April 9, 2024

Looking back at WEF ’24

WEF season 2024 has come to an end. Over the past three months, Emilie and Zoé Conter, Kendra Claricia Brinkop and Petronella Andersson have been developing their horses and their skills as riders in sunny Wellington, Florida. Numerous victories, personal bests, and climbing the rankings. With every stride forward, these months have proven to be a rewarding journey for all.

  1. What were your overall impressions of the Wellington season this year?

Kendra: It felt like being in Disney horse Land! 😄 There were lots of people and so many different types of horses. And we got to see some impressive showjumping at the highest level, which made it all even more exciting!

Zoé: I was really satisfied with my Wellington season this year. I feel like I’ve been able to stay very consistent, very focused and very calm in my head throughout the season, which are three very difficult things to achieve here.

Petronella: This year I just went for the final week of the WEF. The week before I was in Ocala for the nations cup. 
I had 2 of my best horses with me, Odina van Klapscheut and Castres van het Begijnakker Z. Both horses showed great form during the two weeks in America. 
It’s always a fun experience going over there for me and my whole team. I’m lucky to have very good people around me that makes sure all the horses at home are being worked and well taken care of when me and Alex are away with only 2 horses. 
That’s gives us the possibility to focus on the sport during this time.

Emilie: I started off the season a bit slower this year, which was nice, so the horses were at their peak by February and March. All my horses improved a lot and were so consistent. Probably my best WEF so far 🙂 grateful for my team that made it a great one! It is super satisfying to see your horses and yourself get better bit by bit.

  1. What were the highlights of your time in Wellington?

Kendra: I have 3 main highlights of my time in Wellington. First up were the 5* Grand Prix’s in Week 9 and 12 under the lights with In Time (11th & 7th place). 
Another big highlight was when we won the 150cm Hermes Classic event with Do It Easy. Finally, was Nector’s 2nd place in the 4* GP Qualifier.

Zoé: My highlights were definitely the multiple placings in some big GPs, not only in Wellington but in Ocala as well. La Una’s 3rd place in the CSIO4* GP was definitely something special, and something I’m still reminiscing about. As well as my loyal partner Dave jumping back at his best form all season, taking 6th place in the CSI3* GP of Ocala and a top 10 place in the CSI4*-W of Live Oak International.

Emilie: The highlights of my WEF season would definitely be my 4th place in the 4* WEF (GP qualifier) with my 9yr old Portobella v/d Fruitkorf.  It was her first ever 155 and she mastered it like a pro. Trixie was also very consistent in the 4* level. She placed 8th in one of the 4* Saturday Night Lights Grand Prix. Overall, all my horses improved a lot. Ocean was super consistent in the 150 classes, which resulted in being 3rd best overall rider in the 150 Hermes Standings. Cilanto improving round after round, jumping clear in the 145 National Grand Prix Qualifier. Balento being the perfect unicorn delivering some great rounds and Onslow getting better week after week, where we could end our season by jumping a 150 National Grand Prix. I’m super happy with all my horses!

  1. Were there any specific training or competition goals you were aiming for during the season?

Kendra: Our main goal for the season was to start strong, and we did just that! We kicked off with a 5-star Grand Prix event and started gearing up for the outdoor season in Europe. Along the way, we aimed to improve our rankings a bit, and I’m happy to say we made some progress! 😁

Zoé: My goals were definitely getting back on track at the higher level in the sport after the tough year I’ve had last year. As well as building up a few of my younger horses to 1m50 and GP level (Tombola & Enrico) and making a good plan for my horses for them to perform at their best.

Emilie: I wanted to make a good show plan for all my horses, so they didn’t compete every week. Here in Wellington, it is easy to keep going week in week out. With the help of my mental coach Poppy Blandford, we made sure to give my horses one or two weeks off, to then be able to aim at classes where we would be able to perform our best. I wanted to work on having better control with my top horse Trixie, which we were able to achieve in the end. It’s better, but we need still a lot of work.

  1. How do you feel your time in Wellington has contributed to your growth and development as a rider?

Kendra: My time in Wellington has been really great for my growth as a rider. It’s such a beautiful place where you can compete at the highest level in sports and train your horses for the rest of the season. Being there also gave me the chance to learn about different systems used in other countries, and I got to meet and connect with lots of people, which helped me learn even more.

Zoé: I did most of the Wellington season without a trainer, which was difficult, but I think it really contributed to my growth, not only as a rider but on a personal level as well. I am also very satisfied with my mental strength throughout the season, I stayed very consistent and focused on what was ahead of me, I didn’t let much distract me. Overall, a season to be proud of!

Emilie: I feel like I’ve learnt a lot this season, which is a good feeling. Most of the weeks we had no trainer, so we had to be very independent. Which in a way makes you grow a lot, you have to make the decisions yourself, push yourself. Luckily, I always had John (showgroom) and Tinja (flatrider) by my side. Helping me be better and making my horses better. Michael Duffy came to help my sister and I two weeks in February and two weeks in March. After the first two weeks I felt a big difference in myself and my horses already! It was a pleasure to train with him. I like how he kept everything simple, even when sometimes I worried too much and wanted to change things too much at once.

Looking back at WEF ’24 Stephex stables

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