Category Archives: Equestrian Sport Prod.

Equestrian Sport Productions

Blythe Masters and Eriana Claim Victory in $5,000 SemiCan 1.40m Open Stake at ESP Spring V

Blythe Masters and Eriana. ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – May 14, 2019 – Blythe Masters of New York, NY and her own Eriana took home the top honors in the $5,000 SemiCan 1.40m Open Stake at ESP Spring V, after stopping the timers at 50.205 seconds for the victory, ahead of Hailey Royce of Gurnee, IL and Goldbricker, owned by Castlewood Farm Inc., who claimed second place with a time of 40.905 and added four faults to their score. Luisfe Morales of Wellington, FL, aboard his own Ferrari DN, rounded out the top three with a time of 53.642 and six faults added to their score.

The class, designed by Andy Christiansen of Wellington, FL, saw a total of 11 entries contest the first round, with only three combinations moving forward to the jump-off round. Masters was the only competitor to finish the class with a double clear effort.

To view full results of the $5,000 SemiCan 1.40m Open Stake, please click here.

To learn more about the ESP Spring Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Kevin Babington and Mark Q Win $40,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Spring III Grand Prix

Kevin Babington and Mark Q. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – April 25, 2019 – Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, PA made his mark on the $40,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Spring III Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), piloting both his mounts Mark Q and Shorapur to a first and second place finish, respectively. Babington and his own Mark Q dashed through the short course in 35.967 seconds, while stopping the timers in 36.865 seconds aboard Shorapur, owned by Shorapur, LLC. Luiz Francisco de Azevedo and so What HP Z took third place after completing the jump-off course in 37.085 seconds.

Babington and Mark Q have a stored partnership together, collecting wins across the country at the Grand Prix level. The pair navigated the track, built by Richard Jeffery, well, which ensured a solid performance in the jump-off from the duo. A total of 12 combinations moved forward to contest the jump-off, with six pairs completing the course with a double clear effort. Over 35 total combinations attempted the first-round track, with two riders finishing on just a single time fault to keep them from advancing to the jump-off round.

“I thought the course was difficult enough and understand why [Richard] had to build it the way he did. I thought it suited Mark Q really well and he’s a very good oxer jumper. Shorapur is more of a vertical jumper because she’s super careful, but they both rode it well,” said Babington.

“I was glad the time was a little bit tight because for my horses, they’re both experienced and I was able to do a couple of inside turns that kept me inside of the time. It was tight enough and the first three jumps were a little bit difficult, but there were a few places you could make it up.”

Babington had a fantastic week with both horses, particularly with his mount Mark Q, who finished in second place in the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Spring Grand Prix on Friday. Babington commented that he felt Mark Q jumped much better in the jump-off than in the first round on Friday and the feeling was mimicked on Sunday.

“Mark Q was second on Friday and when he came back on Friday, he jumped much better in the jump-off than he did in the first round. I knew that I could really challenge him and take some risks. I did eight strides from one to two, which was the leave-out number,” he explained. “When I was approaching the jump, he swapped leads, so I found a waiting distance and really had work for the eight and then I knew I could stay on that rhythm and everything came up just fine.”

Discussing the ride on his second mount Shorapur, Babington commented, “On Shorapur I knew the eight from one to two may be too much for her. She’s super careful at her oxers, so I stayed wide in nine and everything came up just the way I wanted it. I knew that if I added a stride down the line, I was taking a risk, but it worked for her to do the nine to the last jump and jumped it super well. I figured that if everything came up just right maybe Kent or Darragh would catch me, but all worked out well.”

Following his success at ESP Spring III, Babington will head straight to Kentucky to compete Shorapur, before gearing Mark Q back up for FEI competition in Kentucky during the month of May, with the ultimate goal of competing him at Devon in June.

“The reason I jumped Shorapur is because she’s going to do the class in Kentucky this weekend, we’re leaving tonight, so it was just a prep class for her. Mark Q did a lot at the beginning of circuit and very little at the end. He’ll do the regular FEI shows in Kentucky and then hopefully I will jump him in Devon in the Grand Prix. Shorapur will skip Devon and potentially do Upperville instead. I also have Super Chilled and we’ll just try to break it up a little bit with them to see where they will do best.”

Hardin Towell and Hollywood Be Good Capture Top Honors in $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Spring Welcome Grand Prix

Hardin Towell of Camden, SC found himself atop the leaderboard once again during ESP Spring III, this time aboard Hollywood Be Good, owned by Kirsten Ostling, after the pair finished ahead of the class in the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Spring Welcome Grand Prix. The pair finished with a time of 35.683 seconds in the jump-off ahead of Kevin Babington and Mark Q, who completed the course in 36.486 seconds. Alberto Michan of Wellington, FL and El Pacho, owned by Pablo Mejia, rounded out the top three in 37.099 seconds.

The course, designed by Richard Jeffery, saw 26 entries tackle the main track, with 11 entries advancing to the jump-off. Kevin Babington piloted his two entries into the second round, while Towell also guided his two mounts successful into the short course phase as well. A total of seven combinations finished fault free.

Hardin Towell Guides Billy Cool to $10,000 Triple Crown Open 1.40m Stake Win

Towell and Billy Cool, owned by Oakland Ventures, LLC, rode to the top of the $10,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Open 1.40m Stake after stopping the course timers in 37.787 seconds. Towell also piloted Corona 93, owned by Oakmont Stables, LLC, to second place with a time of 41.134 seconds, finishing nearly four seconds faster aboard his first-place mount, Billy Cool. Lorcan Gallagher of Wellington, FL and Cassandra F, owned by Southern Arches, LLC, rounded out the top three with a time of 41.444 seconds.

