Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 16, 2018 – Olympian Santiago Lambre of Mexico triumphed on Friday, March 16, during the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Lambre and D’Artagnan, owned by Integrated Services Florida LLC, won the $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Jumpers CSI 3*. In the hunter ring, Lissa Bachner of Wellington, FL, rode Meridian to the championship in the Triple Crown Blankets Adult Amateur Middle Hunter Section A despite a unique personal challenge.
Week ten of WEF, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, runs March 14-18. The jumper highlight is the $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 17. A 12-week circuit, WEF hosts hunter, jumper, and equitation competition until April 1 and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
There were 70 entries in the $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Jumper class, but not one of them could catch the time of Santiago Lambre and D’Artagnan, who went first in the class and set the unbeatable time of 58.79 seconds over the speed course designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada.
Molly Ashe (USA) and Picobello Choppin Z, owned by Louisburg Farm, came closest in 60.02 seconds for second place. Third place went to Karen Polle (JPN) and her own Little Lord 90, who had a time of 60.33 seconds.
“He can go really fast,” said Lambre of the 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Carthago he has ridden for a year. “You have to go really all or nothing here. You can’t waste time. If you go one stride more in one turn, for sure you won’t win. Sometimes in those classes you just have to try to do anything. If you don’t, you finish sixth, which happened with him twice this year. Today I tried to go faster than usual.”
Lambre found D’Artagnan in Holland where the horse was competing with an amateur rider.
“He’s a bit hot, so he’s not so easy to sell,” said Lambre. “So I bought him! He’s not an amateur horse.”
Lambre moved to the United States last year after living in Belgium for ten years, and he has found that WEF is an “amazing place” to bring along horses.
“The horses learn a lot here,” he said. “You can have a green horse, and after 12 weeks here you have a horse ready to go to the shows. I have a horse who arrived to WEF one month ago jumping 1.40m and last week he jumped in the five-star. [WEF is] really good to produce a horse.”
$35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Jumpers CSI 3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. D’artagnan / Santiago Lambre / MEX / 0 | 58.79
2. Picobello Choppin PC / Molly Ashe / USA / 0 | 60.02
3. Little Lord 90 / Karen Polle / JPN / 0 | 60.33
4. Burburry R / Petronella Andersson / SWE / 0 | 62.02
5. Zidante / Kelli Cruciotti / USA / 0 | 62.88
6. Indigo / Margie Engle / USA / 0 | 63.13
7. SHL Sweet Tricia / Mavis Spencer / USA / 0 | 63.22
8. Horst Van De Mispeleare / Darragh Kenny / IRL / 0 | 63.23
9. La Lopez 3 / Michael Morrissey / USA / 0 | 64.03
10. Dieta / Wilhelm Genn / GER / 0 | 64.52
11. Colora / Theo Genn / USA / 0 | 66.6
12. VDL Elliot / Alejandro Karolyi / VEN / 0 | 67.22
For full results, click here.
Lissa Bachner and Meridian Prevail in Triple Crown Blankets Adult Amateur Hunter Middle Section A In Spite of Unique Personal Challenge
Lissa Bachner and her entry, Meridian, overcame the odds and captured the championship title in week ten’s Triple Crown Blankets Adult Amateur Hunter Middle Section A division. Despite being legally blind, Bachman piloted her mount to a first, first, first, and second over fences in addition to a third in the under saddle.
The 44-year-old rider of Wellington, FL, has a condition called uveitis that caused her to lose her left eye when she was 25, and her vision entirely after surgeries on her right eye in 2001. In total, Bachner has had over 100 surgical procedures, but the Wellington rider hasn’t let any of this stop her. After six months of complete blindness following her initial procedures, a new medication available only in Italy allowed Bachner to gain back limited vision, and to finally be able to return to the hunter ring.
“Don’t you know? I’m that blind rider,” said Bachner, who has maintained an enlightening sense of humor, with a laugh. “I have about four percent vision in my right eye, and my left eye is fake, so I always need people to stand around and tell me things like where to turn, etc. I am riding with Rachel Kennedy again, and she is my trainer of a lifetime. She is my dream team, and everyone at her barn has been so helpful. I am so glad that I get to do this, and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of her program and to have such a special horse to get me around the ring.”
Meridian is an eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding and has proven himself as an exemplary “seeing-eye dog” for Bachner for over three years now. Week ten at the Winter Equestrian Festival marked the pair’s first championship win in Wellington after a blue-ribbon filled 2017.
“It’s like one day he woke up and said, ‘Yes, I get it, you can’t see, and I’m not a baby anymore, so let me help you.’” said Bachner. “He keeps his rhythm, and he doesn’t mind if I’m leaning on his neck or his tail. He does his job, and I am so lucky! This is such a great division to compete in. We are all so supportive of each other, and it’s the perfect team.”
Mimi Moulton and Trip To Paris, owned by Privet Farm, LLC, took reserve honors with a first in the under saddle, along with three seconds and a third over fences.
The tenth week of the 2018 WEF continues on Saturday, March 17, with the $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix at 7:30 p.m. In the equitation ring, the winner of the THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under will be determined.