Liz Atkins and Miracle Horse Rodeo VDL Top 1.40m Open Jumpers at Equifest III

Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 7, 2019 –The third and final week of the Chicago Festival of the Horse kicked-off on Wednesday, August 7, at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. While the Main Hunter Arena saw horses jump with style and grace at a relaxed pace, the Grand Prix Arena saw jumper riders race against the clock, slicing turns and putting in their best efforts to leave all of the jumps up. Rising to the occasion in the 1.40m Open Jumper class was Liz Atkins and Rodeo VDL, besting a field of 10 horses and athletes to win the class.

Liz Atkins and Rodeo VDL

Equifest III course designer Paul Jewel set the 1.40m course featuring 11 obstacles. Multiple combinations, a liverpool and bending lines made up the challenging track that left many options on the table for riders to shave seconds off of their times. Taking the swiftest track aboard her 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Rodeo VDL, Atkins put in two clear rounds. Rodeo VDL, who is often referred to as a miracle horse after beating a rare form of cancer as an 8-year-old, put in a jump-off time of 39.368 seconds over the shortened 7 obstacle course.

Last year, Atkins and Rodeo won the $25,000 Grand Prix during Equifest III. This year, Atkins felt some inconsistencies in their courses during Equifest I and II, thus making the decision to take their class load down a notch to the 1.40m Open Jumpers, where she felt they could put in a solid, steady ride. Rodeo VDL, however, went in to give the first jump his all, giving Atkins the green light to go for the blue ribbon.

Tiffany Hammack and Crack Elle Chavannaise

Following behind Atkins, Tiffany Hammack rode Beyaert Farm’s Crack Elle Chavannaise to double-clear rounds. Less than half a second behind the winning time, Hammack and the 11-year-old Belgian Sporthorse mare secured second place with a jump-off time of 39.699 seconds.

Liz Atkins and Carletta

In addition to her win, Atkins returned to the arena to round out the top three in the class with her 13-year-old Holsteiner mare Carletta. Another double-clear ride and a time of 39.955 seconds put her in the third place position.

Jacqueline Steffens and Dyrusa H

Prior to the 1.40m Open Jumper class, Jacqueline Steffens rode Andrew Kocher’s Dyrusa H, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, to two fault-free rounds and the top of the leaderboard in the 1.30m Open Jumpers. Earning second place in the class was Mark Mc Kone and Fearless, his 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, while Taylor Flurry and Nefreteri came in third place.

Competition in the Grand Prix Arena will resume on Thursday, August 8, with the Training 1.15m Jumpers and 5-Year-Old Jumpers.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Liz Atkins – 1.40m Open Jumper winner

On Rodeo VDL:
“That horse is actually amazing. I’ve had him for a few years and we pretty much saved his life from terminal cancer as an 8-9 year old. Ever since we’ve gotten him healthy he’s been a superstar. He is a super trier, he really goes in the ring and tries to win for you every single time.”

On the course:
“I was really happy with [Rodeo VDL] today, he jumped a great round. We had a little bit of an inconsistent two weeks the last two weeks here so I went in today and thought, ‘I’m just going to jump a good, clean 1.40m,’ and honestly, as soon as I jumped the first jump in the first round he felt awesome. I decided I would try to win since he felt so good!” 

On Lamplight:
“We’ve been here for the past two weeks and we come here every single year. We’re from this area and my farm is 25 minutes from here, so this is really home for us. I grew up showing at Lamplight since I was 13 years old. We do not miss this horse show ever!”

RESULTS

1.40m Open Jumpers:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / Time / R2 Faults / Time
1. Rodeo VDL / Liz Atkins / Benchmark Stables LLC / 0 / 66.476 / 0 / 39.368
2. Crack Elle Chavannaise / Tiffany Hammack / Beyaert Farm Inc. / 0 / 63.465 / 0 / 39.699
3. Carletta / Liz Atkins / Benchmark Stables LLC / 0 / 62.698 / 0 / 39.955
4. Hudson VDL / Amanda Flint / Amanda Flint / 0 / 66.022 / 0 / 41.199
5. Z Diamanti / Taylor McMurtry / Looking Back Farm / 0 / 69.778 / 0 / 43.375
6. Barillo W / Lynsey Whitacre / Lynsey Whitacre / 0 / 65.833 / 4 / 39.982
7. Von Casius / Tony Font / Deana Blackburn / 4 / 65.130 / – / –
8. Gap Van de Kai / Jacqueline Steffens / Carson Grisham / 8 / 68.231 / – / –
9. Calordo / Jacqueline Steffens / Bertrand Legriffon / 8 / 69.251 / – / –
10. Peter Pan / Alexandra Veleris / Third Coast Equestrian LLC / 12 / 69.676 / – / –

1.30m Open Jumpers:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / Time / R2 Faults / Time
1. Dyrusa H / Jacqueline Steffens / Andrew Kocher / 0 / 65.628 / 0 / 37.312
2. Fearless / Mark McKone / Mark Mc Kone / 0 / 64.480 / 0 / 39.562
3. Nefreteri / Taylor Flurry / – / 0 / 66.789 / 0 / 40.290
4. Furst / Rebecca Lannoye / Rebecca Lannoye / 0 / 66.724 / 0 / 41.163
5. Carrasca Z / Taylor Flurry / Aliboo Farm, Inc. / 0 / 64.920 / 4 / 41.330
6. Darco’s Lynx / Laura Roesing / Laura Roesing / 0 / 65.429 / 4 / 43.898
7. Irvington VDL / Amanda Flint / Amanda Flint / 4 / 63.885 / – / –