U.S. team Olympic silver medalist Kent Farrington opened his week on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village with a win in the $62,500 Adequan® CSI4* WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 riding Landon during the MARS Equestrian™ sponsored WEF 4 in Wellington, FL.
Landon, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Comilfo Plus Z x Quadrillo) owned by Haity Mc Nerney, delivered a competitive time to beat for Farrington from the second half of the jump-off order. Their time stood at 37.96 seconds stood after Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) tried to best it riding 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Loukas de la Noue (Malito de Reve x Mr. Blue) for owner Oakridge Farm. She finished in 38.70 seconds, while Canada’s Erynn Ballard rounded out the top three in 39.77 seconds aboard another 13-year-old Belgian-bred gelding Libido van’t Hofken d’16 (Nabab de Reve x Heartbreaker) owned by Ilan Ferder.
The weather was mild and sun was high over the derby field, providing perfect conditions for Farrington and Landon to rise to the occasion. “I love showing on the grass; I think that’s the best setting for horses in general,” said Farrington, who was a member of the U.S. Olympic squads in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Tokyo, Japan. “It's great sport and we’re lucky to have a wonderful field in Wellington.
“The start of the course was pretty wide open and I tried to keep a normal stride,” said Farrington of his plan for Landon, the mount that won him a team gold medal at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, this summer. “At fence four, my turn back there is probably where I won the class today.”
With Paris 2024 as a fixed goal in Farrington’s near future, Wellington marks a time of preparation for him and his string of horses.
“I try to use it like a spring training where I get them up to some bigger level events if they're in form,” he said. “This is Landon’s first week out and it’s off to a great start.”
When asked why Farrington makes his winter base in Florida, he noted, “It’s a great culmination of a bunch of different disciplines and high-level riders. It’s a place we call home and we're able to compete, develop, train and we can do everything and still stay in our own bed every night, so that's great for us who spend most of the year traveling. I love being here.”
For the win, Farrington was presented with The Barry Lane Challenge Cup. Established in 2003, the trophy is given in memory of Barry, who lost her life in a riding accident in 2002, and was established in honor of her devotion and love of the sport of show jumping.
Earlier in the day, Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster won the Griffis Residential CSI2* 1.45m on the grand derby field at Equestrian Village. Piloting Jetouelle-S, owned by 5 Roosters, to a time of 62.24 seconds, she topped the one-round speed event by a margin of less than a second over Ireland's Jordan Coyle, who took second aboard Elan Farm’s Ariso in 62.91 seconds. Fellow Irishman Conor O’Regan rounded out the top three riding Carmen de Bonnieres for owner Ericka Houlihan in a time of 66.65 seconds.
Christopher Payne, Kate Conover Take Home Blues in Green Hunter Stakes
The professional hunters wrapped up their fourth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Thursday with the 3’6” and 3’9” Green Hunter divisions, both sponsored by Equine Tack & Nutritionals. The divisions were held over Wednesday and Thursdays and included four over-fences classes, including a stake, and one under saddle.
Winning the 3’6” Green Hunter Stake was Kate Conover, of Pipersville, PA, and 10-year-old gelding, Trust, owned by Glade Run Farm LLC. With a high score of 87, the pair topped the 18-competitor class. Conover and Trust also earned Reserve honors for the 3’6” division overall.
The Champion of the 3’6” division went to Victoria Colvin, of Loxahatchee, FL, and Southland, an 8-year-old gelding owned by SG Equestrian LLC. The pair won three of the four over-fences classes, their highest score standing at a 90.
The Champion of the 3’9” division, as well as the winner of the division’s stake, was Christopher Payne, of Cincinnati, OH, and Atlas, owned by Stephanie Ring. Payne and the 9-year-old gelding, topped the stake with a score of 85, and claimed the championship by placing second in an earlier over-fences as well as claiming second in the under saddle.
Atlas is a client horse for Payne, but he has been enjoying the ride as his own. “We imported him from Germany last year. I did him in maybe six shows in the 3 '6" and then the girl that owns him, Ava Barnes, has done him a couple of times in the junior [hunters],” said Payne. “She hasn't been here for a couple of weeks so I thought, ‘let's just move him up to the 3'9" height.’ He's so scopey and stride forward that I figured it wouldn't be a problem. It was his first time out but he seemed to really like the height and he's just a good, trying, sweet, nice horse and fun to ride.”
The Green Hunter divisions allow riders to take their less experienced horses to the show ring each week with classes such as Thursday’s stake adding an extra challenge to the division. “These classes are wonderful to go around and Tom [Carlson] has done a great job with the courses,” said Payne. “In the stakes, they usually add a little something. In this course they added the bending option, which just challenges you a bit but it's nice to have to work outside your box and then have it play out well.”
The Reserve Champion of the 3’9” Green Hunter Division went to Greg Crolick, of Clarkston, MI, and Kingsman, a 9-year-old gelding owned by Addison Mae King. Crolick and his mount placed second in the stake with an 84 as well as placing second in Wednesday’s Handy round.
Hunter competition will continue throughout the week with the junior and amateur divisions beginning on Friday. For a look at the full WEF 4 schedule, please click HERE.