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Del Mar National Horse Show Wraps Up After 3 Memorable Weeks

Del Mar Fairgrounds - After three weeks of competition and six major evening events the 58th Annual Del Mar National Horse Show boasted one of its finest shows ever, attracting thousands of horses and riders and more than 15,000 spectators.

The Del Mar National Horse Show is one of the most respected, distinguished and popular equestrian events in Southern California. It features a week of competition devoted to three unique disciplines: Western, Dressage and Hunter/Jumper.

With almost 3,000 entries performing in three arenas over four days, the Western Week hosted four AQHA/PCQHA Shows Youth State Qualifier, a PCHA Open Show with classes open to all breeds, and a $3,000 Added NRHA Show open to all breeds.

Western Showcase Night included the 2003 USAE Reining Seat Medal Finals, Challenge of the Breeds, and the Sliding Contest.

Kelsey Huffman of Norco, CA and her horse, Top Hickory, were among the biggest winners during Western Week. Huffman won a treasure trove of reining awards at the Del Mar National; taking home the 2003 National Championship for the USA Equestrian Reining Seat Medal Finals presented by EMO Agency, Inc, the "My Midnight Special" trophy, Youngest Rider Trophy, and the Adrian Van Sinderen trophy.

Rebecca Jenkins, from Chico, CA rode a Quarter Horse, Born To Be Good, to win the $500 Challenge of the Breeds. Race entries included the Quarter Horse, Paint, Friesian, Norwegian Fjord, and Tennessee Walker breeds. The Challenge of the Breeds requires competitors to participate in three of four classes including Pleasure Driving, Trail, Hunter Under Saddle, and Western Pleasure (mandatory). Highest score wins.

Robin Bond of Olivenhain, CA, rode Erins Dry Spirit owned by Tina Robinson to win the $500 Sliding Contest. Open to all breeds, the Sliding Contest winner is determined by the longest paralleled sliding tracks, with no broken sections of tracks, counting the best of three runs. Bond won at approximately 28 feet. Tom Foran of Foran Performance Horses of Lake View Terrace, CA laid a slide almost 40 feet long but had a break in a section of track to place second.

The celebrated Night of the Horse extravaganza featured "Horses Through the Centuries" entertaining a packed Del Mar Arena grandstand. The extravaganza featured a variety of breeds, their talents both utilitarian and competitive, from the past to the present. The Night of the Horse was a spectacular showcase of horsemanship from some of the most highly respected equestrian performers in the world. Equine Extremist Tommie Turvey Jr. brought the house down with Pokerjoe, his prized Paint, and their comical upside down antics.

Dressage Week filled four arenas over four days featuring all levels of competition including the 2003 North American Young Riders Selection Trial, Qualifying competition for U.S. Young Horse Championships, USET Qualifying competition for the 2003 USET Grand Prix Championships, and the 2003 USET Intermediate Championships/Pan American Games Selection Trials.

Dressage Week's featured event, an Evening of Musical Freestyles, presented an enormous field of talent in the $5,000 CDI*** Grand Prix Freestyle. Debbie McDonald on Brentina, owned by Peggy Thomas, executed a brilliant Freestyle and received an impressive score of 81.500% to place first. Guenter Seidel on Aragon, owned by Richard and Jane Brown received a second place score of 73.850%. Steffan Peters on Grandeur, owned by Lila Kommerstadn, received the third place score of 73.725%. The top three received a standing ovation from the crowd in the Del Mar Arena as they took their victory lap. It was an evening of Olympic-caliber dressage with the McDonald and Seidel having just returned from the World Cup in Sweden.

Hunter/Jumper Week was "the second biggest show we've ever had" according to Dale Harvey, technical show manager.

In the Lexus $25,000 Surfside Grand Prix, Richard Spooner cleaned up, winning first and second place. Thirteen riders went clean in a huge field of 61 entries. Spooner rode a brilliant pace on Robinson, owned by Halfmoon Bay Investment Group for a time of 65.080. He almost duplicated the ride with a great round on Bradford, owned by Kenly Farms for a finish of 66.701. Spooner's ride on Bradford as the 47th entry moved them into second place. He held 1st and 2nd to the end of 61 entries.

Cathleen Calvert of La Jolla, CA won the $25,000 Del Mar National Open Equitation Championship presented by Monarch International's Show Circuit Magazine. She rode Norton, owned by Stephanie Danhakl, for a huge score of 94 in the championship final round 1, and earned a score of 80 on Katie Gardner's horse, Amadeus, in the final round for an overall score of 174.

Undaunted by rain earlier in the day, fans filled the Del Mar Arena to watch a thrilling $75,000 HBO Grand Prix of Del Mar presented by Budweiser, an AGA event. Duncan McFarlane of Fairfield, CA, and Ezrah, owned by Kathie Cheatham, went double clear and were fastest in the jump-off field of five horses and riders.

Twenty-eight horses and riders attempted to win over a 16-fence course set by designer Peter Holmes of Canada. Five teams finished the first round clean and moved on to a jump-off over eight fences. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson, on El Campeon's Cirka Z, owned by El Campeon Farms also went double clear but was beaten by just .171 of a second by McFarlane and Ezrah.

Complete results for the DMNHS can be found by visiting the show's Web site at


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