Just one rider from 35 found a clear path around Michel Vaillancourt ‘s course for the final round of the Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series at the Wellington Equestrian Festival in Florida yesterday.
It was ultimately the fifth place winner, Nayel Nassar (Egypt) and Lordan, who was the overall series winner, following a win in round two and consistent placings in the other rounds.
In the final round, Liza Finsness took the win on Ormsby Hill, a 15-year-old Warmblood gelding, and the fastest four-faulter for second place was Charlotte Jacobs on Promised Land. Jordan MacPherson and Piccobello du val de Geer (the winners of round one) were third, while Catherine Pasmore and Z Canta finished fourth.
Nassar’s top five finish gave him the clear win by seven points in the overall standings for the series. There were four events in the series, and Nassar was consistent throughout on his mount Lordan, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Landor. For his win, Nassar was presented with a Bruno DelGrange saddle.
On the course, Nassar said: “It was tough. It was technical, with the big water, the triple (combination) coming at the end of the course, and a few really technical lines where you had to make sure you had control of your horse and they’re focused. At the same time, they’re coming into this ring for the first time, at least most of us, so you have to make sure everything is in line. It was definitely a challenge.”
In the overall standings, Charlotte Jacobs and Lydia Ulrich (USA) on Santos Utopia tied with 49 points, but Jacobs’ higher finish in the final round gave her the edge to be the top Under 21 rider, who will get a spot on the USEF European Young Rider Tour this summer, with transportation provided by the Dutta Corporation in association with Guido Klatte.
Fourth place overall went to Liza Finsness, and MacPherson was fifth overall. Sixth place overall went to Alise Oken, who rode Kaid Du Ry.
The challenging course was something that Finsness looked forward to, thanks to her strong relationship with Ormsby Hill. “I’m so used to Ormsby and I’ve been riding him for so long and know everything about him. Going into this course, I was pretty positive,” she said. “This is the kind of course that we excel at, big and hard, because we’re not fast. If there was a jump-off, we probably would not have won. This type of course, I knew this was our course. Alan (Korotkin), my trainer, said the same thing. We were going into this very positive.”
Finsness felt that the extra pressure in a series like this helps. “It means a lot (to have this series). It adds a little bit of pressure, which is always nice. When there’s a lot of people and you know it’s important, I feel like Ormsby jumps so much better. He knows that it’s an important class. He’s like, ‘Liza, I got your back. We can do this.’ It’s pretty cool.”
Jacobs, who also finished second in this series last year, enjoys the competition. “I think having a format like this where you just have to keep jumping consecutive clear rounds is a good thing,” she said. “I was more confident going into the Series this year. After last year, I really wanted to win this year; I wanted to do well again. I jumped double clear the first day and was third, and then the second one I had three down so I didn’t want that to happen. I came back in the team and had one down and then jumped clear. Then I just tried my hardest to jump clear today and just had the one down, but he was great and there was only one clear, so I felt good about it.”
For Nassar, the young rider series was a big help for his young horse. “It feels great, especially to do it on such a young horse. He’s only eight, but he’s been really consistent throughout. We were questioning whether to bring him here to the grass ring, but it turned out for the best. I came and rode in it the first week and it went well. It’s a great class. It’s still tough and it’s good competition. At the same time, we get to do a lot. We got to jump a team competition and we got to come out here. I think it was good experience for the riders and the horses. It was fantastic.”
Results: $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Round 4
1 ORMSBY HILL LIZA FINSNESS: 0/82.931
2 PROMISED LAND CHARLOTTE JACOBS: 4/78.385
3 PICCOBELLO DU VAJORDAN MACPHERSON: 4/79.915
4 Z CANTA CATHERINE PASMORE: 4/81.095
5 LORDAN NAYEL NASSAR: 4/81.998
6 DUNSOGHLY JUNIORNAYEL NASSAR: 4/83.809
7 WHY NOT MEAGAN NUSZ: 4/88.475
8 TOULON CHLOE REID: 5/85.002
9 VALENTINO MAVIS SPENCER: 5/85.301
10 PATRIOT WILTON PORTER: 8/80.833
11 CATWALK 19 TATIANA DZAVIK: 8/81.116
12 HENNESSEY CHASE BOGGIO: 8/81.391
Final Results: Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Overall
1 NAYEL NASSAR (EGY): 56
2 CHARLOTTE JACOBS (USA): 49
2 LYDIA ULRICH (USA): 49
4 LIZA FINSNESS (USA): 47
5 JORDAN MACPHERSON (CAN): 42
6 ALISE OKEN (USA): 37
7 MEAGAN NUSZ (USA): 34
8 CAITLIN ZIEGLER (USA): 33
9 MAVIS SPENCER (USA): 31
10 CHASE BOGGIO (USA): 30
10 LILLIE KEENAN (USA): 30
12 KATHERINE DINAN (USA): 25