Opening up Friday’s competition in the International Arena at the main grounds of PBIEC for the eleventh week of WEF, the Developing Jumper Series Classics, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, offered top prize money and a chance to compete in the grand prix arena for up-and-coming equine show jumping stars.
There were 25 entries in the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven Year Old Developing Jumper Series Classic, and 11 were clear to advance to the jump-off held at the end of the first round. Of those, seven were double clear. The fastest in the class was Maestro Vica v/d Ark, ridden by Erynn Ballard for owner Natalie Dean. They stopped the timers in 31.502 seconds for victory.
Erynn Ballard and Maestro. Photo © Sportfot
All of the Developing Jumper Classic courses were set by Steve Stephens and Nick Granat (USA).
Second place went to Get Go, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Grey Top, out of Wantana, who is by World Diamond O. Get Go was bred by Herbort U. Nesemaan. Ridden by Taylor Land and owned by Pinetree Farms Inc., Get Go put in a time of 33.148 seconds.
Just behind them in third place and a time of 33.419 seconds were Gemino and Peter Wylde, who rode for owner Chester Siuda. Gemino is a seven-year-old KWPN stallion by Manhattan x Democraat, out of Heliolight and bred by Jessica Siuda.
“Maestro” was purchased in 2018 at The Ten Auction, and Ballard and trainer Ilan Ferder selectively chose his competitions during the year leading up to the 7 and Under Young Horse division at the Hampton Classic Horse Show, where they won all three classes and were named champion.
Erynn Ballard with ringmaster Steve Rector and Laura Fetterman. Photo © Sportfot
“Maestro is a super star; he wins more than he loses. I think he’s an exception in that way,” said Ballard. “We haven’t really pushed him and today is the biggest that he’s jumped. I think he was outstanding today.”
When Ballard was planning for the jump-off, she thought that they should avoid the inside turn from the first to second jumps, but when she was on course, the inside turn showed up.
“I said to Ilan, ‘I think I can be faster going around. I don’t want to risk turning tight inside and having him bounce,’” she recalled. “When I went in, I kind of looked at the angle that I wanted to see number one on. He was so fast from one to two; that’s really where he won the class. He’s fast everywhere else, but I think it was an exceptional turn from one to two.”
While owner Dean will likely now take over the ride on Maestro, Ballard is excited to watch him go with her. “Maybe we can share a little bit!” she said.
In addition to their classic win, Maestro was presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award presented by Laura Fetterman.
The $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six Year Old Developing Jumper Classic hosted 25 entries as well, with nine clear and only two finding the path to a double clear finish. The fastest of those in 38.434 seconds – faster by 5.5 seconds – was Charlie Jayne riding his father Alex Jayne’s Virginia ODF.
Charlie Jayne and Virginia ODF. Photo © Sportfot
Second place went to Ibaltic BH, ridden by Emmy Tromp for Windward Mark Farm LLC, who finished the jump-off clear in 43.857 seconds. Ibaltic BH is a six-year-old KWPN gelding by Baltic VDL out of Vavanta V/D Renvillehoeve (by Burggraaf), bred by F. Buma.
Finishing the jump-off in 37.45 seconds, the fastest time but with four faults, for third place was Daniel Coyle riding Ariel Grange’s Ibiza. Ibiza is a six-year-old KWPN gelding by Inshallah de Muze x Indoctro (out of Watch Me B).
Jayne appreciates the Developing Jumper Series at WEF and the support of Spy Coast Farm. “It’s nice because the management does a good job where two weeks we’re competing in one arena and then the next two weeks, we’re competing in another arena, so the horses don’t get tired,” he said. “They’re learning and developing in different arenas. It’s quite nice that we get a little bit of a paycheck at the end.
“Today’s a different format than what we’ve done,” continued Jayne, who also competed with Virginia’s full brother Vermont, owned by Pony Lane Farm, in the class. “[It was] three days in a row, and in the grand prix venue, it’s quite hard for horses to walk into such an impressive ring. The first day, both of mine were a bit green and then every day I felt like they improved. They understood more and then today she really shined and was a star. I thought I was catchable, because that’s only my third jump-off with her. I took a couple risks, like to the last fence I did one less stride than I normally would with her.”
