Fiesta, fun and sun—all in one! How could it get better than that?

So far, the Santa Fe Fiesta Week is off to a festive start, with much on the calendar to look forward, even as we near the final week of the Santa Fe Summer Series. The week started with the Sale Horse Exhibition and Competitor Welcome Party held Wednesday evening; everyone was left satisfied by a taste of Santa Fe – spicy, crunchy, ever popular Frito Pie – sponsored by Queenie Productions but their interest in horses was whetted by the rounds in the arena. Thursday’s Pro-Am Team Hunter Classic was a great partner act with a competitive twist and this morning’s International Hunter Derby featured the top echelon of the hunter discipline on the lovely grass field.


We took this question to the stables!

“The champagne makes it a party to me!!!!” –Jennifer Kallam, JK Training, CA

“The games! Ping pong, pool, and the putt putt!” –Connor Neal, Bay Yard Farms, TX

“I feel like the hospitality here has been beautiful—a drink ticket and frito pie to feed everyone at the Competitor Welcome Party.” Jill Ibrahim, CO

“I think you guys have a lot of fun—the Ride-&-Drive, a really good community and really good shops. Its very laid back, but still has amazing competition. Also, you’re so good at keeping the rings going on time!” –Zoë Rucks, Blue Star Farms, CO

“It runs really smoothly! Everything’s really on track and on time. The grass fields—I’ve never ridden on grass fields! –Mia Kertson, Westridge Farms. TX

“All the extra things you do here!” –Kendra Lyons

“All the fun things you have going on the sides—it’s just great!

[HIPICO’s] tents and parties!” –Karen Price, Kildare Farm, AZ

“I really love the Wiener dog races—they make me so happy!” –Laura Thompson, Madrone Ranch Stables, TX

“We just watched the Pro-Am Team Hunter Classic and it was so fun! We brought our snacks and a  bottle of wine. Everyone was so nice and we had such a great time!” –Julie Thompson, Madrone Ranch Stables, TX

“The atmosphere. Everybody is very laid back. I get a fun vibe from it—with the tent and everything going on. They try hard to have things for the competitors to enjoy and do more social things here. It’s just fun here—just so beautiful and so pretty.” –Adrianne Gamboa, Elite Sport Horse, TX

“The western hospitality and friendship. There is an openness that you can’t find in most horse show circuits. This is a family, we love one another. We have fun together, the classes here are playful. The schedule has a lot of camaraderie. The evenings for exhibitors are lovely. The outdoor cabanas are fantastic!”–Betsie Smith, Rancho Corazon, NM


When Guy McElvain gets hold of a microphone, you know it’s going to be a party! As the official MC, he and John McQueen announced the 16 horses entered in the Sale Horse Exhibition. The VIP Lounge was nearly filled since the class is held during the Competitor Welcome Party. The class commenced, just as the sunset flamed the sky with cool southwestern colors. The Hunter prospects kicked off the class and the jumpers followed, jumping at the height of their choice. When there was a pause in the arena, McElvain was sure not to lose the crowd’s attention, “Who likes red chile?”, waiting for an applause, “Green chile?, and “Let’s hear it for Christmas!” Long after the class ended, the party continued in the VIP—friends reuniting, barns chatting, and trainers talking up their horses who will be entered in Saturday’s Fiesta Auction.


This year’s inaugural Fiesta Auction is the perfect opportunity to showcase your sale horses. Six high quality horses, some with low reserves, will be showcased and they’re ready to sell – already pre-vetted with x-rays! Sponsored by Electronic Vet and hosted by Rancho Corazon—this auction will include a live auctioneer, bidding paddles, and complimentary appetizers to enjoy the evening ringside in the VIP Lounge.

Those who pre-register as bidders at the VIP concierge desk are promised premier seating in the cabanas, with Gruet champagne and three free drink tickets. The VIP Lounge will be welcome for all to enjoy the live auction, immediately following the $5,000 BMW/MINI Cooper Ride-&-Drive. It’s not too late to enter your horse in the auction, so be sure to sign up or stick around to see the well bred, talented and affordable horses. After all, what’s more fun than horse shopping?


As McKenzie Mills carefully cantered around the Derby Field in celebration of winning the $1,000 Pro-Am Team Hunter Classic, Bob Brawley, her trainer and teammate, proudly awaited the junior student to inaugurate their win with many pictures with the third team member, Knees-Hi. “It’s nearly perfect Knees-Hi and “All Business” Bob Brawley,” boomed the humorous announcer Jeff Gilbert, amidst the victory lap for their combined total score of 170.

