The fourth week of competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) began on Wednesday, 30th January, with a win for Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton and Heracross in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class. Twenty-four entries started the class and 15 completed the course without fault; the fastest time of 58.655 seconds lay down by Skelton and Heracross earned top honours.
During week four of the FTI WEF "Saturday Night Lights" competition (2nd February 2013), Ben Maher piloted Jane Clark's grey mare Cella to victory in the $100,000 Fidelity Investments CSI 2* Grand Prix.
Competing in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre (PBIEC), Florida, USA, Ben and Cella finished on top of 49 entries over second place finishers Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Rebozo. British rider Gemma Paternoster and Osiris clinched third – a fantastic result with two of the first three competitors flying the union flag.
At the KWPN Stallion Show this weekend (2/3 February 2013), Mr. Wassenaar, Chairman of the Horse of the Year committee, announced British showjumping Olympic team gold medallist, Big Star, as the winner of the 2012 KWPN Horse of the Year election:
“Readers of In de Strengen magazine and visitors to the KWPN website were able to choose from fantastic horses nominated in all the disciplines. In the end, there can only be one winner, a horse whose performance last year was amazing, with amazing results at the Olympic Games. The 2012 Horse of the Year is Big Star - a true ambassador for the KWPN!”
Nick Skelton expressed his appreciation in a video: “I want to thank everyone who voted for Big Star. It's a great honour that he's the KWPN Horse of the Year, and we're very happy. I'm honoured to be able to ride a horse like him.”
Seventeen year old Amber Sole set off for India this week to compete in an invitational 60km endurance ride in India on 2nd February, riding a borrowed horse. The invitation to ride in the International Endurance Championship at Dibrugharh, Assam came in November from the Equestrian Federation of Assam.
Amber’s mother Allyson commented that “the terrain will be quite different to anything she has experienced, and it will be interesting to see what sort of horses they ride. The ride takes place in the eastern Himalayas, along sandy river banks and through tea plantations, which I think will be terraced, so it is likely to be hilly. We have been told that the scenery is stunning.”
Stephen Clarke, the British judge who acted as President of the Ground Jury at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has been unanimously elected as FEI Dressage Judge General. He was elected to the post by the 5* Judges present at the annual FEI 5* Dressage Judges seminar, which was held in Paris 20-22 January 2013.
The Dressage Judge General’s primary responsibilities are to create and co-ordinate discussions among the judges, ensuring that all conclusions are communicated to FEI judges through FEI Headquarters and Course Directors.