Old Friends Debuts Virtual Tours

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 30 2020 –  Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Kentucky, debuted the first in a series of Virtual Farm Tours that will enable fans to continue to access the non-profit organization’s 100-plus equine retirees at its Georgetown location during the COVID-19 quarantine.

The series, dubbed “Monday Mornings with Michael”, is hosted by Old Friends founder Michael Blowen and will offer short visits with a few equine retirees each week. They will be posted on Old Friends social media platforms on Monday mornings and will also be available via their website and YouTube channel.

The first video showcases Old Friends’ oldest retires, multiple stakes winner Dinard, who is 32, and one-time claimer Archie’s Echo, who is 31.

You can see it on YouTube by CLICKING HERE.

For more information, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (502) 863-1775, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; or Barbara Fossum, (502) 863-1775, barbara@oldfriendsequine.org

Update on Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Competition

The Marshall & Sterling Insurance league recognizes these are extraordinary times. Upon careful consideration and high regard for recommendations from the CDC and local and state health officials, we have decided it is in the best interest of the League and its Member Riders and Shows to suspend all Marshall & Sterling sanctioned events effective immediately through May 3, 2020. For those competitions choosing to run, there will be no accumulation of points towards Marshall & Sterling Year-End Awards or Qualifying during this time.

The health, safety, and well-being of our members and the horse community is of utmost importance to the Marshall & Sterling League. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with the appropriate government officials and health experts and will reinstate League sanctioning when the health concerns are lifted. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to follow these temporary guidelines to keep our members safe and healthy during this period.

We will post updates as needed on our website and the M&S Facebook page. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@HitsShows.com.

Equestrian Festival Baborówko 2020 Is Cancelled

Baborówko, 27 March 2020 – In consequence of the global epidemiological situation, making it our priority to take care of the health and safety of our riders, audiences, and all people involved in the organization of the event, we have decided to cancel Equestrian Festival Baborówko that was due to take place in the second half of May 2020.

“Taking into consideration the epidemiological threat, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s Equestrian Festival Baborówko. We believe that the world will soon return to its normal rhythm, but as for now our thoughts go out to public health workers, and we ourselves are taking necessary hygienic precautions to assure that Baborówko Equestrian Centre can safely function on a daily basis and we can continue to carry out ongoing investments,” says Henryk Święcicki Jr, show director.

Equestrian Festival Baborówko was meant to present new investments, co-funded with funds from the Ministry of Sport, for the first time. “We continue to develop the sport infrastructure in Baborówko. Currently we are working on a new, modern hippodrome, measuring approximately 7,000 m2 and a warm-up arena of 2,100 m2. Both arenas will be constructed with professional quartz footing and drainage systems that will allow the event to be carried out regardless of weather conditions. The project also includes a new water complex measuring 1,000 m2 and a grass hippodrome of 10,0000 m2 with a drainage and irrigation system. We hope that the athletes and audiences will have the chance to take advantage of our Centre’s modernized facilities during the September event, Baborówko Horse Sale Show,” summarized Henryk Święcicki Jr.

Baborówko Horse Sale Show will take place from the 25th until the 27th of September. The event will host international classes of CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S, an auction of horses with predispositions for eventing and showjumping, and the prestigious Polish Eventing Cup Final.

The organizers would like to invite everyone to Baborówko Horse Sale Show in September and to the next edition of Equestrian Festival Baborówko in May 2021.

More information can be found at:  www.festiwal.baborowko.pl/eng and www.bhss.baborowko.pl/eng.

Final Turf Tour of 2020 Ends with Last to Go Victory; Finale Week Cancelled

Luis Larrazabal and Caristina. Photo property of Equinium/The Ridge at Wellington.

Wellington, FL (March 27, 2020) – Despite the omnipresent cloud of coronavirus concerns darkening an otherwise sunny and crisp Florida spring, the last days of competition on the 2020 Turf Tour did not disappoint. Adhering to strict protocols, social distancing, and sanitization procedures recommended by both the USEF and CDC, The Ridge’s home farm on Palm Beach Point Boulevard in Wellington hosted two rings of show jumping at what would be the final chance for riders to jump for the 2020 Leading Rider Award. With a tricked-out golf cart presented by Iron Horse Transit as the prize, the Turf Tour’s Leading Rider rankings were a close race between a handful of riders determined to win and prove the resiliency and perseverance of the equestrian athlete.

