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Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular III Highlights June 21

Paul Yanke and Chill Haze Victorious in $20,000 SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic

By: Kendall Bierer


Paul Yanke and Chill Haze win the $20,000 SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic, sponsored by Pony Lane Farm, on the final day of the Spring Spectacular III. 


Wayne, IL - June 21, 2015 - It was a thrilling final day of competition today at the Lamplight Equestrian Center as the Showplace Spring Spectacular Series wrapped up with the $20,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, a Show Jumping Hall of Fame event, sponsored by Pony Lane Farm. It boiled down to a six-horse jump-off where Paul Yanke and Chill Haze captured the win, with a fast fight to the finish in 34.960 seconds. 

Anderson Lima built a technical track for the final day of competition, and with the nation's top riders ready to vie for the lion's share of the earnings in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame feature; he designed a course that would be both tricky and testing.


"I loved the courses the whole week," eventual winner Yanke said. "He [Lima] used the ring very well. The courses were technical in places, it didn't always ride the way it walked, it asked you questions and you had to really ride."

Out of a starting field of 21, only six were able to navigate the course without rails.


Emma Sargent and Winchester were the first to clear the course, and duplicated their clean round during the jump-off where they posted the conservative time of 38.057 seconds. As the pathfinders of the class, Sargent left the door open for the five remaining contenders to beat her time.


Emma Sargent and Winchester

Catching the time to beat was an attainable goal; however, matching Sargent's clear round proved more difficult than anticipated. Giavanna Rinaldi and G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise blazed through the short track in a fast 32.218 seconds; however, a rail at the CWD-oxer would cost them the win, yet would clock the pair as the fastest of the four-fault efforts. Kelsey Thatcher and Dulf van de Bisschop also accrued an unfortunate four faults, alongside Sargent and her second mount No Fear.


Only two other horse and rider combinations would clear the second round track Sunday afternoon. Jennifer Waxman and Shakira were able to lay down a clear ride, tripping the timers in 36.426 seconds to take over the lead as the third in the returning order. Her lead did not last long as Paul Yanke and Chill Haze returned to the Grand Prix Ring for their shot at the lion's share of the earnings.


Jennifer Waxman and Shakira

"It was fast," Yanke smiled. "It was a good test for him, especially because we really excel in turning jump-offs, and this one was more running than turning, so I was thrilled with how it went."


He continued, "Blue is the ever-ready competitor. He loves his job. It is such a good feeling to know that when I enter the ring that he is just as excited as I am. He squeals, hops and is so enthusiastic about competing. The rest of the time, he is like a donkey, it's such a strange transition, but he just loves his job."

Yanke returned from a 15-year hiatus from show jumping three years ago when his wife Ashley picked out Chill Haze from a paddock in Ocala, Florida.


"My wife has an eye," Yanked expressed. "It was when I started riding Blue that I became serious about competing again. He's a lunatic. He makes it so much fun."


Paul Yanke and Chill Haze


Yanke is happy about the prize money earned today for the Show Jumping Hall of Fame event, even more so because it will hopefully help him to qualify for the SJHOF Finals, held at the CP National Horse Show in the fall.

"This is my first time back at the Spring Spectacular, and it has been a wonderful experience. They put on a beautiful show at an amazing facility. From the footing to the courses, they go the whole 10-yards-of course, winning doesn't hurt either," Yanke laughed.

$10,000 NAL & M/S Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic   

Caelinn Leahy and Esquilino Bay

For 13-year-old Caelinn Leahy, riding to the top of the leader board in the $10,000 NAL & M/S Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Always Faithful Stables, was the icing on top of a fantastic Spring Spectacular. The young talent faced off against a field of 32 to clinch the victory with Esquilino Bay.

Leahy led the way from start to finish as the trailblazer of the class. They broke the beam in 26.863 seconds, showing the way for the remaining competitors. Their time to beat proved untouchable, with Leahy taking the win as one of only six double clear efforts.

"We went first, and it was such a good feeling to do so well right from the start," Leahy said. "We wanted to set a hard time to beat, so we stuck to our plan with open gallops and tight turns. We made it a foot race to the last jump. He is so much fun, and he has really been amazing for me."


Esquilino Bay was originally her mother's mount, but he swapped divisions last year during "A" Finals when her mother was sick and she rode him to the win in the Children's Jumpers. The rest was history as the pair dominated the Winter Equestrian Festival, and made their debut in High Junior Jumpers last week.


"He is a phenomenal horse, that I have learned so much from," Leahy said. "He's always right there for me. He loves to go fast, and the course was a lot of fun for me. I love jump-offs that are more of a foot race. All of my horses have a really big stride, so this jump-off really suited me." 

Leahy took the top award, while Kyle Perkovitch and Roc My World rode to the second place finish in 27.863 seconds. Leahy also picked up the third place with a strong finish of 27.465 seconds, while Mattie Hatcher and Hands Free followed just behind for the fourth place. Claire McKean and Plise finished fifth, while Chelsea Babcock and Da Vinci rounded out the six clear rounds for the sixth place award.

