Harvey, Simpson Honored at CJP Holiday Show

By December 21, 2015
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West Palms Events principal Dale Harvey receives the “Life Changing Partner” award from Junior Posse founder and executive director Mayisha Akbar, for his work wtih the inner-city youth group, which has been “keeping kids on horses and off the streets” since 1988. (Photo: Paula Parisi/TheEquestrian News)

The joint was jumpin’ at the Compton Jr. Posse’s Holiday Horse Show, Saturday, Dec. 19. Ribbons, stockings and the spirit of the season lent a festive air to the proceeds, designed to thank sponsors and supporters for their work throughout the year. The kids who are at the heart of the program put on an exhibition of five classes: Costume, Walk-Trot, Hunters Over Poles and Open Jumpers .90m. Will Simpson, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist, and top junior rider Hannah von Heidegger served as volunteer judges. Victoria Faerber, a trainer at Malibu’s Sycamore Farms and longtime CJP coach, ran the show along with CJP alumnus Nathan Bonner. In all, 21 young riders competed throughout the day.

“We have some excellent people helping us. We couldn’t do any of this without any the support we get from our community throughout the year,” CJP Founder and Executive Director Mayisha Akbar said, thanking her backers before the overflow crowd that convened at the group’s headquarters on Caldwell Street, in the rural Richland Farms area of Compton.

​The event of the day was the .90m speed class.  Won by CJP alum​ Xavier Allison, on Colby. Allison attends Fisk University and plans to ride with the Vanderbuilt team. ​The second-placed Bonner, paired with Cuba,​ attends El Camino College​ and currently is assistant manager for the riding program. CJP’s​ high school  Interscholastic Equestrian League (IEL) rider Shola Oyefeso  placed ​third on Pauli.

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Prize-giving for the .90m Open Class (from left) Second Place rider Nathan Bonner and Cuba, Compton Jr. Posse Board President Louis Hook, judge Hannah von Heidegger, First place Xavier Allison and Colby, judge Will Simpson, Third Place Shola Oyefeso, on Pauli. (Photo: Paula Parisi / The Equestrian News)

Sharing the spotlight was CJP’s newest – and youngest – board member, Nicoletta von Heidegger. Nicoletta ​was a true star – working behind the show scene, making sure things ran smoothly, happily stuffing the CJP riders’ stockings with goodies graciously provided by the Heidegger family.

Two special CJP team members – Simpson and horse show manager Dale – were singled out for special recognition, receiving 2015 Life-Changing Partner Awards.  “This is the first time we’re giving this award, which we created to acknowledge these men for going over and beyond,” Akbar said of Simpson, a CJP board-member, and Harvey, on the CJP advisory board. “They’ve been wonderful – helping the parents, helping the kids, and providing inspiration to us all.”

Harvey, the principal in West Palms Event Management, received his honor “in gratitude for the many doors opened and experiences unlocked,” giving CJP youth “opportunities to participate in activities and adventures that might otherwise have been out of reach.” Simpson, who was part of the Gold show jumping team in Hong Kong, was recognized for his many hours coaching CJP riders, “teaching, mentoring” and “the ability to inspire youth and instill in them the belief in the limitless power of possibilities.”

The Compton Jr. Posse once again, in 2015, provided support and services to 1,500 kids ages eight through 18, keeping them “on horses and off the streets.” Founded in 1988, the group centerpiece is its equine sciences program. Six years ago the CJP launched a program designed to nurture careers in parks and ​forestry. The Naturalist Explorers (formerly the Junior Rangers) certification program involves the study of plants and wildlife, and involves public speaking, camping and outdoor sports. Certified Naturalist Explorers can then apply to become Outdoor Leaders, paid positions within the Santa Monica Mountain Recreation Conservation Authority.

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Volunteer judges Hannah von Heidegger and Will Simpson flank the newest CJP board member, Nicoletta von Heidegger. (Photo: Paula Parisi/The Equestrian News)

Each year, the CJP sends 12 kids through the Naturalist Explorers program, and 16 have moved up to paid apprentice positions. The CJP has also seasonal riding camps, with some slots still available for Winter Camp starting Dec. 26. Parents are advised to register early, as sessions typically fill quickly. The main goal of the CJP is to keep kids in school. Participants must get good grades to remain enrolled in the various programs. “We have 20 kids in colleges across the nation that we’re helping to support,” Akbar said. “It doesn’t matter to us what they major in, but a couple of them will be riding on their school equestrian teams.”

Akbar extended thanks to all the supporters and volunteers, led by title sponsor Daryl Hoffmeyer of Romberg Milling Inc., supplier of feed cubes to the Southland and the nation; and including Calabasas Saddlery, Bright Star Saddlery, DaMoore’s Feed & Tack and Valencia Saddlery, who donated gifts.  Photographers Mark Douglas and Susie Knipe were also singled out for special commendation, as was CJP IEL coach Lisa Wall, of Rancho Rio Verde in Long Beach. The CJP, Akbar noted, is going strong and looking to expand its community support by adding new board members and volunteers. Interested parties are invited to visit www.ComptonJrPosse.org for more information. “For our year-end campaign we urge people to visit our website and sign-up for monthly giving in any amount. Every donation helps,” Akbar noted, “no matter how small.”

Check out the The Equestrian News’ Compton Jr. Posse Holiday Horse Show album on Facebook (and “like” us while you’re there!)

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CJP rider Zoie Brogdon and the group’s IEL coach Victoria Faerber of Sycamore Farms, pose with Cuba. (Photo: Paula Parisi/The Equestrian News)

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Compton Jr. Posse kids revel in the spirit of the holiday…and their ribbons!
(Photo: Paula Parisi/The Equestrian News)

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