All posts by Associate Editor

Patrick McNamara Shines for a Cause in Kevin Babington Benefit Classic

Patrick McNamara (IRL) and Billy Onslow soar over the Dalman Jump Co.-designed “Jump for Kevin” wall en route to winning the $5,000 Kevin Babington Benefit Classic at the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

September 7, 2020 — For one memorable evening at the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament in Traverse City, MI (USA), a tremendous group of supporters rallied to honor international show jumper Kevin Babington (IRL) with the Kevin Babington Benefit Classic. The charitable competition, in which the entirety of the $5,000 purse was donated to the Kevin Babington Family Trust, resulted in a meaningful win for fellow Irishman Patrick McNamara and Billy Onslow.

Babington, an Olympic veteran and team gold medalist from the 2001 European Championships, suffered a life-altering injury at the 2019 Hampton Classic. More than $1 million has been raised in the year since to support Babington and his family with the high costs associated with his ongoing rehabilitation. Jeff Papows, Founder of the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament, has been a key contributor, setting up the “I Ride for Kevin” program, in which exhibitors can donate a percentage of their prize money to the cause at various competitions around the country.

“Because Kevin is so beloved [in the industry], every time I’ve raised my hand to do anything in his name, people sort of rush to help,” Papows said. “We wanted to do this, not just for the continued sort-of-financial reasons, but [also because] Kevin is still very invested in the sport, as is the whole family. That was the point of the class. Kevin taped an introduction for the class, and I think it’s a little bit of a morale boost for Kevin while he’s working so hard with his recovery.”

The Kevin Babington Benefit Classic featured 22 horse and rider combinations, all of which sported a green lapel pin to commemorate Babington. The field included international stalwarts Shane Sweetnam (IRL), David Blake (IRL), Alison Robitaille (USA), and Vasco Flores (PUR), along with Babington’s daughter Gwyneth and wife Dianna.

“It was important for us to show everyone that we’re here, and we appreciate [all the support],” Dianna said.

Ultimately, McNamara and Phoebe Backman’s Billy Onslow came away with a most memorable win. Jumping halfway through the class, McNamara and the 14-year-old chestnut gelding took nearly two seconds off the leading time and held on through the remainder of the competition.

“It was great to be involved in such a great cause for Kevin,” McNamara said. “I’m so happy that this class was in aid of him. Thankfully enough, it worked out [for me] — the plan and everything — [and] it was an Irish win!”

© 2020 Catie Staszak Media, Inc.

Hampton Classic & EQUUS Foundation Present a Day Devoted to Equine Adoption

Thanks to the Hampton Classic and the sponsor of this event, our EQUUStar, Georgina Bloomberg, this joyful, annual Hampton Classic tradition of celebrating and showcasing horses in need of their next chapter continues.

Because all horses are champions to us, and because all horses deserve safe and loving homes, we are excited to present just some wonderful equines that are waiting for their chance to go home.

The virtual format of our event this year gives us the opportunity to showcase adoptable horses from our Guardian charities both locally and across the country.

“While we are disappointed that we won’t see you in person again this year to meet adoptable horses at the beautiful Hampton Classic Horse Show,” said Valerie Angeli, EQUUS Foundation VP of Engagement, “our virtual equine adoption event on September 14th will showcase horses of all breeds, ages, sizes and disciplines throughout the country with one thing in common — they are all waiting for a loving forever home.”

The EQUUUS Foundation Next Chapters platform featuring adoptable equines of EQUUS Foundation Guardian charities located throughout the nation will serve as the backdrop. Please save the date and join us to learn about adoptable horses and our Guardian charities that rescue, rehabilitate, retrain, and re-home America’s horses to keep them safe and loved. Over 65,000 horses were transported across our borders for slaughter last year. Tens of thousands more abused and neglected horses are in need of rescue and re-homing each year. Even more horses are in need of transition once their sporting career is over. Most are young, healthy, and have untapped potential like Xin Xu Lin.

Meet Xin Xu Lin

Godolphin Racing had really high hopes for Xin Xu Lin when he was purchased in 2011, having been recognized as Brazil’s Horse of the Year in 2010.

Sadly, the racing career for the 2007 Thoroughbred did not work out, but misfortune turned to fortune when Xin Xu Lin was donated to EQUUS Foundation Guardian charity, Secretariat Center, in 2013 to be retrained and re-homed.

Xin Xu Lin found his forever home in Maryland where he competes in dressage and show jumping.

Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

Babington, Garson, & Martinez: ARM’s First eQuest Podcast

Wellington, FL (September 4, 2020) – The end of August marked the beginning of a new collaboration of equestrian minds in the form of the first recording of Athletes Risk Management’s eQuest podcast. Featuring three highly regarded international show jumpers, eQuest debuted from the living room of Olympian Kevin Babington, and discussed topics based on program’s theme, ‘classical horsemanship in modern times.’ With the support of Athletes Risk Management and sponsor Wellington Agricultural Services, eQuest will serve as a source of roundtable discussions and unfiltered conversations about the sport, horsemanship, and how the classical principles of riding can be applied to the modern competitive arena.

The August 31 recording featured Olympians Kevin Babington and Nona Garson as the focus and hosts of the podcast as they discussed the surreal feeling of a perfect ride, whether it’s under the stadium lights at Aachen or in the training arena. Geoff Wight, President of Athletes Risk Management, served as moderator and Antonio Martinez, a Venezuelan Grand Prix rider, gave unique insights on his equestrian upbringing in South America as well as his recent back to back wins in the Welcome and Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix just a few weeks ago at ESP. Nona Garson joined the discussion by phone from her New Jersey training and show facility, the Ridge at Riverview.

From left to right: Geoff Wight of ARM, Olympian Kevin Babington, and Antonio Martinez

“The horse is the great equalizer,” said Garson. “Some days you have an amazing ride in the Grand Prix and the next you fall off the same horse; it’s a funny sport like that.” Garson and Babington also agreed that when it all comes together in what they describe as “the best two minutes of your life,” it’s a magical experience, but that years of hard work and sweat are what get you there.

Click here to watch eQuest #1 on YouTube.

Click here to listen to eQuest #1 on Podbean.

Additional episodes of eQuest are in the works and will include guests and guest hosts from around the equestrian community. Follow ARM’s social media to get updates on each new episode’s drop date, and let us know if you have any ideas for quests or sponsors.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

BLM’s Massive Roundups Underway

One of the largest roundups of the past ten years concluded last month. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reported that 1,825 wild horses and burros were removed from the Shawave Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) northeast of Reno, NV.

Eleven horses and one burro were killed during the roundup. Five of these were senior horses, and three of those were killed for “missing an eye.”

Next week, BLM will start another major roundup to remove over 1,100 horses in the Diamond Complex just north of Eureka, NV. If the BLM 2020 Roundup Plan is fully implemented, 2020 will rank as the year with the highest number of wild horses and burros captured in the last 19 years.

Read the Shawave report here.

Sept. Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meeting

The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is holding their next meeting on September 23-24, 2020 via Zoom. Register by September 17 (first come, first served) to give public comments.

While this Board is stacked with anti-wild horse folks who support massive roundups and voted to send horses to slaughter, it’s important they hear from the American people they are supposed to represent.

You can also send an email to whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov calling on the Advisory Board to protect natural wild horse behaviors and to give our wild horses and burros their fair share of AUMs (forage) on the range. For more information, or to register for public comments, click here.

Congressional Update

The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet acted on FY2021 funding for the federal government. Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) is threatening to not allow Committee markup of the funding bills. Markup is the process by which committees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation.

It’s looking more unlikely that the FY2021 budget will be passed by Congress before the Fiscal Year (FY) ends on September 30th. This means Congress will likely pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) which will carry over the same funding from the last budget.

We will continue to keep you informed on the status of the Wild Horse and Burro Program funding. In the meantime, please continue to make your voice heard!

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

M & R Equestrian’s Training Days Return to Jim Brandon in November

Photo by Jacquie Porcaro Photos.

September 3, 2020 — Wellington, FL’s most unique training opportunity returns to the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center as M & R Equestrian’s 24-week season kicks off Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Founded by Olympic veterans Alberto Michan (ISR) and Juan Andrés Rodriguez (GUA), M & R Equestrian’s Training Days, held weekly from November through April, offer riders of all levels an unprecedented opportunity to school over a full course of show quality jumps, set by FEI course designers.

Every Tuesday, three arenas — two jumper rings and an arena with hunter courses — will be available and set at varying heights throughout the day to accommodate horses and riders of all ages and levels. Training Days are a great way to prepare a young horse for its first horse show experience; to create the perfect video for a sales horse; to scout young horses and sale prospects; practice horse show elements like the open water; and to enjoy a relaxing, confidence-building experience at a top quality horse show venue — at an affordable price.

“We are really looking forward to kicking off our second season of Training Days,” Michan said. “We began this journey last year, because we felt it filled a void in our industry, and the response we got was incredible. Some of the top names in our sport became regular participants. We hope even more riders — of all levels — will come take advantage of this unique opportunity in Wellington.”

Among the many exemplary amenities at Jim Brandon is its superior lighting. Training Days will expand to its two-day schedule for 12 weeks beginning January 2021, with Mondays featuring a one-of-a-kind opportunity to school under the lights.

Each entry awards a horse and rider combination two minutes and 30 seconds in the arena, allowing them to jump as many fences or courses as they’d like in that time and providing the perfect horse show dress rehearsal.

“We believe that our Training Days season is the perfect complement to the winter circuit in Wellington,” Rodriguez said. “There are virtually no opportunities to school a horse under the lights before going into the show ring for a major event like a Saturday night grand prix, but Jim Brandon affords us the ability to offer that and so much more. We are very excited to get underway with our season and build upon what we started last year.”

© 2020 Catie Staszak Media, Inc.

Amazing Facts about Horse Racing

Do you think you know all there is to know about the beloved sport of horse racing? Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting to explore the rich history of this prestigious athletic endeavor, chances are that there are more than a few horse racing facts out there that will surprise you. One of the oldest sports in the world, horse racing is notorious for its coded ways and opaque conventions, leaving many outsiders feeling more than a little mystified. Like anything though, it just takes a little time and patience to understand and appreciate. Here are a few incredible facts about this fascinating activity.

Some horses have defied all odds

Generally speaking, horses have to be able to meet some basic criteria before they can race. Anyone familiar with sportsbet horse racing will know that in addition to passing a regular inspection, it is also necessary to confirm that the horse is completely healthy and exhibiting no symptoms of illness. Seems reasonable enough consider no one would bet on a sick horse, right? Well in 1921, one British racehorse, aptly named Humorist, proved that this wasn’t necessarily the case. Upon winning the country’s most prestigious event, The British Derby, it was discovered that the horse had tuberculosis and was thus competing with only one healthy lung to rely on. It sure didn’t stop him from winning though.

Most horses retire at 15 (halfway through their lifespan)

Just like human athletes, racehorses tend to have a “peak,” at which age they tend to perform best and most consistently. This sweet spot often comes around the 10-year mark and it is pretty unusual to see a racehorse competing past the age of 15. Although they live, on average, for around 30 years, it is unprecedented for a horse over the age of 18 to win a professional horse race.

As old as time itself

When we say one of the world’s oldest sports, we mean it! Although the first official records of horse racing date back to the time of ancient Greece, there is reason to believe that some version of this activity can be traced to as far back as 4, 500 BC. Whether or not the legacy stretches back quite that far though, we have confirmation by way of chariot racing depictions on ancient pottery and descriptions from the infamous poet Homer to know that horse racing has been around for a very long time.

Horseracing is a matter of balancing scales

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how much the average racehorse weighs? Well, in sharp contrast to the famously featherweight jockeys who ride them, you can expect the average Thoroughbred to weigh in at about 1,000 pounds. At the higher end of the weight spectrum though, this can be almost doubled to upwards of 2,000. Switching to the other extreme, the lightest jockey who has ever been recorded weighed an incredibly slight 49 pounds, which is approximately what you could expect of an average 7-year-old.

A LOT of money is bet on horse races

You were probably already aware that there is a lot of money tied up in horses racing, but the actual figures may still make your jaw drop a bit. Over the course of a regular racing season, about $100 billion is bet on horseracing. That’s a pretty staggering number when you think about it. People the world over have long taken great pleasure in better on horse races through, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that that number is only likely to continue growing.

Dani the Wonder Horse Headlines September 2020 Issue of Wellington the Magazine

Wellington, FL (September 3, 2020) – Danash’s Northern Tempest, also known as Dani the Wonder Horse, logged her first ever magazine cover this September, with her spectacular coat and expressive profile gracing the front of this month’s issue of Wellington the Magazine. Accompanied by her rider, Laura Reece, the mare’s first cover in her hometown magazine also features a story on her success in the show ring and the confidence she’s inspired in Reece’s return to the saddle.

With such avant garde style and standout coat color, Dani’s alluring look has recently attracted the attention of some of the world’s top equestrian brands. From photo shoots to shows to scheduled appearances, Dani and Reece will have a bustling 2020, and are growing their exceptionally engaged Instagram following as more and more fans join the journey of Dani the Wonder Horse.

Follow Dani on Instagram (@danithewonderhorse) to keep up to date on all her shows and events, and check back on her website www.DaniTheWonderHorse.com.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

There Will Be Sport October 21-25, 2020 at the Domaine de Sers in Pau (64)

Pau is part of the very closed club of the CCI5*L, which includes only six competitions of the highest level in the world, among which the mythical Badminton and Burghley (GB), but also Lexington (USA), Luhmühlen (GER), and Adelaide (AUS). This year, the health crisis forced the five other organizers to cancel: Pau becomes the only CCI5*L of 2020 and thus the must-attend competition of the season.

For its 30th anniversary, Pau hosts the FEI World Championship of Single Horse Driving. The best leaders of the world will come to compete in this competition composed of a dressage, handling, and marathon test and try to win the supreme title.

This festive event, much awaited by the general public, has become a must-attend event in the southwest. For five days, it celebrates equestrian sports, horses, and the “art de vivre” in Béarn.

Press Contact – Blizko Communication
Juliette Feytout – E-mail: juliette@blizko-communication.com

Kim Farlinger and Conreu Jump to the Top of the Leaderboard in $20k PBEC Grand Prix

Kim Farlinger and Conreu. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

August 31, 2020 – Wellington, FL – Kim Farlinger and Conreu jumped to the top of the leaderboard in the $20,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic on Sunday morning to close out the ESP Labor Day show at PBIEC’s Equestrian Village. Farlinger, a native of Canada, piloted Sher-Al Farm Inc’s entry around the jump-off in 41.774 seconds. The only other pair to go double-clear was Rebecca Conway of Wellington, FL and Stakkatisa, owned by HBC Sport Horses, who finished the jump-off in 42.863 seconds. Juan Manuel Gallego of Wellington, FL claimed third place with Carolina Ramelli’s Chopard Z after a 42.485-second jump-off and with four faults.

The class was originally scheduled to take place on the Derby Field, but heavy rainfall Saturday night forced management to move the competition to the Van Kampen Covered Arena. A total of 31 entries contested the track designed by Jasen Shelley, with only four pairs returning for the jump-off. After her win, Farlinger gave her thoughts on the class: “I thought the course was really nice and really fair. I think it’s hard for a lot of the horses to come from the Derby Field where it’s so big and beautiful and they can gallop around, into the indoor.”

However, the change of scenery seemed to work in favor of Farlinger and her young mount as she explained, “Conreu is a green Grand Prix horse. This is only his third or fourth Grand Prix and his first win. He can get away from me in the open space; he’s a very scopey and careful horse, so I think it might have actually worked to my advantage to be contained in the indoor today. He did everything I wanted and jumped absolutely unbelievable. I’m super happy with him.”

When asked about show plans, Farlinger mentioned that, “Wellington is home now,” and her team didn’t want to travel anywhere with the threat of COVID. “ESP has done such a fantastic job making us feel safe to horse show. It’s really been great for us to stay close to home and have a super show to come to every week. We’re having a good time.”

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Old Friends Welcomes Birdstone

GEORGETOWN, KY – Aug 28, 2020 – Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Birdstone has been pensioned to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.

A homebred for owner Marylou Whitney and trained by Nick Zito, Birdstone captured the G1 Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old in 2003. Birdstone ran up the track in the Kentucky Derby and sat out the Preakness, before surprising most of the sell-out crowd when he got up in the final yards in the Belmont Stakes to ruin Smarty Jones’ try for the Triple Crown. That summer, at Saratoga Race Course, Birdstone proved that the Belmont was no fluke when he added a victory in the Travers Stakes to his impressive resume.

The son of Grindstone, out of the Storm Bird mare Dear Birdie, Birdstone retired from racing in 2004 after a chip was found in his left front ankle after his final start was in the GR1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Birdstone retired with five victories from nine starts and earnings of $1,575,600.

He spent his stallion career at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, KY where he became one of very few sires to have produced a Kentucky Derby winner in their first crop, when Mine That Bird captured the 2009 Run for the Roses at 50-to-1 upset in 2009. That same year, his son Summer Bird repeated his sire’s efforts by winning both the Belmont and Travers Stakes.

“We are so grateful to John Hendrickson for allowing Old Friends to care for Birdstone in his post-breeding career,” said Blowen. “He’s a living tribute to the late Marylou Whitney, and we plan to carry on her great contributions to the aftercare of both humans and horses,” he added. “We’re extremely grateful to John for trusting us to care for his tremendous stakes winner. Birdstone had a great life at Gainesway and we plan to continue that tradition at Old Friends.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.