By Emily Kerr
THERMAL, Calif. – Mar. 6, 2021 – Show jumping competition continued in the Grand Prix Stadium Saturday afternoon as thirty-seven riders challenged Alan Wade (IRE)’s course in the $25,000 Vita Flex 1.40m Open Classic. Posting a double clean effort and stopping the jump-off timers at 34.757 seconds, Molly Talla and her own Hirado Blue emerged victorious.
Hirado Blue (Zirocco Blue VDL x Anicky) and Talla have been paired together for four years. “He is a nine year old that I got from Ireland as a five year old. He has come up through the ranks as a young horse,” Talla shared. “He has a huge personality; he’s a huge punk on the ground and he is very cheeky and funny and full of it. He loves to go fast and gallop, so the jump-off was set just for him. He loves it.”
Of the original thirty-seven challengers, only eight pairs returned with clear rounds for the jump-off. Second to last to go in the jump-off, Talla was able to utilize Hirado Blue’s smaller stature to ride a quick and efficient track.
“[Wade] has set great courses all week. They really suit me; I really enjoy riding his courses. Because [Hirado Blue] is small, but has such a big step, he can lengthen and shorten easily. He’s very adjustable,” commented Talla.
Coming in second place was Mitch Endicott (Rancho Santa Fe, CA) and Chaccrobat (Chacco Blue x Gerlinda), owned by Bridgeport Farms LLC. The pair stopped the jump-off timers at 36.532 seconds. Finishing the top three was Jeffrey Fields (Redwood City, CA) riding Sahana Ganesan’s Sherlina Ale (Sheraton x Bolina) with a time of 38.007 seconds.
Besting ten other U25 competitors, Endicott also claimed the top spot in the $1,000 AIG U25 Classic, which ran as an overlay with the $25,000 Vita Flex 1.40m Open Classic.
“Chaccrobat; I believe he’s a twelve year old gelding out of Chacco Blue. John Bragg, Bridgeport Farms, is the owner of the horse,” shared Endicott. “I’ve been riding him for probably about six months now and I think we’re really starting to develop a nice partnership.”
The pair has boasted consistent results in several classes over the season at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP). “We’ve competed in all the National classes here [at DIHP]. We were fourth in a $25,000 Grand Prix in December. We were clear in another $75,000 Grand Prix, but had one down in the jump-off. We’re still getting to know each other, but he really is a great horse,” Endicott noted.