Category Archives: JRPR

Johnny Robb

Dressage Star Natalie Pai Follows in the Footsteps of Trainer Kevin Kohmann

Natalie Pai and Unlimited at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions (Photo courtesy of Susan J Stickle)

Natalie Pai, age 20, and her dressage trainer Kevin Kohmann, a trainer at Diamante Farms in Wellington, Florida, have a lot in common. They have both broken the industry norm to achieve impressive accomplishments in the sport they love at a young age.

Last month, Pai won the Reserve Championship in the Brentina Cup at the 2017 Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions in Gladstone, New Jersey aboard Unlimited, a 16-year-old KWPN gelding (Jazz x Clairudith, Winckenburgh) that she is leasing from P. J. Rizvi and Peacock Ridge, LLC. She also competed on Fritz San Tino, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by her mother Melanie Pai.

Natalie Pai is the youngest competitor in history to bring two horses to compete at the Festival of Champions, and the youngest to qualify for and compete a horse in the Intermediate I division of the Festival of Champions. Like his protégé, trainer Kevin Kohmann started racking up successes at a young age. He is the youngest in history to pass the Bereiter in Germany at the age of 18, the youngest to earn the title of Master Bereiter, and to earn his German gold medal.

Kohmann said that he and his fellow trainer at Diamante Farms – Devon Kane, who owns Diamante Farms alongside her mother, Terri Kane – can easily relate to young, driven riders. Riders who have such a strong love for dressage that they are determined to achieve momentous success even at a young age especially resonate with Kohmann and Kane. After all, the Diamante Farms trainers themselves were highly successful in the Under 25 division not so many years ago. Kohmann and Kane are also able to offer a variety of methods to teach their riders. “We use many teaching methods,” Kohmann said. “We stick to classical methods, but we also acknowledge that all roads lead to Rome. That’s how Devon and I train everyone – we understand that every horse and rider has a different learning style, and we try different approaches to achieve goals.”

Pai, who has been serious about the sport of dressage for the past five years, has been working with Kohmann for four years. She followed him to Diamante Farms when he moved there three years ago.

“The best thing about Kevin is that he is such a good rider and a good coach,” she said, adding that since she is a visual learner, it’s helpful for her to watch him ride so that she can copy him. “Sometimes, when I don’t understand something, it’s really important for the way I learn for someone to show me how to do it rather than tell me how to do it.” Pai’s mother, Melanie Pai, is also a dressage rider who grew up in the show ring. She agreed that her daughter clicks with Kohmann’s teaching style.

“He’s really good with Natalie,” she said. “He’s a perfect match for her personality. He’s funny, and Natalie is a prankster and hysterically funny, so they can really ham it up together. Because he’s young, everything is very fresh with him. He has a lot of ways of explaining things. He keeps coming up with a different approach.”

The younger Pai said that her mother was probably even more excited than she was when she clinched the Reserve Championship at Gladstone. She doesn’t plan to change trainers any time soon – although recently Devon Kane gave Pai some lessons while Kohmann was competing, and Pai found her time with Kane invaluable. Both Kane and Pai are petite, and the trainer gave the younger rider some valuable tips on how to adjust her technique for her size.

“I think it was really helpful for me to train with someone who understands my body mechanisms,” she said. “She helped me with technique, especially with my seat. For example, in the pirouettes I used to sit back a little bit, and she told me to hinge my shoulders forward a little bit. That really helped. She also said that rather than using your strength to take the outside rein, push him more into the outside rein. That was helpful because I am smaller, so by pushing him into it, I don’t have to use quite as much strength. I made a lot of improvements with her.”

The Pais keep five horses at Diamante Farms in Wellington, Florida, and Natalie rides three of them. She keeps busy with her six-day-a-week riding schedule with Kohmann, while also attending Palm Beach Atlantic University, where she is majoring in Business Management.

“I think it’s quite incredible what she has accomplished with Unlimited in the short amount of time she has been riding him,” Kohmann said, explaining that she had only leased the gelding for five months before she had her major win at Gladstone. “Going from riding Prix St. Georges in Young Riders to the Grand Prix is a huge jump. I remember this well, as it’s not so long ago that I made that jump myself. There’s a lot more going on in the Grand Prix. It’s a complete game changer from Prix St. Georges – a different sport. She has learned a lot in a very short time.”

Pai counts herself lucky that she has such a great support system in her parents, Kohmann, and Kane. In fact, she had a fan club watching her at Gladstone, including Kohmann, her mother, father, aunt, and groom Emilija Anderson, as well as friends watching through the live stream.

“It’s really nice to be able to talk about dressage with my mom,” Pai said. “I think that’s really important. My mom can give a lot of pointers and I think she enjoys it. When I won the 2015 North American Young Rider Individual Gold medal at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) [aboard Fritz San Tino (Falkenstern 11 x Wanessa, Wanderbursch 11)], she was sobbing.”

Melanie Pai said her main advice to her daughter is to do her best but to enjoy it. “I always tell her to smile and have fun,” she said. “If it’s not fun, why are we doing this? Natalie has learned so much. She has the ability to feel and fix things. It’s been fun to watch her growth in becoming a real, professional rider.”

She credits Kohmann and the atmosphere at Diamante Farms for helping her daughter excel in dressage. “I enjoy the Kanes,” she said, adding that she has known the facility’s owners from when they all lived in Texas years ago. “They run a top-notch, professional barn. It’s a very calm, relaxed atmosphere. We are good friends. They move the horses along at their own pace; nobody is pushing them. It’s a great atmosphere to work in.”

She was thrilled when her daughter won the Reserve Championship at the Festival of Champions. “It was a proud moment,” she said. “It’s amazing to see your own child achieving such great results. Obviously you are on cloud nine; you are over the moon. To come out and achieve Reserve Champion the first year is phenomenal.”

The younger Pai hopes to return to the November U.S. Dressage Finals in Kentucky and to compete in the Brentina Cup again. “I have five years left in the U25 division,” she said. “And, I’d like to do Young Riders again. NAJYRC is a great experience.”

Her long-term goals include the Olympic Games, the World Equestrian Games, and the Reem Acra World Cup of Dressage. And through it all, she plans to stick with Kohmann and Diamante Farms. “Devon and Kevin inspire me,” she said. “To be able to watch Devon and Kevin excel in competition and in business from such a young age is amazing.”

Many who follow the sport of dressage have heard U.S. Olympic icons Robert Dover and Debbie McDonald refer to the “pipeline of dressage” as the future of the sport in America. Riders like Natalie Pai and trainers like Kevin Kohmann and Devon Kane are not only part of that pipeline, but are also encouraging other young equestrians who dream of competing at high levels to ride along with them.

A Magical Beginning for Sahar Hirosh and Whitman

Joanna Jodko Photography.

70% and Grand Prix Blues for Israeli Rider

Wellington, FL  (June 27, 2017) — Sahar Daniel Hirosh and Whitman notched a first place finish in the Grand Prix at the Gold Coast Summer Solstice in Wellington, Florida this past weekend — marking their first foray together on a path toward the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG). In their competitive debut as a horse-and-rider combo, the pair earned the blue ribbon with a 70.00 percent, propelling Hirosh one step closer to realizing his dream to ride for Israel at the WEG. The Israeli-born Hirosh is an American citizen poised to seize the unique opportunity to bring glory to both countries.

He began preparing the 2003 KWPN gelding (Rhodium-Camora, Saluut) owned by Jane Suwalsky for competition this year at the beginning of the winter equestrian festival show season in Wellington, Florida.  Hirosh met Sulwalsky for the first time as when he was as a child in Israel.  “Jane used to live in Israel and when I was a child I was lucky enough to meet her there. She was one of the people who influenced the development of dressage in Israel. She is an extremely knowledgeable horsewoman who has taken horses up to Grand Prix and it’s amazing to ride for someone I respect so much,” Hirosh shared.

Hirosh had as much praise for Whitman as he did for his owner. “The best part of the test was how much he was with me,” Hirosh said. “The harmony. Whitman is an amazing horse. He took me out there and he did everything I asked. He’s hot, yet light. He doesn’t question what I ask. I think he was made for me.”

Now the duo is heading north to New Hope, Pennsylvania, where Hirosh hopes to continue garnering successful scores at Saugerties and Dressage at Devon.  “The goal is the World Equestrian Games and anywhere we can go, including the European Championships,” he said. “The sky is the limit.”

