Wellington, FL – December 1, 2022 – The 2022 ESP Holiday Series presented by Arthramid®Vet kicked off with FEI competition on Thursday at Wellington International. The $37,000 IDA Development Grand Prix Qualifier CSI4*, the highlight class of the day, saw an opening field of 47 elite contenders step into the International Arena to compete for a place in Saturday night’s $216,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4* presented by Arthramid®Vet. In a competitive jump-off, Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) and Dez’ Ooktoff saved the best for last and galloped straight to the top of the leaderboard.
Of the winning 2008 Royal Dutch Sport Horse Stallion by Colandro x Lys Rouge, Tafur had to share, “He [Dez’ Ooktoff] has been my top horse for the past couple of years. I bought him with the dream of going to the Olympics in Tokyo, and we achieved that goal. We went to Denmark this year, and we just came back from doing a few five-star classes in Toronto and Lexington. He’s a super nice and scopey horse.” Tafur continued to share his plans with Dez’ Ooktoff for the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), “My goal with him is to do most of the five-star Grand Prix classes during WEF. He always jumps great here, and this is a great start to the season.”
The class showcased an international field of entries representing 13 countries test Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) opening track. D’Ambrosio created a pattern of 16 obstacles in the first round, which ultimately saw six partnerships leave all the rails in their cups to advance to the jump-off.
“Both of the courses were very technical,” commented Tafur. “There were many questions. Thankfully, my horse is very broke and has a lot of experience in these big classes. When there weren’t any clear rounds in the jump-off, I was going to go a little more conservative, but once we had two clear rounds I knew I had to go out a little”
The first pair to go clear in the jump-off, Callie Schott (USA) and Garant, placed a quick and efficient round over the shortened course, setting the time to beat at 43.35 seconds. The lead changed hands once again when Ireland’s Andrew Bourns stopped the clock in a clear 42.49 seconds with Sea Topblue. Last in the jump-off order, Tafur and Dez’ Ooktoff flew through the course and stopped the clock at 41.28 seconds, claiming the winning time by just over a second.
Bourns and Sea Topblue, owned by Andrew Bourns Sport Horses & QBS Equestrian, finished in second place, while Schott and Garant, owned by Southern Arches, LLC, claimed third.
“We love Wellington, and we love Florida, and we love showing here! I think any improvement to the show facility is well received, and everything looks great so far. I’ve also heard about the plans for the near future and am very excited,” Tafur concluded.
For the full results of the $37,000 IDA Development Grand Prix Qualifier CSI4*, please click HERE.
The first FEI class of the week, the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m CSI4*, saw a similar opening field of 45 competitors test the power-and-speed track, which consisted of 15 efforts in total. Twenty-two pairs cleared the power phase without time faults, with 15 of those partnerships concluding the class without any faults. Stopping the clock in 26.18 seconds, Samuel Parot (CHI) and his own entry, Chrystal Blue, placed the fastest double-clear round of the class to take their place in the winner’s circle. Finishing just off the pace, Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) and BP Wakita, owned by Trefoil Farm LLC, navigated through the power phase in 26.48 seconds to claim second place. Daisy Farish (USA) claimed the final podium spot with her Maserati Van’t Specialleke after clearing the second phase in 27.6 seconds.
The Holiday & Horses CSI4* show will continue this week. This week will feature the first Saturday Night Lights class of the winter season, the $216,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4* presented by Arthramid®Vet on Saturday, December 3. Gates will open at 6 p.m. that evening, and there will be face painting for kids, and the carousel will also be open. The ESP Holiday Series presented by Arthramid®Vet will continue for five subsequent events, culminating with the ESP Holiday Finale from December 28–31, 2022. The Holiday Festival II show will offer Grand Prix riders a final chance to compete under the lights ahead of the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival with the $50,000 Zen Elite Grand Prix.
To view the prize list for the 2022 ESP Holiday Series presented by Arthramid®Vet, please click HERE.
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