On the final day of WEF Week 10, 31 young horse-and-rider combinations contested the course set in the FarmVet ring for the Children’s Hunter Younger division. Due to the high volume of entries, the division was divided into a California Split format, which allowed two young riders to be named champion and two more reserve. The first champion title was awarded to Cassie Warren and the second tricolor ribbon was given to Alexa Elle Lignelli.
Warren and Whipstick Farm, Ltd’s Capo Di Capi took top-three placings in four out of the five division classes to land on a total of 30 points for the section A champion ribbon. She and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sir Corland x Jokatosa) earned two firsts, a second, and a third.
While Capo was originally purchased as Warren’s new equitation mount, the pair have been getting a feel for one another in the hunter ring throughout circuit.
Cassie Warren and Capo Di Capi. Photo © Sportfot
“We got him around October with plans to start doing some of the more competitive equitation classes,” Warren explained. “ We’ve put him in the hunters just so we can learn each other’s style of going and it’s been working out very well for us! He’s got a great rhythm and an adorable jump.
“It felt great to have won in such a competitive division today,” she continued. “He has already taught me so much, and I’m looking forward to continuing to compete him in the Children’s Hunters as well as the THIS Medal.”
Lignelli piloted the Piccolino Farm, LLC’s Pop Rocks to a first, a second, and two third places which secured them the second-highest total of 24 points. She and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Verdi x Ufarna 2) were paired up by the same farm that Lignelli procured her first pony from, which she knew meant the two would be a good match.
“When we found Pop Rocks from the same people we found my wonderful first pony, Mr. Knightly, from, I knew it was a good sign,” Lignelli said. “For me, the most important part about riding is having a strong bond with your partner and that connection will always be noticeable to the judge even if you don’t have the fanciest horse.
Alexa Elle Lignelli on Pop Rocks. Photo © Sportfot
“I really enjoy competing in this division because I get to ride with a lot of my friends,” she continued. “We have a good time even though it is competitive.”
Lignelli and Pop Rocks also found success in the equitation ring together this weekend as the pair won their first THIS National Children’s Medal together.
The reserve champion ribbons were split between Alexander Alston and Taje Warrick, both of whom finished on a total division score of 20 points. Alston and Alston Alliance, LLC’s 11-year-old Warmblood gelding *Cash* earned a trifecta of first, second, and third places. AM Sport Horses South, Inc’s eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Phin Phin x Cassiopea), Bon Ami, and Warrick produced the 20 point score by receiving one first, a second, and two fourths.
The penultimate week of competition at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival will kick off Wednesday, March 20, with top national hunter, jumper, and equitation competition as well as international competition at the four-star level.