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Lauren Hough and Ohlala top Welcome Stake at the 2016 Washington International Horse Show

Friday, 28 October 2016
CSI4*-W Washington International Horse Show 2016

Lauren Hough and Ohlala opened up with a win at Washington International Horse Show. Photo (c) Shawn McMillen Photography. Lauren Hough and Ohlala opened up with a win at Washington International Horse Show. Photo (c) Shawn McMillen Photography.

The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) hosted its third day of equestrian competition at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. on Thursday. USA's Lauren Hough and Ohlala were the winners in the $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by CMJ Sporthorse LLC. Another win for the USA went to Laura Kraut riding Andretti S in the $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class, presented by the Gochman Family.

In Thursday's $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by CMJ Sporthorse LLC, course designer Alan Wade (IRL) set for 29 entries with seven clear rounds over his first round track. Callan Solem (USA) and Horseshoe Trail Farm LLC's VDL Wizard chose not to return for the jump-off and finished in seventh place. David Will (GER) and Centin Güngor's Cento du Rouet were first to go over the short course, finishing fifth with four faults in 34.67 seconds. Alison Robitaille (USA) and Bertram and Diana Firestone's Ace were next to go, jumping a double clear round in 38.00 seconds to eventually finish third. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and his own and the Blue Buckle Group's Cobolt dropped two rails in 36.94 seconds to end in sixth place. Next to go, Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and David Gochman's Lady Maria BH were double clear in 37.92 seconds to take a brief lead. Laura Kraut (USA) jumped into fourth place with her time of 38.54 seconds riding St. Bride's Farm's Confu. Last to go, Lauren Hough (USA) and The Ohlala Group's Ohlala clocked the winning round in 35.27 seconds.

Hough first partnered with Ohlala, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Orlando x Cardento), five years ago and last competed at WIHS in 2012 when the pair won the $32,000 International Open Jumper faults converted class. At that time, Hough had been riding Ohlala for just one year and was stepping the mare up to the grand prix level with high hopes. Ohlala has since lived up to great expectations and won major classes all over the world.

Explaining her decision to return to WIHS after a three-year hiatus, Hough said, "I am really trying to concentrate on the World Cup qualifiers. I would like to go to the World Cup Finals with her this year, and so I decided to do a tour here. I did Tryon last week. I will go back to Europe to go to Doha next week and then carry on to Toronto."

"She is wonderful. She loves to win," Hough said of Ohlala. "I think her favorite part was the prize giving today. Indoors obviously suits her, being a small horse. I felt in the jump-off I did what I needed to do without taking too much risk, and still keeping Saturday night in the back of my mind and having a good prep for that. I feel like I have left enough in the tank to try to win again on Saturday as well."

The pair will compete in Saturday night's $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, so Hough did not want to take too much risk in the jump-off. "She is naturally very quick, so I just rode my round and kept the turns a little bit short," Hough detailed. "I made quite a short turn into the double and she did that great. Then I still took my time to the last. I didn't leave out, but just her natural rhythm and the pace she carries over the ground made my job very easy."

Hough added, "We bought her the end of her seven-year-old year and she has won her whole life. She jumps at a very high level, and I have been concentrating a lot on Nations' Cups, so it is nice to let her go enjoy it a little bit and be able to go fast."

Hough is based part of the year in the United States and part of the year in Europe. Being back at WIHS after several years, she has enjoyed the competition. "I love America, and I love riding here. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to compete all over the world and be based in both places, but it is always really special to be back in America in front of a home crowd," Hough acknowledged. "This is a great horse show. In the nighttime they get great crowds, and to be in the middle of D.C. is something special. I know they try really hard, and I like to support good American shows.

 



Source: Press release from Jump Media / Picture © Shawn McMillen Photography

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