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Festive Freestyles Featured on Third Day of 2017 US Dressage Finals

“I wasn’t looking for another Friesian when I got the call about Wietze, so at first I said I wasn’t interested. But then I tried him and after 10 minutes I said, ‘I have to have this horse!’”

Little did retired dance teacher Lynnette Wadsworth of Hastings, Fla. (Region 3) know that her now 18-year-old Friesian gelding Wietze G (Rypke x Wijke by Reitse) would carry her to back-to-back victories in the Grand Prix Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship division at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, being held November 9-12 in Lexington, Ky. The pair claimed the Calaveras County Perpetual Trophy (presented by Olva Stewart Pharo) in 2016, and came back to the Alltech Arena to reclaim the title with a top score of 66.417% for their classic rock-themed performance.

“He was actually quite tense today but I was able to pull him together and make a decent ride out of it. I wanted to have a good time because it’s new music for us and it was all about having fun this year,” said Hastings. “Nine years ago when I bought Wietze, he had all of the upper-level movements already on him but I was barely a Third Level rider. So I get this big horse and he can piaffe and passage but I couldn’t get basic movements out of him, so I had to rise to the occasion – he’s really taught me how to ride. We started together at Third Level and with lots of help from my trainers I’ve been able to get to his level. He’s so willing, safe, and fun – I couldn’t ask for a better dance partner.”

Finishing in reserve was Jennifer Drescher of Frederick, Md. (Region 1) riding her 16-year-old Morgan gelding Blue and White Raven (Night Hawk of Rocking M x Four-L Black Magic by Goldenaire Senator G, bred in the U.S. by Joanna Kelly) with 66.058%. “We’ve also come through the levels together and I’m so lucky to have him,” Drescher noted. “He was a superstar and so willing today and I couldn’t be happier.”

A tough field of horses and riders competed for Intermediate I Freestyle Open Championship honors, and in her first trip to the US Dressage Finals Melissa Taylor of Wellington, Fla. (Region 3) rode the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood Ansgar (Special D x Diona by Formateur) to a decisive victory with 74.058% as owner Nicole Polaski watched her gelding earn the win from New York City via livestreaming on the USEF Network. “I’d always heard great things about this show, and this year the timing worked out for us to come. I love the facility and it’s an amazing event,” Taylor explained. “When I got Ansgar, we needed to work on trusting each other in the show ring, and it really took me all season to develop that. Just now I felt like he really stepped up at Regionals, and again here at the Finals. I was super proud of him today – he’s a hot little tamale who definitely has an opinion of his own, so I was pleased that we came together in such a good way.”

Nicole Levy (Georgetown, Ky. Region 2) was also pleased with her partnership with Kate Sanders’ nine-year-old Hanoverian mare Floratina (Fidertanz x Rubina by Rubin-Royal) as they claimed reserve honors with 71.817% for their final Intermediate freestyle performance before moving up to the large tour next year. “It took a while to gain her trust and get her to want to work for me, not feel like she had to,” said Levy. “So my goal for her is to always come out and feel confident in what she does, and she was really good today.”

For Adult Amateurs in the Intermediate I Freestyle Championship, 2016 reserve champions Alexandra Krossen of Basking Ridge, N.J. (Region 8) and Heather Mason’s 11-year-old Hanoverian cross mare Damani (Duvall x Godiva by Gesandt, bred in the U.S. by Virginia Godfrey) came back to Kentucky to claim the top title with 70.842%. “She was amazing – she was very calm and collected, which isn’t always the way she is so it was a nice surprise,” Krossen noted. “She was totally with me and did everything I could have asked. She has really good flying changes, so I did my 3s on a circle and my 2s down centerline to really show them off, and our pirouettes have gotten a lot better this year as well.”

Friday’s Intermediate I Adult Amateur Champions Elma Garcia of Mill Spring, N.C. (Region 1) padded her resume even further by earning reserve in today’s freestyle with her 15-year-old Hanoverian mare Wenesa (Westernhagen x Dancing Girl by Davignon) on 68.792%. “We’re fairly new to freestyles, but I was inspired by Mongolian music at a film festival so I decided to try it for our performance,” said Garcia.

The top placings for the Fourth Level Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship could hardly have been closer as less than one-tenth of a point separated champion from reserve, but it was Susan Jones of Walton, Ky. (Region 2) who claimed the top spot with her 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding Reliance (Rohdiamant x Gesstine by Classiker) on 71.067% for their Beach Boys-themed performance. “We’ve been together almost eight years – I got him to build my confidence and learn to be the best dressage rider I could be, and he’s lived up to his name,” Jones explained. “He’s always very calm, but today six mounted police officers went by the warm-up 10 minutes before my ride, and I thought I was going to get bucked off. I went into the ring thinking it was going to be the best ride I’ve ever had or it would be a disaster. I was able to use everything I’d learned to harness that feistiness and he was awesome. Now I should thank those officers! It was the best we’ve ever done so it was a bit of a surprise in a nice way and very special.”

Lisa Rush’s 17-hour drive from Dell Rapids, S.D. (Region 4) almost ended in disaster after arriving at the Kentucky Horse Park, but she and her eight-year-old Westfalen gelding Finestep HW (Florenciano x Merana by Medici) rebounded to claim reserve championship honors with 70.989%. “After we arrived here on Wednesday, he fell in the lunging ring and hurt his stifle and I wasn’t sure we’d even be able to ride,” said Rush. “So I’m very grateful that he recovered so quickly and end up being able to be here today – he felt great! He works so hard for me and I’ve really enjoyed being with him, and we’d like to try for the Developing Prix St. Georges Championship next year.”

Adult amateurs from across the country also competed Saturday for the Second Level Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship, where Sara Stone of Lake in the Hills, Ill. (qualified in Region 2) rode her six-year-old American Warmblood gelding Gotham (Gabriel x Mystic bred in the U.S. by Indian Hills Sport Horses) to the win with 72.844%. This was the pair’s third trip to the Finals, but their first attempt at a freestyle which featured music from One Republic. “He was very relaxed – actually it was the most relaxed he’s been all weekend. He came out ready to work today,” said Stone, who works in commercial insurance when not in the saddle. “Every year he just gets better and better and I learn more and more. I was actually quite nervous, and to be sitting here as the champion is just unreal. I love this horse show, and to be fortunate enough to come back year after year is just incredible.”

Family nurse practitioner Ashley Miller of Fort Myers, Fla. (Region 3) rode her 15-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding Hickeys Creek (Afternoon Deelites x Slewadore by Seattle Slew, bred in the U.S. by Wild Ride LLC) to reserve honors with 69.833% for their Madonna-themed performance. “I like to pick music that makes people stop and want to watch, that’s easily recognizable and which people can relate to,” Miller explained. “We had some training setbacks due to Hurricane Irma and shoeing issues, but we made it to Regionals and then here to the Finals. He’s a very steady Eddie kind of guy who’s taught me so much, and he really ‘brought it’ today.”

In the Second Level Freestyle Open Championship, Hailey Guard of Huntersville, N.C. (Region 1) with her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Dalwhinney (UB 40 x Windsor CA by Warkanson, bred in the U.S. by Susen Shumaker) cruised to the unanimous win under all three judges with 74.556% for their Tchaikovsky-themed performance which Guard put together herself. “I originally wanted to use Swan Lake but it didn’t quite suit her, but then stumbled on the Nutcracker and it matched her gaits so well so that’s what I went with,” said Guard. “‘DW’ has been phenomenal this week and I couldn’t be prouder. I actually started her under saddle as a four-year-old for a client in Minnesota, but she was bred the next year and then I moved away so I didn’t see her for three years. A year ago the owner got in touch with me and said they didn’t really have a use for her anymore and asked if I wanted her because I had loved her so much, so a big thank you to her previous owner for bringing her back into my life. Since then we’ve taken our time and went back to basics for this year – I’m enjoying bringing her along and now look forward to moving up together.”

Also looking forward to great things to come is reserve champion Kristen Becker of Lemont, Ill. (qualified in Region 2) who earned 71.544% with her six-year-old Oldenburg gelding Amadeus (by Ampere bred by Tricia Veley). “Our freestyle uses Lou Bega’s ‘Mambo No. 5’, and it’s really fun and suits his personality. He’s such a great competition horse and I’m really excited about the future with him.”

Angela Jackson of Henderson, Ky. (Region 2) had her hands full juggling four rides on Saturday morning, but her hard work paid off in spades as she claimed both Champion and Reserve honors in the Third Level Freestyle Open division. As the first pair down centerline, Jackson topped the leaderboard with Jane Lineberry’s seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Femke Zarma TF (Contucci x Allure S by Rousseau, bred in the U.S. by KC Dunn) on the strength of a score of 74.100%, a mark which could not be caught for the duration of the class. Jackson’s own home-bred seven-year-old RPSI gelding Figaro H (Fantasmic x Romina H by River H) finished a close second with 72.211% for reserve honors.

“Both horses had lovely tests and I’m so proud of them. Yesterday Femke was a little distracted outside, but today she really focused and it was the best freestyle we’ve had all year, so it was great to have that kind of ride here at the Finals,” said Jackson, who interestingly also found success at this event in previous years with Femke Zarma TF’s dam, Allure S. “I’d like to say a huge thank you to breeders like KC Dunn who breed amazing horses like this right here in the U.S., as well as everyone who makes this event a reality, including Adequan, whose support helps to make all of this possible. It’s a dream for us to be here.”

In outside rings, Anna Marek (Williston, Fla., Region 3) rode Diane Morrison’s five-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Haiku (Sir Sinclair x Melvira by Gentleman) to win the First Level Open Championship with 72.843%. “I’ve ridden her since she was three and she has endless energy and loves to have all attention on her,” Marek laughed. “She’s young and sometimes it can be a little bit ‘hit or miss’ with her, but we had a great ride today. She does have a little bit of an ego, but I like that about her because she goes in the ring and tries so hard, and I think that will eventually help make her a really good upper-level horse.”

Martin Kuhn of New Berlin, Ill. (Region 4) was also pleased with Elizabeth Cronin’s six-year-old Westfalen gelding Venivici (Vitalis x Sabrina by Sherlock Holmes) as they earned 71.324% for reserve. “Venivici hasn’t had a lot of show experience, but he’s eager and wants to do a good job,” said Kuhn, who earned his second Reserve Championship title of the weekend. “He tries really hard – sometimes too hard – but I was very proud of him and as his confidence grows, I think his good qualities are really going to blossom.”

