All posts by Associate Editor

Spread the Love This Holiday Season

Need a good gift idea? Make a tribute donation to the Equestrian Aid Foundation in honor or memory of the special equestrian in your life.

When you do, we’ll send a special notification of your gift to the person you designate.

For your tribute of $25 or more, we’ll also send you an EAF eco bag to fill with horse treats or people treats or whatever your big heart desires.

Click here to get started, or email us to set up your tribute gift.

For more information about Equestrian Aid Foundation, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

The Animals Arrive Two-by-Two for Olympia

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, taking place from 17-23 December 2018, brings almost 400 horses to central London for elite international competitions, equestrian displays, and performances. As the UK’s largest indoor Show, and the only Show to host all three FEI World Cup™ Qualifiers in Dressage, Show Jumping, and Driving, over 90,000 spectators are due to attend the annual event, in addition to the world’s best riders.

Having travelled to the capital city from as far as France, an array of equine and canine animals (listed below) arrived in ‘two-by-two’ formation to the Olympia London venue, early Sunday morning, entering through the Grand Hall entrance.

WHO

Two animals from each of the following displays took part:

• Teddy the Miniature Shetland: Instagram sensation Teddy has over 100,000 followers was  joined by Olympia’s mascot, a miniature Shetland foal named Bonnie
• La Garde Républicaine: The world-famous French cavalry regiment, one of the most talked about branches of the French Gendarmerie, bringing their spectacular ensemble of twelve horses to music.
• The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National jockeys and ponies: The best upcoming jockeys and their ponies, including Lucas Murphy, son of National Hunt jockey, Timmy Murphy, and Daisy Harrap.
• Festive donkeys – Dora and Nora: Representing the Official Charity of Olympia 2018, The Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys.
• Kennel Club Dog Agility dogs: The UK’s most talented dogs attend the Show to compete in The Kennel Club Dog Agility, the pinnacle of the Dog Agility calendar.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Introducing the First 25 Charities Selected to Participate in 2019 Great Charity Challenge

Wellington, FL – December 13, 2018 – With a strong belief that change happens through the power of united communities, the 2019 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC) is proud to introduce the first 25 Palm Beach County charities who will be taking center stage on Saturday, February 2, 2019.

With over 360 applications received for the chance to participate in the 10th Annual GCC, this year’s charity selection took place throughout Palm Beach County between Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 8, 2018. The excitement level was high to see whose names would get drawn out of the “traveling” lottery drum. At stake: a chance to share the $1+ million purse. To date, the event has distributed $12.2 million to over 230 Palm Beach County charities.

A total of 24 charities were randomly drawn throughout the week’s festivities, in addition to the Wellington Public Schools PTA/PTO/PTSA (the only automatic entry included every year).

This year’s new selection format brought the community closer and highlighted some of the individuals who make the GCC a reality. Joining Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the GCC, were Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig and Vice Mayor Michael Drahos, as well as Village Council members Michael Napoleone, Tanya Syskind, and John McGovern; Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay; several team and corporate sponsors of the event; local news anchor Roxanne Stein; a live appearance on WPTV and a visit to Wellington’s Winterfest on Friday, September 7, 2018. To guarantee full transparency in the selection process, all drawings were posted via Facebook: www.facebook.com/greatcharitychallenge.

Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the event, commented, “We are very excited to see such a diverse group of nonprofit organizations join us for this tenth edition. The encouragements and true camaraderie witnessed on social media, between non-profits during the selection process, was heartwarming. We hope that this year’s GCC will unite all involved, from the sponsors and riders, to the nonprofits involved and the community at large!”

Blending philanthropy and equestrian sports, the GCC is an exciting show jumping event that brings hope to Palm Beach County charities every year.

Shaw Thomas, Board President of Speak Up for Kids, commented, “For a local charity, making a direct local impact as we do through Speak Up for Kids, being selected for the GCC is a huge vote of confidence and exciting opportunity for increased impact.”

Future charity drawings will be held at random during the first weeks of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival and the final two wild card teams will be drawn the night of the GCC.

“We hold a strong belief that change happens through the power of united communities. From the amazing sponsors who make the event possible, the equestrians who donate their time, skills, and horses to compete, to the passionate and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to better the community, attending the GCC will simply restore your faith in humanity,” mentioned Anne Caroline Valtin, Executive Director of the GCC.

For a full list of charities drawn to date (listed alphabetically), please visit: https://bit.ly/2QrMyIa.

Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP), the PBIEC operating organization that oversees equestrian events at the venue throughout the year, donates the facility, staff, and infrastructure to ensure the success of the charitable event and guarantees that 100% of the funds raised are redistributed in the community.

Mark your calendars for the 2019 GCC to be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the PBIEC during WEF’s “Saturday Night Lights” series. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, this year’s theme of “We Are the World” will focus on promoting unity and celebrate the cultural differences in our community. An art contest involving all 12 Wellington public schools will showcase the different causes represented that evening, from fighting hunger, to education, etc. Spectators will enjoy free general admission and parking, while supporting their favorite charity as riders compete for their nonprofit’s share of the $1+ million-dollar purse.

For more information on the Great Charity Challenge (GCC), please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com.

Michael Blowen Clarifies Recent Release Announcing “Old Friends West”

GEORGETOWN, KY – DECEMBER 14, 2018 – Michael Blowen, founder and President of Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility based in Georgetown, KY, wishes to clarify an unauthorized press release announcing the affiliate “Old Friends West”.

According to Blowen, no official agreement has been made with Elizabeth Neil or Doug Freeland to open a West Coast-based Thoroughbred retirement facility.

Mr. Blowen has exchanged emails with Ms Neil and Mr. Freeland, and was interested in further discussion of the idea; however, no formal proposal has been made and no steps taken to complete the venture as soon as March 2019.

“I believe an affiliate on the West Coast is an excellent idea. California is a huge racing hub, and Thoroughbreds bred and campaigned there deserve a dignified retirement in their home state where their fans are,” said Blowen. “However, while we have been in very preliminary discussions, no final agreement has been met, and this press release is premature,” he added. “At Old Friends we don’t like to put the cart before the horse — in fact, we don’t like to put anything before the horse!

“I have offered to consult on the formation of a West Coast farm, but I also explained to Mr. Freeland that many steps that would need to be taken before earning an affiliation with Old Friends,” Blowen continued. “We would only get involved with an existing 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, a visual inspection of the new facility and interviews with their planned farm personnel are mandatory, and, most importantly, a formal presentation would need to be made to the Old Friends Board of Directors and approval achieved. At this time, we have not moved forward with any of these phases.

“We also would have to consider our Accreditation with the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance,” Blowen noted, “and any new facility would need to be approved.

Blowen did say the Mr. Freeland is scheduled to visit Old Friends in Georgetown next week.

“This is not something that happens overnight,” Blowen said. “We have painstakingly built our brand over the years, and we guard it fiercely. It has taken more than 15 years for Old Friends to reach its existing place in the aftercare community and we’re very proud of our position.”

For additional information, please call Old Friends at (502) 863-1775 or visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

US Equestrian Announces Charlotte Bredahl Appointed as U.S. Dressage Development Coach

Photo provided by Charlotte Bredahl: Debbie McDonald (left) and Charlotte Bredahl (right)

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has announced the appointment of Charlotte Bredahl as the U.S. Dressage Development Coach, pending final contract negotiations. Bredahl will take over for the newly appointed U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe, Debbie McDonald, who previously held the position of Development Coach. The role of the Development Coach is to work hand in hand with the Managing Director of Dressage, the Technical Advisor, and the Dressage Sport Committee to assist with the development of a sustainable system to produce combinations for the Dressage Elite Athlete Pathway.

The collaboration between Bredahl and McDonald has been longstanding through their work in their previous roles over the past four years, and will continue in their newly appointed positions.

“I have had the opportunity to work closely with Charlotte [Bredahl] over the last few years,” said McDonald. “She is an excellent fit for the U.S. Dressage Development Coach position. She has a great eye, and she is not only experienced as an international rider and trainer, but also as a judge. She will lead this program to the next level, and I’m thrilled to have her as my right hand!”

Bredahl’s standing relationship with the athletes, her strong communication skills, and her knowledge and understanding of the sport made her a strong candidate for the position. She will begin her new position as the U.S. Dressage Development Coach immediately.

Her responsibilities will include assisting and advising on setting and tracking targeted key performance indicators for the Development Program and its athletes and their personal trainers, leading and implementing the Developing Program itself, strategic planning and guidance for the athlete/horse combinations, coordinating educational opportunities for the athletes, and more.

“I am so incredibly honored and humbled by this appointment,” stated Bredahl. “For the past four years, I have had the privilege to serve as the U.S. Dressage Assistant Youth Coach and have worked side-by-side with fellow USEF coaches, Debbie McDonald, Christine Traurig, and George Williams, as well as Technical Advisor Robert Dover. I am thrilled to continue to be part of this great team now led by Debbie [McDonald]. I am looking forward to supporting all our talented athletes and their trainers, and can’t wait to jump right in!”

Christine Traurig will continue to serve as the U.S. Dressage Young Horse Coach, while George Williams will continue as the U.S. Dressage Youth Coach.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Scott Brash to Retire Once-in-a-Lifetime Mare, Ursula XII, at Olympia

Olympia, The London International Horse Show is honoured to announce that one of Great Britain’s most successful ever Show Jumpers, Scott Brash MBE, has decided to officially retire his leading mare Ursula XII at the annual equestrian event, which is taking place from 17-23 December 2018.

Since forming their partnership in 2012, Brash and Ursula XII have become one of Show Jumping’s most iconic pairings, having had their fair share of prime podium positions throughout their journey together. The 17-year-old Scottish Sport Horse, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, has delivered strong performances throughout the entirety of her career. In 2016, Ursula secured an historic win for Brash in the CP International at the CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters, not only making her the highest earning horse that year, but also the world’s best. The pair has gone from strength to strength, taking the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Mexico title this year.

The partnership has regularly competed at Olympia, very narrowly missing out on winning The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ at the Show in 2017, after Julien Epaillard’s jump-off denied them first place. A special retirement ceremony will take place on Sunday 23 December, after the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix, commending this special horse before she enjoys a happy retirement.

Scott Brash MBE said: “Ursula is once-in-a-lifetime horse who has given me moments in my career that I will never be able to top. I don’t think I will ever ride a horse like her again; she’s one of the smallest horses in the stables but jumps round such big courses more easily than any horse I’ve ridden. It is an honour to be giving her the retirement ceremony she deserves and celebrating her incredible career. We’re thrilled to be paying tribute to her at Olympia; the atmosphere is like no other and the Show is on home-turf, making it even more special.”

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “We’re delighted to be holding the official retirement for Ursula. She’s an incredible horse and it is a privilege to be paying respects to her career, in addition to giving ticket holders the opportunity to witness this special occasion.”

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

“The Adventure of Riding Boots” with The Experiment

The Experiment offers unique, safe, and educational ways to see the world in immersive summer abroad programs for high school students. One of their special programs involves horseback riding in Mongolia. Four 2018 Experimenters wrote an ode to their experience and the anticipation of riding on the lush green countryside in a horseback excursion across this beautiful nation.

Click to read more about The Experiment in Mongolia.

By Anders, Andrea, Angel, and Angelika:

The sun followed us for 24 hours. Its late-setting nature mimicked our shared feeling of exhausted excitement. Landing in Ulaanbaatar was like a sigh of relief; we had finally arrived! It’s amazing how well you can get to know a group on a seemingly endless ride. However, we were all still a little nervous to go into “real Mongolia.” The biggest test, according to our group leader, Luis, was navigating a local market to buy horseback riding boots.

The market was filled with hundreds of stands and thousands of local people making their weekly purchases. The outdoor market had a distinct smell most of us had never experienced before. The Mongolian language seemed so foreign to us.

The sellers showed us more boots as we tried each pair on. If they were too small, we tried to gesture to imply “one size bigger” or “smaller, please.” We all, in the end, found our own riding boots! We will use these on our next adventure to Hatgal.

Sitting in the airport, heading to Hatgal feels like the beginning all over again. What will Hatgal be like? Our new boots await the open expanses and pounding of horses’ hooves.

Want to give your high school student the adventure of a lifetime while still keeping their equestrian passion in mind? Sign up for The Experiment today; two trips in Mongolia and Argentina offer amazing horseback experiences that will give them a new outlook on horses and travel.

Click to read more about The Experiment in Argentina.

The Experiment in International Living is the most experienced provider of summer abroad programs for high school students. For more than 85 years, our immersive programs have allowed participants to explore the world in an authentic and impactful way, while developing enduring friendships through hands on cultural experiences and homestays. Students come away from The Experiment with invaluable cultural, interpersonal, leadership, language, and college-prep skills that help them thrive in diverse environments and careers.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Endurance Temporary Committee Holds First In-Person Meeting at FEI HQ

Lausanne (SUI), 12 December 2018 – The Temporary Committee, established by the FEI Board in October to urgently review the Endurance rules in order to address the issues currently affecting the discipline, held its first in-person meeting at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI).

Dr Sarah Coombs (GBR), who chairs the Temporary Committee, said after the meeting: “Today’s meeting generated really strong and productive debate and, together with input from a broad spectrum of stakeholders, we have already drawn up a list of our key focus areas. Your voices are being heard. We are under no illusions about the challenges of the task ahead, but the future of the discipline is under the spotlight and we will do whatever is necessary to rebuild the trust of our community and restore the image of a discipline that has every right to remain a part of the FEI, provided the rules are adhered to and enforced to ensure that our horses are protected and cheating is stamped out.”

The Temporary Committee has already received a huge amount of feedback from the Endurance Community on a number of key areas, including:

  • Increased testing of horses for prohibited substances;
  • Increased sanctions for horse abuse;
  • Review of speeds;
  • Reassessment of rules on mandatory rest periods;
  • Redefinition of elimination codes (particularly Catastrophic Injury);
  • Elite athlete status and “jockey riders”;
  • Qualifications, including qualification as a combination;
  • Increased completion percentage before allowing upgrade to next level;
  • Reinstate and redefine two-hour invasive treatment rule;
  • Hyposensitivity screening (the use of the FEI Hyposensitivity Control System (HCS) was voted in at last month’s FEI General Assembly for implementation in 2019);
  • Heart rates and presentation times at Vet Gate;
  • Definition of and registration of trainers;
  • Over-training/over-competing;
  • Mandatory medication logbook and out of competition testing;
  • Extended provisional suspension for horses testing positive to Banned Substances
  • Course design
  • Tack and equipment
  • Crewing numbers

This first meeting also provided the Temporary Committee with the opportunity to establish the methodology it will use to fulfil its remit to carry out an in-depth review of the rules that will bring the discipline back to its original roots of Endurance riding as opposed to Endurance racing, with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core, while still maintaining the competitive aspect of the sport. The Temporary Committee also agreed a consultation process that will involve further liaison with stakeholders to avail of their expertise and in-depth knowledge of the discipline.

In addition to the chair Dr Coombs, the other members of the Temporary Committee are Endurance athlete and member of the FEI Athletes’ Committee Tarek Taher (KSA), chef d’équipe of the Dutch Endurance team Pieter Wiersinga (NED), FEI Veterinary Committee member Dr Tim Parkin (GBR), who heads up the scientific research conducted at the University of Glasgow as part of the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study (GEIS), and Valerie Kanavy, a former member of the FEI Athletes’ Committee and the Athletes’ Representative on the Endurance Committee (2014-2018).

FEI Vice President Mark Samuel (CAN) joined the meeting and will facilitate communications between the Temporary Committee and the FEI Board. The FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira De Mello, FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström, and other FEI staff members also attended the meeting.

The Temporary Committee will hold its next in-person meeting on 15 January 2019 and there will be a dedicated Endurance session at the FEI Sports Forum 2019 (15-16 April) during which the Temporary Committee will provide an update to delegates.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

US Equestrian to Recognize Georgie Green and Isabela De Sousa at Pegasus Awards

Isabela De Sousa (Shawn McMillen Photography)

Lexington, Ky. –US Equestrian is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award to be acknowledged at the 2019 US Equestrian Annual Meeting at the Hilton West Palm Beach in West Palm Beach, Fla. Georgie Green is the winner of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, while Isabela De Sousa is the 2018 Junior Equestrian of the Year. Both Green and De Sousa will be recognized at the Pegasus Awards on Thursday, January 10, 2019, along with other prestigious award winners.

Green (Morgan Mill, Texas) has been a dedicated leader for the Morgan breed. For more than 40 years, Green and her husband, John, have owned and operated Roadshow Morgans, the largest Morgan breeding operation in Texas and one of the largest amateur operations in the country. They purchased their first Morgan horse, Funquest Paddy, in 1972 and their first breeding stallion, Showcase, in 1973, which has led to more than 100 horses with the Roadshow prefix. These top-quality horses have become world and national champions, local winners, and beloved family pets. Green’s dedication to this American horse is exemplified by her work to foster interest for pedigreed livestock in younger generations.

Green joined the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Board of Directors in 1980. Five years later, she was named AMHA’s Woman of the Year, as well as the organization’s first female president. She served as AMHA president from 1985 to 1988 and again from 1993 to 1996. For nearly 30 years, Green served on its Board of Directors and chaired several committees, including the all-important Registry Committee. Outside of AMHA, Green served on the show committee for the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® for many years, serving as show chair three times. She also served on the USEF Board of Directors as the Morgan breed representative and currently sits on the USEF Morgan Sport Committee.

Green was honored with the National Pedigreed Livestock Council’s 2007 Distinguished Service Award for those whose dedication to their chosen breed is exhibited through extensive altruistic endeavors. Now, Green is the recipient of the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award for her undying commitment to the Morgan breed, which has elevated the sport’s excellence.

As Junior Equestrian of the Year, De Sousa (Lexington, Ky.) will be presented with the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy. At the age of 17, De Sousa is already an exemplary ambassador for equestrian sport, in particular for the Thoroughbred horse. She has been riding all her life and has been retraining off-the-track Thoroughbreds for the last few years. De Sousa has found much success in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover, winning the show jumping division from 2015 to 2017. She displays her maturity as a consummate horsewoman by treating the Makeover as icing on the cake versus a hard-fought goal for the Thoroughbreds she retrains. Her ultimate goal is to provide the horses with a solid foundation and start them on a second career path that they can enjoy in their new homes.

In 2018, she retrained Cozmic One, the first foal of famed racehorse Zenyatta, and finished fifth in the Makeover show jumping division. In addition to her strong placing, De Sousa used her social media influence on the de Sousa Stables Facebook page throughout Cozmic One’s retraining process to educate fans about how Thoroughbreds can be retrained after their careers on the racetrack and the positive side of racing and the Thoroughbred industry.

De Sousa also secured top results in the show ring throughout 2018, including competing in her first equitation finals in the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final, the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final, and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.

To learn more about US Equestrian’s 2019 Annual Meeting, visit usef.org/annual-meeting.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Sharn Wordley Wins $25k #1 Education Place Grand Prix in 2018 ESP Year End Awards

Sharn Wordley and Rye Val De Mai. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – December 12, 2018 – Sharn Wordley of Wellington, FL secured top honors in the $25,000 #1 Education Place Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday. Wordley took top honors riding his own Rye Val De Mai, a 2005 Selle Francais stallion (Helios Da La Cour II x Type D’Elle), dashing in at 42.222 seconds. Carlos Quinones of Wellington, FL earned second place riding Satoyama, a 2006 gelding owned by Michelle Navarro-Grau, stopping the timers in 43.581 seconds. In addition to his first-place win, Wordley captured third place with his own Gatsby, a 2004 Irish Sport Horse stallion (Simba x Cruise On), completing the course in 44.256 seconds.

Wordley remained ahead of the additional 16 competitors, who tested the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). Wordley commented, “Both of my horses are experienced and they are both fourteen. I use them for the national Grand Prix classes and the FEI ranking classes.”

On his first-place finish, Wordley stated, “It was a good trip [for Rye Val De Mai]; he jumped really well. He’s had a bit of time off so he’s just come back. Rye could have gone a bit faster, but it wasn’t that fast of a class. He jumped great. I was really happy with him. With Rye, I wanted to make sure that I won it.

“I’ve been doing some quite fast rounds on Gatsby, so I didn’t want to go too fast on him,” Wordley said of his third-place mount. “I wanted to give him a nice round and a comfortable trip because he’s been going fast lately.”

Wordley commented of both mounts that “they’re both very careful horses and very fast horses with experience. They’ve been doing this awhile and they know the game, so this was a really nice class for them.”

For full results from the $25,000 #1 Education Place Grand Prix, click here.

For more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.