Five-time Olympian Manuel Torres of Colombia and Cinderella won the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Purina Horse Feed, on Saturday, July 26, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Torres and Cinderella, an eight-year-old Westphalian mare by Cayetano L, posted one of only three double clear rounds on Saturday over the challenging track set by Canadian course designer Peter Holmes. The duo had the unenviable position of going first in both rounds, but their jump-off time of 39.50 seconds held up as five other riders attempted to catch them over the shortened jump-off course.
Marylisa Leffler and Carlot finished fractions of a second behind Torres and Cinderella, settling for second place after stopping the timers in 39.95 seconds. Ian Silitch riding Cordovo was the only other rider to jump clear in the jump-off, taking third with a time of 41.04 seconds. Jimmy Torano of Fort Lauderdale, FL, had the time for a first place finish with Bentley, but an unfortunate rail left him in fourth place despite stopping the clock in 38.71 seconds.
Torres has represented Colombia in countless international competitions, including five Olympic Games and four Pan American Games appearances. Torres is now based in Waterford, VA, where he operates his Santa Catalina Farm.
His daughter and her husband, Andrea Torres Guerreiro and Leo Guerreiro, acquired Cinderella as a four-year-old with Torres' guidance, and Torres has been riding the feisty mare ever since. Torres admitted he had not been sure whether their time on Saturday would hold up for the win, and their first major victory together was a pleasant surprise.
"Cinderella just turned eight, so she is still very young," said Torres. "We've done a few grand prix already, but I wasn't expecting to win. She is trying hard and tries to win. This year is the first year we've been jumping in the open (jumper division), so she's really coming along."
Torres' biggest focus with the mare has been working on her rideability, but he has enjoyed getting to know Cinderella and looks forward to their future together. "She is difficult, but getting better," Torres explained. "She's very scopey and has a super mind, but I have to make her a little easier to ride. She makes me work a lot!"
He continued, "I've been doing a lot of dressage, trying to make her into a good horse while keeping her sound in her mind. She's still young, but she will be a good one someday."
Cinderella's competitive streak and zest for show jumping is what Torres enjoys most about her. It is evident that she has the desire to be a winner, and Torres was pleased with how she handled the challenging course set for Saturday's $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix.
"The course was really well put together," Torres remarked. "When we walked it, we thought it was going to be tough like it was; that it would create a lot of faults, and that the jumps were going to be big and square." He continued, "A triple combination is always really hard. You had to jump a big oxer coming in and the two verticals were really tight. The course designer caught everyone all around the course. The verticals were very big, and the turns were tough. It was technical, but it is supposed to be that way."
$30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Purina Horse Feed
Rider Horse Faults Time
1. Manuel Torres Cinderella 0:0 39.50
2. Marylisa Leffler Carlot 0:0 39.95
3. Ian Silitch Cordovo 0:0 41.04
4. Jimmy Torano Bentley 0:4 38.71
5. Julie Welles Bazooka de Muze 0:17 55.87
6. Henrik Gunderson Adlanteur 0:elim.
7. Henrik Gunderson Ahaveros 4
8. Jimmy Torano Wannahave 4
9. Sloane Coles Baloucat 4
10. Kimberly Mulligan-Mangione Psalms 23 4
Source: Press release from Laura Cardon for Starting Gate Communications, Inc.
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