Katy, Texas – March 31, 2019 – Saturday’s daytime schedule at Week II of Pin Oak 2019 was full of equitation medals, giving many of Pin Oak’s top junior riders a chance to shine. To add to the excitement, a cold front brought on by a series of early afternoon showers caused an abrupt change in weather that had many of the horses feeling particularly frisky. Riders cooled down while it was still hot during Saturday’s Ice Cream Social sponsored by Healing with Love and Woodway Equestrian, which wrapped up just as the warm weather began to fade into chilly showers.
Despite pouring rain, Grace McReynolds of Colorado Springs, Colarado and her own Kabaltic were crowned the winners of today’s Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal.
“I felt pretty good going into the medal,” Grace commented. “All of the lines walked pretty straightforward, so that was nice. It was pouring down rain, but my horse was awesome and our course felt super smooth. My horse was great up the first line, stepping right up, and then the rest of the course really just flowed from there,” she continued.
This is Grace’s second time at Pin Oak and her final year showing as a junior. Grace is excited to compete in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show this fall.
Owen McWilliams and Tour Eiffel Du Mesnil, owned by Cold Spring Farm Investments, LLC, topped the WIHS Equitation Jumper Phase while Brooke Brombach and Spygate, owned by Show Hunter Investments, LLC, took the blue ribbon in the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase.
However, it was Bella Kay, winner of Friday afternoon’s $30,000 Walsh and Albert USHJA International Derby, and her SWS Questionnaire who were consistent enough to earn the top prize in the overall WIHS Equitation.
Izabella Millimet won this week’s Hamel NHS 3’3″ medal on her own RVF Carlyle.
Hannah Buskin and Fedor, owned by Ava Williams, came out on top of a fiercely competitive class of 31 riders in the THIS National Children’s Medal. After earning first round scores in the 80s, all four riders proved their position in the challenging work off.
After a long day of fun, lots of riding, and hard work, riders were excited to watch Saturday night’s Hildebrand Fund $30,000 Grand Prix. Pin Oak’s equitation riders are anticipating Sunday’s ASPCA Maclay, USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal, and Platinum Performance Talent Search. Meanwhile, the junior hunter and jumper competitors are looking forward to classic day as well as the chance to earn tricolors as their divisions wrap up on Sunday.
Katy, Texas – March 30, 2019 – Week II of the 2019 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is flying by as the week wraps up with big wins before the weekend.
The jumper ring shined during the first part of the week with the $10,000 1.45M Welcome Stake on Wednesday evening and the $25,000 Walter Oil & Gas Corp. Grand Prix and Bedoya Ringside Reception Thursday afternoon.
Jordan, ridden by Jill Gafney and owned by Freestyling Farms, LLC, took home the top honors in Wednesday’s 1.45M Welcome Stake.
BKS Horse Farms, LLC’s Dante with Faces of Pin Oak rider Briley Koerner finished 5th in the Welcome Stake, as well as winning the 1.45M Under 25 for the Welcome Stake.
NKH Caruso owned by NKH LLC and ridden by Mathis Schwentker were victorious in Thursday afternoon’s $25,000 Walter Oil & Gas Corp. Grand Prix while Vigo Du Levant, owned by L.O.O. LLC and ridden by Jaelynn Downing, rode to the top honors in the 1.45M Under 25 Grand Prix.
Meanwhile, ‘Derby Day’ at Pin Oak 2019 Week II featured the Baggett Family $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Friday morning and the Walsh and Albert $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Friday afternoon accompanied by the Bluebonnet Feeds Margaritaville party.
Amidst light springtime showers on Friday morning, Kelley Buringa rode Bottom Line Equestrian, LLC’s Valentine to the win in the Baggett Family $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Valentine and Kelley led the class following the classic round with a score of 91. The pair remained consistent, scoring a 94 in their stellar handy round.
“This was our first derby together. And we just had our very first class together last Thursday,” Kelley explained. “He was just spot on today. There was, of course, some pressure coming back on top, and I knew I had to make the inside turn to the trot fence since everyone else had done it. But he was right there with me every step of the way. It was a great feeling and a really fun class,” she continued.
Hoopla, ridden by Peter Pletcher and owned by Hollis Grace, took home the red ribbon in Friday morning’s National Derby while Jennifer Alfano and All Ferraris, LLC’s Enzo W took third. Brooke Brombach was the highest placing junior rider finishing in fifth place with scores of 88 in both the classic round and the handy round aboard Erica Moe’s Classico.
Friday afternoon’s $30,000 Walsh & Albert USHJA International Derby was run in the ‘Hunt and Go Format,’ newly offered at Pin Oak 2019. The Hunt and Go format is similar to a power and speed class in the jumper ring; all riders continue directly on to the handy round following their classic round without stopping or exiting the arena. This format is great news to riders of younger horses or those new to riding in derbies since all competitors proceed to the handy round rather than only the top 12 horses being called back. Friday’s Hunt and Go derby included a total of 14 fences, eight fences in the classic round and six in the handy. Riders were to pass through two standards following the end of the classic round to mark the beginning of the handy portion of the course.
