Ireland’s Conor O’Regan has been producing Mendini DR since the mare’s six-year-old year. The now 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Hunter’s Scendix x Cassini I) carried O’Regan to victory in the $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Classic, the opening event of the 2023 1.50m Championship Jumper Series at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Mendini DR, owned by Erin and Jimmy Walker’s Dynomite Ranch, had a deep cheering section on Saturday afternoon as she raced to the finish line in 41.185 seconds with a second to spare over runner-up Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) riding Condara for owner Victoria Heurtematte. They stopped clock at 40.477 seconds.
Of the 28 horses that started the class, five advanced to the tie-breaking jump-off over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA).
“I’ve produced this horse and we are still in a building stage with her, so to get the win today is a bonus,” said O’Regan. “She’s always had a good brain, but her style is quite unique. The biggest thing with her was just to take my time and make sure she is comfortable jumping bigger. I think she proved that she can today.”
The Boys Are Back: Men’s Team Wins Battle of the Sexes
The first “Saturday Night Lights” event of 2023 started off with a bang, bringing in huge crowds and tremendous fun on January 7 with the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center. This crowd favorite event highlighted Premiere Week of the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), which runs for 13 weeks through April 2. The men’s team broke an 11-year winning streak for the women in the 14-year history of the event.
The women’s team for Battle of the Sexes consisted of team captain Nicole Jayne, Kelly Soleau-Millar, Heather Caristo-Williams, Delaney Flynn, Samantha Mackenzie, Mia Mannis, Abigail McArdle, Catherine Pasmore, Alexis Sokolov, and Ally Worthington.
The men’s team, led by captain Charlie Jayne, also included Christian Coyle, Daniel Coyle, Jordan Coyle, Alex Granato, Luis Larrazabal, Tony Stormanns, Sohnke Theymann, Michael Tokaruk, and Simon McCarthy.
The Battle of the Sexes consists of three phases, with the first being a Table C faults-converted speed course where the riders go to head-to-head over the same course, and the one with the fastest time gains a point for their team. Following the first phase, the men’s team had a commanding lead at nine to one.
In the second phase, each team had three relay groups, where a trio of riders each did a section of the course. The women’s team fought back in the second phase closing the gap by ten points.
The final phase was a match race where riders competed at the same time over a course that mirrored itself in the ring. Scores started at 11 to 14 with the men still leading, but by the penultimate match they were neck and neck. Christian Coyle brought back hope to the men’s team by overtaking Nicole Jayne in their match race with only one match remaining.
“Going into the match race, I wanted to try and be as slick and neat as possible because my horse is naturally fast,” said Christian Coyle. “I saw after number three that Nicole was still close and then going to the skinny, I thought she was a little ahead, so I took a risk to the second-to-last and it paid off. Then I could be a little cautious and make sure I left the last up. It’s a great class. There was brilliant atmosphere here tonight and it is good fun for everyone.”
Wellington, FL – January 8, 2022 – The first “Saturday Night Lights” event of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival kicked off on January 8 with the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center. The women’s team won for the 11th time in the 13-year history, and the class made its return after a hiatus in 2021.
The women’s team for Battle of the Sexes consisted of team captain Kelly Soleau-Millar, Hayley Iannotti, Taylor Land, Caelinn Leahy, Samantha Mackenzie, Mia Mannis, Abigail McArdle, Jacqueline Steffens, Anna Wilks, and Heather Caristo-Williams.
The men’s team, led by captain Charlie Jayne, also included David Blake, Christian Coyle, Daniel Coyle, Jordan Coyle, Luis Larrazabal, Simon McCarthy, Samuel Parot Jr., Michael Tokaruk, and Hardin Towell.
WEF First Timer Richard Vogel Makes His Debut a Winning One
The CaptiveOne Advisors Championship series kicked off on Saturday as well. Germany’s young talent, Richard Vogel, and his horse Darius de Kezeg Z sped to the win in the $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Championship Jumper Classic. In a field of 26 riders, Vogel was one of 12 who jumped clear over Eric Hasbrouck’s (USA) delicate first track.
