Category Archives: Breeds

Valerie Daidah and Var Capture Vita Flex Victory Pass Award

Valerie Daidah and Var (Photo courtesy of Avalon Photography LLC)

Burbank, CA (October 14, 2015) – Valerie Daidah and Var took the 2015 International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) Friesian World & Grand National Championship Horse Show by storm, claiming nine championship titles and the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award. Daidah and Var, a 17-year-old Friesian gelding (Reitse x Seitse) imported from the Netherlands, displayed their winning talents during the national championships held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, California this month.

Vita Flex, a leading producer of horse performance supplements, holds excellent performances in the show ring in high prestige. The company has presented the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award at several recent national championship breed shows to reward special combinations of horse and human who cross the fine line between good and great.

This horse and driver combination of Daidah and Var caught the eye of the judges and show committee at the IFSHA World and Grand National Championships during one of their astounding nine national championship victories. Daidah and Var earned the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award for their performance in the World Champion Friesian Carriage Pleasure Driving Working Single Masters ATD class. Along with the championship title, they received the Vita Flex Victory Pass Award neck sash and a Vita Flex prize bucket that was comprised of many of the company’s top products. This included the Lactanase® supplement, which provides ingredients that support the production of cellular energy, making this supplement extremely popular for high performance horses. The prize also included the AccuLytes™ Balanced Electrolyte Formula, which replenishes electrolytes that are often lost during long trailer rides, stressful situations, and exercise.

Vita Flex was pleased to present this prize to Daidah and Var, as they bested the competition during the Friesian World & Grand National Championship Horse Show. Some of their other winning performances in World Champion Friesian Carriage Country Pleasure Driving classes came in the divisions Reinsmanship, Amateur Driver, Concours d’ Elegance, Driven Dressage, Turnout-Single, Costume, and Multiple Hitch-Tandem.

As the champions of the Turnout-Single division, Daidah and Var won the Richard Snavely Memorial Pleasure Turnout Single Open Perpetual Trophy, which is presented in memory of Richard Snavely. Winning this trophy had sentimental significance for Daidah. “Richard was a dear friend of mine,” she explained. “Just three years ago, I lost a horse that he trained that I used to compete with.”

Daidah and Var were also honored with the Anita Mellott Memorial Driving High Point Perpetual Trophy, for accumulating the highest number of driving points during the entirety of the IFSHA World and Grand National Championships. “It was awesome. I am so proud of Var,” she reflected.

This year, Daidah and Var appeared at the championships for the first time since 2010, making what Daidah described as a “comeback” of sorts. In 2010, Var earned the prestigious titles of USEF Friesian Driving Horse of the Year, IFSHA High Point Driving Horse, and the Friesian Horse Association of North America (FHANA) Performance Driving Award.

When asked to describe her champion partner Var, Daidah explained, “He is sweet and loving and a bit of a goofball. He slaps his lips and puts his tongue out when he wants a treat.” Some of that personality certainly helped the pair earn their winning title in the costume class, where Var was a winged horse. “I had flamed leg wraps on him and flamed mane extensions. I was wearing a devil costume and I had flames on the carriage,” said Daidah, smiling with fondness for her Friesian partner.

Vita Flex provides riders, trainers, and owners with advanced supplements specifically created for equine athletes to help keep horses in peak health. Vita Flex® products include health supplements, antioxidants, electrolytes, joint supplements, performance supplements, topical ointments, vitamins, and minerals. For more information about Vita Flex and its line of superior horse products, visit or call (800) 848–2359.

Contact: Katie Stevenson
(602) 281-3872

Judith Von Duyke and Canadian Justina Win World Equestrian Brands Tack Matters Award

Judith Von Duyke and Canadian Justina (photo courtesy of Don Stine Equine Sports Photography)

Raleigh, NC (October 2, 2015) — World Equestrian Brands – the United States distributer of the top tack and equipment brands Equilibrium, E. A. Mattes, Vespucci, and Amerigo – travels to prestigious horse shows across the country to commend competitors for using functional tack combined with attractive, correct presentation. The company is known for giving out great prizes for competitors’ efforts. At the 2015 Sport Horse National Arabian and Half Arabian Championship Horse Show, Judith Von Duyke won and was reserve in two championship classes respectively, but also the World Equestrian Brands Tack Matters Award.

Von Duyke secured the win in the Carriage Pleasure Driving Turnout class among a field of nine competitors with Canadian Justina (Canadian Love X HL Justaglitter (The Chief Justice)), a seventeen-year-old Arabian mare owned and trained by her daughter, Sarah Vas of Winfield Farm & Forge of Grafton, Ohio. Justina was broke to drive as a nine-year-old and she’s secured many national titles with Vas at the reins as well as with Winfield Farm’s assistant trainer, Stephanie Brown. Although a life-long horsewoman, Von Duyke has only been driving intermittently since April of this year. Von Duyke only had about four solid months of carriage instruction under her daughter’s tutelage when she drove through the in gate at the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals.

Von Duyke was happy to have remembered her training as she entered the arena. “I was most worried about making mistakes, but all of the safety instruction and hours of practice culminated in my not only doing well in my classes, but also enjoying the experience,” she said.

