USA’s Richard Spooner and Chatinus in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas . ph: FEI/ Amy McCool.
The old adage claims that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but it will be hard to keep secret the talent of Richard Spooner’s (USA) new equine star, Chatinus. At the Las Vegas National Horse Show CSI4*-W, Spooner piloted the 10-year-old Hanoverian to the gelding’s first World Cup qualifier victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas (USA) on Saturday, November 18, 2017.
“I’m just very optimistic for the future with this horse,” commented Spooner. “It’s just absolutely blowing my mind.”
“For me, it’s unfamiliar ground to have a horse that just kind of goes in the ring and is just like an ATM machine at this point!” Spooner said of Chatinus, whom he has only had since the summer. Chatinus also posted top five finishes in World Cup qualifiers at Sacramento (USA) and Del Mar (USA) this season.
The course designed by Oscar Soberón (MEX) made for great show jumping. The competition saw 29 horse and rider combinations, though the crowd didn’t see the first clear round until 21 pairs had competed.
The west coast audience showed their appreciation when fan favorite Spooner, 24th to go, guaranteed a jump-off.
Spooner joined USA’s Alison Robitaille and Karrie Rufer in the final round, putting up a leading time of 37.30s to take home the win.
“I stuck with my plan. I walked the course and just did what my original plan was, and it worked out,” Spooner said.
Robitaille and the 11-year-old Selle Francais mare Serise du Bidou (Gin Tonic Star x Fusain du Defey), first to go in the jump-off, crossed the timers in 40.20s, securing an eventual 2nd place.
“It’s been a big goal of mine to qualify for World Cup Finals, and I’m feeling really good about getting some good placings the last few weeks, and I’m looking forward to April,” commented Robitaille. “I’m really excited about the season I’m having, especially as I set this goal for myself early, early on.”
Rufer and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion Georgie d’Auvray EC (Vancouver D’Auvray x Nabab De Reve) finished in the 3rd position.
Last to go and Spooner to catch, Rufer elected to retire after her mount pulled a rail, but it was still a career-best finish for the amateur rider, who was competing in just the second World Cup qualifying competition of her career.
“My horse, I got almost two years ago. He’d never jumped more than 1.45-meter [before I got him],” said Rufer. “For me, my first time is his first time. Every time we go in the ring and we jump 1.50m or 1.60m, it’s just a great surprise that he keeps rising to the challenge. He takes everything with a great attitude. He loves what he does, and he has a fun time doing it.”
Spooner now sits atop the standings of the west coast sub league of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League with 58 points.
“This horse is such a fresh mount for me that we’re still in the discovery phase. So far, I really like what I see. Paris is going to be a big challenge for every rider and every horse and rider combination as well as for me,” noted Spooner. I have a lot of boxes to check before I get there, but thus far, every box that has showed itself…we’re just kind of going down the list and making the checks.”
Robitaille leads the east coast sub league standings with 52 points.
The next event on the North American League will take place in Guadalajara (MEX) on Saturday, 27 January 2018.
The full results can be viewed here.