In the jump-off, Vogel’s blistering pace could not be beat as he crossed the timers in 33.011 seconds. Right behind him was Vanessa Hood (USA) who finished the short course in 33.392 seconds with Take Two LLC’s Cascalretto. Grant Seger (USA), who won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m class earlier in the week, jumped to third place with Plot Z owned by Grey Fox Crossing in 33.707 seconds.
Not only are Vogel and his horse Darius de Kezeg Z making their WEF debut this year, it is also their first time ever competing in the United States. Vogel, who is based in Germany, is delighted by what he’s seen so far at WEF.
Hayley Hewitt Holds Top Spot in THIS National Children’s Medal 14 & Under
Saturday in the FarmVet Ring 7 began with 25 horse and rider pairs vying for a top spot in the THIS National Children’s Medal 14 & Under. The course required riders to be deliberate in setting their pace, finding their line, and sticking to a plan.
Less than half of the entries had scores 80 or above and of those, only five were called back to test with only three points separating the first from the fifth spot.
After a challenging work-off which included a halt mid-line, counter canter, and trot jump, Hayley Hewitt and Harper Phipps remained unchanged in their positions securing the first and second place finishes, respectively.
Wellington, FL – January 11, 2020 – The first “Saturday Night Lights” of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) featured the crowd-favorite $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, which saw the Men’s team return to the top of the podium.
After unseating the women, who were the 2019 victors, the men’s team is picking up momentum in the Battle of the Sexes with their second win in the class in three years. The men pocketed their first-ever victory in 2018, and on Saturday night, in the second-to-last match race, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle sealed a win for his team with a final score of 29 to the women’s 23.
“The one thing that you get in these classes that you don’t always get in other classes is the crowd really enjoys it because it’s very easy for them to understand: the girl beats the guy, and that’s who wins it,” said Coyle of what he enjoys about the Battle of the Sexes.
Adrienne Sternlicht Storms to Victory in $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic
Adrienne Sternlicht is kicking off her WEF season with a bang by earning a 1.45m win earlier in the week and again leading the victory gallop in the $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic on Saturday riding Cadans Z, owned by her own Starlight Farms 1 LLC.
From a field of 31, 10 horses advanced to an Eric Hasbrouck-designed jump-off track where Sternlicht stopped the clock in an uncatchable 36.769 seconds over her trainer and two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward. He and Heavenly W, owned by Portfolio Horses LLC, stopped the clock double clear in 38.026 seconds.
“At the end of last year, McLain was riding [Cadans Z], and this is my first week back on her. She’s a great mare, has a lot of quality, and today I was able to get out of her way,” said Sternlicht of her one-year history with the 10-year-old Zangersheide mare (Carosso VDL x Navarone). “She has not been the easiest horse for me to figure out. Having the experience of watching McLain ride any horse, especially one that you’ve been working with, is always incredibly educational.”
Stella Propp and Ellie Ferrigno Ride Inquisitive to Championship in the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters
Saturday morning in the Rost Arena began with Stella Propp riding Inquisitive to the Small Junior 16-17 Hunter championship. Ellie Ferrigno, from Newtown, CT, had the ride for the first day of the division, earning two first places. On the second day, Propp, of New York, NY, took over and earned a fourth and fifth. Together, the two riders were able to pilot Inquisitive, owned by Aquitaine Equine, to the tri-color ribbon.
While Propp had to attend school on the first day of the Small Junior Hunter division, she was lucky enough to have Ferrigno step in.
“I have Ellie to thank for this weekend,” said Propp. “She is amazing and always there when we need her!”
Wellington, FL – January 12, 2019 – After suffering their first loss in 10 years in 2018, the women’s team stormed back to dominate the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center in 2019 by winning 29 points to the men’s team’s 11 total points. The competition ended after just five of the 10 match races completed when it was clear the men couldn’t garner enough points to take victory.
In the opening speed round, the women and men tied with five points each. The fastest speed round of the night went to Jessica Mendoza (GBR), who recorded a time of 51.258 seconds to win her round over Daniel Coyle (IRL).
The women took over in the second phase, the relay. They won all three relays, picking up 15 points to increase their total to 20 points, while the men remained on five points. While the men showed an early glimmer by winning the first two match races with David Blake (IRL) and Andrew Bourns (IRL), three subsequent victories by Carly Anthony (USA), KC Van Aarem (USA), and Sydney Shulman (USA) sealed the overall win for the women.
Adrienne Sternlicht Takes Top Prize in $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Classic
Out of a field of 29 entries, Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) stood at the top after a fast jump-off round in 37.178 seconds riding Just A Gamble. Eleven advanced to the jump-off over a course set by Eric Hasbrouck of the United States. Coming in second place was Mario Deslauriers (CAN) on Amsterdam 27 in 37.202 seconds, while Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Aristoteles V took third place with a time of 37.748 seconds.
This was the first week of competition for Sternlicht and her new horse, Just A Gamble, who arrived in Florida in December, and they have since spent time getting to know each other.
“[It] was really not doing too much flatwork because she’s super hot,” said Sternlicht of the 10-year-old BWP mare by Toulon x Corofino. “We’ve put her on what we call the ‘Rothchild Program,’ which is a lot of walk/trot work, a lot of trail riding, trying to get her to settle a bit. It’s almost better if she’s more unfit than fit. Even with her build and technique, she’s a powerhouse behind; she has all the scope in the world. It’s about keeping her mentally calm.”
Maggie Hill and O’Ryan Sweep the Small Junior Hunters 3’6 16-17 to Win First Championship of WEF
The Small Junior Hunters 3’6 16-17 riders returned to Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Saturday to contend for the championship title of Week 1. After two firsts, a second, and a fifth over fences along with another second under saddle, Maggie Hill of Jackson, WY took home the tricolor ribbon. Hill piloted Stella Styslinger’s O’Ryan, a 17-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding, to consistent top placings with two firsts, two seconds, and a fifth.
She and O’Ryan have been successful partners for the past two years under the careful tutelage of three-time USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship winner Liza Boyd. The pair has been successful with their junior hunter endeavors, but Hill hopes to compete the veteran hunter in several derbies throughout the rest of the season.
Wellington, FL – January 13, 2018 – On the opening “Saturday Night Lights” and in the 10th annual Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, the men’s team was victorious for the first time in the history of the class. The event is one of the most popular events at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
Teams of ten men and ten women battled it out for this year’s Battle of the Sexes title, with team captains Charlie Jayne and Nicole Bellissimo at the helm. Bellissimo led Heather Caristo-Williams, Amanda Derbyshire, Maggie Jayne, Caelinn Leahy, Abigail McArdle, Chelsea Sundius, Annabella Sanchez, Sydney Shulman, and Alexandra Welles on her team.
Jayne’s team included David Blake, Andrew Bourns, Jordan Coyle, Alex Granato, William Hickey, Darragh Kenny, Luis Larrazabal, Spencer Smith, and Michael Tokaruk.
The contest was held in three phases, consisting of a faults converted speed round, a relay race, and a match race. The men and women were pitted against each other in each phase over courses set by Eric Hasbrouck (USA).
In round one, it was a tie with both teams scoring five points. Ireland’s Jordan Coyle had the fastest time of 49.21 seconds.
Minikus Goes for Gumption in Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
Out of 20 entries in the 1.50m Classic, five went clear over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA), and three of those were double clear. Taking the win in a time of 36.676 seconds was Todd Minikus (USA) on Carlo, a 2006 Holsteiner gelding by Casall x Landlord owned by North Face Farm.
Tina Allen Claims Blue Ribbon Aboard Two Mounts in Osphos® Amateur Owner 3’3” 36 & Over
Saturday’s third class of the day came to a close with Tina Allen, from New Canaan, CT, taking first place honors in both Osphos® Amateur Owner 3’3” 36 & Over jumping classes. Allen claimed the first blue aboard her 7-year-old Westphalian mount, Sinatra, and rode Galaxy, her 12-year-old partner of six years, to victory in the second round over fences.
