Tiffany Foster and Victor. Photo © Sportfot.
Brooke Banks and Brodeur Triumph in Coldwell Banker Children’s Hunters 15-17
Wellington, FL – February 9, 2014 – Canada’s Tiffany Foster and Victor have been on quite a roll during this year’s FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) and secured another win on Sunday in the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic to conclude week five. The pair beat out world number one, Scott Brash (GBR), aboard his mount Hello Annie for the win.
Sunday’s competition concluded FTI WEF week five, sponsored by Rolex. FTI WEF will continue with its sixth week of competition, sponsored by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, on February 12-16, 2014. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.
Great Britain’s Robert Ellis set the tracks in the International Arena at PBIEC for week five competition and challenged the horses and riders right to the end with his course for Sunday’s 1.50m. The class saw 91 entries in total with only ten clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Twelve others cleared the course but finished with a single time fault to keep them out of the second round with a tight time allowed. The short course only saw three clear rounds.
Scott Brash and Hello Annie, owned by Lord and Lady Harris and Lord and Lady Kirkham, were first to go in the jump-off and set the pace in 46.75 seconds to eventually finish second. Markus Beerbaum (GER) and Copernicus Stables LLC’s Don VHP Z were also clear and finished in a slower time of 52.37 seconds to place third. Second to last, Tiffany Foster and Victor stopped the clock in 44.25 seconds to earn their victory.
Foster and Victor, a 12-year-old KPWN gelding (Elmshorn x Grandeur) owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines, kicked off their FTI WEF circuit with a win in Section B of the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup during week three, sharing top honors in the split class with Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl. The pair then earned another big prize on Thursday afternoon with a shared victory with Ben Maher (GBR) and Urico in the $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5. Both classes were held in a “California Split” due to the large number of entries, with two sets of placings distributed, so Foster and Victor technically had the second fastest time in each class to top both B Sections. This time, they did not have to share their victory.
“He was awesome,” Foster stated after the class. “It feels really good (to win). I am so happy with my horses. All of them jumped unbelievably this week and Victor won both classes, so you can’t really ask for better than that.”
Foster has had top finishes in the presence of many show jumping greats, sharing the winner’s circle with Todd Minikus and Ben Maher, and now beating world number one, Scott Brash. Not to mention, she rides with Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Lamaze. The 29-year-old rider has gotten a feel for what it’s like to win big.
“Beating Scott is the coolest part of the whole thing,” Foster beamed. “I made him stand there and take a picture with me just to have proof that this actually happened!”
“It looked to me like Scott was actually pretty conservative,” she said of the jump-off. “I think that is a horse that is pretty new to him, because we all know he can go super fast. He looked like he wanted to just give the horse a really nice round. I kind of did the same track as him, just a little faster I think, just a little more ground speed everywhere because my horse has a little bit more experience, and that seemed to work out in the end.”
Foster explained that Victor has stepped down a little bit to jumping in the 1.45m and 1.50m classes this year and has excelled at that level.
“This is a horse that has jumped some big tracks and has a lot of experience,” she noted. “I got Verdi, and he has been able to do the really big classes, so I have been able to use Victor in a few of these classes now and he is extremely comfortable and extremely confident. It is actually pretty easy on him.”
The horse is actually quite versatile, as Foster explained that he started his career as a four-in-hand driving horse before learning to jump. “Until he was five years old he pulled a cart!” she emphasized. “He is very multi-talented!”
“Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Markus Beerbaum found him and they tipped Eric off about him when he was a seven-year-old,” the rider detailed. “It’s always fun when they are here. They always pay a little extra attention to him because they loved him from the beginning also.”
“He is maybe the cutest horse ever,” Foster gushed. “He is so sweet. He has a ton of character and a ton of personality. I know him really well now, so we have a really good relationship I think. Eric helps me a lot. He rides him at home. He does all of the jumping work at home and I just flat him, and it is working out really well.”
In addition to her wins for the week, Foster was acknowledged on Saturday night as the Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for week five. The award is sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler. Foster was happy to get the special award and thanked her owners, Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms, as well as her groom, Caroline Holmberg, for their help and support.
“I was so happy,” Foster stated. “I have never gotten that award. Last year I didn’t go clear any time, except for Nations Cup, so it was absolutely great to get special recognition for that. It is a great idea and it is always fun. A lot of the European shows do that and it is always an honor, so it is really cool to have the recognition here as well.”
Brooke Banks and Brodeur Triumph in Coldwell Banker Children’s Hunters 15-17
Seventeen-year-old Brooke Banks of Southampton, NY and her new mount Brodeur topped the Coldwell Banker Children’s Hunter 15-17 division on Sunday morning. The pair were crowned division champion in their first competition together after winning the under saddle and winning two over fences rounds.
The reserve champion for the division was Bella Luna, ridden by Jennifer Wright and owned by Christie Turano. The pair also won two over fences classes before being awarded reserve honors.
Brodeur, a seven-year-old Warmblood gelding, was campaigned briefly last fall by junior superstar Lillie Keenan for the horse’s previous owner before coming to Banks earlier this year. Banks and Brodeur have only been partners for a few weeks, but the two have already began to work well together.
“He’s similar to my other horse that I show in the hunters [Theory], so he was pretty easy to adjust to. He is pretty simple and straight-forward,” Banks explained.
Banks liked the gelding from the first time she sat on him, particularly because Brodeur is her ideal ride. “He was very happy to do his job. He was well prepared and liked to go to the jump and work. He jumps really nicely, and I could tell even from being on top of him that his knees were up. I thought that was perfect for a hunter,” Banks described.
She continued, “I think we’re a good match because we’re both laid-back. I don’t get very nervous when I go in to show, and he doesn’t care about much when he’s in the ring. We have similar personalities and I’ve always been taught to do a lot flatwork in the corners and that’s exactly the kind of ride that he needs.”
Brodeur’s laid-back personality is especially evident in his easy adjustment to the bustling showgrounds of the FTI WEF, which Banks, who trains with Ron Esposito, said hasn’t fazed the gelding at all. She did admit to getting a few butterflies, however, going into the second day of competition for the division when she took a look at the course.
“Today was my first time jumping a two-stride on him ever, so that made me a little bit nervous, but he was perfectly fine over it,” she commented.
Of the rest of the course, Banks added, “The turns that were close to the in-gate were more difficult to keep him going and focused, because there was a lot going on over there. Other than that, the courses were pretty straight-forward.”
Banks will continue to compete with Brodeur in the Coldwell Banker Children’s Hunter 15-17 division but is aiming to move up to the Small Junior Hunters by the end of the FTI WEF. She hopes to qualify for USEF National Junior Hunter Championships during the Brandywine Summer Series (Pa.) in July.
Banks’ victory wrapped up hunter competition for the fifth week of the FTI WEF. Competition for WCHR Hunter Week kicks off on Wednesday, February 12. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
About FTI Consulting, Inc.
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.
About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.
Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations