2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Week Twelve Wrap-Up
RELEASE: April 8, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Wood and Adrienne Marciano
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) has concluded, following its 12th week of competition on March 31-April 4. The week featured the $50,000 Chronicle of the Horse
/United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby, along with a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation classes. The week twelve title sponsor was Lifestyle Lift®.
Louise Serio rode to the biggest victory of her career when she piloted Castlerock, owned by Bryan Baldwin, to the win in the $50,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. The class was also Serio's first derby win ever. Second place was awarded to Scott Stewart and Fashion Farm's Summer Place, while the yellow ribbon went to Tamara Provost and Peridot, owned by Stephen Martines. The prestigious class is part of the Chronicle of the Horse International Hunter Derby nationwide tour, and offers one of the biggest purses in the hunter world.
The class was scored cumulatively over two rounds, and the final round took action under the lights in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The first team of judges was made up of Danny Robertshaw and Bob Crandall, while John Roper and Paddy Nyegard were slated in the second position. Keith Hastings and Pat Dodson were the scribes for the two judges' panels. Judges awarded competitors with a score for their jumping rounds, as well as a bonus point for any large height option they chose to jump (out of five available), and a bonus score out of ten points rewarding riders for their handiness.
Louise Serio and Castlerock were untouchable over the two rounds of competition, and Serio earned the highest score of her entire career when the second panel of judges awarded her with a 99 after her brilliant second round. "I have to say I thought it all came up really well. I liked my turns, I liked my jumps, and my last jump was long! But, once you commit to something like that you just have to keep going," she smiled.
Serio went last in the class, and entered the International Arena with sheer determination. "I'm competitive, but I wanted this class. Especially when I was coming back (for the second round) on top," she admitted. "That's a hard position to come back in and that's a lot of pressure, and I really wanted this class."
Second place finisher Scott Stewart spoke of his mount, Summer Place, "He's a seven-year-old First Year horse that I got last summer. He did a couple of shows in the Pre-Greens, and I think this is maybe his sixth show in the First Years. He's like a big pony to ride. He's really easy to ride."
Tamara Provost and Peridot made the biggest improvement of the night when they went from sixteenth place in the first round and finished the class in third place after all was said and done. "I was so excited after yesterday. I chose to be conservative yesterday, and jumped some of the lower jumps. I was a little nervous yesterday about the crowd on the side of the ring, but I have all the confidence in the world with my horse. I'm very lucky because Steve Martines basically has him to just be a derby horse, so I'm getting a great opportunity," Provost explained of her derby experience.
Riders spoke about how the derby classes are advancing the hunter sport and industry, and Serio commented, "I think the derby is just the whole new level of hunters. It is exciting, challenging, and moving forward to become more and more difficult." Jumper Highlights
Kate Levy up on Gralli, owned by Nicole Brouillard, was victorious in Wednesday's $2,000 Western Hay Co. & Suncoast Bedding 1.30m Jumpers Time First Jump-Off class. The second place honors went to Osvaldo Ornia Pacher on his mount Beach Blonde, owned by The Boot Source LLC. Third place honors went to Jeffrey Welles on Hudson, owned by Kenzie Snyder. Levy spoke of the horse that won today, "She's a great eleven-year-old mare that I have been riding for about a year. She is super fast, careful and very easy to ride."
Jumper action continued at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival on Thursday in four rings at different heights for the open jumpers. The winner of the $2,500 Camping World 1.35m Jumpers was Favorite Lady, ridden by Ray Texel for Pine Hollow Stables. In the $2,000 Western Hay Co. & Suncoast Bedding 1.30m Jumpers, Christina Kelly and Camirage were victorious. Kate Levy scored another win this week, this time in the $8,000 Sentient Jet 1.45m Jumpers on Vent du Nord.
Ray Texel and Favorite Lady, owned by Pine Hollow Stables, were double clear for the win in the Time First Jump-off class. They stopped the timers in 34.628 seconds, almost two seconds ahead of the second place finisher. Crossing the timers in 36.090 seconds were Jeffery Welles and Naomi, owned by Dunwalke LLC, for second place. Katelyn Hess rode Jackson Way, owned by Hess Equine LLC, to third place with a double clear in 38.304 seconds.
In the $2,000 Western Hay Co. & Suncoast Bedding 1.30m Jumper Time First Jump-off class, junior rider Christina Kelly compiled another win in the open jumper divisions. This time it was on Camirage, owned by Diamond Edge Farm. They were double clear in 31.218 seconds. Second place went to Darragh Kerins on Valentina, owned by Hannah Murrin. They were also double clear but slower in 33.012 seconds. Laura Chapot and her own Little Big Mama were third in 34.108 seconds.
Kate Levy, yesterday's 1.30m winner, took home another blue ribbon today in the $8,000 Sentient Jet 1.45m Jumper Time First Jump-off class. She rode Vent du Nord to a double clear in 35.903 seconds for the win. Beezie Madden took up the next two spots in the order when she finished second with Abigail Wexner's Mademoiselle (36.662 seconds) and third with Coral Reef Via Volo (37.130 seconds).
