Wilmington, Ohio – Midwest Indoors II concluded at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington Sunday, November 19. Summer Hill (USA) dominated the $30,000 Hagyard Equine Medical Institute Grand Prix while Leann Kelly (USA) conquered the $10,000 Voltaire Futures Prix. Sarah Sturges (USA) earned top honors in the $15,000 USHJA National Open Hunter Derby while the WEC Medal Final took over the R+L Annex Arena.
Hill earned first place with her own Lausbub 458 (Lord Pizzaro x La Lolita) in 38.295 seconds, and third place with her La Belle SCF (Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve x Belle Bleu S) in 38.479 seconds in the $30,000 Grand Prix.
A regular grand prix outing for Hill turned out to be a night to remember for her and her team at Fairbanks Riding. Kevin Gallagher (IRL) rode to second place with Procyon SCF, the first and only baby out of Hill’s top mare La Belle SCF.
Hill commented on her jump-off plan, “I didn’t plan on going fast with La Belle, but since her only son was in the jump-off, I figured I would try to give him a run for his money,” laughed Hill. “It was a last-minute decision once I got in the ring to go fast. I am working on going faster with Bubs and at this point it is just practice, but tonight it just worked out. He is the one that I can ride fast, but La Belle I have to be a bit more tactical about.”
Kelly won the $10,000 Futures Prix sponsored by Voltaire with Sarah Hunter’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding Graf Joe (Graf Top x Aline) in 32.068 seconds.
“He has been on quite a hot streak,” said Kelly. “He won a lot of Welcome’s around the Saratoga circuit and was second here last week. He had a few months off in the fall and is making his comeback.”
A short fall break did not hinder Sarah Hunter’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding’s performance, as he “came out fresh and happy for this class. It seems to work for him. He knew it was his night,” Kelly noted.
In the 3’-3’6 section of the WEC Medal Final, it was Elizabeth Rinehart that finessed the jumping phase and the flat phase to impress the judges for the win.
The junior rider of Rinehart Farms in Westfield, Indiana, is coming off a successful indoor season, and spoke on how the WEC Medal aided in her successes, “This class has been really helpful throughout the year. It is really nice to have an extra equitation class for practice at the shows. Coming here and showing in the indoor really helped when we went to Medal Finals and Maclay Finals!”
In the 2’-2’6” section of the WEC Medal Final, 12-year-old rider Corrigan Janiak perfected the track, and maintained her leading position with a strong flat test to take the top spot.
“I do the Pony Medal on Sparty. I think the WEC Medal was definitely helpful because I was able to get more experience throughout the year. It’s an extra chance to get in the ring with Sparty, so it’s good for both of us. I am going to try and qualify for this class again next year and hopefully qualify for Pony Finals in 2024!”
Sturges, of Cincinnati, Ohio, caught the ride on Abby Wagner’s 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, No Doubt (Nerrado x Abba II), and left little room for error from the rest of the field, with scores of 90 and 93 for the win in the $15,000 USHJA National Open Hunter Derby.
“I watched Trevor [Hawthorne) go and he laid it down. His horse is super scopey and he did a beautiful job,” said Sturges. “My horse is such a classic hunter that I really tried to stick with my plan. I wanted to stay handy but smooth and let his jumping style speak for itself. I thought everything rode really nicely. If I could change anything, I would have landed right after the trot jump but he made such a beautiful effort everywhere else that it worked itself out.”
Nicole Lyvere (USA) swept the $15,000 IDA Development USHJA National Non-Pro Hunter Derby for the second week in a row, this time aboard her Certainty (Hoftanz x Batida) with scores of 84 and 89.
“Paul is 15 this year and I have had him since he was five. He is probably one of the hardest horses I have ever ridden to this day, but by this point we know each other’s quirks pretty well, but sometimes we still push each other’s buttons! He wants you to work for all of it. He can jump amazing, but he won’t just give it you. The less you do the better, until you get to the warmup ring, he has a routine. At home we just keep him happy.”
Kevin Gallagher, of Marigot Bay Farm, caught the ride on Kelly Arani’s (USA) 11-year-old mare, Mardinie (Spartacus x Wardinie VDL) to win the $10,000 Clinton County CVB Welcome Stake on Thursday evening in 34.949 seconds.
Lacking the natural footspeed that the rest of the field possessed, Gallagher used the race for the win as a schooling opportunity for the mare, “Mardinie is not naturally that fast, so she has to be taught to be tidier than every other horse. Rolling back to the second to last fence after the combination made all of the difference in the jump-off.”
WEC – Wilmington sponsor 2nd Round Equestrian presented a $500 bonus to Jenna Drago and Sandriano, the second place finishers after the conclusion of the second round of the $15,000 USHJA National Non-Pro Hunter Derby.
Competition at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington will resume on Wednesday, November 29, with Winter Classic 1.
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Results can be found at wec.net.
All horse show images are provided by Winslow Photography and can be purchased onsite at WEC – Wilmington or online through their website.