Wellington, FL – January 31, 2018 – Action in week four of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) had a change of scenery, with almost 80 riders crossing the road to the grass derby field at Equestrian Village (home to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival).
Newly-minted Israeli rider Alberto Michán — double Olympian for his home country of Mexico at Beijing and London — logged his first win for his new nation, riding Redmond in the $6,000 FEI Bainbridge 1.40m.
Jennifer Bliss and Poker Face Sweep $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Wellington, FL – December 1, 2017 – Mexico’s Alberto Michan and Inouk P took the win in the $35,000 Dever Golf Cars, Inc. 1.45m Classic CSI 4* during the first week of the ESP Holiday Series at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the day’s track for 39 entries in the International Ring, which saw nine clear rounds vie for top honors in the speed competition. Michan and the 2008 Belgian Warmblood mare (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Darco), owned by Ilan Ferder, jumped their winning round in 60.59 seconds. Molly Ashe (USA) and Louisburg Farm’s Picobello Choppin PC, a 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Motzart Des Semilly x Diamant De Semilly), finished second after stopping the timers in 60.69 seconds. Margie Engle (USA) and Dicas, a 2009 Rheinlander gelding (Diarado x Cassini I) owned by Storm Ridge Capital LLC and Gladewinds, Inc., placed third, crossing through the finish in 60.72 seconds.
“I think that it was a big enough course for a speed class,” Michan described. “We saw Brianne Goutal go out early on and ride very, very fast, so I think that she set the bar high for the rest of us today and made us all take a serious shot at it. Because of that, we had to take strides out at almost every line and if you wanted to be in the top three you really needed to push it.”
The mare, most recently piloted by Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts, is a new sale horse for Michan. Of his round, Michan explained, “We really considered whether or not we should push it and go really fast with her or not, but she is a very quick mare and has done very well with Nicola. We knew she was very experienced and has done it many times. We just went out there and went for it and she jumped unbelievably.”
Michan’s goal is to find someone who enjoys the mare as much as her previous riders have. Until then, he plans to continue taking her out at the Grand Prix level in the coming months. “We have a very nice group of horses here this winter and I have three or four horses to jump in the Grand Prix classes this coming season. Hopefully, because of them, we will have a successful year,” he concluded.
Jennifer Bliss and Poker Face Sweep $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Later in the afternoon, Jennifer Bliss of Wellington, FL rode Poker Face, owned by Harris Hill Farm, to top honors in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Second place went to Brent Balisky of Langley, BC and Easy Street, owned by Thunderbird Show Stables, completing their rounds with a final score of 175. Third place was awarded to Kris Killam of Naples, FL with Barbara Fishman’s Mr. Big, earning a 173 to finish their afternoon.
The combination mastered the track designed by Robbie McGregor of Wellington, FL and received an overall score of 176. Of her win, Bliss exclaimed, “I’m so excited. This horse is my long-time partner. I’ve had him for about six or seven years and I just love him to death. He’s been happy to get back in the ring and I’m happy to get back in the ring with him because I just love this horse so much.”
The pair was the first to achieve victory in the new “Hunt and Go” format, in which competitors complete a classic hunter round and then immediately begin their handy round. “I thought it was fun,” said Bliss in regard to the new format. “I think that it will certainly take a little bit of getting used to, but I did like trying it out. It really keeps things flowing.”
Kelly Mullen of Franklin, TN rode to the top of the leaderboard in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, aboard Fortuny, owned by Warioto Farms Inc. The pair rode to a first round score of 88 and returned for the handy, where they earned a total score of 175.5 and first place honors. Second place went to Jennifer Bliss and Sugarman, owned by Harris Hill Farm, LLC, after the duo completed their rounds with an overall score of 174. Third place was captured by Devin Seek of Ocala, FL aboard Emo Stables’ Attila with a two round score of 169.
Alberto Michan and Gigolo van de Broekkant. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, continued on Thursday with a momentous win for Alberto Michan. The rider from Mexico led his first international round of honor on the fields of Spruce Meadows, guiding Gigolo van de Broekkant to victory in the Cargill Cup 1.55m. Thursday’s competition also featured the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup, which saw an exciting win for Ireland’s Daniel Coyle and Fortis Fortuna.
The ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, continues with world-class show jumping through Sunday, July 3. The highlight of the week is Saturday’s $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex.
Ireland’s Alan Wade is the international course designer in the Meadows on the Green arena for this week’s ‘Pan American’ competition. For Thursday’s Cargill Cup 1.55m, Wade saw 43 entries, with just three clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Seven other competitors finished the course with a single time fault to keep them out of the tiebreaking round.
First to go over the short course, Alberto Michan guided Ilan Ferder and Tal Milstein’s Gigolo van de Broekkant to the win with a clear round in 38.46 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid, owned by the Chacco Kid Group, jumped next and finished with one rail down in 39.27 seconds to place third. Last to go, Tiffany Foster (CAN) jumped into second place with Torrey Pines and Artisan Farms’ Victor, completing a clear round in 38.97 seconds.
