All posts by Associate Editor

Abigail McArdle Victorious in $50k USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship with Victorio 5

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – December 3, 2018 – Abigail McArdle (Barrington, IL) maintained her lead to take the title after a double-clear performance in the final day of the USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), piloting Victorio 5, a 2006 Hanoverian stallion (Uccello x Graefin) owned by Victorio Equine Group LLC, to the top and besting a field of 15. North Salem, NY native Mattias Tromp had one rail down in the first round of Finals competition but countered with a fault-free score of 70.73 seconds in round two with Eyecatcher, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Ninewood) owned by Beyaert Farm Inc., to improve his rank by one and claim reserve honors on the week. Samantha Cohen of New York, NY entered round two on just two penalties with her own Carmen, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood mare (Whitesnake x Wanado), and finished the day on a four-fault score of 74.05 seconds to be recognized with third place. The $25,000 USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship Class 3 welcomed back the top twelve pairs for the second round in order to discern the day’s winners, influencing the weeklong results as well.

The course design by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) “asked all the questions,” said McArdle, who has finished on the podium twice prior at the USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship. “This is actually my third year competing. Every year I’ve had a great horse and it felt like it was just my time. I was ready to win it. I have a lot of belief in this horse right now and I sort of walked into this week knowing I was going to win,” she recalled.

“It’s not at all like a normal show, where you jump a few classes or do your round and then get ready for the grand prix,” McArdle said of the multi-day format. “It asks different questions of your horse. If they’re tired because they’ve jumped a lot of rounds, it’s hard for them to jump that many clean rounds. You also had to go fast – it’s a lot.”

Runner-up Tromp touched on the importance of the U25 division for up-and-coming riders like himself, saying, “I think this division gives the opportunity for younger riders to compete in a championship format that I think will be very important later on in our careers. I think it’s also a great place for us to develop as riders, and also some younger grand prix horses also fit very nicely into this division.

“I think the hardest part is the first day because it’s faults-converted,” Tromp elaborated. “And although the format is done that way so that a good rider can still be in it if they have a rail down, the reality is there are very fast riders involved. I think going into several days of competition it can undo a horse very quickly, so I think as riders we have to be conscious of our horses – yes, we have to ride fast because it’s a faults-converted format, but we can’t undo the horses, either, so that they’re rushing at fences the rest of the week.”

Cohen agreed, “After the first day with Carmen, I had to do a lot of work on the flat before Friday’s class to kind of reel her back in, because I really made her go the first day and she was at the end of stride. I think remaining consistent is definitely a challenge through all of the rounds – it’s really not over until you’ve jumped the last jump.”

But for Cohen, the week’s youngest competitor, the pressure of a national championship was not a hindrance, and might have pushed her to perform at a higher level, she revealed. “Being on Carmen, the pressure doesn’t really get to me as much because I’m so confident on her, and she really never puts a foot wrong in the ring. This summer I’ve gotten to jump a lot of big classes with her and in a couple of pressure situations, and she’s really helped me out. Sometimes pressure helps me ride better, and I just try to block everything out and just focus on myself and my horse. When I’m on a horse like her, the pressure never seems too bad,” she concluded.

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

Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old Back to Top FEI Dressage World Rankings

Isabell Werth (GER) and Weihegold Old. (FEI/ Leanjo de Koster)

Olympic silver individual and gold team medallist duo, Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old, have topped the FEI Dressage World Rankings once again (2742 points), following their win in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music at the Sweden International Horse Show (“Saab Top Ten Dressage 2018”) in Stockholm (SWE). The famous combination, who were number one for almost two years, from November 2016, only sat in second place for a couple of months behind Laura Graves and Verdades (USA). The American duo now drop back to second place again with 2714 points.

Dressage Queen Isabell Werth can be found three times in the top four of the ranking list, as she holds the third place with Bella Rose 2 (2690 points) and the fourth place with Emilio 107 (2658 points).

