Category Archives: Winter Equestrian Festival

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

Ireland Wins $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup for Second Consecutive Year at WEF

Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z. Photos © Sportfot.

Gavin Moylan and String of Pearls Excel in Young Hunter 3’6″ Division

Wellington, FL – March 3, 2017 – The Irish team of Cian O’Connor, Paul O’Shea, Conor Swail, and Shane Sweetnam emerged victorious in Friday night’s $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. The team from USA finished second, and Brazil placed third.

Friday’s Nations’ Cup consisted of two rounds shown over a course set by Ken Krome (USA). Teams of four represented the nations of Great Britain, Canada, Ireland, USA, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela competing in that order, followed by a team of three for El Salvador. After the first round, each team dropped their highest score. In the second round, the top six teams returned in order of highest to lowest total faults. The winner was determined by the lowest total of each team’s top three riders from each round.

Ireland finished round one tied for first place with Brazil on a score of zero. They then completed round two with four faults to take the win. Brazil moved into third place with 16 faults in round two. USA carried five faults from round one, and added eight in round two to secure second place on a 13-point total.

The winning nation was represented by Shane Sweetnam aboard his own and Spy Coast Farm’s Chaqui Z; Paul O’Shea riding Skara Glen, Whipstick, Hurter, and Agnew’s Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu; Conor Swail with Vanessa Mannix’s Rubens LS La Silla; and Cian O’Connor aboard Ronnoco Jump Ltd.’s Seringat, led by Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake.

“I am a very proud Irishman. I am absolutely delighted,” said Blake, who also led the team to victory in Ocala two weeks ago. “We came here to win, and we went to Ocala to win. It is very easy to win with these guys because they are really good. Basically, if you have a bit of a plan and tell them in time where they are going, they are going to turn up. That is what they did on both occasions. People asked why I changed the winning team from Ocala (switching out Kevin Babington and Richie Moloney). I changed because I was looking at Paul and Conor, and I think their form is fantastic. I did not think they were quite ready in time for Ocala, but I knew they would be ready now, and they were fantastic.”

Sweetnam was the team’s first rider in each round on Friday night, earning the drop score of one time fault in round one, and four faults in round two, aboard Chaqui Z. He also rode the 11-year-old Zangersheide stallion (Chacco-Blue x Quinar Z) to victory in Ocala.

Friday night was Sweetnam’s tenth straight year competing on the Irish team in Nations’ Cup at WEF, and he spoke of Blake’s strategy for the team.

“Michael made a good plan and talked to all of the riders that were here in Wellington,” Sweetnam stated. “Obviously Cian and I were lucky enough to be on both teams that won, but Kevin and Richie were also here in the practice ring tonight helping out. The team spirit is fantastic. I have to give it to Michael; it is just amazing.”

O’Shea jumped double clear on Friday night with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Silverstone x Matterhorn), and was happy with his first time on the team in Wellington.

“Nothing really fazes him, so I was not worried,” O’Shea said of his mount. “He has such a good mind. He is a very straightforward horse, very easy, and very adjustable.”

Swail put in a faultless first round and dropped one rail in round two with the 11-year-old Mexican Sport Horse stallion Rubens LS La Silla (Rebozo LS La Silla x Cash). He remarked, “The horse jumped very well tonight. He is a new horse to me this year. He is a wonderful horse and a great prospect for the future, and for the Irish team. Ireland has won here now three times, and thankfully I have been on all three teams. It has been a good record for me. We all mucked in, and dug in the trenches there, and I think we all did a great job tonight.”

O’Connor anchored his team with double clear rounds for the second Nations’ Cup in a row with Seringat, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Chef Rouge x Guillaume Tell).

“He had a rest since Ocala,” the rider noted. “Obviously it is a very different atmosphere here. Ocala was very warm, and it was during the day. I found this a little bit harder because the horse was lit up and on his toes, especially coming down the last line. I had to use all my strength to pull him off the combination, but he is very careful. He knows where his legs are, and he knows to get them out of the way, so I am very happy. It is great to win, and it was a fantastic team effort.”

The home squad for USA included Ali Wolff and Blacklick Bend Farm’s Casall, Catherine Tyree aboard Mary Tyree’s Bokai, Chloe Reid riding Team Reid LLC’s Codarco, and anchor rider Georgina Bloomberg with Gotham Enterprizes LLC’s Lilli, led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.

