Santiago Lambre Just Can’t Stop Winning in Traverse City
They call it the Tournament of Champions for a reason, and Santiago Lambre has certainly earned the title of champion throughout the first two weeks of the fall series in Traverse City. Saturday afternoon, he topped his fifth major class in two weeks aboard a fifth horse, winning the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix with Dingeman.
“Dingeman is a member of the family,” Lambre said. “I’ve had him since he was three years old, so 11 years together. We’ve done five-star grand prixs together. He’s a very good horse. He’s very competitive so I hope he keeps it up for a couple of more years.”
Lambre was the first of seven to navigate the Olaf Petersen, Jr., (GER)-designed track clear, meaning he came back first for the jump-off. That did not put him at a disadvantage, though, as he guided the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Nintender x Darnels) to a time of 35.512 seconds. With the pressure on, only three other pairs were able to jump double-clear, and none as fast as Lambre.
Alexandra Peilet and Hyperbolics, owned by Co-Pielet, LLC, were the only pair to come close in 36.239 seconds, taking second. Third place went to Jonathon Miller and Isotropic Shadow, owned by Isotropic Networks, Inc., as they clocked in at 38.190 seconds.
When asked whether the winning streak adds or removes pressure, Lambre remarked, “When you start to win, you ride more relaxed. It takes away the pressure when you win two or three classes in a row. When you don’t win at all it adds more pressure, so you try to do more than you have to do. That affects the way the horses jump and they’re not jumping as well.”
Although the horse is a recent winner in CSI3* action, Dingeman’s place to shine this week was the National Grand Prix, as Lambre has a crop of younger horses that he’s aiming at the CSI3* level currently. With a steady long-term relationship, Lambre knew he could count on Dingeman to perform in Saturday’s class.
“The first three or four years he was in Europe,” Lambre said of the horse’s early career. “He came to the US and at 9 years old was jumping the five-stars. Now the last two years I tried to jump the three-star [level] and he’s been winning a lot. He’s always ready to jump if you need him.”
Aside from the 11-year partnership, the other factor separating Dingeman from the rest of the bunch is that he competes without shoes, and has been for about a year. “I was looking at the horses doing well in Europe without shoes,” Lambre shared. “I have a couple horses now going barefoot. He likes it; I think he jumps better without shoes.”
Lambre and other international athletes now focus their attention on Sunday’s $138,600 CSI3* Agero Grand Prix, where he will attempt his sixth big win in two weeks