This week, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping has been catching up with the new generation in professional show jumping. Almost 40 years younger than some of their senior competitors, we took a look at how initiatives such as the Young Riders Academy and the introduction of U25 competitions at the Majors gives young riders the opportunity to break into the senior world.
Words from Harry Charles, young rising star of show jumping:
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Definitely competing in the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen; that has always been the dream of mine since I was small and to be able to do it was incredible. I still have to pinch myself that I have done it, to be honest with you. Sometimes when I am hacking with ABC Quantum Cruise at home, I look down and say to him, ‘can you believe that we jumped the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen?’
Who are your idols / which riders do you look up to?
For me it has always been Scott (Brash). As well as great rider, he’s a really nice guy too so he is definitely my idol. We talk about everything actually and he is always willing to help me out and lend a hand. Especially when I started doing the big shows, he was always the first one who would come and sit with me at breakfast in the morning at the big shows when I didn’t know anyone, which I really appreciated.
The Rolex Grand Slam Majors are promoting youth by organizing more and more U25 competitions; what is your point of view on this?
I think it is great; any chance for a young rider to jump in a top-level event like any of these shows is massively important and influential. Being among the top riders with a big crowd is just amazing, not only to inspire and motivate young riders, but also for their exposure. For example, when I was in Aachen, so many people contacted me, and I think I gained about 400 followers on my social media platforms each day I was there. Taking part in these events really does give you drive, and although you may only be able to jump two classes, it makes you even more motivated at the idea of jumping more later down the line.
Words from Jos Verlooy, European Championship Bronze Medallist:
What do you think are the three most important attributes for being a professional show jumper?
Work ethic is number one for me and I think it is the same in all sports. You have to work hard in order to achieve your goals and you have to be willing to learn. It is also very important to have good people behind you who you trust. Finally, a good relationship with your owners is so important because the role of the owners has evolved so much.
What impact has your owner had on your career?
I have a very good owner and I am very lucky that I could keep riding Igor because a lot of people wanted to buy him. Our sport is not just about riding; it’s about finding the right horses and the right partnerships and that is where the importance of the owners come in; it really is a team effort.
You are almost 40 years younger than some of top riders who are still competing – what are the tools you need to have such a long career?
It’s hard to say, but definitely the most important thing is to have the right horse. Even if you’re 50 you can always learn and keep improving and I think if you have a good horse you can perform at the highest level whatever your age. I have a lot of respect for Ludger Beerbaum who has had an incredible year and always kept the right people behind him. It’s only until you’re in the sport that you realise how difficult it is to have the right horse, the right management, and the right team; you need all pieces in the puzzle, really.
Words from Karen Polle, Japanese rider:
Do you feel a responsibility to help grow the sport of show jumping in Asia?
I am really glad to see that the sport is growing in Asia. As a Japanese and Asian rider, I definitely feel a responsibility and want to play whatever part I can in expanding the sport. I think at least in Japan there is a big interest in horse racing, but not so much show jumping. I think the reason it’s not as popular yet is because it’s not quite as well-known, but I think once people learn how great show jumping is and how great the horses are, I do think it will become very popular. It is all about building awareness around the sport and I think with the Olympic Games coming up this is starting to happen, which is great. The Japanese eventing team is very strong, both individually and as a team. Also, they are hosting an Asian Championship in Thailand in December for the first time and that involves a lot of investment and infrastructure, so there definitely is a growing interest in the sport.
When did you decide you wanted to be a show jumper?
Probably when I was a junior. I competed in the US national jumper championships, and I went into it being a real under-dog. I had an amazing week and my horse was incredible and we ended up winning which was very special. After that I understood what it felt like to win and that’s when I knew I wanted to do show jumping. I thought to myself, if I work really hard, I could maybe achieve more. After that moment I just absolutely loved show jumping and it catapulted from there.
Mill Spring, NC – October 14, 2017 – Tryon Fall IV competition was highlighted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) with a win for Marilyn Little (USA) and Clearwater, as the pair took top honors ahead of 43 other pairs in the $130,000 Suncast® Commercial Grand Prix CSI 3*. Little and the 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Clearway x Tricolore-W), owned by Karen O’Connor, stopped the short course timers in a brisk 35.32 seconds, while Eve Jobs (USA) took second place aboard her own Charleville, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Quasimodo Z x Wickeyville), after completing the jump-off in 35.638 seconds. Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and H&M Harley VD Bisschop, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Dulf Van Den Bisschop x Charisma I), owned by Ludo Philippaerts and Ben Beevers, claimed third place honors, finishing in 36.119 seconds.
The course, designed by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), saw 44 pairs test the first-round track. Eleven pairs returned for the jump-off round, where Little and Clearwater flew to the top of the leaderboard to claim first place.
Little said she is happy to break her recent streak of “one-fence-itis” with a win. “I haven’t had great luck lately, so I’m happy to break that tonight. This is a great venue for him, and he’s really developed a lot here this summer and in the past year. These have been great classes for him to really step up to being a real horse and a top horse. I can really count on him.
“The footing is fast in here, so you can really take a shot at it, and so he’s a really fun horse to ride in the jump-off,” she continued.
The pair was last to go after jump-off rounds that kept getting faster throughout the short course, and Little admitted there was some pressure to perform against the other top riders. She was followed closely by young U.S. talent Eve Jobs and European standout Nicola Philippaerts.
“There were so many in the jump-off. I thought Beezie was quite fast, and that I’d be trying to beat her, and then they just kept getting faster and faster,” she said. “That’s a little how the class went tonight overall. I knew I was going to have to go in and put in a personal best, and if we did that, he would win because he’s so fast.”
Little and Clearwater will contest the $380,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* next week for the first time together, and Little reported that this win is a real confidence boost. The duo then plans to head to Wellington, FL for their winter circuit, where Little will look to compete in the top classes during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
“From here, he will go to Wellington and will hopefully be a real contender there. He was an eventer initially, tried some jumpers and we decided to see how far he could go. It’s been a wonderful ride for us both and he’s a really special horse,” she concluded.
Amber Harte (USA) was presented with the FEI Leading Lady Jumper Rider Award presented by Meg Atkinson of Town & Country Realtors after accumulating the most points throughout the week of FEI competition. Marilyn Little’s groom, Daniel Aranda, received the $500 Absorbine Grooms’ Award as groom for the evening’s winning mount.
Karen Polle and Little Lord 90 Cruise to $35,000 Horseware® Ireland 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 3* Win
The $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Speed Stake CSI 3* saw Karen Polle (JPN) and her own Little Lord 90 streak to the top of the honor roll as they completed the course in a blazing 64.82 seconds. Just behind her in second place was Daniel Bluman (ISR) aboard his own Bacara D’Archonfosse, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare (ASCA Z x Queen D’Archonfosse), finishing in 64.92 seconds, while Brianne Goutal (USA) took third place honors aboard Fineman, a 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Feliciano x Kotiljong II) owned by Rose Hill Farm, stopping the timers at 65.47 seconds.
“Today went really well,” said Polle. “I was lucky. The lines just came up really nice for me and it was perfect. My horse is really quick and has a lot of foot speed, so I just had to guide him around,” she said of the 2005 Holsteiner gelding (Lasino x Remini).
Polle mentioned that her trainer, Rodrigo Pessoa, encouraged her to push herself in some spots throughout the course. “The first line I walked a forward eight and it ended up being really steady for me, and then on the second line I was going to do nine [strides] but my trainer, Rodrigo, told me to do eight. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but I did, even though it was a little long.”
The pair has been together since April so the gelding is still relatively new to her. “He’s such a trier; he has such a good heart. He’s so fast, so he’s really fun. I just kind of zip around on him,” she said.
“He’s sort of a 1.45m or 1.50m horse, so this class is his specialty. I hope we’ll keep getting better and better at these,” she concluded. “This was my best placing this week, so it’s been the highlight so far!”
Fuqua and Colvin Victorious in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Wellington, FL – March 11, 2017 – Karen Polle (JPN) and With Wings made it two-for-two during week nine at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL with a victory in Saturday night’s $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, after also topping Thursday’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup (the grand prix qualifier). U.S. Olympian Margie Engle (USA) riding Royce, and Spanish Olympian Sergio Alvarez Moya aboard Charmeur, placed second and third, respectively.
Alan Wade’s (IRL) course got the best of many on Saturday night, as only four out of 39 entries cleared the first round without fault. In the jump-off, Polle and her 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Larino x L. Ronald) were the only pair to complete a second clear track, racing through the timers in 42.42 seconds.
Engle and Gladewinds Partners’ Royce had one rail in the double combination and finished in 43.36 seconds. Alvarez Moya and Charmeur dropped one rail at the final fence in the jump-off with a time of 43.81 seconds. Quentin Judge (USA) placed fourth, riding Double H Farm’s HH Conrad to 12 faults over the short course in 45.22 seconds.