Although Von Duyke didn’t start riding until she was in her teens, as a child she loved to pet the milkman’s horse in front of her home. Finally, at the age of 27, she was able to own her first horse.

“Actually, it was a pony,” she laughed. “From there, I have been involved in breeding, riding, horse show announcing, competing, and enjoying the ‘ride’ as I experience the horse world with my daughter, Sarah, as she pursues her professional equestrian career.”

Von Duyke claimed the championship in the Carriage Pleasure Driving Turnout class and reserve championship in the Carriage Pleasure Working class, where she was second in a field of twelve competitors. Having the best tack when competing is as important to Von Duyke as it is to World Equestrian Brands. The judges and show committee at Arabian Sport Horse Nationals noticed Von Duyke and Justina’s impeccable presentation and quality tack, and chose the pair to receive the World Equestrian Brands Tack Matters Award. Von Duyke’s trainer and daughter agreed that a well-fitted harness and saddle is important to success.

Vas, who rides as well as drives, pointed out that Arabians are known for being difficult to fit saddles to, based on their compact rib cages, short coupling, and wide shoulders. Vas has used E. A. Mattes pads (offered by World Equestrian Brands) to help her saddles fit correctly with great results, saying that they are well crafted and easy to care for.

World Equestrian Brands is a leading U.S. distributor of world-class, high performance tack and products. Winners of the World Equestrian Brands Tack Matters Award, chosen by show officials and USEF judges for superior attention to the detail of the competitors’ tack, are presented with an item from one of the popular brands World Equestrian Brands carries – Amerigo, Vespucci, E. A. Mattes, or Equilibrium – as well as a neck ribbon.

World Equestrian Brands is happy to recognize Von Duyke’s dedication to top-quality tack. For more information about World Equestrian Brands and the products it offers to make horses and riders look and feel like champions, visit

Robin Moore
World Equestrian Brands

Urban Legend+++// Is Champion at 2015 Arabian Sport Horse Nationals

Urban Legend+++//, owned and competed by Amy Kerr (in carriage) (Photo courtesy of Don Stine Equine Sports Photography)

Raleigh, NC (October 2, 2015) – After a dangerous carriage driving accident, Amy Kerr of New Tripoli, Pennsylvania never expected to drive again. With her own self-trained Half-Arabian gelding, though, she once again took the reins and drove to a national championship, a reserve national championship, and seven top ten placings at the recent 2015 Sport Horse National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show held at the Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. Horse Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As Kerr’s super-fit Half-Arabian gelding Urban Legend+++// showed his talent in front of the carriage and also under saddle, his physical ability stood out to the show committee and judges. Urban Legend+++// was chosen as the winner of the TheraPlate Peak Performance Award. The award, presented by TheraPlate Revolution Therapy Platforms (the Official Therapy Plate of the United States Equestrian Federation), perfectly highlighted a successful weekend for Kerr and her horse at the Arabian national championships.

TheraPlate Revolution Therapy Platforms, a company based in Weatherford, Texas, offers easy-to-use products for horses, humans, and other animals. Standing on the platforms can provide benefits such as relieving pain in users, speeding healing from injuries, and – as the Peak Performance Award is named – achieving ideal fitness to enter the show ring in top form.

Urban Legend+++//, known as Bandit, is an 11-year-old Buckskin Quarab and Pinto cross sired by the cremello Quarter Horse stallion True Blue McCue and bred by Wendy Bockman. Kerr purchased Bandit’s dam, a bay Arabian mare named WA Muzel (by Muzcat), while WA Muzel was three months in foal. On July 5, 2004, Bandit’s journey began with his one-and-only owner. “He was my first baby,” said Kerr. “I’m proud to say I have done all of the training on Bandit. No one else has touched him as far as training goes, so for better or worse he is a reflection of myself.”

It is quite the reflection of a superb horse-and-rider partnership, as the pair captured the National Championship in the A/HA/AA Carriage Pleasure Driving Working class and the National Reserve Championship in A/HA/AA Carriage Pleasure Driving Drive & Ride. Bandit also earned several Top Ten placings throughout the competition.

As Kerr has been dedicated to training Bandit as her winning partner, TheraPlate Revolution Therapy Platforms is dedicated to helping horses achieve and maintain the body condition needed for health, success, and comfort. The company is happy to congratulate Kerr and Bandit on achieving such impressive fitness.

Bandit helped his owner, who had given up driving after a carriage accident with a former horse, gain the confidence needed to win at the prestigious Arabian Sport Horse Nationals. “The memory of the accident will always be in the back of my mind,” said Kerr. Kerr wasn’t sure she even wanted to teach her horse how to drive, but eventually she took a step forward and began ground driving him. “If you would have told me when he was first born that the two of us would have come this far, I probably would have told you what a tall tale you are telling. Honestly, he’s truly my once-in-a-lifetime, one-of-a-kind, jack-of-all-trades horse. He’s always willing to try his heart out for me, lets me do just about anything to him, and puts up with my silly ideas.”

Kerr works hard to keep Bandit fit, and appreciated being recognized for her efforts with the TheraPlate Peak Performance Award. “Between my half-lease and me, Bandit gets worked about five to six days a week. It could be driving one day and jumping the next, but we try to keep his mind fresh by doing new things. I always try to finish his workout with a little trail ride around the barn pastures. Bandit is on an every-other-day turnout schedule with his stable mates, and I think letting him go out and ‘be a horse’ keeps him mentally happy,” she said.

The TheraPlate Peak Performance Award distinguishes horses like Urban Legend+++// that stand out from the crowd, exemplifying the most pristine fitness and athletic ability of their breed. TheraPlate Revolution Therapy Platforms offers both horses and people the chance to reach their absolute best athletic ability through health and body conditioning. Each TheraPlate platform can improve circulation, bone density, and muscle mass, as well as reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain.

For more about the TheraPlate therapy platforms, visit or call (800) 920-3685.

Contact: Chip Kreiling
TheraPlate Revolution

Zopatti and Uwannabeme WH Win Two National Championship Titles at AHA Sport Horse Nationals

John Zopatti and National Champion partner, Uwannabeme WH (Photo courtesy of Bob Tarr).

Pinehurst, NC (September 29, 2015) – USDF Gold Medalist John Zopatti and KWPN-Half Arabian gelding Uwannabeme WH had lofty goals for the 2015 competition season. Their hard work and clever planning culminated in two national championship titles at the 2015 AHA Sport Horse National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show. Zopatti and Uwannabeme WH won both the Second and Third Level Championship for Arabians, Half-Arabians, and Anglo-Arabians at the Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. Horse Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Zopatti, a four-time Gold Coast Dressage Association Trainer of the Year, began working with the talented gelding in February 2015. Over the summer, Uwannabeme WH, or “Slim” as he is affectionately called, went into full training at Zopatti’s summer base – Gavilan Farm in Hoffman, North Carolina. Slim’s owner, Loxahatchee, Florida native Johnny Robb, thought the horse would benefit from training in the same area where the Sport Horse Nationals would be held.

Robb also competed with Slim at the 2015 Sport Horse National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Show. The pair spent some time bonding in the in-hand division, where Robb and Slim earned a top-ten finish in the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Sport Horse Geldings In-Hand Dressage Type Amateur to Handle Championship class.

Despite the hubbub of a national championship competition, Slim set about handling his business like the champion he is. Zopatti was proud with Slim’s performance over the course of the competition, particularly in the Third Level class where the horse gave an accurate and submissive performance, scoring an impressive 75.513% to best the class of 25 horses. “The same confidence that he shows at home, he is starting to bring to the horse show now,” said Zopatti.

“This was my first year at the Arabian Nationals. It was quite a different experience going to these Sport Horse Nationals,” said Zopatti. “The prizes that they give you – the statues and the ribbons – are really cool. They laid the roses across his withers and they have these ribbons that went from his head to the ground. I have to say, it was a really great experience.”

Earlier this year, Zopatti was named National Champion in the Open Dressage Show Hack division at the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IAHLA) National Championships, which was his first breed show championship. He bested the field of sixteen riders aboard Johnny Robb’s Zerbino Interagro, a twelve-year-old Lusitano gelding. Proving himself a talented rider for dressage horses of all breeds, Zopatti is becoming accustomed to winning the roses. “This was the year of breed shows for me,” Zopatti exclaims. “I had never done one before in my life. It is quite a different experience to have all different disciplines simultaneously competing at the show.”

At the 2015 Arabian Sport Horse Nationals, Slim caught the eye of spectators with his extravagant movement, causing many people to ask Robb and Zopatti about the horse’s breeding. Slim is out of a Dutch Warmblood mare and sired by the renowned Arabian stallion, Baske Afire. “We would say he was a Dutch-cross, but many people thought that meant he was a Dutch Harness horse. By the end of the horse show, I learned to say Dutch Warmblood cross,” said Zopatti.

Slim is now enjoying a well-deserved vacation in the paddock. After his rest, he will be getting back to training. “His real strength is in the FEI work,” commented Zopatti, who hopes to continue to develop the horse’s confidence and possibly begin showing the Prix St. Georges and small tour dressage in the 2016 show season in Wellington, Florida. “He is already scoring in the 70s at Fourth Level and showing real promise for all the FEI level movements,” Zopatti added.

To learn more about John Zopatti, visit or call 561-722-7555.

Contact: John Zopatti

Champions Crowned at US Open Arabians as Rolex Central Park Horse Show Begins

Sally Wheeler-Maier and Captain Courageous PA accept Silver Champion from Cynthia Richardson. Photos by Emma Maxwell.

 New York, NY – Horses returned to New York City’s Central Park for the second-annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show on Wednesday with the inaugural U.S. Open Arabians, presented by Aljassimya Farm. Showcasing the athleticism and diversity of the Arabian breed in the foreground of the Manhattan skyline, Champions in four under saddle and six halter classes were crowned.

Classes including Hunter Pleasure, Western Pleasure, and Country English Pleasure showcased the Arabian horse under saddle. Yearling Fillies, Yearling Colts, Junior Fillies 2-3 Years Old, Junior Colts 2-3 Years Old, Senior Mares and Senior Stallions were presented in hand to highlight these horses as desirable breeding stock based on their conformation and shape.

