Jumping enthusiasts in the county are abuzz about some Olympic expertise that will be making its way to Costa Mesa next month.
Veteran show jumper Melanie Smith, a member of the 1984 Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. Equestrian Team, will hold a horse-and-rider clinic at Newport Farm in Costa Mesa on Oct. 28, 29 and 30. Smith is presently in Seoul, where she will serve as Olympic equestrian commentator for NBC.
This is the first opportunity for many Orange County riders to train with Smith, who was based for many years in Connecticut and recently returned to her home state of Tennessee. She retired from competition last year to concentrate as a course designer, judge and clinician.
Limited space is available in the clinic and the deadline to register is Oct. 10. Participant fee is $100 per day. There will be daily sessions for three divisions: professionals, amateur-junior jumpers and equitation/hunters.
For more information, call Larry Hollahan at (714) 540-0121 or write: Newport Farm, P.O. Box 1136, Costa Mesa, 92628. Newport Farm is located in Barn J at the Orange County Fairground Equestrian Center, Costa Mesa.
Grand time, grand prix: Jumper riders are gearing up for the fifth annual Orange County Arthritis Foundation Grand Prix. The event, which offers $10,000 in prize money, takes place Oct. 16 at The Oaks in San Juan Capistrano.
More than 1,500 people attended the one-day jumping classic last year. Sponsored by Joan Irvine Smith, owner of The Oaks, and her mother, Athalie Clarke, the competition features three major jumping events: a junior-amateur grand prix, a speed derby and the Arthritis Foundation grand prix.
Tickets cost $5 and are available in advance by mail from: Arthritis Foundation Grand Prix, 900 N. Broadway, No. 301, Santa Ana, 92701. VIP admission at $100 per person includes priority seating and a champagne luncheon. For more information, call (714) 547-5591.
Benefit bonanza: To celebrate its 10th anniversary of teaching the disabled to ride, the Orange County Riding Center, a nonprofit organization, will hold a benefit barbecue today. A number of equestrian-related events are planned, including riding and vaulting demonstrations. Disabled children and adults who participate in the center's therapeutic program will stage a horse show.
Last year more than 300 people turned out for the event, according to center director Frances Joswick. Tickets--including a barbecue dinner--are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children. Admission-only tickets are $5.
The festivities, with live country music, are planned from 4 to 7 p.m. The center is located at 26282 Oso Road, San Juan Capistrano, just north of the mission off Camino Capistrano. For more information, call (714) 240-8441.
Happy trails: Those who are hot-to-trot on the trails can sign up now for the annual Caspers Park trail ride and save themselves some money. Cost of the ride is $15 (including lunch), or $25 for those who register after Friday.
The 11th annual trail ride, sponsored by the City of San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Commission and the city's Community Services Department, begins at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 2.
The ride is limited to 200 riders and some rental horses are available for those who register early. Riders may register at the Community Services Department, 31421 La Matanza, San Juan Capistrano, or call (714) 493-5911.
Season finale: This weekend wraps up the four-day Orange County Horse Shows Assn. Championship Show at the Coto de Caza Equestrian Center. Major events include: the OCHSA Medal Finals today at noon, the Toyota Hunter Classic today at 3 p.m., and a $10,000 winner-take-all high jump class Sunday at 3 p.m. There is no charge for spectators.