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LA International Jumping Festival Features Top Riders

by By Equestrian Sports, Inc. | Sep 23, 2004, 12:00 PM

Show jumping action got underway on September 22 at the five-day "A"-rated Los Angeles International Jumping Festival (September 22-26, 2004) at the world class Los Angeles Equestrian Center. The $40,000 Grand Prix of Los Angeles, set for 7 p.m. Saturday night, looks to be an exciting class. Last night, 21 horses and riders competed in the $5,000 Welcome Stake. Typically, the grand prix riders use this class as preparation for the grand prix.

Olympian Mark Watring piloted his Olympic mount, Sapphire, to a speedy round and the blue ribbon. However, Watring will have plenty of the competition in the grand prix. Grand prix veteran Kyle King was second, and Duncan McFarlane, who was named as the alternate rider for the New Zealand Olympic team, was third with Eezy. Ali Nilforushan, winner of the 2003 LA National Grand Prix, was fourth, and hometown favorite, Richard Spooner, rounded out the fifth position. Last year Spooner won the Grand Prix of Los Angeles with Robinson.

The LA International is also host to the prestigious USET Talent Search medal finals. This national ranked equitation championship attracts top riders 21 and under from throughout the west. These riders are often the future international stars, the likes of this year's U.S. Olympians McClain Ward, Beezie Madden, Chris Kappler and Peter Wylde. They all won top honors in equitation finals on their way to international success.

On September 23, forty riders will compete in Phase 1 (flat) and Phase 2 (gymnastics). They will all move forward to Phase 3 (stadium jumping), before the top four riders are named for the final ride-off. In the ride-off, set for the afternoon of September 24 in the Equidome, the top four riders will all ride one another's horses over a shortened jumper-type course.

The show also hosts the USEF Regional Medal and Equitation Finals for junior and amateur riders. The show runs through Sunday and is open to the public. Grand Prix tickets are on sale at Center Box Office at (818) 840-9066. Complete show results are listed online at esportsinc.com.