Megan McDermott Makes Winning Debut in the Desert in $10,000 1.45m Open Classic

Megan McDermott Makes Winning Debut in the Desert in $10,000 1.45m Open Classic

Megan McDermott has only been in the desert for two days, and she’s already winning. The Ridgefield, CT, native came out west with an impressive string of horses and landed a one-two finish in Thursday’s $10,000 FarmVet 1.45m Open Classic, making her trip already worth it.

Amidst a competitive field, McDermott piloted Toscane de Chavannes, owned by Counter Balance LLC, around Ken Chrome’s course first, setting a new time to beat of 58.618 seconds. While other pairs tried to catch her, only her second horse came within shouting distance of the time she set, claiming second with Nintendo, also owned by Counter Balance LLC, in a time of 60.608 seconds. Kyle King gave his best shot with Diamond, owned by Strasburg Morin Inc., with a clear effort in 61.523 seconds.

“‘Tasha’ is one of my favorite horses,” McDermott said of Toscane de Chavannes, a 10-year-old Warmblood mare. “I love her so much. I’ve had her for a year. Before that she was my very good friend’s horse, and [my friend] got pregnant and now she’s mine. She has the best heart and doesn’t ever lay a foot wrong. She’s very competitive and very careful. I’ve had a fun time developing her to a higher level. She’s just always there for you.”

The schedule at DIHP throughout the circuit is perfect for developing a horse like Toscane de Chavannes, so McDermott plans to continue to let her shine in classes of this level before seeing what else the mare wants to do.

“The plan for her in the winter is to jump 1.40-1.45m and try to win,” she explained. “She jumped clear yesterday in the 1.35m which was her first class in two months, and then she won today in the 1.45m, so she’ll at least stay at this level, but maybe move up a little too.”

Here for the long haul, McDermott is thrilled with the way the horse show has welcomed her, as well as how the results have played out so far.

“It’s only my second day here and I already love it,” she explained. “The show grounds are beautiful, the management is incredible, they’re so accommodating, they’re really trying to make it the best show for the horses and for the riders. We’re here for the full 10 weeks and really looking forward to it. I can’t imagine getting sick of it here. This really feels like home.”

Having spent the past 12 seasons in Wellington, McDermott is thrilled for a change of scenery, and she feels the horses she brought will really enjoy having some space to relax and a few more opportunities to jump the height they excel at.

“The thing that made me want to come out here most is the horses I have,” she shared. “I have amazing horses who are winners and they’re really competitive and great. My horses deserve to be on a stage where they can show off in the best possible way. We think the footing here is the best in the country, and the level of competition is hard but there are so many classes, with the national classes, 1.35-1.50m with big prize money every week, and FEI show jumping. This is just the best opportunity for them to do it and to succeed.”

McDermott will gear up for jumping Saturday evening’s $25,000 U.S. Bank Grand Prix with a day off for her top horses on Friday.

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Megan McDermott Makes Winning Debut in the Desert in $10,000 1.45m Open Classic | Desert International Horse Park (