Tyree jumped double clear in her first-ever senior Nations’ Cup appearance for USA and commented on a great night as well.

“I’m thrilled with how my horse went,” she stated. “He has such a great character and such a great mind. I knew once I went in the ring that everything would be okay. I jumped the first jump, and it felt like every other class that I have done so far down here. I could not be happier.”

Third place finishers for Brazil included Yuri Mansur riding his own and Euro Stables’ Babylotte, Pedro Muylaert aboard Stenio da Silva’s Prince Royal Z MFS, Luiz Francisco de Azevedo with his own Comic, and Eduardo Menezes riding his own and Gestut Lewitz’s Quintol.

Great Britain placed fourth with 28 faults, Canada placed fifth on 36 faults, and Argentina took sixth place with 43 faults.

Also competing in the International Arena on Friday, Jimmy Torano (USA) topped the $10,000 Griffis Residential CSIO Speed Stake riding Missy Clark and North Run’s Betagravin. The class saw 27 entries and 11 clear rounds, with Torano clocking the winning time of 54.90 seconds. Todd Minikus (USA) and Wyndmont’s Zephyr finished second in 56.63 seconds. McLain Ward (USA) and Ali Nilforushan’s Balando placed third in 57.98 seconds.

Ward got a win earlier in the day riding Sagamore Farm’s Calvados in the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m Speed Challenge.

Gavin Moylan and String of Pearls Excel in Young Hunter 3’6″ Division

After winning two over fences classes and the under saddle, Gavin Moylan of Middleburg, VA and String of Pearls were named champion of the Young Hunter 3’6″ division. The pair also earned second and third place ribbons over fences. String of Pearls is owned by Priscilla Denegre, who is the mother of Moylan’s wife, Alden Moylan. Denegre has previously shown the mare in the Adult hunters.

Gavin Moylan and String of Pearls

Of the 2010 Hanoverian by Clinton I, Moylan said, “She’s a mare that I found in Germany as a four-year-old with super breeding. I think it took us about two and a half seconds to decide to buy her when we first saw her. She’s the whole package: a good mover, a really great jumper, and has such a quality mind.”

Moylan started showing String of Pearls at WEF in 2015 and has spent the past two years competing her in the Baby Green and Pre-Green hunter divisions.

“Her owner is not able to come down this season, so I have the ride on her this winter,” Moylan explained. “We decided to move her up to the 3’6″ and now the Young Hunters are being offered, which is a great division for her to show in.”

The pair has found much success in the Young Hunter 3’6″ division, winning the championship at WEF during weeks three and five as well.

Moylan, who spends the rest of year in Middleburg, VA, has been attending WEF for the past five years. “I love it here,” Moylan continued. “The quality of competition makes you want to rise to a higher level every time you’re here.”

Hunter Kay of Charlotte, NC and Bastille, an entry of Eliza Fauntleroy, captured the reserve title. Kay piloted the coming seven-year-old gelding by Catoki’s Cannon to first, second, fourth, and fifth place finishes over fences, and a second place finish under saddle.

Week eight of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Saturday featuring the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic, the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix, and the $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic in the International Arena. The Alessandro Albanese Equitation 15-17 3’3″ division will award championship and reserve honors in Ring 6. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt Capture $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt. Photos © Sportfot.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Top $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic; Scott Stewart Wins Tricolor Ribbon in CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″

Wellington, FL – March 2, 2017 – It was an Irish victory on day two of CSIO 4* competition at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), as Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt captured the win in round eight of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Also competing earlier in the day, McLain Ward (USA) returned to the winner’s circle for week eight with a win aboard HH Carlos Z in the $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic.

This week’s edition of WEF Challenge Cup competition was held as a one-round speed class with 59 entries starting over Ken Krome’s (USA) course with ten clear rounds. Sweetnam, aboard his own and The Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt, clocked the winning time of 69.13 seconds. The pair edged out Todd Minikus (USA) and Wyndmont’s Valinski S, who settled for second place in 69.91 seconds. Reigning World Champions Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED) and SFN Zenith, owned by Springpaarden Fonds Nederland and W. van der Ham, placed third in 71.43 seconds.

