fall indoor shows. Trainers Bob Braswell and Schlusemeyer meet Boggio at shows, but he also receives help from Heather Tinney on the local circuit in Georgia.

As the only pony Boggio competed, “Happy” received lots of attention. “He’s a great jumper and just really nice overall,” Boggio said of the 8-year-old, Virginia-bred Welsh.

Boggio doesn’t spend all of his time riding horses, though. The 15-year-old also plays golf and tennis, but he remains modest about his achievements. “My goal this past year was just to do well, so it ended up OK,” he said.



Grand Green Pony Hunter
Large Green Pony Hunter

What-A-Bean

When What-A-Bean was sent to Memorial Park Hunters to be sold last year, Emma Roberts loved the pony so much he ended up becoming hers. Roberts stayed busy traveling from her base in Houston, Texas, competing throughout the country to consistent ribbons at the Blue Grass Festival (Ky.), HITS Saugerties (N.Y.) and the Biltmore Summer Classic (N.C.).

With the help of her trainer, Jenny Darst, Roberts qualified the 6-year-old Welsh Cross (Springbourne Boy Blue—Initiative) for the USEF Pony Finals (Ky.) and indoors. Roberts gathered ribbons at all the competitive venues, but “really didn’t think about the national points until it started to get toward the end of the year.”

The flashy gray pony suits Roberts perfectly. “He’s fun to ride, and he’s really sweet,” Roberts said. “I’m going to keep showing him this year in addition to some other medium ponies for my mom.”

The 14-year-old high school freshman has also moved up to horses and regularly competes in equitation classes. While her teachers aren’t fond of her busy show schedule, Roberts said with a laugh, “They’re excusing it now. I think they finally are starting to be OK with it as long as I get my work in on time.”



3-Year-Old Hunter Breeding

Rosalyn

Jodi Sadel’s Rosalyn (Rosenthal —Davign, Davignport) turned in an exceptional year for her owner. The Oldenburg not only won the national title, but was also the Pennsylvania Horse Show Association (PHSA) 3-Year-Old Hunter Breeding Champion and Young Hunter Saddle reserve champion.

Bred by Kenneth Ortberg of Forest View Farm in Warrenton, Va., Sadel and William Howland split the duties of showing Rosalyn on the line in 2007. Sadel’s accomplishments included winning all her classes at the Raleigh-UNC Healthcare Benefit (N.C.), while Howland won classes at shows such as Maryland Horse & Pony (Md.), Pennsylvania Breeders Futurity Benefit (Pa.), and Warrenton (Va.).

 In addition to her multiple year-end winnings, Sadel also garnered the most points to win the PHSA 2007 Amateur Handler Championship.



Grand Hunter Breeding
2-Year-Old Hunter Breeding

Lady Of The Manor

Described as having a “good brain since she was a baby,” it’s no surprise Sara O’Connell’s Lady Of The Manor swept the hunter breeding divisions.

O’Connell realized her Thoroughbred-Warmblood cross filly (Sir Caletto—Tell Me True) might have a chance to win a national title after showing her in Connecticut. “She was shipped up as a yearling to come to a show, and we braided her right there on the trailer. She took to it immediately and really liked it,” she said.

Tell Me True, O’Connell’s mare, is by Keith Hastings and Pat Dodson’s Absolut. When O’Connell began searching for a stallion, Hastings offered some helpful advice. “He [Hastings] had seen Sir Caletto when he was out judging in California and highly recommended him to me. Overall, I think pairing an Absolut mare with him has produced really good results,” she said.

“She’s very pretty, but she’s also got the right personality,” O’Connell said. “I think showing them on the line helps them grow up, and it turns out she just did really well.”

Phillip Gibson, Ocala, Fla., handled Lady Of The Manor fulltime, but O’Connell never pushed for a national championship. Collecting ribbons throughout Florida helped her claim the top spot.

“We thought about the points in September but really didn’t want to do more than she needed,” O’Connell said. “So winning a national prize is a nice surprise!”

