Show Jumping

Zazou Hoffmann: From Rookie to Front Runner in a Little Over a Year

@FEI/ Lindsey Long

A year ago August, Zazou Hoffmann made her World Cup debut at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC.

On Saturday night, the 27-year-old shot straight to the top of the West Coast Sub-League rankings, winning the fifth leg of the 2018/2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League in Del Mar. It’s an accomplishment nothing short of remarkable.

Thirty-four horses and riders contested the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Del Mar in California. Clear rounds were few and far between in the Marina Azevedo (BRA) designed 1.60m course.

Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes, 22nd in the start order, proved it could be done, producing the first faultless performance of the night at Del Mar Fairgrounds. Three more riders would add their names to the jump off roster by the end of the first round: Hoffman, Georgina Bloomberg, and Nicole Shahinian-Simpson.

But it would be Hoffman and the 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding Samson II who would prevail.

Second to contest the shortened track, the American rider took her cue from the Brazilian Olympian.

“I think I based my plan off of watching Eduardo,” said Hoffmann, who crossed the timers in 41.68 seconds with a double clear.

“I hadn’t really considered how fast or not I was going to go. After watching him, I realized I was going to have to be quite quick. I’ve ridden a lot of jump-offs this year on Samson with four faults, and I know that I can trust him and go fast, but it’s just that fine line of risking too much. I did one extra stride than Eduardo to first line, and then my turn backs were quite tight. I took a little bit of a risk to the wall, and that’s where I think I saved a little bit of time.”

Only Shahinian-Simpson would come close to catching Hoffmann and Sampson. Last to go, she and the hot blooded Akuna Mattata had the time, stopping the clock at 41.15 seconds, but were relegated to fourth with a rail at the last.

With 12 points earned in Vancouver in August this year and her win in Del Mar, Hoffman now sits atop the top of the west coast sub-league standings with 32 points.

“I just have a lot of amazing things to say about the horse and how lucky I am to have him,” said Hoffman. “He gave great efforts and helped me out everywhere he needed to be…he was just incredible.”

Menezes and Quintol took second. Bloomberg and Chameur, third.