All posts by Associate Editor

ESP Holiday Series Concludes with Victory for Granato and Carlchen W

Alex Granato and Carlchen W. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – January 10, 2018 – Alex Granato of Wellington, FL rode to victory in the $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix aboard Page Tredennick’s Carlchen W during the final day of competition at Equestrian Sport Productions Holiday Finale on Sunday, January 7, which served as the conclusion of the ESP Holiday Series at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

Granato, who picked up the ride on the gelding as a five-year-old, piloted his mount around the short track designed by Andy Christianson Jr. of Wellington, FL in a quick 39.325 seconds. Diego Vivero of Wellington, FL and Gabriela SAA’s HRB Dance finished just behind Granato, completing the jump-off in 40.056 seconds. Emanuel Andrade of Wellington, FL and his own Reus de la Nutria rounded out the top three, riding to a jump-off time of 40.139 seconds.

Jumper Highlights:

Earlier in the week Amber Harte of Wellington, FL and Cafino were victorious in the $10,000 Equiline Open Stake Class, with a jump-off time of 36.293 seconds. Second place honors went to Emanuel Andrade and Reus de la Nutrina, after stopping timers in 36.382 seconds. Third place was awarded to Taylor Land of Alpharetta, GA piloting Liroy 30, owned by Pinetree Farms Inc., completing the short course in 36.593 seconds.

The $2,500 Low Amateur Owner Jumper Classic saw Christina Antonucci of Lake Hopatcong, NJ and her own Cupido Van’t Schuurke take top honors with a jump-off time of 37.92 seconds. Alexandra Welles of Wellington, FL and XM, took second place with a jump-off time of 38.582 seconds. Quinn Larimer of Mableton, GA and Bronson, owned by Nestledown Equine Services, LLC, finished in third place with a time of 39.576 seconds.

Victory in the $2,500 Equiline High Junior/Adult Amateur Jumper Classic went to Thaisa Erwin of Ocala, FL and Evita, owned by Hollberg Equestrian, with a jump-off time of 39.365 seconds. Second place was achieved by Helena Le Picart of New York, NY and her own Bon Vivant, with a jump-off time of 43.184 seconds. Third place was awarded to Nora Gray of Owen Sound, ON and Dior, owned by Gray, rounding out the jump-off in 42.242 seconds.

The $1,500 NAL Child/Adult Jumper Classic was championed by Jessica Gollel of Wellington, FL and Rosiano Farm’s Prescott 3 rose to the top of the class with a time of 36.539 seconds in the jump-off. Stephanie King of St. Augustine, FL and Co-Starr took second place with a time of 38.69 seconds. Allyson Blais of Boynton Beach, FL and Castlewood Farm Inc.’s Landanima collected third place with a time of 38.909 seconds.

The $5,000 Brazilian Court Hotel 1.35m Stake saw Leslie Howard of Darien, CT and GJ Stable’s Flo take first place with a jump-off time of 31.714 seconds. Jordan Coyle of North Salem, NY and Abigail Poss’ Droomfee HB achieved second place with a time of 32.758 seconds. Samuel Parot of Wellington, FL collected third place with Parot Sport Horses LLC’s Buga Z, after finishing with a time of 32.777 seconds around the short course.

Cassie Kime of Collierville, TN rode to victory aboard her own Tenacious D in the $1,500 Accuhorsemat Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Classic after stopping the jump-off timers in 40.22 seconds. Allyson Blais of Boynton Beach, FL and Castlewood Farm Inc.’s Landanima took second place with a time of 41.089 seconds. Olivia Minicucci of Montreal, QC and her own Arian P earned third place after a jump-off time of 41.84 seconds.

Hunter Highlights:

Julie Curtin of Woodstock, GA and Julie Curtin’s Cassico finished with the blue ribbon in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Arly Golombek of Lake Worth, FL and Pumpkin Patch Farm LLC’s Czech Mate captured second place. Third place honors were presented to Kim Barone of Watertown, MN and Cynthia Bulwicz’s Cyril.

Sophia Calamari of New Milford, PA and California Dreamin’, owned by Millennium Farm Inc., finished atop the Score at the Top Large Pony Hunter Division, ahead of Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC, who collected reserve champion with Small Wonder, owned by Elsa Batalden.

