Mark Bluman and Adje T Amaze in $77,300 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI2* at HITS Saugerties
Week II of the Hudson Valley Jumping Tour concluded Saturday afternoon following the $77,300 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI2*. Spectators gathered around the Grand Prix Stadium to watch nearly 50 talented horse and rider combinations give their best shot at making the podium. Landing on top after two exciting rounds was last week’s Grand Prix winner Mark Bluman, besting a 13-horse jump-off with his new mount, Adje T.
“I have had [Adje T] for four shows, and I think it has had one rail down in those four shows,” expressed Bluman. “He is super special and extremely careful – probably the most careful horse I have ever ridden. When you have that quality in a horse, you go into the course knowing that chances of you having a rail down are pretty slim, so you can take bigger risks – which is more special.”
Ken Krome set a challenging first-round course that tested many riders across different parts of it, including three double combinations intertwined with numerous rollbacks and bending lines placed throughout the arena. Many riders who made it clear through the combinations left with defeat after having rails late in the course. After the first five horse and rider combinations competed, Bluman and Adje T were the second pair to go clear, making them second in the jump-off line-up as well.
“I was unlucky to go early in the draw of the first round – the first horse to go in the jump-off is actually a former ride of mine,” explained Bluman. “I saw his jump-off and it was pretty fast – I know that horse is really quick, so I took the risk of leaving out a stride and it paid off.”
The jump-off began with the same two fences seen at the beginning of round one before riders had to complete a tight rollback between fence 2 and 11. The rest of the course included a combination at fence 12ab, a jump that was previously a part of half of the original fence 5 combination, and a new jump 16, originally the b-element of fence 8 in the first round. Following Nayel Nassar and El Conde’s beam-breaking 38.89 second round in the jump-off, Bluman knew he had to put on the pressure to post a time that could hold for the remainder of the jump-off. Luckily, his decision to ride tight turns to make up time paid off, and he and Adje T became the new class leaders after finishing their round in 38.1 seconds.