McLain Ward (USA) has been involved in Lezaro's career since the beginning of the year—but not originally as his rider. He and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding did not team up competitively until the summer, but unsurprisingly, it did not take long for the duo to sync. They finished the second international event of their partnership with a win in the CSI3* Grand Prix of Greenwich, the feature event of CSI Greenwich 2022.
Topping a blockbuster six-horse jump-off that included two championship combinations, Ward and Lezaro crossed the timers of Alan Wade's (IRL) short course in 40.74 seconds. Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue finished second (40.84 seconds), with Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Bardolina third (43.90).
"[Lezaro] is actually a horse that I was part of selling earlier in the year, and it wasn't quite the right match for [the rider]. It was a talented young rider, but it just wasn't the perfect combination," Ward said. "I have a great relationship with her and her family, and so they've allowed me to continue riding him. We've been just kind of building our relationship."
Clear rounds were hard to come by over Wade's stout 1.55m track, with four of the six clear efforts coming in the latter half of the starting order. Ward was among that group, and he found himself with just one combination following him in the jump-off. He decided it was the best opportunity to test the gears underneath him.
"[The course] was a challenge, and you saw that there were not so many clean," Ward said. "In the jump-off, I felt like my horse was fast, and I wanted to try to take a shot.
"I think the horse is really talented," he added. "He's a bit feisty in his character, but the quality is incredible, and I really enjoy riding and competing him."
For Ward, a win at CSI Greenwich was a full-circle moment, having attended Greenwich County Day School in his youth. Ward bases his operation out of nearby Brewster and has been vocal about building up the show circuit in the greater New York area, appreciating the supportive, educated crowd on hand Sunday at the Greenwich Polo Club.
"I think that the Tri-state area, particularly in the New York City area, has always been at the center of high level show jumping, hunter-jumper [sport] and dressage," Ward said. "I think it's great that we have these events, and you see the interest level that comes up."
source: Press Release / Ph. © Ashley Neuhof