Of 30 horse-and-rider combinations representing seven countries to challenge Alan Wade’s 15-effort course in Saturday’s $38,700 FEI 1.45m Jump-off at the 2023 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, it was Mimi Gochman (USA) and Celina BH who secured the win, blazing through the timers for a double-clear score in 34.120 seconds.
As the third of 13 entries to return for the jump-off, Ireland’s Jordan Coyle set a speedy time to beat, stopping the clock in 34.580 seconds aboard Elan Farm’s Ariso, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding. Ultimately, only Gochman and the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC could catch that time, dropping Coyle into second place.
“It feels very nice to have this win in such a big class,” Gochman said. “I’ve been working up to the higher level this year and trying to get more consistent to the higher jumps. The first round was better on my part as I was quicker around the turns while still giving my mare straight shots into the jumps. The course asked a lot of us, and she answered all the questions as she always does. Then in the jump-off, my turn back to the in-and-out was really tight, so even if I came in a little slow, I was able to cut the rollback to save time.”
With just 0.660 seconds separating the class’s top three riders, Coyle’s fellow countryman Jonathan Corrigan rounded out the podium aboard Maya Nayyar LLC’s 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Nadal VD Wateringhoeve with his time of 34.780 seconds.
“I think part of the round came down to whoever rushed through the timers the fastest or whoever was quickest in the air,” Gochman said. “I try to learn from the professionals and watch them ride without getting too nervous about going against them, especially in classes like this where I know my horse will be right there with me. She’s quite an amazing ride and was so wonderful today; I’m very excited about this win.”