Skylar Wireman and Tornado Storm to Victory in $50,000 Surf & Turf Grand Prix

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Skylar Wireman and Tornado. Photo by McCool Photography

May 19, 2024 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – In their first competition since April’s Longines FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, Skylar Wireman and Tornado stormed to victory in the $50,000 Surf & Turf Grand Prix at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Wireman and the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding – that she rode into the top 10 of the World Cup Final’s first round – were one of 21 entries to take on the Michel Vaillancourt-designed course on Saturday night, May 18, during the Blenheim EquiSports Surf & Turf Classic. That first-round course narrowed the starting field down to nine for the jump-off, which proved to be a hotly contested race against the clock.

“They intentionally left a jump in the way, so you either had to try to go inside to the last line or you had to go all the way around,” explained Wireman, 19. “Everyone went inside, but it definitely tightened up your track. It made it tighter, so it was really down to the wire as to who was going to get the win because the track was so similar for everybody! I thought [Michel Vaillancourt] did a really good job course designing.”

Skylar Wireman and Tornado were joined in their winning presentation by the team from Blenheim EquiSports. Photo by McCool Photography

When Wireman and Tornado entered the Equidome as the final combination to return for the short course, Kaitlin Campbell and Camille Leblond’s Kaiser van het Lambroeck held the lead with a time of 32.973 seconds. Not far off Campbell’s pace was Camilo Rueda who had stopped the clock in 33.738 seconds with his own Indus van het Keysereyck.

Wireman’s jump-off track closely mirrored Campbell’s, but as Wireman flew over the final white oxer, the crowd erupted into applause as the timers flashed 32.839 seconds – less than two-tenths of a second faster than Campbell but more than enough to take the win. 

“Tornado was awesome,” said Wireman of the gelding she has been partnered with for roughly a year. “He was so good at World Cup, and I just wanted to make sure that he was all good and had a nice, easy class.”

Wireman continued, “I think that horse just has the biggest heart in the world. He just wants to please. He tries his hardest, and he always wants to learn. He tries to soak it all in like a sponge, so it’s a really great characteristic about him. In Riyadh, he learned a lot. Certainly, the jumps were bigger and wider, and now, I feel like I tapped into a whole new horse with him. He came back [from Riyadh] with so much good knowledge and is just jumping even better now. I’m really proud of him.”

Skylar Wireman and Tornado. Photo by McCool Photography

With Wireman taking the win, Campbell was presented with second place and Rueda with third. All three riders were joined in the awards presentation by the staff at Blenheim EquiSports who worked tirelessly to move the Surf & Turf Classic from the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA, to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on short notice.

“I thought Blenheim did a fantastic job putting the show on,” concluded Wireman. “I did the first week, and I was only planning on bringing one horse back the second week. I ended up bringing five back. I was thrilled with the first week and had a lot of fun. The crowd was great. They did such a good job making it special. Everyone showed up from around the city and came to cheer – horse people, non-horse people. I thought they did a really good job, and LA did a really good job with everything.”

Prior to the start of Saturday evening’s grand prix, another kind of four-legged competitors got their turn in the ring, with the Doggie Costume Class, featuring prizes sponsored by Voltaire and CWD. Finishing as the Best in Show – under the discretion of actress, horsewoman and President of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation Stefanie Powers – was Leslie Steele’s Hairy Winston. The show’s smallest riders also took center stage in the Equidome, for the show’s leadline class, sponsored by iJump Sports

Joining the evening’s festivities as the grand prix’s charitable partner was Ride On. With locations in Chatsworth, Newbury Park and Pasadena, CA, Ride On is a therapeutic horsemanship non-profit organization that provides equine-related activities for those with physical and mental disabilities.

For full results of the $50,000 Surf & Turf Classic Grand Prix, click here.

Michelle Parker rode Vivalunaika Blue to victory in the $20,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Open Speed Stake. Photo by McCool Photography

Also earning a major jumper victory during the Surf & Turf Classic were Michelle Parker and Vivalunaika Blue. Parker piloted the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, owned by Cross Creek Farms, Inc, to the win in the $20,000 Markel Open Jumper Speed Stake on Thursday, May 16. Finishing second in the class were Christopher Fellers and Limara, while Parker also took home third aboard Knass B. On hand to present the awards was Brandon Seger of Markel

The entire team at Blenheim EquiSports wishes to thank the staff at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, as well as all of the boarders, local organizations, support staff, exhibitors and sponsors who made the “May in LA” horse shows so memorable and enjoyable! The red carpet was indeed rolled out, making everyone feel like a movie star!

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