While spectators and exhibitors enjoyed the Bluebonnet Feeds Margaritaville party, amateur and junior competitors topped the field of 25 horses. Symbolic, owned and shown by junior rider Bella Kay, won the class scoring 348 points overall, following an impressive second place finish in the USHJA International Derby the week prior. MTM Do Right took second place with owner and amateur rider Didi Mackenzie while Miramar, ridden by amateur Isabella Littlejohn and owned by Nancy Littlejohn, took third.
When asked about her experience with the Hunt and Go format, Bella Kay joked, “I did a Hunt and Go derby once in Florida. I didn’t ride as well in that one, so the format wasn’t my favorite, but now I love it!”
“Actually, it’s nice because you don’t have time between rounds to overthink, but it can be hard to go so long. It helped that my horse gets excited and perks up when we start doing the handy turns, so it wasn’t as hard to keep going,” she continued.
“For me, today was really just about going around, being smooth, and doing our best. I was so happy when we were second in the International Derby last week, and I wasn’t expecting to be better than that, especially with how many professionals are here and how many incredible horses were in the class,” she said when asked about her win in the International Derby.
“[Symbolic] loves the derbies. They’re his favorite class. Well, no matter what class it is, he always goes wanting to win. He is definitely my once-in-a-lifetime horse. He always gives me 100%. No, actually it’s more like 200%.”
Bella purchased Symbolic three years ago to be a fun, confidence building mount. “This Thursday I will have had him three years. We got him to be a fun horse for me because the green pony I had at the time was not so fun. He has definitely taught me a lot and helped me build confidence. The win will be a great way to mark our anniversary,” she said.
For Symbolic and Bella Kay, this marks another milestone as it is Symbolic’s first International Derby win as well as Bella’s. The pair started doing International Derbies in the fall of 2017. They won a USHJA National Derby in Saugerties in 2017 but have never bested International Derby competition. “He came in second a few times with Kelly Farmer before I owned him but had never won. He was definitely a derby pro, but he had never had a derby win, so I’m very excited we could achieve this together,” Bella explained. Bella is also looking forward to riding Symbolic at the USHJA International Derby Finals in Kentucky later this year.
As Week II of Pin Oak 2019 enters the weekend, junior riders are looking forward to another fun weekend of showing while jumper riders and spectators are excited for Saturday’s big event – the Hildebrand Fund $30,000 Grand Prix and Avalon Advisors Ringside Gala.
Daniel Bedoya was taught to respect and value horses from the start. Growing up in La Paz, Bolivia, his father, Daniel Bedoya Sr., won seven national jumper championships in Bolivia. But even more than his success in the show ring, Bedoya Sr emphasized that anyone who wants to ride needs to bring their best to the horses at all times.
When Daniel describes his childhood in La Paz, he talks about how his father’s passion for riding motivated him to get up at 5am in order to ride before his job working in construction. He would even rush to the barn during lunch to get a ride in.
Bedoya Sr demanded the same of his children if they chose to ride. “My sister was very talented,” Daniel says, “but just didn’t want it as much.” Bedoya Sr. told his son that if he wanted to ride, it was all or nothing. He had to take it seriously, to forego nights out with his friends if he wanted to jump the next day, to show up every single day to work on his sport.
That work paid off.
The family moved to Austin, Texas when Daniel was a young man. Bedoya Sr. set up a training facility there, which he continues to run full time at age 74. “He rides four horses a day. He teaches lessons. He gets on the tractor himself to drag the arena,” Daniel says with clear admiration.
Daniel continued in the family tradition and set off to Magnolia, Texas, where he and his wife Lindsay run Bedoya Training Stables. Lindsay is critical to the operation. She travels with him to help in the big classes when she can or stays home with their daughter to keep the horses and students in work. “It’s special to me that we’re doing this as a family,” he says.
At Bedoya Training Stables, Daniel focuses on building foundations of trust and warmth with his horses and students. “It has to be fun,” he says. “If it’s not fun then why do it?” He treats his horses with respect and empathy, and takes the time to really make sure he understands the specific needs of each one. “One of the challenges of the trainer is to find what makes a horse want to perform better,” he says. “Try to make it fun for the horses. If you make the job a little easier, make it fun, and find what makes every horse want to do their job—you’ll have more success.”
Daniel carries the same approach with his students. He likes people, and wants to get to know them. He brings the best of Bolivian riding culture to Texas: “Everyone has to have fun. In Bolivia, riding is a very social thing–everyone goes to ride and then they hang out with their friends, go do other things together.”
In fact, when Daniel and his horse Quattro represented Bolivia at the World Equestrian Games at Tryon in 2018–the first time a Bolivian represented the country on the world stage–his Texan fans cheered him vigorously in the main arena. The Great Southwest Equestrian Center even stopped the horse show to broadcast his rides on the big screens so that his home crowd could watch and cheer for their friend.
Riding at WEG belt beyond Daniel’s wildest dreams even two years prior, and he counts carrying the Bolivian flag as his proudest equestrian achievement. He credits his horse Quattro for the opportunity.
“I remember the day of the first class I was riding. My horse was almost ready in the cross ties, and I gave him a big hug. I wanted to thank him somehow. It was an unbelievable moment for me. Even before going in the ring, I got teary eyed. I could not believe I was there. My family came from Bolivia to watch. It was amazing.”
Quattro is the horse of a lifetime for Daniel. He bought the 18hh gelding as a five-year-old resale project. “He turned out to be harder to train in the beginning than I expected,” Daniel recounts cheerfully. He took the “shy, gentle giant” to his first horse show as a youngster, having no idea this would be the horse to completely change his career.
