Category Archives: USHJA

Haley Redifer Wins USHJA Zone III Junior Equitation Finals at HITS Culpeper

(C) ESI Photography. Haley Redifer and Ballon.

Culpeper, VA (August 23, 2016): Junior riders took center stage this past weekend at the USHJA Zone III Junior Equitation Finals and Haley Redifer of Barboursville, Virginia, aboard her own Ballon, was the star of the show. Impressing Judge Irving Evans throughout all three rounds of competition held in the Grand Prix Ring, Redifer topped the field to stake claim to the blue ribbon and a saddle courtesy of County Saddlery.

Saturday marked the eleventh year that HITS Culpeper has hosted the USHJA Zone III Junior Equitation Finals. Qualified riders traveled from all over Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina for the popular final and competed in either a 3’ or 3’6” section with one overall set of results. Round one was tested over a set of fences designed by Oscar Soberon. The top 10 exhibitors returned to show on the flat, followed by a final test over fences of the top four riders.

Grace Boston aboard Denver S, owned by Thinkslikeahorse, received second place honors, followed by Carly Hoft aboard Cashman, who placed second in last year’s final, to round out the podium finish. Boston received a bridle, donated by Ginnie Edwards and Hidden Hollow Farm, for the second place prize and Hoft was awarded an Irish Knit cooler, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Streett Moore of Bellfield Farm Show Management, for third.

Fourth in the standings went to Samantha Hawrysko piloting Acadia Park. Hawrysko received a leather halter prize, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Streett Moore. Savannah Bednash and Verrazano, owned by Pinnacle Sporthorses, LLC, placed rounded out the top five competitors with fifth place.

A special award for the Best Equitation Horse was given to Queso Grande, owned by Darby Cole and ridden by Madison Busey.

Prior to the class, qualified exhibitors and their guests were invited to a Rider Reception hosted by HITS which included complimentary hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, as well as gift bags courtesy of the USHJA.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Tori Colvin and Cafino Capture $40k Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Tori Colvin and Cafino.

Hesslink Takes Blue in $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby to Earn Series Title

Lexington, KY – Aug. 21, 2016 – Before she heads to the Hampton Classic on Monday, Tori Colvin snuck in one more victory aboard Take The High Road LLC’s Cafino in the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, on the final day of Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

“This is my favorite week because the course designers bring the cool jumps out,” Colvin said. “It’s amazing to win on Cafino. I knew he was ready today, so I was really going for it out there. I’m really happy to have him going so well. Karen [Long Dwight] has been the one who helped us with him, and she’s the sponsor and the owner. She’s wonderful, and Cafino is just perfect.”

Bobby Murphy’s course still contained many elements from last night’s USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, including the obstacle that certainly stuck in most riders’ minds: the 1.57m wall, which was set at 1.54m for the grand prix.

“The only thing I thought was just stay on at the wall, and I’m good,” Colvin laughed. “That’s it; just hang on. I loved having the wall out there. I loved this course because it was like half hunter derby and half grand prix.”

Murphy’s hunter-esque course saw 37 entries in the first round, with six entries eventually advancing to compete over the short course.

Among the jump-off-qualified horse-and-rider combinations was Shane Sweetnam and Main Road, who is owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC. After a second place finish in another grand prix during the Kentucky Summer Horse Show series, Sweetnam said he was looking for a win aboard the gelding.

The duo came close, turning in the first clear round of the afternoon and setting the early time to beat at 41.775 seconds in the jump-off.

“Main Road is a very good horse,” Sweetnam said. “He’s only 8; he’s had a good summer. It was a difficult course, but I think he jumped really good in both rounds.”

It was not long until Colvin and Cafino overtook their lead, however, turning in a fast round and tripping the timers in 41.23 seconds. Colvin’s lead would hold out for the win, while Sweetnam settled for second.

“I could’ve been maybe a bit quicker turning after the double,” Sweetnam said. “I think it would’ve been harder for them to beat me if I had turned quicker. I think that’s what cost me the win. He’s still learning.”

Colvin said she began riding Cafino about a year ago, and she loves the soft, easy ride the gelding gives her.

“Cafino is the easiest thing to ride,” Colvin explained. “You literally just loop the reins. When he lands, it’s like you’re on a cloud. He’s perfect. He doesn’t land hard, he’s just soft. He has a little quirk, because he will buck when he gets a little excited, but I just have to hold on.”

A final challenger, Sloane Coles, piloted the Spring Ledge Group’s Esprit to the third place spot with a clear round completed in 43.573 seconds. Clocking a faster time, but unfortunately picking up 4 faults in the jump-off, was Sweetnam and another entry, Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Chaqui Z. Fifth place went home with Blythe Marano and Virginia Ingram’s Figeac De Reve with 4 faults and a time of 44.007 seconds. Aaron Vale and Sarah Turner’s Acolina R turned in another very fast round in 43.267 seconds, but unfortunately lowered two heights to finish on 8 faults and in sixth place.

Hesslink Takes Blue in $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby to Earn Series Title

It was the 20-year-old, newly-turned professional rider, Geoffrey Hesslink, who took home not only the blue ribbon and championship cooler for Sunday afternoon’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, but also for the entire Hallway Feeds Hunter Derby Series. Saturday’s derby marked the last leg of the popular series, held during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco
Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco

Hesslink piloted Garland Alban’s Esco to victory, after receiving an 89 in the classic round and an 83 in the handy, collecting a lead score of 172 points to seal the win. He successfully tackled three high-option fences. While Hesslink has competed in the Alltech Arena more times than he can count due to his illustrious equitation career as a junior, it was Esco’s first time in the intimidating indoor arena.

Hesslink, of Shelburne, Vermont, said, “I started riding Esco post-circuit at the Winter Equestrian Festival this year. He’s been great. He does the Performance Hunters and the derbies. He’s been perfect.”

Hesslink enjoys participating in the Hallway Feeds National Derby Series so much that he has not missed one this year. “I love the derbies because I feel like it’s a great place to show off your horse and your handiness as well as how smooth and soft you can be,” Hesslink said. “Esco really excels at it because he doesn’t care about any of the jumps. He never spooks at anything.”

Although it was Esco’s first time in the large indoor venue, and their partnership is fairly new, Hesslink was not concerned about the 8-year-old Rhinelander.

“I know he’s always a steady eddie and he doesn’t care about those things. For sure, it’s more spooky. There’s more pressure on the horses with this atmosphere,” Hesslink acknowledged.

Hesslink has made a smooth transition into his budding career as a young professional under the guidance of Tim and Kelly Goguen of Boggs Hill Farm, as well as the generosity on behalf of Dina Testa and Garland Alban.

