Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum & Daisy. Ph. ©Sportfot
Week two of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded on Sunday, January 22, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Competition featured the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, which saw victory for 2016 Olympic Team Bronze Medalist Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) riding Daisy. The $25,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix was also held with a win for young rider Lillie Keenan (USA) and Be Gentle.
Week three, sponsored by Adequan®, features CSI 3* competition on January 25-29, 2017. Highlights include Thursday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3, Saturday’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3*, and Sunday’s $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 2, 2017, awarding over $9 million in prize money.
Course designer Ana Catalina Harris Cruz (MEX) concluded week two with 64 entries in the 1.50m competition and 12 in the jump-off. The times were fast, but only three were able to complete the short course without fault. Michaels-Beerbaum took the win with Artemis Equestrian Farm’s Daisy in 41.98 seconds.
Marie Hecart (FRA) jumped Normandie Connection’s Cenwood Delle Lame to second place in 42.57 seconds, and Kimberly Prince (USA) rode Rushy Marsh Farm’s RMF Fatum to third place in 44.08 seconds. Jessica Springsteen (USA) had the fastest round in 40.44 seconds, but finished fourth with one rail down on Stone Hill Farm’s Davendy S.
A nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Excenel V x Timeless), Daisy jumped the young horse classes throughout Europe with Michaels-Beerbaum in 2016, and is just stepping up to the 1.50m level.
“She is absolutely fantastic. She has a heart as big as this horse show,” the rider described. “She wants to do it. She has a wonderful character, a wonderful attitude, and it makes riding fun. This was her first 1.50m jump-off class, and it was just amazing how well and how easily she jumped it. Then to go and win it like she did was really the icing on the cake.”
“This was her first 1.50m jump-off class, and it was just amazing how well and how easily she jumped it.”
With five riders ahead of her in the jump-off who all had rails down, Michaels-Beerbaum was the first to jump a double clear round and keep up the pace.
“I knew everybody was going a little bit too fast, that’s why the rails were coming, so I tried to not overdo it,” she explained. “There were a lot of fast horses in the jump-off, and fast riders, so I think some riders were trying to win it before it was even over. I just tried to give her the best ride I could. She is a fast little horse, so the time was good enough. She is kind of like a little motorcycle. She is adorable and you know she is on your side.”
Michaels-Beerbaum plans to keep Daisy at the 1.50m height this winter to give the mare more experience. “We will just take it as it comes, and try to manage her well and not over do it, but I think she has a big future,” she concluded.
Source: Lauren Fisher and Sara Cook for Jennifer Wood Media.