Category Archives: Pin Oak Recap

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy Dominate in $25,000 Monarch Stables Grand Prix at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

April 12, 2024 – Katy, TX – Of the five grand prix classes held thus far at the 2024 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX, four of them have been won by Nicolas Gamboa, including Thursday’s $25,000 Monarch Stables Grand Prix.

Gamboa has now earned an impressive nine Pin Oak grand prix wins since securing his first-ever grand prix victory at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center only two years ago. His victory in Thursday’s class came aboard his winningest mount throughout those two years, NKH Mr. Darcy.

Gamboa and the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, owned by NKH LLC, were one of 17 entries in the class and one of six to jump clear over the first-round course designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral.

Nicolas Gamboa, pictured aboard NKH Vittorio S, in his winning presentation. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

From there, Gamboa and “Darcy” showcased what has become their signature speed, stopping the clock in 35.702 seconds for the win. Second place with a time of 36.844 seconds went to Martien van der Hoeven and Chance Encounter, owned by Marlac Ventures. Finishing in third was the only other grand prix winner so far this Pin Oak circuit, Avery Griffin, this time aboard Bodega Semilly, owned by PBC Equine Investments, LLC.

“I wanted to be quick, but I didn’t want to take everything out,” said Gamboa of his jump-off plan. “There were obviously some places to go inside and some places to go around. Normally, you would think inside is quicker, but I chose to go around there. I think it paid off in the end that I could keep cantering and didn’t have to slow down. I didn’t watch everybody in the jump-off go, but I think Darcy just kind of flowed very nicely and evenly everywhere. He was the one that won the class for us today.”

Martien Van Der Hoeven and Chance Encounter finished in second. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Gamboa continued, “Bernardo [Costa Cabral] is obviously one of the best course designers in the world. He does a fantastic job everywhere. Pin Oak is extremely lucky, and all of us in Texas are extremely lucky to have him here. He did a great job for a Thursday grand prix, setting us up for the rest of the week. I personally did not jump the [Welcome Stake] yesterday, but I watched a few go, and I thought this was just a little bit bigger, a little bit more technical. Overall, I thought it was a fantastic course with enough questions. He for sure didn’t pull out all the tricks today, but you can see his mind thinking on what he wants to do for Saturday’s [$100,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix].”

That $100,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix is what Gamboa will set his sights on next, as the class marks the highlight finale of three weeks of top hunter/jumper competition at the 78th Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. The evening’s grand prix festivities will kick off on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. with entertainment from the Diaz Family, followed by the first horse on course at 7:30 p.m. Spectator admission and parking are free, and all are invited to attend.

Nicolas Gamboa Goes One-Two in $50,000 R-C Ranch Grand Prix at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

April 7, 2024 – Katy, TX – Nicolas Gamboa has now earned an impressive three grand prix wins since the 2024 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show began on March 26, and on Saturday night, April 6, he not only notched his third victory of the show series, he picked up both first and second in the $50,000 R-C Ranch Grand Prix.

On the way to his one-two finish, Gamboa accounted for three of the 23 entries in the Pin Oak Week II featured event at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. The first-round course, designed by Oscar Soberon, narrowed that starting field down to 10 horses – and two entries for Gamboa – for the jump-off, and from there, it was an exciting race against the clock.

The very first pair to return for the short course, Natalee Haggan and MTM Hyperion Z, laid down a clear round and set the time to beat at a competitive 40.589 seconds. Four trips later, it was Gamboa’s turn aboard NKH Vittorio S, and a slick inside turn helped shoot the duo straight to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 37.801 seconds.

Nicolas Gamboa was joined in his winning presentation by Randy Krause of R-C Ranch (pictured far right). Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

That time would prove uncatchable, and only Gamboa himself would come within striking distance. Aboard NKH Mr. Darcy, he stopped the clock in 38.783 seconds to take second place, relegating Haggan and MTM Hyperion Z, owned by MTM Farm, to third. 

“I think Oscar [Soberon] did a great job with the jump-off,” said Gamboa, who rides for October Hill Farm. “You had to make sure that you didn’t overdo it too early. With ‘Vitto’ I kind of got to [the inside turn I had in mind] a little bit faster than I wanted, so I didn’t quite do the turn the way I wanted. I kind of slipped in between a gap. It was a little bit last-minute thinking there. Then, we were a little bit angled into the combination, but he really worked hard and made it happen.”

Gamboa continued, “With Darcy, I’ve known that horse a little bit longer, and he’s so rideable. He lands and turns. So that [turn] was kind of right there; it’s a given with that horse, but obviously, Vitto just got a little bit the better of Darcy today.” 

Gamboa has been partnered with NKH Vittorio S, owned by Neil Knox of NKH LLC, for roughly a year, and the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding has been on the cusp of a big win for some time.

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“He jumped a big class [at the Las Vegas National in November 2023]; that was kind of our first bigger show together,” said Gamboa. “He’s kind of always been knocking on the door…Finally, I think at this show, we put some of those pieces together and figured out the jump-off.” 

Gamboa continued, “I think Vitto and Darcy are very similar in a lot of ways but also vastly different in a lot of ways. Darcy’s very athletic, very catty, but a little bit smaller and a little bit shorter with a lot of heart. Vitto has just got such an athletic body and such a massive stride. He’s so quick across the ground. He has all the scope in the world it feels like. Both horses try so hard, and they want to win just as much as I do. It’s always a nice feeling.”

With Saturday’s win added to his increasingly impressive resume, Gamboa has now earned eight grand prix victories at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show just since 2022.

“It never gets old,” concluded Gamboa. “The feeling is always incredible – knowing that the horses are performing well and that we’re doing everything right at home and at the shows and that the whole team is performing well. It’s great to be able to get this [win] back to the team.”

Next Gamboa will be looking to get one or two more grand prix wins under his belt during Week III of the 78th Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, which kicks off on Wednesday, April 10. Highlights of the week will include Thursday’s $25,000 Monarch Stables Grand Prix and the finale $100,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix on Saturday, April 13. To learn more, visit www.PinOak.org.

Nada Wise and Chesterfield are Best in $25,000 Olde Oaks Farm Hunter Classic at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

April 6, 2024 – Katy, TX – Nada Wise and Chesterfield were the very first pair in the ring for Friday night’s $25,000 Olde Oaks Farm Hunter Classic, and they led the class from beginning to end to clinch the win in the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show’s Week II highlight hunter event.

The first round of the two-round classic saw 21 entries taking on the Alan Lohman-designed course at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, TX. From there, the field was narrowed to the top 12 to return in reverse order of their standings for the second round.

For Wise and Chesterfield, first-round scores of 88 and 86 from the two judging panels – for an 87 average – secured them the lead and the final returning position.

Just before Wise returned, young rider Logan Jacobson and her own MTM Crossed My Mind had turned in what would prove to be the highest scores of the second round: dual 88s from both judging panels. With those scores giving Jacobson an impressive 172.75 total, the pressure was on for Wise and Chesterfield.

Nada Wise and Chesterfield. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Chesterfield, however, has a knack for rising to the occasion, and he did it again on Friday night. With scores of 87 and 87.5 for a second-round average of 87.25, Chesterfield secured the win with a 174.25 total. Following Wise and Jacobson, third place with a score of 170.5 went to Kelly Lorek and MTM Campedu, owned by Emersales LLC.

“Chesterfield was unbelievable,” said Wise of the 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, owned by Stacey Thompson. “We were the first ones to go, and he felt so relaxed and so comfortable. He jumped so well through his body and so high. I couldn’t have asked him to be any better. Then to come back as late as he did in that second round – he just blew it out of the park. He was so good.”

Nada Wise and Chesterfield were presented as the winners of the $25,000 Olde Oaks Farm Hunter Classic on Friday, April 5. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Wise has had the ride on Chesterfield since he was imported three years ago, and together the pair have contested numerous featured hunter events and derby classes – including at the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship and at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show where Wise has been competing for the past 14 years.

“I moved here about 15 years ago. I remember my first time showing here; it was such a big deal,” said Wise, who this year has 18 horses competing at Pin Oak with her Rendezvous Farm. “I felt overwhelmed, but now it feels like home. It’s a special place. It’s a special show. All of my clients are here, and they all like to support and sponsor. It’s really nice. We love coming back every year.”

Second-place finishers Logan Jacobson and MTM Crossed My Mind. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Also earning major hunter wins on Friday were Ann Marie Cowdrey on Zest and Morgan Parasher on Pendleton. Cowdrey and Zest topped a competitive field of 45 entries to win the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Junior/Amateur, while Parasher and Pendleton were the best of 27 entries in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Junior/Amateur, sponsored by Leaving One Out LLC.

