Littlestown, PA – Sept. 3, 2016 – After getting the ride on Czechmate just six short weeks ago, Matthias Hollberg and the chestnut gelding showcased their winning ways in Saturday’s $25,000 Quentin Fall Classic Grand Prix, marking their second grand prix victory together. Hollberg also claimed the second-place spot aboard another mount, his own Aletta.
“I didn’t wake up this morning thinking this would happen, but I was certainly hoping,” Hollberg said. “It worked out well today. The facility here is so nice, the prize money is good, the course designing is consistent, and the people in the office are excellent. It’s really easy for us to come here.”
In the first round, Hollberg and Courtney Ramsay’s Czechmate were the first to attempt Skip Bailey’s course. The duo went clear in 86.99 seconds – just hundredths of a second under the time allowed of 87 seconds.
“The time allowed seemed tight in the first round, so luckily I was aware of that and galloped in between the jumps,” Hollberg explained. “We were just under the time allowed, so that was lucky.”
Hollberg and Czechmate returned first for the 7-horse jump-off, setting a blazing time to beat of 39.094 seconds. Their quick, efficient round would hold the lead wire-to-wire to earn the win.
“Since I was first to go in the jump-off, I figured there was nothing to lose, and I’d give it a good go,” Hollberg said. “I wanted to go as fast as he could without losing track of where I was on course so I could put enough pressure on the others to prevent them from catching me, which is what happened in the end, luckily.”
Hollberg said that 10-year-old Czechmate was a 4* Eventing horse who Ramsay purchased from Olympian Lauren Keiffer. After showing in the 1.30m classes at Upperville, Hollberg and Czechmate headed to HITS Culpeper, where they won their first grand prix together after giving the only double-clear effort.
“Czechmate was just a bit too slow for cross country, but he’ll jump anything,” Hollberg said. “He’s not a typical event horse; he’s a big horse with a big scopey jump. For us, he’s fast enough in the jump-offs – he’s awesome. Today was really my first grand prix jump-off going against the clock with him, and he did it very well.”
With Aletta, who also advanced to the short course after a clear first round, Hollberg said his strategy was to try to match Czechmate’s time without taking too many risks. The duo’s time of 42.399 seconds would mark the second-fastest time of the afternoon, earning the duo the second-place spot.
“Any other horse I ride compared to Aletta is like going from a school bus into a Ferrari,” Hollberg expressed. “She’s quick, she’s smart, and everything that she does in the ring, she does with 100 percent effort. She never will let you down; she’s a good girl.”
Hollberg said that he purchased the 11-year-old mare from a former student after she sold her horses to focus on college.
“Aletta has been all over,” Hollberg said. “She’s done Wellington, she’s done Young Riders, she’s done indoors as a High Amateur horse. I trained her former owner on and off, so I’ve known the horse for about four years. She came to me to be sold, and I liked her so much that I ended up buying her myself.”
Rounding out the top three places was Christina Serio and Derbydown’s Disovery-O with their double-clear effort and jump-off time of 43.736 seconds. In fourth place with four faults and a time of 39.836 seconds was yesterday’s 1.30m speed winners, Jennifer Brennan and Mac.
The Quentin Fall Classic will wrap up on Sunday with the $2,500 1.10m NAL/WIHS/M&S Adult Classic and the $3,500 1.20m NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic.
Find more about the Quentin Fall Classic online at www.swanlakehorseshows.com.
Featured Sponsor: Hadfield’s Saddlery
Hadfield’s Saddlery strives to have the best, most innovative high-end merchandise possible. Hadfield’s has outfitted leisure riders to Olympians, providing everything from clothing to bridles and saddles. The industry leader has generously donated gift certificates for winners in the Junior Hunter division.
“Hadfield’s is delighted to contribute our sponsorship at Swan Lake Horse Shows,” said Cindy Hadfield, owner of Hadfield’s Saddlery. “It is a great venue and has grown considerably over the years. Good luck to all participants!”