A number of other combinations moved up in the rankings, thanks to the Saab Top Ten Dressage 2018 and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier in Madrid (ESP) on 23-25 November 2018. Patrik Kittel with Delaunay Old (SWE) moved from the 97th to the 11th place (2280 points), whilst Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zepter (DEN) jumped from the 175th to the 33rd place (2030 points). Claudio Castilla Ruiz and Alcaide (ESP) also made an enormous leap from the 118th to the 43rd place (1923 points).

With the FEI Dressage World Cup™ season continuing over the next few months there will certainly be more impressive changes in the ranking list.

FEI Media Contact:

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

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

CHI Geneva Welcomes Leading Riders to Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final and Rolex Grand Prix

03 December 2018, Geneva, Switzerland – Held from 6-9 December, the 2018 edition of the CHI Geneva will include two of the pre-eminent equestrian competitions, namely the Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) Top 10 Final and the Rolex Grand Prix, the fourth and final Major of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. The highest-ranking international riders will compete at the famous Palexpo venue, the largest indoor show jumping arena in the world.

This year’s show also features the Youth Challenge, an innovative contest introduced in 2017, giving four juniors and four young equestrians, riding four young Swiss-bred horses, the chance to compete against four of the world’s top riders, including Rolex Testimonee Jeroen Dubbeldam. In last year’s competition, the established champions had to work hard to outperform the Under-21s to win the jump-off.

ROLEX GRAND PRIX

Geneva, a city with a strong equestrian heritage and home to Swiss watchmaker Rolex, is the ideal setting for the final Major of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix. World-renowned course designers Gérard Lachat (SUI) and Louis Konickx (NED) have ensured a challenging circuit for the top horse and rider combinations.

Each of the Majors has a long tradition of sporting excellence. As a long-term partner to all four – The Dutch Masters, CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters,’ and the CHI Geneva – Rolex appreciates the significance of the Grand Slam and has been honoured to be its exclusive partner since 2013.

In contention for the Grand Slam title is Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan, who took top honours at Spruce Meadows in September. Exultant after winning the event’s CP ‘International,’ presented by Rolex, the third Major of the year, El Dahan will attempt to finish his equestrian year on a high by winning a second consecutive Major at the CHI Geneva. “I’m thrilled to have won a Major in the Grand Slam and I will now be concentrating all my efforts on the CHI Geneva,” El Dahan said.

CONTENDING ROLEX TESTIMONEES

With many Rolex Testimonees participating in the Rolex Grand Prix, El Dahan will face challenging opposition.

Steve Guerdat will try for his fourth title, following wins in 2006, 2013 and 2015. The Swiss rider has been in top form this year, claiming individual bronze at the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina in September and winning the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show in May. “Competing in my home country is fantastic, and as part of the Rolex Grand Slam, the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva is particularly significant – I will be giving it my all,” Guerdat says. Also contending will be fellow countryman Martin Fuchs, who joined the Rolex family this year and most recently earned individual silver at the World Equestrian Games.

Vying for the title will also be the defending champion Kent Farrington (USA) aiming to emulate his spectacular 2017 win at the Geneva event.

Hoping to compete in the Grand Prix will be Frenchman Kevin Staut and Scotsman Scott Brash, both of whom have claimed victory at Geneva in previous years. Looking to join the line-up will also include Rolex’s youngest Testimonee Bertram Allen (IRE), as well as fellow Testimonees Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED).

ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL

Only the top 10 riders are invited to compete in the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, which will be held on Friday 7 December. A concept similar to the ATP World Finals in tennis, also supported by Rolex, the Top 10 Final is the only contest run by the competitors, through the IJRC. Rolex has been Title Sponsor of the event since its inception in 2001. This year will be the 18th edition, with CHI Geneva hosting for the 14th time.

Rolex Testimonee and 2010 champion Steve Guerdat will be looking to regain his title in 2018. Whilst Rolex’s newest Testimonee Martin Fuchs will be contending for the very first time, endeavouring to finish his magnificent year on a high by achieving victory.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0)7748 186 833

Margie Engle and Royce Dominate $205,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4*

Margie Engle and Royce. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – December 1, 2018 – Margie Engle (USA) and Royce dashed to a well-deserved victory in the $205,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Engle and Royce were the only pair to finish the evening with a double clear effort, securing their win ahead of Susan Horn (CAN) and Lillyfee, who captured second place with a time of 60.14 seconds in the jump-off. Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and H5 Quintol rounded out the top three placings with four faults and a time of 49.32 seconds.

Engle and Royce are a notorious pair on the international competition circuit and with their win this evening, concluded one of their best seasons together yet as a partnership. Engle and Royce looked in top form, besting a class of 37 entries, finishing faultless in both the first round and the jump-off. The course, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), saw rails fall throughout class and proved difficult for most entries.

“He’s been showing lightly for the last few months and has really only done big shows, probably for the whole year. I think this is only his second show that wasn’t a CSI 5*,” explained Engle. “I’ve been able to save him a little bit with Dicas coming up and the young ones. He’s quite fresh.”

Emphasizing their attentiveness to flatwork over the past few seasons, Engle commented that their efforts are beginning to pay off in the ring, as Royce’s rideability has drastically improved as a result of their commitment to dressage work.

“It’s nice because he’s been home for a little over a month and Lisa Wilcox helps work with him on the flat and whenever she works with him, he goes that much nicer,” she chuckled. “She helps me with the flatwork with quite a few of the Grand Prix horses. She does an unbelievable job and it makes my job that much easier.”

The duo is concluding a banner year together, which featured top results in nearly each of the major international competition they attended. With her new mount, Dicas, on the rise, the balance it has provided for Engle works in Royce’s favor.

“He’s felt great all week. Earlier in the week I was able to do him in the smaller class. I did the 1.45m and he was double clean and jumped great. I was able to save him and use Dicas in the qualifier and Royce jumped great under the lights and fresh. I honestly think he jumped better in the jump-off. The more I started kicking him at the jumps the higher he got.”

While the pair has been a staple combination for the United States for the past few years, Engle feels that her and Royce are beginning to hit their peak as a pair, both growing together and developing a much stronger bond in the past twelve months.

“He’s really matured. I know it sounds funny, but we’ve both matured a little late together. He’s just starting to get the rideability so nice. He’s getting more manageable and he’s really become seasoned and it’s made my job quite a bit easier. He’s always had the jump and been super careful, super powerful, but we lacked in the rideability, but now he’s riding nice so it makes my job easy.”

The two-round format of the class brought the top twelve combinations back to contest the short course and Engle knew that she sat in an enviable position with Royce heading into their final round.

“I knew going into it that there was only one more behind me that was clean and the one ahead of me that was clean had one down. I know Marilyn [Little] is very fast with Clearwater and I had better take a shot, so that even if I had one down, I’d at least get a good piece of it. I was just going to go medium fast, but the further we got around course the better he felt, so I just went with it. It felt like he was getting into so I went with it and keep going.”

For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Margie Engle Dashes to First in $35,000 Dever Golf Cars 1.45m Classic CSI 4*

Margie Engle and Dicas. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – November 30, 2018 – Margie Engle (USA) flew to first place in the $35,000 Dever Golf Cars 1.45m Classic CSI 4* with her mount, Dicas, at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The swift duo halted the timers in 57.52 seconds to ensure top honors. Engle and Dicas, a 2009 Rhenish Warmblood gelding (Diarado x Cassini I) owned by Storm Ridge Capital LLC, Show Horses, Garber & Gladewinds, Inc., took home the win in their final competition for the year. Also representing the USA, Kristen Vanderveen earned second place with Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Darco) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC. Vanderveen completed the course in 57.77 seconds. Todd Minikus (USA) merited third place riding Amex Z, a 2009 Zangersheide mare (Andiamo Z x Landaris) owned by Bit by Bit Group, with a time of 58.86 seconds.

Jumping against 33 pairs, Engle’s speed and accuracy resulted in first place in the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) with her attentive and willing mount. “It was his last class of the year, so he gets a couple of months off now. He’s a young horse and just started moving up the FEI levels this year. I figured I would give it a shot since it’s his last class and now he gets a nice, well-earned vacation.

“He’s a big horse, but he’s gotten quicker and quicker as the years progressed. He’s really fun and he’s been consistent. He’s easy to ride even though he’s really large. He’s got quick thinking and turns quick, so he’s really nice and easy. He’s always really game,” she said.

“I think [it was] the rollback to fence 3 [that] was a big oxer off of a tight turn, but he handled it really well. He just turned well and fortunately everything came up nice and easy off the turns. He’s very trusting and kind of young. He’s kind of naive in trusting in a good way so far, so as long as I don’t do anything to break his trust, then whatever I ask him to do he’ll give it a shot,” concluded Engle.

For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Charity Selection for Great Charity Challenge to Take Place throughout Palm Beach County

Wellington, FL – November 29, 2018 – With over 360 applications received for the chance to participate in the 2019 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), this year’s annual charity selection will take place throughout Palm Beach County between Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 8, 2018. A total of 24 charities will be randomly drawn and earn a spot in the highly anticipated 10th annual GCC to be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019, for a chance to win up to $150,000!

In years past, the drawing of the charities took place at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). This new selection format will bring the community closer and highlight some of the individuals who make the GCC a reality. Joining Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the GCC, will be Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig and Vice Mayor Michael Drahos, as well as Village Council members Michael Napoleone, Tanya Siskind, and John McGovern; Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay; several team and corporate sponsors of the event; local news anchor Roxanne Stein; a live appearance on WPTV; and a visit to Wellington’s Winterfest on Friday, December 7, 2018. To guarantee full transparency in the selection process, all drawings will be posted via Facebook: www.facebook.com/greatcharitychallenge.

The GCC is an exciting pro-am show jumping event that brings together over 30 equestrian families and companies as they sponsor a competing team for $25,000 and $10,000, respectively. Each team is assigned to compete for one of the randomly selected charities, offering amateur riders the chance to compete side-by-side with their Olympic and world-class professional equestrian heroes and role models. With additional donations from local families, businesses, sponsors, vendors, exhibitors, and spectators, the 2019 GCC is on track to fundraise and distribute over $1 million in Palm Beach County. Prize money for participating charities will range from $150,000 to $15,000, ensuring that every charity is a winner.

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and co-founder of the Great Charity Challenge with his daughter Paige, commented, “We look forward to kick-starting our 2019 season with this initiative. We hope that the GCC will become the legacy of our partnership and this facility. This year’s list of applicants is truly inspiring. They work tirelessly to make Palm Beach County a better place – we are very grateful for them!”

Paige Bellissimo added, “The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community. We hope that this year’s edition will unite all involved, from the sponsors and riders, to the nonprofits involved and the community at large! We are very grateful for those who support the effort.”

PBIEC is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the largest and longest running horse show in the world. WEF will run January 9 through March 31, 2019. Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP), the PBIEC operating organization that oversees equestrian events at the venue throughout the year, donates the facility, staff, and infrastructure to ensure the success of the charitable event.

Mark your calendars for the 2019 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® to be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at the PBIEC during the Winter Equestrian Festival’s popular “Saturday Night Lights” series. This family-friendly event offers free general admission and parking. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, this year’s theme of “We Are the World” will focus on promoting unity and celebrate the cultural differences in our community.

Future charity drawings will be held at random during the first weeks of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival and the final two wild card teams will be drawn the night of the GCC on Saturday, February 2, 2019.

For the latest event information and application guidelines, visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com and learn more about the GCC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greatcharitychallenge.

Inside the CHI Geneva: The Elite Contenders for the Rolex Grand Prix

Steve Guerdat riding Alamo (Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

From 6-9 December 2018, more than 40,000 spectators are set to flock to the Swiss city for the 58th edition of the CHI Geneva, the final Major of the year. Taking place in the Palexpo, which at 5,200 m2 is the largest indoor arena in world, visitors can expect to be thoroughly entertained at an event that has won the Best Equestrian Sports Show Worldwide award no less than nine times.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

With several prolific horse and rider combinations set to compete in the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, there are a whole host of contenders who will undoubtedly be among the discussion as to who will be crowned champion in this historic Rolex Major.

