Christian Heineking and NKH Selena are unstoppable in the $50,000 LEGIS Grand Prix of Los Angeles | Photo Copyright Flying Horse Photography
November 11, 2013--Christian Heineking (GER) heard the German national anthem for the second weekend in a row as he clinched another win aboard NKH Selena (NKH LLC, owner) in the fast and furious $50,000 LEGIS Grand Prix of Los Angeles (a World Cup Qualifier). "I definitely rode the momentum from last week's grand prix win," Christian commented. "It means the world to have back-to-back wins. It proves our consistency and shows that our whole training method is really working."
Thirty-three horse and rider combinations attempted to go clean on Olaf Petersen Jr.'s (GER) demanding CSI-W standard course. The course certainly proved challenging for many of the riders, with rails falling often at Fence 4, which followed a massive triple bar, as well as in the difficult triple combination. Saer Coulter (USA) earned the first clear of the night on Springtime (Copernicus Stables LLC, owner) early in the order of go. Seven riders followed her lead and set the stage for a thrilling eight way jump off.
First to go in the jump off, Saer threw down the gauntlet and went clean and fast in 40.07 seconds, daring everyone else to catch her time. "I just went out there to do the best I could," Saer recounted. "I don't think I could have gone any faster, although that right turn was hard for us so maybe we could have been a little faster on the inside turn."
She held the lead for three rounds until Christian and NKH Selena entered the ring. "Going into the jump off, obviously going clean was the first priority because of Saer's round," Christian recalled. "On top of that, I asked Selena to really go for it and she tried so incredibly hard. We're a great team and she's an amazing young horse. Everything worked out as well as it could have."
Christian's bold and aggressive riding allowed him to lay down a blazing time of 37.43 seconds. He and Selena flew through the course, taking every turn as tightly as possible, and the crowd roared as Christian galloped all out to the final oxer. It was a tough act to follow, but Alec Lawler (USA) (John Charlebois, trainer) rode his best aboard his Dauphin De Muze, going clean and earning the red ribbon with a time of 39.45 seconds. "I knew I couldn't have gone any faster. It was Christian's night and we all knew it. He just flew, and he got us," Alec commented. "But I couldn't be happier with my horse. He performed great and I was happy to get second place."
Saer's time was good for third, and she was happy to be a part of such an exciting jump off. "I had all the boys behind me, and they went even faster than I did. It was amazing! Alec is one of my best friends, so I'm happy for him," Saer noted.
For Christian, the trip out from Texas has been more than worth it and he was grateful to have his team with him on the West Coast. "I have an entire team behind me that is so supportive of me, from the owners to the grooms to my family." Christian mentioned. "I certainly couldn't do this without them and I'm so grateful for their support." Christian's wife, Erin Davis-Heineking, also competed in the grand prix and placed ninth on Alamo (October Hill Hunters and Jumpers, owner).
1 Christian Heineking (GER) NKH Selena 37.43 0
2 Alec Lawler (USA) Dauphin de Muze 39.45 0
3 Saer Coulter (USA) Springtime 40.07 0
4 Andres Rodriguez (VEN) MCB Maya??? 38.30 4
5 Andres Rodriguez (VEN) Caballito 38.74 4
6 Duncan McFarlane (NZL) Mr. Whoopy 41.29 8
7 Nayel Nassar (EGY) Lordan 41.76 8
8 Karl Cook (USA) Jonkheer Z 43.16 8
9 Erin Davis-Heineking (USA) Alamo 82.96 1
10 Jennifer Goddard (USA) Lucky Lord 20 84.17 1
11 Hardin Towell (USA) Man In Black 76.34 4
12 Andrew Ramsey (USA) Adamo Van 'T Steenputje 78.74 4
Though the grand prix riders are usually all business in the ring, they had a chance to have some fun with the western theme of the evening. In the opening ceremonies, each grand prix rider got to gallop around the Equidome on a western horse or pony with western tack, which made for quite an exciting and unique entrance for each rider. Team Golden Girls, the winners of the team portion of the $12,000 West Coast Junior-Amateur Jumper Championship, also joined in the fun and do a victory gallop aboard their own horses.