Ireland’s Darragh Kenny opened international competition during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $32,000 Adequan® CSI3* WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 on Thursday at Wellington International. Kenny and Irwin, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Kannan x Paladin des IFS) owned by HKC Collection LLC, topped a field of 72 horses for the win.
Kenny had his eye on Irwin since the mount was seven before becoming part of the Irish Olympian’s string last year. The former ride of Danish show jumper Emil Hallundbaek, Irwin is on a steady climb to the top.
“To be honest, the horse just keeps getting better and better,” he said. “When I bought him, he’d never really jumped more than 1.50m. He was still very green, but he feels like an incredible horse.”
Irwin didn’t show any inexperience as he carried Kenny to victory by more than a second over courses built by Nick Granat (USA) in WEF’s International Arena.
Odette Rises to New Heights in $5,000 Keyflow Feeds USA 3’3” Green Hunter Classic
A new classic was introduced to the WEF hunter schedule with Thursday’s $5,000 Keyflow Feeds USA 3’3” Green Hunter Classic. Held in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Arena, riders and horses from the 3’3” Green Hunter division had the opportunity to compete for additional prize money, where placings were determined by the combined score of the riders two rounds.
Taking the first-ever victory in the class and the week’s division championship was Nick Haness of Temecula, CA and the eight-year-old mare Odette, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram, LLC. The pair scored an impressive pair of 90s.
“The addition of this class is a great way to get these green horses and even their owners out into the bigger arenas across a more technical course,” said Haness of the new offering in which courses were designed by Danny Moore. “The incorporation of bending lines and tougher questions was a good challenge for these horses, which I think will set them up for success later in the season and future championships.”