Temecula, Caliornia, USA – October 23, 2021 – World class show jumping competition came to a dramatic head Saturday, October 23, for the second and final double-feature evening of the two-week Temecula Valley National Fall Series, presented by Interactive Mortgage. Athletes went head-to-head in the $50,000 Grand Prix sponsored by First National Bank of Pasco . As the final two hefty purses on the table for riders to claim, they left nothing on the table, tearing around the Grand Prix Arena one last time in hopes of claiming the lion’s share of the prize as well as the last of the points in the $25,000 Leading Rider Bonus, sponsored by Desert International Horse Park. Jamie Taylor (USA) and Cocoliche of Greenhill Z claimed the ultimate victory in the $50,000 Grand Prix.
The speedsters were the first to kick off the action as twenty-three horse-and-rider combinations contested over Peter Grant’s (CAN) 16-effort 1.40m track. Set in the USEF Table III format, a faults-converted round, riders were only focused on the time posted to the scoreboard where each rail or refusal added four seconds to their overall time. Though many of the riders would return for the following class, many of the familiar faces from the two-week series saddled up their respective speed mounts for the last time.
Taylor (USA), who won the $50,000 National Grand Prix during Week I of the Temecula Valley National Fall Series aboard Quatar, returned hoping to make it two-for-two and fend off other competitors as the leading rider in the $25,000 Bonus. Taylor was the first to enter the ring aboard her reliable speed partner, Katherine Wallisch’s 13-year-old Oldenburg mare, Isida. The duo prioritized a strong rhythm and steady pace through the tight turns around the course. She was on track to set the standard for the class with a time of 89.19 seconds, but two unfortunate rails caused her to fall out of contention for the first place prize.
Riding the adrenaline rush from the speed class just prior, the grandstands surrounding the arena were buzzing with excitement ready to watch the thirty-six horse-and-rider pairs vie for their share of the $50,000 prize. Returning competitors from Week I’s grand prix were hoping to snag the last of the leading rider bonus points, while new faces aimed at pocketing the prize. Peter Grant’s (CAN) 16-effort 1.45m first round whittled the group down to just nine riders in the jump-off.
Returning to the Grand Prix Arena for the 8-effort jump-off, Kaitlin Campbell (USA) laid down a valiant effort aboard HD Horses LLC 10-year-old gelding, Dandy, to set the pace for the remaining eight competitors. The pair left all of the rails in the cups and crossed the finish line in 38.745 seconds, setting the bar high for those to follow.
Brazil-native Cassio Rivetti (BRA) entered the arena on the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood, Kayack, with confidence. Rivetti was hopeful to complete the first double-clear of the night, and after a nail-biting ride he navigated through the tiers with zero faults on the clock. Rivetti and Kayack’s double-clear finish would push them into the leading spot with a jump-off time of 38.172 seconds. The remaining competitors would have to give it their all to catch up to the leading rider.
Entering the ring to claim Rivetti’s first place finish was Taylor (USA) aboard Cocoliche of Greenhill Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Ali Nilforushan. The pair put down a double-clear ride of 35.279 seconds, proving that she is a force to be reckoned with in the jumper ring. Their performance in the ring stole the crowd’s hearts and brought a large roar from the spectators in the stands. The duo’s faultless score would remain unbeaten for the remainder of the class, leaving Taylor to lead the victory gallop at the conclusion of the night.
With nothing to lose and total faith in her mount Saturday afternoon, California-favorite Keri Potter (USA) entered the ring with Hannah Loly’s 12-year-old Westphalian gelding, Ariell La Sierene, with a plan to lay it all on the line. The pair left out strides and cut every corner they could as she narrowly overtook Rivetti’s second place spot by three seconds, finishing in a time of 35.62 seconds and settling into the second place position on the podium. In the end, it would be Taylor donning the winning cooler and blue ribbon in the victory gallop aboard her partner of six months, with Rivetti and Kayack claiming third place.
From the Winners Circle
Jamie Taylor (USA) – $50,000 Grand Prix winner
On her second win:
“Honestly, I put a lot of pressure on myself this week to [win]. I’ve had really good shows and have not always been able to call upon myself in that moment repeatedly, so I was just really happy I was able to achieve that.”
On Cocoliche of Greenhill Z:
“He was owned by a former client of mine and I was able to acquire him myself, which he has always been my favorite. If I could make a perfect horse, it would be Cocoliche [of Greenhill Z]. He’s blood, he’s careful, there’s a lot of sass. I’ve never ridden a horse where I feel like I could really jump anything.”
On the course:
“My plan was to go very fast again. We don’t get very detailed on the plan. It’s more so just go fast. He is very fast across the ground naturally and you can turn to very large jumps very tight. He is an incredible turner and the faster you go, the more careful he gets, so you can really ride that line between crazy and winning.”
On the turn before the last line:
“I knew that was a place that I could take a risk with him and I maybe made it riskier than I should have but you know, if you’re not trying, there’s no glory if you’re not trying.”
On giving thanks:
“I’m so thankful to the sponsors of this class. The first is [First National Bank of] Pasco for sponsoring what I thought was an incredible class. I’d also like to thank Ali and Francie Nilforushan for their unbelievable horse shows. I don’t miss one and I doubt I ever will.”
Final Results – $50,000 Grand Prix
1) Jamie Taylor (USA) & Cocoliche of Greenhill Z – 0 / 0 – 35.27
2) Keri Potter (USA) & Ariell La Sirene – 0 / 0 – 35.62
3) Cassio Rivetti (BRA) & Kayack – 0 / 0 – 38.17
Source: Press Release by Cassidy Klein / Phelps Media Group for Nilforushan Equisport Events
Photos: © Olivia Airhart