The Monday Brief: WEF WEEK ONE

Equestrian, General

Hello beautiful people.

What a weekend! I just have to start by saying, SKOL Vikings! I am a Minnesotan after all. After an anxiety filled 4th quarter sitting on the edge of our seats, the result was pure magic with not a second to spare!

Okay, off we go. The Welly World weekend brief:

Friday night kicked off the weekend over at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with Friday Night Stars. This night is all about spectacular choreographed dressage performances to music under the stadium lights. Dressage is an amazing sport and is apart of our everyday conditioning of the hunters and jumpers, but it can be a little slow as a spectator sport depending on the level – like anything else. This event however is incredible to watch. Victory this week was awarded to Swedish rider, Tinne Vilhelmson, aboard Paridon Magi. It was the highest score the horse had ever received at 81.15%. A great accomplishment! I always love to see the middle age/aging (15) horse coming out on top. It is exciting to see what the advances in care options have done for prolonging the longevity of our equine partners careers. In case you are wondering how a score is calculated in dressage I can direct you to visit the USDF website.

Excerpt from USDF: General Dressage musical freestyle is an artistic program created by the rider to present his or her horse to its best advantage in an artistic, musical context.

  • It is judged according to technical execution (execution of compulsory movements) and artistic impression (harmony, choreography, degree of difficulty, music, and interpretation).

Saturday night’s festivities included the $75K Battle of the Sexes. It was the women versus the men in a 3 round race for the win. This marked the 10th year of the Battle of the Sexes class and the men were victorious for the first time ever!!! The team of 10 was led by Captain Charlie Jayne and included David Blake, Andrew Bourns, Jordan Coyle, Alex Granato, William Hickey, Darragh Kenny, Luis Larrazabal, Spencer Smith, and Michael Tokaruk. They were facing off with the women’s team Captain, Nicole Bellissimo, along with Heather Caristo-Williams, Amanda Derbyshire, Maggie Jayne, Caelinn Leahy, Abigail McArdle, Chelsea Sundius, Annabella Sanchez, Sydney Shulman, and Alexandra Welles. In the faults converted speed round (round 1) the teams came out tied at 5 points each. In this round riders are trying to get the best time over the course with any faults over the jumps being converted to extra time on the clock. In the relay race (round 2) the women brought in 10 points while the men got 5. Going into the match race the teams were  separated by 5 points. This is my personal favorite round of the class – one from each team face off on a mirrored identical course at the same time in a literal race to the finish. It is always super exciting and you can’t help but cheer on your team! The men went for the win in this round bringing home 18 points to the women’s 9 for a final score of 28 to 24.

My Sunday was kicked off with an early morning appearance at the Grand Hunter Ring with our own, the lovely Sara, competing in the adult amateur hunters. The maiden voyage of WEF 18′ for them and they were great! #proud#ribbons. The completion of the successful morning led Johnny off to the Palm Beach with Sara’s husband in search of sailfish aboard a Viking sport-fishing yacht (which I’m told was pretty fabulous). Later in the day, Sara, Isla, and I returned to watch the 1st Grand Prix of the season. In a field of 44 starting, 15 made it through the first round fault free and on to the jump off. (In order to qualify for the Grand Prix each week, riders must enter into WEF Challenge Cup that takes place on Thursdays) There were plenty of exciting moments in the jump off as the riders looked for that careful balance between being the fastest and remaining fault free. In the end Emily Moffitt took the win on her horse, Tipsy Du Terral, with a near 2 second lead. There were plenty of seasoned veterans in it to win it, so I imagine this 19-year-old is feeling pretty pleased with this result! In an interview with Phelps Sports Emily said of her win “It is awesome. Last year was a rough year for me, so I’m happy to come here and immediately start off on the right foot. I had an accident with my horse in Ocala last year and she had to be put down. I wasn’t hating the sport after that, but I wasn’t as in love with it as I had been. To come here and automatically do a good job, it is a nice feeling to be back.”

The sun was out and the temps were cool for South Florida, which makes for great weather for the horses and riders. I’d say it was a pretty great start to the season. Next, onto week 2. We will be doing some showing and then the weekend will bring the $70K Marshall & Sterling Insurance Grand Prix CSI 2*. Hopefully I can catch a polo game and I’m certain I will find some other great action to share. Stay tuned and let me know if there is anything in particular you’d love to see covered from WEF.

Did I mention the Vikings won? NFC Championship here they come!!!

XOXO, Nicole


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