Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 20, 2018 – Saturday night’s $70,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI2* saw a total of 45 horse-and-rider combinations competing for the grand prize, which was ultimately dominated by three of the world’s leading lady riders. The event was won by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Calle 67, a 9-year-old Westphalian owned by Michaels & Beerbaum GMBH. Although the pair is relatively new to competing under the lights together, Michaels-Beerbaum and Calle 67 easily galloped around the jump-off with a swift time of 36.85 seconds.
The technical course, designed by Oscar Soberon (MEX), challenged horse-and-rider pairs with 13 obstacles, which caused many riders to collect a number of jumping faults throughout the course. The first clear round of the night belonged to Carlos Ramirez (COL) and Happy Wandor Vant Roosakker, however the pair was later eliminated from competing in the jump-off due to accidental blood found on the horse from a spur mark. Ultimately, nine combinations pairs demonstrated clear rounds that carried them to a competitive jump-off, including world No. 1 Kent Farrington (USA) aboard Baltic Star 2.
Claiming reserve with a jump-off time of 37.01 seconds was Lillie Keenan (USA) aboard Skyhorse, owned by Chansonette Farms LLC. Keenan just returned to the show ring this week after taking some time off to focus on school. Skyhorse, an 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood, who is known for his smooth, equitation-like ride, shocked Keenan with his swift time in the night’s grand prix.
Emily Mason (GBR) and Poden Farm’s Explosion W claimed third place in a time of 37.58 seconds. This is Mason’s first season competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), and the pair already picked up a win during the first week’s WEF Challenge Cup
Jumper competition at WEF continues Sunday in the International Arena at 8:30 a.m. with the $25,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum – $70,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI2* winner
On Calle 67:
“This was a major step up for that horse. This was a major step up for that horse. He’s just turing 9 this year, he hasn’t done too many grand prix’s yet in his career. He jumped in Aachen in the Youngsters last summer, the final was under lights and he was second in the class so I was happy that I at least had that round under my belt. Some of the fences were spooky and more challenging for a green, young horse. But he is a relatively new horse to my string, I’ve had him less than a year. I adore the horse. He has a wonderful character and mind and he’s always on your side. He gives you a great feeling as a rider.”
On the course:
“The course today was brilliantly set. On Thursday we also had an outstanding course for the numbers we had. He’s done an extraordinary job. I think the course itself was challenging with a number of spooky fences in the beginning of the course, and then it got technical down the last line. The jump-off was also tricky. One-to–two was sort of a hairpin turn and you couldn’t get your horses eye on it, that was very tricky. Then exciting, however difficult, a long run to the second to last jump caught a couple of good horses as well. I was pleased with my horse because he’s relatively new to that speed. I think I’ve only done one other jump-off as fast as that, so he was a little shocked and surprised. But he is so on my side- that’s what it takes to be a great horse.”
On her plans for the 2018 WEF season:
“I’m not quite sure what the rest of the season will look like for this horse. I believe a lot in this horse, however he is only 9. I have to be careful and manage him well. That’s the challenge in our sport, with all the big grand prix’s, week in and week out, it’s important to be a good manager not just a good rider. I am going to do my best to place him well so he learns the most he can this season so I have a horse that’s ready to play ball when I return to Europe. That’s really my goal.”
Lillie Keenan – Second place
“I was lucky to be able to go later in the jump-off and I watched Meredith at the gate. She rode the track I wanted to execute, so it’s always nice to see someone do what you’d like to emulate. Skyhorse I’ve had for over a year now and I jumped him on a couple Global Tours last year, but then I took some time off. I would describe my horse as big and honest, almost like a equitation horse that can jump 1.60m. He’s very smooth but probably not the fastest horse but he proved everyone wrong tonight and I think he went faster than he believed he could.”
On balancing school and competing:
“I am a full-time college student so part of the year I actually have to go to school. Last year, I took off riding part of November and all of December and only rode a little at home when I could and I focused on my finals. Cian O’Connor, my trainer, took some of my horses for experience. He had given the horse milage and confidence at events that I couldn’t. I am extremely lucky I get to go to school full time and not practice then show up at a 5* show like I do sometimes. I am able to trust my team to keep the horses going. It’s obviously a huge boost to start circuit with a result like this and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Emily Mason – Third place
On Explosion W:
“I’ve only had the ride on Explosion for about six months. This is first night he’s been under lights. He jumped really good the first day this week so I figured we’d go today and see how it went. We were all really happy with atmosphere and he’s only just coming nine and he’s not shown much. I’m really happy with the way he’s grown up and I think he’s going to be a great horse eventually. I haven’t done that many jump-offs with him. Last week, we went a little faster and today would be the first time we’ve properly tried to go fast and he did everything I asked. He’s got a great head on him now and I hope he’s going to do great things.”
“This is my first season at WEF and I love it! I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve never been to Florida before and so far, so good.”
$70,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI2*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Calle 67 / Meredith Michaels- Beerbaum/ GER / Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum / 0 / 0 / 36.852
2. Skyhorse / Lillie Keenan / USA / Chansonette Farm LLC / 0 / 0 / 37.019
3. Explosion W / Emily Mason / GBR / Poden Farms / 0 / 0 / 37.587
4. Baltic Star 2 / Kent Farrington / USA / Tanma Corp & Kent Farrington / 0 / 0 /37.635
5. Coco Bongo / Eric Lamaze / CAN / Artisan Farms LLC / 0 / 0 / 39.026
6. Toulago / Adrienne Sternlicht / USA / Starlight Farms LLC / 0 / 0 / 39.422
7. Audi’s Dimple / Kevin Mealiff / IRL/ Maarten Huygens / Maarten Huygens / 0 / 0 / 41.826
8. Hija Van Strokapelleken / Mclain Ward / USA/ Evergate Stables LLC / 0 / 4 / 37.735
9. RMF Zecilie / Jessica Springsteen / USA / Rushy Mount Farm LLC / 0 / 4 / 37.943
10. Gentille / Kaely Tomeu / USA / Siboney Ranch / 4 / 66.98