Tag Archives: Winter Equestrian Festival

Peter Leone and Wayfarer Top $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* at WEF

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.

Samuel Parot and Quick du Pottier

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.

McLain Ward and HH Azur Repeat Victory in $380,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI 5* at WEF

McLain Ward and HH Azur. Photos © Sportfot.

Augusta Iwasaki Wins THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under

Wellington, FL – February 25, 2017 – Two-time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) and superstar mare HH Azur jumped to victory in the $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5* for the second year in a row on Saturday night at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Rounding out an all-star line-up, Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 finished second, and Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) and Arrayan placed third.

Thirty-nine entries started over course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) first round track on Saturday night, with 12 combinations qualifying for the jump-off. The race over the short course was a showdown of epic proportions, with an impressive roster including eight Olympians, three of the top-ten ranked riders in the world, and an Olympic champion going head-to-head riding their best horses.

Ward, riding Double H Farm’s and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur, jumped the winning round in 39.70 seconds. Lamaze, aboard Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Fine Lady 5, stopped the clock in 40.07 seconds. Alvarez Moya and Alvarez Moya Horses SL’s Arrayan placed third in 40.10 seconds.

“I am thrilled with the mare,” Ward said of his 2016 Olympic silver medalist mount, an 11-year-old Belgian Sport Horse (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui). “This is her first big start of the year. We gave her a little bit of a rest with the World Cup Finals in Omaha in mind. We have planned only two major weeks for her here.

“For myself, I have to say I was probably a bit motivated tonight,” Ward continued. “I have been on a little bit of a four-fault run and getting a little frustrated. Eric has been winning everything. Sometimes Eric says I have a look; I think I had it tonight. I wanted it a little bit.”

Commenting on the short course, Ward noted, “I thought it was quite a well-balanced jump-off. Eric and I have very different horses, and there were pros to the jump-off for both horses. There were long gallops at the beginning and the end, which were not that hard with my mare’s stride, and her bravery, and scope. For me, those hairpin rollback turns in the middle were much more of a concern, because with a big horse like mine I knew I was going to lose momentum. It was a fraction between us. I had a little bit of a lucky rub on the second to last fence, but I have been having some unlucky ones lately, so I’ll take it.”

Lamaze, who was the 2008 Olympic Champion, was aboard Fine Lady 5, the 14-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) that he rode to an individual Olympic bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. The pair has already won big this winter, taking victory in week four’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3*, as well as week five’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5.

Remarking on his night, Lamaze stated, “She has really jumped fantastic every time out. It was like she gave me all of the effort that she could. McLain was just that much better today. You might say he was lucky, but there was nothing lucky about the round that he had.”

Detailing the differences, Lamaze explained, “From jumps one to two, McLain already did seven strides, which I did eight. Then he did a nice seven (strides), and (then) I believe eight, which for me was really not possible. She does not have the biggest stride. She is very quick across the ground, but I knew that eight was not possible. I tried to be as quick as I could on the rollbacks, but they came a little backwards for me actually. Then I did my best coming home. I think that is where he got me.”

Finishing third, Alvarez Moya brought his 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Baloubet du Rouet x Grannus) Arrayan to Wellington this winter as he prepares for the FEI World Cup Finals in five weeks. Alvarez Moya showed in Wellington eight years ago, but decided to return to the event this season to stay on the top of his game competing against many of the best in the world.

“There are great competitors here,” Alvarez Moya noted. “We have Sunshine Tour in Spain that is not that far from my place, but it is a completely different level. Here is a bit more real competition. You have to go against these guys, and you have to try hard to do well in the grand prix.”

Alvarez Moya, who also jumped in last summer’s Rio Olympic Games with top mount Carlo 273, purchased Arrayan ten months ago. The Spanish Champion built the gelding up from the two-star classes and was pleased with their night.

“I was super happy when I finished the jump-off today; the way I could ride in the jump-off,” Alvarez Moya stated. “The turns suited me quite well. The left side is not very good; he gets very strong. I was really happy the way that he went.

“He was really strong when I first got him,” Alvarez Moya added. “I actually did not take him to a show for a few months because I could hardly ride him. He has gotten better and better. He does not have all of the experience, but he tries. He wants to jump clear.”

Concluding the night, Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo remarked, “First and foremost, I want to thank the riders. That was a great show this evening. The crowd was about as good as we have had here. I think we have created a culture in Wellington that understands and appreciates show jumping. To get 12 straight weeks of pretty much packed houses is a great testament to the sport and the athletes that are here. I am very excited about that. I want to thank Tom Tisbo and the Tisbo family for the Suncast sponsorship, and thank you to Rolex. This circuit changed greatly when Rolex came into the picture, and WEF continues to showcase the best in the sport. We have just seen some great show jumping.”

Cian O’Connor (IRL) jumped into fourth place in 40.21 seconds with Adena Springs and Ronocco Jump Ltd.’s Good Luck. World number-one Daniel Deusser (GER) placed fifth with Stephex Stables’ Cornet D’Amour in 41.05 seconds. Kevin Babington (IRL) and Shorapur placed sixth in 41.37 seconds, and 18-year-old Emily Moffit (GBR) guided Poden Farms’ Hilfiger van de Olmenhoeve to a seventh place finish in 45.87 seconds.

Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Kelsey Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm’s Everything were the winners of the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers. Emily Perez and Paola 233 won the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch.

Augusta Iwasaki Wins THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under

August Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA won the THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under on Saturday morning. The medal consisted of a first round and a final test that brought back the top four riders in reverse order. The test included a halt, counter-cantering a fence, and several changes of lead. The field of 34 riders was competitive as the cut off score for the test was an 85.

August Iwasaki and Small Advantage

Small Advantage, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Argentina owned by Iwasaki & Reilly, is a new mount for Iwasaki, who started riding him at the end of November. Prior to being shown in the equitation classes, the gelding competed in the 1.40m jumpers. Iwasaki and her mount were sitting in third place after the first round but moved up following her test to take the win.

“Part of the test was to canter down the quarter line and do three changes of the lead,” Iwasaki explained. “My horse is good at lead changes, but he likes to have a rail to bounce over and because there are obviously no rails on the ground in the class, I chose to do simple changes. Simple changes are easier anyway. He felt really good over the jumps. Sometimes he gets a little strong, but he’s new to things and just figuring it out.”

Devon Thomas of Millburn, NJ and her own Cordino finished in second, moving up from the fourth place position after the test. Thomas started competing the coming 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Corrado I in May 2016 and also shows him in the 3’6″ equitation classes. In third were Ava Ellis of Annapolis, MD and Campreoll, an entry of Missy Clark & North Run. Fourth place went to Tessa P. Brown riding Katie Strandberg’s Sephora.

The seventh week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic and $50,000 Grand Prix CSI 2* in the International Arena. The THIS Children’s Medal 15-17 will also decide a winner. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Laura Kraut and Nouvelle Win $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m at WEF

Laura Kraut and Nouvelle. Photos © Sportfot.

Amy Momrow and Nicole Lyvere Top $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Wellington, FL – February 24, 2017 – Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut (USA) was victorious on Friday, February 24, in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m speed class riding Nouvelle at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) saw 57 starters over his one-round speed track, with 14 clear rounds. Kraut went early in the order with her first mount, St. Bride’s Farm’s Confu, and set a fast pace in 58.19 seconds that eventually finished third. Several rounds later, Richie Moloney (IRL) stole the lead in 57.17 seconds riding Equinimity LLC’s Ypaja Yando. Moloney’s time held through over 30 rounds, until Kraut returned with her second mount, Nouvelle. Second to last in the order, Kraut and the Evita Group’s Nouvelle took the win in 56.43 seconds, pushing Moloney into second.

