Wellington, FL – January 26, 2019 – The 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) hosted its third “Saturday Night Lights” event on January 26 under rainy skies, but it did not dampen the level of competition seen in the $134,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3*. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Classic Dream came away with the win in the highlight class of WEF 3.
The first rider went to post an hour earlier than the usual Saturday night start time due to expected inclement weather conditions. A total of 45 entries competed over a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada. Ten were clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off. Seven of those 10 were double clear, leading to a very fast second round for the top prize.
Jef Lauwers Sweeps the Competition to Claim Champion in the Adequan Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 18-35 Division
Competition wrapped up in the Rost Arena on Saturday with the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division returning to contest for championship honors in their final two over-fences classes. Having earned the blue ribbon in all three classes the previous day, Jef Lauwers of Magnolia, TX sealed the victory by displaying another winning round as well as earning fifth place in the last class.
Lauwers piloted trainer Peter Pletcher’s 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Glorious Lady), Sutherland, to four out of five possible first place ribbons and was uncatchable for the champion title with over 40 points accumulated. The reserve went to Caroline Gibson with the Shadyside Farm’s 15-year-old Hanoverian mare, Gia.
Wellington, FL — February 24, 2018 — In the second five-star grand prix of the season, Danielle Goldstein (ISR) was victorious riding Lizziemary in the $384,000 Rolex Grand Prix at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.
There were 39 entries in the Saturday night grand prix, and six found the key to a clear round to advance to the Anthony D’Ambrosio-designed jump-off. First in was Liubov Kochetova (RUS) on her own Veneno, a ten-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Chacco Blue x Balou du Rouet. They took their time to produce a clear round in 45.77 seconds, which would hold up for second place.
Goldstein and Lizziemary, a 12-year-old AES mare by Cabri d’Elle x Acord II owned by The Golden Group and Danielle Goldstein, contested two horses later and put down a blazing time of 35.92 seconds, but even more importantly, the only other clear round in the jump-off.
Going last in the jump-off, Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) and HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm, were on pace to win, but a front rail at the final Rolex oxer relegated them to third place in 36.60 seconds.
The Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 3’6” division had 18 competitors in the Rost Arena on Saturday morning before the championship presentation. Jef Lauwers secured the tricolor ribbon aboard his mount, Screenshot, and dominated the division with a first, first, first, and fourth over fences with a sixth in the under saddle.
Jef Lauwers Is Champion in Adult Amateur Hunters 18-35 Section A
Wellington, FL – January 27, 2017 – Todd Minikus (USA) and Wyndmont’s Zephyr jumped to their second win during week three of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Friday, topping the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m speed class at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
Belgium’s Luc Musette set the track for 53 entries in Friday’s 1.45m with 12 clear rounds. Carrying on their momentum from a win in Wednesday’s $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m, Minikus and Zephyr clocked the fastest time of 64.36 seconds.
Emily Moffitt (GBR) and Poden Farms’ Zagahorn finished second in 66.47 seconds. Laura Chapot (USA) aboard her own and McLain Ward’s Quointreau un Prince placed third in 68.33 seconds, and Richie Moloney (IRL) riding Ypaja Yando ended fourth in 68.45 seconds.
Zephyr, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Landor S x Calvados), is a catch-ride for Minikus and a new mount this winter. Though the team at Wyndmont takes care of preparations and Minikus only rides the horse at the show, he feels that their partnership is developing well.
“He seems like he is getting more confident in my style of riding. He feels a little more flexible through his body, and he has had a great week,” Minikus stated. “A horse you push is always faster than a horse you pull, and you definitely push him along. I like that style of riding. I have only ridden him for a few weeks now, so I think he is starting to understand my style, or maybe I am starting to understand his style. Either way, it is going well.”
Minikus changed plans a bit while on course, but made his horse’s large stride worked to his advantage in the speed track.
“It looked like there were several options when I walked it, but then as I was going, they did not show themselves as well as I was hoping,” Minikus explained. “Zephyr did a very nice job of turning back on the last combination. He is a little funny turning to the left, but for whatever reason today, he did it quite well. I think that is really where it worked out for me.”
In addition to top prizes, Illustrated Properties presented special leading rider awards to Minikus as the highest-placed professional rider in the class, and Moffitt as the highest-placed non-professional rider.
Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Jimmy Torano (USA) and Excellent B were victorious in the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m speed class. The $6,000 FEI 1.40m was won by Georgina Bloomberg (USA) riding Gotham Enterprizes’ Manodie II H.
Lisbeth Hazoury took top honors in the $2,500 Engel & Völkers High Amateur-Owner Jumper Power and Speed riding Grey van de Castanoschans, owned by Los Establos Sporthorses Corp. Luciana Gonzalez Guerra concluded the day with a win in the $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper Power and Speed riding Star Light, owned by Guadalupe Gonzalez.
Jef Lauwers Champion in the Adult Amateur Hunters 18-35 Section A at WEF
Jef Lauwers of Belgium and Cupid, owned by Lindsay Holstead, captured the championship in the Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Section A division. The pair earned two blue ribbons, fifth and sixth over fences, and fifth under saddle. Lauwers first rode in the hunters over two years ago with Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, TX. He did not compete much at that time, and has since spent the past two years working in Belgium as an engineer. He returned to the U.S. six weeks ago and has been intently focusing on riding and the hunters.
“Peter asked if I wanted to show. I told him yes, but that I didn’t have a horse,” Lauwers detailed. “Then, Lindsay said I could show her horse. We showed in Texas for two weeks and then came here. This is my first show in Wellington.”
Cupid is a 2009 Holsteiner gelding that Peter Pletcher has primarily shown in the Green Hunter and Performance Hunter divisions.
“He’s a really nice horse,” said Lauwers, “a good jumper, and a good mover. He’s very sweet, likes to show, and likes to jump. The hunters are fun because they’re another way of riding, another way of knowing the horse, and another way of teaching the horse. It was difficult for me to learn because I was not used to having loose reins. I still struggle with it sometimes, but I was lucky today. It’s fun, and Peter is a really nice guy.”
Taking reserve honors was Lili Halterman of New York, NY aboard Cussini, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding. The pair earned a second, two thirds, and a sixth-place finish over fences, and second under saddle to secure the reserve title.
The third week of WEF continues on Saturday with the third “Saturday Night Lights” event of the season, the FEI $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3*. The Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division will award championship honors for week three in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.