The Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, regarded as the most esteemed indoor Grand Prix on the global equestrian circuit, was won by Rolex Testimonee and World Number One Kent Farrington aboard Gazelle. Sweden’s Henrik Von Eckermann was second aboard Mary Lou 194 and Gregory Wathelet from Belgium riding Coree placed third.
Some 10,000 equestrian fans walked into the iconic Palexpo venue, brimming with excitement and tension as they waited for the famed curtains to open, marking the start of the most anticipated class of the four-day show, the Rolex Grand Prix.
40 horse and rider combinations had qualified to enter the iconic indoor arena at the CHI Geneva and in doing so, tackle an imposing first round course (and subsequent jump-off) designed by renowned international show jumping course designers, Gérard Lachat and Louis Konickx.
Clear rounds were hard to come by and the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Philipp Weishaupt, was unable to continue his journey in attempting to lift the most coveted trophy in the sport, as he collected nine faults in round one.
From the first 25 riders who braved the course, including Rolex Testimonees Jeroen Dubbeldam, Eric Lamaze, Bertram Allen and Steve Guerdat, none could master a clear round. It became evident that it would take an exacting and precise round to finish with a score of zero. Last year’s winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Pedro Veniss from Brazil, produced the first seemingly clear round, until the clock stopped just over the allocated time and he collected one unlucky time fault.
A clean score was finally achieved by The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders, shortly followed by Henrik Von Eckermann and Gregory Wathelet. The crowd hushed to near silence as USA’s Kent Farrington entered into the arena, shortly displaying why he is the very best rider in the sport right now, producing a foot perfect round over the 13 obstacles. Cian O’Connor from Ireland completed the list of five riders progressing through to the second-round jump-off of the final Major of the year.
A revised course was presented to these elite athletes, reducing the course to eight obstacles. Harrie Smolders was first to go, setting the bar high with a clear round in just 46.89 seconds. This was fractionally beaten by Von Eckermann, who sped through the finishing gate with a time of 45.59. Wathelet was unable to challenge this, leaving it to Farrington and O’Connor. In true Farrington style, he sped through the course on the tightest of turns as the Geneva crowd sat on the edges of their seats, erupting in a cacophony of noise as the clock was stopped on 44.96 seconds, taking the World Number One into the lead. Cian O’Connor was last to go but despite giving everything, his brave grey horse Fibonacci just clipped one pole at the fourth fence, handing the victory to Rolex Testimonee, Kent Farrington.
After eight months as World Number One, Farrington concluded an emphatic year as the World Number One and now embarks on his very own Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey.
Commenting after his victory, Farrington said, “I’m still in shock and I can’t believe that it’s over and that we walk away with a win. I thought my horse was great today and with this win being part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, I will definitely be heading to The Dutch Masters in 2018.
“The riders are so strong here and you have the best horses in the world. With a large arena it can be difficult to set an indoor style course and in today’s sport, with as well as everyone rides, they have to make the time short. I knew it was going to be tough when I saw the course and I am so pleased with the result.”
Photo: Kent Farrington with Voyeur (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)
At a milestone 95th edition of the prestigious Royal Winter Agricultural Fair, Kent Farrington (USA) proved why he is the world’s top-ranked rider on the Longines Rankings. He and his 2016 Olympic Games partner Voyeur topped the $150,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto in front of a packed, enthusiastic crowd at the only indoor competition in Canada.
Farrington and his 15-year-old mount laid down a flawless jump-off round, winning with a final time of 35.51 seconds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Main Road made a gallant run at the winner, and it came down to the final fence, but the duo crossed the timers just off the pace in 36.84 seconds to finish second. Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Barnetta were the only other double-clear performers to finish third; their time was 43.48 seconds.
“Voyeur’s really been a career horse for me,” Farrington said. “[Owners] the Nusz family have been long-term supporters of my career and bought Voyeur for me with the hope that he’d be a Champion horse for me. He has been — every bit of it and more. Tonight he really showed why he’s special.”
“Voyeur’s really been a career horse for me!” — Kent Farrington (USA)
Six competitors produced clear rounds over the Guilherme Jorge (BRA) designed track in the first round, which included four 1.60m verticals, an imposing wall, and a wide, airy final liverpool oxer that proved to be a frequent heartbreaker on course, ending early the night of four-time defending champion McLain Ward (USA), among others. The number of clears was halved in the jump-off, and none made their work look quite as smooth as Farrington and his veteran partner.
“I think what you’re seeing is a horse that I know really well,” Farrington said. “I know his weak points, and I know his strengths. I’m very confident in him to do what he can do. My strategy was to put pressure on the last two so that they were really going to have to try. It’s a great partnership, and I hope he still has some more wins down the road also.”
Mill Spring, NC – October 21, 2017 – Thirty-three horse and rider combinations went head-to-head in the biggest “Saturday Night Lights” event of the 2017 season at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) featuring the $380,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* competition in front of the packed stands of the George H. Morris Arena. Ultimately the FEI World Number One Kent Farrington (USA) captured top honors aboard Gazelle, owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky. Eugenio Garza (MEX) and longtime mount Bariano finished in second place with a jump-off time of 35.918 seconds. Richie Moloney (IRL) and Carrabis Z stopped the timers in 35.637 seconds and added four faults for third place.
The jump-off brought back only three riders to contest the short course and had the entire venue of 9,000 spectators on their feet as they watched the top three combinations take on the competitive course designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER). Farrington and the 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Diva ‘Ter Elsen’), stopped timers after an incredibly quick round ending in 34.676 seconds.
