Barrel Racers Run for Pot of Gold at Shamrock Showdown Held at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photography by Phifer.

Jacksonville, FL (March 23, 2018) – Barrel racers chased a $62,000 pot o’ gold at the 13th annual National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) Shamrock Showdown Super Show held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida March 16-18.

Competitors traveled from as far as Canada, Vermont, Tennessee and North Carolina. Racers from nearby South Carolina, Georgia and across Florida are familiar with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and never miss an opportunity to run for big cash prizes inside the state-of-the-art coliseum.

“The facility is great,” said Renee Jenkins. “We were the second show to ever be held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and we haven’t missed a year yet.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was excited to host the group for its fourth consecutive year. A total of 853 entries dashed down the alleyway over the course of the three-day event. In addition to cash prizes riders had an opportunity to win tack and one of 60 wildcards. The wildcards give the first, second and third place finishers in each division a guaranteed slot to compete at the NBHA World Championship Show held each October.

The next scheduled event is the Florida Reining Horse Association Spring Show March 23-25. The multi-day reining competition features a full slate of classes from short stirrup and youth to amateur, non-pro, novice, green and open. The second annual Spring Classic Hunter/Jumper show is set to start on April 4 and upcoming events in May include dressage and team roping.

For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, please visit

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Ward and His “Independent Woman” Lead Large American Posse to Paris

Photo: McLain Ward and HH Azur. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

The speed with which the last remaining riders have signed up for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final 2018, which kicks off in Paris (FRA) on 11 April, tells you everything you need to know. This is a trophy that every rider wants to win, and the prospect of placing your name on the Roll of Honour that includes so many of the legends of this sport is tantalising. When it happened at last for America’s double Olympic gold medallist McLain Ward (42) at the 2017 Final in Omaha (USA) 12 months ago, he couldn’t hold back his emotions. It had been such a long time coming, and the victory was very, very sweet.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years or more, and I’ve come so close so many times and one way or another I’ve messed it up!” he said. He made no mistake this time around, however, flawless throughout the entire week with his brilliant mare who he described as “an independent woman”. They’ll be the ones to beat when the action gets underway at the AccorHotels Arena, but they’ll have to be at their very best once again to hold back the top-class opposition.

A total of 10 other US riders have also made the cut from the North American Eastern and Western Sub-Leagues including 2013 champion Beezie Madden (54), and Richard Spooner (47) who won the qualifier in Las Vegas in November, finishing the West Coast series at the top of the leaderboard. Kristen Vanderveen (28) described it as “surreal” when she booked her ticket to Paris with a win at the last leg of the season in Ocala (USA) last weekend.

It will all get very real when the opening speed class begins to throw some light on the destiny of the 2018 trophy in three weeks’ time.

Mexico’s Gustavo Ramos also qualified through the North America series while the countries of South America will be represented by Brazil’s Felipe Amaral who won the South America South series, and Colombia’s Carlos Lopez who qualified through the Western European League. Across the globe, it was local legend Lisa Williams (51) who topped the five-leg South Africa qualifying series. She won’t be bringing a horse to Paris, but she intends to be a spectator and tourist in the City of Lights.

Meanwhile, the Central European League came to a climax with the Final in Warsaw (POL) earlier this month where Estonia’s Urmas Raag (52) reigned supreme and fellow-countryman Rein Pill (57) also qualified for the Longines Final along with Latvia’s Kristaps Neretnieks (28).

The spread of countries at this year’s finale is particularly impressive, embracing all corners of the globe and offering a mouth-watering menu of possibilities. The flags of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA will all by flying high, and as always, we can expect new faces, a few surprises and the most amazing sport.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
+41 78 750 61 46

FEI Sports Forum 2018 Live and On-Demand

The seventh edition of the FEI Sports Forum 2018, which will be held at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne (SUI) on 26 and 27 March, will be live-streamed on

The FEI Sports Forum 2018 will have a prominent focus on Youth.

Day 1 will host a panel of eight young and talented athletes from around the world, representing FEI disciplines. Discussions will centre around their experiences, how they see the future, the challenges they face, and the impact on their careers. In addition, we will hear from experienced professionals and experts on discussion topics of athlete welfare as well as the IOC’s toolkit regarding harassment & abuse.

Day 2 will continue the discussions on athlete welfare, focusing on concussion, medication & recreational drugs and Eventing risk management, all of which have a substantial significance and impact on present day sport and competition. Further discussion topics include optimising performance in a challenging climate, in view of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon and Tokyo 2020, FEI Officials, as well as an update from the FEI Dressage Judging Working Group.

Timetable of sessions:

26 March
Morning session 09.00-13.00 CET
Afternoon session 14.00-18.00 CET

27 March
Morning session 09.00-13.00 CET
Afternoon session 14.00-17.30 CET

FEI Media Contacts:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 145

The Fork Returns to TIEC Featuring WEG Eventing Test Event

Mill Spring, NC – March 20, 2018 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is proud to announce the return of The Fork at TIEC, the FEI CIC 3*/2*/1* and Horse Trials presented by Lucky Clays Farm, on April 4-8. The CIC 3* division of The Fork competition will also serve as the Eventing Test Event in preparation for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) in September. General admission and parking are free for all competitions and additional ticketed spectator events will be hosted throughout the week.

Founded by Jim and Bernadette Cogdell, The Fork Horse Trials began 17 years ago in Norwood, NC and moved to TIEC last year to elevate the level of competition and enhance the spectator experience. As one of the most prestigious Eventing competitions on the North American calendar, The Fork is back at the Tryon venue. Alongside the FEI CIC 3*/2*/1* competition, Advanced, Intermediate, Preliminary, Modified, and Training divisions will also be hosted.

The Fork at TIEC offers an unprecedented chance for spectators to preview top competitors in their final tune-up before the prominent Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI 4* in Lexington, KY, as well as a preview of the thrilling competition to come to TIEC in September for the WEG. For some riders, The Fork at TIEC will serve as a qualifier for the WEG.

Spectators can also enjoy an impressive lineup of social events throughout the week including a Ladies Champagne Luncheon, Comedy Club Night, Lakeside Lunch with prime viewing of the cross-country course, “What the FORK” Party, and Sunday brunch.

Please visit or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Hailey Johns Named as Official Junior Ambassador for Leo Conroy Maclay Grant

Hailey Johns competing in the 2017 ASPCA Maclay Equitation Finals. PC: Shawn McMillan Photography.

Lexington, KY – March 21, 2018 – The National Horse Show is pleased to announce 17-year-old Hailey Johns as the new Junior Ambassador for the Leo Conroy Maclay Grant (LCMG). Johns was a recipient of the important grant in 2017 and used it to compete at the National Horse Show in the ASPCA Maclay Equitation Championship.

Johns, who currently trains with Katie Kappler of Katie Kappler LLC, has been an avid equestrian since she was four years old. After a brief introductory phase at a western facility, Johns was introduced to the hunter and jumper disciplines. She competed in the pony divisions and junior hunter classes before making the transition to the equitation ring at age 12.

“I’d wanted to compete in the Maclay Finals for so long and I was so excited to have qualified but the first thing that I asked myself was ‘how am I going to make this possible?’” remarked Johns. “My parents had already completely expended our budget to get me to the regionals so I felt like I needed to cover as much of the expenses as possible.”

That’s when Johns says she and Kappler saw a poster advertising the grant at the regionals facility. “I researched it and I knew that was the best route to go. It seemed like an exceptional opportunity and perfect for me so I applied as soon as I could,” said Johns.

The Leo Conroy Maclay Grant was established in 2015 after the passing of rider and trainer, Leo Conroy. Conroy was an avid supporter of the National Horse Show and especially of the ASPCA Maclay Finals. He spent many years as the co-manager of the National Horse Show and acted as Chairman of the National Horse Show Equitation Committee. To commemorate his dedication and love for the show, the grant is awarded to up to 5 Maclay competitors and 3 Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3″ Equitation Championship competitors each year that demonstrate a need for financial support to participate in their divisions.

The ASPCA Maclay Final championship is considered one of the most prestigious equitation events in the country and hosts many young athletes from across the country.

All riders must qualify through regional competitions in order to compete at the Maclay finals. Those seeking assistance through the LCMG to support their journey are asked to detail an essay on the importance of the show to them and why they are a good choice as a recipient of the grant. The grant accommodates recipients by covering expenses associated with entry fees and stabling as well as a $1,000 stipend to cover additional show-related costs required to compete in the Maclay Final or Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3″ Equitation Championship.

“We are thrilled to have Hailey Johns represent the Leo Conroy Maclay Grant this year,” said Jennifer Burger, President of the National Horse Show. “Hailey is the perfect representation of the type of young person that we strive to help through the LCMG and we are looking forward to utilizing her to get the word out for the 2018 edition of the National Horse Show.”

To learn more about the Leo Conroy Maclay Grant, click here.

To learn more about the National Horse Show, click here.

BLM Wild Horse & Burro Meeting: CANCELLED

The BLM has officially cancelled their National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting, scheduled for March 27-28 in Salt Lake City.

The BLM failed to give proper notice in the Federal Register, in direct violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). At their last meeting in Grand Junction, CO, the Advisory Board voted unanimously to meet next in Washington, D.C. Instead, the last-minute meeting was slated for Salt Lake City, Utah, home turf of pro-horse-slaughter Congressman Chris Stewart. The meeting was cancelled after an attorney representing TCF and AWHC sent a letter to BLM charging that the Agency had violated FACA.

Read Our Press Release

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905

Laura Chapot and Chandon Blue Conclude Week Ten with Win at 2018 WEF

Laura Chapot and Chandon Blue. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 18, 2018 – The tenth week of competition at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded with a win for Laura Chapot (USA) and Chandon Blue in the $35,000 Hollow Creek 1.50m Classic CSI 3* on Sunday, March 18, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

The $35,000 Hollow Creek 1.50m Classic saw 53 entries contest the track set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), with 14 advancing to the shortened jump-off track. Over the short course, it was Chapot aboard Chandon Blue, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Landcapitol) owned by Mary Chapot, who turned in the winning time of 36.145 seconds.

Second place went to Hunter Holloway (USA) and VDL Bravo S, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding (Ephepe For Ever x Chellano Z) owned by Hays Investment Corp, with a time of 36.565 seconds. With American ladies taking all three of the top spots, it was Lillie Keenan who finished in third with a time of 38.647 seconds riding Concho, a ten-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassaro 5 x Acord II) owned by Chansonette Farm LLC.

Chapot acquired her winning mount, Chandon Blue, from Irish rider Cian O’Connor in December of 2017, and she has used the 2018 WEF season to get to know the gelding.

“We’ve just kind of been figuring out which buttons to press, and I think today we got them all together,” said Chapot. “He’s a really fast and careful horse. He goes in there and tries his heart out and wants to win. I like his energy.”

Emma Vandenhouten and Spiderman Top Rosenbaum PLLC Large Pony Hunters

The last day of week ten at the Winter Equestrian Festival featured an exciting win for Emma Vandenhouten and her own entry, Spiderman, who earned the championship in the Rosenbaum PLLC Large Pony Hunter division. The pair secured the title with a sixth on the flat and a first, first, and seventh over fences.

“This win means a lot to me,” said Vandenhouten. “I thank my family for always being so supportive.”

The junior rider first began her journey to the top with Spiderman in the Large Children’s Pony Hunter division over a year ago, and the duo has continued to progress.

When asked about her history with the 11-year-old Welsh Pony Cross, Vandenhouten said, “When we moved up to the [Large Pony Hunter division], it definitely took us a little bit to get going, but we have done well. I have been mainly focusing on keeping him straight in the lines and in-and-outs and not letting him swap. He jumps his heart out, and he loves his food!”

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | |

Chester Weber Claims 15th USEF Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship Title

Photo: Chester Weber (

Four Intermediate Champions Also Unveiled

Ocala, Fla. – The Live Oak International came to its exciting conclusion on Sunday with all five USEF Combined Driving National Championship divisions completing the cones phase. Chester Weber earned his record 15th USEF Four-In-Hand Combined Driving National Championship title with an overall score of 166.69 penalties, while four combined drivers earned inaugural USEF intermediate national titles. These included: Scott Adcox in the pair horse division with 185.39 penalties; Jennifer Keeler in the single pony division with an overall score of 144.70 penalties; Jennifer Thompson in the intermediate single horse division with 140.94 penalties; and Katie Whaley in the pair pony division with 140.29 penalties.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

Weber (Ocala, Fla.) added another championship title to his massive list of accolades on Sunday. With a big lead after the dressage and marathon phases, he was able to take it easy in the cones phase. He maneuvered his KWPN geldings, First Edition (eight years old), Boris W (11 years old), and Asjemenou (12 years old), along with Jane Clark’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Splash (14 years old) and knocked one minor ball, adding three penalties to his overnight total.

