By Sabrina Schmidt and Summer Grace for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
A busy weekend of competition at WEF 4 started promptly Friday morning with all FEI riders heading back to the Derby Field at Equestrian Village. The day was packed with action from the beginning as 49 elite entries debuted in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI4* where Canada’s Nicole Walker stole the show.
Anderson Lima’s (BRA) first track was held as a single-round speed class at the 1.45m height with a time allowed of 80 seconds flat. A little less than half of the field managed to produce fault-free efforts while 12 entries ended on a single downed rail. Olympic team silver medalist Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Volage Du Val Henry looked set to take the victory but Walker managed to shave over a second off of the pair’s time. She and her own 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding Atout Des Trambles (Nectar Des Forets*hn x Apache D’Adriers) left no room for contest as they stepped on the gas and flew through the finish line in a time of 58.36 seconds.
“He’s very game when he’s in the ring and is always looking for the next jump,” explained Walker of the gelding she purchased off a video during the COVID-19 pandemic when travel was heavily restricted. “He was produced by a woman who rides similar to my style as well which is comforting but most importantly, he was recommended by my coach Cian O’Connor and I really trust his judgment.”
She described the gelding as being fresh and ready to go for the winter season after a quiet summer and fall season.
“We train and hack plenty at home to keep him fit, and he felt fantastic today,” said Walker. “He’s quick in the air and has a big stride, so I was able to utilize that and do several of the leave-out strides that no one was doing. Specifically from jumps three to four, I did eight strides instead of nine, and I left a stride out in one or two other places which I think allowed us that extra second.”
Walker was also the recipient of the week’s Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award, presented by Laura Fetterman, for her win in the class.
Springsteen’s efforts with the 13-year-old Selle Francais mare Volage du Val Henry (Quidam de Revel x Cassini I) landed the duo with the reserve honors on their time of 59.11 seconds. Natalie Dean joined fellow countryman Springsteen in the victory gallop as she put forward a clean round with the Marigold Sporthorses, LLC’s nine-year-old mare Dotcom D’Authuit (Diamant De Semilly x Quidam De Revel) with the time of 59.94 seconds.
Final Results: $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI4*
1. ATOUT DES TRAMBLES: 2010 Selle Francais gelding by Nectar Des Forets*hn x Apache D’Adriers
NICOLE WALKER (CAN), Nicole Walker: 0/58.36
2. VOLAGE DU VAL HENRY: 2009 Selle Francais mare by Quidam de Revel x Cassini I
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/59.11
3. DOTCOM D’AUTHUIT: 2013 Selle Francais mare by Diamant De Semilly x Quidam De Revel
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses, LLC: 0/59.94
4. UNE DE L’OTHAIN: 2008 Selle Francais mare by Conterno Grande, Old x Cento
HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Evergate Stables, LLC: 0/60.29
5. CAROLLO: 2009 Mecklenburger gelding by Chacco Blue x Lee-Lou
GIAVANNA RINALDI (USA), Anton Marano: 0/61.09
6. VDL NIKITA VAN DE LEEUWERK: 2010 BWP mare by Zavall VDL x Argentinus
ALEX MATZ (USA), Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC: 0/61.16
7. CARAMBA 92: 2011 Westfalian gelding by Comme Il Faut 5 x Baloubet Du Rouet
RICHARD VOGEL (GER), Horse Management GMBH: 0/61.34
8. COMEDIE DE TALMA: 2012 Selle Francais mare by Kannan x Contender
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Esperanza Imports, LLC: 0/62.25
9. GOODBYE: 2011 KWPN mare by Eldorado vd Zeshoek x Amulet
BLISS HEERS (USA), Bridgeside Farms LLC: 0/63.33
10. O’HARA ELS: 2012 CH mare by Ogana Sitte x Liandero
MARK MCAULEY (IRL), LT Competition: 0/63.93
11. LA PERLA VD HEFFINCK:2011 BWP mare by Cooper Van De Heffinck x Hades Van De Heffinck
IOLI MYTILINEOU (GRE), Elia Construction SA: 0/63.99
12. FTS KILLOSSERY KONFUSION: 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding by SIEC Livello x Cruising
JOS VERLOOY (BEL), Eurohorse BVBA: 0/64.26