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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Andrew Bourns and Ninparo Top $6,000 1.40m Nutrena® Classic CSI 2*
Mill Spring, NC – June 30, 2017 – Emma Jolly of Keswick, VA and Mischief Managed rode to victory in the $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, the highlight of the first annual USHJA Foundation Pony Spectacular at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Jolly and Mischief Managed secured a two round score of 335 to capture the win. Leigh Ashby of Lincolnton, NC and Onyxford’s Blue Magic finished in second place with a two round score of 326, while Erica Felder of Lenoir, NC and Elegance secured third place with a final score of 320.
Jolly and Mischief Managed, owned by Rhiana Hughes, performed brilliantly together throughout the two rounds, earning a 167 in the first round, before taking the win with a 168 in the handy.
“This was such a fun experience. I think it really got the ponies and the riders ready for the finals later this summer. The big ring let you get them out in front of you, but then bring them back in,” said Jolly. “It was a great atmosphere to relax and just have a blast.”
Speaking to both courses, in which Jolly collected an impressive two round score from the judges, she commented that Mischief Managed handled each of the questions presented with a sense of ease and consistency.
“I thought the first course was really nice and there was a difficult broken line, but I think it made the ponies think a bit more in the ring,” she added. “The first jump in the handy round always rides a bit interesting, but I thought my pony handled it really well and jumped up nicely. Overall, I thought it was a very fun course.”
Jolly, who is fifteen years old and trains with Brooke Kemper of Culpepper, VA, noted that their barn tailored their entire show schedule around coming to TIEC to compete this week, specifically to participate in the USHJA Foundation Pony Spectacular. Jolly commented, “We came to Tryon this week for the derby. All of the other horses joined as well, but that is what really brought us here.
“I’ll be riding Mischief Managed, who is owned by Rhiana Hughes, and I can’t thank her enough for allowing me to ride him and then I’ll also be riding a Medium Green Pony Hunter named Sunset Sparkle too,” explained Jolly, when speaking about her plans to attend USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, which will be hosted in Lexington, KY later this summer.
“I just wanted to have a fun time in Lexington with Mischief Managed because he knows what he’s doing. With my Medium Green pony, I want to give her a positive experience and let her get used to the big atmosphere,” concluded Jolly.
Andrew Bourns and Ninparo Top $6,000 1.40m Nutrena® Classic CSI 2*
Andrew Bourns (IRL) and Ninparo took a well-earned victory in the $6,000 1.40m Nutrena® Classic CSI 2* at TIEC, kicking off competition in the George H. Morris Arena for the day. The duo added four faults to their jump-off time of 46.765 seconds for the win ahead of Deborah Stephens (USA) and Everest, who also added four faults to their jump-off time of 53.317 seconds. Michael Morrissey (USA) and La Lopez 3 rounded out the top three, adding eighteen faults and finishing with a time of 63.093 seconds around the short course.
Twenty-three entries opened the day of competition in George H. Morris Arena, while only the top three finishers advanced to the jump-off round. Both tracks, designed by Ken Krome (USA), tested riders against the clock as seven combinations finished with one or two time faults on the morning.
Ninparo, a 2008 Oldenburg Springpferd gelding (Nintender x Caspar) owned by Richard Bourns, is stepping into the international spotlight with Bourns piloting from the irons and the duo looked sharp around the tough track.
Glenn Hartigan and Z Coco Cabana [Photos: Alison Hartwell Photography]
Glenn Hartigan of Alpharetta, Georgia and his own Z Coco Cabana brought home the blue ribbon in the $25,000 Sidelines Grand Prix, presented by EMO, on Saturday night to the roar of the crowd. He and Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida were the only two riders to advance to the jump off round over the course designed by Olympic course designer Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Florida. Vale and Thinks Like a Horse Farm’s Bonzini S and Stakko rounded out the roster for the jump off.
“The course was really challenging but fair,” commented Hartigan. “Steve built a great course and it asked the riders good questions. There were some half steps in it so riders needed to decide if they were going to leave those strides out or add. In the last line, you couldn’t leave the stride out; you had to shorten,” he said. “The jump off course was really interesting and he really did a great job. Very well done. Steve used the field really well and having built the Olympics, he knows it really well,” Hartigan added.
Vale and Bonzini S were the first to tackle the jump off round with a time allowed of 51 seconds. Vale and Bonzini S flew through it fault free in a time of 38.894 seconds, setting the new time to beat. He and his second mount, Stakko, followed his first ride and their time of 39.276 seconds put him in the first and second places. Hartigan and Z Coco Cabana were up next.
“Aaron is tough to beat when he comes to town,” said Hartigan. “He won every other major money class. He’s such a professional and he had both horses in the jump off go clear and I thought, ‘With him going clear, I had to take every chance and go faster or I’m going to finish third,'” he said.
Z Coco Cabana and Hartigan, sitting in the last to go position, tackled the course and delivered a clear round in a time of 36.437 seconds and won the class.
“I know my horse and I trained her all the way up to this level. She’s 10 this year and has enough experience in grand prix competition that I knew if I asked her, she would do it. I left strides out where Aaron didn’t and I gunned it,” he said. “We went really fast and it was really fun,” Hartigan added.
“When I started her 2 years ago I probably wouldn’t have gone so fast. Training at that level, I want to protect her big heart. The more experience she gets the more I can ask of her. She is maturing as a grand prix horse and she won a grand prix in Tryon a few weeks ago and has been second several times, so I can take more chances,” he said.
