The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, concluded its first week of competition on Sunday with the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix. Victory went to Emily Moffitt (GBR) riding Poden Farms’ Tipsy du Terral.
There were 44 entries in Sunday’s grand prix, and they competed over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck.
Fifteen went clear to return for the jump-off, and six went double clear. It was 19-year-old Emily Moffitt (GBR) and Tipsy du Terral, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare by Toulon, who recorded the fastest time of 35.508 seconds for the win.
“I figured I’d just go as fast as I could,” said Moffitt. “I know she’s a fast horse, but she’s also a really big horse, so coming to the double I saw a distance that wasn’t super close to the jump, but I figured why not; it’s going to save some time and it ended up working in my favor. I’m happy she’s as careful as she is.”
Near the end of the jump-off, Mattias Tromp (USA) and Chicago Hof Eversem Z, owned by Swede Ventures LLC, slotted into second place with a time of 37.323 seconds, while McLain Ward (USA) and HH Gigi’s Girl were third in 37.713 seconds.
Suzanne Smith and Le Caro Take Top Honors in FarmVet Adult Amateur Hunter Older Sec. B
Suzanne Smith and her mount, Le Caro, were crowned champions at the end of Sunday’s FarmVet Adult Amateur Hunter Older Sec. B. The duo, partners since October of 2016, took home a first and second over fences out of 22 total competitors with an impressive score of 82 in both rounds. They also placed second in the under saddle. The reserve championship went to Coolidge, ridden by Nancy Hooker and owned by Richard Prant.
“He’s a really good soul,” said Smith of the 8-year-old bay Oldenburg gelding. “This horse has all the ability to jump. He is a lovely mover, has a kind heart and a big step, and he thinks well.”
Having taken a brief hiatus from showing at the end of 2017, Smith, a full-time veterinarian from Milford, NJ, was happy to start the new year on a high note. The rider praised her trainer, Rachel Kennedy, for all her help, and commented on her trust in the professional’s preparation of Le Caro.
Photo: Emily Moffitt and Hilfiger Van De Olmenhoeve.
Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 2, 2017 – The CP National Horse Show featured the $130,000 CP Grand Prix International Open Jumpers CSI4*-W. Competing for the first time at the historic event, Great Britain’s Emily Moffitt claimed one of the biggest wins of her career to date, along with the Walter B. Devereux Memorial Challenge Trophy, aboard Hilfiger Van De Olmenhoeve.
Course designer Michel Vaillancourt tested 43 international horses and athletes over a 13-fence track in the first round. Out of the 18 combinations who jumped clear, only 14 returned to battle it out in the jump-off, while others elected to save their mounts for the highly anticipated $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington CSI4*-W.
Beezie Madden (USA) was the first to navigate the short course with no faults, piloting Darry Lou, owned by Abigail Wexner, to a time of 37.260 seconds.
Laura Kraut (USA), winner of the $35,000 International Open Jumpers Welcome Speed CSI4* with Whitney, followed Madden and produced another double-clear performance with Confu in 36.990 seconds to move into the first place position.
Moffitt was the fourth out of five combinations to complete the jump-off fault-free, riding the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Poden Farms. It was Kraut and partner Nick Skelton who originally found Hilfiger Van De Olmenhoeve for Moffitt and the pair has since established a strong, winning partnership, even contributing to Great Britain’s gold medal in the young rider team competition at the FEI European Jumping Championship in August.
The 19-year-old, who trains with British Olympic gold medalist Ben Maher, crossed the finish line one second ahead of Kraut, her former trainer, in 35.700 seconds for the win, while Kraut claimed second place and Madden rounded out the top three.
Prior to the highlight event, the Alltech Arena welcomed 25 international horses and athletes to vie for top honors in the $35,000 Palm Beach Masters Series International Open Jumpers Speed CSI4*.
The faults converted speed class saw Devin Ryan of the United States and his own Cooper post one of the fastest times early on in the class as 10th in the order-of-go, despite incurring faults, in 66.310 seconds. However, Jessica Springsteen (USA) and new mount Volage Du Val Henry, a Selle Français mare owned by SCEA Elevage De Voise, blazed around the course, designed by Vaillancourt, fault-free in 65 seconds, which would prove to be unbeatable throughout the remainder of the competition.
In the end, Ryan settled for third place honors, while Andrew Ramsay (USA) and The Doodle Group’s Cocq A Doodle finished in second place in a time of 65.530 seconds after faults.
The USEF Under 25 National Championship began with the $15,000 faults converted speed competition, where high school senior Madison Goetzmann rode her own Prestigious to the win with a speedy, fault-free round in a time of 61.968 seconds.
Goetzmann and the 10-year-old Westphalian gelding partnered less than a year ago, but have found great success in the jumpers throughout the year. The 17-year-old junior rider from Syracuse, New York has proved her versatility, winning the Region 2 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Championship with hopes of also capturing the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.
Abigail McArdle and Plain Bay Sale’s Chuck Berry 8 were close behind with a time of 62.784 seconds, while Jennifer Gates followed in third aboard Evergate Stables LLC’s Alex in 64.473 seconds.
Jumper competition kicked off with the Equithrive Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by Horse Network. 16-year-old Samantha Cohen and her own Carmen bested a field of 29 horse-and-rider combinations to take home the win.
Nine jumped clear over Vaillancourt’s first round course to advance to the jump-off, where David Oberkircher and Tyson De Verteveuille, owned by Southfields Farm LLC, were the early clear pathfinders in 39.424 seconds. Cohen and the 10-year-old KWPN mare took over the top spot two rounds later in 38.837 seconds. Their lead held throughout the remaining six rounds to garner them the first place prize and the “Skymaster” Memorial Trophy. Daisy Farish and Stone Ridge Farms, LLC’s Alberto II finished in second place in 38.894 seconds, while Oberkircher finished in third place.
Minikus and Zephyr Are Unbeatable in Suncast® 1.50m; Jane Gaston and Because Top Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35
Wellington, FL – February 12, 2017 – Week five of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded on Sunday, February 12, in Wellington, FL, with a win for Emily Moffitt (GBR) and Poden Farms’ For Sale 6 in the $50,000 Equo Grand Prix CSI 2*. Todd Minikus (USA) and Wyndmont’s Zephyr also kept their winning streak alive with a victory in the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.
Week five course designer Robert Ellis (GBR) concluded Sunday’s competition with 45 entries in the $50,000 Equo Grand Prix CSI 2* and 12 faultless combinations to jump-off. Out of seven double clear rounds, Emily Moffitt and For Sale 6 clocked the fastest time of 37.03 seconds. Lucas Porter (USA) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s B Once Z finished second in 37.39 seconds. Andrew Welles (USA) and Peter Welles’ Boo van het Kastanjehof placed third in 38.14 seconds, and Mavis Spencer (USA) completed the fourth place time of 38.79 seconds riding Mike Collins’ Cornetiero.
Moffitt (18) switched from representing the U.S. to riding for Great Britain this year and stood for the playing of the British national anthem in her honor for the first time on Sunday. Moffitt has a farm in Wellington, but is based in England most of the year and began training with Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher (GBR) at the end of last year’s WEF circuit.
For her win on Sunday, Moffitt was aboard For Sale 6, an 11-year-old Westphalian mare (For Pleasure x Cassini I) that was purchased from Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum.
“She is definitely not for sale. I’ll be keeping her for quite some time,” Moffitt made clear after her victory. “I have had Sale for about a year and a half. My previous trainer (Laura Kraut) rode her for the first few months that we had her, and then she actually got injured after the Junior Nations’ Cup here at WEF last year. This is her first big class back, so we are very excited with how she jumped. It took her a little bit to get back into things. We were a little worried, but I think it is safe to say she is back.”
Moffitt previously won her first CSI 2* grand prix in Knokke, Belgium and stepped up in the summer of 2016 to compete in some of the CSI 5* Global Champions League events. The rider decided to skip college and pursue her riding career full-time, but has remained an amateur as she transitions to the bigger classes. With the new addition of the CSI 2* events to complement the five-star competition at this year’s WEF, Moffitt had the perfect opportunity to jump some different horses and gain valuable experience.
“I have a few five-star horses right now, and I was a little frustrated that I could not jump those classes this week, but it was nice that I was able to use my 1.45-1.50m horses,” Moffitt noted. “I get excited to be able to use them and have a goal for them. I think that’s really nice to have the two-star going along with the five-star.”
Moffitt’s main goal for the circuit is to qualify for week 11’s $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*. She has also been selected as a member of the British team for week eight’s $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup.
Another top young rider in the class on Sunday, Lucas Porter (19) splits his year between the U.S. and Holland, coached by reigning World Champion Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED). For his second place finish, Porter was aboard B Once Z, a 13-year-old Zangersheide mare (Baloubet du Rouet x Lavaletto) that he found from Katharina Offel (UKR) at the start of 2015.
“She is definitely the best horse that I have ever ridden,” Porter proclaimed. “She has such a big heart; she is so quick against the clock, and she is such a trier. I have never sat on a horse that has this much faith in herself. She is just the perfect horse for a young rider like me.”
In the jump-off, Porter explained that he lost his stirrup, which cost him the small fraction of time that divided first and second place. The rider was also happy to have the opportunity to jump in the 2* division, however, and was happy with his result.
“The two-star and five-star combination has worked out perfectly,” stated Porter. “It keeps the number of riders and horses in the classes exactly where they should be. It also creates more opportunity to make the two-star grand prix and the five-star grand prix each go at an exciting time where the majority of the show can come watch. Even though I’m not doing the biggest competition at the show, I still have a primetime showing. It makes it a pleasure for everyone involved.”
At 29 years old, third place finisher Andrew Welles felt like the senior to his counterparts in the top three on Sunday, but he was happy for the opportunity to use his veteran mount Boo van het Kastanjehof in the CSI 2* competition. Welles has ridden the 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Pachat II) for the past seven years after purchasing her from his best friend, Hardin Towell.
“She is the most special horse I have ever had,” Welles stated. “She is owned by my father, who has been the biggest supporter of my career. At 16 years old, she feels like she did when she was nine. She is having an absolute ball. I’m really just enjoying each class with her right now. It has been a lot of fun to have her back going in the big ring this year. She has done three grand prix classes, and she has been double clear in all three, so we will take it.”
Adding his experience of the first concurrent two-star and five-star events at WEF, Welles added, “I think it is phenomenal. I give huge credit to the organizing committee for putting this on. I think it gave a great opportunity for younger riders and younger horses, or older horses like mine, to have a division that really suits them. It also gave a lot of the five-star riders the opportunity to take a little pressure off of their horses to not have to qualify out of 100 horses in the grand prix qualifier. Granted, the better riders always tend to rise to the top, but there is still something to be said for that.”
Minikus and Zephyr Are Unbeatable in Suncast® 1.50m
The USA’s Todd Minikus continued his winning streak aboard Wyndmont’s Zephyr at the 2017 WEF, securing the pair’s second win of week five, and their fourth consecutive win of the WEF circuit, in Sunday’s $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.
Fifty-one entries contested the first round course set by Robert Ellis, with ten advancing to the jump-off and seven double clear rounds. Minikus and Zephyr smoothly navigated the short course in the winning time of 35.98 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) and Finca Horses’ Flower finished second in 36.38 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Artisan Farms’ Brighton placed third in 36.61 seconds, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) and the Chacco Kid Group’s Chacco Kid rounded out the top four in 37.06 seconds.
“It was kind of a fast rider ‘Who’s Who’ in the jump-off with riders like Kent, Conor, and Eric,” Minikus continued. “I thought it was going to be fast, and it ended being blistering, really. That was a very fast round. It seemed like everything came up nice for me, and I was able to just keep going and going, so I am pretty happy with it.”
With each win, Minikus is gaining confidence in Zephyr’s ability and getting to know the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Landor S x Calvados) better. Owner Ronnie Beard purchased Zephyr from Great Britain’s Peter Charles five years ago after the gelding was named best seven-year-old in Spain that year and has also enjoyed watching the partnership excel. Dorman brought along the horse, but he had almost a year off.
“With that rest, he has just come back into his old self again,” Beard said.
Minikus also rides Wyndmont’s Valinski S. Beard compared, “They are both careful horses, and I think Todd challenges them enough with the pace. I think that after slowly bringing them along, they are ready for it, and I think Todd is the person to do it with them.”
As for Minikus, who only rides the Wyndmont horses at the show and leaves their training to Beard and Dorman at home, piloting different horses is nothing new.
“I have ridden so many horses in my life that there is not much that I have not seen or felt at this point,” said the veteran competitor. “It does not take long for me to adapt to different horses really. I like that challenge of getting on new horses. When you are as old as I am, you don’t need much practice!”
Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, McKayla Langmeier and Jane Clark’s Whistler topped the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic.
Jane Gaston and Because Top Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35
Jane Gaston of The Plains, VA and her own Because continued their championship streak in the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division during week five. The pair won all four over fences classes with scores of 88, 87, 88, and 88, and placed fifth in the under saddle class. Gaston and Because have been champions of the division for three weeks in a row, also winning the title during weeks three and four.
“He’s been fabulous every week,” Gaston explained. “He comes out and tries hard every day. We’ve had him a year now, and he just settled right in to being a hunter. He did the First Years last year and is an awesome horse.”
Because is a 2007 KWPN stallion by Verdi that Gaston purchased through Daniel Geitner. Both Gaston and trainer Kelley Farmer have had tremendous success on the horse since taking over the ride, earning many coveted tri-color ribbons during the 2016 fall indoor finals circuit.
“He’s just really great to be around,” Gaston continued. “He makes a solid effort no matter where you put him or how you’re getting there. I appreciate that in a horse.”
Becky Gochman of Palm Beach, FL and Catch Me, owned by Gochman Sport Horses LLC, captured the reserve title. The pair placed second and third over fences and second in the under saddle. Gochman has been a strong contender in the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunters Over 35 throughout WEF. She and Catch Me were named champions of the division during week two, and earned the reserve honors during weeks one and three.
Catch Me, a coming ten-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Casiro, is also highly decorated. The grey gelding with a striking jumping style was named 2016 USEF Horse of the Year Awards after an extremely successful year with Scott Stewart in the Second Year Green Working Hunters.
The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its highly anticipated World Championship Hunter Rider week on February 15-19, 2017. For full results and more information, please visit www.PBIEC.com.