Mclain Ward and HH Azur. Photos by The Book, LLC.
Victoria Colvin and Ovation Add Old Salem Farm Grand Junior Hunter Champion to Their Trophy Case
North Salem, NY – May 10, 2015 – The first week of competition at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows wrapped on Sunday with Mclain Ward and Double H Farm’s HH Azur besting 39 contenders in the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix, presented by The Kincade Group. Also highlighting the final day of competition, Victoria Colvin and Ovation scored the Grand Junior Hunter Championship for the first time in Colvin’s career at Old Salem Farm.
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows run May 5-10 and May 12-17 at the picturesque Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. The shows feature over 130 hunter and jumper classes each week, bringing together top competitors, including Olympic show jumpers, from all corners of the country to compete for more than $500,000 in prize money.
The jump-off was not yet in Mclain Ward’s future as he entered the ring to bat cleanup in the afternoon’s featured class, but HH Azur had plans to change that. Clean, smooth and within the time allowed, the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare carried Ward to the jump-off where they again returned last and scored the double-clear win in 34.096 seconds.
Georgina Bloomberg was second aboard Caleno 3 for Gotham Enterprizes, LLC in 34.365 seconds after giving the impressive crowd that lined The Grand Prix Field their third clear of the day in the original order. Third fell to Peter Leone and My Pleasure, LLC’s My Pleasure who jumped first in both rounds and crossed the jump-off timers clear in 34.730 seconds.
Leslie Howard and Martin Guerra’s Balboa 6 were fourth after securing a jump-off in the first round and finished with the fastest four-fault trip of the day in 37.051 seconds. Howard also piloted Genrille Van Spiedveld for GJ Stables & Peter Howard, marking her return to the grand prix on multiple mounts after undergoing hip surgery this winter.
Capping the top five, Devin Ryan piloted his own Cooper to an eight-fault jump-off performance in 34.151 seconds as the youngest horse in the field at eight years old.
Still a new mount for Ward, HH Azur is a promising one. “My reaction to how Azur jumps every day is amazement,” he said. “I probably don’t often say it, but I am very lucky to have the horses I have and this one is something very special.”
Ward actually sat on Azur as a five-year-old and decided not to buy the mare, but the opportunity came again at the end of last year. Ward jumped at the prospect and just several months later, he is confident the horse is destined for greatness. “I think this horse could win the Olympic Games,” he said.
Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC set his final course of the week in the grand prix and saw five clear. “We had a fantastic week of weather and that makes my life so much easier,” said Vaillancourt. “The field was in absolute perfect shape and I know there’s another week coming up so, I wanted to leave it the same – I always keep that in mind when designing my tracks and jump-offs. Earlier in the week we had a fantastic welcome, great numbers, and the climax of it all was a super ride from Mclain.”
While a true test, Ward was pleased with the course presented by Vaillancourt and admits his only goal was to stay out of Azur’s way. “It was a really good course, and Michel is one of my favorites,” said Ward. “He is always challenging while being fair. It’s a National Grand Prix, so you have some developing horses. The hills, terrain and natural environment already takes a toll. For these young horses, it’s a phenomenal stepping stone.”
Next week, HH Azur will return to The Grand Prix Field with Ward in the irons and again challenge the big money in the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix, presented by The Kincade Group. Ward’s win tightened his grasp on the $20,000 Leading Jumper Rider Challenge, which he has led all week.
Before the grand prix took the stage, junior and amateur riders closed out their jumper classics for the week with Victoria Colvin and Take The High Road, LLC’s Don Juan winning the $7,500 Medium Classic, presented by Town Vibe Media. Lucy Deslauriers and Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester jumped to top spot in the $15,000 High Classic, presented by Miller Motorcars.
Victoria Colvin Wins Grand Junior Hunter Champion
Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL added to her list of incredible junior career accolades as she swept the Small and Large Junior Hunter 16-17 divisions, won the Grand Junior Hunter Championship, and was named Best Junior Rider on a Horse.
Colvin has only shown occasionally at Old Salem Farm, having competed with ponies four years ago and at the ASPCA Maclay Regionals in the fall. She was very pleased to have done so well at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show. “I don’t have much of a history here,” she confirmed. “It’s a nice set up and beautiful. They give great ribbons and prizes, and it makes it feel like a big event.”
She had success at every discipline this week, having won the Equitation Challenge, presented by EquiFit, and the Medium Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. “Every horse I did this week has been really great,” she said.
In the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, she and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Ovation won two and placed second in two over fences classes. They also took the blue ribbon in the under saddle class, which gave them the division championship and the Grand Junior Hunter Championship. She was reserve champion in the division on Parker’s Canadian Blue, winning first, first, and second over fences and third under saddle.
In her last year as a junior rider, Colvin is preserving bittersweet memories of riding her junior hunters. It is planned for Ovation to retire at the end of the year as one of the winningest junior hunters in history.
Colvin related, “Every round that I do, he’s so beautiful, so when we’re going around, I’m thinking, ‘This is so pretty. This is the last trip (on him) I’m going to have here.’ He’s just so elegant as he goes across the ground. I have to smile when I’m on him because he’s so beautiful. He can still be naughty sometimes, but he’s gotten older and a little wiser. He’s just an amazing horse to ride.”
In the Small Junior 16-17 Hunter division, she was champion on two more Parker-owned rides, Small Affair and Way Cool. Small Affair placed first and second over fences and second in the under saddle for the championship, while Way Cool was reserve champion after placing first and second over fences.
This was Way Cool’s first show back since the Hampton Classic in August. “He felt amazing. His jump is unbelievable. I was very happy to have him back, and hopefully he’ll be back and ready for Devon (Horse Show),” she said. “I hope he goes like that at Devon.”
Colvin’s hunters will take next week off before contesting the Devon Horse Show, “so they’ll be fresh and happy”.
In the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunters, Akinda and Coco Fath, riding for Hillside Farm, Inc., were champions. They were first, first, second, fourth, and fifth. Lilli Hymowitz and Rose Hill Farm’s Enjoy were reserve champions with first, first, second, and fourth place ribbons.
Boneparte Z and Ellie Ferrigno, riding for Kristi C. Siam, took the championship in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Hunters. They won three classes and placed third in the remaining over fences class. The reserve championship went to Cassanto and Emily Perez, who were first, second, third, and sixth over fences and won the under saddle.
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows continue on May 12-17 with another week of exciting competition, including Saturday’s $20,000 Speed Derby of North Salem and $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby as well as the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group on Sunday.
Full horse show results can be found at www.horseshowsonline.com.
Old Salem Farm, located just one hour north of New York City, is one of the best equestrian competition venues in North America, as rated by the North American Riders Group in 2011-2014. Host of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, the prestigious American Gold Cup CSI-W 4*, and year-round competitions, the facility offers a state-of-the-art turf grand prix field, indoor riding arena, and two all-weather footing rings. As a boarding and training facility, Old Salem Farm is second to none and home to top trainer Frank Madden. For more information, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net or call 914-669-5610.
Lindsay Brock for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.