Category Archives: Competitions

Riders from around the World Target Dutch Masters in Pursuit of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

02 March 2018, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands – After a thrilling end to the 2017 international equestrian season at the CHI Geneva, with Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington securing the Rolex Grand Prix at the event for the first time, all eyes now turn to The Netherlands where many of the world’s best riders will congregate on 08-11 March, for the new first Major of the year.

Since its founding more than 50 years ago, The Dutch Masters has focused on delivering elite-level sport alongside a rich tradition and love of horses. In 2017, The Dutch Masters (formerly Indoor Brabant) welcomed 60,000 spectators across four days of competition, as the sports elite riders contested the Rolex Grand Prix, the competition highlight. Such commitment to outstanding equestrian sport and a passion for excellence reflect Rolex values, and in 2014 the leading Swiss watch brand extended its long-term partnership with the event, enhancing its position as one of the most esteemed indoor shows on the calendar.

This shared approach to the pursuit of perfection has been globally recognized, and in 2017 it was announced that The Dutch Masters would join equestrian sport’s most coveted competition, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, as the fourth Major in the cyclical calendar. It now sits beside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva. As such, the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 2018 will draw the world’s best riders attempting to emulate the achievement of Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash, who in 2015 became the only rider to have won this most sought-after prize to date.


A demanding course is expected at the sport’s toughest Majors, and The Dutch Masters will be no exception. Having co-designed with Gérard Lachat (SUI) the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Louis Konickx (NED) is welcomed back for Sunday’s highlight competition. “I have designed a technically exacting course with the intention of testing these riders within one of the best indoor arenas around the globe,” Konickx said.

After his victory at the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final at CHI Geneva, Rolex Testimonee Kevin Staut is well placed to contest for the Rolex Grand Prix. “It’s always a difficult course when designed by Louis, but I look forward to taking the challenge on and will do my best to repeat my winning success here in 2014.”

Along with the roster of elite show jumpers contesting the Rolex Grand Prix, The Dutch Masters will also host the world’s top dressage riders as they compete for title places in the World Cup and World Cup freestyle competitions. Numbered among these outstanding athletes is Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth. With a trophy cabinet overflowing with Olympic, World and European Championship medals, the knowledgeable Dutch crowd is always excited to see the German maestro in action.


The Rolex family of Testimonees has been victorious in the Grand Prix four times since 2003, the most recent being French rider and world number four Kevin Staut, who claimed the Rolex Grand Prix in 2014 riding Silvana*HDC.

Canada’s Eric Lamaze will travel from his winter base in Florida, USA for the competition. With a string of successes already at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington (Florida), it would appear Lamaze is in prime form to take up the challenge.

The crowd will welcome the return also of homegrown hero Jeroen Dubbeldam. As reigning World Champion and a former European Champion, Dubbeldam and SFN Zenith are a formidable partnership.

Rolex’s newest Equestrian Testimonee, Martin Fuchs, and youngest, Bertram Allen, will also be entering their top mounts for the competition. Fuchs will be one of two Swiss riders from the Rolex family of Testimonees, with Steve Guerdat journeying to the Dutch show with his mare Bianca XXXIV. Guerdat was recently voted Rider of the Year 2017 and Bianca XXXIV Horse of the Year 2017 in Switzerland.

British show jumper Brash will head to The Dutch Masters looking to further enhance his revered status in the sport.


Rolex SA
Virginie Chevailler
+41 (0)22 302 2619

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Merrick Haydon
+44 (0)7748 186 833

Palm Beach Derby Week Kicks Off with Another Win for Unstoppable Laura Graves at AGDF

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — March 1, 2018 — It was the last three riders in the Grand Prix CDIW, presented by U.S. Trust & Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who filled the top three spots, making it an all-female, all-American podium in the highlight class of the opening day of action of during week eight of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Laura Graves and the 16-year-old gelding Verdades emerged victorious with over 78%, despite a blip in the one-time changes that was rewarded with fours and fives from the five-strong panel of judges. The pair is ranked fourth in the world and, in 2016, were instrumental players in bringing home the team bronze medal from the Rio Olympics.

