The Lexington National Horse Show, the final installment of the Festival of Champions Series to benefit the Virginia Horse Center, started Wednesday and will run through Sunday, August 15.
Jesse Smith of Wellington, Florida rode her own Chambery 25 to the win in Wednesday’s $500 Open Jumper 1.30m, producing the only double-clear round. With a second round time allowed of 45 seconds, the pair was the only horse and rider team to go clear in a time of 31.317 seconds.
Ann De Michele and Cantatu, LLC’s QI L had the fastest second round time in 30.696 seconds, but four jump faults saw them finish in second place.
Smith also placed third with her own Nadav after earning four jump faults in their second round in a time of 32.343 seconds.
Alexa Lowe of Upperville, Virginia aboard her own Bolybawn Rolo, placed fourth for their four-fault first round in a time of 74.367 seconds, well within the first round time allowed of 82 seconds.
David Matisz of Wellington, Florida and Feelgood Farm’s Clearway’s Ashfire placed fifth for their four-fault first round in a time of 72.554 seconds and Marissa Degner of New Hill, North Carolina, aboard Aloft Equestrian’s Concardus, placed sixth. Jack Mosely of Leesburg, Virginia, rode Cece Winter’s Durango Z to a seventh place finish.
De Michele kicked off opening day with a win in the $200 Open Jumper 1.20 m this afternoon in the Dee Dee Arena in the irons of Cantatu, LLC’s QI L besting a field of fifteen horse and rider teams over a course designed by Paul Jewell of Windsor, New Jersey.
First to advance to a second round was Catano 29, owned by Emma Pell and ridden by David Matisz of Wellington, Florida. Their clear round in a time of 41.556 kicked off the horse race.
Erica Budd of Port Tobacco, Maryland, in the irons of her own Izalco followed in the order and turned in a fault-free second round in a time of 36.182 seconds, setting the new time to beat.
The lead was short lived when Hayley Alcock of Philomont, Virginia aboard Nicole Perry’s Cadis 5 turned in back to back clear rounds with a second round time of 35.982 seconds.
Jackson Schurtz of Afton, Virginia and Jeanne McCusker’s Imago Z followed Perry and Cadis 5, turning in double clear rounds with a second round time of 33.034 seconds, taking the lead.
Kate Johnson of Poolesville, Maryland and her own Loose N Capable followed as the next pair to advance to a second round. Four jump faults in a time of 34.091 seconds would see the pair finish in ninth place.
Brooke Kemper of Keswick, Virginia and Mackensie Bowles’ Lando Van De Oude Molenhoeve also earned four jump faults in their second round and their time of 34.760 seconds would see them finish in tenth place.
Amy Lee of Aldie, Virginia and her own Hirette KR followed Kemper in the order and their clear second round of 35.290 earned them a fourth place ribbon.
Three trips later, the next to advance to a second round opportunity was Joe Fargis of Middleburg, Virginia in the irons of Tracey Weinberg’s Honolulu III. The pair turned in a clear, fast second round and their time of 32.656 seconds took the lead.
The lead was fleeting after De Michele Cantatu, LLC’s QI L. followed in the order, posting double clear rounds with a second round time of 31.056 seconds, grabbing the lead.
Sulu Rose-Reed of Mechanicsville, Virginia and Gail Thompson’s Doirin Clover Boy sat in the enviable last to go spot. The pair turned in double clear rounds, but their second round time of 36.443 could not catch the lead and they would finish seventh overall, leaving De Michele and QI L. victorious and Fargis and Honolulu III in second place.
De Michele commented, “I rode with Joe [Fargis] for a long time and I really appreciate him.”
Imago Z and Jackson Schurtz finished in third place and Hayley Alcock rode Cadis 5 to a fifth place finish.
QI L is a De Michele homebred. “I have a mare that I was unable to jump a lot because she got hurt about six months after I got her and so I decided to breed her,” she explained. “I bred her twice before and I ended up with two very quiet hunters and I sold them. I decided to try it one more time and bred her to Quincy Car [owned by Fernando Cardenas] and while QI L is very pretty, he is not a hunter!
“He’s seven this year, and I started him when he was four, and well, last year was a bust; I showed him maybe twice at Swan Lake last year and maybe the Piedmont Jumper Classic. He did his first 1.30m at Swan Lake this winter, and then I showed him at WEC in Ocala in the 7-year-old jumpers and was champion his second week we were there.
“He’s a pretty cool guy. He’s smart, he has a lot of personality and he thinks he is amazing,” laughed De Michele. “I never had a horse who is as completely sure of himself like him. Right now I’m looking at him as my Grand Prix prospect. I hope in a couple of years he’ll be able to do the Grand Prix. I want him to have the opportunity to figure it out.”
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