Olivia Bransford Beats All Odds for the Win in the OHJA Medal Final 2′-2’6″
Tonight was filled with both hunter and jumper action with the OHJA Medal Final 2′-2’6″ taking place in the Roberts Arena while the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design claimed the night in the Sanctuary Arena. An elegant ringside dinner was served at the Roberts Arena for all to enjoy while watching the Medal Finals. The night was filled with smiles and happy tears for well-earned personal victories in each class.
OHJA Medal Final 2′-2’6″
Tonight saw twenty four impressive entries vie for the win in the OHJA Medal Final 2′-2’6″. Competition was tough with all entries qualifying for tonight’s event over the past year, but it was Olivia Bransford who beat all odds, riding a horse she barely knew after her first two mount options came up lame, to win the OHJA Medal Final 2′-2’6″. For the win, Bransford received a stunning OHJA ribbon and wool cooler, as well as a brand new Yamaha TTR 110E sponsored by World Equestrian Center. In a wonderful show of sportsmanship, Bransford’s friend and barnmate Olivia Lusby graciously offered her horse, Awaited Wish, for Bransford to show tonight and then acted as her groom for the class. For Awaited Wish’s stunning turnout, Lusby received the Groom’s Award, which included a Champion EquiFit backpack sponsored by World Equestrian Center.
Anne Thornbury, Director at OHJA, commented on tonight’s class, “It’s an exciting event. We created this section specifically to showcase the riders that jump 2′ and 2’6″, because they are equally as important to this sport as the kids that are jumping the bigger jumps. We want to recognize them and their efforts. We are also lucky to have Tammy Provost here judging this class, because she judged this year’s Maclay Finals. Having her here makes our event even more prestigious. The dinner looks amazing tonight, the course looks challenging but not too tough and I think it will be a wonderful event.”
Bransford and Olivia Lusby’s Awaited Wish were first to take on Joseph Carnicom’s course, which featured rollback turns along with a few opportunities for handy inside turns. Though Bransford had only ridden the fourteen year old Thoroughbred gelding a handful of times, the pair quickly established a great rapport. Togeher they delivered a foot perfect round, finding each jump in stride.
Reese Fillman also competed at the 2’6″ height, riding early in the order aboard Alston Alliance, LLC’s Steel The Dream (Sterling). The pair frequently show in the Pre Children’s Hunters and were well schooled for tonight’s class. Fillman and the fifteen year old Westphalian gelding gave Bransford some competition by riding a flawless round and taking the inside turn to fence seven.
Emilie Smith and her own Double Play competed at the 2’6″ height as well. The pair regularly compete in the Intermediate Children’s Hunters and Equitation, preparing them for tonight’s class. Smith and the eleven year old Warmblood gelding chose to take the inside turns to fences six and seven, demonstrating impeccable technique.
After the conclusion of the over fences phase, the top twelve entries were called back into the ring for the flat phase of the OHJA Medal Final 2′-2’6″. Entries were asked to demonstrate a walk, rising trot, sitting trot and canter in each direction before all were asked to halt. Four entries were asked to remain on the rail as the remaining eight lined up in the center of the ring, among which were Bransford, Fillman and Smith. The four entries were asked to drop their irons, then demonstrate a walk, sitting trot and canter on the right lead before joining the other entries in the center of the ring before all twelve exited.
The top ten entries were called back into the ring with trainers and grooms in tow. When it came down to the top three entries, just Bransford, Fillman and Smith remained. Smith was awarded third place, Fillman second place and Bransford was crowned champion of the OHJA Medal Final 2′-2’6″. Lusby, Awaited Wish’s owner and groom, shed tears of joy as Brandford and the handsome grey gelding accepted their awards.
Bransford stuck around after the awards ceremony to chat with us ringside about her win, “It was amazing. My good friend Olivia Lusby let me ride her horse tonight. I’ve only ridden him a handful of times. My horse went lame, then my backup plan went lame, so Olivia was nice enough to let me ride him. He was wonderful.”
When asked about Awaited Wish’s personality, Bransford replied, “He’s actually a little bit of a spooky horse, particularly on his left lead, so we were a little worried about the oxer on the rail. He was perfect tonight, though. He didn’t look at anything.”
Bransford let us in on how she prepared for tonight’s class, “I’ve been riding about three horses a day after school. This is my last show as a Junior. I’m eighteen. It’s a lot of work, but I love it. It’s been really fun. IEA has helped me a lot, especially when it comes to riding horses that I haven’t ridden much.”
When asked if this is her biggest win to date, Bransford replied, “I won IEA Nationals in the Crossrails my freshman year, which was really exciting, but I think this takes the cake!”
Bransford’s trainer, Erin Wherry, also commented on the win, “It was a well-deserved win for her. She’s put in a lot of effort this year both equitation and riding-wise. She’s had some rough goes- the horse that she had originally planned to ride in this class pulled up lame this weekend, so it was kind of an emotional weekend to begin with. It was a very exciting win for her. She’s put in so much work over the past few year to get to where she’s at, so I’m super proud of her and so excited for her. I’d also like to thank the horse’s owner, Olivia Lusby, for offering her horse last minute and being a great friend.”
