BY EMILY RANDOLPH
Katy, Texas – March 25, 2021 – Texas may be the Lone Star State, but there were two stars in the $10,000 Pin Oak Welcome Stake and Under 25 Welcome on Thursday, March 25 at the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX. Jacqueline Ward clinched the Welcome Stake win while Avery Erickson earned victory in the U25 Welcome class held concurrently with the Welcome Stake.
Ward and her own San Chano were one of 10 entries to navigate the first-round Manuel Esparza-designed course to advance to the jump-off, where they tripped timers in a winning 33.385 seconds.
“This is my first really big win ever outside of amateur classes, so it’s really exciting,” said Ward, a 27-year-old Houston, TX, native who has been showing at Pin Oak since her early teen years. “The fact that the win is at Pin Oak is pretty big because I remember, as a kid, always watching the Pin Oak grand prix and welcome classes and thinking that they were impossible. The best of the best riders rode in them. To win that finally is huge for me.”
Ward continued, “We just got back from Wellington [Florida] where I did some 1.40 m and 1.45 m classes, and he was awesome. I think that prepared us for this. He’s really special. He has so many quirks; he’s so sensitive, but he’s also really awesome. We’ve developed such a good partnership where he’s built a lot of trust in me, and I think that helps us a lot.”
As the second-fastest jump-off pair with a time of 34.134 seconds, Erickson and her longtime partner, Chacco Lait, would finish in second in the Welcome Stake in addition earning the win in the U25 Welcome.
“It feels good to get it done! It’s a great start to the show here,” said 19-year-old Erickson. “Chacco Blue’s taken me from the low juniors to the grand prix ring, so it’s really fun. He’s a good boy, and I love him so much. He’s super special, and he tries really hard.”
Erickson has been coming to Pin Oak from her hometown of Dallas, TX, since she was competing in the Children’s Pony Hunters roughly six years ago.
“Katy [Texas] is always awesome as it is, but this is just such a special show,” said Erickson, who is currently on her gap year before joining the Southern Methodist University equestrian team in the fall. “The atmosphere and everything are amazing; they make it so pretty. It’s really good competition, and it’s fun.”
Finishing in third place in the $10,000 Welcome Stake were Trapp O’Neal and Baltazar D Z, while fourth place went to junior rider Brooke Peterson and Ennebel van het Posthuijs. For full results from Thursday’s competition, visit www.horseshowsonline.com.