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Irish See Off Strong Challenge from UAE for First-Leg Victory in Abu Dhabi

Jack Ryan with BBS McGregor. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Team Ireland came out on top in the first clash of the 10-leg Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2022 series at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. But the hosts chased them every inch of the way to finish a close second ahead of Great Britain in third place.

As Irish Chef d’Equipe, Michael Blake, said afterwards the competition turned into “a two-horse race” when only a single fence separated his side, leading on a zero score at the halfway stage, from the home team who were carrying just four faults going into round two.

There was no room for error in the closing stages and, as Blake added, “The UAE really kept the pressure on us. I wouldn’t have dreamt this morning that it would take six clear rounds to win it,” Blake added.

For the UAE, their result easily secured one of the two places at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2022 on offer to teams from the Middle East at this leg, the other going to Saudi Arabia who finished fifth.

The three-member Syrian side dropped out of contention when Ahmad Saber Hamcho retired in the first round, leaving six countries to battle it out in the closing stages in which Team Jordan just missed out on a Middle East qualifying slot when finishing sixth.

Reopened

When the Irish reopened with a clear from Shane Breen and Z7 Ipswich and then youngest team-member 20-year-old Jack Ryan completed a double-clear with BBS McGregor, it was always looking good for the team in green.

However, as Blake had commented during the halfway break, there was no room for complacency, because the UAE really meant business. Like Shane Breen, host-team pathfinder Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri had picked up four faults in the opening round with Sama Dubai, but second time out they made no mistake. So when his compatriot Hamad Ali Al Kirbi was double-clear with the handsome grey Quel Cadans Z, then there was still only that one fence between the two sides.

Then Hamad Ali’s 21-year-old son, Ali Hamad Al Kirbi, piled on the pressure with an equally impressive tour of Alan Wade’s 12-fence track partnering the 13-year-old mare Dalida van de Zuuthoeve, so now the ball was back in the Irish court.

However, third-line Irishman, David Simpson, wrapped it up with his second cool clear of the day from the 12-year-old Foudre F. On a zero scoreline his team could not now be beaten, and Irish team anchor Trevor Breen’s single error with Highland President cost him only a share of the €50,000 going to the five partnerships who posted double-clears – Ryan, Simpson, Hamad Al Kirbi, Great Britain’s Donald Whitaker (Di Caprio), and Germany’s David Will (Babalou HD).

The final scoreline showed Ireland on zero, UAE on four faults in second place, and Great Britain’s Whitaker, William Funnell (Equine America Billy Diamo), and Georgia Tame (Z7 Ascot) in third on 17. Germany finished fourth on 34 faults, Saudi Arabia in fifth on 48, and the Jordanian team were sixth with a final tally of 50 faults.

Looked strong

The Irish always looked strong after wins for brothers Shane and Trevor Breen in the 5* and 2* Grand Prix classes at the fixture earlier in the week, so Chef d’Equipe Blake was feeling confident.

“We competed here four times and had three second-place finishes, but I felt this competition was ours to lose today and that we were the best team here, although I didn’t see the UAE coming as strong as they did – it just shows how showjumping is developing in this region!” he said.

He was delighted with the performances of all his team members, and was particularly pleased with the maturity shown by Jack Ryan who was competing in only his second senior Nations Cup. “He was on the winning team in Vilamoura (POR) last year, so he’s now made it two wins out of two – that’s impressive,” Blake said. He’s had a long association with the young man who hails from Inistioge in County Kilkenny, Ireland. “I was at my first Championship with Jack when he was just 11 years old competing in Children on Horses, and it’s extra special that he is riding a home-bred horse here today,” Blake pointed out.

BBS McGregor is a horse with a story, having recovered from a serious injury early in his life. “We bred him ourselves and as a yearling he got very sick because we think he was kicked in the head by another horse when out in the field. He fell apart physically and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him – he was just fading away. But he had a lump on his nose and when it was x-rayed it seems that a tooth went up through the roof of his mouth when he was kicked and he couldn’t eat because of the pain. He’s so much better now and it’s great to see him doing so well and enjoying himself in the ring,” Ryan explained.

Experienced team

He said he felt “confident but nervous” about competing at 5* level with such an experienced team, “but they helped me a lot.” He relished the competitiveness of this clash of nations. “Fair play to the UAE – they really put it up to us all the way,” he added.