Capping the evening, Arabian fans at Wollman Rink traveled through time to when Arabian horses roamed the desert. The Arabian Mounted Native Costume class portrayed the magic and romance of the Arabian horse as ancestors of modern day light breeds.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Champions were awarded for each of the ten classes offered at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show where Sally Wheeler-Maier, a New York City native, was presented as Silver Champion in the Country English Pleasure class aboard her own Captain Courageous PA. Wheeler-Maier is an amateur rider who makes a living as an actress and rides part-time.

“Usually you travel all over the country to show, but I walked ten blocks from 66th and 2nd carrying my show hat and I had a lot of family and friends here cheering me on, which was an amazing feeling,” she said.

Wheeler-Maier has been showing since she was nine years old, after reading The Black Stallion and asking her dad for a black Arabian stallion. She received just that and has since been dedicated to the breed through her training at Trowbridge Arabians in Westport, CT and at shows from coast to coast, a list that now includes New York City.

“It’s like a really fantastic fancy horse camp,” said Wheeler-Maier of competing in Central Park alongside professionals.

One professional that competed in five of Wednesday’s classes and earned two Gold, one Silver and two Bronze Championships was Ted Carson. Carson hails from Minnesota, but now calls North Carolina home and competes all over the world.

“I’ve been showing horses professionally for 26 years now and this is the most amazing spot I have ever shown a horse in. To run in there with the first horse of the show was special,” he said. “I think the footing is some of the best I’ve ever seen in the world. This is probably the best setting you could ever think about and I think that everyone who put in the effort to get this done is amazing and we want to support this heavily.”

Cathy Vecsey and HL Sanction on their way to winning the Native Costume Class
Cathy Vecsey and HL Sanction on their way to winning the Native Costume Class

While exhibitors were in awe of their surroundings, they still impressed the judges, including Dr. Nasr Marei, who traveled from Egypt to be part of the U.S. Open Arabians. “It is a true honor to be here and I think it will get better and better,” he said. “The show was tremendous and organizationally it was spectacular. The quality of the horses was impressive and it’s a backdrop that is the best in the world.”

Cynthia Richardson, president of the Arabian Horse Association (AHA), spearheaded the U.S. Open Arabians after watching the inaugural Rolex Central Park Horse Show on television last year. “After I saw it, I asked the USEF if I could meet with the people who are organizing the show and I came to talk about how we could make this happen and it’s been an amazing journey,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to next year and building this.”

Richardson and International Equestrian Group CEO Mark Bellissimo were proud to announce that the U.S. Open Arabians will return to headline the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and anticipate a huge response from the Arabian horse community.

“I think it adds a different dimension and twist to the show and we’re very excited about the possibilities as we move forward,” said Bellissimo. “With more time and more exposure, I think the level of the event will continue to grow and I’m looking forward to packing the stands next year. Our vision for this horse show has always been a celebration of the horse and I think expanding that appropriately to different disciplines and breeds is something we aim to do.”

Full results from the U.S. Open Arabians are available here.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show continues through Sunday, September 27, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport. In addition to Arabians, the schedule includes the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, and U25 Jumpers. All classes will be streamed live at

About Aljassimya Farm

Aljassimya Farm is committed to the Arabian horse. Not only by linking the history of this timeless horse to his future, by breeding our own elite generations; but by sharing the magic of the breed with new audiences. It is a proud moment to be part of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, bringing the Arabian Horse to the heart of New York City for the first time.

About Rolex Central Park Horse Show

Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. In its second year, Rolex Central Park Horse Show will make its triumphant return from September 23 to 27, 2015 and will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, U25 Jumpers, and Arabians. For more information, visit, on Facebook at, and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.

Additional information can be found at and

Media Contact:
Shin-Jung Hong
Nicholas & Lence Communications
Tel: 212.938.0005

Equestrian Media Contact:
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Lindsay Brock

Arabian Horses Take NYC by Storm at Rolex Central Park Horse Show This Week

Photo Courtesy of Arabian Horse Association.

New York, NY – The world stage is set. The path has been laid out. The weather, with clear skies and enjoyable temperatures, is predicted to be perfect. The historical unveiling of the Arabian horse at New York City’s Rolex Central Park Horse Show is just days away, aligning with the arrival of Pope Francis to the ‘Big Apple’.

The transformation of the famous Central Park in Manhattan is in full swing as New York City prepares for a historic week. Arabian horses arrive in Central Park for the U.S. Open Arabians the opening night of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show on Wednesday, September 23. Beginning at 6 p.m., this unprecedented event will showcase the Arabian breed to the world.

A mix of In-Hand/Halter and Performance classes will grace Wollman Rink Wednesday evening. In-Hand/Halter classes include Yearling Fillies, Yearling Colts, Junior Fillies, Junior Colts, Senior Mares and Senior Stallions.

These Halter horses are some of the world’s most beautiful, well conformed and magical horses of the breed. Their beauty, grace and quality have been dignified through Canadian and U.S. National Championship titles. Some have earned foreign titles from around the world, including honors from the World Arabian Horse Championship at the Salon du Cheval Paris, and the All Nations Cup in Aachen. Their handlers are professionals of the breed, claiming wins from these prestigious locations as well, and skillfully presenting these horses to their winning titles.

