Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 20, 2023 – The Winter Equestrian Festival’s (WEF) Week 6, sponsored by KASK, came to a close on Sunday with the final classics of World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week in the International Ring and the KASK CHF140,000 CSI3* Grand Prix on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village. Irish Olympian Bertram Allen and the speedy Emmylou topped a 10-horse jump-off in the day’s featured international class.
Ana Catalina Cruz Harris (MEX) designed a testing track for 44 horses. From the second half of the original order, Allen notched a clear round and returned to set an uncatchable pace over the short course.
Coming off a win earlier in the season in the Wellington Equestrian Realty CSI4* 1.45m with Emmylou, a 10-year-old Irish-bred mare (Cabachon x San Patrignano Mister), owned by Ballywalter Stables, Allen bested runner-up Cathleen Driscoll (USA) by nearly two seconds on Sunday. She rode Arome for owner Plain Bay Farm, and Canada’s Amy Millar rounded out the top three riding Truman for Millar Brooke Farm & Overlund.
“The jump-off went to plan,” said Allen of his blistering pace. “My horse is naturally very fast so I just tried to keep it as smooth as I could. Obviously, the jump-off was still big and there were quite a few faults in it, so I tried to get the right medium between going fast enough and keeping all the jumps up.”
When he crossed the final timers, Allen threw a fist to the sky and gave Emmylou the credit she was due. “She’s a special little horse; she tries so hard, so I get great satisfaction about having the result I did today.”
Allen got the ride on Emmylou, the previous mount of Norwegian rider Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen, early last year and set the KASK CSI3* Grand Prix as a goal this season. “This was her main goal and now we will evaluate where we go from here.”
Allen had his eye on Emmylou for nearly a year while she competed under the direction of Gulliksen and is pleased to finally have her as part of his string, noting, “She’s a lovely horse in the barn; she’s very relaxed and easy going, but when you really start jumping she lights up. I think she likes her job.”
KASK CHF140,000 CSI3* Grand Prix
- Bertram Allen (IRL) & Emmylou: 2013 Irish Sport Horse (Cabachon x San Patrignano Mister)
Owner: Ballywalter Stables
- Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Arome: 2010 (Kheersik El Asrit x Emir XI)
Owner: Plain Bay Farm
- Amy Miller (CAN) & Truman: 2007 Selle Français (Kashmir Van ‘t Schuttersho x Arpad De Six Censes)
Owner: Millar Brooke Farm & Overlund
- Lillie Keenan (USA) & Agana van het Gerendal Z: 2011 Zangersheide (Aganix Du Seigneur x Topas)
Owner: Chansonette Farm, LLC
- David Blake (IRL) & Claude: 2012 Westphalian (Captain Jack 44 x Cefalo)
Owner: Pine Hollow Farm
Tom Wachman Takes Birthday Week Win in CHF25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix
The final morning of WEF 6 kicked off with just over 70 of the sport’s top up-and-coming young riders taking to the grass derby field at Equestrian Village. The CHF25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix launched a full day of top sport to cap the week with Ireland’s Tom Wachman claiming a win just two days after his 18th birthday.
Riding Coolmore Showjumping‘s 10-year-old KWPN mare I’m Here (Carambole x Numero Uno), Wachman produced two fault-free efforts throughout the first round and eleven-horse jump-off. The short-course contenders represented six individual countries.
Coming off a win in the Wellington Equestrian Realty CSI3* 1.45m earlier in the week aboard Lazzaro Delle Schiave, Wachman was at it again with a new mount. “I just started riding her at the beginning of WEF, but she’s had a great start to the season and won two classes here during WEF 4,” said Wachman.
Wachman has been a competitor in the Under 25 Grand Prix series at WEF for several years now and detailed the level of difficulty throughout the season, saying, “It’s a very competitive series because they are all good riders who are well-mounted. It’s always interesting to me to follow the standings because they change quite a lot throughout the circuit.”
As for his success against the stacked field today, Wachman credited his mount’s large step and ability to leave out strides in several lines as the key to the top position. “In the turn from fence two to three I did eight strides on the turnback, and then after the double combination we did ten strides over to the next big oxer,” he described. “I don’t think anyone else did those numbers in those areas.”
Speed queen Grace Debney (GBR) secured the second place finish landing a little less than two seconds behind Wachman’s time of 34.78 seconds to clear the timers with Temple Equestrian, LLC’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Jesprit H.S (Eldorado v/d Zeshoek x Carosso VDL) in 36.16 seconds. Giavanna Rinaldi put forward a top finish for the United States, taking the third-place position with a final time of 36.66 seconds aboard Stephen Macken’s 13-year-old Oldenburg mare Chacco Cherry PS (Chaccomo x Continue).
WEF 6 is the second week of Under 25 competition at Wellington International. The 2023 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series winner will take home an Hermès Saddle, a $10,000 store credit to Hermès, and will be invited to compete at a select show or tour in Europe, with round-trip transportation for one horse generously provided by the Dutta Corp.
