Temecula, Calif. – May 2, 2021 – Equitation riders took to the ring one last time during the Temecula Valley National Premier series, presented by Interactive Mortgage, for the CPHA (California Professional Horseman’s Association) 3’6” Medal. Eager to claim additional points towards qualifying for the CPHA Medal Finals hosted by Blenheim Equisports during the Blenheim Summer Classic, and following Taylor Loew’s victory in the class during Premier I, the horse-and-rider combinations took advantage of a second opportunity to claim the blue and pocket coveted qualifying points. After eight solid trips, it was ultimately Alissa Brandt and King Kastano who impressed with their style and skill to take home the win.
Up against seven of the West Coast’s best equitation riders, Brandt displayed correct position, an effective seat, and style aboard Alcole Equestrian LLC’s recently gelded 10-year-old Westphalian. The Arizona resident rode a finely-tuned track over Michael Roy Curtis’ 11-obstacle course, edging out the rest of the field. Under the tutelage of top West Coast equitation trainer Jim Hagman of Elvenstar, Brandt just recently transitioned into the equitation ring, with Sunday’s win marking her first-ever blue in a 3’6” equitation class.
The newly paired duo started their journey in the jumper ring, but the then chestnut stallion seemed to be too anxious with the speed and height of the fences. Having only been partnered together since the beginning of the year, Brandt competed King Kastano as a stallion up until a few weeks ago.
Jake Endicott and Venti pulled up some high scores during both the first round and test, which was announced as such: walk into the ring, canter fence 1, hand gallop fence 7, trot fence 5, canter fence 2, and then make a downward transition to the sitting trot, and finally, walk out of the ring. Endicott and Nick Haness’ 6-year-old Holstenier gelding showcased their technical style and accuracy as they glided around the first course with ease. Endicott, also a competitive jumper rider, left the ring to compete in the Grand Prix Arena, returning for the test having not watched the other riders who were called back, Brandt, Katie Jorczak, and Julia Nickl. Endicott expertly piloted the young mount around the handy track. The California resident secured the second highest total of the day, taking home a red ribbon.
Coming off of her win in the ASPCA Maclay on Friday, Katie Jorczak returned to the ring with CNC-OLO Farm LLC’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, G-Star, hoping for another shot at a blue ribbon. Riding the same mount as earlier on in the week, Jorczak took the constructive criticism from the judges in her previous winning round and applied it to the hunter-like equitation track. With a steady but strong pace, the California local made the strides in the lines with ease. The pair created an effortless flow throughout both the first round and test portion of the class, securing scores that would place them in third, adding to the budding pairs growing ribbon collection.
The Temecula Valley National Premier Series, presented by Interactive Mortgage, concludes Sunday, May 2, but competition will pick back up at Galway Downs for the Temecula Valley National series running from May 19-June 6. The three-week series will feature classes such as FEI NAYC Young Rider Trials, the Memorial Day $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, and the $22,500 Spruce Meadows NEEd for Speed Final.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Alissa Brandt – CPHA 3’6″ Medal Winner
On King Kastano:
“I have had him for about a year now and he was actually my jumper. I was doing him in the jumpers for a while, but he started to get stressed out with the big jumps and going quick, so we decided to try to do him in the equitation because he is super soft and adjustable. So he did his first USET at the last week at Desert International Horse Park, and that went really well and he was really relaxed. So we thought it would be better for him and he would be happier with equitation. This is actually his first show back after gelding him, and his first weekend. He started out in jumper mode, but he has really gotten the equitation thing down, and this is our first win together in it!”
On the first round:
“The first round was not really all that technical, it was more of a hunter type of round, so I just thought I would play it safe since he is not used to seeing the flowers. Jumper jumps and hunter jumps look so different, so he is still kind of iffy with those. But today he felt really relaxed and I thought I would just let him go around nice and like a hunter in the first round. The second round was his first test, so I was not really sure what he was going to think of the slice and the trot jump. We have trained a little bit of that at home, but not much. He was like ‘This is just fine,’ and it seemed easy for him. He was a lot more relaxed than I thought he would be and it ended up working out really nicely.”
On the test:
“The test was really fun actually. As a rider, the most difficult part was the hand gallop. When I hand gallop to a long oxer like that sometimes my eye naturally gets big. I did not want to launch him at it, so I just tried to ride it more on the conservative side.”
On juggling online school and riding in California:
“I train with Elvenstar and Jim Hagman. I have actually been with them for about 8 months now. They are awesome and I love them so much. I come from a small barn and actually live in Arizona. I came from Sweetwater Stables with Lucy Alabaster and I love them to death; they are like my family. With COVID, school got switched to online so I am now able to do my schoolwork online while I live in California while I train with them. I have learned so much in the past couple of months. It is kind of crazy. They are just such great horsemen.”
On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“This is my second time here. Last year I came with my old barn, and this is definitely one of my favorite shows. I just love how they pay attention to the little details. It makes such a difference and makes the show really fun. Last night after the Grand Prix, they had Kevin Nealon do a stand-up performance. I really love his show a lot.”
CPHA 3’6” Medal
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner
1. King Kastano / Alissa Brandt / Alcole Equestrian LLC
2. Venti / Jake Endicott / Nick Haness
3. G-Star / Katie Jorczak / CNC-OLO Farm LLC
4. Zurich / Julia Nickl / Julia Nickl
5. Cover Girl / Maggie Dumrauf / Maggie Dumrauf
6. Wesley’s Theory / Ellie Kurtz / Ellie Kurtz
7. Cote D’azur / Makaila Weber / Makaila Weber
8. Chuparretto / Londyn Samlaska / Londyn Samlaska