Category Archives: Competitions

$25,000 Puissance Competition at the Stadium Tonight

puissance004522Wellington, FL – March 19, 2010 – Seven top equestrians will go head to head in the exciting $25,000 Puissance class scheduled for the Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Friday night.

With the huge throng expected to attend the Akon concert that follows the Puissance, organizers feel that this could be one of the largest crowds to ever witness this exciting show jumping event.

The stage is already constructed at the Stadium in what is promised to be a gorgeous setting for the top show jumping action and the fabulous music scheduled for tomorrow night as part of this dynamic dual performance event.

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Gypsy Vanner Horses Take Part in Dressage under the Stars at the Players Club

Left to right: Dennis Thompson, Founder of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, Bo Lofvander, winner of the Breyer Gypsy Vanner Horse Model, Bill Ricci, owner of Esmeralda and Kuchi and President of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, and Kuchi being ridden by Dressage under the Stars host Jenna Wyatt. (Photo courtesy of Frederic Roy)
Left to right: Dennis Thompson, Founder of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, Bo Lofvander, winner of the Breyer Gypsy Vanner Horse Model, Bill Ricci, owner of Esmeralda and Kuchi and President of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, and Kuchi being ridden by Dressage under the Stars host Jenna Wyatt. (Photo courtesy of Frederic Roy)

Wellington, FL (March 18, 2010) – Each week at the Top Shelf Dressage under the Stars competition at the Player’s Club & Restaurant the dressage community is treated to world-class riders, judges and entertainment, including a recent demonstration by the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society. Esmeralda and Kuchi, two Gypsy Vanners owned by Bill and Wendy Ricci of WR Ranch in Oxford, Florida, wowed the crowd with their beauty, color and grace.

Esmeralda, who was born in England, was one of the first Gypsy Vanners imported to the United States. Esmeralda has a long list of accomplishments to her name, including being named the Number One Tandem Driving team in 2001 with her partner Jasmine. Esmeralda and Jasmine continued their winning ways last month, winning the Pair Championship at the Florida Carriage Festival.

Esmeralda, the current centerfold in the March 2010 issue of Horse Illustrated, was driven at Dressage under the Stars by owner Bill Ricci, the current President of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society. Heather Caudill, of Olympus Sport Horse, rode Kuchi, the first Gypsy Vanner born in America. Kuchi’s sire, The Gypsy King, was immortalized as the first Gypsy Vanner Horse Breyer model. Last year Kuchi, who currently competes at second level in dressage, followed in her sire’s hoof steps to become Breyer’s second Gypsy Vanner Horse model.

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Cheltenham National Hunt Festival, England

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Mild sunny weather welcomed the return of enthusiastic crowds to Prestbury Park with the promise of 4 days of top quality National Hunt racing and the pinnacle of the racing year – the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

The first day of the Cheltenham festival hit punters pockets hard with surprise results when 5 favourites failed to win. Champion jockey Tony McCoy’s joy was evident when winning the feature race, the Champion Hurdle, on Binocular. Up until last week it was unclear if the Nicky Henderson trained gelding would run because of recent injury. This French bred six year old, who finished 3rd in 2009, was always travelling sweetly and took command between the last two hurdles to win comfortably giving his popular Irish owner, J. P. McManus, his 22nd festival success.

CheltenhamP3160013But much of the festival focus remains on Friday’s eagerly anticipated Gold Cup which will see a clash for the 3rd time of super equine heroes, Kauto Star and Denman. The Paul Nicholls trained duo have captured the hearts of the nation and Kauto Star’s bid to win this three and a quarter mile chase would secure a place in the history books with former champions Arkle, Best Mate, Golden Miller and Cottage Rake.

By LYNN LAWSON    16th March ‘10

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Tina Konyot Wins Grand Prix Special Sponsored by Classic Equine Equipment and Idlewild Furnishing at 2010 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI

Tina Konyot and Calecto V won the Grand Prix Special at the 2010 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI. Classic Equine Equipment, a nationally recognized leader in quality horse stall systems and stable accessories, sponsored the class along with their South Florida distributor, Idlewild Furnishing.
Tina Konyot and Calecto V won the Grand Prix Special at the 2010 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI. Classic Equine Equipment, a nationally recognized leader in quality horse stall systems and stable accessories, sponsored the class along with their South Florida distributor, Idlewild Furnishing.

West Palm Beach, FL (March 11, 2010) – Tina Konyot proved just how special her Danish Warmblood stallion Calecto V was during the 2010 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI, riding away the winner of the Grand Prix Special. Konyot’s class was sponsored by Classic Equine Equipment, a nationally recognized leader in quality horse stall systems and stable accessories, and their South Florida distributors, Idlewild Furnishing.

