Wellington, Florida – One month after celebrating a Team Gold Medal in the 2013 Bolivarian Games in Trujillo, Peru, Emanuel Andrade of Caracas, Venezuela, was back in the winner’s circle after claiming the $25,000 New Year’s Grand Prix on Sunday, December 29, in Wellington, Florida.
Andrade, 17, made his debut for the Venezuelan Show Jumping Team at the Bolivarian Games riding ZZ Top v/h Schaarbroek. The same horse carried him to victory in the $25,000 New Year’s Grand Prix, where Andrade defeated a 30-horse starting field in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Five riders returned for the jump-off, with Andrade posting the fastest clear effort to take the win.
“I was third going back for the jump-off, and the first two had jumped clear and really fast,” explained Andrade. “I jumped three seconds faster. The last two riders had almost the same time as me, but had fences down.”
Andrade was understandably thrilled with his victory, having edged out such seasoned professionals as U.S. Equestrian Team veterans Todd Minikus and Lauren Hough, as well as 10-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar.
“I’m so thrilled!” said Andrade who trains with Andrea King of Hollow Creek Farm in Aiken, South Carolina. “It feels so good. I’m so excited. I really worked hard these last three weeks with Andrea.”
Andrade began riding ZZ Top v/h Schaarbroek, owned by Hollow Creek Farm, mid-way through the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.
“He jumped so well,” said Andrade of the 12-year-old bay Zangersheide gelding (Zandor Z x Latus I). “He matches nicely with me, and we are a team now.”
The win marked the second grand prix victory of Andrade’s young career. In June, he won the $50,000 Grand Prix of Roanoke at the Roanoke Valley Horse Show in Salem, Virginia, riding Walter 61.
In addition to claiming the win in the $25,000 New Year’s Grand Prix, Andrade also won the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on the same day riding Tiny Tim. Having won the two classes offered earlier in the week riding Luky des Rocquelines and Tiny Tim, Andrade was favored to take Sunday’s Classic title. He did not disappoint, winning without the need for a jump-off. Having made a clean sweep of the division, Andrade was named the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Champion with Tiny Tim, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (No Limit x Nimmerdor) purchased from Nick Skelton.
Andrade now has his sights set on the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival opening January 8 and running for 12 weeks. In addition to contesting the Low, Medium and High Junior Jumper divisions, Andrade will also be going head-to-head with seasoned professionals in the grand prix divisions.
“Especially after today’s win, we feel so ready for that,” said Andrade. “This year, we want to go to the next level and jump Saturday nights. We know it’s hard, but we think we are ready for it.”
At only 16 years of age, Andrade was named the Leading Jumper Rider of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival while King was named the Leading Jumper Trainer and Hollow Creek Farm was named the Leading Jumper Owner. A student in his hometown of Caracas, Andrade divides his time between competing in Venezuela and the United States.