"It is so rewarding to not only move up from the Children's Jumpers, but to win," Leahy smiled. "It was an awesome Spring Spectacular for me. My horses were just phenomenal. I have learned a lot from the different classes, experiences and have each of my horses win at least one money class. I am having a blast on them and it is a lot of fun."

Leahy trains with Steve Schaefer and she credits her success to his training. "He has been helping me from the time I was in Short Stirrups. I remember walking around Lamplight when I was a child, and dreaming of reaching bigger levels and wins. He took me there. He has made me a better rider and person, and I am so lucky to have not only his support, but also the support of my friends and family."


$2,500 Low Children's/Adult Classic


Kaitlyn Calamos and Tuxedo

During the $2,500 Low Children's/Adult Classic, sponsored by John Deere, Kaitlyn Calamos and Tuxedo executed the only trifecta of the Spring Spectacular, winning the third Sunday Classic of the three-week series. They beat out a field of 27 competitors with a Herculean effort, winning the Classic with a clear jump-off in 29.450 seconds. Amber Prasopoulos and Bobbie Sox stopped the clock in 29.871 seconds for the second place, while Chrissa Alghini and Wave Breaker took home the third place award in 29.954 seconds.

Today concluded the three-week Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular Series III. For more information on Showplace Productions or upcoming shows, please visit


Showplace Equitation Challenge Caps Off Three-Week Showplace Spring Spectacular Series

By: Elaine Wessel

The Showplace Equitation Challenge riders pose for a group shot to honor sponsor Wisconsin Equine.


Wayne, IL - June 21, 2015 - The Grand Prix Ring hosted the ultimate equitation showcase today, fittingly the final day of the three-week Showplace Spring Spectacular at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Wisconsin Equine sponsored the Showplace Equitation Championship, a unique class intended to test Junior riders without the aid of any outside help, including trainers. Invitations were extended to the top six finishers from the USEF Hunt Seat Medal, ASPCA Maclay, USEF Talent Search and WIHS Hunter and Jumper phases throughout the three weeks of competition, with 14 Junior riders accepting the challenge.


With no trainers allowed in the competition or schooling areas, riders were held responsible for all preparation, including management, warm-up, schooling and course walk. Under the watchful eye of the judges, riders had the potential to earn up to two bonus points, which would be added to their first phase score, by practicing correct schooling measures prior to the class start. Three phases of fences were the means used to separate the frontrunners from the rest of the pack, beginning with Anderson Lima's 14-effort course.


Due to equitation constraints of the class, Lima had to include or expel certain elements of the track, but says he did not make it any simpler on the riders just because they didn't have the help of their trainers.


"It's nice to see these young riders learning to make their own decisions, like choosing whether to hold for a short nine strides or push for the eight, so that's what I tried to do with today's course. They had to decide on their track," designer Lima, out of Mexico, commented of his creation. "I am really happy with how the course was ridden today. The riders did very well and answered what I was asking."


Giavanna Rinaldi and Cayambe


Proving their skills in the equitation ring, a number of riders were able to earn high scores headed into the second phase. Slightly ahead of the second-best competitor, hometown rider Giavanni Rinaldi rode G Rinaldi LLC's Cayambe to a score of 88, earning the two schooling points as well. Following closely behind was another Illinois-native, Rebecca Kozma, in the irons aboard Finn, with her first-round score of 84. Both Rinaldi and Kozma have had successful showings over the course of the past three weeks, and each were honored yesterday with prestigious accolades. Rinaldi navigated her way to the Overall High Point Junior Hunter Rider Perpetual Trophy, and the Monica Fowler Memorial Equitation Perpetual Trophy had Kozma's name on the engraving.


Rebecca Kozma and Finn


Scoring an 81, Louisa Brackett with the ride on her own King Bee clinched the third position, trailed by Sloan Hopson and Ventura, owned by the rider, with an initial score of 78. Allie Donaldson and Randy Manuel's Hemingway earned a 76 to take fifth, while Emma Lena Green and her Hennessy rounded out the top six positions.


Twelve horse and rider teams returned to the ring for their second test, this time a slightly abridged 12-effort Lima-track. With many riders separated by only a few points in the rankings, all were in the hunt to improve their position and earn an invite to the final testing phase of the competition. While some made bold moves to show off their practiced equitation, others didn't quite have the strategy or succumbed to a mistake resulting in a fallen rail or a tricky distance to the fence. Just as Lima had designed, some riders mastered the lengthening and collection required of them by the course, but others didn't handle the track well and fell in the standings.


After the second phase, Rinaldi still led with a cumulative of 175, with Kozma hot on her trail at a 170 combined score. Hopson was down by 14 with a score of 156, then Brackett and Donaldson took up fifth and sixth with tallies of 148 and 147, respectively.


Narrowed down to the top five highest scoring pairs, it was "make or break" for those select contenders who were allotted one last time in the ring to highlight their talents, now testing at the judges' discretion. Although the track was relatively unchanged for the first four jumps of the third and final portion of the class, the chosen USEF tests proved to be the deciding factors as some riders handled them well while others were the unfortunate victims of their own mistakes. The test including counter-cantering the first fence, two simple changes of lead on a rollback, a trot fence, and concluded by hand galloping the final fence to return to the line.


