Week three of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded with an exciting $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon held on the grass derby field at The Stadium at The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The class saw a win for U.S. rider Brianne Goutal and Remarkable Farms LP’s Onira in a four-horse jump-off. Todd Minikus (USA) and Macoemba finished second, Laura Kraut (USA) and A. Lebon’s Jubilee d’Ouilly were third, and Luis Larrazabal (VEN) aboard Anabel Simon’s G&C Sacramento placed fourth.

Uliano Vezzani of Italy was the course designer for week three’s international show jumping competition in Wellington. In Sunday’s $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix, Vezzani set the track on the beautiful grass field for 46 competitors and only four were able to clear the course without fault. The bogey fence, a tall wavy-plank vertical off of a tight left-hand turn came down for the majority of competitors, but there were many other rails around the course as well.

Watch Brianne Goutal talk about her win!

Jumping off, Laura Kraut and Jubilee d’Ouilly were the first pair to attempt the short course for the tie breaker and had that bogey fence down (although the top rail had been replaced with a straight pole) for four faults in 36.01 seconds and earned the third place honors. Luis Larrazabal and G&C Sacramento were up next and made it to the last fence on course before dropping a rail for four faults in 38.90 seconds, which placed the duo in fourth. Todd Minikus and Macoemba followed and went for the clear round in a slower pace of 40.60 seconds, which eventually finished second. Last to go, the pressure was on for Brianne Goutal and Onira to go clear and fast. They jumped without fault and galloped through the timers in 38.96 seconds for the win.

Brianne Goutal and Onira. Photo © Sportfot.
Seventeen-year-old Onira, a KWPN gelding by Nimmerdor x Ramiro, is a longtime experienced partner for Goutal. The pair has earned many wins together around the world over the past 11 years and the rider knew that she could count on her horse to give it his all this afternoon.

“Onira has jumped incredibly all year,” Goutal stated following her victory. “This is a great way to start the season for him in his first big class out. We have gone through a lot together, so it is great.”

“I had a lot of firsts with him,” the rider detailed. “First junior jumpers, first equitation finals win, first prix de states, first nations cup, first win down here now, so no complaints from me.”

Commenting on the course, Goutal acknowledged, “I really liked it. I didn’t think it was going to be quite as hard as it ended up. I thought we would have between six and eight clear at least, but there were a few points of the course that really got people. That wavy plank was very difficult to jump clean. You kind of had to be right in the right place and the horse could not go in one direction even half a millimeter. The triple caught a lot of people as well. I think you saw faults everywhere, which is the kind of course that I like, not just in one place.”

Goutal has had a great year with many top placings for her horses and is now off to a great start for the winter circuit. She remarked, “It has been really good year. My horses are all going really well. I have a great team of people with me and a great group of horses as well. It seems that everything has kind of aligned for me just not to mess it up so much. For the moment everything is going better than planned.”

The top riders discussed jumping their horses on the field at The Stadium at PBIEC. For Goutal, Onira has always loved the grass, but she admits that some horses like it better than others. Second place finisher, Todd Minikus, shared his opinion as well.

“I think it is an excellent venue and it is a nice change for the horses,” Minikus noted. “The fact of the matter is we start to think about jumping on the grass as a little bit prehistoric because we get so accustomed to jumping on the all-weather footing, but this held up quite nicely for the many horses that went around.”

Macoemba did very well on the grass and Minikus was proud of his rounds. The horse is just nine years old and relatively new to this level of competition.

“He really had no experience before I got him, so he has come a long way since May,” Minikus admitted. “He has done some nice things. We had some bumps through the summer, but down here he was second in the World Cup class at Holiday and Horses and he won one of the smaller grand prix and jumped nice here today.”

Goutal knew Macoemba previously and spoke about his improvement with Minikus. “I think that to say that Todd has transformed that horse is an understatement,” Goutal recognized. “It is amazing what he has done with him.”

Minikus missed some time showing at the FTI WEF in the last couple of years due to illness and injury, but is coming back strong and attempting to get some top horses again.

“It is a tough game,” he declared. “We get a little casual about (WEF) I think, but I don’t care what anybody says, this is the toughest competition that there is in the world, week in and week out. To have horses that jump here, those are good horses and they are hard to come by. Brianne’s horse and that horse that Laura is riding; we are like ‘Oh yeah, just a little class over on the field this weekend,’ but look at the list of people and horses! We get a little complacent, but I think it is a big deal.”

Brianne Goutal and Onira in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Meg Krueger and Michael Stone of Equestrian Sport Productions. Photo © Sportfot.
Laura Kraut’s third place mount, Jubilee d’Ouilly, is a very experienced 16-year-old mare that Kraut just started riding this season when the horse’s previous rider in Europe got injured. Kraut appreciates the significance of getting great horses and hopes to keep the ride as long as possible.

“The owner is really excited about her success so far and I think she is a great addition to my string,” Kraut said. “She is 16 years old, but she acts like a six-year-old. I just like her. She is a spicy mare. She is really brave and really experienced. Any one of the three of us sitting here would enjoy riding her. She is just so experienced; it is nice to walk on the field and know that she is not going to be green or strange about anything. She tries so hard.”

Final Results: $50,000 CSI 2* Grand Prix

1. ONIRA: 1996 KWPN gelding by Nimmerdor x Ramiro
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/0/38.96

2. MACOEMBA: 2003 KWPN gelding by Zeoliet
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Todd Minikus, Ltd: 0/0/40.60

3. JUBILEE D’OUILLY: 1997 Selle Francais mare by Palestro II x Graphit
LAURA KRAUT (USA), A. Le Bon and F.X. Le Bon: 0/4/ 36.01

4. G&C SACRAMENTO: 1999 KWPN gelding by No Limit x Ircolando
LUIS LARRAZABAL (VEN), Anabel Simon: 0/4/38.90

5. AX CENT: 2003 KWPN gelding by Burggraaf
KENNETH BERKLEY (USA), Rivers Edge: 1/ 82.61

6. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 4/76.36

7. TALOUBET: 2000 KWPN gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Quidam De Revel
PAULO SANTANA (BRA), Paulo Santana: 4/76.87

8. V: 2002 KWPN gelding by Landstreicher Lennard
KATIE PRUDENT (USA), Michael Smith: 4/77.83

9. VICOMTE D: 1998 BWP gelding by Flamenco Desemilly x Randell Z
BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane F. Clark: 4/78.55

10. ZERLY: 2004 KPWN mare by Querlybet Hero x Carthago
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 4/78.74

11. LANSDOWNE: 2003 KWPN stallion by Guidam x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel & Susan Grange: 4/78.83

12. USER ID: 2001 KWPN gelding by Namelus R x Goodwill
Darragh Kenny (IRL), OnlyJumpers.com: 4/79.20

Lili Hymowitz Clinches Champion and Reserve Titles in Voltaire Design Large Pony Hunter Division

Lili Hymowitz dominated the Voltaire Design Large Pony Hunter division on the last day of competition for week three of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Hymowitz was champion of the division with Scott Stewart’s Westside, a ten-year-old Warmblood gelding. The pair won both over fences rounds on day one of competition for the division and placed second under saddle. On day two, Westside and Hymowitz placed first and third over fences.

Enjoy the Laughter, Hymowitz’s eight-year-old German Riding Pony, took home the reserve championship title. Hymowitz and Enjoy the Laughter won the under saddle class and jumped to two second places on day one before earning fifth and second place ribbons over fences on day two. The duo was also named Rider/Owner Champion for the division.

Lili Hymowitz and Westside.
Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.
Enjoy the Laughter is Westside’s greener counterpart, but Hymowitz is more than pleased with how his first year out of green divisions is going. Hymowitz described, “He’s grown up so much in the last year! He was a lot greener last year and a lot harder to ride, but now he’s so much easier.”

Westside and Hymowitz’s partnership has been much shorter than her career with Enjoy the Laughter. The pair won a majority of the classes of the division despite it only being their third show together. “He’s amazing and so much fun,” Hymowitz stated. “He jumps really well and is really easy to ride. You just point [him at the jump], and he doesn’t have any spooks or quirks.”

Hymowitz believes Westside’s enthusiasm in the show ring is what makes him a winner amongst the tough competition at the FTI WEF. “He’s really pretty to watch around the ring because he has a great facial expression. His ears are always forward so his expression is really good and he just tries his hardest,” Hymowitz explained.

The pair’s methodical approach to courses also makes them difficult for competitors to beat. “I like going slow and jumping up, and he likes to do the same. When he gets too fast he gets frazzled, so we think exactly the same,” Hymowitz stated.

Hymowitz also participated in Saturday Night’s Great Charity Challenge, an event she looks forward to each season at the FTI WEF. “Showing in the International Arena is one of my favorite parts of WEF. The Charity Challenge is so much fun. The atmosphere is so great,” Hymowitz described.

The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue with its fourth week of competition, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, on January 30-February 3. The week will feature the $33,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 on Thursday afternoon, the $100,000 Fidelity Investments® CSI 2* Grand Prix on Saturday evening, and the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday afternoon. The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival features 12 weeks of competition running from January 9-March 31, 2013, and will be awarding almost $7 million in prize money throughout the circuit. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com, and Anne Gittins Photography, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, www.annegittins.com. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 9 through March 31. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.

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