The atmosphere was electric for what possibly was the most thrilling grand prix yet during the 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala. The $100,000 LeMieux Grand Prix CSI3* drew spectators and exhibitors alike to the WEC Grand Arena to watch an international field of top jumping athletes vie for the lion’s share of the prize money. In a nail-biting jump-off, Daniel Coyle (IRL) had the crowd on their feet as he piloted Ariel Grange’s Farrel (Cardento 933 x Stakkato) to a spectacular effort, clinching the top spot on the podium.

FEI Level III course designer, Peter Grant (CAN) set the three-star tracks for Saturday’s event. Horses were on their A-game, and 15 pairs representing eight different nations managed to find their way to a clear first round to return for an exhilarating jump-off. The tie-breaking round turned into a back-to-back battle between the United States and Ireland.

Both Aaron Vale (USA) and Daniel Coyle (IRL) managed to find a clear first round on both of their mounts, initiating a gripping chase between these two top athletes. Vale was the first rider to lay down an incredibly fast effort aboard Thinkslikeahorse’s Prescott in 39.74 seconds to set the pace.

Several strong competitors attempted to surpass Vale’s time, but it was Daniel Coyle who rose to the challenge with his first mount, Quintin (Quaprice Bois Margot x Emilion). Coyle piloted the 14-year-old KWPN gelding to a blazing track, stopping the clock nearly a second faster at 38.52 seconds.

Undeterred, Vale returned aboard Obi Wan (Centadel x Continue), determined to reclaim the lead. “I came back on Obi Wan and gave it my best shot. Turning to the last, I was hoping to find a loose forward jump to that big red vertical, but I couldn’t force it to happen, so I had to wait and jump it.” Vale still proved to be quicker aboard the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding in 38.07 seconds, seizing back the lead.

However, the competition was far from over. Daniel Coyle had one more trick up his sleeve – the handy Farrel. “On Farrel, you can turn on half a stride. He’s an amazing horse to turn back to a vertical. I galloped to one, and hoped everything came up good. I was really risky across the center to the liverpool, I couldn’t see the flags, and I stared death in the face and so did he, but he pricked his ears on it and jumped it. I’ve known Farrel for years, he’s had a few years off, but he’s very handy. After doing something like that, and turning back so tight to the second to last jump, I mean that’s all to do with the horse there. Aaron would have done the same thing. We both took risks, but at the end it comes back to the horse, and if you can nail it.”

Coyle accomplished just that atop the 14-year-old KWPN gelding Farrel, captivating the crowd as they eagerly followed their every move around the short course. With precision and speed, the impressive duo crossed the timers nearly a second faster, clocking in at unbelievable 37.24 seconds, securing Coyle his third victory of the week and sixth win of the 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series.

As soon as Coyle and Farrel landed off the final jump, Coyle celebrated as the crowd erupted in wild cheers. “That’s the only part of the sport we get to interact with the crowd. It’s usually just the horse, the owners and the people, so when they come out screaming and are having a great time, it makes it so special for us.”

Todd Starcevich, Head of North America at LeMieux commented about the evening and their recent sponsorship with World Equestrian Center – Ocala, “LeMieux is proud of its partnership with World Equestrian Center and the ability to support great events like this evening’s FEI CSI3* Grand Prix. World Equestrian Center’s premier facilities and events, combined with LeMieux’s finest quality equestrian products, defined by unparalleled technical expertise and style is an excellent relationship focused on supporting all levels of horse lovers in the U.S. and around the world. The competition this evening was a great example of how this partnership is contributing to the riders, their trainers, and the owners, and we hope to continue to build on these opportunities. We welcome everyone to visit LeMieux’s first and only store at Indoor Arena 3.”

Watch the winning jump-off in the $100,000 LeMieux Grand Prix CSI3*:


$100,000 LeMieux Grand Prix CSI3* Results:

1 FARREL: 2010 KWPN gelding by Cardento 933 x Stakkato
Daniel Coyle (IRL), Ariel Grange: 0/0/37.24

2 OBI WAN: 2012 Oldenburg gelding by Centadel x Continue
Aaron Vale (USA), Thinkslikeahorse: 0/0/38.07

3 QUINTIN: 2010 KWPN gelding by Quaprice Bois Margot x Emilion
Daniel Coyle (IRL), Ariel Grange: 0/0/38.52

4 PRESCOTT: 2012 Holsteiner gelding by Lordanos x Bb Carvallo
Aaron Vale (USA), Thinkslikeahorse: 0/0/39.74

5 CRISTIANO OBOLENSKY: 2015 Hanoverian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Stakkato
Gonzalo Busca (ESP), Gonzalo Busca: 0/0/40.97

6 CORDANI PS: 2014 Hanoverian mare by Balou Du Reventon x Baloubet Du Rouet
Andre Thieme (GER), Andre Thieme: 0/0/41.41

7 BRIN D’OR DE HAUTE MELEN Z: 2014 Zangersheide gelding by Bamako De Muze x Baloubet Du Rouet
Sharn Wordley (NZL), Della Wordley: 0/0/41.95

8 CON COLEUR: 2009 Hanoverian gelding by Contendro I x Couleur Rubin
Rebecca Conway (USA), Blue Hill Farm, LLC: 0/0/48.48

9 QUICK CHICK 3: 2015 Holsteiner mare by Quo Vados x Capitol I
Mark Bluman (COL), Mark Bluman: 0/4/40.52

10 ARKUGA: 2011 AES gelding by Arko III x Heartbreaker
Sean Jobin (CAN), Antrim Equestrian: 0/4/43.26