Wellington, FL - Medium Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumper competition took the spotlight in the Mogavero Arena today at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Starting out the day, Christina Kelly piloted Pelle Wedenmark's Alderbaran II to the win in the Reist Industries Medium Junior Jumpers. Tori Corts and Tao Te King, owned by Falkirk Farm, earned the blue ribbon in the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers.
The tenth week of the FTI WEF is sponsored by Equine Couture/TuffRider and runs through Sunday, March 21. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and they will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
The WEF Dressage Classic CDI 3* dressage competition is the highlight in the International Arena this week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with FEI Grand Prix Freestyle on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The FTI Great Charity Challenge, a pro/am relay competing for a targeted $500,000 in money to be distributed to 24 Palm Beach county charities, is on Saturday, March 20, with festivities starting at 6 p.m. The $75,000 Equine Couture/TuffRider Grand Prix, CSI 2*, is on Sunday, March 21. It is scheduled, weather-permitting, to be held at The Stadium at 3 p.m.
Both the Medium Junior Jumpers and the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers contested the same course today over a Power and Speed format, and Christina Kelly and Alderbaran II scored the best time of the day, crossing the timers in the speed phase in 28.349 seconds. "It was a great, great course," Kelly said of the Pierre Jolicoeur designed course.
This win is especially impressive because Alderbaran II is a new ride for Kelly, who only began riding the 14-year-old Swedish warmblood earlier this week. "Pelle gave him to me to show him for him to get sold. This is the first weekend he's been showing, and he's doing awesome so far," Kelly noted.
Kelly said of Alderbaran II, "He's a little bit downhill right now, but he's getting better. He just needs some pulling together, but he's getting better, and he's jumping nicely."
Kelly's strategy on Aldberbaran II today was to qualify for the speed phase, then take it slowly, but her plans changed once she began the speed phase. "As soon as (Alderbaran II) got in (to the speed phase), I was planning on going for a nice round with him, and he ended up going faster than we planned," she smiled. The power phase consisted of fences 1 through 8, and clear rides moved onto the Speed Phase, in which they competed for speed over fences 9 through 13.
The 17-year-old junior rider is originally from England, but her family has a farm in Kentucky as well as a farm here in Wellington. While she spends a lot of time in Florida and Kentucky during the year, Kelly has had international experience in the show ring as well.
Tori Corts and Falkirk Farm's Tao Te King (left) bested a large field of 45 starters in the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers today. Of the 45 starters, 27 jumped clear to advance to the speed phase, and 23 went clear in the speed phase. Corts crossed the timers in 28.716 seconds, and no one was able to catch her speedy time for the remainder of the class. Corts was also victorious in the High Amateur-Owner Power and Speed class this afternoon on Falkirk Farm's Ultimo Van Ter Moude.
Just behind Corts for second place were Taylor Harris and her mount, Candilla. Harris and Candilla were about a half of a second off the pace, and finished in a time of 29.242 seconds. Rounding out the top three place finishers were Elizabeth Bates and Gianina 9, who finished the speed phase in a prompt time of 30.588 seconds.
Junior and Amateur Jumpers will continue to compete throughout the weekend, and will conclude after the Classic winners are decided on Sunday, March 21.
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 13 through April 4. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.
Photo Credits: Christina Kelly and Alderbaran II Were Victorious in the Reist Industries Medium Junior Jumper Power and Speed. Tori Corts and Tao Te King Won the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Power and Speed. © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., www.mustphoto.com, Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.