Kent Farrington riding Creedance. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.
Toronto, Ontario – U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington won the $75,000 GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ Challenge on Friday, November 11, to close out the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.
In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 6,000 people, 21 riders challenged the final international show jumping event of the 2016 Royal Horse Show. A total of seven jumped clear over the huge track set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal, but none could match the daring performance of Farrington and Creedance, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris) owned in partnership with RGC Farm.
“There were some really nice horses jumping here tonight,” said Farrington, who was competing at the Royal Horse Show following a five-year absence. “More than anything, more than winning, I’m thrilled with the progress of the horse. I feel like he’s on track to become a very good grand prix horse.”
Farrington and Creedance posted a blistering jump-off time of 31.86 seconds that could not be matched. Reigning Olympic Champions Nick Skelton of Great Britain and Big Star, owned by Oliver Robertson and Gary and Beverley Widdowson, came the closest, stopping the clock in 33.55 seconds.
“There was no way I could beat Kent so I went for second,” said Skelton who has been attending The Royal since the late 1970s. “They have a great crowd here that really takes part in and enjoys the show. I like coming here; it’s one of my favorite indoor shows.”
Ian Millar of Perth, ON thrilled the home audience with a clear round in a time of 33.79 seconds riding Dixson while his 2008 Olympic silver medal teammate Mac Cone of King City, ON was fourth in 36.26 seconds riding Gasper van den Doorn for Mark Samuel’s Chadburn Holdings, Inc. 2008 U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut rounded out the top five by posting the fastest four-fault effort in the jump-off with a time of 33.82 seconds riding Confu for St. Bride’s Farm.
Of the final test set by course designer Cabral, Farrington said, “I thought it was a creative course using three doubles instead of a triple, which we see all the time in indoor jumping.
“This is a really classy horse, and he’s learning at each show,” continued Farrington who is aiming Creedance at the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final to be held from March 29 to April 2 in Omaha, Nebraska. “He’s a little bit special and very, very sensitive, so loud noises and things like that really set him off. I thought maybe these indoor shows would be a little bit of an adventure, but he’s really settled down now and he’s handling it nicely.”
Following five days of top-caliber international competition, three-time U.S. Olympic medalist McLain Ward was presented as the Leading International Rider. Ward’s trip to Toronto was highlighted by a dominating win in the $130,270 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday night riding HH Azur for owners Double H Farm and Francois Mathy.
Leading Canadian Rider honours went to 12-time Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 69, of Perth, ON, who was presented with the Lt. Col. Stuart C. Bate Memorial Trophy in recognition of his consistent performances throughout the Royal Horse Show.
The All-Canadian Cup, generously sponsored by Susan Grange and Lothlorien Farm of Cheltenham, ON, was awarded to Millar’s mount, Dixson, as the Leading Canadian-owned horse. Grange both presented and accepted the award for the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding she owns with her daughter, Ariel Grange.
The Tiffany & Co. Leading Lady Rider Award, introduced at the 2016 Royal Horse Show, was presented to Leslie Howard of the United States. A 1996 Olympic team silver medalist, Howard was presented with a Tiffany horseshoe pendant of round brilliant diamonds in platinum on a 16-inch chain.
International competitors shared the spotlight with up-and-coming riders on Saturday afternoon as the future stars of show jumping were showcased in the final phase of the Alfred Rogers Uplands Under 25 National Championship. Twenty-one-year-old Daniel Coyle of Ireland secured the win riding Fortis Fortuna for owners Susan and Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farm based in Cheltenham, ON. Coyle also clinched the overall Championship title, having also won phase one earlier in the week. Quincy Hayes, 25, of Aurora, ON, was named reserve champion with Calgary 56, owned by Darcy Hayes, after placing second in phase one and fifth in phase two.
To the delight of horse and dog lovers alike, the $20,000 Canine-Equine Challenge, presented by the Toronto Star, saw top international riders each paired with a ‘Superdog’. After riders navigated a show jumping track, their canine partner took off around a dog agility course. The crowd cheered for its favourites as dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes raced up, over, and through the obstacles. In the end, it was Dutch Olympian Harrie Smolders who stopped the clock with the fastest time riding Apollonia 23, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, for owner Copernicus Stables, LLC.
For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show. The Royal will be back for its 95th edition, running November 3-11, 2017.
Ian Millar riding Dixson. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.
Toronto, Ontario – Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON landed his record 12th Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Saturday night, November 5, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.
Millar returned last in the second and final round of the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Saturday night, having posted the fastest clear in Friday night’s opening speed round riding Dixson. Millar and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Susan and Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, ON repeated their flawless performance in Saturday’s two-round final over tracks set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal.
“It’s a lot of stress, that final round!” said Millar, 69, who has now claimed the national title a total of 12 times in his illustrious career. “There’s no room for error, and that’s what jumping it is all about. There was no option but to do what Dixson did.”
Saturday night’s victory marked an impressive comeback for Dixson after two sinus surgeries sidelined him earlier in the year and ultimately kept Millar from competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“In the years that I’ve been riding him, I’ve never jumped him indoors, but it was not an issue for him,” said Millar, who last won the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion in 2014 riding his London Olympic mount, Star Power. “It’s great to have this quality of horse here at The Royal because we’ve got some serious competition coming at us next week in the international division.”
Having returned to competition in August, Dixson was back at the top of his game, holding off Mac Cone, 64, of King City, ON. For the second year in a row, Cone earned the Reserve Championship title riding Gasper van den Doorn for owner Chadburn Holdings, Inc. The pair finished on a combined total of 1.73 penalties carried forward from Friday night’s speed phase, and joined Millar as the only other horse-rider combination to leave all the rails in place over three rounds of competition.
Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON posted two clear rounds in Saturday night’s final to finish third with a total of 4.45 penalties riding Granturo, owned by Western Sales & Development.
Having finished second and third behind their father on Friday night, Jonathon and Amy Millar, both of Perth, ON, remained in the top five following the final phase of competition. Jonathon Millar and Bonzay, owned by Isotropic investments, finished on 4.46 penalties for fourth while Amy Millar incurred 8.42 penalties to place fifth riding Heros, owned by AMMO Investments.
Based on their performances in the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship, Cone and Moffatt move forward to the international division, beginning Tuesday, November 8. They join fellow Canadians Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC, Keean White of Rockwood, ON, Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB, Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, and Ian and Jonathon Millar, who were all pre-qualified based on their world ranking.
The $130,500 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday evening, November 9, highlights international show jumping competition at the Royal Horse Show, and is a qualifying event for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska, next spring. Rio Olympic champions Nick Skelton and Big Star of Great Britain headline the list of international entries, which also includes Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, who were both members of the U.S. Olympic silver medal team in Rio.
For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.
About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs from November 4-13, 2016, at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results, and to purchase tickets, visit www.royalfair.org.
Woodlands Misty Rain and Isabelle Aldridge. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Washington, D.C. – Management at Washington International Horse Show announces a change in results at the 2016 event, which was held October 25-30 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
The reserve champion of the Large Pony Hunter division was incorrectly announced. The reserve champion of the division was Woodlands Misty Rain, ridden by Isabelle Aldridge for Aldridge Equestrian LLC.
Aldridge and Woodlands Misty Rain, a Welsh Pony Cross mare by Woodlands Velvet Rain, were second in the Large Pony Hunter Stake class and won the Large Pony Hunter under saddle. They also went on to finish second in the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals.
Washington International Horse Show apologizes for the error.
The 2017 Washington International Horse Show will be held once again at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., on October 24-29.
Storyteller and Mimi Gochman. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Sophie Gochman Tops WIHS Pony Equitation Finals; Sage Wolf and Grace Glover Win Regional Finals
Washington, D.C. – The 58th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) came to a close on Sunday, October 30, after an unforgettable week of equestrian sport in the nation’s capital. The final day of competition featured pony and regional hunter champions at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. WIHS ran October 25-30, welcoming over 500 horses to compete for more than $500,000 in prize money. With top sport, exciting exhibitions, fabulous shopping, and more, the 2016 WIHS had something for everyone and celebrated another successful equestrian event in the nation’s capital.
Rounding out competition for the week, the Miles River Moonglow Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Novick & Rustic Woods, was presented to Fair Play Farm’s Storyteller, ridden by Mimi Gochman, for Grand Champion Pony honors. The WIHS Pony Equitation Finals were held in the afternoon with a win for Sohpie Gochman, and the WIHS Regional Finals, sponsored by The Linden Group at Morgan Stanley, capped the day with blue ribbons presented to Sage Wolf and Grace Glover.
Set your DVRs now to catch the broadcast of the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, on NBC Sports Network coming up on Sunday, November 6, at 1:30 p.m. EST.
