4th Annual Great Charity Challenge in West Palm Beach…

Presentation of the top three teams. Photo © Sportfot.

Presentation of the top three teams. Photo © Sportfot.

Riders Darragh Kenny, Catherine Pasmore, and Meg O’Mara were the winning team of the fourth annual FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments (FTI GCC) on behalf of their charity JDRF (the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) on Saturday evening at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Sponsored by Jessie Pasmore and Martha Jolicoeur and corporate sponsor Stone Hill Farm, the three riders made up the top team of the night over 33 other pro-am teams representing Palm Beach County charities.

A signature event of the twelve-week FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, this year’s FTI GCC will distribute approximately $1.5 million to the 34 lucky Palm Beach County charities that were chosen at random to be represented in the pro-am team relay competition. Each team was made up of junior and amateur riders competing side by side with top professionals.

GCC Darragh Kenny Sportfot

GCC Darragh Kenny Sportfot

A crowd of over 5,000 spectators came out to enjoy the family fun event as part of the “Saturday Night Lights” series. The JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) was the winning team of the night with riders Meg O’Mara, Catherine Pasmore, and Darragh Kenny. O’Mara did have one rail down, but the trio’s speedy trips made up for it and their time of 92.361 seconds won the top prize of $150,000 for their charity.

Coming in second was College for Kids – Take Stock in Children, sponsored by the Mirabal Family and G&C Farm as well as corporate sponsor Palm Beach Illustrated. The team consisted of three Venezuelan riders from G&C Farm, including youngest rider Maria Emilia Chapellin Mirabal, Carolina Chapellin Mirabal and professional Luis Fernando Larrazabal with a combined time of 93.248 seconds to earn $125,000.

GCC Catherine Pasmore Sportfot lo

GCC Catherine Pasmore Sportfot lo

The first of three wild card charities drawn at the during the night, the Junior League of the Palm Beaches finished third and won $100,000. The team, made up of Perla Boord, Lillie Keenan, and David Blake, was sponsored by Pine Hollow Farm and corporate sponsor Gut Einhaus. They finished with a time of 93.998 seconds overall.

As the professional representative for the JDRF team, Irish rider Darragh Kenny (who turns 25 on Thursday) was thrilled to be competing in the event for the first time. Kenny is known for his speed, and rode the same horse Vanotrouska, owned by Megan Bifano, that he showed in week one’s $55,000 Nespresso Battle of the Sexes.

Commenting on the night, Kenny smiled, “It was fantastic. It is a great atmosphere. I think it is a really good thing that they have here and it is for a great cause. I have never ridden for charity before but I think it is great to have the chance to do that. It is enjoyable for everybody and it is nice that we are giving back to something as well. I would for sure do this again in the future.”

GCC Meg O'Mara Sportfot

GCC Meg O’Mara Sportfot

When asked what advice he gave his teammates for the night, Kenny stated simply, “I just told them to win. There was no plan, just go as fast as you can and leave the jumps up.”

Catherine Pasmore (20) was riding her veteran mount My Boy and was even more excited to ride for her randomly matched charity due to a personal connection to the JDRF. Pasmore’s uncle was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and passed away at a young age. The connection gave Pasmore extra inspiration.

“It is personal to me,” she stated. “Obviously all charities are a great cause, but riding for something that hits so close to home was very exciting. It gave me the extra drive to really go for it.”

Pasmore also enjoyed the camaraderie of the evening. “It is just a really fun class,” she declared. “We get to come out and work as a team and I think we all definitely pulled our weight; it was exciting.”

Winning team presentation. Photo © Sportfot.

Winning team presentation. Photo © Sportfot.

Eighteen-year-old Meg O’Mara echoed her teammates’ sentiments and explained that this was her first time even seeing the class let alone competing in it.

“I definitely was lucky to be able to watch all 24 teams before me because I didn’t really know how it went,” O’Mara noted. “I had a really fast horse, so I was happy about that.”

O’Mara showed Mavis Spencer’s Valencia in the class. She noted, “It was really fun. I would definitely do it every other year. This was my first type of team experience.”

Lora Hazelwood, Executive Director for JDRF, the greater Palm Beach County Chapter, was on hand to accept the $150,000 check for her great cause and cheer on the team. Hazelwood explained that this was the JDRF’s fourth year trying to get in to the FTI GCC.

“The first year we were too late when we applied,” Hazelwood admitted. “The first and second year that we did get in for the lottery we (weren’t chosen from the random draw). This year was our third year (being eligible) and we thought that three times would be the charm, but we had no expectation. We would have been thrilled with just $10,000. We are just completely overwhelmed.”

“It means a tremendous amount to win,” Hazelwood added. “This is a lot of money for any non-profit organization, especially coming off of a recession. This is the most exciting thing that has happened to us in a number of years. We were really pleased to learn that our team sponsor, Jessie Pasmore, has a personal connection to type-1 diabetes and we were not even aware of that. The teams are just randomly assigned, so we think there was some serendipity; there is no such thing as coincidence. We thought that was amazing.”

Source: Equestrian Sport Productions

Ludger Beerbaum and Chaman win the Private Banking Prix in Zurich…

Ludger & Chaman got to enjoy the Swiss National anthem instead of the German.... rather comical error!!

Ludger & Chaman got to enjoy the Swiss National anthem instead of the German…. rather comical error!!

Well another tough course set by Switzerland’s Rolf Ludi. Tough lines and very little room to breath, riders were again challenged by today’s course. A few more qualified through to the jump off then yesterday. Out of the 56 entries on the start list, ten comb combinations qualified for the jump off, including Olympic medalists Jeroen Dubbeldam, Marc Houtzager, Gerco Schroder and winner Ludger Beerbaum not to mention WEG notables Marcus Ehning and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.

Hendrik and Camilla

Hendrik and Camilla

The track was difficult with tight lines and challenging angles. The course’s difficulty meant a few strong combinations didn’t make it through such as Denis Lynch and All Star, Katharina Offel and Fidji Island, Kevin Staut and Cheyenne HDC, Christian Ahlmann and Asca Z, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Carusso la Silla as well as Hans-Dieter Dreher and his newly acquired Colore.

Nonetheless, a ten horse jump off would prove to be competitive enough to say the least and Dutch Silver medalist Marc Houtzager was the first to start things off with Sterrehof’s Opium. Marc and Opium were fast and clean, with a time of 38.26 seconds, which put the Dutch duo into the lead.

Switzerland’s Christina Liebherr was second but a disappointing 4 faults would keep one Swiss rider from winning. California-born German rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and the aptly named gelding Unbelievable. Unfortunately for Meredith, the German combo were just 0.02 seconds behind Marc’s time, putting them in second place with a time of 38.28. So close!!

Switzerland’s Werner Muff, leading rider for the show at the moment, was next to go. Hopes of a Swiss victory were evident as the crowd grew silent. Fashioning his armband, Werner had a frustrating 8 fault score and a time of 38.35 seconds. Another Swiss off the list.

Ukraine’s winner of the 2012 Global Champions Tour Finale in Abu Dhabi, Katharina Offel and Fidji Island, were next in the ring, sure to give Marc a run for his money. But alas, it was not to be, with a surprising 12 fault score.

Gerco and Seoul are reunited

Gerco and Seoul are reunited

Gerco Schroder and the newly named Seoul were next up with a good chance at matching his Dutch team mates time. It was interesting to see all of Gerco’s mounts with new names for the new year. Eurocommerce has now been omitted from the horses’ registered names. Gerco and Seoul beat Marc and Opium’s time with a fast and efficient round, stopping the clock at 37.77 seconds. Very well executed, but with Ludger, Luciana and Jeroen Dubbeldam to come, would it be enough?

Alas, it would not! Ludger was next up aboard his stunning bay stallion Chaman. Clearly fixated on a win, the four-time Olympic gold medalist made quick work of the jump off, crossing the finish line with a time of 36.55 seconds.

In typical Ludger fashion, the German combo looked to be in a strong place for the win.

A truly beautiful round by the leggy Brazilian beauty; Miss Luciana Diniz. Truly textbook but unfortunately not fast enough to match Ludger’s time. Luciana and Fit for Fun finished with a time of 39.82 seconds, putting her under Meredith, Marc and Gerco.

Second last to go was Olympic gold medalist Jeroen Dubbeldam aboard the feisty grey BMC Quality Time. Making the shortened track look easy, the Dutch combination finished smooth, perhaps too smooth, with a time of 37.97.

So all hopes were raised when Swiss beauty Alexandra Fricker came in to finish the class aboard Albfuehren’s Memphis. Alexandra has been serving up some strong rounds over the last two days and today was no exception. Clean and relatively fast, Alexandra and Memphis stopped the clock at 38.05 seconds, which would be good enough for 4th place.

The Swiss crowd cheered for Alexandra regardless and the young Swiss miss offered her mount a well-deserved pat for a job well done.

Congratulations to Ludger and Chaman for a great win! A great set up for tomorrow’s big day!!

Chaman attacked the tough course with ease!!

Chaman attacked the tough course with ease!!

LGT Private Banking Prix

1.50 FEI Art 238.2.2 (Zurich, Switzerland)

1. 37 Chaman Beerbaum, Ludger GER
B 14-j.H v.Baloubet du Rouet/M.v.I Love You/KWPN/MEX01925/B: Winter-Schulze, Made GER
2. 62 Seoul Schröder, Gerco NED
B 12-j.W v.Thunder van de Zuuthoeve/M.v.Lancer II/BWP/NED41598/B: Gevi Internatio NED
3. 55 Quality Time TN Dubbeldam, Jeroen NED
SCH 11-j.H v.Quantum/M.v.Cantus/HOLST/NED40905/B: H.J.Nijhof NED
4. 79 Albfuehren’s Memphis Fricker, Alexandra SUI
B 12-j.H v.Quinar/M.v.Carthago/HOLST/NED07642/B: Hofgut Albführen GmbH SUI
5. 58 Sterrehof’s Opium Houtzager, Marc NED
B 17-j.H v.Polydor/M.v.Bormio/WESTF/GER23567/B: Stoeterij Sterrehof B.V. NED
6. 45 Unbelievable Michaels-Beerbaum, Meredith GER
B 12-j.W v.Manhattan/M.v.Democraat/KWPN/GER42182/B: Windward Farm GER
7. 67 Fit for Fun Diniz, Luciana POR
F 9-j.S v.For Pleasure/M.v.Fabriano/HANN/103IB23/B: G.R.O.W. Horses & Jünger, Ral POR
8. 88 L B Con Grazia CH Liebherr, Christina SUI
B 10-j.S v.Con Spirito R/M.v.Karondo V. Schlösslihof/CH/102OR73/B: La Baumetta Sa SUI
9. 95 Landthago Muff, Werner SUI
SCH 10-j.W v.Landjunge/M.v.Carthago/HOLST/102QP50/B: Muff Werner SUI
10. 122 Fidji Island Offel, Katharina UKR
F 12-j.S v.For Feeling/M.v.Wanderer/HANN/GER44709/B: Llc Vian Group UKR
11. 30 Voila Smith, Robert GBR
B 11-j.S v.Calvados/M.v.Concorde/KWPN/102QD90/B: Robert Smith GBR
12. 44 Sabrina Ehning, Marcus GER
B 14-j.S v.Sandro Boy/M.v.Landadel/BAY/GER40673/B: Winley Farm Llc & Gölkel, Judi GER

Top Swiss riders honored in Zurich…

Congratulations Paul!!

Congratulations Paul!!

Marcus Ehning wins the Rolex Grand Prix in Zurich….

Marcus and Kuchengirl

Marcus and Kuchengirl

Well done Marcus!! So perhaps the Swiss crowd was a bit disappointed that their home rider, Jane Richard Philips, didn’t win on Swiss soil, but let’s be honest, we’re always happy when Marcus wins.

It was a steady class, with 41 entries. California’s very own Richard Spooner started things off with the World’s number one ranking WBSFH horse, the lovely Cristallo. The first clear came from Oslo World Cup winner, Jeroen Dubbeldam, and the vivacious BMC Quality Time. The next would come from Switzerland’s very own Paul Estermann and the lovely Castlefield Eclipse.

Jane and Pablo

Jane and Pablo

The crowd roared for it was guaranteed that at least one Swiss rider would jump off for the Rolex title. The happy Swiss crowd were overjoyed to see Jane Richard Philips, another Swiss rider, qualify through to the jump off aboard Pablo de Virton. A very exciting accomplishment for the Swiss miss, currently ranked 148th in the world.

Many of you might remember Jane from the 2010 FEI World Cup finals in Geneva where Jane finished 4th in the last Qualifier with Zekina Z. So naturally, this 29 year old Swiss jockey doesn’t mind battling it out with the best.

Some hopeful combinations came through such as Katharina Offel and Fidji Island as well as Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum with Bella Donna and last weekend’s World Cup winner, Christian Ahlmann, and his bay stallion Codex One, but it seemed the wide blue oxer and the Rolex triple combination would ask too much for many.

Britain’s speed demon, Laura Renwick, was next to go clear with the feisty Oz de Breve. Once the British-born blonde ensured her place in the jump-off, we knew it was sure to be interesting.