Hirosh also plans to compete Don Daiquiri, a 2002 Oldenburg gelding (Don Cardinale-Neastate III, Rubenstein I) owned by Beth Palmgren, in the Grand Prix at Saugerties and Devon and aim him for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, as well.  In addition, he rides Sakramenter (Samarant, Sandro Hit, Westminster), an Oldenburg gelding owned by Karen Ramsing-Bixler.

His formula of taking the time behind the scenes to ensure the horses are poised and well prepared before they go down centerline is a recipe for success. Not only does he have a proven formula, but Hirosh knows it takes a team to help him achieve his goals, including the owners of his horses and his sponsors.  “I have amazing owners in Jane, Beth and Karen and wonderful sponsors,” Hirosh added.

Hirosh’s sponsors also helped him display his patriotism on his debut Grand Prix ride on Whitman. Custom Saddlery and KEP Italia helmets designed special tack and gear with Israeli colors and designs. Custom Saddlery created a saddle with the blue of the Israeli flag on the seat and trimming cantle of the saddle. Beth Haist of The Horse of Course introduced Hirosh to KEP Italia helmets and worked with the international company to design a helmet sporting the Israeli flag.

While blue designs begot blue ribbons for Hirosh, there was also a lot of craftsmanship to make sure the equipment not only looked the part but also was the epitome of functional. Custom Saddlery’s expert saddle fitters worked with Hirosh to be certain that the saddle fit perfectly, including making the knee rolls “in just the right spot” to create the best communication between him and Whitman.

Another sponsor, Premier Equestrian, installed the world-class footing in the arena in Pennsylvania where Hirosh will train again this summer.  The company also bestowed the honor of Premier Equestrians to Hirosh for his display of sportsmanship and his commitment to always put his horses’ needs to the forefront over his own.

One thing is certain: Hirosh has surrounded himself with a top team as he launches on the journey to bring pride to Israel in the 2018 World Equestrian Games. “It is said, it takes a village,” said a happy Hirosh after the first show, “but I feel lucky enough to have nations of support for this exciting endeavor.” Hirosh is now settling horses into their northern training stable in Pennsylvania and picking up their training regimen right where he left off in Florida a week ago under blue skies. To learn more about Hirosh and the horses and their Journey to the World Equestrian Games, go to www.sdhdressage.com, and follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sahar.hirosh.

Contact: Sahar Daniel Hirosh
www.sdhdressage.com

Team Minikus Scores Again with Wins at Tryon Summer II CSI4*

Tori Welch (right) and Sniper pictured with Trainer Todd Minikus (far left) and his son Colt Minikus (middle) after winning two Low Jumper 1.2 classes and reserve in the $3000 Low Junior Jumper Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Tryon, NC (June 15, 2017) – Once again, Team Minikus has showed what it’s made of with wins and top finishes at the Tryon Summer II CSI4* at the Tyron International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina. Minikus and two of his students, Victoria (Tori) Zelch and Catherine Wachtell, all pocketed blue ribbons along with top placings on several mounts.

Minikus’ promising eight-year-old bay mare, Juju VDM, showed her mettle once again, winning the Nutrena 1.4 Open Jumper class. Juju VDM is coming into her own after having two foals. Even though she has only shown half a dozen times, her natural talent in the ring indicates a bright future ahead of her. Her illustrious bloodlines include her dam Derly Chin De Muze, who was the Bronze Medalist at the 2009 FEI World Championship at Lanaken and also Eric Lamaze’s mount at the 2012 London Olympics.

Along with his win on Juju VDM, Minikus finished second in a field of 19 horses on VDL Excel in Wednesday’s Nutrena 1.40m Open Jumper class. The following day, Minikus and Los Establos SportHorses’ Chablis S picked up a reserve in the Adequan 1.3m Open Jumper class.

Minikus also made it to the jump off with Alice Lawaetz’s gelding Incitatus, and finished a respectable seventh out of a roster of 40 entries in the Suncast Commercial FEI $35,000 Welcome Stake. “This horse just continues to improve and show his unlimited potential,” said Todd Minikus about Incitatus.

Team Minikus’ youngest competitor, 16-year-old Tori Zelch from Ohio, tallied two first place finishes in the Low Jumper 1.2m on her handsome liver chestnut gelding, Sniper, who she purchased from Todd and Amanda Minikus. She and Sniper also claimed the reserve placing in the $3,000 Low Junior Jumper Classic. Additionally, Zelch won second and third place aboard Musical Wood’s talented mare, Mary Jane, in the Low Jumper Junior Division.

