White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, USA – October 15, 2021 – Judging by the level of the competitors and the huge jackpot at stake, the feature class on the second day of the inaugural ArenaMend Classic CSI 5* & 2* seemed more like Grand Prix Sunday! In the end, it was Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Gemma W who stole the spotlight, claiming top honors in the $175,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix Qualifier CSI 5*.
A total of 45 combinations entered the ring for the jump-off challenge, with some riders opting to challenge the 1.50m course on more than one horse. The competition was fierce with the likes of Ben Maher (GBR), Kent Farrington (USA), McLain Ward (USA), Margie Engle (USA), Beat Mandli (SUI), Ashlee Bond (ISR), Rowan Willis (AUS) all fielding top horses, most of them having won multiple grands prix in their careers.
Bluman guided the 10-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare (Luidam x Unaniem) flawlessly over all the 1.50m obstacles over the two rounds, completing the tiebreaker in 30.37 seconds.
The next two spots on the podium were claimed by combinations who have steadily climbed the ladder of success at the top of the sport. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Risen (Utopie x Indoctro) were the closest ones, matching the double clear of the eventual winners, finishing almost a full second behind, timed in 31.30 seconds at the end of their second performance.
Erynn Ballard (CAN) was a bit more conservative aboard Gakhir (Spartacus x Indorado), rounding out the top three with no penalties and a final time of 35.80 seconds.
Final Results – $175,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix Qualifier CSI 5*
1) Daniel Bluman (ISR) & Gemma W – 0 / 0 – 30.37
2) Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Risen – 0 / 0 – 31.30
3) Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Gakhir – 0 / 0 – 35.80
Text: Jumper News, no reproduction without permission.
Photos: © Ashley Neuhof