ELLENVILLE, NY (September 2, 2001)-Amy Millar, 24, of Kinnelon, New Jersey, riding Manhattan, bested a field of 31 entries to win the $100,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix at HITS Catskills VI in Ellenville, New York, today. Millar qualified two horses for the four-horse Jump-Off, and was the fastest of four double-clears with Manhattan. She also placed fourth with Millcreek's Roseanne. Millar earned a $30,000 paycheck for Manhattan's owner Millar Brooke Ltd, which is her family's farm in Perth, Ontario, Canada, and $8,000 for Roseanne's owner, Millcreek Stable. Today's placings qualified Millar for the $100,000 Cosequin® U.S. Grand Prix League Invitational Grand Prix that will take place in Culpeper, Virginia, on September 30. "The reason I was here today was to get a little bit more money to qualify for the Finals," said Millar. "I got my money and I'm going to Culpeper!" Amy's brother, Jonathan Millar, as well as her father, seven-time Canadian Olympic Team Member Ian Millar, are also qualified for the Invitational Grand Prix in which the top 30 money-earners in the League vie for the $100,000 purse at the end of the Cosequin® USGPL season.
In addition to prize money, Millar also received an engraved silver tray, an embroidered Cosequin® USGPL cooler, and a variety of Rio Vista grooming products. Dave Towle, corporate representative for Rio Vista Products, presented the awards. "I would like to congratulate Amy Millar on her win in the Rio Vista Grand Prix," said Towle. "Pinning ribbons and handing big money checks to Amy and the other riders that were in the Jump-Off today, David Raposa and Mark Jungherr, is always a pleasure. It's fun getting to know each and every rider. As a company, we like knowing that the riders recognize the Rio Vista name and know that we support their sport."
Michael Roy Curtis of Tucson, Arizona, designed today's course, which included lots of rollbacks and bending lines. For Round One, Curtis built a 14-obstacle track that included an oxer-plank-oxer triple combination at Fence No. 8, open water at No. 9, and an oxer-vertical double at No. 13. The highest jumps on course were the 5' plank at No. 10 and the final 5' vertical at No. 14. The widest spread was 5' 3" at the No. 11 oxer. The course was long, with Time Allowed set at 101 seconds, calling for endurance and stamina, especially with the combination at the end. Two riders were eliminated on course and four riders voluntarily withdrew. Four horses went clean and qualified for the Jump-Off. "It was tricky in that the rails were really light and it was hard to jump clean," said Millar. "It was built for a big, lanky, scopey mover and that's the way both my horses are, so all the lines worked well for them. It was a good course for them."
For the Jump-Off, Curtis set a six-jump test with Time Allowed set at 49 seconds. Riders started at Fence No. 1, a ramp oxer set at 4' 3" and 4' 6" with a 4' 6" spread, turned sharp left to the 4' 6" yellow plank at No. 2, then hard right to a new jump, the 4' 10" vertical at No. 15, galloped to another new jump, the 4' 8" square Agway oxer at No. 16, then turned left for a long gallop to the vertical-oxer double at No. 13AB, and ended with a sharp right to No. 14, the Rio Vista vertical.
David Raposa of Clinton, New York, on S&L Off Guard was first to try the Jump-Off course and set the pace with a clear round in 35.135, but was edged out of the win by just .029, and had to settle for second place and $20,000. Next to go was Millar on Millcreek's Roseanne, who went clean, but her time of 36.921 was only good enough for fourth place. Mark Jungherr of Amesbury, Massachusetts, riding Nolan for Crystal Springs Ranch, tried to catch the leader with his clear round, but his time of 35.682 put him in third place for $12,000. Last to go was Millar on Manhattan, who posted the fastest clear round in 35.106 for the win.
Going into the Jump-Off, Millar said she had a plan for each horse. "Roseanne is just not that fast-she's more of a power jumper--so I went in the Jump-Off thinking, 'I'm going to go as fast as I can', but I knew it was going to be hard for me to catch David." With Manhattan, Millar decided to just go for it. "I knew that where I was slow with Roseanne was to the double combination. I knew that was the only place where I could make up the time. I figured I was already third with one, so I might as well give it a shot. I was thinking, 'I'm last to go, give it everything you've got, either it works or it doesn't-and it worked." The gallop to the double was the key to her win. "My horse is good to go fast at the end. If you go fast at the beginning he gets a little rattled towards the end, so I try to keep it even at the beginning and then really go at the end."
Manhattan is a 12-year-old, chestnut, 16.2-hand, Dutch warmblood gelding. "He's my horse," said Millar. "My family has had him since he was about five. My dad rode him for awhile, my brother rode him for awhile, and I've been riding him for about five years now, so I know him really well." Millcreek's Roseanne is a 10-year-old, gray German mare by Rebel Z II that Millar has been riding for a year. "I'll probably ride Roseanne in the Finals," said Millar.
As soon as she got back to her barn, Millar was on her cell phone. "I just called my boss, Phil Henning, the gentleman I work for that owns Millcreek's Roseanne. Now I'm going to call my other bosses-my parents."
The $100,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix was the sixth and final Grand Prix in this year's HITS Catskills summer series of horse shows. Rio Vista introduced their new 42' long show trailer on the grounds this weekend as part of their sponsorship. The new vehicle is called the Rio Vista Horse Experience and offers visitors not only a display that illustrates the history of horses, breeds and horse sports, but also a fax machine, computer, and access to the internet. "It's a multi-media area where you can come in and if you're a member of the Rio Vista Fund Club, you can sit down and take care of emails, send or receive a fax and visit the Rio Vista website for more information on products and the Fund," said Towle. A percentage of every sale of Rio Vista Products is donated to the Rio Vista Fund for the care and rehabilitation of horses in distress. Towle plans to have the Rio Vista Horse Experience at HITS shows in Arizona, Indio, Ocala, Culpeper, and Ellenville in 2002. "We'll also be introducing two or three new Rio Vista products next year," said Towle.
$100,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix, September 2, 2001
HITS Catskills VI, Ellenville, New York
Course Designer: Michael Roy Curtis
Pl#/Horse/Rider/Owner/Prize Money/Rd 1 Faults/J-O Faults & Time
1/Manhattan/Amy Millar/Millar Brooke Ltd/$30,000/0/0-35.106
2/S&L Off Guard/David Raposa/S&L Farms/$20,000/0/0-35.135
3/Nolan/Mark Jungherr/Crystal Springs Ranch/$12,000/0/0-35.682
4/Millcreeks Roseanne/Amy Millar/Millcreek Stable/$6,000/0/0-36.921
5/Lassango/Lynne Little/Raylyn Farm & Marilyn Little/$6,000/ ½ /NA
6/Jubulent/Donald Cheska/Donald Cheska$5,000//4/NA
7/Franc D'Helby/Donald Cheska/Twin Lakes Farm Inc/$4,000/4/NA
8/Kafka/Ainsley Vince/Ainsley Vince & 3E Syndicate/$3,000/4/NA
9/Little Big Man/Laura Chapot/Laura Chapot/$3,000/4/NA
10/Graf Rossini S/Mary-Lisa Leffler/Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Chovnick/$2,000/4/NA
11/Diaka de Semilly/Isabelle LaPierre/La Chaudiere Farm/$2,000/4/NA
12By Design/Donald Cheska/Bayside Farm/$2,000/4-1/4 /NA
13/Mondesi/Steve Heinecke/Steve Heinecke/$1,500/5/NA
14Si Jolie/Ken Whelihan/Richard Chilton/$1,500/8/NA
Number of horses who competed in this class: 31
Class Prize Money: $100,000