Category Archives: Competitions

Kiwis Are the Kings at Series Opener in Abu Dhabi

Photo: Daniel Meech and Fine. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Samantha McIntosh (42) clinched victory for New Zealand in the nail-biting Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of United Arab Emirates staged in Abu Dhabi. This first leg of the new 13-round worldwide series went right down to the wire, the Kiwi rider settling the result in a jump-off against Ireland’s Shane Breen when the two countries were tied on 12 faults after the first two rounds. Italy lined up third, and when the host nation and Saudi Arabia shared fourth spot along with Switzerland, the two Middle East countries earned qualifying spots for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 Final in Barcelona (ESP) next October.

McIntosh said afterwards that the victory was totally unexpected. And along with her team-mates, she wondered if they had just made history as the first-ever winning Jumping Nations Cup side for their country.

“It’s ridiculous; it was like watching a movie. Honestly, I never thought we could do it!” — Samantha McIntosh (New Zealand)

Team pathfinder Daniel Meech (44) is a double-Olympian, but second-line rider Richard Gardner (47) is relatively unknown. “He doesn’t have a lot of experience and nor does his horse, but they have been together since Calisto was young and they know each other inside out. He believed in his horse and he was very grateful to get the chance to show what they could do,” McIntosh explained. “And as for Bruce Goodin (48), he’s the rock of our team. He borrowed this horse (Backatorps Danny V) and was riding it for the very first time at this show. He’s just amazing!” said the French-based rider.

New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Ireland and Italy all shared the lead at the halfway stage with just four faults on the board, but although the Saudi team lost their grip, it seemed Italy would also go into the jump-off if anchorman, Natale Chiaudani, could leave the poles all in place in the second round. However, two mistakes from the 19-year-old Almero put paid to that and it was McIntosh who was selected to take on Breen in the third-round race against the clock.

She had already been fault-free with her 15-year-old stallion Check In, so was guaranteed a half-share of the €50,000 bonus on offer for double-clear rounds along with Ireland’s David Simpson (Keoki). She threw down a jump-off target in 40.16 seconds and when Breen’s horse, Laith, hit the third fence this time out, eventually collecting 17 faults in total, it was all over.

The second leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 series will take place in Ocala (USA) 18 February, where teams from the North/Central America and Caribbean League will battle it out in the first of three qualifiers in their region.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

James Chawke and Flemis Bouncer Win Valentine’s Day $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic

James Chawke and Flemis Bouncer. Erin Gilmore Photography.

Wellington, FL (February 15, 2018) – James Chawke was feeling the love during 2018’s Valentine’s Day Turf Tour, where he and the Irish bred Flemis Bouncer bounded over the 1.30m course to rule the week’s $5,000 Rising Star Classic. The spectacular day of show jumping was highlighted by Chawke’s win, along with bald eagle sightings, a busy 1.20m class on the grass in the morning, and .80m-1.10m jump-offs and power & speed rounds running all day in Ring 2. Hosted by The Ridge at Wellington and at their home farm during Valentine’s week, Friday’s continuation of the Turf Tour promises more splendid show jumping including the $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix and wine tasting provided by The Vineyard House.

A relatively new mount for Chawke, of Leinster, Ireland, Flemis Bouncer recently topped an early February 1.20m class during this year’s Turf Tour and shows no signs of slowing the momentum. The game gray gelding galloped to a winning jump-off time of 33.155 seconds, and Chawke says the next steps are to continue to elevate both the jumps and their technique for the Grand Prix. The luck of the Irish held out for Chawke’s countryman Willie Tynan, whose 33.266 second jump-off with the elegant mare Dominique narrowly cut him out of first place in the class with just over a tenth of a second to spare. Samantha Bairs and Italian Gold van de Kruishoeve jumped to third on a time of 35.972 seconds.

“The Turf Tour’s Rising Star Classic is designed to serve as a foundation for advancing riders or new horse and rider pairings, giving them the atmosphere, jumps, and competition to seamlessly transition to the Grand Prix or achieve their own personal goals,” said US Olympian and co-founder of The Ridge and Turf Tour, Nona Garson. “The 1.30m level is such an important time for both horses and riders to develop the skills needed for a successful Grand Prix career. It is at this height that riders must evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their mount, and learn to apply strategic riding and a focused, competitive mind. Providing a variety of venues, excellent natural footing, and surmountable challenges on course is our way of nurturing these horses and riders and ultimately was the inspiration for the Turf Tour.”

For a full schedule of events hosted by The Ridge at Wellington, visit www.TheRidgeFarm.com.

Media contact:
PR and Marketing
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
www.equinium.com
holly@equinium.com
+1 954 205 7992

Season III of Longines Masters Series Makes Thrilling Ride through Asia

Photo: Patrice Delaveau and Aquila HDC.

Looks to Its Final Stop in New York

New York – February 13, 2018 – The Longines Masters of Hong Kong, the second leg of the international equestrian series that stops in Paris, Hong Kong, and New York, came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday after three days of incredible competition on February 9-11. After his victory in the Masters One event on Day 1, Daniel Deusser from Germany competed in the Longines Grand Prix with his eyes set on the Grand Slam Indoor title and super bonus of €2.25 million, achieved by winning three consecutive Longines Grand Prix in Paris, Hong Kong and New York, in the same season.

Presented by Title Partner & Official Timekeeper Longines, the Longines Grand Prix boasted over 1.60m obstacles and offered the biggest prize purse of the weekend, a total of US $382,800. Twenty riders from 12 countries competed for the title over two rounds, with the 20 riders whittled down to 12 for the jump-off. Of the 12, only five riders cleared both rounds without faults including the Australian Jamie Kermond who placed fourth on Yandoo Oaks Constellation and Michael Whitaker on Calisto Blue who finished fifth.

The competition was close as Patrice Delaveau snatched victory on Aquila HDC from the Austrian Max Kühner on Cielito Lindo 2 by just 0.07 seconds in the jump-off, followed by the Longines Grand Prix of Paris winner Daniel Deusser from Germany on Cornet D’Amour only 0.08 seconds behind Kühner for a third place finish. Following this victory, Patrice Delaveau has a chance to collect the Grand Slam Indoor bonus of €1 million if he can win the Longines Grand Prix at the final leg of the current season of the Longines Masters Series, in New York, and follow it up with a win in Paris at the start of the 2018-19 season.

Jump Media | jennifer@jumpmediallc.com | Jump Media | 12788 W. Forest Hill Blvd. Suite 2005 | Wellington, FL 33414

Katherine Bateson Chandler Scoops Final Grand Prix in Week Five at AGDF

Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Alcazar. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 11, 2018 – It was an all-American podium in the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. It was spearheaded by Katherine Bateson Chandler riding Alcazar on the final day of week five of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The top three were unaltered from the grand prix, but the winner of that class, Shelly Francis, had to settle for second place on this occasion. It was extremely close between the top two, with just 0.17% separating them. Uncharacteristic mistakes in Francis and Danilo’s test curtailed their usually high score to 69.298%. Anna Marek and Dee Clair – who at 10 was the youngest horse in the field – were third with their highest yet international grand prix score, 68.085%.

Bateson Chandler and the 13-year-old Alcazar, who is owned by Jane Forbes Clark and survived a colic operation in July 2016, were recording their first win since topping the CDI4* freestyle class at last year’s AGDF. The pair spent the summer, as they do each year, at British Olympic gold medalist Carl Hester’s barn in Britain, with Bateson Chandler even lending Alcazar to Hester for him to win the British national grand prix champion title on him in September.

“I was second in the grand prix on Thursday, and that always makes you dig a little deeper,” said Bateson Chandler, 42. “It’s been a long journey with ‘Lonzie’. I’ve been riding him since he was six and he’s been a fun horse to bring to grand prix. The biggest thing we’re always striving for as riders is to find that positive tension in the ring. You get negative tension or not enough tension and I’m finding that I’m starting to get there now with the positive tension – but it takes years.”

Although Forbes Clark was able to watch her horse win, Bateson Chandler’s trainer, Carl Hester, had to fly home before the special on Sunday.

“They changed the schedule so I ended up being a bit on my own today, but he gave me my marching orders – to make sure Lonzie is in front of the leg, to not go too fast – and to win!” said Bateson Chandler. “Carl is my go-to guy; I’m lucky to have him as a very good friend as well as a trainer. I whine to him a lot and he’s my sounding board; he’s so cool and sensible, and always has the right answers that makes sense. He gets it because he’s had his own ups and downs over the years and knows how it is to be both at the top and the bottom. I can’t thank him enough.”

The next stop for the pair is the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, which runs March 1-4 during AGDF week seven.

“I’ll probably do the two other shows after that at Global, too,” she added. “Then we’ll go back to Carl’s in April for the summer and make a plan with him from there. I would love to make the World Equestrian Games team, of course – that’s everybody’s goal this year – but we’ve also had a lot of fun doing Nations Cup teams. And now Lonzie’s getting quite consistent; I think he makes himself a good candidate. It’s pretty exciting for the future.”

Jennifer Baumert (USA) made it a clean sweep of the week’s small tour CDI3* classes by winning the Intermediate I Freestyle, presented by Rowan O’Riley. She rode Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano’s 13-year-old Handsome, by Hochadel, to 75.958%.

They have not been beaten in their last six competitive starts. And all 14 of the international tests in their career – which began a year ago – have been at the AGDF. Their test featured inventive lines, including both sets of flying changes on a steeply curving line. Baumert finished almost 5% clear of second placed compatriot Yvonne de Haan, who scored 71.125% on Winter. Canada’s Tom Dvorak finished third, riding Cyrus to 71%.

It was the first-drawn rider in the 17-strong Intermediate I CDI1* who clinched the winner’s sash: American rider Tina Konyot coaxed 69.657% out of the nine-year-old Diamantino II. This was only the fifth international test for the PSD Partners LLC’s son of Desperados, and his first win. It was another son of Kristina Sprehe’s stallion Desperados who clinched second: Germany’s Michael Klimke partnered the eight-year-old Harmony’s Diabolo to 68.676%. Third place went to the Norwegian rider Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen, who scored 68.235% on her own nine-year-old Empire B, by Sting.

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

Nassar and Lordan Shine Again with Second Longines Victory in Thermal

Photo: Nayel Nassar and Lordan. (FEI/Glen Burgess)

Madden’s Cross Country Trip More Than Worthwhile

Two years ago, Nayel Nassar (EGY) won the World Cup qualifier at Thermal (USA) with his then 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Lordan. In 2018, the partnership returned to form with a second victory in the desert, as the duo won the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping™ Thermal, the final leg of the west coast sub league of the North American League.

Six combinations cleared the Alan Wade (IRL) designed track in the first round, and all produced a second clear effort in the jump-off. Beezie Madden (USA) and Breitling LS led early with a time of 39.92 seconds, but Nassar and Lordan, who also won the World Cup qualifier at Wellington (USA) last season, sped past them by nine-tenths of a second, crossing the timers in 39.02 seconds. Mandy Porter (USA) and Milano, who won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Sacramento (USA) in October, rounded out the top three with their 40.56-second time.

He’s such a trier,” Nassar said. “We know each other so well at this point, and we have a good partnership to get us through all the little intricacies in the courses.”

“He is such a trier! We have a good partnership to get us through all the little intricacies in the courses.” — Nayal Nassar (EGY)

Nassar said that Lordan’s naturally shorter stride might have played to his advantage in the jump-off, because he maintained a forward pace from the start.

“The first line was way more forward for me than anyone else,” Nassar said. “So, I was already faster there, and [also] probably on the turn back to the last line. I took a pretty big risk there. I jumped the double [from] right to left, and I could see all the tracks [from the other horses], and I was way inside there, and I just found the first shot out of the corner.”

After competing in Wellington last week, Madden made the cross-country journey from Florida to California to compete at Thermal. The trip proved worthwhile, because Madden’s runner-up finish jumped her from 11th to third in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League, which should put her safely in position for qualification to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris (FRA) in April.

