Hillary Ridland Rides Wonder Kid to $41,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series Final Victory at Las Vegas National CSI4*-W
Las Vegas – The nine-month-long Markel Insurance Jumper Series culminated in a win in the $41,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series Final for Hillary Ridland and Wonder Kid on Thursday, November 18, at the Las Vegas National CSI4*-W, held at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.
Following 15 qualifying events throughout the year at Blenheim EquiSports in San Juan Capistrano, CA, the win in the grand finale and the series’ Leading Lady Rider title all came down to Ridland and Wonder Kid as the last horse and rider in Thursday’s jump-off.
In order to earn the class win, Ridland and Wonder Kid needed to produce a clear round, and in order to earn the Leading Lady Rider title, Ridland needed to win. With a clear round in 41.493 seconds, Ridland successfully accomplished both.
Second place went to Trent McGee, who finished with four faults in the jump-off and a time of 36.087 seconds aboard his own Boucherom. Rounding out the top three with four faults in the jump-off and a time of 38.78 seconds were Luis Sabino and Biloba des Chaines, owned by Sigma Stables LLC.
“It’s a really, really cool class to win!” said Ridland, who has ridden Wonder Kid for owner Mary Frances Looke for the past four years. “We got [Wonder Kid] as a 6-year-old, and Mary Frances Looke has let me take my time with him. This is what our goal was this year, so it’s really fun to finish up achieving it.”
For the victory, Ridland was presented with a Solea Equestrian Boutique custom show coat, a Flexi Equine Tack Locker, a Horseware Ireland blanket, a Topline Design Ribbon Wreaths gift certificate and ornament, and an Ogilvy saddle pad, provided by Tack of the Town.
Coming into Thursday, Ridland and Wonder Kid had contested several of the Markel Insurance Jumper Series events early in the season and mid-summer, including at the Showpark Summer Classic where they topped the $25,000 1.45m Silver Tour Markel Insurance Grand Prix.
“We did them predominately at the beginning of the year, lightly in the summer, and then we backed off on him; we sort of rested him just for this,” said Ridland of the strategy leading into Thursday with the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “He was great today. I trust that horse. No matter what distance I put him at, he tries super hard.”
With their success throughout the season and on Thursday, Ridland concluded the series with 89 points, enough to take the Leading Lady Rider of the Series award.
For the honor, Ridland received a check for $2,850, representing 50% of money added back to the final purse from each entry fee throughout the qualifying season.
“I knew there was a possibility that I could be Leading Lady Rider, but my real focus was on winning the class; that was my goal all year long,” said Ridland. “The Leading Lady Rider award is a great bonus!”
The top spot in the series standings and the Leading Gentleman of the Series award went to Jason McArdle, who finished the year with 105 points.
Brandon Seger, Horse Specialist for Markel West; Josh Mullins, LSI Insurance Specialist; and Chris Norden, Markel Insurance Sport Horse Director, presented Hillary Ridland and Jason McArdle with the Leading Lady and Leading Gentlemen rider bonus checks.
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
“It’s nice that they reward consistency, and that they added a riders’ bonus this year is really, really nice,” said McArdle, who was also presented with a check for $2,850. “The sponsorship that Markel does for this series is much needed and much appreciated.”
The Markel Insurance Jumper Series serves as an important stepping stone for both young riders and young grand prix horses along their pathway to success, with more than 80 riders participating in the series’ events throughout the season. The program is made possible by Markel Insurance and Lisa Seger Insurance, as their support has allowed Blenheim EquiSports to take the series from concept to reality.
To learn more about Markel Insurance, click here.
In Review: The 2021 Markel Insurance Jumper Series
Mark Your Calendars! Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas CSI4*-W on CBS Sports
Watch the $150,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Las Vegas, presented by Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, live on FEI TV on Saturday, November 20, and then mark your calendars to relive all the action on CBS Sports Network on Monday, November 29, at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST.
Keep Up With Coverage: the Marshall & Sterling/USHJA National Championships
For the latest news, photos, and results from the Marshall & Sterling/USHJA National Championships at the Las Vegas National CSI4*-W, visit the links below.
Competition at the Las Vegas National CSI4*-W continues through Sunday, November 21. The highlight event of the week, the $150,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Las Vegas, presented by Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, gets underway at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 20, with doors opening at 6 p.m. Purchase tickets to watch which rider has #TheTimeToBeat here!
For complete results from the $41,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series Final, click here.
About the Las Vegas National Horse Show CSI4*-W
The Las Vegas National Horse Show CSI4*-W is an internationally recognized, premier year-end event that attracts top horses and riders from across the U.S. and beyond.
Among the highlight events of this year’s show is the $150,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Las Vegas, presented by Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, one of only eight World Cup Final qualifying classes held in North America. The Las Vegas National Horse Show is also home to the Marshall & Sterling Insurance/U.S. Hunter Jumper Association National Championships which gives the best, qualified riders the opportunity to compete against their peers for national titles at all levels of the sport.
Tickets for the $150,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Las Vegas are available for purchase here, and admission is free throughout the rest of the week. To learn more about the Las Vegas National Horse Show, visit www.TheLasVegasNational.com