FLYING OUT OF THE SANTA FE SUMMER SERIES

Who knew four weeks could fly by so quickly?! We hope you had as much fun as we did at the Santa Fe Summer Series! A warm thank you for your support that made this another Santa Fe summer to remember. While the sun has only just set on this year’s series, we are already looking forward seeing you again in 2019 at the Santa Fe Summer Series, where together we celebrate the heart of the horse.

And now, here’s the stable scoop on this week’s Grand Prix de Santa Fe week of competition.


$5,000 USHJA NATIONAL HUNTER DERBY

Hosted by Sandia Farm

THIS ONE’S FOR TAB

In loving memory of Sarah Invicta Williams-Echols’ beloved godfather Tab Hunter

From a distance, the Derby Field looked like a shimmering green mirage, deep in the high desert. The tents on the ‘Sweet Potato Berm’ overlooking the arena puffed in the slight breeze.  The patter of applause could be heard after each of the 25 riders’ rounds during Friday morning’s Hunter Derby, with faint salsa tunes serving as background music.

Sarah Invicta Williams-Echols’ winning ride in Friday’s $5,000 National Hunter Derby was accomplished with an angel riding by her side and her good luck charms surrounding her. Echols’ recently passed godfather, Tab Hunter, helped Sarah guide Durgin Park to the winner’s circle. Her charms – mother Carolina Invicta Stevenson, client Annie Veenstra, who also rode in the class, and a special medallion woven into the eleventh braid of Durgin Park’s grey braids: a St. Christopher pendant her father wore during World War II for protection and safe travels.

The charm charted Sarah through a safe course, and a high-scoring one at that! Echols’ classic round score of 83 with four options sealed her score of 87 in the first round, followed by a very handy score of 88 in the second round, plus four high options—earned her a total score of 179. Skip Bailey’s course design in both rounds allowed many options for the riders to show off their horses’ unique skills. The handy round offered a choice of which direction to clear the first hay bale jump, and an option of two different verticals for the second jump. The winning strategy for Echols was to approach the first jump on the right lead, nearly in a figure eight pattern, and then make the track from jump two to three in a bending line—covering the least amount of ground possible. She landed on the correct lead to the jump directly following the trot jump smoothly leading her to the last oxer, which she bravely took the gap to—sealing her a handy round total score of 92. Sarah hunted each jump and kept a bold pace in each round.

Following in second place, Jennifer Rhodes earned a consistent pair of 89’s atop Limitless. Third prize went to Belynda Bond and Norderney, who garnered a score of 91 in the handy round with elegant efforts to the option jumps and every high option.

“My godfather Tab Hunter was instrumental in my life. Obviously, he knew me since the time I was born, christened and baptized. He was an avid horseman. He bought some incredible horses and he was always incredibly generous. And especially with the horses—he would always come out and give lessons. The day after my wedding he was giving all of us lessons. My mother has been best friends with him for 62 years and he was a huge part of my life. Just a wonderful, fabulous man that I was incredibly lucky to have in my life. I want to dedicate this win to him,” said Echols, with tears in her eyes.

Sarah’s supporters, both past and present, brought the pair full circle—winning a National Hunter Derby in 2016, the Summer Series’ inaugural year, and now the final Derby of the 2018 Series.

$5,000 National Hunter Derby Results

Placing

Entry Name

Rider

Owner

Score

1

Durgin Park

Sarah Invicta Williams-Echols

Pinon west, LLC.

179

2

Limitless

Jennifer Rhodes

Stacy Stephens

178

3

Norderney

Belynda Bond

Gesture LLC.

171

4

Rio’s Fiorella

Ellen Murphy

Ellen Murphy

169

5

Berlin

Audrey Jezek

MTM Farm

168

6

Tempted

Nada Wise

Samantha Brown

164.5

7

Chappalo

Amanda Comly

Comly Sport Horses

162

8

Another Day

Kristin Nixon

Kristin Nixon

159.5


$10,000 SANTA FE WELCOME STAKE

HIMINI SOARED HIGH

Friday afternoon’s $10,000 Santa Fe Welcome Stake welcomed 27 riders into the Grand Prix de Santa Fe Week of the Summer Series. Hector Loyola designed a friendly and straightforward course with ten horses proceeding to the jump-off. Acosta and HIMINI’s fantastic jump off sealed ‘HIM and her’ the win in front of Natascha Gates and Jenni McAllister. Hector Loyola attributed Acosta’s winning time to her “beautiful cuts,” and was impressed because, “She didn’t look like she was galloping, but her turns were really accurate!”

HIMINI and Acosta were the last to go in the jump-off and ended the class on a winning note! Acosta hustled to the jumps, galloped, and landed on the inside tracks in the turns. Over the last vertical in the jump-off, she heard cheers, but didn’t realize she’d won the class! “I’ve been feeling great on this horse. He loves the grass and has such a big step—he can just gallop. People joke that I can leave out two strides and then do a vertical to vertical in-and-out right after!” Acosta says the gelding has just gotten “better and better” throughout the Summer Series.

Acosta has been no stranger to the winner’s circle at the Santa Fe Summer Series. During Santa Fe Welcome Week, she took first prize in the same class atop MTM Lights Out, following up with a ninth place finish in the first week’s Grand Prix. Riding HIMINI, she has placed in every Grand Prix class this circuit.

 

Of the ten riders in the jump off, Natascha Gates rode two of them—taking the second place finish aboard Cambodia, owned by Nancy Gooding. Gates’ strategy was to “just go for it!”, which is exactly what she did. The head trainer at Plum Creek Hollow Farm in Colorado was all pats and hugs for Cambodia after the double clear round. Gates started the mare in the .90m jumpers, now competing at the Grand Prix level. “If I’m good, I know she’ll be awesome,” said Gates.

Special recognition to Sydney Luzicka, who took fifth place with a double-clear finish aboard her own mount Willow Catkin. The junior rider, out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, cleared both rounds double clean with a speedy time and tight inside turns, which was all the more impressive considering she was missing a nearly essential piece of equipment—stirrups! The young rider fiercely galloped the entire course and many wouldn’t have even realized she was without her irons based on how secure she was in the saddle. Due to a serious ankle injury, the 18-year old is unable to ride with stirrups for 6-12 more months. Luzicka has persevered and still rides up to seven horses a day. When asked if she gets intimidated or scared by the big jumps, she answered with gusto, “Once the adrenaline gets going—there’s no difference between having [stirrups] or not!” Kudos to Sydney Luzicka and Heartlane Farms!

$10,000 Santa Fe Welcome Stake Results

Placing

Entry Name

Rider

Owner

First Round

Faults

Second Round

Faults

1

HIMINI

Colleen Acosta

Evalyn Grace, LLC

79.54

0

45.64

0

2

Cambodia

Natascha Gates

Nancy Gooding

82.3

0

48.98

0

3

Colvados

Jenni McAllister

Cathy Jones & Madison Myro

82.84

0

49.02

0

4

Wallstreet RC

Chenoa McElvain

Guy McElvain

81.53

0

49.6

0

5

Willow Catkin

Sydney Luzicka

Sydney Luzicka

79.4

0

49.75

0

6

Batida PJ

Jenni McAllister

Sateri Ab Vicksburg

80.74

0

53.64

0

7

Legis Venice

Jenni McAllister

Legisequine.com

79.49

0

47.28

4

8

Zafir Z

Rachel Lindsey

Rachel Lindsey

82.77

0

53.63

4

9

Valiente

Natascha Gates

Nancy Gooding

84.31

0

55.25

6


$5,000 1.20m AOHCJI CHALLENGE

A NEW KIND OF JUMPER CHALLENGE

Saturday’s inaugural AOHCJI Challenge brought new prize money and excitement to the 1.20m level. Although the new class was created with serious intent to support the development of young horses and upcoming riders, HIPICO still infused fun into it by naming the class with an inscrutable acronym. A separate contest was held to see who could guess the title. A few came close but the mystery title remains unsolved and the contest will continue next year. Luckily, the competitors proved to be much better riders than they are guessers!

With fifteen entries ready to take on the challenge—Trapp O’Neal, Chenoa McElvain, and Sydney Luzicka prevailed! Trapp O’Neal was fast and furious on Elle Fortuna-MS, owned by Marieke Slik. He sliced, galloped, and spun around the turns to catch the quickest jump off time of 42.54. This is the second specialty class of the Summer Series that O’Neal has swept aboard Elle Fortuna-MS, after he captured the blue in Santa Fe Fiesta Week’s BMW/MINI Cooper Ride-&-Drive.

Chenoa McElvain, aboard Daphne RC, had the need for speed, executing tight turns with the pedal to the metal in the jump-off. And Sydney Luzicka booked it to every jump, unfortunately knocking a rail in the jump-off, finishing as the fastest four faulter.

The 1.20m AOHCJI Challenge is another new initiative introduced this year, with an eye toward building a challenge series at multiple heights. Stay tuned for new offerings next year!

$5,000 1.20m AOHCJI Challenge Results

Placing

Entry Name

Rider

Owner

First Round

Faults

Second Round

Faults

1

Elle Fortuna-MS

Trapp O’Neal

Marieke Slik

81.41

0

42.54

0

2

Daphne RC

Chenoa McElvain

Rancho Corazon, LLC.

89.04

0

46.99

0

3

St. John 10:9

Sydney Luzicka

Sydney Luzicka

84.1

0

39.64

4

4

Sydney’s Best

Kylie Perkins

Jenni McAllister

78.54

0

41.17

4

5

Quin

Michael K. Elmore

Sharon E. Schenk

84.12

0

41.43

4

6

Converse Point

Sarah Invicta Williams-Echols

Invicta Farms, Inc.

83.8

0

50.91

8

7

Steel The Love

Christine Rishell

Shelby Beard

90.59

1

n/a

n/a

8

Inman

Sarah Witten

Sarah Witten

78.97

4

n/a

n/a


A FIERCE BATTLE OF THE FLAGS

NEW MEXICO FLIES AT THE TOP

Four states, four teams and sixteen riders boiled down to just two—as Matt Cyphert from Texas and Trapp O’Neal from New Mexico faced off to break the tie and claim the fame of raising their home state’s flag on the Grand Prix Field.

Although most of the riders participating are also the best of friends,the competition was fierce and the pep was palpable. The participants certainly don’t lack a sense of humor! After many stolen shirts, graffitied golf carts and a rousing group text later, the competitors were stoked for the Battle of the Flags. During the course walk, the Texas team revved around the Grand Prix Field in a camouflage colored 4×4, blasting tunes native to the Lone Star State and flying the Texas flag.

Cyphert bought his team matching Texas flag polos. When Colorado, New Mexico, and California caught wind of this, they elevated their game! Each team came to the arena with matching outfits. California wore red sashes, New Mexico rocked bright yellow t-shirts with the Zia symbol on the front, and Colorado wore hand-painted Colorado logo shirts with funny sayings on the back to rib Texas, “The only thing louder than Texas is Matt” and “Good thing Texas can golf!”

Sarah Echols, New Mexico team’s unofficial cheerleader, screamed, “Viva Nuevo Mexico!” at the end of her round after earning the first point for Team New Mexico on Converse Point. As she exited the ring, her husband ran across the field waving the New Mexico Flag. A flurry of little girls in the VIP Lounge ran into the arena with handmade paper New Mexico flags to celebrate the point. After Michael Elmore and Trapp O’Neal’s clear rounds, a unicorn sprinted in front of the spectator tent waving a New Mexico flag!

At the end of the day, splitting seconds, the state which soared to the top was New Mexico. Trapp O’Neal broke the tie by about a quarter of a second in the 1.20m jump-off, leaving Texas in the dust and a tie between Colorado and California for third place. The winning team’s bright yellow shirts were blinding as they hoisted the Land of Enchantment flag to the top of the flagpole! Laughing and jabbing the other teams playfully, Sarah Echols joked, “All we wanted to do was beat Texas,” and Trapp O’Neal followed with, “This is our home ground—we gotta keep it in New Mexico!”

Battle of Flags Results

California

New Mexico

Texas

Colorado

Kylie Perkins

Trapp O’Neal

Matt Cyphert

Paul Rohrbach

Christine Rishell

Sarah Invicta Williams-Echols

Colleen Acosta

Natascha Gates

Sarah Witten

Michael Elmore

Happy Comly

Audrey Norrell

Jenni McAllister

Chenoa McElvain

Stephanie Tropia

Mark Mead

1

4

3

1


THE WIENER RACE FINALE & SUPER FUN PUBLIC SAFETY SATURDAY

The final Chorizo Wiener Races proved to be as entertaining and hysterical as the first! Lily Echols and Porky McElvain were poised for another perfect set of races Saturday.

