An Afternoon of Sweet Victories for Nicole Loochtan in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix & $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m
The Sanctuary Arena was packed with thrilling jumper action this afternoon for both the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design. Mere fractions of a second separated top placing horse and rider combinations in both classes, keeping spectators on the edge of their seats all afternoon. It was an afternoon of sweet victories for Nicole Loochtan as she took the win in both the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design.
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix
Eighteen entries contested the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix this afternoon in hopes of a big win. The course for the class was designed by Tucker Williams of getjumps.com and featured a technical track with three combinations, a triple bar and adjustable bending lines. With long approaches and bending lines, the jump-off rewarded those who galloped between the fences. Three entries managed double clear rounds, but it was Nicole Loochtan and her own Caiman des Sequoias (Radco d’ Houtveld x Sublime de la Cour) that topped the class for the second week in a row.
The first to manage a clear round in this afternoon’s $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix was David Beisel and Maarten Huygen’s Angelo (Conthargos x Grand Ronja). The pair has recently returned from Ocala, Florida where they took the blue ribbon in the 1.30m Jumper Championship. Beisel and the eight-year-old Mecklenburg gelding were on point this afternoon, jumping a clear first round in 74.514 seconds, well under the time allowed of 79 seconds, and securing a spot in the jump-off.
Next to claim a jump-off slot was Lauren DiTallo and Scott Durchslag’s Zero Gravity (Verdi x Releva). The pair earned a third place finish in last week’s $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m and stepped back up to take on the Grand Prix track this afternoon. DiTallo and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding kept a steady pace in the first round, leaving all rails up in a time of 73.885 seconds.
Last to ensure a shot at the short course was Nicole Loochtan and her own Caiman des Sequoias (Radco d’ Houtveld x Sublime de la Cour). The duo earned their first Grand Prix win last week at World Equestrian Center and were prepared for an encore this afternoon. Loochtan and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding took a little extra time in the first round, making sure to keep all rails up in 76.016 seconds.
The course was adjusted and three entries returned for the jump-off. Beisel and Angelo were first to return. The pair galloped to each fence in their signature style, crossing the timers at 44.104 seconds and setting the time to beat. DiTallo and Zero Gravity were next to return for the short course. They mimicked Beisel’s efforts, making up crucial seconds between fences and stopping the clock at 44.167 seconds, just six-thousandths of a second behind Beisel. Last to return was Loochtan and Caiman des Sequoias. The duo noted the previous entries’ pace between the fences and charged full-speed throughout the entire course. Their efforts paid off as they crossed the timers at 43.000 seconds for the win in the class.
Loochtan of Stone Creek Stables in Lexington, Kentucky stuck around after the awards presentation to chat with us about her second win in a row aboard Caiman des Sequoias, “It was a more challenging course this week. It had a lot of rails, but my horse couldn’t have jumped better. He’s always such a trier and to win two weeks in a row is incredible. My plan in the jump off was to be quick after each jump. I actually had to fit in some spots that I wasn’t expecting. I think we got it so that we jumped, then ran to the next fence. He’s very adjustable, which helped a lot. I have to say, I have the best horses! I’d also like to, again, 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 | 43.000
- Angelo, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 44.104
- Zero Gravity, Lauren DiTallo – 0 | 0 | 44.167
- Equinox HS, Leann Kelly – 4 | 69.495
- Easton, Kevin McCarthy – 4 | 71.464
- VDL Byacinthe, Danielle Urban – 4 | 72.580
- Vegas H, David Beisel – 4 | 75.429
- Graf Joe, Sarah Hunter – 8 | 69.308
- Z Diamanty, Megan Bash – 8 | 70.987
- Hannibal V, Nicki Wilcox – 8 | 73.766
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m
Nicole Loochtan proved unbeatable this afternoon, also taking the win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design on her own Carla de Kalvarie Z (Crown Z x Siebe De Kalverie). The class featured a similar course to that of the Grand Prix, with multiple combinations and bending lines. Seven of the 14 entries managed clear first rounds and four jumped double clear, making for tough competition in the 1.30m class.
Loochtan and her own Carla de Kalvarie Z (Crown Z x Siebe De Kalverie) set the pace in the class, riding first in the order. The pair earned a first place finish in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m in December at World Equestrian Center, and came out ready to contest this afternoon’s class. Loochtan and the 16-year-old Zangersheide mare were on form, jumping a clear first round in a time of 76.327 seconds, well under the time allowed of 83 seconds. The pair advanced straight to the jump-off of the Table II 2b event, taking tidy inside turns to fences 5 and 2 and stopping the clock at 31.028 seconds, a time that would ultimately prove unbeatable.
Michael Kocher and Jenna Buchan’s Cadell (Van Gogh) were not far behind Loochtan. The pair recently earned blue ribbons in the Medium and High Schooling Jumpers, preparing them well for this afternoon’s class. Kocher and the 12-year-old KWPN gelding were also quick in the first round, jumping clear in a time of 75.606 seconds. They continued straight to the jump off, mirroring Loochtan’s inside turns and crossing the timers at 31.111 seconds, just behind Loochtan for second place.
Lindsay Lyden and her own Fawkes (Carthino Z x Tisral) also had noteworthy double clear rounds. The pair took sixth place in last week’s Futures Prix and were ready to compete this afternoon. Lyden and the nine-year-old KWPN gelding took a more conservative approach to the first round, leaving all rails up in a time of 78.216 seconds. They continued straight to the jump off, also taking inside turns to fences 5 and 2, stopping the clock at 33.557 seconds for a third place finish.
We caught up with Loochtan after the awards ceremony to hear about her win, “I thought the course was really good. I went first in the order again, which I thought I didn’t like, but I went first last week in the Grand Prix and won so I think it’s working! I’m kind of happy that I went first and won with her. She jumped great. She’s 16 years old. I usually do her in the Prix, but she had a few weeks off and she’s just getting back into it; this is her first class back. She’s a very fiery mare. I’ve had her for five years and she is perfect.”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m Results
- Carla de Kalvarie Z, Nicole Loochtan – 0 | 0 | 31.028
- Cadell, Michael Kocher – 0 | 0 | 31.111
- Fawkes, Lindsay Lyden – 0 | 0 | 33.557
- Halifax VDM, Nicki Wilcox – 0 | 0 | 37.019
- Ivana Jump, David Beisel – 0 | 4 | 31.410
- Castello Z, Sammy Saunders – 0 | 4 | 39.349
- Shaia de Macheco, Sam Pegg – 0 | 8 | 32.285
- Cambridge, David Beisel – 4 | 75.262
- Charlie Brown, Taylor Avann – 4 | 75.817
- Caius, David Beisel – 4 | 76.943
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.