November 3, 2017—19-year-old Emily Moffitt finished ahead of Olympic gold medalists Laura Kraut and Beezie Madden in a 14-horse jump-off in last night’s $130,000 CP Grand Prix at the CP National Horse Show in Lexington. The competition was the qualifier for Saturday’s $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Riding Hilfiger van de Olmenhoeve, Emily wound up with a clocking of 35.70 in the tie-breaker, beating Laura on her dependable gray, Confu (36.99) and Beezie aboard a newer mount for her, the cute as a button Darry Lou (37.26).
Here are six class highlights:
- Before the jump-off in the Alltech Arena, Emily’s trainer, Olympic gold medalist Ben Maher, told her to pull out all the stops: “I was thinking maybe to save [her horse] for big grand prix on Saturday, but Ben said to go for it, don’t pull, hope for the best,” said Emily. The Belgian warmblood, nicknamed Tommy (for Hilfiger, get it?), “was with me the whole way.”
- Emily is from the West Coast but competes for Great Britain, a decision she made earlier this year. At the time, Emily, whose father is British and mother is American, explained, “I wasn’t getting very many opportunities for any American teams. I only jumped on one junior team. I’m always in England … and also, I feel a little bit more English than American.”
- Emily previously rode with Laura Kraut and her partner, Nick Skelton (yet another Olympic gold medalist), who found Tommy for her. “We thought he was a lovely horse but he always just jumped what he had to,” Laura recalled. “You wouldn’t have known he would go and do what he’s done for her.”
- Emily is making her first appearance at the National in a carefully planned agenda that sees her going back to the West Coast next week. Will she be part of major championships next year? It’s a possibility. << Listen to her strategy here >>
- Michel Vaillancourt designed last night’s course that looked challenging, but things didn’t go as expected. “It rode pretty easily compared to how it walked,” said Laura, predicting there won’t be as many clear rounds Saturday night.
- Not everyone had an easy time. The world’s number one rider, Kent Farrington, dropped a rail at the first fence with the otherwise reliable Gazelle, and Mario Deslauriers logged 16 faults with Westbrook, while three-time World Cup champion Rodrigo Pessoa had three rails.
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