Ashton Alexander and Dinner at 8 Top Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Amateur Hunter Classic
Ashton Alexander and Dinner at 8 concluded World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week in the International Arena with a big win in the Top Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Amateur Hunter Classic.
The arena was bustling on Sunday morning, with over seventy entries all searching for a top score. The top twelve from the first round advanced into the second round where they showcased their handiness. The highest score of the day went to Alexander and Dinner at 8, a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Bretton Woods, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram. Alexander combined the high scores in both rounds of a 90 for a total score of 180.
Alexander looked back on her rounds, noting, “This was the first time we had both been in this ring as a pair, but he was amazing. He has a perfect expression and moves beautifully across the ground. The first round had a more lines to piece together and then the second one had all singles so you could really break everything apart.”
The pair came together at the end of 2022, and has already developed a strong partnership. “Capital Challenge was our very first horse show and this is our fourth week here at WEF. We are just taking it day by day.”
When Alexander isn’t competing at WEF this winter, she’s working for the Houston Texans as an Account Executive in business development. After winning on Sunday, she was back in the office on Monday.
Brett Lieb finished second on Goodman, owned by Twin Oaks Stables, Inc., with a total score of 175.5, while Michael Baum rounded out the top three riding Memorable on a 174.25 for owner First Blue, LLC.
Smith and Berkhout Close Out Hunter Week in WCHR 3’3” Junior Hunter Classic
The final group of junior riders donned their shadbellies and headed to the International Ring at Wellington one last time on Sunday afternoon. Fifty-two young riders passed under the Wellington International bridge for the WCHR 3’3” Junior Hunter Classic. The class combined riders from both the younger and older age groups and was determined California Split style. Following the first phase, the handy round saw the top six riders from each age group invited to return in reverse order for a handy test.
It Sandra Smith who earned the blue ribbon for section A after combining her first-round score of 89 with an impressive 91 in the handy to total 179 points combined. For Smith, the win is extra sweet as the week celebrates the one year anniversary of becoming a show team with her winning partner, Beaulieu’s Chianti Classico, a 14-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by Jon Cotton.
“Last year was my first year experiencing WEF and we stayed in the 3’ division, so we just moved up to the 3’3” this year,” explained Smith. “He’s an awesome horse. He has a massive stride and gets down the line a lot easier than other horses and I think that’s what makes him stand out.”
As for many young juniors, being able to experience the International Ring during the week was one of both excitement and anxiety for Smith. “Going into this ring was very nerve wracking and I messed up a few times the first day. I was excited to come back today and planned to take it easy in the first round because I was still nervous. After hearing I had a score of 89 in my first round, I was incredibly happy and my plan for the handy was just to keep my cool and trust his stride to get me there!”
Collecting the winning cooler on another gray, Sadie Berkhout jumped to the top of the leaderboard in Section B with a two-round total score of 175 on Newsha McCarthy’s Gotcha, a 12-year-old gelding by Camax L.
“He’s really a great family horse,” expressed Berkhout. “He does everything well, from international derbies to walk/trot with his mom, and it’s been such a pleasure riding him.”
Berkhout is experiencing her first full WEF circuit and got the ride on the gelding for the season as well as her first time showing during the prestigious WCHR week.
“This is an incredible feeling; I’ve never shown during this week so to have this result is a great moment, and I was Champion of the division this week with my trainer’s young horse,” she detailed. “Gotcha was fantastic today. He has such a nice personality and a great jump; I think you can tell when he goes around the ring how much he loves his job.”
Oh My Star Shines in $25,000 CP National Grand Prix
U.S. rider Brian Moggre closed out WEF 6 on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village with a win in the $25,000 CP National Grand Prix aboard Oh My Star Strytem on Sunday.
Forty-three horses and riders tackled Ana Cataline Cruz Harris’ (MEX) challenging track which lead to only four pairs advancing to the jump-off. Of the four in the jump-off, Moggre and Oh My Star Strytem, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (I Am Moerhoeve’s Star x Vancouver D’auvray) owned by Claire Mckean, laid down the fastest time of the day in 37.872 seconds. Second went to Jacob Pope (USA) and Casper finishing in a time of 38.604, and third went to Juan Andres Vegas Enriquez (GUA) and Clever V’T Wulverhof Z clocking in at 40.285.
Moggre described the course as, “More difficult than I thought it would be. It’s not always that you jump the hedge and the ditch and the dugout Liverpool, but the good horses really thrived and there were a lot of unlucky faults. The time allowed was super tight as well so that played a big factor.”
Even though the course proved to be more challenging than anticipated, the pair rose to the occasion. Of their jump-off plan, Moggre said, “Of course I wanted to give the horse the best ride that I could and jumping clear is always the objective. There were only four in the jump-off so I thought I could take a bit of a chance where the worst I could be was fourth, but I didn’t want to do anything too crazy.”
Moggre admits that Oh My Star Strytem is right where he belongs in the national grand prix ranks at the moment. His plan is to point the young gelding at several more 1.45m classes before moving up.