Winter Equestrian Festival Week 6 Wrap-Up, March 2-6, 2005
 Cosequin Wellington Open, CSI-W, ‘AA’

Laura Kraut and Miss Independent Handily Secure the Victory in the $75,000 Cosequin Florida Open

This seems to be Laura Kraut’s year, as those ribbons keep coming in.  Despite struggling with a cold, she still managed to win it all on Sunday.  This time, it was Miss Independent who took her to the winners circle in the $75,000 Cosequin Florida Open at the 2005 Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida.  

Laura Kraut and Miss Independent win
the $75,000 Cosequin Florida Open,
CSI-W. Photo by Randi Muster

Right behind her was Anne Kursinski on Roxana 112, who despite losing a shoe after the last fence on the first course, was the only other pair to produce a double clear round.  Being in the winners circle for the Sunday Grand Prix wasn’t new for either of these riders.  Kursinski and Roxana also won the Idle Dice Classic on February 20th, while Kraut claimed the win one week earlier (February 13) on Anthem.

“I just can’t believe it,” said Kraut.  “It’s hard to even win one class here.  You get on rolls and I appreciate every minute that I am rising up, because you don’t know how long it will last.”

Olympic veterans Kraut and Kursinski were two of six riders from a starting field of 58 to make it to the jump-off.  Kraut’s clear go in a time of 43.13 seconds just barely beat Kursinski’s 43.30.  Third place went to Cayce Harrison on Coeur, who were the fastest of the four faulters (43.24).

Week Five Jumper Highlights- Wednesday through Sunday

Clear skies and unseasonably cool temperatures greeted competitors on Wednesday morning as the Cosequin Wellington Open got underway at the 2005 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida. This is the sixth of seven weeks of action at the festival in Wellington, the nation’s largest and longest running equestrian extravaganza. The final week, the CSI-O United States –CN Finale, presented by Canadian National Railroad, features the exciting Samsung Nations Cup on Friday night, March 11th.

Germany’s Dr. Arno Gego is the Course Designer this week in the Internationale Arena. The opening day feature on Wednesday was the $7500 1.45m Jumpers. The scoring was Table II Sec 2(b), Time First Jump-Off. Fifty-two entries braved the early morning chill and went to the post to tackle a tough first course by Dr. Gego. Only nine horse and rider combos produced clear first rounds. Nevertheless, eight of those nine went double clear. One rider accumulated one time fault and 23 riders had four faults. 17 riders had eight faults or more.

Intrepide Du Valon and Alison Firestone.
Photo by Randi Muster

Alison Firestone emerged victorious Wednesday with her new mount, Intrepide Du Valon, owned by Bertram and Diana Firestone. It was the first win on “the big field” for a duo that has only been together since late November. Firestone was double clear and her winning time was 38.314 seconds.

Firestone, a reserve member of the 2004 Olympic Silver Medal Show Jumping squad from Athens, Greece, edged out fellow Olympic teammate Chris Kappler for the win. Riding Primeur 58 for owner Kathy Kamine, Kappler fell just shy of the target time in 38.728 seconds, 0.414 off the pace set by Firestone.

Laura Chapot and Sprite recorded their 30th Winter Equestrian Festival Win in 1.40m Section A on Wednesday.  The scoring was under Table II Sec 2(b). Time First Jump-Off. In Section A there were 83 starters. Twenty six of the 83 posted first round clears and fifteen went on to post double clear rides. Nine riders came home with no jumping penalties, but a tight time allowed caused them time faults. Twenty two competitors had a single knockdown while 19 had eight or more faults.

Laura Chapot and Sprite raced home for the win, tripping the timers in 72.243 seconds to post a 0.472 second win over second place finisher Kinetic, owned by the Sagamore Farm and ridden by Darren Graziano. Graziano cruised through the finish line in 72.715 seconds.

This marked the thirtieth time this amazing duo has come home victorious at the Winter Equestrian Festival over the past two seasons.  Last year, Chapot and Sprite won the Acorn Hill Farm 1.40m Series Award and were Circuit Champions in the 1.40m Jumper division. They’re on a pace for a second year repeat performance.

“She’s just an incredible talent and she loves what she does,” said Chapot following her victory. “Riding Sprite in a jump-off is one of the most enjoyable things I do. When she’s on, she’s really tough to beat.”  Chapot’s father, Olympian Frank Chapot, was thrilled with the win. “At this festival, a show jumping event so competitive that some people may never win a class in a career of showing, to post thirty wins is truly an incredible feat.”

Thirty-three top Amateur Owner jumpers took the field in the early Thursday morning feature at the 2005 Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington. When the results were finalized and the cards were marked, it was Cara Raether racing to victory on Pedro, one of the newest additions to her string of horses.

Pedro and Cara Raether win in
Amateur Owner Jumpers
Photo by Randi Muster.

One of this year’s most successful riders, the red hot Cara Raether, qualified all three of her horses for the tiebreaking jump-off against the clock. She would face stiff competition from Georgina Bloomberg, who advanced with both of her mounts and Federico Fernandez, also with two for the speed round.

Raether had knockdowns with her first two mounts and faced a clean round challenge from Georgina Bloomberg, who led the class with Action, owned by the Gotham Enterprizes. Bloomberg was atop the leader board with no faults and a time of 34.056 seconds.

Raether’s final chance came aboard the Trelawny Farm’s Pedro, one of newest additions to her talented stable of jumpers. Raether blistered the jump-off course, knocking almost two seconds off of Bloomberg’s top time. Raether flashed across the finish line in 32.075 seconds to take the lead.

Bloomberg had one final shot at Raether. With La Movida, another mount owned by the Gotham Enterprises, she fell just short of the mark, breaking the beams in 33.484 seconds, 1.409 seconds off the pace.

Having more than one shot at the top prize was an obvious benefit for Raether. “Georgina went before me on Action and I know that horse is always very, very fast,” Raether accounted. “I had gone before Georgina with my other horse, early in the jump-off, and was three or four seconds slower than Georgina, so I knew I really had to pick up the pace with Pedro. And Georgina still had another one to go after me, so I knew I had to be fast. But Pedro is such a fast horse that I ended up making up all that time and coming home with the win,” she said.

Philip Rozier, a two time Olympian from the French Equestrian Team, expected to compete in the Samsung Nations Cup on Friday, March 11th, tuned up with a victory in the 1.45 m class on Thursday afternoon at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

Rozier, aboard Senna, posted a double clear round and crossed the finish line in a time 29.497 seconds for the victory. Lisa Jacquin aboard the Flintwood Farm’s Kassidy finished off the pace by 0.172 seconds to finish in second place. Jacquin stopped the timers in 29.669 seconds.

Madison and Kent Farrington win the
$25,000 Ariat WEF Challenge Cup
Photo by Randi Muster.

In the rain-soaked field of the Internationale Arena on Thursday night, 60 competitors braved the elements in round six of the $25,000 Ariat WEF Challenge Cup, but it came down to the very last round for the winners, Madison and Kent Farrington. The class, usually held in the afternoon, was moved so that the international riders could prepare their horses for next week’s nighttime highlight, the Samsung Nations’ Cup.  Farrington triumphed over Canadian Ainsley Vince and Catch 22, who finished clear in the jump-off with a time of 40.19, and Quriel and Norman Dello Joio, who were also clear but with a slower time of 40.36.

Madison is only nine years old, but she and Farrington have had their share of grand prix victories. Farrington also remarked, “She’s placed in every grand prix that I’ve shown her in here, but this is her first win at WEF.” The mare handled the complicated course set by Dr. Gego brilliantly, so show jumping fans can expect to see more of this talented duo in the future.

Penelope was a star for Jeffery Welles when she sliced the corners to take the win in the Acorn Hill Farm Speed Challenge on Friday at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. The 1.40m, Table II Section 1, Faults and Time in the First Round class produced a win from Penelope when she sped past the timers in 53.567 seconds as the fastest clean round of the day. So close, but yet so far, was Ramiro Quintana and Labelle’s clear go in 53.896 seconds.

Jeffery Welles and Penelope
win Acorn Hill Speed
Photo by Randi Muster.

The class is usually held in the Internationale Arena, but with the rain that fell overnight, the class was moved out of the grass and into the all-weather DeNèmethy Arena. As a result, the 115 starters on the original order were narrowed down to a still large field of 62 horses to face the Leopoldo Palacios designed course.

After Quintana gave the crowd a moment to wonder if he would take over the lead as the 53rd rider to go in the ring, there were no other rides that caused for concern. As a result, the mare that Welles refers to as “gutsy and careful” led the way in this speed class held during the Cosequin Wellington Open week, which runs through March 6.

It was another exciting night under the lights of the Internationale Arena during the Cosequin Wellington Open at the Winter Equestrian Festival. On Friday night, 36 Junior Jumpers and 21 Amateur-Owner Jumpers competed in their $15,000 Solaray Gambler’s Choice classes. The junior jumpers were originally scheduled for last week, but were moved to last night due to the rain.

In the Junior Jumpers, it only took five horses before the crowd was treated to their first high score of the day. Addison Phillips, on Halifax Farm’s Rastella, rode a controlled course with a definite plan. They made a rollback after one fence and attempted to go back the opposite way of their course, just missing one more fence before the buzzer. She passed through the timers (used in case of a tie) in 59.955 seconds for 780 points. She then attempted the Joker fence, going clear and adding 200 more points for a total of 980.

Nineteen horses later, Phillips’ entered the ring again, this time on her own horse, Flight. Phillips took the same track as earlier, but was quicker in her rollback and made one last jump before the buzzer sounded. They were also clear at the Joker jump to end up with 1060 points. No other competitor after her came within 400 points of her score.

The key to their win was that Phillips’ and Flight had no rails or refusals. Many horses had never shown at nighttime in the large field, and shadows played tricks with many. Brianne Goutal, who ended up in third place, said, “I was happy I went early, because it was lighter out.” Phillips’ was able to stick to her plan, whereas many others were unsure of where to go when they knocked a fence down or their horse was too scared to jump. Phillips commented, “I had the advantage of having two in the class, so I saw where I could go faster with the next one.”

Danielle Torano, who won the Amateur-Owner Gambler’s Choice class, acknowledged, “I actually like these classes, because it’s different. A lot people don’t, because if you mess up it’s really hard to figure out where you’re going to go next. We always do the same kind of classes, so this makes it a little bit more exciting for us.”

Torano won the A/O Gambler’s Choice with tough competition from Georgina Bloomberg. Bloomberg went ninth in the class with a very quick horse, Action, owned by Gotham Enterprizes. Bloomberg’s plan was to stay around the high point jumps, and flew over one last fence as the buzzer sounded for 650 points. After a clear attempt at the Joker fence, Bloomberg took the lead with 850 points.

Capitano and Danielle Torano, winners of
$15,000 Solaray Amateur-Owner
Jumper Gambler's Choice.
Photo by Randi Muster

Danielle Torano and Sir Ruly’s Capitano were nine horses after Bloomberg. The bay gelding jumped high over the jumps with a very careful hind end. They did not seem to be going as fast, but they cleared every jump for 780 points. Torano revealed that she and husband Jimmy Torano had planned not to attempt the Joker jump if she had more than 500 points. However, she divulged, “I turned around to look at Jimmy and he started waving, go and jump it! I would have been second not jumping it, so we took a little bit of a risk and it paid off.”

The Gambler’s Choice class is only the third time Torano has ever ridden Capitano. Her husband, Jimmy, gave the horse to Torano to try out. She explained, “He gave him to me to ride in the Amateurs for a little while. It’s nice and totally unexpected.” The new pair had a big win in their first class together and they plan to continue winning when they compete in the Amateur-Owner Jumpers.

In a round that was so fast it appeared that Hickstead should have been a racecar instead of a horse, Eric Lamaze guided his stallion to the fastest clear of the day. Their time of 37.370 seconds was lightening fast; so fast, that even Eric felt sure he had won the $20,000 1.50m Classic on Saturday at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.  Hickstead was victorious over 15 year old Addison Phillips on Trezebees, who were clear in the jump-off with a time of 40.411 seconds, and Olympian Beezie Madden and Conquest II, who were also clear, but slower with a time of 40.590 seconds.

Eric Lamaze and Hickstead win the
$20,000 1.50m Classic.
Photo by Randi Muster.

“It’s not often that you can finish a course and get the feeling you won, but when you are on a horse that is that good…” commented Lamaze, a smile on his face from ear to ear. There was no need for Eric to finish that phrase, because for anyone who was watching, it was clear that there wasn’t an inch to be saved or a place to speed up anywhere on their jump-off course.

In other competition in the Internationale Arena, Garibaldy, ridden by Federico Fernandez, rode a double clear round to win the $10,000 High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on Saturday. Larry Hollahan and Sky King were the only other combination to negotiate two clear trips, out of the 35 starters. Sky King’s time of 42.916 put them behind Fernandez (41.061). In third was True Love, ridden by Sarah Segal. Although they had a faster time (38.247) in the jump-off, they had one rail down for four faults.

In the $2500 High Junior Jumper Time First Jump-Off, Ratina Z, with Carolyn Kelly in the irons, took home the blue ribbon on Saturday morning. With only three clear rounds, all three happening right in a row (11th, 12th and 13th) out of starting field of 20, Kelly was first to jump-off against the clock. Her four faults in a time of 34.599 seconds left the door open for her competition. However, Addison Phillips aboard Trezebees opted not to go in the jump-off, which automatically placed her third. Jerremy, ridden by Natalie Johnson, was the only other combination in the jump-off. They had the time (33.068) but accumulated eight faults, placing them second.

Week Five Hunter Highlights- Thursday through Sunday

On an overcast Thursday in Wellington, FL, the first championships for the hunter divisions were awarded in the Cosequin Wellington Open at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Hunter competition began Wednesday and the Green Conformation Hunters started the day with their model class.  They finished classes on Thursday and Game Plan came away with the championship over Charming and Havens Schatt, who rode for Caroline Moran, also of Wellington, FL.

Game Plan and Penny Lombardo,
Green Conformation Hunter champions.
Photo by Randi Muster.

Game Plan, owned by Nancy Breedlove of Wellington, FL, placed second in the model class.  They went onto place third and fifth over fences and second under saddle.  They were steady on Thursday, with an eye on the tricolor.  Game Plan was very consistent, as rider Penny Lombardo, of Loxahatchee, FL, guided him to a first and third over fences.

Game Plan is the product of time and patience, as Breedlove and Lombardo have progressed steadily through the ranks.  “We’re kind of just taking our time with him and bringing him along slowly; making sure we’re doing all the right things,” Breedlove expressed.  This approach has paid off, since Game Plan has been consistently in the ribbons and was champion in week three.  Breedlove also clarified, “We’ve had past horses related to him, and Penny has had great success with them.  We kind of wanted to ensure that success with Game Plan.”

The Regular Working Hunter division saw a familiar face at the award presentation.  Take Away and Havens Schatt, riding for Cortie Wetherill, won the tricolor over Caroline Moran’s In Return, another ride for Schatt.

The stunning bay gelding is new to the Regular Working division this year, but has already made his mark.  Take Away was reserve champion in week one of WEF, champion in week three, and was brilliant under the lights in the AHJF Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach and placed second.

Take Away took away trainer Jeff Wirthman’s breath at first sight.  “I saw the horse in Holland last June and just had to have him,” he exclaimed.  “He was still a stallion, but he had a great, quiet attitude; even as a stallion.”  The Wetherills, of Malvern, PA, loved Take Away as well and brought him to the United States.  He will be Cortie Wetherill Jr.’s junior hunter horse after Devon, but will continue with Schatt in the Regular Working division at certain shows. 

Heart & Soul and Shachine Belle,
champions in section B of First Year Green
Working Hunters
Photo by Randi Muster.

In Section B of the First Year Hunters, the tricolor was awarded on Friday to Heart & Soul and Shachine Belle, who rode for Debbie Perkins.  The pair were brilliant on Thursday and picked up two blue ribbons.  Their streak continued Friday, as they went on to win the under saddle class and the two remaining over fences classes.  Heart & Soul lived up to his name, putting in an honest effort in the dreary weather.  Belle remarked, “We are really excited about him.  He just keeps getting better as the weeks go on.”  Reserve champion in the B section was Rio Renoir, ridden by Holly Orlando and owned by Thomas and Cynthia Deibert of Why Wait Farm.

Scott Stewart has been winning championships every week, so it was no surprise when he and Music Street picked up the tricolor.  On Thursday, Music Street was first and second over fences.  Stewart said the gorgeous bay gelding’s best feature is that “he’s a beautiful mover.”  Music Street proved it when he won the under saddle class, a feat he has accomplished every week at WEF thus far.  Stewart went on to win another over fences class for the championship over Remedy and Danny Robertshaw, who rode for Margaret Edge.Once again, it was Indian Summer and Holly Caristo in the winner’s circle for the Adult Amateur Hunters.  Indian Summer won the hack and the over fences classes on Thursday and returned Friday with a second and third over fences.  Madison and Betty Oare won both of the remaining over fences classes, but had to settle for the reserve championship in Section B.  The section A champion was Hyde Park with owner/rider Barbara Goldberg, while the reserve championship went to Seventh Heaven and Lora Schultz.

The junior riders had their first equitation classes of the week on Friday, as time winds down before the WEF Equitation Championship for the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch trophy.  Brianne Goutal, the WEF Equitation Championship winner last year, finished at the top of the list in Section A of the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search over Cordelia Allsopp and Julie Welles.  The section B winner was Jessica Speiser, while Blythe Marano was second and Nikko Ritter was third.

In the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic, Natalie Johnson won the hunter phase to make her the overall winner over Haylie Jayne and Blythe Marano.  Second place in the hunter phase went to Sloane Coles and Maggie McAlary was third.  Dominique Mungin won the jumper phase over Jessica Speiser and Blythe Marano.