Adrienne Lyle finished second with a convincing, mistake-free ride on Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano’s Sandro Hit stallion Salvino for 74.457%, with Chase Hickok and Sagacious HF filling third with 69.5%.

“Nothing went wrong that I can’t take the blame for,” said Graves, 30, who was riding in sweltering Florida temperatures and claimed her fifth consecutive victory. “I was super, super happy with how he went in this heat; we had a hot show at the five-star show also and it’s nice to know — looking ahead to the World Games in Tryon — that our horses are fit in this weather. And he [Verdades] is super fit. He came out sweaty and breathing, but not even a hint of feeling like he was out of steam.”

On the contrary, ‘Diddy’ finished the test’s final center line with his customary power and enthusiasm, snorting and powering into the final halt.

“Kasey Perry [who was also on the team at the Rio Olympics] is helping me this week as I’m groom-less, and her husband Dana actually calls him ‘Diddy Dino’,” added Graves, who is seeking FEI World Cup final qualification through these performances.

“With a horse with as much experience as he has — now in his fourth year of grand prix — we’re looking at our path to Tryon a little differently than perhaps some of the others are,” said Graves. “I don’t want to have to show him a lot, so I’m going to try to be where I have the toughest competition, and that looks like the World Cup Final and probably Aachen, where we get to go head-to-head with some of the other top five in the world. We want to know where we stand going into North Carolina.”

Graves credited the horse’s workmanlike attitude with his ongoing ability to perform at the top.

“He’s so ambitious you think that it would be in his nature to try to predict the movements now he knows the test so well, but he’s so respectful when you’re riding that he waits — he waits all the time,” added Graves, who owns the horse with her partner Curt Maes. “And if he waits too long and you have to make a little correction, he feels guilty for a week. He’s very smart like that. He doesn’t want to rush and I get the feeling that he really likes it. He lets me ride every step still; it’s rather amazing.”

In the Grand Prix CDI3*, presented by Peacock Ridge, the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz replicated her wins last month on the 13-year-old Belgian warmblood Foco Loco W.

In a class of 20, Losos de Muñiz scored 71.13% to take the blue ribbon, leading an all-female podium. Canada’s Belinda Trussell — last to go on her own Tattoo 15 — filled second place with 70.022%, with the USA’s Katherine Bateson Chandler finishing third on Jane Forbes-Clark’s Alcazar (69.283%).

This was Losos de Muñiz and Foco Loco W’s best grand prix score to date, and follows hot on the heels of their double win in week five of the 2018 AGDF.

Canada’s Tom Dvorak, rode Carla Bahr’s nine-year-old gelding Cyrus to victory in the Prix St Georges CDI3*, presented by ProElite®, edging out the USA’s Jan Ebeling on Sergio Leone. Dvorak was recording the son of Contucci’s first win of the season, having been in touching distance already three times during the 2018 AGDF.

For more information and results, visit

Early Leaders Named in WIHS 2018 Championship Rankings

Umano de la Ruche, ridden by Lauren McCaulley, currently leads the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship rankings. Photo by Jump Media.

Washington, D.C. – The official early rankings for the 60th Anniversary Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) championship events, running October 23-28 at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C., have been released.

Qualifying events for the WIHS championships are held at more than 650 horse shows in North America. Riders who earn the most points throughout the year are eligible to compete in the WIHS Championship Finals, which include the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship, $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship, $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship, $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship, the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals, and WIHS Pony Equitation Finals.

With six months remaining in the qualifying period, which ends August 31, there is still plenty of time to qualify for the 60th Anniversary WIHS. Riders must be active WIHS members in order for points to count. Membership can be obtained here:

“Riders from all over the country set the WIHS championship events as major goals each and every year,” said WIHS President Vicki Lowell. “This year, qualifying for WIHS is made even more prestigious as we celebrate our 60th anniversary, and it is really special to see the passion and commitment that these riders put into competing throughout the season to qualify. We are humbled every year when watching these accomplished riders unloading their horses onto the streets of D.C. to compete at one of the nation’s most coveted events!”

As the season continues, WIHS congratulates all of the top competitors in the WIHS rankings as of February 16, 2018.

Current leaders include:

  • Ava Stearns of Chilmark, MA – 2,350 points – WIHS Equitation East
  • Isabella Bleu Baxter of Wright City, MO – 1,406 points – WIHS Equitation West
  • Hyde Park ridden by Lauren Katz of Potomac, MD – 1,000 points – Children’s Hunter
  • Pluto LWF ridden by Claire Taylor of Ellicott City, MD – 684 points – Adult Hunter
  • Umano de la Ruche ridden by Lauren McCaulley of Lake Charles, IL – 1,890 points – Children’s Jumper
  • Gold Lux ridden by Lindsey Tomeu of Wellington, FL – 2,823 points – Adult Jumper
  • Josephine Rose of Springboro, OH – 491 points – WIHS Pony Equitation

Don’t miss the chance to qualify for the WIHS Championships! WIHS looks forward to hosting the best horses and riders from around the nation in 2018 and encourages all riders to continue their drive to qualify. The qualifying period runs from shows starting on or after September 1, 2017 through shows starting on or before August 31, 2018.

For the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals, invitations will be extended to the top 40 junior riders who are eligible to compete based on their points earned during the qualifying period in the East Coast and West Coast Leagues as follows: 30 riders will be invited from the East Coast League and ten riders will be invited from the West Coast League. Letters of invitation will be mailed in September. For the pony equitation, invitations will be extended to the top 25 junior riders who are eligible to compete based on their points earned during the qualifying period. Letters of invitation will be mailed in September. For the hunter championships, 29 horse/rider combinations will be accepted in each division, while 25 will be accepted for the jumper championships.

For more information on WIHS, please visit

Contact: Jennifer Wood

The Latest Hot Tips for the Cheltenham Festival

As each day passes, the updates on the runners and riders for the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival come in thicker and faster. Many of the most fancied horses hold entries for two or even three races, with the owners and trainers keeping their options open as to which horses they will ultimately run where.

Often, it is a case of choosing between a better chance of victory in a support race and an outside shot of glory in one of the big money showcase events, and it is intriguing to watch the agonizing decision making as the entries slowly but surely fall into place.

This final jostling also has a major impact on the betting odds – after all, if a strong horse holds an entry for a minor race, it will inevitably be a favorite, and if the trainer withdraws it, the field suddenly becomes wide open.

An expert eye to make sense of it all

The Festival has the eyes of the racing world upon it from all corners of the globe, but to get a feel for the latest developments and gossip, it is important to have a source of information that’s close to the action. Racing Tips has a team of experts monitoring the news from the top stables, and keeping track of the bookmakers to provide a constant stream of festival predictions in the run up to the great event. Here are some of the latest stories that have attracted their attention.

Getabird to take flight

The news that Harry Fry has had to withdraw If The Cap Fits from the Supreme Novices Hurdle removes the biggest obstacle for Getabird in the opening race of the festival. Anything can happen in this race, and outside shots have a habit of doing well, so it is by no means a foregone conclusion. But the Mullins trained gelding has always been a warm favorite, and the withdrawal of the horse seen by bookies as his closest rival has pushed the temperature up a couple of degrees.

More questions than answers in the Stayers

A couple of weeks ago, we ran through the favorites for the key races, and Sam Spinner was at the top of the tree for the Stayers Hurdle on Thursday. That has been turned on its head by a number of factors. Supasundae’s fabulous win in Dublin has contributed to make the horse the new favorite among bookmakers, while Alan King’s decision that Yanworth will be a runner has also sent the oddsmakers into a spin. The advice from the tipsters? Ignore the battle for the favorites and place an each way bet on Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge – with all the jostling higher up the betting card, this horse is still being offered at 12/1 and that’s just too good to refuse, particularly given that Henderson seems quietly confident in this one.

