The final day of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded 13 weeks of competition on Sunday, April 3, with the last international jumper class of the circuit on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village as well as the closing classes across all divisions at Wellington International. Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) emerged as the last international victor as she and Forever SFN won the $50,000 CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI2*.

Groom Daniel Gonzalez joined Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen for their winning presentation. © Sportfot
Guilherme Jorge (BRA) built one final challenging effort for the 45 two-star competitors in the class. He tested the entries with an early triple combination, but the efficient time allowed of 74 seconds was only the deciding factor for two duos. Thirteen more had their hopes dashed with the fault of a single downed obstacle. As the first round concluded, the returning line-up consisted of 11 representatives from four different nations prepared to battle it out over the jump-off track.

Crucioitti Vanderveen was the second to return for the short course and established the first clear round over the track with Springpaarden Fonds Nederland’s 12-year-old KWPN gelding Forever SFN (Azteca VDL x Non Stop) in a time of 38.18 seconds. Five other horses would go clear over the track, but none would come close to the leader’s blazing time.

“I don’t know this horse very well as this is only our fifth class together,” explained Cruciotti Vanderveen. “When I walked the course, I thought it was quite technical, and I knew the time allowed would be tight based on Friday’s qualifier. I thought the first round actually rode quite well, and then I just stuck to the plan I had made for the jump-off. I think where we ended up having the better time was our approach down to the final fence. I’m not sure how many strides I ended up doing but it felt quite fast.”

Cruciotti Vanderveen admitted the win was extra special for her after having to take a hiatus from international competition due to the retirement of her previous top mount.

“It is really special for me not only to be showing at WEF in FEI classes again but also to be able to win here at the end of the season,” added Cruciotti Vanderveen. “It’s hard to put into words how incredible this moment is, and I feel grateful to ride alongside such amazing combinations every day.”

Fabio Leivas Da Costa (BRA) and Bonne Chance Farm LLC’s Ilex put in another top effort to take second place in the class. Da Costa skillfully navigated the nine-year-old KWPN gelding (Baltic VDL x Chin Chin) through each obstacle but fell still two seconds shy of Cruciotti Vanderveen’s top time to finish in 40.14 seconds. The USA landed in both the first and third positions as Katherine Dinan galloped into third place with Dijon Terdoorn Z. Dinan piloted the Grant Road Partners LLC’s 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Diamant De Semilly x Lord Z) to a final time of 40.19 seconds just behind Da Costa.

Final Results: $50,000 CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI2*

1. FOREVER SFN: 2010 KWPN gelding by Azteca VDL x Non Stop
KELLI CRUCIOTTI VANDERVEEN (USA), Springpaarden Fonds Nederland: 0/0/38.18

2. ILEX: 2013 KWPN gelding by Baltic VDL x Chin Chin
FABIO LEIVAS DA COSTA (BRA), Bonne Chance Farm LLC: 0/0/40.14

3. DIJON TERDOORN Z: 2011 Zangersheide gelding by Diamant De Semilly x Lord Z
KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners LLC: 0/0/40.19

4. IMPOSSIBLE DREAM: 2013 KWPN gelding by Cardento 933 x Peter Pan
KELLY ARANI (USA), Marigot Bay Farm, LLC: 0/0/40.99

5. TAJ MAHAL: 2013 Zangersheide stallion by Emerald Van’t Ruytershof x Quannan R
CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Coolmore Show Jumping: 0/0/41.37

6. LAZZARO DELLE SCHIAVE: 2009 Italian Sport Horse gelding by Acodetto 2 x Gluecksgriff
TOM WACHMAN (IRL), Coolmore Show Jumping: 0/4/38.39

7. LADY LOUISE JMEN: 2010 mare
LUCIANA CHRISTINA GUIMARAES LOSSIO (BRA), Luciana Guimaraes Lossio: 0/4/38.75

8. IDEAL: 2012 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Cortez
TANNER KOROTKIN (USA), Castlewood Farm Inc and Sandalwood Farm: 0/4/40.37

