Wellington, Fla.—March 23
The last fence in the jump-off ended up being a long way off for Alexander Zetterman, but the 24-year-old Swedish Rider wasn’t going to let victory in the $50,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Final escape him.
“I was a little bit nervous I wasn’t going to get there,” he admitted. “I kind of felt from the turn that I could get there, but then he was kind of backing off too much, so I started kicking and eventually we got there and he was good.”
The risk paid off as he claimed the win in the class, held on the grass derby field, aboard Flecu. And although she had to settle for ninth in the final after a rail in the first round aboard Don Juan, Tori Colvin, 16, picked up the overall Artisan Farms Young Rider series title.
”It feels amazing to win,” Colvin smiled. “I didn’t think I was going to win it. I feel like I have gotten a lot of experience this year. Don Juan and I are not perfect all of the time, but I think doing all of these classes, it has gotten a little better.”
Colvin noted that Don Juan is a bit of a puzzle. “He is delicate. He is careful, so that's good, but sometimes he is too quiet and sometimes he is too fresh, so we just have to go in and see how he feels that day,” she said.
As the winning rider of the series, Colvin was awarded free entry to the Chantilly CSI** horse show on the Global Champions Tour in France in July, with tickets to the VIP lounge, and transportation provided by the Dutta Corporation in association with Guido Klatte. She was also awarded a custom Bruno delGrange saddle.
"We will go to the Devon Horse Show and then just keep going until I get [to Europe], and we will see what happens. I have never shown in Europe before, so that will be my first time and I am very excited,” said Colvin, of Loxahatchee, Fla.
Zetterman, on the other hand, is headed home to Sweden in a few weeks. His family runs the Springfield Showjumpers stable in Sweden, buying, training and selling horses. Zetterman has shown Flecu, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Hip Hop x Flamingo in bigger classes such as the 1.50-meter and the WEF Challenge Cup this winter, but decided to use the young rider classes to help build the horse's confidence.
“He has been doing quite a lot of tough classes, so it was actually nice for him to have a little bit of a step down for him to do a nice class,” Zetterman noted. “He likes the big grass ring as well, so that was good for him. He is always good in a big field with a lot of galloping. It definitely helps him in the jump-off because he is good at covering the ground.”
Zetterman has been riding Flecu since the bay was 6. “I wasn’t overly sure about how far he could go because he has a little bit his own style, but we started off and we won the big 7-year-old young horse final in Falsterbo. He did that very well, and he has been developing along the way.
“He was just a horse who needed a lot of time to get to the solid 1.50-meter level, to do it week in and week out. That took an extra year. Last year here, we went up, we went down. We did one 1.50-meter and then we went down to the 1.40-meter. We gave him one more year and he has just responded so well. We have basically been able to go in and do the big stuff, and he has been very good.”
Although he shows in many big grand prix classes against some of the best riders in the world, Zetterman values the opportunity to show in the Artisan Farms Young Riders series amongst his peers and gain valuable experience under a little less pressure.
“It helps you in so many different ways,” he noted. “We all know how difficult the step is from being a young rider and then getting into the seniors. To have a class like this every now and then is nice. When you are going into the jump-off for example, if you are in against some of the best riders in the world, you sometimes do a little bit more than what you or your horse is capable to do. You go a little bit over your head sometimes.
“When you feel that you are in an equal league, then you have a good feeling and you make better decisions. In that way, it is very good; you have a chance at least. Wilton has been amazing in the big classes and Lillie Keenan and all of those riders, but still, getting in against Ben Maher and those riders is not so easy for anyone in the world to do, especially not when you’re young.”
Zetterman showed in one young rider grand prix last year and decided to get more involved in the series this year when he realized the opportunity that the classes provided. ”Many years ago they had a similar series in Europe, but I think for sure this series is a lot better set up,” he noted. “It is a little bit like a championship because you have the speed round, a team competition. It is a fantastic idea, and I think they should do it more in Europe.”
Wilton Porter, 20, of Dallas, Texas, also performed consistently with his horse Radio City this year and has earned valuable experience and knowledge throughout the series. “I think the series had a lot more structure to it this year,” Porter said. “That’s not to say that it wasn't good in the past, but it was really solid on other fronts as well as the jumping this year, with the interview training and the sponsorship opportunity, and I am really thankful to the Zieglers and Dutta Corporation for sponsoring it.”
Chloe Reid on Washington, D.C., won the Equiline Young Rider Sponsorship. Reid was part of a group of riders who wrote an essay, completed interviews, did sponsorship networking, and was observed for attitude, spirit, and performance during the AFYRGP Series. Reid will represent Equiline America by wearing their products, participating in advertising and outreach events, and provide feedback on the functionality of products.
Also participating for the sponsorship were riders that were recognized for the following awards: Best Essay - Caitlin Ziegler, Most Creative Essay - Lucas Porter, and Best Interview - Nicole Bellissimo. The Equiline Amateur Sportsmanship Award went to Porter.
Artisan Farms owner Carlene Ziegler commented on the event, stating, “I’m really pleased with the progression of the series. We had some new things this year; we made it more of a true championship. We went through four classes and this was a $50,000 FEI class and that was really exciting. It’s been nice to see the riders progressing and we saw a new crop of riders this year. It’s really gratifying to see their progress.”
Some graduates of the Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix series include Nayel Nassar, who won the 2013 Zoetis HITS $1 Million Grand Prix (N.Y.) and topped the West Coast World Cup Final League Standings, Reed Kessler, Katie Dinan, Caitlin Ziegler and Saer Coulter.
“We hope that happens to the more recent winners as well; we think it could. One of the exciting things this year is that the winner gets the opportunity to go to Global Champions Tour in Chantilly,” said Ziegler. “It’s one of the things that these young riders wouldn’t have the opportunity to do. I think that it’s a big incentive to the participants in the series. Additionally this year, they had the ability to vie for a sponsorship from Equiline; that’s something that they wouldn't have had the opportunity to do otherwise.”
Final Results: $50,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Final
1. FLECU, ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN, ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN: 0/0/40.21
2. CHAMCARA, SARAH HUBBARD, SARAH HUBBARD: 0/0/42.36
3. ZEPHIRE, HAYLEY BARNHILL, CARA CHESKA: 0/0/43.91
4. RADIO CITY, WILTON PORTER, SLEEPY P RANCH LLC: 0/4/39.28
5. PICCOBELLO DU VAL DE GEER, JORDAN MACPHERSON, JEM STABLES INC: 0/4/41.70
6. LUCKY LORD 20, JENNIFER GODDARD, STATESIDE FARM LLC: 0/4/44.35
7. LONDINIUM, LILLIE KEENAN, CHANSONETTE FARM LLC: 0/6/51.40
8. URBAN, VIRGINIA INGRAM, RIVERVIEW FARM LLC: 0/6/51.61
9. DON JUAN, VICTORIA COLVIN, BRIGID COLVIN AND KAREN LONG DWIGHT: 4/69.37
10. COSMA 20, ABIGAIL MCARDLE, DAVID MCARDLE: 4/70.63
11. OREADE DES DAMES, ADRIENNE STERNLICHT, STARLIGHT FARMS LLC: 4/72.98
12. WINDE, KALVIN DOBBS, TREESDALE FARMS: 4/74.08