By RandolphPR for Great Southwest Equestrian Center
In their first grand prix together in a year and a half, Daisy Ford and Gatsby captured victory in the $25,000 Olde Oaks Farm Grand Prix, held on Saturday, November 12, during the Great Southwest Autumn Classic in Katy, TX.
Ford and her partner of eight years were one of 10 entries to advance to the jump-off, designed by Canada’s Danny Foster. From there, speed was very much the name of game, with all 10 entries ultimately producing double-clear efforts.
As the seventh pair to return, Ford and Gatsby flew over the first vertical before slicing over an oxer in the middle of the ring and galloping down to another vertical at the opposite end of the ring.
“I was like, ‘If I can leave jump one up, I’m good,’” said Ford, 23. “He’s got such an enormous stride, and the oxers I don’t have to worry about. I only have to worry about the verticals because he jumps a little flat sometimes. I jumped fence one, looked at jump two, saw the flyer, jumped jump two, and then three came up perfectly. At that point, I knew as long as I kept on the track, he would be fine. I didn’t expect to take as much time off, but he was fantastic!”
When Ford entered the ring, no one had yet broken the 40-second mark, but she and Gatsby made shaving nearly three seconds off of that time look easy, stopping the clock in 37.024 seconds for the win.
Natalee Haggan and MTM Hyperion Z, owned by MTM Farm, were the very next duo in the ring, and they tripped the timers in 39.100 seconds to take second place. Rounding out the top three with a time of 40.009 seconds were Alwaleed Alrashid and RSH Grand-Dessert, owned by Royal Sport Horses.
While Ford has been partnered with Gatsby for quite some time, he spent a year out on lease before returning to Ford in May of this year.
“I got him back in the beginning of May, and he’s older; he’s 16, so we gave him some time off,” explained Ford of the Oldenburg gelding that now resides in her backyard as she grows her business, Ford Farms. “This is my first grand prix back in a year and a half for myself and eight months for him. We were going back and forth on even if we should do it tonight. I got on, and he felt right. So, I was like, ‘Let’s go for it!’ I didn’t expect to jump clean, and he jumped clean. So, then I was like, ‘Well, I guess I have to go for it in the jump-off!’”
Ford continued, “It was a little technical, especially since I haven’t jumped at this height in a year and a half. I’ve had a young horse for the last year and a half, so I’ve been working on that. I was a little nervous coming in. I wanted to really be careful through the combinations. After jump three or four, I thought, ‘Alright, we’re good. He’s on.’ I got lucky.”