A hot favourite to claim the title this year is the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Sameh El Dahan. The Egyptian rider clinched victory at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Calgary riding Suma’s Zorro, and will be tipped by many to continue his fine form in Switzerland. With a potential €500,000 bonus for winning two Majors successfully, Sameh will be doing his utmost to repeat his performance in Canada.

Never far from success is Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat, who currently sits at second in the World Official Jumping Rankings. Being a Swiss rider competing in Geneva, Guerdat is likely to be well supported, and when combined with his unquestioned ability, it would be a surprise if he is not one of the top performers in the competition, especially given that he has already won the Rolex Grand Prix on three occasions.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Live TV Coverage of Olympia Set to Feature Heavily over Christmas Period

Taking place from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 December 2018, Olympia, The International London Horse Show will be available to homes across the UK, with extensive coverage from the BBC starting with the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Freestyle to Music at 19:20 on the evening of Tuesday 18 December.

The BBC coverage, which will total almost 14 hours over the course of the week, cements Olympia’s position as the most important indoor equestrian event in the UK and will showcase the world-class competitive equestrian sport that is on offer.

BBC televised highlights include FEI World Cup™ Jumping, in which, last year, seven of the top 10 world-ranked show jumpers featured, including British Olympic gold medallists Ben Maher and Scott Brash. The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound will also be televised this year and is set to welcome Charlotte Dujardin OBE, who will unveil a new freestyle routine. The three-time Olympic gold medallist, who has not competed in London since setting a new world record in 2015, will bring her rising star Mount St John Freestyle, with whom she won team and individual bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon earlier this year.

Show director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “Working with the BBC is always a pleasure and the coverage of Olympia provides a massive platform for equestrian sport. Its coverage is not only important for Olympia but also for equestrianism in general, given that it is broadcasting world-class competition to an incredibly diverse audience. Its importance really can’t be overstated.”

Coverage will also include international classes, such as the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix and the Cayenne Puissance, which last year was won by Britain’s leading lady rider, Laura Renwick, in what proved to be a closely contested affair.

Friday night, also known as ‘Race Night’, will be televised in its entirety and will undoubtedly be a highlight, featuring fan-favourites such as: the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, an exhilarating and competitive event between young and up-and-coming jockeys, along with the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, in which racing legend Sir AP McCoy will be keen to defend his title.

Further coverage includes international displays from La Garde Républicaine and its famous cavalry regiment along with the Azerbaijan ‘Land of Fire,’ a highly-skilled fusion of gymnastics and equestrianism that is bound to get viewers out of their armchairs. For those interested in other four-legged competition, the Kennel Club Dog Agility competition brings the UK’s best canine partnerships to screens as they battle it out for the biggest title of their careers.

International live coverage of the Dressage, Jumping, and Driving FEI World Cup™ competitions will be available on FEI TV and additional post-event coverage will be broadcast on Horse & Country TV and will be accessible from January.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show may be viewed online and on TV. The day-by-day coverage listing is as follows*:

Tuesday 18 December
• FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound
19:20-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, and FEI TV

Wednesday 19 December
• The Cayenne Puissance
21:15-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV

Friday 21 December
• FEI Driving World Cup™ presented By Dobson & Horrell
12:45-13:40 – FEI Facebook Live & FEI YouTube
• The Entire Evening Performance
18:45-22:30 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
Featuring The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund and The Longines Christmas Cracker

Saturday 22 December
• FEI World Cup™ Show Jumping
13:15-16:30 – LIVE on BBC Two HD, BBC Online & connected TV
14.30-16.30 – LIVE on FEI TV
18.40-19.25 – LIVE on FEI TV

Sunday 23 December
• The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix
18:00-20:00 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, FEI Facebook & FEI YouTube

Monday 24 December
• Recorded Highlights
10:00-11:00 – BBC Two HD, BBC Online & connected TV

Horse & Country TV will feature Olympia highlights including the FEI World Cup™ Dressage, Driving, and Show Jumping competitions, along with the Cayenne Puissance, the Longines Christmas Cracker, and the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix.

