Wellington, FL - January 17, 2014 - Friday's competition at the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) featured two classes for the 1.40m Jumpers in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with a win for Laura Chapot (USA) and Bradberry in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge and a top finish for Todd Minikus (USA) and Babalou 41 in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Jump-Off.
FTI WEF week two, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, continues through Sunday, January 19. The week will feature the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday night, and the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Speed Class, Presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, as well as the $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, during the day on Sunday. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.
Luc Musette of Belgium set the tracks for Friday's classes in the International Arena at PBIEC. In the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge he saw 57 entries with 23 clear rounds. Laura Chapot and her consistent veteran partner, Bradberry, went early in the order and put down what would prove to be an unbeatable time of 59.731 seconds.
Nick Novak earned second and third place honors with his two mounts. Novak finished second aboard YB Blue in a time of 60.46 seconds and earned the third place prize with Springfield Tennessee in 62.931 seconds.
Chapot was happy with her win today with Bradberry, a 16-year-old Selle Francais gelding, and remarked that he was ready to come out and play. "It is really great for him to come out and be fresh and be as enthusiastic as he is," Chapot stated. "He loves his job and I think he is very happy to be down here."
The fiery chestnut gelding is always fast and could prove a difficult ride for some, but he is Chapot's perfect type. "He really fits me perfectly," she acknowledged. "I know he wouldn't be a horse for everyone, but I feel very comfortable on him and he suits my style. We just mesh very well. He is like a second skin."
The pair went very early in the class and were able to maintain their lead through the end. Commenting on her hold of the leading time, Chapot noted, "Sometimes it is nice to go early because you have your plan and you execute it without thinking about what everyone else did. It makes it hard to wait through the rest of the class, but I felt like he jumped very well today and the whole thing was very smooth."
She added, "It is nice to win. He has been second twice and we have had like nine seconds (with all of the horses so far at WEF) and this is our first blue. Not that we're complaining about seconds, but it is hard to get a ribbon here, so it is nice to win one too."
A $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class was also held earlier in the day with a win for Todd Minikus and Kathryn Haefner LLC's Babalou 41. The class saw 85 entries with 34 in the jump-off and 23 double clear rounds. Minikus and Babalou 41 had the fastest time of 29.775 seconds. Laura Chapot and Quointreau un Prince, owned by Chapot and McLain Ward, finished second in 30.765 seconds.
Finals Results: $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge
1. BRADBERRY LAURA CHAPOT LAURA CHAPOT: 0/59.731
2. YB BLUE NICK NOVAK NICK NOVAK: 0/60.460
3. SPRINGFIELD TENNESSEE NICK NOVAK NICK NOVAK: 0/62.931
4. CASSIS Z TEN HALVEN DAVID ARCAND SANTOS STABLES: 0/64.248
5. MARANON LS AIMEE ARON JANICE ARON: 0/64.696
6. APPLE 3Z PETER WYLDE ARAM AMPAGOUMIAN: 0/65.599
7. SHOOTING STAR LAURA CHAPOT MARY CHAPOT: 0/66.370
8. VASCO ADAM PRUDENT PLAIN BAY FARM: 0/67.147
9. UNGARO DE LA HOT COUTURE JENNIFER GODDARD STATESIDE FARM LLC: 0/67.286
10. DULIEN VEN DE SMEETS MCLAIN WARD BLUE CHIP BLOODSTOCK: 0/67.332
11. APHRODITE ALEXANDRA PAILLOT PAILLOT EQUINE CONSULTING II: 0/68.042
12. FLECU ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN: 0/68.278
Visse Wedell and Bona Fide Claim Triple Crown Adult Amateur Hunter 36-50 Section A Championship at FTI WEF
Visse Wedell and Bona Fide emerged victorious from the Triple Crown Adult Amateur Hunter 36-50 Section A division at the FTI WEF on Friday. Wissell and Bona Fide, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Anne Mullally, were third under saddle and third and fifth over fences on the first day of competition before winning both over fences classes on day two to clinch the division champion title.
The reserve champion was Valobra, owned and ridden by Eva Bisso. Bisso and Valobra were second, first, third and second over fences.
Bona Fide and Wedell have not been together for long, but the loveable gelding has quickly secured a special place in Wedell's heart. After leasing him for the Hampton Classic Horse Show (N.Y.) last August, Wedell was more than eager to extend her lease through the FTI WEF circuit.
"He walks in every ring and doesn't look at the jumps. He is such a confidence builder. I cannot say enough nice things about him!" Wedell beamed. "I don't even really get nervous on him, and I am such a nervous rider. He is the easiest horse to walk in the ring and gives you such a good feeling-you know you're getting to the other side [of all the jumps]. As an adult [amateur], that's the best feeling ever!"
A young horse and nervous adult amateur doesn't sound like a match made in heaven, but Wedell believes Bona Fide is an old soul who simply loves his job. "That's why he's so good at such a young age! He loves his job. He thinks this is fun! So it's not like you have to prep him a lot to get to the ring. It's nothing; you can just go," Wedell described.
A "get on and go" ride is helpful for Wedell, who balances riding with her job as a realtor with Engel & Völkers. The temptation to spend all day at the horse show is strong, but Wedell knows her work is waiting for her at home when she's done showing.
"It's awesome to be here, and you feel like you're going to miss something [if you leave or don't show for a week], but there's life outside of the show you've got to focus on. It's like being in Disney World, you get wrapped up in it and then you realize you have 73 emails and 16 new voicemails-I've got a job!" Wedell laughed. "I'm trying to balance that better this year. You've got to get on a schedule. I'm trying to give everything the right amount of time."
Wedell trains with Bill Schaub of Over the Hill Farm as well as at RC Stables, where Bona Fide lives, with Richard Cunkle and Lee Flick. Wedell enjoys having several different pairs of eyes to give her input when she comes out of the ring. "It's like I have my crew at the horse show! I have three trainers at the ring, which is great, because they all have different input. They're great, every single one of them," Wedell commented.
What Wedell values the most is the entire team's ability to prioritize having fun at the horse show.
"We're all a happy group. Even though it's two or three trainers, everyone gets along and everyone has a common goal-having fun. That's the biggest thing, is walking away with a smile. The ribbons are just extra. And to have a horse [like Bona Fide] that makes you feel that good in the ring is priceless," Wedell remarked.
Competition for week two of the FTI WEF continues Saturday morning in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring with the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter 35+ division. The $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* will be the highlight class on Saturday night. For full results, please www.showgroundslive.com.