Wellington, FL – March 6, 2020 – The ninth week of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Friday, March 6, with a second win for Kristen VanderVeen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili. They sped to the top of the $37,000 Bainbridge 1.45m CSI5*.
VanderVeen and her veteran campaigner were the fastest of 18 clear rounds out of 43 entries in the 1.45m over a course set by Alan Wade of Ireland. They took over the lead from Lucas Porter (USA) and Hope Street, who had set the time to beat at 59.66 seconds. They would finish in third place. Riding out of the 24th spot in the order, VanderVeen and “Frosty” brought the winning time down to 56.54 seconds.
“I didn’t see anybody go before me that was really trying to win the class,” said VanderVeen. “There were some more careful components, so I was actually a little more conservative than I planned on being! Thankfully it still worked out. He just covers the ground so well and is still quick in the air.”
Fabio Leivas da Costa and Randon Pleasure Can’t Be Caught in $37,000 Griffis Residential 1.45m
Following the morning’s five-star Bainbridge 1.45m competition, the second victory of the day in the International Arena went to Brazil’s Fabio Leivas da Costa in the $37,000 Griffis Residential 1.45m CSI2* class. Da Costa was part of a starting line-up of 73 horse-and-rider combinations set to contest Alan Wade’s next course.
Seven combinations were kept from the jump-off with a single time fault while another 16 suffered the fault of a single rail. Out of the field, only 13 pairs managed to clear the timers fault-free to return for the second phase; that number became 12 when Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) withdrew from the jump-off field. Athletes from both Ireland and Venezuela were at the top of the leaderboard, but it was da Costa and Bonne Chance Farm’s 15-year-old Selle Francais mare Randon Pleasure (For Pleasure x Quidam de Revel) that raced through the timers in unbeatable speed.
Clara Propp Pilots News Day to the Win in the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby
Friday morning began with pony riders taking on the Derby Field at the Equestrian Village. It was Clara Propp and News Day who took top honors in the competitive $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. After receiving a high score of 86 in the first round, the pair maintained their lead with a score of 80 in the handy round for a total score of 166.
Propp, of New York, NY, and News Day, owned by Aquitaine Equine, were the last to return for the handy round after they earned the highest score in the classic round. The 12-year-old gelding by Clovercroft’s Abba Adonai has been in the Propp family for several years and originally showed in the Large Green Pony Hunters with Propp’s older sister, Stella. Once Stella outgrew ponies, Clara took over the reins and continued News Day’s successful show career.
Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 7, 2018 – Tuesday morning marked the highly-anticipated commencement of the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, at the Kentucky Horse Park, with nearly 200 ponies and their junior riders taking center stage in the first two divisions of the week. The most celebrated event of its kind for pony riders in the United States, the USEF Pony Finals is a three-phase competition judging the pony’s conformation, way of moving and jumping ability. After the first two rounds of competition for the Large Regular Pony Hunters, Kat Fuqua and Brighton emerged as the early leaders by impressively earning blue ribbons in both the model and hack ahead of 146 fellow contenders. Besting the field in the Small Green Pony Hunters, Clara Propp and With Love will ride last over fences as the initial frontrunners in their division.
Though Fuqua and her own Brighton have only been paired together for one short month, their short relationship did not detract from their performance in the Walnut Ring as the pair consistently impressed the judges’ panel in the Large Regular Pony Hunters. Under the tutelage of trainer Michael Newman of Aubrey Hill Equestrian in Pace, Florida, the 11-year-old rider and chestnut pony collected scores of 260.23 in the model and 281.42 in the hack to solidify their place atop the leaderboard headed into the final portion of competition. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Brighton carried Claire Campbell to a similar lead in the division after day one of the 2017 USEF Pony Finals with a cumulative score of 512.62, and this year the pony improved on his performance to stand an even better chance of sweeping the division with total marks of 541.65 headed into day two.
Chasing Fuqua and Brighton’s commanding early lead, Chandler Wilks and Ashley Vail Aycox’s Valentino currently sit in the reserve spot with 534.56 points, while Caroline Passarelli piloted another Fuqua-owned mount, Chic in Time, to third position overall. Sitting in fourth is Brynn Kuhnell and D’Artagnan, owned by Simply Ponies, LLC, trailed by Ava Aguilar and Sienna Gustafson’s Imagine That rounding out the top five slots.
In the Small Green Pony Hunters, Clara Propp began her day on a high note, winning the model with Aquitaine Equine’s With Love to the tune of 265.98 points from the judges. In the flat portion of the division, fellow bow-clad rider Omi Enkin and her own Happiness nabbed the first prize with a score of 258.00, but Propp and With Love’s third place marks of 254.50 were enough to propel the 11-year-old from Canada and her grey pony to the top of the overall scorecard. Boasting a composite score of 520.48, Propp and With Love currently sit 10 points ahead of the next-closest competitors, Enkin and Happiness with 510.20 points, headed into the over fences final phase.
Currently sitting in third place, Helen Ryan and Town Line Equestrian, LLC’s Charming will attempt to usurp the leaders, with owner-rider Jordan Gibbs and Show Off hot on their tails less than one point behind. Vanessa Mazzoli and her own Partly Cloudy clinched fifth place to close out the top contenders after day one.