Meanwhile, the UAE’s Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri was filled with pride for his country’s result. “I think our best score here before was 17 faults, so today’s result was really great!” he said. “We are aiming two teams for events this year – one for the Asian Games and one for the Longines Final, and of course today’s competition is also a qualifier for the World Championships, so it has been a great experience for all of us.”

Blake meanwhile is turning his attention to selection for the next leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2022 series which will take place at Coapexpan, Mexico in March, but now it’s about celebrating his country’s first big team victory of 2022. “It’s a really great start to the year,” said the happy Irish team manager.

Result

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by Louise Parkes

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It All Comes Together for Chapot and Chandon Blue in “Saturday Night Lights” Victory

Laura Chapot with Chandon Blue. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 22, 2022 – While the international competition during this week of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) has been held at Equestrian Village, all eyes were on the International Arena tonight at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL for the $50,000 Marshall & Sterling/Great American Insurance Group National Grand Prix, part of the exciting “Saturday Night Lights” series. Laura Chapot (USA) delivered a thrilling performance as she and Chandon Blue raced through the timers for the win.

Forty-five entries contested the grand prix track set by Nick Granat (USA) with 11 combinations jumping clear and were through to the jump-off.

First in the ring for the jump-off was Grand Prix Qualifier winner, Cathleen Driscoll (USA) aboard her winning mount Flotylla, owned by Don Stewart. Driscoll duplicated her first-round clear performance, laying down a quick, clean effort in 37.07 seconds over the shortened course, which would hold up for fourth place.

A couple horses later, it was Nick Dello Joio (USA) and The Berry Group’s Cornet’s Cambridge that set the new time to beat at 36.33 seconds. That would ultimately be good enough for a third-place finish.

Dello Joio’s time was quickly slashed as next in was Irish Olympian Shane Sweetnam who finished the short course in 35.728 seconds with James Kann Cruz, owned by Gizmo Partners LLC. However, Sweetnam would have to settle for second place.

After watching their new target in Sweetnam and James Kann Cruz, Chapot and Chandon Blue went pedal to the metal, finishing in 34.485 seconds for the win.

Adrienne Sternlicht Leaves It All on the Field for 1.50m Victory

The $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic started an action-packed day of competition on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village with 50 horse-and-rider combinations contesting Oscar Soberon’s (USA) educated first track. More than 13 nations were represented in the class and seven of those countries were represented in the returning jump-off field which consisted of 18 fault-free competitors.

Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam held the leading time for a majority of the shortened track until FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 U.S. team gold medalist Adrienne Sternlicht found an even faster pace. The young professional proved ready for an impressive season as she captured the first win of the day aboard Lafayette Van Overis.

Sternlicht laid it all on the line with the 11-year-old BWP gelding (Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Houdini Van Overis) with a variety of long gallops and tight turns to shave an entire three seconds off of Sweetnam’s time and blaze through the timers in 42.51 seconds.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Eoin McMahon Makes a Splash with Victory in $37k WEF Challenge Cup Round Two

Eoin McMahon aboard Chacon 2. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 21, 2022 – The 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued to host competition on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Friday, January 21, with the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round Two CSI3* during WEF 2, sponsored by Hygain Feeds. In Thursday’s feature event, newcomer Eoin McMahon (IRL) experienced his first WEF victory as he and Chacon 2, owned by Beerbaum Stables, emerged unbeatable.

The Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup was the only event of the day held on the grass track and 58 top horse-and-rider combinations showed up to compete over Oscar Soberon’s (USA) first-round course. Halfway through, only nine pairings were set to advance to the jump-off, including the likes of Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Margie Engle (USA), and the previous day’s $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic winner, Daniel Coyle (IRL). By the first round’s end, six more entries had joined with a clear trip, making a total of 15 set to see their way around the short course.

Egypt’s Nayel Nassar was the first of the comeback field to execute a second clear round with Coronado, but Katie Dinan (USA) only allowed for a short reprieve before stealing the lead with Dijon Terdoorn Z. Daniel Coyle (IRL) continued the streak by knocking over three seconds off of Dinan’s time to land on 42.58 seconds with Oak Grove’s Carlyle.

Coyle ultimately finished out the event in the fourth-place position as Erynn Ballard (CAN), Samuel Hutton (GBR), and McMahon all continued to find areas to shave off time. As one of the final few on to the field, McMahon and Chacon 2 closed all possible gaps and crossed the timers in a blazing 40.29 seconds.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Jordan Coyle Captures $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix

Jordan Coyle and Lisaniska Cool Quality (Photo by Romeo Ghete Photography)

Wellington, FL (January 17, 2022) – The Irish are always a force to be reckoned with on the Turf Tour, with their talent in the ring highlighted appropriately over the emerald fields for which the show series is known. 2022’s second week of competition was no exception, with Irishman Jordan Coyle flying through the jump-off as the final ride of the day to clinch Friday’s $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix. Set on the green polo fields at Polo West Estates, Coyle’s ultimate jump-off time barely edged out the previous record holder, shaving off precious hundredths of a second with tight turns and stride omissions to cross the timers and best a class of 18 riders.

Coyle, as the final ride of the day, was aiming to beat leader Francis Derwin’s jump-off time. Piloting Vlock Show Stables’ Scarlett Du Sart Z, Derwin jumped-off to finish in 30.378 seconds, beating out Coyle’s time of 32.132 seconds with Ballyoskill Big Bucks. The Grand Prix course set by Eric Hasbrouck featured a jump-off offering riders a number of options to slice off precious seconds as well as challenges that could cost rails, including multiple one- and two-stride combinations and rollbacks to test agility and staying power. Coyle tackled every challenge, showcasing a combination of speed and scope with Lisaniska Cool Quality to win the class with a jump-off time of 29.294 seconds.

For full results, visit www.HorseShowing.com.

For more info, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

Lövsta Future Challenge Qualifying Series Kicks Off with High Scoring Win for Wandres at AGDF

Frederic Wandres (GER) on Harrods 3. ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 16, 2022 – The first week of the 2022 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida wrapped up on Sunday, January 16, with the opening qualifiers of the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series and the Summit Farm Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges Series under brooding skies. Both classes aim to identify and nurture talented, up-and-coming young horses. Grand finals for both classes will be held during AGDF 11.

Germany’s Frederic Wandres capped a week already replete with winner’s sashes — both courtesy of his Grand Prix horse Bluetooth OLD — with victory in the Lövsta Future Challenge Young Horse Grand Prix Series competing in the FEI Intermediate II test. He rode the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Harrods 3 to 74.352%.

Wandres, who successfully competed Harrods at last year’s AGDF in Prix St. Georges, said: “I felt already last year that there is so much talent in him, and we just have to bring it into the arena now, which is sometimes not that easy. At home you feel what your horse can do, but to bring it inside is something else. But I’m super happy with him and he feels fantastic.

“For competing in the Intermediate II, you have to train all of the exercises step by step,” he continued. “Then you have to bring it all together, like a puzzle, and connect it. The piaffe-passage, the whole pirouettes, and the changes, that takes so much energy out of the horses — more than you expect sometimes. You have to do it step by step over the winter and then try to bring it together. The horse is getting more power by doing it.”

With threatening skies that would open up at the conclusion of competition, Wandres was confident that Harrods would be solid no matter what.

“He can handle nearly all kinds of weather. I thought the connection of the whole test was good. I had a small mistake in the two tempis, but that can happen to a young horse. I felt he was in front of me and willing to do everything,” added Wandres, who praised the Hochadel gelding’s good temperament. “I love him, and I think he’s exactly where he has to be.”

Kelly Layne (AUS) filled the runner-up spot with a 72.381% test on Ellen Trouillé’s 10-year-old Foundation gelding, Fernando. She went one better in the Summit Farm Future Challenge Young Horse Prix St. Georges class, winning it from last draw with 67.734% on the nine-year-old Safira 66. The mare is another owned by Trouillé, who bought her at the Hanoverian auction in Germany.

“She’s always been scared about things on the ground and nervous even of the rider, so you have to be really careful,” explained Layne, who competed Samhitas at the Tokyo Olympic Games. “Safira is super sensitive to ride, and you have to be gentle. I just coaxed her round out there today to give her a good experience, and I’m thrilled that we are the winners. It wasn’t really expected, but I think that’s the quality of horse I’m sitting on. I can’t believe in my life that I get to sit on a horse like that. She’s like flying a kite, and it feels like you’re going to lift off any second.”

