Samuel Parot and Couscous van Orti Top $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m CSI 5*
Wellington, FL – March 24, 2017 – After two rounds and a test, McKayla Langmeier of East Granby, CT emerged victorious riding Calberon B in the tenth annual George Morris Excellence in Equitation class, the highlight competition on March 24 at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
Thirty-nine horse and rider combinations tackled the first round course designed by Andy Christiansen Jr. and Frank Madden in the Van Kampen Covered Arena at Equestrian Village at PBIEC. Following the initial round, the top 15 riders returned for a second round, and ultimately the top four riders came back for a final test. Without the help of their trainers, the junior riders were responsible for walking the course, warming up their horses, and time management as no outside contact was allowed during the event and riders were required to turn in their cell phones at the start of the class. One groom was permitted to tend to the horse and set jumps during the warm-up.
The competitors received scores from two panels of judges and a schooling judge, who graded riders in the warm-up area and gave a score that ranged from minus two to two. Panel one consisted of Anne Kursinski and Ralph Caristo, panel two was made up of Frank Madden and Bobby Braswell, and Eric Straus acted as schooling judge.
Langmeier, who finished second in the class last year, was sitting in second place going into the final test, but after flawlessly asking all of the test’s questions, she moved up to win the blue ribbon. Ava Stearns of Chilmark, MA captured the reserve honors, while Taylor St. Jacques of Glen Allen, VA earned the third place ribbon, and Coco Fath of Fairfield, CT settled for a fourth place finish.
Madden of Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY is a well-established figure in the equitation world and was greatly impressed with the talent demonstrated in the class.
“It was a real privilege to judge the class and be involved in building the courses,” said Madden. “I thought the test was great. I loved McKayla’s [Langmeier’s] horse landing on the right lead and making the flying change. Overall it was a great class, and I hoped the riders enjoyed the courses and the test.”
Langmeier piloted Calberon B, a nine-year-old gelding owned by Linda Langmeier, to a first round score of 179 and a second round score of 182 for an overall winning score of 361. The pair have not been partnered together long as Langmeier started showing the gelding, who previously competed in the jumpers, in equitation classes at the start of this winter circuit.
Speaking of her test, Langmeier explained, “Part of the test was to hold the counter lead, and I have had issues in tests not being able to hold it. I was going to try to go inside the hay bales, but I ended up going around. I saw in the previous tests that people held the counter lead after the second fence, but I decided do the flying change.”
Although Stearns entered the test in fourth place, her impeccable performance aboard Eclipse, an entry owned by Missy Clark & North Run, earned her the reserve honors. Stearns received first and second round scores of 174.5 and 179, respectively, for a combined score of 353.
“I had a lot of fun tonight!” Stearns exclaimed. “I have an incredible mount, Eclipse. I was really excited to get to compete in the class on him because he is so special, and he handles everything so well. He is so handy, and everything you ask of him he does perfectly, so that made it really fun.”
St. Jacques was sitting on top when the final four entered the test; however, Madden explained that her hand gallop in the test dropped her down to finish in third place. The talented junior guided Charisma, owned by Heritage Farm, Inc., to a first round score of 182, and the highest second round score, 187.5, for an overall total of 369.5. Charisma, a ten-year-old Warmblood gelding by Stakkato, won the honor of Best Equitation Horse after the first two rounds.
“Charisma was incredible today,” St. Jacques praised. “Everything I asked him to do he did perfectly, and he could not have gone any better. It was a really good class overall! The class is a different atmosphere than we are used to, and I think it is a lot of fun under the lights.”
Fath rode veteran equitation mount, Class Action, owned by Hillside Farm, LLC, to a fourth place finish. The pair earned first and second round scores of 177 and 178, respectively, for a combined total of 355.
Speaking of her first time showing in the class, Fath said, “It was such a fun experience! Not having trainers was something new and different that I have not experienced before. I rode Class Action, who has done this many times. I could not imagine doing this on any other horse. He is so special and perfect; he could basically do it by himself.”
Samuel Parot and Couscous van Orti Top $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m CSI 5*
It was an emotional win for Chile’s Samuel Parot in Friday’s $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m CSI 5* at the Winter Equestrian Festival, as the rider was competing his mount Couscous van Orti for the final time.
Parot found Couscous van Orti from Belgium’s Pieter Devos in 2015 and rode the gelding at the Pan American Games in Toronto that year. The pair has since earned numerous victories and had a very successful partnership. The horse will now compete under the flag of El Salvador with rider Juan Manuel Bolanos.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the speed track for 35 starters in Friday’s five-star 1.45m competition, yielding ten clear rounds. Last to go, Parot and the 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nabab de Reve x Cash) raced to victory in 60.48 seconds.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) finished second in 62.24 seconds riding Kerry Anne LLC’s Chanel. Eric Lamaze (CAN) guided Torrey Pines Stable’s Thalis de la Roque to third place in 63.25 seconds, and Richie Moloney (IRL) placed fourth aboard Equinimity LLC’s Slieveanorra in 64.19 seconds.
“Today is the last show and the last class we will jump together because he is sold, so it is a nice goodbye,” Parot said of his mount. “I am very happy to win with him one final time.
“I was lucky to go last, so I watched a lot of riders,” Parot continued. “The course was fast and very careful. In the beginning, I went a little bit slower, but on the last part of the course I went very fast. I think where I won it was the last line. I galloped down and left out a stride to the last jump, and he did it easily.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Friday, Amy Millar (CAN) and AMMO Investments’ Heros won the $35,000 1.45m CSI 2* jump-off.
Week eleven of the Winter Equestrian Festival continues in the International Arena on Saturday featuring the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final at 6:30 p.m. and the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. The Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunters 15 & Under will determine championship and reserve honors in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
David Will and Black Jack 163 Beat the Odds in $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m
Wellington, FL – March 21, 2014 – Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, added yet another accolade to her long list of accomplishments with a win in the George Morris Excellence in Equitation, presented by Alessandro Albanese, during week eleven of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Colvin, 16, topped the class with Patrick, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding leased by Dr. Betsee Parker and owned by Catherine Tyree. Also showing on Friday, Germany’s David Will and Black Jack 163 won the $34,000 G&C Farm 1.40m speed class.
FTI WEF week eleven, sponsored by Artisan Farms LLC, continues through March 23, 2014. The $100,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* will be the feature event on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC will host the $50,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Final (8 a.m.) and the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic (2 p.m.) on Sunday.
A special ceremony will be held tomorrow evening before the start of the $100,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix to honor Anne Heyman, who passed away from a fall at the FTI WEF this season. Friends and family are gathering to honor Anne, who was known for her incredible philanthropy and love for her family and horses. Everyone is invited to watch a video in her honor and remember Anne and her work. Save the Date for a benefit and concert for Anne’s ‘village,’ the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, which will be held on September 13 at Double H Farm in Ridgefield, CT, during the American Gold Cup. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equitation competition in the George Morris Excellence in Equitation was held over two rounds and a final test, with the top twelve riders being called back for round two. The top four from round two were then asked to return to test to determine the final standings.
The judges for the class included two panels and a schooling judge. Panel 1 consisted of Cynthia Hankins and Katie Prudent. Panel 2 included Alex Jayne and Anne Kursinski. Karen Golding served as schooling judge.
After round one, Colvin and Patrick were ranked second with a score of 93.5. The top score in round one belonged to eventual third place finisher Megan MacPherson and Class Action. MacPherson and Class Action returned to round two to earn a score of 80 for third place in the standings, where they remained after the test.
Colvin earned a second round high score of 92.5 before being chosen as the winner of Friday evening’s class. Second place went to Michael Hughes and Curtis, who earned scores of 91 and 84.5 in the first and second rounds, respectively. Madison Goetzman rounded out the top four with Stallone. Goetzman climbed from tenth in the standings to fourth in round two with a score of 85. The pair scored an 85.75 in the first round.
Prior to the final test, two special awards were presented to the four-legged competitors of the class. Clearway, owned by Heritage Farm and ridden by Caitlin Boyle, was announced as the Best Equitation Horse for the second year in a row. Heritage Farm received a ceramic bowl courtesy of Alessandro Albanese for the award. The Best Turned Out Horse was Charlie Z, ridden by Daisy Farish and also owned by Heritage Farm. Charlie Z’s groom, Umberto Balades, was also recognized for his hard work with an Alessandro Albanese jacket.
Colvin also received a bevy of prizes from class sponsor Alessandro Albanese, taking home a custom show jacket, show shirt, and breeches, as well as a championship jacket from Equestrian Sport Productions. Colvin’s family was also presented with a Nespresso machine for their contributions to their daughter’s win, as was second place finisher Hughes’ family. Trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan received an Alessandro Albanese jacket and tureen bowl for her role in the top rider’s victory.
Colvin, who trains with Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run, only began riding Patrick at the beginning of the year. While their partnership is still developing, Colvin is already completely enamored with the lovable chestnut. “I still don’t know him very well, but he’s just perfect. I love him!” Colvin smiled.
Of the decision to leave her other top equitation mount, Stallone VDL, in the barn and ride Patrick, Colvin said, “[Patrick] is a little easier. They’re both really easy, but he’s just a tad easier and I thought he would be great in this class. I rode [Stallone] on Thursday, and we thought he would be way too quiet to do three tests.”
One of the trademarks of the George Morris Excellence in Equitation class is the restriction for riders to prepare themselves completely unassisted by their trainers. Riders are totally cut off from communication with their trainers, even turning in their cell phones to the in-gate during the riders’ meeting. For Colvin, the rule represents an exciting challenge.
“I love it! Not that I don’t love my trainers. I think it’s a really fun class to be able to see how you do by yourself,” Colvin pointed out.
Colvin admitted to feeling a little bit of pressure going into the test ranked first, but was relieved when she heard what the judges were requesting. Riders were asked to canter fence one, turn right for a bending line to fence four, then turn back to the left over fence ten. Riders then hand galloped fence eleven before returning to a trot over the final fence.
“I felt like the test was much easier than the second round,” Colvin noted. “It had no counter canter or walk jumps, but I was nervous. I don’t know [Patrick] very well, so I don’t know what he does at everything. He’s such a great horse; he went right around for me.”
Second place finisher Hughes, who also trains with North Run, echoed Colvin’s sentiments, especially after a second round that asked several challenging questions. “When they announced the test, we had done the majority of it in the first round, so I knew it was going to be a little bit easier than the second round,” Hughes explained.
Of the second round course, Hughes commented, “I was a little bit worried about the walk jump. I had never walked a jump with Curtis before. He was good about it. I need to be a bit more patient. For me, I was most worried about the trot jump. It was such a short line to come off the forward eight strides, but he was great at it.”
Trainer Missy Clark enjoyed the one-two finish for North Run in the class, and was especially pleased to see her two star pupils do so well. “They were great. They’ve been so solid all year, and they’re both such great riders and amazing competitors. It’s so fun to work with two kids like this. They’re unusual,” Clark said.
Clark never doubted either Colvin or Hughes’s ability to prepare themselves, and enjoyed sitting back and watching them shine. “It was great; I got to sit down and I had my dogs with me and we sat back and watched. They do everything from grand prix to hunters, and they’ve been in the trenches for years, so I had complete confidence in both of them,” Clark smiled.
Class namesake and American show jumping legend George Morris was on hand to offer his commentary on the evening’s competition. The multiple tests of rider ability in round two were reasonable in Morris’s opinion, but he acknowledged that they tripped up many young riders.
“This was an interesting class. I was happy with the second round. The tests are all very doable. Trotting fences, walking fences, counter cantering, flying changes, they’re all doable, but caused quite a distraction. It was very difficult [for riders],” Morris explained.
While Morris wasn’t judging, he still provided input for the course design. The walk jump certainly caught a few riders off guard, but Morris was unsurprisingly full of praise for the old-school element.
“That’s a very, very, old [test]. I don’t know what number test it is, but that’s been in the tests forever,” Morris described. “Victor Hugo-Vidal and Ronnie [Mutch], those old judges, myself, every class they tested [in the past]. Every 14-18 open [equitation class], even under 14, they tested. Tests educate the riders and their horse training.”
Morris was happy to see Hughes and Colvin, graduates of his 2014 Horsemastership Training Session, continue to succeed at the top level of their sport. “It’s not that you’re partial, but you’re pleased to see results. You don’t like, as a teacher, wasting your time. I don’t like wasting my time,” Morris commented. “They’re great students. Great future.”
Competition for week eleven of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Artisan Farms, continues on Saturday afternoon with the Equitation 15-17 division in Ring 8 of the Main Grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
David Will and Black Jack 163 Beat the Odds in $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m
Germany’s David Will got the win in Friday’s $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class with Eveline Kraus’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Black Jack 163 (Escudo I x Drosselklang II). Will had the fastest time to beat out three Olympic gold medalists for the win, with Beezie Madden (USA) in second, Eric Lamaze (CAN) in third, and Laura Kraut (USA) fourth.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the speed track for 47 entries in the 1.45m class with 11 clear rounds. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Amadora were first to go and set a very fast time of 60.31 seconds that eventually finished second. The pair was beat out by David Will and Black Jack 163, who were over three seconds faster in 57.19 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Check Picobello Z, owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines, finished third in 61.55 seconds, and Laura Kraut (USA) and MH Sporhorse’s Andretti S placed fourth with a time of 62.03 seconds.
David Will and Black Jack 163 finally got their win on Friday after several close finishes this winter. The pair finished second to Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 earlier this week in Wednesday’s $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m. They placed second behind Sweetnam and Cyklon in the same class during week seven too. They were also third in week seven’s $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m and fifth in that same class during week nine as well.
On Friday, Will had the advantage of going before Sweetnam and putting the pressure on, and it was not the Irish rider’s day. “Maybe I was lucky; Shane already had the first fence down, but I knew that it would be very difficult today even for Shane,” Will stated. “Black Jack is a naturally very, very fast horse and I just got the turns that I wanted. I got to leave out the strides in almost every distance, so I was very happy with him today.”
“This was his first win here, but he is always winning a lot,” Will added. “He has been very good in the indoor season. I actually stepped him up a little bit higher and he was doing the 1.50m, 1.55m classes already. Here, it was a little bit difficult in the beginning when we came outside. He is a little bit of a nervous horse and he was not going as good in the beginning, but now he is used to going outside. He is comfortable with it again, so he is going super well.”
Speaking about the course, Will noted, “When I walked it, it didn’t walk like a classic speed class. There were some points, after the first double for example, where you could do a really short turn. Then almost every distance you could leave out a stride if you wanted to. It was actually very nice to ride it fast. It was a good course; I liked it very much.”
Will showed in Wellington two years ago and has noticed the increase in competition coming back in 2014. He brought four horses for this year’s FEI classes.
“It is very hard,” the rider noted. “The level is really, really high. There are a lot of good riders. What makes it very difficult is that you have to qualify on Thursday for the Saturday night grand prix, and there are always like 100 starters. If you want to be in the top 45, to qualify for the grand prix it is actually very tough.”
Will plans to show Black Jack again during week twelve and will then travel home to Europe. He hopes to step the horse up a little more this season after the great experience that Black Jack got competing in Wellington.
Also showing in the International Arena on Friday, Laura Chapot kept her winning streak alive in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge. With 102 entries, the class was held in a California Split and awarded two sets of placings, putting Chapot’s leading times in the top of both sections. Chapot and Bradberry won Section A with the fastest time of the class. Chapot and Zealous finished on the top of Section B with the second fastest time. The rider also took fifth place in Section A with Shooting Star and second place in Section B with Castellana.
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About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. 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.