California Riding Magazine • October, 2009

On Course with Zazou
Fortune favors the brave
at the Hampton Classic.

by Zazou Hoffman

People have lots of superstitions. Riders too. I have a lucky belt that I wore when I won the Maclay Regional. Inside is written “Fortune Favors The Brave.” The Marines (my Great Uncle Jack Klimp is a General in the USMC) use this phrase as their motto, but it’s really from Virgil’s Aeneid written in 70 BC. Think of some “lucky” riders you know. Are they confident and bold because fortune favors them or do they exude success, convey authority and, as a result, have good luck? Does my horse sense my confidence and, thus, feel brave? If we’re brave as a team are we more likely to win? Yes!

My good luck belt!

Hurricane Bill was headed up the Eastern seaboard straight for Long Island where the Hampton Classic Horse Show was scheduled to start on Aug. 23. The previous day we (the North Run staff) were smooshed into a car on the Connecticut side of the Long Island Sound waiting to drive onto the ferry which was to take us to Bridgehampton, NY. The 15 North Run horses were behind us in the semi. In spite of high wave warnings, we cast off. We docked without incident and spent the day setting up at the show.

My loyal equitation partner Ivy decided to roll in the new shavings in the tent stall and wedged his foot in the space in the tent stall door. Thankfully he thrashed free and appeared no worse for the experience. The following day we went to Laura Bowery’s beautiful farm down the road to practice the derby style jumps including the open water. All this was in preparation for the Emerson Wolffer Equitation Classic, a prestigious jumper style equitation class open to riders who are qualified for the USEF Talent Search Finals. It takes place over derby jumps; ditch, grob, water, bank, etc., on the luxurious emerald grass field in front of a celebrity-packed crowd. It’s one of the most challenging equitation classes of the year and there were very few fault-free first rounds.

Me, evaluating my options.

Catwoman was a little strong and I rode hard at each jump to avoid any looks or stops. The result was two jumps down on a very tough course. I was pleased and this class is good preparation for the East Coast Talent Search Final at Gladstone. The rest of the weekend was lively because I got to help with North Run’s Grand Prix horses. Hillary Dobbs finished ninth in the $250,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix on Quincy B, which she won in 2008 on Corlett, but the underdog star was my hard working and extremely talented barnmate Darragh Kenny from Ireland.

Darragh came in third behind Mclain Ward and Judy Torres. He rode Obelix who is owned by the Trade Winds Farm. It was Darragh’s first time jumping a track that big for a purse that big and his horse is new to jumps that big, too. He was ecstatic and we were ecstatic for him. In his case and Hillary Dobbs’ case, fortune really does favor the brave. Darragh and Hillary both channel their confidence into their riding and their results show how important that is.

Next up is the Maclay Regional in Westbrook, CT and I plan to visit some colleges in Boston and Providence in the next few weeks.