Peter Leone and Wayfarer. Photos © Sportfot.
Samuel Parot Wins $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic; Erika Luter Victorious in THIS Children’s Medal 15-17
Wellington, FL – February 26, 2017 – Peter Leone (USA) and Wayfarer concluded week seven of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* on Sunday, February 26, in Wellington, FL. Also competing on Sunday, Samuel Parot (CHI) and Quick du Pottier topped the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) concluded week seven with 44 entries in the $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Eleven entries qualified for the jump-off, where Olympic silver medalist Peter Leone completed the fastest of seven double clear rounds in 35.49 seconds aboard Lionshare Farm’s Wayfarer.
Jonathon Millar (CAN) and Millar Brooke Farm’s Daveau finished second in 35.63 seconds. Abigail McArdle (USA) placed third riding David McArdle’s Cade in a time of 35.96 seconds.
Wayfarer, an 11-year-old gelding (Languster x Lancer II), was born and raised at Leone’s Lionshare Farm in Greenwich, CT. In 2012, the gelding won the Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Final at WEF and has since developed into a top horse for the rider.
“He is a big-strided horse,” Leone described. “In the jump-off, I tried to take advantage of my horse’s big stride. I kept him a little fresh coming into today. That is when he jumps his best. He really felt in good form.”
Leone continued, “The first round, I only got to watch a little bit because one of the wonderful things, but also challenging things about being at the Winter Equestrian Festival, is that many of us have students that are jumping in other rings. Right after the course walk, I went and put a wonderful rider in the Low Junior Jumpers. Then I came back and watched a couple and did my first round. Then I ran back to go do another great student of mine that went into the lead in the High Children’s Jumpers. Then I came back just in time to jump on and give it a go in the jump-off.”
Commenting on the course, Leone added, “I was glad that Anthony set (the course). It is hard to set a challenging two-star track for 45 horses because you are limited to how big the jumps can be. It is hard to get the right number clear, but I think he set a really good course today and had a good number for the jump-off. I love that that they are having these two-star classes, because I would not have been jumping this week if there was not a two-star along with the five-star. I think it is one of the best things that this show management has done.”
Second place finisher Jonathon Millar was also pleased with the opportunity to jump in the two-star division this week with his young mount Daveau, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Glennridge).
“We bought him as a seven-year-old,” Millar detailed. “He is a quick horse. For being a big horse, he is pretty handy. He is very smooth, and I think that is what makes him quite quick. Plus, he is smart. If I ask him to turn, or I ask him to go on an angle, he knows where we are going.
“I am taking advantage of the two-star classes with him this year just to develop him and give him this experience and every week try to be a little faster,” Millar added. “He was fifth two weeks ago in the two-star grand prix as well. He has had a great winter here. He is just a fun horse to ride, and he is a real competitor. I am looking forward to a bright future with him.”
McArdle was aboard a veteran mount in her horse Cade, a 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Heartbreaker x Darco) that she has owned for five years.
“We retired him last year, and then we brought him back this year,” McArdle noted. “He had a little over a year off. Our philosophy is if they are sound, they keep going. There is nothing like nature and time that gives a horse its way back into the ring.
“This format has been great,” she said of the two-star division. “I have been kind of easing him in to see what he is ready to go back and do again. It is special because this is the only horse I have that is not a sales horse; it is mine. I finally have one of my own back to do the big classes, and he is incredible.”
Samuel Parot Wins Suncast® 1.50m
Sunday’s $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic featured 50 starters over another Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) designed course, with a ten-horse jump-off. Chile’s Samuel Parot raced through the short course in 38 seconds flat for the win aboard his own Quick du Pottier.
Canada’s Tiffany Foster jumped into second place riding Artisan Farms’ Brighton in 38.96 seconds. McLain Ward (USA) rode his own and Susan Heller’s Tina la Boheme to the third place time of 39.02 seconds. New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley took both fourth and fifth place honors, crossing the timers in 40.12 seconds riding the Sky Group’s Casper, and 40.50 seconds with the Sky Group’s Barnetta.
Parot and his 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Hurlevent De Breka x Cuba) have been partnered since 2014 and share a mutual appreciation for speed.
“This horse is really fast. He jumped a very good first round, and in the jump-off I tried to win,” Parot stated. “I went very fast, and I took a lot of risk at the last jump. He is very careful. He jumps a lot of clear rounds, and he did not touch anything today.”
Parot continued, “He won a few classes last season, and it feels very good to be having such a great circuit. For him to make the jump-off is not difficult. He is always very fast.”
While Quick du Pottier’s ability and enthusiasm make him a winning horse in the show ring, the gelding needs to be well-managed at home and in the warm-up ring.
“He is very hot,” Parot explained. “I do not jump him much at home, and it is not possible to jump him here in the warm-up. I do one jump and then go. He is a really special horse.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, Emma Kurtz and Chagrin Saddlery’s Carisma topped the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic.
Erika Luter Victorious in THIS Children’s Medal 15-17
A field of 31 riders competed for the top honors in the THIS Children’s Medal 15-17 on Sunday morning, but it was Erika Luter of Palm Beach, FL who rode her own Cris Van De Helle to the win. The medal consisted of a first round and a final test that brought back the top four riders in reverse order. The test consisted of a hand gallop, which proved to be the most difficult portion of the test, a halt, a counter canter, and a rollback to an in-and-out.
Speaking of her test and first round, Luter said, “I haven’t really practiced that many hand gallop jumps, so that part was a little risky. I was nervous about it, but he took care of me there and the rest went really well! The first round course was nice. The bending line was a long seven strides, which was challenging, but once I got my pace going it ended up really nicely.”
Luter purchased the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Cristo two months ago and recently started showing him in the 3’6″ equitation classes.
“He’s one of the best horses I’ve ever had,” Luter explained. “He makes my job very easy and is so loveable and kind. I just started competing in the big equitation classes, so my main goal for the winter circuit is to be successful and consistent in those rounds.”
Melanie Dunton of Warrington, PA and her own Antero moved up from the fourth place position after the test to finish in second place. Antero is a 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Abke. The third place ribbon went to Samantha Weinerman of Chester, NJ and her own Encantada. Weinerman also shows her eight-year-old mare in the Children’s Hunter 15-17 division. Hailey Link, of Irvine, CA and her Barolo W placed fourth.
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its eighth week of competition on March 1-5, 2017. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.