Photo: Harrie Smolders and Don VHP Z (FEI/Libby Law)
Dutch Olympian Harrie Smolders has secured the number one spot of the Longines World Ranking for the first time in his career, taking the reins from Olympic silver medallist Kent Farrington (USA) who held the position since May 2017.
Smolders, who turns 38 next week, made his Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games, has been snapping at the heels of Farrington (34) for several months from second position. Now at the top of this elite list on 3158 points, he earns further recognition after his incredible year in 2017 which was marked by one dominant performance after another. Smolders took individual silver with Don VHP Z at the 2017 Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, and shortly after clinched victory for his country at the 2017 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP).
He was awarded the Rider of the Year in the Netherlands in 2017, another first in his career, as an acknowledgement of his accomplishments in a single season and also made history with his double victory winning both the 2017 Longines Global Champions Tour and the 2017 Longines Global Champions league.
Kent Farrington (USA) who is well on the road to recovery after breaking his right leg in a fall in mid-February now sits in second position on 2913 points, followed closely by Peder Fredricson (SWE) who remains at number three on 2821 points.
After her electrifying win at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping final in Paris in April, Beezie Madden (USA) has moved up from number 21 to 11, with Germany’s Daniel Deusser leaping back into the top ten from 17th position.
About Harrie Smolders
Harrie began riding at age eight, but was not initially keen on equestrian jumping. He won dressage and eventing competitions at the start of his career, and at age 16 he chose jumping over football.
Making his international début in 2000, Smolders has been part of the Netherlands Team at four FEI European Championships taking team bronze in 2001 Gijon (ESP) and individual silver in 2017 Gothenburg (SWE). He has competed at five FEI World Cup™ Jumping finals securing the silver medal in Gothenburg (SWE) in 2016. He also competed at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Lexington 2010 and will be looking to make his mark at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 in September.
Harrie Smolders and Zinius pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos.
Dutchman Harrie Smolders (37) out-paced all comers to win the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at Mechelen in Belgium. Riding the 13-year-old gelding Zinius, he set an unbeatable target with a fearless run when fourth to go in a seven-horse jump-off. Runner-up spot went to Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (36) who has now soared to the top of the league table while Italy’s Luca de Lorenzo (30) lined up third. Smolders was a man with a plan.
“I never won before at Mechelen and I really wanted to do it, so I was totally focused. When I got into the jump-off I just wanted to win. I was never riding for second place so I took the risk by taking a stride out to the last. And this is very special because I came here with all my family – my kids, my wife and my parents – it was an unforgettable moment and I’m very thankful to the crowd. The atmosphere here is always really intense and it gives us even more of a push to show what we can do!” — Harrie Smolders (NED)
This result with Zinius was particularly rewarding because this is a horse that is stepping up to the plate.
“He is still developing, but now that Emerald and Don (his other two top horses) are having a break he gets a chance to show in the biggest classes and he has picked it up very quickly. I’m a bit surprised that he makes it look so easy!” Smolders added.
It was no walk in the park either, with Eddy Geysemans’ tough first-round track getting the better of many of the best in the sport. The time-allowed of 67 seconds saw three miss the cut into the jump-off when picking up just one annoying time penalty, but German ace, Ludger Beerbaum, already had four on the board with Chacon before getting four more for an awkward jump at the last and then hitting the deck when Chacon mistakenly took on part of the double at fence five in the wrong direction. The man who claimed Germany’s first-ever FEI World Cup™ title back in 1993 is under medical care with an open shoulder fracture, and the horse world is wishing him a very swift recovery.
Two more former World Cup champions, Beerbaum’s fellow-countrymen Christian Ahlmann with Taloubet Z and Daniel Deusser with Cornet d’Amour, led the way against the clock with Deusser setting the standard when clear in 40.51 seconds. But Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou were almost two seconds quicker when breaking the beam in 38.74 to put it up to the rest of them. Smolders wasn’t intimidated, however, stopping the clock on 38.19, so when de Luca and Halifax van het Kluizebos were clear in 39.97 seconds and Frenchman Roger Yves Bost posed no challenge in 42.17 seconds it was game over.
As 2018 begins and with just four of the 13 Western European league qualifiers remaining, the next taking place in Leipzig (GER) on 21 January, Smolders has 25 points on the board and may re-think his new year agenda.
“I wasn’t planning to go to the Final in Paris but now we might have a meeting and set some new goals,” he said. “I will do a few qualifiers anyway and I want to get Emerald out to a few shows, maybe get him ready by Gothenburg (in February) if I can. We will see, but this win is the perfect end to a great year for me!” said the delighted winner.
H&M day at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, will be memorable as a great day for British Show Jumping, but the very last class fell to a Dutch rider, Harrie Smolders, who proved that the patient approach can win the day when capturing the H&M Ivy Stakes.
Earlier, Scott Brash and Ben Maher scored a British one-two in the Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifier presented by H&M, 12-year-old Madison Heath won the H&M Mistletoe Stakes and Anna Power partnered Annie Gibson from Northern Ireland to take the H&M Pony Club Mini-Major. To top things off, Olympic champion Nick Skelton scored a great result when finishing third in BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Madison Heath made the most of her last ride on Red Alert III by taking the H&M Mistletoe Stakes for 128cm ponies with a superbly fast and thrilling round.
“I just thought ‘go for it’,” said Madison, 12, who just missed out on clinching this title in both 2014 and 2015. “I was a bit wary of the double of uprights, as I had had them down in the past, but I trusted her to do it.”
The seasoned mare has already been sold to international show jumper Geoff Luckett for his children. “We have had her for five years, with my sister Bobbie riding her before me,” said Cheshire-based Madison. “She has never let us down.”
International rider Laura Renwick was watching and praised the youngster. “I have ridden with Madison in relays before and she’s very competitive,” said Laura. “Today she rode with maturity, used her head, and was absolutely spot on.”
Ponies took to the stage earlier in the day, too, in the H&M Pony Club Mini-Major, a relay class in which international riders are paired up with their under-12 counterparts.
Britain’s Anna Power (Chesterfield Z) and 11-year-old Annie Gibson (Lisbox Black Magic), a member of the Iveagh branch of the Pony Club, bettered seven rival pairings to take the top spot.
“It’s the first time I have been to Olympia and it’s absolutely amazing,” said Annie, who lives near Belfast. “Anna told me to go in and just have fun, which is what I wanted to do, and, once I was in there, I just went for it.”
Harrie Smolders was a member of the Netherlands team at the Rio Olympic Games, but this was his first Olympia win. When his four rivals in the jump-off all faulted, a steady clear was all that was required to lift first prize. “My horse is not so fast, so it was the only way to win!” he joked.
He has only been riding his winning mount, the nine-year-old mare Corrada, for two months. “This was a nice competition to win with a new horse – I’ve only had her for two months,” he explained. “She is quite green but a horse can learn a lot here and she is very calm.”
Kevin Staut finished second for France on Unna de Kerglenn with Michael Whitaker third on JB’s Hot Stuff.
Swedish rider Malin Baryard-Johnsson continues to head the H&M leading Rider of the Show table by 17 points from the crowd-pleasing Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca. Ben Maher and Laura Renwick are third and fourth for Britain.
Other highlights of the day included The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Jumping Grand Prix, which was won by Bonny Busby and Nedlo Moon Lighting and The Kennel Club Large Novice Dog Agility Finals, in which Lee Windeatt and Mendipstar Coy Oaty Snuggly sped to victory by over two seconds from their rivals.
Harrie Smolders (NED) and Emerald (left), winners of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping at the Washington International Horse Show, were presented with a Longines watch by Taylor Mace, National Event Manager for Longines. (StockImageServices.com/FEI)
Washington DC (USA), 25 October 2015 – The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders expertly navigated two challenging courses to win the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Qualifier at the CSI4* Washington International Horse Show. In his third visit to the historic competition, the Dutch rider etched his name into the President’s Cup for a second time, having won the headlining class in 2006.
“This show suits me,” Smolders said. “I don’t know why, but the results are always good. And for our stable, it’s been very successful this week. My student Jos Verlooy (BEL) was fourth in tonight’s class and won the Puissance on Friday night, and is the leading rider of the show. It’s a bit busy with the classes going on and telling my students all the information that I know, but it really worked out.”
Smolders drew the final position in tonight’s order of go, which allowed him the advantage of basing his strategy on the others’ performances. Only one other rider, Callan Solem (USA), rode double clear in the jump off of six horse-and-rider pairs, directly before Smolders’ turn.
“I didn’t see many go in the jump off, but I heard the results, of course,” Smolders said. “So then there was no one clear until Callan put some pressure on because she had a fantastic round. She wasn’t super fast, but she put the pressure on. I was quite pleased that she was clear because that meant I had to go. I had to decide. There was no other option.”
At the beginning of his final round, Smolders lost valuable time when his mount Emerald (Diamant de Semilly x Carthago) slipped in an early turn, forcing the rider to add an extra stride.
“I knew I was getting close so I tried to make the turn to the last two fences quite short,” Smolders said. “I knew I was close. To be honest, I didn’t know if it was enough.”
But luckily for the Dutch rider, it was just enough, winning the class by 11-hundredths of a second.
“I must say Callan did a super round,” Smolders said. “She put some pressure on. I was also pleased because I knew what to do. Otherwise, if there’s no one clear, you have to decide what to do, but now I had no choice but to go.”
The course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) challenged the 28 riders by utilizing the long and narrow arena.
“There’s not an abundance of space, and the ring is quite narrow in relation to its length,” said D’Ambrosio, who also happens to hold the show’s Puissance record that he set in 1983. “It’s a particular type of ring, and it’s a little bit of a puzzle to get a World Cup Qualifier course in there. But for the most part, things ride fairly smooth, and we’ve had some nice competitions. I would say that it keeps me on my toes. I think it keeps the riders on their toes as well.”
Nonetheless, D’Ambrosio had predicted ahead of the class’s start that six would ride clear and into the jump off, which ultimately proved to be accurate.
“The first course was quite tough,” Smolders said. “When I walked it, I thought it was not too big, but my horse is quite scopey. The ring is quite long but not so wide, and the fences down the sides and right off the rail were quite tough for the horses.”
D’Ambrosio purposefully set a demanding course to ensure that the right horse-and-rider combinations would earn the valuable points toward qualifying for the culminating event in the spring.
“I strive to design a course that rewards the riders who are capable of going to the World Cup Final,” D’Ambrosio said. “World Cup Qualifiers have to have a standard that is somewhat similar in consistency. It’s to prepare the horses and riders to have the accuracy to jump the dimensions. That’s an important part of my job.”
Solem gave some credit for her final round to fellow competitor McLain Ward (USA) who inspired her to ride for the first double clear in the jump off.
“I was fortunate to have the counsel of McLain,” Solem said. “And he said, ‘Callan you have to try to win. Harrie’s going to be so fast. You have to do it.’ He encouraged me to do four in the first line, and he said, ‘You’re third a lot; try to win this class.’ I really appreciated that encouragement. Going to these shows on my own, trying to find my way a little bit, and producing the horses; I’m always trying to leave them better than I found them and sometimes it’s nice for me to have a little push to say, ‘Come on, you’re good enough; go ahead and try.’ I appreciate that.”
A breakthrough year
Smolders has had the ride on his flashy, 11-year-old, chestnut stallion for the past five years.
“I had him as a 6-year-old,” Smolders said. “He was always an amazing talent with great scope, technique, and rideability, but I must say this year is his biggest breakthrough. He’s very consistent in the big classes, the World Cup Qualifiers. Now that he’s 11, I feel that he has the experience in his body, and is physically able to compete at the highest level.”
The next stop for horse-and-rider team is the National Horse Show in Lexington, Ky. for their second Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League qualifier. Then Emerald will fly back to Europe, where he’s scheduled to compete in the World Cup qualifier in Madrid in November. Smolders hopes to qualify Emerald for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Gothenburg (SWE) in March.
“He’s a very spectacular horse,” Smolders said. “He’s a bit of a stallion, a bit of a character, but his talent and technique are endless. When people see him once, they normally never forget him.”
Solem is also hoping to qualify her 12-year-old gelding, VDL Wizard (Gentleman x Ahorn), for the World Cup Final.
“I’m very lucky to have him and every day that I ride him is such a pleasure,” Solem said. “He loves this sport so much. He’s taken to whinnying at the in gate before he goes. He really likes to do it. He had a rough start when he came as a seven-year-old. He was riddled with this and that and he didn’t really do much for the first three years. So even though he’s 12, he’s more like a ten-year-old. He’s just getting fit and strong and ready to peak in this next year, I hope.”
“I am also going to do Kentucky next week and hopefully Toronto after that and those couple of last World Cups in Florida,” she continued. “I didn’t do the first two [World Cup qualifiers]. I had gone to Europe this summer so I thought the horses should have a little break and freshen up for the fall, so I’m a little bit behind. But if we keep doing a good job, hopefully we’ll be at the Final.”
Six horses went clear in the first round, and only the two final riders in the jump-off field were double clear in the final round.
The course designer was Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA).
The first round was contested over 12 obstacles with 15 jumping efforts. The jump-off round had eight obstacles with nine efforts. The maximum height was set at 1.60 meters.
Five nations were represented in the class: Belgium (four riders), Columbia (one rider), Ireland (three riders), the Netherlands (one rider), and the United States (nineteen riders).
Victoria Lowell, WIHS President: “I think it’s super important for us to be a part of the League. Washington has such a huge history in the sport and been a World Cup qualifier for a number of years and with the League consolidating this year, it was super important to us to maintain that status. We couldn’t be happier to be part of the Longines World Cup™ Jumping North American League.”
Harrie Smolders (NED): “I think the first time I was here was ten years ago. Then I also won the grand prix and World Cup qualifier so I’m very pleased to be back and to do it all over again.”
“Emerald has always been a fantastic horse with a lot of talent. But I think this year he has made his breakthrough. He was very consistent this year and he did Nations Cup shows, we were also fifth for the Europeans. He has talent; he’s more mature, now it also shows in his results that he’s in the best of his life, I think. He has now the experience and now it’s time to win something.”
“I don’t think it really matters whether it’s indoors or outdoors for Emerald. He’s good in the big fields also, and he was very good this year.”
Callan Solem (USA): “With the slimmed down League, there aren’t as many World Cup qualifiers this year so each one is even more important. And with these guys coming from overseas, it made it certainly a diverse group. We don’t compete against them week in and week out like we do with other Americans. So it’s definitely nice to get beat by somebody different.”
Nicola Philippaerts (BEL): “I think it’s now my fourth time to come here and we’re always pleased to come back here. We always do the three tours – here, Lexington, and Toronto. For us, it’s quite nice if we can get some points here before we go back to Europe.”
“I’ve had him [H&M Forever D Arco ter Linden] since he was six years old; we bought him in Belgium from the breeder. He’s ten years old now, and he’s always been a good horse just always a bit strong and quite hot. And now through the years, he gets better and better. He did a few good results this year, and I’m happy with today.”
Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA): I think that the field was strong this year. This was my third visit here to course design in the last four years, and I’ve watched the field of horses and riders steadily strengthen through the year. The riders are liking the competition, and I thought they did a great job. Congratulations to all of you. I thought it was not an easy course. For me, it was very entertaining, and I think the crowd would agree. I think it was a very good competition.”
Washington International Horse Show
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League
A total of 14 athletes from the new North American League will qualify for next year’s prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, which will take place in Gothenburg (SWE) on 23-28 March 2016. The top seven athletes from the East Coast US, top three from West Coast US and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico will qualify for the Final, alongside winners of the 13 other leagues from around the world.
The North American League boasts a minimum of US $2.4 million prize money across the series, and offers the best Jumping athletes from North America and around the world the chance to qualify for the jackpot of more than US $1.4 million (€1.3 million) on offer annually at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.
The new league was launched by Beezie Madden, the most decorated US female equestrian athlete of all time, American Gold Cup winner and FEI Solidarity Ambassador Jessica Springsteen, and Hannah Selleck, team and individual gold medalist at young rider level and one of the sport’s up-and-coming stars. The full launch release is available here: https://goo.gl/kCIsyW.
Victoria Colvin Tops WIHS Equitation Finals; Sima Morgello and Katherine Strauss Triumph in Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classics
Washington, D.C. – October 24, 2015 – Harrie Smolders (NED) and Emerald emerged victorious in the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup, on Saturday night at the 2015 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Competing for the coveted President of the United States Perpetual Cup as well as valuable Longines FEI World Cup qualifying points, the grand prix was the highlight event of the week at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. Callan Solem (USA) and VDL Wizard finished second and Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and H&M Forever D Arco Ter Linden placed third.
Also competing on Saturday, Victoria Colvin won the 2015 WIHS Equitation Finals, presented by SAP. Katherine Strauss and All In were victorious in the $15,000 SJHOF Ambassador’s Cup High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Staysail Farm, and Sima Morgello and Zopala topped the $7,500 Senator’s Cup Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by The Strauss Family. Competition concludes on Sunday with the Pony Hunters, WIHS Pony Equitation Finals, and WIHS Regional Finals.
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the tracks for jumper competition throughout the week at Verizon Center. In Saturday night’s grand prix, D’Ambrosio saw 28 entries with six clear rounds. Only two were able to clear the short course without fault.
Nicola Philippaerts was first to go in the jump-off, clocking the fastest time of the night in 38.17 seconds, but dropping one rail along the way riding Ludo Philippaerts and Frans Lens’s H&M Forever D Arco Ter Linden. Jos Verlooy (BEL) jumped the short track next, also dropping one rail in 40.07 seconds to eventually finish fourth aboard Axel Verlooy and Euro Horse Bvba’s Sunshine. Victoria Colvin (USA) was fast with Take the High Road LLC’s Cafino in 38.93 seconds, but brought down two rails along the way to place fifth. Hardin Towell (USA) also had two jumps down in a slower time of 41.91 seconds to place sixth with Jennifer Gates LLC’s Emilie de Diamant AS.
Callan Solem and Horseshoe Trail Farm LLC’s VDL Wizard and Harrie Smolders aboard Axel Verlooy and Euro Horse Bvba’s Emerald were the only two pairs to clear the jump-off course without fault. Solem’s time of 39.43 seconds settled for second place in the end, as Smolders and Emerald were still to come. They cleared the track just faster in a time of 39.32 seconds for the win. Smolders also won the competition in 2006 aboard Exquis Oliver Q, and was pleased to take home this year’s top prize with Emerald, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Diamant de Semilly x Carthago).
“I think the first time I was here was 2006 and that year I also won the (President’s) Cup, so I am very pleased to be back and to do it over again,” Smolders stated. “Emerald is 11 now, and I have had him since he was six years old. He has always been a fantastic horse with a lot of talent, but I think this year he made his breakthrough. He was very consistent this year. He did Nations Cup shows and (more), so his talent came. He is more mature now; he shows in his results that he is in the best of his life I think. He’s a bit of a stallion, a character, but his talent and technique are endless. He has the experience, and now it is time to win something.”
“I must say that Callan did a super round,” Smolders noted. “On one hand, she put some pressure on so it was not a present today, but on the other hand I was also a bit pleased that I knew what I had to do (in the jump-off). If there was no one clear, you had to decide what you were going to do, but I had no choice. I had to go.”
Solem’s second place finish was a big result for the American rider and her mount VDL Wizard. Solem had help from two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time President’s Cup winner McLain Ward (USA) as she went into the ring for her jump-off.
