Tag Archives: Andrew Kocher

Central Park Horse Show Welcomes Back US Open $50k Puissance on Sept. 21

McLain Ward and ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z clear the Puissance wall at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show. Photo Credit ©MegBanks/RCPHS.

New York, NY – September 14, 2017 – The U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance will return to Central Park for the second consecutive year, showcasing the courage and finessed communication between participating horse and rider combinations. Always a spectator favorite, the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance will begin after the conclusion of the U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed on Thursday, September 21, and is set to start at 9:00 p.m. in Wollman Rink.

The competition will begin with a traditionally decorated brick-wall obstacle set at 4 feet, 6 inches high. As combinations clear the jump, the wall is raised for reach round and the thrilling competition continues until only a single combination remains. Who will clear the towering wall as it grows taller and taller? Join us and find out!

Last year’s competition saw a tie for McLain Ward riding Evergate Stables’ ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z and Andrew Kocher aboard Eagle Valley Partners’ C’Havinia. Seven entries started over the imposing Puissance wall and the competition continued up through four more rounds as Ward and Kocher jumped head-to-head at the final height of 6’9″. Neither rider was able to clear the wall at that height, leaving them tied for the win.

Ward entered 2016’s competition at the last minute, though he’s no stranger to Puissance competitions. In fact, he has won many (including seven times at the Washington International Horse Show), and noted that the highest he has cleared is a staggering 7’3″.

“I also attempted to jump an 8-foot wall six different times, but never cleared it. I have no intention of doing that again!” Ward laughed. “2016 was interesting though, because I thought in the second to last round my horse jumped it better, and I thought in the last round Andy’s horse jumped it better. So it was pretty even at the end. I thought it was a nice, exciting class with horses jumping very well.”

Kocher was a first-year competitor at the RCPHS last year, and he had only attempted the Puissance a few times prior. “That mare (C’Havinia) has never done anything like that,” he said. “I have done the Puissance three times at the Washington International Horse Show, and the first time was really bad, but this time I have been practicing for a few weeks. I didn’t have a big enough wall, so I put some hay bales in there to stack it up. It was fun,” he laughed.

Kocher is excited to return to this year’s competition, and commented, “I really like the Central Park Horse Show. It’s just really exciting because it’s right in the middle of New York City, and they have a big crowd. I love the Puissance and I love the high jump. It’s one of my favorite classes and I wish they had it at more horse shows.” He added, “These classes really highlight everything we are supposed to be. We are supposed to be fearless and tough, we have to go out there and go for it.”

Regarding the addition of the Puissance competition to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in 2016, Ward added, “It is a fun way to end the evening. It gets everybody into the competition, and I think the draw of this class is that it is something that everybody can easily understand-how high can you jump?”

For more information on the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, please visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

A portion of ticket sales will benefit a lengthy list of New York, as well as equestrian based, charities.

Seating is limited and the demand for tickets is expected to be high. All seats have unobstructed views. All ticket sales are final, non-transferable; no refunds and no exchanges. Gates open 30 minutes prior to start of event.

For Reserved Seating questions, please contact 1-844-319-CPHS (2747) or email tickets@img.com.

For VIP Table Sales, please contact vip@centralparkhorseshow.com.

Andrew Kocher Guides Navalo De Poheton to Win $130k Ariat Grand Prix CSI 3*

Andrew Kocher and Navalo De Poheton. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 8, 2017 – Andrew Kocher (USA) piloted Navalo De Poheton to an impressive FEI win, topping the $130,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo sped to a jump-off time of 38.89 seconds to finish ahead of Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Casper who collected second place with a jump-off time of 39.194 seconds. Richie Moloney (IRL) and Button Sitte rounded out the top three placings after stopping the timers in 40.379 seconds.

Kocher and Navalo De Poheton bested a large class of 53 entries, as each horse and rider combination tried to capitalize on the difficult track set by Oscar Soberon (MEX). Only seven pairs advanced to the jump-off round, with three of the qualified riders incurring four jumping faults. The time was tight to beat in the first round, nearly adding five more combinations to the jump-off, but a single time fault kept them from taking their turn around the short course.

“I think course building is hard. It’s hard to get it right, but I thought that Oscar [Soberon] did a great job tonight,” said Kocher. “He used a lot of old fashioned elements around the track. There was that hedge and some filling in the jumps that I think made some horses look or even get a bit more careful.

“The smaller ‘S’ curve in the middle of the track caught people off guard and A to B of the triple combination started to back people off a bit, but he got seven in the jump-off, which was the number you were really looking for,” he added.

Knowing that a strong contingent of fast riders was slated to enter the George H. Morris Arena behind him in the jump-off, Kocher was prepared to produce a fast round, but wanted to try and avoid making risky errors, which he admitted are typically is downfall.

“The mistakes that I usually make are going way too fast and having rails down. I knew I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to go fast, but be comfortable and try to leave two out in the last line. I got lucky with Kristen [Vanderveen]. I think she could have left three out and would have beaten me by a mile,” he laughed.

Navalo De Poheton, a 2001 Selle Francais gelding (Cumano x Double Espoir) owned by MKO Equestrian LLC, spent most of his upper level international career with U.S. rider Schuyler Riley before changing hands to Kocher and team earlier this season. Originally purchased as a potential sale horse for an amateur rider, Kocher quickly realized the gelding had not yet had enough of the grand prix atmosphere.

“He was Schuyler Riley’s top horse for many years. He injured himself shipping back from Spruce Meadows and had been laid up and rehabbing for some time. I anticipated selling him as a Low Child/Adult jumper, but he can get a bit strong and has an attitude, so I decided to try and jump him myself and the rest has been history,” he explained. “He’s probably my top horse at the moment. When we first started together, he won two grand prix classes in Tulsa, OK and then we went to Devon and won there too.”

Kocher has been extremely pleased with how the pair’s partnership has started since his purchase, as they took top honors in the Welcome Stake CSI 4* at Devon Horse Show earlier this spring and also placed well during the Upperville Horse Show CSI 4*. The gelding has seen some of the biggest tracks in the world, adding an additional and versatile threat to Kocher’s ever-growing string.

“He is older so I’m trying to be conservative with him too. He hasn’t jumped a single fence since Upperville, which was at the beginning of June. He did well in the Welcome Stake here on Thursday too,” elaborated Kocher. “His next class won’t be until the FEI World Cup Qualifier in Bromont, Quebec later this summer.”

With Kocher’s father, Kelly Kocher, based locally in the Tryon area, it’s always a pleasure and highlight for Kocher’s team to return to the venue and hopes to, at some point, use the area as a summer base for his operation. He explained, “I bought some property here and love to see this venue keep growing. In the future I’d like to base here for the summer and use that property to be able to be here more often.”

Attesting to and recognizing the crowd size and enthusiasm of the night, Kocher commented on the engaging and electrifying atmosphere surrounding the George H. Morris Arena, which always gets him excited to compete under the lights.

“This is one of the best rings in North America. I’ve been everywhere and go to a lot of smaller shows that most professionals wouldn’t go to, just in some of the more obscure areas,” he said. “This is one of the best venues that I’ve ever been to. Of course, it’s a beautiful facility, but they do an amazing job getting a great crowd here week in and week out. We love it here.”

Kristen Vanderveen captured the FEI Leading Lady Jumper Rider Award presented by Meg Atkinson of Town & Country Realtors once again this circuit, based on her winning performance in the $35,000 Suncast® Commercial Welcome Stake CSI 3* on Thursday aboard Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili and her fifth place finish in this grand prix. Andrew Kocher’s groom, Chance Williams, was presented with the Absorbine® FEI Groom’s Award, which honors the groom of the winning grand prix combination, shining well-deserved light on their hard work and commitment to the care and well-being of the winning mount.

For more information on TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.

Coyle and Kocher Top Developing Jumper Classics at the Winter Equestrian Festival

Daniel Coyle and Farona. Photos © Sportfot.

Jennifer Bliss and Taylor St. Jacques Claim Wins in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Wellington, FL – March 31, 2017 – The young horses of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) got their opportunity to compete on the main stage on Friday, as the Five-Year-Old, Six-Year-Old and Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classics were featured in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Farona won the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic, Andrew Kocher (USA) and G Star were victorious in the $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic. Coyle also rode Khaleesi to top honors in the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Five-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic.

Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the courses for the Developing Jumper Classics. In the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic, Petersen saw 58 entries and 19 clear rounds to jump-off. Nine entries also jumped clear over the short course. It was Daniel Coyle’s time of 38.46 seconds that took the win riding Farona for Ariel and Susan Grange. Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Lisa Deslauriers’ Cooper Royal finished a very close second in 38.47 seconds. Ramiro Quintana (ARG) and Auer Sport Horses’ Ceitasi placed third in 38.98 seconds.

“Farona is a star!” Coyle said of the winning Dutch Warmblood mare (by Baltic VDL) bred by NHG Broeders. “We bought her at the [WEF Sport Horse] VDL Auction here last year, and ever since the day we bought her, she has been amazing. She went to Spruce Meadows last summer and won I don’t even know how many classes. She won the six-year-olds at Angelstone, then came down here and did a few 1.40m classes. She won a couple of seven-year-old classes here this winter. She has done so much.

“We were aiming her to win this class,” Coyle continued. “She is that type. You can really go to win. She has a lot of blood. She can be a little frustrating sometimes because she has so much blood, but she jumps so great you have to forget about it. I am so happy that [owner] Sue [Grange] found her. Sue is wonderful at finding young horses.”

Speaking of his jump-off, Coyle stated, “She is naturally very fast. Mario was very close to beating me, but thankfully he did not. If you ride her right, she is not going to knock a jump down. She is very special. I think she will turn out to be one of the best horses we have. She is one of those horses, whenever you are just hoping it all goes right, she is the one that you can always count on.”

Kocher Wins Six-Year-Old Classic

The $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic saw a win for Andrew Kocher (USA) riding his own G Star. Fifty-two entries contested the Six-Year-Old Classic, with 14 clear rounds, and four double clear over Petersen’s short course. Kocher and G Star clocked the winning time of 39.10 seconds.

Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Artisan Farm’s Vienna placed second in 39.97 seconds. Lauren Tisbo (USA) guided Tequestrian Farms’ Graffiti Boy to third place in 41.51 seconds, and Gustavo Prato (ARG) jumped Nelson Pessoa’s Carioca ZE to fourth place in 43.13 seconds.

G Star is a Dutch Warmblood mare (Carambole x Karshmire van Schuttershof) bred by I. Huijbregts. Kocher co-owns the mare with Willem Greve, who purchased her as a yearling and brought her along.

“I bought my part of her around Christmas,” Kocher stated. “I was looking through tapes, and I liked the way she looked. She is really good. We have only shown her maybe three times. This was awesome. It was a really fun class, and it is nice to jump for a little prize money with the young ones. I was really happy with her.”

Young Irish rider Jordan Coyle showed G Star early in the circuit before Kocher took over the ride just this week. With Kocher, she jumped clear in all three classes this week.

“She can have a little attitude, but she is easy to ride, and easy to manage.” Kocher detailed. “She is fast. She goes like a Thoroughbred; she is very light. She was great in the jump-off. I had a lucky day, so I was happy.”

Coyle Tops Five-Year-Olds

Daniel Coyle also guided Ariel and Susan Grange’s Khaleesi to victory in the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Five-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic earlier in the day. The Dutch Warmblood mare (Gaillard de la Pomme x Sir Corland) was bred by W.A.M. Tilbeke and purchased as a four-year-old by Brady Hayes.

Eighteen entries showed in the class and five qualified for the jump-off. Coyle and Khaleesi jumped the faster of two double clear rounds. Their time of 41.78 seconds took top prize. Yannick Patron (FRA) rode Valhalla Equestrian Centre’s Inshalla V.A. to second place in 42.69 seconds. William Hickey (USA) and Pony Lane Farm’s Karlton placed third with four faults in the jump-off in 44.21 seconds.

“Brady Hayes works with us at Lothlorien, and he had this horse that he wanted to sell,” Coyle detailed. “She was really nice, a good jumper, so Sue decided to buy her. The mare jumps brilliant. She is only five, so she is still a little green, but she felt really good today.”

Coyle continued, “We have prepared her for this class, and she jumped phenomenal today. That is the first time I have actually asked her to jump a clear round and be a bit competitive. I am sure Sue is happy and so am I. Thanks to Brady for finding her for us.”

Khaleesi showed at the start of the circuit with Keri Sutherland before Grange made the purchase and Coyle took over the reins.

“I showed her seven or eight times and she has just gotten better and better,” Coyle stated. “She will get a bit of a break now and show this summer in Toronto.”

Breeder and Rider Awards

Several special awards were also presented on Friday to recognize the riders and breeders of the circuit’s top young horses. Brendan Williams (riding Hercules) was presented the award for Best American Rider 25 and Under in the five-year-old division based on cumulative clear rounds in each section of WEF 1-12, excluding the classic. Theodore Boris (riding Flip de Hus Z) earned the award in the six-year-old division. Sarah Hubbard riding Farrero was the winner in the seven-year-olds. The under 25 rider awards were sponsored by DiAnn Langer.

The Best Rider 26 & Over was also awarded in each division, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm and Lisa Lourie. In the five-year-old division, Yannick Patron earned the award riding Inshalla V.A.

The six-year-old division awarded Vasco Flores, the rider of Manhattan. The best rider award in the seven-year-old category went to Armando Hassey, rider of Lomax.

Special U.S. Breeders Awards were also presented in the Six and Seven-Year-Old divisions, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, based on individual horse money won from WEF 1-12, excluding the classic. Gotham Enterprizes’ Manhattan earned the six-year-old award, home bred by owner Georgina Bloomberg, and sired by her winning mount Metropolitan (x Lancer III). The gelding showed throughout the winter with Puerto Rico’s Vasco Flores.

