Jumpers take to the Alltech Arena for the 140th National Horse Show

Rene Dittmer Continues his Winning Streak in the $73,800 International Welcome Stake presented by North Star 

International show jumping competition made its debut at the 2023 National Horse Show (NHS) on Thursday, November 2nd. Welcoming some of the world’s top show jumping athletes and their mounts, the CSI4*-W designated competition featured a star-studded lineup of 29 horse-and-rider pairs. At the conclusion of the two rounds, it was Rene Dittmer (GER) and Corsica X who secured the top spot in the spectacle class of the day, winning the $73,800 International Welcome Stake, presented by North Star. 

Course designer Alan Wade’s (IRE) 12-effort track proved troublesome for the first few pairs in the Alltech, as spectators did not see a clear round until the 8th combination in the order, Katherine Dinan (USA) and Dijon Terdoorn Z.  Jad Dana (LBN) and Caro W forced a jump-off three rides later. At the conclusion of the first portion of the class, there were a total of nine qualified riders who advanced to the jump-off.

Mark Bluman (COL) and Blue Star Investments and Over The Top Stables LLC’s Ubiluc, an 11-year-old Mecklenburg Stallion, set the time to beat in the jump-off posting the first clear with a time of 27.36 seconds. Coming into the ring shortly after was Dittmer and Mark Miness’s Corsica X, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare. Dittmer, who has been on a winning streak throughout the indoor season, left it all in the Alltech Arena, besting Bluman for the lead with a final time of 27.07 seconds ultimately securing the first-place position.  

“I got her about one and a half years ago,  and we started slowly starting in the 1.30s. And then, this year, she really made her way up and it could not have gone better.” said Dittmer about his partnership with Corsica X.

Bluman secured the second-place finish with his speedy, clear round. Rounding out the podium was Brian Moggre (USA) and Mager Wager LLc’s MTM Vivre le Reve, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding. Moggre went last in the order and finished clear with a time of 28.38 seconds. 

Competition at the 2023 National Horse Show continues Friday, November 3rd at 7 a.m. with the Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under under saddle class. Jumper action will return to the Alltech Arena at 6:30 pm with the Horseflight $10,000 Junior/Amateur Jumper Time First Round. Following this class is the $36,600 International Speed 238.2.1 at 8:30 pm.

USA Sweeps the $38,700 International Two-Phase 

The Alltech Arena saw not just one, but two FEI classes on the first day of jumper competition. Kicking off the day, the 140th National Horse Show saw a field of 24 horse-and-rider pairs vie for a chance to win the $38,700 International Two Phase.  Of the competitive roster, Alex Matz (USA) and Cashew CR earned their place in the first FEI winner’s circle of the weekend.

Alan Wade (IRE) set forth a 9-obstacle first-phase track, testing athletes’ power through the technical course. Those who navigated a clear effort would advance to the 6-fence power phase in a race against the clock that would determine the top spots on the leaderboard.

Setting the pace with the first double-clear effort was Matz, who went third in the order-of-go. The duo navigated their way around the first phase to a fault-free finish for their shot at the second phase, stopping the clocks in 25.98 seconds and setting the time to beat. Although many competitors pushed the limits and tried to beat Matz’s time, no one was able to do so. Cashew owned by Dorothy A. Matz, a 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding, not only had the speed but also the agility to take home the blue ribbon. 

“We got him when he was eight, and so I’ve ridden him for the last seven years, and I feel like he knows me better than any other horse, maybe any other person,” said Matz about his partnership with Cashew CR.

Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) was the next competitor to enter the ring on Serenity Farm’s mount, Forever SFN, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding. This horse-and-rider combination gave it their all throughout the course and finished with a time of 26.07 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Aaron Vale (USA) and I. Adermie R 4 owned by Thinkslikeahorse. This pair went 11th in the order and finished with a fault-free time of 26.20 seconds. 

Horseflight $5,000 Junior Amateur Jumper 

The juniors and amateurs entered the Alltech Arena to show the crowd that they too could put their speed to the test in the Horseflight $5,000 Junior Amateur Jumper class. After spectators saw a total of 30 horse-and-rider combinations, 15 of which went to the jump-off,  it was Carlee McCutcheon and Coco Mercedes who took the top honors. 

Alan Wade (IRE) designed the course to challenge riders to be fast and fault-free. Set as a table II, section 2a format, the 15 horse and rider combinations who went clear in the first round, were welcomed back to try to take home the blue contesting over the shortened track. After an exciting jump-off, it was McCutcheon and Coco Mercedes, a 10-year-old Westphalian mare owned by Purple Rein Investments who took home the blue ribbon with a time of 30.056 seconds and no time faults. 

“She’s naturally very fast, so I just try to keep up with her more than anything. She made me have to think quickly, so I was just trying to stick with the plan that my trainers, Max Amaya, and TJ O’Mara, gave me, and it held up,” said McCutcheon about her plan going into the competitive jump-off.

To round out the top three was Tessa Downey and Isabelle, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Horse Orchard LLC who finished with a clear round time of 30.167 seconds, earning the red ribbon; and amateur Charlie Jacobs and EST Di Palatina, a 14-year-old KWPN  who took home the yellow ribbon with no faults and a time of 31.188 seconds.