After a competitive first round, ten of the original 28 entries were left to return for the shortened jump-off course. In the final few moments of competition, the lead changed hands numerous times with each rider that followed into the ring. Sharn Wordley held the lead on Verdini D’Houtveld Z before besting his own time with Gatsby. Tracey Fenney of Flower Mound, TX took to the quick track and seated herself in the top position with MTM Dolce Vita on 37.728 seconds. As the second to last rider to return, Columbia’s Gonzalo Guevara placed himself in an almost unbeatable position aboard Valentine Car after flying through the timers in 36.852 seconds. He appeared to be the sure victor when Samuel Parot entered as the final contestant. With a strong partnership and incredibly precise riding, Parot and long-time mount Atlantis clocked in an amazing 35.950 seconds to climb to the top of the podium.
Parot has built a relationship with Atlantis dating back all the way to 2015 and the Zangersheide gelding is a true show veteran himself at the age of 18 years old.
“Atlantis has not shown in a year and a half,” Parot explained. “He is older now so I gave him a good amount of time off after the 2020 Olympic games were cancelled. This is his first show back but I have a well-established connection with him and he knows when he enters the ring that it’s time to get to work; to me that work ethic is what makes a champion.”
The veteran jumper admitted that he was concerned about being able to take victory in the final effort with so many quick trips laid down before him.
“Winning is never easy in any class but especially here in America,” Parot said. “Every show you go to you have ten to 20 of the top riders in the country so winning here is fantastic because the competition is so strong.”
He continued, “I thought it would be almost impossible to win after I watched Sharn [Wordley]’s round and even more so after Tracey Fenney went but Atlantis is just fantastic and is known all over the world to be very fast.”
Parot credits his victory to several tight turns in the jump-off phase, which course designer Paul Jewell agrees with.
“Samuel was very tidy on his turns,” confirmed Jewell. “All of the horses jumped so well in the welcome that I felt they could have a bit more of a test today, so the jump off only offered a couple of options but the speed was all made up in the turns.”
Despite one or two areas that produced a different outcome than expected, Jewell’s course gave way to an exciting returning line up.
“I wanted to make this course a fair test for everybody but also a good experience, and while the first three jumps were all right on track, I was surprised to find jumps four to five rode a lot harder than I expected,” he stated. “Overall though, I think most of the competitors walked away with a positive feeling and I’m very pleased we had a decent group for the jump off because it is always a crowd pleaser.”
Parot plans to give his established partner another rest after his week’s victory but will return to the AIR Show Jumping Winter Classic this coming week with several other horses to start their season.
“This is the first time I’ve been to this show and so far the experience has been fantastic,” he enthused. “The footing in the rings is very good so the horses jump happy and everyone is nice to be around because they are enjoying themselves.”
- ATLANTIS: 2003 Zangersheide gelding by Andiamo x Dodana W
SAMUEL PAROT, Samuel Parot: 0/0/35.95
- VALENTINE CAR: 2009 Warmblood gelding by Son of Juan Car x Sofia Car
GONZALO GUEVARA, Fernando Cardenas: 0/0/36.852
- MTM DOLCE VITA: 2012 Holsteiner mare by Diarado x Philadelphia
TRACEY FENNEY, MTM Farm: 0/0/37.728
- GATSBY: 2004 Irish Sport Horse stallion by Simba x Daisy Cruise
SHARN WORDLEY, Sharn Wordley: 0/0/37.738
- VERDINI D’HOUTVELD Z: 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Verdi x Laska III
SHARN WORDLEY, Lauren Balcomb: 0/0/37.966
- CICERO HS: 2010 Westphalian gelding by Carlucci 13 x Fee
KRIS KILLIAM, Audrey Muscari: 0/0/41.511
- LA BELLE SCF: 2011 Belgian Warmblood mare by Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve x Belle Bleu S
SUMMER HILL, Andrea Simpson: 0/0/38.6764
- HAGELIN: 2012 Hanoverian gelding by Stolzenberg x Grafin Top
ERIN HAAS, North Face Farm: 0/0/42.1994
- STARDUST: 2009 KWPN gelding by Unknown x Unknown
ASHLEY FOSTER, Rolling Acres: 0/0/42.2084
- EXECUTIVE: 2008 Hanoverian gelding by Stolzenberg x Naina D
MOLLY KENNEY, Katherine Strauss, LLC: 0/0/42.6924
- QUANITA: 2011 Warmblood mare by Unknown x Unknown
WINN ALDEN, Jamie Stryker:0/4/72.013
- JACK STRAW: 2010 Selle Français gelding by Quatro De Riverland x Jonquille D’Elle
CAMILLE MADDRIX, M&M Sporthorses: 0/4/72.4204
Haley Gassel Takes Top Two in the $7.500 High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic
The first week of the Florida Horse Park Winter Classic wrapped up a week of exciting competition by featuring the $7,500 High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic. Haley Gassel of Tennessee managed to secure both the first and second place honors with mounts Hambesi and Iliano Van D’Abelendreef respectively.
Seven combinations took to Paul Jewell’s final track of the week in the Grand Prix ring at the Florida Horse Park but only Gassel advanced to the second phase. She and Westwind Equine Training Center’s eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zambesi x Diedi) Zambesi stopped the clock in the winning time of 44.774 seconds. She followed up less than a second behind on her second ride, this time the Westwind Equine Training Center’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Ogano Sitte x Baroness Van D’Abelendreef).