Natalie Jayne and Charisma Shine in the WEF Equitation Championship

Mar 26, 2021 - 11:08 PM

For Immediate Release
Sabrina Brashares and Jennifer Wood for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Wellington, FL – March 26, 2021 – Equitation riders took their turn in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Friday, March 26, in the WEF Equitation Championship during the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). After three technical rounds of competition, Natalie Jayne and Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Charisma took home the blue ribbon.

Natalie Jayne and Charisma Eq 623_8410 Sportfot
Natalie Jayne and Charisma © Sportfot

Zayna Rizvi and Jordyn Rose Freedman’s Finnick earned second place. Third place honors went to Dominic Gibbs aboard Mountain King Ranch LLC’s Cent 15, and fourth place went to Alexander Alston riding Waldo, owned by Missy Clark and North Run.

The eleventh week of WEF, sponsored by Rolex, continues through March 28 with CSI5* competition on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village with a concurrent CSI2* taking place in the Global International Arena. The biggest class of the season is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* on the grass Derby Field. The $6,000 CabanaCoast 1.40m Jumpers CSI2* also runs on Saturday, and the week concludes on Sunday with the $50,000 CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI2*, as well as the $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Grand Prix on the main grounds at PBIEC. All feature classes can be watched for free both live and on-demand on the livestream.

Forty-three riders qualified for the championship by winning an equitation class during the 2021 WEF season, the 2020 Holiday and Horses Horse Show, or the 2020 Holiday Finale series. The class consisted of three rounds with all competitors navigating the 12-fence first course designed by Andy Christiansen. The top 15 riders were called back for a second round, and only the top four competitors returned for the final test. As an added challenge, riders were not allowed to communicate with trainers or staff and handed in their cell phones prior to the class starting. Competitors had to walk the course, come up with a plan, and school their horse with only one groom.

The judging was split into two panels with Ralph Caristo and Michael Morrissey Jr. in panel one and Chris Kappler and Keri Kampsen as panel two. Eric Strauss and Diane Landerville observed the schooling area for the first two rounds to give riders a score ranging from minus two to plus two points. The schooling score was added to the combination’s overall score.

After the first round, Rizvi and Finnick sat at the top of the class with the high score of 92. The rider held onto her lead during the second round with a score of 84.5 and earned an overall score of 176.50. Right behind Rizvi was Jayne with scores of 90 and 86.25 for a total score of 176.25.

Zayna Rizvi and Finnick Eq 623_8277 Sportfot
Zayna Rizvi and Finnick © Sportfot

Rizvi, Jayne, Gibbs, and Alston returned in reverse order for the final test of the evening. Competitors were told the test while in the ring and were asked to trot a jump, counter canter a fence, and demonstrate a hand gallop to the last oxer. After producing a flawless round, Jayne and Charisma took over the top spot in the class.

Jayne, of Elgin, IL, was thrilled to finish her last year showing at WEF as a junior with one of the biggest accomplishments of her career so far.

“I’ve been doing well throughout the circuit but consistency has been a bit of an issue for me, so it feels awesome to finally be able to win one of these classes,” commented Jayne. “I haven’t won a big class like this before, so it feels awesome.”

Although this was the first time that 16-year-old Alston, of New Albany, OH, competed in the WEF Equitation Championship, his mount Waldo is a seasoned professional and won the class in 2019 with Sam Walker. They scored 85.75 in the first round and 87.25 in the second round for a total of 173.

Alexander Alston and Waldo Eq 623_8402 Sportfot
Alexander Alston and Waldo © Sportfot

“He’s very brave, so nothing out of the normal routine was needed to get him ready,” Alston said of his preparation for this class. “He won [in 2019] with Sam Walker. I tried to fill the big shoes. There wasn’t any extra pressure [though]. It feels really good to be in the top four, seeing that he is consistent with top people, and that I’m the one getting to ride him.”

Third-place finisher Gibbs, of Colorado Springs, CO, received a score of 84.75 to put him and Cent 15 in sixth place after the first round. The pair then produced an impressive second round with a score of 89 to move into third.

Gibbs made sure he had a plan for his specific horse in the schooling area and tried to base his strategy off of what he has learned from trainers at Beacon Hill Show Stables.

“I think that I just took the ideas that my trainer has been teaching me and really emphasizing with me with this horse in particular and incorporating those into my own style of warm-up,” explained Gibbs. “With this horse in particular, I need him to really stretch across the oxers, so I jump a wider oxer in the warm-up, which I don’t do on all of the horses, but for him it’s very important. It’s really just focusing on what we’ve been doing at home and what’s been important for me and the horse.”

Dominic Gibbs and Cent 15 Eq 623_8311 sportfot
Dominic Gibbs and Cent 15 © Sportfot

This was also Rizvi’s first time competing in the WEF Equitation Championship, and the rider was happy to have her trusted mount Finnick by her side.

“I am going on almost three years with him,” said Rizvi, of Greenwich, CT. “Before I rode him, my sister Yasmin had him. After she had been riding him I was under a little pressure to do well on him, but the first time I showed him was actually at Maclay Regionals and I was eighth there, so after that I knew that he and I would be a good match. He’s one of the sweetest horses I’ve ever known, and he’s constantly learning new things and teaching me new things. I couldn’t ask for a better horse.”

Only a fraction of a point behind Rizvi, Jayne knew that she had to go all out in the test in order to win. The rider did an impressive inside turn that impressed the judges and moved Jayne and Charisma, a 14-year-old Warmblood gelding by Stakkato, to the top of the leaderboard.

“I went in, and I knew I just had to do the best I could,” said Jayne. “I wanted to take risks. I was sitting in second, and I knew I had to go all out to try and move up, so that’s what I did and it worked out. I know my horse is really well schooled. He’s done classes like this for many years, so I knew it would be easy for him and I knew I had to take risks. I knew he could do it so I decided to try.”

Jayne’s trainers Andre Dignelli, Patricia Griffith, Laena Romond, and Lynn Jayne received the Trainer Award. Awards for the families of the top two riders, Natalie Jayne and Zayna Rizvi, were given in honor of their support.

Natalie Jayne and Charisma Eqpres 623_8582 Sportfot
Natalie Jayne and Charisma in their winning presentation with Kaitlin Porath of Equiline, and trainers Laena Romond, mother Lynn Jayne, Patricia Griffith, and Andre Dignelli. © Sportfot

The “Class Action” Best Equitation Horse Award was given to Finnick, ridden by Zayna Rizvi and owned by Jordan Rose Freedman, and presented by Stacia Madden. It is awarded to the owner of the horse in the class that is viewed as a true partner with the rider and enjoys rising to the occasion and was chosen by the judges.

The Best Turned Out Horse Award was presented to Donald Stewart’s Iwan, ridden by Madison Rauschenbach, and groom Leo Hernandez.

Saturday competition will feature the highlight event of the season, the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village.

WEF Equitation Championship group DJI_0423 Sportfot
The riders and judges of the 2021 WEF Equitation Championship. © Sportfot

Final Results: WEF Equitation Championship

Top four were tested in a third round to determine final placings, but only scores from the first two rounds were announced.

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
90 / 86.25 | 176.25

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
92 / 84.50 | 176.50

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
84.75 / 89 | 173.75

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
85.75 / 87.25 | 173

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
85.5 / 84.50 | 170

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
86.87 / 82.75 | 169.62

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
83.50 / 82.75 | 166.25

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
83.25 / 80 | 163.25

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
83 / 80 |163

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
88 / 75 | 163

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
83.25 / 79 | 162.25

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
82.75 / 78 | 160.75

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
84.37 / 64.50 |148.87

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
83.51 / 64 | 147.50

R1 / R2 | TOTAL
84.25 / 56.50 | 140.75

Shane Sweetnam and Indra van de Oude Heihoef Are Swift In $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m Classic CSI5*

Galloping swiftly across the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Indra van de Oude Heihoef, owned by The Blue Buckle Group, won the $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m Classic CSI5* on Friday.

Out of 46 entries in the class, 19 were clear over the speed course designed by Guilherme Jorge (BRA). Starting the class off with a bang, Olympic individual gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid, a 15-year-old Oldenburg by Chacco Blue x Come On owned by Chacco Kid Group, raced to set the leading time of 62.24 seconds, which would hold up for second place after the remaining 45 entries.

Riding early in the class as well in the fifth spot in the order, Sweetnam and Indra van de Oude Heihoef shaved almost a full second off the winning time, taking it down to 61.26 seconds.

Shane Sweetnam and Indra van de Oude Heihoef 616_7151 Sporfot
Shane Sweetnam and Indra van de Oude Heihoef © Sporfot

No one else was able to catch Sweetnam’s time, but Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Hungry Heart, a nine-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Baltimore 1178 x Loucaibo owned by Stone Hill Farm, came closest in 63.10 seconds for third place.

