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Aaron Vale Secures Second Grand Prix Win of HITS Ocala Winter Circuit in $200k Grand Prix

It was a beautiful day for the final Grand Prix of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. A field of 58 riders were ready to take on the $200,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix, over a course designed by Oscar Soberon of Dallas, Texas. The triple combination at fence 12 proved to be a challenge for many riders in the first round, with 31 having faults at one or more of elements. A tight time allowed added to the pressure, just to be in the top 12 with a four fault score riders had to have a time of 78.885 or quicker.

Rowan Willis set the pace with the first clear ride in the jump-off in a time of 40.784 aboard BLUE MOVIE to take home third place. A few trips later, Willis returned to the ring and topped his first ride with DIABLO VII in 40.608 for the red ribbon. But it was Aaron Vale and ELUSIVE who took home top honors in $200,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix when they came in and broke the 40-second mark, clearing the jump-off course in 39.158. Vale saved time by choosing a direct route from fence five to six in eight strides where most did nine to claim their second victory of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.

That’s a wrap! While the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit ended a week earlier than expected, the health and safety of our exhibitors and their horses, our spectators, and staff come first. President and CEO of HITS, Tom Struzzieri, made the decision early Friday morning that the 39th edition of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit would end following the close of competition. The grounds were closed to spectators, but riders were all in high spirits on Sunday as the season closed out with the $200,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix, the Tack Shack of Ocala Second-Half Circuit Awards, and the HITS Ocala Grand Circuit Champions.

Even though this year’s circuit is complete, we are looking forward to 2021 and celebrating our 40th Anniversary in central Florida. The circuit will start December 9 and will again offer 12 weeks of USEF-Rated shows featuring over 400 classes in more than 100 divisions each week, along with special classes and great prize money throughout. Plus, we are excited to announce that the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix will return to close out the circuit March 2021. Look for more information in the coming months and the official prize list to be released in October.

Click here for the full listing of results from the HITS Ocala Winter Celebration.

For more info, please contact the staff at HITS Post Time Farm, 352-620-2275 or info@hitsshows.com.

Jessica Springsteen Clinches Overall Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award

Jessica Springsteen aboard Volage du Val Henry. Photo by Jump Media.

Wellington, FL – Jessica Springsteen was named the Overall Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) that concluded on Sunday, March 15, in Wellington, FL.

The Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider Award, given in memory of fellow realtor and horsewoman Dale Lawler, was presented weekly during WEF to the high-score female rider based on performances in that week’s WEF Challenge Cup and featured grand prix events. Consistent throughout 10 weeks of competition, Springsteen claimed the weekly Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady title during week four and, riding Volage du Val Henry, won the $137,000 CSI3* Grand Prix during week six.

“I’m honored to receive the Overall Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Rider award this year,” said Springsteen, 28, of Colts Neck, NJ. “My horses jumped so well all season, and I couldn’t be happier with them. It’s a great way to end the circuit!

“This sport is so unique in that we compete with women and men in the same competitions,” continued Springsteen. “I think it’s really special in that way, and it’s always so nice that there is an opportunity to win the Leading Lady award every week.”

In recognition of her achievement, Springsteen will receive with a custom-built jump of her choice from Jolicoeur.

“The Leading Lady Award was always the one that I aimed to win when I was competing because it is a testament to consistent top performances,” said Jolicoeur, who began presenting the award in 2010 as a way of recognizing female accomplishments in one of the few Olympic sports where men and women compete as equals. “To experience how horses have brought us all together is something special for me. It was an honor to watch Jessica and all of this year’s weekly winners find so much success this season.”

While Springsteen scored the week four title on her way to winning the Overall Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Award, other weekly winners this year included U.S. riders Lillie Keenan, Beezie Madden, Adrienne Sternlicht, and Kirsten VanderVeen; Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire and Alexandra Thornton; and Canada’s Vanessa Mannix.

Contact: Lindsay Brock

Grand National 2020: How to Watch

In an uncertain world, don’t miss the three days of the Grand National Festival from Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th April 2020.  The iconic Grand National will be held at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday, April 4th at 5:15pm.  For your safety and convenience and on how to watch the “National”, watch online using this link for Grand National live streaming.  Please know that the BHA announced that all race meetings in Britain from Tuesday until at least the end of March will take place behind closed doors.

The prize fund for the Grand National is £1,000,000 which makes it the most valuable jump race in Europe. 600 million people will watch the race in over 140 countries.

Sponsored by Randox Health, the Grand National UK handicap steeplechase is over 4 miles 514 yards with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. Enjoy a relaxed raceday experience with a mix of high-quality racing and easy-going entertainment.

The Grand National Day is the most iconic of all handicapped horseracing events in the world. 40 horses and their jockeys will present in the ultimate test in British horse racing. The Grand National course has much larger fences than normal. The Chair, Valentine’s Brook, Foinavon, Becher’s Brook, and the Canal Turn are just some of the famous fences that runners and rider need to navigate in the race.

Even after Tiger Roll’s recent second place at Cheltenham in the March 11th Glenfarclas Cross Country race, this traditional prep run moved him from 5-1 to 8-1 betting odds.  Tiger Roll is still heading the market for the big race. Even though he has been purposely trained for this race, check out the rest of the race contenders to see what value is elsewhere.

Kimberlite Candy won the McCoy Contractors Classic Chase by 10 lengths which makes him a leading Randox Health Grand National contender. He traveled well and jumped the National fences very nicely. He is sure to be a popular horse on the big day.

Magic of Light nearly spoiled the Tiger Roll party in 2019 but had to settle for second place at massive odds of 66-1. At her current 2020 rating of 16-1, she was the only mare to run in the 2019 race at odds of 125-1.  She is already on back-to-back wins this season.

Burrows Saint at 12-1 is another class runner who gave trainer Willie Mullins his first Irish Grand National win in 2019.  He also had a recent win at Punchestown which increased his outlook, but he will only be 7 years old for the 2020 Grand National, so he may still be too young.

Any Second Now won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.  He fell in the 2019 Irish National but he was running well at the time. He is rated at 12-1.

Definitely Red at 14-1 has a good overall record at the track, and with his proven ability to handle the fences, looks an interesting runner.

As for little Tiger Roll, it would be gutting if he loses his chance to make racing history.

The 172nd Grand National will go down in Aintree folklore as the one when Tiger Roll, racing’s rockstar, was admitted to one of the most exclusive clubs in sport: a two-time winner of the world’s greatest race.

He warmed up with a solid second at Cheltenham 2020 and Gordon Elliott wants decent ground for him at Aintree — if it’s on.

Tiger is owned by Gigginstown stud and boss Eddie O’Leary is appealing for common sense about the National. He wants the great race to be run behind closed doors if necessary.

As the weights for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National are set to be revealed on Tuesday afternoon, victory at Aintree on the first Saturday in April would see Tiger Roll emulate Red Rum in becoming only the second horse to win three Grand Nationals. He would become the first to win three in a row.

Owners Michael and Eddie O’Leary of Gigginstown House Stud will reconsider running the ten-year-old Tiger Roll if the rating he is allowed to run off by the BHA handicapper is not compressed to what they believe is an acceptable level. They’ve compressed the race by 8lb on average for the past ten years.

On the Thursday before the Grand National – April 2 – the final 40-runner field (plus four reserves) will be confirmed.

British Racing is in close communication with the Government about current public health matters in the UK and the advice is to continue the business of the country as usual, while adhering to the latest public health advice.

Week V Wraps Up the 2020 Gulf Coast Winter Circuit

Week V of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic experienced big numbers for what turned out to be the grand finale of the highly celebrated winter circuit.

Holly Shepherd and Loretta Patterson’s CHS Krooze certainly had a grand finale, winning the $25,000 Harrah’s Grand Prix.

Ten of the twenty-four horse and rider teams qualified for the jump off and the time to beat was set at 78 seconds.

Isabel Harbour of Alpharetta, Georgia aboard IMH Equine, LLC’s Reposado were first in the jump off round and had four jump faults with a time of 40.32 seconds. Laura Connaway of Little Rock, Arkansas and her own Ceralena followed in the order and turned in a clear jump off round in a time of 42.480 seconds. Dylan Daly of Wellington, Florida and Burgundy Farms’ Domino Van Lange Weeren were next and with eight jump faults in a time of 36.836 seconds would finish in ninth place overall.

Shepherd and Loretta Patterson’s HG Swing Time followed with a clear round and their time of 42.146 would temporarily take the lead. Reid Ricket of North Port, Alabama and his own Banderas de Bornival followed Shepherd with a clear jump off round in a time of 40.388 seconds and took the lead. Blaze of Glory, owned by Carson Grisham, and Tom Foley of Wellington, Florida were next up and four jump faults in a time of 38,227 would earn them a seventh place ribbon.

Matt Cyphert of Argyle, Texas and Heathman Farm, LLC’s Cortani FBH went clear in their jump off round in a time of 40.921 seconds and finished in fourth place overall.

Shepherd was up next with CHS Krooze. The pair flew across the grass grand prix field in a fault free time of 36.187 seconds taking the lead.

Connaway returned to the grand prix field, this time in the irons of her own Quite Funny. The pair went clear, but their time of 40.843 seconds saw them finish in third place. Sitting in the enviable last to go position were Tom Foley and Andy Kocher’s Carel Van Don Deren. Eight faults in a time of 41.799 seconds had them finish in tenth place.

Shepherd CHS Krooze took the win and Reid Rickett and Banderas De Bornival took second.

For more results, please visit horseshowsonline.com.

The Gulf Coast Winter Classic is sadly ending its seven-week circuit two weeks early due to the Corona virus in line with the USEF’s announcement that all rated shows are to be cancelled for one month and for everyone’s health and safety. We hope all will join us in 2021 and discover why everyone has more fun on the Mississippi Gulf Coast!

The Classic Company will also not be holding the Jacksonville Spring Classics in 2020 due to the USEF announcement that cancels all Rated shows for one month and for everyone’s health and safety. We hope to be jumping in Jacksonville in 2021, but in the meantime be safe and we hope to see you at the ring soon.

Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Natalie Dean and Ceitasi Win $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series Final to Conclude WEF

Natalie Dean and Ceitasi. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 15, 2020 – Concluding the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season on a high note, Natalie Dean (USA) and Ceitasi topped a five-horse jump-off in Sunday’s feature class, the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series Final CSI3* and the exciting finale of the CaptiveOne Advisors Jumper Series.

From a large field of 66 world-class show jumping athletes and their equine partners, only eight answered the questions in the first round of Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) course that tested speed and skill. Over the short course, Dean stopped the clock at 34.26 seconds for the win on one of two mounts.

“Ceitasi was amazing today and she jumped the first round fairly easy and everything showed up nicely, so I was happy with her,” said Dean of her 10-year-old Westphalian mare (Caretello B x Cavalier) owned by Marigold Sorthorses LLC. “In the jump-off, a couple people had one down and I did as well on my first horse, so for my second time in the ring, I wanted to be competitive enough that I would win, and it worked out in my favor.”

This was only Dean’s second appearance in the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series, and she noted, “The track flowed well. I was happy that the triple was vertical, oxer, vertical, which was good for both of my horses.”

Meghan Knapic and Best in Blue Earn the Tri-Color in Animo Adult Amateur Hunters Younger Section B

On the final day of hunter competition, Meghan Knapic rode Best in Blue to the Adult Amateur Hunters Younger Section B championship, sponsored by Animo. Knapic and Best in Blue took on the Rost Ring to win two firsts, as well as second, fourth, and eighth-place ribbons.

Knapic is currently in Wellington for her spring break and was given the opportunity to show Best in Blue, also known as “Elton” around the barn. The rider, from Smithtown, NY, is a sophomore studying at Auburn University and training with Jenna Weinfurt. Elton, owned by First Blue LLC, is a very new mount for Knapic, and also a new horse to Weinfurt.

“Jenna, my trainer, got him five days ago and I was coming down from school and I wanted something to show this weekend. We decided to bring him out and he was amazing!” Knapic explained.

Knapic and Elton quickly formed a relationship in the show ring and proved to be tough competition after winning two over-fences classes on the first day of the division.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Betsy Steiner Claims Final Sash of AGDF Season on Mare Who Is ‘The Full Package’

Betsy Steiner (USA) and Swiss W ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 15, 2020 – The experienced Betsy Steiner (USA) rounded out the very final class of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) season, held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday, March 15. She and Whitney Bailey’s Swiss W won the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle CDI3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation with a commanding 75.592%.

All but one of the 11 starters broke the 70% barrier and U.S. riders filled the top five slots in this class. Jami Kment and Gatino Van Hof Olympia claimed second with 73.558%, and Cesar Parra finished third with 73.175% on GK Don Cesar.

Steiner, who rode for the USA at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, has been coming to AGDF “since the beginning of time,” but this was her first CDI win of the 2020 season.

“I’m amazed, but not shocked because she’s truly a wonderful horse,” said Steiner, who is based in New Jersey and runs a training business with her daughter Jessie. “Swiss puts out so much and she loves showing. You can sit back and enjoy the ride and you see her legs coming out in front of you. She’s an amazing horse; she’s my soulmate, and dream horse.”

