Wilmington, OH – Spectators and exhibitors congregated at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington on Saturday afternoon to watch top-level athletes challenge the $50,000 WEC Grand Prix. Renowned course designer, Bobby Murphy (USA) crafted the grand prix tracks for 19 top-level starters. Ultimately, young professional Darby Pease (USA) prevailed, securing her first ever grand prix victory aboard Carel Van Donderen (Acolino x Terania Die Hoeghte).
Of the 19 horse-and-rider combinations, an even eight managed to jump clean in the first round and five yielded a double clean effort.
Sean Jobin (CAN) and Foxridge Farms Stables’ Cuba Libre V (Cornet Obolensky x Grace) were the first pair to return to the jump-off but fell victim to an unfortunate rail at the R+L vertical.
Natalie Thornell and Loveland Equine Investment’s Snow White (Clinton x Jung Laguna) followed Jobin. Thornell and the 13-year-old Westphalian mare soared through the jump-off course, taking tidy inside turns to stop the clock at 37.892 seconds, which ultimately earned the pair third place.
Nicole Lootchan and her own Goblin (Baltic VDL x Catascha Z) entered the Sanctuary Arena next, producing an efficient jump-off in 38.652 seconds which landed the pair in fourth place.
Fourth to return was Cassandra Orpen and Ultimately Cooley (O.B.O.S Quality x Tiamo Diamant), but the pair had an unfortunate rail. Hillary Johnson and her own Eastpoint (Cardento x Jorlanda) managed to find a clear round in 40.648 seconds, which resulted in the fifth place.
Kady Abrahamson and Abrahamson Equestrian LLC’s Maraca LS LA Silla (Quintero LA Silla x Marimba La Silla) also incurred an unfortunate rail, but had a quick time of 37.253 seconds, for a seventh place finish.
Last week’s winner, Santiago Lambre (BRA) and his own Cetano Van Aspergem Z (Altamira Z x Clinton) were the second-to-last pair to return for jump-off. Lambre and the 13-year-old Zangershiede gelding soared around the course, flying across the ground and clearing the fences in 36.715 seconds.
Victory seemed to be sealed, until Darby Pease and Carel Van Donderen entered the arena. Pease and the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding took off at the sound of the buzzard.
“I had one simple plan, go as fast as I possibly could and hope my horse wouldn’t knock any jumps down in the process,” laughed Pease. “I did have an advantage to the R+L vertical. It walked an eight in the first round, but Carel has a bit of a left drift, so I rode the seven initially. So, in the jump-off I knew exactly how the seven rode and it came up perfectly.”
The pair flew through the remainder of the course, not tipping a single rail to stop the jump-off clock at 34.553 seconds.
Pease shared her thoughts about her first grand prix victory, “I am still in shock. While I was riding the short course all I thought to myself was ‘go faster and don’t touch the reins.’ There were so many talented riders tonight, so I knew winning was going to be a longshot, but that wasn’t going to stop be from trying. It also means so much to have my first grand prix victory at WEC. I have been showing here for three or four years now, and I barley go anywhere else. The staff, TJ and everyone here has become a second family to me, so it means so much to take my first big victory here.”
Carel Van Donderen is a new partner for Pease, “I have been riding Carel since February. We originally bought him to be a lease horse, but we found that he was a bit quirky in the schooling ring and at that point I had already fallen in love with him. My grandmother ended up buying him for me and I have been showing him ever since.”
World Equestrian Center – Wilmington’s General Manager TJ Campbell commented on this afternoon’s class, “I think that Bobby Murphy had a well-designed course. There were many new elements out there that made the track challlenging for everyone. We had a great field of riders come out to play today and it made for a very competitive jump-off. We are excited to see Darby Pease take her first ever grand prix win here at WEC. Darby is a very loyal WEC exhibitor are we are excited that she gets to add a $50,000 victory to her list of accomplishments. At the end of the evening, I think everyone rode to the best of their abilities and we couldn’t have asked for a better class.”
The additional Vitalize® Blazin’ Fastest Four-Faulter Award was secured by Santiago Lambre for the second week in a row. This time he claimed the award aboard The Diamant Rose Z.
