Category Archives: Breeds

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

Herzensdieb: Refinement, Rideability and Quality

Herzensdieb in Verden, Germany. Photos by Kiki Beelitz.

Dorum, Germany – December 15, 2014 – Herzensdieb was the licensing champion and crowd favorite at the 2005 Trakehner licensing in Neumünster, Germany. Breeding manager Lars Gehrmann commented on his basic gaits with the following words: “movement wouldn’t do it justice: he dances.” Herzensdieb finished the stallion performance test as Reserve Champion and, in the same year, won the Trakehner Championship for 3-year-old stallions. Successful qualifications for the National Championships were further milestones in his training. Meanwhile, he has trained up to advanced level. The fact that he is passing his natural qualities on to his offspring is reflected in the genetic evaluation of 142 points with 92 percent certainty.

History and resilience

In the winter of 1944, only a few survived the dramatic eviction for man and horse across the frozen lagoon and the over 1000 km march to the West. Of the original population of 30,000 animals, only 1,500 horses were left. This was the saddest and hardest selection breeding has ever seen. The surviving mares and stallions were extremely stress-resistant, tough and willing to perform, parameters that guarantee a breeding advantage.

What does this history have to do with Herzensdieb? A lot. One of the most important stallions of the Trakehner breed was Totilas, born in 1938. The mighty dark brown horse was born in 1938 in East Prussia and, after flight to the west, was used as a sire at the Panker stud farm. This Totilas stock was successfully maintained over decades at the oldest Trakehner stud farm, Gut Panker (1947). This is where Herzensdieb was born in 2003. “In his day, Totilas was one of the most important stallions,” confirmed the stud manager, Ms Veronika von Schöning.

Only the best Trakehner genes

The father of the top athlete is the elite stallion Tambour. The noble black stallion combines the best Trakehner performance blood in him and is one of the most influential descendants of the dressage dynasty of dressage stallion Arogno. Besides Herzensdieb, Tambour delivered the stallion performance test winner and German National Champion of Versatility, Herzog. In the estimation of breeding value, Tambour is among the top five percent of all dressage stallions in Germany. Tambour descends from Hohenstein I, who himself was successful in dressage sport up to the Prix St. Georges. Insterbur TSF, Münchhausen TSF, Hochadel and His Highness are just some examples of the immense power of the inheritance refinement of Hohenstein.

Tambour’s mother is the state premium mare and elite mare Tänzerin V (by Consul), who was chosen as the best mare in Schleswig-Holstein and in Warendorf in 1994 at the German National Mare Show as Ia winner. She gave birth to the licensed stallions Travell and Thalys.

In the third generation, the Herzensdieb pedigree boasts the line founder and dressage sire Consul by Swazi xx. The DLG champion and elite stallion of the Trakehner Association delivered several licensed sons, such as the champion stallion Seigneur and Reserve Champion Rockefeller.

Herzensdieb’s mother Herzensfreude is one of the pillars of the breed at the Panker stud farm. This elite Herz lineage is known for the excellent riding characteristics of its offspring. The mother of Herzensfreude, Herzenslust, was champion mare in Schleswig-Holstein and winner of her mare performance test.

In addition, there have been numerous licensed stallions from the H line from Panker stud farm, such as Herzenkönig, Herzbube and Herzfunke. The champion stallion Donauruf bred by Panker should be mentioned in considering the H line. He was the undisputed champion stallion and crowd favorite at the 50th Trakehner licensing.

“Totilas was a powerful, energetic stallion,” confirmed the stud manager and contemporary witness of the expulsion from Trakenen, Ms Veronika von Schöning. This East Prussian sire is found three times in the pedigree of Herzensdieb, and this is what makes him so valuable.

Herzensdieb2Outstanding quality for dressage

“A dressage horse of the first order,” agreed Herzensdieb’s rider Steffen Frahm and stallion owner Jens Meyer. The stallion came to Frahm for training as a five-year-old. “He made a trusting bond with the rider and wishes to do everything right,” Frahm said.

Because of his charm, spectators, judges and breeders alike are enthusiastic about him. “With his intelligence and rideability, he learned the technical lessons such as flying changes and half passes very quickly. That’s why preparing him for the upper levels is so fun,” said Frahm about the training.

Breeding expert Jens Meyer goes into raptures over the beautiful Trakehner – and not without reason. The three-year Herzensdieb daughter, Helmi (owned by Leatherdale Farm), has already been able to come away from the arena as winning mare at several breeding shows. Frahm has been training Helmi for only a short time and gushes that “she is our great new hope.”

Master rider Johann Hinnemann is equally enthusiastic: “I’m a Herzensdieb fan because I’ve already had some offspring from him and still do. What I’ve seen thus far in offspring from Herzensdieb is truly something special. ”

Strong breeding performance

Herzensdieb is a refiner in the form of an elite stallion. In recent years, he has delivered outstanding foals. His very first foal crop has earned him an excellent breeding value of 150 points.

