Top U.S. show jumpers Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut, and Kent Farrington were the top three in Saturday night’s $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, on Saturday night at the 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Competing for the coveted President of the United States Perpetual Cup, as well as valuable Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifying points, the grand prix was the highlight event of the week at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. Hough and Ohlala took the victory, with Kraut and Confu in 2nd, and Farrington aboard Creedance 3rd.
Course designer Alan Wade of Ireland set the tracks for jumper competition throughout the week at Verizon Center. In Saturday night’s feature event, Wade saw 28 starters over his first round course, with seven advancing to the jump-off and two double clear rounds in the race against the clock. Carrying on their winning momentum from Thursday’s $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, which was also the grand prix qualifier, Hough and Ohlala earned another exciting victory.
Kraut and the St. Bride’s Farm’s 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding Confu (Contact me X Cambridge) were first to clear the jump-off track without fault in 37.80 seconds for their eventual second place finish. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Quister, followed by Kent Farrington and the R.C.G. Farm’s 9-year-old KWPN gelding Creedance (Lord Z X Notaris), both had the same fence down in the last line and finished with four faults each. Madden’s time of 36.89 seconds took fourth place, and Farrington’s blazing time of 34.28 seconds placed third. Last to go, Hough and Ohlala were clear, topping Kraut’s time to take the win in 36.56 seconds.
“She was incredible the whole week,” Hough said of the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Orlando x Cardento) owned by The Ohlala Group. “Thursday was a really nice warm-up for her. I ended up winning, but I tried not to take every risk in that class with tonight in mind.”
“I was really lucky to be able to go last,” Hough continued. “In the first round, she touched a couple and then jumped the end of the course very well. Then I was able to see Kent go in the jump-off, who took every risk I thought, and ended up having one down. I saw the difference in time between Kent and Laura, and I thought it was smarter to ride the round that I thought suited my horse. I did one more step in the first line and also in the last line than everybody else, but she is very quick across the ground. All the stars were lined up for me this week, so I’m thrilled.”
Hough has been second in the WIHS grand prix multiple times, but never got the win until now and was happy to get the honor on home turf in the U.S. and earn points to qualify for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha, Nebraska.
“I think being second a couple of times makes you hungry for it,” Hough remarked. “I really had to stay focused and not get ahead of myself. Some of Ohlala’s owners were here tonight, and they don’t get to see her that often because she is based a lot of the time in Europe, so it was special for everyone. I haven’t ridden in a World Cup Final in some years and I think Ohlala is very suited for the format, so I am making it a big priority to try to qualify. This is the first one that I have done, and my next one is in Toronto.”
Hough was also presented with the $10,000 Leading International Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Robin Parsky, along with the Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy. She also earned the Leading Lady Rider Award, presented by Longines. Ohlala was International Jumper Champion, and The Ohlala Group accepted the Leading Jumper Owner Award, sponsored by The Reid Family.
Course designer Alan Wade was happy with the track he set for Saturday night and acknowledged that it is a challenging class to set.
“The horses come from the warm-up into the lights, and the crowd, and the razzmatazz,” Wade remarked. “I tried to build the track up, but problems appeared at certain fences that I was surprised at. I think it was fair. I think there were a lot of people that had an unlucky four faults and would feel that if they got a second chance at it they could have been clear too, but it’s down to the athletes and the horses at the end of the day. Whether the course was good or bad, they would have provided good sport and entertainment."
Photos: Shawn McMillen Photography
Source: Jump Media