As the winner of the Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series, Hesslink took home the $10,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus. “I think it’s amazing,” said Hesslink. “I think that it really helps to advertise and get the name out there for the derbies and I think it drives people to want to do them more and participate. I know Taylor [Kain], Aaron [Vale] and Sydney [Shulman] all came back and wanted to do them again and I did the same. I think it’s a great program and it’s a good thing for people who are here.”

Earning second place honors in this weekend’s derby was Courtney Baggett’s Highmark, ridden by Amanda Dougherty. She took on three high options and judges awarded the pair with an 82 in the classic and 85 in the handy. Tori Colvin rode Rivercross Onyx, owned by Rivercross Farm, to third-place honors with a total score of 167.5 points.

Hallway Feeds’ close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park provides ample opportunity to utilize the freshest feed, manufactured with time-honored commitments to high standards of quality and the latest scientific advancements. Combining a premium nutrition package with a professional level of dedication in horsemen and women provides equine athletes with the formula for success.

For more information on Hallway Feeds, please visit www.hallwayfeeds.com.

The Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series would not be possible without many generous sponsors including Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Fenwick Equestrian Products, EquiVision, Inc., Caddel Equine Therapy Center, Bauer Hay & Straw, Alfagreen Supreme, Trouw Nutrition, The Andersons, Mark Fischer Inc., Double S Liquid Feed Services, Inc., Agri-Business Insurance Services and Sweet PDZ Horse Stall Refresher.

The $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, marked the conclusion of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. The action will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park during the KHJA Horse Show, which begins on Wednesday.

To learn more about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Kristy Herrera and Miss Lucy Capture 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship

Kristy Herrera and Miss Lucy.

Sophie Michaels and Wallenberg Race to Victory in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. — Aug. 20, 2016 — A hush fell over the Kentucky Horse Park’s Rolex Stadium as the final two riders prepared to take the stage in the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. As Jennifer Alfano and the SBS Farms team looked on anxiously from the sidelines, Kristy Herrera entered the ring with Miss Lucy and laid down the trip of a lifetime to secure the sweetest victory, bringing a true fairytale ending to life for the SBS Farms team during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

“I still can’t believe it,” Herrera said, fighting back tears of joy. “This is obviously a dream come true, and of course I have to first thank Jen for letting me ride Miss Lucy. I can’t believe it. Miss Lucy loves being in that ring, and I just steered, really. She just rose to the occasion. It’s unbelievable. I was in there riding, and I knew Jen was riding from the side for me. Every jump felt unbelievable, especially the last one.”

Sitting snugly in third place after Friday’s classic round, Herrera gathered her composure before heading into the ring for Saturday night’s handy round. Herrera was able to shake off the pressure and put her faith in Miss Lucy to lay down a spectacular trip, earning scores of 90.5, 90.5, and 92.5 from the three judging panels to combine with her 25 handy points and all of the high options. Herrera’s round brought Alfano to tears.

“I’m still in shock, also,” Alfano said, also fighting back emotion. “Everyone knows that that horse has such a special place in my heart for a lot of reasons, and so does Kristy. It was hard for me to be here not riding, but I was in tears and had goosebumps. It was so beautiful to watch the two of them together. I’m so proud of both of them. It was meant to be.”

After sustaining an injury in late May at the Devon Horse Show, Alfano was rendered unable to finish the season on Helen Lenahan’s 14-year-old derby star, Miss Lucy. Herrera, a former student of Alfano’s, rose up to fill Alfano’s shoes, taking over the ride on Miss Lucy just three weeks ago.

Beginning at the young age of 9, Herrera started training at SBS Farms, where, under Alfano’s tutelage, Herrera began to blossom into the rider she is today. Saturday’s victory truly marked a mentorship coming full circle for the two riders, as Alfano quite literally handed the reins to her student, putting her faith in Herrera and looking on as the duo filled her with pride.

“I really didn’t imagine this,” Alfano said. “I’m so happy. To be honest, I was a little nervous about tonight. Miss Lucy is an incredible horse, and Kristy is an incredible rider, but when you come to these handy rounds, that is when you really need to have a partnership with your horse. You have to know where all the buttons are. I think Kristy did something tonight that not a lot of people could have done.”

In a heartbreaking twist of fate, Kelley Farmer and Baltimore, who were leading after the classic round with a high score of 291 points, watched the win slip away as a piece of the final fence fell with Baltimore’s back hooves, bringing an unfortunate ending to an otherwise perfect round.

Standing proudly at 1.57m, the final fence not only marked the tallest obstacle on course, but also the tallest one in hunter derby history. The daunting wall dashed the dreams of many a rider, but Farmer’s mishap was easily the most devastating of the night.

“You know what, it is what it is,” Farmer said. “That horse did nothing to let me down tonight. It just happened to be a little bit of bad luck. The way Kristy went, and the way her horse went and with the scores she got, deservedly so, I wasn’t going to beat her doing anything else but trying to jump the high options. It’s not my nature to take the easy way out or jump the low side or anything. Kristy went beautifully, and she deserved to win. The only way I was going to beat her was to give it a shot.”

All hope was not lost, however, as Farmer still brought home the reserve championship aboard Nina Moore’s Kodachrome with scores of 89, 91, and 88 tacked onto 22 handy points, resulting in a grand total of 582 points. Another round laden with emotion, Farmer dedicated her ride to the late Russell Frey, who had the ride on Kodachrome until his passing in May. Making her stellar round even more special, Saturday’s finale happened to fall on Frey’s birthday.

“That horse had to carry the weight of the world over the past months, and he’s done nothing but get better and better,” Farmer said. “To walk out there and go like that, I couldn’t be more proud of him. Nina bought that horse for Russell to come to Derby Finals. When she sent him to me, she said that’s what she wanted him to do. She told Russell that he would, so I’m honored that she gave me the opportunity to keep going.”

Before heading to the Kentucky Horse Park, last year’s champion, Liza Boyd, kissed her superstar, three-time Derby Finals champion, Brunello, and teared up as she drove down the driveway without him. Boyd brought a piece of Brunello’s tail with her, which she tucked safely in her pocket and rubbed before her round aboard O’Ryan. With some luck from Brunello’s tail, the duo turned in the best handy round of the night, earning scores of 91, 90 and 92 in addition to a total of 27 bonus handy points for a total score of 578 points to finish in third place overall.

“On a lighter note, I was a lot more laid back than Kelley and Kristy,” Boyd said, laughing. “With the pressure that these two had, I don’t know how they did it. I just had fun on my junior hunter, and he stepped up for me, and I couldn’t be happier. I thank the owners, the Styslingers, for letting me do this with him. I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to be in this press conference without Brunello, so I was glad to be here.”

Course designers Bobby Murphy and Danny Moore said that they were looking to raise the stakes with Saturday’s course, challenging the derby riders by pushing them to new heights. Murphy and Moore also decorated the ring with elaborate sand sculptures, crediting the generosity of donors such as Hugh Kincannon, Rob Murphy, Diane Carney, Ron Danta and the Gochman family for making that a possibility.

