Twice is Nice for Augusta Iwasaki and Small Moments

Augusta Iwasaki has had a fabulous summer aboard Small Moments in Traverse City, taking the win in the $5,000 Traverse City Hunter Derby Sunday to mark their second hunter derby victory this season. At only five years old, the Hanoverian mare by Cascadello is showing incredible promise and helping the young rider achieve more goals to cap off her junior career.

Augusta Iwasaki and Small Moments pictured with Elizabeth Reilly and Insightful. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

In the first round of competition, Iwasaki captured the top-two scores aboard Small Moments and Insightful with scores of 92 and 90, respectively. Returning for the handy round, Insightful laid down another strong trip, earning a score of 89 for a combined total of 179. Knowing she herself was the one to beat, she flawlessly jumped Small Moments to a score of 91 in the handy round, for a total of 183, and secured both first and second. Third-place honors went to Can’t Touch This Z and Lourdes De Guardiola for owner Ash Atkinson.

“She surprises me every week,” Iwasaki said of the young mare, a recent addition to her string. “We got her in March of this year and we were doing 3’ Green [Hunters]. I started doing her in derbies earlier this year. I wasn’t thinking we were going to move up this fast but she’s really stepped up to the plate.”

Augusta Iwasaki and Insightful. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

As easy-going as she is in the competition arena, Small Moments is equally as pleasant to have around the stable. “She’s really, really sweet.” Iwasaki continued. “She’s a chestnut mare so she’s a little spicy, but she’s sweet in the stall, and just a very kind horse.”

Iwasaki and her mom, Elizabeth Reilly, also Small Moments’ owner, went horse shopping in Ocala this winter and stumbled upon the young mare to add to their roster of up-and-coming talent. “We were looking all around for horses in Ocala and my mom loves to look for green horses to make up and see what they become,” Iwasaki said. “We saw her and my mom fell in love.”

Lourdes De Guardiola and Can’t Touch This Z. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Iwasaki’s season in Traverse City has been superb, beginning with a win during the spring in the $100,000 WCHR Central Hunter Spectacular and decorated with hunter derby victories throughout the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. “It’s really exciting,” she said of her successful season. “This is my last year as a junior and I was excited to spend my summer here. Every time we’ve come we’ve had an amazing time. It’s been quite successful and really fun.”

Earlier in the day on Sunday, Catherine Kramer scored herself another hunter derby victory, this time aboard Casares in the $5,000 2’6” Non-Pro Hunter Derby for owner Nicole Wilson. Kramer and the 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding impressed the judges and earned high scores to take home Kramer’s second derby win in two weeks at GLEF.

Final Results: $5,000 Traverse City Hunter Derby

1. Small Moments / Augusta Iwasaki / Elizabeth Reilly / 92 + 91 = 183
2. Insightful / Augusta Iwasaki / Sunset View Farm LLC / 90 + 89 = 179
3. Can’t Touch This Z / Lourdes De Guardiola / Ash Atkinson / 85 + 86 = 171
4. Afelix Dell’a / Tina Judge-Boyle / Amy Martin / 87 + 80 = 167
5. Handmade / Erica Quinn / Andrea Sandman / 89 + 73 = 162
6. Folklore / Amberlea Tribble / Amberlea Tribble / 82 + 69 = 151
7. Don’t Forget / Erica Quinn / Andrea Sandman / 89 + 73 = 150
8. Inzell B / Emma Arnhols / Alexandria Beneson / 72.5 + 74 = 146.5
9. Cahdou / Abigail Kulikowski / Ashland Farms / 72 + 74 = 146
10. Ever So True / Ava Peck / Ava Peck / 76 + 68 = 144
11. Game On / Charlotte Harris / Stephanie Harris / 77 + 42 = 119
12. October Hill’s Cuatro / Amelia Thames / Meghann Harmon / 75 + 35 = 110

Heldorado Hails Victory in High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic

The rain cleared away in perfect timing for the $7,500 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic Sunday afternoon. With 36 entries over Cedric Longis’ (FRA) course, only three managed to jump clear. In an immediate jump-off format, it was Virginia Bonnie and Nina Bonnie’s Heldorado who ultimately claimed the only double-clear effort for the win.

Virginia Bonnie and Heldorado. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Bonnie didn’t have the advantage of knowing how many pairs would jump clear after her, so she tried to pull out a few tricks along the way in her jump-off to make sure she had a stake in the game. “I have a really cool horse in Heldorado,” she said of the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Eldorado van de Zeshoek x Quickstar). “He has a massive stride and is also very careful and very much looking for the jumps. We went early enough that we weren’t sure how many would go clear, so I did go for it a little bit. It was nice, forward, and flowing.”

Still a newer partnership, Bonnie is learning to test the gears and getting to know her partner of only a few months. “I’ve only had him since the beginning of WEF so we’ve been growing a lot together,” she continued. “It’s been really rewarding to see how far we’ve come. I’ve loved every minute with him. He’s such an adorable little man.”

Virginia Bonnie and Heldorado. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Bonnie’s time in Traverse City has all led up to the FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC), set to take place during GLEF VI. On that occasion she will show another mount, Efodea, and represent Zone 3, competing for top honors in team and individual competition. While Heldorado is a superstar in the making, she’s had the ride on Efodea longer and knows she’s up for the task of NAYC.

As for the future with Heldorado, Bonnie is taking it one step at a time. “He is an incredibly talented horse,” she continued. “He’s one of the most physically capable that I’ve ever ridden. With that in mind we’ve been spending this time working on the steps in between – the rideability, the turns – and I’d love to begin doing bigger stuff with him. But because we know it’s there, we are not rushing him into anything he’s not ready for. But I’m really proud of him.”

Owen Gajoch and Katmandu L. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Prior to Bonnie’s win, the final section completed their individual final in the Markel/USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships, and medalists were crowned as their event drew to a close in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring. Capping off a fault-free week in the 1.20/1.25m Junior/Amateur section, Owen Gajoch took the gold medal aboard Katmandu L. As the only pair to jump to a zero score over the three days of competition, Gajoch narrowly edged out the silver medalist, Dani Gascoigne and Jasper. In the bronze medal position was Elianna Kirson aboard Hoxynula-N on one single rail.

Final Results: $7,500 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic

1. Heldorado / Virginia Bonnie / Nina Bonnie / 0/0/31.946
2. Callmeback Pontons / Paige Matthies / Paige Matthies / 0/4/32.819
3. Best Of L’Herbage / John Angus / Sigma Stables LLC / 0/4/35,977
4. Aksai Chin VDL / Jami Jensen / Crooked Willow Farms / 1/78.502
5. Adelita / Lola Head / Lola Head / 1/78.902
6. Zenith M / Martina Franco Stephan / Martina Franco Stephan / 4/73.227
7. Coupenote Belmaniere / Katherine Huffstutler / Katherine Huffstutler / 4/74.390
8. Casper / Hannah Hink / Hannah Hink / 4/75.276
9. Claire De Lune M / Emmanuelle Greenberg / Pumpkins Patch Farms II Inc / 4/76.112
10. Fresca / Augusta Iwasaki / Iwasaki & Reilly / 4/76.804
11. Luke Skywalker TD Z / Olivia Welsh / 44th Parallel LLC / 4/76.897
12. Maestro van’t Roosakker / Maggie Hill / Summit Farms LLC / 4/77.277