Lexington, kentucky, USA – November 06, 2021 – The final day of show jumping competition at the 2021 National Horse Show kicked off Saturday afternoon in the Alltech Arena with the $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix. Serving as the Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) Year-End Championship, the National Horse Show is the final stop on the East Conference for the prestigious program. Capping off their year with a win, Mimi Gochman (USA) and Celina BH bested the 30 horse-and-rider field to lead the victory gallop at the conclusion of the class.
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series has held its championship final at the National Horse Show for more than 30 years. The series is designed to provide junior and amateur riders with opportunities to compete at the highest level of their divisions. Over the years, it has been won by riders such as Brianne Goutal, Laura Chapot, Reed Kessler and many other outstanding riders. Recognized for their excellence throughout the 2021 series, Zayna Rizvi and her horse Excellent won the 2021 junior division, and Vanessa Hood (USA) rode her own Lou Lou VLS to victory for the series’ amateur division.
Portugal’s Bernardo Costa Cabral crafted the 15-effort track fit for the occasion. Equipped with a triple and double combination, and a series of rollback turns between the lines, the 1.45m fence height track set the stage for the horse-and-athlete pairs. As the first horse and rider on course, Maya Aryal (USA) and My Girl 52 blazed their way through the course to deliver an exemplary clear round, setting the bar for remaining pairs as they tried their best to replicate their efforts. Next in the order-of-go, Sophia Ahearn (USA) and Quick Bob would force a jump-off after crossing the timers with no faults to their name. Twelve others would add their names to the star-studded lineup for the jump-off, including Alex Parrish (USA), Carlee McCutcheon (USA), Natalie Dean (USA), Emma Sargent (USA), Alexander Alston (USA), Kathryn Hall (USA), Audrey Shulze (USA), Hannah Hoch (USA), Elena A. Haas (USA), Vanessa Hood (USA), Grace Debney (GBR) and Gochman (USA).
Cabral’s 6-obstacle shortened track offered ample room for contenders to gallop their mounts across the Alltech Arena in hopes of shaving seconds off the clock. First on course was Aryal (USA) and My Girl 52. The pair put in a conservative but clear ride, breaking the beam in a fault-free 34.22 seconds. Ahearn would put more pep in her step over the shortened course, immediately overtaking the lead by shaving three seconds off of Aryal’s time in 30.75 seconds. Three others would try to overtake Ahearn’s lead, but faults on course would leave them out of contention for a podium finish. Alston (USA) and Prestigious delivered a clear round on course, but could not beat Ahearn’s time, finishing in 31.015 seconds. Schulze (USA) and Lord Up would also produce a fault-free effort, but would slide just behind Alston for their time of 32.312 seconds. In a game of leapfrog, Hoch, Haas and Hood would all overtake the lead, respectively. With just one left to be seen, Gochman (USA) laid it all on the line for one final round. Riding Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s 11-year-old Holsteiner mare, Celina BH, the junior athlete rode a quick course, besting the field with a clear round in 27.72 seconds to ultimately take the win in the $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix. Debney and Temple Equestrian LLC’s Boheme de La Roque, a 10-year-old Selle Francais mare, would settle for the second place honors, while Hood and Take Two LLC’s 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, Lou Lou VLS, rounded out the top three.
Show jumping competition at the 2021 National Horse Show culminates with the $213,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Lexington CSI4*-W. Sunday, November 6 will feature the finale event of the 138th annual show, the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm. To learn more about the 2021 National Horse Show, click here.
From the Winner’s Circle
Mimi Gochman – $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix winner
On the jump-off:
“This class is so prestigious and I know all the riders are so good, so I was really trying to come up with a strategic plan. I knew that there were some questions in numbers and turns and which I could do, especially to the last line. I watched Grace [Debney] go inside in six [strides] and Ken [Berkley] looked at me and said ‘Try it!’ I was like ‘Okay, sounds good!’ I knew my horse had a huge stride down the first line and I really wanted to go for it because if I was going to commit, I had to commit to the win! I went for seven [strides] and my horse came up with it and was fantastic and was able to do it with the turns. It was a really fast course that had my blood pumping. It was a lot of pressure and I was slightly nervous, but it was super fun and I can’t be more grateful for my team and horse.”
On being successful at the National Horse Show:
“This is such a prestigious show, so I really have to keep a clear head and focus on the actual rounds, the plan and the track. The environment is super exciting and we are all rushing towards the end of the season, so you have to keep your cool and try to focus on keeping a calm mind and listening to what my trainers are saying. I am super grateful to have been super successful. My team, my horse and I all work together and I’m glad that it worked out this way. The pressure is super high, so I try to keep calm and focus on what my horse needs, keeping my body up and all the other basics you learn to give [my horse] a good, solid ride so that she can do what she does best.”
On Celina BH:
“I have had Celina [BH] in my barn for four years now. She came to us as a baby 7-year-old and my trainer Amanda [Derbyshire] rode her a bunch and we have bonded with her for quite a long time now. She is super friendly and is always giving me hugs. She likes to swing her head around and say hi! She is super snuggly but she’s super game as well. You can tell when she is in it to win it because she starts to breathe hard and she gets super excited. The bond is there. I love her so much and I always think the bond with a mare is so special because they really care.”
On her goals for the future:
“My goal for the upcoming year is to do some 4* grand prixs and hopefully do a 4* Nations Cup to represent the USA. I love representing the USA and doing team events, so I’d love to step it up and do some of those 3* and 4* grand prixs, Saturday Night Lights and representing the team.”
Final Results – $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix
1) Mimi Gochman (USA) & Celina BH – 0 / 0 – 27.720
2) Grace Debney (GBR) & Boheme de La Roque – 0 / 0 – 28.766
3) Vanessa Hood (USA) & Lou Lou VLS – 0 / 0 – 29.550
4) Elena A. Haas (USA) & Centana – 0 / 0 – 30.170
5) Hannah Hoch (USA) & Shariva – 0 / 0 – 30.690
6) Sophia Ahearn (USA) & Quick Bob – 0 / 0 – 30.75
7) Alexander Alston (USA) & Prestigious – 0 / 0 – 31.015
8) Audrey Schulze (USA) & Lord Up – 0 / 0 – 32.312
9) Maya Aryal (USA) & My Girl 52 – 0 / 0 – 34.222
10) Natalie Dean (USA) & Dotcom D’Authuit – 0 / 4 – 29.185
11) Emma Sargent (USA) & Giolita – 0 / 4 – 31.900
12) Alex Parrish (USA) & Castleroche Rebel – 0 / 4 – 32.040
Source: Press Release by Libby Greene / Phelps Media Group for National Horse Show
Photos: © Libby Greene