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California Springs Into Show Season At The Diamond Jubilee

by Diana Davidson

DEL MAR, Calif. - For the 37th year, Diamond Jubilee ushered in spring in southern California. Exhibitors gathered in the lovely seaside enclave of Del Mar to compete for top honors in the American Saddlebred, Hackney Pony and all breeds pleasure and carriage classes in addition to a full Morgan division. As construction continues at the Del Mar Fairgrounds to cover the main show arena, one of the warm-up rings was used as the show ring this year. The ring was dressed up with ringside tables under a tent, while horses warmed up on the track adjacent to the ring. This setup made for a more intimate feel to the show and many commented that it created a nice atmosphere.

The Diamond Jubilee featured many ways in which to celebrate the start of show season including parties and special events. Exhibitors were welcomed with a pizza party sponsored the MHCSDC Youth Club on Thursday prior to the show's Friday morning start. The stabling area at Miller Equestrian was also the site of a non-progressive progressive barn party hosted by many of the stables between Friday's afternoon and evening sessions. Young exhibitors got the chance to have some added fun in the jog cart race and stick horse class, while the Saturday evening session featured a fun-filled chuck-a-duck contest hosted by the MHCSDC Youth Club. George Arnold served as host for coffee and donuts sponsored by EMO Insurance Agency each morning throughout the barns and ringside, there was also a silent auction ringside featuring many items.

The daytime weather in Del Mar was picture-perfect with mostly sunny skies, pleasant temperatures and a light ocean breeze, while the evenings were typically chilly and breezy. With a world-renowned location, facility, great weather and a nice schedule of classes, Diamond Jubilee has a lot to offer horse show exhibitors.

Diamond Jubilee is fortunate to have some energetic volunteers who do a fine job with class sponsorships, show activities and careful budgeting in order to keep the show financially sound. Many small shows are not so fortunate. It is crucial that trainers and exhibitors support the smaller shows, as many in attendance at Diamond Jubilee do each year.

This year’s Diamond Jubilee was again presented by the Morgan Horse Club of San Diego County. The list of show officials included Show Manager Mary K. Hartman, Show Secretary Beverly Hurst assisted by Sheri Hurst, barn and paddock manager Bil Hartman, USEF Steward Adele Maurer, ringmaster Tracy Donaldson, announcer Dave Kalb and photographer Howard Schatzberg. John Whalen and Christina Mitchell shared the judging duties at this year’s show. The Diamond Jubilee also remained a popular spot as it hosted the AMHA Judging School for the ninth time with numerous current judges and applicants joining the group headed by Cindy Mugnier and Larry Bolen.

The first tricolor of the show went back to the Vegas Valley Morgans’s banner as they returned to the show after several years with many top performances. VVM Just The Ticket posed as Grand Champion Gelding and came back with Elaine Galatz to make a victory pass in harness as did Queen’s Guardian and VVM Dreamkeeper. Leesa Galatz had several top rides aboard VVM Elektra, SCMF Winged Glory and Amateur English Pleasure Champion VVM Well Deserved. Travis Higgins introduced VVM By Design to the winner’s circle in his saddle debut.

Also coming to Del Mar from Las Vegas, B.J. Schafer had the Sturm family entries in top order as Savannah Sturm and Festival Atomic Energy, Sheridan Sturm and Commanding Knight and Shaunicy Sturm and Willowick Mafia Princess all visited victory lane. Mafia Princess also posed as Grand Champion Mare with Bob Kellert on the lead.

Making the long trip from Colorado, Mary Cockriel and Bob Kellert of The River’s Edge guided Ted and Eutha Giesick’s GMH Flashy Locomotion to the winner’s circle, in addition to Man In Command who enjoyed top performances with Debra and Tayler Walters.

Rushton Stables started off the season once again with a large group of proven champions and promising new additions. The list of winning teams included Lucky As Me with Toreva Packard, Elaine Olsen with Stonecroft Notorious and Boxford Bravura, TE Ammunition and Delaney Weed, PFF Francesca with birthday girl Emma Elliott, Claire Brownie with Futurity’s Chicago White Sox and Plum Haven Capistrano, Tara’s Mojo with Gerry Rushton and Hollybrook Van Gogh with Stacy Hennessy.

The group from Garn Walker Stable kicked off the season in winning style. The group included several repeat winners from 2008 featuring Faragamo and Garn Walker for Terri Sturm, GW Devil In Disguise and Sarah Hall, Talk Of The Town LPS and Lauren Gorfinkle, Cap’N Jack Sparrow and Sarah Hall for Anne Marie Bumb, Chintimini Bravo Charlie and Sarah Hall for Melissa Walker, along with the perfectly matched new team of Cabot French Lieutenant and Connie Melendy.

