Eric Firestone Gallery

denniston_5168_largeMichelle has three very special fans in Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up. Eric and Angie Firestone also live in Tucson, with their daughter Parker (great name!). Angie is a horse lover and has sent her hunter to Cross Creek West in the past for some tuning up.

Angie’s husband Eric is the owner of Eric Firestone Gallery, a wonderful art gallery in Tucson specializing in the exhibition of “comprehensive collections of fine art and furniture from the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. American Modernist and Regional artworks are paired with exceptional examples of American Arts and Crafts furniture, decorative objects and lighting. The gallery, set in two historic Josias Joesler designed adobes, offers visitors a unique sense of a 1930s era Tucson and provides an intimate environment for the ever changing exhibits that have garnered the Eric Firestone Gallery a national reputation.”

During the Tucson Fall Circuit last November, Eric gave Michelle a challenge: Win the grand prix that Sunday and he would give her a painting! Unfortunately for Michelle, a blue ribbon was not in the cards that day, and the generous offer was a thing of the past…

…until a few weeks ago when Eric phoned, having heard about Michelle’s and Socrates’ win at the Arizona Winter Festival on March 8. The offer was renewed, and Michelle is now the proud owner of an original early watercolor by Arizona artist Doug Denniston – a desert landscape to remind her of her roots.

To say we were astounded by this generosity is an understatement. Thank you Eric and Angie for your extraordinary gift!

Breaking News!

michelle_parker_socratesSan Juan Capistrano, California

Another Grand Prix win for Socrates and Michelle Parker! Last night in front of a big crowd at the Oaks Blenheim Spring Classic III, 22 horses and riders competed for $35,000 in prize money over what turned out to be a challenging course set by Olaf Petersen Jr of Muenchen, Germany. Michelle and Socrates went early in the order, laying down the first and what turned out to be the only clean round in the class!

The big grey gelding was unfazed by the crowd, lights and noise in the covered arena that seemed to create issues for the rest of the field and jumped around bravely with his usual power and scope. Michelle rode with a splint on her left hand which is just recovering from a broken bone suffered on the last day of the Arizona Winter Circuit. A big Cross Creek West cheering section was on hand to share in the excitement of the victory!

It appears Grand Prix is Socrates’ favorite class of every horse show, as he has accumulated a record in four horse shows of 2 firsts, a second and a fourth in the big money class!

No pictures and video yet – but you can be sure we’ll update as soon as we get access to more material!


Our First Darchin Foal!

CATNAPEarly this morning we got a call from Laura Walker, Horse Unit manager for the University of Arizona’s Equine Center, announcing the arrival of a lovely chestnut filly out of our Grand Prix jumper Charisma 57 and sired by Darchin (Durango La Silla). We rushed right down to see the new baby ourselves and were thrilled with her size, substance, straight legs and sweet disposition. Of course we went with camera in hand, so here’s the link for an entire album of baby pictures.

Coincidentally, the Horse Unit hosted an open house this afternoon to spread the word about the program and drum up some fund-raising ideas from Tucson horse professionals. We took Carmen there to foal because we had some extended travel plans on the horizon and knew she would be in excellent hands at the Equine Center’s well run facility.


Birthday Week in Tucson!

Foal born March 6, 2009Michelle, Armando Salazar and Katie Rotunno celebrated birthdays this weekend, so cake was enjoyed by all in the barn aisle between classes.  In honor of the horses carrot cake was served, and Davey (jack russell) snuck in a few nibbles when no one was looking!  Meanwhile back at Cross Creek’s Tucson branch (also known as Michelle’s mom’s equine retirement home and baby nursery), the first of a crop of four foals was born Friday night.  Another birthday to add to the weekend!  This little guy is a bay colt, all thoroughbred, very handsome and correct and with a great temperament.

This was the final week of the Arizona Winter Circuit – the barn is packing up the trailer for the drive back to California tomorrow morning.  Lots of nice prizes for all the horses this week. Although he didn’t win the blue like last week, Socrates still was double-clean in the Grand Prix for 4th place, even though Michelle injured her hand earlier in the class and rode the jump-off with what we suspect might be a broken bone.   That’s three Grand Prix classes in a row with double-clear rounds for Socrates, earning a 1st, 2nd and a 4th.  Not a bad start for a new horse!

Some other nice prizes during the week, especially for a couple of horses coming out of mothballs.  CCF Starfish competed in Low and Pre Green hunters and was Reserve Champion in both divisions.  Nouska showed in the Level 5 jumpers with double clean rounds earning two blue ribbons and the Champion rosette.  Reina won a Level 6 class, was 2nd in a Level 7 class, and was Reserve Champion.  In the Friday $5,000 Level 8 Welcome, Socrates placed 2nd and Clever placed 7th.

Photo Gallery Week 6

Video Socrates Grand Prix

Grand Prix Win for Socrates!

Congrats are offered to Michelle Parker and Socrates on their first Grand Prix win togetherHandshake for a job well done!

A terrific day at the Arizona Winter Festival in Tucson for Cross Creek! Socrates won first place in an exciting $25,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix class. Thirty-three competitors fought it out for the big prize, with nine making it into the jump-off. Socrates had the enviable position of last in the jump-off; however several top winning horses and riders were in the line-up taking a good shot at the prize money. Justin Resnik was the first to go double-clean on Copius in a time of 38.514 seconds. Several other top riders had rails trying to beat his time. Finally Michelle’s turn aboard Socrates came – she laid down an efficient and very fast round, taking advantage of her big grey’s gigantic stride to cover ground, and slicing the turns to best advantage. Socrates’ time of 37.286 was more than a full second faster than any other in the jump-off and he galloped away with the blue.  This is only his second horse show with Michelle – last week being the first when he was 2nd in the Sahuaro Classic Grand Prix, also going double-clean. A Grand Prix first and second in two shows is a great way to start off a career – good luck to the two of them in future shows!

Video Socrates Grand Prix Win

HITS AWC5 Press Release 1

HITS AWC5 Press Release 2


Other good prizes for the barn occured Friday in the $5,000 Open Welcome class where Central Park jumped double-clean and fast, ending up 4th, and Clever followed also with a double-clean round only 3/1000ths of a second faster than “Blackie”, scoring 2nd. We don’t know how a 3rd place horse squeezed in between the two of them!

One more week to go in Arizona – temps in the high 80s, lots of sunshine, and hopefully more blue ribbons in store this coming week! Congratulations Michelle and Socrates!

Grand Prix Win

Grand Prix Results – Sahuaro Classic HITS Arizona

Clever.jpgClever claims the red ribbon for Socrates

Cross Creek West’s first week in Tucson has come to a satisifying conclusion.  Michelle had two mounts entered in the Sahuaro Classic’s $25,000 Central Equine Grand Prix and both jumped clean over a stout, tricky course to qualify for the jump off. Out of 28 competing, only six went clean in the first round including Michelle’s pair. CCF’s newest addition, the big grey Westphalian Socrates, went second in the jump off and laid down a fast clean round, showing impressive scope and maneuverability. He was ultimately beat out for the blue by Bjorn Ikast riding the veteran winner Brave Heart by less than 8/100ths of a second!  Socrates was imported from Belgium this past December, clearing quarantine on a miserably rainy Christmas Eve.  This was his first ever show in the U.S.  Thank you, Santa!

Michelle’s second mount Clever was the final competitor in the jump off but unfortunately had the last rail – giving him fourth place as the fastest of the four-faulters in the jump-off. His time was 2/1000ths of a second slower than the winning entry.

HITS 2009 AWC4 Press Release


All in all the horses this week performed admirably.  The young ones made a good showing and gained valuable mileage.  Reina, Sir Jones and Tocayo all moved up in levels.  The weather was on the chilly side to start but today was quite warm with more pleasant weather forecast for the next two weeks.   Be sure to click on the Photo Gallery link to see an assortment of pictures from the past week.

wpid258-cbparker-d700-20090222-tucson002.jpgSocrates and Michelle jump double-clean in the Grand Prix

VIDEO Socrates (better quality, downloadable)

PHOTO Gallery AWC Week 4