Remarking on her win, 24-year-old Polle declared, “I feel disbelief first of all. It has not really sunk in yet. The week could not have gone any better. I won both my classes, and my horse jumped unbelievably all week, every jump. He really helped me out, and he felt great tonight, so I am really, really happy.”
Detailing her strategy for the jump-off, Polle stated, “My plan was just to go as fast as I could. There were only four, so I just wanted to go for it, because I was going to get a good ribbon either way. I just picked up a good gallop and tried to be as neat as I could.”
Saturday was Polle’s first time jumping clear, and her first time jumping off, in a Saturday Night Lights grand prix at WEF. She had the great confidence of a longtime partnership riding With Wings on her side.
“When I first got him, I did not know so much. I was still a junior, but I knew he was special,” Polle said of their seven-year partnership. “I really believed in him, and I did not ever feel like there was a jump that was too big for us, or a course that was too difficult for us. I am just really glad that we were able to win because I have always felt like he is a real winner.”
During their years together, Polle and With Wings have had the guidance of some of the biggest names in show jumping. Olympic team gold medalist and Rolex Grand Slam Champion Scott Brash (GBR), Olympian Mario Deslauriers (USA), ten-time Olympian Ian Millar (CAN), and Olympic silver and bronze medalist Paul Schockemöhle (GER) have all played a role in developing this young talent. On Saturday night, Polle was competing under the tutelage of Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil.
“I have been really lucky to work with quite a few top professionals,” Polle acknowledged. “All of them have really helped me and Wings get to where we are now. I used little things that I have learned from all of them tonight to do the course, and to do the jump-off.
“I hope to win a lot more classes like this,” she added. “It is an unbelievable feeling, and this is why we do this – why we work so hard at home to then come here and be able to win a class like this. I hope I can continue to have many more of these moments and many more Saturday night grand prix wins.”
Engle was aboard her talented mount Royce for a second place finish on Saturday and was happy with her horse’s efforts.
“He has felt great all circuit,” Engle said of the 13-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Café au Lait x Grandilot). “Karen just was the one to beat this week. She was on fire. I was very happy with Royce. He has been riding very well. He jumped well on Thursday and then again tonight. I just jumped in a little big into the double (in the jump-off). He tried to get out of the way. I just needed to nip inside, but he felt great.”
Commenting on the evening’s course, Engle continued, “I thought it was tough enough. It was appropriate for a five-star event. There were a lot of technical questions. The course was long, and it was up and down. It was kind of nice to have only four in the jump-off. You knew that if you went clean, you were going to get a good piece of the prize money.”
Alvarez Moya was riding a less experienced mount for the night’s competition with his ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Charmeur (Numero Uno x Gelha’s VDL Emilion).
“I am very happy the way he jumped today. It is his first big grand prix,” Alvarez Moya noted. “He is pretty sensitive, and I was doubting actually until last night if I was going to ride him in the grand prix or not, but he is normally very brave. I was very happy when I saw there were only four in the jump-off. I knew they were fast, but I had to be a little careful at the number three. In the first round my horse did a little bit of a funny jump, and I did not want to scare him in the jump-off. I think the rest was good. He tried hard. He was very careful, and I am just very happy with him.
“I have had him since he was six,” Alvarez Moya continued. “Last year he did a few bigger classes, but not like this, and for sure not under the lights and a five-star grand prix. I always believed a lot in him. I think he is a pretty special horse. He is just very sensitive and sharp, so I took it very slow with him. I definitely think he is the one I have to replace Carlo, which is not an easy job.”
Representing Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Don Langdon remarked on the evening’s competition and praised the riders on a great night of sport.
“First of all, congratulations to the top three – Margie, Sergio, and Karen,” Langdon stated. “It is great for me, who does not ride, to participate for the last 30 years and to see the growth of what has happened in this community. Mark (Bellissimo) has built this brand far greater than any sights that we had ever imagined. Douglas Elliman is the fourth largest real estate company in the country. We are a private company, which is great. This plays right into our brand. We like to patronize the people that also patronize our company, and obviously the equestrians have been an amazing role in our success in the Wellington area. We appreciate that.”
Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo wrapped a great night with his comments. He stated, “There were people years ago who said that we would never fill the seats when we built them, and I think the reality is that we are coming consistently every Saturday with pretty much a full house. I think it is a testament to the athletes here. People here are developing a following. I think the sport is really taking hold in this community, and hopefully, that is something that can be replicated in other markets. I want to thank Rolex first and foremost. These five-stars are very important to attract the talent that we have here. Rolex is the brand that has stepped up and really transformed this facility with very heavy investment, and allowed us to get to the four five-star events.
“I am really proud of the riders,” Bellissimo continued. “To see Karen and that smile; it is great when you see someone win something for the first time. This was the first time that a Japanese rider has won a five-star grand prix here. I was very happy to see the excitement of Karen’s win, and hopefully it is the first of many.”
As the grand prix winner, Polle was presented the Herman ‘Kappy’ Kaplan Perpetual Memorial Trophy. She was also given the Leading Lady Rider Award for week nine, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Giavanna Rinaldi and Haylie Rolfe’s Caretina III won the $10,000 SJHOF Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch. The $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers, saw a win for Lacey Gilbertson and Seabrook LLC’s Baloppi. Kamille Marcussen and Bull Run’s Pistol Pete were also victorious in the $1,500 Martha Jolicoeur, Douglas Elliman Low Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.
Fuqua and Colvin Victorious in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Junior, amateur, and professional hunter riders guided their horses around the grass derby field at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Equestrian Village on Saturday morning in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. The class was awarded in two sections, a junior/amateur section and an open section, and consisted of first and second rounds, where the top 12 competitors returned for a handy trip.
Kat Fuqua of Atlanta, GA won her second big class of the weekend. After winning the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby on Friday, she bested a field of 20 juniors and amateurs aboard High Noon 3E. The pair earned scores of 83 in the first round and 84 in the second round for a combined total of 167.
Speaking of her third experience showing the gelding in a national derby, Fuqua said, “It feels really good to win the derby. This is the first horse derby I’ve placed in with him. I loved doing the victory gallop, and he felt really good on the grass field. I train with Liz Reilly and Keri Kampsen; they’ve helped me improve a lot.”
One of the youngest in the class, Fuqua started riding the 2003 Canadian Sport Horse, owned by Float On Equestrian, LLC, earlier in the winter circuit and also shows him in the Children’s Hunter and Equitation 11 & Under divisions.
“We call him ‘Hippo’ in the barn,” she continued. “He loves attention (and) treats and is really friendly. My favorite thing about him is his smooth stride. I’m really proud of my horse!”
Kira Telford of Chicago, IL claimed the second place ribbon. Telford rode Calistoga Gold to matching scores of 82 in both rounds, for an overall total of 164. The third place ribbon went Lisa Butzer of Boca Raton, FL, and CS Online, owned by Allyson Coluccio. The pair received scores of 81 and 76 in the first and second rounds, respectively, for a total score of 157.
Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL piloted Harper Lee to the win in the open section. Colvin and the six-year-old Polish Warmblood mare earned the highest scores in both trips, an 88 in the first round and a 94 in the second round, for an overall score of 182.
“She’s the easiest horse in the world,” Colvin explained. “She just goes right around the field and doesn’t look at the spooky jumps or anything. In the handy round, the horse before me was really nice so I had to go for it, and she was amazing. I just let go and cantered around.”
Laura Karet has owned the mare for two years and recently started showing her in the Low Adult Hunters.
“We’ve been bringing her along slowly, and this is really exciting,” said Karet. “This is her second derby. She’s really never done anything like this so we didn’t know what to expect. We’re very proud of her!”
Colvin also picked up the third place in ribbon in the open section guiding Caliber, another entry owned by Laura Karet, to a first round score 84 and a handy score of 90, which resulted in a total score of 174. Kim Barone of Watertown, MN received the second place ribbon aboard Easy Street HU, owned by Raven Ridge Farm, with scores of 87.5 and 91 in the first and second round, respectively, to earn a combined score of 178.5.
The ninth week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic in the International Arena. The Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Large Pony Hunter division will determine championship and reserve honors in Ring 11. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Jimmy Torano Forms New Partnership to Win Pre-Green Three & Four-Year-Old Hunters
Wellington, FL – March 9, 2017 – Karen Polle (JPN) and veteran partner With Wings earned a big win in Thursday’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
Round 9 of the Challenge Cup series saw 51 starters over Alan Wade’s (IRL) first round course. Twelve entries advanced to the jump-off, and six completed double clear rounds. Polle and With Wings took the win in 36.71 seconds. Lillie Keenan (USA) and Chansonette Farm’s Skyhorse finished second in 38.14 seconds. Lauren Hough (USA) aboard Willow Grace Farm’s Cornet 39 placed third in 38.53 seconds, and Lucy Davis (USA) riding Old Oak Farm’s Cassis 54 finished fourth in 38.95 seconds.
