Category Archives: Driving

Percherons Dominated Final Day of Inaugural Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 10, 2019 – The Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show concluded Sunday, February 10 with an exciting finish to the weekend on a beautiful day in Wellington. The afternoon, which benefited the EQUUS Foundation, exhibited two classes, the Eight-Horse Hitch and the Unicorn Class. Held at Crab Orchard Equestrian Estate, generously donated by Frank and Monica McCourt, crowds drew to see the gentle giants up close and cheer them on.

For each class, spectators watched in amazement as the gentle giants entered the arena. The two judges, Bob Shanahan of Ohio and Alan Freitag of Virginia, lined up in the middle of the ring to watch the team tests. The class consisted of teams completing three laps around the ring at the trot before changing direction across the diagonal. Trotting across the diagonal gives the drivers a chance to showcase their team’s skills individually to the judging panel. All hitches were then asked to demonstrate the natural gait, the walk, and the trot in the opposite direction to show the horses’ ability to work in unison under control. After being asked to line up in the center of the ring, the judges took a final look at the hitches’ presentations, while also asking for a demonstration the reverse gait. The final team scores were based on their ability to work together, head carriage, consistency, and the overall presentation of the hitch and driver.

The first class of the featured was the Eight-Horse Hitch, which showed crowds mass amounts of power paired with the agility of the draft breeds. Drivers kept precise control of each team of horses as they showed off for the judges. Horses were beautifully turned out, their manes braided and tack shining as they trotted around the arena. The Eight-Horse Hitch welcomed the draft breeds of Clydesdale, Percheron, and Belgian to go head-to-head in competition. The judges awarded first place to Express Ranches from Yukon, Oklahoma with their driver Josh Minshull. Second place went to Blue Ribbon Farm, based in Farmington, Missouri. In third was Zubrod Percherons from Guthrie, Oklahoma.

During the break, spectators got a chance to get up close and personal with Teddy, a rescue miniature pony that the EQUUS Foundation helped to rehome. Now owned by Georgina Bloomberg, Teddy is a prime example of the exceptional work that the EQUUS Foundation does. Also joining the EQUUS Foundation representatives were Jessica Springsteen and Clementine Goutal, who are both advocates for the foundation. The girls were treated to a ride in the hitches during the Unicorn class, getting a firsthand glimpse of what it is like to compete in the sport.

The final class of the weekend was the Unicorn class. As special as its name, the Unicorn class sees two horses in the back and one up front. Entering the class were 12 teams, all of them using their best horses as this class can be more challenging. Due to its unique structure, it is important that the horse in the front stays in the middle track and doesn’t sway side to side. This horse has to be well trained and confident to pull the cart forward on its own. Shining above the rest in this class were the Zubrod Percherons from Guthrie, Oklahoma, driven by Chad Zubrod. In second place was Express Ranches from Yukon, Oklahoma and rounding out the top three was Blue Ribbon Farm from Farmington, Missouri.

The Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show was lovingly founded by Victoria McCullough. Praised by crowds, friends, and competitors, the show celebrated its inaugural year with great turnout and tough competition. Benefiting two charities close to McCullough and her work in the equestrian town of Wellington, the Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show is proud to support the EQUUS Foundation and the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches.

For more information about the EQUUS Foundation, click here.

Media Contact: Lenore Phillips
561-753-3389 | lrb@phelpsmediagroup.com

Gentle Giants Bring the Thunder at Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 9, 2019 – Day two of the Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show at Crab Orchard Equestrian Estate started off with a big bang with the Six-Horse Hitch Classic Saturday. The day’s events included entertainment from the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches, as well as the Four-Horse Hitch and the Ladies’ Team Cart class. A large crowd gathered at the Crab Orchard Equestrian Estate, generously donated by Frank and Monica McCourt, for the beautiful day in Wellington, Florida to cheer on their favorite teams from Friday.

For each class, spectators watched in amazement as the gentle giants entered the arena. The judges lined up in the middle of the ring to watch the team tests which consisted of teams completing three laps around the ring at the trot before changing direction across the diagonal. Trotting across the diagonal gives the drivers a chance to showcase their team’s skills to the judging panel. All hitches were then asked to demonstrate the natural gait, the walk, and the trot in the opposite direction to show the horses ability to work in unison under control. After being asked to line up in the center of the ring, the judges took a final look at the hitches’ presentations, while also asking for a demonstration the reverse gait. The final team scores were based on their ability to work together, head carriage, consistency, and the overall presentation of the hitch and driver.

The Six-Horse Hitch Classic class was comprised of 13 teams that included all the draft breeds-Clydesdale, Percheron, and Belgian. The teams were split into four heats to allow them room in the ring to really show off their skills to the judge. The top five teams were then called back to allow the judge to make his final decision. In the end, it was the Express Ranches team from Yukon, Oklahoma, driven by Josh, who took the top honors. Coming in second was Blue Ribbon Farm from Farmington, Missouri, driven by Dean. Third place in the very competitive class went to the Zubrod Percherons from Guthrie, Oklahoma, driven by Chad.

