Temecula, Calif. – Apr. 28, 2022 – Hunter action at Temecula Valley National Premier II continued with a spotlight on young hunters in Hunter 1. Beginning with the 2’9” Young Hunter 5 & Under and completing the day with the 3’3” Young Hunter 7 & Under, promising hunter prospects were awarded championship honors as the judges made their selections and awarded each ride for their efforts and abilities.
Each round in the young hunter divisions presented opportunities for riders to show off the scope and promise their mounts offered and give the judges an idea of what the horses could be in the future. The first course started out with two singles before the horses were presented with three lines, which was a challenge for some of the young horses but allowed them to practice a rhythmic stride and keeping an even pace. The second course presented a new single the horses hadn’t jumped yet, then two lines, a single oxer, and a final line to come home. All horses went under saddle after each section’s jumping rounds were complete.
To start the day, the 2’9” Young Hunter 5 & Under division was topped by Valor, owned by Brannon Loomis Mooney, with Aedan Mooney in the irons. Just following, the 3’ Young Hunters 6 & Under took to the same course and emerging victorious was Victoria Lacagnina’s Valentino and Paige Dendiu.
The 3’3” Young Hunter 7 & Under class took over Hunter 1 and several up-and-coming talents took to the course of slightly higher fences to show off their scope and promise as future top hunters. Cillis and Peyton Seltzer’s Barnette gracefully mastered each of the day’s courses, meeting each jump flawlessly and letting the 7-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding canter down the lines and stretch over the oxers. The pair was rewarded with top ribbons over fences classes and a first place finish in the under saddle, along with the division championship. Reserve championship honors in the division went to Jamie Taylor and All That, owned by Ariya Nathu.
Cillis has had the ride on Barnette for less than one year and has already seen extensive improvement in the horse’s mind and rideability. The 7-year-old competes with his owner, Peyten Seltzer, in the Junior Hunters and has a bright future ahead of him as he continues to learn more both in and out of the show ring.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Philip Cillis – 3’3” Young Hunter 7 & Under champion
“We bought him this year in Thermal. It’s been a really fun young horse. He’s a little greener than we thought even though they told us he’s really green. He’s come along really well. He’s already doing the Junior Hunters. It’s a really nice horse to ride and just a really good guy. He felt great”