Category Archives: Jump Media

Ben Maher Victorious over Eric Lamaze in Battle of Olympic Gold Medalists at Royal Horse Show

Ben Maher and Tic Tac. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, ON – It was a true battle of excellence as Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher of Great Britain nudged Canadian Olympic individual gold medalist Eric Lamaze for victory in the $85,000 Big Ben International Challenge on Thursday night, November 7, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 97th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt set a testing track that allowed the best horses and riders in the world to showcase their skills in front of a packed house in the Coca-Cola Coliseum. A total of 15 riders qualified for the jump-off, setting the stage for a battle of epic proportions.

As the 10th rider back for the jump-off, Lamaze set a blistering pace in front of the home crowd, slicing and dicing around the shortened track before galloping through the timers in 37.17 seconds. Next to challenge, Maher used Tic Tac’s huge stride to his advantage. When the clock flashed 36.75 seconds, Maher moved to the top of the leaderboard and remained there to take the win for owner Jane Clark.

“I think a lot of people didn’t like me in the stadium here this evening to beat Eric, but it’s sport; I always try my best!” said Maher, 34, who won a team gold medal as a member of the British team at the 2012 London Olympics.

“[Tic Tac] deserved this win,” continued Maher of the 16-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion. “He’s been knocking at the door. He didn’t jump many shows, but he had a couple of second places, so it’s nice to win a class with importance like this this evening.”

While Lamaze, 51, was forced to settle for second with Fine Lady 5, he currently leads both the GroupBy Leading International Rider and Leading Canadian Rider standings, helped by a win in the $37,000 Jolera International Strength and Speed Challenge on Wednesday, November 6.

Third place in Thursday night’s class went to Margie Goldstein Engle, 61, of the United States who stopped the jump-off clock in 37.61 seconds riding Dicas, owned by Gladewinds Partners, LLC.

Earlier in the day, Daniel Coyle of Ireland claimed the win in the afternoon’s featured $37,000 Brickenden Trophy. Riding Farrel for owner Ariel Grange, Coyle topped a 12-horse jump-off after posting the winning time of 31.85 seconds. Next into the Coca-Cola Coliseum, 18-year-old Brian Moggre of the United States made a valiant attempt to catch the leading time riding MTM Flutterby, but he settled for second place when the clock flashed 32.28 seconds. Australia’s Rowan Willis took third place with a time of 33.29 riding Calisto 26, while Lamaze and his mount, Chacco Kid, were fourth with a time of 33.68 seconds.

For more information, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Indoor Eventing and Dressage Derby Dazzle at 2019 Royal Horse Show

Jessica Phoenix. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Indoor eventing and a dressage derby are two of the unique events highlighting the schedule during the 10-day Royal Horse Show, held as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, from November 1 through 10, 2019, at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, ON.

The $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge headlines events in the Coca-Cola Coliseum on the evenings of Friday, November 1, and Saturday, November 2. The thrilling concept of tackling cross-country obstacles and conventional show jumping fences, all against the clock, is a spectator favourite on opening weekend of the Royal Horse Show. Olympic team gold medalist Mark Phillips of Great Britain will once again design the intricate tracks for a roster of top eventing athletes.

Dana Cooke, Colleen Loach, Jessica Phoenix, and Karl Slezak, all members of Canada’s bronze medal team at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, have confirmed their attendance.

“It’s so fun to demonstrate this incredible sport in front of so many spectators, which is something that we don’t often get to do,” said Phoenix, who hails from Cannington, ON. “For this event you want a horse that’s super careful. If you have that, you’ve got a good chance of finishing in the top three.”

Traveling from Ireland to make his Horseware Indoor Evening Challenge debut is 2018 World Equestrian Games™ team silver medalist Sam Watson. Additional competitors include Canadian athletes Lindsay Beer, Diana Burnett, Lisa Marie Fergusson, Kendal Lehari, Brandon McMechan, and Holly Jacks-Smither.

From the fast-paced thrills of indoor eventing to the intricate artistry of dressage, the Royal Horse Show has it all. Returning for the second year is the Royal Dressage Derby, which will see four riders go head to head riding borrowed horses in a ‘knock-out’ format. But there’s a twist! This year, Canadian eventing and dressage athletes will face off against one another.

