January 24, 2008
CN Winter Equestrian Festival Gets the Ball Rolling
Scott Stewart rode the seven-year-old Castlewalk to a win last Thursday in the First Year Green Working Hunters at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center – the first of 12 weeks of competition in Wellington, FL.
Stewart, of Wellington, FL, and riding the Brandenberger for River's Edge Farm, described the footing in the ring as "super."
Another Scott – Scott Lenkart – made his first competition of the new year count by winning the $10,000 Wellington Golf Cars Welcome Stake last Thursday at the Suncast Opener.
Lenkart's horse, Impulsive, has been enjoying a break since last October, a vacation that was well-deserved after winning six grand prix events during the 2007 season. As a result, Impulsive had energy in reserve during the $10,000 Welcome Stake, jumping clear in both the first round and the jump-off.
The rider was one of six to successfully negotiate the track set by course designer Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY. As the second rider to attempt the shortened jump-off course, Lenkart went for the win, leaving all the rails in place and stopping the clock in a time of 35.31 seconds. None who followed were able to match his faultless performance. Canada's Amy Millar came closest, knocking down the final jump in a time of 36.17 seconds.
“This is the first class of the year for him, and he was quite wild, said Lenkart of the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding he has been partnered with for four years.”The plan was to go easy, but he was pretty wild so I just let him go and went for it.”
Millar, who has been riding Piccobello since last summer, said, "It was a great course. Anthony does a good job of making the horses have rails without building too big. My horse was amazing, she's got all the talent and we are just working on the rideability.”
Nicole Simpson also incurred four faults riding SRF Dragonfly to finish third while Millar's older brother, Jonathon, placed fourth with Romanov. Ali Wolff had two shots at victory but placed fifth with H&M Necoll and ran into trouble to accumulate 16 faults with H&M Oberon.
Kelly Soleau took the blue ribbon over Lauren Tisbo in the $2,500 High Amateur-Owner Jumper held in the International Arena. Riding Master Man, her 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Soleau was the only rider to post a clear round.
"The course designer built it just right, not too big and not too small,” said Soleau of Marlborough, CT. "It was the perfect way to start the whole circuit.”
Laura Bowery of Bridgehampton, NY, dominated the competition in Friday's $10,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge.
Bowery claimed three of the top five spots, including the victory with Palona. Of the 42 horses that contested the $10,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge, Palona was the fastest, stopping the clock at 71.42 seconds to give Bowery the win. It was the pair's second victory of the past week as they also won Wednesday's $8,000 1.45m competition.
"I planned to do two classes, then she will be off until next Sunday when she'll do the grand prix,” said Bowery of her strategy with Palona, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare purchased three years ago from Canadian show jumper Eric Lamaze. "It was a challenging, long course. I didn't try to win with my other two horses, but with Palona, she does better with pace. She gets her confidence by going fast, so it is easy to go fast because she loves it.”
In addition to claiming the win with Palona, Bowery finished fourth with Campeon 007, a German-bred gelding she has been riding for the past six months, and fifth with Indy Star II, an 11-year-old French-bred horse. Both horses jumped fault-free with the times determining the final placing.
Breaking up Bowery's domination were Ireland's Shane Sweetnam and Yann Candele of France. Sweetnam guided Oferro home clear in a time of 73.13 seconds to take second place while Candele and his new mount, Pitareusa, a Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Susan Grange of Canada, stopped the clock at 73.53 to place third.
Friday's 10,000 Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge is a member event of the North American League. The NAL offers a year-long series in six divisions -Children's Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper, Open Jumper, Children's Hunter and Adult Hunter presented by Practical Horseman. The Series includes classes held at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. Finals for all divisions are held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA, in October. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in the qualifying classes, but only members earn points toward the year-end finals. With the annual membership fee only $30, most riders join in hopes of earning points that may qualify them for a trip to Harrisburg.
For more information regarding the NAL series, including series specifications, current standings and a list of upcoming events, please call (717) 867-5643, e-mail to NAL@Ryegate.com or visit www.ryegate.com.
Helmets off to the equitation superstars in the WIHS at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival. These riders are marking their future spots in the Grand Prix ring with hard work and discipline. The hard work paid off Friday for Chelsea Moss and Julianna Fischer.
Chelsea had a fantastic finish on her mount Logan in the hunter phase with the high score of 89. The 17-year-old from Medford, NY, and her 12-year-old Warmblood gelding train with Stacia Madden and Max Amaya.
"Logan couldn't have gone better," Chelsea beamed as she collected her blue ribbon. "I am so happy to finally feel like I am connecting with him."