Commenting on his first big win at Spruce Meadows, Michan smiled, “It is incredible; it is such an amazing feeling. I last came here eight years ago, but every year I follow the results and the great riders that are always at Spruce Meadows. I really love this competition; I think it is one of the best in the world. To be in the first position in a big event here is something exciting for any rider.”
Michan’s winning mount on Thursday was Gigolo van de Broekkant, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Heartbreaker x Concorde) that he began competing this spring.
“He is a super nice horse,” the rider detailed. “We just bought him in April, so we have not had so much time with him, but he has already had amazing results. He is maybe not the scopiest, but he has such a big heart, and he is so careful over the jumps. I think that if I can help him a little bit with speed he can jump any track in the world.”
Speaking of speed, Michan was first to go in a jump-off with two very fast riders to follow. Commenting on his plan, Michan explained, “Truthfully, I was sure they were going to beat me. They are both so fast, but I tried to do the best I could. I did a very short turn to jump number three, and the eight strides came in a forward motion, so I did not lose time there. Then I went really quick to the vertical. I did not watch the other ones go. I do not know if they went with all they had, but I was lucky they did not beat me.”
Over his eight-year hiatus from competing at Spruce Meadows, Michan lived in Europe and focused on a career in the textile industry. He then decided to become a professional rider again in 2012, and stayed in Europe to compete. In January 2016, he began a new partnership with Ilan Ferder Stables, and is now based in the United States.
“I am very excited about the partnership,” Michan noted. “I think Ilan is super excited as well to do the big sport. He has been a great dealer for many years and now I think we can also try to be in the top of the sport in the rankings. We have to build up a lot of horses still, and we have to go to many important shows and start getting results, but it is going really well. I am so happy and on my part I will try very hard to achieve our goals together.”
Thursday’s Cargill Cup was also a great competition to earn valuable FEI World Ranking points, which will help Michan in his goal to move up in his international standing.
“This was a great ranking class to win,” Michan stated. “It is nice at Spruce Meadows because we have four weeks here that are 5* competitions. In Europe, it is really hard to get points if you are not in the top 20 or 30 in the world, so I think for many riders it is a great opportunity to be here and earn good points. We have so many ranking classes and we can really use it to climb up some positions.”
Daniel Coyle and Fortis Fortuna Top Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup
Thursday’s competition kicked off in the morning with the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup, held in the Meadows on the Green, and a win for Ireland’s Daniel Coyle aboard Susan and Ariel Grange’s Fortis Fortuna. Coyle and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Quidam de Revel x Carthago) topped a nine-horse jump-off out of 34 original starters. They completed the fastest of five double clear rounds in the winning time of 30.45 seconds.
Andres Azcarraga Rivera Torres (MEX) jumped to second place aboard Jaime Azcarraga’s Al Capone in 30.70 seconds, and also placed third riding Jaime Azcarraga’s Contendros II through the timers in 30.85 seconds. McKayla Langmeier (USA) stopped the clock in 31.55 seconds to finish fourth aboard Linda Langmeier’s Classic Care. Tina Yates (USA) and Highpoint Farm’s Bowmore VDL took fifth place honors with their time of 32.33.
Coyle (21) recently got the ride on Fortis Fortuna before the start of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series.
“Conor Swail used to jump her very successfully, but he had a lot of horses, so he gave me that one and I am very happy for that,” Coyle explained. “I seem to be getting on very well with her.”
The up-and-coming Irish rider began jumping for Susan and Ariel Grange’s Lothlorien Farm at the beginning of this year and traveled to compete for them at Spruce Meadows for the first time this summer. Prior to Thursday’s win, he has also had nine other victories with various horses in the Summer Series.
“I have never shown here before and I am really glad I got to come because I really like it,” Coyle noted. “I have had a great time, and all of the horses have jumped really well, so I am very happy.”
In the jump-off for the U25 Cup, Coyle qualified two different horses for the tiebreaker. He jumped first with a mare named Tienna, but dropped two rails over the short course to finish eighth overall.
He detailed, “I probably tried to go too fast because I was first to go with her, so I had a couple down. Then a couple of horses jumped to give me time to get ready with my second one, so I just studied what I had to do. I think from the double over to the second to last fence I was very fast, and I left a stride out down to the last fence, so that is probably where I made most of my time.”
Coyle and Fortis Fortuna got their first win together in another U25 competition in Palgrave, Ontario before traveling to Calgary. She is a new mount for Coyle, but he hopes to step up to compete in 1.50m competition with her this week, and looks forward to seeing where the mare will go from there.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, continues on Friday featuring the Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m, as well as the WestJet Cup 1.45m in the Meadows on the Green.
Championship show jumping continues on Canada Day and throughout the weekend at the Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex. Enjoy Canada Day at Spruce Meadows with the entire family starting at 8 a.m. with the family friendly “Heroes behind the Heroes” 5 and 10 km Family Fun Run. Other fun family activities on Canada Day include pony rides, face painters, great food, sport and entertainment. Championship show jumping throughout the weekend features Canada’s best against horses and riders from around the world highlighted by Saturday’s Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex.