By: Violet Forbes

Nine horse-and-rider combinations out of 26 starters moved forward to the tiebreaking jump-off out after riding fault-free over the first-round course designed by Bernardo Cabral of Portugal. Five had double clear rounds beginning with Kelli Cruciotti (USA) who had a clear round in a time of 33.30 seconds on Hadja van Orshof.

Lamontagne then took over the lead with a clean round in 31.51 seconds. However his compatriot dethroned him a few minutes later going clear in a winning time of 30.77. Emily Moffitt (GBR) made a valiant effort to take over the lead finishing in 32.04 seconds on Hilfiger van de Olmenhoeve. Ramsay followed and stopped the timers a blink of an eye faster, finishing in 32.02 seconds.

“He is usually a bit of a slower horse, so we tried to leave out strides when we could and do tightturns back,” said Walker, 23. “I knew there were some really good ridersng after me and I wasn’t sure my time would hold up, but I’m just so happy that it did.”

Swiss Olympic veteran and former World Cup champion Beat Mandli actually had the fastest jump-off time, finishing in 29.96 seconds on Dsarie, but a rail down at the penultimate fence cost him four faults and left him in sixth place.

“This is my first three-star win and definitely my biggest win to date,” said an elated Walker who last showed in Harrisburg in 2011 when she rode in the USEF Medal Finals. “This is just an incredible night and one that I will remember forever!”

“My mare is 9, and I bought her when she was 5,” Lamontagne said. “She is not the most conventional when she canters but she is scopey and  careful. She was very good here tonight.”

Ramsay also raved about her young mare. “My mare is just 10,” she said. “I got her when she was 7.  She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t know how I got so lucky to have a horse like that.  She is pretty spectacular. “

As a result of Walker’s victory in the marquee event, she and Falco van Spieveld won the Open Jumper Championship, sponsored by Jay Cawley. Katie Dinan (USA) and Dougie Douglas were Reserve Champions. Walker was also named Leading Lady Jumper Rider, sponsored by Brandywine Tent and Lamontagne was named Leading Open Jumper rider, sponsored by Sapphire Riding Academy. 

In the afternoon session, Mckayla Langmeier captured the final class of the Under 25 division, the $20,000 Under 25 Jumper Classic, sponsored by Peacock Ridge Farm. Riding Iliano van D’Abelendreef, owned by Linda Langmeier, the 17-year-old resident of East Granby, Conn. bested a field of 15 talented riders for the win.

“I was really coming into this week hoping that I would do well,” said Langmeier. “The U25 division is something that I have been gearing towards, so to win here is amazing.”

Only three entries went double clear out of the five who made it into the jump-off on the Bernardo Cabral-designed course. Lucy Deslauriers set the mark on Hamlet, owned by Lisa Deslauriers, leaving the rails intact in 34.837 seconds. Cassandra Kahle and Redfield Farm’s Blue nearly took home the blue ribbon going slightly faster in a jump-off time of 34.430 for second place. Langmeier had her work cut out for her on the massive nine-year-old gelding, but she managed to make up enough time to finish on top in a time of 33.922 seconds.

“My horse is really big and he’s quick across the ground, so I just had to keep my myself in control and stay smooth,” said Langmeier. “I just got my horse at the beginning of Florida. It’s taken me a while to figure him out because he is so large. And for a large horse he is really hot, so it’s taken a while to figure out the give and take with him. I actually prefer competing with him indoors because he’s easier to control.”

Langmeier earned the Under 25 Jumper Division Reserve Championship title as a result of her victory.

Abigail McArdle, and Chuck Berry 8, owned by Plain Bay Sales, were named the Under 25 Jumper Champions, sponsored by Peacock Ridge Farm and received the James V. Tanzola Family Perpetual Trophy. McArdle won the $3,000 U25 Welcome Stake on Wednesday and the $3,000 U25 Speed class on Thursday. Both classes were sponsored by Peacock Ridge Farm. The 23-year-old resident of Wellington, Fla., also received the Under 25 Leading Rider award, sponsored by Peacock Ridge Farm.