“Tori joined us during the winter season at WEF competing in the Children’s Division, and wanted to move up to the Juniors. Now, not only has she moved up to the Junior Division, but she is winning in the Juniors,” said Minikus proudly.

Not to be outdone, 21-year-old Adult Amateur Catherine Wachtell and her mount Elarina won The Equis Boutique Low Amateur Owner Jumper 1.2m, toping a class of 20 horses as well as scoring two third place finishes in the Low Amateur-Owner Jumper 1.2m and the Low Amateur Owner-Jumper Classic 1.2m.

“I am proud of these young up-and-coming horses and riders. It’s so rewarding to see their progress,” added Minikus, who celebrated his own birthday during the successful show.

In between traveling and competing, FEI Nations Cup veteran and U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist Todd Minikus is based in Wellington, Florida, where he offers sales and training services. Keep up with Team Minikus by following Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

USEF’s Dressage Equipment and Attire Booklet Outlines Tota Comfort System for All Levels

TCS Combined noseband double bridle.

Wellington, FL (June 14, 2017) – The revolutionary Tota Comfort System combined noseband, new drop noseband, and the popular Andros Poll Relief headstall have been included in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)’s 2017 Dressage Attire and Equipment booklet, confirming its use for competition in the US. Approved for international competition through the Grand Prix by the FEI in January of 2016, the USEF’s evaluation more precisely breaks down the legal uses of the Tota Comfort System combined noseband and new drop noseband in national level competitions in the United States. The patent-pending, standard-shattering bridle design has redefined the traditional tack paradigm by removing torque on the poll, reducing pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and facial nerves, and delivering unmatched comfort for the horse in both competition and training.

The Dressage Attire and Equipment booklet released by the USEF is designed to assist exhibitors as well as USEF Dressage Technical Delegates, Judges and Stewards who officiate dressage classes at any federation licensed competition in the United States. In addition to dressage dress codes, a wealth of bits, and various other bridle designs, the Tota Comfort System combined noseband is depicted as legal for all levels, with the optional use of a throat latch. Full information on the FEI rules for the combined noseband when competing at the international level can be found in the FEI DRE-Rules 2017, page 48.

Further solidifying the Tota Comfort System’s growing legacy in the dressage competition arena in the United States, inclusion in this year’s USEF booklet provides greater clarity for riders as they strive to ensure the proper fit and function of their tack. While its origins and popularity in dressage are a natural extension of the bridle’s design and benefits, jumpers and eventers are also discovering the positive results of using the TCS noseband on their competition mounts.

The Tota Comfort System noseband creates stability in the jaw, reduces poll pressure, and alleviates stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ and facial nerves, delivering improved comfort for the horse and connection for the rider. With the goal of improving lightness and harmony in the contact the inspiration behind its inception, Olympians Ashley Holzer and Sue Blinks sought to eliminate unsteadiness in the mouth caused by traditional bridle designs. The unnecessary pressure applied to the poll, facial nerves, and TMJ left the horse uncomfortable, sometimes resulting in head shaking, open mouths, tension, an unwillingness to step into the hand, or leaning on the bit, detracting from overall performance. Holzer and Blinks brought their idea to Charles Tota of The Dressage Connection, and together the three devised a curved cheek piece and stabilizing chin strap that resolved pressure points and granted the horse comfort and relief in the jaw, TMJ, and poll. Soon after the TCS’s debut at the Grand Prix level with Holzer at the reins resulted in a major percentage point jump in their score, hundreds of riders have chosen to ride in the TCS noseband for the sake of their horse’s comfort whether in the arena or in everyday training.

Available as a complete bridle system or noseband attachment, the Tota Comfort System is offered exclusively through its website and retail partners.

For more information on the Tota Comfort System, visit their website at www.totacomfortsystem.com or via phone at 1-888-SNAFFLE.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com

Behind the Magic of the Trixie Chicks Trick Riders

Kelsey Temmen and Cookie at the North American Trick Riding Championships in Las Vegas, NV (Shannon Fox Photography)

Westphalia, MO (June 14, 2017) — TheraPlate, the Official Therapy Plate of US Equestrian, is proud to welcome professional trick riding team Trixie Chicks Trick Riders as the newest TheraPlate Brand Ambassadors. Based out of Westphalia, Missouri, these fearless women have made trick riding their full time careers, performing their daredevil acts and offering clinics and lessons across the continent. The horses that make these famous acts possible all benefit from the TheraPlate to stay in top condition for performance.