Gibson will continue showing the filly. In the meantime, O’Connell remains busy with Lady Of The Manor’s full sister, aptly named Ditto.

“Same looks, same personality, both are good movers,” O’Connell said. “I’d recommend Sir Caletto to anyone. I’m obviously very pleased with the results.”



Yearling Hunter Breeding

Tie, Cameo Appearance & Zeja Vu

Barbara Sheffield is relatively new to hunter breeding but seems to have found the perfect match for her Thoroughbred mare, Squeaky Spring. Her first try at breeding produced Premadonna, by the warmblood stallion Paparazzo.

Her success with Premadonna led Sheffield to breed to Paparazzo again, this time resulting in Cameo Appearance, or “Cam.” The bay colt is “full of piss and vinegar,” but Sheffield couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

“I knew I wanted a warmblood stallion since my mare has only ever raced. Even though she’s quiet, she still can be anxious, and the warmblood temperament has really helped,” she said.

Sheffield, Middleburg, Va., watched many videos trying to find a suitable match and was instantly drawn to Paparazzo’s powerful jump and athletic ability.

“I kept coming back to him. He’s the one I liked the most, and I’m so happy with his results. We have our third baby by him coming in April,” she said.

Oliver Brown handled the colt and won ribbons at Lexington National (Va.), Warrenton Horse and Pony (Va.), and the reserve best young horse title at Upperville (Va.).

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“He’s really got that classic look with his color and the four white socks and star,” Sheffield said. “My favorite part about him is his head and neck, which I think are very beautiful.”

Cam will do the International Hunter Futurity as a 3-year-old and show on the line. Sheffield hopes he’ll be her future amateur hunter. “Who knows, he may become something really special,” she said.

Julianna Whittenburg and Gary Ellebracht’s Zeja Vu may have tied Cameo Appearance for their title, but that only added to her long list of accomplishments. The filly also won the Performance Horse Registry Silver Stirrup Award National Hunter Breeding Championship (all ages) and the German Oldenburg Verband Champion Yearling Hunter Breeding.

“She started out the show year pretty small because she was a May baby,” Whittenburg said. “But by the spring she starting winning champions and reserves at the shows.”

Whittenburg specializes in breeding at her Flying Lion Farm in Zephyrhills, Fla. Zeja Vu (Iron Man— Zejaluna) not only brought a national title to owners Whittenburg and Ellebract, but also helped Lisa Dworkin win the USEF Hunter Breeding Breeder title and Iron Man’s owner, Nancy Maloney, win the USEF Leading Breeding Sire award.

“I hope one day I can show her as an amateur horse,” said Whittenburg. “She’s the sweetest, most wonderful horse ever.”
 



Ladies Side-Saddle Hunter

Sea Salt

Susanne Clifford may have competed on a shoestring budget in 2007, but she managed to make every show count. With a full-time job, Clifford couldn’t afford to show regularly in the hunter divisions and decided to give side-saddle a try on Sally Lamb’s Sea Salt.

Lamb was more than excited to offer Clifford the ride. “I try to help kids that couldn’t have a nice horse otherwise, something they can do after college and afford,” she said.

Clifford picked up championships at the Keswick Hunt Club (Va.), Devon (Pa.), the National Horse Show (Fla.) and Pennsylvania National.

Sea Salt, a Thoroughbred gelding by Chenin Blanc, has been a fixture in Lamb’s barn, Oakland Heights, for many years. “I’ve showed him some in the hunters, and I’ve foxhunted him, but I think Susanne would kill me if he got hurt!”

Clifford works in Charlottesville, Va., and commutes to Lamb’s farm in Keswick, Va., as much as possible to ride. She plans to try the adult amateur division with Sea Salt this year after a winning season in the side-saddle classes.

“Susanne has grown up around here, and she’s always worked really hard,” Lamb said. “My barn is a working barn, but I try to give everybody the opportunity to ride and show as much as they can.”



Adult Equitation

Yvette Lang-Einczig

Yvette Lang-Einczig isn’t a stranger to winning the adult equitation national championship. In fact, 2007 marked her fifth time winning the title. “I won it four years consecutively and then came back to win it again last year, which was a goal of mine,” she said.

