Edited Press Release
Zume Gallaher and Edita led the $25,000 Summer Festival Grand Prix, presented by Rogue 3, from beginning to end on Saturday, July 23, at Blenheim EquiSports in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Gallaher, 25, was the first rider in the 26-entry field to punch her ticket to the jump off with a clear round over the track set on the grass Oaks International Grand Prix Field by course designer Javier Medrano. She and Edita then paved the way again as the first of six entries to return for the short course, stopping the clock in 37.717 seconds.
“I was focused on wanting to have a double clear,” Gallaher. “I wanted to be fast enough but not too crazy to have a rail.”
Kate Hovland, 17, and her own Cruz were the second pair to jump off, and they turned in what would prove to be the only other double clear effort of the evening, crossing the finish in a clear 39.703 seconds. Fellow young rider Hannah Loly had the time aboard Bisou, finishing in 35.757 seconds, but rails down over a wide oxer would relegate her to third place.
With the class held concurrently with a U25 Classic, Gallaher was also named the U25 victor.
“This has been amazing,” said Gallaher, who has been partnered with Edita for three years. “[Edita]’s my main woman. I did win my first grand prix on her, here actually, and then I got to win my first FEI on her as well. She’s just been there for me forever. I can’t say enough good things about that mare. She’s such a competitor.”
The California native similarly had positive things to say about competing on the grass field at Blenheim EquiSports’ Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park.
“The grass has been fabulous; it’s so fun being able to be here,” said Gallaher. “I thought the course was great. It was technical enough, but it wasn’t too, too difficult.”
Saturday evening’s grand prix was supported by Rogue 3, comprised of three friends – Cathal Phelan, Nicola MacMahon, Kay Randall – who “went rogue” three years ago and bought a horse. That horse, Ice Breaker, also competed in Saturday’s featured grand prix, taking a top 20 finish with Dakota Mower in the irons.
Prior to the start of Saturday’s grand prix, a special retirement ceremony was held for Duet, the highly accomplished show horse ridden to a long list of accolades by Polly Sweeney. Sweeney, who celebrated her 80th birthday on Friday, acquired the now 18-year-old Warmblood mare in 2010, and under the tutelage of Archie Cox, the pair spent the better part of 12 years racking up top results up and down both the East and West Coasts.
Also recognized during the Blenheim Summer Festival was the winner of Friday’s $10,000 Markel Insurance 1.35m Open Jumper Speed Stake, Simon Schroeder. Schroeder earned the win with a time of 63.374 seconds aboard Centazar, owned by Jessica Flaxman. Second place went to Joie Gatlin and Fiona who crossed the finish in 65.362 seconds, and Mariano Maggi and Zuperman MT rounded out the top three with a time of 65.468 seconds.