Wellington, Fla. – March 25, 2018 – The nation’s top young riders came together for Sunday morning’s $50,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Final to close out Week Eleven of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). After seeing a total 29 athletes competing for the top honors in the finale of the U25 series, it was Ransome Rombauer (USA) and her own Emorkus RE, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, who came out on top despite competitive rounds put in by all.
The 13 obstacle course, designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER) challenged the 29 horse-and-rider combinations to demonstrate their adjustability and speed. The most technical part of the course featured a double combination (vertical-oxer) to an open water fence that was immediately followed by a fragile vertical. Despite the technical components, all athletes and their horses executed the open water fence and other challenges like the triple combination (oxer-vertical-oxer) well.
A total of 11 athletes came back for the second round of competition, which resulted in a fast and competitive jump-off round. With only eight obstacles to conquer, the time to beat became progressively faster as the jump-off developed. At the end of all 11 rounds only three combinations went double clear, with Rombauer demonstrating a particularly speedy round of 43.733 seconds, almost six seconds faster than the third place finisher. The fastest round the of day was put in by Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX), but the pair was left with an unlucky rail down at the last fence, which left their 42.882 second time finishing in fourth place.
In second place was 17-year-old Coco Fath (USA) and Hillside Farm LLC’s Huckleberry, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Fath is finishing off Week Eleven with great success both in the jumper ring and the equitation ring, having finished first in the George Morris Excellence in Equitation on Friday night at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
Third place was captured by Daisy Farish (USA) and her own 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Great White. Farish put in the first clear round during the jump-off and opted for carefulness rather than speed by putting in a steady time of 49.869 seconds.
Lacey Gilbertson, who finished on top in the $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Semi Final during Week Eight, was honored with the overall series championship title. Gilbertson owed her success to her always consistent and reliable mare Baloppi, an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood who she has been riding in the U25 series throughout WEF.
Competition will continue at PBIEC in the final week of WEF, with the highlight event being Saturday Night Light’s $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Ransome Rombauer – $50,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Final Winner
On her win:
“It’s a new horse for me. I got him at Spruce Meadows with Spencer [Smith]. He’s 9 this year. I didn’t think about going clear. Usually about half way through the jump off, I think that I’m clear and I’ll change my ride. Today, I just wanted to be present and in the moment and just react and not plan it out too much or overthink it. I tend to overthink jump offs. I kept hearing Spencer yell at me to go faster and that was really helpful and made me push myself a little more. I don’t have a lot of experience in jump offs and going fast.”
On the horse:
“He’s from Switzerland. I believe he was doing some 1.40m classes. Eric Lamaze imported him. He’s a pretty sensitive horse. He’s a little fussy in the mouth. When I first got him, he was very sensitive and reactive. He goes in a happy-mouth bit. He’s canter is amazing; I could two-point he canter all day. He never looks at the jumps. He’s also been great with the open water. I’m really surprised because I’ve had horses in the past who’ve had some issues at the open water. It’s the best feeling going around and not having to worry about that.”
Coco Fath – $50,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Final Runner Up
On her ride:
“I was coming off a fall from the semi-final and I wanted to come into today with confidence and having that off my mind. I was so impressed by my horse. He’s the most amazing horse. For the jump off, I was looking to go smooth and clear. I was pretty conservative. I didn’t take out strides anywhere; I was going for that clear.”
On the derby field:
“I do love the field. I think all the horses jump so great on it. I did really enjoy that. It was really nice to have a change of scenery after being in the International Ring. Coming out here and having the open space and open water was really nice. It was a great experience!”
On the U25 division:
“It’s all very new to me. I think I did three U25 classes this circuit. It’s unfolding a new card for sure. I love that it’s taken very seriously. It’s nice we have this and don’t always have to compete against the pros. I think it’s a great class for us to have. I wanted to do the Young Riders, but it never really came together so to have this as almost a second chance is really great.”
Lacey Gilbertson – Hermès U25 Grand Prix Series Winner
On her consistency:
“I owe my consistency to my horse. She is very consistent. She comes out everyday the same. She’s very simple, brave, and very careful. She’s given me a lot of confidence to go in everytime and know we can do this. That’s really helped a lot.”
On today’s rounds:
“The final was great. She jumped amazing in the first round. I got a little unlucky in the jump off having B of the double down. But I can’t really be disappointed, I think she’s had two rails all circuit. That’s pretty amazing so I’m very happy and pleased with her.”
On her horse:
“She has no weaknesses. She’s the most amazing animal in the entire world! I’m lucky to be able to call her mine. She truly is good at everything. There’s never been a time where I thought we couldn’t do something or it was over her head. She handles everything very well. She has a great brain.”
$50,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Final
Horse / Rider / R1 Faults | Time / JO Faults | Time
1. Emorkus RE / Ransome Rombauer / 0 | 84.57 / 0 | 43.733
2. Huckleberry / Coco Fath / 0 | 87.13 / 0 | 47.06
3. Great White / Daisy Farish / 0 | 86.25 / 0 | 49.869
4. Bariano / Eugenio Garza Perez / 0 | 83.17 / 4 | 42.882
5. Farona / Daniel Coyle / 0 | 87.76 / 4 | 43.254
6. Baloppi / Lacey Gilbertson / 0 | 85.71 / 4 | 43.772
7. Quidam Mb / Adrienne Sternlicht / 0 | 85.65 / 4 | 44.052
8. Villamoura / Sydney Shulman / 0 | 87.27 / 4 | 49.739
9. Upper / David Oberkircher / 0 | 87.57 / 8 | 44.79
10. Cade / Abigail Mcardle / 0 | 87.41 / 8 | 45.621
11. Alex / Jennifer Gates / 0 | 83.42 / 8 | 47.839
12. Darosso Vdl /Jad Dana / 1 | 89.1