Winter Equestrian Festival Week 4 Wrap-up, February 15-19, 2006,
Bainbridge Florida Classic/WCHR Hunter Spectacular, presented by the Palm Beach Post, CSI-W

Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Wapino Unbeatable in $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic at 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival

A near record crowd of 11,784 enthusiastic and animated show jumping fans packed into every available space at the Internationale Arena on Sunday afternoon at the Winter Equestrian Festival. They watched and cheered as their hometown hero, Margie Engle, raced to an electrifying victory in the main event.

Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Wapino win $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic.
Photo by Randi Muster

The Bainbridge Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular CSI 3*, presented by the Palm Beach Post, wrapped up week four of the thirty-fourth annual Winter Equestrian Festival. Sunday’s feature, the $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic Grand Prix CSI-W was scored under FEI rules for World Cup and under FEI Table A mixed, Art. 238.2.2. Time first Jump-Off.

Forty-five starters went to the post for the 2 p.m. start. Jose “Pepe” Gamarra of Bolivia designed the test for today’s grand prix. Of the forty-five that started, five produced clean rounds to qualify for the timed tiebreaker. Three additional competitors jumped clean but exceeded the snug time allowed and finished with a single time fault. Eight riders had a single knockdown, while six had two rails and sixteen had three or more. Seven of the horse and rider combinations elected to withdraw or were eliminated. Twenty-four of the forty-five starters picked up time faults.

Engle and Hidden Creek’s Wapino returned first and set a standard that none of the remaining four competitors could catch. Engle toured the shortened speed course fault free and was under the wire in 39.88 seconds.

Madden and Authentic, winners of Friday’s WEF Challenge Cup, caught Engle’s time but also caught the rail at fence 15 in the jump-off. Madden cruised home with four faults in 38.71 seconds.

Following Raether’s slower four fault jump-off ride in 42.80 seconds, Deslauriers and Paradigm took over second place with the second clear ride in the tiebreaker. His time was 41.92 seconds.

Beerbaum gave it a heck of a go at the end but pulled the pole at fence 5c and finished in 39.59 seconds.

“You never go in and think you can’t be beaten,” said Engle following her win.  “Every one of those riders, on any given day, could have beaten me.”

Hunter Highlights- Thursday through Sunday

At the fourth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival, the Bainbridge Florida Classic presented by the Palm Beach Post, there was one professional rider that returned again and again for the trophy presentations. This week marks an important occasion for the hunters, as those who win tricolor ribbons are invited to show in the AHJF Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach. Points at this show also count for the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) standings.

Hear Say and Louise Serio, champions in the Regular Conformation Hunters at Winter Equestrian Festival.
Photo: Randi Muster

It was a sweet day on Thursday for Louise Serio, of Kennent Square, PA, who rode many talented horses to championships today. Serio is one of the founders of the World Championship Hunter Rider Association. Starting off first thing this morning were the Regular Conformation Hunters. She and Hear Say, owned by Bridget Hallman, finished second in the model and were fourth and fifth over fences on Wednesday. Hear Say returned Thursday to pick up second in the under saddle and then had two wins over fences. Reserve champion in the division went to Popeye K and Tommy Serio, who rode for Elizabeth Spencer.

Although she was not sure which horses she would ride in the class, Serio had many fantastic horses from which to choose. In addition to Hear Say’s championship, Serio picked up the tricolor in the Regular Working Hunter division on another Bridget Hallman owned entry, Gray Slipper. The veteran horse won three classes and a second place to win the championship over Nairobi, ridden by Morgan Thomas and owned by KW Unlimited. If that were not enough, Serio was also champion in the Green Conformation Hunters on Marshall, owned by Meralex Farm. Marshall was first, second, and second over fences and third under saddle. Reserve champion in the division was Lavari, ridden by Havens Schatt and owned by Tracy Scheriff.

Lavari also picked up another reserve championship in the B Section of the First Year Green Working Hunters. Pamela Polk piloted Fiyero for Julie Kruger to the championship in Section A. Reserve champion in Section A was Cello, owned by Chance Arkelian and ridden by Holly Orlando.

The champion in Section B was Wrap It Up, ridden by Sandy Ferrell and owned by The Infinity Group. Ferrell only started riding the chestnut stallion last week because regular rider Shachine Belle had a fall and was unable to ride him. “I was petrified, because it was a hard act to follow,” Ferrell said about her getting the ride. “I was just the lucky one next in line!”

Rio Renoir and Holly Orlando had a breathtaking first trip and were rewarded with a 95 in the first over fences class in the Second Year Green Working Hunter division on Thursday. The successful gelding, owned by Brad Wolf, also won both over fences classes on Wednesday. With another second place over fences and a third under saddle, Rio Renoir easily won the championship. Reserve champion was Late Entry, ridden by Sandy Ferrell and owned by Sarah Chovnick.

Long Drive and Sarah Ingram, champions in the Adult Amateur Hunters at Winter Equestrian Festival.
Photo by Randi Muster.

In the first section of the Adult Amateur 36-50 Hunters, a new pair graced the winner’s circle. Long Drive and Sarah Ingram of Nashville, TN, captured first and second over fences on Thursday and were fifth in the under saddle on Friday. Reserve champion in the division was Tommy Bahama, ridden and owned by Laurie B. Stevens.

In Section B of the Adult Amateur 36-50 division, Carolyn Anderson piloted Romanze to the championship. Salamander Farms’ Skyy and Frances Briggs were reserve champions.

In contrast to Ingram’s newfound success at WEF, Winter Castle and Jeanine Zukerman rode to six championships in the Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunters at WEF last year. They were also champions at the Capital Challenge Horse Show and have continued their winning ways at WEF again this year. Winter Castle was first and second over fences on Friday after a first and fourth on Thursday. Reserve champion in the division was Gibson, ridden by Chiara Parliagreco and owned by Denise Perry.

The Internationale Arena was the site of eight championship award presentations on Saturday. There were three other rings of hunter competition as well. The first class in the Internationale Arena was the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters. In Section B, the tricolor was awarded to Double Cinco and Rowlanda Blue Stephanos, who rode for Pamela Allardice. Reserve champion in the division was Chopard, ridden and owned by Krista Weisman.

In Section A of the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, it was a fourth championship in a row for North Country and Avery Dimmig. They were flawless this week to capture the tricolor over Social Secretary and Sheila Motley.

Teri Kessler and Trout Line, champions in the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunters at Winter Equestrian Festival.
Photo by Randi Muster

The Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunters was another split division due to high entries. In Section A, Pave and Caroline Moran scored their second championship in a row. Reserve champion went to Pavarotti and Teri Kessler. On her second horse, Kessler moved up and snared a championship in Section B with Trout Line. Reserve champion in the B Section was In Disguise and Ellen Toon.

The Junior Hunters kept the Internationale Arena going for the rest of the afternoon. In the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter division, Alexandra Arute rode Folklore for Olympic Dreams LLC to the championship. Reserve champion went to Sublime and Jessica Springsteen, who rode for Stone Hill Farms.

In the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters, Due North and Clemintine Goutal cemented their budding partnership with a tricolor ribbon. The pair has only been together for a month, and it “pretty much came together this weekend,” Goutal said. Reserve champion in the division was Saloon, ridden by Jennifer Waxman and owned by Whitney Roper.

The Small Junior 16-17 Hunters saw a very familiar face walk in for the trophy presentation. Addison Phillips and L’Azure were champions, while Wedgewood, ridden by Maria Schaub for Nicole Lakin, was reserve champion.

The last division of the day was the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters. There were two sections of the class, and the champion in Section A was Jazz, ridden by Haylie Jayne for Megan Schall. Reserve champion was Addison Phillips on Socrates.

The champion in Section B of the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters was Who’s On First and Addison Phillips. Second to them with the reserve championship was Blink and Jack Hardin Towell Jr.

Over in the Grand Hunter Ring, the Adult Amateur 51 & Over Hunters opened the day. In Section A, the champion was last year’s undefeated Circuit Champion, Indian Summer and Holly Caristo.

The Adult Amateur 51 & Older Hunter division was sponsored by Steve Martinez, who presented the Fox Tail trophy to R.Bruce Duchossois and Regall of HMD Stables based in Aiken, South Carolina. They were champions in Section B. The championship cooler was sponsored by the American Hunter Jumper Association. Reserve Champion went to Martin Schlaeppi aboard Brown Eyed Girl.

Tobasco and Alexandra Thornton, winners of Florida Children’s Hunter Classic at Winter Equestrian Festival.
Photo by Randi Muster.

In the Florida Children’s Hunter Classic on Sunday, it was the perfect ending to a very successful weekend for Tobasco and Alexandra Thornton. The 13 year old rider scored a championship with the 8 year old Trakehner/Thoroughbred chestnut gelding by Abdullah yesterday and rode two solid rounds for the win. This weekend is only the fourth time Thornton has shown in the Children’s Hunters, but the young rider looked like a veteran. About Tobasco, she mentioned, “I like him because he’s so smooth. He lands and takes off so softly.”

Thornton and trainer Susie Humes found the adorable gelding through Ken and Emily Smith and Don Stewart at last year’s Washington International Horse Show. They purchased him after the National Horse Show, and it has been a successful match. Thornton is thrilled with her win, but was quick to credit those who helped her achieve it. “All of this is possible because of Kris, Benjamin, and Sergio in the barn, Jen and Andrew, who help ride in the morning, Susie, and my parents most of all,” she said.

The Small Pony Hunters were the first division in the Rost Arena on Sunday. Reed Kessler and her adorable grey pony Helicon Take Notice finished with the tricolor in the division. Reserve champion was Blackberry, ridden by Schaefer Raposa and owned by Heritage Farm. In addition, Kessler brought home the reserve championship in Section B of the Medium Pony Hunters on Kylie Wright’s Satin.

In the B Section of the Medium Pony Hunters, Ashley Toffolon and Touch of Silver came away with the championship. Although the pair have only been together for less than a year, Toffolon acknowledged that she is outgrowing the cute grey pony. Their win today was a great success, and Toffolon said of her partner, “She’s pretty easy to ride. You just have to get your pace and make sure that she’s paying attention.”

Schaefer Raposa swept away the championship ribbon in section A of the Medium Pony Hunters on Blu Venture Rainbeau, owned by Nellie Ann Foosaner. Reserve champion went to Major League owned and ridden by Phoebe Robinson.

In the Large Pony Hunter division, Kaitlin Campbell had the championship ride on Blue Chip for owner Megan Schall of Medina, Minnesota, and trainer Tommy Serio. Campbell, who is usually found in the Children’s Jumper ring, rode three ponies this weekend. “I just sat on Blue Chip on Friday for the first time,” said Campbell, who is based out of the Patty Miller Show Stables in Pennsylvania. “He is just a really nice pony. He is easy and has a heart of gold,” she said. Reserve champion went to Vanity Fair ridden and owned by Adrienne Sternlicht.

The Peggy Cone Memorial Adult Hunter Classic was led from start to finish with fantastic rounds from Winter Castle and Jeanine Zukerman, who rode for Vanessa Redfern.

The win is one of the biggest for Zukerman and Winter Castle, and it meant even more than a normal class. “I’ve had a lot of great wins on this horse, but this was the most meaningful because I knew Peggy Cone and I know Carol Cone very well. She’s a great rider and a great friend,” Zukerman said.

Jumper Highlights- Friday through Sunday

Friday’s main event was Round IV of the $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series.

The nine week long series of Thursday grand prix events are major money qualifiers for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and are also key qualifying events for the all new $200,000 FTI Rider Challenge, a rider bonus pool of $200,000. 

Beezie Madden and Authentic take Round IV of the $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series in Wellington, FL.
Photo by Kenneth Kraus

Beezie Madden, the FTI Rider Challenge leader coming into Friday’s $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup, came home victorious on her Gold Medal Olympic partner Authentic and in so doing, began to put some distance between her and second place in the race for the $100,000 first place bonus.

While last week’s class saw the second largest starting field in WEF Challenge Cup history at eighty-four, Friday’s event marked the season’s smallest field to date, with only thirty-five starters gathering for the 1p.m. start.

Before the throng assembled ringside at the DeNemethy Arena had a chance to settle into their seats and grab that first bite of popcorn, the storyline of Friday’s WEF Challenge Cup class was pretty much written.

Riding out of the second spot in the jumping order, Olympic Gold Medalist Beezie Madden and her Olympic partner, Abigail Wexner’s Authentic, made their grand prix season debut with a stunning performance. With extremely tight turns at every opportunity and a steady gallop the entire track, Madden and Authentic clocked in fault free and stopped the timers at 69.93 seconds.

It was quite apparent the dynamic duo was fast, but how fast became even clearer as one rider after another failed to catch Madden’s feverish pace. Eventually, two riders managed to top the time, but they did so at the expense of two knockdowns.

Canada’s Chris Pratt and last week’s WEF Challenge Cup winner, Rivendell, owned by Susan Grange, were the next fastest finishers. They ended with the second place ribbon, tripping the timers in 70.61 seconds, 6/10ths of a second off the pace.

“I have a great horse and he’s naturally fast, so I just made a few tight turns and let him go in a couple of places,” explained Madden following today’s win. “He’s just a very fast horse.”

Beezie Madden in the winner’s circle following Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup victory at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival.
Photo by Kenneth Kraus

“I thought she was beatable,” said Pratt, “But Beezie is a little tricky sometimes because she makes everything look so easy and look so smooth. More times than not, it’s not as easy as she makes it look,” he laughed. “My horse has a big stride. I knew I could match some of the turns that Beezie did, but I did get hung up in a turn, and I think I could have been one stride faster in a couple of the rollbacks.”

The DeNemethy Arena opened on Sunday morning with the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic. Nineteen entries participated in the class with only four jumping clear in the first round and qualifying for the jump-off.

Carolyn Kelly and Rulanda, owned by Lulu Equestrian Enterprises of New York, New York, was the first to complete the initial round fault free and to return for the tie breaker. After knocking two rails, Kelly exited the arena with an eight fault score and a time of 32.159. Aimee Aron and Corofina 4 jumped their first round clear and elected to not participate in the jump-off, which automatically placed the pair in fourth.

Carolyn Kelly returned to the jump-off aboard Lulu Equestrian Enterprises’ second qualified entry Lydia. Kelly bettered her previous score with a time of 33.472 and a four fault penalty. Haylie Jayne, the last to compete in the final round, piloted the Alex R. Jayne owned horse Jubulent through the timers in hopes of becoming the first to go double clear. Jayne lowered the height of the second fence on course and tripped the timers in 33.554 seconds, placing the duo in second.

Kelly captured the blue with her four fault score. She led the victory gallop and took home a purse of $3,000. The next Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic will be held on February 26 in the WEF Internationale Arena during the Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters competition. The Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters will be held February 22-26, 2006.

Cara Cheska aboard Modra.
PHOTO BY: Jenny Ross

The FEI Children’s International Jumping Competition concluded on Sunday with Competition 2 in the DeNemethy Arena. Overall scores were tallied for all four rounds to calculate individual and team medalists. Twenty-one entries participated in today’s class.

Yesterday’s winner, Julianna Fischer and Warren II, were one of two horse and rider combinations to enter into Round 4 without any accumulated faults. Victoria Birdsall and Conjour were the other fault free pair. Fischer completed the final course faultless with a fast time of 47.33. Birdsall competed last in the class and pulled two rails, finishing with a final score of 8. Fischer led the victory gallop once again for today and also captured the Individual Gold Medal for the weekend’s competition. The Silver Medal was placed around Birdsall’s neck for her ride with Conjour, and the Bronze Medal went to Kelsey Silverstein with Temps De Voler.

The Team Gold Medal went to Team 4 with Julianna Fischer, Victoria Birdsall on Conjour, Kelsey Silverstein on Intrepid, and Kara Kaufman with Merlin, owned by Elizabeth Schiff. Silver Medals were awarded to Team 3, which included Sugar Daddy and Kara Kaufman, Mickey Moose and Shana Barnett, Kelsey Silverstein aboard Temps De Voler, and Taylor McMurtry on Nifty. Bronze Team Medals went to Team 5’s Victoria Birdsall and Maxim W, Julianna Richardson with Lady Grey, and Anna Kluger aboard Stepping Stone Farm’s Tirex.

These riders now have the opportunity to show at the 2006 FEI Children’s International Jumping Competition World Finals, which will be held in Spruce Meadows. The FEI Children’s International Jumping World Final invites 32 riders to participate in the event. Sixteen riders attend from the host country and 16 international riders travel to the final. These participants represent the top finishers among more than 550 children competing at 41 qualifiers held worldwide. Riders are eligible to compete internationally as children from the age of 12 until they turn 15. Foreign riders compete on borrowed horses provided by the host country's riders and the organizing committee.

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