NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— North Salem resident Katherine “Katie” Dinan led the locals as she finished second in the $130,000 Empire State Grand Prix, a competition rated by The Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), held on Sunday afternoon at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows in North Salem. Joining her in the top 10 were her neighbors McLain Ward of Brewster, who finished fifth and ninth, as well as Mattias Tromp of North Salem, who ended the competition in seventh place.
Dinan, 23, who won the Grand Prix in 2013 at Old Salem Farm before it was an FEI event, was bested by Andrew Ramsay, a California native, after a three-horse jump-off. Ramsay also won the $35,000 Old Salem Farm Jumper Classic on Saturday riding Stranger 30 during his first time competing at Old Salem Farm. The only double-clear effort of the day belonged to Ramsay, who stopped the clock at 45.50 seconds over a jump-off track built by 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Final course designer Alan Wade.
While Dinan had the speed to beat Ramsay, she pulled a single rail in the final trip of the jump-off to settle for second place in 45.17 seconds riding Dougie Douglas, a 12-year-old Irish Sport horse owned by Grant Road Partners LLC. Third went to Lauren Tisbo of Illinois. who was the first rider to jump clean in the opening round, and stood as the lone clear until the final two riders joined her for a jump-off. She and Brindis Bogibo, owned by Tequestrian Farms LLC, finished on four faults in 49.68 seconds.
Dinan earned $26,000 from her second-place finish. Her total winnings from the two-week show series was $27,325.
Currently ranked 200th in the world by FEI, Dinan started riding at the age of 4 and was participating in shows by the age of 7. She missed out on participating in the second week of the annual shows since 2013 because she was studying at Harvard University. A 2016 graduate, Dinan is happy to be competing at Old Salem Farm again.
“For the past three years, I have had finals this week. Then last year it was the week of my graduation, so I have not been able to compete in [the Empire State Grand Prix], Dinan said. “This is my home course so it feels really good to be back.”
Now devoted to riding full time, Dinan said that she understands the appeal of Old Salem Farm’s competitions to other riders.
“I think because of the prize money, the venue, and the crowd, this horse show has always stood higher in importance relative to its actual FEI ranking,” she said. “People always bring good horses here and try to win the grand prix.”
According to Dinan, the riders also enjoy having the spectators come out to watch the competition.
“I think a grand prix of this level, you should be rewarded with FEI points. That’s great for the competitors, but I think it also means something to the spectators to know that this is an international competition,” she said. “The same crowd comes every year. They actually get to know the horses and the riders. It’s a real local following in North Salem, and for this community, Old Salem and the American Gold Cup are real highlights. People make a priority of coming here. As a competitor, I think that makes it really special.”
With the Old Salem Spring Horse Shows in the books, Dinan will now turn her sights to Europe, where she will compete in FEI shows throughout the summer.