Despite frigid morning temperatures, Stephanie McNutt of Mechanicsville, Md. (Region 1) rode her five-year-old Westfalen gelding Freestyler HRH (Furst Fugger x Dolce Vita HRH by Don Bosco) straight to the winner’s circle in the First Level Adult Amateur Championship with 72.598%. “A little chilly would be an understatement, but I do have to say that brisk is good – it keeps the horses motivated,” McNutt noted. “I was super happy with him – he’s had a long season and was feeling a little unmotivated, but he really pulled it together for me today and gave me good energy, so I couldn’t ask for more than that. He’s a really good egg. I’m excited to be back for my fourth Finals – this is the pinnacle event for adult amateurs, and to make it here again is really thrilling.”

Bonnie Canter of Hocksley, Texas (Region 9) has had a great week at this year’s Finals, and a “rear-and-spin move” just before entering the arena did not deter Canter from earning reserve with her youngster Shakira 467 (five-year-old Hanoverian mare, Sporcken x Waluga by Weltmeyer) with 71.176%. “She’s definitely a hot red-head,” Canter laughed. “She’s still young so can be a bit unreliable, but once she’s in the ring she’s great and I was pleased that she kept it together today.”

Drawing the day’s first ride time of 8am, Linda Currie of Holliston, Mass. (Region 8) had to deal with some of the worst of the sub-freezing temperatures as she prepared for her championship ride. But 25 degrees did not stop her and her appropriately-named seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Frost T (San Remo x Alona by Jazz) from posting the best score of 70.000% in a huge field of 35 competitors in the Third Level Adult Amateur Championship, ahead of Bonnie Canter of Hockley, Texas (Region 9) and her Connemara/Hanoverian cross mare Fifinella GCF (Fred Astaire x South Ridge Bliss by South Ridge Duncan’s Honor, bred in the U.S. by Sharon Garner) who finished in reserve with 69.829%. “I hope someone out there appreciated the irony of my horse’s name,” she laughed. “Fortunately I live in New England so I’m used to riding in cold weather. Frost T is young but knows his job and has never let me down. Some say it was karma that I got him – I had lost my previous horse to a tragedy and found Frost T just ten days later. He had just been imported and all this weird stuff happened that just seemed meant to be. We have just clicked ever since. He’s very talented and is a cool character but he does have an electric side to him that comes out sometimes. Everything seems to come easy to him and he’s so willing, he thinks everything is fun and he hasn’t had a bad day in his life.”

With multiple titles already to her credit, Heather Mason of Lebanon, N.J. (Region 8) knows her way around victory lane at the US Dressage Finals and once again had no problem finding her way there with her 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding RTF Lincoln on a top score of 72.852% to win the Fourth Level Open Championship. “I’ve known this horse since he was born,” said Mason. “He was reserve champion at Third Level at the inaugural Finals in 2013, but the next year he hurt himself and was out of competition for two years. But now he’s back in the ring and better than ever. His amateur owner sold him to me for a dollar last year because she had to have hip replacement surgery, and she knew he wouldn’t be the right fit for her after that. But she felt like he’d be in good hands with me, and she’s even here cheering us on. It’s a great situation for everyone. This is such an exciting show to come to – we love this show and come every year, and I have a bunch of clients who also like to come. It’s challenging, but everyone gets a lot out of the experience and I look forward to bringing Lincoln back for the small tour next year.”

Mason just edged out Region 3’s Nora Batchelder (Williston, Fla.), who rode her eight-year-old Hanoverian mare Fifi MLW (Fidertanz x Wolkenstanza MLW by Wolkentanz I, bred in the U.S. by Mary Winn) to reserve with 72.593%. The pair earned a reserve championship at Third Level last year and had no trouble now succeeding at Fourth. “She was a little tight when we first started and there’s a lot to look at out there, but she loosened up well and was a really good girl in the ring. I was especially happy with our trot work,” Batchelder added.

The highlight of the evening was the Grand Prix Freestyle Open Championship and the presentation of the new Jazzman Perpetual Trophy (presented by Donna Richardson), where fan-favorite and hometown hero James Koford of Lexington, Ky. (Region 2) rode the eye-catching chestnut tobiano 10-year-old Friesian Sporthorse mare Adiah HP (by Nico, owned and bred by Sherry Koella) to a victorious score of 71.133% for the debut performance of their brand new cowboy-themed freestyle. “She’s just starting Grand Prix so I was actually feeling guilty this week thinking ‘what am I doing?’ because I wasn’t sure I had her ready,” Koford explained. “When you’re this visible and this different, you don’t want to not be ready or seem unpolished, but then I thought, ‘bring it on’.

“She has so much talent but there’s nowhere to school for these types of conditions – it doesn’t matter how much you practice at home or go to regular shows, it’s not the same,” Koford continued. “So win, lose or draw I felt like I had to expose her to this and see if she wants to go ‘bright lights, big city’. She literally heard the applause from the horse before her and charged down the tunnel to go in the ring, like ‘hang on Jim, I’ve got this’ and I said ‘game on sister, let’s go!’ I could feel that the crowd was so into it. I love riding her and she makes me laugh every day – she’s bigger than life.”

Also enjoying success in their first season at the Grand Prix level were reserve champions Nicole Harrington of Amelia, Ohio (Region 2) and Three Oaks Farm LLC’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wizard of Oz (Weltmeyer x Vadella by Landacel), earning 70.617% for their appropriately-themed Wizard of Oz freestyle. “The music just seemed to suit him to a ‘T’. He’s still a little green but it’s all coming along,” said Harrington. “He’s such a hard worker and is a character in the barn. Has only been to maybe six shows in his life and this was the biggest environment he’s been in, but he handled this atmosphere fantastically.”

