Tag Archives: featured

Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival Back on Top of World Rankings

Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival, pictured here at the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Gothenburg (SWE) last weekend. (Photo: Roland Thunholm/FEI).

Adelinde Cornelissen (NED) and Jerich Parzival, the London 2012 Olympic silver medallists, have reclaimed the world number one spot in the FEI World Dressage Rankings.

The pair has a 97-point lead over Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW, who have moved up one slot to second place after clinching the 2013 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage title – their first FEI World Cup Final victory – last weekend in Gothenburg (SWE).

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro, who became the first British combination to head the FEI World Dressage Rankings in September last year after their double gold medal performances at the London 2012 Olympic Games, are now in third with 2,563 points.

There are no other changes in the Top Ten, with Germany’s Kristina Sprehe and Desperados FRH holding on to fourth (2,517 points) and Edward Gal (NED) with Glock’s Undercover in fifth (2,474 points).

FEI World Dressage Rankings Top 10:

  1. Adelinde Cornelissen (NED) Jerich Parzival, 2899
  2. Helen Langehanenberg (GER) Damon Hill NRW, 2802
  3. Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) Valegro, 2563
  4. Kristina Sprehe (GER) Desperados FRH, 2517
  5. Edward Gal (NED) Glock’s Undercover, 2474
  6. Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfvén (SWE) Don Auriello, 2435
  7. Valentina Truppa (ITA) Fixdesign Eremo Del Castegno, 2358
  8. Patrick Kittell (SWE) Watermill Scandic H.B.C, 2320
  9. Isabell Werth (GER) Don Johnson FRH, 2307
  10. Victoria Max-Theurer (AUT) Augustin Old, 2284

The complete FEI World Dressage Rankings are here.

FEI Media contacts:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 33

Educational Day at Southern 8ths Long Format Breathes New Life into an Old Classic

James Baker & Wings. All photos by Diana De Rosa.

So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event Off to a Great Start

What a brilliant first day! The annual So8ths/Nikon Three-Day Event held at Southern 8ths Farm in Chesterfield, SC keeps setting new standards. This year the educational day on May 2 garnered rave reviews from competitors and officials.

“I loved it!” exclaimed Sue Smithson, president of the ground jury. “You now have so much education here with the Long Format that everyone should do it.”

Thursday’s topics included vet inspections, figuring times for Roads and Tracks, and a clinic to let riders know what the judge is looking for in the Dressage segment.

“We’re judging the forest, not the trees.” Smithson explained her expectations for Dressage. “Ride the horse, then ride the test and get the most out of your horse.” She explained that many people concentrate on the test rather than the horse.

Brad Turley, Holly Hudspeth, Tremaine Cooper, & Lauren O'Brien
Brad Turley, Holly Hudspeth, Tremaine Cooper, & Lauren O’Brien

Brad Turley, the owner of Southern 8ths Farm and organizer of the event, has a passion for classic eventing. “Few people compete in the Long Format anymore, because it requires a lot more preparation for horse and rider, it’s time consuming, and it’s tougher,” he said.

In addition to Dressage, Cross-Country and Show Jumping, the Long Format includes a Roads and Tracks portion that stresses endurance and fitness.  It adds miles and another competition to the already challenging cross country day.

Sara Baker, a young competitor from Southern Pines, grew up watching her mother compete in the Long Format. “It’s great to do the classic eventing,” she said. “I wish I had had this instruction before my first Three Day.” Her lovely gelding is named Poetic Justice.

Sara and her dad, James Baker, are both riding Training level. Interestingly, James came to the Heart of the Carolinas first Three Day competition three years ago and competed in Beginner Novice. The next year he rode his horse, Wings, in the Novice division. Now the same horse and rider combination are up to Training Level.

Jim’s wife will be joining them on Friday as groom and ground man.

Tremaine, Cooper, Holly Hudspeth, & Lauren O'Brien
Tremaine Cooper, Holly Hudspeth, & Lauren O’Brien

Officials and Pan American Games veterans Holly Hudspeth and Lauren O’Brien supervised the horse inspection on Thursday afternoon. They also did an informative clinic on how to present horses properly for the jog. Later, course designer Tremaine Cooper explained how to figure times for roads and tracks.

Sponsors came from as far away as Ireland. Wendy McCaughan of County Down is a representative for Kan Teq, a manufacturer of safety vests and body support. “I’ve been struck by the care and interest of the trainers, who were generous with their advice.”

Coming from the Four-Star Rolex Three-Day in Kentucky last weekend, she paid the farm a huge compliment. “The facilities are outstanding and this promises to be a super event.  It’s a grand follow-up to the Rolex.”

For photos and videos of this event, go to www.so8ths.com.

Written by Marsha Hewitt.

Grand Champions Polo Club Hosts USPA Spring Challenge Friday and Sunday

WELLINGTON, FL – May 2, 2013 — Grand Champions Polo Club will host its third tournament of the spring season when the USPA Spring Challenge gets underway Friday.

Five teams will compete Friday in opening day action.

Palm House, led by big-hitting 6-goaler Tommy Biddle, will play Piaget, led by 5-goalers Juan Bollini and Brandon Phillips at 4 p.m.

ELG, led by 6-goaler Kris Kampsen; Pony Express, led by Pancho Eddy; and Audi, led by 8-goaler Nic Roldan, will compete in a round-robin beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The teams are rated from 10 to 14 goals.

Kampsen will put his two-tournament spring win streak on the line. He has been a member of the winning ELG/Psycho Bunny team that won the season-opening Palm City Open and played for the winning Power Horse team in last weekend’s Polo Gear Invitational.

The two-day tournament also features some of the sport’s rising young stars including ELG’s Juancito Bollini, 17, a senior at Wellington High School, who was named Most Valuable Player of the Polo Gear Invitational after scoring five goals including the game-winner.

Palm House is coming off its consolation game victory, 4-3 over ELG where Alejandro Poma of Palm House was named MVP. It was also team captain Glenn Straub’s first consolation title.

It will also be a family affair with father and son Marc and Grant Ganzi competing for Audi and Melissa Ganzi, wife and mom, team captain of Piaget. Bob Daniels will play with one of his sons, Justin, on Pony Express.

USPASpring009491The consolation and championship final will be held Sunday at times to be announced.

The teams are:

Audi Polo Team, 14 goals, Grant Ganzi, Marc Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Lucas Lalor.

Pony Express, 10, Justin Daniels, Bob Daniels, Tomas Goti, Pancho Eddy.

ELG, 13, Avery Chapman, Juancito Bollini, Kris Kampsen, Carlucho Arellano.

Palm House, 13, Carlitos Gracida, Glenn Straub, JJ Celis, Tommy Biddle.

Piaget, 14, Martin Astrada, Melissa Ganzi, Brandon Phillips, Juan Bollini.

The remaining Grand Champions spring tournaments are the May 10-12 USPA Sun Cup; May 17-19 USPA Eastern Challenge; and May 24-27 Memorial by Piaget.


May 3-5: USPA Spring Challenge

May 10-12: The USPA Sun Cup

May 17-19: USPA Eastern Challenge

May 24-27: The Memorial by Piaget


WHERE: On the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington.

INFORMATION: There are great field side views for tournament action at the home base of pro teams Audi and Piaget. Everyone is welcome to watch polo in a relaxed atmosphere during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the International Cup in November, Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament in March, Women’s Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League International Tournament, both in April.

Sharon Robb for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Equus Events Inc. Presents the 2013 Atlanta Spring Challenge Horse Show

Aaron Vale and Admiral Clover, winners of the 2012 edition of the Atlanta Spring Challenge Grand Prix.

In two weeks the Georgia International Horse Park will once again play host to the Atlanta Spring Challenge Horse Show.  Produced by Aiken, SC based J. P. Godard and Equus Events, the show offers a fitting end to the spring season and a perfect stop for those on their way to Devon.  The show now celebrating its 10th year was chosen as the recipient of the 2012 United States Hunter Jumper Association Members Choice Award for an AA rated Horse Show in Zone 4.  No easy feat seeing the high quality and quantity of shows that take place in Zone 4 which includes Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

“We have added more prize money and additional classes this year,” said show organizer J. P. Godard.  The show started out a single “A” rated horse show in 2004 and has now grown to a five day “AA” rated event that attracts some of top hunter and jumper riders throughout the country.  This year’s feature events include the Fenwick Equestrian $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and Derby Party Friday, May 19th and the $30,000 Atlanta Spring Challenge Grand Prix and annual Preakness Party to celebrate the running of the 138th Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May18th.  This annual party is sponsored by DFG Stables and Daniel and Cathy Geitner.  Both of these feature events will take place in the coveted International Arena which once hosted some of the world’s greatest equestrians and their horses during the 1996 Olympic Games.  Daily breakfast sponsored by this year’s hospitality sponsors is also on the agenda Wednesday to Sunday mornings as well as ring hospitality which is always welcomed by tired and weary exhibitors.

Jumper riders will have the opportunity to square off against courses designed by internationally famed and silver medal Olympian Michel Vaillancourt.  Originally from Montreal, Canada, Vaillancourt was the first Canadian equestrian to capture an Olympic individual medal in the 1979 Games and is one of the world’s most respected course designers.  He also holds the distinguished FEI “I” level course designers license.  In addition to the $30,000 Grand Prix, the jumper offerings include an attractive line up such as Young Jumper Qualifying events, a $5,000 Open Welcome Jumper Classic, a $5,000 NAL/WIHS Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic, and a $7,500 Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic.

Hunter riders are not to be left out as the Atlanta Spring Challenge has once again been selected as a prestigious World Champion Hunter Rider qualifying event and with a $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby plus an array of classics for every division there truly is something for everyone.  New this year is the popular USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Class and also a new high point award for the highest placed junior and amateur rider in the USHJA International Hunter Derby.  The high point award is presented by Fenwick Equestrian.

