Tag Archives: Winter Equestrian Festival

ESP Announces Addition of WEF Premiere Week at 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival

Photo copyright White Fence Equine Photography.

Wellington, FL – May 4, 2020 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) announces that an additional week will be added to the 2021 show schedule as part of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The “WEF Premiere” week will be held on January 6-10 and added on to the beginning of the WEF 2021 circuit, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

Our hearts go out to everyone suffering during this difficult situation, whether it is hardships with their health or their business. Our industry has been severely impacted, and everyone at ESP has been working hard to keep Palm Beach International Equestrian Center ready for when shows resume. Equestrian Sport Productions wants to offer a way for everyone to be able to enjoy competitive sport again and build their businesses back up.

“The mandated COVID-19 cancellation of the last two weeks of the 2020 WEF was very hard on all of our stakeholders,” said ESP President Michael Stone. “We are very cognizant of the hardships created by the abbreviated schedule and also keenly aware of the difficulties everyone is facing as the pandemic continues. We wanted to find a way to add value back to our competitors, sponsors, vendors, and VIP tableholders and feel that we can best accomplish this by being able to offer more with an additional week on the WEF schedule in 2021.”

The remaining 2021 WEF circuit will run as originally scheduled on January 13 – April 4 with the full schedule of major events essentially running as it did in 2020.

The WEF Premiere week will be a USEF Premier “AA” rated show and host national rated competition – pending final approval by US Equestrian – as will the following week of WEF competition. International FEI jumper competition will then follow during the week of January 20-24 with a CSI2* rating per the usual WEF calendar. For awards and circuit championships, competitors will still use the best nine weeks of competition out of the 13 now available for tallying points and money won.

“We are working to balance our escalating and unpredictable costs of managing the facility in the new post-pandemic environment,” added Stone. “We believe that the equestrian industry will emerge stronger in 2021, and WEF will continue to provide the best possible sport of any horse show in the United States. Our top priority is to provide a safe environment for everyone involved, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the circuit in 2021.”

For more information on the Winter Equestrian Festival, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Carriage Hill Farms Celebrates Exponential Success throughout 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival

Meredith Gallagher and Rebel de Vizy.

Delray Beach, Fla. – April 2, 2020 – Although the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to an early close, Carriage Hill Farms (CHF) is celebrating the success and continued growth of its students, horses, and staff over the 10 weeks of competition. Based in Delray Beach, Fla., the team at Carriage Hill Farms traveled 30 minutes north each week to partake in yet another year of one of the world’s premiere winter equestrian events, earning top ribbons and learning valuable lessons along the way.

“I am so proud of the whole Carriage Hill team for having a successful WEF 2020,” said Jane Fennessy, owner and head trainer of Carriage Hill Farms. “From our trainers and riders at home, to the staff we had at the horse show every day, everyone really stepped up their game and made this an exceptional season. Lessons were learned, levels were climbed, and most importantly, fun was had by all!”

Twenty of Carriage Hill Farms’ students took to the competition ring over the ten weeks, all producing great rounds in their respective divisions to progress their knowledge and experience while also achieving their goals. In total, the students of CHF claimed over 75 top-five finishes during WEF, in addition to multiple championships in divisions ranging from the Children’s Hunters to the High Amateur Owner Jumpers.

To highlight a few, Emmanuelle Greenberg piloted her horses Iomare De L’esku, Very Good de La Bonn, Tempo Royal, and Eilan Del Maset to many quick and clear rounds in the Medium Junior Jumpers, and she showed in the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search for the first time with Curacao. Annette Friend rode Casual Water in the USHJA National Hunter Derby, her first derby ever. Michelle Whitman and C’Van De Helle claimed a championship ribbon in the Adult Amateur Equitation. Erika Jakobson put in multiple double-clears for top-five finishes with USA Normande and Everton. Angela Calicchio and City Walk clinched first and second places in the Ariat National Adult Medal and Low Adult Amateur Jumpers. Riders Raine Whitman and Madison Staiano finished first and third in the SFHJA Junior Medal 14&Under and a number of other students also capped off their season with great results and even better lessons learned during their time in the ring.

“Our 2020 Season was really about growth and transitions,” shared CHF trainer Meredith Gallagher. “We had a few long-term students transitioning to college and the amateur ranks while the majority of our junior riders were moving up to new divisions and/or new horses. I believe each rider handled those transitions well and I was proud of the way they remained focused and competitive throughout all the changes that this season brought!”

CHF’s large selection of high-quality sales horses also shined bright over the course of the season. Czar Du Mesnil placed at the top of a variety of divisions, including the Low Adult Amateur Hunters, Green 3’6″ Hunters and the Adult Amateur Hunters where he was named reserve champion with Taylor St. Jacques in the irons. Rebel de Vizy continued his winning ways to place third and fourth in the High Performance Conformation Hunters with Gallagher during World Championship Hunter Rider week, and picking up the champion tricolor in the division during Week 4. Gallagher also rode Quinta, who is offered for lease, to a win in the very competitive 1.30m Jumpers. Clearano Z bested multiple fields in both the equitation and jumper rings, showing off his ability to excel at both disciplines with consistent top-three finishes. Uderzo de Rance and CHF trainer Hayley Iannotti proved to be unstoppable in the 1.30m Jumpers, crossing the finish line ahead of nearly 70 people a number of times.

“We have a wide variety of sales horses at Carriage Hill and throughout the season each one of them rose to the occasion and earned top ribbons and championships,” stated Arly Golombek, who manages the international competition and sales horses at Carriage Hill Farms. “They are all sure to make their future owners very happy as they’ve done for us this season!”

Quite possibly some of the team’s favorite memories from the season, Carriage Hill Farms participated in two of the most exciting editions of “Saturday Night Lights”: the Battle of the Sexes and the Great Charity Challenge. In the Battle of the Sexes, Iannotti was a valued member of the girls’ team as she claimed two out of three of her points against the boys team. During Week 4, Golombek, Jakobson and Greenberg rode on a team in the Great Charity Challenge to raise over $30,000 for the Step by Step Foundation.

“Having the opportunity to start the season off competing in the Battle of the Sexes was something I’ve always dreamed of. The Battle of the Sexes is such a fun class and a great way to get everybody in the spirit for circuit! I rode my horse Uderzo de Rance and he was better than I could have ever expected. It was my first time out under the lights and I’m so grateful for the experience and the opportunity that team captain Nicole Bellissimo gave me and hope to do it again in the years to come!” expressed Iannotti. “Being able to raise money as a team for the Step by Step Foundation was so special. Carriage Hill and our students have been lucky enough to participate in this event a few times now and each year it just gets better.”

Carriage Hill Farms would like to thank its entire team for their support and hard work throughout the season, as their continued success would not be possible without them. The CHF horses have now returned to their home base in Delray Beach and are enjoying some time resting and regrouping. CHF’s staff will continue to care for its horses and assist riders in working towards their goals so that when the time comes to step back into the show ring, the Carriage Hill Farms team will be ready!

Media Contact: Georgie Hammond
gh@phelpsmediagroup.com

Winter Equestrian Festival Celebrates 2020 Circuit Champions

Wellington, FL – March 23, 2020 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) is proud to congratulate the Circuit Champions for the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Featuring 10 weeks of world-class jumper, hunter, and equitation competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, this year’s circuit was a great success despite its early finale due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival Circuit Champion Awards go to the top finishers in every division, based on prize money or points won.

ESP would like to congratulate all riders, trainers, grooms, and owners on a fantastic 2020 circuit, and wish them a safe and healthy year. Circuit Champion Award winners are encouraged to pick up their prizes from the horse show office.

Click here for a full list of Circuit Champion Award Winners. For more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Jessica Springsteen Clinches Overall Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award

Jessica Springsteen aboard Volage du Val Henry. Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, FL – Jessica Springsteen was named the Overall Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) that concluded on Sunday, March 15, in Wellington, FL.

The Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award, given in memory of fellow realtor and horsewoman Dale Lawler, was presented weekly during WEF to the high-score female rider based on performances in that week’s WEF Challenge Cup and featured grand prix events. Consistent throughout 10 weeks of competition, Springsteen claimed the weekly Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady title during week four and, riding Volage du Val Henry, won the $137,000 CSI3* Grand Prix during week six.

“I’m honored to receive the Overall Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider award this year,” said Springsteen, 28, of Colts Neck, NJ. “My horses jumped so well all season, and I couldn’t be happier with them. It’s a great way to end the circuit!

“This sport is so unique in that we compete with women and men in the same competitions,” continued Springsteen. “I think it’s really special in that way, and it’s always so nice that there is an opportunity to win the Leading Lady award every week.”

In recognition of her achievement, Springsteen will receive with a custom-built jump of her choice from Jolicoeur.

“The Leading Lady Award was always the one that I aimed to win when I was competing because it is a testament to consistent top performances,” said Jolicoeur, who began presenting the award in 2010 as a way of recognizing female accomplishments in one of the few Olympic sports where men and women compete as equals. “To experience how horses have brought us all together is something special for me. It was an honor to watch Jessica and all of this year’s weekly winners find so much success this season.”

While Springsteen scored the week four title on her way to winning the Overall Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Award, other weekly winners this year included U.S. riders Lillie Keenan, Beezie Madden, Adrienne Sternlicht, and Kirsten VanderVeen; Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire and Alexandra Thornton; and Canada’s Vanessa Mannix.

Contact: Lindsay Brock
lindsay@jumpmediallc.com

Natalie Dean and Ceitasi Win $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series Final to Conclude WEF

Natalie Dean and Ceitasi. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 15, 2020 – Concluding the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season on a high note, Natalie Dean (USA) and Ceitasi topped a five-horse jump-off in Sunday’s feature class, the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series Final CSI3* and the exciting finale of the CaptiveOne Advisors Jumper Series.

From a large field of 66 world-class show jumping athletes and their equine partners, only eight answered the questions in the first round of Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) course that tested speed and skill. Over the short course, Dean stopped the clock at 34.26 seconds for the win on one of two mounts.

“Ceitasi was amazing today and she jumped the first round fairly easy and everything showed up nicely, so I was happy with her,” said Dean of her 10-year-old Westphalian mare (Caretello B x Cavalier) owned by Marigold Sorthorses LLC. “In the jump-off, a couple people had one down and I did as well on my first horse, so for my second time in the ring, I wanted to be competitive enough that I would win, and it worked out in my favor.”

This was only Dean’s second appearance in the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series, and she noted, “The track flowed well. I was happy that the triple was vertical, oxer, vertical, which was good for both of my horses.”

Meghan Knapic and Best in Blue Earn the Tri-Color in Animo Adult Amateur Hunters Younger Section B

On the final day of hunter competition, Meghan Knapic rode Best in Blue to the Adult Amateur Hunters Younger Section B championship, sponsored by Animo. Knapic and Best in Blue took on the Rost Ring to win two firsts, as well as second, fourth, and eighth-place ribbons.

Knapic is currently in Wellington for her spring break and was given the opportunity to show Best in Blue, also known as “Elton” around the barn. The rider, from Smithtown, NY, is a sophomore studying at Auburn University and training with Jenna Weinfurt. Elton, owned by First Blue LLC, is a very new mount for Knapic, and also a new horse to Weinfurt.

“Jenna, my trainer, got him five days ago and I was coming down from school and I wanted something to show this weekend. We decided to bring him out and he was amazing!” Knapic explained.

Knapic and Elton quickly formed a relationship in the show ring and proved to be tough competition after winning two over-fences classes on the first day of the division.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Darragh Kenny Out with a Bang in $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3*

Darragh Kenny and Scarlett du Sart Z. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 14, 2020 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny scored a victory in the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* on Saturday, March 14, to conclude a banner season at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt built a track for 45 starters with 12 advancing to the tie-breaking jump-off. Returning near the end of the jump-off round, Kenny and Scarlett du Sart Z, owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC, broke the timers in 33.54 seconds to claim the lead and bump Israel’s Sydney Shulman into the runner-up position. Shulman and J-Boston S.E, a horse she owns together with her mother Jill, posted a time of 33.96 seconds.

