Nick Haness Clinches One-Two Finish in Green 3’6” Hunter Division Championship at Temecula Valley National I

Temecula, Calif. – May 20, 2021 – Riders returned to Hunter Ring I at Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National I, presented by Interactive Mortgage, in hopes of claiming the championship crown in Thursday’s conclusion of the Green 3’6” Hunter division. Coming off of a one-two shutout on the premiere day of competition Wednesday, Temecula’s hometown hunter, Nick Haness, showcased his flawless expertise, laying down impressive rounds aboard HH Elmo and Sovereign. It appeared Haness’ significant lead could not be conquered as he rode away with not one, but two tri-colors, pocketing the championship with HH Elmo and the reserve championship with Sovereign. 

Nick Haness with HH Elmo and Sovereign

Haness and HH Elmo, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Lindsay Maxwell, were the clear leaders of the division heading into Thursday’s classes that would decide the overall division leader. Never missing a beat, the pair kept their impressive poise and consistency in both the over fences and handy rounds to claim the tricolor ribbon. Having only partnered earlier this year, the newly paired duo remained undefeated in all of the over fences classes.

Riding Sovereign, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding also owned by Maxwell, Haness held onto his second place position from Wednesday’s start of the Green 3’6” Hunter division. He and the up-and-coming import earned second place ribbons in all but one over fences class behind his other mount, HH Elmo. The pair finished out the division with a reserve championship title, ensuring a clean sweep for the California native. 

Nick Haness and HH Elmo

A Temecula local, Haness has been proud to support Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Horse since its inception in 2018, all the while racking up plenty of blue ribbons in the venue’s scenic hunter arenas. Haness is looking forward to piloting both horses around the Grand Prix Arena later next week for the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during the series’ WCHR week.

Also taking home a tricolor ribbon in the Hunter 1 Arena, Victoria Lacagnina and Positano claimed the Conformation Hunter championship title, while Paige Dendiu and Solitaire took home the reserve championship. In the High Performance Hunter division, Michelle Morris and Ka-Ching maintained their lead to earn the championship honors, and Alexis Taylor aboard Catendro finished with the reserve championship. Closing out the Green 3’9” Hunter division, Morris clinched another tricolor ribbon, this time with Lykke Li-Terma Z. Shauna Pennell and Top Story went home with the division’s reserve champion ribbon.

Nick Haness and Sovereign

Hunter competition will resume at the Temecula Valley National I, presented by Interactive Mortgage, Friday, May 21. The day’s competition will feature the $20,000 Professional/Amateur Equitation Challenge Cup Round 1 in the Grand Prix Arena, as well as the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase, ASPCA Maclay and CPHA Foundation 3’3” Medal.


Nick Haness – Green Hunter 3’6” Division Champion

On his strategy going into the division’s final day:
“Both these horses are really seasoned and fun horses to ride, being that they were both really consistent yesterday, today the goal was the same – Just being consistent and having a couple nice rounds! The handy round was today, which was really fun. It always adds another element of surprise, challenge and difficulty, so it was a fun part of the day. I was really happy with both horses.”

Nick Haness with HH Elmo and Sovereign

On his rounds:
“This is more of a new arena for the horse show, and Ali [Nilforushan] did such a nice job. The footing felt great. The horses jumped really nicely in here, but of course we love showing in the new Grand Hunter Arena as well so I’m looking forward to that next week. Both of my horses were really good in this ring today. Coming off of Blenheim [EquiSports], we had a big ring, so this was a nice change to have something a little more challenging and technical for the horses. The new ring and footing is feeling great, so they were both awesome.”

On HH Elmo:
“I started riding him this year during Thermal, [the Desert Circuit at the Desert International Horse Park], and had a lot of success early on in our partnership. He used to do the jumpers, so we are introducing the hunters to him and he seems to be picking up on it beautifully. He was second place in the $100,000 WCHR Spectacular night class at Thermal, and since then he’s just been hanging out at home. We are excited to show the next few weeks with him.”

Nick Haness and HH Elmo

On Sovereign:
“He is another horse I imported from Europe a few years back. We are looking forward to the International Derby here for Memorial Day weekend. He is a bit of a younger horse, still learning his ways, but we are really happy with both horse’s progress.”

On the Temecula Valley National Horse Show Experience:
“It’s super exciting to see the progression of the horse show and all that the owners and staff have done to make this a really premiere horse show. For me, I’m really excited about it because I live up the street in Temecula. It’s great, super exciting for us to have this venue, which is just improving all the time, and looking forward to what the future holds as well. So far we are really happy and it’s becoming a real destination for people to travel to. I’ve been here supporting Ali [Nilforushan] and the horse show since the very first one, and it’s been really fun to see all the changes and good stuff going on here, so I applaud them.”


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