Fenwick Equestrian, Dietrich Equine Insurance, One K Helmets, The Barn Book, Sidelines Magazine, EquiFit Inc., The Mark Lexton Collection, DFG Stables, and Gamboa Veterinary Services have all signed on again as corporate sponsors for the 2013 season as well as Gold Sponsors of this year’s Atlanta Spring Challenge.  A few select division and hospitality sponsorships are still available this year.  Please contact Equus Events at 803-643-5698 or email info@equusevents.com for more information.

The Hawthorn Suites has been selected as the host hotel for this year’s event.  The Hawthorn is very conveniently located only seconds from the horse park.  For reservations and special exhibitor rates please contact them at 770-761-9155.

Entries for the 2013 edition of the Atlanta Spring Challenge close May 2nd and stalls are going fast.  Equus Events is proud to partner with Equestrian Connect as their official entry service provider.  This one minute web based service allows exhibitors to complete entries electronically. The service currently has over 9,000 members in the United States and Canada, and provides entry forms for over 800 USEF hunter/jumper shows.  For more information, please go to www.equestrianconnect.com. For more information or to reserve stalls, please contact Equus Events at 803-643-5698 or go to www.equusevents.com.

Equus Events is a horse show production company based in Aiken, SC. We are committed to producing unique exhibitor friendly events that excel in a high level of quality, competition, and hospitality. Equus Events is the current USHJA Members Choice award winning horse show company in zone 4 for an AA rated horse show.

The Classic Company Is Jumpin’ in June at the Georgia International Horse Park

Chase Boggio flying over a jump in the Olympic Stadium. Flashpoint Photography.

May 1, 2013 – Summer is around the corner and so is the Atlanta Summer Classics.  “We have so much planned for the Atlanta Summer Classics this June, it’s really going to be a summer spectacular!” said Classic Company President Bob Bell. “We kick off the two weeks of shows with the prestigious USHJA Emerging Athletes Program, produce the first-ever Children’s and Adult Jumper Regional Championships and the inaugural Freestyle Equitation Classic, offer the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the World Champion Hunter Rider and the $2,500 TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter and Jumper Divisions Week II, and we’ve got weekly Grand Prix and some of the best prize money on the circuit,” he added. Week II will also include the Emerson Burr Program for pony riders, the $10,000 Pony Hunter Derby Classic, the $5,000 Future Class, the Atlanta Cup Equitation Classic and the Grand Puba Junior Hunter Championships.

The USHJA Children’s Adult Amateur Jumper Regional Championships offers riders the opportunity to ride in a Nations Cup format, representing their states and zones.  But riders must apply in order to have a chance to represent their state.  Riders in the south only have until May 5 to apply for the 2013 year, so time is of the essence if you want to be part of this exciting new program!  For more information, go to www.ushja.org.

And if that competition schedule didn’t offer you enough, the USHJA Zone 4 Committee will offer two FREE clinics for its zone members on June 17 and 18.  On June 17, accomplished judge and horseman Bob Crandall will lead a general horsemanship riding clinic in the covered arena. This clinic will be filled on a first come, first-served basis for 30 riding participants. The participants will be grouped by skill level, and fences will start at 2’6″ up to 4′ and auditors are welcome to attend.

On Tuesday, June 18, legendary Steve Stephens, Olympic course designer, will conduct a water jump clinic.  Stephens will teach you and your horse how to jump an open water element. This clinic will be filled on a first come, first-served basis for 15 riding participants.  Auditors are welcome to attend.

These complimentary Zone 4 clinics fill fast, so be sure to reserve your spot now by contacting Janet McCarroll at gcclassic@aol.com or call her at 228-669-2687.

In “Classic” form, the exhibitor parties will be an integral part of the show experience.  VIP will be the place to be, so make sure to see Jennifer in the show office to reserve your table.  And while you’re there, be sure to purchase your tickets for the Outback Steak House Charity Dinner which will take place during the Freestyle Equitation Classic. Riders will have the opportunity to jump a course set to their own music – this event is going to be a classic!

And “classic” describes the venue to a tee.  The world class Georgia International Horse Park, home to the 1996 Olympics, will be the backdrop of Classic Company’s two weeks of non-stop show jumping action.  “It is so cool to ride in that arena,” said Adam Cramer from Equi Sport, LLC, in Pittstown, NJ. “I mean, where else can you get that Olympic feel?” he added.

Devin Ryan and No Worries sail over a jump in the Olympic Stadium during the Classic Company's Spring Atlanta Classic. Flashpoint Photography
Devin Ryan and No Worries sail over a jump in the Olympic Stadium during the Classic Company’s Spring Atlanta Classic. Flashpoint Photography

Devin Ryan, Grand Prix Rider from Long Valley, New Jersey, showed at the Georgia International Horse Park just a few weeks ago at the Atlanta Spring Classic.  “This was my first time showing at the Georgia International Horse Park and it is a fantastic venue,” he said.  “The rings are great and the stabling is excellent – the stalls come with mats, the aisles are wide and the barns are permanent.” And there is no better office staff and show staff than the Classic Company.  They are so pleasant to deal with, so nice and they attract that sort of person to the shows.  The whole experience is so positive that they really make my clients happy, which makes me happy!” he added.

