Wellington, FL – January 31, 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF)
continued with a full schedule of competition on Friday, January 31, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 began the day’s competition with a win for Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala. The $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held in the afternoon with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Quiz.

The day also featured the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, which was held at The Stadium at PBIEC in the evening with a top finish for the team of Kalvin Dobbs, Gabriela Mershad, Hayley Barnhill, and Abigail McArdle.

FTI WEF four, sponsored by Ariat®, runs January 29 to February 2. The week will feature the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® featuring a concert by four-time Grammy Nominee Hunter Hayes on Saturday night, and the $50,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 2* on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday afternoon. The FTI WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios is the course designer in the International Arena at PBIEC for week four competition. For the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4, which was held as a speed class, Palacios saw 63 entries with 22 clear rounds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Solerina, owned by Sweet Oak and Spy Coast Farms, held the lead through most of the class with their time of 62.58 seconds, but eventually settled for second when Lauren Hough and Ohlala raced through the timers in 61.46 seconds.

Lauren Hough and Ohlala

Lauren Hough and Ohlala

Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Caballito finished third in 62.98 seconds. Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Capall Zidane placed fourth in 63.36 seconds, and Ben Maher (GBR) and Jane Clark’s Aristo Z took fifth place honors with their time of 63.82 seconds.

Ohlala, owned by The Ohlala Group, is a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento. The mare has had success around the world with Hough in the irons and continued her winning ways with a speedy top finish in Friday’s class.

“It was a nice course,” Hough stated. “Obviously not many of the horses got worked yesterday with the torrential downpour, and I sort of geared her towards this class this week knowing it was a one round. She is obviously a very quick horse. It wasn’t terribly big, but it was quite careful. There were rails throughout the course, and I think he did a good job considering that for most of these horses it was probably their first class this week. I wouldn’t say it was super technical today, but you needed a really careful horse.”

Hough saw Sweetnam’s round and knew she had a fast time to beat, but looking back, she was not sure where she made up the time.

“I put more steps in than he did, but she is just so quick across the ground,” Hough said. “I always have to stick with my plan and hope that I end up faster than the one in front of me. I don’t know where I made it up. She just was sort of on it everywhere. I was quite quick back to the last double. I didn’t waste a lot of time there, but I did eight strides to the last where most did seven.”

“She is a winner,” Hough noted. “I had a little bit of bad luck last week and not great riding in the grand prix and had two down, which is very uncharacteristic of her. I was a little disappointed in myself, and I thought I would give it a go this week. She is great. First class out, you can go fast and she knows her job.”

In addition to the prize money in Thursday’s class, Hough earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion for wearing her SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.

She was also awarded a special trophy for her win, earning the Barry Louise Lane Perpetual Memorial Trophy, presented by Debbie Lane.

Lauren Hough and Ohlala receiving the Barry Louise Lane Perpetual Memorial Trophy, presented by Debbie Lane with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Lauren Hough and Ohlala receiving the Barry Louise Lane Perpetual Memorial Trophy, presented by Debbie Lane with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4

1. OHLALA: 2003 Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), The Ohlala Group: 0/61.46

2. SOLERINA: 1999 Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak & Spy Coast Farms: 0/62.58

3. CABALLITO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Contendro x Argentinus
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/62.98

4. CAPALL ZIDANE: 2004 KWPN gelding by Concorde x Baloubet du Rouet
RONAN MCGUIGAN (IRL), Ronan McGuigan: 0/63.36

5. ARISTO Z: 2004 Zangersheide gelding by Andiamo Z x Flamenco Desemilly
BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane Clark: 0/63.82

6. URAGUAY: 2001 KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Legacy Stables, LLC: 0/64.52

7. ZOJASPER: 2004
KWPN stallion by Concorde x Jasper
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Ilan Ferder Lovsta & Tal Milstein: 0/64.76

8. CARLOS V.H.P Z: 2002 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Voltaire
NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), The Carlos Group: 0/64.85

2004 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Corrado I
SARAH SEGAL (USA), Chartwell: 0/66.07

10. LORENA 90: 1997 Mecklenburg mare by Loredo x Marlesko
CHELSEA MOSS (USA), Chelsea Moss: 0/67.07

11. GLORY DAYS: 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Diamond Serpent
KATIE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners, LLC: 0/68.09

12. FLECU: 2004 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Hip Hop x Flamingo
ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 0/68.52

Darragh Kenny and Quiz Triumph in $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

The $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic was held on Friday with a win for Darragh Kenny and Spruce Meadow’s Quiz. The class saw 23 entries with 5 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off and three double clears. Kenny and Quiz earned top honors in 41.05 seconds.

McLain Ward (USA) and Kantunaro, owned by Ellen Holtgers and David Paige, finished second, clearing the course in 41.17 seconds. Alexa Pessoa (USA) and Rodrigo Pessoa’s Levade 35 were the first pair to jump clear and stopped the clock in 42.41 seconds to finish third.

Darragh Kenny and Quiz

Darragh Kenny and Quiz

Alex Granato (USA) and Wood Run Farms’ Mullaghdrin Rado had the fastest time of 39.80 seconds, but had one rail down to place fourth. Sydney Shulman (USA) and Marcus Hagglund’s Quirado had four faults in the jump-off in 42.37 seconds to place fifth.

Quiz is a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding by For Pleasure x Laudanum, owned by Spruce Meadows and the Southern Family. Kenny got the horse last year and has brought him along nicely.

“He’s ten, but he hadn’t done so much. He had only been doing 1.30m,” Kenny noted. “He won a good grand prix with me last year in Saugerties the week of the $1 million class. He has kind of just grown. He is unbelievably careful, he has loads of scope. I really think he is a top horse. I think he is a super, super horse. I am so lucky that Spruce Meadows owns him and that I get to ride him.”

Describing his strategy in the jump-off, Kenny explained, “I just thought, ‘Start going a little bit and then just keep building as the course went on.’ He is still green, so you can’t just go crazy from the start, but he has a big stride and he really wants to be careful, so you have to just keep going at the jumps. Then as it went I just got gradually faster.”

Kenny plans to keep Quiz competing at the 1.50m level this winter and is very happy with the horse’s progress. “He seems to be doing great. He was second last week and he won this week,” Kenny smiled. “He is going to have a week off next week. I really think a lot of the horse, so I am going to take my time with him.”

In addition to Quiz, Kenny has a lot of great young horses this year and is having a nice start to the FTI WEF circuit. “It has been going great,” he said. “I am very busy. I have a lot of good clients and a lot of good owners and some really nice horses. I haven’t yet jumped a Saturday night grand prix, but I’m taking my time. There is no rush. One horse will show next week in the big classes. These horses are all a little bit younger, and I am trying to produce them for the future.”

Darragh Kenny and Quiz in their winning presentation with Suncast® owner Tom Tisbo and ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Darragh Kenny and Quiz in their winning presentation with Suncast® owner Tom Tisbo and ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Final Results: $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

1. QUIZ: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by For Pleasure x Laudanum
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Spruce Meadows: 0/0/41.05

2. KANTUNARO: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Kannan x Cantauer Z
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Ellen Holtgers & David Paige: 0/0/41.17

3. LEVADE 35: 2004 Brandenburg mare by Levisto x Kolibri
ALEXA PESSOA (USA), Rodrigo Pessoa: 0/0/42.41

4. MULLAGHDRIN RADO: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Radolin x Tresor de Mesnil
ALEX GRANATO (USA), Wood Run Farms: 0/4/39.80

5. QUIRADO: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Quinar x Corrado II
SYDNEY SHULMAN (USA), Marcus Hagglund: 0/4/42.37

6. WOTSAMILLION: 2005 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Captain Clover x Atlantic Boy
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 1/73.30

7. ZAMIRO 16:
2000 Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding by Zenturio x Landstreicher
KARA CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 4/66.52

8. BLACK JACK 163: 2004 Hanoverian gelding by Escudo I x Drosselklang II
DAVID WILL (GER), Eveline Kraus: 4/67.11

9. FIFTY FIFTY 111: 2005 BWP mare by Action Breaker x Major de la Cour
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 4/67.89

10. BELUGA: 2005 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cobra x Cortez
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 4/70.06

11. TAMARA 296: 2003 Holsteiner mare by Quintero x Claudio
BRIAN WALKER (USA), Brian Walker: 4/70.92

12. STATUS: 2004 Hanoverian gelding by Satisfaction x Sao Paulo
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Pessoa Stables LLC: 5/72.54

Team of Dobbs, Mershad, Barnhill and McArdle Wins $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, Presented by The Dutta Corp. in Association with Guido Klatte

Friday’s competition concluded with the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, held in the International Arena at The Stadium at PBIEC (home of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival) in the evening. The class was held in a Nations Cup format over two rounds of competition. With nine teams competing, labeled Team A through Team I, Team F was the winner.

Team F, made up of Kalvin Dobbs and Treesdale Farms’ Winde, Gabriela Mershad and Mershad Stables LLC’s Udonna, Hayley Barnhill and Cara Cheska’s Zephire, and Abigail McArdle aboard David McArdle’s Cosma 20, finished on a total of four faults after the two rounds of competition. The team Chef d’Equipe was Abigail Blankenship.

Watch an interview with the winning team!

After the first round, each team dropped their highest score. In the second round, all nine teams returned in order of highest to lowest total faults with three riders each. The winner was determined by the lowest total of each team’s top three riders from each round.

Dobbs and Winde jumped clear in round one and finished with four faults in round two. Mershard had four jumping faults and one time fault in round one to be the drop score in round one and did not return for round two. Barnhill and McArdle both jumped double clear rounds to help their team to victory.

The top three teams

The top three teams

McArdle (19), of Wellington, FL, was the anchor rider for her team and had the pressure of putting in a second clear round to clinch the victory for her team as the last to go. McArdle definitely felt the weight on her shoulders, but was confident in her experience.

“Obviously I had to be clean, but we have done this before,” McArdle stated. “We have been team members before where I have been anchor and I have been in this position. It was a great feeling to go in and be able to lay it down and be clean to win.”

McArdle has had great success with her mount Cosma 20, an 11-year-old Hanoverian mare (Couleur Rubin x Stakkato), and really wanted to go clean for her team.

“Even though I know her back and forth and obviously she is an incredible, once in a lifetime sort of horse, I still get nervous and want to do well,” McArdle admitted. “It’s the same pressure every round, whether it’s this or a speed class, or anything. I feel the same pressure and I want to jump clean and do well. I never assume that I know her, and she’s going to jump clean. We go in and ride to jump clean.”

Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20

Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20

Barnhill (20), from Collierville, TN, had a different experience with her mount, Zephire, an 11-year-old KWPN mare. Although they have not known each other quite as long, the pair also put in two great clear rounds.

“This is a new horse for me,” Barnhill noted. “I got her at the end of the year last year. She has never shown under the lights or done anything like this before, so we didn’t really know how she was going to be and she was fantastic. She could not have jumped any better, so I was really excited.”

Hayley Barnhill and Zephire

Hayley Barnhill and Zephire

Dobbs (18), from Carmel, IN, has a more experienced horse in Winde, his 11-year-old KWPN mare by Numero Uno x No Limit. The pair has done plenty of night classes, and this is their third year competing in the Artisan Farms young rider series.

“She usually picks up under the lights and it is definitely a lot different because it is more uncommon for us to show under the lights, but she is fun and it’s no big deal for her,” Dobbs said. “I was a bit nervous just because everything was cancelled yesterday, and I haven’t been here for a week and a half. Winde just jumped for the first time this morning since the last young rider grand prix, but we knew how to properly prepare her. It was nice that the course was fair. I thought it was a good course and set us up for a successful class. It ended up being a really fun, good young riders grand prix.”

Kalvin Dobbs and Winde

Kalvin Dobbs and Winde

Mershad (18), from New Albany, OH, showed in the first round with Udonna, her 13-year-old KPWN mare by Madison x Cavalier. Although she did not get to return for the second round, Mershad enjoyed the team experience and appreciated the camaraderie with her teammates.

“I think it is awesome. It teaches you how Nations Cup works, which is a big part of it when you go to senior riding,” Mershad detailed. “It really teaches young riders how it is going to be – how to work with a team and the pressure to be on a team and the support that you need to give each other.”

Gabriela Mershad and Udonna

Gabriela Mershad and Udonna

Showing in the beautiful arena at The Stadium at PBIEC also gave the riders a chance to compete in a different environment from the rings at the main show grounds. Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms noted that the main goal of the series is to give riders different experiences, and the night’s class did exactly that.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is give them exposure to different things,” Zielger stated. “This particular ring feels like Europe to me. It feels like Vienna, it feels like Cannes, it feels like a stop on the Global Champions Tour. This is magnificent. If they’re looking for that exposure, this is it.”

The riders agreed, also saying that they felt like they were riding in a European arena.

“I loved showing here,” McArdle stated. “I thought this was really cool with the stadium on one side and the tent on the other side. It gave a very arena, international sort of feel. There were so many people here tonight, so I thought it was a great experience. It was really fun. You feel better going in the ring when you have more people supporting you.”

Barnhill added, “I have never shown over here before, so this was a new experience for me and I thought it was great. It was a good experience for all of us, and the horses to get to do something different.”

Behind the winning team, Team H finished second on a six fault total under the guidance of Chef d’Equipe John Roche. The team was made of up of Lorcan Gallagher and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s O’Splendido, Lucas Porter and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Patriot, Chloe Reid and Chloe D. Reid LLC’s Athena, and Wilton Porter aboard Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Radio City. Chloe Reid and Athena were the only other pair to jump double clear in the competition with Barnhill and McArdle. Team H also earned the Best Team Spirit Award.

Chloe Reid and Athena

Chloe Reid and Athena

Team A, coached by Chef d’Equipe Michelle Grubb, placed third with 15 faults in total. The team was made up of Hayley Waters and Dana Waters’ No Doubt, Ali Wolff and John C. Wolff’s Caya, Adrienne Sternlicht and Hathaway, and Alexander Zetterman aboard Springfield Showjumpers’ Zidane.

Final Results: $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Team Event

1 Kalvin Dobbs, Winde: 0, 4
Gabriela Mersha, Udonna: 5, ns
Hayley Barnhill, Zephire: 0, 0
Abigail McArdle, Cosma 20: 0, 0
Team F: 0+4=4

2 Lorcan Gallagher, O’Splendido: 4, 0
Lucas Porter, Patriot: 1, 1
Chloe Reid, Athena: 0, 0
Wilton Porter, Radio City: 5, ns
Team H: 5+1=6

3 Hayley Waters, No Doubt: 0, 1
Ali Wolff, Caya: 0, 4
Adrienne Sternlicht, Hathaway: 5, 5
Alexander Zetterman, Zidane: 8, ns
Team A: 5+10=15

4 Elizabeth Patz, Cleopatra 194: 1, 8
Jennifer Goddard, Campbell VDL: 0, 1
Alison Cooney, Toluca LS: 8, 1
Team G: 9+10=19

5 Christina Firestone, Arwen: 1, 4
Virginia Ingram, Urban: 10, ns
Alma Bjorklund, Untouchable: 4, 4
Sophie Simpson, Why Not: 5, 4,
Team C: 10+12=22

6 Nicole Bellissimo, VDL Bellefleur: 13, ns
Maria Costa, Azermie: 13, 5
Robert Jornayvaz IV, MCB Maya: 0, 8
Jordan Macpherson, Aanwinst: 0, 4
Team D: 13+17=30

7 Victoria Press, Cayenne 140: 8, 0
Katherine Strauss, Chellando Z: 12, ns
Megan MacPherson, Tinky Winky: 8, 17
Emily Short, Grand Finale 3E: 8, 4
Team I: 24+21=45

8 Nicole Walker, Blue Loyd: 0, 1
Riley Newsome, Sunny Face G: 8, 13
Brittni Raflowitz, Punchy Dorcel: 12, 13
Team E: 20+27=47

9 Lillie Keenan, Zaza: 4, 4
Mattias Tromp, Casey: 0, 4
Charlotte Jacobs, Kachina: elim, ns
Victoria Colvin, Don Juan: 0, elim
Team B: 4+45=49

Spencer Smith and Beau Van Het Keysershof Take Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search at FTI WEF

Spencer Smith and Ashland Farm’s Beau Van Het Keysershof, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood, topped the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search on Friday morning at the FTI WEF. This was the second week in a row the pair collected the top prize for the class.

Second place went to Victoria Colvin with Stallone VDL and the top three was rounded out by Lilly Ulrich and Vocus. The top ten riders over fences were called back to test on the flat, when riders were asked to demonstrate lengthening of stride and the counter canter in both directions, including a simple change in front of the judge’s box.

Spencer Smith and Beau Van Het Keysershof

Spencer Smith and Beau Van Het Keysershof

Smith, a 17-year-old Wellington, FL, resident, admitted he was a little thrown by the judge’s request for a simple change.

“I was like ‘Oh, no!’” Smith laughed. “But it worked out nicely. My horse did it really well.”

Beau Van Het Keysershof is a new ride for Smith. The pair have only been together for the last two months, but Smith described the pair as a perfect match.

“We’re a good fit. He’s really my ride, which is nice. He takes you to the jumps, but he’s also really soft and he can melt really quickly,” Smith described.

He continued, “He really wants to do well. He doesn’t want to make mistakes. He can do this course really smoothly.”

While there was lingering evidence of the downpour that drenched Wellington on Thursday, Smith didn’t think it had any effect on his ride.

“It was a nice course. Nothing too tricky and it all worked out nicely for my horse. The footing held pretty nicely in my opinion,” Smith detailed.

The heavy rainfall put a hold on competition for the FTI WEF, with competition being cancelled Thursday. Smith still decided to spend his rain day getting wet, heading to the beach to surf and taking a day off from riding.

Hunter divisions that were to finish on Thursday were pinned based on results from Wednesday’s classes. The Loddon Stalls Pre-Green Level 1 division was split due to a high number of entries, with two division champions ultimately crowned.

Champion of Section A was Cy Young, ridden by Tim Goguen and owned by Belhaven Stables, LLC. Cy Young, a six-year-old Warmblood gelding, swept the section, winning the under saddle class and both over fences rounds. In Section B, CC Cool and Lainie Wimberly were crowned champion. Wimberly and CC Cool, a four-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Piccolino Farm, LLC, placed eighth under saddle and first and second over fences.

Hunter and equitation competition continue Saturday morning with the Ariat National Adult Medal in Ring 6 of the PBIEC. The “Saturday Night Lights” event will highlight the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (FTI GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments®, featuring a concert by multi-platinum recording artist and four-time Grammy nominee, Hunter Hayes. The FTI GCC has raised $1.75 million for the 35 charities chosen to participate in this year’s event. For full horse show results, go to www.showgroundslive.com.

Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com. This photo may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.