Tag Archives: Ben Maher

Kent Farrington and Voyeur Triumph in $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9

Kent Farrington and Voyeur. Photos © Sportfot.

Ben Maher and Aristo Z Top $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Speed; Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur Win $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Semi-Final

Wellington, FL – March 7, 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) hosted a full schedule of international show jumping at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Friday with several feature competitions during the day and night. The morning kicked off with the remaining jump-off competitors from Thursday’s $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 and a victory for Kent Farrington (USA) and Voyeur. A $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class was held later in the afternoon with a win for Ben Maher (GBR) and Aristo Z. The $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Semi-Final was also held in the evening with a win for Nicole Bellissimo (USA) and VDL Bellefleur.

FTI WEF week nine, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies, continues through Sunday, March 9. The $280,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W 4*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, will be the highlight on Saturday night and the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will be held on Sunday. The FTI WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

FTI WEF hosted the start of its $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 on Thursday with 89 entries and 23 jumping clear to advance to the jump-off over the Alan Wade (IRL) designed course. Unfortunately, only ten of the jump-off entries were able to complete their rounds before a severe storm blew through the show grounds. The remaining 13 entries showed on Friday morning with Kent Farrington (USA) and Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur jumping to victory. The pair cleared the course in the fastest time of 42.86 seconds.

Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala were the leaders coming into Friday morning after completing their jump-off round on Thursday in 45.21 seconds. Hough then beat her own time in 44.91 seconds aboard Karina Rotenburg’s Böckmanns Lazio on Friday. Hough finished third and fourth with her two mounts when Farrington and Voyeur blazed the fastest pace, followed by the second fastest round of Daniel Deusser (GER) and Stephex Stables’ Cornet d’Amour in 44.55 seconds.

Farrington explained that Voyeur, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Tolano van’t Riethof x Goodwill, has had some time off since an injury last summer and is just coming back. “This is his first bigger class back,” the rider noted. “I have been bringing him back real slow and jumping just smaller classes here. He is naturally very fast and he is a spectacular horse, so hopefully he stays healthy. He’s an unbelievable horse.”

“He is on the attack right from the get go,” Farrington said of his impressive jump-off round. “He has a massive, massive stride and he is very fast on his feet at the same time, so he has sort of the best of both. He has the foot speed of a small horse and the stride length of a big horse.”

“Over the time bringing him back, I have really worked on his control,” Farrington added. “He has always been a great jumper and obviously his gallop has always been like that, but my control wasn’t very good before. He was running off with me a lot of times in the jump-offs, so rollbacks or a very short line at the end was a real challenge with him.”

It was a little bit of a different situation for the riders that had to compete in the jump-off on Friday as their first round of the day, but that did not affect Farrington or Voyeur’s performance. “It was a little strange,” he admitted. “It is kind of like a speed class with only eight jumps, but it is very good money for this class and for me it is more about getting this horse back and going well. I wanted Voyeur to be able to do this jump-off more for my practice and his experience.”

“I think you have to make the best of the situation,” he said of the decision to postpone the remainder of the jump-off. “Had there been a way to see the weather coming, obviously it would have been better if everybody in the jump-off went together, but that wasn’t possible. I don’t think they had any other choice.”

Farrington plans to show Voyeur again on Saturday and will plan the horse’s schedule from there. “I haven’t planned too far ahead,” he explained. “I am just excited that he is back in the sport and that he feels good and that he is going as well as he is. I will go step by step and see where it takes us.”

In addition to the prize money for the class, Farrington earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion for wearing his SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.

Ben Maher and Aristo Z
Ben Maher and Aristo Z

Ben Maher and Aristo Z Top $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m

A $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class was held Friday afternoon in the International Arena at PBIEC with an exciting win for Ben Maher (GBR) and Jane Clark’s Aristo Z. The class saw 60 competitors with 20 clear rounds and an increasingly fast pace as the rounds went on. Fifth to go, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Cyklon 1083 set a very tough time to beat at 63.23 seconds. The pair held the lead through most of the class until two of the finals competitors eventually pushed them into third.

Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo were the first combination to edge out Sweetnam’s time in 62.97 seconds, eventually finishing second. A few rounds later, Ben Maher and Aristo Z completed the fastest round in 62.23 seconds. Last to go, Meagan Nusz (USA) and Amalaya Investments’ Vesuvius jumped into fourth in 64.11 seconds.

Aristo Z is a ten-year-old Zangersheide gelding that Maher has had for several years, but is showing this year under new ownership for Jane Clark. Since the change, this is Aristo Z’s first win.

“He is normally a winner at those sorts of speed classes,” Maher noted. “Jane secured him for me just before Christmas. He was with another owner for the last couple of years, and he has won a lot of classes in different arenas. He is a great asset to the team.”

“I said to Jane before we got here that he might not love Florida,” Maher said. “It is a really big ring, and he is quite good in small arenas where he can kind of bounce off the walls a little bit. He has been jumping well, but we put him back in his old bridle today because I switched him to something else when I arrived and he wasn’t winning. I spoke to Jane on the phone, and I said that I was going to try him in the old bit. We put it on and Jane made it back to watch and he won, so I am just happy that he has kind of ‘broken the duck’ for Team Clark.”

Maher explained that Aristo Z’s speed and agility are what gave him the winning time in Friday’s class. “He is a useful horse,” he stated. “He has jumped some bigger classes in one or two grand prix when I have needed him to, but this is kind of his division here, the 1.45m or 1.50m speed classes. He can bend his body very well. He is naturally very fast everywhere and today there were options to leave strides out in the course and I actually didn’t. I kept the correct amount of strides, especially early on, and luckily his speed over the jumps and across the ground just was fast enough. These are difficult classes to win. There are quite a lot in them and a lot of galloping, and I am just happy he won a class here now.”

Also showing on Friday, Laura Chapot earned her fifth win of the week in the International Arena at FTI WEF. Chapot has been unstoppable this week, winning back to back classes on Wednesday in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class with Bradberry and the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class riding Mary Chapot’s Umberto. On Thursday, she won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m jump-off class aboard Quointreau un Prince, a horse she co-owns with McLain Ward. On Friday, Chapot added two more wins to her week, topping the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge with Bradberry and the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class riding Umberto.

Bradberry, a 16-year-old Selle Francais gelding, has been winning classes for several years with Chapot in the irons and kept his streak alive this week. He also posted back to back victories in both the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class and the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge during weeks six and eight.

Chapot has won classes outside of the International Arena this week as well, winning both the $2,500 Derby Gold Pine Shavings 1.35m speed and jump-off classes with Mary Chapot’s Castellana, and topping a $1,500 Adequan 8-Year-Old Young Jumper class with Out of Ireland for owner The Edge. She continues to be one of the top riders at FTI WEF each year.

Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur
Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur

Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur Win $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Semi-Final

The $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Semi-Final was held on Friday night, presented by the Dutta Corporation in association with Guido Klatte. Fifty young riders under the age of 25 competed under the lights in the International Arena, with seven clear rounds to jump-off, and a win for 20-year-old Nicole Bellissimo of Wellington, FL.

Riding Bellissimo LLC’s VDL Bellefleur, an eight-year-old KWPN mare by Cardento x Emilion, Bellissimo jumped the only double clear round in the jump-off to take top honors in 51.64 seconds. Twenty-four-year-old Jordan MacPherson of Toronto, Ontario finished second aboard JEM Stables’ Piccobello du val de Geer with the fastest four-fault round in 45.39 seconds. Twenty-year-old Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, CT jumped into third with four faults in 47.24 seconds aboard Starlight Farms’ Oreade de Dames.

The young rider series was developed thanks to Artisan Farms as a stepping stone for up-and-coming riders as they gain experience competing at the grand prix level. In addition to great experience for the riders, it can also be a stepping stone for young horses. In the case of Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur, the series serves as an amazing opportunity for both horse and rider.

“She is actually a very special horse for me,” Bellissimo stated after her win. “I have had her for about a year and a half. She is only eight, so I got her when she was turning seven, and I am the only one that has shown her. I did her throughout her seven-year-old year and I brought her to Spruce Meadows last summer, so she has done a lot as a young horse. We moved her up this year and this is the biggest class that she has ever done, so it is really exciting for me that she went out and did so well. She is just stepping up to doing this level.”

Bellissimo showed in the young rider series two years ago in 2012, but explained that she did not have a horse to compete with last year. “This year is the first year that I have done all of the classes,” she noted. “It is fantastic for bringing up young horses that aren’t quite ready to go in the WEFs (Challenge Cup) or the grand prix classes, but maybe you want to step them up from the High Amateurs or the High Juniors. It is also great for riders such as me who are stepping up to the WEFs, but maybe aren’t as competitive in that, and want another stepping stone. I want to thank Artisan Farms for sponsoring the series because it is really great for the young horses and riders such as me that are moving up to the next level.”

In her freshman year at Harvard University in Boston, Bellissimo commutes back and forth from Wellington each week to compete between a full schedule of classes. This week was especially busy, but the extra traveling paid off in the end.

“This week was a little bit hectic because I had a midterm,” Bellissimo detailed. “I go to school in Boston, and I actually had an exam yesterday. I usually fly in Wednesday nights so I can show my horse on Thursdays. I am the only one that shows her, so we didn’t want to change anything and have my trainer (Candice King) show her, but I was a bit panicked because I couldn’t fly in to show yesterday. She just had to walk into the class tonight and I was really scared going in, but she really took care of me. She ended up being fantastic.”

Going second to last in the jump-off with everyone before her having rails, Bellissimo’s main goal was a clear round. “I just wanted to go in and do a nice clear and hope that it was nice enough to be quick enough if the last person went clear, but at the same time if the last person had a rail also,” she said.

This is the biggest win of the young rider’s career, and a very exciting accomplishment on home turf. “It is my biggest win so far and it is extra special with a horse that I have kind of brought along myself,” Bellissimo acknowledged. “She means a lot to me, and she is always fighting for me so much every time she goes in the ring. She has never done anything wrong. It was just really exciting that other people can see how great she is.”

A student in her fourth year at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, Jordan MacPherson has had success in the young rider series before and was very happy with her rounds aboard Piccobello du val de Geer, a 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Kannan x Skippy II).

“It was exciting,” MacPherson smiled after the class. “I have had her for about four years now, and I have done two other years with her in this series. She came out here like a pro tonight and was amazing. She gave me her heart, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Adrienne Sternlicht, a sophomore at Brown University, also had a great experience with her mount Oreade des Dames, a 12-year-old Selle Francais mare by Kannan x Hurlevent. “I have had her for three years, and she was really my horse that we intended for these classes,” Sternlicht explained. “I bought her as a nine-year-old for these young rider classes, and she has ended up doing some more. She jumped the ‘WEF’ yesterday. I think it is nice for her to be challenged with a bigger class every once in a while and then we bring her in this level and 1.45m/1.50m is really her comfort zone and she is quite a fast horse. I was really just trying to be a medium double clear and that didn’t work out, but she was fantastic tonight and I am thrilled with the way she went.”

Sternlicht first jumped in the young rider series two years ago and then was out last winter with an injury. “This year for me has been the first year that I really feel competitive at this level, and I am starting to be competitive at a bigger level,” Sternlicht acknowledged. “For me, I was more nervous for today than I was for the WEF (Challenge Cup) because I kind of put pressure on myself in these classes to really perform. I think it is a fantastic series, and it is a really neat experience.”

Week nine competition will continue on Saturday with the feature $280,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W 4*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies at 7 p.m., which will be live streamed at http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/2014-280000-fei-world-cup-grand-prix-live. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Ben Maher and Urico Win $150,000 CSIO 4* Grand Prix

Ben Maher and Urico. Photos © Sportfot.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Top $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic for Second Win in Two Days; Nicole Lyvere and Wink Champion the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters

Wellington, FL – March 2, 2014 – Week eight of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by G&C Farm, concluded on Sunday with another big win for Great Britain’s Ben Maher in the $150,000 CSIO 4* Grand Prix, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. Maher guided Jane Clark’s Urico to victory over USA’s Laura Kraut and Nouvelle in second and Ireland’s Cian O’Connor aboard Quidam’s Cherie in third. Also showing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday, McLain Ward (USA) and HH Carlos Z won for the second day in a row with a top finish in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.

Steve Stephens concluded a fantastic week of world-class competition with a challenging course for Sunday’s $150,000 CSIO 4* Grand Prix. There were riders from 18 different countries in in today’s grand prix, and 36 of 50 riders were from outside of the United States.

Watch an interview with Ben Maher about Urico and his four wins at FTI WEF.

The course yielded 12 clear rounds out 50 entries for an exciting jump-off of top international riders from eight different countries. In the end, it was once again Ben Maher who led the victory gallop after completing the fastest clear jump-off round in 40.85 seconds aboard Urico. The pair finished over three seconds faster than second place finishers Laura Kraut and Nouvelle with a time of 44.09 seconds.

Cian O’Connor and Quidam’s Cherie took third place honors in 44.23 seconds. Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Ashland Stables’ Derly Chin de Muze finished fourth in 46.86 seconds, and Kent Farrington (USA) and Robin Parsky’s Blue Angel had the fastest time in 38.30 seconds, but had the last jump down to place fifth.

“It was a difficult course actually in the first round,” Maher said after the class. “I thought it got big; after the water jump it really changed. The fences before it weren’t too difficult, and then once the water took its toll on the horses, the jumps got bigger and a lot of faults came. There were a lot of clears today and certainly a lot of fast ones in the jump-off. I tried to ride the jump-off that I could do, not one that I couldn’t do.”

“Urico is an incredibly fast horse,” Maher described. “He kind of anticipates turns before you’re even there. It looked like one of those jump-offs where rails were falling, and it maybe wouldn’t get too quick. I know that Cian’s horse is quite inexperienced; jumping very well, but I did not know how quick he would go. I knew that Beezie would be faster than me probably whatever I did, so I rode the round that I could, and fortunately it was just quicker than Laura today and good enough to win.”

Maher described the win with Urico as an important moment in his partnership with the 13-year-old KWPN gelding (Zandor Z x Fedor). “I think this is probably even more special for me today because we took a lot of time with Urico since this time last year,” he stated. “We had a few teething problems and a lot of work has gone into him for six or seven months. Jade Steinsdorfer, who looks after him, has put a lot of time in. Jane Clark believed in my system and has let me get on with it and it has really paid off. He certainly feels a very, very useful horse to go along with Cella and my other horses right now. It is a big milestone and a confidence boost for us today.”

“He did start very well here,” Maher detailed. “He had some good results here last year as well; I just felt that we needed a slightly different program. I went home and worked on building him physically in a different way and getting him stronger and more confident. I am just gaining his trust really. I think that he really believes in me now, and he trusts me. He is a very sensitive horse and a very careful horse. You have to be careful when to push the right buttons and when not to.”

Maher has now won four of the eight major grand prix classes at this year’s FTI WEF. He also won week one’s $30,000 Mar-a-Lago Club Grand Prix aboard Kavanagh IV and topped both week three’s Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI 3* and week five’s $370,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W 5* presented by Rolex aboard Cella.

“It has been incredible here so far for me,” Maher acknowledged. “I think Jane’s horses love being at home. They get to go in the paddock and be real horses and come to the ring here fresh. Things seem to be going my way right now and I know how quickly things can change around, so I am enjoying it as much as I can while it is happening.”

“I love jumping here,” he added. “I enjoy the fact that Jane can come and watch as many events as we can get to. The horses haven’t jumped too much. We make a very careful plan for here. It’s only early in the year, but Urico had three months off the end of last year, and I chose not to use him in the indoor season and keep him ready and fresh for here. Cella also didn’t jump so much towards the end of last year. They come over here about four or five times each and don’t have to jump too many classes when we’re here because I have been pre-qualified for some of the grand prix. The plan is going great so far and I hope it continues, but I am just going to enjoy what’s happening so far.”

Behind Maher and Urico, Laura Kraut finished second aboard the Evita Group’s Nouvelle, a ten-year-old KWPN mare by Solitair x Contango. Nouvelle is just coming back this season after an injury and had a great finish.

“She got hurt last June; she broke her pedal bone in her foot, so basically from June until I got here she was off,” Kraut explained. “The first fences she jumped were here in January, so today is her very first grand prix and I am really pleased with how she performed. She has matured and I don’t think the time of rest seemed to hurt her too much because she has come back sort of where she was ready to be before she got hurt.”

Kraut was a little worried about Nouvelle’s inexperience in the class, but was hoping for a good result. “I knew that I had Ben and Beezie and Kent and quite a few people behind me,” she said. “I was really hoping to finish in the top six, and I was hoping to be double clear. Ben beat me by a lot; he beat me by three seconds. It wasn’t like he just beat me. I am really proud of her. I did the inside turns, the one back on the vertical, and she handled that well. I am just thrilled. Her owners are here and they have been long-time supporters of me. Their last grand prix horse was Anthem, so I know they are so excited.”

Commenting on Maher’s great success, Kraut noted, “He rides great; he has super horses and he deserves to win the classes that he has won. I would like to have a shot to try to beat him at some point. I will get Cedric revved up here hopefully at some point and we will give it a shot, but at this level you appreciate the superior riding and horses. He and Scott (Brash) are so impressive. It is going to raise the level of riding here. To have number one and number two in the world is just a great opportunity for WEF and for all of the riders here.”

In third, Cian O’Connor was jumping Adena Springs’ Quidam’s Cherie, a nine-year-old Oldenburg mare by Quidam’s Rubin x Lifestyle, that the rider has only been partnered with since December.

“I got Cherie in middle of December and did one show before coming here,” O’Connor explained. “With her previous rider she did 2* grand prixs in Germany, so she is very green. That is the brilliant thing about coming to this festival is that the horses really get mileage, you get experience. I jumped her in the Nations Cup the other night, and she jumped a very good clear in the first round. She was a little tired in the second round and then I gave her a day off yesterday to freshen up, and she really jumped her heart out today.”

“I am very excited about her because it has been a while since I have had a horse as talented as that,” O’Connor said. “She is so careful and I am just going to drop her down and move her up and not do too much because it is hard when you only have one horse like that. You really want to spare them, and I am looking forward to a good year with her.”

On behalf of Wellington Equestrian Realty, Craig Martin spoke about Sunday’s fantastic class and his company’s continued support of equestrian sport in Wellington.

“Wellington Equestrian Realty, we really love sponsoring this class,” Martin stated. “I have known Ben for a long time since he was a young fellow. He is definitely a tactician of the sport, and I would love to congratulate him on his win. Congratulations to Laura and Cian as well. The show for us is a very important part of our whole marketing strategy. The way that we feel the direction the show is going, it is only getting bigger and better. It is definitely, without a doubt, one of the best horse shows in the world.”

Several special awards were also presented during Sunday’s Grand prix. In memory of Niall Grimes, the “CHEERS” perpetual trophy was awarded to Cian O’Connor as the top Irish rider during the CSIO, Nations Cup week.

Brazil’s Alvaro ‘Doda’ de Miranda was presented with the Kate Nash Boone Style Award, a perpetual trophy presented by Michael Meller, friends and family to honor the memory of Kate’s support and love of “all things equestrian.”

Beezie Madden (USA) also earned a special award as the Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for week eight, an award presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z
McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Top $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic for Second Win in Two Days

After topping Saturday’s $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, the brand new partnership of McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z went on to their second victory of the week in Sunday’s $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The class saw 52 entries with six to jump-off.

Laura Kraut and MH Sporthorse’s Andretti S were first to jump-off and incurred 16 faults (8 jumping and 8 time in 55.88 seconds) to finish sixth. Caitlin Ziegler (USA) and Artisan Farms LLC’s Touchdown jumped next and cleared the course in 44.94 seconds to eventually place third. Ward and HH Carlos Z followed, posting a time of 40.64 seconds to take the lead.

Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Holy Smokes jumped into second with a clear round in 43.45 seconds. Germany’s Johannes Ehning had eight faults in 47.59 seconds to place fifth with Nybor Pfere GMBH & Co. KG’s Balounito. Last to go with his second mount, Ward also took fourth place honors with a clear round in 45.77 seconds aboard Arnoud Dobber’s Cannavaro D.

Ward first sat on HH Carlos Z for the first time two weeks ago and is quickly getting to know the talented 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire). “He is a phenomenal horse,” Ward praised. “I am just trying to get to know him a little bit. He is electric careful, fast. It is like having a 12-year-old Goldika again, so it is very exciting for us.”

“He has had a good past,” the rider pointed out. “The horse won the Grand Prix of Falsterbo already, that’s a 5* grand prix. I think he has a great future. He is maybe not a horse that you jump every day 1.60m, but you go up and down a little bit because he has so much carefulness, and he is going to be a phenomenal addition to our string.”

With two wins in a row, it is obvious that Ward and Carlos have good things to come. Ward has already learned a lot about Carlos is a short period of time and looks forward to the future.

“He knows the game and we are still getting to know each other and we will be for a while,” Ward noted. “I will get to know to know little things about him and he will get to know me, but he knows his job and I mostly know my job, so hopefully we can be somewhat competent.”

“I have learned little things already just about the warm-up and preparation for the class and just how he reacts to different things in the ring, which have all been positive feeling,” Ward added. “I am just getting to know him and it is exciting. It is an exciting venture with Hunter (Harrison). He likes to win and I like to win, so it’s a good combination.”

Ward also jumped a brand new mount, Cannavaro D, in the jump-off on Sunday and had a great round with him to finish fourth. “It wasn’t a very big jump-off. There weren’t many clear, but I thought the course was difficult enough,” Ward commented. “I had a pretty strong feeling that I had the fastest horse in the jump-off with Carlos. I was pretty confident in that, but I also knew that Kristen Vanderveen was coming behind me and she would always give it a good try, so I wanted to make sure that I did enough that I didn’t leave the door open. The other horse that I did in the jump-off I have only been riding for ten days. He is a little less experienced, so I knew that I couldn’t go as fast with him as I did with Carlos.”

Nicole Lyvere and Wink Champion the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 Division at the FTI WEF

Nicole Lyvere of Denver, CO, topped the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 on Sunday morning at the FTI WEF. Lyvere and her nine-year-old Warmblood gelding Wink were third in the under saddle, won two over fences classes, and were second in another over fences round to clinch the division title.

The reserve champion of the division was Humor Me, owned and ridden by Stephanie Danhakl. Danhakl rode Humor me to second place under saddle and first, fifth and fifth over fences.

Nicole Lyvere and Wink
Nicole Lyvere and Wink

Lyvere has owned Wink for the last few years after buying him from Don Stewart in Ocala. She admitted Wink was quite green when she got him and was happy to see her journey with the gelding come full circle.

“He was super, super green when I got him. He’s come a long way,” Lyvere smiled. “Now, he’s getting in the routine where he loves the horse show and he hates to be at home! When he’s at a horse show, he’s happy.”

Despite Wink being green when Lyvere first tried him, there was something about the gelding that instantly clicked with her.

“He just had this really cool feeling and he was the first fancy horse that I got. I’d never had a horse that jumped as well. He wasn’t very broke, and I’m out there flopping around. He would even bear down at the jumps a little bit, but we just clicked at the beginning. We’ve had our battles, but he’s just so fun to ride,” Lyvere described.

Wink has made a lot of progress, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t occasionally give Lyvere a run for her money.

“He’s super comfortable. He’ll always push your buttons, though. If you give him an out, he’ll take it most of the time. He has an attitude, a sassy attitude that he knows he’s good. But he’s perfect! The best ones always have some sort of attitude,” Lyvere remarked.

Bringing Wink along with the help of trainer Cindy Cruciotti has been a rewarding experience for Lyvere, who prefers working her way up the levels with her horse instead of going for one that’s a bit more push-button. After Cruciotti campaigned the horse in the First Year Green Working Hunters, Lyvere contested the 3’3″ amateur-owner divisions with Wink before making the move up to 3’6″ in 2013.

“It’s awesome. That’s my favorite thing. It’s nice to have a made horse and go in there and win, but for me that’s not as fulfilling. Most of my horses, I’ve had them since they were younger and brought them up through the ranks,” Lyvere expressed.

Lyvere’s victory with Wink wrapped up the eighth week of competition at the FTI WEF, presented by G&C Farm. Week 9, presented by the Bainbridge Companies, kicks off on Wednesday, March 5, with a full schedule of show jumping and hunter competition. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Ben Maher and Cella Top Another British Showdown in Saturday’s $370,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W 5

Ben Maher and Cella. Photos © Sportfot.

Olivia Woodson Claims THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under at FTI WEF

Wellington, FL – February 8, 2014 – Scott Brash and Ben Maher proved once again why they are the number one and two ranked riders in the world on Saturday night as the British superstars battled it out for top prize in the $370,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W 5*, presented by Rolex, at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Competing in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd at the Palm Beach Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, the FEI World Cup Qualifier saw an exciting victory for Maher and Cella, with Brash and Ursula XII finishing second, and up-and-coming U.S. star Lucy Davis guiding Barron to the third place prize.

FTI WEF week five, sponsored by Rolex, will conclude on Sunday with the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic to begin at 11 a.m. (NEW REVISED TIME) in the International Arena at PBIEC. Schedules have been revised for some rings, so please check www.showgroundslive.com for an updated schedule of Sunday’s competition. The FTI WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

Great Britain’s Robert Ellis set a difficult track for Saturday night’s class, with 45 competitors and seven clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Artisan Farm’s Verdi III were the first pair to qualify for the jump-off, and cleared the short course in 38.61 seconds to earn the sixth place prize. McLain Ward (USA) and Sagamore Farms’ Rothchild had an unfortunate stop on course for four faults in the jump-off in 47.36 seconds to place seventh.

Audrey Coulter (USA) and Copernicus Stables’ Acorte were next to jump-off, and cleared the course in 37.52 seconds for a fifth place finish. Scott Brash took the lead next in 35.70 seconds aboard Lord and Lady Harris and Lord and Lady Kirkham’s Ursula XII, but eventually settled for second place. Lucy Davis and Old Oak Farm’s Barron placed third with a time of 35.98 seconds. Charlie Jayne and Chill R Z jumped into fourth in 37.04 seconds.

Last to go in the jump-off, Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Cella cleared the course in an electrifying 35.30 seconds to secure the victory. The crowd exploded as the pair took a huge leap to the final Rolex oxer and raced through the finish line. They had done it again.

Maher has had an incredible FTI WEF circuit so far with wins aboard several of his talented horses. He and Brash had their first duel of the season in week three’s $125,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI 3*, where the results were the same – Maher and Cella first, Brash and Ursula XII second. As the results prove, Maher and Cella, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Cento x Chin Chin, have become quite the dream team.

“It’s been an incredible start to the year so far,” Maher acknowledged after Saturday’s win. “Cella had quite a long rest after the European Championships last year and she came back to do a couple of shows towards the end of last year, and actually has not jumped so much. She seems to love WEF here. She loves the ring, and she feels fresh and on form. She is just an incredible horse to ride.”

“I think Bob Ellis did a great job with the course tonight,” Maher noted. “I think a few riders were walking the course tonight and saying it looked big, or it looked technical and quite tight in places, but with $370,000 I didn’t really expect any less. That’s huge prize money, and he was definitely going to make us work for it. I think the course was great. Obviously it suited me. It had everything; faults all over the course, and again, this arena seems to provide some of the fastest jump-offs anywhere in the world. Luckily for me, I had a good draw tonight, and seeing Scott go, he was obviously fast. I was lucky enough to watch them, and it was definitely a big help to me tonight.”

For the winner’s share, Maher earned an impressive $122,000 for the night’s victory. He gave it everything in the jump-off, and the effort certainly paid off. Maher was so focused, he admitted that he was not even sure where he made up the fractions of time.

“I don’t know, everything was going so fast to be honest!” he laughed. “I actually planned to take a stride out and do six on the bend from the first to the second jump (the plank), but when I rode in I was a little nervous with the trees on the side that if I angled the plank, she might stop (and) not look where she was going, so I decided to not take too much risk there. I think the way I can gallop Cella to a double like that and a liverpool afterwards is like no other horse. I can gallop her and she kind of stops, backs up, jumps up and that’s where I can make up the time.”

“It probably looked erratic to the last fence, almost hurtling I guess, but it wasn’t by choice,” he said. “I turned back tight to the vertical, and she cut left on me, which I was ready for, but she did it a little harder than I thought and she landed a little flat-footed. I knew I had to be committed from the first stride, and I was going, and I got four strides down there and that oxer looked like it was still on the other end of the arena, but I kept going. I don’t know how she jumped it, but she did it. I knew if I pulled to the last fence I would be giving it to Scott, so I gave it my best shot.”

Scott Brash and Ursula XII
Scott Brash and Ursula XII

Brash also gave it his best shot with Ursula XII, a 13-year-old Scottish Sport Horse mare by Ahorn x Papageno, and was happy with his finish.

“Ursula jumped fantastic tonight,” Brash smiled. “The first round, everything went according to plan until she jumped the triple bar, and I don’t know, she stumbled or something but I got the six strides very late to the combination and I was very late going in, and she was really good to jump the combination. Everything else went according to plan. She jumped amazing. My jump-off, I was really happy with. I have been working on my jump-offs with her, and when I first got her it felt like I was going too fast and out of control, then I would go fast for the first half and have to make an adjustment half way around. That was the first time of being able to ride a very smooth jump-off and be very quick. She has kept her head, and I am very pleased.”

Maher and Brash have become show jumping superstars and see huge crowds and great fans in Europe. They spoke about the fantastic attendance for Saturday night’s class in Wellington and how great the competition was.

“I think it’s great wherever we go, we are very fortunate to have a lot of fans,” Brash stated. “It is great; it gives you an extra boost when you are in the ring with a lot of people cheering you on, and it just makes you want it more. It was good to see such a busy crowd tonight.”

Maher added, “I think it’s important not to forget to thank Rolex for the sponsorship tonight. It is unbelievable the money and support that they are putting in to the sport over here, and especially in Wellington. I think it certainly looked like one of the biggest crowds to come out for the first major Rolex grand prix here. It was full from every side, and Bob Ellis did a good job of using the whole arena so the whole crowd could watch. We have the best riders here in the world. It is great sport and great entertainment for a Saturday night.”

California’s twenty-one-year-old Lucy Davis finished third with her horse, Barron, a ten-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by For Pleasure x Nabab de Reve. Davis, who trains with Germany’s Meredith-Michaels Beerbaum and Markus Beerbaum, earned the biggest victory of her young career this past September when she won the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Lausanne with Barron. The young rider continued to make her mark on the world of show jumping Saturday night with a close finish behind two of the world’s best.

“I have a very, very special horse,” Davis praised after the class. “We have been together for a year now, and he has improved so much over the year and I have improved with him. It is really special to be able to ride in competitions like this, and being behind two Olympians is very inspiring. It makes me believe my goals and dreams are possible.”

“I’d ideally like to do the world championships at the end of the year, but that’s a long shot and that’s a lot of people’s goal right now and it is very early in the year,” Davis said of her plans. “My immediate goal is to keep consistent with what we are doing, and we’ll see what happens!”

Olivia Woodson Claims THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under at FTI WEF

Olivia Woodson and Victor V.D. Sent
Olivia Woodson and Victor V.D. Sent

Fourteen-year-old Olivia Woodson, of Wellington, FL, finished on top of the THIS Children’s Medal 14 & Under class on Saturday morning at the FTI WEF. Woodson and her horse Victor V.D. Sent were one of the final horse-rider pairs to contest the first round before qualifying for the test with a high score of 87.

The top four riders from round one were called back to test over fences. In addition to Woodson, Maria Moore qualified after laying down an 83 and ultimately finished second. Third place went to Gina Kumar, who earned an 83 in the first round, and Ava Stearns rounded out the top four with a first round score of 86.

Victor V.D. Sent, shortened to “Victor” in the barn, has been partnered with Woodson since October of last year, and she has quickly fallen in love with the handsome bay gelding.

“He’s the best horse in the world. He saves my butt all the time!” Woodson grinned.

Woodson, who trains with Geoff Teall, described Victor’s willingness to take care of her as one of his most endearing traits, along with his brave attitude and natural talent.

“I really like his jump; it’s really scopey. He has a huge stride, and he never looks at anything. He jumps anything; he would jump out of the ring if you wanted him to! He does everything you ask him to,” Woodson detailed.

Going late in the class and last in the test didn’t make Woodson nervous, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering the accomplishments she has to her name, even at her young age. Woodson won the USEF Pony Medal Finals last summer to cap off her pony career and, now that she’s moved up to horses, is already trying her hand at “big eq” classes like the ASPCA Maclay Medal and the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Medal.

The test in Saturday morning’s class was short and relatively simple, asking riders to canter jump three, a single oxer on the diagonal, before counter-cantering jump four, a vertical on the quarter line, and trotting jump five, which had been part of a troublesome diagonal line in the first round.

Woodson immediately formulated her plan for the test, which focused on the counter-canter that she admits is her and Victor’s weakness.

“After the first jump, I was planning on landing right since we have trouble holding the counter-canter sometimes. So I wanted to land right and go through the turn on the right lead, and then when I got straight to the jump I would change to the counter-canter,” Woodson detailed.

When Victor landed on the left lead and was already in the counter-canter, Woodson had to quickly readjust.

“I landed [left], and I tried to do the inside turn and fell off the lead. I was able to fix it, though,” Woodson explained. After returning to the walk and picking up the counter-canter with a few strides to spare before the next fence, she finished the test as the final rider to go. All four riders had suffered from minor missteps in the test, and Woodson was ultimately crowned the winner.

Hunter competition continues for the FTI WEF on Sunday morning with the Coldwell Banker Children’s Hunter 15-17 division. The $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will begin in the International Arena at 11 a.m. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Honours Go to Ben Maher in Highlight of Week 5 Presented by Rolex at the Winter Equestrian Festival

Peter Nicholson from Rolex USA presents Ben Maher with his Rolex watch.

Wellington, Florida – 9 February 2014 – Under the floodlights of the International Arena in Wellington, Florida, the first 5* competition of the 2014 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) was dominated by the world’s top two riders who went head to head in a tense competition, with World Number Two Ben Maher taking the honours from his fellow Britain and World Number One, Scott Brash, in the FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W 5* presented by Rolex.

Watched by a big crowd enjoying the warm Florida evening, clear rounds were hard to come by on a tough and demanding track set by Olympic course designer, Bob Ellis, and Maher was one of only seven horse and rider combinations that went clear from 45 starters.

Maher had the advantage of going last into the jump-off and was able to benefit from knowing exactly the line to take, but the leading time set by Brash still looked tough to beat. But Cella, owned by Jane Clark, was up to the task and with a winning margin of 0.41 seconds, Maher took the honours. Third on the winner’s podium was Lucy Davis from the United States, who was watched over from the stands by her trainer and Rolex Testimonee, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.

Speaking about the WEF, Ben Maher said, “I think that the biggest advantage of being here at the Winter Equestrian Festival is that we get to spend a lot more time on our horses, and are able to give them one on one attention. Tomorrow, the first thing I will do is ride Cella. I notice things here in Wellington that I wouldn’t when competing in different competitions each weekend. That is one of the biggest benefits of staying in one place for a longer period of time.”

This is the first year of an unprecedented 10-year partnership between WEF and Rolex which was announced in December 2013. Rolex became the “Official Timepiece” of both the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre and the WEF.

This follows on from the launch of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in April the same year, which features the three equestrian ‘Majors’ – the CHIO Aachen, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament and CHI Geneva – and is the first global initiative to reward the outstanding rider who wins the Grand Prix at each show in succession.

Website:
www.rolex.com

Rolex Equestrian Press Room:
equestrianismpressroom.rolex.com

Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Rod Kohler
rod@revolutionsports.co.uk
+44 7770 647 662

Maher and Foster Share Top Honors in $125k Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5

Ben Maher and Urico. Photos © Sportfot.

Jimmy Torano and Scott Stewart Ride to the Top of Loddon Stalls Pre-Green Hunters Level 1

Wellington, FL – February 6, 2014 – Week five of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued on Thursday afternoon with a shared victory for Ben Maher (GBR) aboard Urico and Tiffany Foster (CAN) riding Victor in the $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5. Held in a “California Split” due to the large number of entries, the competition awarded two sets of placings, each with $125,000 distributed.

FTI WEF week five, sponsored by Rolex, runs February 5-9, 2014. The week will feature the $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m on Friday, the $370,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix CSI-W 5* presented by Rolex on Saturday night, and the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday afternoon. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

Great Britain’s Robert Ellis set the course for the $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 on Thursday in the International Arena at PBIEC. The class saw a record total of 116 entries in round one with 30 clear trips to narrow the field down for an impressive tie breaking jump-off. Twelve entries jumped clear over the short course, and Ben Maher had the fastest time of 43.44 seconds overall for the win in Section A of the class riding Jane Clark’s Urico. Tiffany Foster and Victor, owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines, finished in 44.04 seconds for the win in Section B.

The top three finishers in Section A included Maher and Urico, Reed Kessler (USA) and Kessler Show Stables’ Ligist in second with a time of 44.11 seconds, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) with Artisan Farms’ Zigali P S in third in 44.93 seconds.

Section B saw a top finish for Foster and Victor, with Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’ in second with a time of 44.79 seconds, and Wilton Porter (USA) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Paloubet in third in 44.96 seconds.

Jane Clark’s horses had a fantastic day on Thursday with Urico and Cella both qualifying for the jump-off and having great rounds. Urico got the win and Cella had one rail over the short course and finished seventh in Section B. To add to the success, Clark’s dressage horse, Wellnetta, earned an FEI Grand Prix 3* victory across the street at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with U.S. rider Katherine Bateson Chandler earlier in the day.

Although Clark could not be in Wellington for the day’s top finishes, Ben Maher was happy to be a part of the winning team. He explained that he has made some adjustments to how he rides and prepares Urico since last year, and the changes seem to be working for the best.

