Julia Curtis and Isarus [Photo Credit: Alison Hartwell Photography]
It was a happy anniversary for Julie Curtis of Villa Rica, Georgia and her own Isarus when they won the $25,000 Voltaire Design Grand Prix, presented by EMO, under the lights in the Olympic Arena.
“He’s nine coming ten years old and I got him one year ago here at the Atlanta Fall Classics,” said Curtis. “Kyle Timm called my trainer Harrison [Ford] and told him that he thought he had a perfect horse for me,” she said. “I really wasn’t even looking,” she added. “I was a junior then and only rode him in the 1.20 Low Juniors last year. Then we came here in the spring and got a third in our first Grand Prix but this is our first win together!” exclaimed Curtis.
Curtis and Isarus were the only horse and rider team to turn in a clear round in this Grand Prix. “When my trainer Harrison and I walked the course, we thought it was going to be simple and not so technical,” she said. “But once we got in the arena, there were no places to take a rest and you had to keep moving throughout the whole course,” commented Curtis.
“After the triple there was a bending seven to a wide oxer and my trainer said that once you got through the triple, the seven would come up tight,” she said. “Lots of horses had the back rail because they got there so tight,” she added.
“But my horse has a really hard left drift and since that part of the course was the hardest for me, when I jumped out of the triple, I used his drift to my advantage in order to get down the seven without coming in too tight to the oxer,” she said.
That strategy worked well for Curtis and she and Isarus were the only horse and rider team to go clear in a time of 74.535 seconds, beating the first round time allowed of 77 seconds. Glenn Hartigan of Canton, Georgia and his own Z Coco Cabana kept the rails up in the first round, but their time of 77.281 earned them one time fault and a second place ribbon.
The fastest of the four fault rounds, Danielle Grice of Northfield, Tennessee and Highridge Farm, LLC’s Kaprio placed third with their time of 71.488, and Summer Hill of Lexington, Kentucky, in the irons of Andrea Simpson’s Vendome DH Z, earned a fourth place ribbon with their four fault round in a time of 71.859 seconds.
Fifth was awarded to Seth Valhonrat’s Conbalou, ridden by Daniel Geitner of Aiken, South Carolina, for their four fault first round in a time of 71.875 seconds. Guidam Sid, owned and ridden by Meredith Bryans of Newborn, Georgia, placed sixth with their four fault first round in a time of 74.303 seconds, and seventh was awarded to Chasen Boggio of Canton, Georgia and his own Co Pilot for their eight fault round in a time of 71.799 seconds.
Haley Gassel of Lenoir City, Tennessee and Werner 61, owned by Westwind Equine Training, placed eighth and she also earned a ninth place ribbon with Westwind’s Quite Dark 2. Vick Russell’s Shining De Reve, ridden by Thomas John Russell of Columbus, North Carolina, placed tenth, and Madison Dehaven’s Chanel, ridden by Sarah Meier of Lexington, Kentucky, wrapped up the class with an eleventh place finish.
“I’m a freshman at the University of Kentucky and studying psychology, but have been horse showing the last two weeks,” commented Curtis. “I rode in the National Horse Show last week with a hunter I own and we got eighth in one of the rounds and jogged in two of them. Then I left Kentucky on Thursday and drove here to show this weekend,” she said. “Tomorrow I have another horse here to do the Barry Lane and then I need to head back to Lexington and be a student again,” she said.