“I may get to the point where I ride better horses than him, who win more than he wins, but none will have the impact he has had on my career. He changed my life.” For Daniel, there will never be another Quattro. The successes the pair have already achieved have opened doors for Daniel. Competing at WEG, opportunities to ride more elite horses, and attracting quality clients to his program have all come about thanks to Quattro’s eagerness to try.
Daniel also thinks fondly back to his now eight-year-old daughter’s early childhood. He would sit her in front of him on the huge horse’s back and walk and trot around the ring, introducing his daughter to horses and sharing quiet moments with her.
“My daughter is my biggest fan,” he says. While she hasn’t caught the riding bug, she joins the Texas community in cheering for her father’s victories. “Sometimes she cries if Quattro and I don’t win,” he chuckles.
Pin Oak has been a large part of Daniel’s career success. There he Quattro have claimed many victories, including rising to the top of the leaderboard in the 2018 Antares Sellier Leading Grand Prix Rider. He loves the show for its combination of collegial environment and prestige.
Pin Oak is special to Daniel because of the charitable giving aspect. He recounts a charity equitation class to benefit a fellow professional who was having medical troubles a few years ago. “It wasn’t part of Pin Oak but they helped us with it, and now they’ve made it part of their show,” he says with pride.
Daniel hopes that Pin Oak continues to attract more riders from Mexico and surrounding states. “It’s a beautiful horse show,” he says. “Everybody comes to play. Everyone gets ready for Pin Oak.”
Daniel’s buoyant spirit and passion for the horses make him a popular fixture of the Texas riding scene. He and Quattro have a bright future ahead of them.
Natalee Haggan’s parents promised her a horse of her own when she was eight years old, provided she stuck with the riding lessons she begged for. She showed her dedication early, always staying late at the barn late to help out with chores. “Thirty years have gone by and I’m still waiting for the horse,” the now successful professional jokes.
Natalee’s determination has opened doors. In 2000, she convinced the hiring manager at Medieval Times (a popular dinner theater chain restaurant) to take her on, even though at the time the business officially did not hire women in the role of riders. But Natalee impressed the horse trainer with her skills. Through that experience, she learned a lot of incredible dressage skills the horses needed to perform in the show.
After three years at Medieval Times, Natalee returned to the show ring. She missed jumping. She borrowed a horse from MTM farm for a week, and again impressed people with her work ethic. She got opportunity to take care of the farm while the owners were on the road, and worked her way into the manager and trainer position.
Things were going well for Natalee when, in 2017, a 2”x6” board fell on her head and left her in critical condition. Once again, she would have to defy the odds.
Pin Oak became the stage for her comeback. She grew up watching the Pin Oak Grand Prix and dreamed of riding in it long before she had the financial means to make it at the rated level. “I just rode whatever I could swing a leg over,” she remembers. Now, as an accomplished rider with access to nice horses, she had to put the pieces together while recovering from her serious injury.
In 2018, just seven months after her accident, her dream came true as she rode into the ring in the Wells Fargo $30,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix on MTM Full House. The evening progressed from dream to fairy tale as she and Fuller had the only double clear round of the night. “Winning was surreal,” she recalls. Natalee lists winning this class as her proudest equestrian accomplishment.
There is no doubt that Natalee’s determination and talent paid off in that moment, but she credits her support system as well. “I am so fortunate to have the support of Mike McCormick, Tracy Fenney, and the rest of our MTM team,” she says. “They have given me knowledge, encouragement, and opportunities that I would not otherwise have and I am forever grateful.”
Tracy is her equestrian idol. “She’s amazing,” she says. “She’s always so smooth and makes it look effortless. Horses love her.”
She also has a special bond with Fuller, a Hanoverian gelding McCormick and Fenney imported in 2015. Fenney rode him in a few Grand Prix before handing the reins over to Natalee just before her accident, but left the ride to her and gave Fuller time off competing while Natalee recovered.
“I believe we have an aytpical bond that allows us to compete at that level,” Natalee says. “Fuller jumps in an unorthodox style, but he has the heart of a winner. He always gives 110% in and out of the show ring, and always steps up when he is challenged. He is also the first to greet me when I walk in the barn with a loud neigh ‘hello.’”
Natalee is sympathetic to her horses, which plays a key role in her success with them. Her training philosophy centers on focusing on the individual needs of each horse to help them most efficiently understand what she is asking of them. “I am a huge believer in positive reinforcement and try to stay focused on solutions,” she says. “I think it is very important especially with young or green horses to recognize when the horse has given you an honest effort to do whatever you are facing it with to allow it to be finished, whether it happens in five minutes or 25 minutes.”
The future is bright for Natalee, whose next big goal is to win an international hunter derby. “I’ve come in second in my last two international derbies,” she says, “and last time I was only one point off the winner.” She’s also looking forward to more Grand Prix wins as well as bringing along the promising young horses at MTM.
Wherever she goes in her career, Pin Oak will always be special to her. “Pin Oak is a great contribution to the horse world in the sense that it allows different breeds and disciplines to compete side by side. Even though we are all involved with riding it is very interesting to watch and learn how differing breeds and disciplines train, compete, and even manage their horses in the stabling area. Each breed and discipline have their own unique traditions that I find interesting,” Natalee says.
