Tag Archives: Darragh Kenny

Darragh Kenny Beats the Field in $132,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI 3*

Darragh Kenny and Cassini Z. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 27, 2018 – The highlight class of the third week at the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) was the $132,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3*. Victory in the “Saturday Night Lights” event went to Ireland’s Darragh Kenny on Cassini Z, owned by Bowers Cone, LLC.

Saturday night’s grand prix had 45 entries over a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada. There were 16 clears, making for a very competitive and fast jump-off. The best of the bunch was Kenny on Cassini Z, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Cassini II x Capone. They went 12th in the jump-off and were chasing a time of 39.36 seconds set by Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Cristalline.

Kenny and Cassini Z were fast from the start and never let up to finish with a winning time of 38.21 seconds. Sternlicht and Cristalline finished in third. Slipping into second place just 2/100ths of a second slower than Kenny was Jessica Springsteen (USA) on RMF Swinny du Parc, owned by Rushy Marsh Farm LLC, in 38.23 seconds.

Lindsay Maxwell Pilots Belgravia to Championship Win in Adequan® Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 3’3” Division

Lindsay Maxwell made a smooth comeback on Saturday afternoon in the Rost Arena with her mount of almost a year, Belgravia, in the Adequan® Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 3’3” division. The duo, who were seventh in Friday’s under saddle, did not place in the division’s first two jumping classes. However, they returned on Saturday in full force to take both remaining blue ribbons over fences.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Darragh Kenny Celebrates 30 with Win in $35k Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic

Darragh Kenny and Important de Muze. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 24, 2018 – The third week of the Winter Equestrian Festival began on Wednesday, January 24, and Ireland’s Darragh Kenny celebrated his 30th birthday with victory in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic with Important de Muze at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

The third week of WEF, sponsored by Adequan®, runs January 24-28 and features the $132,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, January 27, at 7 p.m.

The $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic had 53 entries competing in a two-phase power and speed format over a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada.

Kenny and Important de Muze, a 10-year-old BWP gelding by Erco van’t Roosakker x Nabab de Reve owned by Kerry Anne LLC, were the fastest clear in the second round with a time of 30.98 seconds.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Darragh Kenny and Billy Onslow Win $86k Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12

Darragh Kenny and Billy Onslow. Photos © Sportfot.

Parot Wins Douglas Elliman 1.45m; Jimmy Torano and Pure Imagination Triumph in Marshall & Sterling Insurance Performance Hunter 3’3″

Wellington, FL – March 30, 2017 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny triumphed in the $86,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 on Thursday, March 30, riding brand new mount Billy Onslow at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the course for 70 entries in Thursday’s Challenge Cup and yielded 21 clear rounds. With two entries opting out of the jump-off, 19 continued on, and nine were able to clear the short course without fault. Second to go in the jump-off, Darragh Kenny went full speed with Billy Onslow to put the pressure on the remaining competitors. His time of 33.33 seconds held up for the win.

Margie Engle (USA) and Gladewinds Farm’s Royce finished second in 34.22 seconds. Nicole Walker (CAN) and Falco van Spieveld placed third in 36.23 seconds.

“He is such a cool horse,” Kenny said of the 11-year-old Anglo European gelding (Billy Congo x Iroko) that he purchased from Great Britain’s William Funnell. I just got him three weeks ago when I was in Europe. He did a 1.40m class yesterday, and then this today. Obviously, I do not really know him so well, but he tries so hard and he is super easy to ride.”

Remarking on his jump-off, Kenny stated, “I know he is really brave, really careful, and really scopey, so I just went as fast as I could go. There were 17 people after me, so I knew that if I left the door open at all I would have no chance. He has a massive stride. I did eight strides to the second to last fence and I did eight strides to the last, which nobody else did. I also did an inside turn to the double, which in hindsight probably was not the smartest thing.

“I did the first line, and I knew he had a big stride, but I did not realize just how big,” Kenny detailed. “I did the seven strides really slow and I thought I must have miscounted and done eight, so then I panicked and I thought I had to do something really special to try to win. He was just amazing. He was brilliant. He should not have jumped the double from where I turned back at all. He is so brave and careful. You turn back and you don’t even have to worry. You know he is going to do his best to leave the jumps up.”

Parot Notches Another WEF Win

Beginning competition in the International Arena at PBIEC on Thursday, Chile’s Samuel Parot jumped to victory in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class riding his 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding Quick du Pottier (Hurlevent De Breka x Cuba).

Fifty-two entries started over Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s first-round course and 15 cleared the track without fault. Parot and Quick du Pottier went fifth in the order, setting an uncatchable time of 59.14 seconds for the win.

Lisa Goldman (USA) and Barbara Disko’s Sovereign finished second in 62.60 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) crossed the timers in 62.82 seconds to place third riding Vanessa Mannix’s Rubens LS La Silla. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Everlong LLC’s Diamond D took fourth place in 63.64 seconds.

Samuel Parot and Quick du Pottier

Speaking of his winning round, Parot stated, “Yesterday I went really fast and I had one down, so today I did not want to go as fast because the course was very careful. I went in the first five, and I thought I went fast, but not that fast. I thought somebody would catch me, but the course was very careful and it caught people.

“This horse is very fast,” Parot continued. “I thought I would maybe be in the top three with this time, but I was lucky that I ended up winning it.”

Parot has had great success throughout the 2017 circuit, winning week four’s $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m riding Dazzle White, topping the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup in week six with Atlantis, winning week seven’s $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic aboard Quick du Pottier, and also taking week eleven’s $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m riding Couscous van Orti.

Remarking on his winter, Parot smiled, “It has been a really fantastic season. I think this is the best circuit I have had here. I had a really good summer and then the horses came in to the winter really good. They have stayed really sound and they are all in great shape. This horse is done for the circuit. He was really good all winter and it is nice for him to go out with a win. He and the others will all have a nice vacation until we go to Tryon in May.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, the Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumpers completed their Power and Speed class with a win for Andres Soto (COL) and Julia Tedesco’s X-Lady.

Jimmy Torano and Pure Imagination Triumph in Marshall & Sterling Insurance Performance Hunter 3’3″

Jimmy Torano of Wellington, FL and Pure Imagination, owned by Ponies & Palms Show Stables, LLC, topped a competitive field of 37 horse and rider combinations in the Marshall & Sterling Insurance Performance Hunter 3’3″ division on Thursday. The pair only showed in two classes, but after winning an over fences round and placing third in the stake, they earned the championship ribbon.

Torano, who had never ridden the coming nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Ars Vivendi before, showed him as a favor to friend Joey Currais, trainer of Hunters Landing.

“We just got Pure Imagination to do the Junior Hunters with one of my clients, Isha Swani,” explained Currais. “Honestly, I have had him for four days. I wanted to put Jimmy on him to get a feel of the horse because the horse is going to do the 3’6″ this weekend. I’m beyond words, the trips were beautiful and having somebody of that caliber like Jimmy Torano, it was just a beautiful picture.”

While Currais has only had Pure Imagination in his barn for a short time, he speaks highly of the gifted gelding.

“This is a horse I picked for my client because of his personality, he is kind and forgiving, he has a great record, and a beautiful and quality jump,” continued Currais. “Working with a talented animal like Pure Imagination is a pure privilege.”

Elizabeth Boyd of Camden, SC and Hide Away, an entry owned by Looking Back Farm, captured the reserve honors, only two points overall behind Torano. Boyd and Hide Away won the handy trip and placed fourth in the stake round.

Competition continues on Friday featuring the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Five-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic, the $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic, and the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic in the International Arena. The $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby will determine a winner in the Derby Field at the Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds). For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Darragh Kenny and Gasper van den Doorn Win $35k Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10

Darragh Kenny and Gasper van den Doorn. Photos © Sportfot.

Scott Stewart and Holly Orlando Earn Tricolor Ribbons in Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′

Wellington, FL – March 16, 2017 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny jumped to victory with brand new mount Gasper van den Doorn in Thursday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set the course for Thursday’s Challenge Cup, with 78 starters and 21 clear rounds. Four entries opted not to jump-off, leaving 17 to continue on to the short course. Kenny and Vlock Show Stables’ Gasper van den Doorn jumped the fastest of eight double clear rounds in 38.13 seconds.

Marilyn Little (USA) and Karen O’Connor’s Clearwater finished second in 40.05 seconds. Jimmy Torano (USA) placed third with Missy Clark and North Run’s Betagravin in 40.14 seconds. Stephanie Macieira (BRA) and Bonne Chance Farm’s Randon Pleasure placed fourth in 41.26 seconds, and Eve Jobs (USA) riding Tiny Toon Semilly rounded out the top five in 41.65 seconds.

“I did a turn that nobody else did in the class,” Kenny said of his winning jump-off. “I watched a few people go, and I kept looking when I was in the warm-up ring. I was like, ‘I think that turn is there.’ Then I went in the ring and I saw it. He is such a nice horse that I know he is never going to stop or do anything wrong, so it was only up to me to get the right distance. Then I did everything that everybody else did. I think that turn was where I won the class.”

Kenny, who just began riding Gasper van den Doorn two weeks ago, has a gift for quickly forming winning partnerships with his horses. Kenny’s student, Teddy Vlock, purchased the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Calvaro x Larome) from 2008 Canadian Olympic team silver medalist Mac Cone, and plans to ride the horse in the future. Gasper was both the 2015 and 2016 Canadian Show Jumping Reserve Champion with Cone.

“I was just playing about with him for a couple of weeks just trying to get to know him a little bit for Teddy,” Kenny noted. “I am now very lucky that Teddy has agreed to let me show him for a few more weeks because I am a little bit short of a grand prix horse.

“Today he was really excellent,” Kenny continued. “I have only jumped him 1.40m before this, but he jumped big classes with Mac Cone before. He jumped clear in World Cup qualifiers at Deeridge and Toronto. He is a really exceptional horse.”

Detailing the horse further, Kenny stated, “He is really fun and super competitive. He is very easy. He is like the perfect horse. He is beautiful to ride; he has this amazing canter, and his jumps are fantastic. He is a really cool horse.”

Kenny and Gasper van den Doorn can be seen back in action together in Saturday night’s $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*.

Also competing in the International Arena on Wednesday, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Daisy won the $8,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m.

The $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series Welcome was held in the afternoon with a win for Katherine Strauss (USA) and All In. The Series also hosted a 1.40m competition, which saw a win for Kerry McCahill (USA) and Charly Chaplin S.

Scott Stewart and Holly Orlando Earn Tricolor Ribbons in Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′

Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL and Playbook, an entry owned by Fashion Farm, were champions of the Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′ division. Stewart and the coming seven-year-old Warmblood gelding by Samba Hit dominated the division, winning three over fences classes and the under saddle, as well as placing second in another over fences round. The pair has been strong contenders in the division throughout the winter circuit, earning the championship title during weeks one, three, and eight.

Scott Stewart and Playbook

Speaking of Playbook, Stewart said, “He is really easy and has a big stride. He moves and jumps incredible and is just the whole package! I rode him in Kentucky in the Baby Greens last May, and he didn’t show again until coming down to Wellington. He has been amazing.”

Holly Orlando of Wellington, FL captured the reserve title aboard Lion King. The duo earned two seconds, third, and fifth place ribbons over fences, and fourth place under saddle. An entry of Sam Edelman’s S & L Farms, Lion King began his hunter career with Orlando at the beginning of the winter circuit as he previously competed in the Five-Year-Old jumper division.

“Lion King is one of my favorite horses,” said Orlando. “He is a very good jumper and is so my type: very soft, carries himself, and looks beautiful through the bridle. I can really gallop out of the turns on him, and he jumps the same every time.”

Orlando was quick to credit much of the six-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding’s success to Nathanael Estes, who works for Sam Edelman.

“I couldn’t do it without Nate [Estes],” Orlando explained. “He helps ride Lion King and is an excellent person to have on the ground. Nate puts a lot of effort into the horse, and we are both really excited about the gelding.”

Competition continues on Friday featuring the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m speed class in the International Arena. The Ariat National Adult Medal will determine a winner in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Kenny and Crosby Prevail in Palm Beach Series $15k 1.40m Turf Tour and $5k 1.30m Open Stake

Darragh Kenny and Diamond D. Photos courtesy of Equinium Sports Marketing.

Wellington, Florida (March 11, 2017) – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Canada’s Kevin Crosby leapt to victory during the ninth week of competition at The Ridge Palm Beach Series, where five days of competition over varied surfaces and venues continued The Ridge’s tradition of elite horse shows in a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. From leadline and Pony Jumpers to the Grand Prix with top ranked FEI competitors, the Palm Beach Series offers a unique show experience designed to act as a catalyst for developing horses and riders.

Darragh Kenny and Diamond D Shine in $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix at The Ridge at Wellington

Crossing the utopian flair of old world horse shows with the competition and excitement of modern showjumping, The Ridge at Wellington’s grass jumping field welcomed a cross section of riders for its 1.30m division and $15,000 Turf Tour 1.40m Grand Prix on Saturday, March 4th. Low, Medium, and High Schooling Jumpers worked in tandem with the main ring’s flow of competitors, which included some of the top names in the sport.

The USA’s Kent Farrington, who as of late February 2017 is #2 in the Longines FEI World Rankings, brought a group of young, up and coming horses to the Turf Tour, and quickly set the standard with the elegant Baltic Star 2. Despite a casual ride, the pair topped the class early with a jump-off time of 49.972.

“He’s a new horse for me, and a bit green but he shows terrific potential,” said Farrington of the 8-year-old Baltic Star 2. “Today we were just cruising around; it’s great to bring the horses someplace new and he showed a lot of bravery on the grass. I like the atmosphere for young horses [at The Ridge] and it’s a less expensive, less hectic alternative to bring highly strung or green horses and to ride in a low key environment.”

Farrington’s laid back round with Baltic Star wouldn’t last as the rest of the class took the field. Week 8’s Turf Tour champions, Taylor Land and Nepal, made easy work of the Chris Jones course putting in a double clear effort to finish on 44.630 seconds. Land, who rides her family’s veteran Grand Prix horse Nepal under the guidance of her father, Jay Land, refers to the gelding as a family heirloom.

“Nepal loves grass and jumped very well today,” said Land. “It was a big, long course and I think I was a slightly more conservative just because of how he felt today. The Ridge is a great break for both me and the horses and jumping on grass is such a nice change, especially for Nepal as he prefers it to sand.”

Kevin Crosby and Stanley Stone

An impressive effort by Canada’s Kevin Crosby and Casino put them into third behind Land and Nepal. The relatively new partnership took to the grass, and Crosby chose the Turf Tour and Palm Beach Series’ laid back atmospheres to show a number of horses in the past few weeks. “I’ve been riding Casino for about a month and half, and this was a great experience for both of us for a change of scenery,” said Crosby. “He’s an experienced horse but seemed to enjoy jumping on the grass. I’ve become more and more familiar with The Ridge and its organizers, and they do a great job creating a relaxing environment and providing an opportunity to develop horses.”

With Land and Nepal leading, Emmanuel Andrade and Gaverdi Z edged out Crosby and Casino for third, and Ireland’s Darragh Kenny ultimately claimed the top prize with Diamond D, with a late in the day effort finishing on 42.984 to win the class. The decorated Irish rider brought a number of horses to capitalize on the pristine turf course.

“He [Diamond D] is a new horse for me, he arrived last week and I was impressed with him today,” said Kenny of the 10-year-old gelding. “We jumped Wednesday and Thursday in the 1.30 divisions [on the Palm Beach Series] at Jim Brandon, and he felt really good and jumped brilliant today on the grass. I really like the show and the concept especially for horses getting going again. It’s not a huge pressure situation for them and a nice, different environment especially for younger horses that are being developed for the bigger, more intense classes. It’s also a nice change to show on the grass. Their [the organizers’] idea is super and it’s a great concept for the horses and riders.”

The Turf Tour continues March 17 at Carben Farms and March 24 at Wolfstone Stables with Low, Medium and High Jumpers, 1.30m division and the $15,000 1.40m Grand Prix, and concludes April 1st at Polo West.

For full schedules, prize lists, and entry blanks for all of the Palm Beach Series events, visit www.TheRidgeFarm.com.

Darragh Kenny Brings Luck of the Irish to the Royal Horse Show

Darragh Kenny and Charly Brown. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny won the $35,000 Brickenden Trophy on Thursday, November 10, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

A total of 12 horses jumped clear over the track set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal to qualify for the jump-off.  Kenny, 28, was the final rider to return and laid down the fastest time of the day, 33.23 seconds, riding Charly Brown, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Burggraaf).

“This is a very good horse,” said Kenny of Charly Brown, a horse acquired two months ago by Vlock Show Stables.  “He is intended for Teddy Vlock to ride, but I borrowed him for these two weeks while my horses are in Europe.  He is very experienced, has jumped a lot of big classes, and is really capable of doing anything.”

Jessica Springsteen of the United States finished a close second, stopping the clock just fractions slower in a time of 34.13 seconds riding Tiger Lily for owner Stone Hill Farms.  McLain Ward, winner of Wednesday night’s $130,270 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto with HH Azur, crossed the timers in 34.25 seconds to finish third, this time riding Malou.

Canada’s own Vanessa Mannix of Calgary, AB took fourth with a time of 35.67 seconds riding Winslow High while 1996 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Leslie Howard rounded out the top five with the fastest four-fault effort in the jump-off riding Donna Speciale, owned by Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau.  Her top placing allowed Howard to retain the blue armband for the Leading Lady Rider Award supported by Tiffany & Co., which she has held since winning the $35,000 International Jumper Power and Speed on opening day of the international division.

“The course was very good and it suited me,” said Kenny.  “A lot of people didn’t do the inside turn from one to two but this horse has a lot of experience so I could do it quite easily.  I knew I was up a little on the clock at that stage so I didn’t have to rush the rest of the course.

“Bernardo did an excellent job last night with the World Cup qualifier,” continued Kenny, who piloted Cassini Z to a top ten finish in the $130,270 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Toronto for fellow competitor Mac Cone of King City, ON and Southern Ways.  “It was perfectly done.  He got the perfect amount of clear rounds, and it was a super jump-off.”

Thursday marked Kenny’s first win of the week with international show jumping competition continuing through Saturday at the Royal Horse Show.  Highlight classes include the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on Friday evening, and the iconic $75,000 GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ Challenge on Saturday evening.

“I love this show,” said Kenny, who last competed at The Royal in 2014.  “It’s very much an old-style show, and they run it brilliantly; the organization is super and the crowds are amazing.  To be honest, I don’t have a bad word to say about the show; I think they do everything perfectly.”

The luck of the Irish was evident in the Ricoh Coliseum as 21-year-old Daniel Coyle, also of Ireland, rode to victory in the first phase of the Alfred Rogers Uplands Under 25 National Championship.  Coyle secured the win riding Fortis Fortuna for owners Susan and Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farm based in Cheltenham, ON, whose horse, Dixson, won the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship on opening weekend with ten-time Olympian Ian Millar.  Quincy Hayes, 25, of Aurora, ON, placed second with Calgary 56, while 17-year-old Kathryn Dafoe of King City, ON rounded out the top three riding Eos van de Donkhoeve, owned by KD Lan Solutions.

David Will of Germany broke up the Irish domination by winning the $35,000 International Accumulator on Thursday evening.  In his first-ever trip to Canada, Will scored an international victory riding Cento du Rouet by accumulating the most points in the fastest time.  Ireland settled for second with Shane Sweetnam and Cobalt placing ahead of Belgium’s Jos Verlooy riding Caruso 472.  Two-time Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster of North Vancouver, BC took fourth place riding Chesney for owners Artisan Farms while Calgary’s Vanessa Mannix rounded out the top five with Chemas.

Tickets for the Royal Horse Show can still be purchased by visiting royalfair.org or ticketmaster.ca.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613 292-5439

T. J. O’Mara Wins Ninth Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship

T. J. O’Mara and Kaskade. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Darragh Kenny Claims $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic with Chanel

Wellington, FL – March 25, 2016 – Week eleven of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Friday with a win for T. J. O’Mara riding Kaskade in the Ninth Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship and victory for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Chanel in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic.

WEF 11 features CSI 4* rated jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter competition running March 23-27, 2016, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Saturday highlights the $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, presented by Equiline, on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC beginning at 11:00 a.m. with a brunch hosted by Equiline in the Tiki Hut at The Stadium beginning at 10:30 a.m. The $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* will be the feature event in the International Ring on the main show grounds on Saturday evening beginning at 7:45 p.m.

Competition concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic also held on the derby field at The Stadium beginning at 11:30 a.m. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

The Ninth Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship was held in three rounds with 35 riders competing in round one. The top 15 returned for round two, and the top four rode for additional testing in round three to determine final placings. Course walk plans and schooling were the sole responsibility of the riders as competitors were allowed no contact with their trainers during the class, turned in their cell phones before the start of the class, and were responsible for time management, warm up, and schooling of their own horses with the assistance of one groom.

Bobby Murphy designed the course, in conjunction with the judges. The riders were judged by two panels and also received a score in the schooling area after the first and second rounds. Judging Panel 1 included Jimmy Torano and Candice King; Panel 2 included Bobby Braswell and Chris Kappler, with Karen Golding as the Schooling Ring Judge.

T. J. O’Mara led through both rounds to make it to the final four and come out on top riding Kaskade, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. The rider earned the high score of 91.5 in round one and returned for round two to score a 92. His two round total of 183.5 combined with an excellent test in the final four put the rider in first place overall.

McKayla Langmeier finished second riding Eclipse with scores of 91 and 83.75 for a 174.75 heading into the final four, and a bold test that was rewarded in the work-off. Sophie Michaels rode Acortair to third place honors, and Ava Stearns finished fourth aboard Micah.

Judge Jimmy Torano spoke about the class and what went into the final decision on the top four placings.

“I think it is a great class. This is the ninth year, and I think I have judged it seven times,” Torano noted. “I love judging these championship classes, and I think the format really makes the kids think for themselves. It is at the end of the circuit, and you are seeing the top riders. Especially when you got to the second round, and then you saw the top four work off, it was really some top riding from the kids.

“Obviously T. J. and McKayla are outstanding,” Torano continued. “They are both going to ride on the team, and they are both going to go anywhere they want to go in the future. Unfortunately for McKayla, that horse clobbered one jump in the second round. In my mind I said 89, take off the four points for the rail and give her an 85. I think they [judged] her a little harder on the other judging panel. T. J.’s rounds were good, time and time again. He came in and nailed it in the first round. He led for both rounds, and to be honest, he would have had to really flub up in the test not to win it. McKayla came in and knew that the first two riders did not really hand gallop, so she really got our attention. She hooked the corner and turned and went for it, and that horse landed and was at a standstill. T. J. I would say did not gallop as strong as she did, but he did not really need to. He was far enough ahead.”

Commenting on his win, O’Mara stated, “It feels great. This is my third year doing the class and I have slowly moved up the ranks, so I am really happy. My horse felt great today, and I could not have asked for better rounds.

“The first round, me and my barnmates were not really sure what we should do,” O’Mara admitted. “We were originally planning on going around and just catching a nice second jump, but as the class went on, more and more people started doing the inside turn, so we thought that in order to stay with the competition we needed to step it up a little bit. I thought the gymnastic was very steady, and it really tested the rider’s ability to stay collected and maintain the position while keeping impulsion at the same time.”

O’Mara continued, “The second round was a little confusing for some riders on what to do in strides. The beginning of the class we saw some doing six strides in the one line, but with my horse I was worried about her swapping off to the left at that vertical, so I opted to go around and do a steady seven to get straight and soft to the inside. We were also thinking to go inside at that vertical after the triple bar, but we thought it looked better going around and catching a flow to the oxer.”

Without trainers to tell the riders what to do, they had to work together to come up with a solid plan.

“We really focused on teamwork in this,” O’Mara detailed. “As each person was going, one of us was at the in-gate telling them the new plan and giving them helpful hints. In the course walk, we really collaborated on what we should do for each line and what we should do as an entrance. I felt bad at the beginning of the class because the riders in my barn were a little unsure what to do and I was not really sure myself, so I really just told them to go with their gut and see what their horse was best at, and most of them did.”

Speaking of his mount, Kaskade, O’Mara stated, “I have had her since 2013. She has really just become my horse of a lifetime. We have really bonded together, and we have a great connection. She was amazing through all of these rounds. She listened to every single thing I asked her to do. She really was amazing and I could not have asked for her to be better.”

Langmeier also worked together with her barn mates, and although she had a rail in the second round, she finished out strong in the work-off and was happy with her mount, Eclipse.

“It is nice having a team to walk the course with you with all of the other juniors that qualified from your barn,” Langmeier noted. “It is like having multiple trainers with you.

“I liked my first round,” she said. “I really liked my second round besides the rail; I kind of let him shift in too much. I could have done the six strides there in the second round, and I probably should have to avoid the rail. Then in my test, my hand gallop jump was my favorite.”

Speaking of Eclipse, Langmeier detailed, “I have not ridden him that much. I [rode] him at Medal Finals and WIHS Finals. I showed him last week in one class and then this week. He is somewhat newer, but I have had multiple lessons on him.”

Along with the top prizes, several other awards were presented at the end of the evening. Sophie Michaels’ mount, Acortair, was named Best Turned Out Horse by the judges and her groom, Moses Hernandez, received a special prize to acknowledge his hard work. O’Mara’s mount, Kaskade, also received the award for Best Equitation Horse. Stacia Madden and Krista Freundlich received awards as the trainers of the winning rider. Special awards were also presented to the families of the champion and reserve champion, and the top eight trainers received prize money.

Darragh Kenny Claims $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic with Chanel

Darragh Kenny (IRL) continued his recent string of successes at the Winter Equestrian Festival on Friday with a win in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic aboard Chanel for owner Kerry Ann, LLC.

Darragh Kenny and Chanel
Darragh Kenny and Chanel

The pair bested a field of 59 over a one-round speed track built by course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER). From the 48th position in the order, Kenny and Chanel, an eight-year-old Oldenburg mare (Challan x Lordanos) stopped the clock in 62.43 seconds for the win. Two trips later, Andrew Ramsay (USA) set out to take the lead, but came up nearly two seconds short with a time of 64.88 seconds to settle for second place in the irons of The Doodle Group’s Cocq A Doodle.

Abdel Said (EGY) and California took third in 65.39 seconds for owner American Equestrian Association II, LLC. Conor Swail (IRL) and Cita, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, claimed fourth in 54.50 seconds, while Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock, LLC’s Böchmann’s Lazio rounded out the top five in 65.60 seconds.

With two grand prix wins to his credit and coming off the heels of a victory in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 11 on Thursday, Kenny is pleased with how the 2016 season is shaping up for him and his horses.

“It’s been going really well, and the horses have been great,” he said. “I haven’t rushed at all this circuit, and I never tried to pressure the horses. I have been waiting until they feel like they are ready to do the classes that I want to do well in and it has worked out.”

Kenny got the ride on Chanel in September and has jumped the mare sparingly throughout the winter season with goals to produce it into a young rider mount for Kenny’s student and owner, Kerry McCahill.

“She jumped clear on Wednesday and today she felt like she could go fast, so we did,” said Kenny. “She felt great in the warm-up, and I knew she was jumping well. I was quick to fence one and two and then very tight back to three. I got there deep and she tried really hard, and then kept the pace and felt like she got better and better.”

Week 11 of WEF is the first time Chanel has competed at the FEI level, and while Kenny has worked to perfect the mare’s rideability, he feels she has what it takes to be competitive at the top level.

“She is still young, but she really wants to be careful,” he said. “We bought the mare with the intention of her jumping big classes, and I think she is going to be very good.”

Also competing in the International Ring on Friday, the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m Speed Challenge saw a win for Lucas Porter (USA) and B Once Z, owned by Sleepy P Ranch, LLC.

WEF 11 continues on Saturday with the $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, presented by Equiline, on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC beginning at 11:10 a.m. with a brunch hosted by Equiline in the Tiki Hut at The Stadium beginning at 10:30 a.m. The $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* will be the feature event in the International Ring on the main show grounds on Saturday evening beginning at 7:45 p.m. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Lindsay Brock for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent Win $35k Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 11

Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Louise Serio Pilots SS Telling Secrets to Pre-Green Hunter 3’3″ Championship

Wellington, FL – March 24, 2016 – Week eleven of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Artisan Farms, continued on Thursday with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Red Star d’Argent in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 11. Competing in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, the pair beat out Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance in second, and Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) aboard Limestone Grey in third.

WEF 11 features CSI 4* rated jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter competition running March 23-27, 2016. Friday features the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic in the morning and the 9th Annual George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship in the evening.

Saturday highlights the $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, presented by Equiline, on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC beginning at 11 a.m. with a brunch hosted by Equiline in the Tiki Hut at The Stadium beginning at 10:30 a.m. The $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* will be the feature event in the International Ring on the main show grounds Saturday evening beginning at 7:45 p.m.

Competition concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic also held on the derby field at The Stadium. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) set the course for the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Coup Round 11 on Thursday with 65 entries and 17 advancing to the jump-off. Eight of those were able to complete double clear rounds over the short course with Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent clocking the fastest time of 37.52 seconds. Farrington and RCG Farm’s Creedance finished just off the mark in the slimmest of margins in 37.53 seconds to place second. De Luca and his own and Stephex Stables’ Limestone Grey followed with the third place time of 38.51 seconds.

Red Star d’Argent is an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star that Kenny’s Oakland Ventures and Sergio Alvarez Moya own in partnership. Moya sent the horse to Kenny to be sold this winter, and the pair has had fantastic results. They already won the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* during week six competition, as well as the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4* in week eight.

Speaking of what he has learned about the horse, Kenny stated, “He likes to win. He is a fighter. He wants to be careful, he wants to be good, and he wants to win. I just have to not screw it up.

“He has been doing great, so we will just take our time and see what happens,” the rider continued. “I am having a lot of fun. He is a great horse. He twisted a shoe two weeks ago and put the clip up his foot and was lame for a few days, so we could not ride him. I only started riding him again on Saturday, and jogged on Tuesday and he felt good, so we went today. He is just an incredible horse. I have used him very sparingly this winter, but every time he comes out, he comes out great.”

Coming out the ring after Thursday’s jump-off, Kenny did not think that he had done enough to get the win with the fast combinations still to go, but he got a little lucky.

“I did not think I was fast enough. Kent is extremely fast, and he actually would have been faster,” Kenny explained. “He did one more stride to the last fence just because his horse shifted right at the second to last, but he would have been faster otherwise. I kind of got lucky there. There were a lot of fast riders like Lisa Goldman, and a couple of the others still to go, so you never know until the end.”

Detailing his jump-off, Kenny noted, “It is kind of the same thing I do with that horse. He is quick, and I just go as fast as I feel I can. I felt I was a little bit slow to the orange vertical, and that is where I thought I left a bit of time, but I knew that was the right thing to do for him. He felt great, and the rest of it was super. Kent’s horse is a super horse and Kent is an amazing rider and I knew he was going to be very fast, so I had to do as much as I felt comfortable with.”

In addition to the winning prize money, Kenny earned a $3,000 bonus for wearing his SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion.

Also competing in the International Ring on Thursday, the day began with a win for Lauren Hough (USA) and Paris Sellon’s Adare in the $8,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m jump-off class.

Louise Serio Pilots SS Telling Secrets to Pre-Green Hunter 3’3″ Championship

Louise Serio, of Kennett Square, PA, rode SS Telling Secrets to the championship title in the Perfect Products Pre-Green Hunter Level 2 (3’3″) this morning in the Rost Arena. Serio and the seven-year-old Trakehner gelding topped the under saddle and one of the four over fences classes on their way to the championship win. The pair also earned a fifth-place ribbon in another over fences class. Heather Hays and Stacey Shore Werner’s Sebastian took home the reserve title, placing first, third, and fourth over fences. Sebastian, a six-year-old Holsteiner gelding, also earned a fourth-place ribbon in the under saddle.

Louise Serio and SS Telling Secrets
Louise Serio and SS Telling Secrets

Rain clouds circled around the show grounds for much of the morning, but veteran rider Louise Serio was not daunted by the potential for bad weather. Despite some windy conditions, Serio and SS Telling Secrets performed consistently well. “Today he got a little bit green in the first round and over-jumped some. In the second round he went really nicely,” Serio commented.

Serio was pleased to have a successful first outing with new mount SS Telling Secrets. She plans to take things slowly with the young gelding. “He hasn’t shown much before; he’s only shown four other times in his life,” she explained.

SS Telling Secrets is indeed a very new horse for the team at Derbydown Farm. The gelding was only purchased one week ago. “We just bought him,” Serio commented. “We bought him through Kim and Andy Marone. He had only shown one other time here at WEF, which we got to see, and then we purchased him just last week.”

Serio expressed a lot of excitement about the new acquisition and is enthusiastic about the young gelding’s future. “We are very excited. He’s gone very nicely so far!” Serio said.

“He has an outstanding disposition,” Serio remarked. “He’s just really, really quiet, and we are very happy. He’s been really pleasant since the purchase.”

SS Telling Secrets is a stunning mover, which is what convinced Serio to purchase the gelding. “He’s just a gorgeous mover,” Serio stated. “He won the under saddle in this division yesterday, and I think he will continue to do well in the under saddle classes wherever he goes.”

Serio plans to continue showing SS Telling Secrets in the Pre-Green Hunter divisions. “I plan to gear him up to show in the Pre-Green incentive classes,” she added. Serio also explained that the gelding was purchased for amateur rider Meredith Lipke and that she will be taking over the reins and begin showing with him very soon.

The eleventh week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday with the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic featured in the International Ring in the morning and the 9th Annual George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championships in the evening. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent Win $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4*

Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Mexico and USA Top Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior, and Young Rider Grand Prixs; Christina Rogalny and Marvelous Win Engel & Völkers Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″

Wellington, FL – March 6, 2016 – Week eight of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded on Sunday, March 6, with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Red Star d’Argent in the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO 4*. Riders representing five different countries qualified for the jump-off, with Kenny leading the way for Ireland over Colombia’s Roberto Teran Jr. and Woklahoma in second, and Australia’s Matt Williams aboard Valinski S in third.

The Hollow Creek Farm FEI Children’s, Junior, and Young Rider divisions also concluded the week with their grand prix classes Sunday morning. Mexico’s Luciana Gonzalez Guerra and Zidane won the Children’s Grand Prix, Mexico’s Carlos Hank Guerreiro and Golden Horta topped the Junior Grand Prix, and Victoria Colvin (USA) and another Zidane were victorious in the Young Rider Grand Prix.

USA’s Steve Stephens and Ken Krome were the course designers in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) for CSIO week at WEF. In their final competition of the week, Stephens and Krome saw 50 entries in the Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix, with five riders qualifying for the jump-off.

Matt Williams and Wyndmont’s Valinski S were first to qualify, and first to return for the short course, completing the track without fault in the third place time of 45.79 seconds. Roberto Teran, Jr. was next to jump off aboard Ark Partners’ Woklahoma, with another clear round and a faster time of 44.89 to finish second. Next in the ring, Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent clocked the winning time of 42.83 seconds. Hardin Towell (USA) and Jennifer Gates’ Emilie de Diamant AS had one rail down in 46.84 seconds to finish fifth. Last to go, Ben Maher (GBR) and Jane Clark’s Sarena also dropped a rail, but finished in a faster time of 44.43 seconds to place fourth.

Watch Darragh Kenny and Red Star d’Argent in their winning jump-off round!

Red Star d’Argent is an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (by Quick Star) that Kenny’s Oakland Ventures owns in partnership with Spanish rider Sergio Alvarez Moya. This was the second win of the circuit for the newly paired duo, who also topped the $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* during week six competition at The Stadium at PBIEC.

Speaking of their partnership and what he has learned about the gelding over the last several weeks, Kenny remarked, “I am learning that he is a really good horse. He can go anywhere and do anything at the moment. The horse gives me a great feeling every time I jump him; he is getting better and better.

“I was working a lot with the rideability, and getting him confident, and feeling confident with me,” Kenny explained. “Today, I must say he jumped excellent from the word go. He felt super. He feels really happy and he is jumping great. Up until this week I had never even jumped him over the water. I called Sergio on Wednesday and was like, ‘Does he jump the water?’ I must say, I am lucky to have the horse, and Sergio is great. He puts no pressure on me and lets me do what I want with the horse, and it is paying off. He is going to want him back next week!”

Kenny had the opportunity to watch Williams complete his jump-off round before he entered the ring, and had an idea of what he needed to do to get the win.

“I watched Matt go, and Matt’s horse was amazing and he had a super round,” Kenny stated. “I felt that I just wanted to go as fast as I felt comfortable. I know the horse is very fast. I know I did one less stride after the black skinny, and I just had a feeling where I was and that I was up a little bit (on the time). I did not realize I was going as fast as I was, but it ended up being great.”

“He is just a great horse; it does not matter you do with him,” Kenny continued. “You can go fast, slow, deep, long and he just wants to jump the jumps, and that is what a great horse does. He has been stepping up every time. I did not know what he was going to do today. He was very good week six, and I gave him week seven light, and I knew my plan was to gradually build him up towards this grand prix. Right now my plans are working.”

Roberto Teran, Jr. has had his mount, Woklahoma, for three years and continues to earn very consistent results with the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Sheraton x Calvados).

“She has been improving month by month, year by year, and now she is at a point where she is a very good Nations’ Cup horse,” Teran detailed. “She went to the Pan American Games and was outstanding. Our goal is to make it to Rio in good shape. Now it is about good management to get us from here to there in the best condition possible. She is super careful, super serious, and is getting better every day. She is a dream to ride.”

Matt Williams also has his sights set on the Olympic Games in Rio and has a great new partnership with Valinski S, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Nijinski x Julius.

“I have not had him that long. I got him at the beginning of the winter and every time he has gone in a big grand prix, he has been clear or four faults, so he is consistent and giving me a great feeling,” Williams said of his mount. “He jumps with a lot of heart, so at the moment I just have to keep him fresh and hopefully it will keep going to way it is going.”

Speaking of his opening ride in the jump-off, Williams noted, “I have not jumped this grand prix in four years, and the last time I did it, I was first to go in the jump-off as well, but unfortunately there were 12 in the jump-off that time and it did not work out as well. I went out there today with an idea to do as much as I could and leave the jumps up. I got a little bit wide to the last jump. I drifted out a little bit, but I do not think I would have gone any quicker if I was after Darragh. I would not have been able to catch him; his round was as good as it comes.”

Red Star d’Argent’s groom, Nickki O’Donovan, accepted the Groom’s Initiative Award presented by Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners, to reward her dedication and hard work as an integral member of the winning team.

Kenny was also presented the Niall Grimes “Cheers” Perpetual Trophy, which is presented each year to the top Irish rider during the CSIO Nations’ Cup week.

Another special award was presented to fellow Irishman Conor Swail. Swail earned the Kate Nash Boone Style Award as the international equestrian who exemplifies best style of riding along with maintaining a sportsmanlike composure while competing in the CSIO Nations’ Cup week at WEF.

Canada’s Tiffany Foster was also presented the award for Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for week eight, an award sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Mexico and USA Win Hollow Creek Farm FEI Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Grand Prixs

The Hollow Creek Farm FEI Children’s Grand Prix was the first class of the day in the International Ring on Sunday with a win for Mexico’s Luciana Gonzalez Guerra (13) riding H.R.M. Melse’s Zidane.

The class saw 31 entries, and an eight-horse jump-off, with three double clear rounds. Gonzalez Guerra and Zidane completed the fastest clear round over the short course in 39.40 seconds. Madison Hilderman (CAN) and Kenzo placed second with a time of 41.88 seconds, and John Gallagher (IRL) and Sportsfield Eterina, owned by Noel Delahunty and Thomas O’Brien, finished third with their time of 45.01 seconds.

Luciana Gonzalez Guerra and Zidane
Luciana Gonzalez Guerra and Zidane

Gonzalez Guerra is from Mexico City and has had her horse Zidane, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Celano x G. Ramiro Z), for two years.

“I could not match with him at first. It was very difficult, but now we are one,” the rider stated. “I started to win everything with him, so I had to bring him to Wellington. He is a very lazy horse, but when you kick him, he just wants to run and you cannot stop him, so it is a little bit difficult.”

This was Gonzalez Guerra’s first time competing in Wellington and she had a great experience, finishing second in the Welcome class on Thursday, winning the Nations’ Cup with her team from Mexico on Saturday, and now finishing out with a win in the grand prix.

Speaking of her strategy for Sunday’s jump-off, Gonzalez Guerra detailed, “My plan was just to not have any knock downs and go as fast as I could to try to win.”

Commenting on her experience in Wellington, she added, “It is amazing. The group was perfect. I did my job, my horse did the job, and my team did the job, so it was great.”

The division also presented a leading rider award to the competitor with the best overall placings in the week’s children’s classes. The award went to Juana Trosch of Argentina riding Emanuel Andrade’s Black Pearl.

The $2,500 Hollow Creek Farm FEI Junior Grand Prix was next to go in the International Ring Sunday morning with another win for Mexico. The junior class saw 28 entries, with a seven-horse jump-off, and four double clear rounds. The win went to Carlos Hank Guerreiro aboard Eurohorse BVBA’s Golden Horta with the fastest time of 30.01 seconds.

Also riding for Mexico, Mauricio Huesca Perez finished second riding Mauricio Huesca Bustamante’s Adermie PP through the timers in 30.86 seconds. Ireland’s Conor McMahon finished third in a time of 31.13 seconds aboard Pine Hollow Farm’s Casinjo Ex Z. Canada’s Jennifer Mattell rode Joe Mattell’s Cherokee ET to fourth place honors in 31.97 seconds.

For his success throughout the week, Guerreiro earned the leading rider award for the junior division. He and Golden Horta also placed fourth in the Welcome class on Thursday.

The 15-year-old rider, from Mexico City, trains with Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes and has been competing at WEF since the beginning of the circuit in January. His mount, Golden Horta, is a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood by Lord Z x For Pleasure.

Commenting on his win and a great week of competition, Guerreiro stated, “I am really happy. We have been here since the beginning of the winter, and I have just been training up to this weekend with my horse and he has been jumping great. All weekend he jumped really good; I felt confident, and I am really happy.”

“He is a little hot,” Guerreiro said of his mount. “You have to be patient with him. In the warm-up he is a little crazy. He is special, but then when he gets in the ring, he gets concentrated and then he jumps his best always.”

Commenting on the jump-off, Guerreiro detailed, “This jump-off did not have a lot of space to run. It was tight turns and you just had to make the most of the spaces you got. To the second to last jump, and the last jump, you just had to go all out.”

This was Guerreiro’s third year coming to Wellington to compete in the Hollow Creek Farm Series. He won the gold medal with team Mexico in the 2014 Children’s Nations’ Cup and also showed on the junior team in 2015.

“It is great experience for bigger Nations’ Cups later on,” Guerreiro acknowledged. “It is a fun weekend with your team. It is always good and I like it very much.”

The $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm FEI Young Rider Grand Prix concluded the 2016 series with a win for USA’s Victoria Colvin. The Young Rider Grand Prix saw 13 competitors, with six advancing to the jump-off, and four double clear rounds. For the win, Colvin and Springfield Showjumpers’ Zidane were last to go on the short course, completing the track in 34.97 seconds.

Fernanda Rodriguez de Haene (MEX) and Fernando Rodriguez Cerdan’s Teuz DLN Liban finished second in 35.11 seconds. Cormac Hanley (IRL) and Missy Clark and Stephex Stables’ Twan placed third in 38.88 seconds, and Giulia del Canton Scampini (BRA) and Constantino Scampini’s Keep on Fighting finished fourth in a time of 39.67.

Colvin and Zidane made a clean sweep of the Young Rider classes this year, winning the Welcome class on Thursday, topping the Nations’ Cup with Team USA on Saturday night, and finally winning the closing grand prix. For her success, she was also presented the young rider’s leading rider award for the week.

Colvin (18), of Loxahatchee, FL, watched the very fast round of Fernanda Rodriguez de Haene before entering the ring for her jump-off, and was not sure if she could beat it.

“I had watched on the Jumbotron and then I saw the horse galloping by the in gate and I was like, ‘Yeah, there is probably no way I can beat that,'” Colvin admitted. “But I went in there and I was like, ‘Well, Zidane, we are gonna go.’ I have not done too many jump-offs with him, but he was really game for it, so we just went for it.”

Colvin has been riding Zidane, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Sam R x Calvados), throughout this year’s Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series at WEF.

“It has gone well so far; he has been a great horse,” Colvin stated. “He is basically like a hunter. You do not really want to touch his mouth. You just leg him at the base of the jumps.”

Speaking of her experience competing in the Hollow Creek Farm Series for the first time this year with such great success, Colvin stated, “Yesterday was a fantastic opportunity. I did not show in the second round to save him for this class, but it was amazing to go in the first round and for him to put in a clear, and to know that you got a clear round for your country was really amazing.”

Christina Rogalny and Marvelous Top the Engel & Volkers Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″

Christina Rogalny piloted Marvelous, a sixteen-year-old Oldenburg gelding, to the Engel & Volkers Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″ division championship honors this Sunday afternoon. A competitive field of twenty-eight horse and rider combinations battled it out for the tricolor honors, but Rogalny and her catch-ride Marvelous, who is owned by Maarten Huygens, came out on top. The duo won three of the four over fences classes and placed second in another. They also earned the blue ribbon in the under saddle class.

Rogalny, of Wellington, FL, has a great deal of experience catch-riding horses. “I usually catch-ride because I don’t own a horse or pony of my own,” Rogalny commented. Her experience paid off with new mount Marvelous, who she rode for the first time this week.

“I rode him in a schooling class on Friday and then showed him this weekend,” Rogalny said. “He was great; he was awesome!”

“He’s a really good horse,” Rogalny commented. “His trainer told me he’s been all around the world and done a lot of things, but now he’s older and they wanted him to do a few little classes to see how it would go with a smaller kid.”

Trained by Ali Sweetnam and the team at Sweet Oak Farm, Rogalny enjoys a lot of success catch-riding different horses each week. She especially enjoyed riding Marvelous for owner Maarten Huygens. “He’s actually pretty easy, but he’s a little spooky sometimes on the ends of the ring. That was a little hard, but overall he was really good,” she smiled.

Rogalny has been around horses her entire life. “My mom always rode as a kid, so we had a barn when we were younger. Riding was in the family,” she commented.

As a full-time resident of Wellington, she does not have to commute each weekend to compete at WEF. “It’s great; I get to show all circuit!” the 15-year-old freshman of King’s Academy School exclaimed.

Rogalny currently competes in numerous classes each week at WEF. “I show in a lot of the pony divisions and also the equitation classes. I do the THIS medal and the 12-14 equitation,” she stated. Rogalny hopes to qualify for indoors this year and she also aspires to move-up to compete in some of the bigger classes. “I want to go to indoors and do the big equitation and the bigger hunter classes.”

The 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its ninth week of competition sponsored by Douglas Elliman on March 9-13, 2016, featuring CSI 5* jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter divisions. The week’s highlight event is the $380,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5* on Saturday night, March 12. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Darragh Kenny and Red Star D’Argent Win $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* at WEF 6

Darragh Kenny and Red Star D’Argent. Photos copyright Sportfot.

3’3″ Hunters Garner WCHR Week Championships

Wellington, FL – February 19, 2016 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny was the winner of Friday night’s $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* aboard a brand new mount, Red Star D’Argent, during week six at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Competing under the lights in the International Ring at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), Kenny topped a three-horse jump-off over Laura Chapot (USA) and ISHD Dual Star in second and Sayre Happy (USA) aboard Ludwig’s Joker B in third.

While hunters take center stage on the main show grounds for World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week, the international jumpers get a fresh change of scenery competing in both the Global International Ring and the Derby Field at The Stadium through Sunday. The feature “Saturday Night Lights” event will be the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherhill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular on Saturday, February 20, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The $10,000 Artisan Farms U25 Welcome, sponsored by EnTrust Capital, and the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will both be held on the derby field at The Stadium on Saturday. The $25,000 Artisan Farms U25 Grand Prix, sponsored by EnTrust Capital, as well as the $50,000 WEF 6 National Grand Prix, will both be held on the derby field at The Stadium on Sunday. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Richard Jeffery (GBR) set the course for 42 starters in Friday night’s grand prix with only three clear rounds for the jump-off. Sayre Happy qualified her mount Ludwig’s Joker B, but had a refusal at the second fence in the short course and chose to retire after her horse lost a shoe. Laura Chapot jumped next with Mary Chapot’s ISHD Dual Star, completing a clear round in 39.48 seconds. Last to go, Darragh Kenny and Red Star D’Argent clocked in two-tenths of a second faster to take the win in a time of 39.27.

Kenny just recently got the ride on Red Star D’Argent, an 11-year-old Selle Francais stallion by Quick Star. The horse was previously shown under Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and is now competing with Kenny to be sold. Red Star arrived in the U.S. in the beginning of January, and Kenny has taken his time to get to know his new mount over the last several weeks before stepping up to Friday night’s grand prix.

“My relationship with him is very new,” Kenny detailed. “He was formerly ridden by a very good friend of mine, Sergio Moya. We had talked about the horse coming this winter for me to ride a little bit. He came about five or six weeks ago, and I have just really been getting to know him the last few weeks. He has jumped a lot of good rounds, but has had an unlucky jump down. Today he was fantastic. This was the first grand prix I have jumped him in. I have jumped some WEF (Challenge Cups) and some 1.50m (classes). I did not feel 100% comfortable that I knew him, that I had the right bridle, and everything like that. This week, he felt fantastic. He was really unlucky in the WEF, but fantastic today.”

“The idea is to sell the horse, and that is why he came here for me to ride and show,” Kenny continued. “I have had a lot of horses come and go lately. Some have gotten sold, some have gone to other people, and it does not really bother me because I am trying to produce new horses all of the time so that they can get sold and I can have horses to ride at the top level. The last few weeks I have been very unlucky, so to get this win is really great.”

