Wellington, Florida – February 04, 2022 – A busy weekend of competition started promptly Friday morning with all FEI riders heading back to the Derby Field at Equestrian Village. The day was packed with action from the beginning as 49 elite entries debuted in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI4* where Canada’s Nicole Walker (CAN) stole the show.
Anderson Lima’s (BRA) first track was held as a single-round speed class at the 1.45m height with a time allowed of 80 seconds flat. A little less than half of the field managed to produce fault-free efforts while 12 entries ended on a single downed rail. Olympic team silver medalist Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Volage Du Val Henry looked set to take the victory but Walker managed to shave over a second off of the pair’s time. She and her own 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding Atout Des Trambles (Nectar Des Forets*hn x Apache D’Adriers) left no room for contest as they stepped on the gas and flew through the finish line in a time of 58.36 seconds.
“He’s very game when he’s in the ring and is always looking for the next jump,” explained Walker of the gelding she purchased off a video during the COVID-19 pandemic when travel was heavily restricted. “He was produced by a woman who rides similar to my style as well which is comforting but most importantly, he was recommended by my coach Cian O’Connor and I really trust his judgment.”
She described the gelding as being fresh and ready to go for the winter season after a quiet summer and fall season.
“We train and hack plenty at home to keep him fit, and he felt fantastic today,” said Walker. “He’s quick in the air and has a big stride, so I was able to utilize that and do several of the leave-out strides that no one was doing. Specifically from jumps three to four, I did eight strides instead of nine, and I left a stride out in one or two other places which I think allowed us that extra second.”
Walker was also the recipient of the week’s Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award, presented by Laura Fetterman, for her win in the class.
Springsteen’s (USA) efforts with the 13-year-old Selle Francais mare Volage du Val Henry (Quidam de Revel x Cassini I) landed the duo with the reserve honors on their time of 59.11 seconds. Natalie Dean joined fellow countryman Springsteen in the victory gallop as she put forward a clean round with the Marigold Sporthorses, LLC’s nine-year-old mare Dotcom D’Authuit (Diamant De Semilly x Quidam De Revel) with the time of 59.94 seconds.
Final Results – $37,000 Douglas Eliman CSI 4*
1) Nicole Walker (CAN) & Atout des Trambles – 0 / 58.36
2) Jessica Springsteen (USA) & Volage Du Val Henry – 0 / 59.11
3) Natalie Dean (USA) & Dotcom D’Authuit – 0 / 59.94
Source: Press Release by Sabrina Schmidt & Summer Grace for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Sportfot