“I’m thrilled about it,” said Allen. “I made a mistake on each horse in both classes, but I am very happy to come out on top.”
Having recently purchased Sinatra here in Wellington, FL, Allen praised her new grey gelding on his performance.
“This is my third show on him in the 3’3”,” said Allen. “I am ecstatic with him. He is so fun to ride and has a huge stride. He gives you confidence when you go in the ring even though he is so young.”
Heather Caristo-Williams and Wistful during their speed round. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Wellington, FL – January 16, 2016 – Men and Women were pitted against each other for the eighth annual $75,000 Battle of the Sexes in front of a crowd of more than 5,000 spectators during the first “Saturday Night Lights” of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). After three rounds of competition that ended in a duel between the final two riders, the women broke the tie that ended the 2015 battle to come out on top this year.
The first week of WEF will conclude Sunday, January 17, with the $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix at 2 pm. WEF, which kicked off on Wednesday, continues through April 3 and awards $9 million in prize money.
Candice King led the women’s team as captain alongside fellow riders Nicole Bellissimo, Heather Caristo-Williams, Tori Colvin, Amanda Derbyshire, Margie Engle, Abigail McArdle, Catherine Pasmore, Alison Robitaille and Denise Wilson. The men were captained by Charlie Jayne and their team included David Blake, Daniel Bluman, Eugenio Garza, Alex Granato, Andy Kocher, Adam Prudent, Andrew Ramsay, Michael Tokaruk and Daniel Zetterman.
The two teams competed over three phases including a speed course, relay and match race, all set by U.S. Course Designer Eric Hasbrouck. In the speed round, the women established an early lead with a seven to three score. The men, however, answered in the relay and jumped ahead 13 to 12.
The match race determined the final standings with one member of each team jumping identical courses at the same time on opposite sides of the International Arena. The men won the first four rounds worth three points apiece before Pasmore and Catara 4 put the women on the board by toping Granato in the fifth race. She gained the momentum her team needed to make a comeback, and the women crossed the timers first in the next four races.
McArdle beat Prudent in the second-to-last race to set the stage for a head-to-head battle between captains King aboard Hoover and Jayne on Endy in the final race.
King had an early rail, but Jayne suffered a refusal soon after to open the door for her to cruise through the final timers ahead. The final score stood at 30 to 25 for the women, a team that was made up by 10 female riders, but also six mares.
McArdle was ecstatic to help her team secure the win in her second year competing in the Battle of the Sexes.
“I kept looking over knowing I had to do eight strides and get off the ground,” she said of her match race performance. “It was a fantastic feeling and so fun to have someone riding right next to you – it really puts on the pressure.”
For King, she enjoyed seeing a packed house at PBIEC Saturday night.
“The crowd understands men versus women, so they get behind us and our horses. When these horses hear the cheers, they know it’s game on,” she said. “It’s a great way to start the season, and we all look forward to it every year.”
King also acknowledged that, while the competition is exciting, she thinks the Battle of the Sexes is an opportunity to showcase show jumping to a new audience.
“We want to promote our sport and this introduces the local community to what we do and gets them to come back again,” she said. “For me, it’s not just about having fun; it’s about educating the public and getting them to have fun and grow this sport. We have to thank Equestrian Sport Productions because they have done a great job at encouraging that growth.”
Alberto Michan Wins $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Classic
After only ten days in the irons of 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Warrant, Mexico’s Alberto Michan topped 19 pairs to win the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Classic Saturday afternoon. Michan recently took over the reins for owner Ilan Ferder Stables and will pilot Warrant throughout WEF.
Seven horses advanced to the second round where five produced double-clear efforts. Heather Caristo-Williams (USA) and Qui Vive Des Songes Z posted an immediate clear in 38.72 seconds. Two trips later, Michan beat her by nearly three seconds and put down the unbeatable time in 35.86 seconds. Paris Sellon (USA) returned sixth and did her best to catch Michan, but was fractions too slow for second place aboard her own Adare in 35.93 seconds. Caristo-Williams settled for third for Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo.
