Tag Archives: featured

It’s Weber’s World at the Little Everglades International CDE

Team Weber on course during the marathon phase of the Little Everglades CDE, where they took top honors in the FEI Horse Team class. (Photo courtesy of PicsofYou.com)

Ocala, FL (February 27, 2013) – He’s done it again.  Nine-time National Four-in-Hand Champion, Chester Weber, the Ocala, Florida horseman who, in 2008, became the first American to ever medal individually in the Four-in-Hand division of the World Driving Championships, and then repeated that with two medals World Driving Championships last year, earning him another vote of confidence recently from the USEF by being named to its 2013 Driver Training Long List. Weber rewarded that wise choice with an FEI Dressage Test 11 world record (37.87 points) in his first outing of the 2013 season, winning the FEI Horse Team class in front of judges Jambon, Turbe, and Greenall, at the Little Everglades CDE, February 21-24, in Dade City, Florida.

“It seems like a great way to start the season.  We are not resting on this performance.  We have several things to clean up before Live Oak as we prepare for Europe this summer. We would like to be competitive in Aachen, and try to win our tenth National Championship at the Kentucky Classic,” said Weber, whose 2012 winning season included the two medals from the Driving World Championships in Riesenbeck, Germany.  Weber and Team USA secured Team Bronze, and he took Individual Silver with the Dutch Warmblood horses made up of his horses and Jane Forbes Clark’s horses.

For Weber, it’s horses first, world records second: “They were great in the marathon, where our scores were competitive with some of the pairs.”  He was especially praiseworthy of the team’s seven year-old bay KWPN gelding by Talos, Boris W.  “Boris was used all three days on the left wheel and did a remarkable job.”  Boris W was named Four-in-Hand Driving Horse of the Year. “Boris being named the Four-in-Hand Horse of the Year was a great honor,” commented Weber, “and a wonderful way to cap off this remarkable season.”

Last fall, Boris helped drive Team Weber to victory in the Advanced Horse Team class at the Kentucky Classic. Weber had only recently added Boris and his other horse, Ringo, to the team after returning from the World Championships and spending last summer competing in Europe. “I was pleased with Boris and Ringo,” Weber stated, “as the intention of the trip to Kentucky was to develop them while supporting the sport on a national level.”  The decision paid off nicely.  Weber said that the horses improved greatly and their progress in the marathon training was remarkable, as evidenced by the win, as well as the Horse of the Year distinction.

Only after praising his horses did the modest record-setter add, “The test is new to the sport and has not been used at many events until now.  My score is a new record.  It was competitive. It could result in a top three finish at many international events throughout North America or Europe.”

When it comes to scores, Weber can give and receive:  He joined Marsoe LaRose of Canada and Andrew Counsell of Great Britain on the Ground Jury, under course designer Marc Johnson, for the Sunshine State CDE, a Florida Triple Crown of Driving event at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, January 31 – February 3.  “It was a ball. Judging offers a unique perspective, while giving back to the sport.”

Follow the record-setting progress of Boris W and the rest of the combined driving Weber team at www.chesterweber.com and its link to Facebook.

For more information contact:
Chester Weber

Harry & Snowman: Help the Story of the ‘$80 Champion’ Become a Documentary Film

Harry de Leyer jumps Snowman without reins. Photo by LIFE magazine

West Palm Beach, FL – February 6, 2013 – The story of Harry de Leyer and Snowman is one that will be forever remembered in the hearts and minds of those who knew the “eighty-dollar champion.”

“Man O’ War? Secretariat?
Great they were, and are. But my heart belongs to Snowman…”
–CHICAGO TRIBUNE on June 18th, 1973

De Leyer & Snowman were the Cinderella story of late 1950s and 1960s. Snowman was an old Amish plow horse that Harry rescued off a truck that was bound for the meat and glue factory for $80. In less than two years after his rescue, they were the national show jumping champions and had become national celebrities.

Now, thanks to Docutainment Films, director Ron Davis and producer Karin Offield, de Leyer and Snowman’s remarkable saga will be forever commemorated in the documentary, Harry & Snowman.

In the documentary, scheduled to be complete in late 2013, de Leyer and Snowman’s heartfelt story will unfold through the fitting combination of present-day footage of Harry and archival footage from back in the day.

Snowman007890“Harry & Snowman is not a niche movie about the world of show-jumping. It’s a movie about a wonderful human-interest story that will appeal to the masses the way that both Seabiscuit and Secretariat have in the past,” Davis said.

“Horses are fascinating creatures, beautiful and entertaining,” Offield commented. “When the story of Snowman and Harry de Leyer is told on film, the viewers will be amazed. It’s a perfect story.”

In order to create the archival aspect of the film, Docutainment Films is seeking help from the equestrian world to help locate old film footage, stills and newspaper or magazine articles from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, which will be included in the film. Please visit www.harryandsnowman.com for a complete list of what information the filmmakers are seeking and how you can help, as well as a trailer for the film.

Harry & Snowman caught the attention of Documentary Educational Resources, a 501(c)3 organization devoted to furthering the development of documentaries. The organization has stepped up to sponsor the film by allowing interested individuals to make tax-deductible donations toward its creation. Davis encourages those who love de Leyer, Snowman or the story to get involved and be a part of its development. All donors and contributors will be listed in the closing credits of the film and on the movie website.

Snowman007891Ron Davis is an award winning documentary Director and Producer who assembles Emmy and OSCAR nominated teams to develop and produce his films. His first feature documentary, PAGEANT, went on to garner 10 major film festival awards before premiering on The Sundance Channel in 2010. Davis recently completed his first HBO Documentary Film, MISS YOU CAN DO IT, which he directed and produced. The film is scheduled for release this year. Docutainment Films, based in West Palm Beach, FL, is currently in development on several feature length and short documentaries.

To support the film visit the Documentary Educational Resources website at www.der.org/donate/#harry-and-snowman. For more information regarding this Docutainment Films (www.docutainmentfilms.com) documentary or to send footage or stills for the film, please contact Ron Davis at ron@docutainmentfilms.com or 561-228-8885.

Emily Riden 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)

Jared Petersen and Titus 2:11 Earn Back-to-Back Sunday Grand Prix Victories at HITS Ocala

©ESI Photography. Jared Petersen and Titus 2:11 on are a roll at HITS Ocala and picked up their second $50,000 grand prix win in a row this weekend

OCALA, FL (February 25, 2013) – Winning was twice as sweet this week for Jared Petersen and Titus 2:11. After earning the blue in last week’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, Petersen piloted Titus 2:11 to another win yesterday in the $50,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis.

“I have to give all the glory to God. Without him none of this would be possible,” said a faithful Petersen after his victory. Petersen admits that he named his horse after a bible verse hoping that people would ask what the verse says – “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people”.

Thirty horse-and-rider combinations showed up on Sunday primed for a course designed by Canada’s Danny Foster. A series of tests and challenges narrowed the starting list down to eight for the jump-off.

“I thought it was great sport today,” said Foster. “A course starts with just a sheet of paper, but when it’s all said and done, and the end result is an exciting class that rode well, with good horses and good riders, that’s what makes this all special. I think Jared rode great and he deserved it.”

Petersen admits that Foster’s course was both tricky and technical. “I don’t think it was as big as some of the other courses we’ve jumped, but there were some lines where I couldn’t really leave strides out where I would have liked, but it rode well and worked out great,” he said.

First to return in the jump-off was Laura Linback of Mundelin, Illinois aboard Woodrun’s HH Dauphin. Linback rode conservatively and concentrated on posting a clear round. She succeeded and set the Great American Time To Beat at 50.60 seconds. In the end, Linback’s clear round secured the third-place ribbon.

Andre Thieme of Plau Am See, Germany was next to show aboard his own Quonschbob. Thieme, the winner of the 2011 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, was looking for his first victory this season and thought he might have it when he and Quonschbob shaved three seconds off the time to beat to take the lead with a clear round in 47.53 seconds.

Patty Stovel of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania and Carigor Z were next to show and were able to catch Thieme’s time in their own 47.50 seconds. Two rails, however, came down for eight faults and sat them fifth.

Petersen, the 20-year-old rider from Archer, Florida, was next to show and proved that he and Titus 2:11 have what it takes. They rode a neat and fast jump-off to set a new time to beat at 46.78 seconds, which would go untouched for the rest of the jump-off.

“Andre was really fast,” said Petersen. “I knew if I touched the reins anywhere then I wouldn’t make it happen. I did the five [strides] where everyone else did six, and I think that’s what really made it happen.”

Four rides remained as Tricia O’Connor of Connecticut and Michael Kirby’s KT Undercover posted a clear round in 51.32 seconds to earn fourth place. Karen Cudmore of Omaha, Nebraska and Blair Cudmore’s Shea, defending champions of the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, retired from the jump-off to earn eighth place, while Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina and Paddy Ann Burns’ Calando Z and Kyle Timm of Apex, North Carolina and Apex Equestrian Center’s Wadisson were sixth and seventh, respectively.

Petersen and his nine-year-old Holsteiner received a year’s supply of free Strongid C 2X product for their victory, courtesy of Zoetis.

“We will put it to good use for sure,” said Jared’s father and grand prix veteran, Derek Petersen. “We’ve used Strongid in the past and it’s a great choice for deworming.”

Show jumping at HITS Ocala will enter the second half of AA-rated competition this week. The $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix and the $50,000 Ring Power Grand Prix, both presented by Zoetis, return this week as riders from around the world continue to show at HITS Ocala with hopes of qualifying for the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix.

©ESI Photography. Katie Tyler and Seattle 6 rode to a win in the $5,000 NAL Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Medium
©ESI Photography. Katie Tyler and Seattle 6 rode to a win in the $5,000 NAL Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Medium

$5,000 NAL Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Medium

Rhode Island’s Katie Tyler and her own Seattle 6 captured the blue ribbon yesterday in the $5,000 A-O Jumper Classic Medium. The duo rode to the blue ribbon as one of 15 starters on a course designed by Danny Foster. Melissa Rudershausen and her own Ducati earned the second place red ribbon while Sherri Jameson and her own May’s News were third.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • Media_Info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

SBS Farms Continues to Make a Splash with Multiple Championships at HITS VI Ocala Masters

Jennifer Alfano and Timber Ridge rode to the top of the leader board in the Regular Conformation Hunters during HITS VI Ocala Masters. Photo By: Shawn McMillen

Ocala, FL – February 26, 2013 – With the winter circuit halfway over, SBS Farms Inc. has only continued to shine at the HITS Ocala series. Professional rider and trainer Jennifer Alfano has been piloting various mounts to top positions and bringing home tricolor ribbons every week, and the HITS VI Ocala Masters was no different for the exceptional rider. At the end of the week, Alfano had accumulated two more championships, courtesy of famed Jersey Boy and the up-and-coming Timber Ridge.

Alfano and Jersey Boy are the team that can’t be beat. After allowing Miss Lucy, Rose Hill and Maggie May a week to take a break, Alfano was proud to maneuver Jersey Boy around the hunter courses. Jersey Boy put his best foot forward in the High Performance Hunters, riding to three blue ribbons and one second place ribbon, dominating the division and taking the victory. This was Jersey Boy’s first competition since he claimed the derby victory in Jacksonville, FL, during the first week of February. With outstanding courses, he won the first round and cruised to a second place in the handy round to clinch the title with his seemingly flawless performances.

Timber Ridge, owned by Shane George, a recent mount for Alfano, proved to be a worthy teammate, when he captured the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunters this past Thursday. With his dashing good looks, Timber Ridge claimed the blue ribbon in the model. Alfano and Timber Ridge have started to impress the judges and their high placings reflect such. Over fences, the two garnered the blue ribbon, third place, fourth place, and took the third in the handy round. They also were victorious in the under saddle with another blue ribbon.

Earlier in the day, Alfano and Call Me competed in the First Year Green Hunters. Call Me, owned by Susie Schoellkopf and SBS Farms, had consistent rounds, taking home two sixth place ribbons. The pair was also awarded a fourth place ribbon for their efforts over fences. Alfano and Call Me have only shown the past two weeks, but their relationship is continuing to blossom as they prove consistency throughout the division.

Alfano’s final mount for the week was Me Again, owned by Helen Lenahan. The two were the first to compete for the week, showing Wednesday morning. Me Again and Alfano wowed the judges with their skills and were presented with second place ribbon over fences, as well as winning the fifth place over fences.

Based out of Buffalo, NY, SBS Farms’ Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the nation’s most prestigious horse shows. SBS Farms, Inc. continues the proud tradition of the Saddle and Bridle Club as one of the top show stables in the northeast. Schoellkopf is also the Executive Director of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which houses both The Buffalo Equestrian Center as well as SBS Farms. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and gothic style architecture. For more information on SBS Farms and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org.

Media Contact: Kendall Bierer
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389  fax 561.753.3386

Katie Robinson Claims A-O Hunter Championship for World Champion Hunter Rider Week

Katie Robinson and Rock Steady. Photo By: Arianna Delin/PMG

East Aurora, NY and Wellington, FL – February 25, 2013 – Katie Robinson of Deeridge Farms and Rock Steady were at the top of the leader board during World Champion Hunter Rider Week at the Wellington Equestrian Festival. The pair dominated the Amateur-Owner 35 & Over Hunters, clinching the championship honors, the High Score Amateur Award, and the opportunity to compete during the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular under the lights in the International Ring.

Robinson posted the third score in the 90s for the week in the International Ring during the Amateur-Owner 35 & Over Hunters on Friday. Aboard Rock Steady, Robinson had a brilliant handy round, with an average score of 91. Robinson and ‘Rocky’ also had a wonderful first round, earning a second place ribbon. “We have a great relationship and I know him really well,” remarked Robinson. “He loves the handy classes and I do too, so it was really fun. I love this ring; it’s a lot of fun.”

Robinson and the 13-year-old Warmblood have a great relationship and are a team to be reckoned with. “I love riding him at the farm as much as at the horse shows, so trail rides are fun.”

The Amateur-Owners concluded on Saturday in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring, where Robinson and Rock Steady earned the championship in the Amateur-Owner 35 & Over Hunters. In addition to their placings on Friday, a second place ribbon in the stake class and the third place in the under saddle helped them claim the tricolor award.

“Rock Steady was super; he was really great in the International and he was ready to come and play in the other ring,” said Robinson. “WCHR week really is a special week. It’s so nice to be showcased and to get out in the big ring and to feel special. It makes you feel good, and it’s so much fun.”

Later that night, Robinson and Rock Steady earned the opportunity to compete WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. They were honored with the High Score Amateur Award for their score of 91 in Friday’s handy class.

Robinson and Deeridge Farms will continue to compete throughout the 12 weeks of the 2013 Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

Rebecca Walton 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)

Observation Sessions Wrap Up for the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program

Sigrid Wolff and Kodaly, owned by Alex Holland (Cavallis)

Lexington, KY – Two observation sessions for the 2013 Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program have taken place in Wellington, FL February 13-14 and Burbank, CA February 22-23. Between the two sessions, USEF Young Horse Coach Scott Hassler has been able to observe close to 40 young horses. The majority of riders attended the sessions with their personal trainers, allowing them to develop plans for their horses with the help of Hassler. He has seen great improvements in horse quality and an exciting number of promising combinations.

