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Hardin Towell and Lucifer V Win $40k US Open CSX FEI Speed Class at Central Park Horse Show

Photo: Hardin Towell and Lucifer V.

New York, NY – September 21, 2017 – The second day of the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS) featured international and national show jumping competition, showcasing top equestrians from around the world on Thursday, September 21, in the heart of New York City’s Wollman Rink.

The evening was presented by CSX, highlighting the $40,000 U.S. Open CSX FEI Speed Class, which saw a win for Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V, as they opened elite show jumping competition for the week. The evening’s competition also featured the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance, which saw Emanuel Andrade (VEN), Kama Godek (USA), and Todd Minikus (USA) split the victory three ways after each cleared the traditional brick wall at a height of 6’9″ inches. The $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Class was topped by Mimi Gochman of New York, NY aboard Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s entry, Avoloma BH.

Guilherme Jorge (BRA), course designer of the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, returns to Wollman Rink as the show jumping course designer for this week’s national and international competition. The U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class saw 30 horse and rider combinations take to Wollman Rink for their first night of competition, including some of the world’s very best, highlighting rounds by Kent Farrington (USA), and McLain Ward (USA), alongside rising talent Lucy Deslauriers (USA), who finished in a competitive fifth place.

The winner of the U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class, Hardin Towell (USA), guided Evergate Stables’ Lucifer V, a 2006 Westphalian gelding (Lord Pezi x Grandina), improving upon the pair’s third place finish last year and crossing through the timers in 53.53 seconds. Towell was the last entry on course and ultimately overtook Daniel Bluman (ISR) aboard Bacara D’Archonfosse, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare (Asca Z x Queen D’Archonfosse) owned by Kim Douglas and Alexa Schwitzer, who stopped the clocks in 55.75 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Bijous Van De Vijfheide) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, rounded out the competition in third place, finishing in 55.98, adding four faults to their converted time.

“I felt the course was nice. It had a twisty turning start, but it wasn’t so big and my horse has been jumping big classes all year,” he said. “Tonight was a very competitive class, but I had a lot of confidence in my horse, so I took some shots and it was fantastic. I felt he was pretty quick to the second to last jump, and I thought my turns were nice. Last week at Gold Cup I only got third, but I didn’t trust my horse or myself through the first line and in the second line I had the third jump down. I would’ve ended up third even if I’d gone clean, so today I decided to believe in my horse. I felt fast today and I knew it was quite good.”

Towell and Lucifer V have been partnered together for several year and amassed top finishes around the globe in international competition. The pair has excelled during the summer season and Towell felt that the size and structure of the ring helped the duo secure the win and spoke to the versatility of Lucifer V.

“He’s a very diverse horse. In big fields like Spruce Meadows, he’s also great. He doesn’t have the biggest stride, so in an arena like this it’s even better because he’s quicker in the turns, but this is quite a good ring. I’d also like to add that Daniel is one of my very close friends and we’re very competitive, so it’s always fun to win, but to beat one of your friends is even better,” laughed Towell. “I’m not going to lie, the reason I really tried was because Daniel was winning, and he’s won enough the past couple of weeks.”

Bluman is also coming off of a very successful European tour, like his friend Hardin Towell, and was pleased with Bacara D’Archonfosse and her performance, as they look towards the $216,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* presented by Rolex.

“The mare jumped really well again tonight. We’ve been jumping great the past few shows and winning some classes. I walked the course and like Hardin said it wasn’t too big,” he explained. “I got to see Kristen [Vanderveen] go after me and she had a beautiful round and was super-fast. At that point I figured Hardin would get me at the end. He’s a competitive guy. We work together and grew up together, and I knew he was going to try and he got me, so I’m happy for the second place, happy for him, and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Bluman explained that though the mare is a serious competitor in the competition arena, she’s extremely relaxed outside of the ring. He commented, “Hardin and I were joking in the warm-up that if she were a horse used for transportation two hundred years ago, it wouldn’t do. She doesn’t want to work because she’s so relaxed. It took her twice the amount of time to get from stabling to the ring than any other horse, but she goes in the ring and she knows what she has to do. She’s a competitor and she likes to win. She allows me to do my job. She’s really fantastic horse who always wants to jump clear.”

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili were incredibly close to stealing the win in Wollman Rink and used the tight course to their advantage, posting the third fastest time despite knocking the first rail at the one-stride combination.

“He is super-fast and the small ring here actually plays to his advantage because he’s really quick on the turns. I felt that we were very tight everywhere and he ended up catching me off guard by the end of the course. He was so ready for the turns that I cut him a little too aggressively at the combination and it caught up with me,” she explained. “But I was very pleased with him tonight. He’s so rideable for me. He’s listening all the time and asks where I want to go, and that really helps in a ring of this size, and with his size as well. He’s right where I want him.”

Emanuel Andrade, Kama Godek, and Todd Minikus Split Top Honors in U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance

The evening’s competition concluded with the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance, which saw a three-way tie between Emanuel Andrade (VEN) aboard Clouwni, a 2003 Holsteiner gelding (Colman x Odessa XVII) owned by Andrade, Kama Godek (USA) and her own De Grande, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Verdi x Concorde), and Todd Minikus (USA) piloting VDL Excel, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Douglas and owned by Autumn View Farm.

The class boasted five entries that began the competition at a wall height of 5’3″. All five entries contested a height of 6’9″, before Andrew Kocher (USA), and Paul O’Shea (IRL) were eliminated in the fourth and final round of competition.

“I started to train last year and I had an equitation horse,” smiled Godek. “I got an email asking if anyone wanted to do the Puissance at Central Park and I mean say no more! I had another client riding this horse in the 3’6″ Equitation and I knew he jumped big. I practiced a couple of times last year and we came back to win this year!”

Emanuel Andrade and Clouwni

Emanuel Andrade, a notable name on both the national and international show jumping circuits, contested his first Puissance class under the lights aboard his own Clouwni, ultimately clearing the massive wall set at 6’9″.

“This was my first Puissance and it was very exciting. It was impressive the first time I jumped that wall, but after that I started getting confident and it got much better. It was huge! I’m very happy about it,” he said. “I’m very happy about the group of horses that went this year. They were all so good.”

