Dr. Gregory Beroza, aka the HorseDoc® ‘Talking Horses’®, reports ringside from the 2021 Hampton Classic.
Daniel Bluman, a two-time Olympic veteran and 2017 Hampton Classic Grand Prix champion, rode Gemma W to victory in the 2021 Hampton Classic Grand Prix on Sunday, September 5th. Gemma W is a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Blue Star investments. Bluman’s blistering time of 34.75 seconds was just enough to edge out McLain Ward’s lead of 36.79 seconds and capture the title.
Bluman carefully watched McLain’s ride aboard Contagious and told himself, “I was going to give everything I had. I was going to take all risks, and I was going to beat him. I wasn’t going to be slower than him today. And it worked out. To beat him [McLain Ward] today is definitely going to be one that I’ll remember.”
McLain Ward, who just returned from being part of the Team USA Silver Medal Jumping Team, had a stellar week at the Classic. Ward won the Hampton Classic Grand Prix a record seven times, has represented Team USA in five Olympics, and medaled four times. Ward rode his 2021 Olympic mount, Contagious, a 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding, owned by Beechwood Stables LLC.
Ward stated, “He’s a super quality horse. He’s always been very careful and he’s a fighter. My team has that horse in spectacular form right now from preparing for the Olympics, where we achieved a dream result. It’s nice that he was able to return home and be fit and ready to go.”
Besides his second place finish in the 2021 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, Ward scored 538 points in Classic competitions to win the $30,000 LONGINES Rider Challenge. Bluman was second with 350 points. Ward was the first American to win this award. All previous seven Rider Challenge awards were won by Irish riders Shane Sweetnam and Richie Moloney.
Schuyler Riley won third place Grand Prix and Rider Challenge (325 points) honors aboard Robin De Ponthual. She rode Katherine Gallager’s 16-year-old Selle Francais gelding to a fault-free time of 37.42 seconds. Riley procured ‘Robin’ from McLain and said of her mount, “He’s just a machine. I think he’s one of the best horses in the world right now.”
At the post-event press conference, Ward commented, “When I landed from the last jump, I knew I’d left the door open [for the two subsequent riders].” Bluman stated that he was just trying to go as fast as possible, and Gemma answered all that he asked of her. “Gemma has been with us since she was five years old. From the beginning, I knew she was very special and athletic. I believe she has a great mind and (emphasized) a great heart.”
About Dr. Beroza aka HorseDoc®:
Dr. Gregory A. Beroza, DVM, DACVS, DABVP has been a practicing veterinarian for 41 years and HorseDoc® ‘Talking Horses’® media host, author and consultant since 2000. He is Founding Chief of Staff of the Long Island Equine Medical Center and President of the Long Island Equine Medical Foundation Inc. Dr. Beroza broadcasts several equine, medical, and health related productions on the web, on his Youtube Channel, and via contributions to WRHU 88.7FM radio shows which are showcased on www.ONEonONEStories.com. You can reach Dr. Beroza at www.TalkingHorses.com, www.HorseDoc.com, [email protected], or Twitter@DrGregoryBeroza.
Dr. Beroza, aka HorseDoc®, would like to thank all his ‘Talking Horses’® sponsors:
Alex Nichols Agency, BMB IT Solutions, Chestnut Vale Feed, Cosequin Joint Health Supplement, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Great American Insurance Group- Equine Division, Hopscotch Air Taxi, Jaguar-Land Rover-Range Rover, JSR Farriers-Equine Transport, Nutrena, Oheka Castle Hotel-Estate, Ramard Nutraceuticals, Supporting Strategies, UltraVet Medical Devices