“If you have more people in the hunter industry that will step up to finance these courses, then we can create more spectacular courses,” Murphy said. “It comes down to money with this, and tonight moved this program a step in the right direction. I’m sure the Hunter Derby Program created new fans tonight through this course and through these riders, and through them jumping this gigantic wall. It was an exciting class. The specs say in bold, ‘no maximum height,’ so we’ll treat this as a hunter puissance, and we’ll just keep inching up. That half inch counts!”

Sophie Michaels and Wallenberg Race to Victory in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers

Sophie Michaels was aboard Serenity Equestrian Ventures’ Wallenberg to capture the win in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show out of 15 entries. Michaels currently trains with Andre Dignelli and Patricia Griffith at Heritage Farm in Katonah, New York.

Sophie Michaels and Wallenberg
Sophie Michaels and Wallenberg

The 18-year-old rider, of New York, New York, sped to victory in an impressive time of 59.69 seconds that no one else could top. Despite the rain in the Rolex Stadium, Michaels was able to keep her composure and come out on top. Her mount, a 13-year-old Hanoverian by Stakkato, has also seen success in the jumper ring with another accomplished young rider, Kelli Cruciotti.

“I’ve had Wally since Florida. I leased him from Kelli,” Michaels said. “He’s been really great. He is really conventional and he’s really broke so he’s fun to do speed classes on. I can feel like I have a shot because he’s on his game to do neat turns and go fast.”

The plan going into the class was simple, to go fast, and Michaels was confident in her partner’s ability to do so.

“My trainer told me just to have the fastest time. I knew I could do it because he’s really good at going fast and I feel comfortable on him,” she said.

In addition to Saturday’s win in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class with Wallenberg, Michaels won the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers with her mare, Balouba, on Friday.

“I’ve had her for a few years now. She’s been so great – she’s super careful and really fun. I got to go last, so it was an advantage, for sure.”

She also won the Medium Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers on Friday with Darero. Michaels took MCB Maya in Friday evening’s $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, where they put down a clear round but were 0.5 seconds over the time allowed.

Michaels is looking forward to beginning her freshman year of college at Yale University, where she will be able to continue training at Heritage Farm and gearing up for equitation finals in the fall.

Anna Beth Athey guided her own Samoa to the second place position behind Michaels, with 60.014 seconds on the clock. Banda De Hus earned third place honors with Ashley Fleischhacker in the irons. The chestnut mare is owned by Ashland Show Stables, LLC, of Lexington, Kentucky.

In the 1.40m Open Jumpers, Kyle Timm reigned supreme aboard his own Georgie B. He was able to navigate the course against 18 other competitors and finish clean. In the nine-horse jump-off, Timm and the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse rose to the top to claim the victory in a time of 40.46 seconds.

Timm, of Apex, North Carolina, trains at Apex Equestrian Center, where they specialize in importing, buying, selling, and training high-quality hunter, jumper, and equitation horses in the Raleigh and Durham areas. An international show jumping star, Timm grew up in Calgary Alberta, Canada.

Coming in second place behind Timm was Carlos Quinones aboard Michelle Navarro-Grau’s Sagu. The pair just missed Timm’s time, clocking in at 43.232 seconds. Quinones also took the third-place ribbon in the class, with Alhalil, also owned by Michelle Navarro-Grau. Alhalil galloped through the timers with a 43.585 second finish.

The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will wrap up on Sunday with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.

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

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Kelley Farmer Dominates during First Day of USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship

Kelley Farmer and Baltimore (Photo: Shawn McMillen)

Aaron Vale and Finou 4 Win $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. – August 19, 2016 – Out of 66 entries in the first classic round of the USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, Kelley Farmer had four of the rides. Not only did the hunter derby veteran qualify two of her mounts, Baltimore and Kodachrome, for Saturday’s handy round, but she also took first and second place honors for Lane Change Farm.

Baltimore, owned by Jane Gaston, was the first ride of the day for Farmer. She took the 11-year-old Oldenburg around the course, designed by Danny Moore and Bobby Murphy, to earn scores of 92, 95, and 92 for a total of 291 points going into Saturday’s handy round. Farmer also chose to jump all four high-options. Contrary to the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship, where the top 30 qualified horses go into the final round with a clean slate, the classic points will carry over to merge with Saturday’s handy round score.

Although Farmer had three other rides left, she was able to maintain her first place position with Baltimore throughout the entire class. As much as the other riders tried, Farmer’s near-perfect scores could not be beat as the class continued. Since she got the ride on the bay gelding by Balou du Rouet, Kelley has also earned many titles and championships in the Regular Conformation Hunters and High Performance Working Hunters.

Kelley did not let the thought of going early on in the class take away from her concentration.

“He was amazing. He was unbelievable. He went first last week in Saugerties and I sort of was glad to get it over with,” Farmer said. “It was a little nerve wracking that I had to do him first, but he was unbelievable. I mean, he tried so hard and he’s so brave. He can jump so much, so I never worry about what they build.”

Larry Glefke of Lane Change Farm added, “I never say this, but it was flawless. Because usually, I have a lot to say when she comes out of the ring. Flawless.”

Friday was bittersweet for Farmer, because her usual winning derby mount, Mindful, is currently out of commission. However, Farmer was happy as he is set to get back to work at the beginning of next week.

“It is what it is, but he’ll be back for Florida,” Farmer said about her longtime partner. “He’s been a great horse for me and I’ll be excited to have him back.”

Coming in second place during Friday’s classic round was Farmer and Kodachrome, owned by Nina Moore. Although Farmer has not had the ride on him for very long, the pair still laid down a beautiful trip to earn the red ribbon and a grand total of 280 points.

Trainer Larry Glefke was also extremely pleased with Kodachrome’s performance, saying, “He fits in with Mindful and Baltimore. He has that kind of ability to pop at the jumps. He has a freaky jump, and it gets bigger every week because he’s getting stronger. Both of those horses have quality; [Miss] Lucy has the same quality.”

He continued, “They walk to the jumps every day and they don’t want to knock them down. I mean, things go wrong, things can happen, but they make an effort to jump the jumps every day. You never have to ask them to do too much. Their sincerity is to jump this high over everything.”

Farmer agreed, “It’s a nice feeling when you know that no matter what you aim at, they not only can jump over it, but they can jump over it high, clean and well.”

Kristy Herrera had the ride on Helen Lenahan’s Miss Lucy, who is normally Jennifer Alfano’s mount, and took third place in the classic round. Alfano is currently injured from a fall that occurred at the Devon Horse Show, so she entrusted her longtime friend, Herrera, to take the reins for her. Herrera only had one other show under her belt with Miss Lucy, so she was a little nervous going into Friday’s classic round on the “quirky” mare.

According to Alfano, “She has a little bit of a funny canter, and she doesn’t really like you to touch the reins.”

“It’s Lucy’s way or no way. I was the one that needed to adjust to her,” Herrera said with a laugh. “She has her own way of going and it is different from a lot of other horses I’ve ridden, but she’s so incredibly athletic and smart that once you get it, you don’t have to do anything else.”

She continued, “I was nervous about it, but she walks in that ring and puts her ears forward and gives you the confidence that you can jump anything. It was awesome.”

While Alfano was a little sad that it was not her in the irons aboard Miss Lucy, she was very proud of Kristy and Miss Lucy’s trip that received a combined total of 276.5 points.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled. I was so nervous, I thought I might have a heart attack. I mean, I’m not going to lie, I woke up this morning and I was a little sad and feeling sorry for myself. Watching her go around, it made me teary eyed. That was a hard thing she did today,” Alfano said.

“And I don’t think if anyone else was standing on the ground, I could have walked in there on a horse like that,” Herrera said.

Alfano said that her efforts were a result of trust and friendship built over many years. Alfano had faith in Herrera to take the ride on Miss Lucy, and Herrera trusted Alfano to instruct her as to how best ride the mare.

“I think what made it easier was that we have such a long-standing relationship. We’ve been together since she was 9 years old,” Alfano said. “She may not know the horse, but she and I are so in sync. Lucy is a little different. Kristy has the faith in me to say, ‘Okay, if that’s what you say to do, then that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll take your word for it and do it.’ I could not be any more proud of either one of them.”

Thirty horses and riders have qualified to compete in Saturday’s handy round, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Rolex Stadium. Keep your eyes out for Kelley Farmer and her two horses, as well as Kristy Herrera and Miss Lucy.

Aaron Vale and Finou 4 Win $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic

After winning the 1.40m Open Jumpers on Thursday, Aaron Vale was looking to continue his winning streak under the lights on Friday night. The Ocala-based professional and Finou 4 did just that, stealing the win from Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

Aaron Vale and Finou 4
Aaron Vale and Finou 4

“This was a great class,” Vale said. “It was good fun, and I’m glad I came out on the long end of the stick. It ended up being an entertaining class. You get a little flavor this week with the jumps for [USHJA International Hunter] Derby Finals. The horses are so used to jumping stripes, so tonight we got more of a natural tone to some of the obstacles, so that was a fun thing.”

Bobby Murphy’s first-round course produced a 16-horse lineup for the jump-off, with Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt going double clear and setting the early lead with a time of 36.909 seconds.

Vale re-entered the ring aboard Thinkslikeahorse and Don Stewart’s Finou 4, and used his horse’s massive stride to his advantage, cutting his turns and tripping the timers in a blazing fast 33.035 seconds.

“Each horse you have to ride to their strengths, you know,” Vale said. “Finou has a big enough stride that I can leave a stride out, even in a forward line. It’s a strength of his, covering ground.”

Two more challengers came close to Vale’s time. Sharn Wordley and the Sky Group’s Famoso D Ive Z were the first to come within seconds of the lead, clocking a time of 35.84 seconds to eventually finish in third, bumping Sweetnam down to finish in fourth.

Going second-to-last in the order was Benjamin Meredith and Shader Sporthorses LLC’s Anabelle 28. Meredith and Anabelle finished strongly in second place after stopping the clock in 34.022 seconds – just fractions of a second behind Vale, whose time proved unbeatable.

“I didn’t see Aaron go, but for sure I was going to try to beat him,” Meredith said. “The only place I could have gotten ahead of him was the first line. I jumped the first jump, and I landed and said there’s no way I can leave a stride out. But the rest of the course Anabelle kept up with him. We tried to win again, but we just couldn’t get there.”

Vale said he began riding Finou 4 about a year ago. Surprisingly, the gelding is blind in his left eye. Vale said that Finou 4 is instinctively very protective of his body, and will swing himself around worriedly to be able to see.

“He’s a little difficult to train because he’s working against his instinct and he’s worried,” Vale explained. “When he has a good day he usually wins. He’s got enough stride, he has a lot of ability, and he can be really fast in the jump-off. When I have his brain right, he gives me a great class. There were a few things I was worried about for him tonight, but he handled it all.”

Making his victory even sweeter, Vale has reclaimed the top spot from Pablo Barrios in the Hagyard Challenge Series standings, moving one step closer to earning the leading rider bonus.

“We’re all chasing the $50,000 bonus,” Vale laughed. “I’ve got a wedding next week, so I’m missing that class. I know Pablo was at the Olympics this week, so he missed this one. You’re not supposed to count points. You’re supposed focus on riding your horse in the class, so it’s just an added pressure. For people like me it makes a difference, so thankfully we got it done tonight. Hopefully we can come out on the right end of the bonus, because it’s a great thing for Hagyard to do and Kentucky to put it on. We love coming here.”

The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven grand prix classes to be held during the 2016 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series as well as a $10,000 prize for the reserve champion.

The series concludes with the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic held during the Kentucky National Horse Show. Following that exciting competition, the winner of the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus will be announced and presented with the cash prize by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. New this year is the $200 Best Turned Out award, sponsored by Bob Mickler’s, which will go to a well-deserving groom following each grand prix. In addition, a Hagyard’s Handsomest Hound contest will also be held at each grand prix, sponsored by MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets.

The title sponsor, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, is one of the oldest and largest equine veterinary practices in the world. Founded in 1876, the institute offers a staff with qualifications unparalleled by any single non-university veterinary group in the equine industry. Hagyard veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the health and well-being of the horse.

The facility at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute offers 13 digital radiology systems, 1.5 Tesla Siemens MRI, nuclear scintigraphy, an on-site laboratory, an on-site pharmacy, full medical and surgical services, 24-hour emergency services and hyperbaric medicine. The practice has performed veterinary medicine for more than 137 years and is currently composed of over 50 experienced veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of medicine, surgery and theriogenology. For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit www.hagyard.com.

The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Saturday with the finale of the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. Other highlight events include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.

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

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
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Scott Stewart and Storm Watch Unstoppable in 2016 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship

Scott Stewart and Storm Watch.

Aaron Vale Victorious in 1.40m Open Jumpers at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. – August 18, 2016 – Scott Stewart’s name is synonymous with winning hunters, and Thursday at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show was no different. Stewart had a total of seven entries that qualified for the final round in the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship, but it was Rivers Edge’s Storm Watch, who was in the lead after Wednesday’s second round with 520.5 points, who took home the prize. For the top thirty horse and rider combinations, it was an even playing field going into the championship round, as everyone had a clean slate.