Abdel Said (BEL) and Luron S Z Abdel jumped to fourth for AS Sport Horses & Philippe De Balanda BVBA, while Doda De Miranda (BRA) capped the top five on AD Cornetto K for A.A. De Miranda Neto & Victory Equestrian Sport BV.
In general, Michan admits the first week of WEF could not have gone better for Ilan Ferder Stables.
“We had the best week we could ever dream of – all clear rounds all week long. Then to win the big class we planned to do; it’s fantastic,” he said. “I have a great team and a set of horses who I think can jump anywhere in the world. I am very excited for this year, and I hope it keeps going like this.”
After a short introduction, Michan has already formed a bond with Warrant.
“I think he was happy with me. I felt him really listening and trying for me,” he said. “He has a great mind and all the scope to turn tight to a fence and jump from wherever he stands.”
Michan and Ilan Ferder Stables will take a break during Week 2 and will compete again during the Adequan® CSI 3*, which kicks off on January 27.
“There are many big classes here, so it’s a good thing I have three nice horses to jump the grand prix (classes) with. We don’t want to burn them,” said Michan who will also ride aboard Ferder’s Czardas Z and Baronez throughout WEF.
Winners in the International Arena also included amateur-owner and junior riders on Saturday. Emanuel Andrade and Walter 61 topped 41 contenders to win the $15,000 SJHOF MAYBACH – ICONS OF LUXURY High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Emma Heise and Quentucky Jolly took first in the $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper class, and Eve Jobs aboard Quickley 3 were victorious in the $1,500 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper class.
Stella Styslinger and O’Ryan Top the Field in EnTrust Capital Small Junior Hunters 16-17
The EnTrust Capital Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division finished today, and a new combination took the championship. Sixteen-year-old Stella Styslinger of Birmingham, AL and O’Ryan won the top tricolor after winning two over fences classes, adding fourth and fifth place ribbons, and placing second in the under saddle.
Styslinger is still getting to know O’Ryan as their partnership just formed two weeks ago. “This is my first horse show with him,” she said with a smile. “I have two large juniors. He rides pretty similar to them. I’ve had [that horse] for a bit longer, so it’s helped me ride [O’Ryan] better. He almost rides like an equitation horse, but he jumps and moves well enough for the hunters. He’s so easy and is as quiet as he can be. He’s easy to deal with.”
While she is still learning about him and his quirks – “He likes to be by himself and do his own thing. We give him treats, but he likes to be alone,” she described – Styslinger is excited about the great start to her second year at WEF.
“It feels like it’s going to be a great season down here. I’m excited,” she said.
The first week of WEF will come to a close on Sunday with the $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix, held in the International Arena, as well as hunter action including the Karina Brez Amateur-Owner Over 35 3’3″ Hunters.
For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL – December 22, 2015 – The 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is quickly approaching, and Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) is gearing up for the first “Saturday Night Lights” event at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, a fan favorite that pits teams of men and women against each other in fierce competition, will be the feature event on Saturday, January 16, during the first week of WEF competition. Held each winter in Wellington, FL, WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition from January 13 through April 3, awarding more than $9 million in prize money.
The Battle of the Sexes is entertaining for riders and spectators alike. This year the format has been changed for the three-phase contest. The phases now include a faults converted speed round, team relay races, and match races.
“The Battle of the Sexes is always a fun event for everyone and we thought that after eight years, it would be more interesting to change things up and make it even more exciting for the spectators to watch,” said ESP President Michael Stone.
As always, teams made up of 10 men and 10 women will battle it out for the winning title, each led by a team captain. The women won the competition six years in a row before settling for a tie in 2015. This year they are out for redemption.
Women’s team captain Candice King related, “The Battle of the Sexes is a really fun way to start out the WEF circuit. There is always a big, engaged crowd cheering us on. The new format for this year will make it more exciting and keep everyone on their toes. We can’t wait to show the boys how it’s done again!”
Any riders interested in participating in this year’s Battle of the Sexes can contact Catie Boone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss the first “Saturday Night Lights” event of the season, one that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat as you cheer for pink or blue!
