All posts by Associate Editor

Sanchez-Cozar and Azcárraga Share the Sash in Guadalajara

Gonzalo Azcárraga (MEX) (left) and Alberto Sanchez-Cozar (MEX). (FEI/Christian Lopez Redetzki)

When Gonzalo Azcárraga (MEX) crossed the finish of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Guadalajara, he didn’t know whether he had won or lost. To his surprise, he had done neither. He tied.

In a history-making result, Azcárraga, riding Fabio, and Alberto Sanchez-Cozar (MEX) aboard Union de la Nutria completed Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) jump-off in identical times of 48.95 seconds. Lorenza O’Farrill (MEX) and Queens Darling finished third with 4 faults in 48.95 seconds.

“I actually didn’t know what time Alberto had done. I was just waiting for the result, and I couldn’t see the [scoreboard] whether I was first or second. I just heard a scream from the audience, ‘You’re tied! You’re tied!'” — Gonzalo Azcárraga (MEX)

The top three were the only combinations to advance to the jump-off after a challenging first round course saw rails fall throughout. In the jump-off, O’Farrill had the disadvantage of going first. While putting the pressure on with a quick time, she and her longtime mount pulled a rail toward the end of the shortened course.

After Sanchez-Cozar laid down a clear round, Azcárraga had to equal the feat. Not only did he replicate the clear, but he also finished on an identical time, down to the hundredth of a second. The tie for victory marks the first in the history of the North American League.

“I liked everything about what my horse [did today],” Sanchez-Cozar said. “He was clean and covered the obstacles like I wanted. I didn’t ride that fast because Lorenza had a rail. I was just waiting to see the outcome from Gonzalo. I am very happy. It was a good competition, and it’s a good position [to be in].”

The top two Mexican riders from the North American League advance to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas (USA) in April. Azcárraga and Sanchez-Cozar, tied on 19 points, are also tied as the second-best among Mexican riders.

“I’m absolutely blown away by [Fabio],” Azcárraga said. “This week has probably been the best week of my life. I’ve had a rough couple of years with Grand Prix horses. To come at this level now is just a dream come true.”

Karl Cook (USA) maintains his lead in the west coast sub league standings of the North American League with 49 points, followed by Ashlee Bond (ISR) with 39 points and Will Simpson (USA) with 34 points.

On the east coast, Brian Moggre (USA) is the leader with 56 points, ahead of Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden (USA) with 49 points and Adrienne Sternlicht (USA), who has 46 points.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Erin Davis-Heineking Swoops In for $137k Adequan Grand Prix CSI3* Victory

Erin Davis-Heineking and Leonie. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2020 – Erin Davis-Heineking (USA) is making the most of her two-week visit to the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $137,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI3* during “Saturday Night Lights” of week three at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL on Saturday, January 25.

Davis-Heineking rode Leonie to thrill Saturday night’s crowd by leading the grand prix from start to finish after posting the first clear round over Kelvin Bywater’s (GBR) opening track. She again returned first over the short course and set the pace fault free in a quick 45.51 seconds. At the conclusion of a six-horse jump-off, Davis-Heineking still stood atop the podium, barely inching out Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Karlin van’t Vennehof. They were just fractions off the win in 45.67 seconds.

“I was a little bit in disbelief that I had left a couple of jumps up out there,” said Davis-Heineking of her jump-off ride. “It didn’t quite go as I planned; I had an idea in my mind of the numbers that I wanted to do, and then right before I went in, my trainer/husband [Christian Heineking] basically said to leave one out from all of those. So, I took a shot at the last line and tried to do the six. I chipped in a seven, and she left it up. I was really proud of her.”

Gabrielle Sokolow and Kindred Claim Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under Championship

Saturday morning in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring began with Gabrielle Sokolow and Kindred earning champion in the Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division. Sokolow and Kindred won the under saddle and received an additional first and second place ribbon to claim the championship title.