The class saw a total of 40 entries with eight combinations advancing to contest the jump-off track. Towell and Paul O’Shea were the only two riders with two horses in the jump-off round, as half of the advanced field completed the class with zero faults.

For full results from the $40,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Spring III Grand Prix, click here.

For more information on PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Samuel Parot and Atlantis Dash to Top of $35,000 The Fit Equestrian Spring II Grand Prix

Samuel Parot and Atlantis. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – April 17, 2019 – Samuel Parot of Wellington, FL and his longtime partner Atlantis finished atop the leaderboard in the $35,000 The Fit Equestrian Spring II Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) after completing their jump-off round in 35.42 seconds, two full seconds ahead of second place finisher Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, Ontario and her mount Judge Hof Ter Zeedycke, owned by Skymaster, LLC, who stopped the timers in 37.808 seconds. Paul O’Shea of Wellington, FL and Skara Glen’s Chancelloress, owned by Skara Glen Stables, captured third place with a jump-off time of 41.592 seconds.

The class saw a total of 27 entries contest the course designed by Ana Catalina Harris Cruz (MEX) in the International Arena, while only nine combinations qualified for the jump-off round. Paul O’Shea piloted both of his mounts to a double clear effort on the day, while three combinations added four faults to their jump-off round.

Samuel Parot and Atlantis have picked up numerous national and international victories around the world and are considered to be one of the faster combinations when entered together. Parot, who competes internationally for Chile, has been a mainstay on the circuit in Wellington, FL for the past few years.

“The course was very nice. It rode well and was good for us,” said Parot. “The jump-off was fast and there were some times that I thought I could go faster, which helped us secure the win.”

Parot travels internationally during the season, but calls Wellington, FL home during the winter circuit and has enjoyed a successful season. He elaborated, “My horses have gone well here and I think that the post season classes are good for my horses. Atlantis is very fast, so I wanted to try and go for the win in the jump-off.”

Todd Minikus and Amex Z Claim Top Honors in $25,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix

The $25,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix saw Todd Minikus of Lake Worth, FL ride to victory aboard Amex Z, owned by Bit By Bit Group, after the pair toured the short course in 34.484 seconds. Margie Engle and mount USA Normande, owned by Paillot Equestrian & Gladewinds Farm, Inc., finished just two-hundredths of a second behind Minikus, stopping the timers in 34.492 seconds. Fabio Leivas da Costa and Randon Pleasure, owned by Bonne Chance Farm LLC, secured third place with a final jump-off time of 36.025 seconds.

The class featured 43 entries and a small, quick jump-off with only five pairs qualifying for the second round. Each of the five combinations in the jump-off completed the track with no additional faults. Minikus also finished in eighth place with Calvalou on a single time fault.

For full results from the $35,000 The Fit Equestrian Spring II Grand Prix, click here.

For full results from the $25,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Spring Grand Prix, click here.

For more information on PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Chris Ewanouski and Binja Take $35,000 ProElite Spring I Grand Prix at PBIEC

Chris Ewanouski and Binja. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – April 9, 2019 – Chris Ewanouski of Wellington, FL and Binja, owned by Castle Point Farm LLC, rose to the top of the leaderboard in the $35,000 ProElite Spring I Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) after dashing through the jump-off timers in 45.057 seconds. Lauren Tisbo of Wellington, FL piloted Tequestrian Farms, LLC entry Jeleena de Muze to second place with a jump-off time of 45.228 seconds. Margie Engle of Wellington, FL and her trusty partner Indigo rounded out the top three with a time of 45.307 seconds.

The class saw 28 entries contest the Philip Devita designed track with 11 entries posting a clear effort in the first round to move forward to the jump-off. Ewanouski narrowly edged out Tisbo for the win, but Binja jumped efficiently in the second round to secure their win.

“I felt great after the class. You always feel good after a result like that. The course was really well done for the Grand Prix and Philip did a great job. It worked well for Binja, especially the jump-off,” commented Ewanouski. “She’s normally very fast in the jump-off and I could make a few tight turns. She has a huge stride and there was a long run to the last jump in the jump-off and I made a really neat turn and just galloped as fast as I could at the last fence. It caught her attention just enough, but she’s that fast anyway and the jump-off worked in our favor.

“We’ve had her for about two years. She’s owned by Castle Point Farm, who is a client of ours, Lindsay Strauffus. She showed her in the amateurs a bit last year and I started showing her over the summer. We did some good classes in Kentucky throughout the summer season,” he elaborated on the mare’s performance this past year.

Ewanouski and Binja have produced impressive results together since he took over the ride, but ensured the mare was well-rested and feeling sharp for the ESP Spring Series, which their team felt better suited the mare.

“We laid low during season a little bit and FEI is so competitive. She’s brave and very scopey and is super fun for me to show. We wanted to set her up for success this season, so we decided to have an easy WEF. She showed in some of the national classes with good results at the end of season. We were planning on gearing up for this circuit, which suits her really well. She’s really fresh and not tired and that worked in our favor. She came into last week’s show just a bit fresher than the others I think,” he explained.

As for the future of the pair, Binja is for sale, but Ewanouski will continue to compete her throughout the spring and summer until she’s partnered with a new rider. The duo will look towards an FEI start in May if she is still part of the program, as the owners enjoy watching Ewanouski compete her.

“She is for sale, but I don’t think that we’re in a huge rush. The owners love being able to watch her show and produce good results. She’ll come to KY with us in the spring and potentially do the FEI 2* at Split Rock and we’ll go from there. We base mostly in KY for the summer and do some shows in that area and she’ll go if we still have her at that point. We’d like to end on a high note here and we’re walking away from this win with her feeling really fresh and happy.”

For full results from the $35,000 ProElite Spring I Grand Prix, click here.

For more information on PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg Sail to Redemption with CCI 4*-S Win at The Fork

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. ©Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Clark Montgomery and Caribbean Soul Swoop to Advanced Division Win

Tryon, NC – April 7, 2019 – Boyd Martin (USA) and Tsetserleg sailed clear through the Cross-Country course to take top honors and conclude CCI 4*-S competition at The Fork at TIEC presented by Lucky Clays Farm at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Martin stopped the timers in 6:47 to finish on a total score of 35.00, improving from a third place rank throughout the week. Felix Vogg (SUI) and Colero earned second place after their clear, 6:54 Cross-Country effort to garner a score of 39.80, while Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) and Fernhill By Night completed the podium on a score of 40.00. Halliday-Sharp also collected fourth place awards aboard Deniro Z, with a final score of 41.70.

Twenty-six pairs tested the track set by Captain Mark Phillips (IRL), hosted on the White Oak Course at TIEC and mimicking the same course used for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). Martin was happy for some redemption over a particular sailboat obstacle that he admitted was less distracting than in September: “At WEG I got the wrong ride in, plus there was a lot of other stuff around it to distract the horse and that wasn’t there today, so it was a little bit easier to get him over it today,” he explained.

“But still, it was a good feeling getting over it and I got a big, big cheer from the crowd. I could distinctively hear the owner shrieking, Christine Turner, who has been a great supporter and I could hear her cheering on her horse,” said Martin. “It was good to get that behind [me] and come here, and to be honest the horse, Thomas, is a little bit more seasoned now and a little further on. He’s probably learned a little bit more in the last 12 months, so he feels a lot more seasoned now, so he’s a lot easier to ride.

“He’s not so distracted and I’ve learned how to ride him a bit differently and a bit better, too,” Martin continued of the 2007 Trakehner gelding (Windfall x Buddenbrock) owned by Christine Turner. “It was good to have a win because I had a bit of an awkward start to the year – just sort of bouncing around, a bit injured here and there, and missing a few shows, and it was good to win one, but [it’s] also good to always remember that some of the best horses here chose to run a bit slow to prepare for Kentucky, so we still got a little bit of work ahead of us. But he was good and strong in all three phases.”

Martin allowed that he did plan to go a bit quick due to missing some prior events in the year, but didn’t go “flat out.” He continued, “I thought [he needed] a good run and a bit of a fitness run, but not to go so fast that you risk an injury or anything like that. He felt very, very strong around the whole track and was quite fit. He jumped really well and I think we’re in good shape.”

The White Oak Course, which hosted CCI 4*-S, CCI 3*-S, CCI 2*-S, Advanced, Intermediate, and Preliminary Divisions for Cross-Country, is one that Martin knows very well. “I like it down there. It’s a really, really good track,” he elaborated. “It’s not as easy to ride as you think just because it’s an old golf course, so there’s all these little humps and lumps and the ground is not quite flat. So sometimes it’s a bit deceiving, especially on the galloping jumps, you think you see a good line and then it changes just a little bit just because the undulation of the ground.

Martin concluded, “It was good coming here just with a handful of horses and here for a few days just to concentrate and zero in on them. I think it’s a great show and a great preparation for Kentucky and a really good show for the young horses to get them ready. Obviously, I love this place. On top of that, I think Captain Mark Phillips is such a great course designer and he really knows how to build a good track. I think he’s building better tracks now than ever.”

Vogg was also aiming for another crack at the White Oak Course after WEG and analyzed that Colero “did a good job, but just needs more preparation for the jumps [on the way to them]. I tried to ride him a little bit differently than I did at WEG and I think the mistake at the water [at WEG] didn’t happen at the water, but I think it happened in the jumps before and I couldn’t prepare him that well. I saw it a bit different and rode him differently today and it worked out pretty well,” he recapped.

Having cruised through a competitive track at TIEC, Vogg is feeling well-prepared for his trip to Kentucky. “There’s always something to fix and some little stuff to do that I’ll try to get done in the next two weeks. It’s never perfect, but I’m pretty sure he’s more ready for Kentucky this year than last year, or maybe than he was for WEG,” Vogg conceded of the self-owned 2008 Westphalian gelding (Captain Fire x Bormio XX). “I think the course [at TIEC] is pretty difficult because it’s so quick between fences and so many things after each other, so I think Kentucky will be easier for Colero.”

Halliday-Sharp held on to her podium position in the aboard Fernhill By Night, the 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday, and finished just behind with Deniro Z in what she was hoping to use as a Kentucky schooling round. “Blackie [Fernhill By Night] was really, really good. He got a little bit sort of tired towards the end, but it would be quite an intense course for him. He hasn’t probably done a course that intense for a while, but I was really pleased. He got a little bit bogged down near where the squirrels were, but he fought for me there, and then he was just feeling like I was running out of push as I got near the end, so I chose the easier route through the water because I thought that was the right decision,” Halliday-Sharp recalled. “He really tried and he’s not a racing snake, so he did the best he could, so I’m pleased with where we ended up.

