All Gold for the Girls! Hunter Holloway & Pepita Con Spita Top the $100,000 IDA Development Grand Prix

Ocala, Florida, USA – January 21, 2022 – An international field of thirty athletes gathered to contest the $100,000 IDA Development Grand Prix at World Equestrian Center – Ocala during week III of the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series. FEI Level III course designer Anderson Lima (BRA) built the elaborate tracks, where the ladies dominated the jump-off and Hunter Holloway (USA) galloped away with victory aboard Hays Investment Corporation’s Pepita Con Spita (DSP Con Spirit x Pamina).

Lima’s first round track allowed sixteen contenders representing five different nations to advance to the jump-off. Of the 16 returning entries, nine yielded a double-clean effort with the ladies claiming eight of those nine spots.

Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) and Sigma Stables LLC’s Vick du Croisy were the first pair navigate a clean ride in the jump-off setting the time to beat at 37.550 seconds.

The next clean jump-off round was found by Tracy Fenney (USA) and the infamous MTM Apple. Fenney and the 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare flew around the track shaving just a tenth of second off the time in 37.386 seconds to slide into first place.

Samantha Schaefer (USA) and Frasier put forth a solid effort, but weren’t fast enough with a time of 38.107 seconds.

Jacqueline Ruyle (USA) & Cyramo Z

Jacqueline Ruyle (USA) and her small but mighty Cyramo Z (Clarimo x Cyprus) followed with the goal of capturing Fenney’s quick time. Ruyle and the 12-year-old Zangersheide mare launched at the sound of the tone, finding each fence forward to stop the clock at 37.307 seconds to take the lead.

Lauren Balcomb (AUS) & Verdini d’Houtveld Z

Ruyle’s time on top didn’t last as long as she’d hoped, because Lauren Balcomb (AUS) entered the arena aboard the very quick Verdini d’Houtveld Z (Verdi x Laska III). Balcomb and the 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding pulled out all the stops, taking very tidy turns and not hitting the brakes once to find a blistering fast time of 37.193 seconds to move to the top of the leaderboard.

Olympian Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Artisan Farms, LLC’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Sport Horse – Dutch Warmblood gelding Brighton (Contendro II x Van Ed) were the next duo down the ramp into the WEC Grand Arena. The talented pair put forth a stellar performance in 37.731 seconds, just shy of the winning time.

Hunter Holloway (USA) & Pepita Con Spita

Multiple pairs sought to catch Balcomb’s time, but all incurred faults along the way. It wasn’t until Hunter Holloway entered the arena aboard the skilled 12-year-old Westphalian mare. Holloway had a simple and straightforward plan for the jump-off, “Go as fast as I possibly could.”

“A slow double clear wasn’t going to give you much tonight, so I knew I had to give it my all. My first horse gave me a feel for the course, and I knew where I could save some time. ‘Pepita’ is even faster. She naturally just carries herself and covers more ground, so I just planned to go as fast as I could everywhere. She does it all and does it well. To the last oxer, I just kept kicking for all that I was worth,” laughed Holloway.

Hunter Holloway (USA) & Pepita Con Spita

The pair soared over the final oxer to stop the timers in 36.771 seconds to seal the victory.

Holloway spoke about her tried-and-true mount, “She’s such an incredible horse. I have had her for a few years now, I got her as an eight-year-old and she is turning 12. We have had many highs together and many firsts. Hopefully that continues and we keep climbing the latter,” expressed Holloway. “The plan is do to the five-star in Wellington in a few weeks, and this was perfect preparation. We love WEC and always have a blast here. The facility is incredible, and the staff is so nice and welcoming. We are so happy to be here.”

Samantha Schaefer (USA) and Frasier put forth a solid effort, but weren’t fast enough with a time of 38.107 seconds.

Samantha Schaefer and Tracy Fenney were the last two athletes to attempt the jump-off on their second mounts. Both pairs gave the track their all, but finished just short of the leading time, with Fenney and MTM Hachi securing eighth and Samantha Schaefer and James Bond HX finding ninth.

An additional $5,000 was awarded to the fastest four-faulter of the $100,000 IDA Development Prix. Jacqueline Ruyle and her other mount San Chano received the award with an incredibly fast time of 74.211 seconds with one down.

Tiffany Hammack received the $5,000 ‘Luck of the Draw’ award.

Hunter Holloway (USA) & Pepita Con Spita accepting their first-place award presented by IDA Development’s Thomas Stiff, Whitney Grabe, Tim Denmeade, World Equestrian Center – Ocala’s Jim Wolf and Hunter Holloway’s groom Pedro.

Final Results – $100,000 IDA Development Grand Prix Results

1) Hunter Holloway (USA) & Pepita Con Spita, Hays Investment Corp. – 0 | 0 – 36.771

2) Lauren Balcomb (AUS) & Verdini D’Houtveld Z, Lauren Balcomb – 0 | 0 – 37.193

3) Jacqueline Ruyle (USA), & Cyramo Z, Jacqueline Ruyle – 0 | 0 – 37.307

4) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple, MTM Farm – 0 | 0 – 37.386

5) Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) & Vick Du Croisy, Sigma Stables, LLC – 0 | 0 – 37.550

6) Tiffany Foster (CAN) & Brighton, Artisan Farms, LLC – 0 | 0 – 37.731

7) Samantha Schaefer (USA) & Frasier, Bonne Vie LLC – 0 | 0 – 38.107

8) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Hachi, MTM Farm – 0 | 0 – 39.073

9) Samantha Schaefer (USA) & James Bond HX,, Bonne Chance LLC – 0 | 0 – 40.923

10) Santiago Lambre (BRA) & Nono VD Withoeve, All In Horses & Jan De Waard – 0 | 4 – 39.479

Source: Press Release from World Equestrian Center

Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography