California Riding Magazine • December, 2013

Show Report: Las Vegas National
Andrew Ramsey, Karl Cook and Andres Rodriguez take the big classes.

excerpted from a Blenheim Equisports press release

Barn Night Frenzy! Photo: McCool Photography

Marty Bauman interviews Andes Rodriguez after his win.
Photo: McCool Photography

Andres Rodriguez with Marty Bauman of Classic Communications, Melissa Brandes and Robert Ridland of Blenheim EquiSports, and CWD's Ludo Carre.
Photo: McCool Photography

Andrew Ramsay made his return to the States more than worthwhile by winning the big class, and World Cup qualifier, at the Las Vegas National on Saturday Nov. 16. 

Forty-two entries gave the course their best effort, with eight managing to master the questions asked. Francie Steinwedell-Carvin and Taunus (Prentiss Partners, owners) were the first to return for the jump-off. They laid down the gauntlet going double clean in 35.60. Next to go, Copernicus Stables' Springtime with Saer Coulter had the time but a bit of trouble resulting in eight faults in 34.05. Mandy Porter and Plum Creek Hollow Farm's Con Capilot (see separate story) were flawless until the last turn away from the in-gate when the stallion broke to a trot, but Porter managed to still go double clean in 35.74. Sean Crooks aboard Armegedon (Glen Youell, owner) had trouble early on in the jump-off and ended up with 12 faults in 38.92.  

Enter Andrew Ramsay on his relatively new mount, Adamo van't Steenputje. They were smooth and slick, and set the new time to beat at 34.32. Fence five, the Las Vegas skinny vertical, came down for both Duncan McFarlane on Mr. Whoopy and Vinton Karrasch on Coral Reef Baloufino. Last to go, Christian Heineking on NKH Selena made a gallant effort but couldn't catch Ramsay, stopping the clock at 34.37, a mere 0.05 off the winning time.

Karl Cook with Monica Ward of Equ Lifestyle, Melissa Brandes and Robert Ridland of Blenheim EquiSports, and Ludo Carre from CWD Sellier.
Photo: McCool Photography

The Arbor Grove group - Cynthia and Shea Morgan, Joe Regan, Sidney Stefani,
Rob Perkins, and friend Stacy Lambakas

Andrew Ramsay with an adoring fan at the autograph signing.
Photo: McCool Photography

A California native, Ramsay spent the last four years riding in Europe. When asked about the challenging course, the winner explained, "I thought the course was great. In hindsight, I took a bit of a gamble to the last fence, because I thought we were much tighter on the time than we were. It was a nice jump-off. It was perfect for this horse because I don't know him too well. There were no questionable things, where you really had to know your horse. So that played to my advantage. I knew I would be here in the States through this show, so it's nice to finish up on a high note."

Earlier in the evening, the $10,000 SmartPak Winning Round Classic, saw 47 entries with the top 10 returning for a lightning fast second round. In a unique format, they returned in reverse order of their score from round one. All 10 were clean, so time was the determining factor. As round one was coming to an end, time was of the essence as one rider after another edged out the previous competitor by fractions of a second. Last to go, Joie Gatlin on The Flying Ham (Haley Farms, LLC, owner) made the top ten going clean in 71.800, just beating Karl Cook and Banba's time of 71.814.

Just World International's Horseless Horse Show. Photo ©Equestrian Life

Karl Cook and Banba. Photo: McCool Photography

One of many happy winners. Photo ©Equestrian Life

Returning first in the jump-off, Gatlin sizzled with The Flying Ham going lean and clean in 32.682. No one could top that time until the final two entries. Ann Knight Karrasch aboard Coral Reef Aajee finished with a time of 32.344, barely surpassing the leading ride. All eyes watched the clock as Nayel Nassar and Dunsoghly Junior, last to go, sped to the finish without fault. Their time was 32.349, five thousandths of a second slower than the winner, Karrasch and Coral Reef Aajee. 

Sixty-six entries tackled Friday night's highlight, the $30,000 Equ Lifestyle Speed Class. Approximately a third of the class rode the course without fault, so to place in the top 12 required a quick and well-planned track. First to impress the crowd was the fabulous Flexible (Harry and Mollie Chapman, owners) with Rich Fellers in the irons. He cruised around in a slick 51.546, which held the lead until Karl Cook came in on Banba (Signe Ostby, owner), a half-sister to Flexible, and laid down a smoking time in 47.458. Others such as Andrew Ramsay aboard Shalanno Farms' Welfare (48.929) and Michelle Parker on Cross Creek Farms' Socrates de Midos (49.241) came close but not quite close enough to catch Cook. Fourth through sixth, Macella O'Neill on Milord D'Elle, NKH Barbosa with Christain Heineking and Susie Hutchison with SIG Zuleika , were all within a second of each other.

Andrew Ramsay with Brandon Seger and Chris Norden of Markel Insurance, Melissa Brandes and Robert Ridland of Blenheim EquiSports, and Ludo Carre of CWD Sellier. Photo: McCool Photography

Andrew Ramsay and Adamo van't Steenputje. Photo: McCool Photography

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. Photo: McCool Photography

Daring attempts to turn inside after the skinny created some exciting moments. Jenni McAllister and LEGIS Touch the Sun ended up crashing through the Equ Lifestyle vertical in an effort to turn inside to the last jump. Nayel Nassar and Dunsoghly Junior took out the skinny when they attempted to jump it at a difficult angle, creating a potential issue for jumping it again as fence 10. However, the jump crew rebuilt the entire fence and slipped off to the side just in time for Nassar's approach.

When asked about his winning ride, Cook explained in detail. "I took the track I had walked except I landed off of 8b a little bit more right than I wanted, so the turn wasn't the exact shape I had planned to make the approach to fence 9 easier.  Other than that, it was pretty on target."
Las Vegas National offered the final FEI classes on the West Coast until February of next year. The first of those started Thursday night, with the $33,000 EquiFit, Inc. Jumper Classic and 56 participants representing 11 countries. 

"Even though this is a Welcome Class and a speed round, I set everything at 1.45m - 1.50m; the last jump has 1.7m spread. I added technical aspects. The first jump is a triple bar.  There are plenty of options with strides and turns," explained the show's course designer, Brazilian Guilherme Jorge. "This is just a taste."

The second pair in the ring, American Michelle Parker on Cross Creek Farm's Holsteiner stallion Clintord, was the first clean in a time of 71.02, which ended up in the fourth spot. Seventh in the order, Granville Equine's Casseur de Prix and American Jenni McAllister, rode neat and clean for a time of 71.82, ultimately fifth. On his first horse, Fifty Fifty 111, Andres Rodriquez of Venezuela was smooth with no faults in 72.52 for a sixth place finish. Going for the win, New Zealander Duncan McFarlane rode his steady Hanoverian stallion partner, Mr. Whoopy (Simone Coxe, owner), to a quick 65.75 and held that lead for the next ten rides.

Building quite a winning reputation, Egyptian show jumper Nayel Nassar laid down a seemingly unbeatable time, 61.66, on Lordan.  American Saer Coulter gave it a good try, riding Carmena Z to a speedy 60.90 with one heartbreaking rail at the skinny. She was clean and a touch more conservative on her second mount, Don VHP Z, finishing in 72.68 for seventh place. With the end of the class approaching, Andres Rodriquez returned on his second mount Caballito.

"I saw a rider, (Saer), who had a nice ride with unfortunately one fence down. I really liked her track, she was really smooth, so I planned to ride it the same way," the winner commented. "It worked out well." In fact, he won by only 0.6 of a second in a time of 61.06, just edging out Nassar.

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