Wilmington, Ohio – Crowds flocked to the stands of the Sanctuary Arena Saturday evening for the penultimate day of competition for Winter Classic #8 of the 2023 Winter in the Midwest Series. World Equestrian Center – Wilmington played host to top show jumping athletes for the $30,000 Grand Prix and it was Nicole Loochtan (USA) that etched her name in history, posting the only double clear effort aboard It’s Me Du Bosquetiau (Dayton Sitte x Mirette Du Bosqueatiau).
Joe Carnicom (USA) designed the towering track that proved challenging for the field of horse-and-athlete combinations as only three pairs advanced to contest the short-course. Loochtan spoke on the track, “the course was very technical. The jumps came up very quickly off the turns and there were a lot of related lines. You had to really be on it to make it all work out.”
The promising new duo returned to the Sanctuary night determined to repeat their winning performance after claiming the $30,000 Grand Prix victory during Winter Classic #6. Loochtan of Stone Creek Stables in Lexington, Kentucky, and her It’s Me Du Bosquetiau have proven to be an unbeatable duo that never fail to leave spectators in awe.
Returning as the second to go in the jump-off phase, Loochtan needed a quick and clear round to secure the top spot and her nine-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion answered the call, making light work of the track by showcasing his unmatched scope.
A jaw dropping clear round and a time of 35.192 seconds put the duo at the top of the leaderboard once again.
“I want to thank my team at Stone Creek Stables. I am very blessed to have the best of the best and their work does not go unnoticed. I am very appreciative of the whole team behind me,” Loochtan recognized her team behind the scenes.
Winner of Thursday evenings $10,000 Welcome Stake, Izzy Beisel (USA) returned aboard Vegas H (Valentino x Cobrah) aiming to add another blue ribbon to her record. The ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding was in top form returning to the grand arena and was the first to earn a place in the jump-off. Beisel training out of David Beisel Stables in Goshen, Ohio, continues to impress with each performance and is paving the way for her incredibly bright future. The pair posted a quick time of 31.265 seconds, but an unfortunate four faults in the short course sent the pair home with the red ribbon.
Lani Hutchison (USA) piloted her own Iconic (Falaise De Muze x Dinadja) to third place. Hutchison, training out Kendalwood Farm, navigated an effortless first clear effort, earning her spot in the jump-off with her longtime mount. The ten-year-old KWPN gelding is no stranger to the Sanctuary and has jumped numerous open jumper classes at WEC Ohio with Hutchison in the irons. The duo stopped the clock in 34.907 seconds and fell victim to the airy, skinny vertical to round out the podium.
WEC – Wilmington sponsor Vitalize presented the Blazin’ Fastest Four Faulter $1,000 bonus in the $30,000 WEC Grand Prix to Darby Pease and Carel Van Donderen, who earned 69.06 seconds in the first round, finishing fourth in the class overall.
$30,000 Grand Prix Results:
1 It’s Me Du Bosquetiau, Nicole Loochtan, Nicole Loochtan | 0 | 35.192
2 Vegas H, Izzy Beisel, David Beisel | 4 | 31.265
3 Iconic, Lani Hutchison, Lani Hutchison | 4 | 34.907
4 Carel Van Donderen, Darby Pease, Louisa Robb | 4 | 69.06
5 BSH Matinee, Shawn Butler, Shawn Butler | 4 | 71.635
6 Diaz Barbotiere, Izzy Beisel, Izzy Beisel | 8 | 68.005
7 Cumbaya W, Darby Pease, Hillary Gromus | 8 | 72.15
8 Fortysix & 2, Lyriss Jaeger, Lyriss Jaeger | 8 | 75.715
9 Vinetta M, Ashley Hartman, Ashley Hartman | 12 | 75.723
Claire Austin & K T Miel Race to Win in the $10,000 Futures Prix at WEC Ohio Winter Classic #8
Fourteen horse-and-athlete partnerships tackled the $10,000 Futures Prix late in the afternoon to set the tone for the highlight event of the week. It was Claire Austin (USA) and K T Miel (Epleaser Van T Heike x Violet P) that ultimately negotiated the quickest jump-off time to take the win in the $10,000 Futures Prix of WEC Ohio Winter Classic #8.
Carnicom’s track proved technical for the field of aspiring show jumpers, with seven riders rising to the challenge to move to the immediate jump-off. The winding track required consistency and accuracy from each athlete.
Austin, training out of family-owned Hidden Fox Farm in Powell, Ohio, piloted Michael Kirby’s K T Miel to two confident efforts. The 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding took the track in stride and might light work of the technical questions asked of him.
“I wanted to do the inside turn like Nicole [Loochtan] did, but we were really moving. I tried to go in between the small gap to fence six and I lost my stirrup there, but I kept going forward and he was right there, and he was awesome,” Austin commented on the jump-off.
The duo was deceivingly quick around the turns and stopped the clock in 39.188 seconds to ultimately surpass the rest of the field.
Nicole Loochtan (USA) and her longtime partner Caiman Des Sequioas (Radco D’Houtveld x Sublime De La Cour) set a quick time to beat as the fourth to go in the order. Loochtan, of Stone Creek Stables in Lexington, Kentucky, guided her 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding to an inside turn untried by the rest of the field and held the lead for the majority of the class. A jump-off time of 40.901 seconds ultimately earned the duo a red ribbon for their efforts.
Rounding out the podium was Cooper Beisel (USA) and Azealia (Quintero x Salma). Beisel, training with his father out of David Beisel Stables, laid down two consistent rounds aboard his trusted 14-year-old Holsteiner mare. Although the duo were in full throttle, two wider turns landed them in third place with a time of 42.923 seconds.
$10,000 Futures Prix Results:
1 K T Miel, Claire Austin, Michael Kirby | 0 | 39.188
2 Caiman Des Sequoias, Nicole Loochtan, Nicole Loochtan | 0 | 40.901
3 Azealia, Cooper Beisel, David Beisel | 0 | 42.923
4 HJ Blind Date, Molly Kindness, Molly Kindness | 0 | 43.59
5 Zendaya, Lanie Thomas, Neil Badcock | 0 | 43.884
6 Kamorka S, Darby Pease, Darby Pease | 0 | 47.645
7 Fenn, Darby Pease, Tyson Ziebarth | 4 | 39.933
8 Diamond Z, Faith Umland, Faith Umland | 4 | 76.996
9 Bahntina, Chelsea Francis, Gina Filewicz | 4 | 77.675
10 Cyra, Delaney Owens, Delaney Owens | 8 | 71.664