Cue Card in the RyanAir

One of the best loved horses on the circuit, everyone would love to see the 12-year-old Cue Card romp to glory in the Gold Cup, and no one more so than trainer Colin Tizzard, who didn’t have a single winner at last year’s festival. He is sorely tempted, and told reporters: “There is no reason why we shouldn’t go for the biggest one. Is that harder to win than the Ryanair?” The answer is that yes, it is, and this is one occasion when the head needs to rule the heart. The rumors are that Cue Card is likely to be withdrawn from the Gold Cup and race in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday, particularly given the news that Waiting Patiently, the horse that narrowly beat him to glory in the Ascot Chase last week, is now a doubtful starter.

Meri Devie Finds Form to Give Mullins Added Hope for Champions Day

With the Cheltenham Festival getting ever closer, all the talk is centering around just how many more trophies legendary trainer Nicky Henderson will add to his already overflowing cabinet. Over the years, he has trained a remarkable 55 Cheltenham winners, and with favorites like Might Bite, Buveur D’Air and Altior tipped to win the showcase races, there is every chance that he will take the tally above 60 this year.

A flying start for Ireland?

However, his long-term rival Willie Mullins is determined that Henderson will not have everything his own way. The Irishman is only seven winners behind Henderson in the all-time Cheltenham stakes, and as they cast their eye over the Tuesday race card, the tipsters at think that Champions Day provides Mullins with the best opportunity to chalk up some early winners before his arch-rival has a chance to unleash the big guns.

Getabird and Footpad are two horses that are early favorites, but there could be some surprises later in the day, if Meri Devie can repeat the promise she showed at Punchestown last week. Let’s take a closer look at Mullins’ chances on the opening day of the festival.

Supreme Novice Hurdle

The opening race at Cheltenham is always something extra special, and has a real carnival atmosphere. It is also a tough one to call, with a large field and a track that is something of an unknown quantity till it has been seen in use. There are still more than 50 horses in contention, but Willie Mullins’ Getabird is the favorite among bookmakers and the UK media.

Mullins has also entered Duc des Genievres and Laurina, both of which are enjoying shortening odds and could certainly be worth a look as each way bets.

The Arkle 

After the frenzied action of the opening race, there is a feeling of the festival settling down into a rhythm with The Arke, an altogether calmer affair, with a far smaller field of entrants. Here, bookmakers are strongly leaning towards Mullins making it two out of two. Footpad was the early favorite when the runners were first announced, and has remained at the top of the betting cards ever since. As the days have gone by, the odds have shrunk steadily, and few are now offering anything better than even money.

If any horse can spoil the party, most eyes are on Petit Mouchoir, who ran Footpad desperately close at Leopardstown last year. But don’t overlook Brain Power. He might not be Nicky Henderson’s most famous horse at the festival, but those in the know think he could have the makings of a future star.

Mare’s Hurdle

Last year’s mare’s hurdle was won by the Gordon Elliot trained Apples Jade, and she is favorite to make it two in two years. However, Meri Devie’s strong performance in Dublin after an otherwise inconsistent season gives Mullins another opportunity to steal a march on Henderson. Mullins commented that she jumped well, and he feels she is ready to show what she can do at the next level. The distance is longer, but he said: “Two and a half miles is no problem to her.” Some bookmakers are offering odds as long as 40/1. Does the Irish trainer know something they don’t?

The Champions Hurdle

So what of the showpiece race on Champions Day? From the word go, the pundits have said Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air will romp to a second successive victory. Does Mullins have a horse that can pull off an upset? Henderson himself certainly thinks so, and the bookmakers agree that Faugheen is one to watch. The 10-year-old suffered a dip in form at the Dublin festival, but Henderson knows that if anyone can bring the horse to peak fitness at the right time, it is his long time friend and rival.

Jose Roberto Reynoso and Tanita de Saleste Win $15k 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix

Wellington, FL (February 26, 2018) – Polo West once again set the stage for two days of utopian show jumping of all levels on exceptional grass footing February 23-25, as well as an exciting night of child/adult and open rides under the lights in the Polo West arena. From Olympians to pony riders, the Wellington Turf Tour and Palm Beach Series has divisions for all levels including the weekly $15,000 Turf Tour Grand Prix, $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic, Friday Night Lights for Child/Adult and Open riders, monthly M&S/SEMF/Colonial Classic qualifier Schooling Shows, USEF Equitation Tuesdays, and all the amenities and relaxed atmosphere The Ridge’s events are known for.

Olympian Jose Roberto Reynoso of Sao Paulo, Brazil piloted Tanita de Saleste to a double clear effort and a jump-off time of 39.012 seconds. The athletic 10-year-old bay KWPN mare is a ride owned by Franck Henouda and she and Reynoso recently rode to a top 3 placing in the 1.45m division before coming to the Turf Tour for a breath of fresh air and to jump on the grass in the Florida sunshine. Their effort bested a field consisting of an interesting mix of fellow Olympians, ambitious adult amateurs, and new partnerships testing their skills at the 1.40m level. Reynoso and Tanita, in fact, have only been a pair for about a month. Olympian Ramiro Quintana of Argentina and Cody Quintana’s Ceitasi put in an early double clear effort to lead the class on a jump-off time of 42.025 seconds, while Hardin Towell of Wellington, Florida rode Concept to third, with a jump-off time less than half a second off Quintana’s time at 42.662.

“On the Turf Tour, and at all of our events and shows, we try to present a very dynamic environment for riders and trainers to achieve their goals,” said US Olympian and co-founder of The Ridge, Nona Garson. “Whether you have a horse coming back after a rest, a student moving up to the next height, a new horse that needs miles, or just want to enjoy a new venue or turf footing, the inspiration behind the Turf Tour & Palm Beach Series is to fill these needs and drive the development of show jumping as a sport.”

Friday Night Lights Illuminates Child/Adult and Open Talent

From the beauty of the Turf Tour to the excitement of an under the lights class with an avid audience, The Ridge’s Friday Night Lights wrapped up the week’s competition at Polo West. With a variety of classes at the .90m and 1.10m level, generous prizes and the thrill of evening competition with an audience have made Friday Night Lights a popular option for juniors, adult amateurs, and professionals.

The evening’s headline class, the $1,500 M&S/NAL/WIHS 1.10m Child/Adult Jumper Classic, was topped for the second time this season by Lisa Butzer and Evan Coluccio’s hunter derby mare turned jumper, Burlesque. “She absolutely lit up when we came to compete tonight, and I really liked the course,” said Butzer of Boca Raton, Florida. “The turns were the most challenging aspect, as you had to be fast but also careful not to put your horse off balance. We plan to come back every week to get qualifying points and because of the excellent prizes!”

And the prizes don’t just go to the highs: the leading Low .90m Child/Adult Jumper Classic rider at the end of the season will receive a pair of custom riding boots from LA Mundial. This week’s Low Classic winner, Betta Wittbeck and Serendipity, an 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare, are in their first season of showing together and have their sights on the High Children’s. “This was our first time showing under the lights and we both really enjoyed the experience,” said Wittbeck, of Pittsford, New York. “I haven’t been riding her long but she’s a darling and really took to the course tonight.”

For a full schedule of events hosted by The Ridge at Wellington, visit

Media contact:
PR and Marketing
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
+1 954 205 7992

HITS Culpeper Series Prize List Is Now Available

Join us for six weeks of USEF rated shows in the heart of Virginia’s Horse Country, as we celebrate our 21st year at HITS Commonwealth Park.

