Category Archives: Hunter/Equitation

Erin Davis-Heineking Swoops In for $137k Adequan Grand Prix CSI3* Victory

Erin Davis-Heineking and Leonie. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2020 – Erin Davis-Heineking (USA) is making the most of her two-week visit to the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a win in the $137,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI3* during “Saturday Night Lights” of week three at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL on Saturday, January 25.

Davis-Heineking rode Leonie to thrill Saturday night’s crowd by leading the grand prix from start to finish after posting the first clear round over Kelvin Bywater’s (GBR) opening track. She again returned first over the short course and set the pace fault free in a quick 45.51 seconds. At the conclusion of a six-horse jump-off, Davis-Heineking still stood atop the podium, barely inching out Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Karlin van’t Vennehof. They were just fractions off the win in 45.67 seconds.

“I was a little bit in disbelief that I had left a couple of jumps up out there,” said Davis-Heineking of her jump-off ride. “It didn’t quite go as I planned; I had an idea in my mind of the numbers that I wanted to do, and then right before I went in, my trainer/husband [Christian Heineking] basically said to leave one out from all of those. So, I took a shot at the last line and tried to do the six. I chipped in a seven, and she left it up. I was really proud of her.”

Gabrielle Sokolow and Kindred Claim Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under Championship

Saturday morning in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring began with Gabrielle Sokolow and Kindred earning champion in the Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division. Sokolow and Kindred won the under saddle and received an additional first and second place ribbon to claim the championship title.

Kindred is a new ride for Sokolow, who has had the horse for less than a week. Sokolow went to Ocala last week to try the horse as a prospect for the junior hunter division. It was clear that the pair was right for each other when they won all three classes and were champion in their first show together earlier this season. “We instantly knew that it was the right match!” commented Sokolow.

The eight-year-old gelding was then brought to Wellington, where he showed earlier in the week with Kate Conover. Sokolow, of Westlake Village, CA, then took over the ride on Kindred again and the pair was able to continue their winning streak. “He has such a great personality and the way he goes around the ring is just so pretty,” said Sokolow of her new mount.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

McLain Ward and Catoki Are Two-for-Two at WEF

McLain Ward and Catoki. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 24, 2020 – U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward claimed his second win during week three of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in the $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI3* aboard Catoki at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL on Friday, January 24.

Ward and the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Catoki x Cartello B) are a new partnership, but they have wasted no time getting to the winner’s circle. The duo topped a field of 59 over Kelvin Bywater’s (GBR) speed track by a nearly two-second margin over Mexico’s Santiago Lambre and his own Doloris. Ward stopped the clock in 57.54 seconds, while Lambre settled for second in 59.12 seconds.

“He’s naturally an incredibly fast horse, so in the speed classes you have a little bit of an advantage,” said Ward of the horse he owns with Marilla van Beuren and Bob Russell. “Santiago is a very fast rider, but this horse is, I think, the fastest horse I’ve ever ridden. I knew turning for home we were very fast, and if things come up basically as you want, he’s just naturally faster than most horses, so you don’t have to do anything extraordinary.”

Krista Weisman and Concept Claim Adult Amateur Hunter Young (Section A) Championship

Hunter competition in the Rost Ring continued on Friday with the crowning of Krista Weisman and Concept as the Adult Amateur Hunter Younger (Section A) champions. Weisman rode Concept to two first and two second-place finishes in the division.

Weisman, of Brooklyn, NY, was excited to get back into the show ring with Concept after recently having a baby. “We like to joke that he was on paternity leave over the summer and now this is his second show back in a year,” Weisman explained.

The pair had a successful return to the show ring and definitely stood out to the judges. “He has the most comfortable canter and feels like he is just floating along,” Weisman said.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5 Are Victorious in $37k Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI3*

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 23, 2020 – Abigail McArdle (USA) and Victorio 5 topped a field of 85 entries to win the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 CSI3* on Friday, January 23, during week three of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

On their way to the win in Thursday’s featured class, McArdle and Victorio 5 were one of 11 entries to navigate the first-round course without fault and elect to return to face-off over the Kelvin Bywater (GBR) designed short course.

When McArdle returned to the ring, the time to beat had been set at 45.39 seconds by Lucas Porter (USA) and C Hunter, owned by Sleepy P Ranch, but quick foot speed and a skillful slice to one fence in particular would ultimately clinch the victory for McArdle with an unbeatable time of 43.98 seconds. Porter’s time held up for second place.

“I’ve never won a WEF [Challenge Cup] before; this is a first, so I’m very, very happy!” said McArdle, 25. “It was a very difficult first round track; I went for it in the jump-off, and it paid off.”

Maria Rasmussen Pilots R & R to Green Hunter 3’3” Championship

The Green Hunter 3’3” division came to a close on Thursday with the crowning of Maria Rasmussen and R & R as the champions. Rasmussen rode R & R to a first, two seconds, a fourth, and a fifth-place ribbon in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals Ring 6.

R & R is a fairly new ride for Rasmussen, who has only had the horse for one month. Owned by Jill Abrams of Wellington, FL, the eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding has already proven to be a great addition. “He has been fun, easy and talented right off the bat!” Rasmussen commented.

Rasmussen, of Royal Palm Beach, FL, was pleased with how reliable R & R was in the tough competition. “For pre-green horses it’s hard to be so consistent, and he gave it his all every round,” said Rasmussen. The gelding’s beautiful and rhythmic canter also helped the pair stand out to the judges and win the under saddle.

Although Rasmussen is having fun showing R & R, her main goal is to get him ready for Abrams to take over the ride. Abrams plans to show the gelding in the Adult Amateurs during this season of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Cheers to 39 Years at HITS Ocala

The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit is HITS’ longest-running horse show series, having started in Gainesville in 1982.  Now celebrating its 39th year, the annual USEF-Rated show jumping circuit returns to HITS Post Time Farm for what may prove to be its biggest season yet in terms of horses, participants, prize money, and economic impact on the surrounding community.

“In this first week we have already seen an increase of 500 stalls for a total of 2,200 stalls rented on-property,” said Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO, HITS, Inc. “We expect that trend to continue the rest of the circuit, putting us on pace to grow by 30% this year, surpassing our previous entry records.”

A Staple Winter Circuit Returns

Having grown from a five-week circuit at its inception to the current 12-week schedule that runs from December through March each year, the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit offers USEF National- and Premier-Rated Hunter competition, and 4*, 5*, and 6* Jumper competition.  Eight of the shows boast the highest Hunter Rating of Premier, and increased Grand Prix prize money has raised the number of shows with a 6* Jumper rating to seven.

These highly-rated USEF shows offer exhibitors at HITS Ocala valuable qualifying points for the prestigious “Indoor” horse shows, a number of National Medal and Horsemanship finals, and several USHJA programs.  In addition, points earned and money won throughout the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit count toward USEF Horse of the Year National and Zone Awards.

HITS continues to stay at the forefront of equestrian sport by offering a range of classes for every level of horse and rider, from Leadline to Grand Prix.  With over 450 classes offered each week, HITS promotes one of the most marvelous aspects of show jumping – where a child at his or her very first show may be seen at the competition ring standing next to an Olympic athlete.

This may be never truer than what this year’s circuit will see, where myriad upgrades and unique offerings at HITS Post Time Farm have attracted top riders from around the world.  These riders include half a dozen Olympic athletes and represent at least a dozen countries.  The richest purse in show jumping, the seventh annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, will be the ultimate showcase for these riders to cap off the circuit on March 22.

HITS Post Time Farm is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 8 am to 4 pm, from January 15 to March 22. Admission is free every day except Sunday, which is $10 per adult admission ticket for the Grand Prix. HITS Season Passes are also available for $20 and grant access to all ten Sunday Grand Prix. Children 12 and under are free and parking is free. Snack Bar and grandstand seating available. For more information, tickets, and Day VIP opportunities for the Great American Million, please contact the show office at 352.620.2275 or visit HITSShows.com.

