WEC July I Highlights
We kicked off two consecutive weeks of July shows at World Equestrian Center with plenty of sunshine, fun events and fantastic hunter / jumper sport. On Thursday, we watched Argentina’s Patricio Rodriguez pilot Abby Lockwood’s Metro Lass (Metropol x Dunmor Lass) to the win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD Sellier before heading downtown to the historic Murphy Theatre for a showing of Life in the Doghouse. On Friday, twenty entries vied for the win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, but it was Junior rider Katie Rankin aboard Roberts Stables, LLC’s Kingston Lane that stole the show. After the Derby, all gathered in the Paddock Club for a delicious preview of the fabulous new menu. Junior riders gathered upstairs in the Sanctuary on Saturday morning for the Cadets Horsemanship Program clinic featuring Dr. Holly Helbig’s “When to Call the Vet” presentation. Later, 50 impressive cars of all years, makes and models rolled onto the front lawn for the first annual Hot Rods and Horsepower Car Show. All enjoyed a BBQ lunch, then the afternoon saw a heartwarming win for crowd favorite Robert Mendoza and Bannockburn Farm’s Java Van De Kleinheide (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Eclinta Van Der Bosrand) in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix, as well as an equally touching win for Melissa DeCaster-Lesch and her own Twin Creek’s Ciela (Inductro x Maja Van Hof Ten Velde) in the $7,499 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire Design. We concluded the day on Saturday with a thirty-foot-tall zip line on the lawn in front of the Paddock Club. On Sunday morning, all were invited to attend the weekly worship service at the ingate of the Sanctuary Arena.
Thursday kicked off the week’s feature classes with an incredible win by Argentina’s Patricio Rodriguez and Abby Lockwood’s Metro Lass (Metropol x Dunmor Lass) in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD Sellier. Rodriguez and Metro Lass rode near the top of the order and took to the course with confidence, easily clearing each fence and jumping the first clear round of the class in 81.475 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off of the Table II 2(b) event, picking up the pace, surging though the course with plenty of power, but pulling an unfortunate rail at the vertical heading up the ring. Rodriguez and Metro Lass still crossed the timers at an impressive time of 48.129 seconds, ensuring that they would remain competitive throughout the class. Rodriguez and Metro Lass’ biggest competition was Taylor Avann and her own Charlie Brown. The pair rode a clear first round and, like Rodriguez and Metro Lass, pulled one rail in the jump off. However, the pair were slightly slower, crossing the timers at 51.609, leaving Rodriguez and Metro Lass in first place.
Friday saw an impressive win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby by Katie Rankin and Roberts Stables, LLC’s Kingston Lane. The pair were up against nineteen stunning Hunters, including Veteran National Hunter Derby competitors Jeff Gogul and Roberts Stables, LLC’s Snowbird (Vingino x Vegannie) who set the standard for the class near the top of the order with a score of 80. Shortly after, Katie Rankin and Kingston Lane took to the course, setting a new standard with a score of 85. The top twelve returned for the handy round with Gogul and Snowbird choosing to ride early in the order. The pair scored an 88, upping the ante for the remaining competitors. Rankin and Kingston Lane were prepared to compete, though, riding a stunning round for a score of 86, bringing their two round total to 171 and deeming them the winners of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Saturday’s $25,000 WEC Grand Prix saw intense competition between many WEC regulars and several new faces, but it was Robert Mendoza who dominated the class, taking both first and third place aboard Bannockburn Farm’s Java Van De Kleinheide (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Eclinta Van Der Bosrand) and Bannockburn Farm’s United M (Baloubet Du Rouet x United), respectively. Mendoza and Java Van De Kleinheide rode near the top of the order, delivering the first clear round of the class in 73.254 seconds. Mendoza returned to the ring later aboard United M hoping for a second clear round, but unfortunately pulled one rail. However, their quick time of 70.034 seconds was enough to make them the fastest four faulter. Mendoza and Java Van De Kleinheide remained the only clear round until the end of the class when Taylor Kain and The Gelt Group’s Shuttergold (Silvio I x Famose) jumped clear in a time of 73.876 seconds. Mendoza and Java Van De Kleinheide returned first in the jump off, racing through the course and stopping the clock with all rails up at 39.829 seconds. Kain and Shuttergold were determined to beat their time, but pulled an unlucky rail before crossing the timers at 39.698 seconds, leaving Mendoza and Java Van De Kleinheide in first place.
Saturday also saw a first-time Futures Prix win for Melissa DeCaster-Lesch and her own Twin Creek’s Ciela (Inductro x Maja Van Hof Ten Velde) in the $7,499 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire Design. First in the order and first to jump double clear was Shannon Clifford aboard Texas De Limache, LLC’s Christie Z, setting an early time to beat in the Table II 2b event of 30.410 seconds. DeCaster-Lesch and Twin Creek’s Ciela were up for the challenge, jumping a clear first round and continuing to the jump off. The pair rode with confidence, knowing what it would take to win the class and jumped a second clear round in a speedy time of 29.447 seconds for the win in the class.
Also on Saturday, the $2,000 WEC Non Pro Hunter Derby 2’6″ saw sixteen entries and a win in the class by Emily Sweeney and Front Row Sport Horses, LLC’s HH Gabriel (Cantos x Shilla). An effusive Emily Sweeney took a moment to chat with us about the win, “Have fun with it was really my biggest thing,” said Emily. “Like Karen says, it’s really about the handy round, so soft turns and staying fluid. I really just had fun with it. I felt like he was in front of me and some of the tighter turns came very naturally. I have never done a Hunter Derby. HH Gabriel is pretty well-known from other kids and adults that have ridden him at some point in time. This is my first show back since having kids, so it’s really been quite an experience and he’s been amazing. I’d like to thank my trainer Karen, I think it really matters how their teaching you, keeping an importance on having fun and trusting what you’ve learned. You have to trust that what you’ve done at home will make the difference here. The things that Karen has taught me through the years at home have allowed me to come to a show and do really well. Also, thanks to Sarah Burton, his owner. I feel like a little kid, and I know it’s from Sarah sharing and Karen’s teaching. I’m really having fun.”
Our Summer horse shows continue next week with the July II horse show. Stalls are FREE and braiding is not required. Be sure to get your entries in now for our August 7-11 horse show – the last show of the Spring / Summer Series which features a $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. An added plus: there is no braiding required! Reserve your stalls and submit your entries at www.horseshowing.com.
Photos courtesy of Winslow Photography.