Category Archives: Winter Equestrian Festival

Jonathan McCrea and Special Lux Top $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* at WEF

Jonathan McCrea and Special Lux. Photos © Sportfot.

Tiffany Foster and Victor Win Suncast® 1.50m; Augusta Iwasaki and Caleche Crowned Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Large Pony Hunter Champions

Wellington, FL – March 12, 2017 – Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Special Lux concluded week nine competition of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Sunday, March 5, with a win in the $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Also showing on Sunday, two-time Olympian Tiffany Foster of Canada won the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic riding Victor.

Course designer Alan Wade (IRL) concluded his week challenging the international competitors at WEF with 45 entries in the two-star grand prix and 11 in the jump-off. McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Special Lux completed the fastest of six double clear rounds in 36.74 seconds. Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Skara Glen’s Presence stopped the clock in 38.75 seconds to place second. Jonathon Millar (CAN) and Millar Brooke Farm’s Daveau finished third with a time of 40.89 seconds.

McCrea and the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lux x Coille Mor Hill) have been partnered for almost four years and won the FEI World Cup™ qualifier in Bromont, Quebec, in July 2016, but the rider felt like his horse lost some form after that. He was happy to have the two-star division to compete in this week, and the pair also won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman CSI 2* 1.45m speed class on Thursday.

“It’s always a struggle when that happens – when you go from everything to nothing overnight,” McCrea stated. “Literally, I just backed right off him. Two weeks or three weeks ago was his first time showing in Ocala. He was second in the two-star there in the grand prix. Then I gave him a week off and came here, again just with the idea of showing in the two-star to get him confident and happy.”

Detailing his winning round, McCrea noted, “I was in the position today to go last, which is always in his favor. I had seen Paul go. I knew maybe I had a little bit more ground speed with my horse, and he maybe has a bit more experience than Paul’s on the rollback turns. He is super careful, so I am never afraid to gallop with him.

“His ride is a little different; he is very Irish,” McCrea said of Special Lux. “He loves to gallop. I think even if you look back at his first round, he was almost ten seconds under the time allowed. That is how he his. He wants to be able to gallop; that is his strength. He is very careful. I just have to let him alone, and let him jump.”

O’Shea was aboard a young mount in Skara Glen’s Presence, a nine-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Contendro x Nekton) that he owns in partnership with Skara Glen Stables and Michael Haydon, and was happy with both of his rounds.

“I was just delighted with my horse,” O’Shea stated. “He is just a nine-year-old. I have done four grand prix with him, and he has won two of them, and second now today, so I could not be happier. I just love him; he has been really consistent.”

O’Shea found the horse when it was six and showed him in Europe as a seven-year-old. He detailed, “I think he jumped in 24 rounds, and he was clear 19 times. He is just a fantastic horse. He does not really have a weakness. He is very scopey and very careful. He is a real fighter. He is a horse for the future. I think he is a horse that is going to do championships if I don’t get in his way, so I am delighted. When they have his kind of quality, it makes everything much easier. He has the raw materials.”

Remarking on his jump-off, O’Shea added, “It was for sure the fastest jump-off I have done with him. I went very quick; Jon was just faster than me today. If I was to do it again, I do not think I could have done anything different. Maybe to the last two, I could have been a little bit quicker, but I would not have been quicker than Jon.”

For his third place finish, Millar was aboard Daveau, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Glennridge) that he has been bringing along for two years. The pair was also second in week seven’s two-star grand prix, and Millar has been pleased with his horse’s consistency.

“The last three two-star grand prixs, he was fifth, second, and now third, so double clean in all three,” Millar pointed out. “The addition of these two-star classes has been fantastic for a wide variety of horses and riders. It just gives everybody a little bit of a different option. It is fantastic to be able to take this opportunity and develop my horse.

“I could not be more pleased with him,” Millar continued. “I am just trying to teach him about turning and galloping, and things like that, without running his legs off here. He has always been a very consistent horse. I think he has a bright future, and I am just trying to develop him and give him the exposure here.”

Detailing his jump-off, Millar stated, “He does cover the ground really well. He is efficient, and quick, and turns really well. I think [the times were] pretty close, and that is what these classes end up being. It is where you can take your risks and what your horse’s sort of risk/reward situation is. Fractions of a second is what it comes down to, so overall I could not be more pleased.”

Tiffany Foster and Victor Win Suncast® 1.50m

Fifty entries started in round one of Sunday’s $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, with ten advancing to the jump-off and five double clear rounds. Two-time Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster took top honors with her veteran partner Victor, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable.

Jimmy Torano (USA) set the pace in the jump-off in 40.23 seconds to eventually finish fifth aboard Day Dream, owned by Jimmy and Danielle Torano. Laura Kraut (USA) and Cherry Knoll Farm’s Constable II upped the pace in 38.75 seconds to earn the third place prize. Lillie Keenan (USA) and Chansonette Farm’s Skyhorse followed with the fourth place time of 40.21 seconds. McLain Ward (USA) briefly jumped into the lead with a time of 37.56 seconds riding his own and Susan Heller’s Tina la Boheme, but was bested in the end. Third to last, Foster and Victor raced through the timers in 36.82 seconds.

Tiffany Foster and Victor

“I think that I had an advantage, going later in the jump-off, and knowing how fast that everybody was going,” Foster said following her round. “It was one of those jump-offs where you just needed foot speed and you needed to take a little bit of an extra risk at some point. I know my horse obviously really well, since I have had him forever, and I knew that if I landed on stride one in that last line, I could probably get there in seven. I kind of opted for seven very fast strides instead of eight formal strides, but I have huge trust and confidence in my horse, and I knew he would get there. It turned out well, because if not, I do not think we could have won it.”

Even in the first round, Foster knew that she had the longtime partnership with Victor on her side.

“He is such an experienced and great horse that to jump one of these courses, even though they are difficult, you feel like it is easy for him,” Foster noted of the horse she has ridden for eight years. “That makes a big difference. There is a big margin of error I think, when you go into a class like that on a horse with that much scope and experience. That obviously is a huge advantage, and you feel a lot of confidence with that.”

Now that Victor is 15 years old, Foster and the team at Artisan Farms pick his classes carefully and try to keep the gelding’s schedule light.

“I was not even planning to do this class,” Foster laughed. “Victor’s owner, Andy Ziegler, has full credit for me even being in this class today. I had a time-fault in the WEF (Challenge Cup), and I was so mad at myself because my plan was for that to be Victor’s only class. If it were not for Andy, I never would have entered, so he has full credit for this win.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, Madison Goetzmann and Prestigious were victorious in the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic.

Augusta Iwasaki and Caleche Crowned Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Large Pony Hunter Champions

The Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Large Pony Hunter division finished Sunday morning on ‘Pony Island.’ Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA guided Laura Barrett-Gurtis’ Caleche to win two over fences classes, place fourth in the other over fences round, and fifth in the conformation. The pair earned the championship honors with a total of 23 points.

Caleche, a ten-year-old Oldenburg Pony mare by Constantin, was imported late in 2011 and started her U.S. show career at WEF in 2012. The mare is currently stabled at Stefanie Mazer’s Forget Me Not Farm in Wellington, FL.

“She’s an awesome large pony,” Mazer complimented. “She’s beautiful, easy to take care of, and so sweet. It is a real pleasure to have her in the barn. She always jumps in great form and is a really classy mare.”

Mazer introduced Caleche to her current owners two years ago when they first purchased the mare.

“I actually sold her to her current owners,” Mazer continued. “She was for [Barrett-Gurtis’] daughter to show in the pony divisions. Her daughter outgrew ponies, and they sent the Caleche back to me at the 2015 Washington International Horse Show to sell. The mare has been doing really well during the winter circuit!”

Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC captured the reserve ribbon aboard Valor. The pair received a second place ribbon under saddle, second in an over fences trip, and third in the conformation class. Valor, owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, is a 13-year-old Welsh Pony gelding that Mimi Gochman previously campaigned.

The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its tenth week of competition on March 15-19, 2017. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Karen Polle and With Wings Win $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5*

Karen Polle and With Wings. Photos © Sportfot.

Fuqua and Colvin Victorious in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Wellington, FL – March 11, 2017 – Karen Polle (JPN) and With Wings made it two-for-two during week nine at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL with a victory in Saturday night’s $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, after also topping Thursday’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup (the grand prix qualifier). U.S. Olympian Margie Engle (USA) riding Royce, and Spanish Olympian Sergio Alvarez Moya aboard Charmeur, placed second and third, respectively.

Alan Wade’s (IRL) course got the best of many on Saturday night, as only four out of 39 entries cleared the first round without fault. In the jump-off, Polle and her 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Larino x L. Ronald) were the only pair to complete a second clear track, racing through the timers in 42.42 seconds.

Engle and Gladewinds Partners’ Royce had one rail in the double combination and finished in 43.36 seconds. Alvarez Moya and Charmeur dropped one rail at the final fence in the jump-off with a time of 43.81 seconds. Quentin Judge (USA) placed fourth, riding Double H Farm’s HH Conrad to 12 faults over the short course in 45.22 seconds.

Remarking on her win, 24-year-old Polle declared, “I feel disbelief first of all. It has not really sunk in yet. The week could not have gone any better. I won both my classes, and my horse jumped unbelievably all week, every jump. He really helped me out, and he felt great tonight, so I am really, really happy.”

Detailing her strategy for the jump-off, Polle stated, “My plan was just to go as fast as I could. There were only four, so I just wanted to go for it, because I was going to get a good ribbon either way. I just picked up a good gallop and tried to be as neat as I could.”

Saturday was Polle’s first time jumping clear, and her first time jumping off, in a Saturday Night Lights grand prix at WEF. She had the great confidence of a longtime partnership riding With Wings on her side.

“When I first got him, I did not know so much. I was still a junior, but I knew he was special,” Polle said of their seven-year partnership. “I really believed in him, and I did not ever feel like there was a jump that was too big for us, or a course that was too difficult for us. I am just really glad that we were able to win because I have always felt like he is a real winner.”

During their years together, Polle and With Wings have had the guidance of some of the biggest names in show jumping. Olympic team gold medalist and Rolex Grand Slam Champion Scott Brash (GBR), Olympian Mario Deslauriers (USA), ten-time Olympian Ian Millar (CAN), and Olympic silver and bronze medalist Paul Schockemöhle (GER) have all played a role in developing this young talent. On Saturday night, Polle was competing under the tutelage of Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil.

“I have been really lucky to work with quite a few top professionals,” Polle acknowledged. “All of them have really helped me and Wings get to where we are now. I used little things that I have learned from all of them tonight to do the course, and to do the jump-off.

“I hope to win a lot more classes like this,” she added. “It is an unbelievable feeling, and this is why we do this – why we work so hard at home to then come here and be able to win a class like this. I hope I can continue to have many more of these moments and many more Saturday night grand prix wins.”

Engle was aboard her talented mount Royce for a second place finish on Saturday and was happy with her horse’s efforts.

“He has felt great all circuit,” Engle said of the 13-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Café au Lait x Grandilot). “Karen just was the one to beat this week. She was on fire. I was very happy with Royce. He has been riding very well. He jumped well on Thursday and then again tonight. I just jumped in a little big into the double (in the jump-off). He tried to get out of the way. I just needed to nip inside, but he felt great.”

Commenting on the evening’s course, Engle continued, “I thought it was tough enough. It was appropriate for a five-star event. There were a lot of technical questions. The course was long, and it was up and down. It was kind of nice to have only four in the jump-off. You knew that if you went clean, you were going to get a good piece of the prize money.”

Alvarez Moya was riding a less experienced mount for the night’s competition with his ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Charmeur (Numero Uno x Gelha’s VDL Emilion).

“I am very happy the way he jumped today. It is his first big grand prix,” Alvarez Moya noted. “He is pretty sensitive, and I was doubting actually until last night if I was going to ride him in the grand prix or not, but he is normally very brave. I was very happy when I saw there were only four in the jump-off. I knew they were fast, but I had to be a little careful at the number three. In the first round my horse did a little bit of a funny jump, and I did not want to scare him in the jump-off. I think the rest was good. He tried hard. He was very careful, and I am just very happy with him.

“I have had him since he was six,” Alvarez Moya continued. “Last year he did a few bigger classes, but not like this, and for sure not under the lights and a five-star grand prix. I always believed a lot in him. I think he is a pretty special horse. He is just very sensitive and sharp, so I took it very slow with him. I definitely think he is the one I have to replace Carlo, which is not an easy job.”

Representing Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Don Langdon remarked on the evening’s competition and praised the riders on a great night of sport.

