Germany’s Katrin Eckermann won the Longines Global Champions Tour Miami Beach Grand Prix (Florida) on Saturday aboard 9-year-old Cala Mandia in the mare’s first CSI5* start.
From 34 starters who tackled designer Uliano Vezzani’s technical and intricate course, six made it to the final jump-off. Second to go, U.S.-based Irish rider Shane Sweetnam and his Tokyo Olympic partner Alejandro stopped the clocks at 35.73 seconds—fast enough to take the lead and hold it until almost the end. But last in were Eckermann and Cala Mandia (Capistrano 2—Vicky, Valentino 240) who, with a bold rollback turn, stopped the clock a second faster than Sweetnam to triumph. The pair risked it to the last at a flat-out gallop, and Eckermann punched the air while the Miami Beach, Florida, crowd erupted in cheers.
“She’s 9 years old, and it was her first five-star grand prix, and she jumped amazing,” Eckermann said of the Westphalian mare, who has been with her since age 6 and is owned by Christian Glanemann. “I don’t have pressure on my horses as they are so young, and I just enjoy being in the team, and hopefully we will have a great season. I had a great start.”
Sweetnam took second while young talent Gilles Thomas of Belgium took third place with Luna van het Dennehof to secure his first-ever LGCT.
The class was the final one of the three-day LGCT of Miami Beach, held April 14-16.
Watch Eckermann’s winning jump-off: