Canada’s Erynn Ballard took home the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider title on Saturday, February 9, during the fifth week of competition at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
Ballard and her mount Darko’s Promise, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Ilan Ferder, had a banner week. The pair guaranteed themselves an appearance during “Saturday Night Lights” by winning Thursday’s qualifier, the $134,000 CSI5* Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 5. They then earned a top-15 finish in the $391,000 CSI5* Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix amongst some of the greatest horses and riders in the world.
“I think it’s been a pretty amazing week!” said Ballard of her results and award. “Last year in Upperville, Martha said to me ‘I hope that you can get leading lady rider.’ I didn’t get it done there, but I have to say, it’s always a goal. Why wouldn’t you want to be [leading lady]? Martha is a family friend, and I feel honored to win the award from her.”
In recognition of her Leading Lady title, Ballard was presented with a bottle of champagne, bouquet of flowers, and gift certificate for a shopping spree at Hunt, Ltd.
A leading South Florida real estate broker and part of the elite Douglas Elliman Real Estate Sports and Entertainment division, Jolicoeur has supported WEF as an integral sponsor for the past nine consecutive years. Throughout WEF, the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award, given in memory of fellow realtor and horseman Dale Lawler, is presented weekly to the high-score female rider based on performances in the weekly WEF Challenge Cup Series and grand prix events.
During the 12th and final week of WEF, the Martha Jolicoeur Overall Leading Lady Rider Award will be presented to the female rider who accumulates the most points throughout the Winter Equestrian Festival. So far this season, Tiffany Foster, Lauren Hough, Beezie Madden, and Margie Engle have earned the weekly honor and have set their sights on earning the overall title.