Nicole Haunert riding Cocolue. Photo by McCool.

If spending a sunny afternoon watching amazing athletes perform sounds enticing, read on… in less than a month, Olympic level horses and riders will be jumping for big prizes at The Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano, on the corner of La Pata Road and Ortega Highway. A beloved venue for competitors as well as fans, the ocean breezes and gorgeous grass fields are an ideal setting for a picnic in the park, with live equine entertainment, where parking and admission are free!
Blenheim EquiSports has held competitions at the park in San Juan Capistrano for over two decades. Originally owned by Rancho Mission Viejo, the city of San Juan Capistrano generously purchased the property in 2010 so that it could be used as an open space for the community, a gift appreciated by park visitors from near and far. Blenheim ensures that this gift can continue to be enjoyed by all by not charging any admission or parking fees. And in between competitions, you’ll often see people throughout the park, walking their dogs, playing ball, and relishing the wonderful weather.
Families, friends, and fans often line the green fields with chairs and blankets, enjoying the action and socializing as they watch top level equestrian sport. One of the few sports where men and women, both horse and rider, compete equally, the jump-off for the top prize is often a mix of genders, fast-paced, and quite a thrill! After winners are announced at each event, they take a victory gallop past the fans, a highlight for everyone in attendance.
Hosting horse shows in the spring, summer, and fall, the events have offered a pathway to success for many well-known equestrians, including Olympians and World Cup Final athletes, some who started at these shows as young riders and are now professionals, competing and training internationally. With 23 weeks of events throughout the season, 18 in San Juan Capistrano, four in Del Mar and a final event in Las Vegas, Blenheim EquiSports offers competitions to all levels, from kids on ponies to high performance professionals.
In recent years, Blenheim has added even more international level events, drawing a diverse crowd of show jumping stars, from local favorites to foreign competitors. Will Simpson, an Olympic Gold Medalist who lives locally in southern California, often competes in Grand Prix events throughout the season. Rich Fellers, also an Olympian and the 2012 World Cup Jumping Final Champion, brings his barn from Oregon to compete on the grass fields at Blenheim. California-based internationally acclaimed riders such as Keri Potter, Ashlee Bond, Joie Gatlin, Karl Cook, Nicki Shahinian-Simpson, Richard Spooner, John Pearce, and Lane Clarke are just a handful of the many talented show jumping athletes that come to the Blenheim shows to compete.
“Each year, Blenheim EquiSports is proud to host some of the leading competitors from the U.S. and internationally,” said Melissa Brandes, VP of Marketing. “To be able to produce these memorable events in our community, for spectators and competitors alike, is truly an honor.”
Experience is at the core of the Blenheim team, led by U.S. Show Jumping Team Olympic Coach.

Lucy Davis riding Barron. Photo by McCool.

Over the years, they have managed more FEI Championship events than any other equestrian management company in the U.S., including six FEI World Cup Finals, the first U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team Trial on the West Coast, as well as the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in both stadium jumping and dressage.
The path to achieving notoriety at the top level is also an important aspect of what Blenheim EquiSports brings to the sport. For example, The Platinum Performance/US Equestrian Talent Search Finals – West, hosted by Blenheim in the fall, has a long list of riders who earned the title as teens and have gone on to great success, such as Olympic Medalist and three-time World Cup Final winner Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, “Master of Faster” Richard Spooner, and more recently, Sophie Simpson, daughter of international riders Will and Nicki Simpson, who is now an aspiring professional.
After many successful seasons at Blenheim, riders in the hunter discipline of the hunter/jumper niche have also gone on to win the highest accolades in the sport. John French, who has won countless classes on the fields at Blenheim shows, won the inaugural ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. French and Jenny Karazissis, as well as Nick Haness (also a Talent Search Finals – West winner) and the Taylor sisters, Jamie and Katie, have all achieved success nationally, showing that Southern California competitors have what it takes to win in any venue.
Along with multiple competition fields and arenas, the shows also offer unique shopping, food fare, and exceptional VIP options. Parking and admission are free, with plenty of green space for kids to play. Whether sitting hillside with friends or entertaining VIP guests, enjoy the opportunities Blenheim EquiSports provides each season!
The first four show jumping Saturday afternoons of the Spring Series begin on March 21, 2020, with the addition of an international Grand Prix event on Sunday, March 29.
For more information visit: rmvridingparksjc.com, showpark.com and follow Blenheim EquiSports and the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano on Facebook.