Winter Equestrian Festival Featured Show Jumping and Dressage at
FLApril 8, 2003The Winter Equestrian Festival opened
its 31st season at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington,
FL, with the Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic, January 22-
26, where Sydney Olympian Lauren Hough of Wellington, FL, captured
the first grand prix of the winter circuit and the feature event
of the first week, the $35,000 Farr Legacy/ Western Hay Grand Prix
of Palm Beach. Under the sunny Florida sky, Hough, aboard Windy
City, was one of only three riders out of a starting field of 32
to qualify for the jump-off by riding clear over Conrad Homfelds
demanding first-round course.
Hough turned in a fault-free jump-off ride in a time of 37.84 seconds
to earn the win. Emily Williams of Wellington, FL, rode Hushabye
to a second-place finish with a clear jump-off round in a time of
39.87 seconds. Dropping one rail to accumulate four faults in the
jump-off, Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, finished in third place
aboard Hidden Creeks Jones.
competition highlighted the second week of the 2003 Winter Equestrian
Festival, the Wellington Dressage Classic, January 30- February
2. Over 9,000 people gathered at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian
Club over the course of the weekend to watch the competition unfold
in dressage as well as show jumping.
The primary focus of the weeks dressage competitions was the
series of USET Qualifiers, most notably the qualifiers for the Pan
American Games Selection Trials to be held at the Bayer/USET Festival
of Champions, presented by State Line Tack, at the USET Olympic
Training Center in Gladstone, NJ, in June.
The Pan American Games are contested at the Intermediaire level
and the USET Intermediaire Championship will serve as the Selection
Trials. In the first of the Pan Am qualifiers at the Wellington
Dressage Classic, the USET Prix St. Georges, Jan Brons rode Josien
to victory with a score of 69.083%. Placing second was George Williams
on Marnix with 68.333%.
Brons and Josien returned to the winners circle when they
also won the USET Intermediaire I class, scoring 70.000%. Tara Stegen
placed second with a 68.333% on New Tango and Williams and Marnix
were third with a 67.417%.
and Rocher earned the blue ribbon in the USET Grand Prix A
with a score of 73.889%. Finishing behind Williams in the class
was 1999 Pan American Games Team Gold Medalist Lynda Alicki and
Impressario with a score of 65.625%.
Garofolo of Dover Plains, NY, and Oliver III, owned by Higher Ground
Farm, won the feature event of the weekend in the show jumping ring,
the $50,000 Bayer/USET Wellington Cup. Only four of the starting
field of 35 horse-and-rider combinations went clear in the first
round to qualify for the jump-off. First to go in the jump-off,
Garofolo laid down a clear round in a time of 40.21 seconds, which
held as the fastest time of the day. The first weeks Grand
Prix winner, Lauren Hough, rode Clasiko to a second place finish
with a clean jump-off round in a time of 42.55 seconds.
three brought more exciting competition to the show grounds with
the Kilkenny/ICH Internationale, February 5-9. Federico Sztyrle
of Argentina was the winner of the Winter Equestrian Festivals
third grand prix. Sztyrle rode Caya, owned by the Sag Pond Farm
of Sagaponack, NY, to the win in the featured class of the weekend,
the $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup. Sztyrle, who trains
with Joe Fargis, and McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, who finished second
aboard Rio, were the only two riders out of a starting field of
33 to ride clear in the first round to qualify for the jump-off.
Both riders produced faultless jump-off rounds; however, Ward crossed
though the timers just half a second slower than Sztyrle to put
him in second place.
Madden of Cazenovia, NY, and her 2002 World Equestrian Games mount,
Judgement, owned by Iron Spring Farm, topped the field of 29 entries
to win the $50,000 Idle Dice Classic, the highlighted event of the
fourth week of competition in Wellington, the Florida Classic/WCHR
Spectacular, February 12-16. This grand prix also served as a qualifying
event for the Budweiser World Cup, the Show Jumping World Cup Final,
in Las Vegas in April.
