Temecula, Calif. – May 20, 2022 – Friday evening called for thrilling jumper competition in the Grand Prix Arena at Nilforushan Equisport Events’ Temecula Valley National I. Returning for the second consecutive year, the $10,000 5-Bar competition, sponsored by Interactive Mortgage, welcomed 10 gutsy horse-and-athlete combinations to electrify the crowd and showcase their athleticism over the towering gymnastics exercise. Exhibitors flocked to the ringside tent to witness a piece of the action. Ultimately, it was Michael Williamson and Califf QT who proved their dominance as the only rider in the class to leave all the rails intact.
The brave riders stepped up to the challenge in hopes of taking the lion’s share of the prize, as well as the ultimate bragging rights. Five verticals were set two strides apart down the centerline of the Grand Prix Arena. The class, consisting of three initial rounds, was first set starting at the 1.35m height and increased to an extravagant 1.90m vertical by the final round. Following the conclusion of the last phase where the height of the verticals were raised until only one horse-and-rider pair remained, it was Williamson aboard his own Califf QT who prevailed in an astonishing feat.
The winning pair earned exuberant cheers from the crowd as they put in a magnificent effort through the trying combination. The 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding was perfectly matched for the challenge, showcasing his extraordinary carefulness, eagerly carrying Williamson to the other side of the 1.90m vertical fault free. The duo, having only been partnered together for four months, not only were clear throughout all of the rounds, but never rubbed a single rail.
Jumanji came in second place with Eva Kohn in the irons. The 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Navy Stables flaunted his scope jumping through the combinations with ease. The duo attempted the 1.90m fence to tie them with Williamson, but the pair ultimately knocked rails on the final two fences, taking them out of contention for the first place podium.
Carla Diewert and Cogito tied for second place honors concluding the final round of the extraordinary event. The 13-year-old Holsteiner stallion, owned by Diewert herself, jumped enthusiastically throughout the class. They too made a fearless attempt at the challenging 1.90m task asked of them, however were unsuccessful in catching up with Williamson having two rails down.
Jumper competition will continue on Saturday, May 21 in the Grand Prix Arena featuring the awaited $10,000 1.35m NEEd for Speed Derby sponsored by Spruce Meadows and the $50,000 National Grand Prix sponsored by EquiFit.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
On their partnership:
“He’s a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding. I have had him for four months now. He is a lovely horse, so honest, great around the barn and the sweetest horse at home. He tries his heart out and he is just an incredible animal. I am just so lucky to get to ride him.”
On his plan:
“To jump the five straight in a row and jump them clear. That was my main goal. Obviously it gets tight in there so I just tried to practice holding him. I work for Mark Kinsella at MK Equestrian and he is an incredible trainer and horseman, so it is so awesome to get to learn from him everyday.”
“I think it is a beautiful show. It is awesome and Ali does a phenomenal job with it. It is great to jump out there and the footing is awesome. Everything is great about it. We really enjoy it here.”
On the future with Califf QT:
“To get him out there doing the grand prixs. He is a veteran around there and he does a great job just teaching me the ropes. I am just learning what I can from him, and every ride I take what I can.”