Sergio and Carlo

Sergio and Carlo

Penelope Leprevost attempted a clear round with her big grey stallion Mylord Carthago, but alas it was not to be. Following France’s leading lady however, came Sergio Alvarez Moya and Carlo 273. Now this combination is one of my favorites of the season and I think a serious contender for the title in Gothenburg. Carlo and Sergio have come together so beautifully and I was sure they would qualify for the jump off.

Sure enough, my faith was well rewarded and Sergio and Carlo’s clear round numbered the 4th combination to battle it out. Following Sergio, previous World number one, Rolf attempted a clear round, Silver medalist Marc Houtzager and Gold medalist Scott Brash aboard his relatively new mare, Ursula, but none managed to join the rather small group of qualifiers.

Roger-Yves Bost and Castle Forbes Myrtille Palouis looked as though they may become the 5th but instead the competitive combination retired half way through the course.

Despite the long list of accomplished riders to follow Sergio, only one other combination managed to qualify through to the jump off; Marcus Ehning and Noltes Kuchengirl. A worthy combination with plenty of speed on standby.

Only six horse-and-rider combinations would stick around for the jump off. The rest of the 35 riders could take their boots off and enjoy the show, and it show it most certainly was.

Jeroen Dubbeldam and BMC Quality Time were first in the ring but alas, it was not to be with 8 faults, including the first fence, and a time of 38.44 seconds. Swizterland’s very own Olympic combination, Paul Estermann and Castefield Eclipse, were next in and the Swiss crowd grew quiet with hope. Would it be a Swiss victory?

Unfortunately, the bay mare would rub one fence, accumulating 4 faults but clocking in a very fast time of 35.92 seconds to give the remaining field a taste of what was possible.

Marcus and Kuchengirl clear the first fence

Marcus and Kuchengirl clear the first fence

It was Jane Richard Philips who would serve up the first clear round and the packed stadium couldn’t have been more overjoyed. Jumping a picture perfect round with her bay gelding Pablo, Jane consolidated a time of 40.48 seconds.

So, well behind Paul and with Sergio and Marcus left to go, it looked doubtful that a Swiss victory would be celebrated tonight.

Sergio and Carlo were next and guaranteed to be fast, the combination set the pace early on, but it was the frustrating blue oxer, set wide, that would dash any hopes of a Moya victory. The spaniard’s disappointment etched all over his face, as he knew coming to the last few fences that he would not hear the Spanish anthem tonight.

Last to go was Marcus and Kuchengirl; a combination who have been together now for over 6 years. A tried and tested combination known for their pace, the pair put that reputation to good use tonight with a solid round, jumping clean with a time of 37.35 seconds.

Congratulations to Marcus Ehning for winning tonight’s Rolex Grand Prix in Zurich, Switzerland.

Rolex Grand Prix (Zurich, Switzerland)

FEI – Art. 238.2.2 (1.55)

1. 42 Noltes Küchengirl Ehning, Marcus GER
B 16-j.S v.Lord Z/M.v.Cambridge Cole/BAY/GER24879/B: Echo Büromöbel Vertriebs Gmb
2. 100 Pablo de Virton Richard Philips, Jane SUI
B 10-j.W v.Andiamo/M.v.Kashmir van’t Schuttersho/SF/102NF56/B: All.To Guldenboom
3. 75 Castlefield Eclipse Estermann, Paul SUI
B 11-j.S v.Obos Quality/M.v.Not Recorded/ISH/IRL40616/B: Fasana Jocelyne
4. 11 Carlo Alvarez Moya, Sergio ESP
SCH 12-j.W v.Contender/M.v.Cascavelle/HOLST/GER42975/B: Marta Ortega
5. 28 Oz de Breve Renwick, Laura GBR
F 11-j.H v.Dollar du Murier/M.v.Grand Veneur/SF/102MB54/B: Mr David Perry
6. 55 Quality Time TN Dubbeldam, Jeroen NED
SCH 11-j.H v.Quantum/M.v.Cantus/HOLST/NED40905/B: H.J.Nijhof
7. 47 Vincente Kürten, Jessica IRL
B 11-j.W v.Oklund/M.v.Ufarno/KWPN/NED41587/B: Stal Poels and James Paterson-Robin
8. 37 Chaman Beerbaum, Ludger GER
B 14-j.H v.Baloubet du Rouet/M.v.I Love You/KWPN/MEX01925/B: Winter-Schulze, Made
9. 108 Coolgirl Schwizer, Pius SUI
SCH 9-j.S v.Bill vd Heffinck/M.v.Polydor/WESTF/103EV86/B: Balmelli Armando
10. 53 Cocoshynsky Gaudiano, Emanuele ITA
B 10-j.S v.Cornet Obolensky/M.v.Popcorn/WESTF/102YQ85/B: Equita Kft
11. 5 d’Atlantique Royale Mathy, Francois Jr BEL
B 10-j.W v.Darco/M.v.Kannan/BWP/BEL42817/B: Team Harmony & François Mathy
12. 117 Carusso LS la Silla Bengtsson, Rolf-Göran SWE
B 11-j.H v.Montebello la Silla/M.v.Joost/SLS/MEX40260/B: Club Hipico la Silla/Rol

Katie Monahan-Prudent and V win the $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3…

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Renowned show jumper Katie Monahan-Prudent guided Michael Smith’s V to victory in Thursday’s $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 during the third week of competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF).

Competing in the International Arena at the beautiful Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), the seasoned veteran topped young U.S. competitors Kristen Vanderveen (23) aboard Bull Run’s Eternal and Lauren Tibso aboard Tequestrian Farms’ Roundthorn Madios (28) who finished second and third respectively.

Week three of the FTI WEF runs January 23-27. The week will feature the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (FTI GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments®, at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening. This year, the event will distribute $1.5 million to 34 lucky Palm Beach County charities in a pro-am team competition.

Other highlights will include the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC will host the $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix, weather permitting, at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The 2013 FTI WEF circuit continues through March 31 featuring 12 weeks of world-class competition.

Katie Prudent and V

Katie Prudent and V

The course designer in the International Arena for week three competition is Uliano Vezzani of Italy. In Thursday’s $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3, Vezzani saw 58 competitors with 13 advancing to the jump-off. Over the short course, only five riders were able to clear the track without fault. Katie Monahan-Prudent and V, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding by Landstreicher x Lennard, raced through the course in 34.99 seconds for the win.

Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Eternal finished in 35.36 seconds for the second place prize. Lauren Tisbo (USA) and Roundthorn Madios stopped the clock in 35.86 seconds to place third. Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and Unex Omega Star, owned by Unex Competition Yard, were fourth in 35.87 seconds, and Fernando Cardenas (USA) and Quincy Car placed fifth in 36.01 seconds. Peter Wylde (USA) and The Wannahave Group’s Sandor de la Pomme had the fastest round of the day in 33.32 seconds, but a rail at the last fence put them into sixth place.

