Facility News and Events

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2017 Show / Event Schedule 

Mar 25-26: Dresssage Show
Apr 22-23: Mozart Memorial Vaulting Show
Jun 10-11: Dressage Show
July 22-23: Dressage Show
Aug 12-13: Dressage Show
Sept 2-3: Dressage Show
Oct 14-15: Dressage Show (Breast Cancer Awareness - Think Pink!)  

 Facility News:

Facility Hours - 7am-9pm
Office #: (805) 523-9500
Spirit is a Non-Smoking Facility
Round Pen Schedule (effective 10/29/16)
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Emergency Contacts (mobile numbers):
Roger: (805) 795-2988 Facility
Alden: (805) 305-0319 Office
Richard: (626) 437-4046
Marie: (626) 688-3285

Show Manager/Secretary:  
Patty Littman 
(818) 584-5436 


KWPN-NA Report from the Road

On Thursday, September 12, 2013 the KWPN-NA Keuring was held at Spirit Equestrians with hosts Shannon DeBuiser and Kimberlee Von Disterlo of Kimberlee Farms.  Guest Jury members Bart Henstra and Lana Sneddon evaluated mares, foals, and future sport hopefuls alike.  Below is text from the Jury's Report from the Road. Click on the images below to see the full PDF report complete with pictures or read below.




Written by Bart Henstra and Lana Sneddon

Spirit Equestrian – Somis, CA
September 12, 2013 Host: Shannon de Buiser and Kimberlee von Disterlo Jury: Bart Henstra from the Netherlands and Lana Sneddon from Indiana.

Today we started the keuring at Spirit Equestrian, a very large facility that is well equipped. Hosts Shannon and Kimberlee were very busy both presenting horses and organizing the keuring.

The best young jumper of the keuring went to the feminine Gisela KF (Zapatero VDL x Zadira ster by Great Pleasure, owned and bred by Kimberlee von Disterlo of Kimberlee Farms). This correctly built elegant filly is well proportioned and showed a lot of expression. Gisela KF excelled when she free jumped in the Claybrook Farms Cup. She showed a good overview with a very powerful, extremely quick and upward take-off. Gisela KF seems to be really careful and jumps with good technique and athletic scope which earned her the new high score in the Claybrook Farms Cup of 84.5!

Elation KF a son of Great Pleasure (out of Raise Your Wings xx by Present Value xx, also owned/ bred by Kim von Disterlo) earned the high scoring adult hunter ribbon. What we liked best about Elation KF was his balanced body. He has a well-muscled topline and shows good length of stride in his trot and canter. His jumping was sometimes a bit quick for a hunter, but he showed good technique and scope.

The long-legged son of Popeye-K, First Mate KF (Zadira ster by Great Pleasure, owned/bred by Kim von Disterlo) is a half sibling to Gisela KF. He shows good expression, has a well-shaped neck with good withers and shoulders but his croup is sloping and could be longer. He has good hunter reflexes and he is somewhat stretched in the front leg. He shows sufficient body use over the fences. 

The uphill built UB 40 son, Fait Accompli MMW (out of the elite Vivanta SHB by Sandro Hit, owned by Dantia Benson and bred by Merijane McTalley) was the top adult dressage horse. He has modern dressage conformation, is light-footed and shows good suspension and bending in his legs.
Reports from the Road generally feature first premium or ‘stand-out’ horses.

Also the Idocus crown son, Dempsey (out of Wildegunde by Obelisk, owned/bred by Liz Rothman of Rothman Sporthorses) earned his ster predicate. This gelding has a well-shaped neck with good muscling and a high wither. His straight hind leg showed good bend in his supple movement.

The top young dressage horse was Instant Replay KF (Furstenball x Viola by Emilion keur, o/b Kim von Disterlo). This long-legged, modern, uphill colt had a beautiful neck and topline. When he moved he showed a supple trot with good reach and balance. His carrying canter showed good reach and rhythm earning him the 4th spot in the nation so far.

The well developed and well-muscled colt Impulse MMW (UB 40 x Nelissa ster by G.Ramiro Z pref, owned and bred by Merijane McTalley of McTalley Manor Warmbloods) showed good expression and trotted into 2nd place in this class.

