Category Archives: Equinium Sports Mktg.

Palm Beach Series Week 1 Excites with Hunter Derby Days and Diverse Jumper Circuit

West Palm Beach, FL (January 9, 2017) – Week 1 of The Ridge at Wellington’s 2017 Palm Beach Series wrapped up Sunday, January 8th following 5 days of hunter and jumper competition at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, crowning champions and reserve champions in a variety of divisions, from Mini Stirrup and Jumper Classics to Grand Prix and International Hunters. Envisioned as a compliment to Wellington’s booming winter equestrian season, the Palm Beach Series expanded its offerings in 2017 while still focusing on providing a world-class competition and show experience in a relaxed, utopian atmosphere.

In addition to its full divisions for hunter and jumper riders each week, the Palm Beach Series’ multifaceted offerings also include unique equestrian competitions such as the Turf Tour, USEF Equitation Tuesdays at The Ridge’s home farm, and Hunter Derby Days. Under the scrutinizing gaze of judges Scott Fitton, John McQueen, Linda Andrisani, and Diane Carney, January 6’s Hunter Derby Days competition showcased some of the sport’s top hunter riders and trainers effectively navigating the three Derby divisions over all natural obstacles in the oversized covered arena. The morning’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby was topped by Kim Barone and Dolce Vita of Raven Ridge Farm, who was also awarded a woven belt from sponsor Boy-O-Boy Bridleworks. For the afternoon’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, Lousie Serio and Rock Harbor came out on top following two rounds of competition with some of the hunter and jumper arena’s top names, including Peter Pletcher, Kelly Farmer, and Molly Ashe-Cawley. Serio’s exceptional performance, in addition to the top placing, earned her the EQUO Style Award, which included a chic top from the line of equestrian and leisure sportswear and a celebratory bottle of Vueve Clicquot champagne.

“He felt so made, ready, and knew his job,” said Serio of her winning mount, Rock Harbor owned by Jennifer Burger. “This was his first time out this season, and he is exceptional in the handies. His compact build allows him to make the turns with ease. The facility was fantastic, with exceptional footing and brought much needed Hunter Derbies to Florida.”

The final class of the evening was the $5,000 USHJA Pony Derby, a first for The Ridge at Wellington and the Palm Beach Series. A competitive and adorable selection of small, medium, and large hunter ponies and their riders navigated a scaled down version of the National and International Hunter Derby Course, with Kat Fuqua taking the Grand Champion honors aboard Goodhill’s Arresting Charm. Fuqua swept the Derby, also piloting Small Suggestion and Captain America to Reserve and Third place in The Ridge’s inaugural Pony Derby.

While Friday was for the Hunters, Saturday was all about the excitement and precision of the show jumper. The Palm Beach Series’ headline class is the $15,000 Grand Prix, held each week and presented during Week 1 by Dave Corbin and Jim Corbin of Illustrated Properties. Florida’s usually sunny skies opened up above Wellington, but The Ridge’s exhibitors stayed dry and in the saddle under Jim Brandon’s oversized covered arena. With top international show jumpers like Pablo Barrios and Todd Minikus testing out the course design, footing, and atmosphere of the first Palm Beach Series Grand Prix, a number of double clear rounds resulted in a tight battle for the lead. Despite a sudden and intense storm cell that swept in during his round, Luis Fernando Larrazabal and Atlodetto kept their composure and rode a double clear to finish on 36.067, taking the lead and holding it through the end of the class. Pablo Barrios rode Zara Leandra and ASD Farfala to second and third, just tenths of a second from Larrazabal’s time with a 36.357 and 36.746. During Week 2 riders will for the first time have the luxury of riding in two Grand Prix classes: Friday’s 1.40m class and Saturday’s 1.45m class with $30,000 in total prize money. Full schedules for Week 2 can be found online at

While the Hunter Derbies and Grand Prix were the main attractors during Week 1, the Palm Beach Series also hosts full hunter and jumper divisions each week. Teeny Tiny Jumpers, Teeny Tiny Mini Prix, Level I Jumpers, .65m-1.30m Jumpers, Low & High Child and Adult Jumpers, AO/Classics, Thoroughbred Jumper & Classics, Young Pro Jumpers, and full hunter divisions are just a few of the classes offered weekly, Wednesday through Sunday at the Palm Beach Series. New this year The Ridge is offering VIP Hospitality during competition days, with special packages that include continental breakfast and a gourmet lunch buffet in upscale VIP areas overlooking competition arenas. Concessions are also available onsite, in addition to a cash bar, courtesy of Wellington Hospitality Group. VIP packages can be purchased by visiting or by calling 561 792 9292.

“All of The Ridge’s shows are created with the horse in mind, from our open in-gate policy to the challenging but practicable course designs,” said founder of the Ridge and US Olympic Show Jumper Nona Garson. “Especially in the debut of our 2017 Palm Beach Series, we want to make showing less of a strain on horses and humans alike. We are thrilled to be working out of Jim Brandon Equestrian Center and to welcome our competitors, sponsors, and partners, new and old, for what promises to be an exciting season of equestrian competition.”

For more information on the 2017 Palm Beach Series, including full schedules, prizelists, and entry blanks, visit

Zulu Interagro Brings Equine Chic to Allure’s December Issue

Zulu Interagro and Gigi Hadid in the December issue of Allure Magazine. (Photo courtesy of Allure/Conde Nast)

New York, NY (December 6, 2016) – Chiseled features, lustrous locks, and elegant forms are typical of any photo shoot for Allure magazine, and in the 2016 December issue an equine supermodel sported his ravishing good looks alongside 2015 Model of the Year Gigi Hadid for Allure’s feature spread. The 21-year-old Hadid posed au naturel while reclining on Zulu (who was also au naturel) in a stunning black and white image that has become the cover photo for Allure magazine’s Facebook page as of mid-November. Hadid, who is also the 2016 December issue cover girl, appears at ease on the 14-year-old Lusitano gelding, despite the lack of clothes. Zulu’s photogenic baroque appearance and laid back attitude made him the epitome of the equine supermodel.

Bred by Interagro Lusitanos of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Zulu Interagro (Profano Interagro x Trovoada Interagro) was imported to the US in 2008 as part of the Lusitano Collection International Horse Auction held in Wellington, Florida. Zulu’s owner, Athene von Hirschberg, came to the Auction looking for a versatile, compact, athletic horse and found what she was looking for in Zulu. Over the years she and Zulu have competed up to the FEI levels in dressage, working equitation, 15-mile rides, hunter paces, and eventually began his career as an equine supermodel. Zulu’s photogenic qualities were first utilized by Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci, who featured the black horse in a spread at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, posing with two models in Pucci’s flagrant designs on the polo fields. Von Hirschberg’s friendship with Cari Swanson of Cari Swanson Productions, which has provided horses for major motion pictures such as Hidalgo, Winter’s Tale, and The Horse Whisperer, served as the catalyst to launch Zulu’s modeling career into the big leagues. Swanson received the casting call for a horse of Zulu’s temperament and appearance for the major international fashion magazine, and von Hirschberg was more than happy to oblige.

“He handled the entire ordeal like a pro,” said von Hirschberg. “Obviously he was required to stand and remain calm for a long period of time, with people in various positions and bright camera flashes, but he took it all in stride and even got bored and began nibbling on his handlers. His personality and athleticism set him apart, and he really does anything I ask of him.”

In addition to competing through the Prix St. Georges level in dressage, Zulu has also been a champion competitor in working equitation, a discipline mirroring the techniques utilized by working horse and rider pairs and requiring a diverse range of talents. For Zulu’s breeder, his combination of beauty, athleticism, trainability, and an exceptional temperament are a reflection of their breeding program, which has spent over 40 years carefully developing the modern Lusitano sporthorse. Zulu’s sire, Profano Interagro, is a son of the famous Legendario do Mirante. Legendario’s sire, Novilheiro MV, made history in some of the most prestigious show jumping arenas of Europe under the guidance of Olympic Silver Medalist John Whitaker. The Lusitano stallion was an international show jumping champion and one of the most famous Lusitanos of all time, with a career that included winning the British Showjumping Championship and leading the European rankings for prize money earned. Profano’s influence in many Interagro pedigrees has yielded top performing dressage, driving, and equitation horses, including a 2016 Rio Paralympic mount in Zizifo Interagro.

Zulu Interagro in a solo shoot at Interagro Lusitanos in Sao Paulo, Brazil with famed equestrian photographer, Bob Langrish (Photo courtesy of Bob Langrish)

But despite their accomplishments in the show ring, Zulu’s ancestors probably never had a nude supermodel lounging on their backs, a unique and impressive addition to the resume of Interagro’s progeny.

With over 40 years of experience breeding, training, and exporting Lusitanos, Interagro’s mission is to preserve the exceptional bloodlines and qualities of the breed while showcasing their talent, beauty, and intelligence, especially in the FEI and sport horse disciplines. Established in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga, Interagro’s initial vision was to preserve and restore the original foundational Lusitano bloodlines and lineages, many of which were in danger of extinction following the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. Through meticulous breeding, exceptional care, and world-class training, the Interagro Lusitanos of today continue that legacy as they compete across four continents.

Click here to read more about Zulu’s shoot for Allure.

Visit Allure on Facebook to see Zulu as their cover photo.

For more information on Interagro Lusitanos, Interagro’s horses for sale, or the Lusitano bloodlines, visit Interagro’s website or follow them on Facebook. To organize a trip to Brazil or for any questions regarding sales or the logistics of importing horses to the US, contact their US Sales Representative, Peter van Borst at 817 368 9447.

Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
954 205 7992

Excel Dressage’s Students Excel in National Qualifiers and FEI Levels

Katie Hoog (left) and Amy Speck-Kern with Gerona (Photo courtesy of Excel Dressage)

Wellington, Florida (November 11, 2016) – As 2016 begins to wind down, Excel Dressage and its students are winding up for the national championships and setting personal records in the FEI levels. Based in Loxahatchee, Florida and led by head trainer Amy Speck-Kern, Excel Dressage celebrated a number of milestones over the summer and fall, with top finishes for its riders on a few different levels.

Speck-Kern’s 2016 Markel/USEF Young Horse Championship mount, Gerona (Tango X Odessa X Junior STV), forged a new partnership with her amateur owner, Katherine Hoog, and the pair successfully qualified for the 2016 US Dressage Finals, November 10-13. The invitation only competition recognizes the best amateur and professional riders in the country, and Hoog and the elegant 5-year-old KWPN mare will travel to the Kentucky Horse Park this week to vie for the Training Level Adult Amateur Championship. With Speck-Kern at the reins, Gerona, known around the barn as Gigi, placed among the top 15 5-year-olds in the nation this summer, after only a few months of being imported from The Netherlands. Hoog took over the ride on the mare with her sights set on the Finals, and qualified in one shot during the USDF/GAIG Region 3 Championships at the Atlanta National Fall Show in Georgia, the mare’s second National Championship qualification in less than a year. With qualifying scores in the mid-60s, the pair also won an entire Open/AA class with a 73.8% and was fourth in her Championship class out of over 50 riders with a score of 72.5%.

“I’m extremely proud of Katie’s success with Gerona, a horse she scouted and imported and now has qualified for the US Dressage Finals,” said Speck-Kern. “We experienced an almost 30 degree drop in temperature, intense wind, and a huge atmosphere at Regionals. Katie stepped up to the plate and rode like a pro, showing a great deal of poise and skill in presenting a young horse. In training at home, they took time to get to know each other, especially the timing of the aids to get Gigi moving freely forward in self-carriage. Talented young horses are wonderful to ride, but they don’t just do it by themselves. In addition to athleticism and balance, it takes a lot of feel from the rider.”

Bonnie Kretchik, another Excel Dressage student, recently debuted at the FEI level after beginning her career with Excel Dressage schooling 4th Level. With scores in the mid to upper 60s at 4th and Prix St. Georges, in their most recent show at the Wellington Classic Fall Challenge she and her 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding San Dante (Sandro Hit x Weltmeyer) scored a personal best of 66% in the Prix St. Georges, only their third show at the FEI level.

“Bonnie has come a long way in the past year,” said Speck-Kern. “When we first began working together she was just starting to show 4th Level and has made a ton of progress. They are now confident at the Prix St. Georges and are just about ready for the Intermediaire I as well. Sammy [San Dante] was not a schoolmaster and has never been competed at Prix St. Georges by a professional, so Bonnie gets a lot of credit for training him at the FEI level and developing him in to a true show partner.”

Esteban, an Excel Dressage import, also made his way to Nationals with his new owner, after being scouted and imported in November of 2015 and sold in January of 2016.

Excel Dressage was founded by Speck-Kern in 2010 and offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses. After beginning her career with Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective riding style and training method drew a strong international client base of competitive amateurs. Excel Dressage imports a select number of exceptional sales and show prospects each year, and Speck-Kern is also an equestrian Ambassador for the Kids Cancer Foundation as a way to give back to the research and therapies that saved her life when she was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia at 18. With her sights set on eventually obtaining an international judges accreditation, she was recently accepted into the USEF “r” program and competing her FEI mounts on the 2017 Wellington show circuit.

For more information on Amy or Excel Dressage, visit

Media Contact:
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
954 205 7992

Brazilian-Bred Zizifo Interagro to Make Paralympic Debut in 2016 Rio Games

Zizifo Interagro, ridden by Patricio Guglialmelli, compete in Paradressage at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. (Photo courtesy of Scoopdyga/Pierre Costabadie)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 28, 2016) – All eyes are on Brazil as the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games make their South American debut in Rio de Janeiro, and one equine will be making the most of his home field advantage. Zizifo Interagro (Profano Interagro x Meiga (MAC)), a bay stallion born and bred at Interagro Lusitanos of Sao Paulo, Brazil has been named, along with his rider Pautricio Gugliamelli, to compete for Argentina in the Paralympic dressage competition. As one of just a few Brazilian bred horses competing in the Games, Zizifo and Guglialmelli will enjoy a large cheering section as they vie for a medal against the best Paralympic competitors in the world.

The pair aren’t strangers to international success, having represented Argentina in numerous Paralympic competitions, including the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Zizifo was purchased from Interagro in 2012 by Gia Einaudi, who was looking for an international caliber dressage horse with the temperament, gaits, and rideability to be successful on the world stage in paradressage. Einaudi exported Zizifo to Italy, where he was paired with Guglialmelli. It became immediately apparent that Zizifo was the perfect match, and they soon began to build an impressive resume.

In the hands of trainer Alessandro Benedetti, who also shows the horse competitively at 3rd and 4th level, Zizifo and Gugialmelli recently put in top performances at the Sommacampagna CPEDI3* in Verona, Italy. Einaudi attributes Zizifo’s exceptional success to his extraordinary character and talent, which is a reflection of over 40 years of careful breeding at Interagro. With a focus on athleticism, movement, temperament, and intelligence, Interagro has succeeded in preserving some of the purest and most sought after lineages of the Lusitano, while simultaneously developing a horse with the raw talent, versatility, and character to succeed in the FEI disciplines.

Zizifo’s Paralympic debut will stand as living proof of Interagro’s legacy, as he and Guglialmelli trot into the Olympic stadium in Rio. “It is Zizifo’s willingness to please and charisma that sets him apart,” said Einaudi. “He requires us to be very precise and correct in training and during competition, which keeps him relaxed and open-minded even in the stress of major international events. Alessandro [Benedetti] has been instrumental in the Zizifo and Patricio’s success, and despite having the demeanor and poise to compete paradressage, under Alessandro Zizifo easily switches gears to the power and elegance of upper level dressage.”

In fact, Benedetti and Zizifo recently debuted at the D1 Level in Italy, comparable to 4th Level in the United States, and won a national competition in Tuscany. Utilizing a careful balance of training in both paradressage and dressage, Einaudi team continues to build Zizifo’s strength and form for Rio. Once they reached the FEI world ranking and competed at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in 2014, the pair began qualifying for the Paralympics. Three CPEDI competitions yielded the required scores to qualify them for the Games, and in June it was officially announced that Guglialmelli and Zizifo Interagro would compete for Argentina in Rio. With regular training under Benedetti and sessions with Olympian Morten Thompson, in addition to conditioning, a strict diet, and the care of numerous equestrian industry professionals, Zizifo is well on his way to Rio, and the journey brings him closer to his first home in Sao Paulo.

“Needless to say Zizifo means the world to us,” said Einaudi. “He has opened up a world of possibilities, and thanks to him we have achieved more than we ever thought possible in dressage and paradressage. We believe that Zizifo is a once in a lifetime horse!”

With over 40 years of experience breeding, training, and exporting Lusitanos, Interagro’s mission is to preserve the exceptional bloodlines and qualities of the breed while showcasing their talent, beauty, and intelligence, especially in the FEI and sport horse disciplines. Established in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga, Interagro’s initial vision was to preserve and restore the original foundational Lusitano bloodlines and lineages, many of which were in danger of extinction following the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. Through meticulous breeding, exceptional care, and world-class training, the Interagro Lusitanos of today continue that legacy as they compete across four continents.

For more information on Interagro Lusitanos, Interagro’s horses for sale, or the Lusitano bloodlines, visit Interagro’s website at To organize a trip to Brazil or for any questions regarding sales or the logistics of importing horses to the US, contact their US Sales Representative, Peter van Borst, at 817 368 9447.

Amy Speck-Kern Secures Invitation to Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships

Amy Speck-Kern and Gerona.

Fairburn, GA (August 5, 2016) – Displaying the rhythm and impulsion indicative of an exceptional young dressage horse and worthy of comparison to The Knack’s rock ’n’ roll classic “My Sherona,” the elegant bay KWPN mare Gerona strutted to victory in both days of showing at Chattahoochee Hills Dressage, held July 16 & 17, 2016. With Amy Speck-Kern of Excel Dressage in the saddle, Gerona (Tango x Odessa x Junior STV) was awarded a 7.900 to top the FEI 5-Year-Old test on Sunday. Combined with the pair’s past score of 7.840 for a total of 7.870, the average landed them in the top 15 on the 2016 Markel/USEF 5-Year-Old Young Horse Championship Ranking List and secured them an invitation to compete against the nation’s top young horses at Lamplight Equestrian Center.

Despite being only recently imported to the United States, Gerona has proven her mettle and poise in the dressage arena. In the mare’s debut performance on US soil, Gerona and Speck-Kern scored a 7.840, securing their first qualifying score towards the Markel/USEF Young Horse National Dressage Championships. Speck-Kern, who operates Excel Dressage out of Loxahatchee, Florida, has had less than a month’s worth of preparation following the mare’s arrival and quarantine in the States in May, and was impressed with the young horse’s composure despite long hours in the trailer and a completely new environment at qualifying shows.

“Gerona showed us once again her talent and intelligence,” said Speck-Kern. “The judges were very complimentary of her gaits, especially her trot, which they awarded an 8.6. In the short time I’ve been riding her she has truly blown us away with her composure and brilliance in the arena, and I’m thrilled to have qualified her for the Young Horse Championships!”

Gerona is owned by the Hoog family, and Katie Hoog, who has been purchasing horses from The Netherlands since 2007, scouted the Ster PROK predicated mare on a buying excursion to Holland in March of 2016. In a pressure crunch of time and travel, the decision to purchase the mare was made from only a video and quick lunging session, but that was enough to seal the deal. As a 3-year-old, Gerona won her mare testing with an 82.5%.

“Her three gaits, excellent conformation, and beauty are what originally caught our attention as a potential FEI prospect,” said Hoog. “With the added bonuses of intelligence and character she has everything she needs to be a real contender in the Young Horse divisions. Amy has done a fantastic job getting her qualified in a limited timeframe, and we are looking forward to seeing her in the arena at Lamplight.”

Excel Dressage was founded by Speck-Kern in 2010 and offers training, showing, and sales of top caliber dressage horses. After beginning her career with Olympic Bronze Medalist Michael Poulin and “S” Judge Sharon Poulin, Speck-Kern’s naturally quiet and effective riding style and training method drew a strong international client base of competitive amateurs. Excel Dressage imports a select number of exceptional sales and show prospects each year, and Speck-Kern was also recently accepted into the prestigious USEF “r” program. With her sights set on eventually obtaining international judge accreditation and international show ring success, she offers a unique training viewpoint as both a rider and judge.

For more information, including up-to-date news and horses for sale, visit Excel Dressage’s website, visit them on Facebook, or contact them directly at, +1 414 550 1176.

©2016 Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC | Wellington, Florida USA

Germany Victorious in Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup; USA and France Tie for Second

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann on course. Photos: Equinium Sports Marketing.

In a nail-biting double round class that had the packed Main Stadium on tenterhooks, Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Christian Ahlmann, and Marcus Ehning rode four faultless rounds to keep the challengers from France and the USA at bay, ultimately securing Germany’s win in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup.

The first round saw clears from the USA and German Teams, leaving them tied for first going into the second round (of the four riders for each team, the highest faulted rider is dropped from the calculations). France finished the first round with just 4 faults, and the close race set the crowd on edge for round 2. Two clears from Christian Ahlmann and Marcus Ehning put Germany in striking position for the win, while the USA’s McLain Ward had an unusual 12 fault round that left the pressure on Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ following clear rounds from Lucy Davis and Laura Kraut.

The crowd of nearly 30,000 was silent as Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum piloted Fibonacci 17 over the course, and exploded in excitement as the pair flew over the final Mercedes-Benz vertical without fault. With Ludger Beerbaum still to go, Germany’s victory was well in hand as Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ set onto the field. A clear round from her would tie the USA and Germany for first, but an unfortunate single fault at the Deutsche Bank water jump dropped America into second, where France’s fault free second round left them tied with the USA.

Germany’s jubilation was so pronounced at having won Aachen’s Nations Cup for the first time since 2008 that they seemed to forget that their fourth member, Ludger Beerbaum, had yet to go. As he and Casello rode onto the pitch, there was flurry of movement from Aachen’s tractors and ground crew to set up for the awards; no doubt they were eager to see Germany crowned. To the amusement of the crowd the announcer kindly asked the crew to allow Beerbaum to finish, while he and Casello waited patiently for their turn. Despite the round being inconsequential for the Nations Cup standings, the decorated German rider still needed to complete the course as Aachen’s CHIO is the final qualifier for the German Olympic Team.

