It was a night full of speed and spills as forty-two horse and rider duos broke from the gate in the $30,000 EQU Lifestyle Speed Classic.The evening was dedicated to great causes as Just Word International hosted their infamous horseless horse show and High Jump Finals, as well as the local Air Force Base Honor Guard presented our nation's colors before competition was underway. German course designer, Olaf Petersen Jr., set a very technical track that presented many challenging questions. Only six were able to post fault free efforts, however Karl Cook (USA) stuck to his game plan as he posted the first and third best clear rounds of the night.
Of the thirteen obstacles, half the class found faults at the A element of a vertical-vertical combination. "Many riders were having issues with the oxer to vertical-vertical line," Cook shared. "It was a great course but a course that you must have a plan for and make smart decisions according to what your horse is capable of." The speed component of the class caught up to a handful of teams resulting in blind turns, awkward distances and eventually some refusals and unlucky spills. "There were quite a few semi-blind turns and difficult distances," Cook explained, "but you could get lucky and set up well if you saw it early on." Coming home, riders faced a large triple bar into the EQU Lifestyle vertical, directly in front of the in-gate.
Kandi Stewart and her eight-year-old gelding, C-Scooter, were the first pair of the class to post a clear and quick round in 55.908 seconds, making them the ones to beat. Several rounds, refusals and eliminations later, Karl Cook put up a play-by-play ride to each obstacle on his seventeen-year-old mount, Notories Utopia. Proving that speed doesn't fade with age, Notories Utopia galloped around the course with ease and was able to clear the final vertical and stop the clock in 54.754 seconds, topping the leader-board. Cook returned near the end of the field with his second mount, Banba, an Irish Horse Sport mare with the same sire as the Olympian and current World Cup Champion, Flexible. Displaying similar characteristics of heart, Banba cruised over the course in a clean 55.998 seconds, unable to surpass Stewart but good enough for third place.
"I thought it was a great class and I am looking forward to tomorrow, "Cook noted, "I will have both stallions, ASB Conquistador and Jonkheer Z, so I hope for the best."
$30,000 EQU Lifestyle Speed Classic
Olaf Peterson Jr. (GER) course designer
1st - Notories Utopia - Karl Cook - Signe Ostby 0/54.754
2nd - C-Scooter - Kandi Stewart - Kandi Stewart 0/55.908
3rd - Banba - Karl Cook - Signe Ostby 0/55.998
4th - Chakira - Isabelle Terry - Isabelle Terry 0/56.175
5th - Coral Reef Carmel Z - Vinton Karrasch - Coral Reef Management 0/57.707
6th - Barthez - Jaclyn Jarrell - Jaclyn Jarrell 0/58.179
7th - Audi's Reflection - Eduardo Menezes - Eduardo Menezes 4/54.498
8th - Top Shelf - Megan Jordan - Margie Gass 4/55.330
9th - Atlantis - Megan Jordan - New Venture Investments 4/55.464
10th - Dynamo - Rich Fellers - Rich Fellers & Harry Chapman 4/55.864
Source: Press release from Blenheim EquiSports
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