Temecula, Calif. – May 27, 2022 – Hard hitting international competition took a light-hearted break as riders of all different ages and levels took to the Grand Prix Arena at Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National II for the fun, feature class of the evening, the $10,000 in the Against the Clock 1.20m, sponsored by Jett Martin Equine Spa. 25 horse-and-athlete combinations tried their hand at Guiherme Jorge’s (BRA) 10-obstacle course in an attempt to collect the most points to top the leaderboard and claim the victory. In the end, it was Joie Gatlin and Inara S Z who racked up the most points of the evening taking the blue ribbon.
Similar to that of a Gambler’s Choice, the objective of the class was to accumulate as many points as possible following Jorge’s track. The athletes and their respective mounts had 81 seconds to jump the course as many times as possible with each clear fence counting as 2 points, while only 1 point was added to their overall score for every jump knocked down. With speed and efficiency as the main strategies for accumulating the most points in order to win, the riders were eager to speed around the 1.20m track. Out of the 25 starters, only 8 contenders completed the course fault free. Of the ten fences in the arena, the obstacles included numerous types of fences such as planks, oxers, and skinny verticals which were set on a track featuring roll back turns as well as long approaches allowing for rides to open a gallop at certain places on course.
Oregon-based professional rider Jessica Gleason served as the pioneer for the track coming off of a win in the $10,000 1.35m Welcome Stake Wednesday. She and OZ Investment’s, Fugon, an 11 year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, put in a clear first round, tacking on an additional 4 jumps for an extra 8 points. Gleason and Fugon were swift but were quickly overcome by Team USA Nation’s Cup rider and California native, Joie Gatlin. Gatlin piloted Tal Milstein’s, 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding Inara S Z, who is typically campaigned by Savannah Jenkins of Alora Sporthorses. Following an unfortunate riding accident, Jenkins, a former student of Gatlin’s, asked her to take over the rider on the talented young mount. Gatlin was able to analyze the other competitors’ strategies before taking to the ring. The duo stepped on the gas pedal, racing against the clock to find their spot at the top of the leaderboard with a clear effort and a total of 30 points racked up.
Having only first been introduced to Fugon Tuesday, the duo had just a mere three rides under their belts prior to the start of the class. With plans to continue to develop their partnership while Jenkins is in recovery, Gaitlin and Fugo will continue to show for the final Week at Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National series. Though newly partnered together, the duo jumped in top form in a blazing fast time to take an early lead, ultimately proving fast enough to hang on with the most points through the conclusion of the class taking home top honors.
Devi Ferreira and Cantinus 3, the 15th to go in the order, entered the ring to try their hand at the 10-obstacle track. Ferreira entered the arena aboard her own, Cantinus 3, an 11-year-old Warmblood gelding, determined to post a clear round and rack up as many points as possible. She managed to leave all of the rails in the cups, setting a prime example for competitors to follow after. Their quick and clear round proved their dominance over other competitors but were ultimately bested by Gatlin’s speedy round.
Rounding out the podium was Janaya Torres and her own, Papillon. Torres and the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding demonstrated their talent and hard work through the difficult track. The speedy pair evidently came to conquer the field, not questioning the difficulty of the course and the competitors she was up against. With blinders on, the pair took to the difficult turns, leaving out strides and cutting corners in hopes of leading the pack. Though proven qualified, the pair were not quick enough to best Gatlin’s time and score, settling them into the third place position.
Jumper competition will continue in the Grand Prix Arena on Saturday, May 27th, with the $50,000 Grand Prix, sponsored by Interactive Mortgage, and the $1,000 U25 Jumper Classic, sponsored by Multiradiance Super Pulsed Lasers.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Joie Gatlin – $10,000 Against the Clock 1.20m, Sponsored by Jett Martin Equine Spa winner
On Inara S Z:
“Our partnership started on Tuesday when I hacked her. I’m riding her for Savannah Jenkins and Alora Sporthorses because Savannah had an unfortunate injury happen so she’s basically a catch ride. We did a flat on Tuesday, 1.20m, 1.30m and then the 1.20m classic today. It’s been a very fast relationship.”
On her plan:
“I did have a plan. I’m one of those riders that likes to have a plan. Walking the course, I knew that I could do all the leave outs. I didn’t have to bend out and add strides. So jump 1 to 2, she was really good with a 7 [stride]. From 3 to 4, I did a direct 8 heading over quickly to jump 5. We then really stepped on the gas and I really bent out the 8 a little to slow down so that I could get the inside turn back to number 8. I then went deep to 9 which felt more like a kid jump but that’s that fun of the class. She gave me a beautiful turn out of 10 so that I could get back to number 1 really quick. She really gave me a great effort.”
On Nilforushan Equisport Events:
“Nilforushan Equisport Events is doing a fantastic job. They are putting a lot of money into things with footing and new jumps and maintenance. They keep the arenas watered and drug and keep them clean so that they don’t get contaminated which is huge. There is a really great atmosphere here in the Grand Prix ring and I think that’s one of the biggest draws. You get a nice crowd tonight to watch when the other classes are done so people come over to have a snack, a beverage and cheer people on. It’s a really good atmosphere and I think they’re trying really hard to get good sponsorship which they’ve done and they always have great course designers which is a huge key. Ali [Nilforushan] is very passionate about the sport and it shows and it’s something that everyone really appreciates.”
On future plans with Inara S Z:
“I think we’ll show again next week and then I’m sure Savannah and I will sit down and see if we do this a little while longer while she’s recovering. A lot of her horses are sale horses so they have to keep going and Savannah used to work for me and ride for me when she was a junior so it has kind of come full circle. We go way back so it’s fun to come back and help her out. I’m very thankful to Savannah for asking me to ride their horses and Ali and Francie [Nilforushan] for putting on such a fun horse show. I also want to thank Guiherme [Jorge] for making such a fun class and I think Eric Navet had the idea of having this type of class. We need those types of classes at horse shows to keep them fun and interesting. It all came together nicely and we all had a good time.”
$10,000 Against the Clock 1.20m, Sponsored by Jett Martin Equine Spa
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner
1. Inara S Z / Joie Gatlin / Tal Milstein
2. Cantinus 3 / Devi Ferreira / Devi Ferreira
3. Papillon / Janaya Torres / Janaya Torres
4. Diana De Gree / Sophie Simpson-Leckie / Chloe Kuang
5. Traver’s Girl HS / Michelle Berry / Professional Maintenance Systems
6. Dulcinea D’Argouges / Shylee Elimelech / Aurora Farms LLC
7. Gernice Van De Postman / G.W. (Butch) Thomas
8. Karanka HX / Rachel Fields / Katrina Montinola