Omaha, Neb.—May 6
Tracy Fenney isn’t known for taking it easy when she’s riding against the clock. And today she lived up to her speedy reputation at the Omaha International, riding MTM Reve du Paradis to the top of the $40,000 Mutual Of Omaha Bank speed class.
Midway through the order of go, Fenney sliced every turn she could find in the Century Link Arena to lay down a time no one could catch.
“You never know [if your time will hold up],” said Fenney, Flower Mound, Texas. “There are so many fast horses and riders. If it’s your day to win, it’s your day. It’s a thrill to win with all the people here. There’s so much adrenaline.”
One of those fast horse-and-rider combinations, longtime partners Centurion B and Lisa Goldman, nearly caught Fenney, but had to settle for second, ahead of fellow speed demon Christian Heineking and AJE Cluny.
Alan Wade built the tracks for tonight’s 1.45-meter class, and rails fell all over the course, especially at the delicate bicycle fence two from home. Most of the entries compete in primarily national-level grand prix competitions, and Fenney pointed out they don’t get much chance to practice this format.
“We don’t do speed classes at a [non-Fédération Equestre Internationale] show,” she said. “Juniors and amateurs have them, but grand prix riders don’t. So we don’t get to practice going in and having to really go for it right from the start. They’re very crowd-friendly.”
Fenney paired up with the 11-year-old Selles Français by Crown Z nearly exactly a year ago.
“I tried him Thursday, vetted him Friday, paid for him Saturday morning and won a grand prix on him Saturday afternoon,” she said. “That’s sort of a tough way to start out though, to have it go so well at the start.”
With the 2017 FEI World Cup Show Jumping and Dressage Finals hosted at the venue, this year’s edition serves as a de facto test event. But first timers Fenney and Goldman were drawn first and foremost by the show’s reputation as a well-run competition in a horse-friendly facility.
“The show has grown every year,” said Heineking, who’s been coming since the beginning. “Everyone in the town seems to get behind it.”
Show jumpers will return tomorrow for the $130,000 Burlington Capital Omaha International Grand Prix, which will be streaming live at 8p.m. on the USEF Network.
For full analysis and coverage from the International Omaha, check out the May 30 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse.