“When I first started riding with Laura [Kraut], I had just gotten out of the equitation…. For a while, I was trying to jump Grand Prix classes while doing everything as beautiful as possible, and Laura was like, ‘No, you have to be strong! You have to be tough! You have to really fight for it!’”
—U.S. show jumper Jessica Springsteen on the key lessons she’s learned from former mentor, Laura Kraut.
Jessica Springsteen & RMF Swinny du Parc (c) Hippo Foto/Dirk Caremans/World of Show Jumping
Alex Granato Comes to Play at the Palm Beach Masters
Lookout world: Alex Granato and Carlchen W have arrived. The pair earned two big wins this week at the CP Palm Beach Masters Winter Classic CSI4-W at Deeridge, and they show no signs of slowing down.
Alex Granato & Carlchen W (c) Kathy Russell Photography/World of Show Jumping
Tell Me More
On Friday, Granato and Carlchen rode to the win in the $71,200 Suncast Palm Beach Masters World Cup Qualifier, earning the right to compete in Sunday’s big class: the $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Qualifier.
Thirty-eight pairs took to the first round track designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, with nine returning to contest the jump-off. Ireland’s Connor Swail set the pace aboard GK Coco Chanel, earning the first clear on a time of 44.68. Mario Deslauriers (CAN) & Bardolina edged out Swail with 43.38, while last-to-go Beat Mändli (SUI) stopped the clock at 44.16, taking third.
Ultimately, Granato was able to maximize Carlchen’s superlative speed across the ground to shave less than a second off Deslaurier’s time (you can watch his jump-off below). “I have a naturally fast horse, so for both classes, I got to play that to my advantage and try to let him run at this pace and stay focused on my track and turns,” Granato said.
Like 2018’s breakout stars, Devin Ryan & Eddie Blue, Granato & Carlchen are poised to become America’s feel-good story of the year. The 11-year-old gelding by Chacco Blue is the rider's only horse at this level, having been paired with Granato, 35, since 2017. The two earned international recognition this fall as the top performing duo in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final Challenge Cup in Barcelona, Spain. In November, a pre-circuit CSI4* win in Wellington, Florida only increased their visibility, and they've doubled down on that consistency this week at Deeridge Farm.
“It’s all just very surreal,” Granato said. “It’s a privilege to get to ride at a venue like this and against riders like these, whom I have looked up to for a long time now.”
If You Can Only Watch One Round…
Watch Alex Granato & Carlchen W Turn and Burn at the Palm Beach Masters
If you’ve ever been confused by the term, “blood horse”, here’s a case-in-point example: Carlchen W making tidy, fast work of the jump-off course this weekend during the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Qualifier at the Palm Beach Masters. Keep your eye on this pair, America!
**Watch This Space**
Carl Hester’s New Ride is Roan, Loves Tuna Sandwiches
Carl Hester & Ekitof (c) Horse & Hound
Late last month, Great Britain’s Carl Hester stepped out on the quirky new Grand Prix horse who might just be his next Valegro. The 10-year-old black roan gelding named Ekitof is a striking character—both in and out of the barn. “He’s not a horse for the faint-hearted,” said Hester, adding that the gelding hates other horses but loves people and tuna sandwiches. “You definitely have to have a sense of humor with him.”
At the In-Gate
The #PonyClub Team Takes the Win in the U25 Nations Cup Final at WEF!
View this post on Instagram
Ponyapp is officially a nation #nbd. Very proud of our star #ponyclub ambassadors for coming home with the W in last night’s @Hermès U25 Nations Cup final at @esp_wef!!! @caitlin_creel @claire_mckean @eugeniogarzapz @c2_stables you are the coolest #teamponyapp #coolkids 📸 PC @sportfot.photovideo
They came, they saw, they conquered! PonyApp’s own #PonyClub—helmed by our U25 ambassadors Caitlin Creel, Claire McKean, Eugenio Garza Perez, and Carlos Hank—took home the win in the U25 Nations Cup Final this weekend at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida. Stay tuned for more information on this super-talented crew on our PonyApp blog.
Let's All Get Real About Winter Riding
Sure, it’s a pain to brush off your car, tack up your inevitably fresh/potentially deranged horse, and brave 20-degree temps and the ever-present chance that an avalanche of snow will fall off the roof at any moment. But if you’re not one of the lucky few able to jet-off to winter circuits in Coastal Spain, Florida, or California, why fret about it? There’s plenty of great(ish) things to appreciate about winter riding up north, and @fg.horses pretty much sums them all up in one photo (H/T @2thebarn). So what are you waiting for? Pull on those extra-thick, wool socks and get to the barn!