McLain Ward and Hija van Strokapelleken. Photo © Sportfot.
Wellington, FL – March 8, 2018 – There have been three CSI 5* $132,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cups at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), and 2017 FEI World Cup Finals winner McLain Ward has led the victory gallop at each one. He repeated his WEF 7 win on Thursday, March 8, with Evergate Stable LLC’s Hija van Strokapelleken at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.
Going second to last in the jump-off, Ward and Hija van Strokapelleken, an 11-year-old BWP mare by Calido I x Azur de Paulstra, sped through the track using the mare’s giant stride. Ward planned to do seven strides down the last line, but he had to make a last-minute adjustment to the final fence. They were still able to record the fastest time in the class with a clear round in 39.37 seconds. This was the pair’s second WEF Challenge Cup win this season; Ward also won the class during WEF 5 with HH Azur.
Second place went to the early leaders in the jump-off, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Chaqui Z, who went first and stopped the timers in 40.48 seconds. The WEF 7 five-star grand prix winners, Danielle Goldstein (ISR) and Lizziemary, owned by The Golden Group and Danielle Goldstein, were third in 40.68 seconds.
Rob Carey Pilots First Watch to Perfect Products USHJA Hunter 3’ Championship
Thursday’s competition featured an impressive championship win by Rob Carey, of Bolton, ON, Canada, and First Watch, owned by Barbara Mitchell, in the Perfect Products USHJA Hunter 3’ division. The pair mastered the course set in ring 11 and prevailed with three firsts and a third over fences, with a second in the under saddle.
“He is the nicest hunter I have ever ridden,” said Carey. “Everything about him is absolutely fantastic.”