After the entertainment it was time for the Ladies’ Team Cart, where women of all ages drove their wagons with two horses pulling them forward. All of the ladies had beautifully turned out teams and wagons and were dressed to match the part. In first place was Sugar Ridge RV from Danville, Vermont, driven by Mary Fernhoff. In second place was Blue Ribbon Farm from Farmington, Missouri, driven by Alli Woodbury. Finishing in third place was Express Ranches from Yukon, Oklahoma, driven by Jeanine Regier.

The day was capped off with the Four-Horse Hitch class, with six hitches coming back without their swing team. This was another large and highly competitive class, with the crowd cheering excitedly as the horses thundered by them. The judge awarded first place to Zubrod Percherons from Guthrie, Oklahoma, driven by Chad. Second place went to Blue Ribbon Farm from Farmington, Missouri, driven by Dean. Rounding out the top three was Express Ranches from Yukon, Oklahoma, driven by Josh.

Media Contact: Lenore Phillips
561-753-3389 | lrb@phelpsmediagroup.com

Larger Than Life Performance on First Day of Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 8, 2019 – The first day of the Chesapeake International Draft Horse Show in the equestrian community of Wellington, Florida took place Friday, February 8. Founded by Victoria McCullough, the Chesapeake International Draft Horse show was held at Crab Orchard Equestrian Estate, generously donated by Frank and Monica McCourt. Beautiful wagons painted in team colors showcased the heritage of the sport and made up the whole package as these teams displayed their skills to the judges. Showcasing the three breeds of draft horse, Belgian, Clydesdale, and Percheron, classes on Friday featured a six-horse hitch for each breed as well as a ladies’ cart.

For each class, spectators watched in amazement as the gentle giants entered the arena. The judges lined up in the middle of the ring to watch the team tests which consisted of teams completing three laps around the ring at the trot before changing direction across the diagonal. Trotting across the diagonal gives the drivers a chance to showcase their team’s skills to the judging panel. All hitches were then asked to demonstrate the natural gait, the walk, and the trot in the opposite direction to show the horses’ ability to work in unison under control. After being asked to line up in the center of the ring, the judges took a final look at the hitches’ presentations, while also asking for a demonstration the reverse gait. The final team scores were based on their ability to work together, head carriage, consistency, and the overall presentation of the hitch and driver.

The first class of the day was the Belgian Six-Horse Hitch, which saw four teams compete for the first blue ribbon of the inaugural Chesapeake International Horse Show. Originating in Belgium, the Belgian breed has the highest annual registration numbers. Starting the competition on an exciting note, the Belgians made a lasting impression on the crowd as they trotted around the ring cheered on by their fans. The first blue ribbon of the day was awarded to the Sugar Ridge RV owned hitch from Danville, Vermont, driven by Kirk. Second place went to the EH Perkins Construction hitch driven by Dusty hailing from Stowe, Massachusetts. The third-place hitch was driven by Sarah and owned by the Brockwood Belgians based out of Dayton, Pennsylvania.

The Clydesdales were then on display as the famed feathered giants took to the arena. Originally from Scotland, the Clydesdale is the most recognizable of all the draft breeds. Five teams hitched up for the class, and their presence was felt as they worked around the arena. The traditional tack of the horses was on display as it shined in the Florida sun. Winning the Clydesdale class was the Highpoint Clydesdales hitch driven by Freeman from Hooper, Utah. Coming in second place was the hometown favorite, Chesapeake Clydesdales, driven by Jim with assistance from the show’s founder, McCullough. Third place was awarded to Hunting Creek Farm, based in Hamptonville, North Carolina, driven by Chip.

Rounding out the six-horse hitch classes were the Percherons. Four teams competed in the class, all made up of beautifully turned out black horses. Originating in France and considered the smaller of the draft breeds, these horses still managed to make the ground shake and kick up the sand under their hooves as they thundered by spectators. Taking top honors was the Zubrod Percherons hitch from Guthrie, Oklahoma, driven by Chad. Coming in second was Express Ranches from Yukon, Oklahoma, driven by Josh. Third place was awarded to Blue Ribbon Farm from Farmington, Missouri, driven by Dean.

After an entertainment break, the ladies’ cart competitors were set to compete. Switching from wagons to two-wheel single carts, the ladies brought in one horse of their choosing to drive. The class showed off each draft breed and included both mares and geldings. Boasting a field of 12 competitive entries, the ladies split up into two groups of six to allow space to properly show off their skills. The ladies performed in the same manner as the six-horse, completing laps of the arena before changing direction, demonstrating walk-trot transitions before lining up and showcasing a reverse and allowing the judge to look over their overall presentation. Taking top honors in the ladies’ cart was the Express Ranch driver, Jeanine, who was beautifully dressed to match her shining wagon and jet black four-year-old Percheron, Joe. Coming in second was Sugar Ridge RV driver Mary and her Belgian mare, with third place going to Blue Ribbon Farm driver Alli, who showed a Percheron in the ladies’ cart.

