Wellington, FL -- Germany earned victory in Friday night's 10th annual $75,000 FEI Nations Cup, presented by G&C Farm, at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Teams representing ten different countries participated in the evening's competition and this was Germany's first time winning the class. Ireland finished second and Canada was third.
Tonight’s competition consisted of two rounds shown over a challenging course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY. Teams of four represented the countries of Colombia, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Great Britain, Mexico, Germany, USA, Venezuela, and France.
After the first round, each team dropped their highest score. In the second round, six teams returned in order of highest to lowest total faults. The winner was determined by the lowest total of each team’s top three riders from each round. The top six teams were Germany, Ireland, Canada, Great Britain, USA and France.
The German team was made up of Jorg Oppermann and Heinz Eufinger’s Che Guevara 17, David Will and Deitmar Gulder Reitsport’s Don Cesar, Johannes Ehning and Nybor Pferde GMBH & Co. KG’s Salvador V, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Octavia Farms LLC’s Checkmate 4. A four fault score from Ehning and Salvador V was dropped from round one and the team returned for the second round with a faultless score.
Opperman and Che Guevara 17 incurred four faults in round two, followed by clear rounds from Will and Don Cesar and Ehning and Salvador V. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Checkmate 4 jumped clear in round one and were not needed to return for the second round when it was determined that the team could not be surpassed in the end. They finished with four faults total to take the win.
Commenting on the win tonight, Michaels-Beerbaum smiled, “This for me was a really exciting night. It was really fun to ride with this team of young, handsome German boys. They were outstanding. I’ve gone fourth (as the anchor) with the team a couple of times now and I’ve never not had to ride, so this was a first.”
“I was delighted with my horse Checkmate, who is 17 years old,” she continued. “I thought the first round was absolutely phenomenal and it made me very proud of him. I was really thrilled to ride with this team. It was my first time with them and they pulled it through to the end and fought really hard; it was a fun night.”
David Will, who jumped double clear with his horse Don Cesar, was pleasantly surprised with the team’s victory. “No one expected us to win, not even ourselves,” he said with a laugh. “My horse jumped amazing. He’s my teacher. He has made my career so far and I’m glad to have him.”
Johannes Ehning returned for tonight’s class after showing here a few years ago and was thrilled to be in the winner’s circle. “I’m really excited to be here,” he stated. “Three years ago I was also here and it wasn’t so good for me. I’m really proud to be a part of this team. We had really good team spirit and everyone was looking out for each other.”
Jorg Opperman is showing in Wellington for his first time and was pleased with the night. “It’s my first time here and I think it is a fantastic show; everything around here is amazing,” Oppermann said. “My horse jumped really good.”
Will, Ehning and Oppermann are all young riders in their twenties, and they were thrilled to share the podium with a veteran competitor such as Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum. Ehning noted, “The Canadians, Irish, English, and Americans all had really good teams. We were a really young team with Meredith with the most experience. It was good to have her on our team. She gave us confidence as the last rider.”
German Chef d’Equipe Dietmar Gugler commented on the class as well, stating, “This team is encouraging. It’s important to get young people involved and give them experience. This was why we came here. I always believe a German team should be here in a USA Nations Cup.”
Ireland completed the class with an eight fault total for second place, finishing with four faults in each round. The team included Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm’s Amaretto D’Arco, Richie Moloney and Equinimity LLC’s Slieveanorra, Darragh Kerins and Kevin Babington’s Lisona, and Cian O’Connor and Ashkirk Ltd. and O’Connor’s Blue Loyd 12. Moloney and Kerins each had a single rail in the first round, and one score was dropped.
In round two, Sweetnam and Kerins each had single rails, and O’Connor and Moloney jumped clear. A single score was dropped to leave the team with eight faults overall.
Irish Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine congratulated the Germans on their victory and spoke about his team. “I’m always trying to develop new combinations and give them a chance. This was a fantastic opportunity to do that,” he said. “I was pleased with the performance with all the combinations here. We have a new combination with Richie and his horse at this level. Cian has a new horse and going double clear is always worth a mention. Darragh is a new combination as well. Shane has been around for a couple of years and has been a fantastic servant to the Irish flag. We didn’t struggle, which I was pleased with. If we had lost, it would have been because of the first round, but the Germans were very strong. Thank you to all the owners. They have been fantastic to our lads. Without them we wouldn’t have a team here.”
The Canadian team consisted of Ian Millar and Team Works’ Star Power, Tiffany Foster and Torrey Pines and Artisan Farm LLC’s Victor, Yann Candele and Ariel and Susan Grange’s Lansdowne, and Eric Lamaze and Ashland Stables and Torrey Pines’ Derly Chin De Muze. Canada came into round two with zero faults after dropping Yann Candele and Lansdowne’s score of eight from round one.
