Wellington, FL – December 22, 2010 – The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) will run for 12 weeks from January 12 to April 3, and this year’s competition will offer more opportunities for show jumpers to accumulate FEI ROLEX ranking points than ever before. For riders to start their year off strongly, the only place to gain this amount of points in North America is at the FTI WEF. The FTI WEF will award more than $6 million in prize money throughout the circuit, and $3.2 million of that will be given in the open jumper classes. For the FEI level jumpers, they will compete for $2.7 million in prize money.
“Adding more FEI ROLEX ranking classes is part of our dedication to providing the best equestrian sport,” said Michael Stone, President of Equestrian Sport Productions. “The riders that compete at the FTI WEF will more chances to gain points this year at our events during the winter season than anywhere else in the continent.”
Thanks to the support of G&C Farm, owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, the FTI WEF was able to add eight new FEI ROLEX ranking classes to the schedule. There are now 27 ranking classes during the FTI WEF, and these eight new FEI ROLEX ranking classes increased over 20% from last year. “Now there will be over 10,000 points available,” Stone said.
SALZGEBER REIGNS SUPREME AS GERMANY DOMINATES by Claartje van Andel
Frankfurt (GER), 19 December 2010 – Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber and her reliable chestnut Herzruf’s Erbe won the fifth leg of the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage series in the festive surroundings of the Frankfurter Festhalle in Frankfurt today. The victory was the more remarkable as Salzgeber had not been able to practice her Freestyle in a full size arena of 20 by 60 meters before the competition. The German dressage star is in the middle of moving her training facility closer to her yard in order to have more fields surrounding her stable and training centre, so she was delighted with today’s result. German riders filled the top three places and five of the top six slots on their home turf today, Denmark’s Princess Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein preventing them from achieving a total white-wash when slotting into fourth.
“All the German team colleagues of the WEG were competing here, so I am too proud of this win!” said Salzgeber after a very well-concentrated test in which the trot-work was a particular highlight. Her “Boney M” musical score has been used before with her former dressage super-star, the great Rusty with whom Salzgeber was crowned champion at both the FEI World Cup Dressage finals in Aarhus and ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2001 and 2002. The German rider feels it is also very fitting to Herzruf’s Erbe.
EMOTIONAL MICHAEL WHITAKER WINS COVETED OLYMPIA CROWN by Louise Parkes
London GBR, 19 December 2010 – Emotion ran high as Great Britain’s Michael Whitaker celebrated his spectacular victory in today’s seventh leg of the 2010/2011 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping series at Olympia in London. The 50 year old Yorkshire-born rider was almost speechless with delight after seeing off a class field that included second-placed Irishman Billy Twomey and World No. 1 Kevin Staut from France who had to settle for third. Whitaker choked back the tears in a post-competition TV interview – “The draw had a lot to do with it,” he said modestly, but this did little justice to the skill with which he steered his 10 year old gelding home to an explosion of applause from the ecstatic home crowd.
“The best man won here today,” declared Twomey, whose former mentor, Whitaker, has watched the Irishman steadily climb up the rankings this season. “They say form is temporary, but class is permanent!” Twomey added, paying the ultimate compliment to the man who started him on his road to success.
UNDER-ESTIMATED Course designer Guilherme Jorge from Brazil admitted that he had under-estimated the quality of today’s 37-strong field. “I don’t build very often here in Europe and I know the level of the competition is very high – I should have built bigger. The jumping here has been really amazing,” he said.
THERMAL, CA (December 17, 2010) — HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce that the 2011 Desert Circuit in Thermal, California will host three qualifying events for the 2011 European Youngster Cup Jumper Series’ new Super Final, which will be held in Leipzig, Germany during the FEI World Cup Finals this coming April.
The European Youngster Cup, also known as the EY-Cup, is a series for ambitious, top young riders born after January 1, 1985 that culminates in a Finals held each December in Germany. This is the first time that riders will have the opportunity to compete at a Super Final during FEI World Cup Finals and the first time that the United States will host qualifiers for the event.
The United States Equestrian Federation has just finalized the qualifying specifications for this highly-popular international show jumping event and has selected HITS Thermal to produce one of the four qualified North American riders that will be eligible to compete at the EY-Cup Super Final.
Aiken, SC – December 17, 2010 – The Salute to Driving fundraising event that is being held in Aiken, and Windsor SC, February 19-21, 2011 will benefit this country’s High Performance Driving programs. The exciting weekend event will feature a beautiful dinner and auction on Saturday evening, multiple driving clinics with some of the world’s top trainers throughout the weekend, and a Combined Test Competition for all on Monday. In addition to supporting the USET Foundation, the Salute to Driving event is being held to help raise awareness and educate different audiences about the discipline of driving.