Six horses went clear in the first round to qualify for the jump-off,
where it was Madden who prevailed with the fastest time of 39.56
seconds. Finishing second with a time of 40.03 seconds was Margie
Engle and Hidden Creeks Jones. Lauren Hough, who had already
posted a win and a second place finish in 2003 grand prix events
in Wellington, rode her Sydney Olympic mount Clasiko, owned by the
Clasiko Group, to a third place finish in a time of 40.15 seconds.
horses and riders were in the spotlight during the fourth week of
competition as the Winter Equestrian Festival presented the prestigious
AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular, a night of competition under the
lights on February 15. Emily Williams and Strapless, owned by the
All Season Farm, captured the championship for an unprecedented
third time. Strapless qualified for the Classic after capturing
the Championship in the Regular Working Hunter division. Strapless
was also the Reserve Champion in the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 with
owner/rider Clara Lindner. Scott Stewart rode Chopard, owned by
Krista Weisman, to a second place finish in the Classic. Chopard
and Stewart finished as Reserve Champion in the Regular Conformation
Hunter division earlier in the week to be eligible to compete in
Stewart continued to have great success in the hunter rings as the
circuit continued. During the sixth week of the Winter Equestrian
festival, Stewart rode three horses to Hunter Championships. Chopard
was Regular Conformation Hunter Champion with Stewart riding for
Alexa Weisman. Prove It was Regular Working Hunter Champion for
owner Mimi Tashjian, and Grace was named Champion Second Year Green
Working Hunter for owner Sarah Alvarez.
Zada Enterprises, LLC Wellington Masters took over the Palm Beach
Polo Equestrian Club, February 19-23. The event, which marked the
fifth week of the 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival, brought more
warm weather and intense competition. The week culminated in an
exciting grand prix win for Olympic veteran Norman Dello Joio of
Joio and Quriel, owned by Belknap & Weight, bested a starting
field of 36 horse-and-rider combinations to win the weeks
featured event, the $75,000 Zada Enterprises Wellington Masters
Cup. Six horses went clear in the first round to earn the right
to ride over the shortened jump-off course.
the end, it was Dello Joio and Quriel, who crossed through the timers
the fastest. The pair edged out the second place finisher by the
slimmest of margins. Sydney Olympian Laura Kraut and Anthem, owned
by the Summit Syndicate, stopped the timers only one one-hundredth
of a second slower then Dello Joio to earn second place. Finishing
in third place was Canadian Karen Cudmore, aboard Blair Cudmores
the next week of competition in Wellington, the grand prix, the
$75,000 Tommy Bahama Florida Open, drew thirty-six horses. This
important competition was a qualifier for the Budweiser World Cup
Final. Seven horses qualified to return for the jump-off on the
course designed by Prof. Arno Gego of Germany. Meredith Beerbaum,
a rider representing Germany, won the class in the fastest time,
with Shutterfly, owned by Hyperion Farm.
horses had clean jump-off rounds. McLain Ward placed second on Onyx
66, a horse that he co-owns with Harry Gill. Third place went to
Candice King of Wellington, FL, riding Caliskan for Louisburg Farm
LLC. Norman Dello Joio and Quriel came in fourth.
Madden and Judgement were back to the winners circle one last
time during the final week in Wellington when the pair won the $100,000
Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship, Presented by CN,.
of a field of 30 horse-and-rider combinations, only two qualified
to return for the jump-off. Madden and Judgement returned first
and had a clean round with a good pace. Anne Kursinski of Flemington,
NJ, with her 1996 Atlanta Olympic mount Eros, owned by The Eros
Group, returned second and made good time but had the last jump
down to score 4 faults. Todd Minikus and Gardenio, owned by the
YZ Partners, came in third with 1 time fault in the first round.
add to the excitement of the final week of competition, the Winter
Equestrian Festival hosted the Samsung Nations Cup, Presented
by CN for the second time. The United States successfully defended
its title in dramatic fashion by winning the event held on March
The U.S. finished with a score of 8 faults to edge out Ireland,
who finished the two rounds with 9 faults. Canada came in third
with 38 faults.
