Wellington, Fla. – March 25, 2022 – Adult equitation riders took to the Rost Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) Friday morning during Week 11 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) for the Ariat National Adult Medal. A field of 13 athletes navigated the first round with the top four coming back to test. Coming out on top after two rounds of competition was Gigi Manigault of Charleston, SC and Don Stewart’s Wizzard of Odds.
Course designer Ken Okken’s (USA) first round of eight jumps gave riders the opportunity to show off their eye and ability to navigate a course seamlessly. Scoring an 87 over the first round track, Miela Gross and Johnnie Walker led the pack going into the test, while Manigault and Wizzard of Odds followed closely with an 85. Natalie Meyers and Washington also earned a spot in the test with a score of 84, and Tracey Gorin-Byrne would complete the pack of four aboard Centric.
The test for the top four included a hand gallop out of the lineup to jump one, counter canter of fence two, canter fence 3A and 3B, halt, and canter fence 8 before returning to the lineup. Hoping to improve upon her second place position, Manigault made a conscious effort to make her hand gallop to fence one bold, setting the tone for the rest of her test. Her efforts aboard the 9-year-old KWPN gelding would pay off, ultimately shaking up the results to bump Gross to the second place position with Madeline Pike’s 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Johnnie Walker. Gorin-Byrne would improve upon her fourth place position, rounding out the top three riding Annie Bolling’s 8-year-old Swedish Warmblood Gelding, Centric.
Maingault began her partnership with “Wizzard” in April of 2021. Originally intended to be a practice horse for her in the Performance Hunter divisions, the talented gelding proved willing to step into the equitation ring, lending Maingault the opportunity to continue her equitation career. The amateur rider has her sights set on the Ariat National Adult Medal Final at the 2022 Capital Challenge Horse Show.
Equitation competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival will continue Saturday, March 26, with the THIS National Children’s Medal 15-17 kicking off at 8:00 a.m. in Ring 7. Equitation competition will come to a pinnacle during Week 12 of WEF when the top junior athletes take the stage in the International arena at 5:00 p.m. for the WEF Equitation Championship.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Gigi Manigault – Ariat National Adult Medal Winner
On her rounds:
“I just wanted to have a good pace and to have a more flowing motion going around the course. I thought the course was set up nice.The first round was a little more huntery but then I thought the test was really nice with the hand gallop and then the counter canter to jump 2, and then the halt. I think that picking up my counter canter before the turn definitely helped and hand galloping fence one just making sure I had a lot of pace coming out of the lineup.”
On Wizzard of Odds:
“I love him. I originally got him as a practice horse to do the performance hunters and medals but he’s become one of my favorites because he’s so much fun.”
On Future Plans:
“I want to do Ariat [National Adult] Finals with him and the other adult finals. I did it last year on him, but I’ve had him longer now and I’m really excited for that. I really hope I can do that on him.”