Wellington, FL – March 8, 2020 – While strong winds blew at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, an array of talented horse-and-rider combinations aimed for the top spot in the $50,000 Griffis Residential Grand Prix CSI2*. The final event on Sunday, March 8, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded week nine.
With a highly competitive field of 44 starters, 16 competed in the jump-off round. In the second round, there were 11 competitors from the USA, three from Ireland, and one each from Israel, Mexico, and Sri Lanka. Saving the best for last, Lacey Gilbertson (USA) piloted Seabrook LLC’s Baloppi to a fault-free round with a lightning fast time of 32.78 seconds, edging out Shawn Casady (USA) aboard Gotcha, owned by Rock Ridge Farms, who had held the top spot for most of the jump-off round with a time of 33.27 seconds. Close behind was Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Skara Glen’s 7 Pillars, owned by Hampton Farm and Skara Glen Stables, stopping the timers at 34.33 seconds.
“My horse is adjustable so that worked in our favor in the first round,” said 26-year-old Gilbertson. “In the jump-off, my initial plan was to add a stride in every line, but as the class progressed the numbers showed that wasn’t the right plan if you wanted to win.”
Turning to the second to the last jump, the crowd helped cheer her on to go faster. “It definitely helped keep me going,” added Gilbertson.
Foster and Brighton Return to Winning Ways in $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Classic
Forty-four entries contested Sunday’s $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Classic, and it was the first to go in the jump-off that set an unbeatable time. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Brighton, owned by Artisan Farms LLC, blazed to the win in 32.72 seconds.
“I know he’s super fast and where I can make up the strides,” said Foster. “He has a bit of a left drift so anything heading left I can usually drop the stride whereas anything heading right I usually can’t. But I know that, and I learned a long time ago not to panic if I haven’t done the number that I was hoping to because I know I’ll make it up somewhere else. I knew the last line, the seven strides, was going to be nice and forward for me so it was a fast way to finish. I love my horse; he’s just the best.”
Sterling Malnik and Prestige Claim Large Pony Hunter Championship
The Large Pony Hunter division came to a close on Sunday with Sterling Malnik riding Prestige to the tricolor ribbon. Malnik, of Ocean Ridge, FL, rode Prestige to three first place ribbons as well as a fourth and eighth place.
Malnik has only owned Prestige since late August, but the pair, trained by Bill Schaub, has already proven to be a successful match in the show ring. Malnik describes the nine-year-old Belgian Riding Pony gelding by Ive Van De Delthoeve as one of the kindest ponies, both on the ground and to ride.
Wellington, FL – February 9, 2020 – Competition during week five of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to a close under perfect conditions for Madison Goetzmann (USA), winner of the $73,000 Rushy Marsh Farm Grand Prix CSI2*, and Canada’s Tiffany Foster, who claimed victory in the $73,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m CSI5* on Sunday, February 9, in Wellington, FL.
Balancing her freshman year of college at the University of Richmond in Richmond, VA with her time in the show ring has not slowed 19-year-old Goetzmann down one bit. She and her long-time mount Prestigious topped a field of 44 over tracks built by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen (ECU) to highlight two-star competition during week five.
“Going into the jump-off, I had my competitive edge on and my horse is very fast and reliable in the jump-off,” said Goetzmann. “It was a really great track for my horse; the stride options were forward, and he’s a smaller horse so having those strides set that way with tight turns right after really gave me an advantage. I knew I had a good shot and I gave it my all. He goes in every time and wants to win. I’m lucky to have him!”
Tiffany Foster Rides to Victory in CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic
It was a busy and successful day in the saddle for Canadian Tiffany Foster who rode one of her two mounts to the winner’s circle and placed sixth with her second horse in the $73,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI5*.
“I went pretty early on my first horse Brighton, and it helped that he is naturally super-fast, and I don’t usually worry about the time allowed,” Foster shared. Time did become a factor with many horse and rider combinations having time faults. “He’s a real veteran. I’ve had him since he was seven and he is now 14, and we know each other really well.” Foster added, “I was also thrilled with my second horse, Galino, in his first 1.50m.”
From a field of 53, only seven advanced to the jump-off as they commanded a tricky first round course set by D’Ambrosio and Christiansen. “The trickiest part of the course was the triple and then you rode six strides with a roll back that was off a short turn away from the gate that led to a very long three – you had to ride the three, no pulling – and then you continued along to the triple bar,” Foster said. “The course tested your horse’s rideability and luckily my horses both come back very well.”
Hollin Sutherland and Cambridge Wrap Up Week 5 with a Championship in the Children’s Hunter Older Division
Sunday morning began with Hollin Sutherland and Cambridge capturing the championship of the Children’s Hunter Older division in Ring 7. Out of 23 entries, Sutherland and her horse earned two firsts, two seconds, and an eighth place.
Sutherland, of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, has been developing her partnership with Cambridge over the past year and a half. The rider is very appreciative of her caring and trustworthy partner, saying, “He is really sweet and always takes care of me. He always tries his best!”
Trained by Bill Schaub, the pair stayed consistent throughout the division and won two of the over fences classes. “We really worked together as a team and everything came together,” Sutherland explained.
Sutherland plans to continue to try her best and produce consistent rounds with Cambridge in the Children’s Hunter Older division for the remainder of the WEF season.
Wellington, FL – January 26, 2020 – Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster guided new mount Northern Light to a win in the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic to close out week three of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Sunday, January 26.
From a starting field of 66, 10 horses advanced to course designer Kelvin Bywater’s (GBR) jump-off track. Returning second, Foster put the foot speed of Northern Light, a nine-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Plot Blue x Contender) to good use and stopped the clock clear in 42.47 seconds over runner-up Catherine Tyree (USA) and BEC Lorenzo, owned by Mary Tyree.
Foster got the ride on Northern Light from owners Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms at the end of September. The mare is the former mount of Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and was a match with Foster from the very beginning.
“When I rode her for the first time, I had a very good feeling,” said Foster. “You get the feeling that she’s a really intelligent horse. She knows where the jumps are and she is the same every time you get on her.”
Sterling Malnik Rides Rockette to the Junior Hunter 3’3” 15 and Under Championship
Week 3 of WEF came to a close with Sterling Malnik of Palm Beach, FL and Rockette claiming the Junior Hunter 3’3” 15 and Under championship in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. The pair earned two firsts, a second, and a fifth-place ribbon.