Joe Fargis, winner of the 2012 Lifetime USEF Achievement Award and former Olympic medalist both in 1986 and 1988 with gold and silver medals respectively, also participated in more than 30 FEI Nations Cup Competitions, and who represented the United States in the 1990 FEI World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, is a “regular” at the Atlanta Spring Classics.  “The office staff is the one of the most pleasant I have encountered. The whole show committee is very accommodating. It’s a great facility and my horses went very well there.  There’s plenty of space, the courses were good, the footing is good and stabling is really great,” he commented.

Anyone who has shown with the Classic Company knows what sets them apart from the rest:  Classic Shows are FUN!  Complimentary exhibitor parties, luncheons, Saturday pizzas and the friendliest show management team anywhere work hard to make your showing experience the best.  Classic Company never charges an add or scratch fee for those last minute changes and there is no office fee added for credit card payments.

Entries close May 22nd so make sure to fill out and mail your entries in now!  Click on the prize list or for those looking save the cost of postage, paper, or personal time, make sure to go to Equestrian Connect, Classic Company’s Official Service Provider, to submit your entries today!

Equestrian Connect allows exhibitors to store their data one time, on the web, and then use that data to automatically fill out hunter/jumper entry forms across the country.  The service offers a free 45 day trial period for new members.  At the conclusion of the trial period, Equestrian Connect offers an annual subscription, or a “pay as you go” service.  The service allows exhibitors to save both time and money.  This is the one-minute online entry service that will help you get your entries in on time and you to the show!

So, whether you are a seasoned veteran or novice looking for a positive show experience, look to the Classic Company shows and join them in Atlanta this summer.  The Classic Company is a USHJA’s Members Choice Award winner, recognized for producing top quality show jumping events in the United States.  For more information on Classic Company and its exhibitor-friendly, top quality hunter jumper events, please visit them at classiccompany.com or call them at 843-768-5503.

All sponsorship, marketing and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel, Sponsorship, Marketing and Public Relations Director at classicsponsorship@gmail.com.  All program advertising should be directed to Nate Poliquin, Program Sales Representative at classicshowads@yahoo.com.

Stay up to date:  Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter!

See you at the ring,
Bob Bell
The Classic Company, Ltd.
Phone/FAX:  (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311  Johns Island  SC 29457

Dream Team Lines Up for Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and (right) Andrew Nicholson (NZL) – the HSBC Rankings and HSBC FEI Classics series leader – have set the scene for the most thrilling running yet of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) on 3-6 May, fourth leg of the HSBC FEI Classics 2012/2013. (Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI).

Lausanne (SUI), 1 May, 2013 – The scene is set for the most thrilling running yet of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) (3-6 May), fourth leg of the HSBC FEI Classics 2012/2013, and a showdown between two riders who are at the height of their powers.

Andrew Nicholson (NZL), current HSBC Rankings leader and holding a 10-point-lead in the HSBC FEI Classics standings, scored a stunning victory over William Fox-Pitt (GBR) at Kentucky last weekend.

The two riders, who finished first and second in the 2012 HSBC Rankings, are at the peak of their careers, with the strongest strings of horses they’ve ever had. Between them, their four Badminton horses have won five CCI4*s, and they have set up a fascinating head-to-head for the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

Fox-Pitt, who has won 11 CCI4*s, including Badminton in 2004, will ride Parklane Hawk, winner of Burghley in 2011 and Kentucky in 2012, and Oslo, who topped the line-up at Pau in 2011. Nicholson, who has five CCI4* victories to his name, competes on Nereo, winner of Pau 2012, and Avebury, first at Burghley last year.

“This is a dream scenario for Badminton,” said Fox-Pitt. “It’s going to be really exciting, although at the end of the day it’ll probably be neither of us winning – hello, Michael Jung! So many things have to come right to win any three-day event. But we’ve both got lovely horses and we’ve both had a great preparation for Badminton, so we’ll see.”

Badminton has received an exceptionally star-studded entry this year, and, as Fox-Pitt mentions, it is Michael Jung (GER), the reigning Olympic, World and European champion, who will undoubtedly start favourite on his best horse, La Biosthetique Sam. He also has a strong back-up in first ride Leopin, third at Pau in 2012.

The unassuming Jung first visited Badminton as a youngster, and has wanted to ride here ever since, but his only public appearances in Britain have both been at Greenwich Park – at the Test Event and last year’s Olympic Games where he won team and individual gold. As a result, many British spectators have never seen him ride, so they will be in for a treat when they see the master at work. Interestingly, no first-timer has won at Badminton since Mark Todd (NZL) in 1980 – could Jung, with his impressive credentials, break this record?

Jung’s Olympic team mates also have the credentials to win – individual bronze medallist Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo), Dirk Schrade (King Artus) and Ingrid Klimke (Butts Abraxxas).

Fox-Pitt’s fellow Olympic team members Mary King (Imperial Cavalier and Kings Temptress), Kristina Cook (Miners Frolic and De Novo News) and Zara Phillips (High Kingdom) should also feature in what promises to be a highly international line-up, and much interest will follow the reappearance of Redesigned, fifth at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, with Pippa Funnell.

Since Badminton began 64 years ago in 1949, British riders have dominated. However, this year’s contest is wide open. Two rising stars from the Antipodes are Jock Paget (NZL) with Clifton Promise, second at Pau, and Clifton Lush, and Chris Burton (AUS) on Holstein Park Leilani.

Ireland’s Aoife Sisk is sure to go well on Master Crusoe, seventh at the London Olympic Games, and Italy has two stars in Stefano Brecciaroli (Apollo VD Wendi Kurt Hoeve) and Vittoria Panizzon on the bouncing grey mare, Borough Pennyz.

There are six former winners in the field, headed by 57-year-old Sir Mark Todd (NZL), the defending champion who first won Badminton 33 years ago, following up with victories in 1994, 1996 and 2011. He rides Major Milestone and Ravenstar, the latter for Irish rider Jayne Doherty, who is pregnant.

The other previous Badminton winners are Mary King (1992, 2000), Pippa Funnell (2002, 2003, 2005), William Fox-Pitt (2004), Oliver Townend (2009) and Paul Tapner (2010).

Since 1949, there have been five Australian winners of Badminton (Bill Roycroft, Laurie Morgan, Andrew Hoy, Lucinda Fredericks and Paul Tapner); two from the USA (Bruce Davidson and David O’Connor), one Swiss (Hans Schwarzenbach), one French (Nicolas Touzaint), one Irish (Eddie Boylan) plus Mark Todd’s four wins for New Zealand.

The in-form Andrew Nicholson (NZL), who has just won three consecutive CCI4*s, holds the record for Badminton completions – 31 times – but has yet to win. His best result to date is second in 2004 on Lord Killinghurst. Could 2013 be his year?

Badminton is also a place where young riders make their mark – and this year, there are three candidates for the HSBC Training Bursary, which is presented to the highest placed rider never to have previously completed a 4-star level event: Jamie Atkinson (GBR) on Celtic Fortune, Sarah Ennis (IRL) with Sugar Brown Babe and Manuel Grave (POR) on Samaritano.

Dressage starts on Friday at 9.30am (British time) with Oliver Townend (GBR) first into the arena on Armada. Follow live results: www.badminton.co.uk.

HSBC FEI Classics leaderboard (after 3 of 6 events)

  1. Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 30 points
  2. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 20
  3. Craig Barrett (AUS) 15
  4. Jonathan Paget (NZL) 12
  5. Natalie Blundell (AUS) 12
  6. Michael Jung (GER) 10
  7. Murray Lamperd (AUS) 10
  8. Buck Davidson (USA) 8
  9. Jessica Manson (AUS) 8
  10. Lynn Symansky (USA) 6

View full standings here.

Join the FEI on Facebook & Twitter.

Our signature Twitter hashtags for this series are #HSBC and #Eventing. We encourage you to use them, and if you have space: #HSBC FEI Classics #Eventing.

By Kate Green

Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials Media Contact:

Julian Seaman
+44 7831 515736

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45

Sommer Time and the Riding Is Easy for Shelly Francis

Shelly Francis and Doktor during the 2013 Global Dressage Festival. (Photo courtesy of SusanJStickle.com)

Wellington, FL (April 29, 2013) – Shelly Francis isn’t shy about saying she likes to train her own horses, and while dressage isn’t a sport typically known for pimping its rides, the fact of the matter is:  developing nationally-ranked dressage horses means ever-evolving equine physiques and you’d better have saddles and a saddlefitter up to the job.

The Loxahatchee, FL rider and trainer wrapped up her winter season at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with an FEI Prix St. Georges win (72.105%) on Patty Stempel’s nine-year-old black Hanoverian gelding, Danilo, during the Wellington (FL) CDI5* presented by Diamante Farms.  Out of nearly 20 entries, Francis and Danilo were the only duo to break the 70% mark.

That’s just for starters.  Described by Wellington observers as having the best of string of horses since her last bid – 1998 – for a World Equestrian Games, the 54-year-old rider’s winter circuit closed with her sitting pretty on the Tim Dutta National Rankings with two more Stempel horses:  Doktor, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Diamond Hit x Gurena x Renoir 1) placed eighth (68.805%) in the Grand Prix, and nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Danilo (De Niro x Annabelle x Andiamo) at third  (71.513%) on the Intermediaire I, top ten lists.

Francis qualified Doktor for the World Cup Final in Gotenborg, Sweden but has declined the invitation, patiently ceding that the horse still needs “more nights under the lights” before being asked to perform before such an electric environment. “If he gets afraid,” the pragmatic veteran observed, “we will have to deal with it for years to come. Another one or two years may be fine.”

In the meantime, her horses’ talents – and musculature – continue to train and develop, which is why she has entrusted their comfort and her own for the last five years to Sommer saddles.

“I love these saddles.  They’re really comfy for me and the horses and feel so soft and wide.  There’s no pressure on either side of the spine.  The horses feel freer moving and I don’t have sore backs.”