Steiner rode the 13-year-old by Sir Oldenburg to music by Terry Gallo. “She’s always done all my music and she’s a genius,” she said. “I told Terry that I loved the sky theme music from Outlander, so we incorporated that and added the Celtic music for the trot and a mash-up of ‘Amazing Grace’ for the pirouettes and ‘Fight Song’ for the canter. I come down the center line and start the changes as ‘Fight Song’ comes on and Swiss lights up; the music is fun for her.”

Steiner found the mare accidentally while horse shopping for a client in Munich, Germany in 2015, and told owner Whitney Bailey that she was too good to pass up.

“She’s been mine ever since,” enthused Steiner, who is 69. “She’s so intelligent and logical that she’s made me a better person and a better, more thoughtful trainer. She’s super close to grand prix now and she’s great for me at this point in my career. If I would have had her earlier on, she’s so talented I would probably have pushed and pushed her, but now I do it according to what she wants.

“I think she’s going to be my best grand prix horse. She has everything. She’s drop dead gorgeous, she has the power, she’s got beautiful rhythm, she’s got a great mind, and she wants to do the work. I’ve had some wonderful horses, but I think she might be my best so far: the full package.”

This concludes action in week 10 of the AGDF — the final week of the 2020 circuit, as weeks 11 and 12 have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. The 12-week circuit returns in January 2021. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

USET Foundation and US Equestrian Mourn Loss of Patrick “Packy” McGaughan

Patrick McGaughan and Tanzer at the 1987 Pan American Games. Photo by Margaret Kaiser/USEA Archives Photo.

In addition to McGaughan’s competitive achievements, he was an esteemed coach and trainer in Area II, advancing horses and riders to the highest level of the sport. McGaughan ran Banbury Cross Farm in Clarksburg, Maryland, which grew into a leading training, breeding, and boarding facility for eventing, dressage, hunter, and equitation riders. One could often spot him at numerous events across the East Coast, instructing athletes across all levels of the sport.

The USET Foundation and US Equestrian extend their condolences to McGaughan’s family, friends, and students, who were touched by his love, humor, and teaching. His presence will be greatly missed.


Contact: Emily Randolph

Darragh Kenny Out with a Bang in $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3*

Darragh Kenny and Scarlett du Sart Z. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 14, 2020 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny scored a victory in the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* on Saturday, March 14, to conclude a banner season at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt built a track for 45 starters with 12 advancing to the tie-breaking jump-off. Returning near the end of the jump-off round, Kenny and Scarlett du Sart Z, owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC, broke the timers in 33.54 seconds to claim the lead and bump Israel’s Sydney Shulman into the runner-up position. Shulman and J-Boston S.E, a horse she owns together with her mother Jill, posted a time of 33.96 seconds.

“I’ve been very lucky – I had a good winter and all the horses went very well,” said Kenny of his season at WEF. “I had a great feeling coming into this winter because I have an incredible group of horses, and I’m very lucky that I have those horses.”

Kenny got the ride on Scarlett du Sart Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide mare (Stakkato de hann x First Bride), during the horse’s seven-year-old year. He has high hopes for the mare’s future, saying, “This is a mare that Teddy Vlock and his owner bought for me, and we’ve been slowly producing her. She’s really starting to turn a corner, and I think she’s an incredibly talented horse that will end up jumping at the highest level.”

Sofia Maskowitz and Samantha Takacs Ride to Top Honors in THIS Children’s Medal 14 and Under

Equitation riders took on Ring 6 on Saturday morning to compete for the blue ribbon in the THIS Children’s Medal 14 and Under class. Due to the large number of entries, the medal was held in a California Split format with Sofia Maskowitz and Samantha Takacs riding to the top of the class. Maskowitz rode Quantum Chanel to a first-round high score of 84 and remained in the lead during the test. Takacs and her mount Cooper moved up one spot during the test, after a first-round score of 82.

Maskowitz, of Freehold, NH, has been partnered with her equitation mount, Quantum Chanel, for only a couple months. The pair, trained by Laura Bowery, stayed on top of the class through the first round of 44 entries and the test. Maskowitz described that she is still working on figuring out the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Quality, so she was extremely pleased with her first round.

Takacs, of Oldwick, NJ, and her horse Cooper also put in two consistent rounds in the medal to earn the blue ribbon in their section. The duo has been working together since last spring, with the help of New Hope, LLC as well as Findlay’s Ridge, LLC. Takacs loves the eight-year-old KWPN gelding’s big stride and sweet personality.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Ashley Holzer Cements Relationship with Mango Eastwood for Double Win in Week 10 of AGDF

Ashely Holzer (USA) and Mango Eastwood ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 14, 2020 – Mango Eastwood bounced his way to victory under Ashley Holzer (USA) in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Peacock Ridge, in week 10 of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

The 11-year-old gelding began his CDI grand prix career just a month earlier, and has won five of his six starts under the four-time Olympian for Canada, who now rides for the USA. The pair scored 72.596%, which would have been even higher if not for a big stumble coming from extended trot to passage, which took them a few strides to recover from as Mango found his feet again.

