Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 10, 2019 – In the first event of the twelve week series at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), Celso Ariani (BRA) claimed the win in round one of the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Series. Thirty-six horse-and-rider combinations entered the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) hoping to come out on top during the first WEF Challenge Cup of the season. At the end of the day, it was Ariani and his mount, Ukulman de la Nutria, an 11-year-old Selle Français gelding, who took the top prize.
Eric Hasbrouck’s (USA) 16-effort course saw six athletes produce a clear round to make it to the jump-off. Ariani and Ukulman de la Nutria, owned by Ricardo Romero, have been partnered together for two years. The pair, who are now based in Wellington, placed in the top five at PBIEC in the $35,000 Dever Golf Cars 1.45m Classic CSI4* at the Holiday & Horses in November of 2018. Ariani used the gelding’s long stride to produce two fast rounds in Thursday’s competition, finishing with a jump-off time of 40.53 seconds.
Second place was claimed by up-and-coming athlete, Hunter Holloway, who was first to go clear during the first round of competition. Holloway tackled the course with Virginia T. Bartholomay & Hays Investment Corp.’s VDL Bravo S. Holloway and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding have shown around the country together, placing third in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3* at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in August of 2018. The pair were first to go during the jump-off round, and set the bar high for seasoned riders in the jump-off such as Conor Swail and McLain Ward, with a swift time of 41.402 seconds. Ariani, who was last in the jump-off order, shaved almost two seconds off of Holloway’s time, thanks to his gelding’s long stride.
Peter Lutz and Excellent, owned by Bosch Sport Horses, captured third place with a double-clear finish in 42.464 seconds. In the pair’s new partnership, Lutz and the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding have most recently found success at PBIEC upon claiming third place in the $25,000 ProElite® Grand Prix at the 2018 ESP Holiday II in December.
Competition will resume in the International Arena Friday with the High Amateur Owner Jumper beginning at 8 a.m. WEF 1 will highlight the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, followed by the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Celso Ariani – $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup I winner
On Ukulman De La Nutria:
“This horse has super scope and a lot of character. He is becoming a great horse and I have a lot of expectations for him. He is 11 years old, but he wasn’t broke until he was 7 years old. It was very late. Because of this I’m very happy with his results last year. I believe he can become very important horse for me. I’ve been riding him for two years. I hope that I can start jumping him during WEF Week 3 maybe on Saturday nights. Then I’ll save him a little bit, but plan to do maybe five grand prix classes with him this season. Then we will see!”
On Thursday’s round:
“This horse has a huge stride, so I was able to take out strides in the first round. I was confident in the jump-off because it was a long track. The first line was seven or eight strides, but we did it in six strides, he did it.”
On showing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF):
“This is my fourth year at WEF. I live here in Wellington and I travel during the summers. I’ve been based in Wellington since 2015. I love here, it’s like Disneyland for kids. The level of sport and the amount of good riders, horses, and sponsors is amazing.”
$35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup I
Place / Horse / Rider / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Ukulman de la Nutria / Celso Ariani / 0 | 79.311 / 0 | 40.53
2. VDL Bravo S / Hunter Holloway / 0 | 80.12 / 0 | 41.402
3. Excellent / Peter Lutz / 0 | 80.427 / 0 | 42.464
4. Jarcobond Van Den Oude Eik / Christine McCrea / 0 | 81.439 / 4 | 45.043
5. Koss Van Heiste / Conor Swail / 0 | 79.805 / 8 | 42.238
6. Tradition De La Roque / McLain Ward / 0 | 79.773 / 15 | 52.916
7. Donjo / Tiffany Foster / 1 | 82.374
8. Fresca La Quadra / Alonso Valdez Prado / 2 | 83.449
9. Eyecatcher / Mattias Tromp / 3 | 84.221
10. Chaccolette / Lillie Keenan / 4 | 79.433
11. Eax Run Run LS / Ilan Bluman / 4 | 81.721
12. Liroy 30 / Taylor Land / 5 | 82.382