Tag Archives: Kent Farrington

Kent Farrington Conquers ‘Big Ben’ Challenge at 2016 Royal Horse Show

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.”

Nick Skelton and Big Star
Nick Skelton and Big Star

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.

Contact: Jennifer Ward
Cell: 613 292-5439

Kent Farrington and Voyeur Clinch Another Victory in Lexington

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.

Full results: http://www.longinestiming.com/#!/equestrian/2016/1255/html/en/longinestiming/resultlist_255.html

Full Standings for Eastern Sub-League: http://results.hippodata.de/2016/1255/docs/longines_fei_world_cup_nal_esl_standings_after_lexington_2016.pdf

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By Esther Hahn

Kent Farrington, Nayel Nassar Emerge as Champions on Day 2 of Longines Masters of LA

Top three, from right, Kevin Staut, Nayel Nassar and Samuel Parot.

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 1, 2016) – Day two of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles was nothing short of action-packed as Nayel Nassar and Lordan finished on top after besting the field of competitors in the Longines Speed Challenge. The duo raced against the clock and finished with an impressive time of 63.47 seconds. Kevin Staut and Samuel Parot rounded out the winner’s podium at second and third place with times of 63.90 and 65.18, respectively. Notable attendees who witnessed one of the fastest competitions in equestrian sports included Kaley Cuoco and Karl Kook, Nick Bateman, Rocky Barnes, Johnny and Laeticia Hallyday, Guillaume Canet and James Caan.

Unique to the Longines Masters Series, the Longines Speed Challenge emphasizes the swiftness of the horses as each fault is only penalized by 2 seconds as opposed to the standard 4. With a fallen rail meaning a lesser consequence, riders and their horses focus on getting through the course as fast as possible.

Longines, the Title Partner and Official Timekeeper of the event, facilitated a conversation between elite equestrian and daughter of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Georgina Bloomberg, and reigning Olympic slalom gold medal winner Mikaela Shiffrin. The two athletes discussed the importance of timekeeping and precision in show jumping and alpine skiing. Later, Shiffrin joined Bloomberg for a traditional walking of the course to learn how the equestrian athlete assesses and prepares for the exact spacing between and height of the jumps ahead of a class.

Riders and horses of all levels found success throughout the day at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles. Kent Farrington and Creedance took home the Champagne Barons de Rothschild Trophy in the afternoon’s CSI 5* Masters class. In the Prestige CSI 2* playing field, Jamie Barge and Luebbo claimed the Hermès Sellier Trophy, while Estelle Navet and Revann de Lojou claimed the Jonathan Adler Trophy. The National class finished with Sarah Ryan and Costa de Baugy Z winning the Grand Prix Relay Trophy, and Alyce Bittar besting her sister, Amelie Bittar, to take home the Just One Eye Trophy.

In addition to a weekend of world-class equestrian competition, guests of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles were also treated to the thrill of high-speed indoor polo when the La Martina Polo Exhibition took the ring. Hosted by La Martina, a leader in developing new high-tech equipment for the sport of Polo, with support from the Santa Barbara Polo Club, the fast pace and physical contact of the game, the strength and maneuverability of the horses, and the skill and accuracy of the players, provided an enthralling spectacle for all Longines Masters fans.

Also on Friday at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles, Santi Serra returned for an encore performance with his Sercam Show, demonstrating the beauty and grace of the horses as well as the bond and trust that they’ve cultivated. Throughout the day, guests were treated to live musical performances by the Pendleton Sisters, DJ Jeremie, and Reverend Tall Tree.

To purchase tickets for the remaining events of the 2016 Longines Masters of Los Angeles, visit www.longinesmasters.com/en/tcketing. Catch the American Leg of the Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping when the Longines Grand Prix and Longines Speed Challenge air on the CBS Sports Network on Monday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Prepare to be enthralled by world-class show jumping with the best horses in the world and champion riders.

Sunshine Sachs – LLAMpress@sunshinesachs.com
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Kent Farrington Pilots Gazelle to the Top in $216k Longines FEI World Cup Jumping New York

Kent Farrington and Gazelle. (FEI/Anthony Trollop)

North Salem, New York, (USA), 18 September 2016 – The only pair to answer all the questions over two challenging tracks, Olympic medallist Kent Farrington (USA) and Gazelle delivered the day’s only double-clear performance to claim victory in the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York at the American Gold Cup CSI4*-W, hosted by Old Salem Farm.

“I thought Alan Wade built a difficult course today, which I think is well suited for a class of this prestige and amount of prize money,” said Farrington. “As a World Cup Qualifier, it brings the best riders and their top horses.

“It worked out for me today, but regardless, I thought it was a great competition. I’m thrilled to finally win the American Gold Cup – I’ve never done that before and it was on my list of things to do.”

Only two riders advanced to the final round with Charlie Jacobs (USA) preceding Farrington in the jump off at the second leg of the East Coast sub-league. In an attempt to save time and to add pressure on Farrington, Jacobs unsuccessfully angled a wide oxer in the final round. The resulting rail left the door open for Farrington to take the win.

“That’s actually what I hate to do – go at a normal speed,” said Farrington about his jump-off strategy. “But if I had one down, I could still catch [Jacobs’ time] at the end.”

Slow and steady was the winning approach as Farrington demonstrated constraint in his ride – a difficult approach for the normally speed-driven jump off competitor. But Farrington still managed to end with a flourish when his mount, the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro), came to an abrupt halt after crossing the timers, forcing Farrington out of the tack and onto his feet. Not one to waste the opportunity, Farrington stood holding Gazelle and took a bow to the crowd’s applause.

Sizing the field

The course design challenged the riders and horses with solid jumps and a tight time allowed, but in the eyes of Farrington, team silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, a third, major variable in the grand prix was the natural terrain.

“The field isn’t totally level, and I think that automatically makes any course more difficult to ride,” he said. “Oxers going uphill are going to be wider and ride much bigger than they’re set, and a vertical coming downhill is going to naturally draw a horse closer and throw them off balance so that’s already a difficult factor we don’t see every day.”

It’s this type of insight that makes Farrington as much a sought-after trainer as he is a rider. And he applies the same, careful approach to assessing a course as he does to competition selection for his horses.

“This year, especially with it being in the United States, I would like to go [to the FEI World Cup™ Final] if I feel like I have a horse that’s on form at that time. I’ve been to the [FEI World Cup™ Final] a few times, and I really only want to go if I’m going to be a contender. I’d like to plan on going right now.

“The Longines FEI World Cup™ Final is a particular type of competition, in a small, indoor arena, so you need an indoor specialist and [the horse has] to hold up over five rounds, which is also a lot of jumping so I wouldn’t necessarily take [Olympic mount] Voyeur there. He’s a little bit of an older horse and he’s jumped multiple championships already for me. I think that would be a big ask of him at this point in his career. But if one of my younger ones is ready in my eyes to go, then I’ll take a swing at it.”

Playing to strength

“I tend not to watch too many,” Farrington said about his approach to competition. “I watch a couple riders and a few lines for reference. But watching a million horses doesn’t help for me. I’m better when I ride my own plan and do my own thing with my horses and I think that’s why in Nations Cup settings, I’m better to go in first. That plays more to my strengths.”

And as much as he’s aware of his own strengths, he also structures courses to play to his horses’ strengths. For his winning horse, he knew he could call on her carefulness to ride a clear round.

“I think in any class, I try to play to my hose’s strengths, regardless of what everyone else is doing, and I try to work within parameters for my own horse and do what is going to work best for my own horse,” he added. “If that means adding a stride, then I’ll do that and make up the time someplace else.”

Farrington found Gazelle three years ago, from Stephan Conter (BEL) and his Stephex Stables.

“The horse is typical of what I try to buy: a very careful horse,” Farrington said. “I would rather buy an extremely careful horse and have to manage confidence. I think that’s really the modern sport today. That’s what you need in a young horse. They can tend to be a bit spooky and a bit suspicious and it takes a little time to gain confidence in the rider, but in the end, that’s how you get a top horse.”

Climbing rank

The first horse-and-rider pair to go clear in the first round, Jacobs and Cassinja S, proved the possibilities for a fault-free performance.

“You have to get moving out there, for sure, because the time allowed is tight,” he said, following his successful, first round. “I was fortunate to draw eighth in the order so I got to watch riders and still have fresh turf – it tends to get deep here [with the footing].”

But his favorable positioning for the first round quickly turned to a drawback in the jump off when only he and current World No. 2 Farrington were the only riders left competing.

“In the jump off, I was first to go, which was at a disadvantage,” Jacobs said. “When you have the World No. 2 behind you, you have to go fast. I made a rider’s error when I turned her in the air [over the oxer] before she cleared the back and forced her to have the rail behind. It’s something I hope to fix in the future.”

Jacobs has qualified for, and competed in, two FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals, in 2014 and in 2016, and hopes to ride again at the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Neb. in March. And with a solid, second-place finish in the class, in addition to an eighth-place finish at Bromont CSI3*-W, Jacobs currently leads the East Coast sub-league standings.

“There’s no question that Cassinja is my top horse right now,” he said. “She’s a 10-year-old, Zweibrücker mare that I’ve had for three years. I took her to Gothenburg as my second horse and jumped her in the Easter Sunday consolation class. She was quite good, but it seems like this spring, she’s come out with guns a-blazing. She’s very talented and very powerful. She’s a big mare with a lot of heart.”

First round faults

Ireland’s Alan Wade designed the courses to test scope and accuracy, which ultimately forced faults from 38 riders in a starting list of 40 entries. While rails fell throughout the 13-obstacle, first round track, a majority came through an early triple combination of an oxer to a vertical to an oxer in two strides to a one stride.

“The triple combination is slightly uphill but it’s on the best ground,” said Wade during the course walk. “It’s early in the course but I wanted it to be on the best grass on the field.”

