After Todd Minikus had turned and burned around the jump-off course of the $75,000 Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National CSI-W, it didn’t look like anyone could catch him. Until Up Chiqui and Kent Farrington came into the ring.
Farrington set Up Chiqui alight, shaving every turn and slicing every angle, causing the crowd to gasp. On the long gallop to the last oxer, Farrington went all-out and as Up Chiqui skimmed over the rails, the crowd roared. They’d stopped the timers more than a second faster than Minikus and taken the win.
Invincible was just that today, Oct. 18, at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Ellen Toon rode the flashy bay gelding to the grand amateur-owner and amateur-owner, 36 & over hunter championships.
“He’s just super easy,” Toon said. “He always tries to be good and he tries so hard at the jumps.” Toon and “Shaq” earned a second, third and fourth over fences and a fourth in the under saddle before winning the final stakes class to clinch the tricolor.
The $25,000 Pennsylvania Big Jump was a bit of a drama-filled event. Veterans McLain Ward and Goldika 559 prevailed in a three-horse jump-off over young up-and-comers Brianne Goutal and Michael Morrissey.
But there was a lot of action in the first round, too. Course designer Michel Vaillancourt built a really tough triple combination, with a triple-bar in, two tight strides to a vertical and another tight one stride to another vertical. The B and C elements of this combination fell like rain all night.
Taylor Land added individual gold to her Zone 4 Prix des States team gold tonight, Oct. 11. She came into the final phase of the four-round competition in the lead, with just 2.07 penalties to her name. She’d earned those penalties points by placing fourth in the welcome speed round, but was the only double-clear round the second night in the Nations Cup format of the team competition.
“I was nervous when I watched the first few go, but when I got on, I kind of told myself, ‘Whatever happens, happens,' ” Land, 16, said. “Everything came up very fast tonight.”
Little sisters frequently get their older sisters’ hand-me-downs. Abbie Ross isn’t complaining—she got the winning pony jumper TNT from her older sister, Lillie.
Lillie had done her share of winning on TNT, including the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) circuit championship, but Abbie proved she wasn’t to be outdone by winning the NAL Pony Jumper Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show on Oct. 9.
Sarah Ward laughed when she remembered the first time she tried Onassis. “He’s really springy. When I picked up the trot, I almost fell off!” she said. She’s come a long way since then, riding the flashy bay to the grand junior and large junior, 16-17 hunter championships at the Pennsylvania National on Oct. 9-10 in Harrisburg, Pa.
This grumpy gray gelding gave the Burke family two decades of grand memories.
There’s a tree marking Ifeel Like A Snake’s grave at Charlie and Dana Burke’s farm in Franklin, Tenn. It’s not a flowering tree or a graceful willow—it’s a holly tree. “We planted holly because it’s prickly, like him!” said Dana, Charlie’s wife.
The aptly named Ifeel Like A Snake was just as famous for his snarky attitude as he was for his longevity and talent.