Rodrigo Matos Wraps Up US Tour with Clinic in South Florida

Photo courtesy Ashley Graham Photography.

Palm City, FL (December 15, 2017) — Dressage clinician Rodrigo Matos spent this Thanksgiving holiday sharing his knowledge and gift for teaching with a lucky group of riders in South Florida. Matos’s clinic was held at Treasure Coast Equestrian Dressage and Arts in Palm City, Florida, November 24-26. Clinic participants were able to benefit from Matos’s unique style of teaching, which is a product of his extensive background in classical Dressage combined with years of teaching experience all over the world.

Matos, of Portugal, began riding at a young age and has always had a passion for horses. He spent 20 years as a principal rider at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Arts where he gained his knowledge of the classical style of Dressage. Matos travels eleven months out of the year, giving clinics all over the world, including Europe, Australia, Dubai, Central America, and now the United States. This was his first year teaching in this country.

When teaching in the United States, Matos is employed by the Academy of Portuguese Equestrian Arts, LLC, which was founded by Sabine Schran-Collings of Heavenly Andalusians in Rogue River, Oregon. His tour of the United States this fall was organized by Schran-Collings, with clinics held in Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Arizona, and South Florida.

Hosted by Heather Bender and Standing Oak Farm in Palm City, FL, the three-day clinic was open to Dressage riders of all levels. “Rodrigo has an amazing knack for working with all breeds of horses and all levels of riders. I feel that this is what makes him so special as a clinician,” said Bender.

Matos emphasizes respect for the horse in his teaching and focuses on making subtle changes to improve the relationship between horse and rider. “Be kind and be respectful to the horse. That’s the most important thing,” explained Matos.

Matos is a proven master, working from the ground to help improve movements such as the piaffe, passage, and pirouettes.  Focusing on horse and rider relationships helps Matos to make minor adjustments that have a big impact.  During his Palm City, Florida clinic the majority of horse and riders were riding at the more advanced levels of the sport. His days were spent helping riders make adjustments and schooling exercises that helped improve their Grand Prix movements and connection.

His compassion for the horses as well as extensive knowledge of classical Dressage creates such a unique style that there is no question as to why he is in such demand for clinics. Riders left the clinic feeling enlightened and very lucky to have had the chance to work with such a gifted teacher.

Matos has several more clinics on the agenda for this year including stops in England, Norway, and Denmark. He plans to return to the United States in the spring of 2018.

For more information on Rodrigo Matos’s clinics or to inquire about his 2018 schedule in the United States, email: MatosRodrigo@hotmail.com or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RodrigoMatosClassicalDressage/.

Contact: Rodrigo Matos
MatosRodrigo@hotmail.com
www.Rodrigo-Matos.com

Kent Farrington Closes the Year Winning the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

The Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, regarded as the most esteemed indoor Grand Prix on the global equestrian circuit, was won by Rolex Testimonee and World Number One Kent Farrington aboard Gazelle. Sweden’s Henrik Von Eckermann was second aboard Mary Lou 194 and Gregory Wathelet from Belgium riding Coree placed third.

Some 10,000 equestrian fans walked into the iconic Palexpo venue, brimming with excitement and tension as they waited for the famed curtains to open, marking the start of the most anticipated class of the four-day show, the Rolex Grand Prix.

40 horse and rider combinations had qualified to enter the iconic indoor arena at the CHI Geneva and in doing so, tackle an imposing first round course (and subsequent jump-off) designed by renowned international show jumping course designers, Gérard Lachat and Louis Konickx.

Clear rounds were hard to come by and the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Philipp Weishaupt, was unable to continue his journey in attempting to lift the most coveted trophy in the sport, as he collected nine faults in round one.

From the first 25 riders who braved the course, including Rolex Testimonees Jeroen Dubbeldam, Eric Lamaze, Bertram Allen and Steve Guerdat, none could master a clear round. It became evident that it would take an exacting and precise round to finish with a score of zero. Last year’s winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Pedro Veniss from Brazil, produced the first seemingly clear round, until the clock stopped just over the allocated time and he collected one unlucky time fault.