First Premiums

Dressage Foals
Instant Replay KF (Furstenball x Emilion)
Impulse MMW (UB40 x G.Ramiro Z)
Ilsagunde (Scandic x Obelisk)

Hunter Foals
Iverson (Baldev x Vico)
Jumper 2-Year Olds
Gisela KF (Zapatero VDL x Great Pleasure)

Ster and IBOP
Hunter Geldings Elation KF (Great Pleasure x Present Value) - ster
First Mate KF (Popeye-K x Great Pleasure) - ster

Dressage Geldings
Fait Accompli MMW (UB40 x Sandro Hit) - ster
Dempsey (Idocus x Obelisk) - ster

Dressage IBOP
Dujelinda M (Westpoint x Contango) - ster IBOP


These remarks are for a snapshot in the lifetime of these horses. We encourage owners and breeders to attend keurings whenever possible for further evaluation of their horses, their breeding goals and breeding directions.

Written by Bart Henstra and Lana Sneddon
Photos by Lana Sneddon 



Spirit Equestrian Hosts Dressage Event - Olympic Riders Vie for Prizes

Photo: Terry Wall

Spirit Equestrian, Somis, CA.

Sarah C. Shechner at (310) 909-9399 Sarah@SpiritEquestrian.com

Press Release and photos are available at www.spiritequestrian.com

Freestyle Winners: Carly Taylor-Smith on Barbarosso, Sean Cunningham on GBR Midnight Serenade, Amelia Child on Veto and Charlotte Bredahl on Strauss

Charlotte Bredahl: Olympian Charlotte Bredahl accepts her winning ribbon from Spirit Equestrian owners, Richard and Marie Knowles

Photo: Terry Wall
Spirit Equestrian Hosts Dressage Event
Olympic Riders Vie for Prizes

June 9, 2013 - Top equestrians displayed their talents Saturday night, riding to music in the FEI and USDF Freestyle Challenges in Dressage, where $4,000 was awarded in prizes.  

Spirit Equestrian, located in Ventura County’s Somis, California, hosted the Dressage Freestyle competition on Saturday, June 8th. Over one hundred spectators watched the exciting event as eleven riders on fourteen different horses vied for the top awards. It is rare for one show to host over three hours of freestyle challenges.

Olympian Charlotte Bredahl took first place honors riding Strauss, a 12 year old Dutch Warmblood at the Grand Prix Level in the FEI competition. The duo put on a stunning performance, thrilling the enthusiastic crowd. “I was very excited when I heard about the Freestyle Challenge at Spirit and decided to put a freestyle together just for this event”, Bredahl said.

Amelia Child on Veto placed second. Nicole Houghton on Violaan and Karen Cornelius on Dimer Fan Lutke placed third and fourth respectively.

Carly Taylor-Smith won first place in the USDF Freestyle competition at Third Level riding Barbarosso, a 5 year old Hanoverian. Sean Cunningham riding GBR Midnight Serenade placed second. Sean also won third and fourth place riding Greentree Ever Reddi and GBR Major Star respectively.

High Point winners for Saturday morning’s competition were Olympian Hilda Gurney (FEI), April Atwell (Open), Susan Randall-Knipe (Adult Amateur) and Ruby Krull (Junior/Young Rider). The show continued on Sunday with High Point winners Christine Ekstrand (FEI), Lars Holmberg (Open), Susan Williams (Adult Amateur), Ruby Krull (Junior/Young Rider) and Sean Cunningham (Freestyle).

Spirit Equestrian, Eurofit and Dressage Extensions of Moorpark, California sponsored the prizes. Patty Littmann of Barronsgate Events organized the event, and Rancho Ventavo Cellars sponsored a wine and cheese party before Saturday night’s Freestyles. Equestrian vendors showcased their products and services including lectures on saddle fitting by Zsu Zsu Illes and equine nutrition by Suzie Middlebrook of Cavalor.

Spirit Equestrian is a training and boarding facility in Somis known for its exceptional arenas and features top-notch dressage and hunter/jumper trainers. Dressage competitors travelled from all over California to attend the show. Praising the facility, Gail Alterwitz, who traveled six hours from Las Vegas, Nevada said “The footing is world class and from the moment we arrive we are treated like royalty.” Sean Cunningham concurs on the subject of footing, stating his horses “consistently score several points better when riding on it than at other shows.” Additionally he states “I truly can’t say enough good things about this facility as a dressage show venue, and always feel as if I am a welcomed member of their family every time I pull in the driveway.”


Dressage is a centuries old equestrian discipline where a horse and rider perform a series of specialized movements. Horse and rider make a beautiful pair with the magnificent animals responding attentively to the slightest touch from their human partners. Years of dedicated, patient training are required to reach the high level of performance displayed by competitors at Spirit last Saturday.

The most accomplished horse and rider teams perform FEI tests, written by an international committee called the Fédération Équestre Internationale. The highest level of competition is at the Grand Prix level, ridden in prestigious international competitions, such as the Olympic Games. Other levels are defined by the United States Dressage Federation or USDF.


