Category Archives: Pony

Samantha Takacs and Grace Debney Earn Green Hunter Tricolors at USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Samantha Takacs and Galianna.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 10, 2018 – The penultimate day of hunter competition concluded Friday at the Kentucky Horse Park with two new 2018 USEF Pony Finals champions hoisting their titles. In the Medium Green Pony Hunters, Samantha Takacs and Galianna extended their day one lead to secure the overall championship and the Grand Green Pony Hunter rosette, while Grace Debney and Lafayette Park led the victory gallop and took home the final green pony division championship in the Large Green Pony Hunters in addition to the Grand Reserve Green Pony Hunter title.

Beginning the day as the early leaders and the last to ride over fences out of 72 entries, Takacs and Kim Wolf’s Galianna needed 236 points to surpass Cecelia Jackson and Northwind Marwyn, the current leading pair, as they entered the ring for their over fences ride. A steady stream of solid performances throughout the class kept the top of the leaderboard close, but luckily Takacs and the dappled dark bay pony had finished the first two phases of competition with a 16-point lead, easing some of the pressure. Pulling in scores of 84, 85 and 87 from the judges’ panel for a total 256 points after a first-rate trip, the 13-year-old rider and Galianna earned the over fences blue ribbon and boosted their cumulative two-day score to 1,040.02, claiming the division title and Grand Green Hunter Pony championship as the highest scoring of the three size-based Green divisions.

Takacs and Galianna, affectionately known as “Adele” or “Deli Sandwich,” are newfound partners, with the young rider only just getting the reins on the mare one short week ago. When California-based Gabrielle Sokolow was not able to attend the 2018 USEF Pony Finals with trainer Corinne Bevins, New Jersey-based Takacs stepped in to take over the ride. Though their time together was scant, the combined talent of the rider and pony proved to be the perfect match, earning top marks in all three phases.

Jackson and Susan McDade’s Northwind Marwyn finished in the reserve position with 1,000.50 points, the only other pair to break the 1,000-point threshold, closely followed by owner-rider Lola Head and Goldhills As You Like It in third position overall. Kierstin Antoniadis and Elizabeth Garcia’s Blank Check finished fourth in the standings, while Alexa Lignelli and The Lignelli Family’s EMC Entourage rounded out the top five placings.

Concluding the afternoon was the Large Green Pony Hunters, comprised of a pack of 81 pony-and-rider combinations vying for the top spot. Riding fifth-to-last in the order of go, 14-year-old Debney and Temple Equestrian, LLC’s Lafayette Park executed a near flawless trip over the 10-fence track to usurp the sitting class leaders, Kierstin Antoniadis and Winter Tietjen’s Pokerface, who leapfrogged from 20th position to the top of the field with a 259-point over fences score. The remaining four contenders each navigated satisfactory rounds, but were unsuccessful at matching the finesse shown by Debney and “Jake,” who ultimately finished in the top spot overall with 1,018.85 points and second in the over fences portion of competition. With their composite score, Debney and Lafayette Park secured the Grand Reserve Green Pony Hunter tricolor.

Debney is hot off a standout performance at the Devon Horse Show with the famous pony, Storyteller, who she piloted to the Large Pony Hunter Championship, the Grand Pony Hunter title, and the Best Child Rider on a Pony title in May. With her win Friday, Debney can add another accolade to her mounting trophy case.

The only other duo to hit 1,000 points, Antoniadis and Pokerface finished in the reserve position with 1,005.03 points, trailed by Isabella Griffin and her own Heaven’s Gift with the bronze. Owner-rider Jessica West and Stoneledge Just My Style captured fourth place, while Takacs added another top placing to her repertoire with fifth position aboard Rendezvous Farm’s Small Romance.

In the Medium Regular Pony Hunters, the last hunter division of the week, Toblerone carried Ava Berman to the forefront of the standings after two strong showings in the model and the hack. Narrowly missing first place by less than half of a point in the model, Berman and Sofia Baiker’s Toblerone secured the divisional lead with a ninth place finish under saddle, propelling them to the top of the overall scorecard with total marks of 519.55.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Maddie Tosh Jumps to Small Regular Pony Hunter Championship at USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Maddie Tosh and Bit of Love.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 9, 2018 – The 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, returned to the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of competition , with Maddie Tosh and Bit Of Love proving to be the day’s big winners as the over fences and overall champions in the Small Regular Pony Hunters. The winning 12-year-old and Bit Of Love bested a lofty field of 101 entries to assert themselves as the 2018 titleholders. The remaining larger green pony divisions all had their time to shine Thursday, as well, with Samantha Takacs aboard Galianna and Josephine Rose with the ride on Cacique claiming the early leads in their respective divisions, the Medium Green and Large Green Pony Hunters.

Returning in sixth position for the Small Regular Pony Hunters, Tosh was not faced with the pressure of riding as the last to go with Dr. Betsee Parker’s seasoned pony, Bit Of Love, but was challenged to lay down a near-perfect showing in order to eclipse Finley Morgan and the five pairs sitting ahead of her after the model and hack phases. Tackling the expansive track with finesse, the young rider and Bit Of Love pulled in scores of 88, 90 and 92 for a composite score of 270 over fences, overtaking the early leaders Morgan and her own Howie Do It, who impressively jumped from 50th position to the initial lead after a textbook trip. Forced to watch five of her peers chase her down, Tosh was ultimately rewarded as each pair failed to accrue enough points to oust her from her spot atop the leaderboard. Though Helen Ryan and Smitten gave them a run for the title with individual scores of 87, 87.5 and 88, their effort would have to settle for second position in both the over fences and overall.

In addition to their class and division tricolors, Tosh and Bit Of Love also earned the High-Scoring Welsh Award for Small Regular Ponies as the top finisher for the breed. Tosh is trained by her father, acclaimed rider and trainer Hunt Tosh, out of Alpharetta, Georgia, and has been riding “Chester” for two years. This is her second appearance at Pony Finals, but the first win for Tosh, who also competes on the horses in the equitation and Children’s Hunter.

Combined with Wednesday’s score from the model and under saddle portions of divisional competition, Tosh and Bit Of Love concluded the Small Regular Pony Hunters with total marks of 1,050.54, a handful of points ahead of the reserve champions, Ryan and Town Line Equestrian, LLC’s Smitten. Not far behind, the day one leaders Carolyn Colter and So Enchanted, owned by Jessica Zandri, claimed third position, trailed by Lauren Gee and Ava Berman’s Farmore Charismatic in fourth place. Morgan and Howie Do It made the largest jump of the afternoon to round out the top five finishers.

Boasting two strong showings in the Medium Green Pony Hunters a few hours prior, four-time Pony Finals veteran Takacs modeled and rode Kim Wolf’s Galianna to the highest total marks of the day to emerge as the early pair to beat. The pony-and-rider combination commenced their morning with a third place finish out of 72 exhibitors in the model, and then secured the divisional lead with an eye-catching performance in the hack, riding to the blue ribbon more than 10 points ahead of the next-closest finisher.

Rose and Joey Rose, LLC’s Cacique concluded the initial phases of Large Green Pony Hunter competition as the frontrunners with a narrow 4-point lead headed into the over fences class. Now at her fifth Pony Finals, Rose showed off Cacique’s conformation expertly, warranting a fourth place ribbon and score of 255.59 from the judges’ panel. The pair soon improved upon their showing in the hack, displaying the walk, trot and canter to the reserve spot and a lofty score of 270.16, less than one point behind the class winner, Caroline Passarelli in the irons aboard So Dapper, owned by Jessica Zandri.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Kat Fuqua and Skylar Wireman Crowned First Two 2018 USEF Pony Finals Champions

Photo: Kat Fuqua and Brighton.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 8, 2018 – Bowties and braids returned to the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park for the second day of the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, on Wednesday, with the day one leaders aiming to retain their top positions in the Large Regular and Small Green Pony Hunter divisions. In the end, Kat Fuqua and Brighton led from start to finish and were successful at fending off the large field of competition to emerge victorious in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, while Skylar Wireman, with the reins on Neon Moon, leapfrogged 20 places to the top of the leaderboard in the Small Green Pony Hunter division.

As the last to ride of more than 140 entries in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, 11-year-old Fuqua and her own Brighton overcame the pressure to lay down the highest scoring single trip of the day, easily sweeping all three phases of the division and claiming the championship tricolors. Displaying their prowess by maintaining an even rhythm around the lofty track, the winning duo raked in scores of 85.5, 87.5 and 88 from the judges’ panel to brandish top marks of 261 in the over fences class. Combined with Tuesday’s score, Fuqua and Brighton’s final tally was 1063.65, more than 30 points ahead of the reserve champion and a strong score to keep them in contention for the Grand Regular Pony Hunter title to be crowned Saturday following the conclusion of all the divisions.

The 2018 event is Fuqua’s fifth Pony Finals appearance, but her first championship win, fittingly on her mother’s birthday. Both of Fuqua’s parents are grand prix dressage riders, but their daughter has shown an aptitude for jumping and shows no signs of slowing down, recently earning a top placing at the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East. The young rider from Atlanta, Georgia will return later in the week to contest more pony divisions against her peers.

One of only five pony-and-rider combinations to break the 1,000-point benchmark, Chandler Wilks navigated Ashley Vail Aycox’s Valentino to the reserve championship with a cumulative score of 1029.86, followed by Propp and Aquitaine Equine’s News Day, who jumped from ninth at the beginning of the day to nab the final podium spot with marks of 1027.76. Clair Campbell and Eastside, owned by Maher Family, LLC, claimed fourth place, while Emma Rupinski and Lily Rupinski’s Stonewall Top Call pulled off one of the largest improvements of the day to finish in fifth position after jumping from the 30th spot.

Capping off the afternoon, the Small Green Pony Hunters took the spotlight and, with a smaller field of 40 contenders, movement among the top of the ranks was not out of the question. Riding 19th in the order of go as the 21st-ranked pair after day one, 13-year-old Wireman and Balmoral’s Neon Moon were not pegged as one of the frontrunners, but quickly attracted attention with their talented trip that earned them scores of 86, 87 and 90 from the watchful eyes of the judges. Forced to wait with nearly half of the class still to ride, Wireman looked on as her fellow riders took their shot at usurping her place atop the scorecard, but none were able to overtake her over fences marks of 263 or her cumulative 998.50 division points.

Alexa Lignelli and Agatha Lignelli’s Just Right rode to the second place ribbon both over fences and overall with 254 and 994.60 points, respectively, while Alexandra Miller aboard Pineapple, owned by Emily Elek-Burtard, likewise clinched third position over fences and in the final division rankings. Owner-rider Vanessa Mazzoli and Partly Cloudy earned the fourth spot, and Propp and Aquitaine Equine’s With Love, the day one leaders, rounded out the top five finishers.

Earlier in the day, Carolyn Colter and Jessica Zandri’s So Enchanted maneuvered their way to the early lead in the Small Regular Pony Hunters thanks to ribbon-worthy performances in both the model and under saddle phases.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Kat Fuqua and Clara Propp Ride to Early Lead at 2018 USEF Pony Finals

Photo: Kat Fuqua and Brighton.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 7, 2018 – Tuesday morning marked the highly-anticipated commencement of the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, at the Kentucky Horse Park, with nearly 200 ponies and their junior riders taking center stage in the first two divisions of the week. The most celebrated event of its kind for pony riders in the United States, the USEF Pony Finals is a three-phase competition judging the pony’s conformation, way of moving and jumping ability. After the first two rounds of competition for the Large Regular Pony Hunters, Kat Fuqua and Brighton emerged as the early leaders by impressively earning blue ribbons in both the model and hack ahead of 146 fellow contenders. Besting the field in the Small Green Pony Hunters, Clara Propp and With Love will ride last over fences as the initial frontrunners in their division.

Though Fuqua and her own Brighton have only been paired together for one short month, their short relationship did not detract from their performance in the Walnut Ring as the pair consistently impressed the judges’ panel in the Large Regular Pony Hunters. Under the tutelage of trainer Michael Newman of Aubrey Hill Equestrian in Pace, Florida, the 11-year-old rider and chestnut pony collected scores of 260.23 in the model and 281.42 in the hack to solidify their place atop the leaderboard headed into the final portion of competition. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Brighton carried Claire Campbell to a similar lead in the division after day one of the 2017 USEF Pony Finals with a cumulative score of 512.62, and this year the pony improved on his performance to stand an even better chance of sweeping the division with total marks of 541.65 headed into day two.

Chasing Fuqua and Brighton’s commanding early lead, Chandler Wilks and Ashley Vail Aycox’s Valentino currently sit in the reserve spot with 534.56 points, while Caroline Passarelli piloted another Fuqua-owned mount, Chic in Time, to third position overall. Sitting in fourth is Brynn Kuhnell and D’Artagnan, owned by Simply Ponies, LLC, trailed by Ava Aguilar and Sienna Gustafson’s Imagine That rounding out the top five slots.

In the Small Green Pony Hunters, Clara Propp began her day on a high note, winning the model with Aquitaine Equine’s With Love to the tune of 265.98 points from the judges. In the flat portion of the division, fellow bow-clad rider Omi Enkin and her own Happiness nabbed the first prize with a score of 258.00, but Propp and With Love’s third place marks of 254.50 were enough to propel the 11-year-old from Canada and her grey pony to the top of the overall scorecard. Boasting a composite score of 520.48, Propp and With Love currently sit 10 points ahead of the next-closest competitors, Enkin and Happiness with 510.20 points, headed into the over fences final phase.

Currently sitting in third place, Helen Ryan and Town Line Equestrian, LLC’s Charming will attempt to usurp the leaders, with owner-rider Jordan Gibbs and Show Off hot on their tails less than one point behind. Vanessa Mazzoli and her own Partly Cloudy clinched fifth place to close out the top contenders after day one.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com

Prize List Now Available Online for 60th Anniversary Washington International Horse Show

Washington, D.C. – The prize list for the 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), which will celebrate its 60th anniversary from October 23-28 at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C., is now available online.

WIHS will continue a longstanding tradition as one of the world’s most cherished indoor horse shows in 2018 and again host the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Washington, presented by Events DC, with coveted qualifying points on offer for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final taking place in Göteborg, Sweden in April. Additionally, WIHS will welcome qualified hunter, jumper, equitation, and pony riders from across the nation and celebrate year-end titles.

“Sixty years is a milestone that we at WIHS have been looking forward to celebrating for some time,” said Victoria Lowell, WIHS President. “Winning a ribbon at WIHS is a momentous event for any rider and we are excited to make it even more special this year as we celebrate this anniversary. We are proud to welcome more than 26,000 spectators, pay out over $500,000 in prize money, and encourage the equestrian community to experience urban horse showing at its best in the heart of our nation’s capital city.”

In addition to some of the world’s top riders and rising stars from within North America, WIHS management has prepared an A-list lineup of judges and officials for the 2018 event. Headlining the list is two-time U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Anne Kursinski, who will judge the coveted Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals.

“WIHS is a very exciting horse show because of its history, prestige, location in the heart of the city, and because of the fact that you have to earn your way to get to Washington by qualifying,” said Kursinski, a two-time U.S. Olympic team silver medalist who competed for her country as part of the United States Equestrian Team in Nations’ Cup competition at WIHS. “Specifically, the WIHS Equitation Finals is unlike any other in the country.

“It’s exciting to judge the class, but it also gives me an opportunity to look at the bigger picture,” continued Kursinski, who is the Chef d’Equipe for the U.S. Show Jumping Development program. “Seeing the development of riders from the junior level all the way through to the selection of our WEG team is a lot of fun. That’s where Washington plays a great role; there I can watch the next generation of riders who will likely go on to ride for the U.S. team.”

In memory of the 2017 Amateur-Owner Grand Champion, owned and ridden by Lindsay Maxwell, WIHS will introduce the Technicolor Award to be given to the horse who best exemplifies the classic hunter in aesthetic, jumping style, and presence in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” division.

WIHS Prize List Now Available Online

Prize Money & Cash Bonuses

Total prize money of $518,000 will be awarded throughout the week, including the following special cash bonuses:

  • $10,000 to the Leading International Jumper rider
  • $10,000 to the Leading International Jumper rider 25 years of age or younger
  • $5,000 to the Leading Professional Hunter rider
  • $20,000 Young Jumper Championship Incentive Program

Judges and Officials

Technical Coordinator: Joseph Carnicom of Toledo, OH

Course Designers: Olaf Petersen Jr. (Jumper) of Munich, Germany and Alan Lohman (Hunter) Poolesville, MD

Hunter/Equitation Judges: Brian Lenehan of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Mike Rosser of Southern Pines, NC, Steve Wall of Pinehurst, NC, and Anne Kursinski (Equitation) of Frenchtown, NJ

Jumper Ground Jury: Ralph Alfano, (President) of Wellington, FL, Neil O’Connor of Southampton, NY, and Foreign Member TBA

Footing Specialist: Karsten Koch (FEI, The Footing Firm) of Bremen, Germany

Stewards: Dan Reed (FEI Chief Steward) of Batavia, OH, Donna Rocchetti (USEF) of Falls, PA, Rich Herrera (PGEC) of Wellington, FL, and Glena Wirtanen (USEF) of Phoenix, MD

Schooling Supervisors/Assistant FEI Stewards: Maria Biancone of Roseland, NJ, Jean Bonsall of Saranac Lake, NY, Shawn Frazer of Huntersville, NC, Peter Lane of Wellington, FL, and Mary O’Connor of Southampton, NY

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

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jwood@jumpmediallc.com

Second Annual Pony Spectacular Features Expanded Lineup of Classes and Special Events

Mill Spring, NC – June 21, 2018 – The Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) Summer Series is excited to present the return of the second annual Pony Spectacular as part of Tryon Summer III competition hosted June 27 through July 1 at the venue, which will include fun entertainment and events for competitors and their families, as well as spectators and fans. The week is a fantastic way for riders to prepare for competition at the USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm in a big arena atmosphere.

The second annual Pony Spectacular will be highlighted by the $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Classic in the George H. Morris Arena at Tryon Stadium beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, June 29. The winning combination from the $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Classic will be honored during the $70,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday evening in front of an enthusiastic “Saturday Night Lights” crowd. The concept of the Pony Spectacular was created to help give competitive pony riders additional experience in a major competition atmosphere.

Pony Divisions will be hosted in the George H. Morris Arena throughout the day on Saturday, featuring twelve classes and several pony jumper classes will be highlighted as well, giving youth the chance to showcase their talents in TIEC’s biggest arena.

Pony Spectacular Events & Activities

Friday, June 29 at 12:00 p.m. – Stall Decorating Contest

Another new addition to the Pony Spectacular is a stall-decorating contest that will be held throughout the week, with a winner will be crowned through votes on Instagram. The TIEC team will host a special Instagram live session on Friday, June 29, and the contest is a great way for barns to show their spirit and excitement for the Pony Spectacular. The theme of the stall decorating contest is “Welcome to Summer” with one contest winner being selected by a group of judges to win VIP seating for six in the Legends Club for the movie showing of Moana and six pool passes to Cleghorn Golf & Sports Club.

Friday, June 29 at 7:00 p.m. – Bow Decorating, Movie Night Featuring “Moana” & Ice Cream Social Pajama Party

New to this year’s Pony Spectacular lineup is a “Make Your Own Bow” station at the Movie Night and Ice Cream Social Pajama Party in Legends Club on Friday, June 29, at 7:00 p.m. following the $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Classic. Competitors can craft personalized show bows from provided materials or bring their own, while Moana plays on the Jumbotron in the George H. Morris Arena. Popcorn, ice cream and toppings will be provided for competitors on a first come, first serve basis.

Free admission and seating for the general public will be open in the George H. Morris Arena at Tryon Stadium and concessions will be offered throughout the evening including movie theater favorites like popcorn, cotton candy, and lemonade.

Saturday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m. – Hobby Horse Competition

American Hobby Horse competition will return to TIEC during the second annual Pony Spectacular, offering competitors a chance to hone their skills before registered competition begins on Saturday, July 7. The American Hobby Horse Finals will take place on Saturday, July 28, during the USPC Charles Owen Championship East, presented by Flair, LLC and Airowear. American Hobby Horse competition will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, before the $70,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 2*. Check-in will begin at 6:00 p.m. Maximum participant age is 14.

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

World’s Best Out in Force at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Her Majesty The Queen was present to watch the afternoon action in the Castle Arena, presenting several awards, including the Best Turned Out Trooper and The Challenge Cup and Queen’s Plate for the winners of the Land Rover Services Team Jumping.

Daniel Deusser continued his stellar Royal Windsor form to take the pinnacle of the day’s competition, The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes For The King’s Cup with Britain’s Guy Williams taking the evening’s Falcon Stakes, much to the delight of the home crowd.

In the Driving, a familiar face sits in pole position of the horse four-in-hand ahead of the cones phase, with eight-time Royal Windsor winner Boyd Exell occupying the top spot.

SHOW JUMPING: DEUSSER AND EQUITA MAKE IT TWO FROM TWO WHILE WILLIAMS POSTS A WIN FOR BRITAIN

Daniel Deusser and Equita Van T Zorgvliet made it two from two on their Royal Windsor debut, winning the feature class of the day The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes For The King’s Cup.

Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s 1.55m course posed several challenges in the first round, with a difficult line of two doubles catching several combinations out early on and a particularly spooky swan themed fence causing a few problems too. 10 of the 30 starters jumped clear to make it through to the competitive jump-off, which featured many of the world’s best riders.

First to go in the jump-off was the class winner from two years ago, Laura Kraut (USA), riding Catwalk 22, who jumped immaculately to set the standard with a clear round in a time of 38.99. Canada’s Tiffany Foster took over the pole position as fourth to go with a particularly tight turn to fence eight, the swans, to shave 1.87 seconds off Kraut’s time; however, her lead was short-lived as Britain’s Robert Whitaker rode an immaculate round, turning especially tight to the double down the final line to take over the top spot. Next into the arena, 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze (CAN) showed that the time could be beaten, riding a very fast round, but the twelve-year-old gelding Chacco Kid clipped the vertical going into the final double to finish on four faults.

With two former world number one riders still to come, Whitaker’s lead was never secure, and Kent Farrington (USA) came close, his nimble chestnut gelding Creedance covering the ground quickly, but with slightly wider turns they finished 0.03 seconds slower. As last to go, Daniel Deusser, riding Equita Van T Zorgvliet, retained his top form, making all the turns and striding out between the fences to post an exceptional time of 35.51 and take the victory, lining up a meeting with Her Majesty The Queen, who presented The King’s Cup to the winner.

Speaking after the presentation, Deusser said, “It’s turning out to be a good show for me this week. I’m wondering why I haven’t been here before! I’m really happy with how it went today. I managed to make a couple of really tight turns, so I thought I was quick, but I knew Robert’s horse was big striding, so I couldn’t relax. The win is extra special as I will now get to meet the Queen, which is a great honour and I am really looking forward to it.”

The highlight of the evening performance, the CSI5* Falcon Stakes, provided top class entertainment with the world’s best riders back in action. Speed was a major factor from the start, with only 10 places available in the jump-off, it was only the fastest of the 16 clear rounds from the first round that made it through. The top ten then returned in reverse order, with the advantage falling to USA’s Laura Kraut as the fastest clear in round one to be the last to go in the jump-off.

Qualifying in tenth position, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano was first to tackle the shortened jump-off course and put the pressure on from start, with his foot flat to the floor throughout and smooth tight turns posting a clear round in 35.75 seconds. Britain’s Scott Brash followed him into the arena and immediately took over the lead with an incredibly slick round, saving time with the tightest of turns, to record a time of 35.40. The lead changed several times before the end; first it was Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, who flew straight out of the gate, making up time across the ground to overtake Brash, with William Funnell (GBR) coming close too, but it was Britain’s Guy Williams as the penultimate to go, who took the victory. Riding the thirteen-year-old stallion Rouge De Ravel, Williams kept up the pace throughout and pulled off an exceptional turn to the Hermès vertical at the far end to make up 0.36 seconds on Guerdat.

Williams praised his horse following his victory. “He’s a really good horse and I know he’s fast, so with a good draw, I knew I was in with a chance. It’s always good to win on home soil and the crowd here tonight was fantastic, so it’s been a great night.”

SHOWING: PONIES TAKE TO THE FORE

India Till scooped the biggest prize of her career so far when her 128cm show pony, Rotherwood Rainmaker, landed the coveted Martin Collins Enterprises Show Pony Championship title, one of the most sought-after accolades on the pony Showing circuit.

After winning a strong class, the diminutive pair defied the rain to command the Castle Arena, prompting judge D Price Jones to comment: “We were looking for a quality pony that would carry a child safely and prettily. This pony does exactly that.”

A former Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) reserve with previous jockey Poppy Carter, the exquisite bay has introduced India to top flight showing, still produced by Poppy’s mother, Katy Carter.

Reserve went to the 148cm victors, Phoebe Price and her 2016 HOYS champion and last year’s HOYS class winner, Litton Enterprise, a 12-year-old produced by Julie Templeton.

The Novice Show Pony Championship title is equally sought-after. This year it fell to Robert Walker’s son Sam, who celebrated his 14th birthday five days earlier, with Julie Rucklidge’s homebred five-year-old 138cm class winner, Jackets Dynasty, also produced by Julie Templeton. The charming bay mare is following in illustrious footsteps, as both her dam, Jackets Maybee, and granddam Jackets Maysong won at Royal Windsor and went on to triumph at HOYS.

After some strong classes, the BSPS Mountain and Moorland Ridden Championship — and coveted ticket to the Heritage Finale at Olympia, The London International Horse Show in December — went to Becki Penny with Lynn Scott’s ultra-consistent homebred Welsh section C stallion, Lynuck The Showman.

Two Connemara ponies dominated the popular Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony classes. Riverside Daffodil, owned and ridden by Renee Nichols, jumped a super round to head the exceeding 143cm division and stand champion, ahead of the exceeding 133cm but not exceeding 143cm class victor, Hearnesbrook New Moon, owned by Phyll Buxton and ridden by Ella Dalton.

DRIVING: EXELL EXCELS IN TRICKY CONDITIONS

In horse four-in-hands, the leader – reigning world champion and winner here eight times – Boyd Exell (AUS) drove surely and confidently in wet conditions, recording the fastest time in five of the obstacles. He won this section and increased his lead to an impressive 20 penalties. His closest challenger at this time is Belgium’s Edouard Simonet whose careful marathon – he was third in the phase – moved him into second place overall, from fifth after the dressage. Father and son competitors from the Netherlands, Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon, the latter competing in horse four-in-hands for the first time here, moved up the leader board to take third and fourth places, respectively, less than one penalty separating them.

Horse pairs saw a change in leader when second placed Beat Schenk from Switzerland moved up to first place ahead of France’s Franck Grimonprez, a member of France’s bronze medal winning team at the 2017 World Horse Pairs Championships in Slovenia. Germany’s Sebastian Warneck, a silver team medallist in Slovenia last year, moved up a place to third.

Positions changed, too, in pony four-in-hands. Overnight leader Tinne Bax (BEL) dropped from first place to third, while Great Britain’s young pony four-in-hand competitor, Roger Campbell, drove an outstanding marathon to win this section and secure him second place ahead of the cones phase. He is less than three penalties behind the new overnight leader Jan de Boer from the Netherlands, who has six previous wins at Royal Windsor with his team of Welsh ponies.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy Is First-Ever Winner of FEI Pony Jumping Trophy Final in Mechelen

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Ireland’s Seamus Hughes-Kennedy wrote his name into the history-books of equestrian sport when winning the inaugural FEI Pony Jumping Trophy™ Final at Mechelen in Belgium.

Riding the 12-year-old mare, Cuffesgrange Cavalidam, the 15-year-old schoolboy had to hold his nerve when in the lead and last to go of the top 10 who qualified for the deciding round.

“I tried to think of it as just another day in the ring but I couldn’t help but be nervous – this is unbelievable!” — Seamus Hughes-Kennedy IRL (winner)

His partnership with his pony, however, has already been marked by his seventh-place finish individually at this summer’s FEI European Pony Championships in Hungary. Runner-up was another of the strong Irish contingent, Abbie Sweetnam with Dynamite Spartacus, while Belgium’s Aaron Tijskens steered Superbre de Laloena into third.

The series is devised along the same lines as the FEI World Cup™ and this first Final more than lived up to expectations. The Irish took early command when team gold and European individual silver medallist, Kate Derwin (Cul Ban Mistress), topped Wednesday’s opener ahead of Hughes-Kennedy in second and Sweetnam in third. A win for Thibeau Spits and Cleostrade on Thursday, however, put this young Belgian on level pegging with Derwin, both going into the finale on a zero scoreline after results were converted into points.

From a start-list of 15, a tough and technical first-round track brought the cream to the very top and with the only clear of the course it was Hughes-Kennedy who went out in front carrying just the four points he collected over the first two competitions. And when Spits disappeared from the reckoning with three fences on the floor and Derwin lost her grip with two mistakes, then it was Sweetnam who was stalking her compatriot, just one point in arrears, while Tijskens was only another two points further adrift going into the second round.

It was gripping, and with no room for error after a clear from fourth-placed Derwin, the three ahead of her all coped with the incredible pressure to hold their places. You could hear a pin drop as, last to go, Hughes-Kennedy set off with his mare who is something of a phenomenon. Cuffesgrange Cavalidam, whose sire Luidam was competed by Irish international rider Billy Twomey, was found by Seamus’ mother Clare running around field as an unbroken 10-year-old.

“She was still green enough this time last year when we did our first 1.30m competition in Millstreet and we haven’t really done a lot, the Spring Tour at home, the European Championships trials and then the Championships – she’s wonderful, she’s always trying to help me, she’s the pony of a lifetime!” — Seamus Hughes-Kennedy IRL (winner)

Talking about the concept of the FEI Pony Jumping Trophy series which has been staged alongside Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifiers in Oslo (NOR), Herning (DEN), Verona (ITA), Lyon (FRA) and Stuttgart (GER) this season, the new champion said, “It’s been brilliant. We learn so much from being around top riders and watching what they do. They talk to us and help us – it’s a great experience!”

FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, said, “The FEI is happy and proud to give these young athletes a platform to show their talent and riding skills, especially with the Olympic Movement’s focus on the development of youth sport right now.” The FEI Pony Jumping Trophy™ Final will return to Mechelen again in 2018.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Zorzi Closes the Show in Style

The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix provided an exhilarating finale to a fantastic week at Olympia, The London International Horse Show. With 12 riders through to the jump-off, the lead changed several times throughout the class, with Italy’s Alberto Zorzi coming out on top ahead of Harrie Smolders in second and home favourite Michael Whitaker in third. Harrie’s second place was enough to secure his Leading Rider Award, having already won and been placed earlier in the week.

The afternoon session began with the Christmas Stocking Six Bar supported by Olympia, with Emanuele Gaudiano the only rider to jump four clear rounds, ahead of Geir Gulliksen, who just had four faults in the fourth round. The Holly Speed Stakes sponsored by Champagne Taittinger went to a jubilant William Funnell riding Billy Angelo, closely followed by Laura Renwick to make it a British one-two.

The BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux showcased a different breed of horse to that more regularly seen in the Olympia Grand Hall, with palomino Welsh Section B pony, Cadlanvalley Sandpiper, ridden by Katy Marriott-Payne, crowned the winner.

Alberto Zorzi’s Olympia debut ended in the best way possible, with a superb victory in The Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix, the first win in the class for an Italian rider, on Athena Onassis’ Contanga.

Dutchman Harrie Smolders crowned a great year with second place on Zinius, propelling him to the top of the Leading Rider of Show table. Michael Whitaker, the winner two years ago, gave the home crowd something to cheer about with third place and a fast double clear on Jb’s Hot Stuff.

Twelve horses went through to the jump-off but only five jumped double clear, including fourth-placed Maikel Van der Vleuten from the Netherlands on Dana Blue and Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander on the ride that took her to third in the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg, Inca Boy van T Vianahof.

Alberto said of his 13-year-old mare Contanga: ‘I think she is the best horse in the world, very scopey, very special. The feeling over a fence is amazing. This is an amazing indoor show. I love the Christmas atmosphere and am so happy to be here.”

Ben Maher finished sixth on Winning Good, only an eight-year-old but clearly a talent for the future, enough to put him second in the Leading Rider rankings. Laura Renwick, another who looks to have some promising up-and-coming horses, was fourth and John Whitaker, the hero of Sunday night, was seventh – all excellent results considering the overseas talent that came to Olympia this year.

There was a popular home win in The Holly Speed Stakes sponsored by Champagne Taittinger for William Funnell on the home-produced 14-year-old Billy Angelo, a horse he’s been bringing to Olympia for seven years.

