Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Unbelievable 5. (Photo © Sportfot)
The second week of competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded on Sunday with young riders taking the spotlight in the International Arena, followed by the $35,000 Suncast® Championship Classic. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Unbelievable 5, owned by Windward Farm and Jessica Siuda, renewed their winning partnership. Victoria Colvin, 18, jumped to victory in the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Equine Couture/TuffRider, aboard Zidane for Springfield Showjumpers. In the hunter ring, McKayla Langmeier rode Quatrain for Laura Critz.
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues on January 27 with a week of CSI 3* competition sponsored by Adequan® and highlighted by the $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix during “Saturday Night Lights” on January 30.
There were 10 clear rounds out of 54 entries in the $35,000 Suncast® Championship Classic, and they traveled a course designed by Catsy Cruz (MEX). Michaels-Beerbaum and Unbelievable 5, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Manhattan x Democraat, posted the fastest time of 34 seconds flat. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Check Picobello Z, owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines, were just behind in the standings when they set the pace in 34.64 seconds. Third place went to Chloe Reid (USA) on Codarco in a time of 34.81 seconds. Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Sam du Challois, owned by Ronnocco Jump, Ltd. And Jean-Claude Jobin, were fourth in 35.03 seconds, while Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) rode David Gochman’s Cannavaro BH to fifth place in 35.08 seconds.
Michaels-Beerbaum watched Lamaze in the jump-off and saw him leave a stride out from jumps one to two. “I didn’t even try for that; that was too extreme,” she revealed. “I just tried to ride the track how I knew he could do it. I really cut to number three and then I was really short everywhere else. I slowed down a little bit to the last (jump). There was possibly one less stride there that I might have tried had we been in better form together, but it wasn’t necessary in the end.”
Getting back into form was the goal for Michaels-Beerbaum, who explained the Unbelievable 5 is just back into the main ring after a two-year absence due to injury. The pair was successful at top shows in Europe in 2013 before he was sidelined. Last summer, Unbelievable 5 returned to showing locally with another rider, and Michaels-Beerbaum started back with him in the fall.
“This is his first big win, but also (his first) big track again. It took a long time after an almost two year break to get him going again. This is really nice for him that he showed his form again and was as good as ever. It was nice for the owners because they spent a lot of time and had a lot of patience,” she shared. “A lot of people would have given up on the horse and would have thought he wouldn’t make it back, but they really gave it the time and proper veterinary care to bring him back in the sport. This is really quite a nice win for him.”
While it was the first time that Michaels-Beerbaum could push for speed in a jump-off, she felt very comfortable doing so due to her previous relationship with him. “I know the horse very, very well. He had some outstanding results at 1.60m grand prix. I know he’s very, very fast. Until now I’ve only gone slow with him, so this was the first fast round, but I did feel very comfortable knowing him. He’s like an old partner of mine. The speed part wasn’t an issue. But it is the first time he’s gone fast in over two years! It all came together really nicely. He likes going fast. He’s at his most comfortable going fast.”
Michaels-Beerbaum was happy to start out the 2016 WEF circuit with a win. She remarked, “It’s very difficult to win here. If you win anything here, it’s extraordinary. It’s a great way to start. My greatest pleasure is that this great horse that has had a rough go is back in form and back in the sport. It’s really quite nice.”
Final Results: $35,000 Suncast® Classic
1 UNBELIEVABLE 5: 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Manhattan x Democraat
MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Windward Farm & Jessica Siuda: 0/0/34.00
2 CHECK PICOBELLO Z: 2006 Zangersheide gelding by Cardento x Only Picobello Z
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farm, LLC & Torrey Pines: 0/0/34.64
3 CODARCO: 2007 irish Sport Horse gelding by Darco x Orame
CHLOE REID (USA), Chloe D Reid, LLC: 0/0/34.81
4 SAM DU CHALLOIS: 2006 Selle Francais stalliong by Quaprice Boimargot Quincy x Adam IV*De Cote D’or
CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Ronnocco Jump, Ltd. & Jean-Claude Jobin: 0/0/35.03
5 CANNAVARO BH: 2006 Swedeish Warmblood gelding by Cardento x Esprita
AMANDA DERBYSHIRE (GBR), David Gochman: 0/0/35.08
6 LUDWIG’S JOKER B: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Ludwig Von Bayern x Fierant XX
SAYRE HAPPY (USA), HC Sport Horses: 0/0/37.79
7 NOUGAT DU VALLET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Scherif d’Elle x Saphire d’Elle
KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners, LLC: 0/0/38.53
8 WINN WINN: 2003 Anglo European mare by Chin Chin x Wagenaar
ANDREW RAMSAY (USA), The Winn Winn Group: 0/4/3.75
9 CALIFA LS: 2003 Selle Francais stalliong by Carthago x Lux Z
MARK BLUMAN (COL), Stranky’s Mission Farms, Inc.: 0/4/34.08
10 HERA VAN DE KOUTERHOEVE: 2007 Belgium Warmblood mare by Dawson Vande Padenborre x Wisconsin Van De Cruyenvelda
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Angelstone Partners: 0/8/37.04
11 PISTOYA: 2003 Selle Francais mare by Dollar du Murier SF x Cor de la Bryere
NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Turnabout Farm, Inc.: 1/74.01
12 LADRIANO Z: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Lawito x Baloubet Du Rouet
ILAN BLUMAN (COL), Blue Star Investments: 1/75.21
Source: Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.