Eduardo Menezes & Caruschka 2. ph: Anne Gittins Photography.
The $35,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix Opener, presented by Dover Saddlery, launched the annual ESP Holiday & Horses CSI4* competition week on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.
A total of 45 horse and rider combinations tested the course designed by Guilherme Jorge (BRA), which ultimately presented the win to Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and his mount, Caruschka 2.
Menezes and the 2004 Oldenburg mare (Caspar x Continue), owned by E2 Stables, climbed to the top of the leaderboard after contesting the course and finishing with a time of 62.25s.
“I thought the course today was great. It was a bit of a challenge,” said Menezes. “There were a good amount of turns and places where you could add [strides] and then ask to go forward a bit more, so it rode very well.”
Menezes competed the mare throughout the summer with much success, commenting on their strong start to the week of competition, which marks the beginning of the high season in Wellington, FL, for equestrian athletes.
“Caruschka 2 won in Aachen this past summer. She wins basically everywhere that she goes,” he explained. “She is a mare that I have had for many years and she’s like an ATM machine. She’s just a great competitor. With her, I just have to focus on myself and try not to mess up because normally she doesn’t make too many mistakes.”
Second place was captured by Brianne Goutal (USA), piloting Rose Hill Farm’s Fineman, a 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Feliciano x Beach Boy), after stopping timers in 62.65s. Third place honors went to Eugenio Garza (MEX) and Bariano, a 2001 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Jetset-D x Skippy), owned by El Milagro, ending with a time of 63.14s.
For Menezes, he plans to approach the ESP Holiday Series as a growth opportunity, working over the next month to prepare his mounts for the upcoming show season.
“I have some new horses,” he said, “and the goal is to get them ready this month to begin competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival when that starts.”
As far as long-term goals for the rider, the FEI World Equestrian Games™ next year are not far from his mind. “My horse Quintol, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Quintender x Finja), is having a rest this winter and I want to bring him back out in the summer of 2018 to try to qualify for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018,” says Menezes.
Competition will resume on Thursday, November 30, at PBIEC featuring the $35,000 1.50m Qualifier CSI 4* presented by Ultima Fitness at 12:00 p.m. The Holiday & Horses CSI 4* will continue through Sunday, December 3. The $216,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission will take place on Saturday, December 2, at 6:30 p.m. and feature the first round of charity drawings for the 2018 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity® Investments throughout the evening.
The full results can be viewed here.