Wilmington, Ohio – Competition for Winter Classic #10 culminated at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington on Sunday, February 19. The Sanctuary Arena welcomed Megan Bash (USA) into the winner’s circle as she earned her second grand prix win of the 2023 Winter in the Midwest Series aboard Jackson VDL (Zirocco Blue VDL x Design O) in the $30,000 CWD Grand Prix. Matthew Piccolo (USA) stole the spotlight on Hunter Derby Friday taking the win in the $15,000 USHJA National Open 3’ Hunter Derby with Constellation (Cellestial).
Saturday evening saw Bash (USA) and Jackson VDL (Zirocco Blue VDL x Design O) gallop away with a grand applause as the only duo to jump a fault-free effort in the highly anticipated $30,000 CWD Grand Prix. Aboard her own nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, she perfected the technicality of the track and posted an effortless, quick clear round to take the win.
Bash was effusive in her praise for her mount, “I got Jackson as a six-year-old when he was still very green. This is so satisfying because I brought him up through the ranks all by myself. He and I have a very special relationship because we know each other really well. The horse is so amazing and I am so impressed with him and can’t wait to see where he goes. He went clear in the Welcome and I made a mistake in the jump-off, so he was such a good horse to come back tonight and try even harder.”
Sarah Long (CAN) and Wildflower (Wildfire x Naiade Des Garins) raced to the win in the $10,000 Futures Prix earlier Saturday evening. Long, riding out of Kestrel Farms in Ontario, Canada, piloted the expressive eight-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Mark Hayes to a blazing fast jump-off time of 36.412 seconds to top the leaderboard.
Long spoke highly of her winning mount, “Wildflower is eight this year, we did the seven-year-old classes last year, so we have been bringing her along the young horse series. She is super brave and super careful, and very fast. We have definitely clicked! She is a little funny and just a sensitive mare. She likes to be an independent girl; we just make her body feel good and she comes out and wants to be a winner every time.”
Piccolo of Arrow Hill Farm in Nashville, Tennessee, piloted Anna Schierholz’s Constellation to a flawless first round effort in the $15,000 USHJA National Open 3’ Hunter Derby for a score of 91. The ten-year-old KWPN gelding came back in top form for the handy track to earn a score of 94 for a two round total of 185 to take the win.
Piccolo commented on his rounds in the prestigious class, “It was a super fun course. I don’t know this horse very well. This is only my third time showing him, but I have watched Anna [Schierholz] show him for years. She told me to just go in and trust him, so my plan was to stay out of his way. I tried to make the inside turns brave, but also as smooth as I possibly could. Even though he is a new horse to me, I just tried to ride him like he is an old friend.”
Katelyn Jasky (USA) and Conrad (Contender x Waccola) bested a field of 36 duos in the $15,000 USHJA National Non-Pro 3’ Hunter Derby early Friday evening in the R+L Arena. Aboard the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Jasky glided around the first-round track with ease and impressed the judges with their classic style for a score of 90. Making light work of the inside turns and high options, the pair earned a second-round score of 84 for a two-round total of 174, and the win.
Jasky shared on her winning mount, “I have had Conrad for a few years now. We have been through a lot together and we have done Junior Hunter Finals twice. He has been the greatest companion. My sister owned him before I did, and she really got him to where I needed to be with Sarah’s [Roberston] help to get him where he is today.”
Izzy Beisel once again sped to the top of the $10,000 Welcome Stake, piloting her own Diaz Barbotiere (Messire Ardent x Quambera Barbotiere) to the quickest time of the field, adding another top placing to her growing record. The ten-year-old Selle Francias gelding was in careful form, never touching a single rail and establishing a forward pace early in the order. The duo was uncatchable with their winning jump-off time of 37.914 seconds.
As she exited the Sanctuary decorated in blue with a beaming smile, the junior rider who trains out of David Beisel Stables in Goshen, Ohio, mused “A little bit ago I had a few bad rides, so I got really nervous. We dropped it back down and it was a nice reminder of how fun this sport is and there is no point in doing it if you’re not having fun.”
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Results can be found at HorseShowing.com.
All horse show images are provided by Winslow Photography and can be purchased onsite at WEC – Wilmington or online through their website.