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Showplace Productions Spring Spectacular Highlights Sunday, June 7

Kelsey Thatcher and Athena win the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Wisconsin Equine Clinic.

Kelsey Thatcher and Athena Ride to $10,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Victory 

By: Kendall Bierer


Wayne, IL - June 7, 2015 - It was an emotional win Sunday for Kelsey Thatcher, as she led the $10,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic victory gallop aboard veteran mount Athena. The pair bested a field of 16 contenders in a five-horse jump-off to claim the lion's share of the earnings in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame event, but the triumph came with a melancholy undertone.

"She is 15 years old, and she owes me nothing," Thatcher said of the mare. "I am trying not to be too emotional with this win because I am thinking that it is time for Athena to become a brood mare. It is a tough decision, but she owes me nothing."

Thatcher and Athena, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT, are no newcomers to the winner's circle at the Spring Spectacular, with Sunday's success marking their second consecutive time winning the annual event, sponsored by Wisconsin Equine. As the pace setters of the class, Thatcher knew she had to lay down a trailblazing round to ride to the win.

Danny Foster (CAN) set a technical track for the class, but Thatcher enjoyed the opportunity to work on the short turns. Utilizing Athena's strong stride, Thatcher made up time on the landing after every vertical of the shortened track.

"Athena is great because she has a great get-away stride. So her first five or six strides after every vertical, we were flying," Thatcher said.


Kelsey Thatcher and Athena


Although Thatcher made a wider turn to the fourth fence of the jump-off, where others risked a slice, her time of 46.362 seconds held strong. "My awesome trainer Maggie [Jayne] said that if I were to make a risky turn to that wall, that it could kill the speed. We saw some of the competitors in the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers do it, but we didn't want to risk slowing Athena down."

Hunter Holloway and VDL Bravo S, owned by Hays Investment Corporation of Topeka, KS, were one of the pairs to take a gamble on the turn. Instead of slicing the turn as a left rollback from the previous vertical, she made a cut between the two fences and completed a right rollback racing towards the second half of the course to finish in 46.820 seconds, only a half a second behind Thatcher.


Hunter Holloway and VDL Bravo S


Emma Sargent and No Fear were the only other combination to finish double clear. Sargent was awarded the third place for the faultless effort, as well as the fourth place as the fastest of the four faulters aboard Winchester. Paul Yanke and his own Chill Haze finished in the fifth place with a four-fault effort in 46.587 seconds. Ryan Genn and Cookie Monster, owned by Wilhelm Genn of Lebanon, OH, rounded out the top six with two time faults during the opening course.


Emma Sargent and No Fear


Thatcher concluded, "No year is ever the same. Every year you have something new to learn from, and every year I am happy to be back here. It is a great show, from the management to the footing. They do such an excellent job making it hospitable."

Dr. Mark Baus of sponsor Wisconsin Equine Clinic was onsite for the presentation, and commented, "I only recently partnered with Wisconsin Equine and I came here to help them out during the Spring Spectacular Series. I have enjoyed this competition; it is a nice venue, challenging courses but a relaxed atmosphere. The people have been very accommodating and the horses are talented so it has been very fun. I think that Wisconsin Equine Clinic sponsors this show to not only give back to the community, but to let people know that they offer a high-quality services through a broad spectrum of equine care."

Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital has a renowned medical team all under one roof with specialists in general medicine, surgery, reproduction, diagnostic imaging, MRI, dentistry, podiatry, eye care, routine care, critical care and sports medicine.  The facility boasts world-class technology and cutting edge therapies along with a complete pharmacy.


$10,000 NAL/Marshall & Sterling Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, Sponsored by Weathertech


Madison Billings and Stonestreet


For 18-year-old Madison Billings, riding to the top of the leader board in the $10,000 NAL/Marshall & Sterling Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Weathertech, was the icing on top of a monumental week. Fresh off a visit to Texas Christian University for orientation, the young talent faced off against a field of 36 to clinch the victory with Stonestreet in a nail-biting jump-off.

Caelinn Leahy and Kaner 88 led the way from the beginning of the class as one of only five to jump double clear. Not only did Leahy set the time to beat at an astonishing 39.540 seconds, but she also completed the rollback to slice the time and intimidate fellow competitors. 

"I didn't think we were going to beat her--She was flying," Billings laughed. "My plan was to go clean, and the only thing I was concerned about was the Wisconsin Equine fence rollback. I know him pretty well, so to the USET Foundation oxer we were able to chip in a little bit and turn really well."

It was Billings tight turns and quick foot speed that allowed for her to sneak in towards the end of the order to duplicate Leahy's round and use her long-established partnership with Stonestreet to take the win in just the nick of time-38.441 seconds.

Billings puts all her trust in Stonestreet, the gelding she originally purchased as a hunter. After four years of a partnership, she has learned all of his nuances, and with trainer Nancy Whitehead at the helm of the operation, they have done nothing but risen in the ranks.

"I couldn't have done this without the incredible support from Nancy and the whole team," Billings commented. "I have been riding with her for three years, and she has taken us from the Modified Children's Jumpers to where we are today."

Billings took the top award, while Leahy and Kaner 88 rode to the second place finish. Phoebe Murray and Rodrigo's Athena captured the third place in 40.326 seconds. Brooke Saltzman and Nicholas claimed the fourth, and Cathy Rolfs and Coco Chanelle completed the jump-off as the last pair to put in a double clear round.


$5,000 NAL Children's Jumper Classic - Sponsored by Horse Flight 


Celia Bresch and One Direction


The $5,000 NAL Children's Jumper Classic, sponsored by Horse Flight saw nine horse and rider combinations tactfully clear Foster's track. Celia Bresch captured the win with One Direction, a new mount for the young rider. They were three seconds faster than Kyle Perkovitch and Everlasting Goodness, completing the short course in an untouchable 36.069 seconds. Third place was awarded to Emily Smith and Aviara for their clear time of 39.990 seconds.

Bresch also nabbed the victory during the $2,500 Low Child/Adult Classic with One Direction. She only began riding "Louie" this weekend, but together they dominated the Children's Jumper division, even capturing the championship with three out of four victories.

"He is just big and able to cover a lot of ground. It was really helpful today in the jump-offs," Bresch described. "My plan was to be clear, smart and help him out. He has a bigger step, so in the in-and-out I had to help him a lot to pick up his feet for the second jump. During the jump-off he was able to cover a lot of ground with his big strides, so we left strides out where ever we could."


$5,000 NAL Adult Jumper Classic - Sponsored by Adequan


Meredith Wegbreit and Tachman


Meredith Wegbreit and Tachman finished at the top of the ranks during the $5,000 NAL Adult Jumper Classic, sponsored by Adequan. The pair put in a quick short course in 40.465 seconds to seal the victory without fault. Bethany Bolen and Domino Van De Hermitage sailed to second place in 41.698 seconds, while Sarah Fisher and Casanova W closed out the classic in the third place as the last of the fault-free efforts. 

Today concluded the first week of the Showplace Productions' Spring Spectacular Series, but the Spring Spectacular II will return Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. 

For more information on the Showplace Spring Spectacular Series, please visit:


Classics and Two-time Winners Define the Final Day of Spring Spectacular I   
By: Elaine Wessel 

Rachel Boggus and Favourite captured the Adult Hunter 18-35 Championship and the $1,000 NAL Adult Hunter Classic victory.


Things were winding down Sunday as the Showplace Spring Spectacular I reached its final day of competition, but for the duo of Rachel Boggus and her mount Favourite, things were just heating up. The pair from Indianapolis train with Abby Blankenship of Treesdale Farms, and that training clearly paid off as the two racked up a number of accolades, all before noon.

Following a pair of smooth rounds in the hunter ring, the duo was awarded the champion honors in the Amateur Adult Hunters for the 18-35 age group. Over the course of five classes, Favourite and his rider, which was split between owner and trainer over the two days of competition, placed no lower than third place, earning more points than his fellow competitors.

"He is such a great guy, and wants to do his best for you," praised Boggus of her horse. "He has blossomed into a very reliable horse regardless of arena, weather, or the look of the jumps. I know I can trust him."

The runner-up in the Amateur Adult 18-35 Hunters was Lanshark, ridden and owned by Laura Zingg. Also performing well was Hays Investment Corp's Orion, ridden by Caleb Cooney, and Courtney Herms' Sawyer, with Olivia Schultz in the irons.

The winning streak continued for Boggus and Favourite, as they scored two consecutive scores of 85 for a total of 170 in the NAL Adult Hunter Classic to take home the first prize. 

"Before last year he hadn't done much showing, so we've really focused on exposing to as many venues as possible. In the past year we have been to Traverse City, Kentucky, Florida, and St. Louis among others," commented Boggus. 

