Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

BioStar US Sponsored Quadrille Team to Perform Exhibition at Challenge of the Americas

Tigger Montague coaching Lisa Lewis and Allison Kavey of the BioStar US Quadrille Team.

Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 20, 2020 – BioStar US, maker of top quality whole food supplements for horses and dogs, is excited to announce its very own Quadrille Team set to compete in this year’s Challenge of the Americas (COTA) in Wellington, Florida. For 16 years, Challenge of the Americas has been bringing the equestrian community together to fight against breast cancer in one fun, competitive event and gala to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Play for P.I.N.K.

“BioStar believes in supporting causes and organizations who seek to unite us, not divide us,” said Tigger Montague, founder of BioStar US. “The Challenge of the Americas is important both for its mission of funding breast cancer research and also for its ability to bring all of us in the equine community together.”

The renowned event features a musical Grand Prix Quadrille Dressage Team Challenge with the teams vying for the judges’ top marks of their choreographed routine. This year, BioStar’s team coached by Montague includes riders Lauren Chumley, Becky Cowden, Lisa Lewis, Sarah Schmitt, and BioStar sponsored riders Allison Kavey, Jim Koford (technical advisor and rider), and reserve rider Liz Austin. The team will dance to a musical routine, choreographed by Montague, in coordinating costumes to compete for the top honors of the night, bringing awareness and support to the event’s beneficiaries. The team’s practices are now underway as they prepare for the event, hoping to claim the first place prize for the second year in a row.

Set to take place Friday, March 6, at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, the Challenge will also host a gala immediately following the evening’s competition that will include a gourmet dinner and an awards presentation for the top teams. Carrying on the festivities long after the show is complete, the gala will give guests, riders, and judges the opportunity to mingle and raise more funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Play for P.I.N.K.

Be sure to secure your tickets to the season’s most exciting charitable event and support Team BioStar US in the Quadrille competition.

To learn more about the 2020 Challenge of the Americas, please click here.

Lynch Books Las Vegas Ticket with Brilliant Win in Leipzig

Denis Lynch with GC Chopin’s Bushi. (FEI/Thomas Reiner)

Ireland’s Denis Lynch firmly secured his spot at the 2020 Longines Final when storming to victory with GC Chopin’s Bushi in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier in Leipzig, Germany where home-side superstars Christian Ahlmann and Marcus Ehning finished second and third.

Already lying tenth after solid recent results, his win lifts the Irishman to fourth on the League table from which the top 18 will earn a spot at the Final in Las Vegas, USA next April.

There were 17 German contenders in the starting field of 40, and seven of them made the cut into the 16-horse jump-off against the clock including 2011 series champion, Christian Ahlmann. For the last two years Ahlmann was unbeatable at the Leipzig leg, and when he took the lead with a superb run from his sensational young stallion Dominator 2000 Z in 33.77 seconds it seemed he was about to make it three in a row.

But course designer, Frank Rothenberger, had given them a tempting but testing short-cut option on his jump-off track and Ahlmann didn’t take it. Second to go, Sweden’s Douglas Lindelow and Casquo Blue did when turning inside the Longines oxer to get to the double, now the third fence on the course, only to hit the bogey penultimate oxer for four faults. Just three more would try the shorter route and Lynch was next, making it look very smooth and easy as he cruised into the lead in 33.16 seconds when ninth to go.

Switzerland’s Bryan Balsiger, winner of the opening WEL leg in Oslo (NOR) in October, also took his chance when third-last into the ring, but his mare, Twenty-two Des Biches, stopped at the first element of the double. And it was tough luck for Britain’s Robert Whitaker and Catwalk, winners at the second leg in Helsinki (FIN), when they took all the risks in the quickest time of 32.01 seconds only to leave the second-last on the floor to finish ninth.

Lynch was really pleased with his win, and with GC Chopin’s Bushi which he has been competing since last summer.

“I bought him untried, on the recommendation of Bertram Allen, and we’ve had our ups and downs. He’s thrown the toys out of the pram a few times on me, but we changed a few things and he was very good at La Coruna last month and in Basel last weekend. It’s incredible to bring him here and win. We needed to improve our relationship and to learn to trust each other more, and we did that today so I’m delighted!” — Denis Lynch (IRL)

Runner-up Ahlmann was also very happy with the eye-catching 10-year-old Dominator whose raw power drew gasps from the crowd in both rounds. “He was amazing! I didn’t take the inside turn to the double because he isn’t experienced enough yet and you had to do it today to win, but he is really developing and will be one to watch in the future. He was breeding a lot when he was young and that’s why he didn’t jump so much as a young horse. It’s too early to talk about the Olympics but we will see,” he said.

Lynch is thinking ahead to the Longines 2020 Final. “It’s always been on my agenda, I’ve been campaigning for a place at the Final since last year so I’m really looking forward to it now,” he said. And he believes the Thomas & Mack arena in Las Vegas will suit GC Chopin’s Bushi, so the gelding may well be his chosen ride.

“He likes to go like a big pony. I realise now that if I leave him in his rhythm he can jump anything. Today when I was walking the course for the first round, I walked that jump-off turn-back and I thought it was definitely on. And he did it easily.” — Denis Lynch (IRL)

There are now just three Western European League legs remaining, at Amsterdam (NED) next weekend where the Irishman also plans to compete, at Bordeaux (FRA) the following weekend and in Gothenburg (SWE) at the end of February following which the top-18 qualifying spot will be decided.

Watch highlights here.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Adequan U.S. Para-Dressage Team Dominates at Paralympic Qualifier in Florida

Roxanne Trunnell, Grade I, and Dolton. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Wellington, FL – January 15, 2020 – Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team rode into the new decade dominating the 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1*. This first show of the Paralympic calendar year took place January 8-11, in Wellington, Florida, at the beautiful grounds of the Global Dressage Festival. The Adequan® U.S. Para-Dressage Team, led by chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, included David Botana (Portland, Maine), Grade I, and Lord Locksley, a 19-year-old Trakehner stallion owned by Margaret Stevens and Susanne Hamilton; Rebecca Hart (Loxahatchee, Fla.), Grade III, and El Corona Texel, Rowan O’Riley’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding; Kate Shoemaker (Wellington, Fla.), Grade IV, and Solitaer 40, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Kate Shoemaker, Craig Shoemaker, and Deena Shoemaker; and Roxanne Trunnell (Wellington, Fla.), Grade I, and Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Flintwoode Farms LLC and Karin Flint. Equestrians rode over three days for both team and individual accolades. Champion of the CPEDI3* was USA rider Roxanne Trunnell and Dolton scoring an average of 81.871. Reserve Champion was Marie Vonderheyden and London Swing. This was the first look of the year with only seven months before the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. The 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and CPEDI1* was not only the place for each duo to finesse their tests in this Paralympic qualifier but it was also where riders with new horses like Beatrice DeLavalette and Ellie Brimmer were able to get into the international ring in front of top judges.

Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline was excited for the U.S. riders. He noted, “Our riders have risen above all expectations showing great dedication and competence while maintaining U.S. Para Dressage in top FEI ranking position with a team average of 75.55%, our highest to date. Roxanne Trunnell’s progression seems unstoppable and Karin Flint’s Dolton is moving into FEI world number one position on the current ranking list with record breaking U.S. scores. Also very exciting is the broadening of our athlete base getting high scores in the 70% range. We have a great team of riders, owners and support staff working in strong unity; their endeavor continues.”

President of the USPEA Hope Hand added, “The weather was challenging due to gale force winds that seem to grace us in January every year, but the skies were clear and the temperature was just about perfect. The first show of the season is always exciting to see all the new combinations. It was also fun watching our WEG medalists who draw a crowd with their celebrity status setting the stage for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. We were confident in our team to do well but still on edge since every competition going forward is an important Paralympic qualifier. Over the last year, the Elite riders ramped up their fitness and riding programs to prepare for the January early start. Hard work does pay off big time. Roxanne Trunnell stole the limelight with her personal best scores each day exceeding 80% pushing her to the top of the World Individual Ranking List. She certainly rocked it and raised the bar for the other riders. Canada and Mexico followed the lead and also performed well, earning individual first places. The 2020 race to Tokyo undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the greatest athletic contests of strength and determination.”

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610) 356-6481.

Fuqua Wows at WEF 1

Fuqua and Cornell 22 (Photo by Elegant Equus Photography)

Pony Champion, Big Eq, Juniors, and a Newly Arrived ‘Dream Girl’

Wellington, FL (January 14, 2020) – Starting off Winter Equestrian Festival Week 1 with a bang is the goal of every rider who descends on the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center show grounds. Tri-colored ribbons in the first week set the tone for a season of success, and Kat Fuqua jumped at every opportunity to ride into the spotlight. From the Juniors to the equitation, ponies to dressage, Fuqua is primely positioned for a banner year at WEF 2020.

Bringing her skills in the pony ring back to Palm Beach, Fuqua claimed Large and Medium Pony Championships, including the highest score she’s ever received. In the Larges Fuqua rode Upside, a pony owned by Rivers Edge and trained by Scott Stewart, to victory in 3 over fences classes and a tri-color in the Large Pony Classic. Under the tutelage of her trainer, Jimmy Torano of JET Show Stables, Fuqua and Upside were awarded a 90 and an 86 for a total of 176 in the Classic. While she was once before awarded a 90 aboard her own highly decorated Large Pony Prince, repeating such an impressive score was one of the week’s highlights.

In the Mediums, Fuqua rode another Champion catch ride for Nashville’s Alexa Karet, taking her pony mare Galianna to two firsts Over Fences and first Under Saddle. Galianna is trained by Tom Wright and Mitchell Robinson.

Fuqua changed rein from Ponies to Junior Hunters and Equitation, again riding for a prestigious name in the hunter ring. Riding I Love Lucy, a mare owned by John & Stephanie Ingram and trained by Tom Wright, she finished 3rd in the 3’3″ Under 15 Juniors. With her own Cornell 22, Fuqua began her official 2020 career in the Big Equitation with top finishes under the guidance of trainer Jimmy Torano.

Fuqua and Dream Girl (Photo by Sara Hellner)

While the Ponies, Hunters, and Equitation have been Fuqua’s forte for most of her life, her roots stem from a decidedly dressage family. Her home base of Collecting Gaits Farm recently welcomed a new FEI level dressage mare to their barn, the aptly named Dream Girl. A bay mare shown through the Intermediaire I in Holland, Dream Girl arrived in Miami in the first few days of 2020. Under the guidance of dressage trainer (and Dream Girl’s scout) Jason Canton, Fuqua has already ridden the bay a few times in quarantine with the goal of competing and qualifying in the Junior/Young Rider divisions down the road.

“This was an amazing WEF 1 and I’m really excited for everything happening this year,” said Fuqua. “Riding Upside to a 90 was definitely a highlight, as that is the highest score I’ve ever received at WEF in a pony class. I also was really lucky to be able to ride Tori [Colvin’s] International Hunter Derby horse I Love Lucy in the 3’3″ Juniors to an 84 and third in the class. Dream Girl is a whole different style of riding, but one I’ve grown up around and am excited to develop a relationship with her.”

Kat Fuqua’s passion for horses is reflected not only in her highly decorated Pony Hunter, Equitation, and Junior Hunter rider results, but also in the joy and dedication she shows each time she swings into the saddle. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia and under the guidance of trainer Jimmy Torano, every aspect of Fuqua’s riding, training, and show career reflects a unique ardor for equines and horse sport. She balances her equestrian lifestyle with attendance as a full time 6th grade student at Holy Innocence Episcopal School and takes pride in developing alongside her horses. In addition to riding, Kat enjoys spending time with her school friends and her favorite subject is French.

For more information, visit www.KatFuqua.com.

Super Steve Guerdat Posts Swiss Victory at Basel

Steve Guerdat with Victorio des Frotards. (FEI/Richard Juillart)

In the 90th World Cup competition of his spectacular career, three-time series champion Steve Guerdat galloped to victory with Victorio des Frotards in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier on home ground at Basel in Switzerland.

Despite a tough first-round test from ace German course designer Frank Rothenberger, this tenth leg of the league saw 15 of the 40 starters make the cut into the jump-off so it was never going to be an easy one to win. But the man who claimed individual Olympic gold in 2012 and his third World Cup title in Gothenburg (SWE) last season left the rest in his wake, with Frenchman Julien Epaillard coming closest for runner-up spot with Queeletta ahead of Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Apart in third.

This success meant a lot to Guerdat who, as 2020 began, slipped just one place from the No 1 spot he held in the world rankings throughout 2019. He was clearly delighted as he kissed his French fiancée Fanny Skalli and their French bulldog, Crapule, with equal enthusiasm when he saw the result go up on the scoreboard.

“It’s special for a whole combination of reasons – a win close to home at a show that has never been good for me before. I never won or placed in the main classes here, so I wasn’t expecting much, but on Friday we had an amazing win in the Grand Prix. I wasn’t sure about running Victorio again today, but he was really fresh, so to end up winning makes it super and he was brilliant in the jump-off!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

The St. Jakobshalle Stadium was packed to capacity as the action got underway with nine flying the home flag. Just three of them qualified for the second-round decider including Jane Richard-Philips who led the way against the clock with just a single mistake when taking a brick out of the wall, now first on the track, with her game 12-year-old Clipper du Haut du Roy.

Third to go, Ireland’s Mark McAuley and Vivaldi du Theil posted the first clear in 33.52 seconds only to be overtaken by Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher and Prinz who stopped the clock on 33.30. Kevin Staut, one of four French contenders in the closing stages, was hampered by a jink from Viking d’La Rousserie coming down to the opening wall but matched McAuley’s time. However, Guerdat, eighth to go, blew the whole class wide open when going into the lead in 31.44 seconds despite tapping a few poles along the way.

Ireland’s Denis Lynch, who officially retired the great All Star V on Thursday, produced a lovely smooth round from GC Chopin’s Bushi with which he had claimed runner-up spot in Friday’s Longines Grand Prix. But their time of 33.27 seconds was immediately bettered by Germany’s Marcus Ehning who slotted into second place with Cornado NRW when crossing the line in 32.90.

It was still far from over as French rider Julien Epaillard ousted Ehning when breaking the beam with Queeletta in 31.94 with three really strong partnerships still left to go. Great Britain’s Scott Brash, winner of the Verona (ITA) leg in November, set off with his trademark determination but his angled turn to the vertical that was third on the track this time out came up all wrong, and Hello Senator put down in front of the fence for an uncharacteristic refusal. Second-last was Pieter Devos with the super-fast Apart, but their time of 32.41 would only prove good enough for third while, last in, Belgian compatriot Niels Bruynseels and Delux van T & L left one on the floor. Guerdat had it in the bag and was really pleased with his winning ride.

“I bought Victorio with two friends last year in May/June and we took a while to get to know each other but I always believed he had something more to give. He won a lot at 2 and 3-Star level but we’ve had our ups and downs and at one stage I wondered if he would go all the way. However, he was good in Stuttgart (in November) and he really started to give me a super feeling after that over the winter, so when my best horses went for a break I asked him to step up and we got more confidence together.”

The feisty Victorio doesn’t look like the easiest ride but, being a true horseman, Guerdat is allowing the gelding the freedom to be what he is, rather than what he might like him to be.

“He used to be like this when winning in France. I thought I could make him smoother but it didn’t work out, so I realised I needed to trust him more and let him do it his way, then he’s happy!” pointed out the Swiss star who now has another string to his bow when deciding which of his top rides he will take as he chases down his fourth title at the Longines 2020 Final in a few months’ time.

“Venard (de Cerisy) would normally be my first choice but now this horse is another option,” he said.

Just four Western European League qualifiers are left to go, the next taking place in Leipzig (GER) next Sunday, 19 January.

Watch highlights here: https://youtu.be/jF85cTFjp7s.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Steffen Peters Aces the Grand Prix Special in Week One of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2020 – USA Olympic team medallist Steffen Peters stamped his authority on the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by MTICA Farm, in the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Peters and Four Winds Farm’s 18.2hh gelding Suppenkasper pulled off a fault-free performance and were rewarded with 76.149% — including a high score of 78.404% from the Colombian judge at H, Cesar Torrente. This is the horse’s first visit to AGDF and he and Peters will remain in Wellington until the CDI5* show in week seven (February 19-23).

California-based 55-year-old Peters said: “That was really fun. He has endless energy; he’s a dream. If any rider would get on this horse they would say that this is the ultimate feeling.”

Peters attributed his almost 6% improvement from the Grand Prix to an altered warm-up routine for the big-framed but light-footed Spielberg x Krack C 12-year-old: “He’s such a firecracker, like he was in the grand prix. My dream is always to keep the feeling from the warm-up into the ring, and that worked out perfectly today.

“I walked him this morning and then I worked him for half an hour at lunch time, then I put him away and let him completely settle down, then I did another 20 minutes before the test. That’s what I used to do with Legolas and maybe this might be the new recipe for ‘Mopsie’.”

