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New Leaders Emerge Following Marathon in USEF Combined Driving National Championships

Photo: Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – All five divisions of the USEF Combined Driving National Championships faced an intimidating yet thrilling marathon course at the Live Oak International on Saturday. The course included seven technical, compact obstacles questioning the obedience and athleticism of the equine athletes. This influenced the fluctuation in the top three across all divisions, while two new drivers took the lead in the intermediate single pony and intermediate pony pair divisions.

The 14-time advanced four-in-hand national champion Chester Weber maintains his lead with 170.44 points and Jennifer Thompson holds the intermediate single horse division lead with 140.73 points. Scott Adcox has the intermediate pair horse lead off default as Shane Doyle elected to retire. Jennifer Keeler moved into the lead in the intermediate single pony division with 144.70 points, and Katie Whaley advanced to the intermediate pair pony lead with 140.29 penalties.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

Weber (Ocala, Fla.) is one phase closer to acquiring his 15th four-in-hand national title. He and his powerful team of KWPN geldings (First Edition, eight years old; Boris W, 11 years old; and Asjemenou, 12 years old) and Reno (eight years old) maneuvered the course efficiently, picking up 123.58 penalties. Despite a broken piece of equipment on course which cost them 10 penalties, they hold a dominating lead.

“There’s a lot going on for my entire family and the crew here to produce this tournament of sport, but I try to jump on the carriage, clear my mind and do my best,” said Weber. “I was pleased today with the horses. They really performed well for me and I think they’re in a good way as [FEI World Equestrian Games™] approaches.”

Lisa Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Willow Star, LLC’s team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Anesco 4, 12 years old; Ulco, 16 years old; Olando; 21 years old; and Enzo, eight years old) added 127.72 penalties to move to second place going into Sunday’s cones phase.

“It’s a really fun, challenging course here. Lots of good questions are asked. I’ve been really fortunate with 10 years of experience with the ponies. The ponies weren’t little. They were big, so the transition to horses was not as difficult because it’s the same style of driving. That’s been really helpful,” said Stroud.

James Fairclough (Newton, N.J.) and his team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Bento V, 11 years old; Dapper, nine years old; and Zenden, 13 years old) and a KWPN (Citens, 10 years old) gelding advanced to third place. He accumulated 133.59 penalties in the marathon for a score of 189.34.


USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) remains as the only competitor in the intermediate pair horse division as Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) elected to retire from competition due to an injury to one of his marathon specialist horses. He drove his KWPN geldings Nupafeed Auto Pilot (13 years old) and Pepe (six years old) in the marathon and finished with 105.07 penalties. He was impressed with his young horses’ willingness throughout the course.

“This is only the third time [Pepe’s] been out, so he’s kind of a little shell-shocked, but he handled it. He stepped up to the plate and did his job. That’s all you can ask for. He was startled at the first [water obstacle] hazard, and he decided he didn’t want to go in the water, so I didn’t push him and that paid off,” said Adcox. [Losing Shane] is disappointing because nobody wants to win by default. I want to win because I earned the win, not because somebody [is a horse down]. You never want to win that way if you can help it.”

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Thompson (Lodi, Wis.) and her seven-year-old Funnominial C.G. carried their momentum from Friday’s dressage phase over to an excellent marathon phase to remain the intermediate single horse leaders. She and the Dutch Warmblood gelding drove a consistent, cautious marathon to end the day with 86.89 penalties.

“Coming into the [first] water [hazard] there were lots of people and tents, but it went very well for us and it was a good start. The conditioning really paid off in ‘The Gulch’ and he soared through the path. My navigator [Terry Shaw] and I were pleased with his performance,” said Thompson. “This is such a top venue and a world championship level course, so it tests you and questions teams a bit more.”

Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katydid Duchess, owned by Katrina Becker, added 83.20 penalties for an overall score of 142.24 penalties to move from fourth to second place following two phases. This is the toughest atmosphere the nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare has faced but handled the environment exceptionally well for a first-timer.

“[The marathon] was a lot to ask because she is fairly green. Coming into the first water hazard I was a little nervous, but when she saw the first gap she never second guessed me,” said Bradish, who is competing in her second Live Oak competition. “This year I [especially] I want to do well. I knew [my] horse could [complete the marathon], so I really pushed us. Live Oak is the best show in the country, and you want to do well.”

Anna Koopman (Middleburg, Va.) and Night Chief LMS, Robert Koopman’s seven-year-old American Dutch Harness gelding, moved down to third place, adding 96.37 penalties, with an overall score of 150.69.

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Whaley (Paris, Ky.), no stranger to Live Oak combined driving events, is using this opportunity to train her youngest Welsh Cob Pony Teddy (five years old), who competed in Friday’s dressage phase on behalf of the team with Tommy (14 years old). Not ready, for the challenges of a Live Oak marathon course, she hooked up Tommy and Tanner (11 years old) for marathon. Their experience propelled them to the lead, adding 78.53 penalties.

