Temecula, California, USA – May 21, 2021 – Competition resumed in the Grand Prix Arena at Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National I, presented by Interactive Mortgage, on Friday, featuring some fierce jumper competition in the venue’s most scenic arena. Hoping to navigate Guilerherme Jorge’s (BRA) expertly designed 13-obstacle course fault-free, competitors in the 1.40m Jumper division battled it out as quickly and carefully as they could. At the conclusion of the speed class, it was ultimately Sophie Simpson-Leckie (USA) aboard A Picasso De Vie who took home the top prize with the track’s fastest time and no faults.
Alexis Taylor took to the ring first to set the pace for the remainder of the class on her mount, LA Capitol, but unfortunately displaced a couple of rails on her way around the course. Next in the ring, Kristi Doyle (USA) aboard her own mount Clever was the first to claim a clear round, tripping the timers in a speedy 60.37 seconds to move into the first place position. Hanna Mauritzson and Unique Star were the next horse-and-rider combination to secure a clear round, but couldn’t quite challenge Taylor and LA Capitol’s time, completing their course in 63.233 seconds.
Next, Simpson-Leckie (USA) and A Picasso De Vie entered the ring, both clearly having speed on their minds. Carefully piloting the 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding, owned by Will Simpson Stables LLC, around the track, the pair completed a speedy and clear round in just 58.444 seconds to move up to the top of the leaderboard.
Alexandra Biederman was waiting in the wings while Simpson-Leckie raised the bar. She and Delong Equestrian Ventures LLC’s 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Interactive Mortgage 07, attempted to top Simpson-Leckie’s newly reigning time. Though she gave a valiant effort on course, Biederman was not able to surpass the leading time, and settled into third place behind Doyle and her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Clever, with a time of 61.526 seconds. and Simpson-Leckie took home the top honors of the day.
Competition at the Temecula Valley National I will resume on Saturday, May 22, featuring the week’s premier event: the $40,000 Temecula Valley National Grand Prix sponsored by Hygain.
Sophie Simpson-Leckie – 1.40m Jumpers First Place
On A Picasso De Vie:
“I’ve had this horse for maybe four or five years now. I got him for my dad [Will Simpson], he’s so amazing. He’s so fun and so game for anything. I’ve jumped some bigger classes on him, I’m just coming back now from having a baby so he’s getting me back in the ring. This is our first 1.40m in a long time and he just feels awesome. He’s so cheeky, he knows he’s awesome. He’s got tons of personality and he’s always looking for a cookie. He’s just so fun, loving, and gives such great confidence. He gives such an amazing jump and feeling in the air.
On her strategy:
“This is my first 1.40m for a while, and honestly I was just going to go in and cruise. I was not really trying to go fast, but he just has this one speed and that’s the pace he likes. I have won a lot of speed classes by not trying to win!”
On showing at the Temecula Valley National Horse Show:
“We’re here all three weeks. He’s going to be here this week and going to come back Week III, I’m probably going to jump some bigger classes with him. We love it here. The footing is great, the atmosphere is great, the horses fly in this ring. We love every aspect of it.”
Final Results – 1.40m Jumpers
1) Sophie Simpson-Leckie (USA) & A Picasso De Vie – 0 / 58.444
2) Kristi Doyle (USA) & Clever – 0 / 60.373
3) Alexandra Biederman (USA ) & Interactive Mortgage 07 – 0 / 61.526
Source: Press Release by Emma Miller from Phelps Sports
Photos: © Olivia Airhart