For full results from all of Friday’s competition, click here.

Martien van der Hoeven Wins the Welcome Again at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

April 4, 2024 – Katy, TX – For the second week in a row, Martien van der Hoeven earned a Welcome Stake win at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX. This time, van der Hoeven kicked off Week II at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center on Wednesday, April 3, with a win in the $10,000 Brazos Valley Equine Hospital Welcome Stake aboard Candy of Picobello Z.

Van der Hoeven and the 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were the fourth of 22 entries to take on the first-round course set by course designer Oscar Soberon, and following the immediate jump-off format, they were the second to jump off, setting the time to beat at 40.306 seconds.

“I wanted to be double clean,” said van der Hoeven. “I felt like I gave it a good go without risking too much. Obviously, with the numbers being up this week, I didn’t know if it was actually going to hold up by the time another 20-something horses went.”

Hold up it did indeed, with young rider Avery Erickson coming the closest to catching van der Hoeven. Aboard her own Chacco Lait, Erickson stopped the clock in 40.738 seconds to take second place and the win in the $5,000 Corient U25 Welcome Stake held concurrently.

Finishing in third place with a jump-off time of 41.615 seconds were Daniel Bedoya and Londonlike, owned by Monica Hanks.

Avery Erickson and Chacco Lait. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Following the gelding’s win on Wednesday, Candy of Picobello Z will next contest Thursday’s $25,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix with owner Avery Griffin.

“[Candy of Picobello Z] is a horse that the Griffin family got last year in Florida,” said van der Hoeven. “We’ve been developing him along; Avery normally competes in the U25 and High Junior Jumper division. He’s quite a good horse, and he’s getting more and more consistent at this height.”

For van der Hoeven, who operates Marlac Farm in Pinehurst, TX – less than an hour away from the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show – Pin Oak is the ideal event to continue to develop horses, to accomplish goals and to earn memorable victories.

“These three weeks are really nice,” said van der Hoeven of the shows that he has been competing at for more than 20 years. “The course designers are always good all three weeks. Oscar [Soberon] is great. He designs at [the Winter Equestrian Festival] and all over, so we’ve jumped his courses a fair amount. He’s very reliable, and you know what you’re going to get.”

Van der Hoeven continued, “For all of us who have grown up here and been here, I think that this show holds a lot of significance. We’ve watched people that we look up to win and cheered for them. I won my first kind of bigger grand prix here on a very special horse, [South Bound], quite a few years ago. That was very important, and last week both my students Avery [Griffin] and Ava [Myers] were first and second [in the grand prix], so that was pretty fun. It was Avery’s first grand prix win, and to do it here I think holds a lot of value for all of us that call Texas home.”

For full results of Wednesday’s the $10,000 Brazos Valley Equine Hospital Welcome Stake, click here or visit HorseShowsOnline.com.

Also earning wins in the Main Ring throughout the day were the following:

Competition at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show continues through Sunday, April 14, with highlights of Week II including the $50,000 R-C Ranch Grand Prix on Saturday, April 6, beginning at 7 p.m.

Jef Lauwers Lands Back-to-Back Derby Wins at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

March 28, 2024 – Katy, TX – A double hunter derby day meant double the wins for Jef Lauwers on Thursday, March 28, at the 78th Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.

Lauwers and She’s All That kicked off the day with victory in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by R-C Ranch. Lauwers then returned to the Mega Ring at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center aboard Hallpass, this time taking the win in the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Augusta Pines Farm.

Lauwers and Hallpass were one of 16 entries to take on the International Derby, and the pair held the lead from beginning to end with an overall first-round score of 182. With that score – made up of the combined total from the two judging panels – and with the top 12 each returning in reverse order of their standing, Lauwers and Hallpass were the final entry to return for the handy round.

Their performance over the Kevin Holowack-designed handy course only further cemented their lead, with the two judging panels awarding them scores of 84.5 and 87, plus four high option bonus points added to each score, for a second-round total score of 179.5 and a cumulative, overall score of 361.5.

Second place with an overall score of 347 went to Nada Wise riding Next Chapter, owned by Kristen Pribilski, and third place went to Alwaleed Alrashid who finished on a score of 345 aboard Lyla Brady’s Versailles.

For Lauwers, the victory is a bit of a comeback win, as he missed last year’s Pin Oak Charity Horse Show while undergoing back surgery.

“My doctor wanted me to be very careful, and it was an intensive enough surgery that I had to lie down for a month and then gradually get back to walking and physical therapy,” said Lauwers, who ultimately took roughly eight months out of the saddle. “I feel good now. I had a good support system, and like everybody in our sport, it’s important to stay healthy and try to do what’s right for you and for your horses.”

Jef Lauwers and Hallpass were presented as the winners of the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Augusta Pines Farm. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

For Hallpass, the class was the 11-year-old Hanoverian’s first hunter derby in several months, as the chestnut gelding does not travel to compete on any winter circuits. Instead, Hallpass spends the winter in Texas with owner, Sue Copeland. 

“Peter [Pletcher] suggested that I try [Hallpass],” said Copeland. “He was big and growthy, and I think needed some time and flatwork. I love to do that. I jump him at home. We tend to do Texas shows most of the time; we have sent him to Kentucky. He just loves to jump the big jumps. So, I do the flatwork and little jumps at home and then hand him off to Jef. So [Hallpass] hasn’t jumped like this in a while, but he was really happy to get back to it! He loves to jump.”

In the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, it was another of Lauwers’ longtime, successful partners that took the win, She’s All That, owned by Linda Yarborough.

Jef Lauwers and She’s All That. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The pair led the field throughout both rounds, scoring an 89 in round one and returning to the handy round in the final position. They then scored a 91 in the handy round for a winning, total score of 180.

Finishing in second on a total score of 175.5 was Linda Crothers aboard Menessa, owned by Carly Richardson, while Catherine Moorhead and Eurokom, owned by PLC Farm, rounded out the top three on a total score of 173.

“She is very competitive,” said Lauwers of the 9-year-old black Westphalian mare that he has been partnered with for nearly four years. “At home she’s a bit uninterested; she is just kind of like, ‘There are no jumps; nobody is judging me.’ But when she comes out here, she turns into a show horse. She knows when it’s business, and she’ll tell you. You just put your leg on, and it’s easy.” 

She’s All That is affectionately known as “BB” in the barn, a nod to the classic 1877 Anna Sewell novel, Black Beauty.

Lauwers explained, “Linda [Yarborough] showed up with her and was like, ‘I have this horse, this black beauty.’ So, that’s what it stands for. Linda picked the name, and BB has just been unbelievable.”

Jef Lauwers and She’s All That. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Lauwers, originally hails from Belgium but began riding professionally for PJP Farm in Magnolia, TX, in 2019, and the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show has been an important show on his calendar since then. 

“I missed this show last year, so it’s great to come back with a good string of horses,” said Lauwers. “I feel like we all have a good time here. The Great Southwest Equestrian Center supports the sport very well here in Texas. There’s a lot of prize money for the horses in both the jumpers and the hunters. It’s fun for us. It’s fun for the owners, and the rings are good; the weather is good, so it’s a fun change of scenery.”

For full results of Thursday’s hunter derby classes, visit HorseShowsOnline.com.

Competition at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show continues through Sunday, April 14, with highlights of Week I including the $30,000 Texas Children’s Grand Prix on Friday, March 29, beginning at 7 p.m.

Nicolas Gamboa is Victorious Again at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

March 28, 2024 – Katy, TX – Nicolas Gamboa earned his first-ever grand prix win at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in 2022, and as of Wednesday, March 27, he has now notched five additional Pin Oak grand prix victories in the short time since then. His sixth win came aboard NKH Vittorio S, owned by NKH LLC, in the $25,000 Fairway Farm Grand Prix during Pin Oak I.

On his way to his most recent win, Gamboa and NKH Vittorio S were one of 11 entries to qualify to jump off over the Manuel Esparza-designed short course, and from there, speed was the name of the game.

When Gamboa returned to the Main Ring at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center as the final rider, the time to beat had been set at 39.287 seconds by Avery Griffin on Candy of Picobello Z – with no other riders having crossed the finish in under 40 seconds. Gamboa, however, made short work of Griffin’s time, clearing the timers in a winning 37.492 seconds.