Malnik, trained by Bill Schaub, has only had Rockette for about one month. She recently purchased the 10-year-old mare from Ramble On Farm. Malnik is thrilled to have such a kind and talented new mount for this season. “She just blows my mind and always jumps incredible!” described Malnik.
Rockette and Malnik just started competing in the Junior Hunter 3’3” division this circuit and are already off to a great start. “She’s a proper lady; if you respect her, she’ll respect you,” said Malnik of Rockette.
The pair had consistent rounds throughout the two days of competition and also won the under saddle. Malnik believes that it was Rockette’s jump and their combined “cuteness factor” that made them stand out to the judges. “She is amazing and I think she jumps better than any other horse out there,” the rider commented.
Wellington, FL – November 27, 2019 – Kristen Vanderveen of Wellington, FL and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, dominated the $36,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener to begin the 2019 ESP Holiday Series at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). A total of 59 total competitors contested the track, which followed a power and speed format. Vanderveen and her well-known mount “Frosty” went twenty-eighth in the set order of go, stopping the timers at 31.179 seconds in the second round to set the time to beat. Molly Ashe Cawley of Wellington, FL and Louisburg Farm’s Balous Day Date came close, finishing the second round in 31.422 seconds to claim second place. Vanderveen almost beat her own time when she entered the arena aboard Bull Run’s Prince of Peace, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, but a 31.975-second round would ultimately clinch the pair a third-place position.
The course was set by FEI designer Anthony D’Ambrosio, which saw only eighteen of the fifty-nine ride double-clear. Vanderveen commented that her plan when she went in for her trip with “Frosty” was just to go fast and be clean: “He’s like my ‘old faithful’ partner, so I don’t have to worry too much with him.” Vanderveen and the 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion have had great success over the years at PBIEC and across the country.
“We just got back from competing out west. This is actually his first show back in three or four weeks, because I gave him some time off after we were out in California and at Las Vegas. I was there mostly showing my younger ones and getting them ready for season.” Over the next few days Vanderveen plans to save Frosty for the smaller Grand Prix, and will ride Bull Run’s Risen in Friday’s $72,000 Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center 1.50m Qualifier and Saturday night’s $209,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
Tiffany Foster Rides Vienna to Victory in the $1,000 FEI 1.40m Class
Earlier in the day, Tiffany Foster of Canada rode Artisan Farms LLC’s Vienna to victory in the $1,000 FEI 1.40m class after completing the jump-off track in 32.838 seconds. Jonas Vervoort of Belgium and Cicomein VDL, owned by HKC Collection LLC, crossed through the timers at 33.435 seconds to take home the red ribbon, while Rebecca Conway of Wellington, FL clinched third-place honors with Hilington Farm’s Calle Cool 14 after their 34.464-second performance in the second round. Thirty-six entries challenged the course with thirteen turning in a double-clear effort.
To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Tiffany Foster and Victor Win Suncast® 1.50m; Augusta Iwasaki and Caleche Crowned Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Large Pony Hunter Champions
Wellington, FL – March 12, 2017 – Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Special Lux concluded week nine competition of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Sunday, March 5, with a win in the $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Also showing on Sunday, two-time Olympian Tiffany Foster of Canada won the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic riding Victor.
Course designer Alan Wade (IRL) concluded his week challenging the international competitors at WEF with 45 entries in the two-star grand prix and 11 in the jump-off. McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Special Lux completed the fastest of six double clear rounds in 36.74 seconds. Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Skara Glen’s Presence stopped the clock in 38.75 seconds to place second. Jonathon Millar (CAN) and Millar Brooke Farm’s Daveau finished third with a time of 40.89 seconds.
McCrea and the 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lux x Coille Mor Hill) have been partnered for almost four years and won the FEI World Cup™ qualifier in Bromont, Quebec, in July 2016, but the rider felt like his horse lost some form after that. He was happy to have the two-star division to compete in this week, and the pair also won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman CSI 2* 1.45m speed class on Thursday.
“It’s always a struggle when that happens – when you go from everything to nothing overnight,” McCrea stated. “Literally, I just backed right off him. Two weeks or three weeks ago was his first time showing in Ocala. He was second in the two-star there in the grand prix. Then I gave him a week off and came here, again just with the idea of showing in the two-star to get him confident and happy.”
Detailing his winning round, McCrea noted, “I was in the position today to go last, which is always in his favor. I had seen Paul go. I knew maybe I had a little bit more ground speed with my horse, and he maybe has a bit more experience than Paul’s on the rollback turns. He is super careful, so I am never afraid to gallop with him.
“His ride is a little different; he is very Irish,” McCrea said of Special Lux. “He loves to gallop. I think even if you look back at his first round, he was almost ten seconds under the time allowed. That is how he his. He wants to be able to gallop; that is his strength. He is very careful. I just have to let him alone, and let him jump.”
O’Shea was aboard a young mount in Skara Glen’s Presence, a nine-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Contendro x Nekton) that he owns in partnership with Skara Glen Stables and Michael Haydon, and was happy with both of his rounds.
“I was just delighted with my horse,” O’Shea stated. “He is just a nine-year-old. I have done four grand prix with him, and he has won two of them, and second now today, so I could not be happier. I just love him; he has been really consistent.”
O’Shea found the horse when it was six and showed him in Europe as a seven-year-old. He detailed, “I think he jumped in 24 rounds, and he was clear 19 times. He is just a fantastic horse. He does not really have a weakness. He is very scopey and very careful. He is a real fighter. He is a horse for the future. I think he is a horse that is going to do championships if I don’t get in his way, so I am delighted. When they have his kind of quality, it makes everything much easier. He has the raw materials.”
Remarking on his jump-off, O’Shea added, “It was for sure the fastest jump-off I have done with him. I went very quick; Jon was just faster than me today. If I was to do it again, I do not think I could have done anything different. Maybe to the last two, I could have been a little bit quicker, but I would not have been quicker than Jon.”
For his third place finish, Millar was aboard Daveau, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Glennridge) that he has been bringing along for two years. The pair was also second in week seven’s two-star grand prix, and Millar has been pleased with his horse’s consistency.
