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Holly Shepherd and Triompf Prove Triumphant Taking $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight Victory

RELEASE: August 4, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Holly Shepherd and Triompf claim the $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight victory with speedy tie breaking jump-off (Kendall Bierer/PMG)
Holly Shepherd and Triompf claim the $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight victory with speedy tie breaking jump-off (Kendall Bierer/PMG)
Wayne, IL
- The resounding cheers and applause could be heard throughout the Lamplight Equestrian Center as six horse and rider combinations faced off in today's $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight, presented by Saddler's Row. It came down to a battle of speed as each consecutive rider bested the next, but it was Holly Shepherd and Triompf that came away the victors. Steve Schaefer and Caribe laid down an impressive double-clean effort to claim the second place, while Brittni Raflowitz and Elios scored the third place finish.

Guilherme Jorge designed a technical track that tested both horse and rider alike in the $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight. His15-obstacle course was filled with wide turns, an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination, a vertical-oxer double combination and a triple bar. Out of the starting list only six were able to master the 1.50m track and advance to the short course. Jorge designed a technical track that tested both horse and rider alike in the $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight. 

Riders began over a single burgundy and green vertical and made a tight left over a purple oxer. They then were challenged by the ESI-oxer set at the far end of the arena, and had to turn immediately to the right to show over a white-and-red vertical. There were many options in today's jump-off, and the riders used them to their advantage, especially slicing the turn from the vertical to the double combination. They then made a left rollback over a vertical and raced toward the final daunting oxer to cross the finish line and seal their fate in the ranks.

Laura Linback and Whittaker MVNZ, owned by Woodrun of Mundelein, IL, were the pathfinders over the first course, and they duplicated their clean effort in the jump-off. Knowing that she had some of the quickest riders hot on her heels, Linback entered the jump-off with determination to make them run for the chance to catch her time. She laid down a double-clean effort in an astounding 41.887 seconds, but her quick round would eventually rank her fourth in the standings. 

"I am on Cloud Nine, that was definitely the biggest track he has ever jumped," Raflowitz described. "I am thrilled that he has come so far. I started riding him in March in the 1.30m jumpers, and we have been taking it very slowly with working our way up-now he's here."

Raflowitz continued, "He tried his heart and soul out today, and I could not in a million years ask him to jump or do different than what he did out there. I was a little bit safe to two jumps, but I am so happy with how it all went. He was so good. Coming out of the ring, I was so excited that I felt like I couldn't breathe. I can't even describe how happy I am. Big things take time, and teamwork makes the dream work. I have the best team behind me, and we wouldn't be where we are if it wasn't for them."

The need for speed went into hyper drive as consecutive riders took their turn at the track, and Steve Schaefer was not going to let the 18-year-old Raflowitz steal his thunder. Aboard his own Caribe, he picked up a blazing speed from the in-gate and took the turns with a clear finesse. He took an inside turn to the ESI-oxer that none had sliced so sharply, and utilized the left turn to the double combination to help cut the seconds. He broke the beam in an astounding 40.221 seconds, also leaving all rails in place to jump to the top of the leader board.

"Caribe is my veteran mount," Schaefer explained. "I bought him in Argentina as a 4-year-old, and I brought him along to this point. It has been great fun, and he is great. We wanted to make them work for it out there. If you're going to win, you have to work. I knew it was going to be close today, but that is the game of show jumping."

Holly Shepherd had the next clear round with Skymiles, owned by Loretta Patterson of Omaha, NB, but they wrapped up their two-round effort with the most conservative of the times to take the sixth place position. They rode to two clear rounds, but their time of 42.554 seconds was moderate, although it did prepare her for her final mount of the jump-off, Triompf. With three more riders to go, Shepherd was sure to come back fighting.

"Laura Linback is one of the fastest riders in the country, and she knew that there were fast people behind her so she was pretty quick in the beginning," Shepherd stated. "My second horse is just an 8-year-old, and I thought that I was fast enough to beat her, but I wasn't. I was still a second and a half off of her time. When I came up to compete on Triompf, and found out how fast everyone had been going, I knew I had to go fast."

Brittni Raflowitz and Elios, owned by Maarten Huygens of Wellington, FL, laid down the next clean round, finding their way in to the tiebreaker. This was their first time taking on a course of such measure, but Elios was prepared to give it his best. They used their speed on the ground, and took tight turns to shave the seconds, clearing the short track with ease while Raflowitz could be heard saying, "You're such a good boy, you have this, only one more jump." They tripped the timers in a mere 41.676 seconds to take over the lead.