Media Contact: Lenore Phillips
561-753-3389 | lrb@phelpsmediagroup.com

Association équestre Centaure Thanks Donors and Partners

Photo: Jonathan McCrea & Aristoteles.

Bromont, Quebec – Jan. 3, 2019 – Association équestre Centaure would like to thank its donors and partners who made organizing its 2018 season events possible.

Under Roger Deslauriers’s management, Association équestre Centaure organizes close to a dozen events and competitions every year in the hunter, jumper, dressage, three-day eventing, and driving disciplines. Events are held at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park in the Eastern Townships region of Canada.

Organizers of the International Bromont CSI3*, Bromont International Driving, and the CDI Autumn Classic, notably, and the Association équestre Centaure acknowledge the support of the Quebec Government, the Town of Bromont, Assante, the National Bank of Canada, Back on Track, Volta Électrique, Soltek Agrégats, as well as everyone who contributed to the 2018 season events.

Many athletes participated in the events organized by Association équestre Centaure, and the organizing committee hopes than 2019 will be just as successful. General manager, Deslauriers, said, “We are happy with the participation in the different events over the past year, and would like to thank the athletes for their trust and support. We are already at work on our 2019 season and hope that many of them will join us.”

Association équestre Centaure will organize seven competitions in 2019, including four international jumping, dressage, and driving horse shows.

Contact: Hélène Sactouris, event co-ordinator, via email: co-oc@internationalbromont.org or by phone: 450-534-0787.

An Exell-ent Day for the FEI Driving World Cup

FEI Driving World Cup™ Presented by Dodson & Horrell was won by Australia’s Boyd Exell in a gripping two round competition.

The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes was won by Daniel Deusser (GER) riding Cornet.

The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Archie Gubb riding Gruntness Inogee and the evening performance by Poppy Dadson riding Merkisayre Sea Duble.

The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals was won by multiple Olympia champion Natasha Wise and Pebbles.

Exell Sets the Standard Again

The world’s most outstanding four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell, crowned an exemplary week of Extreme and FEI World Cup™ driving competition with a win in the final round of the FEI Driving World Cup™ presented by Dodson & Horrell.

“I’m so pleased with my horses,” the Australian driver and trainer said. “Five years ago I had a superb team and I’ve spent the intervening years trying to replicate it. With the two new horses I’ve recently put in to the mix, I feel I’m really getting close. They just get faster and faster.”

Experienced Dutch driver Koos de Ronde, who has competed every year since driving became part of the Olympia programme, was Exell’s closest challenger after the first round, with Belgian Glenn Geerts in third place.

These three returned for a drive-off, which got off to a dramatic start when one of Geerts’ horses slipped turning to come off the bridge. Driving is a close-knit community and fellow competitors flew to help; happily, all four horses were up in moments and the Olympia crowd showed their appreciation by giving Geerts a standing ovation.

Quickly regaining his focus, de Ronde drove a proficient round, bettering his time but picking up a 4-second penalty. Exell again put his foot to the floor to drive his fourth clear round, knocking three seconds off his first-round time to take the victory and extend his lead in the rankings.

“Olympia was very brave to agree to stage this competition eight years ago, but it has been so well supported by Dodson & Horrell and Hugh and Karen Scott-Barrett. The drivers love it; it’s a highlight of the World Cup calendar and it’s an honour to be here.”

British competitor Daniel Naprous, whose stunt work can be seen in Wonder Woman, The Crown, and Peaky Blinders, has steadily improved his times during the week and finished fifth overall.

Cornet Hits a High Note

Germany’s Daniel Deusser, the world number seven, set a fast pace in the jump-off of The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes to take the class on the 14-year-old grey Cornet, by the leading jumping sire Cornet Obolensky.

This class bucked the trend, with only four through to the jump-off. First to go, Deusser, who rides for Stephex Stables in Belgium, set a fast pace with a clear in 31.25 seconds. Simon Delestre for France on Conbelleza also left all the fences up but was fractionally slower in 32.07 seconds.

Maikel van der Vleuten was third for the Netherlands on Idi Utopia and William Funnell, who has now moved up to second place behind Geir Gulliksen in the Leading Rider of the Show rankings, was fourth on Billy Diamo.

“I expected there to be more clear rounds, but the track had lots of bends off corners and that seemed to be causing trouble,” explained Deusser, who will ride Cornet d’Amour in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. “Cornet is one of my top horses, but sometimes it’s nice to drop him into a smaller height competition so that it’s easy for him.”

