480 W. Riverside Drive, Suite 1
Burbank, CA 91506



818-563-3250 ext. 6
October 10, 2009


2009 CPHA Child/Adult Champion
Sheri Scott

Equitation Riders Bring it on at Woodside Fall Finale

Drazan follows in sister’s footsteps & first timers dominate CPHA Regional Medal Finals

The Woodside Fall Finale (Sept. 24-27) concluded a successful seven hunter/jumper show season at the Horse Park at Woodside. Equitation riders were the main theme with the Woodside Junior and Amateur Equitation Championships, and the CPHA Horsemanship and Child/Adult Regional Medal Finals.

The winner of the Woodside Junior Equitation Championship, Mackenzie Drazan, earned a tack trunk for her effort, matching the one her younger sister Shelby won at the Woodside Labor Day Classic in the Northern California Pony Hunter Final. Mackenzie also won the 12 to 14 Equitation championship at the Woodside Fall Finale. Mackenzie’s mother Stacy said, "Mackenzie had her first pony ride on her first birthday and wouldn’t get off! She started riding in the Menlo Circus Club school horse program when she was six." Mackenzie has been riding with trainer Jenny Davis for the past two-and-a-half years.

Although the girls both show, Shelby shows in medium ponies while Mackenzie rides a horse. "Both girls have been very successful and have been very supportive of one another," says Stacy.

Mackenzie, who turned fourteen in August, earned her championship aboard her own 17.3 hand Hanoverian named Matterhorn, that she has been riding for one year. Her mother stated, "We love having such a fabulous equestrian facility and an "A" rated show in our backyard (Woodside). The Horse Park at Woodside is becoming such a beautiful facility and we appreciate the continued improvements in the footing. According to her mother, "Mackenzie was over the moon about winning a trunk! It is the best prize ever!"

The California Professional Horseman’s Association selects the Woodside Fall Finale as the host of its Northern California regional medal finals. This year saw record numbers of riders in the finals which consist of two rounds and a work off. In the first medal final of her riding career, Abby Hohenschuh (Jill Hamilton and Nancy Thomas, trainers) found herself leading the victory gallop of the CPHA Horsemanship Regional Final.

"Abby works hard and has improved tremendously in the short time she's been with us," said Thomas of her student. "We just bought Greta from Macella O'Neil and Abby had ridden her for less than two weeks before the show," Thomas explained. "Greta had been doing the jumpers but before that she was an equitation horse in L.A. She obviously had no problem remembering what medal finals are all about. We expect great things from Abby and Greta in the future."

Thomas was equally enthusiastic about the Woodside shows. "We've been going to the Woodside shows from the very beginning and their transformation has been amazing. What started as a dusty, dinky show has turned into a beautiful, well run facility."

The reserve champion in the CPHA Horsemanship Regional Final was also a rookie. Elizabeth "Sissy" Robbins, an amateur who has been riding with Beverly Jovais since she returned to riding two years ago, found herself with the reserve championship. "Sissy had a great time and especially liked the work-off!" Jovais reported. "Her horse is Jonagold, a Belgian Warmblood that she has owned for a year." For the Robbins, riding is a family affair. Daughter, Caroline, piloted Right on Time to dual championships in the Pony Hunters and the Pony Equitation. She stood at the gate and rode every part of the work off with her mother, and she beamed when her mother was named reserve champion.

Jovais also had a winner in the CPHA Child/Adult Regional Final, 11-year-old Gwen McLaughlin, who has been riding with Jovais since she started at age six. "Her horse is an amazing gelding that we lease from Holly Scapa named Capito (Italian for "understand"). He is 13 years old and she inherited him from her sister Grace." This year is Gwen's first on a horse, although she has been champion many times in the Children's Hunters 13 and Under and in the 11 and Under Equitation. "We are hoping to qualify for the Norcal 3' Medal and Onandarka," says Jovais. "This was Gwen's first medal final on Capito, and she was very excited with this amazing win"

Jovais’ Chestnut Hill horses and riders are regulars at the Woodside shows. "Woodside horse shows just get better and better, and the new office is beautiful. The CPHA Regional Medal Finals hosted by Langer Equestrian Group was the best ever."

