Mandy Porter and Milano made their trip north worthwhile with a win in the $30,000 Amanda Teal Design Grand Prix at the Sonoma Horse Park's HMI Classic.
Mandy was all smiles on Saturday afternoon after she won with a decisive victory in the 13-horse jump-off. Oscar Soberon (USA) designed a first round track that asked some good questions but left the door open for a number of riders to go clear.
The jump-off began with a wide triple bar to a vertical on an eight, nine, or ten stride line, rolling right back to a big over-vertical double away from the ingate, then seven, eight, or nine steps bending to another oxer, directly to a tall skinny vertical, directly to another vertical, and finally turning back to a very wide oxer set right next to the first jump.
First to go in the jump-off ,Alex Volpi and Absolute du Mio looked like she may not be caught, stopping the clock in a time of 34.213 seconds. While her time held for the next five rounds, the crowd collectively held their breath as Mandy and Milano, owned by Abby Archer, began to jump around. This seasoned duo has many impressive victories under their belts including a win in the HITS Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix in 2017.
After Mandy and Milano jumped their picture-perfect round, a few more of the speediest riders in California tried to beat her. Zazou Hoffman and Samson II almost got it done but wound up just over half a second slower.
Mandy told us a bit about her jump-off and her "Cookie Monster" after the class: "I thought the jump-off was crazy fast, I actually don't like to run that fast. I usually like a jump-off with more turns so I don't have to go so fast, but it was fun. I came out of the ring saying it was more fun then I was expecting."
In regards to Milano, Mandy shared the following: "He makes me laugh! I swear since COVID started, all he wants to do is practice victory gallops. I'm happy he had his chance today. He always tries but as he gets older we have to pick and choose a little bit [the classes in which he competes]. I really try to enjoy it while we can!"
Mandy and Milano will return to the Sonoma Horse Park at the end of the month for the Split Rock Jumping Tour, which begins on August 26.
Photo by Alden Corrigan Media