Stewart and Storm Watch were the second pair to compete in the 3’3″ section, but as soon as the 6-year-old Oldenburg landed from the final fence, it was obvious that the pair had impressed the judges as well as the crowd outside the Kentucky Horse Park’s Walnut Arena. The three judging panels awarded them with scores of 91, 88, and 85.5 for a grand total of 264.5 points.

Thursday’s stellar performance by Storm Watch proved that Stewart had made the right decision to make time to try him out during his vacation in Holland.

“I bought him off a video. Randy Hendri sent me a video and I couldn’t go over to look at him, so it was almost two months before I got to go and the horse was still there,” Stewart said. “He was in Holland, and the week after the National Horse Show, we went over. We didn’t go over specifically to look at horses, but he was sort of in the area so we looked. It was supposed to be a vacation, but it was on the route.”

Stewart has recently returned to the show ring after time off from a pinched nerve in his neck. During his time recovering, Ken Berkeley took the reins for Stewart to prepare the horses before coming to Kentucky.

“Ken has been riding him at home, so he really got the horse ready for here,” Stewart said. “I wasn’t able to ride for a month or so, right after Devon. I got through the last day of Devon and this is my first show back. I rode at home last week, then came to Pony Finals. I went to some very good doctors in New York and they said I just needed physical therapy.”

Stewart said that Storm Watch’s way of going is slightly different than what he prefers, but the gray gelding is improving every day.

“He’s pretty laid back and quiet. He’s naturally a good jumper, but his balance is a little low.” Stewart continued, “He doesn’t pull, but it’s a little of a different ride for me. I don’t really like them that low, but he’s getting better and better.”

In addition to the tricolor ribbon, wool cooler, and generous prize money, Stewart was awarded a free lease for one year on a Sundowner Charter SE two-horse trailer.

Coming in second place was Lisa Hankin’s Hanoverian, Puissance R, ridden to victory by California’s Jenny Karazissis. The duo won the first round of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship on Tuesday, and Thursday’s efforts in the 3’3″ section proved that the mare is ready to show at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in October. Judges awarded them scores of 88, 89, and 87 for a total of 264 points.

“This is my first time doing the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. I’m so excited to be here. We were going to choose between here and Capital Challenge,” Karazissis explained. I said, ‘She can come here and if she does well, she could do both.’ So I’m really glad that we made the trip and it was so worthwhile.”

In third place overall was Hunt Tosh and Douglas Wheeler’s Chicago, who campaigned in the 3’3″ section. Tosh led the 8-year-old gelding around the course to finish up with scores of 86, 84, and 92 for a total of 262 points.

All three hunter professionals agreed that the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship was a step in the right direction for the hunter sport. It is a great way to showcase the younger horses and it features good prize money, which attracts the owners.

The next event for hunter fans during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show is the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days. Some of the same hunter riders who went head-to-head Thursday will set their eyes on the prize for the derby championship, which starts on Friday at 8 a.m. in the Rolex stadium.

Aaron Vale Victorious in 1.40m Open Jumpers

After coming close to winning the 1.40m Open Jumper class on Wednesday, Aaron Vale and Acolina R returned on Thursday, this time taking home the blue ribbon with their double-clear round during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

Going near the middle of the order in the Rolex Stadium, Vale and Sarah Turner’s Acolina R tripped the timers in 36.069 seconds in the jump-off and unseated Kyle Timm and Georgie B from their leading time of 37.727 seconds.

Aaron Vale and Acolina R
Aaron Vale and Acolina R

“I tried out a different bridle today,” Vale explained. “Acolina is hard to find the right bridle for, so more than anything I was trying a new piece of equipment, and it seemed to suit her pretty well. She kind of likes to go. I caught the fences off the turns really well, so she just ended up being really fast today.”

Vale said he got the ride on the 11-year-old mare about a year and half ago. Together, the duo has had top placings in grand prix events at a number of horse shows, including the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival and Kentucky Horse Shows.

“She gets a little wound up,” Vale explained, laughing. “Her energy probably gets in the way more often than it helps us, but when things come up right and I can do the turns smoothly and keep that gallop, her forwardness is definitely good. Controlling her across a technical course can be difficult, though. You live by the sword; you die by the sword.”

However, Vale said the course rode perfectly for the mare, who was unfazed by the sand sculptures that dotted the ring.

“She wasn’t worried about the sand at all,” Vale said. “It’s nice having the decorations for the [USHJA International Hunter] Derby fences. It livens the ring up. It’s such a big ring, but with the decorations there was more ambiance out there. The courses themselves were really fun and balanced today, and I really liked the tracks. It was a pretty course for my eye.”

Earlier in the day, Sharn Wordley continued his successful week with a win in the 1.35m Open Jumper division aboard Didienne.

“I just got Didienne,” Wordley said. “She’s a cool horse. I gave her a little warm-up yesterday to see how she was in the ring and get to know her, and she was really good. I thought today I’d give her a little try to see how fast she was, and she was really fast. I was only just cruising, and she was just naturally very fast and careful. She’s such a good horse in the ring.”

Wordley purchased the mare with Steve Tinti in Morocco about six months ago. After riding the 8-year-old for the past three weeks at home, this marks the duo’s first appearance together in the show ring.

“She’s a special horse,” Wordley said. “We kept her at our barn in Belgium for six months. My rider there did some shows with her there and got her trained up, because she hadn’t seen a whole lot yet when we got her. This is my first show on her, and she’s turned out to be a real pleasure of a horse; I really like her, and I’m excited about her future.”

Wordley said he plans to continue showing the mare in the 1.35m division, and will try her out in the 1.40m division next week.

“The 1.35m is probably enough for her now,” Wordley said. “She’s had a couple of months off, so from now on, we’ll just see where she’ll be comfortable. She’s improved so much in her rideability in the past three weeks that I’ve had her, so I’ll just see how quickly she wants to go, and she’ll tell me.”

The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Friday with the beginning of the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days. Other highlight events include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.

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

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Scott Stewart and Storm Watch Take Over Lead in USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship

Scott Stewart and Storm Watch.

Sharn Wordley Claims Win in 1.40m Open Jumpers at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. – August 17, 2016 – Scott Stewart guided Rivers Edge’s Storm Watch into the new leading position on the second day of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship with a total of 520.5 points. Storm Watch is a 6-year-old Oldenburg by Chacco Blue, and even as a relatively new addition to the River’s Edge team, he has made his mark at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

“We bought him at the end of last year, when he was still a stallion,” Stewart explained. “He got castrated, and then he was shown a couple times in Florida in the Pre-Green Hunters. Then, he did Kentucky Spring Horse Show and I haven’t really shown my horses since then, so he’s just been at home getting trained.”

The gray gelding placed fifth over the Patrick Rodes-designed course, after being tied for second place Tuesday.