Peters has the World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas in mid-April and the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in July in his crosshairs.

“Mopsie is sometimes a bit tricky in the arena, and we still have a huge hurdle to go with the freestyle, as it’s quite a different atmosphere and it’s still a bit about desensitizing, but hopefully with one more good freestyle score, we will head to Vegas,” added Peters, who picked up nines for the extended canter, pirouettes and for his riding.

“Since Tryon, where he got extremely excited, he’s been getting better and better. I’m one of those extremely lucky guys who gets to ride a horse like that and I think there’s an 80% in there; so many times we’ve been close, but I rate him as my big hero, as my best friend. He’s one of those horses that can easily make you shed happy tears.”

Of the 15 starters, it was Great Britain’s Susan Pape who was once again the bridesmaid. She rode Harmony Sporthorses’ 11-year-old Zenon stallion Harmony’s Eclectisch to second place with a shade under 70% after mistakes in the one-time changes pulled their score down. The USA’s Anna Marek filled third with the charming bay mare Dee Clair. Diane Morrison’s 12-year-old Sir Sinclair daughter scored 68.851%.

Having finished second in the week’s earlier Prix St Georges CDI1*, Swedish rider Carline Darcourt went one better, riding Bon Coeur 1389 to a 71.882% victory in the competitive Intermediate I CDI1* class.

The sporty black eight-year-old is a well-known breeding stallion in Europe, having already produced more than a dozen licensed sons. He is owned by Lövsta Stuteri who also own his sire, Benetton Dream. This is his first ever international show. The previous day’s winners, Susan Pape (GBR) and Bourani, had to settle for third place, with home rider Katie Johnson riding Paxton finishing second. All three scored over 70%.

Canada’s Ariana Chia once again topped the leaderboard at small tour, winning the Intermediate I CDI3* on Fiderflame with 69.5%. This marks their second win of the week, and Chia will be bidding to make it three out of three when she contests Sunday’s Intermediate I CDI3* freestyle class with the 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz.

In the FEI para classes, Roxanne Trunnell (USA) held her lead in the Grade I after scoring a career-high of 83.167%. Trunnell piloted Flintwood Farm LLC’s Dolton, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone I, to the overall champion award.

“It feels really good; we’re training a lot at home and it’s all coming together,” Trunnell commented, adding that it was Dolton’s first time competing under lights, resulting in a touch of tension.

Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) dominated the Grade II para division after receiving her highest score of the week. She earned 73.667% aboard Nicolas De Lavalette’s Duna, while Jason Surnoski (CAN) came a close second with 72% aboard his own Phoenix.

The Grade III para division saw Rebecca Hart top the leaderboard after scoring an impressive 72.644% on Rowan O’Riley’s Fortune 500, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

“It was really a good experience and I had a nice easy start to the season. The next qualifier is in week three, so we’re hoping to up our scores and represent really well,” concluded Hart, who has her eyes set on Tokyo 2020.

Lee Garrod of Canada improved her score again, scoring a 71.833% in the freestyle to win the Grade V para division on Question, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Quaterback.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Jill Irving Records Personal Best in First Freestyle of AGDF

Jill Irving (CAN) and Degas 12.

Wellington, FL – January 10, 2020 – Day two of the opening week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) heralded the first Friday night under lights of this competitive season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

The result in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Lövsta, was an exact repeat of the previous day’s results, with three Canadian ladies, all trained by Ashley Holzer, filling the podium. They were led by Jill Irving on her own long-time partner, the De Niro gelding Degas 12, who scored 76.06% — a personal best score. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu rode All In to second place (75.74%), while 23-year-old Naima Moreira Laliberte filled third with 75.645% on Statesman.

“Degas is 18 this year so I’m thrilled with his energy,” said Irving, who rode to a Beatles compilation. “His piaffe and passage felt great. He’s really flexible and, with age, he’s become less nervous, which used to be an issue. I was super thrilled with him and it’s really fun to be part of all this at Global. It takes a village to make this sport roll.”

Fraser-Beaulieu, who is back riding after the birth of her first child in the summer of 2019, said: “This is my second competition back and he’s the type of horse that needs to be in the ring a fair amount, so yesterday in the Grand Prix I felt he was a little sticky and unsure. Today he came out ready to rock. The beginning of my test felt incredible — the best feeling I’ve ever had on him. Then I had a mistake in my ones, which was a pity.”

Laliberte was riding in her first Friday Night Stars class, a long-held dream of hers. She said: “I’m really happy to finally be competing here. I thought Statesman did a great job in there; it’s a different atmosphere and apart from one rider mistake, the rest felt quite amazing. We’re still newcomers; I’m happy to break the ice.”

This is her third season with the 13-year-old Sandro Hit gelding, and only their seventh grand prix competition together. They were part of the gold medal winning Canadian team at the Pan American Games in July 2019 and this was their first show since then.

Judge Bill Warren was impressed with what he saw: “To sit at Global at C and see the quality of horses and riding was just thrilling. I’ve judged Jill and Brittany many times over the years and I’ve seen the relationships develop with their horses, and it’s been really gratifying to see where they’ve come from and where they are now.”

The 2020 season’s first small tour class, the FEI Prix St Georges CDI3* presented by Triple Crown Nutrition, went the way of the Canadians, with Ariana Chia returning to Wellington with Fiderflame for the second year running and winning their first class of the show. The 10-year-old gelding by Fidertanz was the only one to break the 70% watermark, scoring 71.47%. This is Chia’s fourth year in a row competing at AGDF.

In the FEI Prix St Georges CDI1* class, all three top finishers of the nine starters scored over 71%, with the winner’s sash going to Great Britain’s Susan Pape and Harmony Sporthorses’ Bourani. The nine-year-old gelding by Belissimo M had not competed internationally in a year, and this was his first ever plus-70% score. Hot on his heels was Lövsta Stuteri’s breeding stallion Bon Coeur 1389. The eight-year-old by Benetton Dream FRH was ridden to 72.529% by Sweden’s Caroline Darcourt. Katie Johnson (USA) and Paxton rounded out the top three.

In the para equestrian division, Grade II rider Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) topped the leaderboard with 68.398% riding Sky High 15 in the individual test and then pulled off a 71.569% victory riding her other horse, Duna, in the championship test. This followed a disappointing performance the previous day when she finished third on Duna with 68.2%.

“Today my coach Shayna Simon really told me to push her, to keep her upright — and she was right,” said the 21-year-old of her own 12-year-old KWPN mare by Vivaldi. “I worked very hard during the test to make sure that she wasn’t too far down and that she was active. It was hard, but definitely worth it.”

De Lavalette was the most critically injured survivor of the Brussels Airport terrorist bombing in March 2016. She suffered partial paralysis and lost both her lower legs, making the accuracy with which she rides particularly impressive.

“I was very proud of my eight-meter circles today, because those are hard. Overall, it was a very good test, so I am happy,” added De Lavalette, who has only been riding Duna since July, having bought her from Judy De Winter in the Netherlands. Previously, she had been competing a PRE, so switching to a warmblood was a major change.

“When we first started with Duna it was a completely new, different horse. I had never had a warmblood before, so we were able to explore those new sensations and paces,” she concluded.

At Grade I, home rider Roxanne Trunnell continued her sizzling form on Dolton, scoring 81.964% to lead the class by a clear 10% over the budding talent of David Botana and the grand prix-trained stallion Lord Locksley. She has, this week, become one of very few riders worldwide to achieve scores of over 80% in a non-freestyle class, where the scores are typically higher.

Kate Shoemaker (Solitaer 40) once again posted an impressive score in the Grade IV division. The USA rider scored 74.634%, picking up two eights for her riding of the consistent 13-year-old black stallion by Sandro Hit. Grade V rider Lee Garrod (CAN) improved on her previous day’s score, landing a win with Question, a 12-year-old gelding by Quaterback, with 69.087%.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Canadians Dominate on Opening Day of 2020 Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Jill Irving (CAN) and Degas.

Wellington, FL – January 9, 2020 – The 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) opened the winter season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, with Canadian riders filling all three podium places in the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Lövsta.

The 15-strong class was won by last-to-go Jill Irving on her own Degas 12 and was the qualifier for the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, which takes place under the lights on Friday evening.

“I was really thrilled with him,” enthused Irving, who is based between New Brunswick in Canada and Wellington, Florida. “He’s going to be 18 this year and I’m going to be 57, so we’re both having to take good care of ourselves for the future. I’ve had him since he was six and this cooler weather was really his cup of tea.”

The De Niro son’s test was well balanced and unhurried, with just a single mistake in the two-time changes. Irving and her teammates have their sights firmly set on the Tokyo Olympics this summer, and this marked a good start in her and Degas 12’s campaign. This win comes off the back of Canada’s team gold at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru in July of 2019 and this was the duo’s first competitive outing since then.

“It’s my childhood dream to go to the Olympics — for every athlete they’re the dream. I feel really prepared for this journey, but Canada needs to take the best horse/rider combinations and I hope that’s me, but if it’s not, we take the best,” said Irving, who has a second horse, Arthur, at international grand prix level.

She also praised the AGDF for elevating the status of competitive dressage in the US: “The AGDF is amazing and I’ve been coming here since 1992; it’s less stressful than a European tour where you’re always moving to different venues, with paperwork and travel,” she explained. “But here, the Friday night under the lights shows prepared me for Aachen. I thought, it’s just like Global, but bigger.

“Dressage horses need this show in North America. The footing is great and we’re a family here; I can come and invite people to watch and it’s a world class facility. It gives us the opportunity to compete against people like Steffen Peters and Laura Graves — all the big guns — without having to go to Europe. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Global. It’s put dressage on the map for the United States. When I’m an old lady and I can’t ride a horse, maybe I can own one and still come.”

The top three finishers in the class — Irving, Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, and the up-and-coming 23-year-old Naima Moreira Laliberte — all train with Ashley Holzer, with whom Jill is based at Wellington.

For Fraser-Beaulieu, this was her second show back with her long-time partner All In since having a baby in the summer of 2019. She and the large-framed 15-year-old chestnut gelding by Tango scored a little under 70%, with Moreira Laliberte and the elegant Sandro Hit son Statesman less than 1% adrift.

There were 19 starters in the day’s other grand prix class, the CDI3* Grand Prix presented by MTICA Farm, which is a qualifier for Saturday afternoon’s CDI3* Grand Prix Special. The California-based 55-year-old Steffen Peters, the penultimate rider, overtook the long-time leader, Great Britain’s Susan Pape, to claim the class with 70.826%.

Under Peters, Akiko Yamazaki’s 12-year-old gelding by Spielberg out of a Krack C dam showed brilliance peppered with patches of over-exuberance, resulting in a wide range of marks from the five-strong panel of judges. This was Peters and Suppenkasper’s first show since competing at Aachen in Germany in July of 2019.

Susan Pape finished second with 70.435% on Harmony’s Eclectisch, an 11-year-old black stallion by Zenon, who was stepping up to grand prix internationally for the first time. Germany’s Michael Klimke was third on another Harmony Sporthorses-owned ride, scoring 70.109% with Harmony’s Royal Dancer, a 14-year-old by Royal Blend.

In the morning’s para equestrian classes, Grade 1 rider Roxanne Trunnell convincingly won her classification, riding Karin Flint’s Danone I son Dolton, to an 81.131% victory — a winning margin of almost 6%.

“I was extremely proud of how Dolton handled the windy weather today,” said Trunnell of the eight-year-old gelding who posted a personal best score in this class. “He has been really eager to go these past few days so it’s been nice not having to remind him to keep marching, but at the same time I’m having to sit relaxed enough so as not to make him look like he’s rushing. It’s a really fine line.

“Dolton has taken it upon himself to make sure I’m safe on his back, so I think the windy weather really made him tune in and listen to what I was asking,” added Trunnell, who is competing in Wellington for her fifth consecutive year.

Kate Shoemaker rode Solitaer 40 to a 71.667% win in the Grade IV test, while Beatrice De Lavalette piloted Sky High 15 to a 70.435% victory at Grade II. The Grade III was also won on over 70%, with the USA’s Rebecca Hart and Fortune 500 (70.049%) beating Canadian Olympian Lauren Barwick and Sandrino (69.5%).

In the Grade II class, Mexico’s Erika Baitenmann Haakh and Leonora performed an incredibly consistent test to win the six-strong class with 70.101% — the only plus 70% of the classification.

For more information and a full list of results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Swiss Olympian Martin Fuchs Launches into 2020 as World Number One

Martin Fuchs and The Sinner. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Olympic athlete Martin Fuchs (SUI) has moved to the top of the Longines Rankings for the first time in his career, overtaking compatriot Steve Guerdat who held the number one position for a year.

