Category Archives: Awards

Lauren Kieffer’s Veronica Named Equis Best Presented Horse at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica jogging at the second FEI Horse Inspection of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Photo by Betsy Whiteman.

Lexington, KY – USA’s Lauren Kieffer and her mount Veronica claimed the Equis Boutique Best Presented Horse Award at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI****, presented by Land Rover, in Lexington, KY, on their way to a second-place finish in front of a home crowd of 25,000 spectators.

The Ground Jury at the second FEI Horse Inspection of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, led by President Ernst Topp of Germany, evaluated the appearance of each horse and rider pair, including grooming, tack, behavior, jog attire, and interaction with the judges. They unanimously selected Kieffer and her 14-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood mare (Pacific x Ferro) owned by Team Rebecca, LLC as “Best Presented”.

“Winning this award really comes down to the whole team,” said Kieffer. “It is not a one day project – my team has spent years and put a lot of work into making sure these horses are as healthy as possible.”

Kieffer gave special recognition to her head groom, Shannon Kinsley, who has been working by her side for more than two years.

“It is great to recognize the effort she puts into keeping the horses healthy and beautiful,” continued Kieffer.

Kieffer and Veronica were one of 54 combinations to return on day three of the event and face the final show jumping phase. Combined with their dressage and cross-country efforts, Kieffer and her mare earned a final score of 52.5, placed second overall, and were the top-placed representatives from the United States.

“I am thrilled with her. We went in with a goal to finish well and sometimes you need a little luck on your side, but she was really on form,” said Kieffer.

Veronica was also second at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2014 with Kieffer in the irons after a long career together. Kieffer got the ride on the mare as a six-year-old after she was imported as a sale horse by Scott Keach and Sharn Wordley. She was sold to Team Rebecca, LLC as a mount for Karen O’Connor, but after an injury sidelined O’Connor, Kieffer took the ride over and has been partnered with the mare ever since.

“She has become a very seasoned mare with a lot of experience,” said Kieffer. “I want to keep her on form and pick away at little things, but we take it one event at a time.”

Kieffer was presented with a commemorative plaque by Cesar Hirsch, Founder of Equis Boutique, in recognition of the Best Presented Horse Award, as well as a set of Eventing Boots from Equis Boutique partner brand Kentucky Horsewear.

“The entire event was impeccably executed and is always a favorite of Equis Boutique,” said Hirsch of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. “The Best Presented Horse Award has become a favorite across show jumping and eventing over the past year, and we were honored to present it for the second consecutive year at Rolex Kentucky.

“Lauren and Veronica were – without a doubt – deserving winners,” continued Hirsch. “It was a joy to watch them at the Horse Inspection, but even more thrilling to see them in action throughout the event.”

Contact: Lindsay Brock

Lauren Kieffer Wins Land Rover ‘Best Ride of the Day’ at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

(LEXINGTON, KY.) – April 30, 2016 – Lauren Kieffer, the top U.S. rider to complete the cross-country course closest to the optimum time without jumping penalties, won the “Land Rover Best Ride of the Day” and was presented with a 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport 24-month lease at the 2016 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover.

The optimum time of 11 minutes and 15 seconds was set for competitors to jump around the cross-country course today and Lauren Kieffer, riding Landmark’s Monte Carlo, owned by Jacqueline Mars, finishing in 11 minutes 22 seconds to win the 24-month lease. The final result came down to a three-way tie between Kieffer, Lynn Symansky riding Donner and Holly Payne Caravella riding Never Outfoxed, who all finished seven seconds above the time. Kieffer won having the best dressage score.

“I said to my friends last night that I really just wanted to win the Land Rover; I am ecstatic!” said Lauren Kieffer. “My horse, Landmark’s Monte Carlo, rode perfectly today and I couldn’t be happier.”

“In true Rolex Kentucky form, the course tested the horses and riders looking to impress the U.S. Eventing Team selectors for this year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” said Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing, Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC. “Huge congratulations to Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo who thrilled the 34,552 spectators with their clear round.  Lauren Kieffer could not wait to test her Discovery Sport on the off-road test drive course!”

For the seventh year running Land Rover North America returned as presenting sponsor of the 2016 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, continuing their longstanding support of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and equestrian sports. As one of six annual Four-Star Eventing competitions around the world (alongside the Olympic Games and World Championships), the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of the most prestigious competitions in the world. It is therefore an official selection event for the U.S. Olympic Eventing Team, and will be attracting the world’s best riders.

For any equestrian fans unable to attend the event, the NBC telecast of the Rolex Equestrian Championships presented by Land Rover will allow those to stream and enjoy it from home on May 8th from 1:30-3:00pm EDT.

To learn more about the 2016 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover, please visit:

About The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover

The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover is the nation’s premier Three-Day Event and one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the world. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation – FEI), the world’s governing body of equestrian sports, has designated the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event as a ‘Four Star’ eventing competition, the highest designation, which is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and six annual events around the world. “Rolex Kentucky” is the only Four Star event in the Western Hemisphere. Known as the “Best Weekend All Year,” the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, April 28 – May 1.


Deb Sandford
Nat’l PR Comms & Events Manager
Jaguar Land Rover
North America, LLC

Marty Bauman
Chief Press Officer
Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

Leah Oliveto
Director, Communications
United States Equestrian Federation
859 225 2053

2016 Turf Tour Finale Grand Prix Topped by Brianne Goutal and Onira

Brianne Goutal and Onira (Photos courtesy of The Ridge at Wellington/Equinium)

Beth Underhill Named Leading Rider

Wellington, Florida (April 11, 2016) – As the final horse soared over the final oxer under the spectacular covered arena of Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, the 2016 turf Tour came to a close following 13 weeks of high caliber show jumping and hunter competition. Finale week at the Turf Tour included some of the most technical courses, exceptional amenities, and world-class competitors that have set the series apart on the Wellington show circuit.

The $24,995 Turf Tour Finale Grand Prix was topped by Brianne Goutal aboard Onira, one of a group of early double clears that bested the field of riders including Olympic champions and some of the top names in international show jumping. Hardin Towell and Flip clocked in at 35.286 in the jump off to place second, and Goutal and her other ride, Barlon van Groenhove, finished third with a double clear and 36.588. Subsequent double clear efforts were achieved by Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Tic Tac, top ranked Asian show jumper Taizo Sugitani and Hyperion Stud’s Imhotep, New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley with Hickstead’s Axel and Zabel D, and Chilean Olympian Samuel Parot with Cortina 186 and Cous Cous Van Orti.

Because of the threat of inclement weather, Wednesday’s competition was rescheduled for Thursday at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. The two 1.30-1.35m divisions were topped by New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley and Ireland’s Denis Coakley. Wordley, who finished second in the CSI 5* at WEF and only began showing on the Turf Tour later in the season, has been riding the 11-year-old gelding Hickstead’s Axel for 5 years and aimed to boost his position on the FEI rankings. “The horse is a solid competitor, and I’ve also brought some young horses to get the experience,” said Wordley. “The Turf Tour is a great opportunity for both the horses and riders and I’m a huge supporter of it. It’s also a great chance to win great prize money.”

Beth Underhill and Count Me In
Beth Underhill and Count Me In

Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill, a frequent face on the Turf Tour, was also frequently in the ribbons aboard her string of horses, so much so that she topped the overall standings. Her achievements earned her the Leading Rider and Leading Lady Rider awards, which were inaugurated on the Turf Tour this year in memory of Sophie Walker and Andres Rodriquez, to equestrians lost tragically just before the start of the 2016 season. Underhill, who recently rode Count Me In to victory in the Week 10 Grand Prix at the International Polo Club was thrilled with the honor and her horses’ performance over the past three months. “It was wonderful to have the horses be so consistent throughout the circuit,” said Underhill. “And it wasn’t just one horse that stood out, but all of my horses jumped great. Count Me In really found is stride and I’m so thrilled for him and his owner Sandy Lupton. I’m expecting him to develop into a national Grand Prix horse in Canada, and I’m looking forward to build on the experience he has gained here for the winter. It’s an honor to be awarded the leading rider awards, and am looking forward to 2017.”

With the goal of developing young horses and advancing riders, the Turf Tour 13-week is a unique addition to Wellington’s growing winter circuit, offering riders top-tier competition, over $400,000 in prize money, and an unparalleled atmosphere. The ‘show when you like,’ open-ended schedule offers convenience and a more distilled competitive environment, without sacrificing the challenge and competition found at nationally recognized shows. Organized by Olympic show jumper Nona Garson, George D’Ambrosio, and Craig Bergman, the vision that inspired the tour’s conception was bringing back the old world flair to jumper classes by staging competitions on springy, natural turf surfaces away from the chaotic intensity of other show grounds.

Due to popular demand, The Ridge also hosted a final schooling show, an addition to the schedule, on April 2-3, 2016 at The Ridge at Wellington. Featuring the same prizelist and schedule as previous shows, the series featured hunters and equitation on Saturday and Jumpers on Sunday.

For more information, visit For up-to-date information, please follow The Ridge at Wellington on Facebook.

Media Contact:
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
954 205 7992

Danish Nations Cup Rider Wins Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award at AGDF

Signe Kirk Kristiansen (Photo courtesy of JRPR).

Wellington, FL (April 8, 2016) – As the Adequan Global Dressage Festival drew to an end in Wellington, Florida, Danish Adult Amateur dressage rider Signe Kirk Kristiansen was honored for her accomplishments and commitment to dressage with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award. Every week during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, internationally renowned Dr. Cesar Parra, who was an Olympian for his home country of Colombia and has represented the U.S. in the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2014 World Cup Final, awarded standout Adult Amateur competitors. Parra and his Piaffe Performance Farm proudly presented Kristiansen with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award as she represented her home country of Denmark in the CDIO 3* Nations Cup presented by Stillpoint Farm during the last week of the winter show series.

Kristiansen competed her 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding Roberto (Walt Disney x Rubina Langkiaergaard, by Rubinstein I) in the CDI Prix St. Georges in the Nations Cup competition. It was only the pair’s first CDI class and second season competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Kristiansen was one of the only Adult Amateur riders on the roster in the CDI Prix St. Georges, and represented Denmark with her Nations Cup teammates Mikala Gundersen, Rikke Poulsen, and Lars Petersen.

As she competed beside some of the world’s top dressage riders, Kristiansen said, “I don’t even think about being an Adult Amateur. I just enjoy it.” Piaffe Performance was happy to recognize Kristiansen’s accomplishments and efforts throughout the Nations Cup and the entire 2016 show season.

In addition to being a competitive dressage rider, Kristiansen is a qualified veterinary nurse and has owned her own horses since she was six years old. She has been a fan of the Arabian breed since she was a teenager. Kristiansen currently owns Kirk Arabians with her husband in Denmark, and stated, “I’ve trained my Arabians myself since they were three years old. One advanced to Intermediaire I this year, and the other one started in Prix St. Georges.”

Kristiansen travelled to Wellington, Florida for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival this season with three competition horses – Roberto and two of her nine-year-old purebred Arabians.

Piaffe Performance, a successful trainer of both horses and riders alike, praised Kristiansen for her work in developing her own horses. Kristiansen said, “It takes a long time to develop the horses from a young age up through the levels. I do love it because you know where you put the buttons, and you know how to use those buttons. I like to breed and develop my own horses. For me, it’s very difficult to get an educated horse – I have tried and not had a lot of success. I like breeding horses and having my own youngsters for those reasons.”

Piaffe Performance commends Adult Amateur riders like Kristiansen who work hard to accomplish their goals and to succeed in the sport of dressage. As an Official Partner and Sponsor of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Piaffe Performance proudly presented the Adult Amateur Achievement Award throughout the twelve-week show series. Piaffe Performance also sponsored the International Arena Rider Lounge and the Hospitality Tent by the National Arenas at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival show grounds to provide drinks and snacks for all levels of riders to enjoy before or after their tests.

