Category Archives: Championships

Abigail McArdle Victorious in $50k USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship with Victorio 5

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – December 3, 2018 – Abigail McArdle (Barrington, IL) maintained her lead to take the title after a double-clear performance in the final day of the USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), piloting Victorio 5, a 2006 Hanoverian stallion (Uccello x Graefin) owned by Victorio Equine Group LLC, to the top and besting a field of 15. North Salem, NY native Mattias Tromp had one rail down in the first round of Finals competition but countered with a fault-free score of 70.73 seconds in round two with Eyecatcher, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Ninewood) owned by Beyaert Farm Inc., to improve his rank by one and claim reserve honors on the week. Samantha Cohen of New York, NY entered round two on just two penalties with her own Carmen, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood mare (Whitesnake x Wanado), and finished the day on a four-fault score of 74.05 seconds to be recognized with third place. The $25,000 USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship Class 3 welcomed back the top twelve pairs for the second round in order to discern the day’s winners, influencing the weeklong results as well.

The course design by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) “asked all the questions,” said McArdle, who has finished on the podium twice prior at the USEF U25 National Show Jumping Championship. “This is actually my third year competing. Every year I’ve had a great horse and it felt like it was just my time. I was ready to win it. I have a lot of belief in this horse right now and I sort of walked into this week knowing I was going to win,” she recalled.

“It’s not at all like a normal show, where you jump a few classes or do your round and then get ready for the grand prix,” McArdle said of the multi-day format. “It asks different questions of your horse. If they’re tired because they’ve jumped a lot of rounds, it’s hard for them to jump that many clean rounds. You also had to go fast – it’s a lot.”

Runner-up Tromp touched on the importance of the U25 division for up-and-coming riders like himself, saying, “I think this division gives the opportunity for younger riders to compete in a championship format that I think will be very important later on in our careers. I think it’s also a great place for us to develop as riders, and also some younger grand prix horses also fit very nicely into this division.

“I think the hardest part is the first day because it’s faults-converted,” Tromp elaborated. “And although the format is done that way so that a good rider can still be in it if they have a rail down, the reality is there are very fast riders involved. I think going into several days of competition it can undo a horse very quickly, so I think as riders we have to be conscious of our horses – yes, we have to ride fast because it’s a faults-converted format, but we can’t undo the horses, either, so that they’re rushing at fences the rest of the week.”

Cohen agreed, “After the first day with Carmen, I had to do a lot of work on the flat before Friday’s class to kind of reel her back in, because I really made her go the first day and she was at the end of stride. I think remaining consistent is definitely a challenge through all of the rounds – it’s really not over until you’ve jumped the last jump.”

But for Cohen, the week’s youngest competitor, the pressure of a national championship was not a hindrance, and might have pushed her to perform at a higher level, she revealed. “Being on Carmen, the pressure doesn’t really get to me as much because I’m so confident on her, and she really never puts a foot wrong in the ring. This summer I’ve gotten to jump a lot of big classes with her and in a couple of pressure situations, and she’s really helped me out. Sometimes pressure helps me ride better, and I just try to block everything out and just focus on myself and my horse. When I’m on a horse like her, the pressure never seems too bad,” she concluded.

For more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Another Golden Bonanza for Brazil

The Chilean Pre-Junior and Junior team silver medallists. (FEI/Cristian León/TopComunicaciones)

Chilean delight with double team silver; Argentina claims three podium places

Brazil dominated once again when taking all the gold on offer, and more, at the FEI Jumping South American Championships for Young Riders, Juniors, Pre-Juniors and Children 2018 at San Carlos de Apoquindo in Las Condes, Chile. These Championships are a great test for the next generation of Jumping athletes in the region, and a total of 93 horse-and-rider partnerships from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela competed at this year’s edition.

With medals on offer in seven categories, the Brazilian haul was little short of spectacular as they scooped 16 of the 21 sets on offer. However, there was plenty for the hosts to celebrate as they produced their best performance of the last four years when claiming both Pre-Junior and Junior team silver, while Argentina claimed bronze in the Children’s Team competition along with Young Riders Individual silver and bronze.

Children

The Children’s Championship was one of the most exciting of the week, coming down to a three-way jump-off for individual silver and bronze. Brazil’s Eduardo Coelho Barbara (13) was already in gold medal position after a brilliant series of performances with Quatuor de Coutol before his compatriots Antonio Johannpeter Cirne Lima and Gabriela Munhoz Ongaratto Furlan took on Argentina’s Lucas Guevara in the race against the clock.

Guevara had enjoyed a brilliant run with CT Chamaco, winning the first qualifier, contributing to his country’s team bronze medal success, and then coming out on top in the Individual Final competition. It seemed the 14-year-old must be destined to take a podium placing, but he left a fence on the floor in the jump-off and had to settle for fourth place behind Munhoz Ongaratto Furlan in bronze and Johannpeter Cirne Lima in silver.

A zero score for the Brazil Amarelo side of Augusto Bonotto Perfeito, Maithe Carolina Gabriel de Limo Marino, Camila Alvares Correa de Siqueira, Henrique Maranhao, and Audrey Jean Paranaiba McKinnon clinched the Children’s team title. Coelho Barbara was joined by Munhoz Ongaratto Furlan, Johannpeter Cirne Lima, Lara Ozores de Souza, and Joao Felipe de Albuquerque Maranhao Gomes to claim silver while Argentina’s Guevara, Delfina Spinella, Bautista Jaled, Camila Sensever, and Thiago Brown bagged bronze.

Pre-Junior

All eyes were on Philip Greenlees in the Pre-Junior Championship after his victory in the 2017 FEI Children’s International Classics Final in Beijing last December, but the 15-year-old had to settle for individual silver behind Maria Luiza da Silva Martha Vieira, while Lys Katherine Park Kang sealed another completely Brazilian podium.

Da Silva Martha Vieira and Park Kang were joined by Caroline Souza Chade, Joao Pedro de Almeida Chaves, and Leandro Jose Abrahao Duarte Alecrim to take the Pre-Junior Team title, and Greenlees was on the bronze-medal winning Brazil Amarela side. But strong performances from Trinidad Soffia, Benjamin Fuente-Alba Vignola, Maria Ignacia del Pedregal Villalobos, Jose Tomas Duran Ramirez, and Guillermo Garin put smiles on Chilean faces as they easily slipped into silver medal spot.

“The work begins to be reflected in the results, which is very important. We have developed an arduous process and this medal reflects an advance because in this category we have won two consecutive bronzes.” — Joaquín Larraín (Coach, Team Chile)

Juniors

Brazil’s Thales Gabriel de Lima Marino took double-gold in the Junior division to increase his South American medal tally to five. The 17-year-old who won team gold and individual bronze in Buenos Aires (ARG) last year was joined by the experienced trio of Laura Bosquirolli Tigre, Marcelo Gozzi, and Pedro Malucelli Egoroff to clinch the team honours yet again. However, the Chilean foursome of Carmen Novion, Magdalena Pena, and brothers Mateo and Raimundo Guarda was less than 10 points adrift in silver medal spot, while the Brazil Verde team claimed the bronze.

The host nation made a great start when Raimundo and Mateo finished first and third in the opening individual competition. But De Lima Marino was unstoppable on his way to individual glory, and when Gozzi seized silver and Felipe Pereira Teixeira took his second bronze medal of the tournament, it was another all-Brazilian party on the podium.

Young Riders

There were just five contenders for the Young Rider title and while gold went to Brazil, it was Argentina that took silver and bronze.

Argentina’s Richard Kierkegaard and Contiki won the opening round, but Brazil’s Victoria Junqueira Ribeiro de Mendonca (20) topped the next two competitions partnering the Holsteiner Una Bella to complete on a score of just 7.91 penalty points. That left her way ahead of Argentina’s Emilia Grimaldi in silver and Victoria Garcia Colombo in bronze when the final scores were counted.

This was Junqueira Ribeiro de Mendonca’s seventh South American Championship and brought her tally of gold to four. She scooped double-gold at the South Americans in Sao Paolo (BRA) in 2016 when she was also on the team that finished second in the FEI Junior Nations Cup at Wellington, Florida (USA).

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Kuhn Weathers the Storm to Win on Second Day of 2018 US Dressage Finals

Friday morning at the 2018 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington dawned with the type of weather conditions more suitable for staying in bed than having the ride of one’s life. Hailing from New Berlin, Ill., Martin Kuhn (Region 4) is no stranger to chilly weather, but when he entered the ring at 10am for the Training Level Open Championship, the persistent rain and 40-degree temperature was admittedly tough to handle. But his mount, Debra Klamen’s five-year-old Hanoverian gelding Ronin (Romanov Blue Hor x Something Royal by Sir Donnerhall I, bred in the U.S. by Marcia Boeing) held steadfast, earning the championship title with an impressive score of 72.803%.

“It was really cold and wet, but my horse seemed unaffected by the conditions – they bothered me much more!” Kuhn laughed. “Situations like this can often be ‘interesting’ with young horses, but even though he’s only five, at this point in the show season he’s been out a lot and in some challenging environments. So when the time came to go down centerline today, he put his head down and did his job. I couldn’t be more happy with him.”

Kuhn is no stranger to success at the US Dressage Finals, finding the winner’s circle with several talented mounts over the last six years. But in his opinion, Ronin stands out. “He’s an amazing athlete – I think he’s the most talented young horse I’ve ever sat on,” Kuhn explained. “I’ve had the privilege to work with lots of horses who have ability, are willing and fun to ride, but on top of that, Ronin is easily the most athletic and elastic horse I’ve ever ridden.”

Also impressed with the maturity of her young partner under adverse weather conditions was Reserve Champion Kelsey Broecker of Celina, Texas (Region 9), who rode Molly Huie’s four-year-old Hanoverian gelding Caelius (Christ x Hauptstutbuch Bonny by Buddenbrock) to a score of 71.818%. “By our ride time, I was ready to be done,” she laughed. “But like Martin’s [Kuhn’s] horse, mine was also unfazed by weather and the overall atmosphere. He doesn’t act like a typical four-year-old – he’s a bit of an old soul, so agreeable and so much fun to ride. He’s just a joy to bring to shows.”

Hometown Girl Laura Crowl Wins Big in Second Level Adult Amateur Championship

Almost 40 competitors from all across the country entered the Claiborne Ring to compete for this year’s Second Level Adult Amateur Championship title, but local eventer and newlywed Laura Crowl of Lexington, Ky. (Region 2) only had to drive a few miles down the road to claim the blue ribbon with her six-year-old U.S.-bred Dutch Warmblood mare Hana (UB-40 x Jolien E by Chronos). After overcoming an untimely hoof abscess right before the Region 2 Championships, Crowl and Hana successfully made it to the Finals and became the only combination to top the 70% mark from all three judges, earning the unanimous victory with 71.585% to earn their first national title.

“I loved almost everything about our test,” said Crowl. “She was really spot on the entire time and did everything I asked. Over the last month I’ve asked her for a little more expression in the movements, and I think the judges appreciated it. She really stepped up to the plate.”

As an eventer who has competed through the FEI 2* level, Crowl originally found Hana in the local barn of her breeder, Reese Koffler-Stanfield, when searching for her next prospect. But the relationship got off to a rocky start. “The first time I rode her she bit me, and it turned out she hated stadium,” Crowl laughed. “But she loved dressage so I had to adjust to what she wanted to do, and along the way I realized it’s fun, not just something you get through to go cross-country. It definitely was a little interesting in the beginning, but we’ve grown to love each other since then.”

In her first trip to the US Dressage Finals, Amanda Lopez of Sarasota, Fla. (Region 3) earned Reserve Championship honors with her nine-year-old Westfalen gelding Rubitanos Dream (Rubitano x Diva by Dream of Glory) with 69.431%. “I like horses with a little character, and we joke that he’s like one of the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz – it has to fit, and we just really ‘click’ with each other,” said Lopez of her mount. “I feel so lucky that he chose me as his person. He aims to please with a heart of gold, and I was so honored to show him today in front of these judges and against this caliber of competition.”

Growing Confidence Earns Sandeman the Third Level Open Championship

Angela Jackson of Henderson, Ky. (Region 2) already knew Sandeman was a nice horse, since earlier this summer the six-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Flora by Florencio, owned by Julie Cook) earned reserve honors at the Markel/USEF Young Horse Championships at Lamplight. But it was the youngster’s ever-growing confidence in himself that carried the pair to the unanimous victory under all judges in Friday’s Third Level Open Championship with a total score of 73.632%.

“It was one of our nicest rides of the year, so to do that here is special,” Jackson explained. “Sandeman has grown up a lot. I could finally ride each movement of the test with a little more confidence today, and everything fell into place. This is definitely ‘the’ show of the season. I’m so thankful for all of the sponsors who support this event, and everyone who makes it possible. It’s the highlight of our year.”

Martin Kuhn (Region 4) participated in his second awards ceremony of the day, this time taking Reserve Champion with 72.265% at Third Level aboard Elizabeth Cronin’s seven-year-old Westfalen gelding Venivici (Vitalis x Sabrina by Sherlock Holmes), who earned First Level Open Reserve Championship honors last year. “It was a little exciting in the cold and the rain, but he stayed with me,” Kuhn noted. “It was definitely a little bit of a conservative ride, but he trusted me and was happy to do his job. He used to be a little bit of a nervous type, but like Angela’s [Jackson’s] horse, as he’s matured, he’s become much more confident.”

Sara Stone Rises to the Challenge in Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship

As Sara Stone of Lake in the Hills, Ill. (Region 4) and her seven-year-old American Warmblood gelding Gotham (Gabriel x Mystic, bred in the U.S. by Indian Hills Stables) prepared for their afternoon ride in the Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship, she knew she was facing quite a challenge. “It was a very tough class, and I didn’t think we had a chance at all,” Stone admitted. “But Gotham was in a great mood this afternoon, and he actually likes this chilly weather. When we came out of the ring, I was so focused on what we were doing that I actually wasn’t sure what to think about our test.”

Not long after, all Stone could think about was how proud she was of her mount as the pair emerged as victors with a winning score of 67.704%. “I bought him when he was just three, and he’s the first horse of my own that I have ridden at this level. He’s my best friend,” said Stone, who works in commercial insurance in addition to raising a family. “As an adult amateur, all of the hard work, passion, sweat and tears that goes into having an everyday job and being a mom all while trying to ride…to be able to come to a show like this and lay it all on the line with so many people supporting you…it’s the icing on the cake at the end of the year, and I can’t wait to come back again next year.”

Reserve Champion Amy Gimbel of Oldwick, N.J. (Region 8), who also works in the insurance field when not in the saddle, was equally delighted with her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Eye Candy (UB-40 x Wednesday by Weltmeyer, bred in the U.S. by Judy Barrett) and their second-place score of 67.407%. “We had some nice moments as well as some tense moments, but overall I was pleased,” Gimbel noted. “We’ve been to the Finals before but took a few years off – Eye Candy had an injury and it’s been a bit of a slow, arduous journey back, something that so many horse people can relate to. Just to be back here is a big accomplishment for us and means a lot.”

Romantico SF Bounces Back to Claim Intermediate I Open Championship

Over the course of more than four straight hours of hard-fought competition on Friday afternoon in the Alltech Arena, competitors battled for top honors in the Intermediate I Open Championship. With a score of 72.157%, ultimate victor Heather Mason of Lebanon, N.J. (Region 8) explained how her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Romantico SF (Romancero H x Wesermelodie by Wenzel I) had already proven to be the winner of a much bigger battle – for his life.

“He was laid up for a year with an injury, and I only had about two rides on him when he went in for colic surgery the week after I returned home from last year’s Finals,” Mason remembered. “But amazingly here we are. He’s not an easy horse, which is how I originally ended up with him for just a dollar. But he was great today: the first medium trot was a little bit tentative, but as we got more comfortable in there he was very good. His canter work is generally strong, his pirouettes were very solid, and his zig zag was good. He’s back and better than ever.”

