Erin Davis-Heineking (USA) is making the most of her two-week visit to the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $137,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI3* during “Saturday Night Lights” of week three at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, on Saturday, January 25
Erin Davis-Heineking and Leonie. Photo © Sportfot
Davis-Heineking rode Leonie to thrill Saturday night’s crowd by leading the grand prix from start to finish after posting the first clear round over Kelvin Bywater’s (GBR) opening track. She again returned first over the short course and set the pace fault free in a quick 45.51 seconds. At the conclusion of a six-horse jump-off, Davis-Heineking still stood atop the podium, barely inching out Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Karlin van’t Vennehof. They were just fractions off the win in 45.67 seconds.
“I was a little bit in disbelief that I had left a couple of jumps up out there,” said Davis-Heineking of her jump-off ride. “It didn’t quite go as I planned; I had an idea in my mind of the numbers that I wanted to do, and then right before I went in, my trainer/husband [Christian Heineking] basically said to leave one out from all of those. So, I took a shot at the last line and tried to do the six. I chipped in a seven, and she left it up. I was really proud of her.”
Leonie, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Leo von Faelz x Chacco-Blue) owned by October Hill Farm, Inc., joined Davis-Heineking’s string two years ago when she came out of retirement to pilot the mount.
Podium finishers Erin Davis-Heineking, her daughter Ella, Shane Sweetnam, and Kent Farrington are honored by (left to right) ringmaster Steve Rector, Roger Smith of ESP, Director of Strategic Partnerships for American Regent Animal Health Allyn Mann, ESP CEO Mark Bellissimo, Account Coordinator at Stephens & Associates Advertising Eleni Mauromoustakos, and Senior Territory Manager at American Regent Animal Health Kathy Serio. Photo © Sportfot
“She was a sale horse of my husband’s, and he was trying to get me back in the saddle,” she said. “He told me to play around with her at home. I did, and before I knew it, he had talked me into going in a small grand prix close by. I almost won it, and got the taste again. Honestly, I never saw myself here two years ago, so it’s been quite a ride.”
Davis-Heineking competed at WEF in the amateur jumper ranks in her 20s and returned with a bang this week. “I never really imagined that I would win one of these grand prix!”
After finishing the runner-up, Sweetnam is excited about Karlin van’t Vennehof’s future, saying, “It’s her first three-star ever and her first night class ever. She still has a bit of a ways to go with her rideability, but it’s getting better all the time.
Shane Sweetnam and Karlin van’t Vennehof. Photo © Sportfot
“When I walked the course tonight, it looked like a very tough course, but she’s a good mare,” continued Sweetnam of the 10-year-old Belgian-bred mare he owns with Seabrook LLC. “She really gets on with her jump. In the jump-off, maybe I could have been a touch faster, but she did a great job; I’m very happy with her.”
U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington rounded out the podium on his up-and-coming mount Kaprice, owned by Farrington and Tanma Corp.
Kent Farrington and Kaprice. Photo © Sportfot
“This is the biggest class that she’s ever jumped, so she was going super high in the first round,” he said of the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. “I was trying to compete in the jump-off going as fast as I thought she’d be comfortable under the lights. Erin had an amazing round. I’ve known her since I was a kid riding in the Midwest, so I’m really excited to see her here in Wellington and coming out with a big win.”
Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) finished fourth riding Cornwall BH for Gochman Sport Horses. They were double-clear in 49.89 seconds, securing Derbyshire the Martha W Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award for week three. Cameron Hanley (IRL) capped the top five on Kasper Van Het Hellehof for owner Poden Farms with the fastest four-fault jump-off round.
Allyn Mann of Adequan®, a colossal supporter of horse sport, was impressed with the level of competition converging in Wellington this weekend that spanned disciplines. “I think what’s amazing is this afternoon I was across the street watching some of the top dressage horses in the world compete. Then I hopped in a golf cart and took about a five-minute ride to come here to watch some of the top [show jumping] riders and horses in the country compete.
“This place is electric,” he continued. “We’re just all really blessed to be part of it.”
Final Results: $137,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI3*
1 LEONIE: 2009 Oldenburg mare by Leo von Faelz x Chacco-Blue
ERIN DAVIS-HEINEKING (USA), October Hill Farm, Inc.: 0/0/45.51
2 KARLIN VAN ‘T VENNEHOF: 2010 BWP mare by Fantomas De Muze X Quasimodo Vd Molendreef
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Seabrook LLC and Shane Sweetnam: 0/0/45.67
3 KAPRICE: 2010 BWP mare by Echo van’t Spieveld x Carthago
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Tanma Corp. & Kent Farrington: 0/0/46.02
4 CORNWALL BH: 2008 Holsteiner stallion by Con Air x Cambridge
AMANDA DERBYSHIRE (GBR), Gochman Sport Horses: 0/0/49.89
5 KASPER VAN HET HELLEHOF: 2010 BWP stallion by Emerald Van’t Ruytershof x Nabab de reve
CAMERON HANLEY (IRL), Poden Farms: 0/4/48.32
6 THEODORE MANCIAIS: 2007 Selle Français gelding by Kashmir van Schuttershof
SPENCER SMITH (USA), Torrey Pines & Ashland Farm: 0/6/61.93
7 FIGOR: 2010 KWPN gelding by Querly-Elvis x Indoctro
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 1/74.04
8 VIVA COLOMBIA: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Couleur-Rubin x Landor S
BRIANNE GOUTAL-MARTEAU (USA), Rose Hill Farm: 1/74.47
9 KEOKI: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Catoki x Cassini I
DAVID BLAKE (IRL), Pine Hollow Farm: 1/74.60
10 ENJOY LOUIS: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Coriano x Kannan
CATHERINE TYREE (USA), Mary & Joe Tyree: 1/75.10
11 EVITA: 2009 KWPN mare by Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve
THAISA ERWIN (AUS), Thaisa Erwin: 1/76.80
12 VILLAMOURA: 2009 mare by Diamant de Semilly
SYDNEY SHULMAN (USA), Jill Shulman: 4/66.72