Temecula, Ca. – April 21, 2021 – The 2021 Nilforushan Equisport Events season kicked off Wednesday, April 21 with hunter competition taking to the Grand Hunter Arena for day one of the Temecula Valley National Premier I presented by Interactive Mortgage. Snagging the early lead in the Green Conformation Hunters was Leslie Steele and Aventus, who nearly made a clean sweep during day one of the division’s competition. Also sitting pretty leading into Thursday’s championship crowning in the Green 3’6” Hunter division is Jamie Taylor riding Ever So Often, while Katie Taylor and L’con Reyes are hoping to secure their success in the High Performance 3’9” Hunters with a tricolor on Thursday after exceptional performances Wednesday afternoon.
Steele piloted Jennifer Cancellieri’s seven-year-old Brandenburg gelding to the lead at the conclusion of Wednesday’s division competition. Despite having only been partnered together for a short two weeks, Aventus showed great style and scope around the two over fences tracks, earning first and second for his efforts. In the under saddle, Aventus continued to impress the judges with his flowing movement and even pace, besting a field of seven to further solidify their lead.
Following on Steele’s heels in the Green Conformation Hunters is Peter Lombardo aboard Ann Adams’ Compliment, but Steele’s phenomenal performance with Aventus has the duo sitting several points behind going into day two of the division, which will include the handy round.
In the Green 3’6” Hunter division, Jamie Taylor took the early lead with Ava Peck’s Ever So Often. Taylor and the seven-year-old flashy Belgian Warmblood mare claimed the coveted blue ribbon over fences and under saddle on the first day of competition. After putting in performances which would earn them a first and second over fences, as well as a first in the flat, Katie Taylor and Bravado LLC’s L’con Reyes lead the pack in the High Performance 3’9” Hunters.
Hunter competition will continue Thursday, April 22 at 8:00 a.m. in the Grand Hunter Arena with the High Performance 3’9” Hunters. Hunter competition will come to a peak Friday, April 23 for the $15,00 USHJA International Hunter Derby, which will bring top athletes and their horses to the Grand Prix Arena for two rounds of competition.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
“He is a big, sweet, nice, kind, good horse. He is a good boy, but he is so big. He is John Bragg sized! Actually, this is only my second week riding him. I ride him for the owner Jennifer Cancellieri and she is with Bridgeport and John Bragg. I ride for them, and I was lucky John hurt his back a little bit so I have been catchriding some of his horses as well. I am just lucky I get to ride such nice horses.”
On her plans for the rest of the week:
“Aventus will finish the division tomorrow and do some WCHR stuff. That is always nice to support that and this lovely facility.”
On the new Grand Hunter footing:
“I love it. I just love it. It is great footing and it is a beautiful setting. I have been doing the Nilforushan shows since they first started. Ali is always trying to put on a quality event, and when someone tries that hard you try to support it.”