“The last three two-star grand prixs, he was fifth, second, and now third, so double clean in all three,” Millar pointed out. “The addition of these two-star classes has been fantastic for a wide variety of horses and riders. It just gives everybody a little bit of a different option. It is fantastic to be able to take this opportunity and develop my horse.
“I could not be more pleased with him,” Millar continued. “I am just trying to teach him about turning and galloping, and things like that, without running his legs off here. He has always been a very consistent horse. I think he has a bright future, and I am just trying to develop him and give him the exposure here.”
Detailing his jump-off, Millar stated, “He does cover the ground really well. He is efficient, and quick, and turns really well. I think [the times were] pretty close, and that is what these classes end up being. It is where you can take your risks and what your horse’s sort of risk/reward situation is. Fractions of a second is what it comes down to, so overall I could not be more pleased.”
Tiffany Foster and Victor Win Suncast® 1.50m
Fifty entries started in round one of Sunday’s $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, with ten advancing to the jump-off and five double clear rounds. Two-time Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster took top honors with her veteran partner Victor, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable.
Jimmy Torano (USA) set the pace in the jump-off in 40.23 seconds to eventually finish fifth aboard Day Dream, owned by Jimmy and Danielle Torano. Laura Kraut (USA) and Cherry Knoll Farm’s Constable II upped the pace in 38.75 seconds to earn the third place prize. Lillie Keenan (USA) and Chansonette Farm’s Skyhorse followed with the fourth place time of 40.21 seconds. McLain Ward (USA) briefly jumped into the lead with a time of 37.56 seconds riding his own and Susan Heller’s Tina la Boheme, but was bested in the end. Third to last, Foster and Victor raced through the timers in 36.82 seconds.
“I think that I had an advantage, going later in the jump-off, and knowing how fast that everybody was going,” Foster said following her round. “It was one of those jump-offs where you just needed foot speed and you needed to take a little bit of an extra risk at some point. I know my horse obviously really well, since I have had him forever, and I knew that if I landed on stride one in that last line, I could probably get there in seven. I kind of opted for seven very fast strides instead of eight formal strides, but I have huge trust and confidence in my horse, and I knew he would get there. It turned out well, because if not, I do not think we could have won it.”
Even in the first round, Foster knew that she had the longtime partnership with Victor on her side.
“He is such an experienced and great horse that to jump one of these courses, even though they are difficult, you feel like it is easy for him,” Foster noted of the horse she has ridden for eight years. “That makes a big difference. There is a big margin of error I think, when you go into a class like that on a horse with that much scope and experience. That obviously is a huge advantage, and you feel a lot of confidence with that.”
Now that Victor is 15 years old, Foster and the team at Artisan Farms pick his classes carefully and try to keep the gelding’s schedule light.
“I was not even planning to do this class,” Foster laughed. “Victor’s owner, Andy Ziegler, has full credit for me even being in this class today. I had a time-fault in the WEF (Challenge Cup), and I was so mad at myself because my plan was for that to be Victor’s only class. If it were not for Andy, I never would have entered, so he has full credit for this win.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, Madison Goetzmann and Prestigious were victorious in the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic.
Augusta Iwasaki and Caleche Crowned Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Large Pony Hunter Champions
The Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Large Pony Hunter division finished Sunday morning on ‘Pony Island.’ Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA guided Laura Barrett-Gurtis’ Caleche to win two over fences classes, place fourth in the other over fences round, and fifth in the conformation. The pair earned the championship honors with a total of 23 points.
Caleche, a ten-year-old Oldenburg Pony mare by Constantin, was imported late in 2011 and started her U.S. show career at WEF in 2012. The mare is currently stabled at Stefanie Mazer’s Forget Me Not Farm in Wellington, FL.
“She’s an awesome large pony,” Mazer complimented. “She’s beautiful, easy to take care of, and so sweet. It is a real pleasure to have her in the barn. She always jumps in great form and is a really classy mare.”
Mazer introduced Caleche to her current owners two years ago when they first purchased the mare.
“I actually sold her to her current owners,” Mazer continued. “She was for [Barrett-Gurtis’] daughter to show in the pony divisions. Her daughter outgrew ponies, and they sent the Caleche back to me at the 2015 Washington International Horse Show to sell. The mare has been doing really well during the winter circuit!”
Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC captured the reserve ribbon aboard Valor. The pair received a second place ribbon under saddle, second in an over fences trip, and third in the conformation class. Valor, owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, is a 13-year-old Welsh Pony gelding that Mimi Gochman previously campaigned.
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its tenth week of competition on March 15-19, 2017. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Foster and Brighton Top Imperial Winning Round 1.50m on Saturday of ‘North American’ Tournament
Calgary, AB, Canada – The coveted $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup was featured on Saturday afternoon during the ‘North American’ Tournament CSI5*, presented by Rolex, at Spruce Meadows. Jumping clear through three rounds of competition, USA’s Kent Farrington and Gazelle emerged victorious over Elizabeth Gingras (CAN) and Zilversprings in second, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) aboard Check Picobello Z in third.
Earlier in the day, Canada’s Tiffany Foster took her second international win of the week with Brighton in the Imperial Winning Round 1.50m.
Course designer Santiago Varela (ESP) set a challenging first round track for the competitors in Saturday’s $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup. The competition took place over two rounds with a jump-off if necessary. The first round was a speed track against the clock, which saw 39 entries in total. The top twelve competitors from the first round then returned for round two in reverse order of penalties. Seven entries jumped clear over the first round course, and six of those also cleared the second round track to necessitate a jump-off.
Heading into the third and final tiebreaking round over a shortened course, Jonathan McCrea (USA) was first to go aboard Candy Tribble’s Aristoteles V. The pair completed another clear round in the jump-off to eventually finish fourth with a time of 45.52 seconds. Hardin Towell (USA) and Jennifer Gates’ Lucifer V had one rail down in the jump-off in 45.33 seconds to place sixth. Next to go, Kent Farrington and Gazelle raced through the timers in an unbeatable time of 40.59 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and her own and Artisan Farms LLC’s Southwind VDL followed with the fifth place time of 46.04 seconds. Eric Lamaze then jumped the third place time of 43.98 seconds riding Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Check Picobello Z. Last to go, Elizabeth Gingras and Zilversprings galloped into second place in 42.63 seconds.
