The youngest rider in Saturday night's $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix was the winner as eighteen-year-old Reed Kessler and Ligist jumped to victory during the highlight event of week two at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). With riders representing fourteen different countries competing in the class, the USA took the top seven placings and the young women were one, two and three. Kessler and Ligist topped Katie Dinan (19) and Nougat du Vallet and Brianne Goutal (24) aboard Nice de Prissey. The second week of FTI WEF competition, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, will conclude with the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday afternoon. The 2013 FTI WEF circuit runs through March 31 featuring 12 weeks of world-class competition.
Luc Musette of Belgium set the course for Saturday night's $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix. The riders were all complimentary of Musette's course for the evening. Goutal stated, "I thought it was amazing. I thought this course was beautifully built and spot on with the number of clears. It didn't kill anyone, it was hard, it was fast, it was exciting. It is the best course I have jumped in a long time, I thought it was wonderful."
Kessler agreed, "I thought the course was outstanding. I love really natural-feeling courses and I thought the whole thing felt so natural and smooth. There were options for your horses and I thought it was fantastic. He actually reminded me that this was the second grand prix I have won that he designed. He designed the 2* in Paris that I won when I was 16 and I love his courses."Fifty-four entries started the class in round one and nine advanced to the jump-off with four jumping double clear.
Katie Dinan and Grant Road Partners' Nougat du Vallet were the first pair to clear the short course and set the time to beat at 38.19 seconds in the jump-off, eventually finishing second. Ken Berkley and Ax-Cent, owned by Rivers Edge, also cleared the jump-off course and stopped the clock in 39.12 seconds to place fourth. Reed Kessler and Ligist were next to go and blazed through the course in 37.81 seconds to take the lead. Last on course, Brianne Goutal and Cloverleaf Farm's Nice de Prissey cleared the short course in 38.53 seconds to secure fourth place honors.
Reed Kessler was thrilled with the effort of her horse Ligist in the evening's class. Kessler and the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Levantos II x Robin Z) recently jumped up to 2.10m in a six-bar class in Geneva and the rider feels that the class really "raised his sights."
"I think that is the best Goose has ever jumped; he jumped incredibly," Kessler smiled after her win. "I just tried to keep a nice, tight track and take a shot and he was fantastic. I did see Katie a little bit on the screen. I'm not sure where I made up the time. He is a really fast horse; I use him as my speed horse mostly."
Second place finisher Katie Dinan was also very pleased with her mount Nougat du Vallet. Dinan, who is currently in college at Harvard University, is off from school for the month and making the most of her time in Wellington.
"I thought that my horse 'Nugget' jumped good tonight, I was really happy with him," Dinan stated. "We did the Mar-a-lago show two weeks ago and we were aiming for this grand prix. I am down here and I am trying to make the most of that, so it was really nice to have a top three placing in this grand prix. I didn't get a chance to see Reed go, I was walking out my horse, but I thought my jump-off was pretty fast. My horse takes a little bit more time in the air, so I think maybe if I had started out with a little bit more pace I could have helped that, but I can't complain; he was fantastic."
Brianne Goutal went last with her mount Nice de Prissey and had the opportunity to see both riders go in the jump-off, but had to take into account her horse's large stride. "I was lucky enough to watch both of them from the schooling area on the jumbotron," Goutal noted. "My horse jumped amazing; I was thrilled with the way he went. He is a much bigger horse than theirs; he has a big stride and he takes a longer time to cover the ground. I was able to leave out a stride from one to two and I think I was quite fast back to three, but he is quite difficult to turn. I had to take a little time back to the in and out and again back to the last line, but I was thrilled with the results. I was thrilled with the way he jumped and both of their rounds were blazing fast, so I am very happy."
Seeing three of the best young female riders from the United States take the top spots in an international class is encouraging for all of three competitors. Goutal commented, "I think that is nice. We have all grown up together. I have known them since they were on ponies and I think they saw me do ponies. It is nice to have everybody together. It is great to have all of the girls and it is nice for the sport. We need more of that here I think."
Final Results: $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2*
1. LIGIST: 2000 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Levantos II x Robin Z REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/0/37.81
2. NOUGAT DU VALLET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Scherif D'elle KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners: 0/0/38.19
3. NICE DE PRISSEY: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Rosire x Amarpour BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Cloverleaf Farm: 0/0/38.53
4. AX CENT: 2003 KWPN gelding by Burggraaf
KENNETH BERKLEY (USA), Rivers Edge: 0/0/39.12
5. ZAFIRA: 2004 KWPN mare Nassau x Cappucino van Berkenbroek
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerney: 0/4/37.62
6. ROTHCHILD: 2001 SBS gelding by Artos x Elegant De L'Ile
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Sagamore Farms: 0/4/37.71
7. INDIGO: 2000 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Indoctro
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek & Gladewinds: 0/4/38.42
8. HH LET'S FLY: 1999 Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Forrest
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/4/39.52
9. SS BOBBY: 2002 KWPN gelding by Concorde x Joost
CHRIS SORENSEN (CAN), Britland Hughes: 0/8/44.16
10. SHOW SHOW: 2002 BWP gelding by Darco x Royal Fleu
ALVARO DE MIRANDA (BRA), RD Jumping Higher Ltda: 4/67.99
11. QUALITY GIRL: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Quidam's Rubin x Dobrock
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Todd Minikus, Ltd:4/69.83
12. ROCKY W: 1998 KWPN gelding by Libero H x Corofino
KAITLIN CAMPBELL (USA), Kaitlin Campbell: 4/70.20
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