Kindred is a new ride for Sokolow, who has had the horse for less than a week. Sokolow went to Ocala last week to try the horse as a prospect for the junior hunter division. It was clear that the pair was right for each other when they won all three classes and were champion in their first show together earlier this season. “We instantly knew that it was the right match!” commented Sokolow.

The eight-year-old gelding was then brought to Wellington, where he showed earlier in the week with Kate Conover. Sokolow, of Westlake Village, CA, then took over the ride on Kindred again and the pair was able to continue their winning streak. “He has such a great personality and the way he goes around the ring is just so pretty,” said Sokolow of her new mount.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Steffen Peters Conquers the Grand Prix Special in Week 3 of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2020 – It was Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper’s fourth test and their fourth win of the season in the atmospheric main arena at the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

This time, the all-conquering pair claimed glory from the 15 starters in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Blue Hors, with 75.702%. They received over 77% from two of the judges on the panel of five. The new combination of Denmark’s Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Blue Hors Zatchmo finished second on 74.851%, with Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu third on All In (72.064%).

Of Four Winds Farm’s elastic, uphill gelding Suppenkasper, Peters said: “Our warm-up system has been pretty good; we’ve been working him two hours before the test and then today I only did 15 minutes right before going into the ring.

“He stayed calm and I came in in a nice rising trot. Again he did a very clean test and that’s what we want for the team: consistency. The passage felt better and clearly there was a huge improvement in the right pirouette, which didn’t work out so well in the grand prix; actually, both pirouettes worked out beautifully today.”

Watch Steffen Peters’ winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

The next task for the Olympic team bronze medallist is to accustom his latest superstar to the unique pressures and atmosphere posed by the Friday night freestyle classes under lights at AGDF.

“I talked to Debbie [McDonald], and now it’s time to turn up the power just a tiny bit. So I wanted four solid tests in this arena to settle him down for the freestyle, because that’s a gigantic hurdle for him in this arena — and of course there is a lot to stake for the World Cup qualifier,” added Peters, referring to the freestyle scores needed to qualify for the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April.

Peters has a plan to help Suppenkasper: “Here in Wellington we are staying at Five Rings Farm — probably the finest equestrian facility I’ve ever seen in my entire life — and they have an amazing sound system, so now at home we’re going to practice the clapping, the music, and the national anthem, because even that seems to get him going. He’s so ready to go, now it’s just a question of desensitising him a bit to the music and, with a little bit of good luck, we can do a hell of a freestyle in here.”

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Invincible Isabell Makes It Five-in-a-Row at Amsterdam

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD. (FEI/DigiShots)

The partnership that has claimed the FEI Dressage World Cup™ title for the last three years, Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, proved unbeatable at the eighth leg of the Western European League 2019/2020 qualifying series in Amsterdam (NED).

In an awe-inspiring line-up, it was Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, series champion in 2014 and 2015, who finished second with Mount St John Freestyle while 2010 title-holder, The Netherlands’ Edward Gal, slotted into third with a stunning ride on the stallion Glock’s Zonik NOP.

This was Werth’s fifth consecutive victory at the Dutch venue, and making it all the more significant for the German superstar was the fact that every one of those wins has been recorded with the brilliant mare who also carried her to team gold at the Rio Olympic Games.

“It all started for Weihe and me when we won the World Cup here in 2016, so Amsterdam has always been a special show for us. From here we went up and up in the sport, and it’s amazing to still have her feeling so good and motivated and engaged with me when she is 15 years old. It was a super atmosphere again today; the crowd was so emotional and they were on their feet when we finished so we really enjoyed that!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

The sparkling start-list included many of the sport’s rising stars along with six previous champions. And it was Werth’s compatriot and 2013 series winner Helen Langehanenberg who held the lead at the halfway stage following a super test from her 18-year-old campaigner Damsey FRH, who effortlessly executed a long series of perfect pirouettes on his way to putting 84.380 on the board.

Third in after the break, however, Gal and Zonik wowed the home crowd with a dramatic test that went into the lead with 85.385. But, fourth-last to go, Werth and Weihegold changed everything when scoring over 90 percent. “It was my first time over 90 in Amsterdam but I had Charlotte coming in behind me, so I had to be as good as possible, because I knew she was going for it!” said the rider who had posted a massive 90.280.