“I am just very thankful to be able to compete at Pin Oak. I love the support and donations Pin Oak makes to the Texas Children’s Hospital. We are all very lucky to be able to live our life with horses and I think it is important to remember to give back.”
While anyone with Natalee’s level of success would know a thing or two about luck, she is also a demonstration of what really wanting it and putting in the time can bring. Watch for this talented rider at the horse shows this year.
On Saturday evening during the Grand Prix, we got to meet one of the most amazing little boys, Ben. Ben is blind, but was SOOOO excited to be at the show! Even though he could not see what was going on, he was cheering on the riders and whooping and hollering louder than most everyone else.
Ben really wanted to meet a horse and Vantage Point Farm, LLC was kind enough to let him meet their superstar, Sammie. (You may remember him as one of the 2018 Horse of Pin Oak.)
It’s the little things like this, that remind us what the show is all about. Thank you to Candlelighters Houston for introducing us to this incredible little boy and his family.
The 74th Annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show wrapped up Week I, March 20-24, at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas. The action-packed schedule included Hunters, Jumpers and American Saddlebreds, sponsored by Bluebonnet Farm, taking centerstage during this prestigious USEF Heritage horse show.
This year, Pin Oak offers Premier Hunters and the USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider competition Weeks II and III, three USHJA International Hunter Derbies with $90,000 in prize money, three USHJA National Hunter Derbies, sponsored by the Baggett Family, Booth Show Jumpers, Brookside Pine Farms and Walsh & Albert with $35,000 in total prize money.
There are five Grand Prix events, sponsored by Oasis Petroleum/Amalaya Investments, The Hildebrand Fund and Wells Fargo/Abbot Downing, Irish Day Farm and Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, as well as two U25 events sponsored by Summer Hill Farms and Fab Finds by Sarah. Pin Oak also sends out a big “thank you” to the ring sponsors for this year: Irish Day Farm, Memorial Park Hunters and Saddle Shoppe.
In the first week’s featured grand prix, Daniel Bedoya and Quattro topped the field in the $30,000 Oasis Petroleum Grand Prix on Saturday night before a packed house.
Sixteen competitors tried their hand at the first-round course designed by Manuel Esparza, with five competitors moving to the jump-off. In the end, Bedoya and Quattro posted the only double-clear performance of the night. Tiramisu, ridden by Trapp O’Neal and owned by The Eddyanne Ranch Family Limited Partnership, was the fastest four-faulter, receiving the red ribbon.
Going fourth in the order with no clear rounds on the board, Bedoya knew what he had to do, and his plan worked to perfection.
“In the jump-off, I didn’t want to get him going too fast,” said Bedoya of Quattro. “He’s a big horse, and sometimes I lose control of his stride.”
Bedoya was especially pleased with his ride, because at the end of the course he was able to slow down, make a great turn to the last fence and finish without a rail hitting the ground. “I wasn’t the fastest, but I was clear,” he said. “I think by going clean, I put a little pressure on Trapp (who went last). He was a lot faster than me, but his horse made one little mistake. That’s all it takes.”
Bedoya, of Magnolia, Texas, and who rides for Bolivia, has had the 13-year-old Quattro since he was a 5-year-old.
“I took him to his first horse show, his first grand prix, his first FEI grand prix and his first grand prix win,” said Bedoya. “I’ve done everything with him—his first World Equestrian Games, too. He’s also the horse my wife Lindsay jumped her first grand prix on, and he’s the first horse my daughter trotted and cantered and went over a pole with me as a baby. So, he’s a special horse for my family and a part of the family.”
Bedoya and Quattro were Pin Oak’s Leading Grand Prix Horse and Rider in 2018 as well as 2015.
“He’s won five or six grand prix events now. He’s not the fastest, but he’s placed in over 70 grand prix classes,” said Bedoya proudly. “He’s always there. He’s so big that sometimes the smaller horses can beat him.”
Bedoya was thrilled to win once again at Pin Oak. “I love it here,” he said. “I want to thank Pin Oak! They’re doing a great job. They put a lot of work into it here, the venue and the new footing is awesome; and we had a great course designer. It’s one of my favorite horse shows.”
Daisy Ford and her Gatsby finished fifth, which gave them the win in the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, which ran concurrently, while Briley Koerner placed sixth with BKS Horse Farms, LLC’s For Jef VD Wezelse, earning her second place in the U25 section.
Julie Cleveland Beam, who piloted Anastasia Stewart’s Lancelot to victory in Thursday night’s $10,000 Welcome Stake, received the Grand Prix Style Award at Saturday’s event. Beam was pleased with Lancelot’s performance in the Welcome, because he arrived at Pin Oak and needed some time to settle.
“He’s been a little bit nervous since he’s been here, with a lot to look at,” she said. “He’s always a spooky horse, so he was making me work a little extra hard, but he stepped up to the plate when I needed him to, and he was great.”
Beam went early in the class of 14 entries in the Welcome and had to wait to see if anyone could catch her jump-off time.
“I wasn’t sure,” said Beam of her win. “I did plan to go around (one fence) because he was being so dodgy, so I knew that was a little bit of a deal breaker possibly for the win, but you never know. Then, I looked at my time when I finished, and it was pretty close to what Trapp just did. and he went inside, so I thought maybe we had a chance of keeping it.”
