The National Sunshine Series has come to an end here at HITS Desert Horse Park, where we have been joined by the top Hunter, Jumper, and Equitation exhibitors from near and far, all on the hunt for a blue ribbon. It was a spectacular two weeks, with fantastic weather and a number of special classes being offered.
NATIONAL SUNSHINE SERIES WEEK I
Week I started with a great group of horses and riders to show in the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Open Welcome. With a time of 39.202 in the Jump-Off, Ashlee Bond took home the blue ribbon aboard her mount CORNANCER. Less than a half second behind Bond were Richard Fellers and HTH CRAZY FOR CROWN with a Jump-Off time of 39.248, followed by Enrique Gonzalez and ZAPZERZAP riding fault free in a time of 41.815.
On Friday, spectators gathered to watch a field of 57 compete for the title in the $25,000 SmartPak Open Prix. Twenty jumped clean and moved on to the Jump-Off. Besting the field and taking home the blue ribbon was Kevin Babington aboard MARK Q. Babington was also fourth with DOUBLE O SEVEN 7 and eighth with SUPER CHILLED. In second place was THE FLYING HAM, ridden by Eric Navet, followed by another one of his mounts, BASIMODO in third. Up and coming rider Hannah Loly, just 14 years old, took home the fifth place ribbon aboard AYMA DE LA DEMI LUNE. A notable ride by Delaney Flynn on MILAN IV for seventh overall in the $25,000 SmartPak Open Prix also gave her the blue ribbon in the $5,000 Interactive Mortgage U25 Jumper Classic, making her the only rider in the overlay to make it back to the Jump-Off.
Also Friday afternoon, 34 exhibitors competed in the $15,000 Electronic Vet 1.35m Jumper Classic. Taking home the blue ribbon was Karl Cook and his mount BANBA with a fault-free Jump-Off time of 29.054. Less than a second behind, Richard Fellers and STEELBI jumped clear in a time of 29.787 to take home the red ribbon. Third place was awarded to Russell Morgan and DUSTY coming home with a clear Jump-Off round in 30.619.
Sunday morning, Junior/Amateur-Owner riders went head to head in the $10,000 KindredBio Junior/Amateur-Owner 1.40m Jumper Classic. Finishing at the top was Karrie Rufer aboard MAI TAI 2 with a Jump-Off time of 35.931. In second place was Saree Gordon-Solanski aboard AZURO 108, finishing with a Jump-Off time of 38.786. Taking home the yellow ribbon was Carlos Hank Jr. riding GOLDEN HORTA a faulted Jump-Off time of 35.380, but an unfortunate rail for 4 faults.
A field of 38 showed Sunday afternoon in the $50,000 HITS Sunshine Grand Prix – 10 of those riders jumped clear in Round One and returned for the Jump-Off. Taking home the blue ribbon was Karl Cook and his teammate TEMBLA, with a Jump-Off time of 40.866. Second place honors were awarded to Eric Navet and CATYPSO with a clear round in 41.126, followed by Enrique Gonzalez and ZAPZERZAP riding to a third place finish in 43.814.
Karl Cook aboard TEMBLA and Eric Navet aboard CATYPSO, first and second place recipients in the $50,000 HITS Sunshine Grand Prix.
It was also an exciting week in “Hunter-Land” with the $1,500 West Coast Pony Hunter Finals. Champion of the finals, with a two round total of 161, was Sadie Anderson aboard MERLIN THE MAGNIFICANT. Second place was awarded to Katalina Rickard and her partner OUT OF THE BLUE scoring a 158.5, followed by Shiloh Roseboom and HEAVENLY PATCH OF BLUE with a 158.
National Sunshine I offered two hunter prix – the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix and the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. The blue ribbon was awarded to Amy Brubaker aboard her mount CONVARO in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prixwith an overall score of 165. In second place was Sloan Lindemann-Barnett and CORONATION with a two round total of 163. In third place was Natalie Medlock, scoring a 162.5 aboard QUINLEY.
The $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix was won by Jenny Karazissis and her partner BIG SHOT, scoring a 177 overall. In second place, with a score of 170, were Lexi Wedemeyer and CATHARTIC, followed by Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and SPECTACULAR with a 168.
National Sunshine I also hosted the Second Annual West Coast NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals. This class is designed for riders interested in competing throughout their intercollegiate career. On Saturday afternoon, 16 riders competed in Round One of the finals. The top ten were invited back to Round Two of the class, the flat phase, where they were asked for maneuvers including the shoulder-in, haunches-in, and counter canter. The top four riders after Round One and Round Two moved to the ride-off in the bracket phase of the class, where they would swap horses just as they would in an intercollegiate setting. Taking home a custom cooler provided by Horseware Ireland, One K helmet, EquiFit Eq-Teq Front Boots, Fabbri Paddock Boots, an ECE Equestrian Shirt, and the champion title was Sydnie Young. In second place was Makenzy Barnes, followed by Mackenzie Lane, and rounding out the top four riders that made it to the bracket phase was Alexandria Hitchcock.
