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Wellington, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Florida

Karen Polle and With Wings Soar to Victory in $130,000 WEF Challenge Cup CSI5*

Caroline Nickolaus

Reporting from Wellington, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Florida
Thursday, March 9, 2017 :: Posted 03:47:58 PM UTC

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© Barre Dukes:  Karen Polle and her own With Wings captured the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup CSI5* on Thursday afternoon at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Wellington, Fla. – March 9, 2017 – Rising talent dominated the Winter Equestrian Festival with three riders under 30 placing in the top five in five star competition. Japan's Karen Polle and the United State's Lillie Keenan scored the top two spots, respectively, in the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup CSI5*, followed by Lauren Hough and Lucy Davis as six athletes delivered double clear performances.

© Barre Dukes: Karen Polle and With Wings

The 1.40m track, skillfully built by Irish course designer, Alan Wade, saw 51 combinations try their efforts over the 16-fence course, yet only twelve horse and rider pairs were able to pull off clear rounds to qualify for the jump-off.

Hough set the time to beat as the first rider to return for the jump-off and produce a clear round with Cornet 39. The pair crossed the finish line in 38.53 seconds, but they would not stay at the top of the leaderboard for long as Polle and With Wings entered the arena for the second time. They fired through the timers two seconds ahead of Hough with a time of 36.71 seconds and all of the rails intact.

"I thought the jump-off was really fun. I think for Wings it really suited him well, because you could get a gallop and kind of cruise through and watch the verticals. There were two places where you could leave out strides so I think that really helped me."

Polle, who has been training since October under the expertise of Olympic gold medalist and show jumping legend, Rodrigo Pessoa, said that she felt there was a place where she could leave a stride out and edge out the competition when discussing her strategy going into the jump-off.

"In the last line, we were planning on eight originally, but when I was going over it, I was like, 'Rodrigo, I really feel like there's a seven there.' Everyone else was really waiting, and he's like, 'Okay, but if you really want it you need to meet it just right. Otherwise you should do eight.' And then I met it really well and I was like, 'I'm just going to go.'"

Lillie Keenan and Skyhorse narrowly missed Polle's jump-off time, and ended up earning 38.14 seconds to clinch the red ribbon. Young rider and Olympic silver medalist Lucy Davis rounded out the top four after producing a clear effort in 38.954 seconds with Cassis 54.

© Barre Dukes:  Lillie Keenan and Skyhorse

Polle has been with her longtime partner, Wings, for the past seven years, so their foundation is built off of mutual trust and respect for each other. "I think that's one of the most special things – to have a horse and to start with them really young. I started in the Low Juniors with him and we worked our way up to the 5* level," the 25-year-old rider said.

Polle certainly acknowledges her horse's capabilities in terms of scopiness and braveness, but most importantly is the size of Wing's heart and his determination to always give it his all for his rider.

"I think he has everything that you want in a show jumper. He has a lot of scope, he has a big stride, he's adjustable, he has a lot of range, he's careful, he's brave – everything you kind of look for, he has."

She continued, "I also think his personality is really special, because he really wants to go clear and he wants to win. He'll go in there and fight for me. I think that they can have all the ability in the world, but if they don't want to go out there and try their hardest for you, I don't think it will always work. His fight is one of his most special qualities."

The future looks promising for the harmonious pair, as they are gearing up for this Saturday night's feature class, the 5* $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix.

Competition will resume in the International Arena on Friday morning at 8 a.m. with the $6,000 1.40m Speed Challenge. This week's highlight event, the 5* $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix, which will draw some of the nation's greatest show jumping horses and riders, will begin promptly at 7 p.m. at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Results: $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round Nine

1 2085 – WITH WINGS KAREN POLLE 0   |  76.48 0   |  36.71

2 324 – SKYHORSE LILLIE KEENAN 0   |  75.07 0   |  38.144

3 3105 – CORNET 39 LAUREN HOUGH 0   |  76.47 0   |  38.539

4 5928 – CASSIS 54 LUCY DAVIS 0   |  75.49 0   |  38.954

5 4452 – QUINTOL EDUARDO MENEZES 0   |  74.03 0   |  39.308

6 5981 – A S D FARFALA PABLO BARRIOS 0   |  74.25 0   |  39.547

7 1611 – GAZELLE KENT FARRINGTON 0   |  74 4   |  35.548

8 4712 – LORDAN NAYEL NASSAR 0   |  75.32 4   |  36.234

9 3031 – ROYCE MARGIE ENGLE 0   |  73.73 4   |  36.879

10 2202 – AVALON 280 YANN CANDELE 0   |  76.59 4   |  37.309

11 2293 – COACH BEEZIE MADDEN 0   |  74.33 4   |  37.825

12 3541 – QUIRIE 2 ALI WOLFF 0   |  76.06 4   |  39.808

© Barre Dukes:  Lauren Hough and Cornet 39 – Third place 

© Barre Dukes:  Lucy Davis and Cassis 54 – Fourth place

© Barre Dukes:  Eduardo Menezes and Quintol – Fifth place

© Barre Dukes: Pablo Barrios and A S D Farfala – Sixth place

© Barre Dukes:  Kent Farrington and Gazelle – Seventh place

© Barre Dukes:  Nayel Nassar and Lordan – Eighth place

© Barre Dukes:  Margie Engle and Royce – Ninth place

© Barre Dukes:  Yann Candele and Avalon 280 – Tenth place

© Barre Dukes: Beezie Madden and Coach – Eleventh Place

© Barre Dukes: Ali Wolff and Quirie 2 – Twelfth Place

Other articles of interest
Hoft, Cohen, Ellis and Kurtz Conclude Week Nine with Equitation Wins
Karen Polle and With Wings Fly High to Win $380,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate CSI5*
Tori Colvin Cruises to First and Third Place in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Kat Fuqua Pilots Somekindawonderful to $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship
Scott Stewart and Kelley Farmer Claim Championship Titles in Professional Hunter Divisions During WE

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