The seven-year-old U.S. Breeder Award was presented to Spy Coast Farm and Lisa Lourie for Kimmel SCF, a Belgian Warmblood stallion ridden by Shane Sweetnam and sired by his famous former mount Amaretto d’Arco (x Lester).

Also competing in the International Arena on Friday, the Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series hosted a 1.40m speed class, with a win for Rogelio Pellerano (DOM) riding Temporelle de Fritot.

Jennifer Bliss and Taylor St. Jacques Claim Wins in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Jennifer Bliss, riding Sugarman, and Taylor St. Jacques, riding Di Samorano, impressed on the derby field at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s (PBIEC) Equestrian Village to win their respective sections of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby on Saturday.

Ken Krome of Westminster, MD set the courses for the USHJA National Hunter Derby, which was awarded in two sections, a junior/amateur section and an open section. Competition consisted of a first round and handy trip where the top 12 riders from each section returned to determine the final placings.

Jennifer Bliss and Sugarman

Bliss, of Wellington, FL, and Sugarman, owned by Harris Hill Farm, LLC, posted the top scores in both rounds of the open section with a 91 in the first round combining with a 93 in the second round for a total of 184. Maria Rasmussen of Oak Creek, WI finished in second riding Subject to Change, owned by Corporate Way, LLC, after scores of 86 and 92 for a combined total of 178. Rachel Kennedy of Brookeville, MD rounded out the top three ribbons riding Dubai for owner Casey Millis after scores of 88.5 and 88 combined for a total of 176.5.

Sugarman, a ten-year-old gelding, joined Bliss’s string four years ago before embarking on successful Pre-Green and First Year campaigns. In 2015, the pair competed in their first-ever international derby competition together at WEF.

“He was tenth in his very first international derby, so we had high hopes for him,” said Bliss. “Unfortunately, he was injured at the end of that season and we had to step back and give him a lot of time. We tried to go slow and do it right because we love him and believe in him. Hopefully, now we are on the right track and we can get him back to the international derbies.”

The USHJA National Hunter Derby during WEF 12 marks Sugarman’s third horse show back in the competition ring, as well as the horse’s fourth derby class ever.

“This class has been our goal for the circuit because he is typically great in this kind of venue,” said Bliss. “I absolutely love riding him because he has the most laid-back attitude, is absolutely fearless to the jumps, and so scopey. He is a blast to ride in these venues with a little more atmosphere.”

Speaking further about riding on the derby field at PBIEC, Bliss noted, “It is such a treat at the end of WEF to have a change of scenery, and you can really gallop and show off your horse’s style. We always look forward to showing out here at the end of the season.”

In the junior/amateur ranks, 17-year-old St. Jacques of Glen Allen, VA piloted her own Di Samorano to the first-place ribbon on scores of 88 and 83 for a combined total of 171. Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD earned the second-place ribbon riding her own Stallone on scores of 85 and 83.5 for a combined score of 168.5. Rounding out the top three, Hannah Doherty of Westwood, MA piloted her own Vondel DH Z to the yellow ribbon with scores of 83 and 84 combining for a 167 total.

Di Samorano, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Samorano, also serves as a top equitation mount for St. Jacques and was previously owned by Heritage Farm, where St. Jacques trains with Patricia Griffith and Andre Dignelli.

“Andre imported him to sell as a young equitation horse,” said St. Jacques. “He was a very good boy, so they put me on him and it was a great match. He has been absolutely perfect ever since.”

St. Jacques, who is well-known for catch riding in the hunter, jumper, and equitation rings, was pleased to win a derby on her own horse, noting, “It is a special feeling. I love winning on my own horses because I also do a lot of the work myself, so it is really rewarding. I love being out on the big field, and I think it is really fun to compete against the professionals”

“I have really been focusing on the equitation with Di Samorano this season, so I thought it would be fun to do a little derby with him during the last week,” concluded St. Jacques.

Competition continues on Saturday at PBIEC featuring the $216,000 The Wanderer’s Club Grand Prix CSI 4* during Saturday Night Lights, round one of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the Derby Field at the Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds), and champion presentations in the Junior Hunter divisions. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Andrew Kocher and Uppie de Lis Win Opening Speed Class at WIHS

Andrew Kocher and Uppie de Lis. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Sarah Boston and Dean Dignelli Victorious in WIHS Children’s and Adult Jumper Championships

October 26, 2016 – Washington, D.C. – The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) hosted its first day of jumper competition at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday with a win for Andrew Kocher (USA) aboard Uppie des Lis in the feature $10,000 International Jumper speed class. The $10,000 WIHS Children’s and Adult Jumper Championships were also highlighted with a win for Sarah Boston and Herminas in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship, presented by The Klein Family & Lance Williamson Stables, and victory for Dean Dignelli riding Redefin in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Championship, presented by The Treacy Family.

Ireland’s Alan Wade is the course designer for jumper competition at WIHS this week. He opened the week with 45 starters in the $10,000 international speed class and 21 clear rounds. Kocher and Uppie des Lis, a 15-year-old NRPS gelding (Andiamo x Landsieger) owned by BTS Entertainment and Sales, clocked the winning round in 50.20 seconds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Main Road, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC, finished second in 50.26 seconds. Catherine Tyree (USA) and Mary and Joseph Tyree’s Enjoy Louis finished third in 51.30 seconds.

Wednesday’s class marked Kocher’s first win at WIHS. He has shown at the competition in the junior jumpers and hunters, as well as jumping in the Puissance class twice, but explained that he never did the bigger open classes. This week he came to WIHS to jump Saturday’s $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, as he hopes to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup Finals in March with Uppie de Lis.

“He is my most consistent horse, and I came to do the World Cup class, so I’m excited,” Kocher detailed. “I have been resting him for three or four weeks now just to have him fresh for this, and then we’ll go to Kentucky. He jumped really nice in Omaha in the spring, which is a ring like this. He is actually good in every ring. He is a very solid horse.

“He has a little bit of a choppy stride, so he is good at adding one in here or there,” Kocher continued. “I’m better off to add a stride and make a short turn than leave one out and gallop around. Today, my plan was just to go as fast as I can and not knock anything down. I used to just try to win every class on him, and then I just tried to aim him for bigger classes and he jumped less clear rounds that way, so I’m just going to try to win every class on him again no matter what the table (format) is.”

In addition to Uppie de Lis, Kocher has a young mare named Ciana that will jump in the speed class on Saturday, as well as a mare named C’Havinia that will jump Friday night’s Puissance. She recently tied for first place in the $50,000 Puissance at the Central Park Horse Show, so Kocher hopes that the experience will help their attempt at the wall this week. Uppie de Lis will jump again Thursday and then rest for Saturday night’s big event.

Sarah Boston and Herminas Top $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship

Jumper competition got underway early Wednesday evening with a win for 16-year-old Sarah Boston of Owings Mills, MD riding Herminas in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship, presented by The Klein Family & Lance Williamson Stables. The competition saw 31 entries, with 17 advancing to the jump-off and four double clear rounds. With the fastest second round in 30.51 seconds, Boston and the 13-year-old Trakehner gelding (by Viskis) earned the H. Fenwick Kollock Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Friends of Fen.

Emma Seving and Easy Money finished second with a time of 31.54 seconds. Ava Ellis and Diederique van der Knapp’s Clive placed third in 31.55 seconds, and Caroline Ellis guided Starlight Farms’ Catalyst to fourth place honors in 34.98 seconds.

Sarah Boston and Herminas
Sarah Boston and Herminas

Boston leased Herminas from trainer Don Stewart in February this year and has had a great season with the gelding leading up to her qualification to compete at WIHS.

“It is really awesome just to know that all of the hard work paid off finally,” Boston said of her win. “My horse was really good. He’s perfect. He is just willing to do anything.

“He is pretty go with the flow,” Boston detailed of the ride on Herminas. “He is sassy sometimes, but he will literally do whatever I ask him. He has the heart of a mare, which is nice. He really wants to win, and he really likes his job. He cares about me, and he always tries his best.”

Boston has shown at WIHS before in the ponies, but this was her first time in a few years and a different experience doing the jumpers on a horse.

“It is one of my favorite shows,” Boston stated. “I just love being in the city. I think it is really cool because it is different from all of them, but this is definitely different from doing the little ponies in the ring.”

Speaking of her jump-off, the rider detailed, “The plan was to not go too fast because there were only three or four clear ahead of me. But I still had to just continue and be smooth and try to be clear, but still a little bit forward.”

Boston heads back to school in Baltimore Thursday. Along with training with Stewart in the winter and summer, she also rides on the varsity equestrian team at McDonogh School training with Streett and Amy Moore. She plans to move up to the Low Junior Jumpers this winter.

Dean Dignelli Wins $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship

The $10,000 WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Championship, presented by The Treacy Family, was held in the evening session with a win for Dean Dignelli of Katonah, NY riding Heritage Farm Inc.’s Redefin. Thirty-nine entries started over the first round course, with a five-horse jump-off and two double clear rounds. Dignelli and Redefin, an 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (by Larino), were the winners in 25.85 seconds. Elizabeth Porath and Redfield Farm’s Tequila Girl placed second in 27.76 seconds. Whitney Lind and Whish LLC’s Wanant placed third with four faults in 27.96 seconds.

Dignelli began riding three and a half years ago and showed at WIHS for the first time in 2015, finishing a close second in the same class with Redefin. This year, he was determined to get his win. He earned the top prize and will have his name added to the Dorothy Foote “Goodie” Taylor Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Ashton Hill and Miss Linden Joan Hill.

“Last year I was second. I lost my stirrups after the second jump and completed the whole course,” Dignelli laughed. “I think I was a crowd favorite, and unfortunately I got bumped into second after that, but it was really good.”

Speaking of Redefin, Dignelli detailed, “He is an unbelievable horse. He was Ian Millar’s grand prix horse, and I have created a great bond with him. He really takes care of me, and he wants to win just as bad as I do. As long as I stay out of his way, he shows me the way usually.”

Dignelli (27) is part of a well-known equestrian family, but only recently started riding and joined the family business at Heritage Farm. His uncle, Andre, is one of the top trainers in the country and his father, Michael, is a business partner and important part of the Heritage team. Dignelli chose to pursue his interest in baseball at a younger age, but he eventually came around to equestrian sport and now has his sights set on a grand prix career.

Dignelli has moved up quickly from his first lesson on a lunge line with good friend Matt Metell, to showing at some of the nation’s top competitions in the Adult Jumpers. He has won at the Winter Equestrian Festival, Spruce Meadows, and the Hampton Classic Horse Show, among others. Last week he also won at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg.

“It has really been a journey. A lot of hard work has been put into it, but I think that what you put in is what you get,” Dignelli said of his motivation. “For how athletic and driven and competitive I am, I really just wanted to prove that I could do this. My whole purpose from that first lesson until now was just to show that I am a Dignelli; it is in my blood, and I can do it. I have tried to get as many lessons as possible. You could come into the indoor in the winter and there would be five ponies and then me and Redefin in a flat lesson with no stirrups. I just really wanted it. My goal was to go up a class every year. That has been sidetracked a little bit, but my goal is to be in the grand prix by 30.”

Though some people might have trouble training with family members, Dignelli appreciates his uncle’s great knowledge and tries to learn as much as he can from the world-class equestrian.

“I think that from playing baseball at a high level, I know what it is like to be coachable,” Dignelli noted. “At first it was a little difficult when Andre was training me, not because he is family, but because he was speaking to me as if I knew what he was talking about! He needed to slow it down for me a little bit, but now it’s good. It was so special to win Harrisburg with Andre there and to win this one with him. He is unbelievable, and his program is unbelievable. I always say that he is like the Derek Jeter of the equestrian world. He is the captain; he is always cool, calm, and collected. He is the man, so I try to be him.”

Along with his riding, Dignelli works for the farm doing logistics and transportation. He started a shipping company called Iron Horse Transport and has a golf cart company for sales and rentals called Dean’s Iron Horses. After his win on Wednesday night, he immediately left to drive a truck of horses back to New York. Dignelli is getting to know a new horse and will keep working to move up the ranks.

Jumper competition at the 2016 Washington International Horse Show continues on Thursday with Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner classes featured in the afternoon, along with a $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake. The evening session will welcome local horse lovers, riders, trainers, and their families for Barn Night, presented by Dover Saddlery with the generous support of The Peterson Family Foundation and National Harbor, beginning at 6 p.m. The $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator costume class will be the highlight competition of the evening. For full results, visit www.wihs.org.

Contact: Lauren Fisher
Jump Media
lauren@jumpmediallc.com
www.jumpmediallc.com

Ward and HH Carlos Z Win $40k US Open Canadian Pacific Speed Class at Central Park Horse Show

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Ward and Andrew Kocher Tie for Win in $50,000 Engel & Völkers Puissance; Daniel Coyle Tops $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 FEI Grand Prix

September 22, 2016 – New York, NY – Day two of the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS) featured international show jumping set to the backdrop of the New York City skyline on Thursday, September 22, in Central Park’s Wollman Rink.

Thursday was deemed “Canadian Pacific Day”, as competition highlighted the $40,000 U.S. Open Canadian Pacific FEI Speed Class, which saw a win for McLain Ward (USA) aboard HH Carlos Z. The evening’s competition also featured the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Puissance, where Ward and Andrew Kocher (USA) tied for victory by clearing the impressive wall in four rounds, and jumping off at 6’9″ inches. The $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 FEI Grand Prix was held on Thursday as well, with a win for Daniel Coyle (IRL) aboard Fortis Fortuna.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 25, with five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport for Arabians, jumpers, dressage, and hunters. The $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, and Friday night ceremonies will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, September 25, from 9-10:30 p.m. EST.

The course designer for international show jumping competition in Central Park is this year’s Rio Olympic Games designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA). In the $40,000 Canadian Pacific Speed class, which was held in a faults converted format, Jorge saw 34 horse and rider combinations that included some of the world’s very best.

