Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 16
Amanda Steege and Lafitte De Muze appeared destined to take the win in the $100,000 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, held at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
In the opening round, they averaged 92.33 to lead the field of 32. And after clearing the final fence in Round 2’s handy, Steege raised her hand in a salute of satisfaction before giving Lafitte a well-deserved pat on the neck.
As it turned out, the round wouldn’t quite match up to Tori Colvin’s performance with the 9-year-old Private Practice, who scored a 92.66 in the handy to bump their overall score up to 182.66, topping Steege by half a point.
“This is the first year I won it as a professional,” said Colvin, who, as a junior, won the class from 2012-2015. “We did this horse actually last year, but that was when we first got him, and he was right out of being a jumper; he kind of went in there and acted like a jumper. He was a lot more tamed today, and he went around like a champ.”
Colvin and “Peter,” whose show jumping moniker was Lord Valencia under Eduardo Menezes, partnered in early 2018. They picked up their first career victory together in the March 4 $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Deeridge Farms in Wellington, Florida.
“When I did [the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular] as a junior, I knew it was an amazing class, but I probably didn’t realize how significant and how amazing it is,” Colvin said. “For me, actually, to be able to come back and win it as a professional means almost even more to me because it’s, for me, a touch harder. I had really great horses, which I’m so grateful for, as a junior, and now I have great horses as well, but it kind of was a couple years and to come back and win as a professional is amazing.”
Steege and Lafitte, whose successful 2018 campaign included a victory in the $50,000 WCHR Professional Challenge at the Capital Challenge Horse Show (Maryland), returned to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center to contest the Spectacular for the second year.
“I was certainly hoping that he was going to be a competitor out there, so I think he definitely went beyond those expectations,” said Steege. “We’ve had him for a year now. He got to do this class last year. He was a first year horse, and it was his third show in America, so it was amazing to feel how much mature he is a year later.”
Working student Jordan Allen and Kind Of Blue rounded out the top three with an overall score of 177.57.
“It’s beyond exciting; it’s my last junior year, and everything is sort of shaping out,” said Allen. “I’m just lucky to have incredible horses to show, and Kind Of Blue, especially. I’ve been showing him for about two months now, and I just know him like the back of my hand. This is by far one of the greatest accomplishments.”