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Andreani and Cavallaro Win in Braunschweig Showdown

Italy’s Anna Cavallaro on Harley, lunged by Nelson Vidoni, wins FEI World Cup Vaulting Final. Photo by Daniel Kaiser.

Lausanne (SUI), 19 March 2013 – World Champion Nicolas Andreani (FRA) and eight-time national champion Anna Cavallaro (ITA) celebrated their victories last weekend at the FEI World Cup Vaulting 2012/13 series Final, which took place within the international equestrian event Löwen Classics in Braunschweig (GER).

Andreani, vaulting on Carlos and lunged by Elke Schelp-Lensing, was crowned champion with 8,829 points, just 37 points ahead of Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz, while Cavallaro on Harley lunged by Nelson Vidoni secured her first international triumph with 8,972 points, a healthy 304 points ahead of Switzerland’s Simone Jäiser.

A dream comes true for Andreani

Andreani, now 28 years old, fulfilled his dream of winning his first FEI World Cup Vaulting Final after coming close in 2011, when he was beaten in the second round by then World Champion Patric Looser (SUI).

However, his success was not without drama. Just two days before the Final, Andreani had to switch horses because his 16-year-old gelding Just A Kiss suffered an injury. His compatriot Ivan Nousse stepped in and they both vaulted on Carlos.

“I came to win,” Andreani announced assertively before the competition. He also wanted to give the packed arena an emotional performance. Personifying an eccentric painter, he did just that while demonstrating perfect gymnastic ability and style. “I am so happy,” he said at the press conference. After thanking Elke Schelp-Lensing (GER), he added: “Carlos is a fantastic horse. Vaulting on him was amazing. I am now focusing on the FEI Open European Vaulting Championships in Ebreichsdorf in Austria this August and the World Equestrian Games in Normandy next year, where I will have a brand new performance theme.”

Thomas Brüsewitz, who finished on 8,792 points, and third-placed Ivan Nousse, who was bronze medalist at the FEI World Vaulting Championships for Seniors in Le Mans last year and scored 8,591 points in Braunschweig, also performed impressively at the Final.

“This feels amazing,” said 18-year-old Brüsewitz. “In my first freestyle I had two mistakes. My mount on was not great, and also a jump was not clear. But in the second round I had nothing to lose, and I was able to concentrate better on the details of my movements.” Lunged by Irina Lenkeit on 22-year-old Airbus, a very experienced horse which competed at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 in Kentucky (USA), Brüsewitz showed his dynamism, strength and original handstand elements, which won rapturous applauds from the audience. “Thomas showed the full potential of his huge talent,” said German national coach Ulla Ramge. “He really impressed me with his ability to focus on the essentials at the right moment. We are very proud to have such a great athlete with a big future.”

Italy takes the Final

Italy’s 26-year-old Anna Cavallaro was ecstatic after winning the third FEI World Cup Vaulting Final, following in the footsteps of Simone Wiegele (GER) who won the inaugural Final in Leipzig in 2011 and 2012 champion Joanne Eccles (GBR).

She was a clear favourite for Braunschweig, after taking the top spots at the qualifiers in Munich, Salzburg and Leipzig with 15-year-old Harley and lunger Nelson Vidoni.

With her virtually error-free and outstanding performance to the song “Time to Say Goodbye” by Andrea Bocelli, she comfortably won both rounds.

“After three wins I really hoped for victory at the Final,” said Cavallaro. “This success is very good for Vaulting in Italy – it really helps the sport when one vaulter wins such an important title.” One of the first people to congratulate her was Italian Equestrian Federation President Antonella Dallari. “My phone rings the whole time!” laughed Cavallaro at the press conference. “It’s a nice feeling to win. I hope to repeat it soon.”

Second-placed Simone Jäiser (SUI), lunged by her mother Rita Blieske on Luk, finished on 8,668 points after her burlesque-style choreography by Daniel Kenel to music by Christina Aguilera. Showing a huge number of elements – 22 in total with all transitions – and an impressive theatrical performance in a striking black and purple outfit, she really made an impression. “The FEI World Cup Vaulting is very important for our sport,” explained the 26-year-old from Zurich. “The series not only helps us to develop our skills as vaulters, but it also helps us to gain acceptance as a key equestrian discipline alongside the Olympic sports.”

Germany’s wild card Jennifer Braun, currently ranked second nationally and lunged by Verena Rosenkranz on Willow, finished on 8,477 points, beating off several international vaulters. “I can’t believe that this has really happened. My aim was not to be last, and in the end I have a podium spot! Now I’m hungry for more,” smiled the 20-year-old.

Braunschweig – “breathtaking” Final

“We are delighted with the success of the FEI World Cup Vaulting Final here in Braunschweig,” said Löwen Classics Director Axel Milkau. “It was breathtaking to see what the vaulters were capable of, and everyone was very impressed. We should keep campaigning for this sport.”

“The vaulters, lungers and horses were clearly very well prepared for the Final and this resulted in outstanding performances,” explained Bettina de Rham, FEI Director, Vaulting, Driving & Reining. “We introduced a warm-up competition for the first time at this Final. This allowed the horses, lungers and vaulters to get used to the big arena and the public, and proved to be a winning formula. The arena was packed throughout the Final and the enthusiasm was incredible. Vaulting is getting the recognition it deserves and we are now looking forward to organising the next series.”

FEI World Cup Vaulting 2012/13 Final – Facts and Figures:

The top 6 male and female vaulters after 5 qualification legs competed at the Final

Wild Cards were allocated to Thomas Brüsewitz (GER), Lukas Heppler (SUI) and Jennifer Braun (GER)

15 competitors from 7 nations competed with 11 horses and 10 lungers

Highest score: 9,056 points (1st round) for Italy’s Anna Cavallaro

FEI World Cup Vaulting Final 2012/13 results:

View female results here.

View male results here.

By Daniel Kaiser

FEI Media Contacts

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 33

Umbilical Hernia, by Geoff Tucker, DVM

March 19, 2013 – She was a nurse in a local hospital and wasn’t even a client of mine, but fate had found us together in a barn one afternoon looking at a weaned foal about 4 months old.

The owner of the young colt had asked me to look at a swelling on his abdomen and one look at it was all I needed to make a diagnosis of an umbilical hernia.  I gently swept my fingers along his side and made my way to the ventral midline just in front of his sheath.  The enlargement was a bit bigger than a golf ball and soft but not painful.  The umbilicus was in the center of it and with gentle pressure, I could push the abdominal contents back into the cavity where they belonged leaving only the cord emanating from the middle of a hole in the abdominal wall.

I stood up and began my dissertation to the client as if a “play” button had been pressed on a recording device.  Explaining how umbilical hernias are formed, I made a ring with my thumb and forefinger pressing their tips together then placing them flat against my tummy.  Using my other hand, I pinched my shirt and pulled a bit of it through the finger loop.

“In development of the fetus,” I started, “the walls of the abdomen are actually far apart with the intestines free to float outside the body.”  I looked at the audience seeing I had the attention of the owner and a few others, but the nurse had a look of already knowing what I was saying as she continued to fuss about the outside of the stall.  I pressed on.

“Before birth, the walls of the abdomen close together on the ventral midline sealing the cavity closed around the umbilicus.  However, sometimes the process doesn’t complete.”  I focused attention on my fingers surrounding the tuft of shirt and as I pulled at the material, I said, “The omentum and even the intestines will protrude through the abdominal wall just like the shirt is protruding through my fingers.”

“The solution is to perform surgery to close the hole by bringing the open walls together,” I said with finality.  This is when the nurse grabbed my attention.  With a quick eye, she leveled my gaze and stated, “That’s old school, Doctor.  What we do is wrap the abdomen, compress the abdominal contents into the abdomen, and allow the walls to close by themselves.”  Saying with authority, “It works like a charm.”

I reflected back on my instruction at veterinary school and my experience with anesthetizing young horses in the field, laying them on their backs propping them with bales of hay and as their feet dangled vertically upside down, I quickly performed the surgery that eliminated the hernia.  While I never had a complication from the surgery, I did perform the surgery on my own filly and from that day forward, after recovering from anesthesia, she hated me.  Seriously hated me.  So my feelings for doing surgery on an upside down horse was open to change.

“Tell me more,” I asked the nurse.  Other nurses I had talked with over the years had led me to great ideas I still use today in my practice and I had become trusting of their advice.  She told me that physicians had found that if the obstruction of the closing edges of the abdominal wall was removed, the edges came together quickly.

I immediately acted on the plan that was unfolding in my mind.  I grabbed from the truck two rolls of 4 inch Elastikon and a handful of 4×4 gauze.  I unrolled about three feet of Elastikon and placed it over the colt’s back firmly attaching the glued surface over his back.  Then reaching under the belly, I grabbed the roll on his off side and continued to unroll it over an inch thick stack of gauze which was accurately placed over the hernia.  Bringing the roll up his near side, I completed the loop around his body then continued four more times in a figure eight with the cross point of the figure eight over the umbilical hernia.

Two weeks later and one bandage change and several patches of lost fuzzy foal hair, the hernia was completely gone.  I never did another surgical hernia repair and every hernia I wrapped resolved in about two weeks.  The lesson I learned on the day the nurse lent me her knowledge was something I carry with me every day.  Listen to others – always be learning.

We are grateful for you selecting horsemanship based equine dentistry for your horses.  Equine Dentistry without Drama is truly in the best interest of your horse.

Doc T
www.TheEquinePractice.com

Piaget Makeshift Lineup Nearly Knocks Off ERG; Now Preparing Horses for U.S. Open

Piaget’s Juan Bollini goes for the big hit downfield with ERG defenders bearing down. Photos – Alex Pacheco.

WELLINGTON, FL – March 18, 2013 — With one of its 10-goalers, Sapo Caset, home in bed with the flu, Piaget team captain Melissa Ganzi and coach Joey Casey put together a lineup that nearly knocked off ERG.

Ganzi sat out the game to enable 5-goalers Juan Bollini and Lucas Lalor to make up for Caset’s 10-goal rating. The team newcomers joined the remaining Piaget lineup, 10-goaler Miguel Astrada and Nacho Badiola.

The team needed the first half to jell, but once the foursome got the chemistry going, the USPA Piaget Gold Cup main stadium contest at International Polo Club Palm Beach turned into a game.

Grand Champions Polo Club-based Piaget lost a hardfought 7-6 decision to ERG, in one of five USPA Piaget Gold Cup games on Sunday. It was both teams’ final 11-team tournament appearance.

ERG will compete in Thursday’s Butler Handicap Tournament semifinals that also features Grand Champions Polo Club made Audi.

Piaget got balanced scoring. Lalor and Badiola each had two goals. Astrada and Bollini each scored one. Tincho Merlos scored a game-high four goals for ERG.

Piaget is now looking ahead to the Maserati U.S. Open that begins Thursday, March 28th at IPC.

“This was more of a game to get the horses ready for the Open,” Casey said. “We were just trying to conserve horses to move on to the Open.

Piaget's Lucas Lalor about to bring the ball downfield to his teammates
Piaget’s Lucas Lalor about to bring the ball downfield to his teammates

“Play, but if you feel a horse get tired, get off; don’t wait for the right time; go ahead and get off,” Casey said.

“We could have won it,” Casey said. “We changed horses a few times which normally we wouldn’t have done. That probably cost us a goal or two. We are looking at the big picture now.”

Badiola, at 23 and making his IPC high goal debut this season, was outstanding on defense turning in one of his better games of the tournament. “He is playing well,” Casey agreed.

In another Sunday game, Audi lost a 16-10 decision to Zacara. The game marked the return of Audi team captain Marc Ganzi, sidelined for three games nursing a broken thumb and knee injury.

The victory earned Zacara (3-0), one of only three undefeated teams remaining, a berth in Wednesday’s semifinals, joining Lechuza Caracas (3-0), Alegria (2-1) and defending champion Valiente (3-0).

In Wednesday’s semifinals, Lechuza Caracas plays Zacara at 2 p.m. and Valiente will meet Alegria at 4 p.m. The winners advance to Sunday’s championship for the second jewel of U.S. polo’s Triple Crown.

In the other three Sunday games, Lechuza Caracas defeated Orchard Hill, 13-11; Zorzal beat Coca-Cola, 12-11, in overtime and Alegria topped Mt. Brilliant, 7-5.

Alegria earned its berth into the semifinals in a shootout after the main stadium game. Alegria won its first shootout with Zorzal, 7-6, to advance into the semifinal qualifier shootout.

Alegria and ERG then tied in the first round of the semifinal qualifier shootout, 4-4. Alegria won in sudden death when Julian Mannix scored the winning shot.

AUDI/PIAGET TOURNAMENT LINEUP

Thursday, March 21: Butler Handicap Semifinal, Audi vs. TBA, noon.

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

March 28 – 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

Grand Champions Polo Club Hosts Buzz Welker Tournament; Sponsoring Two Youth Events at IPC

WELLINGTON, FL – March 18, 2013 – Grand Champions Polo Club is helping to develop and promote youth polo throughout the year by sponsoring and hosting several tournaments.

Grand Champions is the title sponsor of two Polo Training Foundation Youth Player Program events in March and April.

The first event is on Friday, March 22, at International Polo Club Palm Beach at 4 p.m. The Grand Champions Cup will feature advanced level players, ages 16-21.

On Friday, April 19th, Grand Champions will also host the Santa Rita Cup, also at IPC.

In the Grand Champions Cup, sixteen players will compete on four teams. The teams will play two chukkers apiece to determine the final and consolation round teams.

Players are Marcus Alberdi, Enrique Barco, Michael Bellissimo, Wesley Bryan, Juancito Bollini, Matias Sosa, Chase Schwartz, Jared Zenni, Matt Coppola, Justin Daniels, Clemente Devrient, Wesley Finlayson, Tomas Alberdi, Lauren Biddle, Mili Galindo and Jonny Lavine.

Youth polo will be in the spotlight once again on Monday, March 25th when Grand Champions Polo Club plays host to the annual Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament.

Many of the players entered are the next generation of sons and daughters of current men and women polo players.

“The kids are amazing,” said Piaget player-sponsor Melissa Ganzi, co-host of the event with her husband, Marc. Both are team captains of pro teams Piaget and Audi, respectively.

The tournament is named in honor of Buzz Welker, a former polo player who shared his love for the game with anyone who would listen, from experienced to novice players.

Before his life ended, Welker played in 16 countries and played with several celebrities including Prince Charles, the Sultan of Brunei and Tommy Lee Jones.

Welker died from an aggressive form of cancer on Nov. 27, 2006 at age 69. He was the founder and leader of the Franklin Polo Association and headed major polo clubs in Texas, Florida and Dominican Republic.

The tournament begins 3 p.m. Trophies will be awarded at 6:30 p.m.

Advanced players will compete first followed by intermediate and lower levels. There will also be a walk-trot and lead-line for young children to end the day at 6 p.m.

Those entered include:  Agustin, Hope and Lucas Arellano; Blake Ashcroft; Mia, Miguelito and Tonia Astrada; Benjamin, Joaquin and Santiago Avendano; Jacobo Bacariza; Nikola and Sasha Bahlsen; River Blake; Santos Bollini; Malia Bryan; Adolfito and Mia Cambiaso; Jacqui Casey; Javier and Maria Celis; Matteo and Pierre Chaux; Brandon Cochrane; Matt Cohen; Benjamin, Justin and Landen Daniels; Anthony Devrient; Lucas and Nicolas Escobar; Buhl and Elizabeth Fenner; Oliver Firestone; Grant and Riley Ganzi; Bryce Gardiner; Carl Gittens Jr.; Bryce Gardiner; Richard Gollel; Matias Gonzalez; Christos and Santino Magrini; Carlos Martinez; Jack McLean; Olivia, Segundo, Santos and Tincho Merlos; Josh Odrich; Benjamin Quiroga; Lorenzo and Lucianna Ramirez; Finn Secunda; Donovan Stratemann; Boone Stribling Jr.; Alyssa Tranchilla; Cinderella and Malicia Von Faulkenhausen; Christian and Mackenzie Weisz.

Defending 2012 champions are: Division I, Mighty Mallets; Division II, Grand Champions I; Division III, County Line Feed; Division IV, Grand Champions II; Division V, The MorningLine; and Division VII: Tackeria II.

The Florida Junior Polo Program currently allows participation up through the age of 15. A new aspect of the program has added the Young Players Program for players ages 16-21, an age group that has been overlooked in the past. During the 2013 season, the PTF Young Players Program will have one tournament game a month.

BUZZ WELKER MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT

Where: Grand Champions Polo Club, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road.

When: Monday, March 25, 2013.

Time: 3:00-6:30 p.m.

Information: Call 561-753-3389. Free admission. There are great field side views for tournament action. Please provide your own chair. Dogs should be on leashes. Everyone is welcome to watch polo’s future players.

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

Andre Thieme Makes Germany Proud in $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix

©Flying Horse Photography. Andre Thieme and Contanga 3 were the faster of two clear rounds in the jump-off of the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix.

OCALA, FL (March 18, 2013) – Andre Thieme didn’t think it was Contanga 3’s day when they were one of nine pairs to return to jump off yesterday in the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, at HITS Ocala. “I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to be fast enough, but when everyone started having rails, I reconsidered,” he said. “I am very happy with my horse’s performance.”

Mexico’s Florencio Hernandez built the track that 48 pairs rode on Sunday, which included 14 obstacles with three double combinations. In front of a packed VIP tent and exuberant crowd that stacked the grandstands at HITS Ocala for the richest class of the season, Thieme was first to return to the short course. He and Contanga 3 finished in 50.51 seconds, topping one of the largest grand prix fields HITS Ocala has ever seen.

Thieme was crowned Pfizer Million champion in 2011 after riding Aragon Rouet to a historic victory. Thieme knows good horses after he and Aragon Rouet rode to the richest prize in show jumping over one of the most difficult courses he will ever face, but he admits that Contanga 3 is rapidly becoming one of the best horses he has ever ridden. “She is young, but very experienced,” he said of the nine-year-old mare. “She has had a very successful winter and I am so surprised at how far she has come.”

While Thieme considers whether the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties September 8 is in the mare’s future, he admits that she will need some more development. “I know that course. I know how hard it is,” he said. “I will only bring her if she is absolutely ready and, with as scopey as she is, she might be ready in six months.”

In the jump-off, the only rider to challenge with another clear round was Aaron Vale of Morriston, Florida. After winning Thursday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, Vale and Zippo II, owned by 2VR Showjumpers, were fifth to go in the second-round order and were just over a second shy of the win with a time of 51.73 seconds.

“My horse jumped great today. I just never quite found a rhythm in the jump-off,” Vale remarked. He has seen much success in the big money at HITS Ocala and was also second in last year’s $100,000 grand prix.

Third went to Megan Wexler of Reddick, Florida and Procedure, Inc.’s Cadence. They were the fastest in the jump-off with a time of 48.72 seconds, but picked up a heartbreak rail at the final fence, the plank coming home, for four faults. Wexler, however, wasn’t the only one to find trouble at the plank. The diabolical fence also ruined clear rounds for Callie Morgan Smith of Bernardsville, New Jersey on Captain Krutzmann and Thieme with Seth Vallhonrat’s Catharina 9.

Thieme had four horses in the grand prix and made it to the jump-off with three, finishing fourth on Catharina 9 with a four-fault, 51.48-second round. He was also seventh on Quanshbob and finished out of the money with Klitschko. Thieme owns both horses.

Capping the top five, 17-year-old Michael Hughes piloted Christina Fried’s MacArthur to a time of 51.66 seconds with one rail down.

Thieme will return to Germany after a successful winter circuit and, and after some well-deserved time off, will again join the German Nations Cup Team. “I have had a great season in the states, but I miss my family and can’t wait to get back to them,” said Thieme who will make the trip back to Europe, $30,000 first-place check in hand, where his wife and six-year-old son wait.

This year’s event is the second consecutive season that Sullivan Buick GMC has sponsored the richest grand prix of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, making it possible for HITS to deliver significant prize money to East Coast competitors.

The $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, wrapped up the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit on a high note as attention now turns north and riders take aim at qualifying for the Zoetis Million. The coveted million dollar class will take place during HITS Championship Weekend September 6-8 and will welcome some of the world’s most accomplished riders for the fourth-annual event.

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

Audi Eliminated in USPA Piaget Gold Cup, Will Play Butler Handicap Cup on Thursday

Audi 8-goaler Nico Pieres goes for the neck shot. Photos – Alex Pacheco.

WELLINGTON, FL – March 18, 2013 — Audi played well against Zacara, but not well enough to remain alive in the USPA Piaget Gold Cup.

The Grand Champions Polo Club-based Audi, down by five goals early in the game, roared back to tie the game only to lose, 16-10, in one of five USPA Piaget Gold Cup games Sunday at International Polo Club Palm Beach.

It was Audi’s second loss of the 11-team tournament, finishing 2-2 in its bracket.

Audi defeated Zorzal and C. V. Whitney champion Alegria during the tournament. Other bracket members Mt. Brilliant and Coca Cola finished winless at 0-4.

Audi will compete in the subsidiary Butler Handicap Cap semifinals on Thursday against an opponent still to be announced. The game is scheduled for noon. The final is Sunday.

Team captain Marc Ganzi returned to the Audi lineup after missing three games nursing a broken thumb and knee injury.

Audi team captain Marc Ganzi returns to the lineup after missing three games nursing a broken thumb
Audi team captain Marc Ganzi returns to the lineup after missing three games nursing a broken thumb

“It was just a series of unfortunate events in the game,” Ganzi said. “Once again it’s the second game in a row where we felt like we played really well from the field.

“We outshot the other team and statistically our time of possession and throw-ins were in our favor but the scoreboard wasn’t in our favor again. It continues to be a little frustrating.

“We played a good tournament,” Ganzi said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed about with our performance. From the field we are playing pretty good polo. We have a couple of things to fix in terms of our heads a little bit and get our heads focused on polo and not worry about the third parties that can affect the game.”

Ganzi played well despite still nursing injuries.

“It feels great to be back,” Ganzi said. “I’m not 100 percent but I’m on the field trying to help my team as much as possible. It felt pretty good out there. I made some good plays and made maybe one or two dumb plays.”

Audi fell behind early. Zacara outscored them in the opening two chukkers, 6-2, and were trailing 7-2 early in the third chukker before Audi started chipping away at the lead.

Audi’s Nico Pieres scored four goals, all on penalty shots in the third and fourth chukkers. Jeff Hall tied the game at 8-8 with 3:11 left in the fourth chukker enabling Audi to outscore Zacara, 3-0, in the fourth.

“At that moment we were not that good, mistakes and penalties, and they were playing well,” said Zacara’s Facundo Pieres, playing against his brothers Gonzalito and Nico, all former teammates with Ganzi on the 2009 U.S. Open champion team. Pieres scored a game-high eight goals.

“I think because we were winning so good we started making mistakes and they started coming back,” Pieres said.

Zacara team captain Lyndon Lea injured his hip in the fourth chukker and was replaced by 14-year-old Matias Gonzalez, a Polo Park Middle School eighth grader.

“My leg got caught and got pulled backwards,” Lea said. “I tried to get back on but I couldn’t ride or use the right side of my body so I couldn’t stop the horse.”

The 20-minute injury timeout seemed to stall Audi’s momentum and rhythm in the fifth chukker when Zacara regained its composure and outscored them 5-1.

“It’s unfortunate that Lyndon got hurt,” Ganzi said. “He tried to play again and couldn’t come back. That was bad luck. Lyndon is a fierce competitor and friend. You never want to see a friend not be able to finish a game.

Nico Pieres hits the ball in mid-air on a neck shot to his brother Gonzalito Pieres
Nico Pieres hits the ball in mid-air on a neck shot to his brother Gonzalito Pieres

“We had a 20-minute wait. I think it hurt a little bit. Sitting on the side for an extended period doesn’t really help the team that much. We had a bit of bad luck in the fifth; we missed a couple of goals and made a couple of goals. We had a very, very tough call at the end of the fifth chukker that was very frustrating.

“Two of their players collide and our guy is coming from behind and has the line. I don’t understand how it’s not a foul so it’s a bit frustrating. Our guy is going the other way and it’s a chance for us to get the game back to within two goals going into the sixth. But instead your focus in the sixth chukker is thinking whether or not you have the line. You are very tentative and frustrated. The game got out of hand for us.”

“We knew as soon as we did a couple of things good that we had our chances,” Pieres said. “It is a huge win because we are in the semifinals and this is what we wanted. I think we had three good games except for one chukker in this game.

“It’s always hard to play against my brothers, not because they are good players but because they are my brothers,” Pieres added.

The victory earned Zacara (3-0), one of only three undefeated teams remaining, a berth in Wednesday’s semifinals, joining Lechuza Caracas (3-0), Alegria (2-1) and defending champion Valiente (3-0).

In Wednesday’s semifinals, Lechuza Caracas plays Zacara at 2 p.m. and Valiente will meet Alegria at 4 p.m. The winners advance to Sunday’s championship for the second jewel of U.S. polo’s Triple Crown.

“I am delighted that we won,” Lea said. “The team is playing well. Audi is a very good team. We have some moments where we go blank but the team when it’s playing well can beat anybody.”

Added Ganzi: “They are a good team. Mike Azzaro is playing well above his handicap and with confidence. That team has a ton of confidence.”

It was the second time during the 26-goal season a team called upon a teenager to sub for an injured player. Wellington High senior Juancito Bollini played three games for Ganzi.

“Hopefully, organizations like Zacara will give young players like Matias and Juancito and a ton of good kids coming up in Wellington the chance to play,” Ganzi said. “It’s the only way these guys are going to get good.”

In the other four Sunday games, ERG edged Grand Champions Polo Club-based Piaget, 7-6, in the main stadium game; Lechuza Caracas defeated Orchard Hill, 13-11; Zorzal beat Coca-Cola, 12-11, in overtime and Alegria topped Mt. Brilliant, 7-5.

Alegria earned its berth into the semifinals in a shootout after the main stadium game. Alegria won its first shootout with Zorzal, 7-6, to advance into the semifinal qualifier shootout.

Alegria and ERG then tied in the first round of the semifinal qualifier shootout, 4-4. Alegria won in sudden death when Julian Mannix scored the winning shot.

BUTLER HANDICAP AUDI SCHEDULE

Thursday, March 21: Semifinal, Audi vs. TBA, noon; Maserati U.S. Open draw.

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

Thursday, March 28: U.S. Open begins, schedule, pairings to be announced.

AUDI/PIAGET TOURNAMENT LINEUP

March 28 – 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
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Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O Are Regal in FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle at WEF Dressage Classic, CDI 3*

Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

Davis, McKean, and Derr Win Inaugural Florida Youth Championships; Jordan Is High Point Rider at Para-Equestrian

Wellington, FL – March 17, 2013 – The WEF Dressage Classic, CDI 3* presented by Today’s Equestrian & Fellows wrapped up competition today at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. The highlight class was the FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle, with Caroline Roffman (USA) and Her Highness O taking the top prize. The Florida Youth Championships presented by Dressage4kids and sponsored by PanaCavallo wrapped up with awards in four divisions, and the Para-Equestrian competition had their presentations to honor the top teams and individuals. The Adequan Global Dressage Festival continues next with the Wellington CDI 5* presented by Diamante Farms on April 4-7, 2013.

For the FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle, there were seven entries. Winning the class with a score of 75.125% was Roffman and Her Highness O, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare by Hohenstein x Weltmeyer. Second place went to Christilot Boylen (CAN) and Dio Mio with a score of 74.650%, while Kimberly Herslow (USA) and Rosmarin were third with 73.125%.

Roffman, who owns and runs Lionshare Dressage in Wellington, FL, with Endel Ots, has owned Her Highness O for three years. She found the mare after her career as a broodmare. Despite little knowledge under saddle, she thought the mare was “pretty special,” and developed her with then co-owner Jennifer Lind. She purchased her outright this past August. “I have to thank Jennifer Lind for letting me do that. She made it possible,” Roffman said. The pair won the Developing Horse championship last year. This is only their third CDI international small tour and it was their first freestyle together.

Roffman remarked, “I have to say thank you to Terri Gallo because that freestyle is five years old and it works with every horse. All my stars fell and aligned today because it was not exactly the most well-prepared test! It’s a really great mare and I’m very lucky to have her.”

Despite her small stature at 16 hands and Roffman’s height at six feet, they work well together when Her Highness O enters the show ring. “She’s very small, (but) she will never let you know that. She is true to her name. She thinks she’s queen and everyone should bow to her. When you tack her up, it’s like she has an alter ego. She has a lot of pride. I think she’s happy not be a brood mare anymore. I think she really likes being a show horse and wants to be treated a certain way. Her character is awesome,” Roffman described.

While the canter is noted as a slight weakness for Her Highness O by Roffman, today’s freestyle helped. “It’s not a bad canter, but she gets a little tense. Teaching her changes was difficult because she was so hot. Surprisingly today, the changes on a bent line actually helped. I think she was wondering where we were going. It was really a freestyle today!” Roffman smiled.

Roffman believes that Her Highness O has the capability to do the Large Tour test. “Her best qualities are piaffe and passage. I believe in her a lot. What she may not have in talent, she’ll make up for in heart,” she explained. “She wants it as much as I do. She doesn’t like being second in the awards ceremony.”

Inaugural Florida Youth Championships Help Young Riders

The Florida Youth Championships presented by Dressage4kids and sponsored by PanaCavallo were a great success with winners in four divisions. The program is to help young dressage riders gain experience and education for the high performance levels.

The winner of the Brentina Cup class was Julie McKean of Camden, ME. She and Stelina had a total of 64.617. McKean has been riding Stelina for a year and a half, and they have had success in the Brentina Cup at the national championships, placing sixth. “I’m really excited because our partnership has come a long way. We’re riding with a new level of consistency,” she said.

McKean looked forward to competing in the classes at the AGDF. “I was really motivated to be in this particular CDI because I hadn’t ridden in front of a full panel of judges since Devon. I need to get my feet back in international waters! It was a confidence builder for me because we went in and put in a really steady test, pretty clean. We have to work on maintaining uphill balance and I feel that we did that.”

Bebe Davis and Rotano. Photo © SusanJStickle.com
Bebe Davis and Rotano. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

Fifteen-year-old Bebe Davis of Bedminster, NJ, captured two top prizes. She and Poldy 10 won the FEI Pony Division with a total of 67.763, while Rotano was tops in the FEI Junior Division on a total of 66.009. Davis and Poldy 10, who is 17 years old, are in their second season together in Florida. They won the national championship title in 2012 and were champions at Devon. “He’s my favorite pony; I love him so much. I brought him last minute and I’m really glad I did. I was nailing everything and it’s all coming along so well. My hard work is paying off. He’s just the best.”

This is Davis’ first season in the junior division and showing with Rotano. “I’m just starting to get to know him and how to warm him up,” she said.

Davis was excited to participate in the Championships. “In dressage, the young riders is not as big of a program. To see people care about what we do and appreciate it for all the hard work we put in, it’s really great. This weekend was about learning for me,” she related. “I’m learning to keep riding every single show like it’s no big deal. If you show your horse to the best of their ability and ride to the best of your ability, it’s really going to pay off. You end up being happy with yourself because you’ve done the best that you can do, regardless of the score.”

Alexa Derr, who is 18 and from Reinholds, PA, won the FEI Young Riders division with Just Livingston with a total of 63.991. They have only been together since November. Derr noted, “My goal was to have a clean test and to really work on some of the areas that I have been having difficulty with, like canter pirouettes and lateral work. It’s his strong point, but not always mine. I was really wanting to have a nice, polished, expressive test.”