Beam, of Hillcrest Farm in Argyle, Texas, has had the gray Lancelot for a little over a year and has carefully nurtured his talents as he’s gained confidence in the ring. “He’s been a project. He’s a very mental horse, and he is very dependent on his rider, so he looks to you to help him. But he’s really starting to come into himself, and I’m really pleased,” she said.
Beam has been showing at Pin Oak since the early 1990s. “It’s a special show with good competition. The atmosphere is a little more competitive than other Texas shows, and everybody has their A game on. It’s a nice challenge. I think they’re doing a great job here, a and they make us feel we’re a part of it.”
A Winning Derby Debut
In the featured $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Friday night, Jennifer Alfano once again led the victory gallop. This time, however, it wasn’t aboard one of her past derby veterans, such as Jersey Boy or Miss Lucy. Instead, Alfano piloted a complete rookie named Capriati to the top placing.
“There were a lot of firsts for Capriati (nicknamed J.J.) this week—it was his first show as a hunter, his first show in the United States and his first Derby and his first win,” said Alfano of the 13-year-old chestnut warmblood.
Capriati arrived in the United States 2 ½ weeks before Pin Oak after being imported by John Jamieson and Carly Campbell Cooper. “I can’t thank them enough,” said Alfano. “I was kind of whining because I didn’t have a derby horse to bring to Pin Oak, and they said, ‘Oh, we just got this one in, and we think he wants to be a hunter. You could take him.’ So, a huge thank-you to them. It’s a win-win for all of us.”
Alfano, of Ocala, Florida, registered Capriati with the USEF on Tuesday and started him in the 3’6” Green Hunters at Pin Oak on Wednesday, since in his former life he’d been a 1.45m jumper.
“I have to say, the first day, Wednesday in the first class, I was like, ‘OK, maybe the Derby on Friday isn’t quite the plan,’” said Alfano, laughing. “Then, even from the first to the second class on Wednesday was a huge improvement. And then from the first day to the second day was another huge improvement. He’s a smart horse, and I think he really likes this job. By the time Friday rolled around, he was like, ‘I got this!’”
Alfano and J.J. topped the card in the Classic Round and then repeated for victory in the Handy Round for the overall title.
“I honestly had no idea what to expect,” said Alfano. “There was no pressure, and I was so relaxed. I’m usually all keyed up and nervous for these derbies and pacing up and down. Going inside (the Tellepsen Arena) with all of the people, I thought he might get a little up with the atmosphere. But he went in there like he’s been doing it his whole life.”
After the first round, Alfano figured there was no need to be cautious, so she went in to cement the victory.
“in the Handy, I rode him like one of my seasoned derby horses, which was amazing for his first one,” she said. “I’ve always had good luck here—Lewis (Jersey Boy) and Lucy have both won a couple of derbies here—and I have pretty good luck with the chestnut derby horses!”
Symbolic, owned and shown by junior rider Bella Kay, was seventh after the Classic Round and posted a superb Handy Round to vault up to second place overall. Kay also excelled in the equitation ring. Aboard her SWS Questionnaire, Kay won the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase, the Dover/USEF Hunter Seat Medal and the Platinum Performance USEF Talent Search class.
Friday’s Derby Day at Pin Oak also included the Brookside Pine Farms $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby in the afternoon. Jessica Law rode Krunch, owned by Jana Arnoldy, to top honors over a sprawling course designed by Alan Lohman that was set in the Memorial Park Hunters combined Mega Ring I and II. Alfano guided All Ferraris LLC’s Enzo W to second place, and Natalie Geller rode Beluga LLC’s Can’t Buy Me Love to third.
Champions and Classic winners went hand-in-hand this week, with Greetings and owner/rider Haley Hammer winning the 3’6” Junior Hunter Classic and the tricolor in the 3’6” Junior Hunter, 16-17, section.
Likewise, MTM Inside Scoop, owned and ridden by Didi Mackenzie, topped the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic and earned the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter championship.
A clean sweep went to Wesley Clingman’s Deluxe, shown by Courtney Lenkart. The pair captured every blue ribbon in the 3’3” Green Working Hunters and, as icing on the cake, took two more as the winners of the USHJA 3′-3’3″ Green Incentive Stake and the Texas Green Hunter Super Stake.
Lenkart has had the ride on Deluxe for about a year after Clingman relocated from Atlanta to Dallas last spring to attend Southern Methodist University.
“He does the 3’3” Greens with me and the 3’3” Amateur-Owners with his mom, Wesley,” said Lenkart. “He started out the year really well and was champion in Wellington (on the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit) before coming to Pin Oak. He’s got all the parts; he’s really a cool horse.”
Lenkart, who won the USHJA 3’-3’3” Green Incentive Program 2018 National Leading Rider Award with $32,975 in earnings, has high hopes to continue her momentum this year. She has several promising Green hunters coming up the ranks, with Deluxe already winning several Incentive classes.
“He’s a beautiful jumper and mover and so pretty between the jumps,” she said of the elegant bay. “He always carries his ears right, and he’s just really classy the way he goes. The USHJA Green Incentive Championship (in Kentucky in August) is definitely on our goal list.”
In the Hunter Breeding section, Rachelle Goebel’s Will Emblazon captured the 3-year-old class and Best Young Horse title under judge Linda Andrisani.