Lang-Einczig has trained with Karen Healey, Westlake Village, Calif., for the past three years. Healey helped find Lang-Einczig’s winning partner, Jalepeno, two years ago at HITS Thermal (Calif.).

“Jill Henselwood had him, and he was one of the horses for a silver-medal rider at [the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships] quite some years ago,” said Lang-Einczig.

When Healey saw the gelding he was competing in the level 6 jumper classes, which was an added bonus for his future rider. “I think jumpers make the best equitation horses. They’re always looking for the next jump, whereas the hunters like to just stay on a straight line,” she said with a laugh.

Lang-Einczig credited her success not only to Jalepeno, but praises Healey too. With an emphasis on flatwork and cavaletti, Lang-Einczig said her riding has improved “a million percent.”

“Obviously, the riders she turns out speak for her,” she said. “I was successful before I came to Karen, but now I really know how to ride. She’s completely changed my style.”

Even though she didn’t have a heavy show schedule, Lang-Einczig usually won the classes she entered. “The shows are never as hard as at home, because Karen builds such difficult courses. But the emphasis is always flatwork, finding the balance and perfect frame. It makes the jumps almost become secondary,” she said.



Open Jumper

Up Chiqui

Nobody wanted to contest Up Chiqui this past year, and with good reason. Kent Farrington rode the chestnut to more than 10 major victories during the season.

Up Chiqui’s speed combined with Farrington’s precision allowed for blazing finishes in most jump-offs. Many top riders, including McLain Ward and Leslie Howard, couldn’t even come close to Farrington’s fast times.

Unless he pulled a rail, it was a safe bet Up Chiqui would finish at the top. Some of his victories included the $100,000 Budweiser Upperville Jumper Classic (Va.), the $75,000 Fidelity Investments AGA Grand Prix (Mass.), the $50,000 CSI-W of Lexington (Ky.) and the $65,000 Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National.

Up Chiqui, a Belgian Warmblood, is owned by Richard Bass, Alex Boone and James McNerny.



Amateur-Owner Jumper

Jerremy

Natalie Johnson once again made headlines with her outstanding year in the jumper divisions. Riding her own Jerremy (Ahorn—Bo), a Dutch Warmblood gelding, Johnson won throughout the Northeast.

Johnson rides with Andre Dignelli of Heritage Farm, N.Y., and also attends New York University. Even with the long commute out of the city to ride, she manages to find time for Jerremy, and her other two horses, Rhythm & Blues and Crocket.

The equitation ranks helped Johnson transition into the amateur-owner jumper divisions. She continues to appear at top competitions when not busy attending classes.



Junior Jumper

Nigel S

Kim McCormack not only dominated the equitation finals last fall but also found time to win with Missy Clark’s Nigel S (Jurit S—Janique S). Originally a low junior jumper, Nigel S carried McCormack up to the high juniors without a falter.

“It really was kind of a fluke. He just didn’t seem to mind so we started him in the highs much earlier in the season than we expected,” she said.

McCormack showed in the low juniors for most of the winter circuit, but by May the duo was winning the higher classes with ease. Saratoga (N.Y.) was one of the first venues where they made the switch, and McCormack won three of the classes over two weeks of showing.

“He’s really scopey. Jumping 4’6″ feels like 3’6″ on him,” McCormack said. “I wouldn’t say he’s the fastest in the air, but his stride is huge and that’s always nice.”

Nigel S’s fast turns were a definite help as well. Many times McCormack was the fastest in the jump-off due to the quick turns she completed. “He can just land and turn faster than anything I’ve ever ridden. It was such a bonus for me,” she said.

Unlike most jumpers, Nigel S performs better when he’s a little tired. “The first day of the show, he’s looking at things and a little nervous. He always needs to be hacked in the morning, and after a few days he’s much better than at the beginning of the week,” she explained.

McCormack is giving her partner time off this season, stating, “he doesn’t owe us anything.” She doesn’t plan to go for another national championship with him and would rather rest him for shows in the future.

