The ladies stole the show this afternoon, claiming the top seven spots in the World Equestrian Center $25,000 Grand Prix and the top four spots in the $7,500 and the Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design. The winners of both classes were first in the order and held their leads throughout the entirety of the class, proving who runs the World (Equestrian Center)? Girls!
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix
This afternoon’s $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix hosted a hyper-competitive field of 18 entries vying for the win over a technical course designed by Tucker Williams of Ocala, Florida. The track featured a triple bar, three one-stride combinations and adjustable bending lines. Four entries advanced to the jump-off, but it was Nicole Loochtan and her own Caiman des Sequoias (Radco d’ Houtveld x Sublime de la Cour) that jumped double clear for the win.
Loochtan and Caiman des Sequoias were first to contest the Grand Prix course. The pair regularly take top placings in 1.20m-1.35m jumper classes, but had yet to secure a Grand Prix victory. Loochtan and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were quiet and careful in the first round, making sure to leave all rails up in a time of 80.108 seconds, still well within the time allowed of 84 seconds.
Loochtan held the only clear round until late in the order when Summer Hill and Diane Masters’ Light Show (Quasimodo Z x Predente) took to the course. The pair earned a sixth place finish in the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix just four weeks ago and returned to the Sanctuary Arena this afternoon ready to compete. Hill and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding also took a controlled approach to the first round, jumping clear in a time of 83.904 seconds and securing a spot in the jump-off.
Next in the ring were Kelley Robinson and her own Lise. The pair took second place in Thursday’s $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m, signaling that they would be strong competitors in the Grand Prix. This afternoon, Robinson and her fiery grey mount were quick in the first round, leaving all rails up in a time of 78.120 seconds.
The ring was refreshed and four entries returned for the jump-off. Loochtan and Caiman des Sequoias were first in the order. The pair increased their speed from the first round and took inside turns to fences 5, 8, 9 and 3a. Loochtan and her bay gelding galloped through the timers with all the rails up at 45.714 seconds, setting the time to beat. Next to contest the short course was Hill and Light Show. The pair had the pace to take the lead, stopping the clock at 43.682 seconds, but had one unfortunate rail at fence 8, moving them into second place. Robinson and Lise were also quick, crossing the timers at 44.980 seconds, but had one unlucky rail at fence 3a which landed them in third place.
Best friends Loochtan and Hill entered the ring together for the awards presentation and shared a high five before taking a side-by-side victory lap around the arena.
Loochtan of Stone Creek Stables in Lexington, Kentucky stuck around after the awards presentation to chat with us about her win, “This is my first ever Grand Prix win! I thought the course was really good. I was first to go, which is sometimes good so you don’t watch anyone and you stick to your plan. My horse jumped incredibly well. This is only his second Grand Prix since July.”
When asked about Caiman des Sequoias, Loochtan replied, “He’s 12 and I’ve owned him for a little over two years. He’s jumped up to the 3 Star level with Sharn Wordley. He’s the best horse that anyone could sit on; he does not let you down. I’m more excited about this win for him than I am for myself. He’s a dream horse!”
When asked about her friendship with Hill, Loochtan smiled, “Summer is my absolute best friend, so I’m delighted for her this afternoon, too.”
Loochtan added, “I’d also like to thank my groom, Paulo. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this.”
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix Results
- Caiman des Sequoias, Nicole Loochtan – 0 | 0 | 45.714
- Light Show, Summer Hill – 0 | 4 | 43.682
- Lise, Kelley Robinson – 0 | 4 | 44.980
- Rivale Du Barquet, Isabel Harbour – 0 | 8 | 46.175
- Balou Moon BHF, Hanna Toering – 4 | 76.600
- Geronimo 132, Sandra Zimmerli – 4 | 77.545
- Lasco 29, Summer Hill – 4 | 79.183
- Catch A Star HSS, Kevin McCarthy – 4 | 79.417
- Famoso D’IVE Z, Nicole Loochtan – 4 | 81.216
- Cronos L, Sam Pegg – 4 | 82.235
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m
The $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design saw 16 entries over a similar course to that of the Grand Prix, which also featured a triple bar, three one-stride combinations and adjustable bending lines. Seven entries made it to the short course, but it was Alexis Bodo and Eye Candy Jumpers’ Colton Playtime (Dokkum de Rialfo x Colton Maelstrom) who took the win.
Bodo and Colton Playtime were first in the order of go in this afternoon’s Futures Prix. The pair often takes blue ribbons in 1.30m jumper classes, preparing them well for this afternoon’s class. Bodo and the nine-year-old Warmblood gelding blazed through the first round clear in 75.101 seconds, well under the time allowed of 81 seconds. They continued straight to the jump-off of the Table II 2b event, keeping their pace and hugging the inside turns to fences 3, 6, 9 and 10 and galloping through the timers at 39.439 second. Their time would prove unbeatable for the remainder of the class.
Isabel Harbour and IMH Equine, LLC’s Coffey were hot on Bodo’s trail. The pair earned a sixth place finish in last week’s Futures Prix and were determined to earn a top placing this afternoon. Harbour and the nine-year-old Warmblood gelding took a quieter approach to the first round, making sure to leave all rails up in a time of 79.699 seconds. They advanced straight to the jump-off, picking up speed and mimicking Bodo’s inside turns. Harbour and the bay gelding left all rails up in a time of 42.887 seconds, moving them into second place.
Lauren DiTallo and Scott Durchslag’s Zero Gravity (Verdi x Releva) were not far behind Harbour. DiTallo and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding were quick and clear in the first round in a time of 76.852 seconds and continued straight to the jump-off. They managed a second clear round in 43.010 seconds, sliding into third place.
Bodo of Coronation Farm in Antioch, Illinois took a moment to chat with us ringside about her win, “The course was long and set pretty technical with a lot of square oxers out of the turns and a couple of places that presented options, but I thought it rode nicely. The last jump caught a few people because the line was set between a seven or an eight. My horse happens to be little, so I have a little bit of an advantage. He was super careful. We actually call him the flying squirrel!”
Bodo also added, “We love coming to World Equestrian Center and we love the courses here. It’s such a nice place to be.”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m Results
- Colton Playtime, Alexis Bodo – 0 | 0 | 39.439
- Coffey, Isabel Harbour – 0 | 0 | 42.887
- Zero Gravity, Lauren DiTallo – 0 | 0 | 43.010
- Valor, Isabel Harbour – 0 | 0 | 44.997
- Shaia de Macheco, Sam Pegg – 0 | 4 | 37.798
- Fawkes, Lindsay Lyden – 0 | 4 | 37.805
- Alfie Z, Payton Beerbower – 0 | 4 | 39.068
- Captain Jack Sparrow H, Michael Kocher – 2 | 82.689
- Hayden, Shelly Zimmerli – 4 | 72.054
- Honfleur, Michael Kocher – 4 | 74.078
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.