Rachel Boggus Claims Another Equitation Victory with SS Whisper in Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final; Kathryn Haefner Awarded Top Honors for Series

RELEASE: March 31, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Rachel Boggus and SS Whisper (Anne Gittins Photography)
Rachel Boggus and SS Whisper (Anne Gittins Photography)
Wellington, FL
- Rachel Boggus, of Fort Wayne, IN, catch rode her way to another first place finish, this time with SS Whisper, in the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final during the final day of competition for the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). SS Whisper, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding is owned by Wee Enterprises. Boggus was awarded a Beval bridle and gift certificate for her blue ribbon finish in the final class of the series.

Brett Burlington and Cassidy, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, finished second and won an Essex show shirt from Beval for their performance. Third place was awarded a Beval Saddlery logo saddle pad, which went to Sara Ballinger and her own Wanderprinz.

Overall high point finisher for the 2013 FTI WEF was Kathryn Haefner, who rode her own Bentley in Sunday's class. Haefner was awarded the ultimate prize of a new Butet saddle, also courtesy of class sponsor Beval Saddlery.

Boggus recently brought home a blue ribbon in the Ariat National Adult Medal class aboard a completely unfamiliar horse and was equally successful on new mount SS Whisper, an experienced junior equitation mount. "When I sat on it yesterday, I loved it immediately," Boggus smiled. "It was so trained, just light and ready to go. It framed up really easily. It was my type of ride, didn't take too much leg."

Boggus considers the Beval Palm Beach Medal course an integral part of her annual campaign for Ariat National Adult Medal Finals, held at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in September. She enjoyed the challenging course of Sunday's class that allowed riders to show off their skills.

"We started with a rollback and there were some inside turn options, which I always like when they put those in. Abby and I always try to think about what I'm going to do at the National Medal Finals, so we try to make it as hard as we can and practice more difficult options. I liked that there was an inside turn option and some tighter rollbacks so you could tighten up and make it fancy if you wanted to," Boggus described.

For the flat phase of the class, Boggus was thankful to have a mount so well-suited for the demands of the test. "I'm not admittedly the best flatter ever, so we really have to do a lot of work on the flat to get my heels down and I tend to grip too much-I clench my hands," Boggus explained.

"The flat is really challenging for me, but with this horse it was really nice because it was so supple. I just barely had to put any pressure on the reins and it framed right up. It's really big and slow and comfortable, so that was really nice," Boggus commented.

While Boggus has shown at the FTI WEF intermittently in years past, the 2013 season was her first full circuit. "I lived in Denver until this past July, so I would go to [HITS] Thermal. Now that I'm back down in the Midwest and living in Indiana, we come to WEF because we have a barn down here," Boggus explained.

"I really like it, the weather's always nice. The competition is the best in the country, and that's one thing we really wanted to concentrate on-putting myself in these higher pressure situations at bigger shows," Boggus expressed.

Boggus' dedication has clearly paid off as she stands on top of the current national standings for the Ariat National Adult Medal. She will take April off to let her horses recuperate before starting back up again in Kentucky next month and setting her sights on the Devon Horse Show on her way to finals.

Haefner has also been a force to be reckoned with this season at the FTI WEF, coming in first in circuit standings for the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal class. Haefner swapped between her geldings Columbus and Bentley on the path to first place and finished the series on Sunday aboard Bentley, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding. The pair finished fourth.

Haefner describes Columbus as more of a typical equitation horse, but is quick to acknowledge Bentley's ability to be competitive in both hunter and equitation divisions. "Bentley is super comfortable. He's really easy to flat. Columbus may have more of the equitation look, and Bentley's a good mover, so he does well in the hunters. But when you put a Pelham on [Bentley], he's got that smooth, pretty way of moving and going round," Haefner explained.

Haefner also enjoys the opportunity that the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal class gives adults to show off their equitation skills and compete for a top prize. "I love these classes, they're really fun. There are not a whole lot of medals for the adults to do, so this is a really nice opportunity to do something like that," Haefner commented.

"The saddle incentive is great," she continued. "I ride in a Butet, so that's always a good incentive because I get the saddle that I like. It's really fun [to compete in the class] because besides the handy rounds, you never get the opportunity to do a course that's a little more interesting [in the hunter divisions]. There's also a flat test, which the other adult medals don't have. They either don't have a test or there's a jumping test, so the flat test makes things a little more interesting, and I like that."

Haefner, of Buffalo, NY, juggles competing on weekends at the FTI WEF with attending classes full-time at the University of Miami as an aerospace and electrical engineering student. "Sometimes it's difficult, engineering is challenging. I'm in the top 5% of my class and I try to stay there, so it's been a challenge, but I like it," Haefner described.

Haefner's trainer, Stewart Moran, also of New York, travels south with her each winter and Fort Lauderdale trainer Jimmy Torano also trains the busy young amateur. "It's a lot of hard work and everybody at the barn works really hard to get the horses ready while I'm not there," Haefner acknowledged.

The Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final was the among the final divisions to award end of circuit honors to the competitors of the FTI WEF, which concluded competition on Sunday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.