Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

Approx. 100 000 EUR in Total Prize Money at Equestrian Festival Baborówko 2020

Baborówko, 6 March 2020 — Once again during the Festival, the total prize money for the international classes will reach approx. 100 000 EUR. This places the Festival among the ten international eventing shows with the highest prize pool in the world – and the only one from Poland. Equestrian Festival Baborówko will take place at Palace Baborówko Equestrian Centre from the 21st until the 24th of May.

The Festival will once again host five international classes: CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, and CCIYH2*-S for young horses. Less experienced riders will have the chance to compete in national classes.

What’s most important, the CCI4*-L class will be the last chance to achieve the minimum eligibility requirements to perform at the 2020 Olympics for riders from those countries that have already secured their ticket to Tokyo. The cross-country course for the class will reach the distance of approx. 6000 metres, with 40 jumps to go over in about 10 minutes.

The class with the highest prize pool will be the CCI4*-S, where the winner will cash a cheque for 100 000 PLN.

Baborówko Equestrian Festival will take place from the 21st until the 24th of May and will be carried out in the classic format. Thursday and Friday are dressage days, Saturday brings cross-country trials, and Sunday is the time for showjumping and prizegiving ceremonies.

Traditionally, on Saturday and Sunday, the organizers have prepared shows, a fair of equestrian equipment as regional products, and many attractions for families and children.

More information can be found at www.festiwal.baborowko.pl.

Cheltenham’s Greatest Moments

The Cheltenham Festival is the most important meeting in the entire National Hunt calendar, and it has delivered countless exhilarating races during its 160-year history. However, a handful of key moments stand out as the greatest of all time.

A Hat-Trick for Best Mate

Prestbury Park was rocking when the legendary Best Mate clinched a third consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph in 2004. Henrietta Knight’s superstar battled to a narrow victory ahead of Commanche in 2002 and then finished 17 lengths clear of the chasing pack the following year. He went off as the 8/11 favourite in 2004, but he was nine years old by that point and some commentators wrote off his chances of success.

Best Mate looked in trouble with a few fences to go, but he hit the front approaching the final fence and then charged up the hill in front of his screaming fans. Sir Rembrandt and Harbour Pilot both gave chase and it led to a pulsating finish, but Best Mate held them off and completed his hat-trick. He joined Golden Miller, Cottage Rake, and Arkle in achieving the feat, but few thought it would be possible in the modern era. Best Mate made a mockery of such projections. “Just listen to them!” said Knight as the crowd roared. “I thought we were beat coming to the last, but he’s tough, too. He was brilliantly ridden.”

Norton’s Coin Stuns the World

The Gold Cup is the biggest race of the year and it serves as the main event on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. All the leading lights from across the UK, Ireland, and further afield gather to compete for the ultimate glory, and it often boils down to a thrilling battle between some of the famous, short-priced superstars. In 1990, the legendary Desert Orchid was the biggest icon in the business. He had won the race the previous year, and he was the odds-on favourite to defend his crown, although some experts though Bonanza Bay and Toby Tobias could give him a run for his money.

To say Norton’s Coin flew under the radar in the build-up to the race would be an understatement. He was in dreadful form, and owner Sirrell described him as an “ugly, plain chestnut”. He only took part in the Gold Cup due to a mix-up. Griffiths wanted him to run in the Carthcart instead, only to realise he was ineligible. His owner reluctantly sent him into battle and prayed he would finish in the top six so he could recoup the £1,000 entry fee, but most viewers thought he was simply making up the numbers.

He went off as the 100/1 underdog, and he was expected to flop. Yet Norton’s Coin left his poor form in the rear-view mirror. He was sitting comfortably in fourth at the third last, behind Desert Orchid, Ten of Spades, and Toby. He drew gasps as he soared past Desert Orchid at the penultimate fence. Ten of Spades fell, leaving Norton’s Coin locked in a thrilling battle with Toby Tobias. He pulled up alongside the frontrunner at the final fence and then won the prolonged struggle to finish three-quarters of a length clear of his rival, with the fastest winning time in 47 years.

Paisley Park Lands Stayers’ Hurdle

There was barely a dry eye in the house when the unlikely duo of Paisley Park and owner Andrew Gemmell earned a fairy-tale success in the Stayers’ Hurdle in 2019. Gemmell was born blind, but he spent many years listening to horseraces on the radio and developed a love of National Hunt racing. He then began building up his own stable of runners. His success was modest and he never expected to secure a winner at Cheltenham, but Paisley Park began to gather strong momentum throughout 2019.

He ended up going off as the heavily backed 11/8 favourite to win the Stayers’ Hurdle and the scenes were incredible as he outpaced his rivals to win the race. “I can’t believe it’s happened,” said an emotional Gemmell after the race. “It’s fantastic. I’m in tears. Wow. I couldn’t see the race, but that roar is incredible.”

Kauto Star Regains the Gold Cup

Kauto Star cemented his status as a titan of the National Hunt scene when he surged to victory in the 2007 Gold Cup. He was the 10/11 favourite to defend his crown the following year, but he ended up finishing second, seven lengths behind talented stablemate Denman. The excitement was palpable when the duo lined up alongside one another for the 2009 renewal of jumps racing’s blue riband event.

Many expected a ferociously tight battle, but in the end Kauto Star produced one of the greatest performances ever seen. He finished an astonishing 13 lengths clear of Denman and became the first horse to ever regain the Gold Cup. Trainer Paul Nicholls almost secured a 1-2-3, but Tony McCoy on Exotic Dancer finished third instead. Yet there were no complaints from the Ditcheat maestro. “What an unbelievable horse Kauto Star is,” he said.

Nicky Henderson’s Wonderful Wednesday

Henderson has always loomed large over the Cheltenham Festival, but his finest moment came in 2012. Sprinting Sacre helped him get off to a flying start when he won the Arkle at 8/11 on the Tuesday. Then Henderson saddled an astonishing four winners on the Wednesday: Simonsig (2/1), Bobs Worth (9/2), Finian’s Rainbow (4/1), and Riverside Theatre (7/2). A stable lad at his operation placed a five-fold accumulator on all of them and won £1 million.

During the course of the festival, Henderson secured seven winners. That saw him overtake Fukle Walwyn as the most successful trainer in Cheltenham Festival history, with 46 wins, and it was all thanks to that wonderful Wednesday. A young whippersnapper by the name of Willie Mullins has since overtaken Henderson by securing 65 Cheltenham wins, but Henderson is now just one back on 64. The Cheltenham odds, which you can check out here, show that both men have a number of heavily fancied runners in 2020, so it will be exciting to see who holds the record when all is said and done.

La Garde Républicaine to Join Line-Up for Edwardian Pageant at Royal Windsor Horse Show

La Garde Républicaine, the mounted branch of the French National Gendarmerie, will be joining a stunning line up for The Edwardian Pageant at this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Eight riders and sixteen horses will be performing the Garde’s ‘Reprise des Tandem’, a display in which each rider controls two horses, one ridden and one driven in front using long reins. The act shows off the skills learned from both horse and rider’s years of training, and illustrates the rigor required in mounted regiments of yesteryear.

The Pageant celebrates King Edward VII’s life and rule, and this display marks the King’s strong and personal relationship with France. An ardent Francophile, Edward made many visits to France, and especially Paris, both as Prince of Wales and King. His fondness for the country stood him in good stead; when relations between the two nations were tense, the King was able to make a well-timed visit to Paris in 1903 and use his charm and diplomacy to ease the situation. The success of the visit led to the positive political atmosphere in which the Entente Cordiale became possible, resulting in its signing in 1904. Subsequently, Edward VII became known as ‘The Peacemaker’.

Today, the Garde Républicaine are best known for their role in security and pageantry in France, very similar to our own Household Cavalry. Their duties include guarding important public buildings in Paris such as the Palais du Luxembourg (the Senate), the Palais Bourbon (the National Assembly), and keeping public order.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “The team behind the Edwardian Pageant are delighted to welcome La Garde Républicaine to this year’s spectacle. The ‘Reprise des Tandem’ is a routine that represents workmanship and discipline and will bring an exciting new element to the Show. I’m certain that the audience will love it.”

Colonel Philippe Delapierre, commander of the cavalry regiment, said: “This is an exciting experience for the Garde Républicaine. We are looking forward to being a part of the Edwardian Pageant and are proud to showcase the talents of our riders and horses, especially at such a prestigious and well-loved event.”

The Garde Républicaine will be joining an outstanding line-up at the Pageant. Other performers include Santi Serra, the horse whisperer from Spain, The Oman Royal Cavalry, The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and scenes of Edwardian Horse Racing, and the Indian Raj.  All will be accompanied by The National Symphony Orchestra with a score set by celebrated conductor and composer, Debbie Wiseman.

Tickets for The Edwardian Pageant are now available online at www.windsorpageant.co.uk or via the box office on 0844 581 0755. Local Windsor residents may purchase their tickets at Windsor Information Centre located in Windsor Royal Shopping or by telephone on 01753 743 589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Gotham, Tampa Bay, San Felipe: March Round of Kentucky Derby Prep Races

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The 2020 Kentucky is heading to its right track as we come closer to this grand horse racing event. The odds are slowly filling up every horse racing platform as few horses qualify already to run for this event. Some of them are now off in the Derby trail, garnering a sure spot in the Run for the Roses.

In two months’ time, the Kentucky Derby will launch its 146th season at Churchill Downs, Kentucky. There are no significant changes to the rules; however, we are expecting a new batch of three-year-old racehorses that will saddle up in the dirt track. As of today, the strongest contenders for the Derby are Ete Indien, Modernist, Enforceable, and Storm the Court.

Although the horses mentioned above might have their automatic berth to the Derby, it doesn’t mean that other hopefuls cannot rise in the ranking. This month, few prep-Derby races will take place, which can help a racehorse to earn big qualifying points so they can generate excellent odds to win the Kentucky Derby in 2020.

Hence, let’s see the line-up of this month’s Derby-prep races and the possible horses that will compete in this event. This will not only give you another opportunity of participating in the betting games, but it also allows you to scout which racehorse deserves the Kentucky Derby crown this year.

Gotham Stakes

The Gotham Stakes will take place on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at Aqueduct Racetrack, Queens, New York. It is one of the major Derby-prep races where a racehorse must accomplish a one ⅛ mile dirt track. The winning horse will not only earn significant Derby-qualifying points but can also take home a purse prize of $400, 000.

Here are the possible horses to compete in the Gotham Stakes this Saturday.

Mischievous Alex
Mischievous Alex is trained by John C. Servis and ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. He became one of the favorites today for the Gotham Stakes after he won the Grade 3 Swale Stakes last February 1, 2020, held at Gulfstream Park.  Aside from that, he also won the Parx Juvenile Stakes last November 5, 2019, at Parx Racing.

Untitled
Untitled is Mark E. Casse’s entry to the Gotham Stakes. He competed against Mischievous Alex in the Swale Stakes, but he only ended up in fourth place. Last February 14, 2020, he fought in Allowance Optional Claiming at Tampa Bay, where he got second place.

Big City Bob
This three-year-old colt is trained by Jorge Duarter Jr., who will saddle in the Gotham Stakes. He is the current titleholder for the Sapling Stakes held last September 1, 2019. Recently, he competed in the Champagne Stakes, where he ended up in third place.

