Wellington, Fla.—March 14
Caballito wasn’t having the best of weeks. In a 1.45-meter class early in Week 10 of the Winter Equestrian Festival, he declined to approach the first fence.
“I have always had Caballito as my main horse and this year I have had more horses coming, so I said this week I was going to use him in the two 1.45-meter classes and try to get some [FEI] world ranking points,” Andres Rodriguez said. “I entered the first class, and jump 1 was in the corner and he really did not want to go to it. We managed to get there and he had a rail and I was a little bit upset with him.”
So, Rodriguez entered his 13-year-old Oldenburg in the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 on March 12. And Caballito redeemed himself, placing fourth, which qualified them for the $127,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* two days later.
Then, the pair topped a six-horse jump-off to claim top call in that class, earning Caballito the biggest win in his career. “He is very special,” Rodriguez said. “He sometimes will not like a jump and he will be funny about going to it, but most of the time he goes and gives big results. I really do not worry anymore when he does something funny because really going at him does not make a difference. You just let him be and the next time he might win you the class. The perfect example is this week.
“I bought him at the end of his 8-year-old year and I won international classes with him four years ago, and he is still winning,” Rodriguez continued. “We always try to buy new horses and think that they are going to be way better than him, and then championships and big shows come and we look at the barn, and the one who is ready to go is him. He is the one we can count on.”
See Rodriguez’s winning jump-off round on Caballito…
Rodriguez, of Venezuela, defeated Argentine rider Juan Ignacio Rojo on Percine Dream, who ended up in second, and U.S. rider Meagan Nusz with SRI Aladdin went into third. Kent Farrington had the fastest time of the jump-off on Blue Angel by more than 1 second, but pulled a rail to end up in fourth.
“I’m very happy,” Rodriguez said of his victory. “I saw the jump-off start. Juan was pretty fast, but I knew Kent was going to go faster than him. It is a very lucky night when you have Kent in front of you in the jump-off. I was thinking something good was going to happen. He was just in front of me, so I was going to watch him from the gate and he had an unlucky rail down. Coming in the last line there was either the seven strides or the eight and I thought I was faster than Juan already, so I went for the eight and then I looked at the clock.
“This is my first grand prix win at WEF and I have been here for six years, so this is a big night for me. My horses are really jumping great,” Rodriguez acknowledged.
Placing second, Rojo had a great night with Percine Dream and has also done well with his mount throughout the circuit. Originally from Argentina, Rojo lived and showed in Europe for many years and then moved to Venezuela. He got Percine Dream from a horse dealer in France.
“He said he thought she was a horse that can jump any class, and he was right,” Rojo detailed of when he got Percine Dream. “The mare went to Venezuela and was national champion. Then this is the first time she got a chance to go in big sport and she is coming up with all the solutions. She was clear in a five-star grand prix already, so my hopes are very high. She keeps developing. I am really happy with my horse, and I am happy that a friend of mine won tonight.”
Third place finisher, SRI Aladdin, is a horse that Meagan Nusz bought in Wellington last year and has taken some time to get to know.
“I have kind of taken it slow with him. I think he has all the talent and all the scope to be a top horse, but he is a little bit unrideable,” Nusz stated. “He is quite strong and he likes to go very downhill, which is not ideal for adjustment in lines. He is also very straight, so he doesn’t really move with the lines. You have to be very accurate and set him up way before the fence so he can give it a good jump. He has a lot of scope and he is learning how to use his body more, which is what we want. I let him do his thing a little bit and that will never change. That is just the horse, but he is getting there and I can’t complain.”
“Every time I get on him I know that I am so lucky to have one like that in my string,” Nusz continued. “Tonight is the first of many for that one I think, and I am sure he has a win in there somewhere. He has really stepped up for me. This is only his second night class. He is really a trier, and I trust him so much. He is such a fun horse to ride.”
Final Results: $127,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*
1. CABALLITO: 2002 Oldenburg gelding by Contendro x Argentinus, ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/0/48.13
2. PERCINE DREAM: 2003 Selle Francais mare by Jarnac x Alcamera de Moyon, JUAN IGNACIO ROJO (ARG), Juan Ignacio Rojo: 0/0/48.38
3. SRI ALADDIN: 2005 KWPN gelding by Quasimodo Z x Burggraaf , MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/0/49.12
4. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant, KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 0/4/46.94
5. ZIPPO Z: 2002 Zangersheide stallion by Zandor Z x Rebel I Z , FREDDIE VAZQUEZ (PUR), Messenger Hill: 0/4/52.47
6. CASALL: 2005 Holsteiner gelding by Casall x Capitol I , ALI WOLFF (USA), Blacklick Bend Farm: 0/8/57.78
7. ZARA LEANDRA: 2004 KWPN mare by Metropole x Ahorn , PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), ZL Group, Inc: 1/84.04
8. CARISSIMO: 2000 Holsteiner gelding by Calando I x Silvester, MOLLY ASHE (USA), Olivia Jack: 4/81.15
9. GRAFTON: 2006 Selle Francais stallion by Calvaro x Vondeen , CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel & Susan Grange: 4/81.44
10. VANILLA: 2002 Danish Warmblood mare by Nabab De Reve x Clinton , BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 4/81.59
11. NOUVELLE: 2004 KWPN mare by Solitair x Contango , LAURA KRAUT (USA), Evita Group: 4/82.19
12. VEYRON: 2006 Oldenburg stallion by Conterno Grande x Heartbreaker , LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), Ljubov Kochetova: 4/83.19