Monahan-Prudent has had V for a year and a half and has formed a great partnership with the gelding. The pair also won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m jump-off class during week two of the FTI WEF and will continue on this week in the $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix on Sunday.

“He is a very brave, aggressive horse,” the rider said of her mount. “He was a little hard for me to control in the beginning and I have worked hard with him. He is starting to relax and listen better and trust me. I think this is going to be a good year for him. He has been very consistent.”

Speaking about her rounds in the class, Monahan-Prudent emphasized, “He is really listening better. There were some tests in there that were hard for him. Like the vertical-oxer-five strides-oxer-vertical. I had to chase him a little and sometimes that makes him very excited and I can’t control him after that, but I thought he jumped that line beautifully and he came right back and rode beautifully the rest of the way. I was proud of him. He did everything I asked him, he didn’t fight me at all and he is a very careful horse and a very capable horse if he is in the right mind set.”

Detailing where she made the best time in the jump-off, the rider added, “He doesn’t have the biggest stride in the world, so from fence one to two the leave out was seven strides and most people just cantered it – I galloped it. I also made a special effort when I landed from the second fence to fly into that turn and then everything else I think was about the same as everybody else’s. I think one to two to three in the jump-off is where I was faster.”

Monahan-Prudent has a busy schedule teaching many top riders such as young Olympian Reed Kessler. She has had a lot of wins in her career and now focuses a lot on her students, but admits that is always nice to get a win for herself.

“It is always nice to win and it has definitely been awhile since I won one of these classes,” she stated. “It’s been about 12 or 13 years since I’ve had a really good horse and it feels great to win. We are always plugging away. You never say die; you keep trying.”

Katie Monahan-Prudent and V in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines


Katie Monahan-Prudent and V in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines

It will be a busy circuit for the next nine weeks in Wellington and then on to the rest of the season. As far as plans for showing this year, Monahan-Prudent goes where her students go.

“For me now, I set my plan based on my students and with Reed being my top student and Abby McArdle also coming along, I make a plan after Florida and I just want to keep up with my students,” she noted. “If we go to Calgary I want to be there showing and if we go to Europe I want to be there showing, so that’s my plan.”

Kessler was also in the jump-off with her horse Onisha in Thursday’s class and although they like to compete, the student and her teacher always cheer each other on.

“We are both very competitive and I know she wants the best for me and I want the best for her,” Monahan-Prudent stated. “If she had been leading I would try to beat her in the same. With me leading she tries to beat me, but we are for each other as well.”

Along with the prize money for Thursday’s class, a $6,000 rider bonus for the SSG “Go Clean for the Green” contest was also up for grabs as last week’s winners did not have SSG ‘Digital’ gloves, but Monahan-Prudent was unfortunately missing one of her gloves for today’s class. The bonus has not been won in two weeks now, so $9,000 in bonus money will be offered next week in the $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4. The bonus goes to the winning rider if they are wearing the SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.

Source: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Final Results: $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3…

1.V: 2002 KWPN gelding by Landstreicher x Lennard
KATIE PRUDENT (USA), Michael Smith: 0/0/34.99

2. BULL RUN’S ETERNAL: 2004 BWP gelding by Toulon x Mellinor
KRISTEN VANDERVEEN (USA), Bull Run Jumpers One LLC: 0/0/35.36

3. ROUNDTHORN MADIOS: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Condios x Clover Hill
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms, LLC: 0/0/35.86

4. UNEX OMEGA STAR: 2002 Irish Sport Horse stallion by Quick Star x Quatoubet du Rouet
TIM GREDLEY (GBR), Unex Competition Yard: 0/0/35.87

5. QUINCY CAR: 2004 Oldenburg stallion by Galiani Car x Amour Parfait
FERNANDO CARDENAS (USA), Fernando Cardenas: 0/0/36.01

6. SANDOR DE LA POMME: 2002 SBS gelding by Vigo D’arsouilles x Darco
PETER WYLDE (USA), The Wannahave Group: 0/4/33.32

7. JUBILEE D’OUILLY: 1997 Selle Francais mare by Palestro II x Graphit
LAURA KRAUT (USA), A. Le Bon and F.X. Le Bon: 0/4/33.45

8. DYNAMO: 2003 BWP gelding by Skippy II x Lys de Darmen
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/4/34.65

9. LANSDOWNE: 2003 KWPN stallion by Guidam x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel & Susan Grange: 0/4/35.49

10. UNEX DAMORA Z: 2004 Zangersheide mare by Dutch Capitol x Chellano Z
TIM GREDLEY (GBR), Unex Competition Yard: 0/4/36.38

11. G & C BLUE: 2003 Selle Francais gelding by Mr. Blue x Bigtime
MARK BLUMAN (COL), Gustavo Mirabal: 0/4/36.45

12. ONISHA: 1999 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Athlet Z
REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/4/37.94

FTI Week 2 Wrap Up…

Reed and Ligist at Spruce Meadows Masters

Reed and Ligist at Spruce Meadows Masters

Week Two Wrap-Up…

Reed Kessler and Ligist Win $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix, CSI 2*

The youngest rider in Saturday night’s $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix was the winner as eighteen-year-old Reed Kessler and Ligist jumped to victory during the highlight event of week two at the 2013 FTI WEF. With riders representing fourteen different countries competing in the class, the USA took the top seven placings and the young women were one, two and three. Kessler and Ligist topped Katie Dinan (19) and Nougat du Vallet and Brianne Goutal (24) aboard Nice de Prissey.

Luc Musette of Belgium set the course for Saturday night’s $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix. The riders were all complimentary of Musette’s course for the evening. Fifty-four entries started the class in round one and nine advanced to the jump-off with four jumping double clear.

Katie Dinan, Reed Kessler, and Brianne Goutal. Photo © Kenneth Kraus.

Katie Dinan, Reed Kessler, and Brianne Goutal.
Photo © Kenneth Kraus.

Katie Dinan and Grant Road Partners’ Nougat du Vallet were the first pair to clear the short course and set the time to beat at 38.19 seconds in the jump-off, eventually finishing second. Ken Berkley and Ax-Cent, owned by Rivers Edge, also cleared the jump-off course and stopped the clock in 39.12 seconds to place fourth. Reed Kessler and Ligist were next to go and blazed through the course in 37.81 seconds to take the lead. Last on course, Brianne Goutal and Cloverleaf Farm’s Nice de Prissey cleared the short course in 38.53 seconds to secure fourth place honors.

Reed Kessler was thrilled with the effort of her horse Ligist in the evening’s class. Kessler and the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Levantos II x Robin Z) recently jumped up to 2.10m in a six-bar class in Geneva and the rider feels that the class really “raised his sights.”