“Urico was fantastic today,” Maher stated. “We spent a long time building him up since this time last year. I had a couple of accidents on him and now we really pinpoint him for certain classes. We don’t use him as much, but if we do it the right way, he is a great horse. It is looking like it pays off. He jumped a good first round, and I was lucky enough to have two in the jump-off. Cella jumped phenomenally in the jump-off and I just sliced the liverpool way too much. I thought she was a machine, not a horse I guess, so it reminded me I have to pay attention a bit more. On Urico, I had to ride a little bit wider there knowing that sometimes he gets a little afraid. He is naturally such a fast horse, so as soon as that was out of the way, I ran him to the end and luckily he was just a lot quicker.”

“Whatever I was doing this time last year, I am doing the opposite now pretty much,” Maher said. “He wanted to run quite close to the jumps and sometimes that caused him to panic a little bit, so I have worked him much differently. He gets a lot more work now in the mornings for preparation for the afternoon so that he is a bit quieter. I also tend to ride him with a little more space to the jumps so he does not have that moment of freezing up at the end. He is a very sensitive horse, so when he is confident, I am confident, and then hopefully the results come. That is the plan.”

Maher commented on the course for Thursday’s class, noting that it was one of the most challenging that he has seen yet at this year’s competition.

“I thought Bob Ellis did an amazing job,” he stated. “Where do you begin to start to build a course for 116 riders? It wasn’t perhaps the biggest we’ve ever seen, but Bob is clever. He places jumps on angles and rollbacks. He catches people out everywhere. That is probably what we haven’t seen yet here this season. There has been a lot of galloping, but not actually many real turnbacks and opportunities to cut across the fences. It was definitely the most testing course we have had here this year.”

In addition to the prize money in Thursday’s class, Maher earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion for wearing his SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.

Tiffany Foster and Victor
Tiffany Foster and Victor

Tiffany Foster and Victor continued their successful FTI WEF circuit with their second big win after also topping Section B of the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup during week three. Foster was very happy with her rounds on Thursday and explained that she has gained confidence with their accomplishments.

“He was awesome,” Foster noted. “The course obviously was difficult enough with so many entries in it, and I thought he jumped really well. He is really confident and comfortable here. He is really fast and now it is getting really fun because I can go really fast with him. I have to give all of the credit to Eric (Lamaze) though because since Barcelona last year, I don’t jump Victor at home anymore, only Eric rides him. He does all the work and I get all the credit, but it’s working so I’m going to make him keep doing it!”

In addition to Victor, Foster has many great horses to show this year thanks to the support of Artisan Farms, and she is having a lot of fun with them as well.

“I am always having fun, but I am especially having fun jumping like this when you can go fast,” she stated. “Once you get on a roll it seems like you get some confidence, and then you are really prepared to take some risks. Then when the horses rise to you, it is really awesome. I have a super group of horses, and I have to thank the Zieglers and Artisan Farms because they are unbelievable owners. I am really happy that I am able to now have it all start to pay off.”

Also on Thursday, an $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m jump-off class was held in the morning with a win for Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez aboard Darlon van Groenhove. Abigail McArdle (USA) and David McArdle’s Cosma 20 won the Engel & Völkers High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.

Jimmy Torano and Scott Stewart Ride to the Top of Loddon Stalls Pre-Green Hunters Level 1

The Loddon Stalls Pre-Green Hunter Level 1 division was split into two sections on Thursday afternoon at the FTI WEF to accommodate the division’s large amount of entries. Jimmy Torano piloted Kyle Owen’s Messick to top honors in Section A and also finished as reserve champion with Pearl Street, owned by Jamie Jarvis. In Section B, Scott Stewart was awarded the division champion title with Wish, owned by Stewart’s Rivers Edge Farm and Annette and Leslie Pierce. The reserve champion for Section B was Palani K, ridden by Jeff Gogul and owned by Fred White.

Messick and Jimmy Torano
Messick and Jimmy Torano

Torano and Messick won three over fences classes in addition to jumping to a fourth place finish. Stewart and Wish were second, sixth, and first over fences and won the under saddle class.

Torano and his two mounts were matched up at the last minute after their usual rider, Peter Pletcher, had to take the week off following a minor injury. Pletcher of Magnolia, TX, asked Torano to step in and Torano and was pleased with how the seven-year old Westphalian gelding performed in the ring Thursday.

“It’s a horse [owner Kyle Owens] bought off the internet that doesn’t have a lot of experience, but the horse went fantastically this week and won three classes. It really looks like a nice horse for the future,” Torano, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, noted.

Coincidentally, Torano helped Pletcher with Messick a few weeks before temporarily taking the reins over on Messick, so he didn’t have to go into Thursday’s division completely blind.

“I watched [Messick] go a little bit. He’s a typical hunter. He goes without a martingale; he goes in his own frame with nice balance. He’s got a great way of going. Luckily I got to watch him go with Peter and Kyle two weeks ago,” Torano explained.

Torano’s first impression of the horse proved to be true. He described Messick as an even-tempered and simple ride, relatively unaffected by the busy show atmosphere.

“He’s very, very easy-going. He’s not spooky. He’s very careful and has a perfect lead change,” Torano remarked. “A golf cart was coming by the side [of the ring day on day one of competition for the division] and he maybe shied away a little bit, but he was third in that class and he won the other one. Today, he went in there and was solid and won them both.”

Wish and Scott Stewart
Wish and Scott Stewart

While Torano and Messick were freshly matched, Stewart and his champion mount have a much closer history. Stewart and partner Ken Berkley own Wish with Annette Leslie Pierce and bred the four-year-old Warmblood gelding themselves.

“He’s is the first one that’s old enough that we bred. He’s out of a mare we had called Hush and he’s by a stallion I used to show, Be Cool,” Stewart detailed.

When asked what it’s been like to bring along a homebred mount, Stewart replied with a smile, “It’s been fun. He’s a lot like his mother and his father combined. He’s sort of like a 50/50 mix. He’s really brave and easy. He has a really good lead change, and he’s just simple.”

The first time Stewart got on Wish, he fell in love with his natural way of going and admitted he didn’t have to do much on the flat training-wise.

“He’s a beautiful mover and a beautiful horse. The way he canters in between the jumps, he just carries himself like a natural hunter and he wants to carry himself in that frame,” Stewart described.

Wish has also remained cool and collected despite the fifth week of the FTI WEF only being his third show. For that, Stewart credited his incredibly easy-going personality. That doesn’t mean the gelding is immune to any “green” moments, which Stewart simply laughed off.

“Putting the ribbon on his bridle scared him a little bit!” Stewart commented of the pair’s division championship presentation.

While Wish will take the next few weeks off before returning for the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program classes to be held Week 7 of the FTI WEF, hunter competition continues on Friday with the WEF Collegiate Equitation Championships. The $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m will be featured in the International Arena. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Ben Maher and Cella Master $125,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI 3*

Ben Maher and Cella. Photos © Sportfot.

Lexi Maounis and Sienna Collect Top Honors in Bainbridge Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters at FTI WEF

Wellington, FL – January 25, 2014 – The world’s best battled it out at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Saturday night with a one-two finish for Great Britain in the $125,000 Fidelity investments Grand Prix CSI 3* at the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Ben Maher and Scott Brash, the top two ranked riders in the world, finished on top of an impressive field of horses and riders in an exciting ten-horse jump-off.

Maher, the number two ranked rider in the world, came out on top with his mount, Cella. Brash, the current number one ranked rider in the world, finished second behind his Olympic teammate with Ursula XII. Alvaro de Miranda (BRA) and AD Norson placed third.

Week three of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, concludes on Sunday, January 26 with the $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

Guilherme Jorge of Brazil set the course for 45 competitors on Saturday night with ten clear rounds and a difficult jump-off, in which the top two were the only combinations to clear the short course. Scott Brash and Ursula XII, owned by Lord and Lady Harris and Lord and Lady Kirkham, were the first pair to clear the course in 39.05 seconds, but had to settle for second place when Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Cella took the challenge and bested their time in 38.68 seconds. Alvaro de Miranda and AD Norson, owned by de Miranda and Victory Equestrian, completed the fastest four-fault round in 39.61 seconds to place third. McLain Ward (USA) and Sagamore Farm’s Rothchild finished fourth with four faults in 40.06 seconds.

Not only did Saturday night’s class feature the top two riders in the world, it saw four of the top ten, with Beezie Madden (USA) who is currently fourth, and Kent Farrington (USA) who sits in tenth on the Longines FEI World Ranking list. Fourth place finisher McLain Ward ranks 20th in the world; third place finisher Alvaro de Miranda sits 29th.

Maher began riding Cella, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Cento x Chin Chin, during the FTI WEF circuit last winter and got his first big win with her in last year’s Fidelity Investments Grand Prix, a $100,000 CSI 2*. Maher commented on their success, stating, “It’s a lucky place here for me and Cella at the moment. She had a long break after Geneva and then our first class was this week in the ‘WEF’ (Challenge Cup), where she felt better than ever. I decided not to do the jump-off because I knew it was going to be fast, and save her for this evening. She’s certainly a once in a lifetime horse so I want to save her for the big occasions. Luckily, between the whole team, we made a good decision because she jumped great tonight.”

“She’s just a phenomenal jumper. She does it in her own style, and the more I let her get on with it, the better she is,” Maher said of Cella’s style. “It was a good course tonight. I thought it was big for a 3*, but it has to be big with the horses and competition there is here. In the jump-off there were not too many options. I thought the first round was a great course, very technical, and the jump-off was relatively plain and simple. A lot of horses looked tired and had a lot of faults from running early on, but the course was very suited to Cella. I did what I could do and not what I couldn’t. It was a race between me and Scott tonight.”

Scott Brash and Ursula XII
Scott Brash and Ursula XII

Brash’s mount, Ursula XII, is a 13-year-old Scottish Sport Horse mare by Ahorn x Papageno. Brash got the ride on Ursula just after the Olympics in 2012, but explained that it took some time for them to figure each other out.