The two races had the crowd at the edge of the fence, practically falling overboard to set eyes on the tiny dogs darting across the field. With Sharon McElvain at the wheel of the four-wheeler, the first Dachshund race commenced! The racers rarely have a straight track to the finish, so after some swerving and bumping—the winning Wiener crossed the finish line. Porky proved too fast for the field and took the dog basket prize again! There’s no doubt Porky will enjoy chowing down on the fun treats and toys in his winning basket, kindly sponsored by Marty’s Meals, The Critters and Me and Tullivers.

The second race sent another familiar winner to the top! Sarah Echols, of Invicta Farms, and her husband Lance proudly raised their pup to the sky as Lily won the mixed-breed race again. For an older lady, she sure runs fast! The couple’s other dog, Luke, who is a fan-fave and usually sports an outfit, took second place just behind his sister. “Last week Luke was sabotaged with his costume, which was ripped off his back [during the race], so we didn’t do that again!”, said Sarah, with Lance quickly adding, “The jockey got kidnapped by another dog!” The couple prepared their pups for the race with Hatch green chile hamburgers! With a year to train, will Luke upset his sister in 2019? Who will challenge the Champion Wiener, Porky? We have to wait an entire year to find out…

In attendance  at the Santa Fe Summer Series’ signature race was Greg Lynch, serving as the official scorekeeper of the races. As an honorable guest of HIPICO Santa Fe in celebration of Public Safety Saturday, Lynch enthusiastically called the winner of both races.

Announcing the Dachshund race winner, he yelled, “Porky is the winner! Or dare I say Wiener?!” Lynch is a Santa Fe native who works for the 911 Call Center, the central dispatch for many agencies, including: Santa Fe County Fire Department, Santa Fe Fire Department, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Fe Police Department and Edgewood Police Department. “We have a lot of agencies, so it was great to be represented here; it’s the start of a bigger picture. We’re talking about some more public safety days at [HIPICO Santa Fe] where everyone gets involved. We’d like to do something similar to the Battle of the Flags with all the agencies to get that friendly competition and spirit going. It’s a good thing to spearhead—I’m happy to be in on the ground floor!”, said Lynch. For Lynch, it’s a honor to represent public safety and he had a “blast” getting to call the winner of both heats of the dog races.


GRAND PRIX DE SANTA FE

CHENOA MCELVAIN BUCKLED DOWN

Anticipation for the pinnacle event of the Santa Fe Summer Series was palpable in every corner of the property – you could feel it during owner and Master of Ceremonies Brian Gonzales’ walk through of the $40,000 Grand Prix de Santa Fe course with designer Hector Loyola, in the chatter in the VIP Lounge, while Erik van Heyningen, the talented Santa Fe Opera apprentice, belted the national anthem, as guests scrambled for seats in the HIPI-Hangout, in the focused calm in the warm-up ring and as the crowds inched closer and closer to the field’s fencing as the 24 entries whittled down to 8 in the jump off and then down to the one winner who took home the coveted silver belt buckle.For Chenoa McElvain, the buckle was everything and everyone on the property knew it. McElvain has been itching for a Grand Prix win at HIPICO Santa Fe since the inception of the Summer Series. And as the daughter of one of the founding families, Guy and Sharon McElvain, Chenoa has seen the winning buckles for years because the sterling silver pieces reach deep into Grand Prix de Santa Fe’s past.

Grand Prix de Santa Fe, a charity horse show dedicated to supporting several New Mexico non-profit organizations benefiting at-risk children, was formed in 2004 and has since donated more than $180,000 to regional and local charities. The belt buckle—designed and created by Mortenson Silver & Saddles in Santa Fe—won at the $40,000 Grand Prix de Santa Fe is the same design that was presented to the winner of the original Grand Prix in 2004. And the only way to get this special buckle is to win it – no small feat!

The Grand Prix Field at HIPICO Santa Fe is large, according to experienced course designer Hector Loyola. Although he has been designing courses for 22 years, he admits this is probably the biggest field on which he’s worked. Loyola filled the arena with as many jumps as much as possible to challenge the riders. While the jumps were straightforward, aside from a few questions such as oxer to oxer and a triple bar to a vertical, the real challenge was time. “The time was the hardest part. The rest were simple questions. There weren’t really places to cut except in one spot,” he said, applying the mindset that each course should be designed for the confidence of horse and rider. The time allowed in the first round was a tight 92 seconds, which caused many time penalties.

The Grand Prix de Santa Fe boiled down to four riders —Chenoa McElvain, Jenni McAllister, Colleen Acosta and Sydney Luzicka – and eight horses, as they faced the biggest obstacle of all, the tight time on the clock. Chenoa caught a rail on her first entry, Voila; Colleen had a four fault performance on MTM Lights Out and Jenni McAllister pulled four faults on Legis Venice—the winner of last year’s Grand Prix de Santa Fe. Double clear jump off rounds included Acosta’s second ride HIMINI, Luzicka on Willow Catkin, and McAllister with Colvados, week three’s red ribbon winner. It took more than double clean to finish in the top two – Jenni’s third ride on Escada VS, Fiesta Week’s Grand Prix winner, and Chenoa’s second ride, Wallstreet RC, took on the ring like speed demons.

The result split hairs! McElvain beat McAllister’s time by less than half a second. Following the top two placings, Jenni McAllister took yet another ribbon on Colvados. Sydney Luzicka—who rode the entire course without stirrups—grabbed the fourth place finish on Willow Catkin and Colleen Acosta snagged the fifth place ribbon aboard HIMINI. Each of these teams have been competitive, with impressive placings in several classes throughout the Santa Fe Summer Series.

In the jump-off, the winning pair confidently galloped to each jump, was careful around the turns, and powered off the ground to clear each obstacle with room to spare! “My horse was just really on it today! I didn’t touch the reins. I just galloped and trusted it—that’s what he likes to do anyways. So any chance I had, I just galloped! In the turn from jump 6 to 7, I planned on doing an eight, but ended up doing the seven, because he turned so quickly. And I knew the other turn after the Dachshund [themed] in-and-out was going to be really tough, because everyone was getting wide, so I just grabbed my right rein in the air and he turned so fast—he was just with me today!”, said Chenoa. One of the most challenging parts of riding the stallion is to get him back and organized after long gallops, “He has such a big stride, but now he’s listening so much more – if I just settle, he’s there,” Chenoa explained.

When Chenoa cleared the final oxer, just in front of the VIP Lounge, the crowd went wild. Her mom was jumping up and down, her New Mexican supporters were ecstatic, and Wallstreet RC was very satisfied with himself. The young professional celebrated the first win in her home town with a bold cantering lap peppered with pats and huge smiles, receiving hugs on horseback from her dad and cheers from her family and fans in the crowd!  “This is where I was born, where I’m from and where I’m going to be—it means a lot. And in front of my grandparents who are 80 and having everyone be able to be here to see it—I just feel so elated and incredible and happy,” said the newly minted 2018 Grand Prix de Santa Fe winner.

The Grand Prix de Santa Fe wrapped up the Santa Fe Summer Series on an exciting, nostalgic and proud note for the entire Rancho Corazon family. Guy McElvain said it best, “It’s kind of the perfect ending, isn’t it? It was a great show and everything went just like how we wanted it to go. And with Chenoa winning! She earned it. It wasn’t lucky, she had to fight for it today—I am super proud. She had the desire for that win, she was gonna win no matter what.”

$40,000 Grand Prix de Santa Fe Results

Placing

Entry Name

Rider

Owner

First Round

Faults

Second Round

Faults

1

Wallstreet RC

Chenoa McElvain

Guy McElvain

87.1

0

45.35

0

2

Escada VS

Jenni McAllister

Sateri AB Vicksburg

88.46

0

45.73

0

3

Colvados

Jenni McAllister

Cathy Jones & Madison Myro

91.01

0

46.2

0

4

Willow Catkin

Sydney Luzicka

Sydney Luzicka

90.09

0

48.08

0

5

HIMINI

Colleen Acosta

Evalyn Grace, LLC

89.98

0

48.26

0

6

MTM Lights Out

Colleen Acosta

L.O.O. LLC

90.08

0

47.24

4

7

Legis Venice

Jenni McAllister

Legisequine.com

91.66

0

50

4

8

Voila

Chenoa McElvain

Guy McElvain

87.99

0

52.89

12

9

Ekyra Fortuna

Mackenzie Hudson

Mackenzie Hudson

92.12

1

n/a

n/a

10

Quinto

Paul Rohrbach

Wells Bridge Farm Inc.

