Category Archives: Western/Reining

Washington Area Chevy Dealers Will Be in Winner’s Circle at Washington International Horse Show

Olympic veteran Reed Kessler earns her first Barrel Racing buckle riding for Army in Army v. Navy Celebrity Barrel Racing, presented by Washington Area Chevy Dealers, in 2014. Photo copyright Alden Corrigan Photography.

Visit a WACD Dealership and receive complimentary tickets to the show!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 5, 2015 – Washington Area Chevrolet Dealers will be center stage once again as title sponsor of the WIHS Winner’s Circle at the 57th Annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in North America, which will take place October 20-25 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Washington Area Chevy Dealers (WACD) also returns to sponsor of one of the most popular events of the week, the WIHS Army vs. Navy celebrity barrel racing exhibition held on Military Night, Friday, October 23. Professional barrel racers affiliated with National Barrel Horse Association, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association or American Professional Rodeo Association will team up with celebrity riders representing the military to run the barrels.

WACD is offering a limited number of free ticket vouchers to dealership visitors during the month of October. WIHS fans can pick up the general admission ticket vouchers at any local Washington Area Chevy dealership, conveniently located in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. While at the dealership, Chevy encourages fans to enjoy their complete lineup of trucks. The 2015 Silverado 1500 was named the “Highest Ranking Large Light Duty Pickup in Initial Quality” by J. D. Power with class-leading V8 fuel efficiency and high-strength steel, and as the Motor Trend Truck of the Year in 2015, the all-new 2015 Colorado is reinventing the midsize pickup from frame up.

“There’s no power like horsepower! We are pleased to be a part of this exciting event representing the very best in equestrian competition in the heart of Washington, D.C., just like Chevrolet represents the highest caliber of automotive lineup in the industry and top service in the area,” said Bob Biagi, General Manager of Ourisman Chevrolet of Alexandria.

In addition to the Army v. Navy Celebrity Barrel Racing, presented by Washington Area Chevrolet Dealers, Military Night, presented by The Boeing Company, is an exciting evening of competition, exhibitions and special events in honor of the U.S. Military, with highlights including The Boeing Company Puissance, a thrilling high jump competition, and the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, a high-test race over a challenging course with jumps close to 5 feet!

“WIHS is proud to partner with Washington Area Chevy Dealers,” said WIHS Executive Director, Bridget Love Meehan. “Their standard of excellence and commitment to making a positive difference in the local community bring an important local distinction to our event.”

About Washington International Horse Show,
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.

Fappani Edges Mills to Win 2015 $25,000 Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship

Andrea Fappani and Custom Spook (Waltenberry)

Las Vegas, Nev. – Andrea Fappani came out the gate strong Thursday night to earn the 2015 $25,000 Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship during the High Roller Reining Classic. Fappani scored a 229 to edge out Reserve Champion Matt Mills who scored a 226.

The 2015 $25,000 Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship was comprised of elite reining talent including four members who competed in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Casey Hinton (Whitesboro, Texas) and Tracey Tuttle-Bryce and Roberta Faga’s Top Gun Tonite led the competition with a score of 222 before Fappani (Scottsdale, Ariz.) entered the arena as fourth to go. The 2014 WEG Individual Silver medalist Fappani and Rancho Oso Rio, LLC’s Custom Spook electrified the arena upon entering with their first sliding stop. This set the tone for an exceptional performance and helped them earn a great score.

Fappani had a commanding lead going into the final four performances. Mills (Cave Creek, Ariz.) and Dealer Auctions, LLC and Vincent and Lynn Maffucci’s Freckles Got AShiner took to the arena first. They also gave an exciting performance. However, Fappani and Custom Spook were more on point with their stops and spins, which allowed them to keep their lead.

Hinton as well as Troy Heikes (Purcell, Okla.) and Denise Bixler’s RSD One Hot Deal were tied for third place with a score of 222 until Tom McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) and Jennifer Greenleaf’s Dun Git A Nicadual entered the arena. They put on a good show to take third place with a score of 223.

From the USEF Communications Department

Dance Little Spook and Masi de Vargas Claim Gold in Aachen

The individual medal podium at the FEI European Reining Championships (from left), silver medallist Grischa Ludwig (GER), gold medallist Giovanni Masi de Vargas (ITA), and bronze medallist Elias Ernst (GER). (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Aachen (GER), 16 August 2015 – Excitement and great reining were the key words at the FEI European Reining Championships in Aachen (GER) today. Twenty of Europe’s finest horses and riders performed in the Deutsche Bank Stadium with Giovanni Masi de Vargas of Italy clinching individual gold with Quarter Dream’s Dance Little Spook between the reins.

Last to enter the arena, the 22-year-old flawlessly guided the talented seven-year-old mare, by Smart Spook out of Sailors Dance, through pattern number nine. His deep stops, fast spins, smooth lead changes and perfectly painted circles pleased both the crowd and the judges who paid him back with an outstanding score of 222 and the top step of the podium.

“Earning two gold medals here is unbelievable and so emotional,” said Masi de Vargas, who also posted the highest score in the team competition on Friday when Italy took home the gold. “I cannot thank my team enough, our coach and the president of the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation (FISE), Cav. Vittorio Orlandi, for being here to cheer for us.”

The pressure was on for Masi de Vargas once it was his turn to enter the arena. German veteran Grischa Ludwig and the eight-year-old stallion Shine My Gun (Colonels Smoking Gun x Shiners Mistress), owned by Stephanie Maudas, had thrilled the crowd with their run and their perfect spins. Once they had performed their last stop, a 221 appeared on the scoreboard, meaning the duo just missed out and had to settle for individual silver on home soil. “I came here aiming for the gold,” Ludwig said. “I did not have much luck in my last stop but it was a great fight until the very end and I am proud of our results.”

Germany also kept the bronze medal at home as Elias Ernst and USS N Dun It (Reminic Dun It x USS Entrprise) closed their run with a 219. The talented 10-year-old stallion is owned by Christine Wilinski. “I can’t describe my feelings! To show here is awesome and the crowd was super,” said the young German rider.

Setting the pace

Austria’s Daniel Schmutz and BH Cielo Dry opened the competition with a score of 214.5. Closing the first judging block, and raising the score by a point, was the duo that made it through from the second qualifier, Verena Klein of Germany and her Olena Joe Cody.

Italy’s team veteran, Pierluigi Fabbri, was in the lead following the second of four judging blocks after posting a 217.5 aboard Broadway Jaba (Little Red Jaba x Tuff Lady Boss), owned by Az. Agricola Pollarini.

With a strong performance, Klaus Lechner of Austria and Cody Rooster Delmaso (Ricochet Rooster x Made Of Lacy), owned by Giulia Gaupmann, received a 218.5 from the judges, the highest score prior to the last five competitors which also earned them fourth place overall.

Following the last drag, expectation and high class reining kept the public glued to their seats and the final tussle between Masi de Vargas and Ludwig couldn’t have been a better advertisement for the sport. There was no better way to close the 2015 edition of the FEI European Reining Championships in Aachen!


Giovanni Masi de Vargas – “I started competing in 2009 in junior competition and this is my ninth FEI medal. This is the first time I’ve competed in a senior championship and it’s been an amazing experience.”

Grischa Ludwig – “I was fifth in the World Equestrian Games in 2010, and fourth last time, then I was individual third in the European Championships in 2013 and now second here, so the tendency goes up!”

Ralf Hesselschwerdt, President of the Ground Jury – “We expected a very close run and it turned out to be that. Grischa ran a great pattern, performed awesome spins, and at that manoeuver he was ahead of Giovanni; his horse anticipated the last stop and that pushed him half a point behind Giovanni. Giovanni was very consistent; his run reflected smoothness and finesse and nobody deserved it more than he did.”

The Reining family

When asked about the friendship/rivalry between them, the medalists answered:

Giovanni, better known as ‘Dido’ – “We compete every month against other. It’s a real friendship.”

Grischa – “I’m a bit older than Dido, and I’m a very good friend of his father’s; in fact we’ve had some fights on horses! I’ve known him (Giovanni) since he was that high (demonstrating with his hands) and I always told his father that he would grow to be a top top rider. When I saw him compete in junior competition through the years, I knew that he was a rising star. Reining is a family; we are the reining family. I’d like to thank the organisers here and say that this is probably the best organised reining show we’ve ever shown in. It’s unbelievable how much they’ve done for us.”

Reining competitors often refer to the connections they develop within the sport as being as close as family. That was literally true in Aachen. Filippo Masi de Vargas, Italy’s team coach and Giovanni’s father summed up his feelings by saying: “I’m bursting with pride and honored to be part of this team gold and individual gold all Italian experience. Each and every competitor here was wonderful and they all showcased the sport of Reining to the best of their ability.”

FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 results are here.

By Simona Diale

Media Contacts:

At Aachen:

Niels Knippertz
Press Officer
+49 (0) 241 9171 182


Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 145

It’s Gold for Team Italy!

Left to right: Giovanni Masi de Vargas, Francesco Martinotti, Pierluigi Fabbri and Edoardo Bernadelli. (Jon Stroud/FEI)

Aachen (GER), 14 August 2015 – Today, Italy claimed team gold ahead of Germany in silver and The Netherlands in bronze at the FEI European Reining Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany.

In a field of 40 competitors, and with 8 horse-rider combinations to go, the podium was determined by a superb performance from Italy’s Giovanni Masi De Vargas and Dance Little Spook.

Aboard the 7-year-old Quarter Horse mare by Smart Spook and out of Sailors Dance, owned by Quarter Dream, the young Italian rider posted a 221.5. Equaling the top score of the day was Germany’s Grisha Ludwig and Shine My Gun. The 7-year-old stallion, an own son of Colonels Smoking Gun and out of Shiners Mistress, owned by Stephanie Madaus, thrilled the crowd executing the only +1 ½ spins of the day. Once the duo closed their performance, they secured Germany’s European team silver.

“I am simply thrilled,” said Italian team coach, Filippo Masi De Vargas. “This squad is made up of young riders, the future of our discipline, and they were just great, very professional and full of enthusiasm. The only ‘older’ rider is Pierluigi Fabbri, who was also on the team in the past edition. He had to endure the pressure of opening the competition today and did a great job giving the other athletes on the team the confidence they needed.”

In the 2013 edition of the Championships, Italy took team silver behind Germany and today, again on German soil, the battle was on from the first to the last competitor. With only 10 horse-rider combinations left to go, vying for the medals were Italy with 651 points, The Netherlands with 637 and France with 634.5. The situation was soon to change following Masi De Vargas’s performance, which did put Italy in the lead but still left the highest step of the podium undecided.

The gold and silver medals were determined after Ludwig’s run, but reining enthusiasts had to wait until the last competitor of the day to find out which nation would complete the podium. Rieky Young Van Osch of The Netherlands, who performed aboard her Brady Chex, the 10-year-old stallion by Buenonic Chex and out of Somethingtocrowabout, ending up posting a 214, enough to earn the bronze.

Just off the podium was team Great Britain with three competitors and a total of 635 points. Francesca Sternberg and Ten Reasons (Hand Ten Suprize x Hotroddin Catalyst) closed with a 215.5, enough to advance automatically to the individual competition on Sunday. “Ten Reasons just gave me another reason why my husband Doug chose him!” said an enthused Francesca following her run.


Frank Kemperman, Aachen 2015 Show Director, FEI Executive Board member and Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee, said: “It’s nine years since we did reining at the FEI World Equestrian Games, but this was fantastic sport.”

Joe Hayes, judge: “I’m from Texas so I probably don’t need a mic! If you didn’t see the reining today don’t miss it next time! It was really fun to judge and congratulations to all three teams. It was like a heavyweight boxing match, very exciting to judge. It’s really fun to show a good horse and it’s fun to judge good horses.”

Giovanni Masi De Vargas: “Being here in on German soil and being able to claim the gold is an incredible experience. The feeling we had when we got here was that this could be done but actually getting it done is a completely different story! The pressure was definitely on when I went in the arena, but I used that pressure to do the best I could. This is a tough arena to show in, especially considering the importance of this venue. I cannot express how I feel right now; the only thing I can say is that it’s simply great!” The 23-year-old De Vargas boasts multiple FEI team and individual gold medals in Junior and Young Rider competitions.

Dutch dressage champion, Anky van Grunsven, who holds the record for the most Olympic medals won by any equestrian athlete, and is the only rider to record three successive Olympic wins in the same event, was on Team Netherlands riding her own Whizashinningwalla BB. This is her first reining medal in an FEI event. “It’s amazing, so much fun and I’m so excited about it,” said Anky. “I know I can do dressage but to be on a bronze medal winning reining team – that’s something else. Earning a medal at the FEI European Championships is so good for this sport and the reason that I enjoy this discipline is firstly because I’m not good at it and I like the challenge, and secondly, I love the atmosphere both in and outside the arena.”

Chefs d’Equipe quotes:

Filippo Masi De Vargas (ITA): “It’s really great to win here in Germany, especially as we’ve got some young team members and it’s their first time on a team.”

Nico Hoermann (GER): “We knew that the Italians had a very good team and in the end the final was really good sport. We only had a team of three, but in the end it was no difference as it was the scratch result.”

Dave Young (NED): “I’m very proud of my riders; all four of them worked really hard and showed very smart today. They worked hard on a strong team presentation today.”

The individual competition

Ten nations competed in the 1st individual qualifier (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden). All except Austria presented full teams with Tina Kuestner Mantl and her Nu Chexomatic along with Klaus Lechner and Cody Rooster Del Maso both scoring a 215.5. The two secured a spot in the individual finals.

The 15 top scores from the 1st individual qualifier will automatically advance to the individual competition on Sunday, 16 August, at 10.00 CEST.

The next 20 scores will be able to compete in the 2nd individual qualifier with the first five also advancing to the finals. On Saturday 15 August, the second individual qualifier will begin at 18.15 CEST.

For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen, visit

FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 results are here.