“I think that is the best Goose has ever jumped; he jumped incredibly,” Kessler smiled after her win. “I just tried to keep a nice, tight track and take a shot and he was fantastic. I did see Katie a little bit on the screen. I’m not sure where I made up the time. He is a really fast horse; I use him as my speed horse mostly.”

Second place finisher Katie Dinan was also very pleased with her mount Nougat du Vallet. Dinan, who is currently in college at Harvard University, is off from school for the month and making the most of her time in Wellington.

“I thought that my horse ‘Nugget’ jumped good tonight, I was really happy with him,” Dinan stated. “We did the Mar-a-lago show two weeks ago and we were aiming for this grand prix. I am down here and I am trying to make the most of that, so it was really nice to have a top three placing in this grand prix. I didn’t get a chance to see Reed go, I was walking out my horse, but I thought my jump-off was pretty fast. My horse takes a little bit more time in the air, so I think maybe if I had started out with a little bit more pace I could have helped that, but I can’t complain; he was fantastic.”

Brianne Goutal went last with her mount Nice de Prissey and had the opportunity to see both riders go in the jump-off, but had to take into account her horse’s large stride.

Reed Kessler and Ligist in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Matt Varney and Rob and Chris Desino of Wellington Equestrian Realty. Photo © Sportfot.

Reed Kessler and Ligist in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Matt Varney and Rob and Chris Desino of Wellington Equestrian Realty. Photo © Sportfot.

“I was lucky enough to watch both of them from the schooling area on the jumbotron,” Goutal noted. “My horse jumped amazing; I was thrilled with the way he went. He is a much bigger horse than theirs; he has a big stride and he takes a longer time to cover the ground. I was able to leave out a stride from one to two and I think I was quite fast back to three, but he is quite difficult to turn. I had to take a little time back to the in and out and again back to the last line, but I was thrilled with the results. I was thrilled with the way he jumped and both of their rounds were blazing fast, so I am very happy.”

Seeing three of the best young female riders from the United States take the top spots in an international class is encouraging for all of three competitors. Goutal commented, “I think that is nice. We have all grown up together. I have known them since they were on ponies and I think they saw me do ponies. It is nice to have everybody together. It is great to have all of the girls and it is nice for the sport. We need more of that here I think.”

Wednesday through Sunday…

The second week of competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival kicked off on Wednesday, January 16, with a win for Conor Swail (IRL) and Carlotta Singular in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off and speed classes were also held in the International Arena on Wednesday with two more wins for the Irish. In the jump-off class, Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm, LLC’s Amaretto D’Arco were victorious. In the speed class, Darragh Kenny guided Cavallo Farms’ Gucci to victory with the fastest clear round out of 54 competitors in 64.462 seconds.

Laura Kraut and Jubilee d'Ouilly West Palm Beach, Florida

Laura Kraut and Jubilee d’Ouilly West Palm Beach, Florida

Laura Kraut and Jubilee d’Ouilly jumped to victory in the $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 on Thursday afternoon at the FTI WEF in an exciting jump-off of top competitors. Last to go in a 24-horse tie breaker with McLain Ward holding the first and second positions, Kraut and Jubilee shaved fractions off of the leading time to win in a dramatic finish. Also showing in the International Arena on Thursday, Katie Monahan-Prudent earned victory in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumper Classic aboard Michael Smith’s V.

Week two of FTI WEF continued on Friday at the PBIEC with a win for McLain Ward and Grant Road Partners’ Super Trooper de Ness in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class out of 81 entries. Also showing on Friday, the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge was held in the International Arena with a win for Laura Chapot and the ever-speedy Bradberry. Nicholas Dello Joio and Pamela Postal’s Triumph finished second with Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm, LLC’s Cyklon 1083 in third.

The second week of competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, concluded on Sunday with a win again for McLain Ward (USA) and Super Trooper de Ness in the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Competing on a beautiful afternoon at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), the pair earned their second victory of the week, winning over Ben Maher (GBR) aboard Jane Clark’s Cella and Pablo Barrios (VEN) and ZL Group, Inc.’s Zara Leandra.

The Junior Jumpers also showed in the International Arena on Sunday competing in their classics for week two. In the $10,000 Griffis Group High Junior Jumper Classic, Lillie Keenan and Chansonette Farm, LLC’s Londinium were the winners. The $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic saw a win for Michael Hughes aboard Christina Fried’s Zammetje.

FTI WEF  Horse Show Wrap-Up Week 2…

Week 1 Classic winners…

$10,000 Westwind Realty Adult Jumpers 18-35 – Michelle Kamine and Loreana
$10,000 Martha Jolicoeur Adult 36-49 Jumpers – Good Carma and Heather Crespo
$10,000 Charles Owen Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers – Kate Morrison and Vaillant
$10,000 Maria Mendelsohn Low Junior Jumpers – E-Bay and Brittni Raflowitz
$10,000 Horseware Don Little Masters – All That and Murray Kessler
$10,000 Animo USA Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers – Athena and Kelsey Thatcher

Week 1 Champions…

EnTrust Children’s Jumper 14 & Under – Swag and Jordyn Rose Freedman
FarmVet Adult Modified Jumpers – Tigger and Isabel Sanchez
EnTrust Children’s Jumper 15-17 – Wenda AK and Jacqueline Shilen
Children’s Modified Jumpers – Peper Gold and Autumn Janesky
Paddock Cake Low Adult Jumper 18-35 – Galatee du Roset and Cathleen Mathers
Paddock Cakes Low Adult Jumper 36 & Over – Zazu and Patricia Hurter
Paddock Cakes Low Children’s Jumper – Cha Cha Cha and Heather Vaxer

Christian Ahlmann wins the 9th leg of the FEI World Cup in Leipzig (GER)…

Christian and Taloubet Z

Christian and Taloubet Z

Well, the enthusiastic German crowd certainly got quite a show yesterday for the 9th leg of the Western European World Cup series held in Eastern Germany. The world number one ranking rider proved his worth yet again when he finished first, ahead of a very competitive field in Leipzig. A total of 40 top-combinations consumed the start list, with nine of the top ten riders in the World Rankings in attendance. The only top-ten ranked rider not in attendance was Nick Skelton, so with the likes of Pius Schwizer, Steve Guerdat, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Kevin Staut warming up, we knew it would be a tight competition from start to finish.

Olivier Philippaerts (BEL)

Olivier Philippaerts (BEL)

Belgium’s much-talked about Olivier Philippaerts was first in the ring with his grey stallion Cabrio van de Heffinck. The proven combination made the technical track look very smooth, coming out with only 4 faults. Their single fence fault “was more of a reflection of his growing partnership with Cabrio van de Heffinck than an indication of the difficulty of the track” said Louise Parkes of FEI. Cabrio’s scopey stride and elastic nature proved well suited for the track, so any rider’s looking for an early giveaway on the course’s difficulties would have to wait a little longer.

The first clear came with Sweden’s Jens Fredricson aboard the aptly-named Lunatic and shortly after, seventh on the start list, 24 year old Dutch Silver medalist Maikel van der Vlueten would also join the list for the jump off with his Olympic stallion VDL Groep Verdi. Maikel attacked the course head on, with the same confidence this young superstar shows at every event. In case you didn’t know, Maikel was the youngest rider to grace the Olympic podium last summer in London. You wouldn’t guess the young Dutchman is as young as he is, when speaking to him he displays a clear and quite-confidence that exudes older years and yet, Maikel will turn only 25 years old next month.

Marcus Ehning and Plot Blue, who was the oldest horse of the competition at 16 years young, jumped an exceptional round for the home crowd but had an unfortunate 4 faults. Next in for Sweden, was Malin Baryard-Johnsson with the adorable H&M Tornesch. A frustrating time fault would keep this competitive duo from joining the jump off. The same fate would wait for Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and the talented Bella Donna, who also jumped a picture perfect round but suffered a single time fault at the end.

Luciana Diniz (POR) and Lennox

Luciana Diniz (POR) and Lennox

Luciana Diniz and Lennox, winners of last week’s first CSI5* event of the year, executed a strong clear for Portugal while Edwina Tops-Alexander and her 9 year old Belgian-bred gelding Ego van Orti gave the 1.60 track plenty of room. I know Edwina would have been very happy with that round, mentioning before the course walk, that she had hoped to jump Ego a bit more during the 4 days in Leipzig as to manage the young gelding’s blood but alas, the combination tackled the track very well. Serving up yet another top World Cup finish for the leading lady rider.

After Edwina and Ego, clear rounds followed in quick succession with Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann, Dutchman Marc Houtzager, Ireland’s Denis Lynch, Dutchman Gerco Schroder and France’s Kevin Staut.

Pius Schwizer was faster with 40.56 seconds

Pius Schwizer was faster with 40.56 seconds

With the Western European series moving into the final stages, all but three further qualifiers remains, the battle for a qualifying spot at the Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April is intensifying with every round and yesterday was no exception. With a ten horse jump-off, the Leipzig World Cup winner would have to fight for the title.

A hopeful Jens Fredricson and Lunatic started things off for Sweden, as the first combination in the jump off. Fredricson made it all the way to the third element of the former triple combination before earning a fault. Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten was only one fence from home when VDL Groep Verdi gave it a slight rub. Unfortunately for Portugal’s Luciana Diniz, Lennox touched two rails to earn a score of 8 faults, leaving everything wide open for the remaining seven riders.

Edwina, winner of the sixth leg in Geneva with the lovely Itot du Chateau, issued out the first fault free round with a moderate time of 41.21 seconds. Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer followed suit, picking up the pace only slightly, with a time of 40.56 seconds.

Christian Ahlmann, currently ranked number one in the world, made a breath-taking turn to fence three that gave Taloubet Z only two strides on approach. The number one ranked rider, who was not fashioning his Rolex armband, attacked the course from start to finish. Taloubet Z, ears forward, handled the pace with ease, stopping the clock at an amazing 36.45 seconds. The time was sure to put the pressure on the remaining four riders. Would Christian win for a second year in a row?

Marc Houtzager and Tamino Z, winners of the World Cup event in London Olympia before Christmas, had two down while Ireland’s Denis Lynch and Abbervail van het Dingeshof handled the quick pace well. Denis’ time was strong enough to put him into second place, despite being more than two seconds off the pace with his big bodied gelding.

Marc’s Olympic team mate Gerco Schroder was also clear but slightly cautious with a time of 39.53 seconds with his kind-hearted stallion London. Last to go was Frenchman Kevin Staut, who is currently second on the World cup standings under Sergio Alvarez Moya.  The number one ranked Frenchman set his pace early, aboard his trusty grey mare, Silvana HDC.

Kevin was last to go but unfortunatley got dislodged at the 3rd fence

Kevin was last to go but unfortunately got dislodged at the 3rd fence

The mare, who crushed the opposition in the thrilling fifth leg at Stuttgart, Germany in November, was looking strong enough to catch Taloubet Z. Unfortunately, Kevin took a wide turn back to fence three and, arriving on awkward distance, Silvana reached out and paddled through the red poles before accidentally dislodging Kevin. Luckily, the Frenchman landed on his feet and made a quick but smooth exit. (Both horse and rider were fine).

It was all over! Christian had won for the home crowd of 9,000 spectators and ensured his second World Cup win in a row in Leipzig, Germany. A perfect way for Taloubet Z to end his winter season, the stallion now goes to stud for a few months, before returning to work later in the spring.

“For sure, he was in great shape today, he was amazing in the first round”, said Ahlmann. “He gave me such a super feeling, so I tried to take all the risks in the jump-off because of that. In Mechelen we were placed (10th) and I took him to Basel last week but we had a bad Grand Prix so it is great to finish the season in such good shape!” he added.

Referring to Taloubet’s extraordinary record of success at this show in Leipzig, Christian said “it’s a super, super show, everything is perfect for the riders and the horses and Taloubet always goes unbelievably well here!”  The world’s number one rider plans to compete at Zurich next Sunday, “I will probably ride Codex there” he pointed out, but he is unsure what horse he will take to the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April.  “Maybe Taloubet will be ready again, who knows, we will wait and see!” he concluded.

Well done Christian and his team for this wonderful win! See you in Zurich!

Results….

1, Taloubet Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/0 35.45; 2, Abbervail van het Dingeshof (Denis Lynch) IRL 0/0 38.65; 3, London (Gerco Schroder) NED 0/0 39.53; 4, Picsou du Chene (Pius Schwizer) SUI 0/0 40.56; 5, Ego van Orti (Edwina Tops-Alexander) AUS 0/0 41.21; 6, Lunatic (Jens Fredricson) SWE 0/4 38.48; 7, VDL Groep Verdi (Maikel van der Vleuten) NED 0/4 39.29; 8, Sterrehof’s Tamino (Marc Houtzager) NED 0/8 38.92; 9, Lennox (Luciana Diniz) POR 0/8 40.34; 10, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/Elim.

 

Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2012/2013 – Standings after Round 9 at Leipzig (GER):

1. Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP  – 75

2. Kevin Staut FRA – 69

3. Pius Schwizer SUI – 59

4. Christian Ahlmann GER – 57

5. Jens Fredricson SWE – 48

6. Denis Lynch IRL – 41

7. Luciana Diniz POR – 41

8. Marcus Ehning GER – 40

9. Roger-Yves Bost FRA – 39

10. Malin Baryard-Johnsson SWE – 38

11.  Edwina Tops-Alexander AUS – 36

12. Jeroen Dubbeldam NED – 35

13. Marc Houtzager NED – 34

14. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER – 34

15. Maikel van der Vleuten NED – 33

16. Penelope Leprevost FRA – 33

17. Steve Guerdat SUI – 30

18. Gerco Schroder NED – 26

Another win for Ward in Wellington…

Mclain Ward in London

Mclain Ward in London

The second week of competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, concluded on Sunday with a win for McLain Ward (USA) and Super Trooper de Ness in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Competing on a beautiful afternoon at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), the pair earned their second victory of the week, winning over Ben Maher (GBR) aboard Jane Clark’s Cella and Pablo Barrios (VEN) and ZL Group, Inc.’s Zara Leandra.

McLain Ward and Super Trooper de Ness Sportfot

McLain Ward and Super Trooper de Ness Sportfot

Week three of the FTI WEF runs Wednesday, January 23, through Sunday, January 27. The week will feature the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (FTI GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments®, at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening. The event raises and distributes over one million dollars annually to 32 lucky Palm Beach County charities in a pro-am team competition.

Other highlights in the International Arena will include the $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 at 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC will host the $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix, weather permitting, at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The 2013 FTI WEF circuit continues through March 31 featuring 12 weeks of world-class competition.

Concluding week two, forty-one entries showed in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday jumping a course set by Luc Musette of Belgium. Eight were clear to advance to the jump-off and five went double clear. McLain Ward and Grant Road Partners’ Super Trooper de Ness blazed through the short course in 41.853 seconds for the win.

Super Trooper is an eleven-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion by Vigo d’Arsouilles x Polydor. He is a horse that Ward is aiming toward the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy. The pair won a class earlier in the week in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class and a great partnership is forming.

Commenting on his win, Ward stated, “He is a really, really fast and very, very careful horse. We have been trying to build over the last few classes and today was a step up and I thought he handled it very well. I know he is capable of going fast like that, so I figured I would take a nice chance, not doing anything crazy, but take a chance, and he really responded well. It was a nice win and a nice way to start off the circuit with him.”

McLain and Super Trooper Suncast Pres Sportfot

McLain and Super Trooper Suncast Pres Sportfot

Four other riders cleared the short course and finished in the top of the ribbons. Ben Maher and Cella completed the course in 42.390 seconds to place second. Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra finished in 43.441 seconds for third place honors. Paige Johnson (USA) and Salamander Farm’s Chiron S were fourth in 43.893 seconds. Fifth place went to Christine McCrea aboard Candy Tribble’s Victor E with a time of 45.317 seconds.

Ward is excited about his new partnership with Super Trooper de Ness and looks forward to building their relationship this season. Speaking about the ride, he detailed, “He is very sensitive and very careful, so you have to be quite disciplined in the ride, but the trade off is that he leaves the jumps up. I think you just try to ride him as well as you can. He is just very competitive. I think he is a wonderful horse, so I am very excited about him.”

Ward also spoke about the course and how it suited his horse, as well as his confidence in his mount in the jump-off.

“It was big enough for a 1.50m class,” he remarked. “The triple was quite big. I think he is capable of answering any test, but it is a little bit of a progression because we are just kind of getting going.”

“From fence one to two I left out a stride,” Ward said of his winning time. “I knew how careful he was that he would handle that skinny really well and then I just tried to stay on it. We had a nice turn back on both verticals and it was nine strides in the last line for all the top ones that went fast, so it was kind of a set distance. You know when you are galloping the fence that he is going to do a lot to get out of the way, so that certainly gives you confidence in going fast.”

The Junior Jumpers also showed in the International Arena on Sunday competing in their classics for week two. In the $10,000 Griffis Group High Junior Jumper Classic, Lillie Keenan and Chansonette Farm, LLC’s Londinium were the winners. Dana Scott and Nod Hill Farm’s KM What Ever RV finished second and Chloe Reid and Damascus placed third.

The $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic saw a win for Michael Hughes aboard Christina Fried’s Zammetje. Second place went to Eugenio Garza aboard El Milagro’s Zarenko. Madeline Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm’s Lancelot 266 finished third.

Source: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Mclain Ward & Super Trooper

Mclain Ward & Super Trooper

Finals Results: $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

1. SUPER TROOPER DE NESS          MCLAIN WARD         GRANT ROAD PARTNERS, LLC: 0/0/41.853
2. CELLA        BEN MAHER    JANE CLARK: 0/0/42.390
3. ZARA LEANDRA     PABLO BARRIOS       ZL GROUP, INC: 0/0/43.441
4 . CHIRON S       PAIGE JOHNSONSALAMANDER FARM: 0/0/43.893
5. VICTOR E       CHRISTINE MCCREA       CANDY TRIBBLE: 0/0/45.317
6. ROUNDTHORN MADIOS    LAUREN TISBO         TEQUESTRIAN FARMS, LLC: 0/4/46.028
7. ONISHA     REED KESSLER         REED KESSLER: 0/5/50.136
8. LILLI         GEORGINA BLOOMBERG       DIETMAR GUGLER & GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES: 0/8/47.451
9. E-MUSE YEK         DARRAGH KERINS     DARRAGH KERINS & MAARTEN HUYGENS: 1/80.809
10. ZHUM CWMCLAIN WARD         ILAND FARDER & MISSY CLARK: 4/73.638
11. QUIET EASY 4     BEN MAHER    MRS/ PHILLIPS: 4/75.606
12. UATA       BRIANNE GOUTAL     CLOVERLEAF FARM: 4/75.668

Miss Kessler wins $50,000 Wellington Grand Prix…

Reed and Ligist at Spruce Meadows Masters

Reed and Ligist at Spruce Meadows Masters

The youngest rider in Saturday night’s $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix was the winner as eighteen-year-old Reed Kessler and Ligist jumped to victory during the highlight event of week two at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). With riders representing fourteen different countries competing in the class, the USA took the top seven placings and the young women were one, two and three. Kessler and Ligist topped Katie Dinan (19) and Nougat du Vallet and Brianne Goutal (24) aboard Nice de Prissey.

The second week of FTI WEF competition, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, will conclude with the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday afternoon. The 2013 FTI WEF circuit runs through March 31 featuring 12 weeks of world-class competition.

Reed and Ligist Credit: Sportfor

Reed and Ligist Credit: Sportfor

Luc Musette of Belgium set the course for Saturday night’s $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix. The riders were all complimentary of Musette’s course for the evening. Goutal stated, “I thought it was amazing. I thought this course was beautifully built and spot on with the number of clears. It didn’t kill anyone, it was hard, it was fast, it was exciting. It is the best course I have jumped in a long time, I thought it was wonderful.”