Lamaze and Derly Chin De Muze were the only Canadian pair to jump both rounds without fault. Ian Milllar and Star Power had one time fault in round two.
Canada’s Chef d’Equipe Terrance Millar also praised the top finishers. “Congratulations to the Germans and the Irish. Our friends from Ireland are always competitive at this show. The Germans had youth on their side. We have lots of experience on ours, but youth prevailed.”
“We are trying out new combinations,” he added. “Eric has some new horses. Ian with a horse he’s had for a couple of years. We are trying to build a team for London and feeling our way. We had some good performances tonight. Germany was obviously the dominant team tonight and Ireland was very close. It was a great class.”
By far the most experienced rider on Canada’s team was Ian Millar. Millar praised Anthony D’Ambrosio on his course tonight. “Anthony giving us his WEF course on Thursday and then tonight’s course, to me ranks him as one of the elite course designers of the world. It was a fantastic piece of work,” he stated.
Millar also commented on his unfortunate time fault in round two. “My horse is in great shape for what he’s doing. He needs a faster rider! The way the timers were set after the last fence, on an angle, had I been a little to my right I would have been under the time allowed. With this being my 117th Nations Cup, you would think I’d know more,” he laughed.
Great Britain and USA tied for fourth place with 22 faults each. USA completed round one with eight faults and incurred 14 faults in round two for a 22 fault total. Great Britain entered the second round with 17 faults carried over from round one. A five fault total in round two gave them 22 faults as well. Nick Skelton and Beverley Widdowson’s Big Star were the only British pair to jump double clear for their country.
France just made the cut for round two, returning with a 28 fault total. The team then earned 16 faults in round two for a total of 44 faults overall to finish sixth.
Mexico placed seventh with 29 fault total in round one. Colombia incurred 31 faults to finish in eighth place. Venezuela placed ninth with 35 faults in the first round, and Australia finished tenth with a 37 point total.
Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Palouchin continued their reign at the top in Friday afternoon’s $10,000 G&C Farm Speed Stake during CSIO week at the FTI WEF. This was the pair’s second trip to the winner’s circle this week after also winning the day session of the $5,000 Welcome Stake on Wednesday.
In the field of 28 international starters, Pessoa and Palouchin completed the fastest of six clear rounds in 63.76 seconds. Reed Kessler (USA) and Onisha finished second in 65.36 seconds. Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) and Geledimar placed third in 68.15 seconds. Darragh Kerins (IRL) and Hot Wheels stopped the clock in 68.53 seconds to finish fourth. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Lipton De L’Othain, owned by Windward Farm, placed fifth in 69.08 seconds, and Paulo Santana (BRA) and Santana Stables’ Athena jumped clear in 76.80 seconds to finish sixth.
HH Palouchin is a 1999 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Chin Chin, owned by Double H Farm. In addition their two victories this week, Palouchin and Pessoa also won week seven’s $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic, week four’s $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge, and week two’s $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class.
Today’s speed stake win came easily as the pair geared up for tomorrow’s $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45 Classic. Commenting on his ride, Pessoa stated, “It was a good course. Tomorrow’s 1.45m is a good class for him, so I didn’t want to go crazy today. The course suited him pretty well and I could just let him go, stay in the tracks and keep some for tomorrow.”
It was a hot day in Wellington, and the heat played a factor for many horses. “He was really quiet today. For horses that are like him, I think this weather knocks them on the head a little bit,” Pessoa stated. “They are just like us, they have the same reaction; they get a little bit heavy when it is like this. For him it takes a little bit of the edge off, which is really ideal. He went around really soft today; he was less hectic than usual, so that was good. Hopefully we can keep that composure because tomorrow is the one that we are aiming for really. We want to make it three out of three for him.”
Although Palouchin is always eager and ready to go in the show ring, Pessoa said he is actually quite calm in the barn. “He is a different horse at home, he is really quiet,” Pessoa described. “As soon as he steps on the show grounds he walks under the bridge to come in the ring and he changes, he lights up. He knows that this is his game place and just turns into a totally different horse. He definitely knows when it is all about business. It is good that he goes that way, that he doesn’t get intimidated or scared or anything.”
Also showing in the International Arena today, Laura Chapot and Zealous earned a victory in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge. Hardin Towell and Nolde triumphed in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class.
Friday Hunters Claim Victory
Mary Katherine Shaughnessy of Wellington, FL, surpassed a field of 22 competitors this week, claiming the championship tricolor in the Camping World Adult Hunter 51 & Older division on her mount, King Lear. The pair scored a first, second and two sixths over fences to top the division with 17 points. Reserve champion honors went to Quality Control, a nine-year-old Westphalian ridden by Margaret Taylor of Earlysville, VA. Taylor and Quality Control scored a first and fourth over fences and finished third in the under saddle to secure the reserve tricolor with 16 points.