PDF Versions of this Press Release:
Spirit Equestrian Press Release 6-9-13 

Full Sized Photos by Terry Wall:
Freestyle Winners
Charlotte Bredahl w/Owners Marie & Richard Knowles 


Resident Spirit Trainer Larisa Mantor's Crew has GREAT First 2013 Show!

From Larisa...

"Everyone at Larisa Mantor Dressage extends a huge thank you to our home team Spirit Equestrian, for an incredible show this past weekend. We had such a great time! 
Congrats to Carrie and Dolce first time out at 4th level test 2 received a 68%! Nicole and Violaan first time showing off their FEI Inter1 freestyle and rocked it, receiving a 70.3% and overall freestyle highpoint! Jairo showing Corcovado 1st level receiving a 73% and on Denali a 71%! 
So proud of our riders! What a great start to the show season! 
Photo credit goes to team LMD photography, Karina Rothschild. Thank you!

Click on photos to enlarge!

Jairo & Corcovado

Carrie & Dolce

Nicole & Violaan

Jairo & Corcovado, a 16 year old stallion, calmly walking with the lovely mare Dolce ridden by Carrie

Jairo & Larisa's young prospect Denali in their first ever show!


Russell Morgan featured in Equine & Canine News

Spirit Equestrian Hunter/Jumper trainer Russell Morgan was featured in the Winter 2012 issue of Equine and Canine News!  

You can read the full article by Clicking Here.


Spirit Equestrian 2011 Champs!

Spirit Equestrian's riders, owners, and trainers have had a banner year, taking home major Championship titles in several disciplines.

In Dressage, Spirit trainer Barbro Ask-Upmark and her Swedish Warmblood Monterey won the Grand Prix @ Spirit Equestrian August 6-7. Barbro and Monterey were pronounced the 2011 DASC Champions at Grand Prix.  Barbro and Monterey also received the DASC Year End Award for Grand Prix Open.  To top off their amazing year, Monterey was ranked #12 at Grand Prix under the USDF Horse of the Year Awards!

Spirit trainer Kim Kulesa riding Pam Wall's 1995 Oldenburg gelding Lesotho came home with the 2011 DASC Reserve Champion title, also at the Grand Prix Level.  

Kim Kulesa on Lesotho (L) and Barbro Ask-Upmark on Monterey (R) sweep the DASC awards at Grand Prix!

Spirit's Young Rider Georgia Wren-Russ and her Wurttemberg gelding Saphiro took home top honors at the 2011 CDS Jr/YR Championship South, earing the Champion FEI level and the Reserve Champion FEI Young Rider divisions, both with an average of 65%, earning them the coveted Proud and Free Trophy. At the CDS Finals, they were the 2011 CDS Horse of the Year 4th Level Freestyle Reserve Champions with a 65.1%. 

At the USDF Regional Championships in Rancho Murietta, California, Georgia and Saphiro were crowned USDF Prix St. Georges Jr./Young Rider Champions with a 65% and USDF Young Rider Reserve Champions with a 64%.  Georgia and Saphiro were also Champion DASC 2011 4th Level Open Freestyle Champions (65%) and DASC Prix St. Georges Jr./YR Champion(66%). 

The 5 year old Hanoverian Don Vincenzo, owned by Linda Dymon and ridden by Kim Kulesa earned DASC All Breeds Reserve Champion Hanoverian, and individual high point for CDS at First Level with an impressive 81.724%.

Kim Kulesa on Don Vincenzo (L) and Georgia Wren-Russ on Saphiro (R)

Fantasia del C, a 7 year old P.R.E./Andalusian mare bred by Barbara Currie and owned by Spirit's Stable and Administrative Manager Sarah C. Shechner also took home top honors this year both under saddle and in hand.  Fantasia was crowned 2011 National Champion P.R.E. mare, National Champion Spanish Mare (IALHA Specialty), Reserve National Champion Andalusian Mare (IALHA), Champion Sr. Mare (Fiesta of the Spanish Horse), and Champion Mare (ANCCE, Ft. Worth).  In 2011, Fantasia was awarded the highest morphology score of the show under the Spanish judges every single time she was presented.

Fantasia qualified for the USDF Regional Championships by earning Reserve Champion Adult Mare in the Dressage Sport Horse Breeding division. Fantasia earned a second Reserve Champion USDF DSHB title at the IALHA Nationals in Fort Worth, and was also Reserve National Champion Andalusian in Dressage at Training Level.  Fantasia also came home with the Reserve National Champion of Versatility title, competing in 4 different divisions.  

Fantasia del C, two-time PRE National Champion