Category Archives: Competitions

Relive Southern Eighths/Nikon Three-Day on YouTube

The inaugural Southern Eighths/Nikon Three-Day Event is over but reliving all the action is now possible thanks to a creative video produced by nFocus Pictures and visible on Southern Eighths’ YouTube channel. This video showcases Long Format Eventing at the amateur level but with the finesse of a major event at one of the nicest facilities in the nation.  If you are a horse lover, have a passion for Eventing or are simply curious to get a peek behind the scenes at the 2011 Southern Eighths/Nikon Three-Day Event then settle into your seats and fasten your seatbelts for  an amazing 10-minute ride by going to

You’ll get a chance to watch not just the competition but all the behind-the-scenes action, from the early morning walks on foot and horseback, to the care of the animals and the educational clinics.  You’ll get to see the riders testing their dressage skills.  As the competitors negotiate a cross-country course designed by FEI Course Designer Tremaine Cooper, you’ll experience the variety of jumps on the cross country course, from the water obstacle to the banks, ditches, brush and log jumps.  Then on the final day watch as horses and riders complete the last phase of the three-day by negotiating the colorful show jumping fences nestled into the Southern Eighths Farm countryside.  Combine that all in one video photographed on the amazing Southern Eighths facilities and this will be a ride you don’t want to miss.

Southern Eighths Farm is a premier Long Format equestrian training center located in Chesterfield, South Carolina – the “Heart of the Carolinas.” It is a horse lover’s playground with a steeplechase track, multiple cross country and show jumping venues, dressage rings, a derby course and miles of groomed trails. These facilities in addition to a modern guest barn and large covered arena provide all the amenities a rider needs to hone their equestrian skills. The farm hosts a USEA recognized Long Format event May 3-6, 2012 as well as two “Jump Fests” in the spring and fall. There are also equestrian get away weekends where small groups can experience a “tailored training” approach. For more information visit, call (843) 623-5005 or email To view photos from the event go to and click on the Heart of the Carolinas album.

CONTACT:  Press Link/Diana De Rosa – 516-848-4867 –
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FEI Nations Cup 2011 – Round 5, Draw Report


The draw for the fifth leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2011 took place in Aachen (GER) this evening. Photo: FEI/Dirk Caremans.

Aachen (GER), 13 July 2011 – The Irish will be first to go in tomorrow’s fifth leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2011 following the draw which took place at the German venue this afternoon.  The wet weather has failed to dampen spirits at the Soers Arena, and the draw press conference was a lively affair, although some of the team managers arrived a little late.

“I think we need a new rule – that when the Chef isn’t there we shouldn’t do the draw!” joked Ireland’s Robert Splaine whose face dropped when he realised that, in his absence, his team had been pulled out of the hat as pathfinders for tomorrow.  For once this season it seems the defending series champions from France may have fortune on their side, as they will be last to go of the eight competing nations.

The starting order is as follows: 1, Ireland; 2, Great Britain; 3, The Netherlands; 4, USA; 5, Denmark; 6, Germany; 7, Belgium; 8, France.

It is less than a week since the fourth round of the series at Falsterbo in Sweden where this week’s hosts from Germany came out on top.  The German team went to the Swedish fixture determined to improve their position on the leaderboard, and succeeded by promoting themselves to third place following a great effort from a very strong team.

Continue reading FEI Nations Cup 2011 – Round 5, Draw Report

Entries for the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast Close Today and Marks the Return of the Event to Saugerties

©Lili Weik Photography. Danielle Cooper and Frank Madden enjoy a moment in the winner's circle after Amalfi and Cooper were named the 2009 Grand Champion.

Saugerties, NY (July 13, 2011) – Junior riders will make an anticipated return to Saugerties, New York this summer to compete in the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast. The three-day event will kick off August 1 and entries must be post-marked by today.

Young talent from all corners of the country will meet at the HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds to compete for almost $50,000 in prize money as well as a chance to earn a wild card spot in the first ever Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, coming to Saugerties this fall. The Champion Rider from each of the four sections of the Junior Hunter Final will be given a Wild Card berth in the inaugural Hunter Prix Final – a chance to compete for a record-breaking $150,000 winner’s purse.

The Championship features competition for Small Juniors 15 and Under, Large Juniors 15 and Under, Small Juniors 16-17, and Large Juniors 16-17 in the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

The Championships will also feature the prestigious USHJA/Essex Classics Hunterdon Equitation Cup Classic. Since its inception, the Hunterdon Cup has grown in importance and has become one of the most coveted titles for junior equitation riders. Equitation classes will consist of the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal, the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Class and the WIHS Equitation Classic.