After Irelands Kevin Babington rode fault-free in Irelands
final ride at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club, Sydney Olympic
veteran Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, entered the ring knowing
that she needed a clean ride on Hidden Creeks Jones to clinch
the win. One rail down would give the win to the Irish team and
one time fault would force a jump-off.
I felt the pressure, the seven-time American Grandprix Association
Rider of the Year said. I could have been the bum of Wellington
That did not turn out to be the case. Exhibiting the skill and nerve
that have gained her more Grandprix wins than any rider in U.S.
history, Engle guided her 12-year-old Dutch-bred to her second clear
round of the day giving the U.S. the win in the Nations Cup
for the second straight year.
Equitation riders were also featured in the final week of competition
as twenty-three qualified riders competed in the Ronnie Mutch Equitation
Classic on March 8. A score judged in the warm-up area was added
to the score of each round. After the first course, 10 riders were
asked to return and submit their own written course of 8
10 jumps and then execute it.
the second round, four riders were asked to return to the ring.
At this time, only 8 points separated the top four riders -- Whitney
Roper, Courtney McKay, Maggie McAlary and Sloan Coles.
were asked to switch horses with no outside assistance and then
remain in the ring. Coles and McAlary switched horses, and McKay
switched with Roper. Next, they were asked to jump the first 8 jumps
of the original course.
the end, Roper maintained the top position and took home the Championship.
McKay took second place, Coles finished third, and McAlary was fourth.
the Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W***, March 19-23, the first week of competition
at the winter circuits Tampa location, the Bob Thomas Equestrian
Center, it was McLain Ward who took top honors. There were 35 entries
in the weeks highlighted event, the $60,000 Grand Prix of
Tampa, CSI***W presented by Kilkenny Insurance Agency/ICH, but it
was Ward who bested the field aboard Viktor, a horse he co-owns
with Harry Gill. Although Ward had consistently been earning top
ribbons in Sunday classes in Florida, this marked his first 2003
Florida grand prix win. Finishing in second place was Candice King
aboard Caliskan, owned by Louisburg Farm, LLC.
the Tournament of Champions CSI-W, March 25-29, in Tampa, FL, Chris
Kappler and Royal Kaliber, a horse he co-owns with Kathy Kamine,
won the winters most highlighted event, the $200,000 Budweiser
American Invitational at Raymond James Stadium on March 29. Kappler
rode two clear rounds over a demanding course designed by Steve
Stephens of Wellington, FL, to win over the 30 horse and rider combinations
who attempted the first round course. Kappler was the only rider
out of eight who qualified for the jump-off to produce a clear round
in the jump-off. Finishing behind Kappler, with four faults in the
jump-off was Meredith Beerbaum and Shutterfly, owned by Hyperion
Farm. Anne Kursinski and Eros took third place.
Kraut won the final $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup, which served as the
last East Coast League qualifier for the Budweiser World Cup. Kraut
piloted May, owned by Pasmore Stables, over a course designed by
Mehves Trak of Turkey to the win the class over 33 horse and rider
combinations who entered. Seven horses jumped clear in the first
round to qualify to jump again in the jump-off round, but it was
Kraut who finished in the fastest time with no faults. Leslie Howard
and Priobert De Kalvarie crossed through the times just slightly
slower than Kraut to earn second place in the class.
Winter Equestrian Festival returned to Wellington for one final
week of competition at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club, April
2-6. Chris Kappler aboard Royal Kaliber took the highlighted event
of the week, the $150,000 AGA Championship. Out of the starting
field of 30 horse-and-rider combinations, Kappler and Royal Kaliber,
a Dutch Warmblood stallion, were the only pair to complete two clear
rounds. Finishing behind Kappler was Kevin Babington aboard Carling
King, owned by Kindle Hill Farm. Meredith Beerbaum piloted Shutterfly
to the third place award.
in January, the Winter Equestrian Festival offered eleven weeks
of high-level competition in the sun. The show grounds of the Palm
Beach Polo Equestrian Club as well as the show grounds in Tampa
will now lie dormant until next year. However, the excitement of
the 2003 show jumping, hunter, and equitation divisions as well
as dressage will inspire riders to come back to Florida in 2004.