The first Junior/Amateur-Owner Zone Team Competition at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival was a success on Friday night. Riders from various zones competed on teams in sections of Low, Medium, and High. The winning team in the High Section was Zone 3&4, composed of Alise Oken, Catherine Pasmore, Paulena Johnson, and Rachel Cline. Zone 2 won the Medium Section, and their team was Katherine Steenberg, Cindy Fuller, Heather Irons, and Cynthia McGrath. The Low Section team winner was Zone 7, with Wilton Porter, Meagan Nusz, Audrey Trimble, and Alexandra Elkins.
Riders qualified for tonight's team competition based on their performances in their respective Classics last weekend. The nominated riders chose a Chef d'Equipe for their team, and the class ran in the same format as this year's Nations Cup. If the team had four riders, they had the possibility of a drop score. All of the teams were welcomed back for a second round. Each division awarded $10,000 in prize money to the three teams. The divisions, based on height, were High at 1.45m, Medium at 1.35m, and Low at 1.25m.
The final Suncast 1.50m Classic was held on Saturday afternoon in the International Arena. With $20,000 in prize money, a strong field came out to contest. The fastest in the jump-off for the win was Shane Sweetnam (IRL) on Little Emir, owned by Spy Coast Farms LLC. Schuyler Riley (USA) and Navalo de Poheton, owned by Wolfstone Stables, finished second, while Georgina Bloomberg and Gotham Enterprizes' Metropolitan were third. Over at The Stadium, two classes were held on the grass field for the Modified Adult Amateur Jumpers and the Masters Jumpers.
Sweetnam and Little Emir were efficient through the course, made great turns throughout and able to finish the course three seconds faster for the win in 40.371 seconds. "It was a very good win. He's been good all circuit," Sweetnam said. "I know him very well. I've had him for four years and he's always been a real tryer. You can always depend on him. He just felt great today. He was super in the first round and even better in the jump-off."
Out on the derby field at The Stadium on Saturday, two jumper divisions had the opportunity to show in a different venue. D'Ambrosio also designed the courses for the classes on the field. The Modified Adult Jumpers went first with their speed round on the grass field. Riding fastest with a clear round was Madeline Cox on Kix, who finished in 67.569 for first place. Sarah Becker and B&B Saddlery's Church Road were second in 67.994 seconds, while Alicia Gamboa and Kyu, owned by WCEC LLC, were third in 69.953 seconds.
Cox, of Pennington, NJ, has owned Kix, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding, for four years. They usually show in the Medium and High Amateur Jumpers, but after a fall six weeks ago, Cox is just getting back into the show ring. It was a pleasant surprise that she was able to compete on the grass field at The Stadium in the Modified Adult Jumpers.
"Going out on field was awesome. It was really fun," she remarked. "My horse was a little rambunctious because he hasn't been jumping a lot. He had a ball and it was fun to feel him listening to me and turning well. It was a good change of scenery for the horses and awesome to get a chance to show out there."
In the $1,500 Masters Jumper Time First Round class, 11 competitors came out to show on the field. Going around fastest on the course was Elizabeth Clark Lamotte on her horse Katherine. They were clear in 67.582 seconds for the win. John Tredennick rode Trueman's Affair to second place in 67.834 seconds, while Marcelo Suarez and Forever Lola were third in 71.332 seconds.
Lamotte, from West Grove, PA, trains with Kevin Babington, who found Katherine, a seven-year-old mare, from Germany. This is their second season showing together, but Lamotte was not worried about showing out on the field. "We do a lot of cross country where we live, so something like this she's very at home. I ride on grass all the time, and she showed once in Lake Placid on the grass," Lamotte explained.
Lamotte was excited about the possibilities that the Masters division can do for the sport at the FTI WEF. "I've been working with the Masters riders. We're working to try and start something called the Masters Grant, which is for Young Riders who have Olympic potential. We're trying to put a grant together that they will apply for, to give them a boost. Whether it's showing in Europe, or whatever their needs are," she said. "It will give them a helping hand for when riders are done with the Young Riders and don't have any program to go into. We want to give back to them. This was a bit of a test run to see how we would do out here, and to see if we can do a fundraiser here next year."
She said of the course, "It was a lovely course. It was very fair, and maybe next year we can do natural obstacles. It was a very special day."
The Young Jumpers took center stage on the final day of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Casey Hodges took top honors on Av'e, owned by Wendy & Casey Hodges in the $20,000 Adequan Young Jumper 5 Year Old Final. Ainsley Vince captured the victory on Utopie Des Hautes, owned by Ashford Farm in the $20,000 Adequan Young Jumper 6 Year Old Final. Jeffery Welles rode Merlin, owned by Noel Love Gross, to the top prize in the $20,000 Adequan Young Jumper 7/8 Year Old Final.
The last proved to be the best when Casey Hodges flawlessly navigated the jump-off with Av'e, owned by Wendy & Casey Hodges. The pair whisked through the timers in 30.752 seconds to claim the victory in today's 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Final.
Hodges spoke of the mare, a German-bred by Amantus xx Royal Angelo, she rode to the victory today, "She is Westphalian branded, but has mostly French blood." She explained, "This is only her fourth Five-Year-Old class." The mare is already qualified for the year-end finals at the Hampton Classic Horse Show, but Hodges will continue competing her all summer to prepare for the finals. Hodges spoke of the Young Jumper classes in general, "It is incredible that they are able to come with this amount of money to give to the Young Jumper Divisions."
There were 17 horse and rider combinations that successfully advanced to the short course in the $20,000 Young Jumper 6 Year Old Final. The jump-off included an in-and-out, roll back turns, and a very careful last line. The first competitor to set the pace in a very fast time was the eventual winner of the class. Ainsley Vince up on her mount Utopie Des Hautes, owned by Ashford Farm, beautifully displayed a faultless jump-off in a time of 35.137 seconds.
Vince spoke of her future plans with the Belgian bred mare by Ogano Sitte xx Canadian River, that she rode to the victory, "My hope is to now go home and manage to win the Canadian six-year-olds with her and hopefully she will qualify to compete in Southampton."
Jeffery Welles on his horse Merlin, owned by Noel Love Gross, entered the ring towards the beginning of the eight-year-old division. Welles and his horse, a Dutch-bred by Hors La Loi II xx Emilion, were able to shave just over one second off of Candele's time after passing through the timers in 30.735 seconds. This time would hold up for top honors in today's 7/8 Year Old final.
Welles spoke fondly of the eight-year-old Merlin. He said, "Noel Gross purchased the horse as a five-year-old from S&L Farm and Darragh Kerins. He has been a winner from day one and he is a quality horse that always rises to the occasion." Welles is very thankful that Noel has the horse. "She is a really great owner," he remarked. As for the Young Jumper Classes, Welles contends, "It is great when they can have that much money for young horses because it encourages people to really develop the horses."Hunter and Equitation Highlights
This is the last week of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) for hunters to secure a tricolor, and Sandy Ferrell and Showman, owned by Alexa & Krista Weisman, ended on a great note when they received their third championship of the twelve-week FTI WEF in the Western Hay & Suncoast Bedding First Year Green Working Hunters.
Alexa and Krista Weisman bought Showman from Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley about two years ago, and owner Alexa Weisman also competes with her mount in the Amateur Hunter divisions.
Ferrell, of Bernville, PA, competed with Showman six times throughout the 2010 FTI WEF, and has been champion three times, and reserve champion twice in the First Year Green Working Hunters. This is a very impressive feat, especially for one of the most well-attended hunter divisions at the horse show. Ferrell described the eight-year-old Westphalian gelding as the "epitome of a show hunter. He's beautiful, elegant, talented, and he goes to win."
The first round of the $50,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby began on Friday with the largest field ever in the history of the class. Seventy-five horse and rider combinations vied for the top spot in the first round of the class, which took place in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. There wasn't an empty seat in the house, and golf carts lined the entire perimeter of the ring as the sun highlighted the arena.
Louise Serio and Castlerock, owned by Bryan Baldwin, earned a whopping total score of 205 points to win the first round of competition. They sit in the prime position for the second leg of the competition.
The International Arena hosted the Palm Beach Adult Medal Final, presented by Beval Saddlery Ltd. on Sunday morning, and it was Asta Torokvei of Toronto, Ontario, Canada who took home the win. Torokvei rode through three phases for victory over Leah Aronow and Sandra Epstein.
Torokvei went second to last in the class. They had a solid trip and returned for the flat phase. From there, she was called back on top along with Leah Aronow to compete in a work-off.
Torokvei rode Riverdale, an eight-year-old Dutch gelding that she has owned over two years, in the class. "He's actually for my mom to ride," she smiled. "When my mom is down here, she rides and has lessons on him. I started him in the Pre-Green Hunters. I'm so proud of him. He's never jumped around a jumper course; he's always been in the hunter ring. For him to step out there like that was pretty unbelievable."
She said of her win, "I've barely had time to process this. I barely slept last night because I was so excited and nervous." Torokvei also felt that the opportunity for adults to show in the International Arena was a great chance for the riders. She noted, "I think it's nice because we don't get something like this very often. Every now and then we get a hunter classic. There is the Hunter Spectacular and the derby, but that's 3'6" and higher, so this is a big deal (for adult riders)."
For winning the class, Torokvei was given a new Butet saddle from Beval Saddlery Ltd. "Winning the saddle is amazing," Torokvei beamed. "At the beginning of the week, my coach Beth Underhill had ridden in my saddle and she hated it. She thought I needed a new one, so it actually ended up being like fate!"
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