“I thought the first round was actually pretty tricky. At the beginning we didn’t see so many clears,” Polle said after her win. “The jump-off was really fun. For Wings, it really suited him well because you could get a gallop and try to cruise through, and just watch the verticals. There were two places where I was able to leave out strides, which I think really helped me.
“I was a little long at the last fence, but I went for it,” Polle continued. “Wings has so much range that he can do that. That is where I have to be a little quicker sometimes because he has a big stride, but he is not a quick, quick horse, so to make up that time I need to do the leave outs.”
Polle began training with Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa in October, but also had her longtime experience riding With Wings to her advantage.
“Last month was seven years that I have had him,” Polle noted. “I think that is one of the most special things, to have a horse that you start really young. I started in the Low Junior Jumpers with him, and then we worked our way up to the five-star level. I think that makes our partnership even more special because we have known each other for so long. We trust each other a lot because we have been through everything together. It is very rare, so I am really lucky.”
Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and Quintol finished fifth in 39.30 seconds, and Pablo Barrios (VEN) riding A S D Farfala placed sixth in 39.54. Kent Farrington (USA) completed the fastest time in 35.54 seconds with his own and Robin Parksy’s Gazelle, but had a rail at the final fence to place seventh.
Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Jonathan McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Special Lux won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman CSI 2* 1.45m speed class. Alexandra Pielet and Helene VE topped the $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper speed class.
Jimmy Torano Forms New Partnership to Win Pre-Green Three & Four-Year-Old Hunters
Jimmy Torano of Wellington, FL rode More Than Words, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo, for the first time at WEF 9 to win the Pre-Green Three & Four-Year-Old Hunter division championship. The pair won the under saddle, an over fences round, and placed third in another over fences class to secure the title.
“He went great,” said Torano. “He is owned in a partnership with Ralph Caristo, Emil Spadone, and me. We bought him at an auction back in the fall. We were all at the same auction together and we all really liked the horse, so we decided to form a group and buy him.”
More Than Words is a 2012 Holsteiner gelding by Cancara. Earlier in the winter circuit, Heather Caristo-Williams showed the gelding in the USHJA Hunter 2’6″ division, sponsored by Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP.
“I think he’s going to be a really fancy horse,” Torano continued. “He’s just four years old, but this is the first time I’ve ridden him and he went great. He’s really straightforward, a beautiful horse, and a beautiful jumper.”
Heather Hayes of Cumming, GA and Mind’s Eye, an entry owned by River Run Farm, LLC, settled for reserve honors. The pair earned second place ribbons in the under saddle and two over fences classes, as well as placing sixth in another over fences class. Mind’s Eye is a four-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Spartacus.
Competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday featuring the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m CSI 5* in the International Arena. On the grass derby field at Equestrian Village (AGDF show grounds), the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby and $1,000 Small Pony Hunter Classic, sponsored by Visse Wedell & Douglas Elliman, will decide winners. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – USA’s Kent Farrington and Gazelle were the big winners in Saturday’s $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, in a fast and competitive seven-horse jump-off at Spruce Meadows. Conor Swail (IRL) and Grafton finished second, and Andrew Ramsay (USA) and California 62 placed third.
The CIBC Cup was also featured on Saturday with a historic first international victory at Spruce Meadows for the country of Japan, as Karen Polle and With Wings took top honors.
Ireland’s Alan Wade set the course for 34 competitors in Saturday’s highlight Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex. Held in the Meadows on the Green, the competition saw seven entries move on to the jump-off, and five clear over the short course.
Andrew Ramsay was first to jump clear in round two with The California Group’s California 62, setting a fast pace in 37.59 seconds to eventually finish third. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) and Babel followed with a time of 37.77 seconds, which ended in fifth. Philipp Weishaupt (GER) shaved a few more fractions off the time aboard LB Convall, finishing in 37.71 seconds to land in fourth place. Kent Farrington and Gazelle cleared the course next, leaving no stone unturned as they raced through the timers in 35.78 seconds. Last to go, Conor Swail and Susan and Ariel Grange’s Grafton jumped into second place with their time 36.17 seconds.
Gazelle, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky, has had a fantastic season that includes multiple wins over the last few months. Farrington bought the mare when she was seven and feels that she is really progressing this year.
