Wellington, Fla. – March 31, 2017 – Coco Fath and Hillside Farm LLC’s Catachi clinched the win in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 3* class on Friday morning during the final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida.
The 1.20m Michael Ismalun track presented a number of tricky obstacles expected of a 3* class, including four rollback turns, an open water jump with no rail, a liverpool and double and triple combinations.
An 8 a.m. start brought 18 junior riders to complete the course in hopes of a ticket to finals, but the course proved to be more challenging than it looked. More than half of the competition caught a rail at jump 7a, the first jump of the double combination, and the open water caused a number of problems. Few riders were able to compete with Coco Fath’s textbook ride, where she demonstrated excellent equitation and impressive horsemanship both over fences and on the flat.
Fath, trained by Timmy Kees, was thrilled to come out of the DeNemethy ring with a blue ribbon, knowing that she was automatically qualified for the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search Finals to be held at the historic Hamilton Farm in New Jersey in October.
“It’s a nice feeling,” Fath said. “I haven’t won a three-star before so it’s exciting! I thought when I walked the course it was a little challenging at first. While riding, it was actually really nice and brought some nice components into forward and back that really showed your horse off. I thought it was actually a really nice course.
“Our plan was to go in and show him the water a little,” Fath continued. “He’s not spooky at the water, but it didn’t have a pole over it. My plan was to just get up the lines, keep him from swapping and ride the water, which is one of my weak points. I wanted to get over the water without getting stuck in it or anything.”
Fath noted Catachi’s sweet and playful personality outside of the show ring and how it sets him apart.
“He’s so funny,” she laughed. “He’s my favorite because he’s really, really sweet. He’s pretty funny at home, he has a little toy that he really likes playing with.”
Following the final week of WEF, Fath plans to travel to Miami, Florida to compete in the Longines Global Champions shows, then go to Old Salem and the Devon Horse Show for a focus on equitation.
Samantha Cohen rode into second place with her own 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Kaskade.
Emma Kurtz and Carl, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Redfield Farm, came in third place.
Each show offering the USEF Talent Search class is ranked between a 1* through a 3*, with a 3* being the most challenging. In the 1* and 2* classes, both the flat and jumping phases must be held in either a jumper or an equitation ring. In a 3* class, the jumping phase must be held in a main Grand Prix ring. The fences of a 2* class reach a height of 1.15m and the course must include both a filled Liverpool and a water-filled jump. Riders who seek to qualify for the East Coast finals must ribbon in a 2* or a 3* class and accumulate 90 points. For both the West and East Coast final, a rider will be automatically qualified by winning a 3* class.
Hunter competition will resume at 7:45 a.m. in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring with the $100 Amateur Owner Over 35 Under Saddle class. The first round of the $50,000 International Hunter Derby is set to start on Saturday at 12 p.m. following the jog inspection, while the handy round is expected to start on Sunday at 1 p.m.
- Coco Fath
- Samantha Cohen
- Emma Kurtz
- Emma Callanan
- Melissa Foster
- Caroline Dance
- Giavanna Rinaldi
- Brianne Link