Reining Horses at Jacksonville Equestrian Center Compete for over $130,000 in Prizes

Photo courtesy of Waltenberry Photography and Videography of the Horse.

Jacksonville, FL (March 9, 2018) — The Jacksonville Equestrian Center hosted the Florida Reining Horse Association (FRHA) Classic February 20-25. The annual competition paid out more than $130,000 in added prize monies.

The multi-day reining competition offered 75 classes across multiple divisions from short stirrup and youth to amateur, non-pro, novice, green and open. The event also included US Para Reining Grades 1-4 and World Para Reining Grades 1-4, which are for athletes with a physical disability.

“We had roughly 450 horses here,” said Karen Randall, the show secretary from Lockport, New York. “We had more exhibitors from outside of Florida than from the state of Florida.”  Riders hauled from as far west as Texas and Oklahoma and as far north as New York and Pennsylvania and points beyond. Each exhibitor had hopes of winning cash prizes, one of 35 championship buckles, a saddle or one of nearly 600 other prizes.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s facilities contribute to the event’s popularity. The facility offers more than 400 permanent stalls and a large indoor coliseum, which includes a 123,000 square foot arena with permanent seating for 3,700.  “The Equestrian Center goes above and beyond for us,” Randall said. “The facility and staff are simply fabulous to work with.” FRHA will host another event at the facility March 23-25 of this year and has already signed a contract for events in 2019.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is widely known for hosting family-friendly, exciting events all year long, which are open to the public. Events range from reining to barrel racing, dressage, dog agility competitions and more. The next event scheduled for this month is the USDAA Agility Trial on March 9-11.

After that, the facility will be open to the public for Community Schooling – All Barrels on March 13. Barrel racers can take advantage of the opportunity to ride in the Main Arena in the evening. That takes place just ahead of the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) Shamrock Showdown. This high-speed barrel race will pay out an estimated $125,000 in cash prizes.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a favorite destination for equestrian competitions, recreational events, and social events for the community. The 80-acre facility, which is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, also features miles of hiking and riding trails and a picnic pavilion. For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, please visit

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Inside the Dutch Masters: Friday 9th March

Kevin Staut, Anky van Grunsven (show president) and Jeroen Dubbeldam (picture: Kit Houghton).

Behind the Scenes with World Champion Jeroen Dubbeldam and Team Olympic Gold Medalist Kevin Staut

What does it mean to you as a rider to come back and try and win this Rolex Grand Prix, which is now part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

Kevin Staut: “It is very emotional. I am very motivated, as is everyone else, especially Jeroen who is on his home ground. I appreciate this show for all of the different atmospheres in the ring – It is amazing. It is difficult for indoor shows to have comfortable areas for the horses and now the stables are really quiet and peaceful; we have enough time and space during the day to ride our horses. Sometimes we don’t mention this enough, but for the top sport we need this kind of comfort. Back to the sport – I am motivated; I have my most experienced horse here, so I hope I can get a good result on Sunday.”

Jeroen Dubbeldam: “This show was already one of the best indoor shows in the world, but this year in particular the progress has been incredible. They have done a fantastic job; you can almost ride everywhere and the setup is very chic. It is the first time here for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping which is something new and special; it brings something extra to the show for us. In terms of my success, this has not been one of my favourite shows. I haven’t been successful at this show yet, but things can change. Expectations are very dangerous; you can only try to prepare yourself as much as you can and hope for the best.”

What attracts you to the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“The first thing that attracts me is the sport itself. And then at a show like this, with such a high level of riders, a great atmosphere and with this beautiful brand Rolex as the main sponsor – if that doesn’t attract you as a rider then you had better stop riding.”

Anky van Grunsven – Show President and Dressage Legend

What does it mean for The Dutch Masters to be hosting the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping for the first time?

“It makes me happy and very proud, and now we have tried to make it look even better than before. We are very happy to be in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping with the other big names, Geneva, Calgary and Aachen. We are very honoured and very proud.”

What was your reaction when you were told that The Dutch Masters would be part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“Yes! I think it works out well for both sides; we are happy with Rolex and we hope that they are happy with us, not just now but also in ten years’ time. The pressure is very good – if you think you’re done, well that is the beginning of the end. After Sunday we can start to think what ‘what can we do better next year. That is the only way to stay at the top.”

Behind the Stable Door with David Honnet, Groom to Scott Brash, the Only Rider to Have Won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

How do you prepare the horses for a Show like The Dutch Masters, and especially looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix?

“We have to make a detailed plan three to four months in advance. A Rolex Grand Slam show is very important to Scott, and the team, so we know we have to prepare really well. It is not just me; there is a really big team behind Scott so we all work together. Ursula is pretty easy to prepare because she’s naturally good for the show, she has a lot of experience, is a very calm horse, and loves to compete at the Majors especially CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva. She is older now, so needs extra work ahead of the events to make her fit and lean because she likes her food and can get a bit fat! She also needs to be lean because the jumps are big and it’s easier for her to jump if she is lighter.”

And Hello Shelby?

“Shelby has been with us for six months now so he is still a bit green. He is the opposite of Ursula; he is fresher, so we have to keep him under control. He needs to be worked hard so that when he gets to the show he doesn’t go crazy. But he is good; he is pretty easy and straightforward.”

What are your thoughts on the Majors that make up the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“For me, even before I worked for Scott or before Scott became a Rolex Testimonee, they have been the best shows.”

“When you go to any of the four Majors you feel history, even if you are just a groom you get a feeling that you don’t get at the other shows. I like that they are tough courses.”

“You can’t have these shows every week because it is too hard on the horses but three or four times a year, when you know it is going to be hard for the rider and the horses, but the prize is big, it is great. For me the Rolex Grand Slam is the pinnacle of the sport and is almost untouchable which makes it so exciting. Knowing how hard it is to even win one Rolex Grand Prix, to win the Rolex Grand Slam will really stay in people’s heads and is recognised and respected by everyone.”

The 5* jumping action kicked off in style at The Dutch Masters with Germany’s Daniel Deusser proving to be on top form to take the VDL Groep Prize, a qualifier for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix taking place on Sunday 11 March.

With only three horse and rider combinations competing in the jump off, they are the ones to watch as the journey towards the Rolex Grand Slam edges a step closer:


  • Olympic Team Bronze Medallist in 2016
  • Horse: Cornet D’Amour, a 15-year-old grey gelding


  • Winner of two Majors, the Rolex Grand Prix in CHIO Aachen in 2016 and the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in 2017
  • Horse: LB Convall, an 11-year-old grey stallion


  • World Number Two
  • Was honoured as the ‘2017 Rider of the Year’ in the Netherlands
  • Horse: Emerald, a 14-year-old chestnut stallion


McLain Ward and Bellefleur Are Best Again in $35k Bainbridge 1.45m Classic CSI5*

McLain Ward and Bellefleur PS Z. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 9, 2018 – McLain Ward and Bellefleur PS Z topped the $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Classic CSI 5* on Friday, March 9, during week nine of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), marking the reigning FEI World Cup champion’s second CSI5* victory in as many days at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Fresh off a win in Thursday’s $132,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge CSI5* aboard Hija van Strokapelleken, owned by Evergate Stables LLC, Ward (USA) returned to the International Arena at PBIEC to take the win aboard another gray mare, Bellefleur PS Z, a nine-year-old Zangersheide owned by Susan Heller and Ward’s daughter, Lilly Ward.

When Ward entered the ring in the 54-entry speed class, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and her mount Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five, had set a quick time to beat of 56.19 seconds over the Alan Wade-designed course.

“I didn’t think Kristen was actually beatable to be honest. She has a much bigger stride on that horse than I have on mine,” said Ward, who was ultimately able to shave more than a second off of Vanderveen’s time, finishing on 54.80 seconds.

Yuri Mansur and Babylotte Win $35,000 Rose Hill Farm 1.45m Classic CSI 2*

Brazil’s Yuri Mansur and Babylotte topped 82 additional entries to win the $35,000 Rose Hill Farm 1.45m Classic CSI2* on Friday, March 9.