Founded by trick rider Shelby Epperson, the Trixie Chicks Trick Riders is currently owned by Kelsey Temmen, who has a Master of Education in Equestrian Education at William Woods University and was the 2016 International Trick Riding Open Champion, Calgary Stampede Canadian Trick Riding Competition Open Champion, and North American Trick Riding Championships Open Women’s Champion. Epperson graduated with a Bachelor in Agriculture Business-Enterprise Management with an emphasis in Animal Science.

Trick riding takes excellent riding skills to a new extreme. In addition to physical and mental agility on the part of the rider, working with a trusted equine partner is absolutely crucial for participation in this high-risk sport. The Trixie Chicks place a strong emphasis on maintaining the health and happiness of their eight performance horses, keeping them motivated and regularly rewarding them for a job well done. That’s how Temmen first discovered the benefits of using TheraPlate two years ago, while training her horses in Texas. “I wanted to give all of my boys a spa treatment before I headed back home to Missouri, so I found an equine rehab facility and took a pit stop to get them pampered,” explained Temmen. There was a TheraPlate at the facility, so Temmen and her horses gave it a try. “They loved it, and I knew we had to get them a TheraPlate of their own. These horses work their tails off to keep me safe and to do their best – it was the very least I could do for them!”

TheraPlate’s innovative therapy platforms offer a wealth of benefits for horses across the disciplines, helping them to stay sound and conditioned simply by standing on the platform. TheraPlate uses low-intensity, dynamic movement to stimulate muscle contraction and increase circulation. In the process, it reduces swelling, builds muscle mass, fosters healing, and helps to prevent injury.

“Every time we travel, we find more and more ways to incorporate the TheraPlate into our routine,” said Temmen. “When we are at an event we like to set up our TheraPlate for not only our use, but also for anyone at the event who would love to try it to see its benefits. We use it as a way to warm up and cool down our horses, but our favorite use is for recovery after a performance or the next morning. The horses absolutely melt in relaxation when they get on it!”

Shelby Epperson and Count at the Bulls, Barrels, & Broncs event in Verndale, MN (Alan Braunworth Photography)

When the Trixie Chicks are not at an event, they set up the TheraPlate in their barn for regular use between conditioning exercises and practices. Even their trick riding students like to lie on the platform at the end of the day. “I lay a towel down on it, and we use it for our own muscle soreness,” explained Temmen. “Sometimes it’s hard to get the kids off of it after a long day of practice — and the horses don’t appreciate having to wait their turn!”

Temmen reported that all eight horses in the Trixie Chicks program have benefited from their usage of the TheraPlate. “Trick riding can be extremely strenuous on the body. Some of our favorite benefits of using the TheraPlate include quicker recovery, reduced soreness, and overall relaxation. One of my trick riding horses tends to get a little nervous, and the TheraPlate helps give him a more consistent routine and the chance to relax pre- and post-performance.”

The Trixie Chicks will be traveling through more than 17 states and two countries this year. To find out where to catch one of their stunning performances or attend one of their clinics (and try out their TheraPlate platform in the process), check out their full schedule at www.trxchx.com.

In December, Temmen will defend her title at the North American Trick Riding Championships in Las Vegas. “I’m currently training new tricks and new horses to prepare for intense competition at the highest level available in the world right now,” she said. “I would be nowhere without these amazing animals, and I can’t thank TheraPlate enough for helping us take the best care of them possible!”

Based in Weatherford, Texas, TheraPlate Revolution offers therapy platforms for both horses and their human teammates. To learn more about how the innovative TheraPlate can improve horses’ health, or to arrange a no-obligation trial, visit www.theraplate.com or call toll-free (800) 922-3685 or direct (817) 629-5171.