The Pilates Rocks Low Adult Hunter Division saw Laurie Stevens of Boca Raton, FL and her own Santiago rise to the top of the division. Joy Erikson of Wellington, NJ and Bode Well, owned by Melissa Burns, captured reserve champion honors in the division.

Olympia Boardman of New York, NY and Soprano, owned by Alexa Stiegler, were champions of the Palm Beach Riding Academy Short Stirrup Division, while reserve champion was awarded to Isabella Roman, riding Papillon Blue, owned by Holman Imports LLC.

The USHJA Hunter 3′ Division saw Christina Kalinski of Roxbury, CT riding Bozeman, owned by Katherine Oberkircher, take top divisional honors. Reserve champion was awarded to Mary Eufemia of Palm Harbor, FL and her own Central Park.

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

First International Victory at 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival Goes to McLain Ward

McLain Ward and Hija van Strokapelleken. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 10, 2018 – The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival started in fine form, kicking off the 12-week circuit of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. WEF continues through April 1, 2018, and offers more than $9 million in prize money.

There are two highlight events for week 1 of WEF, sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center. They include the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, to start the “Saturday Night Lights” series on Saturday, January 13, at 7 a.m., and the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix, the first grand prix of the season, on Sunday, January 14, at 2 p.m.

Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward won the opening class of the day, the Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers, in the International Arena over a speed course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). He and Hija van Strokapelleken, an 11-year-old BWP mare by Calido I x Azur Depaulstra owned by Evergate Stable LLC, were fast and clear in a time of 69.938 seconds for victory.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Cheltenham Festival Racing 2018

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will take place in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK. The Festival 2018 will take place over 4 days from Tuesday March 13th with the Cheltenham Gold Cup taking place on Friday March 18th. The date of the horse races usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day which makes it popular for Irish visitors.

With 2018 here, the Cheltenham Festival gossip is starting to take shape now with Native River, Sizing John and Samcro all being hotly discussed ahead of next year.

Cheltenham free bets 2018 will keep you updated with the festival in every way imaginable, making sure we don’t just bring you the best Cheltenham betting offers, but the finest free bets, tips, enhanced odds and predictions from across the web.

The festival is all about big betting with 600 million pounds expected to change hands during the 28 Cheltenham Festival Races. The feature horse race will now be the fourth race on the card each day supported with grade one races and handicaps. In September 2017 it was announced that all races will have 48-hour declarations. This is great news for punters and racegoers who will now have more time to study the runners, riders and race form.

The first day of the Cheltenham Festival features the Champion Hurdle and is the main race on day one. The other major races on the first day include the Arkle Trophy and the Supreme Novices Hurdle. There are also some very good handicaps to take in including the Festival Handicap Chase which is always competitive and the Novices Handicap Chase which gives the first season chasers a shot at glory.

Day 2 of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is on the 14th March with the feature race being the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The Queen Mother Champion Chase is another favorite within the Freebets.com camp, and we’ll be sure to bring you the best odds when we get them.

Another top race on day 2 is the Neptune Novices Hurdle which is the long-distance hurdle for future Stayers’ Hurdle candidates. Run on a distance of around three miles on the new course, it’s a big race for punters, with plenty of money going on last year’s winner Nichols Canyon.

The Ryanair Chase is another of Thursday’s finest and has seen a Willie Mullins horse win for the last two years. Will he make it three in a row in 2018?

The highlight of the final day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival will be the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Gold Cup day is one of the biggest in the horse racing calendar and the bookies will be begging you to use their Gold Cup free bets and promotions.

With a prize pot of over £500,000, it’s one of the most lucrative races in the sport and is run over three miles, taking in 22 fences. Last year was won by Sizing John, a 7/1 shot ridden by Robbie Power. He’s among the Cheltenham Festival favorites again with bookies already backing him at 6/1. However, there’s still a way to go and the race is well worth studying the form for.

The Triumph Hurdle kicks off day 4 and the Grand Annual is the last race on the card. The Foxhunters also get their chance on the Friday of the Festival.

