Lucy Deslauriers & Hester. ph: The Book LLC
As competition at the American Gold Cup came to an end on Friday, September 15, excitement continued to build for Sunday’s grand finale, the eastern sub-league’s second leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League.
The 2017/2018 season kicked off in August at International Bromont, with athletes vying for qualification points for the 2018 final in Paris, France. In Friday’s $86,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier CSI4*-W, presented by Windsor Show Stables, 18-year-old Lucy Deslauriers of the USA bested the international field of veteran riders to take home the top prize in North Salem, NY.
A total of 50 athletes competed aboard the course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade. Six would compete on the shortened track, with Deslauriers and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Hester finishing in 37.66s for 1st place.
“[Hester] is naturally very fast. He has a huge stride so I knew that if I came in right and just kept kicking he would eat it up, and he did,” said Deslauriers. “I’ve had him for almost four and a half years. I started riding him at Old Salem Farm when he was eight-years-old and when I was coming out of the Children’s Jumpers. He was a horse we had gotten earlier in the year for my father and I needed a horse to do the Low Juniors on, so we just gave it a try and he’s been incredible. I think my dad’s been super generous and loves to see our partnership grow, and he’s just happy that we can all do it together.”
“I think my dad’s been super generous and loves to see our partnership grow.”
Deslauriers, who placed second in the 2016 AGC World Cup qualifying class with Hester, recently began her senior year of high school. Although a renowned competitor throughout the big equitation scene, she has decided to focus her efforts on the jumper ring for her final year as a junior
“I’ll ride at the [Rolex Central Park Horse Show] with him next week. He is quite a fresh horse and can be a little bit rude sometimes,” said Deslauriers. “I think he’s a little cocky. He’s very spoiled so I just try to get to the bottom of his freshness in the morning, get him listening well and get the rideability I want for the ring. He’s incredible. I’m taking it a little bit easy because of school. We’ll have three weeks, maybe a month off, and then I’ll do Harrisburg, take a week off and do the National [Horse Show].”
The USA closed out the remaining podium placings, with Beezie Madden and the 11-year-old SLS stallion Breitling LS (Quintero x Acord II) finishing in 2nd place, and Adrienne Sternlicht and the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding Toulago (Toulon x Carthago Z) finishing in 3rd with a time of 38.42s.
“[Breitling LS] felt super out there today. He went beautifully in the first round and in the jump-off I just tried to gallop and let him jump,” said Madden. “We could have been faster to the last if I was really on the attack, but I just wanted to keep his shape and let him jump out of the gallop and have a nice time in the jump-off. I was really happy with him.”
It turned into a father-daughter showdown as veteran Canadian rider Mario Deslauriers looked to catch his daughter’s time aboard the eight-year-old Holsteiner mare Bardolina (Clarimo x Landos), though they would stop the timers in 39.95s for 4th place.
For full results, click here.