Watch live online streaming on the popular USEF Network at: https://www.usef.org/network/coverage/2017usdressagefinals/. To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review day sheets and results, and read daily news releases, visit the official event website at http://www.usdressagefinals.com.

Source: Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals

US Dressage Finals Set to Begin at the Kentucky Horse Park

Photo Credit: USDF.

Lexington, Ky. – The prestigious United States Dressage Federation’s (USDF) US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan are set to begin at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park from November 9 through 12. Top dressage competitors from across the country will compete on a national stage, in an event that showcases adult amateurs and open division competitors from Training Level through Grand Prix.

More than 390 entries will represent nine of the USDF regions from 38 states, plus the District of Columbia, at the fifth annual event. Vying for 30 titles across the divisions, competitors will head down the centerline looking to earn the title of National Champion.

Additionally, riders can cheer on their fellow regional members as they compete for the Third Annual Regions Cup Team Competition. With a regional team of three athlete/horse combinations representing each USDF region, competitors can show their regional pride and compete for bragging rights as the top-scoring eligible athlete/horse combination from Training/First Level and FEI-level Regional Championship classes. The highest-scoring eligible adult amateur athlete/horse combinations from the Second through Fourth Level Regional Championship classes complete each regional team.

USEF Network will stream live coverage of the 2017 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST on Thursday, November 9.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Carl Hester to Present ‘Road to Grand Prix’ Masterclass at Olympia

Leading British Dressage rider and Olympic gold medallist, Carl Hester MBE, is set to take centre stage at Olympia, The London International Horse Show 2017, performing a special masterclass on Wednesday 13 December.

Hester, who took the title of both the FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix and Freestyle at Olympia Horse Show in 2016 aboard Olympic team gold medal winning horse, Nip Tuck, will be presenting an invaluable ‘the making of a Grand Prix horse’ masterclass at this year’s Show. The Olympian will guide spectators through the elements which make a medal-contending Dressage horse, from producing the perfect piaffe to mastering the most effective mentality.

Taking to the saddle will be Olympic Champion, Charlotte Dujardin, aboard a young prospect being given a leg up to Grand Prix level by Hester himself. The evening will provide an exclusive understanding into the transition from high-level horses to Grand Prix stars, illustrating the characteristics that make horses excel at the most elite level.

Carl Hester MBE: ‘I’m really looking forward to giving a masterclass at Olympia this year. I’ve got many fantastic memories of competing at the Show, so it will be amazing to give spectators more insight into bringing on young horses and what it takes to get a horse to Grand Prix level, from the importance of early success to natural ability, and much more.’

Hester will also be making an appearance on Tuesday 12 December, joining Charlotte Dujardin to give a medal-winning masterclass, as she showcases the training routine of an Olympic Champion aboard her 16.3h FEI World Equestrian Games™ hopeful, Mount St John Freestyle.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘We are delighted to have Carl host a masterclass at this year’s Show. He’s a crowd favourite, and has had a long-standing affiliation with Olympia, and I am sure spectators will be excited to learn from his experience.’

The seven-day equestrian spectacle, taking place from 12-18 December 2017, will host its biggest line-up of equestrian stars yet. The world-class horse and rider combinations competing across three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Carriage Driving, Dressage and Show Jumping, will be joined by ten of the greatest ever jockeys. Racing legends Frankie Dettori and Sir AP McCoy, and their respective teammates, will switch disciplines for one night only as part of the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund on Friday’s ‘Race Night’.

Adding to the phenomenal line-up will be displays from the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police with their Activity Ride, and the Chilean Huasos. The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National is returning with an incredibly competitive line-up of young jockeys following the footsteps of their well-known racing parents, including Rocco Dettori, son of renowned flat jockey, Frankie Dettori. Crowds can also expect to see the world’s most talented dogs and their handlers, as they compete in the Kennel Club Dog Agility.

For more information on Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and how to purchase tickets, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Jessica Phoenix Wins $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge at 95th Royal Horse Show

Jessica Phoenix. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, ON claimed victory in the $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge in front of a full house on November 4 at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Following the opening round of competition, riders carried their penalties forward to the all-deciding final round. Phoenix, who was sitting second behind Rachel McDonough of Toronto, ON coming into the final phase of competition, posted the fastest penalty-free time of the night to seal the win. Phoenix was aboard Abbey GS, a 16-year-old bay Canadian-bred Trakehner mare owned by Charlotte Schickedanz.

“For this event you want a horse that’s super careful because if you leave the show jumps up, you’ve got a good chance of finishing in the top three,” explained Phoenix of the key to successfully negotiating the course consisting of traditional cross-country obstacles interspersed with delicate show jumping fences. “Abbey GS is such a fantastic jumper, and she’s so brave and so bold that I couldn’t have thought of a better horse to bring tonight.

“It’s so fun to be able to demonstrate this incredible sport in front of this many spectators, which is something that we don’t often get to do,” continued Phoenix, 34, who won individual silver and team bronze medals at the 2015 Pan American Games.  “I think it’s incredibly important for our sport.”