A clean score was finally achieved by The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders, shortly followed by Henrik Von Eckermann and Gregory Wathelet. The crowd hushed to near silence as USA’s Kent Farrington entered into the arena, shortly displaying why he is the very best rider in the sport right now, producing a foot perfect round over the 13 obstacles. Cian O’Connor from Ireland completed the list of five riders progressing through to the second-round jump-off of the final Major of the year.

A revised course was presented to these elite athletes, reducing the course to eight obstacles. Harrie Smolders was first to go, setting the bar high with a clear round in just 46.89 seconds. This was fractionally beaten by Von Eckermann, who sped through the finishing gate with a time of 45.59. Wathelet was unable to challenge this, leaving it to Farrington and O’Connor. In true Farrington style, he sped through the course on the tightest of turns as the Geneva crowd sat on the edges of their seats, erupting in a cacophony of noise as the clock was stopped on 44.96 seconds, taking the World Number One into the lead. Cian O’Connor was last to go but despite giving everything, his brave grey horse Fibonacci just clipped one pole at the fourth fence, handing the victory to Rolex Testimonee, Kent Farrington.

After eight months as World Number One, Farrington concluded an emphatic year as the World Number One and now embarks on his very own Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey.

Commenting after his victory, Farrington said, “I’m still in shock and I can’t believe that it’s over and that we walk away with a win. I thought my horse was great today and with this win being part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, I will definitely be heading to The Dutch Masters in 2018.

“The riders are so strong here and you have the best horses in the world. With a large arena it can be difficult to set an indoor style course and in today’s sport, with as well as everyone rides, they have to make the time short. I knew it was going to be tough when I saw the course and I am so pleased with the result.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

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Merrick Haydon
merrick@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7748 186 833

Edwina Tops-Alexander Is the Queen of La Coruna

Photo: Edwina Tops-Alexander celebrating victory with her lovely mare, California. (FEI/Manuel Queimadelos)

Australian wonderwoman, Edwina Tops-Alexander (43), scorched to victory with the lovely mare California in the seventh leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at La Coruna, Spain. In an eight-rider, eight-nation jump-off against the clock the three-time Olympian simply out-raced all the others who managed to leave Santiago Varela’s track intact, and the result leaves her within a few points of qualification for the Longines Final in Paris, France next April.

Austria’s Max Kuhner lined up second with Chardonnay while the home crowd-pleaser was third-placed Manuel Fernandez Saro with Cuidam. Tops-Alexander was filled with her trademark determination.

“California has been jumping great, but here and there we kept having stupid faults and I was getting a bit mad! I was determined to have a good class here yesterday, but it didn’t work. Today I did my best and it DID work, so now I’m really happy!” — Edwina Tops-Alexander (Australia)

Fernandez Saro produced the first clear of the jump-off when third to go, but his time of 43.89 seconds always looked beatable. Two horses later, Ireland’s Denis Lynch was also fault-free, but he didn’t pressure All Star who broke the beam in 45.77 seconds so eventually slotted into fourth place.

Tops-Alexander was taking no prisoners, however, galloping from the start and resetting the target at 40.08 seconds as she flew through the finish. She wasn’t entirely satisfied with her own performance: “I did one too many strides from (fence) 1 to (fence) 2, but that just made me go faster the rest of the way! I wasn’t convinced I was quick enough to win, I thought maybe I’d be second if I was lucky!” she pointed out afterwards. But Austria’s Max Kuhner trailed her by more than two seconds when second-last to go with his fabulous grey stallion who clinched runner-up spot.

Tops-Alexander said her 10-year-old mare had “a nice break” while the Australian star, who only stopped competing in March, waited for daughter Chloe to be born at the end of July. The horse-and-rider partnership returned to the ring in early September. “She’s an amazing horse, and when we both went back to work I came strong and she did too!” said the amazing athlete.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Multiple CA Wildfires Take Heavy Toll on Both Humans and Horses

OCEANSIDE, CA – Fire crews stopped the Lilac’s destructive march on Friday, keeping to 4,100 acres a blaze that a day earlier had forced thousands to flee their homes, destroyed at least 105 structures and killed dozens of horses.

With the strong winds that initially drove the flames dying down overnight, fire crews were able to move from defense to offense, as aircraft dropped water on hot-spots while hand crews kept an eye out for potential flare-ups.

Despite the improved weather conditions, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob cautioned residents to remain alert. Officials reported 15 percent containment of the fire Friday night, meaning for only that amount were they confident the flames wouldn’t jump the perimeter.

“A fire that starts in the back country can go anywhere at any time, particularly when those winds shift,” Jacob said. “We are not out of the woods yet.”

The fast-moving blaze ignited late Thursday morning. Officials estimated that around 900 people have shown up at fire shelters, while an estimated 10,000 people were evacuated at one point. The cause was unknown.

Two firefighters and four civilians were injured. It was unclear how many of the 105 structures were homes.

Flames burned through a quiet, semi-rural portion of San Diego County best known for ranches and orchards. Crews worked to keep the fire from burning west toward the larger Oceanside community or onto Camp Pendleton.

Trainers and staff at the facility cut loose some of the 450-plus horses so they could escape the flames. Dramatic video apparently recorded by a stable hand in the midst of the rescue efforts showed waves of horses running through the smoke as workers hurried to release them. Still, the California Horse Racing Board estimated 25 horses died.

Most of the survivors were trucked to the safety of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

More than 1,000 fire personnel were dedicated to the Lilac Fire on Friday, along with more than 100 fire engines and 15 helicopters, Cal Fire spokesman Kendal Bortisser said.

“We continue to fight this fire from the air and the ground,” Bortisser said.

The Lilac fire put thousands of U.S. Marines at nearby Camp Pendleton on alert. Two military aviation strike teams were on-hand to help support firefighting efforts.

Of the 85 destroyed structures, officials were unsure how many were homes.

“There were quite a few mobile homes that were lost in the area,” San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said. “That includes senior citizens.”

Friday, residents were taking stock of the damage.

Mary Klodell, 54, was riding her bike on the San Luis Rey trail when she saw smoke in the air – sending her racing home to pack essentials before leaving the area.

“We heard crackling and popping behind us,” she said. “I was panicked and looking for my keys.”

On Friday, Klodell returned to the neighborhood, walking the ruins of some homes and finding others still intact. A neighbor told her that only a small shift in the weather saved her residence.

“He told me the wind shifted right in time, or else my house would be done now,” she said. “That’s God protecting me.”

At the Stepp Stables at Camp Pendleton, Sandrine Linglet was overwhelmed and crying tears of joy. A day earlier, seeing smoke and fire in the air, Linglet, 46, had driven to the Oceanside Equestrian Center, where she kept four mustangs.

“I could barely see; it was black and red everywhere,” Linglet recalled.

On her first trip, Linglet, who had also been forced to evacuate her Oceanside home, was able to get two mustangs into a trailer. Ignoring warnings from firefighters, she returned Thursday night to rescue a third with the help of two Marines and brought the horse back to the Pendleton stable. They were unable to corral the fourth unbroken mustang.

“I was in tears and exhausted,” Linglet said. “I felt guilty. I couldn’t believe that I left her behind.”

Linglet spent the night at Stepp Stables — partly hunkering down with the three rescued mustangs and then sitting in her car listening to news reports.

“I cried the whole night but I was sure no matter what, I would not give up,” she said. “No matter what, no matter how, I would try to get my horse.”

Just before daylight, Linglet returned to the Oceanside Equestrian Center on Friday just a few miles from the stables at Camp Pendleton. She was shocked to see her fourth mustang, Margo, standing in a field. Hours later, the four were all safe at Camp Pendleton, which lent space for evacuated steeds.