It was a great win for Jayne, who was riding a “true homebred” in Virginia ODF – the ODF standing for his family’s Our Day Farm, which is based in Elgin, IL. Virginia was bred by Jayne’s father, Alex, and is one of 22 horses that they bred six years ago, the first year that their program did a major push for foals. Virginia is an American Warmblood mare out of Valeska v/d Wolfsakker, a mare that Jayne competed in Nations Cup, World Cup classes, and grand prix competitions for four years that is by World Champion Vigo d’Arsouilles. Virginia is by Klotaire du Moulin, a stallion that is by Voltaire and won in the junior/amateur jumpers with Kelsey Thatcher.
“It’s funny, there are a lot of similarities between her and Valeska,” said Jayne. “They’re both very intelligent. They pick up things quick. We imported her mother from Belgium when she was six, so the same age as Virginia. They go a little bit the same way. I would say she’s a combination of her mother and her father though. Her father had a nice, flowing canter and rhythm and she gets a lot of that from her father, but then her attitude and she’s so smart, that comes from her mother.”
Virginia is one of 10 mares that came out of the program that year. While all 22 were broke and worked with from their two-year-old year to when they turned five, the mares all carried babies as five-year-olds while the geldings and stallions came to Florida to compete. With last year off, Virginia has only competed in six shows. But with her sound mind and talent, Jayne felt confident in her success this winter.
Charlie Jayne, Alex Jayne, and ringmaster Steve Rector. Photo © Sportfot
“It’s a huge passion of my father’s, and it’s become a part of the family,” said Jayne. “We have another farm very close to our farm in Chicago and do daily things with them for the six months that we’re home, and then they get a winter break and go out and be babies. It’s huge and it’s also nice to see that all the hard work over the last six years is starting to pay off.”
“The breeding program is alive and well and doing what we hoped it would do,” added Alex Jayne, who estimates he has bred 70 horses in their program since the start. “We had a lot of luck along the way too.”
The $10,000 Spy Coast Farm 5 Year Old Developing Jumper Classic had 17 entries and was held in an immediate jump-off format. Eight were clear in their first round and went straight into their jump-off, where four were able to go double clear.
With a leading time of 34.667 seconds, Jorge Verswyvel rode his own Majesty to victory. “He has never done a jump-off; that’s a big question for five-year-olds,” said Verswyvel. “They act like babies and innocent. When you have a clear round and then you try to start again, sometimes they get like, ‘What are you talking about? Why do we have to go again?’”
Jorge Verswyvel and Majesty. Photo © Sportfot
Second place went to Jensen ES, ridden by Michael Hutchinson for Candy Tribble. They had a jump-off time of 35.210 seconds. Jensen ES, a five-year-old KWPN gelding by Kannan x Lancer II (out of Seelotte) bred by E. Schep, was also given the Five Year Old Suitability Award.
With a time of 35.668 seconds, Hyde Moffatt and Ariel Grange’s Langley, a Canadian Sport Horse mare by Lansdowne x Andiamo (out of Pitareusa), finished in third place.
Ringmaster Steve Rector and Jorge Verswyvel. Photo © Sportfot
This was the third week that Majesty competed at the 2019 WEF. Verswyvel imported the Westphalian gelding by Capistrano out of Fabiana (bred by Heinrich Eickriede) at the end of the summer in 2018 from Germany. “He was barely broken, but had good bloodlines,” said Verswyvel, who partners on Majesty with Beth Reichart. “He had a nice canter, a nice mind, so then you have a lot on your side. It makes it a little easier. For his big size, he has quite enough blood to gallop around and show off in the big fields. He can leave strides out. You have to know where the legs are every step and jump though.”
Verswyvel noted that it is “very satisfying” to get the classic win. “You never know when you a pick a horse, especially so young. Anything is possible,” he said. “He’s doing things right and we’re letting him have his own time and we’ll keep working. He’s still very young, but with a canter and mind like that, the rest will come.”
Additional awards given out included:
Best Over 25 7 Year Old Rider- Hayley Barnhill
Best Under 25 7 Year Old Rider- Caelinn Leahy
Best American Bred 7 Year Old- $500- Jessica Siuda, breeder of Gemino
Best Over 25 6 Year Old Rider- Michael Murphy
Best Under 25 6 Year Old Rider- Elizabeth Lang
Best American Bred 6 Year Old- Debbie Stephens, breeder of I April Fool
Best Over 25 5 Year Old- Michael Murphy
Best Under 25 5 Year Old Rider- Silvana Cabral