Deloitte US Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Earns Gold at the AGDF CPEDI3*

Margaret McIntosh and Heros. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Margaret McIntosh and Heros Top International Para-Dressage Competition Followed by Annie Peavy and Royal Dark Chocolate

Wellington, FL – January 8, 2018 – United States Para-Dressage riders ended a fantastic weekend earning an unprecedented number of scores over 70. Top Grade I rider and 2016 Paralympian from Reading, Penn., Margaret McIntosh, rode Heros to the overall highest individual score. Equestrians from the USA and Canada competed at the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) CPEDI3* Week 0, January 4-7, sponsored by By Mission Control, Rowan O’Riley supporting athletes in the USPEA and US Equestrian, and Cargill. It was an exciting three days in Wellington with unseasonably cold temperatures and high winds but the importance of this international show could be seen from the outstanding scores. For Para-Dressage athletes in Grade I-V, the AGDF shows (Week 2 is January 18-21) are two of only three stateside opportunities left to secure their FEI certificates of capability for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. These shows are also a chance to showcase their rides in front of the FEI Ground Jury consisting of Dr Jan-Holger Holtschmit (GER), Kristi Wysocki (USA), and Sarah Leitch (GBR). The Deloitte U.S. Para-Equestrian Dressage Team earned Gold with USA Teammates Margaret McIntosh, Roxanne Trunnell, Michele Bandinu, and Katie Jackson. The USA Team was led by Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt with US Equestrian Head of Para-Dressage Coach Development and High Performance Programs Michel Assouline.

It was a weekend of record breaking with the largest amount of US Entries in a CPEDI and the greatest amount of riders earning over a 70 or even the high 70s in a CPEDI.

Kai Handt commented, “We had a very large competition and we will do it again in another week. It was a great weekend that began with some inclement weather on the first day of schooling. A lot of people got a little nervous in the beginning but our riders are used to dealing with all types of atmospheres and weather and their scores in the show ring showed that. We had some new team members this week and our system changed where our selection committee picks the team instead of the Chef.

Our team did great and overall and the competition went well. We have some top elite riders that are on the right path to superb tests, our riders scores can be seen improving from the outside resources including the online judging program and the additional Center of Excellence symposiums and Coach Development Programs. I hope we can see some more consistency at the next show and get even more athletes in the mid-70 range.”

Michel Assouline confirmed, “It’s interesting because we have the same two top riders that we had last September in Tryon at the CPEDI3*. I am seeing a great deal of improvement especially with the unprecedented amount of scores in the 70s. The riders had some challenges including the wind and distractions but the high performance riders made it work. Overall the quality of the performances is improving. I can see they are benefitting from the online judging each month helping each rider raise the bar. I have only been in this job for half the year and I already see changes. Gigi (Margaret McIntosh) has moved up by 3% and Annie Peavy has moved up by 2%. We still need more depth, more riders, and more quality horses.”

Before working for the US Equestrian Team, Assouline was with the British Team for 12 years. Assouline explained, “I love the U.S. and I love the challenge of having another project. We have good athletes and immense support but we need more horses. The structure is there and a lot of people are willing to help. America has a great culture in Equestrianism and the horses are brilliant here. But it seems that para-equestrian has been a little behind compared to the European sport. So now we need to push everyone that is on board. It’s nice to see US Equestrian, Murray Kessler, and many other individuals and organizations pushing forward and getting the wheels in motion. A para-equestrian athlete isn’t just an athlete with basic athlete requirements for their sport. A para-equestrian is not only competing and getting that opportunity but we are giving them a better life overall.”

Assouline was instrumental in 2017 with his wife Mette and Margaret McIntosh’s Coach Missy Ransehousen finding McIntosh her new horse Heros. The duo dominated the CPEDI at Global posting scores in the high 70s over the weekend solidifying their partnership for the 2018 year.

McIntosh explained, “We’ve been working really hard since Tryon so I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything we have been working on with Missy came together this weekend. It was nice having done so well in the Team Test that we could relax, concentrate, and really ride my horse for the Individual Test. Taking a step back and experimenting with the warm-up, Missy road her a little bit deeper and rounder and changed things up to the next higher level.”

McIntosh added, “When I looked at my scores I was delighted to have Sara Leitch’s judging feedback because Michele speaks very highly of her as a ground jury member. So when I was received the highest score in the individual test that was vindication that we are on the right track. I am thankful to my Coach Missy, my family and to all the US support staff for their hard work this weekend.”

McIntosh was one of the four members of the US Team which included fellow Grade I rider Roxanne Trunnell (Rowlett, Texas). Trunnell, a 2014 WEG rider and 2016 Paralympian had a consistent week with NTEC Daytona Beach. “I am very happy with Daytona and our tests went really well,” said Trunnell. “We have been working on Daytona’s stretching to the bit and keeping her walks the same tempo. She was quite precise this weekend overall and I enjoyed being a part of the U.S. Team.”

Trunnell rides with Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt at the North Texas Equestrian Center along with Grade V top rider and U.S. teammate Katie Jackson. Only one year ago, Jackson was looking at her first CPEDI competition in The Stadium, and in October 2017 Jackson took over the ownership of this high performance horse Royal Dancer.

Jackson stated, “It’s wild in some ways because it seems like a long journey in a short amount of time. It’s exciting to be back here. It’s my favorite place to show, Royal is happy here, and the arena is great. There isn’t anywhere else I would want to show. I was really pleased with how Royal performed this weekend. He was with me and listening to me. We have been working really hard this fall and it is rewarding to see it all come together in the ring. I am thankful for Kai for helping me focus on each detail of our test. I am also thankful for the clinics with Michele (Assouline). We have plenty to improve on but I am happy with how far we have come. It’s beyond my wildest dreams to own a horse like Royal and we are getting to know each other better and better. He tries his heart out and he just wants to please. There is so much more in him that I haven’t even tapped. I get these glimpses of what the possibilities could be and it’s riveting.”

Michele Bandinu (Santa Barbara, Calif.) rounded out the team of four for the U.S. Bandinu, a grade IV rider, drove his two horses Soulman 13 and Skagen from California for the CPEDI3* shows. “It was an honor being a part of the U.S. Team. There is definitely a lot of support with Michele (Assouline) and Kai (Handt). I am also thankful to my coach Ryan Torkelli and trainer Albrecht Heidemann. As a West Coast Para-Dressage rider I wish there were a few more opportunities on the West Coast since the logistics and mileage can be hard on the horses.”

Also from the West Coast was Alanna Flax-Clark (Los Angeles, Calif.) who flew out to the East Coast to work with Sara Schmitt Dressage LLC. Flax-Clark secured the Grade II win with Captain Moonlight TG. This was her first CPEDI3* and first time in Wellington, FL.

“It was a great show,” stated Flax-Clark. “I have only been riding him a few weeks but he is fantastic. He had to learn a lot for our partnership to work and he learned quickly. He’s a smaller horse with big gates and as soon as he enters the show ring he knows to turn it on. I enjoyed the ride this weekend and I am thankful for all of the support from California, New Jersey, and here in Florida.

In Grade III Rebecca Hart (Unionville, Penn.) finished the weekend with a 74.167 in the Freestyle competition and obtained the Grade III championship. As a Three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016) and two-time WEG athlete (2010, 2014), Hart is comfortable with the electric atmosphere of The Stadium at AGDF. So when Hart and her new mount El Corona Texel paraded down centerline Hart showcased her horse’s power and finesse.

“He’s kind of a unicorn,” smiled Hart. “I am so blessed and I can’t thank Rowan O’Riley enough for helping me with him and backing me. It’s been a true pleasure to experience a horse of such quality and character. Without Rowan it would not have been possible. It has been an amazing four months and I am really looking forward to the future.”

Hart continued, “This weekend has been an incredible event. I have missed getting in the CDI ring and it’s been a lot of fun to go down centerline again with a new horse and new programs. Tex is an extremely talented young horse. He continued to listen, focus, and do his job even when it was windy and cold, which shows his talent as a high performance horse.”

Hart concluded, “I personally want to thank Melissa MacLaren Felix, Sara Mullins, Rowan O’Riley, and my groom Alexandra Philpin for helping us in and out of the dressage ring. I also want to thank all of the managers, sponsors and volunteers, that make Global a first-class event.”

In Grade IV Annie Peavy, 2014 WEG athlete and 2016 Paralympian, performed outstanding with Royal Dark Chocolate. Peavy (Avon, Connecticut) and Royal Dark Chocolate overtook Grade IV with scores in the middle 70s. Together they were the reserve champion high point rider.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

“Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” Online Auction Launches with the Awesome Gem

Proceeds from this fashion sale to benefit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 5, 2018 – The online fashion auction “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” kicked off this week with another beautiful handcrafted Derby chapeau going on the virtual block to raise money for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY.