Full Prize List

Season highlights include:

  • $35,000 Open Jumper Division
  • Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur Jumper Classics at three heights each week: 1.20m, 1.30m, AND 1.40m with Prize Money of $2,500, $5,000, and $7,500
  • Devocoux and Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
    (Qualifiers for the HITS Championship in Suagerties, September 5-9)
  • Marshall & Sterling League Classes and Classics
    (Qualifiers for Marshall & Sterling League Finals in Saugerties, September 12-16)
  • USHJA Zone 3 L. M. “Sandy” Gerald Junior Equitation Championship
    (Winston National, August 15-19)

2018 HITS Culpeper Series

Commonwealth National  |  April 19-22
Showday National  |  July 6-8
Cavalier Classic  |  July 11-15
Winston National  |  August 15-19
Constitution Classic  |  August 22-26
Culpeper Finals  |  September 26-30

Visit for more.

‘Perfect Robbie’ Tops Showcase Freestyle Class as Week Seven of AGDF Wraps Up

Diane Creech on Robbie W. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — February 25, 2018 — All three podium finishers in the Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, topped 72%, but it was Canada’s Diane Creech who emerged triumphant. She scored 72.925% on Louise Leatherdale’s Robbie W on the final day of week seven of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Creech overtook the long-time leader Jennifer Baumert (USA), who was drawn first to go of the 14 starters and laid down 72.125% on Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano’s Handsome, a 13-year-old Hochadel gelding. The USA’s Melissa Taylor, last to go, pulled out all the stops on Nicole Polaski’s Special D gelding Ansgar. Their 72.275% was enough to slot snugly into second place, handing victory to Creech.

“He was so great in the freestyle; he enjoys the music so much,” said Creech, who was riding to a compilation by Karen Robinson. “Robbie has the best character — he talks in his sleep — and he thinks every human he interacts with is a nice human. He lives in his own little happy bubble because nothing bad has ever happened to him. He’s so laid-back yet so consistent and really loves his job. Grandmothers could go out hacking on him. We call him Perfect Robbie; he’s so much fun to have.”

Creech and Leatherdale found the horse at Blue Hors Stud in Denmark after seeing him on video around six years ago and flying out to try him.

“We knew right away he was the one; you sit on a horse and you just feel connected or you don’t. With him, I was totally connected. He was still very dark dappled grey and his temperament was outgoing — he’s a horse who’s been loved all his life and he believes in the goodness of people. He wakes up happy and goes to bed happy,” added Creech, 55.

The 15-year-old gelding by Rubin Royal out of a mare by Inschallah is so relaxed that even the 27-hour journey by road from Creech’s home base in Canada doesn’t faze him.

“It’s a bit of a hike, but he does not stress,” added Creech, who is hoping to contest the Pan American Games — which are a small tour contest — in Lima, Peru in 2019.

The winner of the two previous small tour classes in week seven, Heather Blitz on Praestemarkens Quatero, had to settle for seventh after an expensive mistake in the pirouette work.

Kerrigan Gluch (USA) was the best of the five entrants in the under-25 Grand Prix Freestyle, coming tantalizingly close to 70%. The 22-year-old rode Hampton Green Farm’s 14-year-old Spanish stallion Bolero CXLVIII to 69.95%.

For more information and results, visit

Von Eckermann Sets Swedish Hearts Racing, Whitaker Qualifies for Another Final in Gothenburg

Photo: Michael Whitaker with JB’s Hot Stuff. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

It was freezing cold outside but the temperature in the Scandinavium Arena was near boiling point when, for the second year in a row, Swedish superstar Henrik von Eckermann (36) and his brilliant mare, Mary Lou, galloped to victory in front of their home crowd at the last leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2017 Western European League in Gothenburg (SWE). Runner-up was Olivier Phillipaerts (24), the young Belgian whose previous visit to this Swedish city didn’t end so happily, while British veteran Michael Whitaker (57) finished third.

“When I saw the jump-off course I knew it would suit Mary Lou. You can totally trust her; you don’t need to take a pull anywhere, just let her run and use her pace and her long stride, and she was fantastic again today!” — Henrik von Eckermann SWE (1st)

From 36 starters, 11 found the key to Peter Lundstrom’s enormous first-round track, and it was the time of 41.59 seconds set by Frenchman Aldrick Cheronnet (Tanael des Bonnes) that von Eckermann was chasing when fourth to go against the clock. He blew that target right out of the water when scorching through the timers in 36.89 seconds, piling the pressure on the rest of the field. Whitaker and JB’s Hot Stuff came close when breaking the beam in 37.52 – “I thought I’d done it. She’s not big but she has a big heart and she’s fast – today she wasn’t fast enough but she always tries her best,” he said of his exciting new ride. However, the last man in would push him down to third.

Olivier Philippaerts made an early departure from last summer’s Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg when badly dislocating his shoulder in a fall from H&M Legend of Love during training. “My horses had three months off and this was probably good for my mare, but it takes time to get fit again and I was late starting in the World Cup series, so this is great!” he said when realising that this result means he is qualified for the 39th annual Final which will take place from 11 to 15 April.

Paris last hosted the series finale back in 1987, and Michael Whitaker competed there that year. “I think I’ve done about 25 Finals so it’s about time I won it!” he said. Von Eckermann also has the most coveted trophy of indoor showjumping clearly in his sights. “I finished third in Omaha (USA) last year and I don’t want to finish lower than that this time,” he said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
+41 78 750 61 46

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz Throws Down a Challenge on Lonoir in Week Seven of AGDF

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — February 24, 2018 — Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) put clear water between herself and her fellow competitors when winning the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Chesapeake Dressage Institute, in week seven of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Riding her own Lonoir, a 14-year-old Danish warmblood gelding by De Noir, she notched up 73.319%. The closest chaser was fellow American Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page, who rode Woodstock to 70.298% despite the discomfort of a fractured heel. The Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz filled third on Aquamarijn, a 13-year-old mare by United.

“I was happy, though it still wasn’t perfectly clean,” said LaGoy-Weltz, referring to a mistake at the beginning of the two-tempis, which resulted in fours and fives from the seven judges. “It’s awesome that we’re still climbing up the scores despite that. It’s all in there; it’s a question of me learning how to put it together and us finding the right recipe of power and containment. We’re at a point where I need to show; I can get the changes at home, but I need to keep riding it better in tests and he needs to understand the difference between the two tests and find his relaxation and stay on the aids.”

LaGoy-Weltz found Lonoir when he was a seven-year-old at Danish Olympian Andreas Helgstrand’s barn in Denmark when predominantly looking for sales horses with her former boss, Kathy Priest.

“We were also looking for something for me to bring on and I didn’t have a big budget,” continued LaGoy-Weltz, who now trains with Debbie McDonald and is based in Wellington for the season. “Kathy helped me buy him as he was more than I could afford. We got him home and he’s always been a kind horse, but he’s very sensitive to pressure and can get claustrophobic. He needs to chill and Andreas and I have exchanged emails laughing about how far ‘Lono’ has come when nobody really expected that; it’s wonderful.”

The rider from Virginia praised the AGDF circuit, adding: “It’s fabulous. In Europe they have the indoor circuit, and things keep going year-round. For us, this is our circuit and gives us the opportunity to keep going in week after week. And it can be a challenging arena — like Aachen or Rotterdam — it’s not just a quiet arena that we go to week after week and think we’re really going great and then go to these huge venues and get a shock. There are so many shows here and it’s a fantastic opportunity for us.”

LaGoy-Weltz hopes to make it onto the list of eight American riders who will be invited to Europe for the summer to campaign for a place on the FEI World Equestrian Games team. Her next show with Lonoir will be the CDI4*, taking place at PBIEC on March 15-18.

Canada’s Brittany Fraser added to her ribbon count with her second small tour win of the week on Jill Irving’s Soccer City in the Intermediate I CDI1*. The pair was the unanimous winners, finishing on 70.971% — the only plus-70% score in the 11-strong class.

Irving, who bought the chestnut gelding by Sir Donnerhall x Weltmeyer at the 2010 PSI Auction in Germany for a hammer price of €250,000 (around $300,000 USD), has handed the ride to her friend and compatriot while she concentrates on her two actively-competing grand prix horses, Degas 12 and Arthur.

For more information and results, visit