Just prior to winning that class, the two earned the reserve championship honors in the $500 WIHS Adult Hunter Classic, falling just short of KNW Farms LLC's Peroni, ridden by Emily Woodall. Due to all their recent success, Boggus says she may have her sights set on Indoor Finals such as the NAL Finals or the Washington Finals in the future. 

She elaborated, "The light bulb went on this year, and he's been a superstar ever since."

The next class on the card, the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters, was dominated by the pairs of Margaret O'Meara aboard Woodland Way, Inc's Casino and Megan Davis riding her own Modern. Each took the first and second place in the final two classes of the division, fighting back and forth for the top placing.


Megan Davis and Modern


In the end it was Davis and Modern who received the rosette, with O'Meara following up in the reserve championship aboard another of her mounts, Solitaire, who she rode to two firsts yesterday and took the high placings today.


It proved to be a day of double winners for more than just one pair in the hunter ring as O'Meara and Casino took to the winner's circle one more time for the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Classic. Formerly a High Amateur-Owner Jumper, Casino has "switched rings and switched gears, and is really excelling," claims the prizewinner. Riding together for nearly two years now, his rider is quick to give him credit, saying that it was his excellent jumping that pushed them ahead of the rest.


Margaret O'Meara and Casino


The action continued in the hunter ring for the Amateur-Owner Hunter division with the fences set at the 3'6" height. A frequent visitor to the winner's circle and a name often seen atop the judges' scorecards, Pony Lane Farm's Bugsy Malone, this time ridden by Kelsey Thatcher, made another appearance with his name lit up on the leader board. Thatcher and Bugsy impressively placed first in three of the five division classes, edging out the seven other entrants. 


Piper Benjamin and Corvine, a horse she owns herself, also showcased themselves well before the judges in the hunter ring, earning the second place award in the Amateur-Owner 3'6" Hunters. The pair received high marks both over fences and on the flat, yet fell short to Thatcher's lead.


Kelsey Thatcher and Bugsy Malone


Keeping the day's odd streak of two-time winners alive, Thatcher rode another Pony Lane Farm mount to victory, but instead of the natural hunter obstacles, this time it was brightly-colored jumps she was flying over. Thatcher masterfully rode Athena to the win in the afternoon's $10,000 High Junior/Amateur Owner class, beating out the 16 other rides with the fastest clean and clear jump-off.


Classics were in abundance today, and the afternoon was dappled with a large number of riders trying to come out on top in their respective classes. As fate, or rather the judges' scorecards would have it, Illinois riders took the top prize in all five remaining Classics of the day, as well as two of the reserve prizes. In Ring V, the garter strap-wearing riders took their turn to compete in the Short Stirrup Hunter Classic, sponsored by Barrington Saddlery, with Taylor Kogen riding Avery Stein's Delta Dawn to the champion honors. Lanes End's Shimmer, Elodie Watrous with the ride, took the second place.


Taylor Kogen with friend Emma Lackey pose with Delta Dawn


Later in the day, that same ring hosted the 24 exhibitors in the $1,000 Modified Adult Hunter Classic. Though a large host of pairs performed well, the top score went to Ainsley Cathcart riding Tammy Levan's Bentley. Coming in a close second was A Major Detail, navigated by Anna Vatterott and owned by Mary Abbott.   


Ainsley Cathcart and Bentley


The $1,000 Children's Pony Hunter Classic presented a lot of young skill with 15 riders competing for the prize, but in the end it was Chloe Watrous who rode her own Just Darlun into the winner's circle. Erica Halstead, riding Lochmoor Stable's Helicon Bright N' Breezy, took second. 


In the $1,000 Pony Hunter Classic, sponsored by Littlewood Farm and The Markman Family, it was Saylor Shea riding Natalie Jayne's Lands End Eros who outshone the field, and coincidentally, Natalie Jayne took second on Daisy Farish's Cleverist, placing behind her own horse.  


Saylor Shea and Lands End Eros


Last but not least, the $1,000 Modified Childrens Hunter Classic rounded out the day and the exciting week of showing at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. The final champion of the week was rider-owner Ashlynn O'Keane aboard Amici. Molly Canfield rode Mary Beth Canfield's Penny Lane to the reserve championship tricolor.


The Showplace Spring Spectacular will continue next week with the second week of the three-part series. For more information on Showplace Productions or upcoming shows, 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.


