Friday, May. 24, 2024

Irish Hunt Hustles To Win At Country Heir I

David Beisel goes all-out in a big jump-off.

David Beisel knew he would have to be very quick if he wanted to win the $40,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix, the finale of Country Heir I, June 11-15 in Lexington, Ky.

The jump-off became quite a race after 16 horses and riders solved the first-round problems in Pierre Jolicouer’s course. The only thing to do was go fast and hope the jumps stayed up. Beisel knew speed would not be a problem for Irish Hunt.
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David Beisel goes all-out in a big jump-off.

David Beisel knew he would have to be very quick if he wanted to win the $40,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix, the finale of Country Heir I, June 11-15 in Lexington, Ky.

The jump-off became quite a race after 16 horses and riders solved the first-round problems in Pierre Jolicouer’s course. The only thing to do was go fast and hope the jumps stayed up. Beisel knew speed would not be a problem for Irish Hunt.

The 12-year-old Thoroughbred has all the speed in the world, but control could be a problem. In the welcome stakes a few days earlier, Beisel went so fast he blew right past a jump. He would have to ride a fine line between reasonable caution and a runaway.

Beisel was most concerned about the one-stride combination. The bulk of the field had done six strides to the A element. Beisel did it in seven. “He doesn’t jump in and back up well,” he said. He knew, however, that he could make up time after the B element. Irish Hunt needed no urging; he landed out of the combination and took off like a shot, easily making up the time lost to the added stride. He ended up winning the class by .3 seconds.

Beisel, who operates David Beisel Stables near Cincinnati, Ohio, got Irish Hunt from Dennis Murphy three years ago. “He started out as a show hunter with Kenny Wheeler,” Beisel said. “He was a little sassy now and then, so Dennis got him as a jumper, and I picked up the reins from there.” Beisel enjoys the ride on Irish Hunt courtesy of his mother, Carlie Beisel, who owns the horse, and his sponsor, Devoucoux saddles.

Only one horse-rider combination caught Irish Hunt’s time—the defending champion from last year, S&L Willie, with Tracy Fenney up. But their hopes for a repeat victory came to grief at the same combination that Beisel had worried about. A rail down there left them in 12th.

Fenney, who also finished fifth and sixth with MTM Centano and Grace, was philosophical about the defeat. “It’s a bummer, but that’s part of it,” she said.

Quite The Hullabaloo

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Fenney might not have won the grand prix, but she conquered in the $15,000 ASG Software Solutions USHJA International Hunter Derby riding Hullabaloo.

Country Heir Tidbits

•    Jennifer Waxman and Shakira prevailed in the Showjumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Waxman, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, first tried Shakira a little over a year ago but felt the explosive mare was too green for her. She sat on the horse again this past winter and found the mare had matured tremendously under the tutelage of Keean White.
       
Much of Shakira’s progress can be attributed to her combination of intelligence and willingness. “She might be the fastest- learning horse I’ve ever ridden. Everything we teach her, she learns in a second,” said Waxman, 16, who trains with Ken and Emily Smith. Add to the mix innate caution and a great deal of speed, and Shakira’s a natural winner.

“She’s a fighter. She never gives up,” said Waxman. “And she can go really, really fast.”

•    Cincinnati, Ohio, amateur Claire Lindner rode her 8-year-old gelding Hush to the championship in the amateur-owner hunter, 18-35, division. “My trainer, Tom Wright, came up with the name because he kind of floats across the ground,” she said.
       
Lindner bought Hush two years ago as an investment horse but soon came to love him. “He’s got a bit of an attitude, and he takes that into the ring in a positive way. He really wants to win,” she said.
       
Hush, still very green, was a handful at first, but has improved every day. “He used to take me, and I’d use no leg at all. I’d just kind of balance on the reins all the time,” she said. “Now he’s so made that he lets me leg him and keep him together, packaged, without getting angry about it.”

Normally amateur rider and owner Therese Peck would have ridden in the derby, but family matters called her home that weekend. “She has a little kid, a year and a half old,” Fenney said. “So she said, ‘I’ll split with you whatever he makes.’ And I said, ‘Sure.’ ” Fenney and Peck will share a payout of $4,500, not bad for a few minutes’ work.

Fenney has ridden in several of the new hunter derbies this year and loves the concept. “They used the whole stadium,” she said of Saurday night’s track. “They jumped up on the bank and jumped a jump up on top of the grass. Some horses had a little bit of a problem with it, but most of them were pretty good.” A huge crowd turned out for the evening event, filling the VIP tent to overflowing.

In the derby, Fenney defeated Katherine Newman and Almelo, a pair who has made the hunter derbies their specialty. Almelo and Newman won the derby at the Devon Horse Show (Pa.) in May.

Newman also earned a pair of catch-ride championships in the junior hunter divisions, riding Mimi Abel-Smith’s Almelo to the large junior, 16-17, tricolor and the new catch-ride Cool Blue to the small
junior, 16-17, title.

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Newman shows Almelo in the juniors when Abel-Smith—who shows him in the amateur-owner divison—can’t be at the shows, and always appreciates the opportunity. “He’s just so easy, and he’ll jump anything you point him at,” she said. “All the time he’s the same, just so simple, and he’s really sweet.”

Newman, who trains with her parents at the family’s homes in Florida and Virginia, got the ride a few weeks ago on Cool Blue while the gelding’s owner, Paris Sellon, competed in Canada. “She was nice enough to let me show him for Upperville [Va.] and the two weeks here,” said Newman. “He’s just such a great horse—he’s my new favorite.”

Winning Roads

Mary Margaret Kron and Greenwich Avenue led the victory lap in the children’s/adult hunter classic and topped the children’s hunter, 14 and under, division. Kron, 13, borrowed her friend Rachel DeGabrielle’s horse for the event.

“She’s letting me ride him this summer. He’s awesome—I love him.” said Kron, who trains with Tim and Kelly Goguen near her Cincinnatti, Ohio, home.

The temporary fencing that screened off the schooling area from the ring was removed for the classic, making one huge ring. Course designer Brandon King used all of it, giving riders a chance to let their horses go a little. “It’s nice to have an open ring like that to ride in. You just go out there and gallop,” said Kron. Not only did the course allow riders to gallop, it required that they do so. “You had to get the open canter going or you weren’t going to make it up the lines,” Kron said.

Barnmate Ande Farish of Versailles, Ky., earned the small junior, 15 and under, championship with the Lane’s End entry Cape Town. Farish bought Cape Town last fall at the Capital Challenge (Md.).

“He’s really comfortable, and he’s a lot of fun. I trust him over the jumps every time,” said Farish, who trains with the Goguens. “We fell in love with him when we saw him, and when we tried him. He is perfect at every spot I get him to. He’s always there.”

Matt Hinton

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