2019 Pan American Games dressage team gold medalists Lindsay Kellock and Naima Moreira Laliberte will each perform a Prix St. Georges test on the same horse. Representing the eventers, Phoenix and Cook will put their dressage skills to the test riding another horse at Third Level. The winner of each ‘knock-out round’ will move forward to a second round, where they will ride a new horse, in the hopes of being crowned the Royal Dressage Derby Champion. To level the playing field, riders compete on borrowed horses and have only minutes to get to know their mounts before performing their tests.

Highlighting a theme of Canadian pride that defines The Royal, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride will perform during all ticketed Royal Horse Show performances from November 1 to 3. The epitome of Canadian tradition, the RCMP Musical Ride dates back to 1876, and was created to showcase riding ability and entertain the local community. The full troop of 32 riders on horseback performs intricate figures and drills choreographed to music, displaying the riders’ precision and coordination.

The equestrian entertainment at this year’s Royal Horse Show continues with horsewoman Sylvia Zerbini delivering mesmerizing Grande Liberté performances with her string of breathtaking Arabian horses from November 5 through 9.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Contact: Lindsay Brock
lindsay@jumpmediallc.com

Samantha Takacs and Brighton Take Top Pony Hunter Honors at WIHS

Samantha Takacs and Brighton. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

The final winners of the 61st annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) were named on Sunday, October 27, at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C., marking the conclusion of the six-day horse show.

Among those claiming victories on Sunday was Samantha Takacs, who rode Brighton to the Grand Pony Hunter Championship title, and claimed The Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Novick and Rustic Woods. Hallie Moss topped the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals aboard Birtley’s Crowned Jewel to take home The Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Friends and Students of Mrs. Jane Marshall Dillon.

Takacs, 14, of Oldwick, NJ, and Brighton, owned by Ellie Sadrian, won the under saddle and earned a first and second over fences in the Large Pony Hunter division to clinch the division championship and the Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock, on their way to the grand championship title.

“It feels so good!” said Takacs of her major victory. “I can’t even describe how happy I am feeling right now. It’s such an honor at this amazing horse show.”

Takacs topped the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals last year riding Storyteller, and this year, she got the ride on Brighton from her good friend and fellow rider, Sadrian.

Hallie Moss Wins WIHS Pony Equitation Finals on Her First Try

Hallie Moss watched Sam Walker win the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals on Saturday evening at WIHS and carried her inspiration from that into her performance in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals to take the blue.

Moss, 11, scored an 84.5 in the over fences phase of the class to stand in third before the flat phase, after which the judges, Sue Ashe and Timmy Kees, put her on top as the winner with Birtley’s Crowned Jewel. It was Moss’s first time showing in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals, though she showed in the pony hunter divisions last year.

“It’s my last show on ‘Teddy,’ so it’s pretty incredible,” Moss said. “I wasn’t slow, which I’ve been working on, and I was able to find the jumps out of stride.” Teddy is a 12-year-old Welsh Pony by Eyarth Tayma and owned by Three Ships LLC.

For more information and results, please visit www.wihs.org.

Sydney Shulman Makes It Two in a Row at WIHS

Sydney Shulman and Villamoura. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

The 61st Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Friday, October 25, with thrilling displays of speed and power. Israeli rider Sydney Shulman of Greenwich, CT topped the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final on Villamoura, while Aaron Vale and Schuyler Riley of the United States shared victory in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance. The classes were part of a full schedule of exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions during Military Night, presented by Caterpillar, Inc.

Shulman, 24, came to WIHS to jump in the international jumper division for the first time with a pretty specific goal. “I came here with the plan to do just these two speed classes and hopefully be in the top five, with all these elite riders in the classes,” she said.

She ended up winning both of them. Shulman rode Villamoura, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare by Diamant de Semilly and owned by Jill Shulman, to the blue in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, adding her name to the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by the late Arthur J. Morris. The night before, she and Villamoura won the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.

“I’m definitely in shock!” Shulman said.

Aaron Vale and Schuyler Riley Share the Win in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance

The win in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance came down to a battle between a three-time WIHS puissance-winning horse and a horse contesting the class for the first time. In the end, they tied for the win, with both Aaron Vale and Finou 4 and Schuyler Riley on Very Chic Du Tillard clearing the 6’9″ height.