“First of all, congratulations to the top three – Margie, Sergio, and Karen,” Langdon stated. “It is great for me, who does not ride, to participate for the last 30 years and to see the growth of what has happened in this community. Mark (Bellissimo) has built this brand far greater than any sights that we had ever imagined. Douglas Elliman is the fourth largest real estate company in the country. We are a private company, which is great. This plays right into our brand. We like to patronize the people that also patronize our company, and obviously the equestrians have been an amazing role in our success in the Wellington area. We appreciate that.”

Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo wrapped a great night with his comments. He stated, “There were people years ago who said that we would never fill the seats when we built them, and I think the reality is that we are coming consistently every Saturday with pretty much a full house. I think it is a testament to the athletes here. People here are developing a following. I think the sport is really taking hold in this community, and hopefully, that is something that can be replicated in other markets. I want to thank Rolex first and foremost. These five-stars are very important to attract the talent that we have here. Rolex is the brand that has stepped up and really transformed this facility with very heavy investment, and allowed us to get to the four five-star events.

“I am really proud of the riders,” Bellissimo continued. “To see Karen and that smile; it is great when you see someone win something for the first time. This was the first time that a Japanese rider has won a five-star grand prix here. I was very happy to see the excitement of Karen’s win, and hopefully it is the first of many.”

As the grand prix winner, Polle was presented the Herman ‘Kappy’ Kaplan Perpetual Memorial Trophy. She was also given the Leading Lady Rider Award for week nine, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Giavanna Rinaldi and Haylie Rolfe’s Caretina III won the $10,000 SJHOF Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch. The $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers, saw a win for Lacey Gilbertson and Seabrook LLC’s Baloppi. Kamille Marcussen and Bull Run’s Pistol Pete were also victorious in the $1,500 Martha Jolicoeur, Douglas Elliman Low Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.

Fuqua and Colvin Victorious in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Junior, amateur, and professional hunter riders guided their horses around the grass derby field at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Equestrian Village on Saturday morning in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. The class was awarded in two sections, a junior/amateur section and an open section, and consisted of first and second rounds, where the top 12 competitors returned for a handy trip.

Kat Fuqua and High Noon 3E

Kat Fuqua of Atlanta, GA won her second big class of the weekend. After winning the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby on Friday, she bested a field of 20 juniors and amateurs aboard High Noon 3E. The pair earned scores of 83 in the first round and 84 in the second round for a combined total of 167.

Speaking of her third experience showing the gelding in a national derby, Fuqua said, “It feels really good to win the derby. This is the first horse derby I’ve placed in with him. I loved doing the victory gallop, and he felt really good on the grass field. I train with Liz Reilly and Keri Kampsen; they’ve helped me improve a lot.”

One of the youngest in the class, Fuqua started riding the 2003 Canadian Sport Horse, owned by Float On Equestrian, LLC, earlier in the winter circuit and also shows him in the Children’s Hunter and Equitation 11 & Under divisions.

“We call him ‘Hippo’ in the barn,” she continued. “He loves attention (and) treats and is really friendly. My favorite thing about him is his smooth stride. I’m really proud of my horse!”

Kira Telford of Chicago, IL claimed the second place ribbon. Telford rode Calistoga Gold to matching scores of 82 in both rounds, for an overall total of 164. The third place ribbon went Lisa Butzer of Boca Raton, FL, and CS Online, owned by Allyson Coluccio. The pair received scores of 81 and 76 in the first and second rounds, respectively, for a total score of 157.

Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL piloted Harper Lee to the win in the open section. Colvin and the six-year-old Polish Warmblood mare earned the highest scores in both trips, an 88 in the first round and a 94 in the second round, for an overall score of 182.

“She’s the easiest horse in the world,” Colvin explained. “She just goes right around the field and doesn’t look at the spooky jumps or anything. In the handy round, the horse before me was really nice so I had to go for it, and she was amazing. I just let go and cantered around.”

Laura Karet has owned the mare for two years and recently started showing her in the Low Adult Hunters.

“We’ve been bringing her along slowly, and this is really exciting,” said Karet. “This is her second derby. She’s really never done anything like this so we didn’t know what to expect. We’re very proud of her!”

Colvin also picked up the third place in ribbon in the open section guiding Caliber, another entry owned by Laura Karet, to a first round score 84 and a handy score of 90, which resulted in a total score of 174. Kim Barone of Watertown, MN received the second place ribbon aboard Easy Street HU, owned by Raven Ridge Farm, with scores of 87.5 and 91 in the first and second round, respectively, to earn a combined score of 178.5.

The ninth week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic in the International Arena. The Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Large Pony Hunter division will determine championship and reserve honors in Ring 11. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Lillie Keenan and Be Gentle Race to Five-Star Win at WEF

Lillie Keenan and Be Gentle. Photos © Sportfot.

Pony Hunters Take Over Derby Field

Wellington, FL – March 10, 2017 – Lillie Keenan (USA) and Be Gentle clocked a blazing fast time to win the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m CSI 5* on Friday, March 10, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Course designer Alan Wade (IRL) saw 18 clear rounds out of 47 entries to contest his 1.45m speed track, and the times got faster and faster until the very end.

Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm’s Cyklon 1083 raced in at 60.50 seconds for a brief lead, but eventually finished fourth. Ali Wolff (USA) and John C. Wolff’s Caya stole the lead in 60.34 seconds, but settled for second in the end. Eduardo Menezes (BRA) came close to the time, but placed third with his round in 60.40 seconds riding E2 Stables’ Caruschka 2. With three left to go, Keenan and Chansonette Farm’s Be Gentle raced to the win in 59.83 seconds.

“That was really exciting!” Keenan stated. “That horse gives you a great feeling because pretty much any class you enter, you have a shot at winning as long as you stay out of her way. I think there are very few horses that you can say that about.”

Keenan had the advantage of jumping the track first on her horse Super Sox, and then going at the end with ‘Jenny,’ an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Ticallux Verte x Gentleman).

“After I jumped my first horse, the one that I really wanted to watch to get a sense of what the winning track would need to be was Shane Sweetnam,” Keenan detailed. “I think everyone would agree that he is a master of these classes, especially on Cyklon. I watched him go, and I thought that I would be happy if I was second to that. Then they started going faster and faster.

“The great thing about Jenny is that we walked a plan, and I knew what I had to do. She lets you make decisions in advance because she is so dependable,” Keenan continued. “I was able to do a lot of the leave-outs. Where she makes up so much time is in the turns. I count the strides between the jumps that are on the corners. I think that is what made the difference, but the class got really fast at the end.”

