Olivier Philippaerts and Chicago VH Moleneind jumped 2.13 m to win the $25,000 Open Jumper Puissance at the 2012 Washington International Horse Show.
Washington, D.C. – October 26, 2012 – The jumpers took center stage today at the Washington International Horse Show as the top junior, amateur and professional riders gathered to compete for the coveted championship titles in their respective divisions. Two open jumper classes tested horse and rider combinations with the faults converted format, while the junior and amateur-owner riders vied for the top prizes in their events. The highlight of the night, however, was the Puissance. As one of the only Puissance classes in the nation, the stands were full as six riders attempted clear the daunting and steadily rising brick wall. It was Olivier Philippaerts and Chicago VH Moleneind stole the show, jumping 2.13 m tonight for the victory.
Anthony D’Ambrosio designed tonight’s jumper courses. Olivier Philippaerts and Chicago VH Moleneind were one of two pairs out of the original staring field of six to reach the fourth jump-off round. The first round saw each rider go clear, sailing with ease over the schooling fences and then up and over the puissance wall that was set at 5’6” (1.68m). Each rider continued onto the second round, where the wall was raised to 6’3” (1.90m). Although Benjamin Meredith had a terrific ride, Kaskade sent the bricks tumbling to the ground, eliminating the pair from the third round of competition.
Benjamin Meredith and Kaskade
It was not until the third round that the class truly became heated. Charlie Jayne and Balougris SL Z moved forward over the triplebar, and as they approached the now 6’9” (2.01m), they arched beautifully over; however, a catch with the hind legs eliminated the pair from their attempt at the fourth round. Laura Kraut and Belmont also posted a fabulous effort, and her student Jessica Springsteen ended the night with Temmie in the third round, too.
Charlie Jayne and Balougris SL Z
Laura Kraut and Belmont
Jessica Springsteen and Temmie
It came down to two.
Philippaerts was the first to take on the 7’0” (2.13m) daunting brick wall. The tension in the air was palpable as the crowd sat on the edge of their seats. Philippaerts delivered the knockout punch as the pair took the triple combination with no problem and then curled precisely right to clear the difficult wall, winning the $25,000 puissance and the prize money. Vale also attempted the final round; however, the wall tumbled down with an unlucky hind hoof, giving Philippaerts the victory tonight.
Olivier Philippaerts and Chicago VH Moleneind
Aaron Vale and Wodka L
Believe it or not, this was the first time that Philippaerts and Chicago VH Moleneind jumped an obstacle of such height. “This is the first time we’ve jumped the wall—I’ve never done it, and the horse has never done it.,” Philippaerts described. “I had a feeling he would be a good horse for that. He has a lot of scope so I thought I would give it a try, and it worked out very well.”
Philippaerts elaborated, “All classes have their own difficulty. With a puissance you need a little bit of luck, but also a horse for it. I think this horse really likes it—he likes the wall, he wants to go to it, he’s not afraid, so I think that’s a great thing for a puissance horse.”
“We came here for the World Cup classes, they are very hard to
get into in Europe. It is important to take in the whole experience as well. It is a new culture and I get to meet new people,” Philippaerts concluded. “I think it’s a great show. The crowd is really fantastic. The fans are very good and it was nice to ride with the crowd. They stayed throughout the entire night, it really made the win special.”
The $32,000 Open Jumper Speed Class was alive with excitement as 19 of the top professional riders from around the world competed for the lion’s share of the prize money. The competitors had to best the clock and the course during today’s faults converted time event. The first to conquer the course was Matt Williams aboard Watch Me VD Mangelaar, but they pair was very slow in a time of 55.00 seconds, which finished in ninth. Lauren Hough followed on Oh La La six trips later, and the quick duo blew the competition out of the water. They sliced over the fences and quickly cut all of the turns, still leaving each rail in its cups. Hough and Oh La La blazed across the finish line in 46.82 seconds, which would prove unbeatable.
Lauren Hough and Oh La La
“Oh La La is just making the step up,” explained Hough. “She is naturally a very fast horse, so I didn't even feel like I let it all out today, I just let her go in her rhythm. She makes riding very easy. She's going to jump in her first big grand prix tomorrow night. I have very high hopes for her. She's small, but she doesn't know she's small.”
“This was a good course for her, there were a lot of turns and some inside options,” continued Hough. “I don't really need to leave strides out on her because she is naturally very quick, so I always have my own plan. It worked out tonight, and I think it was a good prep for tomorrow night. Tomorrow night will be her first World Cup. She is just at that brink of making that move up and so far she has answered every question.”
