Competition returned to Galway Downs for the second of four weeks of riding at the Temecula Valley National Horse Show, and local professional Nick Haness seized the day with a commanding lead in two hunter divisions. Aboard West Coast Equine Partners, LLC’s Chamberlain, Haness navigated his way to three blue ribbons in the Performance 3’3” Hunters, and subsequently matched his efforts with Reese’s, also owned by West Coast Equine Partners, LLC, in the Green 3’3” Hunter division. With only two classes left to ride in each division Thursday, Haness has secured a promising lead ahead of the championship crowning.
Nick Haness and Chamberlain. Photo by Phelps Sports
Kicking off the week in winning fashion, Haness piloted Chamberlain to two standout over fences rounds in the Performance 3’3” Hunters, and was aptly rewarded with a set of first place finishes ahead of a talented field. Returning for the hack, the skilled pair continued to dominate, clinching the top prize under saddle, as well, to emerge as the clear early leaders. With a multitude of horses under his training, Haness spent the afternoon swapping mounts, and his rides with equine athlete Reese’s proved to be just as fruitful as the earlier division with his counterpart, Chamberlain. At only six years old, Reese’s displayed his raw talent with three superior performances, garnering top scores twice over fences and again under saddle to earn the early divisional lead.
“This is a horse that I imported last year as a 5-year-old, and he is now a 6-year-old showing in the Young Hunters 6 and Under and the Pre-Greens 3’3” Hunters,” said Haness of Reese’s. “He’s a really special horse that has come a long way and is developing in his career really nicely. The goals this year with him are to develop him in California and head to the East Coast, specifically to Kentucky in the summertime, to do the Pre-Green Incentive Finals and we hope to win that. Then we hope to keep going with him and next year bring him back as a First Year Green 3’6” Hunter horse, and keep on producing championships with him. That’s the goal.”
Nick Haness and Reese’s. Photo by Phelps Sports
No stranger to the winner’s circle during Nilforushan Equisport Events’ horse shows, Haness found himself in a familiar spot Wednesday as the frontrunner in multiple divisions. The Temecula resident has earned the championship tricolor in various hunter divisions over the entirety of the series, one of which was the High Performance 3’9’’ Conformation Hunters with the reins on Cortese in April during the World Champion Hunter Rider week at Galway Downs. That same week, he added to his accolades with the victory in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Reese’s, the same mount he maneuvered to three first place results Wednesday in the Green 3’3” Hunters. During the inaugural circuit in 2018, Haness led the $10,000 Brookway Stables Hunter Derby with Screenplay, among other top finishes.
Headed into the second day of riding, Haness will have to stay consistent in both divisions to claim the title. In the Performance 3’3” Hunters, the hometown rider has two other entries of his own, meaning he stands the greatest chance of claiming the top podium spot. In the Green 3’3” Hunter divisions, Ashley Stannard and Da Vinci will try to overthrow the current leaders, having earned second, third and fourth place finishes Wednesday to keep them in contention.