Wellington, FL - Young hunters were showcased over the past two days at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. All divisions of the Pre-Green Hunters are generously sponsored by Equisport Agency Inc., and Erynn Ballard rode Victoria Daniel's Sincere to the championship in the Pre-Green 3'3" Hunter division today. The reserve championship was awarded to Molly Sewell and Raise the Bar, owned by Lisa Hunt.
Ballard has had the ride on Sincere, an eight-year-old Swedish Warmblood, since September, when owner Victoria Daniel purchased him. Although Ballard has ridden Sincere since the fall, she did not show him until they arrived in Wellington for the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, where the duo has experienced much success. "He's a dream horse. He's the sweetest horse in the world, has a great expression, and really loves his job. It's nice to ride a horse like that," Ballard commented.
Ballard and Sincere dominated the Pre-Green 3'3" Hunters this week, placing first, first, and second over fences, as well as winning the under saddle. Ballard described her mount and said, "He's eight years old, which makes it nice. It's not like riding a five-year-old. He's game to be competitive."
"It has been a hard winter with the wind and the cold. He got a little green with the flowers, but we gave him last week off, and he's taken in all the information and everything we've taught him. He was really on his game this week," Ballard continued.
Sincere also currently competes in the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunters with owner Victoria Daniel. After returning to their home base of Toronto upon the completion of the FTI WEF, Sincere will step up to the 3'6" divisions and compete in the First Year Green Hunters as well as the Amateur-Owner Hunters. "I didn't think he should do the First Years here because he had no experience. We wanted to take advantage of the 3'3" divisions here. In Toronto he'll move up to the First Years," Ballard explained.
Ballard will continue to show Sincere for the duration of the FTI WEF, and then will return home to Toronto to compete on the circuit there. Her goal for Sincere is to qualify for the prestigious Royal Winter Fair in both the First Year Green Hunters and the Amateur-Owner Hunters.
More hunter competition will continue tomorrow with Amateur and Junior Hunter competition.
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 Credit: Erynn Ballard and Sincere are victorious in the Equisport Agency Inc. Pre-Green 3'3" Hunters. © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., www.mustphoto.com. Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.