Temecula, Calif. — June 5, 2022 — Sunday morning rounded out junior and amateur hunter competition in the Grand Hunter Ring for the Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Horse Show series. Concluding that competition was the $22,000 3’3”/3’6” JR-AO Hunter Classic NET FINALS, that ran concurrent with the regular $2,500 3’3”/3’6” JR-AO Hunter Classic sponsored by Riviera Equisports. This NET FINALS is unique to Nilforushan Equisport Events’ where Ali and Francie Nilforushan give the riders an option to enter the Nilforushan Equisport Tournament and earn a portion of a bonus pot of money dedicated to their division in addition the prize money offered.
Over three weeks of Temecula Valley National Horse Shows, horse and rider qualify for the third week final by either winning in their respective division or paying to enter, where a portion of those fees goes into an overall division pot for distribution. How well the pair does each week determines the number of points they earn and following the conclusion of each respective division entered in the NET FINALS, the overall top placings are announced. Specifically for this JR-AO Hunter Classic, there was $2,500 in prize money distributed in the regular division class, which means the JRs and AOs entered in the tournament are vying for an additional $2,500 and their portion of the bonus pot, which was over $20,000. If a horse and rider combination happens to win their regular division class and the NET FINALS, they walk away with that much more money.
That was the case in today’s class where Augusta Iwasaki and Small Love captured top honors in the Riviera Equisport 3’3”/3’6” JR-AO Hunter Classic and the NET FINALS. At the end of last week, Iwasaki and Reilly’s Small Love had a total of 44 points. Coming into this final week they were sitting right behind Emma Post with her own Won Love. After laying down two solid rounds over fences and scores of 88 and 87, Iwasaki was able to win the classic and boast her overall standing in NET competition and garner the overall top NET prize and over $4,000 in bonus money.
Post and Won Love, who were in the division NET lead with 49 points going into week three, also impressed the judges this final morning. The pair posted a two-round classic total of 165 points which landed them in the second spot and second overall in the NET final standings. Taking home third in the JR-AO Hunter Classic NET FINALS was Kyle King and her mount Four Point Oh. The pair came back with the third highest score after round one, which meant that all top three NET FINAL finishers had the highest first round classic score going into round two. With scores of 83 and 67 King and Four Point Oh edged out enough points in the overall standings to finish as the third place in the NET FINALS.
Also concluding their series with a concurrent NET FINAL was the $1,500 3’ Child/Adult Hunter Classic, sponsored by Riviera Equisports. Taking the win in the regular division classic was none other than the Children’s Hunter Division week champion, Lauren Padilla and Way Maker. Highland Farm LLC’s Way Maker and Padilla earned classic scores of 88 and 81 to take home first place. After coming into week three with 26 NET points and sitting second on the NET leaderboard, their win today pushed them atop the leaderboard to win the $1,500 3’ Child/Adult Hunter Classic NET FINALS and a share of the pot bonus prize.
Second place in the NET FINALS went to Isabella Moore with Jennifer Berman’s, Theodore. The pair took fifth overall in the division classic with scores of 72 and 80, which was beneficial in their overall NET FINALS placing and earning a share of the NET bonus money pot. Following close behind into the third spot in the standings was Casey Curtis and her own, No Reservations. Finishing right behind Moore in the division classic, she worked her way to third overall in the NET $1,500 3’ Child/Adult Hunter Classic FINALS and pot prize money in addition to classic earnings.
Starting out the morning in the Grand Hunter Ring was the Rusty Brown Jewelry $2,500 3’ Hunter Derby. 23 horse and rider combinations contested another Tommy Brawley course of 10 jumping efforts, 4 of which were high options set at 3’3”. The course design also included four bending lines and a two stride. After the first round, it was Nick Haness and Vagadam PSH that had the leader position with a total of 92. The top 12 riders from round one came back in reverse order of score to contest the handy round. Following the handy round, Haness and Vagadam PSH owned by Margaux Spitzer held their position with a score of 91 and in the end captured the win with a total of 183 points. Following close behind with a two-round total of 180 points was JK Willams and Tempo. The pair also earned the highest score in the second round of 93. Finishing in third place was Eavan Bronfman riding Quax, who finished with an overall score of 172 points.
Three weeks of great competition in the Grand Hunter Ring at Galway Down has come to a close. We saw lots of exciting competition, great sportsmanship and the inaugural NET FINAL winners.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Augusta Iwasaki — Winner of the $2,500 3’3”/3’6” JR-AO Hunter Classic NET FINALS
On her partnership with Small Love:
“We just got her this year — she is a really cool mare. We got her towards the end of WEF and started doing the 3’3” Green Hunters and she has just come along really fast — she’s very smart. This is either our third or fourth time in the junior hunters.”
On Small Love’s performance this week:
“She’s been amazing — we haven’t shown in a few weeks because we went to Devon Horse Show and she stayed here. She has really just stepped up. It was nice hunter courses today so nothing really to remind us of her previous jumper days. A lot of straight lines and slight bends which was very good for her.”
On being here for NET FINALS:
“It’s a really nice show. I show all around the country and I always look forward to coming here and especially this week with the opportunity of NET FINALS. I think the facilities are really nice and I am close with Ali [Nilforushan] and I love what he has done — I have a jumper of his and so it’s always been amazing to come here with all the amenities.”