Please visit www.pbiec.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information on the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Fernando Cardenas and Quincy Car Win $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic; Ali Tritschler and Exclusive Take Home Championship Honors in the EnTrust Capital Small Junior Hunters 16-17
Wellington, FL – January 10, 2015 – Nearly 4,000 spectators packed the house at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Saturday night to watch the men and women duel for bragging rights as the winners of this year’s edition of the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival. The women had won the competition for six consecutive years up to this point, but settled for a tie in the end after several demanding rounds of competition and a lot of exciting action.
Week one of the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday, January 11, with the $30,000 WEF 1 Grand Prix. Held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 29, awarding over $8.2 million in prize money.
Eric Hasbrouck is the course designer in the International Arena at PBIEC for week one competition and set the tracks for Saturday’s classes. In the highlight $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, the three-phase contest included speed rounds, match races, and a six-bar competition.
The women’s team was captained by Candice King and also included riders Erynn Ballard, Nicole Bellissimo, Amanda Derbyshire, Margie Engle, Abigail McArdle, Catherine Pasmore, Alison Robitaille, Debbie Stephens, and Kelsey Thatcher.
Charlie Jayne led the men’s team, which included riders David Beisel, David Blake, Daniel Bluman, Mark Bluman, Alex Granato, Angel Karolyi, Darragh Kenny, Samuel Parot, and Andrew Ramsay.
The first round of competition was the speed round, with a six to four win for the men. The match races followed, with the men and women competing side by side over identical courses and the faster rider winning a point for their team. The men were victorious again with a win, 6 points to 4, bringing the total to 12 to 8.
The final six-bar competition was the deciding factor of the evening. Four men and four women returned from each team with the opportunity to earn two points per clear round. The competition started at 1.60m (5’3″) in height with two clear rounds for the women and three clear rounds for the men, taking the tally up to 12 and 18. A second round was held with the final jump at 1.70m, where the women’s Alison Robitaille was the only rider to jump a clear round, taking her team’s score up to 14 versus the men’s 18.
Robitaille and her mount Cassinja then went on to jump two more clear rounds to help their team earn additional points. The pair easily cleared a four bar set up to 1.75m (5’7″) and then jumped one more clear round with the final fence at 1.80m (5’9″) to tie it up, 18-18.
A final tie-breaking round was held with one man and one woman from each team returning to jump the four bar one more time with the final jump set at a staggering 1.85m (6′). Alex Granato went first for the men riding Mullaghdrin Rado and Candice King returned for her team aboard Bugatti VDL, but both pairs had the top rail down at the final jump. The team captains conferred, and decided to remain tied and save their horses for another day.
Although both teams wanted to win, the riders were happy with their horses in the evening and agreed that the competition was a lot of fun. Alison Robitaille was competing in the class for the first time with her horse Cassinja and never thought she would end up jumping so many rounds for her team.
“I am really happy with my horse,” Robitaille stated. “She is my grand prix horse, but I don’t think that she has ever jumped that high. She has jumped one or two 1.60m rounds. She is just turning ten and she did a couple of bigger classes down here last year and then I broke my shoulder, so she had an easy rest of the year. I got her back in a couple of grand prix classes at the end of the year, but nothing of this caliber.”
“I was definitely not expecting to jump that many rounds. I thought we would do maybe two or three rounds and see how things went, but she felt great and she was jumping so well,” Robitaille said. “My competitiveness took over when it was just down to one more round to tie everything up.”
Commenting on the end result, Robitaille remarked, “It ended in a tie, but that is much better than losing. We will take a tie over a loss any day. This was my first year, and it was really fun. It is a nice class and a great way to get the crowd into it. It was a nice way for things to go and will hopefully bring people back for the following weeks.”
Along with jumping the final round for the men’s team with Mullagdhrin Rado, Alex Granato had a great evening aboard Zenith Dance, with the fastest round in the speed phase and an equally blazing time in the match races.
