Category Archives: JRPR

Johnny Robb

FEI Judge Cesar Torrente Approved as USEF “S” Judge

Stephen Clarke, Christoff Hess, Lilo Fore, and Thomas Long stand alongside Cesar Torrente. (PHOTO: JRPR)

Wellington, FL (June 17, 2019) – To be successful in the world of dressage, kindness, positivity, and the welfare of the horse are of the utmost importance according to beloved International FEI Judge Cesar Torrente. These characteristics are what continue to drive Torrente in achieving his dreams and goals of working with horses – dreams he has had since he was a boy growing up in Colombia. Now, these dreams are becoming a reality, and after a recent approval by the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) to become an “S” Judge, a permanent move to the USA is in Torrente’s near future.

Torrente is from Bogotá, Colombia and has become well known around the world through his blog and Facebook page where he continuously posts helpful advice, information, and guidance for all levels of dressage riders. “I come from South America where we do not always have all the trainers or the judges to give good advice,” Torrente explains “Sometimes the federations don’t have good ways to communicate what is changing in the FEI rules and what is changing regarding training methods.  So, I started using my blog so that my community around my country would learn things like what rules have changed, or to be aware that if you do this in the ring, the judges will do that.  But interestingly, what has happened is when I go to every single show in America and even in Europe, some people run into me and say, ‘You know what, you probably don’t even know me, but I’m your Facebook friend and I read a lot of your blogs – please keep on doing them!’”  His followers know that Torrente always includes “Feeling blessed” in every one of his Facebook posts, and he has been teased because of it that he must be the most blessed person in The Americas.  “I truly feel that I am,” he smiles. “I get to do what I like while being surrounded by wonderful people and wonderful horses in different places each week.” He goes on to explain that he feels it’s very important to treat everyone, horses, and humans alike, with kindness. “I think it’s very important that we care about the welfare of the horse,” Torrente continues. “I think the welfare of the horse must always be present in our minds when we are training, when we’re helping, when we’re giving recommendations, and you cannot forget that.”

Known in the dressage world as being a “rider’s judge,” Torrente approaches everything in a positive way. He knows firsthand what it’s like to work, ride, train, and show. “I started riding at the age of 12,” he describes. “International competitions were always my dream.  I’ve had good days and bad days,” he continues. “I know the feeling when you go out there and sometimes the horse doesn’t have a good day.  I know how frustrated you can feel no matter the amount of work you’ve done, and I think it’s important that the judges understand that and are a little sympathetic to the effort the riders are giving.”  Torrente goes on, “That does not mean we’re giving away marks, because that’s not correct either, but give the high marks when they come, and also give the low marks when they come, but in the end, I always try to give a little comment and a tip if I can as to how to improve the performance of horse and rider.” As a judge, Torrente has unquestionable integrity. “You have to judge mark by mark,” he says, “regardless of the horse or the person who is riding. It may be a fantastic horse who is always winning, or a horse that nobody knows, and it doesn’t matter the breed. You just have to judge what you see and that’s very important.”

Torrente feels that education and lifetime learning are vitally important aspects of his success.  “I believe continuing education is very important in every profession and that is why I have created, my own personal education program,” he describes. “Fortunately, the FEI organizes amazing courses, and every year I attend at least one of these seminars. I combine this with the fantastic seminars organized here by USEF, which I attend regularly, to the surprise of some of my American national colleagues, because it´s rather unusual that foreign FEI judges attend the national seminar. However, I believe that these seminars are a fantastic opportunity to grow as a judge, to discuss trending in judging, explore concepts and opinions, and obviously to interact with many other judges.”  He continues, “These Seminars can improve one’s skills and are very important because it ensures you continue to be competent in your profession. I see judging as a very important profession and education must continue throughout any professional’s career.”

Torrente was the first judge to be promoted through the new FEI educational system to 4*. As a rider, he has had the honor of standing on the medal podium to receive the team gold medal two times in the Central American Games.

He also won many gold, bronze, and silver medals in Bolivarian and Central American and Caribbean Games. Torrente is also a corporate and arbitration lawyer by profession and despite traveling the globe to judge worldwide, he has maintained the precarious balance between his career and his passion for horses with apparent ease.  He has recently accepted a position in the FEI Tribunal, which decides cases on doping, horse abuse, and all disputes at the FEI level including all disciplines.

Most recently, Torrente has been approved by the USEF as an “S” judge, which is the highest rank for judges in the USA.  “I feel very honored that the USEF granted me this status and that now I am allowed to judge all national shows within the US,” he comments. In addition to that, the US government has granted Torrente an O1 Visa which only goes to persons of extraordinary ability. He also explains that he has acquired all permits to work in the US and Canada, and is downsizing his legal practice in Colombia and is now officially planning his move to the US.

Torrente feels fortunate about all the recent developments in his career as a dressage judge, and says he could not be in a better place. Many foreigners who have immigrated to this country have had a tremendous impact on the development of dressage. This including riders, trainers, and of course judges who are a key element for this sport. The country will certainly benefit from Torrente’s experience, fresh ideas, and dedication to the sport.

Cesar Torrente
cesartorrenteb@gmail.com
561-370-2852

Todd Minikus Charges into June on Amex Z with Multiple Wins in Tryon

Minikus at the $72,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake (photo: JRPR)

Mill Spring, NC (June 7, 2019) — Todd Minikus keeps charging ahead on the feisty Amex Z, and it seems there are no limits to their success at the beautiful Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.  During Tryon Spring Week 4, Minikus rode to a faultless performance on the 10-year-old Zangersheid mare, Amex Z (Andiamo Z x Landaris) owned by Bit by Bit Group, and won the $36,000 Power and Speed Stake CSI 3* with a time of 28.43 seconds.  Following this up in Week 5, the duo charged ahead again and took home the blue in the $36,000 Sunday Classic 1.45m winning with a jump-off time of 33.065 seconds.  Then, just when you think they’ve reached their limit, the duo claimed the $72,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 4* with 36.242 seconds on the jump-off clock.

Minikus says he couldn’t be happier about the circuits in Tryon. “Our whole team is having a great time,” he smiles, “and I’m especially happy with Amex Z.”

Contact: Amanda Minikus
minikus2220@gmail.com
www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com
(561) 762-3762

Todd Minikus Takes Top Honors at Tryon Spring 4

Todd Minikus and Amex Z ©Bailey Beck Photography.

Mill Spring, NC (May 31, 2019) — The 2019 Tryon Spring 4 proved to be a lucky week for Todd Minikus when he took home 7 first place blue ribbons on three different horses at the beautiful Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina.  Riding to a faultless performance on 10-year-old Zangersheid mare, Amex Z (Andiamo Z x Landaris), owned by Bit by Bit Group, Minikus dominated the $36,000 Power and Speed Stake CSI 3* with a time of 28.43 seconds.  During the same week, riding JuJu VDM Minikus also won the $1,000 1.35m Open Jumper II2B with a time of 73.438 seconds, plus the $1,000 1.40m Open Jumper II2.1 coming in at 61.439 seconds, as well as the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper Stake II2B with a 62.7 second ride.  Switching over to the Hunters division, Minikus pulled off another hat trick, this time aboard Omazing, taking first place in three classes of Baby Green Hunter 2’6.

Minikus says that he and his team were thrilled to be back at Tryon. “The whole team loves coming to Tryon… even the horses!” he smiles. “I was very happy with everyone’s performances this week.”

