The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival began the 12th and final week of competition today with the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Palouchin, owned by Double H Farm, are familiar faces in the winner's circle and were able to speed to victory in today's class. There were 51 entries in the $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic, and no one could come close to the time of 62.94 seconds set by Pessoa and HH Palouchin. The closest was Richard Spooner on Molly Ohrstrom's Billy Bianca, who were second in 64.58 seconds. Darragh Kerins and Hot Wheels were third in 65.22 seconds.
"It was a course that gave you the chance to really try to go and it was a good course," Pessoa said of the Alan Wade-designed track. "It was challenging for me because there were three water (jumps) and he always looks at water a little bit. He gave a strange jump at number three, but then the middle of the course was good, and when he came back to number 10, he was already confident and going."
HH Palouchin is always a difficult horse to catch in the speed classes, especially at the 1.40m to 1.45m height. This year, he has helped Pessoa win the G&C Farm 1.45m Classic classes, which are part of an initiative to offer more FEI ROLEX world ranking points. "The difference for this year to last year is that he's won more of these 1.45m ranking classes, which are good to push you up the rankings a little bit. That's his height, it's what he's comfortable in. When I ride properly and he goes through, he's a difficult horse to catch."
While HH Palouchin is known for being very animated at the show ring, Pessoa said he is a different horse at home. "He's very quiet," he explained. "When he just walks into the schooling ring, he gets excited and knows he's here to go. You feel that immediately. His eye changes completely. You couldn't find a quieter horse at home. The way he changes from home to here is like two different horses. At home you can school him over 1.60m fences, if you wanted to, and you'd think you're riding the best horse in the world. Then he comes here and all this excitement gets to him and he loses 15 centimeters of possibility."
While some would be disappointed about that loss, Pessoa feels that HH Palouchin has found his niche. "In the beginning we thought he would come over this hump and jump 1.60m, but the stress just gets to him and drives him crazy. (But) we've found a life for him. Every horse has a life somewhere, whether it's in a division, the hunters, equitation, or a 1.45m horse or Olympic horse. Every horse has a place somewhere and we're very lucky to be able to count on him in those classes. He brings a lot of first place ribbons."
Final Results: $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic
1 HH PALOUCHIN: 1999 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Chin Chin RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/62.94
2 BILLY BIANCA: 2001 Warmblood mare by Vechta x Iroko
RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Molly Ohrstrom: 0/64.58
3 HOT WHEELS: 1997 Silla Argentino gelding by Liliputiense
DARRAGH KERINS (IRL), Darragh Kerins: 0/65.22
4 LITTLE EMIR: 1998 German gelding
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 0/65.66
5 QUIET EASY 4: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Quidams Rubin x Zapateado BEN MAHER (GBR), Mrs. Phillips: 0/65.87
6 SANDOR DE LA POMME: 2002 SBS gelding by Vigo D'arsouilles x Darco
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), The Wannahave Group: 0/66.36
7 LET'S DANCE: N/A RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Oscany, Inc: 0/67.06
8 ONISHA: 1999 Holsteiner mare by Caretino x Athlet Z REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 0/67.25
9 S&L SLINGBACK: 2002 KWPN gelding by Hors La Loi x Ekstein DARRAGH KERINS (IRL), S&L Farms: 0/67.80
10 OHLALA: 2003 Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Lauren Hough: 0/68.22
11 CANTANO: 2000 Holsteiner stallion by Cascavelle x Acord
MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Octavia Farms LLC: 0/68.25
12 HH LET'S FLY: 1999 Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Forrest
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Double H Farm: 0/69.02
Source: Jennifer Wood Media Inc.