Tampa Bay Derby

The Tampa Bay Derby is another Kentucky Derby prep race that will also take place on March 7, 2020. All racehorses joining this event will compete in a 1 1/16-mile dirt track at Tampa Bay Downs, Oldsmar, Florida. The same with Gotham Stakes, the winners will earn Derby qualifying points and might take home $350, 000 worth of purse prize. Here are some racehorses that will run in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Chance It
Chance It had successfully gathered impressive Derby points, and he’s looking forward to adding more so he can secure a sure spot for the upcoming Kentucky Derby. He is the current Mucho Macho Man Stakes titleholder that takes place last January 4, 2020 at Gulfstream Park.

Sole Volante
After winning the third place in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, Sole Volante competed in the Sam F. Davis Stakes last February 8, 2020, where he won the title. He will run in the Tampa Bay Derby so he can earn a ticket to compete in the Run for the Roses.

San Felipe Stakes

The last Derby-prep race that will take place this Saturday is the San Felipe Stakes. This is a Graded two horse racing showdown that will settle at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. The winning horse can also earn Derby-qualifying points along with a $400, 000 purse prize. Here are some racehorses that will compete in the San Felipe Stakes.

Storm the Court
Storm the Court has continuously impressed every horse racing fans after placing fourth in the San Vicente Stakes. He will run in the San Felipe Stakes to seal his entry to the Kentucky Derby by earning solid quaying points if he wins.

Authentic
Authentic doesn’t want to miss any Derby-prep race to boost his placement in the current Kentucky Derby odds ranking. This Grade 3 Sham Stakes winner is taking another chance in the San Felipe Stakes to lock his entry in the Run for the Roses successfully.

Takeaway

With the Derby-prep races bound to happen this weekend, racehorses that can finish the racing game with flying colors can surely boost their ranking and might secure their spots in the upcoming Kentucky Derby race.

What Is the Biggest National Hunt Meet in the UK?

With the upcoming Cheltenham Festival in March, and the Grand National in April, there’s so much for racing fans to be excited. Various punters and bookies are already making their Cheltenham tips as well as those for the Grand National. Of course, you can always expect those big shock wins — but jockeys, trainers, fans, and horses are all getting prepared for what who they think will place well this season. It’s a fantastic time of year for everyone involved with a rich historical legacy.

Both the Cheltenham Festival and the National Hunt are the most impressive, and largest, national hunt meetings in the UK. But which one is the biggest? And what audiences do they appeal to?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What they’re all about

There are, of course, some stark differences between the two events. The Cheltenham Festival, which takes place across four days at Prestbury Park, involves 28 different races. The Cheltenham Festival has its top race — the highlight being the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a steeplechase covering 3 miles 2 ½ furlongs and 22 fences. But the other races, including the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Coral Cup, and Stayers’ Hurdle, all have their prestigious elements too.

The Grand National at Aintree is one big race — at the end of a three-day mini-festival on Merseyside. Watched by over 600 million people in 140 countries, the Grand National is run over 4 miles 3 ½ furlongs with 30 fences. It’s a thrilling extravaganza with an intimidating 30 fences for both horse and jockey to get through.

Both the Grand National and the Cheltenham Festival have hosted an exhaustive history of riders and runners, as well as some historic races that have captivated fans from all around the world.

The one for the racing experts

The main event of the Grand National, the only Grade 3 race during the festival, is definitely the highlight. It does have eleven Grade 1 races throughout the course of the event, but they’re definitely not the first that come to mind when you think of the Grand National. The Cheltenham Festival on the other hand, has six Grade 3 races, fourteen Grade 1 races, and two Grade 2 races — meaning racing enthusiasts get to experience top tier race after top tier race, throughout the course of the four days.

It’s not just the racing enthusiasts that prefer Cheltenham. Many jockeys consider winning the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival a more prestigious opportunity than the Grand National. Former Irish race horsing jockey Tony McCoy confirmed this in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, saying: “It is the public who prefer the Grand National and that’s what makes it so big every year.” He described the Gold Cup as the pinnacle of the sport. Of course, it’s all a matter of opinion, but safe to say that racing experts definitely lean towards Cheltenham Festival when it comes to the two famous national hunt meets.

What the punters prefer

McCoy probably got it right when he described how much the public love the Grand National. It’s been held in high regard by punters since the days of Red Rum — the famous horse who brought public interest back to the Grand National in the 1970s. It’s one of the most bet on events in the country, and the most wagered on horse race in the UK — with many people who wouldn’t otherwise bet on a horse race taking their chances at the Grand National. Either way, both the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival have been massively popular events and continue to be exciting for everyone involved.

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino Smash Out Plus-80% for Double Victory in Week 8 of AGDF

Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Salvino. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 29, 2020 – It was a heady day of new personal bests, with both Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) bringing their A-game to the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI4*, presented by Mission Control. Lyle ultimately came out on top with a dazzling display on Salvino, garnering 80.17% in week eight of the 12-week Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

This may have been his first show since Aachen in July 2019, but Salvino showed no signs of ring rustiness. He and Lyle produced another harmonious performance to remain undefeated this week, and their quest for an Olympic berth remains on track.

LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir, her own and Mary Anne McPhail’s 16-year-old gelding by De Noir, scored a new personal best of 75.617% for second place. Another American lady rider filled third: Jennifer Schrader-Williams rode the 17-year-old Millione, by Milan, to 71.064%.

“I’m amazed,” beamed the 35-year-old from Idaho. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him. The test was everything you’d hoped in the back of your mind that you’d be able to achieve. I didn’t say it out loud, but I was secretly hoping we’d get at least close to 80%.

“We’ve had him for five years now, and been showing the grand prix for three years, but developed him slowly,” said Lyle, who debuted Salvino at big tour at AGDF three years ago. “I’m sure lucky to have the support of Betsy [Juliano] as an owner and Debbie [McDonald] as a trainer who believe in developing them slowly. We always thought he had talent, but we took our time and now he really feels like he’s ready to put it all together. He’s at a place in his mind and body now where he’s able to be consistent and not be stressed about doing any of it.

Watch Adrienne Lyle’s winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

“He didn’t change at all [from the warm-up]; he didn’t get hot or dull or strong and that’s huge for us,” she added. “To get those last few little points, it’s all about the refinement and the rideability. He’s the coolest thing I’ve ever sat on. To get an 80% in a grand prix is something not many people get to do and it’s an incredible honor to sit on him.”

Owner Betsy Juliano was ringside to watch her horse perform. She said: “That horse trusts Adrienne for every single second. She trains him with complete empathy and understanding and thoroughness, so what we see here in the arena is the result of all that. Every single day. She knows every molecule of that horse, so as an owner I rest every night knowing that he’s in the best hands.

“I’ve never sold a horse; any one I’ve ever acquired will be kept for life and that will be the same for him,” added Juliano. “It’s important to me that the rider has that security, but also I’m not in it to make money. We do talk about probably breeding him once his competition career is over, but not until then, because we want to keep him focused on this.”

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Jessica Jo Tate and Faberge Shine under Lights in Week 8 of AGDF

Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Faberge. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 28, 2020 – The evening’s showcase class, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, saved the best for last. Jessica Jo Tate (USA) piloted Elizabeth Guarisco’s 17-year-old gelding Faberge to their first ever Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) victory in week eight of the 12-week winter spectacular held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida. Tate has been riding the son of Florestan I for 11 years and has had her eye on winning a cooler from AGDF for much of that time.

Dongseon Kim (KOR) finished second on Belstaff, with the in-form Japanese Olympian Kiichi Harada once again gracing the podium, this time filling third on Egistar with 70.745%.

Tate, who splits her time between South Carolina and Wellington, said: “I’m so proud and really pleased with my horse. We haven’t shown since Devon [in September], so we’ve been doing a lot of fitness with him. He really was so with me tonight and had a lot of energy. He loves the crowd, so that’s always fun to bring a horse like that here. I’ve always wanted to win a cooler at Global, so this was amazing that I got to put one on for the four-star freestyle. It was really a special evening and for sure a highlight of my career so far. We’re just totally thrilled.”

Watch Jessica Jo Tate’s winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

Tate, who rode to music made by Marlene Whitaker, added: “Faberge is like a Labrador Retriever. He is the most friendly, kind-hearted, wonderful horse. We always need to work on our energy, so riding at night in the cool weather like this helps us. He just has the most wonderful workman-like character, and he really tries his heart out for me.”

Betsy Juliano of the class sponsor Havensafe Farm said: “We’re privileged in this place and in this venue to see horses progress year after year after year. JJ is an example of that, with this horse – I’ve seen her compete this horse year after year, and tonight here we are. I’m thrilled!”

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino Kick Off Their Tokyo Olympic Bid with Resounding Victory at AGDF

Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Salvino. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 20, 2020 – It was a full day of grand prix level action on the second day of week eight of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida. There were four classes at the level, two three-star classes, and two four-star.

All eyes were on the USA’s Adrienne Lyle in the FEI Grand Prix CDI4*, presented by Mission Control, who brought out her top horse, Salvino, for the first time this season, marking the start of their bid for a Tokyo Olympics place. They did not disappoint and led the class with a commanding 76.87%, their equal second highest-ever score in this test. Another Olympic hopeful, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) finished second with 72.935% on Lonoir and Lindsay Kellock (CAN) slotted into third on Sebastien with 69.826%.

Lyle’s test on Betsy Juliano’s 13-year-old stallion by Sandro Hit was a masterclass in harmony, and it was rewarded with clutches of nines, particularly for the light-footed passage and piaffe. The pair — who has not competed since Aachen in July 2019 — garnered a high score of 79.239% from the judge at C, Germany’s Henning Lehrmann.

“I’m thrilled with him; that’s one of the best feelings I’ve had in there,” said Lyle, who is ranked 20th in the world with Salvino. “He feels so happy and super excited to be here. Ever since he came on the grounds he’s been puffed up and ready to go and I was really happy with how focused he was despite all of his energy; it’s a great combination to be able to ride. It’s the balance that we’re always trying to find: to have that hotness and that fire and still have him be really rideable, with no mistakes, a clean test and focused was just wonderful.”

Of her decision not to compete in the previous week’s five-star CDI, she said: “In a year like this, you have to come out strong, especially when we did have a bit of a break. I really wanted to make sure everyone knows that he’s been fit and great and he really does feel good. We’re just trying to think of the big picture and always make the best decisions for him, so for fitness reasons we decided that the best plan would be to give him one more week of building up his fitness.”

After Aachen, Salvino travelled to Kylee Lourie’s farm in Denver, Colorado for some down time. The pair arrived in Wellington on November 1 and have been training with Debbie McDonald, preparing for this 2020 season debut. Salvino’s schedule consists of lessons two or three times a week, as well as sessions on the Aquatread and conditioning work in the jumping field at Kylee Lourie’s TyL Farm, just down the road from AGDF.

“It’s all about keeping his body and his mind happy,” added Lyle. “Our big goal is to qualify to go with the US riders to Europe in the hopes of trying to qualify for Tokyo. There’s a lot of stars that have to align for that, but mapping out our big goal, that’s what we’d love to shoot for.”

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Cesar Parra Smashes Personal Best Mr Bumblebee to Wrap Up Week Seven of AGDF

Cesar Parra (USA) with Mr Bumblebee. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 23, 2020 – Cesar Parra (USA) nailed a huge new personal best in the FEI Intermediate I CDI3*, presented by Restylane. He rode Mr Bumblebee, Karen Blank’s shy 12-year-old gelding by Sting to 75.535%. They were the unanimous winners in the eyes of all five judges on the concluding day of the five-star week seven of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Sweden’s Ida Mattisson finished second with Edison Van Twinwood (72.005%) with Canadian rider Ariana Chia filling third with 71.745% on her own Fiderflame. Some last-minute confidence-building tactics with Mr Bumblebee paid dividends for Parra, a Colombian Olympian who switched nationalities to ride for the USA in 2008.

“We used to say that not every day’s a Sunday, but today’s a great Sunday,” he enthused. “I’m sure a lot of us riders ask ourselves why we do this, and when we have a ride like this, that’s the answer: to share a great ride with a great partner like him. We’ve been working very focused and consistently with this horse and I really believe in him. He’s been in our barn for a few years with different riders and he’s just a late bloomer, so I’m happy for him and the owners who have supported so much.

“Mr Bumblebee is shy and very insecure. He can do everything for an eight or a nine, but when you switch him from the warm-up into the ring, he gets very nervous and trembles. So this morning I was out here at 7 a.m. going in and out of the arena on long reins and giving him sugar and apples until finally he said, ‘Okay fine, I guess there are no ghosts out there’. People think I’m crazy, but sometimes you have to do these things.”

Parra, who is based between Florida and New Jersey, added: “I really want to go to one more Olympics. I am over 50 but I’m fit, I still run and go to the gym as well as riding six or seven hours a day, so maybe I am a late bloomer too.”

He has been training with Anne Gribbons, but has added a new trainer to his roster this winter: “Lately it’s been someone who has been watching me for the last 30 years: the one with the microphone this winter has been my wife Marcela. And it’s been very exciting because she doesn’t ride but it works perfectly because she knows when to push and when to leave me alone.”

Parra was full of praise for the AGDF, adding: “What Global [AGDF] does here is just amazing. I’ve been in Aachen, in World Cups, World Equestrian Games, and Olympics; I think it’s even better here. You have all the facilities and everything is pro welfare of the horse to make them happy athletes. And we get to train and compete in front of amazing judges.”

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper Lead a Record-Breaking Sweep in Week Seven of AGDF

Steffen Peters on Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – February 22, 2020 – Steffen Peters (USA) threw his hands in the air as his winning score of 77.106% was announced in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI5*, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic. He was last to go in the class of 11 starters in the five-star week seven of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

Peters’ score represented a new personal best in this test, and his delight with Suppenkasper, Four Winds Farm’s 12-year-old gelding, was evident as he punched the air. Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu rode All In to a new personal best score of 73.447% in this test to finish second, with Sabine Schut-Kery (USA) finishing third on Sanceo with 72.979%.

Despite a mistake in the middle of the one-time changes on the diagonal, this was the first time Peters had broken the 77% barrier and repays the faith he has had in this giant and extraordinarily athletic horse.

“He’s been at 76% for some time,” said a delighted Peters. “I knew there’s a 77% in there and we’re slowly and consistently creeping up, so without the mistake it would have been even higher. It’s so very exciting to see ‘Mopsie’ getting a 77%.

“It felt really good for him to still after four shows have this energy,” added Peters, who is based in California. “The horse has so much go, it’s incredible. I didn’t push him for one single extension; in fact, I was still holding back a little bit.”

The test was fault-free apart from a blip in the middle of the diagonal of one-time changes.

“He’s done six tests without a mistake, so today he was allowed one and I’m not sure it was his mistake; there is always the rider involved too. To be honest, I just did not feel comfortable with the way my underwear was sitting so when I came in, that’s what I was thinking about. Thank god it didn’t cause me more trouble than just a missed one-tempi.”

Watch Steffen Peters’ winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

Both Peters and Schut-Kery have been training with Debbie McDonald while in Wellington, and the legendary trainer identified what went wrong for Peters in the flying changes right away.

“Debbie said she thought that before the one-tempis, I rode him just a little too forward on the short side to get a bit more energy and ride the one-tempis with risk,” explained Peters, who was on the bronze-medal winning USA team at the Rio Olympics in 2016. “She’s absolutely right that I didn’t need to do that.”

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.