The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded its seventh week of competition on Sunday with a fantastic line-up of international show jumping and back-to-back wins for 21-year-old Audrey Coulter (USA) of San Francisco, CA. The day kicked off with the $280,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 4* with a win for Coulter and Acorte. The pair beat out the world's number one and two ranked riders, Scott Brash and Ben Maher of Great Britain, who finished second and third respectively with their mounts Ursula XII and Cella. Coulter then went on to another big win in the afternoon's $84,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic with her mount Victory DA. It was a day the young rider will surely never forget.
Fredric Cottier (FRA) was the course designer in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for week seven. The $280,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 4* was postponed due to bad weather on Saturday night, but saw an exciting class on Sunday morning with 44 starters and a five-horse jump-off.
Danielle Goldstein (ISR) and Israeli Equestrian Partners' Carisma were first to go in the jump-off and had four faults in 45.14 seconds to finish fifth. Audrey Coulter and Copernicus Stables LLC's Acorte went next and posted the first clear round in what would prove to be the winning time of 40.51 seconds.
Ben Maher and Jane Clark's Cella did their best, but finished third with their clear round in 41.31 seconds. Brianne Goutal (USA) and Remarkable Farms LP's Nice de Prissey incurred four faults in 41.93 seconds to place fourth. Scott Brash and Ursula XII, owned by Lord and Lady Harris and Lord and Lady Kirkham, also tried to catch Coulter's time but settled for second in 41.10 seconds.
Coulter's winning mount, Acorte, is an eleven-year-old Hanoverian mare by Acorado x Stakkato. The mare previously showed successfully with German rider Rolf Moormann and began competing with Coulter this fall. Sunday's win was Coulter's best finish with Acorte as well as the biggest win of the young rider's career.
"I'm so excited!" she beamed. "Just to be next to Ben and Scott is amazing. My horse was incredible today. It has been a good day; it's very exciting."
Coulter is a student at Dartmouth College and is currently taking a quarter off of school to ride and compete. She has been showing at the 1.50m level for a few years, but moved up to the 1.60m height more recently and has had great results. With Acorte, Coulter finished fifth two weeks ago in the $370,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI-W 5* Presented by Rolex, which saw an exciting one-two finish for Maher and Brash. This time, the rider from California stepped up for the win with the help of her trainers, Markus Beerbaum and Meredith Michaels Beerbaum of Germany.
"It was exciting for sure. I wasn't really expecting it," Coulter said of winning the jump-off. "I was just happy to be in the ring with Scott and Ben and competing, and I'm so fortunate to have the horse I have and such incredible trainers in Meredith and Markus, so I'm just happy to be here."
Coming out of the ring, Coulter was not sure if she had done enough to win, but all she could do was wait. "I hoped the time was good enough, but knowing they were coming after me, I would have been happy with second or third. I went for it and I went as fast as I could and my horse is fast, so I was hoping to win, and it worked out today."
"She's incredible," Coulter said of Acorte. "She's a little feisty, but she has the biggest heart and she tries so hard every time she goes in the ring. I feel so lucky to have her. She's really scopey and really careful. When we first got here I think she was a little shy, but we spoiled her. She really likes cookies, and we give her a lot of attention."
In addition to winning top prize in Sunday's grand prix, Coulter was named the Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for week seven. The award is sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.
Coulter thanked her trainers for their support. "It is incredible training with them," she acknowledged. "They are so supportive. Markus just jumped up and down when I won! They are always there for you, but they also trust that you know what you're doing, so it's like a nice discussion back and forth, which I really enjoy. Training with Meredith is awesome. She is obviously an incredible rider, so it's really fun just being around them every day at the barn."
World number one, Scott Brash, was close behind with his second place finish aboard Ursula XII on Sunday, and gave credit to Coulter's great ride.
"Audrey did an absolutely fantastic job today, and she thoroughly deserves it," Brash acknowledged. "She was very, very fast and I watched her on the screen outside of the ring and it was a perfect round and that horse is a very fast horse. Then I watched Ben go, and it was a tough class. It was fast and it was all set distances. I actually tried to go one less stride after the white oxer, but I had a bit of a stumble so I had to do it in eight (strides). I was very pleased with my horse. She has been so consistent throughout the tour, and this is actually her last class (in Wellington). She goes home soon, so I'm happy it finished off on a good note."
Maher also admitted that his round was just not fast enough to beat Coulter's time and congratulated the rider on her victory.
"Cella again was incredible today, and it's a nice change to jump during the day," Maher noted. "I just didn't have the jump-off I really wanted. It wasn't smooth. It was kind of one of those rounds where I wanted to, but couldn't get going. It was as fast as I could go, and Audrey was way too fast, and I knew it would not be possible to catch her."
"She is just coming up to these ranks and I wish I had been doing this well when I was 21," Maher said of Coulter's success. "I think that's a new horse for her and I know the horse a little bit from Europe, and it seems to like the American system. I think she prefers Audrey."
Final Results: $280,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 4*
1. ACORTE: 2003 Hanoverian mare by Acorado x Stakkato
AUDREY COULTER (USA), Copernicus Stables LLC: 0/0/40.51
2. URSULA XII: 2001 Scottish Sport Horse mare by Ahorn x Papageno
SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Lady Harris & Lady Kirkham: 0/0/41.10
3. CELLA: 2002 BWP mare by Cento x Chin Chin
BEN MAHER (GBR) Jane F. Clark: 0/0/41.31
4. NICE DE PRISSEY: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Rosire x Amarpour
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/4/41.93
5. CARISMA: 2002 Danish Warmblood mare by Willemoes x Racot
DANIELLE GOLDSTEIN (ISR), Israeli Equestrian Partners: 0/4/45.14
6. BONANZA VAN PAEMEL: 2001 BWP gelding by Darco x Sheyenne de Baugy
CATHERINE PASMORE (USA), Pasmore Stables LLC: 1/80.23
7. WILLOW: 2003 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Little Rock
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Amalaya Investments: 4/72.41
8. QUALITY GIRL: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Quidam's Rubin x Dobrock
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Quality Group: 4/73.92
9. CADE DE GULDENBOOM: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Heartbreaker x Darco
ABIGAIL MCARDLE (USA), David McArdle: 4/74.79
10. BÖCKMANNS LAZIO: 2000 Westphalian stallion by Lancer II x Cor de la Bryere
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Karina Rotenberg: 4/74.89
10. MAKAVOY: 2003 KWPN gelding by Hors La Loi II x Ahorn
BEN ASSELIN (CAN), Attache Stables: 4/74.89
12. CORNET D'AMOUR: 2003 Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Damiani
DANIEL DEUSSER (GER), Stephex Stables: 4/75.32
Coulter earns second win of the day in $84,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
An $84,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic concluded the competition on Sunday at the FTI WEF with another exciting victory for Audrey Coulter. Seventy-eight entries showed in the class with ten advancing to the jump-off. Fredric Cottier finished out the week with a challenging course for the 1.50m competitors that included a rarely seen quadruple combination. The oxer-vertical-vertical-oxer combination was a difficult test for many of the horses and riders, but Coulter's horse cleared it easily to move on to the second round.
Coming off the momentum of her big win in the morning, Coulter finished a phenomenal day by piloting Copernicus Stables LLC's Victory DA to the 1.50m win with the fastest of four double clear rounds in the jump-off. The pair raced through the timers in 38.51 seconds, putting the rider in the winner's circle once more. Victory DA also got to stand in for Acorte's winning presentation earlier in the day and took her second victory gallop of the day as well.
"She is much calmer than the other one, so she did the first presentation, and then I think she wanted her own," Coulter laughed after her win.
Australia's Benjamin Meredith guided Bernadien van Westuur, owned by River Farm Sporthorses, to second place with a clear round in 39.43 seconds. Carly Anthony (USA) and Artisan Farms LLC's Rosana du Park placed third in 39.69 seconds, and Ramiro Quintana (ARG) placed fourth with St. Bride's Farm's Caramello Z in 40.78 seconds.
Coulter was not sure how she got so lucky with two huge wins in one day, but she said that she would certainly like to repeat it. "I don't know what I did, but I need to think about it because I need to do it again," the rider smiled. "Victory DA is not a super fast horse. She can go fast, but sometimes if you go really fast on her she gets a little flat and strung out and has some rails, so I wasn't really expecting it. I decided to just go after the grand prix and just show her because I haven't shown her, and it went really well."
The rider had a long day at the horse show, but noted that it was all worth it. "It was a good day; I have never had a day like this," Coulter remarked. "This was amazing, and I am never going to forget it."
Coulter has had Victory DA or "Vicky" for about three years now and knows the mare really well. She is a 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by by Clinton x Attach Z.
"She was sort of my first horse to move up to the 1.60m level," the rider recalled. "She is super scopey. She is one of those that has all of the ability, but is sometimes not as careful, but today she jumped great and was really, really careful."
Coulter spoke about the course and the challenge quadruple combination, noting that her horse had plenty of scope to clear it.
"I have never done a quadruple before," she admitted. "I thought it was a really tricky course actually. Walking it, it was big, it was technical, it was long. It was definitely challenging. The time was tight and I have a kind of slow moving horse, so I was a little worried about the time, but it was a good course for such a big class."
The strategy in the jump-off: "Sometimes you just sort of kick and go," Coulter stated. "I wanted to go for it and today she was really on it and jumping well, so I felt like I could really try. Every time after every single jump you sort of have to land and go with her. She is really good at tight turns, so the turn back to the last line is something that was good for us."
Coulter will compete during FTI WEF weeks nine and twelve and then returns to school for the spring. She then has a job lined up for the summer and will not be able to ride. Her horses will travel to Europe with the Beerbaums after a little time off and will continue to stay in shape and jumping until their rider returns. Coulter hopes to start riding again in August to gear up for next season and then has goals of competing at the 2015 FEI World Cup Finals.
Final Results: $84,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. VICTORY DA: 1998 BWP mare by Clinton x Attach Z
AUDREY COULTER (USA), Copernicus Stables, LLC: 0/0/38.51
2. BERNADIEN VAN WESTUUR: 2001 BWP mare by Toulon x Wibramino
BENJAMIN MEREDITH (AUS), River Farm Sporthorses: 0/0/39.43
3. ROSANA DU PARK: 2005 Selle Francais mare by Kannan
CARLY ANTHONY (USA), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/39.69
4. CARAMELLO Z: 2005 Zangersheide mare by Crown Z x Concorde
RAMIRO QUINTANA (ARG), St. Bride's Farm: 0/0/40.78
5. NOUVELLE: 2004 KWPN mare by Solitair x Contango
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Evita Group: 0/4/41.15
6. AMPARO Z: 2003 Zangersheide gelding by Andiamo Z x Calido I
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Legacy Stables, LLC: 0/4/43.40
7. FLECU: 2004 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Hip Hop x Flamingo
ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 0/4/45.93
8. MELODY DES HAYETTES Z: 2004 Zangersheide mare by Mozart des Hayettes X Ryon d'Anzex X
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/8/38.49
9. WOTSAMILLION: 2005 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Captain Clover x Atlantic Boy
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/8/41.61
10. AD ARGOS: 2005 KWPN gelding by Padinus x Concorde
ALVARO DE MIRANDA (BRA), Victory Equestrian Sport BV & Alvaro de Miranda: 0/17/58.12
11. G&C FLASH: 2002 Hanoverian gelding by Forrester x Grannus
LUIS LARRAZABAL (VEN), Gustavo Mirabal: 1/85.04
12. ALBERTO II: 2003 Holsteiner gelding by Acorado x Cassini I
KARA CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 1/85.52
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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