Andrade topped a 41-horse starting field to claim the first $15,000 High Amateur-Owner Classic of the season riding Walter 61, a 14-year-old German-bred gelding owned by Hollow Creek Farm.
A total of eight riders mastered the first round track set by U.S. course designer Eric Hasbrouck to advance to the jump-off. Andrade qualified two horses for the tie-breaker, Walter 61 and Sothis D Ouilly. As the first rider back, Andrade had the opportunity to set the pace with Walter 61, turning in a clear round in a time of 34.25 seconds. None of the seven challengers that followed even came close to catching the leading time, giving Andrade his first High Amateur-Owner Classic win of the season.
“It is great to start with a good result; there is less pressure now!” smiled Andrade following his victory on opening week.
Of being the first rider back for the jump-off, Andrade said, “You always have to go as fast as you can, and I think my time today was really quick.”
Andrade is training with show jumping legend Nelson ‘Neco’ Pessoa of Brazil and explained, “Neco is now here helping me with all the horses, flatting the horses every morning. It’s a big help. You learn something new every day.”In memory of Andres Rodriguez, who tragically died following a car accident on January 4, Andrade competed wearing a black armband with the Venezuelan colors and Rodriguez’s nickname ‘Chepito’. Andrade plans to wear the armband all year, and dedicate every win to his friend and teammate.
One of the most successful young riders competing in the sport today, Andrade was honored with the Hermes Talented Young Rider Award at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival, which is presented to the rider aged 16 to 25 who earns the most points in International Equestrian Federation (FEI) sanctioned competition during the 12-week show jumping circuit. For the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival, Andrade’s goal is to work hard towards qualifying for his first Olympic Games. Andrade represented Venezuela at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, and was involved in a jump-off for the individual bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. At the age of 19, he hopes to make his Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Andrade is based at Hollow Creek Farm, proud sponsor of the Children, Junior and Young Rider Nations’ Cup events scheduled for March 5 at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival.