Golden Gate Classic Wraps Up Woodside Summer Circuit
RELEASE: July 24, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Marnye Langer
When Jessica Sullivan entered the $30,000 Golden Gate Grand Prix with Classic Europa at the Golden Gate Classic, July 1-5, the amateur rider was hoping to hold her own against the professionals. When she posted one of three clear rounds over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course, she found herself riding against two of her riding mentors. "Liz Denny was my first trainer and she helped me with my Children’s Hunter. When I switched to jumpers Helen (McNaught) helped me and rode some of my horses." It was a case of the student showing her teachers what she had learned as Sullivan was the only rider of the three to post a clear round in the jump-off.
Sullivan was elated with her win and gave a lot of credit to her mount, Classic Europa, a mare she purchased in February. "She had lots of European experience and when John Endicott called me he said he had the perfect grand prix horse for me. The only problem was I had two broken hands." Sullivan tried the 18.0-hand grey mare and held the reins gingerly. "I figured if I could control her with a broken hand..." said Sullivan with a smile.
Based in Southern California, Sullivan decided she wanted a change of scenery. "This is my first time showing in Northern California, and everyone is so nice. I train with Santiago Rickard at home, but I have been friends with Patrick Seaton for a long time so I decided to bring my four horses north and work with him." Sullivan was concerned about being coached by her close friend, "I am surprised how well it has worked!"
Sullivan enjoyed her three weeks at Woodside. "There is the same caliber of horses," she noted. "And, I don’t think Tony (D’Ambrosio) looked at the zip code when he built the grand prix course." D’Ambrosio concurred that he built a challenging track for the class. "There were some young horses with experienced riders and some experienced horses with young riders, but none of them had serious trouble with the course. The winner was the only rider who made no mistakes in either round. She was close on time in the first round, but she managed it well. In the jump-off she rode clear and forced the others to make mistakes. The course was not easy. It was technical with some bigger jumps."
This was D’Ambrosio’s first time to Woodside, and he was impressed with the facility and the show. "The facility is very horse friendly and the rings are spacious."
With Sullivan’s win the Woodside Jumper Accumulator went unclaimed. Both Duncan McFarlane and Helen McNaught were vying for the $5,000 prize awarded to the rider who could win two of the three grand prix on the same horse. If a rider won all three on the same horse the Accumulator pool was at $25,000. Mr. Whoopy pulled rails in the first round so McFarlane was out of contention. McNaught posted a clear round on Ocean Cat, the victor the first week. However, she wasn’t able to manage a clear round in the jump-off and missed the $5,000 bonus.
Throughout the three-week circuit, show champions received gift cards from HighLine Outfitters. Professional Toni McIntosh loved her new green, cargo style britches from the company that aims to put the fun in casual equestrian wear. Susan Meadows, who earned ribbons in the Amateur Owner Jumpers aboard her Topper (Vanessa & Buddy Brown, trainers) loved her HighLine Outfitters gift card and could not wait to fine something fun and fashionable. "These are so cute," said Lily Dashiel, who also rides in the Amateur Owner Jumpers under the watchful eye of Buddy Brown, "that I am going to wear them around town after I ride!"
Complete results for the three week Woodside Summer Circuit are online at www.langershows.com
. The Labor Day Classic (September 3-6) and the Woodside Fall Finale (September 24-27) wrap up Langer Equestrian Group’s hunter/jumper shows at the Horse Park at Woodside. For more inforamtion, visit www.