The $15,000 Turf Tour Grand Prix was a hotly contested class, and has been all of 2020, with some riders bringing multiple horses to boost their numbers on the leaderboard. The course, set by Olympic designer Leopoldo Palacios, offered options for competitive rides and a dramatic final bending line in the jump-off: a challenging, angled gallop from the Prestige Italia oxer to the Hygain Feed vertical.

With just 20 points separating him from the pinnacle, Luis Larrazabal of Venezuela and the dapple grey mare Caristina flew around the immaculate grass Grand Prix field. As the last to go of the day, they galloped to victory with a jump off time of 31.146. His double clear effort was contested by three others: Samuel Perot and Boogie Woogie (32.220), Kristian Skovrider and Lykkehoejs Cassander (33.989), and Wilhelm Genn and Van Gogh (34.955). The last week’s Grand Prix victory makes bookend wins for Larrazabal and Caristina this season, as the pair was also the first winners of the of the Grand Prix during Turf Tour 1 (January 8-10).

Brazil’s Thiago Rhavy and Salamandra Baloubina were victorious in the week’s second headline class, the $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic. Edging out speedy Stella Manship and her Quarto Mail by only two hundredths of a second, Rhavy came out on top in the jump-off on a time of 30.730 to Manship’s 30.919.

After following the developing plot of the coronavirus, with a heavy heart, the Turf Tour’s organizers announced that they would be cancelling the last event of the season, Finale week at Black Watch Farm. Despite all the extra protocols taken to ensure the health and safety of all their horses, riders, owners, spectators, and staff, the next Turf Tour event is planned to commence January 2021, with lots of new venue additions, sponsors, and all the atmosphere and competition that has made the Turf Tour a staple in Wellington’s show season.

“We are in uncharted waters with this virus and the impact on equestrian events and the entire industry,” said George D’Ambrosio, co-founder of the Turf Tour. “Erring on the side of caution will be our decision in such a situation, and we can’t thank our supporters and riders enough for bringing their horses to show with us. We wish everyone a safe and healthy spring, so we can all get back in the saddle again ASAP.”

For full results, visit www.HorseShowing.com.

For more info, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

2021 AGDF to Host 2020 Lövsta Future Challenge and Summit Farm Future Challenge Series Finals

Sarah Lockman and Balia were the high score of the qualifiers in the Summit Farm Prix St. Georges Future Challenge Series. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 26, 2020 – Adequan® Global Dressage Festival announces that the $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series and the $10,000 Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series, both slated to hold finals during the final week of the 2020 AGDF, have been postponed until the first week of the 2021 AGDF due to the cancellation of the final two weeks of the circuit because of coronavirus. After a highly successful inaugural season of 10 qualifying weeks, the horse and rider combinations have been determined for the Finals.

“While we are disappointed to have to cancel the last two weeks of AGDF and postpone these series finals, we look forward to hosting them as a kick-off to the 2021 AGDF,” said AGDF Director of Sport Thomas Baur. “We were thrilled to see how popular both of the series were and that so many riders, trainers, and owners appreciated the opportunity afforded for their up-and-coming horses.”

The $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series idea, originally set up by Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Louise Nathorst in its home country of Sweden as a talent development program, is for horses age eight to ten years old at the Grand Prix level. They competed in the FEI Intermediate II test.

During the 2020 AGDF, Lövsta also announced the launch of a new charitable initiative to benefit the local charity, Friends of Palm Beach. Lövsta supported the charity and its mission by donating $250 for every ride in the series throughout the circuit, ending up with a total of $8,500 given to the charity.

“For us at Lövsta, sustainability has been a strong driving force,” said owner Antonia Ax:son Johnson. “Our slogan is ‘Save the earth. It’s the only planet with horses.’ To underline our commitment, we decided to support the charitable organization Friends of Palm Beach with $250 for every entry in the Lövsta Future Challenge this season. This fine group of people clean the Palm Beach beaches from trash to support the beautiful creatures of the sea and keep our beaches clean and environmentally safe. The beauty of our ocean and the beauty of our horses align.”

Friends of Palm Beach is a 501(c)3 organization that cleans the beaches of Palm Beach regularly to remove incoming plastics, trash, and unnatural debris and to educate the community on the effects of this on our environment and marine life. They partner with other non-profit job placement programs to help end the cycle of homelessness while also helping to end the cycle of trash in our ocean.

The popularity of the $10,000 Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series for horses seven to nine years old was evident at the 2020 AGDF, and many of the best young small tour horses competed for a chance to qualify for the Finals.

One of the qualifiers was Pan American Games team and individual gold medalist Sarah Lockman (USA), who is also the professional rider for Summit Farm. She and Balia were multiple winners during the series and scored the highest of all the qualifiers with a 73.603% at AGDF 6.

Lockman said that the series fits perfectly with the business model and goals for Summit Farm.

“We start horses young and develop them into top international horses,” she said. “It’s meant a lot for us to support this series that is specific to seven- to nine-year-old horses. We hope to see more of this and want to provide an incentive for trainers and riders to put these top young horses out there.

“It was a great thing to offer prize money to a class outside of the CDI,” she continued. “Trainers and riders can enter a horse in this series and get notoriety. In Europe, young horses get a lot of praise and press, with financial gain by showing young horses and developing them. To support that idea in the U.S. and give that incentive and reward meant a lot to us at Summit Farm. We are very proud to be a part of this series at AGDF.”

The 2021 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival will be held on January 6 – March 28. For more information on AGDF, please visit www.GlobalDressageFestival.com.

Anticipation Building ahead of Return of Flat Season in Britain

We were in the middle of a memorable national hunt season, with the Cheltenham festival taking place, despite the issues rising due to the coronavirus pandemic. This led to the Grand National being cancelled, and there is now a wait to when horse racing and sport will return. All eyes are now on the upcoming flat season, with punters already looking at the Royal Ascot promotions and offers to support horses in the outright markets. The big question now is: will sport have returned by the start of what is the marquee event for many in the racing calendar?

The flat season in Britain has a number of key meetings upcoming that are also under threat. All will culminate with the Breeders’ Cup in America, which comes at the end of the season, with a large number of horses heading over to contest the meeting. This is taking place over two days.

The flat season was really set to kick off in the opening weekend of May, with the 1000 and 2000 Guineas. This takes place at Newmarket racecourse, with Pinatubo the horse everyone is looking forward to seeing. He is the short priced favourite for the race, and this is little surprise, considering just how impressive he was last year. If he returns in the same form, then it is his race to lose, as he is rated clear of his opposition.  He has won all six of his racecourse starts, with his key performance coming in Ireland at the Curragh. This saw the horse produce a stunning display to clear away from a classy field and win by nine lengths. A performance which put the horse as one of the highest rated two year olds in memory and even higher than the great Frankel. If he can continue his progression, then he could be another all-time great.

There are so many other meetings that punters and racing fans on a whole will be looking forward to. These include the Oaks and Derby in the early period of June. This takes place at Epsom racecourse and is one of the most prestigious meetings in racing and one that fans looking forward to each year around the world.

This will all lead on to the previously mentioned Royal Ascot meeting, in which Pinatubo would also be expected to race. The Breeders’ Cup would then be the great finish to the season, so let’s hope the action can resume in the near future, and we see an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

Equestrian Aid Foundation Opens Disaster Relief Fund

Wellington, Fla. — Mar. 26, 2020 — The Equestrian Aid Foundation has opened its Disaster Relief Fund to assist equestrian professionals and industry service providers in unexpected financial crisis as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation will prioritize assistance to industry professionals and service providers who have lost their primary or only income as a direct result of the pandemic. A one-time emergency grant payment of $500 is intended to assist qualified applicants with basic living expenses. The grant window for EAF’s COVID-19 relief program is open through April 15.

In light of the recent guidelines set by US Equestrian regarding the suspension of horse showing for an extended period of time, the equestrian community is facing critical need now more than ever.