Farrington and Gazelle have had an impressive summer that includes also winning the $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, during last week’s competition at Spruce Meadows.
A ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Farrington and Robin Parksy, Gazelle never tired through three demanding rounds of competition for this week’s win.
Commenting on her stamina, Farrington stated, “That horse has really come on strong. One of her strengths is that she has a lot of blood and a lot of energy, so she kind of gets better as she goes.
“I don’t want to say I am totally surprised because I always thought she was a very good horse,” Farrington said of Gazelle’s recent success. “I got her when she was seven and I have been bringing her along now for the last few years. She has had her ups and downs like all of them. You never know what they are going to be in the end. She hit a little bit of a rough patch when I put her in some bigger classes and she got overly careful and was struggling a little bit, so I dropped her back down at the end of Florida, did some smaller classes and built her back up. I always had hopes that she would be where she is today, so I am very pleased.”
Course designer Santiago Varela had the difficult task of setting three different tracks for Saturday’s coveted competition, which has seen wins from some of the best in the sport. Farrington first won the event in 2014 aboard Voyeur, and spoke of this year’s courses.
“I thought he (Santiago) had a measured first round,” Farrington detailed. “It was difficult, with a short time allowed that put a lot of pressure on people, and probably caused some rails that they normally would not have. He only ended up with seven clear and a couple with time faults. That is usually the right number so that you still have a chance for a jump-off. I’m not sure, but I think that was his plan. The second round was a little more straightforward with a difficult line at the end. That was sort of the big test of the competition with the double liverpools. That is always difficult to jump, and still there were enough clear, and a great competition in the jump-off.”
Farrington went third over the short course with three fast riders still to come. Explaining his strategy, the rider stated, “I am not one that really plays it safe. I like to try to win and I do not think you win as much if you are playing by trying not to lose. I usually have my own plan of what I think is within the horse’s ability, and I try to work within those limits, and make the most of that track for what my horse can do.
“I never think that my time will hold up until the competition is finished,” Farrington added. “I am not that confident, because I think that is when you get caught, but I thought I put a lot of pressure on everybody else to really have to try.”
Elizabeth Gingras definitely had to try for her second place finish with Zilversprings, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Silverstone x Emilion) that she has had for three years.
“I have been watching Conor Swail, and Kent, and Eric all tour, and they are all so fast,” Gingras remarked. “I just went as fast as I am capable of at this point in my career, and hopefully I will just keep watching them and get as fast as them, or maybe even faster.
“Obviously I am really thrilled,” Gingras said of her result. “My horse was absolutely amazing. I am just so happy to have him back again. We had a little hiccup for a while, so I have been building him all tour, and to end on this note is really great. He is very special to me.”
Santiago Varela spoke about the result following Saturday’s competition, congratulating the riders and thanking Spruce Meadows.
“I think it was a very good competition,” Varela stated. “We tried to put the pressure more in the first round than the second one to keep the horses fresh to be in the jump-off, and at the end it was a very great jump-off, and I am really happy. I would like to thank the committee for giving me the opportunity to be here. It is very nice to have the possibility to build here at this special show.”
Varela’s next stop is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a Technical Delegate. Farrington is also on his way to the Olympics, as he was recently named to the U.S. Show Jumping Team with Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur.
Until then, Farrington goes to the World Equestrian Festival at CHIO Aachen in Germany. Gazelle and Uceko both fly there to compete next week. They will then have a short break before heading to their next stop in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, at the beginning of August.
Foster Tops Imperial Winning Round 1.50m
Canada’s Tiffany Foster took her second international win of the week with Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stables’ Brighton on Saturday. Competing in the Imperial Winning Round 1.50m, Foster and Brighton proved consistent over two rounds of competition to take top honors in front of an electric Calgary crowd.
Thirty entries started over the Santiago Varela (ESP) designed course, and 12 competitors jumped clear in round one to qualify for the winning round, in which they started again with zero penalties. The combination that then had the fewest faults in the fastest time in round two was the winner. With eight clear competitors over the second round course, Foster and Brighton came out with the victory in the fastest time of 47.92 seconds.
Richard Spooner (USA) and Little Valley Farm’s Cornancer placed second in 48.27 seconds. Lucy Deslauriers (USA) and Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester finished third in 48.81 seconds, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Rosana du Park placed fourth in 49.03 seconds. Ireland’s Conor Swail and Cita, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, rounded out the top five with a time of 50.19.
Foster and Brighton, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Contender II x Quick Star), began the week with a win in Thursday’s Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m jump-off competition and continued that winning momentum into the weekend.
Foster was overjoyed to get another win. She stated, “I just think this horse is so cool and so great. He is awesome. I do not know how he can keep going so fast and stay so high over the jumps all the time. He is so good, and I am so happy and proud of him. It was such a fun competition.
“I am amazed at how fast he goes every single time,” Foster laughed. “He does things that I do not imagine any horse can do; he is not normal. It is really fun because you do not have to play by the rules with him. You can come as fast as you want to a plank, or a skinny, or a vertical. The rules do not apply, so it is just so fun.”
Teammate Eric Lamaze held the leading time before Foster entered the ring, but she had not seen his round and took advice from Yann Candele to “go full speed.”
“Normally Eric beats me,” Foster admitted. “I did not actually see anybody in the jump-off. My plan was to come up early enough to watch Eric, and I did not make it in time. The thing is, Rosie (Rosana du Park) is such a fast horse, so generally if all the poles stay up and he does all the strides, it is almost impossible to beat him.
“The only thing I think I had working in my favor today was that the lines were a little on the half-stride,” Foster detailed. “Eric had already done the leave-outs in the first round, and I had not done them just because my horse does not have quite the same stride length as his. So me doing the same numbers, I can go faster just because I have to be kicking the whole way to get there, and Eric can do it a little bit easier. There was one turn to the double-verticals today that I was not planning to do, and then I went in the ring and they said Eric did it, so I knew I had to. I just kind of closed my eyes and hoped for the best, and my horse is incredible and it worked out.”
There were still a few more rounds after her time was set, so Foster waited anxiously to see if it would hold, but stayed back in the warm-up ring.