“She was great. I am really pleased with her,” Kraut said of the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Solitair x Contango). “It is nice sometimes to drop her down to a lower class and let her gallop and have fun.”

Detailing each of her rounds, Kraut stated, “I went early on Confu, and I know where I got beat with him. After the liverpool, with the rollback to the black oxer, I ended up having to wait for one more stride, which just slowed me up enough to be beaten. So I knew that if I could go in and get going with Nouvelle, and just make sure that I kept coming forward through that turn, then I could hopefully beat my time and Richie’s.”

With a nice win midway through the winter circuit, Nouvelle will continue to jump the next few weeks.

“We are being pretty conservative with the horses down here this winter. We have a big year ahead of us, so I will just pick and choose what I think is good and keep her happy and sound,” Kraut concluded.

Also competing in the International Arena on Friday, the $35,000 1.45m CSI 2* competition saw victory for Emma Heise (USA) riding Old Willow Farms’ Quentucky Jolly.

Laura Chapot (USA) won the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m. Speed Challenge riding her own and Mary Chapot’s Calafornia. The $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper Power and Speed concluded the day with a win for Tanner Korotkin and Castlewood Farm’s MacArthur.

Amy Momrow and Nicole Lyvere Top $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

The USHJA National Hunter Derby finished on Friday with Amy Momrow of Wellington, FL topping the open section aboard Curb Appeal and Nicole Lyvere of Lakewood, CO winning the junior/amateur section riding Certainty. The open section saw 24 first round competitors, while 27 juniors and amateurs contested for the first place honors. The top twelve scores in the first round of each section returned for a second round handy trip.

Amy Momrow and Curb Appeal

Momrow has ridden Monty Kelly’s Curb Appeal, a coming seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Unaniem, since he was imported in 2014. The pair earned a first round score of 89 and a second round score of 92 for an overall total of 181. Curb Appeal was also presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Hunter Style Award by Laura Fetterman.

“He really stepped it up in the handy round,” Momrow stated. “He was super in the first round, but he got a little green in places and had a couple spots where you could tell his age and experience level. He really excels in the derbies because he loves something a little more interesting and different than the normal hunter tracks. Ever since day one, he’s had a winning attitude and just wants to please.”

Lyvere piloted her own Certainty to scores of 90 in the first round and an 89 in the second round for an overall total of 179. Lyvere rides the eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Hoftanz in the Amateur-Owner Hunters, and the pair has been partnered together since 2014.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with him,” Lyvere detailed. “Over the last nine months everything has finally come together, which makes this win more exciting than if things have gone smoothly. He used to get really nervous in the ring and just when we’d start going well, he’d get a minor injury and we’d have to start over. He’s so sensitive, but I’ve taken it upon myself to make a really strong bond with him and it’s helped in the ring.”

The Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Section A division awarded championship honors to Cathleen Driscoll of Wellington, FL and Good Times. The pair won two over fences classes, placed second in another, and second under saddle. Driscoll enjoys working with young horses and has worked with Good Times since he was a three-year-old.

“This is my first year here at WEF, and it’s a big transition,” Driscoll explained. “I’m really happy he settled in well and had a really good week. I got him as a three-year-old in Europe and have done all the training on him. It’s really nice to get results on a horse you’ve brought up yourself. I’ve just tried to take it slowly, one step at a time, and it really paid off this weekend.”

Jef Lauwers of Magnolia, TX rode Cupid, owned by Lindsay Holstead, to secure the reserve ribbon. Lauwers guided the 2009 Holsteiner gelding to first, second, third, and fifth place finishes over fences, as well as third place under saddle.

Week seven of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Saturday, featuring the $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5* in the International Arena in the evening. The THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under will award a winner in the South Ring in the morning. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Kent Farrington and Creedance Win $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 7

Kent Farrington and Creedance. Photos © Sportfot.

Jessica Springsteen and Davendy S Take $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m; Heather Caristo-Williams and Summer Song Triumph in Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′

Wellington, FL – February 23, 2017 – Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington (USA) and RCG Farm’s Creedance were victorious in the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 on Thursday, February 23, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) saw 56 starters on his first round course, with 14 advancing to the jump-off and six clear over the short track. Farrington and Creedance took the win with a time of 33.92 seconds.

Ireland’s Conor Swail guided Finca Horses’ Flower to second place in 34.14 seconds. Japan’s Karen Polle jumped With Wings into third place with a time of 34.24 seconds. USA’s Lauren Hough was aboard Laura and Meredith Mateo’s Waterford to finish fourth in 34.52 seconds. Marilyn Little (USA) and Karen O’Connor’s Clearwater placed fifth in 34.66 seconds, and Margie Engle (USA) rounded out the top six with a time of 37.96 seconds riding Gladewinds Partners’ Royce.

For his win on Thursday, Farrington stuck to his own strategy with the speedy mount and made time with quick, tight turns.

“I watched a couple go early in the jump-off just to be sure about my plan, but he is very fast by himself, so I have to stick to his routine,” Farrington noted. “I can’t try to do stride numbers that other horses do. I have to win on short turns and using his foot speed.”

Farrington continued, “I think the horse is naturally quick, and I naturally ride pretty quick. I did one extra stride to the oxer before the rollback turn. That probably made it easier to rollback shorter, and he is fast enough to do that. A slower horse, if they add a stride there, they are going to be two seconds behind, so I think a smaller, quicker horse has the advantage on a rollback like that.”

“It is a big week here; a five-star week in Florida,” Farrington said after his win. “I have been bringing Creedance up slow, and this is his first five-star show here. We are off to a great start. He jumped last week under the lights in the small ring, and I thought he was a bit rusty. He came out in much better form today, so I am happy with his progress, if nothing else.”

The ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris) won two five-star grand prixs in St. Moritz and Geneva, Switzerland, in 2016, among other top finishes at a young age. He will next contest Saturday night’s $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5*.

Along with the winning prize, Creedance was presented the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week seven, presented by Laura Fetterman.

Jessica Springsteen and Davendy S Take $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m

Jessica Springsteen (USA) was the winner of the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class with Stone Hill Farm’s Davendy S during WEF 7. Beginning on Wednesday, the class was stopped halfway through due to inclement weather and resumed with its remaining entries on Thursday morning.

Fifty entries showed over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course, which yielded 16 clear rounds. Springsteen showed in the first half of the class on Wednesday afternoon, piloting Davendy S to the winning time of 56.41 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili finished second in 57.61 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) and Couscous van Orti placed third in 58.99 seconds. Cian O’Connor (IRL) finished fourth riding Ronnoco Jump Ltd.’s Callisto through the timers in 59.21 seconds.

Jessica Springsteen and Davendy S

“She was amazing,” Springsteen said of her 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Pachat II). “I saw Kristen go, and I saw that she was really fast. I knew that I definitely needed to take a couple of risks, but that is where she is just such a fast horse across the ground and over the fences. She is so much fun in those classes.

“I really wanted to win,” Springsteen continued. “I just tried to do the tightest turns that I could, but she is just one of the fastest horses I have ever ridden on her own, so if I stick to my plan normally I am able to have a good place. I knew there was still half the class to go, but after we went, I was pretty sure that we had it. There was no place I could have gone faster.”

