Wayne, IL - Laura Linback and Carmina have not been in a partnership for long, only six months, but they are at the top of their game. Friday afternoon they captured the win in the $5,000 1.30m Open Jumpers, presented by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, during the Showplace Spring Spectacular I. They vaulted to the top of the leader board in an astonishing 37.416 seconds, more than a second ahead of their challengers in a six-horse jump-off.
"I got Carmina in January of this year, and I bought her from a friend of mine, Andrew Bourns," Linback explained. "I wanted a horse that was not green, not a project. I wanted a winner for the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers-no pressure. I had heard about the horse, but she was extremely high-strung when I got her."
Linback elaborated, "She is a bit of a sensitive hothead, but it is like we were made for each other. She was Circuit Champion in Ocala for the Amateur Jumpers, and then we moved up this spring and I put her in two grand prix. She jumped clean in both, and won one of them. She is just a winner, she is just flat out a winner."
The course tested the 20 starters with a snug time allowed and a technical track that would only allow six horse and rider combinations the chance to master the shortened track. As fourth in the order, Tiffany Hammach and Luminous, owned by Lance Williamson of Gurnee, IL, were the first to make the jump-off. They set the pace with a double-clear effort in 41.215 seconds.
Eventual winner Linback commented on the course, ""I liked the course today, the time was snug in the first round, there was no time to dawdle, you had to fix it on the fly. I liked that they didn't under-build the course today. It was a real 1.30m, I liked that a lot."
Each consecutive pair bested the next. Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, IL, and Zanctos Z stuck to the inside track with a great slice from fence one to two in the jump-off. They broke the beam in 40.012 seconds. Stephanie Novas of Lake Forest, IL, and Amyra R did one better, opting for a wider footpath to the second obstacle, but making up the time with speedy turns throughout the serpentine-like track and an outstanding spin-back to the second to last vertical. They tripped the timers in 39.193 seconds.
Goldman returned to the ring with her veteran mount El Dorado B. Although she followed the same inside track, utilizing slices to shave the seconds, a wide turn to a vertical would prove crucial in the battle against the clock. She moved into the lead with a time of 38.744 seconds, but she wore a target on her back as Linback set her sights on the victory.
As the second to last rider, Linback knew what she had to do in order to capture the win. She followed the same inside plan as Goldman had laid down, the only other rider to attempt such risky turns, but Carmina made a tight turn to a vertical that shaved an entire second, hurdling the duo to the top of the leader board in 37.416 seconds.
"When I walked the course, I thought that some of the turns in the jump-off looked impossible, but it is the only way to win, and she is the one to do them on," Linback said. "We went inside and did all of the slices extremely smoothly, and then I think we won it with the tight turn. I figured that in the jump-off the liverpool was right out in front of the jump, which makes it harder for the horses to knock down that rail. I knew that was the place to take the shot."
After six months of working with one another, the pair has become inseparable. Linback elaborated, "She is the most delightful horse now, she is just a doll. Now I even worry if she has gotten a little fat, a little too relaxed, but she is such a delight. When she goes in there it is all business. She has an amazing jump, and she turns like a Quarter Horse. She's amazing, she goes in a hackamore--it is like a halter."
The High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers saw intense competition as competitors entered into the Power and Speed class. Madeline Thatcher and Licapo, owned by Pony Lane Farm of Bluffdale, UT, captured the win with a clear power round and a quick speed round to cross the timers without fault in 35.498 seconds. Laura Linback and Attention Please, owned by Woodrun of Mundelein, IL, followed in a close second finishing the speed phase in 35.913 seconds. Madison Billings of North Barrington, IL, and her own Stonestreet finished in third place. The High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers will have their moment in the spotlight during Saturday's $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHF) High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, and the riders are getting revved up.
During the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers Katie Leverick of Hawthorn Woods, IL, rode S&L Sander to the top finish, with Suzy Buszydlo and Nektar hot on their heels for the second place. Kelsey Thatcher and Splendor, owned by Pony Lane Farm, finished third. The $10,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic is set to take place on Sunday during the final day of the Showplace Spring Spectacular I.
The Spring Spectacular I will come to a conclusion on Sunday with its highlight event of the week, the $30,000 Barrington Saddlery Grand Prix, benefitting assistance in healthcare.
For more information on the Showplace Spring Spectacular Series, please visit: www.showplaceproductions.com.