Two-time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden rode Abigail Wexner's Mademoiselle to victory in the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 Friday at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The grand prix was held on the grass at The Stadium, and riders and spectators alike enjoyed the beautiful weather and change of scenery at the venue.
There were 29 entries in the class, and the course was designed by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England. The course had 14 numbered obstacles with a triple and a double combination. There were nine clear rounds, and they advanced to the jump-off to compete for time.
The first to go was Candice King on Skara Glen's Davos. They set the time to beat at 44.88 seconds and had no faults, and this would hold up for third place. The final two riders would post clear rounds and race for the win. McLain Ward and Pjotter van de Zonnehoeve, owned by Louisburg Farm, set the fastest time so far in 41.72 seconds, and with no faults they went into the lead. They would eventually finish in second place after Madden and Mademoiselle, owned by Abigail Wexner, were able to speed down the final line in one less stride and stop the timers in 40.91 seconds.
Ward said afterward, "The horse is very, very careful and I got a little deep to the second to last and he went very high. It was a five or six (strides) and I decided to do six mid-air. In hindsight it was a little slow and definitely opened the door a crack for Beezie to slip into. It wasn't a big mistake, but it was room to lose the class. I knew when I was doing it, I thought 'Oh this is slow.'"
Madden added, "I watched McLain go in the jump-off. He was pretty fast everywhere else. It's a quick horse, other than it jumps high so it spends a little time in the air like it did over the second to last jump. My horse has a little more experience. She's quicker through the air, and she's pretty quick across the ground. I got stuck a little at fence two because the eight (strides) got steadier than I thought. Then the same as McLain, I didn't catch a great one to the skinny, but I was definitely faster to the last line and down to the last fence."
For more information go to www.equestriansport.com
Source: Press release from equestriansport.com by Jennifer Wood for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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