Michelle Parker Puts Final Exclamation Point on Exemplary Season with Win in $50,000 International Jumping Festival Grand Prix

by | Sep 25, 2023 | Featured, Press Releases

Michelle Parker was presented with the PRO Series Leading Professional Grand Prix Rider Award. Photo by McCool Photography

San Juan Capistrano, CA – September 25, 2023 – Michelle Parker concluded her consistently strong season at Blenheim EquiSports with victory aboard Easy Does It in the finale $50,000 International Jumping Festival Grand Prix on September 23. 

In an exciting conclusion to the summer at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA, 17 entries took to the grass Oaks International Grand Prix Field for Saturday’s season-end grand prix. The Anthony d’Ambrosio-designed course soon narrowed the field to a seven-horse jump-off where speed was the name of the game.

Shelby Drazan on her horses in 2014

Michelle Parker and Easy Does It. Photo by McCool Photography

Parker was the first to return for the short course aboard her own Knass B, and she set the time to beat at a competitive 42.617 seconds – which would ultimately be good enough for third place. Four trips later, Australia’s Lane Clarke took over the lead with a time of 40.775 seconds aboard Venom, owned by Horsemanship Unlimited. Clarke’s time would hold up for second place, as Parker returned last aboard Easy Does It to take the win in 40.230 seconds.

“I’ve had [Easy Does It] for awhile, so now he’s kind of my easy one,” said Parker of the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by Parker’s Cross Creek Farms, Inc. “We know each other really well. The best thing about him for that class is that there were some gallops and short turns, and he’s really balanced and easy for me to turn and save time on turns on him. So that’s very helpful!”

Shelby Drazan on her horses in 2014

Michelle Parker and Easy Does It. Photo by McCool Photography

Parker continued, “Lane’s horse is so quick. Mine’s not that quick; I had to leave strides out in every corner that I could to make up the time because his horse is naturally just super quick over the jumps. In the jump-off, right off the bat there was a turn back, and I was able to leave one or two strides out from the others. [Easy Does It] has a big step, and he’s very happy to just turn easily for me.”

The win marks Parker and Easy Does It’s second grand prix victory of the 2023 Blenheim EquiSports’ season, as they also topped the $30,000 Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Grand Prix in June.

Parker’s dual victories, along with other finishes in the ribbons throughout the year, helped earn her the PRO Series Leading Professional National Grand Prix Rider Award. As the rider who accumulated the most points in national grand prix competition, Parker was presented with a PRO Series Equine sponsorship.

“PRO Series is proud to sponsor the Leading Rider Award as incentives like these help to build our sport and help support riders that work very hard for top results,” said Jessica Grabowski of PRO Series. “We are very proud to award Michelle Parker a PRO Series sponsorship for her consistent performance throughout the season. It was fantastic to see her not only take the win in the final grand prix of the season but also have two other horses in the ribbons!”

Parker added, “’I was pleasantly surprised [that I was in the running] and then of course getting to win the last day and hanging on to it was just a bonus!”

Shelby Drazan on her horses in 2014

Michelle Parker was presented as the winner of the $50,000 International Jumping Festival Grand Prix to cap off the season. Photo by McCool Photography

For full results of the $50,000 International Jumping Festival Grand Prix, click here.

Also earning a significant jumper victory during the International Jumping Festival was Portugal’s Bruno Diniz Das Neves. On Thursday, September 21, Neves rode Gucci Musterd, owned by Laura Khorshid, to the win in the $25,000 1.45m Open Welcome Jumper Classic. Second place went to Gabriel Rodrigues Honorio and Harley D, owned by Hybrid Horsemanship. For all results from the $25,000 Open Welcome Jumper Classic, visit Blenheim.ShowgroundsLive.com.

Shelby Drazan on her horses in 2014

Bruno Diniz Das Neves and Gucci Musterd. Photo by McCool Photography

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