San Juan Capistrano, California, USA – August 22, 2021 – The 12th qualifying leg of the $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series was contested Saturday afternoon on the Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Following an exciting eight horse jump-off, it was Hannah Loly (USA) leading the victory gallop aboard her own 15-year-old Holsteiner mare Quitana 11.
Laura Hite (USA) finished in second aboard the 13-year-old Warmblood gelding Calypso VD Zuuthoeve, owned by HF Farms LLC. Rounding out the podium was Trent McGee (USA) aboard his 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Boucherom.
Prior to the start of the Grand Prix, Robert Ridland, the Chef d’Equipe for Team USA Show Jumping, addressed the spectators and continued the Olympic celebrations at Blenheim EquiSports by discussing Team USA’s silver medal finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games just two weeks ago. Spectators and fans eagerly awaited the opportunity to have their photo taken with Ridland and see Laura Kraut’s silver medal from the Games. After Ridland’s announcements, Alex Zulia honored long-time equestrian, vendor, and friend Monica Ward with a moment of silence.
Spectators packed the hillside of the grass field to watch as a starting field of 23 horse-and-rider combinations contested the course designed by acclaimed course designer and 1976 individual Olympic Silver Medalist Michel Vaillancourt, which included a triple bar oxer, triple combination, a Liverpool, roll back turns, and several direct lines.
Ultimately, eight competitors managed to negotiate the course fault-free to qualify for the jump off. Nicole Haunert (USA) was the first to provide a double-clear effort in the jump off, finishing the course in 44.732s. The next rider, Trent McGee (USA) and his long-time partner Boucherom provided a jump-off performance that left the crowd believing it couldn’t be beat, crossing the finish line in a time of 41.15s. Loly was the next to navigate the jump-off fault free, her tidy roll-back turns pushed her into the lead, crossing the timers in just 38.943s. The last rider to attempt the jump-off track was Laura Hite (USA), who finished in second-place in a time of 39.311s.
Loly (USA), who came to Blenheim EquiSports after a very successful two weeks of competing at the Colorado Horsepark, spoke about her experience in the jump off of Grand Prix, “Jump offs with her are something else compared to any other horse I ride. She is incredibly fast and can be as tidy as you want. I cut both of the rollback turns very tight because, while some horses slow and lose their step through the turns, she doesn’t do that at all – she comes through the turns very nicely.”
Loly is home for the summer after completing her first year at Tufts University, but this will be her last competition until she returns home for the summer next May. For her win, Loly was presented with a gift bag from ShadyLady Sun Protection and a gift certificate and frame from Topline Design Ribbon Wreaths.
The Markel Insurance Jumper Series will conclude with the top twenty-five placing individuals invited to take part in the finale event at the Las Vegas National Horse Show in November. To view the series specifications and the full leaderboard to date, click here.
This year’s prizes are the best to date. At the finale, the winner will be awarded with a custom-built Flexi Equine Tack Locker, currently displayed in the Blenheim EquiSports’ Show Office, and a custom Solea Equestrian show coat. Additionally, the Leading Lady and Leading Gentleman riders will each receive a cash bonus based on points accumulated throughout the series.
Competition for the Blenheim Summer Classic concludes Sunday, August 22nd but the fun doesn’t stop there. The Showpark Summer Classic begins August 25th and features the thirteenth leg of the Markel Insurance Jumper Series, a $5000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, and the CPHA Foundation Medal Finals! Blenheim EquiSports is #ThePlaceToJump all season long. Visit our website to view a full show schedule and to learn more.
Final Results – $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix
1) Hannah Loly (USA) & Quitana 11 – 0 / 0 – 38.943
2) Laura Hite (USA) & Calypso VD Zuuthoeve – 0 / 0 – 39.31
3) Trent McGee (USA) & Boucherom. – 0 / 0 – 41.15
Source: Press Release from Blenheim EquiSports
Photos: © McCool Photography