Wellington, FL - March 21, 2010 - The Masters Jumpers showed their skills on Saturday morning when they kicked off competition in the Mogavero Arena at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. The Masters division, kindly sponsored by the Palm Beach Post, offered a speed round for its competitors. Riders jumped a single round in which the fastest clear time would eventually win the class. Sally Slater and her mount Loose Lucy were deemed the winners in today's Masters class after racing around the course in a very speedy time of 57.974 seconds.
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 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.
Slater and Loose Lucy galloped around the Pierre Jolicoeur course, making all of the difficult inside turns, and finishing about a second and a half faster than the second place finisher, Olivia Fry Weeks, with Alexa Pessoa's Ronan. The third place finisher was Laurel Chad, and Coimbra 5, owned by Stone Ridge. The course consisted of 11 numbered obstacles, including two double combinations, and a liverpool oxer as the last fence.
"There were a lot of really hard turns that were options, but my trainer (Kate Oliver) told me to ride like it was a million dollar class because she really wanted me to do the turns. She wanted me not to take the safe route," Slater explained of her strategy for today's class. "I was really happy because 'Lucy' did them all for me," Slater continued.
Slater, of Bedford, NY, bought the Belgian warmblood mare about four years ago. She described her as, "a real mare." She went on to say, "She's the most interesting horse I've ever had to deal with. I have to think about how to keep her from getting bored, and she is happiest when she's jumping."
Slater is no rookie to the show ring, and it showed in the class. She has been riding since she was about five years old, and took a couple of breaks from riding to develop her career in real estate. "When I started I was very young and was very, very lucky. When I was 13-years-old I bought a young three-year-old that ended up being one of the best jumpers in the world, Sympatico, and ended up being chosen for the Montreal Olympics," Slater explained of her history in the Show Jumping world.
Slater acknowledged that she owes much of her success to trainer, Kate Oliver. "She is amazing. She gives so much confidence. When we walk the course she is like the pied piper," Slater said with a smile.
Junior and Amateur jumper competition will conclude on Sunday, March 21 when Classic competition will take action at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.
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: Sally Slater and Loose Lucy win the Masters. Photo by Randi Muster.