All posts by Associate Editor

Lots of Gold for Germany and Great Britain while Sweden Tops Individual Jumping

The British Eventing team of Ellie Healy, Hattie Grace, Saffron Osborne, and Daisy Proctor. (FEI/Adam Fanthorpe)

Germany claimed all gold in Dressage while Great Britain dominated Eventing and took the Jumping team title. However, the Swedish flag also flew high on the final day of the FEI European Pony Championships 2018 at Bishop Burton College in Yorkshire (GBR) when Ingemar Hammarstrom stood top of the individual Jumping podium.

Dressage

The German Dressage whitewash began in the Team event in which Moritz Treffinger (Top Queen), Jana Lang (NK Cyril), Julia Barbian (Der Kleine Konig) and Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel (Massimiliano FH) joined forces to post the winning score of 226.286. Denmark took silver on 219.028 and The Netherlands finished close behind in bronze on a final tally of 218.715.

Treffinger was outstanding all week, taking triple gold when also topping the Individual and Kur to Music competitions with his 10-year-old mare. And Denmark’s Alexander Yde Helgstrand was also highly impressive when claiming triple silver with his 12-year-old gelding Adriano B. Jana Lang claimed Individual bronze, but it was her German team-mate Barbian who stood on the third step of the podium in the Kur.

Treffinger looks to have real star potential, judges Jacques Van Daele, Yuri Romanov, Isobel Wessels, Elke Ebert, and Maja Stukelj all placing him first for a big total of 81.875% in the Kur which he performed to David Guetta music.

Eventing

It was a story-book finish when Britain’s Saffron Osborne claimed Eventing Team and Individual gold with the extraordinary 13-year-old Little Indian Feather – a lucky pony who was given a second chance and never looked back.

In very poor condition when rescued from a pound as a two-year-old by the Hennessy family from Waterford in Ireland, the mare survived a near-fatal injury and then produced a surprise foal before beginning her Eventing career and eventually moving on across the Irish Sea. She took Team and Individual silver for Osborne at last summer’s Championships in Hungary, and this year the pair went one better when claiming double-gold.

In fifth place on a score of 28 after Dressage, they added nothing on cross-country day to move into the individual lead, and the 16-year-old daughter of trainer and former National Hunt jockey Jamie Osborne found herself with a fence in hand coming to the closing stages of yesterday’s final showjumping phase.

“I didn’t say to myself that I could have a fence down. I didn’t want to jinx anything and rode it like there was nothing in hand. I know that my pony’s a careful jumper but until you’ve gone over the finishing line you can’t be certain!” — Saffron Osborne (GBR)

Ireland’s Sophie Foyle claimed silver with Little Miss Fernhill while Osborne’s team-mate, Daisy Proctor, took bronze with Holiday Chase. And the British side that also included Hattie Grace riding Noble Superman and Ellie Healy partnering Midnight Dancer were crowned Team champions ahead of Ireland in silver and France who finished just one penalty point further adrift in bronze.

Jumping

The battle for the Jumping Team title was a thriller, with the hosts claiming gold ahead of Sweden and a fierce fight between France and Ireland for the bronze. Clare Whitaker, wife of Olympic legend John Whitaker and mother of Louise and Robert, who also compete at the very top end of the sport, was British Chef d’Equipe. “It meant a lot to win on home soil,” she said.

As other nations started to struggle during the second round the GB girls kept their cool. Shaunie Greig with Casino Royale and Claudia Moore riding Elando van de Roshoeve knew they had the gold medal in the bag after third rider Perdi Digby posted a clear with Kayleighs Star to leave them on eight faults. They had a nine-fault advantage over Sweden in silver, but the French and Irish were tied on 20 faults so all four riders from each team had to jump off once more for the bronze. And it went right to the wire, with France shaving a few precious seconds off the time to clinch it.

Although the gold was won, fourth British team member Nicole Lockhead Anderson still rode her final round with Gangham Style – yet another clear – to keep her very much in the running for the individual medals, but it was Moore who came off best for the home side on the final day. The winner was undisputed as 15-year-old Ingemar Hammarstrom and his bay gelding Ocean des As were just too good for the rest when not touching a pole all week to take the title for Sweden.

With just four faults on the board, Ireland’s Max Wachman and Cuffesgrange Cavalidam earned the silver but it took a two-way showdown with the French partnership of Romane Orhant and Quabar des Monceaux before Moore claimed the bronze with the quickest time in a third-round jump-off.

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Tessa Downey Captures USEF Pony Medal Finals Championship

Photo: Tessa Downey and Hallelujah.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 12, 2018 – The 2018 USEF Pony Finals drew to a close Sunday, but not before one more champion was crowned following the capstone event of the week, the 2018 Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals. Nearly 200 young riders aboard small, medium, and large ponies took their turns around the equitation track inside the Alltech Arena, and ultimately it was Tessa Downey aboard Hallelujah who outshone the large pack to earn the coveted winning title. Downey added to an already outstanding week with her new accolade, as the 13-year-old rider also earned the tricolor just one day ago in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters.

Riding 112th in the original order of go, Downey set the bar high for those that would follow her performance with a first-rate display of equitation riding, surpassing almost the entire herd of pony riders that had already jumped the 11-fence track. Designer Jasen Shelley’s winding first round course offered exhibitors a number of chances to display their skills, with a handful of inside turn options in addition to a trot fence and a required halt following the final obstacle to conclude the test before exiting. After watching more than 190 pony-and-rider partners tackle the course, judges Jeffrey Ayers and William Ellis awarded Downey the second slot on the callback behind Alexandra Lynn Willner, who had the reins on a medium pony, to emerge as one of the early frontrunners headed into phase two thanks to her precise and quiet riding.

Whittled down to an elite 20 riders, the second portion of the 2018 Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals brought back the remaining contenders, with riders aboard small ponies trying their hands around the abridged pattern first, followed by the larges and finally the mediums in order to allow the leading pair to ride last. Of the returning crew, four duos were smalls, 11 were mediums and five were larges. Slightly shortened to nine obstacles, the second sequence of fences asked riders to halt after fence two and then immediately canter to the subsequent vertical only a few strides away. Though Downey was ranked second in the standings, she returned as the ninth out of 20, due to the larger group of medium pony riders that would ride last. As noted by Judges Ayers and Ellis, Downey improved upon first round performance to put her at the top of the scorecard with 11 left to ride, and ultimately overthrew the initial leader and leapfrogged to the top to claim the championship honors.

Adding to her impressive performance is the fact that Downey first took up the reins on Hallelujah just four days ago, and this week was her first time competing on a large pony. Based in Texas, Downey is trained by Peter Pletcher and made her fourth appearance at the USEF Pony Finals this year. Though the young rider had never made it to the winner’s circle before, Sunday’s win gives her double the reasons to celebrate after her divisional win earlier in the week.

Though third-phase testing was a possibility should the judges panel opt for it, Ellis and Ayers chose not to ask for a final work-off, citing that the creme of the crop was easily distinguishable. Of the original top five, only two entrants retained their status, with three riders moving up the ranks with their second phase performances. Advancing from sixth place, Reilly Gogul nabbed the reserve championship behind Downey, followed by Alexa Lignelli and Maddie Tosh, up from seventh, in the third and fourth positions, respectively. Alexandra Miller finished in fifth place, making the move up from 12th after the first round.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

USET Foundation Awards Maxine Beard Trophy to Daisy Farish at NAYC

Daisy Farish and Great White. Photo: SEL Photography.

Gladstone, N.J. – Aug. 13, 2018 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is excited to announce this year’s recipient of the coveted Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award is Daisy Farish of Versailles, Kentucky. At just 17 years old, the accomplished athlete will be adding this prestigious award to her growing list of achievements.

The presentation of the Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award will take place at the FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) each year.

Farish earned the award after being the highest placing United States Young Rider at the 2018 NAYC in the Individual Show Jumping Final, held this year from July 31 to August 5 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, New York.

With the ongoing mission to support and further the level of America’s developing horses and athletes, the USET Foundation Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award was established to elevate athletes’ opportunities on their journey to equestrian excellence.

“It was really a dream come true,” Farish explained. “I have competed at NAYC for three years in the Junior division, so this was my first year doing the Young Riders division. It was such a nice show at Old Salem Farm. They did a really great job with it. It is been a goal of mine to be successful there for a very long time, so winning meant a lot to me.”

Trained by Andre Dignelli and the team at Heritage Farm, Farish rode her 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Great White, to earn a spot on the podium wearing the gold medal after her incredible performances over the course of a few days.

“I have had Bruce for almost three years now. I got him when he was a 7-year-old. We have really grown together and started jumping bigger classes together. It is a really cool feeling to progress at the same rate. He has been so amazing and just couldn’t have been better at Young Riders,” Farish said.

The top three podium spots were selected to go to compete in the Young Rider’s Nation’s Cup in Belgium in September, so Farish will be venturing to Europe shortly and is hoping for further success with the United States Young Rider Teams.

“I now get to take him to Belgium in about one month. I am really excited for that,” Farish said. “As far as the rest of the year, we will continue focusing on getting experience in some of the bigger classes. He is so brave and scopey, so he has been a really great horse for me to jump the bigger classes on.”

As the winner of this immense honor, Farish will also receive a trip to a FEI Nations Cup Show Jumping competition. This will give the young athlete a look at a major international competition including the chance to observe operations in the horse show office, stabling area, veterinary inspections and schooling rings. Farish will also walk and discuss each course and have the chance to strategize with U.S. team riders and the chef d’Equipe.

Farish acknowledged how having the support of the USET Foundation has benefited her as she continues on her path toward competing for the United States at the highest level of the sport.

“The USET Foundation is really great. I have competed at USET Finals many times and I know that they are very involved in that, as well,” Farish noted. “I know everyone, especially the USET Foundation, is trying to focus on developing young riders. It is really cool to be a part of that generation that they are focusing on and supporting.”

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Awesome Austrians Win Europe Division 2 Final in Budapest

Felix Koller with Captain Future 3. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Team Austria earned promotion to Division 1 next season with a definitive victory at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Hungary in Budapest (HUN). And they’ll join their Hungarian hosts at the Longines 2018 World Final in Barcelona (ESP) in eight weeks’ time, as the top two teams in this Europe Division 2 decider are entitled to contest the lucrative annual clash of champions.

Three clears in the first round gave the Austrians the early edge and they didn’t flinch to finish on a zero scoreline. It was a superb weekend for anchorman Max Kuhner (44).

“I’m feeling pretty good because I won the Longines Grand Prix on Friday with Cielito Lindo and now I’m on the winning Nations Cup team with PSG Final!” — Max Kuhner (AUT)

All the more creditable was the fact that his Nations Cup horse is just an eight-year-old, the lovely bay gelding securing one of those pivotal foot-perfect runs in the opening round. It was Christian Rhomberg (27) who led the way for the winning side with an eight-fault result from Saphyr des Lacs, but when Julia Houtzager-Kayser (44) and rising star Felix Koller (21) made no mistake, then Kuhner wrapped up the early advantage.

However, the Hungarians were in hot pursuit as round two got underway, sharing a four-fault tally with Portugal and the Czech Republic while Norway was next in line carrying nine. The Norwegian side was almost a completely Gulliksen-family affair with son and daughter, Victoria and Johan-Sebastian, joining their father Geir along with Lisa Ulven. And they just missed the cut to the Barcelona Final when completing with 13 faults, only one point behind Hungary at the end of the day. Portugal finished fourth while Czech Republic had to settle for fifth ahead of Poland, Greece and the three-man Bulgarian team who brought up the rear.

The course designed by Germany’s Werner Deeg had some difficult lines as Houtzager-Kayser explained. “The water to the double at fences six and seven, and the line from the triple bar to the vertical and the oxer from eight to ten – none of that was easy!” she pointed out. However, she was well-pleased when her 14-year-old stallion Sterrehof’s Cayetano Z racked up an impressive double-clear, the only other coming from the 11-year-old Captain Future 3 ridden by team-mate Koller.

This young man, who has been based with the legendary Paul Schockemohle in Germany for the last six months, claimed individual Young Rider bronze at the Longines FEI European Championships in Fontainebleau (FRA) four weeks ago and looks to have a big future ahead of him.

“This was my first 5-Star Nations Cup and my horse was amazing; he is owned by my Austrian sponsor and he always gives his heart to me whenever we go in the ring!” — Felix Koller (AUT)

The prospect of fielding a team at the Longines 2018 Final in a few weeks’ time and of competing in Europe Division one next year all seemed quite overwhelming because Austria has a limited number of horses and riders at the top end of the sport. “Christian and Max will be competing at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon so we may have to find different horses for Barcelona, but this is so exciting – I can hardly believe it!” Koller said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Tessa Downey and Kat Fuqua Steal the Show at USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Tessa Downey and Anisette.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 11, 2018 – The final and largest division of the week concluded with the over fences phase Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park, closing out 2018 USEF Pony Finals competition in the hunter ring. Tessa Downey and Anisette were awarded the championship in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters ahead of a massive field of 163 other contenders, moving up from third position to earn the coveted tricolor. Boasting the highest cumulative score of the six divisions, Kat Fuqua and Brighton reigned supreme to capture the Grand Regular Pony Hunter championship title, while Downey and Anisette rode to the Grand Reserve Regular Pony Hunter honors, in addition to the Best Turned Out Award.

Beginning bright and early in the Walnut Ring, the expansive collection of entries in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters were in the spotlight for the majority of the day, but ultimately it all came do the final few pairs to tackle the course. With one championship already under her belt for the week, Maddie Tosh aimed to add another to her list with the reins aboard Peacock Ridge, LLC’s Smallwood Mystic, navigating the pony to a top score of 264 over fences and 1,019.52 overall, bumping them from 20th position to the top of the leaderboard. Tosh would retain her position until Downey and her own Anisette entered the ring as the third-to-last duo to take their turn over the fences. The pony-and-rider partners executed a textbook performance to the tune of 87, 88 and 89 for a total score of 264 over fences and 1,045.14 from the judges, overthrowing the sitting leaders. The final two pairs to ride, Caroline Signorino aboard Newhaven’s Magnum and Ava Berman with Toblerone, tried their best to match the efforts of their peers, but were unable to surpass the lofty scores earned by Downey and Anisette.

Proving that everything is bigger in Texas, Houston-based Downey fittingly nabbed the win ahead of the largest division of the week and was accompanied by a horde of supporters including family, friends, and the team at PJP Farm. Trained by Peter Pletcher, the 13-year-old rider is attending her fourth USEF Pony Finals, but the 2018 event marks her first time in the winner’s circle. The Downey family had reason to celebrate last year as the owners of News Flash, the pony that won this same division and the Grand Regular Pony Hunter title in 2017 with Augusta Iwasaki in the saddle, but this year the division win is even sweeter as Downey both owns and rode Anisette.

Tosh and Smallwood Mystic earned the reserve spot in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters, followed by Skye Kania and Sammy Kania’s Falling Moon Front Page in third position, up from their 12th place spot after the first two phases of competition. Baylee McKeever and Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Dream Come Blue nabbed the fourth position, and owner-rider Calder Trotz navigated Not So Secret to fifth overall.

Exemplifying the highest level of talent and ability across the three size-based Regular Pony Hunter divisions, Fuqua and Brighton added another accolade to their names as the winners of the Grand Regular Pony Hunter title. The first divisional champions of the week, Fuqua and her own Brighton modeled, hacked, and jumped their way to a two-day total score of 1,063.65 in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, impressively putting them in a league all their own more than 30 points ahead of the next-closest competitor in their respective division. Downey and Anisette had double the reasons to celebrate Saturday as the Grand Reserve Regular Pony Hunter winners.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Sandra Auffarth Wins CI-Short 3* Class during fischer Strzegom Summer Tour

Photo Credit: Leszek Wójcik.

The winner of the CI-short 3* class during fischer Strzegom Summer Tour in Poland is Sandra Auffarth.

Four international and five national classes: all that was to see over the last four days at fischer Strzegom Summer Tour. Some of the best eventers in the world have competed at the hippodrome in Morawa, including the current Olympic champion Michael Jung, world champion Sandra Auffarth, and the current European champion Ingrid Klimke. For the German team it was also the final test before the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA in September.

Sandra Auffarth (GER) with Viamant du Matz has won the most difficult class of the event: the CI-short 3* competition. Fourth after dressage, she has taken the lead after cross country, being the only rider to finish the course clear and in time. A clear round in the showjumping has only proven her to be the best in the class.

„I had a great feeling yesterday in the cross country and I was very proud of my horse. I had a good feeling about the showjumping, because my horse is a good jumper. I’m very very happy; my test went really good for me and my horse. I think the showjumping course was quite difficult, but it made it exciting and fun to watch for the audience.” – Sandra Auffarth after her clear round in the showjumping arena.

Second place belongs to Christoph Wahler (GER) aboard Carjatan S, and third goes to Andreas Dibowski (GER) with FRH Corrida. The highest placed Polish athlete of the competition was Jan Kamiński, finishing on the 18th place.

During the CI-short 3* class, Polish riders also competed for the title of the Polish National Champion. The gold medal went to Jan Kamiński with Senior, silver medal for Joanna Pawlak with Fantastic Frieda, and bronze for Paweł Spisak with Admirał.

German riders have definitely dominated the CI-long 2* class. The best score overall belonged to Michael Jung with Corazon. Good ride in the dressage arena, a few points for the time in the cross country, and a clear round during showjumping has granted him the first place in the class. Second place went to Tabea-Marie Meiners (GER) with Luc M, and third to Stephanie Böhe (GER) with Amazing Prince.

The CI-short 2* class was also lucky for the German team. Julia Krajewski aboard Samourai du Thot has taken the lead after cross country and a clear round in the showjumping arena has secured her position and granted her the first place in the competition. Second in the CI-short 2* was Sandra Auffarth with Daytona Beach 8 and third place went to Emma Brüssau with Donnerstag 20.

In the CI-short 1* class the best score belonged to Pietro Grandis (ITA) with Choclat, second place went to Merel Blom (NED) with Lucky You 7, and taking the third place was Ksawery Śniegucki (POL) with Red Dream Princes.

Online results: http://eventing.strzegomhorsetrials.pl/results/2018/sst/

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Samantha Takacs and Grace Debney Earn Green Hunter Tricolors at USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Samantha Takacs and Galianna.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 10, 2018 – The penultimate day of hunter competition concluded Friday at the Kentucky Horse Park with two new 2018 USEF Pony Finals champions hoisting their titles. In the Medium Green Pony Hunters, Samantha Takacs and Galianna extended their day one lead to secure the overall championship and the Grand Green Pony Hunter rosette, while Grace Debney and Lafayette Park led the victory gallop and took home the final green pony division championship in the Large Green Pony Hunters in addition to the Grand Reserve Green Pony Hunter title.

Beginning the day as the early leaders and the last to ride over fences out of 72 entries, Takacs and Kim Wolf’s Galianna needed 236 points to surpass Cecelia Jackson and Northwind Marwyn, the current leading pair, as they entered the ring for their over fences ride. A steady stream of solid performances throughout the class kept the top of the leaderboard close, but luckily Takacs and the dappled dark bay pony had finished the first two phases of competition with a 16-point lead, easing some of the pressure. Pulling in scores of 84, 85 and 87 from the judges’ panel for a total 256 points after a first-rate trip, the 13-year-old rider and Galianna earned the over fences blue ribbon and boosted their cumulative two-day score to 1,040.02, claiming the division title and Grand Green Hunter Pony championship as the highest scoring of the three size-based Green divisions.

Takacs and Galianna, affectionately known as “Adele” or “Deli Sandwich,” are newfound partners, with the young rider only just getting the reins on the mare one short week ago. When California-based Gabrielle Sokolow was not able to attend the 2018 USEF Pony Finals with trainer Corinne Bevins, New Jersey-based Takacs stepped in to take over the ride. Though their time together was scant, the combined talent of the rider and pony proved to be the perfect match, earning top marks in all three phases.

Jackson and Susan McDade’s Northwind Marwyn finished in the reserve position with 1,000.50 points, the only other pair to break the 1,000-point threshold, closely followed by owner-rider Lola Head and Goldhills As You Like It in third position overall. Kierstin Antoniadis and Elizabeth Garcia’s Blank Check finished fourth in the standings, while Alexa Lignelli and The Lignelli Family’s EMC Entourage rounded out the top five placings.

Concluding the afternoon was the Large Green Pony Hunters, comprised of a pack of 81 pony-and-rider combinations vying for the top spot. Riding fifth-to-last in the order of go, 14-year-old Debney and Temple Equestrian, LLC’s Lafayette Park executed a near flawless trip over the 10-fence track to usurp the sitting class leaders, Kierstin Antoniadis and Winter Tietjen’s Pokerface, who leapfrogged from 20th position to the top of the field with a 259-point over fences score. The remaining four contenders each navigated satisfactory rounds, but were unsuccessful at matching the finesse shown by Debney and “Jake,” who ultimately finished in the top spot overall with 1,018.85 points and second in the over fences portion of competition. With their composite score, Debney and Lafayette Park secured the Grand Reserve Green Pony Hunter tricolor.

Debney is hot off a standout performance at the Devon Horse Show with the famous pony, Storyteller, who she piloted to the Large Pony Hunter Championship, the Grand Pony Hunter title, and the Best Child Rider on a Pony title in May. With her win Friday, Debney can add another accolade to her mounting trophy case.

The only other duo to hit 1,000 points, Antoniadis and Pokerface finished in the reserve position with 1,005.03 points, trailed by Isabella Griffin and her own Heaven’s Gift with the bronze. Owner-rider Jessica West and Stoneledge Just My Style captured fourth place, while Takacs added another top placing to her repertoire with fifth position aboard Rendezvous Farm’s Small Romance.

In the Medium Regular Pony Hunters, the last hunter division of the week, Toblerone carried Ava Berman to the forefront of the standings after two strong showings in the model and the hack. Narrowly missing first place by less than half of a point in the model, Berman and Sofia Baiker’s Toblerone secured the divisional lead with a ninth place finish under saddle, propelling them to the top of the overall scorecard with total marks of 519.55.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Mexicans Live the Dream in Dublin

Patricio Pasquel celebrates in a sombrero after jumping two brilliant clear rounds with Babel. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

They arrived as complete underdogs to take on many of the best nations in the world, but Team Mexico turned the sport on its head when winning the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Ireland in Dublin (IRL). This last leg of the Europe Division 1 series was electrifying from beginning to end, and incredibly tense in the closing stages with the home crowd willing their own boys to win it.

But Eugenio Garza Perez (22) and his veteran team-mates Federico Fernandez (50), Patricio Pasquel (46) and Enrique Gonzalez (54) enjoyed the warmest reception, including a great big Mexican wave, from the 20,000 spectators when producing three second-round clears to pin Ireland, France, and Italy into joint-runner-up spot. Mexico had never won at the Irish fixture before and it was 37 years since they last contested the coveted Aga Khan trophy at the historic Royal Dublin Society showgrounds. So along with their delighted Chef d’Equipe Stany van Paesschen they didn’t hold back on the celebrations afterwards.

“I’ve been doing this sport a long time and I’ve never had a day like this!” said Gonzalez, whose last-to-go effort proved the clincher. “The Mexicans were really incredible; they came back in the second round with real determination and when you’re in contention in a Nations Cup that’s how you have to ride,” Irish Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa added.

It seemed the reigning European Champions from Ireland would have it all their own way when they cruised into the lead on a zero score at the halfway stage, with Italy snapping at their heels on four faults followed by USA, Mexico and France carrying eight apiece. The Swiss, British, and Dutch were already down the line, eventually finishing sixth, seventh and eighth while USA slotted ahead of them in fifth despite being hampered by elimination for Jamie Barge (Luebbo) at the water in both rounds.

Mexican pathfinder Garza Perez (Victer Finn) showed a dramatic improvement from his 12-fault first-round effort when clear second time out, and when Pasquel (Babel) produced one of four double-clears of the day and Gonzalez (Chacna) wrapped it up by also being foot-perfect all the pressure was on the Italians and Irish. And both faltered, adding four faults to complete along with France on a total of 12 as Team Mexico made history and a whole lot of new Irish friends.

“It’s a dream come true. Since we got the invitation we have not stopped dreaming about this moment. We worked hard to be here and we enjoyed every second!” said Fernandez who posted two four-fault scores with Landpeter do Feroleto. This is a very unique horse-and-rider partnership; both are survivors. Federico was involved in a devastating air-crash that left many dead in 1987, and Peter, as the horse is known, also suffered serious injury in a lorry accident that nearly took his life. The pure joy of success was written all over every Mexican face, and Federico was in tears at the post-competition press conference.

“After what happened to me I feel an obligation to be happy, and today was one of the happiest days of my life!” he said. Garza Perez was happy too because he is trained by Irish showjumping legend Eddie Macken and was disappointed with his three mistakes in the first round.  But he put it all right when clear at his second attempt. “I was anxious not to let Eddie down and I hope today was as good for him as it was for me. It’s really out of a dream; it’s incredible!”

This result confirms Belgium as winners of the Europe Division 1 series with Ireland finishing a close second, just five points behind. Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Great Britain, and Sweden fill the next five places on the leaderboard and all seven countries will compete at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October. However, Germany and Italy have missed the cut and the Spanish who have finished last at the end of the 2018 season will be relegated to Europe Division 2 next year.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Maddie Tosh Jumps to Small Regular Pony Hunter Championship at USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 9, 2018 – The 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, returned to the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of competition , with Maddie Tosh and Bit Of Love proving to be the day’s big winners as the over fences and overall champions in the Small Regular Pony Hunters. The winning 12-year-old and Bit Of Love bested a lofty field of 101 entries to assert themselves as the 2018 titleholders. The remaining larger green pony divisions all had their time to shine Thursday, as well, with Samantha Takacs aboard Galianna and Josephine Rose with the ride on Cacique claiming the early leads in their respective divisions, the Medium Green and Large Green Pony Hunters.

Returning in sixth position for the Small Regular Pony Hunters, Tosh was not faced with the pressure of riding as the last to go with Dr. Betsee Parker’s seasoned pony, Bit Of Love, but was challenged to lay down a near-perfect showing in order to eclipse Finley Morgan and the five pairs sitting ahead of her after the model and hack phases. Tackling the expansive track with finesse, the young rider and Bit Of Love pulled in scores of 88, 90 and 92 for a composite score of 270 over fences, overtaking the early leaders Morgan and her own Howie Do It, who impressively jumped from 50th position to the initial lead after a textbook trip. Forced to watch five of her peers chase her down, Tosh was ultimately rewarded as each pair failed to accrue enough points to oust her from her spot atop the leaderboard. Though Helen Ryan and Smitten gave them a run for the title with individual scores of 87, 87.5 and 88, their effort would have to settle for second position in both the over fences and overall.

In addition to their class and division tricolors, Tosh and Bit Of Love also earned the High-Scoring Welsh Award for Small Regular Ponies as the top finisher for the breed. Tosh is trained by her father, acclaimed rider and trainer Hunt Tosh, out of Alpharetta, Georgia, and has been riding “Chester” for two years. This is her second appearance at Pony Finals, but the first win for Tosh, who also competes on the horses in the equitation and Children’s Hunter.

Combined with Wednesday’s score from the model and under saddle portions of divisional competition, Tosh and Bit Of Love concluded the Small Regular Pony Hunters with total marks of 1,050.54, a handful of points ahead of the reserve champions, Ryan and Town Line Equestrian, LLC’s Smitten. Not far behind, the day one leaders Carolyn Colter and So Enchanted, owned by Jessica Zandri, claimed third position, trailed by Lauren Gee and Ava Berman’s Farmore Charismatic in fourth place. Morgan and Howie Do It made the largest jump of the afternoon to round out the top five finishers.

Boasting two strong showings in the Medium Green Pony Hunters a few hours prior, four-time Pony Finals veteran Takacs modeled and rode Kim Wolf’s Galianna to the highest total marks of the day to emerge as the early pair to beat. The pony-and-rider combination commenced their morning with a third place finish out of 72 exhibitors in the model, and then secured the divisional lead with an eye-catching performance in the hack, riding to the blue ribbon more than 10 points ahead of the next-closest finisher.

Rose and Joey Rose, LLC’s Cacique concluded the initial phases of Large Green Pony Hunter competition as the frontrunners with a narrow 4-point lead headed into the over fences class. Now at her fifth Pony Finals, Rose showed off Cacique’s conformation expertly, warranting a fourth place ribbon and score of 255.59 from the judges’ panel. The pair soon improved upon their showing in the hack, displaying the walk, trot and canter to the reserve spot and a lofty score of 270.16, less than one point behind the class winner, Caroline Passarelli in the irons aboard So Dapper, owned by Jessica Zandri.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Kat Fuqua and Skylar Wireman Crowned First Two 2018 USEF Pony Finals Champions

Photo: Kat Fuqua and Brighton.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 8, 2018 – Bowties and braids returned to the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park for the second day of the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, on Wednesday, with the day one leaders aiming to retain their top positions in the Large Regular and Small Green Pony Hunter divisions. In the end, Kat Fuqua and Brighton led from start to finish and were successful at fending off the large field of competition to emerge victorious in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, while Skylar Wireman, with the reins on Neon Moon, leapfrogged 20 places to the top of the leaderboard in the Small Green Pony Hunter division.

As the last to ride of more than 140 entries in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, 11-year-old Fuqua and her own Brighton overcame the pressure to lay down the highest scoring single trip of the day, easily sweeping all three phases of the division and claiming the championship tricolors. Displaying their prowess by maintaining an even rhythm around the lofty track, the winning duo raked in scores of 85.5, 87.5 and 88 from the judges’ panel to brandish top marks of 261 in the over fences class. Combined with Tuesday’s score, Fuqua and Brighton’s final tally was 1063.65, more than 30 points ahead of the reserve champion and a strong score to keep them in contention for the Grand Regular Pony Hunter title to be crowned Saturday following the conclusion of all the divisions.

The 2018 event is Fuqua’s fifth Pony Finals appearance, but her first championship win, fittingly on her mother’s birthday. Both of Fuqua’s parents are grand prix dressage riders, but their daughter has shown an aptitude for jumping and shows no signs of slowing down, recently earning a top placing at the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East. The young rider from Atlanta, Georgia will return later in the week to contest more pony divisions against her peers.

One of only five pony-and-rider combinations to break the 1,000-point benchmark, Chandler Wilks navigated Ashley Vail Aycox’s Valentino to the reserve championship with a cumulative score of 1029.86, followed by Propp and Aquitaine Equine’s News Day, who jumped from ninth at the beginning of the day to nab the final podium spot with marks of 1027.76. Clair Campbell and Eastside, owned by Maher Family, LLC, claimed fourth place, while Emma Rupinski and Lily Rupinski’s Stonewall Top Call pulled off one of the largest improvements of the day to finish in fifth position after jumping from the 30th spot.

Capping off the afternoon, the Small Green Pony Hunters took the spotlight and, with a smaller field of 40 contenders, movement among the top of the ranks was not out of the question. Riding 19th in the order of go as the 21st-ranked pair after day one, 13-year-old Wireman and Balmoral’s Neon Moon were not pegged as one of the frontrunners, but quickly attracted attention with their talented trip that earned them scores of 86, 87 and 90 from the watchful eyes of the judges. Forced to wait with nearly half of the class still to ride, Wireman looked on as her fellow riders took their shot at usurping her place atop the scorecard, but none were able to overtake her over fences marks of 263 or her cumulative 998.50 division points.

Alexa Lignelli and Agatha Lignelli’s Just Right rode to the second place ribbon both over fences and overall with 254 and 994.60 points, respectively, while Alexandra Miller aboard Pineapple, owned by Emily Elek-Burtard, likewise clinched third position over fences and in the final division rankings. Owner-rider Vanessa Mazzoli and Partly Cloudy earned the fourth spot, and Propp and Aquitaine Equine’s With Love, the day one leaders, rounded out the top five finishers.

Earlier in the day, Carolyn Colter and Jessica Zandri’s So Enchanted maneuvered their way to the early lead in the Small Regular Pony Hunters thanks to ribbon-worthy performances in both the model and under saddle phases.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com