Sydnie Young, Champion of the West Coast NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals.
NATIONAL SUNSHINE SERIES WEEK II
The FEI Division kicked off on Thursday with the $34,900 HITS Welcome Stake where 53 riders went head to head for the blue ribbon. Enrique Gonzalez and ZAPZERZAP took home the first place finish with a clean Jump-Off time of 33.32. In second place was Katie Edwards aboard CETELLO, with a Jump-Off time of 34.65. The third place ribbon was awarded to Mei Mei Zhu and HERALDO S, with a four fault Jump-Off in a time of 35.63.
Friday morning started with the $25,000 SmartPak Open Prix with 55 riders. Karrie Rufer and MAI TAI 2 took home the blue ribbon in this class with a very fast Jump-Off time of 32.48. Second place was award to Eric Navet and THE FLYING HAM with a time of 33.50, followed by Jamie Sailor and FLASHDANCE who jumped clear in 34.00. Held alongside this class in an overlay fashion was the $5,000 Interactive Mortgage U25 Jumper Classic. Kayla Savard, who was fifth overall in the $25,000 SmartPak Open Prix, was also the blue ribbon winner in the U25 overlay.
On Friday evening, 40 riders returned to the Grand Prix Ring for the $52,500 Coachella Valley Classic – the second class of the FEI Division. After a challenging Jump-Off, Keri Potter and BITALICA were award the blue ribbon. The team jumped clear in a time 49.83. Although the middle rail of the final fence fell it did not alter the height of the fence, so it did not count against her! Second place was awarded to Guy Thomas and JONKHEER Z with four faults and a Jump-Off time of 48.26. In third place were Eric Navet and CATYPSO, with a four-fault time of 48.81.
The FEI Division wrapped up on Sunday with the $200,000 Sunshine Grand Prix. An impeccable group of 30 horses and riders took to the challenging course, and taking home the champion title and a large share of the total purse was Richard Spooner and his partner CHATINUS, a horse that he owns. Spooner and CHATINUS had a Jump-Off time of 49.28. Second place was awarded to Mandy Porter, riding Abigail Archer’s MILANO, with a Jump-Off time of 50.33, followed by amateur rider Karrie Rufer who guided GEORGIE D’ AUVRAY EC to a Jump-Off time of 54.68.
Richard Spooner and CHATINUS, bringing home the blue ribbon in the $200,000 Sunshine Series Grand Prix CSI4*.
Pony Special Classes
This week we also hosted the $1,000 Pony Jumper Prix. Taking home first place was Kayla Long and KHALL ME LUNA. Second place was awarded to Reagan Tomb and SHENANIGANS, followed by Isabel Long and ZUMBA. Along with the Pony Jumper Prix, riders also competed for the blue ribbon in the $1,500 Pony Hunter Prix. Claiming both the first and second place awards was Shiloh Roseboom riding TRULY NOBLE with a 161 and HEAVENLY PATCH OF BLUE with a 158.5 to their respective placings. The third place award went to Katalina Rickard aboard ELITE HOLLYWOOD SMOKE with an overall score of 158.
The $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix was offered again this week as a qualifier for the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Finals that are held at the end of September in Saugerties, New York. Taking home the first and second place prizes was Natalie Medlock aboard QUINLEY with a combined score of 172.5 and GRAFFITI with an overall score of 171, respectively. Christina Smith rode CHANCELLOR to a third place finish with a combined score of 165.
National Sunshine II also hosted a $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby this week. A competitive group of horses took to a challenging course consisting of natural obstacles including hay bales and logs. Taking home the blue ribbon in the class was John French riding CENTER COURT with a combined score of 396 followed by Jenny Karazissis aboard REALLY with an overall score of 379. Third and fourth place were awarded to Jamie Sailor, riding ZIGGY STARDUST to an overall score of 378 and MATADOR to a score of 376.5, respectively. Rounding out the top five in the class was Brooke Morin and BOSS with a combined score of 358.
John French and CENTER COURT jumping the natural log fence to a blue ribbon finish in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
This was also a special week for Equitation riders who competed in the Sunshine Equitation Championships. Riders competed in two rounds, over fences and under saddle, on Saturday; then their scores were carried over to Round Three on Sunday. Judges had the opportunity to request additional testing from the riders. The overall champion in each section of the championships was then determined based on scores from each round. In the 11 & Under section, Katalina Rickard was named the champion. Alexa Leong was the overall champion in the 12-14 section and Christina Vail was the overall champion in the 15-17 Section. Taking home the champion title in the 18 & Over section was Natalie Medlock.
Couldn’t join us for the National Sunshine Series? The HITS Desert Circuit is right around the corner and the Prize List is now available to you! Check it out, as well as anything else you may need at HitsShows.com.