Week five of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival featured another exciting “Saturday Night Lights” event Feb. 9, with more than 4,000 spectators looking on as Great Britain’s Ben Maher won his second grand prix in a row.
Maher jumped to victory in the $82,000 Adequan CSI2* Grand Prix aboard Jane Clark’s Urico after also taking top honors in last week’s $100,000 Fidelity Investments CSI 2* Grand Prix riding Cella.
Last Saturday night’s grand prix was sponsored by Adequan, which is distributed by Luitpold Pharmaceuticals Inc. Allyn Mann, director of the Animal Health Division at Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, was on hand to watch the class last Saturday evening and was thrilled with the success of the event and the great competition displayed.
Mann presented Maher with an Adequan Tack Locker for his win.
“We are honored as a company to be involved with this whole sport,” Mann said. “I think tonight was just another example of the commitment by the horse, the rider, and especially the owners, which are really the foundation of everything that happens with this industry. We really appreciate everybody’s efforts and it is just exciting to be a part of it.”
Olympic course designer Bob Ellis set the track for the evening. Forty-seven entries began the class with 14 advancing to the jump-off and six of those clearing the second round course without fault. Maher and Urico had the fastest time for the win.
Argentina’s Ramiro Quintana was the first entry to clear the short course, aboard St. Brides Farm’s Whitney, holding the lead for six rounds with his time of 45.90 seconds before eventually finishing in fifth. Mario Deslauriers and Legacy Stables, LLC’s Uraguay were the next pair to jump double clear and placed sixth with a time of 46.82 seconds.
The race for top honors continued with Beezie Madden and Abigail Wexner’s Simon, who took over the lead with their clear round in 45.55 seconds to eventually place fourth. For her success, Madden was later presented with the Leading Lady Rider Award for week five competition, presented by Martha Jolicoeur and Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.
Madden’s lead did not hold on for long as Maher and Urico took their start and blazed through the course in 43.81 seconds to grab the lead. Brianne Goutal and Cloverleaf Farm’s Uata went next and made a great effort with their time of 45.05 seconds to finish third. Last to go, Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm, LLC’s Siri concluded the class with a swift round in 44.99 seconds to take the second-place prize.
Urico is a 12-year-old KWPN gelding and another new mount for Maher riding for owner Jane Clark. Maher and Urico put together a great round last Saturday night and seem to be quickly developing their new partnership.
In other results, Avery Hinson of New Albany, Ohio, bested a class of 29 junior riders during last Saturday’s Taylor Harris Insurance Service’s (THIS) National Children’s Medal class during WEF week five. Hinson led the class with her 12-year-old Warmblood gelding, Rio’s Reflection, with a score of 87 points.
Maria Moore finished second aboard Angela Moore’s Arizona with a score of 86. Blythe Ruppel piloted her own Charade to a score of 86. Parker Wright and Miss Ticket to Ride, owned by Barbara Milanese, rounded out the top four riders called back for the test and finished fourth with 85 points.
Hinson and Rio’s Reflection competed during the latter part of the 2012 season in both hunter divisions and equitation classes, but Hinson has decided to focus on equitation classes for 2013. Hinson was fifth in the order for the large class, but her strategy for the course full of twists and turns, designed by Danny Moore, made her impossible to beat. Despite going early on, she remained in the lead for the entirety of the class.
Hinson will continue to compete in the THIS Children’s Medal with Rio’s Reflection, but has her sights set on the ASPCA Maclay classes as her ultimate goal. Both equitation classes are hosted weekly at WEF. The THIS National Children’s Medal Finals will be held in conjunction with the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Maryland in October.
The Winter Equestrian Festival features 12 weeks of competition. More than $6 million in prize money will be awarded through the circuit. For full results, visit www.showgroundslive.com. The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 14440 Pierson Road in Wellington.
For additional information, visit www.equestriansport.com or call (561) 793-5867.
Above: Ben Maher aboard Urico.