Ocala, Florida, USA – February 09, 2023 – Show jumping athletes get a change of scenery for week VI of the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series as feature competition moves to the large WEC Stadium. The $24,000 C. Jarvis Insurance Welcome was the highlight event of the afternoon as 30 international riders representing nine different nations put forth their best effort over tracks built by FEI Level III course designer Joey Rycroft (CAN). At the end of the class, it was pathfinder Aaron Vale (USA) that captured both first and second place for the lion’s share of the prize money.
Joey Rycroft’s first round track asked many questions of riders, with a challenging triple combination just a mere three stride off the rail and a tight time allowed of 74 seconds that caught a handful of combinations. An even eight managed to find the path to a clear first round to return for the jump-off.
Aaron Vale (USA) held two of the eight spots in the jump-off, returning first aboard Thinkslikeahorse’s Elusive (Rodrigoo x Alouette).
“Jumps two and three caught a few horses off guard. Fence two was the triple bar then you had to bend to the liver pool which felt like you were jumping into the stands. If it was a small ring, the turn to the triple combination would have felt like you had plenty of room, but when the combination is positioned like that in such a big ring, it feels quite tight for the horses,” explained Vale. “From five on, the jumps were a pretty good size. The last double combination against the rail with the dark blue panels and rails had a really big feel to it, then the last oxer looked big to the eye. On top of that, the time was pretty snug. I didn’t have too much trouble with the time but, these are my most experienced horses, so they handled the pressure really well.”
Vale and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding started on a strong gallop to fence one at the sound of the tone, “My goal was to simply go fast. I ran quickly around the pond and got six in the line. I think Tracy Fenney made it in five, but I don’t think anyone else did. Elusive is not that big of a horse, so I stayed on the numbers and was pretty tight back to the double combination then I found the last two pretty quick.”
The pair soared through the timers in 35.273 seconds to ultimately secure first place.
Tracy Fenney (USA) and MTM Apple (Favorit Ask x Kong’s Whopsie) followed next. They had the time in 33.573 seconds, but had an unfortunate rail at the final fence. Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) and Vick Du Criosy (Lord Carthago x Merveille Ducroisy) also gave a good effort but had a rail at the in of the double combination.
Alexanne Thibault (CAN) and her own Cidanos Z got the class back on track with a clean jump-off in 36.993 seconds.
Samantha Schaefer (USA) followed Thibault aboard Bonne Vie LLC’s Frasier (Carambole x Bloem). The pair also fell victim to one rail down, but had a quick time of 35.140 seconds.
Gerônimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia (BRA) and Wendy Peralta’s 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding Casilias From Second Life Z (Corrado I x Cumlaude Z) entered the WEC Stadium next with hopes of finding a quick clean round. The pair raced around the track to stop the clock at 36.689 seconds with all rails up, which was ultimately was good enough for third place.
Aaron Vale (USA) returned next aboard Thinkslikeahorse’s Prescott. “I actually felt like Prescott was a hair faster than Elusive, but he’s a bigger horse. I felt quicker from one to two, but it was a bit of an uneven round. I think I could have been a bit more aggressive, but my goal was to get the horses used to the ring.” The pair soared through the finish in 35.751 seconds to secure the second-place spot on the leaderboard.
“I’ve never jumped these horses in this ring, so I wanted to get them in here before the grand prix on Sunday morning. Rather than doing a small class, I wanted to do a class where I could ride them in a competitive sense, and it worked out great. They really enjoyed this ring, but after any horse jumps in the WEC Grand Arena they are pretty much ready to show anywhere in the world,” said Vale.
Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) and Serenity Farm Show Stables LLC’s Isabella Van De Zuuthoeve were the last pair to try and snag Vale’s time, but had an unlucky rail along the way.
Final Results – $24,000 C. Jarvis Insurance Welcome Prix
1) Aaron Vale (USA) & Elusive, Thinkslikeahorse: 0 | 0 | 35.273
2) Aaron Vale (USA) & Prescott, Thinkslikeahorse: 0 | 0 | 35.751
3) Gerônimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia (BRA) & Casilias From Second Life Z, Wendy Peralta: 0 | 0 | 36.689
4) Alexanne Thibault (CAN) & Cidanos Z, , Alexanne Thibault: 0 | 0 | 36.993
5) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple, MTM Farm: 0 | 4 | 33.573
6) Samantha Schaefer (USA) & Frasier, Bonne Vie LLC: 0 | 4 | 35.140
7) Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) & Vick Du Croisy, Sigma Stables LLC: 0 | 4 | 35.720
8) Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) & Isabella Van De Zuuthoeve, , Serenity Farm Show Stables LLC: 0 | 4 | 38.550
9) Dorothy Douglas (USA) & MTM Pablo, Davenport Farms: 1 | 74.464
10) Kyle Dewar (CAN) & Hurbine, Kyle Dewar: 3 | 75.307
Source: Press Release from World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography