Tag Archives: McLain Ward

McLain Ward and HH Azur Capture the Tourmaline Oil Cup

(Photo: Spruce Meadows Media/Jack Cusano)

No fewer than 49 horse and rider combinations, including four of the world’s current top-10-ranked riders, contested the highlight class of day two of the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, the 1.60m Tourmaline Oil Cup. Venezuelan course designer Leopoldo Palacios appeared to have set a tough task, with many of the world’s leading riders unable to negotiate the 12-obstacle course fault-free and progress to the jump-off. However, much to the delight of the International Ring’s crowd, a small flurry of partnerships bucked the trend towards the end of the class, thereby setting up a scintillating six-horse jump-off, which was later reduced to four after Daniel Bluman from Israel with Ladriano Z and third placed in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, Nicola Philippaerts with Katanga v/h Dingeshof ,decided not to compete.

The four duos contesting the final show-down included American McLain Ward and HH Azur, Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson, Daniel Deusser from Germany and his 11-year-old stallion, Bingo Ste Hermelle, and Harrie Smolders and his superstar stallion Darry Lou, who knows this arena better than most, having triumphed here in the CP ‘International’ in 2019 with previous partner Beezie Madden.

An eight-fence jump-off awaited the four pairs with Scott Brash first to go, who notched up a double clear in 45.92 seconds. He was followed by McLain Ward, who stormed around the course without a fault, beating Brash’s time by over five seconds. That left Deusser and Smolders, who both went clear, but neither were able to better the American’s unassailable lead, with the German slotting into second place and the Dutchman finishing third.

Thrilled with his win and his 16-year-old mare, McLain Ward commented: “Horses understand the importance and the energy differently than we do. I think these great horses sense the atmosphere and want to do well and want to please and want to rise to the occasion. She walks up to the gate today and she raises her head, her eyes are right on the arena, ears pricked — this horse is pulling me in to go and do the job, so she understands it in some ways for sure.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s CP ‘International’ and how he will prepare himself, Ward said: “I have enough experience now. I just try to focus on my job and believing in our plan and believing in the horse, and you need a bit of good fortune also.”

Read more here.

© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

McLain Ward Wins RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia at CHIO Aachen

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

Fifty of the world’s best show jumpers and their equine partners contested Friday’s feature jumping class – the RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia – in front of an excited and enthusiastic crowd, which would serve as the final opportunity for riders to qualify for Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix, one of the four Majors which comprises the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

A 1.60m competition featuring a jump-off, the Frank Rothenberger-designed course included 14 obstacles, providing a tough challenge to a line-up that included 1992 Individual Olympic champion, Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, fellow compatriot and the current Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender, Daniel Deusser, and Swiss maestro Steve Guerdat.

Sixteen combinations eventually navigated the first round fault-free, advancing to the jump-off, which would be contested over a shorter eight-obstacle, but no less demanding, course. The first five riders to go, including Ireland’s Conor Swail and Germany’s Jana Wargers, each picked up one fault; however, sixth to go, Frenchman Nicolas Delmotte, soon broke the trend, going double clear in 42.95 seconds. Delmotte’s clear was shortly emulated by Germany’s Christian Kukuk and Jur Vrieling of The Netherlands, with the latter crossing the line in 42.79 seconds to temporarily take top spot. Vrieling’s lead, however, was short-lived, with current world number 29-ranked rider Steve Guerdat knocking over four tenths off his time.

With two riders to go, including Dutchman Harrie Smolders and McLain Ward from the USA, Guerdat faced an anxious wait, hoping his time would be unbeatable. However, Wednesday’s winner of the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe, McLain Ward, and his consistent partner, Contagious, soon demonstrated their harmony and class, knocking Guerdat off top spot, crossing the line in 41.70 seconds to claim the honours.

Delighted with his second win in as many days aboard his 13-year-old chestnut gelding, Ward commented: “I think he’s [Contagious] on really good form and we’re aiming him towards the World Championships; it’s one of the reasons we had this week planned for him, so we’ll stick to our plan and hopefully be able to be in the mix.”

On his partner for Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix, Ward said: “It’s always nice to have a good week, as it gives you confidence. It makes you take a breath and focus. Azur [HH Azur] is older now and I know her very well; she’s my old friend. We’ll just do what we do. I don’t think today or Wednesday has much to do with what’s going to happen on Sunday. We’ll just focus and do the best job we can on the day.”

Read more here.

© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Ward Takes the Lead ahead of Sunday’s Title Decider

McLain Ward with Contagious. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

America’s McLain Ward knows what it is to win the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup, and the 2017 champion set himself on that path once again when topping the second competition at the 2022 Final in Leipzig, Germany.

A brilliant last-to-go run with Contagious in the seven-horse jump-off against the clock moved him up from overnight fifth to pole position on the leaderboard, and he goes into Sunday’s finale a full fence ahead of The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders in second place, while young Briton, Harry Charles, shares third spot with first-day leader Martin Fuchs from Switzerland, both just a single penalty point further behind.

The two rounds were filled with drama, with defending series champion and Fuchs’ fellow-countryman Steve Guerdat producing the first clear with Victorio Des Frotards over Frank Rothenberger’s testing first-round track. But all of the leading four returned with penalties this time out, and two of them faulted on the snaking line between fences six and eight that proved highly influential.

The challenge

Ward explained the challenge here. “I thought when we walked the course that was the hardest part. It didn’t line up very well – when you jumped the vertical at six, it was a very awkward line to those big spooky standards (at fence 7) and then you threw in the liverpool, and it was on a half-stride, five-and-a-half. So if you let your horse cut in you got there deep and slow, and they were backing up so the back rail was a problem. It was five and a bit (strides) to the vertical at eight and a few did six; it was just quite uncomfortable,” the American explained.

It was that tricky water-tray oxer at seven that snatched the lead from Fuchs when The Sinner put in a spooky jump and crashed through it, the Swiss rider recovering quickly enough to clear the following vertical, however. Max Kuhner’s Elektric Blue P skewed over the fence, but left it up only for the Austrian duo to bring down the final vertical. Irishman Conor Swail looked en route to a clear with Count Me In only to hit the big oxer at 11 on the 13-fence track, while Germany’s David Will, lying fourth as the action began with C Vier 2, left fence six and the penultimate oxer at 12 on the floor.

Jump-Off

Two fences down put paid to Guerdat’s chances in the jump-off in which the vertical at fence eight, now the second-last obstacle, proved the undoing of three of the remaining six. British veteran John Whitaker was first to fall victim there with Equine America Unick du Franckport when next to go, but his nephew Jack, who is a full 46 years younger, then posted the first clear with the brilliant little grey Equine America Valmy de Lande in 48.66 seconds.

Frenchman Gregory Cottard and Bibici also hit fence eight before Harry Charles overtook his young British rival to take the lead in 47.14 seconds with Romeo 88. Dutchman Smolders put in by far the quickest round with Monaco who stopped the clock in 41.37 seconds but leaving fence eight on the floor, so when Ward set off, last to go, he always looked dangerous. The leaderboard was now at his mercy with those ahead of him all out of contention, and he capitalised on that with a superb tour of the track that snatched the win without hardly turning a hair, leaving Charles in second and Jack Whitaker in third while Smolders lined up in fourth place.

As he said afterwards, he knew exactly what he needed to do.

“I was able to see enough of the jump-off to know it wasn’t actually very fast, and when Harry had the fence down that really opened the door so our game plan was to do just enough but not take too much out of the horse, not only for Sunday but also risking having a fence down,” he pointed out after posting the winning time of 44.03 seconds.

He said the fence down that pinned him back into fifth place was entirely his own fault. “The horse was in brilliant form; I added a stride in a bending line and I put him in not a great spot. It was a mistake on me; the horse wanted to win both rounds!” he said.

Comparing

Comparing the courses, he said, “In the sport nowadays at the top level there are no easy days; there are extremely hard days, but I’d say yesterday was a friendly speed leg. Today, he (course designer Frank Rothenberger) ratcheted it up a couple of notches, a bunch of big verticals; the triple combination was big off the corner with two oxers, and we had a great result.

“Frank has a lot of experience and he knows how to build a competition that brings out the best. And he also challenges riders without making it too hard on the newer, less experienced ones, and people from different regions of the world where the sport isn’t strong. He’s very good at that,” he pointed out.

Harry Charles was delighted when he checked the new leaderboard. “I would definitely have taken that at the start of the day considering my position yesterday (13th). I’m in pretty good company up there (joint-third), more than a fence off McLain, but it’s all to play for on Sunday and I’m pretty happy with that! Even if it wasn’t exactly the day I wanted yesterday, I was very happy with my mare Stardust, and I’m so happy to have made up for it today. It was always my plan to ride Romeo today and Sunday; he’s a big jumper and has Olympic experience behind him,” the 22-year-old rider said.

For 20-year-old Jack Whitaker, this result was also something special. He described his handsome little grey horse as “not so big but he has a big heart; he’s a fighter. We bought him from France when he was six and my dad (Michael Whitaker) rode him until he was about 10, and I’ve only been riding him for a few years. He’s a nightmare to deal with; in the collecting ring he doesn’t like the big screen; he’s really sharp, he see and hears everything, and he gets silly, like a big kid! But when you go in the ring, he just goes, most of the time. When he gets a bit sharp it can go a bit wrong, but he’s unbelievably careful and as long as I’m getting it right, he’s normally clear,” he explained.

Very special

Ward’s title win in 2017 came after many years of trying and was very special, particularly because it was posted on home ground in Omaha (USA). When asked if he now felt under pressure having the advantage going into Sunday’s last class, he reflected:

“I sat at this venue 20 years ago in the lead going into the last day with Victor and blew it on the last line; I remember it very clearly. I sat in this position in 2017 and won, so you take those experiences and you try to use them to help you focus and keep your head right. You need to do your job, your horse has to be in form, and you need a little good fortune to win one of these Championships, and I’ve been on both sides of that coin. I think understanding that helps keep your head in the right place but it’s a challenge. As I told Harry (Charles) earlier, don’t think this gets any easier in 20 years! My team will do a great job and I’m proud of my horse no matter how it comes out – we’ll do our best!” he said.

When asked if he had any advice for his younger rivals, he joked, “I hope they get a little nervous! They are doing a brilliant job. At different stages in your career, you have different mental challenges and we all process it differently, and that’s part of sport and it’s a beautiful thing. I’ve got to work just as hard at it now in this stage of my career as they do at the beginning of theirs, for different reasons. It’s great to be still in the mix; it’s great to see them. I admire both of them their talent and ambition and it gives me energy and makes me still want it,” he said.

Contagious

He talked about his 13-year-old gelding Contagious:

“He’s an incredible tryer. I would have said at the beginning when we first got him that he was a very careful, nice, level Grand Prix horse. I never thought of him as a Championship horse, but he kept developing and he kept building scope. I would ride the scope into him a bit and give him energy, and he ended up jumping the Olympics last year and performing brilliantly and he’s a different horse since then, or maybe I look at him differently now.

“He came out of that a bigger, stronger horse, so he outshines what his natural ability was at the beginning, because he’s a fighter with great quality and he’s a bit of a character – a bit spooky and a bit jumpy, but a winner!”

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Noche De Ronda Makes Comeback in $37k Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI5*

McLain Ward and Noche De Ronda. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 30, 2022 – The final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival jumped into a week of intense action on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) won Wednesday’s featured event, the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI5*, with top mount Noche De Ronda.

Guilherme Jorge (BRA) designed a flowing track that used a vast majority of the field to test its 54 contenders. The two-phase course included a total of 15 obstacles with the first phase to be completed in 44 seconds and the second phase having a time allowed of 43 seconds. Jorge’s elements included several double combinations as well as a water obstacle to test some of the world’s best competitors. Eleven nations were represented in the original starting lineup with Mexico’s Eugenio Garza Perez holding on to the lead at the halfway mark of the event.

Ward piloted the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare Noche De Ronda (Quintender 2 x Lovis Corinth), a horse he co-owns with Marilla Van Beuren and Bob Russell, to the top position after the pair stopped the clock fault-free and with a time of 30.81 seconds.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Ward Wins Again with Catoki in $37k Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI5* during WEF 9

McLain Ward and Catoki. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 11, 2022 – A full day of elite international competition was slated for the International Arena on Friday, March 11, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). During WEF 9, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI5* saw an impressive 68 horse-and-rider combinations contending against the clock but none could best one of the fastest combinations in the world, Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) and Catoki.

Sixteen nations were represented in the starting field of the single-round speed class designed by Alan Wade (IRL). Wade set a time of 72 seconds allowed, and most entries navigated the time easily. Wednesday’s five-star class winner, Darragh Kenny (IRL), looked set to add another victory to his name for the week, until Bertram Allen (IRL) and his own 10-year-old BE/SEIS mare Emmylou (Billy Mexico x Lupin Z) took to the course. Kenny’s previous leading time of 59.19 seconds with Oakland Ventures LLC’s 11-year-old KWPN mare Gouvernante VDL (Bacardi VDL x Stakkato) lasted until Allen shaved almost two whole seconds off the clock to jump ahead with a time of 57.69 seconds.

The victory looked in the bag for Allen, but nothing was certain with Ward and his speedy mount Catoki as the third from final entry to compete. Upon crossing the timers, the duo once again proved unsurpassable, taking the lead in 57.15 seconds. The duo duplicated their victory in the same class of the same week from the 2021 WEF.

Allen’s performance stuck in the second-place position, and fellow countryman Kenny rounded out the class’s final lap of honor.

Maria Costa and Iceman B SFN Freeze Out the Competition in $6,000 Corro 1.45m CSI2*

The $6,000 Corro 1.45m CSI2* wrapped up international competition for the day. Just under 30 entries put forth their efforts over Wade’s single-round speed track. The class concluded with a win for the USA as Maria Costa piloted Iceman B SFN to the winning time of 63.40 seconds.

Only six of the opening field managed to come out of Wade’s test fault-free; a single rider had two time faults on the clock while an additional eight entries took down one obstacle. Costa put forward the best effort with her nine-year-old KWPN gelding (Mylord Carthago*hn x Corland) and bested the next closest contender by almost two seconds.

Bruno Passaro (ARG) produced the runner-up time with his second mount in the class, Alejandro Martin Del Campo’s 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding Splendide Kannan (Kannan x Quidam De Revel). As one of the six to finish without fault, they landed with a time of 65.70 seconds. Beth Underhill put Canada into the victory gallop as she and Casino Calvin galloped into third place. Underhill navigated the track in 66.61 seconds with the Rein Family LLC’s and Torrey Pines’s nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding Casino Calvin (Casino Berlin Old x Calvin) to round out the top three.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

McLain Ward and HH Azur Return to Winner’s Circle in $216k CSIO4* Grand Prix

McLain Ward with HH Azur. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 6, 2022 – Competition for week 8 at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), presented by Premier Equestrian, concluded on Sunday, March 6, with the $216,000 CSIO4* Grand Prix, presented by JTWG, Inc. Four-time Olympic medalist McLain Ward (USA) and his veteran partner HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm, led the victory gallop.

There were 48 starters in Sunday afternoon’s grand prix, and they contested a course designed by Nick Granat (USA) and Steve Stephens (USA). Eight were clear to advance to the jump-off. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Cornwall BH started the short course first but a rail for four faults in 36.75 seconds left them in fourth place. Karl Cook (USA) and Helen Signe Ostby’s Coachella 4 also had four faults in a slower time of 38.05 seconds for seventh place.

Ward and HH Azur were next into the ring and “Annie” stretched her stride out to blaze around the course clear in 35.22 seconds, setting an unbeatable time.

“She was really covering the ground great,” affirmed Ward. “I always have to watch a little bit of her left turn. That’s always been her weak side, so I was a little worried about the Fidelity jump, but I made sure she jumped it before I tried to turn back too quick. She really performed beautifully, and we were able to get the nine [strides] home and put just enough pressure on these guys that we held up.”

Ward’s student Lillie Keenan (USA) and Agana van het Gerendal Z, owned by Chansonette Farm LLC, were quick in 37.20 seconds but with four faults; they finished in sixth place. Hilary McNerney (USA) rode her own Captain Cooper to eighth place after eight faults in 38.28 seconds.

At just 24 years old, Ioli Mytilineou (GRE) continues to show her growth in the sport. She and Levis de Muze, owned by Elia Construction SA, stopped the timers in 36.84 seconds with a clear round and slotted into second place at the end of the class.

Of her top grand prix finish, Mytilineou expressed, “It means absolutely everything, to be honest. Last year here I was mostly fourth or fifth place, so I never actually got into the prize-giving ceremony. To be in it between McLain and Ben, two of the best riders in the world, is insane to me.

“When I went into the ring, the last thing my trainer said to me was, ‘Don’t risk a rail. You can be quicker than McLain anyway.’ I just looked at him and laughed, but I tried to go as fast as I could and go clear,” she recalled.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Ward Leaves It All on the Field in $216k Bainbridge Companies Grand Prix CSI4*

McLain Ward aboard Contagious. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – February 5, 2022 – A picturesque South Florida day set the stage for Saturday’s feature class at week 4 of the Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies. The $216,000 Bainbridge Companies Grand Prix CSI4* was the highlight on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village and ended with yet another victory for the home team as McLain Ward (USA) went two for two this week with his 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games mount, Contagious, owned by Beechwood Stables.

Anderson Lima (BRA) designed the course for the event, and the majority of the 46-horse starting field was unable to produce a fault-free effort. Lima’s last-line triple combination proved to be the Achilles heel for a large number of riders at the wide-oxer in fence, and the open water obstacle played a factor for several others. Two riders were kept from the jump-off after notching slightly over the 84-second time allowed while an additional nine fell victim to a single unforgiving rail. As the last horse cleared the final obstacle of round one, only four entries of the original field would return to contest the jump-off. It was a battle of the elite as Ward and 2020 Olympic individual gold medalist Ben Maher (GBR) contested Ali Wolff (USA) and Zoe Conter (BEL) in round two.

Ward was the first to return and immediately left no room for error as he and the 13-year-old Rheinlander gelding (Contagio x For Keeps) flew over the field in what proved to be the fastest time of 42.95 seconds. Maher followed Ward and put forth a solid effort but took down one heartbreaking rail to end as the only four-falter in the group. Young up-and-comer Conter piloted her long-term mount Davidoff De Lassus, a 13-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion by Ugano Sitte owned by Stephex Stables, through another clear round as did professional Wolff with tried-and-true partner Casall. The Olympic combination proved impossible to beat with the pedal to the floor from start to finish and scored the win with over two seconds of leeway between them and the next challenger.

The victory was extra special as Contagious’s owners, Lise and Annie Revers, were able to attend the event.

Twenty-one-year-old Zoe Conter found herself in a victory gallop for one of her biggest finishes to date as she slid in just behind Ward with a time of 44.92 seconds.

The podium was rounded out by Wolff and Blacklick Bend Farm’s 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding Casall (Casall x Capitol I) who have been successful partners for many years. As the final pair to return, they produced an efficient and clean performance with a landing time of 45.70 seconds.

Gigi Manigault Wins NHS/THIS Adult Medal

Saturday morning began with 14 entries in the NHS/THIS Adult Medal which took place in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals Ring 6.

Of those horse and rider combinations, Gigi Manigault, of Charleston, SC, rode to victory aboard Wizzard of Odds after entering the flat work-off sitting in third place.

Wizzard of Odds is a nine-year-old KWPN gelding by Chacco Blue owned by Don Stewart that Manigault has been riding for about a year.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

McLain Ward Saves Best for Last in $50k WEF Challenge Cup Round IV CSI4* Victory

McLain Ward aboard Contagious. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – February 3, 2022 – International competition resumed Thursday, February 3, 2022, with athletes from across the globe setting up to challenge the track on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village. Week 4, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies, is the second week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit to feature FEI classes on the turf. The highlight event of the day was the $50,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round IV CSI4* which saw 65 of the world’s best combinations. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) once again saved the best for last as the final contender to return and captured the victory aboard successful partner, Contagious, owned by Beechwood Stables.

Anderson Lima (BRA) designed the two-round test and at the halfway mark only seven entries were lined up for the return. By the end of the first round,12 of the original field had qualified for the jump-off, but three entries – made up of Kent Farrington, Margie Goldstein-Engle, and Carlos Hank Guerreiro – chose to save their jumps for another day and withdrew. The nine pairs that remained represented the United States, Egypt, Brazil, Spain, and Mexico.

Each duo gave it their best effort and the lead was exchanged several times, but Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and his own 10-year-old BWP gelding Malibu De Muze (Nabab De Reve x Tornedo FCS) had a flawless round with a time of 43.34 seconds. However, the victory was not yet sealed and, as the last to take the field, Ward once again proved his skill with an effortless round, shaving almost an entire second off of the previous leading time in 42.57 seconds.

Tamara Provost and Cayman Lead the Way in the TRM Green Hunter 3’ Division

The Equine Tack and Nutritionals Ring 6 played host to the young and green hunter divisions where Tamara Provost, of Westfield, IN, rode Cayman to the championship title in the Green Hunter 3’ division, sponsored by TRM.

It was an auspicious start as Jennifer Hannan piloted Surf City, owned by Nina Winoker, to a win in the under saddle class, as well as first and second places over fences with scores of 88 and 83. Provost was right behind, finishing in second in the under saddle and trading first and second places with Hannan over fences with scores of 83 and 86.

The close results made for a deciding second day of competition. Provost and Cayman bested the field in both over fences classes on Thursday with scores of 86 and 88 to push them to the top of the leaderboard for the overall championship title. Hannan and Surf City finished with the reserve championship honors.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Spencer Smith and Ayade Hero Z Fly to Win in $140k Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3* at WEF

Spencer Smith and Ayade Hero Z. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2022 – The $140,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3* was the feature event of the week at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Saturday, January 15, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Part of the popular “Saturday Night Lights” series, Spencer Smith (USA) wowed the crowd and jumped to victory with Ransome Rombauer’s Ayade Hero Z.

There were 45 entries in the biggest class of the week, and they competed over a course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU). Eight were able to find the path to a clear round and continued to the jump-off.

Starting out the jump-off with a bang was Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington (USA) and his 10-year-old KWPN mare Orafina (For Fashion x Canturo). They set the time to beat at 36 seconds flat, which would hold up for second place.

Smith and Ayade Hero Z were able to bring the winning time down to a blisteringly fast 34.31 seconds to take the win. Leaving out a stride in the first line was not originally in Smith’s plan.

First Lady Is First Place with McLain Ward in the CP National Grand Prix

Daytime competition in the International Arena was highlighted by the $30,000 CP National Grand Prix. McLain Ward and Robin Parsky’s First Lady outran the rest of the field to emerge victorious.

Thirty-eight entries attempted the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU) with 10 horses jumping clear to advance to the jump-off.

First to jump off was Jennifer Waxman (USA), who set the time to beat at 43.786 seconds aboard The Scato Group LLC’s Scato van de Molenbrug Z. With each round, the jump-off got faster and faster until McLain Ward (USA) and First Lady could not be caught, crossing the timers in 39.125 seconds.

First Lady is a star in the making that has been with Ward for two years.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Opening 2022 WEF Grand Prix Victory Goes to McLain Ward and Catoki

McLain Ward and Catoki © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 9, 2022 – Premiere week at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded on Sunday, January 9, with a highlight class of the week, the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix. McLain Ward (USA) and Catoki took the victory in the class.

The Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix had 32 entries that contested a course set by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). Eight were clear to advance to the jump-off. First to return for the jump-off were Thursday’s Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup winners, Hector Florentino (DOM) and ABC Quantum Cruise, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by OBOS Quality x Cruising owned by Wyndmont. They set the time to beat at 37.677 seconds with a clear round.

Robin Schwartz Celebrates a Championship Return to WEF

Robin Schwartz and her horse Back in the Game won all three classes on Sunday to conclude the Marshall & Sterling Adult Amateur Hunter Older (Section B) division with the championship ribbon. Sharing the winner’s circle was Nicole Harris and her horse Le Diplomate, who finished with the reserve championship honors. Schwartz, who trains with Devan Cottrell and Matt Piccolo at Arrow Hill Farms, and Harris, who trains with Jason Schnelle at Autumn Chase Farm, both hail from Tennessee.

This was Schwartz’s first time back showing at WEF in 19 years, and it has been an emotional return.

“It feels amazing to be back at WEF, and I am blessed to have such an awesome horse,” said Schwartz. “[The E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring] was always my favorite ring to show in.”

Schwartz’s daughter’s developing passion for horses got her back in the saddle.

Schwartz explained, “I knew if she liked it, then I’d have to get back into this, because I love all things about this.”

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.