The Arabian Performance horses invited to the event include those from the disciplines of Western Pleasure, Country English Pleasure, Hunter Pleasure and Arabian Mounted Native Costume. These horses and their multi-National Champion riders bring to the limelight the diversity and athleticism of this amazing breed. These horses have earned National, Reserve National and Top Ten honors at the Canadian National and U.S. National Championship shows.

The Sport Horse discipline of the Arabian breed will be portrayed in the Sunday, September 27 exhibition, where invited horses claim both Open and National titles from the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals and Scottsdale Signature All-Arabian Horse Show. The exhibition is free to the public.

To purchase tickets to the U.S. Open Arabians and be a part of history on Wednesday evening, visit Tickets are $150 per seat plus tax. For more information on the U.S. Open Arabians at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, visit the Arabian Horse Association or Rolex Central Park Horse Show websites.

Follow the Arabian Horse Association on Facebook, Twitter @AHAArabian and Instagram @arabianhorseassoc, using the hashtag #ArabianHorsesTakeNYC for live updates and pictures from the event.

About the Arabian Horse Association

AHA is a major equine association serving 85,600 Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horse owners across North America. AHA registers and maintains a database of more than one million Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses and administers approximately $3 million in annual prize money. AHA produces championship events, recognizes over 550 Arabian horse shows and distance rides and provides activities, education, and programs that promote breeding and ownership.

Media Contact:
Shin-Jung Hong
Nicholas & Lence Communications
Tel: 212.938.0005

Equestrian Media Contact:
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Lindsay Brock

Belgian, Dutch and Polish Studbooks Claim 2015 FEI World Breeding Jumping Titles

Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet steered Mjt Nevados S to victory in the 7-Year-Old category at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses 2015 at Lanaken in Belgium today. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Lanaken (BEL), 20 September 2015 – The KWPN gelding, Earley, made another piece of Jumping history today when becoming only the third-ever horse to record back-to-back wins when taking the 6-Year-Old title at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for Young Horses 2015 at Lanaken in Belgium.

This hugely popular annual gathering draws vast numbers of breeders, producers and enthusiasts from all around the globe who come to the world-famous Zangersheide Stud to compare the latest crop of 5, 6 and 7-year-olds representing many different studbooks. And it was the Belgian-bred Kerswin van ‘T Roosakker who won the 5-Year-Old category while the Polish stallion, Mjt Nevados S, claimed the 7-Year-Old title.

Once again the entry was enormous, with 224 starters in the 5-Year-Old Championship, 273 in the 6-Year-Olds, and 208 in the 7-Year-Old category. For any horse to take a medal from such a colossal field of starters is quite an achievement, and for any horse to do it two years in a row is exceptional. The 6-Year-old Earley has earned his place alongside just two other back-to-back champions – last year’s 7-Year-Old winner, Barnike who represented the Dutch Ridinghorse and Pony Studbook with Ireland’s Bertram Allen on board, and the KWPN No Time, who topped the rankings in 2000 and 2001 ridden by Dutchman Peter Geerink.


Only horses that jumped clear in the first and second qualifiers were eligible for today’s 5-Year-Old Final, and from the 49 starters in this competition just nine went through to the second-round jump-off. This was a smaller number than usual to make it through to the final phase, as the time proved influential in the first round.

And Kerswin van ‘T Roosakker (Echo van ‘T Spieveld/Diamant de Semilly) broke the beam in today’s jump-off in a speedy 37.33 seconds to take the gold with Doron Kuipers in the saddle. The 24-year-old Dutchman has stables near Rotterdam (NED) from where he competes his own string of horses along with six belonging to Kerswin’s owners, Stal Everse BV. Micha Everse rode the gelding earlier in the year, and Kuipers took up the reins just eight weeks ago. It was a success-story from the very start.

“I have never jumped a jump-off with him before, but I felt from the beginning that he really worked with me. He is careful and has scope and he goes for it. That’s all you need to win! This is the first time I’ve made it into the Final (at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships) and I’m pretty happy because immediately I’ve taken the best colour medal!” Kuipers said.

Silver medal spot went to another from the BWP Studbook, the approved stallion Keops v. Begijnakker (Indoctro/Lux Z) ridden by Belgium’s Yves Vanderhasselt who mixes his works in the family transport company with a very successful Jumping career. The 36-year-old rider has a reputation for remaining super-cool under pressure, and he finished third with Keops at the Belgian Championships in Geves this summer. The horse was bought by the Vanderhasselt family as a four-year-old.

Bronze in the 5-Year-Olds went to the mare, Formidable (Carambole/Calvados), and it was a particularly special moment for her Dutch rider Willem Greve as he competes internationally with the mare’s sire, Carambole.

Greve spotted Formidable competing at an international show just a few months ago and bought her right away. “There were several people who wanted her because she jumped very spectacularly, and I immediately had a good feeling with her because she is careful and has a lot of scope,” Greve explained.


