(Photo © mastersgrandslam.com)
An international field of riders and horses entered the competition arena on Thursday evening for the first CSI5* event of this year’s Longines Masters of Los Angeles. Top ranking names like Scott Brash, Beezie Madden, Lauren Hough, John Whitaker, McLain Ward, Bertram Allen, and Daniel Deusser rode their horses around the 1.45-meter course.
Clear rounds rolled in with each world-class rider, but the clock proved to separate riders into two groups: one that used the class to familiarize the horses with the ring and the other that wanted to win. Quentin Judge (USA), aboard HH Fyloe, rode squarely in the latter group, showcasing his horse’s large stride and jumping ability, beating out Jerome Guery (GER) and Jane Richard Philips (SWI).
“HH Fyloe is very fast and careful,” Judge said. “Speed classes are his bread and butter.”
HH Farm purchased the 11-year-old, bay gelding from Daniel Deusser (GER) almost a year ago. With experience in FEI World Cup classes, HH Fyloe will play an integral role in Judge’s bid to qualify for the World Cup Finals. “I’m using him more as a speed horse,” Judge said. “He has a crazy stride for a small horse.”
“I love this show,” Judge added. “It has a great atmosphere. It’s the best indoor show in North America.”
And this year’s event improves on last year’s with completely new lighting, high-definition screens for livestreaming, a sky booth in addition to the VIP table seating, and an expanded Prestige Village—that also allows for a larger warm-up arena to keep horses and riders happy.
Spectators enjoyed food and beverage, ringside while watching the world’s best riders warm up for their rounds. And at the class’s close, Prestige Village vendors, like Gucci, Dy’on, and Valencia Saddlery, provided ample opportunity to discover new products and fashions.
The Opening Gala closed the inaugural evening of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles 2015. Tonight’s winner Judge also celebrated his wedding anniversary with his wife Cayce Harrison at the glamorous party. “It’s a great place to be,” said Judge.
Tomorrow the show continues with a 9:30 a.m. start time for the Los Angeles Times jumping competitions at the 1.10-meter, 1.20-meter, and 1.30-meter heights. The Champagne Barons de Rothschild Trophy (1.35-meter) will follow at 1 p.m. and the Just One Eye Trophy (1.45-meter) at 3:15 p.m.
Masters Division competition will begin at 6 p.m. with the Prix Airbus and the Longines Speed Challenge at 9 p.m., featuring a technical course by international designer Luc Musette.