“Deniro [Z] had a really great round and I was really, really happy,” Halliday-Sharp described of her trip aboard the2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero VDL x French Buffet XX) owned by the Deniro Syndicate & Ocala Horse Properties. “He was just so fast at Carolina, and a little bit wild, and the plan today was to really put the pieces in place 100% with Kentucky in mind.”

Halliday-Sharp was able to hear Martin’s time announced and knew she wasn’t going to be going “quite that fast,” she said. “I sort of went out with a plan and I think executed the plan exactly how I had planned, and I had a super round.”

Though the plan was to go quick with Fernhill By Night and pay more attention to rideability than speed with Deniro Z, their times were within a second of each other in light of Deniro Z’s fitness, Halliday-Sharp revealed. “He was really ridable, and he made it feel easy. I was really thrilled and he finished fresh and never really got out of fourth gear, so it was great! I think I’ve got Deniro [Z] where I want him if I’m really honest.”

Of the course, Halliday-Sharp commented, “I really enjoyed that. It was a good course; it was a good, strong course, intense and basically what we needed before a 5*, so I thought it was perfect. It was a lot stronger than in previous years and I thought that was necessary, so it was good.”

CCI 3*-S competition saw Doug Payne (USA) and Starr Witness claim first-place honors on the week after their Cross-Country ride for a total score of 33.20, while second went to Will Faudree (USA) and Caeleste for their final score of 38.00, and third was awarded to Katie Lichten (USA) and RF Luminati with a weeklong total of 41.10 points.

In the CCI 2*-S Division, Ryan Wood (AUS) and Ruby placed first with a score of 37.00, followed by Will Faudree (USA) and Mama’s Magic Way in second with 37.70. Ryan Wood (AUS) also took third place with Chusinmyconfession with a score of 39.00.

Clark Montgomery and Caribbean Soul Swoop to Advanced Division Win

Clark Montgomery (USA) and Caribbean Soul flew to a win in the Advanced Division after their fast and clear Cross-Country performance in 6:39 to finish on a score of 38.20, while Boyd Martin (USA) and Long Island T collected second-place honors on a score of 45.70. Third went to Felix Vogg (SUI) and Archie Rocks following their Cross-Country round, returning to their Dressage rank on the week to finish on a score of 48.70.

Montgomery attributed his hectic week to a slightly higher Dressage score to kick off the week, saying, “She [Caribbean Soul] was really good all weekend. To be fair to her, I was packing to go home to Kentucky like crazy just a couple days before we got here, and didn’t get to do my normal preparation for the Dressage, so that was probably my fault. She wasn’t misbehaved at all, she just didn’t have a very clean test, with a couple little mistakes, so we didn’t score as low as we’ve been scoring, but I was still really happy with her.”

Much like his rankings throughout the week, the performance of the 2007 Thoroughbred mare (Cimarron Secret x Ogygian), owned by the Caribbean Soul Syndicate, only got better as competition went on, Montgomery detailed. “For the jumping she was great – she was really, really good. And then in Cross-Country she was absolutely phenomenal. I couldn’t ask for her to be better. I mean, her gallop is just the coolest thing I’ve ever felt, for sure. It’s just so easy,” he emphasized. “And honestly, I wasn’t going to go quick on her today and she just loves it. It’s just the speed she operates out of, so I just let her kind of cruise around and she came in that fast. It was wonderful.

“I thought the course was super,” Montgomery said of the White Oak Course. “I thought it was definitely tough enough and big enough and I thought it was the biggest track she had jumped to date, so I was excited to see how she handled it and I like Mark’s courses a lot. They remind me a lot of the tracks you jump in England, with the bolder, forward distances and bigger fences. The setting down there on the old golf course is just absolutely beautiful around the lake, so I thought it was great!”

Martin was pleased with the Cross-Country ride put in by Long Island T, the 2006 Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding (Ludwig Von Bayern x Heraldik XX) owned by The Long Island T Syndicate, but noted that “he’s definitely a little bit too keen and is a strong, feisty wild man” on course. “He still jumped really well, and gave me a good ride. I think he’ll be better suited for Kentucky because it’s a longer and more flowing course, where you can get him to fall asleep a little bit more between fences.

“He’s very strong in the Dressage and Jumping and he’s very game on Cross-Country, but he just gets really strong and a little bit out of control. He’s a hard horse to ride fast,” Martin admitted. “You get baited into wrestling with him and have to steady him up. It could go either way come Kentucky, but you got to be in it to win it.”

Vogg and his own Archie Rocks, a 2008 Thoroughbred gelding (Le Monde x Unbridled Jet), are still getting to know one another but put in a sub-seven-minute Cross-Country ride to regain the podium. Compared to Vogg’s CCI 4*-S mount, Colero, “Archie is really slow,” admitted Vogg, but also “more used to Cross-Country, I think, from racing in his career before.

“There is still a lot of work to do because we don’t know each other that well and it was our second Cross-Country run, but for that he did it pretty well,” Vogg concluded, “and [despite] yesterday’s [downed rails and time faults]. Both my horses did well today.”

Clark Montgomery and Theodoor landed at the top of the Open Intermediate Division with a score of 32.20, with Lynn Symansky and RF Cool Play in second with a score of 36.30, then Annie Goodwin and Fedarman B in third with a score of 42.80.

Dylan Phillips aboard Fernhill Fierce placed first in the Junior Young Riders Open Preliminary with a score of 34.80. Second place was awarded to Jessica Ebzery and Share Option with a score of 37.60.

In the Open Preliminary Division, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp landed the blue ribbon with 30.10 points aboard Gorsehill Cooley followed by Kathy Cain, who took second place with Legal Limit on a score of 33.30. Allison Springer and Crystal Crescent Moon took third place with 33.60 points.

The Preliminary Rider Division saw Allison Smith and Gude Affair place first with a score of 35.20. Isabelle Bosley and Night Quality took second place with 36.80 points, and third place went to Campbell Jourdian and Marquet Rise with a score of 45.80.

In the Modified Division, Cornelia Dorr and Prinz S.W. took top honors after finishing on their Dressage score of 25.70, while Ashley Adams and Coronio improved their rank to second to end on a score of 28.40. Sinead Halpin and Stakkato Bronx finished on a score of 28.70 to take home third.

Dominic Schramm and Quadrocana scored first place in the Open Training Division with a score of 20.50. Ema Klugman and Kangaroo Court took second place with 26.20 points, and Ashley Adams took third place aboard Charly with 28.10 points.

In the Training Rider Division, first place went to Payne Murray and Baron with a score of 31.90. Second place went to Emily Shilling and Enchanting Class with 33.00 points, and third place went to Anna Billings and Wexford Cruise with a score of 35.80.

Lena Bruno and Brighid Charity RSH claimed first place in the Novice Rider Division with a score of 28.30. Nell Nicastro and Abecca GS took second place with a score of 30.50. Third place went to Jessica Copland and Silly Wabbit with a score of 31.70.

Dominic Schramm landed another victory for the week, this time in the Open Novice Division aboard Casalto with a score of 24.10. Ashley Adams also added another second place win to her list aboard Princely Perfect with a score of 26.00. Morgan Batton and Sommersby took third place with a score of 26.40.

In the Open Beginner Novice Division, Erin Buckner with Picassi and Aaron Hill with Denali were tied for first place following Dressage, along with Macie Sykes with Delilah’s Boy. Buckner and Hill went on to also tie for first place in the Jumping phase. Ultimately, Buckner and Picassi took first place with 26.40 points. Hill and Denali also scored 26.40, but received second by Cross-Country tie-breaking policies. Sykes and Delilah’s Boy finished in third place with a score of 28.00.

Click here to follow along with live results from The Fork at TIEC.

Two Horses and Two CCI4*-S Phases in the Bag for Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp at The Fork

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. ©Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Tryon, NC – April 6, 2019 – Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) retained control over the first and second-place slots in CCI 4*-S competition at The Fork at TIEC presented by Lucky Clays Farm hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), walking away from the Show Jumping phase adding four faults to her score on Fernhill By Night for 28.80 points, and putting in a clear round aboard Deniro Z to maintain her score of 30.10. In third, Boyd Martin (USA) and Tsetserleg, the 2007 Trakehner gelding (Windfall x Buddenbrock) owned by Christine Turner, are no longer tied for the spot, also going clear and under the time to bring a score of 30.20 into Cross-Country competition on Sunday.

Halliday-Sharp and the 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday could afford the rail down on the USA’s Chris Barnard-designed course to keep the lead, she allowed, but would rather have saved the cushion for the Cross-Country course.

“Blackie [Fernhill By Night] jumped out of his skin and I thought I had it in the bag,” she explained. “He was my first ride of [three] and I just kind of rolled down the last fence. I had a little bit of turn on him still, and he just twisted the tiniest bit into his left shoulder in the air, which is very rare for Blackie. It was probably my fault; maybe I was a little too casual about it because I thought I had it done – and I know better – but the horse jumped amazing, so it’s not his fault.”

With Deniro Z, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero VDL x French Buffet XX) owned by the Deniro Syndicate & Ocala Horse Properties, Halliday-Sharp was thrilled with his performance on the day and looked ahead to her Cross-Country round with Kentucky in mind, saying, “Deniro [Z] really needs a good prep run for Kentucky. I don’t plan to run him slow because I don’t think that would suit him. I need to get him a little bit more with me; he was a bit of an animal Carolina. He’s like an airplane now; he’s so strong and has so much power and I just need to make sure he’s sort of listening to me and that I can put him in the same place looking ahead to Kentucky, so that will be my goal with him.

“With Blackie, I’m gonna have a damn good crack and try and make the time and try and take him to the win,” Halliday-Sharp elaborated. “I think it’s a stronger track than Carolina, in my opinion, and I think there’s a lot more to do than there was at Carolina, so it will take some riding for sure, especially if you’re going fast. I’m just gonna go out and try to give them a really great run and lots of confidence and kick on,” she concluded.

“I had an up and down day,” said Martin. “The two horses I was worried about having tough rounds on jumped like bunny rabbits. Contestor and Tsetserleg, they were fantastic. My two reliable jumping horses were a little bit spooky today!”

Martin detailed that Tsetserleg can be a little bit tricky in the combinations, so the morning’s preparation included “popping him through a couple small, sort of novice-like combinations over and over again, and it just got him thinking, waiting, and slow. And then the two combinations [on course] and here arched really well. I was pleased that he jumped not only clear, but in good fashion. I think leading into Kentucky it’s not so much the result, but the feeling they’re giving you when you ride them.”

