RINGSIDE WITH THE PLAID HORSE
BY EMILY RANDOLPH/RANDOLPHPR
Katy, Texas – March 27, 2021 – Carlee McCutcheon won the $30,000 Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix on Saturday night, March 27, at the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, marking the 15-year-old’s first grand prix victory.
“I’m so excited!” said a smiling and tearful McCutcheon, who won the class aboard MTM Unexpected. “I’m lucky to have these horses and a great team behind me.”
A field of 32 entries contested the first-round track set by course designer Manuel Esparza, with six advancing to jump-off in front of the socially distanced crowd.
When McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected enter the ring as the penultimate pair to return, the time to beat had been set at 43.302 seconds by Martien van der Hoeven and Morris Horta. With the track well-suiting MTM Unexpected, McCutcheon made catching van der Hoeven’s time look easy, and she stopped the clock nearly two and a half seconds faster to finish on 40.831 seconds.
The final combination to return, Trapp O’Neal and Baltazar D Z, had one rail down in a time of 41.053 seconds to finish in third, giving McCutcheon the win and Martien van der Hoeven the second-place honor.
“When we walked the course, I knew it was a good jump-off for my horse,” said McCutcheon, who trains with her grandmother, Colleen McQuay. “He got to gallop around. He was just great, and everything worked out great.”
McCutcheon has been partnered with MTM Unexpected for three years, and she made her grand prix debut with the 10-year-old warmblood gelding in 2020, most recently earning several top 10 placings in grand prix competition at the Desert Circuit in California this winter.
“We really had time to get to know each other, and I’m just so grateful for him,” said McCutcheon.
Hailing from Aubrey, Texas, McCutcheon has been competing at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show and the show’s venue, the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, for as long as she can remember. However, her visits to the show grounds aren’t always for hunter/jumper competition.
The daughter of renowned reiners, Mandy and Tom McCutcheon, Carlee McCutcheon is also an accomplished reiner in her own right, and she continues to compete in both disciplines. For the next two weeks though, McCutcheon will be solely focused on the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, including the two remaining grand prix classes.
Running March 24 – April 11, the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show features three weeks of top hunter, jumper and American Saddlebred competition while benefitting the Texas Children’s Hospital.