Two-time bronze medal winning US Pan-Am team rider, Todd Minikus, is called The Show Jumping Maverick for a reason.  His decorated record of over 150 national and international Grand Prix wins continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  Best known for his Saugerties, Million Grand Prix win at HITS in 2013, and also for his Pan Am team success, Minikus has consistently jumped his way into the winner’s circle year after year, and 2019 is proving to be another year to remember.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
minikus2220@gmail.com
www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com
(561) 762-3762

Gold Coast Dressage Association Finale Spotlights the Best in Dressage in Wellington

Shannon Dueck and As You Wish (photo by Joana Jodko)

Wellington, FL (April 2019) – Every ending is a new beginning, as the saying goes, which is especially true in Wellington, Florida when the winter season ends with the Gold Coast Dressage Association (GCDA) Season Finale 1 and 2 shows. These shows not only spotlight some of the best dressage riders and horses in the world, it also signals that the robust summer dressage season is officially underway in South Florida. GCDA President and Finale Show Manager, Noreen O’Sullivan, states it best: “It’s the finale of the winter season, but really, it marks the beginning of our summer season,” she says, “So, as a close-out to the end of the season, we had three show rings over the weekend with a very wide representation of rides across all levels. We had some really nice up and coming young horses, and some new horses for people, and some very cool personal bests at the shows this year.”  O’Sullivan goes on to explain that the finale actually counts as two one-day shows, with one being a young horse qualifying show for North American Youth Championships (NAYC) and also for Lamplight.  The impressive display of equine athletes and their elite riders was one that could only be found in April in Wellington, Florida, which was reflected in the scores and many awards presented during the shows. Highlights of the finale included outstanding performances and special recognition for riders Bent Jensen, Kelly Lane, Cesar Parra, Heather Bender, Shannon Dueck, and Ali Potasky.

Olympian Bent Jensen was awarded the Diana Zakharova International Sportsmanship Award during the finale to recognize his competitive spirit, effort, and fine horsemanship that he brings to Wellington as an international rider. Jensen is originally from Denmark and has been in the US for 30 years. Starting out as a champion show jumper, Jensen made the switch to dressage, which lead to a trip to the Olympics in 1992.  Today, Jensen trains out of Blue Marlin Farm in Little Ranches. His performance on his beloved mount, Chance, during the finale demonstrated his love and commitment to the sport of dressage. Diana Zakharova is also a well-known member of the Wellington dressage community who is originally from Russia. She created the award to celebrate her fellow international riders.

Also receiving special recognition was Kelly Lane for winning the USEF Third Level-Test 1 on her horse, Rockpool, with a score of 72.838%. This class was sponsored by equine health company, Omega Alpha, and Lane was presented with a lovely prize package which included an assortment of popular Omega Alpha all-natural health products.

Another celebrated Wellington dressage rider, Dr. Cesar Parra, scored a personal best in the FEI 7-year-old division with a 76.746% riding GK Sir Beckmann (Sir Donnerhall x Witchita). The ride was rewarded with the Semican Achievement Award.

Heather Bender also rode away with a personal best score in the FEI Grand Prix when she and the gorgeous Zairo Interago rocked a 72.500%, and Shannon Dueck was thrilled when her wishes came true with a high score of 81.200% in the FEI Young Horse on her 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding, As You Wish (a.k.a. Westley).

The most jaw-dropping score awarded during the finale went to Ali Potasky for her ride on Irintha in the FEI YH Test for 6-Year-Old. The pair landed a whopping 87.4% for their performance, and once again, proved the level of excellence that can be found in this world class competition hosted by the GCDA.

The Gold Coast Dressage Association is a USDF Group Member Organization that is committed to providing educational programs, clinics, shows, and seminars aimed at promoting and upgrading classical riding, and to offer a framework in which individuals can progress with the schooling of themselves and their horses.  The 2019 GCDA show season originally kicked off with the Gold Coast Opener held on January 17-20 at The Global Dressage Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Coming up quickly is Gold Coast May Dressage, to be held on May 18-19 at the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex.  GCDA President Noreen O’Sullivan is excited to see what this show and the rest of the year holds for all members, and she thanks all of the valuable sponsors for their support. She also wishes members and all show competitors the very best for them and their wonderful dressage horses for the rest of 2019 and beyond.  For more information about the GCDA and upcoming shows, visit www.gcdafl.org.

Contact:
Noreen O’Sullivan
nosullivan@wellingtonclassicdressage.com
(561) 714-9026

Cesar Parra Brings Sir Beckmann Up through the Ranks, Winning Again AGDF Week 12 CDI

Cesar Parra and Sir Beckmann (Photos Courtesy of Performance Farms)

Wellington, FL (April 6, 2019) – The 2019 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) will go on record as another successful season for Dr. Cesar Parra of Performance Farms.  Well known in the international dressage community for always having a stable full of happy talented horses, Parra continued to gracefully dance his way into the winner’s circle on some of the most willing equine athletes around. Most recently, Parra’s success has been with the big, gorgeous Hanoverian gelding, Sir Beckmann (Sir Donnerhall x Witchita).  Bringing this young horse up through the ranks over the last few years has been a joy for Parra, and he feels Sir Beckmann is coming into his own.  His outstanding performances in the FEI Tests for 7-year-olds during Week 10 of AGDF showed off the pair’s hard work. “The horse felt really fantastic with such amazing gaits,” Parra recalls about Sir Beckmann. “He did everything nice and clean overall.  I am very, very pleased with him. I love him very much, and I’m looking forward to what he’s going to bring in years to come,” he adds.

Receiving gait scores of 9 on trot and 9 on canter, Sir Beckmann stepped up and made his rider proud. Parra describes that showing as a 7-year-old can be challenging, but his horse was up to the task at hand. “The 7-year-old classes are a little bit different from the 4, 5 and 6-year-olds. In the 7-year-old, you have two sets of scores,” he explains. “One set of scores is about the gaits and normal things like with the 6-year-olds, but then you have another score sheet which is as if you were in a Prix St. Georges. So, a 7-year-old has almost the same requirements as a Prix St. Georges, which is pretty intense and demanding for such a young horse.”

Parra goes on to say that he is looking forward to bringing Sir Beckmann up further through the ranks as he matures. “The plan is to be very vigilant in his development and training to make sure he keeps loving what he does,” he explains. “We really want to have a happy athlete. We want him to have harmony, and we want him to be comfortable.  I don’t think he’s learned yet how to fully move through his body, so that’s what we’re working on,” Parra continues.  He also explains that he’s only planning to show Sir Beckmann once a month going forward. “I don’t want to show him too much because I don’t want him to get sour at the shows,” Parra describes. “I want him to be happy in the show environment.”  Parra also says that he’s added a little something extra to Sir Beckmann’s training program. “I’ve been taking him on a lot of trail rides, which in the beginning was a little scary, but it’s getting better and better!” he smiles.

The extra time, love, and attention that Parra gives to all horses in his charge is consistent with his personal philosophy, as well as that of the classical training methods of Performance Farms. Parra’s philosophies by which he conducts his life are discipline, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, sharing, and strength of character. These are the same qualities he tries to pass on to the students and staff who make up his team. The Classical Training Methods are those taught by the old Masters and perfected by some modern-day riders. These Methods are based on the Training Scale: Relaxation, Rhythm, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, Collection (Losgelassenheit, Takt, Anlehnung, Schwung, Geraderichtung, Versammlung).  This Training Scale is the foundation of the Classical System and of Parra’s training philosophy.

Located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and also Jupiter, Florida, Performance Farms provides its clients with full-service training programs that are tailored based on the needs of the individual horse and rider combination. For more information, visit www.piaffe-performance.com.

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352
DrCesarParra@msn.com
www.piaffe-performance.com

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Hosts Special Olympics and Dressage Event

Jacksonville, FL (February 14, 2019) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center has a busy weekend planned as it welcomes 3 events to the facility. The Area 5 Special Olympics and First Coast Classical Dressage Showposium return for their 3rd and 5th years, respectively, with this weekend being the Heartland Farms Obstacle Course Competition’s first event at the Equestrian Center.

The 2019 Special Olympics Florida Area 5 Equestrian Championships will bring over 20 athletes to compete on Saturday. The event, which will begin at 2:00 pm and conclude around 5:00 pm, is part of the Special Olympics program, which provides an opportunity for children and adults with disabilities to compete in a wide variety of sports including figure skating, swimming, Judo, and equestrian. Area 5 consists of 7 FL counties, with the largest participating counties being Duval and Clay. The athletes, who rise above their disabilities to display skill, determination, and passion for their sports, compete in English and Western Equitation, Working Trail, and Showmanship. The top 5-6 placing equestrians will be eligible to compete at the Special Olympics State Equestrian Championships in Weirsdale, Florida in March of this year. This event welcomes and encourages spectators to come watch the competition and cheer on their enthusiastic participants. The Special Olympics has a wide array of volunteer opportunities available. Please contact Kate Breese for additional information on how you can get involved: 352.255.8275, katebreese@sofl.org.

The First Coast Classical Dressage Society hosts its first of 5 annual “Showposiums” at the JEC on Saturday and Sunday. This unique schooling show format has been recognized for its focus on education, engagement, and progression of horse and rider. Each Showposium weekend features lessons on Friday with the weekend’s Judge and test rides with verbal instruction and feedback on Saturday and Sunday.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Heartland Farms Obstacle Course Competition. This event, which was previously held at the Clay County Fairgrounds, is in its 10th year of competition. Nearly 100 horses will compete over a wide variety of challenging scenarios ranging from natural water obstacles to manmade situations like curtains, blow ups, and gates, which are potentially spooky or scary situations to horses. The horses are judged on a scale of 0-10 on how they maneuver the obstacles and a perfect score is awarded when they proceed without hesitation.

All three of these events welcome spectators free of charge and leashed dogs are permitted.

For up to date event information, follow the JEC on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook and visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4225
tjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Betsy Steiner and Swiss W Win the Blue in Prix St Georges at AGDF Week 3

Betsy Steiner and Swiss W. (Photo courtesy of Besty Steiner)

Wellington, Florida (February 4, 2019) – Week 3 of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) brought more spectacular performances, tough competition and some of the best dressage found anywhere in the world. Triple Crown Nutrition is excited to continue to recognize the top, high performance riders who have gathered in Wellington, FL for this world class international dressage show series. Coming in first in the CDI 1 Prix St Georges was Betsy Steiner, aboard her lovely mare, Swiss W, who is owned by Whitney Bailey. This outstanding blue-ribbon performance not only earned the pair a score of 71.681, they were also presented with the Triple Crown Excellence Award. This prestigious prize is given to a horse and rider team that demonstrates exemplary achievement within the equestrian community, as well as showing exceptionally good health and fitness.

“She is the most amazing horse,” said Steiner. “She’s all mare and all princess! She is very, very particular, but very correct. She makes me a better thoughtful, thinking rider because she wants me to really take good care of her, and when I do that, she delivers 200%. She is extraordinary!”

Steiner goes on to explain how she felt during their winning ride. “It was amazing because she was just so ‘on’ and so focused. It was sort of like time slowed down and I could really think about riding into absolutely every corner, setting her up. She waited for me, was beautiful in my hands, was forward on my leg – I couldn’t ask her for anything more.”  This was the first time Swiss rode the CDI in the Global Stadium. “She was so ready to work and so ready to listen,” Steiner describes. “She was just in a great place!”

Steiner is based at White Fences in Loxahatchee, Florida during the six-month winter show season, and spends the other six months at her farm in the middle of horse country in Pittstown, New Jersey.

Contact: Kelly Payne
kpayne@triplecrownfeed.com
800-451-9916
www.triplecrownfeed.com

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Races into New Year with Timed and Championship Events

No Bull Grand Slam competitor showing her speed at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. (Photo courtesy of SD Photography)

Jacksonville, FL (January 11, 2019) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center rang in the New Year with a dash for cash that attracted the country’s top barrel racers. The No Bull Grand Slam barrel race was held January 4-6, 2019 and paid out more than $100,000. Entries totaled 1,000 for the weekend-long event.

Teenager Michael Duffie was crowned the Open 1D Champion riding Reclaim Fame. The 13-year-old rider also finished fourth with a second horse, JJ Three Famous Bars. The young rider, who has also won a youth world championship through the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA), outran a field of tough competitors.

“Some of the top barrel racers in country were there,” said Kyle Rictor, who maintained the footing during the show. “Anita Randle won the Grand Slam’s short-go and she is a NBHA World Champion. Brett Monroe finished third. He’s won over $1million in barrel racing.”

This was the third year the No Bull Grand Slam returned to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

“This is a full-service facility with the best staff that we see throughout the year,” said Jamie Cagle, the event secretary.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center staff quickly stowed the barrels and reset the arenas to welcome the Florida Feathered Horse Classic January 11-12, 2019. The show is the longest-running Gypsy Vanner breed show series and has been held at the Jacksonville Equestrian center for eight consecutive years.

“It is a great location, with a nice facility that continues to evolve as the needs of its exhibitors grow,” said Gail Shrine, owner of the Feathered Horse competition series.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center wraps up the first month of the 2019 with another action-packed, timed event — the National Team Roping League Finals scheduled for January 24-27, 2019. More than $500,000 is paid out each year at the finals, which has been held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for 14 straight years.

“We really love having our finals here,” said Katie Smith, No Bull Barrel Race competitor. “There are plenty of stalls and RV hookups to accommodate everyone. The whole facility is top notch; the location is central and great for us.”

For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Victory Comes in Many Forms for Mother-Daughter Barrel Racers Angela and Jackie Ganter

Jackie Ganter and Howes A Tycoon at the 2018 WPRA World Finals. (Photo courtesy of Phifer Photography)

Abilene, TX (December 19, 2018) – When faced with setbacks like Angela Ganter and her daughter, Jackie, have experienced recently, most riders would simply hang up their cowboy boots and call it a day. But for this mother-daughter duo of barrel racers, victory comes in many forms simply because they refuse to give up on each other. 2018 has proved to be a great year for both women, in spite of the challenges thrown at them. Angela is back in the saddle after a long and rigorous battle with breast cancer and Jackie is racing to the top of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) after a very rough start to the year.

For Angela, the thought of being a top-rated barrel racer after 8 years of battling breast cancer seemed pretty far out of reach.  However, with the help of her daughter, Jackie, and an awesome new horse, Angela has found herself back in the rodeos and riding better than ever.  “I bought a horse in February of 2017 after trying to put myself back together from being sick,” she explains. “Then, in March of 2017, Jackie told me one day that she didn’t think I was trying hard enough to fix myself – my balance and my nervous system. So I hired a trainer and got my balance back and I also found another horse who taught me how to run barrels again.”  Angela continues, “Then, about January of this year, I decided I was ready to have a better horse.” She describes how she found and bought a horse named Bogie French Bug after riding him for about 20 minutes at the stock show in Fort Worth. “Since then I’ve won six pro rodeos in Canada this year on him and made the Canadian Finals.  It was just kind of a dream come true and he’s just kind of a miracle for me!”

Looking forward, Angela says she has her sights set on making it to Calgary in 2019. “I’ll probably ride better now than before I got sick,” she explains. “After being sick for eight years, I guess you wake up and kind of decide that any day can be your last day, so you better make the best of it.”  She goes on to say that her main focus, however, is to help Jackie get to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). “Whatever that takes, that comes first,” she insists.

Angela and Jackie have been traveling together for the last several years since Jackie has been in the WPRA. They usually haul 4 or 5 horses to each rodeo. Jackie explains, “We get to travel together, we get to compete together, and it’s fun when we can win together!  That’s something that a lot of people don’t get to experience.”  Jackie says that this year started out with a much different story than others. In only her second rodeo of the year, a horse fell on her and broke her ankle. She was out of the saddle all winter, and then explains that she tried getting back on too soon and couldn’t ride to the best of her ability. To top it off, two of her horses were injured and so she was down to only one main horse. “Then, in July,” she continues, “I got a phone call asking me to ride a horse in one rodeo.”  Jackie ended up winning the first round on him, and then, after the short round, she and her mom asked the horse’s owner, Gayle Howes, if they could buy him.  “She thought we were a perfect match,” Jackie smiles. She was definitely right about that.  Since then, Jackie and the 10-year-old gelding named Howes A Tycoon have been an unstoppable force. “I placed everywhere I took him,” Jackie remembers. “He got me in the top 50 for the year end, and then, when the new year started, we went to the WPRA Finals and won, which got us a spot in the Houston Rodeo next year.  So he’s been a huge blessing,” she adds. “He’s just amazing!”

