Canadian rider Erynn Ballard was the star of day two of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), speeding to victory in the $35,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Premiere Round at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) riding Walter White.
On Thursday, January 7, 2021, 37 entries went to the post over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA) and 14 clear rounds advanced to the jump-off.
Ballard was riding out of third spot with Ilan Ferder’s Walter White and had to chase fast times set by the first two in the ring. U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward and Poden Farms’ Kasper van het Hellehof were clear in 37.062 seconds, which would hold up for third place. Just tipping Ward was Shane Sweetnam (IRL) riding Ideal, owned by Sweet Oak Farm & Seabrook. They posted a time of 36.901 seconds, which would result in second place.
Ballard and Walter White, a 10-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding (Baloubet du Rouet x Bon Ami), picked the pace up yet again and crossed the timers clear in 36.706 seconds, which could not be beaten by another 11 entries over the shortened course.
This was only the second time ever that Ballard has ridden Walter White.
“Sometimes it’s better not to know them because then you’ve got nothing to compare it to,” admitted Ballard, who is originally from Tottenham, Ontario.
“I asked everything I wanted of him. [In the first round], he gave me good air at the first jump, and he made me feel that he was ready to do his job so then all I had to do was mine. He’s really nice to place in front of the jumps, and you know he wants to do it. He wants to jump clear and go fast.
“He’s my kind of horse,” she added. “I can keep a feel, and his legs move fast. He’s not afraid to run, so even though I’ve never ridden him, I feel really comfortable on him.”
Walter White came to Ferder’s barn in December after a solid career jumping in Europe with riders such as Paris Sellon (USA), Matias Alvaro (ITA), and Guillaume Foutrier (FRA). Joining Ballard’s impressive string of international rides, Walter White is a sale horse. Ballard was excited to win her first WEF Challenge Cup since 2018, when she entered the winner’s circle with Darko’s Promise.
“To start off the series like this is really fun,” said Ballard. “I’m on a roll right now, and I hope it doesn’t stop.”
This is Ballard’s fourth winter riding for Ferder, and she has “big goals to be on championship teams”.
“Along the way we sell the horses, and we keep the business going,” she explained.
Ballard was excited to be back competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival, even though she has been competing regularly in the pre-WEF circuits at PBIEC.
“I’ve said before that this is my favorite place to be,” she said. “I think that [show manager] David [Burton] and his team do a better job than anybody. They’ve been very good at managing social distancing and keeping everybody with a mask on. Their ultimate goal is to keep the show running for us, so I think everybody needs to be respectful of the rules, and we should enjoy a really fun 12 more weeks.”
Starting out the morning with a win in the International Arena was Shane Sweetnam (IRL) riding Casago II, owned by Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm LLC, in the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Jumpers. Closing out the day with a one-two finish in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers was Molly Ashe Cawley, who rode Louisburg Farm’s Berdien to the win and Harvester, owned by Ilan Ferder, to second place.
$35,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Premiere Round
1 WALTER WHITE: 2011 Belgian Sport horse gelding by Baloubet Rouet x Jaffna d’Odeigne
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Ilan Ferder: 0/0/36.706
2 IDEAL: 2012 SWB gelding by Cardento 933 x Cortez
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC: 0/0/36.901
3 KASPER VAN HET HELLEHOF: 2010 BWP gelding by Emerald x Nabab De Reve
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Poden Farms: 0/0/37.062
4 CACHEMIRE DE BRAIZE: 2012 Selle Francais gelding Quality Touch x Jaguar Mail
DANIEL BLUMAN (ISR), Over The Top Stables: 0/0/38.500
5 KAMILLA D: 2011 SCSL mare by Kashmir von Schuttershof x Canturo*Bois Margot
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Erynn Ballard: 0/0/39.626
6 HAMILTON: Holsteiner gelding by Quadors 3 x Acolord
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), The Hamilton Group: 0/0/39.775
7 CLIFF Z: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Canturano x Quasimodo Z
MATTHEW BODDY (GBR), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/0/40.759
8 MANHATTAN: 2011 American Warmblood Registry gelding by Metropolitan x Lancer III
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/0/42.234
9 ELUNA CL Z: 2012 Zang mare Emerald van’t Ruytershof x Nabab de Reve
ELIZA LEHRMAN (USA), Five Way Farm LLC: 0/0/44.346
10 COCOLINA: 2011 Oldenburg mare by Conthargos
NATALIE DEAN (USA), Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 0/0/42.437
11 ATHOS D’ELLE: 2010 SF gelding by Apache d’Adriers x Papillon Rouge
KATHERINE DINAN (USA) GRANT ROAD PARTNERS 0/0/42.437
12 MEADOWVALE CRUISE: 2011 gelding by S Creevagh Ferro Ex Siebe x Cruising
DIEGO PEREZ BILBAO (ESP), Wyndmont: 0/0/40.001
‘I’m wildly proud’ — 10-month hiatus proves no problem for WEF champions
Holly Orlando and Fable Claim took home top honours in the 3’6” Green Hunter Championship in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring on Thursday morning.
The duo received a high score of 89 for a blue ribbon on the first day of the division, as well as a second-place finish in the under-saddle. They added another two second places as well as a third to their total tally.
Orlando, of Wellington, FL, is going into her third year showing James Anderson’s nine-year-old Warmblood gelding by Coupe De Alb. Anderson also takes over the reins on Fable in the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunters.
“We did pre-green hunters with him for a year when we got him, then he started the first year greens last year and we ended up reinstating him because of COVID-19,” Orlando explained. “The last time he showed was WEF 10 last year, so he’s had a long time in between shows. He came out really fresh and crisp with four nice rounds which was great.”
Despite the pair having a break from the show ring, Orlando and Fable remained consistent both days of the division to come out on top. The duo received a score of 90 and two scores of 89 in a competitive class of 30 entries.
“I’m wildly proud of him and Holly for coming back after an almost ten-month hiatus and earning champion,” commented Anderson, of Bedford Hills, NY.
Orlando added: “He tried so hard in all four classes. It’s hard, especially with a first year horse, to put four good rounds together in a row. This is a great start. It couldn’t have gone any better and now he can be James’ [horse] next week.”
The pair aims to continue their success during the rest of WEF and hopefully qualify for the Devon Horse Show in the 3’6” Green Hunters.
Reserve champion of the division went to Cincinnati, OH, resident Christopher Payne and Still Water Farm LLC’s Reign. Payne piloted Reign to a first, two seconds, and a fourth-place ribbon.
Hunter competition will continue on Friday with the $25,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby in Rings 11 and 12, while the jumpers continue their classes across multiple rings at PBIEC, including the Lugano Diamonds High Amateur-Owner Jumpers as the first class of the morning in the International Arena.