Stacia couldn't be more pleased as it was Logan's first day in the ring this season and he has been sharing Chelsea's attention with the two other horses that she showed last Friday.
"I'm very pleased with Chelsea," Stacia said, "She has been working very hard, and she had a nice day on all three horses."
Wellington's 15-year-old, Julianna Fischer, placed first in the jumper phase and second in the hunter phase on Icon that she feels ever so fortunate to be leasing from Addison Phillips. This experienced bay gelding and this lovely young rider made a dynamic duo with their double high placing.
Julianna showed two different rides and made them both look beautiful. "I am so thrilled to be riding with Andre [Dignelli] and so lucky to have such a nice horse and this great opportunity," she said.
Addison Phillips of New York, NY, took the top two spots in Saturday's $15,000 High Amateur/Owner Jumper Classic.
Phillips guided both of her entries, Regina V and Trezebees, to clear rounds over the track set by course designer Anthony D'Ambrosio. As she was the only rider to jump clear, Phillips opted not to jump-off. Instead, she nominated Trezebees as the winner and Regina V as the runner-up. Her decision was made simply by the fact that Trezebees was the horse she was on, making it easy to stay aboard and collect her ribbon.
"It was my first class, so I decided not to jump-off. I have been at college, busy with exams, so I am trying to get back in the groove," explained Phillips who arrived in Wellington on last Friday night. The 18-year-old is a freshman at Harvard University and plans to balance her educational and athletic pursuits by attending school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and arriving in Wellington in time to contest the WEF Challenge Cup Series each Thursday.
"I thought the course was nice," said Phillips who trains with Andre Dignelli. "The time allowed was a little tight and the people trying to get it were having rails. It was my first time out on the new field. The footing is awesome, and the field and the whole horse show look great."
While Phillips might have been the winner on Saturday, Kelly Soleau of Marlborough, CT, was named the overall champion of the High Amateur-Owner division. Soleau won Thursday's $2,500 High Amateur-Owner Jumper while one time fault kept her from forcing a jump-off with Phillips in Saturday's competition. It was a case of déjà vu for Soleau who, last year, had also claimed the High Amateur-Owner Championship title on opening week of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival after winning the first class with Master Man.
Of Saturday's competition, Soleau, 23, said, "I had one time fault and ended up third. Master Man was perfect; the time fault was my mistake. I was going a bit too wide. The course rode really nice. Anthony built it a little bit smaller than in Thursday's speed class, but I thought he was right on. It was technical enough, the time was quite tight, and you just had to keep going. I went out a bit too far in the corners which is where I got caught out."
Soleau has been partnered with Master Man for the past six years, having purchased the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding from David Raposa. Of Master Man's show ring personality, Soleau said, "He is very cocky, he thinks he knows what to do all the time and what is best for him, which is not always the case especially when the jumps are higher. He has to think that he is the one making all the decisions; we've learned that about him over the past six years."
The Small Junior Hunters 16-17 years started Saturday at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival. Rachel Koggan and Farewell had a great start to the weekend winning the under saddle and the first trip over fences. Rachel, 17, of Montclair, NJ, and riding with Scott Stewart, was happy with the result.
"I'm really happy with his performance today," Koggan said about Farewell, a nine-year-old bay gelding. "He hasn't shown since Harrisburg and he couldn't have gone better."
Jennifer Waxman and Zoom, student of Ken Smith, took the blue ribbon in the second trip over fences.
Surviving the slop from overnight downpours ahead of a cold snap that our younger Large Junior riders had to battle, Laura King-Kaplan rose to the top in the Large Junior Hunter riders 15 and under.
The 15-year-old student of Dignelli had an undefeated finish in two over-fences classes taking home the Grand Champion. Her mount, Pharrell, a 12-year-old bay gelding that was Circuit Champion last year did not let her down. Laura did not stop there as she tied with Abigail McArdle on Solitaire for the Reserve Champion ribbon.
Leading the pack in the under saddle was Chris Payne and David Belford's rider Mackenzie Baird on the seven-year-old bay gelding The Real McCoy.
On Sunday, Scott Lenkart scored a victory for the second time during opening week of the festival returning aboard Impulsive and winning $25,000 Speed Derby, the first time such an event has been held at WEF.
A total of 23 entries entered the competition which features unique natural obstacles including a bank and a tabletop. While nine entries were able to negotiate D'Ambrosio's track without incurring faults, only Lenkart broke the 80-second barrier, stopping the clock at 79.86 seconds.
