Last year, Emily Moffitt (GBR) realized every rider’s worst nightmare when she lost her top horse to an accident in the show ring.
Competing in the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Ocala in Ocala, FL, Moffitt and For Sale 6 fell at the second last jump. The 11-year-old Westfalian mare suffered a fractured elbow and was later humanely euthanized.
This week, Moffitt is back in the headlines—this time for decidedly happier reasons.
Riding Tipsy du Terral, the 19-year-old rider beat a field of 44 to claim the first Grand Prix of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL on Sunday—the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix.
“Last year was a rough year,” admitted Moffitt, “so I’m glad to come back here and immediately start off on the right foot—it means more to me than most people would think. It’s a nice feeling to be back.”
Moffitt’s strategy for the 15-horse jump off: put the pedal to the metal.
“I figured I’d just go as fast as I could,” said the England-based rider. “I know she’s a fast horse, but she’s also a really big horse, so coming to the double I saw a distance that wasn’t super close to the jump, but I figured why not, it’s going to save some time and it ended up working in my favor. I’m happy she’s as careful as she is.”
The risk paid off. Moffitt and “Tipsy” stopped the clock at 35.508 seconds, nearly two seconds faster than runner up, Mattias Tromp.
The excellently monikered mare is a relatively new mount for Moffitt. She bought the 11-year-old Selle Francais in the summer of 2017, but the horse competed under her trainer, Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher of Great Britain, throughout the fall. Moffitt has just taken over the reins after a seven-week break from riding.
“Maybe I should take some vacations more often,” quipped the young rider.
Just don’t expect her to see her relaxing poolside anytime soon. Moffitt is competing 15 horses at the Winter Equestrian Festival this year.
“I’m pretty busy,” she said. “I have a few new horses. I’m going to focus on getting to know them, so by the end hopefully I’ll be at the top level with them all and ready for the summer in Europe.”
Second place in the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix went to 23-year-old Tromp (USA) and his new mount Chicago Hof Eversem Z with a time of 37.323 seconds. McLain Ward (USA) and HH Gigi’s Girl took third in 37.713 seconds.