Veteran of the group, Todd Minikus, guided a young talent in his string in the class, also clearing the impressive wall at its top height. At only eight-years-old, VDL Excel looks to be a strong contender for the future and Minikus commented on the experience for both horse and rider under the lights in Central Park, while thanking class sponsor Spy Coast Farm for the opportunity.

“I’d like to thank Spy Coast Farm for sponsoring this. We all really appreciate it and the crowd seems to really appreciate it,” said Minikus. “I rode a young horse tonight. We just started doing some smaller grand prix and this is great for giving the horses experience under the lights.”

The revival of the Puissance in New York City was sparked by the once popular National Horse Show hosted at Madison Square Garden for many years. Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group (IEG), felt it was necessary to keep the tradition alive in Central Park, once again bringing the entertaining brick wall back to the iconic city.

“The National Horse Show used to be here and no one can replace that show, but we are hoping in time we can bring that type of energy with us to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show,” he commented. “This is the opportunity to do that, so last year we decided to add the Puissance class. It’s a great thing to have in this sport. It engages the crowd and gives people something to root for that they understand. It’s simple, if you leave the wall up, you move on to the next round.”

Spy Coast Farm, a sport horse breeding and training operation based in both Lexington, KY, and Wellington, FL, was a first year sponsor of the U.S. Open $50,000 Puissance class and Lisa Lourie of Spy Coast Farm was on hand to discuss their participation in the event this year and discuss her love for Puissance, which was sparked by watching the entertaining class at the Dublin Horse Show each summer.

“I was so happy that we got this group of riders this year and we were so thrilled that they all came out. That’s what the Puissance is all about. If you don’t have good riders and good horses, then the class falls flat. We had the right group tonight, and that’s what it comes down too,” she said. “I called Mark after watching the Puissance at the Dublin Horse Show and told him that I was in for Central Park because it’s such a fantastic class.”

Mimi Gochman and Avoloma BH Ride to Win in $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Class

The night commenced with the $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Speed Class, which awarded a victory for New York City’s own Mimi Gochman, piloting her new mount, Avoloma BH, a 2005 Dutch Warmblood mare (Quasimodo Z x Voloma) owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC.

“I used to have parties in Wollman Rink for my birthday,” commented Gochman. “It’s amazing to see the transformation from an ice skating arena to an amazing show with a beautiful backdrop. It’s such a privilege to be able to show in the middle of New York City. Central Park has always been a fun place to hang out, but I never imagined I’d be riding in a horse show here.”

Of her round, Gochman said, “It was a nice course. It was a little complicated with the angles but our trainer really helped. She told us where to go and set us up for the best possible route, so that was very helpful. She’s a new mare for me, and we’ve had a lot of success so far. I’m really starting to figure out what she likes and doesn’t like. She’s game for anything and she always tries to jump her best. She’s just a really good mare.”

Gochman completed the track in 52.97 seconds, almost three full seconds ahead of the second position finisher, Alexandra Crown, also of New York, NY,  who rode her own Quentucky Jolly, a 2004 Selle Francais gelding (Nirvan V x Fabiola Depinette), to second place on 55.82 seconds.

“I got this horse in the middle of July,” said Crown, “We’ve only gone to about five shows together or so. He’s incredibly competitive and he’s very good at venues like this. He’s comfortable with the tight rings. This worked out in his favor, but we still couldn’t beat Mimi. That was fast! We gave it a go and he was fantastic, so I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

The class continued with an impressive New York native streak as Sophie Gochman took the third place slot aboard Wirina, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harlem x Sarina) also owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, after finishing the course in 55.87 seconds.

“I’ve been competing against Mimi for basically my entire life,” commented the eldest Gochman sister. “This doesn’t really change anything. I’m always rooting for her and she’s always routing for me. Tonight I was just taking one for the team. Whoever wins, it’s still good because go team Baxter Hill!”

For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

Hardin Towell and Cadence Open Week Two with a Win at WEF

Hardin Towell and Cadence. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 18, 2017 – The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began its second week of competition, sponsored by Marshall & Sterling Insurance, on Wednesday, January 18, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Kicking off the week’s competition in the International Arena, Hardin Towell (USA) rode Evergate Stable’s Cadence to victory in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class.

Ana Catalina Harris Cruz (MEX) is the course designer in the International Arena for WEF 2. Cruz began the week with 25 entries in the 1.45m class and seven clear rounds. Towell and Cadence clocked the winning time of 55.11 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Gochman Sport Horses’ Sibell BH finished second in 55.48 seconds, and Conor Swail (IRL) aboard Blue Hill Farm’s Quibelle placed third in 57.83 seconds.

Towell rode Cadence in the morning’s speed class to prepare the horse for his owner, Jennifer Gates, to show later in the week. The 16-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cardento x Irco Marco 662) will compete with Gates in the Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series this winter, which begins with its first event on Sunday.

“Jen had not shown for a little bit because she was studying abroad, so Cadence had some time off, and then we just brought him back,” Towell explained. “I showed him last week and he feels great. He likes being down here. He is happy here, and he knows the routine. He feels the best he has ever felt, so hopefully she will have a good season on him.”

Speaking about his winning round on Wednesday, Towell stated, “It was a nice first day track. The Under 25 on Sunday is a speed class, so I wanted to go a little bit so he would be ready for Jen. It was nice because he was really smooth. He has such a big stride and he turns so well that I actually felt like I had a nice, efficient round, but did not have to go too fast.”

Towell has a busy circuit ahead, with many horses to show for Gates, as well as a full schedule training his star pupil.

Also competing in the International Arena on Wednesday, the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40 FEI speed class was held in a California Split with 107 entries. Ramiro Quintana (ARG) was the winner in Section A riding Michael Smith and Randall Hogan’s Glasgow de Muze, while Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and The ISB Group’s Beezie took top honors in Section B.

A second $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m speed class concluded the day with 88 entries and a win for Daniel Coyle (IRL) aboard Susan Grange’s Simba de la Roque.

The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues its second week of competition on Thursday featuring the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2 in the International Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Hardin Towell and New York Best $35,000 1.50m Suncast Welcome CSI 3*

Hardin Towell and New York. Photo ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – October 27, 2016 – The $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome CSI 3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) saw Hardin Towell (USA) and New York claim top honors in the second FEI class of the week during Tryon Fall VI. The duo earned the win with a jump-off time of 35.298 seconds ahead of Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Casper who completed the second round track in 37.627 seconds. Tracy Fenney (USA) and MTM Reve Du Paradis rounded out the top three finishers, crossing through the timers in 37.764 seconds.

Towell and New York, a 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Verdi x Watzmann) owned by Jennifer Gates LLC, earned an early trip to the jump-off round after securing a double clear effort around the first track set by Guilherme Jorge (BRA). The pair was the first to go in the second round and maintained their lead throughout the nine horse jump-off.

“When I walked the course I thought that it would ride very nice. I thought [Gui] did a great job, as always,” commented Towell. “This horse has not shown a lot in the past few weeks. His last big class was in Vienna and then we did a training show when we got back.”

New York is naturally a fast horse with careful tendencies, which Towell felt was a major determining factor in the pair’s win. He explained what makes New York such a standout member of his elite string of top mounts.

“I think more so than any other horse that we have, this horse can win any size class anywhere in the world,” he elaborated. “Anywhere from 1.40m to 1.60m this horse can be competitive. I have horses that can jump big and that are quick, but this horse can just win anything. He’s very talented that way.”

With two horses entered in FEI competition this week, Towell is hoping for strong result from New York and Emilie De Diamant A S. Towell has steadily moved up the FEI World Ranking List over the past two years and now schedules his competitions with careful consideration.

“I went quite quick today. I got a little greedy today and really wanted to win this class, but we truly came to try and get a top result on Saturday night,” he said. “I’m hoping that we can have some good finishes. I have two horses here so it’s a great opportunity.”

Currently sitting just outside of the top 40 riders in the world, coming in at 41, Towell is determined to continue rising through the ranks. He talked about his recent successes and commented on the mentality and drive he has to reach the top of the sport.

“When you’re in that top 50 it really changes everything. Two years ago, I would try to win every ranking class I could and now I have a really great string of horses and we shoot for the bigger classes. We have a great team behind us. My staff, my barn manager, and of course Jennifer [Gates] who is studying abroad right now, but watching very closely. We have a great team.”

Towell grew up only a few hours from TIEC in Camden, SC and is happy to be back, close to his family this week, a major factor in his team’s decision to compete at the venue this week.

“This is our first time at Tryon and it’s just fantastic. We’re so happy to be here and are looking forward to coming back many times in the future,” commented Towell. “I’ve wanted to come here since the facility opened and it’s nice to be here and be able to spend time with my family.”

“I had obviously heard a lot about this place, watched a lot of videos on the venue, and I have to say that I was still impressed when I pulled up. I had some high expectations and it surpassed them,” he concluded.

The 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District offers six weeks of hunter and jumper competition, including three weeks of internationally recognized FEI show jumping featuring two FEI CSI 3* weeks and an FEI CSI 5*. For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and surrounding amenities, please visit www.tryon.com.

Eric Lamaze and Rosana du Park Make It Two in a Row in 2016 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series

Eric Lamaze and Rosana du Park. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Hardin Towell and Pepperpot Top $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic

Wellington, FL – January 29, 2016 – Week three of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) got off to a late start due to inclement weather at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) Wednesday and Thursday, but competition was in full swing on Friday with wins for Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Hardin Towell (USA) in the International Ring. Lamaze and Rosana du Park took home the top prize in the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series for the second week in a row, and Towell and Pepperpot were victorious in the Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic.

Week three of the Winter Equestrian Festival continues through Sunday, January 31, sponsored by Adequan®. The weekend will feature the $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday night and concludes on Sunday with the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Luc Musette of Belgium returns to WEF as course designer in the International Ring for week three competition. In Friday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3, Musette saw 71 entries jump his first round course, with 15 qualifying for the jump-off. Thirteen chose to return for the second round, where Canadian Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze took the win for the second week in a row aboard Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable’s Rosana du Park.

Nick Skelton (GBR) was the first rider to clear the short course aboard Niel Moffitt’s Untouched in a time of 46.45 seconds that eventually finished fourth. Lamaze and Rosana du Park blazed through the course next in the winning time of 38.57 seconds. Lacey Gilbertson (USA) and Seabrook LLC’s Echo D were next to clear the track in 43.65 seconds to finish third. Last to go, Conor Swail (IRL) rode Ruben’s LS La Silla to second place honors for owner Vanessa Mannix with a clear jump-off in 42.12 seconds.

Lamaze continues his success with the 11-year-old Selle Francais mare, Rosana du Park (by Kannan), who also topped two Challenge Cup classes in a row in 2015. The rider followed that up with three more wins aboard Fine Lady 5 to total five victories in the series over the 2015 circuit. This year, he is off to another great start.

“It is always great to go in a jump-off knowing that you have one of the fastest horses in the class,” Lamaze proclaimed. “Nick was fast on his horse. He made seven strides from (jumps) one to two, which I was hoping I could see somebody do before I did it. I saw everybody do eight strides, and I thought it could be seven, but it always makes you feel better when somebody does it before you. Once Nick did it, I said, ‘Okay, the door is open to make seven.’ I did eight strides to the double, and then I had the skinny on a big stride and I turned to the other oxer on a big stride, and the last one came forward again. In these jump-offs, the distance has to be in front of you to take. If it is not, it makes a difference.”

“She is really careful; she is made up,” Lamaze said of Rosana’s consistency. “She knows her job. There is nothing she does not know, and she fits in any distances. You are not going from one to two in seven strides thinking that she is going to have a chance to knock it down. If you get one little rub in the warm-up you have full confidence. Her technique is impeccable. Her front end is so quick, and she has a great desire to want to do it.”

In addition to the winning prize money, Lamaze picked up a $3,000 bonus for the second week in a row for wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves as part of the ‘SSG Gloves Go Clean for the Green’ promotion. That brings his total up to $6,000 in bonus money for the circuit so far.