Diamond Jubilee was a show to remember for the Kabel family as sisters Courteney and Katie started off the 2009 season with tricolor victories directed by Debi Jeppesen. Courteney matched up with Mantic Top Gun for the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship victory as well as the AMHA Medal, while Katie and L.A. Ricochet triumphed in the Walk & Trot Pleasure Championship.

Lila Tatar was a busy young lady showing horses in several divisions. Tatar’s ever-present smile helped to earn her the Judge’s Sportsmanship Award in addition to her trips down victory lane with VVM Mark My Words and CPM Man Oh Man. Light Year and Sandra Gruen also added a blue and tricolor to the Glyn-Rae Stables banner.

Miller Equestrian brought a large group of competitors, featuring a trio of winning get of Nocturnal Flash – GMH Flash Dance with Savanna Miller, Haute Flash shown by Frank Miller and GMH Jumping Jack Flash ridden by Ann Miller. Romance Of Monarch, Festival Jazzman, Festival Rock N Roll, GLB Sanatra and ALS Bedazzle also added blues and tricolors to the Miller banner.

Anne Speck’s Rancho Del Mar continued its strong support of the West Coast horse shows with numerous winning Saddlebreds, Morgans and equitation riders. VVM Litigator added his seventh consecutive Morgan Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship as Debra Hurst Walters had the honors this year. The Robinson family of Bradley’s Stables enjoyed a fine show with Natalie Robinson teaming up with Winnepeg Parks for top honors in the walk and trot division, while Samantha Robinson graduated from the walk and trot division with CH So Audacious, and their dad, Scott, also visited the winner’s circle. Tayler Walters and Total Request, Ariana Corrigan and Festival Troubadour, Adrienne Markle and AMHF Absolut Mystery, Amelia Coomber and Stonecroft Make A Wish, Mountainview’s Crown Prince with Toni Nickell and Mackenzie Lyttle and Mille Grazie with Samantha Lyttle helped to fill the Rancho Del Mar banner with blue ribbons.

The crowd-pleasing entries of Friesian Focus, Gerlof, Parmant and Itse Fan Oostwold earned blues and tricolors under the direction of Lance Bennett.

Sterling Hills entries directed by Mary and Heather Luedtke featured Mantic Maverick, Jaguar In Motion, VVM Aleesa, Primera Winchester and HP Oughta Be Wild bringing home blues and tricolors to their owners.

Kari Lyddon carried home blues and tricolors with her handsome geldings RJM French Revival and Baccarat’s Street Smart. Darcy Attig directed UVM Mercedes, Seaswept Eclipse and Ginny Muth and Intrepid Sabrina and Mary Scronce to the winner’s circle. The winning Morgan competitors also featured LCS Ice Princess and Pat Gesler, Alibi Only Playtime and Phyllis Laderman, and JJSK’s Spring Storm with Madison McElhinney.

Bill Tomin directed a quintet of blue and/or tricolor ribbon winning entries from Rockridge Farm. Undulata’s Prophet and Rapid Reward were victorious for Gail Hooker, CH Whitney Houston trotted to top honors for Jennifer Sefton, while Callaway’s Party Time and Heartland King Of Kings performed with owners Linda Bradley and Joanne Wiener, respectively.

A trio of tricolor winners added to the Fair Hills Farm banner. Derek Repp was on the lines of Fine Harness Champion Fair Hills Blondie, Linda Brittan did the honors with ASB Pleasure Driving Champion Hollywood’s Surprise Ending and Alexandra Siemons teamed up with Country Pleasure Reserve Champion Bi Mi Stormy Enchantress.

Michele Macfarlane entertained the crowd with CH Like Thunder as they jogged away with the ASB Country Western Pleasure top honors, while CH CCV Casey’s Final Countdown wowed the audience in fine harness with Jim Cherry on the lines. Caroline Cherry continued her winning streak teamed with CH X’s And O’s in the three-gaited pleasure division.

Annette and David Puchta of Paradise Saddlebreds and their clients enjoyed a stellar show driving away with blues and tricolors with Heartland Sugar And Spice, Heartland Something Special, Just No Tellin and Lil Miss Demeanor.

Austin Eversman directed a pair of tricolor winners for Majestic Farms as Carolyn Melka teamed up with Royal Pleasure for Monte Rhea, while Austin showed First Sweet Kiss.

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