Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster climbed atop a 'Saturday Night Lights’ podium at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) for the first time on January 28 during Week 3. Piloting Battlecry, Foster won the $215,000 NetJets CSI4* Grand Prix in front of a packed house at Wellington International. WEF hosts 12 weeks of FEI Competition at Wellington International and runs through March 31.
Over courses set by fellow Vancouver, BC, native Peter Grant, Foster bested a who’s who of show jumping from an original starting field of 45 and an eight-horse jump-off brimming with horse and rider talent.
Battlecry, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles STX x Latano) that Foster owns together with longtime sponsor Artisan Farms and Kent Farrington, put his massive stride to good use in Grant’s sweeping short course. They stopped the timers at 39.63 seconds as last to go.
“I'm really happy to finally check this one off,” said Foster, who took over the ride on Battlecry while still competing in young horse classes as a seven-year-old. “It feels great because I have competed a lot here. My horse has a little bit of a right drift – just like every horse, he goes one way or the other – so, I thought the jump-off was actually going to suit him.
“I knew I would be able to get the seven pretty easily up to the wall, and if you were able to take a run across the middle to that oxer and do the six into the double it required extreme athleticism on the horses part,” continued Foster, 39. “I have a lot of faith in my horse and I knew that that right drift would help me get there in that number. I also know that this horse seems to really love to run to the last jump. By the time I cleared that plank was clear, I knew I could take a rip at that last one and he was going to fly it.”
The final podium hosted an all-female top three from three different nations with Brazil’s Luciana Lossio and her own 14-year old Lady Louise Jmen taking second, and Nina Mallevaey taking third for France aboard Cartier SR, and 12-year old Holsteiner gelding (Canturenter x San Patrignano Cassini) owned by The Rein Family. Lossio clocked in just off the pace at 40.07 seconds, while Mallevaey stopped the clock at an even closer 40.12 with less than a second separating the top five placings.
“We've seen some pretty big guns winning here and I think that's a testament to everybody getting ready for this Olympic year and coming knowing that this is the premier winter circuit in the world,” concluded Foster.
After coupling her success in the NetJets Grand Prix with a top-five finish in Thursday’s Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 3, Foster was awarded the Martha Jolicoeur Leading International Rider Award, presented together with Michael and Wendy Smith.
After winning the CSI2* grand prix during NetJets week at WEF in 2023, Lossio stepped up to the four-star ranks with the same horse this year. “We’ve been together for six years already and we've been growing together during all this time,” she said. “For me it's a huge honor to be here with Tiffany Foster. It's my third WEF season so we always watch these great riders and for me it's a big honor to be here.
“Finishing behind her it’s almost like winning for me,” said Lossio.
One of a strong contingent of French riders competing in Wellington during the winter season, Mallevaey started strong with a top-three finish early in the circuit.
“This is one of my first podiums at this level with Cartier,” said Mallevaey, who trains with British Olympic Champion Nick Skelton. She added with a smile, “Nick told me I could have gone faster to the last, but I'm so happy with my horse. He’s really trying to do everything for me. I'm going to try to have many more podiums like this.”
To cap the evening, Foster’s groom and Battlecry’s caregiver Kaytlyn Brown was presented with the $500 Grooms Award by Double H Farm’s Quentin Judge and Cayce Harrison.
Top Five Results: $215,000 NetJets CSI4* Grand Prix
- Tiffany Foster (CAN) & Battlecry: 2014 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles STX x Latano)
Owners: Tiffany Foster, Artisan Farms, Kent Farrington
- Luciana Lossio (BRA) & Lady Louise Jmen: 2010 mare
Owner: Luciana Lossio
- Nina Mallevaey (FRA) & Cartier SR: 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Canturenter x San Patrignano Cassini)
Owner The Rein Family
- Ben Maher (GBR) & Faltic HB: 2010 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Baltic VDL x Concorde)
Owners: Ben Maher, Charlotte Rossetter, Pamela Wright
- Cian O’Connor (IRL) & Maurice: 2012 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Eros Platiere)
Owner: Pat Crean
The International Arena hosted 2* riders earlier in the day on Saturday with the $10,000 Florida Coast Equipment CSI2* 1.40m Speed. Ireland’s Jordan Coyle won the race against time with mount ‘Emerald Irish Cruise’ (Ringfort Cruise x Mount Diamond Flag), owned by Celtic Park LLC, clearing the course in 62.81 seconds. Second place went to Israel’s Sydney Shulman Desiderio and Villamoura, owned by Jill Shulman, with a clear time of 63.76 seconds. Taking third in a clear 68.37 seconds was USA’s Eve Jobs and her own Valentino Tuiliere.
Best Boy 2 and Zayna Rizvi Race to Lugano Diamonds SJHOF 1.45m Amateur Jumper Classic Win
The $15,000 Lugano Diamonds SJHOF 1.45m Amateur Jumper Classic debuted a full day of competition in the International Arena as 30 pairings contested Peter Grant’s track. Even with 13 combinations advancing to the short course, the lead only changed hands several times late into the order before finally settling on Zayna Rizvi of Wellington, FL, and Best Boy 2.
With only five left to follow, Rizvi and North Run’s 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Contagio put on the gas as they blazed accurately around the jump-off track and stopped the timers in 38.60 seconds.
“My horse is very quick but he doesn’t have the biggest stride, so I really tried to line up jump one to land on the inside track so I could then gallop up the nine which worked out well,” Rizvi detailed. “He is one that is actually pretty lazy at home but once he gets to the show he really wakes up and comes alive.”
The two have formed a successful partnership that began during WEF 2023 and Rizvi is glad to have him as part of her busy winter string.
“He’s goofy and has his little quirks, but he tries really hard for me and he loves to go fast which makes it really fun,” she added. “I have a great group of horses here that are spread out across many jumper divisions and I feel fortunate that I’m able to do so much because of them.”
Maggie Hill of Jackson, WY, held the lead for the majority of the class with Summit Farms, LLC’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Maestro Van’t Roosakker, but ultimately settled for third on her double-clean time of 42.39 seconds. Wellington native Alexandra Worthington split the difference aboard Turn A Blind Eye, LLC’s 11-year-old Selle Français gelding De l’Oiseliere with a time of 39.69 to take second.
Symbolic and Hailey Guidry Secure 3’6” Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under Championship
The morning in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring at Wellington International began with athletes in the Large Junior Hunter 3’6” 15 and Under, sponsored by T&R Property Management, competing over the division’s final two jumping classes to confirm a champion. Hailey Guidry of Poplarville, MS, produced another day of solid performances with Bella Kay’s 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Symbolic by Carenzo, and maintained a top-three finish across all jumping classes to take home the tricolor ribbon.
“I’ve had Symbolic as a partner since the Devon Horse Show last year," explained Guidry. “He was supposed to just be a lease for that show, but we ended up absolutely falling in love with him and his personality. He and I go very well together.”
After making their way across the east coast for indoors season, Symbolic is just making his way back into the show arena after a well-deserved holiday season off.
“I think finally being back in our program helped us a lot this week,” she confirmed. “We have been working on a lot of flat work and pole work, and I think I was just on my A-game this week.”
Taking reserve in the division was J.J. Torano of Wellington, FL, and Carry On.
Competition across all three disciplines at Wellington International will return Sunday, January 28, to as the final day of WEF 3 commences.