Thermal, Calif. — Feb. 1
In their first grand prix of the 2014 season, Saer Coulter and Springtime kicked off their year on the highest of notes. They topped a field of 31 in the $50,000 Strongid© C 2X CSI-W, presented by Zoetis, to highlight World Cup week at HITS Thermal. The class was a qualifier for the Longines FEI World Cup Finals in Lyon, France this April.
The jumps were big, the time was tight, and the field was competitive with six of the original 31 advancing to the jump-off. Course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. of Muenchen, Germany, kept a promise he made after Thursday’s grand prix and built big. “Olaf does a great job setting according to the field that he has,” said Coulter, who hails from San Francisco. “With six clear, the jump-off was both fun and fair.”
Lucy Davis of Los Angeles, who trains alongside Coulter under the direction of Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Markus Beerbaum, proved the course could be jumped as the first to ride clear in the irons of Old Oak Farm’s Barron. She was later joined by Justin Resnik of Gendale, Calif., Mexico’s Enrique Gonzalez, Eduardo Menezes for Brazil, Michelle Parker of San Marcos, Calif., and eventually Coulter.
Coulter rode 21st in the original order. “I was really lucky to go late in both rounds and watch a lot of the trips,” she said.
Rider’s agreed that the jump-off left little room for improvising and didn’t present many options, but begged for speed. “The first round was more technical, where the jump-off was all about the gallop,” said Menezes, who was aboard Quintol Mercedes Benz for owner Santiago Hank.
In the jump-off, the lead changed hands three times. Davis and Barron led the charge with an early time to beat at 43.57 seconds. Resnik and Carismo Z, owned by The Carismo Z Group, LLC, finished with 8 faults before Gonzalez and his own Quilebo Du Tillard stole the lead from Davis in 42.49 seconds. It didn’t sit for long, however, as Menezes rode the course in 41.46 seconds. Parker challenged on Cross Creek Farms, Inc.’s Clintord, but was 1 second off the pace in 42.17 seconds.
Coulter returned last and dropped a stride between the second and third fence of the course, riding it in seven steps, to guide Springtime to the win. Menezes was second and Parker third. Gonzalez finished fourth and Davis fifth, while Resnik was the only contender with faults, landing him in sixth.
Springtime’s career came full circle on Saturday. “He has done everything with me—from the high juniors back up to the World Cup,” said Coulter.
The now 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding was found as a 10-year-old for Coulter in the Netherlands by Paul and Emile Hendrix where he was jumping at the World Cup level. Coulter was riding in the Netherlands at the time and maintained that she was simply lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. “Paul and Emile [Hendrix] were in the crowd here tonight, and it was really special to have them here watching him. [Springtime] has been incredible, and I am really lucky to have him.”
Coulter, 22, recently graduated from Stanford University and now focuses her full attention on riding. “My goal is to qualify for the [Longines FEI] World Cup Finals, and we were here this week to hopefully get it done early and be able to focus on doing well in France,” she said.
$50,000 Strongid® C 2X™ CSI-W2*, presented by Zoetis