2007 Los Angeles National Crowns Champions at Final Show of the Year
RELEASE: December 6, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Marnye Langer
As the final major "A" show on the West Coast circuit, the Los Angeles National (November 14-18) attracted a record number of entries. For grand prix riders, the LA National was doubly important; the show was holding two $50,000 World Cup Qualifying grand prix events. Unseasonal rains and a severe power outage crippled the Los Angeles International in September. Show Chairman Larry Langer made the decision to cancel the show. "I didn’t like making the decision," he said at the time, "but it wasn’t hard. There really wasn’t any other choice." This meant that the Saturday night $50,000 LA International Grand Prix was one of the cancelled classes.
After the dust settled, the mud dried out, and the power came back on, Robert Ridland, representing the West Coast jumper riders, discussed the matter with both Langer and then John Roche of the International Equestrian Federation. Although unprecedented, Roche agreed to allow the cancelled class to be held at the Los Angeles National. Langer and his staff put their heads together to revise the already impacted horse show schedule and to figure out how to accommodate the demand the two grand prix events would create.
With $100,000 of prize money between two classes, about 40 grand prix horses descended on the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in November, along with more than 700 other jumper, top hunters and elite equitation horses. The stage was set for a fabulous competitive show, the weather cooperated, and the competition lived up to the expectations. Will Simpson Wins One
On Thursday night, almost 40 horses and riders contested Jack Robson’s demanding course. In the past two years, courses for World Cup qualifiers have increased in difficulty. Riders found they were not prepared to tackle the courses at the World Cup Finals and realized they needed to qualify over courses more closely reflecting what they would face at the Finals.
For the make-up $50,000 Los Angeles International Grand Prix, the night belonged to Will Simpson. "He gave a riding lesson to all those other riders," said Larry Langer after the class. "Will rode just great and showed everyone how it was done." Aboard the El Campeon Farms horse, Carlsson Vom Dach, Simpson rode a quick, clear jump off course to capture the top prize.
Simpson likened the challenge of two major classes in a week. "We had a real championship week and we don’t have much of that in the United States, but this is what the Europeans do week after week. They have to be on form. Usually we have some kind of warm up class like a speed class or 1.45 meter, then a Saturday or Sunday grand prix. At best it is a dress rehearsal, but to have big money twice in one week means we have to be ‘on’. I came out swinging on Thursday and got the job done, but on Saturday I had two rails. My horse jumped well, but I have to learn how to maintain at the very top level. I feel like I learned volumes."
Simpson realizes that having the two grand prix classes was a special occurrence due to an unlikely set of circumstances. "Having two big classes in a week was a special thing. It would be great to see if it could happen again. To have a championship style week at the end of year would be really great."
Larry Langer, who has been very active in the sport of show jumping for many years and serves as Co-Chairman with David Distler on the USEF National Jumper Committee, is very supportive of helping U.S. jumper riders be competitive with the best in the world. "My plans for the 2008 LA National do include a second class, such as a $15,000 speed class. If the West Coast Active Riders want a true FEI Championship format, I would be happy to work with them to see how we can accomplish such an idea. It might involve the FEI since pointing qualifying classes and such things are not allowed presently."Rich Fellers Repeats
On Saturday night, a sellout crowd packed the Equidom