Imerald Van’t Voorhof and O’Shea Defend Title in $125,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group

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Paul O'Shea (IRL) and Imerald Van't Voorhof won the $125,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group for the second consecutive year. Photo by SEL Photography

Final Champions Crowned for First Week of 2024 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows

Edited Press Release

North Salem, NY – May 12, 2024 After clinching the win in the $125,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group in 2023, Ireland’s Paul O’Shea and Imerald Van’t Voorhof successfully defended their title at the 2024 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, posting the fastest double-clear time of 37.25 seconds.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows are one of the premier stops on the nation’s hunter-jumper horse show circuit, offering a full schedule of world-class competition May 7-12 and May 14-19 that features the nation’s best in equestrian sport. 

Of the 33 entries representing seven countries to ride clear over Alan Wade’s 16-effort, 1.50m course in Sunday’s Grand Prix, only seven made it to the jump-off to vie for top honors. The penultimate rider to return, O’Shea blazed his way into the top spot aboard Imerald Partners LLC’s 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding in 37.25 seconds, knocking previous leader Carly Anthony (USA) into second.

“We just gave it everything we had,” O’Shea said. “I wasn’t able to watch any of the other riders go, so we just had to stick to our plan, which was to give it everything we could. Imerald jumped fantastic. He’s good against the clock and very good at the turns because of his experience. He’s always looking for the next fence, so it’s a lot easier with a horse like him. Mark Bluman was after me, and he’s extremely fast, so I was definitely worried about that. I just did what Imerald could do comfortably and hoped it would be enough.

O’Shea and Imerald Van’t Voorhof – Photo by SEL Photography

“I am showing next week, but Imerald won’t be,” he added. “We only jump him about once a month now. He’s only done four grand prix this year, but he’s won two of them. We’re very delighted with him. He’s such a great horse.”

Taking second-place honors, Anthony tripped the timers on a speedy 37.50-second round with Heavenly W, Portfolio Horses LLC’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Adding another podium finish to his record for the week, Darragh Kenny (IRL) rode Heathman Farm LLC’s 17-year-old Holsteiner stallion VDL Cartello into third on a score of 38.20 seconds. 

Before the $125,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by The Kincade Group, spectators enjoyed a Pre-Prix Reception hosted by Pegasus Therapeutic Riding as well as Evergate Stables’ Leadline class. Many junior and amateur jumpers also shared the spotlight throughout the morning, with Sofia Cady of Austin, TX, bringing home several top placings to celebrate Mother’s Day and her birthday (Monday, May 13) in style.

Cady bested a field of 29 entries in the $15,000 SJHOF 1.40m Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic presented by Eastern Hay aboard Twist Studio LLC’s ZG Bella, stopping the clock on a double-clear time of 37.041 seconds. Fourteen horse-and-rider combinations advanced to the jump-off over Wade’s 15-effort course, and the top three placings came down to just a tenth of a second each.

“When we were walking up to the ring, my trainer said, ‘Just be smooth and tidy. You don’t have to go fast,’” Cady said. “And then we watched Stella (Propp), who finished third, go right before me, and she was really fast. He looked over at me and said, ‘Well, I think you might have to be a little quick now.’ I just wanted to be relaxed. I know that mare is naturally fast across the ground, so if I was tidy and we were both relaxed, she wouldn’t have much trouble being fast enough to take it. She really proved that today.”

Sofia Cady and ZG Bella won the $15,000 SJHOF 1.40m Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic presented by Eastern Hay. Photo by SEL Photography

Alexa Elle Lignelli of New York, NY, piloted her own XO Cinderella into second place on a faultless score of 37.196 seconds. Propp, of New York, NY, finished third in 37.257 seconds aboard Aquitaine Equine’s Chakalaka 8.

“After Fence #2, we had a super tight rollback, and she’s a really good turning horse,” Cady said. “She’s actually a great horse all around and especially wonderful at turning. I knew we could turn back on that pretty tightly and she would still make up the strides. Then after #4 to the in-and-out, I knew I could get a good gallop there with her natural speed. She listens so well, so I just had to keep going.”

Cady and ZG Bella ultimately earned the Reserve Championship in the 1.40m Junior/Amateur Jumper Division Presented by Eastern Hay, with Lignelli and Skyline Sporthorses LLC’s Helium securing the Championship. Cady also led the $7,500 1.35m Amateur Jumper Classic earlier in the day with Twist Studio LLC’s Deleyn (0/0/28.817) until the last horse – S & L Valentino De Nine Z, owned and ridden by Emily Clee of Bethel, CT (0/0/27.431) – clinched the win and the overall 1.35m Amateur Jumper Championship.

More championships wrapped Week 1’s competition in the beautifully manicured Hedge and June Road rings. Indianapolis, owned and ridden by Morgan Powell of Norwalk, CT, earned the Grand Junior Hunter Championship after successfully competing in the Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17 division. Caroline Signorino of Basking Ridge, NJ, and Meridian Farm LLC’s Sandori walked away with the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship for their success in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter 18-35 division. 

Morgan Powell and Indianapolis won the Grand Junior Hunter Championship during Week 1 of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows. Photo by SEL Photography

In the pony divisions, Finley Baras of Bedford Corners, NY, was named the Best Pony Hunter Rider by the judges for her wonderful rounds in the Small and Medium Pony Hunter divisions. She brought home the Small Pony Hunter Championship riding her own Spring Fling and the Medium Pony Hunter Championship ridingSweet Oak Farm’s On Your Mark. Samantha Teller of New York, NY, brought home the Large Pony and Grand Pony Hunter championships with her own Why Not?

Other awards included the Best Junior Hunter Rider, given to Capri Truesdale of Greenwich, CT, riding their Arnac D’Elphen in the Combined 3’6” Junior Hunter division, and the Best Children’s Horse Hunter Rider, given to Noa Waisman of Larchmont, NY, riding Eden Farm Stables LLC’s Rainier

Competition at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows resumes Wednesday, May 8, with various hunter and Open Jumper classes. Full show results can be found at HorseShowsOnline.com