Wellington, Florida, USA – January 22, 2023 – The final day of international competition during WEF 2 saw a stacked field of 75 up-and-coming show jumping combinations. The CHF$25,000 Hermes Under 25 Grand Prix launched a full day of sport on the derby field. Audrey Schulze (USA) eventually emerged victorious aboard Darquito.
Oscar Soberon’s first course utilized the expanse of the venue’s grass field to advance a total of 22 combinations onto the short track. Three nations were represented in the callback order as Belgium’s Zoe Conter (BEL) and Ireland’s Tom Wachman (IRL) added their names to the otherwise-American dominated list. As the final horse landed, 13 pairs produced double-clear efforts over the two courses, but it was Schulze and Riverbrook Sport Horses’ 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (D’inzeo 6 x Contefino 2) that dashed the fastest over each of the obstacles in 38.18 seconds.
Darquito is the former ride of Ireland’s Andrew Bourns, and Bourns was the first to congratulate the pair as they left the ring.
“There were a lot of places without numbers where you just had to get on an open gallop, and luckily my horse has a huge stride where he just eats up the ground,” detailed Schulze. “His stride is definitely an advantage in the jump-off because it’s much bigger than any other horse I’ve ever ridden so it’s much easier to do one less stride everywhere.”
The 2023 season is the second for Schulze competing in the U25 division and the win proved to be an exciting start to the series. Natalie Dean (USA) and Marigold Sporthorses’ Dotcom D’Authuit (Diamant De Semilly x Quidam De Revel) picked up the second-place ribbon landing a little over a second slower than Schulze on a time of 39.50 seconds.
Mimi Gochman rounded out the all-female podium with a third-place finish from the Gochman Sport Horses’ Cosmos BH (Chellano Alpha Z x Artos Z).
To hear Schulze tell it, the connection between the two was immediate and they had near instant success after teaming up.
“I got him in July and within the first week of showing him, we won a national grand prix,” she recalled. The pair have since had success across throughout North America and represented the U.S. at the 2022 FEI Jumping Nations Cup Youth Final in Kronenberg (Netherlands). “It’s been really great getting to know him at all of these different venues. He’s so much fun because he’s so brave and anything I ask him to do he’s right there doing it.”
With the first of the U25 weeks in the books, Under 25 riders are in a race for the final. The 2023 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series winner will take home an Hermès Saddle, a $10,000 store credit to Hermès, and will be invited to compete at a select show or tour in Europe, with round-trip transportation for one horse generously provided by the Dutta Corp.
Final Results – CHF$25,000 Hermes Under 25 Grand Prix
1) Audrey Schulze (USA) & Darquito: 2011 Hanoverian gelding (D’inzeo 6 x Contefino 2) Owner: Riverbrook Sport Horses – 0 / 0 – 38.18
2) Natalie Dean (USA) & Dotcom D’Authuit: 2013 Selle Français mare (Diamant De Semilly x Quidam De Revel) Owner: Marigold Sporthorses – 0 / 0 – 39.50
3) Mimi Gochman (USA) & Cosmos BH: 2013 Zangersheide stallion (Chellano Alpha Z x Artos Z), Owner: Gochman Sporthorses – 0 / 0 – 39.56
Source: Press Release from Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Sportfot
Categories: CSI U-25, USEF Rated