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Suzy Stafford Dominates Two Divisions at Little Everglades International Combined Driving Event

Suzy Stafford securing the Intermediate Championship with PVF Peace Of Mind, and Preliminary Championship with J.P., owned by Diane Ameter. Photos: Pics Of You.

Dade City, FL – Gold medalist Suzy Stafford comes home with the tri-colored ribbon in the Intermediate division with her own Morgan mare PVF Peace Of Mind and was crowned the Champion in the Preliminary division with J.P., a Hanoverian gelding owned by Diane Ameter.

This is the first time Stafford and Peace Of Mind competed at the Intermediate level winning the dressage with a stellar score of 39. “This mare has 3 wonderful gaits and a super work ethic. Dressage has always been one of her strong phases and she only seems to get better with age and strength,” Stafford says.

J.P. made his mark in the dressage arena as well winning his dressage phase with a consistent relaxed test. “Having J.P. relaxed and happy in his work at a show has been my main goal in his training. The goal is to have him solid enough in his basics for his owner Diane to take the reins next month and put in the same relaxed drive. I feel that I have accomplished that here in the ring,” Stafford said.

Marathon day for both horses was a challenge as the heat brought on a shortened course by the officials. Peace Of Mind was all business as she tackled the obstacles with strength and agility. “I am delighted how game this horse is becoming in the obstacles, she is getting more power as she develops and it is a great feeling to have that strength when I asked her for it,” Stafford says, smiling.

J.P. took all his new experiences in stride including the water complex. He stayed forward and consistent throughout the course. “I am happy with his gung-ho attitude through the obstacles as he can be tentative at times. I am looking forward to Diane taking the reins at the next CDE at this level so she can enjoy her horse as much as I have,” says Stafford.

Staffordblueribboncloseup“It takes a lot of work and organization to drive two different turn-outs in two different divisions. I would not have been able to do it and be successful without the help of J.P.’s owner Diane Ameter and my working student Stacey Hoff. They kept me on schedule and made sure everything that the horses and equipment needed was taken care of so I could focus on driving and learning the courses. I am truly grateful for them,” Stafford said.

Two double clear cones rounds secured their places at the top of the leader board. “What a show – horses were great, venue was stellar and the show was well run, damn near perfect!” Stafford says with a grin.

Suzy is known around the globe for her talent for developing equines for the International stage. In her relatively short driving career Stafford has been long listed with the United States Equestrian Federation with nine different equines. “Striving for success is simple when my owners and sponsors believe wholeheartedly in my judgment, skill and training program,” Stafford says.  Stafford operates her Stafford Carriage Driving facility out of Chester County in Pennsylvania from April to December and is stationed in Aiken, South Carolina from January through.

Stafford is a highly sought after clinician and also trains horses and teaches students out of her Stafford Carriage Driving facility. To learn more about Stafford, visit her website at www.staffordcarriagedriving.com.

For more information contact:
Suzy Stafford
Stafford Carriage Driving
www.staffordcarriagedriving.com
ponydriverss@aol.com
1-302-540-5162

Jessica Springsteen and Vindicat W Shine in $82,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

Jessica Springsteen and Vindicat W. Photo © Sportfot.

Without Question and Madison Arani Leave No Doubt in Pine Hollow Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″ Division

Wellington, FL, March 10, 2013 – Twenty-one-year-old Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, NJ, guided Stone Hill Farm’s Vindicat W to the winning round in Sunday’s $82,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic to conclude week nine of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies. Showing on a beautiful afternoon at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, Springsteen topped a field of great riders, including her trainer, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Laura Kraut.

Fifty-two entries jumped Sunday’s 1.50m course set by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL, with ten advancing to the jump-off. First to go in the second round, Jessica Springsteen and Vindicat W were unbeatable. They cleared the course in 41.36 seconds. Two entries were faster but had rails down. Only two others were clear over the short course.

Kent Farrington (USA) and Haity McNerney’s Zafira cleared the course in 41.53 seconds to finish in second. Third place went to Darragh Kerins (IRL) and E-Muze Yek, owned by Kerins and Maarten Huygens, with a time of 44.80 seconds. The fastest four-fault round belonged to Japan’s Eiken Sato aboard Stephex Stables’ Norlam des Estisses in 41.04 seconds.

Springsteen purchased Vindicat W, an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Guidam x Libero H, just after this summer’s Olympic Games in London where he was the mount for Peter Charles in the British team’s gold medal win. Springsteen tried Vindicat in August and the pair immediately clicked and showed for the first time together at the Washington International Horse Show in October.

“He has been amazing,” Springsteen smiled. “He is the only horse that I have ever gotten and clicked with right away. He is strong; he has a lot of blood and a lot of energy, so I thought we might have a little trouble in the ring keeping under control, but he is so nice to ride and he listens so well. He is so easy to jump a clear round on. You just have to get him to the fence and let him do his thing. He has been unbelievable and I am so happy.”

The pair got their first win together in the $15,000 RCG Farm SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic during week six in Wellington and Sunday’s class, a Longines FEI world ranking event with an $82,000 purse, was their best performance to date.

“It is definitely one of the biggest wins for me,” Springsteen stated. “It is hard because there are always so many people in the class and so many amazing riders that are so fast. Even after I went today I was like, ‘Okay, I was fast, but there is still McLain and Lauren (Hough) and Kent who are like lightning,’ so I thought I definitely would get beaten, but he was amazing and I was lucky today.”

Currently in her junior year at Duke University in North Carolina, Springsteen is juggling school with riding and has not been able to show quite as much, but feels that she is balancing things well.

“I really wanted to go to college and get that experience, so I am happy,” she acknowledged. “I am lucky that I have horses that I can really trust and that are so amazing and so brave, so it’s not really too difficult. I’ll get frustrated with myself if I make a mistake or don’t go clear, but then I have to remember that everyone else is here riding every day and I’m not. I love school, so I wouldn’t have done it any other way.”

Without Question and Madison Arani Leave No Doubt in Pine Hollow Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″ Division

Madison Arani, of Dover, MA, piloted Without Question to tricolor honors during the final day of competition for week nine of the FTI WEF. The pair was champion of the Pine Hollow Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″ Division after placing first over fences on day one followed by second place finishes under saddle and over fences day two. Reserve honors went to Sweet Addiction, owned by Sarah Sturges and ridden by Haylee Jerkins. Jerkins and Sweet Addiction were sixth over fences on day one followed by a third place finish under saddle and a blue ribbon over fences on day two.

Without Question and Madison Arani. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography
Without Question and Madison Arani. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography

Without Question, a 17-year-old Bayerisches mare owned by Ponies & Palms Show Stables, LLC, has been Arani’s beloved partner for the last three years. “She was a big time show horse [before I leased her] but then she was hurt. We decided it would be worth a shot to try her [for less demanding divisions] and it worked out! It’s our third year leasing her and she’s just the best,” Arani explained.

Without Question happily settled in to her new career path with Arani, who has competed her in 3′ divisions until recently. “As she’s gotten older, it got to be a little too much for her so we stick to the 2’6″ divisions. But she’s always happy to go in the ring,” Arani commented.

Arani appreciates Without Question’s forgiving and constantly happy nature, which is one of many attributes to which she credits their show ring success. “You can go around and chip every jump and she’ll still go around ears forward and happy. She’s so easy to find the jumps on and she always jumps each jump the same,” Arani described.

At age 12, Arani successfully juggles a full schedule of showing at FTI WEF and going to school. “It’s definitely hard. We come down here on the weekends and sometimes do homework while we show. Then we leave Sunday night to go back to school, so it can be very hard getting up on Monday!” Arani smiled.

Arani’s commute from New England to Wellington doesn’t leave her with much prep time before she heads in the ring. “Since we’re only down here for the weekends, I’m lucky to have such a great horse that I can just get on and she’s perfect,” Arani stated.

Without Question stays in Wellington year-round with Arani’s other horses and her trainer, Leslie Emerson. Arani eagerly awaits the FTI WEF each year to reunite with her horses and fellow competitors. “I love coming to Florida to see my horses and enjoy the weather,” Arani continued. “It’s so nice to be here and exciting to down and see my friends I horse show with and to see my horses. It makes it even more fun!”

Arani’s victory aboard Without Question marked the end of hunter competition for week nine of the FTI WEF, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies. Week ten, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, runs March 13-17, 2013 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 9 through March 31. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Merrill Lynch Team International Takes Home Quadrille Title at 2013 Challenge of the Americas

Debbie McDonald and Mason Phelps show off their disco moves during their Pas de Deux. (Photos by Susan J. Stickle)

Wellington, FL – March 10, 2013 – Merrill Lynch Team International bested Purina Team USA in a thrilling battle for the title of quadrille champions at the 11th Challenge of the Americas Presented by SSG Gloves, held on Saturday evening at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center.

Spectators gathered to enjoy equestrian entertainment and support the important work of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) through Play for P.I.N.K. The funds raised by the Challenge go directly to benefit critical research projects at BCRF.

Pas de Deux and reining performances opened the evening and set the stage for the quadrille showdown. Top riders from multiple disciplines joined Challenge founder and organizer Mary Ross to support the cause by putting on a show for the eager crowd. The Challenge Gala, an elegant event with dinner and dancing, capped the evening of equestrian entertainment.

“It was an outstanding evening,” Ross said. “The riders were absolutely super. All of them worked so hard to put together their performances and raise money for breast cancer research.”

After guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, the event got underway with a reining demonstration by brothers Rick and Trevor Steed. Rick Steed began by donning a wig and bright pink t-shirt to energize the crowd, racing around the ring and guiding his horse without a bridle. His brother then joined him for a freestyle exhibition, and the two were perfectly in sync as they showed off their thrilling sliding stops and spins.

Mason Phelps and Debbie McDonald’s Pas de Deux was a true crowd-pleaser. The two former Olympic-level competitors in the disciplines of eventing and dressage came out of retirement to support the Challenge, riding an upbeat test that included disco moves to “Stayin’ Alive.” Phelps and McDonald were supported by the best in the business: Carl Hester helped choreograph the test, while Terry Ciotti Gallo compiled music for the pair. Phelps rode Oliver Twist, owned by Jennifer Benoit’s Seahorse Stables, while McDonald rode Suzanne E. Mott Dansby’s Perfect Step.

“Debbie and I are thrilled to have helped the cause,” said Phelps. “Mary is a dear friend and this event has been one of the highlights of the season. We’re glad it’s back.”

Evi Strasser and Tanya Strasser-Shostak
Evi Strasser and Tanya Strasser-Shostak

The mother-daughter team of Evi Strasser and Tanya Strasser-Shostak matched each other stride for stride throughout their fluid Pas de Deux aboard their horses, the appropriately named Action Tyme and Dancing Tyme. Strasser-Shostak arranged the music, while Strasser choreographed their routine. Strasser is a seasoned international dressage competitor for Canada whose career has included appearances at the Olympics, World Equestrian Games and World Cup Finals, while Strasser-Shostak has been racking up the ribbons on the North American Junior and Young Rider circuits.

Team International, sponsored by The Seley Parker Group of Merrill Lynch, led off the quadrille competition, and their performance won the approval of the judges and the hearts of the crowd. Team coaches and choreographers Ruth Hogan-Poulsen and Erin Swaney put together an intricate quadrille pattern and worked with the team to prepare the exhibition. Hogan-Poulsen arranged the music, a mash-up of recent pop hits that included chart toppers by P!nk, David Guetta, Adele, and Bruno Mars.

Team International riders Todd Flettrich, Devon Kane, Susanne Hamilton, Nancy Later, Sharon McCusker and Cherri Reiber faced the dual challenge of mastering a complicated quadrille and adapting to the unique format of the Challenge. Many of the riders were making their Challenge debut, but their talent and hard work resulted in a spectacular performance.

“This was my first year riding in the Challenge, but it won’t be my last,” Hamilton said. “It was a blast, just so much fun. I had great team members, fabulous choreographers in Ruth and Erin, and a fantastic organizer, Mary Ross.”

“It’s definitely a commitment, but it was worth every bit of it last night,” she added. “It’s for a great cause that is very dear to me. I’ve lost a very close friend to cancer, so when I took those long drives to practice in the evenings, that’s who I thought about. And it was worth every second of driving. It’s such an important cause and I’m very proud to have been a part of it.”

Merrill Lynch Team International
Merrill Lynch Team International

Merrill Lynch Team International’s effort earned them a score of 94 out of a possible 100 points from the Quadrille Judges Panel, which included Lois Yuken, Karin Kruger, Lorraine MacDonald and celebrity judge Robert Dover. The judges assessed the two teams on criteria such as choreography, musical interpretation and harmony of horses and riders. The international team received particularly high marks in the musical category, while the U.S. team earned strong scores for choreography and horse/rider harmony en route to a total of 86 points.

Purina Team USA’s star cast of riders relied on their extensive experience with the format of the Challenge to put together a precise performance. Dressed in leather jackets and poodle skirts, Pam Goodrich, Chris Hickey, Betsy Steiner, Bill Warren, George Williams and John Zopatti rode to a selection of rock-and-roll music that included the classics “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “Shout,” “Rock Around the Clock” and “Duke of Earl.” Longtime Challenge choreographer Terry Ciotti Gallo created the pattern and musical accompaniment for the U.S. team.

“I’m crazy about the way Terry Gallo does her music – she does such a great job, and we really enjoy riding to it,” Steiner, who has ridden in the Challenge every year since its inception in 2002, commented. “I think the standard is raised every year. It keeps developing, and the teams get better and better.”

Purina Team USA
Purina Team USA

“It’s just such a fun event, and it’s one of the nicest things of the season to spend time with other professionals,” she added. “We are all quite busy, and we all find the time. I think that has a lot to do with Mary Ross and with the cause. It means a great deal to me personally – we have some very dear friends who are breast cancer survivors. If you know that you’re just a little part of doing something that might help someone, it makes you feel much better. You think, ‘My goodness, I’m doing something I love and it could help somebody.’ It doubles the effect.”

Matt Ketcham, a representative of Team USA sponsor Purina, noted that the spectators enjoyed the show. “The Wellington crowd is always welcoming,” Ketcham said. “Purina is always interested in supporting programs like the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It is always good to mix good people and animals because animals make people better.”

“Everyone had a good time,” Ross remarked. “The Breast Cancer Research Foundation was able to attend, and they enjoyed the whole evening.”

“Jim Brandon Equestrian Center was a perfect venue for the event,” she continued. “It was exciting for both the riders and the spectators to have an intimate setting that lets the audience see everything up close.”

Trevor and Rick Steed execute a sliding stop
Trevor and Rick Steed execute a sliding stop

The Challenge of the Americas has grown over the years from a small luncheon dressage exhibition at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby to its current status as a one-of-a-kind exhibition and gala. Ross created it in honor of her mother, Jean Cruse, who died of breast cancer. Each year’s event features dressage alongside another equestrian sport, such as polo or show jumping. In its first 10 years, the Challenge raised over $8 million for breast cancer research.

“Not only do I congratulate all of the riders and coaches, especially the winning international team and coaches Erin Swaney and Ruth Hogan-Poulsen, I also thank them from the bottom of my heart,” said Ross. “They commit a great deal of time to preparations for the Challenge, and we would not be able to do it without them. Every single one of them is devoted to the cause. They do a fantastic job and allow us to make a real difference.”

Along with SSG Gloves, the presenting sponsor, the Challenge received support from a number of generous patrons. Sponsors included Purina, Merrill Lynch, Back on Track, Palm Beach Equine, Cunningham & Cunningham, the United States Dressage Federation, International Polo Club Palm Beach, MatchnRide.com, Red Barn Feed & Supply, Samshield, Steed Training, Tackeria, Wellington Classic Dressage, Dover, Bushel Stop, 360 Landscape & Design, and Mulvehill Nursery, Inc.

For more information about the Challenge, visit their website at www.challengeoftheamericas.com and follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ChallengeOfTheAmericas.

The Challenge of the Americas Beneficiaries

Play for P.I.N.K.

Website: playforpink.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/playforpink

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Website: www.bcrfcure.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheBreastCancerResearchFoundation

Mary Adelaide Brakenridge for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Belarusians Dominate Central European League Qualifiers, Ryan Wins Pacific League Final

Australia’s Lyndal Oatley will represent the Pacific League at the forthcoming Reem Acra FEi World Cup Dressage Final 2012/2013. FEI/©Jon Stroud Media.

Lausanne (SUI), 11 March 2013 – Sviatlana Loika and Katsiaryna Varchenia from Belarus are joint-leaders of the FEI Central European World Cup Dressage 2012/2013 League while Australia’s Rozzie Ryan won the Pacific League Final in recent months.  The Central European qualifying spot for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final 2012/2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden next month has yet to be decided by results from the regional Final which will take place at Zhashkiv, Ukraine from 29 to 31 March.

Meanwhile, Ryan has opted not to travel to Europe, so the Pacific League qualifying spot will be taken up by European-based Lyndal Oatley.

Central Europe

A total of eight qualifying legs took place in the Central European region, with riders also permitted to take points from the Western European legs at Stuttgart, Germany and Stockholm, Sweden last November.  The series began in Zhashkiv last May, where Austria’s Stefan Peter won through with Don Walesko ahead of the Ukraine’s Inna Logutenkova who filled both second and third places partnering Vian Stallone and Don Gregorius respectively.  Loika and her top ride, Gulbis, only managed a fifth-place finish this time out to slot in behind Yassine Rahmouni (Floresco NRW) from Morocco.

However Loika moved up to third place at the following event in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia last June where the host country’s Alexandra Korelova and Baikal stood top of the podium with Katsiaryna Varchenis and Redford 2 in runner-up spot.  The big guns came out for the third leg at Lipica, Slovenia where Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj and Smeyers Molberg held sway over Italy’s Valentina Truppa who would go on to make a big impact later in the year in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Western European League series.  Frenchman Arnaud Serre and Helio took third at Lipica ahead of Germany’s Matthias Kempkes and Corado, but at Bmo-Panska Licha in the Czech Republic a few weeks later, Poland’s Katarzyna Milczarek and Ekwador headed Sebastien Duperdu from France with Passe Partout.  Austria’s Karis Kosak (Lucy’s Day) finished third here while Germany’s Martina Hannover-Sternberg (Ratino H) filled fourth spot.

Russian riders reigned supreme in Moscow in early September where Tatiana Dorofeeva (Khorovod) pipped fellow-countrywoman Alexandra Korelova (Baikal), but Loika’s points accumulation was steadily building with third spot here ahead of Russia’s Ksenia Morozkina (Absolutely Fabulous) while Loika’s Balarusian counterpart, Varchenia, finished fifth.

Pole Position

At Wroclaw, Poland later that month a number of the Western European League contenders lined out once again, and it was Krinke Susmelj who took pole position ahead of Canada’s Pia Fortmuller (Orion) while Milczarek had to settle for third with Florencia B.  The Netherlands’ Marlies van Baalen and BMC Miciano slotted into fourth with Sweden’s Roe Mathisen (Bocelli) in fifth while the well-travelled Polish partnership of Michel Rapcewizz and Randon took sixth spot.

Just three lined out at Minsk in Belarus in late September where Varchenia improved her position with victory riding Redford ahead of Loika and Gulbis while Russia’s Morozkina and Absolutely Fabulous took third behind the Belarusian partnership who, by now, were already on level-pegging for top spot in the series.

Lyndal Oatley’s victory for Australia with Sandro Boy at Kaposvar in Hungary last October therefore caused them no concern.  Milczarek and Edwador lined up second here ahead of Fortmuller and Orion in third and Kosak and Lucy’s Lady in fourth.  However it was a huge day for Oatley who recorded her very first Grand Prix victory with a personal-best score of 76.525.

And the significance of Oatley’s performance was borne out when the 32-year-old German-based rider who hails from Sydney was offered a wild-card entry to the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final 2012/2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden next month.  Her name was put forward by Equestrian Australia when both winner, Rozzie Ryan, and runner-up Maree Tomkinson declined the opportunity to avail of the invitations available to them following their successful runs in the Pacific series.

Pacific League

All of the Pacific League events took place in Australia, and at the opener in Werribee, Victoria last March, Tomkinson and Diamantina pipped Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi for top spot with Tor van den Berge (Fishermans Friend) slotting into third ahead of Fiona McNaught (Ostra) in fourth.

It was Heath Ryan’s turn to head the line-up in Melbourne in June where Caroline Wagner and Tango V took second ahead of Jeremy Janjic (Django of Cacherel) in third and Kerry Mack (Mayfield Pzazz) in fourth – Tomkinson and Diamantina having to settle for fifth this time out.

At Brisbane in July, David Shoobridge and OO-Seven pleased the Ground Jury best, but the ever-consistent Heath Ryan finished second while van de Berge was third and Caroline Wagner was next in line. However Tomkinson bounced back with another win at Sydney in October, demoting Shoobridge to runner-up spot here while Sheridyn Ashwood (Prestige VDL) finished third ahead of Heath Ryan and Regardez Moi in fourth.  Ryan then recorded a double of his own when reigning supreme in Melbourne in November where Mary Hanna and Sancette lined up second ahead of Tomkinson in third and Shoobridge in fourth.

However it was another Ryan who stole the show when the series returned to Werribee again for the last qualifying leg in December.  Heath’s wife, Rozzie Ryan, scored 70.275 with the 16 year old GV Bullwinkle to leave Tomkinson and Diamantina in second ahead of Shoobridge and OO-Seven in third.  Both Heath and Rozzie have represented Australia at Olympic Games, FEI World Equestrian Games and FEI World Cup level, and when Rozzie also won the series final at Melbourne later that month she was offered the qualifying spot available at the forthcoming Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final. She decided not to travel however, and when Maree Tomkinson did likewise, the opportunity arose for Oatley who will now fly the flag for the Pacific League.

Results:

FEI Pacific League World Cup Dressage Final 2012/2013 – 1, GB Bullwinkle (Rozzie Ryan) AUS 67.106; 2, Diamantina 4 (Maree Tomkinson) AUS 66.936; 3, OO Seven (David Shoobridge) AUS 66.83; 4, Tango V (Caroline Wagner) AUS 65.234; 5, Mayfield Pzazz (Kerry Mack) AUS 64.319; 6, Sheer Etiquette (Susan Paix) AUS 64.000; 7, Roxbury Armistice (Meaghan Willis) AUS 60.596; 8, Ostra (Fiona McNaught) AUS 60.000.

FEI Central European World Cup Dressage League 2012/2013:

1. Katsiaryna Varchenia BLR – 60
1. Sviatlana Loika BLR – 60
3. Katarzyn Milczarek POL – 57
4. Tatiana Dorofeeva RUS – 43
5. Ksenia Morozkina RUS – 40
6. Alexandra Korelova RUS – 37
7. Inna Logutenkova UKR – 28
8. Yulia Vinnitskaja RUS – 23
9. Halina Zotava BUL – 19
9. Grete Barake EST – 19

FEI World Cup Dressage, the only worldwide series in this discipline, has entered its 28th season. The series, created in 1985, comprises four leagues: Western European, Central European, North American (including Canada) and Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Asia). Each FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier consists of a Grand Prix test, which in turn is a qualification for the Freestyle to music competition, where league points are accumulated towards places in the Final. Judged on both technical and artistic merit, the FEI World Cup Dressage combines art, sport and partnership between horse and rider at the highest level and consistently proves a winning formula with audiences all over the world.

The complete rules, calendar, updated ranking and results are available here.

The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), founded in 1921, is the international body governing equestrian sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and includes 133 National Federations. Equestrian sport has been on the Olympic programme since 1912 with three disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Eventing. In 2012 equestrian sport will celebrate its centenary as an Olympic sport. It is one of the very few sports in which men and women compete on equal terms. It is also the only sport which involves two athletes – horse and rider. The FEI has relentlessly concerned itself with the welfare of the horse, which is paramount and must never be subordinated to competitive or commercial influences.

By Louise Parkes

Katie Cooper Snatches Gulf Coast Winter Series Circuit Championship with Sandlot

Katie Cooper and Sandlot took home the Open Hunter Classic winning title, as well as securing the Gulf Coast Winter Series Circuit Championship. Flashpoint Photography.

Gulfport, MS – March 10, 2013 – It was an exceptional four weeks of showing for Katie Cooper and Cherry Knoll Farm’s Sandlot during the Gulf Coast Winter Series in Gulfport, Mississippi. After securing the Pre-Green 3’3″ Hunter Championship three weeks straight, Cooper guided Sandlot to the first place finish in the Open Hunter Classic during the Gulf Coast Mid Winter IV, and was named the Gulf Coast Winter Series Circuit Champion.

It was a battle of the best during the fifth week of the series, and the admirable chestnut gelding rode to the top of the leader board for a phenomenal conclusion to their winter circuit. Cooper and Sandlot dominated the Pre-Green 3’3″ Hunter division from beginning to end, a feat for the pair as they demonstrated talent week after week in front of over 12,000 spectators at the largest hunter/jumper show on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The two-round Open Hunter Classic welcomed over 15 entrants to the prestigious class. It became a heated competition between Cooper and Holly Shepherd. They rode with good-hearted rivalry as Sandlot went head to head for the championship against Shepherd’s LPF Woodford. Only a few points separated the victor, but it was Sandlot who stepped forward for the tricolor with his scores of 87 and 85.

“He jumped the courses great, and has become super consistent. He is very classic in his style. When we are together, we are hard to beat,” Cooper explained. “We took a group of young horses to Gulfport this year to allow us to give them the individualized attention that we value.  It is a circuit where there is opportunity to expose the horses and riders to good competition in a positive, relaxed environment.  With Sandlot we were pushing to the next phase of his education and wanted to be in Gulfport to explore this training.  He far exceeded our expectations!”

Sandlot and Cooper completed their time at the 15th Annual Gulf Coast Winter Classics Horse Show this past week. They will head back to Caves Farm in Owings Mills, MD, and will return to the show ring in the spring for the Pre-Green Initiative.

If their record continues to stay as consistent and strong as this past week, there is no doubt that they will prove themselves unstoppable.

Cooper concluded, “I am excited to have quality horses like Sandlot and the opportunity to make them shine with our team and am eager to expand our reach as we continue to develop the horses and ourselves. I am very lucky to have a very strong team at Caves Farm – Sissy Wickes introduced us to Sandlot, and she has been hugely influential in our program, helping us to strive to be better in every aspect of the program from our riders’ education to our training to our horse management.”

For more information on Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc., please visit http://www.cherryknollfarminc.com/.

Kendall Bierer for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Media Contact: Mason Phelps
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389  fax 561.753.3386
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Piaget Comeback Falls Short, Loses USPA Piaget Gold Cup Opener to Lechuza Caracas

With Piaget teammate Sapo Caset looking on, 10-goaler Miguel Astrada retrieves the ball out of the air with his mallet. Photos – Alex Pacheco.

WELLINGTON, FL – March 9, 2013 — Behind 10-goalers Sapo Caset and Miguel Astrada, Piaget staged a furious comeback against Lechuza Caracas in the sixth chukker but fell short in its USPA Piaget Gold Cup opener.

Lechuza Caracas, which led for most of the game, held on for a 12-10 victory Saturday at Isla Carroll West.

With Piaget trailing by only one goal in the sixth chukker, 11-10, Caset had a chance to tie the game with 1:43 left in regulation.

Caset took a pass from Astrada and made a hard-charging run full force toward goal only to lose control of the ball in a crowd near the goal mouth.

After the game in the players’ tent, Caset made it a point to apologize to his teammates for missing the goal.

“I can’t believe I missed the goal to tie the game; I am sorry,” Caset said. “We had the momentum in the sixth chukker. I won’t be able to sleep tonight. If I had scored that goal maybe we are talking a different result, but this is polo.

“I think it’s just bad luck,” Caset said. “I think we are going up. The horses are doing better but not 100 percent yet and the team is not 100 percent yet. For the next game we will do better.”

In the final minute, Lechuza Caracas’ Polito Pieres, dribbling the ball from both sides of his pony, scored an insurance goal with 1:10 left in the game.

Piaget's Sapo Caset leans out of the saddle to keep possession of the ball on a run downfield, with Polito Pieres of Lechuza Caracas closely defending
Piaget’s Sapo Caset leans out of the saddle to keep possession of the ball on a run downfield, with Polito Pieres of Lechuza Caracas closely defending

Caset led Piaget’s scoring with five goals, three on penalty shots.

Astrada, who showed no ill effects from a strained groin muscle that forced him out of the sixth chukker of the March 1 Les Armour Cup semifinals, added three goals and 23-year-old Nacho Badiola had two goals and played well defensively including stopping a potential Pieres goal.

Piaget team captain Melissa Ganzi also defended well against Pieres bumping him out of a play on his way to goal in the fourth chukker and took Lechuza Caracas player-padrone Victor Vargas out of several plays.

Pieres finished with seven goals, two on penalty shots. Seven-goaler Francisco Elizalde had three goals and Vargas added two goals. Ten-goaler Juan Martin Nero was scoreless.

“We had a great last chukker,” Piaget coach Joey Casey said. “We had a chance to tie it and we just had some bad luck. We were right there and that’s the good thing.

“The thing is we can play a lot better,” Casey said. “Lechuza played really well today. I think we’re going to be fine. We can improve; that’s the best thing about it. We’ll get better.”

Piaget scored the opening goal of the game when Badiola scored in a crowd at the 5:43 mark after Astrada came up with a big hit to get the ball downfield to Badiola.

The game was close after that with Lechuza Caracas taking a 3-2 lead at the end of the first chukker. Piaget tied the game at 4-4 on Caset’s penalty shot and Vargas came right back with a goal for a 5-4 lead at the end of the second chukker.

The teams kept it close in the third chukker with Piaget missing three scoring opportunities and Lechuza Caracas taking a 7-5 lead at the half.

“We changed some things at halftime and tried to hit the ball a little more,” Casey said. “That seemed to work. We did much better with our throw-ins in the second half and our set plays went better.”

Lechuza Caracas had a three-goal advantage in the fourth and fifth chukkers but Piaget battled back with some heart-stopping heroics in the final chukker.

Sapo Caset outraces Lechuza Caracas players Polito Pieres and Francisco Elizalde to keep possession of the ball
Sapo Caset outraces Lechuza Caracas players Polito Pieres and Francisco Elizalde to keep possession of the ball

With Astrada and Caset taking turns creating plays, Caset scored on a 30-yard penalty shot with 4:41 to trail by only two goals. Forty seconds later Caset unleashed a 120-yard shot to goal with 3:40 left closing the gap to one goal.

“We thought in the last chukker if we scored one more goal things were going to change,” Astrada said. “For being our first game with Nacho we played good. We have to adjust a couple things and we can do a little better.

“They played very well; they were well-organized,” Astrada said. “I think they are one of the favorites. To do well against them is good for us. We are not out of it; we can still do well. We haven’t played too much together so the more we work the better we will get.”

Badiola, 23, the son of former 9-goaler Juan Badiola, is making his IPC 26-goal debut this season.

“I didn’t play well,” Badiola said. “I need to make some adjustments and play better. I have to go back a bit more and try to get a little more rhythm. The team played good but I can do better for sure. Lechuza is always a tough team.”

Vargas was pleased with the win but said his team also can play better. He was also impressed with Grand Champions Polo Club-based Piaget.

“Sapo is a good player; he had that very nice goal in the last chukker and Melissa was playing well,” Vargas said. “We need to play better. For now it’s okay. It is a tough tournament; all these teams are nice and players are good.”

In the other Saturday game, ERG defeated Orchard Hill, 16-11. Nine-goaler Tincho Merlos had a game-high seven goals and Paco de Narvaez added six goals.

Grand Champions Polo Club-based Audi plays C. V. Whitney Cup champion Alegria Sunday at noon on Field 2. The game will pit brothers Gonzalito and Nico Pieres of Audi against brother-in-law Mariano Aguerre of Alegria.

Piaget next plays Orchard Hill on Thursday at 10 a.m. Both teams are 0-1.

First played in 1974, the 26-goal USPA Gold Cup has been played at various polo clubs until it found a home at IPC in 2007.

When the USPA awarded IPC the Gold Cup in 2007, the International Polo Club Palm Beach, home of the 26-goal C. V. Whitney Cup Tournament and U.S. Open Championship, sealed its place in history as host of all three legs of the Triple Crown.

Piaget is saluting IPC’s tenth anniversary with the launch of its new luxury Polo FortyFive Black watch which will join their successful collection of polo watches first introduced in the late 1970s.

USPA PIAGET GOLD CUP AUDI/PIAGET SCHEDULE

Sunday, March 10: Alegria vs. Audi, noon

Thursday, March 14: Piaget vs. Orchard Hill, 10 a.m.; Zacara vs. Audi, 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 17: Valiente vs. Audi, 10 a.m.; Piaget vs. ERG, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, March 20: Piaget Gold Cup Semifinals, 2, 4 p.m.

Thursday, March 21: Butler Handicap Semifinals, Gold Cup subsidiary, 10 a.m., noon

Sunday, March 24: Butler Handicap Final, noon; USPA Piaget Gold Cup Final, 3 p.m.

Tuesday, March 26: U.S. Open begins, schedule, pairings to be announced.

AUDI/PIAGET TOURNAMENT LINEUP

March 7 – March 24, USPA Piaget Gold Cup

March 26 – April 21, 109th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championship

GRAND CHAMPIONS POLO CLUB

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 during the spring and fall tournament season and other special events including the Buzz Welker Memorial Junior Tournament, Women’s Championship Tournament and Gay Polo League Tournament.

Sharon Robb for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Gramercy Park and Brennan Wins the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Gramercy Park and Thomas Brennan look picture perfect as they sail over a fence on their way to the winner’s circle. Flashpoint Photography.

March 9, 2013 – It’s Sunshine Week at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic in Gulfport and the big names, big money and big numbers provide the perfect setting to close out one of the most popular shows in the country.

Gramercy Park, owned by Lynn Rice and ridden by Thomas Brennan of Charles Town, West Virginia, won yesterday’s $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.  “Charlie” is the 9 year old bay gelding who also won the USHJA’s 2012 World Championship Hunter Rider Program Hunter of Year.

Brennan and Gramercy Park scored an impressive 178 points in their first round which secured the lead.  Their second round score of 186 brought their total score to 364 which would win the class by one point.

LPF Woodford, owned by LPF, LLC and ridden by Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama, had a first round score of 171.  Despite the option bonuses awarded the pair, their second round score of 192 would not be enough to best Gramercy Park. Their overall score of 363 would place them in second.

In third place was Triompf, owned by Loretta Patterson and ridden by Holly Shepherd.  The pair scored a 157.5 for their first round and 189 for their second round effort, bringing their combined total to 346.5.

Robert Gabriel’s CR Carolato II, ridden by Jordan Siegel of Flower Mound, Texas, secured a fourth place ribbon with a combined score of 341.  A combined score of 336.5 would secure the fifth place for Tell All, owned by Over Fences Farm, LLC and ridden by Maria Rasmussen of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Seneca, owned and ridden by Kathleen Caya of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, secured sixth place with a combined score of 326.5. In seventh place, Fallon Bock’s Chief Heart n’ Soul, ridden by Jordan Siegel, scored an overall 321 points.  In eighth place, Karen King’s Metternich, ridden by Laureen McKenzie of Keifer, Oklahoma, scored an overall 316.  In ninth place, Eileen Fontaine’s Priority, ridden by Belynda Bond of Pilot Point, Texas, scored an overall 313.5 points.  Tenth place saw Ellen Herrington’s Belvedere, ridden by Holly Shepherd, with a cumulative score of 295.5 points.  In eleventh place, Pamela Ward’s Trump Card, ridden by Thomas Brennan, scored an overall 276 points.  And in twelfth place, Sandra Staley’s Playboy, ridden by Courtney Calcagnini of Lantana, Texas, scored 229 points.

H.J. Magnifico, owned and ridden by Eduardo Braun, sails over an oxer on the magnificent grand prix field yesterday. Flashpoint Photography
H.J. Magnifico, owned and ridden by Eduardo Braun, sails over an oxer on the magnificent grand prix field yesterday. Flashpoint Photography

Friday Welcome!

Twenty three horse and rider teams tackled the $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome class but it was Eduardo Braun of Bend, Oregon in the irons on his own H.J. El Magnifico who rode away with the win yesterday.  The pair was first to go and the only clean round in the class with a time of 87.825 seconds.

Second place went to The Stables at Le Bocage’s Velano S, ridden by Brian Locke of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  The pair had three time faults with a time of 95.737. The remaining places were a battle of the four-faulters.  Third place was Theo Genn of Lebanon, Ohio riding Bridlebourne Stables LLC’s Winchester in a time of 84.111 seconds and four faults.  Fourth place went to Helen Landon Terranova’s Creed, ridden by Vick Russell of Columbus, North Carolina, in a time of 85.337 seconds and four faults.  Fifth place was awarded to Allison Ross’ Pako, ridden by Lillie Ross of Wheaton, Illinois, in 85.813 and four faults.  Sixth place went to Calissandro owned and ridden by Devin Ryan of Long Valley, New Jersey, who turned in a four fault round in a time of 86.828 seconds.  Jordan Siegel of Flower Mound, Texas rode her own Vasco to a seventh place finish in a time of 88.844 seconds and four jump faults. Ryan Genn of Lebanon, Ohio aboard Wilhelm Genn’s Cookie Monster wrapped up the class with eighth place in a time of 89.688 seconds and four faults.

The Groom’s Class Award Hunter Phase

The Groom’s Class sponsored by Reflections & Brick Church Farms awarded its Groom’s Class Hunter Champion yesterday to Wilmer Diaz who rode Wahlberg, owned by Nicole White. Diaz won the honors and a check for $1,500.00.  Second place was awarded to Nico Lopez, riding Jennifer Gamboa’s Classic Z.  Third place was awarded to Seymore Clark, riding Emily Green’s Oasis. The jumper phase is scheduled for tomorrow before the grand prix!

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Jill Zednick on winning the Sidelines Magazine Gulf Coast Classic Course Walk Contest.  Jill submitted a photo of herself and her horse “on the sidelines” and it was selected by Sidelines magazine as the winner!  Jill has won a course walk with top grand prix rider Wilhelm Genn of Lebanon, Ohio.  As one of the most winning grand prix riders in the country, Wilhelm will share his insights and expertise on how to tackle Sunday’s course with Jill.  Jill and her family also received a VIP table during Sunday’s $50,000 Budweiser Grand Prix.  Congratulations Jill!

The grand finale is set for tomorrow with the $50,000 Budweiser Grand Prix and presentation of Circuit Awards!  There may be a few individual seats available in the VIP tents, so make sure to see Jennifer in the show office for more information.  The new VIP tent has been a huge success and tomorrow is your last chance to savor the good life ringside. All reports say that the VIP tent is a huge success, so don’t miss your last opportunity of the year to watch the best in show jumping ringside while dining on Gulfport’s finest foods brought to you by the top restaurants on the coast.  At only $275 per table, you can’t beat the food and champagne! Individual tickets are also available, so make sure to book your table now and see Jennifer in the show office.

The Gulf Coast Winter Classic in Gulfport is where the fun has been all winter! Mardi Gras in neighboring New Orleans ended during the show season and that festive atmosphere spilled onto the show grounds. With its close proximity to the Gulf Coast beaches, class offerings, prize money, and social scene, the Gulf Coast Classic Company’s Gulfport shows is a must on everyone’s show list.

Anyone who has shown with the Classic Company knows what sets them apart from the rest:  Classic Shows are FUN!  And, this year the fun continues at the Gulfport show with complimentary exhibitor parties, breakfasts, luncheons and office snacks to make your showing experience the best ever.

Classic Company never charges a scratch or add fee for those last minute adds and scratches, so if you haven’t entered yet, go to the prize list or simply click on Equestrian Connect to fill out your entry form and stabling requests.

Equestrian Connect is Classic Company’s Official Service Provider and 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 a novice looking for a positive show experience, look to the Gulf Coast Classic shows in Gulfport, and let the good times roll!

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 www.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.
www.ClassicCompany.com
Phone/FAX:  (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311  Johns Island  SC 29457

Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour Capture $300,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI 5*

Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour. Photo © Sportfot.

Lillie Keenan Tops Sam Edelman Equitation Championship Riding Levistano 2; Lauren Henry Triumphs in Equitation 15-17 Division aboard Esteban La Paz

Wellington, FL, March 9, 2013 – Saturday night’s $300,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, was an incredible display of world-class talent as Germany’s Daniel Deusser, Brazil’s Alvaro de Miranda, and Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Nick Skelton topped an all-star cast during the highlight event for week nine of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF).

Forty-five entries showed in the prestigious World Cup qualifier jumping a course set by Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL. Representatives from 14 different countries competed, including an impressive 20 riders that have appeared in Olympic Games for their home nations. In a thrilling race against the clock, eight of the world’s best made it to the jump-off and four jumped double clear.

Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Cella were the first pair to clear the jump-off course and set the leading time at a lightning fast 40.12 seconds. Nick Skelton was up next with his great mount Big Star, owned by Beverly Widdowson. They cleared the course in 41.01 seconds. Alvaro de Miranda and AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno, owned by Miranda and Victory Equestrian BV, went next and stopped the clock in 40.46 seconds. Their round was followed by a stellar performance from Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour, owned by Stephex Stables and Pedro Veniss. They flew through the course in 38.94 seconds to earn top prize. Maher and Cella finished second, de Miranda and AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno were third, and Skelton and Big Star placed fourth.

Watch an interview with winning rider, Daniel Deusser
Watch an interview with winning rider, Daniel Deusser

Daniel Deusser has ridden Cornet d’Amour, a ten-year-old Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Damiani, for ten months since he began riding for Stephex Stables in Belgium last May. After a couple of months off and a 1.40m class at a national show in Germany, the pair traveled to Wellington this winter and jumped right in with week eight’s Nations Cup.

“I was doubting that it was maybe a little too quick to start with the Nations Cup last week, but he came in that ring and he felt fantastic,” Deusser stated. “He jumped double clear in the Nations Cup and was third in the class Thursday and he wins now, so I think he did a really good job.”

Commenting on the class, Deusser noted, “The beginning of the class we didn’t have too many clear rounds, but at the end we had very good riders and very good horses. The quality of the horses and riders in the jump-off was really good and they started very fast. For me there was no choice; I had to try it and we were a little bit lucky and it worked out today.”

“I saw that the jump-off was really fast,” Deusser detailed. “I saw Nick just before I went in and he did eight strides to the last fence. I thought that it was really long, but at the beginning I already had a really good turn from one to two and really kept the triple bar on the inside. Then also to the double vertical I had a really good turn. I had already a really long distance to the second to last fence and I thought ‘Okay, I’m going to do the eight.’ It was risky and my horse helped me a lot; I think that was the reason I was actually faster.”

The packed house of over 6,000 spectators at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) went wild when Deusser galloped through the timers, but he was very focused.

“When I went to the last fence I was actually a little bit scared that I couldn’t make it, so I didn’t actually listen to the crowd, but it was a nice feeling afterwards,” Deusser laughed. “It’s one of the best competitions I’ve won so far. It was very good money and in the moment; it is one of my best results.”

Along with prize money, Deusser was also awarded the Herman ‘Kappy’ Kaplan Perpetual Memorial Trophy, established for Kappy with fondness by the Farriers of the 1995 WEF.

Finishing second, Ben Maher did everything he could in his round and was pleased with the results. He spoke about the quality of the class and the excitement of the competition.

“Every week the jump-offs get faster and faster,” Maher noted. “It looked for a long time like there wouldn’t be many clear rounds tonight and then there were a lot at the end of the class. I think probably some of the fastest horses there are anywhere right now are all here in the same jump-off. For me, I was third in the jump-off, so I had to do everything possible to make the others chase us, which is what we did. We held on for as long as we could and in the end one managed to catch us. All the horses jumped great and it was an exciting round.”

“The jump-off was not too many options, again. It always tends to be a little like that in Florida,” Maher remarked. “There’s a lot of galloping. I don’t know where I could have gone any faster unless I left a jump out. Daniel was amazing. He was in a great position and he had nothing to lose. There were three or four of us all within the same second, so if he didn’t do what he did, he was only going to be fifth anyway. Congratulations to him; he pulled off an amazing jump-off tonight.”

Alvaro de Miranda had his best result of the circuit this evening and was happy with his horse as well.

“I was very happy to be in the jump-off,” he acknowledged. “We have been trying every week and I’ve had one down and down and down and finally today I was really happy because I think I had a good round and my horse was jumping super. We had the fastest horses in the jump-off and when I came out and I saw that I was quicker than Big Star but slower than Ben, I was happy.”

Lillie Keenan Tops Sam Edelman Equitation Championship Riding Levistano 2

Lillie Keenan and Levistano 2. Photo © Sportfot
Lillie Keenan and Levistano 2. Photo © Sportfot

The Sam Edelman Equitation Championship was held over two rounds on the grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC earlier on Saturday. Twenty-eight entries showed over the first round course set by Skip Bailey of Wellington, FL. The top 15 then returned for a second round. Performances were judged by Tucker Ericson and Ken Smith.

Top young rider Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, rode Heritage Farm Inc.’s Levistano 2, an eleven-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Levisto x Lord, to the Sam Edelman victory. The pair topped both rounds of competition with back to back scores of 89 for an unbeatable 178 point total.

Keenan has been showing ‘Levi’ since the beginning of the FTI WEF circuit and has had several wins with him in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, ASPCA Maclay and Pessoa USEF Hunt Seat Medal classes. Keenan explained that they have meshed well from the beginning and that although she had never ridden him on the grass until Saturday’s class, she was never worried.

“He had been schooled on the grass before with one of the trainers at Heritage, so I knew that he had already done it,” Keenan noted. “He doesn’t care about natural obstacles and really is brave so that is very helpful going into that ring, knowing your horse wants to go around.”

“I really like those classes,” Keenan added. “I like the galloping and I think that is a really fun type of class for the equitation because it still is testing your ability with the adjustments and it is kind of a stepping stone towards the jumpers, but it is in a really big ring, galloping around a field.”

Keenan and Levi won well over second place finishers Allison Toffolon and Class Action’s total of 170 from an 84 in round one and an 86 in round two. Third place went to Sydney Shulman and Back Country Farm’s Eli, who scored 85 and 83 for a 168 point total. Anna Cardelfe and Ulrich, owned by Gray Horse Farm Hamptons LLC, finished fourth on 167.5 with scores of 83 and 84.5.

Heritage Farm’s head trainer Andre Dignelli coached the top two finishers, Keenan and Toffolon. For the win, he was presented with a special $10,000 Trainer’s Award. Keenan credited Dignelli and the rest of the team at Heritage for the parts they played in her victory.

“Andre rode my horse this morning, so he gets all the credit for the preparation,” she smiled. “I could not ask for a better team. There is Andre and it is also everyone else at Heritage. Without them I would not have won. Going in there and knowing that everything has been done to make sure that you have the opportunity to win and now it is just your job to pull it through, it puts on the pressure, but also it is a really good feeling. I give all the credit to Andre and everyone at Heritage – and the horse.”

Lauren Henry Triumphs in Equitation 15-17 Division aboard Esteban La Paz

Lauren Henry, of North Kingstown, RI, rode her own Esteban La Paz to championship honors in the Equitation 15-17 during week nine of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Henry and Esteban La Paz, a fourteen-year-old Hanoverian gelding, were third under saddle and jumped to first and fourth place over fences. Reserve honors went to Maggie Savoie and her own Ksenyio. The pair won the under saddle class before placing third and seventh over fences.

Lauren Henry and Esteban La Paz. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography
Lauren Henry and Esteban La Paz. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography

Esteban La Paz stepped up to the plate for Henry last year when she was in search of a horse she could compete in 3’6″ equitation classes. The gelding was already Henry’s trusted mount for hunters and happily adjusted to the equitation ring.

“The first time we rode him, we just clicked,” Henry described. “Last year, I was doing hunters with him but when we changed him to equitation, he just loved it.”

“He can still do the hunters, too, but he’s too slow for the jumper ring,” Henry smiled. “He’s better at equitation because he likes to get in a frame more and he’s easier to ride that way as well.”

Henry credits her equitation success to Esteban La Paz’s striking markings and exceptional show ring attitude. “He’s got a big spot on his belly, which helps us stand out!” Henry smiled. “He jumps really well and when he’s on, he’s on! He and I just get along so well and he’s so much fun to ride.”

Henry was more than pleased with her gelding’s performance on Saturday and enjoyed the challenge of the courses laid out before her. “I thought both courses rode very well. Our first round went perfectly. The second round, he took a peek at the scoreboard which hurt our score, but he was still great. The bending line at the end of round two was a little challenging. We probably could have gotten five instead of six,” Henry commented.

2013 will mark Henry’s fifth year making the journey south for the FTI WEF, which she eagerly attends in search of high-caliber competition and, like many other competitors from the North, the Florida sunshine.

Hunter competition during week nine of the FTI WEF, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies, will conclude Sunday with the Pine Hollow Low Children’s Hunter 2’6″ division hosted in Ring 8 of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The $82,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will be featured in the International Arena. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 9 through March 31. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Don’t Miss the $35,000 G&C Farm Puissance and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival

Tina Konyot and Calecto V won the last FEI Grand Prix Freestyle at the AGDF. ©SusanJStickle.com.

Come Watch the Yale Spizzwinks(?) A Capella Singing Group on Friday Night!

Wellington, FL – March 8, 2013 – The Adequan Global Dressage Festival will hold its third CDI of the season on March 14-17, 2013, with the WEF Dressage Classic, CDI 3*, presented by Today’s Equestrian & Fellows. Not only will it host top international level dressage, it will also include the inaugural Florida Youth Championships presented by Dressage4kids, the first-ever event in Florida for young dressage riders to gain experience and education at the top level.

This show will be the first opportunity for Para-Equestrian Dressage to begin the qualifying process for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, at the CPEDI3* competition. If that weren’t enough, Friday night’s exciting schedule includes the $35,000 G&C Farm Puissance to kick off a great night of equestrian sport before the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle. Prizes for the general public will be raffled off once again, so show up for your chance to win amazing prizes!

Entries are strong for the FEI level CDI 3*, with almost 20 horse and rider combinations starting out in the FEI Grand Prix class on Thursday, March 14. The top pairs from there will advance to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle on Friday at 7:30 pm. The FEI Grand Prix Special will be held on Saturday.

The puissance (high jump) competition will be an exciting event at the AGDF this year and is sponsored by G&C Farm. © Sportfot
The puissance (high jump) competition will be an exciting event at the AGDF this year and is sponsored by G&C Farm. © Sportfot

The $35,000 G&C Farm Puissance will be the opening competition on Friday evening at 6 pm and will feature powerful horses competing over the puissance wall to see who can jump the highest for the top prize. Always a popular event, the puissance will be even more thrilling in the intimate arena at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

To add to Friday night’s features, the a capella group, the Yale Spizzwinks(?), will be performing. First formed in 1906, the Yale Spizzwinks(?) are America’s oldest underclassmen a capella singing group. The Spizzwinks(?) – yes the question mark is part of their name! – sing over one hundred concerts every year, entertaining audiences across the country and around the world with the vast diversity of their repertoire of literally hundreds of Spizzwink(?) arrangements. Each and every song is arranged by a member of the group, and they sing everything from Top 40 hits and classic rock to jazz standards and spirituals.

The Spizzwinks(?) have proudly carried on a tradition of musical excellence and camaraderie as one of America’s oldest male choirs. With one eye towards their ninety-nine year history and the other towards the future, they seamlessly fuse tradition and innovation to bring audiences a unique and unforgettable concert experience. In addition to Wellington, the Spizzwinks(?) will travel to South America, China, and Singapore on their singing tour in 2013.

The Florida Youth Championships are another exciting addition to the calendar at the AGDF. The first-time event will provide an opportunity for dressage riders in pony, junior, young rider, and Brentina Cup Under 25 divisions and was created in partnership with Dressage4kids to help them reach the High Performance levels. The classes are also graciously supported by PanaCavallo and the Davis Family.

Ellie Brimmer and Carino H competed in the FEI Para Grade III classes at AGDF. © SusanJStickle.com
Ellie Brimmer and Carino H competed in the FEI Para Grade III classes at AGDF. © SusanJStickle.com

CPEDI competition will feature riders from the Para-Equestrian discipline, a High Performance Sport. Para-Equestrian sport includes all equestrian disciplines practiced by people with physical disabilities. “Para” means parallel to able-bodied equestrian sports. Many disabled athletes are able to hold their ground in competitions designed for the able-bodied, but Para-Equestrian opens the world of competition to riders and drivers with severe disabilities as well, allowing them to compete in a serious, focused environment. Many athletes who participate in Para-Equestrian are quite talented, and some are considered to be among the elite equestrians of the world, regardless of their physical condition. Come visit the AGDF to see these amazing athletes!

Everyone is welcome to attend the WEF Dressage Classic, CDI 3*, presented by Today’s Equestrian & Fellows, at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. There is free general admission every day, including Friday night, so come by to see top sport at its finest!

For more information, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (GDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring five CDIs, including a 5*, the first non-championship CDIO Nations’ Cup in the Western Hemisphere, and nine U.S. national events. The Adequan GDF is offering more than $275,000 in prize money for the five international competitions making it one of the richest circuits in the world. In addition to the CDIs with national competitions, the Adequan GDF will feature six separate national shows to be held at the Stadium section of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) show grounds.  The Adequan GDF encompasses almost 60 acres of the former Palm Beach Polo Grounds. The facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area for the International Arena fully catered for relaxing and having an enjoyable experience.

First Founding Sponsors: Matt Varney, Chris and Rob Desino, Wellington Equestrian Realty; Janet and William Richardson Pearson, Chesapeake Dressage Institute of Annapolis, MD; Devon and Terri Kane, Diamante Farm; Joe and Gaye Scarpa, Magnolia Farm; Tuny Page and Family, Stillpoint Farm; and Kimberly and Frederic Boyer, United States P.R.E. Association

Founding Sponsors: Ashley Holzer and Diane Fellows, Today’s Equestrian; Bethany Peslar, Everglades Dressage; Betsy Juliano, Havensafe Farm; Carol and Rebecca Cohen, Two Swans Farm LLC; Janne Rumbough, MTICA Farm; Mike & Roz Collins; Suhail and PJ Rizvi, Peacock Ridge; and Tim and Susie Dutta, The Dutta Corp.

Corporate Sponsors: Brown Distributing, Champion Equine Insurance, Charles Owen, Chronicle of the Horse, Custom Saddlery, Der Dau, Dever Golf Carts, Equestrian Services International (ESI), Elite Equestrian Magazine, European Dressage Connection, Gold Coast Feed & Supply, Horse Of Course, Horseware Ireland, Interagro Lusitanos, Moet Hennessy USA, Nespresso USA, Paddock Cakes, Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Pennfield, Piaffe Performance, Premier Equestrian, Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, Rolex, Sanctuary at PBIEC, Show Chic, Sidelines Magazine, World Equestrian Brands

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.equestriansport.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Jennifer Benoit Helps Mason Phelps Prepare for The Challenge of the Americas

Wellington, FL – March 9, 2013 – Jennifer Benoit, a USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist, trainer, coach, clinician, certified equine appraiser and licensed USEF judge, is helping Olympian Mason Phelps prepare for his return to the arena.  Phelps and fellow Olympian Debbie McDonald are performing a pas de deux exhibition at The Challenge of the Americas March 9.

Phelps and McDonald agreed to come out of retirement to help The Challenge raise funds for breast cancer research. Benoit volunteered the use of her horse, Oliver Twist, to Phelps for the event and is helping him brush up on dressage skills. Phelps was an Olympic athlete in eventing at the Mexico City games.

“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” Phelps said. “Jennifer has been instrumental in helping me prepare for this event.  She is great at utilizing strategy to get the results I wanted.”

Benoit specializes in using correct training while being fair and honest to help riders set and achieve their goals. “Their riding goals, their competitive goals – it could be any goals they set for themselves,” she said.

Benoit008931Benoit and her husband, Chris, own Seahorse Stables, LLC, of Wellington and offer performance horse sales, boarding, training, clinics, instruction and certified appraisals in a tranquil setting ideally located near all the competition venues. Her philosophy of quality over quantity allows her to focus on the health and happiness of the horses, riders and owners. She specializes in the training, development, conditioning, fitness and performance of dressage athletes and believes riding should be comfortable and enjoyable for both horse and rider.

She is dedicated to classical training, matching horse and rider for long-term success and helping riders to achieve their dreams. She said that sometimes riders need to adjust goals, change the horse’s job or think about the match in a different way, all while working within their personal parameters.

Benoit also specializes in helping people “match up their dance partners.”

“Sometimes people have a horse already but their partnership is just not synching,” she added.  “So, if there’s a way to salvage the relationship, like a marriage counselor, I will do that.”

She said she loves to compete and enjoys helping riders reach their competitive goals, but she also enjoys helping riders who want to have fun on their horses.  “It’s supposed to be fun,” she said.

Benoit008932Benoit’s goal in working with Phelps was to get him show ready for The Challenge of the Americas Saturday night.  The Challenge of the Americas (COTA) Presented by SSG Gloves is known throughout the equestrian world for its spectacular performances on horseback and returns for its 11th anniversary to continue its fight against breast cancer. This annual fundraiser is a one-of-a-kind affair that highlights the equestrian sport of dressage. Competing riders include the “Who’s Who” of top equestrian competitors in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe.

The Challenge of the Americas’ teams of international riders compete in quadrilles to world-class music and choreography in an effort to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer. Proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play For P.I.N.K.

The cause is especially important to Phelps’ pas de deux partner, McDonald.  “After losing my mother and sister to breast cancer, the cause is near and dear to me,” she said. “If we can entertain and sell a few more seats, it is all for a good cause.”

Phelps and McDonald are performing their pas de deux along with The Challenge quadrille teams vying for victory, a reining exhibition, and a mother-daughter pas de deux.  After an award presentation, the Challenge Gala featuring dinner and dancing will cap off the event.

For tickets, contact Mary Ross at (561) 433-0988 or Anglot@aol.com.

To learn more about Seahorse Stables and Jennifer Benoit, visit seahorsewellington.com, call (561) 309-7300 or email jennbenoit@yahoo.com.

The Challenge of The Americas Fast Facts

What:

The Challenge of The Americas (COTA), presented by SSG Gloves, known throughout the equestrian world for its spectacular performances on horseback, returns for its 11th anniversary to continue its fight against breast cancer. This annual fundraiser is a one-of-a-kind affair that highlights the equestrian sport of dressage. Competing riders include the “Who’s Who” of top equestrian competitors in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe.

There are few, if any, places throughout the world where an audience can delight in the performances of such a large and distinguished group of riders and their magnificent equine partners. The Challenge of The Americas’ teams of international riders compete in quadrilles to world-class music and choreography in an effort to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer. Proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through Play for P.I.N.K.

When:

Saturday, March 9, 2013
5:30 p.m.        Cocktails and hors d’Oeuvres
6:15 p.m.        Opening Ceremonies
6:25 p.m.        Reining Freestyles and Pas de Deux
6:45 p.m.        Quadrille Team Challenge
7:30 p.m.        Award Presentation
7:45 p.m.        The Challenge Gala: Dinner and Dancing

Where:

Jim Brandon Equestrian Center
West Palm Beach, Florida
www.pbcgov.com/parks/equestrian/jimbrandon/#.UP1pfqHjmFc

Sponsors:
Back on Track Products
Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock, Inc.
International Polo Club Palm Beach
MatchnRide.com
Merrill Lynch, The Seley Parker Group
Purina Mills
Red Barn Feed & Supply
Samshield
SSG Gloves
Steed Training
Tackeria
United States Dressage Federation
Wellington Classic Dressage

Ticket Information:

Mary Ross
8067 Montserrat Place
Wellington, FL 33414
(561) 433-0988
(561) 251-7945
Anglot@aol.com

Ticket prices:

VIP Tables of 8:
Gold Patron               $6,500 per table
Silver Patron              $4,500 per table
Bronze Patron            $2,000 per table

VIP Individual Seating:
Competition and Gala (includes dinner and dancing)       $250 per person
Competition (includes hors d’oeuvres and cash bar)        $100 per person

General Admission seating $20 per person at the gate
Children 12 and under admitted free (General Admission)

News and Information:
Phelps Media Group
Sue Weakley
skw@phelpsmediagroup.com
(561) 753-3389
12012 South Shore Blvd., Suite 105
Wellington, FL 33414
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Website:
www.challengeoftheamericas.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ChallengeOfTheAmericas

The Challenge of The Americas Beneficiaries:

Play for P.I.N.K.

Play for P.I.N.K. (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) is a grassroots organization dedicated to raising funds to fight breast cancer, by creating and promoting awareness of breast cancer through sporting and lifestyle events including men’s and women’s golf tournaments, tennis, swimming, card games, equestrian events, and shopping benefits.  Our commitment is to contribute 100% of all funds raised to our beneficiary, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. In 2012, PFP donated $4 million to BCRF for a cumulative total of $29.75 million. For more information about PFP, visit playforpink.org.

Website: playforpink.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/playforpink

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Website: www.bcrfcure.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheBreastCancerResearchFoundation

Sue Weakley for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com