Harrie Smolders and Emerald Win $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington

Harrie Smolders and Emerald Win $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington

 

Harrie Smolders and Emerald. Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Victoria Colvin Tops WIHS Equitation Finals; Sima Morgello and Katherine Strauss Triumph in Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classics

Washington, D.C. – October 24, 2015 – Harrie Smolders (NED) and Emerald emerged victorious in the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup, on Saturday night at the 2015 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Competing for the coveted President of the United States Perpetual Cup as well as valuable Longines FEI World Cup qualifying points, the grand prix was the highlight event of the week at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. Callan Solem (USA) and VDL Wizard finished second and Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and H&M Forever D Arco Ter Linden placed third.

Watch an interview with Harrie Smolders and footage of his winning jump-off round.

Also competing on Saturday, Victoria Colvin won the 2015 WIHS Equitation Finals, presented by SAP. Katherine Strauss and All In were victorious in the $15,000 SJHOF Ambassador’s Cup High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Staysail Farm, and Sima Morgello and Zopala topped the $7,500 Senator’s Cup Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by The Strauss Family. Competition concludes on Sunday with the Pony Hunters, WIHS Pony Equitation Finals, and WIHS Regional Finals.

Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the tracks for jumper competition throughout the week at Verizon Center. In Saturday night’s grand prix, D’Ambrosio saw 28 entries with six clear rounds. Only two were able to clear the short course without fault.

Nicola Philippaerts was first to go in the jump-off, clocking the fastest time of the night in 38.17 seconds, but dropping one rail along the way riding Ludo Philippaerts and Frans Lens’s H&M Forever D Arco Ter Linden. Jos Verlooy (BEL) jumped the short track next, also dropping one rail in 40.07 seconds to eventually finish fourth aboard Axel Verlooy and Euro Horse Bvba’s Sunshine. Victoria Colvin (USA) was fast with Take the High Road LLC’s Cafino in 38.93 seconds, but brought down two rails along the way to place fifth. Hardin Towell (USA) also had two jumps down in a slower time of 41.91 seconds to place sixth with Jennifer Gates LLC’s Emilie de Diamant AS.

Callan Solem and Horseshoe Trail Farm LLC’s VDL Wizard and Harrie Smolders aboard Axel Verlooy and Euro Horse Bvba’s Emerald were the only two pairs to clear the jump-off course without fault. Solem’s time of 39.43 seconds settled for second place in the end, as Smolders and Emerald were still to come. They cleared the track just faster in a time of 39.32 seconds for the win. Smolders also won the competition in 2006 aboard Exquis Oliver Q, and was pleased to take home this year’s top prize with Emerald, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Diamant de Semilly x Carthago).

“I think the first time I was here was 2006 and that year I also won the (President’s) Cup, so I am very pleased to be back and to do it over again,” Smolders stated. “Emerald is 11 now, and I have had him since he was six years old. He has always been a fantastic horse with a lot of talent, but I think this year he made his breakthrough. He was very consistent this year. He did Nations Cup shows and (more), so his talent came. He is more mature now; he shows in his results that he is in the best of his life I think. He’s a bit of a stallion, a character, but his talent and technique are endless. He has the experience, and now it is time to win something.”

“I must say that Callan did a super round,” Smolders noted. “On one hand, she put some pressure on so it was not a present today, but on the other hand I was also a bit pleased that I knew what I had to do (in the jump-off). If there was no one clear, you had to decide what you were going to do, but I had no choice. I had to go.”

Solem’s second place finish was a big result for the American rider and her mount VDL Wizard. Solem had help from two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time President’s Cup winner McLain Ward (USA) as she went into the ring for her jump-off.

“I was fortunate to have the counsel of McLain and he said, ‘Callan, you have to try to win. Harrie’s going to be so fast.’ He encouraged me to do four strides in the first line and he said, ‘You’re third a lot. Try to win this class,’” Solem recalled. “I really appreciated that encouragement. Going to these shows on my own, I’m trying to find my way a little bit. In producing the horses, I always try to leave them better than I found them and sometimes it is nice for me to have a little push. It is nice for someone to say, ‘Come on, you’re good enough, go ahead and try.’”

“I feel very lucky to have him (Wizard) and every day that I ride him it is such a pleasure,” Solem said of the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Gentleman x Ahorn). “He loves this sport so much. He had a really rough start. We got him as a seven-year-old and he was riddled with this, and that and the other sickness. He really did not do much for the first three years, so even though he is 12, he is more like a 10-year-old. He is just getting fit and strong, and ready to peak in this next year I hope. He is a great horse.”

