Ben Maher (GBR), pictured here with Cella at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show, has jumped up to the top spot in the Longines Rankings. Photo: ES Photography.
Lausanne (SUI), 4 September 2013 – London 2012 Olympic team champion Ben Maher (GBR), who won team gold and individual silver at the P.S.I. FEI European Jumping Championships in Denmark last month, is the new world number one in the Longines Rankings, the FEI World Jumping Riders Rankings, for the first time in his career. This is a spectacular progress for the 30-year-old British rider who, with 2,510 points, has advanced from 19th place to claim the top spot.
With a 21-point lead, Maher has taken over from Christian Ahlmann, the German who has led the rankings since December 2012, and is now in fourth place on 2,410 points.
Elizabeth (Beezie) Madden of the United States, the top-ranked female rider, is the runner-up for a second month in a row on 2,489 points, ahead of Germany’s Marcus Ehning in third on 2,450.
Scott Brash, who was also on the British gold medal teams at last month’s FEI European Championships and in London 2012, joins his compatriot in the top 10, having moved up from 25th to ninth place.
Ben Maher took up Jumping at the age of eight and began competing in pony classes while he was still at school. He started training with former British rider Liz Edgar after leaving school, before spending two years with Beat Mändli in Switzerland. He won the FEI Pony European Championships two years in a row (1997 and 1998), and went on to win the FEI Young Rider European Championships in 2004.
In 2005, aged 22, he became the youngest rider to win the iconic Hickstead Derby, and in 2006 was named British Show Jumping’s Best Up and Coming Rider.
Maher made his Olympic debut in 2008 with Rolette. His second Olympic appearance was at London 2012 where, aboard the stallion Tripple X III, he secured team gold with Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Peter Charles, the first Olympic British Jumping title in 60 years.
Ben Maher, with the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Cella and Tripple X III, has been pivotal in helping Great Britain secure its spot in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final, which takes place in Barcelona (ESP) at the end of this month.
The complete Longines Rankings are available here.
Tim Gredley and Unex Valente Win $10,000 Puissance; Whitecap and Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy Triumph in Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51+ Division
Wellington, FL – March 15, 2013 – Week ten of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Horseware Ireland, continued on Friday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with a win for Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Quiet Easy 4 in the highlight $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class. In an exciting finish, Maher just edged out Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S for the win with Japan’s Eiken Sato and Viva finishing in third.
On Friday evening at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival at The Stadium at PBIEC, a fantastic $10,000 Puissance high jump competition was also featured along with the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Horseware Ireland. Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and Unex Valente and Germany’s Johannes Ehining and Salvador V went head to head over the ever-increasing wall with Gredley winning in four rounds at a final height of 6’11” (2.10m). Gredley then went on to attempt 7’6″ (2.31m).
Week ten’s FTI WEF competition runs March 13-17 featuring CSI 3* competition. Highlights include the $82,000 Horseware Ireland CSI 3* Grand Prix on Saturday and the $33,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday. The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival features 12 weeks of competition running from January 9 – March 31, 2013, and will be awarding almost $7 million in prize money throughout the circuit.
Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany set the speed track for Friday’s $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class in the International Arena at PBIEC with 43 entries competing. Fifteen were able to clear the course without fault and the times got faster and faster as the list went on. In the end, Ben Maher and Mrs. Phillips’ Quiet Easy 4 won it with their time of 60.69 seconds. Eric Lamaze and Wang Chung M2S, owned by Morningside Stud and Torrey Pines Stables, were just behind in 60.92 seconds. Eiken Sato and Stephex Stables’ Viva finished third in 62.06 seconds. Meagan Nusz (USA) and Amalaya Investments’ Vesuvius were fourth in 62.62 seconds.
When Maher originally finished his round, the clock on the scoreboard showed that his time was slower than Lamaze, but a review by the judges determined that he was in fact faster.
“I landed after the last fence and I saw it was around 59 seconds and you obviously need to run a little bit to get to the timers, but then the clock said I was 61 seconds and I was sure it had run on a little,” Maher explained. “When I came out the judges were already discussing it. They said that it did run late and they went to the backup time, which was noticeably different, so luckily it worked out.”
With a busy schedule showing in other rings, Maher did not get to watch the beginning of the class, but showed up just in time to see Lamaze’s round.
“These classes you just do what you can and know what you can’t do it,” he noted. “I had some other horses going in another ring, but luckily I watched Eric just before I went, so I knew I had to kind of do the same as him and take time off where I knew I could. He was quick places that I knew I couldn’t be, so I just did my own thing and Quiet Easy jumped fantastic today. He was great from the first fence. He warmed up well, so I thought we had a good chance.”
“It was a good course,” Maher stated. “It had a lot more turns today and a little bit more options of how tight you wanted to go and to turn, so that suited my horse. I think I was pretty quick one, two, three, but it was all within less than a second, so I don’t think we really got it any place in particular. He was just quick the whole way.”
Quiet Easy’s barn name, Roary, is quite fitting. Owner Emma Phillips was in Wellington today to watch his winning round and explained that he is named after the British cartoon, Roary the Racing Car, about a young, energetic red race car. Phillips was pleased to be in town to see her horse earn a great win.
“It was special for us because we just flew in this weekend,” she smiled. “We have been here before over the years, but not for this season, so it was really nice to be able to see him win. It was nice for my husband too because he never sees him win.”
Maher laughed, “Every time Mr. Phillips comes, they always knock a jump down, so finally they won a class.”
I haven’t seen them for such a long time and then they arrive and the horse wins, so it could not have worked out any better,” Maher acknowledged. “He has been great. He loves Florida and he has had some great results. We’ll save him for the last two 1.50m classes now.”
Tim Gredley and Unex Valente Jump Great Heights in $10,000 Puissance
The $10,000 Puissance high jump competition was held on Friday evening at The Stadium at PBIEC prior to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Horseware Ireland for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Great Britain’s Tim Gredley and Unex Valente and Germany’s Johannes Ehning and Salvador V went head to head over the wall in four rounds of competition with Gredley winning at a final height of 6’11” (2.10m).
The competition was held as a fun exhibition with slightly modified rules. The two competitors were allotted up to five rounds (first round and four jump-offs) with two attempts at the wall in each round if necessary. The wall began at 5’4″ (1.65m) in round one with both horses and riders jumping clear in one attempt. It then went up to 5’11” (1.85m) with two more clear rounds. In round three, Gredley and Valente cleared the 6’5″ (1.95m) wall on the first try and Ehning and Salvador took two attempts to jump the obstacle. Once the wall went up to 6’11” (2.10m) in round four, Gredley jumped clear, and Ehning opted to withdraw. Gredley earned the winning $7,000 for his effort and then, in an exciting twist, decided to jump higher.
Equestrian Sport Productions’ CEO Mark Bellissimo offered up $10,000 more if Gredley could clear the wall at 7’6″ (2.31m) or $5,000 just for attempting it. Gredley and Valente made two valiant efforts but rubbed the blocks off the top in both tries. They still came out of the day with $12,000 and a great experience.
Unex Valente, owned by Unex Competition Yard, is an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Gentleman x Sit This One Out that Gredley has had since the horse was four. The pair has a lot of grand prix experience together, but has only shown in one other Puissance, winning over 7′ and also attempting 7’6″ in Kentucky this past fall.
“I did the indoors in Washington and Harrisburg and Kentucky and I just thought I would try it once in Kentucky and straight away, the first round, he felt like he was going to be a good one,” Gredley stated. “This is only the second one that he has done, but both times he has just been unlucky at 7’6″. I know the horse; I have had him a long time and it makes a big difference when you can trust them a little bit.”
“He is really easy actually,” Gredley added. “Other horses that I have done in Puissance classes before, they normally start backing off, but he just keeps the same stride all the way down and he actually starts to take you, which makes it a lot easier. In hindsight, maybe I was a little bit off the first time. I was a little bit unlucky the second time, but he is just a really nice horse.”
Johannes Ehining’s mount Salvador V is a fourteen-year-old KWPN stallion by Calvados x Voltaire, owned by Nybor Pferde GmbH & Co. KG. The pair has had great grand prix success and this was their first time attempting the Puissance wall.
“For my horse, I rode him also once in a derby qualification in Hamburg and he is super brave, so I thought that maybe he could do it,” Ehning stated. “This was the first time, but I wanted to try it once with him. He is fourteen years old now; he has enough experience for that, so there was reason to try it once.”
“This is my best horse,” Ehning said. “In the last few years he has had a lot of good results in the grand prix. He has won four and five-star grand prix. I rode a few six-bars with him and he won a lot of those, so it was a good thing to try it here. That is also the reason that I didn’t go more rounds though, because he is my best horse and I didn’t want to over-ride him. Tim’s horse looked really comfortable with the wall and mine was really getting a little bit hot. I didn’t want to do too much with him.”
Both riders enjoyed coming to the dressage facility at The Stadium at PBIEC for a change of scenery for their horses and a new experience.
“It was really well organized, it was no problem at all,” Ehning noted. “We talked about getting to ride in the really nice indoor and this ring is also nice, so it is something different.”
Whitecap and Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy Triumph in Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51+ Division
Mary-Katherine Shaughnessy and her sixteen-year-old Trakehner gelding, Whitecap, jumped to tricolor honors in the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51+ Division during week ten of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). With the points widely spread across the division, Whitecap and Shaughnessy emerged as champions after consistent over fences performances. The pair was second and eighth over fences on day one of competition and first and eighth over fences on day two. Reserve champion was Sandra Epstein aboard her own Pembroke. Epstein piloted Pembroke to fourth and third places over fences on day one of competition.
At age 16, Whitecap is a seasoned veteran of the FTI WEF, where he has also competed in Junior and First and Second Year Hunter divisions before being purchased by Shaughnessy two years ago. “I think his age is an advantage. For me, I like the older ones. Before him, I had a hunter that was very spooky and unreliable and it took away from my ability to progress,” Shaughnessy commented.
Throughout the course of their partnership, Whitecap has yet to put a foot wrong for Shaughnessy in the ring. “He’s never stopped, knock on wood! He will find a way to get over it. We don’t have many bad jumps anymore, but the first year I had him there were a few more bumps. He always found a way to get over it. He’s just a very honest horse,” Shaughnessy explained.
Shaughnessy admits Whitecap can be bored by routine work at his age, but only because he revels being in the spotlight of competition. “He’s very sweet, but he has an ego. When we come to the show, there’s a 20% increase in his energy level! The show ring is where he wants to be,” she smiled.
“He’s a very talented horse. He excels being at a show. He perks up in the ring. When you see him at home he’s just a big chestnut with floppy ears. But when he’s all braided up, he looks very elegant in the show ring. He puffs up a bit,” Shaughnessy continued.
Shaughnessy believes Whitecap’s love for the show ring combined with a naturally correct way of going is what keeps them in the ribbons at a show as competitive as the FTI WEF. “He has a very nice rhythm and is naturally a beautiful mover. He has a very even and correct jump and he makes it easy for me to just guide him around and let him do his job,” Shaughnessy stated.
Shaughnessy also enjoys the camaraderie of Adult Amateur division. “We’re all still very competitive, otherwise we’d just be out trail riding somewhere instead of showing,” Shaughnessy laughed. “It adds something and a lot of us become good friends. It makes a nice difference. Maybe it’s just because we’re older and we realize we’re lucky to be here.”
Week ten of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, will continue Saturday with the Antarés Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, hosted in the Rost Arena of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The $82,000 Horseware Ireland CSI 3* Grand Prix will be featured in the International Arena at 7:30 p.m. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 9 through March 31. 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. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.
About FTI Consulting 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 3,800 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 $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.
Kalvin Dobbs and Winde Win Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix; Blueberry Hill and Coco Fath Jump to Second Championship in Florida Community Bank Small Pony Hunters
Wellington, FL – February 10, 2013 – Week five of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Adequan, concluded on Sunday afternoon with a win for Olympic gold medalist Ben Maher of Great Britain aboard his young mount Quiet Easy 4 in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Maher has been a dominant force in Wellington over the last two weeks with back to back grand prix wins, including last night’s $82,000 Adequan CSI 2* Grand Prix. He can now add a 1.50m victory to his tally for the winter.
Olympic course designer from Great Britain, Bob Ellis, set the track for forty-two entries to show in Sunday’s 1.50m classic with just four entries advancing to the jump-off. Alongside Maher, U.S. Olympic gold medalists Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut joined the jump-off roster as well as Argentinean rider Max Amaya.
Avery Hinson Triumphs in THIS National Children’s Medal 14 and Under with Rio’s Reflection
Wellington, FL – February 9, 2013 – Week five of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) featured another exciting “Saturday Night Lights” event with over 4,000 spectators looking on as Great Britain’s Ben Maher won his second grand prix in a row for the winter circuit. Maher jumped to victory in the $82,000 Adequan CSI2* Grand Prix aboard Jane Clark’s Urico after also taking top honors in last week’s $100,000 Fidelity Investments CSI 2* Grand Prix riding Cella.
