McLain Ward and Vancouver Reach Great Heights in $25,000 Puissance at 2009 WIHS CSI****-W
RELEASE: October 23, 2009
Minikus, Farrington, Johnson, and Kessler in Winner's Circle for Jumpers
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Wood and Lauren Fisher
The 2009 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) CSI****-W is one of the most exciting equestrian competitions in the country, and it is one of only two shows in North America that offer a puissance, or "high jump" class. Friday night's $25,000 Puissance presented by Chevron Corporation saw a very familiar face for the awards presentation. Seven-time winner McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, was victorious in the class on Vancouver. David Beisel of Cincinnati, OH, finished second with Patoile, owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises, Inc.
This year's WIHS jumper courses are designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. Ward and Beisel were the only two riders out of a starting field of seven to reach the third jump-off round. The first round started with Shane Sweetnam of Ireland on Spy Coast Farm, LLC's Little Emir and Jonathan McCrea of Ireland on Promised Land, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables, having rails on earlier fences on the course, although they both cleared the puissance wall that was set at 5'10" (1.78m). This eliminated them from the competition. Also eliminated for a fault at the wall was Andres Rodriguez of Venezuala on Tornado.
Along with Ward and Beisel, two other riders were clear in the first round to move on to the second round, where the wall was raised to 6'1" (1.85m). Charlie Jayne and Pony Lane Farm's Carentina III were clear, but chose to retire after this round. Irishman Darragh Kenny and Missy Clark/North Run's Gael Force were also clear to move on to the third round.
In the third round, the wall was moved up to 6'7" (2.01m), and the first rider to attempt the jump was Ward on Vancouver. They easily cleared the wall to move on to the final round. Beisel and the very game Patoile were also clear. The luck of the Irish was not with Kenny, however, who had a very unfortunate fault at the wall when Gael Force cleared it, but kicked out the top block with his hind legs as he was landing.
The wall in the final round was raised to 6'10" (2.09m), but neither Ward nor Beisel were able to clear it. Ward had trouble when Vancouver shifted right over the wall, and he took the top blocks down. Beisel, who had been galloping to the wall in previous rounds, took a more conservative approach and Patoile refused. When he tried again, Patoile refused and Beisel fell off. Horse and rider were okay, but due to the fall, Beisel would have to take second place.
For his win, Ward was given the Congressman's Challenge Trophy, donated by the Late Honorable Rogers C.B. Morton and the Late Honorable F. Robert Watkins of Pennsylvania. Ward retired the trophy before in 2002 after he won three years in a row on Achat 6, and he also was the winner in 1994 and in 2006 and 2007 on EquiFit Pozitano.
Amazingly enough, this was Ward's first class showing with Vancouver, an 11-year-old New Zealand-bred Dutch horse. "We just got the horse about two or three weeks ago. He had jumped very successfully in New Zealand and done a few World Cup Leagues. He had a very good record before, and we brought him here because we knew he was very brave and thought he could go a couple of rounds in the Puissance," Ward explained. "It is a great event here at Washington and very good prize money, and we wanted to give it a try."
Ward said of his final round, "He performed great. I don't know him very well, and I don't think I rode him very well the last round. I actually thought I was coming in a bit slow to the wall and my thinking before the last round was to go with a little more rhythm and I think that was a mistake. I ended up being a bit too flat at it, but he really performed wonderfully and he is just a lovely horse."
This is Beisel's second time at the WIHS, and it was his and his horse's first ever Puissance class. He and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare have been together for three years and they compete in the grand prix classes usually. At last year's WIHS, Beisel saw the class and wanted to compete in it this year.
"I have always wanted to do it. I watched McLain do it, and I thought it looked like fun," he remarked.
Afterwards he joked, "I did get slammed into the wall, but it was still fun. I think I got a little too slow. I got running the time before and she barely got her hind end out of the way, so I was trying to be patient and maybe got a little too patient there. She thought it looked awfully big."
Beisel is happy to compete in such a rare event like the Puissance. "I don't know if I would do them every weekend," he conceded, "but it is needed at big events like this where they have such a big crowd and all of the people out there. That makes it pretty special."
The first class of the night was the $20,000 Open Jumper 1.50m Faults Converted class. In a blaze of speed, Todd Minikus and Olinda, owned by Houlihan Lawrence, were the winners in a time of 49.52 seconds. Just behind them were Hillary Dobbs and Marengo in 50.99 seconds. Third place went to Christine McCrea on Romantovich Take One in 53.46 seconds.
"It looked like it was going to be a fast class to me," Minikus expressed. "So when I went, Hillary had the lead and when I caught Hillary, I knew that really put the pressure on McLain and that he was gonna have to go."
Minikus felt that Olinda was right on target for the speed class. "Actually she is very good at that. As long as she doesn't start anticipating, she is very good. If she starts anticipating she can get a little ahead of herself. But that was fast, I don't care what anybody says!" he said.
He added, "This week I am showing Houlihan Lawrence's Olinda and Callie Seaman's horse Alaska. I would like to thank them and my Purina sponsorship, and I can't forget to thank Val Renihan who is the trainer of the horses."
The $15,000 Open Jumper Faults Converted was won by Kent Farrington and R.C.G. Farm's Samar this afternoon after the pair had the fastest of five clear rounds in 51.45 seconds. Last year's winners Hillary Dobbs and Marengo, owned by The Dobbs Group, earned the second-place honors in 53.98 seconds. Jonathan McCrea and Victor E, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables, came in third in 55.29 seconds.
Class winners Kent Farrington and Samar were presented with the General Dwight E. Eisenhower Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by the late Arthur J. Morris, and the pair took the victory gallop following their winning round.
The $10,000 Ambassador's Cup Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic was held with an exciting victory for Paige Johnson of The Plains, VA. With her ride in the class, Johnson won the prestigious Ambassador's Cup Perpetual Trophy for the second year in a row, thanks to the generous donation of Ambassador and Mrs. Marion H. Smoak. Last year Johnson won the class with La Martinee, and this year she rode Chiron S to the victory. Both horses are owned by Salamander Farm.
Johnson and Chiron S were one of three pairs to clear the first round course and continue to the jump-off. Erin Stewart and Devito jumped off first but had 12 faults in 35.948 seconds to finish in third place. Marley Goodman and U-2 jumped next and laid down a clear round in 37.660 seconds to finish in second. Johnson and Chiron S were the last to attempt the jump-off and the pair cleared the course in an impressive 35.420 seconds to earn top honors.
Following the Ambassador's Cup class, the Amateur-Owner Jumpers awarded their division championship to Lillian Hahn and Lucky One after their successful week of competition. The pair was presented with the Foxbrook Perpetual Trophy in honor of Space Citation and donated by Joy Slater. Carneval and Susan Knoblauch earned the division's reserve championship.
The junior jumpers also showed at the Verizon Center on Friday in a $2,500 timed first round class. The intricate course proved difficult for the horses and riders, as just two of the original 20 entries were able to jump without fault. Topping the class were Reed Kessler of Armonk, NY, and her 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding Flight.
The pair jumped clear in a time of 57.829 seconds to take top honors. The only other clear round was completed by Alexandra Thornton and Dunwalke LLC's Silvana, with their time of 64.169 seconds. Hayley Barnhill and Callie Schott's Toucan Tango had the fastest four-fault round in 53.230 seconds to earn third place. Reed Kessler and Flight were awarded the Beagle Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy for their win in the afternoon's class.
For more information and full results, please visit www.wihs.org