Dave Ballard with Course Discourse producer, Ken Kraus
To begin this week, I came to the realization that we are so blessed to be in an area that within approximately 4 hour’s drive from here in South Florida we can compete for over a half a million dollars in prize money. We can compete in equestrian complexes that are well above average in every respect from footing , to course design and jump material, in-gate personnel , medical support, judges and seasoned office staff. We can also choose from sand footing, artificial footing or grass.
On my travels this week I went to the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center for the first time and was impressed with the facility. It was new and well maintained. The rings were spacious and the footing was natural sand. The jump material was excellent and the course design was excellent with Eric Hasbrouck of the USA as the CD. The show used seasoned judges, in-gate personnel and ring crew. The Ridge is the management group and provides a unique format for their classes. These shows provide a valuable tool for trainers and riders to compete on a personal level and work on many aspects of their show life and is only 10 minutes up the road. The cost has increased over the last couple of years, but comparatively, will not blow you out of the water.
There is also a circuit less than 3 hours away in Venice, Fla. that offers a full schedule of equestrian events. I have never been there, but will try to see this show grounds later in this season. The longer drive to Ocala is still in the 4 hour range and needs no introduction to the equestrian world.
We now arrive in Wellington and this week it will host the 2 major, major events . WEF will be in week 4 of their 12 week winter series and for the second year in a row we get to compete at the Longines Palm Beach Masters. The Masters will be the subject of this course walk.
Mother Nature has blessed us with great weather this year. Last year she was not so kind and we were unable to compete on the new grass grand prix ring, but this year things are different and we will jump on the grass. As stated over the years, my favorite footing is grass. When the weather cooperates there is no better footing. As was the case last year the venue is in perfect condition and with the vendors out in force, the shopping was great and there was a great variety of food for the average spectator. Along with the grass footing we will also see a new set of jumps (Thank God!) and they will be placed in a ring that is not totally uniform in shape and this will afford the Course Designer to be a little more creative with his courses
Alan Wade and is $216,000 PB Masters WC Course
Our CD for the week will be Alan Wade (IRE) and we will recognize his CD partner Nigel Jess as his name is also on Alan’s course design team. It is great to have Alan back this year as last year he was not able to use the grass field and this gives him the chance to open for the first time the Palm Beach Masters Grand Prix ring.
It is time to begin the walk of the CP Palm Beach Masters CSI 3*-W presented by Sovaro. The class today will be the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup qualifier. There will be 40 entries and all 40 will start.
There will be 14 numbered jumps and 17 efforts. The TA is set at 84 seconds and will not be changed. The course will consist of 56 poles, 7 planks, 7 fillers (this is great) and 2 above ground liverpools. On the course there will be 1 double and 1 triple combination. We will not see a water jump as this is WC qualifier and is not required. There will be no wall and there will be no plank jump. However we will see a triple bar and skinny vertical. The footing is in perfect condition and yet saw a tremendous number of rounds during the week. Let us begin the walk.
#1 vertical 1.51m or 5ft right at the in-gate and was the only jump not faulted during the class.
#2 triple bar 1.50/1.90m or 5/6.3ft comes on no given distance on the left rein and was faulted only 1 time.
#3 oxer liverpool 1.49/1.65m or 5/5.4ft comes in a straight line from #2 with a distance of 25.50m or 83.6ft. and splashed down 2 times.
#4 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #3 on a bending right rein and tumbled to the ground 1 time
#5 oxer 1.50/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes from #4 on a long gallop on the right rein and was pushed from the cups only 2 times.
#6a oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.4ft comes from #5 in a straight line and on a distance of 22m or 75ft. This jump found fault with 3 rides.
#6b vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft. The distance from #6a to #6b was 8.20m or 26.9ft This vertical found mother earth 5 times.
#7 vertical 1.58m or 5.3ft comes from #6b in the continuing straight line with a distance of 26m or 83.3ft and caused pain for 1 rider.
#8 oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.4ft comes from #7 on the full left turn in front of the in-gate and away from the in-gate and found the grass 2 times
#9 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes in a straight line from #8 with a distance of 21.50m or 70.6ft. At this jump we saw 2 refusals 1 resulting in a fall and elimination and 1 other refusal. The top rail lost its balance on 1 other occasion.
#10 vertical 1.59m or 5.3ft comes from #9 on a bending line on the right rein on a long gallop and was the most faulted jump on the course tumbling from the cups 8 times. The colour of this vertical was a lime green and with the sun high in the sky I believe the horses had a hard time finding the top rail with the green grass footing.
#11 oxer 1.49/1.70m or 5/5.6ft comes in a straight line from #10 with a distance of 19.20m or 62.9ft and found fault with 2 rides.
#12 vertical closed Liverpool and short poles 1.60m or 5.3ft comes on a full turn on the right rein from #11 and got wet 3 times and also saw 1 refusal.
#13a vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #12 on the left rein and crashed down on 5 occasions.
#13b oxer 1.49/1.65m or 5/5.4ft on a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft from #13a and was also dashed to the grass 5 times.
#13c vertical 1.52m or 5.1ft comes from #13b on a distance 7.90m or 25.9ft. This part of the triple combination saw 1 refusal resulting in a fall and elimination and also 3 rails.
#14 oxer 1.51/1.75m or 5/5.7ft comes from #13c on no given distance but the ride was 8 forward or 9 short strides with a small bend on the left rein and was the last fence on the course. The final fence on the course saw 5 rails and 1 fall resulting in elimination.
The final tally of the first round of the $216,000 Longines World Cup Qualifier is as follows. There were ten clean rounds, two rounds of 1 time fault. There were ten rounds of 4 faults three with 5, two with 6 and four with 8. The rest of the field of 40 will fight another day. There was only 1 VW and there were three eliminations and two falls. The Time Allowed was very accurate and fair. This was a very good class with very good course design. Congratulations to Alan Wade and his team for a week of excellent work especially with the huge numbers of entries early in the week and in the qualifier. We look forward to seeing you and your team in the near future.
Once again I need to say that we are so fortunate to have venues of this calibre in the winter in Wellington to further the equestrian sport. When the Palm Beach Masters rolls around again if you have never been here please stop by and enjoy a fabulous day of show jumping hosted by the Jacobs Family.
Charlie Jacobs, Katie Jacobs-Robinson and Louis Jacobs
Until then I am Dave Ballard.