Hello Beautiful People!
The sun has set on another season at the Winter Equestrian Festival. If you are reading this, I thank you for following along and appreciating my perspective. I’ve loved this season and all of the great things I’ve been able to do, see, and learn. I’ve loved meeting new friends and spending time with old friends. I’ve loved making connections with new clients and opportunities for the future, direct exposure to new brands and those that I already love. I have absolutely loved enjoying the Florida sunshine with my family and the horses.
It was an exciting week to wrap up the season. I think most people will agree when I say that McLain and HH Azur “Annie” winning the Rolex 5* $500K Grand Prix was epically exciting. The energy at the International ring on Saturday night was electric!
With a starting lineup of 40 top horse and rider combinations, 8 were clear in the first round on the course designed by Rio Olympic Games designer Guilherme Jorge.
As the jump off played out each combination that entered the ring outdid the previous. The 3rd to come back in was Lucy Deslauriers (19) aboard Hester. She made impressive decisions in the short course and her clear fast time really got the crowd excited.
After taking a spill on Wednesday, Lucy persevered and had a successful qualifying round to secure her spot in the Prix.
Then, just when you didn’t think it could get faster, Kent Farrington and Gazelle sped through the course and took over the top spot with 4 left to go.
Daniel Bluman and Ladriano Z came in ready to challenge them, but had an unfortunate rail at the Adequan vertical. They finished on 4 faults in 39.09 seconds for the 6th place finish.
With an unlikely and unfortunate fall at the second to last fence in the jump-off, Laura Kraut and Confu were eliminated and that landed them in the 8th spot.
And then there was one.
McLain Ward and the incredible HH Azur. It was an intense 37.42 seconds as they soared over the final Rolex oxer and flew through the timers 4/10ths of a second faster than Kent and Gazelle.
HH Azur sustained an injury last summer that kept her out of the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon 2018. They have been working on their comeback with some unfortunate 4 fault rounds during this winter season, but it all came together for them on Saturday night.
It was a big weekend for the Hunters as well with the $50K USHJA International Hunter Derby on the grass derby field.
Heavy hitting hunter ladies (#ridelikeagirl) Victoria Colvin, Kelley Farmer, and Liza Boyd took top honors upon completion of the two round derby.
The course on day 2 included three high options and a rollback to a trot fence with 10 handy points for the taking. In the judge’s seats, we had Danny Robertshaw with Robert Crandall and Scott Williamson with Rob Bielefeld.
Jacob Pope took the lead midway through and held on until Liza Boyd and Tradition took over the top spot. Jacob’s combined score of 375 points still earned him a top 5 finish with 4th place aboard Unbelievable.
Liza Boyd and Maggie Hill’s, Tradition, received a 2nd round score of 196.5 points and rounded out the top 3 with a 2 round total of 376.5.
Kelly Farmer was in the game as well on her mount with Larry Glefke and Kent Farrington’s mount, Consent. With a 2nd round score of 201 added to 184 from the 1st round they ended up with 385 total points for 2nd place.
Much like the Grand Prix, the #1 spot was on hold for the final competitor. Victoria Colvin and El Primero received the highest score in round one of 190 total points. They earned an impressive 212 points in the handy for a total of 402 overall securing the win. El Primero is just 9 years old and owned by the Meralex Farm.
PSA If you have not seen Ferdinand (the movie) you are missing out. Confessions of a Mommy – these kids movies are the best. Where is this coming from? El Primero is a character in the movie. The dressage horse and bull dance-off is by far the best part.
Just having gotten the ride on El Primero at the beginning of WEF, they have made some impressive headlines in a short time. Winning the derby at Deeridge earlier in the season and now taking this victory in the final derby of the season.
Laura Chapot and Chandon Blue took the top spot on Sunday afternoon in the $50K Puissance America Grand Prix CSI 2*. This win was the pair’s 4th win in the past five weeks.
Other wins this season:
- $50K Grand Prix CSI 2* WEF 7
- $36K Griffis Residential 1.45m CSI 2* WEF 9
- $36K Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 CSI 3* WEF 10
45 entries came out and 11 of them advanced to the jump-off. Coming in the latter half of the jump-off, Laura and Chandon were on point in speed and route winning with a time of 36.30 seconds.
Rounding out the top 3, Carly Anthony and Chacco also put in a great effort in the jump-off round.
Wilhelm Genn was last to challenge the course and after a great effort, landed in 2nd place in 37.06 seconds aboard Van Gogh.
Lillie Keenan and Fasther ended the season with the victory in the final class of WEF for 2019 in the $50K CaptiveOne Advisors National Grand Prix.
48 set out for the 1st round and 6 advanced. Lillie was clear on both of her rides and returned first and last to jump off. She set an early pace, clear in 39.649 seconds aboard Chaccolette. She was sitting in 2nd when it came time for the jump-off with Fasther. This pair sealed the deal in 36.688 seconds for the win.
She would end up in third on Chaccolette behind Brazil’s Fabio Leivas ds Costa riding Tosca de l’Esque. Diego Perez Bilboa came in 4th riding Orso del Terriccio in 39.649. Kent Farrington rounded out the top five aboard Kaprice, a horse he owns together with Tanma Corp., in 46.954 seconds.
Lillie has been training with McLain Ward since the fall of 2018. They added Fasther to her lineup at the beginning of 2019. The 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood was found for her by François Mathy.
I’ve enjoyed bringing you the Monday Brief again this season! If you enjoyed it, drop me a line and let me know. I’d be grateful to hear from you about what you want to see on the blog in the future.
I’ll be enjoying my days in Florida while I can before heading back to Minnesota for the summer!
Sign up for the newsletter to get notified when new blog features are posted.
Circuit results, here.
I will miss this office view!