World Championship Hunter Riders Honored at Desert International Horse Park Week VIII

by | Mar 18, 2021 | Hunters, Press Release | 0 comments

Nick Haness aboard Morrison and they claimed the championship in the 3’3″ Green Hunters.

For Immediate Release

THERMAL, Calif. – March 18, 2021 – World Championship Hunter Rider Week honored the West Coast’s top hunter riders as championship titles were awarded in the professional hunter divisions at the Desert International Horse Park Week VIII. The final week of Desert Circuit competition features the $100,000 West Coast Hunter Spectacular on Friday evening in the grand prix arena where close to 70 horse and rider combinations will take a swing for the top honors.

Earning tricolors this week in the 3’3” Green Hunters was Nick Haness (Temecula, CA) with Morrison, owned by the West Coast Equine Partners. Haness, born and raised in California, has been catch riding most of his life and was honored with the US Equestrian National Equestrian of the Year in 2019.

In addition to the 3’3” Green Championship, Haness and Morrison won both the $1,000 CPHA West Coast Green Hunter Stake and the $1,000 USHJA Hunter Incentive Stake 3’ – 3’3”.

Morrison and Nick Haness won the 3′-3’3″ Green Hunter Incentive and Stake.

“This horse has come a long way this season from winning a few derbies to champion in this division this week and winning the incentives today, it was a really exciting way to wrap up the whole circuit,” said Haness. Obviously, he’s a younger horse so he won’t be competing in the Spectacular tomorrow night but I am. I’m just very excited and ready to take on whatever they have us do tomorrow night under the lights.”

John Bragg (Beverly Hills, CA) and Carlos 777, owned by Irene Neuwrith, claimed the reserve champion in the 3’3″ Green Hunters. 

There was no stopping Haness today as he continued to rack up top scores in the Green Hunters 3’6”. Haness walked out the ring today with a 92 on Starburst from judge Alex Jayne (Elgin, IL). On HH Elmo, Haness landed an 89. HH Elmo, owned by Lindsay Maxwell, was the division champion while Starburst, owned by Ecole Lathrop, took the reserve championship. Both horses are trained by Archie Cox.

“It’s an absolute honor to be crowned champion and reserve champion in such a competitive field, so that feels great,” added Haness. “Both of the horses are phenomenal up and coming horses and they both jumped spectacular today, and it was just a lot of fun. HH Elmo has just the most amazing rhythm, his canter is beautiful across the ground and he just makes it fun to get to canter the jumps. He always gets there and puts in a big effort in a very precise jump and it’s all natural so it’s really fun to ride him and just let him kind of cruise along and do his thing. He’s quite spectacular just as he is.

Nick Haness with HH Elmo and Starburst, both trained by Archie Cox

“Starburst is another exceptional horse that I’ve been able to ride this circuit. He’s done some International Derbies and placed well, he was really on it today, he jumps spectacular!  Ninety-two always feels good! I’m going in the Spectacular with both horses,  out of the three I could choose from, and they were two of the three, the third one is my other horse Reese’s so I’m pretty excited for tomorrow night. All three horses got a tricolor this week so I’m feeling confident and happy with how they are going and looking forward to a fun class tomorrow night.”

Hunter competition continues with the $2,500 National Hunter Derby on Friday along with the $100,000 WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular live at 7:00pm Friday, March 19, 2021. Catch the action by heading to and click on the “Watch Live” tab to watch. The winner of the class receives a $5,000 flight credit from Horseflight and a gift basket from Burtech Family Vineyard in addition to the big paycheck. The Leading Lady Rider receives a gorgeous bag from Lauracea.

For complete results, visit Showgroundslive. For more information on future events at the Desert International Horse Park, visit the website at


Week VIII Division Champions


Champion in the Green Hunter 3’ sponsored by Perfect Products

Champion        LGS Theodore – Hope Glynn

Reserve           Little Bird – Hope Glynn

John Bragg and Carlos 777

Champion in the Green Hunter 3’3” sponsored by G2 Insurance

Champion        Morrison – Nick Haness

Reserve           Carlos 777 – John Bragg

Nick Haness and HH Elmo

Champion in the Green Hunter 3’6” sponsored by Platinum Performance

Champion       HH Elmo – Nick Haness

Reserve           Starburst – Nick Haness

Gabriela Pattinson and Grateful

Green Hunter 3’9”

Champion       Grateful – Gabriella Pattinson

Reserve           Reese’s – Nick Haness

Golden Ticket and Leslie Steele

Performance Hunter 3’3” sponsored by Frontier Farms

Champion      Golden Ticket – Leslie Steele

Champion      Timon – Katherine Simonds

Reserve         Paddington – Robert Sean Leckie

Reserve         Milestone – Jeff Campf


Performance Hunter 3’6” sponsored by Brookway Stables

Champion       Kaliman – Katie Taylor

Champion       Heir Apparent – Nancy Free

Reserve         Big Shot – Jenny Karazissis

Reserve         Beach Boy – Jamie Taylor

Alexis Taylor and Boy Wonder

High Performance 4’ sponsored by Oz Inc.

Champion       Boy Wonder – Alexis Taylor

Reserve           Black Jack – Jamie Taylor

Carleton Brooks and Deja Blue

High Performance Conformation Hunter sponsored by San Marcos Training

Champion       Deja Blue – Carlton Brooks

Reserve           Grateful – Gabriela Pattinson




About the Desert International Horse Park

With nearly 1.3 million square feet of competition and riding space, the Desert International Horse Park is one of the largest equestrian facilities in North America. Offering multiple weeks of world-class equestrian competition from October through March, the facility is a destination location for thousands of equestrians, their horses, family and friends for several months annually. Competitors from all over the world travel to Thermal, CA to not only compete but to enjoy everything the desert has to offer.