Week 11 of ‘Winter in the Midwest’ at World Equestrian Center brought more thrilling equestrian sport and plenty of family-friendly fun. The after-hours highlight of the week was the horseless horse show in the Sanctuary Arena on Saturday night after the Grand Prix where over 30 entries gathered for a jumper-style class on foot. Feature classes took place Thursday through Saturday and brought several exciting victories and some heartwarming moments to the week.
Thursday saw a first-time win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m sponsored by CWD Sellier for Richard Rinehart and Allison Vinatieri’s La Dolce Vita VDL (Zapatero VDL x Tilly). The pair bested a field of 14 entries, with five horse and rider combinations managing double clear rounds in the class. Rinehart and the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding stepped up to the Welcome Stake for the first time on Thursday near the end of the order, delivering a clear first round in 76.168 seconds. The duo continued straight to the jump-off, gaining speed and managing tight rollback turns to fence 7 and the combination. The pair raced through the timers at 44.382 seconds, securing the win. Rinehart was more than pleased with the win, “It was the first time that I’ve tried a Welcome Stake with this horse, so I’m super proud of him. I’m really happy with the round and especially with his efforts. My plan in the jump-off was just to go as fast as I could without taking any unreasonable chances. I was really happy; he was right there with an answer for every question.”
Competition was tough in Friday’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby with scores reaching into the upper 80s and low 90s, but it was David Beisel and Lori Taylor’s elegant MTM Bentley (Bonaparte Z x Hot Cherie P) that performed above and beyond, earning the win by eight points. Beisel and the six-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding navigated a foot-perfect first round near the end of the order, taking all four high options for a score of 89. They then returned for the handy round, choosing the inside track to fences 1 and 8, and the stylish bay gelding showed off his impressive jump at each of the four high options. The pair picked up a steady hand gallop to the last fence, wowing the judges with a brilliant final effort. Beisel and MTM Bentley were rewarded with a score of 90 for their performance, bringing their overall total score to 179 to win the class. Beisel could not be more proud of his mount, “I think he’s figuring out the handy rounds now because he went in and got a little excited. He held it together, but was like, ‘I know this part!’ He was a little up, but kept with me up the four-stride line. Then I kept the seven-stride bending line a little direct and balanced. I thought the trot jump was really hard how it was up against the end of the ring. By the time we cantered the two-stride, he felt like he was starting to relax. I thought he gave me a nice vertical going away. I was kind of debating whether to do the high or the low option at the last fence because a few people had taken a rail there. At that point, I thought I’d better show off a little and take a shot at the high option and gallop to the last jump. It felt like he gave me a huge effort there, then landed and cantered away politely. It was a lot of fun.”
The ladies dominated the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix Saturday afternoon with an all women jump-off that resulted in the ladies snagging the top three placings in the class. Despite the tight competition, it was Charlotte Clark and her own Kinsella (Capitalist x Jerpoint Mist) that emerged victorious. The pair managed one of the fastest first rounds of the class, jumping clear in a time of 69.122 seconds. When they returned for the jump off, Clark and the nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare blazed through a rollback turn to a combination, but chose not to take the inside turn to fence 15. Instead, the pair went around the jumps at the end of the ring, picking up an impressive gallop before soaring over the final fence and stopping the clock at 42.066 seconds for the win. Clark was thrilled with her mare, “Kinsella was amazing, as always. She was really calm and focused; her energy level was perfect. The course suited her because it had a lot of bending lines and turns, and she’s really rideable forward and backward. Kinsella is my long-time partner and I hope to continue our ways.”
Saturday also saw the second win of the week for David Beisel, this time aboard Equine Holdings LLC’s Ivana Jump (Lupicor x Donnaludine) in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design. The pair was one of just two double clear entries, keeping all rails up in the first round in 81.760 seconds. Beisel and the seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare continued straight to the jump-off, taking impressive inside turns to the combination, fence 8, fence 9 and fence 14. Beisel and the enthusiastic bay mare stopped the clock at 43.276 seconds, a time that would ultimately prove unbeatable. Beisel was ecstatic with Ivana Jump, “In the jump-off, she was quite good. I thought, for her being a seven-year-old, turning back to the double was hard. She got a little lost for a minute, then it was good. Again, rolling back to the big oxer was a little hard for a young horse, but she gave me a huge effort over that one. She galloped beautifully to the last jump. This is her third win of the week! She won the 1.30m on both Wednesday and Friday.”
The Roberts Arena was the site of the $2,000 Non Pro Derby 2’6″ on Saturday. Twenty-nine stunning entries contested the course, but it was Finley Scheffel and Nori Scheffel’s Touched By An Angel that took top honors. The pair had a terrific week at World Equestian Center, earning top ribbons in both the Non Professional Hunter 2’6″ and the Intermediate Children’s/Adult Jumpers divisions.
World Equestrian Center is excited for the opening events of our long-awaited Ocala facility with an inaugural schedule that includes 12 weeks of World Equestrian Center hunter / jumper horse shows beginning January 5, 2021 and ending March 28, 2021. Prize money for the weekly events is proposed to top $400,000 per week with overall circuit money and prizes projected to reach nearly $5 million dollars. World Equestrian Center is committed to offering top quality horse shows for our competitors, owners and sponsors.
Exhibitors are encouraged to make their stall reservations in advance of the January 2021 opening. Reservations made now will hold stalls with payment due in October 2020 in advance of the twelve-week horse show circuit. Stall reservations can be made via www.horseshowing.com, in the ‘Ocala World Equestrian Center’ section.
The World Equestrian Center Ocala prize list is vast, with more than 100 divisions from opportunity classes all the way up to Grand Prix. A draft prize list is available on horseshowing.com.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.