The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes

Earlier in the day, Shaunie Greig travelled all the way from Fife to add a win in The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes to her list of prestigious 148cm victories. Riding Casino Royale VIII, she produced the sole double clear of the class.

Shaunie, 15, was the fifth of the six riders to go in the jump-off and, with no faultless performers before her, there was everything to play for.

“I was aiming for the win, so I needed to go clear, but not too crazy,” she said. “I had watched Purdi Digby [who was first to go] so I knew where to go on the course.”

Nicole Lockhead Anderson riding Gangnam Style ll finished second with a fence down.

Tribute to the Late Tim Stockdale

Saturday came to a moving close with the Whitaker family’s annual presentation of the Ryan’s Son Trophy for services to the sport. This year, with many of his colleagues looking on, it was presented posthumously to Tim Stockdale whose wife Laura and sons Joe and Mark were there to collect it.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

McCoy and His Boys Prove They’re the Real Deal

An eager crowd was treated to an action-packed fifth day at Olympia, The London International Horse Show. The first Show Jumping competition of the day saw 18-year-old Robert Murphy produce a sublime performance going double-clear and securing a memorable victory in The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Final. A faultless Boyd Exell was once again on majestic form, finishing just under 30 seconds ahead of eventual second-placed Driver, Belgian Glenn Geerts. British riders dominated The Keith Prowse Father Christmas Stakes, with William Whitaker, William Funnell, Ben Maher, and Guy Williams taking the top four places, respectively.

In a first for Olympia Horse Show, a team of five top-class female jockeys took on their male counterparts in the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund – a fast and furious Show Jumping team relay competition. The Boys’ Team – with stand-out rides from Richard “Dickie” Johnson and Jim Crowley – did just enough to beat the Girls’ Team by a combined time of little under eight seconds, while Girls’ Team captain Bridget Andrews earned a consolation winning the prize for the quickest round.

The evening drew to a close with The Longines Christmas Cracker. Out of a field of 28 competitors, 13 jumped a clear first round and progressed to the jump-off, which then saw a further six pairs jump double clear. While Holly Smith (Claddagh Iroko) and Laura Kraut (Confu) put themselves firmly in contention, it was Robert Whitaker and his nine-year-old bay mare El Wee Widge who rose to the occasion, crossing the finish line in an unbeatable time of 34.51 seconds.

Jenny Kimber and Rogue took the honours in The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Finals on the third evening of canine competition at Olympia. After a fantastic qualifying round win, Naarah Cuddy and Lemon were last to run in the Final. The pressure was on for the pair to beat a fast and accurate round set by Jenny Kimber and Rogue, but an unfortunate early fault dashed their title hopes. The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Zak Kent and Briar Smokey Joe, while the evening performance was won by Lucy Aspell and Magheradartin Beeswax.

Jockeys Go Flat Out for Charity

The Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) proved a huge crowd pleaser when, for the first time, five female jockeys, including recent big-race winner Bryony Frost, took on their male counterparts against the clock over the coloured poles in the unfamiliar environment of a densely packed indoor arena.

The fiercely competitive Boys’ Team, trained by Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton and captained by 20-time champion Sir “AP” McCoy with champion jockeys Richard Johnston and Ryan Moore, were victorious with a collective time of 151.16 seconds against the girls’ 159.11, but it was Bridget Andrews who was fastest of all, upholding female honour with the prize for the quickest round, in 33.88 seconds.

Her fiancé, Harry Skelton, caused great hilarity when, last to go for the Boys’ Team and riding one of Laura Kraut’s jumpers, he suffered tack malfunction when the hackamore bridle ended up around the horse’s ears. Not to be defeated, he set off again, after some hasty repairs with a cable tie, but the same thing happened so he borrowed a teammate’s horse.

However, Harry had to settle for the third fastest time of 35.85 seconds behind flat jockey Jim Crowley. “The wedding’s still on,” announced commentator Clare Balding. Harry promised: “We’ll be back next year – with better tack.”

The jockeys were clearly thoroughly enjoying their Christmas party, but IJF president AP was quick to thank Olympia for giving the charity this great fund-raising platform. Next year, a third rehabilitation centre, named after the late commentator Sir Peter O’ Sullevan, will open in Newmarket.

Exell Is in the Driving Seat

Boyd Exell, the reigning world champion in Carriage Driving, laid down the strongest possible marker for the final of the FEI Driving World Cup™ leg, presented by Dodson & Horrell, at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

In a display that left spectators breathless, the defending champion, who is competing here on a wild card, was second into the arena behind British hopeful Dan Naprous, who had driven a well-controlled clear round.

Exell, too, went clear but knocked 15 seconds off Naprous’s time and no one thereafter could come close; American driver Chester Weber suffered the disappointment of being eliminated for missing the first obstacle. Belgium’s Glenn Geerts claimed second place and the vastly experienced Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands was third.

