As the 2018 outdoor season comes to a close, Blenheim EquiSports welcomed the horses and riders who have prepared for the Young Jumper Championships throughout the year. Up to 50 youngsters from ages four to seven came to compete on the grass of The Oaks International Grand Prix Field in this year’s YJC Western Regional Finals, presented by Electronic Vet, during the International Jumping Festival. Many of the future equine stars qualified through competing in young jumper classes for free at Blenheim EquiSports.
C Everest Tops Four-Year-Old Young Jumper Futurity Regionals
A group of six wide-eyed and wonderful four-year-olds competed on The Oaks International Grand Prix Field in their division of the Futurity Regionals. With a flat phase and jumping course on Wednesday, and a full course over slightly larger obstacles on Thursday, the youngsters were judged on rideability, jumping scope, technique, and movement. Two experienced horsemen, Will Simpson and Jason McArdle, adjudicated. U.S. bred C Everest (Cancara Z x Diamond Dancer by Blue Diamond), with rider and owner Kristina Cain, remained consistent over the two days to take home a well-deserved victory.
“I bred him. He’s out of one of my old jumper mares who is a really good producer. I’ve had him since the day he was born,” Cain said proudly. “He’s a little cheeky, but mostly very sweet, easy, brave and careful.”
Another U.S. bred gelding, Gambler’s Choice (Good Times x Vegas by Show Star 2) ridden by Jamie Sailor, and owned by Mike Edrick, won the first round over fences, with only one rail over the two days. This pair finished second overall.
With one round on Thursday, one on Friday and a final round on Sunday that progressively increased in height and difficulty, the five-, six- and seven-year-old divisions jumped tracks created by veteran course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio.
Quite Quick and Stylish the Five-Year-Old Win Goes to Quentin VA and Susan Artes
After three rounds, three five-year-olds were triple clean to qualify for a jump-off: John Pearce and Nicole Teague’s Corsini, Jason McArdle riding Fairbanks Valley Farm’s Nikolina, and Susan Artes aboard Isabel Roth’s Quentin VA. The bay Holsteiner stallion by Quarz x Trixie by Cash and Carry, rose to the top of the pack going clear in 36.199, beating McArdle and Nikolina’s time of 36.791 by just over half of a second.
Quite pleased with the stallion, Artes noted that although he had shown a bit this year, he rose to the challenge on this final day. “Fortunately, I think the miles this year paid off today because it was a little bit bigger than what we have jumped in the past,” she said. “And he has never really done a jump-off before. He is a little strong but he listened to me today.”
Not your typical stallion personality, Quentin is really sweet. “He is a snuggle monster. He just wants to sit in your lap all of the time.”
Overall, the five-year-old horses presented at this year’s Young Jumper Championships did not disappoint, but rather gave us all a taste of the up-and-coming talent in this country, and in this region specifically.
A Score of Excellence Goes to Ezmeralda EH Z and Hallie Buttenweiser
Of the thirteen six-year-old horses who competed in this division, four riders went clear over the first two days. After Sunday’s class, only one pair finished triple clear over the three days. This earned Hallie Buttenweiser, riding Ezmeralda EH Z (owned by Altaire Ventures), the win and the title of the 2018 Six-Year-Old Western League Young Jumper Champion.
“Thursday she was a little fresh, Friday she had the energy just right, and today she is a bit tired, but she is a show horse and thrives in the show ring,” Buttenwieser explained. “But around the barn she is really, really easy. She just likes to lick your face.”
With the barn name of “Ezme,” the black Zangersheide mare (Emerald van’t Ruytershof x Laila), showed her scope this weekend as the only six-year-old to not touch a rail. The first young horse Buttmeiser has owned herself, she plans to continue to produce the talented young mare.
Jiminy Cricket and Keri Potter Jump to Victory in the Seven-Year-Old Division
In the seven-year-old division, five horses answered all the questions asked over the three rounds, resulting in a jump-off. The impressive group of youngsters all went quadruple clear, with speed as the deciding factor. Third to go, Keri Potter and Jiminy Cricket, owned by Melanie Brooks, were impressive in a time of 41.850, snatching the lead from Trudi Fletcher aboard Linda Smith’s Gee Whiz. Susan Hutchison and Gameboy sped around the shortened track in 42.393, not quite catching Potter, but beating Fletcher’s time by a fraction of a second to finish second overall, with Fletcher a close third.
Potter complimented the format of the championships. “It’s fun for the young horses to jump three rounds. It’s the only time during the year we get to do this,” she said. “Jimmy is just a really cool, catty, careful guy that has a pretty proper jump, very unique and very consistent. I think the consistency of the class, doing three rounds, really suited him.”
She continued, “I have had him since he was three turning four. And I broke him myself, and so he has only had me as a rider. From day one, I have never met a horse so electric in every way. He is just so aware of everything, even your touch. I have to be very sensitive to that, but I think that is why he is so good.”
Potter sees a future international horse in this talented youngster and plans to do 1.40m and the Markel Insurance 1.45m classes next season.
Bringing the young horse season to a close at Blenheim EquiSports for 2018, five-year-old champion Artes reflected on the positive effect of the program. “The free entries and discounted stall that Blenheim does play a huge role. It allows us to bring along a lot more horses.”