One of the Santa Fe Summer Series’ speciality classes, this hunter challenge offers a unique format for a professional and amateur or junior pair to compete on the same horse. It’s a test of teamwork and mutual ability to ride the same horse well. A sense of humor is required in case the scores don’t match up as desired, but nonetheless each of the eight teams left the ring with some kind of smile.

The amateur riders begin each pair’s performance, while their professional counterpart waits for the horse hand-off. Once the amateur finishes their round, the professional mounts the horse in the arena and then it’s the amateur’s turn to anxiously wait. Each rider is scored separately with the combined total becoming the team’s overall score. On Thursday, Bob Brawley, the professional, and McKenzie Mills, a 19-year old, came out as the top ‘Pro-Am’ team combination!

Mills—who’s ridden at Brawley Farms since last November—and Brawley proved a dynamic duo, both scoring 85 in their individual rounds. When asked how he felt about his student scoring the same as him, Brawley laughed, “She’s well taught!”

Knees-Hi brought Mills up from the 2’6” to 3’6” level and lived up to his name with his flashy four white socks. “He was a great match-up for both of us,” said Brawley. Mills’ first round made it easy for Brawley to go in and score well, “When I got on, Knees-Hi felt fantastic—McKenzie made it easy on me!” Although both riders had a blast in the class, it was the junior’s’ idea to enlist in the team challenge, “So I naturally agreed!”, said her trainer.

Another memorable pair from Thursday’s class is Sarah Kullman and Steven Johnson, from Ride 4 Life in Colorado, who both rode Rozario. All in good fun, Kullman and Johnson had a blast, with the amateur out-scoring her professional counterpart, “She usually does beat me and I have no problem with that!”, said Johnson proudly. “[Steven] is like a father to me, he’s a really good life coach beyond the riding thing… He’s encouraging and positive,” said Kullman, who is a 20-year old in college. Both riders adore riding “Jake,” who is a horse that Johnson says, “We both really really enjoy. He’s a blessing—you set it on fire, he jumps it higher! You talk about those once-in-a-lifetime horses… He might not be a Sapphire or Cedric, but he’s our Sapphire. He always gives us his best.”

In all, it was another lovely day on the Derby Field with several superb hunter pairs, a fantastic horse designed by Skip Bailey, and a feat of teamwork in the Santa Fe sun.


An assembly of stars aligned to make Paul Rohrbach’s first win in today’s $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Corcovado a winning one! Paul Rohrback knew that he had to be extremely handy and bold in order to win the class after a little rub in the first round, garnering him a score of 160. Of 16 riders, the winner of the first round was Frank Owens, atop a dashing chestnut, Carrida, who elegantly floated across the grass fields to scores of 90 and 92—for a combined total of 182—from the two panels of judges.

After a course walk for the handy portion of the Derby, Course Designer Skip Bailey set up a pinwheel that formed the ‘Santa Fe Star,’ allowing the riders to pick their own strategic track to jump two of the four hay bale options in the center of the arena. There were 10 possible handy points to be made in this element of the course. By definition, the challenge of this pinwheel allots most ‘handy’ points to the rider who opts to cover the least amount of ground as efficiently as possible. Several tracks were tested in the handy portion of the course—some serpentines and circles, but only a small few took on the more challenging direct route.

This was Paul Rohrbach’s strategy in sealing the win with NTM Enterprises’ dashing bay Warmblood Corcovado. Rohrbach’s seamlessly sailed across the arena, nailing the first bending line and then tactically tackling the direct three stride in the ‘Santa Fe Star,’ which set him up to go directly to the following oxer on the bend. With four points from electing each of the higher options and nine points for daring to go directly through the ‘Santa Fe Star’, Rohrback sealed a score of 99 from the first panel and 100 from the second panel of judges. This granted him a nearly perfect total score of 199 in the handy round—bringing the pair to a grand total of 359.

“Sometimes fortune favors the bold!”, said Rohrbach, “In the warm-up [for the handy], I realized I’d have to have some great scores, so I took a pretty aggressive track in the handy. I took a chance, I went big or I went home, and I went home really big!!!” The professional recalls thinking to himself before the handy round, that the only way to win would be to score a 100, “I knew when I finished the course I was going to be close—the rest was up to the opinion of the judges,” he said.

