October 28, 2023 — “If not now, when?” That’s what Katie Dinan (USA) said to herself as she turned to the in-and-out during the jump-off and saw the “very forward” distance. She decided to trust herself and that distance. Her daring paid off as she galloped to victory in the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ CSI5*-W Saturday night.
Dinan was the last rider to test the jump-off track in the highlight of the Washington International Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland October 23-29, 2023. The class is a North American League qualifier for the 2024 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final. That event will be held April 16-24, 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Of the 24 horse and riders who jumped the first round, eight went clear and returned to the eight-fence jump-off. In the jump-off, Dinan and Brego jumped clear in 33.5 seconds. Thursday night Welcome Stake winners Rene Dittmer (GER) and Corsica X placed second with a clear jump-off round in 34.4 seconds. And Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue came in third, going clear in 34.74 seconds. For complete results, click here.
The course was designed by Bernardo Cabral. The first round had 12 numbered fences and 15 jumping efforts.
“The course was very fair. It’s a five star, so I need 1.60-meter verticals and 1.52-meter oxers. It was nice for the riders,” Cabral said. “They had space to get to the jumps. They had time to ride. I think I was a little kind today, but the height was there. It was a real five star. I think the horses jumped beautifully.”
After the third horse went in the first round, Cabral increased the time allowed from 61 seconds to 63. “I hate to change the time allowed. We try to measure it as accurately as we can. And after having two clears of the first three, it would be very easy for me not to change the time allowed. But I thought for the speed [350 meters per minute], especially because I left not much room for them to finish the round after number 12, I thought it was fair to give a couple seconds just to let them breathe a little bit. … I was in peace with myself.”
Katie Dinan and Brego R’N B
Dinan described her jump-off strategy with the 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, whom she called “a gentle giant.” She’d reviewed the jump-off with her longtime coach Beat Mändli, who won Friday night’s Speed Final. They watched Dittmer go, and Mändli said, “‘OK. You can’t really waste any time. If you want to win, you have to do everything. Don’t get stressed 1-2-3, and then really try to take the first one you see at the blue on the angle. Keep moving, don’t worry about what shows up. As soon as you start to think about setting up, you’re going to be too slow.’”
After taking the shot at the in-and-out, which was the fifth and sixth jumping efforts in the jump-off, Dinan said she was lucky that a good distance appeared to the last line. “I kept on moving, and there was a lot of noise from the crowd, and I saw my distance. I thought, ‘This is a lot more forward than it’s supposed to be.’ Brego sprouted wings, and it was a good ending. I wish I could tell you it was perfectly executed, but it was more hats off to my horse.”
Dinan Working to Improve Speed
Dinan said she has been working on improving her speed in the jump-offs. “I really tried to push myself to try to win these classes and take the risk … and not going for the more conservative, like, definitely go for it clear, get a really nice placing but have higher expectations, and know that my horse can do it.”
Describing Brego, Dinan said, “Sometimes he’ll stand in the back of his stall, and I think he’s meditating. He doesn’t want to be disturbed. The people he knows, he’s really loving to on the ground. He’s had the same groom, Lou Beudin, since we got him five years ago, and he loves her so much. They’re a really great pair.
“Consistency for him makes the difference,” Dinan continued. “When you ride him, I’d say he’s similar. He really likes to take care of his rider and do the right thing.”
Rene Dittmer and Corsica X
Dittmer won both the $78,000 Welcome Stake and the $40,000 Accumulator Costume Class on Thursday. “The week started very well with two wins on Thursday. It could not have started better and kept going,” he said. “Yesterday fifth place [in the Speed Final] and today was unbelievable. I can’t be more proud of my horse.”
The German rider said in Saturday’s jump-off, he took the safer option to the last line with Corsica X, an 18-year-old Oldenburg mare. Even still, “I’m still happy with my second place today. It was an amazing jump-off.”
And of riding at the Washington International Horse Show for the first time, he said, “It’s great to come in here because it’s such a great atmosphere. The spectators really cheer you on. It’s a super good feeling to come into this indoor. I really love it.”
Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue
Ryan said that his 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding jumped great. “He jumped the second round and even felt looser and even better. I’m very grateful that I have such a good animal, and he’s still going strong. I’ve had him since he was 4 years old. Hopefully it keeps on going, and he has a few more years in him at this level.”
He added that the ring at The Show Place Arena is rounded, “so it really pushes you in and makes the jumps come up a little quick. That’s what really gives it the technicality, the shape and the size of the arena.”
When asked to describe his longtime partner, Ryan said with a smile, “Honestly, I have to say he’s not much of a people person. He doesn’t like other horses. He’s a bit of a grouch in the barn, but he loves carrots. You become his best friend as soon as you walk in the stall with a carrot for him.”
The Washington International in Upper Marlboro
This is the second year the Washington International Horse Show is at Prince George’s Equestrian Center. “The secret is really that everybody’s getting behind this,” said Vicki Lowell, president of the Washington International. “Everybody—the county, the sponsors, the local media, the media in D.C.—the support that we had across the board is phenomenal. Just even to see also the kids today, and everybody is turning up because I think that they want to see the horses in this area.”
Thanks to Cosequin® for our coverage of the 2023 Washington International Horse Show, including competition reports, photos, videos and more.