Commenting on his jump-off round, Kenny said, “I did not actually watch Laura. I know that Laura is an extremely fast rider, and the horse is a super horse. I had one of my friends, Hardin (Towell), watch her. He said that you basically just have to go for it and see what happens.”

“The horse is very easy to turn, and he jumps even better when you turn him back up to jumps,” Kenny continued. “He really tries and is really careful, with good technique, so it makes it easy to turn really short with him.”

Knowing that Red Star turns so well, Kenny had planned to show the horse in Friday night’s grand prix in the smaller arena at The Stadium for the last four weeks.

“I had the aim of jumping him this week. I think this venue suited him,” Kenny said. “He is agile; he is good in a small ring. I knew it would be a careful course, (and) he is very careful.”

Chapot thought she may have been able to take more risk in hindsight, but the rider was very pleased with her jump-off round aboard ISHD Dual Star.

“I thought she jumped fantastic tonight,” Chapot stated. “I do not think she even came close to touching a rail. I think I just played it too safe in the jump-off. I probably should have made at least one of the inside turns, either after the double or to the last line. But with only three in the jump-off and the first one obviously being out, I wanted to put a little pressure on Darragh and not make a mistake. With the way my horse was jumping, I probably should have gone ahead and done that, and that would have made the difference.”

Although Sayre Happy had to retire from her jump-off round, the rider was happy with the way Ludwig’s Joker B jumped on Friday night. The horse was double clear and fourth on Thursday and continued to jump well for his third place finish under the lights.

“My partner and I bought the horse to sell, and I do not think we knew he would be as good as he is,” Happy noted. “I got this horse in July and just did some smaller 1.40m, 1.45m, and this is the biggest class I have jumped with him. The stop was my fault; I was a mile away. He tries his heart out every time, and he is a really fun horse.”

Speaking of the night’s course, Happy stated, “I honestly thought there were going to be a few more clear. Yesterday, the course I walked was what I rode. I watched a bunch of people go and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, maybe I should change my plan.’ But I stuck with it. Tonight I felt the same way. It kind of rode what he set when I walked it, and I stayed with my plan. I thought he did a great job.”

Kenny also spoke of the course, noting, “When I walked the course, it did not look so difficult, but always in this ring, the jumps come up so fast. It ends up riding much more difficult. It suited a smaller horse with more blood. There were a lot of questions here and there about the numbers, but in the end I think he did a super job on the course.”

Chapot, agreed, adding, “This ring rides a little bit more like an indoor ring, and after coming off riding in the International Arena, which is so wide open, it was difficult for horses to adjust that quickly. I thought he posed a lot of questions all throughout the course, and he had rails everywhere.”

Along with the prize money for her third place finish Friday night, Sayre Happy was presented the award for Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for her success in week six. The award is sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate in memory of Dale Lawler.

3’3″ Hunters Garner WCHR Week Championships

Stephanie Danhakl wrote the perfect ending to a comeback story for her nine-year-old Warmblood gelding Quest in the culmination of the Osphos® 3’3″ Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division Friday. After much success with Danhakl’s trainer Scott Stewart in First Year competition in 2014, Quest suffered a rare complication involving the veins in his hooves that required over a year of rest to completely regrow healthy hoof.

Stephanie Danhakl and Quest
Stephanie Danhakl and Quest

This week marked the two-year anniversary of his First Year championship at WEF with Stewart, and he celebrated it by carrying Danhakl to first and second over fences, fourth under saddle and a win in the handy on a score of 91 for champion in the 3’3″ Amateur-Owner Division.

“I have to credit my vet Haynes Stevens for getting Quest back to full health,” said Danhakl. “After his First Year Championship his feet started getting sore, and we didn’t really know what was wrong. Haynes was the only one who could figure out how to bring him back.”

After over a year off, Quest returned in style and has been back in the show ring with Danhakl for the past few months.

“I’m happy to have him back – he’s an amazing horse,” she said. “He was phenomenal both yesterday and today. I never have to worry about him spooking, and I was confident about him showing in the International Arena. I really look forward to this week with the focus on the hunters. There is a lot of excitement in the air, and it is nice to be able to gallop around and really let out his stride.”

Danhakl admits that her division is a competitive one with a lot of junior riders moving up into amateur competition, but she is happy to be kept on her toes.

Scoring first and third over fences and second under saddle, Vivian Yowan piloted Anytime, owned by Saddle Ridge, LLC, to reserve champion behind Danhakl.

In the Karina Brez Jewelry 3’3″ Amateur-Owner 36 and Over Division, Daryl Portela and Winner, owned by Isalou, Inc., claimed champion after jumping to reserve honors during Week 5. Portela and Winner were first and fifth over fences, second in the handy, and third under saddle to clinch the tricolor.

“I had a great week,” said Portela. “It’s a tough division with a lot of good horses and a lot of good riders, but I feel very comfortable with [Winner].”

Portela has had the ride on the 13-year-old Warmblood gelding for four years after her trainer Jimmy Torano imported him.

“He didn’t have much of a personality and had never done the hunters when I got him,” she said, “but I started him right away. He developed a great personality and became very comfortable.”

For Portela, having a chance to shine in the International Arena is a rare treat. “We never get to show in here. It’s a long way around, but it’s so exciting,” she said.

Reserve champion honors in the Amateur-Owner 36 and Over 3’3″ division was awarded to Lynn Seithel and her own Walk the Moon after a third place finish over fences and a blue ribbon in the handy.

The UHealth Ear Institute 3’3″ Junior Hunter Division saw stiff competition during WCHR week and was split into two sections with Lili Halterman and her own Genuine taking champion in Section A and Mimi Gochman earning champion in Section B aboard Papyrus for owner David Gochman.

Seventeen-year-old Halterman is savoring her final season as a junior competitor at WEF and admits that earning champion during WCHR week was a special bonus.

“This season was most about having fun and enjoying being on my horses,” she said. “I really enjoy big rings, but this ring especially.”

Halterman and Genuine collected two first place finishes over fences, a second-place ribbon in the handy, and a win under saddle to secure champion honors.

“He has always been great,” said Halterman of her 17-year-old Oldenburg gelding. “He always steps up and acts like a babysitter for me, and I have won a lot with him because of that.”

Halterman also earned reserve champion honors in Section A on her own Cussini with a win in the handy, as well as second and sixth over fences.

Taking the Section B Championship, Gochman rode Papyrus to third over fences, adding to his second over fences and wins in the handy and under saddle earlier in the week with Emma Kurtz in the irons.

Gochman, 11, showed in the International Arena at WEF for the first time this week and did it on a new mount. Papyrus, a nine-year-old German Warmblood gelding is one of the youngest and most green horses Gochman has sat on. She only started riding him at the beginning of the winter season.

“I have to be a lot more gentle with him – he is always really cautious so I try to be really soft, which is new to me,” said Gochman. “He took care of me out there today, and it was really a treat. It was fun to have the experience, but also to do well in the big ring. I’m proud that I could keep it together with a new, green horse.”

Mimi’s sister Sophie Gochman collected reserve champion in Section B with Last Man Darling, owned by David Gochman. She won Friday’s over fences class after Emma Kurtz piloted Last Man Darling to fourth over fences and second under saddle earlier in the week.

Week six of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Saturday with more hunter and jumper action on both sides of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Lindsay Brock for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.