Mansur and the 12-year-old KWPN mare owned by Mansur and Euro Stables tripped the jump-off timers in 35.11 seconds to take the victory over fellow Brazilian Pedro Muylaert who finished in 36.05 seconds riding C’est Dorijke, owned by Ricardo Facchini. Third place with a time of 36.33 seconds went to the USA’s Hunter Holloway riding Eastern Jam for owner Hays Investment Corp.

Riley McKesson Captures $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Victory

Ten-year-old Riley McKesson of Wellington, FL triumphed in the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby riding Rollingwoods Stickler, owned by Annakate Long.

McKesson and Rollingwoods Stickler scored an 87 in the first round – the highest score of the class – and added an 82 in the second round to come away with a total score of 169 and the win. Kat Fuqua and her own Finesse RF scored 84 and 83 for a 167 total for second place. Third place went to Olivia Markman and her own Glynhafan Red Kestral, who had a 156.50 total.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | |

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Learning never stops. I am competing now at the highest level available, but I’m still learning more. I’m refining and improving all the time. There is never an end to journey, just new paths and new heights to reach.

Have you ever met someone who believes they already know all there is to know? I overheard one of the horses in the pasture next to mine say, “I’m not arrogant; I really do know everything.” I was so sad for this lovely mare, for she will never improve, never move forward, and never learn anything more. Yes, she is talented and has a lot to offer, but her cup is already full. Her belief that she’s already arrived at the pinnacle of her game will keep her stuck right where she is.

Dressage is a challenging sport. It attracts people who like precision, rhythm, and rules. Dressage riders tend to be a bit didactic, meaning once an idea of how something is done is accepted as THE way, they want it done that way every time.

But what if there’s another way? What if someone comes up with a new way that works better?

My suggestion is to do your best to always have an open attitude. No matter how good you are or how much you know, continue to learn and grow. Imagine yourself as an empty cup. Take in all the information you can, decide what works for you, and let go of what doesn’t. Just because it’s always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it that way.

You’re not old until you stop learning. Always approach life as if there’s something new for you to learn, and you will.

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

I’m still considered very young, even in dog years. I hear people complain all the time about getting older and the aches and pains that come with it.

Did you know that your body hears you? Your body hears your thoughts and your words. So, if you want your body to feel old, go ahead and tell it to feel old. After all, the years are marching by so there is evidence that this is true.

But if you want your body to keep feeling young and strong, do your best to send it young and strong messages. Notice where you’re still flexible and fit, and give that some thought attention. Appreciate all the ways your body continues to work well, and you’ll have more of that! If you think about the aches and pains, you’ll have more of THAT! Which one would you prefer?

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “energy follows thought.” If you’re still young in your thoughts, your body will stay young longer too! It just takes some conscious determination to move your thoughts from one to the other. Simple, but often not easy. But worth the effort, I assure you!

Of course, a daily swim in the pond helps keep you young too. Grab your towel and let’s go! Geoffrey is going to meet us there!

Love, Indy

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

Endel Ots and Lucky Strike Smokin’ at Global Dressage Festival

Photo courtesy of Wilma Frentz, Custom Saddlery.

Wellington, FL (March 8, 2017) – Endel Ots and Lucky Strike enjoyed their 2018 debut at the Global Dressage Festival and proved that Ots’ slow and steady approach to the young star’s training is a formula for success.  Ots and the Hanoverian gelding Lucky Strike (Lord Laurie x His Highness) that ignited FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships arenas not once but twice as one of the few American horses ever to represent US Dressage there, posted a victorious 73.235% ride in the USEF Developing Prix St Georges and were third (68.088%) in the FEI Prix St George, launching a confident return to the show ring during week eight and the Palm Beach Dressage Derby at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida.