“It took us probably six months to a year to just gel as a partnership, and I wanted it to change her a bit to my style, and I tried to adapt to what she likes, but I have to say she’s a joy to ride and she’s such a sweet horse in every way. She’s a real top horse,” Brash stated.

Saturday night’s jump-off was a fun rivalry for Brash and Maher, and they explained that it keeps them competitive.

“Ben and I are very good friends,” Brash acknowledged. “I think it’s a rivalry in a really good way. He wants to beat me as bad as I want to beat him. It’s good for Great Britain.”

“Scott and I were the only two clears tonight. If we had known it was going to work out like that, perhaps we should have spoke before and come to an arrangement to slow down a bit,” Maher point out with a laugh. “I’ve been lucky, same as Scott, with my team, my horses behind me now, and the support from Jane Clark. It has made all the difference in the past 12 months. It just proves how much we need the owners and the sponsors to support us and how much success that can bring, and we both work hard.”

De Miranda was happy with his third place finish aboard AD Norson, a 13-year-old Selle Francais stallion by Quidam de Revel x Grand Veneur, that he has ridden since the horse was four years old. The top placing was a happy end to a bad day for de Miranda after getting news about an injury in one of his top horses. The rider shared that AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno, who he won last year’s $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI 5* with, has sustained an injury that will keep him out of competition for a minimum of six months. Despite the bad news, de Miranda had a good night with AD Norson and has high hopes for his season.

“He’s a very nice horse,” de Miranda said. “In the beginning I was using him as a speed horse, and then since 2010 I started upgrading him to the bigger classes and he did very well. He was in the Pan American Games where we had a silver medal with the team, but the ground was not too good and after that he wasn’t coming back too strong to this level. Here he is jumping really good, and he’s back to what he was before. He’s a really nice horse, very competitive, and I love to ride him.”

De Miranda commented on the level of competition at this year’s FTI WEF, stating, “I like to come here for two reasons: to build up horses, and to bring along young horses. When you come here for three months it is like spending one year in Europe. You can do a lot, and you can get to know the horse. They come back to Europe in very good shape. It is top level sport. You have the best horses and riders here. It is very competitive.”

A special new award was presented before the class on Saturday night. The Engel & Völkers Owner Award recognizes the owner with the highest earnings in prize money each week. The award includes all horses by the same owner in both hunter and jumper divisions.

During FTI WEF 1, Paris Sellon (USA) was the top earning owner. Ronan McGuigan (IRL) was the recipient of the award for FTI WEF 2. Week’s three’s top owner will be tabulated upon completion of competition on Sunday and the award will be presented at the start of next week’s $50,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI 2* at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday, February 2.

An award for the Leading Lady Jumper Rider was presented as well, awarded to Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum after a great week competing with her veteran partner, Checkmate 4. The award is sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties.

Also showing in the International Arena on Saturday, Alexandra Crown and Verona jumped to victory in the $15,000 SJHOF Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers, Sollak Carr. Lucy Mitchell-Innes and Casey Curtis’s Riley II were victorious in the Horseware Ireland Don Little Masters speed class, and Emanuel Andrade and Hollow Creek Farm’s Carboni won the Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper speed round.

Lexi Maounis and Sienna
Lexi Maounis and Sienna

Lexi Maounis and Sienna Collect Top Honors in Bainbridge Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters at FTI WEF

Nineteen-year-old Lexi Maounis and her 12-year-old Hanoverian mare, Sienna, were crowned division champions Saturday morning in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies, at the FTI WEF. The pair built a solid lead during day one of competition after winning both over fences classes, which they followed up on day two with a third over fences and sixth place finish in the under saddle class.

The reserve champion for the division was Libretto, owned and ridden by Alliy Moyer. Moyer and Libretto were eighth and fourth over fences on day one before riding to the reserve champion title on day two. The pair was sixth in the first over fences class before winning the final over fences round and the under saddle class.

Maounis, of Greenwich, CT, had an early lead after winning their first two classes, but didn’t back off during the second day of the division. Her lead actually made her a little nervous, but she knew she could count on Sienna.

“I get nervous when I do well the first day. I didn’t want to take anything for granted. I was like ‘I have to ride just as well today as I did yesterday,’ and I was just a little bit nervous, but it worked out great. She’s always perfect, there’s never anything that she does that’s quirky or weird in the ring. She’s always the same, which is great,” Maounis detailed.

Sienna is all business in the ring, but Maounis admitted she lives up to the chestnut mare stereotype with her fiery personality in the barn.

“She’s quite the feisty horse! She has a very big personality, and she likes what she likes. She’s very much a chestnut mare, and everyone pretty much knows that!” Maounis laughed.

The way to Sienna’s heart is through her stomach, which puts Maounis’ mother at the top of her list. “My mom is her favorite person because all she does is feed her treats. It’s really funny to see someone come near her and she pins her ears back, and then my mom comes and she’s like ‘Oh, hi treat lady!'”

Sienna’s opinionated personality has its advantages, though. If Maounis ever has a mistake in the ring, Sienna is there to set her straight.

“She takes care of me. She’s really good at just staying calm and being the same every time we go out there. She seems to know what’s right and what’s wrong. So sometimes when I try to do something, she’ll be like, ‘Nope, I’m right. As usual.’ She’s always right!” Maounis smiled. “I kind of have to let her do her own thing. That’s what usually works out best is when I let her do what she wants.”

Maounis, who trains with Heritage Farm, is looking forward to a shorter commute this year to the FTI WEF. Instead of traveling back and forth each weekend from Connecticut, she only has an hour drive from the University of Miami, where she is a freshman majoring in advertising.

Now in her second year of competing as an amateur, Maounis has no qualms about leaving her junior days behind her and is adjusting well to life in the amateur divisions.

“I really like it! Everyone is so friendly and so nice. It makes me really happy,” Maounis beamed.

Week three of the FTI WEF concludes on Sunday with the $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic in the International Arena. Hunter competition wraps up with the EnTrust Capital Small Junior 16-17 Hunter division. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Ben Maher and Diva Celebrate First Win Together at the Wellington Turf Tour’s $15,000 Friday Grand Prix

Ben Maher and Diva.

Wellington, FL – January 24, 2014 – The sun was getting low in the sky at the Ridge at Wellington as Britain’s Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Maher entered the Grand Prix Field. Aboard his most recent mount Diva, Maher, the number two ranked rider in the Longines World Rankings, tackled the track and climbed to the top of the leader board for today’s 1.40m Wellington Turf Tour. It was a moment that marked a solid beginning for the pair, their first win as a team.

The Wellington Turf Tour came home to the Ridge at Wellington for the third week of competition, and with a meticulously designed course by Kenneth Krome, the scene was set for exciting jumper action.

Sweden’s Alexander Zetterman set an early lead this morning as the first rider of the day. He piloted Canora, owned by Pine Hollow Farm, to a clear first round and then blazed around the shortened track. An unfortunate rail at the opening fence of the jump off cost him the win today, but his time of 42.806 seconds set the pace for the remaining contenders.

It was Danielle Goldstein, riding for Israel, who had the first double-clear effort. Aboard Carisma, owned by Israeli Equestrian Partners, she took a conservative approach to the obstacles, finishing in 50.175 seconds. Her lead was short lived as Irishman David Blake entered the scene.

Riding Aischa, owned by Pine Hollow Farm, Blake cleared the first round with ease and moved into the jump off. They finessed the seven efforts with ease, tripping the timer in 41.410 seconds to take over the spot at the pinnacle of the rankings.

“We have had her for about a year, and she has had really good results so far this circuit,” Blake recounted. “It is nice to bring her here, someplace different. It is a little spooky for them, probably because it is so quiet and such a large grass field. I thought it was a nice course. There is a lot of color out there, and a lot of lines. It is the perfect way to educate the horses.”

David Blake and Aischa
David Blake and Aischa

Blake laughed, “She pulled a shoe there at some stage of it, so that didn’t make it easy for her. She is a jumper, so she kept going. She went really well, even with three shoes.”

He returned to tackle the course once more with his second mount, Doma Sue, owned by Pine Hollow Farm. She is a 9-year-old that is very new to Blake, just recently out of quarantine. They proved that although their partnership may be young, the potential for more is apparent. They posted the third double clear effort of the day in 42.806 seconds.

“She is still building up and getting fit, so we are just really getting to know her,” Blake stated. “She certainly jumped really well out there today. I think she is one that is going to jump some bigger classes in the future when she gets some more experience. Definitely bringing her out here with these horses and the grass field helps to put her along that path.”

Blake’s time stayed untouched as each consecutive contender attempted to beat his pace. United States based Australian show jumper Ben Meredith fell two seconds shy of Blake’s time with a final score of zero faults in 44.664 seconds. It seemed as though it would be a win for Ireland, but Ben Maher took the gamble and came out with his new mount Diva. The international leader board only continued to grow.

In November of 2013, Tatiana Kosakova purchased Diva from a prominent breeding farm in England. The mare had been bred and raised with the same family, and proved to be an excellent jumper, all she needed was a top rider to help her shine in the show ring. Maher took the reins, and traveled to Wellington for the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), but not without including the Wellington Turf Tour on his calendar.

“Diva is a great jumper, she is just green, and needs time,” Maher explained. “She jumped well in the 1.45m this week at WEF, but I thought it would be a nice change to see what she was like over here on the grass.”

As the penultimate rider of the day, Maher entered the competition with a bit of strategy, utilizing Diva’s careful nature and speed to his advantage. They successfully cleared the first round, moving into the short track. Since the Ridge at Wellington’s Turf Tour uses an open in-gate format, Maher did not have the advantage of seeing Blake traverse the course earlier in the day.

