Wellington, FL – January 13, 2022 – The series of Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup classes continued on Thursday, January 13, 2022, at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Richard Vogel (GER) sped to the win in the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round One CSI3* with Caramba 92, owned by Horse Management GMBH.
In addition to top national hunter, equitation, and jumper competition, WEF Week One showcases CSI3* classes through Sunday, January 13. The featured classes this week include the $140,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3* for “Saturday Night Lights,” as well as the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic on Sunday.
Fifty-seven combinations challenged Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr.’s (ECU) first-round course, but only nine were able to finish fault free. Last to jump cleanly was McLain Ward (USA), who elected to withdraw from the jump-off, which left eight riders vying for the top spot.
First to go over the short course was Conor Swail (IRL) and Asia Torokvei’s Gamble, who set the time to beat at 38.66 seconds. They would have to settle for a fourth-place finish. Lauren Balcomb (AUS) and her horse Verdini D’Houtveld Z shaved fractions of a second off of Swail’s time, ultimately finishing in third place in 38.63 seconds. Then it was Daniel Bluman (ISR) whose quick, short turns helped him overtake the lead in 37.15 seconds with Over the Top Stables LLC’s Cachemire de Braize. In the end, it was Vogel and Caramba 92 who rode to the win in 37.07 seconds.
An animated Vogel was not anticipating a win in Thursday’s feature class.
He said, “I was very happy with the round, but I didn’t expect a win today, because normally in the first days he’s a little bit spooky. I was very, very happy that he was actually so good today already, because normally he gets better and better the more rounds he gets. I hope we can keep that.”
Caramba 92 has been with Vogel for about two years. The 11-year-old gelding by Comme Il Faut 5 x Baloubet du Rouet is the best of Vogel’s string here in Wellington. Because of Caramba’s potential, Vogel is taking a measured approach to Caramba’s show schedule for the WEF circuit.
“We can’t ask for any better here [at WEF], so for us it’s the best place to bring the horses along,” he noted.
With 13 weeks of competition, there is plenty of time to ease into the bigger classes.
“I don’t want to do too much with him since he has so much quality,” said Vogel. “I just want to go step by step and see how he feels and what feeling he gives me if I can step up, or if I should wait to make the next step. Take the time.”
Over their time together, the pair have developed a special relationship.
“I like all my horses, but with this one I think I really have a special bond, and we really fight for each other,” explained Vogel.
Caramba knows he is special as well and is already aware of his superstar status in Vogel’s eyes.
“In the stables, he’s quite a little bit a diva, and he really is the boss,” described Vogel. “Then out here, as soon as we get to the warm-up or in the ring, he’s a little bit more ‘Okay Richie, now you’re the boss. Please, help me.’
“He wants to get a bit of confidence from me, so around [the ring] my job is to give confidence to him,” he continued. “In the stables and everywhere else, he feels like he’s the boss, and that’s good. That’s how it should be.”
Earlier in the day, Conor Swail took the win in the Bainbridge Companies 1.40m CSI3* speed class with Alexis Sokolov’s Cana van de Blom. McLain Ward was close behind with Bonnie M Z, owned by Gut Einhaus LLC. Rounding out the top three was Isabella Russekoff (USA) who rode Suave Pony LLC’s Balou’s Fly High.