Riding in reverse order of the standings, Allie Donaldson led off, followed by Louisa Brackett and then Sloan Hopson. The second-to-last of the finalists, Rebecca Kozma proved to have constructed a bit more of a strategy to her ride than the other competitors, angling her second fence to allow for a roomier rollback, thus allowing her simple changes to be more efficiently executed. 


Rinaldi, the leader in the standings by five points following the first two phases, concluded the testing portion. Unfortunately for Rinaldi, a lead swap and a downed rail would cost her the lead spot in the victory gallop, giving the top position to Kozma and Finn.


Rebecca Kozma and Finn


"I was the runner-up last year, so it feels good to have the win this year," Kozma noted. She partly attributed her win to the fact that, as her second year competing under this format, she was more prepared than some other riders who haven't had to compete sans a trainer before. 


Kozma rides with Kim Gardiner and Mara Kranz-Olseng of Perfecta Farm in Elgin, Illinois. Perfecta Farm also owns the champion's ride. Of her mount, the rider said that she feels she knows him very well, having ridden him and shown him in the equitation divisions for two years now. 


"We performed well all around I think. I liked the questions asked by the course, such as lengthening and shortening in the lines, as well as the technical aspects of the test," the champion reflected.


With one more year as junior, she hopes to return to Showplace Spring Series next year to match her efforts this year. As for now, Kozma plans to stay competitive and will attend Regionals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania later this fall.


It demonstrated to be a home state-dominated class, with five Illinoisans finishing within the top six slots. Reserve to Kozma was Rinaldi, followed by Hopson, the only out-of-state entry to make an appearance in the top ranks. Hopson rides with Martien Van Der Hoeven out of Texas. Allie Donaldson claimed the fourth position, then followed closely by Louisa Brackett. Kyle Perkovich moved up from his original position of ninth to sixth, just missing out on the testing phase.


Although the Showplace Equitation championship was the highlight of the morning for some exhibitors and spectators, others had their attention focused on the hunter ring Classics running throughout the day. The children had their first chance in the $1,000 Modified Children's Hunter Classic, and Taylor Holstead took advantage of the last day of the show by checking out with a win. She and her own Roc's All Night bested the 18 other pairs to come out on top, followed by Joanne Kurinsky's Fischer with Vivienne Sleigh in the reserve spot.


Taylor Holstead and Roc's All That


Another Children's class, the Short Stirrup Hunter Classic was sponsored by Barrington Saddlery. 17 hopeful entrants tried to claim the congratulatory cooler and rosettes, and 16 were thwarted by the efforts of Delaney Galvin and her own Grand Jete, who took champion honors. Also putting on a strong performance, Carly Schwartz and Lochmoor Stables' Helicon Bright N' Breezy rode to the runner-up finish. 


Down in Ring VI, the $1,000 Children's Pony Hunter Classic got underway, and Catherine Kramer was busy winning with C and J Farm's Brighton's Sketch. Just behind her was Kate Pollina in the irons aboard her own horse Jolly Roger. Just a few classes later, Top That, ridden by Giavanna Rinaldi and owned by Emily Elek-Burtard, topped the judges' cards in the $1,000 Green Pony Hunter Classic. Alexis Ortix and Navy Blue, who she owns, navigated their way to the second place. All Pony Hunter divisions of the day were sponsored by Littlewood Farm and the Markman Family.


Andrea Ramirez and Carlano


A two-time winner today, Andrea Ramirez and her own Carlano grabbed the top honors and took home the big checks in both the Wholesome Goodness sponsored $2,500 NAL Adult Hunter Classic as well as the $500 WIHS Adult Hunter Classic, sponsored by David Waimon. Coincidentally, Ramirez beat out David Waimon's horse Speak Kindly, ridden by Carli Curtis, in the NAL class. The pair took second overall. Kendall Meijer took the second and third positions on Honey Creek and Breckinridge, both Copper Fox LLC mounts, in the WIHS Classic.


Ring V also saw its fair share of competition, as the $1,000 Modified Adult Hunter Classic brought 15 entries to the helm. With the highest Classic score of the class, Abigail Dvorak and Casirello, owned by Julie Metcalfe, were able to lead their victory gallop. In the second position with the red ribbon was owner-rider Felicia Carroll and Fleetwood's Derby.


Abigail Dvorak and Casirello


Reid Patton and Sincere, another pair that have experienced considerable success this week, continued their hot streak as the victors of the $2,500 Amateur Owner Hunter Classic, sponsored by Meadowview Farm. Nicole Hiehle and her own Lovely Charity cinched the red, yellow, and white tricolors ahead of 14 other competitors. With that win, Ring III and the rest of the hunter rings were complete for the day and the week, closing out the Showplace Spring Spectacular Series.


Reid Patton and Sincere


Today concluded the three-week Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular Series III. For more information on Showplace Productions or the Spring Spectacular Series, please visit


Showplace Spring Spectacular Fast Facts:

What: Three-week, USEF Premier / AA rated, Jumper Rating -  5, NAL, WIHS, M&S points eligible Showplace Productions signature event.