“My navigator [Colton] says this was our best [Live Oak marathon] round in years. The sixth [fountain] hazard was the most difficult, but we found the best route; Colton was exceptional,” said Whaley.

Boots Wright (Ocala, Fla.) dropped to second place adding 92.73 marathon penalties to her overall score of 143.37. She drove Mista Q, her 11-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, and Rio, her 14-year-old Welsh ‘B’ Pony gelding.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

After a conservative dressage phase, Keeler and Zeppo exploded through the marathon course. They added 82.30 penalties and move into the lead by less than one penalty point. She is competing her six-year-old Hackney gelding in his first intermediate event and could not be more pleased with his development and heart.

“This is the toughest course in the country, and we didn’t know what to expect with him. However, everything drove according to plan, and his size played to his advantage,” said Keeler, who had the fastest time at hazard four, the Ariat maze. “To be competing for our first national championship with the pony that no one expected anything from, it’s pretty special, and none of this would be possible without [my navigator] David.”

Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) and Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare, earned the fastest marathon time in the division to advance to second place, adding 78.85 penalties for an overall score of 145.89 penalties.

“Her fitness and air intake was huge [for the marathon]. In the sixth [fountain hazard], she was a machine and stayed very true and honest, so I was super proud of her,” said Marshall.

Kristin Whittington (Edinburgh, Ind.) and Symphony dropped to third place overall with a score of 150.52 penalties. She and the eight-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare added 93.08 penalties to their dressage score.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department 

Shelly Francis Is Back on Top with Personal Best Performance in Week 10 at AGDF

Shelly Francis and Danilo. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — March 17, 2018 — Shelly Francis (USA) and Danilo went one better than in the grand prix to clinch the Grand Prix Special CDI4*, presented by Mission Control. She and Danilo scored 73.979%, a new personal best in this test for the pair, who are ranked 42nd in the world. Week 10 of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, is the largest dressage show ever held outside Western Europe. AGDF continues through March 31.

“When you’re really riding and pushing a bit and trying to make everything perfect, you kind of feel it’s not your best ride because you’re sweating more than the horse,” said Francis, who is based in Loxahatchee, Florida, and was contending with a pair of stiff new riding boots. “But he did feel good; I just have to relax a little and trust him. We had a little mistake at C when he thought halt and rein-back, like in the grand prix, when I was trying to make passage. Other than that, he felt straight up.”

Francis has been riding Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old gelding since he was eight.

“Patricia was riding him and doing a nice job, but then she suggested I show him a bit, which was her mistake, because now he’s mine!” laughed Francis. “He kept getting better and better, though I did have to take it a little slow. He has a funny little edge in there that can come alive at the snap of a finger, so I’ve been trying to figure out how I can use a bit of that edge without getting too much. It’s really starting to come together this year. He used to get nervous in the ring about being by himself, but now he’s starting to enjoy it and he feels happier.”

Francis partially attributes Danilo’s improved performances to his well-rounded regime, which includes a broad variety of work, such as hacking and playing games.

“I get them fit enough and then I don’t work them all the time, because I feel they get mentally bored,” added Francis, who does not have a regular trainer. “I train with myself mostly, which works pretty good so far. Once in a while I have to kick myself around, but I’m a visual learner and I watch all the top riders. I’m a bit of an odd biscuit that way, but I did a lot of training in past years with great people like Johann Hinnemann, and now I have my own methods of training. I’m 59 — not 20 anymore — so I train my horses from all the things I’ve learned.”

On April 1, Francis will make the journey over to Europe with her two top horses, Danilo and Doktor. She will be based in Warendorf, Germany for the summer — her sixth consecutive summer in Europe.

“I have good friends there, I love that little town and area, and I get my own nice little apartment so I can do all my own cooking and not gain weight, like when living in hotels,” she added. “This year, Danilo gets to do the World Cup Final in Paris, which I’m really excited about. I’ve never been to Paris, so I’ll get perfume, croissants, brie, pate and some really good wine.”

Winner of the grand prix, Canada’s Brittany Fraser (All In) had to settle for second in the Special, while her fellow Canadian Jill Irving filled third on Degas 12, who is by De Niro, the same sire as Danilo.

Megan Lane (CAN) finished fifth in the four-star special on San D’Or, but sat atop the leaderboard in the Grand Prix Special CDI3* riding her own 17-year-old Caravella to 71.617%.

It was the first win in a year for the KWPN Contango x Riverman mare, who was bred by Jill Irving. Caravella and Lane have progressed up the ranks together, starting out at under-25 grand prix in 2012, and encompassing the 2015 Pan American Games and the Rio Olympics in their extensive career accolades.

Belinda Trussell (CAN) was second on Tattoo 15, her own 15-year-old Westfalian gelding by Tuareg, with 70.34%. Third was home rider Anna Marek on Diane Morrison’s Dee Clair who, at 10 years old, was the equal youngest horse in the class. Their 69.34% was the Sir Sinclair mare’s best score since starting international grand prix in early 2017.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Spencer Smith Is Only Clear to Win $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*

Spencer Smith and Theodore Manciais. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 17, 2018 – As the only clear round of the night, 21-year-old Spencer Smith of Wellington, FL and Theodore Manciais, owned by Ashland Farms, won the $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, March 17. It was the highlight event of week 10 during the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

There were 44 entries in the feature event of the week, but only one of them was able to find the key to a clear round over the track by Pan American Games course designer Michel Vaillancourt of Canada.

Smith and Theodore Manciais, an 11-year-old Selle Français gelding by Kashmir van Schuttershof, went sixth in the order. They finished clear in 75.09 seconds, and Smith, who trains with Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Canada, watched as rail after rail fell for the following 38 riders.

With an early rail on course, Canadian legend and Olympic team silver medalist Ian Millar picked up the pace on course with Ariel Grange’s Dixson to finish second with four faults in 72.23 seconds.

Georgina Bloomberg (USA) and Manodie II H, owned by Gotham Enterprizes LLC, were also quick in 73.53 seconds with four faults to finish third. With their additional third place in Thursday’s Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup, Bloomberg was named the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider (in memory of Dale Lawler).

Taylor Harris Insurance Services Children’s Medal 14 & Under Goes to Kyla Sullivan and Ella Davison

Kyla Sullivan and Cleopatra, owned by Maggie McAlary, kicked off Saturday’s competition in ring six with a first round score of 85, the highest scoring first round of both sections of the Taylor Harris Insurance Services Children’s Medal 14 & Under. The class underwent a California split, and all 39 entries were run and tested together. Sullivan shared the blue with Ella Davison aboard California, owned by Meghan McDonald, who captured first place in section B with a first round score of 83.

Both returned to the ring for their second round as two of eight total competitors – the top four from each section – to test for the blue ribbon, and prevailed.

Second place in section A went to Gigi Moynihan and Golden Dream, an entry of Christy Moynihan, and third went to Alexandra Kozel aboard Stallone.

Section B’s red ribbon went to Zayna Rizvi and Azlan, owned by Peacock Ridge, LLC, and Vincent Desiderio took third aboard Memphis, owned by Tranquility Farm.

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

LaGoy-Weltz Cruises to Freestyle Glory in Week 10 at AGDF

LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — March 16, 2018 — Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and Lonoir chalked up their fifth win from six starts at the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) by taking the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4*, presented by Havensafe Farm. Their resounding score of 76.6% in week 10 of AGDF at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida was a personal best for the pair, whose previous high freestyle score was 74.425%, achieved in Aachen in July 2017.

“I was really happy with him, especially as he was epically airborne last time we were in this setting, so I’m thrilled we kept our feet on the ground,” said LaGoy-Weltz of her own 14-year-old Danish warmblood gelding by Le Noir. “When he’s waiting for me and on the same page, it’s a pretty cool feeling and there’s a lot available there — even more than we’re showing now.”

LaGoy-Weltz upgraded her music last year, adapting an existing small tour freestyle soundtrack.

“We hadn’t used it a whole lot, so I asked Terri [Gallo] if we could grow it. I like the music — it’s called ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’, which is somewhat fitting. Though we are working on something new as he’s a much ‘bigger’ horse now, it seemed to work for tonight, so we’re not in a huge hurry,” she added. “This one is not overly complicated as it was designed as a starter one, so we’ll have more challenging stuff in the next one. And we’ll highlight the flow and power that he’s so good at.”

Second-placed Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page (USA) finished second on Woodstock, logging their second best ever freestyle score of 75% exactly.

“He’s matured a lot in the last three months,” said Page, who rode to music from the movie Amistad that she used with her former grand prix horse Wild One. “We had a super rough start as he’s very sensitive with wind, but at every show this season he’s developed more.

“This was only ever starter music, but I knew one day I’d have another horse who it would suit, and Marlene Whitaker is a flipping genius and she reworked the music to suit Woodstock,” said Page.

The test is a technically demanding one, which Page designed two years ago with the intention of maximizing the difficulty.

“It’s full of difficult things in difficult sequences; the idea was to layer complicated sequences one after the other. I’m actually comfortable riding it now, and Woodstock is a horse with a lot of alacrity and sensitivity, though he can be a scallywag. It’s nice riding the freestyle because he never anticipates — because I rarely practice.”

Juan Matute Guimon, Spain’s 20-year-old riding star, was once again on the “Friday Night Stars” podium, finishing third on his father’s Don Diego Ymas, a 15-year-old by Don Frederico.

“Last time we had a few miscommunications,” said Matute, who was riding to music put together by his mother and a floorplan he designed with his double Olympian father. “But today he felt rather good, the piaffe felt better and I was pleased with the overall performance. My horse perhaps doesn’t have the highest quality of gaits, but we know how to fight with what we’ve got — and dressage is about trying to reach the full potential with what you’ve got.”

Judge Janet Foy, who was presiding from C, said: “Having judged these guys over the season, there has been so much improvement. It’s really exciting to be able to sit there as judges and give eights and nines. All three of these top tests were so clear and focused, so we could really enjoy watching and judging.”

Canada’s long-time, much loved combination of Jacqueline Brooks and D Niro bowed out of competition at AGDF, taking their final salute at the venue which has been so much part of the pair’s journey together. They finished sixth with 70.6%, and the 19-year-old grey gelding — fondly known as Goose — will now return to Canada. Familiar faces on the AGDF circuit since 2012, the crowd showed their appreciation for this popular duo with a standing ovation.

Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano, whose Havensafe Farm sponsored the class, said: “It’s been a privilege to be involved with the AGDF from the beginning; it’s unique in that it’s an excellent facility with excellent management and ample opportunity to show. As you could see from the appreciation for Goose tonight, we are all one family, regardless of nationality. The performances tonight were spine-tingling — really a thrill.”

Beatrice ‘Trixi’ Marienau secured back-to-back wins, having also triumphed in the grand prix. She also took the winner’s sash in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation. Riding the equal oldest horse in the class, 19-year-old Gribaldi gelding Stefano 8, she posted 72.1% — the only plus-70% of the class.

The German-born 47-year-old American is an unlikely dressage winner, having formerly showjumped, then become a cowgirl on a ranch, before finally turning to dressage — despite what she terms “ring-phobia” that requires her to meditate before each test.

Their double win in week 10 was a first for Marienau, who has only two previous wins in the five years they have been competing together at international grand prix. Their winning freestyle score is their second highest ever, and their best for two years.

“He’s a firecracker, and I appreciate every day I have with him,” said Marienau, who bought ‘Fino’ in 2012. “I feel his age sometimes, so in the training we really work a lot on the suppleness so he can come through with the beautiful exercises that he knows how to do. Tonight I asked him to dance for me, so he did.

“He was already a trained grand prix horse but in the beginning the switch from a man to a woman rider was difficult, so we took our time and have been working with Lilo Fore ever since. I only rode my first grand prix in 2011, so Fino has done so much for me, including going to the Festival of Champions and onto my first Nations Cup team, which was a big dream of mine,” she added.

James Koford (USA) was second on Sherry Koella’s 11-year-old home-bred colored Friesian sport horse mare, Adiah HP (69.555%), with Canada’s Jill Irving finishing third on her own Jazz gelding Arthur with 69.12%.

Tina Konyot (USA) and PSD Partners LLC’s Desperados gelding Diamantino II led the huge Prix St Georges CDI1* class, which was sponsored by Horseware Ireland. Of the 26 entries, the top three all broached 70%, with Konyot posting 70.343 — bolstered by her high score of 73.088% from the judge at C, Janet Foy.

This was the horse’s second win in his nine small tour FEI starts, having kicked off his CDI career in January of this year. This was the first time he had scored north of 70%. American Lauren Asher (Honnerups Event) and Germany’s Michael Klimke (Harmony’s Diabolo) tied for second place, posting 70.098%.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Adcox and Weber Take Division Leads in USEF Combined Driving National Championships

Photo: Scott Adcox (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – The USEF Combined Driving National Championships got underway with the first of three phases at Live Oak International. Two of the five championship divisions completed their dressage tests; Scott Adcox takes the early lead in the Intermediate Pair Horse division with a score of 60.88 penalties. Chester Weber tops the leaderboard in the four-in-hand division with a score of 40.11 penalties.


USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) and Shane Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) broke in the arena footing as the Intermediate Pair Horse division opened the first day of competition. Adcox, who returned to combined driving this year after taking a year off from competition, finds himself in the lead with Harley, Tom Warriner’s 14-year-old Saddlebred/Friesian gelding, and Pepe, his six-year-old KWPN gelding.

“Dressage is not my strong suit. I borrowed Harley from Tom Warriner a week ago to see if we could do a bit better and help with my other horse’s [Pepe’s] weak points. However, in a week there is not a lot of time to change that, but he tried. [Harley] is such a steady eddie, so I can count on him to do his job, whereas [Pepe] the six-year-old I had to manage a little more.”

Doyle follows with a score of 66.64 penalties with his geldings Valentino, a 15-year-old KWPN, and Bono, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

The 14-time USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) carries the early lead in the four-in-hand division. He and his KWPN geldings, First Edition (eight years old), Boris W (11 years old), and Asjemenou (12 years old), along with Jane Clark’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Splash (14 years old), executed a near flawless test to finish on 40.11 penalties.

“I was very pleased with my horses today; they are coming together. Tryon [FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018] is our goal in September. We had two minor errors in the walk, and without those we may have been in the 30s, but I was pleased with them and how they showed up,” said Weber, who also serves as Co-President of the Live Oak International alongside his sister Juliet Reid. “The [USEF Combined Driving] national championships, whether the first or 14th, mean a lot. It’s one of the two goals we go after every year. It’s important to me, and I would like to see us get it done.”

Following Weber is the 2017 USEF Four-in-Hand Reserve National Champion Misdee Wrigley Miller (Paris, Ky.) and her KWPN geldings Beau (11 years old), Bravour 54 (10 years old) and Bolino D (11 years old) and her Dutch Warmblood gelding Calipso 86 (10 years old) with 46.84 penalties.

“The history here at Live Oak [International]; we know we are going to get the best America has to offer when we come to compete,” said Wrigley Miller. “I took a bit of a gamble today and used a new leader [Bravour 54] to see how he reacted to the atmosphere. I was really pleased with him until towards the end of the test at our last extension near the television screen. He saw himself on the screen, so that unsettled the team a little bit.”

Allison Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Willow Star, LLC’s Dutch Warmblood gelding team of Anesco 4 (12 years old), Ulco (16 years old), Olando (21 years old) and Enzo (eight years old) sit in third place with 53.15 penalties.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Eric Lamaze Captures WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 Win with Chesney

Eric Lamaze and Chesney. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 15, 2018 – Canadian Olympic champion Eric Lamaze claimed his third WEF Challenge Cup win of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season on Thursday, March 15, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The now 28-time winner of the class earned victory in the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 with Chesney, owned by Artisan Farms LLC.

From a field of 85 entries in the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 10, nine advanced to jump off over the track set by 2015 Pan American Games course designer Michel Vaillancourt (CAN). Lamaze and Chesney, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding by Indoctro x Kannan, tripped the jump-off timers in an unbeatable 36.59 seconds to take the win.

Second place with a time of 37.07 seconds was the USA’s Amber Harte riding Austria 2, owned by Take the High Road LLC. Rounding out the top three was Georgina Bloomberg (USA) aboard Manodie II H, owned by Gotham Enterprizes LLC, who finished on a time of 37.50 seconds.

Tim Goguen Pilots Publisher to Triple Crown Nutrition Green Hunter 3’ Championship

Tim Goguen got his week underway aboard Publisher, owned by Paula Polk Lillard, with a championship win in the Triple Crown Nutrition Green Hunter 3’ division. The pair rose to the top with an 84, two 85s, and an outstanding 90 from the judges, which resulted in three firsts and a second over fences. The duo additionally took fourth place on the flat.

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

Last-Drawn Riders Secure Four-Star Victories in Week 10 at AGDF

LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — March 15, 2018 — In both CDI4* grand prix classes of the day, it was the last horse who took home the winning sash and rug. Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) was the beneficiary in the Grand Prix CDI4*, presented by Havensafe Farm, putting an unassailable 73.783% on the score board. It was the showcase class on the second day of week 10 of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

LaGoy-Weltz and her own Lonoir, a 14-year-old Danish warmblood gelding by Le Noir, have won four of their last five CDI starts — interrupted only by Adrienne Lyle (USA) on Salvino.

“We managed to get everything in that test,” said LaGoy-Weltz, a Virginia native, referring to mistakes made in previous tests this season. “It seems like it’s been a case of if we get one thing, then something else goes away. There’s still stuff that can be better; he can pirouette for an eight in training, for example, but in there he was anticipating them and making them a hair too small. But I was super happy with his rideability and relaxation today.

“In Wellington, I keep him over at Oded Shimoni’s place and go to Debbie McDonald’s for lessons,” she explained. “If I’m riding at Oded’s then either he or Robert [Dover] is keeping an eye on me, so the past few weeks I haven’t been allowed to get off the straight and narrow.”

LaGoy-Weltz’s ultimate aim for the season is the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, North Carolina, in the fall, and she is conscious of peaking at the right time.

“There’s still a lot to improve, but we’re stepping in the right direction and things are becoming a little less exciting than they were in the first two shows,” she added. “It’s really crucial to try to make sure your curve goes up and up to that spot and it’s quite a few months that we’re working over; starting here and wanting to continue to make things better. We’re heading in the right direction — even though there is a bit more homework to do.”

The all-American, all-female top three featured Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page, whose 70% on Woodstock, a dainty 15-year-old by Havel, was good enough for second. Katherine Bateson-Chandler was a whisker under 70% in third, finishing on 69.696% with her own Contango gelding Alcazar after she took an uncharacteristic wrong turn.

From last draw of 11 starters in the Grand Prix CDI4*, presented by Mission Control, Canada’s Brittany Fraser’s 71.957% — a personal best in the grand prix test for her and the 13-year-old All In — was enough to grab victory by 0.1% from Shelly Francis (USA) and Danilo, who had led the class from the outset. Fraser’s trainer Ashley Holzer — a four-time Canadian Olympian who now rides for the United States — finished third on Havanna 145 (70.783%).

“That was awesome,” enthused Fraser. “I had a really good feeling coming up to this show — we were working on getting the piaffe a little more confirmed — and every time I sent him forward, he came right back to me. He was really on my aids and it was the first time we’ve won a grand prix. On the last center line he was right there for me; I aided and he did it. It’s his third year at grand prix and I feel he finally knows his job and feels more confident in what he’s doing. I’m so happy!”

Fraser bought the horse as a five-year-old from the Equine Elite Auction in the Netherlands, after riding him “for 10 minutes”. Even then, the big-gaited horse had immense power.

“At five he was already huge, but awesome, and felt like a rocket ship taking off,” recalled the 29-year-old, who was logging her first win of the season on the Tango gelding. “I started at first level with him and worked my way up. He’s been an amazing horse for me and I’m so thankful.”

Fraser has been based in New York with Holzer for the past five years, but in September 2017 she and her husband Marc-Andre Beaulieu bought a house in Montreal.

“I’m married now and thought that I need to start my own business and do my own thing, and took All In there for a rest in the fall after competing in Europe last year,” she said. “Then I came down to Wellington to train with Ashley in December. But because Ashley has half the grand prix horses in all these classes, Jacquie Brooks has been amazing to step up and help me. We all work together and it’s an amazing, supportive team. That’s how you make it.”

She has not decided yet whether to compete on the European circuit in the summer of 2018, and it is not mandatory for Canadian riders wishing to put themselves forward for selection for WEG in September. The pair’s next stops include the Tryon CDI in April and Ottawa CDI in May.

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven brought Benetton Dream FRH back into the international arena for the first time in over a year and won the Grand Prix CDI3* (for special) with 71.522%. She and Lovsta Stuteri’s stallion held the lead from first draw at 8am, just 30 minutes after the sunrise in South Florida, thanks to the recent change in the clocks for daylight savings.

Despite a year off due to injury, this was the Brentano II son’s second highest score in the grand prix test, and his first international win since his hugely successful young horse class days. This is the 14-year-old’s fourth year in a row contesting the big tour classes at the AGDF in Wellington.

Megan Lane (CAN) and her own 17-year-old Caravella came closest to beating Vilhelmson-Silfven — and was even trending higher at some points in the test — but had to settle for second place with 71% after a break to canter on the final center line. Third place went to the USA’s Adrienne Lyle, who was riding Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano’s 11-year-old mare Horizon at international grand prix for the first time. The pair scored 70.109%.

It was another all-American podium in the FEI Grand Prix CDI3* (to qualify for the freestyle), with Beatrice Marienau and her own Stefano 8, by Gribaldi, taking the spoils with 68.174%. Stefano was the equal oldest horse in the class, at 19, and he has been competing at international grand prix since 2010.

Bianca Tota filled second on her own Cadento V (66.804%) in the horse’s third ever FEI test, and first-drawn James Koford was third on Sherry Koella’s striking colored Friesian sport horse mare, Adiah HP (65.804%).

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Handsome Is as Handsome Does on Opening Day of Record-Breaking CDI at AGDF

Jennifer Baumert and Handsome. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL — March 14, 2018 — From an early draw, the USA’s Jennifer Baumert held on to the lead in the Prix St Georges CDI3*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. It was the highlight class of the opening day of action during week 10 of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

This four-star CDI show is the largest ever staged outside Western Europe, and was extended by a day — starting early on the Wednesday — to accommodate the huge number of accepted entries across the 35 international classes.

The top three in the Prix St Georges all broke the 70% barrier. Baumert and Handsome scored 70.441%, with Canada’s Brittany Fraser nipping at their heels in second (70.294%) on Jill Irving’s Soccer City. Jodie Kelly-Baxley (USA) finished third with 70.235% on Beth Godwin’s home-bred 11-year-old Caymus, by Sir Sinclair.

Handsome, by Hochadel, is owned by Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano, who bought him four years ago in California from Marie Meyers and used to ride the gelding herself. But she handed the reins over to Baumert almost 18 months ago.

After only a year competing internationally under Baumert, the 13-year-old has clocked up eight wins in his 18 small tour starts — all of which have been at the AGDF.

“He’s a really special horse,” said Baumert, who turned 47 two days earlier. “Today he felt really good. He was soft and relaxed; though there were a few small things in the contact that I’d like to be better, but overall I couldn’t be happier.”

Juliano, who also owns Adrienne Lyle’s grand prix rides Horizon and Salvino, added: “I’ve owned Handsome close to four years but the main reason I stopped riding him is that he’s really talented and I felt he needs a rider who has equally as much talent. I also became very busy with my work — I own a litigation support and management business that I started 35 years ago tomorrow — and that has kept me away from riding consistently.

“So I asked Jen to finish him at grand prix, which she will do, but right now he’s doing so well in this division [small tour], that we’ll continue with it for now. I thought it best for Handsome to flourish under Jen’s guidance and Debbie McDonald’s training.”

Baumert clearly remembers the first time she rode Handsome: “Betsy and I were just getting to know each other. I lived in another state and I was there to help for a couple of days,” she said. “The first time I went, Betsy asked me to sit a little bit on every horse, and I especially remember Handsome because he’s an amazing mover, he’s got so much power — it’s really something to feel. I remember how, even though I was a new rider for him, he was really tuned in and that was pretty special, because they don’t all do that.”

“I’ve also had judges comment that he’s handsome, and then they look down at their sheet and say, ‘Oh it is Handsome!’,” she added.

“We’ll be old and grey together, the two of us,” added Juliano, who also praised the horse’s work ethic and temperament. “I keep all my horses, so I have 15 now. Some are in the ‘assisted living division’ all year round in Ohio, and then the performance horses come down here.”

This week, Handsome will contest the Intermediate I straight class and the freestyle. He is schooling the grand prix at home, and will return to Ohio with Baumert to continue his education at the end of the AGDF season.

In the first of the youth division classes — the under-25 Intermediate II, presented by Diamante Farms — 20-year-old Natalie Pai (USA) triumphed from first draw riding her mother Melanie’s 17-year-old Jazz gelding, Unlimited. They scored 67.235% to edge out 23-year-old Canadian rider Tanya Strasser-Shostak who posted 67.029% on Renaissance Tyme, another riding a horse owned by her mother — Evi Strasser.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Week VIII Wraps Up at HITS Ocala

Aaron Vale and Exclusive. ESI Photography.

Feature classes during Week VIII of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit included several repeat winners and introduced some new riders to the victory circle as well. With two more weeks to finish the season, competition is heating up for riders qualifying for the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix and riders vying for the Horseware Ireland Grand Circuit Champion and Tack Shack of Ocala Second-Half Circuit Champion award.

Well-known Grand Prix rider Aaron Vale started off Week VIII with a bang, winning the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Welcome for the second week in a row, aboard EXCLUSIVE with a jump-off time of 28.572. Vale also took the fourth place title aboard STAKKO with a jump-off time of 30.720. Second place was earned by Brian Feigus and CARLA with a jump-off time of 28.959 while Dorothy Douglas took the third place spot aboard CHACCO LAIT with a jump-off time of 29.755. Rounding out the top five was Bryn Sadler aboard BULL RUN’S LIVING with a jump-off time of 30.956.

On Thursday, the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix took place once again. For the second week in a row, Venezuelan rider Emanuel Andrade took the first place award aboard U with a jump-off time of 37.268. He also took both the second and fourth place awards aboard ANASTASIA DU PARK and GRAN MAMUT and jump-off times of 37.459 and 37.741, respectively. Lisa Goldman earned both the third and fifth place awards aboard HINDSIGHT and SOVEREIGN and jump-off times of 37.636 and 38.628.

Friday brought even more success to Andrade, as he was both first and second place in the $10,000 Open Prix aboard BOY IV and JENNI’S CHANCE and jump-off times of 27.748 and 29.601, respectively. German rider Andre Thieme took the third place spot aboard FORAMI with a jump-off time of 30.691. Goldman continued to be successful, placing fourth aboard CENTURION B and a jump-off time of 30.881. Fifth place was earned by Mark Jungherr and CONTE COULEUR with a jump-off time of 32.461.

The $10,000 1.35m Classic took place on Saturday, with a very competitive round-two. Andrade continued his winning streak, taking first, third, and fifth places aboard QUILINA VD LAARSEHEIDE Z, CORTINA 168, and TUPAC VAN DE VROMBAUTSHOEVE Z and jump-off times of 36.715, 37.026, and 37.314. Goldman and CENTURION B were the second place finishers with a jump-off time of 36.908 while Dorothy Douglas came in fourth place aboard MTM QUESTRO with a jump-off time of 37.280.

Sunday afternoon, international riders gathered in the Grand Prix ring at HITS Post Time Farm for the $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix. The crowd gathered for what would end up being one of the most exciting Grand Prix so far this winter. Riders signified that they would donate 10% of their prize money to Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association, by riding with a blue ribbon tied around their arm, making their rides even more special.  It was a tricky round one, with eleven riders returning for the jump-off.

