Kama Godek of Fairfax Station, Virginia in the irons of her own Continuity rode away with the blue ribbon and lion’s share of the prize money, besting a field of twenty one riders over a course designed by Kenny Krome of Maryland.
Only four horses would advance to the jump off round where the time to beat was set at 52 seconds.
Christina Webb of Bahama, North Carolina was the first to tackle the abbreviated course with Fox View Farm’s FVF Sailor Man. A heartache rail at the final fence earned them four jump faults in a time of 39.813 seconds.
Godek and Continuity followed in the order and turned in a fault-free round in a time of 41.336 seconds which set the new time to beat.
Thaisa Erwin of Middleburg, Virginia and Wendy Smith’s Up Des Chaines followed Godek in the order of go. The pair turned in a fault-free round but their time of 42.782 seconds, was about one and half seconds too slow to catch the lead and they would settle into second place.
Ann Berg of Bahama, North Carolina aboard her own Gomarus sat in the enviable last to go position. Four jump faults in a time of 42.517 seconds would see them finish in fourth behind Webb and FVF Sailor Man.
“I had a lot of pressure on me because Abby [Grabowski] won last week and she’s one of my students!” said Godek.
“I really liked Kenny’s [Krome] course. He’s designed for the Washington International and is a very good and well-regarded designer. I have lot of respect for him,” she added.
Krome explained that he designed the Grand Prix to give the horses and riders a good and fair test, encouraging the horses to make good efforts over the jumps and test the riders at the same time. “I thought that anywhere from 4 to 6 in the jump off would be perfect. If you’re too friendly, they all go clear. We saw faults all around the course and there was no one particular problem spot. It was nice to give the riders a set of questions and see how they handled it.”
“It was a gorgeous evening for show jumping here; the light was beautiful,” said Krome. “I thought we got good rounds out of the horses and they jumped well. There were a few rider mistakes but riders are always trying to get better. And we had a bunch of young riders that got around nicely,” he added.
Godek commented, “I thought the course was nice for all the different levels of riders. Some of the riders have done Nations Cup and some are just starting out in the Grand Prix. There were lots of ‘ride-ability’ choices and you could make decisions on course. In the first round, I honestly thought that if you didn’t use your turns well, you could get a time fault.”
“Continuity is deceptively fast. He has a really big stride. In the jump off round I did the outside turn and let him open his stride a little to the last fence and we were still faster than Thaisa [Erwin] who did the inside turn. I let him open his stride a little bit and we came in pretty deep to the last jump, but that’s what got us the faster time,” she said.
The fastest of the four-fault first rounds was sixteen year old Addison Reed of Mechanicsville, Virginia and Reed Training & Sales, LLC’s Goliath. Their time of 87.255 would secure a fifth place finish. Danny Mahon of Ruckersville, Virginia, aboard his own Fire Fly41 took home the sixth place ribbon for their four-fault first round in a time of 88.371 seconds.
Seventh place was awarded to Hotspot, owned by Blue Ridge Syndicate, LLC and ridden by Sloane Coles of The Plains, Virginia, for their four-fault first round in a time of 89.663 seconds.
Manuel Torres of Leesburg, Virginia and Rolet Equestrian Corp.’s Levito 12 finished in eighth place for their four-fault first round in a time of 90.991 seconds. He also earned a ninth place finish in the irons of Fox View Farm’s Caillou VL for their four-fault first round in 91.016 seconds.
Carter Ware of The Plains, Virginia, piloted his own MTF Saint Simeon to a tenth place finish for their four-fault first round in a time of 91.488 seconds. Brooke Kemper of Keswick, Virginia and Shadow Pond Group’s Rocket J Squirrel finished the class up with an eleventh place ribbon and Sulu Rose Reed of Mechanicsville, Virginia and Paula Pell’s Denali wrapped up the class with a twelfth place finish.
Godek has owned Continuity for about a year and a half. “I’ve done some Grand Prix with him and he won the Grand Prix in Culpeper two weeks ago,” said Godek. “I actually let him do the Children’s Jumpers this past winter with one of my students,” she said.
“Between the Grand Prix win in Culpeper and Abby’s win last week, and then our win today, I count that as three Grand Prix wins in a row,” she continued.
“I really owe it all to my team,” said Godek. “I believe that the care of your horses and the management is 90% and riding is maybe 10%,” she said. “Everyone pitches in.”
“I’ve been showing at the Virginia Horse Center for years. Probably when I was 10 in the Pony Club for Nationals or East Cost Championships. I spent a lot of winters here showing because my parents would not let me go show in Florida. It wasn’t even a discussion point,” she laughed. “The facility has grown so much and the new rings are really great,” she added.
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