Ocala, Florida, USA — January 09, 2022 — The first week of the AIR Show Jumping Winter Classic concluded with the most anticipated event, the $30,000 Grand Prix of Ocala. Riders of the hunter, jumper, and equitation disciplines bustled about the Florida Horse Park throughout the first week of January as the boutique horse show event boasted its third consecutive year. Riders of all ages and levels participated as the event held not only rated USEF, USHJA, and prize-money classes, but also offered a variety of outreach and green horse classes in which member fees were not applied. As the evening sun settled, Callan Solem (USA) emerged victorious from the field and led the final victory gallop of the opening week.
Twenty-one top horse and rider entries contested the first track which consisted of various questions asked at the American Standard height by American course designer Chris Barnard (USA).
Solem (USA) was the first to successfully navigate Barnard’s track, and would repeat the effort twice more to land a total of three horses in the returning round. Multiple-time grand prix winner Sharn Wordley (NZL) put forward two mounts in phase one – Mick Jagger (NZL) and Calvados– both of which he managed to put through to the jump-off. By the class’ end, Wordley and Solem were the only two left standing, and each brought back their faultless first-round mounts to see who would be the fastest and double-clear effort.
Solem (USA) returned for the shortened track first aboard the Elan Farm’s 11-year-old Warmblood mare (Eldorado Van De Zeshoek x Carnike) Warnike with one unfortunate rail, but set a blazing pace of 41.935. Wordley (NZL) then entered with his long-time partner Mick Jagger, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Chacco-Blue x Acentora) owned by Della Wordley, and left all rails in the cups but in a more moderate time of 43.136. Solem once again returned, this time with Jamie Stryker’s 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Cardento x Datscha De Libersart) Horion de Libersart, and once again upped the anti with a time of 40.566 but suffered a single downed fence.
With Wordley (NZL) the only one so far to produce a clear, Solem piloted her final mount of the jump-off, the Elan Farm’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Luidam x Touch of Dutch) Essenar Crixus through a more conservative but still efficient clear round to take over the top spot on a final time of 42.345 seconds.
Wordley (NZL) returned to round out the day with Fernando Cardenas’ 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Chellys Z x Serupgards Canasta) Calvados and laid down another penalty-free effort to secure the third and final podium spot on a time of 48.819 seconds.
Final Results – $30,000 Grand Prix of Ocala
1) Callan Solem (USA) & Essenar Crixus – 0 / 0 – 42.345
2) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Mick Jagger – 0 / 0 – 43.136
3) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Calvados – 0 / 0 – 48.819
Source: Press Release by Summer Grace / Flaxen Mane Media for AIR Show Jumping
Photos: © Eye Was Here Photography