Temecula, Calif. – May 26, 2022 – Athletes competing in the Green/High Performance 3’9” Conformation Hunter division returned to the Grand Hunter Arena for day two of the Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National II. After two days of close competition, it was Mitchell Endicott and Aventus who earned the championship title for the second week in a row.
Mitch Endicott and Jennifer Cancellieri’s, Aventus, an 8-year-old Brandenburg gelding stood out amongst the expertly turned out hunters. During the first day of division competition, Endicott piloted Aventus to a first place finish in the over fences portion of the class showing off the young mount’s scope and fluidity. Before heading into the second and final day of division competition, Endicott secured a second win in the under saddle portion, giving himself and “Venti” a solid shot at their second consecutive championship title in the division at the series having already been crowned champion during the Temecula Valley National I.
The duo, who have only been paired together for one year, returned for the final day of division competition eager to make it a repeat performance and take their second title of the series. With just one final over fences round and a handy trip, the California professional used his show jumping skills to pull off yet another win in the handy round. Sticking to an efficient track and showcasing an uphill, fluid, and forward canter Aventus was awarded the high score of 81 points, ultimately solidifying his championship title.
The 8-year-old stand-out mount came into the spring series in Temecula after an incredible winter season having been piloted by both Endicott in the Green 3’6” and 3’9” Hunter divisions as well as by junior rider, Avery Glynn. With championship titles in the High Performance and Green Conformation Hunters at both the Desert Circuit and Desert Holiday series this winter with Endicott and numerous top placings in the Junior 3’6” Hunters 16-17 division during Desert Circuit I, II, and III with Glynn, the young mount shows maturity and experience beyond his years.
After being named Zone 10’s 2021 Leading Green 3’6” Conformation horse with a total of 2230.4 points, Aventus and Endicott started their partnership competing in the Green 3’6” Hunters having only recently moved up to the 3’9” height. The duo has plans to continue showing in the 3’9” Conformation division and further develop their relatively new partnership.
Hot on their heels was the pair of Shauna Pennell and WJC Farms, LLC’s, Top Story, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding. Having tied with Endicott following the first day of competition taking first place finishes in the over fences and conformation model class, Top Story and his longtime partner were eager to best their division performance from the previous week having been pinned the reserve champion.
The pair continued to wow the judges and extended their winning streak throughout day two. Having laid down their stand-out round scoring a whopping 89 points in the final over fences class Pennell, who also guided Top Story to victory in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby during Temecula Valley National I, the title would come down to their handy trip. The pair tried their best but were not able to top Endicott’s efforts ultimately settling for their second consecutive reserve champion title.
Hunter competition continues this week with the $15,000 USHJA International Derby on Friday, Small Pony Hunter division on Saturday and competition wrapping up Sunday with the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Mitch Endicott – Green Conformation Hunter winner
“Aventus just turned 8 years old this year and is owned by Jennifer Cancellieri. He’s super friendly, super kind, and just a really good horse. He loves cookies and is always super friendly in and out of his stall. We just entered him in a 3’9” Conformation Hunter just this past year. I’m very thankful for the ride on him and he is just an awesome horse. He’s done very well and he and I have done great together. We did the 3’6” [Green Hunter] last year and now we’re stepping into the 3’9” [Conformation Hunters]. He’s the type of horse that when he walks into the ring, he kinda just does his thing. He knows his job so I don’t worry about him too much.”
On his plan going into the second day:
“The first round was just a really nice course and I liked the handy quite a bit. It asked a few questions. Jump one is pretty close to the gate so you have to jump into a nice canter right away. You then need a nice, long gallop to jump two. You’ve then got to pull it together for a few nice rollbacks. I thought it asked nice questions and the course flowed really well.”
On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“I think that all the changes that they’ve made to the property have made a big difference. In terms of the show, everyone is so friendly and inviting. I think for sure that everyone wants to make it an exciting and fun show. Ali [Nilforushan] has done an awesome job with that and as far as I can tell, all of the improvements, big and small, have made a big difference.”
On Nilforushan Equisport Events Hunter classes:
“I think that the jumps here [Nilforushan Equisport Events] they’re bright compared to other shows. They give really nice prizes and everything is a bigger deal than just it being a class and I think that’s important.”
On future plans:
“Next week, Aventus and I are going to take off and head home. We’re going to keep doing the 3’9” Conformations to keep gaining experience. We’re taking it year by year and he’s a good horse but he’s still learning.”