Week ten of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Horseware Ireland, concluded on Sunday, March 20, featuring the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBEC). The class saw a win for Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance, with Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Picolo in second, and Abdel Said (EGY) aboard Luron S Z third. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set the final track for this week’s 1.50m for 55 starters, with ten clear rounds, and six double clear entries in the jump-off. Abdel Said set a fast pace with Luron S Z, owned by AS Sport Horses and Philippe de Balanda BVBA, in a time of 31.05 seconds to eventually place third. Ben Maher (GBR) followed with the fifth place time of 33.20 aboard Stone Hill Farm’s Carolina 31. Kim Prince (USA) and Rushy Marsh Farm’s RMF Swinny du Parc jumped next with a clear round in 33.35 seconds to place sixth.

Farrington was next to clear the short course with RCG Farm’s Creedance, taking the lead in 30.32 seconds. Edward Levy (FRA) and Remarkable Farms’ Wirma jumped into fourth place with their time of 32.16 seconds. Last to go, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Oakland Ventures’ Picolo moved into second place with a time of 30.79 seconds.

Farrington got Creedance, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris) one year ago and has been taking his time to bring the horse along and work on his rideabilty.

“He is still very green; he has not done a whole lot, but I think he could be a really special horse,” Farrington detailed. “He is extremely hot, so it has taken a little while to make him manageable, but he is a real jumper, and he is like a Jack Russell Terrier in the ring. He reminds me of an old horse I had called Up Chiqui, who was an exceptional horse. I think this horse has a lot of similar characteristics, and if I can teach him to harness his energy, I think he could be something special.”

Speaking of his winning jump-off, Farrington stated, “The horse is already fast all by himself, so that is a big advantage. Before, his steering was not so good, but we have really been working on that for a while without the speed. Today, I let him go a little bit quicker, but he has the advantage that both, he can turn really short to the fences, and he is very fast across the ground naturally.”

Creedance jumped week ten’s WEF Challenge Cup along with Sunday’s 1.50m. Farrington plans to show him in week eleven’s WEF Challenge Cup as well, and will then decide if the gelding is ready to try the grand prix.

“I am not sure yet. He is just nine years old, so I will see how that goes and decide what the next move is,” Farrington noted.
The rider also spoke of Sunday’s course and the tracks throughout the week set by Canada’s Michel Vaillancourt, who is also an Olympic individual silver medalist.

“I think Vaillancourt is one of the top designers, and I am always happy when he builds because I think it is a technical course without crazy size,” Farrington remarked. “He usually ends up with the right amount clear. I thought he did a great job with the grand prix on Saturday. It was a mixed field of horses, and he did not end up with a million clear, and we had a good class without it being impossible to jump. I think he is one of the best builders we have around here.”

Also competing in the International Ring on Sunday, Teddy Vlock and Vlock Show Stables’ Onyx du Haut Bois won the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic. The $10,000 Animo USA Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic concluded the day with a win for Kelly Tropin and Libertas Farms LLC’s Adorose.

The competitive Large Pony Hunter division came to a close Sunday morning in Ring 12 with Mimi Gochman and Storyteller crowned this week’s champions. Rain clouds gave way to the sunshine as Gochman and Storyteller rode to wins in both over fences classes on Sunday morning. The pair also earned a first and sixth place finishes over fences on Saturday, and took home second in the under saddle. Storyteller is a 13-year-old German Sport Pony gelding owned by Fair Play Farm.

Mimi’s sister Sophie Gochman and Scott Stewart’s Westside settled for the reserve title. Westside, a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding, placed second in the under saddle and earned two seconds, a third, and a sixth over fences.

While Sophie and Mimi often compete against each other in the Large Pony Hunter division, the siblings support each other more than they rival against each other. “We’re pretty civil about competing with each other,” Mimi Gochman explained.

Eleven-year-old Mimi Gochman trains with the teams at Baxter Hill and Rivers Edge. Her primary trainers are Scott Stewart, Ken Berkley, and Amanda Derbyshire, all of whom Gochman credits for her success. She is remarkably poised and well spoken for such a young rider, likely due to the great deal of success she has already enjoyed during her young career.

“I’ve been riding since I was 18 months old,” Gochman proudly stated. Her mother Becky Gochman is a highly successful amateur rider, whose love of the sport influenced her daughters’ desire to show.

Mimi Gochman, who recently moved to Wellington, FL, with her family full-time, has been riding Storyteller for two years. The pair has enjoyed a great deal of success during that time together, notably winning the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals at the Washington International Horse Show this past October.

“Storyteller is a very sweet pony. He’s very easy to ride and very adjustable,” Gochman remarked. “He’s strong and he’s sturdy, and I can always trust him to get me around the ring safely.

“Storyteller is just easy in general to steer and to get going” Gochman continued. “He’s a good listener; he listens to my hand and my leg which is really nice.”

Storyteller performs especially well in the handy hunter classes, which the pair earned a blue ribbon in this week. “His nickname is ‘Handy King’ because he’s very good at turning,” Gochman laughed. “That really comes in handy when we have to take the tight turns in the handy classes!”
Along with Storyteller, Gochman also competes with Lululemon, who is a green pony owned by Rivers Edge. They compete together in the Large/Medium Green Pony Hunter division.

Outside of the show ring Gochman enjoys playing tennis, counting it as one of her favorite hobbies. “I also like to read a lot,” she added.

Gochman and Storyteller will continue to show in the Large Pony Hunter division for the remainder of the WEF circuit.

$35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. CREEDANCE: 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Lord Z x Notaris
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), RCG Farm: 0/0/30.32
2. PICOLO: 2003 Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Alme
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Oakland Ventures LLC: 0/0/30.79
3. LURON S Z: 2007 Zangersheide gelding by Lord Z x Landetto
ABDEL SAID (EGY), AS Sport Horses & Philippe de Balanda BVBA: 0/0/31.05
4. WIRMA: 2003 KWPN mare by Hors La Loi II x Lux
EDWARD LEVY (FRA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/0/32.16
5. CAROLINA 31: 2006 Holsteiner mare by Colman x Ramirado
BEN MAHER (GBR), Stone Hill Farm: 0/0/33.20
6. RMF SWINNY DU PARC: 2006 Selle Francais mare by Berlin x Laudanum
KIMBERLY PRINCE (USA), Rushy Marsh Farm LLC: 0/0/33.35
7. SANTOS: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Toulon x Lys de Darmen
EDUARDO MENEZES (BRA), Carlo Hank Guerreiro: 0/4/31.81
8. CALIBER 9: 2007 KWPN gelding by Quasimodo Z x Colman
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Robert Castro: 0/4/39.79
9. ARTEMIS: 2005 Zangersheide mare by Chamberlain Z x Casimir
ALI WOLFF (USA), John C. Wolff: 0/8/34.43
10. BUGATTI: 2006 KWPN gelding by Modesto x Emilion
JUAN ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (GUA), Juan Andres Rodriguez: 0/12/36.53
11. PUMPED UP KICKS: 2003 Brandenburg gelding by Levisto x San Juan
JENNIFER GATES (USA), Jennifer Gates LLC: 1/72.89
12. AANWINST: 2005 KWPN mare by Odermus R x Jackson
JORDAN MACPHERSON (CAN), JEM Stables Inc: 4/63.60