By Simona Diale

Media Contacts:

At Aachen:

Niels Knippertz
Press Officer
+49 (0) 241 9171 182


Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Europe’s Best Reiners Gather in Aachen for FEI European Reining Championships 2015

Germany’s Alex Ripper riding Wild at the Bar took individual gold at the last FEI European Reining Championships in 2013. (Art&Light/FEI)

Aachen (GER), 13 August 2015 – Europe’s best reiners are in Aachen, Germany for the FEI European Reining Championships 2015, nine years after the hugely successful competitions were held in the framework of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2006.

Athletes representing 10 nations – Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden – will be vying for the coveted FEI medals.

Some 40 horse-and-rider combinations will enter the arena when the team competition and the first individual qualifier kicks off on Friday, 14 August, at 10.00 CEST.

All the nations, with the exception of Austria, will be competing with full teams including the defending champions from Germany who took team gold on home ground in Augsburg in 2013.

On Saturday 15 August, the second individual qualifier will begin at 18.15 CEST.

The second qualifier will give riders who did not make it in the first qualifier a chance to participate in the individual competition.

Closing the Championships will be the individual finals on Sunday, 16 August at 10.00 CEST, when the Individual FEI medals will be awarded.

Champions past and present

Europe’s best horses and riders have qualified to represent their country in this year’s FEI European Reining Championships. In the last held two years ago, team Germany, composed of Alexander Ripper/Wild at the Bar; Grisha Ludwig/Custom Del Cielo; Volker Schmitt/Smokin Mifillena; Sylvia Rzepka/Hot Smokin Chex, took the gold. Grisha Ludwig and Volker Schmitt will be back next week to defend the title riding their 2013 mounts.

Team Italy, consisting of Massimiliano Ruggeri/Spat Split and White; Pierluigi Fabbri/Rooster Nic; Giuseppe Prevosti/Chic Magnetic; and Mirko Piazzi/Cody Glo Phoebes, claimed the silver. Fabbri will be back riding Broadway Jaba.

Team Austria – Rudi Kronsteiner/Whizoom; Tina Kuenstner-Mantl/Heza Sure Whiz; Martin Muhlstatter/Chic N Roost – completed the podium claiming the bronze. Returning for Austria is Tina Kuestner Mantl who will be competing as an individual riding Nu Chexomatic. She will be joined by fellow countryman Klaus Lechner, also competing individually aboard Cody Rooster Delmaso.

Alex Ripper of Germany riding Wild at the Bar took individual gold in 2013. Belgium’s Cira Baeck aboard Colonels Shining Gun were runners up.

In 2013, bronze medal honors went to Germany’s Grisha Ludwig and Custom del Cielo.

Joining Europe’s best reiners will be Dutch Dressage great Anky van Grunsven who will be on team Netherlands riding her own Whizashinningwalla BB.

For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen, visit

FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 results are here.

By Simona Diale

Media Contacts:

At Aachen:

Niels Knippertz
Press Officer
+49 (0) 241 9171 182


Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 145

European Championships Head to Aachen for Two Weeks of Equestrian Competition

04 August 2015, Aachen, Germany – When Europe’s elite equestrian talent comes together to compete for champion’s title, it creates an unforgettable atmosphere, but when it takes place at the continent’s finest, most prestigious venue, it is un-missable.

For the first time, the FEI European Championships in Aachen, Germany, this summer (11-23 August) unites five equestrian disciplines – Show Jumping, Dressage, Driving, Vaulting and Reining. Only the historic showground on the outskirts of this beautiful town in western Germany, with its outstanding facilities and ability to accommodate a 40,000 plus crowd, could host such a unique event.


They will face the toughest opposition in front of some of the largest crowds many of these athletes have ever seen. The Rolex Equestrian Testimonees will be striving to lead their own countries’ teams to glory.

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, who has proved time and again that he is incomparable under pressure, is determined to add a European Championship title to his tally.

“My horse is going well and it has been a good year for me so hopefully this will continue at Aachen. We will keep working hard and do the best we can possibly do,” said Guerdat.

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Germany’s leading lady rider, who soared to victory in the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen in 2005, knows Aachen better than any other. Having won the title of European Champion in 2007, Meredith will be well-equipped to tackle its demanding courses in the white heat of competition; “It’s a really unique place and the home of equestrian sport,” Meredith commented.

Kevin Staut, one of the most elegant horsemen on the circuit, already knows the sweetness of European Championship victory. He was crowned champion in 2009 – nothing less than a second win will suffice.

Rolex’s Dressage Testimonee, Isabell Werth, has won 11 European gold medals in addition to seven at World Championships – including in 2006 when they were held in Aachen. She will not miss a chance to add to these in Aachen, where her extraordinary record includes 10 Grand Prix victories.

“I always enjoy competing at the Europeans. I will never forget my first individual win at Donaueschingen in 1991 on Gigolo when I was a young rider. There was little pressure on me to win so I had nothing to lose. I just had to go out and do my best. It was my first win at a competition of that size and level. It was amazing,” said Isabell.


