Ben Maher scored a win on Wednesday in the 1.45m class on the opening day of week 5 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington. Maher and Oscar put down a winning time of 60.806 seconds for the win over Peter Wylde on Lipton De L'Othain (62.987 seconds) and McLain Ward on Domino (64.050 seconds).
The $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumper class had 41 entries, and they competed over a course designed by Alan Wade of Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Maher stated, "It's good that they have different course designers here every week." Seventeen found the way to a clear round, but it was Maher and Oscar who had the most speed. "He's naturally a fast horse, so if you're clear, he's always near the top end without even trying," Maher pointed out.
Maher and Oscar, a 15-year-old KWPN gelding by Harcos x Animo, have only been together for seven months, but they have made the most of their partnership. Oscar has been a do-it-all horse for Maher. "I've used him for everything," he acknowledged. "When I didn't have a grand prix horse, he jumped some World Cup grand prix, speeds, everything really. He's a 1.50m horse; that's his comfortable level. He can go to the next level if we have to. We have to look after him, which is why it’s nice for him to jump one level down, be competitive, and enjoy what he does."
Oscar is owned by Lindsay Cook, who competes at the young rider level but is at university now, so Maher got the ride on him. Maher has been traveling from Europe to Wellington. "I'm back and forth a little bit from Europe to here because my best horse Robin Hood is at home, but I'm enjoying the weather and look forward to coming back here every year," he said.
For more information go to www.equestriansport.com
Source: Press release from equestriansport.com by Jennifer Wood for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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