Wellington, FL – February 10, 2018 – In the first five star grand prix of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit, Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Ladriano Z, owned by Over The Top Stables LLC, rose to the top of the class in the $384,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix on Saturday, February 10, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
There were 40 entries in the grand prix, contesting a challenging course set by Kelvin Bywater of Great Britain in front of a jam-packed stadium of show jumping fans. Just two were clear to advance to the jump-off.
First into the ring for the second round was FEI World Cup Finals winner and Olympic silver medalist Beat Mändli of Switzerland riding Dsarie, a 10-year-old KWPN mare by Veron x Ahorn owned by Grand Road Partners GmbH. They laid the gauntlet with a clear round in a time of 40.47 seconds, with Dsarie giving her customary bucks after going through the timers.
Knowing what he had to beat, Bluman and Ladriano Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Lawito x Baloubet du Rouet, went for the win straight from the first fence. They shaved just enough time off to gallop home in a winning time of 39.43 seconds.
Emma Kurtz and A Million Reasons Capture Championship Tricolor Ribbon in Small Junior Hunter 16-17 Division
Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH piloted her mount A Million Reasons, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, to the top of the class in week five’s Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division. The duo claimed three blue ribbons over fences and an additional blue in the under saddle.
Having been paired with the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare for the first time at the beginning of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) this year, Kurtz expressed her admiration for her new mount.
McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2017 — It was a bittersweet night for show jumping fans as they saw one of the sport’s best in his final competition. HH Carlos Z went out on top with victory in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, presented by the Man O’ War Project in partnership with Columbia University Medical Center. As HH Carlos Z and McLain Ward (USA) entered the arena for their victory gallop, it was announced that “Carlos” would retire.
Riding out of the 11th spot in the order in the faults converted (Table C) format class, Ward and HH Carlos Z, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z owned by Double H Farm, finished in 57.77 seconds.
“I love the format of this class,” Ward said. “It’s a 1.50m, but a Table C, so people can have a fence down and still be in the mix. I think it makes it a much more exciting class for the spectators.”
Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue, owned by LL Show Jumpers LLC, were second in 58.50 seconds, while Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Lady Maria BH placed third with a time of 59.05 seconds.
Following the class, Ward stated, “That’s it. He’s done. He’s given more than he had to give. He’s been an incredible horse, an incredible winner. He’s won everything from five-star grand prixs and jumped Nations’ Cups to being a day in and day out winner.
“I wanted the horse to win a good class to finish on,” he continued. “I didn’t want him to end poorly. This is a nice moment, and I’m very, very grateful to Mr. Harrison and Double H Farm to have the opportunity to ride this horse and also for the opportunity to care for him and retire him in the way he deserves.”
Ward concluded, “He’s always been a winner when it counted. He did it again. It’s a little bittersweet, but he doesn’t owe us anything.”
The Jump for TAPS Challenge raised $16,000 on Friday night, with every clear over the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) fence raising money for the WIHS Official Military Charity.
Aaron Vale Clears 6’7” to Win $25,000 International Jumper Puissance
Aaron Vale (USA) and Finou earned their second consecutive WIHS Puissance victory on Friday night, this year clearing 6’7” to take the win in the $25,000 International Jumper Puissance, presented by The Boeing Company.
“It’s the horse,” said Vale on the secret to tying with McLain Ward in 2016 and winning outright in 2017. “This horse actually has quite a bit of talent for this. It feels like he could actually jump a very big wall if the class played out that way. He’s very comfortable at it, and it’d be exciting to try something pretty high with him if it ever happened. My personal best is 7’2 ¼”. If I made higher it than that – that’s pretty high to me.”
The Puissance wall began set at a height of 1.80m (5’11”) and gradually progressed to the 6’7” height through four rounds of competition. Four horse and rider combinations all successfully contested the first round, with Paulo Santana (ESA) being the first eliminated after failing to clear the wall in the second round with his mount Una du Keske Z, owned by Santana Stables LLC.
Finishing in third were Kama Godek (USA) and her own De Grande. Following Godek and De Grande’s elimination in the third round, only Vale and Hunter Holloway (USA) aboard Cassevel, owned by Hays Investment Corp., remained, and Holloway elected to save the gelding jumps for another day, opting out of the fourth round. Vale could have chosen to also call it a night and accept a tie, but much to the enjoyment of the crowd, he chose to return for a fourth and final round.
“We’ve got a big crowd here today, number one,” Vale said on his reasoning for choosing to return. “Number two, my horse actually is a very fresh horse, so he needs work. He’ll be jumping the grand prix tomorrow night. Last year he jumped five rounds, and then he jumped clean in the grand prix, so four rounds might not have been enough work for him! Maybe I should have come back one more time!”
Emma Kurtz Rides Dedication to Grand Junior Hunter Championship
The 2017 WIHS Grand Junior Hunter Championship and the Ides of March Perpetual Trophy, donated by Linda Lee and Lee Reynolds and given to the grand championship winner, were presented to Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH and Dedication, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker.
On their way to winning the grand championship, Kurtz and Dedication, a 12-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding (by Casado), earned two firsts and a third over fences to take the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter Championship and the Chance Step Perpetual Trophy, presented by Chansonette Farms and donated by Brooke Carmichael-McMurray-Fowler and Pam Carmichael Keenan. The division reserve championship went to MTM Hands Down, ridden by Annabel Revers of Weston, MA and owned by Beechwood Stables LLC.
At the 2016 WIHS, Kurtz rode Wisdom, owned by Rivers Edge, to the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter championship, but this year marked her first time claiming the WIHS Grand Junior Hunter Championship.
“It’s amazing [to win here],” said Kurtz of Hudson, OH. “For [Dedication] to come in here and be bombproof is awesome.”
Kurtz, 16, acquired the ride on Dedication in mid-2016 and has made winning on the gelding look easy ever since, but the 17-hand gelding has his quirks.
“He’s a little funny about his leads. We never practice lead changes at home, so that he doesn’t get nervous for them,” Kurtz explained “He’s also particular about the way you hold your body over the jump. You have to give him enough time off the ground, but bend over enough the he doesn’t hit it behind. It’s a formula for sure.
“But he jumps amazing. He’s beautiful, he’s a good mover – he’s the whole package,” said Kurtz. “We love him.”
In the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters, sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation, the championship went to Annabel Revers and Kingpin, owned by Beechwood Stables. The reserve championship was awarded to Haley Redifer of Barboursville, VA and her own Linus.
The Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter division championship, also sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation, went to Stella Wasserman of Beverly Hills, CA riding Boss, owned by Laura Wasserman. Finishing in reserve were Sophie Gochman and Dominik, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC.