Rolex is proud to welcome the newest rider to its family of Testimonees, Bertram Allen, from Ireland. At only 19 years old, Allen has proved he has maturity beyond his years. In 2014 he became the youngest ever rider to compete in the show jumping at the World Equestrian Games in Caen where he placed in the top 10. He will be looking to make an impact as he prepares to compete in his first European Championships and will no doubt be riding the horse that has helped him to achieve so much already, his grey mare, Molly Malone V.

Bertram was one of five riders in the Young Riders Academy in 2014 sponsored by Rolex. The aim of the Young Riders Academy is to assist show jumping young talents in training and preparing their careers as future professionals in the sport. It gives rising equestrian stars the opportunity to embark on a six-month ‘tailor-made’ training programme.


Riders know that this intensely electric atmosphere will inspire them to perform at the very peak of their ability, but that it will also demand exceptional horsemanship skills to contain the excitement of their equine partners and allow them to produce their best work in such a dramatic venue.

Rolex is proud to support an occasion where the values that the leading luxury watchmaking brand holds dear – courage, precision, empathy, sportsmanship and passion – will be so clearly demonstrated.


2013   Roger Yves Bost (FRA), Castle Forbes Myrtille Paulios
2011   Rölf-Goran Bengtsson (SWE), Ninja la Silla
2009   Kevin Staut (FRA), Kraque Boom
2007   Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Shutterfly

2013   Charlotte Dujardin (GBR), Valegro
2011   Adelinde Cornelissen (NED), Jerich Parzival
2009   Edward Gal (NED), Totilas
2007   Anky van Grunsven (NED), Salinero

2013   Charlotte Dujardin (GBR), Valegro
2011   Adelinde Cornelissen (NED), Jerich Parzival
2009   Adelinde Cornelissen (NED), Jerich Parzival
2007   Isabell Werth (GER), Satchmo

Rolex Press Room

Media Contacts:

Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
+41 22 302 2761

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
+44 7770 647 662

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Prepares for an Exciting Season

Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

Jacksonville, FL (July 24, 2015) – Eighty acres of horse paradise in Jacksonville, Florida – complete with a giant indoor arena, outdoor show rings, and over 400 stalls – is ready to welcome all riding levels and disciplines for prime events and horse shows this fall. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center has served the equestrian community for the past decade. This year has already been packed full of exciting events and competitions, and the fall line-up promises to be just as successful.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center will ring in the autumn season with the Ride Lite Dressage show on September 5-6. Next up will be the Southeast Medal Finals on Thursday September 17 through Sunday September 20. The Southeast Medal Finals is the championship hunter, jumper, and equitation competition for USEF Zone 4 and ASPCA Maclay Region 3. The 3,700 seats in the indoor arena will be filled with supporters and hunter/jumper enthusiasts watching adult and young riders vie for first place. As the Jacksonville Equestrian Center spent the summer installing new top-quality footing, competing at the facility will be better than ever for the riders this fall. September will close with the First Coast Classical Dressage Challenge schooling show on September 26-27.

In October, the facility will present opportunities for young riders of all disciplines, and dog lovers too! The Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair Association 4H Horse Show will take place on October 17, with prizes available for 4H participants of all riding disciplines. The following weekend, on October 23-25, a smaller four-legged breed will be showing off its talent at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The AKC Pals & Paws Agility Trial will feature AKC registered dogs crawling through tunnels, climbing A-frames, and weaving obstacles.

Already this year, visitors to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center have enjoyed such events as The National Team Roping League’s “Rope for the Truck Event,” featuring ropers showing off their teamwork and roping skills to rope steer. The winner received a brand new truck. In April, over 450 dogs competed in the 2015 CPE National Agility Event. Then horses were back on the scene in May with two back-to-back USDF Region 3 Dressage qualifier competitions.

Penny Gorton, head of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Business Development and member of the Northeast Florida Equestrian Society, explains: “While our facility is wonderful for hosting equestrian events, from show jumping and barrel racing to rodeos and equestrian expos, we are also a great community facility. It’s exciting to have a venue that can support our community and hold everything from charity events to monster truck shows to RV shows. We have an 80,000 square foot indoor concourse and vendor space, which really means the center has unlimited potential.”

Everyone is invited to be part of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center community by attending the upcoming events, or even by leaving a permanent mark on the facility with the Buy-a-Brick fundraising campaign. “It’s great to see people buying bricks in honor of their loved ones, both two and four-legged,” Gorton said. “The bricks not only become a permanent part of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, but they are an everlasting tribute as well.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is located at 13611 Normandy Blvd, in Jacksonville, Florida. The multi-faceted event center hosts equestrian, sporting, recreational, and community events. For information about attending or scheduling events, visit or call Penny Gorton at 904-573-3649.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-573-364
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Update on Eventing and Reining Championships at the 2015 Adequan/FEI NAJYRC

Lexington, Ky. – The Organizing Committee of the 2015 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) has announced that due to insufficient international entries, both the CH-Y 2* USEA North American Young Rider Individual and Team Eventing Championship and the SmartPak North American Junior and Young Rider Team and Individual Reining Championships are unable to be held.

