Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 10, 2021 – The first day of CSI5* competition at the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) brought 54 horse-and-rider combinations to the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The $37,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI5* brought a field of international athletes who fought for a chance to bring home the lion’s share of the prize money with a swift round over the power-and-speed format class. In the end, it was Sydney Shulman (ISR) and Villamoura who prevailed after gaining an early lead and remaining at the top of the leader board throughout the duration of the class.
Course designer Kelvin Bywater (GBR) tested competitors and their mounts over a 13-effort course for the combined power-and-speed competition. After completing the first round of seven fences, exhibitors who had not incurred any faults immediately advanced to the speed portion of the competition which required navigation over five obstacles under the pressure of the clock. A total of 42 athletes successfully piloted their partners fault-free and moved to the second phase of the course.
As the eleventh pair to try their hand at the track, Shulman galloped Villamoura, a 12-year-old Selle Francais mare, to the most efficient time of the day. Shulman and her long-time partner took a different approach to the speed portion, riding nine strides in between fences seven and eight, a strategy that most athletes were unable to achieve. An additional leave-out from fence eight to nine further secured their lead, landing from the final fence to stop the timers in 27.196 seconds with no rails down.
Mclain Ward (USA) and Catoki, an 11-year old Holsteiner gelding owned by Marilla van Beuren, Bob Russell and Ward, took home the second place honors. The pair posted a fault-free round in just 27.626 seconds in phase two, just missing Shulman’s quick time. As one of the final combinations to enter the arena, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion, Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, put in a time of 27.886 seconds to slide into third place.
Show jumping action will continue at the Winter Equestrian Festival Thursday, February 11th, in the International Arena with the $6,000 Restylane 1.45m CSI2* starting at 8:00 a.m., followed by the $73,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Round V CSI5*.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE:
Sydney Shulman – $37,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI5* winner
On the course:
“I thought the course flowed beautifully. It was careful enough in the beginning, so you had to be aware and not let them get too flat before the speed part. It probably wasn’t in my favor with the left turns, which are a little bit harder for Villamoura, but she jumped beautifully. Everything showed up how I wanted it to at a very fast pace the whole time. She’s a very, very fast horse – that’s her name of the game! Anything remotely in front of her, she’ll jump.”
About starting the CSI5* week with a win:
“It feels great! You really can’t start it off in a better way. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week and it really gives the team confidence and a little excitement for the rest of the week, so we’re really excited.”
“I’ve had her since she was seven coming eight, so a little over five years. I know her like the back of my hand. I can call on her for a 5* speed, 5* grand prix, anything that I need. She’s amazing. I’m obsessed with her, and my team at Back Country Farm takes great care of her as well as John Roche who helps me. He rides her often so they have a nice bond, so it’s a whole team effort and it really shows.”
About where she made up the most time:
“I actually did nine strides back on the Douglas Elliman vertical, which is where the speed started, and that was one less than McLain [Ward], then I did 10 strides to the red vertical. It was a bold angle that I came in on but as I said, she’ll jump anything remotely in her way and I could feel her zone right in on it. You know she’s small, her name is Mini, so you can’t really leave out strides in order for her to win. Sometimes, her doing a double-add is faster than the leave out, so then I just stuck to the normal numbers. I did eight strides on the roll back to the vertical-vertical which Mclain did that as well. I think once the speed began, doing those leave outs is technically faster.”
On her plans for the rest of the season:
“My plan is just to keep everyone healthy, happy and safe. Villamoura will jump another 5* week in Week 9, possibly the Nations Cup in Week 8 and then hopefully Week 11. We’re just going to take it slow and see where it takes us.”
$37,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI5*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults | Time
1. Villamoura / Sydney Shulman / Jill Shulman / ISR / 0 / 0 | 27.196
2. Catoki / Mclain Ward / Marilla Van Beuren, Bob Russell, Mclain Ward / USA / 0 / 0 | 27.626
3. Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili / Kristen Vanderveen / Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC / USA / 0 / 0 | 27.886
4. Amalia / Daniel Coyle / Ariel Grange / IRL / 0 / 0 | 28.144
5. Azilis Du Mesnil / Sydney Shulman / Jill Shulman / USA / 0 / 0 | 28.567
6. Ronja / Erynn Ballard / Ilan Ferder / CAN / 0 / 0 | 29.035
7. Cachemire De Braize / Daniel Bluman / ISR / 0 / 0 | 29.583
8. Victorio 5 / Abigail Mcardle / Victorio Equine Group, LLC / USA / 0 / 0 | 29.7
9. Monaco / Harrie Smolders / Evergate Stables, LLC / NED / 0 / 0 | 29.716
10. Ginger-Blue / Ben Maher / Jane Forbes Clark / GBR / 0 / 0 | 29.757
11. Vinci De Beaufour / Darragah Kenny / Devon Macneil / IRL / 0 / 0 | 30.357
12. Babycomeback / Yuri Mansur / Yuri Mansur / BRA / 0 / 0 | 31.037