Fierce Competition Kicks Off World Championship Hunter Rider Week at the FTI WEF
RELEASE: February 21, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Quotable and Holly Orlando (Anne Gittins Photography)
- The hunters have officially taken over the International Arena during week seven of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Week seven showcases hunter competition at its finest as riders and horses go head-to-head as they battle to qualify for Saturday night's USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
Holly Orlando and Kelley Farmer took home an astounding majority of championship titles awarded for the first half of the week. Three of the four titles among them were mounts from Larry Glefke's Lane Change Farm. Not surprisingly, the unstoppable pairing of Quotable and Holly Orlando took home tricolor honors in both Regular Conformation and Green Conformation Hunter divisions, which are sponsored by the Sanctuary.
Orlando and Quotable, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Glefke and Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Garber, were first and second over fences and first under saddle to earn Sanctuary Regular Conformation Hunter division championship honors. Reserve champion went to another Lane Change Farm pairing, Kelley Farmer and Jessica Stitt's Taken. Farmer and Taken were second, first and first over fences and fifth under saddle.
Quotable and Orlando won every over fences round in the Sanctuary Green Conformation Hunter division before placing second under saddle. Green Conformation reserve champion was Bacardi and Havens Schatt, who placed fourth under saddle in addition to two second place finishes and a fourth place over fences.
Quotable and Orlando are no stranger to the winner's circle at the FTI WEF, but Orlando described this week's victory as especially significant. "It's always nice to know you didn't peak too early. When World Hunter Rider week comes around, you want to know you've still got it," Orlando stated.
"Quotable is so consistent and we're thrilled with him," Orlando continued. "I get in trouble daily for spoiling him with treats, but he deserves it! He tries to win every time he goes in the ring, and it's so nice to have a horse like that."
Orlando also expressed excitement for Farmer's success aboard several other Lane Change Farm horses. "Kelley and I are not competitive with each other; we're a team," Orlando emphasized.
Farmer, an integral part of the Lane Change team, brought home two championship titles of her own in addition to the reserve with Taken. Farmer took the Equine Tack & Nutritionals First Year Green Hunter division with Mythical, also owned by Glefke and the Garbers. Farmer and the nine-year-old Warmblood gelding were fourth, second and first over fences. Reserve champion honors went to Danielle Baran's Say When, ridden by Christopher Payne. The pair was fifth and first over fences.
"Mythical is easily one of my favorite horses," Glefke stated. "He jumps in perfect style. He's got a wonderful attitude about life. He stays on one rhythm and he has a brilliant jump."
Farmer also had nothing but praise for Mythical. "He's not afraid of anything. The bigger, the harder, the scarier the course, the better he is. He just wants to win. He's a fantastic animal and he was perfect today," Farmer commented.
"This is a big, prestigious week. To be on a First Year champion this week means a lot. You have to not only have a good horse, but all the chips have to fall into place. Everything has to work," Farmer continued.
Farmer's victory on Mythical was her third horse to qualify for Saturday's Hunter Spectacular competition, leaving her with the tough decision of which horse to leave in the barn Saturday night. Ultimately, she decided on her veteran ride, Taken, and Mythical.
"It's a great class and it's an honor to qualify. It's a hard decision to make, but I'm lucky enough to make it. There's a barn full of animals that we are lucky to have," Farmer explained.
Farmer chose Taken based on his experience under the lights during previous years competing in Hunter Spectacular classes. When asked what stood out about Mythical, Farmer deadpanned: "Everything. He's a special horse and he deserves to be in it."
Selma Garber, part owner of both Quotable and Mythical, declared the 2013 FTI WEF the "circuit of a lifetime" thanks to her wildly successful geldings. "It's a dream come true to have them both qualified for Saturday night. I've got quite a team that worked with these animals-riders, trainers, grooms, and of the course the animals themselves. It's a very lucky formula," Garber continued.
"Seldom does a plan come together quite like this," Glefke echoed. "At the beginning of the week, I told [Orlando and Farmer], 'Girls if you could get Quotable, Taken and Mythical in there [on Saturday night], it would make my week."
Farmer's second championship ride was with At One's Word in the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Second Year Green Hunter division. Farmer and the eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Woodland Way, Inc., were first and fourth over fences and third under saddle for the division. Reserve championship honors went to Lapis, also ridden by Orlando and owned by Missy Luczak-Smith. Lapis and Orlando were fourth under saddle and second in two over fences rounds.
At One's Word is another Lane Change Farm alumni, and Farmer is pleased to be able to continue to ride such a competitive horse. "I've gotten the pleasure of still getting to ride him since he was sold. He's lovely. He's got a big stride, he's scopey, and he's a brave horse. He's not spooky at all. He walked right into the International Ring and won his first class," Farmer stated.
Scott Stewart also enjoyed a championship victory aboard Dedication in the Gold Coast Feeds High Performance Working Hunter division. The eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, was first, sixth and second place over fences in addition to winning the under saddle class with Stewart in the irons. Liza Boyd and her own Brunello were reserve champions for the division, finishing fourth, first and first over fences.
Stewart describes Dedication as one of his most talented rides. "He's an amazing jumper. He's probably one of the best hunters I've ever had. He's one of the few horses that is a beautiful mover and really athletic. He's the most athletic hunter I've seen in a long time," Stewart commented.
Parker echoed Stewart's sentiments about Dedication in addition to describing Stewart as the horse's perfect match. "You can feel that Scott genuinely loves this horse from the bottom of his heart. Dedication is as much of a perfectionist and an athlete as Scott, and we all know Scott is the consummate perfectionist," Parker stated.
Thursday's competition concluded with the Performance Hunter divisions, which will be included in tomorrow's press release.