RINGSIDE WITH THE PLAID HORSE
BY EMILY RANDOLPH/RANDOLPHPR
Katy, Texas – March 31, 2021 – Daisy Ford earned her first grand prix win only a month ago, and on Wednesday, March 31, she returned to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, TX, to do it again. This time the 19-year-old and her own Gatsby topped the $25,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix, sponsored by Heroes for Children, during Week II of the 75th Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.
With the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, sponsored by Leaving One Out, LLC, held concurrently, Ford was also automatically named the winner of the featured U25 class.
“I’m so excited! Gatsby’s really come through this year in a big way, and I’m really, really proud of him,” said Ford of the horse that she first began competing in the children’s jumpers seven years ago. “It pays off when you’ve had a partner for seven years, for sure! You know exactly what they’re thinking.”
The solidity of the pair’s longtime partnership was particularly evident over Wednesday’s jump-off track. Nine entries from the 28-horse field qualified to come back and contest the short course set by course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral, with Ford returning in the penultimate position.
When Ford and Gatsby entered the ring, the time to beat had been set at 33.183 seconds by Carlee McCutcheon, the winner of the $30,000 Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix held just four days prior. With fast foot speed from Gatsby, slick turns and strides left out throughout the course, Ford quickly toppled that time to stop the clock in 32.470 seconds.
Martien van der Hoeven and Morris Horta, owned by Luccirelli International, LLC, were the final pair to return. As they crossed the final fence, it looked as though they may have the win. However, the clock stopped just tenths of a second shy of Ford’s time, giving van der Hoeven the second-place honor with a time of 32.793 seconds. McCutcheon and her own MTM Fortunate finished third.
“I have a super quick, careful horse, and I knew I could leave out strides in a few places because I have such a big step with him,” said Ford of the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding. “I got lucky, and everything came up the way that I was hoping it would.”
While Ford and Gatsby make it look easy today, their partnership was not always that way.
“It didn’t start off easy for me with him,” explained Ford, who trains with Alexandra Ansteth at Augusta Pines Farm. “He’s a very powerful horse, and he’s got a really hard jump. That was my hardest thing to get used to with him. Probably my first big win with him was at Pin Oak two years ago when I won the Under 25. That was my first grand prix that I jumped clean, and to come back and win the actual grand prix just two years later feels pretty amazing!”
Running through April 11, the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show features three weeks of top hunter, jumper and American Saddlebred competition while benefiting the Texas Children’s Hospital. Week II continues through Saturday, April 3, with remaining feature events including a $30,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Derby on Thursday and the Hildebrand Fund $50,000 Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix on Friday night.