Wellington, FL - Kaitlin Campbell and longtime mount Rocky W added another win to their extensive partnership, as the duo captured the $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix on Sunday, December 13, at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Campbell, of Springfield, PA, and Rocky W crossed through the timers in 52.192 seconds to take the lead from Irish rider Darragh Kenny and Zabel D who finished in 54.507 seconds, while Abigail McArdle, of St. Charles, IL, and Harriri V.D. Maltahoeve collected third place honors with a time of 54.87 seconds. Competition at PBIEC will continue today with the start of the ESP Holiday II including the $10,000 Pony Up Treats Open Stake and the $25,000 Pony Up Treats Holiday II Grand Prix on Thursday, December 17.
Campbell and her own Rocky W, a 1998 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Libero H x Mona Liza), made easy work of the first round track, set by Hector Loyola (PRI), and dashed to an exciting finish in the jump-off round, where the duo finished nearly two seconds faster than Kenny and Zabel D. With a knack for finding the fastest routes on course, Campbell commented that Rocky W's ability to cover ground and remain balanced through tight turns offered her the opportunity to push for the win.
"This is his first big class down here and he's usually pretty on it when he knows we're back in the International Ring. He was being incredibly careful today. I knew that I could go for it and he would stay off the rails," commented Campbell. "He's so quick though the turns that you really only need to think turn and he'll get there. He was really fast through the second turn and I think that's where we made up the time."
The duo have been together for quite some time, earning a number of top wins including the $25,000 Nutrena® Grand Prix hosted at PBIEC in March 2015. As Rocky continues to be competitive at the top levels of the sport, Campbell is sure to keep her partner's happiness and well being a priority. She explained, "I try not to waste classes and jumps on him. We don't jump at home too much and I always try to pick classes where I know he can be successful," explained Campbell. "I'm not aiming him for 5* Grand Prix classes. It's more about finding classes that I know he can succeed in. It keeps him mentality sharp."
After an incredibly successful career together, Campbell and Rocky W have established a bond, which allows them to fully trust each other when taking risks on course. Campbell's gutsy ride through the jump-off round showcased the duo's relationship and proved rewarding, as they secured another grand prix win at PBIEC. The experience the pair has gained together throughout the years has been incredibly beneficial and Campbell hopes to continue their success this season.
"He knows he's the best in the barn and sometimes takes advantage of it," laughed Campbell. "We'll do some of the smaller FEI Speed classes this year because I don't want to push him and over face him. He's so fast that I think they'll be a perfect fit for him. We'll see how he's feeling throughout circuit and play it from there," she continued.
Final Results for $25,000 Equiline Holiday I Grand Prix
1. ROCKY W, 1998 Dutch Warmblood gelding Libero H x Mona Liza KAITLIN CAMPBELL, Kaitlin Campbell: 0/0/52.192
2. ZABEL D, 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Larino x Lady M DARRAGH KENNY, Kerry Anne LLC: 0/0/54.507
3. HARRIRI V.D. MALTAHOEVE, 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare by Nabab de Reve x Rani VD Blauwe ABIGAIL MCARDLE, Plain Bay Sales: 0/0/54.87
4. QUIRIE 2, 2007 German Warmblood gelding by Quadrigus M x Zuckerqueen ALI WOLFF, Ali Wolff: 0/0/55.696
5. HILFIGER VAN DE OLMENHOEVE, 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Dulf van den Bisschop x Escape van de Olmenhoeve MARIA SCHAUB, Maria Schaub: 0/0/56.806
6. UITTERAARD, 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Numero Uno x Natosca Mark Bluman, Stransky's Mission Farms, Inc.: 0/4/51.769
7. CHARLINE 28, 2005 Mecklenburg mare by Cellestial x Pik Dame SHARN WORDLEY, Sky Group: 0/4/56.477
8. HELIANTE, 2007 Warmblood mare CHRISTOPH SCHROEDER, Marion Heard: 0/4/59.339
Competition at PBIEC continues today with the start of the ESP Holiday II Series, which will conclude on Thursday, December 17. The ESP Holiday III Series will begin on Friday, December 18, and conclude on Sunday, December 20. Please visit www.pbiec.com for a full weekly schedule of competition events and to view daily results.