One of the first things Rohrbach did after the class was call Corcovado’s owner Nancy Moore, who has ridden at Wells Bridge Farm for 17 years. Although she couldn’t make it, Rohrbach said, “I know she’s going to be delighted when she gets the message I left on her phone!” Rohrbach described the handsome gelding as “quite the showman,” but can be a “slight over-thinker.”

It’s been a winding road to secure Corcovado’s first Derby win. Rohrbach admitted that often the gelding can be inconsistent in the handy portion of the derbies and usually makes the most points in their first rounds of the class. Today, there was no such luxury. Corcovado rose to the occasion to secure the win based on a top handy score, “It’s a culmination of a lots of handies and a lot of work. His first round scores [usually] really help him in the derbies and the handies can be a bit of a ‘cross your fingers’ sort of thing, so it was really nice to see him finish so strongly in the handy today.” This win is a welcome one, because Rohrbach has won every color under the rainbow in the derby classes aboard Corcovado, “I’ve been 4th… I’ve been 6th… I’ve been 8th… I’ve had pretty much every color but the blue one.”

Helmets off in the victory gallop were in order to celebrate this bright moment in Corcovado’s career and a near perfect score for Rohrbach. Between the ‘Star of Santa Fe,’ Corcovado’s personal success in the handy portion, and a nearly perfect score—the stars aligned to make another fabulous day at HIPICO Santa Fe an extra lucky one for Paul Rohrbach and Corcovado.

Placing Horse Name Rider Owner Total Score
1 Corcovado Paul Rohrbach Ntm Enterprises 359
2 Five Star McKenzie Mills McKenzie Mills 356
3 Fabled Rachel Lindsey Amberlea Tribble 334.5
4 Faraon Ashley Stannard K Watson LLC. 327
5 Caramba Hannah Pattermann Beth Bowlen 323
6 Chocolate 68 Katherine Huffstutler Katherine Huffstutler 311.5
7 Would You Mind Nada Wise Stacey Thompson 310
8 MTM Top That Erin Murphy Erin Murphy 306


The tallies from the first three weeks of the Summer Series are in for the ‘El Jefe’ Professional Hunter Rider standings! Going into the Grand Prix de Santa Fe week of the circuit, a beautiful jacket by Mavericks of Santa Fe, as well as a $5,000 hunter rider bonus is on the line to show who’s “The Boss!”

Which of these professionals will take home the top hunter rider title of the 2018 Santa Fe Summer Series?

Rider Horse Total Points
Frank Owens Carrida 79.50
Jessica Harries Shakira 71.00
Frank Owens DSH Absolut 67.00
Frank Owens Kismet 67.00
Julie Cleveland Beam CDL Opportunity 59.00
Bob Brawley Argento 55.00
Sarah Invicta Williams Echols Durgin Park 55.00
Kristi Doyle Coltraine 47.00
Whitney Miller Fitzgerald 42.00
Jessica Harries Bravo 34.00
Becky Warner Galileo 33.50
Bob Brawley MTM Gio 31.50


It’s hard to believe the Santa Fe Summer Series is more than halfway over, but time flies when you’re having fun. Look forward to Friday’s Welcome Stake to catch a glimpse at the riders who are likely to compete in Sunday’s $30,000 Fiesta Week City of Santa Fe Grand Prix. Saturday’s Wiener Races, Ride-&-Drive, and Fiesta Auction are sure to be a romping good time, as some of our most popular events of the series. As always, HIPICO Santa Fe is happy to have you here and we can’t wait to see what you bring to this party!


Next time you wander through our lovely VIP Lounge, take a gander at the delightful southwestern furniture decorating our ringside cabanas. The Rolling Social is on a roll with its continuous support of HIPICO Santa Fe and sponsored each cabana with fashionable furniture. The Rolling Social is known for adding buzzworthy components to events nationwide, to make them unique. HIPICO Santa Fe thanks The Rolling Social for helping to shape our boutique VIP Lounge into a welcoming space that feels like you’re coming home.

Stay on top of your schedule with instant updates, orders of go, and live-scoring! Be sure to download the Equestrian Digital App to stay up-to-date with each of our jumper rings. This is the app’s United States debut and has been a great addition to the Summer Series.

The Santa Fe Summer Series offers 3 photographers on site for purchasing and perusing through show photography.  You can find their images on the links below:
Sharon McElvain Photography sharonmcelvain.com
Mary Neiberg Photography maryneiberg.com
Jerry Mohme Photography jerrymohmephotography.com