Vale and Finou 4, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by For Pleasure owned by Thinks Like A Horse, had won the class the last three consecutive years and were hot favorites. Five other horse/rider combinations joined them on the starting list. “There was a good group of horses and riders tonight, so it was a little tougher class than maybe the last few years,” Vale said. “You never go in thinking you’re going to win.”

Riley described E2 Show Jumpers’ Very Chic Du Tillard, a 10-year-old Selle Francais by Diamant de Semilly, as a horse with the experience level of younger horse. He was jumping in his first Puissance class and has spent the majority of his show experience at the 1.45m level. “I knew he has the scope and the talent, but I knew he’d never done one before, so I sort of expected to go in there and jump one or maybe two and then come out, but he jumped it so easily,” Riley said.

All six riders started over the wall set at 5’9″, and it was subsequently raised to 6’3″, 6’5″, and 6’9″. Only Riley and Vale cleared the 6’9″ height, and both returned to attempt 6’11”. When they both knocked blocks off at that height, the class ended in a tie between them.

The Puissance is a favorite event for Vale, of Williston, FL, who has now won the class six times. His first win came in 1996 with Big Joe. “In America, we don’t have great crowds too often, and this night is one of the best crowds of the year for the Puissance here,” he said.

For more information and results, please visit www.wihs.org.

Jos Verlooy Victorious in $50,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake

Jos Verlooy and Varoune. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

The international show jumpers took center stage on Thursday, October 24, at the 61st annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) for their first two competitions of the week during Barn Night. In the $50,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, Jos Verlooy of Belgium rode Varoune to victory, while Israel’s Sydney Shulman topped the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.

Verlooy, who has competed at WIHS in years past and won the Puissance class in 2015, made a daring turn between fences 3 and 4 in the second round to slice seconds off his time. “In a jump-off you have to take a few risks, and the risk paid off for me tonight,” he said. He finished with a time of 41.62 seconds, relegating U.S. rider Alex Granato and Carlchen W to second.

Sydney Shulman Goes Like Lightning to Win $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class

Sydney Shulman, who rides for Israel, just couldn’t stop grinning after picking up the blue ribbon in the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class in her first year of competing in the international open jumper division at WIHS. She topped the class riding Villamoura as the fastest round of the nine riders who picked up 65 points over the jumps, finishing in 41.04 seconds.

“I looked at the list of riders and I had dreamed to be in a class with these people, let alone to beat them,” Shulman, 24, said. “So I’m going to really remember this! It’s special to be here.”

The first through ninth place riders all collected 65 points, which meant they cleared all 10 jumps on course, including the final “joker” fence worth 20 points. There was also a special Washington Nationals World Series-themed fence on course, and Irish rider Shane Sweetnam dressed up as Nationals shortstop Trea Turner in honor of the baseball team’s World Series appearance the same week as WIHS.

With nine riders out of the 24 starters on the same score, the class results came down to speed. “I watched some horses go, and after Adrienne [Sternlicht] went, I thought, ‘There’s no way I can be faster,’ but I had to try!” Shulman said. “My horse doesn’t have nearly the size of stride that she does. I had to think about being faster in the turns and across the ground. I added [strides] in two places that she left a stride out, but for my horse that’s what works.”

For more information and results, please visit www.wihs.org.

Charlotte Powers Changes Gears to Win $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship

Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Washington, D.C. – Jumper riders took their turn in Capital One Arena during the second day of competition at the 61st Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) on Wednesday, October 23. WIHS continues through Sunday, October 27, with coveted hunter, jumper, and equitation competition in the heart of Washington D.C.

As Charlotte Powers watched the last rider jump off in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship and realized she had won, she jumped up and down and hugged her sister and trainer, Justine Powers Jarvis. Powers claimed the blue aboard her own Escot 6, turning in a clear round in 31.59 seconds to defeat the six other riders who had qualified for the jump-off out of the starting field of 26.

Megan Winkhaus claimed second place riding Speedy Chicolina with a clean jump-off round in 33.78 seconds, while Stephanie King guided Lexus to a four-fault jump-off effort in 30.84 seconds for third place.

Both Powers, of Ashburn, VA, and Escot 6 are new to the jumper ring. Powers showed in the hunters and equitation as a junior but took a step back from showing while she went to college and graduate school for her PhD in organizational psychology and started her career in human resources. She also spent a year and a half working in the United Kingdom. For those years, she kept riding, but did not show. When she moved back to the U.S. in October 2018, she told Jarvis she wanted to get back into the show ring.

“It’s been 10 to 15 years since I’ve seriously competed,” she said. “This is my first year back and first year doing the jumpers. The speed was a big difference! I’d always been told I go too slow, my whole career. This has been a change of pace.”

Escot 6, a 13-year-old Hanoverian, evented to the four-star level with Colleen Rutledge riding but switched careers.

Caroline Nadalin Takes the Inside Track to Victory in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship

A tough inside turn proved to be the key for Caroline Nadalin and Boujis to win the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship. It was a turn that hadn’t worked out for a couple of the nine jump-off qualifiers from the original starting field of 25.

“My trainers told me I could do it, so I just believed in it,” Nadalin, 14, said of the turn. “I knew my horse could do it, so I had to believe I could do it, and I just went and did it!”

The move resulted in a clean round in the winning time of 34.75 second, more than a second faster than second-placed Katalena Prusso on Camera Ready, who stopped the timers in 35.95 seconds. Stella Propp took third riding Baral Preciosa with a time of 40.94 seconds.

“This win is super exciting,” said Nadalin, from Plain City, Ohio. “We’ve been trying to qualify for these [year-end championships] all year.”

For more information and results, please visit www.wihs.org.

International Show Jumping Stars Converge at Toronto’s Royal Horse Show

McLain Ward riding HH Gigi’s Girl. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Olympic gold medalists and former No. 1 riders in the world rankings make up a star-studded field in the international show jumping division at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, from November 1 through 10, 2019, at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, ON.

Four days of international show jumping competition will culminate in the $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto on Saturday evening, November 9. Riders from around the globe will try to unseat defending champion McLain Ward of the United States, who won last year’s featured event riding HH Gigi’s Girl.

This year, the two-time Olympic team gold medalist will defend his title aboard an up-and-coming mount, Noche de Ronda. With a longstanding history at The Royal that dates back more than 20 years, Ward marks it on his competition schedule each and every year.

“I’m not Canadian, but The Royal feels like a second home for me,” said Ward, who has won the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto an impressive nine times to date. “I love the city, the competition, and the sold-out crowd that we get to ride in front of every night. Seeing a horse show that embraces tradition and still has people attend in black tie is a special experience for me as a rider. I remember coming here with my dad and it continues to be a family affair for us. I am happy to be a part of it again this year.”

Joining Ward on the list of U.S. riders invited to compete at this year’s Royal Horse Show are Olympic medalists Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, and Beezie Madden, along with Georgina Bloomberg, Lucy Deslauriers, Margie Engle, and Andy Kocher.

Leading the charge from beyond North American borders are Israel’s Daniel Bluman; Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Amanda Derbyshire; Belgium’s Jos Verlooy; and a strong Irish contingent made up of Bertram Allen, Daniel Coyle, Conor Swail, and Shane Sweetnam.

Following the formula of eight U.S. competitors and eight international competitors, Canada will also have eight show jumping representatives in the international division at this year’s Royal. Based on the current Longines world rankings, Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON; Mario Deslauriers (father of Lucy) of New York, NY; Eric Lamaze of Wellington, FL; Amy Millar of Perth, ON; Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON; and Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON have all received invitations. They will be joined by the top two finishers from the $125,000 Henry Equestrian Canadian Show Jumping Championship, held November 2 and 3, who are not already qualified.

The international show jumping division officially opens on Wednesday, November 6, and features the $37,000 Jolera International Welcome in the evening session. A sentimental favourite, the $85,000 ‘Big Ben’ International Challenge, highlights Thursday evening while the popular $50,000 Canadian Open International Challenge, presented by 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, is featured on Friday evening’s Royal Horse Show schedule.