This is the ninth year that Old Friends has joined with acclaimed milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs® to auction off exclusive Derby hats online, each inspired by one of the non-profit organization’s retired racehorses. The fashion fundraiser has raised over $32,000 to date.

This new hat was inspired by Old Friends retiree Awesome Gem. The now 15-year-old gelding, once campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds, is a multiple graded-stakes winner and counts among his victories the 2010 GR 1 Hollywood Gold Cup.

For this launch, the beautiful chapeau was modeled by Krystal Court accompanied by her husband, leading jockey Jon Court, and their daughter, Aubrey.

Bidding on “The Awesome Gem” can be done between January 1st, 2018 and January 11, 2018 by visiting the Old Friends website at www.oldfriendsequine.org and following the link, or by CLICKING HERE and follow the “click to bid” button.

This new design showcases Awesome Gem’s chestnut coat along with his familiar West Point Thoroughbreds black-and-yellow racing silks.

The hat’s wide, 20-inch, flat-brim design was created out of deep yellow dupioni silk with a black lace overlay and a black taffeta edge. Adornments include a single yellow rose, fashioned out of swirling layers of deep yellow dupioni silk and soft lemon organza, which pays homage to the horse’s Gold Cup win, and a large shimmering button, made of chocolate, crystal, and platinum beads, which adds a final finishing touch.

As always, Steinmann included a physical remembrance of the horse, with strands of Awesome Gem’s tail hair woven into the trim.

Special thanks to EquiSport Photo for the images and video and to the Bella Rose Boutique of Lexington, KY for supplying the beautiful ensembles.

For additional information, contact the Old Friends office at (502) 863-1775.

Maggie Mae Designs® Custom Millinery offers magnificent hats for all occasions – from glamorous racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Ascot to stunning bridal wear and handsome cocktail fashions. Every hat is carefully handcrafted by milliner Sally Faith Steinmann from her home base in South Harwich, MA. Salons of her fashions can been seen on her website at www.maggiemaedesigns.com.

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints Lend Old Friends a Helping Hand

Photo: Retired race mare Misszoey Belle and equine surgeon Dr. Chris Johnson at Old Friends.

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 5, 2018 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY, owes a big debt to the NFL this week — specifically New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Thanks to the Big Ten record-holder — who will kick off against the Carolina Panthers in the first NFL Wild Card Round this Sunday — one of Old Friends’s retired mares was able to have a life-saving operation.

Old Friends is a non-profit sanctuary for more than 175 retired race horses, including two Kentucky Derby winners and numerous other champions. When one of its residents, Misszoey Belle, a now 13-year-old mare, showed sudden and severe signs of a gastrointestinal disorder in mid-December, it was quickly determined that surgery was her only chance for survival.

A hard-knocker on the track, Misszoey Belle had 74 starts and 7 wins, earning only $70,000 in her career and racing until she was eight. After he final start she was bought back by her breeder, John C. Oxley (whose Classic Empire won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2016), and retired to Old Friends.

The mare was rushed to Lexington, KY’s Park Equine Clinic, which usually provides Old Friends with cost-free veterinary care. But an equine surgeon was not available. So the clinic called in Dr. Christopher Johnson, whose Equine Surgical Services is located in nearby Versailles, KY.

She underwent surgery to repair a very serious intestinal obstruction known as an epiploic foramen entrapment. Her life spared, Misszoey Belle returned to Old Friends a few days later and is now recovering well with an excellent prognosis.

Discovering that the mare was an Old Friends retiree, Dr. Johnson offered to waive his fee. But knowing that he was a huge Saints fan, Old Friends resident veterinarian Dr. Bryan Waldridge offered Johnson a concession: How about an autographed football?

“I went to high school in New Orleans, so I have been a Saints fan as long as I’ve been alive,” says Johnson.

Luckily, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is also a well-known racehorse owner, and one of his former runners, Saint Aloysius, was retired to Old Friends after suffering a career-ending injury last year.

Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen made a call to the Saints’ office and Brees was kind enough to help out.

“We always love helping Old Friends and Michael,” said Greg Bensel, who manages GMB Racing for the Bensons and is also the Sr. Vice President of Communications for the Saints. “After all, he was there for us when we needed a good home for Saint Aloysius.

“Drew is so kind and giving with his time that when we need a signed ball he’s always available,” Bensel continued. “And to be honest, he loves the horse-racing industry and he loves that the horses at Old Friends get great care. So while he is busy planning for the Panthers game, I know he feels great about this.”

“It’s really great to see professional athletes such as Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints helping our professional athletes like Misszoey Belle when they need us most,” said Blowen. “We can’t thank the team and Dr. Johnson enough.”

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen, (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Adequan Global Dressage Festival Welcomes Back World Renowned Competition

Photo Credit ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 4, 2018 – The 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is set to once again host one of the most highly-anticipated and competitive dressage circuits in the world, beginning January 4 and continuing till March 31, 2018, at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). This winter circuit will provide indispensable opportunities for a diverse group of riders seeking qualifying scores for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). The season will feature four qualifying events for the discipline of Dressage and two for Para-Dressage.

“We are incredibly excited for this upcoming dressage season,” said Thomas Baur, Director of Sport for the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. “This year we will see riders from all over the world coming to Wellington to prepare for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. We are presenting a new structure of classes at the Grand Prix level, as well as Small Tour levels, and are welcoming top judges that will also be featured at the WEG.”

The season will feature new Large and Small Tour class updates, implemented to allow riders to compete multiple horses in different classes and help the continuation of class growth throughout the season. “We have made the Large Tour into two separate Grand Prix divisions,” commented Monica Fitzgerald, Show Manager at AGDF. “One division will qualify you for the Grand Prix Freestyle and the other will qualify you for the Grand Prix Special. By dividing them into separate classes, we then have the ability to run more Grand Prix rides, which we think a lot of our competitors will be very happy with.”

Baur added, “We are looking forward to the benefits that the new scheduling format will provide. These adjustments will benefit riders, giving them the opportunity to ride two horses, but in separate classes. Fewer starters in each class will also allow more placing opportunities for competitors, and will make the time table run at a smoother pace.”

Competition at AGDF will begin Thursday, January 4, and continue through Sunday, January 7, with the first CPEDI 3* of the season. International competition then continues with the first of seven FEI CDIs hosted during the twelve-week season from January 11-14. The Lloyd Landkamer Memorial CDI-W will begin international CDI competition and serves as a season-opening tribute to longtime AGDF manager Lloyd Landkamer, who passed in 2015.

The second CPEDI 3* competition will follow during AGDF 2 (Jan. 18-21), offering Para-Equestrian athletes another opportunity to earn valuable qualifications for the remainder of the year. AGDF 3 will host another CDI-W from January 25-28.

Competition continues on Thursday, February 8, with the season’s only CDI 5* during AGDF 5, featuring many of the world’s top competitors in the circuit’s largest international week. The week will also host CDI 3*/1* competition alongside the prestigious CDI 5*.

A historic staple of the season commences with the start of the Palm Beach Derby CDI-W, one of the longest-running dressage competitions in South Florida. More recently, a traditional Dressage Derby competition was added to the week’s competition schedule and features four Large Tour riders competing against each other on unfamiliar Small Tour-trained horses in a knockout-style competition, while judges’ commentary is announced following each ride.

The final week of the AGDF season welcomes the FEI CDIO 3* (March 28-31), the only non-championships CDIO 3* in the western hemisphere. The week features top riders competing for their country’s colors in hopes of earning team points towards the overall FEI Nations’ Cup Series.

The 2018 AGDF season features four CDI-Ws, a CDI 4* and CDI 5*, as well as a CDIO 3* and two CPEDI 3* competitions. Local spectators are welcomed and encouraged to come out and enjoy world-renowned competition, as the show is always open to the public and free general admission. The weekly “Friday Night Stars” evenings take place every Friday during international CDI events and showcase the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle class, where combinations ride to choreographed musical routines. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the class begins at 8:00 p.m.

For more information on the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Top Horses That Closed 2017 in Style

As the year comes to an end, horseracing provided us with some great action that will remain in our hearts and in our minds for many years to come. We saw some hot favourites justifying their tags while some underdogs emerged from deep down to create remarkable upsets that were as entertaining to watch, as they were gruelling to digest for many punters who had bet online against them.

Before we turn to a new chapter in 2018, we want you to remember 2017’s best horseracing moments and below we have listed the horses that gave us some heart-stopping performances during this year.

One for Arthur

In April during the Grand National Aintree showpiece, there were two names fans and punters were looking forward to seeing competing tight up to the tail end of the race that is Blacklion, Definatelyred, Saint Are and Cause of Causes. However, one horse came to spoil the party in the process raising the Scottish flag high while making many punters lose a few hundred dollars in wagers. This particular horse is One for Arthur. One for Arthur, as he did show us all the way to the end of 2017, was not just a one-event wonder.

Buveur D’Air

In 2016, Buveur D’Air had already started to show the world flashes of brilliance. It was not really a surprise when he went on to win the Stan James Championship Hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival, but what struck many people was the ease with which he won that race. Considering that the race included powerhouses such as Racing Post Aikle and Labaik, Buveur D’Air’s stunning display just stamped 2017 as Buveur’s best year so far on the track.

Special Tiara

We don’t know what owner, David Young, had seen when he prefixed this horse’s name with ‘special’ but whatever it is, he must have teleported to the future because Special Tiara was all about breaking records in 2017. She broke the duck for British horses winning the Novices Chase at Cheltenham Festival. She also broke Douvan’s unbeaten record during the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a race she won though she was the clear underdog according to several bookmakers.

Sizing John

Whether a seasoned horse with plenty of experience or a first-timer, any horse that manages to win the competitive and highly lucrative Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup deserves a place on the list of outstanding horses in a calendar year and as a result, Sizing John finds his place on our list. Besides the Gold Cup, Sizing John also won the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

2017 Marks the Rise of the Interagro Lusitano

Incrivel Interagro. Photo courtesy of Interagro Lusitanos.

Itapira, SP, Brazil (January 4, 2018) – From the tropical countryside of Brazil to the mountains of Germany, the Interagro Lusitano sporthorse continues to make its mark in the emerging discipline of working equitation. The stud and training center has now developed hundreds of nationally and internationally successful Lusitanos in working equitation, as well as dressage, driving, endurance, and show jumping. From Working Equitation World Cup champions to US and European exports, Interagro’s status as a breeder and developer of victorious working equitation Lusitanos has reached that of a world power.

As the most influential bloodline in working equitation, Interagro horses have racked up wins on four continents in the demanding discipline, which was born from the athleticism, suppleness, and partnership required of working horses for daily tasks around the farm and features three core phases: dressage, obstacles, and speed. Most notable among Interagro’s resume of performance horses is Xaveco Interagro, who with France’s Claire Moucadel at the reins was victorious in the 2016 Brazilian Working Equitation World Cup. Xaveco and Moucadel went on to many working equitation successes, including being awarded the Haras Cup during October 2017’s Haras dos Cavaleiros event, the premier working equitation competition in North America.

Antiochus Interagro also made headlines during the summer of 2017 as a top competitor on the German working equitation scene, while youngsters from Interagro’s I Generation made their debut at the national level in Brazil in October. Incrivel and Inquisidor Interagro, ridden by Edmar Martins Brito and Alexandre Souza, placed first and second in the Novice A division. Another working equitation talent, Empreitero Interagro, with Edmar Brito at the reins, won the Preliminary division. Over the past two years, Interagro’s placings at various levels from Novice to Master have been too many to list, with generations of Interagro Lusitanos converging at various shows and completing alongside each other.

In April of 2017, during the first phase of the Brazilian Working Equitation Championships, horses owned both by Interagro and clients from the farm’s spectacular national Yearling Auctions over the past 17 years navigated the courses and tests. Two young horses, Hanibal Interagro and Hector Interagro, displayed exceptional talent at their show debut; Hector has since been sold to the US while Hanibal was successfully revised as a stallion and added to Interagro’s breeding program. At the time of Hector’s international sale, he was the rankings leader in the 2017 Brazilian Working Equitation Ranking. Also during the first phase of the ranking, Feitor Interagro and Divisadero Interagro advanced to the Preliminary and Master levels, kicking off advanced working equitation careers. Heliodoro Interagro, owned by Alexandre Siqueira and sold during the 13th Annual Interagro Yearling Auction in 2012, was also an active competitor, along with Porfirio Interagro, stunning and competitive at 21 years young, representing the eldest of Interagro’s horses competing at the working equitation championships with his amateur rider Suely Moraes. Porfirio was sold as a 2-year-old in 1997.