“We had terrific participation,” said Hassler. “2013 looks like a very exciting year with high quality young horses. Several of the combinations have potential to be future international competitors and I am really excited to watch them develop through our pipeline of trainers and programs.”

The goal of these observation sessions is to seek out up-and-coming talented young horses and provide guidance for riders, trainers, and owners. The Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program also includes open training sessions which are conducted in a clinic format and not only focus on the education of young horses but also on the education of those attending the training sessions as auditors. There will be three upcoming training sessions: March 2-3 at Oak Hill Ranch in Folsom, LA, April 13-14 at Rosebrook Farm in Georgetown, MA, and April 27-28 at Oak Hill Farm in Lockport, IL.

For more information on the 2013 Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program or if you are interested in auditing the training sessions, click here or contact Hallye Griffin by email at hgriffin@usef.org or by phone (859) 225-6918.

Coca-Cola Defeats Audi in Overtime to Win Ylvisaker Cup

WELLINGTON, FL – February 25, 2013 — Making its second consecutive championship final appearance, Audi lost a heartbreaking 9-8 overtime decision to Coca-Cola in the Ylvisaker Cup final Sunday at International Polo Club Palm Beach.

The victory avenged Coca-Cola’s loss to Audi in last year’s semifinals knocking them out of the tournament.

The fast-paced, emotionally-charged game was physical and defensive from the opening chukker.

Grand Champions Polo Club-based Audi grabbed an early 2-1 lead in the opening chukker when Mariano Gracida followed up his own long hit towards goal with a short shot to score with 2:39 left.

Audi didn’t regain the lead until the fifth chukker at the 2:16 mark on Nico Pieres’ penalty one goal for a 7-6 lead.

The teams battled back and forth the remainder of the game. Coca-Cola team captain Gillian Johnston tied the game at 7-7 with 58 seconds and seconds later Pieres defended well against a Julio Arellano goal attempt.

At the end of the fifth chukker, Sugar Erskine scored one of his two goals to put Coca-Cola ahead, 8-7.

Audi, known for its second half heroics, came roaring back when Erskine fouled Nic Roldan. Roldan converted the 40-yard penalty shot with 5:42 left in regulation to tie the game at 8-8.

Audi and Coca-Cola had several scoring opportunities throughout the game including the sixth chukker but neither could take advantage because of outstanding defensive plays.

No goals were scored from the field in the final regulation chukker.

Audi's Nico Pieres goes after the ball before a run downfield
Audi’s Nico Pieres goes after the ball before a run downfield

Pieres stole the ball from Johnston and made a run downfield getting the ball to Ganzi, who just missed a cut shot with 1:14 left in the game. Audi had another late scoring run but came up short sending the game into overtime.

A controversial penalty called in the goal mouth after Audi tried to stop Coca-Cola on defense sent Arellano to the penalty line where he converted a 15-yard shot for the winning overtime goal.

“We knew it was going to be that kind of game,” said Erskine, who edged out Tommy Collingwood for Most Valuable Player honors and won Best Playing Pony with Leyla.

Both teams were changing out polo ponies frequently because of fatigue from the fast-paced game and hot weather.

“It was an intense game, it could have gone either way,” said Coca-Cola’s Julio Arellano, the highest rated American player at 9 goals. “Audi played very well. It was two tough teams. There were no easy goals today. Both teams missed goals.”

Said Coca-Cola coach Boone Stribling: “They are a great team. Audi played very well, not to take anything away from them. Nic Roldan is a fantastic player. It came down to the horses at the end.”

It was Audi’s second consecutive appearance in the finals. Audi lost to Crab Orchard in the Joe Barry Memorial Cup.

Roldan, who was averaging nearly eight goals per game, was held to four goals and finished the tournament with 42 goals, the most scored by any player in the 14-team tournament.

Audi team captain Marc Ganzi gets set to hit the ball despite a fractured thumb on his mallet hand
Audi team captain Marc Ganzi gets set to hit the ball despite a fractured thumb on his mallet hand

Nico Pieres added three goals and Mariano Gracida scored one.

Audi team captain Marc Ganzi turned in a gutsy performance competing with both a well-taped fractured thumb, suffered in last week’s CV Whitney tournament opener, and knee injury.

In the George Haas Cup subsidiary final, Port Mayaca defeated Faraway, 9-8 in overtime. Carlucho Arellano was named MVP after scoring five goals including the game-winner. Marianito Obregon’s Portena, a 12-year-old Chestnut mare, was Best Playing Pony.


Wednesday, February 27: Semifinals, 1 and 3 p.m.

Sunday, March 3: Les Armour Cup CV Whitney Subsidiary, 10 a.m.; CV Whitney Cup Final, 3 p.m.


Wednesday, February 27: Semifinal, Piaget vs. ERG vs. Valiente, TBA.

Thursday, February 28: Semifinal, Audi vs. Orchard Hill, 10 a.m.

Saturday, March 2: Les Armour Cup Final, 3 p.m.


Feb. 19 – March 3, CV Whitney Cup

March 5 – March 24, USPA Piaget Gold Cup

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


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

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

Talented Mother-Daughter Pair Prepares Pas de Deux for Challenge of the Americas

Wellington, FL – February 25, 2013 – The Challenge of the Americas unfailingly draws top riders from around the world, and this year’s duo from Canada is no exception. The accomplished mother-daughter pair of Evi Strasser, an Olympian dressage rider and a longtime Canadian National Team member, and Tanya Strasser-Shostak, an up-and-coming Young Rider, will perform a pas de deux at the March 9 event.

Both mother and daughter support the Challenge of the Americas in its effort to raise funds for breast cancer research. “It’s for a very good cause, for breast cancer fundraising,” Strasser said. “I want to support that and be part of it.”

“It’s such a good cause and it’s something that’s affected everybody, or someone that we’ve known,” Strasser-Shostak added.

The pair is choreographing a test that will showcase the best qualities of the two horses they choose for the event. Strasser plans to ride her Grand Prix horse, Action Tyme, while 17-year-old Strasser-Shostak has yet to decide between Dancing Tyme and the Karen Soupcoff-owned Ruby Tyme. Strasser-Shostak, who will take on the challenging task of fitting music to the test, is enjoying her involvement in all aspects of the planning and preparation.

“I’m looking forward to riding whatever horse I’m going to be riding,” she said. “I’m excited to be working on the choreography with my mom, and I’m looking forward to hopefully making the music properly, because it’s something that really interests me. I just think the whole experience is really good.”

Tanya Strasser-Shostak and Dancing Tyme at the 2013 Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge
Tanya Strasser-Shostak and Dancing Tyme at the 2013 Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge

With their extensive competitive experience, the mother-daughter duo fit right in among the renowned international riders who gather at Challenge of the Americas to support breast cancer research and put on a show for spectators. Evi Strasser has been among Canada’s top dressage competitors for the past two decades. Born in Germany, she moved to Canada in 1988 and founded Good Tyme Stables in 1994. She represented Canada at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, riding Lavinia.

In 2003, Strasser helped secure a team Silver Medal for Canada at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, where she also finished eighth individually with Quantum Tyme. She and Quantum Tyme earned the highest result for a Canadian pair at the 2006 World Equestrian Games and also competed at the 2005 and 2007 World Cup Finals. Strasser has often been selected as the alternate for Canada’s teams at such major events as the Olympics and World Equestrian Games. She continues to compete at the highest levels of the sport and collected many top results on the international circuit in 2011 and 2012.

Strasser’s influence on the dressage world extends beyond her own impressive competitive results. She specializes in training young horses up to the Grand Prix level, and several of the horses she’s worked with have gone on to make their marks on the international dressage scene. Hiscox Artemis was the most recent of a number of graduates of Strasser’s program to compete at the Olympic Games. Strasser trained Hiscox Artemis through to the World Cup before selling him, and, with rider Richard Davison, he was chosen as the British team’s individual entry for the 2012 Olympics in London. He also finished fourth in the 2012 World Cup Final.

Strasser-Shostak has already compiled an impressive record and appears poised for another successful show season in 2013. She was the youngest competitor in the Young Rider division at the 2012 FEI North American Young Rider Dressage Championships (NAYRC), where she collected a team Bronze Medal and finished eighth individually on Dancing Tyme. She also rode Dancing Tyme to several top-three finishes in the Young Rider divisions. With Ruby Tyme, she earned top placings in the Junior divisions, including several wins at CDI competitions in West Palm Beach.

Strasser and Strasser-Shostak are in South Florida for the winter competitive season, training and campaigning several of their horses. Strasser-Shostak hopes to return to NAYRC and will try to qualify for the Young Rider World Cup in Europe, while Strasser is taking her time preparing new Grand Prix mount Action Tyme for the international scene.

Strasser-Shostak is looking forward to making her Challenge of the Americas debut after watching her mother perform previously. “I think it’s pretty neat that we can do this one together,” she said. “I used to watch it when I was younger, and my mom participated a couple of years ago in it. It’s something I grew up watching and now I get to be a part of it, and it’s great.”

“Most of the time, you see older people do it and it’s good, I think, that there’s someone a bit younger also in it,” she continued, noting that breast cancer research is an important cause for her generation to support as well.

Strasser, who has ridden at The Challenge of the Americas in previous years, enjoys the event’s electric atmosphere and devotion to the cause. “It’s always amazing,” she said. “It’s always a great turnout. They always do a fantastic job organizing it and really emphasize the reason for why it’s done. Lots and lots of people are supporting it.”

“It’s always a lot of fun to do this with your daughter, and it is always a lot of excitement,” Strasser added. “We really enjoy working together and figuring out what we’re going to do with this and how we’re going to present it. (Show organizers) thought it was a good routine because it’s mother and daughter, and we’re doing this for breast cancer.”

“I think it’s just a fantastic job by all,” Strasser concluded. “I really enjoy doing it.”

For more information about the Strassers, visit their website at www.goodtymestables.com.

To learn more about The Challenge of The Americas, go to challengeoftheamericas.com.

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

Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChallengeOfTheAmericas.

The Challenge of The Americas Fast Facts


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.


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


Jim Brandon Equestrian Center
West Palm Beach, Florida

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

Ticket Information:

Mary Ross
8067 Montserrat Place
Wellington, FL 33414
(561) 433-0988
(561) 251-7945

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
(561) 753-3389
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Jay Land and Nepal Win the $35,000 Nutrena Grand Prix

Gulfport, Mississippi [February 24, 2013] – What a day for Jay!  Jay Land and his own Nepal galloped away with the win in the $35,000 Nutrena Grand Prix today under perfectly clear skies and seventy degree weather at the Harrison County Fairgrounds and Equestrian Center.

Twenty horses took to the course designed by Michel Vailancort but only six returned for the jump-off.  Devin Ryan of Long Valley, New Jersey was first to go aboard Eagle Valley Partners, LLC’s Zosja *** and went clean in a time of 85.289 seconds. However, they incurred eight faults and a time of 37.817 seconds in the jump-off round which would finish them in fourth overall.  Second to go was Theo Genn of Lebanon, Ohio, riding Thomas Bruinsma’s Paradox *****.  The pair incurred four jump faults and a time of 84.309 seconds which would not qualify them for the jump-off, but placed them in tenth overall.  The next fastest four fault round was Bryn Sadler of Santa Fe, New Mexico riding Showcase 81 LLC’s Bon Giorno which, after earning a time of 80.670 seconds, would place them in eighth overall.

Devin Ryan returned to the grand prix field, this time aboard his own Calissandro, and after accumulating four faults and a time of 82.842 seconds, would finish in ninth place overall.  Theo Genn also returned to the arena, this time aboard his own Cola and qualified for the jump-off with their fault free round in a time of 85.753 seconds.  Although they went clean in the jump-off, their time of 42.640 seconds would put them in second place overall.  Next to go was Kelsey Van Ackeren of Austin, Texas riding her own Vernon G, but with four faults and a time of 87.368 seconds, the duo would place twelfth overall.  Bob Brawley of Flower Mound, Texas, riding DDM Equestrian, LLC’s Obelix, was the next clean round in the grand prix field with a time of 86.868 seconds.  Their jump-off round resulted in eight jump faults and a time of 39.389 seconds which would finish the pair in fifth overall.  Jay Land of Alpharetta, Georgia was next to go aboard his own Nepal and secured a clean round with a quick time of 86.806 seconds.  His subsequent clean jump-off round in a time of 39.107 seconds would win the class overall.

Click here to see Jay Land and Nepal’s winning jump-off round.

Devin Ryan again tackled the course, this time aboard No Worries, owned by Barbara Rowland, and went clean with a time of 82.808. But after an unplanned dismount in the jump-off round, the pair would finish in sixth place overall.  Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama, winner of last Sunday’s $35,000 Adequan Grand Prix, rode Triompf, owned by Loretta Patterson, to a clean first round in 84.945 seconds, but after accumulating eight faults in 36.548 seconds in the jump-off round, would settle for a third place finish in today’s grand prix. Wilhelm Genn of Lebanon, Ohio riding his own Happy Z had four jump faults in his first round in a time of 80.112 seconds which would finish the pair in seventh place overall.  Son Theo Genn followed, this time aboard Bridlebourne Stables LLC’s Winchester, but with four faults in a time of 86.471 seconds, would finish in eleventh place overall.

“Michel [Vailencort] did a great job,” commented Land, “The course was very technical in some places and it took a very scopey and adjustable-strided horse and today, Nepal was really adjustable and he really jumped well. It was his day,” he smiled. “Nepal is an Argentine horse and we’ve had him since he’s been five.  My daughters and I have all brought him along, shown and won on him.  We call him our ‘utility player’ and lucky for me, today I got to ride him,” he added.

“There’s a tough group here. It’s always hard to win. The Genns are here and they have at least six or seven in a class; Holly [Shepherd] is here and she won last week. And, this is probably the only time we haven’t seen Wilhelm in the jump-off for how many years?” he laughed. “But he had his son Theo in there, and he gave me a good run.”

Land continued, “Luckily this week I got to go after them; the first week I had to go in front of them all and didn’t have the advantage to see how they all rode it.  Today I didn’t go as fast as possible, but fast enough to keep the pressure on,” he said.

“It’s obviously great to be in the winner’s circle.  It’s fun to be my age, doing what I love – it’s really great,” said Land.  “We had a bad accident at the end of the circuit last year and I’m just getting back now. It’s nice to be back,” he added.

Land continued, “This is such a great friendly place and everyone is so nice to us. Our girls have grown up riding here and we’ve had a good time. This is as good as show jumping as you would want to do and we’re just happy we’re here!” he added.

Don’t forget, tomorrow night is the Exhibitor Happy Hour at Gulf Coast Classic’s sponsor, the Beau Rivage.  Complimentary food, drink and entertainment will be offered to Gulf Coast Classic exhibitors from 6 to 8 pm tomorrow night.  After the rave reviews from last week, you won’t want to miss it!

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

Andrew Bourns and Gatsby Win $50,000 Hermès Jumper Derby in an Irish Sweep

Praise and Sheila Motley Win Big as World Championship Hunter Week Concludes at the FTI WEF

Wellington, FL – February 24, 2013 – The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival concluded its seventh week of competition, sponsored by Hermès, with action at two parts of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Sunday. At The Stadium, Irish riders Andrew Bourns, Darragh Kenny, and Shane Sweetnam swept the top three in the $50,000 Hermès Jumper Derby with a win for Bourns and his mount Gatsby. In the International Arena, Praise and Sheila Motley won the Peggy Cone Memorial WCHR Adult Hunter Classic. Tina Allen and French Kiss were victorious in the $5,000 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter Classic.

Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England, set a demanding track for Sunday’s jumper derby that featured 20 numbered obstacles, including the derby bank, table bank, open water, devil’s dyke and more. The number of challenging natural obstacles along with the length of the course and the heat of the day tested the stamina of all of the horses and riders competing. With only two clear rounds completed in the faults converted format, speed was key, and the top three riders finished with just three one-hundredths of a second separating them.

Andrew Bourns and Gatsby went third in the order and cleared the course in 138.27 seconds to take the early lead. Two rounds later, Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm, LLC’s Little Emir had the time well in hand in 134.30 seconds, but a rail cost them four faults to eventually finish third in 138.30 seconds. Luis Larrazabal (VEN) and Gustavo Mirabal’s G&C Lepanto were even faster in 131.17 seconds, but had two rails down to finish fourth with a final time of 139.17 seconds. Darragh Kenny took the second place prize with Hays Investment Corporation’s Any Given Sunday. The pair had a total time of 138.29 seconds with time taken after a refusal at the devil’s dyke.

Winning horse Gatsby is a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion by Simba x Cruise On. Andrew Bourns purchased Gatsby four months ago in Ireland and just recently brought him over to the U.S. This is the pair’s fourth week showing together and they have had consistent results.

Watch an interview with Andrew Bourns
Watch an interview with Andrew Bourns

“I am very happy for him today,” Bourns stated after the class. “It was a big ask and I think it was a big step up for him and he really answered the call. I was a little worried about the length of the track and the heat. I thought it might take its toll, but he actually held up very well. Coming to the last fence he was pulling me just as hard as he was to the first fence. I was very happy with that.”

“He has never shown on this field before,” Bourns added. “Our relationship is very new, the combination is very new, so we are still trying to figure each other out. There were a few moments on the course where it got a little bit hairy, but he stayed careful and he just kept trying right away to the end.”

Bourns did not think that his time would hold up with the horses and riders that followed in the class, but he knew that he had a great round.

“I thought it was a fantastic round and I was extremely happy with the horse,” he stated. “I was very confident in a top two or three finish. I did not realize it would be as close as it was. When Darragh was coming down the last line I really thought he had me and then he stopped. As the class went on, I realized the track was quite tough and it wasn’t riding as easy as we thought, so I got more and more confident. When you are talking hundredths of seconds, it is very hard to be confident that you are going to win a class right until the very end.”

“I am glad I was as fast everywhere because there was nothing in it,” Bourns reflected. “It was right down to the wire. For even the top four spaces, it was so close. Over a track that length, you have to be a little bit relentless. You have to keep being fast everywhere because it is so long and it is such a large amount of time to stay riding. It was a big ask, but I think a lot of the horse and everything I have done so far he has been very consistent and extremely brave.”

Second place finisher Darragh Kenny was also very happy with his mount, Any Given Sunday. Despite a stop on course the pair still had one of the fastest times.

“My horse was brilliant,” Kenny praised. “He did everything I wanted, even probably faster than I expected. I didn’t even school any of these jumps or test the waters at all, so he was really brave. I was a little bit too fast to the dyke and I probably should have showed it to him first. It shocked him a little bit the first time and I just spun right around. He was fantastic. He is a super horse and he is so easy and brave. It was really simple for him. He stayed really careful at a really fast speed and tried so hard. It makes my life easier.”

Third place finisher Shane Sweetnam has had a lot of success with his experienced mount Little Emir, including the same placing in this class last year. Sweetnam noted that he had a fast time last year as well and ironically had the same jump down, but he was very happy with his horse.

“He was a good boy and he really tried hard,” Sweetnam stated. “My speed was good enough. I thought that I might still have them with one down, but I think I might have gone a bit wider up on the bank than I did last year. I was still very happy with him. He gives you everything when he goes in there, so he doesn’t owe me much. I thought it was a good class and a good crowd.”

Bourns agreed that the class was a real crowd pleaser. “Any time a class goes down to the wire with such a tight margin, it makes it fun for everybody. It was thrilling,” he noted.

“I have to thank the sponsors as well,” Bourns added. “Thank you to Hermès. I think they did a very nice job and I hope they all had a nice time. We put on a good show for them.”

Praise and Sheila Motley Win Big Again as World Championship Hunter Week Concludes at the FTI WEF

Praise and Sheila Motley. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography
Praise and Sheila Motley. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography

World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week came to a close Sunday afternoon with the $5,000 Peggy Cone Memorial World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Adult Hunter Classic. Praise and Sheila Motley bested a field of 56 over two rounds of competition during the fiercest week of competition for hunter divisions during the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF).

Praise, an eleven-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Garber, and Motley were the pair to beat after a high score of 85 early on in round one and secured their victory with an 87 as the final trip in round two. With an overall score of 172, the pair edged out second place finishers Arriana Boardman and Gatsby by only a quarter of a point.

Motley returned to the show ring during the 2013 FTI WEF after taking time off to have her son, Collins. Motley is happy to be back in competition, especially aboard a horse as spectacular as Praise. The pair has is currently first in the FTI WEF circuit standings for the La Mundial Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Section B division after taking home an extraordinary four championship titles.

“I have a great horse in Praise. He’s done the derbies with Kelley [Farmer] and Holly [Orlando] for a couple of years, so there’s nothing like having one of those horses under you going into the Adults. I couldn’t be more thankful to Ken and Selma Garber for letting me show him down here all circuit,” Motley stated.

Although Motley and Praise have been unstoppable in the ring every week at the FTI WEF, Sunday’s victory was especially significant. “WCHR week is the most prestigious week for hunters. Missing champion [Saturday] was a little bit of a let-down, so I couldn’t be happier,” Motley commented.

Praise and Motley led the class after round one, but were last in the arena for round two as they chased Boardman and Gatsby’s first place standing. “Arriana is a great rider and [Gatsby] is a wonderful horse, so I knew that she was going to be good. I was maybe little more nervous than I would have been ordinarily. When you have other great riders like that with you, it makes you rise to the occasion,” Motley acknowledged.

Not only is Motley managing to juggle motherhood with the demands of showing, she also runs her own event management company in Wellington. She credits the team at Lane Change Farm with enabling her to remain competitive at a high level.

“It’s all about the people you ride with. You have to be able to show up and trust that the horse has been prepared and if you have the right team with you, there’s no need to worry. I hire the right people for my business, and Kelley and Larry [Glefke] do the same,” Motley described.

While Motley’s professional life will continue in high gear, Praise will be enjoying a well-deserved slow down from showing while he continues being marketed to be bred. “Maybe he found some dates today. He’s on the market; he’s dating!” Motley joked.

Tina Allen and French Kiss. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography
Tina Allen and French Kiss. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography

The $5,000 WCHR Amateur Owner 3’3″ Classic was the final class held in the International Ring on Sunday afternoon. Tina Allen and French Kiss won the class with an overall score of 168.5. French Kiss, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding, was in third place after round one of competition with a score of 82 and came back late in the second round with an 86.5 with Allen in the irons.

“French Kiss felt great; it was his second time in the International Arena this week. He felt comfortable on Friday and again today,” Allen described. “The courses rode nicely; they felt a little ‘handy-ish.’ The turns keep his interest. The ring is beautiful and the fences are all inviting.”

French Kiss and Allen have been showing at the FTI WEF for most of the 2013 circuit, picking up reserve championship honors in the FarmVet Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3″ 36 and Over division just last week. “He’s been really consistent and I’m really happy with him,” Allen commented.

Like the rest of her fellow competitors, Allen takes extra pleasure in winning during the hunters’ biggest week at the FTI WEF. “It’s special for sure to win this week. I’m really happy to have won today. Everyone loves competing during Hunter Week and it draws a big crowd,” Allen concluded.

Florida Children’s and Pony Classics were the final rounds of WCHR competition during week seven. Francesca Dildabanian and Larkspur earned the top prize for the $2,500 Children’s Hunter 14 and Under Classic with a combined score of 176. Larkspur is a twelve-year-old Oldenberg gelding owned by Ashley Whitner. Gabriella Hurtadorode Dragonfly, an eight-year-old Oldenberg gelding, to a blue ribbon finish in the $2,500 Children’s Hunter 15-17 Classic with an overall score of 165.

The winner of the Large Children’s Pony Hunter was Chatsworth and Emma Kurtz. Chatsworth, a nine-year-old Dutch Riding Pony gelding owned by Victoria Press, jumped to a final score of 168 with Kurtz in the irons. Sophia Marino and her own Posh, a thirteen-year-old Welsh Pony/Connemara cross mare, emerged victorious in the $2,500 Small/Medium Children’s Pony Classic with a combined score of 163.

The $2,500 Large Pony Hunter Classic was topped by Daisy Farish and her own Beau Rivage, a seventeen-year-old Holsteiner/Welsh Pony cross gelding. The pair won the class with a total score of 174. Emma Kurtz collected another first place prize aboard Grand All Over in the $2,500 Medium Pony Hunter Classic. Kurtz rode Grand All Over, a fifteen-year-old Welsh Pony gelding owned by David Gochman, to a winning overall score of 176. Farish also championed the $2,500 Small Pony Hunter Classic aboard Further Lane Farm’s Rolling Stone with a final score of 170. Rolling Stone is a fifteen-year-old Welsh Pony gelding.

Week eight of competition for the FTI WEF, sponsored by G&C Farm, runs February 27 – March 3, 2013 at the PBIEC in Wellington, FL. 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