Only two other riders were able to finish under 50 seconds. The first was Nicola Philippaerts of Belgium riding Diebrich De Kalvarie. They managed to break the beam in a clear 46.88 seconds, just 6/100ths behind Hough for second place. Kent Farrington was the last to show in the class, and was right on the mark as well aboard Zafira. They stopped the clock at 46.90 seconds to round out the top three.
Nicola Philippaerts and Diebrich De Kalvarie
Kent Farrington and Zafira
The $10,000 Open Jumper class welcomed 14 riders to the faults converted format competition. The class was held over a 1.40m course that tested both horse and rider alike. Zemilion with Nicholas Dello Joio in the irons was the last horse to take on the track. It was a fight to the finish as Dello Joio used his horse’s stride and tight turns to his advantage. An overwhelming applause erupted from the stands as Dello Joio tripped the timers in 52.06 seconds, leaving all rails intact.
Speaking highly of D’Ambrosio’s course, Dello Joio stated, “Today’s course wasn’t set very big. The intention was with the faults converted was to go as fast as you could, intelligently. I think there were some really tight turns out there, and the single oxer was very square with the liverpool. I just stuck to my strategy and turned tight. It was a great course and wonderful experience for Zemilion.”
Nick Dello Joio and Zemilion
Dello Joio continued, “Zemilion is a new horse, I got him at the end of the summer. Since he is green, I was using indoors as experience for him. I am just getting to know him. We are building a relationship. I need to figure him out and he needs to figure me out.”
Aaron Vale and Wodka L held the lead for five rounds, but their time of 52.23 seconds eventually earned them the second place finish. Shane Sweetnam and Solerina rode to the third place ribbon for their time of 52.33 seconds.
“This was my first year winning at Washington, last year I was second, it felt great to go out there and have a good time and build experience for Zemillion. I think this is the best show we have in our country—the atmosphere and the feel of being in a big city is so different,” Dello Joio concluded.
The $5,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class welcomed the top junior and amateur riders for the fourth day of competition. With the Jumper Classics only a day away, the excitement was afoot as 21 riders tackled D’Ambrosio’s course. With the speed being the name of the game, the horse and rider combinations put their best foot forward to trip the timers as quickly as possible while leaving all the obstacles in place. It was Charlotte Jacobs and Promised Land who led the victory gallop, laying down a clear round in only 52.358 seconds.
Charlotte Jacobs and Promised Land
Charlotte Jacobs and Kachina
Jacobs had her first go at the course aboard Kachina, and although she stopped the clock at 53.505 seconds, the pair lost their first place hold once Megan Nusz and Vesuvius took their turn at the track. Nusz navigated the gelding to a clear course in 53.092 seconds, nearly a half-second faster than Jacobs.
“With Kachina I went out there and hit the wall, we laid down a great trip and a good time with a clean effort, and then Megan beat my time with Vesuvius,” Jacobs elaborated. “When I went in with Promised Land I was really going for it. There was a line across the middle that was six strides and I did five, we shaved off some time there.”
Megan Nusz and Vesuvius
Jacobs continued, “Promised Land is 18 years old, and this is my third year on him. He is the best old man—definitely a veteran. He likes to show off, and is just the best. You land you pull the reins, and he is there for you. I have been working on being tidy and going for it. We have been working on pulling everything together.”
Jacobs first attempt was steadfast, earning she and Kachina the third place award. Meg O’Mara and Sinatra IV took the fourth place award with Chloe Reid and Toulon finishing fifth. Emanuel Andrade rode to the sixth place finish with the final of the clear efforts in a time of 60.555 seconds.
Earlier in the afternoon, Emanuel Andrade took the $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers by storm with Casanova Junior. The talented pair mastered the speed track, laying down a clean round in a mere 57.527 seconds. Although others tried to best the pair, their time proved resilient as they claimed the blue ribbon. Aleesha Melwani and Thunderball were the only other pair to even get close to Andrade’s time, while keeping all the rails in their cups. They took the second place position for their time of 60.500 seconds. Michael Hughes rounded out the top three with Red Hot, finishing with a clear effort in 60.610 seconds.
Emanuel Andrade and Casanova Junior
“The course was a little difficult, but the best juniors are here, so it should be,” Andrade explained. “With my horse Casanova, he is able to turn fast and is very careful, so it was easier for us. I think we just have such a strong connection, he loves me and I love him, so he is able to make the turns easily because we trust one another. I need to push him a little bit in the turns, but in a way, I ride him like a hunter and his stride and abilities make up the rest.”
Tomorrow night concludes the jumper action at the Washington International Horse Show. The highlight event of the week, the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, will challenge horse and rider alike as the world’s top riders attempt the demanding course. For more information about the Washington International Horse Show, please visit www.wihs.org