Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named four athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team and one traveling reserve combination for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Show Jumping competition at the Games will take place August 12-19, 2016 at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The following athlete-and-horse combinations will compose the Team (in alphabetical order):
Lucy Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm’s Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding
Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur, a 2002 KWPN gelding
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding
McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) with Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare
The following athlete-and-horse combination has been named as the traveling reserve:
Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Old Willow Farms, LLC’s Zeremonie, a 2007 Holsteiner mare
Further information regarding the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team selection process can be found on USEF.org. All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The ‘Continental’ CSI 5* Tournament at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series had more exciting show jumping competition at the Meadows on the Green with Kent Farrington and Gazelle capturing the top prize in the Scotiabank Cup 1.55m as the only clear round. Second place went to Kara Chad (CAN) on Bellinda, and third place was awarded to Peter Lutz (USA) on Robin de Ponthual. Victory in the Altagas Cup 1.45m also went to Kent Farrington (USA) on Aron S. In the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup, Lucy Deslauriers (USA) beat a strong field for first place.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament runs June 15-19, featuring the Repsol Cup 1.50m on Saturday, June 18, and the highlight competition, the CP Grand Prix, on Sunday, June 19.
There were 35 entries that went to post in the Scotiabank Cup 1.55m. The challenging course was designed by Luc Musette of Belgium and tested the riders with a tight time allowed, large heights, and technical distances.
Farrington and Gazelle, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Shuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky, were the only ones able to stay clear with no jumping or time faults.
There were four with just one time fault: Kara Chad and Bellinda (74.45 seconds – second), Peter Lutz and Robin de Ponthual (74.50 seconds – third), Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Quite Cassini (76.32 seconds – fourth), and Jennifer Gates (USA) on Pumped Up Kicks (76.62 seconds – fifth).
Kara Chad is one of Canada’s rising young show jumping stars, and it looks like Bellinda, a ten-year-old KWPN mare by Namelus R x Hors la Loi II, will be one of her top horses. Their partnership began just over a year ago when she found Bellinda with previous trainers Dick Carvin and Susie Schroer as a nine-year-old.
“I think she’s a super special mare,” Chad said. “We’ve been able to grow as a partnership over the past year. Last year this week I was doing the 1.40m just trying to get to know her. It’s really encouraging to come back and do one of the biggest classes at Spruce Meadows and do well in it. I know that we’re going somewhere, and we’re learning. I’m really happy.”
Chad and Bellinda were second to last in the first round of the competition, and when Chad saw the difficulty of the course, she focused on riding a clear jumping round.
She explained, “My horse is naturally a little bit slow. She has a very lofty and scopey jump. I always have to think about the time and make up for that. After watching the course today and seeing how difficult it was, I really just focused on getting the jumps right and making sure that I was placing her properly and getting her prepared for the grand prix this weekend. I wouldn’t say time was on my mind as the most important factor, but for sure I should have thought about it a little more. I think it was good preparation. I think Bellinda is totally ready for the grand prix, and it’s just up to me.”
Farrington thought that today’s course could have been seen in a big grand prix. “You had a technical related distance to both combinations, which always poses a problem, and then you couple that with a short time allowed and some careful fences at the end, (and it) made it pretty difficult to jump clear under the time,” he said.
For Gazelle, Farrington was focused on the triple combination as a potential trouble spot. However, he was not very worried about the time allowed as he naturally rides fast and chooses places to make up time early so he can take his time at spots on course where he knows his horses may struggle.
“I thought the triple (combination) was a big ask,” he said. “A vertical, vertical, oxer always calls on their scope. I thought she handled that really well. That’s something earlier in the season that she struggled with in Florida, learning to jump the oxers in the combinations without jumping too high and then having the back rail. I’m very proud of her progress. She seems to be learning how to do that much better and more consistent. It’s really a good sign for me.”
Farrington did breathe a sigh of relief when he realized he did not have to jump off. “Yes, that’s always nice,” he said with a smile. “That hardly ever happens. You have to sit and watch the last half of the class, which is not always so fun, but it worked out for us today and we got to save her legs for the grand prix.”
Farrington brought Gazelle to the Spruce Meadows Summer Series for the past two years to gain valuable education for the talented mare, and he believes that Spruce Meadows is second to none in preparing horses for top competition.
He explained, “In general, the horses learn to really grow a bigger heart and big scope jumping on this field because they can carry a lot of gallop. The fences are so big and wide. You have some horses that just won’t accept it; they’re too careful. The ones that do accept those poles being extra wide, it makes them better (and) they learn from it. If they can jump this and can jump a big grand prix here, you can walk into almost any big grand prix in the world and feel comfortable and able to jump it.”
Farrington and Aron S Record a Win
Kent Farrington continued his winning ways at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series in the Altagas Cup 1.45m with Aron S, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Tadmus x Karandasj) owned by Alex Crown. They sped through the jump-off to finish in 36.39 seconds, more than two seconds faster than second place finishers, Conor Swail (IRL) and Dillinger.
Farrington said he saw Swail’s ride and “thought it was a very competitive round.”
He added, “My horse is naturally quicker. I thought I took a little more of a chance. I wanted to be sure that I was ahead of him.”
There were 13 in the jump-off out of 52 entries, and seven of those were double clear. Following Farrington and Swail in the results were Molly Ashe (USA) and Pjotter van de Zonnehoeve, who were clear in 40.44 seconds. Fourth place went to Taizo Sugitani (JPN) and Avenzio, who had a time of 41.14 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Chesney were fifth in 42.70 seconds.
This was the pair’s first FEI Ranking win since their partnership began in February. Aron S has been a consistent competitor, having placed in the top three in 1.50m competitions in Wellington, FL, and at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in England.
“He’s a very competitive horse,” Farrington acknowledged. “We did the 1.45m yesterday to get one round under his belt. I thought he really jumped great today; he was flying. If he’s going to be in that form, we’ll do a lot here.”
When Farrington first started riding Aron S, it took some time to adjust to his way of going, and Farrington quickly realized that it would take compromise.
He explained, “He likes to go his own way. If you try to have too much control, he gets upset. I started in the beginning of really trying to train him and make him more rideable. Once I felt like I got him to listen, to a certain extent, now I let him go a little more free, the way he likes to go.”
It was a good step up for Aron S into the winner’s circle, Farrington said. “It’s good for him. It’s nice because he’s been very close, and he got a good win here today. I look for more good things from him before I leave,” he concluded.
Deslauriers Gallops to U25 Victory
Sixteen-year-old Lucy Deslauriers started her Spruce Meadows Summer Series off well with a win in the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup. She missed the opening ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, while in school, but was happy to come out to Spruce Meadows and compete in the Meadows on the Green.
“This is my third year showing here, but I’ve been coming here since I was very young, just sitting and watching my parents,” she said of Mario and Lisa Deslauriers, both top show jumpers. “It’s a very special place for me, not only to compete in this ring and at this horse show, but to win makes it even more special.”
Deslauriers and Hester, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Wandor Van de Mispelaere x Palestro VD Begijnakke), set the winning time with a clear round in 39.52 seconds. They just tipped Daniel Coyle (IRL) on Susan Grange’s Tienna, who finished in 40.13 seconds.
It was a strong gallop to the final oxer on the jump-off course that sealed the win for Deslauriers, who picked up the pace when she heard her father calling for more speed.
“I heard him yelling, and I knew what I had to do,” she said. “I added one too many to the double (combination), so I knew I had to make it up somewhere. He has a really big stride, so I just tried to use that to my advantage as best I could.
“I took a bit of a flier!” she laughed. “But it was the only one I saw. It was the only way to do it, so I just kept kicking and hoping it would go well. I trust him completely. I knew if I just steered in the right direction, he would take care of it. He did just that.”
Third place went to Kelli Cruciotti and Chamonix H, winners of the inaugural U25 competition at Spruce Meadows last week. Cruciotti had a time of 42.89 seconds with no faults. The fourth double clear out of seven total in the jump-off was Jennifer Gates on Lord Levisto, who recorded a time of 46.25 seconds for fourth place.
Deslauriers commented that the footing was “amazing as always,” and was mindful of the time allowed on the first round course set by Musette.
“I thought it was a great course. There were a lot of challenges, and the time was definitely something to think about,” she confirmed. “There were a few people with just one time fault. Overall I thought it was a really good class. I was really excited.”
Deslauriers will continue to compete with Hester in the U25 series at Spruce Meadows along with other 1.45m competitions. She hopes to move up to the 1.50m division to gain more experience in the larger competitions.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament continues on Saturday, June 18, with the McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.45m and Repsol Cup 1.50m.
Kent Farrington with Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – For the second evening in a row, it was American Kent Farrington, ranked number six in the world, who led the highlight competition of the day with Gazelle. This time it was in the ATB Financial Cup 1.55m, where he topped Philipp Weishaupt (GER) on Chico 784 and Eric Lamaze (CAN) on Check Picobello Z. Lamaze won earlier in the day in the ATCO Challenge Cup 1.50m with Melody des Hayettes, and Conor Swail led another victory gallop in the Westmoreland Coal Cup 1.50m on Dillinger. The first CSI 5* week of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, the ‘National’, presented by Rolex, continues through Sunday, June 12.
Highlights of the week’s competition include the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 11, and the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby on Sunday, June 12. The course designer in the International Ring for the ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, is Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who will be the course designer at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
There were 43 entries in the ATB Financial Cup, and 15 made it through to the shortened course. There were nine double clear rounds. Farrington and Gazelle were the final ones to go in the jump-off, chasing a leading time of 42.56 seconds set by Weishaupt and Chico 784. Farrington sliced turns and opened up Gazelle’s stride to come home just ahead for victory in 41.46 seconds.
Third place went to Lamaze and Check Picobello Z in a time of 42.70 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Tripple X placed fourth when they finished in 42.89 seconds, while Antonio Chedraui (MEX) and La Bamba were fifth with a time of 44.26 seconds.
Farrington has ridden Gazelle, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Indoctro), for three years. He co-owns her with Robin Parsky, and felt that she is progressing nicely and finding her form.
This is the fourth time that Farrington will have his name etched on the trophy for the ATB Financial Cup. After years of climbing the rungs of the sport, Farrington has become one of the top names in show jumping.
“I’ve been in the sport for a long time,” he confirmed. “I started at the bottom of the sport, similar to Eric, with no family background. I think it’s a dream to ride [at Spruce Meadows] in the first place, and then to win here is even better. I have a lot of appreciation for all of the people that do this at a high level. I’ve learned from them. I used to watch Eric and Cagney jumping the derby year after year. I’m a student of the sport. To go in there and compete with them, and to win, is a dream since I was a kid.”
Farrington was inspired by Lamaze and the way that he rose through the ranks and was able to continually win in North America and Europe.
He said, “Eric is a tremendous competitor. He took what he was doing in North America and challenged himself again and went to Europe and went full swing at it. He didn’t go halfway. I watched him take Hickstead and go against the best horses in the world and beat them. He really went with no fear, and that was inspiring for me to see, somebody that I knew came from no background in the sport, climbed his way up, and then go over holding nothing back. It was something for me to watch and think if he can do it, then I can try to do it too.”
Lamaze was appreciative of the description, and replied that Farrington is also one to watch for the way he runs his business.
“These are very kind words,” he said. “He has one of the most successful operations in the United States and is one of the best riders in the world. Not only do you see him winning this class tonight and it’s incredible, but you see what he does with his students, and what he does with his whole operation, what he gives back to the sport. That’s what is very impressive to me. We see more than just the winning round. We see what goes on in the morning, what goes on every day, the operation that they’re running. Kent is one of the best today in our business. Ian Millar always says every day in this sport that you’re learning. No one can wake up in the morning and think that they know everything. You learn everything from horses; every day is a learning experience.”
This is the first time that Weishaupt has competed at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, and he doesn’t see much difference between the Summer Series and the ‘Masters’ in September. While he was in the lead, he was nervous with Farrington and Lamaze still to go in the jump-off.
“To end up in the top three [here], you have to be at your best; otherwise you don’t make it,” he admitted. “The facility, the jumping, the grass field – it’s so much fun and so beautiful. I just love it here. When Kent is last, I’m really scared and starting to sweat. I thought I was going to end up third because I was scared of Eric too. At least he was kind to me, the European guest, but Kent wasn’t really.”
Chico 784, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Cordalme Z x Sandro, was bred by owner Madeline Winter-Schulze, who also owns horses for German legend Ludger Beerbaum.
Weishaupt remembered the first time he saw Chico 784 as a three-year-old, when he went to see the promising horse at Winter-Schulze’s farm.
“I saw him standing there, and he’s like the tallest animal on the planet,” he laughed. “I wasn’t sure if it was a giraffe, an elephant, or a horse. I came close to him, and the jockey who sat on him before told me I should be a bit careful. I said, ‘Yeah, no problem.’ I got on him, and it took exactly four seconds and I was lying in the corner and he was kicking behind me. That was our first date. It wasn’t so successful.”
Weishaupt started riding Chico 784 as a four-year-old, and while he termed the horse’s years at five and six as “not very good,” the improvement gained steadily. “He for sure loves the big grass field. He’s a big horse with a huge stride. He’s super smart and actually when you see him, you think he’s a slow horse, but he can turn really quick and he’s really, really sensitive. It’s great fun when he jumps.”
Farrington and Weishaupt said they plan to stick with their top mounts for Saturday’s $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, while Lamaze will compete with Fine Lady 5.
Lamaze Gets His Win
Opening up the second day of competition at the ‘National’, presented by Rolex, Canada’s Eric Lamaze got his victory. He was a bit of a bridesmaid on opening day with two second place finishes, so he was determined to get the win. He and Melody des Hayettes, owned by Artisan Farms LLC, topped a 12-horse jump-off in the ATCO Challenge Cup 1.50m. Seven of the 12 were double clear out of an original 30 entries in the competition.
“I’ve gotten used to winning one class on the first day here,” Lamaze said with a smile. “Whether it’s luck or not, I’ve won quite a bit over the last decade and I always feel good winning the first day. Yesterday I was second twice. In the last competition, I really tried. I was first to go, and I was not going to be second! I gave it a go, but unfortunately had one down. I like winning here. It’s not easy to win here.”
Lamaze and Melody des Hayettes, a 12-year-old Zangersheide mare (Mozart des Hayettes X Ryon d’Anzex X), tipped Richard Spooner (USA) and Chivas Z with a winning time of 40.39 seconds. Spooner recorded a time of 40.78 seconds. Third place went to Vanessa Mannix on Winslow High, who stopped the timers in 45.95 seconds. Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) and Chacna had a time of 46.32 seconds for fourth place, while Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Brugal VDL were fifth in 47.10 seconds.
Lamaze took the ride over on “Melody” from Tiffany Foster at the end of 2015, so their newer partnership is still developing.
He said, “I didn’t know where I was going with that, but I knew that the mare was careful and she liked to go fast. I didn’t think I would be winning at Spruce Meadows in the 1.50m this quickly. Sometimes you just click with a horse, and it goes faster than you think. This one seems to be my kind of horse.”
With a second place in the speed competition Wednesday and the win Thursday, Melody has no problem going fast day after day. Lamaze confirmed, “She’s a runner. She’s not a power jumper; she’s a great 1.50m speed horse. But that’s her job; it’s what she does. She enjoys going fast. For the 1.50m [here] if you don’t have that, you might as well not compete.”
Swail Takes Two
Ireland’s Conor Swail has started his Spruce Meadows Summer Series with a bang by taking a second win on the second day. Wednesday he and Cita were victorious, while Thursday Swail rode Dillinger, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Contender x Capitol I) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, to the win in the Westmoreland Coal Cup 1.50m.
Swail topped a jump-off with 12 in it, while the original start list had 28 entries. He was one of four double clears, and he posted a time of 39.87 seconds. Luis Alejandro Plascencia (MEX) and Salamera de la Nutria slotted into second place in 41.56 seconds. Japan’s Taizo Sugitani and Avenzio were third with a time of 41.90 seconds, while Sameh El Dahan (EGY) and WKD Diva were fourth in 42.18 seconds. Fifth place went to Francisco Pasquel (MEX) and Naranjo, who had a time of 42.58 seconds with four faults.
Dillinger has been coming along nicely for Swail, and at just nine years old is showing promise for the future. Swail said that having two rails in Wednesday’s competition may have helped Dillinger win.
“Yesterday he went in and was a little green; he knocked the first fence and the third fence. It probably helped me for today actually because we had a nice, relaxed round after that,” he described. “After he had a mistake [yesterday], I kind of fancied my chances [today]. The course really suited him. It was just really big gallops. He left one step out everywhere more than anyone. I really used his stride to win today. Today I thought he was just outstanding.”
With Dillinger’s large size, Swail has been working on improving his speed.
He noted, “He’s very talented, very scopey. He’s a big guy, so he’s a bit more awkward than some of the other ones I have, but he’s a good horse and he’s had some great results.
“I do try and run him against the clock a little bit,” he continued. “He is a little slow, so I try and teach him to be a little quicker. It gets his mind a little quicker. I have taught him that quite well. His body is slow, but I think his mind is quite sharp and I’ve taught him to be quick on his feet.”
Regarding his success so far at the Summer Series, Swail said, “It’s really hard to win here, and I’ve had a great start. I have a great bunch of horses. It’s really nice to see that the owners are seeing such great successes.”
Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The Spruce Meadows Summer Series kicked off competition on Wednesday, June 8, with some of the best show jumpers in the world riding for top honors in the ‘National’, presented by Rolex. Kent Farrington (USA) won the highlight competition of the day, the Bantrel Cup 1.55m, with Gazelle. Conor Swail (IRL) and Cita were the fastest to capture the Erwin Hymer Group Cup 1.50m, while Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V won the Back on Track Cup 1.50m. The CSI 5* tournament continues through Sunday, June 12.
Highlights of the week’s competition include the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 11, and the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby on Sunday, June 12. The course designer in the International Ring for the ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, is Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who has been tapped to design for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Five of 29 starters in the Bantrel Cup 1.55m found the clear track to the jump-off, with pathfinder Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 taking the shortened course first. Their blazing time of 39.95 seconds would have been good for the win, but a rail down left them in fourth place.
Next in were Farrington and Gazelle, who were quick with less risk to go to the top of the leaderboard, clear in 42.18 seconds.
“I know Eric well, and I know that horse very well,” Farrington said. “I knew that was going to be the speed of the class, so I wanted to be sure to watch him go so I knew what I had to do. When he had a rail down, I thought I would go more measured than I had planned, but put enough pressure where the others had to go. He was really going all out there, and it would have been hard to beat if he hadn’t had that rail.”
Antonio Chedraui (MEX) and La Bamba were also clear in 46.83 seconds, which placed them third. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Victor landed in fifth place with a time of 43.01 seconds and four faults.
Last to go, Yann Candele (CAN) and Showgirl slotted into second place with a strong time of 44.06 seconds despite a slip on course.
Candele said, “She’s in aluminum shoes. It makes the foot slippery even with caulks. Even with that, I saw the time. Even if I made both turns, it would be close, but I don’t think it would make the win.”
Gazelle, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Indoctro owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky, was Farrington’s mount for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto where they won the team bronze medal. Farrington noted that she is learning to be a good grand prix horse, and the plan for her time at Spruce Meadows is to gain mileage in bigger competitions.
All three riders commended Spruce Meadows on their improvements since last year. Candele noted, “The facility looks great, and as usual there has been some upgrading. It’s going to be great sport.”
Farrington added, “I love riding on grass. It’s one of my favorite parts of Spruce Meadows. The horses jump well on grass, and it’s better for them.”
Chedraui complimented, “I really love the place. I’ve been able to show many places in the world, and it’s pretty hard to find a place like this. Not only the footing, the stables, the warm-up rings that every year get better and better, but also the people and the ambience that you produce here. I think it’s really the best of the best.”
Swail Starts with Victory
There were 38 entries in the first competition of the year on the field of the International Ring in the Erwin Hymer Group Cup 1.50m. It was held as one round for speed, and the fastest of the day was Ireland’s Conor Swail on Cita, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Pik Romero) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. Swail and Cita scorched the field by putting in a time of 65.46 seconds with no faults.
Five seconds behind was Canada’s Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze on Melody des Hayettes Z, owned by Artisan Farms LLC. They posted a clear round in a time of 70.45 seconds. Third place went to Antonio Chedraui (MEX) on Corcega La Silla in 73.72 seconds. Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Acita placed fourth in 75.33 seconds, while Antonio Maurer (MEX) on Galileo de Laubry was fifth in 75.90 seconds. There were seven clear rounds.
Swail and Cita were first paired last August, and he took his time with the “unbelievably careful” mare. This spring they won in Palgrave and Langley before topping the first competition at Spruce Meadows.
“She’s been amazing,” Swail said. “To go straight into that ring and jump 1.50m, and to do it the way she did it… I mean, she won by five seconds. I did a couple of turns that no one else did, and that’s basically I think where most of the time came from. I did an inside turn there, and when I did it and I saw the angle that I was at, I thought it was an awful, bad idea on my behalf. She was incredible to jump it.”
Swail plans to attempt his first derby at Spruce Meadows on Sunday in the CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby with Cita, and it will be her first derby as well. He feels confident though that her carefulness and energy will carry them well through the challenging competition.
“We’ve trained all the stuff at home, and she’s like, ‘No problem, no problem.’ There’s so much quality (that) when I’m jumping fence 24, I’m not going to run out of engine, that’s for sure. I like doing derbies but unless I’m in it to win it, I don’t want to go in it. The few years I’ve been here, I’ve never had anything suitable. I’ve practiced on her a few times at home, and I feel she’s very good at it and I think she has a good chance on Sunday, even though it’s her first go and mine.”
Towell Goes for Speed
Another 38 entries went to post for the Back on Track Cup 1.50m speed, and 14 were clear to lead the results. The fastest of those was Jack Hardin Towell (USA) on Jennifer Gates’s Lucifer V, who stopped the timers in 60.86 seconds for victory.
Eric Lamaze had to settle for another second place ribbon today, this time with Artisan Farms LLC’s Rosana du Park. They finished the course in 61.47 seconds. Fellow Canadian Vanessa Mannix and Dooley’s Deluxe were third in 67.13 seconds. Olympic gold medalist Leslie Howard of the United States was fourth with Utah in 68.14 seconds, while Ian Millar (CAN) and Teddy du Bosquetiau were fifth with a time of 68.81 seconds.
Towell brought Lucifer V, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding (Lord Pezi x Grandeur) to Spruce Meadows last year with some success. He has grown into one of Towell’s top grand prix horses, performing well at CSI 5* events. After a month’s break following the winter season, Towell decided to step Lucifer V down this week while his second mount, New York, does the grand prix.
“There’s nothing like being over-horse-powered in a class!” he laughed. “I thought I would give it a little bit of a go. He jumped quite well, and he feels good. He always jumps well here. It was nice to step him down and go in there for both our confidence, together.”
With age comes wisdom, and Towell feels lucky that both of his top horses are maturing and growing.
He said, “It’s amazing how much they’ve grown in a year’s time. This class last year, Lucifer went in. I probably would have been close to winning, and then he saw something, spooked, and reared. It’s nice that both of my horses are 10 years old now; they’re a little older and more experienced. I feel like they’re coming along well.”
The Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, continues on Thursday featuring the ATCO Pipelines Cup 1.50m, the Westmoreland Coal Cup 1.50m, and the ATB Financial Cup 1.55m.
Rome, Italy – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team tied for the Silver medal with France in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup presented by Longines at CSIO5* Rome in Italy on Friday. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, the team of Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, Callan Solem, and McLain Ward battled through a tough competition to finish on 12 faults. This marks the second Silver-medal performance for the U.S. in two weeks, having placed second at CSIO5* La Baule where the U.S. was represented by Lucy Davis, Margie Engle, Lauren Hough, and Todd Minikus. Both competitions served as observation events for members of the Short List for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team. Great Britain won the Nations Cup at Rome for the second consecutive year on a total of four faults.
“Second-place in this company is good,” said Ridland. “We always want to win and were in position to win both [at La Baule] and here, but we are happy with the performance today. Out of the five Nations Cups we have competed in this year, we have been in the top two in all of them and have done so with 19 different horses. There were some great athletes here and we are very pleased with the overall result.”
Course designer Uliano Vezzani presented a large, straightforward 5* track that proved to require every bit of determination to produce a clear round. Leading off for the U.S. in round one with a clear effort was Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) and Amalaya Investments’ 2002 KWPN gelding, Voyeur. Entering the arena next for the U.S. was Solem (Glenmoore, Pa.) and Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC’s VDL Wizard, a 2003 KWPN gelding. The pair got out of their rhythm a bit mid-course and had rails at fences 6 and 8A. Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Old Willow Farms, LLC’s 2007 Holsteiner mare, Zeremonie, had a solid round, but tipped a rail down in the triple combination at fence 4B. Team anchor Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) expertly guided Double H Farm & Francois Mathy’s HH Azur over the course and through the timers with zero faults in the 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare’s first Nations Cup appearance. The U.S. entered round two on four faults, tied for second with Italy, The Netherlands, and France.
Round two proved, as always, to be influential, with almost half the number of clear rounds turned in as seen in round one. Farrington and Voyeur were again in good form, but had an unlucky rail at the final fence. Both Solem and VDL Wizard and Kraut and Zeremonie had the rail at fence 7, a tall skinny, down, giving the U.S. a total of eight faults. The pressure was on Ward and HH Azur as the final combination for the U.S. and they delivered a foot-perfect clear round, giving them one of only four double-clear efforts in the field. With Great Britain sitting on four faults, anchor rider John Whitaker needed to produce a round with no more than seven faults to avoid a three-way jump-off between Great Britain, the U.S., and France. Whitaker never looked in doubt, delivering a double-clear effort and the win for Great Britain.
Ward was very pleased with his talented young mare, posting a double-clear performance in her first Nations Cup. “I thought she was incredible, as she has been,” said Ward. “She is amazing and came here and performed how I thought she would. We are very pleased with the team. [Another] second-place finish is a good step on the road going towards the Olympic Games.”
The final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show combined top class sport and entertainment as the excitement builds ahead of The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration in Home Park (Private).
A full house of enthusiastic visitors witnessed the USA’s Kent Farrington claim the biggest spoils of the week in the Grand Prix for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy. Despite a valiant challenge by Britain’s John Whitaker (Argento), who thrilled the home crowd, the American visitor took the win with the super speedy Creedance.
After an exciting first round, 14 riders came through with faultless score cards to the jump-off. Canada’s Tiffany Foster, riding Brit Ben Maher’s former London Olympic gold medal winning ride Tripple X III, was second to go and held the lead for almost half the second phase with her clean performance. She was toppled from pole position when Kent smashed her target by three seconds, causing those watching to whoop in delight at the display of calculated horsemanship.
John then tried to steal the win for the home crowd, but finished one second adrift despite a strong start out on the shortened course.
“Up to the planks [halfway around the track] I knew I was quicker,” said John, who praised Royal Windsor Horse Show’s move to four-star jumping. “Then he spooked at something. I don’t know what it was, so I ended up doing two or three strides more than Kent.”
The final double clear of the class came from Italy’s Piergiorgio Bucci (Casallo Z), but a steadier round than the two prior faultless performers meant third place and handed victory to Kent.
“Creedance is a naturally fast horse and was flying out there, but I held my breath a bit when John went,” said Kent. “I grew up watching him and he is still just as good now as he was then.
“I’ve taken two big wins this week so I think I should get out of town quick!”
France’s Adeline Hecart prevented a home win too, this time for Robert Smith (Cimano E) in the Palm Accumulator. The 20-year-old pinched back 0.01sec from the Brit’s long-time target to steal her second Royal Windsor win in two years with Questions D’Orval.
“There weren’t really many places to make up extra time, so I think there was a bit of luck involved,” said Adeline, who won last year’s winning round competition with the 12-year-old mare.
A huge fan of the show, Adeline is delighted to be here during this special year.
“It is my favourite show in the world,” she said. “Last year, the atmosphere was amazing and the people who come here are so knowledgeable and appreciative of horses. But this year you can really feel that there is something more and sense how much people love The Queen and want to celebrate her birthday.”
With his magnificent four-in-hand warmbloods, reigning World Champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, drove to victory in the final phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix at Royal Windsor, reclaiming the win that has been his six times previously.
“We’ve been second for the last two years,” smiled a relieved Exell. “I lost it in the cones last year and I really did not want to do that again.” He added, “I’ve been trying out new combinations of horses in recent years but these ones have really gone well for me. They got me out of trouble in obstacle seven yesterday when we almost took a wrong turn.”
Exell was in first place as the final phase began, but the pressure mounted as the top drivers began recording double clear rounds. Four-time World Champion, Ijsbrand Chardon, was less than one cones penalty behind Exell and is usually exemplary in this section. However, uncharacteristically, he had two balls down which dropped him behind fellow countryman Koos de Ronde and German driver Christoph Sandmann and gave the current World Champion a bit of breathing space. He didn’t need it – he drove a sure and clean double clear to take his seventh Royal Windsor win.
The cones course was designed by experienced course designer, Richard Nicolls from the USA, and was described by competitors as ‘classic Nicolls’.
“They know that I design course that are flowing but technical,” he said. “There are changes of rein and various options but I don’t like mad dashes across the arena or a course that constantly doubles back on itself. It’s better for the drivers if the course flows and it is better for spectators too.”
Pony four-in-hands provided an even more nail-biting finale. Saturday’s marathon winner, Germany’s Michael Bugener, lying in third place overall attacked the course with vigour; it earned him a round that was clear on time but at the expense of 12 penalty points. In second place at this stage, Jan de Boer from the Netherlands drove confidently and steadily, also making the time but picking up just 3 penalties. In the lead, Vilmos Jambor jr from Hungary drove with some caution – he dropped behind on time, but more punishingly accrued 9 penalties. Jan de Boer and his Welsh Section As, therefore, claimed the win at Royal Windsor for the sixth time with Bugener and Jambor jr, both competing for the first time here, taking second and third.
“I’m particularly pleased with the new pony I have in the wheel,” said the delighted Dutchman, who last won here two years ago. “I felt I really had to look after him in the marathon, particularly in the first obstacles, as he is still inexperienced.”
In the Nations Cup competition, the Netherlands – Ijsbrand Chardon, Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman – never looked like relinquishing the first place they have held since the first day. Germany – Rainer Duen, Marieke Harm and Christoph Sandmann – also retained their second position throughout, but Belgium – Dries Degrieck and Edouard Simonet – overtook Australia for third place.
Working hunter ponies delighted a packed audience around the Frogmore arena this morning. One of the most popular winners was the 18-year-old 143cm grey gelding Carnsdale Caspar, owned by the Beaconsfield based Wrennall family, beautifully ridden by Katie Wrennall, 12. The still enthusiastic campaigner jumped one of only two clears over a demanding course.
Another game veteran, 16-year-old CJs Tonto, accounted for the 133cm division, but the section title went to Sophie Lawes and her 135cm bay mare Carnsdale Vanity Fair.
Mill Spring, NC – May 7, 2016 – Kent Farrington (USA) piloted the talented Gazelle to another FEI victory at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), as the pair finished atop the leaderboard in the $130,000 Asheville Regional Airport Grand Prix CSI 3* in front of a large crowd of spectators. Farrington and Gazelle demonstrated their efficiency, finishing the short course in 37.367 seconds. Fernando Cardenas (COL) and Quincy Car rode to second place with a time of 39.801 seconds, while Frances Land (USA) and For Edition earned third, crossing through the timers in 39.801 seconds.
The class saw 27 entries test the first round of the class, which was set by Manuel Esparza of Mexico. Seven combinations moved forward to the jump-off round, with only four earning double clear efforts on evening under the lights.
Farrington and Gazelle, who also took top honors in the $35,000 FEI 1.50m Suncast® Welcome on Thursday, found their rhythm early in the first round, tackling the track seamlessly. Farrington stated earlier in the week that the 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Diva ‘Ter Elsen’), who he owns with Robin Parsky, is quickly learning the ropes of the larger classes.
“She’s jumped under the lights a few times and I try to take a lot of my horses and get them experience early on so that they’re used to crowds and larger atmospheres,” said Farrington. “I’m fortunate to have a great team of supporters behind me so that I can go to some of the best shows in the world.”
Saturday’s course found both seasoned competitors and talented amateurs tackling the track, and was designed particularly with that in mind, according to Farrington. He explained, “When you have a field like this, it’s kind of a mixed bag of horses and riders. He had to be clever with how he designed the course so that he has a good competition without giving it away. You also can’t make it too challenging that it over faces the younger horses and riders.”
“I thought that he had a good balance tonight. There’s always the element of a night class and a crowd for both young horses and riders that is a factor, other than just the course alone. I think that was a fair course for the field,” he continued.
While components of the track proved difficult for several pairs, including the Rolex triple combination and a spooky liverpool vertical, Gazelle handled each question on the course with ease. Slicing several fences on the jump-off track, the notoriously speedy Farrington sealed the win with nearly two seconds to spare.
“For me, it’s about measuring the class and feeling confident with what my horse can do and what that is going to mean on course. Samuel Parot is a very competitive rider and that horse is exceptionally fast,” he noted. “They went at the end of the class, so I had to do a faster plan that I would have liked. He’s won a bunch of World Cup Grand Prix classes on that horse and he’s never one not to count as a major competitor.”
“I tried to put enough pressure on him that he may have one down, which he did, so it worked out for us today,” he added.
Big plans lie ahead for Farrington, who was named to the Short List to represent Team USA on their quest for a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this summer. Farrington has grown into the one of the strongest riders for the United States and is looking forward to a competitive summer season.
“I’m going to Europe after this and we’ll be jumping in Rome, which will be our next big show. We have a few more that we will use as preparation as well. Hopefully the horses and riders stay healthy and I think we have a great chance in Rio.”
Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828) 863-1000 for more information.
Mill Spring, NC – May 5, 2016 – In his first appearance at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), Kent Farrington (USA) piloted Gazelle to a win in the $35,000 FEI 1.50m Suncast® Welcome, finishing the class in 43.76 seconds. Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Casper crossed through the timers in 47.387 seconds for second place, while Alise Oken (USA) and Hitchcock VD Broekkant collected third place with a time of 47.387 seconds. Major FEI competition continues at the venue with the $130,000 Asheville Regional Airport CSI 3* Grand Prix on Saturday, May 7, at 7:00 p.m.
Farrington, who currently sits in sixth on the FEI World Ranking list, took an efficient and educational approach to the track with Gazelle, capitalizing on opportunities to further the training of the 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Diva ‘Ter Elsen’) as well as improve their communication throughout the course. Manuel Esparza (MEX) designed Thursday’s course in the George Morris Arena, which saw ten combinations move forward to the jump-off round, while six pairs secured a double clear effort on the afternoon.
“Manuel Esparza is an experienced designer and I’ve jumped his courses before in Calgary. They’re always designed very well. I think it was a great class measuring this for the welcome today,” commented Farrington.
Gazelle’s scope and carefulness helped the pair around the short course, in which they finished nearly four seconds faster than second place finisher Wordley. Farrington has carefully built up the mare’s confidence and focused on sharpening her turning ability in the ring.
“This is actually a horse that I showed in a few grand prix classes throughout this season and in the jump-off her turning is a little bit of her weakness,” he explained. “I think we’ve given up some good classes, so we’re focusing on making her training better through those turns. My goal for the jump-off was to really work on her weaknesses and work on my short turns to the jumps.”
