An exciting week of four-star competition at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began on Wednesday, January 26, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) during week three, sponsored by NetJets. All 12 rings buzzed with excited riders and horses, but the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI4* class was the featured event in the International Arena. The USA’s Laura Kraut piloted Haley, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, ahead of 24 entries for the week’s first victory.
Sixteen horse-and-rider combinations managed to secure themselves a spot in the jump-off round over Peter Grant’s (CAN) track but six fell victim to an unfortunate downed rail in the short phase while one suffered a time fault. However, Kraut brought her best as she always does in top competition and found the fastest way around to clock in at 38.12 seconds.
Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and successful partner Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC’s 13-year-old Hanoverian mare Venice Beach (Voltaire x Escudo I) were hot on Kraut’s heels. Only missing the lead by two-tenths of a second as they rounded out two clear rounds with a final time of 38.31 seconds. Finally, young rider Natalie Dean (USA) shot to the top and landed herself a spot in the victory gallop with the Marigold Sporthorses LLC’s nine-year-old BWP gelding Nespresso Van’t Laekhof (Cicero Z x Grandeur) after finishing clean in a tidy 39.34 seconds.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc
Photo by Sportfot