Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

US Equestrian Names Short List for FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage Team

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has named the Short List for the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018 The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team. The Short List will compete in designated Observation Events throughout the summer.

The following horse-and-athlete combinations have been named to the Short List (in alphabetical order):

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danilo

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) with her and Curt Maes’s 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Verdades

Ashley Holzer (New York, N.Y.) with Diane Fellows’s 11-year-old Hanoverian mare Havanna 145

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) with her and Mary Anne McPhail’s 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Lonoir

Adrienne Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) with Betsy Juliano’s 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion Salvino

Kasey Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) with Diane Perry’s 15-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Goerklintgaards Dublet

Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) with Four Winds Farm’s 11-year-old Rheinlander mare Rosamunde and Four Winds Farm’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding Suppenkasper

Sabine Schut-Kery (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) with Alice Womble’s 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion Sanceo

Combinations will be required to compete in a minimum of two Observation Events. The Observation Event schedule, as well as the complete Selection Procedures, for the 2018 WEG The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team can be found here.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Oliver Townend Moves into Contention for Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing

30 April 2018, Lexington, USA – Great Britain’s Oliver Townend produced a precision round of show jumping in the final phase of the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event to secure his first Kentucky win and set him just one event away from winning the coveted Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing prize.

Townend took first place riding Cooley Master Class, with Michael Jung (GER) riding FischerRocana FST in second, and USA’s Marilyn Little on RF Scandalous in third place.

From the 46 horse and rider combinations who started the competition on day one, 32 horses made it through to start on the final day of competition, with an international field of world-class riders from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, Poland and Germany.

With just one fence separating the top four placed competitors in the show jumping, the enthusiastic patriotic spectators in the Rolex Stadium enjoyed a thrilling sporting display.

Oliver Townend was up against many of eventing’s finest riders, including world number one and reigning champion Michael Jung, who had returned to this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in a bid to try to set a new record by winning the event for a historic fourth consecutive year, aboard his same horse, FischerRocana FST.

Speaking after his victory and looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing challenge, Townend said: “Today was incredible. I will just take it one event at a time, but I have two great horses next week at Badminton and it is all to play for now.”

ROLEX LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP

Rolex and the Kentucky Three-Day Event have a long and distinguished history, with Rolex as Title Sponsor for over three decades from 1981 to 2017 and proud to be continuing its long-term partnership as Official Timepiece. In 1998 Rolex Kentucky became the third annual CCI4* event in the world and remains the only four-star competition on the American continent. Rolex’s established support has seen the event develop into one of the most prestigious in the world, with top riders from around the globe now vying to compete there.

THE ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF EVENTING CHALLENGE

Since 2001, Rolex has actively supported excellence in the discipline of eventing through the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing – an award presented to any rider who consecutively wins at the three annual events of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA), the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (UK) and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (UK). To this day, the Grand Slam has only been won twice, in 2003 and more recently, in 2016.

All eyes will now be upon Townend to see if he can continue his current world-class form as the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, with two wins now complete and the final challenge of winning the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, which starts in just days, to be only the third rider in history to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing prize.

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Merrick Haydon
merrick@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 (0)7748 186 833

Oliver Townend Crowned Winner of Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

The final day of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event started in dramatic fashion with both Michael Jung and Christopher Burton’s horses instructed to go to the holding area during the final horse inspection. Tensions were high as the packed crowds waited eagerly for the leading riders to re-present, with both horses eventually passed by the judges.

Over 25,000 spectators flooded the stadium in anticipation of one of the closest competitions in history at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event with only 1.2 penalties separating the top three riders, Michael Jung, Christopher Burton, and Oliver Townend, respectively.

Fifth-to-go, Marilyn Little aboard RF Scandalous, displayed a text-book clear round, finishing to an eruption of applause from the patriotic home crowd, hoping to see a US rider victorious for the first time since 2008. This dream was short-lived as next in to the arena was Great Britain’s Oliver Townend who produced the ride of his life to go clear, celebrating in style with his fist punching the air in recognition of his incredible round. This heaped further pressure on the final two riders. Australia’s Christopher Burton followed but had an unfortunate eight faults pushing Townend closer to the coveted prize. Only one rider could have prevented Townend’s success: all eyes fell on the three-time defending champions, Michael Jung and FischerRocana FST, as they entered the arena, hoping to make history once more. On this rare occasion Jung was unable to clinch the title with four faults dropping him into second place to give Townend a well-deserved victory and keys to a 12-month lease of a Land Rover Discovery vehicle.

“It’s a different world; it’s something I have dreamt of for a long time. We have come a long way to be here and the owners have funded it, so I am so grateful to them for this opportunity. The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of, if not the best events in the world; the atmosphere is amazing and the fans are fantastic; it’s been the best week!” — Oliver Townend, Great Britain

Townend continued to pay tribute to Cooley Master Class. “I have had him since he was four years old; he has won at nearly every level and never lets us down. He has suffered with injuries in the past and at some points we weren’t sure if he would even come through, but the last two seasons he has been amazing; he has always been cheeky and extremely talented so it’s great to be here with him.”

Michael Jung commented on his performance. “I am sad for FischerRocana as that was absolutely my mistake, but I am happy with our performance and I love this event; it is so beautiful. FischerRocana has been amazing and is incredible to ride, so I am pleased with her.”

Marty Bauman
Chief Press Officer
Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
508.698.6810
marty@classic-communications.com

Jung Back on Top after Cross-Country

Lynn Symansky and Donner. Photo by: Taylor Pence/US Equestrian.

Symansky and Donner Ride to the Lead of Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship

Lexington, Ky. – The conditions could not have been more perfect for a day of brilliant cross-country action, and the riders and horses did not disappoint. Defending champion Michael Jung of Germany and fisherRocana FST showed the depth of their partnership to take over the top spot after adding only 0.4 penalties to his dressage score to lead with 27.5.

Breathing down his neck is Australia’s Chris Burton and Nobilis 18 (27.9) and Oliver Townend of Great Britain on Cooley Master Class (28.7). Townend also tied for fourth aboard MHS King Joules (31.3) with Lynn Symansky and Donner (31.3). Less than a rail separates all of them as they head into the show jumping finale.

Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) and Donner, the 15-year-old Thoroughbred owned by The Donner Syndicate, LLC, are the highest-placed American combination and currently lead the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship. Overnight leader Marilyn Little (Frederick, Md.) and RF Scandalous, Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders’s 13-year-old Oldenburg mare, added 8 time penalties to drop to sixth overall (32.8), and second in the national championship.

Donner is competing in his ninth CCI4* and their experience showed as he and Symansky cruised around easily. “I don’t have any complaints,” she said with a smile. “He takes a bit to get into the groove, especially with the crowd… He went around like clockwork. It’s a tribute to knowing the horse so well and having a great partnership with him. He tried his heart out, and I’m pleased with how he came home.”

Overall, 11 pairs came home double-clear around Derek di Grazia’s course. Thirty-six horses finished the course, six with jumping faults. Three were eliminated and four retired on course.

Course designer di Grazia, who will design courses for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, was pleased with how his course rode, even though more made the time than he was expecting. “I’m generally very happy about how the course rode,” he said. “I think the faults were spread out, quite a number clean without jumping faults and I think all the combinations rode well and, at the same time, [the riders] didn’t have to do them all the same way. People did things differently and it still worked out for them. And, we didn’t have any horse falls or rider injuries, and, to me, that’s all a positive.

“I think that the ground ended up being quite fast today,” di Grazia continued. “[In part because] the conditions couldn’t be better. A little rain would have been different, but you never know. We also had a very good field of riders today. It may not have been a huge field, but the ones we had were good.”

For more information about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, visit kentuckythreedayevent.com.

Edited Press Release from Classic Communications

Jung Takes Back Lead on Cross-Country Day at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

(LEXINGTON, KY, USA) – April 28, 2018 – Germany’s Michael Jung moves one step closer to re-writing history as he takes back the lead following a spectacular cross-country ride on FischerRocana FST. Australia’s Christopher Burton was one of eleven riders to finish clear under the optimum time of 11.03 mins aboard Nobilis 18, keeping his score of 27.9 and putting the pressure on Michael Jung who has just a 0.4 advantage. Great Britain’s Oliver Townend sits in third and fourth place with his eyes on a ‘Land Rover double’ to follow up his win at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials last September.

Michael Jung spoke of his cross-country round. “I had a really fantastic ride today; FischerRocana was in very good condition and really enjoyed herself. At the Land Rover Head of the Lake I wanted to do four strides, but missed this.”

“FischerRocana was really fighting for me and it makes me so proud she never gives up – she had an opportunity to run out but she didn’t and that’s what our partnership is all about. She jumped well and galloped fast and it was so nice to feel that she had great fun on a tough course like this.” — Michael Jung, Germany

Christopher Burton is looking forward to show jumping. “We are all used to sitting behind Michael Jung! To be honest, we are just so excited to be here; my horse went fantastically today and I am so grateful to my owners for funding this trip. We have a lot of work to do ahead of tomorrow and a long way to go yet, so for now I am just going to enjoy the run we had.”

There will be no room for error in the show jumping test as only 1.2 penalties separate the top three, making the competition fiercer than ever. With 25,000 spectators expected to attend the event, the home crowd will be eager to see Lynn Symansky (USA) claim a victory for the US for the first time in 10 years. Partnered with her thoroughbred gelding, Donner, Symansky currently lies in joint-fourth place just 3.8 penalties from the top of the leaderboard.

Marty Bauman
Chief Press Officer
Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
508.698.6810
marty@classic-communications.com

Marilyn Little Takes Lead on Day Two at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

(LEXINGTON, KY) – April 27, 2018 – USA’s Marilyn Little produced a breath-taking dressage test to score an incredible 24.8 and take the lead from defending champion Michael Jung. Partnered with RF Scandalous, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders, Little looked calm and focused as she entered the arena knowing she needed to achieve under 27.1 to top the leaderboard. Australia’s Christopher Burton laid down the gauntlet earlier in the day to nearly clinch the lead aboard Nobilis 18 securing 27.9, finishing the day in third place.

Marilyn Little commented after her ride, “She gave me a great ride toda;, she was a little excited with the Friday afternoon atmosphere here at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, but then she really focused and did her job. Tomorrow’s course is well presented and Scandalous is a very good cross-country horse, so I am looking forward to it. There are a number of questions on the track but as long as we are prepared I think we will go well.”

“This is a really special weekend for me. I am going to try and enjoy this feeling of the being in the lead for now, as with Michael close behind, I know it might not last!” — Marilyn Little, USA

The cross-country course, described as ‘the best cross-country track in the world’ by Christopher Burton, is set to test the 46 world-class horse and rider pairings as they not only need to cross the finishing line clear, but also need to ride inside the optimum time of 11.03 mins to keep their current scores. Course Designer, Derek di Grazia, carries years of experience and will no doubt have some tricky combinations laid down, with all eyes on the Land Rover Head of the Lake as the riders steer through the famous water complex.

Marty Bauman
Chief Press Officer
Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
508.698.6810
marty@classic-communications.com

Jung Rides to Early Lead at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg (Photo by: Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

Martin and Tsetserleg lead Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship after First Day of Dressage

Lexington, Ky. – Michael Jung of Germany has won the top prize at the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day-Event the last three years aboard fischerRocana FST, so it comes as no surprise that after the first day of competition he is sitting in the top spot on a score of 27.1 penalty points. Chasing him are two Americans: Boyd Martin in second riding Tsetserleg (31.2), who leads the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship as the top American combination, and Tamra Smith in third aboard Wembley (32.1).

Tsetserleg, a gleaming, black 11-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, is contesting his first four-star, but he has history in his blood as a son of the Olympic and Kentucky Three-Day competitor, Windfall. “Thomas” put in a clean test punctuated with his flashy gaits.

“I was very pleased,” said Martin (Cochranville, Pa.). “It’s his first four-star, and our first through the new (dressage) test. When you finish you always wish one part here or there was a little better, but Thomas did as well as he could do for where we are at the moment. I’m very pleased with him.”

Martin’s most famous mounts have been Thoroughbreds, so a Trakehner like Thomas is a new experience for him. “He’s the first I’ve had into the top of the sport. Ten years ago when I first came to America, I saw Windfall, and I’ll never forget watching his dressage. Who would have thought 10 years later I’d be riding a Windfall baby? Thomas’ personality is wonderful, like a big pony, very cuddly in the barn. At home he doesn’t try that much, and you wouldn’t think he could do a four-star, but then you get to a big competition and he grows into an 18-hand horse. The atmosphere perks him up.”

Tamie Smith’s (Murrieta, Calif.) horse, Wembley, is 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kevin Baumgardner, an upper-level rider and a former president of the U.S. Eventing Association. Baumgardner purchased Wembley in England, originally as a competition mount for himself. Baumgardner trains with Smith, and last fall he handed over the reins to her.

“It’s been great,” Smith said. “I’ll never forget when we tried him – we took him cross-country schooling and he said, ‘You get on him first,’ and I said, ‘No, because if I ride him I’ll just tell you to buy him.’ They are huge supporters of me, and that’s what it’s all about, really. They’ve become family to me, so to be here is really great.”

The big, gray Dutch Warmblood is a powerful mover and a flashy presence, but Smith seemed a little surprised to find herself in the top standings. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect, because he can go in and be quite tense in the ring, but he was quite relaxed, and very workmanlike,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked him to go better. I think I did a little too much warm up, so he got a little tired, but I was thrilled. He was very good.”

All three riders expressed some trepidation about Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course.

“I think it’s really tough,” admitted Martin. “The first half is forward and gallopy and looks nice, but the second half gets much more difficult, and we know horses tire a bit in that second half. It’ll be hard to make up time on course. (di Grazia) usually gives us a nice, long gallop somewhere in the second half, but not this year. It’s as tough as I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s pretty technical,” agreed Smith. “The Head of the Lake will be quite influential, and the brush combination towards the end might catch out some tired horses.”

For more information about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, visit kentuckythreedayevent.com.

Edited Press Release from Classic Communications

Michael Jung Leads Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event after Day One

(LEXINGTON, KY) – April 26, 2018 – Germany’s Michael Jung stormed into the lead on the opening day of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Partnered with his champion horse, FischerRocana FST, Jung showed he is here to win, producing a stunning dressage test to land a score of 27.1. USA’s Boyd Martin is hot on the German’s heals securing 31.2 to finish the day in second position aboard his black gelding, Tsetserleg. Tamara Smith (USA) currently lies third on the leaderboard with Kevin Baumgardner’s Dutch Warmblood, Wembley, on a score of 32.1.

Michael Jung commented on his early lead: “I am very happy with FischerRocana today; she felt really nice and did a good test. I am looking forward to the cross-country on Saturday; we need to prepare well but the course looks nice and the ground is perfect.”

“I really enjoy riding here; it is such a beautiful place, not just the riding but all the other elements you can enjoy. FischerRocana loves it here; she feels well; she feels at home and is amazing to ride.” — Michael Jung, Germany

Michael Jung currently sits in top position but with some of the world’s best eventers still to complete their dressage tests, the competition remains wide open. US Event rider and runner-up in 2016, Lauren Kieffer, has two strong rides, Landmarks Monte Carlo and Vermiculus. Olympic Bronze Medallist, Phillip Dutton competes his second horse, I’m Sew Ready, and Great Britain’s Oliver Townend will be eyeing up the top prize to continue his Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing journey, following his victory at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials last September.

Impressive Field Ready for 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship Up for Grabs

Lexington, Ky. – The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (LRK3DE) is set to begin at the Kentucky Horse Park following the first horse inspection on April 25. A total of 46 athlete-and-horse combinations from nine nations will vie for top honors at America’s only CCI4* event, which also serves as the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship, awarded to the highest-placed U.S. athlete. The Roger Haller Trophy, honoring the late, internationally respected eventing official, will be awarded to the national champion.

The 2018 field is full of talented combinations, and several returning national champions hope to stake their claim on the overall and national title. Defending Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Champion Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) already has the most titles at five, but he could add another to his resume with I’m Sew Ready or Z. Dutton rode I’m Sew Ready, Kristine and John Norton’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, to a 10th-place finish at the 2017 Kentucky event in the horse’s CCI4* debut. This year, they finished fifth in The Fork CIC3*/FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG) Eventing Test Event to prepare for the LRK3DE. Z, a nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Thomas Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran, will make his CCI4* debut with Dutton. The pair comes to Kentucky in fine form after winning The Fork CIC3*/WEG Eventing Test Event.

Looking ahead to cross-country day, Dutton said, “We have been around the course this morning and, as we expected, it is big but fair, so I’m sure it will be a great competition.”

Three-time national champion Buck Davidson (Unionville, Pa.) has three mounts at the LRK3DE: Carlevo, Copper Beach, and Park Trader. Park Trader, Carl and Cassandra Segal’s 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, will make his fifth appearance at the LRK3DE, while stablemate Copper Beach, Carl Segal and Sherrie Martin’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, will make his third consecutive appearance. Carlevo, the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Carlevo LLC, makes his CCI4* debut in Kentucky and is coming off a second-place finish in the Chattahoochee Hills CIC3* with Davidson.

Two-time national champion Lauren Kieffer (The Plains, Va.) brings two mounts to Kentucky: Landmark’s Monte Carlo, Jacqueline Mars’s 12-year-old Irish Thoroughbred cross gelding, and Vermiculus, Mars’s 11-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding. Both horses collected top-15 finishes in CIC3* competition this spring in preparation for the LRK3DE.

Kim Severson (Charlottesville, Va.), a three-time Kentucky Three-Day winner and national champion, will aim for a strong showing with Cooley Cross Border, The Cross Syndicate’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. The pair finished second in The Fork CIC3*/WEG Eventing Test Event behind Dutton and Z and won the 2017 SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials CCI3* in England last fall.

Rising stars of the sport hope to gather more experience at the CCI4* level. Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program participants Savannah “Woodge” Fulton (Finksburg, Md.) and Caroline Martin (Miami Beach, Fla.) plan to tackle the LRK3DE for the second time. Fulton brings her 2017 mount, Captain Jack, Full Moon Farm Syndicate’s 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, while Martin has two mounts: The Apprentice, Sherrie Martin’s 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, and Spring Easy, Sherrie and Caroline Martin’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.

“I think this weekend speaks for itself, how much Leslie and the program have helped my riding,” Martin shared when asked how the Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program has helped her development. She added, “Being able to have a camaraderie with all the other riders is great. I wouldn’t know Mackenna Shea [an Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program alum] if it wasn’t for the program.”

Dressage begins Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET with Davidson and Park Trader.

For more information about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, visit kentuckythreedayevent.com.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Behind the Scenes with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin ahead of Royal Windsor Horse Show

Ahead of competing at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, we were given a sneak preview of the training regime of Olympic gold medallists, Charlotte Dujardin CBE and Carl Hester MBE, as they prepare for the CDI4* Al’Shiraa Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle competitions at Royal Windsor on the evenings of Thursday 10th and Friday 11th May.

Dujardin, who will be riding Mount St John Freestyle, her new Grand Prix horse and FEI World Equestrian Games™ hopeful, said, “I’m really excited about going to Windsor. I used to compete there Showing as a child, so it’s got some really great memories for me. It’s an incredible setting and to have the British crowd behind me will make it even more special. The Dressage always has an amazing atmosphere there; it’s usually under the floodlights at night, which makes it really unique – Mount St John Freestyle is going to absolutely love it and I’m looking forward to it so much!”

Exclusive behind-the-scenes access with the renowned duo indicated preparations were full steam ahead as Hester and Dujardin set their sights on Royal Windsor, and the jam-packed competition year ahead. Although competing against each other, Dujardin’s mentor, team mate and fellow competitor shared his joys of competing and his hopes for returning to defend his title, this year aboard Hawtins Delicato:

“I won my first championship medal at Royal Windsor back in 2009. The backdrop is sensational; there is nowhere quite like it. I remember competing to music under the lights with 8,000 people there that night watching me; it was very surreal, especially having the castle lit up in the background.”

Hester continued, “Since then Charlotte has won the Grand Prix and I won the Grand Prix there last year, so we have both had a turn at it, which is nice – keep it in the family and share the win! This year I am predicting that Charlotte will win it; her horse is sensational. We call her Mrs Valegro after our all-time star, Valegro, who won three Olympic gold medals. Watch this space!”

To see the Dressage action at Royal Windsor Horse Show first hand, or to find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928