As one of the younger horses in Farrington’s internationally renowned string, Gazelle has gained valuable experience this past season, contesting several of the major grand prix classes at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), including a win in the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Jumper Classic in late March.
“She had a good circuit this past winter and we’re still fine tuning some of her training,” he noted. “When we finish here, she’ll go to Calgary to do some of the larger classes there.”
Thursday’s win marked Farrington’s first competition experience at TIEC and he was pleasantly surprised with the vastness of the facility, as well as the major investment the Tryon Equestrian Partners have made to expand the reach of equestrian sport.
“I’ve never been here before and you can see that they’ve put a lot of money into the facility, which caught me by surprise, just that everything is new. It’s very clear that there was a major effort here and a lot of funds have been put behind this facility to support it. It’s very impressive,” said Farrington.
Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828) 863-1000 for more information.
Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Sherri Geddes and Geddaway Top the Farmvet Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section B
Wellington, FL – March 27, 2016 – Week 11 of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded on Sunday, March 27, featuring the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, held on the derby field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). For the second week in a row, the 1.50m win went to USA’s Kent Farrington, this time aboard his own and Robin Parsky’s Gazelle. He topped week ten’s $35,000 1.50m aboard RCG Farm’s Creedance. The 12-week WEF circuit comes to a close for 2016 with one more week of competition through April 3.
Forty-one entries jumped in Sunday’s 1.50m competition on the derby field with six clear rounds over the Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER)-designed track. In the jump-off, Egypt’s Abdel Said and American Equestrian Association’s California set the pace with a clear round in 41.12 seconds to eventually finish fifth. Adam Prudent (FRA) and Plain Bay Sales’ Vasco were next to go, finishing with four faults in a time of 50.70 seconds after a refusal on course, to place sixth. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and David Gochman’s Cannavaro BH jumped off next with a clear round in 40.25 seconds to take fourth place honors.
Farrington and Gazelle followed with the winning round in 38.33 seconds. Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Homer de Reve, owned by Stephex Stables and VDB Equestrian Stables, followed with the second place time of 38.61 seconds. Last to go, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Nordic Lights Farm’s NLF Favorite jumped into third place with a time of 38.99 seconds.
Gazelle, a Belgian Warmblood mare by Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Indoctro, is just ten years old, and Farrington has been trying her out in different classes over the winter.
“She is still a green horse for the big sport,” the rider noted. “I had her jump a couple of grand prixs at the beginning of the circuit. She jumped the first 4* and I think she was a low ribbon. Then I threw her in a 5* and it went okay, but she was a bit green and I had two down. I thought the horse was quite careful, so then I thought she needed a few smaller rounds so she stayed confident. I did a few 1.40m classes just to get her confidence back and then I brought her out here. She loves the grass. She jumps fantastic on the grass, and I was really pleased with her performance and her progress through the winter. She really rallied back.”
Speaking of the course and the opportunity to jump on the grass field, Farrington stated, “I thought Olaf did a great job of designing all week. For me, it is a real pleasure to come over here and jump at a different venue other than the same rings for the 12-week circuit. It is a luxury to give our horses a different place to compete, and in my opinion, that is the best thing that we can do for the winter circuit.”
Detailing his jump-off, Farrington explained, “My plan for the jump-off was to go fast. I know that those other horses are pretty competitive. I tried to go what I would call a competitive, fast round, without going all out. The margin was pretty small at the end and today it played into our hand.”
Farrington is still deciding whether Gazelle will compete in the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final next Saturday. He will then figure out her summer tour, but noted that he is taking her plans one step at a time for the moment.
Sherri Geddes and Geddaway Top the Farmvet Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section B
Sherri Geddes and her longtime mount Geddaway earned the championship tricolor this week in the Farmvet Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section B. Geddes placed second and fourth over fences on Saturday, then topped both over fences classes on Sunday to clinch the championship win. Geddaway also earned a fifth place ribbon in the under saddle, bringing his point total for the week to 29. Victoria Watters and Beckham settled for the reserve title after netting 28.5 points. Watters topped the under saddle and earned a first, two thirds, and a sixth over fences with the six-year-old Warmblood gelding.
Geddes, of Jacksonville, FL, owns and operates out of Geddaway Farm. She has developed a special partnership with Geddaway since she purchased him in 2005. “I have had him for a long time so I know him inside and out,” Geddes remarked.
Geddes has been competing with Geddaway, a 17-year-old Rhinelander gelding, in the Adult Hunter divisions for ten years. “I got him from a lady who competed him in the amateurs, but I have always done the adults,” she explained.
Earning the championship tricolor this week was especially gratifying for Geddes, who has been working all circuit on becoming more consistent with the gelding. “I’m really excited because it’s been a little bit of a difficult year with this horse. He’s a great horse, but we’ve been having a little bit of a challenging year, so it’s really great to have it all come together,” she explained.
Geddes was thrilled she won both over fences classes on Sunday afternoon. “Today felt really, really good. I felt like I finally pulled it all together,” Geddes remarked. “Today it all clicked.”
Geddaway has quite the personality, Geddes stated, but when he is in the show ring, he is all business. “He’s very athletic so when he goes out in the paddock he can buck like no other. His stride is massive, he is very rideable, and he doesn’t care about anything. He is never scared of the jumps,” she said.
It was important to Geddes to finish out the circuit strong with her elderly mount because she plans to retire him at the end of this year. “I hope to finish out this year with him, but he will probably be retiring soon. I’ve had him for a long time, and he’s had a good life,” she stated.
It will be hard for Geddes to retire her longtime mount, but she does have some new horses that she is excited about bringing along. “He’s hard to give up because he’s my special boy,” Geddes smiled. “He’s just really sweet and really laid back. He’s really easy to be around.”
Geddes credits her trainer Andrew Lustig, the team at Geddaway Farm, and of course her mount Geddaway for all of her success. “I’m a very lucky girl!” she said.