Saturday afternoon, November 9, is Family Day, presented by McDonald’s, at the Royal Horse Show. The entertaining K9-Equine Challenge, presented by the Toronto Star, pairs show jumping horses with agility dogs to see who can complete their respective courses in the fastest time. In an unparalleled evening of horse sport, the $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto will bring down the curtain on closing night of the Royal Horse Show.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Contact: Lindsay Brock
lindsay@jumpmediallc.com

Priscilla Denegre Earns Precious Win at WIHS

Priscilla Denegre and String of Pearls. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Washington, D.C. – The six-day Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN™, kicked off on Tuesday, October 22, at Capital One Arena in the heart of Washington, D.C. Tuesday’s opening day of competition featured the start of the professional and amateur hunter divisions, as well as year-end championships for child and adult hunter riders.

Earning wins in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship were Priscilla Denegre riding String of Pearls and Abby Cole on Q-Bella, respectively.

Winning the $10,000 Adult Hunter Championship during Hunt Night, presented by BUCKEYE™ Nutrition, had very special meaning for Denegre, who collected the Diane Wade Memorial Award for the win. Not only does Denegre have a long history with WIHS, but she’s also just coming back from a serious injury.

“I’m so lucky and blessed to be able to come back and do this. I know that. To have this horse, and to win this, is big for me,” she said. Denegre’s 2017 fall resulted in multiple broken bones and extensive time out of the saddle. When she was ready to start jumping again early this year, String of Pearls was her pick to ride. “She’s been terrific. Talk about helping my confidence coming back; it just couldn’t be better,” Denegre, of Middleburg, VA, said.

From the field of 31 starting round one over the Alan Lohman-designed course, Denegre and “Pearl” scored an 83, which put them into third. A score of 85 in round two sent them on top of the standings and earned them the blue. “She’s one of those horses that wants to please,” Denegre said of Pearl.

Abby Cole Conquers the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship 

Abby Cole is a huge fan of WIHS, so she was delighted to lead the victory gallop for the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship. Cole, a 14-year-old from Ashburn, VA, has been attending WIHS as a spectator for years.

“It means a lot,” Cole said. “I worked really hard. I wanted to do well in this this year. I’ve never done well at a big show.” She rode Kelsey Campbell’s Q-Bella to the win with a total score of 165 to earn the H. Fenwick Kollock Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Friends of Fen.

Madeline Rubin and Nuff Said finished in second with a score of 164.5, while Juliette Propp took third on Premium Blend with a score of 163.

From the 30 horses that started the class, 12 returned for the second round. Cole and Bella scored an 80 in the first round and stood fifth before the second round, but a stellar trip in round two and a score of 85 vaulted them into the lead for the win.

For more information on WIHS, please visit www.wihs.org.

2019 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Scholarship Recipients Named

Avery Glynn. Photo by McCool Photography.

Washington, D.C. – The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund will honor Avery Glynn, 17, of Chilmark, CA; Emma Fletcher, 17, of Buzzards Bay, MA; and Taylor Griffiths, 17, of Wellington, FL with the prestigious 2019 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Washington International Horse Show Equitation Scholarship. The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) runs October 22-27, 2019, at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund (LMCF) is returning for its third year as the title sponsor of the WIHS Equitation Finals. In 2017 LMCF developed the WIHS Equitation Scholarship to recognize the talent, dedication, and hard work of junior riders who compete throughout the year in the hopes of qualifying to participate in the WIHS Equitation Finals.

“It is a pleasure to recognize the incredible riders who have both applied for and received the WIHS Equitation Scholarship. Last year, we expanded the number of scholarship recipients and this year we will continue that growth by honoring three recipients,” said Lindsay Maxwell, founder of the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund. “The selection committee was impressed by the caliber of applicants this year, and we are thrilled to honor these three young women at the WIHS Equitation Finals.”

Maxwell continued, “The future of our sport depends on young riders like Avery, Emma, and Taylor, who have continually displayed their dedication to our sport, animal welfare, and their local communities.”

“In the third year of the LMCF WIHS Equitation Finals Scholarship program, the WIHS team is beyond impressed by the quality of the applications and the remarkable talent and commitment of these three young competitors,” said WIHS President Victoria Lowell. “We are ever grateful for the increasing generosity and expanded commitment of the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund to this special, one-of-a-kind program.”

In addition to the honors attendant to this accolade, the scholarship will cover expenses such as travel and lodging for the rider and parent, the show’s entry and application fees, equine transportation and stall fees, and special VIP hospitality access. Now in its 28th year, the LMCF WIHS Equitation Finals is a rigorous three-phase competition held over two days. A panel of three judges test and evaluate the riders in hunter, jumper, and work-off rounds to determine the best of the best.

Former Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals champions include former world No. 1 ranked rider Kent Farrington and two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward.

Invitations to compete in the annual Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals are sent to the top 40 junior riders based on points earned during the year-long qualifying period.

For more information on WIHS, please visit www.wihs.org.

For more information on event schedule and special ticket offers and discounts, visit WIHS.org/tickets.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jwood@jumpmediallc.com

Phenomenal Horsepower Propels London Knights to 2019 GCL Championship Victory

Ben Maher and Explosion W. Photo by GCL/Stefano Grasso.

New York, NY – The power pairings of Explosion W and Ben Maher and Clooney 51 and Martin Fuchs propelled London Knights to victory in the GCL New York and the overall 2019 Championship with drama until the final seconds.

Four flawless clear rounds were delivered by the unbeatable Knights who secured a historic second GCL title win after a rollercoaster season saw their duel with St. Tropez Pirates dominate the team series this year.

The Knights finished three points ahead of St. Tropez Pirates, with a total of 326 points this year. Madrid in Motion secured third in the Championship with 303 points, with the Shanghai Swans just hanging onto their fourth place, meaning they too will fast-track to the semi-finals at the GCL Super Cup at the GC Prague Playoffs.

The dramatic backdrop of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty provided one of the greatest stages for top-level show jumping as the world’s top riders and horses competed in the LGCT and GCL Finals for the first-time ever on Governors Island.

New Yorkers and visitors to the City filled the grandstands and cheered on the teams including home city team New York Empire, owned by Georgina Bloomberg who was watched by her father and former New York Mayor Michael.

Among guests were tennis ace Andre Agassi, supermodel Christy Turlington, and fashion designer Donna Karan for the first ever LGCT event in New York.

It was all about big names, big views, and big guns as the Knights fielded their top horses in their bid to seize the GCL Championship.

“For me, I’m biased but I have an incredible horse. To team up like this is a unique concept, where can you bring these kinds of horses together from different countries and compete like this. It was memorable day that’s for sure.

I’ve been to New York a couple times before to visit. It’s an incredible city. I don’t think anyone was sure what to expect. But, when we came here, like Global Champions does, they make the logistics incredibly easy for the grooms and the horses. The accommodations and how we are all looked after is five star. For the first year, I think the show is a huge success. There were big crowds here; it was well advertised and when I came out of the ring there were many people saying they enjoyed the day so hopefully this will grow.” ~ Ben Maher

City of Dreams Delivers as Maher Takes 2019 LGCT Title in New York

It was ‘game, set, and match’ after Ben Maher (GBR) wrote history aboard Explosion W in an extraordinary Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of New York, taking the LGCT Grand Prix win and the 2019 Championship title just hours after helping to secure the GCL team series crown for the London Knights.

In the city that never sleeps it would turn out to be a superlative showdown with a script that sporting dreams are made of. With spectators filling the rafters of the grandstand and positioned in every inch of space, the equestrian world watched as the knife-edge Championship reached its conclusion on Governors Island.

Devos (BEL) lead the overall ranking by just one point, but with pressure reaching fever pitch it was Ben Maher (GBR) who kept a cool head in a seven-rider jump-off to catapult himself to the title win – his second after taking the 2018 Championship.

A beaming Ben said: “I knew it would be a tough weekend – the dream was to win the team [title] and the individual. It doesn’t happen often. What a horse – he’s incredible. He understands me, I understand him, we have a great connection, and it’s a pleasure to be in the sport like this.

“It’s incredible [to win the title for a second year running]. Last year was unexpected; this year I’ve used Explosion a little less; I’ve used Concona, Madame X and F One USA, so I’m lucky to have so many great horses and great owners.”

In a touching sporting moment, Maher praised his rival Pieter Devos, who was just beaten into second place in the Championship. “[Pieter] gave a great fight; it was a push all the way to the end. I’m sure he’s going to come back strong.”

More info: www.gcglobalchampions.com.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jennifer@jumpmediallc.com