“I am very grateful that I have a super group of people behind my career, Robin Parsky being one of them,” Farrington noted. “They are really passionate about show jumping and that is what all of us need today in order to compete at this level. I have taken my time bringing this horse up and she has found her way at the higher level. I had her in Florida this winter and she was struggling a little bit in the big grand prixs, so I dropped her down for a while and then brought her back up, and she seems to be finding her form.”
Speaking of his winning round, Farrington stated, “In the jump-off today, we got great competition. Andrew laid down a very fast track. He had the unenviable spot of going early, so that is certainly not an advantage when you have all of us coming after. I also do not like Conor coming after me; that’s not my favorite spot either, but I thought I put enough of a run down that he was going to really have to try if he could catch me. I was very pleased with my horse.”
Farrington also commented on Alan Wade’s first round track, praising the course designer on a great competition.
“I think Alan is one of the best course designers, if not the best course designer, in modern show jumping. I think he really understands horses,” Farrington said. “It is a very fair test and he ends up with the perfect number in the jump-off. That shows that he knows what he is doing, so I think that all of us as riders applaud his work.”
Conor Swail was aboard a young mount in Grafton, a ten-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Calvaro x Vondeen) that he got as a seven-year-old as well.
“He is a super horse,” Swail detailed. “I and Barry O’Connor sold him to Sue Grange and Lothlorien, who have been great backers for me. He has done some very good things. He jumped on two Nations’ Cup teams for Ireland, both times double clear. He has been a little bit the same (as Gazelle for Kent), up and down a little bit with the grand prixs. Sometimes it takes him a little bit to find his feet, but once he gets to be comfortable at this height, he really excels. He is very scopey and he has a big step. He was a little slower than Kent’s horse unfortunately today, but I was absolutely delighted with how he went.”
Speaking of his jump-off track, Swail explained, “There was not a lot of strategy involved really. I had to go as hard as I could following Kent. Kent got one to two easier than I would have liked, and then he got seven strides around the corner and I got eight, so I was already behind and had to keep chasing. I did one stride less to the last, which I knew I could get that no one else could. Unfortunately that was not enough, but I am delighted. Kent is a great rider with a great horse. Being second to him, I will take that any day. Not all days, but I will take it today. I am very pleased for my owners, and the horse, and myself.”
As Farrington noted, Andrew Ramsay had a tough position going early in the order with very fast riders to follow in the jump-off, but Ramsay was very happy with his finish on California 62. The 12-year-old Holsteiner mare (Cassini I x Galent Vert) also placed third in the ‘Continental’ Tournament’s $375,000 CP Grand Prix.
“California is a new mare for us. I got her just before Wellington this winter, so I have just been trying to get to know her,” Ramsay stated. “It took a little bit of time in the beginning, but we are getting on track. We were third two weeks ago as well, which I guess is a good thing, but also a little frustrating. I am starting to figure out how we need to ride the course and set her up. I was really pleased with the jump-off today compared to two weeks ago when I had one down.
“I was thrilled with her today and quite happy with the jump-off,” Ramsay continued. “There were some very fast people coming behind me and we tried to do the best we could. We have a bit more learning to figure out, but we are making good headway, and I am thrilled to be here.”
Course designer Alan Wade also weighed in on Saturday’s competition and was pleased with his result.
“I have a great team around me. When you come to an event, you have to trust the people around you, and with Peter Grant and Joey Rycroft as my assistants I got a lot of guidance,” Wade remarked. “I was very pleased with the start list. As course designers, we are really only here to facilitate. These are the athletes that bring their horses out for the great sport of show jumping. We are only here to allow them to show their best and I think we had very good sport today.”
Karen Polle Earns Historic First Win for Japan at Spruce Meadows
The CIBC Cup 1.50m was the first FEI competition held in the Meadows on the Green Saturday afternoon with a historic first international victory at Spruce Meadows for the country of Japan. Rider Karen Polle represented the nation as she guided her own 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding With Wings (Larino x L Ronald) to an exciting first place finish.
Alan Wade (IRL) set the track for 26 starters in the CIBC Cup with six advancing to the jump-off. Polle and With Wings earned the win with the fastest round over the short course in 30.71 seconds. They edged out Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Artisan Farm’s Cadalora P, who settled for second place with their time of 31.28 seconds. Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt took both the third and fourth place honors, jumping off with Catokia 2 in a time of 32.21 seconds, and Lord Chambertin in 32.43 seconds. Jennifer Gates (USA) and Luftikus S completed the jump-off course without fault in 34.35 seconds to place fifth. Conor Swail (IRL) took home sixth place honors aboard Ilan Ferder’s Hetman of Color J after an unfortunate refusal over the second track left the pair with four jumping and two time faults.
Commenting on her victory, Polle smiled, “I am so excited. To win here where the riders and horses are the best in the world is just so special. Especially to win on Wings, who I have had for a long time, is really fun. I have always dreamed of winning a competition here, so it is really nice.”
Polle (23) has owned With Wings for six years and knows the gelding well. In 2015, the pair earned their biggest win together in the $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4* in New York.
Speaking of her winning mount, Polle stated, “He is just perfect. He has a big stride and he always tries his best. He is very spunky, so he has a lot of power and lots of energy. I like when a horse has energy, and a lot of power and blood, so he is perfect for me.”
This summer, Polle tapped the training expertise of ten-time Olympian Ian Millar of Canada. With Millar’s guidance, the young rider was able to use her longtime experience with her horse to an advantage in both rounds.
“I thought the first round course was very nice. For my horse, I just had to sit still in all of the lines and give him a little bit of room, and he took care of the rest,” Polle explained. “The course was pretty careful, especially towards the end, but for me it rode really well.
“In the jump-off, with all of these amazing riders that are always really fast, it is a lot of pressure to have to go for it,” she added. “I was a little nervous that they would catch me in the end, but I am really happy that they didn’t.”
Polle has one semester at Yale University to complete in the fall and then hopes to focus on her riding full-time. Her more immediate plans are to qualify With Wings for next week’s grand prix to conclude the summer at Spruce Meadows.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, concludes on Sunday with the West Canadian Cup 1.45m and the Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.50m in the Meadows on the Green.
SAUGERTIES, NY (July 26, 2013) – After turning 21 on Thursday, Karen Polle of New York, New York and With Wings celebrated with a blue ribbon in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. Under clear blue skies, Polle and With Wings were definitely sporting their wings, riding to an impressively quick jump-off round and ultimately topping an original field of 50 contenders.
A star-studded field, including the likes of Margie Engle, Peter Wylde and McLain Ward took to a course set by Olaf Petersen, Sr. of Paehl, Germany, with Polle among them on two mounts. The course was certainly not lacking in height and tested both horse and rider in the first round with a double combination at the fourth fence and a bending line to a triple combination at fence eight. In total, Petersen set 13 obstacles, which included 16 jumping efforts. Faults were spread evenly throughout the course, but a wide oxer at fence 13 proved to be the heartbreaker of the day, delivering rails to 15 pairs.
Polle got her introduction to the course early, as she and her own Bottom Line jumped first in the order. “It’s always so nerve racking to be first in the ring – I am not a fan of going first, but today I think it actually worked in my favor. I had plenty of time to think through my round on With Wings having already jumped the course once,” said Polle.
Friday’s win was the second grand prix victory for Polle, but her first in the irons of With Wings. “He is such an amazing jumper and he has a huge stride,” said Polle of her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “He was really brave and careful out there today. Most of the time his biggest problem is getting in the ring, but once he’s in there he is always focused.”
In the first round, the order was only three deep when Lillie Keenan of New York, New York piloted Pumped Up Kicks to the first clear of the day. She was later joined by eight others, including Polle aboard With Wings for a nine-horse jump-off. Keenan returned first in the jump-off to set an immediate Great American Time to Beat with a clear round in 44.96 seconds on the horse she fondly calls “Kicks”. She stayed at the helm for three more trips until veteran Margie Engle of Wellington, Florida bested her time with a clear round in 44.76 seconds on Indigo, owned by Garber, Griese, Hidden Creek & Gladwinds.
Engle’s lead was short lived as Polle and With Wings entered the ring next and shaved a full two seconds off her time. Their turns were tight and their strides were huge as the pair clocked a final time of 42.73 seconds. “I was really nervous because I knew the ones behind me were going to be fast,” said Polle. Michael Dorman of Wellington, Florida, Sarah Segal of New York, New York and Ward of Brewster, New York were still left to ride. “With Wings has a huge stride, so I definitely took advantage of that and I tried to make my turns as tight as possible to leave strides out. He’s not always the fastest galloper, so I really pushed and I got lucky.”
Segal, aboard Robert Segal’s Ramses, laid down a clear round after Polle, but could not top her time, finishing in 44.11 seconds for second. Engle was third, while Keenan ended the day in fourth. Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania capped the top five with a four-fault jump-off round in 46.81 seconds.
Ward was sixth with Ilan Ferder’s Czardas 30 and ninth with his own Zander. Dorman finished seventh with his own Valinski S, and Todd Minikus was eighth aboard his own Quality Girl.
Grand prix competition will return to the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium on Sunday with the $75,000 AIG Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. Viewers will be able to catch Sunday’s action by tuning into a live webcast on HRTV.com. The class begins at 2pm. As anticipation climbs for September’s Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Championship Weekend, riders have set their sights on the race to qualify. Once eligible, the start order for the prestigious event will be determined by a rider’s money won on their leading horse. Keep tabs on all Zoetis Million qualifying action at HitsShows.com.
$10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, Florida is two-for-two this summer in the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. He and Polle’s UDonnay Z picked up their second win in a row on Wednesday, topping 46 pairs over the 1.4m course. Ronan McGuigan of Fair Hills, New Jersey piloted his own Capall Z to second and Minikus answered back with a third-place finish on Kathryn Haefner, LLC’s Babalou 41.
Peter Wylde of Lake Worth, Florida was fourth on Winley Farm, LLC’s Wiesielottie and Laura Chapot rounded out the top five aboard Mary Chapot’s Shooting Star.
Brook Ledge Horse Transportation presents the Brook Ledge Open Welcome every week, and will award a $1500 shipping credit to the Brook Ledge Leading Rider at the end of the circuit. The Brook Ledge Leading Rider will be the rider who accumulates the most points in the Brook Ledge Open Welcome classes throughout the HITS Saugerties circuit.
About SmartPak SmartPak Equine was founded in 1999 with the purpose of simplifying the administration of nutritional supplements and medications to horses. The patented SmartPak supplement feeding system has been adopted by thousands of barns and horse owners across the country, who value knowing that their supplements will be fed correctly. It has been embraced by riders from all disciplines and all levels, including seven Olympic medalists. In addition to the SmartPak supplement system, the company offers a broad line of horse health and rider items, dog supplies, and equine and canine pharmacy items sold through the company’s catalog and Web site.
SmartPak continues to find innovative ways to support and expand throughout the equestrian community. From their sponsorship of equine events at all levels of riding, their support of top riders through the Team SmartPak program, to the aid of equine nonprofits and organizations in need, SmartPak is committed to supporting the equine communities that it serves.
Reims, France – The USEF European Young Rider Tour continued its successful trip through Europe with another second-place finish in the Nations Cup at CSIOY Reims. Runners-up in Belgium the previous weekend, the Young Riders continued their successful European effort.
Catherine Pasmore led off the U.S. team, rebounding from a 13-fault first round on My Boy to improve to eight faults in round two. Karen Polle rode With Wings in the second position to a six-fault effort in the first round but only picked up one time fault in round two. Reed Kessler had the best result, jumping two double clear rounds on Onisha which kept the momentum going and then Jessica Springsteen picked up a time fault in each round – but also added a rail in the second round on Vornado van den Hoendrik. The 16-fault effort left the team second behind the Netherlands who finished on nine faults.
Katie Prudent served as Chef d’Equipe.
Thursday was an extremely successful day for the U.S. riders in preparation for the Nations Cup. Catherine Pasmore won convincingly on Van David in CSIO YR PX Conseil General de la Marne over her two teammates, Karen Polle on With Wings, who was second, and Jessica Springsteen on Cincinatti La Silla who was third. Reed Kessler and Onisha finished seventh, Richard Neal on Transmission was ninth and Pasmore was 10th on her second horse My Boy.
In the CSIO Juniors 1.25m Meg O’Mara was third with Smeagle.
Wellington, FL – April 1, 2011 – Friday night during week twelve at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival featured the $30,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Zone Team Competition Final. The horses and riders were divided into sections of high, medium and low heights to jump, with each section awarding $10,000. In the highs, Charlie Jacobs, Gabrielle Bausano, Christina Kelly and Karen Polle jumped to victory. In the mediums, Katherine Steenberg, Madeline Cox, Cynthia McGrath, and Heather Irons earned top honors. The lows were the final level to compete, with a win for the team of Shannon Spencer, Erica Polle, Mahala Rummell, and Megan MacPherson.
Running through Sunday, April 3, this week’s remaining feature events include Round 2 of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and the Finals for the Adequan Young Jumpers on Sunday.