North Salem, New York, USA – May 12, 2022 – With a star-studded field of competitors in the $37,000 Two-Phase Challenge CSI 3* at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows on Thursday, the last thing anyone expected was to have the fastest riders tie for top honors. Going early in the class, five-time Olympian McLain Ward (USA) set a tough time to beat at 24.180 seconds, one that only Grace Debney (GBR) was able to match.
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows are one of the premier stops on the nation’s hunter-jumper horse show circuit, offering a full schedule of world-class competition May 10-15 and May 17-22 that features the nation’s best in equestrian sport.
Sixty-five horse-and-rider combinations representing ten countries tackled the 15-effort, 1.45m course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade (IRL), with 20 putting in double-clear rounds in the new Old Salem Farm International Arena.
Debney took to the ring with Boheme De La Roque, an 11-year-old Selle Français mare owned by Temple Equestrian LLC. The pair matched Ward’s round nearly stride for stride, a strategy that paid off when they also stopped the clock at 24.180 seconds. Their blistering time held for the rest of the class.
“I watched McLain go and studied his round as sort of a guide to what I wanted to do,” Debney said. “We walked sort of the same track, so I wanted to do exactly what he did. That’s what happened, and it was nice to execute the plan exactly as he did.
“My mare is awesome,” she added. “She’s willing, and she’s always doing her job exactly how I want her to. Like McLain said, she’s definitely a bit of a speed specialist. She tries to win all the time.”
Mark Bluman (COL) rode Over the Top Stables LLC’s Noortje VD Windheuvel, a 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, to a third-place finish in 24.670 seconds.
Final Results – $37,000 Two-Phase Challenge CSI3*
1) McLain Ward (USA) & Catoki – 24.180
1) Grace Debney (GBR) & Bahome de La Roque – 24.180
3) Mark Bluman (COL) & Noortje VD Windheuvel – 0 / 0 – 24.670
Source: Press Release by Marty Bauman for Old Salem Farm
Photos: © Randolph PR