Adrienne Sternlicht and Quidam MB. Photos © Sportfot.
Kent Farrington and Waomi Capture $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic; Sophie Gochman and Elation Finish Week 11 as the Visse Wedell, Douglas Elliman Real Estate Small Pony Hunter Champions
Wellington, FL – March 22, 2015 – The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded its eleventh week of competition, sponsored by Artisan Farms LLC, with jumper competition featured on the grass derby field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday. The $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Final, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, saw a win for Adrienne Sternlicht aboard Quidam MB and crowned Lucy Deslauriers the overall winner of the 2015 Series. The $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held later in the day with a win for Kent Farrington (USA) and Waomi.
Starting off Sunday’s competition on the derby field, 33 entries jumped in the $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, with nine clear over Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s course. In the jump-off, Sternlicht and Starlight Farms LLC’s Quidam MB were the winners with the only double clear round in 48.49 seconds. Catherine Tyree and Don’t Go had the fastest four-fault round in 44.49 seconds to finish in second place, and Kelli Cruciotti and Serenity Equestrian Ventures LLC’s Chamonix H placed third with four faults in 44.71 seconds.
Sternlicht (21), a sophomore at Brown University, trains with U.S. show jumper Laura Kraut. Her mount, Quidam MB, is a ten-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Quidam’s Rubin x Argentinus).
“He is a horse that is incredibly special to me,” Sternlicht stated. “I bought him as a seven-year-old and started him at the 1.20m level and have moved him up. I think we have really grown together, and I think that is part of what makes our partnership so strong. He is definitely a little bit spunky, but I really know him like the back of my hand. I said to him, ‘Come on, we have to do this,’ and he really pulled through for me today, so I am incredibly happy with him.”
Second place finisher Catherine Tyree (21) is a sophomore at Northwestern University, and trains with North Run’s Missy Clark and John Brennan. Tyree was aboard her 13-year-old Oldenburg stallion Don’t Go (Come On x Raphel).
“I have aimed Don’t Go at these classes all circuit. He loves different venues,” Tyree noted. “He is amazing on the field, and he was great under the lights. He is one I can always count on; he always gives me 110%. I gave it a good shot in the jump-off today. He did everything I asked. I got a little bit unlucky. It was my fault, but I am thrilled with how he has been all circuit and could not have asked for any more.”
Kelli Cruciotti (17) has done well in the series all winter with her 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare Chamonix H, including a win in the speed class during week two. She was happy with her round to earn third place in Sunday’s Final.
“She (Chamonix H) has been unbelievable this whole circuit. I could not have asked her to jump any better for me,” Cruciotti praised. “Every class I have asked her to do, she has really tried her heart out. This is more her venue. She loves big, open fields and big jumps, so this class and this course really suited her style of jumping. I was a little unlucky to the last jump. I kind of took a chance. Unfortunately it did not work out for me today, but congratulations to Adrienne.”
Sunday’s class was the final event in the 2015 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series, which also awarded top prizes for its overall standings after the competition. New York’s Lucy Deslauriers was the series winner for her performance throughout the winter. Nicole Bellissimo finished second overall and Catherine Tyree was third. Mavis Spencer placed fourth in the standings, and Eugenio Garza and Sophie Simpson completed the top six.
As the overall winning rider, Deslauriers received a Bruno Delgrange saddle valued at $6,000, and are invited to compete at the CSI2* Chantilly Horse Show, to be held from July 16-19, 2015, in France. In addition to their entry, the winner also receives two tickets to the Chantilly VIP lounge, transportation for one horse generously provided by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, and layover at Artisan Farms in Vrasene, Belgium.
Fifteen-year-old Deslauriers has had a fantastic week, including a win in Friday night’s George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship, presented by Alessandro Albanese. On Saturday night, she was then presented The Potcreek Meadow Farm Junior Sportsmanship Trophy.
Deslauriers rode Hester on Sunday, a mount that she has had for two years. She was thrilled to win the series and looks forward to her first time competing in Europe as her prize.
“It is really amazing. He has been super consistent, so I am really just excited to win,” Deslauriers smiled. “I have had him since the beginning of his eight-year-old year, so we have really developed a strong partnership. I knew going into today he would give me everything I asked and more, and he really did. He really jumped incredible, so I am really excited.”
