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California Closes Out The Season In Style at Jingle Bell Horse Show


by Leeann Mione

DEL MAR, Calif. – The sixth annual Jingle Bell Horse Show provided a great way to close out the California horse show season with fellow owners, trainers and exhibitors at one of the industry’s friendliest and classiest horse shows of the year.

Co-chairmen Lance Bennett and Scott Hickey, of Friesian Focus and Rancho Vista, rounded up a great group of officials, and along with the hard working show committee, went the extra mile to make the show a big success. Add to that the fact that Bennett and the Friesians of Friesian Focus just competed less than a month ago at the Friesian Grand Nationals in Las Vegas where they earned numerous national and reserve national titles. Bennett barely had time to catch his breath before diving into putting the finishing touches on the Jingle Bell Horse Show to make it such a class act.

It was so successful in fact, that numbers this year were more than double from last year. Twenty-six barns were represented in the permanent stabling at the Del Mar Horse Park and their Saddlebreds, Friesians, Morgans, roadsters, Hackneys, equitation and academy entries showcased their talent in 136 daytime-only classes. That was an increase of 16 barns over last year.

With average temperatures for the weekend in the low 70s each day, it felt like summer vacation while much of the rest of the country battled snow and bad weather.

Things kicked off Thursday night with a private trainers’ party at the home of Joan Richardson in Rancho Santa Fe.

The Del Mar Horse Park is a grand facility with plenty of room to warm up, permanent stalls and a very large show ring. Catering primarily to the hunter and jumper population in the area, the neatly manicured grounds provide a picturesque and spacious location for the Saddlebreds, Friesians, roadsters and Hackneys to perform.

The parties at the show are unlike any others. They are intended to be classy, upscale and with plenty of food, drink and music for all to enjoy. It was obvious that a tremendous amount of time, money and effort went into the planning in order to make each party a success.

Friday after the show a traditional High Tea Party, hosted by Farmers Insurance, was held for all to attend. The large group that gathered in the ringside tent enjoyed a bounty of sweets and beverages to tempt their palates.

Saturday night’s exhibitors’ party was an over-the-top event. A cash bar was available and the impressive array of upscale food kept everyone coming back for more. Great music set the relaxing mood. After a full day of competition, the ringside tent provided the perfect place to relax and enjoy the evening. The party also included the presentation of the Pacific Coast Horse Show Circuit Year End Awards. (See separate online news item.)

The Richard K. Walker II Memorial Perpetual Trophy was one of the special awards given out at the show. It went to the outstanding junior exhibitor who showed horsemanship, sportsmanship and the love of the sport. Barbara Walker presented this year’s award to Hannah Francis. Francis had a great show with Worthy Prince showing under the direction of Robb Wallen.

The Carlyn Barmeier Memorial Trophy was presented by Amy Dru to the winner of the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Grand Champion in memory of her mother. Joanne Weiner accepted the award after winning both pleasure driving classes with Heartland King Of Kings under the direction of Bill Tomin.

All weekend those in attendance had the chance to buy raffle tickets for the chance to win a Phillips 42” Plasma HD television, Phillips boom box or an Apple iPod. When the drawing was held on Sunday, Ann Raferty was called out as the winner of the television. Paul Smith won the boom box and Bill Hartman won the iPod.

Del Mar, Calif., is a great place to be in December no matter what you are doing. The Jingle Bell Horse Show, with classes ending each day by 5 p.m., offered another great perk for those that made the trek to the horse park. It isn’t very often at horse shows that there is a relaxing and easy schedule with plenty of time to enjoy the locale. This horse show however, provides just that. The area hotels are close by and great restaurants, great shopping and the beach are just a quick drive down the road.

Rockridge Farm, Seamair Farm, Wallen West, Lake View Farm, Rancho Vista, Friesian Focus, Scripps Miramar, Monarch Stables, Jim Bennett Stables, Miller Equestrian Services, Barry Yount Stables, Dixon Stables, Zazen Ranch, Sabino Equestrian Center, Seaview Farm, Shakespeare Farm, River Run Farm, Fire Dance Farm, Liz Bolton Stables and Rancho Del Mar all set up tack rooms and put horses in the ring.
In addition, trainer Amanda Moon and owner/exhibitors Kathie Dunn, Debbie Uecker-Keough and Kathleen March all put horses in the ring and exited with top ribbons.

With the holidays drawing near, many barns displayed a Christmas theme in their elaborate tack room decorations but none could top Monarch Stables, winners of the tack room award. With wreaths bearing stable-color-blue blows on each stall door and a beautiful set up in front, their hard work paid off and resulted in the win.

Rancho Vista and Friesian Focus not only also set up an elaborate tack room display complete with lighted reindeer statues, wreaths on the door and Christmas trees, they also were responsible for the beautiful center ring decorations and premium seating decorations that helped lend a festive air to the show. Premium seating included seating for 10 people at each table and each day a complimentary wine basket with assorted snacks provided as well.

Nancy Becker made the trip to judge all classes and for her it was a chance to come back and see old friends. She had three full days of competition including academy classes and did a great job keeping things moving quickly.

The Jingle Bell Horse Show was a success from beginning to end and ought to be on everyone’s list of shows to attend. That is if you want to kick off the holiday season with friends, fun, food and fabulous equines.


Complete results can be seen and searched by clicking here.

Jingle Bell Horse Show Officials
Judge: Nancy Becker
Manager: Mary Hartman
USEF Steward: Adele Maurer
Show Secretary: Julie O’Connor
Announcer: Jeff Gilbert
Stable Manager: Lance Bennett
Ringmaster: Julie Knox
Paddock Master: Bill Hartman
In Gate: Jim Hickey
Awards: Liz Bennett, Jane Gibson, Alice Knox
Photographer: Ed Moore
Videographer: Take-One Video
Farrier: Kelly’s Farrier Service
Veterinarian: Dr. William Nissen
Orchestra: Ray Vinole Orchestra

Jingle Bell Horse Show Sponsors
Joan Fernandez of Friesian Focus, LLC
Dr. Amy Dru
Patti DeVault and DeVault Farms, LLC
The Johnson Family
Bob and Anne Nugent
Paul and Cathleen Smith of Farmers Insurance
Mark Couto of Air Equine Shipping Services, Inc.
Lance Bennett and Scott Hickey of Rancho Vista
Mrs. John Pritzlaff of Seamair Farms
Mike Carter of Carter’s Hay & Grain

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