Wellington, FL – March 15, 2013 – Week ten of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Horseware Ireland, continued on Friday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with a win for Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Quiet Easy 4 in the highlight $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class. In an exciting finish, Maher just edged out Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S for the win with Japan’s Eiken Sato and Viva finishing in third.

On Friday evening at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival at The Stadium at PBIEC, a fantastic $10,000 Puissance high jump competition was also featured along with the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Horseware Ireland. Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and Unex Valente and Germany’s Johannes Ehining and Salvador V went head to head over the ever-increasing wall with Gredley winning in four rounds at a final height of 6.11″ (2.10m). Gredley then went on to attempt 7.6″ (2.31m).

Week ten’s FTI WEF competition runs March 13-17 featuring CSI 3* competition. Highlights include the $82,000 Horseware Ireland CSI 3* Grand Prix on Saturday and the $33,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday. The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival features 12 weeks of competition running from January 9-March 31, 2013, and will be awarding almost $7 million in prize money throughout the circuit.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany set the speed track for Friday’s $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class in the International Arena at PBIEC with 43 entries competing. Fifteen were able to clear the course without fault and the times got faster and faster as the list went on. In the end, Ben Maher and Mrs. Phillips. Quiet Easy 4 won it with their time of 60.69 seconds. Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S, owned by Morningside Stud and Torrey Pines Stables, were just behind in 60.92 seconds. Eiken Sato and Stephex Stables. Viva finished third in 62.06 seconds. Meagan Nusz (USA) and Amalaya Investments. Vesuvius were fourth in 62.62 seconds.

Ben Maher and Quiet Easy 4
Ben Maher and Quiet Easy 4. Photo © Sportfot.

When Maher originally finished his round, the clock on the scoreboard showed that his time was slower than Lamaze, but a review by the judges determined that he was in fact faster.

“I landed after the last fence and I saw it was around 59 seconds and you obviously need to run a little bit to get to the timers, but then the clock said I was 61 seconds and I was sure it had run on a little,” Maher explained. “When I came out the judges were already discussing it. They said that it did run late and they went to the backup time, which was noticeably different, so luckily it worked out.”

With a busy schedule showing in other rings, Maher did not get to watch the beginning of the class, but showed up just in time to see Lamaze’s round.

“These classes you just do what you can and know what you can.t do it,” he noted. “I had some other horses going in another ring, but luckily I watched Eric just before I went, so I knew I had to kind of do the same as him and take time off where I knew I could. He was quick places that I knew I couldn.t be, so I just did my own thing and Quiet Easy jumped fantastic today. He was great from the first fence. He warmed up well, so I thought we had a good chance.”

“It was a good course,” Maher stated. “It had a lot more turns today and a little bit more options of how tight you wanted to go and to turn, so that suited my horse. I think I was pretty quick one, two, three, but it was all within less than a second, so I don.t think we really got it any place in particular. He was just quick the whole way.”

Quiet Easy’s barn name, Roary, is quite fitting. Owner Emma Phillips was in Wellington today to watch his winning round and explained that he is named after the British cartoon, Roary the Racing Car, about a young, energetic red race car. Phillips was pleased to be in town to see her horse earn a great win.

“It was special for us because we just flew in this weekend,” she smiled. “We have been here before over the years, but not for this season, so it was really nice to be able to see him win. It was nice for my husband too because he never sees him win.”

Maher laughed, “Every time Mr. Phillips comes, they always knock a jump down, so finally they won a class.”

“I haven.t seen them for such a long time and then they arrive and the horse wins, so it could not have worked out any better,” Maher acknowledged. “He has been great. He loves Florida and he has had some great results. We.ll save him for the last two 1.50m classes now.”

Ben Maher and Quiet Easy 4
Ben Maher and Quiet Easy 4 in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Carolina and Gustavo Mirabal of G&C Farm. Photo © Sportfot.

