Amy Millar and Christiano Clinch WEF 3 Hermès 1.50m

(Last Updated On: January 29, 2024)
Amy Millar & Christiano © Sportfot

The Canadian national anthem rang out for the second time in as many days in the International Arena at Wellington International during Week 3 of competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). A 2016 Olympian for Canada, Amy Millar rode Christiano to the top of the leaderboard in the $62,500 Hermès CSI4* 1.50 Classic.

Fellow Canadian Peter Grant set the track and welcomed a field of 55 and a sizeable jump-off of 16. Millar put the seasoned Christiano, a 12-year-old Brandenburg gelding (Canoso x Compliment) owned by Future Adventures, to work over the tie-breaking course.

“It was a long way between the first two jumps and I went early,” said Millar, 46. “I was going to do nine, which was going to be leaving out two strides from normal. I took off like that was the plan, but it was not there. I did a really fast ten and I think if I had had time to watch a whole bunch of other people, I probably just would have planned ten and that would have been way slower, but I was off. Same in the last line: it was either seven or eight, but I was so short to the vertical that I was wide to the left and I ended up in the eight but it was still fast enough to get it done.”

Millar set the time to chase at 39.36 seconds. Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes and his own 12-year-old Selle Français gelding Calypso des Matis (Padock du Plessis*HN) came close in 36.69 seconds, but settled for second. After a bucket-list victory during ‘Saturday Night Lights’, Tiffany Foster jumped onto the podium once again, this time with 10-year-old Oldenburg mare Com Es Ta (Comme Il Faut S x Caretino 2). They were third in 41.57 seconds for co-owners 5 Roosters.

Of Christiano’s career with Millar, she noted, “He tries so hard, and it’s been so fun. I use him in Major League [Show Jumping] events all the time and that’s where he learned to run like this. Now when I light him up like that, he’s a real pro at it and I know it’s the move so it’s really fun.”

A Day of Firsts for Cathleen Driscoll and Flotylla in CSI2* Florida Coast Equipment Grand Prix

WEF 3 came to a close on Sunday with the $62,500 CSI2* Florida Coast Equipment Grand Prix. Forty-four riders took to the Jasen Shelley (USA) designed course, with eleven returning for the short course. 

Of the returning riders, it was USA’s Cathleen Driscoll and Donald Stewart’s Flotylla (Alvaro 121 x Bajou Du Rouet) that took the top prize. The pair sped to the top of the leaderboard with a clear 37.75 seconds, after the runners-up, Karime Perez Nunez (MEX) and her own Felicie De Coquerie (Malito De Reve x Quiniou), set the pace at a competitive 38.04 seconds.

This was Driscoll’s first grand prix win in Wellington, as well as the 13-year-old mare’s first FEI grand prix win. “I’ve been partnered with Flotylla for a couple years now. She’s owned by Don Stewart and is an absolutely incredible horse. She’s taken me to a lot of places and through lots of different classes,” said Driscoll.

This was quite the way for the pair to kick off their season, but Driscoll has her eye on bigger classes for the mare. “She’s had a bit of a break since her last competition at the end of the year, so this is her first show back,” said Driscoll. “We used this two-star to give her a leg-up for the four and five stars coming up later in the season.”

It’s All Gucci for Samantha Roper in Ringside MDs Adult Amateur Hunters 36-49

WEF 3 Hunter competition rounded out on Sunday with the Ringside MDs 36-49 Adult Amateur Hunters. The middle age group of Amateur Hunters competed over the weekend, jumping four over-fences classes and one under saddle.

The top tricolor of the division went to Samantha Roper of Hobart, IN and her own Gucci. Roper and the thirteen-year-old gelding topped their division after placing top three in two of the four over-fences, with their highest score at an 81.

“Gucci is very special,” said Roper. “I got him last March as my birthday present.”

This is the pair’s first season at WEF and Roper plans on making the most of it. “My goal is to move up into the 3’3” Amateur Owners and then just continue to have fun,” said Roper. “So far, my first time here has been really special. Coming here has been a goal for us and my family and I have made this our sort of vacation for the year.

“Gucci has given me the mental strength to be successful,” explained Roper. “There’s nothing he won’t jump, and really gives me confidence. It’s Gucci’s world and we’re all living in it.”

Wellington International

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