Sunday, Jun. 2, 2024

Engle Can’t Be Beaten In Cleveland

Despite recovering from a fractured hip just five months earlier, Margie Engle outraced the competition to win the $40,000 Merrill Lynch Cleveland Grand Prix in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18, for an unprecedented sixth time. Her win puts her in the Cleveland record book with wins in 1992, '97, '99, '00, '03 and now 2004. Riding Hidden Creek's Wapino, she earned the fastest time (40.00 seconds) of the nine-horse jump-off with a clean round.

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Despite recovering from a fractured hip just five months earlier, Margie Engle outraced the competition to win the $40,000 Merrill Lynch Cleveland Grand Prix in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18, for an unprecedented sixth time. Her win puts her in the Cleveland record book with wins in 1992, ’97, ’99, ’00, ’03 and now 2004. Riding Hidden Creek’s Wapino, she earned the fastest time (40.00 seconds) of the nine-horse jump-off with a clean round.

“Wapino is one of the nicest young horses I’ve ever ridden,” said Engle, of Wellington, Fla. “I’m hoping he’ll be the one to replace [my 2000 Olympic mount] Hidden Creek’s Perin.” The 9-year-old, chestnut Westphalian debuted in the grand prix ring at Cleveland last year, finishing third.

Hometown favorite Lauren Bass of Willoughby Hills, Ohio, claimed second. The 24-year-old finished with a clean round in 40.14 seconds aboard Maypine Farm’s Naleida, a 9-year-old, Dutch Warm-blood mare who stands just 16.0 hands. Bass’ second place marked her highest finish in grand prix competition since she entered the professional ranks two years ago.

“She’s amazing,” said Bass. “My horse is like a typical woman–she is very sensitive and she’s a fighter. When I want to ask more of her, I have to do it gradually. Because she’s a perfectionist you have to be nice to her and treat her with TLC.” Engle, who followed Bass in the jump-off, knew Bass had posted a quick time.

“The only way to catch her was to turn back because my horse has a long stride,” said Engle. Upon hearing Engle’s remarks, Bass responded with an eager smile: “You know you’re getting somewhere if you’re giving Margie a run for the money!”

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Olympic veteran Lisa Jacquin of Collegeville, Pa., clinched the third-placed ribbon (0-0/40.82) aboard Justice, a Dutch Warmblood owned by Dr. Juan Manuel Carmona. “Justice is a very fast horse, and I’m very proud of him. The vertical after the Swedish was where we ran into some problems,” she said. “I got a little stuck in the ground there.”

Animagus, a 9-year-old Holsteiner, owned by Frances Snodgrass and ridden by Engle, trailed Jacquin by a little more than a second. In their grand prix debut, the duo finished a solid fourth (0-0/41.46). After a week of sporadic rain, the grand prix course, designed by Pepe Gamarra, was moved from the grass turf to the all-weather footing in the hunter ring. Fence 13, a triple combination, caused more than half the riders to fault.

“We had a very hard group. We’ve got good riders, middle ability riders and rookies,” said Gamarra. “The highest fence is a five-foot vertical. Since Cleveland is the original grand prix course in North America, we always try to keep this as close to the original as possible, but there was no lion [on course], which would stand out as an obvious threat to the riders.” Eighteen horses started the class. “There weren’t a lot of entries, but they are all good horses and capable of winning a grand prix anywhere,” Engle said.

Engle also beat out the competition in the open jumper speed stake, aboard Shay Griese’s Narem, and the welcome stake, aboard Robert Pergament’s Nobility. And she piloted Narem to the level 6 jumper championship. Mindy Blackford of Mayfield, Ohio, won the NAL/WIHS adult amateur jumper classic aboard Gypsy Rose. “I took my time and tried to be careful in the first round so I went clear. During the second round I kept her on a huge stride,” she said. “She jumped sideways instead of going straight on so we kept an open stride and angled all of the fences.” Blackford also claimed the fourth- and fifth-placed finishes aboard Foul Play and On The Edge, respectively.

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Samantha Cosma Segedy of Aurora, Ohio, claimed the blue ribbon in the low junior/amateur-owner jumper classic aboard Hudson Equestrian Center’s 17-year-old Manhattan Skyline for the second consecutive year. “He finally started to grow up, and I grew up; we grew together,” Segedy said. “There were times I thought I never wanted to ride him again, and now he’s my best friend.”

Segedy’s family has owned Manhattan Skyline since he was 2. “He has been the most difficult horse I’ve ever had to deal with, hands down,” she said. “He has a very strong spirit, and it took a long time to find out what he wanted and that I had to work with him rather than against him.”

Jennifer Waxman of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, claimed the tricolor in the children’s hunter, 14 and under, division aboard Christy Russo’s The Frog Prince as well as the reserve championship aboard her own Infamous. She also claimed the championship and reserve in the large pony hunters aboard American Dreams and Burburry, respectively.

Waxman, who has been riding since she was 5, shut out the competition in the me-dium pony hunters aboard Harry Winston while also claiming the reserve title in the small ponies aboard Whitney Roper’s Strike A Pose. In addition, she scored the small/medium green pony hunter championship aboard Ashland Farm’s Cloudy Bay. “I was hoping to place in the ribbons,” she said, “but I didn’t think I’d do this well!”

“Jennifer gets excited about competing,” said Diane Waxman of her 12-year-old daughter. “She works really hard. Riding is definitely a passion for her right now. She sets pretty high goals, and she’s happy whether she wins or loses.” When asked what advice she would offer her peers, she said, “Make sure you have fun!”

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