November 15, 2019 – Las Vegas, Nevada – Blenheim EquiSports is pleased to present the Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series’ sixth season that culminates here with a final at The Las Vegas National. Twenty-five riders who earned points from the thirteen Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series qualifiers competed to take home the lion’s share of the $42,900 prize in the series final. Of the four horse and rider combinations that rode fault free over Leopoldo Palacios’ course, the first to go couldn’t be beat. Rich Fellers and Kathleen Waldorf’s 11-year-old Swedish mare stole the show, double clear in 30.625 seconds.
Jason McArdle and Elicole, owned by Fairbanks Valley Farm, were the final pair to go. Also finishing with a double-clear effort, in a time of 31.899 seconds, they took over the second spot. McArdle and Elicole are a pair to watch – the pair have continued their winning ways all the way from the Young Jumper Championships to the Markel Insurance Finals. McArdle was also the Leading Gentleman Rider of the Markel Insurance Series Season, earning a $500 gift certificate from Solea Equestrian.
Rounding out the top four who returned for the jump-off were Hillary Ridland and Mary Frances Looke’s Wonder Kid and Zume Gallaher on Blue Gate Stables, LLC’s Edita, who both finished double clear, in 32.694 and 32.716 seconds respectively, for third and fourth.
Fellers was pleased with his small but mighty mount. “Steelbi always impresses me. She is a small and energetic horse, which is very similar to Flexible and she’s really figured out the objectives of the sport, which makes it a lot easier for us riders,” he noted. “We were the first to come back for the jump-off and I think we won it in the first two jumps and the double. In my turn back to the second fence, I only took six strides, which came up great. At that point I knew I was going fast enough that I could go quickly around to the skinny.”
When asked about his plan with Steelbi for the next season, Fellers is taking his time with the talented mare. “She is so athletic and is such a trier. I’ve been bringing her along slowly, but she will jump some more 1.50m classes next year.” Click here for full results from the final.
Close to 100 hundred riders earned points in the qualifiers offered from March through September in shows held at San Juan Capistrano and Del Mar, California this year. Tonight Solea Equestrian awarded $500 Gift Certificates to the Leading Lady and the Leading Gentleman riders of the Series based on total points earned throughout the season. The Leading Lady Rider was Nicole Haunert and the Gentleman, as mentioned earlier, was Jason McArdle.
The Markel Insurance Jumper Series will continue to serve as a stepping stone for both young riders and young grand prix horses along their pathway to success in 2020.