US Olympic veteran and reigning Longines FEI World Cup champion Beezie Madden rode Abigail Wexner’s brilliant bay mare, Jiva, to victory in the $10,000 CMJ Sporthorse National Prix at the Spilt Rock Jumping Tour’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Columbus CSI 3*-W, the second week of the Tour’s run at the Brave Horse Show Park in Johnstown, Ohio. The win gave them a perfect three for three in the National division.
Jiva and Madden were one of 11 horse-and-rider combinations who turned in faultless performances over the initial course thereby earning a spot in the jump-off. Madden got to watch the other riders try to clear the fences over the shortened course and she calculated her strategy. She entered the ring with Jiva and set down a scorching round in 34.345 seconds to move into the lead over Kristen Vanderveen who had held the lead with Bull Run’s Divine Fortune. The pair had posted a clear round in 34.844 seconds.
The final entry in the class, Nicole Bellissimo on Casino, gave it a real go and finished clean in a time of 35.896 seconds, but had to settle for third place behind Madden and Vanderveen.
“She has been fantastic here,” said Madden. “She is careful and fast, a great horse to have in the string. She did some big classes in Europe and we wanted to give her a nice easy week. She is nine years old but not that advanced; she has really shown how far she has come. A horse this careful just needs some laps to keep her confident. When I used to try to go fast she would push back but now she is learning to jump out of a big gallop and believe in me.”
Abigail McArdle and Fanta Light B, owned by Plain Bay Sales LLC, captured the win in the $5,000 Animo Youngster Bowl. The class, specifically for 7 and 8-year-old horses, saw five go clear in the first round and advance to a timed jump-off. Fanta Light B and McArdle finished the shortened course in 36.593 seconds, narrowly edging out Armando Hassey riding his own Lomax, who finished in 36.638 seconds.
“I have been itching for this win for the past two weeks,” said an extatic McArdle. “This mare is very fast across the ground. She doen’t have the biggest stride, but I tried to do the numbers where I could and then in the turns she just cruised along and that is where I think I got it. She is now done for the year. We are going to end on this, which I think is fantastic. She has had a big year with a lot of wins. I just love this horse.
“I love Split Rock,” continued McArdle. “They do a great job. If something is wrong, they take care of it immediately. The young horse classes havea little more money with them so there is more incentive. It is a really great competition.”
Catania 137 and Nick Dello Joio won the $1,000 Animo 6 Year Old Final with a faultless round in a time of 30.649. Over the two weeks of competition in Columbus, Nick piloted Catania 137 to three wins and a second place, winning the Final both weeks.
The $7,500 Ali Wolff LLC Medium Junior/Amateur Final was won by Caitlyn Connors and Boleybawn Perfection.