WILMINGTON, Ohio – Just mere fractions of a second determined the top placings during the first feature class night of Week 12’s Winter in the Midwest indoor horse show circuit at World Equestrian Center.
Fourteen horse and rider combinations took to the Sanctuary Arena to contest the $10,000 WEC Welcome Stake 1.35m. Bobby Murphy of Lexington, Kentucky, designed the winding tracks that allowed eight competitive entries to produce clean first rounds. Six riders went double clear rounds, but it was Nicole Loochtan and Caiman des Sequoias (Radco d’ Houtveld x Sublime de la Cour) that scored the big win.
Loochtan of Stone Creek Stables in Georgetown, Kentucky, and Caiman des Sequoias were the second distinguished jumper pair to contest the Welcome Stake. Loochtan and the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were all business, being sure to leave all the rails up and post a time of 71.563 seconds, well within the 77-second allowed time.
They immediately caught their breath before tackling the short course, where they proved to quickly set the pace for the remainder of entries. Loochtan and her partner of four years sped through the winding track, easily maneuvering through tight inside turns and galloping to cross the timers in just 35.170 seconds to ultimately take home the blue.
“From jump 4AB to jump 6 in the jump-off, he was able to gallop and then make a very quick turn back. I also got lucky on the last two jumps because we were a little deep, which helped our time. I know this horse like the back of my hand – we’ve been together for four years now and he is just the best. He’s perfect. He can be kind of spicy and he has a short stride so you’re able to make things work.”
Former Welcome Stake winners Megan Bash and her own Jackson VDL (Zirocco Blue VDL x Design O) were hot on Loochtan’s trail. Bash of Cleveland Equestrian in Novelty, Ohio, and the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding are a new force to be reckoned with in the jumper arena. The duo went shortly after Loochtan, posting a time of 71.704 seconds in round one, and then directly went clean to produce a jump-off effort that stopped the clock at 35.480 seconds to land the second place spot by only a fraction.
Third place honors went to Chloe Parker of Canada and Cornet’s Lady (Cornet’s Stern x Candela II) Parker and the 2011 Oldenburg mare went double clear, turning out times of 70.936 and 36.278 seconds to win the yellow ribbon.
$10,000 WEC Wilmington Welcome Stake 1.35m Results:
- Caiman des Sequoias, Nichole Loochtan: 0 | 0 | 35.170
- Jackson VDL, Megan Bash: 0 | 0 | 35.480
- Cornet’s Lady, Chloe Parker: 0 | 0 | 36.278
- Esra, Paul Halpern: 0 | 0 | 36.550
- Isla La Palma, Devin M. Milan: 0 | 0 | 36.957
- Kinsella, Charlotte Clark: 0 | 0 | 37.486
- Cinna HP, Brian C. Shook” 0 | 4 | 38.512
- Goblin, Nicole Loochtan: 0 | 4 | 47.142
- Everychin De Muze, Ashley Hartman: 6 | 78.173
- Light Show, Lani Hutchison: 8 | 68.323
Photos courtesy of Winslow Photography