The impressive bay Oldenburg (Willemoes–-Anastazia) was bred by His Cat Farm and handled by Goebel, of Montgomery, Texas.
Will Emblazon comes from a line of successful Hunter Breeding horses, and his dam, Anastazia, was crowned Best Young Horse at the Devon Horse Show in 2004 and ’05. Will Emblazon placed third at Devon as a yearling and finished fifth in the USEF Horse of the Year standings and won the Zone 7 championship as well as the Texas Super Series grand championship.
Goebel purchased Will Emblazon as a 5-month-old, and she and her sister, Felicia Carroll, have shown him together. He remains undefeated in 2019 and currently leads the USEF National Horse of the Year standings in the 3-year-old Hunter Breeding section. In addition to Pin Oak, Will Emblazon earned the Best Young Horse titles each of the four weeks of the Great Southwest Winter Series.
During Week I, the American Saddlebred divisions, sponsored by Bluebonnet Farm, took their turn around The Irish Day Farm Main Indoor Arena.
Chris Tresten, of Houston, Texas, claimed victory in the hotly contested ASB Three-Gaited Country Pleasure Championship. She rode her It’s Wing KA Hammer to an impressive performance over a field of nine competitors after also taking the ASB Three-Gaited Country Pleasure Adult win earlier in the week.
“I’ve had him since he was 3, and he’s 15 now. He was five-gaited his whole life until this show— and we went to Country Pleasure and won both classes. Who would have thought? For him to stand and halt, I couldn’t believe it. I was so amazed. He seems to love it.”
Tresten, an amateur rider who trains with Milo Jones and Koren Mercer of Lone Star Saddlebreds, credited them for the successful transition of It’s Wing KA Hammer to a new division with some different challenges.
“We had asked him to be gaited his whole life, and we thought maybe after 10 years we’d let him down a little bit and let him be a Country Pleasure horse,” she noted. “He had to walk and halt and all that, but Milo got him ready, and he was so good in there. He did everything I asked him to do.”
Tresten also piloted Paul Mattson’s Ready Or Nut to victory in the ASB Three-Gaited Ladies class and then earned the reserve championship in the ASB Three-Gaited Stake.
“I’m just catch riding this one, and it was a last-minute decision at home,” she said. “We decided a week ago, and I hadn’t ridden her, so we put on the double bridle and said, ‘Oh, I think this is going to work!’ So, we tried it, and she went great. She was really good in the first class and then the championship went great.”
For Tresten, competing at Pin Oak is very special. She’s a former chairman of the board and past president. “I’ve been involved with Pin Oak for 25 years, doing the Ronald McDonald House and involved in the charity work,” she said. “Lynn Walsh (also a Pin Oak past president and successful amateur hunter rider) and I retired last year. We’ve been doing it for 25 years, and we felt it was time for someone else to take the reins. We’ve had many roles at Pin Oak over the years, and now we’re riding, riding, riding! We’re like riding machines, and we just smile all the time!”
Michael Beasom also had reason to smile at Pin Oak. He captured the Three-Gaited Stake aboard Oak Hill Saddlebreds LLC’s The Rhumba after winning the ASB Three-Gaited Open class. In addition, Beasom collected a variety of top ribbons for Oak Hill Saddlebreds, including the Fine Harness Championship with Jack And Coke in a highly competitive class. He also trained Open First and Catherine Street to top honors in the ASB Five-Gaited show Pleasure Championship among others.
In the ASB Five-Gaited Stake, it was Judy Stubblefield’s By Some Miracle taking the victory pass with rider Sandra Currier. The pair also topped the ASB Five-Gaited Ladies class.
The Junior/Amateur exhibitors rode hard for their championships, as well, with Scarlett McDowell claiming the ASB Five-Gaited Amateur/Junior Exhibitor tricolor aboard Let’s Have Some Fun, with Currier training. Story Sinex bested a strong field to win the ASB Three-Gaited Amateur/Junior Exhibitor championship aboard Krista Sinex’s Fortunate Encounter, with Milo Jones training.
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Katy, Texas – March 25, 2019 – Fun was had by all at Pin Oak 2019’s first Grand Prix, the Oasis Petroleum $30,000 Grand Prix, and Amalaya Investments Ringside Gala on Saturday Night. As is tradition at each of Pin Oak’s Grand Prix events, the Catalena Cowgirls, an iconic rodeo drill team of talented women and their paint horses, kicked off the evening with a fabulous performance.
Sixteen competitors tried their hand at the first-round course, with only five moving to the jump off. The crowd held their breath as Quattro, owned and shown by Daniel Bedoya, took home the win with the only clear jump off round. Daniel and Quattro were Pin Oak’s Leading Grand Prix Horse and Rider in 2018 as well as 2015. The pair also competed in the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.
Tiramisu, ridden by Trapp O’Neal and owned by The Eddyanne Ranch Family Limited Partnership, was the fastest four-faulter, receiving the red ribbon.
Daisy Ford and her Gatsby finished in fifth place, which gave them the win in the 1.45M Under 25 Grand Prix while Faces of Pin Oak rider, Briley Koerner, finished sixth in the Prix with BKS Horse Farms, LLC’s For Jef Vd Wezelse, earning her second place in the Under 25.
Julie Cleveland Beam and Anastasia Stewart’s Lancelot, winners of Thursday night’s $10,000 1.45M Welcome Stake, received the Grand Prix Style Award at Saturday’s event.