“I had to brush the cobwebs off a little,” joked a modest Ots, who has been on a competitive hiatus while focusing on developing a string of bright stars for Everglades Dressage LLC of Wellington. “This was his first test since the Developing Young Horse Championships and we won. It was a nice, clean test and he went very nicely in front of me. I was especially happy with his solid canter pirouettes. He’s come back stronger between the last championships and now.” Lucky Strike, owned by Endel and his father, neurosurgeon Dr. Max Ots, was the 2016 USEF 6-Year-Old Division Champion.

Ots hasn’t been in a hurry and the results speak for themselves: “A young horse is going to take as long as they take. I want to create a happy relationship, where they will be with me in the tests and let them have time to develop, enjoy the show ring and make US teams.

“As Lucky Strike develops, my sponsor, Custom Saddlery has been so helpful in fitting his saddle,” Ots added. “It sounds like a little thing, but comfort is so important to horses when we are asking them to give us more.  Lucky and I are, well, ‘lucky’ to have such a great support team.  I was also happy that the Custom team from Holland was on hand to see how nicely Lucky is progressing this weekend.”

In addition to Lucky Strike, he’s casting an optimistic eye on a Developing Grand Prix mare, Rosenschon, that he hopes to start on a “little show tour” in April, and a Developing 5-Year-Old, owned by Tonya Reed, that he hopes to take to Chicago and represents a second generation of dressage horses that he has campaigned: “I competed his sire in Developing Grand Prix.”

Ots is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist and 2011 Pan American Games US Team Alternate who has finished multiple horses to Grand Prix level. In 2017, he won the Reserve Champion title in the Developing Horse Prix St George at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships, and coached both Chase Hickok (who campaigns Sagacious HF for Hyperion Farm) to become the top-scoring American rider on the FEI Nations Cup teams for Fasterbo, Sweden and Hickstead, England, and Bebe Davis and Fiderhit OLD, winners of the Individual Gold medal at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Dressage Championships.

“His notable track record is proof of his dressage expertise,” Young Rider Lauren Gorton has said about Ots, who has been industriously furthering his own skills with Robert Dover, Albrecht Hinneman, Debbie McDonald and Christine Traurig.

The only thing as important as developing a young horse is developing its rider. Ots likes to quote the American captain of industry and harnesser of horsepower, Henry Ford: “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right. Which one are you?” To contact Ots, call (920) 562-5714 or email or visit

McLain Ward Goes Three for Three in Five-Star Equinimity WEF Challenge Cups

McLain Ward and Hija van Strokapelleken. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 8, 2018 – There have been three CSI 5* $132,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cups at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), and 2017 FEI World Cup Finals winner McLain Ward has led the victory gallop at each one. He repeated his WEF 7 win on Thursday, March 8, with Evergate Stable LLC’s Hija van Strokapelleken at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

Going second to last in the jump-off, Ward and Hija van Strokapelleken, an 11-year-old BWP mare by Calido I x Azur de Paulstra, sped through the track using the mare’s giant stride. Ward planned to do seven strides down the last line, but he had to make a last-minute adjustment to the final fence. They were still able to record the fastest time in the class with a clear round in 39.37 seconds. This was the pair’s second WEF Challenge Cup win this season; Ward also won the class during WEF 5 with HH Azur.

Second place went to the early leaders in the jump-off, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Chaqui Z, who went first and stopped the timers in 40.48 seconds. The WEF 7 five-star grand prix winners, Danielle Goldstein (ISR) and Lizziemary, owned by The Golden Group and Danielle Goldstein, were third in 40.68 seconds.

Rob Carey Pilots First Watch to Perfect Products USHJA Hunter 3’ Championship

Thursday’s competition featured an impressive championship win by Rob Carey, of Bolton, ON, Canada, and First Watch, owned by Barbara Mitchell, in the Perfect Products USHJA Hunter 3’ division. The pair mastered the course set in ring 11 and prevailed with three firsts and a third over fences, with a second in the under saddle.

“He is the nicest hunter I have ever ridden,” said Carey. “Everything about him is absolutely fantastic.”

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | |

Daniel Coyle Scores a Victory at 2018 WEF

Daniel Coyle and Tienna. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 7, 2018 – The ninth week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began on Wednesday, March 7, with an FEI ranking class victory for Daniel Coyle of Ireland.

In the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumpers CSI 5*, Daniel Coyle, 23, and Tienna, a ten-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare by For Pleasure x Polydox owned by Ariel Grange, were fastest for victory. They completed the power and speed format course, designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, who will also course design for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon this September.

Coyle and Tienna finished the second half of the course in 28.50 seconds for victory. They just pipped Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, who had the previous leading time of 28.70 seconds. Close behind was Santiago Lambre (MEX), who rode his own Doloris to third place in 29.04 seconds and was fourth on Integrated Services Florida LLC’s D’Artagnan in 29.52 seconds.

Barazi Wins for Jordan

Victory in the $8,000 Rose Hill Farm 1.40m CSI 2* went to Ibrahim Barazi of Jordan, who not only is the first rider from Jordan to win in the FEI division at the Winter Equestrian Festival, but also scored his first FEI victory in just his fourth FEI competition. He rode Omnia Incipit, a 10-year-old mare owned by IB Stable, to the win in a time of 37.15 seconds.

Second place went to Georgina Bloomberg (USA) on Paola 233, owned by Gotham Enterprizes, in 35.38 seconds. Willie Tynan (IRL) and Red Barn Farm LLC’s KEC City Limits were third in 36.43 seconds.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | |

Henrik Leads Western European Cavalry-Charge to Paris

Photo: Henrik von Eckermann. (FEI/Lotta Brundin Gyllensten)

The top riders weren’t hanging about in the aftermath of the last Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 Western European League qualifier in Gothenburg (SWE). By last Friday, just five days after Henrik von Eckermann galloped to victory for the second year running at his home event, all 18 qualified for next month’s Longines 2018 Final had already confirmed their intention to compete in Paris (FRA), along with extra athletes Edwina Tops-Alexander from Australia and Colombia’s Carlos Lopez.

The City of Lights is calling, and the world’s top contenders for the most coveted prize in indoor Jumping are answering with a great big “YES!”

Von Eckermann’s last-leg success saw him leap-frog world number four and long-time league leader Kevin Staut who enjoyed another fantastic season, competing at 12 of the 13 Western European qualifiers and booking his spot without question. The Frenchman will be joined at the Final in the AccorHotels Arena from 11 to 15 April by compatriots Simon Delestre and Roger-Yves Bost.

Only one French rider has ever held the coveted FEI World Cup™ trophy in his hands: Bruno Brouqsault sprang a big surprise when winning through in Milan (ITA) in 2004, so there is a major incentive for the host-nation representatives to bring it home once again in this 40th season.

Britain’s Michael Whitaker said in Gothenburg, “It’s about time I won it!” and he’s right about that, having come so very close on many occasions. He’s hoping to make it happen at his 23rd attempt, but Germany’s Marcus Ehning will be bidding to become the first-ever four-time champion. The wizard of warp-speed very nearly leaped to the top of the league leaderboard with by far the fastest jump-off round at the Swedish fixture, only to be denied by a late-falling pole, and is likely to put all the pressure on the rest when the Final gets underway in five weeks’ time.

Ehning’s German counterpart and the 2011 champion, Christian Ahlmann, has also easily made the cut, and a total of 10 Western European nations will be represented at this year’s Final.

America’s McLain Ward is defending champion, and there’s still a way to go before the full line-up for Paris is announced, but it’s shaping up for a mighty battle.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
+41 78 750 61 46

Dutch Masters Set to Make Sensational Debut as Part of Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

Photo: Leopold van Asten, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in March 2017 ©The Dutch Masters – Indoor Brabant.

The world’s top riders will converge in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands from 8-11 March for The Dutch Masters, the newest addition to the world’s ultimate prize in show jumping – the Rolex Grand Slam.

Eight of the world’s top 10 riders are expected to contest the highly anticipated Rolex Grand Prix, the first Major of 2018, as they seek to kick off the year in style and be in with a chance of winning the most sought-after prize in the sport: the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.  A prize of €1 million, on top of the prize money from each of the four shows, is on offer to any rider who wins three of the four Majors consecutively, with a further €1 million prize if that same rider continues his or her victory by winning a fourth Major in succession.