The young Jennifer Jones piloted Cliff II to the time of 42.382 seconds, but they earned four faults for a heartbreaking fault in the vertical of the double combination. They would prove good enough for the sixth place.

It was the moment of truth when veteran Grand Prix rider Shepherd entered the ring as the final competitor to tackle the short track. When she left the arena earlier aboard Skymiles, and began to prepare her second mount, she thought Linback's time would be unbeatable. Little did she realize that upon her return the rankings had changed and she would have to lay down a round like no other to catch Schaefer's time. 

Triompf erupted from the in-gate with an astonishing speed, and Shepherd used his stride and swiftness to her advantage. They sliced the turn from 1 to 2, but went a little wide to the ESI-oxer, It was there that Shepherd admitted that she had the resounding thought, "I want to live to see another day." This thought didn't deter the pair from slicing the turn to the vertical and then shaving the seconds during the turn in the double combination. The spectators were going crazy as she made it over the penultimate obstacle and raced toward the final yellow-and-blue oxer to take the win. She crossed the finish in 39.885 seconds, 3/100ths of a second quicker than Schaefer.

"I turned the corner from the in-gate and just started going," Shepherd explained. "I chickened out a little bit from the ESI fence but when I didn't like what I saw, I rode out more and put some slice on that. It was the turn going into the double-combination. He made an amazing rollback to the double combination, and I think that is where he really beat everyone else. The last jump was really far away, but I didn't want to chicken out so I just kept going. I knew I had to go as fast as I could. You just have to keep kicking on him."

Shepherd has been partnered with Triompf for three years and they have been busy collecting ribbons in major classes. He is a double-duty horse, versatile in his abilities to the point that after this victory. Shepherd plans to take him to Trader's Point and then, hopefully, see him take on the hunters during the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in Lexington, KY. Last year Liza Boyd had the ride aboard the magnificent gelding, and she took him to the top of the ranks during the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Consolation Round.

"We call him T-Money because he always brings home the money," Shepherd laughed. "He just recently won a Grand Prix in Charleston, and I think that with all of the major classes we have done over the past three years, he has only never been awarded a ribbon in maybe three of them, and maybe only three hunter derbies without ribbons. He's amazing and so perfect. He is super easy and doesn't need too much help at all. If I keep him soft and point him at the jumps, he takes them, he is a natural for sure."

In addition to competing for the winning title and a share in the prize money, riders had the opportunity to win $500 in bonus money as a part of the SSG Riding Gloves promotion-riders wearing the SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves with the SSG horse head logo clearly visible during all rounds of competition in the designated event are eligible for the bonus. Although Shepherd took home the lion's share of the prize money this afternoon, she unfortunately was not wearing the SSG Digital Riding Gloves.

This week was Shepherd's first time showing at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, but she admits that she is a fan. "I love it here, and for sure I am going to have to come back and be defending champion. I have enjoyed myself completely here, and hope that we will be on the same circuit next year so we can return."

The $35,000 Grand Prix de Lamplight was sponsored by Saddler's Row, and their representative, Frances Bowers, could not have been more thrilled. "We are so excited to be able to be here and see people from all over the country experience this beautiful facility," she said. "My daughter grew up showing here, and I used to show here-it has a lot of history. It is so nice to have this facility, and we are proud to be a sponsor."

$35,000 GRAND PRIX DE LAMPLIGHT
1    289    TRIOMPF   HOLLY SHEPHERD 0    0    0    80.366  0    0    0    39.885
2    385    CARIBE      STEVE SCHAEFER  0    0    0    75.585  0    0    0    40.221
3    135    ELIOS     BRITTNI RAFLOWITZ 0    0    0    79.064  0    0    0    41.676       
4    251    WHITTAKER MVNZ     LAURA LINBACK 0    0    0    79.393 0    0    0    41.887
5    296    SKYMILES   HOLLY SHEPHERD  0    0    0    83.730  0    0    0    42.554       
6    188    CLIFF II   JENNIFER JONES   0    0    0    82.725    4    0    4    42.382       
7    292    SILVERSTONE   HOLLY SHEPHERD     0    1    1    85.128   
8    336    CENTURION B   LISA GOLDMAN     4    0    4    74.667   
9    359    PAKO   LILLIE ROSS  4    0    4    78.053   
10    250    HH DAUPHIN  LAURA LINBACK  4    0    4    80.637   
11    362    BRIGHTSIDE SANDRA DALMAN  12    0    12    77.654         
12    120    BARACK  DAVID DORNER 12    0    12    81.162

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