Martin is hoping to carry that good feeling into the competition, which seems to be overshadowed by one obstacle that didn’t go well for Martin during the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 at the venue last year, he noted. “It’s a very weird thing. Last year’s [WEG] was just a horrible memory here and it was only one jump. It’s a very weird sport because one jump can just destroy emotion or feeling and everyone’s moral for months and months and months, so it’s good to be back here, to be honest.

“Obviously, [for] the boat in the water, I really want to give him a good ride there. I’ve probably gone over that jump [in my mind] more times, you know, what I did wrong, or what could have happened differently than any other jump I’ve ever jumped, so [I’m] looking forward to going in there and riding that in a better way,” Martin remarked.

The obstacle looming in his mind is not the only thing Martin needs to pay attention to while on course, he continued. “Then, [in light of] the horses going to Kentucky, I think giving them a slightly quicker round because the ground will be good, and make sure that they’re thinking good. Sometimes if you ride them real fast, the next time you ride them, they’re a bit out of control, so I’ll try and give them a good blow out here – a good fitness run – but then also schooling them a little bit so that they’re waiting and thinking for you. It’s a catch 22,” he concluded.

Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection Rise above Competition in Advanced Show Jumping ahead of Cross-Country

Lynn Symansky improved her ranking to first in the Advanced Division following Show Jumping aboard Under Suspection, adding four faults to bring a score of 31.20 into Cross-Country competition going forward. Second place after two phases belongs to Ariel Grald aboard Leamore Master Plan, a 2009 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Master IMP IHR x Cavalier Royale) owned by Anne W. Eldridge, on a score of 31.40, while Boyd Martin and Long Island T sit in third with a score of 32.50, adding eight time faults to score for the 2006 Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding (Ludwig Von Bayern x Heraldik XX) owned by The Long Island T Syndicate. Martin also holds fourth place aboard Contestor, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Contango x Killer Jer) owned by Denise Lahey, on 34.30 points.

Symansky and the 2004 Holsteiner mare (Contender x Exorbitant XX) owned by Mary Ann Ghadban were slated to sit in second before Will Faudree and Pfun withdrew from competition, but now enjoy a top placing that Symansky said wasn’t really her focus, but is nice to have.

“She was good. I totally take credit for the rail we had down – she jumped really well; I just didn’t ride across the back rail of that oxer. But yeah, she tried really hard. It was good to get in a little bit more atmosphere because she’s been to places that were a little bit quieter, so it was good to get in here and practice in a venue that really prepares you for Kentucky,” she commented.

“The plan tomorrow would be to have a good run that prepares her for Kentucky. I don’t really have the clock in mind; the chips kind of fall where they do. I’m excited to ride around the track tomorrow – I rode it on a horse I knew very well last year, and this is one I’ve had the ride on for about a year now. The venue looks great, too – the ground is great and the courses look awesome.”

About the venue in particular, Symansky mentioned, “This place prepares you so much. Especially for young horses to come see this kind of venue, and the courses and the footing are really good, with jumper classes going on at the same time so you could even bring young horses or students, too. It’s really is a fantastic venue for all levels and experience.”

Grald was pleased with her mount’s performance on the day, saying, “My horse jumps super and is very careful. He gets a little strong, but I’m lucky that he really tries over the fences. There’s a lot of atmosphere in that arena, but I thought it was a great course that challenged accuracy,” she recalled. “I didn’t give him the best ride going into the final line, but he took care of himself and dealt with the mistakes. He jumped really well.”

Heading into the Cross-Country competition, a favorite phase for both Grald and Leamore Master Plan, she noted the course contains both size and accuracy-related questions to tackle. “I’m looking forward to going out and getting galloping. There’s a lot of big jumps out there that are going to be fun, but there are some good accuracy questions, too. He’s really good at Cross-Country. He loves to gallop and he’s brave. I think it’s going to be a great set up for future spring events, too,” Grald concluded.

“I had two good rounds,” Martin recapped. “Contestor is pretty green and he went in there as the first horse of the day and jumped like a bunny rabbit. I was thrilled with him because it’s been a bit tough in show jumping for him in the past.”

He continued, “Long Island T was really good in there; I was very happy with him. He did have two poles down, but he just nicked them. One was the back rail of the triple bar, which I set up a bit too early, so that one was my fault and then he knocked an oxer right at the end. I felt like he was making a really good show; he was trying. It doesn’t look that good on the score board, but he gave me a good feel. I’ve still got a bit of homework to do with him before Kentucky if we take him there, but all in all, I was happy with both.

“The rain yesterday is going to make the turf sensational,” Martin predicted of the Cross-Country course. “It’s a real test, but we’re gonna have to ride every stride of the course.”

The CCI 3*-S Division leading pair remains unchanged after a clear Jumping round for Doug Payne (USA) and Starr Witness, sitting on a score of 27.60 to maintain first position. Will Faudree (USA) and Caeleste continue to hold second with 29.60 points, while Therese Evans (USA) and Clover Joe are third with 31.50.

The CCI 2*-S Division saw Courtney Cooper (USA) aboard Excel Star If Never in first with a score of 36.30, while Dasha Ivandaeva (CAN) jumped to second aboard Kingcarra Cooley Diamond to remain on a score of 36.70, and third place stands with Ryan Wood (AUS) riding Ruby, sitting on 37.00 points ahead of Cross-Country.

Click here to follow along with live results from The Fork at TIEC.

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp Floats to Top CCI 4*-S Dressage at The Fork

Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night.  ©Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Tryon, NC – April 5, 2019 – Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) topped the leaderboard placing first and second in CCI 4*-S Dressage competition at The Fork at TIEC presented by Lucky Clays Farm at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). For the first-place position, Halliday-Sharp earned a score of 24.80 with Fernhill By Night, and secured second with a score of 30.10 astride Deniro Z. Tied for third place, Boyd Martin (USA) put in a score of 30.20 aboard Tsetserleg, and Felix Vogg (SUI) achieved the same score riding Colero.

About her test in tandem with Fernhill By Night, a 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentinus) owned by Deborah Halliday, Halliday-Sharp stated, “I have to say, I think that’s the best test Blackie [Fernhill By Night] has ever done in his whole life, actually. I was totally over-the-moon thrilled with him.”

“It was probably the first time that I haven’t had to work really hard in the canter – I’ve been able to just sit there and feel like I have the hind legs and just enjoy it, and just put him through the movements he does so well,” she revealed. “I think the score reflected that. I was hoping when I came out of the ring that score would be sub-25 and I don’t always think that. I really felt the horse couldn’t have given me more today, so I’m really pleased with him. He was a good boy,” she commented.

Recalling her second-place test, Halliday-Sharp said, “I think Deniro did a lot of great work. His first halt was off, but the other two were very good, so that’s been an improvement from Carolina.”

Halliday-Sharp continued, “The lead change is a work in progress, like it always has been. I think he easily would’ve been in the 20s without two very low marks. I actually sort of thought he would have been in the 20s anyway because the rest of his work was really, really nice, and had a lot of flow, and I actually thought it was a better test than at Carolina, but different judges see different things,” she analyzed.

While Deniro Z is being aimed at competition in Kentucky and is focusing on rideability in the remaining phases, for Fernhill By Night, Halliday-Sharp explained that her strategy is to go for the win. “He’s 16 now and doesn’t run a lot, so we’ll give it my best shot. I think it’s a strong Cross-Country from what I’ve seen. I think he’s up to it, and feeling the best he’s ever felt in his life, so we will try and jump clear on both days and keep kicking,” she continued.

On the course, Halliday-Sharp said, “I think it’s up to height and substantial, and there are some big questions. I think there’s a lot to jump and I’m guessing the time will be tight enough because there’s quite a few questions that need a little bit of respect. It was pretty tight last year, as well. Obviously, on the undulating ground it does make the time add up, but I think this rain today will make the ground pretty good. It’s always a big atmosphere in this ring to show jump as well, so we’ll just go in and do our best, really.”

Tied in third, Martin (USA) remarked of Tsetserleg, a 2007 Trakehner gelding (Windfall x Buddenbrock) owned by Christine Turner. “The test was pretty good. It doesn’t suit my horse that much, but to be honest it’s great to be able to get in here in this stadium. Like I said yesterday, it’s a wonderful preparation for Kentucky because the horses do get nervous in a bit of atmosphere and practice going down the center line.”

Martin said he was pleased with the performance considering how much time his mount has had to practice it, too. “I think my guy’s in good shape. He’s working well, and there’s just a couple little technical things we messed up, which I’m not too worried about because I haven’t really been focusing on this test at all. I just learned it yesterday, but I think we’re in good shape to put in a smoking hot test come Kentucky.”

On preparation for the Cross-Country course, Martin remarked, “Everyone is having a laugh at me this weekend with Tsetserleg and saying, ‘How are you going to ride that water jump?’ And I simply say I’m going to completely do everything I didn’t do last time!

“In all seriousness, it’s a great track. When you ride in a championship or a big-time international event it’s so exact and precise on your lines. It’s a world championship fence [the WEG water jump] that caught some of the best in the world out, so it’s a great opportunity for these horses to ride around a true international track,” he concluded.

Also sitting in third with an identical score, Vogg (SUI) with his own mount, Colero, a 2008 Westphalian gelding (Captain Fire x Bormio XX), admitted that he is looking forward to showcasing Colero’s strengths in the remaining phases since he was more comfortable in the warm-up than in test itself. “I think he has good Dressage form [despite some mistakes] because he’s doing so much fitness work for Kentucky,” he stated.

“I hope his [Cross-Country] score turns out good. I am trying to get him as prepared as I can for Kentucky, and I think it is good to ride a course like this. There’s not as many turns [on the course], but there are a lot of questions, so you have to be quick in the head, and the horse has to be quick in the head, and you don’t get a long break in between each, so it’s good,” Vogg explained. “I will ride to give him a good feel that it’s all getting done as it should be done.”

In the CCI 2*-S Division, Hannah Sue Burnett rode to the top with Carsonstown earning a score of 32.00, while Ryan Wood placed second with Ruby with a score of 33.00. Doug Payne took third with Baymax with a score of 33.20.

Click here to follow along with live results from The Fork at TIEC.

Watch the Action of the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on NBC Sports Network

Relive the excitement of the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* hosted during the final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Tune in at midnight EST on Friday, April 5 and at 6:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 9th to NBC Sports Network for a special broadcast of the event.

The $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* is the premier event of the 12-week WEF season, featuring many of the world’s top horse and rider combinations competing against each other for the top prize of the circuit.

Watch live or set your DVR and check your local listings or click here to find NBC Sports Network.

To learn more about the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), please visit www.pbiec.com.