Final Results: $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m

1. QUIET EASY 4: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Quidams Rubin x Zapateado
BEN MAHER (GBR), Mrs. Phillips: 0/60.69

2. WANG CHUNG M2S: 2003 KWPN stallion by Royal Bravour x Ahorn
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Morningside Stud & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/60.92

3. VIVA: 2002 KWPN mare by Corrado x Nimmerdor
EIKEN SATO (JPN), Stephex Stables: 0/62.06

4. VESUVIUS: 2002 KWPN gelding by Numero Uno x Expert
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/62.62

5. KAID DU RY: 1998 Selle Francais gelding by Brett Saint Clair x Royal Ardent
ALISE OKEN (USA), Hi Hopes Farm LLC: 0/63.02

6. MADEMOISELLE: 1997 Holsteiner Mare by Libertino I x Silvester
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/63.81

7. WHISPER: 2003 KPWN gelding by Zandor Z x Hugo
TAIZO SUGITANI (JPN), TS-Showjumping GmbH: 0/65.55

8. ZERO: N/A
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Chris Sorensen: 0/67.25

9. QUEL PACHA: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Gadget Du Banney x Alligator Fontaine
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Santiago Diaz: 0/68.72

10. CAPALL ZIDANE: 2004 KWPN gelding by Concorde x Baloubet du Rouet
RONAN MCGUIGAN (IRL), Ronan McGuigan: 0/68.97

11. NORLAM DES ESTISSES: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Quidam de Revel x Uriel
EIKEN SATO (JPN), Stephex Stables: 0/69.47

12. SHOWGIRL: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Gold De Becourt x Elf III
JONATHAN ASSELIN (CAN), Attache Stables: 71.24

Tim Gredley and Unex Valente Jump Great Heights in $10,000 Puissance

The $10,000 Puissance high jump competition was held on Friday evening at The Stadium at PBIEC prior to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Horseware Ireland for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and Unex Valente and Germany’s Johannes Ehning and Salvador V went head to head over the wall in four rounds of competition with Gredley winning at a final height of 6.11″ (2.10m).

Tim Gredley and Unex Valente
Tim Gredley and Unex Valente in their winning presentation with Equestrian Sport Productions. Mark and Katherine Bellissimo and ringmaster Cliff Haines. Photo © Sportfot.

The competition was held as a fun exhibition with slightly modified rules. The two competitors were allotted up to five rounds (first round and four jump-offs) with two attempts at the wall in each round if necessary. The wall began at 5.4″ (1.65m) in round one with both horses and riders jumping clear in one attempt. It then went up to 5.11″ (1.85m) with two more clear rounds. In round three, Gredley and Valente cleared the 6.5″ (1.95m) wall on the first try and Ehning and Salvador took two attempts to jump the obstacle. Once the wall went up to 6.11″ (2.10m) in round four, Gredley jumped clear, and Ehning opted to withdraw. Gredley earned the winning $7,000 for his effort and then, in an exciting twist, decided to jump higher.

Equestrian Sport Productions. CEO Mark Bellissimo offered up $10,000 more if Gredley could clear the wall at 7.6″ (2.31m) or $5,000 just for attempting it. Gredley and Valente made two valiant efforts but rubbed the blocks off the top in both tries. They still came out of the day with $12,000 and a great experience.

Unex Valente, owned by Unex Competition Yard, is an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Gentleman x Sit This One Out that Gredley has had since the horse was four. The pair has a lot of grand prix experience together, but has only shown in one other Puissance, winning over 7. and also attempting 7.6″ in Kentucky this past fall.

Tim Gredley and Unex Valente
Tim Gredley and Unex Valente jump 7.6″. Photo © Sportfot.

“I did the indoors in Washington and Harrisburg and Kentucky and I just thought I would try it once in Kentucky and straight away, the first round, he felt like he was going to be a good one,” Gredley stated. “This is only the second one that he has done, but both times he has just been unlucky at 7.6″. I know the horse; I have had him a long time and it makes a big difference when you can trust them a little bit.”

“He is really easy actually,” Gredley added. “Other horses that I have done in Puissance classes before, they normally start backing off, but he just keeps the same stride all the way down and he actually starts to take you, which makes it a lot easier. In hindsight, maybe I was a little bit off the first time. I was a little bit unlucky the second time, but he is just a really nice horse.”