Nicola Philippaerts concluded a great week with his third place finish aboard H&M Forever D Arco Ter Linden. He has had the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Darco x Tenor Man) since the horse was six years old and explained that his mount has also improved a lot this year.

“He was always a good horse, just a little bit strong and quite hot,” Philippaerts detailed. “Now through the years he gets better and better. He had a few good results this year, and I am happy he was good today.”

Philippaerts also won the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final on Friday with his second WIHS mount, H&M Harley vd Bisschop.

“I think it is now the fourth time we have come to the show here, and we are always pleased to come back,” the rider remarked. “We always do the three World Cup shows, here and then Lexington (KY) and Toronto (CAN). For us, it is quite nice if we can get some points here for Europe when we go back. I like to be here. There is not so much space because we are in the middle of the city, but they do a good job and I am happy to be here.”

Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio spoke of the night’s competition and the ultimate result of his track for the evening.

“I think the field was strong this year. This is my third visit here to course design in the last four years and I have watched the field of horses and riders steadily strengthen through the years, so the riders are liking the competition and I thought they did a great job,” D’Ambrosio stated. “I thought it was not an easy course. They did a great job, and for me, I think it was very entertaining and I think the crowd would agree. It was a very good competition.”

WIHS was extremely honored that this year’s competition was selected as one of seven events to comprise the East Coast division of the all-new Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping North American League. WIHS President Victoria Lowell commented on the honor of hosting such an important event on the competition calendar each year.

“I think it is very important for us to be a part of the league,” Lowell noted. “WIHS has such a huge history in the sport and has been a World Cup qualifier for a number of years. With the league consolidating this year, it was important to us to maintain that status, so we were thrilled to be part of the league when it was slimmed down to 14 events. We could not be happier to be a part of the Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping North American league.”

Concluding a fantastic evening of competition, Erik Moses, Senior Vice President of Events DC, remarked on the impact that WIHS has had on the local sporting industry.

“Having had this event here since 1958, it really is a sporting and a cultural institution for Washington D.C.,” Moses stated. “We have every other major sport represented in this city and this one means so much to the city because of the President’s Cup with the presidential seal on it. I was looking at one of the films that showed the original horse show in the U.S. National Guard Armory, which is another one of our buildings. This event is inextricably linked to sports in this town, so we think it really rounds out our portfolio in a unique way.”

Along with the presentation of top prizes in the grand prix, Belgium’s Jos Verlooy won a host of awards following Saturday night’s competition for great success in his first trip to WIHS this year. The 19-year-old-rider had consistent results throughout the week’s international jumper classes, including a win in Friday night’s $25,000 The Boeing Company Puissance.

Verlooy was presented with the $15,000 Leading International Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Robin Parsky, along with the Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy. He also earned the $10,000 Leading Under 25 Rider Bonus and The Juliet Weber Reid Award, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch. He accepted the Leading Jumper Owner Award, sponsored by The Reid Family, on behalf of his father, Axel Verlooy, and Euro Horse Bvba. He then earned the final award of the night as Leading Foreign Rider.

Colvin Wins WIHS Equitation Finals

The 2015 WIHS Equitation Finals, presented by SAP, concluded on Saturday evening with a win for Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL. Forty of the nation’s top junior riders qualified to compete in this year’s championship, which was held over three phases of competition. Riders began competing over a hunter course on Friday and returned over a jumper course Saturday afternoon. Their scores from the two rounds were then combined, and the top 10 competitors returned for a final work-off Saturday night, in which they switched horses by way of a random draw and jumped the same course one more time.

Victoria Colvin and Patrick
Victoria Colvin and Patrick

In her final year as a junior, Victoria Colvin won the title. She began the first two phases of competition riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Patrick, then switched onto Morgan Ward’s mount Vondel DHZ. Her hunter score of 91.5, combined with her jumper score of 92.25 and a final score of 92.5 in the work-off combined for a solid 276.25 points for the win overall.

Madison Goetzmann of Skaneatles, NY finished second with a score of 267.25. Goetzmann rode Savannah Dukes’ Contelido in the hunter and jumper phases with scores of 86.25 and 90. She then switched onto Hunter Holloway’s mount Any Given Sunday, owned by Hays Investment Corp, to earn a 91 in the final work-off.

Holloway, of Topeka, KS, took home the third place prize with her score of 266.75 overall. She jumped Any Given Sunday to scores of 89 and 93.5, then earned an 84.25 aboard Mckayla Langmeier’s mount Eclipse, owned by Missy Clark.

Morgan Ward of Milford, NJ, jumped her own Vondel DHZ to scores of 87.5 and 87.625. She then jumped Colvin’s mount Patrick to a 91 in the final work-off to move into the fourth position overall. Langmeier earned scores of 88.25 in each of the first two phases of competition with Eclipse and then jumped Goetzmann’s mount Contelido to an 86. She finished fifth overall with a score of 262.5.

For her win, Colvin was presented the WIHS Equitation Classic Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. G. Ralph Ours, III. Patrick was awarded The Lugano Memorial Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill, as the winning horse of the night.

The judges for the class were Bill Ellis and Shane George on panel one and Susie Schoellkopf and Joe Fargis on panel two.

Colvin has competed in the Final the last several years and was excited that all of her hard work finally paid off. Colvin recently started training at Heritage Farm, working with Andre Dignelli and Patricia Griffith.

“I have had a lot of great trainers who have helped me get to where I am now,” Colvin acknowledged. “Patrick has been an amazing horse, so to win on him here was just a fantastic feeling. Having it be my last round on him was emotional, but it was good. It was really good.”

Speaking of her final work-off aboard Vondel DHZ, Colvin remarked, “Thankfully my horse came from Heritage. I have never ridden him before, but I know that Patricia knows him well. He was very straightforward. He landed left mostly. He had a fantastic jump and a quick front end, so he was very fun.”

Griffith was very proud to be a part of the team that helped Colvin get this momentous win as her junior career comes to an end, and spoke of Colvin’s natural ability.

“Tori is awesome to work with,” Griffith praised. “She has such a great feel for the horses. Even on a strange horse, right away she has a good sense of what she should do or what she should jump. It is easy to have a lot of dialogue with her and to have a lot of respect for somebody with that kind of talent. Training her is really just helping her and being there to offer a little bit of advice here and there. It is a pleasure.”

Second place finisher Madison Goetzmann was competing in the WIHS Equitation Finals for the second time and was pleased with her result this year.

“I have been coming here since ponies and to even be in the top ten was really an amazing feeling for me,” Goetzmann acknowledged. “This is a new horse, and it went great. I am really happy, and I am proud of my horse.”

“I was very excited when I heard that I was getting switched onto Hunter’s horse, Sunny, because I have heard very great things about him,” Goetzmann said of her work-off. “I was a little nervous because this was my very first horse switch, but Hunter was telling me how great a horse it is and how he is pretty straightforward. As soon as I jumped the first jump, I gained a lot of confidence and was able to breathe. He was just so great.”

For Holloway, Any Given Sunday (aka Sunny) has been a fantastic horse, and she knew that he would carry any rider to a great round.

“Sunny is just an amazing horse; he is super consistent,” Holloway stated. “He is super straightforward and super easy. I could not do it without him or my trainers and everyone that is a part of my team. It is an awesome feeling to even be here.”

Goetzmann trains with Stacia Madden, who spoke about how she helps students get to know their new horses for the final work-off.

“It is just paying attention to the horses and watching them go,” Madden noted. “You have to make sure you can figure out what leads they land on or if there are any special turns. I do think this year had a great group of horses for everyone to switch on to. There was no weak link. I think everybody had a really equal playing field this year, which was great.”

Griffith also commented on the horse switch, noting, “I feel like I got a little bit lucky this year because both of my riders in the top ten ride a lot of hunters and a lot of different hunters. Then they switched onto each other’s horses, so I was able to tell them exactly how to warm them up and exactly what they were going to do in the ring, and they pretty much did it just like that.”

Don Stewart also trained two students in the top ten, including Holloway, and was proud of his riders this year.

“My two girls went great in the top ten. I thought Hunter rode to win the class,” Stewart stated. “Hunter always delivers. She always rides great, and she is easy to work with. I thought they did a nice job judging. They certainly got the top three right for sure.”

Katherine Strauss and Sima Morgello Secure Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classics

Katherine Strauss and All In
Katherine Strauss and All In

Sixteen-year-old Katherine Strauss and her own All In took top call in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Jumper Classic, presented by Staysail Farm, to round out Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumper competition at WIHS.

Strauss topped 24 competitors in a five-horse jump-off that only saw two double-clear efforts. She saved the best for last, riding her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding to a clear round in 32.400 seconds from the final spot in the short-course order. The victory earned her The Ambassador’s Cup Perpetual Trophy and also the Reserve Championship in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Division.

