Originally published on January 25, 2016 by Jump Media
Wellington, Florida – Equis Boutique presented its first “Best Presented Horse” award of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival to Puerto Rico’s Freddie Vazquez and Esprit de Vie. Equis Boutique will present the award during the 11 weeks of International Equestrian Federation (FEI) sanctioned competition at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
Vazquez’s Esprit de Vie, owned by Messenger Hill, was one of 100 horses to participate in the FEI Horse Inspection during WEF 2. Esprit de Vie impressed the ground jury, led by Steve Sarafin of Camden, South Carolina, to be the clear winner.
“I didn’t know the award even existed until we were in line for the jog, but I always braid my horses and have them looking perfect and beautiful for the jog,” said Vazquez. “I try to run a program of excellence and you have to start by looking right.”
Thanks to the dedication of grooms Arturo and Arnulfo Novoa, Esprit de Vie, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Vazquez known as ‘Sperry’ around the barn, was looking her best for Tuesday’s horse inspection.
“Arturo has been all over the world working for me and this week he and Arnulfo can take credit for this award,” said Vazquez. “It’s a great idea. People need to show up looking right, both horses and riders. I am very excited that we won it.”
Interestingly, the first show together for Vazquez and Esprit de Vie was the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.
“A month out from Pan Ams, my top stallion Zippo Z got injured and we scrambled to find another mount,” explained Vazquez. “We found her, rode her three times in Europe, and shipped her to Canada. It was the most unfair thing I could have done to her, but she was a superstar.”
Since arriving in the U.S., Esprit de Vie has won two grand prix with Vazquez in the tack and he hopes to climb further up the FEI World Rider Ranking list this season at WEF.
Vazquez was presented with a commemorative plaque by Elena Couttenye of Equis Boutique in recognition of the “Best Presented” honor, as well as a pair of horse boots from Equis Boutique partner brand Kentucky Equestrian.
Equis Boutique will honor one horse and rider with the “Best Presented Horse Award” each week of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival, running through April 3. At the weekly FEI Horse Inspection, the ground jury will evaluate overall turn-out of horse and rider to determine the award winner.