David Beisel and Ammeretto saved their best for last. After winning the first class they contested during the 2013 Horse Shows by the Bay Series on July 4, they finally picked up their second blue ribbon today during the $30,000 D-Braider Cherry Capital Classic Grand Prix.
“It was worth the wait, for sure,” said Beisel, who also notched his first grand prix win aboard the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Numero Uno–Ranna).
Last also proved to be fortuitous for Beisel in the jump-off, as he watched and waited while six other contenders jumped off before he tackled the course as the final qualifier.
“It was great to be in that position and get to see everyone else go,” he said. “And to know how fast everybody was and whether it was necessary to go inside at the Horse Shows by the Bay Island. I knew that the leader had gone around and that I didn’t have to do that to win.”
The J.P. Godard-designed course drew 18 starters on a misty evening in Traverse City before an appreciative crowd celebrating “Hay Day,” a fundraiser and silent auction for Michigan Horse Welfare, sponsored by Meijer.
Pako and Lillie Ross, grand prix victors during the 2012 series, provided the first clean jump-off performance, with a speedy time of 33.20 seconds, setting the early pace.
Nick Novak and Rendezvous 22 followed, and although they had a rail, their time of 32.40 seconds revealed that it was possible to break the 33-second mark.
When Lisa Goldman trotted into the ring aboard Centurion B, she had her eye on the time and a three-peat. Goldman had already won the $2,500 CMJ Sporthorse 1.40m Speed Stake and the $10,000 Positive Step Open Jumper Welcome Prix during Series IV, and she was the defending champion in this grand prix.
She immediately turned on the speed, and Centurion B responded with tight turns and quick jumping, and they took over the lead with a clear round in 33.05 seconds to cheers from the packed Morgan Stanley/VIP and Sponsor Tent.
Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star gave the crowd more to cheer about with a gallant effort. But they couldn’t quite match Goldman’s time, going clean in 33.15 seconds, which was good for third.
While the jump-off was winding down, Beisel was preparing Ammeretto, but it wasn’t going well.
“Warming up, I had trouble getting him to jump a nice jump off the right lead, and that’s why I ended up taking the funny left lead approach to the first jump,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on that, but he really jumped well off the left lead out here (in the warm up) so I did that.”
Although they had an unusual start, their jump-off turned out to be perfect.
The 15.3-hand bay flew around the course, and, with Beisel’s precise ride, they soared across the finish line without touching a rail in 31.85 seconds, for a decisive and well-earned victory over Goldman and Jacobs.
“He and I have always liked to go for it, and we’ve been doing it since the 5-year-old Young Jumpers,” Beisel said. “We won plenty of 6-year-old classes, and he was the 6-year-old Young Horse National Champion, so we did plenty of going fast, and I think he really enjoys it. He might even like it more than me. Sometimes, I try not to go too fast!”
Beisel said he had a good feeling about their jump-off after he landed from the final D-Braider Cherry oxer and sprinted for the finish line.
“I thought he was quick. Then when I heard people screaming, and I heard my wife, I figured I had it,” he said with a laugh.
After collecting the winner’s share of the grand prix purse, Beisel, of Goshen, OH, also stepped up to claim third place in the $10,000 Hagyard Leading Jumper Rider Cash Bonus Award with 154 points. He finished behind Yann Candele (205 points) and Aaron Vale (163.25 points), who had won classes earlier in the series.
“It was so nice of Hagyard to sponsor this, and what a great bonus in addition to winning,” he said. “I’d been trying to accumulate points ever so slowly, so it’s nice to get a win and get a little bonus at the end.”
As a fitting conclusion to grand prix action during the 10th anniversary of the Horse Shows by the Bay Hunter/Jumper series, the final grand prix awards will remain here in Traverse City with Ammeretto’s owners, Dale and Barbara Nielson, of Equine Holdings LLC.
“This was my favorite thing tonight,” Beisel added. “The owners of the horse were able to be here and watch their horse jump and see his first grand prix win. And it was great to have my wife [Paige], kids [Cooper and Izzy] and fans from the barn here cheering me on. It was so much fun.
“We had a great time here, and I already look forward to coming back next year,” he added. “Alex [Rheinheimer] does such a great job, and it’s so nice for Karin Flint to sponsor this class and to have such a nice horse park for us to come show.”