Contact: Katie Stevenson
kstevenson@central.com

December Fun at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Amy Speck-Kern and her Grand Prix mount Amadeus earning their USDF Gold Medal. (Photo courtesy of Harry Furey)

Let It Show, Let It Show, Let It Show

Jacksonville, FL (December 18, 2018) – The holiday and school vacation season is here and the Jacksonville Equestrian Center has promised to let it show, let it show, let it show.

For horse lovers, Dressage on the First Coast, December 1-2, brought more than 50 skilled riders and horses together to compete, delivering performances that suggested future international champions may be in their midst.

Among the top riders that weekend was Germany’s Franziska Seidl, who posted one of the highest scores of the show (74.750%) while winning the 2018 FEI Freestyle, as well as the FEI Grand Prix (68.913%), on her 16.3-hand Brandenburg gelding, Romano K. Seidl then won the 2017 FEI Grand Prix and Freestyle tests, riding her 16.3-hand bay KWPN gelding, Sigalia.

“We had an exciting but wet show in Jacksonville,” laughed Seidl. “Romano won his classes and was Reserve Champion in their level. Sigalia is still very fit (almost too fit) and won his Grand Prix. Overall, it was a special weekend because my parents, who were visiting from Switzerland, enjoyed being with us in Jax!”

Amy Speck-Kern from Loxahatchee, FL scored a new personal best, earning her final score for her USDF Gold Medal while riding her 16.3-hand, chestnut KWPN gelding Amadeus (Welt Hit X Fleming) to reserve honors in the 2018 FEI Grand Prix. “We had a great weekend at Dressage on the First Coast,” she added. “It’s been quite the journey from the first time Gwen Poulin and I saw him in Holland as a three-year-old to becoming a real Grand Prix horse!”

Show manager Carlie Evans said, “There were nice scores all around and lots of riders earning their first qualifiers of the show season. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a great place for a show. It has a great arena and good footing. Since it rained that weekend, it was nice to have the indoor arena, and covered warm-up rings.”

December 7-9, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center bow-wowed visitors with more than 100 dogs competing over three days in the USDAA Pals and Paws Dog Agility Club Show, one of four such trials held annually for canine sport enthusiasts from the Jacksonville, Orange Park, and surrounding areas. The US Dog Agility Association (USDAA) was formed in 1986 and serves members in the US and internationally, and sets the rules and standards that ensure that all competitions (such as those held at Jacksonville Equestrian Center) abide by the same rules.

“We have been using the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for several years and love the facility. It provides protection for our dogs, our competitors and spectators from wind, rain, and sun,” said Pals and Paws organizers, who added that the December show marked the 25th anniversary of the club hosting USDAA trials, and marked the retirement of a local canine competitor and one of the top Belgian Tervuren dogs in USDAA history.

Demonstrating their own degree of agility were the horses and riders competing December 8 in the Dixon Arena at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in the third and final Holmes Ranch Jacksonville All Breed Open Horse Show of the season. The series, presented in September, October, and December by the Lawtey, Florida-based natural horsemanship and foundation training facility, offers more than 50 classes at each show, with year-end awards in halter, hunter, western, gaited, and trail divisions.

“This is the kind of great facility that helps horse shows grow. We’ve seen firsthand the popularity the show has gained since adding jumping classes,” said All Breed Open Show organizer, Ruth Holmes, who also credited good footing, and the all-weather accessibility of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center indoor arena and warm-up rings, with encouraging the show to expand and offer more over fences classes, including a Hunter Hack division for beginners (one jump) through seasoned hunters (four jumps).

Up next at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is the Youth Equestrian Development Association Show (December 15), No Bull Grand Slam Barrel Racing Show (January 4), Gypsy Vanner Show (January 10-13) and National Team Roping Finals (January 24).

For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221