It was a star-studded second round in Saturday night’s $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington at the 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), where U.S. show jumpers Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut, and Kent Farrington faced off in a thrilling, down-to-the-wire jump-off. Hough and Ohlala took the victory, with Kraut and Confu in second, and Farrington aboard Creedance third.
This was the second major win of the week for Hough and Ohlala, who also earned the top spot in Thursday night’s $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake. “She was incredible the whole week,” Hough said of the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Orlando x Cardento) owned by The Ohlala Group. “Thursday was a really nice warm-up for her. I ended up winning, but I tried not to take every risk in that class with tonight in mind.”
All three riders praised Alan Wade’s course design, which saw 28 starters attempt his first round course, with seven advancing to the jump-off and two double clear rounds in the race against the clock.
“All the stars were lined up for me this week, so I’m thrilled.”
– Lauren Hough
“The horses come from the warm-up into the lights, and the crowd, and the razzmatazz,” Wade remarked. “I tried to build the track up, but problems appeared at certain fences that I was surprised at. I think it was fair. Whether the course was good or bad, they would have provided good sport and entertainment.”
Kraut and St. Bride’s Farm’s Confu were first to clear the jump-off track without fault in 37.80 seconds for their eventual second place finish. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Quister, followed by Kent Farrington and R.C.G. Farm’s Creedance both had the same fence down in the last line, finishing with four faults a piece. Madden’s time of 36.89 seconds took fourth place, and Farrington’s blazing time of 34.28 seconds placed third. Last to go, Hough and Ohlala were clear, topping Kraut’s time to take the win in 36.56 seconds.
“I was really lucky to be able to go last,” Hough continued. “In the first round, she touched a couple and then jumped the end of the course very well. Then I was able to see Kent go in the jump-off, who took every risk, I thought, and ended up having one down. I saw the difference in time between Kent and Laura, and I thought it was smarter to ride the round that I thought suited my horse.
I did one more step in the first line and also in the last line than everybody else, but she is very quick across the ground. All the stars were lined up for me this week, so I’m thrilled.”
Hough has been second in the WIHS Grand Prix multiple times, but never took the win until now, earning critical points to qualify for this year’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha, Nebraska.
“I haven’t ridden in a World Cup Final in some years and I think Ohlala is very suited for the format, so I am making it a big priority to try to qualify.”
Kraut and Farrington also have the Longines FEI World Cup Finals on their agendas for the coming season, and this week’s competition was a great experience for both of their young horses. Kraut’s mount, Confu, is a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contact Me x Cambridge), and she was delighted by his progress this week.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I have never jumped him indoors. He is not particularly quick; he is a little bit slow in the air, and he is still a little slow across the ground. My goal was to be double clear, and when I saw the line-up, my ultimate goal was to be third because I knew Ohlala and Creedance are for sure faster than he could be.
I ended up getting lucky because Kent had one down. I was very happy with second, and I am very happy for Lauren and Lala.”
Commenting on his night with Creedance, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris), Farrington said, “I think he has made great progress. He is a very special horse, and I think every round he is getting better.
I wasn’t able to really watch anybody go after the first one in the jump-off, and I heard Laura was clear and pretty quick, so I just tried to do a fast round. I was competing for the win, and you have one of the fastest indoor horses going last, so at that point I was just trying to do what I thought would be a very competitive round and put a lot of pressure on Lauren at the end of the class.
I think with his experience I should have slowed down before the last line. It is a work in progress, but we are improving. I was disappointed with the result, but very happy with my horse.”