Articles: Press Release
Coumans and Kerins Share the Spotlight in First Acorn Hill Speed
Challenge at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Fesitval
PHOTO CREDIT: Gabrielle Coumans and Okido. Photo by Randi Muster
Kenneth Kraus of Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at email@example.com
Wellington, FL - January 27, 2006 - One hundred competitors turned out
for the first of nine events in the Acorn Hill 1.40m Speed Challenge
Series offered each week at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Because of
the massive turnout, the class was divided into two sections. Holland's
Gabrielle Coumans on Okido topped section one, while Darragh Kerins led
the victory gallop in the second section. Laura Chapot finished second
in both sections.
The Acorn Hill Speed Challenge, a North American League (NAL) event, was
scored under Table II, Sec 2.1, Time First Round. The courses in the
Internationale Arena this week are designed by Canadian Michel
Chris Pratt of Canada, one of fifty-one starters in Section A, took the
early lead. Riding Susan Grange's Mustique, Pratt cruised home without
faults in 68.502 seconds. He would be one of twelve competitors to
finish without faults.
That lead held for seventeen horses until Jeffery Welles and Armani,
owned by Kimmel Yeager Equine and Triton Ventures, took over the top
spot, shaving 1/10th of a second off of Pratt's time. Welles clocked in
at 68.400 seconds.
Welles enjoyed the view from the top of the leader board for eight
horses. Laura Chapot, on her first of two mounts, knocked Welles from
the lead when she blazed across the finish line in 67.896 seconds on
Three Coins, owned by Windsome Farm, Ltd.
Chapot was then bumped to second place four horses later by Olympic Gold
Medalist Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil. Pessoa, on Roadrunner owned by the
Kinloch Enterprises, sliced a full two seconds off of Chapot's top time,
tripping the timers in 65.816 seconds.
Then just six horses later, Chapot had a chance to return the favor, as
she reclaimed the lead on the Sundance Group's Samantha. Chapot squeaked
by Pessoa by just a fraction of a second, slipping across the finish
line in 65.625 seconds.
Chapot had barely caught her breath when she was relegated to second
place by class winner Gabrielle Coumans of Holland. On Cody Auer's
Okido, Coumans broke the 65 second barrier for the win, coming home in a
blazing time of 64.904 seconds.
Coumans is a business partner of yesterday's WEF Challenge Cup winner
Leslie Howard and commented on his win following the class. "The one I
won on today, I've had since he was four years old. I brought him along
until he was ready for the grand prix level in Europe and then sold him
to Cody Auer," he said. "They asked me to come and take a ride on him
For Coumans, it was a rare show ring appearance in the United States.
"I'm here in Florida usually one week every year, but I don't show here
often," he detailed. "I show a lot in Europe, but in the twenty years
I've been coming here to Wellington, this is maybe my fifth time in the
Asked if he had a chance to see Chapot's ride, he said, "No, but I
wouldn't have changed my ride regardless. I know my horse. He's
naturally fast, so the decision is mine. Am I going to try with him or
am I not going to try with him? And if I try, I know I have a good shot
at winning because he's so fast and so game," Coumans stated. "I had no
clue how fast I had to be. I really didn't want to know because I wanted
to do the right thing for the horse. So, I did what I wanted to do. I
accomplished my mission with the horse and at the same time won the
class, so it was a double bonus," he laughed. "I go home on Monday and
will be back the first week in February, but I've done all the showing
I'll be doing."
Results of Class 1005A Acorn Hill Speed Challenge, 1.40m, II.1 -
Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic CSI**_Internationale Arena -
1 2397 GABRIELLE COUMANS OKIDO -0/64.904
2 2708 LAURA CHAPOT SAMANTHA -0/65.625
3 1070 RODRIGO PESSOA ROADRUNNER -0/65.816
4 2709 LAURA CHAPOT THREE COINS -0/67.896
WINDSOME FARM LTD
5 982 JEFFERY WELLES ARMANI -0/68.400
KIMMEL YAGER EQUIN
6 819 CHRIS PRATT MUSTIQUE -0/68.502
7 1529 LAURA KRAUT CEDRIC -0/70.865
K & H ENTERPRISES
8 950 ELIZA SHUFORD LARENTINO -0/72.644
9 1445 CAITLYN SHIELS MEMPHIS -0/74.514
10 2554 JAIME GUERRA QUINCY B -0/74.618
11 2779 JIMMY TORANO OSELLI -0/78.941
12 867 GEORGINA BLOOMBERG LANCELOT -0/80.597
In Section B, there were forty-nine starters with thirteen producing
fault free performances over a different Michel Vaillancourt designed
Nocturnal, owned by Pin Oak Farm with Laura Kraut in the irons, took the
early lead, coming home clear in 72.678 seconds.
