We look back on another fun-filled week of horse showing as the Winter Series of the Midwest Winter Classic 10 comes to a close at World Equestrian Center. This week saw plenty of great events from live music, to a dog adoption with the League for animal Welfare, to a Sip and Shop in Vendor Village. We even got to indulge a little with some Girl Scout Cookies! Spoiler alert: the Girl Scouts, the League for Animal Welfare and the Sip and Shop will all be back next week due to popular demand! The Winter Classic 10 also hosted some fantastic equestrian sport and thrilling wins throughout the week.
Thursday saw Jill Gaffney and Freestyling Farms LLC’s Z Love Story (Hunter x Elli) steal the win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD Sellier. The pair have been on fire in 2019, winning the Welcome Stake and taking second place in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m just three weeks ago during the Winter Classic 7 of the Winter Series of the Midwest. Gaffney and Z Love Story rode the quickest first round of the class in 64.772 seconds, leaving all of the rails up and continuing to the jump off. The pair expertly pulled off tight inside turns on the short course, jumping clear and crossed the timers at an unbelievable 32.948 seconds for the win in the class. However, there was no shortage of competition in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD Sellier, with Logan Taylor and Ariel Black’s First Finch (Amadeus x Silvia) recently moving up to the 1.35 m classes and proving to be strong competitors. Taylor and First Finch came to play in the Welcome Stake, jumping a clear first round in 67.796 seconds and continuing to the jump off. The pair were quick around the course and mimicked Gaffney’s inside track to the last line flawlessly. Taylor stopped the clock with a second clear round at 35.099 seconds for a second place finish.
Friday’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby saw stunning Hunter action and plenty of high scoring rounds with seventeen entries vying for a spot atop the leader board, but ultimately it was Jennifer Nadalin aboard her daughter’s C Beyond that took top honors. Nadalin’s daughter, Caroline, has ridden C Beyond to top placings throughout the 2019 Winter Series of the Midwest in the Junior Hunter division and Nadalin has shown C Beyond in Derbies whenever possible. Nadalin and C Beyond had one of only two first rounds that scored into the nineties. The pair laid down a stunning first round and took all four high options for a score of 90. Their top competition heading into the Handy round was Michael Leon aboard Kelly Sims’ Eleventh Hour (Christ x Baloubette). The pair laid down a stylish round, taking all four high options for a score of 91. Nadalin and Leon returned top of the class in the handy round with Nadalin riding first. C Beyond snapped his knees at every fence, and the pair were incredibly consistent, taking all four high options and executing a brilliant hand gallop to the final fence. Nadalin and C Beyond earned a score of 90 in the second round, bringing their two round total to 180, for the lead. Leon and Eleventh Hour then returned, remaining rhythmic throughout the round, taking each fence in stride and keeping a consistent pace through their handy turns. Leon opted to take the inside turn to the final fence and the pair jumped all four high options and earned a score of 88.5 in the handy round, bringing their two round total to 179.5, just one-half-point shy of Nadalin and C Beyond’s final score.
Saturday’s $25,000 WEC Grand Prix saw a brilliant three-peat win for Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook). The pair claimed victory in the Grand Prix ring for the third time during the 2019 Winter Series of the Midwest, having won the class in both Week 4 and Week 7. Gaffney and Carlton Cafe were ready to bring it again on Saturday night, blazing around the first course, leaving all of the rails up and crossing the timers at 68.819 seconds, proving yet again that they are serious competitors. Gaffney and Carlton Cafe had some serious work to do on the short course, though, with both David Beisel and Lauren DiTallo having two to ride in the jump off. First to jump off was David Beisel aboard his own Essince W (Chacco Blue x Rossan). The pair were quick, keeping their pace from their first round throughout their tight turns and crossing the timers at 30.329 seconds, setting the time to beat. Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe followed Beisel, duplicating his inside turns and stepping up their pace. The pair shot through the timers at 28.896 seconds, besting Beisel’s time by almost two seconds. While the remaining entries tried, none were able to best Gaffney and Carlton Cafe’s incredible time.
Saturday also saw a fantastic win by Meg McTiver and her long-time mount Capone (Chicago Z x Palaris II) in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire Design. McTiver and Capone rode the fastest first round of the class, leaving all of the rails up in just 64.901 seconds, showing they meant business. The pair continued to the jump off with the same speed. Capone was incredibly careful with his front end, never thinking about touching a rail as they flew through the short course. McTiver and Capone crossed the timers at 28.033 seconds, placing themselves atop the leader board. The win was no easy feat, though, with Jill Gaffney and Freestyling Farms LLC’s Jordan setting an early time to beat in the jump off of the Table II event at 28.864 seconds, challenging the rest of the entries with their quick time.
The Roberts Ring also saw a great win on Saturday by Claire Burke and her own Hatful Of Hollow who bested twenty six entries for the blue ribbon in the $2,000 Non Pro Hunter Derby 2’6″ sponsored by Chagrin Saddlery. The pair also took top placings in both the Intermediate Adult Hunters and Jumpers throughout the week, and were Reserve Champion of the Intermediate Adult Hunters for the Winter Classic 10.
Join us at the World Equestrian Center for the remainder of the Winter Series of the Midwest. The prize list is available online at www.wec.net, and entries are being accepted via www.horseshowing.com and through Equestrian Connect. Reservations for stalls, hay and bedding as well as RV spaces may all be made online at www.horseshowing.com. Be sure to watch the live stream daily on www.shownet.biz or from our home page at wec.net.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.