Category Archives: Competitions

Lauren Hough and Quick Study Win Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland

Lauren Hough and Quick Study celebrate (Beatrice Scudo Photo)

Dublin, Ireland – The U.S. show jumpers dominated the final day of the Royal Dublin Horse Show by picking up three wins. Highlighted by Lauren Hough’s major score in the Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland with Quick Study, the U.S. rebounded from a fifth place FEI Nation’s Cup finish on Friday with a trifecta of success. Hough dominated the star-studded field of 40, and she was one of only two riders to jump two clear rounds. Her second round time was three seconds faster than French rider Michel Robert, who ended up second on Kellemoi De Pepit.

“It was a difficult course today there were only two clear in the first round,” said Hough. “My horse felt great in the first round and that gave me confidence. I had a good feeling about it and I had the advantage of going last in the jump-off.  My horse is naturally a fast horse; Michel went clear (in the jump-off) but went conservatively. I didn’t have to push too much because he is such a fast horse, so I just I just went medium.”

Quick Study, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by Laura and Meredith Mateo, returned from an inconsistent Nations Cup performance on Friday to take his first CSIO5* Grand Prix win.

“He wants to do the right thing,” said Hough about her World Equestrian Games veteran. “I didn’t let him on Friday (in the Nations Cup) – he was in such good form in Florida, then I got over here and it’s been a little up and down; he hasn’t had any major mistakes, they’ve been more my mistakes. He’s a great horse and he did everything right tonight.”

Continue reading Lauren Hough and Quick Study Win Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland

Michael Morrissey & Vorst Dash to Victory in $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix

Michael Morrissey and Vorst won the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kenneth Kraus/ PhelpsSports.com.

Lexington, KY – August 6, 2011 – There was a huge crowd gathered at the Rolex Stadium tonight to witness the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Grand Prix during the Kentucky Summer Classic. The event was held in conjunction with the Kentucky Horse Park’s “Hats Off Day,” and the audience had the opportunity to witness a very exciting grand prix event. Michael Morrissey and Vorst topped the eight-horse jump-off with a very fast double clear effort, and Morrissey took home the winning prize for the second year in a row. The duo surpassed Ashlee Bond and Chivas Z who took home second, while Rebecca Conway showed Twister to the third place honors as the only other fault free horses over the short course.

Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela designed a demanding first round track for tonight’s 20 competitors, which featured a liverpool, an open water with a pole, a vertical-oxer double combination, and a large triple bar-vertical-vertical triple combination. Eight horse and rider combinations were able to advance to the tiebreaker for a shot at the winning title. The jump-off began with a single vertical followed by a wide oxer to the vertical-vertical portion of the triple combination. Riders then made a left turn to an oxer-oxer line before galloping across the ring and past the gate to the final vertical.

Ashlee Bond was the first to make an attempt over the shortened course and she set the time to beat aboard Chivas Z, owned by Little Valley Farms of Hidden Hills, CA. The duo was very speedy to each obstacle and took a sharp route to the final vertical, cutting through the double combination. Their efforts paid off with a fault free score in 37.583 second, which would eventually net them the second place honors.

“Chivas Z was so good; I am so happy because he has become such a consistent horse and so reliable,” said Bond. “I think especially going first you have to go for it, but you can’t do crazy things because you want to go clear and put the pressure on the rest of the field. Sometimes if you leave a little gap it can happen that you get beat, which I did tonight with the pull up to the last jump, but I wanted to be clear. I was really happy and there is nothing I would change. My horse is performing the best he has ever been!”

Continue reading Michael Morrissey & Vorst Dash to Victory in $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix

Cece Williamson and Northstar Win Tricolor in Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunters at the Kentucky Summer Classic

Cece Williamson and Northstar won the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter Championship at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.

Lexington, KY – August 6, 2011 – A light breeze helped keep competitors cool as the sun shone brightly over the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky Summer Classic. Today, the Amateur-Owner Hunter classes came to a close, presenting their championship and reserve championship awards after riders competed for top honors in their respective divisions.

