Equestrian Village was the place to be this weekend! After what felt like an endless week of downpours, the sun made its grand appearance just in time for the much-anticipated kick-off of the ESP Rita & Irish Memorial.
On Friday, the covered VanKampen Arena became the epicenter of excitement with the Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake. A group of 13 dazzling horse-and-rider teams stormed the course, each with their eyes set firmly on that coveted top spot. Ecuador's very own Diego Javier Vivero Viteri, aboard the magnificent Melaro Old, owned by Alejandro Martin Del Campo, set the arena alight with two flawless rounds in just 37.414 seconds. But hold your horses! The excitement reached fever pitch when Victor Mariano Luminatti and his stellar mount, Idette, galloped through the shortened course, clocking an electrifying 36.414 seconds and snatching the blue ribbon! Ireland’s Sarah Kerins, partnered with Centriko Volo of Celtic Park LLC, wasn’t far behind, completing in a swift 37.29 seconds to claim the third spot.
As if Friday's action wasn't thrilling enough, Saturday upped the ante! The $5,000 CCTV Agent 1.35m Stake saw 17 competitors battling it out under the sheltered VanKampen Arena. Alannah Wagstaff of the USA, atop Mill Pond Farm LLC’s Great Thing, truly showed what it means to "turn and burn." Blazing through the course in a sizzling 30.442 seconds, the dynamic duo kept their blue ribbon streak alive for the second consecutive year! Right on their heels was Venezuela’s ace, Luis Fernando Larrazabal, with the majestic Abril Kontendra, finishing in a remarkable 30.88 seconds. Juan Jose Bancalari of DOMR, piloting Cascais HC, showcased true class by capturing the third-place spot in 31.202 seconds.
Come Sunday morning, the $20,000 4Ever Young Grand Prix took center stage. 25 horses and their riders gave it their all. And guess what? Victor Mariano Luminatti was back in action! He once again rode Idette to victory, finishing with a double clear and a jump-off time of 40.379. The incredible Sarah Kerins, aboard Centric Volo, showcased her prowess by clocking 40.44 seconds for the second spot. Rounding out the podium was the fabulous Nicole Velazco Magana, who delivered a stellar performance atop F.C. Okarla.
In the prestigious realm of equestrian sports, the Rita and Irish Flynn Memorial Trophy holds a distinctive position, celebrating not just skill, but the essence of sportsmanship, punctuality, and readiness. This year, the trophy found its deserving winner in Marcelo Barros of WB Equestrian. Exemplifying the core values embodied by Rita, Barros consistently showcased commendable courtesy, ensuring his clients reached the ring impeccably prepared and prompt. His unwavering commitment to these principles not only set an exemplary standard for others but played an instrumental role in maintaining the smooth flow of the competition. Barros's accolade is a testament to his dedication, professionalism, and the high standards he upholds at WB Equestrian.
As the dust settles on an unforgettable ESP Rita & Irish Memorial weekend, the equestrian enthusiasts among us don't have to wait long for their next adrenaline fix. Coming up next week is the ESP October horse show, promising more breathtaking performances and heart-stopping moments. The event kicks off with schooling sessions, while the hunters will take center stage from Thursday. Prepare to be captivated from Friday to Sunday with events that include the exhilarating $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open stake, the stylish $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, the dynamic $5,000 Omega Alpha 1.35m Stake, the elegant $1,000 Alexander Academic Access 2’6” - 2’9” Hunter Derby, and the grand showdown – the $25,000 Score At The Top Grand Prix. Buckle up, equestrian aficionados! The ESP October horse show is all set to keep the equestrian spirit soaring! View the prize list and schedules here.