Emily Ward Dominates Under 25 Competition at WEF

Emily Ward and Millioninmind. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 19, 2020 – Great Britain’s Emily Ward, 20, made a splash in the Under 25 division at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) by winning the $25,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix CSI2* riding Millioninmind on Sunday, January 19, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

Fifty-five horses challenged Oscar Soberon’s (USA) opening track with 19 returning for a deciding jump-off. After winning the Hermès Under 25 Welcome just a day earlier, Ward wasted no time in establishing herself as the one to beat this season. She and Millioninmind, owned by Steven Barnes, stopped the clock in a quick 35.99 seconds over second-place finisher Sydney Shulman’s (ISR), who finished in a time of 36.18 seconds riding Jill Shulman’s Azilis du Mesnil.

“I’ve actually never competed in America before, but I am off to a great start,” said Ward, 20, who rides for Canadian Tiffany Foster’s Little Creek Equestrian. “We’ve owned Millioninmind since he was six years old, so we’ve had him quite a long time. He took me on my first senior Nations Cup team, and won my first international grand prix with me. Now, he has come over here and flourished.”

Andrew Welles Scores FEI Victory

Andrew Welles rode Brindis Bogibo, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, to best a field of 67 and win the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.45m Classic CSI2* to close out the day in the International Arena at WEF.

Speed and strategy were in tall order as Welles guided his mount through a 13-horse jump-off to stop the timers at 36.58 seconds for owner Itasca Group LLC.

“This was my horse’s first week competing this year, and I wanted to make it a point to improve on jump-offs coming into the season,” said Welles. “My plan was to give it our best shot. He was really in tune with the course today and I give him a lot of credit, he felt great out there. Especially in the jump-off, he was fully engaged going from jumps two to three where I left out a stride and his focus continued throughout the rest of the course.

“He is actually a horse that has been in our lives for four and a half years,” continued Welles. “But he was recently sold and then, thanks to the Razbeck and Hogan families, we were able to buy him back for me to ride. It’s been really special to have him back in our lives.”

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Santiago Lambre Storms to NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* Win

Santiago Lambre and Cetano van Aspergem Z. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 18, 2020 – Mexico’s Santiago Lambre rode Cetano van Aspergem Z to a speedy victory in the $73,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* on Saturday, January 18, during “Saturday Night Lights” at the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

Clears were hard to come by in the opening round set by course designer Oscar Soberon (MEX). A tight time allowed was first bested by Lillie Keenan (USA) riding Fasther, a mount that lived up to its name and led the way. Keenan was joined by five more riders, setting the stage for a six-horse speed duel over the second round’s short course.

Rails fell for both Keenan and fellow U.S. rider Todd Minikus, riding Calvalou, before U.S. team Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward set the pace on a clear round in 43.60 seconds aboard Jet Blue. His time, however, was quickly beat when Lambre and Cetano van Aspergem Z stopped the clock in 40.22 seconds.

“This horse is naturally fast,” said Lambre of the horse he has been competing internationally for almost three years. “I tried to not lose my mind, and I tried to keep a good, nice rhythm. The horse, at this level, can be very fast, and tonight it was.”

Becky Gochman and Last Man Darling Capture Championship in Equiline Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 36 & Over

The Equiline Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 36 & Over division came to an end on Saturday with Becky Gochman and Last Man Darling earning the title of champion. Gochman piloted Last Man Darling, owned by Gochman Sport Horses LLC, to two firsts, a third, a fifth, and a sixth-place ribbon.

This championship was an extra-special one for Gochman, of Wellington, FL. This season is the mare’s return to the show ring after an injury sidelined them for two years. This was the pair’s second week showing again. “Last week she was a little excited, and I was a little nervous; this week we both calmed down and took a breath,” Gochman described.

Last Man Darling has been in the Gochman family for close to five years. “She started off with my girls, Sophie and Mimi, in the junior hunters, and then I began to show her successfully in the 3’3” amateur-owners,” Gochman explained.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Erynn Ballard Guides Hathina Z to Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Jumper Victory at WEF

Erynn Ballard and Hathina Z. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 17, 2020 – Canada’s Erynn Ballard rode Hathina Z to with the Spy Coast Farm 7-Year-Old Young Jumper 1.30m on Friday, January 17, during the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

The future of show jumping was featured in the Spy Coast Farm 7-Year-Old Young Jumper 1.30m with Ballard and Hathina Z taking the victory with more than a second to spare over fellow Canadian Mario Deslauriers riding Cantinori. Ballard stopped the clock double-clear in 36.209 seconds in the two-round class set by course designer Ana Catalina Cruz Harris (MEX), while Deslauriers posted a time of 37.371 seconds for owners Aram Ampagoumian LLC and Wishing Well Farm LLC.

“She’s careful and one that goes better with speed so she excels in the jump-off,” continued Ballard. “We have some good young horses but she is extra special.”

Tracy Scheriff-Muser Catch Rides Bode Well to Adult Amateur Middle Hunter (Section A) Champion

Friday morning in the Rost Ring began with Tracy Scheriff-Muser and Bode Well taking the championship title of the Adult Amateur Middle Hunter (Sec. A). Scheriff-Muser, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, rode Bode Well to two firsts, a second, and two third-place ribbons.

The partnership between Florida resident Scheriff-Muser and Bode Well, owned by Melissa Burns, only began last summer. “I live down here full time so I really look for any rides to keep in shape,” Scheriff-Muser explained. She felt very fortunate that owner Burns allowed the pair to compete together.

Although Scheriff-Muser and Bode Well are still new to each other, she knows that she can trust him. “You can always count on him! It’s so nice to have one that you can go in on and not have to worry about anything,” she said. The gelding’s beautiful rhythm is one of Scheriff-Muser’s favorite qualities about him.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Kent Farrington Tops Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 2

Kent Farrington and Kaprice. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 16, 2020 – U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington and Kaprice had the speed to win the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 CSI2* on Thursday, January 16, during the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

The 22-horse jump-off was a who’s who of top sport from a competitive starting field of 103 horses. Farrington utilized Kaprice’s foot speed to stop Oscar Soberon’s (MEX) short track clock at 37.44 seconds over fellow U.S. rider Abigail McArdle riding Victorio 5, who collected a time of 38.36 seconds for owner Victorio Equine Group LLC.

“For this level of competition I’m producing younger horses, so for me it was more about what the horse is ready to do than how fast the class is going,” said Farrington of what shaped his plan for Thursday’s jump-off. “Kaprice is naturally very quick, and she grows in her confidence off riding with a bit of speed because she is extremely careful. It’s an incredible horse and it’s all about keeping her confidence high.”

Scott Stewart Rides Everwonder to Champion in the Equine & Tack Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’9”

For the second week in a row, Scott Stewart and Everwonder earned the championship title for the Green Hunter 3’9” division in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. Stewart, of Wellington, FL, rode Everwonder to three first-place ribbons, as well as two second-place finishes to secure champion in the division.

The eight-year-old gelding owned by Ella Bikoff is going into its third season with Stewart. “We bought him when he was a five-year-old stallion from Canada, where he was mostly doing dressage,” Stewart explained. In their first few outings, the pair did a few pre-green classes and had a successful season last year showing in the first year green hunters.

While Stewart will continue to show Everwonder, owner Bikoff, of Whitestone, NY, is also starting to take over the reins. “The idea is to bring him along for Ella to do in the Small Junior Hunters,” said Stewart. Once World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week during week six is finished, the gelding will mainly just show with Bikoff.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Fuqua Wows at WEF 1

Fuqua and Cornell 22 (Photo by Elegant Equus Photography)

Pony Champion, Big Eq, Juniors, and a Newly Arrived ‘Dream Girl’

Wellington, FL (January 14, 2020) – Starting off Winter Equestrian Festival Week 1 with a bang is the goal of every rider who descends on the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center show grounds. Tri-colored ribbons in the first week set the tone for a season of success, and Kat Fuqua jumped at every opportunity to ride into the spotlight. From the Juniors to the equitation, ponies to dressage, Fuqua is primely positioned for a banner year at WEF 2020.

Bringing her skills in the pony ring back to Palm Beach, Fuqua claimed Large and Medium Pony Championships, including the highest score she’s ever received. In the Larges Fuqua rode Upside, a pony owned by Rivers Edge and trained by Scott Stewart, to victory in 3 over fences classes and a tri-color in the Large Pony Classic. Under the tutelage of her trainer, Jimmy Torano of JET Show Stables, Fuqua and Upside were awarded a 90 and an 86 for a total of 176 in the Classic. While she was once before awarded a 90 aboard her own highly decorated Large Pony Prince, repeating such an impressive score was one of the week’s highlights.

