The R+L Arena was packed with entries this afternoon, all vying for top honors in the Open and Non Pro OHJA Hunter Classics. First place finishers in both the Open and Non Pro classes received a beautiful OHJA wool cooler and stunning OHJA ribbons along with a World Equestrian Center branded Yeti Roadie cooler overflowing with goodies including a 2020 World Equestrian Center calendar, a World Equestrian Center Champion crop and leather lead, a World Equestrian Center branded Yeti Tumbler and ball cap, Heidi Boots, Mrs. Pastures Cookies for Horses and a $50 World Equestrian Center gift card. The grooms of the first place horses also received prizes sponsored by World Equestrian Center including an EquiFit backpack, a 2020 World Equestrian Center calendar, a World Equestrian Center Champion leather lead, a World Equestrian Center ball cap, Mrs. Pastures Cookies for Horses, a $50 World Equestrian Center gift card and a $25 Visa gift card.
The course for this afternoon’s Open and Non Pro OHJA Hunter Classics were identical with available heights ranging from 2′-3’6″. Course designer Keith J. Bollotte took time before the class to chat with us about the course for this afternoon’s OHJA Hunter Classics, “Because of the range of heights that are offered in this class, I had to consider all levels of riders that would be competing. I had to ensure that the course was inviting enough for 2′ riders and challenging enough for 3’6″ riders. I have bending lines, straight lines and single fences. It’s a nice, convertible course from the 2′ to the 3’6″. This is such a big ring that you can set a bending six-stride to six-stride on one side and a bending eleven-stride on the other. I have a six-stride and a five-stride on the diagonals as well.” Bollotte also added, “I certainly do appreciate everything that the Roberts and everyone here have done for the sport. It’s fantastic to have a facility like this. I thought it was fantastic twenty five years ago and every time I come back there are more improvements. I’ve designed courses at horse shows in twenty seven different states, so I’ve seen a lot of facilities, and World Equestrian Center is a game changer.”
Open OHJA Hunter Classic
The afternoon kicked off with the Open OHJA Hunter Classic where Michaella Gerlacher, recent recipient of the 2019 EquiJet Leading Young Professional Rider Award, dominated the class taking first, second and fourth with her own Dalliance (Surfside x Champagne Kisses), Chuck Waters’ Shining Hour (Cento x Marie 68) and Ashley Maul’s Cedric Diggory (Lucky Boy x Talita), respectively.
Gerlacher started the class at the top of the order aboard Dalliance, a six year old Selle Luxembourgeios gelding. The pair regularly take top placings in the USHJA Hunter 2’9″, but moved up to the 3′ fences for this afternoon’s class. Gerlacher and the eye-catching chestnut gelding earned a pair of 83 scores for their impressive rounds, setting a standard that would prove unbeatable with a total score of 166.
Shortly after, Gerlacher returned aboard Shining Hour. The nine year old Oldenburg gelding is a new mount to Gerlacher, but has proven successful in the Performance Hunters. This afternoon, the pair opted for the 3′ height, earning scores of 78 and 80 for a total score of 158, easily sliding into second place.
The classes wrapped up with Gerlacher returning to the ring aboard Cedric Diggory. The pair frequent the 1.20m jumpers, but switched it up this afternoon to try their hand in the hunter ring. Gerlacher and the nine year old KWPN gelding took an unlucky rail in the first round, scoring a 45, but made up for it in the second round with a score of 75, which was enough to move them into fourth place.
Gerlacher of True Course Showing and Sales in Galena, Ohio took a moment to chat with us ringside about her mounts in this afternoon’s class, “My first place ride, Dalliance, is one that I’ve trained since the beginning. I brought him to his second horse show and put a lead change on him, so it was pretty cool to see him go out and do this. I went out there and just wanted to give him a confident ride. I wasn’t sure how he would be since he’s pretty green. He’s only done a couple of classes like this and he hasn’t shown in this ring all week, so we just tried it out and he was awesome. He had so much fun.”
When asked about Dalliance’s personality, Gerlacher replied, “He thinks he’s a human. He’s very playful, probably the most animated horse I’ve ever seen. He loves when you lay down with him in his stall.”
Gerlacher also commented on her other two mounts in the class, “My second place ride, Shining Hour, I rode for the first time a few days ago. We just bought him for one of the clients. He’s great. The third horse, Cedric Diggory, is a sale horse that we brought. He’s a lot of fun.”
Gerlacher also added, “Thank you to my whole barn, the horses, clients and my trainer Sarah Ash. Also, my groom this afternoon was my boyfriend Jake Delgreco. He takes amazing care of the horses. I couldn’t do it without him.”
Open OHJA Hunter Classic Results
- Dalliance, Michaella Gerlacher – 83 | 83 | 166
- Shining Hour, Michaella Gerlacher – 78 | 80 | 158
- Harlequin, Angela Moore – 65 | 77 | 142
- Cedric Diggory, Michaella Gerlacher – 45 | 75 | 120
- Venturo, Kristina Egsgard – 73 | 45 | 118
- La Dolce Vita, Alexa Sciortino – 67 | 40 | 107
Non Pro OHJA Hunter Classic
The Non Pro OHJA Hunter Classic followed with entries choosing to jump 2’6″, 3′ and 3’6″. Thirty entries contested the course at their respective height, but it was 3′ entry Madison Weaver and her own Commander B (Casino x Odessa XXXI) that took the blue. Weaver took home a plethora of World Equestrian Center sponsored prizes, as did Commander B’s groom, Elizabeth Russ.
The standard in the class was set early on by Sabrina Hall and her own Vision Quest (Volstrups Casillas x Tingvejgaards Tempo). Vision Quest often competes at the 3’6″ height, but the pair opted for the 3′ height in this afternoon’s class. Hall and the ten year old Danish Warmblood gelding earned scores of 79 and 82 for their lovely rounds for a total score of 161.
Next in the ring was Weaver and Commander B. The nine year old Holsteiner gelding is a new mount for Weaver and the pair chose to compete at 3′ this afternoon. Weaver and the rhythmic grey gelding navigated two foot perfect rounds for scores of 85 and 88, making their total 173 which would easily top the class.
Among the top three finishers was Lilly French and Miami University’s Coriano VDV (Corlando x Platieni VDV). The pair frequent the 3′ hunters and chose to stick with their usual height this afternoon. French and the eleven year old Warmblood gelding earned scores of 80 and 79 for a two-round score of 159, moving into third place.
Weaver who trains with Cindy Petherbridge of Huntsover Farms stuck around after the class to chat with us about her win, “Commander B was very adjustable for me and hunted the distances. He didn’t give me a hard time with anything. He was there for me at every single fence.”
When asked about her history with Dalliance, Weaver replied, “He’s new to me. I’ve had him for less than a month. He hasn’t really done the hunters before; this is his first Hunter Classic. He’s still very green. He’s young and he’s still learning.”
Weaver also gave us some insight into her interests outside of riding, “I’m seventeen years old and I’m from Rochester, Michigan. This is my last year as a Junior. I go to Rochester High School and play other sports including rowing. I’m also a runner. I really enjoy school.”
Non Pro OHJA Hunter Classic Results
- Commander B, Madison Weaver – 85 | 88 | 173
- Vision Quest, Sabrina Hall – 79 | 82 | 161
- Coriano VDV, Lilly French – 80 | 79 | 159
- Aventuur, Shannon Allen – 76.5 | 80 | 156.5
- Yes Indeed, Sydney Walls – 78 | 78 | 156
- Doc Holiday, Madison Fankhauser – 78.5 | 77 | 155.5
- Carthago Delenda EST, Veronica Nappi – 76 | 79 | 155
- Carinus, Abigail Roberts – 79.5 | 75 | 154.5
- Johnny Cash, Virginia Gushee – 77 | 77 | 154
- Cristallo’s Carlchen P, Alivia Kohus – 82 | 47 | 129
Photos courtesy of Winslow Photography.