Davendy S lights up in the show ring, but generally has a very calm demeanor.

“I know she looks like a really hot horse when she is in the ring, but actually to ride, she takes a lot of leg,” Springsteen explained. “If you see her just walking around, she does not look like a speed horse. She is so big and sleepy, but when she gets in the ring she gets so excited. She just loves it.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Emma Heise (USA) and Old Willow Farms’ Viper Vrombautshoeve Z won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI 2* speed class.

The $2,500 Engel & Völkers High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class concluded the day with a win for Jorge Matte Capdevila and C’Est Beau.

Heather Caristo-Williams and Summer Song Triumph in Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′

Heather Caristo-Williams of Wellington, FL and Summer Song were named champions of the Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′ division. The pair dominated the over fences portion, winning two classes and placing second in another, while also collecting the sixth place ribbon under saddle.

Summer Song is a family horse for the Caristos. Heather’s mother, Holly Caristo, picked the mare out to buy and Heather’s father, Ralph Caristo, helped train Summer Song. The family shares a passion for horses and operates Glenview Stables out of Saugerties, NY.

Speaking about why the coming seven-year-old Zangersheide mare by Clintissimo Z stood out to her mother, Heather said, “She just has such a beautiful canter, a lovely rhythm, and an endless jump to her.”

Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo purchased the mare at the end of the 2016 WEF circuit and Caristo-Williams campaigned her in the Baby Greens throughout the summer. The pair stepped up to the 3′ Green Hunters at the start of the 2017 winter season.

“She is a diva and likes to be doted on,” Caristo-Williams detailed. “In the future, she’s going to be an amazing high performance and derby horse, which would be really exciting if I still have her. She’s really not afraid of anything and has so much scope.”

Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL settled for reserve honors aboard For Ever, an entry of Victoria Colvin, LLC. Colvin rode the 2012 Holsteiner gelding by Diarado to first, second, and third place finishes over fences.

The Green Incentive Class Level One found a winner in Kristy Herrera of Wellington, FL and Gabriel, owned by JT Farm. The Green Incentive Class Level Two awarded the blue ribbon to Holly Orlando and True Story, an entry of Cathy Zicherman. The USHJA founded the Green Hunter Incentive Program promote the development of green horses and offers an annual Championship during the same week as the USHJA International Hunter Derby finals.

Competition continues on Friday featuring the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m speed class in the International Arena. The Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Section A will award championship honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Diego Vivero and Bijoux Win $50,000 National Grand Prix at WEF

Diego Vivero and Bijoux. Photos © Sportfot.

Daniel Coyle Tops $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix; Hooker, Ingram, and Arani Win WCHR Hunter Classics

Wellington, FL – February 19, 2017 – Ecuador’s Diego Vivero and Bijoux concluded week six of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $50,000 National Grand Prix held on Sunday, February 19, on the derby field at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Also competing on Sunday, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and Simba de la Roque were victorious in the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by EnTrust Capital.

Week six course designer Richard Jeffery (GBR) set the track for Sunday’s $50,000 National Grand Prix and had a four-horse jump-off. The winning time of 34.44 seconds belonged to Diego Vivero and Javier Estrada’s Bijoux, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Cartani x Athletico).

Taylor Land (USA) finished second riding Jay Land’s For Edition with a time of 36.56 seconds. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) cleared the short course in 36.62 seconds to place third riding Silver Raven Farms’ Akuna Mattata. Leslie Howard and Annie Phillips’ Street Legal were fast in 35.20 seconds, but incurred eight faults to finish fourth.

“I am very happy. I have had this mare for only ten months,” Vivero stated after his win. “She is very fast and very brave. We are a team now, and I think she going to do much more.

“She is fast, and I am very competitive,” Vivero detailed. “I just went fast and I trusted her today, and she was great.”

The pair earned two CSI 2* grand prix victories in Mexico last year, along with other national grand prix titles. In 2016, they also finished third in the $25,000 Nutrena Spring I Grand Prix competing post-WEF at PBIEC.

“I have been coming to Wellington for three years,” Vivero noted. “I am very happy to win because it is very competitive here and there are the most experienced and best riders in the world. It is very difficult, and it is good to win any class, but I am very proud to win here.”

Daniel Coyle Tops $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by EnTrust Capital

The $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by EnTrust Capital, was held on the derby field at PBIEC on Sunday morning with a win for Ireland’s Daniel Coyle riding Susan Grange’s Simba de la Roque.

Daniel Coyle and Simba de la Roque

Course designer Richard Jeffery (GBR) saw 41 starters over his first round course, followed by a 15-horse jump-off with four double clear rounds. Coyle and Simba de la Roque were in a league of their own with the winning time of 36.28 seconds.

Hayley Barnhill (USA) finished second in 43.88 seconds riding Barnhill LLC’s Zephire. Emma Butchard (USA) guided her horse Brasil to third place in 45.05 seconds. Ailish Cunniffe (USA) and Whipstick Farm’s Casper placed fourth with their time of 46.80 seconds.

Simba de la Roque, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kannan x Allegreto) was previously guided to numerous victories with Ireland’s Conor Swail before changing reins to Coyle this winter, who has already recorded an international victory with him.

“I have only had Simba a couple of months now, but even with Conor, and even before Conor, he was always a fantastic horse,” Coyle stated. “I had planned for today, so it was good that it all went to plan. I would have liked to go a little bit later in the jump-off so I did not have to go as quick, but thankfully it worked out all right.”

Coyle was also the Under 25 Champion at the 2016 Royal Winter Fair and has the advantage of many new horses to ride for Susan and Ariel Grange’s Lothlorien Farm this year.

“I have been given an amazing opportunity by Sue and Ariel Grange,” he acknowledged. “To all of a sudden have all of these horses that have done five-star level that I have not done, I have gotten very lucky. I really like the under 25 because it gives me a chance to get to the next level with whatever horses I am unsure about. It is a really good class for me to get to know my horses so I don’t have to jump in something that I am not ready to do or the horse is not ready to do.

“The series is very important for me with Simba, for example, because it gives me a chance to get him ready for the next level through this.,” Coyle continued. “Simba definitely loves the grass, so I chose him for this. It is brilliant that these classes are now FEI, because realistically, they are just as hard to win really. That is not a small 1.45m by any means. It is important that they are now FEI because the jumps are the same height, but it gives us more experience being in the FEI environment.”

Barnhill has ridden in the under 25 series for the last four years with the same mount, her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, Zephire (Coriano x Animo).

Remarking on her second place finish, Barnhill stated, “I knew there was no way that I would go as fast as Daniel, so I just wanted to jump a clear round and be quick enough. It worked out in my favor I think because everybody was trying to catch him, so a nice, smooth, clear round worked out for me.”

Barnhill has stepped Zephire up to the 1.50m level and enjoys the opportunity to jump in the under 25 classes to gain experience and jump confident rounds.

“She is a little bit older this year, so it gives you a goal and some real classes to do without having to jump the Saturday nights or bigger grand prix,” Barnhill noted. “This series has definitely helped her build up to the that level. Down here, even the three-star night classes are a little bit bigger than they are anywhere else, so it is nice to have these classes that she is really strong in.”

Butchard jumped in the under 25 series for the first time in 2016, competing in two events to get her first 1.45m experience. This year, the rider has also moved up to the 1.50m level and has built her own confidence competing in the series.

Butchard feels secure with her mount, Brasil, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Tenerife VDL x Farrington) that she has owned for one year.

“He brought me from the 1.10m up to the 1.50m now,” Butchard stated. “We call him the professor because he teaches me everything. He is the horse of a lifetime for me.”

She continued, “Today was our first time doing a jump-off at the 1.45m, so we were just trying to go clear. This year we are hoping to make it to the final.”

The Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, was expanded to ten events in 2017, offering a total of $245,000 in prize money for the season. Developed as a bridge to the international level of grand prix competition, the Series gives athletes, both human and equine, an opportunity to compete under a myriad of conditions; all important elements that competitors will face as their international careers progress. The series concludes with a $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Final, which the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest on Sunday, April 2.

Hooker, Ingram, and Arani Win WCHR Hunter Classics

Amateur and junior hunter riders took their last turns in the International Arena on Sunday. The classic round winners were decided by taking the highest overall score over two rounds. The top 12 combinations of the first round were invited back for a second round. A field of 64 riders vied for the Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Hunter Classic, but it was Nancy Hooker of Wellington, FL who was victorious.

After receiving the second highest score in the first round, an 87.00, Hooker came back and earned an 89.00. A combined score of 176.00 was enough for Hooker to take the win aboard Winter Stroll, an entry of Richard Prant. Consistency was key in the class as Lynn Rogers received similar scores of 86.50 and 88.00 in the first and second rounds, respectively, for an overall total of 174.50 and second place. Rogers rode her own Blue Point, a nine-year-old gelding that she’s been partnered with for five years. Rounding out the top three was Samantha Karp and Zentina B, with an overall score of 169.50.

Winter Stroll is a green six-year-old Warmblood gelding by Convento de Helle. “Week one of WEF was his first week of showing,” Hooker explained. “I bought him from my trainers, Ken Berkley and Scott Stewart. I was riding him a little bit this fall and fell in love with him. He’s got a funny personality and can get a little sassy. We’re still learning about each other. He lives in my backyard; I have my coffee and answer emails in the morning and watch him in the paddock.”

WCHR week is a big focus for Hooker’s trainers, Berkley and Stewart. “It’s a lot of fun because we all get behind each other and have a good time,” Hooker stated. “I love showing in the International [Arena] because they build it up, and the jumps are so fabulous. I had moments where I could take a breath out there, enjoy the jump, and how pretty it all was. It’s a real treat.”

Martha Ingram of Nashville, TN captured the win in the WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter Classic aboard Fonteyn, an entry of John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC. The pair’s score of 88.00 was the highest in the first round. A second round score of 87.25 brought their total to 175.25 and clinched the win.

Speaking of her 2004 German Sporthorse mare, Ingram said, “She’s so sweet and really tries hard to do everything right. She was staring at some of the things to the side of jump one, but she jumped it really clean and beautiful. I had a great flow on her throughout both rounds.”

Ingram splits her time between competing at WEF with her family and Greenville, SC where she attends Furman University. Martha Ingram and her father, John Ingram, both qualified and participated in the highlight event of the week, the Peter Wetherill WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, on Saturday evening.

“It’s amazing to show here with my mom and dad,” Martha Ingram exclaimed. “It’s a great time to do what I love and also be able to spend time with my family.”

Second place honors went to Kaitlin Porath of Charlotte, NC and her own Breaux. Porath guided the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Verdi to scores of 85.00 and 87.00 for an overall total of 172.00. Margot Peroni and her 2009 gelding, Orlon, earned the third place ribbon with a total score of 167.00.

Reid Arani of Lexington, KY made her first class in the International Arena one to remember. Riding Molly Laughlin’s Solo, Arani won the WCHR Junior 3’3 Hunter Classic. The pair received first and second round scores of 80.00 and 84.00, respectively, for an overall total of 164.

“I’ve only been riding him the past two weeks,” Arani said of the nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Argentinus. “He felt really good. It’s nice to know he can show this late [in the day] in the International and be that good. He’s very sweet and playful and always kisses my hand.”

Narrowly missing out on the first place prize was Jordan Allen of West Bloomfield, MI. Allen and her own Empress finished just two points behind Arani with an overall score of 162. Stella Propp of New York, NY and Morocco, an entry of Joe Currais, finished in third with a combined score of 159.

The final day of WCHR week at WEF saw many other classic winners. Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC and Casino topped the Children’s Hunter 14 & Under Classic. Their combined score of 168 bested a field of 33 first round trips. The Children’s Hunter 15-17 Classic found a winner in Caroline Passarelli and Firatostha R, an entry of Rosemont Farm, LLC.

Emma Callanan rode Sir Harvey to win the Florida Large Pony Hunter Classic with first and second round scores of 80 and 88, respectively, for an overall total of 168. Zayna Rizvi guided Smallwood Mystic to the top spot in the Florida Medium Pony Hunter Classic. The winner of the Florida Small Pony Hunter Classic was Alexa Elle Lignelli aboard Rollingwoods Knee Deep.

Nicholas Lopes piloted his own Salty to win the Large Children’s Hunter Pony Classic with final score of 165.00. The blue ribbon in the Small/Medium Children’s Hunter Pony Classic went to Taylor Cawley of Wellington, FL and Ju-Ju B.

The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its seventh week on February 22-26, 2017. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Scott Stewart and Catch Me Win $100k WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular

Scott Stewart and Catch Me. Photos © Sportfot.

Marilyn Little and Clearwater Top $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic; Lucy Deslauriers and Hester Win $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Welcome

Wellington, FL – February 18, 2017 – For the second year in a row, Scott Stewart and Catch Me won the WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, the highlight class of week six on Saturday, February 18, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

Over the 21-year history of the class, Stewart has been a dedicated participant, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he found himself in the winner’s circle. This year, Stewart piloted not only the stunning ten-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding to a repeat victory, but also a green six-year-old KWPN gelding, Private Life, to the second place position.

The WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular takes place during World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at WEF as the feature “Saturday Night Lights” event. The United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) founded WCHR in 1992 to recognize hunter riders and the Hunter Spectacular debuted shortly after. Each year, hunter riders look forward to the chance to compete under the lights in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Stewart took the top two spots, while Elizabeth Boyd and Maraschino finished third, and rounding out the top four was Maggie Jayne and Standing Ovation.

Thirty of the country’s top professionals, juniors, and amateurs tackled the two-round course, which is offered at three heights (3’6″, 3’9″, and 4′) and designed by Patrick Rodes. The top 12 riders returned for the second round. Each of the competitors qualified for the class by winning either champion or reserve in one of the specified hunter divisions during WCHR week at WEF or through another WCHR designation.

Scores came from three panels of judges, including Rick Fancher and Tammy Provost on panel one, Jim Clapperton and Shane George on panel two, and Chris Wynne and Mary Lisa Leffler on panel three. Overall placings were decided by combining scores from the first and second rounds.

Stewart, of Wellington, FL, and Catch Me topped the first round with a score of 94.00, and while their score of 88.66 wasn’t the highest in the second round, their two round total of 182.60 was enough for the win. Catch Me is owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC and is no stranger to the winner’s circle. The gelding by Casiro was recently named 2016 USEF’s National Horse of the Year and has been champion numerous times during the 2017 winter circuit.

“He’s been really good this whole circuit,” Stewart detailed. “I think he’s an even better horse than last year. He was a blast to ride, and after knowing that last year he was so good, I could relax a bit more this year and just have fun. The course rode nice, and it was inviting for the horses.”

