Jenni McAllister and Casseur de Prix Triumph in a Thrilling Jump Off $30,000 LA International Grand Prix

September 23rd, 2013 1:58 PM | Comments Off on Jenni McAllister and Casseur de Prix Triumph in a Thrilling Jump Off $30,000 LA International Grand Prix

Jenni McAllister and Casseur de Prix pull out all the stops to win the $30,000 LA International Grand Prix
Photo: Flying Horse Photography

The $30,000 LA International Grand Prix delivered on the promised thrills and chills when Jenni Martin-McAllister eked out the win on Casseur de Prix (Granville Equine, owner) in an electrifying jump off. “When I was running to the last jump, I knew I was close,” Jenni recounted. “I was thinking, ‘Come on, let’s go!’ I didn’t see the scoreboard, but I heard the crowd cheering and I hoped that meant I had it. I looked up at the scoreboard and was trying to read the time, but then the little number one popped up and I knew. I was shocked and very, very happy.”

The course, set by Guillherme Jorge (Brazil), asked several questions right off the bat as riders had to navigate a one stride to a five stride. Next was an imposing gray oxer with a long bending line to a downhill triple combination, which caught several horses. But the second rider out of the gate, Justin Resnik aboard Carismo Z (Carismo Group, owner), steered clear of any trouble and had the first clear round to set the tone for an exciting afternoon.

Next to go clear were Tasha Visokay and Caspa 7 (Georgy Maskrey-Segesman, Owner), winners of Thursday night’s $10,000 Welcome Stake. Jenni, who rode five mounts in the class, got it done on two of them, going clear on LEGIS Here I Come (, owner) and new ride Casseur de Prix.

Casseur de Prix demonstrated his incredible scope during his heart-stopping jump off
Photo: Flying Horse Photography

The stage was set for a four rider jump off, and Justin kicked it off by galloping into the arena on Carismo Z. His pace was sizzling as he flew over the jumps and executed an incredibly tight rollback to shave off the seconds. “I tried to set the pace for the jump off, and I thought we were going to have it,” Justin admitted. “During the tight rollback though, Carismo threw a shoe. It was unfortunate because he slipped briefly after the fence, which I think cost me a second or two.” Still, the pair went clean and clocked in at a fast 43.702 seconds.

Justin held the lead after Tasha went clean but a few seconds slower than Justin, and Jenni caught a rail with LEGIS Here I Come. “My goal was to go as fast as possible,” Jenni recalled. “Unfortunately, I had a rail with my first horse, but I knew Casseur de Prix was capable of winning.”

It was looking like no one was going to be able to catch Justin, but Jenni made the most of her second shot at the win. Though she has only had Casseur de Prix for two weeks, Casseur has a history of winning several grands prix under his previous rider, Lane Clarke. “Lane did a super job with him,” Jenni commented. “It’s nice to have a horse with some experience like this. He’s a super horse with a ton of scope, but he’s also sweet and kind and just really wants to please.”

Jenni and Casseur de Prix went in it to win it, and the first two fences went smoothly. But at the gray oxer, Casseur hesitated and chipped before sailing over the fence. The crowd let out a collective gasp as Jenni nearly bounced out of the tack, but then hurriedly threw herself back in the saddle and rode to the double combination. She never stopped riding, keeping to an incredibly tight track that included a breathtakingly short rollback, and the crowd roared as she flew over the last fence. The timers stopped at 43.324 seconds—less than half a second behind Justin—and the victory was Jenni’s.

“He was just super through the first two fences, but he started to slip approaching fence 3 and I got a little long. Casseur thought better of it and chipped, and when the fence stayed up I told myself to just sit up and keep going. I kept to a super tight track because I knew he could do it. I had watched Lane do some pretty tight rollbacks and things on him, so I wasn’t worried. I just had to go for it if I wanted to win, so I did.” This was only Jenni’s fourth class on Casseur de Prix, and it was their first grand prix together.

“It was a good, fun class,” Justin shared. “I enjoyed the course and it seemed like a good amount of riders in the jump off. It’s been Carismo’s first year doing several grands prix and he’s a great, really careful horse. He is coming along quite well.” Carismo will be busy for the rest of the season and should gain good experience along the way. “Coming up, we will be going to the Flintridge Autumn Classic, Sacramento International, Del Mar International, LA National, and then the Las Vegas National,” Justin said. “We’re going to do some World Cup classes and see where it gets us.”

In addition to the thrilling jump off, spectators were also treated to a special announcement from Langer Equestrian Group. It was announced that the LA International Jumping Festival, after a successful 30 years at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, will be moving to Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano next year. LEG will partner with Blenheim EquiSports to combine their Blenheim Fall Tournament with the LA International Jumping Festival for two weeks of top notch horse showing.

Shelby Drazen gets the job done in the USEF Zone 8, 9, 10 Hunter Seat Medal Regional Finals
Photo: Flying Horse Photography

In the USEF Zone 8, 9, 10 Hunter Seat Medal Regional Finals, Shelby Drazen (Karen Healey, trainer) moved up in the work off to score her first big win with her horse Marco. “It’s a wonderful achievement and just really exciting,” Shelby said enthusiastically. “It’s a great confidence booster before I head back east for the Capital Challenge, Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Finals, and the Maclay Finals.”

Although she had won the first round, Shelby was sitting second heading into the work off, which tested the top five riders after two rounds of competition. “Since I went into the work off in second, I wasn’t too nervous,” Shelby recalled. “I just rode it as I would ride any other round and didn’t get too stressed about it.”

The work off was difficult as riders had only a short distance to prepare for the first fence. After the first fence, they had to demonstrate precise execution to trot, hand gallop, canter, and counter canter the next four fences, respectively, and end with a halt.

Molly Peddicord (Far West Farms, trainer) went first on Loupino (Buribbons LLC, owner) and nailed the work off, which moved her into third place overall. Shelby battled for the blue ribbon, showing off a forward step to the first jump and a good halt. Maggie Drysch (Kelly Van Vleck, trainer) went last on her Milton and though she rode the work off well, the judges gave the edge to Shelby and Maggie ended up second. Alexandra Ladove (Lori De Rosa, trainer) placed fourth, while Deni Hird (Stephanie Haney, trainer) was fifth.

Shelby has qualified for several medal finals with Marco and is happy with their progress. “I’ve been riding Marco for a year and a half,” Shelby explained. “He’s very nice to ride and we just really work well together. I feel like now we just get each other.” In addition to learning her horse, Shelby feels she has grown as a rider. “I’ve learned so much this past year with Karen, and I’m grateful to her and her staff for helping me have such a great show year.”

Blake Lindsley has won all of the 3’3″ Medal Finals and is looking to the future
Photo: Flying Horse Photography

While Shelby has ridden her horse for a year and a half, amateur Blake Lindsley (Far West Farms, trainer) had just one week to get to know Quinero (Halley Culver, owner). “The horse I had been leasing since January pulled a suspensory right before my first medal final,” Blake recounted. “Halley was kind enough to let me borrow her wonderful horse.”

Blake and Quinero looked like a seasoned pair in the USEF Zone 8, 9, 10 Adult Equitation Regional Finals, despite their new partnership and Quinero’s youth. “He’s a young horse so he’s really new to this,” Blake commented. “For his age, he’s incredibly brave and willing. He trusts a good rider and will do what you ask him to do.” The pair scored an 85 in the first round and a 77.25 in the second round, which put them on top heading into the work off. Lauren Morlock (Mary Gatti, trainer) on Chivas (Melissa Major, owner) and Lauren Franco (Elvenstar Farms, trainer) on her Ben’CZ joined Blake in the top three.

For the work off, the riders had to canter out of line and demonstrate one simple change of lead before the first fence. The rest of the work off included a hand gallop fence, a trot fence, and a counter canter fence. Blake executed the work off with style and landed the counter canter off the trot fence to solidify her first place finish. Lauren Morlock moved up to second place and Lauren Franco placed third.

Blake was thrilled to win this class after several years of coming close. “I’ve been second in this class twice over the years, so it felt good to finally win it. This was also the last 3’3” medal final I could participate in because I’ve won the rest of them,” Blake noted. “I will have to decide whether I want to try for the 3’6” medals. But since I had such a successful year and won two medal finals—the other was the CPHA Foundation—I may take some time off next year to spend time with my family and possibly have another baby.”

With the last LA International Jumping Festival at LAEC now on the books, there are 30 years of memories to share, and there will be many new ones at its new location with Blenheim EquiSports. Watch for our photo essay from this year’s show with a few more memorable moments from happy exhibitors.

For more information on LA International Jumping Festival, including schedules, prize list, and results, visit the LEG website.

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