9. COQUELICOT VH HEUVELLAND Z: 2012 Zangersheide stallion by Catoki x Cassini II
SEAN JOBIN (CAN), Foxridge Farms Stables: 0/4/41.02

10. ELCO VAN HOF TER NAILLEN: 2010 SBS gelding by Elvis Ter Putte x Toulon
SARA TINDALE (CAN), Tindale Farms: 0/4/42.47

Nicola Philippaerts Closes Out WEF With Victory

The final class in the International Arena was the $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m National Grand Prix. With 51 entries in a starting order stacked with six Olympians and riders from 13 countries, course designer Ken Krome (USA) had his work cut out for him. He set a formidable test that only brought back six for the jump-off. Rising to the top of the class was Belgian Olympian Nicola Philippaerts riding his own Gijs.

Philippaerts came back third in the jump-off, chasing a time of 44.446 seconds set by Darragh Kerins (IRL) and Intuitive, owned by Eve Jobs, which would hold up for third place. Philippaerts and Gijs brought the winning time down to 41.421 seconds. Second place went to 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games individual gold medalist Ben Maher, who rode Point Break, owned by Maher, Pamela Wright, and Charlotte Rossetter, to a clear round in 43.344 seconds.

“He has a very good personality, and he doesn’t act like a stallion at all,” said Philippaerts of the 11-year-old KWPN stallion by Kashmir van Schuttershof x Numero Uno. “He always wants to give the best of himself. I think he has a fantastic character. You can see today that he’s very quick for a big horse, and he has a lot of blood for a big horse.”

This is Philippaerts’s second season showing at WEF, and he has plans to return in 2023. “It’s been very good for us the last two years both sales wise and with our results,” he said. “This year I had a very good circuit. My top horse jumped very well. I think for sure for next year there will be quite a big future here as well. It will be exciting to see what’s going to happen and what the plans are, and I will be happy to come back. It’s a nice place to be for a few months, and it’s nice for me as a European to ride against different people and be amongst a bit of a different crowd here. It’s been good for me, so I really want to come back.”

Regarding his win in the final day of WEF, he remarked, “The grands prix are quite difficult enough classes here. In the jump-off there are always a lot of good riders, so it’s always nice to win a class like this before you go back home.”

Final Results: $50,000 CaptiveOne 1.50m National Grand Prix

1. GIJS: 2011 KWPN stallion by Kashmir van Schuttershof x Numero Uno
NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Nicola Phippaerts: 0/0/41.421

2. POINT BREAK: 2014 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Action-Breaker x Balou du Rouet
BEN MAHER (GBR), P. Wright, C. Rossetter, & Ben Maher: 0/0/43.334

3. INTUITIVE: 2011 Irish Spork Horse gelding by Beach Ball
DARRAGH KERINS (IRL), Eve Jobs: 0/0/44.446

4. EMMYLOU: 2012 Irish Sport Horse mare by Billy Mexico x Lupin Z
BERTRAM ALLEN (IRL), Bertram Allen: 0/4/41.781

5. CELINA BH: 2010 Holstein mare by Canstakko x Carthago Z
MIMI GOCHMAN (USA), Gochman Sport Horses LLC: 0/4/42.921

6. GIGI’S GIRL BH: 2008 KWPN mare by Vigino x Celano
MIMI GOCHMAN (USA), Gochman Sport Horses LLC: 0/4/44.309

7. FARO: 2010 KWPN gelding by Calvaro F.C. x Contendro II
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Temple Equestrian LLC: 1/74.906

8. CATOKI: 2009 Westphalian gelding by Catoki x Caretello B
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Marilla van Beuren, Bob Russell, & McLain Ward: 4/69.428

9. FLEUR-DE-LIS’ CHERIE: 2012 Holsteiner mare by Clarimo x Lancer II
JAD DANA (LBN), Peter Howard & Laure Sudreau: 4/71.818

10. CHANDON BLUE: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Landcapitol
LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Laura & Mary Chapot: 4/72.060