On their way to the Grand Pony Hunter Championship, Mimi Gochman and Storyteller earned the Large Pony Hunter division championship, sponsored by Further Lane Farm, with two wins and a second place finish over fences. They were presented with The Pegasus Stable Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ms. Fenwick Kollock. Reid Arani and Victoria Press’s Love and Laughter took the reserve champion title with a win over fences and a third place ribbon under saddle.
Gochman (12), of Palm Beach, FL, has ridden Storyteller for almost two years and also won last year’s WIHS Pony Equitation Finals with the 13-year-old German Sport Pony gelding. Gochman trains with Scott Stewart, Ken Berkley, and Amanda Derbyshire. This was her final show in the pony divisions and her final time competing with Storyteller, going out on a high note in her first grand championship at WIHS.
“He has always been a reliable pony. I can always trust him and know that I can succeed on him,” Gochman said of “Story,” as the pony is known in the barn. “He is really nice around the barn. He tries his best at all times. It feels good to go out on top in the ponies at WIHS. I have never been Grand here, which is a really big thing for me. This is one of the toughest shows. The rings are small, and you really have to maneuver around the schooling area, but it is definitely one of the best experiences I have had in the past few years. Doing it with Story was such an amazing end since it is my last day on him and other ponies. I’m going to be sad that he is leaving, but he’s moving on to another child, which is good.”
Speaking of the ride on Storyteller, Gochman detailed, “He has a comfy canter, so you have to get your pace established and kind of let him canter on his own. You can’t use too much hand because he likes to stick his head up, and it doesn’t always look great on him because he has such a big neck. The further down it goes, the more he uses it, and it looks better. He has to have a soft hand, but he knows that when you pull he needs to back off, so that makes him an easier pony for me to ride. He has the stride of a horse. I wish he were a horse so I could keep going on him, but he will make some other kid very happy.”
Storyteller was also grand champion at WIHS in 2013 with Ashton Alexander and will continue on to teach a new young rider the ropes. Gochman will continue on to compete in Kentucky with her horses next week and then goes back to Florida for the winter. Concluding her 2016 experience at WIHS, Gochman stated, “This is one of the best cities to have a show in because it has the show component, and then the fun sightseeing, and all the fun activities in the city. This is one of my favorite shows for sure.”
Mimi Gochman’s sister, Sophie Gochman, rode Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love to earn the Small Pony Hunter Championship, sponsored by Further Lane Farm, and was awarded The Stombock Saddlery Challenge Trophy, donated by Stombock Saddlery in Memory of E. P. (Bud) Stombock. The pair placed first, fourth, and fourth over fences, and finished third under saddle. Alexa Lignelli and her own Rollingwoods Knee Deep earned the reserve championship with two second-place ribbons over fences.
Hannah Bernstein’s Woodlands Stevie Ray and Emily Aitken took championship honors in the Medium Pony Hunter division and earned The Shenandoah Sundowner Perpetual Trophy, donated by Evan Coluccio and Ashmont Farms, Ltd. The pair won two classes over fences and placed second under saddle. Bill Schaub’s Highlands Heaven Sent and Luke Jensen won one class over fences to earn the reserve championship.
Aitken (13), of Westchester, NY, was then presented with the award for Best Child Rider on a Pony, sponsored by Gotham North, and put her name on the Captain V. S. Littauer Perpetual Trophy, donated by Hugh J. B. Cassidy, III, Mrs. William Dillon, and Miss Marion Lee.
Aitken trains with Kristen Carollo and Kristen Lutz. Commenting on her special honor, the rider stated, “It feels really good. This is my first year here, so it is really exciting to be Best Child Rider on a Pony. I have Woodlands Stevie Ray, who was champion. He was really good. I got an 89 in the handy, so I was really happy with how I was riding him. Then I also had Cleverist. He was really good too, and he is really fun to ride.”
Aitken works on staying tall and keeping everything still when she is riding. The middle school eighth grader also heads on to show in Kentucky next week, but had a great experience showing at Verizon Center.
“It was a lot of fun riding here, just knowing that this is where all the sports teams play and stuff, so that was really cool,” Aitken concluded.
Other awards on Sunday included the Best Pony Hunter Stake Award, which went to Claire Campbell and Natalie Jayne’s Blueberry Hill, for their score of 90 in the Small Pony Hunter division. Tessa Downey and Bringing Home the Blue won the 2016 Potomac Trophy for the high score junior hunter rider on a pony.
Sophie Gochman Wins 2016 WIHS Pony Equitation Finals
Pony competition at WIHS 2016 continued on Sunday afternoon with the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals and crowned Sophie Gochman the winner. Just one year after her sister Mimi secured the title in 2015, Sophie Gochman kept the honor in the family by winning her last class as a pony rider aboard Storyteller, owned by Fair Play Farm.
Gochman scored an 86 over fences to sit in second place before the judges called the top ten riders back to be tested on the flat. After the final lineup, she was called forward as the winner and was presented with the Jane Marshall Dillon Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the friends and students of Mrs. Jane Marshall Dillon.
“It is really special to have two Gochmans on that trophy,” said 13-year-old Sophie. “I was really hoping to make this day memorable because it is my last day on ponies. For the Washington [Pony Equitation Finals], I just wanted to have fun and have a good time for my last round.”
Mimi, Sophie, and their mother Becky shared an emotional farewell with Storyteller on Sunday as the sisters end their careers on ponies. When asked about Storyteller’s career with the Gochman family, Sophie said, “He is a really special pony to us. My mom rides him at home, Mimi usually competes him, and I have shown him a couple times. He is an equitation pony, and I wish I could take him in the big eq. It was a really great win, and I was confident that he could do it because he is such a special pony.”
Isabelle Aldridge led the jumping phase of the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals with a score of 87 riding Woodland’s Misty Rain, owned by Aldridge Equestrian, LLC and finished in second place overall after the flat phase. After pocketing a score of 84 over fences, Grace Debney and Denmark, owned by John Skinner, took third, and Saylor Shea claimed fourth with an 82.5 riding Magical Diamond, owned by Strawberry Hill, LLC. Luke Jensen rounded out the top five with a score of 82 aboard Fox Creek’s Curious George, owned by Dianna Orona.
Gochman had a successful week at WIHS competing in jumper, hunter, and pony classes, and enjoys showing amidst the atmosphere of downtown Washington D.C., saying, “It is really great how the general public can come in and the stands are packed every night to watch the jumpers. It introduces them to this sport because it is not always known to everyone. [It] spreads awareness about how important it is and what a great tradition this sport is. I think it is really great for people to see this aspect of horse showing.”
Regional Winners Crowned at WIHS
Sunday concluded with the culmination of WIHS Regional Hunter Finals, presented by The Linden Group at Morgan Stanley, which kicked off last week at the WIHS Regional Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD.
The win in the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals went to 11-year-old Sage Wolf, a hometown girl from Washington, D.C. riding her 14-year-old gelding Dun Paintin’. The pair earned the high score of 90 for their round in the final. Nicole Marquie and CKE Horse Enterprises’ Pendermere Legacy finished second with a score of 85. Kate Howlin rode Lillie Honiberg’s Stoneledge Coralea to third place with a score of 78.
Wolf trains with Leigh Stitzer in Great Falls, MD and got her pony Dun Paintin’ in January 2016. She was second in her class at the WIHS Regional Horse Show at Prince George’s Equestrian Center last week to qualify to compete at Verizon Center on Sunday. This was her first time competing on the main stage at WIHS and an exciting win for the young equestrian, who started riding when she was seven.
“This is my first time ever at the Washington International Horse Show. It is amazing to ride here. It is a really cool place,” Wolf acknowledged.
“Dun Paintin’ is normally a very slow ride,” Wolf said of her pony. “He is very smooth, but he is not normally very peppy. It is a pokier ride, but he is a lot of fun. He was a bit faster than he normally is in this ring today. It is a cool new place, so he got a little excited and it gave him a little more energy. It was really cool to be riding in that ring, and I felt amazing about my round. I was really happy with the way it went. He was a really good boy, and I am really proud of how good he was.”
Nicole Marquis and Pendermere Legacy finished out the season as grand champions of the WIHS Regional Pony Hunter division overall. Shannon Maguire and her own Brownie Points, and Sarah Entzian aboard Suzanne Chambers’ Check Me Out, tied for the reserve championship.
The WIHS Regional Hunter Finals, presented by The Linden Group at Morgan Stanley, were held next with a win for Grace Glover, another Washington, D.C. resident, riding Michael Perez’s Pura Vida. The pair earned the high score of 88 for their round over fences. Fallyn Belcastro rode her own Chapter Three Z to the second place prize with a score of 85. Nicole Bailin and Pembroke Pointe’s Zachary finished third with a score of 84.
Originally from Lexington, VA, Glover moved to the nation’s capital three years ago after attending college at the University of Virginia and riding on their intercollegiate equestrian team. After graduating, Glover took a year off from riding to adjust to professional life in her job as a healthcare consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 2015, Glover took up the reins again and started training with Melanie Wright, Patty Foster, and Mary Lisa Leffler at Rolling Acres. She half leased her mount Pura Vida, a seven-year-old gelding, this year from his owner Michael Perez.
“Today was really exciting because it is just hard to manage showing and professional life,” Glover stated. “I only did one other show before local day, and it was very exciting to qualify, and then to do so well here. It was a really great situation that I got to do a half-lease with Michael this year. It was really generous of him to share Vida with me so that I could make it affordable and get to do some of these bigger shows as well.”
Glover competed twice in the WIHS Children’s Hunter Finals before and had a great experience both times.
“It is great to be back, and I know this horse show is just a blast, so any way that I could get here I wanted to make it happen,” Glover detailed. “My round was really fun. I felt like I picked up the right pace, and it was one of those rare rides where you just see the distances. Vida was so perfect and soft and just felt like he was listening perfectly, which made it really fun.”
Nicole Bailin and Zachary were then awarded the grand championship for the WIHS Regional Hunter Horse division for the conclusion of 2016. They were presented with the Black, Starr & Frost Perpetual Trophy, donated by Black, Starr & Frost. Fallyn Belcastro and Chapter Three Z finished in reserve.
Sunday’s competition concluded the 2016 Washington International Horse Show. For full results, please visit www.wihs.org.
McLain Ward and ZZ Top v/h Schaarbroek Z. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Amanda Derbyshire and Luibanta BH Take $50,000 GE International Jumper Speed Final; Eve Jobs and Beth Von Brecht Victorious in Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers; Annabel Revers Earns Grand Junior Hunter Championship and Best Child Rider Title
Washington, D.C – The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) featured a wide range of equestrian sport on Friday showcasing the grace, power, and speed of some of the world’s finest horses and riders. Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire was victorious with Luibanta BH in the $50,000 GE International Jumper Speed Final. Eve Jobs riding Calizz and Beth Von Brecht aboard Melody earned wins in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. The Junior Hunters concluded their competition for the week, presenting their Grand Junior Hunter Championship to MTM Hands Down and the award for Best Child Rider on a Horse to Annabel Revers.
A fantastic day of competition concluded with the $25,000 International Jumper Puissance, presented by The Boeing Company, where six horses and riders attempted the impressive wall, and USA’s McLain Ward and Aaron Vale tied for first place with clear rounds jumping seven feet.
Reaching Great Heights in the Puissance
The Puissance began with the wall set at 1.72m (5’8”) in height and moved all the way up to 2.13m (7’) through five rounds of competition. All six horse and rider combinations cleared the first round at 5’8”. Danielle Torano (USA) jumped the Puissance for the first time riding her own and Jimmy Torano’s Cash and faulted in round two to finish sixth. Kama Godek (USA) and her own De Grande, and Andrew Kocher (USA) riding Eagle Valley Partners’ C’Havinia, each cleared 1.85m (6’1”) and knocked the wall down in round three to finish in a tie for fourth place. Lauren Tisbo (USA) and Tequestrian Farms’ Mr. Visto cleared three rounds up to 1.97m (6’6”) and dropped a block in round four to place third.
Aaron Vale riding Thinks Like a Horse and Don Stewart’s Finou 4, and McLain Ward aboard his own ZZ Top v/h Schaarbroek Z, cleared round four at 2.00m (6’9”) and continued on to a fifth and final round at 2.13m (7’). Two veterans of Puissance competition, with Ward having won this class seven times and Vale twice. Each rider guided their mount easily over the imposing height, ending in a tie.
Remarking on the excitement and great competition of the night, Vale stated, “Puissance at Washington on Friday night is always a big night. There are lots of people in the stands, and they always cheer a lot. It is good to have a class where two horses went pretty far. It was a good class.”
Ward agreed, “This has always been a special night at Washington. Both Aaron and I have a good history in this class and we enjoy it and the crowd enjoys it. It is nice when it works out well.”
Ward and ZZ Top, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Zandor Z x Latus), also tied for a win in the Puissance in Central Park in September, clearing 6’9”.
Commenting on his horse’s effort Friday night, Ward noted, “This is only the second time I’ve shown him, so as far as I know this is the biggest he has jumped. He is a wonderful horse. I have bought and sold him a couple of times now. He has been a great horse for many people and after this he will probably go and be a great teacher for somebody else next year.”
Vale plans to jump Finou 4, a ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding (For Pleasure x Concetto), in Saturday night’s $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, and used the Puissance as preparation to jump the big fences.
He explained, “He is a very fresh, energetic horse, so my plan was to jump him tonight to hopefully take the edge off him and give him some focus for tomorrow. He has a lot of power and he is pretty limber, so I had an idea he could maybe jump a big fence pretty well. The class was great fun and hopefully it sets me up pretty well for tomorrow night.”
Ward and Vale were awarded The Sweet ‘N Low Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Tober, as well as The Armed Forces Cup, presented by The Boeing Company. They were also presented The Congressman’s Challenge Trophy, donated by the Late Honorable Rogers C. B. Morton and the Late Honorable F. Robert Watkins, for the owners of the winning horses.
Derbyshire Dashes to Victory in International Speed Final
Prior to the Puissance, the $50,000 GE International Jumper Speed Final was held in a faults converted format with a win for Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire riding David Gochman’s Luibanta BH. The pair was first to go, and cleared Alan Wade’s (IRL) speed course in a time of 54.72 seconds that held on through 21 rounds for the win.
McLain Ward (USA) and his own Malou were faster, but added two seconds to their time with one rail down, finishing close behind in 54.87 seconds. Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Davendy S also dropped one rail, but with a very fast time, to place third on 55.19 seconds.
Derbyshire has been to WIHS six times helping with the Gochman Family’s Baxter Hill horses and riders, but this is the first time that she has competed herself. She just started showing Luibanta BH, an eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Luidam x Abantos), at the end of August and this is their fourth show together.
“I am very proud of her. She is eight years old, and she has never been to a venue like this before,” Derbyshire detailed. “She is fazed by nothing so far that we have ever put her to, so I am thrilled. She just tries her heart out every time. She really is so special.”
Commenting on her round and going first to set the challenge, Derbyshire explained, “I saw the order online this afternoon, and I said, ‘Well, I just have to give it all I’ve got.’ So I did. I did the right strides everywhere and then I did leave one stride out in the last line. I was trying to go as fast as I could. I thought at the end they were all going to beat me, but thankfully they didn’t. Last time McLain and I were in a speed class together, he was first and I was second, so it was kind of nice for it to be the other way around for once. For sure it won’t happen very often, but it was nice tonight.”
Remarking on her first experience competing at WIHS, and one of the biggest wins of her career, Derbyshire stated, “This is pretty special. It has been so much fun. It has been tiring; we haven’t had much sleep, but it has been better than I ever expected.
“We have a show like this in England called the Horse of the Year Show, and I would say this is comparable to that,” Derbyshire added. “The ring is small, the crowds are big, and it is really special. I have watched the competition here for the last few years, the international classes at night, and this year I thought that I would like to do it. This year I got two horses good enough to do it, so I am lucky for that.”
Luibanta BH will now have a few weeks off before picking up again at the Holiday & Horses competition in Wellington, FL at the end of November. Derbyshire then plans to show the mare in Wellington’s Winter Equestrian Festival.
In the “Jump for TAPS” Challenge, 21 riders were clear over the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) jump in the speed class, raising $21,000 for the WIHS Official Military Charity.
Revers Leads Junior Hunters
The Junior Hunter divisions concluded their second day of competition at WIHS on Friday morning with the presentation of their championship awards. The Grand Junior Hunter Championship, sponsored by Shamrock Ventures, was awarded to Beechwood Stables’ MTM Hands Down ridden by Annabel Revers of Weston, MA. The pair was presented with the Ides of March Perpetual Trophy, donated by Linda Lee and Lee Reynolds. Revers then earned the award for Best Child Rider on a Horse, sponsored by Gotham North, and received the special DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Frederick DiVecchia.
On the way to earning the grand championship, Revers took championship honors in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by Sheila and Britton Sanderford, with MTM Hands Down. The pair placed first, first, and second over fences. David Gochman’s Papyrus ridden earned the reserve championship with a win under saddle ridden by Taylor St. Jacques and third, third, and sixth place ribbons over fences with Mimi Gochman in the irons.
Revers also took home the reserve championship in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation, with Beechwood Stables’ Kingpin. The pair won two classes and placed fourth in one class over fences. Emma Kurtz guided David Gochman’s Wisdom to that championship with a win under saddle and over fences, as well as two fourth-place ribbons over fences.
