Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista Clinch Win in the $25,000 Hermes U25 Grand Prix Semi-Final 

Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 4, 2022 –  Friday competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to a close with the highly anticipated $25,000 Hermes U25 Grand Prix Semi-Final. A field of 70 young riders fought for the coveted top honors in the International Ring under the lights. Only nine horse-and-rider combinations advanced to the jump-off, but it was sixteen-year-old Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista that ultimately emerged on top. 

Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista

Isabella Russekoff (USA) was the first to master a clean round in Steve Stephens and Nick Granat’s 1.45m 16-effort course, which featured both a challenging triple combination, double combination and water obstacle. The water obstacle proved to be particularly daunting, causing challenges for many pairs on course In the end, eight riders eventually navigated clear efforts to join Russekoff in the jump-off, including Francis Derwin (ITA), Summer Hill (USA), Hallie Grimes (USA), Gigi Moynihan (USA), Natalie Dean (USA), Caroline Mawhinney (USA), Caitlyn Connors (USA) and Stella Wasserman (USA). 

Isabella Russekoff and Balou’s Fly High

Russekoff was the first to take on the shortened jump-off track. Russekoff and Balou’s Fly High, Suave Pony LLC’s 15-year-old Oldenburg stallion, expertly maneuvered through the course, which included large galloping distances and demanding turns. She went clean with a time of 39.85 seconds, and the ride would prove difficult to beat. 

Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista

Next on course was Italy’s Derwin and Scarlett Du Sart Z, a 12-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by Vlock Show Stables, LLC. Derwin boasted a speedy round of 35.87 seconds, but left four faults in the ring to leave him out of contention for the top spot. Hill and her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare La Belle followed, and the duo notched 39.37 seconds on the clock, but the pair faltered at the challenging Hermés oxer. Grimes and Can We Keep It? LLC’s 17-year-old KWPN gelding Ace were next in the ring. She also fell victim to the difficult course, leaving a rail down with five faults in the ring in a time of 47.35 seconds. 

Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista

Moynihan and Erle, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Christy Johnson, put forth a valiant clear effort that was enough to send them into the second place position with a a time of 40.31 seconds. She was followed by Dean and Marigold Sporthorses LLC’s Dotcom D’Authuit.  

The duo’s quick footspeed served them well, surpassing Russekoff’s leading time by three seconds in a time of 36.95 seconds. However, Dean and Dotcom D’Authuit suffered an unfortunate four faults on course, seating them in the fourth place position.

Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista

Russekoff’s steady lead was finally overtaken by Mawhinney and her own 14-year-old Hannoverian mare Stella Levista. Mawhinney boasted a rapid time of 35.56 seconds, turning and burning throughout the track to emerge on top with a fault-free ride. Connors and Falcon De Hus Z, her 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding, were the penultimate pair in the ring, putting down  a flawless round to soar to second place with a time of 39.63 seconds. Last to go was Wasserman and her own Iphigeneia de Muze. The pair had an unfortunate refusal on course, finishing in a time of 46.77 seconds and eight faults. 

Caitlyn Connors and Falcon De Hus Z

In the end, Mawhinney and Stella Levista took the lead with a time of 35.56 seconds. The red ribbon went to Connors and Falcon De Hus Z who posted a time of 39.63 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Russekoff and Balou’s Fly High with a time of 39.85 seconds. 



Caroline Mawhinney –  $25,000 Hermes U25 Grand Prix Semi-Final winner

On the jump-off:
“My horse [Stella Levista] is naturally really quick across the ground, so I knew that going in. We naturally don’t have too much stride, so I tried to win on the turns and just get the strides that I could. For example, from fence two to three a-b, that eight stride is very difficult for me, but I made sure I got it done. She’s just really fast in general.”

Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista

On her partnership with Stella Levista:
“I’ve had her for two years now. She’s absolutely incredible. I don’t know how she does what she does. She’s tiny but mighty truly. She’s taken me everywhere, from Nations Cup classes to the [FEI North American Youth Jumping Championships] in Michigan.”

Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista

On the win:
“It means so much to me to win the [$25,000 Hermes U25 Grand Prix Semi-Final]. I was a bit nervous going in, but I trusted [Stella Levista], and it paid off.”

Caroline Mawhinney and Stella Levista


Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Faults | R1 Time | R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Stella Levista / Caroline Mawhinney / Caroline Mawhinney / USA / 0 | 72.76  | 0 | 35.56
2. Falcon De Hus Z / Caitlyn Connors / Caitlyn Connors LLC / USA / 0 | 74.24 | 0 | 39.63
3. Balou’s Fly High / Isabella Russekoff / Suave Pony LLC / USA / 0 | 74.11 / 0 | 39.85
4. Erle / Gigi Moynihan / Christy Johnson / USA / 0 | 73.21 | 0 | 40.31
5. Scarlett Du Sart Z / Francis Derwin / Vlock Show Stables LLC / ITA / 0 | 71.88 | 4 | 35.87
6. Dotcom D’Authuit / Natalie Dean / Marigold Sporthorses LLC / USA / 0 | 68. 31 | 4 |  36.95
7. La Belle SCF / Summer Hill / Summer Hill and Andrea Simpson / USA / 0 | 75.59 | 4 | 39.37
8. Ace / Hallie Grimes / Can We Keep It? LLC / USA / 0 | 73.61 | 5 | 47.35
9. Iphigeneia de Muze / Stella Wasserman / Stella Wasserman / USA / 0 | 75.56 | 8 | 46.77
10. Fabregas / Alexandra Smith / Ashland Farms / USA / 2 | 77.33
11. Enanda / Lucy Deslauriers / Luja LLC / USA / 4 | 69.16
12. Sonic Boom / Hailey Royce / Hailey Royce / USA / 4 | 69.3


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