Jumping for Joy
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EMILY—THUNDERBIRD SHOW PARK—SUBMITTED PHOTOS
ma O’Neill (USA) held her breath as the final horses jumped the first round of the $145,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Facet Advisors, and she did not exhale until final competitor Eduardo Menezes (BRA) pulled a rail. Then, she was exuberant.
O’Neill, 23, and her own Clockwise of Greenhill Z won the class as the only pair to produce a clear first round over the Alan Wade (IRL)-designed 1.60m course. She and the 11-year-old Zangersheide stallion did not have to jump-off and recorded the first World Cup qualifying victory of their respective careers Sunday at Thunderbird Showpark in Langley, BC.
“I’m ecstatic,” O’Neill said. “I just went out and gave it everything I could today, and asked a little bit extra of myself and my horse, and it really paid off.”
Defending Champion Conor Swail (IRL) and Rubens La Silla, who also won Thursday’s $75,000 CSI4*-W Maui Jim Welcome, finished second as the fastest 4-fault round (76.90 seconds). Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) and Tino la Chapelle finished third on 4 faults in 75.87 seconds.
“I was very, very pleased with [my horse’s] performance today,” Swail said. “It was just one of those things. It’s very easy to make a small mistake. I’d say it was more my mistake than [my horse’s], unfortunately, but it’s fantastic to get second place. Congratulations to [Uma] for her clear round.”
O’Neill excelled with a superior effort from her mount, who fought through the challenging Longines triple combination and a six-strided line to an oxer that followed. She and her mount jumped second in the field of 30, and their clear round held—albeit with some anxiety for the rider—throughout the remainder of the class.
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