Third place in the CPHA Horsemanship Final went to yet another first timer, Annie Bennett. The 17-year-old has struggled with consistency for the past five years, having had some bad luck with finding the right horse. However, it all came together at the Woodside Fall Finale. With limited show experience and a budget, Bennett qualified in the last qualifier before the Final. "This was not only her first final, it was her very first work-off," said Vanessa Brown, half of the Derby Hill team she shares with her husband and Olympian, Buddy Brown. "The horse is simply amazing. Her name is Rio's Roxy and she is a 14-year-old warmblood by Rio Grande. She is enormous and sticks at 17.3 officially. We have fondly given her the barn name Jurassica, but she is also one of the most wonderful, light, rhythmical horses to ride."

Bennett has only been riding Rio’s Roxy for about seven weeks. "Thanks to the very generous previous owner Tom Rattigan, Annie is her new owner," Brown explained. "Tom had shown her with great success in the Amateur Owner Hunters and thought it was time for her to step down. He approached me about finding the right home, and I suspected that she would be a fabulous match for Annie...I guess I was right!"

Like many others who attend the Woodside shows, Brown has nothing but praise. "I really can't say enough good things about the Woodside horse shows. Buddy and I have lived here for about three-and-a-half years and literally every time we come to Woodside, improvements have been made. I love that there is something for every level and that quality doesn't suffer at any of the levels. A perfect example was the CPHA Horsemanship Finals. Despite being a starter level medal final, the courses were as well thought out as any finals. I love that they got those riders out of the box literally and opened the course up by having the kids jump into what is normally a warm up area and back in the arena again as part of the course."

The Equitation riders were not the only ones to watch at the Woodside Fall Finale. There were also some exciting jumper classes with purses worth reaching for, like the $7500 Woodside Jumper Classic, won by Lindsay Ramar and her 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Puma.

Ramar began riding 21 years ago, participating in Pony Club and eventing before entering the show jumping world at age 16. Throughout her riding career, she has ridden with several excellent trainers and now rides with Mariano and Nina Alario at Estancia Farms in Petaluma.

"I bought Puma four years ago when he was a little bit of a timid eight year old that was just off the truck from Florida," explained Ramar. "Puma is my rock. He is the same every day: safe, fast, clean. He is the most competitive and consistent horse in the 1.40 meter and High Amateur Owner Jumpers I have ever ridden." When Ramar was drawn first to go, she knew she had to be clean and mind the time allowed to make the jump-off, since she did not have the advantage of watching other riders in order to gauge the time allowed. "Puma is pretty quick, has a huge step, and a ton of heart, and after walking the course I had a feeling that today was our day," she recalled.

Despite leaving all the rails up, Ramar’s time exceeded the time allowed and other riders shook their heads. Puma is always quick across the ground. After another pair had trouble with time, the jury extended the time allowed and Ramar was a contender in the jump off. Three other riders joined Ramar. Knowing her horse as well as she does gives Ramar a solid advantage. "Puma is a contortionist in that he will twist and turn his body in nearly every way possible in order to leave the jumps up. He has a ton of heart and wants to jump clean every time. He is electric-careful and loves to jump."

As for the course, Ramar says, "The course designer, Jamie Alder did a great job using the natural obstacles and all the space in Woodside's Grand Prix Arena. The triple combination proved to be a challenge, as did the skinny vertical after the water jump. The jump-off was also challenging as it began with a tight, inside turn by the water obstacle to a triple bar away from the gate. The jump-off incorporated both tight turns and long gallops which made it fun, and galloping to the last jump in front of the crowd is always exhilarating!"

The Woodside Fall Finale was also the final show of the Woodside Trainer Incentive, with a trip to Maui on the line for the winning trainer and five $1,000 cash prizes to the top five professionals. Throughout the year the contest was close among Jenny Davis, Leslie Nelson, Beverly Jovais, and Hope Glynn. Throughout the four days of the show the lead changed hands repeatedly, but it will be Jenny Davis saying "Aloha!" to the lovely island of Maui in December.

Complete results for the Woodside Fall Finale are on Langer Equestrian Group’s newly designed website ( and the 2010 show dates will also be listed on the website.


Puma & Lindsay Ramar
Sheri Scott

2009 Woodside Jr. Equitation Champion
Sheri Scott
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