Finishing in Reserve with 71.373% were last year’s Prix St. Georges Open division champions Nora Batchelder of Williston, Fla. (Region 3) and the 10-year-old U.S.-bred Hanoverian gelding Faro SQF (Fidertanz x MS Rose by Rotspon, bred by Jill Peterson). “He was super brave and ready to go today – there’s always a lot of atmosphere in the Alltech Arena but he dealt with it really well,” Batchelder said of her mount. “The canter work is always his strong suit, and I also thought his trot extensions were nice. It’s even more exciting for him to do well because his co-owner and my cousin Andrea Whitcomb is here to watch this year, which makes it extra special.”

Finals First-Timer Hannah Hewitt Wins Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship

It may have been Hannah Hewitt’s very first time cantering down centerline into the impressive atmosphere of the Alltech Arena, but she and Tammy Pearson’s eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Fidens (Tango x Bliss by United) looked like Finals veterans as they came away with the victory in the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship on a score of 67.745%.

“I’m so excited to be here for my first Finals, and it’s been amazing. My trainer, Karen Lipp, has been here several times and really encouraged me to try for this,” said Hewitt, of Atlanta, Ga. (Region 3), who attends law school and finds time to train by being in the saddle before 7am almost every day. “I was very happy with the energy we had today: a little more expression in the trot, and I loved our pirouettes. He’s still young, but has grown up a lot even in just the last few months, and he surprised me a little bit in that he was unaffected by the Alltech Arena – he was very steady and good. He’s a small horse with a big personality, and is just a joy to ride.”

After claiming the 2017 title at this level, defending champion and director/cinematographer Elma Garcia of Mill Spring, N.C. (Region 1) returned to the Finals to claim this year’s Reserve Championship with her 16-year-old Hanoverian mare Wenesa (Westernhagen x Dancing Girl by Davignon) with 67.696%. “Since this spring I have a new program with Wenesa because we’re preparing for the Intermediaire II, so she’s changed a lot since last year – she’s feeling very powerful and is more sensitive,” Garcia explained. “I love coming here and showing in front of so many top judges, and experiencing the camaraderie among the competitors from all over the country and seeing so many different breeds, all in one place. It’s a special feeling.”

Alice Tarjan Wins Second Straight 2018 Finals Title in Grand Prix Adult Amateur Championship

After emerging victorious in Thursday’s Intermediate II Adult Amateur division, Alice Tarjan of Oldwick, N.J. (representing Region 1) is now two-for-two at this year’s US Dressage Finals with her eight-year-old Hanoverian mare Candescent (Christ x Farina by Falkenstern II). The pair returned to the winner’s circle in the Grand Prix Adult Amateur Championship with a score of 64.203% to claim the new George W. Wagner Jr. Perpetual Trophy (presented by the International Georgian Grande Horse Registry). “She was on fire in the warm-up,” said Tarjan. “Even though we had a couple of mistakes today, I’m thrilled because she’s a young horse and the quality keeps getting better and better. She’s so much better than she was just six months ago.”

Fellow Region 1 rider Kristin Herzing of Harrisburg, Pa. and her Hanoverian gelding Gentleman (Grusus x Rumpelstilzchen by Raphael, bred in the U.S. by Kathryn and Jeffrey Nesbit) have been together for 15 years, and traveled to Kentucky this year for their fourth US Dressage Finals. The pair’s persistence paid off with Reserve Champion honors in the Grand Prix Adult Amateur division with 61.667%. “Coming to the Finals is on my list of goals every year,” Herzing explained. “I’m so pleased with my horse today. He may be 20 years old, but he is a bit of a nervous type. He knows his job and the test, so I just try to keep him calm and steady. I knew I needed to have a clean test, and we did.”

Adiah HP Wows the Crowd in Grand Prix Open Championship

At first glance, the colorful mare Adiah HP may not look like your stereotypical Grand Prix dressage champion. But everyone knows a book can’t be judged by its cover, and this 11-year-old Friesian Sport Horse (Nico x Marije ANT by Anton, owned and bred in the U.S. by Sherry Koella) is no exception. In the experienced hands of James Koford of Winston-Salem, N.C. (Region 1), Adiah HP had the crowd cheering in the Alltech Arena as she claimed the Grand Prix Open Championship and Veronica Holt Perpetual Trophy (presented by USDF Region 5 and Friends) with 69.130%.

“I am so pumped! She’s getting so mature – now she goes in the ring and gets excited, but I can channel that energy,” said Koford after the win. “I saw her in a clinic four years ago and thought she was the most fun horse I’d ever seen, and I had to sit on her. Now she’s gone on to do everything I’ve asked and more. She’s like my dirt bike: I just get to run around and have fun, without stress or drama. It just gives me goosebumps because it’s so much fun to get on a horse like this that loves to go in the show ring.”

Last year’s Intermediate II Open Reserve Champion Judy Kelly of Clarkston, Mich. (Region 2) returned to the Finals with her 14-year-old Hanoverian mare Benise (Breitling W x Rubina by Rubinstein) and added another Reserve title to their resume, this time in the Grand Prix Open division with 67.862%. “This is her second year at the level so she can do everything; I just wanted to be able to guide and direct her and show her off. Now we’ll try to do the same thing tomorrow night in the freestyle,” said Kelly.

To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review day sheets and results, and read daily news releases, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com.

Angela Langen Honored with Sportsmanship Award at IALHA National Championship

Angela Langen and Gabarito Da Cerca. (Photo courtesy of Genie Images)

Katy, Texas (November 6, 2018) – Angela Langen showed judges why she and Gabarito Da Cerca were the most suitable choice to become the Dressage Suitability Amateur National Champions at the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) Nationals, October 9-13 in Katy, Texas, and the German rider (now based in Napa, California) showed such generosity of spirit among her fellow baroque breed lovers that it also earned her the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award.

Angela also rode the seven-year-old Lusitano gelding, owned by Marilyn Hite and trained by Carlos Carneiro (who trained and rode IALHA Horse of the Year and Grand Prix National Champion, Andiamo 2005), to second place in Lusitano Saddle Geldings.

“We were nervous. It was only our second competition, but we felt like a good team. I’ve been in the United States for about a year and a half, so I really appreciate meeting other riders, spending time with them, and competing here. I enjoyed this show and my horse was perfect.”

The optimism that won Angela the JEC Award is reflected in her outlook with her striking bay partner with his big white blaze and socks: “We have only been riding together since May. My goals are to keep feeling this trust between us and go on this adventure together. I’m not about the ribbons but about getting to know each other better.”

Now that’s the kind of winning attitude that can contribute to success in horses, riders, and shows.

For more information, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Kilby Brunner Deforest Crowned MarBill Hill Farm Royal Pony Jumper Final Winner

Kilby Brunner Deforest and Beaverwood’s Halo. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Kilby Brunner Deforest of Hillsburgh, ON claimed a victory in the $5,000 MarBill Hill Farm Royal Pony Jumper Final to take the division championship riding Beaverwood’s Halo on Sunday, November 3, at the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The top spots were decided in a two-horse jump-off duel between 14-year-old Brunner Deforest and Tatum Horan of Oakville, ON. Horan, riding Royal, led off and was clear over the course, designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, to post the time to beat at 29.50 seconds. Brunner Deforest returned second and handily took over the lead by nearly two seconds with a time of 27.88 seconds.

Grace Stevenson of Lakeside, NB piloted Ever So Clever, owned by Foshay South Eventing, to third by posting the fastest four-fault round over the original course, while Eva Marquis of Caledon, ON settled for fourth riding Red on a Roll for owner Mark Marquis. Maya Chahine of Oakville, ON rounded out the top five with I Love Lucy, owned by Julie Taddeo.

After also winning the stake class earlier in the day, Brunner Deforest was presented with Royal All-Canadian Pony Jumper Championship title, presented by MarBill Hill Farm.

“This is my fifth time competing in the pony jumpers at The Royal, and it’s exciting to be here!” said Brunner Deforest, who was reserve champion in pony jumper competition at The Royal in both 2016 and 2017. “This is a new pony for me; I got her one year ago and have been competing on her all summer.

“She is very fast and really good in the turns,” continued Brunner Deforest of her 14-year-old mare owned by Kristen Brunner. “She’s very confident and handled the noise and the [Coca-Cola Coliseum] very well. I love coming here and competing over a few days in front of a big crowd.”

While Brunner Deforest and Beaverwood’s Halo put all the pieces together for a win at the Royal Horse Show, their connection took some effort.

“She is a complicated, and in the beginning of the season we were trying other bits and a lot of different things,” said Brunner Deforest. “But we realized I just needed to learn to ride her. We went to a plain, simple snaffle, and I got to know her not try to train her. Other than me telling her to ‘whoa,’ she does it all.”

Also claiming a championship on Sunday afternoon was Jordan Macpherson of Toronto, ON aboard Fiestamunde, owned by Sved Stables Ltd.

Macpherson and the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare finished third in Sunday morning’s $2,500 Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Competition before returning later in the day to win the $10,000 Dominion Regalia Limited Junior/Amateur Jumper Royal Stake and ultimately the Royal All Canadian Junior/Amateur Jumper Championship, presented by Dominion Regalia Limited.

“The Royal is always such a great event in front of the home crowd,” said Macpherson. “It’s great to win, but it’s even better when you win at The Royal!”

Macpherson and Fiestamunde were one of four entries to advance to the jump-off in Sunday afternoon’s stake class, and over the short course, they stopped the clock clear in a time of 39.38 seconds. Finishing in second with the only additional double-clear effort was Sara Tindale of Campbellville, ON riding Djibab van de Linthorst, owned by Tindale Farms. Rounding out the top three was Hubert Lamontagne of Montréal, QC riding his own Dalton to four faults in a time of 38.64 seconds. Fourth place with 13 faults in the jump-off went to Veronica Bot of Burlington, ON aboard Quidam’s Caprice M, owned by AEI Corp.

Isabelle Lapierre and Carrera S Claim $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby Victory

Isabelle Lapierre of Lévis, QC rode away with the win in the $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby, presented by Rosemary Phelan – Braeburn Farms, at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON.

When Lapierre and Carrera S, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Johannie Légaré, entered the Coca-Cola Coliseum as the final of 20 entries to contest the Rob Carey designed track, Erynn Ballard and Enchanted held the lead with an overall score of 100, including handy and high option bonus points. Lapierre and Carrera S not only bested Ballard’s score, they did so by a sizeable margin, earning a base score of 95 and a grand total score of 113.

“It’s always a surprise when you get your score,” said Lapierre, a longtime Royal Horse Show competitor in both the hunter and jumper divisions. “I’m always the one, when I come out, I don’t really show so much emotion, because you never know what to expect. Then when they said 113, I was like ‘oh my God!’ I knew he was good, but not that good! It just all happens so fast.

“I really like the derbies,” continued Lapierre. “You can make plans, but you can change it based on the way it’s going in the ring. You have to think a bit how to do it. If you win, it’s not because you only have a good horse; it’s because you have to do the course well.”

With Lapierre clinching the win, Ballard of Tottenham, ON and Enchanted, owned by Christel Weller, took second, while third place with a score of 99 went to Kristjan Good of Campbellville, ON riding Stakkato Grande W for owner Augustin Walch.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.html.

Sam Walker Makes History as 2018 ASPCA Maclay National Champion at NHS

Photo: Sam Walker on Waldo.

Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 4, 2018 – Celebrating its 135th year, the National Horse Show has come to be known as one of America’s premier indoor equestrian events thanks to its rich history and classical traditions, with the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm, adding even more prestige as one of the four major equitation finals held each fall season. Since 1933, an elite junior rider’s name has been etched into history as the annual champion, and this year the competition tested 175 horses and riders over a series of challenging phases to determine the deserving victor. The culmination of a week at the Kentucky Horse Park, the 2018 National Horse Show concluded with a dream realized for Sam Walker of Ontario, Canada, now the newest champion of the ASPCA Maclay National Championship and winner of the esteemed ASPCA Horsemanship Trophy.

Over the course of the day, the initial field of participants took turns tackling Bobby Murphy’s (USA) expertly designed equitation track, which looked deceptively straightforward at first glance. Incorporating most jumps as part of lines, the efficient course offered competitors multiple opportunities to either spotlight their talents or fall victim to the design’s tests, with distances between fences varying and requiring riders to lengthen or collect quickly within the same series of obstacles. Structurally, the fences presented a different type of challenge, with Murphy’s creative collection of jumps including plenty without standards in addition to a handful of skinny jumps, a gate, and an airy triple bar. As the 39th in the order-of-go, Walker and North Run’s Waldo exemplified the pinnacle of equitation, completing a flawless trip to jump into the first standby list.

Separated from the rest of the pack as the creme of the crop, 25 partnerships were hand-selected by the judges’ booth, which was occupied by esteemed horsemen Walter T. Kees and Chance Arakelian, to return for the second phase of the contest after top-notch performances over fences. Headed into the under saddle and second over fences portions of riding, Walker, Brian Moggre, Ava Ellis, Emma Kurtz, Catalina Peralta, Paige Matthies, Daisy Farish, and Coco Fath were pegged as the frontrunners, all riding head-to-head in the same flat section.

During the under saddle phase, horse-and-rider combinations’ adjustability, balance and connection were put to the test by the judges, who asked for a series of skill demonstrations such as the counter-canter, extended canter, and sitting trot, among others. With one final chance to prove their abilities, the top contenders returned to the Alltech Arena for a second trip over Murphy’s track, this time consisting of almost no fences with standards, a hand gallop, a counter-canter, a trot fence, and an airy fence jumped in both directions.

Returning in reverse order of the standings for the second over fences phase, Moggre had the advantage as the last entry to ride, with Walker, Farish, Fath, Kurtz, Matthies, Ellis, and Alexandra Worthington sitting in second through eighth positions, respectively, and all aiming to knock him from the top of the leaderboard. Following the completion of the top 25, the judges needed one last look at the top six, and asked for testing from Walker, Moggre, Fath, Kurtz, Matthies, and Mimi Gochman, who leapfrogged from 12th place into the work-off. Of the remaining contenders, Moggre was the only one to have been victorious in a national equitation final previously, having won the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show earlier this fall, but it was Walker who had moved to the top of the standings headed into the last display of riding. Sunday afternoon’s test asked riders to canter fence 7, canter fence 2, counter-canter fence 6a, canter fence 6b, canter fence 4, halt, and return to the line.

As the last to ride in the work-off, Walker capped off the day’s championship with an exclamation point, navigating a textbook trip aboard Waldo seemingly with ease and displaying high levels of precision, correct form, and aid effectiveness to secure the championship tricolor and the prestigious honor of ASPCA Maclay National Champion. As the 2018 victor, Walker’s name now joins the ranks of past winners that include some of the sport’s icons such as Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, and George Morris, as well as recent superstars Lillie Keenan, Victoria Colvin, and Madison Goetzmann.

Sunday’s distinction for Walker is one of the highlights of his competitive equitation career, although he has come close to the top call more than once. This year alone, he has placed within the top 10 in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show as well as the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final. A multi-talented equestrian, Walker also campaigns in the upper level jumpers, having won U25 and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes across the United States and Canada under the tutelage of his trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan from North Run. For training the winning rider, Audi of Lexington donated a one-year lease of an Audi to Walker’s trainers.

The men represented well this year, with Moggre capturing the reserve honors behind his peer, Walker. Moggre rode Efendi, owned by Donald Stewart, over the course of the contest. Jacob Pope was the last male athlete to claim the top honors in 2012, and prior to that was Brian Walker in 2001. Coincidentally, Sam got paired with Waldo partly with the help of the previous winner that shares his namesake. Jumping from sixth place after the second over fences phase, Paige Matthies piloted Barbara Smith’s Blurred Lines to third overall thanks to her standout work-off test to round out the podium finishers.

For more information, please visit www.nhs.org.

Nicole Walker Claims Canadian Show Jumping Championship Title

Nicole Walker riding Falco van Spieveld. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON claimed the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship title on Saturday night, November 3, at the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

“I will never forget this! It feels amazing. I’m very excited for my whole team, and I think the horse deserves a title like this because he’s such a special boy. I’m glad he could have a title to his name.” ~ Nicole Walker, who will celebrate her 25th birthday on Sunday, November 4

Having claimed victory in Friday’s $25,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship – Round One, presented by Lothlorien, Walker held the lead coming into Saturday night’s two-round competition. The defending Canadian Champions, Amy Millar, 41, of Perth, ON and Heros piled on the pressure by opening Saturday night’s competition with a clear round while Walker incurred four faults.

When the top six in the standings went through to the all-deciding final, Walker kept her cool to deliver another clear jumping round, picking up one time fault over the course set by Ireland’s Alan Wade to bring her total score to five faults. When Millar and Heros faulted the second time out, their final score of 7.13 penalty points left them in second place, handing Walker her first Canadian Show Jumping Championship title riding Falco van Spieveld, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.

Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON delivered a clear round riding Count Me In to finish in third position, while 12-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 71, of Perth, ON took fourth place riding Calvin Klein for Brookstreet Stables. Olympic team silver medalist Mac Cone of King City, ON guided Zaia di san Giovanni to fifth for owner Mark Samuel’s Chadburn Holdings Inc., while Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON also made the cut for the top six riding Granturo.

As the defending Under 25 National Champion at the Royal Horse Show, Walker has grown up competing at the annual Royal Horse Show.

“I had a lot of friends and family here tonight as it’s very close to home,” said Walker, who trains with 2012 Irish Olympic individual medalist Cian O’Connor and his assistant trainer, Mark Kinsella. “But beyond everything, the atmosphere is incredible here. It has so much tradition. I would recommend every rider to come visit it at some point, even if they’re not riding. It’s just such a cool experience.”

With their top finishes on Saturday night, Walker and Amy Millar earned their tickets into the international division as the two highest placed finishers in the Canadian Show Jumping Championships not already qualified. Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, Keean White of Rockwood, ON, and Ian and Jonathon Millar, both of Perth, ON, qualified based on their standings in the Longines World Rankings while Jump Canada’s high performance committee named Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC and Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON as its two picks for the international division. The international division opens on Wednesday, November 7, featuring the $36,000 Jolera International Welcome in the evening session.

Lauren Kieffer Rocks $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge

The popular $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge rocked the house on Saturday night as competitors tackled a mix of delicate show jumping fences and challenging cross-country obstacles set by course designer Mark Phillips. Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA made her Royal Horse Show a winning one, riding Glendening Avis, a 13-year-old buckskin Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Callie Evans, to victory.

“I’m thrilled.  The mare is just incredible; she tries her guts out,” said Kieffer, who was riding a borrowed mount that she rode for the first time on Friday.  “It’s very rare that you hop on something and sync together so quickly.  It was so much fun to do this on her, and I felt so in sync with her.

“Brandon and Kendal certainly put the pressure on; I was hoping for a little bit more breathing room!” joked Kieffer following her indoor eventing debut.  “The format is fun; it’s energetic.  If it gets one person to leave here and go Google ‘eventing’ and get into it, then it did its purpose.”

Finishing second was Toronto’s own Brandon McMechan riding Oscar’s Wild to a clear round in a time of 92.78 seconds to hold off third-placed Kendal Lehari of Uxbridge, ON, who was also clear riding Totally Frank in a time of 94.30 seconds.

At the conclusion of the Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge, World Championship and Pan American Games medalist Selena O’Hanlon of Kingston, ON was presented with the Michael Gutowski Award, donated by Mr. Iain Gilmour, as the highest-ranked Canadian athlete on the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Eventing World Athlete Rankings.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.html.

Nicole Walker Opens Royal Horse Show with a Win

Nicole Walker riding Falco van Spieveld. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Nicole Walker of Aurora, ON opened the Royal Horse Show with a win in the first phase of the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship held Friday, November 2, as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Speed was the name of the game in Friday night’s $25,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship, Round 1, presented by Lothlorien. As the final competitor to tackle Irish course designer Alan Wade’s speed track, Walker laid down the winning round, jumping clear in a time of 64.37 seconds with her partner of three years, Falco van Spieveld, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.

“It was nice to be able to watch a couple go since I went last,” said Walker, 24, of being the final competitor on course. “I knew just how fast I needed to go without risking too much. Hopefully we will have the same luck tomorrow.”

As the defending Under 25 National Champion at the Royal Horse Show, Walker spoke to her progression from winning in the Under 25 division to winning the opening phase of the Canadian Championships.

“The Under 25 program is a great stepping stone,” said Walker. “You get to be in [the Coca Cola Coliseum] and be in that kind of pressure situation. Being indoors is a bit of a different vibe than outdoors. You really need to be on it. Just having that experience helped to get to the next level.”

In a sport where men and women compete as equals, it was another young female athlete, Ali Ramsay, 26, who finished runner-up. Riding Casino, a 10-year-old Oldenburg owned by Ramsay and Angelstone Farms, the Victoria, BC native also left all the rails in place and crossed the timers in 66.47 seconds. Keean White, 35, of Rockwood, ON and Leilani left two poles on the ground, but their incredibly fast time of 59.04 seconds held up for third place despite having an eight-second time penalty added for an adjusted total of 67.04 seconds.

It was a family affair as 12-time Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 71, of Perth, ON took fourth place with a time of 70.23 seconds riding Calvin Klein for Brookstreet Stables while the reigning Canadian Champion, Amy Millar, 41, also of Perth, placed fifth with a time of 70.63 seconds riding her 2016 Rio Olympic mount, Heros.

Lauren Kieffer Makes Royal Horse Show Debut

Opening night of the Royal Horse Show also featured the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge. Making her Royal Horse Show debut, Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA rode Glendening Avis, a 13-year-old buckskin Canadian Sport Horse mare owned by Callie Evans, to victory in the opening phase of competition. With a clear round in a time of 90.03 seconds over the course designed by Mark Phillips, the Olympic, World Championship, and Pan American Games veteran now holds the lead heading into the second and final round of competition on November 3. Finishing second was Toronto’s own Brandon McMechan riding Oscar’s Wild to a clear round in a time of 92.78 seconds to hold off third-placed Kendal Lehari of Uxbridge, ON, who was also clear riding Totally Frank in a time of 94.30 seconds.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.html.

Professional Hunters Get Underway at 2018 National Horse Show

Photo: Victoria Colvin and Private Practice.

Lexington, Ky. – Oct. 30, 2018 – The country’s top hunter horses and riders arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park for the highly anticipated 2018 National Horse Show and kicked off the professional hunter divisions in the Alltech Arena on Tuesday. Green Hunter competition saw Victoria Colvin and Holly Orlando take home blue ribbons in the 3’9” and 3’6” divisions, respectively.

Liza Boyd and Tradition, owned by Maggie Hill, earned the win in the first over fences round of the Oare & Adikes-Hill Green 3’9” Hunter division, with Colvin finishing close behind in second place with Private Practice, owned by Brad Wolf.

Returning for the handy round, Colvin claimed the win with the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding, who she won the 2018 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship with in August at the Kentucky Horse Park. Boyd and Colvin are currently tied heading into the final phases of the division after Boyd also took home second place in the handy round.

Prior to the Oare & Adikes-Hill Green 3’9” Hunter division, Amanda Steege and Lafitte De Muze, owned by Cheryl Olsten, rode to the top of the leaderboard in the initial over fences round of the Goshen Hill Green 3’6” Hunter division, presented by Ms. Caroline Moran, while the handy round went to Holly Orlando and the 7-year-old Hanoverian mare Whisper, owned by Privet Farm, LLC. Back-to-back second place finishes went to Chris Payne and Still Water Farm LLC’s Fibonacci.

The Suzanne Thoben Marquard Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunter division also got underway with Dudley MacFarlane and Roland Park, owned by Mount Fair Equine, LLC, claiming the win and the “Automation-Model Cadet” Memorial Perpetual Trophy for her performance in the first over fences round.

Becky Gochman and Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Catch Me, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, impressed the judges and scored the win in the handy round as well as the under saddle class, while Clementina Brown and her own Eagle took home second place in both over fences classes.

For a detailed event schedule, click here.

Dominic Gibbs and Hannah Brown Reign Supreme in Equitation Championships at NHS

Dominic Gibbs on Limitless with the Hamel Family, Jennifer Burger, and Mason Phelps.

Lexington, Ky. – Oct. 28, 2018 – The second day of the 2018 National Horse Show returned to the Kentucky Horse Park on Sunday, with exhibitors in the Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3″ Equitation Championship and Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship taking center stage. Adding his name as only the second champion of the prestigious class in as many years, Dominic Gibbs piloted Limitless to the top honors in the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” Equitation Championship, while Hannah Brown outshone the pack aboard Dimacho in the Taylor Harris NHS Adult Equitation Championships.

A familiar face in Kentucky, course designer Bobby Murphy challenged the original crop of 104 horse-and-rider combinations over his winding track that served to distinguish the frontrunners from the rest of the field. Whittled down to the highest-scoring 25 pairs, eligible competitors returned for a flat phase and a second trip over fences in front of the watchful eyes of the judges to determine the elite four that would test for the title.

Separated from their peers as the top performers, Blythe Goguen, Sophie Bluhm, Dominic Gibbs, and Layla Kurbanov were each given one final opportunity to exhibit their skills. The abridged testing course challenged the four contenders to walk, canter fences one and two, then counter-canter fence three before transitioning to a trot for fence four, after which they were asked to halt and exit at a walk.

Proving his consistency and performing masterfully for the fourth time Sunday, Gibbs directed 8-year-old Limitless to a textbook trip that earned him the high marks of the day to secure the championship rosette. Gibbs, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, joins inaugural winner Jaden Porter as the newest name to be inscribed on the commemorative trophy, which is proudly displayed throughout the year at the Kentucky Horse Park Museum.

Bluhm and her own Quadro D’ Ag claimed the reserve honors, followed by Kurbanov and Olga Kurbanov’s Calberon B in third place. Goguen and Z Jappoo Sow, owned by Colette Cacciatore, rounded out the top four in the standings.

In its inaugural year as a National Horse Show class, the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship attracted a talented field of contenders each vying for the top prize. Like their junior counterparts, the adult entries in the equitation class aimed to showcase their talents over Murphy’s course during the preliminary round of competition in order to earn the advantage headed into the subsequent under saddle phase and final jumping round.

Maneuvering their way to the lead thanks to a series of strong performances, Brown and A. Brooke Farr’s Dimacho ultimately clinched the coveted rosette and the lead spot in the victory gallop. Brown hails from Manchester, Connecticut and is already on a hot streak at the National Horse Show, having won the blue ribbon Saturday in the Adult Equitation over fences class in addition to the second place finish under saddle, also with Dimacho.

Jeanine Cash of Winthrop, Massachusetts earned the reserve honors with MTM Magnum, owned by Olivia Rubin, followed by Darby Mazzarisi of Chesterfield, New Jersey in third position aboard West Hill’s Resonate. Coincidentally, the three podium finishers in Sunday’s championship were also the top three in Saturday’s Adult Equitation over fences class, with Cash and Mazzarisi swapping spots.

For a detailed event schedule, click here.