Taylor Land Takes Home Two Top Finishes During Lamplight Spring Spectacular I

Team Land rider Taylor Land was on quite the hot streak during the first week of the HITS Chicago Lamplight Spring Spectacular, securing top placings in multiple spotlight classes with her mounts.

During the $35,000 Great American Grand Prix on Saturday, June 8, 2024, Taylor Land navigated Kim Land’s 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Caballero (Casall), to victory. The pair also took home second in Thursday’s $20,000 Alliant Private Client Cup. Land and Caballero generated one of four double clears of the day, securing the win with an impressive jump-off time of 39.003 seconds. Thursday’s $20,000 Alliant Private Client Cup winner Linda Radigan captured second on her 16-year-old Zangersheide gelding, Balveneur Z (Balougran Z), after crossing the timers in 40.512 seconds. Shannon Sullivan rounded out the top three with her own 17-year-old Polish Warmblood, Downtown’s Main Event, finishing close behind Radigan with a time of 40.551 seconds.

“Caballero has lived in France most of his life, and has been with a couple of different riders, having success at the 2 and 3-star levels,” explained Land. “I’ve had him for about a year and a half, and he’s one of the only horses I’ve bought without trying him first. I think he’s an incredible horse with so much heart and talent, and he’s a total blast to ride.”

Taylor Land and Caballero. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

Land attributed much of their day’s success to the way the course suited her mount, adding, “Caballero really responded well to this course. There were three combinations, no triple, but it was connected. There were a lot of options, which I always think is fun because it wasn’t a course suited to just one type of horse. There was a lot of variety, with bending lines and options, even in the jump-off. There were big turns, rollbacks, and options everywhere.”

In addition to her $35,000 Great American Grand Prix win, Land also claimed first in Sunday’s spotlight event, the $15,000 Horseflight Jumper Classic. This time, Land’s partner was Team Land Syndicate’s nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Escobar WW (Etoulon). The pair produced one of four double clears and clocked in with a three-second lead in 33.39 seconds. Following Land was Katie Murray on her own 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Izmir Van De Baeyenne (Kashmir), claiming second with a jump-off time of 36.74 seconds. Murray also secured the yellow ribbon with her own 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Kasstender C (Contender), rounding off the top three.

“Escobar WW is the first horse that I’ve ever owned with a group,” described Land. “His group of owners is really supportive, and I’m incredibly grateful for them. I would be lying if I said he wasn’t one of my favorites, but he’s really such an incredible horse. He’s really fast, really careful, and he always gives his all. He’s so much fun.

“When I walked the course, I planned out the numbers pretty much everywhere,” she continued. “There was just one rollback, and everything else was a number. I was able to ride my plan the way I wanted, and Escobar really listened well and did everything I asked of him.”

Reflecting on her success, Land expressed her gratitude for her parents’ support, sharing, “both of my parents have definitely been my biggest supporters, trainers, and role models in riding. They both grew up equestrians and met while riding as teenagers. They’ve taught me pretty much everything I know. I really owe everything to them. It’s something we’ve always shared as a family, and it’s a whole lot of fun.”

Land is excited to return to the Lamplight Equestrian Center this summer and expressed her love for the historic venue.

Leighton Goldber and Borsalino Birdavenue. Photo by Alison Hartwell Photography

“I had so much fun here last year, so I wanted to come back. It’s just a beautiful facility. Everyone’s friendly. I stayed in Saint Charles last year, and now I’m staying in Elgin. The towns are great, with good restaurants and things to do. It’s just a friendly atmosphere, which I really enjoy at horse shows, and there’s great jumping. It’s been a lot of fun.”

The $15,000 Horseflight Jumper Classic was just one of many events in the action-packed Sunday schedule. Following was the $5,000 Adequan/NAL/Jr/Am 1.25m/1.35m Jumper Classic where Leighton Goldberg piloted her own 17-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Borsalino Birdavenue (Eros Platiere), to victory with a double-clear and a jump-off time of 34.97 seconds.

The $1,000 Puddle Jumper Classic closed out the final day of the Lamplight Spring Spectacular’s first week. Carley Schwendel, on her own Paint mare, Smokin Indigo Blue (Smokin’ Tuff McCue), put on a quick and tidy performance to claim the winning honors of the final class of the week.

Although the week has concluded, the action at HITS Chicago will continue Wednesday, June 12, with the start of the second week of the Lamplight Spring Spectacular Series.