Skylar Wireman was dearly missed during the fall season at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP), but the 18-year-old newly turned professional has taken Desert Circuit I by storm, taking her third major victory Sunday in the $30,000 Marshall & Sterling 1.40m Open Classic.
This time, Wireman’s victory came aboard De Laloma, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare she’s been partnered with for about two years. “I haven’t actually shown her that much. She’s generally better in a smaller ring, so in the bigger ring she gets going a little bit. In general, she can get going in the jump-off, so I try and do more turning than galloping. She is naturally very careful and naturally fast across the ground, so I don’t have to worry too much about going fast as much as how I can be efficient with the track.”
Ken Krome’s track saw 11 clear rounds, with seven of those rounds being double clear. Wireman just barely snagged the quickest time, clocking in at 29.931 seconds, while Della White and Giggs sat closely behind for second place in 29.995 seconds. Going in to jump off second to last, Wireman knew what had to be done and hoped the last one wouldn’t catch her, but her time proved to be enough. Kaitlin Campbell ended up in third aboard Leramo, owned by Sweet Oak Farm.
Wireman’s success in the jumper ring during Desert Circuit I has been no accident. She has been born and raised a true horseman and her time devoted to riding and becoming a top athlete is paying off. As a young professional, she’s learned how to manage a string of top horses and keep them performing, something that will serve her well in her career.
“I think it’s important to save their jumps for the ring and not over train at home,” Wireman said. “We do a lot of flatwork, with lots of lateral work, just getting them very broke in the flat. That way, when you need to turn and go fast and have the brakes, it’s all there for the jump-off. That way, when we want to win the class, we have [worked on] the adjustability and flatwork at home. They all go in the turnout and just hang out. They have a low-key, easy life at home. They just get to the shows and they’re ready to perform.”
As the day progressed, it was nothing but California Sunshine. Both in the sky and the winner’s circle. Susan Artes jumped Alix Fargo’s California Sunshine to victory in the $10,000 Voltaire 1.35m Open Classic. The pair was the only clear round of the class, proving their partnership, despite time out of the show ring, and taking the top call.
“She is turning 10 this year,” Artes said of the Bavarian Sport Horse mare. “I got her as a 5-year-old and I did the young horse classes with her. She’s started to win a little bit here and there. She did win a Grand Prix about a year and a half ago, but then I got hurt and had to take time off. So, we’re just a little rusty and coming back into things. Hopefully now we’ll be able to step up through the ranks again and start doing some of the 1.50m classes.”
Her jump-off strategy was bold, testing out new equipment, but it seemed to suit the horse as she jumped double-clear.
“I’m testing a different bridle,” Artes continued. “I wanted to be able to go forward and see if I could make the rollback turns in a better fashion than traditionally I’m able to do with her. I wasn’t necessarily trying to go super fast, but I needed to open her up and be able to slow her down and see if it worked, which it did!”
Artes, of Pasadena, CA, is happy to be back in the desert for the winter season. “We love it here, and the improvements that they’ve made are great,” she commented. “I wasn’t here in November and December, but compared to last year when we had to leave early, it’s so nice. Everything is freshly painted, and the latches work in the bathrooms, and it’s all good.”
Desert Circuit II begins Wednesday, January 11, with the $10,000 Platinum Performance Welcome Speed and the FarmVet FEI Jog.