He passes his high rideability on to his children. Herzensdieb’s daughter, Elfenzauber (dam of Budde Brock), yielded the best test result at the Hanoverian mare performance test in Elmlohe. Herzensdieb sired two mares presented in the Herwart-von-der-Decken Show. The Herzensdieb daughter Heartbreaker earned a very respectable second place for the proud owner from Australia.

Five daughters of Herzensdieb have become winners at mare shows. Two sons were licensed in Neumünster (Laxdoyen by Herzensdieb-Inster Graditz) and in Verden (Herzenswunsch by Herzensdieb-White Star). The father Tambour, a premium stallion and Trakehner elite stallion, sired two licensed sons. The mother St.Pr./El.St. Herzensfreude earned her SLP with a record overall score of 9.11. The grandmother St.Pr./El.St. Herzenslust is half-sister to the premium stallion Herzkristall (by Goldino). In all his offspring, a type and rideability refinement can be seen.

Master trainer Jonny Hilberath is impressed with Herzensdieb

“He is well along his way in training,” Hilberath said. “His offspring are making a splash. It is striking how many offspring of this stallion can be seen in foal markets, auctions and breed licensings. In young horse and novice tests, an improbably high number of Herzensdieb offspring are appearing. He is leaving an outstanding legacy in Trakehner breeding, Hanoverian breeding and overall in warmblood horse breeding.”

When asked about Herzensdieb’s significant ancestors such as Hohenstein and the highly concentrated bloodlines from the Trakehner stallion Totilas, Hilberath responded, “Herzensdieb is a very tough horse and passes on his mental strength in a positive way. All the Herzensdieb offspring that I have seen so far make a very bold impression. In addition, they are extremely rideable and performance-ready horses. Precisely because he has this noble ancestry, he passes this nobility on to his offspring. He is an absolute refining stallion.”

Due to the attractive gaits of Herzensdieb’s in-demand offspring, the international master trainer is convinced that “the affable elite stallion is passing on the quality of the basic gaits but also their potential for collection.”

When asked about further siring performance, Hilberath said: “He is indeed very well received in warmblood breeding. He produces big horses with a very good and correct foundation, and they all move very elastically and uphill. Herzensdieb is also wonderfully uphill built. You can set him up and see how correct he is. And they can hardly make him more beautiful. So, as I’ve said, I’ve seen many very good Herzensdieb offspring.”

“It is no coincidence that many reputable training facilities, such as those of Johann Hinnemann and Klaus Balkenhof, have stocked up with Herzensdieb offspring and been very satisfied with them. I hear that the horses give glimpses of their talents very early on in the in-hand work. So I think that we will be hearing quite a lot from these offspring in the future,” said the Herzensdieb fan Jonny Hilberath.

About Leatherdale Farms
Situated 20 minutes from Minneapolis, MN, Leatherdale Farms is a privately owned farm owned and managed by Louise and Doug Leatherdale and dedicated to Hanoverian, Trakehner and Oldenburg breeding. The Leatherdale family owns several licensed stallions based in Germany at Hengstation Jens Meyer: Hanoverians Dorum, the premium elite, Damsey (Dressage Royal), First Dance (Florestan II), Rob Roy (Rubin Royale), Hampton (His Highness), Beltano (Belissimo M); the premium elite Trakehner, Herzensdieb (Tambour); and the Oldenburg Fairbanks (Flemmingh). Frozen semen is available in North America and Europe. Leatherdale Farms was also the owner of the Licensing Hanoverian stallion His Highness, who died in 2007 and whose progeny is much appreciated all over the world.

To learn about Leatherdale Farms stallions in Europe, go to

For more information, go to


Carrie Wirth – North America
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
Phone: +1 561.753.3389 / Fax: +1 561.753.3386

Hans-Georg Linsenmeyer for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

EQUUS Foundation to Sponsor America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest

Lara Knight vaulting on Rob’s Rock (Photo by Sarah K. Andrew)

WESTPORT, CT – September 27, 2014 – The EQUUS Foundation will serve as the title sponsor of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest, the feature event of the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover: A Marketplace and National Symposium, October 4 and 5 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

“This partnership with EQUUS Foundation is a great honor for us,” said RRP President Steuart Pittman. “EQUUS Foundation has created a network of very powerful and innovative institutions within the horse industry that collaborate in ways that truly benefit and celebrate horses. Animal Planet is one of those institutions, and we look forward to doing our part in mobilizing the voices of horse people to win the Animal Planet R.O.A.R. Matching Campaign on behalf of horses.”

Ten Thoroughbred ex-racehorses trained in ten riding disciplines will compete for the title and $10,000 in prize money. Online followers will vote for their favorite contestant from September 25-28 and again during the event itself. Hall of Fame Jockey Chris McCarron, America’s first female jockey Diane Crump, and Hall of Fame show rider and leading Maryland racing trainer Rodney Jenkins will comment on the performances and question the trainers about their methods. The event can be viewed via live stream at

The contestants represent the sports of dressage (Nuno Santos with Now and Then), eventing (Phillip Dutton with Icabad Crane), foxhunting (Christy Clagett with Saba Rock), show jumpers (Armand Leone and New Vocations with Discreet Dancer), show hunters (Bev Strauss and Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue with D’Sauvage), polo (Juan Carlos Gonzalez and Marisa Bianchi with It’s A Little Chilli), ranch work (Dale Simanton with Rikim), barrels and western dressage (Patrick King with Pookie’s Princess), steeplechase (Jazz Napravnik with So Outspoken), and Pony Club (Hannah Gilhool with Mad Bomber).