Prior to Saturday’s big event, complimentary massages were offered during the afternoon at the facility’s outdoor hospitality area, and The Shops at Pin Oak featured pre-event cocktails and a photobooth with fun Pin Oak props open to all.
On Sunday, the final day of Pin Oak 2019 Week I included a delicious sponsor brunch, complete with mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar.
Bella Kay aboard her SWS Questionnaire dominated in the equitation ring, winning the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase, the USEF/Dover Hunter Seat Medal, and the Platinum Performance Talent Search.
Portya Muenke took the blue ribbon in the WIHS Equitation Jumper Phase and the red ribbon in the USEF/Dover Hunter Seat Medal and the ASPCA Maclay aboard her Gerico. Elizabeth Nestor proved to be the highest scoring overall in the WIHS Equitation with At Last owned by Claire Azar. Elizabeth Nestor and At Last also took home the blue in the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal.
We spoke with Brooke Brombach following her win in the ASPCA Maclay on Spygate, owned by Show Hunters Investments. “I’m so happy with him. I was really looking forward to Pin Oak this year, especially following last year’s 3’6” Equitation Circuit Award, but I was concerned when a week before the show started I still hadn’t found an equitation horse to ride. Luckily, three days before Pin Oak, I found out that Spygate, an equitation horse I used to ride, was coming back from lease and being sent for me to show. He made it on Thursday evening, just in time!” The pair was also second in the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase and third in the US Dover Hunter Seat Medal and the Platinum Performance Talent Search.
Macy White aboard Viva’s Glory, owned by Joan Hensen, took home the blue ribbon in the Hamel NHS 3’3” Medal, and Victoria Zahorik and her own Kalisto were crowned the winners in the THIS National Children’s Medal and Reserve Champion of the Children’s Hunter 14 and Under.
Khaki McCool and Kirby McCool’s Intrepido came out on top in the under saddle as well as both of Sunday’s Combined 3’6” Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under and Small Junior Hunter 16-17 classes, taking Champion in the division. “Today’s courses were very well-designed. I really enjoyed them, and my horse was perfect and jumping great,” Khaki said when asked about her wins. “We just started leasing him less than a year ago,” she explained of the 10-year-old Danish Warmblood. Central Park West owned and ridden by Jordan Cobb earned the Reserve Championship.
Greetings and owner/rider Haley Hammer bested all the 3’6” Junior riders, winning the combined 3’6” Junior Hunter Classic and taking Champion in the 3’6” Junior Hunter 16-17. Symbolic, second in Friday’s International Hunter Derby, and Bella Kay were Reserve Champion.
Gap Crown Horses, LLC’s Cassiopeia Cellestin, ridden by Kelley Buringa, and Chestnut Equestrian, LLC’s OTI, ridden by Ainslee Gregg, took Champion and Reserve Champion, respectively of the 3’3” Junior Hunter 16-17. Both horses are of Matt Cyphert’s, Faces of Pin Oak rider, Woodhill Farm.
Luke Jensen and Jill Barnett’s Coraggio PF were Champion in the 3’3” Junior Hunter 15 and Under and took home the blue in the combined 3’3” Junior Hunter Classic.
Children’s Hunter 14 and Under Champion Snickers owned by South Haven Farm while the Children’s Hunter Classic 14 and Under win was taken by Overture, owned and shown by Lola Hutchinson.
The Children’s Hunter 15-17 tricolor was earned by Caswell owned and ridden by Sydney Murdoch while Jordan Gilchrist’s Kingston, piloted by Ella Frahm, took the win in the Children’s Hunter 15-17 Classic as well as the division Reserve Championship. At the pony ring, we caught up with McKayla Brombach who was on fire, earning the Championship on all three of her rides.
Glenmore Tralee, ridden by McKayla and owned by Monarch Stables, earned the tricolor in the Small Pony Hunter division. When asked about the catch ride, McKayla said, “I’m really proud of this pony. She was fantastic. I am shocked that we were Champion against Sunbeam because Sunbeam is a really nice pony.”
Sunbeam, owned by Ticket to Ride, LLC and ridden by Carolyn Colter, took the Reserve Championship as well as the blue ribbon in the combined Pony Hunter Classic.
McKayla was also Champion of the Medium Pony Hunters with Colleen Brombach’s Morton’s Sassy Kat. “I’m finally figuring out how to ride this pony. I’m so blessed to have her and to finally be getting consistent rides on her,” said McKayla following her clean sweep of the division. Alexandra Keath’s Glenhaven Pick Me, ridden by Clara Keath, earned the Reserve Championship. The girls shared their Championship photo following the division.
McKayla’s third ride, Waltzing Matilda, owned by James Waldman, took the Championship in the Small/Medium Green Pony Hunter division. “This is only her second horse show,” McKayla explained, “I never thought we would be Champion. I was just super excited to get to show this new green pony when she came in for sale.” Carlysle Drosos rode her own Snoop Dogg to the Reserve Championship as well as the win in the WIHS Pony Medal.
McKayla’s older sister, Brooke Brombach, took her share of the blue ribbons at the pony ring as well, riding Isabella Mullan’s Poplar Place Pied Piper to the Championship in the Large Pony Hunter division. Touch Of Class, owned and shown by Kate Stark, took Reserve Champion.
