Thermal, Calif. – Dec. 12, 2021 – Amateur Owner riders took to the Main Hunter Ring Sunday morning at the Desert International Horse Park to vie for the champion title in their respected height and age group divisions to help conclude hunter competition at Desert Holiday II. Sunset Boulevard and Lindsay Maxwell were the first pair to be crowned champion in the combined Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter 18 & Over division, sponsored by Aleron. They also won the $1,000 Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter Classic, sponsored by Bridgeport Farms to round out an already incredible series. Shortly after her big win, Maxwell competed on Largesse in the Amateur Owner 3’3” Hunter 18-35 division, sponsored by DePaolo Equine Concepts, and took home the championship honors once again. Next, Irene Neuwirth and her mount Juan Carlos were awarded champion in the Amateur Owner 3’3” Hunter 36 & Over division, sponsored by Thumbs Up.
The combined Aleron Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter 18 & Over division, sponsored by Aleron kicked off hunter competition in the Main Hunter Ring. Maxwell and her very own Sunset Boulevard, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, made their mark in the first over fences highlighting their ability to fluidly move throughout the classic hunter round and earning themselves a first-round score of 87, securing the blue ribbon. Shortly after, the dynamic pair returned for the handy round and once again impressed the judges with their form and open pace as they met each jump in stride, earning a second-round score of 84, earning a second place finish in the handy. Maxwell and Sunset Boulevard once again turned heads amongst the strong pack of Amateur Owner horse and rider combinations and won the $1,000 Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter Classic, sponsored by Bridgeport Farms. After an almost clean sweep of the division, Maxwell and Sunset Boulevard claimed the championship honors.
The Amateur Owner 3’3” Hunter 18-35 riders were next in the ring to conclude their division and contest for the top honors. Maxwell once again proved to be a force to reckon with bringing home another championship title aboard another one of her personal mounts Largesse, a 14-year-old Warmblood gelding. The pair were rewarded in the first round for their consistency and textbook jump, earning a first round score of 83, which helped them secure second place. Maxwell rode Largesse to a high score of 90 in the handy round after laying down a seemingly picture-perfect round, which would aid them in securing the championship title.
Neuwirth and her own 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Juan Carlos, wrapped up the Amateur Owner Hunters taking home champion after making an almost clean sweep of the older division. Juan Carlos was awarded for his impressive scope, beautiful jump and flowing pace as he met each fence with grace and fluidity. The duo’s efforts helped them take home the blue ribbon in the first over fences class ttAtgearning a score of 89. They once again caught the judges’ attention in the handy round earning a high score of 86.5, which would help them to secure the division champion title.
Competition will return to the Desert International Horse Park Wednesday, December 19 with the commencement of the 2022 National Desert Circuit.
Lindsay Maxwell – Champion of the combined Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter division, sponsored by Aleron
On Sunset Boulevard:
“I have been showing him for the last year now. He is a second year this year and we have been doing the Amateur Owner 3’6” Hunter division for the past year. I haven’t shown him much so we have just been figuring each out more the past few weeks. I think we have gotten in a great groove. He is a wonderful horse to ride and has a fantastic jump. He gives you a great feeling and we just love having him in the barn.”
On the courses:
“The handy always poses different challenges than the normal hunter round but I think the courses have been great. The jumps are beautiful here and the whole atmosphere here is great. The Desert International Horse Park is one of my favorite places to show and I always love coming here. The handys are always fun to me and this horse is fantastic in the handys. It keeps him focused with the rollbacks and trot jumps. The classic round was a bit longer and can be a bit challenging being the last round on the last day, but he held out with him. I am really thrilled with him.”
On upcoming plans:
“We will be here at the Desert Horse Park all circuit. Like I said, we love it here and are very excited to spend the entire winter circuit here.”
On Desert International Horse Park:
“We absolutely love this horse show. The footing is amazing and the atmosphere is great. They have done such a beautiful job with the updates and it is run so well that whenever we leave we always want to come back.”