Halifax, MA - August 24, 2013 -Spectators lined the sides of the Grand Prix Field at the Fieldstone Show Park as they watched top-tier riders compete in a battle of the best out on the turf this afternoon. Linda Langmeier and Classic Care captured the win in the $15,000 Antarès Grand Prix, taking a fantastic victory for the final day of the Fieldstone Summer Showcase II. Paul O'Shea and Skara Glen's Sienna rode to the second place finish, while Penny Brennan piloted Sun Tzu to the third place.
Eric Hasbrouck of the United States designed a 13-obstacle track that challenged both horse and rider to the best of their abilities. He used a triple bar, liverpool, an oxer-vertical double combination and a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination and the daunting grob to test the pairs. Six combinations found their way into the shortened course, but it came down to a battle between Langmeier and O'Shea.
The jump-off required riders to begin over a single vertical set near the table, and make a hard left rollback over the oxer of the double combination. They then turned right for the vertical-oxer double combination, made a right turn of a newly introduced vertical set in the middle of the field. A left rollback took them to a large oxer where they raced forward in a broken line to the liverpool-vertical where they would seal their fate in the ranks.
O'Shea was the first to return for the short course aboard the 7-year-old Skara Glen's Sienna, owned by Skara Glen Stables. Today was the first week that O'Shea asked Sienna to open her stride during the jump-off and improve her time.
"This was her first Grand Prix, so I didn't want to go wild, but it was a good way to teach her how to go fast," O'Shea elaborated. "This was the first show where I kind of had a go with her against the clock. She responded brilliantly, she turned great and really locked onto the jumps." O'Shea navigated Sienna through inside turns, slicing the seconds from his time while still maintaining a flowing pace. He was able to finish the course in 38.832 seconds with all rails in their cups.
"I have to try to stay out of her way, she knows what to do. She is very sweet, but she is definitely the boss. It is a delight to be here and obviously it has gone well, hopefully we will be back again next year," said O'Shea.
Langmeier was the only other rider able to duplicate O'Shea's clean effort in the jump-off. Although Brennan attempted to secure the lead with Sun Tzu, the final rail fell for a four-fault total. Langmeier was able to take all of the inside turns while she pushed her more recent mount, Classic Care, through the slices, beating O'Shea with a time of 38.246 seconds.
"She is a little quirky, this is only my second horse show with her, so we are a new combination," Langmeier explained. "We are just learning each other, and we have only had her since the end of Wellington this year."
Langmeier continued, "I think the course really suited her because it is a big galloping course. She is very scopey, and I have a lot of trust with her at the jumps. She is very straightforward getting to the jumps. In the first round we had a little episode getting to the jump, so I do have to encourage her a little bit sometimes, but once you get her to the jump she is very easy."
Hasbrouck created a course reminiscent of the afternoon's $15,000 Antarès Grand Prix for the morning's classic riders. He challenged them with the triple bar, vertical-vertical-oxer triple combination, bending lines, tight rollbacks and a tight oxer-vertical double combination. In the jump-off riders started over a redbrick oxer bending to a skinny vertical, made a right rollback over a single vertical and then took the double combination. They then landed and raced through a large right turn to take the Boston Bruins oxer and then turn left for the final EquiFit vertical where they would break the beam.
Earlier in the day the $2,500 Child/Adult Jumper Classic stole the spotlight in the Grand Prix Field. For many of the riders, this was their first time tackling a jumper course on the engulfing grass field, but it did not deter any as they raced against the clock. Kimberley Janson and Quica proved the winners, surpassing young Charlie Jacobs and Elphaba, owned by CMJ Sporthorse. Jacobs posted a time of 37.310 seconds as the third in the jump-off, eventually earning him the second place award. Janson posted a double-clear effort in 34.773 seconds to lead the morning's first victory gallop, while Bull Run's Charly Brown, owned by ATJ Farms LLC, with Amanda Gellis in the irons took home the third place.
The $3,000 Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classics were the highlight of the morning for Zone 1 riders as the last of a series of six classes held to promote the North American Junior Young Rider Program. The program creates incentives for aspiring jumper riders, and each class awards $2,000 in bonus prize money to be distributed to the top six NAJYRC eligible (Junior/Amateur riders age 14 to 21) finishers from Zone 1, regardless of class placings. The "High Point Riders", tabulated at the end of the series, will receive VIP Passes and a course walk with a well-known jumper rider at the Zoetis $1,000,000 Grand Prix held September 8, 2013, at HITS Saugerties.
The stakes were high today as the riders moved forward through the course, but it was Lisa Rex and Shamrock, owned by Susan Dixon, who captured the championship with their speedy jump-off. Although they had one rail fall at the beginning of the double combination, their time proved the fastest for the win. Anastasia Bezsylko and Cakao 2 took second, while Evelyn Graff and Cayman rode to the third.
In the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers Helena Le Picart and Bon Vivant captured the win as the only clean round of the classic. Christine Walsh and Henry were the fastest of the four-faulters riding to the second place.
The Fieldstone Summer Showcase II concluded today, but there is more in store for the Fieldstone Show Park tomorrow where the 2013 Massachusetts Hunter Jumper Finals will get underway, with qualifiers from each division vying for the top honors. For more information on Stadium Jumping and the Summer Showcase II Horse Show, please visit www.showfieldstone.com. You can also follow the Fieldstone Horse Shows on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fieldstone.equestrian.