BY: PBIEC Admin
Wellington, FL – March 4, 2022 – The highlight class on Friday, March 4, of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) week 8, sponsored by Premier Equestrian, was the $25,000 Hermès Under 25 Semi-Final Grand Prix. Sixteen-year-old Caroline Mawhinney (USA) triumphed over a field of 66 competitors with her own Stella Levista.
The top young talent in show jumping showed up for the Hermès Under 25 Semi-Final Grand Prix, the third grand prix event of the series, which offers a variety of opportunities for U25 riders to experience grand prix competition against their peers. Nick Granat (USA) and Steve Stephens (USA) set a challenging course that included a triple combination and an open water, over which just nine of the opening field finished clear.
As the pacesetters in the opening round, 21-year-old Isabella Russekoff (USA) and Balou’s Fly High, owned by Suave Pony LLC, were the first to tackle the jump-off course. They set a quick time of 39.85 seconds with a clear round that would hold up for third place.
Russekoff has a long-term partnership with Balou’s Fly High; she started riding the 15-year-old Oldenburg stallion by Balou Du Rouet x Grandeur seven years ago.
“He has taken me from the 1.20m to the two-star grand prix level, so we know each other really well,” affirmed Russekoff. “When I come in here, I feel really confident that I can go and put in a solid round. I know he will try his hardest, so I just have to try my hardest.”
The Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series gives young riders the chance to compete on the grass Derby Field, in the Global International Arena in a team environment, and under the lights in the Semi-Final before the top 30 riders qualify for the $50,000 Final Grand Prix during WEF 10.