Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum piloted her stunning partner Shutterfly to her second World Cup win, three years after her inaugural victory in Las Vegas. Coming in second was Rich Fellers on the fantastic little powerhouse Flexible, winner of three qualifiers in a row out at Thermal. The fiery chestnut was certainly very lucky to even be at the Finals, as he faced a number of adversities early in his life that just might have prevented him from coming as far as he has. From a fractured scapula to a blocked vein, Flexible has definitely endured more than most of his peers, yet he bounced back from each setback and managed to make it to the top of his game.
Meredith’s victory was perhaps not a huge surprise, as she just narrowly missed a win last year after a freak fall on the last day of competition in Las Vegas. This year, though, Shutterfly glided over course-designer Rolf Ludi’s challenging final track to snag the win from rival Jessica Kuerten, who laid down a few excellent trips. Meredith was extremely pleased with her win, and expressed gratitude for 15 year-old Shutterfly, who she admitted “is not young.” With the way he handled the courses, though, he showed himself to be a true superstar.
Oregon-based Rich Fellers knew he had a great horse in Flexible, yet he didn’t seem to know just how great his mount was until the chestnut kept delivering. Flexible’s outstanding placing was quite unexpected, as he managed to beat much more seasoned and traveled horses, such as last year’s winner, Beat Mandli’s Ideo du Thot, Micheal Whitaker’s Suncal Portofino, and Heinrich-Hermann Engemann’s Aboyeur W, who came in third.