Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 21
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum joked that Fibonacci 17 won the high-jump contest over every fence in the $372,000 Suncast® CSI 5* Grand Prix in Week 7 of the Winter Equestrian Festival. Fibonacci has quickly risen to stardom for his incredible jumping ability and he showed that off under the lights with some impressive jumps.
“He is an amazing jumper,” Michaels-Beerbaum said. “He has a different style than most horses. He jumps with his head up and a little bit straight in his back. That is something I have decided I cannot change and that is why I was trying to finesse the bridle a little so I could help him without interrupting his jump. It can often be difficult to sit on as a rider, but I have been practicing that as well. He is different, but he is wonderful. I was very pleased with tonight.”
Jumping under the lights of the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Michaels-Beerbaum and the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (For Feeling x Corland) won a six-horse jump-off, with Danielle Goldstein of Israel and Carisma in second, and Jessica Springsteen with Vindicat W third.
Steve Stephens’ course Saturday night definitely took a toll, as only six advanced to the jump-off our of 44 starters and riders such as Olympic, World Games and World Cup champion Rodrigo Pessoa coming to grief.
A three-time FEI World Cup Finals champion and one of the best female riders in the world, Michaels-Beerbaum has had many wins at the Winter Equestrian Festival throughout the years, but Saturday night marked one of her biggest. The rider has had great results with Fibonacci 17 all circuit and was thrilled to get a major victory with the talented gelding.
“He has been jumping brilliantly since he got here to Florida, but I have had the unlucky rail down in the two grand prixs that I have ridden him in,” Michaels-Beerbaum stated. “I knew he was in great form, but he is a new horse for me. I have had him less than a year. At this time last year he was jumping 1.40-meter classes, so he has made a big step up into the big league. I was fine-tuning some small details with him and changed the bridle a little bit for tonight and that seemed to be perfection.
“The course itself was very difficult, so I was very pleased with how he handled everything today,” Michaels-Beerbaum noted. “I have done very few jump-offs with him in fact, so I was also pleased with how he handled the speed and turns. In general he was a dream tonight.”
Watch Michaels-Beerbaum and Fibonacci’s jump-off round…
Michaels-Beerbaum got the ride on Fibonacci 17 in May. “He is actually a Swedish-bred horse, although he has a German father and a Dutch mother,” she detailed. “He was born in Sweden, so the Swedish take great pride in that fact.”
Michaels-Beerbaum was at the in-gate watching as the final jump-off round of Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ solidified her victory with a rail at the last jump. She commented, “I have to say, I expected Beezie to beat me, particularly with Cortes. He is her best horse, and I was really surprised when he hit the last fence. Sometimes the luck goes your way, and it was with me tonight.”
The rider was also very happy to get a win for Fibonacci’s owners, Jim and Kristy Clark at Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC. “They are absolutely delighted because they supported me,” she acknowledged. “We had a discussion last year at this time and they said, ‘Listen, we’ll support you and go find some good horses.’ Fibonacci was the first horse we purchased and to have him win here tonight is just phenomenal. It is a really exciting and emotional win tonight.”
Danielle Goldstein was also very happy with her second place finish in the class aboard Carisma, a 16-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Cardento 933 x Maraton 600). Saturday night gave Goldstein the biggest finish of her career and a memorable moment in her partnership with the mare. ”I was thrilled actually,” Goldstein stated. “To be honest, I have been watching a lot of video of Meredith recently. To be second was amazing. The horse really felt spectacular today. I have been working on going a bit faster, so to be able to be second was amazing. This is for sure my best finish,” Goldstein added. “I have been riding here since I was a little kid and always wanted to be in the grand prixs and do well, and I think this was a huge second for me. I really could not be happier.”
Although one rail came down for Jessica Springsteen in the jump-off, she was happy with a great night with Vindicat W.
“I was a little worried,” Springsteen admitted after the class. “The last two grand prixs, we struggled a bit. He had a bit of time off and I feel like he is starting to get back into the groove of things, so I was really happy.” Detailing her jump-off round, Springsteen explained, “I was pretty neat back to fence two and then I thought I was quick over the double, but then I kind of hooked him right in anticipation of that turn. I should have given him a little more of a chance there. We were pretty quick to the last fence, and he was really good there. I was lucky.”
Final Results: $372,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5*
1. FIBONACCI 17: 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding by For Feeling x Corland, MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/0/36.96
2. CARISMA: 1999 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cardento 933 x Maraton 600, DANIELLE GOLDSTEIN (ISR), Israeli Equestrian Partners: 0/0/37.86
3. VINDICAT W: 2002 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Libero H, JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN (USA), Stone Hill Farm: 0/4/35.40
4. CORTES ‘C': 2002 BWP gelding by Randel Z x Darco, BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/4/35.65
5. LILLI: 2004 Brandenburg mare by Lefevre x Diamir, GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/4/37.27
6. HARDROCK Z: 2003 Zangersheide stallion by Heartbreaker x Carthago Z, EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade: 0/4/41.84
7. APPY CARA: 2005 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Casco, ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Angelstone Partners: 1/82.09
8. ALEX: 2005 KWPN gelding by Calvados x Zeus, PIERGIORGIO BUCCI (ITA), Askull S&J SRL: 1/82.19
9. PERCINE DREAM: 2003 Selle Francais mare by Jarnac x Alcamera de Moyon, JUAN IGNACIO ROJO (ARG), Juan Ignacio Rojo: 1/82.55
10. WOKLAHOMA: 2003 KWPN mare by Sheraton x Calvados, ROBERTO TERAN, JR. (COL), Ark Partners LLC: 4/77.34
11. BARRON: 2004 Belgian Sport Horse gelding by For Pleasure x Nabab de Reve, LUCY DAVIS (USA), Old Oak Farm: 4/78.15
12. FINE LADY 5: 2003 Hanoverian mare by Forsyth x Drosselklang II, ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 4/78.21