Around 11 a.m. on Thursday, James Adams smelled smoke near his 3,300 square-foot home that overlooks the San Luis Rey river valley, about eight miles from Fallbrook. He helped his wife gather paintings and other valuables and got her, two dogs and a parrot into the car.

“I didn’t want her to be here,” the 68-year-old said. “I didn’t know how fast it would come.”

By 2 p.m., the fire had consumed the house two doors away, as the wind screamed over his home. He watched as the wind and flames shifted to the south, burning five homes to the ground at the end of this street. That night, there was no electricity, but he saw an orangey sky.

He called 911 twice, alerting firefighters to fire near him. Each time, helicopters doused the flames.

“I think the fire fighters did an amazing job,” he said.

Friday afternoon, Adams was able to think about how lucky he had been.

“I’ve been putting my library together for 40 years,” he said. “It’s one of my most personal possessions.”

By Erika I. Ritchie and Beatriz E. Valenzuela as published on The Orange County Register

Kevin Staut Crowned Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final Champion at CHI Geneva

The current top 10 riders in the world gathered at the iconic CHI Geneva, Switzerland to contend for one of the most exciting classes of the year, the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. The roster of elite show jumpers who had qualified to tackle Gérard Lachat’s technically challenging and imposing course included five of Rolex’s Equestrian Testimonees: Steve Guerdat, Scott Brash, Eric Lamaze, Kevin Staut and current World Number One, Kent Farrington.

Staged over two rounds, home favourite and Swiss hero Steve Guerdat was first to go aboard his brilliant mare Hannah. The patriotic crowd was electric as he rode into the arena and despite willing the combination over every fence, the pair collected four faults.

The first clear round came from the only rider currently to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Great Britain’s Scott Brash. Ursula XII and Brash glided around the first round, setting the bar high for the remaining seven riders. Despite nearly foot perfect rounds from the 2016 reigning champion, Eric Lamaze, and 2015 champion Kent Farrington, they both finished the 12-fence course with four faults, respectively.

For the eighth time in his career, Kevin Staut had qualified for the Top 10 Final and this experience shone through as he delivered the last clear of round one.

The second round welcomed four riders with a clean sheet, Lorenzo De Luca, Harrie Smolders, Scott Brash and Kevin Staut. Rolex Testimonee Eric Lamaze produced the fastest second round of the night, with a time of 40.27 moving him up the leaderboard.

Brash continued to impress and put pressure on his competitors, executing a faultless round with a time of 42.83, putting the passionate crowd on the edge of their seats as they waited for the last three riders of the class to challenge the British rider. It was not to be for Smolders as he attempted too tight a turn and paid the price with four faults. The stage was set for Kevin Staut and Lorenzo De Luca, who was competing in this competition for the very first time and the class’s first Italian representative.

ROLEX ONE-TWO PODIUM FINISH

Staut cut every corner in order to achieve his dramatic clear round, stopping the clock at 40.90 seconds, taking him into the lead. After a valiant effort De Luca was unable to beat the exacting precision of the French rider and world number three, as he exited the arena with four faults. The final result saw Rolex Testimonees, Kevin Staut and Scott Brash, secure first and second place on the podium.

A thrilled Staut commented on his victory: “I am really really happy as not only have I won the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final but I have qualified for the Rolex Grand Prix tomorrow also. It’s been eight years that I’ve been fighting to get a good result and I’m thrilled I’ve now achieved it, especially here in Geneva which is such an incredible show.”

Second placed Brash: “I don’t think I could have done any more. Ursula has a huge stride but is a slow mover. Kevin’s turns were much smoother than mine and Kevin was too fast for us today.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
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Schneider and Sammy Scoop the Honours in Salzburg

Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr. (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)

It takes two to tango as every top-class Dressage rider knows, and Dorothee Schneider (48) and her lovely 11-year-old gelding Sammy Davis Jr. nailed it with the harmony they showed in their tango-themed test that won the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League at Salzburg in Austria.

“Sammy wants to present himself and he loves to dance, so he’s the perfect Freestyle horse! He’s good-looking with a character to match, and today was our best score so far – it’s exciting because we are coming together as a pair more and more!” — Dorothee Schneider (GER)

In a start-list of 12 combinations from seven countries, Frenchman Ludovic Henry took the lead when posting 75.673 percent with After You when seventh to go, but Schneider and Sammy blew the class wide open when next in, putting 83.415 on the board. “I could feel in the warm-up that he was in really good shape – he’s been doing an amazing job over the last month!” Schneider said of the horse who helped her claim individual 11th spot at this summer’s Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

It was never going to be easy to better that, and although the popular duo of Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Jojo Az were in sparkling form they didn’t threaten when following with a score of 76.405. Their Danish counterparts, Daniel Bachmann-Andersen and Blue Hors Zack, came a lot closer, however, the talented 27-year-old rider and the 13-year-old KWPN stallion oozing promise of even better to come as they strutted their way to a mark of 80.375.

That moved them into runner-up spot, but they would have to settle for third when the penultimate partnership of Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (31) and Unee BB stormed in to post 81.565. This pair has a wonderful record in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series, and has twice finished third at the Finals, in Lyon (FRA) in 2014 and Las Vegas (USA) in 2015. At 16 years of age, Unee is still flying, and von Bredow-Werndl is very much hoping to make the cut with him to the 2018 Final in Paris, France next April. Each national federation can only send a maximum of three riders, however, and with defending champion, Germany’s Isabell Werth, guaranteed a place once she completes the qualification criteria of two qualifying scores with her chosen horse, the competition between the Germans themselves is intense.

“I’m really fighting for our place at the Final. Even though Unee turns 17 next year, he’s still in top form, so I want us to be there!” von Bredow-Werndl said.

Schneider also has Paris in her sights with Sammy Davis Jr. who only stepped up to Grand Prix level in March of this year and who is clearly coming along in leaps and bounds. However, although she has moved to the top of the leaderboard after the win, she’s not taking qualification for granted. She knows von Bredow-Werndl and Fabienne Lutkemeier are snapping at her heels and that it’s far from done and dusted yet. “Sammy is going to have a rest over Christmas and then maybe we will go to Neumunster (GER) because I want to get Paris too, but it’s not going to be easy!” she said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Over 14 Hours of Live Coverage for Olympia, the London International Horse Show

Olympia, the London International Horse Show (12-18 December 2017), will be coming to homes across the UK with extensive broadcast coverage of London’s international equestrian event on the BBC.

Over fourteen hours of live action will be aired throughout the week, indicating the importance of Olympia as an international equestrian event and providing equestrian and sporting fans alike excellent access to the top-class competition.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘We are thrilled to be working with the BBC at Olympia once again.  The BBC coverage is important not only for the show but also for the sport.  Bringing world class Dressage, Show Jumping and Carriage Driving to a wider UK audience keeps equestrianism on the map and it provides viewers with the opportunity to see Olympic champions competing in world class competitions.’

Highlights to look out for include the FEI World Cup™ competitions in Dressage and Show Jumping in which the world’s top riders and Olympic gold medallists, including Ben Maher and Scott Brash, will compete. In addition, coverage will include international classes such as the Cayenne Puissance and the Olympia Grand Prix, as well as the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Further coverage will include footage of Olympia’s equestrian displays, The Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police Activity Ride and the Chilean Huasos, along with the Kennel Club Dog Agility, The Shetland Pony Grand National and the Olympia Christmas Finale.

Internationally live coverage of the Dressage, Jumping and Driving FEI World Cup competitions is available on FEI TV and additional post-event coverage will be broadcast on Horse & Country TV.

Olympia, the London International Horse Show, may be viewed online and on TV. The day-by-day coverage listing is as follows*:

Wednesday 13 December

  • The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound
    19:20-22:15 – LIVE on BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, and FEI TV

Thursday 14 December

  • The Cayenne Puissance
    21:15-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV

Friday 15 December

  • The Entire Evening Performance
    18:45-22:30 – LIVE on BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
    Featuring The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund and The Longines Christmas Cracker

Saturday 16 December

  • The FEI World Cup™ Driving
    18:30-19:15 – LIVE on FEI TV

Sunday 17 December

  • The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping
    13:30-16:35 – LIVE BBC Two HD, Online & connected TV 14:35-16:30 – LIVE on FEI TV

Monday 18 December

  • The Entire Evening Performance
    18:45-22:25 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
    Featuring The Mince Pie Stakes and The Olympia Grand Prix

Tuesday 19 December

  • Highlights
    11:00-12:00 – BBC Two HD, Online & connected TV

*All programmes are subject to change

Horse & Country TV will feature highlights from the Show from 18 December onwards, including the FEI Dressage, Driving and Show Jumping, along with the Cayenne Puissance, the Longines Christmas Cracker and the Olympia Grand Prix.

Horse & Country TV is available on Sky Channel 253, H&C Play, and Amazon Video. For more information, visit their website.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

HITS Ocala Holiday Premiere Recap

Aaron Vale aboard CASSEVEL. ESI Photography.

The 2017/2018 edition of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit got underway last week with the Ocala Holiday Premiere, the first show of the two-week HITS Ocala Holiday Series.  The weather was just about perfect and a great group of horses and riders turned out, all with an eye on the blue ribbon.

The jumpers kicked off on Friday with the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix where Aaron Vale aboard STAKKO took home the blue ribbon. Vale also took home fourth place aboard CASSEVEL. In second place were Kirk Webby and BRANDO DU ROUET, followed by Jared Peterson and CATANO 29 in third place. Hayley Waters and GALOUS would round out the top five in the class.

On Saturday the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Classic took place, with Charlie Jayne taking home both the first and second place honors aboard AMICE Z and EVER BLUE, respectively. Third place was won by Vale aboard EXCLUSIVE, followed by Nicole Bellissimo and her partner HARLEY DAVID in fourth, and Kyle Dewar aboard CLEVER VAN DE HELLE in fifth place.

Vale returned to the ring for the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday and wrapped up the week with another win, as well as the second and fourth place awards, riding CASSEVEL, BONZINI S and STAKKO to their respective placings. Third place was Derek Petersen aboard DIAMANT’S LEGACY, and rounding out the top five was Hayley Waters aboard her partner GALOUS.

In the Hunter rings, the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix took place on Saturday where Shachine Belle and FUERST APOLLO LL took home the blue ribbon. In second place were Helen Goddard and MY WAY, followed by Melissa Deryn Foster aboard CARRILOU in third. This was the first qualifying class of the season for the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Finals which take place at the HITS Championships, September 5-9, 2018, and riders were eager to get a leg up on qualifying for the prestigious Final.

For more information or to submit your entries electronically, visit HitsShows.com.

Top International Line-Up Announced for Olympia, the London International Horse Show

A stellar line-up of the world’s best Dressage and Driving competitors has been announced for Olympia, The London International Horse Show, taking place from 12-18 December 2017.

Adding to this year’s spectacular Show will be a world-class selection of riders contesting the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music, supported by Horse & Hound, taking place on the Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 December, respectively.

Contending for the title and making a welcomed first appearance at the Show, Swedish Olympian and current leader of the FEI World Cup Western League, Patrik Kittel, a long-standing Grand Prix rider with an equally long list of achievements to his name. Kittel will be competing aboard Delaunay Old, who together took team bronze at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg.

The 2016 Irish Rider of the Year and holder of Ireland’s highest ever Grand Prix score, Judy Reynolds, (Vancouver K) is another who will be gunning for glory. Certain to give Reynolds a run for her money is renowned Dutch rider, Edward Gal, triple gold medallist at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games™, the first rider to claim all three available medals. Gal will be pulling out all the stops aboard the young stallion Glock’s Zonik.

Making her Olympia debut will be Madeleine Witte-Vrees riding the Dutch-bred stallion Cennin, who together represented the Dutch team for the 2017 Europeans in Gothenburg and were selected as reserves for the 2016 Olympic team. The pair has also claimed several Grand Prix Freestyle victories, including in Roosendaal, Rotterdam and Mallorca. Adding to the Dutch challenge and returning to Olympia for the third time will be Katja Gevers with Thriller, a combination that are into their seventh season of Grand Prix.

Flying the flag for the home-side will be 2017 British Dressage National Champion Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubin’s Nite), Emile Faurie (Delatio) Team GB representative at a staggering six European Championships, three World Equestrian Games™ and two Olympic Games, former British team medallist Gareth Hughes (Don Carissimo) returning after a five-year absence from the Show, and Lara Butler (Rubin Al Asad), reserve for the 2016 Olympic team.

The strong home contingent also includes four-time British Olympian Richard Davison, who has been at the forefront of international dressage for over three decades. Fresh from victory in the Grand Prix at CDI Roosendaal at the end of November with the homebred Bubblingh, Davison will be in confident spirits as he comes up against some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world. The British quintet has much opposition, however, and the Grand Prix promises to be a close and exciting competition.

The UK’s largest indoor horse show is also set to welcome top international four-in-hand drivers for the FEI World Cup™ Driving leg, presented by Dodson & Horrell. Their first encounter will be on Thursday afternoon during Olympia’s Extreme Driving competition, familiarising them with the arena and its highly-charged atmosphere. The first round of the FEI competition follows on Friday with the final starting in Saturday evening’s packed performance.

Reigning World Champion, both indoors and out, Boyd Exell, returns to compete with a wild card. With seven FEI World Cup™ titles to his name, including the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he is a regular contender and winner at the prestigious Show. Challenging Exell, and representing the home team, will be the notorious Dan Naprous, who will be wowing crowds with his supreme pace and agility.

Joining Naprous will be Ijsbrand Chardon, the most experienced, and multi-medalled of all the drivers in the starting line-up, having been at the top of the sport since the 1980s. Chardon is making a welcome return to Olympia Horse Show, after his absence in 2016. Fellow countryman, Koos de Ronde, who has shared the World and European Championship team gold medal winning rostrums with Chardon on eight separate occasions, will be giving Chardon a run for his money, having competed at the Show each year since the competition began.

This is a line-up not to be missed. To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, and how to get tickets, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Fabio Da Costa and Tosca De L’Esques Jump to First Place in $25k Omega Alpha Grand Prix

Fabio Da Costa and Tosca De L’Esques. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – December 3, 2017 – The ESP Holiday & Horses CSI 4* week concluded at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with the $25,000 Omega Alpha Grand Prix on Sunday, December 3, ending in victory for Brazil’s Fabio Da Costa and Tosca De L’Esques.

Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the final track for the week, which welcomed back six of the original 40 entries in the jump-off. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and his own Ricore Courcelle, a 2005 Selle Francais stallion (Quaprice Bois Margot x Alme), took home second place honors after contesting the jump-off and crossing through the timers in 45.833 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) rode to third place aboard his own Dazzle White, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Calvino Z x Narcos II), after completing the short track in 42.236 seconds and adding four faults.

“Tosca De L’Esques was originally purchased as a ride for one of our clients last year,” commented Da Costa. “When we brought her from Europe she was already jumping the 1.40m classes and the client did really well with her. Shortly after, my own Grand Prix horse got hurt, so we decided to try the bigger classes with her.”

Da Costa and the mare, a 2007 Selle Francais mare (Cardento x Apache D’Adriers) owned by Bonne Chance Farm, returned to the jump-off sitting in second place and put in a fast round ending in 39.737 seconds. He continued, “She has done great at the higher levels, as she is doing more than expected of her right now. She’s such a fighter and she’s such a winner. She’s won over six classes in the past few months, so we have larger hopes for her looking into the future. We are planning to ride her this winter under the lights at WEF and if she goes well we will take it all step by step.”