“He was awesome. He was great both rounds. He’s very laid back. He likes to go like a hunter with his head and neck low,” Stewart said. “He’s probably one of the best jumpers I’ve ever had. He really tries hard every time over these jumps that are kind of small for him.”

Stewart’s plan for Thursday’s third and final round of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship will be simple and straightforward.

“He’s pretty laid-back, so I only jump a few verticals before I go in. He’s brave, so I’m not going to do too much. He’s pretty quiet as well,” Stewart said.

He continued, “Today, I only jumped three jumps and went in. They’re all getting a little tired.”

When asked about the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship, Scott said, “I think it’s great. It’s nice prize money for these young horses and we get to showcase them a little bit. It’s a very good thing for the hunters.”

While Storm Watch is currently in the lead overall, it was Tim Goguen and Davidson that captured the blue ribbon during the second over-fences round of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship.

Goguen was quick to mention that Davidson really tries to give it his all in the show ring, and that is what helped him both days.

“He went really well today and yesterday,” Goguen stated. “He’s just a trier; he’s been really good. He’s been going well for the past two days. He got a low score the first day from one of the judges. I think he was like 25th overall going in, but I think today moved him up a little bit.”

Davidson, a homebred warmblood, has only been showing under the expertise of Goguen since the end of June. Despite their short time together, Davidson has made it to the winner’s circle every time out.

“I started riding him at the Country Heir Horse Show, which was in June or July, and I’ve shown him maybe three times,” Goguen shared. “He’s been champion all three times. He’s just been a great horse.”

Davidson enters Thursday’s phase in the ninth place position, with a total of 513.5 points.

Dr. Betsee Parker’s Liberty Road is now in second place overall with 519 points. Chicago, owned by Douglas Wheeler, narrowly missed the second place spot with 518 points. Both horses were ridden by esteemed hunter rider, Hunt Tosh.

On Wednesday afternoon, a new winner for 2016 will be crowned as the championship will culminate after the top 30 horses battle it out for the coveted title. The course walk for the third and final round is set to begin at 3:15 p.m. and officials can begin walking the course at 4:15 p.m. The opening ceremonies will take place at 4:30 p.m., and the championship round is planned for a 5 p.m. start.

Sharn Wordley Claims Win in 1.40m Open Jumpers

As the jumper action began on Wednesday in the Rolex Arena, it was Sharn Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek who brought home the blue ribbon in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper division at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

The Rolex Arena was filled with intricate sand sculptures, fully decorated and ready for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, which begin on Friday. Despite the decorations and the light rainfall, Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek navigated the course successfully, going clear in a time of 66.018 seconds.

Sharn Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek
Sharn Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek

“My plan was to just go fast,” Wordley said. “There were a lot of fast people in this class, including Aaron Vale and Tori Colvin. I had to go reasonably quick if I wanted to beat those guys. With the course, I know Glamour Van De Kakebeek doesn’t spook at anything, so the sand sculptures didn’t bother him at all. I could have jumped over the sand pile, and it wouldn’t have mattered to him. He felt great today.”

Wordley said that he got the ride on the Kerry Anne LLC entry two months ago, and has been showing the 10-year-old gelding to successful finishes in the 1.40m division. His goal is to eventually show the gelding in FEI ranked classes.

“It’s been really easy getting to know him,” Wordley said. “The first show I went to with him, we won a class. The second and third shows, he was champion in the 1.40m. I’d say I’ve done about seven classes with him, and he’s won five of them.”

The gelding was previously owned by Darragh Kenny, who alerted Wordley when he realized the two would be a great match.

“I had a horse that I bought from Darragh,” Wordley explained. “But he called me saying he had another horse that would be more suited to me. So, he sent me Glamour Van De Kakebeek, and he was right – this one is a great little horse. He’s a real winner, and he just wants to get out there and go as fast as he can.”

Finishing second to Wordley was another rider known for his speedy rounds – Aaron Vale. Vale turned in a clear round aboard Acolina R, tripping the timers just behind Wordley in 66.871 seconds. With a time of 67.328 seconds, Wordley also came in third with Caiman De Sequoias, who is owned by Sharn Wordley and The Sky Group.

Earlier in the day, the 1.35m Open Jumpers had the stage in the Rolex Arena, and it was Richard Rinehart and Virginia Bartholomay’s Donnalaris who swept the field of 32 entries to earn the win.

“I took it as a good sign that it stopped raining before my round,” Rinehart said. “Donnalaris was just awesome. My plan was to try not to take any chances, but to save time where I could. I’m really lucky to have Donnalaris to ride.”

Rinehart, who is based in Indianapolis, said he began riding the 8-year-old mare during July of last year.

“She’s got girl-power,” Rinehart laughed. “She’s very brave, and she gets it done. She’s so nice to ride, and she’s really obedient. I feel like she’s always trying to please. And she likes this ring, even with the sand. I just really wanted her to jump the Diane Carney jump clean, because she’s my trainer, so I’m happy that she did.”

The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Thursday with the finale of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. Other highlight events include the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days, and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. For more information, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Jenny Karazissis and Puissance R Lead USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship

Jenny Karazissis and Puissance R.

Lexington, KY – Aug. 16, 2016 – For Jenny Karazissis, making the journey to Kentucky from Calabasas, California has already proven to be worthwhile. Karazissis and Puissance R bested a field of 132 top-caliber entries to win round one of the 2016 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on Tuesday.

Going later in the order, Karazissis unseated Scott Stewart and Storm Watch from the top spot, taking over his score of 261.5 points with her score of 262.5 points. The course provided the riders with an option from fence one to two, with two lines available to choose from.

“I really loved the fact that the course designer gave us the option of left or right lead to the first fence,” Karazissis said. “I chose the left-lead option. I knew immediately, and I never doubted that option. Pui is very brave with the jumps, so I knew that was not going to be a problem. I went in there very confidently with my plan, and the whole way around she gave me her all.”

After arriving on Saturday, Karazissis said she rode Puissance R, or Pui, as she’s called, on Monday and knew she was ready to shine in the ring.

“When we schooled in the Walnut yesterday, I jumped maybe three or four jumps, and I felt like I just shouldn’t do anymore because Pui just felt so good and ready,” Karazissis explained. “Today was the same thing in the warm up. She just jumped like four or five jumps beautifully, and I said, ‘you know what, she couldn’t be any more ready.'”

This year marks Karazissis’ first time back showing in Kentucky since 2007.

“I showed in the inaugural [USHJA International Hunter] Derby Finals in 2007, and I have not been back to show myself since,” Karazissis said. “I’ve been here with students showing at Maclay Finals a couple times, but I haven’t shown since then. And I haven’t done the Pre-Green Incentive, so this was really a new experience for me.”

Karazissis said she got the ride on the 10-year-old mare last year when her owner, Lisa Hankin, moved from New York to California. When Hankin found the mare at 6 years old, she was doing dressage.

Hankin explained that she had another horse, Madison Avenue, by the same sire who she absolutely loved, and was interested in buying a younger version of him, which led her to Pui.

“Jenny has been riding her ever since she’s been at Far West Farms,” Hankin said. “They’ve built a beautiful partnership. Pui has been more than I ever could have dreamed, but it never would have happened without Jenny. I’m so happy. Pui is going to get the entire box of Mrs. Pasture’s cookies when she gets back to her stall!”

Karazissis echoed Hankin’s love for the mare, saying, “The very first time I sat on her I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just love her.’ She just gives you the best feeling. I actually have goose bumps just thinking about it. She’s lovely. She’s a chestnut mare, and she proves me wrong every day with that myth or stereotype.”

Heading into Wednesday, Karazissis holds the lead, while Stewart and Storm Watch are tied for second place with Kristy Herrera and Helen Lenahan’s Girl Crush. For Wednesday’s final round, Karazissis said she will be focusing on letting Pui do her job.

“Pui is ready,” Karazissis stated. “I just have to be careful to not get in her way and overdo it.”

The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Wednesday with round two of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. Other highlight events include the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days, and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. For more information, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra Top $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Speed Stake

Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra. Photos ©LizCrawleyPhotography.

Danielle Grice and High Life Capture $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Mill Spring, NC – July 22, 2016 – Capturing their second victory in a two-week span, Richie Moloney (IRL) and Slieveanorra earned another victory in George H. Morris Arena, this time in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Speed Stake at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Moloney and Slieveanorra crossed through the timers in 56.09 seconds to push Samuel Parot (CHI) and Atlantis to second place, as the pair finished in 56.30 seconds. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and Bon Jovi captured third place honors, completing the track in 57.67 seconds.

Catsy Cruz (MEX) is the course designer for this week’s FEI tracks in the George H. Morris Arena and is known for her strong building technique, which asks riders questions of technicality and quickness in each class. Moloney and Slieveanorra rode a neat and fast round, which placed them atop the leaderboard.

With 21 combinations contesting the track, Moloney had the advantage of tackling the course last in the order of go, already piloting his other mount Alsvid through the course. Seven pairs rode to finish with fault-free trips, but Moloney left everything on the line, entering the ring with an understanding that he would need to best the 56.30 seconds earned by Parot.

“He was very fast around the turns in between the lines and I think that’s where he upped the time,” said Moloney. “He’s naturally a quick horse and that helps in these speed classes. He felt great and is very aware of what is going on in the ring.”

When Moloney walked the course, he felt that while there were more efficient options available, he preferred to stick with a fast and straightforward approach, ultimately paying off with a victory.

“He always has a chance because he jumps up, but doesn’t waste time in the air. I thought that there were a couple of options to leave out strides and we didn’t even need to do that because it still worked out well,” he explained.

The 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Voltaire x Flagmount Diamond) owned by Equinimity LLC, has been a staple in Moloney’s string for a number of years and performs with a sense of consistency and strength that make him an invaluable member of the top competition team.

“He’s adjustable and naturally very quick around the turns. I don’t always have to take the fastest option, because I know he will make it up around the rest of the course,” he commented. “He’s very experienced, and like I said last week, we try to save him for classes we know he will do well in and this was one of those occasions.”

Moloney will look to continue his success throughout the week as top mount Carrabis Z is entered in the $216,000 Tryon Estates Grand Prix CSI 4* Saturday evening, while Alsvid and Slieveanorra will both contest the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Classic on Sunday, July 24. Looking forward to a rest for the horses in the coming weeks, but also already preparing for a strong fall campaign, Moloney reflected on his team’s success so far this season.

“I’m just pleased that my horses are all going well. We’re picking up good results at almost every competition and going forward I think we’d like to keep that,” he said.

Danielle Grice and High Life Capture $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Danielle Grice of Mufreesboro, TN and High Life, owned by Allison Reichenbach, rode to victory in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC, taking the class with a two round score of 121. Morgane Qualls of Mufreesboro, TN and Limousine, owned by Julie Burton, took second place honors with a score of 163, while Jillian Briggs of Wellington, FL piloted Roc Du Triomphe, owned by Barry H. Carragher, to third place, receiving a 156.

Danielle Grice and High Life
Danielle Grice and High Life

Grice and High Life, a flashy dapple grey gelding, impressed the judges, earning the two highest scores of the class with an 87 in the first round and an 84 in the handy. High Life plays dual roles as he is ridden by owner Allison Reichenbach in the Adult Amateur Hunter divisions and then transitions to Grice for the larger classes.

“I thought this was a great derby course. I liked how they had the high options early on in the course so that you could impress the judges right off the bat,” said Grice. “The first bending line looked like it was riding as a very long seven and I was a little bit nervous after watching the first few go, but he has a huge step and carried me down early in the seven.”

“The handy round had some great options, which I think really showed off his highlights,” she added.

Grice and Reichenbach have been working with High Life for a year now, as they purchased him from Chad Keenum and have been competing him since, specifically with Reichenbach who competes in the amateur classes.

“He’s been doing the First Year Greens and we’ve kept him at the 3’3″ height to preserve him for next year. He’ll start doing the bigger classes and larger derbies, and Allison will also step him up in the amateur classes too,” explained Grice.

According to Grice, the ring presence of High Life has had a major impact on his success in the ring, influencing his ability to score well with both herself and Reichenbach. She commented, “He likes to show off, but he’s super quiet. He has this tremendous presence in the ring that I think draws people to him. He jumped some of the best jumps of his life in the schooling area before the class, so I knew he was ready.”

The pair who rode two elegant and smooth rounds, finished well atop the leaderboard, which helped them to gain needed experience for what Grice hopes will be a successful fall campaign.

“I would love to get him to indoors and take him to some big places. He doesn’t care very much about the environment. We always want him to be impressed with what he sees in the ring,” she noted. “I think it would be fun to get him to some of those bigger horse shows and show him off.”

Competition at TIEC continues Saturday featuring the highlight class of the week with the $216,000 Tryon Estates Grand Prix CSI 4*. Gates open to the public at 6:00 p.m., while entertainment will begin at 7:15 p.m. Competition will commence at 8:00 p.m. For more information on TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Rachel Kennedy and Timberline Earn Emotional Win in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Rachel Kennedy and Timberline. Photos ©LizCrawleyPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – July 8, 2016 – Rachel Kennedy of Brookeville, MD and Timberline, owned by Sarah Brooks, captured an emotional win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Kennedy and Timberline earned a two round score of 178 to take the victory ahead of Hayley Iannotti of Wellington, FL and Vermeer, owned by Pumpkin’s Patch Farm, LLC, who finished with a score of 173. Steve Heinecke of Charlotte, NC piloted Hercules, owned by Freedom Group, to round out the top three finishers and received a 172.5.