As one of the fastest growing equestrian market segments, working equitation is traditionally Portuguese, as is the Lusitano breed, which is the most popular mount for the discipline. On Interagro’s 1,300 acre stud and training center, the concepts of working equitation are used as much outside the competition arena as within, during the daily tasks of managing its 3,000+ horses and the property itself. As such its Lusitanos are naturally inclined towards the discipline, which includes dressage, obstacles, speed, and cow events.

With over 40 years of experience breeding, training, and exporting Lusitanos, Interagro’s mission is to preserve the exceptional bloodlines and qualities of the breed while showcasing their talent, beauty, and intelligence, especially in the FEI and sport horse disciplines. Established in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga, Interagro’s initial vision was to preserve and restore the original foundational Lusitano bloodlines and lineages, many of which were in danger of extinction following the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. Through meticulous breeding, exceptional care, and world-class training, the Interagro Lusitanos of today continue that legacy as they compete across four continents.

For more information on Interagro Lusitanos, Interagro’s horses for sale, or the Lusitano bloodlines, visit Interagro’s website at www.lusitano-interagro.com. To organize a trip to Brazil or for any questions regarding sales or the logistics of importing horses to the US, contact their US Sales Representative, Peter van Borst at 817 368 9447.

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

Tim Jones Takes the Helm as New Executive Director of Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Jacksonville, FL (January 3, 2018) — The Jacksonville Equestrian Center grounds first got its start as a former U.S. Naval base. When the Navy closed down the base, they donated 2,000 acres of forestland to the city of Jacksonville, earmarked for a regional recreational park. The city then created an 80-acre, world-class equestrian center on the property, capable of hosting many kinds of events and often has multiple events simultaneously.

The task of running the versatile, multi-faceted facility in Jacksonville, Florida is now in the capable hands of Tim Jones. Although Jones spent the last several years in Kentucky horse country, he is happy to now call the warmth and balmy beauty of the sunshine state of Florida home.

Jones graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture (agronomy/animal science). “I grew up on a farm in far western Kentucky,” he drawled softly. “But I really did not become involved with horses until I attended The University of Kentucky where I began working part-time on a local Thoroughbred farm to help pay for college.” After starting off hot-walking racehorses, an enthusiastic Jones began to learn the horse business from the ground up. He went on to become a groom, and then an exercise rider.

After a short stint as an assistant farm manager in Ohio, Jones moved back to the Lexington area as the event-coordinator of the legendary Kentucky Horse Park. “Although my position at the park wasn’t hands-on with horses any longer, I was heavily involved with the Mounted Police unit there and was fortunate to ride with them on several occasions, including a musical ride and many public relations functions.” It was at the Kentucky Horse Park that Jones learned about the horse show industry. “I loved the job, and I grew with the department during the next 17 years. We added rings and barns, and it was a really good time to be there.”

Next up for Jones was a seven-year stint as the director of Western Kentucky University’s Agricultural Expo Center in Bowling Green, where he was in charge of the operation of a climate-controlled 2,000-seat indoor arena, an outdoor arena and event stabling. “The Expo Center hosts a number of equestrian and livestock events annually,” Jones explained, “as well as providing classroom and support to the Agriculture Department of the University.” Bowling Green was a much smaller facility, and he says he “missed the larger events at a place like the Kentucky Horse Park.”

“So that’s what brought me to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center,” explained Jones. “More than anything, I like diversity and the variety of lots of different events. Horse shows have similar aspects but there are differences. A barrel racing competition is different from a dressage show, which is different from a hunter/jumper show, which is decidedly different from dog agility. Every day is different.” Then he happily added, “I’m definitely excited about not having to put my snow-and-ice-removal skills to the test!”

Jones’ vast experience will serve him well as he heads up the exciting new phase of construction at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Ground breaking will commence next month for an additional covered arena and cattle cover to complement the 5000-seat indoor coliseum, stadium jumping field, four permanent barns, and seven outdoor arenas The Jacksonville Equestrian Center staff has already developed a reputation for hosting family-friendly exciting events all year round, with most events open to the public. The facility is a favorite destination not only for horse lovers and competitors, but also for recreational events that take advantage of miles of hiking and riding trails, a picnic pavilion and even an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool center abutting the equestrian facility.

For more information about the facility and to find out about upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or Tim Jones at (904) 255-4225.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones 904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221