International competition returned to the main grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) to kick off the ESP Holiday Series with the $37,000 Holiday & Horses 1.45m Opener CSI4*, presented by Dover Saddlery, on Wednesday, November 25. The ESP Holiday & Horses CSI4* Show will continue through Sunday, November 29, and culminate with the $214,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4*, presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission, on Sunday morning.
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) created a track of 15 efforts for the class, which was run under an altered power-and-speed format. The first nine fences constituted the first phase, and the final six jumps made up the second phase, with riders continuing to the latter portion of the course even if they had faults in the first set of obstacles. Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Cadans Z, owned by Starlight Farms 1 LLC, set the bar as seventh in the order with a speedy second phase time of 27.717 seconds and held on to that position until Kent Farrington (USA) and Austria 2 flew through the speed phase in 25.999 seconds. Less than a second behind the second-place finisher was Andrew Bourns (IRL) and his own Darquito, who landed in third with a clear time of 27.836 seconds.
“This will be my second WEF with Austria 2. I’ve been riding her for two years now,” remarked Farrington of the 2008 Holsteiner mare by Casall x Corrado I owned by Take The High Road, LLC. “She’s been an amazing little horse; she wins tons of classes. She has jumped some huge grand prix classes, she’s fast enough to win a speed class, and she’s brave enough to win the top ten final at Geneva. I think that really shows her versatility and her heart.”
Although Farrington will be showing all week, he shared that he does intend to have family time on Thanksgiving. “My mom and my sister are both here, so I always try to spend a little time with my family,” he said.” I’m thankful for the team here that has put protocols in place that allow us to compete under these circumstances. I feel very fortunate to be here.”
For full class results, click here.