Prize List:
Click here for the prize list

Showplace Spring Spectacular I June 2-7, 2014 
Showplace Spring Spectacular II June 9-14, 2014 
Showplace Spring Spectacular III June 16-21, 2014

Lamplight Equestrian Center
6N940 Dunham Road
Wayne, IL 60184

$450,00 in Jumper Prize Money
$250,000 in Hunter Prize Money
$50,0000 Barrington Saddlery Grand Prix Benefitting Assistance in Healthcare
$50,000 Win Vision Grand Prix 
$50,000 Wells Fargo Advisors Grand Prix

Showplace Spring Spectacular I $500 Take 2 TB Jumper Classic
$1,000 Littlewood Farm & the Markman Family Pony Hunter Classic 
$1,000 Littlewood Farm & the Stoeckel Family NAL Children's Hunter Classic
$2,500 Littlewood Farm & the Stoeckel Family Puddle Jumper Classic 
$5,000 NAL Children's Jumper Classic
$5,000 NAL Adult Jumper Classic
Canterbury Farm Open Jumper 1.30m

$10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic 
$10,000 NAL Low Junior /Amateur Jumper Classic
$20,000 Bull Run Equestrian Open Welcome Stake
$50,000 Win Vision Grand Prix

Showplace Spring Spectacular II 

$500 Take 2 TB Jumpers Classic 

$1,000 Littlewood Farm & the Stoeckel Family NAL Children's Hunter Classic 

$1,000 Littlewood Farm & The Markman Family Pony Hunter Classic (L,M,S)

$2,500 Believe It Farm Low Amateur Owner Accumulator Class
$2,500 High Junior / Amateur Owner Accumulator Class
$2,500 Believe It Farm Low Junior Jumper Accumulator Class
$5,000 NAL Adult Jumper Classic
$5,000 NAL Children's Jumper Classic
$10,000 NAL Low Junior Amateur Owner Jumper Classic
$10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic

$20,000 Nutrena Open Welcome Stake

$50,000 Barrington Saddlery Grand Prix Benefitting Assistance in Healthcare

Showplace Spring Spectacular III 

$500 Take 2 TB Jumpers Classic

$1,500 Telluride Farm / Diane Carney Grooms Class 

$2,500 Littlewood Farm & the Hoch Family Pony Hunter Derby

$2,500 Meadowview Farm Pre Green Hunter Challenge

$2,500 Meadowview Farm Open Hunter Classic 

$2,500 Meadowview Farm Junior Hunter Classic

$2,500 Meadowview Farm Amateur Owner Classic

$2,500 Chicago Equestrian Children's / Adult Hunter Derby

$2,500 Puddle Jumper Classic Sponsored by Littlewood Farm & The Stoeckel Family 

$5,000 Littlewood Farm & the Markman Family Pony Hunter Classic
$5,000 Low Junior Amateur Owner Gamblers Choice
$5,000 High Junior Amateur Owner Gamblers Choice
$7,500 Old Barrington Farm NAL Children's Jumper Classic
$7,500 NAL Adult Jumper Classic
$10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Low Junior Amateur Owner Jumper Classic
$20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic
$10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby sponsored by Old Barrington Farm
$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
$20,000 The Novak Family Open Welcome Stake
$50,000 Wells Fargo Advisors Grand Prix
Showplace Equitation Championships with $3,000 Trainer Awards

Over-the-Top Spring Spectacular Hospitality Includes:
Exhibitors dinner party with music from 4-8 p.m. every Friday
Exhibitors dinner party with music from 4-8 p.m. every Saturday
Exhibitors Jersey Mikes Lunch driven around and passed out at 2 p.m. every Saturday
Exhibitors Ice Cream Party every Saturday around 3 p.m. 
VIP Tables at the Grand Prix Ring Luncheon every Saturday at 2 p.m. 
VIP Tables at the Grand Prix Ring Luncheon every Sunday at 1 p.m. 
June 18 Niche Restaurant, Geneva, IL party
Gene and Georgettis USHJA International Hunter Derby Luncheon

Manager: Patrick Boyle (847) 274-6834, Fax (847) 717-6653     
Secretary: Nicole Boyle

FROM CHICAGO: I-90 (Kennedy Expressway) West to Route 59 (Barrington, IL).
Route 59 South (Left Turn) to Stearns Road (West Bartlett, IL)
Stearns Road West (Right Turn) to end. (Dunham Road)
Left turn on Dunham Road.
1/8 mile-Lamplight Equestrian Center is on Right.