Alvaro Tejada and Voltaral Palo Blanco. Photos © Sportfot.
Private Life Stands Out for Second Straight Week
Wellington, FL – January 19, 2017 – Week two of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) featured the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 on Thursday, January 19, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. With a California Split to award two winners, Guatemala’s Alvaro Tejada jumped Agroprosa’s Voltaral Palo Blanco to the win in Section A, while Ireland’s Daniel Coyle rode Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita to victory in Section B.
WEF 2 course designer Ana Catalina Harris Cruz (MEX) saw 119 entries jump her first round track for Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup, with 28 horse and rider combinations clear for the jump-off. After three entries opted out, 25 starters returned over the short course, and 20 of those clocked double clear rounds. Tejada and Voltaral Palo Blanco had the fast time in 40.82 seconds to win Section A. Coyle and Cita were close behind in 40.86 seconds to earn the win Section B.
McLain Ward (USA) and Contessina Della Caccia placed second in Section A with their time of 40.94 seconds. Beat Mandli (SUI) and Grant Road Partners’ Zander were third in 41.44 seconds.
Emily Moffitt (GBR) and It’s Real Love vd Smis Z, owned by Poden Farms, finished second in Section B in 41.01 seconds. Laura Chapot (USA) guided Mary Chapot’s ISHD Dual Star to third place honors in 41.47 seconds.
Tejada’s mount, Voltaral Palo Blanco, is a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Voltaire x Contender) that last competed in Wellington two years ago before the pair represented Guatemala at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.
“For me this is very exciting. This is probably one of the biggest wins in my riding career. I am very proud of it because Voltaral Palo Blanco is a homebred mare,” Tejada said of his horse that had 2016 off with an injury. “My grandfather bred her in Guatemala five years ago, before he passed away, so she is a special horse for me. She tries so hard for me, and she would do anything for me.
“I was really quick. I saw Daniel go, and he was super-fast,” said Tejada, who went last in the jump-off. “I thought it was going to be impossible to catch him, but the mare was feeling great. You have to take the opportunity and go for it when the horse is feeling good. I think the difference in time was a millisecond everywhere. I took a risk to the double; I did eight strides because I saw Daniel do that. It was really risky, but I had to do it in order to win.”
Coyle and Cita, a 13-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Pik Ramiro), just joined up this winter and already earned a major victory with their win in week one’s $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix. Now qualified for Saturday night’s grand prix, Coyle feels confident that their partnership is on the right path.
“I think I understand her now and understand the way she likes to go,” he explained. “She does not like to be told off too much. If you can just let her jump the jumps, and steer her to the right place, she is brilliant.”
Describing his jump-off, Coyle noted, “I actually was planning not to go crazy today. I just went forward from the first jump and tried to stay the same pace. I did eight strides to the double, but it wasn’t crazy. She is naturally very quick. I have only ridden her a handful of times and she is brilliant to me, so I have to be very happy. She is a real winner, and I really hope she goes well on Saturday night as well.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, McLain Ward (USA) and Danielle Torano’s Callas III took victory in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m jump-off class.
Private Life Stands Out for Second Straight Week
The championship of Shapley’s Grooming Products Green Conformation Hunter Division went to Scott Stewart, of Wellington, FL, aboard Rivers Edge’s Private Life. Stewart and Private Life were also crowned champions of the division at WEF 1. This week, the pair won the model, the handy, the stake, an over fences class, placed second in another over fences class and third under saddle.
He did well last year and was champion a bunch of times. He won the Future Hunter Classic at Capital Challenge last fall,” said Stewart of the coming six-year-old gelding by Verdi. “He’s really the easiest horse to ride. He’s just very laid back and the same every day.”
Looking forward, Stewart emphasized, “Week Six is our goal.” Week Six is the WCHR World Championship Hunter Week, when hunters take center stage in the International Arena.
Taking the reserve honors was Tamara Provost, of Westfield, IN, and Bridget Hallman’s Salt. They earned third in the model, fourth in the handy, fourth in the stake, second under saddle, and second and fourth over fences. Salt is a seven-year-old grey gelding that Provost started riding last May.
“He doesn’t have a lot of show miles, so I’m just really proud of him,” Provost said of her mount. “He always tries to please.”
The second week of WEF continues on Friday featuring the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m in the International Arena. Also on Friday, the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 50+ Sec. A championship will be decided. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.