Ocala, Florida, USA – March 27, 2022 – Crowds filled the stands at the Hits Ocala Stadium on Sunday afternoon to watch the world’s top athletes compete in the $500,000 Great American Grand Prix, featuring the biggest show jumping purse in the United States. The day concluded with a thrilling 10-horse jump-off featuring athletes from representing six countries. In the end, it was Ireland’s Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Legacy who out raced the other riders, claiming the biggest check in the country. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Risen earned the second-place prize, while Rowan Willis (AUS) and Billy Guilder placed third.
Course designer Marina Azevedo (BRA) built a large and technical track that used the expansive Hits Stadium to challenge horse and rider combinations from start to finish. Rails fell throughout the course, including through a yellow and white oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination with a bending ling to a triple bar and a delicate vertical. Athletes finished over the final line that featured two of the biggest oxers of the course before they galloped to the tall vertical towards the gate.
“It was a very good group,” noted Azevedo. “I was expecting eight clear, but the footing was so good and the horses were jumping so well. This ring is very nice because it’s very level, so we don’t have to go up and down, which is very good for everybody.”
Kristen Vanderveen (USA) produced a clear round with Bull Run’s Risen, attempting to catch Daniel’ Coyle‘s (IRL) time with a very direct approach to the Great American vertical, but she was less than a second shy of top spot, stopping the clock at 39.148 seconds for the second-place position.
“I didn’t get to see [Daniel] go, but I did see his time,” said Vanderveen. “The jump off was really nice with the amount of open running, which works for the big horse that I have, and also a nice left turn and right turn. It’s great to have it on both sides, so I tried to use it to my advantage, and it worked out.”
Final Results – $500,000 Great American Grand Prix
1) Daniel Coyle (IRL) & Legacy – 0 / 0 – 38.526
2) Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Risen – 0 / 0 – 39.148
3) Rowan Willis (AUS) & Billy Guilder – 0 / 0 – 39.520
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton for Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © Hits Horse Shows / Rebecca Walton