Wellington, Florida, USA – March 16, 2022 – The 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) moved right along into week 10 on Wednesday. March 16. The CSI4* week, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, offers international jumper classes at the four-star level and continues to feature competitive hunter, jumper, and equitation divisions at the national level. WEF’s 13-week series will run through April 3, 2022, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Competition in the International Arena geared up with multiple young horse classes and highlighted the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m class which saw Richard Vogel (GER) and Chaina-Blue P take top honors.
A full roster of 70 horse-and-rider combinations lined up for Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) power-and-speed track. Twenty-seven pairings from the large field managed to successfully navigate the challenge without fault. Six entries had difficulty with the time-allowed across the track’s speed portion, and 13 were the victims of a downed obstacle. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny (IRL) looked poised to accept the blue ribbon until Vogel entered the field halfway through the order. Kenny had managed to shave milliseconds off of third-place recipient Laura Chapot’s (USA) time of 31.641 seconds for a finishing time of 31.114 seconds. Kenny looked prime for the win with the HKC Collection LLC’s 15-year-old KWPN mare Cicomein VDL (Chacco-Blue x Jus De Pomme), but Vogel put forward a blazing fast round with a finishing time of 29.83 seconds that skyrocketed him into the lead.
“I thought today’s track was a decent build and a decent size,” stated Vogel. “Most people use this class to build up their horse for the week, so you don’t want to have an incredibly difficult track. I thought Michel did a great job at building accordingly.”
The win holds promise of an exciting future for Vogel and VW Equestrian’s 12-year-old Mecklenburg mare (Chaccomo 5 x Grannox) as the pair have only been together for two weeks.
“We didn’t even try her, but a good friend of mine thought we could be a good match so I figured I would give it a shot,” detailed Vogel. “I competed with her in two classes last week and there were definitely some things to improve, so I worked on getting to know her this week and she was already better today. She is always game, which is nice; she will always try her best to win no matter the height, and she is naturally fast.”
Chapot’s effort with her and Mary Chapot’s 15-year-old KWPN gelding Calafornia ( Nervoso x Grand D’Escla) positioned them for the final spot in the victory gallop.
The International Arena was packed with action throughout the majority of the day. Armando Hassey piloted Hassey Sport Horses’ Lomax to the win in the day’s opening class, the Pre-FEI Horses 1.40m, out of 43 entries. The day then focused exclusively on the sport’s rising stars as classes ran for five, six, and seven year old young jumper divisions ahead of the Developing Jumper Series finals to be held on Friday, March 18.
Daniel Coyle (IRL) piloted Ariel Grange’s KWPN gelding Lovely Boy P (Arezzo VDL x Campbell VDL) to the top spot in the North Star 6-Year-Old Young Jumper class after landing double-clean with a time of 30.083 seconds. The Lövsta Future Challenge 7-Year-Old Young Jumpers finished out the day after naming Erynn Ballard (CAN) the final winner with Ilan Ferder’s Hanoverian mare Diamond.
Classes in the International Arena will resume Thursday, March 17, 2022 and will feature the $75,000 Adequan WEF Challenge Cup Round X CSI4* as the highlight event of the International Arena.
Final Results – $6,000 Bainbridge Companies
1) Richard Vogel (GER) & Chaina – Blue P – 0 / 0 – 29.83
2) Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Cicomein VDL – 0 / 0 – 31.114
3) Laura Chapot (USA) & California – 0 / 0 – 31.641
Source: Press Release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival