Alex Granato and Carlchen W. ©Mancini Photos.
Wellington, FL – April 15, 2016 – Alex Granato of Wellington, FL and Carlchen W earned top honors in the $10,000 Equiline Open Welcome at ESP Spring II at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The duo produced the fastest time in the jump-off round, crossing through the timers in 35.86 seconds. Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL and Don Juan finished in second with a time of 36.338 seconds, while Amanda Derbyshire of Wellington, FL piloted Goldbreaker to a third place finish in 36.425 seconds. Competition at ESP Spring II continues through Sunday, April 17, highlighting the $30,000 Noble Outfitters Grand Prix on the final day of competition.
Granato and Carlchen W produced a solid first round finish, completing their first go around the course set by Ken Krome (USA) in 74.823 seconds before dominating the large jump-off competition. The class saw 33 riders move forward to the short course, after 63 original entries contested the first round in one of the largest post-circuit classes in history.
“I thought it was a nice course. I actually just walked it quickly because we had some young horses going in the ring next door,” explained Granato. “Post-circuit is a good chance for people to get a lot of their young horses out there and I thought it was a nice course for that today, which is what we were doing with Carl. It was a nice track around that used a lot of the ring well. ”
Granato has had the ride on the 2008 Warmblood gelding (Chaco-Blue x Celline-W) owned by Page Treddenick, for nearly three years and is continuing to build his efficiency and quickness in the ring.
“This horse is actually one I’ve been working with since he was five and a half and he is eight this year, so I know him pretty well and this whole circuit has been geared toward stepping him up and getting him really ready for summer,” he explained. “This week he’s going to do the class on Sunday, which will be his first national standard grand prix. That’s exciting and then the next few months are going to be continuing with that and getting him comfortable with the 1.45 national standard level so that coming into late summer and fall he’ll be ready to step in to the FEI range classes and continue on building from there.”
With the talent and scope to make it to the top, Carlchen W has been slowly brought along by Granato in hopes of carefully guiding the gelding to his ultimate potential. Granato was not originally planning to go for the win with the gelding on a beautiful afternoon in Wellington, FL, but was pleased with the duo’s performance and the confidence “Carl” brought to the class.
“Actually, I felt a little nervous, to be honest, after watching Tori [Colvin] and Don Juan go because they were just so fast. Carl is naturally fast and actually my main goal wasn’t to win, I just wanted to go in and be competitive with him because he is quick and careful,” he noted.
The large class, which saw more than 30 entries move forward to the jump-off round, had Granato pushing a fast pace around the short course, which proved to be a great educational test.
“When I pre-loaded into the ring during the jump-off, I was watching Tori [Colvin] go and honestly, I thought to myself, ‘Well I can’t catch that; I can’t even try,'” elaborated Granato. “Then when he jumped clean in the first round and when I started jumping off, like I said, he’s just naturally such a quick horse and the more you try to contain him, the more you can get in his way. I let his natural speed take over and I tried to be efficient and he ended up being very quick.”
While competing on the winter circuit at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is important for many professionals, Granato spent much of the winter season gaining valuable experience with a string of younger horses, and is looking forward to a strong spring campaign with the talented group he hopes will make it to the top of the sport.
He explained, “We are going to take a couple of light weeks to finish up April, and then at the beginning of May we are headed to Tryon. We have a farm leased there for the rest of the spring and summer, so we’ll be very close to the show there. We plan to travel a bit to the shows in Lexington, KY, but we’ll show quite a bit in Tryon and maybe pick up a couple of national classes with these younger guys there as well.”
For more information on the ESP Spring Series and Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), please visit www.pbiec.com.