Betsy Steiner and Swiss W Win FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle CDI3* on Final Day of AGDF

Betsy Steiner and Swiss W. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 31, 2019 – On the final day of the 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, freestyle music sounded throughout the venue as competitors rode their last tests of the season. Topping the FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle CDI3* presented by Vita Flex were Betsy Steiner and Swiss W.

There were 15 entries in the Intermediaire-1 Freestyle but with the high score of 76.200%, Steiner came away with the win on Swiss W, a 12-year-old Wurttemburg mare owned by H. Whitney Bailey.

This is the first year that Swiss W has done the CDI Small Tour and this was only their third freestyle.

“She likes that music and springs to it,” said Steiner. “The fun thing is, when she feels really on, the two [tempis] on the centerline you can look the judge right in the eye and think, ‘Watch this.’ When you’re riding, you can see her legs in the changes. You can see her knee and foot go out in front and think, ‘That’s gotta look pretty good!’”

Steiner said of her score, “I was surprised it was so high!”

Steiner found Swiss W in Germany in May of 2015 and it was love at first sight. “She has a wonderful owner,” said Steiner. “When I saw her, I basically said, ‘I don’t think I can live without her.’ And he said, ‘Well, let’s get her and see what she can do.’

“She knew single flying changes and half passes and had some beautiful training that the people from Germany gave her,” Steiner recalled. “I wasn’t so interested in a mare. She was just coming back from a show. She walked off the van and she stops and looks at me for way too long. That was the beginning, the look. Then I saw her and rode her and was in love.”

Steiner is considering moving up to grand prix next year but will let Swiss W tell her when she’s ready.

“She’s got almost everything for it. We have to get a few things more confirmed,” she said. “Before she shows, she really wants to feel like she knows it well. She’s like the girl in school who wants to get straight As.

“She’s very, very intelligent and wants to have confidence in what she’s doing. She would like me to explain things clearly to her,” she continued. “When she has confidence, she would give me her heart and soul and everything. I feel very responsible for being very careful in that training. She’s just been a complete and total joy; she’s a soulmate. She’s so unique and genuine in what she gives back. It’s an honor and privilege to ride her.”

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Christoph Koschel and Shakespeare Win Inaugural Future Stars Performance Series Final

Christoph Koschel and Shakespeare. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 30, 2019 – The final week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) continued on Saturday, March 30, with the final for the inaugural Future Stars Performance Series presented by Iron Spring Farm. Christoph Koschel (GER) and Shakespeare emerged as the winners of the exciting new event.

AGDF offered eight weeks of qualifying chances for horses seven to nine years old for the Future Stars Performance Series Final presented by Iron Spring Farm. Horses competed in the USEF Developing Prix St. Georges each qualifying week and the best two from each qualifying class went on to the final. They rode the Developing Prix St. Georges test in the warm-up on Thursday and again in Saturday’s final.

Koschel and Shakespeare, a nine-year-old Mecklenburg gelding by Sancisco Old x Letizja owned by Carrie Schopf, scored 74.575% for the win, which garnered them $10,000 in prize money.

“I was really happy with my test today,” said Koschel. “I think he improved a lot since Thursday. He was much more comfortable in the main arena here, so I could show more of his potential, and I think that’s a very positive show for the future. I think his ability to collect is really a highlight, especially the pirouettes. Later on, the piaffe passage work will also be great.”

At the time, Koschel was the youngest rider to win the Nürnberger Burg Pokal in Germany (their popular Young Horse National Championship) in 1992, a competition that the Future Stars Performance Series is modeled after.

“I was always thinking, coming here [to AGDF], ‘That would be great to have [this class] here as well, because Americans they have such good young horses as well.’ Then there’s [a class] before the top sport or the grand prix sport,” Koschel explained. “It’s a real development class. When you have the whole season to prepare, it’s for sure a highlight to be in the main ring at the end. I think it was really well done, and I really enjoyed it.”

Second place went to Christopher Hickey (USA) on Cecelia Stewart’s Straight Horse Zackonik, a nine-year-old DWB mare by Blue Horse Zack x Romanik. The judges awarded them a score of 72.200%.

“This mare has a wonderful temperament, and she’s a worker bee,” Hickey said of his mount. “She loves the work. I think that for me, that’s a big highlight – that a horse is really rideable – and today my rein back, it was a weak spot in the test. I lost some of the changes in the warm-up momentarily and then they came back, so that was a good thing. That’s what happens with young horses, and we all understand that.”

Hickey added, “I would also like to say that it’s wonderful as an American, having shown in Europe some, it’s great to have a final like this and a class developed. I thank Ken [Braddick] and everyone at AGDF who came up with this in the first place.”

Meagan Davis (USA) and Damocles HLF, her nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Diamond Stud x High Society, placed third with a score of 72.025%.

“My horse’s changes today were a highlight,” Davis said of her test. “They were big and expressive and ground-covering. I was able to show a little more power in today’s test.”

Davis mentioned that Damocles HLF is an American-bred horse from Highlife Farm in Florida. “It’s kind of full circle that we’re coming back to the final here, and he did so well. It was a great experience,” she said.

Thomas Baur, AGDF Director of Sport, announced that AGDF will introduce a Young Horse Grand Prix Series in 2020. He stated, “First, I would like to thank Ken Braddick for the idea and bringing it up to me. I was immediately on board because I know the German system, and we developed it together. We will look at the Series and how we can keep improving it.”

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.