Lamaze will compete with Rosana du Park again in Saturday night’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3*. The mare will then have a well-deserved holiday for a week or two.

Towell Opens WEF 3 with a Win

The $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m kicked off competition in the International Ring on Friday morning with a win for Hardin Towell (USA) and Jennifer Gates LLC’s Pepperpot. Course designer Luc Musette had 66 entries jump his one-round speed track with eight clear entries. Second to go, Towell laid down a time of 60.48 seconds that would go unbeaten.

Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Eregast van’t Kiezelhof clocked in three rounds later with a time of 61.53 seconds to eventually finish third. Richard Spooner (USA) came 54th in the order with a time of 61.41 seconds aboard Little Valley Farms’ Chivas Z to take second place honors.

Hardin Towell and Pepperpot
Hardin Towell and Pepperpot

Owner Jennifer Gates purchased Pepperpot, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Heritage Fortunus x Diamonds Are Trumps), following the Spruce Meadows Summer Series in 2015. The experienced mare previously competed under Egypt’s Sameh el Dahan, followed by USA’s Caitlin Ziegler, and Canada’s Tiffany Foster.

“She is just a great horse,” Towell stated after his win. “Jenn and I have both shown her. When we first got her, and Jenn and I were away, my girlfriend showed her a little bit to get her in the ring. She is just a really nice horse.”

“I jumped the mare last week in the grand prix, and she was very good,” Towell continued. “Today I went early in the class. The strides did not suit a big-strided horse because they were all a little bit waiting, but then it was hard to do the leave-outs, so it actually suited her because she has a bit of a choppy stride. All of the lines just ended up really smooth. After I went, I really did not feel like I was that quick, but she is just naturally a quick horse.”

“I watched some rounds at the beginning, but I did not see the end,” Towell noted. “I know McLain (Ward) said he had my time, but he had a rail. I just stayed on the rhythm and tried to be smooth. I think I did the same strides as most people, but she is just quick. I went in there early in the class, and did not have any thoughts about what I had to beat, so I just went around and the mare jumped really well.”

Towell plans to compete Pepperpot again in Sunday’s $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. He might also jump the mare in next week’s Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®.

“You can kind of use her for everything,” Towell stated. “She is a nice Irish mare, and she is a little older, but she has jumped everywhere. You ask anything out of her, and she would do it.”

WEF 3 continues on Saturday featuring the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic in the International Ring in the morning and the $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* in the evening. The Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by Charleigh’s Cookies, will award championship honors in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Hardin Towell and Cadence Begin WEF 2 with a Win in $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m

Hardin Towell and Cadence. Photo copyright Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 20, 2016 – Hardin Towell of Camden, SC and Cadence, owned by Jennifer Gates, LLC, found themselves atop the leaderboard in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m, besting a class of 34 in the early morning as the second week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) commenced at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Week two of the Winter Equestrian Festival continues through Sunday, January 24, and is sponsored by Marshall & Sterling Insurance. The week will feature several major classes including the $86,000 Marshall & Sterling Insurance Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday, January 23, and the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Equine Couture/TuffRider on Sunday, January 24.

Towell and Cadence made the most of the first speed class of the day, finishing in 70.711 seconds for the win. Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN) finished in second aboard Check Picobello Z, crossing through the timers in 71.203 seconds, while Axelle Lagoubie (FRA) and Cesar collected third place honors for their finish in 71.513 seconds.

Towell piloted Cadence to an early lead, which the duo maintained through the rest of the class, as their time proved to be unbeatable. Using the class as a warm-up round for the 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Car Dento 933 x Main Marco), Cadence will compete next with owner Jennifer Gates in the opening Welcome competition of the highly anticipated Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, on Saturday.

“He felt very good today. The first round of the series is a speed, and he’s better if you let him go on his normal stride. I tried to stay with that and let him go, so my plan was to try and have him prepared for that class,” noted Towell. “There was an inside turn to an in-and-out which I thought he needed to practice. I don’t think a lot of horses did it, but he’s very good at those turns so I got on a rhythm. We did that turn, and it worked out well. He feels very good going into Saturday for her.”

As for Towell, he’s built up a competitive string and will look to make a strong move towards the FEI World Cup Finals in March, as he eyes the larger competitions offered at WEF this season.

“I have enough horses that I can hit up all of the grand prix classes and be competitive, but my real goal is to try to move up the world rankings so I really need to be competitive in those 4* and 5* classes,” he noted. “Maybe not win as many classes, but have some very strong finishes and big results.”

Cadence will be a strong mount for Gates moving into the 2016 season, and Towell is eager to see the progress the duo will make during circuit. He commented, “Our goal is to be competitive in those classes and continue on to make the finals and do well there too. With Cadence, he can be so quick without trying to be quick. You just turn him and go. I’d say that’s definitely his strength, and he’s in good form for this weekend. I’m hoping Jenn can give it a shot on him.”

Towell continued to praise the athletic gelding and noted that all of the horses in his string are feeling ready and fit for the long circuit ahead. He elaborated, “I’m really happy with all of my horses and they feel great. I think I have a good plan for all of them, and hopefully we’ll stick with it throughout circuit.”

WEF 2 continues tomorrow with round 2 of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series and championships will be awarded in the Shapley’s Grooming Products Regular Conformation Hunters. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

McLain Ward and HH Azur Capture $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup at Spruce Meadows

McLain Ward and HH Azur. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Hardin Towell and Emilie de Diamant AS Top $35,000 Encana Cup

Calgary, AB, Canada – June 5, 2015 – USA’s McLain Ward and HH Azur emerged victorious in an exciting battle to the finish for Friday night’s $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup at Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex. Also competing on Friday, Hardin Towell (USA) and Emilie de Diamant AS topped the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m.

The ‘National’ Tournament is the first in five weeks of competition during this year’s Summer Series at Spruce Meadows. Riders will vie for nearly $1.2 million in prize money throughout the week, with competition concluding on Sunday, June 7. The highlight event will be the $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 6. Other features include the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse on Saturday and the $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby on Sunday.

