Larkspur and Francesca Dildabanian Take Home the Tricolors in Coldwell Banker Children's Hunter 14 and Under Division
RELEASE: February 4, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Larkspur and Francesca Dildabanian (Anne Gittins Photography)
- The fourth week of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded Sunday with the Coldwell Banker Children's Hunter 14 and Under division, hosted in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals Ring 6. Champion honors were awarded to Ashley Whitner's Larkspur, ridden by Francesca Dildabanian. The pair placed first and third over fences during day one of competition and finished up day two with another blue ribbon finish over fences.
Reserve champion was Castlekeep, ridden and owned by Lili Halterman. Halterman and her newly purchased mount were first and sixth over fences on day one, followed by first place in the second over fences round of day two. Sunday's class was only Halterman's second show with her 10-year-old Hanoverian, and she's thrilled with his performance thus far. "Castlekeep is brand new, so it's really exciting that we're already reserve champion together. We're off to a great start," Halterman said.
Halterman trains alongside Dildabanian with Richard Cunkle. The girls remain close friends and enjoy having a sweep of the division. "We keep a pretty friendly competition. It's really nice. We feel like we won the division together," Halterman described.
"Lili is my really good friend. I'm so excited for her since she just got a new horse. I like being able to show with her. It stays very friendly between the two of us," Dildabanian added, echoing Halterman's sentiment.
Dildabanian has also had a short history with her mount. She began riding Larkspur, a twelve-year-old Oldenberg gelding, only a month before coming to the FTI WEF. "I just started riding him in December. He's so much fun! He has a lot of scope so it's really fun to ride him. I'm so lucky to be able to show him," Dildabanian stated.
Dildabanian is especially thankful to be able to count on Larkspur's experience, especially in a highly competitive division of 40 riders. "He usually jumps higher than this, so if I make a mistake or don't have a perfect distance, I can always rely on him. He'll never do anything bad, he's just really sweet," Dildabanian explained.
Dildabanian eagerly makes the pilgrimage south to the FTI WEF every winter from New York City. "This is my third year coming to WEF. I love the warm weather, of course, but I really like how the show grounds are so big and there's always something to do," Dildabanian concluded.