Week Seven of the Winter Series of the Midwest held many exciting achievements for World Equestrian Center exhibitors including fantastic first time wins in three out of five of our featured classes. Exhibitors had great fun throughout the week, starting with a delicious Prime Rib Dinner and mechanical bull riding on Friday in the Paddock Club. On Saturday, all gathered in the grand stands of the Sanctuary Arena to watch the night classes while enjoying a taco bar. After the Grand Prix, exhibitors and their dogs took to the area for a thrilling dog race. Sunday morning featured a lovely sermon from Chaplin Larry Speelman on the topic of trust in his new (appropriately named) series, Jesus Take the Reins. For those that could not make it to Larry’s sermon, it is available on the playlist in The Chapel in Vendor Village, as well as on our website.
Thursday kicked off our featured Jumper action with a brilliant win by Jill Gaffney and Freestyling Farms LLC’s Z Love Story (Hunter x Elli) in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD. The pair were up against serious competition, brought on mostly by Taylor Flury, the true pace-setter of the class. Flury rode Aliboo Farm, Inc.’s Cosmea Z (Calvados Z x Zianne) in the $5,000 Welcome Stake sponsored by CWD. The pair were fresh off of a win in last week’s $25,000 WEC Grand Prix and their confidence showed as they entered the ring. Flury and Cosmea Z jumped a clear first round and continued straight to the jump off of the Table II event, riding an incredibly quick round in just 33.288 seconds. Gaffney knew the time she needed to beat as she entered the ring aboard Z Love Story, showing determination from the start jumping one of the quickest first round times of the class. The pair continued to the jump off, blazing around the course and through the timers, stopping the clock at 32.290 seconds to win the class.
Friday saw a first time win for Owen Gajoch and Michelle Newman’s Maximus L in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jennifer Nadalin piloted Maximus L to his first win against a field of twenty four stunning Hunters, earning fantastic scores in both rounds of the Derby. The pair rode near the top of the order in the first round, riding the course with an easy, natural style and taking all four high options for a score of 86. The pair were rivaled in the first round by Lauren DiTallo aboard Scott Durchslag’s Classic (Clearway x Ferraraii). The pair also took all four high options, earning a score of 87 in the first round. Both Maximus L and Classic were among the top contenders in the handy round. Nadalin rode Maximus L early in the order to accommodate her multiple mounts in the Derby. The pair were flawless, taking all four high options for a score of 90 in the handy round, bringing their overall total to 176. Though DiTallo and Classic were hot on their trail, earning a score of 87 in the handy round, it was not quite enough to beat Nadalin and Maximus L, and the pair were announced as the winners of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Saturday saw a special first time win for Owen Gajoch in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire aboard Katmandu L (Monte Bellini x Attica L). Riding toward the end of the class, Gajoch knew the time he needed to come out on top in the class. An early time to beat of 34.315 seconds was set in the Table II event by Welcome Stake winners Jill Gaffney and Z Love Story. Gajoch and Katmandu L entered the ring ready to compete, jumping a clear first round in a speedy time of 66.625 seconds. The pair continued to the jump off, keeping their forward pace and turning tight, crossing the timers at 33.742 seconds for the win in the class and Gajoch’s first ever Futures Prix victory.
Jumper action continued on Saturday with the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix where Jill Gaffney returned to the winner’s circle, this time aboard Freestyling Farms LLC’s Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook). The pair rode near the top of the order of go, jumping a clear first round in a time of 76.562 seconds, staying a bit on the conservative side to save energy for the jump off. Among the clear first-rounders were Taylor Flury and Cosmea Z, who rivaled Gaffney in the Welcome Stake earlier this week. Gaffney and Carlton Cafe were first to return for the jump off, picking up the pace and galloping through the timers with a clear round at 29.923 seconds, challenging the remaining entries to beat their quick time. None were able to best their speedy round, though Flury and Cosmea Z were close at 30.930 seconds, and Gaffney and Carlton Cafe took home the win in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix.
Wrapping up the first time wins in the featured classes was the adorable duo of Amy Krebs and her own Hopscotch in the $2,000 Non Pro Hunter Derby 2’6″ sponsored by Chagrin Saddlery. The pair laid down a fantastic trip in the first round, then followed it up with an incredibly handy second round for the win in the class. Krebs was thrilled, saying, “I’ve never done a Derby before so I was really looking forward to it. He was really good in the first round and I was really happy. Then I came back and he was great in the second round too! He just finished his Green year last year and I’ve had him for about a year and a half now. We may do more Derbies in the future!”
Don’t forget to live stream all of the Winter Series of the Midwest action on WEC.net, courtesy of ShowNet!
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.