Italy’s Uliano Vezzani (ITA) set the course for the $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup, a 1.50m competition held in a winning round format. Twenty-eight entries started over the first round course, and the top ten then returned for a second round. In round two, only two riders were able to clear the course without fault.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward earned victory with the fastest double clear in 40.12 seconds riding a talented young mount in Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur. Tiffany Foster (CAN) followed with Torrey Pines and Artisan Farms LLC’s Victor in 40.378. Conor Swail (IRL) completed the fastest round in 39.36 seconds, but incurred four faults along the way, to place third aboard Susan and Ariel Grange’s Grafton.

Ward has high hopes for HH Azur, a nine-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui) that he began riding this winter. The partnership came together thanks to a co-ownership between Francois Mathy and Double H Farm’s Hunter Harrison, and as soon as they began competing together the potential became quickly apparent.

“So many things had to happen for me to end up with this horse; it is incredible,” Ward detailed. “I tried her as a five-year-old and did not buy her. Several other top riders for one reason or another had a chance at her, and it did not happen and it came back around. It really makes you wonder that things are meant to be. We ended up buying her in December. Mr. Harrison bought half of her from Francois. Francois is a horse dealer, so by nature he normally would not stay owner of a horse like this, but he is so excited about the horse and we have such a close relationship. I think he really wanted to enjoy the sport, so that is something incredibly special for me. We came to Florida, and with quarantine we started a little bit late and took it slow. She came on very strong at the end and since then has not lost pace.”

“I think she is an absolutely incredible horse,” Ward declared. “It is really exciting for me. The two owners of this horse are people who are in every way role models for me and parent-like figures in my life. They are people who have really done a lot for the sport, and to come across a talent like this and be able to develop her and try to go to some of the greatest places in the sport is really exciting. The horse is like a machine. It does not matter what you do; she solves the problem and comes out ahead.”

On Friday night for example, HH Azur slipped in a tight turn during the second round, but kept it together and carried on to win the competition. A little luck was also on her side as several very fast competitors were still to follow, but ended up with faults.

“She is a phenomenal talent and she has jumped beautifully here all week,” Ward said of their start to the summer. “We had a great double clear last night in the 1.55m and she jumped well again tonight. I tried to be fast in the jump-off, but not do anything crazy. I do not want to do anything extreme at this point in her career, but I wanted to do enough to put a little pressure on. We were lucky that the likes of Conor and Eric (Lamaze) had a fence down.”

In just several months, Ward has been impressed with HH Azur’s development and sees big things for her future.

“When we got her you could see all the parts there, but she is a big blood horse and she is sensitive,” he noted. “In some ways it actually reminds me of Sapphire. She has to learn to control her stride and that, already in four months, has been unbelievable progress. The horse is very intelligent and really does not seem to be phased by too much. Even tonight, she slipped coming back to that third jump and still kept her composure and powered up over the red oxer like nothing had happened. That is really her nature.”

With a good win to start the series, Ward looks forward to using the fantastic competition and world-class venue at Spruce Meadows to continue Azur’s progress this summer.

“The variety here at Spruce Meadows is frankly incredible; there is nowhere like it in the world,” Ward acknowledged. “Kent Farrington and I were talking about how blessed we are to have this in our continent and how great it is for us. Not only for the sport at the highest end, but to develop a horse and to have a horse see ten venues in one. Normally when you are producing a horse, particularly when you come to a level of show like this, there are ups and downs. What is different about Azur is that there do not seem to be many downs, which is unique. I hope that I do not mess it up and get in her way because I think this horse has a chance to be one of the great ones.”

With two wins in the first three days of the ‘National’ tournament, Ward will jump next with HH Carlos Z in Saturday’s $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. He also plans to compete in Sunday’s $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby.

Towell Tops Encana Cup

The ‘National’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows continued on Friday with the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m and a win for Hardin Towell (USA) aboard Jennifer Gates’ Emilie de Diamant AS. With 72 starters, Uliano Vezzani’s (ITA) track saw just seven entries advance to the jump-off. Five of those were able to jump without fault in a race against the clock.

Hardin Towell and Emilie de Diamant AS
Hardin Towell and Emilie de Diamant AS

Mexico’s Antonio Chedraui set the pace in the jump-off at 35.33 seconds aboard his own Corcega La Silla to eventually place fifth. USA’s veteran team of Richard Spooner and Show Jumping Syndication International’s Cristallo upped the ante in 33.63 seconds, eventually finishing in reserve. Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) jumped into fourth with the next round in 34.31 seconds aboard Ludo Philippaerts’ H&M Quenzo de la Roque. Towell followed with Emilie de Diamant AS and blazed through the timers in the winning time of 32.91 seconds. Last to go, Conor Swail jumped into third aboard Ilan Ferder’s Viva Colombia in 34.29 seconds.

While owner Jennifer Gates is away at school attending Stanford University, Towell has the ride on all of her horses this week, including Emilie de Diamant AS. Gates rode the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Diamant de Semilly x Flipper D Elle) throughout the winter and will arrive to compete in Calgary next week. Until then, Towell enjoyed his first ever win in the International Ring aboard the talented mare.

“She has been great all week. She was clean and sixth the first day,” Towell detailed. “I had a time fault yesterday, but she was amazing. I just didn’t ride her great and then today she really came through and she was fantastic.”

“Jennifer competed her on and off in Florida and I did a little bit with her and she has just gotten better and better,” Towell continued. “She is going to be a really good horse for Jennifer in the future.”

Commenting on his first big win at Spruce Meadows, Towell noted, “This year I have had a very good year. I won in Palm Beach and at the Global Champions Tour in Miami and went to World Cup Finals, but I have never really had horses for Spruce Meadows before. Even a 1.45m is pretty intimidating here where even a $200,000 grand prix some places is not the same. It is nice to finally get a win here and hopefully we can keep going forward.”

“This is a great place,” Towell added. “It is just so nice to compete here. I am so lucky to get to come here and ride these horses and compete at a place like this. I think everybody wants to win here. Everybody tries to give it a go every time out there, so it is a lot of fun.”

Competition continues on Saturday featuring the $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, as well as the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse.

