U.S. World Cup champion Richard Fellers, hailing from Sherwood, OR, is making the most of his time on the east coast with a victory in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic CSI3* riding Lady Lux to open week six at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Wednesday, February 12.
Ana Catalina “Catsy” Cruz Harris (MEX) set the opening day track in the Global Ring at Equestrian Village (home of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival) for 43 starters from all corners of the world. Over the speed portion of the course, Fellers and Lady Lux stopped the clock at a quick 24.70 seconds to capture the win over Todd Minikus (USA) and Amex Z, owned by Bit By Bit Group, who finished in a time of 25.38 seconds. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny rounded out the top three riding Billy Dorito for owner Vlock Show Stables LLC in 25.72 seconds. Fellers accompanied his student and junior rider Maggie Kehring to Wellington to coach her while she represents the U.S. in the FEI Jumping Junior Nations Cup and is excited to be back in Florida.
“I’ve always had good luck here [at WEF], and I love coming here,” said Fellers, whose last appearance in Wellington was for the 2012 Olympic selection trial, but who has been competing there on and off since the late 1980s. “Both of these venues are wonderful!
“Catsy is a brilliant course designer,” continued Fellers. “I don’t know her that well, but she is one of my favorites. Today, it was very clever, and – in a balanced way – tested everything.”
Fellers and Lux Lady are long-time partners, which showed in the competition rings. Together, he and the 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Lux x Master IMP) had the speed and precision to finish just ahead of the other podium contenders.
“She’s an older horse, and she’s always been challenging. But she’s one of my favorite horses because she’s so difficult,” said Fellers. “She’s feisty and stubborn, and doesn’t want to yield to anything, but she is getting more and more ridable and competitive each year. I don’t think she has neared the top of her potential yet.”
According to Fellers, Lady Lux is the perfect combination of attitude from the sire Lux and blood from the Irish Thoroughbred mare that was her dam.
Just off the podium, Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Centriko Volo took fourth in 25.85 seconds for owner Celtic Park LLC, while fellow Irish rider Paul O’Shea capped the top five in 26.48 seconds on Skara Glen’s 7 Pillars, owned by Skara Glen Stables.