For the first time ever, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) is hosting two back-to-back weeks of internationally rated FEI CSI3* competition during Weeks V and VI. Thursday highlighted the $35,000 East Wind Farms Welcome Stake CSI3* in the Grand Prix Ring and was claimed by none other than U.S. Olympic veteran Margie Engle of Wellington, Florida, and Dicas.
Dicas captured his first grand prix win at GLEF with Engle in the $50,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI2* in 2017. Now, almost exactly one year later, and with much more experience under their belt, the pair are back to their winning ways in Traverse City and in top form heading into two weeks of CSI3* competition at GLEF.
“Every time I step him up, he rises to the occasion,” beamed Engle. “He still is very green, he’s just 9 this year. Last year, I had just started doing the grand prix classes when we started here and he was really good but never would have been able to go that fast or turn that quickly. He’s a huge horse. Usually they’re not the fastest but he’s very agile for a big horse. He’s mainly just all legs. He’s got a narrow body and he’s kind of like a daddy longlegs. The fastest I’ve ever gone with him was in the last class I did at Aachen. He was amazing there but it was a lot of long gallops and there weren’t as many turns like we had today.”
With a total of eight nations represented in Thursday’s international competition, 56 combinations turned out to compete over Mexico’s Manuel Esparza’s first round course, while 19 jumped clear to advance to the jump-off.
Fresh off their big win in the SAP-Prize CSI5* speed class at the prestigious CHIO Aachen World Equestrian Festival in Germany just over one week ago, Engle, who is currently shortlisted on the NetJets® U.S. Show Jumping Team for the FEI World Equestrian Games™, and the 9-year-old Rheinlander owned by Storm Ridge Capital LLC produced the fastest of 13 double-clear performances in 37.54 seconds to earn the win.
Halfway through the jump-off, the first place position was tied between Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) riding Louisburg Farm’s D’Arnita and Santiago Lambre (MEX) aboard his own Ibabco in 39.05 seconds.
Just after Lambre, however, was Mattias Tromp (USA) riding Swede Ventures LLC’s Quinta 106, who crossed the finish line in 37.59 seconds to become the new leader.
Five rounds later and 16th in the order was Engle, who used the gelding’s enormous stride to her advantage, making up just enough time to surpass Tromp in the standings by five-hundredths of a second!
“When I watched the others, I thought, ‘There is no way we’re going to catch those fast, smaller horses.’ He just rode so nice. He’s starting to look for the jumps and he turned better than I even thought he was going to. He was so quick across the ground. He got down the first line, from one to two, in seven easily and I was able to catch the last one nice. It actually wasn’t that much of a flyer – he just kept such a nice inside track everywhere.”
In the end, Tromp settled for second place, while Cawley and Lambre shared third place honors. Roberto Teran Tafur (COL), who claimed the biggest title of the circuit at GLEF in 2017 in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*, and his own Il Rubacuori rounded out the top five in 39.20 seconds.
3. Ibabco / Santiago Lambre / MEX / Santiago Lambre / 0 / 0 / 39.05
5. Il Rubacuori / Roberto Teran Tafur / COL / Roberto Teran Tafur / 0 / 0 / 39.20
6. MTF Saint Simeon / Sloane Coles / USA / Morningside Training Farm / 0 / 0 / 39.22
7. Chippendale’s Boy DZ / Sloane Coles / USA / The Springledge Group / 0 / 0 / 39.57
8. Thriller P / Samuel Parot / CHI / Samuel Parot / 0 / 0 / 39.88
9. VDL Bravo S / Hunter Holloway / USA / Hays Investment Corp. / 0 / 0 / 39.96
10. Aanwinst / Jordan MacPherson / CAN / Jem Stables / 0 / 0 / 41.52
11. Valkyrie De Talma / Rachel Cornacchia / CAN / Rachel Cornacchia / 0 / 0 / 41.67