Andrew Kocher of Lake St. Louis, Missouri has had a very successful run during Week II of the Gulf Coast Winter Classics in Pensacola. After scoring a trifecta win in Friday's $5,000 HorseFlight Open Welcome class, he went on to win the $25,000 Nutrena Grand Prix with his own Land Rebel under the lights in the covered arena on Saturday night.
"The course looked easy enough when we walked it, but with the lights and the tight turns, the jumps just came right up on you and it turned out to be a very tough course," commented Kocher, "and the time allowed was pretty snug too," he added.
The first round time allowed was set at 83 seconds. It looked as if there was not going to be a jump off as horse and rider team after another finished their first rounds with jump faults and time faults.
It was not until the eighth to go, Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookville, Maryland and Rolling Acres' Carlot went clean to the crowd's delight in a time of 77.749 seconds. It looked as if she may win the class, until Kocher entered the ring with Land Rebel as the final rider in the first round. The pair went clean in a time of 79.312 seconds to the crowd's delight. There would be a jump off!
Leffler and Carlot were first to go and turned in a fault-free performance in a time of 41.069 seconds, well within the 48 seconds time allowed. Kocher followed with Land Rebel and rode the jump off round lightning fast in a time of 38.841 seconds, locking in the win.
"Land Rebel is a horse I bought in the Czech Republic about six or seven weeks ago," said Kocher. "He's won some big classes already in his show career. I showed him in Wellington two weeks ago and he was eighth in the grand prix there," he said. "He's a good, solid, experienced horse and fast as hell. All you have to do is just kick him and run," he laughed.
Kocher also took home the third place ribbon, in the irons of Eagle Valley Partners' C'Havinia after turning in a first round in 84.167 seconds with two time faults. Fourth place was awarded to Hailey Henderson of Lafayette, Louisiana who rode her own Zine Dine in a first round time of 85 seconds with two time faults. Christian Rogge of Spring, Texas rode his own Lissa Tsp to the fifth place finish in a first round time of 85 seconds and two time faults. Kocher returned to claim the sixth place ribbon on Michael Rosenberg's Crown Joker after the pair turned in a first round effort in 79.373 seconds with four jump faults. Kocher also took home the seventh and ninth place ribbons aboard Arion Legends, LLC's Cantu 5 and BTS' Entertainment Sales' Ufarno, respectively. Leffler took home the eighth place finish in the irons of Rolling Acres' Amon De Diamente.
Kocher in the winner's circle with Land Rebel.
What are Kocher's future plans? "Well, I'm going to finish up the last week here in Pensacola and I will be at the last half of Gulfport. My goal for the winter is to win the $77,000 Grand Prix," he said. "I have some new horsepower supplied to me by Julie Dodd, Shannon Hicks, Helen Gilbert and Karen Cobb," he continued. "My old reliable Le Conte is out with an injury, but I have some new bullets that I think can get the job done," he said. "I have a great group of owners with me and we're having a great time," he said.
For more information on this class, visit horseshowsonline.com.
Nutrena is a sponsor of the Gulf Coast Winter Classics. Nutrena knows it takes optimum nutrition to feed your horse for proper development, overall health and performance ability. Nutrena focuses on nutrients. That's why their horse feed solutions are formulated to deliver the right balance of nutrients your horse needs every day. Peak performance means different things to different horse owners. If you ride a horse in competition, Nutrena has a horse feed that will help your horse achieve peak power and stamina. If trail riding with a companion horse is more your style, we have the perfect horse feed to keep your horse in tip-top shape and ready to ride. For more information on Nutrena's products, click here.
What's next? Week III at the Gulf Coast Winter Classics in Pensacola will be offering the $1,000 Handy Hunter Hack with no entry fee!
This is a special offering open to Children's and Adult Amateur riders from whose home zone is Zone 4. Riders are eligible if they are current members of USEF and USHJA. There is NO ENTRY FEE to participate in this $1,000 Classic!
The USHJA Zone 4 Hunter Committee has created this program to provide Handy Hunter Classics which test skills riders and their horses might use during an enjoyable day of foxhunting combining the elements of flat and over-fences classes. A handy hunter is a horse or pony that is very easy to maneuver around a course in a ring or in the hunt field. Different elements that might be seen in a handy hunter course include, but are not limited to, fences at the gallop, rollbacks, trot fences, a gate to open and/or close from the horse's back, etc. This class may not be appropriate for a green horse/pony or a novice rider but check out the specs in the show office!
The Escambia County Equestrian Center is home to the Gulf Coast Winter Classics in Pensacola for three weeks and offers a huge covered arena, beautiful outdoor arenas, plenty of stabling in permanent barns with large stalls, indoor wash racks and roomy aisles. On-site RV pads with water and electric hook up are available and scenic riding trails are also a part of the equestrian center.
Top hotels are just minutes from the show grounds offering plenty of lodging choices for those with and without pets.
World class shopping and dining on the Gulf of Mexico, just a fifteen minute drive from the show grounds make for great Mondays for everyone in your barn!
Partner hotel The Red Roof Inn offers special rates for those showing in Pensacola. Red Roof Inn is a pet-friendly hotel in close proximity to the show grounds that offers complimentary Internet access, breakfasts and parking. Select rooms offer microwaves and mini-fridges. Coin laundry is available. Book your rooms early and remember to mention that you are showing at the Gulf Coast Classic Pensacola shows! "I've stayed at Red Roof Inn Pensacola and it is a wonderful place to come home to after a long day at the show. The rooms are immaculate, the staff is professional and nice and they are pet friendly, which works for me and my dog Ellie," commented Classic Company President, Bob Bell. Make sure to book your room and mention that you are showing at the Gulf Coast Classic Pensacola shows!