Shannon Hicks & Al Pachini Capture 1.40m Open Jumper Victory to Kick Off Equifest II

Jumper competition at the Chicago Festival of the Horse continued on Tuesday with the Open Jumper division taking center stage in the picturesque Grand Prix Arena. With another sold-out week underway bringing together equestrian athletes from around the country, Lamplight Equestrian Center is welcoming all of the excitement. In the 1.40m Open Jumpers, it was professional Shannon Hicks and her mount Al Pachini who started the week off strong to claim a swift win in the class.

Shannon Hicks and Al Pachini. Photo by Phelps Sports

Equifest II course designer Leopoldo Palacias set the course for the Open Jumper competitors, challenging them to ride a nice pace while navigating sweeping turns and several combinations. Taking an early lead in the class was Jill Gaffney and Dayla 6, owned by Freestyle Farms LLC. The pair successfully completed double-clear rounds with a jump-off time of just 38.306 seconds.

Gaffney and Dayla 6 were unchallenged for much of the class, while horse-and-rider combinations were unable to beat her speedy jump-off round. It was not until Hicks and Al Pachini, an 11-year-old gelding owned by Helen Gilbert, entered the ring that they would meet their match. Hicks piloted Al Pachini through a clean first round to add their names to the list of challengers. Riding into an immediate second round, she allowed Al Pachini to pick up speed and give it all in the jump-off, something that she explained he is a natural at. Managing to leave up all the rails, the pair crossed the finish in 37.033 seconds to assume the top position on the leaderboard.

“We’ve had Al Pachini about five years now,” Hicks shared after their win. “We bought him when he was just imported so he never horse-showed. I am the only person who has ever shown him. He and I have a very good understanding of one another. He actually has had a little bit of a rough road—he had two colic surgeries. He coliced this winter in January, so he is just now getting back to jumping high again. It’s really good to have him able to compete at the level he competed before.”

Shannon Hicks and Al Pachini. Photo by Phelps Sports

Gaffney and Dayla 6 maintained their second place position to take home the red ribbon, and Liz Atkins aboard Carletta, owned by Benchmark Stables LLC, rode into third place.

In the 1.30m Open Jumpers just prior to the 1.40m class, Ryan Sassmannshausen and Babar, owned by Maeve O’Sullivan, were double-clear with a jump-off time of 30.398 seconds to finish in first place. Steve Schaeffer and Wyndmont Inc.’s Alter Ego earned a second place finish, also riding double-clear with a second round time of 42.143 seconds. Lauren Ditallo and Zero Gravity, owned by Scott Durchslag, rounded out the top three with a 2-fault first round time of 80.956 seconds.

1.40m Open Jumpers:

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / Time / R2 Faults / Time
1. Shannon Hicks / Al Pachini / Helen Gilbert / 0 / 65.479 / 0 / 37.033
2. Jill Gaffney / Dayla 6 / Freestyling Farms LLC / 0 / / 0 / 38.306
3. Liz Atkins / Carletta / Benchmark Stables LLC / 0 / 69.503 / 0 / 40.012
4. Steve Schaeffer / Meadow Vale Cruise / Wyndmont Inc / 0 / / 0 / 40.918
5. Ryan Michael Genn / Dante’s Inferno / Wilhelm Genn / 0 / 66.686 / 0 / 41.146
6. Tony Font / Von Casius / Deana Blackburn / 0 / 64.405 / 0 / 41.277
7. Steve Schaeffer / Favoriet U / Wyndmont Inc / 0 / 63.23 / 4 / 37.049
8. Ryan Michael Genn / VDL Gerinus T / Wilhelm Genn / 0 / 66.335 / 4 / 39.256
9. Jacqueline Steffens / Kapriool / Andrew Kocher / 0 / 67.503 / 4 / 40.213
10. Christoph Schroeder / Celine / Christoph Schroeder / 0 / 66.179 / 4 / 41.925