Grand champion, MTM Hands Down, is a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding that Revers has had for almost three years. “Cody,” as he is known in the barn, lives at Revers’ farm in Massachusetts and has a special bond with his young rider since she gets to see and ride him almost every day.
“He doesn’t live with my trainer, so I know him really well and I have a really strong bond with him since he does live at home,” Revers stated. “I think that is a really special thing for me since I have had him for so long. I feel like he has been knocking on the door and coming really close to having a major championship a couple of times, but this is the first really big thing that he has won in a while, so it is really exciting.
“He might not be your traditional hunter,” Revers detailed. “He goes in a little bit more of a frame than my horse Kingpin, but he is a really soft ride and I was happy that he was so brave with the atmosphere here today. He just has a great jump and a really comfortable canter, so he is a really fun ride for me.”
Revers and Kingpin had a fantastic year that included a Grand Championship at the Hampton Classic Horse Show and Best Child Rider titles at the Hampton Classic and Upperville Horse Shows.
“Kingpin is more of your traditional hunter,” the rider explained. “I can really get a good gallop with him and just find the distances. They come out of stride really nicely with his pace. I try to keep a very consistent pace around, which he is really good at, and I think his jump is just awesome. He is really fun and soft, and it is so fun to have confidence in him and be able to gallop and show off a good pace.”
For their winning stake round with a high score of 93 on Friday, Revers and Kingpin earned the award for best Junior Hunter stake to earn the Lyrik Challenge Trophy, donated by Ashley and Courtney Kennedy. Revers was also presented with the Georgetown Trophy as the high score Junior Hunter Rider on a Horse.
“That was probably my favorite round that I have ever had with him,” said Revers, who has owned Kingpin for almost two years. “I think that it was so good because I was able to keep the same pace all the way around and all of the distances just came up right out of stride. He jumped amazing, so I was really happy with it.”
Commenting on winning the Best Child Rider on a Horse award, Revers added, “It is really exciting. I was just excited to show that I could consistently ride well over the course of the show, which is something that I have really been working on over the last couple of years.”
Revers has trained with Olympian Peter Wylde for two years and had her trainer by her side throughout the week’s competition. Commenting on her success, Wylde stated, “Annabel is incredibly talented. She has a great eye. She rides forward to the jumps, which a lot of kids don’t, and she has a beautiful position. Horses jump well for her. She is harmonious with the horse, which promotes good jumping. She rode absolutely beautifully this week in every jumping round. Through her riding, these horses have gotten better and better. Cody (MTM Hands Down), I think went the best he has ever jumped for us this week.”
Revers’ next stop is the CP National Horse Show in Kentucky next week. She then plans to work on moving up to the High Junior Jumpers in the coming year.
The Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division, sponsored by Rose Hill Farm, also presented championship honors on Friday. The championship tricolor went to Laura Wasserman’s Boss, ridden by Katherine Dash, with a win over fences and under saddle. Hunter Holloway showed Vlock Show Stables’ Boris to reserve honors, with first, fourth, and sixth place ribbons over fences and a third place finish under saddle.
Mountain Home Stables’ As Always and Hunter Siebel earned the championship in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, sponsored by the ALTEC/Styslinger Foundation, to conclude hunter competition for the day. The pair earned a win and two second-place finishes over fences and capped their week off with a third place ribbon under saddle. They were awarded the Chance Step Perpetual Trophy, donated by Brooke Carmichael McMurray-Fowler and Pam Carmichael Keenan. Hunter Holloway and Hays Investment Corp.’s The Governor won two classes over fences to take reserve honors.
Also competing earlier on Friday, the hunter phase of the WIHS Equitation Finals saw matching scores of 96 at the top for Hunter Holloway riding Any Given Sunday and Lucy Deslauriers with Class Action. Kendra Gierkink, Taylor St. Jacques, Madison Goetzmann, and Maya Nayyar round out the top six riders heading into Saturday’s jumper phase. Holloway placed first in the WIHS Equitation Final Hunter Phase based on her higher score from the Judge 1 panel.
The hunter and jumper scores will then be averaged out to determine the top ten riders who will participate in the final work-off. The riders change horses by determination of a random draw by lot and then compete over the jumper course for final scores.
Jobs and Von Brecht Top Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers
WIHS hosted the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers in their first jump-off classes of the week on Friday afternoon with wins for Eve Jobs and Beth Von Brecht.
The $5,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper time first jump-off class, sponsored by Staysail Farm, saw 21 entries, with seven clear rounds to advance to the jump-off and three double clears. Eve Jobs of Palo Alto, CA, won for the second day in a row. She topped Thursday’s speed class with Sandor de le Pomme and won Friday’s jump-off with another mount named Calizz. The pair clocked the winning time of 28.66 seconds and was presented with the Cover Story Perpetual Trophy, donated by Rolling Acres Farm.
Katherine Strauss and All In were the runners up for the second day in a row with their time of 29.30 seconds. Brian Moggre and Major Wager LLC’s MTM Flutterby stopped the clock in 29.75 seconds to place third. Madison Goetzmann and her own Wrigley were fastest in the jump-off in 27.46 seconds, but dropped one rail to finish fourth.
The $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper time first jump-off was held earlier in the afternoon, sponsored by The Strauss Family, with 23 entries and six advancing to the jump-off. Only one combination was able to clear the short course without fault. Beth Von Brecht and her own Melody jumped double clear in 34.41 seconds for the win. The pair was awarded the Eleanor White O’Leary Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ashton Hill and Miss Linden Joan Hill.
Madison Dehaven and her own Chanel finished second with four faults in 32.61 seconds. Louisa Brackett and her own Memphis Belle placed third with four faults in 33.41 seconds.
Competition continues on Saturday with the opening classes for the pony hunters followed by the $7,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by The Strauss Family, and the $15,000 Ambassador’s Cup SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Staysail Farm. The jumper phase for the WIHS Equitation Finals will close out the afternoon session.
The evening session begins at 7 p.m. with the WIHS Equitation Finals work-off with the top ten riders. The $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, will conclude the night. For full results, please visit www.wihs.org.
Lauren Hough and Ohlala. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Laura Kraut and Andretti S Victorious in $35,000 Accumulator Costume Class; Isabel Ryan and Eve Jobs Win Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Speed Rounds
Washington, D.C. – The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) hosted its third day of equestrian competition at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. on Thursday. USA’s Lauren Hough and Ohlala were the winners in the $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by CMJ Sporthorse LLC. Another win for the USA went to Laura Kraut riding Andretti S in the $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class, presented by the Gochman Family.
The Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers also competed on Thursday with a win for Eve Jobs and Sandor de la Pomme in the $5,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class, sponsored by Staysail Farm, and a one-two finish for Isabel Ryan with Levistano 2 and Abilitydance in the $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class, sponsored by The Strauss Family.
In Thursday’s $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by CMJ Sporthorse LLC, course designer Alan Wade (IRL) set for 29 entries with seven clear rounds over his first round track. Callan Solem (USA) and Horseshoe Trail Farm LLC’s VDL Wizard chose not to return for the jump-off and finished in seventh place. David Will (GER) and Centin Güngor’s Cento du Rouet were first to go over the short course, finishing fifth with four faults in 34.67 seconds. Alison Robitaille (USA) and Bertram and Diana Firestone’s Ace were next to go, jumping a double clear round in 38.00 seconds to eventually finish third. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and his own and the Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt dropped two rails in 36.94 seconds to end in sixth place. Next to go, Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and David Gochman’s Lady Maria BH were double clear in 37.92 seconds to take a brief lead. Laura Kraut (USA) jumped into fourth place with her time of 38.54 seconds riding St. Bride’s Farm’s Confu. Last to go, Lauren Hough (USA) and The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala clocked the winning round in 35.27 seconds.
Hough first partnered with Ohlala, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Orlando x Cardento), five years ago and last competed at WIHS in 2012 when the pair won the $32,000 International Open Jumper faults converted class. At that time, Hough had been riding Ohlala for just one year and was stepping the mare up to the grand prix level with high hopes. Ohlala has since lived up to great expectations and won major classes all over the world.
Explaining her decision to return to WIHS after a three-year hiatus, Hough said, “I am really trying to concentrate on the World Cup qualifiers. I would like to go to the World Cup Finals with her this year, and so I decided to do a tour here. I did Tryon last week. I will go back to Europe to go to Doha next week and then carry on to Toronto.”
“She is wonderful. She loves to win,” Hough said of Ohlala. “I think her favorite part was the prize giving today. Indoors obviously suits her, being a small horse. I felt in the jump-off I did what I needed to do without taking too much risk, and still keeping Saturday night in the back of my mind and having a good prep for that. I feel like I have left enough in the tank to try to win again on Saturday as well.”