Attache and Ellen Toon, champions in
Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunter
Photo by Randi Muster.

Ellen Toon is known for winning with her phenomenal hunter, In Disguise, but this week the spotlight was on her newer mount, Attache.  The pair competed for the first time in the Amateur-Owner division this week at the Cosequin Wellington Open of the Winter Equestrian Festival and came away with the championship over Oracle and Laura Yorke.

Attache and Toon were second and third over fences on Friday and received a third in the under saddle class.  They improved on their performance and picked up a first and second place in the remaining over fences classes. 

This was the first week that Toon has shown Attache in the Amateur-Owner Hunters.  They showed together for the first time in the Adult Hunters in the first week of competition at WEF and were champions, and placed second in the Peggy Cone Adult Hunter Classic in week four. 

Toon felt that the Adult Hunter division gave her great experience in the show ring, but mentioned, “I really wanted to do him in the Amateurs because I felt comfortable on him.”  Toon was thrilled with the results this week and acknowledged Attache, saying, “He has not taken a bad step for me in all those classes that I’ve shown him in.  I can definitely improve, but he’s been absolutely perfect.”

The hunters finished their fifth week of competition today in the Cosequin Wellington Open during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).  The Medium Pony Hunter division had 43 entries this weekend and was one of the most competitive divisions at the horse show.

Tuscany and Jennifer
Waxman, champions in the
Medium Pony Hunters
Photo by Randi Muster.

The best pony out of that division was Tuscany, ridden by Jennifer Waxman and owned by Caroline Spogli.  Waxman rode the fancy bay pony to wins in both over fences classes on Saturday and was third in the under saddle.  They finished up with third and sixth in the remaining over fences classes to win the championship over Showdown and Ashley Toffolon, who rode for Hannah G. Cutt.

The ride on Tuscany is new for Waxman, who only started riding the pony at the beginning of WEF.  Waxman is leasing Tuscany this year and also rides another medium pony, Harry Winston, and a large pony, American Dreams.  The ride on Tuscany was a change for Waxman.  She explained, “He goes more like a horse than a pony, which is different from my other ponies.  They really go like ponies with short strides, but he has an enormous stride.” 

The difference between Tuscany and her other ponies was not a setback for Waxman, as they garnered championship honors in their first show together at the Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic, the first week of WEF.  Waxman elaborated, “The first time I rode him it was hard, but it’s just an adjustment.  I’m getting more used to it now.”  Waxman acknowledged her support group when she talked about her win on Sunday.  “I want to thank Ken and Emily Smith for helping me and my mom and dad for supporting me.” 

The Amateur-Owner 18-35 division was split into two sections this week.  Champion in Section B was Priceless and Clara Lindner, who rode for All Seasons Farm.  The duo placed first and second in their over fences classes on Saturday and won their under saddle class on Sunday for the win over Tribute and Krista Weisman.  It was a good weekend for Lindner, who has shown four out of the five weeks, but won her first championship on Sunday.  Priceless won the WEF Circuit Championship in this division last year.

Lindner was very happy with her win today, and commented, “He felt really good this weekend.”  Lindner is especially pleased that she has been able to balance her education and showing schedule.  She attends Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, but travels down on the weekends to compete in Wellington.  The new schedule was difficult to adjust to at first, and Lindner mentioned, “We’ve been a little on and off all circuit because this is my first year at college.”  However, Lindner does believe that the arrangement will work out.  “It’s been harder, but it feels like everything finally came together this week.”  Lindner will compete next week in Wellington and will move on to Tampa for one week of competition.

The ASPCA Maclay was held Sunday morning, giving junior riders one of their last chances to qualify for the WEF Equitation Championship for the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch trophy on Saturday, March 12.  Sloane Coles won Section A of the Maclay over Tracey Mack and Julie Welles.  Josephine Nash was on called on top in Section B, while Whitney Weeks was second and Jack Hardin Towell Jr. was third.

Jack Hardin Towell Jr. moved up to capture the win in the A section of the USEF Hunter Seat Medal.  He triumphed over Natalie Johnson and Katherine Newman.  Whitney Weeks also improved on her Maclay placing and won the B Section of the medal, while Catherine Wright was second and Caroline Oks was third.

The final week of competition in Wellington concludes with the CN Finale from March 9-13.  WEF will pick up again in Tampa at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center on the Florida State Fairgrounds from March 23-27 in the Tampa Bay Classic and from March 29- April 2 in the Tournament of Champions.


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