Week two of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to a peak on the Equestrian Village derby field on Sunday with the $140,000 Keyflow Feeds USA CSI3* Grand Prix. Germany’s Richard Vogel returned to familiar territory after a banner year at Wellington International in 2023, and stormed to victory once again aboard Cydello.
Sunday’s feature included forty-five riders contesting a course designed by Germany’s Olaf Petersen Jr. From the list of starters, nine returned for the short course. Vogel and Cydello (Cascadello x Forsyth FRH), owned by Coleridge Equestrian LLC, took the win by more than a second.
Vogel and the ten-year-old gelding left it all on the field, crossing the finish line at 36.32 seconds, taking over three seconds off the original time to beat, 39.17 seconds.
Cydello is a new addition to Vogel’s string and the Coleridge Equestrian team. “I had my eye on him [Cydello] for a few years before we got him,” said Vogel. “He was born half an hour from our base in Germany. I know his breeders pretty well, but he was never really for sale. Eventually, I was able to sit on him and it worked pretty well between the two of us.”
Dean and Dotcom Dominate in BrainJuice U25 Grand Prix
Competition on the derby field first began with the $31,020 BrainJuice U25 Grand Prix as 60 entries vied for top call in the first under 25 event of the season. Ultimately, the blazing fast combination of Natalie Dean (USA) and Dotcom D’Authuit bested the field of 14 jump-off contenders.
Valentina Arenas Savaria (GUA) produced the first clear round across Olaf Petersen Jr’s (GER) round-one track and by the midway drag seven more combinations rose to the challenge. An additional six athletes found their way to a clear round on the back half of the first round and the stage was quickly set for the short course.
“My horse is really reliable,” explained Dean. “She’s quite fast and competitive in these classes, so I knew I had a good shot. I’ve had her since she was seven years old, so we know each other really well, and she is very comfortable in [the U25]. I know I always have a good chance of winning if I give her a good ride, and that gives me a lot of confidence.”
Lily Sonneborn and Juan Carlos Make the Perfect Champions in Snaks 5th Avenchew 3’3” Junior Hunter 15 & Under
Junior hunter action for WEF 2 concluded on Sunday with the 3’3” Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by Snaks 5th Avenchew. Over the weekend, junior hunters competed across four over-fences classes and one under saddle, but one junior truly took the cake.
Lily Sonneborn of Washington, DC and Juan Carlos, owned by Andesite Equestrian, swept the standings, winning every class in the division, ultimately claiming champion. The pair’s highest score of the weekend was a 90 in the over fences.
This is Sonneborn’s first WEF season after joining the Hesslink Williams team in 2023. Like many juniors, Sonneborn is a student outside of her riding time, traveling back and forth from DC to compete in Wellington on the weekends. “My schedule is definitely busy, but it’s always worth it to come here,” said Sonneborn.