John Pearce Is Faultless In Final $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix Qualifier

John Pearce aboard Chantico with Melissa Brandes and Robert Ridland of Blenheim EquiSports, Josh Mullens and Lisa Seger of Lisa Seger Insurance (LSI), owner Karen Ball, and Brandon Seger of Markel Insurance

September 22, 2019 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – The final qualifying leg of the $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series was contested Saturday afternoon on the Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. Following an exciting five horse jump-off, it was John Pearce leading the victory gallop aboard Cantico, owned by Karen Ball. For the second consecutive week, Savannah Jenkins finished in second; this time, aboard Quitana 11, owned by Georgy Maskrey-Segesman.

Acclaimed FEI 4* course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) created a technical track that asked riders to demonstrate adjustability around the large grass field. Highlights included the final line, set parallel to the VIP hospitality seating, including a solid 1.45m vertical followed by a strong, forward five-stride to a liverpool oxer, and a quiet eight-stride to a final combination that required riders to push forward through the finish line.

John Pearce aboard Chantico

First to cleanly navigate D’Ambrosio’s obstacles was Bjorn Ikast and his horse Castino. Four riders later, Savannah Jenkins matched Ikast, ensuring a jump-off. Lane Clark, John Pearce and Bjorn Ikast, on his second horse, all managed to negotiate the course, fault-free.

Ikast and Castino were first to return to the shortened course and they set the time to beat with a careful and clear round in 48.788 seconds. Moving up in the order, Lane Clarke and Epic Air incurred eight jumping faults as they pressed for time. Up next, Savannah Jenkins completed a quick and clean round in 46.231 seconds but a minor bobble while taking the inside line between jumps five and six left the window open for the final two riders. Former Olympian (CAN) John Pearce and Chantico followed and once-again put on a crowd pleasing performance, tripping the wire a half second faster than Jenkins with 45.738 seconds on the clock. As the final rider of the day, Ikast and his second mount Classini managed to go quicker than his first time but it wasn’t fast enough, eventually landing the pair in third place.

Savannah Jenkins Quintana 11

After the competition, John Pearce spoke about his experience and plans for the future, “Chantico is a little unpredictable sometimes but when he’s on, he’s fantastic. It’s a pleasure to win today because it was Tony D’Ambrosio’s course. He’s rated one of the best course designers in the world.” When asked about competing in the Markel insurance Seines Final, John said, “Yeah, I’m going to go for that. That’s a pretty prestigious event. Even though Chantico is a little awkward indoors, I’m definitely going to take a shot at it. It’s the grand finale of the year for Blenheim and the Markel series and I really think it’s a good thing to go.”

With all thirteen qualifying events in the Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series now in the books, Nicole Haunert finished in first place with 134 points followed by Jason McArdle, Lane Clarke, John Pearce, and Shawn Casady rounding out the top five. The top twenty-five riders from the 2019 Series Qualifiers are now eligible for the Final, boasting a purse of $42,900.

Show jumping action resumes during The Las Vegas National, November 11 – 17, 2019 , including The Markel Insurance 1.45 Jumper Series Final. Other featured events include, Longines FEI Jumping World Cup ™ Las Vegas, AON/USHJA National Championships and WCE Medal Finals. See schedule and entry blanks online.


$25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45M Grand Prix

Place – Entry Number – Horse – Rider – Owner – Faults/Time

1. 458 CHANTICO – John Pearce – Karen Ball – 0/0/45.738
2. 522 QUITANA 11 – Savannah Jenkins – Georgy Maskrey-Segesman – 0/0/46.231
3. 595 CLASSINI – Bjorn Ikast – BBB Show Jumpers LLC – 0/0/48.322
4. 596 CASTINO – Bjorn Ikast – Bjorn Ikast – 0/0/48.788
5. 280 EPIC AIR – Lane Clarke – Lighthouse Farms LLC – 0/8/50.341
6. 523 RAHMANNSHOF’S BAMIRO – Savannah Jenkins – Georgy Maskrey-Segesman – 4/73.172
7. 279 FRODOSI – Lane Clarke – Lighthouse Farms LLC – 4/73.795
8. 233 CRACK One – Emily Esau Williams – Ixchel Mosley – 4/74.045
9. 422 SCARFACE – Alexis Sokolov – Alexis Sokolov – 4/74.762
10. 467 CURTIS 57 – Kevin Lemke – Kate Abajian – 4/75.361
11. 102 CARNUTELABRYERE – Melody Liu – Shelly Gambardella – 4/75.774
12. 597 DAPHNIE – Nicolette Kivlin – Nicolette Kivlin – 4/75/917

Photos provided by: McCool Photography