Johannes Ehining’s mount Salvador V is a fourteen-year-old KWPN stallion by Calvados x Voltaire, owned by Nybor Pferde GmbH & Co. KG. The pair has had great grand prix success and this was their first time attempting the Puissance wall.

“For my horse, I rode him also once in a derby qualification in Hamburg and he is super brave, so I thought that maybe he could do it,” Ehning stated. “This was the first time, but I wanted to try it once with him. He is fourteen years old now; he has enough experience for that, so there was reason to try it once.”

“This is my best horse,” Ehning said. “In the last few years he has had a lot of good results in the grand prix. He has won four and five-star grand prix. I rode a few six-bars with him and he won a lot of those, so it was a good thing to try it here. That is also the reason that I didn.t go more rounds though, because he is my best horse and I didn.t want to over ride him. Tim’s horse looked really comfortable with the wall and mine was really getting a little bit hot. I didn.t want to do too much with him.”

Both riders enjoyed coming to the dressage facility at The Stadium at PBIEC for a change of scenery for their horses and a new experience.

“It was really well organized, it was no problem at all,” Ehning noted. “We talked about getting to ride in the really nice indoor and this ring is also nice, so it is something different.”

Johannes Ehning and Tim Gredley
Johannes Ehning with Salvador V and Tim Gredley with Unex Valente and ringmaster Cliff Haines. Photo © Sportfot.

Whitecap and Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy Triumph in Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51+ Division

Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy and her sixteen-year-old Trakehner gelding, Whitecap, jumped to tricolor honors in the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51+ Division during week ten of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). With the points widely spread across the division, Whitecap and Shaughnessy emerged as champions after consistent over fences performances. The pair was second and eighth over fences on day one of competition  and first and eighth over fences on day two. Reserve champion was Sandra Epstein aboard her own Pembroke. Epstein piloted Pembroke to fourth and third places over fences on day one of competition.

Whitecap and Mary Katherine Shaughnessy
Whitecap and Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

At age 16, Whitecap is a seasoned veteran of the FTI WEF, where he has also competed in Junior and First and Second Year Hunter divisions before being purchased by Shaughnessy two years ago. “I think his age is an advantage. For me, I like the older ones. Before him, I had a hunter that was very spooky and unreliable and it took away from my ability to progress,” Shaughnessy commented.

Throughout the course of their partnership, Whitecap has yet to put a foot wrong for Shaughnessy in the ring. “He’s never stopped, knock on wood! He will find a way to get over it. We don.t have many bad jumps anymore, but the first year I had him there were a few more bumps. He always found a way to get over it. He’s just a very honest horse,” Shaughnessy explained.

Shaughnessy admits Whitecap can be bored by routine work at his age, but only because he revels being in the spotlight of competition. “He’s very sweet, but he has an ego. When we come to the show, there’s a 20% increase in his energy level! The show ring is where he wants to be,” she smiled.

“He’s a very talented horse. He excels being at a show. He perks up in the ring. When you see him at home he’s just a big chestnut with floppy ears. But when he’s all braided up, he looks very elegant in the show ring. He puffs up a bit,” Shaughnessy continued.

Shaughnessy believes Whitecap’s love for the show ring combined with a naturally correct way of going is what keeps them in the ribbons at a show as competitive as the FTI WEF.  “He has a very nice rhythm and is naturally a beautiful mover. He has a very even and correct jump and he makes it easy for me to just guide him around and let him do his job,” Shaughnessy stated.

Shaughnessy also enjoys the camaraderie of Adult Amateur division. “We.re all still very competitive, otherwise we’d just be out trail riding somewhere instead of showing,” Shaughnessy laughed. “It adds something and a lot of us become good friends. It makes a nice difference. Maybe it’s just because we.re older and we realize we.re lucky to be here.”

Week ten of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, will continue Saturday with the Antarés Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, hosted in the Rost Arena of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The $82,000 Horseware Ireland CSI 3* Grand Prix will be featured in the International Arena at 7:30 p.m. For full results, please visit www’showgroundslive.com.
Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, us’sportfot.com, and Anne Gittins Photography, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, www.annegittins.com. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.