With two fault-free performances and a two-round combined time of 198.12 seconds, Phoenix took the win over Brandon McMechan of Toronto, ON, who was the only other rider to jump clear both nights riding Oscar’s Wild.

U.S. Olympian Boyd Martin finished third in his Royal Horse Show debut, bouncing back from five penalty points on Friday night to jump clear over the course set by Mark Phillips.

“It’s unbelievable; I had no idea that the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair was this awesome!” exclaimed Martin, who was riding Kyra for owner Christine Turner. “I would have come many years before had I known. I got to experience the food, and the cows, and the pigs, and the goats. I probably spent way more money than I should have in the trade fair, and then finally got to the riding tonight.”

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

Contact: Jennifer Ward
jward@jumpmediallc.com

Anthony McCoy and Frankie Dettori Announce Their Teams to Compete at Olympia

Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy and Frankie Dettori, MBE, have announced a stellar line-up of jockeys, past and present, to take part in the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund at Olympia, The London International Horse Show (12-18 December 2017).

For the first time ever, ten of Britain’s most legendary jockeys will go head-to-head in the Olympia Grand Hall on the evening of Friday 15 December, for one of the all-time greatest jockey showdowns, as flat and jump jockeys compete on a level playing field. The competition will be part of Race Night at Olympia and will be hosted by renowned broadcaster, Clare Balding.

The most successful National Hunt jockey in history, AP McCoy, winner of 20 consecutive Championship titles and over 4,000 races, will be gunning for glory alongside his team of former racing stars. The line-up will include Richard Dunwoody, three-time Champion jockey with credits including two Grand National wins and four King George VI victories, two of which were aboard the illustrious Desert Orchid.

Eight-time Champion jockey Peter Scudamore and seven-time Champion jockey John Francome will be adding to the team’s long list of achievements, which between them includes 38 National Hunt Jockeys Championships. The final member of the team of Champions will be nine-time Irish Champion jockey, Charlie Swan, holder of the most winners ever ridden in an Irish race season, and three-time consecutive winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham aboard the great Istabraq.

AP McCoy said: ‘I rode at Olympia in 2015 and it was great fun. Last year I had to watch the flat jockeys win so I decided to come back this year with the best possible team behind me and take the crown back for the jump jockeys!’

Representing the current generation of flat racing legends, Dettori and his teammates undoubtedly have the credentials to give McCoy’s gang a run for their money as they collide in the Markel Champions Challenge. The compelling line-up will consist of Ryan Moore, three-time Champion Jockey, with a history of achievements that have led to many hailing him as one of the world’s best flat jockeys. Moore will be accompanied by Richard Hughes, who after an extremely successful career, winning three Championship Series after over 25 years in the saddle, has channelled his knowledge to become a highly successful trainer.

Richard Hughes said: ‘It’s great to be involved in Olympia Horse Show and the Markel Champions Challenge. We will certainly be looking to set the pace against McCoy and his golden oldies! The event is also in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, a fantastic cause, and a great chance to raise awareness of the incredible work they do.’

Last season’s Champion jockey Jim Crowley will be adding to the team’s prestige, with a history of jump and flat racing which started in the Shetland Pony Grand National. Crowley is sure to bring a competitive-edge. Jamie Spencer, who in August of this year rode his 2,000th winner, one of only twenty-two jockeys to have reached this landmark, will be hoping to lead his team down the home straight as the final member of Dettori’s team.

Clare Balding, MBE, who will be joining the fun as commentator in the ring, said: ‘The Markel Champions Challenge at Olympia Horse Show is going to be particularly exciting this year, with so many highly-acclaimed jockeys competing under one roof. It’ll be a very special occasion, and I am thrilled to be involved. We know they can all jump at speed but let’s see which one can do that without sending poles flying.’

The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund, will take place on Friday 15 December as part of ‘Race Night’ at Olympia, an evening of race-themed entertainment, including the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Charlotte Dujardin Returns to Olympia Horse Show to Give Medal-Winning Masterclass

Triple Olympic gold medallist, Charlotte Dujardin, will be gracing the Olympia Grand Hall once again as it is announced she will be conducting a Dressage masterclass at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

Dujardin, who retired her Olympic partner Valegro in an emotional ceremony at last year’s Show, will be treating spectators to a dynamic display on Tuesday 12 December 2017. Riding Mount St John Freestyle, part of Charlotte’s post-Valegro generation of horses making their mark on the sport, Charlotte will be demonstrating the skill and patience required to produce young horses.

Charlotte has high hopes for the eight-year-old Hanoverian mare, owned by Mount St John Stud, and is looking to step up to grand prix level next year with the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ as the target. The duo has already attained a number of titles together including the recent Future Elite Championship and the Summer British Dressage National Championship.

Mount St John Freestyle will be put through her paces as Dujardin showcases the training routine of a champion, providing invaluable tips and a wealth of knowledge to equestrian enthusiasts, who will be given a rare insight into her winning secrets.

Charlotte Dujardin CBE said: ‘I’m so excited to be taking Mount St John Freestyle to Olympia this December. I have so many great memories there, from breaking two World Records back in 2014, to Valegro’s retirement last year. The atmosphere in the Grand Hall is always electric, so it will be a great experience for her.’

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘It is wonderful to welcome Charlotte back to Olympia this year. She has an excellent history at the Show and is a fantastic ambassador for Dressage as a sport and young riders looking to follow in her footsteps.’

