Kelli Cruciotti Claims Win in USEF Talent Search 3* During WEF Week Four

© Sarah Harper: Kelli Cruciotti and Monterrey
Kelli Cruciotti and Monterrey

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 3, 2017 – The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) hosted its first 3* USEF Show Jumping Talent Search class this Friday during Week Four. For the past three weeks, each USEF Talent Search class has been ranked as 2*.  After a show jumping and flat phase, Kelli Cruciotti and her own Monterrey, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, emerged as the winners from a field of 17. Cruciotti is no stranger to success having won the 2015 Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final in addition to being the youngest winner of the $100,000 Sapphire Grand Prix at Devon in May 2015.

Cruciotti was complimentary of the Anderson Lima-designed course. “I thought it was very nice,” she said. “It was very even off both leads, and challenging. The related distance to the oxer to the water to the vertical was the most challenging test. You had to ride the water and come back for the vertical, and with that you had to make the course smooth and even on the left and the right. Overall I thought it was really well designed.”

Cruciotti, trained by her mother, Cindy, of Serenity Farm, and her veteran partner Monterrey made the difficult course look easy on Friday morning.

© Sarah Harper: Kelli Cruciotti and Monterrey
Kelli Cruciotti and Monterrey

“This is my fifth year with him,” Cruciotti explained. “He is the horse that I rode throughout my junior years, and I’m lucky enough that I was able to keep him after I ended my junior career. This is actually our first show back in about seven months. He comes out sporadically; he really loves the horse show and really enjoys it. We did a 1.10m schooling class yesterday and he was ready to go this morning.”

Cruciotti was thrilled with her win as it automatically qualified her for the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search Finals.

“I am very excited about this win,” Cruciotti said. “I am thankful to be going to the finals; we are very lucky.”

The second place spot went to Yasmin Rizvi and Canny Windsor Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Peacock Ridge LLC, with Maya Nayyar and her own Narco V A, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, rounding out the top three.

© Sarah Harper: Yasmin Rizvi and Canny Windsor Z
Yasmin Rizvi and Canny Windsor Z

Each show offering the USEF Talent Search class is ranked between a 1* through a 3*, with a 3* being the most challenging.  In the 1* and 2* classes, both the flat and jumping phases must be held in either a jumper or an equitation ring. In a 3* class, the jumping phase must be held in a main grand prix ring. The fences of a 2* class reach a height of 1.15m and the course must include both a filled liver pool and a water-filled jump. Riders who seek to qualify for the East Coast finals must ribbon in a 2* or a 3* class and accumulate 90 points. For both the West and East Coast final, a rider will be automatically qualified by winning a 3* class.

© Sarah Harper: Maya Nayyar and Narco V A
Maya Nayyar and Narco V A

During the remaining eight weeks of WEF, the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search is offered Week Nine at a 1* ranking. Only Weeks Eight and Twelve remain to automatically qualify the winner for the finals with a 3* rating. The remaining competition weeks will include 2* classes. This leaves two remaining opportunities throughout WEF for a rider to automatically qualify for the finals.

1.    Kelli Cruciotti and Monterrey
2.    Yasmin Rizvi and Canny Windsor Z
3.    Maya Nayyar and Narco V A
4.    Kaitlyn Lovingfoss and Hasta La Vista
5.    Jordyn Rose Freedman and Finnick
6.    McKayla Langmeier and Zapfier
7.    Alex Benson and Skara Glen’s Prologue
8.    Elli Yeager and Copperfield 39

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