“I was fortunate to have the counsel of McLain and he said, ‘Callan, you have to try to win. Harrie’s going to be so fast.’ He encouraged me to do four strides in the first line and he said, ‘You’re third a lot. Try to win this class,’” Solem recalled. “I really appreciated that encouragement. Going to these shows on my own, I’m trying to find my way a little bit. In producing the horses, I always try to leave them better than I found them and sometimes it is nice for me to have a little push. It is nice for someone to say, ‘Come on, you’re good enough, go ahead and try.’”
“I feel very lucky to have him (Wizard) and every day that I ride him it is such a pleasure,” Solem said of the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Gentleman x Ahorn). “He loves this sport so much. He had a really rough start. We got him as a seven-year-old and he was riddled with this, and that and the other sickness. He really did not do much for the first three years, so even though he is 12, he is more like a 10-year-old. He is just getting fit and strong, and ready to peak in this next year I hope. He is a great horse.”
Nicola Philippaerts concluded a great week with his third place finish aboard H&M Forever D Arco Ter Linden. He has had the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Darco x Tenor Man) since the horse was six years old and explained that his mount has also improved a lot this year.
“He was always a good horse, just a little bit strong and quite hot,” Philippaerts detailed. “Now through the years he gets better and better. He had a few good results this year, and I am happy he was good today.”
Philippaerts also won the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final on Friday with his second WIHS mount, H&M Harley vd Bisschop.
“I think it is now the fourth time we have come to the show here, and we are always pleased to come back,” the rider remarked. “We always do the three World Cup shows, here and then Lexington (KY) and Toronto (CAN). For us, it is quite nice if we can get some points here for Europe when we go back. I like to be here. There is not so much space because we are in the middle of the city, but they do a good job and I am happy to be here.”
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio spoke of the night’s competition and the ultimate result of his track for the evening.
“I think the field was strong this year. This is my third visit here to course design in the last four years and I have watched the field of horses and riders steadily strengthen through the years, so the riders are liking the competition and I thought they did a great job,” D’Ambrosio stated. “I thought it was not an easy course. They did a great job, and for me, I think it was very entertaining and I think the crowd would agree. It was a very good competition.”
WIHS was extremely honored that this year’s competition was selected as one of seven events to comprise the East Coast division of the all-new Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping North American League. WIHS President Victoria Lowell commented on the honor of hosting such an important event on the competition calendar each year.
“I think it is very important for us to be a part of the league,” Lowell noted. “WIHS has such a huge history in the sport and has been a World Cup qualifier for a number of years. With the league consolidating this year, it was important to us to maintain that status, so we were thrilled to be part of the league when it was slimmed down to 14 events. We could not be happier to be a part of the Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping North American league.”
Concluding a fantastic evening of competition, Erik Moses, Senior Vice President of Events DC, remarked on the impact that WIHS has had on the local sporting industry.
“Having had this event here since 1958, it really is a sporting and a cultural institution for Washington D.C.,” Moses stated. “We have every other major sport represented in this city and this one means so much to the city because of the President’s Cup with the presidential seal on it. I was looking at one of the films that showed the original horse show in the U.S. National Guard Armory, which is another one of our buildings. This event is inextricably linked to sports in this town, so we think it really rounds out our portfolio in a unique way.”
Along with the presentation of top prizes in the grand prix, Belgium’s Jos Verlooy won a host of awards following Saturday night’s competition for great success in his first trip to WIHS this year. The 19-year-old-rider had consistent results throughout the week’s international jumper classes, including a win in Friday night’s $25,000 The Boeing Company Puissance.
Verlooy was presented with the $15,000 Leading International Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Robin Parsky, along with the Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy. He also earned the $10,000 Leading Under 25 Rider Bonus and The Juliet Weber Reid Award, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch. He accepted the Leading Jumper Owner Award, sponsored by The Reid Family, on behalf of his father, Axel Verlooy, and Euro Horse Bvba. He then earned the final award of the night as Leading Foreign Rider.
Colvin Wins WIHS Equitation Finals
The 2015 WIHS Equitation Finals, presented by SAP, concluded on Saturday evening with a win for Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL. Forty of the nation’s top junior riders qualified to compete in this year’s championship, which was held over three phases of competition. Riders began competing over a hunter course on Friday and returned over a jumper course Saturday afternoon. Their scores from the two rounds were then combined, and the top 10 competitors returned for a final work-off Saturday night, in which they switched horses by way of a random draw and jumped the same course one more time.
In her final year as a junior, Victoria Colvin won the title. She began the first two phases of competition riding Dr. Betsee Parker’s Patrick, then switched onto Morgan Ward’s mount Vondel DHZ. Her hunter score of 91.5, combined with her jumper score of 92.25 and a final score of 92.5 in the work-off combined for a solid 276.25 points for the win overall.