Results for all classes and competitions during the CHIO Aachen 2016 can be found at:

Anabel Balkenhol and Dablino
Anabel Balkenhol and Dablino

Anabel Balkenhol and Juan Matute Jr. Triumphant in Friday’s Dressage Competition at the CHIO Aachen 2016

Germany once again dominated in the second leg of the CDI4, the Grand Prix Special, following an impressive performance in the Grand Prix CDI4 earlier in the week. Anabel Balkenhol and 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding Dablino FRH rode a precise and fluent test to score a 75.471 and top the class. Hubertus Schmidt and the Trakehner stallion Imperio 3, who were victorious in the Grand Prix with a 76+ percent, finished second on 74.157.

Earlier in the day, Spain’s Juan Matute Jr and Quantico Ymas took top honors in the Under-25 Grand Prix, demonstrating all of the poise and elegance required for international Grand Prix competition and finishing on 71.349. Second place went to Belgium’s Laurence Roos and Fil Rouge with 70.558, and Germany’s Florine Keinbaum and Doktor Schiwago 3 ended on 70.4558 for third.

Wesel District Top Quadrille Championships

The Deutsche Bank Stadium’s dressage arena was filled with the sounds of pop and rock and roll music Friday afternoon as the Prize of the Handwerk Quadrille Championships showcased exceptional choreography, harmony, and style of its 6 competing teams. With an overall score of 19.5, the Wesel District Team, comprised of Lisa Behr, Sina Doller, Nathalie Overmann, and Petra Wolf, claimed victory with upbeat music and intricate pattern. Their closest challenger and second place finisher was the Aachen District, finishing on a 18.3.

In the Quadrille Championships, each team consists of four horse and rider pairs who perform a medium level Freestyle routine to individual choreography and music. It is an interesting and well received aspect of the CHIO Aachen, and emphasizes the overall theme of teamwork that is prevalent throughout the CHIO.

Lamaze Does It Again in the Prize of the North Rhine-Westphalia
Press release courtesy of CHIO Aachen

What a week for Canada’s Olympic gold medallist, Eric Lamaze and his Hanoverian mare, Fine Lady. First the pair won the Turkish-Airlines Prize of Europe on Wednesday, then they rode to victory in the Prize North Rhine-Westphalia, proving their incredible speed.

In the second round of the jumping competition, the pair was almost four seconds faster than the rest of the field. However, as far as Saturday’s Rolex Grand Prix is concerned, his fellow competitors can breathe easy as Fine Lady is already on the way to Rio: Lamaze confirmed Friday that he will be riding Fine Lady at the Olympic Games. He would never have imagined that himself when he took over the mare from the German squad member, Holger Wulschner, in 2014: “We actually thought she was a good reserve horse for me for 1.50 metre speed competitions. But then I jumped her in the bigger classes now and again as well. And whatever we demanded from her, she delivered. I don’t know if one can call it scope. But she really is bold! And when she has the right ground speed, she can jump anything.”

Laura Kraut Wins the Stawag Prize for the USA
Press release courtesy of CHIO Aachen

Before the course was rebuilt for the Mercedes Benz Nations’ Cup, the STAWAG Prize, a competition against the clock, was held in the Main Stadium. Laura Kraut from the USA, the 2008 Olympic team gold medalist, reached the finish line in the fastest time, after knocking almost a second of her closest rival’s time with the Holstein-bred gelding, Confu.

She was followed by the two Irish riders, Jonathan Gordon with Fellini and Cian O’Connor with Calisto. Felix Haßmann and Cayenne of Germany finished fourth, while the team World Champion of 2010, Janne-Friederike Meyer, came fifth with Chuck and Christian Ahlmann was right behind her in sixth place with Cornado II.

©2016 Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC | Wellington, Florida USA

CHIO Aachen Wednesday Dressage Recap

Hubertus Schmidt with Imperio.

Germany’s Hubertus Schmidt and the Trekhener stallion, Imperio, proved their regality in the Deutsche Bank Stadium during the first day of dressage competition at the CHIO Aachen, demonstrating elegance and power in the first leg of the CDI-4* to score a 76.043% and top the class. Fresh off a recent injury, the pair is on the long list for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

In fact, all of the top placers in the CDI-4* are striving for a place on the German Olympic team: the two-time World Cup bronze medallist, Jessica Bredow-Werndl, came second with Unee BB (74.90). Anabel Balkenhol and Dablino came third with a score of 74.486 ahead of Fabienne Lütkemeier with D’Agostino (73.814) and Jenny Lang-Nobbe with Loverboy (72.700). The competitions in Aachen will ultimately decide who will represent Germany in Rio.

Michael Eilberg and Woodlander Farouche Claim Victory in Prize of the VUV Prix St. Georges

Rain and clouds could not dampen the first dressage competition of the CHIO Aachen 2016, which proved to be a battle of superstars and rising talent. Whereas the so-called Small Tour doesn’t usually attract a lot of attention at other shows, in Aachen’s Deutsche Bank Stadium one can admire the stars of tomorrow in these competitions. Wednesday’s Prize of the VUV – Vereinigte Unternehmerverbände Aachen – was no exception.

The elegant chestnut mare Woodlander Farouche, under the guidance of Michael Eilberg, put in a beautiful test to achieve a score of 76.368 percent, proving her mettle in the FEI levels. The British Hanoverian mare (Fuerst Heinrich x Woodlander Dornroschen) was the World Champion of the Five and Six-year-old Dressage Horses at the 2011 and 2012 World Breeding Championships in Verden, and has clearly hit her stride in the Prix St. Georges.

Jessica Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB. Photo: Equinium Sports Marketing
Jessica Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB. Photo: Equinium Sports Marketing

The 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding Santiago, piloted by German 2012 Olympic Team Silver medalist Dorothee Schneider, took reserve honors with a score of 75.263. Santiago was previously the winner of the Nuremberg Burg Cup Final, similar to the German Championships of the Young Dressage Horses.

