Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) hosted its Holiday Festival I competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, this weekend on December 13-15, 2013. Just weeks away from the start of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), many international exhibitors have arrived early in Wellington to get their horses ready for the highly competitive circuit. The weekend featured a $10,000 Open Stake class as well as a $25,000 Holiday I Grand Prix with a roster of impressive horses and riders competing.
The $25,000 Holiday I Grand Prix concluded a fantastic competition on Sunday with an exciting win for Sweden's Alexander Zetterman and his brand new mount, Cafino. Jumping a course set by Anna Catalina Harris Cruz, of Mexico, Zetterman and Cafino topped a ten-horse jump-off out of 37 original competitors. Just three entries were able to go double clear over the short course, and the pair's time of 35.11 seconds earned top prize.
Samuel Parot (CHI) guided his horse William Wallace to second place honors in a time of 38.84 seconds. Ryan Genn (USA) and Wilhelm Genn's Cookie Monster finished third with their clear jump-off round in 41.42 seconds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Siboney Ranch LLC's Mimosa had the fastest four-fault round in 39.32 seconds to place fourth.
Zetterman began riding Cafino, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cardento 933 x Roderik 856), in September. The horse and rider are just getting to know each other, but Cafino has already had great success under young Swedish rider Karl-Jakob Ingvarsson, and Zetterman has high hopes for their partnership.
"He is a super easy horse," Zetterman detailed. "He is a really motivated horse. I have never had a horse with that motivation. He wants to go clear so much, it is unbelievable. He has a big heart and a super intelligent brain. The confidence he has is something I have never felt in a horse. He is such a competitor."
The duo went sixth in the order for Sunday's jump-off, and Zetterman explained his plan going into the second round. "I think there had only been one clear before me and my brother told me before I went in the ring that he was really fast and that I should probably even think about going around for second place, but then I was just jumping and I just kind of took the first stride I saw everywhere and it ended up being pretty good," the rider explained.
Zetterman will stay in Wellington to compete at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival and hopes to progress with Cafino throughout the circuit. "We will take it one day at a time," he stated. "I think he has the quality to do some bigger grand prix, but we will see which level we are going to aim for. I am still getting to know him. We will start and progressively, as we get to know each other, work our way up."
Zetterman and his brother, Daniel, will both show in Wellington this winter and Alexander explained that they decided to come to Florida early this year after spending the summer in Europe. They have enjoyed the competitive ESP horse shows throughout the fall circuit and appreciate the opportunities that being in Wellington provides.
"We came down here a bit earlier this year and we really like it here, so I think we will be planning to do these kind of circuits for the next few years," Zetterman noted. "I think that there are so many opportunities in Wellington. It is very easy to work here, the fact that everything is in one place and everybody that's from upper level show jumping is here. There is a very good market here and it is a lot easier than traveling around Europe all of the time on the road."
"I think there are great opportunities to develop over here," Zetterman said. "It is especially great when you have a new horse like this that you want to get to know. You can have the horse ready for the big stuff and there are a wide range of good shows to compete in. I find that it is a lot easier to work here than in Europe, especially with the weather as well."
Final Results: $25,000 Holiday I Grand Prix
1. CAFINO ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN: 0/0/35.115
2. WILLIAM WALLACE SAMUEL PAROT SAMUEL PAROT: 0/0/38.842
3. COOKIE MONSTER RYAN GENN WILHELM GENN: 0/0/41.427
4. MIMOSA SHANE SWEETNAM SIBONEY RANCH: 0/4/39.323
5. OSIRIS GEMMA PATERNOSTER GEMMA PATERNOSTER & JULIA HARRISON LEE: 0/4/40.989
6. CARLA TM SAMUEL PAROT SAMUEL PAROT: 0/8/36.797
7. UTAH LESLIE HOWARD THE UTAH GROUP: 0/8/36.996
8. BELUGA SHANE SWEETNAM SPY COAST FARM LLC: 0/8/38.106
9. ZIDANE ALI WOLFF JOHN C WOLFF: 0/8/39.656
10. ZARAGOSA CATHERINE PASMORE PASMORE STABLES LLC: 0/19/56.368
11. CASALL ALI WOLFF BLACKLICK BEND FARM: 1/84.860
12. O'SPLENDIDO LORCAN GALLAGHER SPY COAST FARM LLC: 4/77.760
ESP's Holiday Festival I held classes throughout the weekend for all levels of horse and rider, kicking off with Friday's $10,000 Open Jumper Stake class. A total of 29 entries competed with 13 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Twelve chose to return, and Ali Wolff and her mount Caya, owned by John C. Wolff, had the fastest of seven double clear rounds in a time of 37.84 seconds for the win.
Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm LLC's Beluga placed second in 38.37 seconds. Ian Millar and Dixson, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, had the third place time in 39.69 seconds, and Catherine Pasmore and Zaragosa, owned by Pasmore Stables LLC, finished fourth with their round in 39.75 seconds.
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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