Wellington, FL – November 28, 2018 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Palina De L’Escaut produced a double clear in the $35,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener CSI 4* to begin 2018 Holiday & Horses competition at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), conquering their first FEI-level class together with ease and stopping the second-round timers in 30.499 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) rode his own Thriller P, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Lucky Light), to second and double clear in 30.59 seconds, while Daniel Bluman (ISR) rounded out the podium in 31.327 seconds on the speed portion aboard Cartouche, a 2007 stallion, owned by himself and Over the Top Stables, LLC.
Forty-five entries tested the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), and Sweetnam remarked that the 2009 Hanoverian mare (Perigueux x Gottard) owned by Sweetnam, Paul Tracy, and Spy Coast Farm, LLC, proved herself quite capable of answering the questions posed to the course’s challengers, despite the fact that it was their first FEI class.
“I’ve had her since the end of the summer and she’s a bit green still,” Sweetnam explained. “I knew from the courses I’ve done on her that she’s quite nifty at turning and she’s very careful, so I knew she could do that turn, though I wasn’t sure it would be enough to win the class. It definitely worked out in my favor.”
In particular, the manner in which Palina De L’Escaut attacked said turn made a significant difference in the speed portion of the class, Sweetnam elaborated: “The second half in the speed part, there was an option with a turn that obviously not everybody did and that made a big difference for the win. I think naturally she covers the ground and is quite a quick horse, but I do think she saved two seconds when she turned the way she did, because she literally came off the jump before, turned and looked, and we went straight for it. She zoned in on it perfectly.”
Sweetnam stated that he has been trying horses in Europe frequently throughout the year and first partnered with the mare in Belgium. Right away, he noticed some qualities that he liked. “Honestly, she gives a great feel and she’s very sensitive, but at that stage she was still quite raw,” he admitted. “And she still has little things to learn, but she’s a very quick learner and she’s picking up everything very fast.”
|Sweetnam in his presentation ceremony alongside ring master Steven Rector.|
The $10,000 faults-converted competition will kick off the championship on Thursday, followed by a $15,000 jump-off competition on Friday. The championship will be decided after the $25,000 two-round competition on Sunday. The champion will be the competitor with the lowest number of penalties after the three phases of the championship, with $50,000 in prize money awarded to the top-10 overall.
Twenty-four-year-old Abigail McArdle (Barrington, Ill.) claimed individual bronze with Adamo in 2016 and Chuck Berry 8 in 2017. She started a partnership with Victorio 5, Victorio Equine Group, LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion, earlier this year and aims for a top performance in the championship. McArdle and Victorio 5 earned three top-six finishes at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October as they continue to develop as a team.
Several competitors from this summer’s Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North (NAYC) are stepping up to this championship to further their education with the challenging competition format. Seventeen-year-old Samantha Cohen, young rider team gold and individual silver medalist, and 18-year-old McKayla Langmeier, young rider individual bronze medalist, bring their NAYC mounts, Carmen and Durosa W, respectively. Cohen (New York, N.Y.) and Langmeier (East Granby, Conn.) were also teammates on the U.S. team in the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth Final held in Opglabbeek, Belgium, in September.
The first competition begins Thursday afternoon at approximately 2:00 p.m. EST, and all three competitions will be streamed live on USEF Network.
Purchase VIP hospitality for the $205,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission and $25,000 USEF Under 25 Show Jumping National Championship Final here!
For full results from the $35,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener, click here.
The 2018 edition of Holiday & Horses CSI 4* competition will continue through Sunday, December 2, featuring the $35,000 Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital 1.50m Qualifier CSI 4* beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 29, ahead of Saturday night’s $205,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission. For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit.