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Powerhouse Teams Finish at the Top at IHSA Zone Finals

Savannah College of Art & Design earned the Zone 5 championship and the trip to Harrisburg for the Nationals. Photo courtesy of SCAD.

Entries Set for 2018 National Championship

Fairfield, Conn. – April 10, 2018 – The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) held eight Zone Finals, sponsored by the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), April 7-8. The eight Zone hunter seat competitions produced across the country were qualifying events for the 2018 IHSA National Championship to be showcased at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, May 3-6.

From each Zone Finals, the top two teams and the top two individual riders from each division all qualified to compete at the highlight of the IHSA season. The National Championship crowns the team, individual and alumni champions in both hunter seat and Western. The event also features the coveted USEF/Cacchione Cup and the AQHA Western High Point Rider national final.

THREE-TIME IHSA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS SCAD WINS ZONE 5
Zone 5 Finals were hosted by the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) managed to dominate the season despite fielding a roster with a majority of new riders. SCAD came away with the championship of Zone 5. Hometown host team, the 28-time Region 9 champions, the College of Charleston, earned the reserve championship. SCAD will attempt to earn their fourth team championship at Nationals.

“It is a huge team effort and I am so grateful to the staff, the facility and the horses,” said Ashley Henry, head coach of the SCAD Equestrian Team. We had our big team meeting at 5:30 a.m. and I told them, ‘Yes, SCAD Equestrian has a legacy, but every year, it’s a whole new dance. It’s like the first time all over again.’ We’ve always approached it that way.”

Henry said that the team will go back to the basics to prepare for Nationals. They will go on the lunge, train over single jumps and serpentine loops. They will practice on landing the lead.

“It’s the fundamentals of riding that are going to help in the ring when you’re given a challenge,” she said. “We still have a long road ahead, even though we’re Pennsylvania-bound. The game only gets harder now.”

CENTENARY UNIVERSITY TOPS ZONE 3
Centenary University aced their Zone Finals hosted at their equestrian center. The 2017 National reserve team champions led by coaches Michael Dowling and Heather Clark are consistently at the top of the IHSA results. They have many Cacchione Cup wins to their credit, including Katherine Steiner in 2017. Penn State University’s Equestrian team added to their impressive list of achievements and earned the reserve championship.

Dowling credits the success of the Centenary team to the strength of their program, the support of nine full-time faculty members and the depth and diversity of their horses. Training the team, Clark focuses on fine tuning position and Dowling focuses on effectiveness and the horse’s way of going. Their teaching styles complement each other and play a key role in the team’s success.

“If the rider is more comfortable riding warmbloods, we put them on a hotter type of horse so they can figure that out,” Dowling said. “When we have a rider that’s a little better on a Thoroughbred-type horse, then we try to get them more comfortable riding a big warmblood. We constantly try to change it up.”

Leading up to Nationals they will focus on where they were weak at Zones and do a lot of strengthening and work without stirrups.

“I’m really excited about the group of students that we have this year,” he said. “Every year we become more determined to put on a better show. Harrisburg is about as close to home as we get so we have a lot of volunteers coming. It’s going to be a fun event.”

ST ANDREWS NABS ZONE 4
The St. Andrews University hunter seat team, led by coach Robin Brooks, rose to the occasion earning 39 points to win the Zone championship and punched their ticket to Harrisburg. Also Harrisburg-bound, reserve champions Virginia Tech University earned 36 points.

“We have a group of seniors that have been great team leaders this year,” Brooks said. “They have been hungry for it all year.”

Brooks said that the strategy for competing at Nationals is lots of practice. She wants them to be as strong as possible, while keeping their confidence high and setting them up for success.

“They are losing their stirrups as of this morning,” she said.

ZONE 6 GOES TO UNIVERSITY OF FINDLAY
Two Zone 6 universities well-known for their top-notch programs progressed to the Nationals team competition roster. Guided by coach Alexandra Kemp-Thompson, the University of Findlay hunter seat team prevailed at the Zone 6 Finals. Otterbein University earned the reserve championship, and the two will face the 14 teams all vying for the national championship.

“I was very pleased with my team’s performance at Zone Finals,” Kemp Thompson said. “It had been six years since we had been at Otterbein. All the students took on the challenge of riding completely new horses. I’m very proud of how my students handled themselves both inside and outside the ring all season given the circumstances they had to overcome.”

For Findlay, the 2018 season in their Region was unusual. Their last two home shows of the year were canceled and entries at Findlay’s final away show were cut in half.

“My priorities are rider physical fitness and mental self-confidence,” she said. “We have 150 horses in our barn, so I know I can count on my students to ride whatever is thrown their way at Nationals. There will be no stirrup work and work on endurance. I’m very excited to see this team step up. It should be fun!”

STANFORD TAKES ZONE 8
The Stanford University Equestrian team topped the Zone 8 Finals. Led by head coach Vanessa Bartsch, the Stanford team was the third-place finisher at Nationals in 2017. Colorado State University earned the Zone 8 reserve position and will also make the cross-country trip to Harrisburg.

“There has been an exponential increase in the quality of riding from all of the schools in our Zone,” Bartsch said. “It continues to push us to be better, train harder and find nicer horses to bring in. The overall quality of the teams and riders that we were competing against was exceptional. It made it competitive and fun. As a coach, it promotes our whole area to be the best that we can be.”

Stanford has a young roster this year and Bartsch explained that two seniors, Caroline Soane and Celia Lang-Ree, have stepped up to lead the less experienced members of the team. This year will mark the two seniors’ fourth National Championship.

To prepare for Nationals, Bartsch has a diverse pool of coaching talent to call on at the Stanford Red Barn including Guy Thomas and Willow Tree Farm and Cindy Brooks at Northern Run. But Bartsch doesn’t plan on changing up the plan.

“We ride how we ride, we train how we train; we’ll step up and add some practices,” she said. “We’ll continue to do no stirrup and strengthening work, but we’ve been doing that since the start of the year. We’re excited. Harrisburg has been a good venue for us.”

MORE POWERHOUSES HARRISBURG-BOUND
The Mount Holyoke team, led by legendary coach C. J. Law, have been regulars at Nationals and this year is no exception. They won the Zone 1 championship, securing their place in Harrisburg. The Boston University team was named reserve champions.

Coach Cynthia Ford and her Skidmore Thoroughbreds led the Zone 2 field to take the championship. Reserve champions St. Lawrence University will join them at Nationals.

From Zone 7, champions West Texas A & M University and reserve champions Purdue University will join the lineup for the IHSA Nationals team competition, setting the stage for exciting intercollegiate sport.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

Equestrian Aid Foundation Helps Eventer Kim Meier Cope after Life-Altering Injury

Kim Meier with Bart (top) and Test Run. Photos courtesy of Kim Meier.

Wellington, Fla. – Apr. 9, 2018 – Kim Meier reached the pinnacle of eventing before tragedy struck. In 2007 she was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a freak accident. For Kim and horse people like her facing catastrophic injury and illness, life becomes a struggle.

Kim carved her career in classic eventer fashion, riding homebreds and doing all the work herself. She developed her work ethic at the summer camp her family owned, fell in love with the horses and was determined to be an eventer. Largely self-taught, she also worked with Denny Emerson, Ralph Hill and Donnan Sharp.

Test Run or “Merle” was her ticket to the big time. She had bred his sire and his sire’s dam. In 2002, Kim and the gray Thoroughbred finished Bromont. Then in 2003, they competed at Foxhall Three Day Event, their first three star, then Fair Hill. At the Rolex (now the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event) Four Star Event in 2004, they had a top-10 finish out of 72 starters. They competed at Burghley and finished. She was 45 and looking forward to great things.

In 2005, Merle was sidelined due to an injury. Then, Kim’s barn endured a frightening and emotional experience with the EHV-1 virus. Merle got through it and they got back to work.

“I did three Intermediates that year in the summer and fall, planning my big comeback at Rolex in 2007,” Kim said in an article she wrote for Eventing Nation. “We did one Intermediate, and that next Tuesday I was doing a jumping school when IT happened. On the way to a vertical, he stepped on his bell boot and went down on his knees. I slid down his neck and caught the rail on the base of my head.”

As a result of her fall, Kim suffers from paralysis from the C5 vertebra down. Despite extensive rehabilitative therapies, Kim’s doctors said she could never ride, stand or walk again and would forever be wheelchair bound.

“It’s great how the Equestrian Aid Foundation jumped right in to help from the very beginning right after I got hurt,” Kim said.

The Foundation provided financial assistance to help Kim with basic living expenses. Her daughter and friends help her with daily activities and make certain she has the care she needs.

Though it’s been a long, tough road, Kim remains resilient and has the courageous spirit to stay as active as possible. She works judging unrated horse shows when she can, gives some lessons and does the occasional clinic.

Your donation to Equestrian Aid Foundation provides much-needed support for horse people like Kim facing catastrophic injury and illness.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

Arredondo Dressage Society to Host Horses Helping Horses Benefit for Horse Protection Assoc. of Fl.

Peter Atkins, one of the clinicians for this year’s Horses Helping Horses Benefit for the Horse Protection Association of Florida. (Photo courtesy of Samantha Clark)

Newberry, Florida (April 9, 2018) – The Arredondo Dressage Society will host the 9th annual Horses Helping Horses benefit on Saturday April 21st at the Canterbury Equestrian Showplace in Newberry, Florida. Several of the region’s most talented dressage instructors will they donate their time and skills to perform a benefit clinic for Horse Protection Association of Florida (HPAF).  The Dressage Society website lists the clinicians, ride times and instructions for bidding on the clinics: www.arredondodressage.org.

The day is a day all about horses, and a day to raise awareness about equine rescues and sanctuaries and the lifesaving work they do year-round to care for the at-risk horses in their communities who have often been abused or neglected.  “Horses are majestic, loving animals, and we encourage our local and loyal supporters will come out so that we can continue our lifesaving efforts for years to come,” explains, Karen Curran the volunteer coordinator for the event.

To support this cause, Arredondo Dressage Society will sponsor events throughout the day.  The clinics offer riders and spectators a chance to see actual dressage training and work. The event will take place rain or shine in the Canterbury Showplace covered arena. In addition, the Arredondo Dressage Society will sponsor bake sales, used tack sale and raffles throughout the day. Equine companies such as Vita Flex, Triple Crown Feed, Omega Alpha, Transformer Equine and others have donated raffles prizes to support the cause.  The clinics offer rider and spectators a chance to see actual dressage training and work.  In addition, Arredondo Dressage Society has an online auction on its website, which will be finalized at the 5:00 pm Wine and Cheese Reception, with a live auction and bidding and a wine tasting sponsored by PRP Wines.

The Horse Protection Association of Florida (HPAF) staff will showcase some of the rescued animals and demonstrate some Parelli work with these horses, and they will be on-hand to answer questions and to educate the public about the work being done on behalf of the equines of Florida.

The following day, Sunday, April 22nd, Arredondo Dressage will sponsor a Schooling Show at the Canterbury Equestrian Showplace.  Interested riders can sign up on its website.

Horse enthusiasts are invited to come for a fun day and support a most worthy cause and the schooling show on Sunday is also open to the public.

For more information, contact Karen Curran, Volunteer Coordinator, at 561-542-4448 or email her at kcurranlaw@aol.com.

www.arredondodressage.org

Dutton and Z Claim Top Honors at The Fork FEI CIC 3*

Phillip Dutton and Z. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Vaulting Previews Tryon 2018 Venue with CVI 3* Competition and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Vaulting Test Event

Tryon, NC USA – April 8, 2018 – The final phase of the FEI CIC 3* proved no match for Phillip Dutton (USA) and Z, as the pair maintained their lead following the cross-country phase to finish competition in top form at The Fork at TIEC Presented by Lucky Clays Farm and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Eventing Test Event at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The winning pair finished on a score of 28, ahead of Kim Severson (USA) aboard Cooley Cross Border who secured a final score of 32.10, followed by Sharon White (USA), piloting Cooley On Show, to collect third place after the three phases and finishing on a 32.90.

“You never quite know how tight the time is going to be,” said Dutton of the show-jumping course. “It’s an advantage going at the end and realizing the lines you have to take to shave the time. My guy is not at his best if I open him up too much toward the jump, so I had to cut the turns, shorten him at the jumps, and rock him back just a bit. Everybody said they were worried that I wasn’t going to make the time, but here we are.”

Dutton competed two other horses throughout the weekend in the FEI CIC 3* division, but it was the 2008 Zangersheide gelding (Asca x Bellabouche) owned by T. Tierney, S. Roosevelt, S. Lacy, A. Jones, and C. Moran who ultimately ended the competition in the winner’s circle. “Coming here is great experience for him,” Dutton explained. “He’s an up-and-coming horse and I’m trying to help him understand what to do in every phase, as that’s my job to educate him. The cool part of it for me is seeing him produced. Getting to this level and then hopefully the next level, and being confident and having enough skills that he’s going to be able to succeed.”

Second place finisher Kim Severson, of Charlottesville, VA, went into the show jumping phase just trailing the top four, but rocketed to second place standing after a clean round on Cooley Cross Border.

Severson’s run on cross-country impacted the duo’s score slightly, but proved to help their standings after moving back to second place following their show jumping round, a position they held following the first phase of dressage. “He was good yesterday,” she noted of the Cross Syndicate owned 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz). “He started out jumping pretty high and I was a little careful because I just wanted to make sure that I gave him a good ride. After the water he really picked up and got faster. I didn’t give him the greatest ride into that first set of corners. That stride going in makes that two really long, but he fought for it and he was really good. Down there on cross-country, he’s so much fun. You can just gallop and he’ll do it if he can do it. He’s such a nice horse.”

Sharon White and Cooley On Show, her own 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ricardo Z x Jogantina) saw a positive shift in their overall placement, as they climbed up the ranks from eleventh to third by the end of the weekend. White, of Summit Point, WV, had nothing but praise for her competitive mount.

“He’s a fabulous horse and he’s strong in all phases,” commented White. “He’s definitely getting better. He loves the sport and he loves competing, so he’s definitely a good competitor no matter what. My job was to not get in the way and let him be who he wants to be. He really enjoys all three phases. His dressage is getting stronger; cross-country is fun with him. He’s got such a big stride and a lot of scope.”

“With the show jumping, I thought it was really interesting that the time was so tight and scores were tight. That was a bit of a challenge and we just wanted to see if we could do it.”

The week served as a WEG Test Event and riders caught a glimpse of what is to come this September. Dutton, who has competed successfully at six WEGs, is eyeing a spot on the United States Eventing Team in five short months. He concluded, “I certainly think that there’s a home field advantage having the Games here, and for us to be here and know the venue and get comfortable with it. There are some disadvantages with having the Games at home, with distractions and what else, so we might as well make the most of being able to get use out of this venue ahead of time and feel comfortable when the team gets here for September.”

The Advanced-A Division saw Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, VA and Under Suspection return to the top position as the weekend came to a close, jumping out of second place to finish on a score of 37.50, while Leslie Law of Ocala, FL achieved second place aboard Voltaire de Tre, scoring 38.60. Symansky also rounded out third place honors with 44.60 aboard Donner.

Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA and Veronica stole the Advanced-B Division, finishing their final show jumping phase on a score of 36.90. Leslie Law and The Apprentice earned second place honors after finishing with 47 penalties, and third place was awarded to Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA with Steady Eddie on 47.10.

Vaulting Previews Tryon 2018 Venue with CVI 3* Competition and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Vaulting Test Event

Emma Seely, Chef d’Equipe for USA Vaulting, said she was pleased with the way the Test Event for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 unfolded. “We absolutely enjoyed [our time]. We’re happy to be here and it’s always good to have a feel for the lay of the land, so to speak. I’m happy to see all the improvements with the arenas and what future improvements are coming. It’s very exciting for us,” she said, elaborating on her favorite aspects of the facility. “We like the barns – that feels good for the horses – and we like the footing. It’s always good to have a sense of how it’s going to be, but we realize it’s going to continue to evolve, but it’s been really great to be here.”

Vaulting will take place during the second week of competition during the WEG at TIEC and is expected to draw the top Vaulting athletes from around the world to Western North Carolina. Seely, who will oversee the management and coaching for Team USA during the event, is excited to have the major championship on U.S. turf for only the second time in the event’s history.

“Essentially, as Chef d’Equipe, I’m kind of the team manager,” Seely explained. “For the spring, and through the selection trials through July, I’m just going to observe and see what they’re doing, how they’re doing, and what their game plans are, so that when we get the team selections I’ll have a sense of their processes and be able to support them in being the best they can be.”

Team bonding is a priority for Seely, who is already looking forward to team preparations ahead of the event. She commented, “In general, the community is small enough that they do already know each other, but I really do want to bring them together so that they support each other and so that we come in as a strong family unit, just ready to power through.”

CVI 3* Results

Squad: Canada’s “Beauty and the Beast” Squad were awarded top marks for their unchallenged performance aboard Habakkuk, with lunger Karin Schmidt on a total score of 6.872.

Individual Female: Top honors went to Mary McCormick (USA) aboard Paris, with lunger Christian Ramos, finishing on a score of 7.468. Stephanie Dore (AUS) aboard Vision and with lunger Jane Delano Kopperl were awarded second place with a 6.424 final score, while Jeanine Van Der Sluijs (CAN) aboard Charles the Great followed just behind on 6.400 with Karin Schmidt on the lunge. Alejandra Orozco Viscaino (MEX), together with Vision and lunger Jane Delano Kopperl, earned a total of 5.743 to finish fourth.

McCormick commented that her experiences at TIEC have helped her feel prepared for the WEG to come, stating, “In 2010 it was essential for me that Kentucky felt like home turf and that we’d been there before, so that when we showed up to the venue and there was all the frenzy going on with preparations for the WEG, we knew exactly where all the wash racks were, and just knew what to expect. So being here, I feel a lot more prepared going forward, even knowing where the laundromat is and knowing the stabling and knowing that my horse, Paris, has been in this arena and likes it – it’s really motivating going forward,” she said.

From Tryon, McCormick will travel six days to California and will spend time competing and performing. If selected for Team USA in September, McCormick will come back to the Tryon region as early as she can; she said. “I’m totally confident after today. I got a qualifying score for a certificate of capability, which takes the pressure off going forward, and the whole experience has been really fun and relaxed for us, so I can build on that and remember that feeling going forward.”

Please visit www.Tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media for more information.

Dutton Dominates Day Three of FEI CIC 3* at The Fork

Phillip Dutton and Z. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Tryon, NC USA – April 7, 2018 – Phillip Dutton (USA) and Z made easy work of the cross-country phase to overtake the lead heading into show jumping at The Fork, presented by Lucky Clays Farm at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in the FEI CIC 3* division, serving as the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Eventing Test Event, and the pair sit on a score of 28. Jordán Linstedt (USA) and Revitavet Capato added 3.20 penalties onto their score to improve their rank to second place on a 29.9. Dutton also guided mounts I’m Sew Ready and Fernhill Cubalawn around the Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) designed course to secure third and fourth place rankings with scores of 30 and 31.5, respectively.

Dutton and the 2008 Zangersheide gelding (Asca x Bellabouche) owned by T. Tierney, S. Roosevelt, S. Lacy, A. Jones, and C. Moran, crossed through the timers in 6 minutes and 17 seconds, just a mere second over the optimum time. “The goal was to step things up a bit from what I’ve been doing as far as speed goes,” said Dutton. “I thought the course in general rode well. It’s golf course terrain, so you’re working all of the time with your lines and the different elements of up and down.”

FEI CIC 3* competitors commented on the potential hints on course as to what September is expected to bring on the track. “I think that it showed today with even a straightforward course that the time is hard to make, and that’s going to only be the first seven minutes,” noted Dutton, who is currently ranked fourth on the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings. “The horse needs to be fit and rideable. You want to ride through this terrain and not have to always be shortening up, so you want a nice, balanced, rideable horse. It’s going to be a good test.”

Dutton described his first place mount as competitive with uncommon athleticism, and one that he has fun piloting around the cross-country phase. “I’ve always known he was a freak!” exclaimed Dutton. “He just loves to jump. He’s only getting better and better. It’s kind of fun to be a part of his (hopefully) long career.”

“He’s point and shoot, and he’s just as good as my other horses. We’ve had one fall in which he over jumped in the water a few years ago, so we’ve learned from that. He’s not a horse that I want to ride aggressively all of the time, since he trusts me and if I say ‘really go,’ he really goes. I just have to make sure I don’t override him.”

As one of Team USA’s most veteran competitors, Dutton, who earned an Individual Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, plans to run the gelding one more time at Fair Hill International in a combined training outing before heading to the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event at the end of April, where the horse will contest his first FEI CCI 4* event. “He’s on target,” stated Dutton. “I was pleased with the way he settled yesterday because the weakest part is the tension with him, so that was kind of a load off of my mind. We’ll run him next weekend to just get him in the ring one more time, but you never know if you have a four star horse until you run a four star course.”

Dutton’s third place mount, I’m Sew Ready, a 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lupicor x Jarda) owned by Kristine and John Norton, proved just that as he galloped around the cross-country phase with ease. “He can get strong before the fences, but it was a good run for him,” said Dutton, who is based in West Grove, PA and Aiken, SC. “I’ve still got him to go a bit faster; he’s not naturally that fast. This is his last run before Kentucky, so I’m pleased with him.”

The seasoned WEG contender has several strong prospects as potential selections come September, but Dutton hasn’t decided who he thinks will come out on top during the process. “I think that the horses usually work it out for you,” he said. “I will just try to get the best out of all of them and see where it ends up.”

Ending the day’s phase in the second place position, Jordán Linstedt and her own Revitavet Capato, a 2003 Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Annabelle), have been to TIEC several times, and Linstedt commented that their experience onsite has been helpful in their success so far.

“This is my third time going around the track. I was here last year in the spring and then again for the [USEA American Eventing Championships]. It was similar and it was helpful to have already gone out and done some of the questions, although it’s always different,” she said. “He felt fantastic from beginning to end. I didn’t go fast on him at Carolina [International] – I think it was the slowest I’d ever gone on him for multiple reasons. Here, I kind of went out pretty quick and he was great.”

Heading into the final day, Linstedt said she’s planning for a smooth ride to match Capato’s movement and commented that show jumping is the pair’s toughest phase. “I guess stadium is kind of my weakest link with him a little bit, so my plan is to go in and jump a good round. I tend to, since he’s such a big-moving horse, either go a bit too forward or a bit too back, so just a really smooth round [is my goal], and hopefully he jumps really well,” she concluded.

Whitney Mahloch Finishes on Top in Advanced A Division aboard Military Mind, while Lauren Kieffer and Veronica Dominate Advanced B

In the Advanced-A Division, Whitney Mahloch of Ocala, FL and Military Mind improved their placing from sixth place to sit in first with a 33.8 heading into the show jumping phase, ahead of Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, VA, who holds both second and third place after two phases aboard Under Suspection and Donner, sitting on penalties of 34.5 and 34.6, respectively.

The Advanced-B Division saw Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA and Veronica jump into first place with a 36.9, ahead of Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA and Steady Eddie, who finished the day on 39.1 for second place, and just ahead of Erin Sylvester of Cochranville, PA and Paddy the Caddy, who sit in third with a 39.2.

Please visit www.Tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media for more information.

Little Holds Lead Heading into FEI CIC 3* Cross-Country at The Fork

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Tryon, NC USA – April 6, 2018 – Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous were uncatchable on the second day of dressage competition at The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Eventing Test Event (WEG), remaining in first place position and heading into the cross-country phase with 24.2 penalties. Second place was captured by Kimberly Severson (USA) and Cooley Cross Border on a score of 24.5, while Phillip Dutton (USA) and I’m Sew Ready held a tight grip on the third place position with a 26.4. The FEI CIC 3* competition continues April 7 on the White Oak Course, and concludes on April 8 with show jumping in the George H. Morris Arena.

Little reflected that her strategy for cross-country largely depends on how the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) reacts in the warm-up.

“I got to see the course yesterday and there are so many fly fences. I’m sure plenty will make the time, and I’m just not sure this is the event to push her. I’m working on rideability and control and it would be easy for the horses to get going out there because [Captain Mark Phillips] is using so many portables. So, we’ll have to see how she warms up. I just rode her down there and back and she’s been pretty calm, so it’s nice to see that she’s changed a lot in a year. We’ll just see how she feels.”

Little has been recovering from a broken foot injury that occurred last November, but wasted no time getting back in the tack just two weeks post the start of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival, where she went on to compete successfully throughout the course of the circuit. “Initially, when I injured it, they thought I had just broken a lot of bones,” Little explained. “It wasn’t until January that they found there was more damage to the soft tissue. At that point we were getting quite close, so I thought I would try to see if it would heal, and I decided to keep riding and heading in this direction.”

Kimberly Severson of Charlottesville, VA and the Cross Syndicate-owned 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding, Cooley Cross Border (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz), snuck into second place after putting in a solid day two dressage test. Severson commented, “He was very good today. I missed both of my flying changes – this has been quite a thing with him and me – but he’s a really good boy and does a good job, and he tries really hard. I am most happy with his rhythm and frame, but we still have little things to fix, like everybody.”

Severson, who has represented the United States at four FEI World Equestrian Games™, commented on the venue in regard to its purposes come September. “I think there’s a lot of room in there [George Morris Arena]. It’s obviously going to feel a little bit smaller with the seating full, but I actually went all the way to the outside and it feels a lot roomier than it has certainly in a number of other WEG locations.”

As she plans a strategy for her run on the cross-country course, Severson also has Kentucky in mind. Much of her goal will be focused on a smooth water ride. She joked, “You mean don’t fall off in the water?! No, I think he’s good. We did two little water schools in the past weeks. He’ll either be really good for it or worse for it, but I actually think he’ll do much better. That’s how I’m going to plan to ride it – the whole thing.”

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Bronze Medalist Phillip Dutton moved down one spot from second place standing, but will still enter the cross-country phase in the top three rankings, aboard I’m Sew Ready, the 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lupicor x Jarda), owned by Kristine and John Norton.

“I was pleased with my tests, but like Kim said, there’s a lot to improve on,” said Dutton. “I haven’t run them a lot, so it is good to see where your training is at and what you’ve got to work on. The cross-country course I think is nice and not overly taxing, which I like at this time of year. The ground’s a bit firm, but I think they’re holding off watering because of the rain coming and I think that ultimately the footing’s going to be really good.”

Dutton is riding a total of three horses across the FEI CIC 3* track, and noted, “[I’m Sew Ready] wouldn’t be the easiest horse I’ve ever had to ride, but we’re just working on getting him reaching in his neck and not being tight in his back. You have to kind of be patient in the warm-up because he doesn’t give you the greatest feel in the beginning, and a lot of times in the past I’ve reacted to that and tried to fix him too quickly, so a long warm-up is good for him because over time he just loosens up anyway. He’s a very quiet horse, so that’s just kind of him. So, I was pleased with yesterday, and had him more forward than I’ve had him and we started to lose a little bit of power at the trot, but otherwise it was good.”

Like his cohorts, Dutton is here in preparation for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. “I feel that horses go better once they’ve been to an event at least once,” he said, “and you see this a lot at Championships where a brand new course causes a lot of trouble and rides much better the next year. So I think there’s definitely an advantage to being here, and that’s one of the reasons I sent my entry in!”

Please visit www.Tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media for more information.

History on the Horizon as 40th Champion Will Be Crowned Next Week in Paris

Photo: It was an American victory, for Katharine Burdsall and The Natural, when the FEI World Cup™ Final was last staged in Paris (FRA) in 1987 where then FEI President, the Princess Royal, presented the trophy. (©Hippophot)

Every sport has its majors, and for the Olympic discipline of Jumping there is nothing to compare with the tension, excitement and prestige of battling for the ultimate prize of the indoor season – the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping trophy. The destination of this most coveted prize will be decided at the 2018 Final next week at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris (FRA) where 39 horse-and-rider combinations from all around the globe will gather in the quest for honour and glory.

The title is a seal of success and a measure of achievement, and winning it is one of the proudest moments in the career of any athlete who gets to place his or her name amongst the greats who have gone before them. You don’t come out on top by chance. The Final is a test of all that’s best about the horses and riders who have qualified from hard-fought leagues staged all around the globe — their partnership and mutual understanding, their power and speed, their courage, and their tenacity to give their best over three tough days of competition.

As America’s McLain Ward returns to defend the title he won so convincingly on home ground in Omaha (USA) last year, he knows that he and his brilliant mare HH Azur have it all to do once again. Becoming a back-to-back champion is no easy feat, but it has been done before – most notably by legendary combinations like the iconic Canadian duo of Ian Millar and Big Ben who reigned supreme in 1988 and 1989, and Great Britain’s John Whitaker who steered the magical grey, Milton, to victory in 1990 and again in 1991.

Those who have posted three wins are exceptional and, again, some of the biggest names in the sport. Austria’s Hugo Simon put himself into the record books as the very first champion riding Gladstone in 1979, and then returned to do it twice more with ET FRH in 1996 and 1997. Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum partnered the great Shutterfly to success in 2005 and again in 2008 and 2009, and compatriot Marcus Ehning claimed three titles with three different horses between 2003 and 2010. Perhaps the most remarkable three-time champion of all is Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, because he succeeded in consecutive seasons between 1998 and 2000 and each time with the same super-stallion, the “King of the Ring” himself, Baloubet du Rouet.

Ehning is on the edge of history, as he goes into next week’s Final as the only rider with the chance of becoming the first four-time champion.

He is one of five former title-holders competing this time around, and each of them arrive in Paris on cracking current form. America’s Beezie Madden brings Breitling LS, Germany’s Daniel Deusser has two qualified horses, the strangely-coloured Cornet 39 and his 2014 winning ride Cornet d’Amour, and Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, winner in both 2015 and 2016, is also double-handed, with Alamo and the super-speedy Bianca. Ward’s work will be cut out for him to keep these superstars in check, but sometimes surprises are sprung as the story of the closing stages of this fantastic series confirms.

Few expected Bruno Broucqsault and Dileme de Cephe to become the first French partnership to take the title in Milan (ITA) 14 years ago, and a second French victory is long overdue. If there is one man who deserves his date with destiny it is Kevin Staut who has campaigned tirelessly throughout the qualifying series over many long seasons and who brings two great horses, Reveur de Hurtebise HDC and Silver Deux de Virton HDC with him to this year’s finale on his home turf. Could his moment have arrived at last?

To make it happen he will have to see off tremendous challenges from riders like Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann who finished third last year and who brings the brilliant mare Toveks Mary Lou, and of course Britain’s Michael Whitaker whose hunger for this title is second-to-none after 24 previous attempts and many podium placings.

The statistics show that riders from just nine nations – Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Switzerland and USA – have claimed the trophy down the years and that Germany and the USA have each won it on 10 occasions. The youngest rider ever to reign supreme was 1984 champion Mario Deslauriers from Canada who was just 19 years old at the time, and he partnered the youngest horse ever to come out on top, the 7-year-old Aramis.

A total of 28 different riders have held this unique trophy in their hands, and the one and only time the Final previously took place in Paris, 31 years ago back in 1987, a 28-year-old American called Katharine Burdsall pinned 24-year-old Frenchman, Philippe Rozier, into runner-up spot.

A total of 43 riders from 11 nations lined out that year, this time around it is 39 riders from 19 countries as the sport continues to spread its appeal around the world, and the battle for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping trophy will be hotter than ever. It’s the one they all want, and the action gets underway on 11 April.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

IHSA National All-Academic Award Recipients Named

National Qualifiers Announced for Teresa L. McDonald Challenge

Fairfield, Conn. – April 5, 2018 – The IHSA announced the list of nearly 800 recipients for their National All-Academic Award. The National All-Academic Award recognizes academic achievement for an IHSA undergraduate or alumni member based on their fall 2017 semester grades. All the recipients competed in at least one IHSA competition during the academic year.

Students who achieved a grade point average of 3.8 or higher received First Team honors and students who earned a grade point average of 3.5 or higher received Second Team honors.

Click here for a list of recipients.

The IHSA announced the 16 national qualifiers for the Teresa L. McDonald IHSA Scholarship Challenge. These students achieved the highest scores from their zones on the online test. They will compete in a practicum phase at the 2018 IHSA National Championship Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, May 3-6.

Teresa L. McDonald IHSA Scholarship Challenge is sponsored by EQUUS. The challenge is a free online test covering non-discipline-specific, general horsemanship topics and is open to all IHSA undergraduate members. The timed test consists of 50 questions from the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Study Guide.

The test was available online for two weeks on the IHSA website. The participants with the top-two scores from each Zone are invited to compete in a practicum phase at the 2018 IHSA Nationals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The top-10 scorers win scholarships.

Teresa L. McDonald taught at Virginia Tech and was an active IHSA board member for many years. McDonald was a founder of the Intercollegiate Dressage Association. She was known for her sense of diplomacy and nicknamed “Madeline Albright.”

Click here for a list of qualifiers.

The IHSA was founded in 1967 by Robert Cacchione while he attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. The organization was established so that any full-time college student could participate in equestrian competition regardless of economic status, gender or riding level and offers Hunter Seat and Western competition at eight levels from Walk-Trot through Open divisions for both male and female college athletes. The IHSA emphasizes learning and sportsmanship and fosters teamwork. The organization has grown to include 400 member teams and 10,000 members encompassing 39 Regions, 8 Zones and 45 states and Canada. College or university teams, individuals, alumni and coaches may become members.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

Ilan Bluman and Firebridge Knock Out Turf Tour Finale Grand Prix

Ilan Bluman and Firebridge. Photo courtesy of Equinium/The Ridge at Wellington.

Wellington, FL (March 6, 2018) – As the sun set on the final day of show jumping at Polo West, The Ridge wrapped up its final week of Friday Night Lights and Turf Tour shows before heading back to their spring, summer, and fall base in Asbury, New Jersey. The Turf Tour went out with a bang and a parade of top show jumpers vying for the finale’s top prize, the $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix. A field of 24 were greeted by clear blue skies and springy green turf on the 1.40m course; the inviting conditions and welcoming design proved to favor Ilan Bluman and Kaprice as they swept across the grass to clinch victory. Later that evening, Friday Night Lights’ competition proved to be another milestone for its riders, as the high score High and Low Classic winners were presented with spectacular prizes from Prestige Italia, La Mundial Boots, and River Run Farm.

The Ridge Turf Tour seems to be a family affair for many of its riders, including the Bluman family. Daniel Bluman made quite an impression this year on the Turf Tour, winning multiple Grand Prix and 1.30m classes. Ilan stepped into the arena on the final Friday to prove he wasn’t going to let his brother steal all the limelight. Firebridge, an 8-year-old mare by Diablo, made the most of the exceptional footing, utilizing the traction and suppleness of the turf course to speed her gallops and tighten her turns. “The course today was perfect for a horse like mine,” said Bluman. “It had an excellent triple, steady lines coming from tight turns, and the jump off was ideally suited for a compact horse. Firebridge’s strength is her agility, and we were able to make the most of it today. We really enjoy this atmosphere; we are here every Friday for the Grand Prix, and also show quite frequently in the Rising Star on Wednesdays during season. We have always believed in the value of this show. It’s a great place to get to know a horse.” Bluman and Firebridge cruised to victory on a jump-off time of 39.998. Second went to Kim Farlinger aboard Alan Chester’s Concelo (40.255), and third went to Maarten Huygen’s Goldbreaker and Keven Mealiff (42.920).

As an Olympic and Southeast Asian Games veteran, Marie Antoinette (Toni) Leviste and her 9-year-old mare Loribrie have quite a few competitions under their belt. During Friday’s Finale Grand Prix, the pair made their debut performance at the 1.40m level, and in 2017 made their US show debut in The Ridge’s 1.30m Rising Star Classic. “I always make a point to have our debut shows be at The Ridge,” said Leviste, who hails originally from Manila. “The relaxed atmosphere and world class feel, along with the friendly staff, make it an ideal place to take your horse to the next level without undue stress. We’ve been all over the world, from the US to Poland to Slovakia to Malaysia for the Southeast Asian Games, and she has grown so much and we are really beginning to believe in each other. Loribrie’s strongest attribute is her fighting spirit; even when I’m ready to give in, she’s the one who wants to keep going.”

Leviste, who rides for the Philippines, also has ties to The Ridge going back to the 2000 Sydney Olympics: “I was with Nona [Garson] in Sydney and remember her amazing horse Rhythmical. That makes it all the more special to come here and show at The Ridge, and I want to say thank you to her and her team for being so welcoming and supportive from the very beginning.”

Kelly McInerney Rides Away with High Point Prestige Italia Saddle

The final Friday Night Lights proved to be a bustling evening for its .90m and 1.10m Child/Adult and Open riders, with a chilly Florida dusk descending into nightfall under the stadium lights at the Polo West arena. As a double points event, all of its competitors were in the running for a number of top prizes from the event’s sponsors, as well as the chance to take home ribbons in multiple classes including a speed round, jump-off, and Low and High Classics.

Hayley Chambers, a highly decorated Friday Night Lights competitor, once again took the blue ribbon in the .90m Low Child Adult Classic; the win cemented her supremacy in the division, and as the High Point Low Classic winner, Chambers was presented with a certificate for a custom fit pair of tall boots from LA Mundial.

As the jumps were raised and darkness fell in its entirety, the 1.10m High Child/Adult Classic, speed round, and jump-off were underway with an eager audience of diners at the Polo Bar & Grill. The Finale week’s High Classic was taken by Whitney Lind of Bethseda, Maryland aboard Whish LLC’s Wanant. The pair, who are familiar with jumping under the lights from previous indoor shows, put in a brisk double clear effort to win the class. “He’s an adult jumper superstar,” said Lind, who rides out of ESP Farm and purchased Wanant from England as a 12-year-old. “I knew after the first jump that he was ready to rock and roll. He knows what he’s doing and I’m just along for the ride. It was a great experience in a unique atmosphere, and a great way to end my season in Florida. I love Nona and George and showing at their events!”

But it was the High Classic’s reserve champion rider and overall high point winner, Kelly McInerney, who stole the show under the lights. She and Dinletto RK placed so well during the Friday evening series at Polo West their combined points could not be beat. US Olympian and co-founder of The Ridge Nona Garson presented McInerney and her trainer Sarah Scheiring with a brand new saddle from Prestige Italia in recognition of her spectacular efforts in the High Child Adult Classics. McInerney, who is from Chester, New Jersey and rides out of Chester Riding Club, stated: “This is for sure the biggest thing I’ve ever won; I felt like my horse was with me every time I saw a distance, and showing under the lights was a great experience for both of us.” Both of the Friday Night Lights’ Finale High and Low Classic winners were also presented with saddlepads from Success Equestrian.

“Our goal with Friday Night Lights was to really make something special and unique for Child/Adult riders,” said Garson. “Riders at this level are the backbone of our sport and we need to support them. Prizes like this and opportunities to show, ride, and experience a new level of horsemanship help to provide a foundation of education and allow them to flourish.”

For a full schedule of events hosted by The Ridge at Wellington, visit www.TheRidgeFarm.com.

Media contact:
PR and Marketing
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
www.equinium.com
holly@equinium.com
+1 954 205 7992

Little Fights to Preserve Winning Title at The Fork FEI CIC 3*

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Tryon, NC USA – April 5, 2018 – Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous sit atop the leaderboard in the FEI CIC 3* division at The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), receiving 24.2 penalties on the first day of dressage competition during the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Eventing Test Event. Phillip Dutton (USA) and I’m Sew Ready currently hold second with a 26.4, while Jordan Linstedt (USA) and Revitavet Capato round out the top three on a 26.7.

For the second year in a row, Little and the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) claimed the top spot during the first day of dressage at The Fork, as they strive to maintain their winning record at the event since its relocation to TIEC last year, as they head into their second phase on Saturday. While their position is the same now as it was last year, Little acknowledged that her partner is a much different horse.

“I think RF Scandalous is much more mature than she was a year ago. She went in there today and had some of the best canter work she’s ever done. I was really pleased with her changes. She was perfect. She’s a dream!”

After a graceful start for the duo this spring, Little hopes to go at a more consistent pace throughout the month, keeping “Kitty” active and her fitness level intact as The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event approaches later this month. “This is her final competitive run before Kentucky,” said Little. “I was really thrilled with her today, given that she is incredibly fit right now. My plan was to get her as fit as I could by this time, and then be able to back off a little bit in April and fine tune some things, so she’s coming into this event right where I’d like her to be.”

Thirty-six horse-and-rider combinations will contest the track on Saturday, designed by Course Designer Captain Mark Phillips, who is also responsible for course design at the WEG later this year. Little will strategically map her intentions for her run after she walks the course and confirms a plan for the pair.

“Last year we had a mixed bag of success,” she continued. “The Fork was wonderful for us; that was a great event. I came back in the fall for AECs and that didn’t go so well for me, so there are some things that I would like to accomplish out there.”

Little also plans to use The Fork to prepare the mare, owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Michael Manders, for possible WEG contention. “I think it’s a very important prep event for a lot of reasons,” she explained.

“The management and the staff are really allowing the riders to train for WEG here. Not only do we get to keep an eye on things and see where things are going, but everyone has been very sensitive to the horses and the fact that the next time they come in this ring, it will be for that. You saw that today in the amount of time they gave us around the arena before we started the test. I thought that was very kind, and I thought the horses were able to truly settle.”

Eventers from across North America arrived to test the waters at the venue this week, many taking their turn in the George H. Morris Arena on Thursday in anticipation of the prestigious events to come. “Of course, if there are people that couldn’t get here, there are plenty of opportunities to come to the other shows during the summer and I’m sure that we’ll see people taking advantage of that because it’s such a fantastic opportunity for us to have that chance,” concluded Little.

Later in the afternoon, Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, VA and Under Suspection posted the lead in the Advanced-A division with a score of 25.70, while Symansky reigned supreme once more on Donner, claiming the second place position with 28.20 penalties. Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA and Kyra rounded out the top three on a 28.90.

Will Coleman of The Plains, VA and Obos O’Reilly currently sit in first place in the Advanced-B division on a 24.50, while Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA and Veronica earned a 26.10 to stand in second. Leslie Law of Ocala, FL and The Apprentice follow in third with a score of 27.00.

Please visit www.Tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media for more information.