Laura Linback and Woodrun’s HH Dauphin.
Friday’s feature jumper competition, the $15,000 Horseflight Open Welcome, saw twenty-two horse and rider teams compete on the world class grass grand prix field at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit in Gulfport, Mississippi over a course designed by international course designer Michel Vaillancort of Tryon, North Carolina.
Vaillancort is the Course Designer for this year’s Pan American games in Canada and a “regular” on the Gulf Coast Classic and Classic Company’s Course Designer Roster. Vaillancort, originally from Montreal, Canada, made history by becoming the first Canadian equestrian athlete to win an Individual Olympic medal during the 1976 Olympic Games. Vaillancort became the head of the Canadian Olympic team as their Chief d’Equipe and is considered one of the top course designers in North America.
Bryn Sadler of Santa Fe, New Mexico was first to go in the irons of Showcase 81, LLC’s Mullentine Imperial and turned in a clean first round effort in a time of 70.264 seconds, well within the 74 seconds time allowed. Her second round effort with no faults in a time of 42.837 seconds would set the time to beat.
Tiffany Cambria of Middleburg, Virginia and The GT Syndicate’s Collin W turned in the next clear first round effort in a time of 69.298 seconds. However, eight faults in their second round in a time of 40.131 seconds would see the pair finish in eighth place overall.
Kristen Blomstrom of Southlake, Texas followed Cambria in the irons of Farfetched Farm’s Zeros and went clean in a time of 66.711 seconds. Four jump faults in their second round in a time of 39.573 seconds would see the pair finish in seventh overall.
Kyle Timm of Apex, North Carolina who had placed second and third in last week’s $35,000 CWD Grand Prix, presented by Nutrena, rode Apex Equestrian Center’s Calida 5 to a clear first round effort in a time of 67.736 seconds. Their second round was also clean and the pair finished in a fast 39.521 seconds, setting the new time to beat.
Laura Linback of Long Grove, Illinois and Woodrun’s HH Dauphin was next to turn in a clean first round effort in a time of 69.377 seconds. The pair turned in a lightning fast second round clean in a time of 37.214 seconds, taking the lead.
Although Linback’s time would be hard to beat, with six skilled riders and horses left to go, it was still anyone’s win.
Sadler and Showcase 81 LLC’s Bon Giorno were the next to go clean in a first round time of 68.022. Although their second round effort was clean in a time of 41.551 seconds, it was not fast enough to beat Linback’s time and the pair would finish in fourth place overall.
Penny Brennan of Ocala, Florida and her own Sun Tzu followed Sadler. Brennan and Sun Tzu are a seasoned grand prix team and a force to contend with on the grand prix field. The pair turned in clean first round in a time of 69.871 seconds, but their second fault free effort in a time of 40.556 would see them finish in third place overall, putting Linback in the winner’s circle and Timm in second place with Calida 55.
“Today was my first day in Gulfport,” said Linback. “The jumps are beautiful; there is just a lovely atmosphere here and it was great to run and jump on grass!” she said. “When you’re riding out there, the horses just really love it and it’s much more natural for them,” she added. “This is fantastic!” she said.
“Michel is an excellent course designer. He really creates the perfect courses and has just the right balance and nothing heavy handed,” she commented. “I loved the bending lines to the double. Some of the jumps had a spook factor and some had a careful factor. The triple bar really encouraged you to gallop at it and then he [Michel] had the triple combination directly toward the in gate which created an issue for some people. It really was the perfect balance,” she said.
HH Dauphin’s barn name is ‘Heff’. “We bought him from Hunter Harrison and he asked that we leave the HH in the name. I was wondering what else HH could stand for and my then ten-year-old son said, ‘Hugh Heffner’. I wondered how he could know that, but anyway we kept it and we call him Heff in the barn,” she laughed.
“My horse is amazing… he makes me look like a genius and I’m just trying to get out of his way,” she said.
“We have seven horses here and we brought a whole group,” she added. “We have a young horse that has never been on grass and what a great opportunity this show presents for him to jump on the grass,” she said.
The Classic and Gulf Coast Classic Companies are USHJA’s Members Choice Award winners, recognized for producing top quality show jumping events in the United States. Together, they offer the best exhibitor-friendly, top quality hunter jumper events each winter. Please visit them on the web at www.ClassicCompany.com or call them at 843.768.5503.
All sponsorship, marketing and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel, Sponsorship, Marketing and Public Relations Director, at email@example.com.
See you at the ring,
The Classic Company, Ltd.
Phone/FAX: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311 Johns Island SC 29457