Nicole Bellissimo (21), a Sophomore at Harvard University, was leading the series coming into Sunday’s competition with her mare VDL Bellefleur, and finished out the winter in second place overall. She was happy to see her young mare’s progression and consistency throughout the circuit.
“She is nine this year and I have had her since the end of her six-year-old year, so we have definitely developed a nice partnership,” Bellissimo stated. “Last year I showed her as an eight-year-old in these classes. Last year it was not so much to go in and win the classes. She did win the semi-final, but that was because she was the only double clear, we were not really trying to go fast. This year our plan was to try to go in and be competitive and she was absolutely fantastic the entire series. Today I could have helped her a little more, but she could not have done any more. We got a little unlucky, but Lucy rode fantastic the entire series.”
Now in its fifth year, the popular Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series was expanded to feature more classes, increased prize money, and new ‘Under 25’ sanctioning by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in 2015. Open to competitors of all nationalities aged 25 and under, the Series gives up and coming riders the opportunity to compete under FEI rules while also gaining valuable grand prix experience against their peers. With varying conditions offered for each class, riders have the opportunity to compete at a height of 1.45m on grass, all-weather footing, under the lights at night, and in team competition, all of which are important elements that competitors will face as their international careers progress. This year’s series, comprised of seven events, attracted riders from around the world competing for $170,000 in prize money.
Sponsor Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms was pleased to see the development of all the riders in the series this year and congratulated the top competitors on their success.
“It is really great. Every year has been bigger and bigger. We had a lot of prize money this year and a lot of opportunity for different classes, and it has been exciting to see the consistency and see so many good rounds put in by all these riders,” Ziegler stated. “I just want to congratulate all of them. I am so impressed with what they have been able to do, and I wish them all the best of luck as they move up to the senior grand prix ranks. I am excited to have Lucy come to Europe for the summer. We will put her up at Artisan if she wants to. It is really fun to (ride at) Chantilly, and it is a really special opportunity, so congratulations.”
All of the top riders spoke to the experiences that the series has given them, including the chance to compete in different venues with different horses as well as the opportunity to get to know their fellow competitors.
“I could not be more grateful for the opportunity that the Ziegler family and Artisan Farms has given the young riders,” Tyree stated. “It is great to have a series where you can experiment with different types of classes and different venues. It has been a great stepping-stone from the junior and amateur ranks, bridging into the international open jumper level, so I could not be more thankful for being able to participate in these classes.”
“It is also a fantastic opportunity to give the horses experience,” Bellissimo remarked. “You can take one horse to go in the smaller ring, or the main international ring, or jump on the field. If you want to get to know one horse more, it gives you the opportunity to test them out in every single venue during one circuit, or you can show a couple different horses if you know one is better in one situation. It is fantastic for anything that you really want to do. As a young rider also, as you head to different venues for the summer, it is great to see what you need to improve or where you are going to excel.”
For Sternlicht, the opportunity to get to know the other riders has been a great experience, and she has felt camaraderie with the other competitors in the series this year.
“I think what is really amazing that this series has done, is it has started to create a sort of niche community (in America) among the under 25 riders that I don’t think was present until now. Last summer I had the opportunity to compete on the U.S. Young Rider Team at Hagen, and you felt a sort of kinship among all of the different competitors,” Sternlicht noted. “They see each other all the time, and they know each other and it is very competitive. For that I am incredibly grateful.”
Deslauriers agreed, adding, “I think it really creates a separate group that was not really in place before. It is amazing that the Zieglers have stepped up and been so generous to provide such an amazing series for us.”
Farrington and Waomi Win $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
Competing on the grass field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday, USA’s Kent Farrington won the $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic aboard Amalaya Investment’s Waomi. To conclude the eleventh week of WEF competition, 36 entries showed over Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s course, with five clear rounds to jump-off. Farrington qualified two horses, first and last to go on the short course.
