Edited Press Release
Swiss Olympic team silver medalist Beat Mändli headlined the feature class on Friday, October 27, at the 2023 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS Equestrian™. Riding Chartraine Pre Noir, Mändli outraced the field to win the $78,000 Speed Final CSI5*, capping off the exciting Military Night, presented by Boeing. Earlier in the day, Ariana Marnell with Babylon and Jessica Gulden with First and Goal claimed Junior Hunter Grand Championship titles, while Emma Brody nabbed the win in the $7,500 Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic.
Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) along with assistant Nick Granat (USA) set the speed track, where jumping faults were converted to three-second time penalties. Twenty combinations representing eight countries raced around the course, but it was Mändli’s efficient and smooth effort with Chartraine Pre Noir that was the fastest, crossing the timers fault-free in 51.06 seconds.
Last year’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington winner Conor Swail (IRL) came close to catching Mändli’s time, but when the clock stopped at 51.67 seconds, he would have to settle for second with Casturano, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Castelan 3 owned by Mannon Farm. Mändli’s student, Katie Dinan (USA), finished in third place aboard Atika des Hauts Vents, a 13-year-old Selle Français mare (Rock’N Roll Semilly x Scherif D’Elle) owned by Grant Road Partners LLC.
“When we walked the course, I thought it looked a bit bigger than a normal speed class,” explained Mändli, who won the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington in 2017 and the FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in 2007. “It wasn’t just a speed class, really. There were also some lines, and the jumps were big enough. Obviously when you go fast, the chance to knock one down is higher. It was a tough class, but it was nice, and obviously when you win it, it’s even better.”
As of Thursday morning, it was Mändli’s plan to jump his other horse, Dsarie, in Friday’s Speed Final. After competing with both Dsarie and “Sherry” Thursday evening, he switched things up Friday morning.
“Actually, I was planning to jump Sherry tomorrow night in the World Cup, but then my other horse, Dsarie, was very fresh yesterday, so I actually switched Sherry this morning to do this class,” related Mändli. “I knew Sherry is in good shape. She likes this place. I would have never thought I would have won the class, to be honest, but sometimes it works out.”
The switch paid off with a win for Mändli and the 11-year-old Selle Français mare by Kannan x Corrado II owned by Grant Road Partners LLC.
“She’s super chilled,” expressed Mändli of his mount of two and a half years with whom he finished fifth in the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington. “She’s super nice. I know we always say this, but really, she’s a perfect horse. She’s nice for everything. She just likes to do her job, and she really tries to do the right thing and always tries to do her best. I don’t think there’s ever a class she lets you down. She really wants to please you. She’s a happy girl.”
For his win, Mändli was presented with The General Dwight D Eisenhower Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the late Arthur J. Morris. From 1969-2011, this trophy was awarded to the winner of the $10,000 International Open Jumper class. The trophy was reassigned in 2012 to the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final.
The “Jump for TAPS” was a part of the Speed Final, with money donated for every clear over the TAPS jump on course, with $10,000 total donated to benefit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the WIHS Official Military Charity since 2010.