Susan Marie Thompson champion at International Jumping Festival: a 28-year dream comes true

By LORI SAVIT

Susan Marie Thompson of Laguna Beach was named Champion for the 2’6” Hunter division at the International Jumping Festival. Thompson won riding Cosette, her own seven year-old Hanoverian mare.  Blenheim Equisports’ International Jumping Festival was held at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, September 16 to 20.

Thompson’s love of horses began as a child. “My parents owned a pony that I enjoyed so much but we didn’t have much opportunity for proper training,” shares Thompson.  “And after I left home, I stopped riding.”

Twenty-eight years later as her son graduated from college, Thompson realized she could finally consider taking up riding again. 

“But I wasn’t going to do it unless I could do it the right way, including regular training by a professional instructor and testing my skills at A-circuit horse shows. That was my dream.

“I started out by arranging to meet with Kristi Frishman at Genuine Farms. After one lesson on their school horse, I was hooked. Nine months and many lessons later, Kristi found Cosette for me,” Thompson said.

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Photo by Captured Moment 

Susan Marie Thompson's Cosette ridden by Trainer Kristi Frishman

“Cosette has a natural talent I could see even when she had very little training under saddle,” adds Frishman. “She is a good quality, safe, excellent-minded mare who is a great match for Susan.”

Cosette’s journey to California was unusual; she was imported from Germany to Canada in her mother’s womb. The horse has a German passport but a Canadian brand, and Frishman found her at a stable in San Juan Capistrano.

“I was thrilled when Cosette became part of our family,” says Thompson. “In the last two years, Kristi has developed both my riding and Cosette’s training, so that we could win regularly. It has been a humbling and amazing journey - a real team effort.”

“As a green horse and novice rider team, Susan and Cosette have had an impressive number of wins,” observes Frishman. “The mare loves to show, and is incredibly consistent in the arena. This has given Susan the confidence to grow quickly as a competitor. Plus having a world-class equestrian riding park nearby has given her the A circuit experience she needs.”

Susan Marie Thompson is not resting on her laurels. She has already set her sights on her next goal with Cosette. Their plan is to move up a division and debut competing on the 3’ Division at the largest winter jumping show on the West Coast at HITS Thermal in January of 2016.

“It’s a big commitment and I am grateful every day,” said Thompson. “Just like living in Laguna Beach, competing with Cosette is a dream come true. I am so fortunate to have an understanding husband, wonderful trainer and talented horse who have worked with me to make this happen.”

Sounds like an experience that’s been worth waiting for.

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