“I did not watch at all,” she stated. “I find here at Spruce Meadows, it is better to just not watch and listen for either a groan or a cheer from the crowd, and then see how it goes. Honestly today, even if I had ended up in sixth place, I was so thrilled with him. I could not have been happier.”
The ‘North American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, concludes on Sunday with the final day of competition for the 2016 Spruce Meadows Summer Series. The Enbridge Classic Derby will be held first in the International Ring, followed by the Spruce Meadows 1.45m Classic, presented by Kubota.
Philipp Weishaupt and Chico 784. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Tiffany Foster and Meredith Darst Top 1.50m Competitions on Thursday of the ‘North American’ Tournament
Calgary, AB, Canada – The ‘North American’ Tournament CSI5*, presented by Rolex, continued on Thursday with a win for Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and Chico 784 in the feature Progress Energy Cup 1.55m at Spruce Meadows. The pair topped a 13-horse jump-off to win over Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Check Picobello Z in second, and Richard Spooner (USA) with Chivas Z third.
The Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m was also held on Thursday with a win for Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Brighton. Earlier in the day, young rider Meredith Darst (USA) won the ATCO Cup 1.50m with her horse Quester de Virton.
Spain’s Santiago Varela set the courses on Thursday and saw 20 starters in the day’s highlight Progress Energy Cup 1.55m with 13 moving on to the jump-off. Six entries completed the short course without fault, with the fastest time of 42.08 seconds completed by Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt aboard Madeline Winter-Schulze’s Chico 784.
Eric Lamaze (CAN) was close on his heels in 42.84 seconds to finish in reserve aboard Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Check Picobello Z. Richard Spooner (USA) and his own Chivas Z placed third in 43.45 seconds.
Weishaupt has earned a lot of top finishes this summer, but a win had eluded him until Thursday. The rider from Germany was thrilled to finally get his victory in one of the biggest competitions of the series with Chico 784, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Cordalme x Sandro) that he brought along from four years old.
“It was so nice to get my first win in the International Ring here, especially in that competition,” Weishaupt stated. “It was one of the highlights of the weekend, and the competition with the second best money of the whole tournament, so I am so excited that I won it. I had a good feeling on Chico in the first round and I thought I would try in the jump-off. I risked a little bit more than I did in the first weeks and I am so happy it worked out.”
Detailing his winning jump-off, Weishaupt noted, “I thought that if somebody went crazy they would beat me, but they had to try hard to get that time. I think I had a pretty good jump-off and Chico is a fast horse. He loves those big grass arenas and he has a huge stride. I knew that if they wanted to beat me they would have to go quick today.”
Before this summer, Weishaupt had only competed at Spruce Meadows in the ‘Masters’ Tournament, but decided to try out the Summer Series this year for the great competition and excellent ranking points.
“I came to Spruce Meadows three or four times to the Masters with the German team,” he explained. “Every year I did very well, I just never had the win. We won the Nations’ Cup two times as a team, but I never had an individual win here, so it feels really good today. It is a special moment.”
Weishaupt recently jumped from 139th to 81st in the Longines FEI World Rankings thanks to his great results at Spruce Meadows.
Commenting on his major move, the rider remarked, “I did not do much for half a year and that gets you to the bottom of the ranking list fast, so that is another reason that I came here this summer. It is a great place to earn points to come up in the rankings. I was shocked when I saw the list that I moved up so much; it was amazing. You have to have the right horses; it does not come automatically. You have to be strong, and you have to have the right horses, and you have to be competitive; otherwise you are not moving anywhere.”
Weishaupt plans to jump Chico 784 again in Saturday’s ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup. His horses will then fly back to Germany where he will compete at the CHIO in Aachen.
Concluding the day, Weishaupt stated, “I love Spruce Meadows. Calgary is a great place to compete; the horses love it, the riders love it, and it is just an amazing place. I am definitely coming back again.”
Foster Gets a Win in the Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m
The Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m jump-off was held Thursday evening with a win for Canada’s Tiffany Foster aboard Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Brighton. Foster and the ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Contendro II x Quick Star) topped an eight-horse jump-off out of 27 starters over the Santiago Varela (ESP) designed course. They completed the fastest of six double clear rounds in 35.54 seconds.
Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Wishing Well Farm’s Cherrypop finished second in 35.94 seconds. Richie Moloney (RL) and Equinimity LLC’s Merquisio placed third in 36.08 seconds. Lucy Deslauriers (USA) with Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester, and Peter Lutz (USA) aboard Katherine Gallagher and Michael Meller’s Retiro, tied for fourth place with matching times of 36.53 seconds. Brian Morton (CAN) and Grafton Farm’s Atlantis T placed sixth in 37.89 seconds.
Commenting on her winning mount, Foster smiled, “He is awesome. We got him when he was seven, and from right when we first started competing together, he has always been a winner. This year he has actually really stepped into his own. He has won a few times this year and he is just the coolest; I love him.”
Foster has also had many top placings throughout the summer series, and already this week, and was happy to finally win one in the ‘North American’ Tournament.
She stated, “Spruce Meadows is so special in any ring, but especially in the International Ring, and I have been second a lot here. I have been so close so many times. I have been trying to win all of them and I just keep being not quite fast enough. I know with this horse that I can take all of the risk. It is funny, because Philipp Weishaupt and I have been joking that we have been the bridesmaids of this tournament because we have both been second a lot. Then he won the big competition today, and I won this one, so we were the brides today!”
Foster detailed her plan for the jump-off, noting, “I find Brighton a little bit short-strided, so I do not always try the big leave outs. But as has been the case in a few of the competitions that we have won, Eric (Lamaze) said to me, ‘Nope, you can do it, you can leave that stride out,’ and I kind of went with it. If Eric says I can do it, I know I can do it, and it generally works out.”
Foster added, “Every course suits Brighton. He can do anything. He goes forward, he adds, he is so clever, and so quick. His legs move so fast. He is a really cool, very special horse, and I feel really lucky to have him. It really shows this initiative that we have had at Artisan Farms with Andy and Carlene Zielger buying young horses and bringing them along. All of our horses that are so successful, most of them we have started as young horses. They are really patient owners and they have really encouraged us to bring the young horses here to Spruce Meadows and develop them, and then we come back with horses that can win a lot of competitions.”
Meredith Darst Takes First International Victory
The ATCO Cup 1.50m jump-off was the first event to be held in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows on Thursday with a significant win for 19-year-old Meredith Darst (USA). The young rider took her very first FEI victory aboard Quester de Virtonafter only jumping clear over her first 1.50m track just 24 hours before.
Course designer Santiago Varela (ESP) saw 45 starters over his first round course, yielding 12 to advance to the jump-off, where Darst had the advantage of being last to go. After watching the early competitors, she stole the lead in 46.89 seconds
Antonio Maurer (MEX) and Mario Onate’s Balarina 3 finished second in 47.56 seconds. Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Candy Tribble’s Brugal VDL placed third in 49.08 seconds. Leslie Howard (USA) jumped into fourth place aboard her own and Peter Howard’s Up & Blue Chapelle in 49.13 seconds, and Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) placed fifth aboard his own Chacna in 49.51 seconds.
Darst, who usually trains in the U.S. with Max Amaya, has had the privilege of being coached by Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN) this summer. With Lamaze looking on, she laid it all on the line with “nothing to lose” in Thursday’s competition.
“It is my first FEI win, so it is incredible,” Darst remarked. “Yesterday was the first time that I was clear in a 1.50m ever. I am just honored to show here, and compete in this ring, and I do not think it has really hit me yet.”
Detailing her jump-off round, Darst explained, “The first half of the course is where I made up speed I think. Eric Lamaze is helping me and he said to go for it on jumps one, two, three, four, and I do not think I have ever gone so fast in my life. I just galloped! Then I took my time a little bit in the end, just because there were harder, more careful parts at the end of the jump-off course. My horse jumped great. He was with me everywhere and I just felt really confident.”
Darst had never even met Lamaze before coming to train with him in Calgary this summer, but has learned a lot in the last several weeks.
“It has been an incredible experience,” she noted. “Eric was like, ‘If you want to go for it, just go!’ And I was not going to say no, so I went for it.”
Speaking of Quester de Virton, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Aiglon Rouge) that she has owned for one year-and-a-half, Darst added, “I really just started doing big jumpers when I got Quester. I always did a lot of hunters in the U.S., and getting my confidence up has been enough of a project, but when you have a horse that has all the scope and all the heart it really makes your job easy. I just have to find the jumps. Last year I did a 1.55m here, which was my first big competition on him. I have gotten to know him well, so we are really clicking now, and it is so much fun. He is a really great horse.”
The ‘North American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, continues on Friday featuring the Pepsi U25 Challenge and the LaFarge Cup 1.50m in the International Ring in the evening.
Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photo by PSV Jean Morel.
La Baule, France – Canada’s Eric Lamaze continued his winning form, scoring a second victory riding Fine Lady 5 at CSIO5* La Baule, France, this time in the €25,000 1.50m Prix S.C.H. La Baule – Cap Atlantique held Saturday, May 14.
The win comes hot on the heels of the pair’s victory in Thursday’s €28,000 1.50m Prix FFE, where Lamaze bested a starting field of 64 entries. Riding Fine Lady 5, Lamaze stopped the clock in 68.20 seconds to take the win over Gudrun Patteet of Belgium with a time of 69.90 seconds riding Sea Coast Atlantic.
On Saturday, Patteet would once again prove to be Lamaze’s closest competition. Of the 45 starters, eight posted a clear round over the track set by French course designer Frédéric Cottier to advance to the jump-off. Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 once again showcased their incredible turn of foot, nipping around the shortened jump-off course in a time of 33.85. Patteet, again aboard Sea Coast Atlantic, followed Lamaze in the jump-off order. While the Belgian rider opted to leave a stride out to the final fence, a wide oxer set in front of the ingate, her time of 34.94 seconds left Lamaze well ahead for the win.
“It was a nice jump-off; you could leave strides out or take risks in the rollbacks,” said Lamaze of the jump-off track. “Fine Lady is very good at turning back, so my strategy was to do one less stride between fences one and two, and then stay tight on the roll backs. Coming home, there was a double combination and then you could do seven or eight strides to the final oxer, and I did the eight strides. Even doing that, she was still fast enough to win.”
With the 2016 Olympic Games on the horizon, Lamaze has a difficult choice to make. With several top mounts in his stable, the next two months will determine the 2008 Olympic Champion’s choice for Rio.
“Fine Lady is feeling very good,” said Lamaze of the 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms in partnership with his Torrey Pines Stable. “She goes from here to Rome where I will ride her in either the Nations Cup or the Grand Prix. Then I will use her very lightly in Calgary, and bring her back for Aachen and see if she’s the one for the Olympics. We have a nice program for her, and she’s continuing to jump well.”
Lamaze’s other Olympic hopefuls include his 2015 Pan American Games team gold medal partner, Coco Bongo, and Check Picobello Z, who will compete with Lamaze next week in the CSI5* Global Champions Tour in Madrid.
On the final day of competition in La Baule, Lamaze will call on the newest addition to his string, Chacco Kid, for Sunday’s €200,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix. Fellow Canadian Yann Candele of Caledon, ON is also competing at La Baule and will ride First Choice 15, owned by the Watermark Group, in Sunday’s finale.
While Lamaze was representing Canada in France, fellow Artisan Farms rider Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC was across the English channel competing at CSI4* Windsor in England. Like Lamaze, Foster was also part of an eight-horse jump-off on Saturday. Partnered with her season veteran Victor, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable, Foster produced a clear jump-off effort in a time of 33.46 seconds. In the end, Foster settled for second in the €55,000 1.55m King of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup behind Kent Farrington of the United States, who stopped the clock in 31.86 seconds riding Creedence.
Following La Baule, Lamaze travels to Madrid, Spain for the CSI5* Global Champions Tour running May 19-22. Then it’s on to CSIO5* Rome, Italy from May 26-29 where he and Foster will both compete as members of the Canadian Show Jumping Team in Nations’ Cup competition.
Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439 www.startinggate.ca
Tiffany Foster riding Victor for owner Artisan Farms at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Photo by Starting Gate Communications.
Wellington, Florida – For the second year in a row, Carlene and Andy Ziegler’s Artisan Farms was the recipient of the Harrison Cup Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the owners whose horses won the most money in all open jumper classes at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival held January 13 through April 3, in Wellington, FL. Artisan Farms rider Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC was named the Overall Leading Lady Rider of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival. Both award presentations took place during the $500,000 CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix on Saturday evening, April 2.
Artisan Farms enjoyed another incredibly successful season on the winter circuit with five different horses winning Thursday’s feature event, the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup, a total of six times between Foster and fellow Artisan Farms rider Eric Lamaze. Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Champion, also scored victory in the $216,000 CSI4* Ariat Grand Prix during WEF week four riding Check Picobello Z as well as the $86,000 1.50m Suncast Classic during WEF week nine with Rosana du Park.
In addition to picking up two wins in the WEF Challenge Cup Series, one in WEF week eight riding Brighton and again in the final week of competition riding veteran campaigner Victor, Foster was recognized as the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider a total of three times, in WEF weeks four, seven and eight. Presented to the top female grand prix competitor each week, the award recognizes consistency in the weekly WEF Challenge Cup and Grand Prix classes. At the end of the 12-week circuit, Foster was honored as the Overall WEF Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider Award, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in memory of Dale Lawler.
“I think it’s wonderful that Martha Jolicoeur presents this award throughout the circuit,” said Foster, 31, who received a set of custom jumps as her prize. “One of the great things about our sport is that men and women compete against each other as equals, but I think it’s nice to recognize the leading ladies individually. There are so many strong female riders on this circuit that it makes winning this award something to be very proud of.”
Speaking to her success as the top female rider of the Winter Equestrian Festival, Foster said, “The main secret to having such a consistent circuit is the incredible team of horses that Andy and Carlene Ziegler have put underneath both me and Eric. We were able to compete in every important class and never have to overuse our horses because we have so many at the top level.”
Success in any sport is the result of teamwork, and Artisan Farms has an incredible group of people who all play a role in its success.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms,” said Foster of the support she receives. “Their continued support and enthusiasm is unparalleled, and I am eternally grateful to them. I would also like to thank Eric Lamaze for all of his help with all of my horses. He is an incredible trainer and I feel very lucky to have him with me every step of the way. I also want to recognize all of my grooms, the people on the ground, our farriers, our vets and everyone on our staff. Everyone works incredibly hard and it would be impossible to do this without them. I also want to thank all of my sponsors for their generous support and, of course, I want to give an enormous thank you to all of my horses that I love so much!”
“Tiffany is not only a great rider but a terrific trainer and friend,” said Andy Ziegler. “Carlene and I have enjoyed watching her develop into one of the top riders in the world, and look forward to her future success.”
With the winter season now concluded, the Artisan Farms horses move back to their European base in Vrasene, Belgium. Foster and Lamaze will next compete as members of the Canadian Team in Nations’ Cup events at CSIO4* Coapexpan, Mexico from April 28 to May 1 and CSIO5* Rome, Italy from May 26 to 29 before heading home to Canada to compete at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC and Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB in June.
Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439 www.startinggate.ca
Tiffany Foster and Victor. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Swail and Grafton Take $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic; Kelley Farmer Clinches Shapley’s Green Conformation Hunter Division Championship
Wellington, FL – March 31, 2016 – Week twelve of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Rolex, continued on Thursday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, with two featured FEI world ranking classes in the International Ring.
Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Victor won the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 in the afternoon, and Conor Swail (IRL) and Grafton took top honors in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Jumper Classic in the morning.
The 2016 WEF circuit concludes with its twelfth and final week of competition featuring CSI 5* jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter competition running March 30 – April 3, 2016. Friday features young jumpers in the International Ring with the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Young Jumper Five-Year-Old Final, the $15,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Six-Year-Old Final, and the $20,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Seven-Year-Old Final.
Saturday highlights include the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final Jump-off, presented by SOVARO®, at 6:30 p.m. followed by the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*. The circuit concludes on Sunday featuring the final round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC.
Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) is the course designer in the International Ring for the final week of WEF competition. He set the track for 38 entries in the final edition of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series on Thursday. Ten combinations went clear to advance to the jump-off, where eight continued on, and four completed double clear rounds. The win went to Tiffany Foster of Canada aboard Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Victor in a time of 40.22 seconds.
Chile’s Samuel Parot and Atlantis finished second in 42.22 seconds. Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Sarena clocked the third place time of 45.91 seconds, and USA’s Lauren Hough guided Paris Sellon’s Cornet 39 to fourth place honors in a time of 46.51 seconds.
Foster’s longtime partner, Victor, is 14 years old this year. She began riding the Dutch Warmblood gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) when he was just eight, and knows her mount very well.
“We have been together for a long time, so I knew this jump-off was going to suit him because he has a pretty good right drift, and a lot of the turns were going to the right,” Foster said of their tiebreaker. “When I walked the jump-off I thought, ‘Okay, hopefully I can get into this one, because this would be a good one for him.'”
In the jump-off, Foster left a big stride out to the last jump, and her experience and trust in Victor paid off.
“That was a bit of a Hail Mary,” Foster laughed. “I did walk that number. It walked 12 strides, and I was thinking I could get there in nine. Then I was thinking to myself, ‘That sounds a little extreme,’ in my head. I knew he would go right at the skinny, and then if I kept going, he has a really big stride when you open it up, and I figured if I could stay committed to going to something forward then hopefully the number would show up. When I left the ground I just said a little prayer and hoped.”
Foster also spoke of the first round and how she had a little good luck in getting to the jump-off as well.
“I got a little lucky in the first round. He rubbed one jump pretty hard, but that was probably good for the rest of the course because then he was a little bit extra sharp,” she admitted. “He is a really old campaigner of mine. We know each other very well, and it feels good to go into a class like that when you know your horse so well. He also travels naturally very quickly, so you never have to worry too much about the time.”
This week’s WEF Challenge Cup was a little different since it was not a qualifier for the final grand prix. That changed the entries a bit and laid the cards in Foster’s favor, as she explained, “It feels good to win any class, but it definitely feels good here week 12. You know that everybody has their best horses out and the money is up. One thing that was different this week than normal was that this WEF was not a qualifier for the grand prix because everybody qualified throughout the circuit, so you saw a variety of horses. You saw a lower number in the entries, so that was a big factor. Then you had kind of two categories of horses. You had young horses that were stepping up and this was their finale, or you had horses that were getting ready for the grand prix. There were not too many in there that were really second horses going in there to win like I had, so I think that made a big difference. The Suncast Final on Saturday is also worth a lot of money, but sometimes you have to play your odds. Sometimes when you know your horse is jumping well, you take the win when you can get it.”
