Diego Perez Bilbao and Mystic Lindenhof. Photo by ESI Photography

Competition during Hits-on-the-Hudson II at HITS Hudson Valley in Saugerties, New York, came to a close on Sunday, June 2, with the $24,500 Horseflight Jumper Classic. Thirty-two horse-and-rider combinations aimed for the top prize, but it was  Diego Perez Bilbao and Mystic Lindenhof that finished victoriously. 

Mystic Lindenhof has been Perez Bilbao’s  part-time mount for two years. The Spanish athlete shares the ride with U.S. amateur  Catherine Kubiak, and together they have competed the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Over Fences Farm LLC in a variety of classes, including the high amateur jumpers, two-star grands prix, as well as national grands prix.

“For a stallion, he’s a really nice horse to flat every day, and to be around him, he’s calm and he’s quiet,” described Perez Bilbao. “He’s a little bit lazy, but he has a big stride and he’s not afraid to turn short to the jumps. Once he gets in the ring, he’s a good fighter.”

Diego Perez Bilbao stands for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

Perez Bilbao’s clear first round came toward the end of the class,and with 11 other duos contesting the short course, he knew he would have to put the pedal to the metal to come out on top. The pair raced around the jump-off track, ending with a time of 41.010 seconds, just a fraction of a second in front of second place. 

Gracie Allen and Picante ‘Ter Elzen. Photo by ESI Photography

“I liked the course,” said Perez Bilbao of the first round. “It wasn’t too big, but the time allowed was short. The in-and-out with the plank plus the liverpool and the last double combination made it tricky, so we saw people make errors around the whole course. I don’t think I was the fastest in the jump-off today, but I tried to leave out strides everywhere I could.” 

Just behind Perez Bilbao was U.S. rider Gracie Allen and her own Picante ‘ter Elzen’, an eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Elvaro x Quattro B). The pair held the lead for almost the entirety of the class withtheir time of 41.401 seconds but were just pipped at the end by Perez Bilbao.Third place went to Alexa Pessoa and Carlito’s Way 6, a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Lordanos) owned by Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC, in a time of42.324 seconds. 

Alexa Pessoa and Carlito’s Way. Photo by ESI Photography

Before the $24,500 Horseflight Classic was the $5,000 Pyranha Junior/Amateur 1.25m Jumper Classic. Taking first place out of 26 entries was junior rider Brooks Hull, 17, of Ocala, Florida, and Amy Shafmaster’s Conny 424, an eight-year-old Holsteiner mare by Colore. As one of eight entries to jump clear in the first round, they advanced to the short course, ultimately winning with a time of 31.262 seconds. 

Brooks Hull and Conny 424. Photo by ESI Photography

“She’s an incredibly nice horse,” commented Hull. “I’ve been lucky enough to have the ride on her since February and she has been a serious contender for me in the Low Junior/Amateur division. I’m very excited about her future and grateful to Amy for the opportunity.” 

Rhia Ohtsu and Jimmy Jumper. Photo by ESI Photography

Opening the Grand Prix Stadium for Sunday’s competition was the $7,500 Junior/Amateur 1.45m Jumper Classic. Amy Shafmaster and her own Infante SK, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Cannabis Z, were top of the class with a winning time of 41.688 seconds in the jump-off. is. 

Amy Shafmaster and Infante SK. Photo by ESI Photography

Sunday’s $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.35m Jumper Classic was won by Ria Ohtsu and Jimmy Jumper, her own 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Afellay Z. After being one of six to move forward to the jump-off, they claimed the blue with a winning time of 40.854 seconds. 

The $1,000 Dever Junior/Amatur .90m Jumper Classic ran Sunday morning in HITS Hudson Valley’s newest arena, The Pond ring. Anna Moorby and Quantico 946, a 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Toulon x Lys de Darmen) owned by Judith Sprague, were fastest out of 27 combinations, winning with a jump-off time of 34.982 seconds. 

Competition at HITS Hudson Valley resumes on Wednesday, June 5, for the third week of the HITS-on-the-Hudson series.