The pair will compete in Saturday night’s $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, so Hough did not want to take too much risk in the jump-off.
“She is naturally very quick, so I just rode my round and kept the turns a little bit short,” Hough detailed. “I made quite a short turn into the double and she did that great. Then I still took my time to the last. I didn’t leave out, but just her natural rhythm and the pace she carries over the ground made my job very easy.”
Hough added, “We bought her the end of her seven-year-old year and she has won her whole life. She jumps at a very high level, and I have been concentrating a lot on Nations’ Cups, so it is nice to let her go enjoy it a little bit and be able to go fast.”
Hough is based part of the year in the United States and part of the year in Europe. Being back at WIHS after several years, she has enjoyed the competition.
“I love America, and I love riding here. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to compete all over the world and be based in both places, but it is always really special to be back in America in front of a home crowd,” Hough acknowledged. “This is a great horse show. In the nighttime they get great crowds, and to be in the middle of D.C. is something special. I know they try really hard, and I like to support good American shows.
Laura Kraut Wins $35,0000 Accumulator Costume Class
The $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class, presented by the Gochman Family, was held on Thursday evening during the show’s always-popular Barn Night, presented by Dover Saddlery with the generous support of The Peterson Family Foundation and National Harbor. Local young riders and horse enthusiasts attended in groups and had the chance to enter contests, win big prizes, and enjoy a fun, horse-filled evening that included the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Races, presented by Charles Owen, and internet sensations Dally & Spanky.
For the win, Kraut and her mount, Stars and Stripes’ Andretti S, cleared the course and the high side of the joker fence for a 65-point total in the fastest time of 44.47 seconds. Kraut was awarded the Crown Royal Trophy, donated by Crown Royal, as the winning rider, and Andretti S earned the Sue Ann Geisler Memorial Trophy, donated by the Washington International Horse Show, as the winning horse.
Dressed as Little Red Riding Hood for the costume class, Kraut had a great time competing in front of the Barn Night crowd and was proud of Andretti S for his great performance. The 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Corland x Animo) has shown at WIHS three times and thrives in the atmosphere at Verizon Center.
“He has been really good. He started out the year fantastic in Florida,” Kraut detailed. “Then we had an accident; he fell at a water jump, and it took him a little while just to get his confidence back. He never did anything bad, but he just was nervous. Sort of starting at the Gold Cup he has gotten better. He always seems to like that show, and he has been going well again, and he has been very consistent.
“For some reason he loves Washington,” Kraut added. “He is a claustrophobic-type horse. He doesn’t like other horses coming towards him, but I think this is the third year I have brought him here and he always does well, so it is fun. I am happy with him.”
Second place honors went to Catherine Tyree (USA) riding Mary Tyree’s Bokai with a score of 65 in 45.15 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and David Gochman’s Luibanta BH finished third with 65 points in 45.50 seconds. Andrew Kocher (USA) earned a perfect score of 65 as well riding Eagle Valley Partners LLC’s Ciana, and finished fourth with his time of 51.63 seconds. Kocher and Ciana then earned the Best Costume Award, presented by Equestrian Sport Productions, for their impressive clown attire.
Barn Night was a huge success as some of the region’s top groups came out Thursday night to participate in special contests and enjoy the unique competition. Memory Hill earned the award for Best Group Video, Harmony Ridge won Best Group Banner, Meadowbrook won Overall Largest Group, and Serene Acres took home the award for Best Group Spirit.
Isabel Ryan and Eve Jobs Triumph in Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers
The $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class, sponsored by The Strauss Family, was held on Thursday afternoon with a one-two finish for 17-year-old Isabel Ryan of Locust Valley, NY. Ryan rode Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Levistano 2 to victory and finished second riding her own Abilitydance.
Twenty-two entries started over Alan Wade’s (IRL) one-round speed course, which saw eight clear trips. Ryan and Levistano 2 cleared the course in 48.52 seconds. Abilitydance stopped the clock in 49.21 seconds, and Quinn Larimer and Nestledown Equine Services LLC’s Bronson CR finished the track in 49.40 seconds to place third.
For the win, Ryan was awarded the Beagle Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy. This was her first time winning at WIHS since riding ponies, and her first trip back to the show in three years. In 2014, she started riding with Andre Dignelli at Heritage Farm and just started doing the jumpers last year.
“It was a good return (to WIHS),” Ryan admitted. “My horses were so good. I was really happy because Billy (Abilitydance) is younger, and he was perfect. He really listened to me, which I was worried about. Levi (Levistano 2) was amazing. He was fast, but I was able to get him back really easily, and that was the goal going in. They were both amazing.”
Ryan first started showing Levistano 2 in the jumpers last year and learned quickly with an experienced partner in the 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (by Levisto). Abilitydance is a newer partnership, but the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (by Orame) has also given the young rider great experience.
“I’m fairly new to the jumpers, and I first got Levi because he is older and very experienced,” Ryan detailed. “He was my first real jumper. I started with him at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) this year in the Low Junior Jumpers and then I slowly moved up. Billy was actually my equitation horse last year and then we switched him to the jumpers in week two of WEF this year. He has been getting used to this job, and he was amazing.”
It was a different experience competing on a horse in the jumpers compared to Ryan’s last experience at WIHS on ponies, but her horses gave her two great rounds.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, especially because the last time I was here I was jumping 2’3”, so that was a big difference,” Ryan acknowledged. “It was really nice to have Levi because I have a lot of confidence in him, and I knew that even if it wasn’t the most competitive round, at least he was going to help me have a nice, good experience at Washington. With Billy, my main goal was just to have a nice round and be clean because this is a big step up from anything that he has done before, so it was a great experience showing here.”
WIHS was Ryan’s last show before heading down to the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL for the winter show season. She is a senior in high school and recently submitted applications to colleges. She plans to continue riding as much as possible.
The $5,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class, sponsored by Staysail Farm, was held during the evening session with a win for 18-year-old Eve Jobs of Palo Alto, CA riding her own Sandor de la Pomme. The pair was awarded The “Footloose” Perpetual Trophy in remembrance of Ruth Ellen Wilmot, donated by The Curtin Family in honor of 1990 winner “Footloose.”
Twenty-four entries showed in the speed competition with just eight clear rounds. Katherine Strauss and All In led with a time of 52.88 seconds, but were pushed to second place in the end as Jobs crossed the finish line in a time of 50.16 seconds. Alexandra Pielet and Co-Pielet LLC’s Helene Ve finished third in 54.62 seconds.
Jobs was competing at the Washington International Horse Show for the first time on Thursday and had great confidence in her mount, a 14-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Darco) that she has ridden for two years. The pair also won the Junior Jumper Championship at the Devon Horse Show earlier in the year. Jobs has trained with Missy Clark and John Brennan at North Run in Warren, VT for the last six years and will take a gap year to continue her riding in 2017 before heading to college at UCLA in September. For now, the rider will enjoy a hard-won victory in the challenging competition on Thursday.
“These are my really good friends, and I know that a lot of them are very fast riders. I did not get to watch much, so I was a little intimated walking in there of course,” Jobs admitted. “I think because my horse had such a big stride I was able to do the nine strides down the second to last line, and then the six coming home, which I don’t think many people did. That is probably where I picked up the most time.”
Speaking further of her mount, Jobs said, “This horse is so special. Everything that I have done has been because of this horse. He has taught me an exponential amount. He is truly one of the best horses I have ever ridden.”
Jobs’ main goal this year was to compete in the major equitation finals, and she will also show in the WIHS Equitation Finals this week, starting with the hunter phase on Friday. She then heads to the CP National Horse Show in Kentucky to conclude the season. She will begin competing as an amateur at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL starting in January.
Commenting on her first experience at WIHS, Jobs stated, “All of the horses were wonderful. I think the show is a lot of fun. I think the atmosphere is unlike anything I have ever been to. It is a small ring, but the track rode really nice, and I am very happy with my first day.”
The Washington International Horse Show continues on Friday with the championships for the Junior Hunter divisions as well as the hunter phase of the WIHS Equitation Finals. The Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers will have jump-off classes in the afternoon session. The evening session begins with a $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, followed by the $25,000 International Jumper Puissance, presented by The Boeing Company. For full results, visit www.wihs.org.
Olympic Team Medalists, Guy McLean, Shetland Pony Steeplechase Races, Terrier Races, Dally and Spanky, and Much More
Washington, D.C. – The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) is quickly approaching, and the lineup of exhibitions for this year’s event promises to be one of the best yet!