Foster hopes that the momentum of her win with Victor on Thursday will carry over, as she plans to jump him again in the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final on Saturday. She will ride Tripple X III in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* to conclude the circuit.
In addition to the winning prize money, Foster earned a $3,000 bonus for wearing her SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion. It was her second bonus of the circuit, notching up $6,000 in total after also winning the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 aboard Brighton.
Swail and Grafton Take $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Jumper Classic
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) began Thursday morning with 68 entries over his speed track in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Jumper Classic and 12 clear rounds. The winning time belonged to Conor Swail (IRL) aboard Ariel and Susan Grange’s Grafton in 67.28 seconds.
Victoria Colvin (USA) and Take the High Road LLC’s Austria 2 finished second in 68.12 seconds. Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Ronnoco Jump Ltd.’s Crespo PKZ placed third in 69.29 seconds, and McLain Ward (USA) aboard Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z finished fourth in a time of 69.93.
Grafton, a ten-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Calvaro Z x Vondeen), is really just getting going for the 2016 season.
“You have not seen much of him this winter,” Swail explained. “He had a bit of thrush and small things that laid him up for a week or two here and there, so I just never really got going on him. He is one of my better horses, so I have had to be patient. I would prefer if it was week six with him now to be honest, because he feels really good and he is jumping nicely, but it is a long year and we eventually got him up and running. I thought he was very good today; he was super.”
Speaking of his winning round, Swail detailed, “I did not see many rounds. I was riding a couple of other horses in [another] ring. I had a little bit of a plan to do the leave out across the middle – the five and the six strides. Everyone was going six and seven, but I have a very big mover, so I thought that was very beneficial for me to keep the high tempo. The course suited him today. There were not too many shorter distances, and I was able to just use the big gallop, and it worked very well for me. He was good on the few inside turns we had as well. I was very happy with him there today. He is also going to do the Suncast Final on Saturday, so that was a good warm-up for him.”
At just ten years old, Grafton is still developing, and Swail has high hopes for the stallion this season.
“He is still a young horse,” Swail stated. “He is a very talented horse, but he has had a few issues. There are always excuses for him, so for me he has not actually reached his potential yet. I think he is a really good horse. Last year he had a nice year, but there have been interruptions for one reason or another, so it is just a matter of being patient. When he tells me he is ready to do the bigger things, I will be ready for him to.”
Swail will jump Grafton and another mount, Cita, in Saturday’s $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final.
“They are two very good horses,” he noted. “I have a great string of horses here. It has been a little quiet for me, but I am still hanging around and getting results here and there. I feel I have had a good season. I think my horses have gone well; they have learned a lot, and I have produced them well enough for going forward, so the rest of the year is looking nice.”
Also competing in the International Ring on Thursday, David Beisel and Harlow Investment Enterprises’ For Sunday jumped to victory in the $500 Adequan® Young Jumper Six-Year-Old Power and Speed.
Kelley Farmer Clinches Shapley’s Green Conformation Hunter Division Championship
Kelly Farmer piloted the seven-year-old gelding Clever Conversation to another tricolor win in the Green Conformation Hunters, presented by Shapley’s Grooming Products. Farmer topped both over fences classes on Thursday morning in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring with the Warmblood gelding. “Clever,” as he is called in the barn, also topped the under saddle class, placed second in the model, and earned a first and a third over fences on Wednesday.
Stephanie Danhakl’s mount First Light, who was ridden by Scott Stewart, took home the reserve title. Stewart and the seven-year-old Hanoverian stallion topped the model and one of the four over fences classes. First Light also placed third in the under saddle and earned third, seventh, and eighth over fences.
Clever has had a tremendous circuit with rider Kelley Farmer of Wellington, FL. The pair has won consistently in the Green/Regular Conformation division throughout the season, including championships during weeks one, two, four, and six. “I think he’s going to be circuit champion, which is really nice,” Farmer remarked.
Farmer began sparingly showing Clever last year. “We bought him down here last year in February and did a few shows, but not too much. I showed him a handful of times this summer and then started showing him more this circuit,” she explained.
Farmer fell in love with Clever the first time she laid eyes on him, which was inside a horse trailer on his way to another home. It is an endearing story of happenstance that Farmer tells rather affectionately. “I had another horse coming out of quarantine, and I went to meet the truck at the farm,” Farmer explained. “Clever was standing next to my horse on the truck, so I asked the driver where he was going.” The driver explained that the horse belonged to Jennifer Bieling. At which point Farmer called Jennifer and arranged for a trial the very next day. “I told Jennifer that he’s adorable and that I’ll be there tomorrow to try him,” Farmer laughed.
When Farmer informed her business partner Larry Glefke of the new horse she was going to try he was not as thrilled. “I told Larry I found a new horse at quarantine and he asked me, ‘What about the horse we already bought?’ I told Larry our horse will be nice too, but I want to go try the beautiful horse I saw on the truck.”
Farmer jumped Clever over four jumps the next day and decided to buy him. “He had such a good brain from day one. He’s a good mover, has a beautiful look, and that jump!” she exclaimed. “He walked right onto my field and from day one he was so straightforward and easy.”
“He’s a very quiet horse,” Farmed said. “He literally comes from the stall straight to the ring. He’s brave, straightforward, and simple.”
“I’m excited about Clever’s future” Farmer stated. “He’s a really good horse, and I’m not sure I’ll have him long, but as long as I do it will be great.”
Farmer plans to compete with Clever in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. The first round will take place on Saturday afternoon in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. “I’m going to let him show this weekend in his first International Hunter Derby. It’s going to be his first real test. He was great in the International Arena during (WCHR) Hunter week, but this will be new for him,” Farmer said.
The final week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday with the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Young Jumper Five-Year-Old Final, the $15,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Six-Year-Old Final, and the $20,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Seven-Year-Old Final featured in the International Ring. The Triple Crown Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section A will award championship honors in the Rost Arena. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.