In the drive-off between the first three, de Ronde bettered his first-round time but collected 12 seconds in penalties. Geerts also bettered his time, but his additional eight-second penalties gave the Australian maestro breathing space.

However, he had no need of it. In an electrifying drive, he knocked eight seconds off his first round time to romp into first place, 30 seconds ahead of Geerts and de Ronde.

“I’ve put two new horses into my team – one in the lead and one in the wheel – and they’ve moved the speed up like you cannot believe,” Exell explained. “They were machines today – I could not be more pleased with them, although, of course, tomorrow is the all-important competition.”

There was a great boost for British driving when Naprous, who was also previously performing at Olympia as leader of the Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Display Team, was the only other driver to go clear – he only missed the drive-off by two seconds.

Robert Whitaker Produces a Christmas Cracker

An Olympia victory was just what the doctor ordered when, two weeks after having his appendix removed, Robert Whitaker produced a masterful performance in a 13-horse jump-off for Friday’s main class, The Longines Christmas Cracker.

His winning mount was the relatively inexperienced nine-year-old El Wee Widge, owned by his uncle, Michael Whitaker.

“I just said to Michael: ‘I’m going to have a bit of a go’ as the horse likes to go forward,” said Robert, who took over the ride when his uncle was injured, finishing second in a major class at Oslo Show. “I went to Michael and said that I was really short of horses and he kindly let me have El Wee Widge.”

Laura Kraut, a world team gold medallist this year, came closest to catching Robert – she was just 0.4 seconds slower on the grey Confu, beating young British rider Holly Smith on Claddagh Iroko by a mere 10th of a second.

Keeping it in the family, Robert’s father John had the crowd roaring in excitement, but he lost time trying to keep the mare Leen O.L. on her line and had to settle for fourth place.

Earlier, to the delight of the packed home crowd, Robert’s cousin, William Whitaker, riding Lammy Beach, topped a British one-two-three-four in the Keith Prowse Father Christmas Stakes, an accumulator class against the clock. A final tricky joker fence gives double points if jumped cleanly, but is double the penalty if knocked down.

“It’s like you’re riding in a speed class, but then have that big last fence to think about,” explained William, who represented Britain at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ this year. “I had a lot of quick ones to come after me so I had to take a few risks and got away with it. I wanted one stride less to one fence, and I didn’t get it, so I knew I had left some room for others to catch me.”

The buzzing atmosphere suited the 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding. “The closeness of the crowd doesn’t suit some horses, but it really makes him light up,” said William. “I am really happy with this horse and it is a real privilege to ride here.”

With two more days to go, Norway’s Geir Gulliksen is currently Leading Rider of the Show with five placings, pushing Darragh Kenny from Ireland into second. William Funnell, who has been runner-up three times, is third.

Robert Murphy and Chablis Are the Toast

The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Final ended on a thrilling high note when, last to go in an eight-horse jump-off, 18-year-old Robert Murphy rode an audacious round on Newbridges Chablis to overhaul the brilliant early target set by Harry Charles, 21, on Vivaldi du Dom.

This prestigious class, which has been won by the likes of Scott Brash and Jessica Mendoza, gets stronger every year, the bulk of the field being represented by the talented sons and daughters of such well-known horsemen such as Michael Whitaker, Graham Fletcher, Mike Saywell, Duncan Inglis, Peter Charles, the late Tim Stockdale, and Badminton Horse Trials course-designer Eric Winter.

Robert, the son of former leading jumper Peter Murphy, set a scorching pace, confidently taking out strides and turning on a sixpence, to snatch the win from Harry by 0.5 seconds.

“There were a few options, but you had to take risks – I tried to mimic Harry’s round,” explained Robert, who was presented with the Tim Stockdale Trophy in memory of the much-loved rider who died last month.

Last year, Newbridges Chablis hit three fences, but Robert, whose aim for 2019 is to get into the Young Rider team, explained: “He’s quite a sensitive horse and he didn’t settle well in the stable, but he’s had some more mileage since then and things were quite different this time.”

Eight riders went through to the jump-off. Jodie Hall McAteer’s spirited challenge on Fantom, clear in 31.1 seconds, was good enough for third place behind Charles, whose brilliant year continues.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Breen Swoops to Claim the Ivy Stakes

The crowds on day four of Olympia, The London International Horse Show were treated to some exhilarating Driving and Show Jumping performances, breathtaking displays from Santi Serra, La Garde Républicaine, The Kennel Club Dog Agility, and the Shetland Ponies, while more than 40 junior and senior medallists from Equestrian Team GBR took part in a very special parade in the Grand Hall.

Australian Boyd Exell demonstrated to Olympia’s admiring crowd precisely why he is the current and five-time world champion for four-in-hand Driving, putting on a masterful display in the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving – Top Score. Exell navigated the Johan Jacob-designed course with aplomb, completing the first round fault-free and more than 13 seconds ahead of his closest challengers, Dutchman Koos de Ronde and Belgian Edouard Simonet. With Simonet and de Ronde accruing four and eight-second penalties respectively in the drive-off, Exell showed his class, cruising over the finish line 10 seconds ahead of eventual second-placed driver Simonet.

The final event of the evening, The Ivy Stakes sponsored by Champagne Taittinger, proved to be a star-studded event, with six of the world’s top-10 ranked Show Jumpers vying for victory. But it was Irishman Shane Breen – currently 55th in the world rankings – who took the spoils. With 15 horse and rider combinations successfully navigating the Bernardo Costa Cabral-designed course and progressing to the jump-off, it was Breen who ultimately excelled, effortlessly steering his 13-year-old chestnut stallion fault-free around the demanding jump-off course in an unbeatable time of 33.41 seconds. Hot on Breen’s heels was Swiss maestro Steve Guerdat (Corbinian), who slotted into second spot just half a second off the pace, while third placed Norwegian Geir Gulliksen (Gin Chin van het Lindenhof) was a further second back.

This Kennel Club Medium Dog Agility Finals was won by Dawn Weaver from Dorset and her dog, Vegas, with the pair putting in the fastest clear round of the evening. Judge Martin Cavill put handlers through their paces resulting in only two dogs making it around the course without faults.

The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Lucas Murphy and Shelcroft Buttercup, while the evening performance was won by Daisy Harrop and Cranford Fantastic.

The Olympia Senior Showing Series Championships sponsored by Anthony D Evans Insurance Brokers saw Alice Stratton and the 17-year-old Welsh Section B Laithehill Pasha – last year’s in-hand winners in the Senior Showing and Dressage Ltd Grand Final sponsored by Anthony D Evans Insurance Brokers – take the title in the under saddle final. Claire Langman’s ex-racehorse, New Team, won the in-hand class.

Boyd Exell Puts On a Show

The crowd was treated to a spectacular start to the afternoon performance when Boyd Exell from Australia put on a masterclass in four-in-hand skills in the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving – Top Score, which determines the order of go in the World Cup competition. Exell, the reigning World Cup champion, was last to go of the seven contestants from six nations and finished the first round with 13 seconds in hand.

Second at this stage was the experienced Dutch competitor, Koos de Ronde, but his outstandingly fast round unfortunately included four knockdowns to add 16 seconds to his time. In third was young Belgian driver Edouard Simonet, a team and individual bronze medallist at the FEI World Equestrian Games™, who also went clear.

In the drive-off, Simonet and de Ronde both picked up penalties to reverse their positions. Exell again drove surely and cleanly until the very end where he picked up a four-second penalty, but he still cruised home 10 seconds ahead of Simonet.

The fast course set by Dutch designer Johan Jacob featured a new four-way crossing on the bridge with the start and finish occurring here. Newly designed elements in the obstacles gave a lighter appearance to the course and made for good viewing.

Britain’s Dan Naprous, who heads up the Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Team, experienced early difficulties, as did the USA’s Chester Weber, the world silver medallist.

Hawk Swoops to Conquer

Shane Breen gave a masterclass in cool-headed speed jumping to win Thursday’s main class, The Ivy Stakes sponsored by Champagne Taittinger, at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

Breen, riding the 13-year-old Golden Hawk, was first to go in a marathon 15-horse jump-off, but no one could match his clear in 33.41 seconds, and the run of Irish luck continued after compatriot Darragh Kenny’s double.

In an international line-up, the 2012 Olympic champion Steve Guerdat finished second for Switzerland, 0.5 seconds in arrears on Corbinian. Geir Gulliksen was third for Norway on Gin Chin van het Lindenhof, formerly the ride of Ireland’s Bertram Allen, and riders from Portugal, France, and the Netherlands filled the next four places with Ben Maher the best Brit in eighth place.

Amazingly, this is Breen’s first full week at Olympia (he has competed in the Puissance before) and he revealed that the victory had cost him four watches – thinking it unlikely, he promised four children that he would buy them one each if he was successful.

“It looked a tricky enough jump-off course, but the horse got in a nice rhythm and it came my way,” said Breen.

The Gulliksen family have been long supporters of Olympia, so a first win for 22-year-old Johann-Sebastien Gulliksen in the Christmas Stocking Six Bar proved popular.

Four riders made it through to the fourth round, at 1.90m, but Gulliksen, riding the 13-year-old Arakorn, was the only one to go clear, as Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts (H & M Extra) withdrew, Britain’s William Whitaker (Fandango) hit a fence, and Italy’s Luca Maria Moneta on a spooky Centimo retired after a refusal.