“He jumped great today,” Sweetnam said of Cobolt. “Obviously these classes are never easy, so it was great to win it. I was thinking I would get caught because we went in the first half of the class. Normally the second half, towards the end of the class, can get really hot. Leslie (Howard) was pretty quick at the end there, but luckily she knocked a fence.”

Describing his round, Sweetnam stated, “I think the course builder did a good job. There were a lot of numbers, and a couple of rollback turns that you could make up time. In the last line there was a leave-out, which I did take a chance there. That could really help you win or lose a class. I felt the course suited my horse beforehand, and then it did work out well.”

Eleven-year-old Cobolt is a Swedish Warmblood gelding sired by Sweetnam’s winning mount Cyklon 1083 (x Camaro M). Sweetnam admitted that although the gelding has many similarities to Cyklon, it took some time for the partnership to develop.

“He is similar to Cyklon. He looks similar and they have the same sort of attitude,” Sweetnam detailed. “He likes to go fast, and he is naturally quick. Cyklon is still going and I have a very special place for him. He has won everywhere, and I do not think there are many horses as good as Cyklon at what he does, so it is hard to compare them. We judge Cobolt as a different character.

“He is improving. He is getting better and better all the time,” Sweetnam said of the horse that he has only been riding for a year. “Sometimes it is easier to get a younger horse and develop them through because you get to know their buttons earlier. When you get an older horse that has done a bit with another rider, it can be hard to get them into your program. It honestly took me six months to really click with him, but since the start of the summer he has won a lot. Between Kentucky, Toronto, Tryon, and now here, he has had a great year.”

Ward Wins with HH Carlos Z

2016 Olympic team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) returned to the winner’s circle during week eight at the Winter Equestrian Festival with a victory aboard veteran mount HH Carlos Z in Thursday’s $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic. Despite some time off due to an injury sustained in October, the speedy 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire) was in fine form to top a field of 78 competitors.

Ken Krome (USA) set the course, which yielded 17 starters for the jump-off, and another ten clear entries over the short track. Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and G&C Durania K were first to go in the jump-off, setting the pace with a clear round in 40.66 seconds to eventually finish third. Ward and Double H Farm’s pint-sized gelding soon took over the lead in 39.50 seconds. Later, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny jumped into second place with a time of 40.32 seconds riding Kerry Anne LLC’s Bolero III.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z

Following some recuperation for his injury, ‘Carlos’ started out in a few small classes this winter and came out ready to play on Thursday.

“We have just been giving him some time to heal and slowly getting him back,” Ward detailed. “This is the first time I have actually moved him up to a 1.45m event, so it was good.

“Carlos is a funny horse,” Ward continued. “He always feels a little bit like a pony, and then he steps up and does the job. He is just so fast everywhere. He felt like he got a bit stronger through the class today, and that is always a good sign.”

Commenting on his focus while getting Carlos back in top form, Ward added, “Funny enough, he is not a hot horse. He is actually a cold horse, and you have to really energize him. He is so careful, so I just try to keep him confident. He has been such a great speed horse over the years, and he anticipates everything, so you just have to monitor that a little bit.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Katherine Strauss and All In won the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series Welcome, and Christina Firestone (USA) and Arwen were victorious in the $1,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 1.40m.

Scott Stewart Wins Tricolor Ribbon in CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″

Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL and Status, an entry owned by Rivers Edge, earned an impressive total of 40 points in the CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″ division to win the championship title. Stewart piloted the gelding to two wins, as well as second and third place finishes over fences. The pair also won the under saddle.

“He’s really easy and laid back,” Stewart said of the coming six-year-old Oldenburg by Straviaty. “We bought him as a three-year-old. He did well in both the Pre-Green Incentive and Future Hunters class at Capital Challenge last year.”

Week eight is Status’ third show of the 2017 season. The gelding was reserve champion during weeks five and six in the same division.

Katherine Newman of Wellington, FL guided Dandelion, owned by Allwyn Court, Inc., to the reserve tricolor ribbon. The duo won an over fences, placed second in the other three jumping classes, and sixth under saddle. Dandelion is a 2006 Dutch Warmblood Mare by Heartbreaker.