“He’s won a fair bit here over that time and he loves the atmosphere,” said William. “He squeals with excitement when he goes into the prize giving.”

Despite getting the better of the rest of the field, William was analysing how he could have gone even better. “We stumbled just a little on a turn which broke the rhythm a bit. Laura [Renwick, who finished second] hadn’t left much room for improvement.”

Earlier, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano riding Jamar d’Ysenbeeck Z was the sole survivor after four rounds in the Christmas Stocking Six Bar to claim the win.

“My horse hasn’t had that much international experience,” said Emanuele, who cleared 1.80m to take the class, “but he has gone well today.”

Allana Clutterbuck, 16, had a night to remember when she won her first Olympia class, The Mince Pie Stakes for 148cm ponies riding Atomic Du Barry.

Seven riders got through to the jump-off, but Allana was the only one to achieve a double clear and her time of 29.06 was 3.36 seconds faster than runner-up Tahnia Jordan-Jones on Jumper.

Atomic Du Barry is the latest in a family of ponies ridden by Allana – she has ridden six from the same dam, all bred in France, including her European Pony Championships silver medallist.

The 12 native pony breeds made for a spectacular sight in the Olympia Grand Hall, but it was an overwhelmed Katy Marriott-Payne who won The BSPS Heritage Mountain & Moorland Ridden Championship sponsored by LeMieux for the second year running, this time with a palomino Welsh Section B pony, Cadlanvalley Sandpiper, by Eyarth Troy, bred by Mr & Mrs Davies.

“This pony gets under my skin, which is why I’m so emotional,” explained Katy. “This is his seventh time at Olympia and we nearly gave him a winter break, but the bigger the occasion, the better he goes.”

Rebecca Penny was reserve champion with Lynnuck the Snowman, a Welsh Section C by Caerneuadd Hywel, owned and bred by Lynne Scott.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Super Sunday at Olympia

Photo: Julien Epaillard aboard Toupie de la Roque.

The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Leg provided an afternoon of exhilarating sport in the Olympia Grand Hall, with only four of the 36 starters jumping a clear in the first round. As the penultimate to go in the jump-off, Britain’s Scott Brash set the packed crowd alight, jumping clear in a time which looked like it could be the winning round. However, the notoriously speedy Julien Epaillard, riding Toupie de la Roque, knocked Scott off the pole position to take the victory by 0.43 seconds.

The day kicked off with The Pony Club Mini-Major, which went to 11-year-old Poppy Deakin and the in-form Laura Renwick, with ponies also taking to the fore in the opening class of the evening session, The Mistletoe Mini Stakes, which was won by Rachel Proudley.

The evening CSI5* class, The Ivy Stakes, proved to be another challenging content, with just six clears through to the jump-off; however, a speed masterclass from John Whitaker secured the victory, ahead of Ben Maher and Laura Renwick, to make a British one-two-three.

Away from the world class sporting action, The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Final was won by Sara Bacon with Tynevermoor Torque, and the two Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand Nationals of the day went to Madeline Reeder Smith and Zak Kent.

John Whitaker’s assiduous scrutinising of the jump-off course for The Ivy Stakes paid off in spades as he found the most audacious turn which had the crowd roaring their appreciation.

The cheers became deafening as his winning time of 33.17 seconds flashed up, signalling the 62-year-old’s second victory of the week on his own and wife Clare’s 15-year-old stallion Argento.

It was a thrilling end to a great day’s sport with a British one-two-three, Ben Maher second on Madame X and Laura Renwick third on MHS Washington, with the younger riders all quick to acknowledge a genius ride.

“I studied the course carefully because I knew Kevin [Staut, eventual fourth on S&L Through the Looking Glas] was last to go and I had to do something,” explained John, who has been competing here for four decades.

“It shows what a good horse he is because when we did the sharp turn the crowd gave a big cheer and that could have put him off. This show is special, with the crowds and Christmas and everything. It’s a great feeling and I feel lucky to still be in the sport.”

Poppy Deakin, 11, secured the win in The Pony Club Mini-Major relay that had previous escaped both of her sisters, Daisy and Kirsten.

“I wanted to come here and do better than them,” said Olympia first-timer Poppy with a cheeky smirk.

Riding 16-year-old Munsboro Plunkett, and partnering Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick (Shiraz II), the Tynedale Pony Club branch member perfectly executed a tight turn back to the penultimate fence to take the class by more than one second.

“Poppy knew what she was doing,” said Laura. “I gave her hardly any advice. She was telling me how she was going to ride the course and she did what she said she would.”

Later on, North Yorkshire’s Rachel Proudley finally claimed her dream of winning The Mistletoe Mini Stakes with Painted Lady IV at the fourth attempt. “It’s my favourite show and it’s my last year riding her,” said Rachel, 12. “She’ll be staying in the family though, as she’ll now be ridden by my sister, Sarah.”

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355