2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Week One Wrap-up
RELEASE: January 19, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Wood
Photo by Randi Muster (Farewell and Rachel Koggan capture the Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 Championship at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. )
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival had a very successful opening week of competition. New faces from across the country and around the world came to show at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, and close to 1,600 horses showed in the first week of the circuit. That is a 21% increase in horses that showed during the same week at last year's circuit.
The new drainage systems in the rings were also tested on Sunday, January 17. Despite a torrential downpour, classes continued, walk paths were clear, and there was no flooding in the riding rings.
Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) President Michael Stone stated, "It is a testament to our focus on footing that the show was able to continue on Sunday. We were really pleased with the rings and the way everything held up perfectly. We listened to the feedback from last year and installed the new footing in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Field and the Rost Arena, and we believe that this footing rivals the best anywhere in the world."
The week one title sponsor was G&C Farm, and ESP thanks them for their generous sponsorship. In addition to week one and the $25,000 G&C Farm Speed Derby on Sunday, G&C Farm is also the title sponsor behind the $25,000 G&C Farm Young Riders Grand Prix, which will be held on Sunday, February 14, at 2 p.m., and on Thursday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in the International Arena.
G&C Farm is owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal of Venezuela. G&C Farm brings exceptional horses and top Venezuelan jumper riders to the highest levels of competition. Their state-of-the-art, full-service facility is located in Wellington, FL. G&C Farm sponsors top grand prix rider Pablo Barrios of Venezuela, as well as other up-and-coming riders. The technical advisor at G&C Farm is Olympic Games course designer Leopoldo Palacios.
Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal both compete in the High Amateur Jumpers and have three children. They started G&C Farm this year, and Gustavo commented, "It's been a dream for my family to be here with good horses and to expose Venezuelan horses and riders to a new level at WEF. It's like a dream come true to be here." For more information on G&C Farm, please visit www.farmgc.com
Last week's course designer was Olaf Petersen of Germany, and he set a welcoming course for the $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed class on the opening day of competition. Thirty-four entries went to post, and the fastest of the day was Barrios on La Gran, owned by Pablo Barrios and Andres Olivares. They had no faults in a time of 61.369 seconds. Barrios also finished second on Quick Star 11, owned by Gustavo Mirabal of G&C Farm of Wellington, FL. Quick Star 11 and Barrios were also clear and had a time of 64.105 seconds. Third place went to Jeffrey Welles on Abigail Wexner's Tango. They were clear in 67.725 seconds.
The first class on Wednesday was the $8,000 1.45m Jumpers Time First Round sponsored by Sentient Flight Group, and Olympic Gold medalist Leslie Howard brought home the fastest clear round for the win on her horse Lennox Lewis 2.
Howard and Lennox Lewis 2 went tenth in the order and laid down a clean trip in a speedy time of 63.242 seconds, easily taking the lead from Chris Cawley and Cabanza, owned by Olivia Jack, who were clear in 74.737 seconds. Third place went to the other clear round, put in by Laura Kraut on Beverly Widdowson's Tortola, who crossed the timers in 77.761 seconds.
Wrapping up the first day's classes in the International Arena, it was Ian Millar on Ariel and Susan Grange's Dryden winning in the $6,000 Suncast 1.40m Time First Jump-off class. They were double clear and finished the jump-off in 36.727 seconds. Second place went to Robert Kraut on Graf Lando, owned by Meghan Kraut, who were also double clear but in a slower time of 37.522 seconds. Raylyn Farms LLC's Talent and Benjamin Meredith were third with a double-clear round in 38.782 seconds.
Show jumpers in Wellington had their first grand prix event of the season in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round One on Thursday, and it was Georgina Bloomberg of New York, NY, who rode to the win on Metropolitan, owned by Gotham Enterprizes.
Bloomberg was very pleased with the win, but she knew that she couldn't count on her time holding up with Leslie Howard and Cara Raether following her in the jump-off. "He's not a naturally fast horse. I don't usually go for speed in the jump-offs with him; I go for the double clear. I was lucky today that I went as fast as I possibly could and still leave the jumps up, and everyone else had a rail down. I would be happy with second, too; you always know Leslie is going to go in and beat your time, you just hope that maybe she knocks a rail down," she said with a smile.
Victory returned to Barrios on Friday when he was the fastest in the $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge on G&C Lisa, owned by the Mirabals of Wellington, FL. Barrios and G&C Lisa have started their relationship on a strong note, after a third-place finish in the 1.35m Jumpers on Wednesday and the win on Friday. The Mirabals purchased G&C Lisa only a few months ago, and Barrios is still getting to know the 10-year-old Selle Francais mare.
"She's a new mare for me. Coming from Europe, she spent three weeks in quarantine," Barrios explained. "This is my first horse show with her. I'm thinking she might do the speed derby on Sunday because she is very fast. She did great in her first time on this field. I'm very pleased with her."
Nick Skelton of Great Britain was the only rider to have double-clear rounds in Saturday's $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic. However, he was able to accomplish double-clear rounds on both of his mounts in the class, giving him first place with Nemo 119 and second on Carlo 273, both owned by Beverly Widdowson. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Kilkenny Rindo were the fastest four-faulters for third place.
Skelton returned first in the jump-off on Nemo 119 and set down a winning pace of 42.270 seconds, but it was the clear round that won him the class. Skelton returned last with Carlo 273 and was able to take an easier pace with the nine-year-old Holsteiner by Contender. They crossed the timers in 48.472 seconds with no faults to finish second. Of his opening week one-two finish, he joked, "To win anything at my age is nice."
Fast was the word for the day in the $25,000 G&C Farm Speed Derby on Sunday, and delivering on that was Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil, who rode Palouchin de Ligny owned by Pessoa Stables to victory.
Olaf Petersen designed a challenging 17-obstacle derby course that incorporated the horseshoe bank, a water jump, a closed combination, and the table bank. There were 22 entries in the class, and all were going for time in the faults-converted format, which changes refusal and jumping faults into seconds for just a final time to determine the winner.
Pessoa and Palouchin de Ligny, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood by Baloubet du Rouet, sped through the derby course with a consistent, quick pace. They finished with a time of 95.515 seconds, and with a clear round, they came home with the win. Palouchin de Ligny, who is a homebred for Pessoa, has had quite a bit of success in the speed classes at WEF. "He's really consistent in this ring; last year he won 10 or 12 classes here. He really likes this place and he feels really comfortable," Pessoa said. "It's nice to have a homebred horse winning some classes."Hunter Highlights
The first championships of the 2010 FTI Wellington Equestrian Festival were awarded in the professional hunter divisions on Thursday. The Green Working Hunters, sponsored by Western Hay & Suncoast Bedding, took center stage in the Rost Arena. The season's inaugural First Year Green Hunter Championship was awarded to Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, TX, with Double H Farm's HH London. Pletcher describes HH London, a seven-year-old Dutch bred gelding by London Times and Voltaire, as "fantastic."
"I think the jumps are colorful, and everything looks really nice," Pletcher commented. Riders, trainers, and owners, alike are thrilled with the new "pink" footing in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Field and the Rost Arena. "I love it," said Pletcher when asked about the new footing in the hunter rings. "As far as new footing goes, it is excellent," he continued.
Also in the top ribbons on Thursday were Havens Schatt and Louise Serio. Schatt and Humor Me, owned by R. Bruce Duchossois won the first class, while Serio took home the blue in the second class with Gillian Grant's mount, Ledger.
The Pine Hollow Adult Amateur Hunter 3'3" division wrapped up its competition on Friday, and emerging victorious with the championship was Love Notes, with owner/rider Courtney Carey. Carey, originally from Cockeysville, MD, is currently a senior at the University of South Carolina and plans to commute back and forth from South Carolina almost every weekend to compete at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.
Carey bought Love Notes, or "Lovey," in the beginning of the year, and her trainer, Jen Bauersachs, showed him throughout 2009 in the Pre-Green Hunter and First Year Green Hunter divisions. Carey describes her six-year-old Oldenburg as a "really sweet horse with a good temperament." It was clear that the courses suited both Carey and Love Notes when she won all three classes, earning her the championship, while both of the blues went to Georgia Dillon with her mount, Leonetti, which secured the reserve championship ribbon for them.
Earning the championship in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters on Saturday was Rachel Koggan, riding her mount Farewell. Koggan and the 11-year-old Farewell, bred by the well-known hunter Tribute, were first and second yesterday over fences, and placed sixth and first over fences that day. They were fourth in the under saddle to clinch the championship title. The reserve champion this week was Zoom, owned and ridden by Laura Sexton.
Koggan has been riding Farewell for three years, so the duo has built a great relationship together. Koggan describes the striking bay as a "total show horse that knows his job." Farewell thrived off of the windy weather this morning in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Field, earning a high score of 86 in the second round over fences.
It was a clean sweep for Glen Senk, of Philadelphia, PA, at the first week of the FTI WEF. Senk competed with three horses this weekend and emerged victorious in every single class in section B of the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51 & Older division. Senk was champion on Fashion Farm's Declaration, winning three out of the four classes over fences, and placing fifth in the under saddle. Senk won the other over fences class on Highland Park, and the under saddle with Proof, both of whom are owned by Fashion Farm. The reserve champion in the Camping World Adult Amateur 51 & Over Section B was Liana, owned by Carol and Jan O'Donnell, and ridden by Jan O'Donnell.
This was only the third time that Senk has shown Declaration, a seven-year-old gelding, but the duo clicked right away, earning the division's high scores of 85 and 87 today. Senk has owned Declaration for about two years, but Senk's trainer Scott Stewart spent last year showing Declaration in the First Year Green and Regular Conformation divisions.
The heavy rain on Sunday morning was the first true test for the new footing, which was installed in the E.R. Mische Hunter Ring. The footing includes fiber and felt from GGT, materials from Bart Poels, and was installed by Equestrian Services International (ESI).
While many riders got soaked in the morning, the rain did not faze the new footing. Senk was very grateful for the new footing in the hunter rings, noting, "It is perfect. I love my horses more than anything, and the most important thing to me is the footing. This is such a gift because it will keep our horses sound, healthy, and happy."
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