Wellington, Florida – January 05, 2022 – The 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the world’s largest and longest-running horse show circuit, is underway with competition beginning on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. The 13-week circuit features top jumper, hunter, and equitation competition until April 3.
The opening Premiere week features nationally-rated competition through Sunday, January 9, with the feature classes including the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center on Saturday, January 8, at 7 p.m. as the opening event of the “Saturday Night Lights” series. The $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix is on Sunday, January 9, at 2 p.m. Live streaming is available HERE.
In the opening class of the 2022 WEF, the $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers, Grant Seger (USA) and Dr. J, owned by Grey Fox Crossing, used their final position in the order as an advantage as they sped to the win in the two-phase format class in 35.827 seconds. This week’s International Arena course designer is Eric Hasbrouck (USA).
Jad Dana (LBN) and Caro W, owned by Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau, were second in 37.127 seconds. Doug Payne (USA), a 2020 Olympian for the U.S. Eventing Team, placed third in 37.713 seconds with Quintessence, owned by Jane Dudinsky.
Seger, a Texas native, is now based out of Aiken, SC, and has competed at WEF for several years. “But this year is definitely the year that I have the best string of horses,” he noted.
Seger found Dr. J in Germany, and they have been paired together for four years.
“He’s a machine. He’s helped get me into a lot of big classes, and always is a trier,” said Seger of the 14-year-old Italian Sport Horse gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Calando I.
“He’s definitely kind of improved in the American system.”
Seger (USA) and Dr. J competed more heavily later in 2021 than they normally would, so the rider felt comfortable starting in the 1.45m division and not going straight into Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup.
“Normally starting right off in the 1.45m is maybe a bit aggressive, but they didn’t have that big of a break over Christmas,” remarked Seger. “I thought a little bit better bye today than maybe the WEF straight tomorrow, and then I’ll save him for the weekend for either Saturday or Sunday in the grand prix.”
Seger said that coming to WEF helps him raise his game. “We love coming here,” he said. “I think to be the best you have to be around the best. I always find that my horses rise to the occasion, and I seem to rise to the occasion as well.”
Following Seger’s win in the International Arena, Laura Chapot (USA) and Thornhill Kate, owned by Laura and Mary Chapot, won the first $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumper two-phase class, while Jimmy Torano (USA) and Chewbacca HCC, owned by Jimmy Torano and Mario Deslauriers, were victorious in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumper jump-off class.
Premiere week at WEF continues on Thursday, January 6, with the $35,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Premiere Round and championships for the professional hunter divisions.
Final Results – $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Jumpers
1) Grant Seger (USA) & DR J – 0 / 0 – 35.827
2) Jad Dana (LBN) & 2 Caro W – 0 / 0 – 37.127
3) Doug Payne (USA) & 3 Quintessence – 0 / 0 – 37.713
Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood Media / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photo: © Sportfot