The third and fourth place finishers were also German Champions as young horses. Third place went to the seven-year-old stallion, DSP Belantis, with the five-time Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth (73.895 percent). Belantis placed second at the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in 2016.

Hubertus Schmidt and Escolar rode to fourth with a final score of 73.895%. The 7-year-old stallion showed experience and maturity beyond his years in the hands of the German Olympic Team Gold Medalist, and was also crowned the German Champion title twice as a 3-year-old and 4-year-old.

Sixth and seventh place also went to Germany: Suppenkasper with the team World Champion, Helen Langehanenberg (72.921 percent) and Geraldine with Ingrid Klimke (71.553). Incidentally, the latter, who is the daughter of the most successful dressage rider of all time, Dr. Reiner Klimke, is not only competing in the dressage arena in Aachen, but also in the DHL Prize of the eventers.

World Champion Exell Heads the Field Following Prize of the Fa. Horsch, der Entsorger

As usual, the CAIO of the four-in-hand drivers, the Prize of Fa. Horsch, Der Entsorger, kicked off Wednesday with the dressage in the Driving Stadium. As with the dressage riders, accuracy, elegance and obedience are demanded of the masters of the carriages. After the first of three disciplines – the Marathon, the cross-country course of the drivers, and cones phase follow – the Australian driver, Boyd Exell, who has, among many other titles, already won the CAIO Aachen five times in the past, heads the field. Exell is namely also a many-time World Champion and World Cup winner and as the first driver ever was additionally distinguished by the FEI with the “Reem Acra Best Athlete Award” in 2015. In 2016, he is on course to claim his sixth victory at the Soers. The mode of the driving competition is similar to that of the eventing: the winner is the participant who has collected the least minus points after the final competition. After the dressage, Exell will set off on the Marathon course with 34.05 minus points.

The Dutch driver, Ijsbrand Chardon, is close at his heels on a score of 40.83 minus – a familiar situation for himself and Exell; they are more or less permanent rivals – whereby Chardon succeeded in securing the title in the World Cup Final this year after beating Exell. It is going to be exciting to see how the duel at the Soers ends this time round.

The American driver, Chester Weber, currently lies in third place, who was the first American to win in Aachen ever in 2013. His interim result is 43.33 minus points.

The best German driver after the dressage is Christoph Sandmann in seventh place (51.46).

©2016 Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC | Wellington, Florida USA

Horse and Symphony, Opening Ceremonies, and Show Jumping Kick Off CHIO Aachen 2016

Traditionally dressed Swedish dancers and a painted Norwegian Fjord. Photos are property of Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC.

Aachen, Germany (July 13, 2016) – The king and queen of Sweden paraded into the main stadium of the CHIO Aachen Tuesday evening in grand style, accompanied by the Royal Fire Brigade of Malmo and a phalanx of mounted guards from the Swedish Royal Stables. Following a welcome to the participating nations, presented by Icelandic ponies and their riders bearing flags, Her Majesty Queen Silvia delivered the inaugural speech, officially declaring the CHIO Aachen 2016 open. With a roar of approval from the crowd the Opening Ceremony was underway, a spectacular showcase that highlighted the unique history and culture of Sweden and the equestrian roots of the CHIO Aachen.

Sweden, as the partner nation of the CHIO Aachen, presented a fabulous tribute to its equestrian, cultural, and musical traditions to a packed house at the Aachen Soers Main Stadium in a dazzling spectacle to set the mood for the week’s competition. Beginning with the middle ages, where knights from Sweden and Germany went to battle and Vikings rode again over the international show jumping field, the ceremony also included a display of midsummer songs and dances, the presentation of the Dalecarlia Horse, Wangen Trotters Quadrille, a presentation of Swedish competitors, a tribute to the storybook characters of Astrid Lindgren, and the musical stylings of both ABBA and pop sensation Mans Zelmerlow, who concluded the evening with an impressive concert framed by a spectacular sunset.

Earlier in the week, the Prize of the Sparkasse was presented to the top FEI vaulters, and a spectacular showcase of music and equestrianism took place in the Deutsche Bank Stadium. Dubbed Pferd & Sinfonie, or Horse and Symphony, the show featured equestrian exhibitions ranging from wild west rough riders, dressage quadrilles, jumping, vaulting, and breed presentations all set to the sounds of a live orchestra, playing above the arena. In addition to traditional classical pieces, the concert set horses dancing to the tunes of mainstream movies and music including ABBA, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Forrest Gump, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Superman, and The Lion King.

The Klimkes’ pas de deux
The Klimkes’ pas de deux

Tuesday’s early mix of sun and clouds persisted throughout the day and into the Opening Ceremonies, and the first show jumping contests were held in the main stadium beginning with the STAWAG Eroffnungsspringen, a 1.45m open jumper class which was topped by Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano aboard his 11-year-old gelding, Kentucky v. Neerhof Z. The pair rode to a lead of almost four seconds over Germany’s Maurice Tebbel, the former Junior European Champion. German Olympic candidates Ludger Beerbaum, Daniel Deusser, Christan Ahlmann, Marcus Ehning, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum used the STAWAG Open Jumping class as a warm up.

Spain’s young talent led in the second class of the day, the Spakassen Youngster’s Cup. Featuring 7- and 8-year-old horses jumping 1.40m, the class served as a qualifier for the Sparkassen Youngster’s Cup Finale, to be held on Saturday, July 16. Sergio Alvarez Moya of Spain and the 8-year-old French bred mare Unicstar de l’Aumone proved unbeatable, securing the win with a lead of two seconds. The electric atmosphere and international caliber competition of the CHIO was a true test for the young horses, giving them experience towards future competition.