Final Results: $30,000 Marshall & Sterling 1.40m Open Classic
1. De Laloma / Skylar Wireman / Shayne Wireman / 0/0/29.931
2. Giggs / Della White / Della White / 0/0/29.995
3. Leramo / Kaitlin Campbell / Sweet Oak Farm / 0/0/30.536
4. Epsilon De Brenil / Andrew Lopez / Andrew Lopez / 0/0/30.969
5. George ZG / Andrew Lopez / Andrew Lopez / 0/0/31.691
6. Zamia 3 / Chandler Meadows / Chandler Meadows / 0/0/31.692
7. Idalgo / Guillermo Obligado / Woodgrove Farm / 0/0/35.379
8. Clinta 8 / Sophie Simpson-Leckie / Chloe Kuang / 0/4/28.316
9. Odysseus / Kyle King / Patricia Vase / 0/4/30.570
10. Two Smoking Barrels UK / Lindsay Linford / Lindsay Linford / 0/4/32.528
11. Dots & Dashes / Lauren Kolbe / Full Tilt Farms / 0/8/28.948
12. Hesmee / Tammy Chipko / Tammy Chipko / 4/76.894
$10,000 Voltaire 1.35m Open Classic
1. California Sunshine / Susan Artes / Alix Fargo / 0/0/36.287
2. Karen / Skylar Wireman / MKT Investments LLC / 0/8/33.550
3. Latifa Von Lancer III / Lisa Carlsen / Lisa Carlsen / 0/8/39.625
4. Quaprice B / Tracey Epp / Tracey Epp / 1/79.250
5. Grasshopper / Michael Williamson / Mark Kinsella / 1/79.404
6. Balboa SH / Jessica Gleason / Linda Miller / 4/73.028
7. Centurion / Sloan Elmassian / Sloan Elmassian / 4/77.338
8. Calea 8 / Chloe Kuang / Chloe Kuang / 8/72.256
9. Heartvit ZH / Tracey Epp / Tracey Epp / 8/72.282
10. Hero W / Spohie Simpson-Leckie / Ilan Ferder / 8/72.295
11. Ezio De Emeraud / Kacie Doyle / Patricia Vasey / 8.77.636
12. Nia Pia R / Dezraye Choi / Dezraye Choi / 12/68.034
Irene Neuwirth Dazzles in Tucci Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic
Irene Neuwirth kicked off Desert Circuit in style Sunday by winning the Tucci 3’3”/3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic aboard Juan Carlos. With sky-high scores, Neuwirth and the 10-year-old Holsteiner put in beautiful rounds under the desert sun to take home top honors.
Juan Carlos wasn’t the only one at the horse show who had a tough time waking up Sunday, but his rider was able to inspire him to perform to the best of his abilities despite competing on the final day of the week.
“Usually by the end of the horse show he gets really tired,” Neuwirth said. “So, my goal was to keep him moving forward and pushing him through the lines, making sure he doesn’t pull any rails. He’s the perfect horse, but by the end of two days, he’s ready to go and call it. But he’s amazing, the best horse of all time. He’s the best amateur horse of all time.”
Neuwirth’s home state is one of many in which Juan Carlos has taken top honors with her aboard. Traveling the East Coast last season, they racked up wins at the nation’s most prestigious horse shows, including the Devon Horse Show, the Washington International Horse Show, and beyond. Neuwirth has been in the winner’s circle at events like the Capital Challenge Horse Show and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show against the top hunters in the nation.
For a pair like this, it’s hard to believe there are still any firsts to accomplish, but scoring a 92 in the second classic round seemed to do the trick. Combined with her first-round score of 88, she won the class by nine points with a total score of 180.
“I got him about two years ago,” she said of her partnership. “We won at Devon and we were champion at Washington, which was really exciting. That just gave us a lot of confidence to come back here and try to be more consistent and push ourselves. I was really excited to get a 92. I think that’s our first 92 together.”
Juan Carlos just has that “it” factor going around the Main Hunter Arena, and it was apparent to the judges Sunday as they were in a league of their own with the scoring. “I think he has a really adorable expression. He is very even around the entire course. I can pick up the pace and just stay the same around everything. I think that feels really impressive,” Neuwirth explained.
Neuwirth’s professional life has been very busy recently, opening an Irene Neuwirth jewelry store on Madison Avenue and continuing to run her extremely successful business while also competing at a high level. Taking a break from business matters for a horse show in the sun, and taking home the win Sunday, was the ideal break she needed. When asked how it feels to be back in the desert, she responded, “Great! I’m so happy to be here and not at work!”