Wellington, FL. – Jan. 12, 2023 – The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) returned to Wellington, FL to kick off the twelve-week circuit. Hunter athletes were eager to jump back into competition in the Grand Hunter Ring at Wellington International. Riders kicked off Week 1 in the Green 3’6” division. At the conclusion of the two-day competition, it was Jef Lauwers aboard She’s All That crowned champion, and Christopher Payne and Roper took home reserve champion honors. 

Jef Lauwers and She’s All That

Lauwers and the eight-year-old Westphalian mare posted several top scoring rides throughout both days of competition in the Grand Hunter ring. The pair placed third twice, second once, and closed out competition on Thursday with a win in the $850 Green Hunter 3’6″ Stake, which awarded them a total of 24 total points. With Lauwers in the irons, She’s All That kept a consistent pace throughout each course, and followed commands both in the flat and over fences. 

Christopher Payne and Roper

Payne and Roper put together a solid effort of their own across two days of horse showing. The pair accumulated 22 points, falling just short of the Champion honors. The seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding laid down multiple top finishes, including a blue ribbon in the $600 Green Hunter 3’6″ and a red ribbon in the $250 Green Hunter 3’6″ U/S. The pair galloped through each course with ease, and presented the judges with proper form and a lengthy stride. 

Both duos are off to a great start for the 2023 WEF Season. They look to expand upon their winnings in future hunter divisions and further develop their young horses. Hunter competition will resume Friday with the Adult Amateur Hunter 50 and Over divisions, slated to start at 7:45am EST in the Grand Hunter Ring.


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