Finally: WEC Ocala Hosts First FEI Competition at USEF Summer Series
Santiago Lambre and Chacco Blue II. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Nearly two years after its grand opening, the World Equestrian Center – Ocala welcomes international competition to its astounding venue for the first time at its brand-new USEF Summer Series.
WEC – Ocala has exclusively hosted competition sanctioned by the National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) after a conflict with dates (due to the mileage rule) had ownership forgoing the limited number of USEF-sanctioned dates awarded last summer. A resolution was finally reached in February, and the venue hosted its first USEF competition last week—a real win for the sport, as FEI competition cannot run in a country without also having the sanctioning of the sport’s national governing body.
As FEI horses jogged for the first time before a ground jury at this championship-caliber venue, we broke down the numbers for the riders that know this venue best, and they conveyed a clear message: No riders had more success than Aaron Vale (USA) and Santiago Lambre (BRA), and both return for CSI3* competition this week.
Aaron Vale wowed the Ocala crowds with his go-for-broke style and showmanship, and after winning two Grand Prix events during the venue’s Winter Spectacular series, he returned last week to top the national standard $100,000 Florida Coast Equipment Grand Prix with Elusive, his mount from the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals.
This week, he brings forward Condarco, Cristo Beech and Prescott. Both Cristo Beech—the least experienced of the group—and Prescott boast previous wins at the venue, but Condarco (Conthargos x Darko) is a newer mount for Vale. Previously ridden by Fanny Flanck (SWE), the 14-year-old Oldenburg jumped with Vale at Devon, finished third in the CSI4* Two-Phase Main Line Challenge. In just six international starts as a partnership, they average just 2.1 faults. In fact, they only time they’ve had a rail of any kind was at Devon in the 1.55m CSI4* Idle Dice Open Stake, which was the biggest track they had jumped together.
Santiago Lambre’s results have been quieter but eye-opening. Lambre won four of the twelve Grand Prix events (That’s a 33% win rate—unheard of) held during the Winter Spectacular, two of those with the impressive Chacco Blue II. The 15-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Chacco Blue x Cincaba Rouge) has been remarkable consistent, particularly as the jumps get bigger. At 1.60m, Lambre and Chacco Blue II average 3 faults and a finish position in the top 10. In CSI3* Grand Prix events, they average just a single fault and average a podium finish.
It would be unwise to count them out. Make your selections in this week’s games at Prixview.com/fantasy.