The 2012 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Thursday with the first day of classes for the Junior Hunters and several International Open Jumper and Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
The course designer for the jumpers at WIHS this year is Anthony D'Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY. The International Open Jumpers had two classes on Thursday, and Brianne Goutal, of New York, NY, rode Remarkable Farms LP's Onira to victory in the $32,000 International Open Jumper jump-off class. Reed Kessler jumped Ligist to the high score in the $20,000 International Open Jumper Gambler's Choice Costume class. Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers competed as well with a win for Michael Hughes and Red Hot in the Low division and Meagan Nusz and Vesuvius in the High division.
There were 28 entries in the $32,000 International Open Jumper time first jump-off class,sponsored by AAA Equestrian LLC. Nine entries were able to navigate a clear first round and advanced to the jump-off. Five jumped the short course without fault and the win went to Brianne Goutal and Onira, last to go, with a time of 29.06 seconds.
Paulo Santana (BRA) and Taloubet completed the first clear jump-off round in 32.08 seconds to finish in fourth place. Christine McCrea (USA) went clear in 29.83 seconds aboard Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables' Wannick WH to place third. Reed Kessler (USA) upped the pace to 29.63 seconds aboard Cylana to eventually finish second. Tim Gredley (GBR) and Unex Competition Yard Ltd.'s Unex Timo IV also jumped clear, and their time of 34.94 seconds placed fifth. The final entry, Brianne Goutal completed the fastest clear round with Onira for the win. Laura Kraut (USA) actually had the fastest time of the jump-off in 28.33 seconds aboard Hi Hopes Farm LLC's Teirra, but a tough rail at the last jump placed the pair in sixth.
For the win, Goutal and Onira were presented with The Ben O'Meara Memorial Challenge Trophy. Goutal has owned Onira, a 16-year-old KWPN gelding by Nimmerdor x Ramiro, for ten years now, and the pair has been all over the world together. Goutal felt that their great relationship allowed her to really go for the win today.
"He is 16; I bought him at just turning seven and I know him so well," she stated. "I jumped my first highs on him, I jumped my first Young Riders, Prix des States, Grand Prix, World Cup Finals, 5* horse show, everything first I did with him, so he is so special. I have had him so long that you know where you can make up and take advantage of what you have."
The riders that had the fastest rounds in the jump-off all completed a tight roll back turn from fence one to two, and Goutal and Onira did one less stride in the turn than everyone else to shave fractions off of the time.
She explained her jump-off plan, stating, "My plan was to watch. I was lucky to go last. I didn't want to go crazy fast because I still have the grand prix on Saturday and I didn't want to waste the gas. He is naturally such a fast horse that I kind of knew that if I could do the strides and all the turns, I could have a pretty good shot. I think that where I won it was actually one to two, because we all pretty much did the same strides everywhere else. I believe I did five strides and everybody else did six."
"This must be his sixth or seventh or maybe eighth year here," Goutal recalled of showing Onira at the WIHS. "I showed him here at least two years as I junior. The first year I ever showed him here when he was seven, I had just gotten him and I did the costume class with Molly Ashe. We were a team. That was when it used to be a junior/pro pairs relay."
"Nothing fazes him; he is the coolest horse ever," she smiled. "He is so smart; he is so economic the way he uses himself and he is fast off the ground. Most importantly, he wants to win every time he goes in the ring. You lose, he doesn't, you know?"
After so many years of competing together, Goutal and Onira are having one of their best years yet. They won three grands prix together this summer and many other classes throughout the year.
"He is so amazing; everywhere he goes, you know you have a chance," Goutal praised. "I don't think in ten years that I have had him that he has done anything wrong, nothing bad at least."
It is a special thing to have a horse for ten years that continues to do so well, and Goutal appreciates every moment.
"You have no idea," she declared. "I am not a very emotional person, but it could get me kind of emotional when I think about it. Every class I can jump one less. We spend our life competing and looking for new horses and buying new horses and selling horses and you know, you never come across that. They don't make them like that anymore. They don't make them like that, period. He is a phenomenal horse."
Source: Press release from WIHS
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