High-Flying Amateur Laura Hite Wins One For the Home Team
Last Thursday night, the Del Mar International Horse Show hosted a $36,500 FEI Grand Prix Qualifier. The course saw a total of 61 competitors, including big-name riders like Will Simpson, Eric Navet, Enrique Gonzalez and Richard Spooner. Yet, the fastest rider was not a professional, but rather one of our very own amateurs – Laura Hite. Laura rode her own mount, Calypso VD Zuuthoeve, into the highest rank in Del Mar in a class that you could definitely call, well, damn competitive.
“There is a definitely a bond between rider and horse,” Laura says. “For an amateur to advance, we can only learn so much technique before needing to put it into practice. To do that you need a partner that can physically do the things you hope to do, preferably one with experience. What makes Calypso so special is how much trust I have in him. He has the scope to take care of me, and we are so in sync with one another.”
What makes Calypso so special is how much trust I have in him
A total of nine entries made it to the jump-off, but Laura came in with the lowest number on the clock. The pair had a time of 41.13, a full 1.27 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Carly Anthony, riding for Neil Jones Equestrian.
During the previous Welcome Week, Laura and Calypso VD Zuuthoeve placed second in the $35,000 Grand Prix of the Pacific out of 39 entries. She spent the past summer in Europe with her same winning partner, traveling to countries such as Germany, Italy, and France, and won the Jumping Valence 1.45M Grand Prix in France. Not only is Laura a grand prix rider on the rise, but she is currently supporting two of her kids in college. I think it’s safe to say that Laura can kick booty both in and out of the ring.
Laura currently sits in 88th place on the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List. She has been training with Joie Gatlin Morley Abey Show Stables out of San Juan Capistrano, CA for the past fifteen years and is grateful for the support that they give. Riders such as Laura bring some much-needed attention to the world of amateur riders, a world in which a lot of names are seen sparking the interest of the entire equestrian community. More and more amateurs are dominating the big jumper rings, such as Karrie Rufer, Uma Oneil, and Jennifer Gates—and we are thrilled to add Laura Hite to the list.