Not a seat was left in the arena and the boisterous, sold-out crowd was entertained with a field of 28 competitive starters and a course designed by 2016 Rio Olympic showjumping course designer, Guilherme Jorge. The first round contained 13 obstacles with 16 efforts, including a triple combination across the diagonal and a vertical - oxer combination on the rail. The indoor arena challenged the adjustability of the teams, with tight turns off the rail in multiple locations.
Spectators jeered as West Coast favorites Richard Spooner, Rich Fellers, and Will Simpson entered the ring, along with a spirited welcome for some new faces to the Sacramento International Horse Show, including Georgina Bloomberg, Guido Klatte Jr., and Jessica Springsteen.
Round one produced eight clear rounds from Guido Klatte Jr., Audrey Coulter, who won the Morning Star Sporthorses Grand Prix qualifier on Thursday night, Eduardo Menezes, Chris Surbey, who took home the win in the Murieta Inn & Spa 1.45M speed competition Friday night, Georgina Bloomberg, Rich Fellers, and Jenni McAllister.
The annotated jump-off course included room for the riders to create a tight track with only a few inside turn options, including 4 AB to the single verticals, fences 8 and 9, and a long gallop home towards the exuberant VIP over the Longines oxer.
Crowd favorites, Fellers and Flexible, took the inside turn from 4 AB to 8 with an unfortunate rail at 8 to land themselves in a race for the fastest four fault time. McAllister and Springsteen picked up four faults each in the jump-off, but were not faster that the 20 year old Irish Stallion owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman, putting them in sixth and seventh respectfully. Guido Klatte Jr., who is visiting from Germany, accumulated 11 faults, putting him in eighth.
Bloomberg crossed the finish line with a clear jump-off in a conservative time of 46.40 to put her into fourth. The winner of the Murieta Inn & Spa 1.45M speed class Friday night, Surbey wasn't quite fast enough for the win tonight, with a clean jump-off in a time of 42.47, placing him into third. Menezes and his own Catalina maintained a tidy course to put him into second place with a time of 40.84.
Audrey Coulter, who trains with Harrie Smolders, had a successful week at the Sacramento International Horse Show, starting with a win in the Morning Star Sporthorses Grand Prix qualifier on Thursday night with Capital Colnardo; apparently a good omen of things to come this weekend. Coulter and Capital Colnardo marched into the arena second to last to go in the jump-off and put up a stunning display of showjumping for a crowd that was on the edge of their seats. She knew they needed to beat a fast 42.47 by Surbey and there were a few tough spots to overcome.
"The turns came up really fast out of the corners," said Coulter at the press conference. "Fences 8 and 9 were really tough in the jump off, vertical to vertical. And the gallop to the final fence is just fun."
They succeeded, ending their show with a clear jump-off in a time of 39.85 and taking home the win in the class, their first major class win together!
"Tonight was a great display of the sport of show jumping and we are so glad the community comes and enjoys the event at the Equestrian Center," said Sara Nastri of West Palms Events. "It was a really fun week with incredible athletes visiting from all over the world. Thank you for joining us here at the Sacramento International Horse Show!"
Source: Press release from West Palms Event Management / Picture © Alden Corrigan for West Palms Events
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