Kessler agreed, “I thought the course was outstanding. I love really natural-feeling courses and I thought the whole thing felt so natural and smooth. There were options for your horses and I thought it was fantastic. He actually reminded me that this was the second grand prix I have won that he designed. He designed the 2* in Paris that I won when I was 16 and I love his courses.”

Fifty-four entries started the class in round one and nine advanced to the jump-off with four jumping double clear.

Katie Dinan and Grant Road Partners’ Nougat du Vallet were the first pair to clear the short course and set the time to beat at 38.19 seconds in the jump-off, eventually finishing second. Ken Berkley and Ax-Cent, owned by Rivers Edge, also cleared the jump-off course and stopped the clock in 39.12 seconds to place fourth. Reed Kessler and Ligist were next to go and blazed through the course in 37.81 seconds to take the lead. Last on course, Brianne Goutal and Cloverleaf Farm’s Nice de Prissey cleared the short course in 38.53 seconds to secure fourth place honors.

Reed Kessler was thrilled with the effort of her horse Ligist in the evening’s class. Kessler and the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Levantos II x Robin Z) recently jumped up to 2.10m in a six-bar class in Geneva and the rider feels that the class really “raised his sights.”

“I think that is the best Goose has ever jumped; he jumped incredibly,” Kessler smiled after her win. “I just tried to keep a nice, tight track and take a shot and he was fantastic. I did see Katie a little bit on the screen. I’m not sure where I made up the time. He is a really fast horse; I use him as my speed horse mostly.”

Second place finisher Katie Dinan was also very pleased with her mount Nougat du Vallet. Dinan, who is currently in college at Harvard University, is off from school for the month and making the most of her time in Wellington.

Reed Kessler and Ligist in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Matt Varney and Rob and Chris Desino of Wellington Equestrian Realty. Photo © Sportfot.

Reed Kessler and Ligist in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Matt Varney and Rob and Chris Desino of Wellington Equestrian Realty. Photo © Sportfot.

“I thought that my horse ‘Nugget’ jumped good tonight, I was really happy with him,” Dinan stated. “We did the Mar-a-lago show two weeks ago and we were aiming for this grand prix. I am down here and I am trying to make the most of that, so it was really nice to have a top three placing in this grand prix. I didn’t get a chance to see Reed go, I was walking out my horse, but I thought my jump-off was pretty fast. My horse takes a little bit more time in the air, so I think maybe if I had started out with a little bit more pace I could have helped that, but I can’t complain; he was fantastic.”

Brianne Goutal went last with her mount Nice de Prissey and had the opportunity to see both riders go in the jump-off, but had to take into account her horse’s large stride.

“I was lucky enough to watch both of them from the schooling area on the jumbotron,” Goutal noted. “My horse jumped amazing; I was thrilled with the way he went. He is a much bigger horse than theirs; he has a big stride and he takes a longer time to cover the ground. I was able to leave out a stride from one to two and I think I was quite fast back to three, but he is quite difficult to turn. I had to take a little time back to the in and out and again back to the last line, but I was thrilled with the results. I was thrilled with the way he jumped and both of their rounds were blazing fast, so I am very happy.”

Seeing three of the best young female riders from the United States take the top spots in an international class is encouraging for all of three competitors. Goutal commented, “I think that is nice. We have all grown up together. I have known them since they were on ponies and I think they saw me do ponies. It is nice to have everybody together. It is great to have all of the girls and it is nice for the sport. We need more of that here I think.”

Katie Dinan, Reed Kessler, and Brianne Goutal. Photo © Kenneth Kraus.

Katie Dinan, Reed Kessler, and Brianne Goutal.
Photo © Kenneth Kraus.

Source: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Final Results: $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*

1. LIGIST: 2000 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Levantos II x Robin Z
REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/0/37.81

2. NOUGAT DU VALLET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Scherif D’elle
KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners: 0/0/38.19

3. NICE DE PRISSEY: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Rosire x Amarpour
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Cloverleaf Farm: 0/0/38.53

4. AX CENT: 2003 KWPN gelding by Burggraaf
KENNETH BERKLEY (USA), Rivers Edge: 0/0/39.12

5. ZAFIRA: 2004 KWPN mare Nassau x Cappucino van Berkenbroek
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerney: 0/4/37.62

6. ROTHCHILD: 2001 SBS gelding by Artos x Elegant De L’Ile
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Sagamore Farms: 0/4/37.71

7. INDIGO: 2000 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Indoctro
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek & Gladewinds: 0/4/38.42

8. HH LET’S FLY: 1999 Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Forrest
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/4/39.52

9. SS BOBBY: 2002 KWPN gelding by Concorde x Joost
CHRIS SORENSEN (CAN), Britland Hughes: 0/8/44.16

10. SHOW SHOW: 2002 BWP gelding by Darco x Royal Fleu
ALVARO DE MIRANDA (BRA), RD Jumping Higher Ltda: 4/67.99

11. QUALITY GIRL: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Quidam’s Rubin x Dobrock
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Todd Minikus, Ltd:4/69.83

12. ROCKY W: 1998 KWPN gelding by Libero H x Corofino
KAITLIN CAMPBELL (USA), Kaitlin Campbell: 4/70.20

Rob Whitaker and Max Kühner win Leipzig Six bar…

Catwalk even gives 2 meters a bit of room

Catwalk even gives 2 meters a bit of room

It was Rob Whitaker for Great Britain and Max Kühner for Germany who cleared the Six bar height last night of 2.0 meters. Rob was riding the talented Catwalk and Max was riding a lovely bay stallion by the name of Coeur de Lion. Both cleared the height with ease, making 2.0 meters look rather moderate compared to some attempts.

Rene Tebbel and Luca Maria Montea fell out of the running before things got really big, as well as Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts and Victoria Guliksen (NOR). But Germany’s Lars Nieberg and Mike Patrick Leichle gave it their best for the cheering home crowd but alas, it was not to be.

There wasn’t a lot of surprise ringside, as Rob and Catwalk tied to win the ATCO Six bar at Spruce Meadows last September with Harrie Smolders (NED) and Exquis Walnut de Muze.

Rob is no stranger to winning Six bar and Puissance competitions. In fact, according to Stockholm International horse show, Rob holds the record for highest bareback Puissance attempt. In 2011, at the annual Swedish International horse show, Rob and Waterstone cleared an impressive 2.12 meter wall, setting the record, in typical Whitaker fashion.

Well done to Rob and Max for their win last night and best of luck to Rob and Catwalk, who start 14th in today’s 9th leg of the Western European World Cup series in Leipzig, Germany.