After just making the 74-second time allowed to post the slowest initial round in Evergate Stables’ $40,000 New York Welcome Stake, Erynn Ballard (CAN) flew through the timers for the fastest jump-off in Friday’s featured class at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, clinching the win aboard Hero in 34.67 seconds.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows are one of the premier stops on the nation’s hunter-jumper horse show circuit, offering a full schedule of world-class competition May 7-12 and May 14-19 that features the nation’s best in equestrian sport.

Course designer Alan Wade presented 47 entries representing nine countries with a technical 16-effort, 1.50m track in Evergate Stables’ $40,000 New York Welcome Stake on Friday, with 17 pairs putting in faultless rounds to advance to the jump-off. Ballard was well within the time allowed on her first mount – Rein Family LLC’s 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Nikka VD Bisschop – but barely squeaked through with Ilan Ferder’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.

“I rode the Welcome Stake first on Nikka; she also made it to the jump-off, but we chose to withdraw and save her for Sunday’s Grand Prix,” Ballard said. “There were a few things I wanted to do to improve my personal ride, and in doing that I might have wasted a bit of time with Hero. Today, I had luck on my side, and everyone needs a little luck. To finish in 74 seconds on a 74 time allowed, I don’t think that happens very often, but I can do better next time.

“I’m really just working on being faster overall,” she added. “I get third a lot, but I just won a 3* Grand Prix in Wellington going as fast as I think I possibly have ever ridden. I think there’s something to be said about getting second or third if you don’t go as fast as you can. And I’ve been with Hero long enough that I need more firsts than thirds. He’s been a great horse in my string. He was really fast over the first few jumps today; I kept going to the combination and made sure I never slowed up going to the last jump. This is our first big win together, and I think it proves to everyone how great he really is.”

Ballard’s 34.67-second jump-off was one of only two rounds to catch McLain Ward’s (USA) early time to beat. Ward piloted Sport Four USA LLC’s 10-year-old C.D.E. gelding Quimi Del Maset through the timers in 34.91 seconds, which ultimately earned the pair third place. Jessica Mendoza (GBR) took second aboard In The Air, her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, on a double-clear score of 34.90 seconds, just 0.01 seconds ahead of Ward.

“New York as a state has always been very good to me,” said Ballard, who also brought home a $2,000 flight voucher from Horseflight for her victory. “I’ve always had a lot of success here. I’ve done great in the Hamptons; I had a super New York Masters post during one of my first years riding for Ilan. I always feel relaxed coming here; I always feel lucky and get the results. And is there a better ring to show in than the Old Salem Farm International Arena?”

Prior to the Welcome Stake, 45 horse-and-rider combinations representing eight countries tackled Wade’s winding 15-effort course in the $25,000 Old Salem Farm 1.40-1.45m Jumper Classic. Thirteen riders moved on to the jump-off; of the 12 who returned over the shortened track, Darragh Kenny (IRL) proved the one to beat.

Reminding spectators of their victory in Wednesday’s $10,000 Open Jumper 1.40m, Kenny and Heathman Farm LLC’s Rockstar posted the fastest double-clear round (31.577 seconds) for top honors in the Classic. Kenny also secured second place aboard Twist Studio LLC’s Deleyn (32.152 seconds) and fifth aboard Vlock Show Stables LLC’s Joberlina TN (32.916 seconds).

Rounding out the top five were Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Ballard. Coyle took third on a faultless score of 32.594 seconds riding Elan Farm’s King Kannan GP; Ballard finished fourth with her 32.676-second time on Della White’s Gucci.

Full show results can be found at