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.
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.
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.
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.
Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – USA’s Kent Farrington and Gazelle were the big winners in Saturday’s $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, in a fast and competitive seven-horse jump-off at Spruce Meadows. Conor Swail (IRL) and Grafton finished second, and Andrew Ramsay (USA) and California 62 placed third.
The CIBC Cup was also featured on Saturday with a historic first international victory at Spruce Meadows for the country of Japan, as Karen Polle and With Wings took top honors.
Ireland’s Alan Wade set the course for 34 competitors in Saturday’s highlight Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex. Held in the Meadows on the Green, the competition saw seven entries move on to the jump-off, and five clear over the short course.
Andrew Ramsay was first to jump clear in round two with The California Group’s California 62, setting a fast pace in 37.59 seconds to eventually finish third. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) and Babel followed with a time of 37.77 seconds, which ended in fifth. Philipp Weishaupt (GER) shaved a few more fractions off the time aboard LB Convall, finishing in 37.71 seconds to land in fourth place. Kent Farrington and Gazelle cleared the course next, leaving no stone unturned as they raced through the timers in 35.78 seconds. Last to go, Conor Swail and Susan and Ariel Grange’s Grafton jumped into second place with their time 36.17 seconds.
Gazelle, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky, has had a fantastic season that includes multiple wins over the last few months. Farrington bought the mare when she was seven and feels that she is really progressing this year.
“I am very grateful that I have a super group of people behind my career, Robin Parsky being one of them,” Farrington noted. “They are really passionate about show jumping and that is what all of us need today in order to compete at this level. I have taken my time bringing this horse up and she has found her way at the higher level. I had her in Florida this winter and she was struggling a little bit in the big grand prixs, so I dropped her down for a while and then brought her back up, and she seems to be finding her form.”
Speaking of his winning round, Farrington stated, “In the jump-off today, we got great competition. Andrew laid down a very fast track. He had the unenviable spot of going early, so that is certainly not an advantage when you have all of us coming after. I also do not like Conor coming after me; that’s not my favorite spot either, but I thought I put enough of a run down that he was going to really have to try if he could catch me. I was very pleased with my horse.”
Farrington also commented on Alan Wade’s first round track, praising the course designer on a great competition.
“I think Alan is one of the best course designers, if not the best course designer, in modern show jumping. I think he really understands horses,” Farrington said. “It is a very fair test and he ends up with the perfect number in the jump-off. That shows that he knows what he is doing, so I think that all of us as riders applaud his work.”
Conor Swail was aboard a young mount in Grafton, a ten-year-old Selle Francais stallion (Calvaro x Vondeen) that he got as a seven-year-old as well.
“He is a super horse,” Swail detailed. “I and Barry O’Connor sold him to Sue Grange and Lothlorien, who have been great backers for me. He has done some very good things. He jumped on two Nations’ Cup teams for Ireland, both times double clear. He has been a little bit the same (as Gazelle for Kent), up and down a little bit with the grand prixs. Sometimes it takes him a little bit to find his feet, but once he gets to be comfortable at this height, he really excels. He is very scopey and he has a big step. He was a little slower than Kent’s horse unfortunately today, but I was absolutely delighted with how he went.”
Speaking of his jump-off track, Swail explained, “There was not a lot of strategy involved really. I had to go as hard as I could following Kent. Kent got one to two easier than I would have liked, and then he got seven strides around the corner and I got eight, so I was already behind and had to keep chasing. I did one stride less to the last, which I knew I could get that no one else could. Unfortunately that was not enough, but I am delighted. Kent is a great rider with a great horse. Being second to him, I will take that any day. Not all days, but I will take it today. I am very pleased for my owners, and the horse, and myself.”
As Farrington noted, Andrew Ramsay had a tough position going early in the order with very fast riders to follow in the jump-off, but Ramsay was very happy with his finish on California 62. The 12-year-old Holsteiner mare (Cassini I x Galent Vert) also placed third in the ‘Continental’ Tournament’s $375,000 CP Grand Prix.
“California is a new mare for us. I got her just before Wellington this winter, so I have just been trying to get to know her,” Ramsay stated. “It took a little bit of time in the beginning, but we are getting on track. We were third two weeks ago as well, which I guess is a good thing, but also a little frustrating. I am starting to figure out how we need to ride the course and set her up. I was really pleased with the jump-off today compared to two weeks ago when I had one down.
“I was thrilled with her today and quite happy with the jump-off,” Ramsay continued. “There were some very fast people coming behind me and we tried to do the best we could. We have a bit more learning to figure out, but we are making good headway, and I am thrilled to be here.”
Course designer Alan Wade also weighed in on Saturday’s competition and was pleased with his result.
“I have a great team around me. When you come to an event, you have to trust the people around you, and with Peter Grant and Joey Rycroft as my assistants I got a lot of guidance,” Wade remarked. “I was very pleased with the start list. As course designers, we are really only here to facilitate. These are the athletes that bring their horses out for the great sport of show jumping. We are only here to allow them to show their best and I think we had very good sport today.”
Karen Polle Earns Historic First Win for Japan at Spruce Meadows
The CIBC Cup 1.50m was the first FEI competition held in the Meadows on the Green Saturday afternoon with a historic first international victory at Spruce Meadows for the country of Japan. Rider Karen Polle represented the nation as she guided her own 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding With Wings (Larino x L Ronald) to an exciting first place finish.
Alan Wade (IRL) set the track for 26 starters in the CIBC Cup with six advancing to the jump-off. Polle and With Wings earned the win with the fastest round over the short course in 30.71 seconds. They edged out Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Artisan Farm’s Cadalora P, who settled for second place with their time of 31.28 seconds. Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt took both the third and fourth place honors, jumping off with Catokia 2 in a time of 32.21 seconds, and Lord Chambertin in 32.43 seconds. Jennifer Gates (USA) and Luftikus S completed the jump-off course without fault in 34.35 seconds to place fifth. Conor Swail (IRL) took home sixth place honors aboard Ilan Ferder’s Hetman of Color J after an unfortunate refusal over the second track left the pair with four jumping and two time faults.
Commenting on her victory, Polle smiled, “I am so excited. To win here where the riders and horses are the best in the world is just so special. Especially to win on Wings, who I have had for a long time, is really fun. I have always dreamed of winning a competition here, so it is really nice.”
Polle (23) has owned With Wings for six years and knows the gelding well. In 2015, the pair earned their biggest win together in the $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4* in New York.
Speaking of her winning mount, Polle stated, “He is just perfect. He has a big stride and he always tries his best. He is very spunky, so he has a lot of power and lots of energy. I like when a horse has energy, and a lot of power and blood, so he is perfect for me.”
This summer, Polle tapped the training expertise of ten-time Olympian Ian Millar of Canada. With Millar’s guidance, the young rider was able to use her longtime experience with her horse to an advantage in both rounds.
“I thought the first round course was very nice. For my horse, I just had to sit still in all of the lines and give him a little bit of room, and he took care of the rest,” Polle explained. “The course was pretty careful, especially towards the end, but for me it rode really well.
“In the jump-off, with all of these amazing riders that are always really fast, it is a lot of pressure to have to go for it,” she added. “I was a little nervous that they would catch me in the end, but I am really happy that they didn’t.”
Polle has one semester at Yale University to complete in the fall and then hopes to focus on her riding full-time. Her more immediate plans are to qualify With Wings for next week’s grand prix to conclude the summer at Spruce Meadows.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, concludes on Sunday with the West Canadian Cup 1.45m and the Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.50m in the Meadows on the Green.
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.”
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