Derr is a participant in the Winter Intensive Training Program with Lendon Gray, who heads the Dressage4kids program. What Derr enjoyed most about the program and today’s championship was the support from all of her fellow competitors. “For me, that was really such a cool feeling to have all the support and be able to support everybody else. I felt like everyone was there for each other,” she said. “It didn’t feel like a championship; it felt like everybody was out there to do their personal best and have fun with it as well.”

Para-Equestrian CPEDI Helps Riders Qualify for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

The CPEDI competition finished up today and had awards ceremonies for the grade winners as well as the team competition and overall high point. Canada won the team competition with a total of 399.598 from riders Lauren Barwick on Off to Paris, Jody Schloss with Inspector Rebus, Ashley Gowanlock and Ferdonia 2, and Lynne Poole with Vasco E.

In today’s Freestyle classes, the winners were:

Grade Ia – Jody Schloss and Inspector Rebus, 69.000%
Grade Ib – Ashley Gowanlock and Ferdonia 2, 68.417%
Grade II – Lauren Barwick and Off to Paris, 68.667%
Grade III – Eleanor Brimmer and Carino H, 64.333%
Grade IV – Mary Jordan and Sebastian, 70.583%

Mary Jordan, of Wells, ME, was named the High Point Rider with Sebastian, a horse owned by Deecie Denison that she has been riding for two years. “I needed a horse with world-class gaits. We had an instant chemistry,” she recalled. “She’s been very supportive of letting me ride him and train him. We campaigned heavily leading up to the London Paralympics.”

While the pair just missed competing as they were the alternates for the Paralympics, Jordan has learned and grown with Sebastian and her trainers, Jessica and Missy Ransehousen. In addition to working full-time as a feed representative for Cavalor in New England and raising a 16-year-old, she has competed in Para-Equestrian since 2009.

“I had been competing in dressage and three-day eventing my whole life. Eleven years ago I was the third person in my family diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. My father was a quadriplegic that I never saw stand or walk. I had some challenging times when I was first diagnosed, but I got really proactive about my health,” Jordan explained. “Then I found out about Para-Equestrian. It was always my goal to ride for my country, like every other little girl that ever lived! But it was a new door that opened to me. It’s been so much fun. I’ve been blown away by the Para experience.”

Jordan rode her own homebred horse at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), and her goal is to compete at the 2014 WEG. Showing at the AGDF has helped her get a qualifying score. “It’s such an amazing facility and the footing was wonderful,” she expressed. “We can’t thank everyone enough for opening the doors to US Para. It’s our first qualifier for the WEG. We have so few three-stars in the country, so we’re extremely grateful as riders to have a facility to come to and have a feeling of European competition here with some of the best riders in the world.”

For full results and 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

Wonderful Will Takes Everyone by Surprise with Super Victory in Last Rolex Qualifier of the Season at Den Bosch

David Will won today’s pivotal final leg with Colorit at ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Photo: FEI/Dirk Caremans.

‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED), 17 March 2013 – When David Will wakes up on the morning of his 25th birthday next Thursday, he may still be scratching his head about what happened in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands this afternoon.  Because although he is well-known on his national circuit in Germany, and contributed to his country’s victories in the FEI Nations Cup at Linz, Austria in 2011 and at Wellington, Florida last year, not even he could have expected to leave the elite of the sport floundering in his wake as he galloped to victory in the last qualifying leg of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2012/2013 Western European League series today.

Following a nonchalant first-round performance he went through to the nine-horse jump-off in which he crushed his considerably more-experienced opponents with another superb cruise around the track.  He has just one top horse, the grey stallion Colorit which owner Klaus Isaak has entrusted to him for the past year, but this bright new star rider has broken into the big league after today’s result which left Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander and the brilliant Itot du Chateau having to settle for runner-up spot while three-time Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping champion, Germany’s Marcus Ehning, finished third with Copin van de Broy.

Ehning remarked afterwards that he wasn’t entirely taken aback by Wills’ winning performance. “I know David; he is a very fast rider and he has beaten me already a few times, so this is not the first!” he insisted.  Will couldn’t hide his delight however, hardly daring to believe in what he had achieved. His expression of pure amazement as, one by one, his former superiors all fell short of his extraordinary target-time in the jump-off said it all.  “I wasn’t sure I was going to win until the very end,” said the rider whose career now looks set on a whole new trajectory.

Very Clever

Ehning describing the first-round course set by Dutchman Louis Konickx as “very clever”.  He said, “It was really fair, with great distances, but horses had to be really under control, and the last fence was a bit of a joker.”  It was no laughing matter for the two who made it all the way there only to put it on the floor however – Finland’s Maiju Mallat with Urleven van de Helle and reigning FEI European Champion Rolf-Goran Bengtsson from Sweden with Quintero la Silla who both seemed destined to make the cut into the timed round.

Konickx set them questions from outset, with the snaking line from the triple bar at three to the vertical at four and the oxer at five requiring a good eye and absolute accuracy. This was followed by a right-hand sweep to the narrow FEI vertical at six which was followed on four easy strides by the triple combination with a tight inside distance between the first two elements and a much longer stretch to the oxer on the way out. There was little time to prepare for the oxer at nine following the vertical at eight, and fence 10 hit the floor regularly as balance on approach became an issue.  The double at fence eleven came up quickly off the following left-hand turn and the long five strides to the penultimate oxer at 12 was the undoing of many.  But the bogey final vertical was always going to prove problematic, located just past the entrance to the arena and curving away at an uninviting angle. Time and again horses hung back on the approach and didn’t have enough jump left to clear it.  Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum and his promising nine-year-old, Zinedine, however were foot-perfect all the way only to fall foul of the 71 seconds time-allowed to pick up a single penalty and this proved good enough for tenth place in the final analysis.

Competitive Pathfinding Round

Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson set the pace against the clock with a competitive pathfinding round from H&M Tornesch who left all the poles intact in 36.68 seconds. The first three fences remained the same, but the triple bar was followed by a long run to the narrow vertical at fence six which was now jumped in the opposite direction before riders turned across the top of the arena to tackle the double and then cut sharply back to the new vertical at fence 16.  From there there was a formidably long gallop down the full length of the arena to the final Rolex oxer, and, second to go, Will never flinched, looking the quintessential professional as he shaved over a second off Baryard-Johnsson’s time when clocking 35.73 to the undeniable amazement of the crowd.

Two horses later the super-speedy partnership of Edwina Tops-Alexander and Itot du Chateau looked set to relegate the young pretender as they curved closer on every turn-back and angled the penultimate vertical.  But the clock showed 35.84 seconds as they crossed the line, so Will was still out in front when Dutchmen Jur Vrieling (VDL Bubalu) and Marc Houtzager (Sterrehof’s Uppity) each collected four faults. There were still three to go as Ehning set sail on one of his classically smooth runs, but again he was 0.95 seconds slower than Will, and when Silvana HDC and Frenchman Kevin Staut hit the first element of the double and last man in, the home side’s Gerco Schroder, didn’t push New Orleans out of his comfort zone it was all over.  Will would be the man taking centre stage.

Unassuming

The unassuming 24-year-old, whose parents Sonja and Martin run a riding school at Chiemgau in Bavaria, trains and works with Dietmar Gugler who coaches young riders and produces horses from his equestrian centre near Frankfurt. Will has had Colorit for just over a year. “I got him last February and our biggest win before this was in the Grand Prix at Munich last year,” he explained.  “We were also third in the Riders Tour and he is a great horse, very consistent, and he places in nearly every Grand Prix he competes in,” the rider added.

When asked about his plan in today’s jump-off, he said, “I just tried to be as fast as I could. I wasn’t sure I was going to win until the very end with all the big names coming after me, especially Edwina – in the end the difference was just the blink of an eye!” he pointed out. And his plans for the future after his sensational result today?  “I’m going to Japan to compete there next week,” he explained, “and my ambition is to go as fifth rider to some of the Super League shows so that I can prove myself and get more experience,” he added.  He has little to prove after today however having beaten so many of the best in the game, fair and square.

Very Satisfied

Talking about the show, Gert Jan Swinkels, President of Indoor Brabant, said, “The organisers are very satisfied and we would like to thank Rolex who have been with us for a lot of years.  We have had 64,000 spectators this year and a really good atmosphere so it was a perfect show.  We said goodbye to Salinero here yesterday but Anky (van Grunsven) has decided to become a member of our Board of Directors so we are very pleased and can expect a lot of good things to come from that.”

FEI Commercial Manager, Frederique Martin-Baste, confirmed the result of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2012/2013 Western European League qualifying series, pointing out that although he finished in 19th position, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson will join his Swedish counterparts Malin Baryard-Johnsson, Henrik von Eckermann and Jens Fredricson at the Rolex FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg in a few weeks’ time because Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander, who holds 18th place, qualifies from her own region.

The stage is set for a fantastic end to a brilliant series, but this evening was all about the emergence of a new German star in the shape of David Will who once again demonstrated the unpredictable nature of the great sport of Jumping.

For further information on round 12 of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2012/2013 series at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, go to website www.indoorbrabant.com or contact Press Officer Denise van der Net, Email info@denisevandernet.nl or Tel +47 959 26 347.  The Rolex FEI World Cup Final 2012/2013 will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 24 to 28 April 2013.  For all information on the Swedish fixture, check out www.gothenburghorseshow.com or contact Press Officer Mayvor Thorin, Email mayvor.thorin@gotevent.se, Tel +46 31 368 43 49.

Result:  1, Colorit (David Will) GER 0/0 35.73; 2, Cevo Itot du Chateau (Edwina Alexander) AUS 0/0 35.84; 3, Copin van de Broy (Marcus Ehning) GER 0/0 36.68; 4, H&M Tornesch (Malin Baryard-Johnsson) SWE 0/0 36.78; 5, New Orleans (Gerco Schroder) NED 0/0 38.41; 6, Silvana HDC (Kevin Staut) FRA 0/4 36.31; 7, Steffehof’s Uppity (Marc Houtzager) NED 0/4 37.35; 8, VDL Bubalu (Jur Vrieling) NED 0/4 40.50; 9, Challenge V. Begijnakker (Ludo Philippaerts) BEL 0/8 36.34; 10, Zinedine (Ludger Beerbaum) GER 1 fault in first round. Full result here.

Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2012/2013 – Standings after Round 12 at ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED):

  1. Sergio Alvarez Moya ESP – 75
  2. Christian Ahlmann GER – 72
  3. Kevin Staut FRA – 72
  4. Pius Schwizer SUI – 70
  5. Luciana Diniz POR – 61
  6. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum GER – 60
  7. Marcus Ehning GER – 59
  8. Edwina Tops-Alexander AUS – 54
  9. Malin Baryard-Johnsson SWE – 53
  10. Denis Lynch IRL – 53
  11. Marc Houtzager NED – 51
  12. Henrik von Eckermann SWE – 50
  13. Jens Fredricson SWE – 48
  14. Gerco Schroder NED – 48
  15. Penelope Leprevost FRA – 48
  16. Roger-Yves Bost FRA – 47
  17. Hans-Dieter Dreher GER – 46
  18. Steve Guerdat SUI – 44
  19. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson SWE – 43
  20. Nick Skelton GBR – 37

Facts and Figures:

‘s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands presented the last opportunity for riders in the Western European League to collect points towards qualification for the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final which wlll take place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 24-28 April.

38 horse-and-rider combinations, representing 15 nations, started in today’s competition.

Course designer was The Netherlands’ Louis Konickx.

13 fences in first round with four verticals standing at maximum 1.60m – fences 4, 8, 10 and 13.

Youngest horses in today’s competition were both nine-year-olds – the KWPN bay gelding Glock’s Zaranza (Karandasj x Heartbreaker) ridden by Austria’s Robert Puck and the KWPN chestnut stallion Zinedine (Guidam x Heartbreaker) competed by Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum.

The oldest horse in the competition was Cevo Itot du Chateau, the 17-year-old Selle Francais chestnut gelding (Le Tot de Semilly x Galoubet A) ridden by the lady holding No. 5 position on the current Longines Jumping rankings, Australia’s Edwina Alexander.

10 mares, 13 stallions and 15 geldings competed in today’s class.

9 horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the second-round jump-off against the clock.

Just one rider picked up a single time fault – Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum who slotted into tenth place with Zinedine.

Quotes:

David Will – “This was not my first World Cup Grand Prix; I was allowed to ride in Stuttgart last year and had one down. It is a very different experience at this level if you come from 3 or even 4-star shows.”

Edwina Tops-Alexander, talking about today’s jump-off – “I had a great shot from fence one to two and three, to the next fence, the FEI fence it was a long 8; I almost thought I could do it on 7 but it was quite long. I got a good shot to the double and vertical – David did 6 there and I did 7 – but I was not quite good enough on the turn to the last – that’s where I lost it and he won it!”

To view the complete FEI World Cup Jumping Calendar, please click here.

To view the Longines World Rankings, please click here.

FEI TV: Review all the action at www.feitv.org

FEI YouTube: http://youtu.be/7pt2punY84I

by Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Press Officer: Denise van der Net
Email: info@denisevandernet.nl
Tel: +47 959 26 347

At FEI
Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Email: grania.willis@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 78 750 61 45

Cheltenham Gold Cup, England

March 16th 2013 – Quarter of a million racing enthusiasts descended on Cheltenham last week, Britain’s premier jumping racecourse, for the four day Annual Festival, the pinnacle of the National Hunt racing season. Irish trainers launched their usual formidable challenge with 599 Irish trained entries and finished marginally ahead of Great Britain, winning 14 of the 27 races.

Festival week culminated in the much coveted Gold Cup, bringing together the ‘best of the best’ in a bid to win a slice of £550,000 prize money. Popular Irish jockey Barry Geraghty rode eight year old ‘Bobs Worth’, the 11/4 favourite to a gutsy seven length victory. In a bizarre sequence of events Barry bought the horse as a yearling for 16,500 Euros and owned him for two and a half years before selling him to his current trainer, Nicky Henderson. No one has ever bought, sold and then ridden the same horse to victory in The Gold Cup before.

Amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen made the running on the 2011 winner ‘Long Run’ (also trained by Henderson) over 22 fences, pushing stamina to the limits on the taxing 3m 2f trip. Champion jockey AP McCoy chased in hot pursuit on ‘Sir Des Champs’, eventually finishing second before ‘Bobs Worth’ drew clear on the uphill run in. The win gave Lambourn based trainer, Nicky Henderson, two reasons to celebrate, this being his 50th Festival win in a training career spanning 35 years.

On a day of highly charged emotions, Barry Geraghty dedicated his victory to amateur jockey and friend, J. T. McNamara, who was critically injured in a fall earlier in the week.

By Lynn Lawson

Florida’s Own Kate Conover Dominates $50,000 East Meets West Hunter Challenge

©ESI Photography. Kate Conover and Trendy on their way to a victory in the $50,000 East Meets West Hunter Challenge.

OCALA, FL (March 17, 2013) – East Coast hunter riders went to bats with their West Coast rivals Saturday in the highly-anticipated $50,000 East Meets West Hunter Challenge, where Kate Conover rode to first and second-place honors. Conover, of Ocala, Florida, piloted Caroline Kellogg’s Trendy to the win and James Johnson’s Kingston to second.

Challengers from both HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida and HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California rotated rounds in a “battle of the coasts” that was evaluated by two sets of judges – Pat Boyle and Brian Lenehan in Florida and Keith Hastings and Alex Talmage in California.

“I have never done something like this before, so it was a little nerve-racking, but it went beautifully,” said Hastings. “It was definitely a new vantage point to view the class from a television screen, but it was still clear that we had a great group of horses out there. The quality of horse and rider was great and it’s obvious that classes like this bring out the best in our sport.”

A live simulcast connected the two sets of judges watching on high definition monitors while the audience watched the events play out on the opposite coast with ringside scoreboards. Furthering the cutting-edge nature of the class, off-site spectators were able to get in on the action, thanks to a live webcast provided by Galopando TV and iEquine.com. Karen Manning, a frequent HITS competitor and horse-sport fan, was able to tune in from her home in Connecticut and watch the goings on at both HITS Ocala and Thermal. “I felt like I was at the horse show – I didn’t miss a single thing,” she said. “Seeing our sport delivered to the masses like that is a very exciting step in the right direction.”

The class reinvented the bi-coastal concept first employed by HITS from 1999-2001 when the company staged the industry’s first simulcast event between in Florida and California. In the early days of the class, California saw great success, but Florida surely made its comeback this time around.

“It is always great for hunters from all over the U.S. to get to compete against each other,” said Tom Struzzieri, HITS president and CEO. “The combination of the big prize money, the unique format and the added benefit of points counting for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final in Saugerties next September made for a very special hunter experience.”

Conover was leading on Kingston with seven left to show, including her trip with Trendy, who entered as the second-to-last trip of the day prior to Calabasas, California’s Jenny Karazissis. “Jenny is one of the top riders in this sport, so I knew that I really had to lay it down – I couldn’t leave her any room,” said Conover.

And lay it down she did, earning a 95 on the East Coast and an 89 on the West, for a combined score of 184 for the win. Her 178 with Kingston was good enough for second. With Kingston, she earned a 90 from East Coast judges and an 88 from the West Coast panel.

“My goal this week was just to make it to today’s final round.  Going late in the class was a huge benefit – I was able to watch or hear all the scores coming out of both Ocala and Thermal,” said Conover. “HITS continues to give away huge purses to hunters – something that is so rare in our sport. Aside from the money; the course was great, the jumps were fun and getting to compete against riders from the West Coast was especially exciting.”

Leading the West Coast contingent was Karazissis aboard Kelly Straeter’s Undeniable. They rode to a combined score of 177, just shy of second place. “This horse was champion this week in the First Year Greens, so I felt like there was a bit of pressure on me to do well. We were really focused on making it to the final round today and he did great – there is not a thing I don’t like about him,” Karazissis said of Undeniable, a 6-year-old Warmblood that she has been riding only since the beginning of the HITS Desert Circuit.

“I have been looking forward to this class since I first heard about it and I wanted so badly to make it to the final round and get to ride in the Grand Prix Field against the east,” said Karazissis. “So often West Coast riders have to go east to be able to compete against those riders, so to be able to stay here and still ride with them was so different and exciting.”

Also representing the West Coast, Taylor Ann Adams of Calabasas, California, who has spent her fair share of time competing in the east, faced some of her old rivals and rode to fourth with Elizabeth Reilly’s Small Celebration. They earned a combined score of 171 – an 85 from the East Coast panel and an 86 from the West. Capping the top five was East Coast rider Greg Crolick of Auburn Hills, Michigan. He piloted Carson, owned by Orchard Lake Farms, LLC, to an East score of 87 and West score of 80 for a combined score of 167.5.

With the conclusion of the $50,000 East Meets West Hunter Challenge, attention will now turn to the big-money offerings scheduled for Sunday. In Ocala, the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, will take the stage, while the coveted AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix, presented by Lamborghini Newport Beach, final arrives.

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