Clara Propp and Trinity Beitler Ride Quicksilver Butterfly to Visse Wedell, Realtor Small Pony Hunter Championship
Wellington, FL – March 26, 2017 – Switzerland’s Beat Mändli emerged victorious riding Grant Road Partners’ Simba in the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 2* to conclude competition for week eleven of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set his final course of week 11 for 45 starters in the two-star grand prix. Twenty-three qualified for the jump-off, and six completed double clear rounds. It was Mändli and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Simba (Toulon x Argentinus) that took the win in 43.66 seconds.
Canada’s Jordan MacPherson jumped to second place with JEM Stables’ Aanwinst in 44.77 seconds. Fellow Canadian Beth Underhill rode Sandy Lupton’s Count Me In to third place in 45.26 seconds.
Prior to his purchase by the Dinan family in 2015, Simba was jumping successfully in England, and has since continued his career under Mändli’s guidance.
“I am just very happy to have him to ride, and he has been going better and better every time he goes in the ring,” Mändli detailed. “He is fun. He was good in Vilamoura last year. Then he had a little bit of a rest, and now we have just been playing around with him and preparing for the tour in Europe. That was maybe the third time that I have gone fast with him in a jump-off, and it is the first time that it worked out, so I am very happy.”
Speaking further of Simba, Mändli stated, “I hope he is going to be a five-star grand prix horse. He has all the quality and the ability to do it. He just sometimes wants to do it too well and gets a little bit strong. I just have to work on keeping his energy in control; all the rest is perfect. He is a careful, scopey horse who wants to do the job. It will be interesting to see where he goes.”
Mändli, the 2007 FEI World Cup Jumping Final winner, rides under the Dinan family’s ownership and teaches young rider Katie Dinan full-time. For Mändli, as well as his young horses and student, the addition of the CSI 2* division this year has been a great enhancement to the show.
“I think it is a very good addition, especially to a professional who is training someone,” Mändli noted. “Now I can do my two or three horses in the two-star and then focus completely on my student when she goes in the five-star. For younger horses, of course, not everyone is ready to go in the five-star classes, so I think it is a really good thing.”
Second place finisher Jordan MacPherson has had her mount Aanwinst, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Odermus R x Jackson) for five years now, and enjoyed the opportunity to compete in the two-star division for more experience with her mount.
“I would say that we have a really good partnership,” MacPherson stated. “When I got her, she was seven, so we were able to grow and move up through the ranks together. It has definitely been great for me to learn how to bring a young horse along up to the two-star level. I think over the last couple of years she has really proven herself as a great horse, and I am just really happy that I get to ride her and that I get to compete with her.”
Speaking of her round, MacPherson detailed, “I went 16th in the jump-off, so at that point there was only one clean. My plan was to go quick enough, but to leave the jumps up, knowing that there had only been one clean before me.
“I think that the addition of the two stars has been a great learning experience and a great way to get in the ring with great competitors and great horses, and be able to compete against the best at the two-star level,” MacPherson added.
Coming in third, Underhill was riding the ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding Count Me In (Count Grannus x Sherlock Holmes), a horse that she has competed for three years.
“He started doing some national grand prixs in Canada and the U.S. last year,” Underhill described. “This is his first year jumping in the International Ring here at WEF, so that has been really exciting and great exposure for him. I could not have been more proud of him today. There were a lot of clears, but it felt like we were in great company.”
Remarking on the class, Underhill stated, “I thought the course was perfect. It was demanding, but fair. I think all of the horses came out of this week jumping more confidently; certainly mine did. It was a really wonderful experience for my horse having this division. It is a great opportunity for young horses like mine to develop and learn the skills that they need to without the pressure of the 1.60m height. It feels special when there is a five-star at the same time. You have the opportunity to be part of that, but still bring the young horses along the way that you would like to.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, the $10,000 Martha Jolicoeur, Douglas Elliman Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic was pinned in a California Split with a win for Caroline Donnally and Reve du Razzy in Section A, and victory for Hannah Patten and Love in Section B.
Clara Propp and Trinity Beitler Ride Quicksilver Butterfly to Visse Wedell, Realtor Small Pony Hunter Championship
After having her flight canceled on Saturday, Clara Propp of New York, NY flew to Wellington on Sunday morning in time to ride Quicksilver Butterfly and win the championship title in the Visse Wedell, Realtor Small Pony Hunters. Propp piloted Quicksilver Butterfly, an entry owned by Aquitaine Equine, to a sixth place finish in the handy trip.
Trinity Beitler of Coconut Creek, FL stepped in to show the 11-year-old Welsh Pony mare on Saturday and won two over fences classes, in addition to placing third under saddle.
“It feels really good to win champion today,” said Propp. “My sister used to ride Quicksilver Butterfly. I started riding her at WEF this circuit. She’s a really sassy pony. My favorite thing about her is that she has her own motor, and I love her jump. I am happy my friend Trinity rode her when my flight was canceled.”
Remarking on why she enjoys showing at WEF, Propp continued, “I like coming down to WEF because it is warm, and I get to see my friend Alexa [Lignelli]. She was reserve champion today, and we used to go to school together.”
Alexa Elle Lignelli of New York, NY captured the reserve tricolor ribbon. Lignelli guided her own iParty to win the under saddle, place second in two over fences classes, as well as a fourth place finish in another over fences round.
Speaking of her 2007 mare, Lignelli said, “She is a dreamy mover and is so much fun to ride. She just glides across the ground and over the jumps. Whenever we do the handy, we call her ‘High Heels’ because if you do a tight turn and don’t balance her she gets really unbalanced. She can be sassy but is also very kind.”
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its final week of competition on March 29 – April 2, 2017. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.