Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy. Photos © Anne Gittins Photography.
Boggus Wins FTI WEF 12 Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal; Haefner Takes Year-End Prize
Wellington, FL – March 31, 2013 – Jennifer Alfano rode Miss Lucy, an eleven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Helen Lenahan, to the top of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the final day of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The final round of competition was held on the grass derby field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Alfano and Miss Lucy were fourth going into the second round of competition for the derby with a first round score of 186. The pair galloped into first place with a round two score of 198.5 for an overall score of 348.5.
Inclusive and Victoria Colvin finished second with a combined score of 382. The pair was in fifth place after scoring a 182 in round one. Colvin and Inclusive’s spectacular second round performance earned the pair a 200, which helped them take over the lead late in round two before being succeeded by Alfano and Miss Lucy.
Temptation and Kristy McCormack rounded out the top three finishers with an overall score of 380. Temptation, owned by Autumn Janesky, earned a first round score of 166 before finishing with a second round high score of 203.
The first round of competition for the derby was held Saturday afternoon at the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter arena of the PBIEC. Forty-one attempted the course, but only the top twenty-five competitors would advance to the handy round held Sunday at The Stadium. Horses and riders faced a sprawling spread of several major tests of their horses’ bravery, including a derby bank, hand gallop, and four high option fences.
Alfano, no stranger to derby victories, ultimately clinched victory with Miss Lucy after beating both Colvin and McCormack’s top scores. Alfano’s name is most synonymous with 2012 USEF National Horse of the Year Jersey Boy.
Despite being the lesser known of Alfano’s derby mounts, she acknowledged the mare was actually the more dependable of the two. “You can always count on Lucy to give 110%. She’s actually a little more reliable than Jersey Boy. You never wonder [with her]. With him, he has his moments, as everybody knows. She’s one of those horses that just tries to do everything right all the time,” Alfano, of Buffalo, NY, commented.
Lucy’s consistency and remarkable suitability for the tests of a derby class are undeniable, given she has been on vacation for the past two weeks. “I did show her in the High Performance here [at the FTI WEF] this week, but that’s it. She doesn’t really take any special preparation.”
“She doesn’t have to practice,” Alfano continued. “She was here last year and did this and was great out here [on the derby field]. You don’t have to worry about anything on her. When you’re looking between her ears, you can aim at anything.”
Colvin, of Loxahatchee, FL, bested McCormack’s leading score late in the second round, determined to take over the lead from her fifth place finish in round one. Colvin took an exceptionally technical track aboard Inclusive as she attempted to climb the rankings and was overall pleased with their performance.
“I had a light rub, but I thought the rest [of our course] was really good. My plan today was to go as handy as I could and jump the big ones. If I had a rail, I had a rail. I had to move up,” Colvin acknowledged.
Despite not having a comparable course at home, Colvin had no doubt Inclusive would handle the demands of the derby field like a professional. “We just got a field [at home], but it’s not anything like this. I was confident he would be fine. I think he’s actually better out in the field than in a ring,” Colvin described.
McCormack, of Boston, MA, finished third with Temptation with the highest round two score, but was ultimately exceeded by Colvin and then Alfano. McCormack gave it her all knowing Temptation would be happy to step up to the plate.
“My strategy on that horse is always just to give as much as we’ve got. If we take a risk here or there, I’m okay with that. He’s the kind of horse that is so game, especially for this type of course. I got to show him here last year and I was just trying to go for it and move up as much as I could and he brought it,” McCormack expressed.
McCormack had plenty of ground to make up for after finishing seventh in the first round of competition, but knew the grass field would give Temptation the chance to shine. “He loves pace. He loves getting out there and galloping. He’s never as strong in the first round, when I’m going a bit slower and taking my time. Once we get out in the field, all we do is gallop,” McCormack explained.
Rachel Boggus Claims Another Equitation Victory with SS Whisper in Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final; Kathryn Haefner Awarded Top Honors for Series
Rachel Boggus, of Fort Wayne, IN, catch rode her way to another first place finish, this time with SS Whisper, in the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final during the final day of competition for the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). SS Whisper, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding is owned by Wee Enterprises. Boggus was awarded a Beval bridle and gift certificate for her blue ribbon finish in the final class of the series.
Brett Burlington and Cassidy, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, finished second and won an Essex show shirt from Beval for their performance. Third place was awarded a Beval Saddlery logo saddle pad, which went to Sara Ballinger and her own Wanderprinz.
Overall high point finisher for the 2013 FTI WEF was Kathryn Haefner, who rode her own Bentley in Sunday’s class. Haefner was awarded the ultimate prize of a new Butet saddle, also courtesy of class sponsor Beval Saddlery.
Boggus recently brought home a blue ribbon in the Ariat National Adult Medal class aboard a completely unfamiliar horse and was equally successful on new mount SS Whisper, an experienced junior equitation mount. “When I sat on it yesterday, I loved it immediately,” Boggus smiled. “It was so trained, just light and ready to go. It framed up really easily. It was my type of ride, didn’t take too much leg.”
Boggus considers the Beval Palm Beach Medal course an integral part of her annual campaign for Ariat National Adult Medal Finals, held at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in September. She enjoyed the challenging course of Sunday’s class that allowed riders to show off their skills.
“We started with a rollback and there were some inside turn options, which I always like when they put those in. Abby and I always try to think about what I’m going to do at the National Medal Finals, so we try to make it as hard as we can and practice more difficult options. I liked that there was an inside turn option and some tighter rollbacks so you could tighten up and make it fancy if you wanted to,” Boggus described.
For the flat phase of the class, Boggus was thankful to have a mount so well-suited for the demands of the test. “I’m not admittedly the best flatter ever, so we really have to do a lot of work on the flat to get my heels down and I tend to grip too much – I clench my hands,” Boggus explained.
“The flat is really challenging for me, but with this horse it was really nice because it was so supple. I just barely had to put any pressure on the reins and it framed right up. It’s really big and slow and comfortable, so that was really nice,” Boggus commented.
While Boggus has shown at the FTI WEF intermittently in years past, the 2013 season was her first full circuit. “I lived in Denver until this past July, so I would go to [HITS] Thermal. Now that I’m back down in the Midwest and living in Indiana, we come to WEF because we have a barn down here,” Boggus explained.
“I really like it, the weather’s always nice. The competition is the best in the country, and that’s one thing we really wanted to concentrate on – putting myself in these higher pressure situations at bigger shows,” Boggus expressed.
Boggus’ dedication has clearly paid off as she stands on top of the current national standings for the Ariat National Adult Medal. She will take April off to let her horses recuperate before starting back up again in Kentucky next month and setting her sights on the Devon Horse Show on her way to finals.
Haefner has also been a force to be reckoned with this season at the FTI WEF, coming in first in circuit standings for the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal class. Haefner swapped between her geldings Columbus and Bentley on the path to first place and finished the series on Sunday aboard Bentley, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding. The pair finished fourth.
Haefner describes Columbus as more of a typical equitation horse, but is quick to acknowledge Bentley’s ability to be competitive in both hunter and equitation divisions. “Bentley is super comfortable. He’s really easy to flat. Columbus may have more of the equitation look, and Bentley’s a good mover, so he does well in the hunters. But when you put a Pelham on [Bentley], he’s got that smooth, pretty way of moving and going round,” Haefner explained.
Haefner also enjoys the opportunity that the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal class gives adults to show off their equitation skills and compete for a top prize. “I love these classes; they’re really fun. There are not a whole lot of medals for the adults to do, so this is a really nice opportunity to do something like that,” Haefner commented.
“The saddle incentive is great,” she continued. “I ride in a Butet, so that’s always a good incentive because I get the saddle that I like. It’s really fun [to compete in the class] because besides the handy rounds, you never get the opportunity to do a course that’s a little more interesting [in the hunter divisions]. There’s also a flat test, which the other adult medals don’t have. They either don’t have a test or there’s a jumping test, so the flat test makes things a little more interesting, and I like that.”
Haefner, of Buffalo, NY, juggles competing on weekends at the FTI WEF with attending classes full-time at the University of Miami as an aerospace and electrical engineering student. “Sometimes it’s difficult; engineering is challenging. I’m in the top 5% of my class and I try to stay there, so it’s been a challenge, but I like it,” Haefner described.
Haefner’s trainer, Stewart Moran, also of New York, travels south with her each winter and Fort Lauderdale trainer Jimmy Torano also trains the busy young amateur. “It’s a lot of hard work and everybody at the barn works really hard to get the horses ready while I’m not there,” Haefner acknowledged.
The Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final was the among the final divisions to award end of circuit honors to the competitors of the FTI WEF, which concluded competition on Sunday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Jumper Competition Concludes
Wrapping up the final week of Jumper FTI WEF competition in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, several of the Amateur-Owner Jumper divisions competed in their classics for week 12. The $10,000 Charles Owen Low AO Jumper Classic was first to go with 73 entries, ten advancing to the jump-off, and just one double clear round over the short course. Cynthia Fuller and Full Stride Farm’s Ingaletta had the winning round without fault and completed the course in 39.857 seconds. Megan Fellows and Belle Nuit had the fastest round of 33.92 seconds, but incurred four faults to finish second.
The $10,000 Maria Mendelsohn Low Junior Jumper Classic was held next with a win for Emanuel Andrade and Stransky’s Mission Farms’ Quebec Star. Seventy-six entries jumped in the class with 12 advancing to the jump-off. Six went clear over the second round course and the winning time of 32.882 seconds belonged to Andrade and Quebec Star. Kady Abrahamson and Basco H2 finished second in 33.429 seconds.
The final win of the circuit also went to Andrade with Hollow Creek Farm’s Crossfire 10 in the $10,000 Griffis Residential High Junior Jumpers. Twenty-two entries showed with only two clear rounds. The winning pair had the only double clear round and stopped the clock in 41.412 seconds to earn top prize. Second place honors were awarded to Eugenio Garza and El Milagro’s Bariano with eight faults in the jump-off in a time of 38.568 seconds.
For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 9 through March 31. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.
About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations