Wellington, Fla.—Mar. 23
In his first trip to the United States, Denmark’s Emil Hallundbaek rode the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding Chalisco to top honors in the $209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI4*, held at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.
Hallundbaek has been developing Chalisco for the past six years, and his efforts paid off on the challenging track that saw only five of the 45 riders go clear in Round 1.
“He has always jumped very well, but he’s a little bit of a hot horse,” said Hallundbaek, who is based in Aachen, Germany. “It took a few years to get the rideability perfect. Now today, he’s so consistent in every class.”
Next they’ll contest the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix, which takes place during the final week of WEF.
Rails fell across the board in the grand prix, and the triple combination proved a heartbreaker for a handful of riders. Rodrigo Lambre and Chacciama, who finished second to Hallundbaek, were the fourth combination to pass its test.
“I have her since she was 10,” said Lambre, who got the ride on Chacciama two years ago. “[She’s a] very sensitive mare. [It] took me a while to connect to her and I think I finally understood her. Since then I’m very happy. She always tries really hard.”
The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders finished third aboard the Evergate Stables-owned Une De L’Othain, a horse he partnered with in July 2018.
“She still needs to understand the game a bit better in the jump-off, but she’s a horse with all the ability,” said Smolders. “She’s careful, she’s scopey, and we’re getting closer and closer.”