Second went to Jennifer Schrader-Williams (USA) with 71.511% on Millione — a new personal best score for the pair. This was also their best finish of the 2020 season, which has been a successful one for the 17-year-old Millione, who began competing at the level in 2018. Australia’s Kelly Layne finished in third with 69.936% on the 11-year-old Samhitas, by Sir Donnerhall.

Holzer and owner Diane Fellows bought the son of Wynton as a nine-year-old from Spain’s Jordi Domingo and have taken their time training him out of the international spotlight until he was ready. He now projects confidence in the ring.

“I really haven’t had a ton of experience showing him and he’s a little tired with this being the third show in a row, but he really gave it,” said Holzer. “There were moments where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re unbelievable!’ He’s an incredible horse and the mistakes were totally mine; I misjudged the speed in the one-times, but even when I make a mistake he doesn’t throw in the towel or hold it against me, he just comes right back. Once I get all the kinks out, I really think this horse is going to be spectacular.”

Watch Ashely Holzer’s winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

British judge Stephen Clarke was impressed with the emerging pairing’s talents. “Ashley’s riding is amazing. There were moments of tension but her brilliant riding saved the game,” he said. “The horse has a lot of talent, which she was able to show in spite of those tense moments. The horse has a huge ability and when he’s even more established and relaxed, then we’ll see more elasticity and expression which brings even higher marks.”

Holzer, who is 56 and based in Wellington, Florida, revealed that she models her warm-ups around the World number one, Germany’s Isabell Werth: “I do my Isabell training before I go in. I watch my video from the last time and then I watch Isabell’s best grand prix special and she just sits there looking like she’s doing nothing so I try to do that,” she explained.

She believes that Mango is right up there with the most talented grand prix horses she has ever ridden. She recalled, “I’ve had a lot of luck with a lot of lovely horses; Pop Art was an amazing partner in the ring, but the breeding has moved on and these breeders are making unreal athletes now. Mango is the next level of breeding as far as athleticism goes.”

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

Equine Coronavirus vs. COVID-19: Two Distinctly Different Diseases

The recent spread of the novel coronavirus has raised serious concerns as the status continues to evolve. As equine veterinarians, Palm Beach Equine Clinic would like to address the questions and concern raised by horse owners regarding the potential impact of this disease on the equine industry.

Coronaviruses include a large group of RNA viruses that cause respiratory and enteric symptoms, and have been reported in domestic and wild animals. Equine Enteric Coronavirus and COVID-19 are both coronaviruses; however, they are distinctly different viruses.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infectious disease experts, and multiple international and national human and animal health organizations have stated that at this time there is NO EVIDENCE to indicate that horses could contract COVID-19 or that horses would be able to spread the disease to other animals or humans. Equine enteric coronavirus and COVID-19 are NOT the same strain, and there is no indication that either are transmissible between species.

Therefore, it is important to concentrate on the health of our equestrians by being precautious and following recommendations from public health officials. Palm Beach Equine Clinic will continue to make every effort to stay informed on the developments with COVID-19, and will continue to provide expert veterinary care to all horses regardless of the status of this disease.

A Profile of Equine Enteric Coronavirus

Equine coronavirus is an enteric, or gastrointestinal, disease in the horse. There is NO EVIDENCE that equine enteric coronavirus poses a threat to humans or other species of animals.

  • Transmission: Equine coronavirus is transmitted between horses when manure from an infected horse is ingested by another horse (fecal-oral transmission), or if a horse makes oral contact with items or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected manure.
  • Common Clinical Signs: Typically mild signs that may include anorexia, lethargy, fever, colic, or diarrhea.
  • Diagnosis: Veterinarians diagnose equine enteric coronavirus by testing fecal samples, and the frequency of this disease is low.
  • Treatment and Prevention: If diagnosed, treatment is supportive care, such as fluid therapy and anti-inflammatories, and establishing good biosecurity precautions of quarantining the infected horse. Keeping facilities as clean as possible by properly disposing of manure will help decrease chances of horses contracting the virus.

Information for this notice was compiled using the following sources:

Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center

American Association of Equine Practitioners, Equine Disease Communication Center