Marylisa Leffler & Zaza Z Light Up in $50,000 National Grand Prix at TerraNova

Myakka City, Florida – March 26, 2022 – Sunshine and a cool breeze set the stage for the $50,000 National Grand Prix during Week 2 of the TerraNova Spring Series hosted at TerraNova Equestrian Center. The debut series at the new, world-class equestrian center hosted two weeks of top national hunter and equitation competition as well as various Level 4 jumper classes with a featured grand prix event each week. Following an exciting jump-off, Alberto Michan (ISR) donned the blue ribbon aboard Golden Boy VL.

Seventeen top-level entries contested Bernardo Costa Cabral’s (POR) first-round track which included a liverpool, double combination, triple combination and a triple bar obstacle at the national standard height.

“The idea for today’s course was to not over-challenge the horses but still include some tests for the riders that are worthy of a national grand prix,” explained Cabral. “I’ve included a triple combination with two oxers early on in the course and put in a triple bar to a double combination at the end of the track. The idea is to allow the horses space to get to everything nicely but still challenge the riders.”

Week 1 grand prix winner Scott Keach (AUS) returned with two of his top mounts to see if he could once again best the field. Five nations were represented in the competition with other international competitors including Antonio Martinez (VEN) and Pan American Games gold medalist Christine McCrea (USA).

The time allowed of 76 seconds was succinct enough to encourage the pairings to move forward across the entirety of the grand prix arena but did not cause trouble for competitors. Delaney Flynn (USA) kicked the class off to a good start with a clear round as the first to navigate the track. Michan followed two horses later and rode to the second clear round to ensure a jump-off was in order. 

As the John Deere tractors readied the arena for the short course, 12 horse-and-rider combinations prepared to vie for final podium positions. Michan had qualified both of his mounts for the return, and Flynn would return with three. Martinez, Keach, Juan Vegas (VEN), Marylisa Leffler (USA), Abigail McArdle (USA), Juan Pablo-Gnecco (COL) and Shannon Hicks (USA) would make up the remainder of the entries set to showcase their best efforts in the jump-off. Only five athletes managed to produce a double-clear effort and Michan took an early lead in the class as the rest of the field dashed to catch up. Ultimately, his time of 35.597 seconds with Rodrigo Gomez Vivanco’s 11-year-old KWPN gelding Golden Boy VL (Canturano I x Indorado) proved to be unbeatable as the duo maintained a three-second lead over the closest contender. 

“There were a lot of clear rounds in the first round, and I went early in the jump-off on my first horse,” explained Michan. “I was a bit worried because I knew there were a lot of fast horses behind me, but I knew there were two main areas you could really catch the time. You could make a quick turn from fence one to two, and then there was another tight turn from the colorful fence back to the green vertical. I think everything went according to plan for us today.”

Michan (USA) and Golden Boy VL have only been paired since the beginning of the year, but Michan has high hopes for the future.

“Golden Boy was previously competing in two-star grand prixs with an amateur, and then I was lucky enough to buy him and bring him to the U.S.” he described. “He is not old but he has good experience, and he was really trying his best to be quick and clear today.”

Final Results – $50,000 National Grand Prix 

1) Alberto Michan (ISR) & Golden Boy Vl – 0 / 0 – 35.597

2) Marylisa Leffler (USA) & Zaza Z – 0 / 0 – 38.132

3) Delaney Flynn (USA) & Milan IV – 0 / 0 – 38.144

Source: Press Release from TerraNova Equestrian Center

Photos: © Jess Windhurst Photography