Donations made to EAF’s Disaster Relief Fund at this time will be directed in full toward assistance for equestrian professionals and industry service providers in financial crisis directly due to the suspension and related cancellations caused by COVID-19.

For more information about Equestrian Aid Foundation, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

FEI to Create Task Forces to Deal with Impact of Covid-19

Lausanne (SUI), 25 March 2020 – The FEI is to create a series of discipline-specific task forces to evaluate the impact on the FEI Calendar of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in multiple Event cancellations and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games until 2021.

The FEI Board approved the creation of the task forces during its monthly teleconference 24 March. The task forces, each of which will focus on a single discipline, will remain in place until any further decision by the Board.

The FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, who has overall responsibility for the FEI Calendar, will chair each task force. The FEI Vice Presidents Mark Samuel (CAN) and Jack Huang (TPE) will be members of each task force together with the European Equestrian Federation President Theo Ploegmakers (NED) and the President of the International Equestrian Organisers Association Peter Bollen (BEL). The FEI Calendar Administrator and a representative from both the FEI IT and FEI Legal departments will sit on each of the task forces.

The individual task forces, which will also include the Chair of the relevant Technical Committee, a representative of the Athletes, and the FEI Sports Director of the specific discipline, will review all FEI Calendar related issues caused by the Covid-19 virus and make recommendations to the FEI on ways to address them.

The FEI President will be kept fully updated by each of the task forces, and will attend meetings when necessary in order to assist in finalising proposals for solutions to be put forward to the FEI Board for approval.

Following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the FEI has already received assurances from the IOC that it will work in tandem with all the International Federations to find the best solutions for all issues that arise, including the dates for rescheduling and the impact that will have on the international calendar for all sports.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

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

Old Friends Statement Regarding Death of War Emblem

War Emblem at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 24, 2020 –  Michael Blowen, founder and President of Old Friends, the nonprofit Thoroughbred Retirement Farm based in Kentucky, released the findings of the necropsy report regarding the recent passing of 2002 Kentucky Derby – Preakness winner War Emblem.

War Emblem, 21, was found deceased at Old Friends on March 11, 2020 after what was initially perceived to be a fatal paddock accident. A full medical report was, at that time, pending.

The following statement was issued by Old Friends resident veterinarian, Dr. Bryan Waldridge of Park Equine Hospital in Versailles, KY:

“After War Emblem’s sudden death, a complete necropsy was performed at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The cause of death was ruptured small intestine. The cause of the tear in his small intestine could not be determined by anatomic or microscopic examination. No strangulation or displacement of the small intestine was present. Rupture of the small intestine without a predisposing cause is an uncommon and, unfortunately, fatal injury.”

“We were very proud to be given the opportunity to repatriate War Emblem when his stallion career came to an end, and we were lucky enough to have him with us for nearly five years,” said Blowen. “His great speed, great beauty, intelligence, and distinct personality made him one of our most popular and beloved retirees, visited by hundreds of fans weekly, even in our off season.

“Our entire staff was devastated by his unexpected passing,” Blowen added. “We’ll all miss him terribly.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Sometimes our biggest challenges become our greatest successes. As a Friesian, I’m not built for a good canter. My breed was bred for a fancy trot to elegantly and smartly pull buggies and carts. But with determination and proper training, I was able to develop an amazing canter! My ability to do superb one tempis is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Here in Wellington, the Para-Equestrian’s Olympic Trials are being held. Wow! What an amazing bunch of people! These are folks who have physical challenges much harder to deal with than I’ve ever had. They are a brave, talented, and determined bunch, who don’t let their disabilities slow them down. They’ve proven they can do anything they put their minds to!

Is there something in your life you’d like to do, but you don’t have the confidence to try? I suggest you Google para equestrian dressage and take a look at the many videos of what these incredible athletes are accomplishing, with challenges that are probably much bigger than your own. Perhaps it will inspire you to give your dream a shot!

I’ve decided I want to give jumping a try. I’ve always thought it would be too hard for me, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ll start small and without a rider, and see how high I can go. I know if I work at it, I’ll be a success. If I never try, I’ll never know how good I might be!

What can you work on today to move you toward your goals? Do some of THAT!

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

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