HITS will roll out the red carpet for the championships and will treat these up-and-coming equestrian stars VIP treatment with gourmet catering. Giuseppe Napoli, Executive Chef at the new Diamond Mills Hotel scheduled to open in Saugerties this fall, will spearhead the catering efforts.

Continue reading Entries for the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast Close Today and Marks the Return of the Event to Saugerties

Bid on Fantastic Items in eBay Auction to Help Champion Driver Suzy Stafford Make It to the 2011 World Pony Driving Championships

Suzy Stafford has been long-listed for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships with her registered half-Arabian mare Miss Josephine. (Photo courtesy of Pics of You)

Chester County, PA (July 12, 2011) – World Champion driver Suzy Stafford has been long-listed for the 2011 FEI World Pony Driving Championships with her registered half-Arabian mare Miss Josephine, but before Stafford and Josie head to Slovenia the determined driver still has a great deal of work to do. Part of that work includes raising funds for the trip, so Stafford will be hosting an eBay auction beginning Friday, July 15th, featuring a variety of fabulous items both equestrian and non-equestrian.

All proceeds from the auction will go toward funding Stafford and Josie’s World Championship trip to Slovenia.  ”I am really excited that people will have the chance to bid on so many great items, from a week’s vacation in Maine to many, many equestrian related items,” Stafford said, adding that she wants to thank her many supporters who donated items to the auction. “I am truly grateful to all my supporters! I would like to thank all the donors of these wonderful items for their on-going support and generosity including Dover Saddlery, Shawn Faust, Jim Graham, Hidden Valley Acres, Bit of Britain, Beth and Dan Steinke, Chester Weber, Dansko, Unionville Feed, Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Vita Flex, Unionville Saddlery, Fridays’s Horse, Jewelry by Moolenschot, Equine Journal, Larry Poulin, Stoltzfus Farm Service, Inc., and Harness by Smucker.”

Some of the items in Stafford’s eBay auction include: a one-week vacation waterfront rental house in Maine; a personal brewery tour and tasting by the owner/brewer of Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton, Pennsylvania; a new deluxe Black with Brass Harness by Smucker; a “signed” Breyer Model of Jamaica, Chester Weber’s Horse of the Year; a “signed” Breyer model of Stafford’s Gold Medal driving pony Cefnopark Bouncer; a new Charles Owen Helmet; a “signed” print from Delaware artist Shawn Faust; a one-hour photography lesson with nationally recognized photo journalist Jim Graham; training with Bronze and Silver Medal Dressage rider and trainer Stacey Parvey-Larrson; a pair of Dansko shoes of your choice; and a new bridle.

Continue reading Bid on Fantastic Items in eBay Auction to Help Champion Driver Suzy Stafford Make It to the 2011 World Pony Driving Championships

Sweden Soars to the Top of the Promotional League Table

L to R - Arthur Gustavo Da Silva (La Toya), Christina Liebherr (LB Callas Sitte Z), Claudia Gisler (Touchable) and Niklaus Schurtenberger (Fifty Fifty) pictured during the prize-giving with Chef d'Equipe Urs Gruning in the foreground. Photo: FEI/Drammen Press.

Lausanne (SUI), 12 July 2011 – Sweden holds the lead in the 2011 FEI European Promotional League series following consistently good results over the past few weeks. Carrying 49 faults, they have a good advantage over the Italians and Swiss who are playing cat-and-mouse in second and third places respectively, but with only a single point separating them.  The battle for promotion to the Top League FEI Nations Cup series in 2012 is a tough one, and the Swedes are showing just how hungry they are to return to the elite level of the sport from which they were relegated at the end of last season.

It was the Swiss who held sway at the European Promotional League leg in Drammen, Norway last month, but it was a close call when they only pipped the runners-up from Turkey by a single fault.  Switzerland’s Arthur de Silva (La Toya 111), Niklaus Schurtenberger (Fifty Fifty), Claudia Gisler (Touchable) and Christina Liebherr (LB Callas Sitte Z) completed with a total of eight faults, but a double-clear from former Irish team member Gerry Flynn (SIEC Ledgepoint), who has been flying the Turkish flag in recent years, put Turkey in a strong position.

However Cagri Basel (SIEC Goldrush) followed an opening zero score with 15 faults, and when Omer Karaevli (Dadjak Ter Puttenen) added five more to his first-round time penalty and Burak Azak (SIEC Castelo Branco) lowered just one fence in the second round, then the Turkish total of nine left them frustratingly close to challenging the Swiss to a third-round jump-off.

Poland finished third with 22 faults, particularly remarkable considering they fielded only a three-man team and particularly impressive as pathfinder, Msciwaj Kiecon (Urbane) produced two flawless performances.  Sweden picked up 10.5 valuable points when slotting into joint fourth with Denmark – Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and H&M Arctic Aurora Borealis producing the third double-clear of the competition – while Italy slotted into sixth ahead of Finland in seventh and the host nation of Norway in eighth place.

Continue reading Sweden Soars to the Top of the Promotional League Table

Kevin Babington and Mark Q Capture the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper

© ESI Photography. Kevin Babington and Mark Q on course in the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix.

CULPEPER, VA (July 11, 2011) — With all new footing in the Grand Prix ring and beautiful weather, the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia, was well suited to highlight the Showday National. Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, could not have asked for much more, as he captured the first place honors aboard his own Mark Q.

Sunday’s course was designed by Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida. Four riders went clean, including standout junior and Grand Prix newcomer Hasbrouck Donovan of Gainesville, Florida. Donovan went third in the order, posting her clear round early aboard her own Delilah. Babington showed sixth in the order and earned the second clear round of the class to secure a jump-off.

“I thought it was a great class,” said Babington. “I really enjoyed this show. Today’s class had a nice turnout, and the new footing was fantastic. We had some rain earlier in the week that gave it a good test and it passed with flying colors.”

Babington, like so many others, has circled the Pfizer Million on his calendar this year. “The Pfizer Million is one of my main goals this year since it’s such a great opportunity to jump for that much prize money. This is a new horse that I didn’t realize would be such a strong contender for the Million but I think we’ll be ready.”

Babington plans to return to HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties to help cement his spot in the Pfizer Million lineup. “I will be in Saugerties for three weeks and will hopefully get six qualifiers in then,” he said. “This was my third one so I should be in good shape after Saugerties.”

Continue reading Kevin Babington and Mark Q Capture the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper

Ukraine and Japan Qualify for 2012 Olympic Jumping

Lausanne (SUI), 12 July 2011 – Ukraine and Japan will both be represented in the Olympic Jumping events at London 2012, following their success at the Olympic qualification event held in Aachen (GER) on 10 July. Ukraine secured a team slot and Japan one individual place during Sunday’s qualifier for Olympic Groups C – Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia – and G – South East Asia and Oceania.

Eight teams – Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine – took part in the two-round competition. Competing over a strong track designed by Frank Rothenberger, team Ukraine were clear in the first round and finished on a score of 12 penalties to earn a team ticket to London 2012. The Ukrainians ended ahead of Turkey (25) and Poland (33) in the final standings. The complete results of the Olympic Qualification event for Groups C or G are available here.

There was a jump-off for the individual spot available for the best placed rider of Olympic Qualification Group G. Taizo Sugitani (JPN) and Jasmin Chen (TPE) were tied on nine faults after the second round and went forward to a timed decider. Both riders were clear against the clock, but the Olympic slot went to Japan when Taizo Sugitani completed the course in 53.97 seconds, almost two seconds faster than Jasmin Chen’s 55.61. The detailed individual results are available here.

Eight teams – Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, host nation Great Britain, and Ukraine – out of the 15 possible have qualified for the 2012 Olympic Jumping competition. A total of 15 teams will compete in London. Egypt, Japan and Syria have qualified individual riders. The complete qualification system for the 2012 Olympic Jumping competition can be consulted here.

Katharina Offel (UKR) was the best individual rider overall and, as a result, qualified to take part at CSIO Aachen this week (full individual results here).

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Grania Willis
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Malina Gueorguiev
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Artist Jane Gaston and Lumiere Draw Up a Victory in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

©ESI Photography. Jane Gaston and Lumiere in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (July 11, 2011) — Two of the leaders in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final Rider Rankings dueled it out in Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix with amateur rider Jane Gaston and her own Lumiere coming out on top to highlight the Showday National at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia.

Gaston, a well known artist, especially in the equine world, entered Saturday’s class ranked third in the current Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Rider Rankings and continues to prove that she is one of the favorites to win it all in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.

“This horse is just great,” said Gaston of The Plains, Virginia. “He got his start at HITS Culpeper five years ago as a baby and has won both Devoucoux classes so far here this year, so I feel like this is his home.

“But I am looking forward to going to Saugerties! The place is just beautiful. I have been there as a spectator, but I have never shown there,” said Gaston, looking forward to making her debut at HITS-on-the-Hudson this fall.

Gaston has made it clear that qualifying for the Diamond Mills Final is one of her goals this year. “I love the concept of this class. It really levels the playing field because it eliminates things like riders having multiple rides. And yes, I would say we are one of the favorites in the Final – as long as I stay out of his way!”

Continue reading Artist Jane Gaston and Lumiere Draw Up a Victory in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

FEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2011


Pictured (L to R): Nicola Philippaerts (team and individual gold), Victor Kumps, Jessica Geurts and Olivier Philippaerts, (front) Chef d'Equipe Rik Deraedt. Photo: FEI/Michael Steiger.

Lausanne (SUI), 11 JULY 2011 – Rising stars, and many with familiar names, shone brightly at the FEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2011 staged in Comporta (POR) over the weekend.  Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts, twin sons of long-time Belgian senior team rider Ludo Philippaerts, were members of the victorious Belgian Young Rider side, and 18 year Nicola also took the individual Young Rider title.  Meanwhile Virginia Caruso confirmed the competitiveness of Italian jumping right now when helping to scoop Junior team gold before also taking the individual honours yesterday.

Ireland clinched the first gold medals on offer in Saturday’s Children’s Team decider. But it was Lisa Nooren, daughter of world-famous coach Henk Nooren who is currently managing the French senior team, who came out on top in the Children’s individual competition the result of which, like so many of the other classes at these championships, had to be decided by a jump-off.  The quality of competition was extraordinary, with the top four riders producing flawless performances over five tough rounds, but Nooren and the 10 year old Dutch-bred Ubalia produced a superior turn of foot against the clock that left them with an advantage of more than 2.5 seconds over silver medallist Paul Delforge (Kaloubet d’Toureelle) from France, while Belgium’s Maxine de Pelsmaeker (Whippersnapper) claimed the bronze. Hungary’s Zoltan Lazar Jr (Afrodite) finished just outside the medal placings when second-quickest across the line, but with a single fence on the floor this time out.

Individual Children’s Champion Nooren said her victory was a family effort.  “It is a great privilege to have a father like mine.  He cannot often be at the competitions with me, so my mother coaches me, but at home the three of us work together as a group,” she explained.

Continue reading FEI European Jumping Championships for Children, Juniors and Young Riders 2011

Mission Accomplished by Germany at Falsterbo

The German team of Carsten Otto Nagel, Thomas Voss, Marco Kutscher and Ludger Beerbaum pictured with Chef d'Equipe Heinrich Hermann Engemann after winning today's fourth leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2011 at Falsterbo, Sweden. Photo: FEI/Lotta Gyllensten.

Falsterbo (SWE), 8 July 2011 – It was a case of “mission accomplished” for the German team at Falsterbo, Sweden today when they won the fourth leg of the FEI Nations Cup 2011 and consequently rocketed up the series leaderboard to third place.  In a thrilling competition that saw the defending double-champions share runner-up spot with the host nation as, at last, the pendulum of good fortune began to swing back in the direction of the French, the Dutch had to settle for fourth ahead of the Irish in fifth while the USA clinched sixth place.

The withdrawal of Tim Stockdale and Fresh Direct Kalico Bay left the British vulnerable in the second round and in seventh at the end of the day despite otherwise consistently good performances. And while the Belgians finished eighth with a big score of 47 faults on an afternoon they will probably not care to remember, it was an even more difficult day for the Danes who finished last and are now so far behind at the bottom of the league table that it seems nothing can save them from relegation in their debut season of top-level Nations Cup jumping.  Punished in the first round by the elimination of anchorman Thomas Velin who seemed at odds with his long-time ride Godsend du Reverdy, their chances were completely crushed when Tina Lund’s Qrispy D Ive Z simply refused to take part in the second round.

The Germans and Swedes were in the lead on level pegging with just four faults apiece at the end of the round one, followed closely by the Irish carrying eight and then the French with 12, the Dutch with 13, the USA with 15 and the British with 16 faults on the board.  Denmark and Belgium were already trailing the field with 25 and 27 faults respectively, the 34 faults collected by last-line-rider Jan Vinckier (Ursela) seriously compromising Belgian chances.  But to say he was unfortunate second time out would be a complete understatement.  The triple combination – vertical, oxer, vertical – at fence eight was the bogey of the day, but Ursela had lowered only the previous oxer before she slipped on landing over the second element of the treble and slid to a stop in front of the third.  Persistent rain throughout the opening round had necessitated the movement of some fences to better ground, but it still proved increasingly challenging as the competition progressed.

Continue reading Mission Accomplished by Germany at Falsterbo