Charlotte’s Masterclass will take place on the evening of Tuesday 12th December, the opening day of Olympia, the London International Horse Show and the evening of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix. The Show has a stellar line-up of equestrian greats joining Charlotte on centre-stage throughout the week, with racing legends Frankie Dettori and Sir AP McCoy switching disciplines for the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund on Friday’s ‘Race Night’.

The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National will see the likes of Champion Jockey Jim Crowley and Aintree Grand National winner Leighton Aspell pass the baton to their children, with Alice Crowley and Lucy Aspell joining Frankie Dettori’s son, Rocco, in the starting line-up.

Seven days of top international sporting action including three FEI World Cup™ competitions in Dressage, Carriage Driving and Show Jumping, are expected to attract many of the world’s best horse and rider combinations. The Chilean Huasos will making their debut, and the Kennel Club Dog Agility will be joining the action, welcoming the country’s most talented dogs and their handlers.

Tickets for most performances, including Tuesday night, are still available.  Tuesday night also sees the release of tickets for the ‘Champagne Box’ offer, details of which are included on the Show’s website.  ‘Double Dressage’ tickets can also be purchased when visitors can benefit from a discount on the Tuesday night ticket if they purchase tickets for both dressage evenings.

For more information on Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and how to purchase tickets visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford, gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

British Champions Day

British Champions Day is a thoroughbred horse race meeting held at Ascot Racecourse in October each year since 2011, which acts as the end of season highlight fixture of British flat racing. It is the culmination of the British Champions Series and features the finals of the five divisions of the series, together with a valuable one-mile handicap race. It’s the richest raceday in the British calendar and the chance to see the World’s finest horses and jockeys battle it out for their slice of history.

As the culmination of the QIPCO (Qatar Investment & Projects Development Holding Company) British Champions Series, this raceday features the end-of-season championship races for Ten-furlong horses (The Champion Stakes), Milers (The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes), Sprinters (six furlongs), Long distance horses (two miles) and Fillies and Mares (one mile and four furlongs).

It was created by drawing together a number of historic races which had been features of Ascot and Newmarket’s end of season meetings for many years. These were the Diadem Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes from Ascot, and the Champion Stakes, Jockey Club Cup and Pride Stakes from Newmarket. In the new fixture, these became the finals of each of the divisions of the British Champions Series.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes retained their names and became the finals of the Mile and Middle Distance divisions, respectively. The Diadem Stakes became the British Champions Sprint, the Jockey Club Cup became the British Champions Long Distance Cup, and the Pride Stakes became the British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is open to horses aged three years or older; it is run over a distance of 1 mile (1,609 meters). The Champion Stakes is open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older; it is run over a distance of 1 mile and 2 furlongs (2,012 meters).

For exciting non-racing horse activities, the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police are set to make a fiery return to Olympia, The London International Horse Show (12-18 December, 2017).

Over in the United States, you may want to check out the article about racing Quarter Horse Iowa-bred stallion The Fiscal Cliff who romped to a three-quarter-length victory in the $330,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) for Iowa City, Iowa-based owner and breeder Tom Lepic.

Coleman and Smith Earn USEF CCI3* and CCI2* Eventing National Championship Titles

Will Coleman and Tight Lines (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

O’Hanlon Claims CCI3* Victory at Fair Hill International Three-Day Event

Fair Hill, Md. – The show jumping phase proved influential for CCI3* competitors on Sunday at the 2017 The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event, with Will Coleman and Tight Lines claiming the title of The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* Eventing National Champions. Tamra Smith and Sunsprite Syrius remained unaffected by the challenging show jumping phase to close out a start-to-finish win of the CCI2* division.

In the CCI3*, the leaderboard shuffled to put Canada’s Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High on top as the winning pair of the 2017 The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event. It was a rollercoaster weekend for O’Hanlon (Ontario, Canada), as she bounced from first to second and back on top again with Foxwood High, a 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding owned by John and Judy Rumble. Ultimately, the CCI3* win and a $15,000 prize were hers for the taking after she added three deliberate time penalties in Sunday’s show jumping to finish on a score of 44.0.

Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) and Tight Lines were crowned The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* National Eventing Champions and second overall at the 2017 The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event after a faultless show jumping round left them on their dressage score (46.3) as the highest placed American pair. As the national champion, Coleman will also receive one free, round-trip flight to Europe, for one horse from The Dutta Corp.

“He was magic yesterday on the cross-country. I was thrilled with how he ran. He made it feel like it was well within his capabilities, and today he just tried his heart out,” Coleman said of The Conair Syndicate’s 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. “I think the horse’s biggest attribute is that he just gives 100% all of the time. He’s not the simplest, but he really tries. As long as you can harness that the right way, you can do some good things. We’ll just try to reproduce it now over and over again.”

A clear round catapulted Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Christine Turner’s 10-year-old Trakehner gelding Tsetserleg to third place in the CCI3* for The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* reserve champion title. A score of 46.1 in the dressage and 1.2 time penalties on cross-country gave them a final result of 47.3.

“He’s a newer horse for me,” Martin commented on his talented partner. “He just doesn’t wow you at home, but when you get to a competition, this horse all of the sudden grows to about 17.2, he jumps as high as you want to jump, and moves like Totilas. We saw that this weekend at Fair Hill.”