In the Mediums, Fuqua rode another Champion catch ride for Nashville’s Alexa Karet, taking her pony mare Galianna to two firsts Over Fences and first Under Saddle. Galianna is trained by Tom Wright and Mitchell Robinson.

Fuqua changed rein from Ponies to Junior Hunters and Equitation, again riding for a prestigious name in the hunter ring. Riding I Love Lucy, a mare owned by John & Stephanie Ingram and trained by Tom Wright, she finished 3rd in the 3’3″ Under 15 Juniors. With her own Cornell 22, Fuqua began her official 2020 career in the Big Equitation with top finishes under the guidance of trainer Jimmy Torano.

Fuqua and Dream Girl (Photo by Sara Hellner)

While the Ponies, Hunters, and Equitation have been Fuqua’s forte for most of her life, her roots stem from a decidedly dressage family. Her home base of Collecting Gaits Farm recently welcomed a new FEI level dressage mare to their barn, the aptly named Dream Girl. A bay mare shown through the Intermediaire I in Holland, Dream Girl arrived in Miami in the first few days of 2020. Under the guidance of dressage trainer (and Dream Girl’s scout) Jason Canton, Fuqua has already ridden the bay a few times in quarantine with the goal of competing and qualifying in the Junior/Young Rider divisions down the road.

“This was an amazing WEF 1 and I’m really excited for everything happening this year,” said Fuqua. “Riding Upside to a 90 was definitely a highlight, as that is the highest score I’ve ever received at WEF in a pony class. I also was really lucky to be able to ride Tori [Colvin’s] International Hunter Derby horse I Love Lucy in the 3’3″ Juniors to an 84 and third in the class. Dream Girl is a whole different style of riding, but one I’ve grown up around and am excited to develop a relationship with her.”

Kat Fuqua’s passion for horses is reflected not only in her highly decorated Pony Hunter, Equitation, and Junior Hunter rider results, but also in the joy and dedication she shows each time she swings into the saddle. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia and under the guidance of trainer Jimmy Torano, every aspect of Fuqua’s riding, training, and show career reflects a unique ardor for equines and horse sport. She balances her equestrian lifestyle with attendance as a full time 6th grade student at Holy Innocence Episcopal School and takes pride in developing alongside her horses. In addition to riding, Kat enjoys spending time with her school friends and her favorite subject is French.

For more information, visit www.KatFuqua.com.

Cian O’Connor Claims Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix at WEF

Cian O’Connor and Lassaro Delle Schiave. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2020 – Irish Olympic bronze medalist Cian O’Connor won the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix riding Lazzaro Delle Schiave to close out opening week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Sunday, January 12, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

From a 46-horse field, 17 advanced to the jump-off of the Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix set by course designer Eric Hasbrouck (USA). Returning sixth, O’Connor and 11-year-old Italian Sporthorse gelding Lazzaro Delle Schiave gave it all they had, stopping the clock in a time of 35.956 seconds. The time would eventually take the victory by less than a half a second over runner-up Molly Ashe Cawley riding Balous Day Date, owned by Louisburg Farm, to a time of 36.455 seconds.

“We went early and I knew there were some fast ones and good ones behind me, so I took out a few strides, particularly to the last, and really used my horse’s strength there,” said O’Connor, who has settled in Wellington for the duration of the season with his three top horses. “The course was fast and a nice test for the rest of the circuit.”

Lilly Goldstein and Fenway Claim Championship in Small Junior Hunters 15 & Under

WEF hunter competition came to a close during week 1 with Lilly Goldstein and Fenway earning champion in the Small Junior Hunters 15 & Under. Goldstein hails from Argyle, TX and rode her horse Fenway to two firsts, two thirds, and a sixth-place ribbon to earn the tri-color.

Fenway is owned by Goldstein, and proved himself to the judges by winning the hack and staying consistent throughout both days of the division. “The judges really liked him! He jumped very nice and was super smooth during our rounds,” Goldstein said of her horse’s performance.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.