Ibrahim Barazi and Omnia Incipit in their winning presentation with ringmaster Steve Rector. Photo © Sportfot.
The sixth week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) features international jumpers at Equestrian Village and the hunters on center stage in the International Arena at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. On Thursday, February 14, Ibrahim Barazi (JOR) took the top spot in the $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 6.
In the $36,000 Equiminity WEF Challenge Cup Round 6, 61 entries went to post for a chance at prize money and the opportunity to compete in Friday night’s $134,000 CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI 3*. There were 13 clear in the first round, and 10 of those chose to return for the jump-off.
Setting the pace as the first ones in the jump-off, Laura Chapot (USA) and Chandon Blue, owned by Mary Chapot, were clear and very fast in 36.77 seconds. However, it would not quite be enough, and they settled for second place. Third place went to Kelli Cruciotti (USA) riding her own Hadja van Orshof, who were clear in 38.01 seconds.
Cutting more than two seconds off the leading time, Barazi and Omnia Incipit, an 11-year-old Bavarian mare by Lordanos owned by IB Stable, brought the winning time down to 34.59 seconds.
Barazi, who was only showing in his 22nd FEI class, won his first FEI class during week 9 last year and marked the first win for a Jordanian rider at WEF. He planned to compete in this event and aimed for a strong performance.
“I think I rode horribly the first round; she jumped amazing,” said the rider who trained with Joe Fargis after moving to the United States. “The course was very, very nice and challenging enough considering the size of the ring we have. I don’t think the course designer over-faced anyone. It wasn’t overly big or wide. It was just a smart course. The horses needed stamina to get from the start to the finish. Things show up quick. It’s almost like riding in an indoor.”
Barazi saw Chapot go first in the jump-off and felt there were two places on course where he cut off two seconds of time. “I saw everybody do 10 [strides] in the last line,” he explained. “My mare, although she’s small, she has a big stride. I decided to just use that stride and the long line to make up for the nine [strides] every step of the way, to get closer to the Hermès oxer, and it worked out. Where I also thought I was a little quicker was 3ab to 4. I just put a curve in that line and took the chances of jumping the oxer on an angle and making it wider for the horse, but I know she’s good and would do it.”
It’s a bit of a fairytale story for Barazi and the 15.3 hand-high Omnia Incipit. Barazi found her in Slovakia in “the middle of nowhere.” When friends in Europe called Barazi, knowing his type of horse, he watched a video of her jumping 1.20m online.
“I was like, ‘This horse looks like she can jump,’” he recalled. “I flew over all the way for her. I did one trip. She was spinning and doing exciting things, and I didn’t jump much. I got back to the airport, slept there for the night, and flew back the next morning. We did the vetting and it looked good, and I bought the horse.”
While he originally had partners that owned Omnia Incipit, Barazi now owns her fully. “She has a very big personality,” he said of the mare. “She’s very sensitive. I would describe her as a cat. If there’s anything underneath her, she’ll just jump away. That’s what makes her a good show jumper; she just wants to jump away from the fences, higher and higher.”
Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions
Photo © Sportfot