$50,000 WEC Grand Prix Results:
1 Carel Van Donderen, Darby Pease (USA), Louisa Robb: 0 | 0 | 34.553
2 Cetano Van Aspergem Z, Santiago Lambre (BRA), Santiago Lambre: 0 | 0 | 36.715
3 Snow White, Natalie Thornell (USA), Loveland Equine Investments: 0 | 0 | 37.893
4 Goblin, Nicole Loochtan (USA) Nicole Loochtan: 0 | 0 | 38.652
5 Eastpoint, Hillary Johnson (USA), Hillary Johnson: 0 | 0 | 40.648
6 Cuba Libre V, Sean Jobin (CAN), Foxridge Farms Stables: 0 | 4 | 36.771
7 Maraca LS LA Silla, Kady Abrahamson (USA), Abrahamson Equestrian LLC: 0 | 4 | 37.253
8 Ultimately Cooley, Cassandra Orpen Orpen Horses: 0 | 4 | 39.229
9 The Diamant Rose Z, Santiago Lambre (BRA), Saniago Lambre: 4 | 68.610
10 G-Star, Loic Cannaert, Orpen Horses: 4 | 72.401
Back-to-Back Wins for Richard Rinehart in the $10,000 WEC Futures Prix
Earlier this afternoon, thirteen starters competed in the $10,000 WEC Futures Prix. Bobby Murphy (USA) designed the inviting tracks where nine entries found the path to a clear first round. It was a race to the top, with the lead switched out numerous times, but at the end of the class it was last week’s winner, Richard Rinehart who snagged the fastest time aboard his Ron Caraway’s Vincent (Van Gogh x Nirande).
Rinehart and the ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding were the second-to-last pair to vie for the top prize in the class. The pair navigated a seamless first round in 75.504 seconds.
Rinehart spoke about Vincent, “He’s an incredible horse owned by Ron Caraway. He has had some great ribbons in the grands prix, so this was a bit of a class drop for him. I was very proud of Vincent today, he put forth a great effort. He was third in last week’s class, so he was due for a win.”
Rinehart and Vincent advanced straight to the short course, “I decided to pass on the inside turn to the double combination. Vincent is very careful and doesn’t like to jump combiantions off the short turn, so my plan was to have a solid foot speed around the course.”
“I left out a stride in the first, second and third line. I tried to be as efficient as I could everywhere and use his step to my advantage. The last jump could have come up a bit better, but Vincent made a really nice effort there,” Rinehart shared.
The pair flew through the jump-off timers in 35.679 seconds for the blue ribbon.
Rinehart had some tough competition in today’s class, “My son Luke was very fast. That was the first time we’ve shown together for money, and he put in a really great round,” Rinehart said. “I am so thankful for Ron Caraway, the staff at the barn and my family. We have a great atmosphere at the barn and it’s always great to have everyone cheering us on.”
Annalice Weithofer and her own Trig Happy Wind Van Het Eikenhof (Cupido Van Het Eikenhof x Aphrodite Van De Kolmen) snagged the second place spot on the leaderboard. Weithofer and the 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding delivered a smooth first round in 77.883 seconds. The pair jumped-off immediately, walking down each line to stop the jump-off clock at 39.867 seconds.
Just behind Weithofer and Trig Happy Wind Van Het Eikenhof was Jonathan Cohen and his own Lander (Ustinov x Owarla). Cohen and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding found a smooth first round in an efficient 75.051 seconds, well under the time allowed of 83 seconds. The pair advanced to the jump-off, galloping around the tracks in 39.933 seconds to secure third place.
$10,000 WEC Futures Prix Results:
1 Vincent, Richard Rinehart, Ron Caraway: 0 | 0 | 35.679
2 Trig Happy Wind Van Het Eikenhof, Annalice Weithofer, Annalice Weithofer: 0 | 0 | 39.867
3 Lander, Jonathan Cohen, Jonathan Cohen: 0 | 0 | 39.933
4 Jazil Du Houssoit, Kady Abrahamson, Abrahamson Equestrian LLC: 0 | 0 | 40.087
5 Captain America, Luke Rinehart, Catherine Rinehart: 0 | 0 | 40.222
6 Engaye D’Amaury, Sean Jobin, Antrim Equestrian: 0 | 0 | 41.394
7 Joberlina VG, Natalie Thornell, Loveland Equine Investments: 0 | 0 | 44. 865
8 Okky-Blue-S, Loic Cannaert, Halo Capital: 0 | 4 | 39.706
9 Mr Miller, Diana Conlon, Diana Conlon: 0 | 4 | 43.923
10 Kamorka S, Darby Pease, Darby Pease: 4 | 72. 802