Following the close of Nominated Entries, the FEI requirement of at least two National Federations represented with teams was not met in order to run the Young Rider eventing and reining divisions as Continental Championships. For eventing, the Organizing Committee will hold a CCIYR2*, allowing competitors the opportunity to ride and still feel a part of the championship experience. A CRIJ and CRIYR competition was offered for reining, but due to lack of entries will not be held.

The USEA North American Junior Eventing Championship (CH-J 1*) will be run as planned.

The NAJYRC will be held July 14-19 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.

For more information on the event, please visit

From the NAJYRC

German Juniors and Italian Young Riders Shine at Reining Championships in Givrins

(L to R): the silver medallists from Italy, gold medallists from Germany and bronze medallists from Belgium. (FEI/Andrea Bonaga)

Givrins (SUI), 4 July 2014 – Germany dominated the Junior category while the Italians claimed a huge haul of Young Rider medals at the FEI European Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2015 which drew to a close at Givrins in Switzerland yesterday.

Staged over two days at Corinna Schumacher’s CS Ranch which lies halfway between Geneva and Lausanne, the event attracted 46 riders from nine countries. The flags of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland all flew high, and competition for a podium placing was intense from the outset.

The 2014 Championships saw a clean sweep of gold for the Italians who had produced a hat-trick of victories the previous year. And although they didn’t achieve the same level of gold-medal-winning success this time around they still secured a place in the history-books when the Young Rider Individual standings showed six Italians in a row.

Junior Team

Italy was chasing a fifth consecutive victory in the Junior Team event, but, on her home turf, it was Corinna Schumacher’s talented daughter Gina who clinched victory for Germany. There were five nations battling for the medals here, and Schumacher was last to go for her side.

Jakob Behringer and Rascal Sensation got the eventual champions off to a flying start when producing the highest score of the day, 216.0. But when Lena-Marie Maas and Stun Gun registered 209 and Shawn Wagner and Hollys Electricspark posted 203 the result was far from decided.

It all came down to the last-line riders, and Schumacher really threw down the gauntlet when steering Gunners Enterprise home for a score of 215 to move the final German tally on to 640.0. So although Italian anchorman Eric Ranieri Volpe and Exxcaliber rounded up the competition with the second-highest mark of 215.5, it just wasn’t enough when the scoreboard showed a final team total of 637.5. The Italian scores were consistently strong – both Linda Martinelli and Playgirl on the Rocks and Lisa Werdaner and Arc Pleasetogunyou posting 211 while Irene Merlotti and Snapplejack scored 208. But they had to settle for silver ahead of the impressive three-member Belgian side of Nimroid Vannietvelt (Im Smart and Wimpy), Jinke Stevens (Don John Escape BB) and Amber Heidebuchel (Wimps Lil Prize) who rounded up their total on 628.0 to take the bronze. The team from the Czech Republic finished fourth on a score of 609.0 ahead of Great Britain in fifth with 596.5.

German team coach, Nico Hoermann, said after his side’s victory, “All the riders worked hard to achieve this much coveted medal, and we look forward to the Individual competition now!”

Junior Individual

And Mr Hoermann’s confidence proved well-founded when his side added Junior Individual gold and bronze. Gina Schumacher produced a near-perfect ride with her 11-year-old paint horse stallion Gunners Enterprise whose stable-name is Digger. They were untouchable for gold when scoring 219. “My horse was great for me once again, and I am thrilled with this second gold medal!” Schumacher said afterwards. “I cannot thank my team members and coach enough, my trainer Shawna Larcombe and of course my mom and family who are my greatest supporters!”

Italy’s Eric Ranieri Volpe claimed his second Individual silver medal in a row with his flashy seven-year-old Quarter Horse gelding Exxcaliber when posting 217.5. “I cannot believe how special my horse is!” he said. “Of course when you’re out there your goal is the highest step of the podium, but I am very happy and honoured to have been part of the team yet again.”

It was Germany’s Jakob Behringer and his seven-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, Rascal Sensation, who stood on the third step of the podium when scoring 215.5. “My goal was to qualify for my team for the very first time, and I have to thank my trainer Grisha Ludwig for bringing me here,” he said. Having already produced the highest score of the Team competition the previous day he had every reason to be bursting with pride. “It’s a dream come true, and I still cannot believe it!” he added.