Two-time Olympic Team Gold Medalist and Rio Olympic Team Silver Medalist McLain Ward was the winner in a blazing fast time of 58.63 seconds aboard the 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding HH Carlos Z (Chellano Z x Voltaire). Ward and ‘Carlos’ have won in some of the greatest destinations and biggest competitions in the world and led the victory gallop for the first time this year in the world-famous Central Park event.

Conor Swail (IRL) won the class in the first two years of RCPHS competition, but settled for second place this year, with a time of 60.26 seconds riding Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita. Hardin Towell (USA) and Evergate Stables’ Lucifer V finished third in 60.45 seconds. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and his own Hardrock Z placed fourth in 64.77 seconds.

Commenting on two victories in one night, Ward noted, “For me, it is a good comeback, because my record here is not so good. I think my best score is 16 and I think I have fallen off twice, so I was actually having a little nervous laugh about that on the way down to the ring tonight.

“Carlos is a great campaigner for me,” Ward stated. “He just does every job at the horse show – other than the Puissance. If he is in form, he really is tough to beat against the clock, and I was thrilled with the way he handled the evening. It is a unique atmosphere and some horses handle it better than others, so I was thrilled that he handled it well, and I think I have a nice set up for tomorrow night.”

Remarking on his second place finish, Swail detailed, “I think right from the start Hardin put up a very good time. It seemed that it was going to hold quite well throughout the class, but there are a lot of world-class competitors here this year. McLain went in, and he is a very fast rider and he has a very fast horse, so I think everything came off very well for him.

“It was a little bit the same for me,” Swail continued. “I was trying to etch out somewhere that I could maybe leave out a step that no one else did. Even my turn to the last fence, I thought I could try something a little different just to try and pip McLain, but I did not quite get it.”

Swail started riding Cita this time last year and was happy with the mare’s performance Thursday night.

“She is an extremely careful horse, and she has proven to be a very good jumper,” he praised. “I was very pleased with her tonight. She did everything I asked of her, and second place was a good result for us tonight.”

Though his time did not hold up for the win, Hardin Towell had a great experience with his mount Lucifer V and feels confident in his horse heading into Friday’s grand prix competition.

“The last place I showed was Spruce Meadows, and this is definitely a lot different jumping,” Towell noted.  “I knew it was going to be a fast class, and my plan was to be quick. I hoped to be top three, and I could not have done anything different at the end. Maybe I could have been a little smoother, but I know my horse, and I was happy with how he jumped.”

Ward and Kocher Attempt 6’9″ in the Puissance

The evening’s competition concluded with the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Puissance, which saw a tie for McLain Ward riding Evergate Stables’ ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z and Andrew Kocher aboard Eagle Valley Partners’ C’Havinia. Seven entries started over the imposing Puissance wall set at a height of 5’3″, and the competition continued up through four more rounds as Ward and Kocher jumped head-to-head at the final height of 6’9″. Neither rider was able to clear the wall at that height, leaving them tied for the win.

Ward rode ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z in the Puissance competition after the gelding also competed in the Under 25 class with young rider Oliver McCarthy. It was a last minute decision to enter the class, but Ward already knew the horse well and got a little encouragement from longtime manager Lee McKeever.

“We had the horse here with my rider Oliver, and I have actually sold this horse a couple of times and bought him back a couple of times,” Ward explained. “I have not ridden the horse in five years, but he is an easy catch ride. He is a wonderful grand prix horse who really knows his job.”

Ward continued, “Everyone knows the story of Lee and me – we have been together 30 years – and when we were driving here tonight, he said, ‘Why don’t you want to do the Puissance? Are you getting a little chicken?’ I said we didn’t really have a Puissance horse, and he said that horse could do it. I thought about it for a few miles, and I said, ‘Do you think we can still enter?’ He kept saying that I was afraid, and we went back and forth for about 10 miles, and so I told him to enter me in the class.”

Ward is no stranger to Puissance competitions. In fact, he has won many (including seven times at the Washington International Horse Show), and noted that the highest he has cleared is a staggering 7’3″.

“I also attempted to jump an 8-foot wall six different times, but never cleared it. I have no intention of doing that again!” Ward laughed. “The last round I thought looked quite big tonight. It jumped up a little bit in the last round (from 6’3″ to 6’9″). It was interesting though, because I thought in the second to last round my horse jumped it better, and I thought in the last round Andy’s horse jumped it better. So it was pretty even at the end. I thought it was a nice, exciting class with horses jumping very well.”

Commenting on the Puissance class in general, Ward added, “It is a fun way to end the evening. It gets everybody into the competition, and I think the draw of this class is that it is something that everybody can easily understand – how high can you jump?”

Andrew Kocher and C'Havinia
Andrew Kocher and C’Havinia

For Andrew Kocher, this was his first time competing at the RCPHS and one of few times he has attempted the Puissance.

“This is my first time here, so we are having a really good time and we were excited to get invited for sure,” Kocher acknowledged. “That mare (C’Havinia) has never done anything like that. I have done the Puissance three times at Washington, and the first time was really bad, but this time I have been practicing for a few weeks. I didn’t have a big enough wall, so I put some hay bales in there to stack it up. It was fun.”

International Equestrian Group and RCPHS founder Mark Bellissimo enjoyed all of Thursday evening’s competition and spoke after the event, thanking riders and sponsors.

“We had great competition tonight. It is interesting to see classes like that happen on a night like this, with perfect weather and a perfect backdrop, so I thank all of the participants for their great effort,” Bellissimo stated. “We want to thanks Canadian Pacific – Hunter Harrison, Keith Creel, and Mark Wallace – they have been very generous supporters of the sport. Events like this are very complex and take a lot of support, and Canadian Pacific has been a great partner with us on this event and we really appreciate. We also have to thank Rolex, who is the title sponsor of the event since the first day. Also Land Rover and Adequan®, who have supported this event for three years. Those four have been stalwarts in making sure that this event has been successful, so I really want to thank them for that.”

Mark Wallace, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Chief of Staff of Canadian Pacific, added, “It was great being here this week in New York. I was in Calgary last week for the CP International, and it was a different experience than this was under the lights in Central Park. It is a great event, and we have been a partner here for the last three years. It was fun to watch tonight, and McLain is a little bit a part of our family at CP. He has a close relationship with our CEO Hunter Harrison, so it was exciting to watch him win. Congratulations to everybody, and we are thrilled to be a part of this.”

Ireland’s Daniel Coyle Tops U25 Grand Prix

The $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 FEI Grand Prix was the first competition held on Thursday evening with a win for Daniel Coyle of Ireland riding the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Fortis Fortuna (Quidam de Revel x Carthago).

Course designer Guilherme Jorge saw 14 competitors in round one, with three advancing to the tie-breaking jump-off. Bryn Sadler (USA) and Showcase 81 LLC’s Bon Giorno were first to return over the shortened course, with one rail down in a time of 40.28 seconds to finish third. Coyle followed aboard Susan and Ariel Grange’s Fortis Fortuna, also dropping one rail, but in a faster time of 35.57 seconds for the win. Alexandra Crown (USA) and her own Von Cim were last to go, but were also unable to complete the course without fault, clocking in at 37.35 seconds to finish in second place.

Commenting on his win, Coyle stated, “It is great for me to be here, and to be here for my first time and win. It is the horse’s first time here as well, so I just tried to concentrate on getting a clear round to start off, and I did. It just kind of went my way in the jump-off, so I am really happy.”

Coyle continued, “Conor (Swail) rode the horse and very nicely gave her to me to ride. I won a few classes at Spruce Meadows and Angelstone with her this year, so she has been a very good one for me to get, and I am happy to have her. I had a plan tonight, and I tried to just stick to it.”

Competition in Central Park’s Wollman Rink continues through Sunday, September 25, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport for jumpers, dressage, and hunters. Friday features the U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson, at 1:30 p.m. The evening session includes the $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Jumper class and the $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

About Rolex Central Park Horse Show
Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the second annual U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers; Dressage; Hunters; U25 Jumpers; and Arabians. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.

Week IV of the Ocala Winter Circuit Kicks Off with Big Competition

Andrew Kocher and Ciana.

Ocala, FL (February 13, 2016): Elite show jumping competition commenced in Week IV of the Ocala Winter Circuit with the $2,500 Brook Ledge Welcome Stake and the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix.

$2,500 Brook Ledge Welcome Stake
Andrew Kocher from Lake St. Louis, Missouri and Ciana, owned by Eagle Valley Partners LLC, slipped past Aaron Vale riding from Williston, Florida and Carlo, owned by Amatoville Enterprises, and Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois on Barbara Disko’s Sovereign to win the $2,500 Brook Ledge Welcome on Wednesday at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida. In what is turning out to be a battle of the speedsters, these three riders have been duking it out for the top spot in the Open Jumper classes each week of the Ocala Winter Circuit – Kocher, Vale and Goldman were all in the top three last week’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix.

Wednesday’s class featured a 1.40 meter course designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. of Muenster, Germany. Thirty-eight riders tackled the 13-effort course with 22 jumping clean to advance to the jump-off. Marilyn Little of Frederick, Maryland riding Venus, owned by Raylyn Farms, held the early lead with a clear jump-off round in 47.019.

When Vale stepped in to the ring on Carlo, you could tell he had a plan to take the lead. “These German course designers, both Petersen this week and [Martin] Otto last week, are really making galloping tracks and I saw that it would take someone to put the gas pedal down to win. I caught a really good turn back to the in and out and caught the last fence on an open stride.” Vale stopped the clock at 44.351 to take over the lead.

Next up was Goldman on the 9-year-old Sovereign. She picked up a gallop and sliced the turns, but added a stride in the last line to finish in 45.243, just behind Vale. Goldman was very pleased with her young horse: “He was fabulous! We are really starting to understand each other.”

No one underestimated the fact that Kocher was still to go on. With nothing to lose, he and the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood Ciana laid it all on the line and despite a bit of a buck when landing off one fence, their time was a commanding 43.495, almost a full second faster than Vale.

“She’s just a very good game horse and I liked the course,” Kocher said. “I look forward to jumping her in the Grand Prix this weekend.”

$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix
Lisa Goldman, of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, and her veteran partner, Morocco, swept the competition in Thursday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala for the second week in a row. Devin Ryan, of Long Valley, New Jersey, riding his own Liratus, was second and Mathew Williams, of Wellington, Florida, riding Valinski S, owned by Michael Dorman and Wyndmont, Inc., was third. Andrew Kocher, of Lake St. Louis, Missouri, on Uppie De Lis, owned by BTS Entertainment and Sales, was the fastest with four faults for fourth and the top five rounded out with Hunter Holloway, of Topeka, Kansas, riding VDL Bravo S, owned by Hays Investment Corp.

Lisa Goldman and Morocco
Lisa Goldman and Morocco

Spectators are flocking to the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium during the Grand Prix days to watch the excitement unfold as all the top riders jump for the glory. One horse and rider have consistently thrilled the crowd as they speed around the course – Lisa Goldman and Morocco. They topped the class of 38 competitors with a double clear trip in 42.717 seconds. Olaf Petersen Jr., of Germany, designed the 1.50-meter course of 14 obstacles on a 530 meter track. Seven of 38 jumped first round clears, but only three jumped double clear.

First to contest the jump-off was Kocher on Uppie de Lys. The opening fence was a triple bar, followed by eight tight strides to a vertical at 9B, which toppled for four faults. Kocher kept up the pace with a really tight turn on the rollback to the second to the last, and a gallop home to the Platinum Performance oxer to stop the clock at 42.190, ultimately earning him fourth-place.

Next up was Williams and Valinski S, who opted for a careful clean in 47.146 to take over the lead. Ryan was up next on the big bay Liratus. The 11-year-old Danish Warmblood jumped in classic form, clocking in at 45.261 when Ryan sliced the second to the last, riding a really direct line to the final oxer to set a new Great American Time to Beat.

Taizo Sugitana and Chin Quidam VDL, owned by Hyperion Stud, LLC, were eliminated at 7A of the combination to take seventh place. David Beisel riding the big grey Call Me Hannes, owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC, had four faults at 7A to finish sixth in 45.846.

Next to go was Goldman and Morocco, and they did not disappoint as they galloped the course. They added a stride up in the opening line to accommodate Morocco’s stride which caused a few gasps as he swerved in front of the last jump, but still managed to jump clear in a time of 42.717 to take over the lead.

The final contestant was Holloway and VDL Bravo S, who also fell victim to 7A for four faults in 45.417 to finish fourth.

“This week’s course was smaller than last week’s, but much more technical; it suited my short-strided horse,” said Goldman. “The triple bar to the steady six to the vertical to vertical combination was really hard for the big horses but I barely had to pull on the reins. In the jump off Morocco tried to leave out a stride to the last jump and when I said you’re not leaving it out he thought we were going around it – I don’t know how he cleared that.”

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Ocala Winter Circuit Week III Kicks Off $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix and $2,500 Brook Ledge Welcome

Andrew Kocher and Rooney IV.

Ocala, FL (February 5, 2016): Jumpers descended on HITS Post Time Farm to compete for a shot at the blue and a piece of the prize purse in the Week III $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix and the $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome.

$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois and her longtime partner Morocco sped to another victory in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on Thursday. Aaron Vale riding from Williston, Florida and Thinkslikeahorse’s Spirit of Alena was second, and Andrew Kocher from Lake St. Louis, Missouri and Uppie de Lys, owned by BTS Entertainment and Sales, finished in third.

Riders took their turn at the 1.50-meter course set by German course designer Martin Otto. Nine riders jumped clear in the first round, which included three double combinations. In the jump-off, riders rode with a no holds barred attitude, and tried their best to take home the winner’s share of the prize money.