The Large Green Pony Hunter Championship was earned by 14 Karat, owned by RGG Equestrian LLC and ridden by Reagan Gehm, while Martha Patterson’s Diplomat took the Reserve Championship.
Sunday was ‘Classic Day’ in the jumper ring, where white breeches were in full swing.
Take Two, owned and shown by Sydney Long, bested the Junior and Amateur Owner competition, winning the High Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic as well as the High Amateur Owner Championship while Hannah Newton and her Athena were Champion of the Low Amateur Owner and winners of the Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic.
Hallie Rush’s HRS Fortuna jumped to High Junior Jumper Champion, and Learning To Fly, owned and shown by Frances Barham, earned the tricolor in the Low Junior Jumper division.
Washington, owned and shown by Emma Flett, was Champion in the High Children’s Jumper division while Neon Trees, owned by Amanda Pierce and shown by Heather Cleveland, bested the High Adult Amateur competition in both the division and the High Adult Amateur Classic.
Elaine, shown by Mia Gradick for SCNC Investments, Inc. took home the tricolor in the Low Children’s Jumper as well as the win in the Low Children’s Jumper Classic. Adeline owned and shown by Marissa Rose took home the Low Adult Amateur Jumper division Championship title.
Riders are looking forward to another fun week of horse showing and amazing Texas hospitality at Pin Oak Week II. Thursday evening will feature the Trainers Equitation Exhibition benefitting Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance. World Championship Hunter Rider recognition makes Weeks II and III of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show the place to be for many hunter riders, who can expect to face stiff competition. Meanwhile, jumper riders celebrate Week II and III’s addition of the Thursday night $25,000 Grand Prix to the already enticing schedule of jumper events.
Briley Koerner believes in the importance of connection—both with horses and people. She started riding at six years old, and still thinks of her first trainer, Kim Cox of Tally Ho Farm, as one of the most influential people in her life. “Mrs. Kim taught me the ropes,” she says.
Her horses, too, have taught her a great deal. “Every horse I’ve ever owned or ridden has definitely helped make me the rider I am today,” Briley says with gratitude. Her family, including older brother Barrett who shares all of her successes on Facebook, and grandparents who have supported her in this challenging sport, have helped foster that sense of connection as well.
Briley’s career as a young rider includes many great many successes in the past two years. In 2017, she won the NAJYRC Zone 7 team gold and individual bronze; the Prix Des Stats zone 7 team gold; and was in the top 25 at the Maclay Finals. In 2018, she won the Prix Des States Zone 7 team gold and the $25,000 1.45m Welcome Stake at the Hampton Classic Horse Show on her own For Jef Vd Wezesle.
For Jef Vd Wezesle or Seth, as he’s known around the barn, holds a special place in Briley’s heart. “If there’s one horse who has impacted my riding the most, it would be Seth,” she says. The horse is undeniably talented, and they make a great team, earning three gold medals during her junior career. But he’s special to Briley for other reasons, too.
Briley suffered tremendous loss when her brother Brody died on July 28, 2017. Upon hearing this, Seth’s previous owner, Natalie, called Briley to express her condolences and also tell her the story behind the horse’s name: Natalie’s brother, Jef, also passed away unexpectedly. She named the promising young horse after him. “That made me feel closer to my brother,” Briley says.
“I will forever and always be grateful to have Seth. I consider him my horse of a lifetime for sure. Without him, I wouldn’t be the rider I am today. I can’t thank my trainer Martien and Maarten enough for finding this special horse.”
Her trainer, Martien, has taught Briley about connection, figuratively and literally. He encourages her to make connections between flat work and jumping. “There has to be a purpose behind what I’m asking my horse to do,” she emphasizes.
She also thinks fostering that genuine connection in the leg-to-hand sense is important. “I think we all as riders get caught up depending on draw reins and martingales for our flat work,” Briley says. Flat work and pole work are important, because they’re the foundation of the big jumper classes. Working to develop a good canter with the right balance is critical.
Briley admires connected, quiet riders like Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut. “I admire Beezie’s consistency and horsemanship. When I watch her ride, she stays in one position which allows her to stay connected with the horse.”
“Laura Kraut is another rider I really aspire to be like,” she says. “You can tell she has natural talent. Laura clicks well with all her horses, and I think that is important.”
Briley has big goals for the future: she wants to represent the US at the Nations Cup and the Olympics. “In the meantime,” she says, “I want to train clients and bring them up to the highest level of show jumping that I can.”
Competition is in her bones, and Briley is one of the rare people who doesn’t get nervous competing. “I tend to do a bit better under pressure and when competing in front of a big crowd. As a junior my trainer Martien was sure to expose me to different venues like grass rings and small indoors and I think that definitely helped,” she says.
Briley loves competing at Pin Oak in particular. “The one thing I love most about Pin Oak are the people. After competing in WEF for the past 8 weeks, it sure is nice to come home to some familiar faces! Pin Oak does a fantastic job of having a special atmosphere. There is nothing like competing at a show that gets its hometown people to come and watch the show. I can’t begin to thank Pin oak enough for all there amazing sponsors and kind hospitality,” she says. “It is an honor to get to compete at such an amazing show!”
Briley’s dreams are big, but her talent, work ethic, and support system are too. Watch for this gifted young rider this year.