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California Springs Into Show Season At The Diamond Jubilee

By Diana Davidson

Del Mar, Calif. - For the 38th 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 open to all breeds pleasure and carriage classes in addition to a full Morgan division. The 150+ classes were back in the Del Mar Fairgrounds main arena, which now features an elaborate cover to protect exhibitors and spectators from the elements. While Mother Nature kept the spring rains limited to the days prior to and after the show, exhibitors enjoyed typical cool and breezy weather during the show dates of April 9 –11. With a world-renowned location, facility, great weather and a nice schedule of classes, Diamond Jubilee has a lot to offer horse show exhibitors.

The Diamond Jubilee features many ways in which to celebrate the start of show season including parties and special events. Exhibitors were welcomed with a pizza party hosted by America’s Finest Morgan 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. Exhibitors young and old enjoyed the chance to have some added fun in the jog cart race and chuck-a-duck fundraiser on Saturday afternoon. Following Saturday evening’s abbreviated session, a large group gathered at Chevy’s for the Golden West Region VII High Point Awards Banquet (see separate story).

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 on solid financial footing. 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 Mauer, ringmaster Tracy Donaldson, announcer Dave Kalb and photographer Casey McBride. Jay Wood and John Wich shared the judging duties at this year’s show.

The Saddle Seat Equitation Championship was one of the show’s major highlights with 11 top riders vying for the tricolor as well as the Corrigan Family Perpetual Trophy. World Champion Amelia Coomber opened the season in top form to earn the victory aboard Ariana Corrigan’s beloved Festival Troubadour. Coomber enjoyed several trips to the winner’s circle with Troubadour as well as Stonecroft Make A Wish on the way to the High Point Junior Exhibitor 13 & Under Award. The equitation division also featured top performances by reserve champion Tayler Walters, UPHA Challenge Cup winner Angie Berning, AMHA Medal and Morgan 14-17 winner Courteney Kabel, and Morgan novice winner Katelyn O’Brien.

The Saddlebred division featured a high percentage of top champions as horses such as Three-Gaited Champion Gloria Vanderbilt with Ann Miller, Five-Gaited winner Special Vintage with David Blevins, Three-Gaited Park Champion First French Kiss and Larry Witter, and Fine Harness Champion Kalarama’s On A Roll and Jack Reich performed on victory lane.

The ASB pleasure competition was outstanding with Allison Gann matching up with Callaway’s Party Time to capture the Country Pleasure Championship, while Rockridge stablemates Heartland King Of Kings and Joanne Weiner topped the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Championship. Samantha Robinson matched up with CH So Audacious to top the Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship with a great ride for Bradley’s Stables, while another impressive team from Rancho Del Mar in The Top Shelf and Mackenzie Lyttle bested the Park Pleasure Championship.

Global Scene and Royalee Cleveland repeated their Carousel victories in the Five-Gaited Pleasure competition, while Toni Nickell matched up with Mountainview’s Crown Prince for dual blues as well as the Country Pleasure Driving Championship. Carolyn Melka had a great weekend as she drove Peanut Butter to the Show Pleasure Driving Championship along with top performances by her other entries Roselane’s Ready To Jet and Catcha Dream Tonight. Grace Arnold and Buttoned Down jogged away with the Country Western Pleasure top honors following two picture perfect rides, while Allison Gann matched up with Kathie Dunn’s Spurwing’s Superfine Lady for reserve in his highly competitive division.

The Blackridge team kicked off the season with winning performances in the Morgan division with dynamic showings by Pleasure Driving Champion The Noblest with Bob Hughes, Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Champion L.A. Ricochet and Katie Kabel, Amateur English Pleasure Champion Dragonsmeade Vivace and Greg Holzschuher, and Ladies Pleasure Driving winner Alliteration and Lexie Ellsworth. Alex Jeppesen had a big cheering section as she earned a memorable trip down victory lane in the Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Equitation class to the delight of proud mom Debi Jeppesen and instructor Anne Speck.

Rushton Stables followed up their season debut at Carousel with winning Diamond Jubilee performances by Amateur Pleasure Driving Champion MLF Sharper Image and Craig Sommers, novice and three-year-old pleasure driving winner Mrs. Steven Rudy, Open Pleasure Champion Glory Days and Susan McCollough, OTAB Pleasure Driving winner He’s A Heartbreaker, as well as Teri Brisco handling the lines of Amateur Park Harness winner Boxford Bravura.

Deer Creek O’Brien made his saddle debut with a victorious ride in the Junior Park Saddle directed by Jennifer Sommers for Lisa Shoemaker. Sommers also directed Kristen Klepper and Wee B Sweet Emotion to top honors.

Tayler and Debra Walters shared MLF Caliente for top honors in the Classic Pleasure Saddle division, while Tayler debuted with Boston Big Whammy to win the 14-17 English Pleasure. Samantha Lyttle matched up with AMHF Absolut Mystery to add the Scholar’s Pleasure Jackpot win to the Rancho Del Mar banner.

The Sturm family of Las Vegas enjoyed another great show in Del Mar as Savannah Sturm earned the High Point Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Award following numerous victories with Festival Atomic Energy and Cabot French Lieutenant. Sheridan Sturm matched up with Charlestown Jennifer Anne for a trio of victories as well as VVM Well Deserved for a reserve tricolor. Shaunicy Sturm teamed up with Willowick Mafia Princess to star in the Walk-Trot division including the pleasure championship. Terri Sturm was on cloud nine after she did a great job aboard Faragamo for the Amateur Western Pleasure blue and tricolor, while Garn Walker rode the Mizrahi son to a trio of victories.

The group from Garn Walker Stable kicked off the season in winning style. In addition to Faragamo and Cabot French Lieutenant, the stars included Mt Echo Dance Dark Secret and Shirley Rosenberg, The Ziegfield Girl with Melissa Walker, and BPM Gold Dust along with Chintimini Bravo Charlie ridden by Garn Walker.

Laura Dorwart enjoyed dual blues with Hawk in the Morgan division as well as a reserve tricolor with her Saddlebred Wild Sweet William. The Miller Equestrian Services banner boasted top ribbons including those earned by Park Saddle Champion Expedition and Abigail Jacobi, Festival Mariachi and Kim Clemons, Dolce Gabanna with Rachael Heliker, ALS Bedazzle with Michellie Jones and Savanna Miller, Valerosa Dragonheart and Nicole Wallace, and Festival Gypsy and Kayce Riener.

Light Year and Sandra Gruen earned matching tricolors in the Open and Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championships. Also under the direction of Darcey Attig, Shermandell Asgard and Nicoline Malkvist , WCS Holiday Falon and Jessica Hoyt, and Intrepid Sabrina and Mary Scronce visited victory lane.

Sterling Hills saw VVM Aleesa and Ellen McCook bring home top honors including the Amateur Western Pleasure Championship, while HP Oughta Be Wild and Hal Parker followed their Jingle Bells debut with more good rides.

Nicole Johnson directed several top teams including Walk-Trot Equitation Champion Victoria Walz who enjoyed several top ribbons with Kingsgrove Dynasty as well as VCF Naughty But Nice, Bold Jangles and Emma Pederson in western pleasure and equitation, and Sportsmanship award winner Ben Stout with WWF Donna My Pepper.

Whispering Incognito and Jill Yerger, Four Fields Top Brass and Amy Daniels, Alibi Yell It Out and Audrey Mangan, and Madison McElhinny with JJSKS Spring Storm also enjoyed visiting Diamond Jubilee’s victory lane.

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