Kennedy and Timberline collected a score of 89 in the first round of competition, which placed them second behind Heinecke and his mount, Pamina, who earned a 90 moving into the handy. Timberline, who excels in the handy portion of competition, completed an effortless round filled with smooth roll back turns and an athletic and adjustable presence, which ultimately secured the win, as the pair earned a repeat score of 89.

“Andy [Christiansen] does a great job course designing and it was very flowing. Basically all I had to do was find the spots and that horse will do the rest for me,” said Kennedy. “Timberline, he’s a horse that can do about anything. It’s my job to just guide him in the right direction.”

In the final round of competition, Kennedy began to feel the pressure, as there was a strong chance that with a solid ride, the pair would ensure the victory. She added, “I typically just direct him and then stick with my spot or move up and a lot of times, you get so anxious, but I didn’t want to make a mistake in there.”

Hayley Iannotti and Vermeer
Hayley Iannotti and Vermeer

Kennedy and Timberline have cultivated an incredible relationship and the duo have accumulated a number of top finishes, but Friday’s win turned into both a memorable and special class, as Timberline will likely move on to a completely amateur-focused career with owner Sarah Brooks.

“His first derby win was in 2010 in State College and he’s been winning ever since. That’s all I do with him is the derbies. His owner Sarah Brooks does the Adult Hunter and he’s great for both of us,” explained Kennedy.

“I always say that Timberline is like my secret boyfriend,” she laughed. “He makes the world better, no matter what; if you sit on that horse the world just becomes a better place,” she said, as she reflected on the duo’s career together.

It slowly began to hit Kennedy that their win may have capped an incredible derby career together, which has been a joyous journey for all involved including horse, rider, and owner.

“We’ve thought about doing him in another derby in the fall, but I want him to go out as a winner,” said Kennedy, as she began tearing up, reminiscing on the duo’s success together. “He’s seventeen years old and I want to make sure that he’s able to still show for his mother Sarah. The horses always come first for me and this was just a special day.”

“He totally knows when we’re doing the derby and will jump pretty much anything. That’s what makes him so special. He got two scores of 89 and I just don’t know if you can top that. If I let him do it forever he would,” she concluded.

Competition at TIEC continues Saturday with the $5,000 Pony Hunter Derby in the George H. Morris Arena, kicking the competition off at 8:00 a.m. The $130,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 3* will begin at 8:00 p.m. while gates are set to open at 6:00 p.m. For more information about TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Atlanta Is Hot but Geitner Is on Fire! Wins $25,000 USHJA Int’l Derby

Geitner and True Story.

It may be hot in Atlanta, but Daniel Geitner is on fire! After securing back to back Week I and Week II wins in the $15,000 Horseflight Open Welcomes, he went on to win the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with Kelly Sims’ True Story last night under the lights in the Olympic Stadium.

Geitner, of Aiken, South Carolina, held the highest score after the Classic Round with a score of 184 and topped the scores of the second round with his own 193 for an overall score of 377. Kelly Farmer with Bibby Hill’s It’s Me held the second highest score behind Geitner and True Story after the first round with their score of 178, but their Handy Round score of 119 for an overall score of 297 would drop them into ninth place overall.

Jennifer Bliss of Wellington, Florida and Harris Hill Farm, LLC’s Poker Face finished their Classic Round with a score of 176. Their Handy score of 186 for an overall 362 secured them second place in the featured hunter event.

Georgia’s own Julie Curtin of Woodstock, in the irons of Helen Brown’s Tybee, secured a first round score of 176. Their Handy round of 186 for a combined 360 took third place honors.

Ava, owned and ridden by Kathryn Jarriel of Collins, Georgia, sat in fifth place after the Handy round after earning a score of 174. Their Handy score of 173 and overall 347 would have them finish in fourth place.

Maida Clifton’s More Optimistic, ridden by Ashley Hotz of Eads, Tennessee, earned a first round score of 172 and a Handy score of 167 for an overall 339, which would see them finish in fifth place overall.

Upcountry Cuba, owned by Jamie Stryker and ridden by Megan Wexler of Reddick, Florida, finished in sixth place overall after earning a first round score of 152 and Handy round score of 170 for an overall 322.

Leslie Terry’s Pet Rock, ridden by Emily Terry Peterson of Naples, Florida, took seventh place honors after earning a Classic round score of 148 and Handy score of 157 for an overall score of 305.

Geitner and Geddaway Farm’s Bella Vida earned a Classic round score of 168 and a Handy score of 133 for an overall 301 which would see them finish in eighth place. Farmer and It’s Me earned ninth place and Jordan Carlson of Roswell, Georgia, in the irons of her own Avignon, placed tenth with an overall score of 293. Eleventh and twelfth placings were awarded to Lisa Chaney’s Cristal, ridden by Brandon Gibson of Greenback, Tennessee, and La Roxx, owned and ridden by Isabel Harbour of Alpharetta, Georgia.

True Story was also awarded the Jack Geitner Memorial trophy, awarded to the winner of the Atlanta Summer Classics International Hunter Derby winner. Especially touching is that the award is named in honor of Daniel Geitner’s brother Jacques “Jack”. An accomplished child rider, he competed in the hunters under the tutelage of trainers such as Pat Dodson and Sue Ashe. As a teen, Jack turned his attention to the jumper ring, and rode his horses Elan and The Energizer to numerous wins, including the Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic at the Charleston Summer Classic Horse Show, with the help of trainer Aaron Vale. He passed away suddenly as a result of a car accident at the age of 19 during his freshman year at Appalachian State University. He will always be remembered for his spirit, laughter and wit and his love for animals and his loyalty to his friends.

Julie Curtin and Fairfax
Julie Curtin and Fairfax

Double Header Derbies!

The hunter action continued with the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Legend. Fairfax, owned by Liz Hudspeth and ridden by Julie Curtin, took the win after earning a combined score of 185. Geitner followed Curtin for the second place ribbon in the irons of Hilary Baylor’s Naddel with their combined score of 184. Aberdeen Ventures, LLC’s Madewell, ridden by Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida, secured third place with an overall score of 181. Fourth place honors was awarded to Relax Jack, owned by Frances Robinson and ridden by Megan Wexler; the pair earned an overall score of 172.5.

Breaking News, owned and ridden by Isabel Harbour, took fifth place honors with their total score of 172. Sixth was awarded to Hanover on the Rocks, owned and ridden by Morgan Connely. Virginia Stearns’ THS Pia-Lena was ridden to the seventh place honors by Sarah Milliren after earning a combined first and second round score of 167.5. Charlotte Warren’s Enticement, ridden by Julie Curtin, finished in eighth place with their total score of 167. For further results, click here.

All sponsorship and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel, Director of Marketing and Sponsorship, at lisa@classiccompany.com.

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