Horses in the 6 and 7-Year-Old category were ranked in each of the two qualifying competitions, and the top-40 earned a place in today’s Finals in which the KWPN, Earley (Harley VDL/Indorado), wrote his name into the Young Horse history books when clinching 6-Year-Old gold.

With 17 into the jump-off it was always going to take a quick horse to win it, but Earley is a massive 1.77cms tall with a ground-eating stride to match, and just as he did when taking the 2014 5-Year-Old title, the big bay galloped through the timers quicker than all the rest. His rider, Maikel van Mierlo, knows the horse well. Maikel’s father bought the horse as a 3-year-old, and sold him on to owners H.M. van Raaij-Evertse who sent him off to be broken before returning him to Van Mierlo to ride.

Since winning his gold medal as a 5-Year-Old, Earley has been lightly competed, lining out at a few international shows and at the Dutch Championships where he finished seventh this year. “I don’t jump him a lot at home,” Van Mierlo explained after taking his second successive title with the horse today. “He only jumped a 1.20m class as preparation for this show and to be honest the pressure coming to this year’s Championships was not special,” he said. The 24-year-old Dutchman’s philosophy is an uncomplicated one. “You have to stay motivated and to just try your best every day,” he said.

Talking about his winning round, he continued, “The course was not too difficult and the time was long enough, but with 17 in the jump off you know you have to go full speed! When I came out I knew that I was fast but I didn’t know it was fast enough to win. I think I won it on the last line. He’s not spooky and he has a very good character – he is top careful, and has a lot of scope,” said the rider who operates from the south of Holland, between Eindhoven and Venlo.


And from a Belgian perspective the day came to a perfect end with newly-crowned FEI European individual silver medallist, Gregory Wathelet, taking top spot in the 7-Year-Old Championship partnering the handsome grey PZHK stallion Mjt Nevados S (Calvados Z/Romualdo).

There were 12 into the jump-off here, and Wathelet was chasing the target-time set by Britain’s Laura Renwick who was seventh to go with the ISH mare MHS Washington (OBOS Quality/Cavalier Royale) who broke the beam in 35.13 seconds. Renwick always looked competitive after filling third spot in the first qualifier in which Wathelet and Mjt Nevados S finished fifth, but the British rider regretted the extra pull she took before the last fence today. She finished just 0.16 seconds behind the Belgian rider who scorched home in 34.97 to take the gold.

Talking about Mjt Nevados S, Wathelet said, “He started the season on the Sunshine Tour where he jumped well, and in the Belgian Championships at Lummen I had one down in the jump off because he was not used to going fast. Before I came here I trained him to go quickly, and that training was successful. I knew he was very careful, but in the beginning I didn’t know if he had enough scope – now he is going better every week! This week he jumped easily, even in the Final in which the course was quite big but it all felt easy. This horse is definitely not for sale!” said the rider who plans to take Mjt Nevados S on the international circuit now.

Silver medallist, Renwick, bought MHS Washington in partnership with Irish rider Denis Lynch three years ago, but now owns the horse herself.

“Denis bought the mare from the breeder when she was four – she’s special and a bit nervous, but in the ring she lights up and makes everything very easy – just like a real sport-horse! She’s very light to ride and is careful and scopey,” Renwick explained. The pair won the Young Horse Final at CSI Knokke (BEL) this summer, and a few weeks ago also topped the British Championships. Renwick was sporting an Irish cap, presented to her by the Irish Federation because she was competing an ISH, and she said she was proud to wear it. “I think I can go far with this horse,” she said happily this evening.

And the Irish had plenty of reason to celebrate themselves when Eoin McMahon steered another ISH, Talks Cheap (Tinaranas Inspector/Colin Diamond), into bronze medal position when last to go against the clock.

Talks Cheap was sold at the 2014 Go for Gold Sale in Goresbridge in Ireland. “My boss, Carl Hanley, bought her last year just before the World Young Horse Championships, but it was too soon to take her here,” McMahon explained. “We started the season in Vilamoura (POR) where she jumped very well, and then we gave her a break. Before coming here we placed in a 1.45m class, so she has all the scope and she is fast and careful,” said the young rider who will celebrate his 20th birthday next weekend.

Five-Year-Old Final: GOLD – Kerswin van ‘T Roosakker (Doron Kuipers) NED 0/0 37.33; SILVER – Keops v. Begijnakker (Yves (Vanderhasselt) BEL 0/0 38.65; BRONZE – Formidable (Willem Greve) NED 0/0 39.36.

Six-Year-Old Final: GOLD – Earley (Maikel van Mierlo) NED 0/0 36.62; SILVER – Ellavar (Marlon Modolo Zanotelli) BRA 0/0 37.10; BRONZE – Take a Chance on Me Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/0 37.49.

Seven-Year-Old Final: GOLD – Mjt Nevados S (Gregory Wathelet) BE. 0/0 34.97; SILVER – MHS Washington (Laura Renwick) GBR 0/0 35.13; BRONZE – Talks Cheap (Eoin McMahon) IRL 36.99.

Full results at

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Lanaken:

Edith de Reys
Press Officer
+32 475 6592 81


Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45

World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses Signs Memorandum of Understanding with FEI

Lausanne (SUI), 4 September 2015 – The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FEI.

