The Coast News Group

Equestrians show their best

DEL MAR — Summer equestrian action continued at the Del Mar Equestrian Center.

A Hunter-Jumper event, won by Come Monday and Tara Metzner, was held July 26. On a warm afternoon in Del Mar, a solid group of high performance hunters galloped around the grass grand prix field in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

On July 27, it was an unusual morning in Del Mar when the skies opened up with a torrential downpour early in the show day. Although classes were delayed, the footing in the Grand Prix Field was fine for the $40,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix. With a demanding course set by Argentina’s Ivan Tagle, six out of 36 horse-and-rider combinations jumped clear. The only double clean, Manuel Alvarez and Manolito Fortuna, took the top prize.

Directly after wrapping up the final jumper classes on Sunday of the Showpark Summer Festival, the striped poles were set aside to welcome a prestigious annual event.  Decorated flower boxes, walls, rolltops and such were carefully set on the gorgeous grand prix field in preparation for the 2014 US Junior Hunter National Championship, West Coast, July 28.

With three phases over two days, July 28 hosted a warm-up and a Classic Round followed by the Under Saddle and Handy Round on July 29.  The honorable judging panel included Scott Hofstetter, John Roper and Christina Schlusemeyer, all hailing from the East Coast.

Overall Grand Champion as well as the Top Placing Mare Perpetual Trophy went to Café de Colombia with Ashton Alexander aboard for the ride.  Illusion and Destry Spielberg were Reserve Overall Champions.

Earning top scores in the 8-28 Classic Rounds, Spielberg and Illusion finished with a Classic Round total of 264, topping the Small 16-17 division. Alexander and Café de Colombia were best in the Large 16-17 division, with a pair of 88s and an 87, total of 263.