The jump-off started with a triple bar followed by a long gallop to a vertical. It also included a combination across the center of the ring followed by a sharp turn to a bending line, finishing with an oxer just past the In-gate.

First to go in the jump-off was Hunter Holloway of Topeka, Kansas on VDL Bravo S, owned by Hayes Investment Corporation. The grey cleared the fences easily to earn a clear round in 47.015 seconds. Lisa Goldman riding Mary Goldman’s Centurion B was up next, but a rail at the third fence cost her four faults. Her fast time of 45.307 held up for sixth place.

Vale pulled out all the stops on Spirit of Alenaand galloped home to take the lead in 44.269 seconds. Kocher and Uppie de Lys followed in 45.201, which was a full second off the pace to step into second.

Manuel Torres and Christopholini H got into a little trouble and retired taking the eighth-place prize. Brandie Holloway and Lucky Strike, owned by Hays Investment Corporation, delivered a fast clear in 46.184 seconds to take fourth.

Stepping into the ring next, Goldman threw all caution to the winds and trusted her 13 year old partner to do his job. She galloped, turned and angled to the fences, finishing almost a full two seconds faster than Vale in a time of 42.793 to set an unbeatable Great American Time to Beat.

Kocher and Ora del te LLC’s Ora Del Te Di La San Giorgio followed with a rail and a time fault for seventh place and Denise Wilson and Blue Gate Farm LLC’s Catuso chose not to return for the jump off and placed ninth.

$2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome

Andrew Kocher from Lake St. Louis, Missouri took charge in the $2,500 Brook Ledge Welcome Stake on Wednesday at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida. He not only won the class on his Rooney IV, but was also third place with Prof de la Roque, owned by Postagestamp Farm, LLC, and fifth place with his own Le Conte. Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida took second-place honors with Carlo, owned by Amatoville Enterprises. Fourth place was Diamantes Legacy with owner and rider Derek Petersen of Archer, Florida.

Martin Otto of Germany designed the 1.40-meter course. Riders galloped the length of the stadium from fence one to fence two in both the first round and the jump-off with an optional, time-saving inside turn by the gazebo to a combination.

The jump-off finished with another very long gallop to the final oxer. Thirteen of thirty-one entries completed the first round without faults and moved on to an immediate jump-off where seven went clear.

First to move on to the jump-off was Petersen on Diamantes Legacy. They galloped to the second fence, and to the last, and took the inside turn by the gazebo for in a speedy 41.876 seconds. Rooney IV and Kocher were the next to try the jump-off track. Kocher chose to gallop around the gazebo for a longer route but never took back, taking over the lead with a time of 39.933 seconds.

A few trips later, Kocher returned to the ring and was double-clear again, this time on Prof de la Roque. He went around the gazebo again but cut inside the in and out to the last fence. He couldn’t best his own time, putting him in second with a time of 41.097 seconds. Vale and Carlo chose the inside the gazebo route and kept up the pace to knock Kocher out of second place, clocking in at 40.918. Kocher’s final attempt at the win was on Le Conte and he placed fifth with a time of 42.456 seconds.

“This is my first time competing in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium,” said Kocher. “This is fun – it’s a great ring and my horses are fresh and jumping really well. I tried the turns both ways but it was definitely faster to go around, then just turn and run.”

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Swail Adds Another Victory to Conclude 2015 Holiday Series at PBIEC

Conor Swail and Martha Louise. ©ManciniPhotos.

Wellington, FL – January 13, 2016 – On the final afternoon of the Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) 2015 Holiday Series, Irish phenom Conor Swail collected yet another victory at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), this time aboard Martha Louise in the $50,000 UHealth Ear Institute Grand Prix, the final grand prix class before the commencement of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on January 13. Swail finished the jump-off in 40.731 seconds to edge fellow Irish rider, Darragh Kenny of Wellington, FL and Picolo, who crossed the timers in 42.29 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire of Wellington, FL and Lady Maria BH earned third place honors with a time of 44.264 seconds.

Swail and Martha Louise, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare (Maloubet de Pleville x Virginia Wolf) owned by Five Way Farm, LLC, displayed their prowess in the second round, edging notoriously fast jump-off riders Kenny and Derbyshire. According to Swail, Martha Louise has been knocking on the door for a win and he feels confident that the mare is entering WEF in top form.

“I just arrived back in the States last week and I had the plan to do Martha Louise and Rubens LS La Silla this week. We gave them both the class on Thursday and I thought the class today was very nice,” noted Swail. “Anthony [D’Ambrosio] did a good job as usual. It was a nice course and not huge, but I was very pleased with both of the horses. I think it was a great start for us.”

With 35 trips in the first round, Swail knew that a difficult task was ahead with nine combinations moving forward to the jump-off round, including his second mount, Rubens LS La Silla, owned by Vanessa Mannix, who finished in ninth place.

“I thought Darragh was very fast. I really had to hustle hard to beat him and I have to say everything happened the way that we wanted it too. She jumped very well, but it was one of those jump-offs where you couldn’t leave anything on the table,” he explained. “You couldn’t miss a step and thankfully she was very alert since she has not competed since November. It was fantastic.”

Martha Louise has come out strong in the past two months and Swail commented on her unflappable consistency, a quality that he says is invaluable entering the WEF season, as many of the world’s best competitors will test the International Ring at PBIEC throughout the 12-week circuit.

“Martha was off for quite a substantial period of time last year, but did very well towards the end of circuit. She actually jumped really well here in the Holiday & Horses CSI 4* and think she got cheated a bit because she didn’t get anything, but she was right there the whole time,” commented Swail.

A number of strong mounts in Swail’s string will be legging back up to begin their season in Wellington, FL, including Cita, Dillinger, and Grafton, but Swail made sure to note that Martha Louise will always be a go-to mount for him, especially as her dependency continues to show its worth.

“She’s got an incredibly big step and she turns very well. She has good experience now at this level. When you look at the class list I think she probably went into this class as one of the favorites and in that way it’s nice to know that she proved that she should be. She’s incredibly consistent,” he elaborated. “I’m very thankful to have Lothlorien Farm and the support of Sue and Ariel Grange. It’s a nice way to start off the year.”

Andrew Kocher and Uppie De Lis
Andrew Kocher and Uppie De Lis

Andrew Kocher and Uppie De Lis Cruise to Victory in $10,000 Hendrick Brothers Construction 1.40m Open Stake

Andrew Kocher of St. Louis, MO and Uppie De Lis, owned by BTS Entertainment & Sales, earned a well-deserved victory on Thursday, January 7, in the $10,000 Hendrick Brothers Construction 1.40m Open Stake. The duo finished as the fastest combination in the first round and continued that momentum into the jump-off, which saw as fifteen combinations test the fast track.

Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, and Pina Colada, owned by Paule Morin and Lucie Corbeil, finished in second place with a time of 37.377 seconds. Kocher also picked up third place honors aboard Ora Del Te Di La San Giorgio, owned by Ora Del Te LLC with a time of 37.377 seconds.

For more information on PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com to see a full schedule and list of results.

