Tag Archives: Kelley Farmer

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Eternal Win $50k Commonwealth Grand Prix at Kentucky Spring

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Eternal.

Kelley Farmer Wins $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Lexington, Ky. – May 15, 2016 – The Kentucky Spring Horse Show wrapped up on Sunday in the Rolex Stadium with the featured national classes: the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix followed by the $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix. Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Eternal outpaced a 15-horse jump-off to grab the win in the $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, presented by Audi of Lexington, which also counted towards valuable points earned in the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List.

After consistently producing clear rounds all week, Vanderveen and Bull Run Jumpers’ Bull Run’s Eternal proved to be a force to be reckoned with after beating Aaron Vale and Carlo’s early jump-off lead of 42.001 seconds by three full seconds.

“It was so nice to finally get it all together,” said Vanderveen. “He’s actually the horse I’ve owned the longest. I’ve had him for three years so we really know each other quite well, and that really helped today in the jump-off because it was pretty fast.”

47 exhibitors navigated the Bernardo Costa Cabral-designed first round course, consisting of 13 obstacles, which challenged riders with a double and triple combination, a triple bar fence and multiple tight rollbacks in a time allowed of 81 seconds. The jump-off revealed a seven-fence serpentine with many large oxers that resulted in faults for five of the 15 second round challengers.

Vanderveen and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were third in the jump-off order-of-go and broke the beam in 39.091 seconds, which set the pace for the rest of the 12 horse and rider combinations that would prove to be unbeatable.

“My strategy was to basically start with a gallop and be able to hold it the whole way,” said Vanderveen. “There were a lot of hard left turns right at the beginning in the jump-off, and he’s really handy to the left, so I was able to not worry too much about making the turn because he’ll cut left fast anyways. So I tried to start before jump one with a really good gallop and never take away from him. He did quite well with that.”

It did not look like anyone would come close to Vanderveen’s time until five rounds later when Andrew Ramsay and Cocq A Doodle, owned by The Doodle Group, entered the ring. They raced around the shortened track to catch Vanderveen’s time but only made it within 9/10th of a second, after laying down a solid double-clear effort, finishing in 39.942 seconds and taking second place honors.

Even as the second to last jump-off contenders were unable to catch Vanderveen’s time, she had already secured her win for the class by returning to the ring as the last entry to go in the jump-off round on her second mount, Bull Run’s Holy Smokes.

“Bull Run’s Holy Smokes is actually a little bit greener than [Bull Run’s Eternal] is,” said Vanderveen. “It was a really nice feeling to be able to come in and know that she doesn’t need to really run like crazy so I was going to go for a nice slow, clean round and then she hit the last jump down, but I’m still really pleased with her. She hasn’t done nearly as much as he’s done.”

Rounding out the top three in the Sunday finale of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show was Ramiro Quintana and Whitney, owned by St. Bride’s Farm. They tripped the timers in 40.215 seconds.

After a successful finish to the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Vanderveen will be returning to Tryon next week to train clients, but always enjoys visiting and competing at the Kentucky Horse Shows.

“After this week, I think I should never leave Kentucky,” laughed Vanderveen. “I jumped clean in every single FEI class – it just hasn’t come to a win until today. I’m going back to Tryon next week. I have all of my clients in Tryon and they got this week off, so I’ll be back to help train them.

“I love the area here,” continued Vanderveen. “I love that the horses can graze and can go out on the trail rides. I think it’s so great for their minds. The stadium’s great as well. I love riding in a big ring. I have a lot of big horses with big steps so to be able to just open up and gallop around the course is how my horses jump best and go best, and I like to ride that.”

Earlier in the day, the Under 25 Grand Prix was held in the Rolex Stadium and the blue ribbon went to Noel Fauntleroy and her own Cabras, who bested a starting field of 26 and a jump-off field of 13.

“I started riding [Cabras] a little over a year ago in Florida last year,” said Fauntleroy. “She was part of the gold medal team and won an individual bronze medal at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships last year. She is very comfortable. She might look a little hot, but she’s actually kind of cold. I have to get her going, but once I do she’s all game and will jump anything. She’s really brave.”

Fauntleroy and the 12-year-old Holsteiner mare were among six to produce double-clear rounds, finishing the fastest by one second in 30.003 seconds.

“My plan today was to just stick with the numbers,” said Fauntleroy. “The jump-off I thought was a really good test for the riders. From one to two there was an option for seven or eight strides, and I trust her a lot so I went with seven and knew that she would jump that. I made sure to go inside the gazebo after the two because I didn’t think anyone else had done that, and I think that might have been where I made up a little bit of time.”

Eve Jobs and her own Sandor De La Pomme were close behind Fauntleroy stopping the timers in 31.242 seconds to take second place, while Hunter Holloway and VDL Bravo S, owned by Hays Investment Corp., took the third place spot finishing in 32.489 seconds.

Having shown in the U25 series multiple times, Fauntleroy really appreciates the bridge the series provides for young riders to develop experience at competing their horses on an international level.

“I think it’s an awesome stepping-stone for young riders,” said Fauntleroy. “If you feel like you’re over-qualified for the highs but aren’t ready to go into the Saturday night classes yet, the U25 series is a perfect stepping-stone for that.”

In addition, Fauntleroy shared similar sentiments as Vanderveen in regards to competing at the Kentucky Horse Shows.

“Kentucky always has a really good atmosphere,” said Fauntleroy. “There’s lots of open space for the horses. The footing is always amazing. It’s been pouring rain and you can’t even tell. It’s really an awesome place to come!”

The Kentucky Spring Classic held May 18-22 will also feature a FEI CSI3* rating. The $35,000 Welcome Speed will be held on Wednesday, followed by the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Thursday, as riders try to accumulate valuable points for the Hagyard Leading Rider Bonus. On Saturday, May 21, riders will compete under the lights in the Rolex Stadium during the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix. Once again all three FEI classes will count for the Longines Ranking List and the Thursday and Saturday classes will also count for the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List. In addition, the featured national classes will be the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, which counts towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, and the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 22, in the Rolex Stadium.

Kelley Farmer Wins $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Sunday was ‘Derby Day’ in the Claiborne Ring at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show with the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby as well as the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. The International Hunter Derby was dominated by Kelley Farmer who took the top two spots on Baltimore and Point Being and had a total of five horses in the class. The third spot went to Peter Wylde and Quax.

Kelley Farmer and Baltimore
Kelley Farmer and Baltimore

Farmer took the lead in the first round on Baltimore, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding with a score of 189, taking all four high options on the Bobby Murphy-designed course. “When you jump the high options, he can jump careful and it doesn’t matter what you get,” said Farmer. “Long or deep, he doesn’t really care. He is that dependable, that careful, that brave – that’s him. No matter what I ask him he tries.”

With five horses in the class, Farmer was able to use each round to improve her plan for the next. “When we walked the handy and we saw the inside turns I thought they were ugly to be totally honest,” Farmer explained. “I did them on Need I Say because he is handy. I thought if he can do them then at least I know how hard or not hard they are. I kind of knew what I was going to do on Need I Say and was a little bit play-it-by-ear on the rest depending on what everyone else did and how it was going.”

Farmer and Baltimore excelled in the handy, pulling in scores of 89 and 90 from the judges. Adding on four points for taking the high options, and seven and five handy points, respectively, bringing their total score to 388. She was full of praise for Baltimore’s performance in the handy round.

“Baltimore can get so high and so careful,” said Farmer. “He can land and turn. He is so catty and his front end is so automatic. He’s a fantastic horse.”

Farmer also impressed the judges on Point Being bringing in a score of 369 and taking all of the high options in both rounds. Peter Wylde and Quax were right behind her in third place with a score of 368.5.

Earlier in the day, Geoffery Hesslink excelled in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby winning aboard Rookie, an 8-year-old Warmblood gelding, and taking third place with Esco. Douglas Boyd took second place with Calido’s Son.

The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series awards a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.

Hesslink started off the first round with a score of 90, taking all four high options. “My first round was a little conservative,” Hesslink said. “I was a little nervous with how the class was going, but I decided to do all the high options and I think that really paid off because not many other people did.”

Hesslink returned in the handy round taking three of the high options to a score of 89 and a total score of 179. “I liked my handy round a lot better,” Hesslink admitted. “I went all out and tried to do all the inside turns. I tend to be better at those and I thought both horses were amazing.”

Hesslink praised the course design for its ability to play to each horse’s strengths. “I thought the course was great. It was a lot of singles and long approaches,” Hesslink explained. “You were able to show your horse’s stride and ride the course out of a rhythm.”

Douglas Boyd and Calido’s Son were right behind Hesslink in second place with a score of 178. Hesslink rounded out the top three with a score of 176 aboard his second mount Esco.

Hesslink was enthusiastic about his experience here in Kentucky. “I came here last summer for the first time,” Hesslink said. “I really liked it and that’s why I’m back this year. I think the Kentucky Horse Park is an amazing facility and they do a great job here with everything from the jumps to the events and the prestige – they make it really nice for the spectators and riders.”

The Kentucky Spring Classic will continue May 18-22 with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Stonelea Ring on Saturday, May 21. The Kentucky Spring Classic will also offer WIHS and NAL qualifiers plus $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics.

EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts of the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* during the Kentucky Spring Classic on Saturday, May 21. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can also watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Pablo Barrios Debuts ASD Farfala with $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* Victory

Pablo Barrios and ASD Farfala.

Kelley Farmer and It’s Me Claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. – May 12, 2016 – The 2016 Hagyard Challenge series, sponsored by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, kicked off its eleventh year at the Kentucky Horse Shows on Thursday evening with the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic. Sixty-six horse and rider combinations went head-to-head in the CSI3* competition, but it was Pablo Barrios (VEN) who took the victory with ASD Farfala. The talented pair beat out of a field of 14 during the jump-off, tripping the timers in a speedy 37.940 seconds.

Riders battled the elements during Thursday’s class, but the rain did not faze ASD Farfala, owned by Barrios, who has only been riding the 12-year-old Warmblood mare for a month. The Kentucky Spring Series marks their first horse show together, but the two are already demonstrating a winning partnership.

“I’ve known the mare for a long time,” said Barrios. “It belongs to a very good friend of mine, Americo Simonetti. He is a legend in the sport in South America from Chile and he kindly let me ride this wonderful mare that I’ve known for a long time.

“The mare came to the Winter Equestrian Festival with a rider from Chile and when she was about to go back to Chile I called him and asked if they could leave her with me,” continued Barrios. “I love the mare and I think I can do a great job with her. It’s amazing, when you have a good horse, how easy it is to go clean and fast. This is my first horse show with her. I was concerned about whether to put her in a lower class, but she’s so smart and talented I thought, ‘Why hold her back?’ So I went straight to it. When I call [Americo] again he is going to be very happy!”

Aaron Vale (USA) and Quidam’s Good Luck, owned by Troy Glaus, were the early pathfinders as well as the fastest pair to navigate the technical first round track, designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral, finishing in a fault-free effort of 74.100 seconds. The two later returned to the jump-off finishing double clear in 38.210 seconds, just one second behind Barrios claiming second place honors.

“Quidam’s Good Luck is a fast horse,” said Vale. “It was a nice galloping track with smooth, sweeping turns, which really suits him. We just took a shot. He feels like he’s going well and he likes this ring, so we took a shot. We had a really quick round. I just couldn’t leave one out to the last on him. We put in a great round and Pablo just beat me by fractions, so can’t complain too much!”

Vale also finished double clear again placing third with his second mount of the evening, Finou 4, owned by Thinkslikeahorse, in 39.540 seconds.

“I saw Aaron and I knew he was very fast,” said Barrios. “I knew he had a horse behind me and I really tried. I saw him doing seven strides one to two. My plan was to do six or seven with her and I made it and I think any other horse would have had fence 15 down but she just left it up because she is amazing. I’m so excited with this mare and I’m thankful to get to ride her.

“The winners always say that the course is really good, but we were talking before the class with all of the riders and I mentioned that every single class has been very well designed so far,” said Barrios. “I think this is one of the difficult classes to build. He had a great jump-off, a great class and I was very excited. Not because I won but because I like it, and it’s always very nice to beat Aaron because he is very fast!”

Barrios is no stranger to the winner’s circle at the Kentucky Horse Shows. He won the Hagyard Challenge series back to back in 2013 and 2014 and is already off to a strong start in the 2016 series.

“I have a good vibe here; I feel like this is home,” said Barrios.

“Every time you come they have done something new” said Vale. “The rings are great, they always get top-notch course designers and they have a great set of jumps. It’s a top quality product and it’s great to be here. I showed here for the first time in 1988. Jumpers back then were on the grass where the Claiborne Ring is now!”

Barrios is also set to compete on the Venezuelan team at the Rio Olympic Games this summer with Antares, his 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.

“I’m going with Antares,” said Barrios. “I’m showing him very lightly. He showed three times at WEF. I used him a lot last year because my mare got hurt. I’m starting to use him a little bit more and working on the fitness when I run him so he gets a little cardio. This is the time to do it before the Games.  Then, I’ll keep him a little fresh for the Games; that’s the plan.

“I want to thank Devoucoux, Purina and MDC Stirrups – without those stirrups it’s very hard to ride in the rain so that’s very awesome that I was wearing them tonight. Also Animo, my new sponsor of boots, Parlanti and Choice of Champions.”

The Hagyard Challenge series consists of seven grand prix classes to be held during the 2016 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, a cash prize of $50,000 will be awarded to the rider accumulating the most points throughout the series as well as a $10,000 prize for the reserve champion.

“Anything that gives us a chance to make a little extra money you have to appreciate,” said Vale. “They have been great supporters for 11 years. It sure is a nice thing for us to have a chance to get a rider bonus at the end of the year. It’s good for the horse show, good for Hagyard and good for the riders.”

Throughout the summer, the top riders from across the nation will gather to compete over challenging courses and vie for the winning title and valuable points toward the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus. The Kentucky Spring Classic, May 18-22, will host the second $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* on Thursday, May 19. Four more Hagyard Lexington Classic grand prix events will be held during the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, the Kentucky Summer Classic, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and the KHJA Horse Show. The series concludes with the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic during the Kentucky National Horse Show. Following that exciting competition, the winner of the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus will be announced and presented with the cash prize by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

New this year to the Hagyard Challenge series is the $200 Best Turned Out award, sponsored by Bob Mickler’s. The award goes to a well-deserving groom following each grand prix. Following Thursday’s competition Andre Luis, groom to Mark Bluman and Uitteraard of Stransky’s Mission Farms, won the first Best Turned Out award of the series.

Kelley Farmer and It’s Me Claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Kelley Farmer and It’s Me had another banner day in the Stonlea Ring at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show Thursday claiming the Hunter Grand Championship sponsored by Visse Wedell at Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Kelley Farmer and It's Me (Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography)
Kelley Farmer and It’s Me (Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography)

Farmer swept the over fences classes in the Green Conformation Hunters with the 8-year-old Warmblood stallion It’s Me, scoring the division championship and going on to claim the Grand Hunter Championship.

Wedell has been a great supporter of the Kentucky Horse Shows sponsoring grand championship prizes in multiple divisions. “I love that a stallion won,” Wedell said. “Kelley actually rode a horse of mine a long time ago for me so I’m thrilled that they were able to be Grand Hunter Champion at the first horse show here in beautiful Kentucky.

“I love this facility so much,” added Wedell, who recently purchased a property nearby. “It’s such a pleasure to be here I’ve officially decided to based myself here for the season, so I’ve invested myself personally in the area because I love it here so much.”

Farmer was thrilled with her win today as It’s Me is a special horse for her. “He belongs to Sue [Pinney] and my mom [Bibby Hill] and I,” Farmer explained. “The last one my mom owned was Scripted. It is really special for mom to own a part of him with us.”

Farmer was full of praise for the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows. “I love this horse show,” She said. “They do such a nice job, the jumps are beautiful, the footing is beautiful, the horses go perfectly and this is home for us now.”

It’s Me is clearly a fan of the show as well. “He’s been fantastic from the first day he’s been here,” noted Farmer. “He tries hard. He finds ways to win and he tries to win blue ribbons. He’s a great horse. I’m excited for Devon!”

Scott Stewart scored a hat trick today winning championships in three divisions. He won the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship aboard First Light, the Second Year Green Championship on Catch Me, and finished out the day winning the High Performance Hunter Championship with A Million Reasons, also bringing home the Reserve Championship with Cameo.

“We always come here because we stay in Florida and this is sort of on the way home,” Stewart explained.  “We take a little break after showing and this is our first time back. It’s always a nice place to come to get ready for Devon. Florida is great, but there’s so much going on. When they get here they get to be turned out and relax more. A lot of the young horses really mature and when they come here, they just relax.”

Catch Me clearly benefitted from this stop on the way home from Florida. “Catch Me is awesome,” Scott said.  “He hasn’t shown since the night class in Florida. He was good there so we stopped showing. He had a month of just hacking and then I jumped some little jumps with him after that, so this was his first time back and it was great!”

Friday will see the Amateur Owner Hunters taking over in the Stonelea Ring. Sunday is “Derby Day” with the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby taking place.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Farmer Is Fabulous in the International and Williams Is Wonderful in the National

Kelley Farmer and It’s Me.

The top hunter riders in the country competed in the Jacksonville Spring Classic’s $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Glen Kernan Golf and Country Club, Friday afternoon.

Kelley Farmer of Keswick, Virginia, winner of the $77,700 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Brook Ledge Horse Transportation, won the class with Bibby Hill’s It’s Me. She also took the second place ribbon with Amanda Hone’s Publicized. She took fourth with Dani Brown Swanston’s Need I Say More as well as eighth and ninth places in the irons of Jane Gaston’s Taken and Kensel, LLC’s Clever Conversation and then wrapped up the class with Gaston’s Because in twelfth place.

Farmer led the way earning the highest Classic score of 172 with It’s Me. Their second round score of 194 locked them in for a total of 366 and the win.

Farmer and Publicized earned a first round score of 166. Combined with their Handy score of 192.50, their combined score of 358.50 would find them in second place.

Emily Williams of Ocala, Florida and Amanda Flint’s Cabana VDL earned a first round score of 163. Their Handy score of 189 for a total of 352 would see them finish in third place. Farmer returned to the winner’s circle to pick up her fourth place with Need I Say More after earning a Classic Round score of 163 and a Handy score of 189 for a total of 352.

Emily Williams and Heartthrob
Emily Williams and Heartthrob

Artillery Lane, LLC’s Chances R, ridden by Gregory Prince of Sherborn, Massachusetts, placed fifth overall after earning a Classic score of 151 and a Handy score of 185 for a total of 336.

Kris Killam of Naples, Florida in the irons of Barbara Fishman’s Mr. Big finished in sixth place overall after earning a first round score of 156 and second round score of 175 for a total score of 331.

Farmer returned for seventh with Jane Gaston’s Taken after earning a Classic score of 124 and a Handy score of 171 for a total of 295.

Emily Terry Peterson of Naples, Florida rode Leslie Terry’s Pet Rock to the eighth place ribbon with a combined score of 280, and Farmer returned for ninth place in the irons of Kensel, LLC’s Clever Conversation with a combined score of 260. Megan Young of Jacksonville, Florida rode Lee Cesery’s Rockaway to the tenth place finish after earning a combined score of 258, and Claire Lee White of Ponte Vedra, Florida rode Janine Pappas’ Romanov to eleventh place after earning a combined score of 243.

Farmer wrapped up the class with a twelfth place finish in the irons of Jane Gaston’s Because with a combined score of 237.

For full results on this class, click here.

All sponsorship and press inquiries should be directed to Lisa Engel at lisa@classiccompany.com.

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GulfCoastClassicCompany.com
Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Kelley Farmer Goes 1, 2, 3 in the $100k USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS Thermal

(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Kelley Farmer and Baltimore.

Thermal, CA (March 22, 2016): As the sun set over the mountain ridge at HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California, an eager crowd gathered to witness thirty-nine riders and their elegant mounts compete for one of the most prestigious hunter victories, the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Kelley Farmer returned to HITS Thermal with several horses to compete in the Derby in Week VIII of the Desert Circuit, one of three $100,000 International Derby classes being offered by HITS this year.  After garnering all top three spots in the Derby at the HITS Ocala Masters just a few short weeks ago, the Keswick, Virginia equestrian once again took claim to first, second and third in Thermal.

Farmer garnered the win with Baltimore, owned by Jane Gaston, who herself is an accomplished amateur hunter rider.  Baltimore was Farmer’s second place mount of the Derby at the HITS Ocala Masters.  At Thermal, Farmer also placed second with Publicized, owned by Amanda Hone, and third place with Kensel, LLC’s Mindful, the winner of the Derby at the HITS Ocala Masters.

Rian Beals of Saugerties, New York set a beautiful course in the HITS Grand Prix stadium with 13 all natural-type hunter jumps elegantly decorated.  An extra-long natural tree jump across the middle of the ring, which horses jumped beautifully, was an eye-catcher and spectator and rider favorite.  Larry Glefke, the trainer of all three winning mounts, said the course “was one of the best Derby courses we have seen” this year.

“When we came out for the Derby in Thermal in November, it was one of the nicest classes we’ve been to and the Ocala class was exceptional also,” said Glefke. “The footing is beautiful, the accommodations have been great, and we’re grateful to [HITS President and CEO] Tom Struzzieri for stepping up and doing these classes – it’s a wonderful thing for the industry.”

Farmer agreed saying she was “so proud of all of her horses; they all jumped great, and the course was lovely.”  She also commented that as a follow-up to the $100,000 USHJA Hunter Derby in November in Thermal, HITS “definitely repeated themselves.”

Unique to the derby format, in addition to the base score, three judging panels awarded an Option Bonus Score consisting of one additional point for every higher height option fence jumped. As 12 returned for the second round, judges awarded a base score, Option Bonus Score and a Handy Bonus Score, assessing the handiness of the round.

The top twelve returned for the second round of the two round derby.  First to return was Hugh Mutch of Redwood City, California riding Bunistar, owned by Naomi Rubin.  Mutch, a top West Coast Grand Prix and hunter rider, laid down a beautifully executed handy round, taking a short, flowing track and all high fence options for the top second round score of 299.  As one judge commented, “Bert gave riders and spectators a riding lesson tonight.”  Mutch topped all other eleven riders in the handy round bringing himself from twelfth place after round one to fifth in the final standings.

Nick Haness of San Clemente, California and Spot On, owned by West Coast Equine Partners, LLC, challenged the top contenders. Haness opted for three of the height options to capture a second round score of 290.  With a total score of 557.5 for both rounds, Haness took home fourth place for his efforts.

Farmer and Mindful followed Haness, opting for three height options and earning a second round overall score of 292, combined with a first round score of 268.5 for a total of 560.5, putting them in the temporary lead.

The last three rides belonged to Farmer, but which one of her mounts would be the victor was still in question. Farmer entered again with It’s Me, co-owned with Bibby Farmer-Hill and Susan Pinney. They earned a second round score of 258 and a first round score of 275 to total 533, ultimately earning seventh place.

Farmer followed her own round with Publicized, a new derby mount for the rider. They topped Farmer’s own score with Mindful to earn scores of 287 and 279, respectfully, for a total of 566, giving them the final second place prize.

Saving the best for last, Farmer stepped in the ring to compete aboard Baltimore. In true champion fashion, they stepped up to the plate to garner the gelding’s first ever Derby win. They earned the highest combined two round score of 578 for the night’s win.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Margie Engle and Abunola Top $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10

Margie Engle and Abunola. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Kelley Farmer and So to Speak Are High Performance Hunter Champions

Wellington, FL – March 17, 2016 – Week ten of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Thursday with a win for Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock LLC’s Abunola in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10. Competing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, Engle and Abunola bested a field of 83 horses and riders, with Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Houston finishing second, and Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) aboard Venturo 9 placing third.

Please note that the $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* has been moved to Saturday morning due to expected heavy rainfall in the evening. The grand prix will begin at 11 a.m. in the International Ring at PBIEC.

WEF 10, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, features CSI 3* jumper and ‘AA” rated hunter competition running March 16-20, 2016. The week features the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic on Friday, the $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, and the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set the course for 83 starters in Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup, with 14 entries going clear to advance to the jump-off. Vaillancourt’s tiebreaking short course then yielded six double clear rounds. Engle and Abunola clocked the winning time of 41.68 seconds, sixth to go in the jump-off order.

Eric Lamaze with Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Houston immediately followed in the second place time of 41.87 seconds. Lorcan Gallagher and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Venturo 9 completed their round in 43.78 seconds to finish third. Danielle Torano (USA) and Callas III earned fourth place honors in a time of 43.94. Ilan Bluman (COL) and Blue Star Investments’ Ladriano Z placed fifth in 43.98 seconds, and Chris Surbey (CAN) and Linda Southern Heathcott’s Doremi finished sixth in a time of 50.97.

Engle put together a partnership with Rich DeMartini and Lea Allen to purchase Abunola in September of 2015 and has been taking her time to get to know the horse over the last several months. She won her first class with the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Numero Uno x Voltaire) in November competing in a $50,000 HITS Welcome Stake in Thermal, CA. She has since had consistent results competing in Wellington throughout the winter.

“She is a lovely mare,” Engle detailed. “I watched her some last year and liked her. I was then fortunate enough to have Rich DeMartini help me put a partnership together to buy her, and they have been very patient as I have been getting to know her.

“She has a lot of blood,” Engle continued. “When I first went out to California she was great. I think here I maybe left her a little too fresh. Even though the heat is not great for everyone else, it is perfect for her. It just kind of settled her down, and it did not hurt her one bit. She has a lot of energy and nice blood. She is light on her feet and just lovely to ride.”

Speaking of the first round course, Engle stated, “I was thrilled with the way she went. She rode beautifully the first round. I thought the course was tough enough. It was very technical, and it was a tricky track. He actually got not that many clean for how many were in it. It is a hard class to build for, and I thought he did a fantastic job without making it crazy big.”

Engle also appreciated the short course, noting, “I liked the jump-off when I walked the course, which was nice. She is very easy to accelerate, so you just kind of think it, and she is ready to go. I ride her in smaller spurs than any horse I have ever ridden. She was really good in the rollbacks. Rolling back on the liverpool, I was very pleased with her there, and also the rollback on the Rolex jump, the second to last jump. I was very happy with her. She has been very consistent here; we just needed a little bit of luck to go our way.

“I was teasing Eric (Lamaze) that he was kind enough to share a class with me,” Engle laughed. “He has dominated, and when I knew he was going after me, I thought I would be happy with second place because he has been kind of unstoppable in these classes.”

Despite a case of mononucleosis, Engle battled through for a great win on Thursday. Always a fierce competitor, she was determined to compete and came out with a worthy result.

“This is good medicine,” Engle stated. “This win was very much needed.”

Engle will now prepare Abunola to jump in Saturday’s $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*, which has been moved to the morning instead of being held at night under the lights due to expected rainfall.

Commenting on the change, Engle stated, “I hope it will suit her. I will have to see how much I undid her by going fast today because sometimes with a horse that is a little sensitive, if you go quick with them, sometimes they get a little buzzy. Those are things I will have to figure out with her, but if she goes even close to like she did today, I will be very happy.”

In addition to the winning prize money on Thursday, Engle picked up a $3,000 bonus for wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion.

Also competing in the International Ring on Thursday, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Main Road, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC, won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m jump-off class.

Kelley Farmer and So to Speak Are High Performance Hunter Champions

In the early morning fog, Kelley Farmer and So to Speak, owned by Glefke & Kensel LLC, won the High Performance Hunter championship. They placed first, third, and third over fences, won the stake jumping class, and were second in the under saddle.

The reserve championship went to Autumn Rhythm, ridden by Sloane Coles for Nilani Trent. They won two over fences classes and placed third and fourth in the remaining two. In the under saddle, they were third.

Kelley Farmer and So to Speak
Kelley Farmer and So to Speak

Farmer and her veteran partner So to Speak, a past USEF Horse of the Year winner, have been consistently winning at the Winter Equestrian Festival this winter. With his experience, the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Stakkato had no trouble with the foggy conditions.

“He’s pretty consistent,” Farmer said. “He’s shown enough everywhere that that kind of thing doesn’t bother him. He’s a pretty straightforward guy. It probably made him focus more.”

As one of Farmer’s favorites, So to Speak can get away with being “a little bit of a brat around the barn.” Farmer laughed, “He’s a little bit of his own character. He’s got an interesting personality, but I love that. I like my horses to have a little character. He wants to be careful and jumps in really good style. I love him. He’s one of my babies.”

Farmer and So to Speak will be back in action at WEF during week 12 for the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

The tenth week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday with the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic featured in the International Ring in the morning.

The Ariat National Adult Medal will be the highlight class in the Rost Arena. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

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

Farmer Pilots Baltimore to First Derby Win at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic

Rain or shine, the show must go on! Despite less than ideal weather conditions after four consecutive weeks of sunny skies, the $77,700 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Brook Ledge Horse Transportation, took place in the Main Hunter Ring and saw 29 entries compete for the second largest international Hunter Derby purse offered in the country this year. The rain delayed the start but riders were able to relax in the Legend Lounge and enjoy a breakfast sponsored by Loretta Patterson and Accolade Farms.

The cutoff score after the Classic Round was 160.5 set by Chances Are, owned by Artillery Lane, LLC and ridden by Gregory Prince of Sherborn, Massachusetts. Their Handy Score of 102 for a combined total of 262.5 would see them finish in twelfth place overall.

Rebecca Patterson’s Vecchia Murano, ridden by Amanda Forte of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, followed Prince after earning a first round score of 161. An overall second round score of 115 for a combined total of 276 saw them finish in eleventh place overall.

Julia Curtis of Villa Rica, Georgia and her own Rocoso followed Forte in the Handy Round after earning a first round score of 166. Their second round score of 179 for a total of 345 saw the pair move into eighth place overall.

Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama in the irons of Barbar Risius’ Longstreet followed Curtis in the Handy Round order after earning a Classic Round score of 167.5. Their second round score of 177.5 for an overall score of 345 would have them finish in ninth place overall.

Kelley Farmer had eight horses in yesterday’s Derby and had four return for the Handy Round. Farmer’s first ride was in the irons of her own Need I Say. “I bought him to be a Derby horse. He won two in Pensacola and was sixth in $100,000 in Ocala,” commented Farmer. “He’s a great pinch horse and can jump no matter what the conditions,” she said. “If I ride him earlier in the class I can always try something different with him that I might be able to use on my later rides,” she continued. “He has a tremendous amount of ability and is so nice to ride,” she added. The pair earned a second round score of 194 and combined with their Classic Round score of 169, their combined total of 363 would find them moving up to finish in sixth place overall.

Farmer followed that round with Amanda Hone’s Publicized after earning a Classic Round score of 170.5. “Publicized is one of my greenest,” commented Farmer. “He’s a very fancy First Year horse and has only shown six times,” she said. “I was proud of him that he jumped the Derby and overcame the weather,” she added. Publicized and Farmer earned a Handy Round score of 132 for a total score of 302.5 and would finish in tenth place overall.

Fleur De Lis Farms’ Bowie, ridden by Courtney Calcagnini of Bartonville, Texas, followed Farmer and Publicized after a first round score of 173. Their Handy Round score of 179 for a total of 352 would see them finish in seventh place overall.

Tim Maddrix of Leeds, Alabama and Alina Dumitrescu’s Shutterbug earned a Classic Round score of 175. Their Handy Round score of 194 for a combined score of 369 saw the pair finish in fifth place overall.

Farmer returned to the ring, this time in the irons of Kensel, LLC’s Mindful. Farmer and Mindful received a first round score of 177 and a Handy Round score of 198 for a combined score of 375. “Mindful is a fantastic horse. He has won fifteen Derbies and he won Ocala a week ago,” said Farmer. “He’s been Horse of the Year twice and there is nothing Mindful cannot do,” commented Farmer. “He’s a great horse and overcomes all situations,” she said. Mindful finished in third place overall.

Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, New York and her own Miramar followed Farmer and Mindful in the Handy Round after earning a Classic Round score of 178. Their second round score of 198 for a combined total of 376 would see them temporarily take the lead.

Shepherd and Loretta Patterson’s Triompf followed Alfano in the Handy Round after earning a first round score of 180. Their second round score of 190 for a total of 370 would see then finish in fourth place overall.

Farmer and Jane Gaston’s Baltimore were the final ride in the Handy Round. The pair earned a first round score of 182. Their Handy Round score of 205 for a combined total of 387 would earn them the win! “We are so excited about his win,” commented Farmer. “This is his first Derby win and only his second Derby ever. His first Derby had him finish second in Ocala,” she said. “Baltimore is one of my newest additions. I haven’t had him long but he is quickly fitting into our group,” she said.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Bob [Bell] and his show management team,” Farmer continued. “They did their absolute best to put on a lovely class,” she said. “The weather was wet, but no one was slipping in the ring and we had a lot of water here,” she said. “For them to offer this large amount of prize money and invest in the hunters is a trend I hope more horse show managers follow,” she said.

“I had a couple that handled the weather and footing better than others and that’s kind of a given and that’s why we have the amount and depth of horses we bring with us. There’s always one of them that is more suited to the conditions and ring than the others,” she said.

“We were all really excited to ride on the grass grand prix field, but the weather prevented that from happening – there was nothing anyone could do about that,” she said. “We had a lot of rain here and given the conditions, the footing was fine. No one slipped in it. It was more a matter of some horses getting bogged down in the water because some horses are just more comfortable and deal with the different conditions better than others,” she said. “We have shown many places where the weather we had would have prevented us from showing at all. That was not the case here,” she added.

“We haven’t shown on this circuit and are having a great time here,” Farmer continued. “Everyone here has been nothing but accommodating,” she said. “We appreciate the horse show putting up real prize money for the Hunter Derbies because these classes do a lot for the Hunter industry. We will continue to support these shows that invest in the hunters wherever they may be,” she said.

“The only downfall I can see to this circuit is the great food they have around here,” Farmer laughed. “It’s so good I’m going to gain weight here,” she said. “I’ve been to The Half Shell, a barbecue place around the corner and they served us breakfast and lunch here at the show yesterday and pizza today. I’m sure I’m putting on the pounds,” she laughed.

“We are proud to have produced the second largest International Hunter Derby purse in the country this year,” commented Bob Bell, President of the Gulf Coast Classic Company. “The weather was less than desired, but our team and the KCR footing we have in our rings allowed us to continue with the much anticipated $77,700 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Brook Ledge Horse Transportation,” he said. “We appreciate KCR and Brook Ledge’s sponsorship of our shows and the great response we have received from the Hunter riders,” he added. “We look forward to continuing to offer large prize money Derbies next year and make the Gulf Coast Winter Classic the choice of top hunter riders around the country,” he added.

For those who didn’t get to see the action live, click here to watch the livestream.

For those looking to reserve stalls for the final week of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic, email jonathan@classiccompany.com and then go online to horseshowsonline.com and enter for no additional fees. All sponsorship and media inquiries should be directed to lisa@classiccompany.com.

ClassicCompany.com
GulfCoastClassicCompany.com
Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Kelley Farmer Claims Crown, Top Three Spots, Big Payday in $100k USHJA International Hunter Derby

(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Kelley Farmer and Mindful.

Ocala, FL (February 28, 2016): The second $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby of the HITS Hunter Derby Tour paid a visit to HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida on Saturday during Week VI of the Ocala Winter Circuit. As the sun set, and the lights of Ocala Horse Properties Stadium flickered to life, the crowd watched in anticipation to witness who could master the course with finesse and the highest caliber of precision.

Following the Furusiyya FEI Nation’s Cup week at HITS Ocala, was the biggest hunter week of winter and the stage was set – Tim Hott of Cumming, Iowa designed a beautiful course of 13 fences for the forty-one who gathered from the East Coast and beyond to contest the two-round derby. It would be Keswick, Virginia equestrian Kelley Farmer who would walk away from the ring with the top three titles and four additional ribbons in the top 12.

“All of the horses were great through the course, and the course was beautiful too; [the event] was just all around quality in addition to having the opportunity to compete for this kind of money here,” said Farmer.

Farmer claimed first place with seasoned derby winner, Mindful, owned by Kensel, LLC, as well as second with Baltimore, owned by Jane Gaston, and third with It’s Me, co-owned with Bibby Hill and Sue Pinney.

“It’s just incredible, but I could not have done it without everyone you see out here, the owners and all who support us. It takes a village. I also owe it to all of these talented, four-legged animals – they’re amazing,” Farmer said, nearly speechless at the plethora of victories. “I was lucky enough to have plenty of shots [at the win].”

Two panels of judges including Scott Williamson, Kim Dorfman, Mike Rosser and Steve Wall, critiqued each rider’s craft.

“The course was beautiful and very well done,” said “R” Judge for the United States Equestrian Federation of 25 years, Mike Rosser. “The fences were unique, and it was a different track than you normally see. The riders had not just one or two options, but three or four options – it was one of the better quality courses that I have seen.”

Unique to the derby format, in addition to the base score, each judging panel awarded an Option Bonus Score consisting of one additional point for every higher height option fence jumped. As 12 returned for the second round, judges awarded a base score, Option Bonus Score and a Handy Bonus Score, assessing the handiness of the round.

Farmer finished the first round with the highest score aboard Point Being, owned by David Glefke. Six of the 12 returning rounds were piloted by Farmer, but a talented list of contenders ready to rally for blue still filled the second-round Order.

After four trips, two including Farmer and her eventual seventh place mount Need I Say and eighth place Courville Paola, owned by Melissa Rudershausen, no score had come close to Farmer until Cassandra Kahle of Langley, British Columbia stepped in.

Kahle and Cornetto Royal, owned by Yvetta Rechler-Newman, meticulous in their pursuit of a win, opted for all four height options and received a combined total of 15 Handy Bonus Points. It was quite the comeback, but not enough to garner the lead. A first-round score of 172.5 combined with a second-round score of 196 totaled 368.5 for fourth place, just half of a point away from what would be Farmer’s third place score of 369.

Eighth in the order was Elizabeth Boyd of Camden, South Carolina and Brunello. The graceful chestnut Hanoverian and Boyd, a three-time winner of the USJHA International Derby Championships, opted for all four height options and received a combined total of 15 Handy Bonus Points from the two judging panels. They earned a second-round score of 188, which combined with their first-round score of 176, gave them a total of 364 for the eventual fifth place.

The last four trips of the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby belonged to Farmer. The victory was hers to win, with the horse she would share the winner’s circle yet to be determined.

Farmer returned with Baltimore. Opting for all four height options, and earning a combined total of 14 Handy Bonus Points from the two judging panels, they received a total second-round score of 197.5. Combined with their first-round score of 177, that gave them a total of 374.5 for second place – not a bad turn-out for the Oldenburg’s first-ever derby.

“Baltimore is a first-time derby horse, and to be second with him is just wonderful. It’s an awesome result,” said Farmer.

Farmer followed her own round with It’s Me. The judging panels awarded a combined 14 Handy Bonus Points and a total second-round score of 192. Combined with their first-round score of 177, they came out just ahead of Cassandra Kahle with an overall total of 369 for third place.

Mindful and Farmer entered to put in the winning round, and the stunning black Hanoverian gelding silenced the crowd as they gracefully conquered the course, earning a total second-round score of 211. Combined with their first-round score 185, their overall score of 396 sky-rocketed above the rest to top the leaderboard.

“Mindful is a seasoned derby horse,” said Farmer. “He makes it easy, he knows what he is doing and is just a true winner.”

The $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will make two more visits to HITS this year, stopping at HITS Desert Circuit VIII in Thermal, California, March 15-20 and again at HITS-on-the-Hudson VI in Saugerties, New York, August 3-6.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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

Reed Kessler and Cylana Win $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5

Reed Kessler and Cylana. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Kelley Farmer and Tara Metzner Crowned Champions of the CWD Saddlery 3’6″ Performance Working Hunter

Wellington, FL – February 11, 2016 – USA’s Reed Kessler and Cylana were the winners of the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 on Thursday afternoon at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Competing in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), Kessler and Cylana topped the week five class over Elizabeth Gingras (CAN) and Coup de Chance in second, and Yann Candele (CAN) aboard First Choice 15 in third.

