Three and half months off did a body good for Rye Val de Mai.
The French stallion, whose name roughly translates to “Whisky May Wave” (in Romanian), won the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Jumpers CSI 2* at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL on Friday with New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley.
The 2008 Olympian took ownership of the horse in March of 2017, but hasn’t competed with the 13-year-old Selle Français since October last year.
“I gave him quite a good break over the Christmas period, so he hasn’t shown for about three and a half months. This is his first show back, and he felt fantastic,” said Wordley.
And by “fantastic,” the 43-year-old rider means “stiff and downhill.”
Elaborated Wordley, “He’s French, so he’s got a very downhill balance and he’s very stiff. But if you just let him go around with his nose on the ground, he’s such a careful jumper and he’s so smart, that he’s really easy. You can pull him out after three and a half months, go show, and win a class. That’s his mentality every day. He’s a brilliant horse to have on the team.”
Wordley, who is currently ranked #73 in the world, uses the stallion primarily for FEI ranking classes and an occasional two-star grand prix. He plans to compete his stallion in Sunday’s $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.45m Classic.
“He won me the rider bonus in Kentucky last summer,” he shared.
Second place in the 1.40m Jumpers CSI 2* went to Erynn Ballard (CAN) on Bella Donna with a time of 56.12 seconds. Jonathan Corrigan (IRL) and Javas Keltic Mist were third in 59.01 seconds.