Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 12, 2018 – Young equitation athletes took center stage Friday during the first week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), with 17-year-old Emma Kurtz emerging victorious ahead of the pack. Kurtz earned the first equitation win of the season in the Platinum Performance USEF Talent Search 2*, class ahead of her fellow contenders thanks to a textbook trip in conjunction with her smooth flat phase. 2* Talent Search classes must include fence heights between 1.15m and 1.20m, one double and one triple combination and an open water jump. Kurtz scored the win aboard Carl, a 12-year-old Warmblood owned by Dr. Betsee Parker.
In total, 29 athletes competed over 11 obstacles, with the track posing no major issues for most of the competitors and their mounts. Kurtz finished the round with no faults and under the 78 seconds time allowed at 73.78 seconds to earn her a spot near the top of the scorecard. Following the straight-forward jump track, the top 12 athletes were called back to the ring for one last chance to impress the judges in the flat-phase. Kurtz and Carl maintained their composure with a smooth flat-phase to ultimately earn the top spot.
Kurtz began riding Carl early in 2017 and competed aboard the horse throughout the summer and into the indoor season. An equitation veteran, Kurtz topped the Zone V Horsemanship Class in September 2017 and went on to capture top placings at equitation finals during the indoor season.
Following Kurtz in second place was Tanner Korotkin riding Missy Clark’s Zapfier. Korotkin finished faultless with a time of 75.092 seconds, and was trailed in third place by Grady Lyman aboard Canago, owned by Marion Head, with a smooth round and a time of 72.377 seconds.
Winter Equestrian Festival competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center will continue in the DeNemethy Ring tomorrow morning at 8 a.m with the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers. Equitation classes will finish Sunday with the ASPCA Maclay and USEF Hunter Seat Medal.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Emma Kurtz – Platinum Performance USEF Talent Search Winner
On being back at WEF:
“It feels great.You expect the horses to be a little rusty they haven’t shown in a while, so it felt great that he went in there and everything was just normal. I just wanted to come in and have a smooth round – not do anything crazy – just have a nice smooth round.”
On the horse:
“I got him week five here last year and he’s kind of sensitive, so you just have to let him know everything is okay. Keep everything calm and normal. For example, in the flat phase I just go in and walk until the class starts because he just gets a little sensitive about things like that.”
1. Carl / Emma Kurtz
2. Zapfier / Tanner Korotkin
3. Canago / Grady Lyman
4. Contelido / Sophie Gochman
5. Heroy Von De Hei / Mimi Gochman
6. Cinzano / Natalie Jayne
For more results, click here.