Wellington, Fla. – March 5, 2020 – Hunter competition during Week Nine of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued Thursday, March 5. Competitors took to the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) to wrap up the High Performance Hunter division and compete for the championship honors. In the end, it was Sandy Ferrell and Moonshot who rode away victorious, while Victoria Colvin and Avatar Z took home the reserve championship.
The division brought tough competition from some of the top hunter riders in the nation. Ferrell aboard Stephanie Bulger’s 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Moonshot and Colvin riding Avatar Z, an 8-year-old Zangersheide stallion, owned by William Lyles battled it out, both earning first and second placings over fences during Wednesday’s portion of the competition. Ferrel earned scores of 85 and 88 over fences, while Colvin earned scores of 89 and 85. Ferrell also earned an additional win in the under saddle to round out the first half of the division Wednesday morning and place her into the top spot to contend for the championship.
The pressure was on Thursday as Ferrell went early in the lineup, scoring an 86 and 88 over fences to ultimately earn second and first place over fences respectively. Colvin, who was the final to show in the division, came in strong with a score of 89 in her first round, immediately returning for the stake class to score an 87, receiving first and second place for her efforts. Over fences, both riders were a match with 32 points each. However, Ferrel’s win in Wednesday’s under saddle class ultimately led her and Moonshot to the championship title.
Ferrell and Moonshot have had a steady partnership for the past two years, earning championships in the 3’6″ and 3’9″ green hunter divisions at competitions along the East Coast, including the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and Capital Challenge. Following their success, Ferrell recently moved the gelding up to the high performance hunter division where he continues to shine. Soon, Ferrell will hand over the reins to Moonshot’s owner Stephanie Bulger to compete in the amateur owner hunter division.
Week Nine of WEF continues through Sunday, March 8 with the highlight hunter event, the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, taking place Saturday, March 7 beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the Derby Field at the Global Dressage facility.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Sandy Ferrell – High Performance Hunter division champion
“MeadowView Farms bought him two years ago, when he was a [3’6″ green] horse. He belonged to Courtney and Scott Lenkhart. He has gone through the ranks of the first years and the second years and now he is competing at the four-foot height.”
On the over fences rounds:
“I thought [Moonshot] and I were completely in sync. Luckily we got to go early today, so he was bright and crisp and responding well to everything that I asked him to do. It was just a great morning.”
On her plans for Moonshot:
“Eventually he will become one of Stephanie [Bulger’s] horses. He’ll show one or two more times and then be done with the [WEF] circuit. Then we’re going to head up to Aiken, South Carolina for the first time, we haven’t done that horse show before. He will compete periodically at the four-foot height.”