Farrington began the jump-off with what would prove to be the winning round aboard Waomi, clear in 38.18 seconds. Ben Asselin (CAN) and Attache Stables Doremi retuned with four faults in 42.20 seconds to place fifth. Darragh Kenny (IRL) jumped next with Caroline Lloyd’s Sans Soucis Z, clear in 40.15 seconds, to finish third. Harrie Smolders (NED) followed in 38.99 seconds aboard Axel Verlooy’s Enjoy Louis to move into second place. Last to go, Farrington returned aboard Amalaya Investment’s Willow with a clear round in 40.42 seconds to also earn fourth place honors.
“Today was a nice change of pace coming out to the field,” Farrington stated after his win. “I personally love riding on the grass. It is a more natural footing, and I think the horses like it. It was a great change of scenery, and I thought the footing here was excellent today. You could not have asked for a better setting than this.”
Farrington has had success with both Waomi and Willow in the 1.50m series this winter, among other top finishes throughout the circuit. Waomi won the $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic during week seven, and two weeks later, Willow won the class in week nine. Farrington described the two horses, as well as his plan for each of their jump-off rounds. Waomi is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Lupicor x Boreas), and Willow is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Guidam x Little Rock).
“Willow is really a hot horse. He is on the attack all the time, and I kind of have to throttle him down and try to keep his brain calm so that he does not get ahead of himself,” Farrington noted. “That is sort of where his rail will come, when he does not slow down to jump the fence. He just gets too much in a hurry.”
“Waomi is a very careful mare that sort of has her own style,” he continued. “She is an opinionated lady, and she wants to go the way she wants to go.”
“To start with Waomi, I thought there were fast riders coming after me, and I would have to lay down a pretty good trip to be in contention to win today,” Farrington said of the jump-off. “I thought she went great. She did everything I asked her to do and luckily that was enough for today.”
“Having the fortune of going last on my second horse, I actually thought it was nice training for him to do a jump-off not at full speed,” Farrington explained. “I have run him in a lot of classes here and gone very fast, so today I could kind of glide around the course and set him up for the next class I am going to do with him.”
Farrington plans to rest Willow next week to show in Miami at the conclusion of the WEF circuit. Waomi will return to compete in week 12.
Sophie Gochman and Elation Finish Week 11 as the Visse Wedell, Douglas Elliman Real Estate Small Pony Hunter Champions
On the final day of hunter competition for WEF 11, Sophie Gochman rode Dr. Betsee Parker’s pony, Elation, to the tricolor ribbon in the Visse Wedell, Douglas Elliman Real Estate Small Pony Hunters. Elation and Gochman won two of the over fences classes on their way to the winner’s circle. “I’m thankful that Betsee [Parker] lets me ride her wonderful pony,” Gochman smiled after the championship presentation.
With Applause and Zayna Rizvi ended Sunday as reserve champions in the division. Rizvi piloted With Applause to a first and fifth over fences, paired with a win in the under saddle.
Gochman started riding Elation six months ago and started showing Elation at the beginning of WEF. “We have gotten to know each other over the past six months,” Gochman stated. “She [Elation] acts like a diva at the barn and is always looking for carrots, but around the ring she is always game, which makes her very fun to ride.”
Despite being a little fresh in the first class, Elation came back for the Handy round and turned in the top performance of the day. Gochman explained, “In the handy she was on it and overall she was great both days.”
“I’m lucky to have such great trainers, Scott [Stewart], Ken [Berkley], and Amanda [Derbyshire], to help coach me at the ring,” Gochman said.
Only 12 years old, Gochman enjoys the competitive environment at WEF. “I feel like I have a challenge going into the ring because the competition is so good,” Gochman commented.
Gochman lives in New York City and flies down to Wellington on weekends to compete, along with her mother and sister. While Gochman has competed in the pony hunters past years, she has recently started showing in the 3’3″ Junior Hunters and the Children’s Jumpers.
The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its twelfth and final week of competition, sponsored by Rolex, on March 25-29. The week features the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, March 28. Other highlights include $34,000 1.45m FEI world ranking classes on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as the $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 on Thursday. The $10,000 Holtgers 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, $15,000 Adequan® 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, and $20,000 Adequan® 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic will be featured on Friday. The $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final will be held on Saturday, and the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will host its first round on Saturday and its second round on the derby field Sunday. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Lauren Fisher and Maddy Stover for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.