For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Hardin Towell Snatches Artisan Farms Trophy at Longines Global Champions Tour: Miami Beach

Miami, FL – April 3, 2014 – It was a home win for the USA in the feature class of the day on Thursday, the Artisan Farms Trophy. Hardin Towell and Cadence, owned by Jennifer Gates, were just too fast for the rest of the combinations who took to the testing Uliano Vezzani course – the pair stopped the clock at a lightening 37.15 seconds, second place went to Steve Guerdat and Concetto Son in 38.25 seconds and third to Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Arera C in 38.71 seconds. The American really showed just how fast he could be to beat two of the quickest European riders on the circuit!

The first round of the class was a deceptively testing course with no real bogey fences, though a smattering of tricky rails caught out many. Of the 56 starters, 13 jumped clear in the stunning arena, watched closely by the crowds drawn to see these fantastic riders in action. The jump-off course offered some daring turn-backs and risky gallops but Hardin never faltered, taking a commanding win. With tomorrow’s American Invitational and Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix still to come, the home team is on flying form and we could well see another big U.S. victory over the coming days.

Carlos Lopez gallops to victory in first Miami Beach CSI5*

Carlos Lopez (COL) and Zephyr II claimed a fast and furious opening victory in the CSI5* schedule on Thursday at the truly special Miami Beach venue. Second place went to two-time LGCT Champ Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Questina who stopped the clock just under 1.5 seconds behind Lopez. Third went to World No15 Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Egano van het Slogenhof who finished a nail-biting 0.06 seconds behind Tops-Alexander.

Sunbathers and paddlers enjoying the spectacular weather and warm seas were lured over to watch world-class riders take to the competition arena just metres from their loungers. One of the greatest and most popular course designers in the world, Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, set a fair and welcoming course for the very first CSI5* class of the inaugural Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach event which finished with 12 double clears.

Many riders in hot form were introducing their Grand Prix horses to the arena for the very first time. All eyes were on defending Champ Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Sanctos who jumped round clean with just two time faults. Other big names to watch out for are McLain Ward (USA), Beezie Madden (USA), Daniel Deusser (GER) and Michael Whitaker (GBR), who all looked to be pumped up for a top performance in Saturday afternoon’s Grand Prix.

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Hardin Towell and Lucifer V Win $127,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9

Hardin Towell and Lucifer V. Photos © Sportfot.

Third Time Is the Charm for Catch Me and Scott Stewart in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals First Year Green Hunter

Wellington, FL – March 5, 2015 – Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V earned victory in Thursday’s $127,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. The highly contested, weekly competition saw a 17-horse jump-off with few clear rounds in the tiebreaker. Towell and Jennifer Gates’ Lucifer V were victorious over Ramiro Quintana (ARG) and Whitney (2nd) and Charlie Jayne (USA) aboard Valeska (3rd).

Douglas Elliman is the title sponsor of week nine’s CSI-W 5* competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Week nine runs March 4-8, 2015, featuring the $372,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI-W 5*, presented by Douglas Elliman, on Saturday, March 7. Several classes throughout the week will be live streamed at www.coth.com. Watch Saturday night’s grand prix beginning at 7 pm here – http://bit.ly/1FY5PkK.

Sunday’s $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will be shown live beginning at approximately 10:00 a.m. at http://bit.ly/18QxRVj. The week also features the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Semi-Final, presented by Kingsland Equestrian, on Friday evening.

Ireland’s Alan Wade set the course for round nine of the WEF Challenge Cup Series with 67 competitors on Thursday. He narrowed the field down to 19 clear rounds, but two opted out of the jump-off. Seventeen advanced, and only four were able to clear the short course without fault.

Richie Moloney (IRL) was the first rider to take his time and clear the jump-off course without fault in 43.47 seconds aboard Equinimty LLC’s Slieveanorra, and his clear round eventually paid off for fourth place honors. Quintana and St. Bride’s Farm’s Whitney were next to go clear and finished second in their time of 38.76 seconds. Jayne and Pony Lane Farm’s Valeska followed in a slower time of 40.42 seconds to place third. Towell and Lucifer V were the last pair to clear the short course, and jumped the winning time of 38.21 seconds. First to go in the jump-off, Kent Farrington (USA) finished fifth with the fastest round of the day in 38.09 seconds with one rail down on Willow.

Lucifer V is a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding (Lord Dezi x Grandeur) that Towell began riding at the end of the horse’s seven-year-old year, but has taken some time to move up.

“I had him down here last year, and he was a bit of a handful,” Towell detailed. “He was spooky, and he liked to buck a lot. It took a while; not a lot of people believed in him. He does it his own way, but I always knew that he tried quite hard and he was very careful. It was kind of a learning experience with him here, and then at Spruce Meadows I just jumped 1.30m and 1.35m. After Calgary we started to step up and do some bigger classes. I did him in the 2* in L.A., and he won two classes there. I did him in his first World Cup qualifier in Las Vegas, and he had the fastest time but one down in the jump-off. He was fifth in that. Then I gave him some time off.”

Lucifer has shown lightly throughout the WEF circuit and stepped up to do last week’s grand prix, but it did not go quite as planned.

“It was quite big for his experience. He had 12 faults, but it was just green mistakes,” Towell explained.

For his winning round on Thursday, Towell trusted his horse’s speed, but was also wary of a rail coming down.

“A lot of times you get a jump-off like this and you get a lot clean and everybody thinks they have to go so fast, and before you know it, the class is halfway over and everybody has tried to go so fast they have a rail,” he noted. “I think Richie set the pace by just jumping clean and then I thought, ‘Okay, Richie wasn’t flying.’ Kent went in 38 seconds and Richie went in 43, but then I saw that Ramiro was 38 and change and I watched Kent go and he went about the same, so I knew kind of what I had to do.”

“I did not see Ramiro go, but my horse is a very fast horse. My issue is that I’m always quick, but I have one down,” Towell admitted. “I did eight strides from one to two. Then I really wanted to get straight for the in and out because that was a problem for a lot of people, and I actually got him straight, but I was pretty deep and he gave me a great jump there. Then I know he is good at long gallops. I galloped him to the vertical and the oxer and then the last line he was just great. It makes it a lot of easier with a horse that quick.”

Lucifer V will now have a couple weeks off and show in some smaller classes at the end of the WEF circuit as Towell gears him toward the first leg of the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas in April.

