Nicole Haunert has an impressive resume of success in Blenheim EquiSports’ grand prix events, and on Wednesday, November 17, at the Las Vegas National CSI4*-W, she and Calgary IV added victory in the $20,000 1.40m Grand Prix, presented by Tack of the Town and Ogilvy Equestrian, to that list.
When Haunert and Calgary IV entered the arena at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa as the seventh rider to contest the Ana Catsy Cruz-designed course, only Zume Gallaher had produced a clear round thus far, and only Hillary Ridland would ultimately qualify to join Haunert and Gallaher in the jump-off.
Returning first for the jump-off, Gallaher and Edita, owned by Blue Gate Stables LLC, set the jump-off score to beat at four faults in a time 36.798 seconds.
With just one rider to follow her in the jump-off, and with Calgary IV also competing in Thursday’s $41,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series Finale, Haunert elected to go for a conservative clear round, and her plan paid off.
“She’s not the fastest indoors because she’s spooky a little bit,” said Haunert of the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare, owned by Cherokee Show Horses Inc. “I definitely wasn’t the fastest, but I can feel that she’s really ready for tomorrow! It worked out to our advantage.”
Haunert and Calgary IV crossed the finish in a clear 38.743 seconds which would prove to be enough to clinch the win.
While the final pair to return, Ridland and Wonder Kid, owned by Mary Francis Looke, navigated slick turns with ease to finish with the fastest time of 35.424 seconds, a rail in the second half of the course would relegate them to second place.
“It feels great [to win],” said Haunert, who has had Calgary IV for three years. “She’s wonderful, such a good girl. She has a lot of blood and can be strong, but she’s a winner and very careful.”
Haunert, and each of this year’s winners at the Las Vegas National CSI4*-W, receive a Ogilvy saddle pad from Tack of the Town, Las Vegas’ premier specialty equestrian and tack store.
“Having such a great event come here to our hometown in Vegas is so special for us,” said Molly Heroy, president and chief executive officer of Tack of the Town. “It’s always very exciting to see our clients and our friends that we meet all over the West Coast come to our home base in Las Vegas and be with us here at the Las Vegas National Horse Show. It’s a great time for everyone to do all of their Christmas shopping. I love to see everyone and help everyone get their end-of-the-year shopping done.”
Haunert will next set her sights on earning another saddle pad from Tack of the Town on Thursday. She comes into the Las Vegas National CSI4*-W sitting in second in the Markel Insurance Jumper Series standings, and she and Calgary IV will be going for victory in the Thursday’s series finale class, beginning at 4 p.m. (PST).
Additional Thursday competition highlights include the $40,000 FEI 1.50m Las Vegas National Welcome Speed Classic beginning at 7 p.m.