Wilmington, Ohio, USA – November 20, 2019 – Spectators packed the Sanctuary Arena grandstands last Sunday to watch thrilling jumper action in both the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m. Nearly thirty horses took to the ring between the two classes, all contesting courses designed by Tucker Williams (USA). Though the courses for the two classes differed slightly, both included a triple bar, three one-stride combinations, forward lines and jump offs that rewarded those who focused on pace.
The $25,000 WEC Grand Prix saw fifteen entries vying for the win in the class tonight. Competition was fierce with eight entries advancing to the jump off and five managing double clear rounds, but it was Lauren Hester (USA) and Hester Equestrian LLC’s Happy Feet B (Zacherov x Daronka) that took home the lion’s share of the prize money, a stunning Horseware cooler and prizes from World Equestrian Center sponsors. Happy Feet B’s groom also received the Groom’s Award tonight for the mare’s stunning turnout, which included $100 cash and a $50 World Equestrian Center gift card.
David Beisel (USA) & Essince W
The pace setters in the class were Thursday’s $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m winners David Beisel (USA) and his own Essince W (Chacco Blue x Rossan). The pair returned to the Sanctuary Arena tonight in hopes of another victory. Beisel and the ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding jumped a clear first round with ease, leaving all rails up in 76.220 seconds, well under the time allowed of 82 seconds. The pair returned later in the class for the jump off, setting the pace again at a quick 36.659 seconds.
David Beisel (USA) & Angelo
Beisel was on his game, also jumping double clear aboard Maarten Huygen’s Angelo (Conthargos x Grand Ronja). Beisel and Angelo finished fifth in Thursday’s Welcome Stake, preparing them well for tonight’s class. The pair were quick in the first round, jumping clear in a time of 73.332 seconds. Beisel and the eight-year-old Mecklenburg gelding returned later for the jump off, navigating a second clear round in 37.094 seconds.
Lauren Hester (USA) & Happy Feet B
Lauren Hester (USA) and Hester Equestrian LLC’s Happy Feet B rounded out the bottom of the order in the Grand Prix. The pair took first place in the $25,000 Brownland Grand Prix in September and were determined to take another win. They found a clear first round with ease in a time of 73.819 seconds, then returned in the jump off near the bottom of the order.
Hester and the seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Zacherov x Daronka) were supercharged for the jump off, blazing through the short course at 34.702 seconds and leaving all the rails up to capture the win in the class and moving Beisel to a respectable second and third place.
Hester took a moment to chat with us ringside after her win, “So on my first two rides, which are my main two horses, I thought ‘Oh they’re going to get around!’ but then I had a bogey jump at 12. So I was like ‘If I have that down again I am going to be really mad.’ Happy Feet B jumped that clear and I was like ‘Oh gosh the 6 is going to be really easy.’ She is super careful. This is her third Grand Prix and her second win.”
When asked about Happy Feet B’s personality, Hester responded, “She has quite the personality. I had to send her away for the Winter because I couldn’t get her to go around the ring. She came back to me the 1st of July and she has been trucking around ever since. She has an attitude and has to back into the arena. I think having a personality is what makes the best horses. She is super sweet, I just think the best ones fight.”
Results – $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix
1. Lauren Hester (USA) & Happy Feet B – 0 | 0 | 34.702
2. David Beisel (USA) & Essince W, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 36.659
3. David Beisel (USA) & Angelo – 0 | 0 | 37.094
4. Michelle Pia (USA) & Monte Cristo VD – 0 | 0 | 38.312
5. Michelle Pia (USA) & Cicero’s Electric – 0 | 0 | 38.492
6. Derek Braun (USA) & Colour Your Day – 0 | 5 | 48.043
7. Bipper Du Libaire, David Beisel – 0 | 8 | 40.463
8. Richard Cheska (USA) & Djinn du-Ry Ternel – 0 | 8 | 45.491
9. Lauren Hester (USA) & Cooper 166 – 4 | 75.901
10. Lauren Hester (USA) & Lorstakov – 4 | 77.123
Source: Press release from WEC – World Equestrian Center
Photos: © WEC – World Equestrian Center