While Farrington emphasized that the course was very difficult, he also acknowledged that his mount is not easily stumped by hard questions.
“Gazelle is a very experienced horse, so I think that I have the advantage that she’s been around the world and seen a lot of things. They’d have to build something crazy that she hasn’t seen before,” he said. “The ring rides smaller than it looks. The jumps come up fast and with a lot of people I think it’s more difficult for the horses than you would expect when you first walk the course. I think it was an excellent course, and Olaf is a very good builder. I expected five clear, and we ended up with three, so I thought it was a stronger course for a bigger money class, which was appropriate for today.”
Despite the tense competitive environment and exciting atmosphere, Farrington commented that Gazelle is a reliable athlete in these kinds of situation. “She’s a very sweet horse at home. She likes everybody and she likes attention, but in the ring she’s an unbelievable competitor,” he explained. “I don’t know how many Grand Prix classes she’s won this year, but I always can count on her and when she’s in the jump-off I can really call on her and take big risks. She’s incredibly careful, so I’m not worried about the jumps, but try to not make any mistakes and stay out of her way.”
Second place honors were captured by 21-year-old Garza and the 2001 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Jetset-D x Ulderina Van Westleven), who were the first to produce a double clear effort in round one. The pair also entered the jump-off round as the first combination, finishing behind Farrington in 35.918 seconds.
The pair has been together for nearly Garza’s entire career and their bond has only grown stronger as they have moved through the levels. Garza stated, “Bariano has been my longtime partner for forever. I did the Children’s Jumpers with him, so obviously it’s very nice to have a horse you can grow up with. This week we really took it day by day since he is a little bit older and the CSI 5* is not in his comfort zone.”
“He’s such an amazing horse, and has so much heart. I think he showed that tonight. He tried really hard and when we went clear it was an absolutely unbelievable feeling. Then we just hoped there weren’t as many clear,” he laughed. “The course was great, and I really did have a blast. I couldn’t have hoped for anything more from him or my team,” he concluded.
Third place honors were presented to Richie Moloney (IRL) and Carrabis Z, a 2003 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Canabis Z x Ma Pomme VD Zwarte Hoek), owned by Equinimity LLC. The pair were hot on Farrington’s heels until the final fence of the track, which was tipped from the cups and led to four faults. Moloney discussed his round and the advantage of going later in the class.
“It’s always nice to see riders go beforehand, and where most riders did five strides from fence three to four, I did six, and that was my plan from the start. It always helps to go later. In the jump-off, Kent is always very quick, so we tried to catch him, but not today.”
Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), concluded the evening by discussing the incredible turnout of both top riders and spectators the venue sees with each passing competition. “I think there are a lot of great challenges with equestrian sport in this country, in terms of building a following of spectators,” said Bellissimo. “It was really amazing to see at the end a lot of people stuck around and people had a following for Kent as he rode around the ring. We’re pulling great crowds, which I think makes the sport much more interesting. It’s one thing to go out and see some world class competitors like Kent, Eugenio and Richie, but to see a crowd appreciate it means a lot.”
Bellissimo continued, “I want to thank Rolex as well. It’s very unusual for a brand like Rolex to take a bet on a piece of dirt, which four years ago is all this place was: a bunch of rolling hills. For them to step up and be a sponsor of this venue is greatly appreciated. They’re all here for this event and I want to thank them for that. I think [TIEC] is really emerging as one of the top destinations in this country and we anticipate that it will be one of the world’s top destinations as we prepare for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in September of 2018.”
“This was a great preview of the competitors that will be participating in that event, so we’re excited about the present and the future of the facility and the venue,” he concluded.
Margie Engle (USA) received the FEI Leading Lady Jumper Rider Award presented by Meg Atkinson of Town & Country Realtors for her consistent performances in FEI competition throughout the week. Kent Farrington’s groom, Denise Moriarty, was presented with the Absorbine FEI Grooms’ Award, honoring her dedicated care to the winning mount, Gazelle.
Developing Jumper Series Final Presented by Spy Coast Farm Concludes at TIEC
Earlier in the day, the Developing Jumper Series Final presented by Spy Coast Farm, drew an impressive array of young horses to the George H. Morris Arena. In the 5-Year-Old Jumper Division, David O’Brien (IRL) took a sweep of first and second place awards, piloting the champion, Maldonado SCF, owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, as well as reserve, Maui SCF, also owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC., after completing the short track in 36.222 seconds. Third place was awarded to Brittni Raflowitz (USA), and ESI Show Jumpers Inc.’s, Mevis De Muse, after a final jump-off round of 37.468 seconds.
O’Brien and the top-class 5-Year-Old stopped jump-off timers in 35.943 seconds. He commented, “Maldonado was second in the 5-Year-Old Finals in Kentucky, and he’s a very easy-going guy. He’s probably my most consistent horse I’ve had out this year. We just want to produce him and bring him on up the levels. He should be able to jump the 1.50m, no doubt.”
O’Brien also dominated the 6-Year-Old Division, aboard Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Lazuli II SCF, ending the series on a jump-off time of 34.515 seconds.
Of the talented 6-Year-Old, O’Brien stated, “Lazuli’s half-sister was second in the 5-Year-Old Division. This mare has been brought along as well, and these horses are produced to be the ones at the top of the sport.”
O’Brien rides for Spy Coast Farm, and knows the importance of the Developing Jumper Series in regard to the future of quality horses in America. “In order to produce these horses in America, we need these classes. To get into the main ring in Tryon, it’s one of the best in the world. You want to be here, you want to jump these jumps. On top of that, it’s great to have an establishment like Spy Coast Farm to back this, and to support it. Lisa Lourie is not only breeding young quality horses, but she is also creating these opportunities for these horses to learn and gain important experience.”
Second place position was awarded to Doug Payne and Quintessence, owned by Jane Dudinsky, ending the jump-off in 36.234 seconds. Shawn Casady rode Cecotto De La Ogi, owned by Robert Gomez, to third, with a jump-off time of 41.967 seconds and four faults.
The 7-Year-Old Division of the Developing Jumper Series Final saw a victory awarded to Harold Chopping (CAN) and Fantom, owned by Hunter Farms, after a speedy jump-off round of 37.238 seconds. Ireland’s Aidan Killeen boasted second place with his own Snotty, completing course in 38.204 seconds. Juan Manuel Gallego (COL) rode Kayack to third place after a short course time of 41.086 seconds.
“Fantom is just a very talented horse,” exclaimed Chopping. “He is definitely something for the future. He was a little green when he was started earlier in the year. He can really jump a big jump and is dead brave. I get along with him so well. I really love him.”
Chopping noted that the strategy with a series like the Developing Jumper Series is always consistency. “You obviously want to come out with clear rounds on all three days, so you just try to do the best you can. We started in one ring and then spent the final two days in the George Morris Arena, and I think that it really helps that this horse is very brave. He went right in, and it didn’t take him any extra classes to get comfortable with the big setting.”
He concluded, “To have these young horses jump against their peers is certainly productive for everybody. These horses won’t get lost as just another face in the crowd out there, as they aren’t competing against a variety of ages and experience levels. I think it’s just an overall great concept.”
Aachen, Germany – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team will be composed of four Olympians when it competes in FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Aachen on Thursday, July 20. The powerhouse team of Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward will face eight nations, all fielding elite talent in their own right, as they seek to secure a podium finish. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland will lead the U.S. team, having drawn second in the order, and has set the following order of go:
Kent Farrington and Gazelle: Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), the current world number one ranked show jumper, and Gazelle return to Aachen riding high off a successful few weeks in Spruce Meadows. The Olympic team silver medalist and his and Robin Parksy’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare won the prominent ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup during the ‘North American’ CSI5* presented by Rolex earlier this month and the ATB Financial Cup in June. Additionally, in May, they narrowly edged out a victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid CSI5*.
Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden and Coach: Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) began testing Coach at the five-star level at the beginning of the year where he showed his Grand Prix potential early. With the two-time Olympic team gold medalist aboard, Abigail Wexner’s 2008 Holsteiner gelding impressed early on with standout performances during the Winter Equestrian Festival. They collected a fifth-place finish in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* and a fourth-place finish in the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO4* Grand Prix. Most recently, the budding combination placed third in the CP Grand Prix during the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI5* and are prepared for their toughest challenge to date in Aachen.
Laura Kraut and Zeremonie: The Olympic gold medalist and Zeremonie return to Aachen after helping the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team to a bronze-medal finish in the 2016 FEI Nations Cup Final and a tie for the team silver medal in the 2016 FEI Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen. Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), continues to develop Zeremonie, Old Willow Farms 2007 Holsteiner mare, at the five-star level, where they earned a third-place finish at CSI5* Knokke, Belgium earlier in the month.
McLain Ward and HH Azur: The Olympic gold medalist and current world number two ranked show jumper, along with the 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare, have risen to the top of some of the world’s most prestigious competitions. They secured an Olympic team silver medal in Rio de Janeiro and captured the lucrative Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final title in April. In a year that garnered massive success, Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur got a much-earned rest following the World Cup Finals. In June, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) added HH Azur back into the rotation seeking their next big victory. Most recently, they placed fifth in the CP Grand Prix during the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI5*.
Watch the event live beginning Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EST on ClipMyHorse.tv.
Kent Farrington en route to team silver with Voyeur at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (FEI/Richard Julliart)
Lausanne (SUI), 4 May 2017 – Olympic silver medallist Kent Farrington (USA) has overtaken compatriot McLain Ward to jump up to the number one spot in the Longines Rankings for the first time.
Farrington, a member of the US squad that took team silver at last year’s Rio Olympic Games, was lying second in the previous rankings, separated from his fellow American by just 23 points. But the 36-year-old, who has featured prominently in the rankings since 2013, has had a great run of form recently, with a 5* victory in Antwerp with Sherkan D’Amaury, and a win in Miami and second in Shanghai with Creedance boosting his points tally to 3,255 to finally clinch the coveted world number one slot.
Ward, whose sensational win at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha had put him on top of the world in the April rankings, has now slid back to second on 3018, 37 points adrift of Farrington, with Germany’s Daniel Deusser closing the gap in third on 3010.
Farrington is based in Wellington, Florida and has built up a strong string of 5* horses. He is a five-time FEI World Cup™ Jumping finalist and was just outside the individual medals in Rio when finishing fifth at the first ever Olympic Games to be hosted in South America.
Farrington also won team bronze at the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games, team bronze at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy and team gold at the 2011 Pan-Am Games in Guadalajara.
Kent Farrington and Dublin Top $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final; McLain Ward Takes 1.50m Series Overall
Wellington, FL – March 25, 2017 – Olympian Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) was the big winner in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* riding Charmeur on Saturday, March 25, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Alvarez Moya beat out two-time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) aboard veteran partner Rothchild, and young up-and-comer Karen Polle of Japan riding With Wings.
