Wilmington, Ohio – Jumper competition at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington Winter Classic #5 reached a pinnacle Saturday evening in the Sanctuary Arena. A coveted group of athletes met to vie for the top prize in the $30,000 WEC Grand Prix over FEI Level III course designer Anderson Lima’s (BRA) technically set track. Ultimately, it was Rebecca Gutstein (USA) that rose to the challenge, earning her first grand prix win aboard Harley David (Harley VDL x Libby).
Lima’s first-round track proved difficult for the field of horse-and-athlete combinations as only five moved onto the jump-off phase of competition. The intricate course included three gymnastic elements and two incredibly short turns off the rail, leaving many riders with four-fault scores.
Gutstein, training out of Old Barrington Farm in North Barrington, Illinois, made light work of the evening’s course. The 15-year-old junior rider was nothing short of spectacular, besting a field of nearly all professional athletes in the second grand prix performance.
Gutstein expressed her immense gratitude for her team behind her and winning her second ever grand prix, “I can’t even believe it. I am so thankful to my parents for just letting me come here and show in this. I am so thankful for Amelia [McArdle] for being the most amazing trainer. And most importantly I am so thankful for Harley [Harley David] for taking care of me and just always being as game as I am.”
The 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding cruised around the difficult first-round track with ease, putting pressure on the rest of the field. The talented gelding owned by Samuel Parot carried Gutstein to a four-fault score in their first grand prix together at Winter Classic #2 and returned to the Sanctuary in top-form.
“It was my first time ever coming back for a two-way jump-off. My plan was to gallop up the first line in nine and shave off the first part of the turn. I squared up to the Osphos oxer in the corner and steadied in eight to the combination since he has a bit of right drift. I slipped through the inside turn and was careful to the liverpool. I landed and went right inside to last oxer and galloped down in eight,” explained Gutstein on her winning jump-off plan.
The duo stopped the clock in just 37.285 seconds for the win, setting the tone for an impressive future in the jumper ring.
Richard Rinehart (USA) of Rinehart Farms in Westfield, Indiana, made his return to the winner’s circle on his consistent partner, Vincent (Van Gogh x Nirande). The 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding is no stranger to the Sanctuary, boasting an extensive record of wins in the open jumper classes at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington. The duo yielded two foot-perfect clear rounds and looked to best Gutstein’s winning time. One extra stride and slightly wide turn to the third jump resulted in a time of 37.46 seconds, ultimately securing the second place position.
Nicole Loochtan (USA) of Stone Creek Stables in Lexington, Kentucky, scored another third and fourth place finish, this time in the $30,000 WEC Grand Prix. Loochtan earned third place honors aboard her longtime partner Caiman des Sequoias (Radco D’ Houtveld x Sublime De La Cour). As the last pair to try their hand at the jump-off track, they had their sights set on the blue ribbon. The 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding was quick and careful across the ground, impressing the crowd with his unmatched speed. However, the duo was not quite quick enough to catch the top two, galloping through the timers in 38.238 seconds to round out the podium. Loochtan and her brand-new mount, It’s Me Du Bosquetiau (Dayton Sitte x Mirette Du Bosquetiau) were the first to jump-off in a time of 40.009 seconds to earn fourth place.
Final Results – $30,000 WEC Grand Prix
1) Rebecca Gutstein (USA) & Harley David, Rebecca Gutstein – 0 | 0 – 37.285
2) Richard Rinehart (USA) & Vincent, Ron Caraway – 0 | 0 – 37.46
3) Nicole Loochtan (USA) & Caiman des Sequoias, Nicole Loochtan – 0 | 0 – 38.238
4) Nicole Loochtan (USA) & It’s Me Du Bosquetiau, Nicole Loochtan – 0 | 0 – 40.009
5) Paul Halpern (USA) & Esra, Vanessa Lee – 0 | 0 – 37.038
6) Izzy Beisel (USA) & Diaz Barbotiere, Izzy Beisel | 4 | 60.701
7) Kevin McCarthy (IRL) & Jadina, Sweet Oak Farm | 4 | 74.811
8) Chole Desjarlias (USA) & Infinito HMS, Amanda Lorinc | 4 | 75.766
9) Darby Pease (USA) & Cumbaya W, Hillary Gromus | 4 | 75.933
10) Shawn Butler (USA) & BSH Matinee, Shawn Butler | 4 | 78.535
Source: Press Release from World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography
Categories: USEF Rated, World Equestrian Center