BY KRISTIN PITZER
Katy, Texas – February 28, 2021 – The Texas Winter Series Week IV, held at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center (GSWEC), wrapped up on Sunday, February 28, 2021, with several more opportunities to snag a ribbon and prize money.
In the $2,500 1.30-1.35m Medium Junior (Jr.)/ Amateur-Owner (AO)/Amateur (Am.) Jumper Classic, Elizabeth Mitchell rode MTM Charlotte to the fastest double clear round for the win. Mitchell rode last in the first-round jump order and tried to keep her mare’s stride intact without taking any strides out, wanting to stay even and disciplined. Then, in the jump-off, she strove to increase her speed.
“There were really not too many places to be too creative. It was just an aim and shoot kind of jump-off,” Mitchell said. “Really the only place we could have done a little better on time was between [jumps] three to nine. I could have sat up a little bit better, but she’s got this amazing stride, and she’s so confident. I just kicked her up, took out a stride in the line and made it up there.”
Mitchell has owned “Charlotte,” a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, since the horse was 4 years old. Mike McCormick helped her find the mare, and Mitchell didn’t even try her out before she bought her.
“I just told Mike that she was my horse,” Mitchell said. “We’ve just, year by year, taken her up to the next level, and this is our first show at 1.30m.
“I love my horse!” she added with a smile.
Both second and third place in the $2,500 Medium Jr./AO/Am. Jumper Classic went to Avery Erickson, who finished in the runner-up spot aboard Bruno Banani 9 and in third riding MTM Checco.
When no clear rounds were produced in the $5,000 1.40-1.45m High Jr./AO/Am. Jumper Classic, three horse-and-rider teams, who had each knocked down one rail in the first round, ultimately tied for the win.
Keely McIntosh on two entries, Limerick and Londonderry De La Ramee, along with Jaelynn Downing on Djinn Du Ry Ternel, settled as co-champions. Limerick and Londonderry De La Ramee, each 10-year-old Belgian Warmbloods, are both owned by Jenny Booth. Djinn Du Ry Ternel is a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by L.O.O. LLC since June 2020.
“We tried him, and it was just instant — I felt like I had owned him my whole life,” said Downing of the gelding. “I just knew I had to have him.”
Downing, who is 22, has been showing at the GSWEC since she was a child. She enjoys the Texas Winter Series because the prize money is so good, and there’s a large number of classes to participate in.
“I like that you have the opportunity to move up or down depending on your situation, and they’re always very understanding if you need a minute,” Downing said. “I’ve been coming here a long time and always liked it. We come here ever year; we do the Winter Series, Pin Oak and then come back in November for Final Chase. We’ve always had a really good time here.”
In the $1,500 1.20-1.25m Low Jr./AO/Am. Jumper Classic, the top honor went to Mackenzie Hudson aboard her own Ekyra Fortuna. Finishing in second were Angela Gonzalez and Caijo, while Khaki McCool and Bailey Ask Z rounded out the top three.
In addition to hosting the Texas Winter Series, the Great Southwest Equestrian Center is home to the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary March 24 – April 11, 2021. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show here, and visit the Great Southwest Equestrian Center’s website here. During Pin Oak, live coverage will be available on Horse & Country TV here.