Watch Reed Kessler and Cylana in their winning jump-off round!

WEF 5, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, runs February 10-14, 2016. The week will feature the $380,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, February 13, for which Thursday’s Challenge Cup competition was a qualifier. Other highlights include the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic on Friday and the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Bob Ellis (GBR) is the course designer for international CSI 5* competition throughout week five. For Thursday’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette Challenge Cup, Ellis saw 55 competitors, with a 13-horse jump-off to follow. Seven were then double clear over the short course.

Katie Dinan (USA) was first to return with Grand Road Partners’ Nougat du Vallet and set the pace at 45.82 seconds, eventually placing seventh. Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock Partners’ Royce were next to clear the short track in 41.58 seconds, finishing fifth. Gingras and B Gingras Equestrian Ltd.’s Coup de Chance followed with a time of 38.64 seconds, soon settling for second place. Kessler and Cylana were next to clear the short course and took the lead in a time of 38.03 seconds that would hold on for the win.

Candele and the Watermark Group’s First Choice 15 clocked in at 39.23 seconds to secure third place honors. Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Adena Springs and Ronnoco Jump Ltd.’s Good Luck followed with a double clear in 40.97 seconds to place fourth, and Eduardo Menezes (BRA) locked up the top six with his time of 43.27 seconds aboard Quintol.

Kessler did not compete at WEF in 2014, opting to remain in Europe for the winter, but in an Olympic year the young rider chose to show on home turf early in the season. Kessler was the youngest rider ever to compete on the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team at the age of 18 four years ago, and now has her sights set on once again securing a coveted spot on the team. She hopes to make that dream come true once more with Cylana, her now 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Skippy II x Darco), owned by Kessler Show Stables.

“My horse has been jumping so well. She is really feeling well,” Kessler said after her victory Thursday. “She had a great fall in Stuttgart and Geneva, and she jumped beautifully last week, so I could not be happier with her.”

“It is an Olympic year, and it is my number one goal to try to make the team again,” Kessler declared. “The first step is to make the short list, and I had a long talk with my Chef d’Equipe and he suggested that for the selectors to see everybody, it would be good to do a few weeks here. I did last week and this week. Now I go back to Holland for two weeks to jump some other horses, and then I come back and [compete] another two weeks here.”

Since competing in the 2012 Olympic Games, Kessler has had made a lot of changes in her program and her riding. One big difference is her flat work, as the rider explained that she has been working with Spanish dressage rider Morgan Barbançon Mestre, a close friend.

“I was only just turning 18 this last cycle of Olympics, so a lot has changed for me,” Kessler noted. “I am a young rider. I went out on my own this year. One of my best friends rode at the Games for the Spanish dressage team and she started helping me at the end of the summer and that has made the biggest difference for sure in my riding. I think my flat work is night and day and my horses are much better for it. They have all put on muscle in places that they have never had muscle. I can easily leave out one, maybe two strides in every jump-off I do now because I have such a better connection with all of them turning.”

The extra work combined with her longtime partnership with Cylana was an advantage for Kessler in Thursday’s jump-off.

“She is an amazing horse. I have had her so long, and I know her like the back of my hand,” Kessler stated. “I am really blessed because she is a horse that is really easy on herself physically, knock on wood. She is very sensible, she is brave, and she is experienced now. She goes her best with a lot of blood, so I can save her. I did not jump a class this week. I just put her straight in the qualifier, so I think in that way I am really lucky because she is easy on herself and it is easier for her to stay sound.”

Kessler will now jump Cylana in Saturday night’s $380,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI 5* and hopes for a good result.

“I would love to win the grand prix with her. That’s why I am here, is to show her off,” Kessler said. “She is in great form. She is in great condition, and she is jumping beautifully, so as long as I ride her well she is going to keep jumping well.”

In addition to the winning prize money, Kessler picked up a $3,000 bonus for wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion.

Also competing in the International Ring on Thursday, Laura Chapot and Mary Chapot’s Thornhill Kate won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m jump-off class. Kelsey Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm’s Everything topped the $2,500 MAYBACH – ICONS OF LUXURY High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class later in the afternoon.

Kelley Farmer and Tara Metzner Crowned Champions of the CWD Saddlery 3’6″ Performance Working Hunter

The very competitive CWD Saddlery 3’6″ Performance Working Hunter concluded in the Rost Arena on Thursday morning. Thirty-five horses vied for the championship honors, resulting in a California split of the division. Kelley Farmer and Dalliance were crowned Section A champions, and Tara Metzner piloted Celebrity to the Section B championship title.

Dalliance and Kelley Farmer
Dalliance and Kelley Farmer

Kelley Farmer, of Keswick, VA, piloted well-known mount Dalliance to 24 points on their way to the champion honors this week. The pair earned two second place ribbons, as well as a first and fourth over fences.

Farmer has been competing Dalliance, who is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Avatar Real Estate, for a little over a year. The pair has stacked up quite a few blue ribbons, including a USHJA International Hunter Derby win.

“He’s just a good horse,” Farmer said about the gelding’s character and temperament. “He’s always careful, always jumps good, always quiet; he walks from the stall to the ring.”

“He’s a little bit like a pony. You kind of have to rev him up, but he’s got tons of jump. He’s a winner,” she remarked. Farmer will continue to compete the gelding in the 3’6″ Performance Hunter Division as well as the High Performance Hunter division throughout the rest of the WEF circuit. She also plans to show him in the USHJA International Hunter Derby during Week 12.

Tara Metzner, of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, was pleased with Celebrity’s performance this week. The pair placed first, seventh, second and third over fences and fourth in the under saddle. “The courses were nice. I found the lines a little more open today than yesterday so we got to show off a little and gallop,” Metzner said about her jumping rounds on Thursday.

Celebrity is a nine-year-old gelding owned by Davlyn Farms, who was originally meant to be an equitation horse. Purchased and imported from Europe as an eight-year-old, the gelding suffered an unfortunate bone bruise upon his arrival in the United States, which sidelined him from competition for six months.

Once Metzner began showing Celebrity last summer, it became apparent to the team at Davlyn Farms that he should be a hunter. “The more we ride him, the fancier he gets, so we decided to make him a hunter instead of an equitation horse,” Metzner explained. “He’s just such a good egg. He gets better each time in the ring.”

Celebrity also competes in the Low Adult Hunter division with rider Tammy Williams. While Metzner generally shows the gelding in the Performance Hunter divisions as a warm-up for Williams, the more she shows him, the more she believes he will make an excellent derby horse. “For sure I think he’s going to end up being a derby horse. He’s super brave. We’ll probably start doing those at the end of the season here and see how it goes,” she said.

The Section A reserve championship was awarded to Louise Serio and eight-year-old gelding As Promised, owned by Meralex Farm, Inc. Section B reserve honors went to Holly Orlando and Tidal Wave, who is owned by Elizabeth Monaco.

The fifth week of competition at WEF will continue on Friday with the Camping World Adult Amateur 50 and Over Section A, which will be held in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. Jumper action will also continue in the International Arena with the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

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

Three for Three: Lamaze Tops $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4

Eric Lamaze and Check Picobello Z. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Kelley Farmer Clinches the Equine Tack and Nutritionals First Year Green Hunter Championship aboard Like I Said

Wellington, FL – February 4, 2016 – Week four of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Thursday with a win for Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Check Picobello Z in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4. The win marks three in a row for Lamaze in this year’s Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, with victories in weeks two and three aboard Rosana du Park.

WEF 4, sponsored by Ariat®, runs February 3-7, 2016, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The week will feature the Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® on Saturday, February 6. Other highlights include the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic in the WEF International Ring and the $25,000 Artisan Farms U25 Grand Prix Team Event, presented by the McNerney Family, at The Stadium at PBIEC on Friday; the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Saturday; and the $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4* at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday. Also held on Friday and Saturday at The Stadium at PBIEC is the Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. All of these events will be live streamed at www.COTH.com. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3, offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Guilherme Jorge (BRA) is the international course designer for WEF 4 and set the track for 56 entries in Thursday’s Challenge Cup. Fourteen jumped clear in round one, and 12 continued on to the jump-off, where six double clear rounds were completed.

Kevin Babington (IRL) and Mark Q set the pace in 42.02 seconds, which eventually placed third. Daniel Bluman (COL) and Conconcreto Believe were next to clear the short course in 42.57 seconds to finish fourth. Lillie Keenan (USA) and Chansonette Farm LLC’s Super Sox were next to go, clear in 41.86 seconds to take over the lead, but eventually finish second. Audrey Coulter (USA) also cleared the jump-off with Copernicus Stables LLC’s Alex, placing sixth overall, with a time of 43.46. Lamaze and Check Picobello Z followed with the winning round in 41.43 seconds, and last to go, Pedro Muylaert (BRA) jumped into fifth with a time of 42.90 seconds riding Rubens Takaneo’s Colorado.

Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Brighton, and Todd Minikus (USA) and Babalou 41 were each faster than Lamaze, but incurred faults.

Check Picobello Z is a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Cardento x Orlando) that Lamaze purchased from Ilan Ferder when the horse was seven years old. Check Picobello Z is owned by Artisan Farms, LLC & Torrey Pines. The gelding had an injury that kept him from competing at the end of the 2015 season, but he came back to place second in the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic during week one and now picked up a win.

“I am really excited, especially today,” Lamaze stated following his round of honor. “I believed in this horse from the beginning, but it was a long time in the making. He was not the easiest horse to ride, and he was always really careful. He is still a little hard to maneuver at times, but I always believed that he could be a really good horse. He started to show us that by the middle of Spruce Meadows in the summer tour, and then he got hurt, so he missed the rest of the summer. I was not sure what I was going to have at the beginning of this circuit with him, but he came right back where he left off, so I could not be happier.”

Lamaze watched some of the early jump-off rounds and made his plan to do nine strides in one line where everyone else paced ten, but once in the ring, he did not need to leave out the stride.

“I did not count between jumps one, two, or three, to be honest,” Lamaze detailed. “After fence one, we landed a little right, so I just got back on track and then I stayed on ten strides. I got a good slice at the Liverpool and then I knew I could trust him at the double. He has a big stride, so coming home was good. I was not sure if I was on it. It did not feel like the fastest jump-off to me, but today it was good enough.”

The rider spoke further about Check Picobello Z and the transformation that the gelding has made in the last couple of years, specifically coming back for jump-off rounds.

“His ride is a bit different,” Lamaze said. “He does not really appreciate help. He likes to go his own way, and you have to just leave it up to him and he really does amazing things. At the beginning of last year in Florida, he jumped a lot of clear rounds, but I had trouble coming back in the jump-offs. I always had a rail or two, either from conditioning or from him trying so hard in the first round and being tired for the jump-off, or me trying too hard in the warm-up. It just did not work in the jump-offs. Now a year later, things have changed. This is his first big win.”

“As an eight-year-old, I never went fast in any classes because he was not so easy to ride, and I did not believe it was a good thing for him to learn,” Lamaze continued. “When he was nine I tried, and by then I was a little bit confused about how to come back with him in a second round, but by the summer he started getting things.”

With another win under his belt, Lamaze plans to bring out his big guns next week with another horse, Fine Lady 5. ‘Fine Lady’ was the rider’s mount for three out of his five Challenge Cup wins in the 2015 circuit and will contest the class in next week’s CSI 5* competition.

“That is my most ready, competitive horse,” Lamaze stated. “She is so dependable, and I know her so well. She is so quick. She will do two 1.40m classes this week and come out in the WEF (Challenge Cup) next week, so we will see what comes of it. I am starting every horse very easily. I do some easy classes and then I come into these classes with horses that are fresh and capable, but you need a certain amount of luck as well, which I seem to be having on Thursdays.”

In addition to the winning prize money, Lamaze picked up a $3,000 bonus for the third week in a row for wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion. That brings his tally up to $9,000 in bonus money for the circuit so far.

Also showing in the International Ring on Thursday, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Kerry Anne LLC’s Glamour van de Kakebeek won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m jump-off class. Emanuel Andrade was victorious in the $2,500 MAYBACH – ICONS OF LUXURY High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class with Belita.

Kelley Farmer Clinches the Equine Tack and Nutritionals First Year Green Hunter Championship Aboard Like I Said

The First Year Green Hunter division, which was presented by Equine Tack and Nutritionals, awarded Kelley Farmer and Like I Said championship honors on Thursday morning in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Field. Kelley Farmer and Tara Metzner had to stand out in a competitive field of 23 entries in an intense battle for the championship win. Having earned only a second-place finish over fences on Wednesday, Farmer needed wins in both jumping classes on Thursday to beat out Tara Metzner and Davlyn Farm’s Cy Young. Farmer succeeded, winning both over fences classes on Thursday.

Kelley Farmer and Like I Said
Kelley Farmer and Like I Said

Farmer shined in the second over fences class, earning an impressive score of 98 and securing her championship victory by one point. Metzner and Cy Young settled for the reserve honors, after winning both over fences classes on Wednesday, placing fourth in an over fences class on Thursday, and earning a third in the under saddle.

Like I Said is an eight-year-old Mecklenburg mare owned by David Glefke and Kent Farrington. The mare is a recent import from Europe, and this was Farmer’s inaugural show with her. The cancellation of professional hunter divisions due to rain prevented them from competing last week.

“Wow,” was Farmer’s excited response to her impressive score of 98 today over fences. It was an unexpected honor that left Larry and Kelley visibly overjoyed. “This was her maiden voyage. She was great!” Farmer remarked.

“She just does it so easily, and she jumps so careful and high. You never have to pick up the reins on her,” Farmer explained about what she believes makes this horse and her round today so special. “She goes so smooth and then gets high and crisp,” she added.

“She is easy, brave, simple… she just wants to do it,” Farmer said. Like I Said also competed in the High Performance Hunter division on Wednesday, earning a second and a sixth over fences.

“I think she can do a little bit of everything. I think she has it all,” Farmer noted about her future plans with the mare that she will continue to show throughout circuit in the First Years and the High Performance Hunters.

The fourth week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday with a busy schedule on two sides of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic will be featured in the International Ring, and the Asheville Regional Airport Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section A will award championship honors in the Rost Arena in the morning. The $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Team Event, presented by the McNerney Family, will be held at The Stadium at PBIEC in the evening. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

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

David Beisel and Ammeretto Race to $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Victory

David Beisel and Ammeretto.

Lexington, KY – August 14, 2015 – For David Beisel, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show holds incredible memories, yet there is one in particular that stands out for him. It was three years ago exactly that David Beisel and Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings, LLC, entered into only the second grand prix of their show jumping partnership during the week of the USHJA Hunter Derby Finals, and they won. Friday night, under the lights of the Rolex Stadium, it was déjà vu for Beisel as he entered into a 12-horse jump-off with the small but mighty warmblood stallion, winning the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, presented by Zoetis.

“Before the jump-off, as I was getting ready to go over the course, I was thinking to myself that it was three years ago that he competed his second grand prix, and now, here were are,” Beisel smiled. “I knew that if I had a little faith in him, and with the good partnership we have now, that it all would work, and it did.”

Out of a field of 47 horse and rider combinations, Beisel and Ammeretto rose to the top of the leader board, besting 11 fellow contenders during an exceptionally fast jump-off. Shane Sweetnam and Easy Contact Humlan, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, were the first to tackle the shortened course, designed by Allen Rheinheimer. Although they posted the quick time of 40.487 seconds, he left the door open just enough to let Beisel take his shot.

Beisel sat ringside during the course change, observing Rheinheimer’s changes to the track. He noted that deeper cups were added to the skinny, warranting a tight turn back, and the black oxer originally the 11th obstacle of the opening track was narrowed, allowing for a tight rollback. It was the race to the final oxer with Ammeretto that would have spectators on the edge of their seats.

“I knew I really had to take a shot to the last one,” Beisel explained. “Allen had made the black oxer quite narrow, and I hoped to turn back as tight as I could and trust that he would hop over it. It didn’t come up exactly how I would imagine, but he gave a huge effort. I tried to be smooth to the in-and-out and then trusted him to fly to the Hagyard. He did just that.”

Ammeretto and Beisel have a special partnership, rooted in time and trust. Ammeretto originally found a home with Beisel as a 3-year-old, and now, seven years later, the pair has an unspoken understanding.

Beisel continued, “He is such a smart horse; he really truly enjoys competing and jumping. I think he totally understands to adjust his speed out there and slow up for the jumps. If I have an error in the jump-off it is usually because I am pulling on the reins and mess up his rhythm. I think staying out of his way is the best way to go.”

Beisel and Ammeretto stopped the clock in an astonishing 38.229 seconds.

Sweetnam did not want to take no for an answer tonight. Having already lost the lead to Beisel, as well as to the 18-year-old Emanuel Andrade who posted a clean and speedy effort in 39.962 seconds, he returned on his second qualified mount, Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof.

Although Sweetnam gave it a gamble on the course, his time would still fall 1/10th of a second shy of Beisel’s winning time, landing from the oxer in 38.332 seconds for the second place, pushing Andrade into third.

“This horse was also second in the most recent Hagyard Challenge I did two weeks ago. He was close then and close again tonight. David is a very fast rider,” Sweetnam said. “Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof is not the fastest horse in the world, but he’s learning to be faster, as you saw tonight. He makes my job quite easy. I just have to find the jumps, and I think we’ll have a chance.”

All three top finishers plan to return to the Rolex Arena on Sunday afternoon for the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. For Beisel, he is aiming for even bigger purses and dreams.

“We plan to jump the HITS Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix and the [American] Gold Cup and to keep trying to climb up the ranking list,” Beisel concluded. “It is a dream of mine to get on the short list for Team USA, so I want to keep chipping away at getting more points and prove that [Ammeretto] is a competitor. I cannot thank Equine Holdings enough for their support; you cannot do this without owners; I am blessed to have them and for them to back our goals.”

Fourth place was awarded to Sweetnam for his earlier round aboard Easy Contact Humlan as the first of the class, while fifth place was won by Victoria Colvin and Echo Von T Spieveld with a clear effort in 42.645 seconds. Amanda Derbyshire and Lady Maria BH rounded out the top six as the last of the clear efforts in a conservative 48.232 seconds.

Liza Boyd, Kelley Farmer, and Sandy Ferrell Lead the Way in Day One of the USHJA International Hunter Derby Final

The question of impending retirement has been in the air recently for 17-year-old chestnut Brunello, famously ridden by Liza Boyd to two USHJA International Derby Championships in the last two years, but the elder horse put those rumors to rest in the Rolex Stadium Friday as he earned three top marks above 90 for a cumulative score of 287 to secure the lead after the Classic Round. Kelley Farmer and Mindful, one of Farmer’s numerous mounts of the day, closely trail the current frontrunners headed into the second day of competition, featuring the handy round. Sandy Ferrell, having just come off a reserve showing in the Pre-Green Incentive Finals Thursday, kept her momentum going by clinching the third position with El Primero ahead of the 76 other entries.

Liza Boyd and Brunello
Liza Boyd and Brunello

“I think we can say that he is not retired. That is a question I have gotten a lot this year and I don’t think he wants to be retired. He just felt like he was six years old again,” Boyd gushed. “The horse is amazing. I will never have a horse like this again. I get a little emotional about him. He tries so hard; he loves what he does and he makes my life so easy. He is just really, really special; I can’t thank him enough.”

Although Brunello, co-owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson, has a few more notches in his belt than his younger counterparts, Boyd feels that the Hanoverian horse is still in great shape, which can be attributed to the training and fitness regimen she keep him on at home in Landrum, South Carolina. She credited lots of trail riding, treadmill workouts, turnout, and double rides on some days as their secret weapons to keeping him looking and feeling his best, a recipe that has shown successful.

“We do really focus on fitness, and this horse doesn’t have to show super often. The week before I locked him up in the stall and barely did anything with him. He had a massage, and I had a facial,” Boyd laughed. “I wanted him to be as fresh as possible.”

The winning pair laid down a stellar trip, proving that the best was saved for last as the final in the order to go over designer Steve Stephens’ classic round track, which presented riders with 13 efforts to show off their talents. Four fences offered high and low height options, giving competitors a chance to earn up to 12 additional points, four from each of the three judges, to their score. Boyd and Brunello opted for all the high options, contributing to their seamless round.

“I think it [the course] is typical Steve [Stephens]. You walk it and it seems pretty straightforward, but you get out there and they get a little wiggly; the horses don’t know where they are. It isn’t so much the height or that he didn’t test us with a lot of numbers. We only had one line. It was really where he placed the jumps,” Boyd said. “Even starting out with fence one, they didn’t expect the jump to be there; it was away from the in gate. He definitely placed them in tricky spots, but it was very rideable for a young horse and kept an old horse enthusiastic and sharp. Once again, he did an unbelievable job.”

As the two-time defending champions, Boyd and Brunello felt the pressure headed into the ring, but did not exude any of that anxiety to the crowd or, more importantly, the judges. The duo’s 287 score was pieced together of 90.5, 91.5, and 93.0 scores from the judges, plus the bonus 12 earned due to the high fence options.

“Last year was a thousand times less stress. I think I should have another baby before next year because last year I was just hoping to hold on and have fun. This year was a lot more stress; my palms are still sweating. I was super nervous,” Boyd reflected.

Currently in the reserve position, hometown rider Kelley Farmer aboard veteran mount Mindful, owned by Larry Glefke and Kensel, LLC, are hot on the heels of Boyd and Brunello, only a singular point behind the current leaders. She and the black gelding Mindful have an impressive résumé together, having accrued lifetime prize money topping $97,000, of which $65,000 was won this year alone.

“I can’t say enough about that horse. He is a fantastic horse, and he went beautifully today. I hope it goes the same tomorrow. I made some mistakes on some of the others, but the course was nice and the horses went well,” Farmer said.

Farmer also earned a stop amongst the frontrunners in the saddle aboard Dalliance, who is owned by Avatar Real Estate, LLC out of Coral Gables, Florida. The pair rode to a 276.600 score to claim the sixth position headed into the handy round.

On the opposite side of the age spectrum from Brunello sits El Primero, the 6-year-old bay stallion navigated to third in the standings by Sandy Ferrell of Bernville, Pennsylvania. The talkative horse whinnied all the way around the ring, but that did not detract from the strong performance as he proved to not only talk the talk, but also walked the walk to the tune of a 280.250 score in his first Derby Finals.

“He is a newcomer to the derby world. He just turned six this year, and he is a baby, and must be the youngest out there. I think that we are just seeing the beginning of his career. He was a little bit talkative out there today; I think he was wondering where his friends went because he couldn’t see anybody. He was talking all the way around the ring,” Ferrell said.

El Primero, owned by Bryan Baldwin and Meralex Farm of Brandon, Florida, is known as ‘Sexy’ outside the ring and was imported from Europe as a jumper, but smoothly transitioned into the hunter ring, where he has shined under the tutelage of Louise Serio.

“As a horseman, you are going to fall in love with that horse. Whether it is his look, his athletic ability is endless; his desire to perform is endless. He is an amazing horse, and I think great things are only yet to come,” Farrell commented. “It is rare that a horse comes out of the jumper ring in Europe and plops into the hunter ring and off we go. He is just an incredible animal. He has such a wise soul. He is so in control of everything.”

The top six horse and rider partners are separated by 11 points headed into Saturday’s handy phase. Trying to surpass the top three will be Cassanto, ridden by Brady Hamilton and owned by Emily Perez of Pittsford, New York, the current fourth place contenders, as well as Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, New York, who rank fifth. Alfano also claimed the seventh and eighth position with Maggie May, owned by Billie Steffee of Noelty, Ohio, and Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms Inc. of Buffalo, New York. Farmer and Dalliance round out the top six.

Tomorrow the hunters will return to the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park for the Handy Round, which serves as the USHJA International Hunter Derby Final during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

By: Kendall Bierer and Elaine Wessel

For more information about the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com. For information on Derby Finals, please visit www.ushja.org/programs/ihd/finals_default.

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