Temecula, Calif. – May. 18, 2022 – The action resumed after a two week break  Wednesday at Temecula Valley National I with a spotlight on young hunters in the newly constructed, Hunter 1. The 2’9” Young Hunter 5 & Under and 3’ Young Hunter 6 & Under divisions saw promising hunter prospects put their best foot forward on the first day of division competition in hopes of earning the highest honors over the two jumping rounds heading into Thursday’s championship crownings.

A.W. Too Fly and Leslie Steele

Each round in the young hunter divisions presented opportunities for riders to show off the scope and promise their mounts offered and while giving the judges an idea of what caliber mount and unique style each will develop into.. The courses seen in the recently added Hunter 1, provided a safe and straightforward task for the mounts who are not yet at the level to experience the more challenging courses seen in the Grand Hunter arena. 

To start the day, the 2’9” Young Hunter 5 & Under division was led by Kindred, owned by West Coast Equine Partners, LLC with Nick Haness in the irons. Just following, Haness took another leading spot in the 3’ Young Hunter 6 & Under with Mochi, Hannes’ own 6-year-old Oldenburg gelding. Though, Leslie Steele and her own 6-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding A.W. Too Fly gave them a run for their money, also taking a first and second place finish in the class heading into the second day of competition with an equal chance at winning the championship title.

Mochi and Nick Haness

Haness’ newest mount, Mochi, was just recently imported 3 weeks ago and made his debut this afternoon in the hunter ring. The duo showcased great potential as Mochi jumped all of the obstacles with great scope and a relaxed expression. Steele also got to have her own moment of pride piloting her homebred mount to top finishes. 


Nick Hannes – 3’ Young Hunter 6 & Under leader

On Mochi:
“Mochi is a brand new horse to the hunter job . He got imported about 3 weeks ago and today was his debut ! We are thrilled with his potential and likeliness to the hunter ring. NEE [Nilforushan Equisport Events] is always a solid horse show for young horses to earn positive mileage.

On the newly added ring, Hunter 1:
“I quite like hunter 1. It is a very large and open arena and you’re able to really showcase your horse in that atmosphere. The new footing rides well and the setting amongst the hills is beautiful.”

Leslie Steele – 3’ Young Hunter 6 & Under leader

On A.W. Too Fly:
“He is a foal that I raised and bred myself. He was one of two embryos that I pulled from my Grand Prix mare, A.W. Butterfly Hula, who I actually showed at The World Cup Finals in Las Vegas. This is only his third horse show so I am so proud and excited! It is an added bonus that the broodmare and the stallion that bred him were both West coast campaigned horses and to be able to show A.W. Too Fly here as well is extra special. He impressed me so much today I told him he earned back shoes for those rounds. He hasn’t had them yet since he lives out in the paddock at night, but he is a real show horse now!”

On the new arena:
“I love the new ring. The footing is nice and the schooling area is equally as nice. I quite like the new arena. It is a beautiful new addition to the show grounds.”

On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“First of all, I love being able to bring my hunters here. Ali and Francie and the whole group have done such a beautiful job here and it is so nice to be able to bring young horses here where they have nice jumps and nice footing.”

On the Temecula Valley National Horse Show selling out:
“I didn’t have a fast enough finger to get all my entries in! I got into the first week luckily but missed out on week II and III because they sold out in an hour! This is such a lovely place to be able to show and I understand why it sells out so fast, but I figured maybe I could just be grandfathered in since I have been showing here since the beginning. I just love this show so much.”


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