Dressage and GCC Update from WEF 2017

Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow
Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow winning the showcase. Photo credit Jenni Autry, Eventing Nation

Wellington is Hub of Cross-Discipline Action During Week 4 at WEF

This past weekend WEF was a hub of cross-discipline action, as spectators had their choice of top level competitions at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). On Friday and Saturday, event riders descended upon the Global show grounds to showcase their sport in the Wellington Eventing Showcase.

Boyd Martin made his 3rd appearance at the Showcase a hat-trick, taking his 3rd win and the largest prize money to the bank for his happy owners. This year he won aboard the remarkable mare, Welcome Shadow, who was originally imported from Ireland as a fox hunter for owners Craig and Gloria Callen.

Martin quickly recognized her talent as an event horse when the Shadow showed little patience for standing at the check out fox hunting. Under Martin’s tutelage, this failed fox hunter has worked her way to the top of the sport over the past 4 years, proving that she could be in the running for USEA mare of the year in 2018.

Mares Lead the Way at Wellington Eventing Showcase

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo credit Jenni Autry, Eventing Nation
Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous.
Photo credit Jenni Autry, Eventing Nation

The leading horse going into the cross country phase was another top mare, RF Scandalous, ridden by grand prix show jumper turned eventer, Marilyn Little.

Little held the lead throughout dressage and show jumping before having an unfortunate fall on cross country with her other mount, RF Demeter, which caused her to withdraw.

This left the door open for Martin, who managed to lay down a quick XC round on Shadow, holding off the second place finisher, Buck Davidson on Petite Flower (another mare), and 3rd place finisher Doug Payne on Vandiver.

Had Marilyn Little remained in the competition to run XC on Scandalous, mares would have dominated the top 3 spots on the score board!

Philanthropic Efforts In The Jumper Ring Result in Bypassing the $10M Mark at the Great Charity Challenge!

Upon the conclusion of the Eventing Showcase on Saturday, the team at Wellington Equestrian Realty migrated over to the WEF show grounds to join a packed house of spectators celebrating local area charities. The show grounds were alive with enthusiastic competitors, sponsors, spectators and volunteers who pulled together for the greater good of Palm Beach County.

Cormac Hanley - over the WER Jump. Photo credit ESP/Sportfot
Cormac Hanley – over the WER Jump. Photo credit ESP/Sportfot

The following are highlights and photos from the evening’s show jumping and costume competition, compliments of Equestrian Sports Productions and Jennifer Wood Media:

“The team of riders Shane Sweetnam, Lindsey Tomeu, and Sedona Chamblee, team sponsors Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Equine Tack & Nutritionals earned the top prize of $150,000 for their charity, Urban Youth Impact, on Saturday night in the 8th annual Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

“The competition is held as a pro-am team relay with each team made up of junior and amateur riders competing side by side with top professionals. The event also featured a fun theme, as riders (and their horses) dressed up as characters from their favorite animated movies.”

Group Podium Photo, Photo credit ESP/Sportfot
Group Podium Photo, Photo credit ESP/Sportfot

Representing Urban Youth Impact, Sweetnam, Tomeu, and Chamblee rode for team sponsor Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Equine Tack and Nutritionals dressed as characters from The Flintstones. All three riders cleared the course without fault and clocked the fastest combined time of 85.27 seconds for the win. Sweetnam and Tomeu were also part of the winning team in 2016, while Chamblee was competing in the event for the first time.

“It is a fantastic cause, not just for our team, but for a lot of different foundations in the area,” said Sweetnam, who anchored the team as a professional rider. “I do not know if there is anything else like it in the country or anywhere really. Every year we try to do our best for whatever cause we are given.”

Shane Sweetnam over the WER fence. Photo credit ESP/Sportfot
Shane Sweetnam over the WER fence. Photo credit ESP/Sportfot

Thirty-five local area charities benefited from the evening, taking home prize money that ranged on a sliding scale from $15K to $150K, exceeding donations of $1.5M for the evening and pushing the 9-year total up and over the $10.7M mark!

Team Costume Awards Presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty

Craig Martin of Wellington Equestrian Realty was a member of the costume judging panel.

Costume Judging Panel. Left to right: Craig Martin, Nathanael Estes, Roxanne Stein (WPTV Channel 5) and Alicia Heiniger (Equestrio). Photo credit Great Charity Challenge
Costume Judging Panel. Left to right: Craig Martin, Nathanael Estes, Roxanne Stein (WPTV Channel 5) and Alicia Heiniger (Equestrio). Photo credit Great Charity Challenge

We wish to congratulate the following teams and their designated charities for their top awards in the costume contest!

  1. $5,000 – Glades Initiative/Van Kampen Foundation/Fidelity Investments®/Todd Minikus/Peyton Utset/Hana Bieling
  2. $3,000 – Achievement Centers for Children & Families/Swede Ventures/Benjamin Family/Adrienne Sternlicht/Mattias Tromp/Ava Stearns
  3. $2,000 – Horses Healing Hearts/Marrinan & Rotondo/Gold Coast Feed & Supply/Jennifer Hannan/Ally Marrinan/Nina Rotondo

Top teams, Photo credit Great Charity Challenge