As Becky Gochman, who also rides Catch Me in the Amateur-Owner Hunters, put it, “Everything is icing on the cake at this point. I’m thrilled with past performances, and I look forward to future performances. Whatever happens, I feel relaxed and filled with gratitude. This sport means a lot to me and my family.”

Stewart rode Private Life to a second place finish in the gelding’s first Hunter Spectacular. Dr. Betsee Parker owns the 2011 KWPN gelding by Verdi. The gelding was sitting in third place with a score of 88.66 going into the second round, but after topping the second round, earning a 92.33, he finished in second place, tallying 180.99 total points.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Stewart explained. “He’s always brave and rides like a made-up horse, but he’s only just turning six years old. This was his fourth horse show at 3’6″. I was really thrilled with him. He couldn’t have been any better.”

Earlier in the week, Stewart and Private Life swept the High Performance Working Hunter Division, impressively winning all four classes for the championship title and a coveted spot in the feature Saturday night class. The Hunter Spectacular is limited two entries per rider and although Stewart qualified several more experienced mounts, he opted to compete Private Life as one of his two mounts.

“He went really well this week,” Stewart stated. “Even though he’s the greenest, he’s probably my easiest horse to ride. He just acts really grown up and rides like a junior hunter. Not only does he jump well, but he’s really comfortable to ride.”

Elizabeth Boyd knows just what it takes to win the feature event, having won the class on several occasions including the inaugural year. After an unexpected dismount from her first ride, Boyd of Camden, SC returned to redeem herself. Boyd guided Lily Bennett’s Maraschino to a total score of 176.83 for third place. Maraschino is a ten-year-old Warmblood mare that Boyd has ridden on and off since 2014.

“She’s a great mare,” Boyd praised. “She’s definitely not the typical chestnut mare. She’s super happy and wonderful to be around. The Langmeiers started her; they sort of brought her along as a First Year horse. Then we bought her for a client named Lily Bennett. Now Lily is doing jumpers primarily, and she’s for sale. I’m fortunate enough to get to ride her, and she’s such a trier. I’m really proud of her.”

Describing her plan going into the second round, Boyd said, “[Scott and Maggie] did it so well because [they] went inside to the one big oxer and then around to the third jump. [They] just went forward and flowing. I just tried to copy what they did; they rode forward.”

Maggie Jayne of Elgin, IL rode a new mount, Standing Ovation, to an overall score of 176.49 and fourth place.  Standing Ovation is a 2007 stallion by Last Man Standing. The pair earned scores of 87.83 and 88.66 in the first and second rounds, respectively. The stallion was purchased by Pony Lane Farm in December and has only competed in the hunters a handful of times. Jayne qualified her mount for the class by earning the reserve ribbon in the High Performance Conformation Hunter division.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Jayne explained. “After the first round, I knew the second round would be even better, because he normally gets better as he goes. He was sensational. Maddy [Thatcher] rides him in the Amateur-Owners, and I normally do him in the green conformation, but this week I did the Regular Conformation. He’s a stallion and he knows he’s a stallion, but he’s an absolute gentleman to ride.”

Jennifer Bliss finished in fifth place aboard Poker Face, an entry of Harris Hill Farm, LLC, with scores of 87.00 and 88.33 for a 175.33 total. Previous winner of the Hunter Spectacular, Victoria Colvin earned scores of 84.33 and 88.00 for a total of 172.33 aboard Koala for a sixth place finish.

Junior and Amateur Hunter Champions Crowned in International Arena

The Junior Hunters took their turn in the International Arena on Saturday. Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA topped both 15 & Under divisions, while Sophie Gochman of Palm Beach, FL captured the two reserve titles. Iwasaki piloted Lyn Pederson’s Small Affair to the championship award in the Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division. The pair won the handy and an over fences round, as well as placing fourth under saddle and third in the stake.

“He was perfect this week,” Iwasaki praised the 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Elf d’Or. “He’s funny because he thinks he can get away with whatever he wants. He’s a great horse though.”

The gelding has a strong track record in the division this year, winning the championship weeks one, two, and three of WEF. Sophie Gochman guided Garfield, an entry of Rose Hill Farm, to a win in the stake round and a second place finish over fences to earn the reserve ribbon. The striking chestnut gelding by Coriano has a long list of accolades collected over the years with numerous junior riders.

In the Small Junior Hunters 15 & Under, Iwasaki and Illusion, owned by Iwasaki & Reilly, were named champions after wins in the stake and handy rounds. Illusion is an 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Lord Sinclair. Gochman and Mythical placed second in both the handy and an over fences round, and third under saddle to secure the reserve title. Mythical is a 13-year-old Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky that has been a part of the Gochman family since 2013.

Iwasaki enjoyed showing her veteran mount in the International Arena. “Riding in the International is a lot of fun,” she said. “You get to gallop more because it’s bigger, which is exciting. [Illusion] felt really good and more excited than normal in the ring today.”

Taylor St. Jacques of Glen Allen, VA and Emma Kurtz of Wellington, FL each won a champion and reserve ribbon in the Junior Hunter 16-17 divisions. St. Jacques and Rose Hill Farm’s William Hill found their way to the Staller Small Junior Hunter 16-17 championship. In addition to placing second under saddle, the pair topped two over fences classes with scores of 90 and 91. Kurtz and Wisdom, an entry of Rivers Edge, settled for reserve honors after winning the under saddle and placing second and third over fences.

“He was absolutely incredible today,” St. Jacques said of the 2010 Bayer gelding by Coronas. “As soon as we walked into that ring and started trotting around, I knew he was ready to win. I could feel it. Being here means a lot to me. Not everyone gets this opportunity, so it’s pretty special.”

Emma Kurtz and Dedication came out on top in the Bruno Delgrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division. The pair won the under saddle and stake round and placed third over fences and sixth in the handy. Kurtz has ridden Dr. Betsee Parker’s coming 12-year-old gelding by Casado since last summer. In the over fences portion, St. Jacques and Point Being, owned by Derby Lane, LLC, earned two seconds and a sixth place ribbon to claim the reserve honors.

“I thought the ride went really well,” Kurtz detailed. “The course was nice. It was fun and interesting for the horses. Dedication can be grumpy. He’ll wait for a treat with his ears straight back. He’s awesome though, and we love him.”

The Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division was dominated by Callie Seaman of Greenwich, CT. At just her third show following back surgery, Seaman took the champion and reserve titles aboard her own Chicago and Skorekeeper, respectively. Chicago is a new mount for Seaman.

The nine-year-old Warmblood gelding won two over fences classes and placed second under saddle, while Skorekeeper finished first in the handy, second in the stake, third over fences, and fourth under saddle for the reserve honor.

“He’s a really special horse,” Seaman said of Chicago. “I didn’t come out expecting to be champion this weekend. I’ve had a few really good rounds with him, but I’m still figuring him out so it was really exciting to be so consistent and solid on him.”

John Ingram of Nashville, TN narrowly beat out Jane Gaston of The Plains, VA for the championship award in the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunters Over 35. A difference of half of a point determined who received the championship and reserve awards. Ingram rode his long-time partner Airport 48, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram, LLC, to a win in the stake round and two second place finishes over fences. Gaston rode her own Because to two wins and a fifth place finish over fences, and sixth place under saddle.

“Airport is like a comfortable pair of shoes,” Ingram described of his 2003 Holsteiner gelding. “You know what you’re going to get, and he just likes this week. I’ve been very fortunate to qualify [for the WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular] the last two years so maybe the third time is the charm. Maybe I’ll make it to the second round!”