“I’ve been very lucky – I had a good winter and all the horses went very well,” said Kenny of his season at WEF. “I had a great feeling coming into this winter because I have an incredible group of horses, and I’m very lucky that I have those horses.”

Kenny got the ride on Scarlett du Sart Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide mare (Stakkato de hann x First Bride), during the horse’s seven-year-old year. He has high hopes for the mare’s future, saying, “This is a mare that Teddy Vlock and his owner bought for me, and we’ve been slowly producing her. She’s really starting to turn a corner, and I think she’s an incredibly talented horse that will end up jumping at the highest level.”

Sofia Maskowitz and Samantha Takacs Ride to Top Honors in THIS Children’s Medal 14 and Under

Equitation riders took on Ring 6 on Saturday morning to compete for the blue ribbon in the THIS Children’s Medal 14 and Under class. Due to the large number of entries, the medal was held in a California Split format with Sofia Maskowitz and Samantha Takacs riding to the top of the class. Maskowitz rode Quantum Chanel to a first-round high score of 84 and remained in the lead during the test. Takacs and her mount Cooper moved up one spot during the test, after a first-round score of 82.

Maskowitz, of Freehold, NH, has been partnered with her equitation mount, Quantum Chanel, for only a couple months. The pair, trained by Laura Bowery, stayed on top of the class through the first round of 44 entries and the test. Maskowitz described that she is still working on figuring out the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Quality, so she was extremely pleased with her first round.

Takacs, of Oldwick, NJ, and her horse Cooper also put in two consistent rounds in the medal to earn the blue ribbon in their section. The duo has been working together since last spring, with the help of New Hope, LLC as well as Findlay’s Ridge, LLC. Takacs loves the eight-year-old KWPN gelding’s big stride and sweet personality.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Final Two Weeks of Winter Equestrian Festival and Adequan Global Dressage Festival Canceled

In response to the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommendations of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the Federation Équestre Internationale (FEI), Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) has made the difficult decision to cancel the remaining two weeks of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) following the close of competition on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

“At the current time the threat is relatively low but after consulting with the USEF and the FEI, we have decided to cancel the final two weeks of competition in an effort to protect all involved with the competition and production at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC),” said Michael Stone, ESP President. “We encourage all members of the equestrian community to operate with an abundance of caution as we all work through this situation.”

“Friday Night Stars,” beginning at 7 p.m. at AGDF, and the $137,000 Horseware Grand Prix CSI3*, taking place at 4 p.m. at WEF, will continue as planned. Both facilities, however, remain closed to the public.

Stabling and access to stalls will be available for those that have purchased stabling packages until the expiration of those packages. ESP can accommodate those in need of stabling during this period. Staff will be available in the horse show office as needed, and a limited number of rings will be maintained for exhibitor use. We will also provide schooling opportunities to ensure that the horses are ready to compete when competition resumes. This is a rapidly changing situation, and we will continue to provide updates through our website at www.PBIEC.com.

Consistent with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Florida Department of Health Guidelines, everyone is encouraged to:

  • Stay home if sick, except to get medical care
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw in the trash
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily

For more information, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com and www.PBIEC.com.

Abigail McArdle Soars to Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 Win

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 12, 2020 – Abigail McArdle (USA) won the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 riding Victorio 5 on Thursday, March 12, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set courses for 82 horses with 18 jumping clear over the opening track. After eight riders elected not to return, the stage was set for a 10-horse jump-off. With only fractions of a second to spare, McArdle stole the win with a blistering jump-off time of 41.40 seconds.

“For sure this is the best season I’ve ever had in my life – and maybe will ever have,” said McArdle of her consistency throughout the WEF season. “I’m just so happy, and I’m so lucky to be riding such a nice horse.”

McArdle has been competing Victorio 5, a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Uccello x Graf Top), since the end of 2018 with their success culminating this year. “Obviously, it doesn’t happen right away,” she said. “He’s always been a good horse. He’s always jumped clean rounds, but getting to the point where I feel like I can walk in and win a big track like this has taken time. I’d say it’s taken that long just to mesh with him. Now we’re thinking the same, and it’s a good feeling.”

