It was a magnificent first day of sport at the Long Beach Convention Center, setting the stage for Hollywood drama and glamour just steps from the Pacific Ocean. While the five-star classes are undoubtedly the cream of the crop, the convention center arena is proving to be a tight and intimidating atmosphere for riders at all levels.
It was a day of incredible highs and lows at the opening day of the Longines Masters LA for the national level riders, perhaps no one more than Jessica Sullivan Allen. The 40-year-old California athlete had a spectacular ride aboard Little Annie, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Rolling Oaks West to clinch the 1.20 m Just One Eye Trophy in a class of 17.
But on her second ride of the class of the day, Natural Ability slammed on the brakes at a big oxer in the center of the ring, and Jessica flew over his head, crashing into the top rail. She instinctively hung onto the reins and in the process, dislocated her right shoulder. She was immediately attended to by medical staff and should not require surgery, but her show will likely be ending early as a result.
Ottavia des Hayettes ridden by Sophie St. Clair (USA) took second in the 1.20 m class, followed by Sloan Elmassian (USA) aboard Dunsoghly Junior.
The 1.10 meter section of the Just One Eye Trophy was won by 13-year-old wunderkind Amelie Bittar (USA) aboard Beirut B.
Of the 35 riders on the start list for the PRG Trophy, 17 had clear rounds. Hilary McNerney (USA) claimed the victory aboard Vitesse with a time of 29.20 seconds.
“It’s a perfect start to the show!” Hilary said after her win. “I was really excited; the course was really nice to ride. We could go for it a little, with a couple of options even for the first class. There were some pretty fast times, so I think we were able to get ahead just by living out the first line. But it was fun; I love to ride this way.”
The Wellington-based rider is participating for the third time in the Longines Masters of Los Angeles and shared some thoughts on the competition. “It’s always a lovely show. The courses are tough, the riders are always competitive, the organization is very good. They make sure riders and horses are happy. It is always a fun show to compete in, and I always have a good time here.”
California native and staple of the west coast scene Kristin Hardin took second in the class aboard the fiery Bert, and third went to Francie Steinwedell-Carvin aboard Ohlala Z.
Hanna Mauritzen of Sweden clinched the first international win of the day aboard Parkmore Lux, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse. The speedy gelding bested the next closest competitor by an eye-popping 7+ seconds to win the class in 72.22 seconds.
“I had the advantage of going late in the class so I could be a little more careful. My horse just jumped amazingly. I’m super, super happy with him, and after all, that’s all that matters!”
The pair first competed together last year during the Longines Masters of Los Angeles, and this 2016 win marks their first victory in this prestigious event. “We are becoming a great team now. I hope this victory is a sign of what I can expect from this weekend,” laughed Hanna. And that’s all we can wish for her!
Karianne Boyce-Lockhart (USA) took second aboard Hopscotch, a Selle Francais gelding, and third was clinched by Shota Soejima (USA) on SIG Silver Surfer, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding.
You can replay video every individual round on the Startlists, Results, and Videos section of the Longines Masters website for free.
Classes kick off Friday at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time starting with the 1.10 m Just One Eye Trophy. There will be two CSI2* classes in the early afternoon, followed by a CSI5* class with a jump-off (1.50 m) and the finale class, the CSI5* Longines Speed Challenge set to 1.45 m at 8:30 p.m.