Parker, CO - July 17, 2018 - The sixth week of Summer in the Rockies (SIR), the competitive hunter/jumper series hosted at the Colorado Horse Park (CHP), was held from Wednesday, July 11, through Sunday, July 15. The series drew near record-setting exhibitor and spectator attendance for the penultimate week of competition.
Distinguished equestrian athletes and their mounts made up the order in the week's many classes, including the $80,000 Front Range Kubota Grand Prix held on Saturday, July 14. CHP welcomed Mandy Porter of Encinitas, CA, back for a second year of competition and once again Porter's performance ushered her to the top of the leader board.
The $80,000 Front Range Kubota Grand Prix hosted thirty-four entries in the Saturday-evening event. Porter and Milano, a 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Archer, rode the fast track through the timers in 42.228 seconds for premier placement. Porter and Milano have been competing together for the last two years. "Last year we had an amazing season. It was unbelievable, he even qualified for World Cup Finals" said Porter. "I just keep going along with him and asking him different questions to see what he can do!"
Porter spoke of the track set by FEI course designer Mauricio Garcia, "Of course I liked it! I thought he did a great job. He made it big enough that it asked some good questions but it was not over-the-top technical. I thought it was very appropriate, very nice." Heading into the jump-off, Porter's plan was a simply stated, "Go fast without going crazy." She continued, "I've just got to keep a really cool head when I ride Milano. I try not to let him get me too excited."
This win marked Porter's second large-scale victory at CHP. She and Coral Reef Ranch Follow Me II were triumphant in the 2017 series finale, the $100,000 Adequan® Grand Prix. "We had such a good time last year, we really liked it," Porter said of her return to CHP. "The people are friendly, the venue is good, the horses are happy here. It's a nice change of pace."
Joining Porter on the podium was Shawn Casady of Harriman, TN, who guided Cicomein VDL, owned by HKC Collection, through the jump-off timers in 43.516 seconds for second-place honors. Morrison, Colorado's Katharin Gualtieri came in third aboard Sandwillow Farm's Castalano with a jump-off time of 46.012 seconds.
Porter is starting to make a habit of leading victory gallops at the Colorado venue. Earlier in the week, Milano and Porter also reigned supreme in the $20,000 Carolina Arena Equipment Welcome Stake. Their 40.332 second jump-off beat out thirty three other entries for the win. Charlie Jayne of Elgin, IL, rode his own Amice Z for a second-place finish after a 42.209 second jump-off. No stranger to the CHP winner's circle, Shawn Casady and Dakar VDL, owned by HKC Collection, jumped-off in 46.31 seconds for third.
Looking forward to the final week of the Colorado SIR series, Porter spoke of the heightened competition, "There are definitely some good horses here so we'll see what they build next week. I'm hoping that all of the players stay for next week, as well. It's a pretty good feel, it's competitive. It makes you have to work for it."
SIR will conclude after the seventh week of competition to be held Wednesday, July 18 through Sunday, July 22. The apex of the series, the $100,000 Adequan® Grand Prix will be held at 5:00 p.m. MST on Saturday, July 21.