Anky van Grunsven, President of The Dutch Masters: “We are thrilled to become part of the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam alongside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva – it is a real honour and we are looking forward to an exciting Grand Prix on Sunday.”

World number two ranked rider, Harrie Smolders: “What a great opportunity to have the chance to compete for one of the Majors in my own country. I am delighted that The Dutch Masters has become part of the Rolex Grand Slam and will be giving it everything I have got to try and win it.”

Founded over 50 years ago, The Dutch Masters, previously known as Indoor Brabant, has long been a highlight of the global equestrian calendar. However, the announcement in 2017 that the show would become the fourth Major within the coveted Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has elevated its status to one of the most prestigious events of the year, alongside CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ and CHI Geneva.

Over 60,000 spectators are expected to attend across the four days of competition, which also features FEI World Cup Dressage as well as the CSI5* Show Jumping, the pinnacle of which is the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday 11 March.


Sadly, American rider Kent Farrington was forced to officially withdraw from The Dutch Masters due to injury. Farrington won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva last year and with this victory he started his challenge for the Rolex Grand Slam. Unfortunately, his chance to win the Rolex Grand Slam title is now gone for now.

Local riders Harrie Smolders and Maikel van der Vleuten, currently ranked second and eleventh in the world, respectively, will be looking to give the home crowd something to cheer about, following in the footsteps of compatriot Leopold van Asten, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in 2017.

A strong contingent of Rolex Testimonees will be attempting to emulate the achievement of fellow Testimonee Scott Brash, who remains the only rider so far to have won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, following his emphatic victories in 2015.  Kevin Staut (FRA), a winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in 2014, heads the challenge, with Canada’s Eric Lamaze, currently ranked world No. 12, making the trip from his winter base in Florida, USA for the competition. World No. 8 Steve Guerdat (SUI) will be making his 16th appearance in a Major, the only rider to have competed in all Majors since they began in 2013, with Britain’s Scott Brash also competing as he seeks to repeat his remarkable Rolex Grand Slam feat.

Reigning European Champion and Olympic silver medalist Peder Fredricson (SWE), world No. 7 Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), and the in-form Henrik Von Eckermann, fresh from victory in FEI World Cup Qualifier in Gothenburg, will add to the stellar line-up of riders taking part.

For further information on The Dutch Masters or the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, please visit

The Cheltenham Festival vs. the Grand National

The Cheltenham Festival is a United Kingdom meeting in the National Hunt racing calendar that takes place annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The meeting usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day. The Cheltenham Festival originated in 1860 when the National Hunt Chase was first held at Market Harborough. It was initially titled the Grand National Hunt Meeting and took place at several locations since its institution.

The Stayers’ Hurdle, first ran in 1912, is the oldest race from the Cheltenham festival that is currently a championship race. The Gold Cup, established in 1924, was originally a supporting race for the County Hurdle which was the main event of the first day, but that quickly changed and in the following seasons it became a championship race; however, for many years it was still used by the trainers as a preparation race for the Grand National. The Cheltenham Festival race prize money is second only to the Grand National, also a National Hunt horse race held annually in April at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. Its course over which the race is run features much larger fences than those found on conventional National Hunt tracks like The Cheltenham Festival.

Until 2005 The Cheltenham Festival had traditionally been held over the course of three days, but this changed with the introduction of a fourth day, meaning there would be one championship race on each day, climaxing with the Gold Cup on that Friday in March.

Unlike Royal Ascot and many other top flat racing events in Britain and Ireland, the Cheltenham Festival does not have a history of attracting many international contenders. Races held in the United States are flat races unlike the hurdle and steeplechase races in the UK.

The number and type of races at the Cheltenham Festival has changed dramatically over the years of its existence. It has grown from a two-day meeting to a four-day meeting. In 2017, there were 28 races.

Your Southern Source for Everything Horse