The 2015 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) featured a variety of fantastic competition on Friday, concluding in the evening with its annual $25,000 The Boeing Company International Jumper Puissance at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. In his first trip to WIHS and competing in his first Puissance ever, Belgium’s Jos Verlooy cleared the wall up to 2.13m (6’11”) to earn the winning prize with his top mount, Sunshine.
In other jumper competition, Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts and H&M Harley van de Bisschop topped the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, sponsored by Rushy Marsh Farm and AAA Equestrian.
Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, is the course designer for the jumpers at WIHS this week and fittingly holds the 32-year indoor Puissance record for his win at 7′ 7 1/2 ” aboard Sweet ‘N Low in 1983. He set the wall for the evening’s $25,000 The Boeing Company Puissance, starting at 1.73m (5’8”) in height, and continuing up to 2.13m (6’11”) in four rounds of competition.
The Puissance course began with four fences to clear, including an oxer, vertical and triple-bar leading up to the wall set at a starting height of 1.73m (5’8”). Seven combinations started in round one and all cleared the first height. In round two, the first two obstacles were removed, leaving just the triple bar and the imposing wall, which moved up to 1.89m (6’2”). Charlie Jayne (USA) and Bassandra were the first pair out of the competition, clearing the wall, but dropping an unfortunate rail over the triple-bar on the way. Kama Godek (USA) on Apollo Mission and Kaitlin Campbell (USA) aboard Artani 2 each had the wall down in round two to complete their nights.
Continuing into round 3, the wall moved up to 1.97m (6’5 1.2”), over which Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Venturo 9 dropped the blocks to finish their first Puissance together. The fourth and final round brought the wall up to 2.13m (6’11) with only three competitors remaining. Jos Verlooy and Sunshine were first to go and cleared the height easily. Verlooy then watched as Aaron Vale (USA) and Zippo II, as well as McLain Ward (USA) and Bueno, each faulted over the final summit. Nineteen-year-old Verlooy and Sunshine, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Diamant de Semilly x O’Diamand), proudly celebrated their first Puissance win to the applause of a great crowd at Verizon Center.
They were awarded The Sweet ‘N Low Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Tober, as well as The Armed Forces Cup, presented by The Boeing Company. Verlooy also accepted The Congressman’s Challenge Trophy, donated by the Late Honorable Rogers C.B. Morton and the Late Honorable F. Robert Watkins, on behalf of Axel Verlooy and Euro Horse Bvba as the owner of the winning horse.
Verlooy has ridden Sunshine for almost one year and plans to compete the gelding in Saturday night’s World Cup qualifying grand prix. This was the first Puissance for both horse and rider.
“He is a very talented horse,” Verlooy stated. “I thought it could be good to jump a few nice rounds in the Puissance, and in the end I won, so it is even better. I really liked it. It is really fun if you have the right horse. Today, I had the right horse.”
“It was scary, yeah. I was looking this morning for a few videos and I saw a few falls,” Verlooy admitted. “I did not want to do that. I was a little bit stressed, but I should not have been because my horse is really relaxed. He jumped it very safely. He made the jump easy for me.”
In his first trip to WIHS, Verlooy enjoyed the Friday night crowd and great atmosphere at one of the top show jumping competitions on the calendar in North America. “It’s a very good experience. It is a real American show and I really like the American shows,” he stated. “I come often to America to show and I really like it over here.”
Nicola Philippaerts Takes International Speed Final
Prior to the Puissance, a $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final was held in a faults converted format, sponsored by Rushy Marsh Farm and AAA Equestrian. Last year, Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts won the competition, and this year it was his twin brother, Nicola, who took top honors.
Twenty-one entries jumped the Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) designed course, and Philippaerts earned the winning prize with a clear round in 53.48 seconds aboard Ludo Philippaerts and Ben Beevers’ H&M Harley vd Bisschop. Colombia’s Daniel Bluman was close behind with a clear round in 53.86 seconds aboard Blue Star Investments’ Conconcreto Believe to finish second. Ireland’s Conor Swail had the best time of 52.81 seconds riding Susan & Ariel Grange’s Cita, but one rail came down to add four seconds to his time and put the pair in third place.
Commenting on his plan, Philippaerts detailed, “I was not sure about some of the lines, but I saw a few doing six (strides) to the last one and then five strides from #8 to 9. My horse has quite a big stride, so I was sure I had to do that. It was a good decision. I came quite short to jump #2, so I had to follow (through). Then at the combination I had seven strides normal, and the wall came quite fast. It was difficult. You needed to be quite careful.”
“My horse is only eight years old, so he does not have much experience yet, but I know it is a fast horse,” Philippaerts continued. “It looked fast enough today, so I was happy. I do not want to do too much with him. I think he is for sure a very promising horse for next year. I wanted to take him as a second horse here and have him grow a little bit at the higher level. He does it well for the moment.”
“He is very scopey, very careful,” the rider added. “He has a lot of blood, but he always seems to stay quite quiet. It is really good because as they get older they will get quieter themselves. He is just a super horse.”
WIHS has been a great show for the Philippaerts family in recent years and Nicola enjoys the great competition and atmosphere each year. “It is a fantastic show. I’m always happy to come back here every year,” he acknowledged. “It is always nice when the crowd is cheering you on. It is very motivating. It’s nice to ride here with this crowd.”
Final Results: $25,000 The Boeing Company International Jumper Puissance
Place/Number/Rider/Country/Horse/Owner/Final Height Cleared
1. 96 Jos Verlooy (BEL) Sunshine Eurohorse Bvba- Axel Verlooy: 2.13m (6’11”)
2. 90 Aaron Vale (USA) Zippo II 2vr Showjumpers: 1.97m (6’5 ½”)
2. 1201 McLain Ward (USA) Bueno Meridian Partners LLC: 1.97m (6’5 ½”)
4. 89 Shane Sweetnam (IRL) Venturo 9 Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 1.89m (6’2”)
5. 14 Charlie Jayne (USA) Bassandra Alex Jayne & Maura Thatcher: 1.73m (5’8”)
5. 1200 Kama Michelle Godek (USA) Apollo Mission Kama Godek: 1.73m (5’8”)
5. 99 Kaitlin Dawn Campbell (USA) Artani 2 Marigot Bay Farm, LLC: 1.73m (5’8”)
Final Results: $50,000 International Open Jumper Speed Final (Faults Converted), sponsored by Rushy Marsh Farm and AAA Equestrian
1. 60 Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) H&M Harley vd Bisschop 53.48 grey / 8y / G / Dulf van den Bisschop / Coronado / BWP / Ludo Philippaerts – Ben Beevers
2. 3 Daniel Bluman (COL) Conconcreto Believe 53.86 bay / 9y / M / Ukato / Burggraaf / KWPN / Blue Star Investments, Alberto Simhon
3. 32 Conor Swail (IRL) Cita 56.81 bay / 9y / M / Casall / Pik Ramiro / HOLST / Susan & Ariel Grange
4. 738 Catherine Nicole Tyree (USA) Free Style vh Polderhof 58.06 chest / 10y / M / Kashmir van Schuttershof / Chatman / BWP / Mary & Joseph Tyree
5. 59 Jos Verlooy (BEL) Caddie R 58.28 bay / 11y / S / Come Back II / Lucky Light / DWB / Eurohorse Bvba
6. 1203 McLain Ward (USA) HH Ashley 58.40 chest / 15y / M / Acorado / Chasseur / HANN / Double H Farm
7. 79 Aaron Vale (USA) Quidams Good Luck 59.07 bay / 9y / G / Quidam’s Rubin / Grannus / HANN / Troy Glaus
8. 97 Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) H&M Challenge vd Begijnakker 60.06 bay / 13y / G / Chellano Z / Palestro vd Begijnakker / ZANG / Bart Keisse
9. 48 Conor O’Regan (IRL) Barlando 60.78 bay / 9y / G / Orlando / Baloubet du Rouet / SWB / Erin Walker
10. 88 Katherine A. Dinan (USA) Checkpoint U 64.05 11y / G / Casall / Lorentin I / HOLST / Grant Road Partners LLC
11. 17 Laura Kraut (USA) Andretti S 66.08 chest / 10y / G / Corland / Animo / KWPN / Stars and Stripes
12. 7 Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA) Indigo 66.35 grey / 15y / S / Indoctro / Unknown / DWB / Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek & Gladewinds
Source: Press release from www.wihs.org
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