In an effort to keep Indigo “fresh,” Engle brought the horse to Lake Placid to compete over the next three days. In it’s first competitive day in the ring this month, Indigo carried Engle to victory in Friday’s feature event at the Lake Placid Horse Show, the $30,000 Intercat, Inc. Open Jumper Classic.
Engle, an Olympian from Wellington, Fla., rode Indigo to the top of a 43-rider field. The team was one of 11 entries that turned in fault-free runs over the 15-jump course in the opening round to reach a timed jump-off. As the next-to-last competitor in the eight-jump second round, Engle again put down a fault-free ride and took the lead by finishing the course in 34.720 seconds.
The contest then concluded in dramatic fashion, as Charlie Jacobs of Weston, Mass. entered the ring on his horse Secret Love, which was the same mount that carried the 39-year-old to a 2009 Lake Placid Grand Prix victory in the same ring. After seeing Engle put down a fast time, Jacobs covered the course even quicker, but Secret Love toppled a rail on the final jump to give Engle the win and drop the pair into seventh place.
“This was a good warm up for Indigo,” Engle said. “He wasn’t completely on it in the first round, but in the second round, it seemed like he shook the cobwebs out. He was back to himself.
“This was a close one,” Engle added. “I thought Charlie rode great, but he just had a little bad luck at the last fence. You can never count on anything until the last rider is done. It’s all part of jumping.”
Jacobs, whose family owns the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, finished more than a full second faster than Engle after riding Secret Love over the jump-off course in 33.269 seconds. But he said “hesitating for a nano-second” resulted in knocking off rails on the final obstacle to cost the pair four fault points as well as the victory.
“It was my error, not one by the horse,” Jacobs said. “My horse jumped fantastic. Walking the course, I thought it would take him six strides to reach the last fence. But he was going so fast, he might have been able to get there in five.
“Usually, a horse’s stride covers about 14 feet,” Jacobs continued. “But for this horse, it might have been 16 or 17 feet. We went six strides, but that little hesitation cost us. I should have stuck with my original plan.”
Kate Levy, also of Wellington, Fla., took second place, riding Lirving de Volsin to a clean jump-off round with a finish time of 35.959 seconds.
Other winners on Friday included two riders from Ireland — Jonathan McCrea on Tommy Bahama in the Adirondack Flying Service 1.35m Speed Class and Darragh Kenny on Castello in the J.Lohr Vineyards & Wines 1.40m Open Speed Stake.
The Intercat, Inc. Lake Placid Horse Show runs through Sunday and is followed at the North Elba Show Grounds by the 34th annual I Love New York Horse Show, July 5-10.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
Margie Engle and her horse Indigo perform in the timed jump-off round during their winning effort in Friday’s $30,000 Intercat, Inc. Open Jumper Classic at the Lake Placid Horse Show.