Featuring members of the U. S. Olympic silver medal show jumping team fresh from Rio, and many of the nation’s best horses and riders, WIHS is the pinnacle of the show season for many equestrians. Along with important year-end competition, the event also features entertaining performances from multi-discipline equine stars. The 58th annual Washington International Horse Show runs October 25-30, 2016, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.
“Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights are especially hot at WIHS, with thrilling competition and the best in equestrian entertainment. This year crowd favorites return like the Shetland Pony Steeplechase, and two of the internet’s most talented stars, Dally and Spanky, are making the long trip from Spokane, Washington to celebrate horses in the capital city!” said WIHS President Vicki Lowell.
WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Races
Thursday, October 27, and Saturday, October 29, will feature the popular WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Races presented by Charles Owen and U.S. Pony Racing.
Introduced in 2013, the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase races, dubbed “D.C.’s newest — and cutest — sport” by the Washington Post, are run like professional racing events with a bugler, race caller and photo finish, but in miniature. The jockeys are youngsters from ages eight to 13 mounted on traditional Shetland Ponies racing over a course of mini-hurdles.
Dally and Spanky
Special performances by Dally and Spanky will be held on Thursday, along with additional performances on Friday and Saturday nights at this year’s WIHS. Dally is a Jack Russell terrier and Spanky – her best friend – is a rescue miniature horse. They are internet sensations with more than five million views on YouTube and seven million on Facebook, and have appeared on the David Letterman Show, won the Hot Dog award at the World Dog Awards in Hollywood, and appeared on the National Geographic Channel. This dynamic duo will make its first appearance at WIHS to the thrill of fans big and small!
Army vs. Navy Barrel Racing
Friday night, October 28, is Military Night at WIHS and the fun Army vs. Navy Barrel Racing Exhibition presented by Washington Area Chevy Dealers, will be a highlight of the evening featuring teams of professional Barrel Racers, top show jumpers, plus Army and Navy representatives competing together.
Horsemanship Master Guy McLean
Renowned Australian horsemanship master Guy McLean is scheduled to perform his one-of-a-kind demonstrations on Friday evening, bringing his unbelievable horsemanship and showmanship to WIHS. McLean works as an equine performer traveling internationally with his well-known horses.
The power of McLean’s performances hinge on the deeply personal and loving relationships he forms with his horses. All of his performances, as well as his horsemanship methods, are self-taught and are of an unprecedented depth. McLean believes that the best tools in horsemanship are “Knowledge, Compassion, Patience, and Imagination,” and these principles have led him to numerous awards and honors.
Terrier Races, and more!
The WIHS Mounted Color Guard, represented by the Maryland National Capital Park Police, the U.S. Park Police and the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police, will open the show on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Friday night will also feature a performance from the U.S. Army’s Brass Quintet.
Back by popular demand on Saturday, October 29, the Jack Russell Terrier Races, presented by Nutro, will be held during President’s Cup Night at WIHS! This fan favorite thrills the WIHS crowd as Jack Russell Terriers soar through the air in pursuit of that elusive foxtail. Jumping tiny hurdles, these cute, energetic, and spirited pups bring great laughter and applause from the enthusiastic WIHS crowd, while putting a smile on everyone’s face.
Schedule of Special Exhibitions at WIHS 2016:
Thursday, October 27, 2016: Barn Night
* WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Races
* Dally and Spanky
Friday, October 28, 2016: Military Night
* Army vs. Navy Barrel Racing Exhibition
* Guy McLean
* U.S. Army’s Brass Quintet
* Dally and Spanky
Saturday, October 29, 2016: President’s Cup Night
* WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Races
* Jack Russell Terrier Races
* Dally and Spanky
WIHS tickets may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or at the Verizon Center Box Office. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more through Verizon Center Group Sales. Call 202-661-5061 for details.
About WIHS, www.wihs.org Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious and entertaining equestrian events in North America. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Highlights include the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington for the President’s Cup, presented by Events DC (Saturday night), the Puissance high jump presented by The Boeing Company on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is currently ranked #7 in the Top 25 Horse Shows by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.
Katherine Bundy aboard Co Co Pop. Photo by Jump Media Photography.
North Salem, NY – Old Salem Farm was host to both the Region 1 and 2 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Championships on Saturday, September 17, during the American Gold Cup CSI 4*-W. Elite local equitation riders competed with hopes to qualify for the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championship at the CP National Horse Show on November 1-6 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Old Salem Farm gives equitation riders an early opportunity for indoor competition at a top-quality venue before all of the indoor finals each fall. Seizing that opportunity, both Katherine Bundy of Westport, CT and Maya Nayyar of New York, NY are making the most of their final year as junior riders and clinched Regional Championship wins at Old Salem Farm after an over fences phase and a flat phase. Bundy and her mount Co Co Pop, owned by her trainer Missy Clark and North Run, topped Region 1 competition, while Maya Nayyar and her own Fox Z won for Region 2 under the direction of trainer Stacia Madden.
The American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm offers equitation riders a chance to shine among some of the best riders in the world as top athletes converge for a stop on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League tour. For Bundy, who also won the Regional Maclay Championship at Old Salem Farm in 2015, it is a learning moment.
“I have always loved Old Salem Farm because I think the indoor is amazing and so well kept, but competing during the [American] Gold Cup is really special,” said Bundy. “So many people who flock to this horse show are important to watch and having that visual experience is so important for me. I love watching a 1.40m speed or a 1.50m and then go do the regionals. Although they are different classes, the discipline is similar. It’s really important to be here and watch those people, and that’s why I love this horse show.”
Bundy admits that Co Co Pop is a seasoned veteran in the equitation ring, having ribboned at the Regional Championships at Old Salem Farm with several past riders of North Run trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan. She, however, is eager for the experience she gains at the Regional Championships leading into the finals season.
“Each year getting competition experience and having that mentality of going into finals and composing yourself gets less and less intimidating,” she said.
When asked about Bundy as a rider, Clark responded, “She is such a great competitor, and she has worked so hard. She has a very calm attitude in these situations, and I felt very confident in her handling the course today. This indoor is a great venue, and these equitation riders are accommodated so well all weekend.”
For Nayyar, Saturday’s Region 2 win was a not an uncomplicated one. While warming up for the over fences phase, both she and Madden noticed that their entered mount, Connaro, was not quite himself.
“Maya gets a tremendous amount of credit,” said Madden. “I’ve learned through experience that anyone who has the ability to have a backup horse should have it here and ready. She jumped one jump and said, ‘I need to be fair to my horse’.”
Madden left the final decision to Nayyar who chose to compete Fox Z.
“She had faith in her horses, preparation, instructor, and herself to make a good judgment that was right for the horse and ultimately right for her,” added Madden.
“Today was a good confidence booster,” said Nayyar. “I am happy we qualified, and my plan was just to get everything done. I came [to Old Salem] just for regionals, and I’m glad it worked out.”
When asked what she likes about bringing riders to Old Salem Farm, Madden said, “I’m a big proponent of having all the regionals indoors because I think that if you’re getting ready for finals indoors, you should be having your regionals indoors. This is a very nice venue to use as preparation.”
Scott Brash and Ursula XII. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB – For the second year in a row, Great Britain’s Scott Brash took the win in the biggest Grand Prix in show jumping competing at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO5*. On Sunday, September 11, Brash and Ursula XII were the winners of the $3 Million CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, in a thrilling jump-off against USA’s McLain Ward and HH Azur. Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca and Ensor de Litrange LXII finished third.
Brash also won the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex, in 2015, along with taking the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping for the first time in history. The prize money was even bigger this year, initially listed as $2 million, and then jumping up to $3 million in an additional increase made by CP just prior to the event. For his win alone, Brash took home a check of $1 million.
Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) set difficult tracks for Sunday’s competition, held over two rounds. A challenging oxer-oxer-vertical triple combination set next to the in-gate with double liverpools was responsible for many faults in the first round. Only four entries were able to clear the first round course without fault.
The top twelve entries in the first round were then invited to return for round two in reverse order of penalties. The twelve that returned included the four clear rounds, as well as seven competitors carrying four faults, and one entry on five faults.
The four best entries from round one were able to maintain their positions on top of the leaderboard after the second round. Scott Brash and McLain Ward each jumped clear in round two to move on to a third round for an exciting head-to-head jump-off. Brash was first to go on the short course with Ursula XII and set the challenge with a clear round in 41.19 seconds. Ward followed with HH Azur, but dropped one rail to solidify a second place finish in a time of 43.11 seconds.
Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca just missed out on the jump-off with a single time fault in round two, leaving the rider in third place overall with Stephex Stable’s Ensor de Litrange LXII. Kent Farrington (USA) was clear in round one and dropped one rail in round two to finish with four faults. Kevin Staut (FRA) also finished on four faults in total with a rail in round one and a clear in round two. Their tie was broken by first round times, leaving Farrington and Amalaya Investment’s Voyeur in fourth place, and Staut aboard For Joy Van’t Zorgvliet HDC in fifth place.