“I don’t know when I’m going to show him again, but I look forward to having another junior year with him, sadly my last year,” she said.



5-Year-Old Young Jumper

Parrot Bay

For Melissa Hirt’s Parrot Bay, it seemed impossible to not have a successful beginning to a jumper career. Top rider Kent Farrington rode the Holsteiner much of the year, but he also shared duties with Hirt.

Parrot Bay (Con Air 7—Zara III) and Hirt originally come from Michigan, but the gelding spent much of the year traveling to shows in the East. Farrington started the season by winning classes at the Wellington Classic (Fla.).

Hirt took over the reins to show closer to home at the Ledges Classic (Ill.) and Showplace Spectacular (Ill.).
Parrot Bay’s showing decreased as the year went by, but Farrington still won classes at The Hampton Classic (N.Y.) and the National (Fla.).



6-Year-Old Young Jumper

Tie, Hands Down & Natsu

Hands Down enjoyed a light workload in 2007 marked by many blue ribbons with owner Jonathan Cohen. The pair didn’t even start showing until May, but they quickly added points to their name.

The duo spent the summer in Colorado, competing at shows such as the Colorado Circuit Opener and Rocky Mountain Classic. Hands Down (Carnute—Lillehammer), a Dutch Warmblood, was shown by Charlie Jayne when Cohen couldn’t take the ride.

Jayne added to Hands Down’s triumphs when he beat out 24 other competitors for the win at the Kentucky National.

Cohen resumed riding his horse for the remainder of the year, ending with wins in Florida at Littlewood and the Rita & Irish Flynn Memorial Horse Show.

Natsu competed less often than Hands Down but gathered enough points to finish the year tied for the top position. John French not only enjoyed great success in the hunter divisions, but also was responsible for Lesley Anne Abrams’ young jumper.

Natsu (Quick Star—Fumica) debuted with French during the HITS Thermal (Calif.) circuit and showed lightly throughout California. Even in larger classes, French and Natsu regularly placed first or second.
Natsu concluded his year at the Showpark All Seasons Tournament (Calif.) in August.



7- & 8-Year-Old Young Jumper

Face Value

Riding multiple horses from Chado Farms, Neshanic Station, N.J., and Wellington, Fla., Laura Chapot landed in the top two spots with Face Value and Chili Pepper, respectively.

Beginning the year in the ribbons at the PBI Inaugural (Fla.), Chapot jumped to her biggest win of the season at the Wellington Classic. In a field of 69 competitors, Chapot and Face Value raced to a second-placed finish in one of the $1,500 young jumper classes.

Chapot and Face Value, a Dutch Warmblood (Lemmod—Minola), also bested another huge class of 60 competitors to win a class at the Wellington Classic (Fla.).

The year drew to a close early, as the pair’s last competition was Devon (Pa.). Proving himself once again, Face Value won his class there and remained at the top of the points list for the rest of the year.



Pony Jumper

Tallyman

“I almost had it last year, so this was a definite goal,” Brittni Raflowitz said about winning the national championship with Tallyman, a title she barely missed in 2006.

Raflowitz has owned the speedy pony jumper for three years and formed a close bond with the gelding. When Tallyman (Top Gun I—Viki) first arrived at her barn in Palm City, Fla., he was skittish. “He would run to the back of the stall when you watered him,” she said.

But Raflowitz slowly helped the pony trust her. “I’d sleep in his stall, spend as much time with him as possible,” she said. “Now you can barely close the door when you leave the stall.”

Raflowitz was busy competing during the year and in search of completing her goal for the national title. “He’s become easy to win on because he’ll go in and make really sharp turns. He’s not that fast, except for the turns,” she said.

“He also goes like a horse. He’s like a little horse to me, and if he was just a bit bigger I could do more with him,” she continued.

Busy now competing her children’s jumper, Allegro, Raflowitz has fond memories with her talented Westphalian pony. “He’s really special to me—he’s my little man. Just all the years showing him and having fun with my friends has been such a great memory for me,” Raflowitz said.

Beth Johnson

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