The fundraising dinner and auction for the Salute to Driving will be held on Saturday, February 19, at Wendy O’Brien’s Trout Walk Farm in Aiken. The affair will get underway at 6:30 p.m. with a beautifully catered dinner and full bar. Guests will have the opportunity to bid on fabulous items during the live auction. Some highlighted items include Brunch at the Green Boundary Club, two lessons with top driver Michael Freund at Sunshine State, Little Everglades or Live Oak, a dinner for eight presented by Jack Wetzel at his new log cabin, a week long vacation in a large Victorian Home on the beach in Cape May, NJ, and a Print “Patriots Barn” by Jamie Wyeth, signed and remarked by the artist. Throughout the night there will also be over 20 raffle items available including a photo shoot and dancing lessons.
Wellington, FL (December 17, 2010) – International dressage rider Tuny Page and her 17.2 hand black Danish gelding, Ice Cup, were in the holiday spirit at the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge Toys for Tots Benefit Show. Ice Cup not only won the Prix St. George class with a score of 74.605, but also rode away as the winner of the Arenus Performance and Conditioning Award.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased with Ice Cup, he was a joy to ride,” Page said. “Winning the Prix St. George class was a great way to ring in the holidays and I was also very honored that Ice Cup was selected as the Arenus Performance and Conditioning Award winner. I am a big fan of the Arenus products, including Assure digestive aids and Steadfast joint & structural health products so I will be able to use my winning gift certificate to buy more product.”
Page also rode into the winner’s circle on her mare Alina, when the duo won the Grand Prix with score of 70.532. “This was a great way to start the holiday and show season,” Page said. “And it was made even more special by the fact that the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge was a benefit show for Toys for Tots.”
Guatemala City (GUA), 17 December – Colombia’s Santiago Diaz Ortega claimed gold at the 2010 FEI World Jumping Challenge Final staged in Guatemala City, Guatemala last weekend. Kenya’s Karen Mousley took silver while the host nation’s Wylder Rodriguez took bronze.
A total of 17 riders from 11 countries – Venezuela, Kenya, Colombia, Guatemala, Bermuda, Ecuador, Chile, Republic of South Africa, Algeria, Malaysia and Indonesia – were selected to compete in this event which is open to 20 Category “A” riders from 10 regional zones.
Competitors ride borrowed horses in this Challenge which was created in 2001, and there is a “change-horse” format in the Final Four competition which decides the medals on the last day.
SAUGERTIES, NY (December 15, 2010) — HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce that long-time sponsor SmartPak, makers of simplified solutions for equine supplements and medications, has expanded its sponsorship of HITS horse shows for the 2011 season.
In addition to having on-site SmartPak Delivery Place locations at both the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California and the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit in Ocala, Florida, they will also be the title sponsor of six $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at both locations. Each $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, will be a qualifier for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix that will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson on Sunday, September 11, making the SmartPak-sponsored classes in Thermal and Ocala vital stops on the road to this year’s Pfizer Million.
“We are thrilled to be renewing our relationship with HITS for the fourth consecutive year,” said Colby Balazs, Vice President of Marketing at SmartPak Equine LLC. “At SmartPak, the core of our business is promoting smarter horse care. Whether it’s through our revolutionary supplement feeding system or our unrivaled customer service, we are always striving to find new ways to help our customers get more out of the time they spend with their horses. As riders and competitors ourselves, we know just how much work goes into supporting an equine athlete. By sponsoring HITS, we are supporting world-class horse shows where our customers can show off the fruits of their labor, and enjoy the sense of camaraderie that can only come from a true partnership with your horse.”
St. Louis, MO (December 16, 2010) – Arenus, a premier provider of innovative health and nutritional products for pets and horses, is pleased to announce they will continue to be a Presenting Sponsor of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) during 2011. Arenus was a Presenting Sponsor for the Breeders Championship for the USDF throughout 2010 as well.
“Arenus is pleased to continue as a Presenting Sponsor of the USDF Breeders Championship,” said Simone Pophal, DVM, PhD, Arenus Business Manager. “We have developed a great partnership with the USDF and look forward to a fantastic 2011.“
Throughout 2010, Arenus served as a Presenting Sponsor for the Breeders Championship Series, including a presentation at Dressage at Devon. “We saw some amazing, beautiful and talented horses and it was our pleasure to take part in the 35th Annual Dressage at Devon,” said Melissa Bennington, Arenus Sales Specialist, North East US.
During Dressage at Devon, horses from Mary Alice Malone’s Iron Spring Farm took home several Breeders Championships, including the USDF Foal Championship won by Florence; the USDF Colt Championship won by El Paso ISF; and the USDF Mare Championship won by the famous Iron Spring Farm mare Rabiola, who also won more than 10 championships while at Dressage at Devon.