In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, Pure Abundance, ridden by Wesley Newlands of Toronto, Canada, made a strong comeback and eventually took home the top honors. Yesterday, the pair won the fourth place ribbon over fences as well as the second place ribbon in the under saddle. Combined with the duo’s third place ribbon in the over fences class and the first place ribbon in the handy today, the talented combination garnered enough points to bring home the championship tricolor.

Newlands has owned Pure Abundance for four years, and believes that a large part of their success is based on the fact that they are finally very solid together as a horse and rider combination. “My rounds today were very solid, and honestly, my horse couldn’t have been any better,” smiled Newlands as she gave her horse a pat. “I can always depend on him when I go into the ring, and he is always trying to win.”

The talented rider and Pure Abundance have had a very successful season. The duo was just named champion at Devon this past year, and Newlands is hoping to continue their success during Indoors. If her rounds today were any sign, then there may not be much hoping involved. “I went for a solid round today in the handy,” she described. “Most people attempted to go through the gap of the white and brown jumps, but I know my horse gets a little spooky, so I went around and it gave me a nice smooth trot jump and led to a solid finish.”

Continue reading Cece Williamson and Northstar Win Tricolor in Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunters at the Kentucky Summer Classic

McLain Ward Wins His Fourth Grand Prix of the Season at HITS-on-the-Hudson and Inches Closer to Pfizer Million Rider Rankings

© ESI Photography. Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward captures his fourth victory of the season at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Friday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix aboard Antares F.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 6, 2011) — For the fourth time this year, McLain Ward led the victory gallop in the Strongid C 2X Stadium beating out 51 starters to take home the blue in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. This time around, Ward’s win came aboard Grant Road Partners LLC’s Antares F.

Ward, of Brewster, New York, is no stranger to winning at HITS-on-the-Hudson. In addition to being the reigning Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix champion, he won the first $50,000 Grand Prix of the season during opening week aboard his own Oh’ D Eole. He followed that with two more wins during Week II, in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix aboard Blue Chip Bloodstock’s Domino, and again two days later aboard Oh’ D Eole in the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, both presented by Pfizer Animal Health.

International Course Designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal is in charge of putting riders to the test this week and preparing them for Sunday’s $100,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Sunday’s summer finale promises to be a real game changer for many riders, including Ward, looking to break into the Top 40 Pfizer Million Rider Rankings.

Friday’s line up was packed with High-Performance heavy weights, so it was no surprise to see 15 riders advance to the jump-off. Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, New Jersey was second to show in the jump-off and quickly went to work making it all the way around the course without any faults in a time of 39.040 seconds to set the Great American Time to Beat aboard Mary Chapot’s Umberto. In the end, Chapot finished the class in third place.

Continue reading McLain Ward Wins His Fourth Grand Prix of the Season at HITS-on-the-Hudson and Inches Closer to Pfizer Million Rider Rankings

Christina Kelly and Creata Van Ten Biesen Win High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers at Kentucky Summer Classic

Christina Kelly and Creata Van Ten Biesen won the High Junior/ Amateur-Owner Jumper class at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.

Lexington, KY – August 5, 2011 – There was nothing but sunshine at the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of the Kentucky Summer Classic. Today, talented horse and rider combinations competed at the Rolex Stadium during the High and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes. Taking home the blue ribbon in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class was Christina Kelly aboard Creata Van Ten Biesen, posting the target time for the jump-off as the first duo to compete in the class. Michael Murphy mirrored her success aboard Ultrafox in the Low Junior Jumper class, claiming the blue with no pair coming near his jump-off time.

Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela used the many of the same obstacles from last night’s $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class today in the Rolex Stadium. The obstacles included a liverpool, two vertical-oxer double combinations, and a vertical-vertical double combination. For the jump-off, riders began with a single vertical bending to a single oxer bending to the vertical with a turn to a single oxer. Riders then faced the vertical-oxer combination with a left rollback to the single oxer finishing the jump-off with the yellow-and-white-striped vertical.

Twenty-four horse and rider combinations attempted the first round in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers; however, sixteen succeeded into the jump-off with an amazing eleven riders going double clean. Christina Kelly was the first to do so with Creata Van Ten Biesen, owned by Diamond Edge Farm of Nicholasville, KY, setting the jump-off target time from the start at 36.864 seconds.

“It felt great to be the first one in, I was hoping she would get into the jump-off, and once she did, we just went fast and clear,” described Kelly. “It was intense watching everyone try and get our time; one girl was really close and I was a little bit nervous, but it worked out and I was so happy to win!”

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HITS-on-the-Hudson V Week in Review

HITS Saugerties sells out as exhibitors flock to the Hudson Valley for the very best in summer showing, Pfizer Million and Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Qualifiers produce new riders for the Rankings, and a fun filled weekend awaits for Week VI

© ESI Photography. Ellen Toon and Invincible on course in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 5, 2011) — Barns were full, rings hosted non-stop action and entries were sold out for Week V at HITS-on-the-Hudson as almost 2,000 horses docked at the show grounds, making HITS Saugerties their summer home. Week V featured two more chances to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and one opportunity for riders to gain points toward the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, both scheduled for the weekend of September 10-11, 2011 at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

Riders race to qualify
Ellen Toon picked up her fifth $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and sealed her place at the top of the current Diamond Mills Rider Rankings with a victory in Saturday’s class aboard her own Invincible. The win gave Toon the hat trick, marking her third Devoucoux blue of the season. Six new riders, including Toon, made their way onto the eligible Diamond Mills Rider Rankings during Week V in Saugerties as only three qualifiers remain before the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final highlights Pfizer Million weekend September 10-11 in Saugerties, New York.

Also winning big this week was High-Performance rider Todd Minikus and Candy Tribble & Windsor Stables’ Sweetheart. They captured their first win together in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and went on to sweep the weekend, riding to victory in Sunday’s $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.

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British Pip the Irish in Dublin Duel

Great Britain won the seventh leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2011 in Dublin, Ireland today. Pictured (L to R): Michael Whitaker, Robert Smith, Chef d'Equipe Rob Hoekstra, Nick Skelton and Scott Brash. Photo: FEI/Tony Parkes.

Dublin (IRL), 5 August 2011 – The British pipped their old rivals from Ireland in the seventh leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2011 at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show in Dublin, Ireland today.  Just a week after the exciting jump-off at Hickstead (GBR) in which Germany won through, it came down to yet another three-round thriller with Nick Skelton going head-to-head with Billy Twomey.  And Skelton was in a class of his own as he steered Carlo home to clinch it for the British for the 25th time in the 85-year history of the event.

Belgium and France finished joint-third, while the USA slotted into fifth ahead of Germany.  The long-time league leaders from The Netherlands had a less successful day today when having to settle for seventh place, and Denmark came in last.  It was an improved performance from the Danes however.  Although they may be making an early departure from the top-level series at the end of their inaugural season, they will be stronger for the experience, and they have shown great courage and resilience throughout.

The countries really feeling the heat at the end of today’s classic clash were the Belgians and Americans, because only two points separate them on the league table going into the final leg in Rotterdam (NED) in three weeks’ time.  One of them is likely to join the Danes as the two lowest-placed teams on the FEI Nations Cup 2011 leaderboard are relegated to the FEI Promotional League at the end of the series.

LOST THEIR MOMENTUM
The French held sway on a zero score at the halfway stage this afternoon, but they lost their momentum when all four riders produced single errors second time out.  Alan Wade’s course proved plenty testing, with the triple combination at fence seven, the following vertical with water-tray, and the tricky planks all claiming a number of victims.  Britain’s Michael Whitaker explained, “Yes the combination was difficult, a triple bar to vertical to oxer, and it was tight in there, and then it was a short six to the water tray vertical.  It was a really good course, plenty difficult,” he pointed out.

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USEF Names FEI World Pair Driving Championship Team, Nominated Entry Submitted for FEI World Pony Driving Championships

Lexington, KY – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named the following drivers to represent the United States at the two driving World Championships set to take place over the next two months.

The 2011 FEI World Pair Driving Championships will take place in Conty, France August 24-28, 2011, and the three drivers who will represent the U.S. with pairs of horses will be:

Kathi Dancer (Woodside, CA)
Misdee Wrigley-Miller (Lakewood Ranch, FL)
Joe Yoder (Aiken, SC)

Alternates:

Lisa Singer (Chadds Ford, PA)
Alan Aulson (Georgetown, MA)

The USEF also named the Nominated Entry for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships which will be held in Lipica, Slovenia September 22-25, 2011.

