Wellington, Fla. – March 16, 2018 – Friday morning’s Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* saw 30 horse-and-rider combinations competing for top honors. At the end of the flat phase it was Cooper Dean and Heritage Farm LLC’s Avalanche who came out on top to take home first place.
Athletes and their horses tackled Andy Christiansen’s technical course that featured 11 obstacles, including a triple combination, an open water fence, and a triple bar. At the end of the first round of competition, 12 athletes were asked to return for a flat phase where riders demonstrated sitting trots and cantering on the counter lead.
Dean and Avalanche have been successfully showing together since Week One of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Avalanche, previously ridden by Victoria Colvin to the Talent Search Finals-East Championship, is just coming back this season after recovering from an injury. The seasoned pair demonstrated the perfect ride in Friday’s Talent Search, showing their capability in the equitation ring.
In second place was Grady Lyman and Ashland Farm’s Cohiba VDL. Lyman is trained by Emily Smith and has been seeing successes in the equitation ring throughout WEF, including high placings in the ASPCA Maclay and the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal throughout the circuit. Third place was captured by Nina Columbia and her own Checkland.
Competition at WEF continues on Saturday, culminating with the week’s highlight St. Patrick’s Day event: $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix 3*.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE:
Cooper Dean – Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* Winner
“Avalanche is very experienced. Tori Colvin won USET finals on him a few years ago and he actually got injured the year after, so he had a year or two off. This is his first show back since his injury and he felt pretty awesome. This is actually my first USET class sinceUSET finals. It felt really good to get out there and execute and get a win. It felt awesome. I’ve been riding him since Week One of WEF. He has a very good character. His ears are always forward and he loves what he does. He is a happy horse.”
On Friday’s course:
“My plan today was just try to put in a consistent round. We didn’t come in here thinking that we were going to win. We just wanted to put in nice round since it was our first time getting back in the ring for this class. I think the biggest thing that I did was when I knew that I was a little tight on the time so I made an inside turn to the skinny. Anything that I do that messes the round up, I’m lucky that Avalanche covers for us and fixes it. We just went out and got the right strides and distances and hoped for the best.”
On his trainer, Andre Dignelli’s advice:
“He told me to just go in and be confident. He said to have a nice forward gallop and try to just put in a nice, smooth round. He said that this isn’t USET finals, but go out and act like it is.”
Plat. Perf. USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2*
Place / Horse / Rider / Faults | Time
1. Avalanche / Cooper Dean / 0 | 72.282
2. Cohiba VDL / Grady Lyman / 1 | 76.412
3. Checkland / Nina Columbia / 0 | 70.511
4. Cinzano / Natalie Jayne / 0 | 66.987
5. Caracas 89 / Kaitlyn Lovingfoss / 0 | 71.953
6. Cassino 20 / Taylor Griffiths / 0 | 73.667
7. Skara Glen’s Prologue / Addison Piper / 0 | 75.506
8. Trumpet / Mimi Gochman / 0 | 72.82
9. Copperfield 39 / Elli Yeager / 0 | 71.985
10. Boukati B / Liliane Kaissar / 0 | 72.923
11. Zapfier / Tanner Korotkin / 0 | 73.319
12. Acido 7 / Rachel McMullen / 0 | 74.672
For full results, click here.