“I didn’t do that many World Cup [qualifiers] in the fall,” Madden said. I needed some more chances to get points. My plan might be to take him and one other [horse to Paris].”

The final leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League will take place on the east coast at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala (USA) on Sunday 18 March 2018.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Laura Graves Unleashes Phenomenal New Freestyle in Five Star Week at AGDF

Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 9, 2018 – Laura Graves’ brand-new freestyle rocketed her and Verdades to the top of the list in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. The 30-year-old American scooped the $35,400 winner’s prize under the lights in week five of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

In front of a packed grandstand and VIP pavilions, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén was second, with local rider Shelly Francis climbing a place from the grand prix to finish third.

Graves said: “It was the first run-through of the new canter tour of our freestyle. Even though we’re not using the new FEI floorplan creator here tonight, it’s a big part of my preparation for the World Cup Final in Paris as it will be used in the final. We’ve actually taken away a bit of risk as the changes aren’t off a curved line, because you actually don’t gain as many points as you do for doubling up on the pirouettes, so it ended up being a little bit of a math equation.

“Big thanks to Terry Gallo who always steps in when I have a last minute ‘great’ idea. I couldn’t do it without her and I was super pleased with how the music turned out. We have a couple of little tweaks to work on before our next performance at Global,” she added.

“For once all the judges were in agreement,” said Enzo Truppa, the Italian judge at C. “I was particularly impressed by Laura’s half-passes, and she got very high marks from me.”

Graves and 16-year-old Verdades, who are ranked fourth in the world, scored 84.375%. That was just 0.3% lower than their winning score at the CDIW* AGDF show two weeks ago – quite a feat for a brand-new freestyle that they had barely practiced.

“I had only actually ridden through it once at home, and that was for Terry to get the timing, so I need to do my homework a little better,” she admitted.

Second-placed Vilhelmson-Silfvén said of her ride, Lövsta Stuteri’s 15-year-old Don Primero gelding: “There was quite an atmosphere tonight; it suits him very well to have that kind of surroundings, so he felt the best today that I’ve had him this season. I’m very happy.”

Francis’ horse Doktor, Patricia Stempel’s 15-year-old by Diamond Hit, was also lit up by the busy atmosphere: “He was sneezing and snorting when he realized he was doing the freestyle. Things smoothed out, but during a piaffe at one end, the audience started clapping, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, please don’t clap; he’s frightened of clapping!’ But we managed to keep it together. He was so full of energy, really bouncing off the ground.”

Allyn Mann of title sponsor Adequan® said: “It seems like a lifetime ago when the founding partners and Mark Bellissimo were thinking about how to bring dressage to this community, and I think this beautiful night is what that vision was. There was an unbelievable electricity, with all the people wanting to see the finest riders and horses.”

Amanda S. Luby of class sponsor CaptiveOne Advisors added: “We are so thrilled to be a part of the ongoing evolution of the sports of dressage and showjumping. For a local business to be associated with the journey these athletes are on was extraordinary tonight.”

In the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, Dominican Republic rider Yvonne Losos de Muñiz proved that her grand prix win on Foco Loco W was no fluke. On her own 13-year-old Belgian warmblood gelding by Sierappel, she won the class with 74.35% – including a high score of 77% from the U.S. judge, Janet Foy.

“To be honest, I’m a bit speechless still. I’m still trying to soak it all in. It’s been going so incredibly,” she said. “Two weeks ago I did well with him, and to come back and repeat it and get a little better is just fantastic. I really have no words.”

Losos de Muñiz rode to music put together by Canadian Karen Robinson.

“Tonight I was able, especially in the trot, to really hit the cues. I came in and sat back and he came up in front of me, and I said, ‘OK, here we go’. He floated around and felt fabulous. The music is really strong, but he is such a big horse that he can carry the music no problem.”

Spain’s young talent Juan Matute Guimon finished second on Don Diego Ymas (73.4%), with Canada’s Megan Lane filling third on San D’Or with 71.85%.

