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March 25, 2013

Sweetnam's Icing On The Cake In Omega Alpha Weekend Update For March 25

Solerina topped the $101,000 Pennfield Feed Grand Prix in her first 1.60-meter outing with Shane Sweetnam. Photo by SportFot

The only horse show winter circuit still taking place is the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla., but the grand prix action is still hot and heavy there. Irishman Shane Sweetnam had set out to just get Solerina some experience in the $101,000 Pennfield Feed Grand Prix, since it was the horse’s first outing at the 1.60-meter level, but the chestnut mare surprised him with the win. Read all about it in the Chronicle’s Mollie Bailey’s online coverage

Also at WEF, Lillie Keenan nabbed the prestigious George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship and McLain Ward rode Zander to the top of the $100,000 SunCast 1.50-meter Finale.

Todd Minikus dominated the jumper 
competition at Live Oak, riding Quality
Girl to the top of the $50,000 Live Oak
Grand Prix. Photo by Mark Astrom

Todd Minikus zipped up the road from Wellington to Ocala to show at the $50,000 Live Oak Grand Prix (see results) and the trip proved worthwhile, as he rode Quality Girl to the top check over German rider Andre Thieme and Brazilian Rodrigo Pessoa. Minikus had also won the power & speed and welcome classes at Live Oak.

Live Oak is unusual in that the weekend plays host to an international four-in-hand driving competition as well, won by host Chester Weber. “When I was a kid, the shows I went to always had Saddlebreds along with the hunter/jumpers, and I like it when there is one than one discipline at the show; I think it makes it fun for everybody,” said Minikus. “I rode on the back of a carriage one time and that was enough to scare the daylights out of me! I appreciate what they are doing, and I can watch anything when the people are skilled at it. On the marathon today, there was some speed there and some excellent driving, so that was fun.”

In Loxahatchee, Fla., the International Horse Sport Champions Cup CDI-W (see results) hosted the final North American League World Cup qualifier for dressage riders. The big news was that Tina Konyot, the U.S. rider with one of the top qualifying scores for the Final, withdrew her Calecto V from the show. That means Konyot didn’t turn in a second qualifying score, which prevents her from going to the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final.

With Konyot out, the two top qualifiers from North America are Canadian—David Marcus on Chrevi’s Capital and Jacqueline Brooks on D-Niro. If one of them decided to decline an invitation, the third-ranked North American rider, Shelly Francis on Doktor, could go, but she has said she would decline as well, given Doktor’s greenness. So, there is a distinct possibility that the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final will see no U.S. representation this year.

Lars Petersen might travel to Gothenburg, Sweden, from his U.S. base to represent Denmark at the Final, however. He polished off more big wins with Mariett at the ISH Champions Cup, claiming victory in the CDI-W Grand Prix (see results) and Grand Prix freestyle (see results). Francis not only placed second in the Grand Prix and freestyle with Doktor, but she also rode Danilo to the top in the Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I classes.

In the world of eventing, riders at the Southern Pines II Horse Trials (see results) in Southern Pines, N.C., braved cold, rainy weather. Will Faudree didn’t let the damp stop him from claiming first and second in the advanced division with Andromaque and Pawlow, respectively. Caitlin Silliman has made a remarkable recovery this spring from her head injury last fall and she picked up blue in an open intermediate division aboard Remington.

Canadians dominated the advanced divisions at Poplar Place March Horse Trials (Ga.) (see results). Shandiss McDonald and Jessica Phoenix took the top two spots in one division of advanced, while Kendal Lehari won the other. All three hail from Canada. Michael Pollard rode Mensa into second behind Lehari. Mikki Kutcha snagged first and second places in the CIC* division with Rubens d’Ysieux and Calle, while Buck Davidson topped the CIC** on Wiley Post and the open intermediate on D.A. Adirmo.

Out in Texas, at the Pin Oak Charity I horse show (see results), Wilhelm Genn ate up the $30,000 Pin Oak Grand Prix with Cookie Monster, taking the top check over Tracy Fenney on MTM Timon, who had won the $25,000 grand prix earlier in the week. Other horse shows over the weekend included: Atlanta Spring Classic I (Ga.) (see results), Swan Lake Winter Finale (Pa.) (see results), Spring Hunter/Jumper (Ore.) (see results) and Queenie Productions Winter Series (Mo.) (see results). 

 
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