$36,500 Murieta Inn, Spa & Restaurant 1.45m FEI Class
A packed house on Friday night at the Murieta Equestrian Center was treated to a fantastic speed class, the $36,500 Murieta Inn, Spa & Restaurant 1.45m FEI Class. 34 entries took to the grand prix arena to race the clock around Olaf Petersen Jr.'s course consisting of 14 jumping efforts including two double combinations.
Faults were spread around the course as riders pushed the pedal to the metal, but many of the fantastic horses went clear and lightning fast as the crowd cheered them on. In the end, the "master of faster" Richard Spooner lived up to his name, piloting Arthos R to the win.
"Arthos R has been a spectacular addition to the team," said Spooner of the 13-year-old bay KWPN gelding. "He's like riding an equitation horse. He's one of the easiest horses I've ever had the opportunity to ride. That's key in an indoor ring in a speed class like this to have a horse that's rideable because you can make those inside turns and you don't have any concern over the outcome. He was just really good tonight."
Coming in just half a second over Spooner's time was Karrie Rufer aboard Mai Tai, a bay 9-year-old-Westphalian gelding owned by Morning Star Sporthorses. And rounding out the podium in third place was Carly Anthony riding Clochard, a bay 10-year-old stallion owned by Stephex Stables.
$36,500 Grand Prix Qualifier 1.50m FEI Class
Thursday night saw 53 entries in the $36,500 FEI Grand Prix Qualifier at Sacramento International World Cup™ Week. The first round course designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany consisted of 16 jumping efforts including one double and one triple combination. It proved challenging for many horses and riders, but eight pairs were able to complete the course with no rails down.
The jump off round was phenomenal, with exceptional efforts from horses and riders. Eduardo Menezes, Wilhelm Glenn, Eric Navet, Karrie Rufer, Kenneth Vinther, and Jennifer Gates each treated the audience to flawless jump off rides, all within seconds of each other. Then Karl Cook blazed across the timer with the fastest time to that point, but had the last rail down.
Last to ride the short course was Nayel Nassar riding Lucifer V, owned by Evergate Stables. This new combination proved they have what it takes to compete on the international stage, turning in the fastest time of the night to take the champion title in the competitive field.
"I'm still getting to know him," said Nassar of the 12-year-old bay Westphalian gelding. "He's got his own kind of way, he kind of bounces off the walls... but he's really quick and he's super competitive. He's such a fighter. He's got his own character, but he likes the job, he knows the job and he's good at the job." Nassar would like to thank Evergate Stables for giving him the ride on Lucifer V.
Karrie Rufer rode Mai Tai, a 9-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Morning Star Sporthorses, to a second place finish. In third place was Eduardo Menezes riding H5 Quintol, a 13-year-old grey Oldenburg gelding owned by H5 Sport Horses.
There is plenty of show jumping left to enjoy. On Saturday and Sunday, all indoor arena classes will be broadcast live at www.jumpsacto.com, with the exception of the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento. To watch that event, go to tv.fei.org. To attend the event in person, purchase tickets here.
Make sure to visit the Riding Warehouse booth, located on the main berm of the Grand Prix arena, in between between rounds. With 20% off qualifying items and buy two, get one free on select saddle pads, you won't want to miss this opportunity to meet the friendly team!