Hunter Kay and Lucca Earn Take2 Thoroughbred Hunter Championship

The Take2 Thoroughbred Hunter division came to a close on Thursday with Hunter Kay riding Lucca to the top honors in Ring 11. Kay and the 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Fit to Fight earned two firsts, a second, and a third-place ribbon.

Kay and Lucca, owned by Pauline Lampshire, have a longtime partnership of six years. The pair first began showing together in the Adult Hunter divisions when Kay was still an amateur. Now that Kay is a professional, the duo dominates the Take2 Thoroughbred Hunter division and won the finals last year at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“It’s so nice that they still have this division to help promote and support the thoroughbreds,” Kay said of the Thoroughbred Hunter division.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

COVID-19 Update for Winter Equestrian Festival and Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) is working closely with the Village of Wellington, Palm Beach County, and local health services to take extra precautions concerning the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Competition at both the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) will continue as planned through March 29, 2020, with policies in place to protect the health of riders, grooms, owners, and their families. In addition, the ESP Spring Series, running from April 1 through May 10, will run as scheduled with the same health and safety precautions. We will continue monitoring the situation and will follow all State and local recommendations.

In an abundance of caution, we have decided to close the venues to the general public and there will be no general admission. Only cars with an official car pass will be permitted on the venues.

For this week we will hold the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* at approximately 4 p.m. in an effort to minimize the number of persons on the grounds. “Friday Night Lights” will continue as scheduled, but without General Admission. The timings for future events will be announced as the situation develops.

During upcoming events at both venues, the following policies will be enacted:

  • Staff will be located around the facilities with hand sanitizer for exhibitor use
  • Food and beverage teams are taking all necessary precautions when handling food and cooking surfaces
  • Extra housekeeping staff has been allotted for more frequent sanitizing of restaurants and restrooms

In accordance with the Florida State Department of Health’s Guidance for Mass Gatherings Protocol, ESP is recommending that anyone in the following situations not attend WEF or AGDF events:

  • Over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions
  • Are immune compromised
  • Are ill
  • Have been exposed to someone with a respiratory illness in the last 14 days
  • Have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease
  • Have traveled internationally within the last 14 days, especially to a destination under a level 3 travel advisory
  • Have traveled to or from a geographic area with widespread community transmission of COVID-19

Consistent with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Florida Department of Health Guidelines, everyone is encouraged to:

  • Stay home if sick, except to get medical care
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw in the trash
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily

“We are monitoring this situation very closely and working diligently with local county and state government agencies to ensure the safety of all spectators, exhibitors, and the general public,” said Mark Bellissimo, ESP CEO. “Our number-one priority is to ensure that all people involved with ESP events remain healthy and safe during this time.”

“We are making these adjustments in an effort to ensure that we can continue to provide the safest environment for our exhibitors and their staff,” said Michael Stone, ESP President. “We will continue to monitor the situation and update our protocols as recommended by the Florida Department of Health and other relevant bodies.”

For more information, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com and www.PBIEC.com.

Bertram Allen Opens WEF 10 with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Victory

Bertram Allen and Lafayette van Overis. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 11, 2020 – Ireland’s Bertram Allen clinched the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI3* riding Lafayette van Overis to open the tenth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL on Wednesday, March 11.

Allen continued a streak of 1.45m victories at WEF with another win over tracks set by course designer Michel Vaillancourt (CAN). Seventy horses contested the two-phase course, but Allen and his quick gelding could not be caught. They stopped the clock at 32.68 seconds, which proved to be less than a half a second faster than runner-up Natalie Dean (USA) riding Ceitasi.

“He was very relaxed, and straight away won this easily,” said Allen of his Ballywalter Stables-owned mount. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to go full speed, but because it was a two phase, I could see how he was feeling and he felt very good.

“He is so naturally fast,” continued Allen. “There were people doing more galloping or less strides, but I did not want to do that with him today. I thought I would do as good a round as I could, and see where that left us. Because he’s so fast, he was able to get out on top.”

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.