Horse & Country TV is available on Sky Channel 253, H&C Play, and Amazon Video.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins gjenkins@revolutionworld.com +44(0)7717 776928

Alex Granato Wins $35,000 Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital 1.50m Qualifier CSI 4*

Alex Granato and Carlchen W. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – November 29, 2018 – Alex Granato (USA) rode home with blue in the $35,000 Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital 1.50m Qualifier CSI 4* with Carlchen W at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Granato dashed through the jump-off in 37.454 seconds to secure the win aboard the 2008 Mecklenburger gelding (Celline x Continue) owned by Page Tredennick. Jumping in close behind, Luiz Francisco De Azevedo (BRA) secured second place in 37.477 seconds riding Collin, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Oberlina x Amethist) owned by Santa Cecilia Stables. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) clinched third place aboard Bull Run’s Almighty, a 2008 Hanoverian gelding (Queen x Quidam De Revel) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC, with a jump-off time of 37.849 seconds.

Among 45 pairs, Granato remained victorious with his tidy turns in the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). “I was really happy with him today. He felt super. He is a naturally quick horse and with going first, I wanted to be prompt and efficient and just let him carry his own motor and now have to ask for a whole lot extra since we have another big class this week,” he commented.

“It was a pretty nice course and it was smooth. I was more focused on rideability early in the first turn, because [from fence] one to two was a pretty big gallop across the ring, and in one of the tight turnbacks from the second jump back to the liverpool oxer. I just wanted to keep him pretty focused there so that he had a tidy turn and was rideable. He did that really well – he galloped to the vertical and then really sat down and rolled back well. From there, I just wanted to keep it smooth and stay tidy to be as efficient as we could,” stated Granato.

Granato relayed his plans for the upcoming week, saying, “Today was our warm-up for the Grand Prix on Saturday. Tomorrow will be a relaxing day for him. He’s a naturally hot-blooded horse, so tomorrow we’ll do a long, relaxing flat to just get his focus and his rideability back and hopefully he comes out Saturday ready to jump the same way.”

Samantha Cohen Collects $10,000 USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship Class 1 aboard Carmen

Samantha Cohen (New York, NY) piloted her own Carmen to victory in Thursday’s $10,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship Class 1, slicing the 2007 Dutch Warmblood mare (Whitesnake x Wanado) through the timers in 66.35 seconds to best the field. Abigail McArdle claimed the second-place rosette, hailing from Barrington, IL and riding the Victorio Equine Group LLC entry, Victorio 5, a 2006 Hanoverian stallion (Uccello x Graefin). Rounding out the podium in third, Mattias Tromp (North Salem, NY) and Eyecatcher, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Ninewood) owned by Beyaert Farm Inc., cleared the course in 66.89 seconds.

In the single-round, faults-converted competition boasting 16 of the division’s best young riders to test the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), Cohen and Carmen were able to save time on every turn to take the win. She explained, “Carmen is awesome at the speed – she’s kind of just kick and turn, and she’s always right there for me. I went late in the order and since it was faults converted, I thought I would go in and just give it my best shot and it worked out well. There were a few turns where I was really kicking on and she really helped me, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Cohen and her “horse of a lifetime” have competed together from the High Juniors to international Grand Prix classes. She elaborated: “I cannot say enough good things about her. It’s just been an amazing year and a half with her. I started with her in the High Juniors and she’s taken me up to the U25. I’ve gotten to do some 2* and 3* with her and she really is the most perfect horse you could ask for at home. She’s a little bit quirky,” Cohen continued. “She looks around the ring and is a bit of a mare at home, but she would never put a foot wrong at the show and has the biggest heart.”

Cohen’s victory on Thursday kicked off the USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship week at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), which will continue through Sunday, December 2. Cohen praised the U25 division for its importance to up-and-coming riders, stating, “The U25 circuit has prepared me really well for international classes. Last season was my first year competing on the U25 circuit and it was definitely a learning experience. It was nice because in Europe the classes are so big and competitive with lots of professionals, so this division has done amazing things for me in terms of bridging the gap from the High Juniors to the bigger FEI Grand Prix competitions,” she elaborated. “I predict throughout the week it’ll keep getting bigger and more technical. I think this division is great and I look forward to doing it and learning from it for a few more years.”