Jessica Bortner-Harris on Win The War (Photo by Sarah K. Andrew)
Jessica Bortner-Harris on Win The War (Photo by Sarah K. Andrew)

“We wholeheartedly support the Retired Racehorse Project’s efforts to increase the demand for retired Thoroughbred racehorses and welcome the opportunity to help build public awareness through our sponsorship of the America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest,” said EQUUS Foundation President Lynn Coakley.

For more information on the America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest, click here.

About EQUUS Foundation

The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, enabling the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, fostering the horse-human bond, and educating the public about the horse’s unique ability to empower, teach and heal. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail:, Website:

About Retired Racehorse Project

The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) works to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring an army of equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP offers online directories, educational resources, and public events including the Thoroughbred Makeover: A Marketplace and National Symposium on the first weekend of October at Pimlico Race Course.

Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389  fax 561.753.3386

Suzy Stafford Drives Friesians to Crowning Achievement at 2014 FHANA Keuring

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Terrey-Manderscheid.

Coatsville, PA (September 24, 2014) – Dubbed “the queens of the Keuring” by the Friesian horse community, Iron Spring Farm’s Evita ISF and Crystal Burr’s Ivanka Nicole performed to crowning achievement in front of the able hands of trainer and driver, Suzy Stafford, at the September 18 FHANA Keuring hosted at Iron Spring Farm in Coatesville, PA.

Stafford took Evita ISF, a five-year-old mare (Ulbert x Tonne Boszorg), owned by Iron Spring, to a driven IBOP performance score of 80.5 to earn the breed’s highest honors, Crowned mare status, and drove Ivanka Nicole, a four-year-old mare (Sipke x Weltsje fan de Lege Gaen), owned by Crystal Burr, to an IBOP score of 78.5 to sweep honors as Crowned mare, Champion mare and Grand Champion of the Day.

In the Friesian horse community, the Keuring is an annual inspection of horses traditionally conducted by officials of the Dutch Friesian Studbook of The Netherlands.

The IBOP test is open to horses 4 years and older and its objective is to establish a horse’s suitability for various uses and to do so with the greatest degree of objectivity. The driven test consists of a dressage type pattern which includes walk, trot, extended trot and canter.

“I broke Evita to harness in May. She took to it quite well,” said Stafford. “Her kind, settled nature makes her ideal for driving. She has a magnificent trot, with suspension and swing to spare. It’s a pleasure working with Evita and the staff at Iron Spring. They are passionate about their breeding program and a professionally run facility, with quality horses, makes my job easier.”

Evita came into the Keuring with “provisional Crown” status, having impressed judges in 2012 when her lovely gaits and conformation were first presented in-hand. To complete Crown status, she needed 75 points or above in the IBOP Driven Performance test. The judges, wowed by, as Stafford described, “her magnificent trot,” scored her 80.5 overall, easily giving the mare the score she needed.

“Ivanka came to me specifically to prepare for the IBOP Performance test. She is breath-taking, with presence and power,” Stafford said. “I wanted her in the best physical shape possible. She is a big mare with huge gaits and power to burn. As a young horse, she was sometimes overwhelmed by her own natural ability so I took time to strengthen her on hills to be sure she could carry all her natural power. This gave her the security and confidence she needed to show off her gaits here.”

The judges reflected their high praise of the young mare’s canter, impulsion and balanced transitions with a score of 78.5. Stafford returned with her later the same day to take her from 2nd Premie to 1st Premie, and assuring her eligibility for Champion of the day as well as consideration for Crown Status.

After presenting her to the judges for a more discerning assessment of her trot in-hand work, they were impressed with her overall movement, conformation, elegance and power and agreed to Crowning her. “This is astonishing for such a young mare to achieve this honor,” said Stafford, who add that the mare will continue her training with the multiple World and National carriage driving champion, with the goal of earning the mare’s Driven Sport Predicate.

Stafford2“I am excited to pursue a Sport Predicate Title in 2015 for Crystal and Ivanka. This mare loves to drive and I think we will all enjoy the journey! It gives me pleasure when an owner sees potential in their horse and is willing to give them all the opportunities they deserve to become a superstar.”

Stafford first stepped into the combined driving spotlight in 2004, becoming the youngest and first American driver to win individual Gold in an international driving competition, driving Bouncer to first place in the 2005 World Pony Driving Championships in England. Since then she has collected multiple World and National titles and remains deeply involved in her sport, training, competing and teaching students and holding clinics.

She operates Stafford Carriage Driving facility out of Chester County in Pennsylvania from April to December and in Ocala, Florida from January through April. To learn more, visit

Contact: Suzy Stafford
(302) 540 5162