The biggest Grand Prix in the sport, the CP International is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, which was won for the first time by Brash on a historic occasion in 2015. Brash and Hello Sanctos topped three consecutive grand prix competitions in Geneva, Aachen, and then Calgary to earn the title. Though he was not in contention for the Grand Slam this year – he finished a close second in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen with Ursula XII in July – winning the CP International for the second year in a row was just as exciting for Brash.
“It is a little different, but just as good actually,” Brash stated. “I am actually so happy for my horse Ursula because it has been a long road with her. She has always been an unbelievable horse, but probably never had the recognition she deserves. She was the number one horse in the world, but never actually won a grand prix (before today). She was second so many times in so many big grand prixs, but never actually won one, so she picked a good one to win. She went through two years of injuries, and to finally get her back to the top end of this sport and then win the biggest grand prix in the world, I am absolutely over the moon, for the horse especially.”
Though several riders have won the CP International Grand Prix on more than one occasion, only Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa has previously achieved the feat of winning the competition in back-to-back years. He took the title in 2000 and 2001 aboard Gandini Lianos. Brash’s wins were with two different horses, but he had great confidence in Ursula this year, just as he had in Hello Sanctos in 2015.
Ursula XII, a 15-year-old Scottish Sport Horse mare (Ahorn x Papageno) owned by Lady P Harris and Lady P Kirkham, previously showed at Spruce Meadows with Great Britain’s Tina Fletcher in 2012 and jumped well during that time.
“I know her very well and I was always quite confident that she would be good in this ring, but never had the opportunity to bring her here,” Brash detailed. “I was just happy to get her here in good form to give us a chance at the grand prix, and she sure delivered today.”
With the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping on the line last year, Brash had a lot of extra pressure on his shoulders to do well. This year was different, but the jump-off with recent Rio Olympic team silver medalists McLain Ward and HH Azur presented a different kind of pressure.
“I think, to be fair, there was more pressure last year,” Brash admitted. “I do not think I was just expected to win the grand prix this year. I think all eyes were on Sanctos last year. He was in great form – he had won in Geneva and Aachen – and everyone was talking about it and the lead up to it. This year has been a lot different, but the pressure of the competition is still difficult. McLain and Azur are a fantastic combination, so I knew it was not over until he went. The pressure was on until the last moment.
“I am very confident in her because I know what a wonderful horse she is, but it was a strong field out there and when you have the likes of McLain and Azur coming behind you, you feel like you are at a bit of a disadvantage,” he continued. “Going out first in the jump-off actually probably worked in my favor this time. I knew I had to keep the poles up, but I knew I also had to do more than that to try to beat McLain, so I took a few risks and a few chances and she jumped amazing.”
Though Ward would have liked to win, his second place prize of $600,000 was still bigger than most competitions around the world, and he was very pleased with HH Azur on Sunday. The 10-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui) owned by Double H Farm and Francois Mathy has achieved a lot at a young age and only continues to improve.
“She is still a young horse and still learning a little bit to jump-off against the clock and to jump three rounds,” Ward noted. “That gets better with maturity, so I do think that as amazing as she is, the future is even brighter for her.
“If you are going to be second to anybody, being second to Scott is a good choice,” Ward added. “He is brilliant and has probably been the most on-form rider over the last several years. I am not disappointed. The horse was spectacular. That was the only fence she touched all day; I thought she jumped in great form.”
Though the course was tough for many competitors, the best horses and riders rose to the top on Sunday, and Leopoldo Palacios was happy with the final result. With the biggest payday in show jumping at stake, the competition is meant to be challenging and has only seen three jump-offs in the 40-year history of the event.
Remarking on his outcome, Palacios stated, “In reality, it is not my first time that I have used this triple combination, with the same material, in the same position. I am not very happy that there were so many problems in that combination; that was not what I expected, but at the end I think I had a very good grand prix. I want to congratulate the winners. I think the competition today was beautiful except for the problem on the liverpools. I am happy that we had a jump-off today. I have a very tough second round, and the time allowed was short, as Lorenzo can tell you. Scott and McLain did fantastic, and they deserved to have a jump-off.”
As Palacios mentioned, Lorenzo de Luca and Ensor de Litrange LXII finished third with just the one time fault in round two, but the rider was happy with his result. This was de Luca’s first trip to Spruce Meadows, and he also won a competition earlier in the week aboard Limestone Grey.
“I had a great week, so I can’t complain,” de Luca stated. “When you come to Spruce Meadows, like everyone told me and as I have watched, it should be hard. You find double ditches here just like you find in Aachen. The same combination was used in Aachen last year at the European Championships. You need to have a good horse.”
De Luca continued, “This show is amazing, and my horses jumped great. This is my first time here, and if I can come again next year, for sure I will come. I think this is the best show ever. It is proper sport, big classes, and good jump-offs. It is fantastic to be here.”
Concluding the day’s competition, Brash also remarked on the difficulty of the event, noting that the course builder set an appropriately demanding track.
“When we come to Spruce Meadows, we know what we are in for,” Brash stated. “It is the richest grand prix in the world, and it should be difficult. We know that those double of ditches are going to be in there. You do still need a special horse to be able to jump that combination. It is all very hard, but we expect it to be hard. If there were more clears, and there were six or seven in the third round, I would be disappointed with the competition. The same with Aachen – the course builder was criticized because there were no clears in the first round – but these are the hardest grand prixs in the world and they should be difficult in my opinion.”
With another fantastic win to his name, Brash heads next to compete with Ursula on the team for Great Britain at the Furusiyya FEI Nations’ Cup Finals in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of September. The mare will then have a short break before preparing for the third leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in Geneva, Switzerland, in December.
Sunday’s competition concluded the 2016 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO5*. For full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Steve Guerdat and Corbinian. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Cian O’Connor and Callisto Top Suncor Energy Winning Round 1.50m
Calgary, AB – The Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO5* hosted its BMO Nations’ Cup on Saturday afternoon with a demanding competition that came down to a thrilling jump-off for the gold medal between Switzerland and Brazil. In the end, the team from Switzerland took the win, with a second place finish for Brazil, and the host nation of Canada taking bronze.
Saturday’s highlight event saw record attendance of over 89,700 spectators – nearly 4,000 more than ever before – to watch ten teams from around the world compete for top honors. The Suncor Energy Winning Round 1.50m was also held earlier in the day with a victory for Ireland’s Cian O’Connor aboard Callisto.
On Saturday, ten teams representing the countries of Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, USA, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, France, and The Netherlands started in the first round of the BMO Nations’ Cup. The top six teams then returned for a second round over the same course, which was set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios.
The difficult course yielded only five clear rounds out of 38 total competitors in round one. In round two, only four individuals jumped clear out of 24 starters for the top six teams.
Team Switzerland was represented by Werner Muff aboard Pollendr (who incurred 9 faults in rd. 1 and 9 faults in rd. 2), Alain Jufer riding Wiveau M (clear in rd. 1 and 1 time fault in rd. 2), Nadja Peter Steiner with Capuera II (4 and 9), and anchor rider Steve Guerdat aboard Corbinian (4 and 0). They were led by Chef d’Equipe Stephane Montavon.
Team Brazil consisted of Eduardo Menezes riding Quintol (with 8 faults in rd. 1 and 1 time fault in rd. 2), Yuri Mansur Guerios aboard Quartz de la Lande (0 and 4), Felipe Amaral with Premiere Carthoes BZ (9 and 5), and Pedro Veniss riding Quabri de l’Isle (0 and 5), led by Chef d’Equipe Lucia Faria Alegria Simoes.
After round two, Switzerland and Brazil were tied on 18 faults each and both selected one combination to jump in a tie-breaking round. Yuri Mansur Guerios and Quartz de la Lande were selected to jump-off for Team Brazil, dropping one rail in a time of 45.95 seconds over the short course. Alain Jufer and Wiveau M jumped off for Team Switzerland, securing their team’s victory with a clear round in 48.76 seconds.
As the anchor rider for Switzerland, it all came down to Steve Guerdat in round two, as his clear round was last to go and solidified the need for a jump-off for the gold medal. Guerdat was aboard Corbinian, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding (Cornet Obolensky x Pilot) that he owns with La Giraffa SA. Since he will also jump Corbinian in Sunday’s CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, the decision was made to send Jufer in for the tiebreaker.
“They were expecting me to go, which would have been the normal choice because my horse was still warm and he jumped really well today, but so did Alain’s horse,” Guerdat noted. “I said that I did not want to do the jump-off because there is tomorrow also. I feel that I did quite a lot for my team. I rode my best horse today, which not everybody would have done in my position with the Rolex Grand Slam coming tomorrow. I decided that I would really prefer not to go, so it was a quick change. Everybody was holding a leg, putting the studs and the boots on Alain’s horse, and he did three jumps and went on. That makes the win even better that he did such a great job.”
Guerdat and Jufer are childhood friends and have only jumped on two Nations’ Cup teams together before, both at Spruce Meadows. To win the BMO Nations’ Cup for the first time was a special event for Guerdat, made better by his friend’s added success.
“Every Nations’ Cup win is a great win. They are very tough classes to win and we do not win them often,” Guerdat stated. “I do not know how many Nations’ Cup classes I have won, but not so many. Spruce is always a special show to me and I love to come here. It is even more special to win with Alain because we grew up together and we started riding together. We are very good friends. To win in this condition just makes it even more special, so as you can imagine, it is a great day for us. We had great conditions today; we had a tough course, a nice course. The horses were jumping very well, and it was just a great afternoon of sport, and a great day for Switzerland.”
Jufer and Wiveau M were essential to the team victory, as the pair jumped clear in round one, earned just one time fault in round two, and clinched the victory with their clear jump-off round. With the quick change before the tiebreaker, Jufer did not have much time to get nervous, and put his confidence in Wiveau M, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Niveau x Concorde) owned by Lutta Gian-Battista.
“For me it was the first time to ride a jump-off this big,” Jufer detailed. “They told me I had to be clear and I tried to do my best. My horse jumped fantastic. This is the biggest stage I have won on. The feeling is amazing.”
Jufer got Wiveau M when the stallion was nine years old and explained that the horse developed to the top level quickly.
“He has always done a good job,” the rider stated. “He gives everything to go clear and he jumped fantastic today. He does so much for me.”
Nadja Peter Steiner was aboard Capuera II, a 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Come On x Baloubet du Rouet) owned by Hans O. Peter. Saturday was Steiner’s first Nations’ Cup win with Team Switzerland and a momentous occasion for the rider.
“For me it is an honor to be here because I do not have a lot of experience on the Nations’ Cup team at the moment,” Steiner remarked. “It was an honor to have such a great team and to win this Nations’ Cup. The feeling is just incredible. It was my first Nations’ Cup win, so there is a lot of emotion.
“My horse and I grew up a little bit together,” Steiner continued. “He never jumped big classes before, but we learned together as we moved up to this big level. He gives a lot for me; he always fights and does his best.”
The fourth member for Team Switzerland was Werner Muff aboard Pollendr, an 11-year-old Rheinlander gelding (Polytraum x Corrado) owned by Mühlebach Marlis. The pair was also a part of the winning Swiss team in Falsterbo, Sweden, over the summer and produced double clear rounds there.
Commenting on his part in Saturday’s victory, Muff stated, “To win is always a great thing. I am in the lucky position that I could be on the team that won the Nations’ Cup already this year in Falsterbo, but to win at Spruce Meadows is something really special for all of us. To win the Nations’ Cup here is something in life that you will for sure never forget.”
Muff spoke to the difficulty of Saturday’s course, which was challenging for many competitors.
“I think it was a real tough course like always at Spruce Meadows,” he said. “They have a lot of special fences that a lot of horses don’t know because in the entire world if you are on tour, you never jump special fences like here. It was great building; everything was asked. You had to have control everywhere and you had to do everything possible with the horse. There are so many riders with such good horses here that they have to ask a bit more. That is normal.”
Saturday’s win was the first ever for Team Switzerland at Spruce Meadows and Chef d’Equipe Stephane Montavon was thrilled to get the first victory. He has led the Swiss team in the event at the ‘Masters’ on 10 different occasions.
“It is a wonderful feeling to win here. We have never won here,” Montavon remarked. “It is fantastic. It is marvelous. For me as a team Chef d’Equipe it is the first time that I have won ever with the team. I am very happy.”
Canada’s Tiffany Foster and Victor were the only pair able to jump clear in both rounds of competition to help their team earn the bronze medal. Led by Chef d’Equipe Mark Laskin, Team Canada also saw rounds from Kara Chad and Bellinda (5 faults in rd. 1 and 9 faults in rd. 2), Amy Millar and Heros (9 faults and 0), and Eric Lamaze aboard Check Picobello Z (12 and Retired).
Commenting on her success, Foster stated, “This is the first time I have ever been double clear at the ‘Masters’. That is a really big moment and something that I am very proud of. I know Victor so well, and that makes a big difference in a situation like today when you have to go in first.
“The good ones rise to the occasion,” Foster noted. “I’m so proud of Victor. He is a champion. I think he likes doing Nations’ Cups in Canada. The home crowd here is so enthusiastic and so supportive. I love it when they scream and cheer!”
Team Germany finished fourth, Team USA placed fifth, and Team Belgium rounded out the top six in round two. France, Mexico, Great Britain, and The Netherlands finished out the order from seventh to ten place to conclude Saturday’s BMO Nations’ Cup competition.
Cian O’Connor Takes Suncor Energy Cup
Saturday at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament hosted the Suncor Energy Winning Round, with a win for Ireland’s Cian O’Connor aboard Ian O’Grady, Philippe de Balander, and Ronnoco Jump Ltd.’s Callisto. Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Hofgut Albführen GmbH’s Albfuehren’s Happiness finished second, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) aboard the Chacco Kid Group’s Chacco Kid placed third.
Held in a winning round format over a 1.50m course set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios, 30 entries started in round one. The top ten competitors were then invited to return for the winning round, in which they begin again with zero penalties. The combination that has the fewest faults in the fastest time in the winning round is the winner.
Only eight entries were able to clear the first round without fault, and both Cian O’Connor and Steve Guerdat advanced to the winning round with one time fault each in round one. O’Connor and Callisto were first to jump in round two and cleared the course in the winning time of 47.87 seconds. Guerdat immediately followed with a clear aboard Albfuehren’s Happiness in 48.20 seconds. Lamaze and Chacco Kid later jumped into third place with their clear round in 48.65 seconds.
Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) guided Ludo Philippaerts H&M Quenzo de la Roque to a clear second round in 49.51 seconds to place fourth. Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Stephex Stables’ Limestone Grey jumped clear with the fifth place time of 50.60 seconds.
Commenting on his victory, which is O’Connor’s first at Spruce Meadows, the rider stated, “It is always nice to get a win. It is a good competition because you get a chance to clean the slate if you make the top ten. I had a time fault, just over the time allowed in the first round, but he jumped well. Then I was first to go in the jump-off.
“I had walked the course quite well and I just tried to play to his strengths because he has such a big stride,” O’Connor continued. “He actually is not that nippy or quick, so I have to really leave out strides. In this arena, a horse that has a huge length of stride and stays careful has a big advantage, so it was great.”
O’Connor took over the ride on Callisto, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Quasimodo Z x Jokinal de Bornival), from France’s Aymeric de Ponnat at the start of 2016. He explained that the gelding has an issue with being very horse shy and does not like having other horses around him.
“The previous rider had difficulty warming him up if a horse came towards him, so I spent a lot of time working with him, and trying to get him relaxed,” O’Connor detailed. “We started using blinkers in his training and that has really helped him a lot. He does not wear them in the competition, but just during the warm-up, so he stays relaxed and focused.
“Horses are herd animals, so I do not know why he is like that. Maybe he just got a fright at some stage,” O’Connor mused. “Gradually I am going to take the blinkers back and I would say eventually he will be able to go without them. He has not been as afraid, so it is interesting how they have worked. As he has started to settle, I can train him and jump him bigger, and I think he is going to be a really exciting horse for the future. He takes well to this ring, so I was already thinking about coming back here for the Summer Series next year, and now I am definitely going to come back.”
Remarking on his first Spruce Meadows victory, O’Connor smiled. “It feels cool. There is nowhere better. The crowd is great. I love the show and the way they do everything. From the time you land at the airport and the people pick you up, everything is organized. The people are so nice, and so professional, and so helpful. All of the shows in Europe could come here and take a lesson to see how they look after people here. The way they do the sponsors and the prize givings, just everything is done A to Z top class.”
O’Connor looks forward to jumping his top mount Good Luck in Sunday’s $2 Million CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, and noted that he feels “quietly confident” heading into the competition.
“Good Luck is the best horse I have ever had, so I am confident that we have a very good chance tomorrow,” O’Connor stated. “He has extraordinary scope. He can jump the biggest fences, he is so careful, he is quite fast against the clock, and he is just one of the better horses in the world I think. He jumped twice this week, double clear the first day and one down the second day. He has had two days off now, so he should be ready to go tomorrow.”
The ‘Masters’ Tournament concludes on Sunday, September 11, featuring the best horses and riders in the world competing in the $2 Million CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.