The 2016 WEF circuit concludes with its twelfth and final week of competition, sponsored by Rolex, running March 30 – April 3, 2016. The week highlights the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final, and much more. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Kent Farrington and Creedance. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Mimi Gochman Claims Top Prize in the Large Pony Hunters aboard Storyteller
Wellington, FL – March 20, 2016 – Week ten of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Horseware Ireland, concluded on Sunday, March 20, featuring the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBEC). The class saw a win for Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance, with Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Picolo in second, and Abdel Said (EGY) aboard Luron S Z third. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.
Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set the final track for this week’s 1.50m for 55 starters, with ten clear rounds, and six double clear entries in the jump-off. Abdel Said set a fast pace with Luron S Z, owned by AS Sport Horses and Philippe de Balanda BVBA, in a time of 31.05 seconds to eventually place third. Ben Maher (GBR) followed with the fifth place time of 33.20 aboard Stone Hill Farm’s Carolina 31. Kim Prince (USA) and Rushy Marsh Farm’s RMF Swinny du Parc jumped next with a clear round in 33.35 seconds to place sixth.
Farrington was next to clear the short course with RCG Farm’s Creedance, taking the lead in 30.32 seconds. Edward Levy (FRA) and Remarkable Farms’ Wirma jumped into fourth place with their time of 32.16 seconds. Last to go, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Oakland Ventures’ Picolo moved into second place with a time of 30.79 seconds.
Farrington got Creedance, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lord Z x Notaris) one year ago and has been taking his time to bring the horse along and work on his rideability.
“He is still very green; he has not done a whole lot, but I think he could be a really special horse,” Farrington detailed. “He is extremely hot, so it has taken a little while to make him manageable, but he is a real jumper, and he is like a Jack Russell Terrier in the ring. He reminds me of an old horse I had called Up Chiqui, who was an exceptional horse. I think this horse has a lot of similar characteristics, and if I can teach him to harness his energy, I think he could be something special.”
Speaking of his winning jump-off, Farrington stated, “The horse is already fast all by himself, so that is a big advantage. Before, his steering was not so good, but we have really been working on that for a while without the speed. Today, I let him go a little bit quicker, but he has the advantage that both, he can turn really short to the fences, and he is very fast across the ground naturally.”
Creedance jumped week ten’s WEF Challenge Cup along with Sunday’s 1.50m. Farrington plans to show him in week eleven’s WEF Challenge Cup as well, and will then decide if the gelding is ready to try the grand prix.
“I am not sure yet. He is just nine years old, so I will see how that goes and decide what the next move is,” Farrington noted.
The rider also spoke of Sunday’s course and the tracks throughout the week set by Canada’s Michel Vaillancourt, who is also an Olympic individual silver medalist.
“I think Vaillancourt is one of the top designers, and I am always happy when he builds because I think it is a technical course without crazy size,” Farrington remarked. “He usually ends up with the right amount clear. I thought he did a great job with the grand prix on Saturday. It was a mixed field of horses, and he did not end up with a million clear, and we had a good class without it being impossible to jump. I think he is one of the best builders we have around here.”
Also competing in the International Ring on Sunday, Teddy Vlock and Vlock Show Stables’ Onyx du Haut Bois won the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumper Classic. The $10,000 Animo USA Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic concluded the day with a win for Kelly Tropin and Libertas Farms LLC’s Adorose.
Mimi Gochman Claims Top Prize in the Large Pony Hunter Aboard Storyteller
The competitive Large Pony Hunter division came to a close Sunday morning in Ring 12 with Mimi Gochman and Storyteller crowned this week’s champions. Rain clouds gave way to the sunshine as Gochman and Storyteller rode to wins in both over fences classes on Sunday morning. The pair also earned a first and sixth place finishes over fences on Saturday, and took home second in the under saddle. Storyteller is a 13-year-old German Sport Pony gelding owned by Fair Play Farm.
Mimi’s sister Sophie Gochman and Scott Stewart’s Westside settled for the reserve title. Westside, a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding, placed second in the under saddle and earned two seconds, a third, and a sixth over fences.
While Sophie and Mimi often compete against each other in the Large Pony Hunter division, the siblings support each other more than they rival against each other. “We’re pretty civil about competing with each other,” Mimi Gochman explained.
Eleven-year-old Mimi Gochman trains with the teams at Baxter Hill and Rivers Edge. Her primary trainers are Scott Stewart, Ken Berkley, and Amanda Derbyshire, all of whom Gochman credits for her success. She is remarkably poised and well-spoken for such a young rider, likely due to the great deal of success she has already enjoyed during her young career.
“I’ve been riding since I was 18 months old,” Gochman proudly stated. Her mother Becky Gochman is a highly successful amateur rider, whose love of the sport influenced her daughters’ desire to show.
Mimi Gochman, who recently moved to Wellington, FL with her family full-time, has been riding Storyteller for two years. The pair has enjoyed a great deal of success during that time together, notably winning the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals at the Washington International Horse Show this past October.
“Storyteller is a very sweet pony. He’s very easy to ride and very adjustable,” Gochman remarked. “He’s strong and he’s sturdy, and I can always trust him to get me around the ring safely.
“Storyteller is just easy in general to steer and to get going” Gochman continued. “He’s a good listener; he listens to my hand and my leg which is really nice.”
Storyteller performs especially well in the handy hunter classes, which the pair earned a blue ribbon in this week. “His nickname is ‘Handy King’ because he’s very good at turning,” Gochman laughed. “That really comes in handy when we have to take the tight turns in the handy classes!”
Along with Storyteller, Gochman also competes with Lululemon, who is a green pony owned by Rivers Edge. They compete together in the Large/Medium Green Pony Hunter division.
Outside of the show ring Gochman enjoys playing tennis, counting it as one of her favorite hobbies. “I also like to read a lot,” she added.
Gochman and Storyteller will continue to show in the Large Pony Hunter division for the remainder of the WEF circuit.
The 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its eleventh week of competition, sponsored by Artisan Farms, on March 23-27, 2016. The week highlights the $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* on Saturday, March 26. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.