Towell thanked his staff and barn manager Chris Howard as well as his father and owner Jennifer Gates.

“Chris is one of my best friends and I couldn’t do it without him, and thanks to Jennifer for all the support,” Towell stated. “It has been fun for her with Lucifer because he has had his ups and downs, and she has really been behind me when I believed in him so much. Last year there were some questionable moments, so it is nice to have someone with so much patience, and it is nice to have such a great team behind you.”

Also showing in the International Arena on Thursday, Andrew Ramsay (USA) got a win with Shalanno Farms LLC’s Adamo van’t Steenputje in the $8,000 1.45m jump-off class. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and Fananka A won the High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.

Third Time Is the Charm for Catch Me and Scott Stewart in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals First Year Green Hunter

Scott Stewart and David Gochman’s horse, Catch Me, took home championship honors in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals First Year Green Hunters. This week was just the third time that Stewart has shown Catch Me. After only placing third in the under saddle the first day of competition, Catch Me came back on Thursday on his game and won both over fences classes. The highlight of Catch Me’s performance was his score of 95 in the first over fences round today. “Yesterday he was a little bit fresh, so he acted a little goofy,” Stewart started, “Today he came out and was ready to compete.”

Symbolic, an entry of Glefke and Kensel, LLC, was piloted to reserve championship honors by Kelley Farmer. The pair topped the handy hunter round and finished second and fourth in two of the over fences classes.

Scott Stewart and Catch Me
Scott Stewart and Catch Me

Catch Me, an eight-year-old warmblood, was purchased by Gochman three weeks ago. Stewart is currently showing Catch Me in the First Year Green Hunters to get him ready for Becky Gochman to do in the Amateur-Owner Hunters later in the year. “He [Catch Me] is very straight forward, has a big step and jumps great. He is going to make a great horse for Becky [Gochman],” Stewart commented.

“He [Catch Me] has been awesome! Right now we are still getting to know him and making sure he is ready for the rest of the summer,” Stewart noted.

At home Catch Me is called Snoopy because he acts like a big dog. When Catch Me is not getting ready for a show, he is often caught napping and loves trail riding.

With only a few weeks left of WEF, Stewart is looking forward to spending some down time in Wellington during the month of April, before the rest of his busy summer schedule.

Hunter coverage moves across the street tomorrow with the Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunter Classics on the Derby Field. The $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m will run during the day and the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Semi-Final, presented by Kingsland Equestrian, will be featured in the International Arena on Friday evening. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Maddy Stover for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Hardin Towell and Man in Black Beat the Field in $50,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI 2*

Hardin Towell and Man in Black. Photos © Sportfot.

Victoria Colvin and Dedication Are Champions in Large Junior 16-17 Hunters at FTI WEF

Wellington, FL – February 2, 2014 – Week four of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded with the exciting $50,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI 2* on Sunday afternoon held on the grass derby field at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). An exciting eight-horse jump-off finished with a win for Hardin Towell (USA) and Man in Black, with Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito in second and Lauren Hough (USA) aboard Ohlala finishing third.

The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue with its fifth week of competition, sponsored by Rolex, on February 5-9, 2014. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela was the course designer for week four’s finale event. There were 45 competitors on the beautiful grass derby field with eight clear trips in round one to advance to the tie-breaking jump-off. In the second round, four entries cleared the short course without fault.

Lauren Hough set the pace with her clear round in the jump-off aboard The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala in 43.24 seconds to eventually finish third. Andres Rodriguez and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Caballito upped the ante with their time of 42.94 seconds to end up in second place. Roosje Brouwer (NED) and Stal Heijligers and A. Vogels’ SRI Aladdin also completed a clear round over the short course in a slower time of 49.56 seconds to earn fourth place honors. Last to go in the second round, Hardin Towell and Jennifer Gates’ Man in Black got the winning edge, completing the course in 42.47 seconds.

Man in Black is a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Gentleman x Calvados that Towell has been riding for one year. Gates showed the gelding in the Junior Jumpers last year and then handed him over to compete at the higher level with Towell. Sunday’s win was the biggest of Towell’s career – his second grand prix victory, and his first major win at the FTI WEF. The rider is 26 years old and from Camden, South Carolina.

“With him in the past year, probably starting last year in Thunderbird, I was really close in a lot of classes and I would go too fast,” Towell said of his partnership with Man in Black. “On Thursday I was quite close to winning and I knew I should slow down, and I just kept running down the last line. I’m just glad I beat Andres, because in L.A. in November I was winning the World Cup class and was really fast, and everybody was like ‘Congratulations you won!’ and I said, ‘No, Andres still has to go,’ and he beat me by about one-tenth of a second. I think today was really close again, so I’m glad I could repay him the favor!”

“It feels very good (to win), and especially since I just started showing him,” Towell noted. “He’s a little bit strong. I have had a lot of trouble the last six months finding the right bit. I have changed a lot of bits and probably made a lot of mistakes using the wrong bits, but I think we have kind of figured it out. He’s a really sweet horse. He is very brave, very scopey, and this is a great venue out in this grass field. He is always good at places like that. He is so brave that he is a little bit impressed out here sometimes, so today he jumped unbelievably. I could not ask for any more; he was fantastic.”

Commenting on his winning round in the jump-off, Towell detailed, “I thought in the jump-off I was a little bit smarter. I thought about running and being crazy, and then I remembered, ‘You know what, let’s just try to be clean,’ and I thought I was close enough. I landed and I actually saw a leave out to the last jump, which maybe six months ago or Thursday I would have done and knocked it down, but I decided to try to cut it close and win by just a little bit.”

Towell got to compete at some different venues around North America this past year and explained that the experience has helped him grow as a rider.

“It helps a lot,” he stated. “I went to different places and competed against different people. My whole life I have kind of stayed in the Southeast. I have never had that opportunity, so I met a lot of new people, and it was nice showing at Spruce Meadows and everywhere we went. I have had a great last year; it has been very lucky. Jennifer has been great the whole year and I want to thank Chris, my barn manager, and my mom and dad, and my sister. We just have a very good team.”

Andres Rodriguez was happy for Towell’s success this week and had a great round with his horse, Caballito. He acknowledged the beautiful venue at The Stadium at PBIEC, which has hosted classes throughout the week.

“I really enjoy this venue,” Rodriguez stated. “The ring where they had the young riders grand prix the other day and this open field are a great change from the main stage. I think the horses appreciate the change and not jumping the same jumps in the same ring all the time. Leopoldo had a great course out there and I think with the time allowed, we had the right amount of people in the jump-off.”

“When we went to the jump-off there were a lot of really fast horses,” Rodriguez pointed out. “I think five horses in the jump-off have won international classes, so I knew it was going to be fast. It started with the first two having two jumps down, so that started to make me think, but then Lauren went and had a fast round so I went back to the first plan. From Hardin I knew he was going to get back at me at some point. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be today, but it was! I only saw the last line of his round. I thought he was going to take the six strides, which I was kind of hoping he would, and he didn’t. It was his turn to win, and I am happy for him. He’s been too close too many times, and this was his day.”

Third place finisher, Lauren Hough, had a great week with Ohlala, including a win in Friday’s $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4. Hough was very happy with Sunday’s conclusion to the week and in addition to the third place prize, was named the Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for week four. The award is sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.

Commenting on her jump-off round with Ohlala, Hough explained, “I have to stick to my plan with that mare. She doesn’t have a huge stride, but she jumped fantastic and I think Leopoldo did a super job today. He had just the right amount of clear, the time was short but not impossible, and I knew the first two had two jumps down, but I went with what I could do. This is a huge field, so I just had to hope that maybe I would get a little lucky today, but unfortunately these two young men with big horses and big canters went just a little bit faster than me.”

“I went as fast as I thought I could go,” Hough acknowledged. “I don’t know if I could have gotten them, to be honest. She is who she is, and she wins a lot of classes, but they got me today. She was fantastic the whole week and one of her owners is here today, so I’m thrilled that she was able to see her.”

Victoria Colvin and Dedication
Victoria Colvin and Dedication

Victoria Colvin and Dedication Are Champions in Large Junior 16-17 Hunters at FTI WEF

Victoria Colvin added yet another accolade to her name when she topped the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, presented by Antarés, during week four of the FTI WEF. Colvin and the nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Dr. Betsee Parker were third under saddle and third, second, first, and second over fences before being crowned division champion Sunday morning.

The reserve champion for the division was Vida Blue, ridden by Meredith Darst and owned by Elm Rock, LLC. Darst piloted Vida Blue to two blue ribbons over fences and jumped to second and fifth place on the second day of competition for the division.

Owner-rider championship honors were also awarded for the division. Cloe Hymowitz and her horse Perfectionist were announced as division champion owner-rider. There was a tie for reserve champion owner-rider between Piper Benjamin and Corvine and Vivian Yowan and Gretsky.

Parker was determined to have sixteen-year-old Colvin finish out her junior years on Dedication and is happy to see Colvin gel with the sometimes difficult gelding.

“Dedication is a very complicated horse to ride, and he’s very opinionated and strong. When Tori rides him, he has a very wonderful relaxation that occurs. I think it’s what I’ve spoken of [before] that she does to all the horses [she rides]; you can almost see the stream of confidence going from her into the horse,” Parker described.

She continued, “We saw this at the Hampton Classic. I said to Scott, ‘Let’s let Tori ride him and see what happens,’ because I want her to go out of her junior years on this horse. We tried, and she won with the highest score in history. She had a 98. So we thought we had a real good match.”

Parker went on to explain that like the rest of her horses, Dedication adores Colvin. The gelding transforms into a quieter, more settled animal with Colvin in the saddle. The feeling is mutual, and Colvin actually considers Dedication one of the easiest horses she rides.

“He is difficult,” Colvin admitted. “But [for example], Inclusive is really easy but he has a short stride and he’s like a little pony. But Dedication is so big, and he has the biggest stride. He’ll just lope down [the lines]. He could do like Olympic height, so for [the junior hunters] he just lopes over everything.”

Having the support of an owner like Parker means the world to Colvin, who acknowledged she wouldn’t be where she is today without Parker’s help.

“She’s amazing. If she wasn’t, I’d probably be doing small ponies still! Yeah, I’d still be doing small green [ponies],” Colvin joked.

Colvin’s victory wrapped up another week of competition at the FTI WEF. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

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 4,000 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 $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. 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.

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

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

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

Busy Week at Aiken Fall Festival Comes to a Close

Contemporary and Daniel Geitner. Pictures by Shawn McMillen Photography

September 11th, 2012 – Week one of the 2012 Aiken Fall Festival Show series came to a close on Sunday and what a busy week it was. The event in its 5th year took place at Highfields in historic Aiken, SC and is managed by locally based Equus Events, Inc. and show manager J. P. Godard.

The week kicked off on Thursday with plenty of action in both the hunter and jumper rings. The featured class was the $5,000 Open Welcome Stake which took place Thursday afternoon out on the grass field. Hollow Creek Investment’s Boccaccio and rider Angel Karolyi took top honors there with a jump off time of 37.793 just edging out another Aiken based rider Daniel Geitner and Ann Ritter’s Jumbo Jet who finished clean with a time of 37.890. Boccaccio, an 11 year old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Up Chiqui, has had much success with Karolyi winning the $25,000 Equestrian Sport Productions New Year’s Grand Prix in Wellington as well as placing 9th in the $75,000 Nations Cup this winter. Carboni, owned by the Hollow Creek Farm, took home third place with rider Angel Karolyi handling the ride there as well. Following the class, the Aiken Fall Festival Welcome Party took place at The Stables Restaurant at Rose Hill. Exhibitors and sponsors were treated to food and drinks as well as live music by local artist Gavin Reily. Many thanks to The Stables Restaurant for sponsoring the Aiken Fall Festival Welcome Party for the second year in a row. The restaurant features a dining room and bar menu, live music on the patio every Friday, and a full bar all in one of Aiken’s most unique settings. Located just minutes from Highfields accommodations are also available www.rosehillestate.com.

Continue reading Busy Week at Aiken Fall Festival Comes to a Close