North Salem, NY – U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, rode Noche de Ronda, a new and promising mare in his string, to win the $10,000 Old Salem Farm Speed Stake CSI3* on Wednesday, May 15, at the 2019 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, running through May 19 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. In the hunter ranks, Playmaker, ridding by Hannah Isop and owned by JT Farm, was named Grand Hunter Champion during World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week.
The speed of 30 horses was tested over tracks designed by Ken Krome (USA) with 11 finishing clear over the fences. Ward’s time of 64.24 seconds was more than a full second faster than his student Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) who finished the runner-up in 65.37 seconds riding Pembroke, owned by Starlight Farms.
“Maarten Huygens found this horse for me and we purchased her during the winter season in Florida,” said Ward of the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quintender x Loves Corinth) owned by himself, Bob Russell and Marilla van Beuren. “Marilla is a lifelong horsewoman and dear friend of my family who really wanted to own a nice grand prix horse.
“The mare is still not fully developed, but we are bringing her along and Manuel Lecuona (MEX) did a very nice job producing her and jumped her up to the 1.45m grand prix level,” continued Ward, 43. “She’s a huge jumper and I think she can jump anything, so I have high hopes for her to be a very successful grand prix horse. Today, I was really thinking about teaching her to turn and move along. She has a big stride and the distances were just showing up nice.”
Ward hails just down the road from Old Salem Farm and has experienced much success at the venue, but also considers it a cherished part of the local community.
“Old Salem Farm is a spectacular property and the Hakim Family has done a wonderful job developing it to what it once was and much more,” he noted. “To have something like this right down the road is particularly special for me and this area.”
Rounding out the top three in the first international event of the week, Natalie Dean (USA) rode Don’s Diamant to a time of 65.48 seconds for owner Marigold Sporthorses, LLC. Georgina Bloomberg (USA), whose own Gotham North is based in North Salem, NY, took fourth riding Quibelle in 66.73 seconds, while Lauren Tisbo (USA) finished fifth on Casco 11 in 66.99 seconds for owner Tequestrian Farms, LLC.