FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Week Six Wrap-Up:
February 16-20, 2011

Wellington, FL - February 21, 2011 -

The sixth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) has concluded at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, and another week of fantastic competition was held. The FTI WEF hosts the best that the sports of show jumping, hunters, and equitation have to offer in 12 rings of competition. In addition to competition, the FTI WEF hosts many exciting activities. See what you can do in the upcoming weeks!

FTI WEF Week Six Jumper Highlights:
Wednesday through Sunday

In an unusual class on the opening morning of week 6 at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, there was a tie for the win in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers. Laura Kraut, on The Freedom Group's Dona Evita, and Michael Tokaruk with Roger Rabbit, owned by Castle Point Farm LLC, both finished the speed class with no faults and in the same time of 63.121 seconds.

In last week's grand prix press conference, Kraut mentioned that she tied McLain Ward in a class years ago at the Washington International Horse Show, and oddly enough that same situation happened to her today. "I hadn't thought about that in ages and then we talked about it (at the press conference)," Kraut laughed. "It doesn't happen very often. It's really amazing that you can do that long of a course in the same exact time as somebody else. Michael was happy and I was happy that we both won!"

Tokaruk noted, "I've never tied before, but I've read about it. Especially in a speed class, I thought that was really unusual." He added with a laugh, "I was joking with Laura when we went in for the victory presentation that she won the World Cup last week, so couldn't she have pulled on the reins once to let me win? But really, it was great and to tie with Laura is fabulous company."

The future of the sport of show jumping is showcased every week at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, with the best young horses in the country competing in the Adequan Young Jumper Championship classes. In Thursday's $1,500 Adequan 7/8 Year Old Young Jumper Power and Speed class, Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, NJ, rode her and Barbara Rochford's Elizabeth R to victory.

There were 22 entries in the class, and the power and speed course was designed by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL. A large majority of the class were clear in the power phase to advance to the speed phase, and 12 of those were clear in the speed phase. The fastest were Chapot and Elizabeth R, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Royal Kaliber and out of a Thoroughbred mare. Elizabeth R was bred by Rochford, and is a half-sister to Chapot's other top young mount, Zealous.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, NY, rode Abigail Wexner's Mademoiselle to victory in the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 6. The grand prix was held on the grass at The Stadium, and riders and spectators alike enjoyed the beautiful weather and change of scenery at the venue.

There were 29 entries in the class, and the course was designed by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England. The course was set on the grass field at The Stadium and had 14 numbered obstacles with a triple and a double combination. There were nine clear rounds, and they advanced to the jump-off to compete for time.

The first to go was Candice King (USA) on Skara Glen's Davos. They set the time to beat at 44.88 seconds and had no faults, and this would hold up for third place. Ben Maher (GBR) on Lindsay Cook's Oscar, Catherine Pasmore (USA) on My Boy, owned by Pasmore Stables, and Ashlee Bond with Little Valley Farm's Cadett 7 would all fault at one jump and finish in sixth, fifth, and fourth places respectively. Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Jane Clark's Vicomte D, as well as Pablo Barrios with G&C Sinatra, would have eight faults and finish in ninth and eighth places. Hector Florentino (DOM) and Ultimo, owned by Stransky's Mission Farm, had four faults for seventh place.

The final two riders would post clear rounds and race for the win. McLain Ward (USA) and Pjotter van de Zonnehoeve, owned by Louisburg Farm, set the fastest time so far in 41.72 seconds, and with no faults they went into the lead. They would eventually finish in second place after Madden and Mademoiselle, owned by Abigail Wexner, were able to speed down the final line in one less stride and stop the timers in 40.91 seconds.

The Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic was held on Saturday, and it was Marie Hecart (FRA) on Babbe van't Roosakker, owned by Haras de la Rogue, who were the fastest double clear combination. They won the sixth event in the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series, which will award $50,000 in rider bonus money at the end of the series.

There were 34 entries in the 1.50m classic, and seven of those were able to find the clear round over a course designed by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL. Hecart and Babbe van't Roosakker, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Kannan, were able to keep a quick pace and efficient turns for the fastest clear jump-off ride in 39.496 seconds. Second place went to Sergio Niento Del Rio with Fabiana, who were also double clear in 41.246 seconds, while Scott Brash (GBR) and Intertoy Z were just behind in third with a time of 41.361 seconds.

Hecart and Babbe have a long history together. Hecart's family and father, famous show jumper Michel Hecart, run a large breeding operation of 200 horses at Haras de la Rogue, which is next to the Deauville show grounds. Babbe has been in the barn since she was two years old. Hecart rode the mare when she was five years old before she moved to North America.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden scored her second win this week in the $50,000 G&C Farm Palm Beach Jumping Derby. She and Prima, owned by Neapolitan Holding Co., LLC, were the fastest over a challenging derby course on the grass field at The Stadium.

There were 22 entries in the derby, and the course was designed by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England. It featured a step bank, open water, liverpools, Devil's Dyke, and a triple option jump through a "maze" of hedges. The format was Table C, where rails down were converted into added seconds for a final time.

Madden and Prima, a 12-year-old KWPN mare by Kigali x Nimmerdor, went ninth in the order and were lightning fast through most of the course. With a huge, open stride, Madden barely pulled on the reins and made the trip look smooth and easy. They had no faults for a final time of 122.81 seconds for the win.

They were chasing an early leading time of 128.49 seconds set by Great Britain's Ben Maher on Oscar, owned by Lindsay Cook. They would eventually finish in second place. Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Sinatra, owned by Barrios and Gustavo Mirabal, were third in 129.64 seconds.

Madden won her first big class two days ago in the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 6. She said of her win, "I hadn't won one all circuit, and now I've won two! It's great."

FTI WEF Week Six Hunter and Equitation Highlights:
Thursday through Sunday

Four-time WCHR Professional Champion Scott Stewart earned multiple championship awards on Thursday to begin week six with his string of talented horses. Stewart dominated the First Year Green Hunter division, earning the championship aboard Inclusive and the reserve championship aboard Reality, owned by Krista Weisman. Inclusive, an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding, finished first in both classes over fences on Thursday and earned first and second place ribbons on Wednesday. Reality, an eight-year-old Mecklenberg stallion by D'Olympic, earned second in both classes on Thursday and placed third on Wednesday.

Stewart first rode Inclusive to victory in the Future Hunter division at the 2010 Capital Challenge Horse Show this past fall and expects great things from the horse this year. Along with showing in the First Years with Stewart, Inclusive also competes in the Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division with rider Victoria Colvin and has earned championship honors with both riders.

Stewart also earned a tricolor in the Green Conformation Hunters for the week riding Empire, owned by Becky Gochman. The pair earned first place ribbons in all four classes over fences and a third under saddle. Kelly Farmer took home the reserve championship honors aboard Crown N Sceptor, owned by Larry Glefke.

Other top competitors during week six included Louise Serio, who rode Castle Rock, owned by Bryan Baldwin, to the High Performance Hunter championship. Kelly Farmer and Rosalynn, owned by Larry Glefke, took reserve. Cookie Beck topped the Second Year Green Hunters riding Lisa Cudahy's Last Call to championship honors over Whatever, owned by Boggs Hill and ridden by Tim Goguen. Ken Berkley guided Sambalino, owned by Becky Gochman, to a championship tricolor in the Regular Conformation Hunters with Peter Pletcher and Garfield, owned by Steeplechase Farm, coming in reserve.

The Performance Working Hunter 3'6"-3'9" division completed the week's professional divisions with a championship win for Small Affair, ridden by John French for owners Iwasaki & Reilly. Onassis, ridden by Elizabeth Boyd for Sarah Ward, finished in reserve.

Louise Serio and Castle Rock earned a victory in the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular on Friday evening at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival following two beautiful rounds of competition. After two weeks of qualifying competition, only the top horses and riders had the opportunity to compete in a fantastic class held under the bright lights of the impressive International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Ken Krome of Maryland designed the course for Friday evening's class. A total of 25 entries began the competition in round one and the top eight were then invited to return for a second round course. Finishing in first place, Louise Serio of Kennett Square, PA, rode Bryan Baldwin's Castle Rock to the win with her two round total of 177.62. The pair finished round one in third place with a score of 87.12, and then earned the class high score of 90.50 in round two to move to the top of the field.

Scott Stewart and Krista Weisman's Reality held on to their second place position in both rounds one and two, earning an 88.50 and an 88.37 for a total score of 176.87.

Defending champions Liza Boyd and Brunello, owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson, finished first in round one with an 89.50 and then slipped into third place in the overall standings with an 85.75 in round two for a total of 175.25. Boyd also earned the fourth place honors riding Sarah Ward's Onassis to a two round total of 175.12. Patricia Griffith and Sienna, owned by Lexi Maounis, earned fifth place overall with their score of 173.56.

The sixth, seventh and eighth place competitors remained consistent with their places through both rounds one and two. Tim Goguen rode Whatever, owned by Boggs Hill, to a total of 170 to earn sixth place. Lyman Whitehead guided Visse Wedell's horse Spandau to a score of 156 to earn seventh place, and Maggie Jayne and Pony Lane Farm's Early Applause rounded out the top eight with their score of 152.90.

Serio and Castle Rock won the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival last season among many other accomplishments throughout their careers. Castle Rock is a 12-year-old KWPN Dutch Warmblood gelding by Corland.

World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition continued on Saturday with an exciting win for Weatherly Stroh and Sigfried in the $5,000 WCHR Amateur-Owner Hunter 3'3" Classic. Stroh and Sigfried, owned by Susanne Stroh, earned a score of 164 to top the class. Sandra Epstein and Catamount finished in second place, just half a point behind the leaders with a score of 163.5. Nicole Olinyk and Sea Walker finished in third with a 160.75, and Jean Sheptoff rode Condesi to fourth place honors with a score of 155.25.

Class winner Weatherly Stroh is from Colorado and this is her first time competing in Wellington at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Stroh usually shows in Arizona during the winter season and was excited for a change of scenery this year. While in Florida, Stroh is riding with trainer Heather Irvine.

Stroh's mount today was Sigfried, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding. Sigfried shows in the Second Year Green Hunters with rider Erynn Ballard, and this is Stroh's first year riding him. Sigfried also showed in last night's professional WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular with Ballard and was in top form for Stroh on Saturday.

Stroh plans to take next week off and will then compete two more weeks in Florida. She will return to Colorado for the summer and then hopes to compete at indoors this fall. As she gets more comfortable and confident in her partnership with Sigfried, Stroh also hopes to move up to the 3'6" division this year.

Glen Senk did more than steal the show on Sunday morning as fifty-three entries came out for a chance to win the title in the Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Hunter Classic. Senk had a total of four entries in the class, all of which placed in the top twelve. Senk's newest mount, Another Place, took top honors in the class with an average score of 83.5 in the first round, and 85.5 in the second round.

Senk, and his own Fashion Farm, recently purchased Another Place, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Carano, through his trainer Scott Stewart. This week marks only the fifth time that Another Place has shown in competition. "He's the sweetest, gentlest, kindest animal," beamed Senk about his new horse.

Senk went on to place third on his own mount Declaration, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding by Collin-L. He was awarded sixth on another of his mounts, Blessed. Blessed is a seven-year-old Holsteiner mare by Limotas. Senk's fourth ride, Highland Park, also owned by Senk's Fashion Farm, was awarded the eleventh place award. Highland Park is a twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Welt Hit II.

The equitation rings were dominated this week by Chase Boggio of Alpharetta, GA. Riding for Arbor Hill Farm, he and Massimo won all four of the major equitation classes this week: the USEF Talent Search, the WIHS Equitation Classic (where he won both phases and overall), the ASPCA Maclay, and the USEF Medal. Boggio and Massimo, a full brother to World Champion show jumper Cumano, made a stunning pair in the ring and were rewarded by the judges for their smoothness and consistency.

The sixth week of competition at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival concluded on Sunday with the final classes for this year's World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Spectacular. Traveling all the way from Los Angeles, CA, to ride in the WCHR competition, 17-year-old Olivia Esse made her trip worthwhile with a big win in the WCHR Junior/Amateur-Owner Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular aboard Small Affair, owned by Reilly and Iwasaki.

Twenty-six competitors qualified throughout two weeks of competition to compete in Sunday's class. The top eight scoring competitors then returned for a second round. The cut off to return for round two was an 84.62, with the highest returning score of 91.5 held by Olivia Esse and Small Affair. The top eight riders returned in reverse order according to their scores and last to go, Esse and Small Affair earned an 88.50 in their second round to win the class with a two round total of 180.

Victoria Colvin rode Scott Stewart's horse Inclusive to the highest second round score of 89, which combined with their first round score of 87, placed the pair in second place overall with a 176 point total. Hayley Barnhill and Heartfelt, owned by Susan E. Gordon, earned a 175 to finish in third place. Lillie Keenan and Chansonette Farm LLC's C Coast Z earned a 170 for fourth place. Amateur rider Alise Oken finished with a 169.12 aboard her horse Take Away to finish in fifth place.

Class winner Small Affair is an eight-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Elf D'Or out of Eva De Fontenay. Esse leases Small Affair to show in the Junior Hunters, and he also competes with professional rider John French in the new Performance Working Hunter 3'6"-3'9" division. French and Small Affair were champion during both weeks five and six in their division and Esse rode the gelding to a championship during week six and a reserve championship during week five.

Other awards presented were the week's high scores. Tori Colvin and Olivia Esse were each presented with awards for their high scores during the week's competition in the junior divisions and Esse also earned the Leading Lady Rider award for her high score in the first round of today's competition. Katie Robinson earned the high score in the Amateur-Owner Hunters, and Scott Stewart and John French received the high scores in the professional divisions. Meredith Darst and Tobasco earned the award for Grand Champion Junior Hunter.

The USHJA would like to thank its generous sponsors for the 2011 WCHR Hunter Classic Spectacular, including: Ogilvy-The Official Therapeutic Saddle Pad of the USHJA, who will be supplying therapeutic saddle pads to the top six riders in both the Professional and Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Spectaculars; Essex Classics, who will be providing riding shirts to the high score Professional and Emerging Professional riders and to the high score Junior and Amateur riders on Sunday morning; and Arc De Triomphe (ADT), the Official Saddlery of the WCHR, supplied bridles and bridle bags to the winners of each WHCR Classic.

The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 12 through April 3. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $6 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

 

 

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