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McLain Ward and Clinta capture Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup round 8 win

Friday, 01 March 2019
Winter Equestrian Festival 2019 – Week 8

Photo © Sportfot. McLain Ward and Clinta. Photo © Sportfot.

 

Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions by Jennifer Wood and Summer Grace for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.


 

The 2018 WEG team gold medal-winning duo of McLain Ward (USA) and Clinta (Clinton x Lord Pezi) outpaced a field of 68 entries to take victory in the $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 CSIO4*.

With the featured Thursday event held as a one round speed class, the time to beat when Ward entered the ring had been set at 74.63 seconds by Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and his mount, Silver Shine (Califax x Balou du Rouet), owned by Willow Grace Farm.

Ward and Clinta, a 12-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Sagamore Farms, made short work of the course however, shaving more than two seconds off of Fuchs’s time to stop the clock in a winning 72.52 seconds. None of the seven final riders that followed Ward would prove able to catch him or Fuchs, giving Ward the win and Fuchs the second-place honor. Finishing in third with a time of 75.33 seconds was Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) riding his own Chacna (Chacco-Blue x Narew XX).

“It was a good track for me because you could stay smooth,” said Ward. “There were rollbacks, but there weren’t extreme slices. There were no all or nothing turns, which I prefer. I think it actually suits the better riders, because they can consistently deliver a smooth round. Sometimes we have all or nothing rollbacks or inside cuts, it’s a little bit up to the gods. So, I liked the course; I thought it was good class.

“Even though it was a fast-enough round to win, I didn’t feel like I actually was extreme anywhere,” continued Ward of his effort with Clinta. “I picked up a good gallop, and things were showing up out of stride. The thing about her is, she’s so careful, you don’t have to really setup the verticals, which saves you two-tenths [of a second] at every vertical. By the end of the course that’s a lot.”

It proved to be more than enough for the win – Clinta’s first since enjoying several weeks of well-deserved time off following her success at the WEG and then in Europe into mid-December.

“We gave her almost five weeks of no work, no riding,” explained Ward, who is aiming the mare at the FEI Jumping World CupTM Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, the first week of April. “We’ve just been slowly legging her back up. I showed her a few weeks ago in a couple of 1.40m [classes]. She’s a little unfit, but she feels good. She needs to compete a little bit. She’s such a quality horse; she needs to kind of get in the ring a little. I don’t think her fitness level is quite where I want it by the World Cup time, but there’s still six or seven weeks; we try to build up to peak at the right moment.”

On his way to preparing for the World Cup, Ward plans to compete Clinta in Sunday afternoon’s $209,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4* presented by Lugano Diamonds and will likely return the mare to the International Arena during Week 9’s CSI 5* competition.

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