The winning mount, King Lear, is a sixteen-year-old Trakehner known as Elvis in the barn. After being imported by Laura Lee Montross as a six-year-old, the white gelding began showing in the eventing field. “He was doing this kind of wild eventing in Kentucky,” Shaughnessy explained. “Laura Lee had him for seven years and she’s the one who introduced him to ‘hunterdom’. She used to take him out on a lot of trails, which is one of the reasons he isn’t spooky at all I think. He’s such a delight now and I thank Laura Lee for all that she has done with him over the years.”
Following today’s win, Shaughnessy commented on King Lear’s performance in the show ring. “He doesn’t have any bad habits that we have to work on for the show,” Shaughnessy commented. “He’s so easy to prepare and he’s just always good. The main thing we work on is softening his mouth in the turns. We don’t show too much and he doesn’t really jump at home, so we are careful to keep him fresh. When he’s off, he’ll just flat lightly and maybe trail ride.”
Shaughnessy, a rider of twelve years, showed as an Adult Jumper for several years before transitioning into the hunter ring. “I just got a little tired of going fast,” Shaughnessy admitted. “I also like the Thursday/Friday hunter schedule because my husband and I have a lot going on during the weekends here. When I show, I’m very serious. I wake up very early and come scope out the ring and look at things, so I don’t take it lightly. Showing during the week allows me to go to the night classes and relax without having to worry about getting up the next day.”
Describing her transition from Jumpers to Hunters, Shaughnessy commented, “I found that I was a little rough, my hands were high and I was more aggressive than I needed to be. I was just used to making a lot more moves. When I first started, I had this horse that wasn’t right for me. Then I found Elvis and I did the 2’6″ for the first year I had him and he was amazing. So, the main thing I work on now is smoothing things out and being accurate without making big moves.”
During King Lear’s weeks of rest, Shaughnessy feels privileged to be able to compete on her additional mounts, Whitecap and Thief of Hearts. Whitecap is a fifteen-year-old Traekhner by Lamarc, and Thief of Hearts is an eleven-year-old Warmblood by VDL Orame. According to Shaughnessy, Whitecap matches King Lear’s attractiveness and noticeability, while Thief of Hearts “is very sweet, but not a classic beauty. He just kind of walks in the ring and looks around, whinnying.”
In the coming weeks, Shaughnessy will continue to rotate all three mounts in order to show consistently while preserving the health of her horses. With four weeks left in the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, Shaughnessy will continue to pursue victory in the Adult Hunter ring.
For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Final Results: $75,000 FEI Nation’s Cup Presented by G&C Farm
4. Great Britain
Final Results: $10,000 G&C Farm Speed Stake CSIO
1. HH PALOUCHIN: 1999 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Chin Chin,
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/63.76
2. ONISHA: 1999 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Athlet Z,
REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/65.36
3. GELEDIMAR: 2003 Zangersheide mare by Grosso Z x Lord Z,
NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Nicholas Dello Joio: 0/68.15
4. HOT WHEELS: 1997 Silla Argentino gelding by Liliputiense,
DARRAGH KERINS (IRL), Darragh Kerins: 0/68.53
5. LIPTON DE L’OTHAIN: 1999 SFB gelding by Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Prince Du Logis,
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Windward Farm And Jessica Siuda: 0/69.08
6. ATHENA: 2003 Rhinelander mare by Aurelio x Alexis,
PAULO SANTANA (BRA), Santana Stables LLC: 0/76.80
7. UCEKO: 2001 KWPN gelding by Celano x Koriander,
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), R.C.G. Farm: 2 /90.73
8. VORNADO VAN DEN HOENDRIK: 1998 BWP gelding by Darco x Ramiro,
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 3/94.81
9. PAULY DU BREUIL: 2003 Selle Francais stallion by Pamphile x Unknown,
MARGIE ENGLE (USA),Lea Allen, Ken Garber and The Engles: 4/67.24
10. UNICA VAN DE ROSHOEVE: 1997 BWP mare by Quickfeuer Van Koekshof x GuildfordÆs Comm Decision,
ANGELA COVERT-LAWRENCE (CAN), Eastwood Group: 4/74.32
11. GAME READY: 2000 KWPN gelding by Andiamo x Polydox,
YANN CANDELE (CAN), Susan Grange: 4/74.50
12. WOODSTOCK O: 2003 KWPN gelding by Hors La Loi x Ferro,
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Joan Kalman/The Freedom Group: 4/74.58
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.