As Courtney Lenkart studied the course map for the second round of the $25,000 World Champion Hunter Rider Professional Challenge, she flashed back to 2015, the only other time she’d attempted the class at the Capital Challenge, held then in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
“They had that exact same line—a one-stride to an eight-stride,” said the Bartonville, Texas, professional. “My horse landed right—which he never did—and did a swap.”
That year she finished eighth, and like any horse person, she never forgot that almost.
Sitting on top for the second round of the Pro Challenge on La Primera Hacienda LP’s Glorieus, Lenkart thought of that final bending line before stepping into the Sanctuary Ring at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio. But Glorieus quelled any nerves she may have had, since the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Lucky Boy—Toberlina S) is the former 1.40-meter grand prix horse she stole from her husband, Scott Lenkart.
“We originally bought him as a jumper,” Courtney said. “He was jumping huge at 1.40 meters as a 7-year-old stallion. I’m just so confident on him because he can jump 3’6” and 4’ like it’s 3’. He has a huge stride and absolutely no spook, so it makes my job really easy.
Watch their winning ride courtesy of USEF Network:
“He was always the sweetest horse, even when he was a stallion,” Courtney continued. “But sometimes he couldn’t help being a little bit overly excited about things. After he was gelded, he got quiet, settled right into being a hunter, and he really loves it. He enjoys this so much. He loves going slow and jumping slow, and so it’s really been something to see him in the last couple of years.”
And with Maroon 5’s “Memories” doo doo dooing over the speaker, Courtney thought of that memory.
“This time I was like, ‘Hold him left! Make sure in the last line!’ ” said Lenkart.
She got her bending line redemption, topping the Pro Challenge by 3 points over Samantha Schaefer and In The Know.
“My goal has always been to win this class,” she said. “I was a little nervous going into the second round just because I was leading. My horse was so relaxed tonight and felt really good. I was very confident in the schooling area coming in. The second round was very smooth and comfortable. I wanted to win so badly after leading in the first round. I tried to stay very relaxed and just have fun when I went in. Everything came up really smoothly. It’s like a dream come true.”