Temecula, Calif. – May. 19, 2022 – The High Performance 4’ Hunter competitors took to the Grand Hunter Arena Thursday morning to complete the second portion of the division and vie for championship honors. Athletes were the first of many classes to take to the ring hoping to impress the judges with their mounts’ scope and handiness. Following the final two rounds, it was ultimately Chad Mahaffey and Paperboy, owned by Brighton Farms, who claimed the championship title, continuing their three-week winning streak.
The courses for the day offered athletes a chance to show off their horses’ adaptability and talent, first demonstrating rhythm and scope over a classic hunter track. The horse-and-rider pairs returned for a handy round in which various questions were asked to test the versatility of the mounts. Riders cantered directly to fence one, followed by a tight rollback to fence two. Other challenges presented were a bending line, a two-stride and a trot jump.
On the opening day of the division, Chad Mahaffey and Paperboy, an 8-year-old Zangersheide gelding, took multiple top ribbons including a third in the first round, first in the second round, and first in the under saddle. The California native’s first-round track on the second day of competition consisted of 9 obstacles, with several challenges including long bending lines, a two-stride and large single fences set on long runs. The pair has had a successful last few weeks, most notably taking champion in the High Performance Hunters at Blenheim Ranch & Coast Horse Show.
Having recently changed careers, Paperboy previously had a very extensive and successful jumping career in Europe before landing a new career with Mahaffey. Mahaffey consistently shows Paperboy in the hunters, focusing on the high performance divisions, amateur/owner divisions and national derbies. Having had extensive success in the 3’6” division, Mahaffey started showing Paperboy in the 4’ division this last month. Having earned numerous top placings in a short period of time, the duo is proving they can take on anything thrown their way.
Michelle Morris piloted Lykke Li-Terma Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by Ava Park, around a flawless first round. Knowing she had a shot at the championship title, Morris put it all on the line as she flowed around the handy course, cutting corners tight and riding several fences at an angle to ride the track the course demanded. The pair aced the trot jump, earning them the first place ribbon in the handy but ultimately fell short to Mahaffey’s score to earn them the reserve honors title. Morris and Lykke Li-Terma Z are no strangers to the Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Series, having won the $2,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby last May.
Upcoming Temecula Valley National I hunter highlights include the CPHA 3’3” Foundation Medal in Hunter 1, Large Junior 3’6” Hunter in the Grand Hunter Arena, and the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby will wrap up the week.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Chad Mahaffey – High Performance 4’ Hunter Champion
“We’re actually just coming back to the Temecula series. This is our second time back if I’m accurate on that. We got him in 2020, he was ultimately a high performance or national derby horse. My client wanted to do the 3’6” AO’s and wanted to learn them himself so he just kinda kicked into the 4’ ring and the international derby ring this year. The Temecula series is our second effort in the international derby and then a high performance. He didn’t win the high performance the first week but he did win the international derby. The following week, he went on to be high performance champion [at Blenheim Ranch & Coast Horse Shows] and again this week, were high performance champion. He’s doing quite well.”
On his upcoming plans:
“We’re here for all three weeks. He’ll take the last week off, and then he’ll go back to the Oaks to do another WCHR.”
On Paperboy’s personality:
“He’s a pretty chill horse. Honestly he’s basically allergic to everything so he’s a little sensitive but aside from that, warming up with him is just like winding down. We sometimes do some stretching in the morning and some body flexing and things like that but I don’t do anything really extensive with him. I like him to relax and settle. I just think it’s different when they’re changing careers. He had a very extensive and successful jumping career in Europe so with that kind of athletic horse and that strong of a body, it’s just getting him to soften it. I love to hop on him bareback and chill around the ranch and it’s kind of a little vibe.”
On the upgrades to the Temecula Valley National Series:
“I’m not sure when it happened but [Ali Nilforushan] threw in that whole second side ring and I think it’s great that he’s expanding. It’s super nice. This is the kind of place where you have a lot of space to just go ride around and relax on your horse. With my horse, it’s perfect. The other thing too is that Ali’s always listening. If you have any concerns or you have suggestions on events he’ll take them into account and I’m very grateful for that. It’s kind of nice to have another location to come to.”
On the National Equestrian Tournament:
“I think it’s smart. I just think there’s a whole in the market there so I would definitely try to seize it. It’s something that will draw attraction. What he’s doing with some of these money events, I’m slightly familiar with them because my clients have kind of dove a little more into them.”