Temecula, Calif. – Oct. 23, 2021 – Juniors continued to dominate the Grand Hunter Arena at the Temecula Valley National Horse Show for the second day in a row. Trading in equitation ribbons for a Large 3’3” Junior Hunter tricolor, some of the west coast’s top young talents put their best foot forward hoping to claim the final title of the two-week series. On their second and final day of division competition, one tricolor would not be good enough as Calista Yun aboard Steel The Show and Kara Fritz with Coolboy ultimately shared the winner’s circle by tying for champion, while Katalina Raiszadeh and Dublin followed closely behind taking reserve champion.
During the first day of division competition, it was Fritz who topped the leaderboards with her catch ride, Coolboy. The duo showcased consistency in the over fences rounds and took two second place finishes, but her skill on the flat came in handy to score the newly paired partnership valuable points heading into Saturday’s final rounds. Fritz laid down a winning round in the $5,000 Hunter/Jumper Team Challenge with the 11-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by C.M.A. Growers, Inc., later on that evening.
Yun and Claire Mcnichols’ seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Steel The Show, were seated in second following the first three rounds Friday, taking home first and third place finishes in the over fences rounds and a second place ribbon in the under saddle, just narrowly edging out Raiszadeh and her own six-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Dublin, who also took home first and third place finishes in the over fences rounds Friday. Raiszadeh and Dublin were within striking distance of the reserve champion ribbon, placing third just behind Yun in the under saddle.
Saturday morning, the juniors returned to the ring eager to claim the final division title of the two-week series. With such a closely packed top three, the tricolor was anyones for the taking. Even though Yun had never ridden in a handy round, her catch ride, Steel The Show, certainly lived up to his name, taking first place, and third place in the final over fences round. Fritz managed to hang onto her lead with more consistent rounds, taking yet another double second place finish in the over fences and handy round. Though Fritz managed to hang onto the lead by the narrowest of margins, Yun’s stellar performances over the course of the two days secured her a shared position on the podium with Fritz as the two ended their Saturday on the same overall score.
Though Raiszadeh’s young mount, sired by Casall, lacked the experience of the others in the field, she laid down impressive rounds showcasing horsemanship beyond her years, piloting Dublin to another first place finish in the final over fences round. The pair put forth their best effort in the handy but were topped by both Yun and Fritz, leaving her in the third place position. Their valiant effort over the course of the two days would lend them the respectable reserve champion ribbon.
Competition at the Temecula Valley National Fall Series, presented by Interactive Mortgage, comes to a close Sunday, October 24 with Amateur riders taking the spotlight. The action kicks off in the Grand Prix Arena with the Low, Medium, and High Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur Jumper Classics, while the Amateur-Owner 3’3” and 3’6” Hunter division concludes with the crowning of the final champion of the 2021 season at Galway Downs.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Calista Yun – Large Junior 3’3” Hunter Champion
On Steel the Show:
“This is actually a catch ride. I actually didn’t start riding him until last weekend and I did him in the Children’s Hunters. He’s a very sweet horse and very reliable. Sometimes I’m not the most accurate, so he will get me out of certain situations.”
On the course:
“The course was actually really nice. I’ve never done a handy before and I thought it was pretty interesting. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go going into it because I don’t really do trot jumps. As long as you stay in your corners and keep your leg on, I feel like you can really put in a nice round.”
On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“It feels really nice to be back here. My barn is Hunterbook and it’s actually located in Temecula. It’s only about a 15 minute drive from the show so it’s really nice to be close to here.”
On future plans with Steel the Show:
“I’m not sure if I will be riding this horse again in the future. He’s a sale horse so he may not be available to me for much longer. I hope that I can ride him again because I really like him.”