Of the 18 starters in the Prix St Georges CDI1*, it was Great Britain’s Susan Pape and the expressive and uphill Harmony’s Eclectisch who nosed ahead with 71.029%. Each of the five judges awarded the pair over 70%. The nine-year-old KWPN stallion by Zenon have taken their small tour classes by storm this season, winning all three of his tests so far at AGDF.

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

Stunning Turnaround for Foco Loco W in Opening Day of Week Five at AGDF

Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 7, 2018 – The FEI Grand Prix CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, marked a watershed moment for the winner, the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz. Her performance with Foco Loco W was worlds apart from their 2016 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) experience at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, where they were eliminated in their first grand prix test.

For this test, there were no wobbles and the pair logged 71.087% – the only combination out of 15 to score over 70% – in the class, which served as a qualifier for Friday afternoon’s three-star freestyle to music. It was the horse’s first ever international win.

Losos de Muñiz, who first sat on Foco Loco three years ago while she was visiting a yard to look at another horse, had major spooking issues with him in the ring between 2014 and the 2016 Rio Olympics, and despite the horse’s talent, their scores hovered around the low 60s.

“When I got him I had all the faith in the world in him,” explained Losos de Muñiz, who spends summers in Northern Spain and winters in Florida. “He was super difficult and I wasn’t able to manage him. He was an orphan foal, and some of his problems could stem from that.”

She sent him to Danish Olympian Andreas Helgstrand’s barn for a couple of weeks to sell, but when she visited and rode him again, Helgstrand told her that he didn’t understand why she wanted to sell him and wouldn’t be able to find a more talented replacement horse, so she should persevere. Losos de Muñiz decided not to sell him, and spent five months in Spain getting to know – and trust – him again. After Spain’s Borja Carrascosa competed the 13-year-old Belgian warmblood gelding after the Rio Olympics – proving that he was capable of over 70% – Losos de Muñiz took over the competitive reins once again, and has scored over 70% in all three of the horse’s international grand prix tests.

“This win was better than making the Olympics,” said Losos de Muñiz, 50. “When I landed that last halt from the sky high passage, I knew we’d nailed it. We’ve had so many problems over the last few years, but he stayed with me in there. I was stubborn to stick with him, but there’s no better feeling than knowing that I was right to keep going. He has so much power it’s hard to describe and, when you can control it, it’s a pretty amazing feeling.”

Losos de Muñiz plans to campaign Foco Loco at the next CDI in Wellington in two weeks.

“I really want to confirm that this wasn’t just a fluke,” she added.

In the Prix St Georges CDI3*, presented by Rowan O’Riley, only one combination achieved the magic 70%: Jennifer Baumert (USA) and Handsome, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Hochadel x Weltmeyer. Their 71.118% was in a league of its own and topped the 13-strong class with relative ease. The horse, Handsome, is owned by Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano, who also owns Adrienne Lyle’s top ride, Salvino.

Baumert and Handsome have a busy week ahead, as they will also contest the three-star intermediate 1 and intermediate 1 freestyle classes in the next few days. The pair is so far unbeaten in their three starts at this year’s AGDF.

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

Chester Weber Victorious in His First US Four-in-Hand Driving Competition in 2018

Photo courtesy of PicsofYou.

Dade City, FL (February 6, 2018) – Chester Weber, a Florida native who is known around the world for his success in Four-in-Hand driving, kicked off 2018 in the only way he could have been expected to – with a win in his first competition of the year.

After spending the winter competing in major driving tournaments throughout Europe, Weber touched down on U.S. soil to claim the top spot in the CAI 2* Palm Tree CDE Four-in-Hand division in Dade City, Florida on January 25-28.

“I felt good about the dressage phase,” shared Weber, who is known for his superb execution in the Four-in-Hand dressage.  “There are few areas where the team can continue to improve. This is all part of our strategy as we work toward the National Championships coming up at Live Oak International and the WEG [World Equestrian Games] coming up in September.”

For the remaining phases, Weber was unstoppable with the matched team of KWPNs owned by him and Jane Clark. He kept First Edition in the left lead for all three phases, with Boris at the left wheel and Asjemenous at the right wheel. After the dressage phase, he replaced Splash from the right lead with Reno. The team won both the cones phase and the marathon phase to earn the overall first place score of 155.79.

Reno, a newer member of Team Weber, certainly fits in with the talented group. “Reno has an interesting pedigree; he’s half Friesian and half Orlov Trotter,” said Weber. “This was his third competition with me. He was perfect. He’s a great addition for the team for the marathon and cones phases, and we feel really pleased with him.” Weber purchased the horse from Hungarian Four-in-Hand driver József Dobrovitz, Jr. “I had been watching Reno for some time, and he had a great record,” Weber recalled. “Finally, I tested him a bit and drove him in the Beekbergen CAI3* in the Netherlands. We were very competitive there, and I was impressed with him.” The rest was history for the purchase of the horse – and it looks to be a promising beginning to Reno’s future on Team Weber.

Now that Weber has returned to the United States in winning style, he will continue to train and compete with his sights set on the famed World Equestrian Games to be held in Tryon, North Carolina in September 2018. “I am absolutely looking forward to it,” Weber said. “I think the team is really in good form.”

Much sooner, though, Weber the 14 time USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion will be competing at a major competition in his own backyard, Live Oak International this March 15-18, 2018. The prestigious show is annually held at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, Florida, which is owned by Weber and his family.  Now focused on Live Oak and always up for a challenge, Weber added, “It’s always a lot of work to compete in a National Championship and also be the organizer of the event!”

As Weber and his U.S. team focus on the tournaments ahead, his Four-in-Hand team of Lipizzans that competed with him in Europe remain in France, enjoying a few months of well-deserved vacation time.

To stay up to date with the latest happenings for Weber and his talented teams on two continents, visit www.chesterweber.com.

For more information, contact:
Chester Weber
chester@chesterweber.com
1-352-895-1139

Espoir Lives Up to His Name and Produces a Brilliant Win for Belgium’s Devos in Bordeaux

Photo: Pieter Devos and Espoir. (FEI/Richard Juillart)

Three-time champion Marcus Ehning from Germany finishes second ahead of Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro in third

A brilliant performance from his horse called Espoir secured a place at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 Final for Belgium’s Pieter Devos (31) at the second-last leg of the Western European League in Bordeaux (FRA). Setting a sizzling standard at the halfway-stage of the 10-horse jump-off against the clock, the pair couldn’t be caught despite the best efforts of three-time champion Marcus Ehning (43) from Germany who had to settle for runner-up spot and Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro (43) who lined up in third.

With 29 points already to his credit, Devos knew he had it all to do. Something in the region of 40 points is required to confirm that ticket to the finale in the French capital city next April and time is running out. But it wasn’t just the win and those 20 extra valuable points that pleased him most; it was the two spectacular rounds produced by his 14-year-old gelding, whose name in English translates to “hope”, that really lifted his spirits.

“I came here in the hope of qualifying; this was one of the last chances and even though I had a good indoor season I needed those extra points. Of course, the win is great and I’m excited to go to the Final; it will be my first and I’m really looking forward to the experience. But to be honest the very best thing is the feeling Espoir gave me today. He had a break and did his first World Cup in Leipzig when we had one down, and tonight he felt like he is right back in great shape and that makes me very, very happy!” — Pieter Devos BEL

Switzerland’s Paul Estermann and Lord Pepsi were first to go clear over Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani’s jump-off track, but Saro and Cannavaro set a new target when clearing the line in 38.40 seconds. Sixth to go, Devos always looked like he meant business, galloping into the ring and setting off with fierce determination.

“Before I went in I thought I’d be happy to finish in the top five, but in the end I took a risk between the first two fences and that went well, so of course then I got more ambitious and I just wanted to win! The crowd was great; they were shouting at me all the way to the last so I took the risk there as well!” — Pieter Devos BEL

His time of 36.53 seconds was always going to be difficult to beat, and although Ehning, second-last into the arena, looked set to put up a big challenge with Cornado NRW they broke the beam in 38.09 seconds for second place.

