2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Week Nine Wrap-Up
RELEASE: March 18, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Wood and Clara Lindner
Photo by Randi Muster (Daisy Farish aboard Ballou in the Small Pony Hunters.)
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Week Nine, held March 10-14, 2010, featured many winners in the equitation, hunters, and jumpers, including the leader in the $200,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix, CSI***, presented by CN. The week nine title sponsor was CN.
Double H Farm's Night Train sped to the win with Olympic Gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil in the $200,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix, CSI***, presented by CN, on Saturday evening. McLain Ward on Sapphire, owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, was second, while Lauren Hough and Laura Mateo's Quick Study were third.
Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela designed a 14 numbered obstacle track for the opening round, and seven of 45 entries were clear to continue to the jump-off.
The first to return was Ljubov Kochtova of Russia on Aslan. With a rail at the second-to-last fence in the jump-off, she finished in fifth place in 41.14 seconds.
Hough was next in and went for the clear round but was speedy as well in 40.57 seconds to take the lead. Hough said, "Quick Study felt super tonight. We couldn't have had faster horses or faster riders in that jump-off. Going second, I knew I needed to set a good standard, but perhaps I didn't take all of the risks. It was quite a class and quite a competition. The top four were very close in their times."
Following her, Ashlee Bond and Apache, owned by Little Valley Farm, had rails at both of the verticals in the double combination for eight faults in 42.67 seconds for seventh place. Rich Fellers and Flexible, owned by Harry and Molly Chapman, were double clear, but not quick enough to catch the lead. They stopped the timers in 41.25 seconds for fourth place.
Pessoa and Night Train were next in and they put down a clear trip in high speed to go to the lead in 40.18 seconds.
"With the horses after me, I just had to give everything and hope for the best," Pessoa said. "Coming out of the ring, I knew I could have easily been third because Presley Boy and Sapphire were after me. I was realistic about my jump-off. I was happy already, and the luck was a little bit on my side."
Jaime Azcarraga of Mexico and Presley Boy were quick in 41.72 seconds, but they had a rail at the final jump on course and placed sixth.
Last in were double-Olympic Gold medalists Ward and Sapphire. Ward turned up the speed throughout the course, but added a stride to the final oxer. They finished just off the pace in 40.32 seconds for second place.
"Rodrigo really didn't leave any room. I would have liked to have won, but you can't get too upset over a couple tenths of a second," Ward said. "Sapphire feels great; she's starting to come into form."
Pessoa said of his relationship with the 15.3-hand Night Train, "He doesn't go in a very classical way, and I had to get used to that. When you see those big jumps out there with his size, you get a little bit nervous. You're not sure how you're going to come to the other side. But he's all heart; his heart is so big. He really tries hard and is just an unbelievable little horse. It's my first win with him."
It was a fitting win for Pessoa and Night Train since Double H Farm's Hunter Harrison was honored in a ceremony before the jump-off tonight. "The Harrison Cup," a perpetual trophy started this year for the leading owner/farm of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, was dedicated in a special presentation. It is named in honor of Hunter Harrison's incredible contribution to both the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival through his sponsorship with CN and to equestrian sport as a whole.
"It's really nice to win tonight," Pessoa expressed. "Hunter has been an unbelievable supporter of this show and the sport in general. With him being retired and CN not going on with the equestrian sport, it's really a great honor to win on a night like this and with him receiving the award from the horse show organization. A win is always good, and this one was really special because of all this that came together."Jumper Highlights
Ray Texel, up on his mount, Salvatore, owned by Pine Hollow Stables, captured the victory in Wednesday's $8,000 Sentient Jet 1.45m Jumper timed first round. Second-place honors were awarded to Quentin Judge on Kannan's Girl Z, owned by Double H Farm. Shane Sweetnam and Belle Bleu Z, owned by Jerry and Maria Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm, finished up in the third spot.
In the $6,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Time First Round class, Pessoa piloted Double H Farm's Cantate Z to the win over 52 other entries in the class. They were the fastest clear round in 52.837 seconds. Beezie Madden and Neapolitan Holdings Co.'s Prima were second in 53.015 seconds, while Kate Levy rode Starlight to third in 53.021 seconds.
Round nine of the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup ran on Thursday with a full afternoon of 78 entries and the winner was Pablo Barrios of Venezuela on G&C Quick Star 11, owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal. Yann Candele of Canada rode Susan Grange's Mustique to second place, while Eric Lamaze of Canada and Atlete van T Heike, owned by Stephex Stables, was third.
This was Barrios' second win with G&C Quick Star 11 in a WEF Challenge Cup, his third total WEF Challenge Cup victory, and fourth grand prix victory in this year's FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, not to mention his numerous wins in other jumper divisions. It's an incredible string of victories for any rider, and Barrios said that "everything came at the right time.
"I think I was riding well, and then Gustavo decided to move to Wellington, and we started finding horses," he explained. "I have a great sponsor. We are good friends, and we have a good relationship. Everything is happening in the right way. When I'm at the gate, he tells me, 'I don't care if you have three down, I want the faster time.' That's good support and he's a competitive guy and makes me go for it. That's part of the key for success."
Gustavo Mirabal commented, "From the beginning, I knew we were going to win, but not this much. It's been really great. This is my first year here, and it's been an incredible season. Pablo has been a top rider, and I think he needed the horses to prove it."
Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ, proved that she is one of the best young riders in the country by producing an impressive performance in the $25,000 G&C Farm Young Riders Grand Prix, which was held on Thursday evening, March 11. Springsteen was the only rider to go double clear, and she did that twice. She placed first with Iscariote and was second on Vornado van den Hoendrik, both owned by Stone Hill Farm. Catherine Pasmore and My Boy placed third.
Having the $25,000 G&C Farm Young Riders Grand Prix is something that Springsteen and her fellow competitors appreciate. "I love how they have the Young Riders Grand Prix classes here," she agreed. "It's a really good opportunity for riders under 21 to jump bigger classes instead of going straight into the big grand prix. This will help me be less nervous for the bigger classes now."
Olympic Silver medalist Peter Leone returned to the winner's circle on Sunday in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. He rode Select, owned by Lionshare Farms and Ger Poels Horses, to the win over Clementine Goutal on Kelline Fonroy and Alexander Hufenstuhl of Germany with Lacapo 4.
It was a great win for Leone, who represented the United States Equestrian Team for many years and rode in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games for the Team Silver medal.
"The part of the sport and business that I like most are riding and going clear on the big day when it counts. Of course, the big class was last night," he conceded. "I'm excited that this horse, Select, feels like he has that kind of ability. I hope that over the coming weeks and months to be equally competitive at a higher level. We'll go one step at a time. To win the 1.50m Classic here, I'm thrilled. It's very hard to win in Wellington, period."Hunter Highlights
Kelley Farmer and Larry Glefke's new mount, Taken, dominated the professional divisions on Thursday at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The pair took home the championship ribbons and coolers in both the First Year Green Working Hunter and the Regular Working Hunter divisions, both of which are kindly sponsored by Western Hay and Suncoast Bedding.
Taken and Farmer, of Keswick, VA, were consistent this week, and placed first, third, first, and second over fences, as well as sixth in the under saddle to repeat their performance from last week and claimed the Regular Working Hunter Championship.
They also received three first-place ribbons over fences in the First Year Green Working Hunters, and received scores of 86, 88, and 86 throughout the week. The reserve champion ribbon in the Regular Working Hunters was awarded to Amy Momrow and Star Quest's Serenade, owned by Deborah Brenner. The reserve championship in the First Year Green Working Hunters was awarded to Cookie Beck and Last Call, owned by Lisa Cudahy.
Children's jumpers kicked off their weekend of competition on Saturday at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Thirty-two entries went to the post in the Equine Tack and Nutritional Children's 14-17 Jumpers, and Colby Russey and her mount Crouching Tiger topped the leaderboard in the jump-off class.
Russey of Cooper City, FL, has been riding Crouching Tiger for two years and just began competing in the Children's Jumper ranks this year. Russey has had the ride on "Tiger," a 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, for two years, and has developed quite a partnership with him.
Other top finishers included Michael Balaz on his horse, The Air Up There, who finished second, as well as Victory Gallop, with owner/rider Lydia Cleary, who finished in third place.
Pony kids demonstrated their talents this past weekend. Small Pony Hunters, sponsored by Gotham North, commenced competition in Ring C on Sunday at the South Grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The top finisher in the Small Pony Hunters was Daisy Farish aboard Ballou, owned by Victoria Colvin.
Farish and her flashy chestnut gelding have been champion several times in the Small Pony Hunters throughout the 2010 FTI WEF Circuit, and added another tricolor to their list of accomplishments. "He's really smooth, and he just kind of does whatever you want," Farish said of Ballou. Farish rides with Patricia Griffith and Heritage Farm.
The pair finished first, third, third, and fifth over fences this weekend, earning a total of 19 points to clinch the championship over Meredith Darst and Hillcrest's Blue Gem Stone, owned by Lochmoor Stables. Darst and Hillcrest's Blue Gem Stone were right behind Farish and Ballou, with a total of 16 and a half points for the reserve champion ribbon.
Green Pony Hunters took action on Sunday as well at the South Grounds, and Maggie Gampfer rode Keeley Gogul's Silver Sails to the championship in the Small/Medium Green Pony Hunter division. The reserve champion ribbon was awarded to Victoria Colvin and Newsprint, owned by Scott Stewart.
Gampfer has had the ride on the seven-year-old gelding for four weeks. "He's been great the last couple weeks. He's been champion, and he's so easy when you go in the ring. He has a huge stride and can get down the lines easily. He has an amazing jump, and he can jump from any distance perfectly," she described.
Gampfer of Wellington, FL, is a 17-year-old junior at Palm Beach Central High School. She usually trains with Jennifer Bieling, but owner Keeley Gogul helps her when she rides Silver Sails. Gogul has owned the pony for about a year and a half.
"He is absolutely proof that starting them the right way and going slowly pays off in the end," Gogul said about her training strategy with Silver Sails. "The people we bought him from did a beautiful job starting him, and we've brought him along slowly and waited for him to be ready. He's been so good down here it blows my mind," she continued.
CN is North America's railroad with a commitment to speed and precision, and they are proud to support the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Along with their weekly title sponsorships, they were the presenting sponsor of the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup and the title sponsor of the $150,000 CN U.S. Open Grand Prix, CSIO**** during week eight. In week nine, they were the presenting sponsor of the $200,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix, CSI***. They were also the title sponsor of the $50,000 CN Palm Beach Jumping Derby, which was held at The Stadium during week six. For more information on CN, please visit www.cn.ca
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