Gulliksen, who has been accompanying his father, Geir, to Olympia since a small child, said his horse had jumped 1.95m in Madrid a few weeks ago. “He really tries his best. It’s unbelievable to win here at Olympia. The crowd really gives you an emotional feeling.”

German Olympic rider Christian Ahlmann had a pleasant surprise in The Shelley Ashman International Shipping Ltd, E M Rogers (Transport) Ltd Snowflake Stakes when a horse that has only been jumping for a year carried him to victory in this speed class.

Atomic Z, a breeding stallion until last year, lacks the ring experience of other horses, but showed just how quick a learner he is when his round was fast enough to beat Britain’s William Funnell (Billy Angelo) by two seconds.

“It wasn’t planned at all,” said Ahlmann, “but when I went in, he felt so good that I went a bit quicker, and then a bit quicker still, because he is very flexible.”

Darragh Kenny is currently Leading Rider of the Show, with Geir Gulliksen second, Dutchman Doron Kuipers third, and William Funnell fourth.

A major highlight of the evening was the parade of British team medallists – British teams combined to bring back 24 championship medals this summer – headed by the gold medal eventing team. Individual world champion Ros Canter was presented with the BEF Medal of Honour, along with carriage driver Jill Holah and Para-Dressage selector Waveney Luke.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Live TV Coverage of Olympia Set to Feature Heavily over Christmas Period

Taking place from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 December 2018, Olympia, The International London Horse Show will be available to homes across the UK, with extensive coverage from the BBC starting with the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Freestyle to Music at 19:20 on the evening of Tuesday 18 December.

The BBC coverage, which will total almost 14 hours over the course of the week, cements Olympia’s position as the most important indoor equestrian event in the UK and will showcase the world-class competitive equestrian sport that is on offer.

BBC televised highlights include FEI World Cup™ Jumping, in which, last year, seven of the top 10 world-ranked show jumpers featured, including British Olympic gold medallists Ben Maher and Scott Brash. The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound will also be televised this year and is set to welcome Charlotte Dujardin OBE, who will unveil a new freestyle routine. The three-time Olympic gold medallist, who has not competed in London since setting a new world record in 2015, will bring her rising star Mount St John Freestyle, with whom she won team and individual bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon earlier this year.

Show director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “Working with the BBC is always a pleasure and the coverage of Olympia provides a massive platform for equestrian sport. Its coverage is not only important for Olympia but also for equestrianism in general, given that it is broadcasting world-class competition to an incredibly diverse audience. Its importance really can’t be overstated.”

Coverage will also include international classes, such as the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix and the Cayenne Puissance, which last year was won by Britain’s leading lady rider, Laura Renwick, in what proved to be a closely contested affair.

Friday night, also known as ‘Race Night’, will be televised in its entirety and will undoubtedly be a highlight, featuring fan-favourites such as: the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, an exhilarating and competitive event between young and up-and-coming jockeys, along with the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, in which racing legend Sir AP McCoy will be keen to defend his title.

Further coverage includes international displays from La Garde Républicaine and its famous cavalry regiment along with the Azerbaijan ‘Land of Fire,’ a highly-skilled fusion of gymnastics and equestrianism that is bound to get viewers out of their armchairs. For those interested in other four-legged competition, the Kennel Club Dog Agility competition brings the UK’s best canine partnerships to screens as they battle it out for the biggest title of their careers.

International live coverage of the Dressage, Jumping, and Driving FEI World Cup™ competitions will be available on FEI TV and additional post-event coverage will be broadcast on Horse & Country TV and will be accessible from January.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show may be viewed online and on TV. The day-by-day coverage listing is as follows*:

Tuesday 18 December
• FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound
19:20-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, and FEI TV

Wednesday 19 December
• The Cayenne Puissance
21:15-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV

Friday 21 December
• FEI Driving World Cup™ presented By Dobson & Horrell
12:45-13:40 – FEI Facebook Live & FEI YouTube
• The Entire Evening Performance
18:45-22:30 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
Featuring The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund and The Longines Christmas Cracker

Saturday 22 December
• FEI World Cup™ Show Jumping
13:15-16:30 – LIVE on BBC Two HD, BBC Online & connected TV
14.30-16.30 – LIVE on FEI TV
18.40-19.25 – LIVE on FEI TV

Sunday 23 December
• The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix
18:00-20:00 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, FEI Facebook & FEI YouTube

Monday 24 December
• Recorded Highlights
10:00-11:00 – BBC Two HD, BBC Online & connected TV

Horse & Country TV will feature Olympia highlights including the FEI World Cup™ Dressage, Driving, and Show Jumping competitions, along with the Cayenne Puissance, the Longines Christmas Cracker, and the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix.

Horse & Country TV is available on Sky Channel 253, H&C Play, and Amazon Video.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins gjenkins@revolutionworld.com +44(0)7717 776928

Green Meadows Coaching Keeps ‘Old Times’ Alive at Royal Horse Show

McLain Ward, his wife, Lauren, and their three-year-old daughter, Lilly, joined the Wallers atop the ‘Old Times.’ Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Mr. and Mrs. Harvey and Mary Waller of Stockbridge, MA and their ‘Old Times’ coach claimed a third consecutive victory in the historic Green Meadows Four-In-Hand Coaching Appointments Class on Friday, November 9, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

“It never gets old!” said Mary of the win on Friday night. “It’s always special. I love the Royal.”

The Green Meadows Coaching division, generously sponsored by Hugessen Consulting, Inc., is dedicated to the great tradition of the road coaches and park drags of years gone by, and the Wallers’ ‘Old Times’ coach exemplifies a fine example of that tradition.

The ‘Old Times’ coach was famously driven from London to Brighton, England in the 1880s. It has since been conserved in its entirety by the Wallers, who purchased the road coach in 2001 and had the paint stripped down to find the original color and lettering, enabling it to be put back to its exact original appearance.

That attention to detail is part of what helped the Wallers earn the win in the Coaching Appointments Class, judged on performance, presentation, and emphasis on appointments. All three factors were taken into consideration during Friday evening’s Green Meadows Four-In-Hand Coaching Appointments Class in the Coca-Cola Coliseum, while the presentation and emphasis on appointments were also judged during a special reception on Friday afternoon.

“This is a very special coach, so it’s nice to bring it here to a special show,” said Mary. “The way they do the appointments in the other ring beforehand showcases the coaches. You get to see them in a special surrounding, and it makes it that much nicer. All of our staff works so hard, so for them to see it in there after they’ve been working on it for days – and then to have us win – it’s really more for them than for us because it’s our whole team that has accomplished this!”

This year, the Wallers also had three special guests as part of their winning team for the evening’s Coaching Appointments Class. Two-time Olympic and recent World Championship team gold medalist, McLain Ward, rode on ‘Old Times’ alongside his wife, Lauren, and their three-year-old daughter, Lilly.

“We’ve known McLain forever, and he’s probably ridden with us three or four times here at The Royal,” said Mary. “Lilly was bracketed by mom and dad holding her in up there! It was really fun having them with us.”

Finishing in second behind the Wallers was the Canadian entry of Gerben Steenbeek and his park drag entry for Stonecreek Friesians of St. Marys, ON. Third place went to John P. White of Newtown, NJ driving a road coach, ‘Excelsior,’ for Shallow Brook Farm.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.html.

Exell Wins Individual Gold as Team USA’s Golden Victory Thrills Home Crowd

Australia’s Boyd Exell (FEI / Liz Gregg)

On a day when the home nation USA secured a stunning victory in the Polaris Ranger driving team competition to round off a triumphant FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG), Australian driver Boyd Exell proved he remains in a league of his own by securing a third successive individual WEG gold medal.

Despite the valiant efforts of crowd favourite Chester Weber, who showed icy composure to drive his team to gold and also grab individual silver, no one was able to rival Exell from the moment he entered the dressage arena on day one.

First in the dressage, third in the marathon stage despite driving with broken brakes, and second in the closing cones phase, Exell finished with an overall score of 154.14, almost 10 points clear of Weber. Edouard Simonet, the 29-year-old Belgian who was once a back-stepper for Exell, took the bronze medal with a final score of 174.15.

“I love training horses. It is a relief to win, I have a huge team of people who have been with me 20 years.” — Boyd Exell (Australia)

Weber, who also finished second to Exell at the 2014 WEG in Normandy, France, was overjoyed to take an unexpected team title in front of a raucous North Carolina crowd.

“I can tell you it was a surprise. I thought we came here with a chance of a medal but if you had asked me if I was going to have a bet on whether we were going to be world champions, I would have said I am not sure,” said Weber, whose USA team finished with a winning score of 353.39.

Teammate James Fairclough, who introduced Weber to the sport as a 13-year-old, already has an eye on the future after the USA beat the Netherlands, the 2010 and 2014 champions, into second and Belgium into third.

“I hope it’s going to inspire a lot of people to come forward and try the sport. It’s a great boost for us,” Fairclough said.

Basking in the glow of winning a WEG bronze medal to go with their 2017 European team bronze, the Belgium team also served notice of their intention to change driving’s established order.

“We are the future not only of Belgium driving but of international driving,” said Glenn Geerts, who like individual bronze medal winner Simonet is 29 years old, while Dries Degrieck, the third member of the team, is just 23.

In comparison, traditional powerhouses the Netherlands finished Tryon 2018 lamenting unexpectedly poor marathon performances from their often all-conquering father and son duo Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon.

The pair did come out firing on the final day, with 25-year-old Bram Chardon producing the only double clear round. But it was not enough to deliver a third successive team gold.

“We wanted to get our spot back; that spot was meant for us,” said a dejected Bram Chardon.

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46