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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.

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar Capture Final “Friday Night Stars” Freestyle of AGDF

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar. Photo © SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 29, 2019 – In the final “Friday Night Stars” of the 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Alcazar captured the win in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4* presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate on Friday, March 29. It was a night full of freestyle competition with two classes held under the lights with a full crowd of spectators.

With the final Grand Prix Freestyle win of the season, Bateson Chandler and Alcazar, Jane Forbes Clark’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Cantango, have shown growth and potential through the circuit.

Their win garnered a final score of 75.850% from the judges, a personal best for the pair.

Ashley Holzer and Havanna 145 Win FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*

Earlier in the evening, the winner of the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* presented by Brooke USA was Ashley Holzer riding Havanna 145, owned by Diane Fellows. Holzer and Havanna performed a high degree of difficulty test to music based around the pop hit “Havana” by Camila Cabello, with music and choreography by Tom Hunt. The judges rewarded them with a final score of 76.995%.

“[In] the end she started to really settle with the Havana music and she came to that last piaffe and really sat down and started to swing in her back,” Holzer recalled. “I’m very happy that she was able to settle at the end. She started to feel really good so that was exciting. The passage half-pass felt nice for me.”

Second place went to Heather Blitz (USA) riding Semper Fidelis, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare by Sir Donnerhall owned by Rowan O’Riley. They scored 76.705%. Anna Marek (USA) and Dee Clair scored 71.650% for third place. Dee Clair is a 11-year-old DWB mare owned by Diane Morrison.

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

Hard Work Pays Off for Jessica Kozel and Denzello with Win in FEI Grand Prix CDI4*

Jessica Kozel and Denzello in their winning test. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 28, 2019 – Competition at the final week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) continued on Thursday, March 28. The afternoon featured the first two four-star classes of the 2019 season to qualify riders for competition on Friday, March 29.

Jessica Kozel (USA) and Denzello won the FEI Grand Prix CDI4* (for freestyle) presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The pair rode to a personal best score of 69.239%. “I was really happy with the canter tour in general,” said Kozel of her ride on the 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding by DeNiro owned by Jeevraj Grewal. “I was happy with my changes. He can get a little hot in those, and I was afraid that those might go either way. He just kind of found himself, and that was my highlight.”

Kozel rehabbed Denzello over the last two years from what was thought to be a career-ending soft tissue injury. “I’ve known him for the last ten years, and I managed him as a groom for many, many years. I did my first Grand Prix ever on him in the national ring [last year] with the hope to work towards the international ring this season,” continued Kozel. “We’ve done that, and I am just really proud of him.”

“I thought it was a little surreal. I didn’t think it was for us,” said Kozel about her experience when she got the first place ribbon. “That was our best grand prix yet, and I was really happy with a 69.239%. When she walked up to me with the blue ribbon I was like, ‘Is that for me?’ Not that she would be joking, but I just would have never expected it in a million years. It was really an honor to not only have our best ride yet, but to be able to put it together in these circumstances and at a show of this caliber.”

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

Heather Blitz and Semper Fidelis Kick Off AGDF Final Week with Win in FEI Grand Prix CDI3*

Heather Blitz and Semper Fidelis in their winning test. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 27, 2019 – The 12th week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) started on Wednesday, March 27, with two three-star classes to qualify riders for competition later in the week.

Heather Blitz (USA) and Semper Fidelis won the FEI Grand Prix (for the Freestyle) CDI3* presented by Brooke USA. The pair rode to a score of 70.609%. “I was really happy with her in general, just her general focus,” said Blitz of the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare by Sir Donnerhall owned by Rowan O’Riley. “I think that all the horses at the show this whole day are high strung and reacting to the really windy conditions. I think that’s a wonderful attribute that she has that [the wind] doesn’t affect her.

“I think the highlight was the passage, which she does really well anyway. The rhythm was really good in it. Her trot half passes are always lovely, and her canter zig zags I got more distance from the centerline this time,” continued Blitz. “Her work ethic, her scope, and her elasticity and freedom of gaits is amazing.”

Blitz is looking forward to her freestyle ride on Friday night. “I love how the music matches her. When you hear the music and see the horse, they match so well. I think it’s really moving. I’m really looking forward to the piaffe-pirouettes and just riding to the music, which not only do I love but it just matches her so well,” concluded Blitz.

In the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI3* presented by Vita Flex, Betsy Steiner (USA) and Swiss W, a 12-year-old Wurttemburg mare owned by H. Whitney Bailey, was the only pair to break 70.000%. They rode to a score of 71.559% to win the class.

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

Natalie Pai and Fritz San Tino Ride to Personal Best Score at Week 11 of AGDF

Natalie Pai and Fritz San Tino in their winning Intermediate-I Test. ©SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – March 24, 2019 – The eleventh week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) featured national competition from March 22-24. CDI Competition will resume for Week 12 on March 27 and will feature the “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4* presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate on Friday, March 29.

On Saturday, March 23, Natalie Pai (USA) and Fritz San Tino won the Junior/Young Rider section of the FEI Intermediate I* presented by Peacock Ridge, with a score of 73.676%. “I’m really excited. It’s the highest score I’ve ever gotten on him,” said Pai of her winning test on her 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Falkenstern II. “I think he had a lot more energy and better through-ness [than yesterday]. I’m really happy with him.

“His extended canters are always really good, and the changes were also excellent today,” continued Pai. “I’m really happy with the walk tour. It’s something that we’ve been working on a lot. It was very calm and rhythmic. He just tries really hard, and I really like that about him. He’s very sweet.”

The 21-year-old discussed what she plans to work on moving forward with her partner of four and a half years. “I want to work on the canter pirouettes a little bit more [and] to work on the rideability in the ring itself, and just keep the power and the energy but still keeping him relaxed and rideable,” said Pai.

Pai is thankful to her parents and to her coach Adrienne Lyle for supporting her. “This was my last show of the Wellington season, so I’m happy that we went out with a bang,” concluded Pai.

In the Open FEI Grand Prix* presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, Krystalann Shingler (CAN) and Fidelio, her 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Fidertantz, rode to a win with a score of 73.696%.

Kerrigan Gluch (USA) and Vaquero, a 16-year-old P.R.E. stallion owned by Hampton Green Farm, captured the win in the FEI Intermediate II ‘Brentina Cup’ presented by Diamante Farms with a strong score of 73.088%.

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