Hard Work Pays Off for Freddie Vazquez in Staller CSI3* Welcome Stake

Freddie Vazquez (PUR) has been working hard for a win all summer, and the pieces finally fell into place on Friday in the $37,000 Staller CSI3* Welcome Stake. Aboard Kirschwasser SCF, Vazquez bested the to claim his first victory of the season.

Over Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) first-round track, rails came down across the expanse of the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, but Vazquez showed his mastery producing only the second clear effort. Anna Beth Athey (USA) was the first to jump clear, followed by Eliza Lehrman (USA) who opted to not jump off with Eluna CL Z, and then Samuel Parot (CHI) with Chrystal Blue.

Freddie Vazquez and Kirschwasser SCF. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

With a refusal from Athey, Vazquez knew he had to give it all he had with Parot, who was second and third in Thursday’s CSI3* Speed, behind him. The 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Amaretto D’Arco x Nabab De Reve) barely touched the front rail at the final fence, pulling it down and leaving the door open for a clear effort to take the win. Parot ultimately had two rails down in his jump-off, taking second place and awarding the win to Vazquez.

Vazquez and Kirschwasser SCF are well into their third year together, and they’ve had several podium finishes at Flintfields Horse Park. Vazquez has gotten to know the horse, bred on American soil at Spy Coast Farm in Lexington, KY, up to the CSI5* level, competing in the American Gold Cup in 2021.

Samuel Parot and Chrystal Blue. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“We had a super start from the get go and then COVID hit and we sat away for a bit,” Vazquez said of his partnership with Kirschwasser SCF, known as “Kirby” in the barn. “We got back and have been consistent in the three- and four-star level. He’s a horse that always tries for me. We’ve had enough time now that we know each other really well and he always gives me 100%.”

Despite his strength in the ring and consistent results, the horse can be quite sensitive and has the perfect amount of suspicion when coming in to jump a big track. “He’s a sensitive horse,” Vazquez continued. “He likes his staff: his therapist, his vet, his shoe guy. You’ve got to earn his trust. But he is brave as a lion and has all the scope and rideability. Just suspicious enough that he’s going to leave the jumps up nine times out of 10.”

Anna Beth Athey and Caraghs Quality Lady. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Vaillancourt joins the roster of prestigious international course designers that have stopped in Traverse City this summer, and Vazquez remembered the Canadian designer’s tracks from when he designed the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. “My most memorable courses with him were in Toronto,” Vazquez said. “Those were some of the biggest courses I’ve ever jumped in my life. He’s a super builder. There weren’t that many today but he made us work for it, with only four clears. It was a proper course. His courses are smooth and flowy with a bit of a hunter feel, you go up and down the ring three or four times.”

Vazquez is aiming Kirschwasser SCF at Sunday’s $138,600 Southern Arches CSI3* Grand Prix, then will compete one more week before his season in Traverse City draws to a close. “It’s a pleasure to be here in Traverse City,” he concluded. “The Morrisseys do an incredible job, and the staff here goes above and beyond. The competition is getting stronger and heavier. Every year we come back there are new things. You feel like you are a VIP no matter where you are on the showgrounds.”

Show jumping continues Saturday with the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix followed by Sunday’s $138,600 Southern Arches CSI3* Grand Prix to conclude FEI competition for the week.

Final Results: $37,000 Staller CSI3* Welcome Stake

1. KIRSCHWASSER SCF: 2010 BWP gelding by Amaretto D’Arco x Nabab De Reve
FREDDIE VAZQUEZ (PUR), Freddie Vazquez: 0/4/39.78

2. CHRYSTAL BLUE: 2011 OLDBG gelding by Chacco Blue x Calvaro Z
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Ilan Ferder: 0/8/41.55

3. CARAGHS QUALITY LADY: 2013 ISH mare by Obos Quality x Limmerick
ANNA BETH ATHEY (USA), Anna Beth Athey: 0/21/64.38

4. ELUNA CL Z: 2012 ZANG mare by Emerald x Nabab De Reve

5. QUIMI DEL MASET: 2014 CDE gelding by Quasimodo Z x Indred del Masset
DANIEL BEDOYA (BOL), Monica Hanks: 3/84.65

6. BUGA Z: 2010 ZANG gelding by Chester Z x Quality Touch Z
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 4/74.34

7. NAMASTE VAN HET EYCKEVELD: 2013 BWP gelding by Elvis Ter Putte x Coriall

8. MANHATTAN VAN’T LEEUWERIKENHOF: 2012 BWP gelding by Emerald x Kashmir Van Schuttershof
FILIP DE WANDEL (BEL), Five Way Farm LLC: 4/77.13

9. SIERRA: 2010 DWB mare by Stolzenburg x Lambrusco ASK
ELIZA LEHRMAN (USA), Five Way Farm LLC: 4/78.22

10. QUINN 33: 2012 HOLST gelding by Quidam De Revel x Contender
TANNER KOROTKIN (USA), Zascha Nygaard Andreasen: 4/79.15

11. COMTESS 202: 2011 WESTF mare by Comme Il Faut x Pilot
SANTIAGO LAMBRE (BRA), Mario Onate: 4/80.07

12. IVARO N: 2013 KWPN gelding by Elvaro x Celano
LISA GOLDMAN-SMOLEN (USA), Barbara Disko: 4/80.28

Olivia Sweetnam Sweeps Platinum Performance Talent Search 1*

Olivia Sweetnam is racking up equitation wins aboard her new partner Ustica, and her first week of the Traverse City Fall Horse Show proved no exception. The 14-year-old took the win Friday afternoon in the Platinum Performance Talent Search 1* with the Sweet Oak Farm-owned 11-year-old Warmblood after two rounds of intense competition in Jumper 2.

Olivia Sweetnam and Ustica. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“We’ve had her for a couple months now,” Sweetnam said of her relationship with Ustica. “We imported her. She was an eventing horse before we got her. She’s the best. She was amazing [today]. She knew where she was going, and she followed me so well.”

The mare’s eventing background certainly helps with bravery in the equitation ring. “It definitely helps me, too, with finding my distances and confidence because she’ll always jump,” Sweetnam remarked.

Sweetnam admitted Ustica is a step up for her as she navigates the higher levels of the equitation. “She’s a real equitation horse,” she said. “My other ones were more starter horses. She’s a real step up to an equitation horse.”

As she aims at her second year participating in equitation finals, Sweetnam has eyes on attending more events, after competing at ASPCA Maclay Finals in 2021. “This year I just want a confident go at the finals,” she said. “It would be great to get a ribbon, but I want to do hopefully all of them and to have a good experience.”

Sweetnam has her nerves on her side as she prepares for another year of indoors. “I get nervous, but when I get nervous I almost ride better,” she said of her performance under pressure. “I almost challenge myself. Nerves don’t affect me that much, luckily.”

Here for all three weeks of the Tournament of Champions, Sweetnam will plan to continue competing in the equitation and aim Ustica for the ASPCA Maclay Regional Championship during the final week in hopes to earn qualification for ASPCA Maclay Finals in Lexington, KY.

Natalie Jayne took second place in the Platinum Performance Talent Search 1* while Isabelle Ehman took home third place.