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Vittorio S led the victory gallop for the $25,000 Fairway Farm Grand Prix on Wednesday, March 27. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

In addition to the $25,000 Fairway Farm Grand Prix win, that finish time also secured Gamboa the victory in the $10,000 1.40m U25 Grand Prix held concurrently. Taking second place in both classes was Griffin. Third place in the $25,000 Grand Prix went to Alwaleed Alrashid, who finished with a jump-off time of 40.171 seconds aboard RSH Grand-Dessert.

“NKH Vittorio S has been in our string for a little while now,” said Gamboa of the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding. “He just came from a tour in California with us. He jumped a few international classes out there. He’s come a long way. He’s actually been second in a couple of grand prix classes now and a couple ranking classes, so I’m finally happy that he got that blue ribbon!”

Nicolas Gamboa was joined in the winner’s circle by his mother, Jennifer Gamboa, and Bradley Bowns. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Gamboa continued, “The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show has been great for Texas. I know it’s been around a lot longer than I’ve been alive, so I’m very pleased to be able to support the show. I know they give quite a bit to charity, and that’s always a great thing…This show has always been very good to me. I won my first grand prix here a couple years ago on NKH Mr. Darcy, and every year, I always look forward to thinking about those memories again and trying to keep it going.”

In addition to his ribbons and awards, as the winner, Gamboa was presented with a gift certificate for a free equine spa treatment from Peak Performance Equine Spa. For full results from Wednesday’s class, click here or visit HorseShowsOnline.com.

Avery Griffin and Candy of Picobello Z finished second in both the $25,000 Fairway Farm Grand Prix and the $10,000 1.40m U25 Grand Prix held concurrently. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Competition at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show continues through Sunday, April 14, with highlights of Week I including a $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Thursday, March 28, and the $30,000 Texas Children’s Grand Prix on Friday, March 29, beginning at 7 p.m. 

Martien van der Hoeven and Sparky Start Pin Oak Strong with Win in $10,000 Bedoya Training Stables Welcome Stake

March 26, 2024 – Katy, TX – Martien van der Hoeven is no stranger to the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show’s winner’s circle – having competed at the US Equestrian Heritage Competition for more than 20 years – and he returned there again on Tuesday, March 26, after taking the victory in the $10,000 Bedoya Training Stables Welcome Stake aboard Sparky.

The class marked the start of the 78th edition of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, which features three weeks of high-caliber hunter/jumper competition at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, TX.

On his way to kicking off Week I with a win, van der Hoeven was one of nine entries to traverse the first-round course without fault. From there, Van der Hoeven and Sparky were both the first and the fastest over the short course designed by Manuel Esparza (MEX), stopping the clock in an uncatchable 33.664 seconds.

Finishing in second place with a jump-off time of 35.757 seconds were Allison Kroff and T-Quick Hurricane Z, owned by TC Sport Horses LLC. Third place with a time of 26.983 seconds went to Diego Bedoya and Casamigos, owned by NRG Farm, LLC.

Martien van der Hoeven was presented as the winner of the $10,000 Bedoya Training Stables Welcome Stake. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Also taking home a win on Tuesday was Kaydence Cothran aboard Onslow, owned by Cool Kid Farms. The duo finished sixth overall in the $10,000 Bedoya Training Stables Welcome Stake, and, as the highest-placing under 25 rider, Cothran earned the win in the $5,000 U25 Welcome Stake, sponsored by Fairway Farm and held concurrently.

For many of the riders in Tuesday’s Welcome Stake, including van der Hoeven, it was a warm-up for what’s to come at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.

“Sparky is a 9-year-old, owned by the Myers family in San Antonio,” said van der Hoeven of the Hanoverian gelding owned by Myers Family Investments, LLC. “Normally, he competes in the High Junior Jumpers with their daughter, Ava. For this horse – being young – I think it’s still beneficial that he competes and that he practices going fast. [Ava] comes [Wednesday] to do the $25,000 Grand Prix along with the Under 25 Grand Prix. Today’s plan was to use this as a warm-up for her and make sure he’s in the ring, comfortable, forward and ready to go.”

Allison Kroff and T-Quick Hurricane Z. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

In speaking of Sparky, van der Hoeven added, “He’s just such a modern sport horse. He does everything right; he knows where the jumps are and knows how to go fast. The balance is always good regardless of any speed. He is just truly a horse that can do today’s sport; we’re hoping at even a much higher level.”

Also earning wins in Tuesday’s featured jumper classes were the following:

  • 1.10m Training Jumpers, sponsored by Grange/Johnson Development – Reagan Mientka and Cality
  • 1.15m Open Jumpers, sponsored by Cokinos Young Law Firm – Lindsay Bedoya and Jumping VG King
  • 1.20m Open Jumpers, sponsored by Truist Bank – Andres Hernandez and My Lady Blue
  • 1.35m Open Jumpers, sponsored by Moor Insights & Strategy – Stephanie Tropia and CR Integrity

Competition at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show continues on Wednesday, March 27, with highlights of Week I including a $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Thursday, March 28, and the $30,000 Texas Children’s Grand Prix on Friday, March 29, beginning at 7 p.m.

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy Cash in on Another Victory in $100,000 Third Coast Bank Grand Prix

Katy, TX – Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy put a final exclamation point on their phenomenal three weeks at the 2023 Pin Oak Charity Horse with victory in the finale $100,000 Third Coast Bank Grand Prix, held on Saturday, April 15 in Katy, TX.

Having already won two grand prix classes during Week II at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy were fan favorites going into Saturday night, but with a field of 23 top contenders, it was still anybody’s game.

Fresh from designing the courses for the 2023 FEI World CupTM Final in Omaha, NE, Bernardo Costa Cabral set a track in the Porter Hedges Main Arena that saw eight entries go clear. When Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy entered the ring as the second pair to return for the jump-off, the time to beat had been set at 35.984 seconds by Australia’s Rowan Willis aboard Wellington Grey Goose.

Third Coast Bank representatives Jeanette Allan, Jordan Allan and Melissa Abel presented Nicolas Gamboa as the winner of the $100,000 Third Coast Bank Grand Prix. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

As Gamboa flew across the final Third Coast Bank oxer in 34.902 seconds, the crowd erupted into cheers, and that clear-round time would ultimately prove good enough for the win. Willis and Wellington Grey Goose took second place while Jacqueline Ruyle and Cyramo Z finished in third with four faults in a time of 33.892 seconds after a heartbreaking rail at the final fence. 

“It’s been a great way to wrap it up!” said Gamboa of his win. “[NKH Mr. Darcy] just tried and tried and tried his heart out. He knows the drill when he walks in there. He feels the audience, and he knows he has to leave the jumps up. He takes care of the speed himself.”

Gamboa has been partnered with the 10-year-old Holsteiner stallion, owned by Neil Knox of NKH LLC, for roughly a year; the pair’s string of successes kicked off last year with Gamboa’s first-ever grand prix win at the 2022 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.

Rowan Willis and Wellington Grey Goose finished in second place. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“Honestly, he was brought along for a long time by the previous rider, and they just did a fantastic job with him,” said Gamboa, who rides for October Hill Farm and Heineking Show Stables. “When I get on that horse, he just knows what to do, where to go. He knows where his feet are, and he knows where his mind should be. He knows when it’s game time.” 

In addition to the top honors in Saturday’s class, for which Gamboa was presented the Uncle Sam Trophy, he also earned the Antarès Leading Grand Prix Rider Award. As the rider with the most points earned over all five grand prix classes held during the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, Gamboa received a $1,000 bonus check and a new Antarès saddle. Knox of NKH LLC was also recognized with the Clayton Stone Trophy as the high-point grand prix owner.

Nicolas Gamboa was also presented with the Antares Leading Grand Prix Rider Award. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Gamboa concluded, “Thank you again to everybody, the whole team and staff. Everybody that’s at the gate when I walk out and at the gate when I walk in, especially the Heineking family and Neil Knox. I cannot do it without their support, so thank you.”

For full results of the $100,000 Third Coast Bank Grand Prix, click here or visit HorseShowsOnline.com

Courtney Lenkart and Glorieus Make Glorious Return to USHJA International Hunter Derby Winner’s Circle at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Following two years off from injury, Glorieus made a glorious return to the winner’s circle on Friday, April 14, at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX. With Courtney Lenkart in the irons, the gelding earned the victory in the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Augusta Pines Farm.

“This is our first international derby back since his injury,” said an emotional Lenkart. “So, it’s super, super special. It’s been a really long journey. He’s been very successful before. We won a lot of great classes together, but we never thought he could come back. He just fights [for it], and he has the best owners that have taken their time and given him everything he needs. It’s really a miracle. 

“I thought about, if he came back, what to say for a really long time, and I don’t know if I give it justice,” continued Lenkart. “We’re just really grateful.”

Courtney Lenkart and Glorieus were presented as the winners of the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Augusta Pines Farm. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

On their way to the win, Lenkart and Glorieus were one of 22 entries to take on the first-round, Tom Hern-designed course in the Porter Hedges Main Arena at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. With a score of 86 plus one high-option bonus point from judges John French and Patricia Griffith on panel one and a score of 87 plus a high-option bonus point from judges Tony Sgarlata and Bobbie Reber on panel two, Lenkart and Glorieus shot straight to the top of the leaderboard.

With scores of 89 and 90 in round two, plus three high option bonus points added to each score, Lenkart only further lengthened her lead, finishing with a total score of 360.

“Everything just came up so nice,” said Lenkart. “I tried to be smooth, and he just jumped out of his skin!”

Courtney Lenkart and Glorieus. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Finishing in second place with overall score of 341 were Nada Wise and Stevie Ray, owned by Samantha Brown. Third place with a score of 333 went to Michael Dennehy and Hulla-Balou, owned by Dana Vollbracht. 

Following the conclusion of the class, Wise was presented with the Antarès Sellier Leading International Derby Rider Award for her strong results throughout the three weeks of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. For the award, Wise received a $1,000 cash prize and a new Antarès saddle. 

The Paula Sparks Perpetual Trophy for the Best Turned Out Derby Horse went to Diamante T, owned and ridden by Caitlin Burns.

Nada Wise was presented with a brand-new Antarès saddle and a $1,000 bonus check as the Antarès Sellier Leading International Rider over the course of the three-week Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

For the class win, Lenkart was presented with the Valobra International Hunter Derby Perpetual Trophy, and Glorieus’ owner, La Primera Hacienda LP, was presented the Shawn McMillen Memorial Trophy.

We just want to do what’s best for him,” concluded Lenkart, in speaking of the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “Our dream is to be able to do Derby Finals possibly, but we’re just going to keep taking it day-by-day and hope for the best.”

For full results of the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by August Pines Farm, click here or visit HorseShowsOnline.com.

Maddie Chenoweth Claims Her First Grand Prix Win at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Katy, TX – Maddie Chenoweth, 26, earned the first grand prix victory of her career on Thursday, April 13, topping the $30,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show aboard Navaro van’t Verahof.

The first-round, Bernardo Costa Cabral-designed course narrowed a starting field of 26 entries down to eight jump-off qualifiers in the Thursday evening featured event. Frequent Pin Oak grand prix winners Nico Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy were the first pair to jump-off, and they laid down a time to beat of 36.520 seconds that would keep them atop the leaderboard until Chenoweth’s return as the penultimate entry. 

With strides left out throughout the course, Chenoweth and Navaro van’t Verahof flew across the final EPIC Sporthorses oxer in a winning 34.870 seconds. Sofia Cady and ZG Bella, owned by Twist Studio LLC, were the final entry back in the ring, and they crossed the finish in 36.193 seconds to take second place. Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy then rounded out the top three, and fourth place went to Australia’s Rowan Willis and Wellington Grey Goose.

Maddie Chenoweth and Navaro van’t Verahof. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“It feels pretty unreal!” said Chenoweth, who resides in Houston and trains with Martien Van Der Hoeven. “I’ve grown up coming to these horse shows, and I’ve actually never won a grand prix before, so this is my first grand prix win, as well as I’ve just stepped up to the grand prix with this horse Week I of Pin Oak. So, it’s been a pretty unreal experience with him.” 

Chenoweth partnered with the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood, Navaro van’t Verahof, in July of 2022 and has been getting to know the gelding while also balancing her full-time job selling title insurance.

“He’s my type of ride – big and lanky. Martien always jokes that we’re made for each other because I’m tall and lanky as well,” said Chenoweth. “[Because of work] in the winter, I didn’t get to horse show at all. Just being able to come for two weeks here in February and then hit the ground running at Pin Oak was really a great feeling for us.

“I’m just really grateful to be able to still do this sport,” concluded Chenoweth. “My parents have supported me the whole way. My trainer’s been really incredible in supporting me. Even on the days when I show up and I feel a little nervous, it takes a little pressure off that I’ve got a great support system behind me.”

Sofia Cady and ZG Bella finished in second. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

For full results of the $30,000 EPIC Sporthorses Grand Prix, click here or visit HorseShowsOnline.com.