It was an impressive result for the Germans who filled four of the top-five places when Lena Marie Maas (Mr Stun Gun) slotted into fourth ahead of Anna Voss (Mandys Little Magnum) in fifth. “I feel like I’m in heaven!” said coach Hoermann. “It’s my first time coaching the Juniors and Young Riders and I must say this is a fantastic group. My hat goes off to all of them and Gina did an amazing job, especially considering this is not the horse she was supposed to ride here.”

Young Rider Team

When it came to the Young Riders category, however, it was an Italian landslide. Big scores of 218 for Andrea Pedrotti (Wimpys Short Step BB) and 216.5 from Alessio Baldi (Icarus Jack) ensured that when Enrico Sciulli (The Gunner King) posted 212 then Sara Ambrosini’s (Figlia di Arc Think Chic) 210 was the drop-score as they already totalled a massive 646.5. In fact the final scoreboard mirrored precisely the same result as at last year’s fixture at the same venue, with Germany lining up second ahead of Austria in third. Just four nations contested the medals here, and it was The Netherlands that missed out on a podium placing.

The Italians finished a massive 14 points ahead of the German silver medallists who posted 632.5, while the Austrian’s 609 gave them a 5.5 point advantage over the Dutch.

“I am thrilled with our athletes even though in the past we have claimed both (Junior and Young Rider Team) gold medals,” said Italian coach Filippo Masi de Vargas. “The level of competition is getting better every year, and the athletes on the team of course change. Regarding the Young Riders, what can I say? We made history! I am truly proud and honoured to have such a great group of athletes!” he commented.

Andrea Pedrotti was delighted with his huge score that anchored the Italian team victory. “This has been one of the most emotional experiences ever, and I am truly happy with the way my horse went for me. I cannot thank my team, my coach and my trainer enough for getting us here!” he said.

Fabienne Kramer (Dual Tuck Tari) produced the highest German team score when posting 214.5, and the rest of her team-mates were closely bunched when Jennifer Luhmer (Peppys Lil Dreamer) earned 209.5, and both Daniel Kalk (Sheza Custom Crome) and Isabeau Riemann (Charlys Cool Running) posted 208.5. Anna Lisec and Whizable took their second team bronze medal in a row for Austria, and was joined on the third step of the podium by Eva Maria Hammerschmid (Golden Jac the Boss), Sophie Frimmel (Taris Bright Sunshine) and Lara Kaefer (Sujo Badger).

Young Rider Individual

Of the 18 who battled it out for the Young Riders Individual medals, Alessio Baldi produced the most thrilling performance with the nine-year-old Quarter Horse RS Icarus Jack to pin fellow-Italian Andrea Pedrotti into silver medal spot. Baldi’s score of 218.5 left him a full mark in front, and he said afterwards, “I was so honoured to be able to ride for my country for the very first time and am even more honoured to bring home two gold medals! I will always cherish this great experience, and of course I want to say a huge thank you to Mauro Esti for allowing me to ride his horse here,” he said.

Pedrotti was almost overwhelmed by the results he produced over the two days of competition. “Wow!” was his first reaction when adding Individual silver to his team gold medal. “After the Italian Derby last June I started riding with Pierluigi Chioldo and Marco Pettinari and I cannot but give them credit for taking me where I am today,” he said. “Being selected was a big thing for me, being able to work with my horse and achieving this result is simply incredible. I have to thank my family for always supporting me. Without them this could not have been possible,” said the grateful competitor. And bronze medallist Enrico Sciulli was thrilled with his result too. “I still can’t believe that we did this!” he said. “Riding in FEI competition is our goal every year and had it not been for Giovanni Guerra who allowed me to ride his horse this would not have been possible,” he pointed out. Three more Italians also slotted into the line-up with Riccardo Calascibetta (Ultra Shine) in fourth and Sara Ambrosini (Figlia di Arc Think Chic) and Martina Penato (Ms Twist Whiz) sharing fifth place.


The 2015 edition of these Championships was another memorable one from an Italian perspective. “Our riders performed a work of art!” said Roberto Cuoghi, head of the Italian National Federation’s (FISE) Reining Department. “They were all extremely professional, showed to the best of their ability and showed us all what team spirit is about. They cheered for everyone, have a wonderful relationship among them and are all loyal to each other. These are all elements that help our sport grow, and I cannot but be proud of them all! A thank you to the riders, the owners, our coach, our Federation, our hostess Corinna Schumacher, her staff and of course the FEI,” he added.

FEI Secretary General, Sabrina Zeender, attended the event and was greatly impressed. “These Championships were fabulous and dynamic, providing super sport. The quality of the riders was outstanding and the infrastructure at the venue is amazing. The complex here is state-of-the-art and the perfect place to stage a Reining Championship at any level. It is really exciting to see so many Young Riders and Juniors with so much promise. Their talent suggests great things for the future of this sport!” she said.

