Temecula, California, USA. – April 24, 2021 – A thrilling day of hunter/jumper competition at the Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National Premier I, presented by Interactive Mortgage, concluded Saturday evening with the $40,000 National Grand Prix, sponsored by Voltaire. A field of 42 riders set forth to contest Peter Grant’s (CAN) 16-effort course, but Keri Potter (USA) and Ayma de la Demi Lune proved that the best is often saved for last and put forth an explosive effort to steal the win.
Kicking off the first round, Mavis Spencer (USA) proved she was aiming to continue on her hot streak from throughout the week and was the first to post a double-clear effort and qualify for the jump-off aboard Rahmannshof’s Bamiro. Several riders would try their hand at the first-round test, but would ultimately fall victim to one of the elements on course. It was Gerardo Pasquel Mendez (MEX) who would break the unlucky streak and guarantee spectators a jump-off aboard El Conde. Spencer would additionally add her name to the lineup a second time with her Welcome winning mount from earlier this week, Con Calle.
Throughout the remainder of the first round, there were sporadic clears, ultimately building up the jump-off to feature a roster of eight riders including Simonne Berg, Vani Khosla (USA), Kyle King (USA), Brooke Morin (USA), and, as last to enter the ring in round one, Kerri Potter (USA).
Grant’s shortened nine-effort track proved to be the ultimate test of the evening as the first four riders found themselves adding rails to their jump-off scores. A few horses struggled with the Nilforushan Equisport Events wall during the jump-off round, unfortunately resulting in glance-offs that would cost them their shot at victory.
King and the dashing chestnut 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Etalon, were the first to issue a double clear, tripping the timers at 50.13 seconds. Young rider Morin, hot off of her Champion and Reserve Champion placing in the Large Junior 3’6” Hunters earlier in the afternoon, proved that she was a force to be reckoned with in the jumper ring as well as she delivered a double clear round just fractions of a second shy of King’s time riding the Strasburg Morin, Inc. entry, NKH Carrido. While she and the 11-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion were unable to knock King off of his top spot on the podium, their performance in the ring brought a small roar from the socially distanced spectators around the ring.
With nothing to lose and total faith in her mount Saturday afternoon, California-favorite Potter entered the ring with Hannah Loly’s 15-year-old mare Ayma de la Demi Lune with a plan to lay it all on the line. Executing a tight rollback and a slice of the second fence which no other rider had yet attempted, Potter was able to shave off precious milliseconds from her jump-off time, closing the clock at 49.43 seconds and stealing King’s lead at the last second.
Winner’s Circle – Keri Potter (USA)
On Ayma de la Demi Lune:
“This horse, Ayma de la Demi Lune, is Hannah Loly’s mount and she has been in our barn for five years now. Hannah is off at Tufts University this year, so I have just kept the horses going for her. She is back in May and I just brought them to the level that they needed to be in order for her to hop back on and start back where she left off before she went to school. We finished my rides with her this year with this class today! She is a winner. She has always been a winner. She is such a trier and so game. Hannah has won multiple classes on her, Young Riders medals, she has just been a gem of a horse to have in the barn. She knows her job!”
On her plan for the jump-off today:
“I walked the turn [from fence one to two] knowing that it was quite difficult, but going last and having had Kyle [King] go relatively quickly, I thought if I could pull that turn off that I could ride a bit more of a careful jump-off after that. [Ayma de la Demi Lune] is such a great turner and so good at focusing in. When I went in there, I practiced the turn and I showed it to her and I could feel that she got it. She is so experienced and so game that if I could do it on anyone it would be her for sure.
On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“I love supporting Ali [Nilforushan]. He always puts on a great show for not only the riders but for the trainers. All of the exhibitors, juniors, amateurs and professionals, he shows them a really good time and there is always some great showjumping.”
Final Results – $40,000 Voltaire National Grand Prix
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / R1 Time | R1 Faults / R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Keri Potter (USA) & Ayma de La Demi Lune / Hannah Loly / 83.29 | 0 / 49.43 | 0
2. Kyle King (USA) & Etalon / Christine Maclean / 83.81 | 0 / 50.14 | 0
3. Brooke Morin (USA) & NKH Carrido / Strasburg Morin INC / 86.02 | 0 / 50.24 | 0
4. Vani Khosla (USA) & Incitatus / Vani Khosla / 87.26 | 0 / 54.80 | 4
5. Mavis Spencer (USA) & Rahmannshof’s Bamiro / Georgy Maskrey-Segesman / 83.41 | 0 / 55.31 | 4
6. Gerardo Pasquel Mendez (USA) & El Conde / Alamos Americas LLC / 83.91 | 0 / 56.35 | 4
7. Mavis Spencer (USA) & Con Calle / Georgy Maskrey-Segesman / 83.90 | 0 / 65.21 | 16
8. Simonne Berg (USA) & Cooper / Berg Equestrian Enterprises LLC / 84.58 | 0 / 80.21 | 31
9. Go Eldor / Cassio Rivetti / Bridgeside Farms L.L.C. / 81.30 | 4
10. Bruno Diniz Das Neves (POR) & Adele XIII / BDN Horse Investments / 82.20 | 4
11. Joie Gatlin (USA) & High Five / JGMA Meadows / 82.86 | 4
12.Hannah Heidegger (USA) & Di Caprio RV / Monarch International / 83. 27 | 4
Source: Press Release by Olivia Airhart / Temecula Valley National Horse Show /
Photos: © Phelps Sports/ Megan Delisle