Although Sweetnam had not seen Lamaze’s round, seeing his time gave Sweetnam a good idea of what kind of speed he would need.

“I had walked a plan for myself,” explained Sweetnam. “Everything came up the way I had planned it and imagined it. On Wednesday, I thought I could have won that class as well, but I just got caught in one place with a second distance. Today, everything came up nice. It was beatable, but it was going to force people to always have to try hard for it.”

Sweetnam noted that having everything show up out of stride in Friday’s course made his horse’s path smooth and quick, due to “Ivy’s” way of going.

“She has a very big stride, so when everything shows up, it makes it a bit easier,” he said of the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Casantos x Action-Breaker. “If you have to slow down with her, it definitely takes a half a second from you when you have to add a stride. Also, she jumps quite high, so all those inches and extra strides make a big difference to her. You have other horses that naturally are quick and can add a little stride here and there, like McLain’s horse [Catoki], who is super quick without leaving out strides. For a class like this, to win it, it has to all show up.”

Shane Sweetnam pres 616_7473 Sportfot
Shane Sweetnam (IRL) with Richard Schechter, Chairman and CEO of Bainbridge Companies, in his winning presentation. © Sportfot

Ivy has competed on Nations Cup teams for Ireland and in multiple five-star events with Sweetnam. In last year’s WEF, a small injury kept her out of competition until the final weeks, and COVID then changed everyone’s plan. After a solid start in the 2021 WEF, the horse had a month off of competition and has come back fresh for the final two weeks. Sweetnam is aiming Indra for the $73,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Series Final in WEF 12.

“The first day she was a little rusty; today she felt smooth,” said Sweetnam. “It’s nice for her to get out here on the grass and help her feel good. This will help her feel confident going into next week.”

Final Results: $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m Classic CSI5*

1. INDRA VAN DE OUDE HEIHOEF: 2008 Belgian Warmblood mare by Casantos x Action-Breaker
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), The Blue Buckle Group: 0/61.26

2. CHACCO KID: 2006 Oldenburg by Chacco Blue x Come On
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Chacco Kid Group: 0/62.24

3. HUNGRY HEART: 2012 SWB gelding by Baltimore 1178 x Loucaibo
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/63.10

4. OAK GROVE’S LAITH: 2011 Selle Français gelding by London x Sirene De Riverland
ABDEL SAID (EGY), AS Sporthorses: 0/64.09

5. KIANA VAN HET HERDERSHOF: 2010 BWP mare by Toulon x Starlight VD Hemelseschoot
DANIEL DEUSSER (GER), Stephex Stables: 0/64.29

6. VIENNA: 2011 Hanoverian mare by Valentino x Leena J
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/64.59

7. ATHOS D’ELLE: 2010 Selle Français stallion by Apache d’Adriers x Papillon Rouge
KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners LLC: 0/64.66

8. HERMELIEN VD HOOGHOEVE: 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare by Tangelo VD Zuthoeve x Thunder VD Zuthoeve
NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Evergate Stables, LLC: 0/65.61

9. BOHEME DE FLEYRES: 2011 Selle Français mare by Vegas de Ste. Hermelle x Easy Boy
ASHLEE BOND (ISR), Little Valley Farms: 0/65.82

10. CONNER 70: 2011 Holsteiner gelding by Connor 48 x Cosimo
MARTIN FUCHS (SUI), Thomas Fuchs: 0/66.03

11. OPIUM DU SOUFFLET: 2009 Swiss gelding by Ogano Sitte x Landjuweel St. Hubert
NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Rocking D Ranch: 0/66.04

12. COMEDIE DE TALMA: 2012 Selle Français mare by Kannan x Contender
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Ilan Ferder and Esperanza Imports: 0/66.27

Whitaker Returns to WEF Winner’s Circle in $37,000 CabanaCoast CSI2* Qualifier

The two-star division continued on Friday in the Global International Arena with the $37,000 CabanaCoast CSI2* Qualifier with 55 entries. There were seven that found the key to a clear round and advanced to the jump-off as riders were aiming to qualify for Sunday’s $50,000 CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI2*.

Riding second to last in the jump-off, Ellen Whitaker (GBR) and Atevla, owned by Maggie Kehring, brought in a quick time of 34.17 seconds for victory.

Ellen Whitaker and Atevla 616_7059 Sportfot
Ellen Whitaker and Atevla © Sportfot

They were chasing a time of 35.39 seconds, set by Johan Kachelhoffer (RSA) and Cosmona, a 2011 DWB mare by Cosmeo x Bogegardens Apollo owned by Anton Marano, who would eventually finish in second place. Third place went to Matthew Boddy (GBR) and Balotelli 5, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Balou du Rouet x Contendro I owned by Purple Road, LLC. They finished clear in a time of 36.08 seconds.

This marks a return to the winner’s circle at WEF for the 35-year-old Whitaker, who has not competed at WEF since she was 19 years old. “The last time I was here, I won loads of classes!” she laughed.

It was also a return for Whitaker with Atevla, a horse she started showing at the FEI level in February 2018. Her brother, Donald Whitaker, took over the ride in 2019 and competed the stallion through November of 2020, after which it was purchased by amateur rider Maggie Kehring.

“I brought him over here before Christmas and sold him to Maggie Kehring,” explained Whitaker. “Maggie asked me to ride him again this week for her, so this is the first week I’ve ridden him in quite a long time. The relationship is as good as it was before! Before he came to America, I had lent him to my brother, who is working for Darragh [Kenny], who’s my boyfriend. He needed a horse to show in the bigger classes. He was jumping and doing well and got sold, and now he’s back.”

The course, designed by Mauricio Garcia (PUR), offered a challenge for riders.

Whitaker agreed, “I thought it was quite technical everywhere, and the time was quite tight. It was a really careful course. I just tried to make sure I had really good control and hit everything exactly like I wanted to, because I don’t think it was a course that allowed you to make too many mistakes today. It helped that he was feeling fantastic. He jumped amazing. I was really pleased with him.”

Ellen Whitaker and Atevla pres 616_7115 Sportfot
Ellen Whitaker (GBR) and Atevla with Claire Wren and Quintyn Baeumler of CabanaCoast in their winning presentation. © Sportfot

Whitaker plans to show Atevla in Sunday’s grand prix. She remarked, “I’m really looking forward to it; it’s good to have him back, and I’m enjoying it.”

Final Results: $37,000 CabanaCoast 1.45m CSI2* Qualifier

1. ATEVLA: 2010 Selle Français stallion by Rissoa d’Ag x Lagardere II
ELLEN WHITAKER (GBR), Maggie Kehring: 0/0/34.17

2. COSMONA: 2011 DWB mare by Cosmeo x Bogegardens Apollo
JOHAN KACHELHOFFER (RSA), Anton Marano: 0/0/35.39

3. BALOTELLI 5: 2010 Hanoverian gelding by Balou du Rouet x Contendro I
MATTHEW BODDY (GBR), Purple Road, LLC: 0/0/36.08

4. DESTINY SECOND LIFE Z: 2010 Zangersheide mare by Diamant De Semilly x Cassina St Gyvan Z
CLAUDIA BALLESTEROS (MEX), Claudia Ballesteros: 0/0/40.16

5. ALL IN: 2005 KWPN gelding by Aachen x Indoctro
KATHERINE STRAUSS (USA), Katherine Strauss LLC: 0/4/35.79

6. CHANDON BLUE: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco Blue x Landcapitol
LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Mary Chapot: 0/8/33.47

7. GOTICO DI CA’ SAN GIORGIO: 2011 Italian Sport Horse gelding by Diamant de Semilly
MARIA SCHAUB (USA), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/27/59.12

8. ALMA Z: 2007 Oldenburg mare by Chacco-Blue x Pablo
DANIEL CYPHERT (USA), Heathman Farm, LLC: 1/73.98

9. TIESTO DU PARSIS Z: 2013 Zangersheide gelding
CHRIS PRATT (CAN), Little Creek Investment and Marie Lahy: 1/74.00

10. H5 JEMOUSIN: 2009 BWP gelding by Vivaldi du Seigneur x Lipton
CARLOS HANK GUERREIRO (MEX), H5 Stables: 2/77.24

11. TEAM DE COQUERIE: 2007 Selle Francais gelding by Heartbreaker x Papillon Rogue
STEPHEN MOORE (IRL), Vlock Show Stables, LLC: 4/69.46

12. CHACCO BUMPY: 2010 Oldenburg mare by Chacco-Blue x Toulon
LUIS PEDRO BIRABEN (ARG), Miguel Madero and Luis Pedro Biraben: 4/69.73

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