Chili and Olympic Gold Medalist Rodrigo Pessoa Earn the Blue in $65,000 Howard Leasing FEI 1.45m Grand Prix during TerraNova Winter Series II

Rodrigo Pessoa and Chili in the TerraNova Winter II GrandPrix. Photo by EQ Media

Edited Press Release

Myakka City, Fla. – Feb. 24, 2024 – After future equestrian stars stole the show during the leadline class in the Lakeside Arena, thirty horse-and-rider pairs from nine countries vied for the top spot in the TerraNova Winter Series II $65,000 Howard Leasing FEI 1.45m Grand Prix. It was six-time Olympian Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) riding the gray mare, Chili, who earned the win.
 
Manuel Esparza (MEX), an FEI Level 3 course designer who assisted with courses at several Olympic Games, built Friday’s Welcome and Saturday’s $500 1.40m FEI Two Phase courses, which gave the riders a glimpse into what they could expect in Saturday’s feature class.
 
Esparza’s CSI2* grand prix course had fifteen jumping efforts and a time allowed of 75 seconds and included three combinations – an oxer-vertical two stride, a vertical-oxer one stride and a vertical-vertical one stride.
 
Placed along the spectator stands, the triple bar, flanked with standards sporting Florida oranges, was set at the course’s maximum height of 1.45m and spread of 1.80m. Landing off the wide triple bar, horses galloped six strides to the “See You at the Show” circus in-and-out on the VIP Pavilion rail and then five strides to the last vertical. 
 
“We play a little bit sometimes in the difficult lines, we go a little lower,” Esparza said. “We have a chance to go a couple centimeters up when we need it. This group is a really nice group of horses and riders. I think this is a fair track for them.”
 
With eleven riders returning for the jump off, a fast and tidy track was of the essence. The short course was 14 (original fence 5 reversed), 1, 9a-b, 6, 7b, 8 and fresh to the course fence 15.
 
Returning to the ring as fifth in the jump-off order, Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire and Destine To Be (Diamant de Semilly x Sonora), the 8-year-old warmblood gelding co-owned with David Blake, quickly nipped around the course in 37.38. The pair took the lead from four-time Olympian Beezie Madden (USA) and Hummer Z by eight-tenths of a second.

Amanda Derbyshire Destine To Be in the TerraNova Winter II 24 Grand Prix. Photo by EQ Media

Pessoa and Chili (Consolidator x Belotte de la Vie Z), the 12-year-old Westphalian mare owned by Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC, were the ninth duo to return. While they added a stride in two lines on the course, when compared to Derbyshire and Lennon, the CSI5experienced mare was faster across the ground, sneaking Pessoa into the lead by 0.48 seconds.

“(Chili’s) a very fast mare, really great for classes like this,” Pessoa said. “She’s very competitive, always looking for the next jump, which is a great thing in a speed horse. You can really cut her loose. I had a plan to be tight everywhere and to go as fast as I possibly could. She was perfect; I’m very happy with her performance today.”

In March 2023, Pessoa and Chili won the $77,300 The Estates at TerraNova FEI 2 1.45m Grand Prix during TerraNova Hunter/Jumper Week 3. “It’s always fantastic to come here, the facility is really unbelievable,” Pessoa said. “Everybody is so nice. It is so peaceful; we really love coming here.”
 
Tenth in the jump-off order, Dermott Lennon (IRL) and King Kannan GP (Kannan x Dominka), the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Elan Farm, stopped the timers at 37.25, which dropped Derbyshire to third.

Dermott Lennon and King Kannan GP in the TerraNova Winter II 24 Grand Prix. Photo by EQ Media

“Nice course today, the horses had to be careful and rideable,” Lennon said. “I thought (it was) up to height but fair. Jump off was good with a nice mixture of turns and runs. Great class for spectators, as well as riders! I have to say, the facility is very nice, it’s in a beautiful setting.”

Watch Pessoa’s winning Grand Prix round!

Amanda Derbyshire Continues Her Winning Ways in the $20,000 The Estates at TerraNova 1.35m National

Following the grand prix, the $20,000 The Estates at TerraNova 1.35m National Prix course was set for twelve entries. The national prix was run with an immediate jump off, with entries remaining in the ring for the short course if they had a clear first round.

After clinching the top spot last weekend in the TerraNova Winter Series I $20,000 Michael Saunders & Company 1.35m National Prix, Derbyshire continued her winning ways this weekend. Derbyshire and Renkum Oriana (Baloubet Jr x Renkum Oreade), an 8-year-old BE/SIES Sporthorse mare owned by Pine Hollow Farm, were the only pair to leave the poles in the cups in the jump off and stopped the clock at 41.283.

Amanda Derbyshire and Renkum Oriana in the TerraNova Winter Series II National Prix. Photo by EQ Media

“Anna, as she’s called in the stall, is a fairly new horse to us,” Derbyshire said. “I’m very excited about her future. She seems to have everything for a big grand prix horse, so we’re taking our time.
 
“The course was beautiful, it’s a really nice introduction for the younger 8 year olds. Happy to be here and will be coming back!”

Kelly Soleau-Millar (USA) and Fire Fly (Arezzo VDL x First Price G), the 8-year-old KWPN mare owned by M. Michael Meller, had a rail in the short course and a time of 41.151 to earn second.

Kelly Soleau-Millar and Fire Fly in the TerraNovaa Winter Series II National Prix. Photo by EQ Media

“I thought the course was excellent today, it was challenging enough without discouraging (the) horse,” said Soleau-Millar. “But I think one double clear shows it was a great class. I was a bit disappointed with my four faults [in the jump-off] but it was challenging, it was nice for developing young horses and it asked a lot of the correct questions.”

Soleau-Millar has successfully competed Fire Fly for two years, winning the 6-year-old championships at Traverse City (Michigan, USA) and placing third in the 7-year-old championships. “She’s got unbelievable talent and all the heart,” Soleau-Millar said. “She’s careful, fast and modern, and you couldn’t ask for much more in a horse.

Soleau-Millar is based in Wellington with an operation of about 30 horses. “I love coming here (to TerraNova),” she said. “It’s quiet, it’s beautiful, the stabling is amazing, the atmosphere is great, and it’s one of our favorite places. (I come) to develop the young horses, and to bring my older grand prix horse that I get to show for fun now. These courses are challenging but not discouraging.”

Diego Perez Bilbao and Dialuna in the TerraNova Winter Series II National Prix. Photo by EQ Media

Coming in third were Diego Perez Bilbao (ESP) and Dialuna (Diarado x Alaska), the 11-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Over Fences Farm LLC, with one rail and 42.336 on the clock.

Watch Derbyshire’s winning National Prix round!

Competition continues tomorrow with the $7,000 1.40m Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, presented by Forget Me Not Farm, the $3,500 NAL 1.30m Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, presented by Forget Me Not Farm and the $3,000 NAL 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, presented by Forget Me Not Farm.

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