Ocala, Florida, USA – February 17, 2023 –On Friday night, the $15,000 Buckeye Nutrition Futures Prix returned to the WEC Grand Arena under the lights for the second time during the 12-week 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series. The class invites developing horses and riders to compete under the lights with more atmosphere, helping to prepare them for the Saturday night grand prix-type competition. Nearly 40 up-and-coming competitors challenged an elaborate track built by FEI Level IV course designer Leopoldo Palacios (VEN), but it was Taylor Marie Land (USA) and Team Land Syndicate I LLC’s Escobar WW (Etoulon x Pretty Woman) that snagged the victory, with four seconds to spare.
Last night’s tracks proved to be a challenge as many of the starters fell victim to rails down, but an even eight managed to stay within the time allowed while keeping all rails up to qualify for the jump-off. Of the eight entries to return, only three managed double clean efforts.
“Leopoldo is a great course designer. Last night was the first time for many of those horses to jump and compete under the lights. The very beginning of the course was a bit scopey with the first jump being a triple bar. The second and third jumps were both walls that backed the horses off before the triple combination which was a careful element. Leopoldo loves his optical illusions and I think some horses and riders were a be thrown off by the first few fences.”
Olympian Andre Thieme (GER) was the first athlete to return to the jump-off piloting his 11-year-old Mecklenburg gelding Candid 14 (Cellestial x Cosima). Thieme and the stylish gelding made light work of the jump-off track, leaving out strides while finding each fence out of stride to stop the clock at 44.670 seconds.
Mackenzie Mc Gehee found the next clean jump-off round aboard her own House (Nabab De Reve x Leandra). Mc Gehee and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding finished in a swift 44.818 seconds to ultimately earn third place.
Taylor Marie Land was the last athlete to attempt Palacios’ jump-off track with the hopes of beating Thieme’s efficient time.
“I didn’t have a great sense of how fast Andre had been. I was watching on the screen in the schooling area, and knew he hadn’t done the tightest track, but he did leave out in some places. I wanted to go fast enough and be smooth in the roll backs, so I could catch each fence forward. I didn’t want to risk going too slow, but my horse really rose to the occasion,” said Land.
Land and the eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding raced around the short course finding each fence on an open gallop to stop the clock at a blistering fast time of 40.741 seconds to snag the first-place finish.
“Escobar WW is my obsession. He’s an incredible horse with all of the heart and try in the world. We bought him in the summer and he’s the first horse I’ve ever syndicated. I am so grateful to all of his owners for believing in me and I just know he is going to be something special,” expressed Land.
“It is fantastic that World Equestrian Center offer classes like this to help us prepare our developing horses to one day show under the lights on Saturday. The atmosphere and jumps are incredible, and the courses always fantastic. It’s an incredible opportunity and I am so grateful that World Equestrian Center holds this class under the lights,” shared Land.
Final Results – $15,000 Buckeye Nutrition Futures Prix
1) Taylor Marie Land (USA) & Escobar WW, Team Land Syndicate I LLC: 0 | 0 | 40.741
2) Andre Thieme (GER) & Candid 14, Andre Thieme: 0 | 0 | 44.670
3) Mackenzie McGehee (USA) & House, Mackenzie Mc Gehee: 0 | 0 | 44.818
4) Mustafa Shah (USA) & Harmony, Mustafa Shah: 0 | 4 | 40.422
5) Amber Viera (USA) & Le Cequilo, So Fetch Syndicate; 0 | 4 | 41.400
6) Brooke Kemper (USA) & Bayra, Bayra LLC: 0 | 4 | 43.555
7) Kali Jerman (USA) & Swanview Sarco Deluxe, Kali Jerman: 0 | 4 | 48.323
8) Mustafa Shah (USA) & Constantino V, Mustafa Shah: 0 | 8 | 44.025
9) Kayla Benney (USA) & Doki Du Loret, Dawn Willey: 3 | 78.452
10) Jared Petersen (USA) & Eton, Mary Meghann Huitt: 4 | 69.699
Source: Press Release from World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography
Categories: Results, USEF Rated, World Equestrian Center