Week seven of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsored by Hermès, continued last Saturday with the $50,000 USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. Fifteen-year-old Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee took home her second win in a row in the prestigious class, this year riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Ovation to victory. Previous winners filled the second-place spots: Liza Boyd and Brunello placed second, while Louise Serio and Castle Rock finished third.
Hunter horses and riders were showcased throughout week seven. Last Saturday night’s Hunter Spectacular competition saw the best of WEF’s Professional, Amateur and Junior riders, who qualified for the class during competition for their respective divisions throughout the week. The competitors with the top 12 scores from round one advanced to the second round of the class; among them was the 2012 Hunter Spectacular winner Colvin (who won last year with Way Cool). Colvin returned this year on another of Parker’s mounts, Ovation, and set the bar high for the night’s competition with a score of 91.5 early on. The duo finished with a second round score of 90.37 for a top score of 181.87.
Brunello, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Janet Peterson and Boyd, was the only horse to compete at the 4-foot height and was first on course for round two. The pair made their presence known in no uncertain terms, galloping to an impressive 91.5 right off the bat. While no one caught their score, combined with their first round score of 86.5, their total score of 178 put them in second place.
The only pair to beat Colvin and Ovation in round one were veteran competitors Serio and Castle Rock, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Bryan Baldwin. Castle Rock and Serio also received a score of 91.5, but had a higher score from the tie-breaker judges panel. Serio and Castle Rock couldn’t catch Colvin and Ovation during round two, scoring an 86.18 for a total score of 177.6.
The WCHR Calcutta, hosted in the International Club immediately prior to the class’ start, raised $28,500. Proceeds will benefit the USHJA Foundation.
The Peter Wetherill Cup was awarded to Lynn Rice, owner of Gramercy Park. The Peter Wetherill Cup was established in October 2011 to honor the life and legacy of well-known equestrian Peter Wetherill, and to recognize the WCHR Hunter of the Year. Rice was joined for the presentation by Gramercy Park’s professional rider and trainer, Tom Brennan and Tony Workman.
Several other special awards recognized the night’s top competitors following round one of competition. The Charlie Weaver Memorial Award, which recognizes the conformation horse with the highest average score during round one, was awarded to Taken, ridden by Kelley Farmer and owned by Jessica Sttit. Empire, ridden by Peter Pletcher and owned by David Gochman, was recognized as the Best Conditioned Horse of round one with the Mark Gregory Memorial Award. Empire is groomed by Gustavo Hernandez.
Amateur-Owner and Junior riders had qualified for the evening’s class only a few hours prior, with divisions awarding championship honors earlier last Saturday. The Bainbridge Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division saw championship honors go to Lexi Maounis and her 11-year-old Hanoverian mare Sienna. Sienna and Maounis were first and sixth over fences during day one and secured the championship title with a first place finish in the stake round. The reserve champion was Humor Me and Stephanie Danhakl, who were fifth and first over fences.
Rock Steady and Katie Robinson triumphed in the Hunt Limited Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunter division. Robinson and her 13-year-old Warmblood gelding were first and second over fences during day one of competition and finished second over fences and third under saddle on day two. The reserve champion was Gia, ridden by Katie Gibson. The pair was first and third over fences and seventh under saddle.
Junior rider divisions also competed throughout the day last Saturday for a spot in the night class, beginning with the Antares Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division. Tori Colvin and Parker’s Inclusive were champions of the division after placing fifth under saddle and sweeping the over fences classes. Reserve champion was Kyle Owens’ Cinema, ridden by Kirklen Peterson. The pair was fourth and second over fences.
The older Junior divisions wrapped up the qualifying rounds for the Hunter Spectacular. Garfield and Alexandra Crown triumphed in the Antarés Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division after the pair jumped to first-, second- and second-place finishes over fences, and fourth place under saddle. Reserve champion was Chansonette Farm, LLC’s Madison, ridden by Lillie Keenan. Keenan and Madison were second, second and third over fences, and third under saddle.
Keenan and Jennifer Gates’ Parkland, another duo intimately familiar with the WEF championship circle, unsurprisingly won the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division. Parkland, a 9-year-old KWPN gelding, and Keenan clinched the week’s title with three blue-ribbon finishes and one third-place round over fences in addition to another first-place prize under saddle. Reserve champion of the Small Junior 16-17 division was Good Humor, owned and ridden by Madeleine Thatcher.
Colvin also emerged victorious with Ovation in the Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under division. Ovation won the under saddle class and placed second, first and third over fences. Reserve champion of the division was Whatever, owned and ridden by Vivian Yowan. Yowan and Whatever were fifth under saddle and third, second and first over fences.
Saturday afternoon featured the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on the grass derby field at the Stadium at PBIEC. Richard Jeffery, of Bournemouth, England, was the course designer. Jeffery set the track for 31 entries in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Only three entries cleared the first round course to advance to the jump-off, and two cleared the short course. Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Darragh Kenny finished first and second.
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, Wellington. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com or call (561) 793-5867.
Above: Victoria Colvin aboard Ovation. PHOTO BY ANNE GITTINS PHOTOGRAPHY