In the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division, it was Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA who claimed the championship aboard Small Affair, owned by Lyn Pedersen. For her performances and display of horsemanship and sportsmanship, Iwasaki was selected as the Best Child Rider on a Horse, sponsored by Gotham North, and she was presented with the DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Mark DiVecchia, for the win.
“It’s really exciting,” said Iwasaki, 13, of her win. “It’s very exciting to come into the city. I think it’s just so different and so cool because when do you get to drive into a city and just show on the streets?”
Taking the reserve championship in the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters were Brooke Morin of Calabasas, CA and Seaside, owned by Strasburg Morin Inc.
The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals also kicked off on Friday, and Ava Stearns currently sits at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 89 in the hunter phase. Sam Walker, Alexandra Worthington, Annabel Revers, Haley Redifer, and McKayla Langmeier round out the top six riders, consecutively, heading into the jumper phase. The hunter and jumper scores will then be averaged to determine the top ten riders who will then participate in the final work-off phase.
Lexington, KY – May 21, 2017 – The Kentucky Spring Classic came to a close with a full day of Grand Prix show jumping action in the Rolex Stadium. The final day of competition held not only the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Hollow Creek Farm, but also the $40,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, presented by Audi of Lexington as well as the jump off round for the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Pix. Alex Granato was the quickest ride in the jump off class, earning him the win in the event that was originally scheduled to be held on Saturday evening after the Preakness Stakes. Eugenio Garza took home the blue ribbon in the Under 25 Grand Prix and Santiago Lambre stole the win in the Bluegrass Grand Prix to finish two weeks of top notch hunter and jumper competition. Lambre was also awarded the Kentucky Spring Classic Leading Rider Award, presented by Envisian Products, LLC.
D’Artagnan, the 9-year-old KWPN gelding who helped Lambre fly to the win in the $40,000 1.45m Grand Prix with a time of 30.592, is part of a newer string of horses for the Brazilian athlete. The pair has previously won several 1.40m and 1.45m classes during the Winter Equestrian Festival as well as at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, before making their way to the Kentucky Horse Park. Lambre, who has spent a good portion of his career competing in Europe, recently transitioned to the United States full time to live in Wellington, Fla. The 2017 Kentucky Spring Series marked the first time Lambre had competed at the Kentucky Horse Park and after his numerous successful rounds of the past two weeks, the Brazilian athlete is looking forward to more trips to the area.
With a full roster of thirty-nine horses, the $40,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix only saw eight clear rounds to return for the jump-off. Although French National Champion Eric Navet held the early lead on Basimodo with a clear time of 31.661, Luis Biraben and Colorado 210 eventually stole the second place honors by putting in a faultless effort and time of 31.557, sending Navet home to California with a third place ribbon.
Earlier in the afternoon, Eugenio Garza piloted his own Barino to the top of the leader board in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Hollow Creek Farms, with a double clear ride and jump off time of 41.675. Garza, who won big on Friday night in the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix on Armani SL Z, was the fastest of twenty-two starters in the class. Mavis Spencer and Chacco were second with a double clear effort and a jump off time of 41.834.
The highlight event of the Kentucky Spring Classic, the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, was won by American rider, Alex Granato and Carlchen W with faultless jump off round and a time of 41.73. Granato competed against forty-eight other riders during a class that was split between Saturday night and Sunday morning due to unexpected storms. Aaron Vale and Finou 4 finished just off the lead time in 42.36 and Michael Morrissey and Chance Ste. Hermelle rounded out the top three spots with a clear round and time of 43.45.
The Kentucky Spring Horse Show Series saw awards go to athletes from all over the world who gathered in the Kentucky Horse Park for the annual event. Professionals and amateurs alike were able to compete in top level hunter and jumper classes, all while enjoying the world class facilities at the of the Kentucky Horse Park. Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC is looking forward to hosting their competitors again during their Summer Series that will take place from July 26, 2017 – August 6, 2017.
Emma Kurtz and Dedication Declared Grand Junior Hunter Champions
On the final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic, talented junior rider Emma Kurtz claimed the Large Junior Hunter division championship as well as the Grand Junior Hunter Champion title aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Dedication. Accumulating 46 points with the judges, Kurtz consistently placed at the top of the leaderboard on multiple mounts in the Stonelea ring and won the championship sponsored by Visse Wedell of Wedell Real Estate.
On Saturday, Emma Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio executed two precise rounds in the Large Junior Hunter classes, landing Dedication, a bay Holsteiner, in second place after the first day of competition. Showcasing his reliability to perform well in the show ring, the 12-year-old gelding returned on Sunday and jumped his way to second place in the over fences classes, coming in third in the under saddle class.
Although the pair had not shown together since the Winter Equestrian Festival where they regularly ribboned in the large junior hunter classes, the break between Florida and Kentucky did not prevent them from outshining the competition across the division. In addition to Kurtz, Dedication has also been shown by top hunter athletes Scott Stewart and Victoria Colvin in the professional and junior divisions.
Competitive National and International hunter and jumper competition will resume at the Kentucky Horse Park in July with the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, presented by Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC.
Team Effort for Stellar and Emma Kurtz in Bruno DelGrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Division
Wellington, FL – February 5, 2017 – Todd Minikus (USA) and Babalou 41 concluded week four of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a victory in Sunday’s $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4*, held on the beautiful grass derby field at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Minikus topped a three-horse jump-off over Olympian Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) and G&C Unicstar de l’Aumone in second, and young rider Jennifer Gates (USA) riding Pumped Up Kicks for third.
Course designer Steve Stephens (USA) wrapped up his duties for week four with the highlight grand prix event at PBIEC’s Equestrian Village, also home to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. Thirty-two entries started over Stephens’ first round course, and three were able to advance to the jump-off.
First to jump clear in round one, and first to jump off, Jennifer Gates guided Evergate Stable’s Pumped Up Kicks through the short course in a steady time of 51.28 seconds, incurring two time faults to earn the third place prize.
Sergio Alvarez Moya was next to go with G&C Farm’s Unicstar de l’Aumone, clearing the jump-off track in 40.30 seconds. Last to go, Minikus and Two Swans Farm’s Babalou 41 took the win, racing through the timers in 38.79 seconds.
Minikus was awarded the Village of Wellington Cup, and Babalou 41 earned the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award, presented by Laura Fetterman. The 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Balou du Rouet x Silvio I) showed her experience of competing around the world by heading onto the impressive field for the first time and putting in two faultless efforts.
“This was hard because they had to walk out here for the first time and be right on their game,” Minikus stated. “You needed a little bit of an experienced horse, so it worked out for us. This was a 4*, and I think it was built as a proper 4*. It was difficult enough, and we had beautiful weather. That field is beautiful when you stand up there on the hill and look out there. This was always the best polo field in maybe the world, and the footing still seems quite nice.”