Maher said, “The format is different. Like any jump off, you try to do what you can do, not what you can’t.”

Diva proved that there isn’t much that she can’t do. Maher guided her through the turns with a steady stride, while using her naturally fast pace to shave the seconds. As he landed from the second to last fence, he legged her ahead to the final oxer. The seconds he cut proved crucial. As they landed from the oxer in 39.812 seconds, Maher took the lead and his first win with the new mare.

“I know she is still a green horse, so I took it a little steady through the turns. The ground was very good,” Maher described. “She is a naturally fast horse; she takes a lot of pressure because she is careful. I just rode her around and luckily today it was fast enough.”

He continued, “She can get too careful and jump too high sometimes, especially on the oxers. Every now and then, like that last fence, letting her run and stretch out and jump forward is actually, for her, not bad training at all. Maybe a few other horses, it would get them flat and careless, but it helps her. I am hoping that the circuit over the next couple of months will be the making of her, and she is going to be a good grand prix horse for us in the end.”

Jumpers should race to get their entries in for next week’s Wednesday and Friday events as The Ridge at Wellington’s $15,000 1.40m Grand Prix and 1.30-1.35m Classes head back to the International Polo Club Palm Beach for Week IV of the series.

“This series gives a lot of versatility for the three months that we are here and we will do our best to try to support these shows when we can. I am looking forward to showing at the International Polo Club, it is part of the reason why I came to show her today and see how she goes,” Maher concluded. “It seems like it will be a fun day. It is great experience for this horse because hopefully after this circuit she will do several of the Nations Cup shows behind Cella and Triple X, my other horses. It is nice to feel her in different environments.”

The stakes are increasing each week as top riders, amateur and professional, vie for their invitation to the $24,750 1.40m Invitational Grand Prix Series Finale on Saturday, March 22, 2014, as well as the coveted Leading Rider Bonus. The Wellington Turf Tour will return to the International Polo Club Palm Beach next week for its Wednesday and Friday events.

Meadowbrook Horse Transport will provide transportation to and from the horse show and other locations throughout Wellington for both the Wednesday and Friday events. The transportation is a nominal fee of $50 per horse, and will be calculated into the final show fees. To make a reservation for one of the three pickup times: 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. please call Peter Tufano of Meadowbrook Horse Transport at (954) 415-7217, or call Nona Garson at (908) 500-0996.

The Wednesday and Friday events will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Riders are encouraged to get their entries in as soon as possible for the approaching classes. Turning in entries early will ensure that they get the time that they desire. Show Net will provide the live scoring for the Ridge Winter Tour II, as well as video all rounds. All recorded rounds and results are available at: www.shownet.biz.

The Ridge still has available sponsorships for the Invitational Series. For more information, call (908) 500-0996 or download information at http://www.theridgefarm.com.

Sponsorships are available for the $25,000 Finale, $15,000 Weekly Grand Prix, $2,000 Weekly Hospitality Text, $3,500 Show Jump Sponsor for series, $750 Ring Banner for the series and $500 Weekly Class Presenter.

All checks should be made payable to the Ridge Farm LLC.
The Ridge at Wellington Grand Prix Series
C/O Eda Tordiff
110 Edwards Rd.
Parsippany, NJ, 07054

For more information about the Ridge at Wellington, please go to http://www.theridgefarm.com. For up-to-date information, please follow the Ridge at Wellington on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ridge-at-Wellington/219358376264.

The Ridge at Wellington Horse Show Series Fast Facts

Events:

The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour offers their popular 1.40m Invitational Grand Prix for its second year, with an open in gate format taking place once a week at beautiful venues throughout Wellington. The Ridge at Wellington Grand Prix Finale will take place March 22, 2014.

The Turf Tour also will host 1.30m-1.35m Jumpers every Wednesday beginning January 8, 2014 and running until March 19, 2014.

Young Jumper Classes and both Children’s/Senior Jumper Classics will find their home intermittently throughout the Wellington Turf Tour.

The Ridge at Wellington offers Equitation Shows every Tuesday of the month from January – March 2013. There will also be a series of schooling shows at the Ridge at Wellington for all experience levels.

Two USHJA International Hunter Derbies will take place February 7, 2014 and March 21, 2014.

What:
The Ridge at Wellington series includes several weeks of competition throughout the Winter Season with USEF Rated Equitation Shows. This winter will also feature five two-day schooling shows. The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour will offer 1.30m-1.35m Jumpers, 1.40m Invitational Grand Prix, Young Jumpers, Children’s/Senior Classics, and two hunter derbies.

Where:
Wolfstone Stables
3655 Middleburg Dr,
Wellington, FL 33414

Barn & Show Phone 561-791-1471 | Barn Fax 561-791-1543

When:
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 – 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday, January 10, 2014 – 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Hours:
8:30am – 5pm daily

Directions:

From the Florida Turnpike: Take the exit for LakeWorth Road West. Continue on Lake Worth Road approximately 6 miles to South Shore Blvd. Make a left on South Shore Blvd. Continue to the stop sign at 50th Street. Make a Right on 50th Street. Continue to Stables Way and make a right. Continue to the end of Stables Way and make a right on Palm Beach Point Blvd. Driveway to farm is 50 feet on the left.

From Route 95: Take the exit for Forest Hill Blvd West. Continue on Forest Hill Blvd to South Shore Blvd. Make a left on South Shore Blvd. Once on South Shore Blvd, continue straight at light at Pierson Road and again straight through the intersection at Lake Worth Road, to the stop sign at 50th Street. Make a Right on 50th Street. Continue to Stables Way and make a right. Continue to the end of Stables Way and make a right on Palm Beach Point Blvd. Driveway to farm is 50 feet on the left.

Information:
Before Show – (561) 791-1471, Email: RidgeShows@aol.com
During Show – Telephone: (561) 791-1471, Fax: (561) 791-1543

Text: (908) 500-0996

Website: http://www.theridgefarm.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ridge-at-Wellington/219358376264?ref=ts&fref=ts.

Management:
Nona Garson
14415 Palm Beach Point Blvd. East
Wellington, FL, 33414
(561) 791-1471 (show office)
(908) 839-3859 (show cell)
(561) 791-1543 (show fax)
Email:  RidgeShows@aol.com
Website: http://www.theridgefarm.com

Media Contact:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd.
Suite 105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Ben Maher and Kavanagh IV Triumph in $30,000 Mar-a-Lago Club Grand Prix

Ben Maher and Kavanagh IV. Photos © Sportfot.

Lili Hymowitz Makes a Statement in Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters

Wellington, FL – January 12, 2014 – Week one of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded on Sunday with a victory for Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Kavanagh IV in the $30,000 Mar-a-Lago Club Grand Prix at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

Week one of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsored by The Mar-a-Lago Club, concluded today. FTI WEF 2, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, run January 15-19. The FTI WEF, held at the PBIEC in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

For Sunday’s highlight competition, course designer Eric Hasbrouck saw 47 combinations jump the first round, with ten entries advancing to the jump-off. Only two were able to clear the short course without fault, and Ben Maher and Kavanagh IV had the winning time of 35.017.

Paris Sellon (USA) and Heracross finished second with their clear round in 40.053 seconds. Karen Polle (USA) had the fastest time in the jump-off in 33.898 seconds, but incurred four faults to finish third. Ireland’s Ronan McGuigan and Capall Zidane placed fourth with four faults in 34.344 seconds. McGuigan and Polle were both victim to a tall plank jump on course that was a problem for many of the riders in both rounds.

Class winner, Kavanagh IV, is a 12-year-old Anglo European gelding by Kannan x Carousel. Maher started riding the gelding this fall and has already had great success with him. He explained, “I took over the ride a few months ago when I was resting the other horses in England back in October, and he went quite well the first week, so John and Laura (Renick) kindly left him with me.”

“I begged them to let me take him to Florida because I know he’s great in the big arenas,” Maher continued. “He jumped very well in the Trump Grand Prix the other week. I couldn’t see where I was going (because of the rain), and I ran a little deep and had a mistake, so we saved him for this grand prix this week because he felt good, and the plan paid off.”

“He is the most laid back going horse there is,” Maher described of the horse. “He is very relaxed and doesn’t mind who looks after him or who is riding him. I actually didn’t ride him all week. My girlfriend rode him the whole week, so maybe I’ll stick to that plan. He takes strides out in a big ring like this; he’s pretty fast. A lot of horses had the planks down, so I took a little bit of time there and left a small margin for the others to catch me, but luckily it was the right decision today.”

Maher looks forward to another great FTI WEF circuit in 2014, returning with Jane Clark’s Cella and Urico, who he had great success with in 2013.

“I am looking forward to riding Cella and Urico,” he noted. “They have been great for me the whole year. We rested Urico for the indoor season because he gained some great results. I had a whole new plan with him for the summer, and I think he’s in great shape, so he’ll start out here next week. Cella, we’ll save for the bigger grands prix. They’re kind of split up this time, so she’s going to come out week three I think, but I’ve got some great horses. I’m very lucky, and always excited to be here.”

In addition to earning top prize in Sunday’s grand prix, Maher was presented with a special Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award, presented by Laura Fetterman.

Second place finisher, Paris Sellon, also earned a special award as the Leading Lady Jumper Rider for week one thanks to Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.

Sellon, 21, is from Los Angeles, CA, and this is her first time competing at the FTI WEF riding with Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton. She purchased Heracross from Skelton one year ago.

“I just started riding with Nick and Laura last May,” Sellon explained. “I went to Europe with them, started traveling with them. I have just been getting to know him, getting to know how to jump clear, and it’s all finally paying off now. It has taken a full year, but he’s great. He is super straight forward and a super show horse.”

Commenting on the day’s course, Sellon noted, “It was difficult enough. With the time allowed and everything, you have to keep moving as well as trying to jump clear, but my horse actually benefits from that. The more you keep him going, the more you fire him up. That’s when he jumps his best, so it was actually a pretty good course for him.”

Karen Polle, also 21, is from New York City and started training with Todd Minikus in October. She has had her horse What Ever for three years, but the mare is coming back from a year and a half off with an injury, and Sunday’s class was one of their first grands prix back together. Polle described What Ever, stating, “She is so lazy at home. She’s like a pony, but once she gets in the ring she fires up. She leaves out strides and turns really fast, and she’s just so fast and fun.”

Polle explained that training with Todd Minikus has really helped her. “He has helped me focus on using my leg to really ride the course and guide the horse,” Polle noted. “I tend to get a little bit too much hands, and I stop them a little too much and I get them behind me sometimes, so he’s really been helping me ride from my leg.”

The Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumpers also got the chance to show in the International Arena on Sunday morning. In the $10,000 Sleepy P Ranch SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, Victoria Colvin and Don Juan, owned by Brigid Colvin and Karen Long Dwight, completed the only clear round out of 17 entries to earn top prize. Emanuel Andrade and Hollow Creek Farm’s Carboni had the fastest four-fault round to finish second.

The $10,000 Animo USA Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic saw 51 entries with 18 clear rounds and ten to go clear in the jump-off. Dana Scott and Nod Hill Farm’s KM What Ever RV were the winners with the fastest jump-off time, and Sarah Hubbard and Athina Z finished second.

Lili Hymowitz Makes a Statement in Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters

Lili Hymowitz could not be beat Sunday morning in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, presented by Greenspoon Marder Law, at the FTI WEF. Hymowitz walked away with division champion and reserve champion honors with her mounts Statement and Tiffani, respectively.

Lili Hymowitz and Statement
Lili Hymowitz and Statement

Hymowitz and Statement, a seven-year-old Westphalian gelding, won three out of the five classes for the division. The pair picked up wins in two over fences classes and the under saddle in addition to collecting sixth and third place ribbons over fences.

Tiffani, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare, won the handy round on the first day of competition over fences before finishing second in two other over fences rounds and fifth in the under saddle class.

Fourteen-year-old Hymowitz, of New York, NY, picked up division champion and reserve champion titles with both mounts over the fall and was happy to see both horses return to the show ring happy after a well-deserved vacation following the Alltech National Horse Show in Lexington, KY.

“Towards the end of indoors, they were starting to get tired. Now they’re back and refreshed,” Hymowitz recounted. “It’s so nice to be back in Florida. I’ve gotten used to riding in little indoor [arenas]-I haven’t shown outside since the Hampton Classic [in August].”

Of her champion mount, Statement, Hymowitz described “He’s pretty straight-forward. You just have to make sure you keep going forward! One thing he likes to do is start slowing down and get a little backwards, but he’s so fun and amazing. He wants to win as badly as I do!”

Hymowitz described Statement as a “get on and go” ride, but highly values Tiffani’s adjustability on course.

“With Tiffani, I don’t have to worry because she’s so adjustable since she used to be a jumper. If I see the slow [distance], I’ll do the slow one, but with Statement, you just have to stay the same pace. I try not to touch him!” Hymowitz admitted.

Hymowitz was thrilled with her one-two finish in the division and looks forward to competing Statement and Tiffani again at the FTI WEF, although they’ll be getting plenty of well-deserved time off.

Sunday’s competition concluded week one of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsored by The Mar-a-Lago Club. Week two, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, will run Wednesday, January 15 through Sunday, January 19. The week will feature the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 on Thursday afternoon, the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday night, and the $10,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Speed Class, Presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, as well as the $34,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic during the day on Sunday. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Ben Maher Proves He Still Has the X-Factor

Olympia, London, 22 December 2013 – Ben Maher saved the best until last at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, when winning the last big class of the week, the Olympia Grand Prix, with a classic display of calm horsemanship on his own and Quainton Stud’s home-bred stallion Tripple X lll.

In a stirring climax to a week of great competition, the world number two narrowly overhauled his 58-year-old compatriot John Whitaker, who had the audience on the edge of their seats with his vintage display of bold riding on Argento.

Penelope Leprevost of France, third on Flora de Mariposa, set the early standard with a beautifully judged clear in the 12-horse jump-off but, to the home crowd’s delight, Ben beat her by nearly a second.

John then produced his gallant effort, but a tiny check in front of the penultimate fence cost him a fraction of a second and first place in one of the few competitions he has yet to win.

Until this evening, only two senior British riders had won classes, William Funnell and Laura Renwick, who finished the show as H&M Leading Rider, and Ben was the first to admit that it hadn’t been one of his finest weeks – the day before, Tripple X hit two fences in the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier.

“Actually, the horse was jumping well and I felt he was on form – it was me that needed to calm down,” confessed Ben. “I have been struggling all week, making mistakes I don’t normally make, so I went Christmas shopping and changed my plan.”

The magnificent stallion Tripple X rattled the second fence in the jump-off, but Ben kept his head. “I heard the crowd gasp but, if anything, that helped me. There’s huge prize-money all over the world but you can’t beat history and all the people cheering. I’d rather win the Grand Prix at Olympia than anywhere else in the world.”

Amazingly, Ben is the first British rider to win the Olympia Grand Prix since Robert Smith in 2005, so to have a British one-two was doubly encouraging and greeted with rapturous applause by the packed house.

“I’m excited about this horse,” said the sporting runner-up John Whitaker. “He’s improving all the time and was bang on today.”

And, although British riders certainly did not have it all their own way this week at Olympia, the H&M Leading Rider of Show accolade went to another popular Brit, Laura Renwick, whose consistency meant she beat Peder Fredricson (SWE) by four points to win the award.

Jur Vrieling (NED) was third, William Funnell (GBR) fourth, Italy’s Luca Moneta fifth and the talented young Dutchman, Maikel Van der Vleuten, winner of the Christmas Masters as well as the Longines FEI World Cup, was sixth.

Thus ended a fantastic week at Olympia in which eight of 11 performances were a sell-out – a new record.

Laura Renwick, Britain’s leading lady, summed up the week: “This is right up there with anything else I’ve done. This is the showcase for the year for British riders and so to win this leading rider prize is a great thing for my CV!”

Audio Links

Scott Brash – The World Number 1 reflects on his week at Olympia Horse Show
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Scott_Brash.mp3

Laura Renwick – The British rider crowned H&M leading rider of the show
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Laura_Renwick.mp3

Ben Maher – The British rider wins the final International class of the show, the Grand Prix.
http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access/client_zone/Ben_MaherSUN.mp3

Final Placings

For details of the final placings in the Olympia Grand Prix, please click HERE.

For more information, please visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show

Throughout the week of 16 December, the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington, London will play host to packed timetable of all things equestrian and boasts a total of over 80,000 visitors. The show mixes top class equestrian action including FEI World Cup Jumping, Dressage and Extreme Carriage Driving with family entertainment, such as The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art display and the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Olympia Horse Show celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2007 and is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest equine competitions. Olympia Horse Show’s official charity for 2013 is veterinary charity, the Animal Health Trust, which works behind the scenes to monitor equine disease around the world and undertakes extensive on-going research to minimise the risk of injury to sport horses. The evening performance on Wednesday 18 December will be dedicated to the Animal Health Trust and 50p from every seat sold will go to the charity.

For more information, please contact Hannah Grissell, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
Email: hannah@revolutionsports.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 207 592 1207

London 2012 Team Gold Medalist Rider Ben Maher Still World Number 1

Photo © Noelle Floyd.

British show-Jumping superstar Ben Maher maintains the World number 1 position of the Longines Rankings for the third consecutive month.

Thursday 14th November 2013 – Ben made it all the way to the top of the world through hard work and dedication with successes including a Team Gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, on home soil, in addition to recently winning a Team Gold medal and an Individual Silver medal at the 2013 European Championships in Herning, Denmark.

With his best horses, Cella, Tripple X III and Robin Hood, Ben has already won most of the major Grand Prix events in the world including London, Hickstead, Basel, Zurich, Cannes and La Baule, to name a few.

Competitions schedule:
To try and retain his number one position Ben Maher will compete in Stuttgart, Stockholm, Paris  and Geneva to conclude the year with world renowned London Olympia Horse Show.

Ben Maher’s latest TV interview for FEI TV: http://youtu.be/EwmbBaUBT40.

Ben Maher, British citizen, was born on January 30th 1983.

Ben Maher said: “Winning Team Gold was a dream come true and winning in front of your home crowd made it all the more special. Becoming World Number 1 has been a long held dream of mine and to finally make that spot was very special. I will be working very hard to stay there. I have a great team of horses that are now well rested and ready for a busy few weeks including Stuttgart, Stockholm, Paris, Geneva and Olympia. Hopefully I can start 2014 in the top spot!”

Ben Maher wears the Longines World Nr 1 armband.

Full Longines Rankings available here: http://www.fei.org/fei/fei-partners/longines/rankings.

Ben Maher, despite his young age, already has numerous titles including Team Gold medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games (London, UK); individual Silver and Team Gold medalist at the European Championships 2013 (Herning, DEN); and Team Bronze medalist at the European Championships 2011 (Madrid, SPA).

Ben is supported by some of the most prestigious brands: Land Rover, Equipe Saddles, GPA Sports, Veredus, and Equiline Italy, among others.

For more information or to receive high res pictures, please contact Magali Dubois Vaucher, magali@compear.ch, +41 78 608 03 23, or visit www.benmaher.me.uk.

Magali Dubois Vaucher
ComPeaR
Rue Borgeaud 4
1196 Gland
+41 78 608 03 23
www.compear.ch