Ocala, FL – World Equestrian Center – Ocala’s 2023 Summer Series kicked off last week with elite hunter/jumper competition. Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) competition begun Wednesday morning with Tracy Fenny and MTM Apple (Favorit Ask x Willemoes) claiming the win in the $40,000 1.45m Speed FEI CSI3*. Sean Jobin (CAN) and Kaitlin Campbell (USA) stole the spotlight in both the $150,000 IDA Development Grand Prix CSI3* and the $50,000 IDA Development Grand Prix.
Campbell and Camille Leblond’s 13-year-old Warmblood stallion, Kaiser Van Het Lambroeck (Nabab De Reve x Florette Van Het Lambroeck), posted an uncatchable track to win the $50,000 IDA Development National Grand Prix early Sunday morning.
Campbell entered the arena next with vengeance, “Sean [Jobin] went after me in the jump-off and he beat me last night, so I definitely wasn’t going to leave anything on the table this morning. I just went as fast as possible and hoped the jumps stayed up!”
Ilan Bluman (COL) and Acajou (Casllaco x Azobe) saved the best for last in the $10,000 Buckeye Nutrition Futures Prix. Aboard his own eight-year-old German Sport Horse mare, Bluman caught the leading time of 37.102 seconds for the win with his special mount.
Competition reached a pinnacle Saturday evening with the $150,000 IDA Development Grand Prix CSI3*. Jobin piloted Foxridge Farms Stables 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding, Coquelicot VH Heuvelland Z (Catoki x Cassini II), to the top of the leaderboard.
Jobin spoke highly of his scopey mount, “I couldn’t be happier with ‘Licot’ tonight. He was just a little superstar. He jumps amazing every single time here and he really loves this ring. He loves the crowd and the atmosphere of the night class. He is a horse that tries so hard and he’s very smart too. I want to be strategic with when I use him and manage his work. Just because he can do it, I want to make sure he is happy, healthy and has that spark in him. That is my number one priority right now.”
Aaron Vale (USA) and Elusive (Rodrigoo x Capfucino) were best in the $40,000 1.45m Two Phase Special CSI3* Friday afternoon. The 14-year-old KPWN gelding stopped the clock in 30.06 seconds to take the win.
“Having such a slate of classes with great prize money gives you a bit of a different mindset. You have to use your horses a little differently and there is a bit more strategy that goes into planning. It’s enjoyable and I am looking forward to having more international events here at World Equestrian Center.”
Jennifer Bliss (USA) and Harris Hill Farm LLC’s 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Poker Face (Tangelo Van Du Zuutheve x Nicolette V) captured the win in the $12,500 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby.
“Pokey had a spring break after the winter circuit. He hasn’t shown in about two months. He has been in work, but a lot of flat work and trail riding! At this stage in the game, it is just about keeping him fit and happy. He is such a trier. He is 18 this year and at this point he owes us absolutely nothing, he is with us no matter what. I just still feel like he really enjoys it. So as long as he still likes his job we will keep going. In the schooling area, I can hardly make him go, but know that he will always go in the ring and grow!”
Dorothy Douglas (USA) and Abigail Davenport’s 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding, MTM Exceptional (Casall Ask x Rheinsberg) rode to the win in the $10,000 UF Veterinary Health Hospital USHJA National Open Hunter Derby.
“The set up here in the indoor is amazing. We were really able to focus on this this morning. The courses are always amazing and Doug [Russell] always does such a great job. The scores were all pretty close going back in for the handy and it just puts the pressure on. You really rely on the fact that the horses are going to jump well and you have to go in and stick to your plan and do all of the inside turns to keep up with the high scores here.”
Ella Bostwick (USA) and K&T Game Of Thrones (Gamelus R x E Titty De Laubry), a seven-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, excelled in the $10,000 USHJA National Jr/Am Hunter Derby.
“K&T Game Of Thrones just turned seven. We just got him in January. He was supposed to be a jumper but he is way too quiet for that job! He is turning out to be a really nice hunter and I am really excited about his future. I am really proud of him today! We have not broken his green year yet, so we were thinking about doing that this year. We have thought about maybe doing some international derbies because he certainly has the scope for it. If we decide to hold on to him for a little while I would like to try Derby Finals, I think that would be a lot of fun,” Bostwick expressed about her mount.
Jacqueline Ruyle (USA) and her very own 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding San Chano (Sandro Boy x Chacco-Blue) notched the $50,000 UF Health Grand Prix Qualifier CSI3* victory.
“My focus was Saturday. I didn’t want to take any crazy risks, but still go for it. I thought there were a lot of tight inside turns in the jump-off which made the track more difficult. Once you make a turn that tight, you have only have one option, you have to be confident and just go.”
Fan favorite MTM Apple carried Fenney to the opening FEI victory of the week in the $40,000 1.45m Speed FEI CSI3*. “Her routine is a little out of sorts with FEI, because she can’t go home to her favorite tree in her paddock. She loves scratching on the tree. I am little worried about her; I hope it doesn’t throw a wrench in our performance,” Fenney laughed about Apple’s routine.
Pheobe Wesley (USA) piloted her own Mind’s Eye (Spartacus x Gazelle V/D Velle) to the win in the $3,500 Non-Pro Derby 2’6″ out of 23 competitors.
Grayson Moore (USA) and her own Watchusayin (Le Matsjo x Valentina) topped a field of 17 in the $2,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby.
In the $7,500 Taylor Harris Insurance Services 1.40m Jumper Classic, Tricia O’Connor (USA) rode Michael Kirby’s K-Carla (Arezzo VDL x Carina VDL) to the top spot.
Congratulations to all athletes on a thrilling week of equestrian sport! The 2023 Ocala Summer Series continues with eight more weeks of elite hunter/jumper competition. Don’t miss it! Spectators are welcome and there is no charge for admission or parking.