Week five of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Friday with a win for Ireland's Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic. Cyklon made Friday's class his comeback to the winner's circle after suffering a difficult year with illness and multiple surgeries.
Bob Ellis (GBR) set the course for Friday's 1.45m speed competition with 71 entries and 21 clear rounds. Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, were the winners with an impressive round in 55.76 seconds. The 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Cortus) is a master of the speed rounds and has won in competitions all around the world, but this summer Cyklon had two close calls with his health.
"Cyklon had a tough year," Sweetnam stated. "He nearly died twice in June. We went to Europe, and just before we were to go to Mannheim, he colicked and he had to go for surgery. Then a week later, he got an infection in the guttural pouch. It was totally not linked to the colic, but it is very serious and a lot of horses start to bleed out and can die from it. He was in the stall, and he was lucky that it was during the day because if it were during the night, he could have just bled out. We were in Belgium, and the clinic was only ten minutes away, so he got straight to the clinic. A specialist came in from France and did a couple of surgeries, and with the help of everyone there, he recovered. It is very rare. They do not know how it happens, but some horses just get it and a lot of horses do die from it."
"Between the surgeries and everything, it took a long time for him to come back," Sweetnam continued. "He could not travel back to the U.S. for a while. He was there in the clinic for three or four months - nearly the whole summer. Then he came back and did quarantine in October. Lucky enough, Spy Coast can do their own quarantine, so he did quarantine there. I started riding him again there towards the end of October and then I started showing him again the first week of December."
"He feels great," the rider declared. "He is only back properly in the ring since December. I did a couple of smaller shows, and this is his second week at WEF and he has been placed in all four classes, so I think he is happy to be back. He is an unbelievable horse, but that just shows you how much of a winner he is and what a horse of a lifetime he is, especially in these divisions. He is just a great horse."
Sweetnam and Cyklon went 66th in the order to take over the lead. The pair's time of 55.76 seconds pushed Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm's Davendy S into second place on their round in 55.95 seconds. Adam Prudent (FRA), who took an early lead in 56.78 seconds, settled for third with Plain Bay Sales' Vasco. Conor Swail (IRL) finished fourth aboard Ariel and Susan Grange's Cita with a time of 57.03 seconds, and Reed Kessler (USA) and Kessler Show Stables' Ligist finished fifth in 57.71 seconds.
"I saw Adam Prudent go, and I said after that, I did not think he would be beat," Sweetnam admitted. "I had a plan to see where I would finish up; I thought I could be top four maybe. Then everything just came up really nice, and he is such a quick horse. I did the inside turn at the top of the ring. I do not know if Adam did that, but I saw Conor Swail do it. When I walked the course originally, I was thinking of doing the inside turn, and then I saw that nobody was doing it. Then I walked in with the horse and looked at it, and I thought, 'Okay, he can do that.' And I think that is what made the difference."
In addition to their winning prize money, Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 were presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week five, a special award presented by Laura Fetterman of Champion Equine Insurance. Speaking of the honor, Sweetnam agreed, "Cyklon has great style. He has great conformation, and he is a great horse. His technique is very good and obviously he is a beautiful looking horse when he is going around."
Sweetnam is still deciding whether he will jump Cyklon again in Sunday's $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, but the horse will definitely have a couple of weeks off after this week. "He deserves them, but he does not really like time off," Sweetnam laughed. "He likes to be in the ring."
Also competing in the International Ring on Friday, Jacob Pope and Zilvana won the $2,500 MAYBACH - ICONS OF LUXURY High Amateur-Owner jump-off, and McKayla Langmeier topped the $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper jump-off class riding Jane Clark's Whistler. The $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m Speed Challenge concluded competition in the International Ring for the day. The class was held in a California Split with a win for Richard Spooner and MH Warbucks LLC's MH Wardance in Section A and Georgina Bloomberg aboard Gotham Enterprizes LLC's South Street in Section B.
Source: Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions News // Picture © Sportfot
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