Smith’s (Murrietta, Calif.) show jumping trip proved successful on Sunday as she completed a wire-to-wire win in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship with Sunsprite Warmbloods’ Sunsprite Syrius. The nine-year-old Trakehner gelding ended the weekend on his dressage score of 40.9.

“I’m thrilled. He was perfect in every phase, and I couldn’t have asked him to be better. He show jumped today like a million bucks,” Smith said proudly.

For Smith, a win like this means all the more for the horse’s owners, Pamela Duffy and Donald Trotter of Sunsprite Warmbloods. “The owners have a fairly small to medium breeding farm in southern California, and Pam [Duffy] is very diligent about breeding horses and what horses she acquires for the sport,” explained Smith.  “I’m just really happy for them. It’s been kind of a long road to get here, so I’m thrilled for them.”

Coleman and Off The Record moved nimbly around Sally Ike’s winding show jumping track to finish in second place in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship. The Off The Record Syndicate’s eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding avoided jump penalties throughout the weekend for a final result of 49.8.

“Anytime you finish a three-day event on your dressage score, I think it’s a major accomplishment,” Coleman said proudly. “This horse has done it twice this year, which I’m really proud of. There are some things we will try to improve on over the winter. He’s been consistent this year, and that’s something we can hang our hat on.”

Matthew Flynn (Reddick, Fla.) and Get Lucky, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Flynn Sporthorses, steadily climbed the leaderboard through all three phases, ending the competition in third. Only 0.4 cross-country time penalties marred their finishing result of 50.4. Get Lucky was also awarded the Best Presentation Award.

“I was really happy with him in all three phases,” said Flynn. “I was disappointed to be one second over [the time on cross-country], but such is life. For him, I’m thrilled. It’s his second two-star event and he’s been third here before, so it was nice to repeat it.”

The John H. Fritz Trophy was awarded to Sophia Click as the highest-placed Young Rider in the CCI2* division. Nina and Tim Gardner’s FE Lifestyle, a seven-year-old Warmblood gelding, earned the USEF National Young Horse Championship title for six- and seven-year-old horses. The Small But Mighty Award was given to Colleen Rutledge’s (Frederick, Md.) 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Uno for being the smallest equine to complete the CCI2*.

For further information on The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International, visit www.fairhillinternational.com.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department/Classic Communications

Minikus Ties for First Place as Riders Jump Nearly 7-Foot Wall in Central Park

Todd Minikus riding VDL Excel. (Photo courtesy of Sportfot)

New York, NY – Central Park is a common meeting place in New York City for tennis, baseball, basketball, and ice skating – but this past Thursday night, sports in Central Park rose to new heights. The U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance took center stage in the Wollman Rink, exposing city dwellers to a nail-biting equestrian show jumping competition.

The three winners – Todd Minikus, Kama Godek, and Emanuel Andrade – each could have jumped basketball player LeBron James with an inch to spare as they soared over the 6 foot, 9 inch wall.

The Puissance, a traditional crowd favorite, returned this week to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show for the second year in a row. Competition began with a brick wall obstacle set at 4 feet, 6 inches high. Horse and rider pairs took turns jumping the wall, which was raised after each round. The event was called to an end after the three longest-lasting pairs each cleared the 6 foot, 9 inch wall with apparent ease. Todd Minikus on VDL Excel, Kama Godek on De Grande, and Emanuel Andrade on Clouwni were all named victors.

Minikus, an internationally successful show jumper with a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medal and over 150 Grand Prix wins to his name, was left wishing they’d had a chance to jump even higher. “VDL Excel jumped the 6 foot, 9 inches very easily,” he said. “Six feet and 9 inches is a big enough jump, but I think if they had raised it again, he would have been able to do that easily enough. He seemed really brave and comfortable.”

Minikus and the eight-year-old horse, owned by Autumn View Farm, have had an impressive summer even before the Puissance. Last month, the pair claimed the reserve title in the $20,000 Jumper Derby at Equifest II in Wayne, Illinois. “He’s is a very scopey jumper. I just knew he would do well in the Puissance,” said Minikus. “He’s young, and just breaking into the upper level classes. He’s got a lot of talent.”

With Minikus in the saddle, there’s no doubt that VDL Excel is not finished with his time in the limelight. Minikus’s own highest jump cleared to date is 7 feet and 4 inches, and he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The Wellington, Florida based rider is next taking his talented team to compete at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, where they will jump through the month of October.

To learn more about Todd Minikus and his winning record as he jumps around the world, follow him Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

Victory for Jessica Jo Tate and Cayman V at Tryon Fall Dressage FEI CDI-W

Jessica Jo Tate and Cayman V. Photo Credit ©RichardMalmgren.

Mill Spring, NC – September 17, 2017 – Competition concluded at the Tryon Fall Dressage FEI CDI-W at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), with a win for Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Cayman V in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W presented by Adequan®. The pair bested competition in the George Morris Arena, earning a score of 65.294%.

Tate and the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Comeback II x Damgaard’s Brunetee x Lobster), owned by Joseph Tate, ended their week of competition on a high note, finishing ahead of Alexandra Duncan (CAN) and her own Vitall, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Ferro x Jarelle x Aram), who earned a 60.608% in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W presented by Adequan®.

“This was my first CDI with Cayman V,” said Tate. “I am just starting out with him in this kind of electric environment. On Friday I just didn’t have him quick enough and didn’t have him connected enough. The connection wasn’t as good as it can be, so, I went home and watched the video. Today I felt like we definitely improved that. He just tried his heart out for me today, so I was really thrilled.”

