For the accomplished pair of Andre Thieme (GER) and DSP Chakaria, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Ocala (USA) title had been elusive.
The 2021 individual European Champions, who base in Ocala each winter, finished second in Ocala in 2020 and third in 2022. Sunday at Live Oak Stud, they secured their long-awaited and much-deserved victory, besting an 11-horse jump-off.
They were comfortable winners, crossing the timers of Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s (GER) shortened track in 38.28 seconds. Maria Gabriela Brugal Gasso (DOM) and J’Adore Flamenco finished second in their World Cup debut (40.14 seconds), with Santiago Lambre (BRA) and Chacco Blue II third (40.86 seconds).
“I said a million times how much I truly am in love with that horse, because that is the horse of my lifetime. There’s no question about that anymore. She’s just different. She’s just better than every other horse I ever had. All of a sudden, riding is easier with her. She does things that the other horses cannot do. She’s special in any and every way,” said Thieme.
Thieme’s confidence in his mount was apparent in a jump-off that challenged riders to gallop while also forcing them to respect some technical questions. Thieme left a friend at the ingate to watch the jump-off riders before him as he formulated his plan, ultimately deciding not to leave out strides in two places and to make up the time in the turns, as well as the first and final lines. In those places, he did not touch the reins, and his mount answered every call.
“The plan was definitely to try to win,” Thieme said. “I was almost over-careful to the combination; I thought that was maybe one too many [strides], but it worked out, and maybe it helped my horse to turn even shorter to the next jump. I’m extremely happy, and the plan worked perfectly.”
Thieme and DSP Chakaria have been partnered for more than five years and have represented Germany in five championships, earning two medals.
“She jumped her first five-star like she had jumped the two-star and three-star [classes],” Thieme said. “That, in the end, makes her special. She jumps the big tracks so lightly; it doesn’t take anything out of her.”
Ocala’s event brought the 2022-2023 North American League season to a close, finalizing the league’s qualifying athletes for the upcoming Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals. Lambre’s third-place finish secured his ticket as an Extra Athlete. East U.S. athletes Hunter Holloway, McLain Ward, Kent Farrington, Nicholas dello Joio, Devin Ryan, and Brian Moggre secured their places with their Ocala placings, as did Canadian athletes Mario Deslauriers and Tiffany Foster.
Daniel Coyle (IRL) finished the season atop the league standings with 66 points, ahead of fellow Irishman Conor Swail (56 points) and Israel’s Daniel Bluman (54 points).
The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals take place in Omaha (USA), 4-8 April 2023.
By Catie Staszak