It’s been a month since Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita took home the bronze medal at the 2023 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska—the only rider to finish on the podium or in the top-10 for the USA.
One month later, the pair hasn’t wasted any time proving it was anything but a fluke.
In their first outing since Omaha, Holloway and Pepita proved uncatchable in Sunday’s $200,000 Empire State Grand Prix, presented by Old Salem Farm, in New York, using their longtime partnership to full advantage.
On Sunday, May 21, Holloway sliced and diced her way to victory over the 1.55m Alan Wade (IRL)-designed course, beating out a field of 31 competitors to stop the clock at 39.40 seconds. Mark Bluman of Colombia was second with Ubiluc on a very close 39.97 seconds, while Mimi Gochman (USA) and Celina BH took third on 41.50.
“I had plenty of fast riders coming after me, so my plan was to just lay down the fastest, cleanest, round I could,” said Holloway, who found herself the pathfinder in the jump-off.
Pepita Con Spita is more than a fun name to say. Holloway and the 12-year-old Westphalian mare have been paired since 2019. In that time, they’ve earned 20 podium finishes highlights by 11 wins, and nearly 664,400 euro in prize money, according to Jumpr App. She took Holloway to her first championship, the World Cup Final in Leipzig in 2021, and to her first championship medal in 2022 as well as her first 5* Grand Prix win in Saugerties, NY last September.
“I know my horse very well, and we have a great partnership,” added Holloway. “She’s naturally quick over the ground. I have a lot of trust in her and just put pedal to the metal.”