Photo By: Shawn McMillen Photography
Lexington, KY – November 2, 2013 – The demanding coursework required of a Harvard University student is enough to keep anyone busy. Now imagine adding competing at the international grand prix level to that schedule. Juggling the two is hectic, but for Katie Dinan it is paying off in a big way.
Dinan flew in for the Alltech National Horse Show on Wednesday, and by Saturday she was at the top of the leader board. After piloting her veteran mount Nougat Du Vallet to a flawless double clear effort in the challenging Alltech $250,000 Grand Prix CSI-W 5* presented by LIFEFORCE ELITE, Dinan will return to Harvard with a big check and valuable points in the World Cup standings.
Thirty-six of the world’s top horse and rider combinations took center stage in the Alltech Arena this evening as the highlight event got underway. Course designer Conrad Homfeld challenged riders with large fences and technical lines that led to a four-horse jump-off.
The pathfinder during the second round was McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, with Sagamore Farms’ Rothchild. The pair flew around the short course, easily leaving out strides and taking all of the inside options. Their luck ran out though as they galloped to the final vertical, incurring four faults in a time of 42.06 seconds, which would hold up for fourth place.
Dinan watched her trainer’s round carefully and decided to give it everything she had with Nougat Du Vallet, while also being careful enough to leave each rail intact. She left out a stride down one of the last lines, but chose to do the correct number to double combination. Her plan proved to be the perfect answer to the test and she finished in 44.85 seconds, which would hold up for the win.
“I thought I was very fast, but I didn’t leave the ring thinking I had won the class,” noted Dinan. “You can always look back and find little moments where you could have been quicker. I think that if McLain had left all of the jumps up, at least with my time now, he would have beaten me, but I probably would have gone a little faster, too.”
Katie Dinan and Nougat Du Vallet
Dinan added, “I’m obviously really excited. My horse was jumping great, and he was unbelievable in the first round. Since there were only four in the jump-off, I knew that this was really a moment for me to take a shot, and I had nothing to lose.”
Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts was tasked with trying to best Dinan’s time riding Cortez for his father, Ludo Philippaerts. He had a conservative gallop to the first fence, but started making up time by taking all of the inside turns. His clear round came close, but not close enough, breaking the beam at 45.02 seconds for second place.
“I think McLain was fast, and Katie also went super fast,” said Philippaerts. “I tried to ride as fast as I could. I think I did one stride too many to the wall. I think that was where I lost the most time. When they go fast, you have to go fast, and it’s only moments you have to decide what you do.”
Nicola Philippaerts and Cortez
The final rider to show was Russia’s Ljubov Kochetova with Aslan, and while they did keep the rails in the their cups, Dinan was able to celebrate her victory when Kochetova took the outside turn midway through her effort, leading to a time of 46.42 seconds and the third place award.
“I wanted to try and be clear and fast,” commented Kochetova. “I haven’t jumped a lot of jump offs in difficult competitions. I am so happy that I have a double clear. I was trying to go fast, but I have third place and I am happy.”
Dinan was thrilled to add this exciting victory to her resume, and it made leaving school early this week well worth it. “This month has been a little bit hectic,” she admitted. “The great thing is when you have nights like this, it makes it all seem worth it. When you don’t, it kind of makes you wonder what you’re doing. I wasn’t able to do the classes at the beginning of the week, but I’ve been trying to do as many Indoors as I can because I have a good string of horses, and I feel like my horses are going well. I want to try to maximize that, but at the same time I am a little bit busy going back and forth with school.”
“Nougat Du Vallet is unbelievable,” she concluded. “He tries his heart out. He’s been my main horse for the last two years. I’ve been moving up and he’s been doing a lot. It’s his last show of the year, and to finish on a moment like this is unbelievable. He’s allowed me to accomplish a lot of my goals, while at the same time being competitive, and super forgiving of my mistakes. I love him!”
Katie Dinan and Nougat Du Vallet are presented with their first place prize from the $250,000 Alltech National Grand Prix by Dr. Pearse Lyons and Mason Phelps, Jr.
Kochetova’s consistent top placings throughout the week also helped her win the Martha W. Jolicoeur Leading Lady Jumper Rider Award at the end of the evening. “I am so happy,” she commented. “I was happy with my other horse [Wilford 2] because he’s my new horse and we don’t have a lot of experience. He jumped with me for the first time indoors. I’ve jumped here for the last several years and I really like this show – it has good organization, a big ring and very good footing.”
Philippaerts also scored top honors during the Alltech National Horse Show, winning the Audi Leading Rider Award. “I think it is super,” he expressed. “I think the last two classes made it up for me. I was second yesterday, and today second again. It’s super to be leading rider of such a beautiful show. I really am going to enjoy it.”
Alltech Founder Dr. Pearse Lyons concluded, “Boy that was exciting! This year we decided that we needed to do something different, and that somehow or another we would engage the city of Lexington. We are delighted that the city has responded, and that so many businesses have responded. There was passion, there was fun, there was engagement. I don’t know anywhere in the world where you can get footing, stadiums or barn after barn and demonstration after demonstration. It certainly wasn’t me, but whoever built the horse park way back, that made this event really come into a whole new level.”
Frances Land Victorious with Vieanne in $50,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series Championship Grand Prix
In show jumping there is often a focus on the future of the sport and riders that might someday be a part of it. Today at the Alltech National Horse Show, spectators had the opportunity to see the best in the country as they competed during the $50,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series Championship Grand Prix, presented by Elizabeth Miller and The Dinan Family, The Oken Family, The Straus Family, and the Tyree Family.
Twenty-nine riders who worked all year to compete at this event gathered at the Alltech Arena for the first round. Conrad Homfeld’s technical track yielded only five clear rounds, and riders returned for a speedy jump-off that only one would be able to master.
Leah DeMartini of Bronxville, NY, was the first to attempt the shortened course with True Love, owned by Elm Rock LLC. Unfortunately, her round would prove too conservative. After lowering the height of a vertical and crossing the timers after the time allowed, she finished with a total of six faults for fifth place.
Catherine Tyree of Chicago, IL, was up next aboard Wetter, and although they had a better time of 46.801 seconds, a block off of the wall added four faults to their score for fourth place. Michael Hughes of Ocala, FL, aimed at the top spot with Luxina, owned by Christina Fried, but they also had four faults. Their time of 44.612 seconds was good enough for third place.
“When I went in, there still hadn’t been anyone clear,” noted Hughes. “I had seen Catherine, and she had gone pretty fast, so I knew I had to keep it moving the whole time just in case I had a rail. Unfortunately, I had the second jump down, so I decided I had to pick it up a little bit more, so I was a little bit faster than the first two.”
Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, CT, and her own Quidam MB blazed through the shortened course in the fastest time of 43.201 seconds, but the effort resulted in a costly back rail and four faults for second place.
“My horse has a huge stride, but he’s a bit green, especially at this bigger height and when we go fast in the jump-off,” noted Sternlicht. “On the turn back, I had a back rail. At that point I knew I had to keep galloping. He’s so careful that he’s honest to the jumps, so I just tried to go fast.”
When yesterday’s winner Frances Land of Alpharetta, GA, walked into the ring and mounted Vieanne, she knew that all she had to do was leave all the rails intact. In an effort to be careful over each fence, Land kept a conservative pace. Although she crossed the finish line in 48.811 seconds with a single time fault, her perfection over the course captured the victory.
Frances Land and Vieanne
“The course was definitely a bit tougher today; it was bigger, very technical,” admitted Land. “Conrad did a beautiful job setting the course. It was the perfect step up from yesterday. I knew that coming in my horse was going to be a little bit more tired than she was yesterday. So when I was schooling, I tried to amp her up a little bit so she had enough blood left.”
Land continued, “Going last was a huge advantage for me today. I knew that no one had been clean, and my horse is naturally fast. My dad, who trains me, told me to go around everywhere and have a very good base rhythm, go around and be smooth and leave the jumps up. I think I had a time fault because I went a little too wide to the FEI vertical – I was being overly cautious. I was just kind of trusting that she would be fast naturally. Luckily, I didn’t have more time faults!”
As is the case with many jumper mounts, especially mares, Vieanne is very sensitive, and although it means Land has to mount in the ring, it is a quality that works in her favor. “Today she was rearing in the in gate, so we asked if I could just get on in the ring, and that worked for the first round,” stated Land. “It’s always before the class that she gets very excited. She’s a winner. She knows what is waiting in the ring, so she gets really excited.”
Land concluded, “This is the first mare I have ever had a really good bond with. She is a fighter and I love that about her. We get along really well. She challenges me in a lot of ways, and I think I challenge her. For some reason, we are a good combination. Today she was phenomenal; she was with me every step of the way. She always tries and gives me 100 percent. She has more heart than almost any horse I have ever ridden, and it’s really special.”
Tomorrow equitation will take center stage at the Alltech Arena for the 2013 Alfred B. Maclay ASPCA National Championships. Riders have worked throughout the year to qualify for the prestigious event, which will feature 148 junior competitors.
For more information or to view the competition live please visit www.alltechnationalhorseshow.com. Coverage is provided by Shownet.biz, iHigh, and HRTV.
Class 206, $250,000 ALLTECH GRAND PRIX CSI-W
1 307 NOUGAT DU VALLET KATHERINE DINAN 0 0 0 76.090 0 0 0 44.850
2 268 CORTEZ NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS 0 0 0 76.140 0 0 0 45.020
3 241 ASLAN LJUBOV KOCHETOVA 0 0 0 72.040 0 0 0 46.420
4 292 ROTHCHILD MCLAIN WARD 0 0 0 75.570 4 0 4 42.060
5 232 CHILL R Z CHARLIE JAYNE 4 0 4 70.230
6 244 JUBILEE D’OUILLY LAURA KRAUT 4 0 4 72.060
7 258 SLIEVEANORRA RICHIE MOLONEY 4 0 4 73.620
8 347 POLINSKA DES ISLES FRANCOIS MATHY 4 0 4 73.950
9 217 ROYCE MARGIE ENGLE 4 0 4 75.530
10 255 SPECIAL LUX JONATHAN MCCREA 4 0 4 76.990
11 339 QUALITY GIRL TODD MINIKUS 4 0 4 77.430
12 226 UNEX CHAMBERLAIN Z TIM GREDLEY 4 0 4 77.570
Class 255, JR AO JUMPER CHAMPIONSHIP
1 438 VIEANNE FRANCES LAND 0 0 0 75.055 0 1 1 48.811
2 439 QUIDAM MB ADRIENNE STERNLICHT 0 0 0 76.898 4 0 4 43.201
3 421 LUXINA MICHAEL HUGHES 0 0 0 75.380 4 0 4 44.612
4 667 WETTER CATHERINE TYREE 0 0 0 76.230 4 0 4 46.801
5 601 TRUE LOVE LEAH DEMARTINI 0 0 0 75.119 4 2 6 49.863
6 683 PATRIOT LUCAS PORTER 0 2 2 79.767
7 410 CHELLANDO Z KATHERINE STRAUSS 4 0 4 73.340
8 558 DON JUAN VICTORIA COLVIN 4 0 4 73.570
9 364 WINDE KALVIN DOBBS 4 0 4 75.117
10 465 GUNNER MELISSA RUDERSHAUSEN 4 0 4 75.794
11 368 TOTAL TOUCH CAITLIN HOPE 4 0 4 76.115
12 573 NEOLISTO VAN HET MIERENHOF WILTON PORTER 4 0 4 76.595