Skylar Wireman is getting used to this whole 6-Bar champion thing. For the third time, she’s taken a win in the class (it’s only been held three times), this time around sharing the title with Patrick Billes, a new winner of the $15,000 Whittier Trust 6-Bar.
The field of eight was a strong one to start, and quite a few of the entries showed their stamina, jumping beyond 1.60m. Wireman was certainly a favorite with the 12-year-old Hanoverian mare Karen, owned by MKT Equine, who dominates speed action and has also excelled at 6-bar action the more Wireman has gotten to know her.
Billes knows his horse Espartano LS well, and he has spent quite a bit of time working on the rideability with the 15-year-old La Silla gelding, getting him to the level he wants for classes like this one and the 1.35m-1.45m speed events.
As the fence got higher, only two were able to shine. At 1.85m in height (approximately six feet), three of the final five had the rail down, and at the top stood Billes and Wireman, who jumped first, in that order.
Billes took a calculated approach, bringing his training back to basics to prepare. “This morning my coaches Tammy and Jen took me out and we jumped a couple of two foot high two strides and we just practiced coming in forward and just bringing him back a little bit,” he explained. Riders had to come in on a collected stride since every fence was set two strides apart and the horses had to rock back to jump up.
Wireman, however, did not prepare the same way she would if she had been jumping a grand prix, per se. “We threw her in the first time and said let’s just see what she can do,” she explained of her mindset going into a 6-bar with Karen. “After learning she really likes this class we don’t really prep her at all. I actually hauled in from home so I didn’t ride her yesterday because it was too wet. She was a little spicy tonight so in the middle of the combinations I [had to whoa] because she was a little excited tonight.”
Billes had never jumped a 6-bar at DIHP, but in Calgary he once jumped the class with another horse. This was Espartano LS’s first appearance, and definitely the highest the horse had ever jumped. “That last fence, man – it’s like staring at a wall. You’re looking up,” he laughed.
Despite heading toward a jump much taller than himself, Billes admits the nerves were not as high the further he went.
“I think I was most nervous the first round, just trying to get through clean,” he shared. “My horse jumped better every round. He finished so confident; I don’t think he touched a rail in the last go through.”
Wireman echoed that her horse felt better and better, but there was a moment she thought she might be out. “This time she did touch fence ‘C’ in round five very lightly,” she said. “It rolled around a little bit and then boy did she jump the last one incredibly. I really feel like this is her specialty, so to have her co-win again is amazing.”
Wireman and Billes both look forward to returning for DIHP’s next 6-Bar, with both their winning horses from Friday evening and more horses down the road.
“Karen will definitely be back for the next one; she hasn’t missed one yet,” Wireman said. “She loves them. I have a couple others I’ll try in time.”
Cassio Rivetti Gets Second FEI Win in $12,000 CSI4* 1.45m Speed
Cassio Rivetti (BRA) scored another win on the grass during Desert Circuit 4, presented by Whittier Trust, and this time it was aboard Edesa’s Vidal 8, owned by Monarch Farms LLC. The pair topped the $12,000 YETI CSI4* 1.45m Speed, with Rivetti’s student Caroline Lynn (USA) behind him in second aboard Deluxento. With an impressive string of horses in FEI action this week, Rivetti now aims the horse at Saturday afternoon’s $182,000 Whittier Trust CSI4* Grand Prix.