“Tina and Calecto turned in a beautiful ride,” said Adam Busse, owner of Classic Equine, who along with John Grimes, owner of Idlewild Furnishing, presented Tina with a teak braiding stool for her win. “It is always great to see a friend win. I could not be happier for Tina and her successful ride. The Palm Beach Dressage Derby is a fantastic show, and Tina and Calecto certainly raised the performance bar.” Grimes added.

It was Calecto’s third time to compete in the Grand Prix Special, and the stallion, by Comeback II, earned a score of 71.958%. The winning score was the highest non-freestyle score to date for the 12-year-old stallion.

Konyot suffered a back injury prior to the Derby, but followed the old adage that the “show must go on” and competed, although in pain. Despite her bad back, Konyot was pleased with her stallion and gave much of the credit for the pair’s advancing success to trainer Lars Petersen.

Continue reading Tina Konyot Wins Grand Prix Special Sponsored by Classic Equine Equipment and Idlewild Furnishing at 2010 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI

FEI Designates Gene Mische American Invitational as WEG & European Championship Qualifier

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Tampa, FL – March 1, 2010 – Stadium Jumping, Inc., announced today the FEI, the governing body for world equestrian sports has designated this year’s $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational as a qualifying event for the World Equestrian Games 2010 and for the European Championships in 2011.

The city of Tampa, Florida, will once again play host to this event, the world’s premiere show jumping event, often dubbed the “Super Bowl of Show Jumping.” The $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational returns to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 8 p.m.

The $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational is the grand finale to the Tampa Equestrian Festival which takes place at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center from March 24th through April 10th, 2010.

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Jacksonville A to Z and Gulfport Updates

We had another great week in Jacksonville.  This week we were minus our leader, Tony Weight, the President of NFHJA, because he had shoulder surgery, but somehow we made it through.  We all wish Tony a speedy recovery. It’s hard to believe that four weeks have gone by this fast.

The Jacksonville Winter Series is quickly drawing to a close.  Four exciting weeks have flown by, but there is still another week of fun!  The Jacksonville Finale boasts yet another $25,000 Grand Prix on Saturday, Feb. 6th at 7:00 p.m.  The $10,000 Bruning Foundation Equitation Classic presented by Jerry Parks Insurance Group will be held Friday, Feb. 5th at 7:00 p.m.  Come out and cheer on your favorite horse and rider in both of these exciting events! Plans are already underway for 2011.

On Friday night the show hosted the USHJA National Hunter Classic. Megan Young won the call aboard Levaro, owned by Rachel Herman. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=10078

A Platinum Win for Aaron Vale in the $25,000 Jacksonville A-Z Grand Prix

Aaron Vale & Platinum ©Flashpoint Photography
Aaron Vale & Platinum ©Flashpoint Photography

Green Cove Springs, FL — January 30, 2010 — Tonight’s $25,000 Jacksonville A-Z Grand Prix sponsored by North Florida Hunter Jumper Association closed out Week IV of competition with one of the most successful riders in show jumping, Aaron Vale, adding another win to his illustrious career.

After a week of observation, course designer Allen Rheinheimer put all he learned about today’s starting field into a lengthy and technical 13 obstacle/6 effort test with a time allowance of 96 tight seconds. “It was a little bit on the snug side for sure,” chuckled Vale about the tick tock of the clock. A vast majority of the faults in round one occurred from battling the clock, with 3 horses retiring and 6 having time issues.  It wasn’t until the 6th in the field of 21, birthday girl Claire Lee, that the audience saw a clear round. Lee and partner High Roller posted a clean run of 91.786, which held as the only perfect ride until 3 rounds later when Vale and Platinum assured a jump off with a clean 94.083 seconds. Only one other horse and rider combo, Tony Font and Gardenio (owned by YZ Partners LLC) with a clean 93.776, would accompany them to the final round. Vale said, “This was surprising. When I walked the course I thought, wow – we had 9 clear last week, we’re going to have more clear this week. We only got 3 so sometimes you just can’t tell. Allen did a great job.” Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=10050

THE FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE – GAL AND TOTILAS ON TOP IN AMSTERDAM

Photo Caption: The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas swept to victory in the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Amsterdam this afternoon to rocket up to the top of the series leaderboard.

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Click for larger image.

Amsterdam (Ned), 23 January 2010 The Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas swept to victory in the seventh leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series in Amsterdam this afternoon to rocket up to the top of the series leaderboard.   Once again thrilling both judges and spectators alike, the dynamic Dutch duo recorded a score of 87.70% as they high-stepped their way to success with their unique sparkle and panache.  But the most remarkable thing about today’s competition was the exceptionally high level of performance throughout the entire class.  The sport of dressage has raised its game in dramatic fashion over the past 12 months, and horses and riders are meeting the challenge head-on. 

Today, Great Britain’s Laura Bechtolsheimer produced a wonderful test from Mistral Hojris to slot into second place with a score that was only just over four points behind the spectacular winners while Holland’s Imke Schellekens-Bartels and Hunter Douglas Sunrise, double-winners already this season, finished third.  The host country’s Anky Van Grunsven and Painted Black were fourth ahead of Germany’s Isabell Werth and Warum Nicht FRH in fifth, and Bartels now jointly-shares top spot on the league table with Gal.

HELD THE LEAD
It was Hans Peter Minderhoud who held the lead going into the second-half of the competition following a bright and happy test from Exquis Nadine.  The 15 year old chestnut mare executed her extended trot and passage with lady-like delicacy and precision, and her forward-moving canter was perfectly balanced by her Dutch rider’s sensitive and sympathetic hand to achieve a mark of 76.70%.

This would only be good enough for sixth place in the final analysis however, and the first to better that score was multiple champion Isabell Werth from Germany.  Quickly back in harness after the birth of her baby son Frederick last October the 40 year old rider has lost none of her competitive edge, but despite excellent pirouettes and canter-changes there was a loss of rhythm several times so the score of 79.80% from Warum Nicht might easily have been improved upon.  Next to go, and fourth-last into the arena, was Bechtolsheimer and the chestnut gelding Mistral Hojris whose confidence and character seem to have grown in leaps and bounds since claiming team silver and individual bronze for Great Britain at the Alltech FEI European Dressage Championships in Windsor last summer.  They showed exuberant half-pass, piaffe and extended trot that oozed quality while Bechtolsheimer’s ear for her musical score ensured their timing was impeccable.  Taking the lead with 82.30% on the board, they were always going to finish strongly.

THE EDGE
But Moorlands Totilas had the edge once more, although his rider has clearly learned the weight of the expectations now placed upon his able shoulders.  Every time this partnership go in the ring now they are expected to break yet another world record, which is not altogether surprising since they have done so three times over the past 12 months.  At Olympia in London just before Christmas they wowed the crowd with a breath-taking performance that achieved a spectacular score of 92.30% to finish a full 10 marks ahead of their nearest challengers, fellow-Dutch team members Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival.  Today’s test was not of the same calibre – but it was still awesome and in a class of its own.

“Totilas felt a bit tense today” Gal admitted afterwards, “but he is an amazing horse to ride and he exceeds my expectations time and time again. I want to ride better next time” he said, but added, “people have high expectations though.  When I was in Stuttgart I scored 79% and I was receiving text messages in which people were asking me –  “Oh, didn’t it go well?!” – and I would be like, well Yes, it did, but I can’t score really high every time!”.

Second-last to go was Van Grunsven who understands all too well the situation in which Gal now finds himself.  The reigning Olympic champion has won more titles than most people would ever dream of and was an almost-untouchable force in the sport for many years, but the arrival of a whole new generation of contenders has changed everything.  She demonstrated her determination to stay in the game today however with a great test from Painted Black which slotted her into fourth behind last-to-go Schellekens-Bartels who produced a lovely performance from Sunrise for third place today, and level-pegging with Gal at the top of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage leaderboard.

And with just two more qualifying legs remaining – at Neumunster (Ger) and Goteborg (Swe) next month – before the final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Ned) in March that is a good place to be…..

RESULT:  1, Moorlands Totilas (Edward Gal) Ned 87.00%; 2, Mistral Hojris (Laura Bechtolsheimer) GBR 82.30%; 3, Hunter Douglas Sunrise (Imke Schellekens-Bartels) Ned 82.05%; 4, IPS Painted Black (Anky Van Grunsven) Ned 81.20%; 5, Warum Nicht FRH (Isabell Werth) Ger 79.80%; 6, Exquis Nadine (Hans Peter Minderhoud) Ned 76.70%; 7, Watermill Scandic HBC (Patrik Kittel) Swe 75.50%; 8, Nartan (Jeannette Haazen) Ned 74.75%; 9, Apollo Van het Vijverhof (Jeroen Devroe) Bel 74.40%; 10, Ovation (Christa Laarakkers) Ned 73.55%; 11, Premier (Aat Van Essen) Ned 72.70%; 12, Krawall (Jenny Schreven) Ned 72.40%; 13, Poko Loko (Manon Van Hylckama Vlieg) Ned 69.10%; 14, Randon (Michal Rapcewicz) Pol  68.25%; 15, Wito Corleone 2 (Alexandra Bimschas) Ger 67.40%.

2009/2010 FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE – STANDINGS after Round 7 at Amsterdam (Ned) – Provisional

1,     Edward Gal, Imke Schellekens-Bartels        –    55
3.    Jeannette Haazen                        –    48
4.    Anky Van Grunsven                        –    47
5.    Adelinde Cornelissen, Monica Theodorescu        –    41
7.    Aat Van Essen                            –    38
8.    Patrik Kittel                            –    36
9.    Mathias Alexander Rath                    –    35
10.    Laura Bechtolsheimer                        –    32

Full standings at http://www.scg-nl.nl/

Continue reading THE FEI WORLD CUP™ DRESSAGE – GAL AND TOTILAS ON TOP IN AMSTERDAM

Wilhelm Genn & Samantha Schaefer Score Big Wins at Week III of Jacksonville Winter Series

Green Cove Springs, FL­­ January 22, 2010 – The third week of competition at the 2010 Jacksonville Winter Series got in full swing this afternoon with the $5000 Open Jumper Classic being won by Lebanon, Ohio’s Wilhelm Genn, as both owner and rider, piloting the brilliant mare Happy Z.

Wilhem Genn on Happy Z (click for larger image)
Wilhem Genn on Happy Z (click for larger image)

Presented by Farm House Tack, the Jumper Classic served as a prelim to Saturday evening’s featured event, the $25,000 Marco Family Foundation benefitting H.O.R.S.E. Therapies, a nonprofit therapeutic equine program to air people with special needs as well as military personnel in the Horses for Heroes and Wounded Warriors programs. This week’s course designer Buddy Brown of Stanford, CA got a good gauge of the talent on hand while the competitors learned how tough grabbing that prize money would be with only 6 clean first rounds. Genn was the only rider to bring two mounts into jump off runs, Chantal for owner Laura Ryan-Barnaclo and his own Happy Z. Despite some fierce competition the afternoon’s glory belonged to the popular chestnut Happy Z whose winning time of 33.025 simply couldn’t be caught. “She’s very much like a fine wine- better with age.” a happy Genn proclaimed.
Finishing in second place was teenage phenom Samantha Schaefer riding Sugar Ray –owned by Schaefer- to a clear time of 35.980, third place to veteran rider-owner Mary Lisa Leffler taking Gerona 92 to a clean time of 37.000, fourth place went to Wisconsin based Denise Wilson aboard the Blue Gate Farm entry Life is Life with a clean time of 40.194, and completing the top five was Indiana’s own Erin McCabe as rider-owner of Midnight Hour finishing with 4 faults in a quick 33.825.

Samantha Schaefer on Castle (click for larger image)
Samantha Schaefer on Castle (click for larger image)

As evening fell the lights of the covered arena seem to shine extra brightly for rider Samantha Schaefer as the 16 year-old received top marks in the $10,000 Jerry Parks Insurance Group Hunter Classic. The number one horse of the evening was Castle, owned by Ashley Toffolon and piloted by Schaefer with a first round score of 169.500.

In all, 22 horses competed on the course designed by Paul Jewel of Lambertville, New Jersey. The class consisted of two sections, with amateurs and juniors jumping 3’6” while professionals had an option of 3’6” or 3’9” fences depending on the horse’s level. The layout of 10 fences required strenuous efforts of both horse and rider with its bending and broken lines throughout the course.  Judges Sue Ashe, William Sparks, and Chris Wayne presided over the scoring, returning only the top 12 pairs for round 2.

Schaefer is no stranger to winning this Classic- in 2007 she won aboard Lyle, the 17-year old German Warmblood then owned by Stephanie Keen and in 2008 with Lazy Sunday, a 9 year-old Zangersheide owned by Keli Colby at the time. Schaefer has made transitioning from being one of the nations most acclaimed pony riders to a top junior rider look effortless, but will be the first to say it’s only through daily hard work that she’s stays in the upper rankings. Sixth in the order, Castle and Schaefer finished the first round strong with combined judges’ score of 168. “I was very confident coming into the class with him [Castle] because I knew he would go right around, if anything it would just interest him a little bit and maybe spark him up a little, because he’s a really quiet easy going horse.” Schaefer said of the 11 year-old Dutch Warmblood, who along with both owner Ashley Toffolon and on occasion Schaefer train with Andre Dignelli of Heritage Farm in New York. 