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Grace Debney and Boheme de la Roque Rock $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic

Grace Debney and Boheme de la Roque. © Sportfot.

International competition during week one of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded with the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Classic as part of the weekly CaptiveOne Advisors Jumper Classic series. Grace Debney (GBR) flew to the win with her trusty mare Boheme de la Roque.

Stormy weather threatened to derail afternoon classes, but the clouds parted ways long enough for the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Classic to run as scheduled.

There were 20 combinations that competed over a course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU). Time allowed was a factor with eight riders accumulating time faults. Only three riders ultimately advanced to the jump-off.

First to jump off was Brian Moggre (USA) riding Stevie Macken’s Dior P Z who set the time to beat at 36.95 seconds for an eventual third-place finish. Next to challenge was Debney and her own Boheme de la Roque. They shaved almost two seconds off of Moggre’s time, finishing in 35.02 seconds. Matthew Boddy (GBR) was last to go in both the first round and the jump-off, but he couldn’t quite catch Debney, crossing the timers in 36.20 seconds and finishing in second place.

Debney was competing in the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Griffis Residential, when it started torrentially downpouring, and management eventually had to put the show on hold.

In Writing and Sterling Malnik Dazzle in T&R Development Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Division

The first championship in the Rost Arena was for the T&R Development Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division. Sterling Malnik of Ocean Ridge, FL with her horse In Writing topped three out of the five classes in the division on their way to the championship title.

The division started Saturday and resumed with the under saddle on Sunday morning, in which Philippa Ammann strutted to the win with Katarina Ammann’s Balousock B.B.S. Ammann and the 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Balougraph went on to score an 85 in the stake class for their second win of the day, boosting them to the reserve championship honors.

It was Malnik and In Writing’s consistency over the two days of competition that ultimately clinched the championship. The pair won both over fences classes on Saturday including the handy with scores of 86 and 88. They finished on Sunday with a win in the third over fences class with a score of 86.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Devanto Top the Leaderboard with New Personal Best Score at AGDF

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén (SWE) on Devanto. ©SusanStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2022 – The seven-time Swedish Olympic rider Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén took home the winner’s blanket and sash in the Grand Prix Special CDI4*, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic. Riding Lövsta Stuteri’s 13-year-old Devanto, Vilhelmson-Silfvén logged a new record score for the Holsteiner gelding at the level – 73.425% – despite a blip in the first set of one-time changes. Overall, they were rewarded with a smattering of eights in the test and a nine for extended canter. Runner-up spot went to Susan Dutta (USA) on her own and her husband Tim’s 13-year-old gelding Figeac DC with 68.596%.

Devanto was formerly campaigned at Grand Prix by Germany’s Juliane Brunkhorst. Vilhelmson-Silfvén did her first CDI on him at AGDF exactly a year ago, and this was their eighth CDI test.

“It’s a gift to get a ready-made horse,” said the 54-year-old Vilhelmson-Silfvén. “But that’s not to say it’s easier, because you really have to make them your own. You have to learn how they work, and they have to learn how you work. You have to give them time to understand you. I get to understand how a horse like Devanto – with all this power – how he reacts, if he reacts, if he’s too tense, or if he’s over ambitious. He’s very sensitive, and I like that.”

Unanimous Victory for Britain’s Susan Pape at Small Tour

It was the final competitor in the Intermediate I CDI1*, Susan Pape, who swept the class with a unanimous first place from the five judges. The British rider, 58, rode Harmony Sporthorses’s 11-year-old Jazz x Flemmingh mare to 72.265% at only the pair’s second international show together. They had more than 2.6 percentage points in hand over second-placed Shannon Dueck (CAN) on As You Wish.

Christina Vinios rode Deauville in the pair’s first international show to a winning 66.265% in the FEI Intermediate A CDI2*. Five Rings Farm’s 18-year-old Oldenburg gelding is by the De Niro son Del Gado and out of a Gervantus I mare.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Spencer Smith and Ayade Hero Z Fly to Win in $140k Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3* at WEF

Spencer Smith and Ayade Hero Z. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2022 – The $140,000 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI3* was the feature event of the week at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Saturday, January 15, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Part of the popular “Saturday Night Lights” series, Spencer Smith (USA) wowed the crowd and jumped to victory with Ransome Rombauer’s Ayade Hero Z.

There were 45 entries in the biggest class of the week, and they competed over a course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU). Eight were able to find the path to a clear round and continued to the jump-off.

Starting out the jump-off with a bang was Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington (USA) and his 10-year-old KWPN mare Orafina (For Fashion x Canturo). They set the time to beat at 36 seconds flat, which would hold up for second place.

Smith and Ayade Hero Z were able to bring the winning time down to a blisteringly fast 34.31 seconds to take the win. Leaving out a stride in the first line was not originally in Smith’s plan.

First Lady Is First Place with McLain Ward in the CP National Grand Prix

Daytime competition in the International Arena was highlighted by the $30,000 CP National Grand Prix. McLain Ward and Robin Parsky’s First Lady outran the rest of the field to emerge victorious.

Thirty-eight entries attempted the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU) with 10 horses jumping clear to advance to the jump-off.

First to jump off was Jennifer Waxman (USA), who set the time to beat at 43.786 seconds aboard The Scato Group LLC’s Scato van de Molenbrug Z. With each round, the jump-off got faster and faster until McLain Ward (USA) and First Lady could not be caught, crossing the timers in 39.125 seconds.

First Lady is a star in the making that has been with Ward for two years.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Frederic Wandres and Bluetooth OLD Transmit Winning Signal with Freestyle Personal Best at AGDF

Frederic Wandres (GER) and Bluetooth OLD. ©SusanStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 14, 2022 – The first “Friday Night Stars” evening freestyle of the 2022 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Florida did not disappoint. The highlight class of week one, the FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Lövsta Stuteri, produced top-drawer dressage, personal bests galore, and a winning score of over 81%.

The 34-year-old German rider Frederic Wandres pulled off another powerful, supple, and enchanting performance for 81.065% aboard Elena Knyaginicheva and Sergey Knyaginichev’s 12-year-old Bordeaux gelding Bluetooth OLD, who only started international grand prix in the spring of 2021.

Anna Buffini (USA) rode her own FRH Davinia La Douce, by Don Frederico, into second place, and Ashley Holzer (USA) finished third on Dr. Diane Fellows’s Hochadel mare Havanna 145 (77.25%).

“I felt super tonight,” said Wandres, who also topped the Grand Prix and whose freestyle was made by Michael Erdmann. “My best score was 79% in Aachen in the four-star CDI, but today 81% is really something fantastic and incredible.”

Jennifer Williams’s Millione Records Second Win with Personal Best Freestyle Score

It was nip and tuck in a high-quality tussle for the top spot in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4*, presented by CabanaCoast. Both Jennifer Williams (USA) and Susan Pape (GBR) scored over 77%, but it was Williams who emerged triumphant, taking her prize-money earnings to $5,500 in 24 hours.

Riding the 19-year-old gelding Millione, who is six years older than any of his challengers, Williams pulled off a career-high score of 77.175% — with Pape trailing by just 0.17 percentage points aboard Harmony’s Eclectisch. This was the second career personal best set by the Millione Partners’ gelding Millione, by Milan, in two days.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Jimmy Torano and Chewbacca HCC Take First Win of FEI Competition during WEF

Jimmy Torano and Chewbacca HCC © Sportfot.

The 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued with the second week of the 13-week long circuit. Starting out the International Arena with a win was Jimmy Torano (USA) and Chewbacca HCC with victory in the Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumpers.

While the first FEI ranking class takes place Thursday, January 13, FEI horses were able to compete Wednesday in the Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Jumper Pre-FEI Horses class. Torano and Chewbacca HCC came away with the win in a time of 76.093 seconds. Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) & Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU) are the course designers for the International Arena this week.

Just behind them was David O’Brien (IRL), who rode Chansonette Farm LLC’s EL Balou Old, a 10-year-old stallion by Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Balou Du Rouet, in 76.478 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Irish Olympian Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and the 13-year-old Rhinelander gelding Alejandro (Acorado’s ASS x Continue), owned by Sweet Oak Farm, Spy Coast Farm, and Seabrook LLC.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.