FEI European Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders 2015

Junior Team Championship: GOLD – Germany 640.0: Rascal Sensation (Jakob Behringer) 216.0, Gunners Enterprise (Gina Schumacher) 215.0, Mr Stun Gun (Lena-Marie Maas) 209.0, Holly-s Electricspark (Shawn Wagner) 203.0; SILVER – Italy 637.5: Exxcaliber (Eric Ranieri Volpe) 215.5, Playgirl On the Rocks (Linda Rebecca Martinelli) 211.0, Arc Pleasetogunyou (Lisa Werdaner) 211.0, Snapplejack (Irene Merlotti) 208.0; BRONZE – Belgium 628.0: Im Smart and Wimpy (Nimroid Vannietvelt) 211.5, Don john Escape BB (Jinke Stevens) 210.5, Wimps Lil Prize (Amber Heidebuchel) 206.0.

Junior Individual Championship: GOLD – Gunners Enterprise (Gina Schumacher) GER 219.0; SILVER – Exxcaliber (Eric Ranieri Volpe) ITA 217.5; BRONZE – Rascal Sensation (Jakob Behringer) 215.5.

Young Rider Team Championship: GOLD – Italy 646.5: Wimpys Short Step BB (Andrea Pedrotti) 218.0, RS Icarus Jac (Alessio Baldi) 216.5, The Gunner King (Enrico Sciulli) 212.0, Figlia Di Arc Think Chic (Sara Ambrosini) 210.0; SILVER – Germany 632.5: Dual Tuck Tari (Fabienne Kramer) 214.5, Peppys Lil Dreamer (Jennifer Luhmer) 209.5, Sheza Custom Crome (Daniel Kalk) 208.5, Charly’s Cool Running (Isabeau Riemann) 208.5; BRONZE – Austria 609.0: Whizable (Anna Lisec) 212.5, Golden Jac the Boss (Eva Maria Hammerschmid) 206.5, Taris Bright Sunshine (Sophie Frimmel) 190.0, Sujo Badger (Lara Kaefer) 165.5.

Young Rider Individual Championship: GOLD – RS Icarus Jac (Alessio Baldi) ITA 218.5; SILVER – Wimpys Short Step (Andrea Pedrotti) ITA 217.5; BRONZE – The Gunner King (Enrico Sciulli) ITA 216.0.

By Louise Parkes

Marsh and Belden, Jr. Earn Top Honors at 2015 USEF Youth Reining National Championships

Emmy-Lu Marsh and Who Whiz Porter (Waltenberry)

Oklahoma City, Okla. – Rising stars in reining came to the 2015 USEF Youth Reining National Championships on Saturday, June 27 with the goal of claiming a national title. Held in conjunction with the NRHA Derby at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Okla., Emmy-Lu Marsh earned the USEF 14-18 Youth Reining National title and James Belden, Jr. was the USEF 13 & Under Youth Reining National Champion.

Fourteen-year-old Marsh (Tallulah, La.) was the 2014 13 & Under Champion and was still in top form a year later as she claimed the USEF 14-18 Youth Reining National Champion title. Riding her own four-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, Who Whiz Porter, Marsh guided her young mount to an excellent score of 143.5 from the judging panel of Doug Milholland and Brenda Brown.

“It was amazing; I was so proud of him,” Marsh said of her ride with Who Whiz Porter. Stepping up from the 13 & Under division, she added, “It was crazy to be competing against the big kids and receive such a big score; it was great.”

The USEF 14-18 Youth Reining Reserve National Champion title went to 16-year-old Annabeth Payne (Tallahassee, Fla.) after she piloted Chexamillion, her own nine-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, to a score of 136.0.

James Belden, Jr. and TR Chic Magnet (Waltenberry)
James Belden, Jr. and TR Chic Magnet (Waltenberry)

Belden, Jr., a 13-year-old resident of Wellington, Fla., scored top honors in the USEF 13 & Under Youth Reining National Championship. He and TR Chic Magnet, his father James Belden’s 13-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, laid down a solid run, scoring 136.0, and claiming the title.

“It is a surprise and an honor to win a National Championship,” said Belden, Jr. “Pattern eight was well suited to my horse’s skill set and we had a good ride despite a small penalty for a late lead change. TR Chic Magnet’s performance in the sliding stops and rollbacks was exemplary and I was very happy with his circles and spins. I hope to continue to improve my performance with this great horse under the guidance of Dave Moore my trainer and coach.”

Twelve-year-old Bo Van Duys (Parkland, Fla.) and Wimpys Lucky Girl, her mother Holly Van Duys’ six-year-old Quarter Horse mare, received a score of 134.5 to earn the USEF 13 & Under Youth Reining Reserve National Champion title.

Find more information on the NRHA Derby.

Learn more about the USEF Youth Reining Program.

From the USEF Communications Department