For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Shane Sweetnam Sweeps $35,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener CSI 4*

Shane Sweetnam and Palina De L’Escaut. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – November 28, 2018 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Palina De L’Escaut produced a double clear in the $35,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener CSI 4* to begin 2018 Holiday & Horses competition at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), conquering their first FEI-level class together with ease and stopping the second-round timers in 30.499 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) rode his own Thriller P, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Lucky Light), to second and double clear in 30.59 seconds, while Daniel Bluman (ISR) rounded out the podium in 31.327 seconds on the speed portion aboard Cartouche, a 2007 stallion, owned by Bluman and Over the Top Stables, LLC.

Forty-five entries tested the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), and Sweetnam remarked that the 2009 Hanoverian mare (Perigueux x Gottard), owned by Sweetnam, Paul Tracy, and Spy Coast Farm, LLC, proved herself quite capable of answering the questions posed to the course’s challengers, despite the fact that it was their first FEI class.

“I’ve had her since the end of the summer and she’s a bit green still,” Sweetnam explained. “I knew from the courses I’ve done on her that she’s quite nifty at turning and she’s very careful, so I knew she could do that turn, though I wasn’t sure it would be enough to win the class. It definitely worked out in my favor.”

In particular, the manner in which Palina De L’Escaut attacked said turn made a significant difference in the speed portion of the class. Sweetnam elaborated: “The second half in the speed part, there was an option with a turn that obviously not everybody did and that made a big difference for the win. I think naturally she covers the ground and is quite a quick horse, but I do think she saved two seconds when she turned the way she did, because she literally came off the jump before, turned and looked, and we went straight for it. She zoned in on it perfectly.”

Sweetnam stated that he has been trying horses in Europe frequently throughout the year and first partnered with the mare in Belgium. Right away, he noticed some qualities that he liked. “Honestly, she gives a great feel and she’s very sensitive, but at that stage she was still quite raw,” he admitted. “And she still has little things to learn, but she’s a very quick learner and she’s picking up everything very fast.

“This week, since I’m still getting to know her, she’ll do the [$35,000 Dever Golf Cars 1.45m Classic] class Friday and hopefully she can do a lot more in Florida this year. I definitely think she’ll do a couple Grand Prix classes, but I’m not sure yet [what she’ll do this winter]. When the timing is right, I’m sure she’ll let me know if she’s ready or not,” Sweetnam concluded.

Up-and-Coming Athletes Set for $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship at Holiday & Horses Show

The $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship is ready to begin at the Holiday & Horses Show in the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s International Arena. The championship’s fourth edition will run from November 29 to December 2. Athletes between the ages of 16 and 25 will compete in three competitions with fences up to 1.50 meters in height in hopes of claiming top honors.

The $10,000 faults-converted competition will kick off the championship on Thursday, followed by a $15,000 jump-off competition on Friday. The championship will be decided after the $25,000 two-round competition on Sunday. The champion will be the competitor with the lowest number of penalties after the three phases of the championship, with $50,000 in prize money awarded to the top-10 overall.

Twenty-four-year-old Abigail McArdle (Barrington, Ill.) claimed individual bronze with Adamo in 2016 and Chuck Berry 8 in 2017. She started a partnership with Victorio 5, Victorio Equine Group, LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion, earlier this year and aims for a top performance in the championship. McArdle and Victorio 5 earned three top-six finishes at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October as they continue to develop as a team.

Several competitors from this summer’s Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North (NAYC) are stepping up to this championship to further their education with the challenging competition format. Seventeen-year-old Samantha Cohen, young rider team gold and individual silver medalist, and 18-year-old McKayla Langmeier, young rider individual bronze medalist, bring their NAYC mounts, Carmen and Durosa W, respectively. Cohen (New York, N.Y.) and Langmeier (East Granby, Conn.) were also teammates on the U.S. team in the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth Final held in Opglabbeek, Belgium, in September.

For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.