Madison Goetzmann of Skaneatles, NY finished second with a score of 267.25. Goetzmann rode Savannah Dukes’ Contelido in the hunter and jumper phases with scores of 86.25 and 90. She then switched onto Hunter Holloway’s mount Any Given Sunday, owned by Hays Investment Corp, to earn a 91 in the final work-off.
Holloway, of Topeka, KS, took home the third place prize with her score of 266.75 overall. She jumped Any Given Sunday to scores of 89 and 93.5, then earned an 84.25 aboard Mckayla Langmeier’s mount Eclipse, owned by Missy Clark.
Morgan Ward of Milford, NJ, jumped her own Vondel DHZ to scores of 87.5 and 87.625. She then jumped Colvin’s mount Patrick to a 91 in the final work-off to move into the fourth position overall. Langmeier earned scores of 88.25 in each of the first two phases of competition with Eclipse and then jumped Goetzmann’s mount Contelido to an 86. She finished fifth overall with a score of 262.5.
For her win, Colvin was presented the WIHS Equitation Classic Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. G. Ralph Ours, III. Patrick was awarded The Lugano Memorial Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill, as the winning horse of the night.
The judges for the class were Bill Ellis and Shane George on panel one and Susie Schoellkopf and Joe Fargis on panel two.
Colvin has competed in the Final the last several years and was excited that all of her hard work finally paid off. Colvin recently started training at Heritage Farm, working with Andre Dignelli and Patricia Griffith.
“I have had a lot of great trainers who have helped me get to where I am now,” Colvin acknowledged. “Patrick has been an amazing horse, so to win on him here was just a fantastic feeling. Having it be my last round on him was emotional, but it was good. It was really good.”
Speaking of her final work-off aboard Vondel DHZ, Colvin remarked, “Thankfully my horse came from Heritage. I have never ridden him before, but I know that Patricia knows him well. He was very straightforward. He landed left mostly. He had a fantastic jump and a quick front end, so he was very fun.”
Griffith was very proud to be a part of the team that helped Colvin get this momentous win as her junior career comes to an end, and spoke of Colvin’s natural ability.
“Tori is awesome to work with,” Griffith praised. “She has such a great feel for the horses. Even on a strange horse, right away she has a good sense of what she should do or what she should jump. It is easy to have a lot of dialogue with her and to have a lot of respect for somebody with that kind of talent. Training her is really just helping her and being there to offer a little bit of advice here and there. It is a pleasure.”
Second place finisher Madison Goetzmann was competing in the WIHS Equitation Finals for the second time and was pleased with her result this year.
“I have been coming here since ponies and to even be in the top ten was really an amazing feeling for me,” Goetzmann acknowledged. “This is a new horse, and it went great. I am really happy, and I am proud of my horse.”
“I was very excited when I heard that I was getting switched onto Hunter’s horse, Sunny, because I have heard very great things about him,” Goetzmann said of her work-off. “I was a little nervous because this was my very first horse switch, but Hunter was telling me how great a horse it is and how he is pretty straightforward. As soon as I jumped the first jump, I gained a lot of confidence and was able to breathe. He was just so great.”
For Holloway, Any Given Sunday (aka Sunny) has been a fantastic horse, and she knew that he would carry any rider to a great round.
“Sunny is just an amazing horse; he is super consistent,” Holloway stated. “He is super straightforward and super easy. I could not do it without him or my trainers and everyone that is a part of my team. It is an awesome feeling to even be here.”
Goetzmann trains with Stacia Madden, who spoke about how she helps students get to know their new horses for the final work-off.
“It is just paying attention to the horses and watching them go,” Madden noted. “You have to make sure you can figure out what leads they land on or if there are any special turns. I do think this year had a great group of horses for everyone to switch on to. There was no weak link. I think everybody had a really equal playing field this year, which was great.”
Griffith also commented on the horse switch, noting, “I feel like I got a little bit lucky this year because both of my riders in the top ten ride a lot of hunters and a lot of different hunters. Then they switched onto each other’s horses, so I was able to tell them exactly how to warm them up and exactly what they were going to do in the ring, and they pretty much did it just like that.”
Don Stewart also trained two students in the top ten, including Holloway, and was proud of his riders this year.
“My two girls went great in the top ten. I thought Hunter rode to win the class,” Stewart stated. “Hunter always delivers. She always rides great, and she is easy to work with. I thought they did a nice job judging. They certainly got the top three right for sure.”
Katherine Strauss and Sima Morgello Secure Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classics
Sixteen-year-old Katherine Strauss and her own All In took top call in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Jumper Classic, presented by Staysail Farm, to round out Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumper competition at WIHS.
Strauss topped 24 competitors in a five-horse jump-off that only saw two double-clear efforts. She saved the best for last, riding her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding to a clear round in 32.400 seconds from the final spot in the short-course order. The victory earned her The Ambassador’s Cup Perpetual Trophy and also the Reserve Championship in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Division.
When Strauss broke the beam, she bumped Christina Firestone and Mrs. and Mr. Bertram Firestone’s Wilhelmus S to second with a time of 35.602 seconds. Madison Goetzmann had the fastest time over the jumps, but a rail settled her and her own Wrigley in third with four faults in 32.29 seconds. Lucy Deslauriers and Lisa Deslauriers’ Hamlet finished fourth on eight faults in 33.10 seconds, while Allish Cunniffe rounded out the top five in the irons of Whipstick Farm Ltd.’s Betty Boop II with eight faults in 35.980 seconds.
Strauss and her trainer John Madden made a plan before the jump-off, but that plan quickly changed. “Before I went we were considering doing four strides from the second to third jump in the jump-off and also leaving out a stride in the last line. But, right before I went none had been clear and then Christina had a nice clear round,” said Strauss. “My horse has a really big stride and is pretty quick on its feet naturally, so doing the five in both of those and taking less risk, I could still be a little faster than her and it worked out well.”
All In was bred in the Netherlands and came to Strauss last year as a nine-year-old. “He is amazing. I am so fortunate to have a horse like him,” she said. “I showed him at indoors last year, so he knows the drill.”
Strauss is currently focusing on U25 and High Junior competition with the occasional grand prix, but her number-one goals include Young Riders and Prix de States as her last year as a junior rider approaches.
In 2010, Strauss won in the Children’s Jumper Championship at WIHS and is no stranger to success at Verizon Center. She even experienced some déjà vu this week after winning the High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic in 2012 with her own Chellano Z. “It is always fun to win here – it’s such an amazing horse show,” she said. “It is a really fun, unique experience having horses in the city, which we do not see very often.”
Goetzmann and Wrigley earned the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper championship overall and were presented the Greenberg Challenge Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hermen Greenberg. Deslauriers was presented the 2015 SHALANNO Style of Riding Award. The award is presented each year to the Junior Jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation and the respectful, dignified manner of a true sportsman.
Earlier on Saturday, Sima Morgello and Double S Farm LLC’s Zopala jumped to victory in the $7,500 Senator’s Cup Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic, sponsored by The Strauss Family. Twenty-three entries started over the first round course, and eight qualified for the jump-off where only two riders cleared the short course without fault. Francesca Dildabanian took an early lead in 32.83 seconds with Catika van de Helle, but Morgello soon took over with her winning round in a time of 31.56 seconds. Noel Fauntleroy had the fastest time of the jump-off in 31.40 seconds with Fara-Hilija ven de Start, but one rail came down to place the pair in third.
For the Classic win, Morgello was presented the Swan Lake Perpetual Trophy, donated by Beagle Brook Farm, in honor of the 1992 winner Swan Lake ridden by Jennifer F. Miller. With Saturday’s win and two second place finishes earlier in the week, Morgello and Zopala also earned the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner and get their name on the long list of winners for the Foxbrook Perpetual Trophy, donated by Joy Slater in honor of Space Citation. Taegan Long and Maria Long’s Polllux de Shalimar earned the reserve championship.
Morgello (19), of The Bronx, NY, is a sophomore at New York University. She has owned Zopala, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Boreas x Lincoln) for about four years and trains with Devin Ryan in New Jersey.
Commenting on her win, Morgello stated, “This is my third year at this horse show with her, and she has been second every year. I’m so lucky that we finally pulled it off.”
“I have to say, she is my favorite horse. She has such a good attitude,” Morgello noted. “She is actually really lazy, but you would never know it. She is always so excited when she walks into the ring. She whinnies in the beginning of the week. I think she loves her job.”
“She is a little bit unconventional,” Morgello said of the ride on Zopala. “She looks like a pony and she goes in a hackamore. She really has her own style. She loves to go uphill with her head up and out. I had to learn to ride her in that way. She is a lot of work, but she gives me so much work back, so it is worth it.”
In 2014, Morgello was reserve champion with a second place finish, and was thrilled to get even better results this year.
“I was super happy. To have the win today was really exciting,” Morgello acknowledged. “It is my last show with her for a year. She is going to have a new home for the upcoming year, so it was really a nice send off.”
“This is my favorite indoor and one of my favorite shows of the year,” Morgello added. “I love the crowds. I love that there are people just here from the area that want to come see the horses. It is really encouraging. It is great landing from the last jump and hearing everyone clapping.”
The Washington International Horse Show concludes on Sunday with the presentation of championship honors in the Pony Hunter divisions as well as the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals and WIHS Regional Finals.
About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.
Wellington, FL – February 11, 2015 – The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began its sixth week of competition, sponsored by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, on Wednesday with a win for Harrie Smolders (NED) and Exquis Walnut de Muze in the first international jumper class of the week. Smolders and his veteran partner of eight years blazed to victory in the $34,000 1.45m speed class to kick off the week.
Held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, WEF 6 runs February 11-15, 2015, featuring a full schedule of “AA” hunter and CSI 3* jumper action. The week features the coveted World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition, with hunters taking to the International Arena at PBIEC for their daily classes, weekly championships, and a chance to compete in Saturday night’s $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
As the hunters are featured on the main show grounds at PBIEC, the highlight jumper competition will be held on the adjacent grounds at The Stadium at PBIEC. The $85,000 Salamander Hotels & Resorts Grand Prix CSI 3* will the feature event in the International Ring at The Stadium on Friday night.
Several of the week’s highlight classes will be available LIVE online at the following links:
Richard Jeffery of Great Britain is the course designer in the International Ring at The Stadium for week six. On Wednesday, Jeffery began the day with 47 entries in the $34,000 1.45m speed class with 16 clear rounds.
Harrie Smolders and Exquis Walnut de Muze, owned by Team Exquis, had the winning time of 64.06 seconds over Canada’s Vanessa Mannix and Dooley’s Deluxe. Mannix took an early lead that held through most of the class in 66.21 seconds, but eventually settled for second. Peter Leone (USA) and My Pleasure jumped the third place round in 67.18 seconds.
Smolders has ridden Exquis Walnut de Muze, a 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin), since she was eight years old. The pair has a long history of success, including many top grand prix victories, and the rider was happy to see his mount back to her winning ways after a little time off.
“I have already had her a long time, and we have had many good shows together,” Smolders said of their partnership. “She had a little injury last year, so she is just coming back, but she has already been jumping fantastic the last two weeks. We have already been close to winning a few times and I couldn’t stay out (of the winner’s circle), the way she jumps. I still needed to be patient and wait for the right moment, but today was it.”
“I know her so well. I know exactly how she reacts and what she is going to do, so that makes it a bit easier,” Smolders said of his winning round. “It was quite a bit of turning in this class, but she knows the game and she always finds the fence. She has a lot of routine, so I only have to stay quiet in the turns because otherwise she wants to go in front of me. She thinks too fast. I have to think a bit slow and just look in the turns and then she finds the fences herself.”
Smolders noted that Exquis Walnut de Muze tends to have her best performances in bigger arenas, but had no problem adjusting to the change of venue this week. The International Ring at The Stadium is a smaller ring that many riders liken to the venues in Europe. When Smolders was last in Wellington in 2012, the facility had just been built to host the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, and has since transitioned to holding many different events throughout the circuit. He enjoyed the opportunity to compete in a new location and give the horses a different experience.
“I had not been in here yet; this is my first time jumping here,” Smolders noted. “It is like the size of most of the rings on the Global Champions Tour. It is different. The International Arena (at WEF) is way bigger and also the derby field here, but I think it is good to have the change in venue. It is good for the horses to have a different place to show sometimes. It keeps them fresh in the mind.”
Along with Exquis Walnut de Muze, Smolders has top horses Emerald and Don VHP Z in Wellington for the big classes. The mare will compete again in Sunday’s $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, while the two stallions will handle the grand prix duties.
“I started Emerald a bit quiet because these are his first outdoor shows this year, but I want to move him up this week to the grand prix,” Smolders explained. “Don, I used the first two weeks for the grand prix, and she [Exquis Walnut de Muze] has done all of the other classes. In the Suncast series she was already clear two times and now she will go again on Sunday.”
Also showing at The Stadium on Wednesday, Peter Leone (USA) jumped to victory in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class aboard Lionshare Farm’s Wayfarer. Adam Prudent (FRA) finished second with Henri Prudent’s Si Bella.
WEF 6 continues on Thursday, featuring the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 in the International Ring at The Stadium. In the International Arena on the main show grounds, the professional hunters will award championship honors in seven divisions, including three that finish in the International Arena. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
(C) ESI Photography. Harrie Smolders and Enjoy Louis on their way to a $35,000 FEI Sunshine Welcome win.
Thermal, CA (November 8, 2014): Week II of the National Sunshine Series at HITS Desert Horse Park is well underway, complete with seven active competition rings, VIP socials, and classic Fall desert temperatures.
An impressive 63 horse and rider pairs had their eyes on Thursday evening’s $35,000 FEI Sunshine Welcome prize. However, just enough Round 1 faults kept the majority at arm’s length from the top six. Several contenders clocked just split seconds beyond the time allowed so one-fault rides put five more in ribbons after the jump-off riders.
Jos Verlooy and Farfelu de la Pomme commenced the jump-off, followed by Lauren Hester and Abigal, both of which fell victim to downed rails. Third to enter the ring was a hopeful Bliss Heers aboard Prado K, who cleared the course in a swift 42.85. Tensions rose and spectators grew quiet as Audrey Coulter piloting Acorte charged to a clean round, besting Heers, with a remarkable 36.93.
The fifth jump-off attempt from Belgium native Harrie Smolders and Enjoy Louis began and onlookers knew the chase was on. The seemingly aerodynamic duo secured their fate with a quick, clear round in 35.20.
With one still to go, Smolders was sitting pretty, but not in the clear yet. Enrique Gonzalez and Quilebo Du Tillard of Mexico went last, finishing with a time of 34.37 but an unlucky rail at Fence 14 left them in fourth place.