Daniel Bluman of Israel rode Ladriano Z to the win in the $134,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 on Thursday, February 21, during Week 7 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Highlight classes of Week 7 include the $391,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, February 23, at 7 p.m., and the $72,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic and $50,000 Dutta Corp./Guido Klatte Grand Prix CSI 2* on Sunday, February 24. WEF continues through Sunday, March 31, with 12 weeks of top hunter, jumper, and equitation competition.

In Thursday’s featured WEF Challenge Cup class, 56 entries faced-off over the Anthony D’Ambrosio designed track, with 16 horse and rider combinations ultimately qualifying for the short course.

Bluman and Ladriano Z, owned by Over the Top Stables, LLC, were the very first to contest the jump-off track, and they set a time to beat of 38.09 seconds that would go untouched by the remainder of the returning entries. Coming the closest to Bluman’s time was Egypt’s Nayel Nassar aboard Lucifer V, owned by Evergate Stables, LLC, who finished in 38.54 seconds. Also finishing less than a second off of Bluman’s lead time was third place finisher Paul O’Shea (IRL), with a time of 38.80 seconds riding Skara Glen’s Presence, and fourth place finisher Darragh Kenny (IRL), who rode Important de Muze to a jump-off time of 38.90 seconds.

“In my mind, I thought [my time] could be a winner, but it’s impossible to know,” said Bluman following his victory. “You’re riding with very fast and very good riders that come after you, so really it’s impossible to know what you have exactly, but I did think it was something that they were going to have to work on. It was definitely fast enough, and sometimes people trying to catch that can make mistakes. With such great riders coming after, you also have to get a little lucky.”

While luck may have been on Bluman’s side, his win is also a testament to his partnership with and work put into Ladriano Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Lawito x Baloubet du Rouet) that he also competed at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG).

“It’s an amazing horse to have in the barn,” said Bluman of Ladriano Z, who last year won the $384,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI 5* during WEF Week 5 with the gelding. “After the WEG, I took a little bit of time to figure out and work on things I thought that we needed to work to get to the next level of consistency. It’s a really big horse, so being able to control his striding is really important, so you can put him in the best spot possible. I really was working on that since WEG and trying to put him where I want to in the lines, especially a short line – to keep the connection the way that I like to.

“Since then he’s placed in every class that he’s jumped, and he’s won a couple of classes,” continued Bluman, “he feels like I can do anything I want at the moment with his stride – keeping a good connection, a good canter, and that allows him to have a very good jump. He really feels the best that he’s felt since I’ve had him. Hopefully we can keep it up like that!”

In addition to their win, Ladriano Z was presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award by Laura Fetterman. Bluman and Ladriano Z will next contest Saturday night’s $391,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix CSI 5* before enjoying time away from the show ring until returning to CSI 5* competition during the final week of WEF 2019.

$134,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 CSI 5*

1 LADRIANO Z: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Lawito x Baloubet du Rouet
DANIEL BLUMAN (ISR), Blue Star Investments & Alexa Schwitzer: 0/0/38.09

2 LUCIFER V: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Lord Dezi x Grandeur
NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/0/38.54

3 SKARA GLEN’S PRESENCE: 2008 Holsteiner stallion by Contendro x Nekton
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Skara Glen, Michael Hayden & Paul O’Shea: 0/0/38.80

4 IMPORTANT DE MUZE: 2008 BWP gelding by Erco van’t Roosakker x Nabab de Reve
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Kerry Anne LLC: 0/0/38.90

5 COOL HAND LUKE 4: 2007 Oldenburg gelding by Contendro I x Argentinus
MARKUS BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/0/48.87

6 VOLAGE DU VAL HENRY: 2009 Selle Francais mare by Quidam de Revel x Cassini I
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/4/38.79

7 CHICA BZ: 2009 Zangersheide Mare by Canturano x Berlin
MARTIN FUCHS (SUI), Juri Adolfo: 0/4/38.98

8 RUBENS LS LA SILLA: 2006 SLS stallion by Rebozo LS La Silla x Cash
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Rose Hill Farm: 0/4/39.02

9 CHAPILOT: 2007 Hanoverian gelding by Chacco Blue x Pilot
RODRIGO LAMBRE (BRA), Mario Onate: 0/4/40.13

10 CULA LOU V: 2006 Westphalian mare by Chacco-Blue x Sandro
WILTON PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch, LLC: 0/4/40.97

11 CHAMEUR 137: 2008 Westphalian gelding by Cayetano L x Grossadmiral
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Purple Road, LLC: 0/4/43.11

12 CASSINJA S: 2006 Dutch Sporthorse mare by Carinjo x Cassini I
CHARLES JACOBS (USA), CMJ Sporthorse, LLC: 0/8/46.73