Haness Stays Spectacular with Golden Road in $100,000 USHJA WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular

Thermal, Calif.—March 18, 2024—Continuing his World Championship Hunter Rider reign, Nick Haness added a third consecutive $100,000 USHJA WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular win to his résumé, this time aboard Golden Road. The pair's two-round average of 93.25 secured the lead on Friday, March 15, at Desert International Horse Park, just a few weeks after the Temecula, California, rider topped the $100,000 USHJA WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.

Back in his home state of California to defend his West Coast title, the pressure was on for Haness and his three mounts in the day's highlight class. Balmoral's Golden Road took the early lead with a 92 in the Classic Hunter Style round designed by Meghan Rawlins, 2023 WCHR Course Designer of the Year. Cavaletto Loma Z, owned by West Coast Equine Partners LLC, and Estimated Prophet, owned by Roaring Fork Farms LLC, sat in third and fourth with scores of 88.875 and 88.5, respectively. Only Michael Dennehy and Dana Vollbracht's Hulla-Ballou separated Haness's mounts on the leaderboard, holding on to the second spot with a 90.

Returning under the lights for the Playoff Handy Round, Golden Road wowed judges Jeanne Marie Dunford-Miller, Lynn Forgione, William Sparks, and Steve Wall. Haness piloted the gelding to a 94.50, effectively securing the title with a two-round average of 93.25. 

“I am on cloud nine right now. I’m honestly just thrilled," said Haness. "There’s just a great amount of excitement around this horse right now. He’s by far the most inexperienced horse on my roster, and the newest to this environment in the Hunter ring, so for him to come into this class tonight and win it under the lights with this much pressure is just incredible.”

“Winning this class ever in your career is amazing. It’s what dreams are made of. It’s honestly what you wake up in the morning and strive to one day achieve, and for me, my whole life I have dreamed about being in this moment and this spot in my life. I’m so blessed and fortunate to be here. Winning four of these Spectaculars now in my career doesn’t seem real but I’m very grateful," Haness said of his string of WCHR wins. "I work really hard and I love my horses. I take a lot of pride in them and their performances, so to win another one tonight is just an incredible feeling.”

For their win, the pair took home $30,000 in prize money as well as a custom WCHR jacket, picture frame, and cooler.


Dennehy, of Littleton, Colorado, and Hulla-Balou held on to their second-place spot through the end with a final average of 89.50. Wellington, Florida, native Geoffrey Hesslink, who also made the trip from the East Coast, rounded out the top three with Shadowfax Equestrian LLC's Monarchy and a final score of 88.50.

The final WCHR Spectacular of 2024—the $100,000 WCHR Central Hunter Spectacular—will be held on Saturday, June 22 during week three of the Traverse City Spring Horse Show in Williamsburg, Michigan.

The USHJA sends special thanks to the entire Desert International Horse Park team for hosting the Spectacular; to Official Sponsors CWD, Nutrena, and Parlanti; and Supporting Sponsor Essex Classics.

For more information about the USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Program, visit ushja.org/WCHR.

$100,000 USHJA WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular Results

Horse, Rider, Owner
Round 1 Avg. | Round 2 Avg. | Final Score

1. Golden Road, Nick Haness, Balmoral
92 | 94.50 | 93.25

2. Hulla-Balou, Michael Dennehy, Dana Vollbracht
90 | 89 | 89.50

3. Monarchy, Geoffrey Hesslink, Shadowfax Equestrian LLC
88 | 89 | 88.50

4. Estimated Prophet, Nick Haness, Roaring Fork Farms LLC
88.50 | 88.50 | 88.50

5. Belico Royal, Nicole Bourgeois, Peyton Broll
86.75 | 89.50 | 88.13

6. Oslo, Joie Gatlin, Alexis Meadows
87.75 | 86.25 | 87

7. Kanndarco, Matthew Sereni, Thomas Dias
84.75 | 87.50 | 86.13

8. Simply Spectacular, Skylar Wireman, Kate Parker
83.75 | 88 | 85.88

9. Barman Des Ponts, Jenny Karazissis, Madison Wu
84.50 | 86 | 85.25

10. Wayfinder, Nicole Bourgeois, Hilary Sosne
85 | 85.25 | 85.13

11. Salito 13, Jamie Sailor, Tricia Berman
84.375 | 84 | 84.19

12. Cavaletto Loma Z, Nick Haness, West Coast Equine Partners, LLC
88.875 | 79 | 83.94

Photos: High Desert Sport Photo