West Coast Waldenbrook Farm Reins Supreme at East Coast Capital Challenge

Waldenbrook Farm, owned by John French of Gilroy, CA, brought home multiple wins after the Capital Challenge Horse Show. Just two client horses, Vida Blue and Tache Rouge, flew out from CaliforniaWaldenbrook Farm, owned by John French of Gilroy, CA, brought home multiple wins after the Capital Challenge Horse Show. Just two client horses, Vida Blue and Tache Rouge, flew out from California

Story originally posted by Horsecity.com Staff

Waldenbrook Farm, owned by John French of Gilroy, CA, brought home multiple wins after the Capital Challenge Horse Show. Just two client horses, Vida Blue and Tache Rouge, flew out from California to compete and certainly made their mark in numerous Hunter divisions, including 1st Year Green, 2nd Year Green, Amateur-Owner Hunters, Junior Hunters and elite Capital Challenge classic classes.

John French rode Tache Rouge, owned by Alison Bailey, to a Reserve Championship in the 1st Year Green Working Hunter, Section A division. In a competitive field of 33 top horses, the pair garnered a blue ribbon in the first over fences class as well as the hunter stake class. Shown in the Large Junior Hunter Division by owner Alison Bailey, Tache Rouge garnered yet another Reserve Championship. Not an easy feat, this division had 29 top notch participants.

"Tache Rouge was still green for this Indoor show, he really rose to the occasion. He needed to win the stake class in both the First Year and the Juniors to earn the Reserve Championships and he did," trainer and rider John French explained.

Lesley Bulechek’s Vida Blue also won numerous top ribbons in the 2nd Year division with John French aboard. When owner Bulecheck rode, the pair was Reserve Champion in the very competitive Amateur Owner Hunters 18-35 Division. Against some of the East Coast’s best hunters, Vida Blue placed first and second in two of the over fences classes, as well as third in the under saddle class. The victorious pair also captured the World Champion Hunter Rider $2,500 Amateur Owner Challenge. With the winning score of 84, Bulechek and Vida Blue beat outstanding horses from both coasts including Betty Oare’s Madison and Ashley Dennehy’s Burberry.

French said, "After showing in two divisions, we weren’t sure if we should enter the Challenge. But I just had this feeling that we should go for it. When Lesley won it was a great ending to an already great show."

French’s natural talent and ability to tackle any riding challenge he strives for is apparent with the many victories he’s achieved over the years. He again proved why at the Capital Challenge Horse Show winning the $15,000 World Champion Hunter Rider Professional Challenge. To earn a chance to compete, the professionals had to be top four point earners at this show plus in WCHR standings and championships in ’05 and ’06. An impressive group of pros including John French, Peter Pletcher, Scott Stewart and Louise Serio each rode four hunter courses, including a handy hunter course, aboard four different generously-donated, quality hunters. Sitting second going into the final round, French guided Intuition through the difficult handy course with ease and grace earning a score of 89.33 and the win, edging out Pletcher by just under two-tenths of a point.

"It was remarkable how all week long certain wins needed to happen to create these results. I owe a big thank you to Archie Cox and Lucy Davis for lending me Harmony. It was the ribbon I won on that wonderfully rhythmic horse that gave me the opportunity and confidence to compete in the Challenge." French went on, "Luckily I do well under pressure and Intuition was my type of ride, quiet hand, quiet leg. I thought ‘This is the horse, now is my chance and I’m going to go for it.’ And once again it all worked out."

Maryland is home for French, he grew up riding along with Oliver Kennedy, co-manager of the prestigious Capital Challenge Horse Show. After a serendipitous opportunity to start a business on the West Coast, French moved 18 years ago but loves to come home to compete. With his parents in the audience and the chance to see old friends from childhood, French had a wonderful homecoming. With outstanding success at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, Waldenbrook Farm will now be competing for wins back on West Coast at the NorCal Finals in Sacramento and again in the East at the Pennsylvania National and Washington International Horse Shows. Waldenbrook Farm would like to acknowledge their sponsors, Ariat, CWD, Purina Mills, LLC and Equitex for all of their support. For more information please visit www.WaldenbrookFarm.com.