And indeed, Dujardin didn’t hold back, opening her floorplan with jaw-dropping extended trot and never looking back.

“I knew I had quite a score to beat, but my horse felt good and I tried my best to give her the most confidence possible. This is only her third onsite show. Coming in today I knew I had to go for it and try my best and I was really pleased – this is the best she’s ever been!” said Dujardin, who posted a superb 89.505 which couldn’t be beaten for runner-up spot.

The clash between Dujardin and Werth has now become the most mesmerising in the sport. Can the undisputed Queen from Germany hold onto her crown, or will Dujardin, who was all but untouchable during her reign with the great Valegro when she set and re-set multiple world records, eventually push her off her throne?

It is all set to play itself out as this year progresses, with Dujardin now well-qualified for the Final in Las Vegas (USA) in April that looks set to be a cracker. Werth plans to take Weihegold once again, and should they succeed in making it four titles in a row then they will be the very first partnership to do so in the 35-year history of the prestigious FEI Dressage World Cup™ series.

Before all that there are three more Western European League qualifiers left to run, at Neumunster (GER) in three weeks’ time where Werth again plans to compete, at Gothenburg (SWE) at the end of February, and in ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) in March.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

LaGoy-Weltz Nails Back-to-Back Victories with Plus-80% Personal Best Freestyle at AGDF

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz with Lonoir. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – January 24, 2020 – The 15-strong FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by U.S. P.R.E. Association, produced a flurry of personal bests. One horse after the other rose to the occasion in front of packed crowds for the evening class under lights in week three of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Honors were reserved for the last-to-go combination of Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and her 16-year-old Lonoir who pulled off a spectacular new personal best of 80.495%, breaking the magic barrier for the first time. Juan Matute Guimon of Spain finished second, with the rainbow of flags from different nations on the podium being rounded out by Canada’s Lindsay Kellock.

LaGoy-Weltz had revised her previous floorplan with the son of De Noir and increased the level of difficulty, resulting in some very impressive transitions, like extended canter into collected walk to a Simon & Garfunkel-themed soundtrack.

“We tried to choreograph it to make 80% possible,” said LaGoy-Weltz, who is back in the international ring with Lonoir after an 18-month absence following a farrier issue. “We spent months setting it up for the highest degree of difficulty possible and then I just hoped we pulled off the technicality and the judges like the music.

“He can be incredibly hot, but he came out and handled the warm-up and the applause super well. This whole weekend for me, having not been in the ring for such a long time, I feel like we really achieved what we set out to. He’s a super horse and we are just tapping into what’s to come. Overall it was the perfect night.”

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

McLain Ward and Catoki Are Two-for-Two at WEF

McLain Ward and Catoki. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 24, 2020 – U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward claimed his second win during week three of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in the $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI3* aboard Catoki at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL on Friday, January 24.

Ward and the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Catoki x Cartello B) are a new partnership, but they have wasted no time getting to the winner’s circle. The duo topped a field of 59 over Kelvin Bywater’s (GBR) speed track by a nearly two-second margin over Mexico’s Santiago Lambre and his own Doloris. Ward stopped the clock in 57.54 seconds, while Lambre settled for second in 59.12 seconds.

“He’s naturally an incredibly fast horse, so in the speed classes you have a little bit of an advantage,” said Ward of the horse he owns with Marilla van Beuren and Bob Russell. “Santiago is a very fast rider, but this horse is, I think, the fastest horse I’ve ever ridden. I knew turning for home we were very fast, and if things come up basically as you want, he’s just naturally faster than most horses, so you don’t have to do anything extraordinary.”

Krista Weisman and Concept Claim Adult Amateur Hunter Young (Section A) Championship

Hunter competition in the Rost Ring continued on Friday with the crowning of Krista Weisman and Concept as the Adult Amateur Hunter Younger (Section A) champions. Weisman rode Concept to two first and two second-place finishes in the division.

