Tracy Magness and Intenz Van HD Incredible in $20,000 HITS Open Prix at HITS Culpeper
After a week of competition at the historic and beautiful HITS Commonwealth Park, the Winston National at HITS Culpeper has drawn to a close. In the Grand Prix Field, Tracy Magness and her trusty partner Intenz Van HD were on the podium during every major jumper class of the week. Sunday proved to be their best day yet as they sped to victory during the 10-horse jump-off in the $20,000 HITS Open Prix.
“In my mind, I thought I was probably riding for third place, but [Intenz Van HD] was like, ‘I don’t know why you’re going for third; I’m going for first,” laughed Magness after her win. “Candy [Intenz Van HD] this week has been really fresh. I had a month off before coming here, and she was amazing.”
Sunday’s $20,000 HITS Open Prix at HITS Culpeper featured ten horse and rider combinations in the jump-off who were competing for the top prize. With two efforts in the class, Magness was second-to-go in the jump-off line-up and would go on to become the rider who would break the beam at 40.519 seconds with her first horse, Chopin Du Chateau Hollogne Z. Next came Addison Reed and Doc Di Villigana, and although their time was quicker than Magness and Chopin Du Chateau Hollogne Z’s, the performance Marylisa Leffler and Zaza Z put in afterward in 36.168 seconds made Magness believe that no one would be able to beat them.
“I saw Marylisa go and honestly, I said ‘the pressure’s off,’ because nobody can beat her,” recalled Magness. “When I went up to the ring on Candy [Intenz Van HD], I thought I wasn’t going to do seven strides across the middle of the jump-off. I said, ‘I’m not doing that; it’s too forward. I’m going to do eight and maybe I can turn tighter.’”
Despite Magness’s initial plan, Intenz Van HD decided she had one of her own they were going to follow. After the duo jumped the first fence and had a good rollback at the second one, Intenz Van HD picked up speed after the sixth stride in the middle of the jump-off, determined to close the distance in seven strides rather than Magness’s planned eight. Having little say in the matter, Magness gave in and let Intenz Van HD put the pedal to the medal. They flew over the next jump, taking it long but still managing to leave all the rails intact, this move unexpectedly shaving some extra time off their round.
“I still was surprised when they said I had won,” remarked Magness. “[Intenz Van HD] is just competitive. I think she’s learned over the years with me how to be competitive in the jump-off, you know? She’s not this giant horse with a giant step, but I can leave out a stride if I want to. She’s always trying, she won’t say ‘no.’ She’s not a horse that would stop. Of all the mistakes we’ve made over the years, stopping is not one of them.”
To Magness’s delight, her and Intenz Van HD’s speedy 36.164 second round would hold for the remainder of the jump-off. Melissa Strawser and Darwin De Mars were the final pair to challenge Magness and Intenz Van HD’s time, but they fell short by a little over half a second with a time of 36.812 seconds, moving them into third place behind Leffler and Zaza Z.