Approaching the halfway mark of the CSI2* JustWorld International Grand Prix Saturday at Thunderbird Show Park, Santiago Lambre (BRA) and The Diamant Rose Z stood alone, having produced the only clear round in the class up to that point.
It would prove to be a foreshadowing of what was to come.
Four other riders would join Lambre and the 12-year-old Zangersheide mare in the jump-off, but none would catch them. Elongating her stride with just the slightest loosening of the reins, The Diamant Rose Z crossed the timers of Peter Holmes’ (CAN) shortened 1.45m track in an unbeatable 36.61 seconds. Last to jump-off, James Chawke (IRL) and Howard du Seigneur gave great chase but had to settle for second (36.98 seconds), followed by Karl Cook (USA) and Coachella (39.59 seconds).
“She’s very quick, and when I finished the jump off I knew I’d be at least in the top two,” Lambre said. “She has been winning in Ocala (USA), [and] she’s very competitive at this level. I’m trying to keep her in the speed classes; that’s her specialty.”
Lambre’s strategy was simply to dare the others that followed him. He and his mount navigated the jump-off with such ease, Cook and Jaehee Jeon (KOR) did not even try to catch them, instead opting for more conservative clear rounds. Grant Seger (USA) gave chase, but the risks he took on course resulted in an 8-fault score.
“There were only five horses, so when we were first, I tried to go as fast as I can, and then it doesn’t leave so much room for the other riders,” he added.
Lambre has been the mare’s rider for two years, and in that time he has learned that the horse is happiest working within a program of simplicity. The Diamant Rose Z works on a longe line more often than she is ridden at home. At the show, warm-ups are kept short, with Lambre jumping just one fence ahead of the jump-off. The mare is also ridden with simple tack.
“She looks hot, but she’s easy to ride. I ride her in a really soft rubber bit,” Lambre said. “When I watch the videos, it looks harder than it is! It’s much easier to go fast.”
The Diamant Rose Z is a most versatile mare; she tied for the win in the Puissance at the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), clearing 1.95m, and has jumped up to the CSI4* Grand Prix level (1.60m). But Lambre believes she shines brightest at 1.45m. According to Jumpr App, The Diamant Rose Z has 4 fault or less 52% of the time at 1.45m.
“She’s comfortable at this level, so the plan is to keep her at this,” he said.
$38,500 CSI2* JustWorld International Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / Faults / Time
1. The Diamant Rose Z / Santiago Lambre / BRA / Ashland Farms / 0/0 36.61
2. Howard du Seigneur / James Chawke / IRL / Ramsay Equestrian Inc / 0/0 36.98
3. Coachella / Karl Cook / USA / Signe Ostby / 0/0 39.59
4. Kadans van de Mispelaere / Jaehee Jeon / KOR / Brother Fortune Equestrian Ltd. / 0/0 42.99
5. Yoghi Flp / Grant Seger / USA / Fox Lair Performance / 0/8 47.27
6. Lovely Woman / Jesus Francisco Orantes Haua / MEX / Jesus Francisco Orantes Haua / 1 81.39
7. Just Nice van het Indihof / Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado / MEX / Enny Isabel Salgado Negrete / 4 74.35
8. Odysseus / Kyle King / USA / Patricia Vasey / 4 74.48
9. Ester de Maugre / Alison Robitaille / USA / Alison Firestone LLC / 4 74.56
10. Nono vd Withoeve / Santiago Lambre / BRA / Marnick Spits Spits BV / 4 76.49