Continue reading USEF Names FEI World Pair Driving Championship Team, Nominated Entry Submitted for FEI World Pony Driving Championships

Angel Karolyi and James T Kirk Go Double Clear to Win $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at Kentucky Summer Classic

Angel Karolyi and James T Kirk won the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kenneth Kraus/ PhelpsSports.com.

Lexington, KY – August 4, 2011 – It was a beautiful night at the Kentucky Horse Park as the nation’s top horses and riders gathered at the Rolex Stadium to compete in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic during the Kentucky Summer Classic. Venezuela’s Angel Karolyi and James T Kirk proved to be the best of the best, topping the two-horse jump-off with the only double clear effort. Lauren Tisbo was the first to tackle the short course with Coco 135, and their four-fault round netted them the second place prize.

Tonight’s class was the fourth of seven grand prix events that make up the Hagyard Challenge Series, sponsored by Hagyard Medical Institute and presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Following the final event in the series, a cash prize of $45,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series for the Leading Rider Bonus.

Twenty-eight riders challenged tonight’s opening track, which was designed by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. For the first round, the competitors had to show over a triple bar, a liverpool, two vertical-oxer double combinations, and a vertical-vertical double combination. The end of the course proved to be the most difficult, causing many riders to incur costly penalties and elimination from the jump-off. Fence ten was a liverpool oxer off of a sharp right turn, followed by a steady five strides to the vertical-vertical double combination, and the course ended with a wide oxer just past the gate. Twelve horses had rails at fence 10, while 14 horses lowered the height of a fence in the double combination, and six then went on to add four faults to their score at fence 12.

“I walked the course and I talked to Leopoldo, and it walked quite technical and careful, not huge, but a careful course,” explained tonight’s winner Angel Karolyi. “I took my time. The time allowed wasn’t super tight, so I just made sure that I did a nice track. James T Kirk knows his job and is getting experienced; he jumped very well here in May.”

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Evan Coluccio Pilots Batman to the Win in Medium Performance Hunters at Kentucky Summer Classic

Evan Coluccio and Batman at the Kentucky Summer Classic. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.

Lexington, KY – August 4, 2011 – The skies stayed blue with sunshine shining down on the Kentucky Horse Park for the second day of the Kentucky Summer Classic. The best horse and rider combinations competed for top honors during their respective divisions in the Stonelea Ring for the First Year Green Working Hunters, Second Year Green Working Hunters, High Performance Hunters and Medium Performance Hunters.

Today in the First Year Green Working Hunters division, Havens Schatt, did not disappoint aboard Macallan, owned by Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Wellington, FL, as they claimed the championship prize. The duo earned a first place ribbon and a third place ribbon during yesterday’s classes as well as a second place ribbon and a fourth place ribbon today. “Macallan was really good today, I was a little nervous when I was schooling him because he felt lazy,” explained Schatt. “He has such a great time doing the handy, he came through today for me, especially since he is so scopey and easy to get to the jumps.”

Bel Canto, piloted by Sarah Young and owned by Sarah Rubenstein of St. Louis, MO, took home the reserve championship award during the First Year Green Working Hunter. Yesterday the pair earned a second place ribbon and a fourth place ribbon. Today they followed with a strong conclusion earning them a first place ribbon and a fourth place ribbon, garnering the reserve champion tricolor.

Holly Orlando and Sailor’s Valentine, owned by Westerly Farm of Unionville, PA, won the Second Year Green Working Hunters championship award. The consistent duo took home the blue ribbon prize in all four of the classes, as well as the under saddle. “Normally the handy is one of our better rounds because he definitely is a handy horse with how easily he will turn inside and slice jumps,” described Orlando. “My plan for the handy ended up giving me a little bit more horse than I needed, but he pulled through, and we are taking everything as a learning experience.”

Continue reading Evan Coluccio Pilots Batman to the Win in Medium Performance Hunters at Kentucky Summer Classic