cLain Ward and Wings. Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography.
McLain Ward and the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Wings (Lexicon x Jersey) were the winners in the $50,000 International Open Jumper Speed Final, a faults converted class sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch. Twenty-five entries jumped the course and five cleared the obstacles without fault. Ward and Wings jumped with ease in a blazing fast time of 51.35 seconds for the win.
Wings is an experienced jumper that Ward originally purchased for his wife to ride, but ended up showing himself. “Someone called me in January about him because he was getting a bit older,” he explained. “I bought him for Lauren, and he actually ended up being a little too careful for her, so I confiscated the ride. He was good for me this summer. He won a couple Grand Prix at Saugerties and won one class and was second in another at Harrisburg. He is actually an easy horse to ride, but electric-careful.”
“He needs a solid ride; he’s not one to take a joke,” Ward described. “He is a fifteen-year-old horse and has shown very successfully with a Dutch rider for many years, so he has jumped a lot of indoor shows. This is his first time here with me, but he certainty has a lot of miles.”
Talking about Palacios’ track for the night, Ward remarked, “The course was very difficult. It was quite twisty and turny. There was a lot of misdirection. The horses didn’t really know where they were going. It helped to have a nice old horse. He has a big stride, and he is a quick horse by nature. There was that big question at the end, the inside turn to the pink vertical, and I felt where I went in the order that was very risky. I felt that if I was fast up and to the Hermes vertical, that I would go around and take my chances and it would put enough pressure on them. I think you had to do the inside turn to catch my time and I don’t know how doable it was.”
Twenty-year-old Katie Dinan (USA), to a second place finish in 53.14 seconds riding Grant Road Partners’ Glory Days. Another up-and-coming young rider, Meagan Nusz (USA), finished third in 53.31 seconds with Amalaya Investments’ Vesuvius. Callan Solem (USA) and Horseshoe Trail Farms’ VDL Wizard were fourth with a time of 55.56 seconds.
Source: Jennifer Wood Media