Earlier in the night, Kent Farrington (USA) took the win in the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final riding Dublin, and McLain Ward (USA) won the 2017 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Series overall.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the course for the highlight event of the WEF circuit featuring 40 of the season’s top competitors from 17 different countries. Five entries conquered the first round course without fault to jump-off, and only two were clear in the tiebreaker.
Polle and With Wings were first to jump the short course in 39.54 seconds, with one rail down, and ultimately finished third. Alvarez Moya and Charmeur followed, setting the challenge with a clear round in 37.76 seconds. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Coach had one rail in 40.20 seconds to place fifth. Laura Kraut (USA) and St. Bride’s Farm’s Confu also dropped one rail in 39.81 seconds to take the fourth place prize. Last to go, Ward and Sagamore Farm’s Rothchild raced through the course, taking a different inside turn that no one else tried, but still crossed the timers in second place with a time of 38.30 seconds.
“I am super happy. My horse jumped amazing,” Alvarez Moya said of his ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Numero Uno x Gelha’s VDL Emilion). “I just went as fast as I could. I saw Karen go, and then I knew I had to start fast from jump one, and keep going to the end. My plan was to go one more stride to the combination, but I had a good eight strides, and I just trusted my horse. Then to the next oxer I had a good gap as well, so I could go and keep on pushing. I actually saw one stride less to the next vertical, but I thought that was maybe too much. I don’t think I left much room for the others, and it worked out well.”
Alvarez Moya had a fantastic WEF circuit, placing third in week three’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* and second in week four’s $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4* with G&C Unicstar de l’Aumone, third in week seven’s $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5* aboard Arrayan, and again third in week nine’s $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5* with Charmeur before taking the biggest prize in week eleven.
Remarking on his success, Alvarez Moya stated, “For me, this is one of the best shows in the world. Most of the best and most competitive riders in the world are here. I think that to have so many weeks here, and to be so consistent, is a great opportunity to bring a horse up like this. I have had Charmeur since he was six years old, and I just feel very happy and very proud that we got to win a five-star grand prix here. I have a feeling that this is the grand prix that every rider in the circuit wants to win, and I was just lucky that I won this one, and not the others.
“The horse does not have so much experience at this level,” Alvarez Moya continued. “He just got better and better here at this show. I think it is a great place to bring horses up, and obviously to jump such a grand prix they have to be really ready. I think from here on, we can go anywhere in the world.”
Saturday night concluded Alvarez Moya’s time in Wellington for the winter circuit. The Olympian, European Championships silver medalist, and reigning Spanish champion is now headed to compete in next week’s FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final with top mount Arrayan before continuing his season in Europe.
For Ward and longtime mount Rothchild, the pair gave it their best on Saturday night, but settled for second place. Detailing his round, Ward stated, “I have to watch (Rothchild) a little bit on the slice to the verticals, so the first two jumps were a bit of a challenge for me. I went in and I looked at the cut inside the gazebo, and I decided not to do it. Then when I turned back on the oxer, I kind of saw the line, and I knew I was too slow one to two to have a chance, so I figured at that point it was worth the risk. I thought maybe at that point, the turn did so much that I did not have to go as fast to the last fence. I took a little bit off, but Sergio did not leave much room.
“I’m thrilled with the horse,” Ward said of the 16-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding (Artos x Elegant de l’Ile). “This is his eighth year jumping grand prixs in Palm Beach. He is just a remarkable animal. I am blessed to have had him, and I am really excited to be able to keep doing it with him.”
Polle and her 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Larino x L. Ronald) With Wings also finished out an excellent 2017 WEF circuit with their top three finish. The pair earned back to back victories in week nine’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup and $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, leading up to Saturday night.
“It is definitely a great feeling,” Polle noted. “I am really happy that Wings and I are so consistent at this level now, and that we are in these jump-offs. I thought the course tonight was really, really tricky. It was definitely the trickiest grand prix that I have jumped this circuit. It was very big. I had to work hard, but I thought it was very nice to ride.”
Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo wrapped up a fantastic evening of show jumping with his remarks and congratulated the top riders.
“I think there is consistently great sport at WEF,” Bellissimo stated. “The crowd has become a lot more engaged, and you can see the people really following the sport. I think there is top sport here, and we are very excited about it.
“I want to thank Rolex,” Bellissimo continued. “This festival went into a different transition when Rolex came on board. We started four five-star events and have some of the best riders in the world competing. I am hopeful that next year will be even more exciting and an even better series of outcomes.”
Margie Engle (USA) earned the Leading Lady Rider Award for week 11, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Farrington Tops Suncast® 1.50m Final; Ward Takes Suncast® Series Overall
2016 U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington and his mount Dublin were the winners of the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final on Saturday night at the Winter Equestrian Festival. After the final competition of the 2017 series, two-time Olympic team gold and one-time team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) secured his lead in the standings and took home the championship title overall.
The 1.50m final held its first round on Saturday afternoon, with forty-nine entries starting over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) first-round course, and 13 advancing to the evening jump-off. Only four riders cleared both rounds without fault.
Portugal’s Luciana Diniz was first to clear the short course in 44.26 seconds aboard her own and Arnaldo Diniz’s Lennox to end in third place. Ali Wolff cleared the track next in 48.93 seconds riding Quirie 2 to a fourth place finish. Canada’s Tiffany Foster upped the pace in 43.05 seconds with Artisan Farms’ Brighton to place second. Last to go, Farrington took the win in 41.90 seconds with his own and Tanma Corp.’s Dublin.
“I am really excited. I thought the horse went great today; I thought both of my horses did,” Farrington stated following his win, as well as an eighth place finish aboard Sherkan d’Amaury. “I have been bringing them along this winter really slowly. I started them both in the 1.35m and built them up this whole winter. To finish off with them both going clear in the 1.50m final was a great accomplishment for them regardless of their results. The win was a bonus.”
Farrington purchased Dublin, a ten-year-old German Sport Horse (Cobra x Calido), at the start of the winter. The gelding previously showed with Carly Anthony (USA) under the ownership of Artisan Farms.
“He is extremely careful,” Farrington detailed. “He is actually quite difficult to ride. He is so careful that he borderlines on too careful almost, where he goes too high. I think this horse really needs to bond with a rider and have a lot of confidence. I actually carry a lot of speed with him, even in the first round, to give him confidence so that he does not go too high.
“Whether or not he will allow you to really have total control over him, I do not know,” Farrington continued, “but if we can find a good compromise in the middle like today, then I think he has a big future. Time still has to show us, but we are off to a great start, and we will see where it takes us from here.”
Remarking on his jump-off, Farrington added, “I trust that horse’s quality, so I know that I can really go at high speed to the jumps and trust that he is going to miss the rails. I thought he did an incredible roll back to the vertical by the in-gate. I do not think I even touched the reins there; he just flew back on that jump. That is probably where he won it.”
Saturday’s competition brought the overall Suncast® 1.50m Series standings down to the wire, but USA’s McLain Ward held onto his lead coming into the night’s event and earned the championship title for 2017. Ward qualified for the jump-off with two mounts, Tina la Boheme and HH Carlos Z, finishing sixth and seventh in the final class to secure his lead overall.
For his win, Ward was presented a two-year lease on a beautiful new Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE. Ward remarked, “It feels great to win the series. It would have been nice to win the final, but the horses jumped well all winter. I had some nice young ones that really stepped up well. I am really proud of how Tina La Boheme has continued to be a great competitor, and it is nice to have Carlos back. He is still maybe a touch rusty, but close.
“I think it is a great series, a very competitive series,” Ward continued. “These classes are hard. I think it gives an older horse a chance to get going in the season, and it gives a younger horse a class to step up into where hopefully they are not over-faced by the height. I was happy with both of my horses tonight, and we had a nice year.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, David Oberkircher and Southfield Farm’s Castelino van de Helle won the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers. Giavanna Rinaldi topped the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch, aboard Nuvolari Holdings’ Commissario.
Gochman Sisters Prevail in Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under
Mimi Gochman captured the championship honors in the Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, while her younger sister, Sophie Gochman, earned the reserve title. Both girls show out of Palm Beach, FL. Mimi Gochman piloted Scott Stewart’s Caldwell to the win in the handy and in one over fences trip, to second place finishes under saddle and in the stake round, as well as a sixth place ribbon over fences.
Mimi Gochman and the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding have come a long way over their two years partnered together.
“The first year I rode him, I had some complications getting his leads and stuff,” she detailed. “Now, I have him in a good stride, and he is a very good boy. He is very lazy, and it just took me a while to get things right on him. He tries so hard and is so sweet around the barn. I am really proud of our trips this week and happy that we finally got it right.”
Commenting on the success she has achieved with her sister at WEF, Mimi Gochman said, “It is really nice to do so well down here with my sister. We switch on and off all the time, sometimes she is champion, and today it was my turn. It is nice we share the victory.”
Sophie Gochman guided Garfield, an entry owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, to two second place finishes over fences, a third place ribbon under saddle, and a third place finish in the stake round.
“Garfield is 15, so he really knows what he is doing,” Sophie Gochman said of the chestnut Holsteiner gelding by Coriano. “I can trust him with any distance. He is so sweet and cute, but he can also be a bit of a shark at home and when jogging. I love him a lot! It feels really good to be reserve and have my sister be champion because WEF is a really competitive show, and there are so many good riders here.”
The eleventh week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 2* in the International Arena. The Visse Wedell, Realtor Small Pony Hunters will determine championship and reserve honors in Ring 11. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Jessica Springsteen and Davendy S Take $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m; Heather Caristo-Williams and Summer Song Triumph in Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′
Wellington, FL – February 23, 2017 – Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington (USA) and RCG Farm’s Creedance were victorious in the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 on Thursday, February 23, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) saw 56 starters on his first round course, with 14 advancing to the jump-off and six clear over the short track. Farrington and Creedance took the win with a time of 33.92 seconds.
Ireland’s Conor Swail guided Finca Horses’ Flower to second place in 34.14 seconds. Japan’s Karen Polle jumped With Wings into third place with a time of 34.24 seconds. USA’s Lauren Hough was aboard Laura and Meredith Mateo’s Waterford to finish fourth in 34.52 seconds. Marilyn Little (USA) and Karen O’Connor’s Clearwater placed fifth in 34.66 seconds, and Margie Engle (USA) rounded out the top six with a time of 37.96 seconds riding Gladewinds Partners’ Royce.
For his win on Thursday, Farrington stuck to his own strategy with the speedy mount and made time with quick, tight turns.
“I watched a couple go early in the jump-off just to be sure about my plan, but he is very fast by himself, so I have to stick to his routine,” Farrington noted. “I can’t try to do stride numbers that other horses do. I have to win on short turns and using his foot speed.”
Farrington continued, “I think the horse is naturally quick, and I naturally ride pretty quick. I did one extra stride to the oxer before the rollback turn. That probably made it easier to rollback shorter, and he is fast enough to do that. A slower horse, if they add a stride there, they are going to be two seconds behind, so I think a smaller, quicker horse has the advantage on a rollback like that.”
“It is a big week here; a five-star week in Florida,” Farrington said after his win. “I have been bringing Creedance up slow, and this is his first five-star show here. We are off to a great start. He jumped last week under the lights in the small ring, and I thought he was a bit rusty. He came out in much better form today, so I am happy with his progress, if nothing else.”
The ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris) won two five-star grand prixs in St. Moritz and Geneva, Switzerland, in 2016, among other top finishes at a young age. He will next contest Saturday night’s $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5*.
Along with the winning prize, Creedance was presented the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week seven, presented by Laura Fetterman.
Jessica Springsteen and Davendy S Take $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m
Jessica Springsteen (USA) was the winner of the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class with Stone Hill Farm’s Davendy S during WEF 7. Beginning on Wednesday, the class was stopped halfway through due to inclement weather and resumed with its remaining entries on Thursday morning.
Fifty entries showed over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course, which yielded 16 clear rounds. Springsteen showed in the first half of the class on Wednesday afternoon, piloting Davendy S to the winning time of 56.41 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili finished second in 57.61 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) and Couscous van Orti placed third in 58.99 seconds. Cian O’Connor (IRL) finished fourth riding Ronnoco Jump Ltd.’s Callisto through the timers in 59.21 seconds.
“She was amazing,” Springsteen said of her 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Pachat II). “I saw Kristen go, and I saw that she was really fast. I knew that I definitely needed to take a couple of risks, but that is where she is just such a fast horse across the ground and over the fences. She is so much fun in those classes.
“I really wanted to win,” Springsteen continued. “I just tried to do the tightest turns that I could, but she is just one of the fastest horses I have ever ridden on her own, so if I stick to my plan normally I am able to have a good place. I knew there was still half the class to go, but after we went, I was pretty sure that we had it. There was no place I could have gone faster.”
Davendy S lights up in the show ring, but generally has a very calm demeanor.
“I know she looks like a really hot horse when she is in the ring, but actually to ride, she takes a lot of leg,” Springsteen explained. “If you see her just walking around, she does not look like a speed horse. She is so big and sleepy, but when she gets in the ring she gets so excited. She just loves it.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Emma Heise (USA) and Old Willow Farms’ Viper Vrombautshoeve Z won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI 2* speed class.
The $2,500 Engel & Völkers High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class concluded the day with a win for Jorge Matte Capdevila and C’Est Beau.
Heather Caristo-Williams and Summer Song Triumph in Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′
Heather Caristo-Williams of Wellington, FL and Summer Song were named champions of the Bainbridge Green Hunter 3′ division. The pair dominated the over fences portion, winning two classes and placing second in another, while also collecting the sixth place ribbon under saddle.
Summer Song is a family horse for the Caristos. Heather’s mother, Holly Caristo, picked the mare out to buy and Heather’s father, Ralph Caristo, helped train Summer Song. The family shares a passion for horses and operates Glenview Stables out of Saugerties, NY.
Speaking about why the coming seven-year-old Zangersheide mare by Clintissimo Z stood out to her mother, Heather said, “She just has such a beautiful canter, a lovely rhythm, and an endless jump to her.”
Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo purchased the mare at the end of the 2016 WEF circuit and Caristo-Williams campaigned her in the Baby Greens throughout the summer. The pair stepped up to the 3′ Green Hunters at the start of the 2017 winter season.
“She is a diva and likes to be doted on,” Caristo-Williams detailed. “In the future, she’s going to be an amazing high performance and derby horse, which would be really exciting if I still have her. She’s really not afraid of anything and has so much scope.”
Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL settled for reserve honors aboard For Ever, an entry of Victoria Colvin, LLC. Colvin rode the 2012 Holsteiner gelding by Diarado to first, second, and third place finishes over fences.
The Green Incentive Class Level One found a winner in Kristy Herrera of Wellington, FL and Gabriel, owned by JT Farm. The Green Incentive Class Level Two awarded the blue ribbon to Holly Orlando and True Story, an entry of Cathy Zicherman. The USHJA founded the Green Hunter Incentive Program promote the development of green horses and offers an annual Championship during the same week as the USHJA International Hunter Derby finals.
Competition continues on Friday featuring the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m speed class in the International Arena. The Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Section A will award championship honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Lindsay Maxwell and Technicolor Crowned Champions of Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35
Wellington, FL – February 11, 2017 – U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington jumped to victory riding Gazelle in Saturday night’s $380,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI 5* at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. In an 11-horse jump-off, Brazil’s Luiz Francisco de Azevedo finished second riding Comic, and Catherine Tyree (USA) placed third aboard Bokai.
Course designer Robert Ellis (GBR) saw 40 competitors jump his first-round track for the five-star event under the lights. Eleven advanced to the jump-off, where three jumped double clear in the race against the clock. Farrington and Gazelle emerged victorious with a time of 44.48 seconds. De Azevedo finished second with Comic in 45.69 seconds, and Tyree guided Bokai through the timers in 48.29 seconds. Canada’s Eric Lamaze rode Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Fine Lady 5 to the fastest four-fault round in 45.65 seconds to place fourth.
Farrington, who is currently the number two-ranked rider in the world, put in a thrilling jump-off round with his own and Robin Parsky’s Gazelle to ensure victory. He jumped the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro) to a team bronze medal in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, among other top international finishes.
Speaking of his winning round, Farrington stated, “My plan in a jump-off is usually to play to the horse’s strengths unless there are only three in it, then maybe you have a different strategy. Coming after me are Fine Lady and Eric Lamaze, and they are an incredibly competitive combination. They are super fast against the clock, so my plan was to do what I thought the limit was for my horse and put the pressure on him to have to really chase me to win. I knew if we were both running, his horse is probably faster in this type of arena, so I tried to put the pressure on him and hope he would have one down. Luckily for me it worked out tonight.”
Commenting on the first round course, Farrington added, “After walking, I thought a lot was going to depend on the time-allowed. I thought maybe he wanted the time-allowed a touch shorter in an ideal world so that there were not quite so many clear, but the jump-off was still difficult enough, so you probably ended up with the same spot anyway.”
De Azevedo was aboard his ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Comic (Verdi x Heartbreaker) for Saturday’s top finish as he gears up for week eight’s CSIO Nations’ Cup competition.
“I am very happy because for me, it is like a win to be second behind Kent Farrington,” the rider stated. “For me, it is like a victory. I am really happy with my horse. We bought him when he was just a six-year-old, and we built him. My goal was to be here where we are now, so I have to just thank God for that.”
Tyree began the 2017 season with a third-place finish in week one’s $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix aboard Mary & Joe Tyree’s Bokai, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Up To Date x Ferro) gelding that she began riding in July. On Saturday, Tyree earned her highest five-star finish and also received the award for Leading Lady Rider for the second time this winter, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman in memory of Dale Lawler.
“This was my first five-star with him,” Tyree stated. “It is a relatively new partnership, and I really just tried to go in and have a smooth jump-off. I’m a little bit new to going quick at this height. I knew I had Kent and Eric after me, and chances were they were going to be a little bit quicker, so I thought I would go for a smooth, clear round, and he jumped fantastic.
“To even be jumping these classes is absolutely amazing,” Tyree continued. “It has always been a dream of mine to jump Saturday nights, and to be sitting next to these two riders and this company is something I have really wanted and have worked toward. To finally accomplish that has been an absolutely amazing feat. It really takes an entire team. I have great people behind me. The past year has been a little rough, but it ended up being a fairy tale at the end. I could not be happier.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Kelsey Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm’s Everything won the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers. Emma Heise and Old Willow Farms’ Broekie were the winners of the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch. Jennifer Jones and Andrew Kocher’s Benedetto were also victorious in the Equiline Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.
Lindsay Maxwell and Technicolor Crowned Champions of Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35
Lindsay Maxwell of Beverly Hills, CA and Technicolor topped a competitive field of 17 riders in the Lugano Diamonds Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division on Saturday morning. Maxwell piloted Technicolor to three first-place finishes, two over fences and one under saddle, to earn the championship. The pair was also named champion of the division during week one of the 2017 WEF.
“He’s an exceptionally talented horse,” Maxwell detailed. “I feel really lucky to ride him every time I go in the ring. At the barn, he’s constantly in your pockets and wanting to be all over you. He’s a very people-oriented horse, really sweet, and he always has his head out looking for attention.”
Technicolor is a coming seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Sandro Boy that Maxwell purchased about a year ago from Nick Haness in California. Last year, Haness successfully rode the gelding in the First Years while Maxwell showed him in the Amateur-Owners. Maxwell noted that the course was well suited to demonstrate Technicolor’s talents as the pair received a high score of 87 in one of the over fences classes.
“The course was set up really well for him,” Maxwell explained. “He loves a long run to an oxer; it really showcases his spectacular jump. His jump is unlike anything I’ve felt on any other horse, so it’s really fun when I have a nice, long run to an oxer like that. I can really let him shine. The rest was just smooth and nice.”
Callie Seaman of Greenwich, CT rode her own Skorekeeper to capture the reserve title. Seaman navigated the 2004 Warmblood gelding by Casall to first-place finishes in the stake class and handy class, and second and fifth place finishes over fences. The pair earned the championship ribbon of division during week three of WEF.
The fifth week of WEF concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic and $50,000 Equo Grand Prix CSI 2* in the International Arena. The Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division will award championship and reserve honors in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Kent Farrington riding Creedance. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.
Toronto, Ontario – U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington won the $75,000 GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ Challenge on Friday, November 11, to close out the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 94th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.
In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 6,000 people, 21 riders challenged the final international show jumping event of the 2016 Royal Horse Show. A total of seven jumped clear over the huge track set by course designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal, but none could match the daring performance of Farrington and Creedance, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris) owned in partnership with RGC Farm.
“There were some really nice horses jumping here tonight,” said Farrington, who was competing at the Royal Horse Show following a five-year absence. “More than anything, more than winning, I’m thrilled with the progress of the horse. I feel like he’s on track to become a very good grand prix horse.”
Farrington and Creedance posted a blistering jump-off time of 31.86 seconds that could not be matched. Reigning Olympic Champions Nick Skelton of Great Britain and Big Star, owned by Oliver Robertson and Gary and Beverley Widdowson, came the closest, stopping the clock in 33.55 seconds.
“There was no way I could beat Kent so I went for second,” said Skelton who has been attending The Royal since the late 1970s. “They have a great crowd here that really takes part in and enjoys the show. I like coming here; it’s one of my favorite indoor shows.”
Ian Millar of Perth, ON thrilled the home audience with a clear round in a time of 33.79 seconds riding Dixson while his 2008 Olympic silver medal teammate Mac Cone of King City, ON was fourth in 36.26 seconds riding Gasper van den Doorn for Mark Samuel’s Chadburn Holdings, Inc. 2008 U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut rounded out the top five by posting the fastest four-fault effort in the jump-off with a time of 33.82 seconds riding Confu for St. Bride’s Farm.
Of the final test set by course designer Cabral, Farrington said, “I thought it was a creative course using three doubles instead of a triple, which we see all the time in indoor jumping.
“This is a really classy horse, and he’s learning at each show,” continued Farrington who is aiming Creedance at the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final to be held from March 29 to April 2 in Omaha, Nebraska. “He’s a little bit special and very, very sensitive, so loud noises and things like that really set him off. I thought maybe these indoor shows would be a little bit of an adventure, but he’s really settled down now and he’s handling it nicely.”
Following five days of top-caliber international competition, three-time U.S. Olympic medalist McLain Ward was presented as the Leading International Rider. Ward’s trip to Toronto was highlighted by a dominating win in the $130,270 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday night riding HH Azur for owners Double H Farm and Francois Mathy.
Leading Canadian Rider honours went to 12-time Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Champion Ian Millar, 69, of Perth, ON, who was presented with the Lt. Col. Stuart C. Bate Memorial Trophy in recognition of his consistent performances throughout the Royal Horse Show.
The All-Canadian Cup, generously sponsored by Susan Grange and Lothlorien Farm of Cheltenham, ON, was awarded to Millar’s mount, Dixson, as the Leading Canadian-owned horse. Grange both presented and accepted the award for the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding she owns with her daughter, Ariel Grange.
The Tiffany & Co. Leading Lady Rider Award, introduced at the 2016 Royal Horse Show, was presented to Leslie Howard of the United States. A 1996 Olympic team silver medalist, Howard was presented with a Tiffany horseshoe pendant of round brilliant diamonds in platinum on a 16-inch chain.
International competitors shared the spotlight with up-and-coming riders on Saturday afternoon as the future stars of show jumping were showcased in the final phase of the Alfred Rogers Uplands Under 25 National Championship. Twenty-one-year-old Daniel Coyle of Ireland secured the win riding Fortis Fortuna for owners Susan and Ariel Grange of Lothlorien Farm based in Cheltenham, ON. Coyle also clinched the overall Championship title, having also won phase one earlier in the week. Quincy Hayes, 25, of Aurora, ON, was named reserve champion with Calgary 56, owned by Darcy Hayes, after placing second in phase one and fifth in phase two.
To the delight of horse and dog lovers alike, the $20,000 Canine-Equine Challenge, presented by the Toronto Star, saw top international riders each paired with a ‘Superdog’. After riders navigated a show jumping track, their canine partner took off around a dog agility course. The crowd cheered for its favourites as dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes raced up, over, and through the obstacles. In the end, it was Dutch Olympian Harrie Smolders who stopped the clock with the fastest time riding Apollonia 23, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, for owner Copernicus Stables, LLC.
For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, visit royalfair.org/horse-show. The Royal will be back for its 95th edition, running November 3-11, 2017.
Kent Farrington aboard Voyeur. (FEI/Anthony Trollope)
Lexington, Kentucky, (USA) 6 November 2016 – Kent Farrington (USA) and his 2016 Rio Olympics mount Voyeur ran away with the victory in the fourth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 North American League (Eastern Sub-League). The current World No. 4 rider – and recent Olympic team silver medalist – flawlessly executed a jump-off track with the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding to defeat a jump-off field of 14, claiming the win in the $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington.
Inside the Alltech Arena at the CP National Horse Show, a starting list of 40 horse-and-rider pairs competed over the course designed by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN). A fair and flowing track – featuring a triple combination, a double combination, and two liverpools – set competitors up for success. Fourteen answered all the questions correctly to go clear; a majority of the class’s rounds recorded, at most, 4 faults.
Success came early in the evening, with the first to ride in the order, Danielle Torano (USA), completing a fault-free round to set the tone. And heading into the jump off, a talented pool of riders emerged as top contenders, including three Olympians: Farrington, McLain Ward (USA), and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA).
“I had my plan for that horse for what I think his weaknesses are and for where I needed to help him,” said Farrington about his approach to the course in the first round. “Voyeur’s very strong so I just have to watch that he isn’t too aggressive.”
The track in the final round enticed riders to take sharp turns, but as the rails began to drop, the risk of the sharp angles to the fences became clear with only three going clear. Callan Solem (USA) delivered the evening’s first double clear aboard VDL Wizard, recording an efficient time of 40.69 seconds.
But a couple riders later, Farrington shaved almost four seconds off Solem’s time, clocking in at 36.93 seconds. Solem went on to finish in second while Molly Ashe (USA) and Carissimo landed at third with a time of 45.86 seconds and the final double clear.
“I was really hungry to win something, and I wanted to slam the door closed and make everyone chase me,” Farrington said about his deciding round. “It was a big field with a lot of good riders behind me – especially with McLain and his horse from the Olympics [HH Azur]. When you have those kinds of competitors, you have to take a shot or you’re not going to win.”
Kent Farrington currently holds the top position in the Eastern Sub-League standings heading into the next event at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario on November 9.