The CHIO Aachen continues Wednesday and Thursday:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Main Stadium:

Prize of Handwerks – 1.45m Jumping Competition at 11:30am
Prize of Europe, presented by Turkish Airlines – 1.55m Jumping competition with jump off, Qualifier for the Prize of the AachenMunchener and Rolex Grand Prix (Grand Prix of Aachen) at 1:45pm
Prize of StadteRegion Aachen – 1.50m two phase jumping competition at 5:30pm

A bridleless dressage presentation set to the music of Forrest Gump
A bridleless dressage presentation set to the music of Forrest Gump

Deutsche Bank Stadium:

Prix St. Georges at 3:30pm
Grand Prix de Dressage CDI 4* at 6pm

Driving Stadium:

Prize of Fa. Horsch, Der Entsorger FEI Dressage Test 11

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Driving Stadium:

Prize of Martello Immobilemanament FEI Dressage Test 8 at 10pm

Deutsche Bank Stadium:

Prize of Family Tesch – Grand Prix CDIO Nations Cup Qualifier at 10am

Main Stadium:

Prize of Familie Muter – Deutschland’s U25 Sprinkpokal der Stiftung Deutscher Spitzenpferdesport Jumping Competition at 12:30pm
Sparkassen Youngsters Cup 1.40m Finale Qualifier at 2pm
STAWAG Prize – 1.50m Prize of the AachenMunchener Qualifying competition at 4:30m
Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup Round 1 Team Jumping Qualifier at 6:30
Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup Round 2 Team Jumping Qualifier at 9:50

©2016 Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC | Wellington, Florida USA

Interagro Lusitanos Capture Top Honors at Sao Paulo CDI-3*

Fellini Interagro (Photo courtesy of Tupa)

Itapira, Sao Paulo, Brazil (June 20, 2016) – April, May, and June have seen nothing but victory for Interagro Lusitanos of Brazil, with their team of horses and riders topping national and international classes in a variety of disciplines including working equitation, stallion licensing tests, and FEI dressage. Back to back, nearly weekly wins over the past few months are the most recent in a string of accolades won that have already made 2016 a banner year for the Brazilian-based stud farm. With the breeding season just beginning, Interagro’s living legacy for the modern Lusitano sporthorse continues to blossom in the competition arena and set the standard for the Portuguese breed on the world stage.

Baldor Interagro (Ofensor (MV) x Quinata Interagro) swept the Small Tour during the Sao Paulo CDI-3, held June 2-5, 2016, exemplifying the grace, athleticism, and poise required to compete and win in the upper echelons of dressage. Ridden and trained by Pia Aragao, the victory marks the gray stallion’s second sweep of the Small Tour classes, as the pair topped Sao Paulo’s first CDI-3 in March of 2016. In addition to his athletic ability and intelligence, Aragao, who has trained the stallion since 2010, cites Baldor’s presence and attitude as one of his biggest strengths: “This horse enjoys the spotlight, and when he enters the arena his beauty and personality are hard to miss! Nothing is difficult for him and I’m really looking forward to moving him to the Grand Prix. Collection is his forte, typical of the Lusitano, and I think he will be even more successful when he can really collect for the piaffe and passage.”

The pair received a personal best score of 72.350% in their freestyle, which includes up-beat, popular music from the hit show Glee. “The degree of difficulty in our freestyle is quite high, especially a line of two-tempis on the centerline that are bookended by pirouettes,” said Aragao. “The changes have to be perfectly straight for the judges, and while we had a lot that could be improved upon, I was thrilled with his rideability and our overall performance.”

Baldor Interagro ridden by Pia Aragao (Photo courtesy of Martina Brandes)
Baldor Interagro ridden by Pia Aragao (Photo courtesy of Martina Brandes)

Interagro’s prowess in the dressage arena also extends to the FEI Young Horse divisions, where the elegant black stallion, Fellini Interagro (Nirvana Interagro x Batina Interagro), has been racking up impressive scores in the 6-Year-Old classes. Fellini, also ridden and trained by Aragao, topped both of his classes with final scores of 7.14 and 7.50 at the Brazilian Dressage Championships, held in tandem with the Sao Paulo CDI-3*. In May, the pair took top honors in the FEI Six-Year-Old division at the CAN National Dressage in Sao Paulo with scores of 8.20 and 7.18.

Following his wins in May and leading up to his recent success at the Brazilian Championships, Fellini added a few more accolades to his brief but decorated show career at the International Lusitano Show in Tatui, Sao Paulo, Brazil: he and four other Interagro stallions were approved by the ABPSL Stud Book. Two of the stallions, Caudilho Interagro and Ditador Interagro, were presented for licensing by internationally renowned Portuguese trainer and competitor Jorge Sousa, and all of the stallions and their handlers spent a week in preparation with Sousa for the International Lusitano Show. Caudilho Interagro and Gladiador Interagro topped the field with scores of 75 and 74.5, with Fellini just a hairsbreadth away with a score of 74. Ditador Interagro and Empreiteiro Interagro were also licensed with scores of 72 and 68.5. Fellini wrapped up the International Lusitano Show by winning the FEI 6-Year-Old class with a 7.52, a victory that names him the 2016 6-Year- Old Champion of the State of Sao Paulo.

Sired by one of Interagro’s most successful Grand Prix dressage competitors, Fellini inherited Nirvana Interagro’s temperament, conformation, and exceptional gaits, which give him a winning edge in the show ring. “He has no weakness in his gaits,” stated Aragao. “His uphill canter and freedom through the shoulder are what make him standout as a dressage prospect and future breeding stallion. He and Nirvana are also very similar in their personality: very intelligent, easy to work with, and true performers. They love attention, both in and out of the show ring.” With Fellini schooling 3- and 4- tempis, as well as working pirouettes, Aragao plans to continue to develop the young stallion up the levels to the FEI.

