Week One of HIPICO Santa Fe is in the Books!

Bjorn Ikast aboard Colorado. PC: HIPICO Santa Fe

HIPICO Santa Fe’s Summer Series is off to a brilliant start, with a Welcome Week filled with sunshine, camaraderie and competition! Exhibitors, trainers, and guest are praising the hospitality, the footing, and – of course – the green chile!

Bjorn Ikast pulled in late Thursday night with Supernatural, Testive, Colorado and newcomer 7-year-old, Classine. “I wouldn’t miss this show,” said Bjorn after he rode to victory in the first $5000 Welcome Stake of the Santa Fe Summer Series on his mount, Colorado. “The fences are beautiful and the footing the best they’ve ever had.”

Paige Junker and Duet. PC: HIPICO Santa Fe

On Friday in the BMW/MINI Hunter Arena, Paige Junker won the National Hunter Derby, besting a field of 12 on her mount Duet, a 9-year-old, 17 hand gelding. “The course was great and I love the larger arena with bigger bending lines. Duet loves it here and so do I,” reports Paige, adding, “HIPICO has a unique, laid-back, happy and friendly atmosphere.” Living in Minnesota and training with Belynda Bond at Crown Point Farm just outside of Dallas-Ft Worth, Texas. Paige will be moving to San Diego this fall to attend college at the University of San Diego, majoring in Pre-Med.

Camryn Hick of Invicta Farms took top honors in the 11 and under Equitation Over Fences class. She’s on a new pony this year – Starbuck, an amazing pony who has raised many a rider in New Mexico. Camryn ended the week on a high note, being selected as Hunter Rider of the Week by the Hunter judges.

Stephanie Gershon on Aretina. PC: HIPICO Santa Fe

Saturday was HIPICO’s unique speciality class – the All-in-One Grand Prix. This exciting competition is open to both amateurs and professionals who compete at the fence height of their choice. Stephanie Gershon, trainer at Skybound Farm, was the winner of this favorite HIPICO class in the Welcome Week on Aretina, owned by Lisa Piasecki. On Sunday, Gershon added another award to her first week, being selected as the Trainer of the Week by the horse show staff. “Wow, what a way to cap off the opening weekend!” said Stephanie, as she received the HIPICO logo saddle pad and Equi In Style gift certificate.

Arguably the most popular event on Saturday was the Weiner Dog Race, held each week of the Summer Series. This week’s stiff competition included so many entries that three heats were run. Spectators and owners alike were invited onto the beautiful grass Grand Prix field to encourage their canine competitors to the finish line. Unlike their equine cousins, some – okay most – of the pack veered off course and scattered through the record number of attendees. Noted performances were notched by #9 Brewski, #5 Lilly Pond Scum, # 7 Murphy Brown and special nonstop barking honors went to #3 Kino, a piebald youngster hailing from Rio Rancho. Congratulations to Bill Campbell, winner of the first heat, Lily Invicta in the second, and Foxy Cleopatra in heat three.

Sharon McElvain on No Nonsense Z. PC: HIPICO Santa Fe

After traveling from the Colorado Horse Park’s Summer in the Rockies until 1:30 am, Sharon McElvain of Rancho Corazon delivered the blue ribbon round in Sunday’s Low Child/Adult Jumper on her flying unicorn, No Nonsense Z. “I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to ride on this fabulous HIPICO Grand Prix field,” Sharon told us. “There is nothing better than galloping on the big grass and feeling the wind on my face on a gorgeous day like this. ‘Nonnie’ loves it too!” Jennifer Balthus, competing in the Summer Series from Arizona, rode Bada Bing to the win in the High Child/Adult Jumper Classic winner.

Other special awards went to Waldo Juarez, Groom for the Hunter Derby winning horse, Duet. Beautifully turned out and gleaming in the southwest sunshine, Duet is as talented a hunter as he is handsome. Eve Price teared up when she learned she was named Jumper Rider of the Week. Eve has been working hard with her lovely, UK imported 5 year old, Jade, who she purchased before meeting her. The two turned out to be a great match, as they are both petite. Eve got a bit more than she bargained for with Jade’s attitude and ability. At first Jade wouldn’t let Eve bridle her and bucked her off more than once. Eve noted “She was a little naughty and spooky when we first arrived, and then she took the .65, .75 and .85 beautifully. I’m so proud of my baby!”

Native Floridian Hillary Eder performed a very special rendition our country’s National Anthem on Sunday to kick off the Grand Prix competition. Hillary won the national “American Equestrian Got Talent” at Wellington. Currently grooming for Jennifer Koval from California, Hillary was thrilled to be invited to sing before the first Grand Prix of the Summer Series. The $5,000 Welcome Week Grand Prix award was presented by Giovanni Orlando, Partner & CEO of Atalaya Productions, along with actor and film producer, Wes Studi.

Bjorn Ikast and Supernatural. PC: HIPICO Santa Fe

In a field of 18 for the Grand Prix on Sunday, Bjorn Ikast took the victory on his own Supernatural, and placed second on Classini, owned by BBB Show Jumpers, LLC. Third place was awarded to Chenoa McElvain on Coco Colette, who was clear until the very last jump in the jump-off! Bjorn finished fourth on Chestina Z and his last mount, Colorado was fifth in the Welcome Week Grand Prix of the Summer Series. Chevy, the handsome dappled grey, owned and ridden by Belynda Bond, took the sixth ribbon.

A big shout out to our HIPICO Workforce, for all of your hard work and the care you put into it. From the grounds to the office to the lounge and jump crews – you are all amazing! This week’s HIPICO WORKHORSE of the Week is Jason Lombard, Assistant Site Manager. Jason, you always go the extra mile and we appreciate you so much!

Inside the HIPICO VIP Lounge, a merry band of pranksters from Coraggio Equestrian (Lauren, Anabelle, Maia, Julia, Jessikay, Ryan and Maddie) devised a canine Junior Hunter course. A German Warmblood took top honors – spurred on by a potato chip. No carrots for Scout, the William’s family German Shepherd, who after several clean jumps was not even winded.

Welcome Week of the Santa Fe Summer Series ended with the beautiful blue sky of New Mexico, showcasing all the reasons we love Santa Fe! Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors, exhibitors, trainers, and vendors. Because of you, HIPICO Santa Fe is THE place to be for southwest sunshine, warm hospitality and the best party on the A-rated circuit! Join us for elite competition all week and our Champagne Brunch on Sundays in the HIPICO VIP Lounge. This Sunday is the $30,000 Sparrowhawk Grand Prix!

See full results, schedule and more from this series at the HIPICO Santa Fe Website.