Ocala, Fla.—March 17
When Andre Thieme pulled up Contanga 3 after galloping around the jump-off for the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, he didn’t think he’d just laid down the winning round. That mare was relatively inexperienced, and the slowest of his three mounts qualified for the short course. He assumed that one of the others would outrun her.
The rest of the field hoped the same, but they simply couldn’t beat him.
“I didn’t think it would hold,” said Thieme, who’s based in Germany but spent the winter in Florida. “I didn’t want to risk much, and I thought it worked out perfect. I was a little faster than I thought.”
Only Aaron Vale matched Thieme’s clear aboard Zippo II. That horse won Thursday’s $25,000 class, but Vale didn’t push his luck, as it’s a newer partnership. Megan Wexler (née Edrick) ticked the last fence—a maxed out plank—to take third on Cadence.
Forty-two horses and plenty of spectators gathered at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala for the biggest money grand prix of the circuit. Mexico’s Florencio Hernandez built the track in the grand prix field, and nine pairs found a clear go around. That last plank caught amateur rider Callie Morgan Smith—who rode Captain Kurtzmann—as well as Thieme’s incredibly scopey Catharina 9.
Contanga had spent a few weeks campaigning at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival three hours south in Wellington, Fla., helping the German team win bronze in the Nations Cup two weeks ago. Despite her great results, Thieme’s still reserved about her future. He wouldn’t speculate on whether he’d be back stateside in Saugerties, N.Y., for this September’s Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix.
“I know that class well—I rode in it twice,” said Thieme, who won the class aboard Aragon Rouet in 2011 . “For a 9-year-old horse, maybe it’s too hard. But she’s so scopey, that maybe in a half a year she’ll be ready.”
For full results visit www.hitsshows.com .
Check out the news from yesterday’s $50,000 East Meets West Hunter Challenge .