Amanda Forte Pilots HHS Louis to First Grand Prix Win

Amanda Forte and HHS Louis.

The Gulf Coast Winter Classic Week II $25,000 Nutrena Grand Prix, presented by Domino’s, took place Sunday afternoon at the Harrison County Fairgrounds. Olympic medalist and Pan American Course Designer, Michel Vaillancort of Tryon, North Carolina, challenged the twenty-three horse and rider teams over a course on the world class grass grand prix field in a time allowed of 82 seconds.

Only four advanced to the jump off round. The first to turn in a clean first round in 75.705 seconds, Matt Cyphert of Northlake, Texas and his own Lochinvar were the first to go in the jump off. The time allowed was 55 seconds and Cyphert sailed through it, fault free, in a time of 49.537 seconds and set the new time to beat.

Fellow Texan Scott Lenkart of Argyle and Fleur De Lis Farms’ Ziezo followed Cyphert in the jump-off order after posting a clean first round in a time of 74.114 seconds. They also went clear in the jump off round in a time of 46.531 seconds, temporarily taking the lead.

Suzanne Suttles of Flower Mound, Texas and her own Better Judgement followed Lenkart and posted a clear second round in a time of 46.862 seconds, moving Lenkart into third place.

Amanda Forte of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania and Cerulean Stables, LLC’s HHS Louis, second place winner in the Week I Foley RV Center Grand Prix, sat in the enviable last to go spot. “The CWD to the triple line and the Horseflight jump by the in-gate was tricky,” commented Forte. “Louie is just over 17.3 hands high and has a huge stride. We spent all last year working on balance and collecting, but his natural tendency is to be very open,” she said. “The double verticals rode really tight and that was the hardest part,” Forte commented. “I thought that was where we would have a problem, but my horse did it great!” she added. And great indeed! They finished clean in a time of 46.365 seconds, winning the class and adding Louie’s first grand prix win to his resume! Lenkart and Ziezo finished in second, Suttles and Better Judgement in third, and Cyphert and Lochinvar received fourth place honors.

Lauren Hester of Lexington, Kentucky and Hester Equestrian LLC’s Lorstakov finished in fifth as the fastest four-faulter in a first round time of 74.196 seconds. Hester also picked up sixth place with Hester Equestrian, LLC’s Arly after posting a four fault first round in a time of 74.396 seconds.

Shannon Hicks of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri and Helen Gilbert’s Emir D finished in seventh overall with a four fault first round in a time of 75.128 seconds. Eighth and ninth place were awarded to Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama and Loretta Patterson’s Skymiles and Triompf, respectively, after posting four fault rounds in times of 75.927 seconds and 78.127 seconds. Tenth place went to Sarah Scheiring of Stockton, New Jersey and Molly Ben-Menachem’s Dontez for their four fault round in a time of 78.954 seconds. Eleventh was awarded to Quasi Modo H, owned by Daryl Nolen and ridden by Jennie Nolen, and Francois LaMontagne of Saint Eustache, Quebec, Canada and his own Chanel Du Calvaire wrapped up the class in twelfth place.

“Louie is part of the Quidam Junior line,” said Forte. “We bought Louie in Ireland where he was doing the 1.10m with a kid and have had him for just over a year,” said Forte. “This is his second year here in Gulfport and our fourth year showing here,” said Forte. “We love it here. I think primarily because we love Bob and his shows. But we have young horses and there is no better place than Gulfport to develop them and bring them along. It’s a wonderful opportunity and Gulfport has such a positive atmosphere,” said Forte. “There’s lots of space here, not much stress and a great grand prix field,” she added.

“I love Michel’s [Vaillancort] courses,” said Forte. “They are always really fun to ride,” she added. “I really liked the course he set because it flowed really nicely and the jumps were set pretty solid with lots of tests on the course,” she said. “The field here is really excellent and the weather has been perfect. It is so impressive to see the show management work on that grand prix field every afternoon and it’s been awesome to ride on,” she added.

Cerulean Stables has twelve horses in Gulfport and has had a successful circuit thus far! Forte also rode Rebecca Patterson’s horse Veccia Murano in his first Derby and earned a seventh place in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Week II. “We’re really excited about doing the big Derby in the field Week V,” commented Forte.

There are still a few stalls available as the Circuit heads into Week III. It’s not too late to experience the best winter circuit in the country! Email your stall requests to and go to to enter for no additional fees.

The Gulf Coast Classic Company is a USHJA’s Members Choice Award winner, recognized for producing top quality show jumping events in the United States. For more information on Gulf Coast Classic Company and its exhibitor-friendly, top quality hunter jumper events, please visit them at

All sponsorship, marketing and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel, Sponsorship, Marketing and Public Relations Director, at

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See you at the ring,
Bob Bell
The Classic Company, Ltd.
Phone/FAX: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311 Johns Island SC 29457

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