Weisman, of Brooklyn, NY, was excited to get back into the show ring with Concept after recently having a baby. “We like to joke that he was on paternity leave over the summer and now this is his second show back in a year,” Weisman explained.

The pair had a successful return to the show ring and definitely stood out to the judges. “He has the most comfortable canter and feels like he is just floating along,” Weisman said.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Robb Report’s Horsepower Gala Honors Frank McCourt, Georgina Bloomberg, and Jessica Springsteen

Left to right: Penske Media vice chairman Gerry Byrne, Penske Media board member Sophie Stenbeck, Georgina Bloomberg, Robb Report managing director David Arnold, Kelly Klein, Monica McCourt, Frank McCourt, and Robb Report editor in chief Paul Croughton.

The gala benefited the EQUUS Foundation’s vital work to stop equine abuse

Robb Report, the world’s leading authority on luxury lifestyle, held its inaugural Horsepower Gala on Sunday, December 8, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria resort. The EQUUS Foundation, America’s foremost equine-welfare organization, was chosen by the prestigious publication as its charitable partner to raise funds and to increase awareness of horse abuse, neglect, and slaughter.

The power and magic of horses were the inspirations of the invitation-only event, which honored three champions of equine protection: Frank McCourt, Georgina Bloomberg, and Jessica Springsteen. More than 150 guests gathered with Robb Report and the EQUUS Foundation to celebrate the majesty of horses and all they bring to our lives and to honor the three special individuals who embody passion for horses and equestrian sport.

Frank McCourt received the Horsepower Leadership Award for his commitment to safeguarding the protection and dignity of America’s horses and was introduced by his wife, Monica McCourt.

Mr. and Mrs. McCourt are enthusiastic supporters of equestrian sports and own several amateur and competitive horses as well as the Miami Celtics, a world-class show-jumping team that competes in the Global Champions League.

Georgina Bloomberg received a Horsepower Rider of the Year Award and was introduced by Valerie Angeli, vice president of engagement at the EQUUS Foundation.

Jessica Springsteen received a Horsepower Rider of the Year Award and was introduced by Sophie Stenbeck, a gala co-chair, equine advocate, and Penske Media board member.

Bloomberg and Springsteen were recognized for their tireless work on behalf of the EQUUS Foundation and the protection of America’s horses throughout their lives. Both are leading competitive show-jumping athletes who have supported the EQUUS Foundation since its earliest days, motivating fellow equestrians and horse advocates to become horse protectors.

“We are thrilled and privileged to be part of this stunning and meaningful evening for those who ride, work with, care about and care for horses and to celebrate the accomplishments of our honorees — Frank, Georgina, and Jessie. Each is a champion of the equestrian sport and equine protection,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation president.

“The EQUUS Foundation is committed to not only increasing adoptions of at-risk horses and providing a safe haven for aged horses, but also increasing opportunities for all people to engage and partner with horses in new, innovative ways.”

“Horses bring joy to old and young alike. Evenings like this help us ensure a safe and sustainable environment for horses now and in the future.”

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

Hope Hand Awarded Pegasus Medal of Honor

Hope Hand (front center) receiving her Pegasus Medal of Honor. Photo by Adam Brennan.

Wellington, Florida – January 23, 2020 – On January 10, 2020, equestrians gathered at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. Top athletes, owners, horses, and supporters were honored for their dedication to the equestrian sport. Hope Hand (Newtown Square, Penn.) was awarded the Pegasus Medal of Honor that evening in front of a large and grateful crowd. Hand was commended on her interminable push over the past 25 years for growing the Para-Equestrian discipline from the grassroots through the high-performance level. The Pegasus Medal of Honor was created as an annual award to recognize individuals who have exhibited outstanding service to horses and the sport through their dedication. The Pegasus Medal of Honor was earned by individuals who have excelled in attracting people to the sport and have contributed to horse sport by advancing its popularity. Hand’s contributions to the sport have extended from being a Paralympic athlete to President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association to numerous board and staff positions within the international sport. Hand’s efforts occur on a daily basis to support and grow the sport she loves for both the horses and disabled athletes. Hand wears many hats including being both ambassador and role model.

Hand has been a part of Para-Equestrian since it was a network of therapeutic linked shows, borrowed mounts as catch rides, the introduction of Paralympic Equestrian, joining USEF, the addition of Para-Driving, and the first World Equestrian Games with Para-Equestrian Dressage. Hand has been the wheels that made Para-Dressage a talked-about sport, but she rode to top medals in her equestrian career.

Hand was an alternate of the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Team and competed at the British Invitational in 1997, earning gold and a bronze. In 1998, she was one of the four disabled riders competing at the Bradshaw Challenge of Champions. As a member of Team USA, she won a bronze medal at the 1999 World Dressage Championships in Denmark and competed at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Australia. From riding to ambassador Hope has helped propel the sport to where it currently stands.

In 2018, Hand witnessed the U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage team earn four medals at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon. For Hand, this was a pinnacle moment where every phone call, every plane flight, every clinic, and every ride down centerline was worth it all. With her cheerful personality and ability to accomplish any goal she sets forth, the Para-Equestrian sport continues to have a champion leader who gives it her all for the riders, coaches, sponsors, volunteers, show managers, and all involved.

Many of those riders, coaches, sponsors, volunteers, and show managers would say their first interaction with Para-Equestrian began with Hope Hand. Her words of encouragement and expertise are always welcome to newbies in the equestrian world.

Top international athlete Katie Jackson remembers that moment for her. “Hope was one of the first people I met when I began looking into para-dressage after my cancer.  I will always be grateful to her for how comfortable and welcome she made me feel as we sat together and she shared information with me.  Her enthusiasm and love for the sport were immediately apparent.  Hope has dedicated herself to furthering the para-equestrian sport and is someone I look to as a role model. She is generous in sharing her knowledge and experience and has devoted significant amounts of her time to para-sport on all levels.  From her involvement with USEF, USPEA, and her participation at the FEI level, to welcoming new riders at symposiums across the country and being ringside, always smiling and cheering on the riders, Hope is a true ambassador of our sport.  I cannot think of a person better suited to receive the Pegasus Medal of Honor.”

Tina Wentz, who served as a National Para equestrian classifier and later a FEI International classier and currently serves on the board of the USPEA, is a selector for the U.S. Team, and was mother to the late Paralympian Jonathan Wentz, joins Hand at many events and has been a part of the sport since 1998. Wentz said sincerely, “Sleep may be the only thing Hope Hand does not do well and it would be no wonder since she gives 110% of her boundless energy and time to Para-Equestrian Sport and Para-Dressage. Constantly promoting, recruiting, educating, and encouraging everyone she meets as she travels at her own expense to all US International and National Championship competitions and to numerous Para Dressage symposiums, clinics, and Centers of Excellence. Hope not only knows every US Para-Dressage athlete from emerging to elite but recruited many of them and is available 24/7 to all to advise, encourage, and educate them on their journey to be the best. Hope is well known in the Equestrian world for her tireless work in advancing Para-Equestrian sport and has served and is serving on numerous Boards and committees. All in the pursuit of bringing competition excellence to the US in Para-Dressage.”

Managing Director, USEF Licensed Officials Sally Ike, commented, “I hadn’t known that Hope was going to receive the Pegasus award until that evening when I saw her before dinner and congratulated her. Her acceptance speech brought back so many memories when she mentioned my name. I was first introduced to Hope about 25 years ago when I had a phone call from Jumper rider Debbie Stephens.  Debbie called to let me know that her friend Hope Hand was going to call me.  Most specifically, Debbie alerted me that Hope was in a wheelchair, and then clarified her statement by saying that there was nothing handicapped about her. Hope called, and brought some of her friends to help me with a clinic we were doing at the USET in Gladstone.  They did wheelies down the ramp to the USET’s Indoor.  The first Paralympic Games were a few years afterward.  An argument could be made that the Para-Equestrian movement in the United States began those November days at the USET. We have so much to thank Hope for; there is not a more deserving winner of this award.”

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610) 356-6481.

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz Is Back with a Bang in Week 3 of AGDF

Lonoir and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz.

Wellington, FL – January 23, 2020 – After a break of 18 months, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and her long-time partner Lonoir came back to the competition arena to claim the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by U.S. P.R.E. Association. They led the 19-strong class with 73.435% on the opening day of CDI action in week three of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

This was the 16-year-old De Noir gelding’s first international show since Aachen in Germany in July 2018, and he won with more than 3% in hand over Lindsay Kellock (CAN), whose 70.087% on Enterprise Farms LLC’s 14-year-old Sebastien was good enough for second place. Spain’s Juan Matute Guimon, who is a regular at AGDF, filled third on his father’s 17-year-old gelding Don Diego, by Don Frederico. The class was a qualifier for the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W under lights on Friday night, which will also feature demonstrations from Blue Hors and the US P.R.E. Association.

LaGoy-Weltz had already been considering a very quiet 2019 for Lonoir in preparation for their Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign, and the decision was finally taken out of her hands after a farriery issue in December 2018 put him out of action.

“He had a bad shoeing session and his foot growth was completely stunted; when the foot is that aggravated, it takes a long time for it to start growing again,” explained LaGoy-Weltz. “He has asymmetric feet anyway, with one very flat and one upright. So I think the competition break was meant to be and we really wanted to come back from the time off better than ever.”

Their triumphant return proved that the notoriously electric horse has benefitted from the break, but he still looked lively and fresh in the prize-giving.

“He’s been a very sturdy horse and I think we’re tapping into his best now,” added LaGoy-Weltz. “I have a feeling it’s going to have paid off big-time. He feels fresh and amazing and happy to be in there. I’m happy that we could just go out there and clock out a clean test for 73%.

“He’s always been very hot and we’ve always tried to make it quiet, and now I finally feel really ready to try and ride him more on the edge. That may make for some spectacular things and some mistakes also, but I think we’re really ready to take those risks and feel like all the training and maturity is coming together.”

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5 Are Victorious in $37k Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI3*

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 23, 2020 – Abigail McArdle (USA) and Victorio 5 topped a field of 85 entries to win the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 CSI3* on Friday, January 23, during week three of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

On their way to the win in Thursday’s featured class, McArdle and Victorio 5 were one of 11 entries to navigate the first-round course without fault and elect to return to face-off over the Kelvin Bywater (GBR) designed short course.

When McArdle returned to the ring, the time to beat had been set at 45.39 seconds by Lucas Porter (USA) and C Hunter, owned by Sleepy P Ranch, but quick foot speed and a skillful slice to one fence in particular would ultimately clinch the victory for McArdle with an unbeatable time of 43.98 seconds. Porter’s time held up for second place.

“I’ve never won a WEF [Challenge Cup] before; this is a first, so I’m very, very happy!” said McArdle, 25. “It was a very difficult first round track; I went for it in the jump-off, and it paid off.”

Maria Rasmussen Pilots R & R to Green Hunter 3’3” Championship

The Green Hunter 3’3” division came to a close on Thursday with the crowning of Maria Rasmussen and R & R as the champions. Rasmussen rode R & R to a first, two seconds, a fourth, and a fifth-place ribbon in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals Ring 6.

R & R is a fairly new ride for Rasmussen, who has only had the horse for one month. Owned by Jill Abrams of Wellington, FL, the eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding has already proven to be a great addition. “He has been fun, easy and talented right off the bat!” Rasmussen commented.

Rasmussen, of Royal Palm Beach, FL, was pleased with how reliable R & R was in the tough competition. “For pre-green horses it’s hard to be so consistent, and he gave it his all every round,” said Rasmussen. The gelding’s beautiful and rhythmic canter also helped the pair stand out to the judges and win the under saddle.

Although Rasmussen is having fun showing R & R, her main goal is to get him ready for Abrams to take over the ride. Abrams plans to show the gelding in the Adult Amateurs during this season of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.