Martin Fuchs (27), now out in front with 3,483 points, has been hot on the heels of Guerdat since August last year and finished 2019 with a string of inspirational performances including his impressive Grand Prix victory on home turf at the CSI5* at Geneva and, a week later, taking the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ leg at Olympia in December, 29 years after his father Thomas won at the London venue.

“It’s fantastic, really great, but I must say that my biggest success as number one doesn’t reflect just one show or one event. It’s a combination of everything,” Martin Fuchs said. “It’s really nice after such a great year in 2019 to start 2020 as the world number one. I am so proud and so fortunate at this young age to be able to have such success already and I am looking forward to a great year ahead.”

Fuchs’ first major victory was team gold at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, and he went on to make his senior Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games with his brilliant grey gelding Clooney 51.

Fuchs has achieved podium finishes at the last three major Championships, including individual silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA) and helping the Swiss team to fourth to earn a team quota place at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games.

He finished as runner-up to Guerdat at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg (SWE) in April and was crowned European Champion together with his faithful partner Clooney 51 at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships in Rotterdam in August, becoming the sixth Swiss Jumping athlete in the 62-year history of the event to claim individual gold.

Other important results for the Swiss athlete include victory at the 10th leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at Basel (SUI) and at the third leg of the 2019/2020 season in Lyon, both of them with Clooney 51, while Chaplin was his Grand Prix winning co-star at the CSI5* GCT/GCL n Madrid (ESP) in May and in Cascais, Estoril (POR) the following month.

After his Olympia triumph with The Sinner, Fuchs moved up to fourth on the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ leaderboard to book his ticket for the 2020 Final in Las Vegas (USA) next April.

Five athletes have maintained their positions in the top 10, with Daniel Deusser (GER) remaining third, Ben Maher (GBR) fourth, Beezie Madden (USA) seventh, Darragh Kenny (IRL) eighth, and Henrik Von Eckermann (SWE) 10th. Peder Fredrickson (SWE) has moved to fifth after overtaking Pieter Devos (BEL), while Kent Farrington (USA) was the new entry in the top 10, moving up from 11th to ninth.

About Martin Fuchs

Martin Fuchs’ early results in international competitions demonstrated that a new star was born in Jumping, as he finished second at the FEI Jumping European Championship for Children in Istanbul (TUR) in 2006 with Vasco IV and third for two consecutive years at the FEI Jumping European Championship for Juniors in Auvers (FRA) in 2007 and in Praha (CZE) in 2008 with Karin II CH.

After competing in numerous international events, he won team gold at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and, six years later, was a member of the Swiss team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where he was ninth in the individual standings and his team sixth.

Other remarkable moments in his career were individual silver with Clooney 51 at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and second place at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final 2019 in Gothenburg (SWE).

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Celebrates Another Successful Year

Bob Johnson and A Busy Affair. Photo: Cody Parmenter.

Tampa, Fla. – Dec. 31, 2019 – The Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit celebrated another successful year with a tsunami of entries throughout 2020’s five-day event, which was an extra day due to the incredible popularity of the event. Taking place at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, top Quarter Horses and riders from North America and Europe traveled to the Florida State Fairgrounds to compete for coveted High Point awards, Circuit Champion awards, and valuable year-end points.

High Point winners received a Porta Cool Jetstream 220 Cooler worth $999.95, and Reserve High Point honorees received a beautiful satin cooler, while third place overall received a custom garment bag.

Impressively, the Bob and Karen Johnson Quarter Horse barn took home two Porta Cool coolers. Bob was the High Point winner in Versatility Ranch Horse (VRH) Open with A Busy Affair, and his student, Anna Mackay, captured the championship on Gunna Wreckya in the VRH Youth for the second consecutive year. Bob’s wife, Karen, was the Reserve Champion in the VRH Open on Gotta Hot Gun.

Taylor Kungle and Krymsun Belle marked their final year in the Novice Amateur classes by taking home one of the Porta Cool coolers as the High Point Champion. She is looking forward to moving up to the Amateur division next year.

Sandy Vargo won Senior High Point Award with her 8-year-old gelding, Dancin N The Dirt. Although the Ohio resident hands the reins over to her trainer Chuck Briggs and her good friend Terrie Booth in the show ring, she enjoys their victories as much as if she were in the saddle.

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit their website.