As with any athlete, training builds muscle, and she relies on twice-yearly saddle refits as each talented gelding develops.  “That’s where Marty comes in,” she said, referring to Marty Haist, a master saddler who also joins his wife, Beth, in operating The Horse of Course.

The Horse of Course carries an extensive selection of Sommer saddles, including the FlextraEQ Savoy, Diplomat Exclusiv, Lars Flextra and Spezial Dressage, and is a proud supporter of the equestrian community, traveling cross-country with a convenient mobile store to bring stylish clothing, accessories, saddles and products to shows, and sponsoring classes.

“I get most of my clothes there,” said Francis.  And what girl doesn’t love a shopping trip?  In concert with the increasing athleticism of her horses, she has embarked on her own fitness program and has lost more than 30 pounds.

With Normandy on the horizon in 2014, worrying about what to wear while riding in front of the world is a problem this Grand Prix rider would happily welcome.  “Of course I want that 75% but I may have to wait until next year.  I don’t want to push too hard.  When a horse wants to do it, that’s a nice feeling.”

As nice a feeling as the freedom and comfort of her Sommer saddles. To learn more about The Horse of Course, visit their website at www.thehorseofcourse.com.

For more information contact:
The Horse of Course, Inc.
Beth Haist, CEO
888-49-HORSE (46773)

Nicholson Clocks Timely First Rolex Kentucky Win

Andrew Nicholson (NZL) rode Quimbo to a clear jumping round for his first-ever win at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (Anthony Trollope/FEI).

Lausanne (SUI), 29 April 2013 – Andrew Nicholson (NZL) rode with a winner’s confidence on Libby Sellar’s beautiful black horse, Quimbo, to secure his first-ever win of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA), third leg of the 2012/2013 HSBC FEI Classics.

Nicholson has made no secret of the fact that for him this season is “all about the HSBC FEI Classics – if William lets me!” and, at this halfway stage, he now holds a commanding 10-point lead over William Fox-Pitt (GBR), who jumped clear to finish second on Seacookie TSF.

This was Nicholson’s first Rolex watch, the fifth CCI4* win of his 30-year career, and the third on the trot, following victories last year at Burghley and Pau.

Most significantly, it sets up an enthralling head-to-head with Fox-Pitt in the Rolex Grand Slam this weekend at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) on 3-6 May.

He put his current run of success down to: “The realisation about the sort of quality of horses you need nowadays and great team work at home. When it dawns on you that you’ve won a four-star competition on a young horse, it’s a great buzz, and this is no ordinary four-star.”

He said of Quimbo: “He’s a proper horse! He is exceptional and smart and very easy to ride. A win like this is great for the future. Nereo [Olympic bronze medallist] is my best horse at the moment because he’s a hardened campaigner, and Quimbo is the new kid on the block, but I can see him nudging Nereo aside.”

Buck Davidson (USA), who finished best of the home side in fourth place on Ballynoe Castle RM, hit two rails, giving Nicholson a comfortable two-fence margin over Fox-Pitt. This meant that Nicholson, who was helped in the warm-up by the former Spanish rider Luis Alvarez Cervera, could take his time and afford three time penalties on the smooth-jumping Quimbo. He also finished third on Calico Joe, dropping one place when, as he had predicted, the Irish Thoroughbred knocked three fences.

Nicholson has produced Quimbo since a youngster. The 10-year-old gelding, bred in Spain by Anna Beca, is by Lacros, a son of the top jumping sire Landgraaf. Nicholson has long favoured horses bred in Spain on Jumping lines. The mare Qwanza, bred on similar lines, was seventh at Kentucky last year, and Nereo, which he will ride at Badminton next weekend, was bred by Anna Beca’s brother Ramon.

Lynn Symansky (USA), who was competing with a broken finger, scored her best international result with a meteoric rise from 25th place after dressage to eventual fifth on her 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Donner, ahead of Will Faudree (USA) and Pawlow, sixth.

Canadian Olympian Hawley Bennett and the veteran Gin & Juice, world silver medallists in 2010, rose from 29th place to eventual seventh after adding just 0.4 in Cross Country time penalties to a Dressage score of 59.8.

Buck Davidson was ninth on Mar de Amor, and gained a bonus prize with the two-year lease on a Land Rover due to being the American rider nearest the optimum Cross Country time. Davidson admitted he was a little disappointed with his two rails down in the jumping phase on “Reggie”, but he said: “My little horse was great. This is my third national championship here [as highest-placed US rider], all on three different horses. Maybe we can keep these New Zealanders and Brits away and I’ll win here one of these days. But all my three horses are in great shape, and that’s exciting for me for the future.”

Peter Atkins (AUS) moved up to 10th place on Henry Jota Hampton, one of the most popular horses on the US circuit. The most significant changes to the final order were Kiwi rider Jonelle Richards’ departure from seventh place when The Deputy incurred 20 penalties, and the elimination of California-based British rider James Alliston’s Tivoli, ninth overnight, at the final horse inspection.

HSBC Training Bursary

Meghan O’Donoghue (USA), a member of the USA’s under-25 training squad, made a brilliant CCI4* début to win the HSBC Training Bursary worth $1,000.

Riding her own Pirate, an 11-year-old American Thoroughbred, O’Donoghue climbed from 25th place after the Dressage phase to eventual 11th, adding only four Cross Country time penalties and seven Jumping penalties.

She only rode in her first CCI3* last year, finishing 12th at Fairhill (USA) on Pirate, a horse she has produced from a youngster since she spotted him as a three-year-old on the racetrack, where he was being used to ‘pony’ racehorses to the start. O’Donoghue previously worked as barn manager and assistant trainer to Jan Byyny, and is now based in Illinois.

About the winner

Andrew Nicholson (NZL), 51, leader of the HSBC Rankings and the HSBC FEI Classics series, is acknowledged as one of the most hard-working and naturally talented horsemen in Eventing. He first came to England as a 19-year-old in 1979 and worked with racehorses. His first CCI4* was Badminton in 1984 where he earned a place on the first New Zealand Olympic team, at Los Angeles. He went on to ride at five more Olympics, winning team silver in 1992 and team bronzes in 1996 and 2012, when he finished fourth individually on Nereo. He also won team gold at the 1990 FEI World Equestrian Games in Stockholm (SWE), and team and individual bronze on Nereo at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky (USA).

This is his fifth CCI4* win, following three Burghley victories – in 1995 on Buckley Province, in 2000 on Mr Smiffy, and in 2012 on Avebury – plus Pau in 2012 on Nereo. Last year, he won both the Blenheim CIC3* and Boekelo CCI3* on Quimbo and finished second in the HSBC FEI Classics 2011-2012.

Andrew has two adult daughters, Rebecca and Melissa, and two young children, Lily and Zak, with his partner Wiggy Channer. They live near Marlborough, Wiltshire.

Final results

  1. Andrew Nicholson/Quimbo (NZL) 38 + 0 + 3 = 41
  2. William Fox-Pitt/Seacookie TSF (GBR) 46.2 + 0 + 0 = 46.2
  3. Andrew Nicholson/Calico Joe (NZL) 40.8 + 0 + 12 = 52.8
  4. Buck Davidson/Ballynoe Castle RM (USA) 45.2 + 0 + 8 = 53.2
  5. Lynn Symansky/Donner (USA) 54.8 + 0 + 0 = 54.8
  6. Will Faudree/Pawlow (USA) 47.2 + 6.3 + 4 = 57.6
  7. Hawley Bennett/Gin & Juice (CAN) 59.8 + 0.4 + 0 = 60.2
  8. Kristi Nunnink/R-Star (USA) 55.3 + 4.4 + 4 = 63.7
  9. Buck Davidson/Mar de Amor (USA) 55.2 + 0 + 9 = 64.2
  10. Peter Atkins/Henry Jota Hampton (AUS) 59.2 + 1.6 + 4 = 64.8

Full results on www.rk3de.org.

HSBC FEI Classics leaderboard (after 3 of 6 events)

  1. Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 30 points
  2. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 20
  3. Craig Barrett (AUS) 15
  4. Jonathan Paget (NZL) 12
  5. Natalie Blundell (AUS) 12
  6. Michael Jung (GER) 10
  7. Murray Lamperd (AUS) 10
  8. Buck Davidson (USA) 8
  9. Jessica Manson (AUS) 8
  10. Lynn Symansky (USA) 6

View full standings here.

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Andrew Nicholson Riding Quimbo Wins the 2013 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

(USA, 28 April 2013) Andrew Nicholson (NZL), riding Quimbo, today won the 2013 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, with William Fox-Pitt (GBR) riding Seacookie in 2nd place, and Andrew Nicholson also in 3rd place riding Calico Joe.

Quotes from Andrew Nicholson, Quimbo:

Q. Andrew – what a round – congratulations – Quimbo is a special horse isn’t he?

Ah he is class – he’s a special horse – he’s a performer and very cool in his mind. It’s great to win here and to make things this exciting at Badminton next week – I think Hugh Thomas must be rubbing his hands – and he hasn’t had to part with any cash!

Q. So it’s game on next week for the Rolex Grand Slam next week?

Oh for sure. I went into the start box on the cross country when I knew William had pulled up Chilli Morning and I thought I would like to be on another of mine, but after the third fence I thought I am quite happy with what I’ve got and remembered how classy he is – it is days like that which are great – I think I am in with a big chance next week.

Quotes from William Fox-Pitt, Seacookie:

Q. William – that was fantastic what a great ride – how were you feeling going in?

I was delighted with him and he has come through this event so well – i was thrilled with him over cross country yesterday – he’s only a little horse but he has a big heart – you never know what the cross country has taken out of them for the show jumping – basically he is a very careful jumper and he was today.

I was so happy with the way he jumped today – he gave me such a nice feeling – he tried his heart out. I had one little moment coming to the water tray where I was riding on either six or seven strides and I was thinking six and then “oh I’m not going to get there on six” so I pulled and he was very good to add and I was thrilled with that.

Q. Were you nervous going in?

Of course you are always nervous going in but I wasn’t in the lead and had it all to go for and nothing to lose, and as I say I was very pleased with my horse all week and just hope that my luck can carry on until next week!

Audio Interviews

For an audio interview of Andrew Nicholson post Show Jumping on Quimbo, please click link here: https://www.yousendit.com/download/UVJnY05ucHZuSlJqQThUQw.

For an audio interview of William Fox-Pitt post Show Jumping on Seacookie, please click link here: https://www.yousendit.com/download/UVJnY05wYUlUME85TE1UQw.

Audio Post Show Jumping Press Conference

Please click here for link: https://www.yousendit.com/download/UVJnY05wYUlwaFE5WThUQw.

Final Results after Show Jumping

  1. Andrew Nicholson/Quimbo (NZL) 41.0
  2. William Fox-Pitt/Seacoookie (GBR) 46.2
  3. Andrew Nicholson/Calico Joe (NZL) 52.8
  4. Buck Davidson/Ballynoe Castle RM (USA) 53.2
  5. Lynn Symansky/Donner (USA) 54.8

For more information on the 2013 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and full Results/Leaderboard, please visit www.rk3de.org.

Two Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing Contenders

With two of three successive wins of the Rolex Grand Slam – the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and the 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials – William Fox-Pitt is the current live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. Due to adverse weather conditions, the 2012 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials was unfortunately cancelled. Therefore, Fox-Pitt has had to wait until the 2013 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials before he can contend for the coveted US$ 350,000 Rolex Grand Slam Prize.

However, now that Andrew Nicholson, who won the 2012 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has also accomplished the feat of successively winning the 2013 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, there will now uniquely be two live contenders for the sport’s most coveted prize at the 2013 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing

In 2001, Rolex created the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. This trophy is awarded to the rider who manages to win the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials event in any consecutive order. Until now, only British rider Pippa Funnell has managed this staggering achievement, winning the title in 2003.

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Nicholson Wins Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM (Shannon Brinkman/USEF photo)

Davidson Wins Third Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Eventing Championship

Lexington, KY – The final phase of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover provided an exciting finish to the Kentucky Horse Park’s staple event. A sold-out Rolex Stadium crowd witnessed Andrew Nicholson (NZL) win North America’s only CCI4* event for the first time. With Quimbo, he held onto the overnight lead, only adding three time penalties to their dressage score, finishing with a score of 41.0. Deborah Sellar’s 10-year-old Spanish Sport Horse gelding sailed over the fences in Richard Jeffery’s stadium jumping course, expertly guided by HSBC World Rankings Leader Nicholson.

“To go round and jump the last fence and you have gone clear is a little bit what you expect to do if you ride them half properly when they are that good,” commented Nicholson of Quimbo’s exceptional jumping style.

Nicholson won his second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing after winning the 2012 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and will be competing against William Fox-Pitt (GBR) at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials for the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, an unprecedented situation. After winning the 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, William Fox-Pitt (GBR) is currently in the running to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. After the 2012 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials was canceled due to excessive rain leading up to the event, a win next week at the 2013 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials could win Fox-Pitt or Nicholson the coveted title.

“We both have a few more days of peace before it all kicks off. It will certainly be exciting,” said Fox-Pitt. “I think this is Rolex’s dream.”

Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF finished second after having one of only four double clear rounds to finish on a score of 46.2. He made the course look easy with Catherine Witt’s 14-year-old Trakehner gelding after rails had been falling all day.

“It is great to have him back on form again and we will how the autumn goes as to where he is,” said Fox-Pitt of having his partner performing well after a rough go at Burghley last year.

Nicholson also finished third with Calico Joe after having three rails to end on a score of 52.8. Despite stadium jumping not being Twenty Twelve in Mind’s 11-year-old English Thoroughbred gelding’s strongest phase, the pair still managed to finish in the top three.
Buck Davidson (Unionville, PA) and Ballynoe Castle RM settled for fourth place after having two unfortunate rails at fences 11 and 13. While he moved down the leaderboard, Davidson won the Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Eventing Championship with Cassandra Segal’s 13-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding.

“He has been amazing this weekend as he has been his whole life,” said Davidson of his beloved mount “Reggie.” “Of course I am bummed to have two down, it sort of fell apart at the end but to be sitting up here with these two guys who are obviously unbelievable, I feel fortunate to be up here. If I have got to lose it is two good guys to lose to.”

The second highest-placed American was Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, VA) with her own Donner who finished in fifth place with a score of 54.8. She rode the 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding with determination around the horse’s first CCI4* event, having double clear cross country and stadium rounds to finish on their dressage score.

Another American with an impressive finish was Meghan O’Donoghue (Carbondale, IL). A 2013 Developing Riders/Eventing 25 listed rider, she rode her own 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding to a 12th place finish in her first CCI4*. O’Donoghue added only a handful of penalties to finish with a score of 69.0.

Watch on-demand video of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover on the USEF Network presented by SmartPak here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/Rolex3Day2013/.

For more information about the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Land Rover, visit www.rk3de.org.

Follow the 2013 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team at http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2013Eventing.

By Kathleen Landwehr