OHJA Medal Final 2′-2’6″ Results
- Awaited Wish, Olivia Bransford
- Steel The Dream, Reese Fillman
- Double Play, Emilie Smith
- Shine On, Jamie Schaller
- Eye Spy, Carys Wasil
- Capitol C, Grace Belletti
- One And All, Jayme Klosterman
- My Happy Place, Jessica Ashmore
- Little Rock, Jack Painter
- No Drama, Helen Griffith
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix
Javier Berganza Anderhub was back in the winner’s circle tonight after claiming victory in the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix. Riding Keystone Show Stables’ Gangnam Style (Indorado x U Two), he captured the blue with a strategically ridden jump off, pulling off an inside turn no other entries even attempted.
The course for tonight’s Grand Prix was designed by Keith Bollotte and featured a triple combination, rollback turns and several bending lines. Berganza Anderhub and Gangnam Style took the win in the $10,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix in September and were back to claim the top spot tonight. Berganza Anderhub and the fourteen year old Dutch Warmblood gelding were on fire, blazing through the first course in 66.812 seconds, well under the time allowed of 74 seconds. The pair kept their speed when they returned for the jump off, taking an impossible inside turn after fence eleven to approach fence twelve, shaving crucial seconds off of their time. Berganza Anderhub and Gangnam Style crossed the timers at 37.574 seconds, stealing the top spot on the scoreboard.
Lauren Hester had three fantastic rides in tonight’s Grand Prix, Hester Equestrian LLC’s Happy Feet B (Zacherov x Daronka), Hester Equestrian LLC’s Lorstakov (Lordanos x Milena V) and Hester Equestrian LLC’s Cooper 166 (Cancara x Trixi). Hester took second, third and tenth on her mounts, respectively. Though Berganza Anderhub was impossible to catch in the class, Hester trailed by just a few tenths of a second, piloting Happy Feet B through the jump off course in just 38.574 seconds.
$5,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix Results
- Gangnam Style, Javier Berganza Anderhub – 0 | 0 | 37.574
- Happy Feet B, Lauren Hester – 0 | 0 | 38.344
- Lorstakov, Lauren Hester – 0 | 0 | 44.233
- Berkley III, Doug Boyd – 0 | 4 | 36.419
- Strawberry, Molly Kindness – 4 | 64.660
- Lasco 29, Summer Hill – 4 | 66.122
- Essince W, David Beisel – 4 | 66.537
- Fearless, Mark McKone – 4 | 66.772
- Angelo, David Beisel – 4 | 66.803
- Cooper 166, Lauren Hester – 4 | 67.027
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m
Tonight’s $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design saw a heartwarming win by Caitlin Hope Rose and Kathleen Hope’s Vision EH (Cassini II x Graffiti). The pair successfully stepped up to the higher fences tonight for the first time in a few years.
The course for the Futures Prix was similar to that of the Grand Prix with a triple combination, rollback turns and bending lines. Hope Rose and Vision EH contested the course about midway through the order. The pair had won a few National Standard Grand Prix in past years, but it had been some time since they attempted a Prix-like track. Rose and the fourteen year old Holsteiner mare looked like veteran Prix competitors, navigating a clear first round in 70.328 seconds, well under the time allowed of 75 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off of the Table II 2b event, picking up pace. While there were no opportunities for inside turns, the pair kept their approaches to each fence tidy, saving valuable seconds. They crossed the timers at 31.034 seconds for the win in the class.
The win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m was already special for Hope Rose and Vision EH, but it was made even better when Hope Rose’s trainer Serah Vogus slid into second place aboard her own Celestina (Contigo M x Perfect Marriage). The pair trailed Hope Rose and Vision EH by about four seconds, jumping double clear with a jump off time of 35.564 seconds.
We caught up with Hope Rose after the awards ceremony to chat about her win, “I’ve had Vision EH for six or seven years. We’ve done a lot of the Junior/Amateur stuff, some Grand Prix and now, with my limited riding time due to my work schedule, I’m really lucky to still be able to go into the 1.30m with a good team behind me with Diane Carney and Serah Vogus. Serah ended up second, so I’m really pleased that we were both successful. My horse was really awesome. She was quick and careful. It was fun and special to get to do a Grand Prix-type event at a slightly lower level, so it’s great that World Equestrian Center offers that. It’s always fun to come here.”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m Results
- Vision EH, Caitlin Hope Rose – 0 | 0 | 31.034
- Celestina, Serah Vogus – 0 | 0 | 35.564
- Maximus V/D Molendreef, David Beisel – 0 | 4 | 32.438
- Malibu, Darby Pease – 0 | 4 | 33.945
- Alfie Z, Payton Beerbower – 0 | 8 | 32.029
- Colton Playtime, Alexis Bodo – 4 | 68.103
- Gossip Girl, Thomas Cerra – 4 | 72.004
- Eastpoint, Hillary Johnson – 4 | 72.872
- Furst, Becca Lannoye – 8 | 71.963
- Gotti Van Paemel, Erin Ferguson-Hughes – 8 | 73.532
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.