“Zenith Dance is a super horse. He is a fun speed horse,” Granato said of his speedy mount. “I ride for the owners, and they have been good supporters. I did that horse about a year and a half ago in some grand prixs as an up-and-coming horse and then he spent last year doing the junior jumpers with Maddy Darst on lease. Now we have him for sale and we just got him back, so this is my first week showing him again. He had only done regular speed classes and I don’t think he has ever been under the lights in a venue like this, but he was game. You can always count on him to be fast and he is very careful, so he is a fun one to do.”
Granato jumped in this class two years ago, but only did the first two phases, and he enjoyed taking part in the whole competition this year.
“I think it is a lot of fun,” he acknowledged. “It is great to get the teams together. It maybe got a little heated coming down to a tie this year, but it is a fun venue and it is fun to have the crowd that involved. I think it is a good way to start the circuit with the crowd coming out.”
Fernando Cardenas and Quincy Car Win $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
The $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held on Saturday afternoon with 14 entries and a two-horse jump-off. Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Sarena jumped first and cleared the short course in 35.47 seconds to take reserve honors. Fernando Cardenas and Quincy Car jumped next and took the leading time in 34.80 seconds. The rider explained that every win is special with the 11-year-old Oldenburg stallion, Quincy Car (Galiani Car x Amour Parfait), who is home bred by his father, Fernando Cardenas Sr. All of their home bred horses have the last name Car for the family name.
“One of the greatest pleasures that we have is to say that we have bred a horse and taken him to grand prix instead of ever having to buy a horse,” Cardenas stated after his win. “I have ridden him the whole time, so to me that is as big an accomplishment, to make a horse to grand prix, just as much as winning a grand prix. I think one phrase sums it all – a good horse makes anybody look good. I am very grateful to have a very special horse.”
Cardenas was born and raised in Colombia and has been living in this country for 27 years. While his father’s breeding and training business is based in Ocala, FL, he lives in Raleigh, NC throughout the year. Cardenas alternates his time in the winter between Wellington and Ocala.
“I have been coming here for three years straight, but I am a veterinarian and I have to work, so I can only come here for short periods of time,” he said of the Winter Equestrian Festival. “It is very cold back home, so we just come here and play a little bit. I enjoy the quality of the show here, to be able to show against top quality riders.”
Cardenas will continue to compete in Florida throughout the winter. He will then show at the new Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina the rest of the year. “We went there last year, and we loved it,” he praised.
Ali Tritschler and Exclusive Take Home Championship Honors in the EnTrust Capital Small Junior Hunters 16-17
Despite little practice time together, Ali Tritschler, from South Port, CT, was able to guide Exclusive to the top of the pack. Yesterday was the pair’s first time in the ring together, and Tritschler was still getting used to the new mount. With one day behind them, the new pair was able to rise to the top. “Today he was unbelievable!” Tritschler smiled.
Exclusive, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Glenwillow Farm, won the stake and the under saddle along with a second in the first over fences class to take home the championship in the EnTrust Capital Small Junior Hunters 16-17.
The reserve champion was Victoria Press, riding her own horse Akinda. Press won the handy round yesterday and was second over fences and in the under saddle today.
Having been out of the show ring since June, Exclusive started where he left off, but this time as a small. Last year Exclusive was champion of the Large Junior Hunters at WEF, but with the height rule change, he now competes as a small. Even with the division change, Exclusive is still in winning form.
Trainer Kim Stewart was excited to see Exclusive shine in the show ring with a new rider. Called Blink at home because he is blind in one eye, it does not affect his show performance. Stewart stated, “He’s an amazing horse and the hack winner.”
Stewart also mentioned, “He [Exclusive] is so sweet on the ground, loves everything, and likes candy a lot!”
Tritschler was also happy to be back in the show ring at PBIEC, saying, “The rings are beautiful and the footing is great. This is my favorite place to show.”
Currently a student at Green Farms Academy, Tritschler flies back and forth to Florida on weekends to compete. She plans to come down several more weekends and hopes to continue to show Exclusive in future weeks. Along with competing in the hunter ring, Tritschler will also be competing in the equitation and junior jumper divisions.
WEF week one will conclude on Sunday with the $30,000 WEF 1 Grand Prix in the International Arena and the presentation of championship honors in the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Lauren Fisher and Maddy Stover for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.