By Summer Grace and Amanda Picciotto Feitosa for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Young jumpers started things off in the Mogavero Arena Friday morning at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with the DJS $1,000 7-Year-Old Jumpers, sponsored by Lövsta Future Challenge. Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) rode Baroness to a quick double clear effort for the win.
The Lövsta Future Challenge 7-Year-Old Developing Jumper Series officially begins next week during WEF 3 and continues through WEF 9. Horses must compete and jump clear in the first round of the jump-off format class at least two times over the seven weeks of the series to qualify for the $25,000 Lövsta 7-Year-Old Championship class, which takes place during WEF 10.
The jump-off format class designed by Ana Catalina Cruz Harris (MEX) proved to be tricky with most rails in the first round falling at the delicate, purple vertical-oxer double combination that was set diagonally across the ring jumping towards the in-gate.
The first clear came from Lillie Keenan (USA) who rode Chansonette Farm’s Zangersheide stallion Chili Pepper H M Z by Cornet Obolensky x Caretano Z. They jumped a second clear effort in the jump-off in 43.324 seconds, ultimately finishing in third place. The next clear round came from Mexico’s Cristobal Collado who rode Forastero 2, a Holsteiner gelding owned by Enrique Gonzales. Collado and Forastero 2 managed to shave two seconds off of Keenan’s time, finishing the short course in 41.056 seconds.
Collado would have to settle for second place as Luis Fernando Larrazabal produced the third and final clear performance with Baroness, going double clear two seconds faster than Collado in 39.332 seconds for the win.
Larrazabal just took over the ride on Baroness after Leeann Ablin bought the mare for him from Gavin Moylan at the end of November. Despite their limited time together, Larrazabal was confident in Baroness’s ability from the moment he sat on her.
“Since the first day that I got on the mare, I felt that I had a very special horse,” he said. “I’m very, very grateful to my owner that she trusts me, and we were able to buy this amazing mare.”
Baroness, a Westphalian mare by Balous Bellini, is already demonstrating her professionalism in the ring.
“This mare is so clever. She gets in the ring, and she wants to do the job,” commented Larrazabal. “Even though she’s only seven, she isn’t afraid of anything, and she knows what she needs to do.”
That self-confidence that Baroness seems to already have makes her hard to beat in the jump-off.
Larrazabal explained, “When you have a horse that’s very, very fast by herself, it’s easy to go quick in the jump-off.”
As he’s been getting to know Baroness, Larrazabal has adjusted some of his preparation to appeal to his mareish mount.
“She can be a little bit sensitive, so I ride her without spurs, very quiet, and I have a very soft bit in her mouth, and that’s what she likes,” noted Larrazabal.
As a veteran to the Developing Jumper classes, Larrazabal appreciates the opportunity at WEF to get the young horses experience in the show ring week after week. For Baroness, he is looking forward to utilizing the circuit to continue to develop the mare’s talent.
“My goal is to keep her in the seven year old classes, try to compete for the circuit championship, and have her ready for the [$25,000 Lövsta 7-Year-Old] championship at the end of the season,” stated Larrazabal.
He continued, “After that, maybe bring her up a little bit up in the summer to jump a couple 1.40m classes to have her as an eight-year-old in the international level next year.”
Over in the International Arena, the day started with the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Speed Challenge. Conor O’Regan (IRL) and Ericka Houlihan’s Carmen de Bonnieres couldn’t be caught. They crossed the timers in a blazing 53.955 seconds, a full second faster than second-place finishers Freedam and Kamille Macussen (USA), who completed in 55.166 seconds. Close behind them was Laura Chapot (USA), this time aboard Calafornia, who finished in 55.202 seconds for third-place. It’s a very good week for O’Regan and Carmen de Bonnieres with this win following their very close second place finish in Wednesday’s 1.40m class.
Final Results: DJS $1,000 Lövsta Future Challenge 7 Year Old Jumpers
1 BARONESS: 2015 Westphalian mare by Balous Bellini
LUIS FERNANDO LARRAZABAL (VEN), Leeann Ablin: 0/0/39.332
2 FORASTERO 2: 2015 Holsteiner gelding
CRISTOBAL COLLADO (MEX), Enrique Gonzales: 0/0/41.056
3 CHILI PEPPER H M Z: 2015 Zangersheide stallion by Cornet Obolensky x Caretano Z
LILLIE KEENAN (USA), Chansonette Farm LLC: 0/0/43.324
4 D’OLALA SE 1 Z: 2015 Zangersheide gelding by Dieu Merci van T & L
BRITTNI RAFLOWITZ (ISR), ESI Show Jumpers Inc: 4/68.309
5 PERIDONI 20: 2015 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Cassander C
BRITTNI RAFLOWITZ (ISR), ESI Show Jumpers Inc: 4/68.956
6 FELICIE DE COQUERIE: 2015 Selle Français mare by Malito de Reve x Quiniou
KARIME PEREZ (MEX), Ilan Ferder: 4/72.611
7 CALOUBET 11: 2015 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Carracci 2
SAMANTHA SENFT (USA), Samantha Senft: 4/75.086
8 SCHILLINO ROLD TF: 2015 Danish Warmblood gelding by Christian
ROOPE JOKITALO (USA), Tallin Farm – Danish Sport Horses: 4/79.922
9 MAMBA DE L’ETINCELLE Z: 2015 Zangersheide mare by The Big Easy
SUSAN KNOBLAUCH (USA), Susan Knoblauch: 4/81.688
10 LS GEMBALU: 2007 Anglo European gelding by Gemini x Bubalou
PETER LEONE (USA), Lionshare Jumps LLC: 8/71.741
11 FLORA DE RIVERLAND: 2015 Selle Français mare by Malito de Reve x Kannan
SOHNKE THEYMANN (GER), York Story Limited: 8/74.789
12 GREMLIN: 2015 Anglo European mare by Otangelo x Stakkato Gold
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Ilan Ferder: 8/77.37