The WBFSH represents 70 sport horse studbooks from over 30 countries with the central aim of stimulating horse breeding development worldwide and integrating breeding with horse sport.

The FEI and the WBFSH have agreed to establish the FEI WBFSH Council to further enhance collaboration as part of the new agreement.

“Breeders produce horses that our athletes need, and for that reason the horse breeding industry needs the support of equestrian sport. Our cooperation with the FEI is logical, natural and a necessary link between producers and consumers, which we must nurse and nourish,” said Jan Pedersen, President of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses.

The WBFSH, whose patron is HRH Princess Benedikte of Denmark, has cooperated with the FEI on the organisation of the FEI World Breeding Championships for Sport Horses (FWBCYH) in the three Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Jumping and Eventing since 1992.

“Horses are central to our sport, and breeding alongside nurturing plays a fundamental role in creating our next star equine athletes,” explained FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

“The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses has united the leading sport horse breeding countries and global experts for many years, and we are looking forward to continuing our partnership as equestrian sport grows rapidly around the world.”

MOU overview:

The FEI decided in 2012 to use Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) to better define its relationship with the different stakeholders. The MOUs cover universal issues such as FEI recognition, FEI Rules and Regulations, horse welfare, code of ethics, commitment to democratic processes, consultation, FEI General Assembly, FEI Sports Forum and meetings, governing law, dispute resolution, communication, and implementation. MOUs have already been signed with WHW, organisers and officials. Although recognition by the FEI does not entail voting rights at the FEI General Assembly, the MOUs formalise the relationship with the FEI, giving a voice to organisations working with the FEI in the development of equestrian sport.

World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH):

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45

Solaris EMF Named Overall Grand Champion of US Hunter Breeding National Championship

Solaris EMF and Kenneth Wheeler (David Bell/

Lexington, Ky. – This past week, the top young horses in the country showed off their best features at the 2015 Sallie B. Wheeler/US Hunter Breeding National Championships during the East Coast phase on August 29, in Lexington, Va. and the West Coast phase on August 26, in Del Mar, Calif. Following the East Coast and West Coast competitions, judges Mindy Minetto (Wellington, Fla.) and Chris Wynee (Virginia Beach, Va.) declared East Coast entrants Solaris EMF and Arbor Hill the Overall Grand Champion Best Young Horse and the Reserve Grand Champion Best Young Horse, respectively. This marks the third year in a row, and the ninth time in the Championship’s two-phase history, the Overall Grand Champion has come from the East Coast phase.

East Coast Championship

The East Coast competition was held during the Virginia Young Horse Festival at the Virginia Horse Center. Solaris EMF (Sir Wanabi x Panache EMF/Pablo), a Hanoverian gelding, owned by Cismont Manor Farm and handled by Kenneth Wheeler, won the East Coast Best Young Horse Award. He also won the Yearling Hunter – Colts/Gelding Class and The American Hanoverian Society Breed Registry Award. The East Coast Reserve Champion Best Young Horse went to Arbor Hill (Aloha x Paisley/Private Account), a Hanoverian/Oldenburg gelding, owned by Kenneth Wheeler and Cismont Manor Farm and handled by Richard Taylor. Arbor Hill also won the Two-Year-Old Hunter – Colts/Gelding class. Taylor earned the Leading Handler Award and Mr. and Mrs. Earnest Oare were named the Leading Owners.

Additional Breed Registry Awards went to the following top horses: Ethereal Blue, owned by Patricia Michael and handled by Lexi Robinson, won The American Holsteiner Horse Association Award. Femineste MRF, owned and handled by Lubrano, took home The American Warmblood Registry Award. The Belgian Warmblood Breeding Association Award went to Ophelya PCS, owned by Ingrid Bergmann and handled by Dowell “Junior” Johnson. Idonis VZ, owned and handled by Amy Schull, earned The KWPN of North America Award. The RPSI Award went to Amorous, owned by Dr. Katelyn Ziggas and handled by Jay Francella. Joyful Hope, owned by Dr. Erica Feiste and handled by Johnson, won The Stud-Book sBs (Belgian Sport Horse Society) Award. Timeless, owned by Carrie D. Buxton and handled by Oliver Brown, received the Oldenburg Registry of North America Award and Vizier, owned by Nokomis Farm and handled by William Howland, picked up The Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society Award.

West Coast Championship

The West Coast Championships were held during the Showpark All Seasons Summer Tournament at the Del Mar Horse Park. Reminiscent (Ragtime x Rio Cortez/Rio Grande), an Oldenburg gelding owned by Melissa Brandley and handled by Sue Lightner, won the West Coast Best Young Horse Award. Reminiscent also won the Two-Year-Old Colts/Geldings class. Together, Brandley and Lightner won two additional classes with Reflection: the Three-Year-Old Fillies class and the Three Year-Old Hunter Hack class.

Rodeo (Ragtime x Misty View/Star Choice), an Oldenburg gelding owned and handled by Lightner earned the Reserve Champion Best Young Horse Award. He also won the Three-Year-Old Colts/Gelding class and the Three-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle class. Lightner also handled Reporting Live, owned by Autumn Hills Farm, who took the Yearling Colts/Geldings class. As a result of these top finishes, Lightner was awarded the Leading Handler award and Brandley the Leading Owner award.

