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Erynn Ballard closes out CSI3* week in Palm Beach County Sports Commission Grand Prix

Monday, 22 April 2024
CSI3* ESP Spring Series Wellington International 2024

Photo © Sportfot. Erynn Ballard & Coconet, winners of the $140,000 Palm Beach County Sports Commission CSI3* Grand Prix. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Wellington International



Canada’s Erynn Ballard was in it to win it in the $140,000 Palm Beach County Sports Commission CSI3* Grand Prix on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village on Sunday afternoon. The culmination of three-star competition highlighted the conclusion of the third week of the 2024 ESP Spring Series, presented by Florida Coast Equipment. The Spring Series at Wellington International runs for five weeks as part of the ESP Annual Series and finishes on May 12. 

In the warm-up arena, trainer Ilan Ferder told Ballard that the class was hers to win and he was proved right. She guided Coconet, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare (Colman x Cornet’s Stern) owned by Wight Show Stables to top a six-horse jump-off over courses designed by Andy Christiansen Jr. (USA).

“I haven't won [a grand prix] in a long time, and a comment like that can make you grow and rise to the occasion,” said Ballard. “My plan was to go as fast as I've ever gone with her before, because if today was the day and I didn't win, I wanted to lose trying to win.”

Ballard’s plan became a reality as she posted a jump-off time of 36.69 seconds, just fractions faster than runner-up Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) and Condara in 36.92 seconds. Larrazabal settled for second with owner Victoria Heurtematte. Luis Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) and Collin pocketed the third-place ribbon in 38.49 seconds for owner Santa Cecilia Stables. 

Photo © Sportfot. Erynn Ballard & Coconet are presented as winners of the $140,000 Palm Beach County Sports Commission CSI3* Grand Prix. Photo © Sportfot.

Coconet, the former mount of Brazilian Olympian Yuri Mansur, joined Ballard’s string at the start of 2023 and has been knocking on the door of a big win. “She was bought by The Wight Family for me to campaign and develop. They're huge supporters of the sport and huge supporters of this partnership,” added Ballard.

“We've done everything right by her and she has stepped up. We used last summer’s winning round and speed classes to teach her how to run, and this year she has been my four-star, three-star horse. She's showing us that she's a real competitor. She belongs here.”

Coconet certainly looked like she belonged on the derby field on Sunday as she showcased her recently perfected speed against a field of 42 horses. 

“She's a real fighter, but if you look at her show record, consistency is what she's probably most reliable for,” said Ballard, who has spent her winter in Wellington and will take two weeks off before focusing on her Olympic Games campaign. 

“I love Wellington; what they do for us and what they give us I don't think you can get anywhere else in the world. This is our team’s 16th-straight week though, so we are ready for a break,” said Ballard with a smile. 

Ballard, 43, will begin her journey to Paris with two shows on home soil at Thunderbird Show Park then Spruce Meadows before heading to Europe. Her attention will also turn to newly acquired Olympic hopeful—Nikka vd Bisschop—the 2023 Pan American Games mount of fellow Canadian Beth Underhill, which recently joined her string in partnership with The Rein Family. 

“It's a big year for me and for Canada, so we are going to give it our best shot,” concluded Ballard.


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