‘An incredible horse with all the heart and try in the world’: wing-clearing syndicate horse wows in victory

  • Wowing spectators at the World Equestrian Center (WEC) in Ocala, Florida, last weekend was the wing-clearing gelding Escobar WW. He and his US rider Taylor Marie Land won the Buckeye Nutrition Futures Prix with a remarkable 4sec victory over the reigning European showjumping champion Andre Thieme of Germany on a new ride, the 11-year-old Candid 14.

    “Escobar WW is my obsession,” said the rider of the uber-scopey eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding, whom she’s been riding since the summer and who clearly has all the technique to progress to bigger tracks. “He’s an incredible horse with all the heart and try in the world.”

    On Friday night under the lights in the WEC Grand Arena, a field of nearly 40 up-and-coming horses and riders came forward to compete in the $15,000 class, tackling a track set by world-renowned course-designer Leopoldo Palacios.

    Eight combinations came forward for the jump-off, where pathfinder Andre raced home clear in 44.67sec and held on to the lead until last-drawn Taylor Marie Land and Escobar WW (Etoulon x Pretty Woman) smashed their target by four seconds, posting a winning time of 40.74sec.

    “I didn’t have a great sense of how fast Andre had been,” she said. “I was watching on the screen in the schooling area and I knew he hadn’t done the tightest track, but he did leave out strides in some places. I wanted to go fast enough and be smooth in the rollbacks so I could catch each fence forward. I didn’t want to risk going too slow, but my horse really rose to the occasion.

    “Leopoldo is a great course-designer. [This class] was the first time for many of these horses to jump and compete under the lights. The very beginning of the course was a bit scopey with the first jump being a a triple bar. The second and third jumps were both walls that backed the horses off before the triple combination, which was a careful element.”

    Escobar is the first horse Taylor Marie has syndicated; she runs him under the Team Land Syndicate I LLC banner.

    “I am so grateful to all of his owners for believing in me and I just know he is going to be something special,” she said.

    “It is fantastic that World Equestrian Center offers classes like this to help us prepare our developing horses to one day show under the lights on Saturday. The atmosphere and jumps are incredible, and the courses are always fantastic. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

    Taking third with the only other double clear was Mackenzie McGehee riding House in a time of 44.82sec.

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