The Kessler Family was presented with the Leading Jumper Owner Award.
Pictured (L to R): Ringmaster John Franzreb, Harry Reid, Chloe Reid,
Zola Thompson, Murray Kessler, Reed Kessler and Cylana,
Teri Kessler, Sam Reid, and Juliet Reid, WIHS President.
© Shawn McMillen Photography
Reed Kessler has had an incredible year, competing as the youngest member in history for the U.S. Show Jumping Team at this summer’s Olympic Games in London. She can now add one of the nation’s most prestigious grand prix honors to her resume. Kessler was elated with the win, and praised Cylana on another great effort. The ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (by Skippy II x Darco) has become a superstar in her own right this year.
“This is one of the most historical classes in our country and it is my first year being old enough to do the grand prix,” Kessler noted. “Last year I was actually leading rider going into it and I wasn’t old enough to do it, so I really wanted to come back this year and seal the deal. I am thrilled; I brought the red coat for it and everything.”
© Shawn McMillen Photography
Kessler had the advantage of going last in the jump-off and knowing what she had to do. “I definitely felt lucky that I went last,” she acknowledged. “I didn’t actually watch the entire jump-off because I was warming up, but it is always great to go last and know what you need to beat.”
“I did seven strides back on the third jump,” Kessler explained. “I think that besides even the way Cylana looks, she is just like Sapphire in a lot of ways. I think how I have to learn to go fast with her is that way, doing so few strides around the turns and to the jumps, and keeping it slick. I think that my turns were really good, but she can do anything.”
Kessler has been competing at WIHS since she was a child on ponies and has had many wins throughout the years. “I can’t even count (how many years I’ve been coming to WIHS),” she laughed. “I think I was champion here in the small ponies when I was little, I did the equitation final, then junior jumpers for a bunch of years and then to be all the way to the President’s Cup now. It is one of my favorite shows. I have been coming here my whole life and I love being in the middle of the city.”
“There is a great interaction with the audience here,” Kessler said further. “Everyone gets really into it. Barn night is genius; they always get a huge turnout. There was quite literally a mile-long line of children asking for autographs after the Gambler’s Choice. It is a great show and the crowd gets really into it. I think it is probably one of the biggest turnouts at a show jumping event in America.”
Second place finisher Paulo Santana had great results with Taloubet this week and spoke about his round and the pressure of having Kessler, a known speedster, following him in the order. “I would try to beat her. I saw the beginning of the class and I knew she was behind me and she would run in the minutes a couple more,” Santana stated. “It was a good mix in the jump-off; Margie, Matt. I had to play a little with the risk. I was afraid to try and then have a rail really early. I had to chase my points one by one and do a safe course, but that doesn’t mean that I would beat her. To win by two seconds in an indoor competition is a lot.”
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