Olivia Tamburro and Maia Aerni Top Junior and Amateur-Owner Hunters in Temecula

Temecula, Calif. – June 1, 2019 – The penultimate day of hunter competition at Galway Downs took place Saturday, with the Temecula Valley National Horse Show bringing juniors and amateurs to the forefront in the Aon Grand Hunter Arena to complete their respective divisions and vie for victory in the $1,000 Junior 3’6” Hunter Classic and $1,000 Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunter Classic. In the Junior 3’6” Hunter division, Olivia Tamburro and Quin Cardo rode to success, while Gabrielle Sokolow and Iconic were the highest-scoring pair in the Classic. The tricolor went to the skilled pair of Maia Aerni and Magic Blue in the Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunters thanks to five top-scoring performances, and Kristina Novak and Imagine That emerged victorious in the division’s Classic.

Olivia Tamburro and Quin Cardo

As Saturday’s competition began in the junior ranks, Tamburro and her own Quin Cardo were in contention for the division title over the 3’6” obstacles following their performances Friday, which earned them second and third place over fences, plus first prize under saddle. With three top results behind them, the pair had a good shot at claiming the overall title, but would have to outperform Augusta Iwasaki and Lord Calador, who earned matching results during the first half of riding. Improving upon their day one performances and clearly solidifying themselves as the victors, Tamburro and Quin Cardo effortlessly navigated their way around the grass field for the final over fences and handy rounds of competition, garnering two blue ribbons to propel them to the top of the leaderboard and capture the tricolor. Iwasaki and Melissa Bilodeau’s Lord Calador ultimately finished the day with reserve honors.

Gabrielle Sokolow and Iconic

In the $1,000 Junior 3’6” Hunter Classic, Sokolow and her own Iconic clinched the top spot, adding 87.5 points to their first round score of 80.5 to finish on a cumulative tally of 167.5. Headed into the final phase of the Classic, the duo’s score sat in third position, but one final textbook trip helped them to surpass the early frontrunners and put the talented pair at the head of the overall scorecard.

Competing in the Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunters, Aerni and her own Magic Blue rode to a league all their own throughout the five classes, sweeping more than half of the division. On Friday, the combination was awarded first place twice over fences and earned second place in the hack to secure the early lead headed into the final day of competition. Adding to their success, Aerni and Magic Blue logged first and second place results Thursday, ultimately impressively tallying 42 points to finish ahead of the pack as the champions.

Maia Aerni and Magic Blue

Opting to jump at the 3’3” height, owner-rider Novak and Imagine That also accumulated championship garb Saturday, finishing as the reserve pair in the Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunter division and scoring the most points to rank first in the $1,000 Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunter Classic. Similar to Sokolow and Iconic, the horse-and-rider pair came into the day sitting third, but bested the field with a stellar final ride to eclipse the early leaders and come out on top.

Kristina Novak and Imagine That

Hunter action at the Temecula Valley National Horse Show will continue for one final day Sunday, with a series of prize money classics rounding out the 2019 circuit.


Olivia Tamburro – Junior 3’6” Hunter champion

On Quin Cardo:
“I got him when he was turning five and I’ve taken him from his very first horse show in the 2’ classes to the Junior Hunters. Last year we went to Nationals for that, so I’ve had him for a long time and we have really become good friends and gotten to know each other really well.”

On her rides:
“I was competing against the National Champion from last year, and I’m just a small Arizona gal so I was a little nervous about that, but he absolutely loves the grass so I knew he would jump great. He enjoyed it and I enjoyed it and that really helped out for us. He is bred to be a jumper but doesn’t like it, so the handy is our strongest spot I feel like. I was able to just let him soften through the turns and find the distances to all of the jumps, and he performed amazingly.”

Kristina Novak – $1,000 Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunter Classic winner and reserve champion

On Imagine That and their relationship:
“She is one I bred, was born in my lap and I raised her. She is 11 years old now so she is family. It makes you want to cry when you’ve actually been the one that bred them, raised them and made sure you brought them along slowly. She was quite a spunky filly – very spunky – to where we thought maybe she might want to do the jumpers, but she is too pretty so she gets to do the hunters. In her early days she would see the second fence and want to leave a stride out and things like that, so it was just being really patient with her. I grew up doing gymnastics competitively, and I had to have a total hip replacement a few years ago, so that set me back for a while. I had a very weak right leg because of my bad hip and I couldn’t push her over so she would fade through my right leg. After my hip replacement and after I rehabbed, I was back on her in eight weeks and all of a sudden she realized I had a right leg again. She had to learn how to get straight again. She’s gone through my physical limitations, but she is the bravest horse and you can point her at anything and you know you are going to get to the other side. She is extremely forgiving, I trust her with my life. This was our first time doing the Amateur-Owner division. We have been kind of happily comfortable in the Adult Amateurs for too long, so we decided to kick ourselves in the catooties and do it, and we are super happy we did.”

On the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“This is my first year showing here and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love this horse show and I love what they are doing to bring the fun back to the sport and to make the exhibitors feel appreciated. That’s huge. I have been horse showing for many, many years, and to feel appreciated as an exhibitor makes me really happy. I’m very grateful for what they are doing here. Great course, beautiful facility and the horse show has been awesome”

For more information, please visit www.jump-nee.com.


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