The 20-year-old rider is in school at Harvard University and splits her time between Boston and Wellington each week. The busy schedule is a bit different from most professionals, but trainer Cian O’Connor and his team at Karlswood Stables keep Keenan’s horses ready to go.

“It is fun to be able to participate in classes like that and actually have a shot,” she noted. “Unlike most professionals, I go to school for half the week. I don’t sit on a horse, and then I show up on Thursday morning and try to jump the main class that day. When I first started the circuit, it was a little bit of a reality check. I am much shorter on experience than a lot of the riders in these classes, and I am tough on myself about that, but at the same time I have to be realistic.

“It is amazing to have a horse like Jenny that knows her job,” Keenan added. “She is funny because at home on the flat, or in the schooling area, she does not want to do traditional work. She does not need to be drilled on anything; she just wants to go her own way. When you watch her walk into the ring, I just have her on a loose rein, and then as soon as she hears the buzzer, she knows. As soon as you pick up a canter and point her at a jump, it is like she zeroes in. She is an amazing horse.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Friday, the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m CSI 2* class saw 62 entries and 18 qualified for the jump-off. Sixteen entries continued on for the tiebreaker, where eight jumped double clear.

The win went to Hilary McNerney (USA) and Z Acodate DDL in the fastest time of 35.17 seconds. Molly Ashe (USA) and Louisburg Farm’s d’Arnita finished second in 35.52 seconds. Laura Chapot (USA) aboard her own and McLain Ward’s Quointreau un Prince placed third in 35.64 seconds.

McNerney’s Z Acodate DDL was also given the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week eight, presented by Laura Fetterman.

Earlier in the day, Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya earned his second win of the week, topping the $6,000 1.40m Speed Challenge riding Iron Man 111. The $2,500 Engel & Völkers High Amateur-Owner Jumper Power and Speed concluded the day with a win for Olivia Chowdry and Cosma 20.

Pony Hunters Take Over Derby Field

Pony hunters competed Saturday on the grass derby field at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Equestrian Village. Kat Fuqua of Atlanta, GA won the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, and Luke Jensen of Benton, TX topped the Small Pony Hunter Classic, sponsored by Visse Wedell and Douglas Elliman. Both classes consisted of first and second rounds, where the top 12 competitors returned for a handy trip.

Sixty-five riders vied for the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby title, but it was Fuqua who rode Somekindawonderful, an entry owned by Iwasaki & Reilly, to win the blue ribbon. The pair earned the high score in the first round, an 89, and an 81 in the second round for a total score of 171.

Kat Fuqua and Somekindawonderful

“It was really fun,” said Fuqua. “I love the grass and all the jumps. I’ve been riding Somekindawonderful for about a year. We call him Ronald. He’s really sweet and loves to cuddle.”

In addition to riding the 16-year-old New Forest Pony by Justice H.R., Fuqua rode three other ponies in the class on Saturday and finished inside the top 15 with each of them. Fuqua trains with Elizabeth Reilly of Makoto Farms and competes in the Pony Hunter and Equitation 11 & Under divisions.

“In the handy round on my other pony I went off course, so I really had to focus on the course,” Fuqua explained. “The last thing Liz [Reilly] said to me before going in the ring was to ‘keep going forward.’ I am really thankful for Liz. Since I started training with her, I have improved a lot.”

Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC earned the second place ribbon. Gordon piloted Elle Gibbs’ Astro Boy to scores of 85 and 83 in the first and second rounds, respectively, for an overall score of 168.

Speaking of the 2006 medium Welsh Pony, Gordon said, “He just has the best personality around the barn, as well as when you’re on him. He’s a lot of fun to jump, and he jumps really well. It was exciting to ride on the grass field.”

Gordon also rode several other ponies in the class.

“My first two rides didn’t go as planned,” she continued. “It is a really spooky venue, so I got on Max [Astro Boy] with the mentality of whatever comes, comes. It ended up going really well so I’m happy!”

The third place ribbon went to Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA and Caleche, owned by Laura Barrett-Gurtis. Iwasaki guided the 2006 large pony mare by Constantin to a first round score of 81 and a second round score of 86, earning a total score of 167.

Jensen rode So Enchanted, an entry owned by Rendezvous Farm, to win the $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic, sponsored by Visse Wedell and Douglas Elliman. The pair was sitting in third place after the first round with a score of 83, but consistency was key and a second round score of 84 for an overall total of 167 was enough to warrant the blue ribbon.

After dutifully helping untack the 2008 Welsh Pony Cross mare by Maple Side Mr. Magic, Jensen explained why he enjoyed showing on the grass field.

“I love being able to get away from a regular show ring,” he said. “I got to gallop, and my rounds were very consistent and smooth. I love being able to really gallop up to the jumps and have her jump so well. She really paid attention in the grass field, which I liked. She’s really sassy, but the thing I like most about her is her canter.”

Clara Propp of New York, NY earned both the second and third place ribbons. Propp and her second place mount, Everyday Enzo, owned by Olivia Golden, LLC, received a score of 82 in both rounds for a combined score of 164. Everyday Enzo is a 17-year-old Welsh Pony that Propp started riding at the end of 2016. A total score of 161 for Propp and Quicksilver Butterfly was enough for third place. The 2005 Welsh Pony mare by Mortons Best Man is owned by Aquitaine Equine.

Week nine of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Saturday featuring the $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, in the International Arena during the evening. The $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby will decide a winner on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds). For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Karen Polle and With Wings Win $130k Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9

Karen Polle and With Wings. Photos © Sportfot.

Jimmy Torano Forms New Partnership to Win Pre-Green Three & Four-Year-Old Hunters

Wellington, FL – March 9, 2017 – Karen Polle (JPN) and veteran partner With Wings earned a big win in Thursday’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Round 9 of the Challenge Cup series saw 51 starters over Alan Wade’s (IRL) first round course. Twelve entries advanced to the jump-off, and six completed double clear rounds. Polle and With Wings took the win in 36.71 seconds. Lillie Keenan (USA) and Chansonette Farm’s Skyhorse finished second in 38.14 seconds. Lauren Hough (USA) aboard Willow Grace Farm’s Cornet 39 placed third in 38.53 seconds, and Lucy Davis (USA) riding Old Oak Farm’s Cassis 54 finished fourth in 38.95 seconds.

