The Paul Jewell-designed 1.35m course saw a starting line up of 26 horse-and-rider combinations set to contest the track. That number was reduced to 14 after penalties were allotted for downed rails, added time, and refusals over the first set of fences. Jennings, of Franklin, TN, took the early lead right off the bat with a first-round time of 67.036 seconds on Musical Woods, LLC’s 12-year-old KWPN gelding (Calvino Z x Riviera) Dazzle White. He then also piloted his second mount, Dalton De La Fresniere to another clear round to give himself two shots at the jump-off victory.
Ultimately Jennings was consistent and held the lead throughout the entire class with Dazzle White and earned the winning title after crossing the final timers in 32.600 seconds.
“This horse was sent back to me a few months ago as a sale horse because his owner went to college but he has done well since being back with us and even won an FEI class at Split Rock,” Jennings explained of Dazzle White.
Jenning’s second mount, Dalton De La Fresniere, followed closely enough behind for the second place victory. The 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Cicero x Vice Versa Chavannaise) owned by Amy Shafmaster, has also proved to be a successful mount for Jennings after taking top podium positions in several grand prix events.
“I thought the entire course was very rider-friendly,” he stated. “I’ve jumped so many courses of Paul [Jewell]’s and he does a great job because he knows all of the competitors so he takes note of who is at the show and builds very accordingly.”
Jennings has previously had success at the Florida Horse Park Winter Classic after winning several of the previous year’s big events.
“We came to the debut of this show last year and just really enjoyed it,” he said. “Bill and all of AIR Show Jumping runs a very well-organized show and try their best to make everything as good as it can be. The footing is impeccable and the atmosphere is always friendly; I would call this a very well run boutique horse show.”
The third place honors were secured by Kris Killiam with Tophorses LLC’s 9-year-old KWPN gelding (Eldorado Van De Zeshoek x Cute Girl) Gangster CHS.
Competition will resume at the Florida Horse Park on Friday, January 8 with an emphasis on the hunter rings as the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby kicks off the morning and the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will wrap up the competition. The day will also feature various other jumper, hunter, and equitation classes.