Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Fibonacci 17 were the winners in Saturday night’s $372,000 Suncast® CSI 5* Grand Prix in week seven of the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Jumping under the lights of the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), Michaels-Beerbaum and the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (For Feeling x Corland) won a six-horse jump-off, with Danielle Goldstein (ISR) and Carisma in second, and Jessica Springsteen (USA) with Vindicat W third.

Canada’s Erynn Ballard came seventh aboard Appy Cara, having just missed the jump-off, with one fault and a time of 82.09. Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 were 12th, with four faults and a time of 78.21.

Forty-four entries showed over Steve Stephens’ (USA) course Saturday night with six advancing to the jump-off and only two double clear rounds. First to go in the jump-off were Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and Hard Rock Z. Going for the slower clear round, they finished in 41.84 seconds, but had an unfortunate four faults for sixth place. Goldstein and Israeli Equestrian Partners’ Carisma were the first pair to clear the short course in 37.86 seconds and eventually took second place honors. Michaels-Beerbaum went next with Fibonacci 17 and completed the only other double clear round in a faster time of 36.96 seconds, but had to wait three more rounds to settle the victory.

Georgina Bloomberg (USA) and Gotham Enterprizes LLC’s Lilli took down the final fence to place fifth with four faults in 37.27 seconds. Springsteen and Stone Hill Farm’s Vindicat W followed, and although they completed the fastest round of the night in 35.40 seconds, the pair finished third with one rail down. Last to go, Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’ were poised to win with their time of 35.65 seconds, but the pair also had a late rail at the final fence to place fourth.
A three-time FEI World Cup Finals champion and one of the best female riders in the world, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum has had many wins at the Winter Equestrian Festival throughout the years, but Saturday night marked one of her biggest. The rider has had great results with Fibonacci 17 all circuit and was thrilled to get a major victory with the talented gelding.

“He has been jumping brilliantly since he got here to Florida, but I have had the unlucky rail down in the two grand prixs that I have ridden him in,” Michaels-Beerbaum stated. “I knew he was in great form, but he is a new horse for me. I have had him less than a year. At this time last year he was jumping 1.40m classes, so he has made a big step up into the big league. I was fine-tuning some small details with him and changed the bridle a little bit for tonight and that seemed to be perfection.”
“The course itself was very difficult, so I was very pleased with how he handled everything today,” Michaels-Beerbaum noted. “I have done very few jump-offs with him in fact, so I was also pleased with how he handled the speed and turns. In general he was a dream tonight.”

Fibonacci has quickly risen to stardom for his incredible jumping ability and he showed that off under the lights with some impressive jumps.

“He is actually a Swedish-bred horse, although he has a German father and a Dutch mother,” Michaels-Beerbaum detailed. “He was born in Sweden, so the Swedish take great pride in that fact. I got him in May last year. He has a different style than most horses. He jumps with his head up and a little bit straight in his back. That is something I have decided I cannot change and that is why I was trying to finesse the bridle a little so I could help him without interrupting his jump. I felt like I did that in the last grand prix, so I was very pleased with tonight.”

“He is an amazing jumper,” she continued. “I think he won the high jump award over most of the fences in the course tonight. It can often be difficult to sit on as a rider, but I have been practicing that as well. He is different, but he is wonderful.”

$372,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5*
1. FIBONACCI 17: 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding by For Feeling x Corland
MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/0/36.96

2. CARISMA: 1999 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cardento 933 x Maraton 600
DANIELLE GOLDSTEIN (ISR), Israeli Equestrian Partners: 0/0/37.86

3. VINDICAT W: 2002 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Libero H
JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/4/35.40

4. CORTES ‘C’: 2002 BWP gelding by Randel Z x Darco
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/4/35.65

5. LILLI: 2004 Brandenburg mare by Lefevre x Diamir
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/4/37.27

6. HARDROCK Z: 2003 Zangersheide stallion by Heartbreaker x Carthago Z
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade: 0/4/41.84

7. APPY CARA: 2005 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Casco
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Angelstone Partners: 1/82.09

8. ALEX: 2005 KWPN gelding by Calvados x Zeus

9. PERCINE DREAM: 2003 Selle Francais mare by Jarnac x Alcamera de Moyon
JUAN IGNACIO ROJO (ARG), Juan Ignacio Rojo: 1/82.55

10. WOKLAHOMA: 2003 KWPN mare by Sheraton x Calvados
ROBERTO TERAN, JR. (COL), Ark Partners LLC: 4/77.34

11. BARRON: 2004 Belgian Sport Horse gelding by For Pleasure x Nabab de Reve
LUCY DAVIS (USA), Old Oak Farm: 4/78.15

12. FINE LADY 5: 2003 Hanoverian mare by Forsyth x Drosselklang II
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 4/78.21