Contact: Chip Kreiling
TheraPlate Revolution
(800) 920-3685
theraplate@gmail.com
www.theraplate.com

Drill Team National Championships at Jacksonville Equestrian Center Promises Exciting Performances

Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

Jacksonville, FL (June 15, 2017) — This weekend, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is proud to host the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association (SEMDTA) National Open Drill Team Championships – a competition full of exciting choreographed equine performances. This will be SEMDTA’s fourth National Championship, and the first one held at the expansive Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida. The event will be open to the public on June 16-17, and offers free parking and spectator admission.

Spectators can expect to see drill teams of all experience levels perform synchronized movements to music on their horses. An additional Theme Division will include costumes that correspond with teams’ music choices. The mounted competition will feature beautiful horses and talented riders with flags and costumes, who will compete in high-speed routines for National Championship titles.

According to the Linda Heusner, Executive Director of the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association, participation is largely youth-based and the association offers youth, walk-trot, and 4-H/FFA divisions. The association offers adult and open divisions, as well. “This is mostly a youth sport, but we are beginning to get some adult teams to participate,” Heusner said.

The SEMDTA holds competitions throughout the year, offering classes in divisions such as Color Guard, Freestyle, Theme, and Rodeo. At this year’s National Championships, teams across age and class divisions will compete for awards and national titles.

“I am always looking for different venues to encourage teams from other states to come participate,” Heusner said. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center seemed the perfect choice for this year’s National Championships, with its expansive riding arenas, over 400 permanent stalls, a huge indoor coliseum that includes a 123,000 square foot arena, full RV hookups, riding trails, and plenty of additional space for venders and concessions.

Heusner’s love for drill team riding began when she worked with the Georgia Horse Council and organized drill team competitions. Even after leaving the council, she continued organizing the drill team events. “I have been with SEMDTA for about five years,” Heusner said. “I love doing it because I love the youth participating and coming together as a team. I have watched many young people grow up in drill, and I have made some great and long-lasting friendships through drill.

This weekend at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, a total of 61 horses and 58 riders will make up the 12 drill teams competing for National Championship titles. Competition begins at 2:00 pm on Friday, June 16, and is expected to last until about 5:00 pm on that day. The excitement will resume at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 17, and the show will conclude with an award ceremony at about 3:00 pm.

Other upcoming equestrian events at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center include the Summer Dressage Schooling Challenge Showposium from June 23-25, presented by the First Coast Classical Dressage Society. This event will include a Classical Dressage Clinic with judge Brian MacMahon and schooling show classes. After that, the facility will host an All-Breed Horse Show on July 15, open to a variety of equestrians.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center also offers non-equine-oriented amenities and plays host to exciting, family-friendly events throughout the year, utilizing every aspect of the expansive grounds for recreational and social events. With an indoor swimming pool, an 18-hole golf course, and other sporting facilities adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, it’s a popular destination all summer long.

Sprawling over 80 acres and easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center also features access to miles of hiking and riding trails and a picnic pavilion. For more information and to find out about the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association’s National Championships and other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Todd Minikus Racks Up More Top Finishes at Tryon Summer 1 CSI3*

Photo Courtesy of JRPR.

Tryon, NC (June 7, 2017) – Todd Minikus kicked off the 2017 Tryon Summer 1 CSI3* competition with a flurry of blue ribbons for top finishes on a fleet of horses at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina.

The talented bay mare Juju VDM opened up strong with Minikus at the helm, coming out on top with a blue ribbon in the Nutrena 1.4 Open Jumper class. Minikus also scored wins in Asheville BMW Center’s 1.2m Open Jumper class, turning in a sizzling first place ride aboard Mary Jane, owned by Musical Woods LLC, and placing third in the same class on KWPN mare Chablis S, owned by Los Establos SportHorses.

Demonstrating why he’s currently ranked second on the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s (USHJA) list of lifetime earners, Minikus added even more to his earnings by picking up additional prize money on Alice Lawaetz’s geldings Sancento and Incitatus, Alex Verlooy’s Carvelo Z, VDL Excel owned by the CoverBoy Group, and Minikus’ own I Dottori VD Richter. Minikus’ horse Exceptional outdid his previous week’s stack of reserve ribbons by cleaning up in the green hunter division, scoring four first place ribbons and some additional cash.

When not on the road competing, FEI Nations Cup veteran and U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist Todd Minikus offers sales and training services in his hometown, Wellington, Florida. Stay tuned for more triumphs at Tryon and check out where Team Minikus is next by following on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

Katherine Bateson-Chandler to Represent US in FEI Nations Cup Dressage in Denmark

Photo courtesy JRPR.

Wellington, FL (June 2, 2017) – Katherine Bateson-Chandler of Wellington, Florida is set to represent the United States in the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage competition, which will take place this week in Uggerhalne, Denmark. The internationally successful Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer is competing aboard Alcazar, the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jane Forbes Clark.

“I’m really so honored to compete in this event. It’s always such a huge honor to represent one’s country in international competition, and especially to get the opportunity to ride alongside the best of the best. As a rider, it’s definitely one of those moments that you are constantly working toward,” Bateson-Chandler stated.

Additional riders on the U.S. team for Uggerhalne include Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida; Kathleen Raine of Murrieta, California; and Mette Rosencrantz of Topanga, California.

No stranger to high-stakes international competition, Bateson-Chandler’s past career achievements include being a member of the Silver medal-winning Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at the 2016 Lambertz Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen, and being part of Team USA at the 2016 CDIO3* Odense Nations Cup in Denmark.

Earlier this year, Bateson-Chandler made a brilliant comeback aboard her well-known mount Alcazar, who had spent the summer months recovering from a serious colic surgery that took place after the two competed together in Aachen, Germany in the 2016 World Equestrian Festival CHIO. After a successful and emotional reunion at the Adequan Global Dressage festival in Wellington, Florida this winter, the pair drew much attention with an unforgettable winning performance in the event’s CDI4* Grand Prix Freestyle.

Aside from this year’s competition successes, Bateson-Chandler also added a new mount to her stable’s lineup – a six-year-old Oldenburg mare named Fine Time, who was secured for her by longtime sponsor Jane Forbes Clark. Bateson-Chandler also accepted an appointment to the new USEF Dressage Sport Committee, which is responsible for the sport’s development, organization, rules, and licensing changes.

Bateson-Chandler competes in Wellington, Florida during the winter months while training with U.S. Olympian Debbie McDonald. During the summer months, she and her horses travel to the United Kingdom to compete and train with acclaimed British Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Hester.

Through her business, KBC Dressage, Bateson-Chandler offers training and coaching services to horses and riders across the U.S. and Europe, as well as prospect selection for clients. For more information, visit her on Facebook and on the web at www.kbcdressage.com.

Contact: Katherine Bateson-Chandler
chandlercarlos@aol.com
908-391-9096

Crowds Flocked to Jacksonville Equestrian Center for Extreme Mustang Makeover

Photo courtesy of Christine Rose Photography.

Jacksonville, FL (May 26, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was packed with both people and horses for the facility’s first-ever Free Family Fun Day and the return of the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition. Saturday, May 20, saw a crowd of approximately 200 gathered to enjoy the wild mustangs, a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, a vintage mustang car show, pony rides, a petting zoo, Gator Country 99.9 FM’s live radio show with prizes, and the nearby Olympic-sized swimming pool. The evening brought another crowd to the Jacksonville, Florida recreational facility for the popular Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Finale show.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a unique competitive event produced by the non-profit organization Mustang Heritage Foundation. Trainers are given 100 days to turn an American Mustang from wild to mild. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s beautiful facility was the perfect venue for trainers to compete for cash and prizes while displaying the trainability of American Mustangs in hopes of finding a suitable adopter for each Mustang entered. During the Top Ten Freestyle Finale, the trainer and Mustang pairs who scored highest in the weekend’s competition so far put it all on the line for the grand prize. Spectators cheered them on as they performed everything from standing in the saddle to mounted shooting to jumping obstacles.

Many of the Mustang trainers felt that the experience changed them just as much as it changed the Mustangs. “It made me start from scratch,” stated Ashley Mancuso, a trainer from Tallahassee, Florida. “I had to think about the communication I was giving to the horse because these Mustangs come to us never being touched before. So, everything they become is really what we are.”

This year’s Extreme Mustang Makeover champion, and winner of the $25,000 prize, was trainer Marsha Hartford-Sapp, who competed for her 8th consecutive year in this challenging event. She also won the champion title last year at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “The learning process that I get from every horse motivates me,” she explained. “For me to have an avenue where I can learn so much as a trainer, and make myself better as a trainer, and help a horse at the same time, is really a phenomenal opportunity.”

Hartford-Sapp won this year with the mare Chason Dreams. “I am so proud of this exceptional mare, who was nothing short of remarkable the whole weekend! She made my heart swell in the freestyle with how brave she was in the crowds and noise, and how much she tried for me.” Hartford-Sapp went on to say that Chason Dreams won another big prize by being adopted by her new owner, Cynthia Smoot, at the auction held directly after the Top Ten Freestyle Finals. “Cynthia was able to meet Dream on Friday before the competition, and their energy together was fabulous! I am so excited for the partnership, and I am beyond honored to be asked to continue training Dream for her new owner.” Hartford-Sapp is the owner and head trainer at Southern Oaks Equestrian Center in Tallahassee.

Photo courtesy of JRPR

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to host the Extreme Mustang Makeover to help bring awareness to the public about wild Mustangs and Mustang adoption. This year, even more people in the local community had a chance to meet the Mustangs as part of the Free Family Fun Day that the facility held in conjunction with the event.

Many Family Fun Day attendees enjoyed the chance to meet a different kind of Mustang, as the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club brought a bright array of unique Mustang vehicles to the grounds. Kids spent the day riding ponies, petting farm animals, jumping in a bounce house, and getting their faces painted. Lucky families went home with prizes distributed by Gator Country 99.9 FM, including buy-one-get-one-free horseback riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, and tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is known as a family-favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events all year long. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

For more information and to find out about other exciting upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Kasey Perry-Glass Wins US Dressage National Grand Prix Championship

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Gladstone, NJ (May 25, 2017) — Triple Crown® Nutrition, Inc., is proud to congratulate U.S. Olympic Dressage Team Bronze Medalist Kasey Perry-Glass for her most recent accomplishment – claiming the overall U.S. Dressage National Grand Prix Championship title at The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions in Gladstone, New Jersey this past weekend. As the official feed sponsor of the U.S. Dressage Team, Triple Crown is a longtime supporter of equestrian sports and the advancement of U.S. dressage. Dedicated to providing the utmost superiority in nutrition, Triple Crown continually fuels top-level equine athletes.

At the Festival of Champions at Gladstone’s historically beautiful Hamilton Farm, Perry-Glass and her Olympic partner Goerklintgaards Dublet kicked off the weekend by earning first place in the FEI Grand Prix with 73.7% on Thursday, May 18. After a challenging Grand Prix Special on Friday, they rose to the occasion, finishing second in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday, May 21 with 73.325%. It was just what they needed to push their cumulative score to the top to earn them the title of the 2017 U.S. Dressage National Grand Prix Champion.

“I’m proud of him,” Perry-Glass said of the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x La Costa, Olympic Ferro), owned by her mother Diane Perry. Perry-Glass acknowledged that the weekend didn’t showcase their best personal performances, although they still outscored all of their talented competitors and led the victory pass round with Dublet sporting the blue blanket and tri-colored ribbon. “This was only our second year at Grand Prix. Our first year was kind of a whirlwind.”

Their first two years at the Grand Prix level have certainly included more than a typical horse and rider’s – Perry-Glass and Dublet’s accomplishments include winning the Grand Prix at the 2015 Palm Beach Dressage Derby, coming in second at the 2016 CDI-W Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida and, most notably, helping the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team to the Bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

As a competitor at the top of her sport, Perry-Glass knows the importance of proper nutrition for her equine partners. She has been using Triple Crown products for the past four years. “I was working with a nutritionist who highly recommended Triple Crown because of their reputation, the quality of feed, and the science behind it. I began feeding it, and immediately noticed a big difference in my horses’ performance, weight, coats, and their overall health, so that’s why I stuck with it,” says Perry-Glass. She is currently feeding Dublet the Triple Crown Training feed, the 30% Ration Balancer, and the Alfa-Lox® Forage and will take her Triple Crown feed with her to Europe this summer to assure continuity in Dublet’s diet.

Perry-Glass understands the impact that nutrition has on performance perhaps even better than most, as she is not only an equine professional, but also an avid athlete in her spare time – particularly as a runner. “As a professional and also as an athlete myself, I feel that nutrition plays a huge part in performance and training. If you don’t fuel your body or the horse’s body correctly, it can affect everything – mood, stamina, and energy. I really believe that having a quality feed is just so important.”

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