“We imported her as a nine-year-old and took our time getting her in the ring,” Newman explained. “We started showing her in July of last summer in the Baby Greens. She moved up here at the start of circuit. She’s really laid back and is actually a huge tomboy, not mareish at all. She’s very easy and is really fun to ride.”

Newman was a successful junior rider in the equitation and jumper rings. As an aspiring professional, she runs Allwyn Court with her parents, Kathy and Gerry Newman.

Speaking of her winter circuit, Newman said, “I’ve had a great winter circuit here at WEF this year. I’m not as busy as a lot of the other people, but it’s been a really fun year so far!”

Competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival continues in the International Arena on Friday featuring the $10,000 Griffis Residential CSIO Speed Stake during the day and the $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup CSIO 4* in the evening. The Young Hunter 3’6″ division will award championship honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Peter Lutz Opens CSIO 4* with a Win at WEF

Peter Lutz and Cheri de Papignies. Photos © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 1, 2017 – USA’s Peter Lutz opened CSIO 4* competition during week eight of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome riding Cheri de Papignies at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Ken Krome (USA) is the course designer for competition in the International Arena during week eight. Krome set the speed track for 57 starters in the day session of the $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome class with 12 clear rounds. Halfway through the order, Peter Lutz and QBS Equestrian LLC’s Cheri de Papignies set the winning time of 63.02 seconds. Alberto Sanchez-Cozar (MEX) finished second riding his own Wupp to a time of 63.67 seconds. Isabel Roman-Karajan (AUT) guided Elia Roman’s Ratina 193 to third place in 64.62 seconds. Chloe Reid (USA) and Live Oak Plantation LLC’s Donald 550 rounded out the top four in 64.88 seconds.

Class winner Cheri de Papignies is a nine-year-old Belgian Sport horse gelding (Copin van de Broy x Darco) that Lutz and Michael Meller purchased together last fall through Belgium’s Francois Mathy.

“We are really very excited about him,” Lutz stated. “We took him to a few horse shows this fall at indoors. He went to Harrisburg, and then he came down here. He did his first grand prix here out on the derby field two weeks ago with one down. He has also been doing really well in these speed classes. This is his first FEI week with us, and we are so excited. We hope he will be our next grand prix horse.”

Remarking on his winning round, Lutz detailed, “He is a very talented horse. He is very scopey and very fast. He covers a lot of ground. He is a very big horse, so I do not think he appears quick, but he is actually pretty fast. I did eight strides from (jumps) one to two. That was quick, and that is where he can just cover the ground. I also did eight strides after the water. I just tried to stay neat everywhere, and I really galloped to the last jump.”

Cheri will jump again in Saturday’s $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic, while Lutz has other top horses Robin de Ponthual and Retiro that will also share in the competition this week.

Lutz was proud to hear the U.S. anthem played and watch the flag be raised in honor of his win to open international competition this week.

“It is always special to win during CSIO week. It is a big week for the team, and I am so happy to help contribute whenever I can,” Lutz concluded.

A second session of the $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome was also held in the evening under the lights, with a win for Laura Chapot (USA) riding her own and Mary Chapot’s Calafornia.

Also competing in the International Arena on Wednesday, the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m was held in a California Split, with a win for McLain Ward (USA) and Sagamore Farm’s Calvados in Section A, and Laura Chapot (USA) aboard Mary Chapot’s Shooting Star in Section B.

Week eight continues on Thursday with a busy day of competition in the International Arena. The $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic will begin the day, followed by the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8. The $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Welcome will conclude the day with a speed class. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Peter Leone and Wayfarer Top $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* at WEF

Peter Leone and Wayfarer. Photos © Sportfot.

Samuel Parot Wins $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic; Erika Luter Victorious in THIS Children’s Medal 15-17

Wellington, FL – February 26, 2017 – Peter Leone (USA) and Wayfarer concluded week seven of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* on Sunday, February 26, in Wellington, FL. Also competing on Sunday, Samuel Parot (CHI) and Quick du Pottier topped the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.

Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) concluded week seven with 44 entries in the $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Eleven entries qualified for the jump-off, where Olympic silver medalist Peter Leone completed the fastest of seven double clear rounds in 35.49 seconds aboard Lionshare Farm’s Wayfarer.