Riders also struggled with the liverpool, set with yellow poles, that rode downhill to the double combination. Additionally, a rollback turn to a wide oxer at fence 10 that led into a tight, four strides to a careful vertical at fence 11 could claim responsibility for multiple faults.

Current World No. 4 and fellow Olympic medallist, McLain Ward (USA), nearly recorded a first round clear aboard HH Carlos Z, jumping through the difficult obstacles until the penultimate, skinny vertical. With the slightest rub from the horse’s belly, the rail fell.

“Actually, I think this was the best grand prix that Carlos has ever jumped,” Ward said, after his round. “It was difficult, but it should be. Everything came off the way I wanted. He had a very light touch and sometimes fortune doesn’t go your way.

“Most successful riders have the worker bees in their strings, and Carlos is head of that category for me. He can do any class at a show, and right now, he has to carry a lot of weight with Azur having a rest [following the 2016 Rio Olympics].

“I realized the course was quite careful today. The jumps came up just the way I wanted. It was just a bit of bad luck. The skinny [jump] is always a bit of a bogey fence. But, absolutely, Omaha is on our radar. When we have a horse like Azur, [the Longines FEI World Cup™ Final] is definitely on our radar.”

Ward finished with the fastest, four-fault score to place fifth, while Lauren Tisbo (USA) and Laura Kraut (USA) finished in third and fourth, respectively, with a single time fault each.

“It’s a young horse I have,” said Tisbo. “I just got him in the middle of February so this was a big step up for him so I’m very happy with his round today.”

The third stop of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League East Coast sub-league will head indoors at Washington, D.C. CSI4*-W in October.

Full results: http://www.longinestiming.com/#!/equestrian/2016/1225/html/en/longinestiming/resultlist_104.html

About the American Gold Cup

Held over five days at Old Salem Farm, the American Gold Cup brings together a diverse crowd of elite equestrian athletes, discerning horse owners, excited fans and young hopefuls, eager to watch their idols. In addition to the competition ring, the international show jumping event features high-end shopping located along boutique row. From top-notch equestrian tack and equipment to fashion, jewelry, antiques, art and much more, the scenic outdoor boutiques offer the perfect opportunity to shop during breaks from the competition action.

Old Salem Farm, located an hour north of New York City, boasts a state-of-the-art stabling facility, a historic and pristine grass grand prix field and outstanding competition and schooling arenas, all of which are surrounded by one of the world’s most charming and picturesque venue settings. For the past four years, the North American Riders Group (NARG) has recognized the Old Salem Farm competitions on their NARG Top 25 List. For more information on Old Salem Farm, including its yearlong competition schedule, prize lists, clinics, boarding, lessons and training, visit www.oldsalemfarm.net.

Live FEI TV Action

For those unable to attend the NAL events, tune in to live action of all fourteen of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League qualifiers on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video platform: www.feitv.org. The additional FEI classes at these competitions will be available to view via livestream on the FEI’s YouTube channel. Visit www.youtube.com/user/feichannel to view the full details on the livestream.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League

A total of 14 athletes from the new North American League will qualify for the prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.

The top seven athletes from the East Coast US, top three from West Coast US and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico will qualify for the Final, alongside winners of the 13 other leagues from around the world.

The North American League boasts a minimum of US $2.4 million prize money across the series, and offers the best Jumping athletes from North America and around the world the chance to qualify for the jackpot of more than US $1.4 million (€1.3 million) on offer annually at the Final.

The new league was launched by Beezie Madden, the most decorated US female equestrian athlete of all time, American Gold Cup winner and FEI Solidarity Ambassador Jessica Springsteen, and Hannah Selleck, team and individual gold medalist at young rider level and one of the sport’s up-and-coming stars. Full launch release here: https://goo.gl/kCIsyW

Share images, video, experiences using hashtag #FEIWorldCupNAL

By Esther Hahn

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Kent Farrington and McLain Ward to Compete in Central Park Horse Show Grand Prix

A new addition to the program this year is the $50,000 Puissance high-jump competition on Thursday night. Photo by Sportfot.

Inaugural Puissance competition slated for Thursday evening highlights show jumpers and a bid for Irishwoman Susan Oakes to break world side-saddle record

New York, NY – August 31, 2016 – The third Annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show announces an exciting line-up for show jumping fans at its event in New York City on September 21-25, 2016. U.S. Show Jumping Team Silver medalists from the Rio Olympic Games, McLain Ward and Kent Farrington, come to New York to battle for the prestigious title of U.S. Open Champion on Thursday, September 22, and Friday, September 23, 2016. They will be joined by some of the top riders in the world, including hometown hero and former Central Park Grand Prix winner Georgina Bloomberg (USA), and veteran superstar Todd Minikus (USA).

