Erynn Ballard and Gucci Take Flight in the $62,500 Fresh from Florida Grand Prix CSI2* 

Erynn Ballard and Gucci in the $62,500 Fresh From Florida Grand Prix CSI2*. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Ocala, FL – International competition during the 2024 Summer Series reached a thrilling conclusion early Sunday morning as 38 horse-and-rider combinations from 15 nations competed for top honors in the $62,500 Fresh From Florida Grand Prix CSI2*. Erynn Ballard (CAN) recently selected to represent Canada at the Paris Olympics, soared to the top aboard Della White’s Gucci (Casall x Carvallo).

John Doyle (IRL), an FEI Level III course designer, crafted the challenging tracks for Sunday morning’s event. Eleven duos qualified for the jump-off, but only six managed to produce a double-clear effort.

Erynn Ballard and Gucci. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Erynn Ballard, third to last in the order, displayed impressive skill and strategy. “I was pretty motivated this morning. Right off the bat, I left one stride out in the first line. I did a left lead approach to give me an inside track where I could do the leave out. It all ends up being a game of lines, speed, and angles; you just have to do what suits your horse best,” she explained.

The pair flew around the course, finding each fence on an open gallop, and stopped the clock at a blistering 38.24 seconds.

Erynn Ballard and Gucci accepting their first place awards. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Ballard recently reunited with the 10-year-old Holsteiner mare. “We had her two years ago. She was sold to California where she’s been amazing. Her rider had an injury, so she sent her back to us temporarily. I’ve been giving her some miles and jumping bigger classes to continue her development. Della White owns her and is my biggest fan, sending me all sorts of messages,” laughed Ballard. “Now Della can take her back and do whatever she wants with her. I truly believe she can jump her first five-star on that mare, I have no doubts about it.”

Ballard is set to fly to Europe tomorrow to compete before the Paris Olympics. “I fly to Aachen, Germany tomorrow. I’ll jump Aachen with Gakhir, [Libido Van’t Hofken], and the seven-year-old I showed here last week, [Marieke Z Santa Rose]. Then I’ll jump Chantilly in France with Nikka Vd Bisschop which will be her last show before the Olympics. My other three horses are over there and will compete in Dinard, France, so I can gain more experience. Then, I take a week off, and it’s time for Paris!”