Welcome back for the opening week of show jumping in Wellington, Florida. The first grand prix of the season is the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix. This class will be held under USEF National rules and not the FEI rules. Our course designer will be Eric Hasbrouck (USA) and he is no stranger to the International Arena at WEF.
The technical coordinators for the whole season will be Anthony D’Ambrosio and Guilherme Jorge. In our first event of the year there will be 44 entries and all 44 will start. This class is not under the lights on a Saturday night but will be on this Sunday afternoon, following Saturday’s Battle of the Sexes competition.
The weather is perfect for show jumping with slightly cool temperatures and some moderate wind all with bright sunshine. Many of the major horses will not be seen for a couple of weeks because this is a season of 12 weeks and some plan to wait a while longer to make their debut. This in some way makes the job of the course designer a little more difficult because with a less experienced group of horses and the first week of competition, the course should reflect a degree of difficulty for the first week and not the end of the season.
However, national rules require a certain level of difficulty and these rules must be maintained. As stated there are 44 entries and all will start. On the course we see there are 13 numbered obstacles with 16 efforts. The course has 1 double and 1 triple combination. We will see 1 oxer liverpool, 1 triple bar and a short pole vertical (option).
We will not see a water jump, a wall (in the jump off only) and a plank jump. The time allowed is set at 83 seconds and will not be changed. The speed is 375mm. Each week I will give a material count and today in the course there are 61 poles, 8 planks, 3 fillers (I am being kind with that count) and 1 liverpool (just set on top of the ground). There are some new sponsor standards but horses normally do not jump standards.
I think it is now time for the first walk of WEF 2018.
#1 oxer 1.40/1.45/1.45m or 4.6/4.9/4.9ft. The Hermes sponsor jump maybe the oldest jump at this venue. This oxer ended the day very quickly for 2 competitors.
#2 vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #1 in a straight line with no given distance (7 strides was the number of choice) and fell from grace 1 time.
#3 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9/5.3ft comes on the full turn to the left and was pushed from the yellow cups on 1 occasion.
#4 vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #3 on a bending line right with no given distance (7 strides was the number) and kissed the ground 3 times.
#5 oxer 1.45/1.65m or 4.9/5.4ft come from #4 on the same bending line right and was punished 6 times (the bogey jump on the course today).
#6 liverpool oxer 1.45/1.55m or 4.9/5.1ft comes on a full turn on the right rein and on a long gallop from #5 and splashed down 2 times.
#7a vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #6 in a straight line on distance of 31m or 101ft and was never faulted on the day.
#7b vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and was never faulted on the day.
#7c oxer 1.45/1.55m or 4.9/5.1ft with a distance of 11.30m or 37ft and crashed to the artificial sand only 2 times. These are unusual results for the triple combination in only combining for 2 rails on the day.
#8 oxer 1.45/1.20m or 4.9/3.9ft comes from #7c on the left rein and crosses the in-gate and created 1 miscue on the day.
#9a oxer 1.45/1.55m or 4.9/5.1ft comes from #8 on the left rein with no given distance and met mother earth 3 times. 2 refusals and elimination were also recorded.
#9b vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft with a distance from #9a of 11.20m or 36ft and was punished by mother earth 2 times.
#10 vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #9b on a soft right bend with no given distance and tumbled to the floor 2 times. 7 strides was by far the most popular number but 8 were done a couple of times.
#11 triple bar 1.45/1.85m or 4.9/6ft comes from #10 on the full right turn and was never faulted on the day.
#12 oxer 1.45/1.65m or 4.9/5.4ft comes from #11 on the right rein bend with no given distance (8 strides was the number) and tumbled down to the ground 4 times.
#13 short pole vertical (option sides) 1.45m or 4.9ft and the last fence on the course and here the damage was 2 rails and 1 refusal (clear round to that point).
This brings to an end the first course walk of the 2018 WEF season and now the results of the first round. There were 15 clear rounds, 3 rides with 1 time fault, 2 rides with 2 time faults, 9 with 4 faults, 1 with 5, 2 with 6 and 5 with 8. There were a few with more but do not need to be counted. There were no falls but there was 1 elimination (refusals) and 1 VW.
A final review of the course would suggest that the course was a little soft but in the first week this is more acceptable than a course that proved to be too aggressive. The first week and national rules and the fact that many of the top riders and first string horses were on the sidelines I believe this was a fair start to the season.
Next week will see the start of the FEI sanctioned events with a 2* week and a newcomer to the international ring with Oscar Soberon (MEX) as the course designer. Oscar has big shoes to fill because of the work of Catsy Cruz (MEX). Catsy has set the bar very high with her results the last two years in the 2* event week 2.
One final comment on the course is that the yellow 18m cups were used throughout the course today and the TA was right on the mark and proved to be very fair. Until next week and our first Saturday night class with the $70,000 Marshall and Sterling Grand Prix, I am Dave Ballard.