"We also won on Thursday in the Welcome Stake, so we are two for two," said Lenkart, of Delano, MN, who has been partnered with Impulsive for the past four years. "He was ready to go again today. The cold weather didn't help. He was a little wild and he jumps better when he is quieter. He likes to gallop and go fast, but you need a little luck, the jumps have to stay up."
Of the derby course, Lenkart said, "It was a great course, and great fun! Everyone was nervous because it is all new up there, with all-weather footing instead of grass, but no one slipped."
Hillary Dobbs, 19, of Sussex, NJ, slid into second with a time of 80.65 seconds riding Corlett, her 11-year-old mare. It was the first time Dobbs had competed on the newly-installed all-weather footing as she was writing exams at Harvard University, where she is a sophomore, and flew into Florida only on Saturday night.
"I really enjoyed it, the course looked fabulous," said Dobbs who also placed fifth with Marengo. "I knew Corlett would be great out there, and both the horses loved the footing."
In addition to the new speed derby feature, spectators were treated to a six-bar competition where riders negotiate six jumps in a row. In the fourth round, the sixth and final fence was set at a height of 6’4”. Shane Sweetnam was the first to attempt the new height but knocked down the last fence riding Oferro, a result that would place him second. Kent Farrington and Top Limit were next to challenge, but a refusal at the final fence saw Farrington come out of the saddle, nimbly landing on his feet to take third.
Last to go, Danielle Goldstein and the 11-year-old pinto gelding, Nureev du Houssoit, bravely galloped down to the final fence, soaring over it to cheers from the crowd.
"We thought that he had enough scope for it. It is a good gymnastic exercise, and the horses tend to jump better afterwards," said Goldstein, 22, of New York, who trains with U.S. Equestrian Team member Todd Minikus. "I didn't realize how quickly the height went up, but if it goes up that quickly, I am not surprised that there were only four rounds."
The beginning of talent starts in the Pre-Green Hunter three- and four-year-old division as this is where a hunter's career is put into action and some of these horses enter the ring for the first time and others have just a few starts under their girth.
The blue ribbon in the first trip was taken by Big Girls Don't Cry, a four-year-old Holsteiner mare ridden by Penny Lombardo of Loxahatchee, FL, and owned by Kelly Cartwright. Cartwright, only owning this horse for a month, was glowing her way to the ribbon stand.
Lombardo and Big Girls Don't Cry made their way gracefully around the 2’9” course designed by Philip J. De Vita of Apopka, FL.
Of the horse, Lombardo said, "She has a lot of stride and scope. I think she has a lot of potential."
Judge Mike Nielsen of Huntington Beach, CA, gave his blue ribbon in the second trip to Sandy Farrell, of Bernville, PA, and Exclusive owned by Redfield Farm.
Second place on the first trip was Erin Ballard aboard Pikture Perfect owned by Linda Talon Jacob. The red ribbon for the second trip went to Blinks Forest ridden by Kelley Farmer and owned by Larry Glefke.
Competitors turned out in droves to jump on the newly installed footing in the International Ring during the Palm Beach Equine Clinic/Adequan CSI2*, presented by KRR Investments, during week two of the competition.
With 133 entries in Wednesday's $6,000 1.40m class, the competition organizers split the class into two sections. In Section A, only two riders were able to jump clean and within the tight time allowed of 71 seconds set by Great Britain's Richard Jeffrey, one of the few course designers in the world to hold his 'O' designation from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). With a time of 66.73, Robert Kraut and Nemo edged ahead of Ft. Lauderdale's Jimmy Torano and Caldam'Or who crossed the timers at 67.35.
Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, incurred one time fault riding Romy to slip into third place while Joe Fargis and Edgar 12 were the only other combination to jump clear, finishing with two time faults for fourth place.
In Section B, three riders managed clear rounds with time being the deciding factor. Ireland's Jonathan McCrea, riding Primo for Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables, stopped the clock at 67.84, a full second ahead of Argentina's Federico Sztyrle who posted a time of 68.85 riding Ambra 47 for owner Christian Wolffer. Ken Berkley also jumped clear with Parlay to take third place. Four horses incurred one time fault over the challenging track including two ridden by Sydney Olympian Laura Kraut of Wellington, FL.
In the $8,000 1.45m class, it was Olympic Team Gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, who came out on top riding Larioso for owner Blue Chip Bloodstock. His teammate, Chris Kappler of Pittstown, NJ, was the runner-up riding Maserati for owner Marsha Dammerman.
of Class 1004 - 1.40M II, Sec 1 (Section A)
of Class 1004 - 1.40M II, Sec 1 (Section B)
of Class 1002 - 1.45m II, Sec 1
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com