Da Costa also piloted Fox Trot VD Padenborre, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Chin Chin x Fleuri Du Manoir) owned by Bonne Chance Farm, to the fourth-place finish in the class. A long-term mount for the rider, the horse has returned from an injury and Da Costa hopes to ride him in the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. He explained, “This horse was in the last trial for the Olympic games and was very successful in Europe. Unfortunately, when he got hurt we had to back off and it has taken a while to get him back to the higher levels of competition. It feels like he is finally ready to be back out here, so let’s see how it goes. If he is up for it, he is the horse that I would like to take to the WEG.”

Jumper Highlights

The $1,500 Accuhorsemat Marshall & Sterling Adult Jumper Classic saw Sarah Warden of Sherborn, MA and KT Bolo, owned by Michael Kirby, finish atop the class after crossing through the jump-off timers in 35.269 seconds. Alliah Kassem of Fayetteville, GA and Dulrike Utica, owned by Taylor Land, collected second place with a time of 38.195 seconds. Francesca Damasceno of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and her own Chaco 34 finished in third place after securing a finish in 41.752 seconds.

Mandy Robert of Canada rode to victory aboard Ninja, owned by Ecuries La Montee, in the $1,500 Low Child/Adult Jumper Classic after stopping the jump-off timers in 46.675 seconds. Karyn Armstead of Chicago, IL and her own Cincinnati took second place with a time of 40.92 seconds and adding four faults. Anika Lozano of Guatemala and Roberto Daza’s Varcotique AC earned third place after an original course time of 67.746 seconds.

The $1,500 Marshall & Sterling Children’s Jumper Classic saw Bruna Silva of Windermere, FL and her own Lorenzo Jmen take first place with a jump-off time of 35.283 seconds and collected four faults, while Christina Rogalny of Wellington, FL and Sweet Oak Farm’s Esquire finished in second place with a time of 41.81 seconds and four added faults. Lillie Parr of Marshall, TX and Pinecone Farm LLC’s Beckham rounded out the top three with four faults and a time of 44.677 seconds.

The $1,500 NAL Child/Adult Jumper Classic saw Lindsay Tomeu of Wellington, FL and DBHC, Inc.’s Bonapart ride to top honors in the class after finishing their jump-off track in 28.946 seconds. Tomeu and Gold Lux, owned by Siboney Ranch, took second place after stopping the clock in 29.434 seconds. Bruna Silva of Windermere, FL and her own Lorenzo Jmen secured third place with a time of 32.164 seconds.

Hunter Highlights

The $500 NAL/WIHS Child/Adult Hunter Classic saw Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and her own Shoreline, finish atop the class with a two round score of 170. Kira Telford of Chicago, IL and CR Moet, owned by Telford, collected second place after completing their rounds with a score of 158. Isabel Beltran of Jupiter, FL and Alleala finished in third place, earning a score of 155.

The $1,000 Amateur Owner Hunter Classic boasted a win for Kaitlin Porath of Charlotte, NC aboard her own Breaux, as the pair rode to a final score of 175. Hillary Jean of Castle Rock, CO piloted D’Amour to second place honors after earning a 168. Third place honors were captured by Laura Sexton of Greenwich, CT aboard her own Set to Music after receiving a 167.

Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC and Unexpected, owned by Derby Lane, LLC, rode to first place in the $1,000 Junior Hunter Classic. Madison Arani of Lexington, KY and Humor Me, owned by Marigot Bay Farm, LLC, took second place ahead of Devin Seek of Ocala, FL and Don Stewart’s Canal Street, who ultimately finished in third.

Caroline Passarelli of High Falls, NY and Stella Wasserman’s Spellbound finished atop the $500 Medium/Large Pony Hunter Classic. Emma Vandenhouten of Plantation, FL and her own Spiderman captured second place. Third place honors were presented to Alexandra Sica of Ridgefield, CT aboard her own Greystone’s Star Bright.

The $500 Small Pony Hunter Classic saw Alexa Elle Lignelli of New York, NY and iParty take top honors. Lignelli also took second place with Rollingwood’s Knee Deep, owned by Lignelli. Third place was won by Allison Coleman of Wellington, FL riding her own Training Wheels.

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