Hertfordshire’s Showjumper Ben Maher and Diva II make their presence known in Wellington

Hertfordshire’s Ben Maher and the British Bred 10 year-old chestnut mare Diva II, owned by Tatiana Korsakova, made their mark in Wellington, Florida Sunday 1st February when they took 2nd place in the Rolex FEI World Cup Qualifier.

Week 4 of the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival saw many of the world’s top riders come forward to contest the events first CSI 5* Grand Prix.   Taking place under floodlights, the impressive arena looked magnificent and with almost 5,000 supporters surrounding it, the atmosphere was electric.

Course designer Guilherme Jorge had built a strong technical course for the forty five strong field which saw only ten of them jump clear in the first round.  One of the ten came in the form of Ben, who as the sole Brit through to the jump off, was joined by other top riders including Eric Lamaze, Kent Farrington and Marie Hecart to name just a few.

Jumping another foot perfect clear, Ben stopped the clock in a time of 40.56 seconds.  Mid field saw Marie Hecart for France with Myself de Breve put in the only other double clear of the competition.  Managing to finish almost two seconds faster in a time of 38.61 seconds, she claimed the title as her own relegating Ben into 2nd position.

The jump off was most certainly an exciting one, with riders giving it their all in terms of trying to catch Marie and Ben on the clock.  Taking turns which left nothing to spare and opening up their horses whenever they could, the risks taken were just too great for some as both Eric Lamaze and Kent Farrington incurred 4 faults each despite proving that the leaders times could be beaten.

It was Eric Lamaze for Canada with fine Lady 5 who take 3rd place with their time of 36.54 seconds and Kent Farrington with Willow for the USA  who stopped the clock at 37.79 seconds.