A new addition to the program this year is the $50,000 Puissance on Thursday night, where leading Belgian rider and winner of the Washington International Horse Show Puissance, Jos Verlooy, will try to break the outdoor record height of 7 feet 3 inches over the big wall. He will be joined by some of the best high jumpers in the country all pushing to clear that great height.

To add extra excitement to Thursday night, Irish Rider Susan Oakes and her Dublin Puissance winner Cicero will attempt the world record for side-saddle high-jump.

Since its inception in 2014, the Rolex Central Park Horse Show has grown significantly to embrace a global reach and attract some of the best competitors in equestrian sport. The event, highlighted by the impressive backdrop of the New York City skyline, showcases numerous equestrian disciplines with exciting competition for the enjoyment of spectators and participants alike.

For international show jumping fans, Thursday, September 22, highlights the U.S. Open $40,000 FEI Speed Class at 8:00 p.m., followed by the thrilling $50,000 Puissance high-jump competition at 9:00 p.m. Friday, September 23, features the U.S. Open $216,000 Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex.

Tickets are selling fast! To get yours, go to http://bit.ly/29LwkkD.

The official hotel is the JW Marriot Essex House and special rates are available for a limited time at http://bit.ly/1qV3FBt. In the “Please Select Guest Type” box, select “Attendee” when making a reservation.

About Rolex Central Park Horse Show
Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the second annual U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers; Dressage; Hunters; U25 Jumpers; and Arabians. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.

Farrington Leads US in Show Jumping Individual Final at Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The Rio 2016 Olympic Games show jumping competition came to a climatic close at Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center on Friday, ending in a jump-off to determine the Individual medals. With two clear rounds, Kent Farrington and Voyeur earned a spot in the jump-off for the U.S. along with five other combinations. Farrington and Voyeur ultimately placed fifth overall following two rails down. Teammates McLain Ward and Azur finished tied for ninth and Lucy Davis and Barron completed their Olympic debut with 12 faults in Round A.

The Individual Final consisted of two rounds; the first round included the top 35 competitors from the week’s three qualifying rounds. The top 20, including those tied for 20th, advanced to the second round. Overall, 27 combinations representing 15 countries returned for the second round to compete for the Individual medals. Show jumping enthusiasts witnessed a historic moment when Great Britain’s 58-year-old veteran Nick Skelton won the Gold medal aboard Big Star. This marked Skelton’s first Individual medal in his seventh Games appearance. Peder Fredricson of Sweden won Silver with All In and Canada’s Eric Lamaze, the 2008 Olympic Individual Gold medalist, took home the Bronze with Fine Lady 5.

Wrapping up his Olympic debut in style, Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) aboard Amalaya Investments’ 14-year-old KWPN gelding, Voyeur, was composed in his quest for an Individual medal. Farrington skillfully piloted Voyeur around Guilherme Jorge’s large courses, leaving all the jumps up and adding two more foot perfect performances to their week in which the pair’s only fault came as a time fault in round two of team competition. They finished the individual rounds as one of six combinations with zero faults. Voyeur and Farrington dropped their first rails of the Games in the jump-off, ending their medal hopes.

Finishing fifth overall individually, Farrington will return home with a Team Silver. “Any time you go to a championship and leave with a medal it has to be considered a good championship. Because so many things can go wrong, it’s very easy to come all this way and jump a lot of jumps and leave with nothing. To leave with a Silver is great. I thought he [Voyeur] jumped great all week and to be in contention to win it in the end was obviously awesome. It didn’t go our way, but we’ll be back at it next time.”

McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Ward (Brewster, N.Y.), riding Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, also started the day with determination. In the first round, Azur’s long stride carried them a bit deep to the third fence of the triple combination, resulting in the top rail falling for four faults, which still left them among those qualified for the second round.

Ward and Azur returned to produce a clear second round with Ward showing the same professionalism and clutch riding that helped clinch the Team Silver on Wednesday. With six double-clears and two others on only time faults ahead of them, the pair finished tied for ninth place overall.

“I thought she [Azur] jumped brilliantly,” said Ward. “I personally think the first course was really suited to the small horses, the horses that like to add strides, but that’s the test and we have to answer that test. I’m thrilled with the horse, although disappointed with the day.”

Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.), at age 23, was the youngest rider in the competition. She completed her first Olympics with Old Oaks Farm’s Barron, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, with twelve faults in the first round. They did not move forward to the second round.

“It was the fourth round under pressure and the big jumps and overall fatigue all played a part,” said Davis. “My horse is very sensitive, and I think he feels not only the physical fatigue but also all the stress gets to him as well, and he needed my help today a bit more than I gave him. So I definitely take responsibility for those rails.”

The U.S. finished the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as one of only two countries (together with Germany) to win medals in all three disciplines, finishing with Team Silver in show jumping, Team Bronze in dressage, and Phillip Dutton’s Individual Bronze in eventing.

Visit USEFNetwork.com for complete coverage of the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Teams at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

US Wins Team Silver in Show Jumping at Rio Olympic Games

Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team won the Silver medal in a down-to-the-wire competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Wednesday. The team of Lucy Davis and Barron, Kent Farrington and Voyeur, Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’, and McLain Ward and Azur finished the two-round competition with five faults. France won the Gold with three faults, while Germany and Canada tied for third on eight. Ultimately, Germany captured Bronze following a jump-off with Canada for the medal.

A total of 44 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 19 countries, eight of which remained in the hunt for team medals, competed at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in the final round of the team competition, which also served as the third and final qualifier for Friday’s individual final.

The U.S. started the day with only three riders, as Madden and Cortes ‘C’, a 14-year-old Belgium Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner, withdrew from Wednesday’s competition after sustaining a tendon injury on Tuesday. That added pressure for each of the U.S.’s three remaining riders, as the team would not have the luxury of a drop score as each team’s three best scores counted.

Guilherme Jorge designed a course worthy of an Olympic final; it demanded expert riding, power, and speed. Riders faced a 1.60m wall as an introduction to the 13-jump course that had a time-allowed of 82 seconds. Jorge’s impressive course quickly separated the teams with only 15 riders able to finish within the time and only five going clear.

“The course was tremendous, a real Olympic championship course,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “We knew that when we walked it; all the riders did. We were pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be won on zero [faults]. All our scores had to count today; we knew that. It didn’t affect any of them. They were all unbelievable. Unbelievably focused, they knew what their job was and they got it done. It was tremendous.”

Setting the tone for the U.S. once again was Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and Amalaya Investments’ 14-year-old KWPN gelding, Voyeur. For the third straight round this week, they dominated the course, clearing each jump with ease. Although the duo succeeded in leaving all the rails in the cups, they exceeded the time allowed, adding one fault to their overall score, their only fault to date in their Olympic debut.

“My horse jumped fantastic today,” said Farrington after his round. “I saw a lot of horses struggling to jump the triple combination clear so I really set him up for that. Every rail was going to matter today, so I wanted to secure that before I took a bigger risk on the time. The course was a lot bigger than the other day and a lot more difficult. We’re going in one round at a time and trying our best to jump clear.”

Lucy Davis and Barron (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Lucy Davis and Barron (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

The second U.S. rider to enter the ring was Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) with Old Oaks Farm’s Barron, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding. Davis and Barron showed brilliance in the first half of the course, clearing each jump and making good time around the large arena. The triple combination came late on course at fence 11, where Davis and Barron tapped the top rail out of the cups at 11b, resulting in four faults.

“I was pleased with the round, although not thrilled because I would have liked to have gone clear, but he jumped amazing all three days,” said Davis. “I wasn’t really expecting that rail because he was jumping so confident and smooth. I came around the turn and saw my distance, and I don’t know if he saw something or what. I am just happy that we could get through it and stay within the time. That was really key because I thought it was going to be really close, so hopefully I helped the team in that way.”

Just before Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) entered the ring with Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, Roger Yves Bost clinched the Gold for France. With Germany and Brazil both in a position to keep the U.S. off the podium, Ward knew that he needed a fault-free round to keep the team’s medal hopes alive. The two-time Olympic Team Gold medalist attacked the course in true Olympic fashion – calm, confident, and with speed. Azur was sure not to touch a single rail and the duo came home clean and within the time, putting the U.S. in position for the Silver medal, the third team medal for the U.S. in the past four Olympic Games.

“It takes the wind out of your sail a little bit when you are focused on winning,” said Ward of France securing the Gold prior to his ride. “But you have to gather yourself. We’ve had a rough 24 hours losing Cortes. Beezie has been our anchor for the better part of a decade. Her record of coming through in the clutch is second-to-none. It’s a little unsettling when you lose her, but it was great team performance. I thought Kent was brilliant and Lucy, just like at the World Equestrian Games, was the utmost professional and she really delivered a great round. They allowed me to be in a position where I could do the job I was supposed to do.”

“The horse felt like she was jumping incredibly. I think I am sitting on a bit of a better horse than everybody else, so that makes my life a little easier. I really thought she jumped as good as ever, if not better than the rest of the week. It was a round I’m proud of and I’m proud of this team.”

Summing things up for the U.S. team, Farrington said, “Just to be on this team, to be in my first Olympics and win a medal is a fantastic feeling. There’s no greater honor than representing your country, and to walk away with a Silver medal is a great finish.”

Action concludes Friday with the two-round individual final where the top 45 riders from the three qualifying rounds will start fresh on zero faults. The U.S. will be represented by Farrington, Davis, and Ward.

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US Show Jumping Team Begins Competition at Rio Olympic Games

Kent Farrington and Voyeur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The show jumping competition, the third and final equestrian discipline at the 2016 Olympic Games, got underway at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center, on Sunday, showcasing 75 athlete-and-horse combinations from 27 nations. In addition to serving as the first individual qualifier, Sunday’s results determined the starting order for the Team Competition. Kent Farrington produced a clear round for the U.S., while teammates Lucy Davis, McLain Ward, and Beezie Madden each had four-fault rounds. All four athletes sit in the top 30 and are qualified to continue in the individual competition. As a team, the U.S. finished in a four-way tie for eighth and will go sixth in the order of 15 nations in round one of team competition on Tuesday. All nations will begin round one of team competition on a clean slate of zero faults.

Guilherme Jorge’s show jumping course was technical and challenging. Riders faced a forward-riding course with a time allowed of 82 seconds. Many competitors had trouble at fence 7, the liverpool, and at fence 11a-b, a wide square oxer to an airy musically-designed vertical plank. Out of the 75 starters, only 24 combinations went clear. First to enter the ring for the U.S. was Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), and Amalaya Investments’ 2002 KWPN gelding, Voyeur. Providing the second clear round of the day, Farrington and Voyeur made light work of the course setting the stage for the U.S. team.

“We are off on the right foot so that always feels good in terms of confidence and is a boost for the team,” said Farrington. “It’s a great technical course for the first day. The last line is very technical and bending. Being the lead-off rider, I know my horse very well, and one of my strengths is that I know what I want to do with him.”

Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding, entered the ring calm and composed. Looking to repeat Farrington’s clear round, they jumped beautifully. However, Barron’s back feet tapped the top rail on the last jump, fence 12, resulting in an unlucky rail for four penalties.

“My horse is jumping incredibly, and we had an unfortunate rail at the last jump,” said Davis. “My trainer told me before I went in to enjoy the moment and that was the perfect thing to say. We all worked hard to get here, and it’s a pretty special moment. I just went in really calm, and my horse was jumping out of his skin.”

McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Putting in a professional ride, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, also had a nearly faultless first round. Confident and careful throughout the first triple combination, and clear over the liverpool, Ward and Azur dropped the back rail when landing at the wide oxer at fence 11a collecting four faults.

“I was very happy with Azur. She jumped amazing as always. I purposely left her a little fresh today; it’s a long week and temperatures are going up,” said Ward. Looking forward to the rest of the competition and the position the U.S. currently holds, Ward stated, “It’s a great group; I think we look strong. It’s quite a good position we’re in, and things start to get a little more serious on Tuesday.”

The anchor for the U.S. team was Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and her famed partner, Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgium Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner. Beezie and Cortes ‘C’ were on point in delivering a solid round. Sailing through the combinations that had been problematic throughout the day, Cortes ‘C’s back leg had an unlucky light tap on a block on the wall (fence 8) for four faults.

“The ride felt very good, always a good feeling to get the first round out of the way. I think on the whole it was a very good round,” said Madden. “He jumped very well, and I’m happy where he is right now. I had to ride the water a little strong. I think I took for granted that he’d back off on the wall; he clipped it coming down and stalled a little when I turned him in the air.”

Madden looks forward to Tuesday’s competition, saying, “Today, it’s important; we want good scores, but we are setting up a little for Tuesday and Wednesday. All of us are really happy with how everybody’s horses look and the rounds we had.”

Action continues on Tuesday with the first of two rounds of the team competition, which will conclude on Wednesday.

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Show Jumping Ready to Take Center Stage at Rio Olympic Games

McLain Ward and Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Show jumping enthusiasts from around the world have been eagerly anticipating the start of the third and final discipline at the 2016 Olympic Games. The show jumping competition got underway at Rio’s Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center Friday with the horse inspection. Representing the United States are Lucy Davis, Kent Farrington, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward. The U.S. team is led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.

“The horses traveled well and arrived in great shape,” said Ridland. “We have been in Rio for a few days now and are a little anxious to get going. The horses all looked great in the training session Saturday, and we are looking forward to a great competition.”

Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) is riding in his fourth consecutive Olympic Games, having earned Team Gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games. He will ride Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s Azur, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare who has proven to be a force in Ward’s barn with impressive wins over the last two years. In 2015, they won the $132,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ class and $75,000 Big Ben Challenge at the Royal Horse Show® in Toronto. This year, they won the $400,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows, the $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and the Loro Piana Grand Prix at CSIO5* Rome. The pair was also a part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Teams at CSIO5* Rome and Aachen where the U.S. tied at both events for the Silver medal.

Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.), a first-time Olympian, will ride Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding. Aboard the chestnut gelding, Davis was a member of the Bronze-medal winning Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2015, Davis and Barron contributed to the U.S. win at the 100th running of the Nations Cup of Germany, and were part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team that finished fourth at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final. The pair also placed ninth at the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas. The pair has contributed to multiple successes for the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team this summer. They were a part of the U.S. teams that tied for the Silver medals at CSIO5* St. Gallen and Aachen, and earned the Silver medal at CSIO5* La Baule.

Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), also a first-time Olympian, will ride Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur, a 2002 KWPN gelding. In 2015, the pair amassed an impressive record of wins in world-class competition, including winning the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, the $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ class at Lexington, the $400,000 Pan American Cup and $400,000 RBC Grand Prix at CSI5* tournaments at Spruce Meadows, and the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix at CSI5* Hamburg. Farrington and Voyeur were part of the U.S. Bronze medal team at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The pair also contributed to the Silver medal-tie for the U.S. at this summer’s CSIO5* Rome.

Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) is riding in her fourth consecutive Olympic Games, having been teammates of Ward’s for the U.S. Team Gold medal wins in 2004 and 2008, in addition to earning an Individual Bronze medal in 2008. She will ride her famed partner, Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgium Warmblood gelding owned by Abigail Wexner. Madden and Cortes ‘C’ won Team and Individual Bronze medals at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2015, the pair aided in the Gold-medal win by the U.S. team at the 100th Nations Cup of Germany at CSIO5* Mannheim, the Bronze-medal finish at CSIO5* Hickstead, and the fourth-place finish at the Furusiyya FEI™ Nations Cup Jumping Final. Following the team competition at Hickstead, the pair won the Longines King George V Gold Cup for the second consecutive year. The pair was also a part of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team at CSIO5* Aachen where the U.S. tied for the Silver medal.

The show jumping competition will begin on Sunday with a total of 75 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 27 countries. Sunday’s first qualifying round will determine the starting order for the team competition, which commences with round one on Tuesday, August 16. Round two of team competition will be on Wednesday. The competition will come to a close with the Individual Final on August 19.

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Kent Farrington and Gazelle Capture $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows

Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Foster and Brighton Top Imperial Winning Round 1.50m on Saturday of ‘North American’ Tournament

Calgary, AB, Canada – The coveted $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup was featured on Saturday afternoon during the ‘North American’ Tournament CSI5*, presented by Rolex, at Spruce Meadows. Jumping clear through three rounds of competition, USA’s Kent Farrington and Gazelle emerged victorious over Elizabeth Gingras (CAN) and Zilversprings in second, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) aboard Check Picobello Z in third.

Earlier in the day, Canada’s Tiffany Foster took her second international win of the week with Brighton in the Imperial Winning Round 1.50m.

Course designer Santiago Varela (ESP) set a challenging first round track for the competitors in Saturday’s $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup. The competition took place over two rounds with a jump-off if necessary. The first round was a speed track against the clock, which saw 39 entries in total. The top twelve competitors from the first round then returned for round two in reverse order of penalties. Seven entries jumped clear over the first round course, and six of those also cleared the second round track to necessitate a jump-off.

Heading into the third and final tiebreaking round over a shortened course, Jonathan McCrea (USA) was first to go aboard Candy Tribble’s Aristoteles V. The pair completed another clear round in the jump-off to eventually finish fourth with a time of 45.52 seconds. Hardin Towell (USA) and Jennifer Gates’ Lucifer V had one rail down in the jump-off in 45.33 seconds to place sixth. Next to go, Kent Farrington and Gazelle raced through the timers in an unbeatable time of 40.59 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and her own and Artisan Farms LLC’s Southwind VDL followed with the fifth place time of 46.04 seconds. Eric Lamaze then jumped the third place time of 43.98 seconds riding Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Check Picobello Z. Last to go, Elizabeth Gingras and Zilversprings galloped into second place in 42.63 seconds.

Farrington and Gazelle have had an impressive summer that includes also winning the $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, during last week’s competition at Spruce Meadows.

A ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Farrington and Robin Parksy, Gazelle never tired through three demanding rounds of competition for this week’s win.

Commenting on her stamina, Farrington stated, “That horse has really come on strong. One of her strengths is that she has a lot of blood and a lot of energy, so she kind of gets better as she goes.

“I don’t want to say I am totally surprised because I always thought she was a very good horse,” Farrington said of Gazelle’s recent success. “I got her when she was seven and I have been bringing her along now for the last few years. She has had her ups and downs like all of them. You never know what they are going to be in the end. She hit a little bit of a rough patch when I put her in some bigger classes and she got overly careful and was struggling a little bit, so I dropped her back down at the end of Florida, did some smaller classes and built her back up. I always had hopes that she would be where she is today, so I am very pleased.”

Course designer Santiago Varela had the difficult task of setting three different tracks for Saturday’s coveted competition, which has seen wins from some of the best in the sport. Farrington first won the event in 2014 aboard Voyeur, and spoke of this year’s courses.

“I thought he (Santiago) had a measured first round,” Farrington detailed. “It was difficult, with a short time allowed that put a lot of pressure on people, and probably caused some rails that they normally would not have. He only ended up with seven clear and a couple with time faults. That is usually the right number so that you still have a chance for a jump-off. I’m not sure, but I think that was his plan. The second round was a little more straightforward with a difficult line at the end. That was sort of the big test of the competition with the double liverpools. That is always difficult to jump, and still there were enough clear, and a great competition in the jump-off.”

Farrington went third over the short course with three fast riders still to come. Explaining his strategy, the rider stated, “I am not one that really plays it safe. I like to try to win and I do not think you win as much if you are playing by trying not to lose. I usually have my own plan of what I think is within the horse’s ability, and I try to work within those limits, and make the most of that track for what my horse can do.

“I never think that my time will hold up until the competition is finished,” Farrington added. “I am not that confident, because I think that is when you get caught, but I thought I put a lot of pressure on everybody else to really have to try.”

Elizabeth Gingras definitely had to try for her second place finish with Zilversprings, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Silverstone x Emilion) that she has had for three years.

“I have been watching Conor Swail, and Kent, and Eric all tour, and they are all so fast,” Gingras remarked. “I just went as fast as I am capable of at this point in my career, and hopefully I will just keep watching them and get as fast as them, or maybe even faster.

“Obviously I am really thrilled,” Gingras said of her result. “My horse was absolutely amazing. I am just so happy to have him back again. We had a little hiccup for a while, so I have been building him all tour, and to end on this note is really great. He is very special to me.”

Santiago Varela spoke about the result following Saturday’s competition, congratulating the riders and thanking Spruce Meadows.

“I think it was a very good competition,” Varela stated. “We tried to put the pressure more in the first round than the second one to keep the horses fresh to be in the jump-off, and at the end it was a very great jump-off, and I am really happy. I would like to thank the committee for giving me the opportunity to be here. It is very nice to have the possibility to build here at this special show.”

Varela’s next stop is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as a Technical Delegate. Farrington is also on his way to the Olympics, as he was recently named to the U.S. Show Jumping Team with Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur.

Until then, Farrington goes to the World Equestrian Festival at CHIO Aachen in Germany. Gazelle and Uceko both fly there to compete next week. They will then have a short break before heading to their next stop in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, at the beginning of August.

Foster Tops Imperial Winning Round 1.50m

Canada’s Tiffany Foster took her second international win of the week with Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stables’ Brighton on Saturday. Competing in the Imperial Winning Round 1.50m, Foster and Brighton proved consistent over two rounds of competition to take top honors in front of an electric Calgary crowd.

Tiffany Foster and Brighton
Tiffany Foster and Brighton

Thirty entries started over the Santiago Varela (ESP) designed course, and 12 competitors jumped clear in round one to qualify for the winning round, in which they started again with zero penalties. The combination that then had the fewest faults in the fastest time in round two was the winner. With eight clear competitors over the second round course, Foster and Brighton came out with the victory in the fastest time of 47.92 seconds.

Richard Spooner (USA) and Little Valley Farm’s Cornancer placed second in 48.27 seconds. Lucy Deslauriers (USA) and Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester finished third in 48.81 seconds, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Rosana du Park placed fourth in 49.03 seconds. Ireland’s Conor Swail and Cita, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, rounded out the top five with a time of 50.19.

Foster and Brighton, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Contender II x Quick Star), began the week with a win in Thursday’s Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m jump-off competition and continued that winning momentum into the weekend.

Foster was overjoyed to get another win. She stated, “I just think this horse is so cool and so great. He is awesome. I do not know how he can keep going so fast and stay so high over the jumps all the time. He is so good, and I am so happy and proud of him. It was such a fun competition.

“I am amazed at how fast he goes every single time,” Foster laughed. “He does things that I do not imagine any horse can do; he is not normal. It is really fun because you do not have to play by the rules with him. You can come as fast as you want to a plank, or a skinny, or a vertical. The rules do not apply, so it is just so fun.”

Teammate Eric Lamaze held the leading time before Foster entered the ring, but she had not seen his round and took advice from Yann Candele to “go full speed.”

“Normally Eric beats me,” Foster admitted. “I did not actually see anybody in the jump-off. My plan was to come up early enough to watch Eric, and I did not make it in time. The thing is, Rosie (Rosana du Park) is such a fast horse, so generally if all the poles stay up and he does all the strides, it is almost impossible to beat him.

“The only thing I think I had working in my favor today was that the lines were a little on the half-stride,” Foster detailed. “Eric had already done the leave-outs in the first round, and I had not done them just because my horse does not have quite the same stride length as his. So me doing the same numbers, I can go faster just because I have to be kicking the whole way to get there, and Eric can do it a little bit easier. There was one turn to the double-verticals today that I was not planning to do, and then I went in the ring and they said Eric did it, so I knew I had to. I just kind of closed my eyes and hoped for the best, and my horse is incredible and it worked out.”

There were still a few more rounds after her time was set, so Foster waited anxiously to see if it would hold, but stayed back in the warm-up ring.

“I did not watch at all,” she stated. “I find here at Spruce Meadows, it is better to just not watch and listen for either a groan or a cheer from the crowd, and then see how it goes. Honestly today, even if I had ended up in sixth place, I was so thrilled with him. I could not have been happier.”

The ‘North American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, concludes on Sunday with the final day of competition for the 2016 Spruce Meadows Summer Series. The Enbridge Classic Derby will be held first in the International Ring, followed by the Spruce Meadows 1.45m Classic, presented by Kubota.

For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Spruce Meadows Media Services

Lauren Fisher
Jump Media