Also in May, Aragao was recognized for her success in 2015 aboard another Interagro stallion, Zepelim Interagro. The pair was awarded the prestigious Special Senior Top honors from the Premio Brasil Hipismo 2015 for their performances at the Grand Prix level.

With waves being made in the dressage arena, Interagro’s working equitation accolades also continued to grow. Following Xaveco Interagro’s clinching of the Working Equitation World Cup at the end of 2015 and a week of preparation with Jorge Sousa, the second phase of the 2016 Brazilian Working Equitation Championship saw Feitor Interagro, ridden by Alexandre Souza, dominate the Young Horse B division, while Gotico Interagro and Divisadero Interagro, both ridden by Johnny Miranda, secured reserve champion in the Young Horse A and Intermediate division. Based in the daily activities and tasks required by working horses, the discipline was created with the objective of enhancing the equestrian techniques utilized by horses and riders in various aspects of ranch and field work. Blending power, agility, and rideability, many of the traits that make Interagro’s Lusitanos successful as sporthorses also cross over to working equitation.

Interagro’s success in the national and international show ring is a testament to their breeding program, a legacy over 40 years in the making. Established by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga in 1975, Interagro’s mission was to preserve and restore the original foundational Lusitano bloodlines and lineages, many of which were in danger of extinction following the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. Through meticulous breeding, Interagro evolved the exceptional qualities of the Lusitano breed while showcasing their talent, beauty, and intelligence, giving rise to a modern Lusitano sporthorse that excels in the FEI disciplines. Today their legacy continues as their horses compete across four continents.

For more information on the Lusitano bloodlines, Interagro’s breeding program, or horses for sale, visit Interagro’s website.

Media Contact:
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
954 205 7992

Raw Horse Project Brings Unique Exposé on Spirit of the Equine to HH President of UAE Polo Cup

Photography credited to Sebastiano Vitale.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (May 27, 2016) – Set among the sport and spectacle of the most prestigious polo tournament in the Middle East, The Raw Horse Project’s collection of unique equestrian images brought an artistic and philosophical element to the HH President of UAE Polo Cup, held in the beginning of 2016 at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club in Abu Dhabi. A perfect complement to the region’s passion for equestrian sport, The Project’s exhibition was framed by the elegant Arabic architecture of the VIP and Hospitality sections and hosted prominent visitors including celebrities, sheiks, members of the royal family, and other prestigious guests.

Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, the HH President of UAE Polo Cup is held in the name of the UAE’s president and features two weeks of tournament competition culminating in the Grand Final. Known as the most exclusive and state-of-the-art polo experience in the UAE, the event also serves as a ‘must attend’ sporting and lifestyle event in the Emirate. While the qualifying matches are closed to the public, the Final welcomed all spectators to enjoy its unique combination of international polo and entertainment, including a juxtaposition of medieval falconry followed by aerial displays and choreography by military jets over the lush green fields of the historic polo club.

As a visual hymn to the relationship between horse and human, The Raw Horse depicts the sheer beauty, peace, and freedom of the equine. The images range from impressionistic to precise, and compose an optic allegory of the horse, portraying the equine as a metaphor of the ancestral human feelings of peace, nobility, fear, freedom, vivacity, sadness, and love. The limited edition fine art prints are featured in a select number of galleries from Shanghai to Los Angeles, and include a series of photographic objects and sculpture intended for collectors and private galleries. Following its debut in the Middle East, The Raw Horse Project will add Abu Dhabi to its list of local galleries, and received special interest to collaborate on projects for the Royal Family by the Prince of the UAE, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Sultan bin Hamdan Al Nahyan.

RawHorse2Equestrian culture in the UAE focuses on the Sheiks and their families, who are the primary sponsors the events and owners of the venues and horses. The strong connection to religion, nature, landscape, and animals defines the atmosphere and passion for equestrian sports in this part of the world. High levels of disposable income, advancing technology, and a true enjoyment of the sport combine with traditional values and a deep bond with the natural world to make the Middle East a rapidly expanding and international caliber destination for equestrian sport. Racing and endurance riding are the preferred and featured disciplines, due in large part to the legacy of the sport and the Arabian horses that have been selectively bred and competed in the region for millennia. But the infusion of western and Spanish breeds, as well as the disciplines in which they excel, are making their mark on the Middle East’s growing equestrian demographics.

The brainchild of Italian photographer Sebastiano Vitale, The Raw Horse Project brought the spirit of the horse to Asia in 2015, where it was featured at multiple exhibitions across China to resounding approval. Following the first two exhibitions at museums in Beijing and Shanghai, the collection was invited to participate in numerous equestrian events across the country, from Cavalia’s Asian tour and the Longines Global Champions Tour Hong Kong to Dalian Beach Polo.

The primal poetry of The Raw Horse caught the attention of Cavalia creator and co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, Normand Latourelle. Vitale and his photography were selected to join the Cavalia Asian tour, based in Shanghai, and featured limited edition Raw Horse prints on display in the fantastic Cavalia show tent erected adjacent to the China Art Museum.

RawHorse3Vitale, who is based mainly out of the United States in winter and spring, also commissions a select number of private shoots for clients per year. His portfolio of work includes some of the biggest names in entertainment and equestrianism, including T.E.A.M. Israel’s equestrian team in Wellington, Florida, and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, his wife, Shirley, and their Polish bred Arabians. Vitale’s photography has been featured in numerous mainstream and equestrian magazines, and his background includes more than 15 years of experience in art, mass communication, and visual journalism, creating campaigns for FIAT, the Olympic Games, RAI, and Atlanta International Airport.

For more information on The Raw Horse or Sebastiano Vitale, visit or contact Equinium Sports Marketing:,, +1 954 205 7992.