“She’s [Coco] so comfortable in the Arena here in Conyers. I bred her mother and Coco was born in Germany. I brought her over here as a 5 year old and her first show was here in Conyers,” he said. “The Atlanta Classics are always ones we come to,” said Hartigan. “It was fun to win in front of this home town crowd who has watched her over the years. A lot of people know her and know how much my wife and I put into it and to have her win was beyond our wildest expectations,” he added.
“I’m a very proud breeder,” said Hartigan. “Coco just got a new sister and she’s in Kentucky. So we’re going to head there after this show to meet the newest member of the family, but we’ll be back for the Atlanta Fall Classics,” he said. “Classic Company does a great job here managing the footing and running a great show. We always come to all of Classic shows in Conyers,” he added.
Vale returned for the fourth and fifth places with Troy Glaus’ Darling GR and Thinks Like a Horse Farm’s Exclusive, respectively, after posting four fault first rounds in times of 81.143 and 84.047 seconds, respectively. Sixth place was awarded to Maryann Charles of Southern Pines, North Carolina and Fox View Farm’s FBF Sailor Man for their four fault first round in a time of 84.212 seconds. Chasen Boggio of Canton, Georgia and his own Co Pilot placed seventh, and Jorge Ludwig of Newbury Park, California and his own Lamarique earned an eighth place finish. Daniel Geitner of Aiken, South Carolina piloted The Kenwood Syndicate’s Kenwood to a ninth place finish, and Michael Kirby of Madison, Connecticut and his own KTS OK finished in tenth. Coolman 78, owned and ridden by Tricia O’Connor of Williston, Florida, took eleventh, and Penny Brennan of Montmorenci, South Carolina and her own Sun Tzu wrapped up the class with a twelfth place finish.
$5,000 Horseflight Welcome
The jumper action kicked off Week II of the Atlanta Summer Classics with the $5,000 Horseflight Open Welcome on Thursday. Aaron Vale took the win with Troy Glaus’ Darling GR, besting a field of twenty-four horse and rider teams. Only five advanced to a second round opportunity.
Chasen Boggio and his own Co Pilot was the first to turn in double clear rounds in times of 74.590 and 47.680 seconds, respectively, beating the times allowed of 77 and 49 seconds, and set the new time to beat.
Michael Kirby and his own KTS OK followed after a clear first round in a time of 73.860 seconds, but eight faults in the second round in a time of 46.137 seconds would see him finish in fifth place overall.
Maryann Charles of Southern Pines, North Carolina and Lalainy were the next to advance to a second round opportunity and posted a clear second round in a time of 42.049 seconds, setting the new time to beat.
Vale and Darling GR were the next to advance to the second round and flew through it with no faults in a time of 40.135 seconds, taking the lead. The last horse and rider team in the order and the last to advance to the second round was Daniel Geitner and the Kenwood Syndicate’s Kenwood. The pair had two rails for eight jump faults and their time of 43.985 seconds would see them finish in fourth place overall.
Final placings had Vale and Darling GR as the winners and Maryann Charles and Lalainy in second place. Third place went to Boggio and Co Pilot.
Arenus Jr/Amateur Jumper Classic
The Vale family continued their wins in the jumper arena and Mallory Vale of Williston, Florida, wife of grand prix rider Aaron Vale, won the $5,000 Arenus Jr/Amateur Owner 1.30 Jumper Classic in the irons of Thinks Like a Horse Farm’s Elusive, besting a field of thirteen horse and rider teams. Meghan Hurst of Baton Rouge, Louisiana earned a second place finish with her own Lagoona Paradise, and Jodie Camberg of Calabasas, California piloted her own Veneto DH Z to a third place finish.
Lalainy, owned by Fox View Farm and ridden by Christina Webb of Bahama, North Carolina, was awarded the blue ribbon in the $2,500 Arenus Jr/Amateur Owner 1.20m Jumper Classic, besting a field of twenty-one horse and rider teams. Second was awarded to Aberdeen Ventures, LLC’s Jorno, ridden by Madeline Derose of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and third went to Livhaven Stables’ Hot Spot, ridden by Olivia Epple of Palmetto, Georgia.
The $2,500 Elite Equine Sport Horse Medicine and Lameness Child Adult Jumper Classic awarded Phyllis Hines’ Ace of Spies, ridden by Heather Hooker of Wellington, Florida, first place honors in the Adult section, and second place went to Glitter Glider, owned and ridden by Sarah Turner of Charlottesville, Virginia. The Child Adult Jumper section win went to Carly Hoft and Available Jumpers.com’s Available Ohio. The pair bested a field of sixteen horse and rider teams. Second place went to Egono Van Kadal, owned by Oak Ledge Farm and ridden by Hazel Taylor.
$1,500 USHJA Pony Derby
The $1,500 USHJA Pony Derby took place on Saturday and welcomed a dozen junior riders to the hunter arena. Kat Fuqua of Atlanta, Georgia dominated the competition with her own Captain America and Goldhill’s Arresting Charm, taking the first and second places. She also placed fourth and tenth with her own Finesse RF and Chic in Time, respectively.
Third place was awarded to Prima Ballerina, owned and ridden by Sophia Ayers of Reddick, Florida, and fifth went to Elle Moren’s Ledoux, ridden by Skylar Curtis of Oviedo, Florida. Footsteps, owned and ridden by Hagen Blackwell of Birmingham, Alabama, earned a sixth place finish, and Charmer, owned by Danielle Torano and ridden by Lauren Gregson of Largo, Florida, placed seventh. Bestseller, owned by Tara Dow-Rein and ridden by Cassidy Rein of Raleigh, North Carolina, earned eighth place. Avery Zwirn of rode her own Rapunzel to a ninth place finish.