94.13

3

n/a

n/a

11

Indoktro K Van ‘T Kattenheye

Susan Griffis

Palmer Divide Ranch

85.04

4

n/a

n/a

12

J.E.S. Quito

Nicki Wilcox

Nicki Wilcox

88.09

4

n/a

n/a


 A BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR AWARD WINNERS!

HEART OF THE HORSE

Each year, the Heart of the Horse award is presented to the horse and rider combination who earned the most points during the Santa Fe Summer Series, in honor of the five Rancho Corazon horses that perished in the tragic 2009 trailer fire. This year’s recipient is Annie Veenstra, a junior rider from Invicta Farms who lives in Santa Fe.
Annie Veenstra turned 14 years old this week and celebrated by riding in the $5,000 National Hunter Derby aboard Alexandria Williams’ WT Levioso. For the first time, she proceeded to the handy round of a Derby and just as her family and trainers were proud of her that day—they repeated the sentiment as she accepted the Heart of the Horse Award on Sunday. Annie has shown at the Santa Fe Summer Series since the beginning—evolving as a rider over the last four years from ponies, to large ponies, riding her mother’s horse last summer and now, leasing WT Levioso to show in the 3’0” Children’s Hunter Division.

“Levi is my overgrown pony! He’s my first hunter horse. I did my first Children’s Hunter course on him back in November. I just did my first derby in Scottsdale,” said Veenstra, who is grateful to Jill and Alexandria Williams for allowing her to lease the Holsteiner gelding for the summer.

Caroline Invicta Stevenson was nearly in tears describing how proud she is of her student. “I always believed in her and I believe in this horse. I knew she could do it. Being here all through the weeks—she’s improved and improved and improved. We’re all very happy for her. And [Annie’s] demeanor in the warm-up ring and going into the ring—no matter if she made a mistake or had a stop or something happened—is amazing. She’s never blamed the horse. It was always ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘I can make it better’ and that’s what we like about her.” Both Caroline and Sarah Invicta Williams-Echols are proud to see their student’s growing ability and thrilled that she won this award.


HUNTER RIDER OF THE WEEK

Nada Wise, Rendezvous Farm, TX


JUMPER RIDER OF THE WEEK

Natascha Gates, Plum Creek Hollow Farm, CO


TRAINER OF THE WEEK

Meredith Houx Remiger, Sandia Farm, NM


GROOMS OF THE WEEK

Jorge Flores & Jesus Vazquez, Invicta Farms, NM

 


 

 

 

THANK YOU QUEENIE
PRODUCTIONS!

It’s certainly been a royally managed show in HIPICO Santa Fe’s first year in partnership with Queenie Productions. A huge “Thank you” to Queenie Productions for helping to make this year’s Santa Fe Summer Series spectacular!

 

 

 


 

ADIOS FROM OUR OWNERS

“It just takes a whole village to get this done and it’s an incredible amount of hardworking dedicated people that pull this off.”—Sharon McElvain

“For those of us who have been with us in the past – welcome home. And for those who are new to what we’re doing here at HIPICO – welcome to the family.”
–Brian Gonzales

“Thank you to everyone for showing up. I hope we met your expectations, because we certainly worked at it! The footing held up, the party held up, the show held up, I think this is just the very beginning.” –Guy McElvain

“So grateful to our competitors, sponsors, vendors and the local crowd for putting their support behind HIPICO Santa Fe. And, we are especially thankful for our stellar team that worked tirelessly and with grace to produce the Summer Series – they are exceptional! We will keep working hard to make this show the very best in North America – Come back and see us again next year!”—Phyllis Gonzales

BEST OF LUCK UNTIL WE SEE YOU AGAIN IN 2019!