Marilyn Little and Clearwater Top $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic 

USA’s Marilyn Little won the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic riding Clearwater on Saturday of week six at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival.

Marilyn Little and Clearwater

Jumping a course set by Richard Jeffery (GBR) on the derby field at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Little and Karen O’Connor’s Clearwater topped a class of 34 and a three-horse jump-off to take victory. They cleared the short course in 39.27 seconds.

France’s Marie Hecart and Myself de Breve stopped the clock in 41.96 seconds for second place. Mavis Spencer (USA) and Neil Jones Equestrian’s Chacco finished third with four faults for a rail, as well as one time fault, in the jump-off.

Saturday’s win was a quick comeback for Little, who was leading the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase two weeks ago when she and her mount, RF Scandalous, took a bad fall on the cross-country course. Although RF Scandalous was unharmed, Little hit her head and took some time to recover.

“The last time I was out here I had a fall in the Eventing, so this is a little bit of redemption for me on the field,” she acknowledged. “After the fall, I have been getting better and better. Yesterday was the first day that I really felt like I was back to myself. A week ago, it was dicey. I hit my head pretty hard. Luckily, I had an airvest on and a great helmet that really cushioned me. It could have been a lot worse, but here we are. We are still playing the game, and I am happy to be here.

“It was a great course today. It was really exciting, and Clearwater is so much fun to ride in the jump-offs,” Little continued, speaking of the ten-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Clearway x Come On). “He is young, but he really loves the fields. He has been a little bit unlucky over the last few weeks, but he has been getting progressively better over the last year. He has jumped some really big classes, so this was nice to back him down to the 1.50m.”

Speaking of her winning jump-off, Little explained, “I knew that Marie’s horse in particular can be very fast. I have known that horse for a long time. It is clever, and fast, and Marie is always super competitive. Initially, I thought if I laid down a good clear round, Mavis would have to chase me, but then once I knew that Marie was in the jump-off, everything changed. I knew that I was going to have to lay down something that could win no matter how many people were in the jump-off. Luckily, he is a really quick horse. This was his first time out on that field, so he was a little bit lost, but he really looks. He is always looking for the flags; that is what we say about eventers.”

Lucy Deslauriers and Hester Win $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Welcome, presented by EnTrust Capital

Lucy Deslauriers (17) of New York, NY guided Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester to victory in Saturday morning’s $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Welcome, presented by EnTrust Capital, on the derby field at PBIEC. The 2015 winners of the Under 25 Series overall, the pair perfected Richard Jeffery’s (GBR) speed track in 69.57 seconds.

Forty-eight entries started over the first round speed course, and nine completed clear rounds. Second place went to Mackenzie Drazan (USA) and Waliba VDL in 70.85 seconds. Third place was presented to Jessica Mendoza (GBR) riding Horst van de Mispelaere with a time of 72.42 seconds. Lauren Fischer (USA) took fourth and fifth place honors, guiding Tosca de Feugre through the times in 73.74 seconds and stopping the clock in 75.83 seconds riding My Pleasure, both horses under the ownership of Cheryl Fischer.

“He’s back!” Deslauriers smiled after Saturday’s win. “He has been on a break since the National Horse Show (in November). Besides yesterday’s warm-up class, this is his first real class back this year, so I really could not be happier. He is really happy to be showing, and I am so happy with him.”

Deslauriers (17) is a full-time student in New York City and travels to compete in Wellington every weekend. She trains with her father, Olympian Mario Deslauriers, and mother, former international show jumper Lisa Deslauriers. She has been a top junior rider, as well as a winner of many Under 25 and international competitions throughout North America.

Many of Deslauriers’ victories have come aboard Hester, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker) that she has ridden for almost four years. Saturday’s course caused problems for many competitors, but Deslauriers and Hester’s experience together was a great advantage.

“I thought it was a pretty steep track, especially for the welcome,” she noted. “The last few jumps were quite big and the double liverpools definitely caught a few people. Luckily, Hester is quite brave, so I do not really have to worry about that. There was a careful plank, and the short turn to the double in front of the bank caught a bunch of people as well. Throughout the course there were a lot of tough places.

“He really thrives on grass fields,” Deslauriers detailed. “He has a huge stride, and he just gets to open up, and really show what he can do. I really just stay out of the way and let him do his thing.”

Deslauriers has also been showing some young horses that she is bringing along with her father this winter and hopes to move up to compete with Hester in some FEI classes now that the gelding is back in action.

The Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, continues with its $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Entrust Capital, on Sunday, February 19.

The series was expanded to ten events in 2017, offering a total of $245,000 in prize money for the circuit. Developed as a bridge to the international level of grand prix competition, the Series gives athletes, both human and equine, an opportunity to compete under a myriad of conditions, including jumping on grass, under the lights at night, and in team competition; all important elements that competitors will face as their international careers progress. The series concludes with a $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Final, which the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest on Sunday, April 2.

The sixth week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by EnTrust Capital and $50,000 National Grand Prix on the derby field at Equestrian Village at PBIEC. Hunters wrap up competition in the International Arena with three classics. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Pedro Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS Victorious in $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* at WEF

Pedro Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS. Photos © Sportfot.

3’3″ Hunters Featured during WCHR Week

Wellington, FL – February 17, 2017 – Brazil’s Pedro Muylaert and Prince Royal Z MFS led the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* on Friday night, February 17, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Competing in the Global Arena at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu finished second, and Jimmy Torano (USA) riding Day Dream placed third.

Richard Jeffery (GBR) set the course for 44 starters in Friday night’s grand prix. Four entries advanced to the jump-off, where O’Shea and Muylaert were the only two to clear the short course without fault.

Muylaert and Stenio da Silva’s Prince Royal Z MFS cleared the course in 37.27 seconds to take the win. O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu stopped the clock in 37.59 seconds to earn second place. Torano and Day Dream were faster in 36.94 seconds, but incurred four faults at the second to last fence in the jump-off. Hardin Towell (USA) also had a fast time in 37.12 seconds riding Evergate Stables’ New York, but dropped three rails on course to finish fourth.

“My plan was to go fast, but not too fast, because I knew there were not too many in the jump-off,” Muylaert said of his winning round. “My plan was to go clear and fast enough to be in the top three, and I could not imagine that we would win.”

Prince Royal Z MFS is a ten-year-old Zangersheide stallion (Prince de Revel x Ramiro Z) that previously jumped in the 2016 Olympic Games with Uruguay’s Nestor Nielsen Van Hoff before changing hands to Muylaert this year.

“This is a new horse for me. I bought him one month ago, and he came straight away for the season,” Muylaert explained. “This is the first week I have shown him, so I am really happy. He is a very good horse, and I have a lot of confidence with him. He has a lot of heart.”

The rider (30) has traveled to Wellington to compete in the Winter Equestrian Festival for three years, and dedicated his win to the late Andres (Chepito) Rodriguez of Venezuela, who passed away tragically in 2016.

“My history coming to Wellington began with a very good friend, Chepito. He was like my brother,” Muylaert acknowledged. “I started coming here with him, and today, this victory is for him because I am here because of him. Everything is for him now. The experience here is super; it is beautiful. Normally, I compete in Brazil, so here is a little different for me, but I am very happy to be here.”

O’Shea has ridden Skara Glen Stable’s Machu Picchu, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Silverstone x Matterhorn) since the end of the horse’s seven-year-old year and has seen great progress.

“When he was seven he won three grand prixs with his previous rider, and when he was eight he won a 1.50m in Dublin at a five-star show, so he has always been pretty consistent and very successful,” O’Shea detailed. “He has not actually knocked a fence yet this year, so I am really happy with him. I tried to go fast tonight, but I was not fast enough. I could have been quicker to the second fence, but other than that I think I did what I could do.”

Torano and Day Dream won the $216,000 U.S. Open FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex in September under similar surroundings in a small arena under the lights at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. The nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Heartbreaker) has been with Torano since he was six, and is also developing well this winter.

“My biggest thing was the rideability, which I think I have gotten down now,” Torano said of his mount. “I really took a shot (in the jump-off). Maybe I overdid it to the second to last jump, but he is an inexperienced horse. He has never really galloped at a big jump like that off the turn, but he was great. I can count how many rails he has had since I have had him. He is a very careful horse, and I hope for a big future with him.”

Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza was presented the week six Leading Lady Rider Award by Sharon Loayza, on behalf of Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Also competing on Friday, Samuel Parot (CHI) and Couscous van Orti won the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village. Claire Schreder (USA) and Ceahorse LLC’s Luca Toni 18 were the winners of the Hollow Creek Farm U25 1.40m competition.

3’3″ Hunters Featured during WCHR Week

Martha Ingram of Nashville, TN topped the Adequan® Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 3’3″ division aboard Fonteyn, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram, LLC. Ingram and the 2004 German Sporthorse mare clinched the championship title by winning all three over fences classes and placing third under saddle.

Martha Ingram and Fonteyn

“She’s amazing!” Ingram said of the mare that formerly evented under the name RF Amber Eyes. “We’ve had her for about three years. She’s so sweet, spunky, and just wants to do everything right.”

Ingram commutes to WEF from Furman University and considers WCHR week one of her favorite weeks.

“The rounds take a little longer because the International [Arena] is so big,” she explained. “You go in and see yourself on the screen, which is weird, but it’s an awesome feeling.”

Lindsay Maxwell captured the reserve tricolor ribbon. The rider from Beverly Hills, CA piloted her own coming 11-year-old gelding, Kingston, to a win under saddle, as well as second and two third place finishes over fences.

Arriana Boardman of New York, NY rode her own Adelina to win the championship in the Osphos® Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3″ 36 & Over division. Adelina, a 2008 Westfalen mare, formerly competed in the jumpers before being purchased by Boardman. The pair won two over fences classes, earned third place in the handy round, and fourth under saddle.

“She didn’t know anything about the hunters,” Boardman explained. “I was drawn to her intent expression and incredible jump. She’s so smart that she picked it [the hunters] up very quickly. It just gets better and better with her.”

With wins in the under saddle and handy round, Becky Gochman of Palm Beach, FL secured the reserve title aboard Last Man Darling, an 11-year-old Mecklenburg gelding owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC.

The UHealth Junior Hunter 3’3″ division saw 46 competitors and was awarded in a California split. Caroline Ratigan of Berwyn, PA and Elly Ficca of Charlotte, NC were both named champions of the division. Ratigan rode her own Trust to win the under saddle and an over fences class, while also collecting a fourth place ribbon in the handy round.

“I’ve been riding him for about a year,” said Ratigan of her 2008 Oldenburg gelding by Linton. “He’s incredible. At first, he didn’t have a lot of personality, but now it’s coming out. Hopefully, I can keep him forever.”

Ficca and Quatrain, owned by Laura Critz, won two over fences classes to earn the championship award. The pair also won tricolor ribbons in the division during weeks one and four of WEF. Ficca counted on two hands the number of shows she’s done with the 13-year-old gelding by Quatro.

“He’s really brave,” Ficca said of her mount. “Showing in the International Ring was pretty scary and intimidating. The jumps are really full. The horses look at them more and jump bigger over them.”

Ficca shared her trainer Jack Towell’s final words before entering the arena, saying, “Jack always says that I have a good eye, and he tells me to trust it.”

Week six of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Saturday with more hunter and jumper action on both sides of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The $100,000 USHJA/WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular is the highlight event in the International Arena on Saturday night. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Hunters Reign for World Championship Hunter Rider Week at WEF

Catch Me and Scott Stewart. Photos © Sportfot.

Samuel Parot and Atlantis Win $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6

Wellington, FL – February 16, 2017 -The highly anticipated World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off on Wednesday, February 15, highlighting the traditional grace and beauty of the hunter discipline at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Scott Stewart rode Catch Me to the championship title and Cameo to reserve honors in the Antares High Performance Hunter division for WCHR week. Stewart piloted Catch Me, owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, to win the handy with an impressive score of 95, an over fences class, and the under saddle. The coming ten-year-old gelding by Casiro has a long list of accolades to his name, including a win in last year’s Hunter Spectacular. Stewart guided Dr. Betsee Parker’s Cameo to a first place finish in the stake class and second place under saddle.

“Catch Me is a horse of a lifetime,” Becky Gochman praised. “He has surpassed any preconceived notion of what we had thought he might become. Everything is icing on the cake at this point. We’ve figured him out, and I think he’s figured out that we want to do what is best for him. It’s been a complete joy.”

Lucador, another entry of Dr. Betsee Parker, and Stewart were named champions of the Shapley’s Grooming Products High Performance Conformation division. Although WCHR week is the nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding’s first outing of 2017, Lucador proved to be in top form. The pair won the handy round, and an over fences class, and placed second in the stake, model, and under saddle. Stewart also secured the reserve title aboard Fun, owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, earning first place in the stake, model, and under saddle, and second and third place in the other two over fences classes.

“He was good today,” Stewart said of Lucador. “He has so much experience – this is our fourth year together – that I don’t worry about him. He’s like a big pony; you have to do it his way a little bit, but he’s great.”

Havens Schatt of Georgetown, KY and Aristocrat, owned by Tracy Scheriff-Muser, were crowned champions of the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunters 3’9″ with three wins. The pair topped two over fences rounds, scoring a 90 in each, and the under saddle. Schatt started riding the 2008 gelding by Balou du Rouet five years ago, right after he was first started under saddle. Scott Stewart and Fashion Farm’s Captivate settled for the reserve title with a win the handy class, second place under saddle, and fourth and fifth place finishes over fences.

“He has so much ability,” Schatt detailed. “This year, he’s really coming into his own, consistency-wise. His father is Balou du Rouet, whose offspring have the reputation that they need to trust you before they perform for you. He’s a fun horse to have and a bit of a challenge in that he’s slightly different every time you get on him.”

Scott Stewart claimed champion and reserve honors in the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’6″ division. Riding Rivers Edge’s Luster, Stewart won the under saddle, the handy round, and placed second in an over fences class to earn the championship ribbon. The reserve ribbon went to Wonderly, a 2009 Brandenburger gelding by Burberry owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. Stewart piloted Wonderly to a win in the stake class and third place finishes in the handy and under saddle.

“Luster is really fun to ride,” Stewart explained of the 2010 Westphalian gelding by Coranado LL. “He’s such a good jumper. This [WCHR week] is his fourth horse show of the year, and he’s been champion and reserve leading up to this.”

Private Life, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, swept the Shapley’s Equine Grooming Products Green Conformation Hunter division, winning all five classes with Scott Stewart in the irons. Stewart had nothing but compliments for the KWPN gelding by Verdi.

“He’s awesome!” Stewart exclaimed. “He’s actually the youngest, just turning six this year, and rides like a made horse even though he’s green.”

Jannifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Best Regards secured reserve honors in the Shapley’s Equine Grooming Products Green Conformation Hunter division. Hannan piloted Patricia Fulchino’s 2008 Holsteiner stallion to second place ribbons in the model, an over fences class, and under saddle, and a third place ribbon in the stake round.

The CWD Saddlery Performance Hunter 3’6″ division yielded a remarkable 101 competitors on Thursday afternoon. Due to the number of entries, two championships were awarded. Elizabeth Boyd of Camden, SC and Stella Styslinger’s Cassanto captured the first championship ribbon. The pair earned the high score of the division with a 92 in the stake round. Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL guided Koala, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram, LLC, to win the other championship ribbon.

Samuel Parot and Atlantis Win $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Round 6

Competing in the Global Arena at Equestrian Village at PBIEC, Chile’s Samuel Parot and Atlantis were victorious in Thursday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 at the 2017 WEF.

Richard Jeffery (GBR) set the course for 61 entries in the WEF Challenge Cup, qualifying 22 for the jump-off, with four opting not to return. Completing the short course without fault, Parot and Atlantis clocked the fastest round in 31.94 seconds for the win.

Brazil’s Pedro Muylaert finished second in 33.68 seconds riding Stenio de Silva’s Prince Royal Z MFS. Laura Chapot (USA) and Mary Chapot’s ISHD Dual Star placed third in 33.79 seconds, and Daniel Coyle (IRL) riding Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita finished fourth in 33.92 seconds.

Samuel Parot and Atlantis

“When you walked the course, you thought it was more difficult, but there were a lot clear today,” Parot noted. “The horse felt very comfortable. In the jump-off, it was difficult. You had a turn to the combination that made a lot of problems.”

Parot purchased Atlantis, a top ranked 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Andiamo Z x Royal Bravour L), just before the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Together the pair has been incredibly successful at the international grand prix level.

“He is a very good horse. He won a lot of grand prixs last year,” Parot stated. “He is very fast. He is always pulling, so I ride him in a hackamore at home because he is very sensitive. I work him on the flat a lot and do not jump too much at home, but he knows when he is at the show. He is brave and has a very good head. He is fast and careful. He is a really top horse.”

The change in venue this week suited Parot and Atlantis, jumping in the smaller Global Arena instead of the expansive International Arena on the main WEF showgrounds.

“I like competing in this arena. It is the same as indoors,” Parot acknowledged. “This horse is very fast, but he is a little strong in the mouth, so for him it is very good. He turns very quickly, and he feels super in the space. I like jumping in the smaller rings too. You need a horse that is careful and has the scope and speed. This horse has everything.”

Jumper competition continues at Equestrian Village on Friday featuring the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* in the evening, while the third day of WCHR competition will host more championship presentations on the main show grounds. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Luiz Francisco de Azevedo and Collin Win $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m at WEF

Luiz Francisco de Azevedo and Collin. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – February 15, 2017 – Brazil’s Luiz Francisco de Azevedo was the first winner of week six at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), competing aboard Collin in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class on Wednesday, February 15 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Richard Jeffery (GBR) is the international course designer for week six jumper classes at Equestrian Village. Jeffery began with 39 entries in the 1.45m speed competition and had 12 clear rounds. De Azevedo and Collin, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Colandro x Amethist), clocked the winning time of 65.05 seconds.

Richie Moloney (IRL) and Equinimity LLC’s Alsvid finished second in 65.40 seconds. Peter Leone (USA) and Lionshare Farm’s Wayfarer placed third in 66.84 seconds. Margie Engle (USA) finished fourth in 67.82 seconds riding Elm Rock LLC’s Böckmanns Lazio.

“It was a really nice class today. I am really happy with my horse,” de Azevedo stated following his win. “I was 12th to go, and I knew that the course was good for me. My horse has a really big stride, and he is always going. Sometimes I lose a little bit of time in the turns, but then I can always do one less stride in the lines easily. I enjoy that quality that he has, and we had a good opportunity to win this class.”

Collin’s story did not begin like many horses competing at the international level. The horse was seven years old when de Azevedo found him and was on his way to being sold for slaughter. The horse’s trajectory quickly changed, however, with one life-changing phone call.

“Two and a half years ago nobody wanted this horse,” de Azevedo stated. “He was really wild and really difficult to ride. Then a friend of mine called me and said he found a horse that I might be able to jump. He was seven years old, but he had never done a show in his life. My friend told me the horse was a little bit different, but I said, ‘Okay, let’s see what he can do.'”

De Azevedo was given a half share of the horse, and he took Collin to the horse’s first competition two weeks later.

“He jumped the first day 1.30m clear, the second day 1.35m clear, and the third day 1.40m clear in the first show of his life!” de Azevedo recalled. “Now he is my second horse, and I am really lucky to have him. It is so unbelievable. We bought him for nothing. We tell that story, and people do not believe it.”

De Azevedo thanks his friend for seeing Collin and believing in him, but the rider mostly gives credit to the horse.

“It is him,” de Azevedo said of Collin. “I just gave him a chance to arrive. The quality is in the horse.”

Also competing in the Global Arena at Equestrian Village on Wednesday, the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m speed class was held, with a win for Peter Leone (USA) and Lionshare Farm’s Capito Z.

The 2017 WEF continues on Thursday with the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 in the Global Arena at Equestrian Village. The professional hunter divisions will award the first championships of WCHR week in the International Arena at PBIEC. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Todd Minikus Victorious Again in $86,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

Photo courtesy SocialCircuitEquine.com.

Wellington, FL (February 13, 2017) – Todd Minikus has once again topped the bill during week five of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival, claiming his fourth consecutive win of the week by placing first in the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Minikus, aboard Wyndmont’s Zephyr, clocked in the final round at a swift 35.98 seconds.

Sunday’s win was just the cherry on top of a streak of victories for Minikus so far this season at the Wellington, Florida show series. The string of high-stakes wins that Minikus has already collected include three $35,000 classes, the $50,000 National Guard Grand Prix, and the FEI $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix. Minikus and Zephyr also saw victory earlier this same week, having captured the first place title in the FEI 5* $35,000 1.45m class. As the blue ribbons continue to stack up for Minikus, the show jumping superstar is a top competitor to watch at this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival.

Many of Minikus’s exceptional results so far this season have been achieved aboard Zephyr, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Landor S x Calvados), who is a newer mount for Minikus. “I have ridden so many horses in my life that there is not much that I have not seen or felt at this point,” Minikus said. “It does not take long for me to adapt to different horses really. I like that challenge of getting on new horses. When you are as old as I am, you don’t need much practice,” he joked.

Minikus’s wife and supporter, Amanda Minikus, was thrilled with this week’s results with Zephyr. “Todd started riding Zephyr in November of this past year, and this time they just nailed it. They really make a fantastic combination – every time they go out so far, they’ve been unbeatable.”

Minikus plans to continue with his impressive track record throughout the upcoming weeks of competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival, which runs through April 2, 2017 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. It is the world’s largest and longest-running hunter/jumper show circuit, attracting top horses and riders from all over the world to Wellington annually.

Todd Minikus is a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist and FEI Nations Cup veteran with well over 100 Grand Prix wins under his belt. In addition to competing nationally and internationally, Minikus also offers sales and training services. To learn more about Todd Minikus, visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com and follow him on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus.

Contact: Amanda Minikus