Only two riders of 29 in Sunday’s $30,000 Santa Fe Fiesta Week Grand Prix successfully negotiated a clear round over John Manning’s challenging course. In the first round, both Chenoa McElvain on Wallstreet RC and Jenni McAllister aboard Batida PJ, held single time faults, fating McElvain to face-off in the jump-off with her friend, mentor, teacher, and fellow competitor.
Photo by Mary Neiberg
“It was an honor to compete against Jenni… I really look up to her,” said McElvain, the head trainer and professional at Rancho Corazon. McElvain knew that in order to win, she needed to gallop and put pressure on her competitor, who rides a careful horse. As the two professionals battled in the jump-off, McElvain prevailed with a clear round. McAllister knocked a rail at the final element of the in-and-out and ended up with 4 faults, “I thought the course was very good. Challenging but fair, the kind of course that really makes riders think. I watched her [Chenoa’s] first round and thought she rode well. She and Wallstreet are such a great team. I knew I was a tick slow and tried with my horse to speed it up but ended the same! For the jump-off, I knew my horse is less seasoned than Walle and with Chenoa going clear and fast, I just had to give it a go!” said McAllister.
Manning’s route offered a technical beginning to the Grand Prix course, with forward lines to tight in-and-outs, followed by a more flowing finish, with long gallops and bending lines. “It was a tough course today, because it was bigger than the others have been so far [at the Santa Fe Summer Series]. It was a lot of work for the horses to get through the first round, which was probably the biggest test, since John really set the course to specs. In all, it was a great course design and tested everyone today!” said McElvain after her victory, which marks her second Grand Prix win this circuit.
Photo by Sharon McElvain
After riding 6th in the order, Chenoa wasn’t sure if she would be able to jump off or not. She waited patiently at the arena to watch the other riders go, “I was hoping it would be me and Jenni to jump off as ‘one-faulters.’ I’ve worked with Jenni for a long time. She has given me many tools and helped the relationship with my horse. It’s been really fun to have this little bit of rivalry and I thought it would be exciting if we ended up jumping-off together,” said McElvain, who has been working with and learning from Team McAllister for about three years. This year, the McAllisters mainly competed on the East Coast and McElvain headed went to the West Coast, so it was fun for them to catch up at this show, and particularly exciting to jump off together in this class!
“That’s the love of the sport, having real competition and to really challenge yourself,” reported McElvain, noting how honored she was to compete against McAllister, who is an “amazingly technical rider who always rides her plan.” In the competition, McElvain could sense the growth in her and Walle’s connection, how they click immediately in the warm-up ring and understand one another in the competition arena.
Photo by Mary Neiberg
As we enter the Grand Prix de Santa Fe Week of competition, we can’t wait to see if McElvain continues her winning streak to defend her 2018 title at the 2019 $40,000 Grand Prix de Santa Fe Week Grand Prix. Will she and Wallstreet RC prevail again? We shall see this Sunday afternoon, August 11, on the Grand Prix Field!
- WALLSTREET RC, CHENOA MCELVAIN, 1/0/44.230
- BATIDA PJ, JENNI MCALLISTER, 1/4/45.987
- DANIQUE DU LYS, NICKI WILCOX, 4/80.718
- LOCHINVAR, MATT CYPHERT, 4/81.255
- OCTOBER HILL’S CUATRO, KELLEY BURING, 4/82.230
- ESCADA VS, JENNI MCALLISTER, 4/82.304
- DR. J, GRANT SEGER, 4/83.990
- EKYRA FORTUNA, MACKENZIE HUDSON, 5/84.390
- AKSAI CHIN VDL, JAMI JENSEN, 6/85.698
- MTM CRAVITZ, NATALEE HAGGAN, 6/85.746
- STEEL THE LOVE, MICHAEL TOKARUK, 8/79.903
- LADYBIRD, KELLEY BURINGA, 8/89.594