Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 25, 2022 – Welcome to the frozen south and the FEI CSI 3* $140,000 Hygain Feeds Grand Prix. My mistake after the walk last week was reporting that the Grand Prix this week would be under the lights on Saturday night. In fact the Grand Prix this week is on the grass derby field Sunday afternoon. The class last night was the National rules $50,000 Marshall & Sterling/Great American Group Grand Prix. There were close to 100 entries that would try for the 45 spots open for the evening grand prix. This was a change in the usual program and was very well received by the riders. They got a chance to show under the lights with horses and younger riders. I believe that there are discussions under way that could make this format a regular feature in the coming seasons. If this happens I think it will be a very good change for all owners and riders. There was a very good crowd on hand for the evening class and the weather had not dropped the temperature to uncomfortable levels. The course designer for the evening class was Nick Granat (USA). Nick has worked closely with many of the top CD’s and finally got the main ring to ply his craft. It was a Job well done. The national grand prix in Wellington during the winter season is not the easiest class to design.
We now move to the grass on Sunday afternoon and a start time of 2.15pm and the CSI 3* $140,000 Hygain Grand prix. There are 45 starters and 44 will compete. The weather is really cold with a serious wind chill and I have not been this cold in Wellington in many, many, years. Our CD for the week on the grass has been Oscar Soberon (USA) and one of my favorite young designers. The class will start a little later than scheduled as there were over 70 competitors in the under 25. There were 11 clean in the U25 and it was a great course for. The quality of the horse and the riders just blows me away. The course for the grand prix will show 13 numbered obstacles with 16 efforts. The course will include 1 triple combination, 1 double combination, Plank vertical, triple bar, 2 Liverpools, short pole vertical. There is no Wall and no open water. I missed the original time allowed but it was set at 77 seconds after the second ride. The horses love this venue and the grass footing and jump extremely well on this surface. It is now time to walk the CSI 3* $140,000 Hygain Grand Prix.
#1 oxer 1.47/1.55m or 4.10/5.1ft comes on either the left or right rein and did not contribute to the final results in the class today much to the surprise of Captain Canada. (humour)
#2 Hermes oxer 1.47/1.55m or 4.10/5.1ft comes on a long gallop on the left rein and was faulted 2 times. The Hermes jump was the single most faulted in the 2021 season in the grand prix ring.
#3 plank vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes on the continuing left rein with no given distance and was punished 3 times.
#4a oxer 1.48/1.60m or 4.11/5.3ft comes on the right turn there was a refusal and 4 back poles were slammed to the grass.
#4b vertical 1.53m or 5.1ft comes with a distance of 8.20m or 26.9ft and remained in mint condition on the day.
#5 liverpool oxer 1.48/1.65m or 4.11/5.5ft comes in a straight line from #4b with a distance of 18.70m or 61.3ft and tumbled into the pool of water 6 times.
#6 short pole vertical (all black) 1.53m or 5.1ft comes from #5 on a long gallop on the right rein with no given distance and fell from the sky 5 times.
#7 closed Liverpool vertical comes from #6 in a straight line with a distance of 25m or 82ft and fell below sea level 3 times.
#8 oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.5ft comes from #7 on a bending left rein with no given distance and remained intact throughout the first round. This oxer was built in the old style of course design with multiple rails (6) on the front of the oxer. It did not create a problem for anyone but it was nice to see a new approach to the jump construction.
#9 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes on the left turn away from the in-gate and also remained unscathed on the day.
#10 the triple bar 1.50/1.90m or 5/6.3ft comes on the continuing left rein and created a fall and therefore the rider was eliminated.
#11a vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes from #10 in a straight line with no given distance and bounced to the turf 3 times.
#11b oxer 1. 50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes from #11a with a distance of 11.60m or 38ft and was the bogy fence today as it crushed the hopes of 8 entries.#11c vertical 1.52m or 5.1ft comes from #11b with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft and was a surprise in that it did not disappoint anyone today.
#12 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #11c on the bending right rein with no given distance and here we had a fall (elimination) and 4 rails touched down on mother earth.
#13 oxer 1.50/1.70m or 5/5.6ftcomes from #12 in a straight line with a given distance of 28m or 91.9ft. This was the last obstacle in the first round and was also the end of the day for 3 riders.
The final results of the first round of the CSI *3 will show that 13 clear rounds will advance to the jump off. There were 3 rounds with 1 time fault and 3 rounds with 2 time faults. We had 10 rounds with 4 faults, 3 with 5, 2 with 7 faults and 1 with 8 faults. The rest will jump another day. The course created 2 falls resulting in eliminations and only 1 VW. With the limitations of a 3* on the course and the really good field of horses and riders I believe the results of the first round were excellent and a thumbs up to Oscar Soberon for an excellent course. I was disappointed that the open water was not in use this week for the U25 and the grand prix but so much for me. It was suggested to me during the class that 400m/min should be the speed out here on the grass because the ring is big enough to support this speed. There is no question that the derby field can easily support the 400m/m but the course designers working this field know this and make adjustments so the time allowed will be more in support of the 400m/m speed than the 375m/m. I believe that this fact is a given in the major classes out here on the derby field. I made a mistake in the course discourse walk last week and thought the *3 would be Saturday night and I was wrong as you can read but next week we are under the lights next week on Saturday night. The weather was not great today and very cold but it did not affect the jumping today as we had no rain. The forecast is for some cold weather during next week but I hope for warmer weather for next Saturday night. Until next week I am Dave Ballard.