Ehning has now moved up to third place on the Western European League table which continues to be dominated by Frenchman Kevin Staut, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann lies second and Devos makes a meteoric rise to seventh position. The top 18 qualify for the Final and the pressure will be at boiling point when the last qualifier gets underway in Gothenburg (SWE) in three weeks’ time.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Child/Adult and Open Riders Dazzle during 3rd Friday Night Lights of 2018

Photo: Kelly McInerney and Dinletto RK.

Wellington, FL (February 3, 2018) – The winter equestrian capital of the world added a few more star riders to its ranks on Friday, February 2nd, as a group of competitive Child/Adult and Open jumpers took to the course at Polo West for the third edition of Friday Night Lights. Demonstrating the poise and professionalism of their FEI level counter parts, the horse and rider teams tackled the electric atmosphere and stadium feel of the weekly event, presented by The Ridge at Wellington, and competed over four courses set at 1.0m and 1.10m. An eager crowd of spectators gathered at the ringside Polo Bar and Grille to eat, drink, and enjoy Low and Medium Jumpers in a completely unique atmosphere.

With south Florida’s trademark technicolor sunset as the backdrop, Friday Night Lights kicked off with a 1.0m Jumper Speed class and a Low Child/Adult Jumper Classic, two courses that run simultaneously over the same set of jumps. Quintessential and Taylor Griffin took top honors in the Low Child/Adult Jumper Classic, while the Speed round was won by NLF Felix Das Pferd and international polo player Kerstie Allen. Allen recently made history as the first female rider to win the Pacific Coast Open as part of the ERG Polo Team. She bought Felix sight unseen, and has only had him working over fences since the beginning of January. Having never shown over fences herself before last week, Allen’s skill on the polo field seemed to transfer to the jumper ring.

“Felix and I got our start at our neighbor, Dream Believer Farm, just seeing what he was about and how he would do over fences,” said Allen. “I decided to go for it and enter him at The Ridge’s shows because they were super accessible and the staff were easy to work with. I felt I needed to start small, and not just jump into one of the larger shows. Having The Ridge’s Palm Beach Series and Turf Tour shows is priceless for riders like me who are just striking out in the show jumping world; it’s so inviting and if it wasn’t for Nona and George [The Ridge’s founders] I would never have been able to get into the show ring today.”

Despite her victory in the Low Speed Round and a wealth of equestrian experience, Allen noted that there was some culture shock coming from polo and the rodeo world to show jumping: “The warm-up was new for me, as we usually pass right to right and here they pass left to left. I’m so proud of Felix and grateful to have this option to get my feet wet. It’s just so easy at The Ridge’s events, between the open in gate schedule and how affordable it is to show. They make it easy to come out, train, ride, and enjoy the horses.”

A quick drag of the arena and raising of the jumps led into the second half of the evening, as the 1.10m riders took the field over a Speed round and a $1,000 M&S Child/Adult Jumper Classic. Fidel Cavaro, ridden, trained, and owned by Kimberly Corts, delivered the speediest time to win the Speed, while Kelly McInerney and Dinletto RK topped the Classic. McInerney noted that a show with so much atmosphere and excitement was a unique way to gather points towards her Medal Maclay qualification: “I qualified for Marshall & Sterling, NAL, WIHS Medal Finals last year, and that was really important for me in choosing where to show this weekend,” McInerney stated. “Friday Night Lights has a cool environment; riding under the lights and at night was a welcome change from WEF, where we will be showing tomorrow and Sunday.”

McInerney, who is based out of Chester Riding Club in New Jersey, purchased the Dutch Warmblood gelding Dinletto from Ireland after only two rides. “We just clicked, and that was it,” she said. “Dinletto is such a fun horse, my favorite thing about him is his personality. We jumped under the lights once before in Atlanta, so I knew he’d enjoy coming here and changing things up.”

For a full schedule of events hosted by The Ridge at Wellington, visit www.TheRidgeFarm.com.

Media contact:
PR and Marketing
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
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holly@equinium.com
+1 954 205 7992