Tate, of Landrum, SC, purchased the horse with the idea of getting back into the Grand Prix CDI competition arena.

She continued, “It’s exciting that things are moving in the right direction with Cayman because he is still a beginner out here. We love coming to Tryon because it’s so close. It’s a great place to gain experience with an international feel. The facility is beautiful and well thought out, and footing is world-class. It’s one of the best horse show facilities I’ve ever been to.”

Tate also collected a victory in the FEI Intermediaire I presented by Adequan® piloting Summersby, a 2007 Hanoverian mare (Sir Donnerhall x St. Pr. Hauptsutbuch Roxanne x Rosenthau), owned by Joseph Tate, on a score of 69.548%. Second place position went to Emily Miles (USA) and Sir Sherlock, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Shari), owned by Leslie Waterman, with a score of 64.333%.

Of Summersby, Tate commented, “Summer was tired today, but I’ve just been incredibly proud of her this weekend. She’s ten this year, and she can be pretty firey and emotional. She just showed up this week and had her game face on. I was thrilled with her consistency and her quality, as well as her complete focus on me.”

Tate will head to Dressage at Devon in two weeks to compete, and then will begin to make preparations for the winter circuit at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.

Riders made their way down centerline for their FEI Para-Freestyles, the final classes of the week in the FEI CPEDI 3* presented by Adequan®, running in conjunction with the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte.

The Grade V Para-Freestyle was won by Mary Jordan (USA) on her own Rubicon 75, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Royal Hit x Edelkarin x Absinthe), with a score of 70.458%. Second place was captured by Katie Jackson (USA) aboard Royal Dancer, a 2005 Westphalian gelding owned by Kai Handt, on a 70.167%.

Top honors in the Grade IV Para-Freestyle were earned by Angela Peavy (USA) piloting Royal Dark Chocolate, a 2008 Oldenberg mare, owned by Rebecca Reno, with a score of 76.458%. Second place went to Pamela Hardin (USA) and Quarterjack, a 2005 Brandenburg gelding (Quarterman x Medea II x Rohdiamant) owned by Hardin, on a score of 72.708%. The third-place position was earned by Michele Bandinu (USA) and his own Soulman 13, a 2009 Oldenburg gelding (Swarvoski x Lovestory vii) finishing with a score of 67.042%.

The Grade III Para-Freestyle saw a win for Riley Garrett (USA) and Piston, a 2003 Canadian Warmblood owned by Garrett, on a score of 69.778%. Second place was collected by Meghan Benge (USA) and Zoey, a 2007 Welsh mare (The Key x Kurbaums Future), on a 65.667%.

The Grade II Para-Freestyle was won by Laurietta Oakleaf (USA) aboard Niekele Fan Busenitz, a 2004 Friesian stallion (Sape 381 x Wemke H x Fetse 349), with a score of 71.389%. Sharon Buffitt (CAN) and Elektra II, a 2005 Canadian Warmblood gelding (Radjah z x Nikita x Rastar) owned by Buffitt, with a score of 67.556%. Third place was captured by Jason Surnoski (CAN) aboard Bella de la Noche, receiving a score of 61.500% to finish off a strong weekend of competition.

First place in the Grade I Para-Freestyle was awarded to Margaret McIntosh (USA), aboard her own Heros, a 2004 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Hertug x Lotus x Lucky Light), scoring 71.833%. Coming in second to McIntosh was Jody Schloss (CAN) and Lieutenant Lobin, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (Lobster x Farine) with a score of 71.278%. Third place was captured by Winona Hartvikson (CAN), and Ultimo, a 2007 PRE gelding (Invasor iii x Gala xxi x Teodoro), receiving a score of 70.778%.

Angela Peavy, who represented the United States at the 2017 Paralympic Games, piloted Royal Dark Chocolate to top honors, winning the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte.

Commenting on her week and her National Champion title, Peavy said, “I’ve been very pleased with Cocoa all weekend, but was exceptionally happy with her today. We’ve been developing our Freestyle at each competition. The music excites her and today she just felt right on with me. She’s used to this amazing arena now, so we can just go and show everyone what we can do.”

Peavy continued, “Every day she gets more comfortable with the venue. It has such an international feel, and I wasn’t nervous, but I was pretty excited to ride it today. You never know how it’s going to go until you have it down pat, and we’ve only had it for a month or so. When that music started, I just felt right on.”

The USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage Reserve National Champion title went home with 2016 Paralympian Margaret McIntosh, aboard her own Heros, a 2004 Danish Warmblood mare (Blue Hors Hertug x Lotus x Lucky Light).

“I didn’t know what to expect here today,” said McIntosh. “I bought Heros in June and rode her for a little while in England. She was imported at the end of July and was in quarantine for three weeks. I really was not sure what to expect, but Heros improved with every test. She’s been a model of exemplary behavior. The freestyle is old. I didn’t have time to make a new one with her. It felt like putting on an old shoe and Heros just fit right into it,” she concluded.

The third-place winner of the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships sponsored by Deloitte was Laurietta Oakleaf piloting Niekele Fan Busenitz. “This arena and facility is amazing. We’ve had a solid week of competition and we progressed every day. He was pretty spot on. We have a couple things to work on, but I’m really happy with him,” said Oakleaf.

For a full list of results and to learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.