Piaffe Performance is located in Jupiter, Florida and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Piaffe Performance specializes in selecting, training, and showing, and facilitates the sales of top dressage prospects for riders at every level. For more information on Piaffe Performance, visit

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352

Phoebe Alwine Named Equis Boutique Children’s Jumper 15-17 Circuit Champion at WEF

Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, Florida – Phoebe Alwine and Zenith Dance were named the Equis Boutique Children’s Jumper 15-17 Division Circuit Champion at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), held from January 13 through April 3 in Wellington, FL.

Alwine and her 12-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood gelding collected three championship titles and one reserve championship title throughout the 12-week WEF circuit. Alwine hails from Delray Beach, FL and rides under the direction of Jane Fennessy and Vinissa Blann at Carriage Hill Farms.

“I would like to say thank you so much to Equis Boutique for sponsoring this division,” said Alwine, 16. “I got to compete, improve, and build a bond with my horse. It’s so great, and there’s nothing else like it.”

Alwine had been predominately competing in hunter and equitation competition before entering the jumper ranks for the first time this season. She partnered with Zenith Dance, a former grand prix show jumping horse, in August to help her transition to the jumper ring and learn the ropes in rapid fashion.

“I wanted something to teach me how to do the real jumpers, and he is amazing and has taught me so much,” said Alwine of her mount. “He really teaches you how to ride the course and how to go fast. It definitely works because he is two seconds faster every time.”

Following her successes at WEF, Alwine plans to move up to the Modified Children’s and Low Junior Jumper divisions this summer. She has also set an immediate goal to qualify for the NAL Children’s Jumper Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA.

Equis Boutique presented the Children’s Jumper 15-17 division throughout WEF, and honored the following weekly champions:

Swiss Air, Grace Boston, Gray Smith Farm Hamptons, LLC
Camera Ready, Julia Tait, Fit To Print Farm
Aretina M, Sophia Zuckett, Stephanie Novas
Zenith Dance, Phoebe Alwine, Phoebe Alwine
Alanda, Sienna Partipilo, Sienna Partipilo
Zenith Dance, Phoebe Alwine, Phoebe Alwine
Venturesome, Cheyenne Considine, Cheyenne Considine
Venturesome, Cheyenne Considine, Cheyenne Considine
Zenith Dance, Phoebe Alwine, Phoebe Alwine
Capacabana, Robyn Hannigan, Robyn Hannigan
Metropolitan, Alessandra Pino, Synchronicity Group
Baby Guiness, Eliza Fauntleroy, Aubrey Cecil

Equis Boutique is a shopping experience for the discerning equestrian and offers the most convenient and luxurious choice for top equine brands to dress the horse and rider. Featured brands include Parlanti, Manfredi Equestrian, KASK Helmets, Anna Scarpati, Kingsland Equestrian, Kentucky Horsewear, and Dy’on, as well as a variety of imported specialty bits and Official FEI and Just World International merchandise.

For more information on Equis LLC boutiques, please visit Email for questions on the stores and their products.

Contact: Lindsay Brock
Jump Media

USET Foundation Announces Lillie Keenan as 2016 Maxine Beard Award Winner

Lillie Keenan and Super Sox at the HITS Great American Million.

Wellington, Fla. – April 4, 2016 – The United States Equestrian Team Foundation is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Maxine Beard Show Jumping Rider Award is Lillie Keenan. Hailing from New York, Keenan will be adding this award to her already impressive list of show jumping accomplishments.

The Maxine Beard award is presented to young riders who are talented in the sport of show jumping and also show great potential to represent this country in Nations Cup competitions and international championships. At just 19 years old, Keenan turned professional in 2015 while also furthering her education as a freshman at the prestigious Harvard University. Under the tutelage of Ireland’s Olympic Bronze medalist Cian O’Connor, Keenan adapted to a new training regime for herself and her horses.

“I really needed to challenge myself, and I always knew that I had a lot to learn, but now I feel like I’ve come a long way,” said Keenan. “I feel much more confident in myself than I did last year at this time, simply because I had new experiences, and I’m excited for continued change and trying new things, and trying to establish myself as a professional.”

One of Keenan’s most exciting opportunities this past year was beginning her training with O’Connor and spending the summer in Europe at O’Connor’s Karlswood Stables. Through her work with the Irish Olympian Keenan achieved top results in 2016, including third place finishes in the $380,000 Douglas Elliman CSI5* Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival and the HITS Great American $1 Million Grand Prix with her Super Sox, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding.

“I’ve taken a lot of time with that horse,” noted Keenan. “He’s a horse that I’ve always believed in. Three months ago, the team at Karlswood said, ‘You’ve put in all this work with this horse and you’re going to place in a night class in Florida.’ The fact that it came together is just a testament to the program, and also to how important it is to invest in the learning process and be patient with it. When you follow the steps and you put in the work to learn and have a special moment like that, it is really exciting.”

Along with the trophy, the award also offers the recipient the opportunity to travel to a Nations Cup competition to shadow the American team. In 2016, the Nations Cup events will have added importance, as the U.S. squad will be preparing for the Olympic Games in Rio later this summer. Keenan will observe the stabling area and veterinary inspection, and she will also be able to walk the courses with Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland and the team.

“Our sport is not always team based, but at the highest level, you’re representing your country as a team, and that’s what I enjoy,” said Keenan. “To have the opportunity to shadow a team and get the experience of working with Robert Ridland and understanding the best American riders and their programs, and just being able to watch them ride and watch the work they do, is fantastic.”

Keenan concluded, “It’s exciting for me to receive this award because it’s an honor but also it’s a nice confidence boost at the end of season and now that I’m going to Europe. I especially want to thank the team behind Karlswood and of course my family.”

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation ( is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
USET Foundation
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Artisan Farms and Tiffany Foster Honored at 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival

Tiffany Foster riding Victor for owner Artisan Farms at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Photo by Starting Gate Communications.

Wellington, Florida – For the second year in a row, Carlene and Andy Ziegler’s Artisan Farms was the recipient of the Harrison Cup Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the owners whose horses won the most money in all open jumper classes at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival held January 13 through April 3, in Wellington, FL.  Artisan Farms rider Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC was named the Overall Leading Lady Rider of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival.  Both award presentations took place during the $500,000 CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix on Saturday evening, April 2.

Artisan Farms enjoyed another incredibly successful season on the winter circuit with five different horses winning Thursday’s feature event, the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup, a total of six times between Foster and fellow Artisan Farms rider Eric Lamaze.  Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Champion, also scored victory in the $216,000 CSI4* Ariat Grand Prix during WEF week four riding Check Picobello Z as well as the $86,000 1.50m Suncast Classic during WEF week nine with Rosana du Park.

In addition to picking up two wins in the WEF Challenge Cup Series, one in WEF week eight riding Brighton and again in the final week of competition riding veteran campaigner Victor, Foster was recognized as the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider a total of three times, in WEF weeks four, seven and eight.  Presented to the top female grand prix competitor each week, the award recognizes consistency in the weekly WEF Challenge Cup and Grand Prix classes.  At the end of the 12-week circuit, Foster was honored as the Overall WEF Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider Award, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in memory of Dale Lawler.

“I think it’s wonderful that Martha Jolicoeur presents this award throughout the circuit,” said Foster, 31, who received a set of custom jumps as her prize.  “One of the great things about our sport is that men and women compete against each other as equals, but I think it’s nice to recognize the leading ladies individually.  There are so many strong female riders on this circuit that it makes winning this award something to be very proud of.”

Speaking to her success as the top female rider of the Winter Equestrian Festival, Foster said, “The main secret to having such a consistent circuit is the incredible team of horses that Andy and Carlene Ziegler have put underneath both me and Eric.  We were able to compete in every important class and never have to overuse our horses because we have so many at the top level.”

Success in any sport is the result of teamwork, and Artisan Farms has an incredible group of people who all play a role in its success.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms,” said Foster of the support she receives.  “Their continued support and enthusiasm is unparalleled, and I am eternally grateful to them.  I would also like to thank Eric Lamaze for all of his help with all of my horses.  He is an incredible trainer and I feel very lucky to have him with me every step of the way.  I also want to recognize all of my grooms, the people on the ground, our farriers, our vets and everyone on our staff.  Everyone works incredibly hard and it would be impossible to do this without them.  I also want to thank all of my sponsors for their generous support and, of course, I want to give an enormous thank you to all of my horses that I love so much!”

“Tiffany is not only a great rider but a terrific trainer and friend,” said Andy Ziegler.  “Carlene and I have enjoyed watching her develop into one of the top riders in the world, and look forward to her future success.”

With the winter season now concluded, the Artisan Farms horses move back to their European base in Vrasene, Belgium.  Foster and Lamaze will next compete as members of the Canadian Team in Nations’ Cup events at CSIO4* Coapexpan, Mexico from April 28 to May 1 and CSIO5* Rome, Italy from May 26 to 29 before heading home to Canada to compete at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC and Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB in June.

Media Contact: Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439

Wanda Wiggins Inducted into The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club

Wanda Wiggins and Dusine (Photo courtesy of Maria Croft)

Clinches Adult Amateur High Score at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Jacksonville, FL (April 1, 2016) – Wanda Wiggins just accomplished one of the rarest feats in equestrian competition. With her long-time equine partner Dusine, Wiggins joined The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club – a club of horse and rider pairs whose combined age totals 100 years or more. A true role model for equestrians of all disciplines, Wiggins and Dusine competed with elegance in their Century Ride at the recent Northeast Dressage Association (NFDA) Freestyle Challenge and Warm-up for DOTFC competition at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to completing their Century Ride, their score of 75.313 percent earned the pair the Adult Amateur High Point award at the show.

In her 71 years, Wiggins has lived a full life for which she had three goals: to become a flight attendant, to meet her prince charming, and to own a horse. This year, she celebrated her 50-year wedding anniversary with her prince charming, whom she met while working as a flight attendant. Her prince charming had then bought her a horse.

It seems as though Dusine was destined to become Wiggins’ horse. “It was such a miraculous thing that I even got her,” explains Wiggins. Wiggins had been on a business trip to New Orleans when she discovered Dusine. “We fell in love immediately.” After making an offer to purchase Dusine, Wiggins learned that another person had already entered into a contract for the beautiful mare, who Wiggins describes as her “own Black Beauty.” Thankfully for Wiggins, the other buyer wasn’t able to complete the purchase. That was nineteen years ago. The rest is history – a beautiful story of horse-and-rider bonding, dressage shows, and a happy ending – though reaching this happy ending hasn’t been easy.

A three-time cancer survivor, Wiggins has relied on the now 29-year-old Dusine through each recovery experience. Wiggins spoke of the bond she developed with Dusine during those trying times, saying, “It is a motivation to keep going when you have these awesome animals that expect you to be there and expect you to take care of them.” And so Wiggins has been there every day for Dusine, despite all odds.

As Wiggins’ and Dusine’s ages now total 100, they embarked on the journey toward their Century Ride at the Northeast Florida Dressage Association’s recent show at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. To join the Century Club, a horse and rider must perform a dressage test of any level in front of judges. The rider must first submit an application to The Dressage Foundation, and The Dressage Foundation will send a ribbon to be presented to the horse and rider during their Century Ride. An award bearing the pair’s names is then presented to the Century Club Team to forever immortalize the newest Century Club duo.

Wanda with her husband Dennis. Photo: Teri Rehkopf/
Wanda with her husband Dennis. Photo: Teri Rehkopf/

Unfortunately, in the days before Wiggins and Dusine arrived at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for their Century Ride, Dusine began showing real signs of feeling her age. Wiggins was unsure if they would be able to compete, but Dusine began feeling better just in time. Right before Wiggins and Dusine entered the show ring, the president of the North Florida Dressage Association read one of Wiggins’ favorite Bible scriptures, Isaiah 30:15, aloud. “When she read that, I felt such a calm and a peace,” says Wiggins. “I was praying that we would mount up on eagles’ wings and float through the test. I have to tell you, that is what we did. Dusine performed wonderfully – she felt like my horse from ten years ago.” When the test finished, Wiggins could tell her partner shared her pride in their combined accomplishment.

To commemorate the momentous occasion, the North Florida Dressage Association presented Wiggins with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and Dusine with a lovely neck ribbon. “They went out of their way to make that a special time,” says Wiggins.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was happy to host Wiggins’ momentous Century Ride in its spacious indoor stadium. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a multi-use facility that hosts events such as hunter/jumper shows, barrel races, dressage shows, horsemanship clinics, and more. Even for non-equestrians, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center makes sure to keep something on the calendar for everyone, with canine shows, concerts, and community events regularly taking place. For more information, visit or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award Presented to Susan Jones

Susan Jones and Connaisseur (Photo courtesy of Dieter Busse).

Wellington, FL (March 14, 2016) – Dr. Cesar Parra and his Piaffe Performance Farm is continuing to reward accomplished adult amateur riders at the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award. This past week, during the show series’ Palm Beach Dressage Derby, Susan Jones of Walton, Kentucky was the Adult Amateur Achievement Award winner.

Parra, an Olympian who has trained many amateur and professional riders during his illustrious career, loves honoring adult amateurs for the hard work and dedication they put in with their horses. Susan Jones accepted the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award after competing throughout the weekend with her horses Reliance, Connaisseur, and Lindor’s Finest.

Parra presented Jones with the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award after her performance in the Prix St. Georges with Reliance, a 13-year-old sired by Rhodimont and out of Gesstine, a Classiker mare imported from Germany. Jones bought the 2003 dark bay from Kathy Priest around seven years ago. A highlight of their career so far was their 2011 win in the GAIG/USDF Region 2 Championships amongst 33 other horses at First Level.

Jones and Reliance have climbed the ranks together, and Friday marked their first Prix St. Georges test at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. After that test, Jones commented, “We’re just going to continue getting better. I’m going to be here the rest of the weekend trying to perfect our test.”

Sure enough, the pair did just that and improved by almost two entire percentage points when they captured the blue ribbon for the week’s Sunday FEI Prix St. George Adult Amateur class.

Jones fits riding into her successful career as CEO, President, and Founder of the consulting firm Seed Strategy, which works with many Fortune 500 companies and other recognizable world brands. As a 1986 alumni of Indiana University, Jones earned her Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Marketing and currently serves on the Dean’s Council in the university’s Kelley School of Business.

When Jones is at home, she can be found spending time with her family or riding her dressage horses Reliance, Connaisseur, and Lindor’s Finest at her farm, Flyaway Acres, in Northern Kentucky. “Dressage is my oxygen,” Jones said. “I need it to live. To be on a horse and to continue to master being the best you can be and riding in harmony – there’s nothing better than that.”

Dr. Cesar Parra and the entire team from Piaffe Performance were proud to reward Jones, as she shares Piaffe Performance’s strong love for dressage and dedication to excellence in the sport. Piaffe Performance will continue presenting the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur Achievement Award throughout the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, where Piaffe Performance is also the sponsor of the International Rider Lounge and the Hospitality Tent by the National Arenas. The Piaffe Performance Rider Lounges provide drinks and snacks for all levels of riders to enjoy as they relax before or after their tests.

Piaffe Performance, founded by Olympic dressage rider Dr. Cesar Parra, has locations in Jupiter, Florida and in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Parra and his team provide full-service training based on the Classical German Training Methods. Dr. Parra has worked with such masters of dressage as Herbert Rehbein, Siegfried “Bimbo” Peilicke, Hans Rueben, Herbert Kuckluck, and Hubertus Schmidt. Learn more about training and sales prospects at

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352

Custom Saddlery Crowns Most Valuable Riders across the Sunshine State

Endel Ots wins the Custom Saddlery MVR Award at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Wellington, FL (March 14, 2016) – When dressage stars shine brightly across the state of Florida, Custom Saddlery takes note. The company rewarded Brian MacMahon and Endel Ots for their excellence by presenting them with the Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider (MVR) Award at recent Florida dressage shows. MacMahon was recognized for coaching students and horses to excellent scores – as well as excellent scores himself – at the Twice as Nice Dressage Show 2 in Canterbury, Florida. Ots was recognized at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival for his international success with his young horses.

A dressage rider for more than 30 years, MacMahon is a jack-of-all-trades in the world of dressage. He competes, trains, breeds, conducts clinics, and is an “r” judge. Carlie Evans of Southeast Horse Shows, the management company for the Twice as Nice Dressage show, explained why MacMahon was chosen by the show committee as recipient of the Custom Saddlery MVR Award. “Brian was chosen because he is a great supporter of our shows,” she said. “He shows horses himself at all levels including freestyles, he brings students with him who show at all levels, and he has horses that he breeds and has sold competing at the same shows. He’s an all-around positive person in the world of dressage.”

MacMahon usually competes with as many as four horses and coaches five students at shows. At the Twice as Nice Dressage Show 2, his proudest moment was watching his working student, Mickensey Johnson, win all of her classes in only her second recognized show aboard Kalahari, a 15-year-old Warmblood gelding (Beaujolais x Katmandu, Columbus) owned by Eugene Abello and bred by MacMahon.

“I took my first riding lesson 30 something years ago when I got out of college, and that was that,” MacMahon said. “I love the sport. I think that when a horse is truly correct and on your aids, there’s nothing like it.”

MacMahon is based out of his Sword from the Stone Farm in Wellborn, Florida and will be beginning his “R” judge program this summer. Now that the Twice as Nice Dressage Show 2 is over, his upcoming goals are to get his students qualified for regional championships and his young horses qualified for championships, as well.

Endel Ots received the Custom Saddlery MVR Award while competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. He was presented with the award because of his impressive achievements over the past year. Ots became only the second American ever to qualify both a five-year-old horse and a six-year-old horse for the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses in Verden, Germany. Ots qualified Lucky Strike, a German-bred six-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Lord Laurie x Heidi, His Highness) owned by Endel Ots and his father Max Ots, and Samhitas, a German-bred seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sir Donnerhall I x Heidebluete, Abanos), owned by Canadians Gary and Jeannie Vander Ploeg of Pine Ridge Farm. He is continuing his success this winter season in Wellington, Florida, and hopes to once again qualify the horses for the world Young Horse Championship.

Ots is a Custom Saddlery sponsored rider, and competes in the Custom Saddlery Icon Coda model. “I like Custom Saddlery for their customer service,” he said. “They always get things done on time. When you hear you are going to get the saddle, you get it. There are so many saddles to choose from – you can have whatever saddle you want designed however you want it.”

The Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider Award is presented at major horse shows to recognize individuals who go above and beyond in the sport. Custom Saddlery, the Official Saddle of the U.S. Dressage Team through the 2016 Olympic Games, gave both MacMahon and Ots an embroidered Custom Saddlery saddle pad, bag, towel, and ribbon as the newest MVR Award recipients.

Custom Saddlery’s MVR Award is all about quality riders, just as the company’s saddles are centered on top quality craftsmanship and materials. Custom Saddlery provides professional fitting services and manufactures accessories to compliment the saddles, including stirrup leathers, girths, and saddle pads.

For more information about Custom Saddlery, visit or call 1-800-235-3865.

For more information, contact:
Custom Saddlery, Cary Wallace