Wellington, Fla. – March 18, 2017 – Kerry McCahill of Kinnelon, New Jersey, came out on top Saturday afternoon in the International Arena at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in the $35,000 Hollow Creek U25 Grand Prix Semi-Final. Out of 36 talented young jumper riders, only 12 cleared the challenging 1.45m track designed by Michel Vaillancourt. Of those 12, three riders were able to finish the jump-off with no faults.
“I was a bit surprised to get past the first round,” laughed McCahill. “Earlier on in the week Charly stopped twice at the water in the U25 Welcome. I knew if I had a really strong ride he would be clear everywhere else so that was the main focus for me and I couldn’t be happier with his performance today.
“I think the course today was very challenging,” continued McCahill. “It was big enough and there were a few surprises; I think even having a rail was really good for this class.”
McCahill and her own Charly Chaplin S, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, won the blue after a fault-free jump-off round in a blazing 39.35 seconds.
“I have a strong connection with Charly, and we’ve finished top three at some big grand prix competitions in Europe this year,” said McCahill. “Its been our plan to use him for the semi-final and hopefully the final this year. When I was in the top three during Week Two, I used Cadensky, who is a very new horse for me.”
Alma Björklund of Sweden and her own 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Unex Captain Chaos 8, were a close second.
“I got him just this past summer in Europe, and I feel that we have just now gotten to know each other,” said Björklund. “The whole process has been amazing for me because we get along really well and he gives me confidence over the bigger jumps.
“This was our first bigger jump-off together so I was just trying to go clear,” continued Björklund. “My trainer told me to go for it. I started off a little slow and as I got more comfortable I picked up the pace. Overall I think the U25 classes are a great opportunity for younger riders, they allow the chance to compete in a bigger class with a more even playing field.”
Coming in third was Lucas Porter and his mount Diamonte Darco, a 13-year-old SHBGB mare owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC.
“I’ve been really fortunate this season,” commented Porter. “Diamonte has jumped really well and every time I’ve gone out she is ready to roll even if I make a mistake on the course.
“I stumbled a bit after the first line and let my reins get a little long after the liverpool,” continued Porter. “I was pretty much pulling her around a 180-degree turn on the buckle, which is not ideal.”
The Hollow Creek U25 Grand Prix series at WEF consists of nine FEI-rated grand prix classes. Week Ten of WEF marked the final Hollow Creek U25 Grand Prix class before the finale. During Week Twelve of WEF, the top 30 young riders in the series standings are invited to compete in the $50,000 Hollow Creek U25 Grand Prix Final.
The overall series winner will be invited to participate in the Global Champions Tour CSI2* event held at the Chantilly Horse Show in July. The winner will also receive complimentary equine transportation from the Dutta Corporation and two VIP lounge tickets.
Results: $35,000 Hollow Creek U25 Grand Prix Semi-Final
- Kerry McCahill, Charly Chaplin S, 0 75.17 0 39.35
- Alma Björklund, Unex Capital Chaos 8, 0 77.69 0 40.53
- Lucas Porter, Diamonte Darco, 0 75.62 0 40.80
- Leah De Martini, Firth Of Lorne, 0 77.48 0 42.84
- Emma Butchard, Brasil, 0 76.86 0 43.54
- Daniel Coyle, Simba De La Roque 0 75.73 4 36.29
- Rogelio Pellerano, Temporelle De Fritot, 0 74.59 4 38.44
- Jessica Mendoza, Horst Van De Mispeleare, 0 75.59 4 39.75