G&C Unicstar de l’Aumone is just nine years old, but the Selle Francais mare (Ninio de Rox x Timorrak des Isles) has experience winning on the grass. She and Moya topped two Sparkassen Youngster Cup Qualifiers at CHIO Aachen in 2016.
“She jumps very good on grass or sand,” Moya noted. “I was in this grand prix seven or eight years ago, and I love the ring. I like the mare very much and I thought it was a really good place for her. She jumped amazing, and I am happy with her.”
Gates earned the Leading Lady Rider Award for week four, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, after Sunday’s top finish, and a sixth place in Thursday’s qualifier. She was thrilled with Pumped Up Kicks, her 14-year-old Brandenburg gelding (Levisto x San Juan).
“I am over the moon,” Gates smiled. “I did him in some Under 25 classes last year out on the grass field, and he was amazing. I am ecstatic with how he jumped today. It took an experienced horse for that course, which I definitely had.
“I knew these two were going to be faster than me, so my plan was to try and have a clear round and put the pressure on a tiny bit in case they had a rail, which of course they did not,” Gates continued. “This past Thursday I was sixth in the WEF Challenge Cup qualifier, and that was my biggest accomplishment with this horse so far, so to come out here and be third was a huge deal. I am thrilled to be third in great company.”
Competing on Sunday in the International Arena on the main show grounds at PBIEC, Luciana Gonzalez Guerra and Guadalupe Gonzalez’s Star Light won the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch. Abbie Sweetnam and Chadburn Holdings’ Parco topped the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic, and Alexandra Markarian and Bandro were victorious in the $10,000 Equiline Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.
Team Effort for Stellar and Emma Kurtz in Bruno DelGrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Division
Emma Kurtz of Wellington, FL and Stellar won the championship in the Bruno DelGrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division on Sunday morning. The pair won the stake and the handy class, placed third and fourth over fences, and fourth under saddle. Week four was Kurtz’s second time showing Stellar.
Stellar, a coming seven-year-old Hanoverian mare by Quintender, is owned and trained by Holly Orlando. It was Orlando’s six-year-old daughter, Logan, who led the mare in for the presentation photo alongside Kurtz.
“She’s very sweet,” Orlando explained. “We enjoy having her in the barn and taking her to the ring. She’s a first year horse so I’ll show her some, and Emma will show her some. My sister, Heather Hays, also helps train her. It’s a team effort for Stellar.”
“She’s a First Year horse, so she’s a little green,” Kurtz added. “She’s just figuring it out. They said this was only her second time jumping 3’6″. She’s amazing; she’s so brave, has a great jump, and is really fun to ride.”
Raleigh Hiler of Sudbury, MA rode her own Chapman ET to reserve honors in the division. The pair earned first, second, fourth, and fifth place ribbons over fences, and a second place ribbon under saddle. Chapman ET is a nine-year-old warmblood gelding.
The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its fifth week of competition, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, on February 8-12, 2017. For full results and more information, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Emma Kurtz and Patrick Win WIHS Equitation at Kentucky Summer Classic
Lexington, KY – Aug. 5, 2016 – Before heading to work at CMW Architects in downtown Lexington, Douglas Masters hopped on Chris Richard’s Uno Z to ride to the win in the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers on Friday. In the High Junior Jumper division, which ran simultaneously, it was Emma Wujek and her own Ugaf who rode to victory.
In the speed class, Masters and Uno Z delivered one of only three clear rounds, stopping the clock in just 57.945 seconds to claim the top spot.
“I got Uno Z last year, and we’ve been working our way up,” Masters explained. “He is a very unorthodox horse. He goes in his way, and I put my own style into him. When I first saw him in Holland, I originally was not interested in him at all. After we jumped some really big jumps, I just had a huge smile on my face; it couldn’t be any better. He’s just a very talented horse, and it’s a privilege for me to be able to ride him.”
Masters said that balancing his professional career and amateur status as a rider has presented many challenges, but he is finally hitting his stride and finding a balance between both of his passions.
“I literally came right from work and walked the course and jumped around,” Masters said. “The schedule is crazy, but this isn’t anything new for me. I just moved him down here from my mom’s barn in Ohio, so I’ve finally been able to ride every day. We’re starting to get in our groove, and it’s a blessing that I have a job that will support me.”
Coming in second to Masters was Anne Gardner and her own After Eight, who clocked in a time of 61.493 seconds. The third and final clear came from David Oberkircher and Southfields Farm LLC’s Castelino Van De Helle, whose time of 67.28 seconds would earn them third place.
On the High Junior Jumper card, which also saw three clear efforts, Wujek and Ugaf’s clear round of 59.017 seconds proved to be unbeatable by the other challengers.
“My plan worked out today,” Wujek said. “I left out strides because Ugaf has the biggest stride in the world, and I also turned inside the timers to save time. It’s nice because he’s so balanced, I can really get up through those turns. It was amazing to win this class today; it’s a good feeling.”
Wujek, who trains with Tim and Kelly Goguen, said she purchased the stallion as her first Junior Jumper halfway through the Winter Equestrian Festival in 2015.
“Ugaf is awesome,” Wujek said. “He was my first Junior Jumper, and he is the best horse to learn on. He puts up with me so well. He takes a lot of leg, but you have to let him flow. He thrives with a challenge.”
Boggs Hill Farm is based just around the corner, giving Wujek the opportunity to enjoy Kentucky year-round, and she loves showing at the Kentucky Horse Show.
“I love the show grounds,” Wujek said. “The upkeep is awesome, and it’s really nice having a farm just down the road.”
Finishing in second place on the junior card was Claire McKean, who piloted Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof across the finish line in 62.64 seconds. Third place went home with Mary Elizabeth Cordia, who clocked a time of 65.338 seconds in the irons on Chelsie.
The 1.40m Open Jumpers kicked off Friday’s action in the Rolex Arena, and it was Sydney Shulman and the BCF Group’s Wamira who rode away with the blue ribbon. Finishing in second was Victor Amaya and Kristin Hull’s Arko, while third went to Alejandro Karolyi and Karolyi Showjumping Inc.’s Isibelle.
The Kentucky Summer Classic will continue on Saturday with the highlight $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix, presented by GGT Footing and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Emma Kurtz and Patrick Win WIHS Equitation
Junior rider Emma Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio won both the jumper phase and the hunter phase of the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation on Friday of the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. She rode Dr. Betsee Parker’s gelding Patrick to the double win in the equitation division.
Kurtz first rode the chestnut gelding at the Maclay Finals last November and competed with him a handful of times at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, so she explained that she was still getting acclimated to his ride.
The pair had placed second in the WIHS hunter phase last week at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, and they returned this week focused on winning the blue.
“The jumper phase this morning was so fun!” Kurtz said. “I was really nervous going in because I could only watch two riders go through it.
“Patrick’s rhythm is different than other horses I typically ride, so it has taken a while for me to get used to it,” Kurtz continued. “I feel like I haven’t been really great on Patrick because he is a very different ride for me, but he is amazing! His stride is huge.”
The talented duo won the jumper phase with an impressive score of 94, which was five points ahead of the second place finisher, Casco M and Victoria Press’s score of 89.
“The only problem I usually have in the jumper phase is the time allowed,” Kurtz explained. “I always need to stay on my pace because I like to go slow.”
The jumper phase finished in the morning so the riders had the entire day to prepare for the WIHS hunter phase, which took place in the Alltech Arena.
“It was surprising that we had to ride in the indoor ring because we are not used to competing indoors quite yet in the season,” Kurtz said. “Patrick was holding back a bit, but he was perfect. He never does anything wrong. I could just tell a little difference in the way he went versus riding outside.
“It was great practice for us, especially since Maclay Finals happens there,” she continued. “We should all be ready!”
The hunter phase consisted of nine jumps with bending lines and a combination. Kurtz bested a field of 30 equitation riders to earn a score of 89. The top three finishers were within a point of each other with Madison Sellman and Alvarez L placing second in the hunter phase with a score of 88, and Samantha Cohen and Trump coming in third with an 87.
“My ride went well,” Kurtz said. “Patrick is so easy and sweet. Usually they have straight lines in the hunter phase, but today they made it a bit more exciting. It was fun to ride.”
Kurtz has been focusing on improving her equitation in order to stand out in a group of talented young riders. She rides often without stirrups and she laughed, “It’s not necessarily fun, but we have to do it!”
“I’ve been working a lot on my leg position because it sometimes slides back when I am in the air. Then sometimes it slides too far forward when I ride around so I’ve been focusing on keeping it more underneath me and keeping my legs where they should be.”
She plans on continuing to get to know Patrick through the summer by competing in the equitation divisions at the Blue Grass Festival Horse Show later in August before heading off to the Hampton Classic.
“He’s so sweet around the barn!” Kurtz said. “Today after our ride he got his favorite snack, a banana, as a treat!”
Feature events of the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show include the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix presented by GGT Footing and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Emma Kurtz Dominates Junior Hunter Divisions at Kentucky Summer Horse Show
Lexington, KY – July 30, 2016 – The luck of the Irish certainly favored the winners of Saturday’s $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Irish riders Shane Sweetnam and Christina Kelly rode away with the top three ribbons, with first and third won by Sweetnam and Kelly earning second.
The first round saw 30 entries over fellow Irishman Alan Wade’s course, with 14 horse-and-rider combinations eventually advancing to the short course. The spectators cheered from the stands, enjoying the top-quality show jumping during the Kentucky Horse Park’s 14th annual Hats Off Day.
Kelly and Andrea O’Brien’s Kingdom were among the first to turn in a clear round, securing their place in the jump-off early on in the class.
“Kingdom has come such a long way,” Kelly said. “He jumped his first grand prix in April in Aiken, and he has moved up slowly. He has been unbelievable, and this is the biggest venue he has competed at, especially with the crowds and the night class. He showed so much potential, and he is getting better and better.”
Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt jumped their clear effort shortly after, and later Sweetnam followed up with another jump-off-qualifying round aboard Main Road, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC.
“Cobolt is a lot of fun to ride,” Sweetnam said. “It’s taken me a little while to figure out the buttons, but we seem to have figured it out in the last couple months. He’s been very consistent, so I’m very happy with him. He’s a really quick horse, and he jumped really well here the other night.”
As the riders returned for the jump off, only five of the 14 qualified would repeat their clear efforts. Kelly returned with Kingdom to lay down a quick round, saving time by taking tight turns and opening up the 17.3-hand horse’s massive stride between the combinations. Kelly and Kingdom stopped the timers in 45.474 seconds, securing her hold on the lead.
“I was very happy with him,” Kelly said. “I was going into this hopeful that he was going to jump well. My strategy was just to go double clear, but he was jumping so well I figured I could push him a bit to go faster. The track rode fantastic; I love Alan Wade’s courses.”
Sweetnam entered the ring on Cobolt shortly after, taking his turns even tighter and using his smaller horse’s agility to its full potential to shave an impressive two seconds off of Kelly’s leading time, finishing the course in a mere 43.882 seconds to take over the top spot.
“Christina was really fast,” Sweetnam said. “I know she was really quick everywhere, but Christina’s horse is a big-strided horse, and I think my fellow may just be a bit niftier and quicker through the corners. He’s definitely more competitive that way; he’s bouncy, you can turn quicker, and he gets his eye on the jumps. I think he was excellent in the jump-off. He likes going fast; he’s a bit like his dad [Cyklon 1083], so it’s great that Cobolt is winning, too.”
During his career with Cyklon 1083, Sweetnam has experienced a lot of success. At 10 years old, Cobolt is one of Cyklon’s oldest sons and is following in his father’s footsteps. Sweetnam got the ride on the gelding in January, and has since won the $130,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI3* at Tryon, among other successes at the 1.50m level.
The final rider to return to the ring, it was clear that Sweetnam would be taking home the blue ribbon, but it was a question of whether he could beat his earlier time on his next mount, Main Road. Despite coming close with their clear effort, Sweetnam and Main Road’s time of 46.444 seconds would earn them the third-place ribbon.
“Main Road is only an 8-year-old,” Sweetnam explained. “He’s had a bit of success already this summer, and he’s coming along all the time. He was pretty quick tonight, and I think if I had to, I could have been quicker, but I would have taken more risks. I was already happy with his round, and he did exactly what I wanted to do. He can be very, very quick, and I think he’ll have other days where he’ll win, too.”
Sweetnam concluded, “I love Kentucky, and we always have success here. It’s our home for the summer, so that makes it nicer. I also want to thank my sponsors, between Lisa Lourie, the Buckle Up Group, the Gilbertsons and Paul Tracey; I’m just lucky to have such great owners. I’ve been very lucky this year to have these horses.”
Also going double clear, Adrienne Sternlicht and Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Toulago tripped the timers in 49.442 seconds to take home fourth place. Trailing very closely behind, Juan Ortiz and the Synchronicity Group’s D’ulien Van De Smeets ended up in fifth place with their time of 49.842 seconds. Despite having the second-fastest time at 44.372 seconds, Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios and A S D Farfala rounded out the top six after catching an unfortunate four faults for having a rail down.
The final highlights during the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix. The action will resume next week during the Kentucky Summer Classic.
Emma Kurtz Dominates Junior Hunter Divisions
Emma Kurtz dominated the Stonelea Ring on Saturday at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show with wins on Dominik in the Small Junior Hunter division, as well as a clean sweep in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division on Frederick.
“My rounds on Frederick went really well today,” Kurtz said. “He was amazing considering it was so late in the day due to the weather delay. He is very flashy with his white socks and blaze, and he has a great rhythm to his canter.”
Kurtz has had the ride on David Gochman’s chestnut gelding for over a year, and the pair are no strangers to winning blue ribbons and championship titles. In Saturday’s Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, Kurtz and Frederick won both over fences classes and the under saddle class.
“Frederick is a quiet horse. He is so fun to ride and I love him,” she continued. “He may be a bit looky at times, but he is usually on it and he was great today.”
Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio also impressed the judges on David Gochman’s gelding Dominik. This was the third show the duo has competed together and though they are a relatively new pair they were Grand Champions at Brandywine. On Saturday, they earned the blue ribbon in both over fences classes during the Small Junior Hunter division.
“Dominik was feeling great today,” Kurtz explained. “He was a bit frisky which was kind of good because he is usually too quiet, so the rides today were nice. He is very simple and sweet.”
She plans on riding him in next week’s Kentucky Summer Classic and then Sophie and Mimi Gochman will pick up the ride.
“I love Kentucky,” Kurtz explained. “I love to be back here! The show is always run so nicely. The jumps are beautiful and it’s just a really nice show to come to.”
Brett Burlington of Miami, Florida leads the way in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division on Popish Farms LLC’s Due West. The pair won an over fences class as well as placed second in the under saddle class.
“I thought my rounds went really well today,” Burlington said. “He is very easy and straightforward. I float the reins and everything usually works out well. Basically the less I involve myself the easier it is. If I ride everything smooth and not change much, the distances come up nicely. The more adjustments I try to make, the distances can get a bit iffy.”
Burlington competed the 12-year-old gelding during the winter season at WEF and they were champions in Traverse City earlier in the summer.
“He is owned by a client at Sweet Oaks Farm and she is very nice to let me show him,” she explained. “I have been riding him on and off for a couple of years now. For the rest of the season we will work on having more consistent rounds and try my best.”
All junior hunter divisions will wrap up on Sunday morning at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.
On Saturday morning, championships were awarded in the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions. Jane Gaston won the Visse Wedell Grand Hunter Championship, as well as the Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship aboard Because. The KWPN gelding had also earned the Green Hunter Championship with Kelley Farmer earlier in the week.
Lisa Butzer earned the tricolored ribbon for the Amateur-Owner 3’3 18-35 division on Pure Imagination, while Didi Mackenzie and MTM Do Right was crowned champion in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3 Over 35 division.
On Sunday, the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby will take place and it will be the third class in the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series. The $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus will award a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the five classes that make up the 2016 Hallway Feeds series. The series-leading amateur and junior riders accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on August 21.
(L to R) Emma Kurtz and Caldwell with USEF representatives Kelsey Shanley and Jennifer Mellenkamp (Cathrin Cammett Photo)
Devon, Pa. – The 2016 US Junior Hunter National Championship East Coast came to a close on Tuesday, following two days of competition in the historic Dover Arena at the Devon Horse Show grounds. More than 150 of the country’s top juniors headed to the championship to complete three phases in front of the judging panel of Linda Andrisani, Holly Orlando, and James Toon over Skip Bailey-designed Classic Round course and Handy Hunter courses, which both counted for 40% of the overall score. The final 20% was earned in Tuesday’s Under Saddle phase which was judged by Jeff Ayers, Rob Bielefeld, and Bill Ellis. Emma Kurtz and Caldwell posted the best overall score of the 3’6″ competition to earn the 2016 Grand Champion title. In the 3’3″ championship, Devin Seek and Dress Balou earned Grand Champion honors.
Kurtz (Hudson, Ohio) and Scott Stewart’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Caldwell, earned the 2016 National Title after scoring 99.2 in the Classic Round, 51 in the Under Saddle, and 102.8 in the Handy Round, to finish on an overall score of 253. The talented pair also earned the Large Junior Hunter 15-and-Under crown, taking home the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Stewart, Jr.
Kurtz and David Gochman’s Dominik scored the Reserve Overall Grand Champion title. Kurtz and the eight-year-old Warmblood gelding earned scores of 102.8, 52.2, and 94.4 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively, and an overall score of 249.4. The pair also posted the best score in the Small Junior Hunter 15-and-Under section, taking home the USA National Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Geri and Whitney Roper.
Caroline Jones (Brownsboro, Ala.) and Century Performance Horses LLC’s At Last posted the top score in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 section, taking home the USA National Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Christina Schlusemeyer. Jones and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding finished on an overall total of 239.5 after posting scores of 92.5, 47.6, and 99.4 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively. In Small Junior Hunter 16-17 competition, Eliza Bienstock (New York, N.Y.) and her own Playlist earned the top score of 241, taking home the USA National Junior Hunter Championship Perpetual Trophy donated by Pam and Wayne Baker. Bienstock and the 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding posted scores of 95.2, 50.4, and 95.4 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively.
The top Owner/Rider for the 3’6″ section was MTM Hands Down, ridden by Annabel Revers and owned by her family’s Beechwood Stables, LLC, finishing with an overall score of 246.2.
Seek (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Donald Stewart’s Dress Balou topped the 3’3″ Junior Hunter 15-and-Under section A on their way to earning Overall Grand Champion honors in the 3’3″ section. Seek and the seven-year-old Warmblood gelding earned scores of 103.2 in the Classic Round, 50.8 in the Under Saddle, and 104.4 in Handy Round to finish on an overall total of 258.4.
Grace Boston earned Reserve Overall Grand Champion in the 3’3″ section with Donald Stewart’s six-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Spalding. The pair, which had the highest score in the 3’3″ Junior Hunter 15-and-Under section B, scored 91.6, 52, and 100.2 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively, to finish on an overall total of 243.8.
“I am so thankful that Don Stewart gave me the opportunity to ride his fabulous horse, Spalding,” said Boston. “Spalding felt amazing throughout the weekend and at the end of my handy, I knew we had performed well enough to earn a good ribbon. I was ecstatic when I found out that I had won the class and earned Champion and Reserve Grand Champion. I had gone into the weekend with the goal of ending up in the top 10, but never expected to end up on top.”
“It’s still exciting for me to find and own such nice horses and be lucky enough to have students that can show them to their full potential,” said Donald Stewart. “I’m very excited about Spalding, as he is six and a newcomer, whereas I think Balou is one of the winningest hunters ever, having won over $350,000.00 to date at only seven years old. Special thanks to my team and Aaron Vale.”
Grace Hutson (Lancaster, Pa.) and her own 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Davinci, topped 3’3″ Junior Hunter 16-17 Section A competition after finishing on an overall score of 239.4. They produced scores of 96.3, 49.1, and 94 in the Classic, Under Saddle, and Handy Rounds, respectively. Additionally, Hutson was crowned top Owner/Rider in the 3’3″ section. Isabel Stettinius (Washington D.C.) and her own Balenciaga, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding, won the 3’3″ Junior Hunter 16-17 Section B with an 88.6 in the Classic round, a 49.2 in the Under Saddle, and a 99.0 in the Handy round, for an overall score of 236.8.
Sydney North’s Valentine, a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse, was also honored as the Best Overall Mare and received the War Dress Memorial Trophy donated by Cleta S. Turbow and Pamela J. Rush after receiving an overall score of 241.
Visit usefnetwork.com for photos and videos from the 2016 US Junior Hunter National Championship East Coast.
Emma Kurtz Takes Back-to-Back Equitation Wins with Clearway
Lexington, Ky. – May 13, 2016 – Eve Jobs and Quickley 3 had a strong debut Friday on day three of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, besting a field of 31 in the Medium Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumpers in a time of 52.038 seconds. Dana Wille and Olympus were close behind Jobs with a second place finish in 52.104 seconds.
From the start, Jobs made a plan that paid off in time saved.
“We looked at the inside turn from two to three when we walked the course and were a little skeptical about trying it,” said Jobs. “Then the first one went in and was fast and efficient, and it didn’t look too bad, so that was the one turn where I think I made up the most time.”
Quickley 3, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding, is coming off of a successful winter season, having won the Medium Junior Jumper championships three times at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
“I’ve had this horse for just over a year,” Jobs explained. “I’ve pretty much kept him in the Medium Junior Jumpers. He’s a really simple ride. He loves to go fast; he’s really careful, he’s catty, he’s quick and he’s been one of my best horses for about a year now.”
Jobs was full of praise for the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, with this being her first time competing at the show.
“This is actually the first time we’ve been here for the Kentucky Spring series,” Jobs said. “I’ve been here in the summer for young riders and in the winter for the National Horse Show. We decided to come here for the spring because we thought it would be a nice preparation for the Devon Horse Show’s junior week. All of the horses have been going great. The weather has been beautiful and I’m really happy we came!”
Jobs plans to compete in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix on Sunday and is enthusiastic about the opportunities that the division offers.
“I did the division in Wellington, and I feel my best rounds were in that division,” Jobs explained. “I think it’s a wonderful bridge between the junior and the professional divisions. There are a bunch of kids in it. It’s great competition, and it’s big and technical. I’ve had a lot of success in those classes and I’m really excited that they are having a grand prix here.”
Jobs also took her talents to the equitation ring Friday afternoon, placing third in the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase.
In the Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers, Madison Dehaven scored a meaningful win aboard Chanel, topping a field of 35 in a time of 33.611 seconds – a full second faster than Anna Dryden and Caprice 463 who took second place in 34.622 seconds.
“I have had her since she was three months old, so she’s kind of special to me,” Dehaven said of the 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare. “I bought her when she was a weanling. I was 15 then and trained her myself and brought her along.”
Careful planning in the course walk also paid off for Dehaven and Chanel.
“Everything kind of went as planned,” said Dehaven. “I walked with Aaron [Vale’s] wife, Mallory, and we came up with our game plan and went out there and rode it pretty much as close to what I wanted to as I could. In the jump-off, I had planned nine down the one line and ended up on a big stride and the eight just came up and was right there so we went with it. That was probably part of the reason we had the time we did. I was really happy with how she went today.”
Similar to Jobs, Dehaven was enthusiastic about the environment at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
“I love Kentucky,” said Dehaven. “There’s really no better place to be to show. We spend all winter in Florida and it’s nice to change the venue up. The horses all jump great and go great here. We love being here!”
Emma Kurtz Takes Back-to-Back Equitation Wins with Clearway
Emma Kurtz dominated the Stonelea Ring on Friday at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show with back-to-back equitation wins in the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase and the ASPCA Maclay on Clearway, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker.
Kurtz and Clearway are coming off of a successful 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season, after claiming numerous top placings in the equitation ring, but Kurtz has not shown the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding since the circuit ended in April.
“I’m very excited about today,” said Kurtz. “He hasn’t shown in probably a month and a half. It’s been a long time since these horses have shown, so it’s really nice to come out here and have them be perfect.”
Kurtz piloted Clearway, who previously had a famously decorated equitation career with Tori Colvin, past 24 horse and rider combinations in the WIHS Equitation Hunter Phase and 22 in the ASPCA Maclay to take the two blue ribbons.
“It’s big shoes to fill for sure, but he’s an amazing horse and I love him,” said Kurtz.
The pair impressed the judges in the ASPCA Maclay on Friday with a smooth and effortless round, navigating an in-and-out combination to a bending line as well as rollbacks and a brush fence.
“Since it was in a hunter ring, it was like a hunter-y kind of course but it was really nice,” said Kurtz. “The bending was just a normal eight off the turn, and then just the two straight lines and the in-and-out. It wasn’t too challenging so that was nice, especially coming off of the Winter Equestrian Festival [WEF].”
Out of the 22 original entries, 11 were called back to show on the flat.
Kurtz’s equitation once again stood out as the judges challenged the riders to demonstrate a working canter, a half turn and reverse at the sitting trot, a lengthening of stride at the trot and a working walk.
Finishing in second in the ASPCA Maclay behind Kurtz was Emma Wujek and Isle of Wight, owned by Castlewood Farm, Inc. of Wellington, Florida.
“Today’s course wasn’t too technical,” said Wujek. “This was like a nice hunter equitation course. My horse was awesome. He’s a young one. We just got him this past WEF and he’s come so far. He’s gotten so much stronger. He’s a great horse.”
Rounding out the top three was Lauren Brown and Cashmann, owned by Angela Brown.
Sunday is “Derby Day” with the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby taking place.
EQSportsNet will stream live webcasts of the $130,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3* on Saturday as well as the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* during the Kentucky Spring Classic on Saturday, May 21. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can also watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.
Emma Kurtz and Truly Yours (Shawn McMillen Photography)
Lexington, Ky. – Another day of competition at the US Hunter Pony Championship presented by Sallee Horse Vans saw two more championship titles decided on Friday. Emma Kurtz and Truly Yours collected Medium Green Hunter Pony honors, while Augusta Iwasaki and Kingston were named the Large Green Hunter Pony Champions. Both championship divisions completed the Over Fences phase on Friday, earning the final 50% for their overall score, after receiving 25% from both the Model and Under Saddle phases on Thursday. Following the completion of the Green Pony divisions, Kingston was named Overall Green Hunter Pony Grand Champion, while Truly Yours was the Reserve Grand Champion.
Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship
Kurtz (Hudson, Ohio) and Truly Yours, an eight-year-old Welsh Pony mare owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, were in third place heading into the final phase after earning 249.20 in the Model phase and 253.20 in the Under Saddle phase. A strong performance in the Over Fences phase gave the pair a score of 263.00 to finish the phase in first place and propelled them to the Medium Green Hunter Pony Champion title with an overall score of 1028.40.
“It was a nice course because it was set in-stride,” Kurtz, a US Pony Finals veteran, said of the Over Fences course. “She peeked down a little bit at the one jump, but the rest was perfect. She was so brave.”
Dr. Parker was extremely complimentary of Kurtz. “It’s a pleasure to support youth like Emma,” she said. “Emma tries so hard; she rides all the time. She rides many horses and is a very serious student.”
Augusta Iwasaki (Calabasas, Calif.) rode Small Suggestion to Reserve Champion honors with an overall score of 1046.80. She and the seven-year-old gelding of unknown breeding owned by Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly scored 247.27, 248.52, and 261.00 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively, to come in second in the championship division. The pair also added the Champion Owner/Rider title to their accolades.
The third-place ribbon in the Medium Green Hunter Pony Championship went to Samantha Palermo (Merritt Island, Fla.) and Vienna. She and her own eight-year-Welsh Pony mare received 236.60 in the Model phase, 260.46 in the Under Saddle phase, and 258.50 in the Over Fences phase for a final total of 1014.06.
The Best Turned Out Pony in the Medium Green section was Serafina’s Millenium, ridden by Hana Bieling. The Best Presented Model Pony was awarded to Two for the Bunny, ridden by Alexis Bauman.
Large Green Hunter Pony Championship
Iwasaki rode Ava Peck’s Kingston to top honors in the Large Green Hunter Pony Championship, finishing on a score of 992.77. She and the 12-year-old German Riding Pony gelding garnered scores of 251.65 in the Model phase and 261.67 in the Under Saddle phase on Thursday. The pair sealed the deal Friday evening by earning 266.74 in the Over Fences phase, winning the title by an impressive margin of over 34 points. To top off their performance, Kingston was also named Overall Green Hunter Pony Grand Champion.
“I’m very excited and very lucky to get to ride him,” Iwasaki said. “He is always very sweet; he’s just perfect always; he never takes a foot out of line.”
Ellia Giuliani (Middleburg, Va.) and Brighton Decidedly received the Reserve Champion Large Green Hunter Pony title with a score of 1012.45. She and Kelly Tellier’s seven-year-old Welsh/Thoroughbred gelding had scores of 237.30, 250.03, and 262.56 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively.
Emma Seving (Newtown Square, Pa.) and her own Captivating came in third in the Large Green Hunter Pony Championship with an overall score of 998.96. Seving and the seven-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding scored 248.70, 250.00, and 250.13 in the Model, Under Saddle, and Over Fences phases, respectively. The pair also claimed the Champion Owner/Rider title for the division.
The Best Turned Out Pony in the Large Green section was O’Henry, ridden by Darian Topolski. The Best Presented Model Pony was awarded to Miss Penny Lane, ridden by Sydney Flashman.
Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship
After two phases of competition, Vanessa Mazzoli and Find the Love have taken the lead in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship. Mazzoli (Rockford, Mich.) and her own 11-year-old German Riding Pony gelding captured first place with a score of 257.88 in the Model phase and 254.91 in the Under Saddle Phase for a total of 512.79. Claire Campbell (Cochranville, Pa.) and Madeline Schaefer’s Leon, a nine-year-old Welsh Pony gelding, sit in second with a total of 505.91, while Devin Seek (Ocala, Fla.) and Heaven’s Sake, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Bibby Hill, are in third with 505.67.
The US Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans continue Saturday with ponies in the Medium Regular Hunter Pony Championship completing their Over Fences phase to determine who will receive the National title.
The USEF Network presented by SmartPak will live stream competition from the Walnut and Alltech Arenas, courtesy of the USHJA Foundation. Tune in to the USEF Network for a complete schedule.
For live scoring, results, schedule, and competitor and hospitality information, go to www.usefconnect.com.
Lexington, KY – August 7, 2015 – Entering the final phase of competition with two blue ribbons already under her belt, Augusta Iwasaki, aboard her trusty mount Kingston, had a target on her back as the one to beat in the Large Green Pony Hunters. Already a weekly champion in Thursday’s Small Regular Pony Hunter division, Iwasaki was hoping to add another 2015 U.S. Pony Finals win to her list of accolades.
As the last to go, she and the chestnut Kingston were faced with the task of surpassing the 1,012.450 score set by competitor Ellia Giuliani and Brighton Decidedly, which the pair easily crushed with their cumulative score of 1,046.8 to sweep all three classes of the division and claim the lead spot in the victory gallop.
Called “Prince” in the barn, Kingston will surely be treated as royalty tonight, as he not only carried Iwasaki to her second champion tricolor of the week, but also the title of Grand Green Champion. Their overall score was the highest of the 208 Green ponies in the hunt for the Small, Medium, and Large size-based divisions throughout the Finals.
“He is never wild; he is always very sweet. He’s just perfect, always. He never puts a foot out of line,” Iwasaki sung the pony’s praises. “I’m very excited and very lucky to get to ride him. I want to thank Ava Peck for letting me ride this pony. He’s so perfect.”
The 11-year-old rider from Calabasas, California, opted to ride Kingston, owned by Peck of Topanga, California, instead of one of her own family’s horses, which ultimately proved to be a smart move. The pair has been together since January.
“This is definitely my favorite part of the week so far. I’m excited to hang up my ribbons and put up my trophies in my room when I go home. This was for sure worth the trip,” the young champion smiled. “The competition is one of my favorite things here; it’s much more competitive than at home. I think that the better competition makes me ride better.”
With one more pony still to ride this week, Iwasaki will try her hand at one more division, hoping to earn herself a third reason to celebrate in the Medium Regular Pony Hunters with Somekindawonderful.
Giuliani and Brighton Decidedly, owned by Morgan Munz out of Califon, New Jersey, maintained their reserve spot in the Large Green Pony Hunters as the only other pair to break the 1,000 point mark. Rider-owner Emma Seving and Captivating captured the third position, followed by Christina Judy’s Recess from Chesterland, Ohio, ridden by Camryn Halley, in the fourth spot. Rounding out the top six were Top That, owned by Emily Elik-Burtard of Ixonia, Wisconsin, and ridden by Giavanna Rinaldi, and San Francisco-based Pretty Penny Farm’s Splendid, with Ava Leraris in the saddle.
As the over fences portion of the Medium Green Hunter Pony division commenced, Emma Kurtz knew that she would have to navigate Truly Yours to a high-scoring ride to overcome her 21-point deficit behind Sophia Calamari and Unforgettable, the leaders after the model and hack portions of competition, and to jump from third position to the champion spot. Kurtz and Truly Yours ultimately did just that, impressing the judges to earning a 263-point score, the highest score of the over fences class, to secure the championship honors more than 10 points ahead of the next-closest finisher with 1,028.4 points.
“It is always such an amazing opportunity to get to ride the ponies I do. It is just so much fun. I love how family-friendly Pony Finals is – they make it really fun for everyone,” Kurtz commented.
Dr. Betsee Parker, out of Middleburg, Virginia, owns Truly Yours and has owned many ponies and supported numerous riders throughout the past years, but was quick to note Kurtz’s special place in her heart. Kurtz’s win marks a new milestone for Parker: her eighth consecutive year winning a division championship, an accomplishment no other owner has achieved.
“I have been very blessed to have Emma,” Dr. Parker said of the young talent. “She has had several champions with me. I feel very fortunate to have her and her mom. We brought her out to the George Morris clinic, and George really liked Emma. The first person who is going to hear about this win is George Morris.”
Dr. Parker added, “She is a very serious student. She tries so hard, and rides so many ponies and horses. I think she has a very bright future ahead of her. It has been really fun to see the children grow up.”
Regarding her future, at least for the next few years, the 15-year-old plans to continue working with green ponies and horses, hopefully racking up more accomplishments in the process.
“It is really fun to bring them along, see them excel and see them become the ponies they are today,” Kurtz said.
Clinching the reserve position was Iwasaki aboard her family’s Small Suggestion. Third place went to Vienna, piloted and owned by Samantha Palermo out of Merritt Island, Florida, followed by Calamari and Unforgettable, owned by Forget Me Not Farm in Wellington, Florida, in fourth position. Olivia Ferro in the irons aboard Anderin’s Momento for Linda Evans of South Hadley, Massachusetts, and Taylor St. Jacques with the ride for Danielle Roskens of South Lyon, Michigan, on Motown Mini swept the last two top six spots.
The Medium Pony Hunters kicked off their first day of competition Friday morning with over 150 ponies parading into the Walnut Ring for the model and under saddle classes. Vanessa Mazzoli of Rockford, Michigan, and her own Find the Love took the lead in the division with two top placings, concluding the opening day of competition with 512.79 points. She clinched the first place in the model, as well as the second place in the under saddle for a strong lead. Claire Campbell and Leon, owned by Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland, follow in the second place with 505.91 points, while Devin Seek and Heaven’s Sake, owned by Bibby Hill of Reddick, Florida, are only a hair shy with 505.67 points.
Zone 4 Pony Jumper Team Captures the Gold in Team Competition
Down the road in the Alltech Arena, 34 Pony Jumper riders took center stage, with nine teams facing off in the Pony Jumper Team Championship. Riding in championship format, competing over two rounds of courses, it was Zone 4 that came away with the 2015 Team Gold. Riders Charles Smith, Chloe Farmham, Hallie Rush and Anna Reisling left nothing to chance as they overtook the competition to end the two rounds of competition with only 20 faults to their team name.
“Every single one of these riders contributed to this championship equally,” said Katie Maxwell, Chef d’Equipe of Zone 4. “I watched them grow as riders from each round. It was just phenomenal to watch them learn and explore the process and achieve what they did.”
Zone 4 didn’t kick off the competition with a strong lead, earning a team total of 20 for the first round total, but they returned for round two with their eyes set firmly on the top finish.
Charles Smith, 17, and Venice rode to a faultless second round score to set a trend for his fellow teammates. Chloe Farnham, 15, and Cookies & Cream duplicated his effort, while the youngest rider of the team, Hallie Rush, 12, rode to a four-fault score. It was 17-year-old Anna Reisling’s clear effort that confirmed their winning point total as she laid down the third clean round aboard Blue Me Away.
“It’s a rush for sure; you feel it out there, and then when [your team members] go in, you feel it,” Smith said. “I think that competing as a team is more difficult than the individual competition. When you are on a team, you are rooting for everybody; you want to see every person do well. We each have to put in the rounds in order to win, and it makes it that much more exciting.”
As the second round came to a close, a hush fell over the Alltech Arena as it was announced that there would be a jump-off. Maxwell admitted that she had lost count of the points by that time, but when the announcer said that it was for the two 28-fault teams, the cheers erupted from the riders, trainers and parents as it dawned on them that Zone 4 won its third Team Gold in four years.
“What a big opportunity this is, and having such an amazing team to go through this with, it has been such a wonderful time and experience,” Rush smiled as she held her trophy.
2015 marks Rush’s second time competing in the Pony Jumpers; however, the young talent is going into the Individual Championship on Saturday as the top ranked rider of the team, with only four faults.
For teammate Farnham, the pony jumpers were a change of scenery from competing in the pony hunters at the USEF Pony Finals. After feeling the surge of adrenaline and the taste of victory, Farnham admitted that she is never looking back. With rescue pony Cookies & Cream, Farnham plans to compete in many more events in the future.
The gold medal proved extra special for one rider on the team, 17-year-old Reisling. With her birthday approaching in November, her days as a junior are limited; however, it was on her bucket list to make it to the Pony Finals and compete for Zone 4 before aging out of the division.
“I didn’t get to do the championship when I was 13, but now, in my last junior year, my trainer asked me what I wanted to do, and I had my heart set on making it to the championships,” Reisling explained. “It is so exciting going out there, and there is so much energy packed into a little body.”
She continued, “It is so different than showing in the hunters. You have pressure lifted off of your shoulders. It isn’t about how the pony looks, but rather the athleticism. You have to focus on lifting your pony off the ground.”
It worked out to be the perfect situation for Reisling and Blue Me Away, the spunky gelding whose trademark move is starting out the course with a few strong bucks and cow kicks. His antics do not bother Reisling, who refers to his quirks as “personality.”
Blue just recovered from colic surgery after being found only a few months prior in a field with no pulse. Thanks to an insurance policy, he was rushed into emergency colic surgery where he pulled off a remarkable recovery.
“They removed 10 feet of intestine and he just popped right off the table,” Reisling laughed. “A few months later we were jumping him around, and now he is here.”
Although Zone 4 rode cloud nine after the announcement of their gold medal win, the silver medal was tied between Zone 2 and the combined Zone 9/10, both with 28 points.
Zone 2 chose to send in Claire Jones and Proven Therapy, but four faults at the fifth obstacle would leave the door open. Stephanie Don and Joel followed consecutively, putting in their fourth clear ride of the competition, and earning Zone 9/10 the silver medal, while Zone 2 took the bronze.
Don is currently tied with Elizabeth McDougald and Knock My Sox Off going into Saturday’s Individual Championship, each with zero faults.
The 2015 USEF Pony Finals competition continues Saturday with the Medium Pony Hunter over fences classes beginning at 9 a.m. in the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Pony Jumpers will conclude Saturday evening in the Alltech Arena with the individual final round and the farewell class.