Andrew Kocher Dominates at Week 1 of The Ridge at Wellington’s 2016 Turf Tour

Andrew Kocher and Coconut (Photos courtesy of The Ridge at Wellington)

Wellington, Florida (January 10, 2016) – An unusually rainy and misty day greeted competitors, owners, and spectators at Schulyer Riley’s Wolfstone Farm, but did not dampen spirits as they lined up to show and watch the first installment of the 2016 Turf Tour series presented by The Ridge at Wellington. The season’s inaugural competition welcomed a substantial turnout of professional, junior, and amateur riders to its adjacent rings, with the grass and sand arenas running concurrently and hosting everything from Low Schooling Jumpers to various top-level jumper classes on the derby field.

Andrew Kocher, a newcomer to the turf tour, put in efficient rides aboard a group of three horses and won impressively with double clear rounds aboard Coconut, an entry of Eagle Valley Partners, LLC. Katie Dinan aboard Grant Road Partners’ Checkpoint U, Dougie Douglas and Galan S finished second, third and fourth. Kocher followed Ms. Dinan’s performances placing 5th and 6th with his own Red Lady and Eagle Valley’s Ciana. The derby field course, designed Nick Granat, presented riders with a modest yet technical and straightforward challenge that stressed accuracy and timing.

The courses for the sand arena followed in the same vein, presenting the opportunity for horses and riders to gain experience and skill. The Low Schooling Jumper divisions saw Daniella McCormick and Anne Veeder victorious with their mounts, Nash and VDL Viktor, while Joseph Comunale and BTW took the win in the Medium Schooling Jumper and the Junior Amateur Classic. Anne Veeder and Carbonari 3 ruled supreme in the series’ largest class of the day, the $2,000 Children’s Adult Jumper, and the second Children’s Adult Jumper class saw Kristen Landino and Wirco Polo victorious.

With the goal of developing young horses and advancing riders, the Turf Tour is a 13-week show series and a unique addition to Wellington’s growing winter circuit, offering riders top-tier competition, over $400,000 in prize money, and an unparalleled atmosphere. The ‘show when you like,’ open-ended schedule offers convenience and a more distilled competitive environment, without sacrificing the challenge and competition found at nationally recognized shows. Organized by Olympic show jumper Nona Garson, George D’Ambrosio, and Craig Bergman, the vision that inspired the tour’s conception was bringing back the old world flair to jumper classes by staging competitions on springy, natural turf surfaces away from the chaotic intensity of other show grounds. Running every Wednesday and Friday during the winter season, with the exception of two Saturdays (February 6 and March 19) to accommodate for The Ridge at Wellington’s National and International Hunter Derbies, the Turf Tour offers classes ranging from junior and amateur jumpers to the Grand Prix, and in a variety of venues reminiscent of the large European tours.

Katie Dinan
Katie Dinan

The Turf Tour’s competitive, utopian show atmosphere is matched only by its hospitality, which includes free breakfast and lunch for all competitors, spectators, and owners, riders’ lounges, competitor parties, and an equine shuttle organized through Meadowbrook Horse Transport. For only $75, riders can schedule pick up and drop off at the Turf Tour’s weekly venue, as well as a trip back to their farm anywhere in Wellington after their rides. By removing the hassle of transport and offering numerous perks in addition to prize money, competition, and a unique atmosphere, the Turf Tour is setting a new standard for show experiences in Wellington.

Turf Tour Week 2 will be held at the prestigious International Polo Club on January 13 and 15, 2016.

The Ridge will also host a USEF Rated Equitation show each Tuesday during season, and its Palm Beach Series hunter and equitation show occurs one weekend each month, at The Ridge at Wellington. The equitation competitions are envisioned as a way for riders to qualify for the national championship finals in a relaxed, quiet environment. February 5th and 18th, 2016, The Ridge at Wellington will play host to two USEF/USHJA National and International Hunter Derbies, which offer over $40,000 in prize money and showcase the athletic prowess of performance hunters over natural obstacles.

For a full prize list and show schedule, visit Shows at The Ridge at Wellington.

For more information about The Ridge at Wellington, please go to www.theridgefarm.com. For up-to-date information, please follow The Ridge at Wellington on Facebook.

Media Contact:
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
holly@equinium.com
954 205 7992

Andrew Kocher Kicks Off HITS Saugerties Week VII with Back-to-Back Wins

(C) ESI Photography. Andrew Kocher and Ora de te di La San Giorgio.

Saugerties, NY (August 31, 2015): It’s back to New York’s majestic Hudson Valley for HITS Horse Shows and competition kicked off in Andrew Kocher’s favor who jumped his way to a victory in the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome aboard Ora de te di La Giorgio, owned by Ora del te LLC. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native bested a field of 37 and sped his way through two rounds for a $2,800 payoff.

Round one was smooth sailing for 13 riders, including Kocher. The jump-off began and the top spot switched hands three times before Kocher entered the ring eighth in the order. Kocher zoomed through the abbreviated course to a clean finish with a time of 37.878, the lead, and five remaining challengers hungry to steal it away.

Kocher was in the clear through the next four competitors, all of whom had a minimum of four faults, which meant the only thing standing in his way of the blue ribbon was Laura Chapot and Umberto, owned by Mary Chapot. Chapot, who has collected a number of victories this summer at HITS Saugerties, impressed as usual and breezed clean through the course, but her time of 39.004 was not enough to take the lead.

Third place was Heather Caristo-Williams riding Cosmopolitan 30, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Caristo, while Pablo Mejia followed in fourth place aboard Andres Muller’s Regilsse and the fifth place ribbon went to Chapot and her second entry, Thornhill Kate, co-owned with Mary Chapot.

$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

Andrew Kocher’s lucky streak at HITS Saugerties Week VII continued Friday in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix when he and Prof De L Roque, owned by Postage Stamp Farm LLC, beat 41 others to take home first place and their piece of the prize purse. The first round course, designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico, tested riders over 12 obstacles and proved to be a challenge for the majority, with only the top nine moving on to the jump off.

It wasn’t until the fourth entry of the second round that onlookers saw a clean round. Bull Run’s Holy Smokes, owned by Bull Run Jumpers, Inc., piloted by Kristen VanderVeen, crossed the timers in a careful 44.547 to turn up the heat in the competition. Next in the order, Kocher and his mount gave the valiant performance, complete with picturesque form and electric energy, to finish clean in a time of 41.091 for the lead.

Jonathon Millar and Sly, owned by Lauren Patava and Bonaventure, were next to challenge the course and although clear in a time of 45.404, Millar wasn’t quick enough to steal the spotlight from Kocher. The next entry was Tracy Fenney riding MTM Farm’s MTM Reve Du Paradis and in true Fenney fashion, she chased Kocher for the win. With an undisturbed course behind her and crossing the timers in 42.521, Fenney was just one second behind Kocher, securing herself second place.

Of the remaining two riders, David Raposa and his own Waultraut were the last to go clean. With a time of 43.392, they would end the day with third place honors, bumping VanderVeen to fourth and Millar to fifth.

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