It’s the biggest win of Angel Karolyi’s career.
The Aiken-based rider and the nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding, Amigo, were the only rider/horse combination to go clear in the jump-off of the $75,000 Upperville Jumper Classic last Sunday. at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show in Upperville, Va., and in doing secured blue ribbon honors.
Only three rider/horse combinations would qualify to come back for the short course. Karolyi and Amigo, Kyle Timm and Wadisson and Ramiro Quintana and Ziedento, all had four-faults during the first round.
The 1.45/1.50 meter course designed by Marina Azevedo was technical and steady, but the biggest challenge for the rider/horse combinations may have been the soft ground that was a result of the rainfall, said Karolyi, in a phone interview Thursday evening.
But, Karolyi and Amigo were more than up to the challenge during the jump-off, turning in the only fault-free performance on the short course. The course rode bigger because of the up and down hills, and the soft ground, he said.
Karolyi described Amigo as an up and coming talent, a horse he’s still getting to know, but the horseman has been impressed with the gelding’s abilities.
“He’s only nine years old, but he’s very powerful, very scopey, and was very consistent jumping,” said Karolyi. “Amigo possesses three great characteristics, he’s careful, scopey and very brave.”
The rider and horse are still in the process of forming their bond, and in doing so are laying a firm foundation for the future. The Upperville Jumper Classic provided Karolyi with an opportunity to see how Amigo handled the soft ground in relation to the other horses.
“I have a lot of confidence in the horse and I think he can achieve a lot,” said Karolyi.
The victory in the Grand Prix was incredibly satisfying for the rider from Venezuela, and the horseman understands the importance of winning such a prestigious class.
“For me, it was the biggest win of my career,” said Karolyi. “I have great respect for Ramiro as a rider. He’s a great friend, but when he had one rail down, I was thrilled to have won the Grand Prix. I was very excited. There have been so many great riders who have won the class in the past, Jimmy Torano, McClain Ward, Joe Fargis, Kent Farrington, Rodney Jenkins, Michael Matz and Margie Engle. I’m pleased to have joined the riders on that list.”