Theodore Boris (trainers Laura Santana and Rick Fleiderman) started 2009 the same way he finished 2008. Boris took home nine equitation blues on Du Calme (Duke) from the LAEC Opener Horse Show; including winning both phases of the Washington International. He's had the Dutch Warmblood for one year. "Last year was the first year I did equitation competitively", he said. "It gives me a better foundation and teaches me for jumpers. I ride without stirrups a lot. I'm working on getting stronger in my leg and softer with my hands. I focus on my upper body."
Boris has a jumper, Santor (Marley), and started equitation to improve his jumping. "Certain things I learn in equitation I use in jumpers", he said. "We'll show Santor in the High Junior Jumpers this year. Flat work is important. My goals for this year are qualifying with Marley for Zone 10's NAJYRC Junior team and qualify for all the medals with Duke. I made the top 25 in the McClay at Syracuse last year."
Laura Ware moved seamlessly from the Junior Hunter ranks to the Amateur Owner ranks, winning the A/O 18-35 on her eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Parker she's had for three years. They imported him from Europe where he had done the 1.15 meter jumpers. "He was almost unrideable", explained Ware. "He was really strong and he was dragging me around. We did a lot of gymnastics, like putting down a collection pole. He would jump and land way too far, or we would end up with a horrible short stride. It wasn't pretty." Ware started showing Parker in equitation classes and they added some hunter classes as well. "We started to do Junior Hunters to give him more experience. Now, he's adjustable and rideable. He's so trained that he does really well in the handy hunter classes."
Ware finds it strange to be riding as an amateur. "It's weird to be in the younger A/Os", she said. "I competed against a lot of these people as a little kid." Ware hopes to sell Parker so she can concentrate on her young Selle Francais jumper waiting in the wings. Ware's mother, Carolyn Biava is a professional and the enjoy a dual relationship of mother-daughter and trainer-student. Ware is in her first year at UCLA.
Jane Fraze beat herself in the Amateur Owner Hunters 36 & Over. The first two rounds, she got blues with her new horse White Oak, but in the end it was the reliable Mandarin (Orange) who won the championship (Peter Lombardo, Trainer). "He (White Oak) belonged to a junior in Archie's (Cox) barn", she said. "When I got back from indoors in 2008 they said I needed another horse and to practice more." In the open hunter sections, Mandarin was Regular Conformation Hunter champion with trainer Peter Lombardo. "Orange is 13", said Fraze. "He loves his job and he's in great shape."
This was Lombardo's first show on his own as Frontier Farm, and since Lombardo has always ridden Fraze's horses she continued with him. Lombardo also got the ride on Martel (Star Lane Farms) and earned the championship in the Green Working Hunters. Elsa Horrigan of Star Lane Farms trains with Jim Hagman's Elvenstar and plans to assume the ride on Martel as he gains experience.
Jamie Sailor (trainer Michael Edrick) won two championships: Large Junior Hunters on Edrick's Golden Touch (Goldie) and Junior/AO Jumper champion on Tiny Toons. "Goldie just turned five", she said. "She's a baby. This was her first real show and her first time in Junior Hunters. She was really good. I'm excited that she's doing so well. She is a really cool horse. She's fun to ride and has a good future."
Tiny Toons, a Danish Warmblood, is 18.1. "We started calling him Tiny", she said. "I've had him for a year. This is his first show back from an injury. He was four months in recovery. He won two classes and was second, and we had no rails. It's a great way to start the year. He's only seven. I hope to do my first grand prix in Arizona. He's such a big horse. We work on lengthening and shortening for elasticity."
Le Petiit was Children's Jumper champion with owner Clancey Cornell in the irons (trainer Kathy Megla). "He's mainly a jumper", said Cornell. "We're planning to move up a few levels. This was the first time we did the 1.15 meter and we won a class." Cornell rides her father's horse, Add Years On in equitation. "I used to like equitation but now it's jumpers", she said. "It's addictive. I ride the two horses differently. Dad's equitation horse is softer and slower. Pete is crazy fast. Pete is a little wild but he's careful."
Over in the Pony Hunter arena, Tara Spencer (trainer Jeni Brown) won the Large Pony Hunter championship on Storytime. "She's really an all around pony, said Spencer. She came from Holland where she was a pony jumper. We quieted her down to make her a hunter. She has a really big stride. I can do horse strides at home. We are going to do all pony medals., and we've already qualified for the USEF Pony Hunter Finals."
The LAEC Opener kicked off LEG's hunter/jumper shows at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Complete results are online at: http://www.langershows.com/laec_show_details