Breed Registry Awards were given out to top horses. Rhetorical, owned by Cary Sparks and handled by Williams, won The American Hanoverian Society Award. The KWPN of North America Award went to Just a Star. The Stud-Book sbs (Belgian Sport Horse Society) Award was given to Rivercity Blues, last year’s West Coast Best Young Horse, owned by Autumn Hills Farm and Mike Lowe and handled by Diane Yeager. Reminiscent won the Oldenburg Registry of North America Award, and Eminence Front SWS, owned and handled by Rachel Jansen Jones, earned the Oldenburg Horse Breeder’s Society Award.

For more information on the Sallie B. Wheeler/US Hunter Breeding National Championship, click here.

From the USEF Communications Department

Lusitanos and Dressage Done Right at Haras Dos Cavaleiros

Forcado da Carvalha is a 5-year-old stallion bred in Portugal by Quinta da Carvalha and imported in 2013 (Qualificado – Infanta, Cravo). He was the IALHA National Champion of Lusitanos Three and Under, has shown to First Level and is schooling Second and Third Level movements. (Photo by Shaana Risley)

Wellington, FL (August 28, 2015) — Lusitano horses may well be considered the crusaders of the horse world. The Baroque breed known for bravery, strength, beauty and intelligence has rapidly converted a cadre of aficionados from a variety of disciplines to Lusitano lovers. The horse originating from Portugal has evangelized around the world and amassed a growing fan club. Across the globe, Lusitanos are rapidly gaining in popularity, especially in the sport of dressage.

High-performance dressage rider Carmen Elisa Franco, a Colombian transplant now based in South Florida, has been in the horse business for more than 25 years. After leaving Colombia, she trained in Germany, where she earned the Bereiter title in Warendorf. She’s ridden horses of all breeds including Warmbloods, Arabians and Thoroughbreds, but after getting to know Lusitanos in 2005, Franco is a full-fledged fan of the breed. She is now a dressage trainer for Haras dos Cavaleiros, a respected breeder of the Lusitano horse in the U.S.

“I was lucky enough to get involved with this breed a few years ago, and I have ridden both Portuguese and Brazilian lines,” she said. “It amazes me that all of them, no matter their age or training stage, are very kind and fun. They are suitable for amateurs because of that, and now we are seeing great sport horses that can go all the way to the top. Any professional would love to have one too.”

Franco began working with Haras dos Cavaleiros in 2013 when they imported a group of Lusitano stallions to the U.S. and owners Rafael Chavez and Carmina Zamorano asked her to look after the horses at the quarantine facility in Wellington, Florida. She later traveled to the breeder’s Texas location outside Houston in Magnolia to conduct clinics where Forcado da Carvalha, a Lusitano stallion imported from Portugal, and Donatello DC captured her attention and her heart. Chavez and Zamorano asked her to continue training the horses in dressage as well as compete.

“Working with Haras dos Cavaleiros’ horses has been a very rewarding experience,” Franco said. “Rafael and Carmina are very realistic about their horses and the program for each one of them. There is a lot of respect toward my decisions and total support for me as a person and as a professional. And one of the best things of working with them is the great team: the Haras Family.”

Chavez said the choice to have Franco train and compete his Lusitanos was a natural one.

“Wellington is a window for our horses,” he said. “It is where the sport of dressage is being done at the highest levels and we wanted to expose our horses to that.”

Franco travels to their operation in Magnolia at least twice a year to conduct dressage clinics for all levels of riders, where she teaches theory sessions as well as mounted lessons to the Lusitano faithful in Texas. Franco has clinics scheduled for September and November.

“The clinics have been always open to all breeds of horses but the Lusitanos are the most popular,” she said. “We have had horses and riders from beginners to experienced and it’s really fun to witness their progress. At the end, we all share the love of what we do and the horses that are so willing to let us work with them.”

Haras dos Cavaleiros operates Lusitano breeding farms in both Mexico and Texas, Lusitanos were originally bred for bullfighting and warfare, but now Chavez and Zamorano breed for a variety of disciplines including dressage and Working Equitation, a sport relatively new to the United States. Working Equitation is a discipline of versatility encompassing dressage, ease of handling, speed and cattle work, very much like the work of cowboys of the American West. Haras dos Cavaleiros’ commitment to the sport runs deep and they will again host the Haras Cup, the most important Working Equitation competition in the United States, Oct. 23-25. The Haras Cup draws competitors from the U.S. as well as international devotees of the sport.

“Haras’ focus is on developing versatile horses: the ones suitable for hobby or for competition,” Franco said. “We love to breed, to train and to show them. We keep some of the horses we breed and/or buy to bring them to the top of their abilities. Of course, sales of horses are one of our goals, but we like to sell them in the correct training stage and to the suitable client.”

For more information about Haras dos Cavaleiros, go to Check out the sport of Working Equitation and learn more about the Haras Cup at or

Contact: Carmen Elisa Franco
(954) 536-4264