Kraut lost the lead a dozen horses later to Laurie Bucci of Canada.
Bucci, riding Scatman for Tjeert Rijkens and South Shore Stables,
clipped Kraut's time by 2/10ths of a second to take over the lead in
Six horses later, it was Kraut regaining the lead with Tiffany Ls La
Silla, owned by Club Hipico Lasilla. Kraut crossed the finish line in
71.866 seconds. That lead held up for eighteen trips.
Rodrigo Pessoa entered the skirmish next with his own mount, Harry
Potter. The duo stormed to the lead by 9/10ths of a second, posting a
new top time of 70.869 seconds.
Pessoa's lead held through twelve competitors. It was then time for one
of the fastest and winningest speed horses in the history of the Winter
Equestrian Festival, Sprite and owner rider Laura Chapot. Chapot did not
disappoint the gathered crowd, as she flat out flew around the course,
leaving out strides everywhere. Chapot crossed the finish line in an
incredible 66.583 seconds, a full 4.28 seconds faster than Pessoa.
Chapot, bumped to second place in the first section, would suffer the
same fate again in Section B, as Darragh Kerins and Far West, owned by
Heather Caristo and Neil and Debra Rego, managed to top her time. Kerins
broke the beams in an amazing 66.556 seconds to edge Chapot by just
2/100ths of a second.
Did Kerins get a chance to see Sprite go just before his round? "No I
didn't," he admitted, following his dramatic win. "But, I went on my
first horse Nabucco and went around in 69 and change (with four faults),
and I thought that was pretty fast. When I was warming up Far West, I
heard them announce that Laura had gone around in 66, so I thought it
was going to be impossible."
"Everything just came right. He jumped the first fence well, and then I
just let go of the reins the whole way around and just got lucky,"
Kerins detailed. "Everything just came up spot on for him. He jumped his
heart out. He's the only horse I've got that can be competitive with
Sprite and Laura Chapot," he added.
"I love this horse," smiled Kerins. "I've won more classes on this horse
than any horse I've ever ridden. He's just great."
Did he hear the crowd cheering him home? "It was great support up in the
balcony!" he laughed. "All the Caristo family was up there cheering for
me. I loved it."
Results of Class 1005B Acorn Hill Speed Challenge, 1.40m II.1
Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic CSI** Internationale Arena
1 1843 DARRAGH KERINS FAR WEST -0/66.556
2 2703 LAURA CHAPOT SPRITE -0/66.583
3 817 CHRIS PRATT RIVENDELL -0/70.205
4 2634 RODRIGO PESSOA HARRY POTTER -0/70.896
5 2254 CANDICE KING CALISKAN -0/70.938
6 1513 LAURA KRAUT PANIC 0/70.953
7 1514 LAURA KRAUT TIFFANY LS LA SILLA -0/71.866
CLUB HIPICO LASILLA
8 2861 LAURIE BUCCI SCATMAN -0/72.655
9 1531 LAURA KRAUT NOCTURNAL -0/72.678
PIN OAK FARM
10 1874 LAUREN BASS NALEIDA -0/73.120
11 1698 LAURA KRAUT ELTONN -0/73.186
TRACEY L. TOPPING
12 2844 KEEAN WHITE VIENNA ROUGE -0/73.522
The North American League (NAL) runs season-long series in six
hunter-jumper divisions - Children's Hunter, Children's Jumper, Adult
Hunter, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper and Open Jumper Speed. Each series
culminates with a championship final at the Pennsylvania National Horse
Show in Harrisburg, PA in October. Riders need not be members of the
NAL to compete in any qualifying classes, but only current members earn
points toward year-end finals. For more information, a list of
qualifying competitions and results, please see the Ryegate Show
Services website at www.Ryegate.com.