Irish Rider Wins $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix in Halifax, MA.
Paul O'Shea, originally from Limerick, Ireland, claimed victory in the $25,000 SmartPak Equine Grand Prix on Saturday at Fieldstone Show Park atop his mount, Instant Karma.
Located just outside of America's Hometown, Plymouth, MA, Fieldstone Show Park hosts several of the largest show jumping competitions in Massachusetts. Prior to the start of Saturday's featured $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, Fieldstone hosted several exciting events for spectators and exhibitors. First, local equestrian and author, Jeffrey Papows, signed copies of his national award winning book, Unbridled Passion to benefit the Children's Wish Foundation International. As a regular Fieldstone competitor, Papows was later honored with the Donald Little Memorial trophy for collecting the highest number of Masters Division points all season. This special award was created this season to honor the late Don Little, a well-known and beloved member of the equestrian community who dedicated his life to the support of equestrian events.
Fundraising continued with a Silent Auction to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Auction winners took home a variety of items including a signed game jersey from the Boston Bruins, a Trek road bike, CWD Sellier apparel and equestrian inspired jewelry from Show Stable Artisans. Finally, in the moments before the Grand Prix, the Official Color Guard of Vermont treated spectators and exhibitors to a unique demonstration. The talented cadets presented the U.S. colors during a live performance of the national anthem.
The winner of Saturday's featured event, Instant Karma, is a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Courage II. The bay mare, known as Karma in the barn, is co-owned by O'Shea and Michael Hayden of Wellington, FL. As a professional equestrian from Limerick, Ireland, O'Shea currently works for Skara Glen Stables out of Wellington, FL. Skara Glen recently produced two Olympic Show Jumping horses that attended the 2012 Olympic Games.
Following their win, O'Shea commented Karma's performance. "She's always been a really talented horse," O'Shea said, "and she jumped great today. She was fast, careful, game and ride-able. I'm delighted with her."
Fieldstone's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix marks Karma's second career Grand Prix victory to date. Course designer, Eric Hasbrouck, posed a few questions for riders toward the end of his track when he forced them to choose between going around or inside a small island during the jumpoff. Describing his decision to go for the inside turn, O'Shea commented, "I took a bit of a chance there. I saw D.J. (Volandre) go very fast and I knew if I was going to have a chance to win it, I would have to take the inside line and luckily it worked out."
Regarding his experience showing at Fieldstone for the first time, O'Shea added, "I thought this was a super show. The atmosphere is great and it's great to have been able to get some of the young horses out into the arena. There are so few grass fields nowadays."
While O'Shea plans to attend the Boston Jumper Classic in the coming weeks, the Irish rider will return to Limerick this fall for a break before heading to the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, for the 2013 season.
Watch Paul O'Shea and Instant Karma Jump Off:
Competition in the Grand Prix Field began Saturday afternoon with the $5,000 Junior Amateur Jumper Classic. Several seasoned riders including Timothy Hooker of Wellington, FL, and Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, CT, competed in the class, but it was fifteen-year-
The winning mount, Elevation 1147, is an eleven-year-
Bezsylko and Lottie were co-circuit champions of the Low Jr/AO Jumpers at the Vermont Summer Festival this year and recently claimed top honors at the Connecticut Hunter Jumper Association Junior Medal Finals held last week.
Following their victory, Bezsylko commented on today's ride. "I wasn't even planning on winning, I just wanted to ride my best. When we made it to the jump off, I was thinking, everyone in here is going to get a ribbon, so I've got nothing to lose."
Ultimately, Bezsylko's carefree attitude and Lottie's game-time speed earned the pair the classic victory. Moving forward, Bezsylko hopes to begin showing in the High Junior Jumpers and the 3'6" equitation divisions in the upcoming 2013 season.
While Summer Showcase competition has come to an end, Fieldstone Show Park will host the 2012 Massahcuestts Hunter Jumper Finals on Sunday, August 26.