Week five of the FTI WEF circuit, sponsored by Adequan, runs February 6-10. The week will conclude on Sunday afternoon with the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival features 12 weeks of competition running from January 9 – March 31, 2013, and awards almost $7 million in prize money throughout the circuit.
Superman and John Ingram Conquer Hunt Limited Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 Division
Wellington, FL – February 2, 2013 – It was a star-studded equestrian event during week four of the2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival’s (FTI WEF) “Saturday Night Lights” competition as Great Britain’s Ben Maher piloted Jane F. Clark’s Cella to victory in the $100,000 Fidelity Investments CSI 2* Grand Prix. Competing in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), Maher and Cella finished on top of 49 entries over second place finishers Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and HH Rebozo and third place competitors Gemma Paternoster (GBR) and Osiris.
Week four of the FTI WEF, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, will conclude on Sunday, February 3, with the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic at 2 p.m. The 2013 FTI WEF features 12 weeks of competition running from January 9 – March 31, 2013, and will be awarding almost $7 million in prize money throughout the circuit.
Wellington, FL – February 22, 2012 – Great Britain’s Ben Maher finished first and second in today’s $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic aboard his horses Tackeray and Quiet Easy 4, both owned by Mrs. Emma Phillips. Held as a Rolex FEI world ranking competition, the class was the feature event on Wednesday as the seventh week of the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) got underway.
Sponsored by Fidelity Investments, week seven will host the $100,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, February 25, at 7 p.m. Other highlights include the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix on Friday, February 24, at 7 p.m. and the $32,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday, February 26, at 1 p.m.
Olympia, London (GBR), 18 December 2011 – Great Britain’s Ben Maher produced a stunning performance from the nine-year-old Tripple X to win the seventh leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2011/2012 series at Olympia in London, Great Britain this evening. In yet another of this season’s super-exciting showdowns, the 28 year old rider effortlessly surpassed the seemingly impossible target set by three-time Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping champion Marcus Ehning from Germany in an 11-horse jump-off against the clock.
And, in a truly international line-up, Ireland’s Dermott Lennon slotted into third ahead of America’s Laura Kraut, while reigning European champion Rolf-Goran Bengtsson from Sweden finished fifth and Spain’s Manuel Anon filled sixth spot. “It’s the biggest win of my career, and the perfect end to a roller-coaster year,” said Maher who was additionally pleased because he bred the winning horse himself. “Some people breed hundreds of horses each year, and I breed just three, so I know I’m really lucky to not only ride, but to have bred one as good as this!” he pointed out.
The Grand Hall at Olympia is always a challenging venue, with the buzz of the crowd creating an electrified atmosphere and the relatively narrow confines of the arena placing extra pressure on horses and riders. And Bob Ellis, the man who will design the courses for next summer’s London Olympic Games, tested them truly this afternoon, with a course that required their full attention.
Wellington, FL – February 9, 2011 – Ben Maher (GBR) scored a win this morning in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers on the opening day of week 5 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Maher and Oscar put down a winning time of 60.806 seconds for the win over Peter Wylde (USA) on Lipton De L’Othain (62.987 seconds) and McLain Ward (USA) on Domino (64.050 seconds).
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival’s fifth week of competition continues through Sunday, February 13. Week five, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, will feature the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 on Thursday afternoon, the $150,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix, presented by Spy Coast Farm, on Saturday at 7 p.m., the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix on Sunday morning, and the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Sunday afternoon. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
Today’s $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumper class had 41 entries, and they competed over a course designed by Alan Wade of Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Maher stated, “It’s good that they have different course designers here every week.”
Seventeen found the way to a clear round, but it was Maher and Oscar who had the most speed. “He’s naturally a fast horse, so if you’re clear, he’s always near the top end without even trying,” Maher pointed out.
Wellington, FL – January 23, 2011 – The second week of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Equine Couture/Tuff Rider, concluded on Sunday with the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic. In a fantastic display of speed and power, Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Oscar, owned by Lindsay Cook, were able to top the field for an exciting victory. The class was held in the International Arena of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), which will host 12 consecutive weeks of competition for the 2011 FTI WEF running through April 3, 2011.
Showing over a course set by Luc Musette of Belgium, 13 of the original 31 entries were able to jump clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off. Six of those horse and rider combinations finished double clear, and it was the fastest jump-off round of Ben Maher and Oscar in 38.723 seconds that earned the victory.