Ocala, FL – The penultimate week of the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series featured an exhilarating week of top-level equestrian sport as we build toward our final week. The week began with Dorothy Douglas and MTM Pablo capturing the $24,000 C. Jarvis Insurance Welcome Prix win. Amanda Steege notched another $20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby victory with Lafitte De Muze, while Aaron Vale and Prescott prevailed after a nail biting nine-horse jump-off in the $100,000 Wheels Up Grand Prix. Read on for additional highlights!
Grace Debney and Helia Des Bergeries captured the $15,000 Taylor Harris Insurance Services 1.45m Jumper Classic victory.
“It’s a funny story, we had her in the barn for a Low Children’s rider and we thought she could do a little more. When I got her, she moved up from the .90m to the 1.45m in just a few weeks. She was game for it and wanted to do it. I think she really likes this job, even though she’s tiny, she had no idea and goes out there to win each time.”
Aaron Vale and Thinkslikeahorse’s Prescott scored back-to-back wins with the $100,000 Wheels Up Grand Prix victory.
“From one to two, I wanted to put enough shape in the seven, that I was diving right, coming right. I took one less to the combination, which was a bit of a risk for Prescott, but I got there good enough where I felt like he could do it. Everyone did eight back to the Lugano and I almost got there too easy which made for a slow jump. I almost thought about doing the eight after that, but Prescott follows you away from the jump and I had already done the seven by accident in the first round, so I knew he could do it. That ended up feeling so fast, I was a little conservative to the vertical. To the last I drifted out so I could come back in. He was going fast and it was long, but he kept it up and I was able to land and keep the momentum going through the timers. There may have been one less, but I would have had the rail down. It’s like that old fashion theory, you can only lose the class at the last jump.”
Adeline Rohrbrach and Lisa Goldman-Smolen’s Bengtsson were victorious in the $15,000 Buckeye Nutrition Futures Prix.
“I started riding him a few weeks ago. He’s owned by my trainer Lisa. She has had him since he was eight and they have competed in the 1.30m and 1.40m successfully. She let me hop on him and we got along pretty well. He’s a little pocket rocket – tiny, but fast.”
Earlier on Friday, David Cameron secured top honors aboard Alan 111 Z (Arko III x Vilotte) owned by Linda Huddy and Sally Watkins in the $15,000 1.40m Jumper Classic.
Amanda Steege and Lafitte De Muze topped the $20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby.
“It was a great first course. Every horse in the class went well. It’s nice when the course designer builds something where all the horses can do well. The first horse got a 92 then there was a 95, 96 and 93. All the horses jumped well and I was very happy with it.”
Kate Conover and Small Love earned superior scores in the $15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby.
“Small Love is amazing. She is owned by Liz Reilly and Chris Iwasaki. She’s won a ton with Augusta. The horse is an incredible jumper, I just try and stay out of her way. She’s the sweetest animal I’ve ever met. She goes by Honey Pot which is very fitting. I am very lucky to get to ride her when Augusta isn’t here.”
Addison McQuaker and Golden Ticket earned the gold in the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby.
“The first round didn’t go as good as I wanted it to be, but the second round was great. We moved up a lot and did some fun inside turns. He was very good and smooth. I’m really proud of him. Next week we are going to do the $75,000 Jr/Am Derby!”
Dorothy Douglas and Davenport Farms’ MTM Pablo claimed the $24,000 C. Jarvis Insurance Welcome Prix victory.
“I am learning how to win and not just jump around clear. It’s a different mentality. I want to be smooth and have an idea in mind, but I have such a great group of horses with amazing owners, that everyone would prefer me to mess up trying rather than play it safe.”
Ella Traumianz dominated the $2,000 WEC Ocala Pony Hunter Derby taking home first with Cherrybrook Blue Jersey and second place aboard M’Pire.
Samantha Michael and her own Camillo Z prevailed in the $3,500 WEC Ocala Junior 2’6” Non Pro Hunter Derby, while Juliet Vadas and her own Domani 25 snagged the $3,500 WEC Ocala Amateur 2’6” Non Pro Hunter Derby win.
Congratulations to all exhibitors on a fantastic week of equestrian sport! We hope to see you all for the final week of the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.
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