“I thought the first round was actually pretty tricky. At the beginning we didn’t see so many clears,” Polle said after her win. “The jump-off was really fun. For Wings, it really suited him well because you could get a gallop and try to cruise through, and just watch the verticals. There were two places where I was able to leave out strides, which I think really helped me.

“I was a little long at the last fence, but I went for it,” Polle continued. “Wings has so much range that he can do that. That is where I have to be a little quicker sometimes because he has a big stride, but he is not a quick, quick horse, so to make up that time I need to do the leave outs.”

Polle began training with Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa in October, but also had her longtime experience riding With Wings to her advantage.

“Last month was seven years that I have had him,” Polle noted. “I think that is one of the most special things, to have a horse that you start really young. I started in the Low Junior Jumpers with him, and then we worked our way up to the five-star level. I think that makes our partnership even more special because we have known each other for so long. We trust each other a lot because we have been through everything together. It is very rare, so I am really lucky.”

Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and Quintol finished fifth in 39.30 seconds, and Pablo Barrios (VEN) riding A S D Farfala placed sixth in 39.54. Kent Farrington (USA) completed the fastest time in 35.54 seconds with his own and Robin Parksy’s Gazelle, but had a rail at the final fence to place seventh.

Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Jonathan McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Special Lux won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman CSI 2* 1.45m speed class. Alexandra Pielet and Helene VE topped the $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper speed class.

Jimmy Torano Forms New Partnership to Win Pre-Green Three & Four-Year-Old Hunters

Jimmy Torano of Wellington, FL rode More Than Words, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo, for the first time at WEF 9 to win the Pre-Green Three & Four-Year-Old Hunter division championship. The pair won the under saddle, an over fences round, and placed third in another over fences class to secure the title.

Jimmy Torano and More Than Words

“He went great,” said Torano. “He is owned in a partnership with Ralph Caristo, Emil Spadone, and me. We bought him at an auction back in the fall. We were all at the same auction together and we all really liked the horse, so we decided to form a group and buy him.”

More Than Words is a 2012 Holsteiner gelding by Cancara. Earlier in the winter circuit, Heather Caristo-Williams showed the gelding in the USHJA Hunter 2’6″ division, sponsored by Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP.

“I think he’s going to be a really fancy horse,” Torano continued. “He’s just four years old, but this is the first time I’ve ridden him and he went great. He’s really straightforward, a beautiful horse, and a beautiful jumper.”

Heather Hayes of Cumming, GA and Mind’s Eye, an entry owned by River Run Farm, LLC, settled for reserve honors. The pair earned second place ribbons in the under saddle and two over fences classes, as well as placing sixth in another over fences class. Mind’s Eye is a four-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Spartacus.

Competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday featuring the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m CSI 5* in the International Arena. On the grass derby field at Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds), the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic, sponsored by Visse Wedell & Douglas Elliman, will decide winners. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Abdel Said and Hope van Scherpen Donder Win $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m at WEF

Abdel Said and Hope van Scherpen Donder. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 8, 2017 – Egyptian show jumper Abdel Said took his first major victory at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Wednesday, riding Hope van Scherpen Donder to a win in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m to start week nine in Wellington, FL.

Alan Wade (IRL) is the course designer in the International Arena at PBIEC for WEF 9. Wade began the week with 53 starters over his 1.45m track, held in a two-phase competition, with 18 double clear rounds.

Said and AS Sport Horses’ Hope van Scherpen Donder stole the lead in the very end, second to last in the order, to take top prize in 33.43 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) held a long lead, but moved to second place with his time of 33.45 seconds aboard Couscous van Orti. Daniel Deusser (GER) finished third in 33.56 seconds riding Stephex Stables’ Hidalgo SX.

“Hope is a very special horse,” Said described of the ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Quadrillo x Balou du Rouet). “She has a lot of character, and she is very competitive. She can be super-fast when she wants to. She has her days – some days she doesn’t want to play, so I have to respect that.

“I watched Daniel’s round, but his horse is so different from mine,” Said detailed on his win. “His is a big, classic horse that can really work on the strides. Mine is naturally super-fast. Even if I do more strides than him, she can win with her speed, and she was really fast in some of those turns. I just kind of made my own plan with her. She is better that way.”

Said had a great 2016 season with Hope, which included a win in the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier in Verona, Italy in November. The rider is based in Antwerp, Belgium throughout the year, where he runs his own training and sales program.

Remarking on his second season competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival, Said stated, “I enjoy it here. The people are all very friendly. And of course my business is selling horses, so it is fun to follow up on the horses we sell and be here with the clients. It is super interesting.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Wednesday, the first class of the day was the $8,000 Douglas Elliman CSI 2* 1.40m with a win for David Arcand (CAN) aboard Hawaii van Paemel. The $1,000 CSI 5* Douglas Elliman 1.40m followed with a win for Jaclyn Duff (CAN) riding Windermere Stable’s EH All or None. Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and Iron Man 111 were victorious in the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m to conclude the day.

Week nine of the Winter Equestrian Festival continues in the International Arena on Thursday featuring the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Information on $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Photo ©Sportfot.

Attention Exhibitors:

A Presidential Modification from the United States Equestrian Federation has been granted to the Winter Equestrian Festival in order to run the $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic on Friday, March 10.

There is an important change to the Classic criteria in the prize list on page #136. The last sentence in the top line does not apply to this classic:

“…Small Ponies who show in this class are not eligible for the pony hunter derby.”

This restriction has been lifted and Small ponies may show in both the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby and the $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic on Friday, March 10. The restriction on the rider for no more than two ponies in the classic still applies.

Reminder:

There will be a schooling session on the grass derby field schooling area on Thursday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those competing in the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and the USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Don’t forget to sign up for the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, which runs on Saturday, March 11, at 8:30 a.m.

Anyone who is interested in a stall at Equestrian Village should check in with Tom Blankenship in the stable office or at 843-269-4737. Stalls will be available @ $100.00 (plus tax).

For more information, visit www.PBIEC.com.

Wolff and Casall Blaze through Jump-Off to Place Third in $216,000 CSIO4* Grand Prix

Ali Wolff and Casall (Sportfot)

Wellington, Fla. – Ali Wolff made the most out of showing her mount Casall in his first week of competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival. They helped the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team earn a Silver medal during Friday’s Nation Cup competition and finished the week by placing third in the $216,000 CSIO4* Grand Prix presented by Lugano Diamonds on Sunday. As on Friday, the Irish had luck on their side as Shane Sweetnam and Conor Swail placed first and second, respectively. As a result of Wolff’s efforts over the week, she earned the Leading Lady Rider Award.

“I’ve had him [Casall] since he was seven, and I have been moving him up the ranks. He has a bright future ahead of him, and he has been phenomenal for me and my career,” said Wolff.

A group of 43 combinations attempted the Ken Krome-designed course. Wolff (New Albany, Ohio) and Casall, Blacklick Bend Farm’s 2005 Holsteiner gelding, made it through the first round comfortably, joining 17 combinations, including seven other Americans, in a tricky jump-off.

A troublesome turn around a palm tree leading into the Hermès oxer, fence five, caused problems for several combinations early in the jump-off. Through five combinations, Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza and Toy Boy had the early lead with a time of 43.21. Wolff and Casall followed Mendoza. With caution, the pair tackled the Hermès oxer. Once past this difficult spot, they picked up the speed and crossed the finish two-tenths of a second ahead of Mendoza.

“Going early on [in the jump-off] is a little hard because I had 10 people behind me. I just had to go in knowing my speed and try and push a little faster than that. I started off with the pace I wanted and was able to finish on the same pace. Everything came up naturally. He was really good for me,” said Wolff.

Going 10th, Sweetnam and Chaqui Z jetted through the course to overtake the top spot with a time of 41.79. Four-time Olympian Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Coach, Abigail Wexner’s 2008 Holsteiner gelding, moved Mendoza and Toy Boy to fourth place on a time of 43.11 seconds to sit in third place after 15 combinations. Swail and Rubens Ls La Silla knocked Madden and Coach to fourth with a time of 41.82. As the final combination to go, Olympian Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and Waterford, Laura and Meredith Mateo’s 2003 KWPN gelding, had a rail, ensuring Wolff a podium position.

Complete Results

By Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department

Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z Take $216,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4* at WEF

Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z. Photos © Sportfot.

Victoria Herran and Con-Grande Top Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter 15-17

Wellington, FL – March 5, 2017 – Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam concluded an exceptional week of CSIO 4* competition at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, with a win aboard Chaqui Z in Sunday’s $216,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4*, presented by Lugano Diamonds.

After winning Thursday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 aboard Cobolt, and Friday’s $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup riding Chaqui Z for team Ireland, Sweetnam led the round of honor ahead of teammates Conor Swail and Rubens LS La Silla in Sunday’s feature event. Ali Wolff and Casall placed third after also helping team USA to a silver medal in Friday’s Nations’ Cup.

Course designer Ken Krome (USA) concluded the week with 43 entries in Sunday’s grand prix and a 17-horse jump-off. The large number over the short course set an interesting challenge, as riders raced against the clock, and only seven cleared the tiebreaking course without fault. Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm’s Chaqui Z took the win in 41.79 seconds. Swail and Vanessa Mannix’s Rubens LS La Silla were close behind in 41.82 seconds. Wolff and Blacklick Bend Farm’s Casall clocked in at 43.02 seconds.

USA’s Beezie Madden jumped Abigail Wexner’s Coach to a fourth place finish in 43.11 seconds. Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza and Toy Boy placed fifth in 43.23 seconds.

Sweetnam swept international competition during WEF 8 to be awarded the Niall Grimes “Cheers” Perpetual Trophy as the top Irish rider during CSIO week, an honor he also received in 2011. His winning mount for Nations’ Cup and grand prix competition was Chaqui Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide stallion (Chacco-Blue x Quinar Z)

“It was brilliant. Honestly, this is a dream week for me,” Sweetnam acknowledged. “Any week of WEF, if you can win the WEF (Challenge Cup) and the grand prix, it nearly can make a WEF [circuit]. So to win the WEF, the Nations’ Cup, and then the grand prix – it is amazing.”

Remarking on his win on Sunday, Sweetnam stated, “It was a fantastic first round, but then there were 17 in the jump-off, and I was thinking that I had no hope. Chaqui is very good at turns, which he proved, but he is not always the fastest. I was quick, and Chaqui did the turns super. Lucky enough, my time lasted.”

Sweetnam is a fan of Ken Krome’s courses after the success he had throughout the week. The rider noted, “I think all week he did a great job. I was impressed with the WEF starting off, because it was not just a speed class. It was a lot of jumping, but you did not have to run your horse off its feet. Friday night, he only had three double clears, which was a great course. Today, okay there were probably more clears than you would want, but then it was a very good jump-off. That is the way the sport seems to be going. It makes it more exciting, and it makes people want to come watch. It just gets faster and faster. There were a lot of good horses, and it made for a very good class.”

For his second place finish, Swail was also aboard his winning Nations’ Cup mount with the 11-year-old Mexican Sport Horse stallion (Rebozo LS La Silla x Cash) Rubens LS La Silla. Remarking on his round, Swail stated, “I think I felt a little bit the same as Shane when there were 17 clear. My horse is not the fastest horse. He is a big, rangy, slower type. I was thinking, ‘Okay, if we can get into the top four, I am building on what is becoming a very consistent and promising horse.’ I was lucky with a good draw; I was second to last to go. When I was going into the ring, I felt I could beat Shane. The big key for me was I needed six strides from one to two. Unfortunately, I got a slow shot to number one, and I was not able to get it. I was a little bit chasing after that, but how the horse jumped and how he did, I was so pleased with him.”

Wolff’s mount for CSIO week was Casall, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Casall ASK x Capitol I) that she has been partnered with for five years.

“We have just kind of been bringing him up the ranks,” Wolff detailed. “I bought him as a sales horse to maybe do the Junior/Amateurs on, but he ended up just jumping higher and higher. He still has a bright future ahead of him. He is pretty seasoned now, but he has just been phenomenal for me and my career.”

Describing her jump-off round, Wolff added, “Going early on, it is a little hard because I knew I had about 12 other people behind me, including Shane and Conor. But then I saw Kent go, and he made an error and was a little rushed. I just had to go in knowing that I had to go my own speed. I started off with my pace that I wanted. I was able to finish on the same pace, and everything kind of came up naturally. I got a little bit of a lucky rub on the last fence, but he was really good for me.”

For her success this week, Wolff was also presented the Leading Lady Rider Award for week eight, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, Tracy Williams and Bendoctro won the $10,000 Horseware Ireland Don Little Masters Classic. Lucy Deslauriers and Mario Deslauriers’ Curo won the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch.

Victoria Herran and Con-Grande Top Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter 15-17

Victoria Herran and Con-Grande were named champions of the Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter 15-17 division on Sunday morning. Herran piloted her mount to a win over fences, third, fourth, and sixth place finishes over fences, as well as a third place finish under saddle. Herran lives in Miami, FL and commutes to WEF to show on the weekends.

Victoria Herran and Con-Grande

Speaking of her over fences rounds, Herran said, “He felt great. My first round went very well. We had a consistent pace and didn’t chip anywhere. My horse was right on the game. The second round wasn’t our best, but we still did okay. Overall, I’m very happy.”

Con-Grande, an entry owned by CPS Equest, LLC, is a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Conterno Grande.

“I’ve had him for about a year now,” Herran continued. “I love him. He’s a very serious horse; he knows what he has to do, likes to work, and isn’t really the fun and play kind of dude. We’ve been showing in the Children’s Hunters, and next year we’re planning on moving up to the 3’6″ Juniors.”

The division had a three-way-tie for reserve champion with Sophia Soja, Sarah Ekola, and Abigail Tinsley each earning a tricolor ribbon. Soja of Chappaqua, NY piloted Casco De La Vie Z, an entry owned by Jimmy Torano, to a win and a fourth place finish over fences. Abigail Tinsley of Sudbury, MA rode her own Zonder Z Quattro to two second place finishes over fences. Sarah Ekola of Blythewood, SC guided Zanzibar to a win and a fourth place finish over fences.

The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its ninth week of competition on March 8-12, 2017. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Lucy Deslauriers and Hester Win $100k Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic at WEF

Lucy Deslauriers and Hester. Photos © Sportfot.

Eugenio Garza Wins Under 25 Grand Prix; Jimmy Torano Tops 1.45m Jumper Classic; Taegan Long Prevails in Equitation 15-17 3’3″

Wellington, FL – March 4, 2017 – Seventeen-year-old Lucy Deslauriers (USA) topped a line-up that included Olympians and some of the fastest riders in the world on Saturday, March 4, to win week eight’s $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic with Hester at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Course designer Ken Krome (USA) set the track for Saturday night’s 1.50m competition, which featured 49 entries jumping under the lights in the International Arena at PBIEC and yielded a nine-horse jump-off. Seven entries cleared the short course without fault, and it was the youngest of the pack that jumped to victory in the fastest time of 37.06 seconds.

It was the biggest win of a blossoming show jumping career for Deslauriers, who has been extremely successful in Under 25 events throughout North America over the last several seasons. She was aboard Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester, the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker) that she has ridden to success for almost five years.

“It was incredible!” Deslauriers beamed following her victory. “Hester definitely felt the atmosphere tonight, and he really thrives on that sort of situation. He feels a crowd. He knows it is under the lights, and he knew it was time to perform.”

Remarking on the group of riders in the jump-off, Deslauriers admitted, “It was pretty intimidating. I knew there were a bunch of really fast combinations behind me and even that went before me. I am lucky my horse is super quick, and he has a huge stride. I just tried to use that to my advantage and not slow down.”

Deslauriers jumped in two 1.50m events in 2016, but it was her first time competing at that level with Hester in a major night class.

‘It was definitely a step-up,” she said. “It really just felt like a grand prix under the lights. I tried to think about my plan, and not really worry about how big it was, and just ride the best that I could.”

Darragh Kenny (IRL) finished second, riding Kerry Anne LLC’s Bolero III through the timers in 37.28 seconds. Kevin Babington (IRL) placed third aboard veteran partner Mark Q in 37.48 seconds, and Alex Granato (USA) guided Page Tredennick’s Carlchen W to fourth place honors in 37.94 seconds.

Eugenio Garza Wins $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Series Grand Prix

It was a win for Mexico in Saturday’s $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Series Grand Prix at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival, as Eugenio Garza and El Milagro’s Victer Finn DH Z topped a field of 49 starters jumping a course set by Ken Krome (USA).

Seven entries advanced to the jump-off, where only two were able to clear the short course without fault. Garza and Victer Finn DH Z cleared the track in 31.10 seconds. Jennifer Gates (USA) placed second in 33.21 seconds aboard Evergate Stable’s Pumped Up Kicks. Alex Matz (USA) completed the fastest four-fault round in 30.55 seconds to place third riding D. D. Matz’s Cashew CR.

Eugenio Garza and Victer Finn DH Z

Garza (20) was aboard a special horse in the nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Va Vite x Stakkato) Victer Finn DH Z, which he purchased from Belgium’s Jos Verlooy in May of 2016.

“He is actually the son of the first grand prix mare I ever had named Seagull,” Garza stated. “That mare was pretty much the one that got me into riding, but she was plagued with injuries. She never really got to do anything, but her son Victer is an amazing horse. He has so much heart and so many good qualities just like his mother. He is a really special horse for us.”

Speaking of his winning ride on Saturday, Garza detailed, “I was fortunate to go the later side of the jump-off. We knew that there had been a fast clear from Jennifer, so we just tried to be efficient in the turns and everything came up really nicely. I almost did one less (stride) than I was supposed to going to the last jump, but thankfully Victer helped me out there. He tried his heart out today, and I could not be happier with him.”

Remarking on her round with the 14-year-old Brandenburg gelding (Levisto x San Juan) Pumped Up Kicks, Gates noted, “I did this week in preparation for the five-star next week with Kix. After the four-star a few weeks ago, he has had a little bit of a break, which is nice.

“Going into the jump-off, I wanted to try to work on my turns,” Gates explained. “I am usually really slow in jump-offs. I was just glad to have a clear round, and I knew somebody would probably catch me. I was really happy; I feel like I worked on what I wanted to in preparation for next week.”

Third place finisher Alex Matz was aboard Cashew CR, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassini II x Quinar) that he got last summer.

“He is relatively new, and he is just sort of coming into his own right now,” Matz said of his mount. “It has taken a while for us to mesh, but he has tried tremendously every round for me. He has all the ability in the world, and he has been really a great new horse.”

While Matz was competing in only his third Under 25 event, Gates and Garza each have more experience in the series. For Garza, this is his third year competing in the classes and a great opportunity for both horse and rider.

“We really like the series, and the grand prix is a great class for us,” Garza stated. “Even more so this year now that the grand prix are ranking classes [in the U25 Series]. That is unbelievable. Usually at WEF, you go up against not only amazing riders, but the top, best riders in the world. It is really nice for the under 25 riders to be able to get some ranking points, and it is very generous for the sponsors to put that extra money for us.”

Victer Finn DH Z was also presented the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week eight by Laura Fetterman.

The Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, was developed as a bridge to the international level of grand prix competition. The series gives athletes, both human and equine, an opportunity to compete under a myriad of conditions, including jumping on grass, under the lights at night, and in team competition, all important elements that competitors will face as their international careers progress. The series concludes with a $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Final, which the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest on Sunday, April 2.

Jimmy Torano Tops $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m

USA’s Jimmy Torano aboard Missy Clark and North Run’s Betagravin won Saturday’s $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic during week eight at WEF. Forty entries showed, and nine jumped clear over the Ken Krome (USA) designed speed course. Torano and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Quasimodo Z x Grandeville) clocked the winning time of 64.53 seconds.

Markus Beerbaum (GER) set an early pace aboard Michaels and Beerbaum’s Charmed 2 in 67.15 seconds to eventually finish fourth. Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock LLC’s Böckmanns Lazio placed second in 66.61 seconds, and Richie Moloney jumped into third at the end with a time of 66.77 seconds aboard Equinimity LLC’s Ypaja Yando.

Torano began riding Betagravin at the start of the winter and has had numerous wins with the speedy mare, including Friday’s $10,000 Griffis Residential CSIO Speed Stake.

“She really started out great,” the rider noted. “The first class I rode her in she won. That was just a 1.30m class. Then she won a 1.40m. She won yesterday, now again today. She is just a real winner. She is very fast, she has a very big stride, and to win two days in a row is always nice.

“One of the good things about her is that you can go fast with her in every class, and she does not seem to get flat, and she does not seem to care,” Torano continued. “I went pretty much full tilt yesterday, and she came back today and she was still sharp, and she was still trying. She was just as good today, if not better, than she was yesterday.”

Remarking on his winning track, Torano added, “The lines were kind of long and leaving out strides, but her stride is just so big, they actually got a little bit short. I think that is where she is so fast. I cut back right on the double by the in-gate within one stride, and going into the last line, I turned right back on it. I don’t really know her that well; I have not been riding her that long, but I can trust her 100%. So far there is not anything I have asked of her that I feel like she has not done.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Eve Jobs and Charleville were victorious in the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers. The Kate Nash Boone Style Award was also presented to Canada’s Ian Millar.

Taegan Long Prevails in Alessandro Albanese Equitation 15-17 3’3″

Taegan Long of Medford, NJ and Angelique bested a field of 35 competitors to capture the championship ribbon in the Alessandro Albanese Equitation 15-17 3’3″ division on Saturday afternoon. Long piloted her own 2008 mare by Amadehus to first and second place ribbons over fences, as well as third place in the flat phase. The pair also competes in the 3’6″ equitation classes.

Long purchased Angelique while the mare was competing in the Six-Year-Old Jumpers and has spent the last two and half years transitioning her into an equitation horse.

“The transition from the jumpers to the equitation was difficult for her,” Long explained. “She was slow and not very careful in the Six-Year-Old Jumpers. I think she was pushed past her limits doing that division. She wants to perform and do well for you, so when she would have a rail she’d get scared. When she first made the switch to equitation, she was confused as to what was being asked of her.”

Speaking fondly of her mare, Long continued, “She tries her heart out for me and has been so good recently. I’m so proud because she’s come so far with me.”

Christina Rogalny of Wellington, FL and Cool Boy settled for reserve honors, winning an over fences class. Cool Boy, an entry owned by Treesdale Farm, is a 2003 Oldenburg gelding that Rogalny has ridden since the start of 2016.

The eighth week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $216,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4*, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds, in the International Arena. The Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter 15-17 will determine championship and reserve honors in Ring 7. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Hermès US Show Jumping Team Wins Silver Medal at $150,000 FEI Nations Cup

Catherine Tyree and Bokai (Sportfot)

Wellington, Fla. – A young Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team entered the arena full of fire as they kept up with the seasoned Irish team the entire night to earn the Silver medal in the $150,000 FEI Nations Cup™ at CSIO4* Wellington on Friday, March 3. In her Nations Cup debut, Catherine Tyree and mount Bokai gave a remarkable double-clear effort to lead the U.S. team of Georgina Bloomberg, Chloe Reid, and Ali Wolff. The U.S. ended on 13 faults behind Ireland’s Gold medal four-fault finish. Brazil earned the Bronze medal on 16 faults.

“I am thrilled with how my horse went, and I could not ask for more. He has such a great character and such a great mind that I knew once I went into the ring that everything would be okay. I jumped the first jump and it felt like every other class that I have been to so far down here [in Wellington]. I couldn’t be happier,” said Tyree.

The U.S. put in a strong first round, accumulating only five faults. Wolff (New Albany, Ohio) and Casall, Blacklick Bend Farm’s 2005 Holsteiner gelding, led off for the team with a clear jumping effort and just one time fault. Tyree (Chicago, Ill.) and Bokai, Mary Tyree’s 2006 KWPN gelding, followed with their first clear round performance. Reid (Washington, D.C.) and Codarco, Team Reid, LLC’s 2007 Irish Sport Horse stallion, and Bloomberg (New York, N.Y.) and Lilli, Gotham Enterprizes, LLC’s 2004 Deutsches Sportpferd mare each had four faults, allowing for one four-fault drop score. The course determined podium contenders early as the U.S. rested comfortably in third place with an 11-fault lead over Argentina and Great Britain heading into the second round. Ireland and Brazil were tied for first with zero faults.

Wolff and Casall began the second round with eight faults, dropping a rail at jump three, the Hermès oxer, and jump four, the liverpool. However, Tyree and Reid came through with back-to-back clear rounds. With Ireland and Brazil still in position to win, Bloomberg needed to go clear for a possibility of a victory. Unfortunately, the Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist snagged rails at the Hermès oxer and fence eight, the Hollow Creek vertical, for eight faults. Mimicking his performance in last month’s FEI Nations Cup at CSIO4* HITS Ocala, Olympian Cian O’Connor went double-clear to solidify the Gold medal for Ireland.

“We had a young team with great veteran stability. The two veterans [Ali and Georgina] imparted a lot of confidence. With a team, it is not just about what they do on a horse; it is how they interact with one another. Everyone meshed really well together this week,” added Ridland.

Complete Results

By Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department