James Chawke and Flemis Bouncer. Erin Gilmore Photography.
Wellington, FL (February 15, 2018) – James Chawke was feeling the love during 2018’s Valentine’s Day Turf Tour, where he and the Irish bred Flemis Bouncer bounded over the 1.30m course to rule the week’s $5,000 Rising Star Classic. The spectacular day of show jumping was highlighted by Chawke’s win, along with bald eagle sightings, a busy 1.20m class on the grass in the morning, and .80m-1.10m jump-offs and power & speed rounds running all day in Ring 2. Hosted by The Ridge at Wellington and at their home farm during Valentine’s week, Friday’s continuation of the Turf Tour promises more splendid show jumping including the $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix and wine tasting provided by The Vineyard House.
A relatively new mount for Chawke, of Leinster, Ireland, Flemis Bouncer recently topped an early February 1.20m class during this year’s Turf Tour and shows no signs of slowing the momentum. The game gray gelding galloped to a winning jump-off time of 33.155 seconds, and Chawke says the next steps are to continue to elevate both the jumps and their technique for the Grand Prix. The luck of the Irish held out for Chawke’s countryman Willie Tynan, whose 33.266 second jump-off with the elegant mare Dominique narrowly cut him out of first place in the class with just over a tenth of a second to spare. Samantha Bairs and Italian Gold van de Kruishoeve jumped to third on a time of 35.972 seconds.
“The Turf Tour’s Rising Star Classic is designed to serve as a foundation for advancing riders or new horse and rider pairings, giving them the atmosphere, jumps, and competition to seamlessly transition to the Grand Prix or achieve their own personal goals,” said US Olympian and co-founder of The Ridge and Turf Tour, Nona Garson. “The 1.30m level is such an important time for both horses and riders to develop the skills needed for a successful Grand Prix career. It is at this height that riders must evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their mount, and learn to apply strategic riding and a focused, competitive mind. Providing a variety of venues, excellent natural footing, and surmountable challenges on course is our way of nurturing these horses and riders and ultimately was the inspiration for the Turf Tour.”
James Chawke and GK Coco Chanel. Photos courtesy of Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC.
March 10 Hunter Derby Day Crowns Schatt and Buttenweiser
Wellington, Florida (March 15, 2017) – Wrapping up its tenth week of competition, the 2017 Palm Beach Series has become a haven for developing horses and riders to hone their skills and synergy in the competition arena. In the third and final Hunter Derby Day of the 2017 winter season, an exceptional course welcomed riders for a $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, where gorgeous jumps in shade of the covered arena set the stage for a utopian derby showcase on Friday, March 10th. Full jumper divisions hosted riders Wednesday and Thursday, with Saturday’s competition including the week’s headline class, a $15,000 1.40m Grand Prix designed to offer a technical but obtainable challenge for emerging Grand Prix mounts and riders.
James Chawke and GK Coco Chanel Lead from Wire to Wire in Palm Beach Series X 1.40m Grand Prix
World class jumps, course designs, and a one-of-a-kind atmosphere drew riders to the in-gate of Jumper Rings 1 & 2 at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center during Week 10’s competition, and Saturday’s 1.40m Grand Prix presented an interesting combination of challenges for the field of competitors. The headline class, which featured a course by FEI designer Mark McGowan, granted a number of double clears but no one could best James Chawke and GK Coco Chanel’s effort, which secured them victory.
As one of the first riders to go, Chawke’s early jump-off time of 40.612 couldn’t be touched throughout the class. As all of the Palm Beach Series’ jumper classes feature an open in-gate policy, allowing riders to arrive, school, and show at their own pace and as per their own schedule, the majority of the field was still chomping at the bit following Chawke’s early double clear, but in the end none would best the elegant bay mare’s athletic display of speed and power.
Giving chase to Chawke and Coco, Stephen Moore piloted to Istafan Issi to reserve honors with a jump off time of 44.553. Peter Jordan and P&F Cordillo Z rounded out the top three efforts in the Grand Prix, less than a second behind Moore with a 45.148.
The spectacular Grand Prix course, which asked a number of questions of its horses and riders, offered the option of a straightforward ride with a few bending lines and combinations to keep things interesting, as well as the choice to test agility, scope, and stamina. Acting as a catalyst for the development of young or green horses as well as developing riders, the Palm Beach Series weekly Grand Prix classes, Hunter Derby Day events, and other jumper divisions serve as a stepping stone to the larger jumper classes without the pressure and stress of intense competitions and atmospheres.
Schatt & Buttenweiser Crowned in March 10 Hunter Derby Day
March 10 was an incredible season finale for The Ridge Palm Beach Series’ hunter derby competitions, and a celebration of the grace, athleticism, and pageantry that have come to embody the performance hunter and highlight The Ridge Palm Beach Series’ Hunter Derby Days. The spectacular jumps gave character and substance to the Derby courses, which were designed by Skip Bailey to test and reward some of the best hunter horse and rider combinations in the world. Including stacked hay bales, brick and picket verticals and oxers, stone walls, and lushly decorated fences, the final Hunter Derby Day of the 2017 winter season began with the $5,000 USHJA National Derby in the morning and the $15,000 USHJA International Derby in the afternoon.
Hallie Buttenweiser and Wanderlust jumped with the presence and precision that are the hallmarks of an exceptional derby ride, earning them the championship title in the $5,000 USHJA International Derby. Wanderlust, who is known around the barn as Turkey, made a particularly strong statement in the handy round to earn himself and Buttenweiser the win in the horse’s first outing of the show season.
“He is so handy, and so very brave,” said Buttenweiser. “This was his first show this season, and he proves himself to be so adaptable and it was nice to get him out and showing without pressure. I could tell he really enjoyed jumping this course; it was beautiful and impressive enough without being spooky. These classes are a great step up for horses just starting to do the derbies and I felt confident going to all of the higher options. Turkey is great at turning, and he corrected for a mistake I made at the trot fence.”
Buttenweiser, who has also shown this year on The Palm Beach Series Turf Tour and jumper circuit, also stated her appreciation for the series’ relaxed atmosphere and nurturing environment for developing horses: “I love showing here and have really enjoyed the laid-back environment on the Turf Tour. It’s a great option to bring horses who are kind of in the middle and need to build confidence, plus the amenities and spacious warm-ups are a major plus.”
With the arena freshly drug and the course reset for the $15,000 USHJA International Derby, it was decorated hunter rider Havens Schatt and Continental’s turn to shine. The athletic bay, under the guidance of Schatt, epitomized the talent and poise required to top one of the discipline’s most prestigious classes. After beginning his career as a 1.35m jumper, Continental has grown under Schatt’s guidance into a successful Derby horse as well as an exceptional amateur hunter.
“Skip built a great course today for this class,” said Schatt. “His handies really make you think, and give you some options for what best suits your horse and yet still keep the ride very handy, as well as some options for young or greener horses. I thought it rode very well and the course itself was beautiful. For us its really nice to show here and it’s a great thing they [The Ridge] offer. I brought another horse who I knew may make some mistakes but its great experience for him and I’ve even brought some young horses just to school and get them off the farm.”
For more information on the 2017 Palm Beach Series, including full schedules, prizelists, and entry blanks, visit www.TheRidgeFarm.com.