Wellington, Florida, USA – January 23, 2021 – The 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival held the first under twenty-five international competition (CSI U-25) of the season on Saturday on the Derby Field at the Equestrian Village. The first major class of the Hermès Series was the $10,000 Hermès U25 Welcome, won by Ashley Vogel (USA) and Bellissimo Z, who flew through the timers in 67.49 seconds, besting a competitive class of 54 entries.
Second place was awarded to the USA’s Tanner Korotkin (USA) on Deauville S, a 2006 Holsteiner gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Touch of Class) owned by Castlewood Farm Inc., who completed the track in 68.87 seconds.
Third place was claimed by Charlise Casas (USA) and Always Faithful Equine LLC’s 2008 Holsteiner gelding Diamond M (Numero Uno x Zarina M), ending on 70.21 seconds.
This was Vogel’s first U25 class ever, and she was thrilled with the result. “I thought the ride today was great,” she began. “Bellissimo jumped amazingly, and it was a good course for her, a good warmup for tomorrow’s U25 Grand Prix. I couldn’t be happier with her! I’ve never ridden in the U25 before. It was a good note to start on, but it helps to have a horse like Bellissimo. It’s a fun series to have. It’s very competitive and a great opportunity for us to get more miles and experience.”
Vogel, who rides with Shane Sweetnam at Sweet Oak Farm, has been partnered with the mare since June and has been spending some time getting to know her before moving up. “We have just recently started stepping up and doing more FEI classes together,” she continued. “It really helps going in to these bigger tracks with a horse that knows what she’s doing. She’s teaching me a lot. She has her quirks, but she’s really incredible. She always gives it her all and jumps 10 out of 10 for me. She’s sweet on the ground and is a smart horse. She knows her job.”
Her goal with the 2009 Zangersheide mare (Bamako de Muze x C’est Elle Z) is to remain consistent in the U25 series and beyond. “I might also be throwing a three-star in there, and I’ve never jumped one, so I think that’ll be really exciting. It’s been a good start. She’s been putting in some good results, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the season brings!”
Source: Press release by Kim Beaudoin & Sabrina Bashares / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photo: © Sportfot