“I was very pleased with the horses in the warm-up. We have only driven this combination in one other competition. Live Oak is always a little confusing for them because they have the World Cup Qualifier [jumping course] with flowers and everything built in the arena, which isn’t typical in our sport. But they handled that. I think this is a team that can consistently go clear,” said Weber.

Commanding the same team in Thursday’s dressage phase, the unit performed a seamless test to start the competition with 40.11 penalties. Weber substituted Splash for Reno, his eight-year-old, for the marathon and the team earned the fastest time across all seven hazards adding 123.58 penalties to his score.

Weber, who serves as Co-President of the Live Oak International with his sister Juliet Reid, stepped up to add the intermediate USEF Combined Driving National Championships, and they were a resounding success.

“From an organizer’s standpoint, we were really pleased to [offer the intermediate championships]. To have them in this group has been great, and to see entries come from everywhere to support the championships has been well worth it for us as an organizing team. I’m really proud of all the people who came out and contested those medals,” added Weber.

Lisa Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and her and Willow Star, LLC’s team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Anesco 4, 12 years old; Ulco, 16 years old; Olando, 21 years old; and Enzo, eight years old) followed Weber as the division’s reserve national champion, despite an inconsistent cones test, accumulating 9.34 penalties. They began competition in third place following dressage with 53.15 penalties and jumped to second after marathon with 127.72 penalties.

“Cones was difficult today because of the atmosphere. I loved my team [at Live Oak]; this was my ‘A’ team, and I had a lot of fun,” said Stroud, who returned this team of horses to competition for the first time since June’s Bromont International CDE. “I’m really fortunate because I have really great people working for me, and we only have solutions. When you have that sense of confidence in the day it makes a big difference and reflects in the performance.”


USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

As the only competitor finishing in the intermediate pair horse division, Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) earned the division’s national championship. Electing to continue with his KWPN gelding’s Nupafeed Auto Pilot (13 years old) and Pepe (six years old) for the cones phase, they added nine penalties to their overall score. Adcox borrowed Tom Warriner’s Harley, a 14-year-old Saddlebred/Friesian gelding, to help with the dressage phase. Along with Pepe, they finished with 60.88 penalties. The young Pepe stayed with the veteran Nupafeed Auto Pilot through the intimidating marathon course to add 105.07 penalties.

“It’s been great that we’re starting to recognize the lower levels and what they accomplish. We need to try and encourage the lower levels to move up and encourage more people into our sport, so we have a sport in the future. That’s key,” reflected Adcox. “So when you start to acknowledge the work everyone has to do to be here then people outside the sport start to realize that it’s a real sport and it’s tough.”

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Despite 0.21 time penalties after the cones competition, Thompson (Lodi, Wis.) and her seven-year-old Funnominial C.G. retained their two-phase lead for the division’s national championship. She and her Dutch Warmblood gelding delivered a polished dressage test to take the lead early on Friday, collecting 53.84 penalties. Although they didn’t win Saturday’s marathon phase, their nice dressage start helped them maintain their lead, adding 86.89 penalties to their dressage score.

“To be in this position, with this horse who still is young, is just amazing and knocking my socks off,” said Thompson, who has only been to Live Oak as a spectator and volunteer. “We came this year for the experience, to learn what Live Oak is about, so that when we get in the ‘big time’ we know what we’re getting into. I never anticipated being in this position.”

Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katrina Becker, owner of Bradish’s horse Katydid Duchess, decided to introduce the nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross to intermediate competition at Live Oak. The decision paid off as they obtained the division’s reserve national championship title with 145.24 penalties. Sitting in second place after two phases, they dropped one ball on the cones course, adding three penalties. They began the competition in fourth place following dressage with 59.04 penalties. Although the youngest competitor in the national championship divisions, Bradish drove Katydid Duchess like a pro. She navigated the relatively inexperienced mare, quickly and efficiently, winning the marathon phase, adding 83.20 penalties.

“It feels good [to win the reserve championship] because it is at Live Oak, and you want to do well here. For [Live Oak] to serve as the national championships is even more exciting. Of course, I would have loved to win, but I am happy [as reserve] because this is her first intermediate,” said Bradish. “I thought we were going to have a lot of issues because of this atmosphere, but she went into today’s cones course ready to go.”

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Whaley (Paris, Ky.) chose to continue with her Welsh Pony Cob’s Tommy (14 years old) and Tanner (11 years old) for the cones phase. They completed a clean round to retain their overall lead for the intermediate pair pony title. She partnered Tommy with her youngest Welsh Cob Teddy (five years old) for Friday’s dressage test, collecting 61.76 penalties. After sitting in second following dressage, Tommy and Tanner blazed through the marathon course, adding 78.53 penalties.

“I’m so thrilled that USEF has decided to acknowledge [intermediate] levels on a national stage. It’s going to enhance the driving in this country. Everyone works hard on every level, and to be recognized in the intermediate is exceptional,” said Whaley, who usually doesn’t compete intermediate. “I have a pony that has never been in a three-day event, so I thought perhaps this would be a good start. It’s really exciting for the sport that [Live Oak’s organizing team] had the foresight to bid for [the intermediate] championships. This really shows good things to come for the sport of driving.”

Boots Wright (Ocala, Fla.), using Marko and Rio for cones added three penalty points in the cones phase. With only two entries in the intermediate pair pony division, she won the division’s reserve title with 146.37 penalties. She gave an amazing dressage performance with her German Riding Pony geldings Marko (11 years old) and Mista Q (11 years old) for the division lead on Friday with 50.64 penalties. She dropped to second place following marathon with 92.73 penalties after driving Mista Q and Rio, her 14-year-old Welsh ‘B’ Pony gelding.

“I remember when Live Oak was a tiny horse show and seeing [this show] evolve into what it has become has been quite spectacular. It’s really the best driving show in America, and a lot of thought has been put into it. The hazards [in the marathon] are wonderful,” said Wright, who has competed at every Live Oak competition since it began 27 years ago.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Keeler (Paris, Ky.) drove a clean and cautious cones course with Zeppo to win the intermediate single pony title. Her six-year-old Hackney gelding made the leap to the intermediate at Live Oak and showed his strong potential, delivering three exceptional phases. They started with a steady dressage test to finish third with 62.40 penalties on Friday. They shot to first place due to a flashy marathon round for 82.30 penalties on Saturday.

“I had always hoped that I would be in this position winning a national championship. I think it’s safe to say if you had asked anyone, they would have expected it to be with our other pony [Amazing Grace]. To say that it’s unexpected to win this with Zeppo, it’s the most incredible fairy tale possible,” said an emotional Keeler. “This is a pony who was too small, too afraid …. and it’s just incredible that he was able to do what no one thought he could do. I’d also like to thank Chester and everyone that makes Live Oak possible. I always say, ‘there’s no place like Live Oak.’ I’m so proud to win this here on the toughest stage in our country.”

Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) and Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare, earned the division’s reserve national championship title with 145.89 penalties. They began dressage with 67.04 penalties and rebounded in the marathon with the fastest time on course, adding 78.85 penalties. Although, she drove a clean cones round, it was not enough to move to the division lead.

Complete Results

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Youth Comes to the Fore and Baumert and Handsome Complete a Clean Sweep at AGDF

Natalia Bacariza riding Dhannie Ymas. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — March 18, 2018 — The sixth annual Florida International Youth Dressage Championships (FIYDC) were the highlight of competition on the final day of week 10, Sunday, March 18, of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The 2018 Florida International Youth Dressage Championships — presented by Terri Kane, Hampton Green Farm, Sarah Davis, USEF Owners’ Dressage Task Force and Dressage 4Kids — took place alongside senior competition in week 10 at the AGDF. It featured competition for riders in the Under-25, Young Rider, Junior, Children and Pony divisions, offering them a chance to compete on the big stage and showcase their talent at one of the world’s largest and most high-profile dressage competitions.

There were five youth division winners, with 16-year-old Natalia Bacariza from Spain winning the overall trophy for the highest average score. She beat six other Junior riders, winning all three classes with over 71% on the Yeguada De Ymas’s 11-year-old Don Crusador gelding, Dhannie Ymas — former ride of her trainer Juan Matute Guimon and his kür gold medal-winning 2015 Junior European Championships partner.

“I am super happy about winning; I’ve wanted this for a very long time and I’m really happy that we finally did it,” said Bacariza, who is from Madrid and is the daughter of Cristina Danguillecourt and Javier Bacariza, owners of the Yeguada de Ymas. “I’ve been riding Dhannie for three months. He was ridden by Juan before, so he already knows his job, but you still have to ride him and not make any mistakes. Our best test was the individual [71.716%] and I’m very excited about our journey together.

“Our highlights were probably the changes and the trot work. We’re finished with the Wellington season now and then we’re going to be competing in Europe — first in Spain then Germany and maybe France,” added the teenager, who has big career aspirations. “I hope to improve my riding and continue my career in dressage and hopefully become another big champion.”

It was another win for Spain in the Under-25 division, with Rodrigo Encinas Fuentes and Van The Man leading the field of 10 entrants. The horse is owned by Cesar Parra, who rode the now 16-year-old gelding by Obelisk at grand prix at AGDF in 2013, 2014 and 2015 before handing the reins over to his young pupil.

Fuentes won only one of the three young rider tests, with Natalie Pai (USA) winning the other two on Unlimited, but his average score of 68.094% edged out Pai’s 67.746%.

“I was very happy with the horse; I felt he was truly with me and gave 100%,” said the 22-year-old Madrid native, who was competing at AGDF for the first time. “There are of course still some things I could improve, as always, but I’m truly happy with his attitude and he’s getting better test after test.

“This result means a lot. Just to compete at this level is great, but to win is better! I work really hard to get the opportunities to accomplish my goals, I’m really far from home and I sacrificed a lot,” added Fuentes, who left home at 18 looking for further riding opportunities in Europe before meeting Juan Matute, who invited him to the USA. “He really helped me, and the family opened the doors of their house for me. I learned a lot and its thanks to them, and also to Dr. Cesar Parra, who has treated me like his own son. He’s taught me not just about horses, but also how to be a better man.”

It was Canada’s Beatrice Boucher who came out on top of the 17 competitors in the Young Rider division. Riding Gilles Bergeron’s 15-year-old Del Piero gelding Delfiano, she averaged 69.415% across the three tests.

“The horse belongs to Camille Bergeron’s father and I wasn’t expecting to compete him at all, but I am so happy we can now do the young rider championships,” said the 20-year-old from Quebec, who picked up the ride when Camille no longer had enough time for Delfiano as well as her other horses. “I’ve only been riding him for a year but he’s such a puppy dog and always in your pocket — he’s so nice to be around. He’s never negative, he’s always your team mate and he’s so consistent. He’s a real pleasure and he gives his best all the time.”

The youngest division winner came in the form of 13-year-old Tori Belles from Pennsylvania riding PJ Rizvi’s pony Prince Z to an average score of 67.498%.

“I’ve been riding him for a month,” she said. “He’s been to the European Championships [he was a Dutch team medal winner under Febe van Zwambagt in 2011] and it’s a privilege from PJ Rizvi to show and compete him. He gives you the best feeling ever and supports you — even if you have a little mistake he tries to support you and help you out. I’m hoping to carry on showing him and also go to Lamplight festival of champions.”

The final winner was another to hail from Canada. Lily-Rose Lemaire, 14, rode the former broodmare World Lady, 18, to the Children’s title.

“My ride was very good this weekend and I’m so happy. My horse was with me and I think it’s my best ride with her,” said Lemaire, who only took up riding three years ago and began the partnership with World Lady six months ago. “This was my first CDI in Wellington as I had only done national shows before. This is my first season in Wellington and it is a beautiful place.”

Sponsor Terri Kane of Diamante Farms, who sponsors the under-25 division throughout AGDF and supports FIYDC, said: “This is the future of dressage and if these kids aren’t out there competing, then our sport will die. It’s very important for people in the dressage community to show that we support them and that we care.”

Of the entries from six different nations, she added: “It’s exciting. Just like for our national and international athletes, it’s very important for these athletes to compete against other countries to make themselves better. We had a huge junior group this year, so hopefully they continue riding and go into the u-25 and hopefully a lot of these riders will go on to become professionals and continue to compete after they age out of the u-25.”

Jennifer Baumert made it three wins from three starts on Handsome in week 10. PBIEC is a lucky venue for the American duo, who have won a staggering eight classes this season.

Baumert posted 75.2% on Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano’s 13-year-old Hochadel gelding, with fellow American Jodie Kelly-Baxley on Caymus, by Sir Sinclair, slotting in to second (74.175%) and Canada’s Brittany Fraser filling third with Jill Irving’s Sir Donnerhall gelding, Soccer City (72.875%).

“He’s awesome,” grinned Baumert. “I was pumped in there because Debbie [McDonald] psyched me up to get him really in front of me and taking every opportunity I could between movements to push him up in front and come into every movement with a lot of power. And we did that!

“She was amping me up because I’m one of those people that wants everything to be really pretty and harmonious and nice, and she pushes me to shake it up and come out of my comfort zone. This is a great way to close, as it’s our last show at Global. We’re hoping to go to Tryon [for the test event CDI in April] and the national championships at small tour.”

Baumert, who was competing Handsome at the AGDF for the second successive year, usually returns to her Ohio base in April, but is staying on in Wellington this year.

“We’re going to stay until the team goes off to Europe to take advantage of Debbie’s help until then, so I’m looking forward to that,” she said. “That’ll probably be until June, when it’s really hot here in Florida, but Havensafe Farm has lots of trees and a covered ring and it always feels about 10 degrees cooler there, so I’m hoping that’ll work out for us.”

For more information and results, visit

Vanderveen Punches Ticket to Paris with First Longines Victory in Ocala

Photo: Kristen Vanderveen aboard Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili. (FEI/Erin Gilmore)

Kristen Vanderveen (USA) was a winner on all fronts at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Ocala (USA). Not only did she claim her first Longines victory with an uncatchable jump-off aboard Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, but she also gained the points necessary to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris (FRA) in three weeks’ time.

“It’s really very surreal for me right now,” said Vanderveen, 28. “I’ve always wanted to go to World Cup Finals, and this was a little bit of a last minute decision to come here and see if I could do something special today and get in.”

“It’s really very surreal for me right now. I’ve always wanted to go to the World Cup Finals!” — Kristen Vanderveen (USA)

The stage was set at the beautiful Live Oak Plantation after just three riders managed to produce a clear first round over the course set by Kelvin Bywater (GBR). Vanderveen was dealt the disadvantageous position of having to go first in the jump-off, but she blazed an unbeatable time of 45.93 seconds, galloping full out to the final Longines oxer and getting across the ground swiftly with her horse’s large stride. Last to go, Beat Mändli (SUI) and Galan S made a valiant run at the winner but brought down two rails in the process. Brianne Goutal (USA) and Viva Colombia produced the only other double-clear performance to finish as runners-up with a time of 52.99 seconds.

“There were only 3 of us, so I figured I’d play it out fast as we could and see what happened,” Vanderveen explained. “He fired for me, and he shined for me in the jump-off. He’s a super fast horse.”

America’s Paris Lineup Takes Shape

As the final event of the North American League, Live Oak’s results solidified the American qualifiers for Paris. Vanderveen, with 41 total points for the season, sits sixth in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League and is the fifth-ranked U.S. rider. Eight U.S. riders, including defending World Cup Jumping Final Champion McLain Ward, qualify from this sub league. Devin Ryan finished 11th in Ocala with Eddie Blue, causing him to conclude the season as the third-ranked U.S. rider; he also plans to compete in Paris. West coast rider Jamie Barge (USA) and Luebbo journeyed east to assure themselves a Paris qualification. They are the third-ranked U.S. rider from the west coast sub league; three qualify for Paris.

Beat Mändli, winner of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington (USA), finished the season atop the east coast sub league standings with 53 points. Richard Spooner (USA), who won in Las Vegas (USA), was the best in the west, finishing with 60 points.

The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final takes place in Paris from 10-15 April 2018.

By Catie Staszak

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