Home / Sports / The 70th Del Mar National Horse Show Ends on a High Note

The 70th Del Mar National Horse Show Ends on a High Note

Del Mar CA—  The Del Mar national celebrated its platinum anniversary this year, a milestone in its 70-year history of bringing equestrian excellence to San Diego County. It stands among the handful of horse shows in this country to reach its golden years. However, retirement isn’t even under consideration for this golden oldie! In fact, it ended the season on a high note with top notch competition. The world renowned equestrian event took place in the Del Mar Fairgrounds Arena and featured world-class riders and horses who excelled in three distinctly different disciplines: Western, Dressage, and Hunter/Jumper, April 16 through May 3. Complete results for all three weeks can be found on the Del Mar National website at www.delmarnational.com. Photos can be found on www.facebook.com/delmarnational or furnished upon request.

Details and Results

Western Week, April 16-19, was filled with some of the best Western Riding this side of the Mississippi. Four AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) shows, a Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA) Open Show, and PCQHA (Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association) shows, and an NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) show were the hallmarks of Western Week. Bob Avila, of Palm Springs, CA, a National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Hall Of Fame inductee, NRCHA Million Dollar Rider, and multiple AQHA World Champion, took home four perpetual trophies again this year in the PCHA Reining Division. Dana Avila rode off with trophies for wins in three PCHA Open Reining Championship Stakes.

Young horsewoman, Delany Van Horn, of El Cajon, an up-and-coming shining star, ran off with five perpetual trophies, including Overall Stock Seat Rider as well as the PCHA Western Pleasure Junior Rider Championship 18 & Under, two PCHA Show Champion Western Pleasure 14-18 Championships, and the PCHA Trail Championship Stake 14-18.

Western Week’s featured show, Night of the Horse, sponsored by Mary’s Tack & Feed, wowed the crowd with multiple, distinctly different equestrian acts.

Dressage Week, April 23 through April 26, shined with the brightest stars of the sport! Jan Ebeling, of Moorpark, CA, and FRH Rassolini capped off an exciting Saturday Evening of Musical Freestyles during Dressage Week by winning the $5,000 CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle, sponsored by G-2 Software. Ebeling impressed both the knowledgeable crowd and the judges, guiding the dark chestnut Hanoverian stallion, owned by the Vantage Equestrian Group, to a 71.5% in the 2016 Olympic and World Cup Qualifying event. Kimberly McGrath of Yucaipa, CA, placed second aboard Arianthi Ferronato’s Dutch gelding, Winslow.

On Friday, top honors in the CDI-W Grand Prix, sponsored by the Beverly Gepfer Foundation, went to amateur rider Charlotte Jorst of Reno, NV, on Kastel’s Dutch stallion, Nintendo. This pair also took the top spot in Sunday’s Grand Prix Special, sponsored by International EZ-UP.

Spoils in the “Small Tour”, consisting of the Prix St. Georges, Intermediaire, and Intermediaire Freestyle, were split: Top honors in Friday’s Jen & Bruce Hlavacek, sponsored PSG, went to Leslie Webb of Bakersfield on the Dutch mare, Harmony’s Armani; the black, Oldenburg mare, Apassionata, won the PSG in 2014 with Steffen Peters and came back with new rider/owner, Tracy Roenick, to win the Intermediaire I, sponsored by The Acres; while the Intermediaire Freestyle went to Susan Martin on Stahl-Child Dressage, LLC’s Dutch gelding, Veto. This pair will be the first names engraved on the new Rubino Bellissimo perpetual trophy, sponsored by San Diego Saddle Club and Wonderful Sport Horses.

It was a clean sweep for Catherine Chamberlain in the CDI Young Rider division, sponsored by Equine Insurance. In the Team Test, she took home the blue ribbon on Kimberly Pribble’s Dutch gelding, Avesto, and was second on her own, Verdicci. In the Individual Test, the horses reversed positions, and in the Freestyle, with only one mount allowed to move forward, Chamberlain rode Avesto to an impressive 72.045% victory. Veronica West also garnered a sweep in the FEI Junior division riding her own Nobleman.

In one of the newer CDI Divisions in the US, Air Lopez rode her Rhinelander gelding, Corlander II for first- place honors in the 16-25 Young Riders Grand Prix. The class, sponsored by Elma Garcia Films, is a qualifier for the Brentina Cup, and along with the 16-25 Intermediaire II, is meant to help develop riders move into the international ranks.

Hunter/Jumper Week, April 28 – May 3, wrapped up the three-week show in its trademark exciting style! Fans watched as Olympic- and World Cup-level competitors vied fiercely for trophies, prize money, and bragging rights.

The hallmarks of this week were the $25,000 Surfside Grand Prix, presented by HUNT+iJUMP, which tested the mettle of those ultimately qualified to compete in Saturday’s crown jewel, the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar. The event’s course, designed by the renowned course designer, Olaf Petersen, of Munich, Germany, yielded just the kind of result a designer likes to see; 60 starters attempted to negotiate the course, with a number of clear rounds within the time allowed. Even better, a classic ding-dong battle between two of the world’s finest riders ensued early on, and had spectators in suspense and on the edge of their seats until the very end. Among the world’s most decorated course designers, Petersen designed his signature tough course which claimed faults at several obstacles with challenging distances, angles, and combinations.

The epic battle between first-up, Richard Spooner, on Jill Henselwood’s Quidam Blue and Eduardo Menezes riding his own Quintol, was waged about halfway through the field. Spooner returned on his Chivas Z, went clear, and waited with bated breath for the penultimate ride on Menezes’s aptly named Clear Me, to see who would take the top prize. Menezes staked his claim to first on Clear Me and third on Quintol, while Spooner settled for second on Chivas Z, and fifth on Quidam Blue.

$25,000 Surfside Grand Prix results

Place -Horse- Rider

1st- Clear Me- Eduardo Menezes

2nd- Chivas Z -Richard Spooner

3rd- Quintol -Eduardo Menezes

4th- Katie Riddle -Will Simpson

5t-h Quidam Blue- Richard Spooner

6th -Quilon du Tillard- Enrique Gonzalez

7th -Revenge- Shelley Fellers

8th- Coriander -Ashlee Bond

9th -Warinde B- Lauren Hester

10th- Calero -Allyssa Hecht

11th -Quelmec Du Gery- Bretton Chad

12th- E-Muze Yek- Simon Nizri

Saturday’s crowd pleasing opener, the $10,000 Speed Derby of Del Mar, got spectators pumped with a fast and furious indoor/outdoor jumping competition. Horses and riders started jumping in the Del Mar Arena, galloped outside (video cameras caught all the action on the 16’ video boards inside the arena) where more challenging obstacles were negotiated, followed by another mad gallop back into the arena where the final, most demanding jumps awaited their arrival. Course designer, Olaf Petersen’s talent for producing extraordinarily exhilarating competition for participants and spectators is deservedly legendary.

$10,000 Speed Derby results

Place -Horse- Rider

1st -Colgan Cruise -Richard Fellers

2nd- Banba -Karl Cook

3rd- Ace of Spades- Richard Spooner

4th -Courtown -Karrie Rufer

5th- Irish 77- Marc Grock

6th -Zoe -Emily Esau-Williams

7th -Wender- Lauren Hester

8th- Karina 445 -Max Dolger

The $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar is always exciting with a world-class field of experienced international riders and horses. Familiar for their crowd appeal and stellar talent, pros like Richard Spooner, Eduardo Menezes, Karl Cook, Will Simpson, Richard Fellers, and Eric Navet, are guaranteed to provide the kind of top notch showjumping spectators have come to expect from a class of this caliber. They did not disappoint!

Of the 29 starters, six horse/rider pairs advanced to a jump-off. First to go, the previous night’s $25,000 Surfside Grand Prix winner, Menezes, made it look easy with a clean, fast ride (43.234). The next two riders, Navet and Edgar each pulled a rail, dashing hopes. That left Spooner with two mounts, Chivas Z and 17-year-old Cristallo, and Rich Fellers on 19-year-old Flexible, to get the job done. Chivas Z put in a fast (42.177), clear round but Fellers and the old guy, “Flexi”, put them out of business in short order (40.303). That left one more chance for Spooner to prevail with his good old boy, Cristallo. When the smoke cleared, the course was intact and the clock flashed an astounding time of 38.754!

This evening of showjumping was as good as it gets!

$100,000 Grand Prix results

Place -Horse- Rider

1st -Cristallo -Richard Spooner

2nd -Flexible- Richard Fellers

3rd- Chivas Z -Richard Spooner

4th -Quintol- Eduardo Menezes

5th- Jonkheer Z -Eric Navet

6th- Cippolini VD Gastheuv -Elicia Edgar

7th -Tembla- Karl Cook

8th -Warinde B -Lauren Hester

9th -Quilebo du Tillard -Enrique Gonzalez

10th- E-Muze Yek- Simon Nizri

11th -Already -Jeffrey Fields

12th- Atlantis T -Brian Morton