When Strauss broke the beam, she bumped Christina Firestone and Mrs. and Mr. Bertram Firestone’s Wilhelmus S to second with a time of 35.602 seconds. Madison Goetzmann had the fastest time over the jumps, but a rail settled her and her own Wrigley in third with four faults in 32.29 seconds. Lucy Deslauriers and Lisa Deslauriers’ Hamlet finished fourth on eight faults in 33.10 seconds, while Allish Cunniffe rounded out the top five in the irons of Whipstick Farm Ltd.’s Betty Boop II with eight faults in 35.980 seconds.

Strauss and her trainer John Madden made a plan before the jump-off, but that plan quickly changed. “Before I went we were considering doing four strides from the second to third jump in the jump-off and also leaving out a stride in the last line. But, right before I went none had been clear and then Christina had a nice clear round,” said Strauss. “My horse has a really big stride and is pretty quick on its feet naturally, so doing the five in both of those and taking less risk, I could still be a little faster than her and it worked out well.”

All In was bred in the Netherlands and came to Strauss last year as a nine-year-old. “He is amazing. I am so fortunate to have a horse like him,” she said. “I showed him at indoors last year, so he knows the drill.”

Strauss is currently focusing on U25 and High Junior competition with the occasional grand prix, but her number-one goals include Young Riders and Prix de States as her last year as a junior rider approaches.

In 2010, Strauss won in the Children’s Jumper Championship at WIHS and is no stranger to success at Verizon Center. She even experienced some déjà vu this week after winning the High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic in 2012 with her own Chellano Z. “It is always fun to win here – it’s such an amazing horse show,” she said. “It is a really fun, unique experience having horses in the city, which we do not see very often.”

Goetzmann and Wrigley earned the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper championship overall and were presented the Greenberg Challenge Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hermen Greenberg. Deslauriers was presented the 2015 SHALANNO Style of Riding Award. The award is presented each year to the Junior Jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation and the respectful, dignified manner of a true sportsman.

Earlier on Saturday, Sima Morgello and Double S Farm LLC’s Zopala jumped to victory in the $7,500 Senator’s Cup Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic, sponsored by The Strauss Family. Twenty-three entries started over the first round course, and eight qualified for the jump-off where only two riders cleared the short course without fault. Francesca Dildabanian took an early lead in 32.83 seconds with Catika van de Helle, but Morgello soon took over with her winning round in a time of 31.56 seconds. Noel Fauntleroy had the fastest time of the jump-off in 31.40 seconds with Fara-Hilija ven de Start, but one rail came down to place the pair in third.

For the Classic win, Morgello was presented the Swan Lake Perpetual Trophy, donated by Beagle Brook Farm, in honor of the 1992 winner Swan Lake ridden by Jennifer F. Miller. With Saturday’s win and two second place finishes earlier in the week, Morgello and Zopala also earned the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner and get their name on the long list of winners for the Foxbrook Perpetual Trophy, donated by Joy Slater in honor of Space Citation. Taegan Long and Maria Long’s Polllux de Shalimar earned the reserve championship.

Morgello (19), of The Bronx, NY, is a sophomore at New York University. She has owned Zopala, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Boreas x Lincoln) for about four years and trains with Devin Ryan in New Jersey.

Commenting on her win, Morgello stated, “This is my third year at this horse show with her, and she has been second every year. I’m so lucky that we finally pulled it off.”

“I have to say, she is my favorite horse. She has such a good attitude,” Morgello noted. “She is actually really lazy, but you would never know it. She is always so excited when she walks into the ring. She whinnies in the beginning of the week. I think she loves her job.”

“She is a little bit unconventional,” Morgello said of the ride on Zopala. “She looks like a pony and she goes in a hackamore. She really has her own style. She loves to go uphill with her head up and out. I had to learn to ride her in that way. She is a lot of work, but she gives me so much work back, so it is worth it.”

In 2014, Morgello was reserve champion with a second place finish, and was thrilled to get even better results this year.

“I was super happy. To have the win today was really exciting,” Morgello acknowledged. “It is my last show with her for a year. She is going to have a new home for the upcoming year, so it was really a nice send off.”

“This is my favorite indoor and one of my favorite shows of the year,” Morgello added. “I love the crowds. I love that there are people just here from the area that want to come see the horses. It is really encouraging. It is great landing from the last jump and hearing everyone clapping.”

The Washington International Horse Show concludes on Sunday with the presentation of championship honors in the Pony Hunter divisions as well as the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals and WIHS Regional Finals.

For full results, please visit www.wihs.org.

About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.

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