Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 15, 2022 – Week 9 of WEF has come and gone and we have the walk of the FEI CSI5* Douglas Elliman $406,000 Grand Prix to present to you. The weather for the whole season up until tonight has been perfect but Mother Nature threw us a curve today with a lot of rain and some chilly temperatures. With good fortune on our side the weather gave us a pass and the class will be held under really good conditions. The weather however will keep many at home and will watch the class on live stream. There is however a good crowd on hand for the event tonight. There will be 40 entries in the class and all will cross the start line. The course designer this week has been Alan Wade (IRL) and is considered the best in the world by many and he is no stranger to the international ring in Wellington. The qualifier on Thursday was a very good preview for what kind of course we will see tonight.
The course tonight will feature the open water, 1 triple combination, 1 double combination, a triple bar and a short pole vertical. There will be 2 liverpools (1 closed vertical and 1 oxer liverpool) but there will be no plank vertical and no wall. The course will consist of 14 numbered obstacles and 17 efforts. The time allowed is set at 81 seconds and will remain there. It is now time to walk the FEI CSI 5* $406,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix.
#1 vertical 1.48m or 4.11ft and comes on the way home from the far end of the ring on the right lead and shattered the expectations of 1 rider.
#2 triple bar 1.55/1.90m or 5.1/6.3ft comes from #1 on a soft bending left rein with no given distance and was crushed 2 times.
#3 vertical 1.58m or 5.3ft comes from #2 in a straight with a distance of 21.90m or 71.9ft and was damaged only 1 time.
#4a oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.5ft comes on the full right turn away from the in-gate and fell from grace a total of 5 times. It can be surmised that the triple coming early on the course will be easier by degree because the horse is still at full energy as to the triple coming late on the course when the horse may be a little more leg weary.
#4b oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.5ft comes from #4a with a distance of 10.80m or 35.6ft and was pushed to the turf 2 times. Using oxer to oxer in a triple requires a course designer to use a normal distance because with the height and width of the oxers is enough of a test. Too long and it can be too tough and too short can also result in results that should be avoided.
#4c vertical 1.58m or 5.3ft comes from #4b with a distance of 7.80m or 25.6ft and tumbled to the turf 4 times. Using the triple in this manner resulted in great results with the vertical taking the majority of faults. The triple combination can be the major factor in many grand prix but this year for the most part it has taken a minor role in the grand prix to this point in the season.
#5 closed Liverpool vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #4c in a straight line with a distance of 27.30m or 89.6ft and the top pole splashed in the water 6 times.
#6 oxer 1.50/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes on the right rein up the middle crown of the ring and defeated 3 rides.
#7 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #6 in a straight line with a distance of 17.90m or 58.6ft and was pushed from the yellow cups 5 times. Although the distance was a short 4 strides the line rode somewhat easier as it was slightly up hill due to the crown of the ring.
#8 oxer 1.50/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes on the full turn left at the far end of the ring and was one of only 2 fences to remain intact in the first round.
#9 OPEN WATER 4m or 13ft comes from #8 on the bending left rein with a distance of 34m or 111.6ft and we had 6 toes in the tub at the water. I had no given measurement for the water so in my opinion the water was 4m or 13 ft. The water did not cause any refusals and I did not see any hesitation on any ride to the water so it is and has been my opinion that the water used correctly at night or during the day is just another jump that needs to be ridden correctly. If you want to compete at the highest level in this sport you have to jump water.
#10a vertical 1.57m or 5.1ft comes from #9 on the bending left rein with a given distance of 31m or 101.7ft and caused 1 refusal and 3 poles to be removed from the yellow cups.
#10b oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.5ft comes from #10a with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and received 3 lashes for the effort.#11 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #10b in a straight line with a distance of 23m or 75.5ft and remained without a blemish tonight.
#12 liverpool oxer 1.50/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes on a turn back right turn at and away from the in-gate and was the bogy fence in the first round with 8 splash downs and 2 refusals resulting in elimination for 1 competitor.
#13 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #12 on the soft bending left rein with a distance of 33.50m or 109.9ft and kissed mother earth 3 times.
#14 oxer 1.55/1.70m or 5.3/5.6ft comes from #13 in a straight line with a distance of 25.50m or 83.6ft and with gravity playing a role ended the evening for 5 riders. This was the final fence in the first round of the FEI CSI $406,000 5* Douglas Elliman Grand Prix and the final results will show that 12 riders will advance to the jump off. There was 1 ride that incurred 1 time fault, 7 with 4 faults, 7 with 8 faults and 2 with 9. The rest will jump another day. We had 7 VW’s and 1 elimination due to 2 refusals. One must understand that the VW’s are usually because the rider does not want the results to show for their riders points. Finishing with a score is not desirable. NS is more favorable.
I have spent some time today to relate my thoughts on the results of the first round tonight and the first thing that is foremost in my thoughts is that this is another Saturday night grand prix and that most riders and mounts will be doing the same thing next week and so the thing that we must understand is that if you think that there were too many clean tonight and maybe the time allowed was a very small amount too generous you must also realize that missing the mark by a little is far more desirable than a course that was over the top. We saw many of the best in the world riders and many of the best horses tonight and it was great sport. Alan Wade and his crew did a fantastic job all week and WEF remains I think one of the best venues in the world of show jumping. Until next week I am Dave Ballard.