Taking the win, after an incredible jump-off ride, was Canadian rider Francois Lamontagne aboard his mare CHANEL DU CALVAIRE in a jump-off time of 36.983. Francois skillfully rode through the course, leaving out two strides before the final fence, securing the fastest fault-free time. Second place was earned by Kirk Webby and BRANDO DU ROUET with a jump-off time of 37.078. Following him, Vale was the third place rider aboard MAJOR with a jump-off time of 37.989. Candice King and CALISTO 26 took the fourth place spot with a jump-off time of 38.742. Last, but certainly not least, Andre Thieme rounded out the top five aboard CUPERTINO with a jump-off time of 39.101.

Week VIII was an important one for the Hunters as it was World Championship Hunter Rider week. Riders had the opportunity to show in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium for many classes this week.

On Saturday, the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, the Devoucoux Hunter Prix, and the USHJA Pony Hunter Derby took place. In the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, Jacquelyn Maggiore and CONTINA were awarded first place with a two-round total of 169. Only half of a point behind her, in second place was Emma Nichols and MOST OF ALL with a two-round total of 168.5. Karen Kogon and GALLANT MAJI T came in third place with a two-round total of 168 while fourth place was awarded to Lila Ouellette and KING OF HEARTS with a two-round total of 163. Allison Palmisciano came in fifth place aboard QUIBAJO and a two-round total of 161.

Morgan Ward and HUEHUETENANGO were the winners of the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix with a two-round total of 174. Close behind her, second place was awarded to Caroline Willard and BARON DE LEY with a two-round total of 169.5. Molly McAdow came in third place aboard CASTON with a two-round total of 165 while fourth place was Abigail Lefkowitz and CONTINENTAL with a two-round total of 163.5. Rounding out the top five was Harold Chopping and GOLD RUSH with a two-round total of 163.

In the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, Emilia Richard and FAIRYTALES came out on top with a two-round total of 162. Second place was awarded to Sophia Ayers and PRIMA BALLERINA with a two-round total of 156.5. Anneliese De Rosaire and GAP SPRINGS HEART’S DESIRE came in third with a two-round total of 156. In fourth place was Mae Mannis and DAYS OF OUR LIVES with a two-round total of 152. Fifth was awarded to Katherine Ellis and BLUE MOON with a two-round total of 151.

Visit hitsshows.com for more information.

Chester Weber Predicts “Best Ever” Live Oak International

Photo courtesy of Scott Hodlmair.

Ocala, FL (March 12, 2018) – The most decorated whip in American driving history, 14-time USEF National Four-in-Hand Driving Champion, Chester Weber, predicts the “best ever” in equestrian competition at this year’s Live Oak International, March 15-18, at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, Florida.

The Live Oak International at Live Oak Plantation is the only show in the United States to offer both Combined Driving and Show Jumping, and this year’s event will be home to seven US Equestrian National Driving Championships, as well as the final leg before Paris of the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, the $100,000 CSI-W3* Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier.

Chester Weber has a hefty dual role as the event organizer and a competitor set on breaking his own national championship record at this year’s event. Defending his national title on his home turf might seem like an advantage and but the responsibility of competing and balancing his role as one of Live Oak’s key organizers would be overwhelming for most. Naturally the man who can deftly hold the reins to four horses at one time has systematic plan: “I try to spend the early morning training the horses then shift gears for organizer mode in the afternoon.”

As for his chances at reaching his competitive goals, Weber knows what it takes and that’s what “drives” him. “It feels like I need to work hard all the time. You make your luck, right? The harder we work, the luckier we get.” Weber’s strategy for the upcoming three phases of the four-in-hand championship include veteran KWPN campaigners Splash and First Edition (lead), Boris, and Asjemenou for Dressage and Reno replacing Splash for the Marathon.  This combination of horses is the team that Weber hopes will make him a top contender at FEI World Equestrian Games to be held this September at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.

But first the focus is on this week at Live Oak International. But the deft competitor and cagey host, won’t reveal all his plans, for on course or under the VIP tent, where this year’s Saturday Night Party coincides with another celebratory date: St. Patrick’s Day.

“There may be a few mint-green outfits. Anyone with any great ideas can let me know,” Weber added with a wink, but this is one leprechaun who isn’t giving away his pot o’ gold secrets to his party’s theme quite yet. “What I can say is that a Live Oak Party always promises to be outrageous.” Prior years’ themes have included a suave 007, big top circus, and swash-buckling pirates.

Since its founding, the Live Oak International has grown into one of the most recognized equestrian events in North America and draws some of the best in their disciplines from across this continent and Europe. Two of this year’s new achievements will be the debut of a sand Grand Prix arena, using GGT All-Weather footing, and virtual hosting of The Flanders Foal Auction in the VIP tent on Friday, March 16. This is the first time the Belgian-based sport horse auction and its elite European bloodlines will available to the United States.

Every day at Live Oak International promises a front row to the competition, including the popular Marathon phase on Saturday, March 17th. For more about the event and an opportunity to see Chester Weber and his fellow competitors in action, visit www.liveoakinternational.com.

For more information, contact:
Chester Weber