Friday morning brought 35 horse and rider combinations to the Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Stadium to compete for the top prize in the $25,000 HITS Open Prix. Soaring to the top of the leaderboard to add another trophy to the trophy case was Laura Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman. Following a few weeks off from competition, Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman were excited to return to the showgrounds at HITS Saugerties.
“[Diarado’s Flying Dutchman] does well when we’re in a place where he can go do trail rides and see other things. He knows his job when he is in the ring, so outside of it he tries to settle so he can have a little time off to think and be a real horse,” stated Chapot after her win.
Ana Catalina “Catsy” Cruz set an expansive track for today’s course that forced competitors to ride carefully, featuring a triple bar oxer, a double and triple combination, and several sweeping turns that utilized the vast size of the grand prix arena. Fourteen advanced to the jump-off, where Chapot and Chandon Blue competed first. However, the pair had an unfortunate rail at fence 16, putting them in eighth as the fastest 4-faulters of the day at 38.455 seconds.
“My first one [Chandon Blue] just got going a little bit too fast,” explained Chapot. “Then I turned around too much at that turn [after fence 16]. [Chandon Blue] ended up having the fastest time I think of the whole class. So with [Diarado’s Flying Dutchman], it is a bit of a different ride, but I definitely took another step at the same turn just to make sure he was straight and paying attention and thinking really well at that next-to-last-fence.”
Like Chapot, many riders who made it clear through the first half of the shortened track knocked rails at fence 16 while attempting to roll back to the combination at 9ab. Ashley March and Redfield Farm’s Magic Hoop – who followed Chapot and Chandon Blue – jumped clear, breaking the beam in 43.463 seconds. There were a few clear performances before Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman’s round, but the duo would ultimately go on to set an unbeatable time of 39.258, which secured them their spot as the new class leaders.
The second and third-place recipients in the $25,000 HITS GrandPrix followed shortly after Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman, with McKayla Langmeier and Carlita putting in a speedy round of 40.207 seconds. It looked like Langmeier and Carlita’s performance would be good enough for second place until the last rider of the day, Scott Keach, came in with his third and final effort, Wild Thing. The only male rider to walk away from the jump-off with a clear round, Keach and Wild Thing surpassed Langmeier and Carlita’s time by one-fourth of a second, finishing in 40.182 seconds.
“The footing has been amazing here,” concluded Chapot. “We’re so grateful that HITS has taken the time and effort to put this kind of footing in. To be able to come to a show like this and know that you’re going to be able to show no matter what is a really great thing. It helps us with our customers, it helps us with our horses and helps us to make plans. HITS is definitely a place to come!”
Only one more week of competition remains at HITS-on-the-Hudson following the conclusion of Week VII. Jumping action this week will culminate with Sunday’s $100,000 Grand Prix as riders prepare for next week’s CSI4* competition. For more information, visit www.hitsshows.com.