Jonathon Millar (CAN) and Millar Brooke Farm’s Daveau finished second in 35.63 seconds. Abigail McArdle (USA) placed third riding David McArdle’s Cade in a time of 35.96 seconds.

Wayfarer, an 11-year-old gelding (Languster x Lancer II), was born and raised at Leone’s Lionshare Farm in Greenwich, CT. In 2012, the gelding won the Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Final at WEF and has since developed into a top horse for the rider.

“He is a big-strided horse,” Leone described. “In the jump-off, I tried to take advantage of my horse’s big stride. I kept him a little fresh coming into today. That is when he jumps his best. He really felt in good form.”

Leone continued, “The first round, I only got to watch a little bit because one of the wonderful things, but also challenging things about being at the Winter Equestrian Festival, is that many of us have students that are jumping in other rings. Right after the course walk, I went and put a wonderful rider in the Low Junior Jumpers. Then I came back and watched a couple and did my first round. Then I ran back to go do another great student of mine that went into the lead in the High Children’s Jumpers. Then I came back just in time to jump on and give it a go in the jump-off.”

Commenting on the course, Leone added, “I was glad that Anthony set (the course). It is hard to set a challenging two-star track for 45 horses because you are limited to how big the jumps can be. It is hard to get the right number clear, but I think he set a really good course today and had a good number for the jump-off. I love that that they are having these two-star classes, because I would not have been jumping this week if there was not a two-star along with the five-star. I think it is one of the best things that this show management has done.”

Second place finisher Jonathon Millar was also pleased with the opportunity to jump in the two-star division this week with his young mount Daveau, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Glennridge).

“We bought him as a seven-year-old,” Millar detailed. “He is a quick horse. For being a big horse, he is pretty handy. He is very smooth, and I think that is what makes him quite quick. Plus, he is smart. If I ask him to turn, or I ask him to go on an angle, he knows where we are going.

“I am taking advantage of the two-star classes with him this year just to develop him and give him this experience and every week try to be a little faster,” Millar added. “He was fifth two weeks ago in the two-star grand prix as well. He has had a great winter here. He is just a fun horse to ride, and he is a real competitor. I am looking forward to a bright future with him.”

McArdle was aboard a veteran mount in her horse Cade, a 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Heartbreaker x Darco) that she has owned for five years.

“We retired him last year, and then we brought him back this year,” McArdle noted. “He had a little over a year off. Our philosophy is if they are sound, they keep going. There is nothing like nature and time that gives a horse its way back into the ring.

“This format has been great,” she said of the two-star division. “I have been kind of easing him in to see what he is ready to go back and do again. It is special because this is the only horse I have that is not a sales horse; it is mine. I finally have one of my own back to do the big classes, and he is incredible.”

Samuel Parot Wins Suncast® 1.50m

Sunday’s $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic featured 50 starters over another Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) designed course, with a ten-horse jump-off. Chile’s Samuel Parot raced through the short course in 38 seconds flat for the win aboard his own Quick du Pottier.

Canada’s Tiffany Foster jumped into second place riding Artisan Farms’ Brighton in 38.96 seconds. McLain Ward (USA) rode his own and Susan Heller’s Tina la Boheme to the third place time of 39.02 seconds. New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley took both fourth and fifth place honors, crossing the timers in 40.12 seconds riding the Sky Group’s Casper, and 40.50 seconds with the Sky Group’s Barnetta.

Samuel Parot and Quick du Pottier

Parot and his 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Hurlevent De Breka x Cuba) have been partnered since 2014 and share a mutual appreciation for speed.

“This horse is really fast. He jumped a very good first round, and in the jump-off I tried to win,” Parot stated. “I went very fast, and I took a lot of risk at the last jump. He is very careful. He jumps a lot of clear rounds, and he did not touch anything today.”

Parot continued, “He won a few classes last season, and it feels very good to be having such a great circuit. For him to make the jump-off is not difficult. He is always very fast.”

While Quick du Pottier’s ability and enthusiasm make him a winning horse in the show ring, the gelding needs to be well-managed at home and in the warm-up ring.

“He is very hot,” Parot explained. “I do not jump him much at home, and it is not possible to jump him here in the warm-up. I do one jump and then go. He is a really special horse.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, Emma Kurtz and Chagrin Saddlery’s Carisma topped the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic.

Erika Luter Victorious in THIS Children’s Medal 15-17

A field of 31 riders competed for the top honors in the THIS Children’s Medal 15-17 on Sunday morning, but it was Erika Luter of Palm Beach, FL who rode her own Cris Van De Helle to the win. The medal consisted of a first round and a final test that brought back the top four riders in reverse order. The test consisted of a hand gallop, which proved to be the most difficult portion of the test, a halt, a counter canter, and a rollback to an in-and-out.

Speaking of her test and first round, Luter said, “I haven’t really practiced that many hand gallop jumps, so that part was a little risky. I was nervous about it, but he took care of me there and the rest went really well! The first round course was nice. The bending line was a long seven strides, which was challenging, but once I got my pace going it ended up really nicely.”

Luter purchased the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Cristo two months ago and recently started showing him in the 3’6″ equitation classes.

“He’s one of the best horses I’ve ever had,” Luter explained. “He makes my job very easy and is so loveable and kind. I just started competing in the big equitation classes, so my main goal for the winter circuit is to be successful and consistent in those rounds.”

Melanie Dunton of Warrington, PA and her own Antero moved up from the fourth place position after the test to finish in second place. Antero is a 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Abke. The third place ribbon went to Samantha Weinerman of Chester, NJ and her own Encantada. Weinerman also shows her eight-year-old mare in the Children’s Hunter 15-17 division. Hailey Link, of Irvine, CA and her Barolo W placed fourth.

The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its eighth week of competition on March 1-5, 2017. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

McLain Ward and HH Azur Repeat Victory in $380,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI 5* at WEF

McLain Ward and HH Azur. Photos © Sportfot.

Augusta Iwasaki Wins THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under

Wellington, FL – February 25, 2017 – Two-time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) and superstar mare HH Azur jumped to victory in the $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5* for the second year in a row on Saturday night at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Rounding out an all-star line-up, Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 finished second, and Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) and Arrayan placed third.

Thirty-nine entries started over course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) first round track on Saturday night, with 12 combinations qualifying for the jump-off. The race over the short course was a showdown of epic proportions, with an impressive roster including eight Olympians, three of the top-ten ranked riders in the world, and an Olympic champion going head-to-head riding their best horses.

Ward, riding Double H Farm’s and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur, jumped the winning round in 39.70 seconds. Lamaze, aboard Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Fine Lady 5, stopped the clock in 40.07 seconds. Alvarez Moya and Alvarez Moya Horses SL’s Arrayan placed third in 40.10 seconds.

“I am thrilled with the mare,” Ward said of his 2016 Olympic silver medalist mount, an 11-year-old Belgian Sport Horse (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui). “This is her first big start of the year. We gave her a little bit of a rest with the World Cup Finals in Omaha in mind. We have planned only two major weeks for her here.

“For myself, I have to say I was probably a bit motivated tonight,” Ward continued. “I have been on a little bit of a four-fault run and getting a little frustrated. Eric has been winning everything. Sometimes Eric says I have a look; I think I had it tonight. I wanted it a little bit.”

Commenting on the short course, Ward noted, “I thought it was quite a well-balanced jump-off. Eric and I have very different horses, and there were pros to the jump-off for both horses. There were long gallops at the beginning and the end, which were not that hard with my mare’s stride, and her bravery, and scope. For me, those hairpin rollback turns in the middle were much more of a concern, because with a big horse like mine I knew I was going to lose momentum. It was a fraction between us. I had a little bit of a lucky rub on the second to last fence, but I have been having some unlucky ones lately, so I’ll take it.”

Lamaze, who was the 2008 Olympic Champion, was aboard Fine Lady 5, the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) that he rode to an individual Olympic bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. The pair has already won big this winter, taking victory in week four’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3*, as well as week five’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5.

Remarking on his night, Lamaze stated, “She has really jumped fantastic every time out. It was like she gave me all of the effort that she could. McLain was just that much better today. You might say he was lucky, but there was nothing lucky about the round that he had.”

Detailing the differences, Lamaze explained, “From jumps one to two, McLain already did seven strides, which I did eight. Then he did a nice seven (strides), and (then) I believe eight, which for me was really not possible. She does not have the biggest stride. She is very quick across the ground, but I knew that eight was not possible. I tried to be as quick as I could on the rollbacks, but they came a little backwards for me actually. Then I did my best coming home. I think that is where he got me.”

Finishing third, Alvarez Moya brought his 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Baloubet du Rouet x Grannus) Arrayan to Wellington this winter as he prepares for the FEI World Cup Finals in five weeks. Alvarez Moya showed in Wellington eight years ago, but decided to return to the event this season to stay on the top of his game competing against many of the best in the world.

“There are great competitors here,” Alvarez Moya noted. “We have Sunshine Tour in Spain that is not that far from my place, but it is a completely different level. Here is a bit more real competition. You have to go against these guys, and you have to try hard to do well in the grand prix.”

Alvarez Moya, who also jumped in last summer’s Rio Olympic Games with top mount Carlo 273, purchased Arrayan ten months ago. The Spanish Champion built the gelding up from the two-star classes and was pleased with their night.

“I was super happy when I finished the jump-off today; the way I could ride in the jump-off,” Alvarez Moya stated. “The turns suited me quite well. The left side is not very good; he gets very strong. I was really happy the way that he went.

“He was really strong when I first got him,” Alvarez Moya added. “I actually did not take him to a show for a few months because I could hardly ride him. He has gotten better and better. He does not have all of the experience, but he tries. He wants to jump clear.”

Concluding the night, Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo remarked, “First and foremost, I want to thank the riders. That was a great show this evening. The crowd was about as good as we have had here. I think we have created a culture in Wellington that understands and appreciates show jumping. To get 12 straight weeks of pretty much packed houses is a great testament to the sport and the athletes that are here. I am very excited about that. I want to thank Tom Tisbo and the Tisbo family for the Suncast sponsorship, and thank you to Rolex. This circuit changed greatly when Rolex came into the picture, and WEF continues to showcase the best in the sport. We have just seen some great show jumping.”

Cian O’Connor (IRL) jumped into fourth place in 40.21 seconds with Adena Springs and Ronocco Jump Ltd.’s Good Luck. World number-one Daniel Deusser (GER) placed fifth with Stephex Stables’ Cornet D’Amour in 41.05 seconds. Kevin Babington (IRL) and Shorapur placed sixth in 41.37 seconds, and 18-year-old Emily Moffit (GBR) guided Poden Farms’ Hilfiger van de Olmenhoeve to a seventh place finish in 45.87 seconds.

Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Kelsey Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm’s Everything were the winners of the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers. Emily Perez and Paola 233 won the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch.

Augusta Iwasaki Wins THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under

August Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA won the THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under on Saturday morning. The medal consisted of a first round and a final test that brought back the top four riders in reverse order. The test included a halt, counter-cantering a fence, and several changes of lead. The field of 34 riders was competitive as the cut off score for the test was an 85.

August Iwasaki and Small Advantage

Small Advantage, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Argentina owned by Iwasaki & Reilly, is a new mount for Iwasaki, who started riding him at the end of November. Prior to being shown in the equitation classes, the gelding competed in the 1.40m jumpers. Iwasaki and her mount were sitting in third place after the first round but moved up following her test to take the win.

“Part of the test was to canter down the quarter line and do three changes of the lead,” Iwasaki explained. “My horse is good at lead changes, but he likes to have a rail to bounce over and because there are obviously no rails on the ground in the class, I chose to do simple changes. Simple changes are easier anyway. He felt really good over the jumps. Sometimes he gets a little strong, but he’s new to things and just figuring it out.”

Devon Thomas of Millburn, NJ and her own Cordino finished in second, moving up from the fourth place position after the test. Thomas started competing the coming 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Corrado I in May 2016 and also shows him in the 3’6″ equitation classes. In third were Ava Ellis of Annapolis, MD and Campreoll, an entry of Missy Clark & North Run. Fourth place went to Tessa P. Brown riding Katie Strandberg’s Sephora.

The seventh week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic and $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* in the International Arena. The THIS Children’s Medal 15-17 will also decide a winner. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.