Regarding their round one ride Schaefer admitted, “I needed a lot of lead changes in the first class and I should have asked him in a few places to land on the correct lead, so that may have made it not quite as smooth.” Those who know Schaefer well will state she is always far more critical of her rides than any judge, as evidenced by the duo’s scores. “But in the second round he landed on every lead so it all flowed really well. He kind of glided around- real nice! He’s really good at this type of class because he’s brave and just awesome!” Schaefer added. The pair’s second round score of 177 was added to give a total score of 345. As things progressed Schaefer’s biggest competition became herself.

Corvet Z a 12 year-old Zangersheide gelding, also ridden by Schaefer and owned by Manhattan Mortgage Co., Inc. actually led the first round with a score of 169.50. “He’s just coming off of a little vacation and he was just great! In the second round I got a little excited at the last jump and he just nicked it a bit but overall he was really nice.” Schaefer said of her second place winning mount that finished with a combined total of 334.50.  “I really have to thank Don Stewart for all his help! And Kim Stewart…and Andre…it’s really a team effort and I’m the fortunate one who benefits from them all.” a beaming Schaefer said.

Schaefer has become a master of balance, both in and out of the saddle as she juggles the pressures of high school and a full competition schedule with the appearance of ease. She explained, “I attend a special school that is a self paced type, when I’m not showing I do a lot more. I’m in a classroom about 3 hours a day and some online class work. It’s scheduled for me, which is really good because I have a structure to follow that’s well organized. I work really hard late fall and early winter to get ahead and now [show season] I have two classes to finish up while I’m here.”  After the Jacksonville Winter Series the precocious Schaefer will take a week off to relax at school before heading to compete in West Palm Beach.

Official results for the $10,000 Jerry Parks Insurance Group Hunter Classic were:

1st Place- Samantha Schaefer and Castle owned by Ashley Toffolon
2nd Place- Samantha Schaefer and Corvet Z owned by Manhattan Mortgage Co., Inc
3rd Place- Shawn Casady and Eastwood owned by Kelly Tropin
4th Place- Taylor Adams and Chrystalle owned by Meridian Farms
5th Place- Taylor Adams and Rio’s Splash owned by Sarah Robin
6th Place- Gary Young and Cliché owned by Isobel Goldsmith
7th Place- Hasbrouck Donovan and Falcao owned by Donald Stewart
8th Place- Shawn Casady and Caruso owned by Bettina Richman
9th Place- Joy Janouskovec and Samaritan owned by Jennifer Munday
10th Place- Hasbrouck Donovan and Raquel owned by Ann Garnett
11th Place- Olivia Chowdry and Enchanted owned by Sage Flynn
12th Place- Mark Ferris and Promo owned by Ruth Douglas

The Jacksonville Winter Series continues through February 7th  with classes Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8AM until about 5PM except for special events on Saturday evenings at 7PM. Admission to the shows is free – parking at special weekend events is a $5 donation, which goes to support local charities. 

For more information or results on the 2010 Jacksonville Winter Series please visit http://www.classiccompany.com/ or call the show office at 904-284-1579. 

Flashpoint Media Services, based in Harrodsburg, KY, is a comprehensive public relations firm specializing in the equestrian sports. For additional information contact Robbi Meisel, 859-734 3713, robbi@flashpointmediaservices.com

Photos: Wilhelm Genn & Happy Z-Samantha Schaefer & Castle ©Flashpoint Photography

Client: The Classic Company

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Peter Pletcher and HH London Dominate the Western Hay & Suncoast Bedding First Year Green Hunters at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival

Peter Pletcher and HH London Dominate the Western Hay & Suncoast Bedding First Year Green Working Hunter Championship at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.
Peter Pletcher and HH London Dominate the Western Hay & Suncoast Bedding First Year Green Working Hunter Championship at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.

Wellington, FL – January 14, 2010 – Today the first championships of the 2010 FTI Wellington Equestrian Festival were awarded in the professional hunter divisions. The Green Working hunters, sponsored by Western Hay & Suncoast Bedding, took center stage in the Rost Arena this afternoon.

The season’s inaugural First Year Green Hunter Championship was awarded to Peter Pletcher of Magnolia, TX, with Double H Farm’s HH London. Pletcher describes HH London, a 7-year-old Dutch bred gelding by London Times and Voltaire, as “fantastic.”

Double H farm bought the bay gelding in the middle of the summer, and Pletcher sat on him for the first time in October 2009. Pletcher and the team from Double H Farm knew immediately that this would be a great match. “I tried him and I thought that he was really nice, easy, and straight forward,” Pletcher commented.  This was only the second show for HH London, and his first time competing at the 3’6″ height. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=9815