Tag Archives: Kevin Babington

Health, Horses, and Haircuts: Kevin Babington

Kevin Babington and Carling King competing at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece where they placed joint-fourth individually. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Kevin Babington had just had his hair cut when I spoke with him last week, and in these strange times that’s a cause for major celebration. Around the globe people have been prevented from keeping their curls under control due to pandemic lockdowns. But as the US-based Irish Olympian and 2001 European Jumping team gold medallist explained, the situation in Florida (USA) has recently returned to some kind of normality and it’s boom-time for hairdressers – “Mine is booked solid for the next three weeks!” he said with a laugh.

I had called to ask him about the sustainable bedding his company, Babington Mills, has been producing, and was reminded of his passion for animals, farming, and the countryside. Kevin and his wife and family have been dealing with the aftermath of a life-changing fall sustained while competing last summer which has left him wheelchair-bound. But in a conversation just nine months later, you find that the man who hails from County Tipperary has his eyes firmly fixed on the future of his business, his rehab, and his sport.

He tells me the idea of the bedding came across his radar when he found some bagged product in Germany a number of years ago. “I got this urge to bring it to America, so I did a lot of research and bought machinery in Denmark where they produce quite a lot of it,” Kevin explains.

“While I was travelling, I also came across different horse-feeds so I decided to create a version of forage feed myself, using grains from organic farmers. It was a big investment, but it’s a fantastic way to go for horses,” he insists.

Slows down intake

His low-starch, low-sugar forage feed slows down intake and creates a lot more saliva which helps prevent gastric ulcers. “It’s good for the whole digestive tract because the horse takes longer to chew so it’s a buffer for ulcers. With pelleted or sweet feed, they are inclined to gulp it down and you get a splashback effect,” he explains.

When it came to the bedding it took some time to refine his particular version, putting 800lb straw bales through a chopper, then running it through a hammer-mill which opens up the node of the straw and creates the soakage that sets it apart from the rest.

“Conventional straw has little soakage, but at the length we chop it then it’s like mucking out shavings,” Kevin says. “You have to start out with good quality straw with less than 10% moisture content. It’s so absorbent that it works almost like cat litter and it’s easier to find the droppings, you use a fraction of the amount of regular straw on your horse’s bed and we run it through a dust extractor so it’s really good for hypo-allergenic horses. The finished product is very clean,” he adds.

But are horses not inclined to eat their yummy bedding? “For some reason they are less likely to eat it than long straw. When you first put a horse in on it, they might nibble at it but it won’t to do them any harm. The odd horse might eat it, but they are grazing animals and sometimes hay gets mixed up with it, so nibbling all night is really good for them,” he points out.

And bedding has become the biggest part of the Babington Mills business now, expanding into supply for small animals like hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs – “We use a smaller chop for them – it’s a bit of a different process and they live very happily on it,” Kevin adds.

No surprise

The fact that Kevin feels good about keeping animals, big and small, happy and comfortable doesn’t come as any surprise. I recall the story his wife, Dianna, told while she was dealing with her own anguish following his accident last August in which she described her husband as “kind, above all things.”

Late one night some years ago they were driving home from their barn in a snowstorm along barely passable back roads when they came across a deer that had been hit by a vehicle and left lying on the road with two broken legs. “Kevin approached her slowly, and put a blanket on her when he gained her trust. We stayed with her so she wouldn’t be hit again, and he talked to her and petted her while we waited for the police to come and humanely put her down.”

That’s just one measure of the man whose personal popularity led to the most phenomenal and emotional response from the equestrian world in the aftermath of his fall.

Anyway, back to business… and the Babington Mills Farm in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. “Deep down in my heart I always wanted to be a farmer!” Kevin admits. “I had this great idea of buying a farm and growing my own hay and doing some wheat each year.

“We bought the farm just after the big crash in 2008 when we didn’t know what direction the horse world was going. It’s in a very remote, rural area and I’d love to be up there now; I enjoy it very much,” Kevin says. It was close to the family home at the time and he was very involved in the running of it in the early stages, but then the horse business got busy again, so he got “a bit side-tracked”. The management of Babington Mills is now in the very capable hands of his sister-in-law Dawn Imperatore.

One of the aspects of the bedding production that pleases Kevin most is the fact that it is compostable. “We are surrounded by mushroom farmers and they are delighted to use it, and you can also spread it directly onto fields because it breaks down quicker than conventional straw.” It sounds like a perfect example of circular bioeconomy, using renewable natural resources in a way that pleases the environment.

New Jersey

Early last year the family moved to a beautiful new facility in New Jersey which is closer for many of Kevin’s pupils and clients, and they now share their time between there and their Florida base.

Kevin loves teaching and is still doing it from his wheelchair wearing a headset and accompanied by his “bodyguards,” the family’s three Australian shepherds Dylan, Millie, and his closest friend, three-year-old Delilah. But he misses riding, and that leads him to talk about his recovery programme.

“I’m working hard on my rehab and now have a good bit of movement in my right arm, almost to the point where I can manage the wheelchair with my hand, and I have twinges in my legs which the doctors call a good spasm. The C3 and C4 vertebrae affect your diaphragm, and I was on a ventilator for quite some time at the beginning, I’m off that for months now so my voice and my lungs are getting stronger.

“But it’s slow. I still have to deal with a fair amount of pain in the form of spasms, and unfortunately the physio practice I go to has been closed because of the virus, but it opens back up on 1 June and I’m really looking forward to getting back into that. I ride a stand-bike every day to keep my muscle tone up and do lots of exercises working on my strength,” says Kevin, who has also been using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber as part of his latest treatment.

Carling King

We move on to talk about the great horse that put him on the international stage, the Irish-bred chestnut Carling King who he describes as a real character, very strong, but definitely the horse of a lifetime. “We travelled the world together and my first Championship was in Arnhem (NED, where Ireland won European team gold in 2001), and my very first Nations Cup in Europe was Aachen (GER) so I was thrown right in at the deep end!

“It went from there: we were part of the winning team in Hickstead in 2000. I got to jump Spruce Meadows (CAN) a bunch of times, to the World Championships in Jerez (ESP in 2002), to the European Championships in Donaueschingen (GER in 2003), and Athens (GRE in 2004) for the Olympics. It was an amazing five or six-year run we had together,” he recalls, without actually reminding me that they finished eighth individually at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2002, tenth individually at the Europeans in 2003, and joint-fourth individually at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. They were an extraordinary partnership.

In recent years he remained prominent on the US circuit, and in early March this year he was appointed as one of three advisors to the Horse Sport Ireland High Performance Committee along with Taylor Vard and Cameron Hanley. With competition grinding to halt just a few weeks later he didn’t get the chance to share his expertise and wisdom, but when action resumes Kevin will undoubtedly make a great contribution to the Irish Jumping team in future years.

So how does he think equestrian sport will move on in the wake of the current pandemic? “Unfortunately, a lot of shows were already just about managing to survive and some of those may not make it through this. It will be hard, and some of the vendors and smaller sponsors will be struggling. Once things start to reopen – as long as we don’t have a second wave of the virus – the sport should bounce back, although there’ll be changes for sure.

“But we’ll get through this; it’s a bump in the road but our sport was generally in a healthy place before this happened, and it will turn the corner. Everyone wants it to….”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Palm Beach Young Elite Auction to Benefit Babington Recovery

Proceeds from a horse will be auctioned to benefit the Babington Family

There will be an exciting new auction that will debut during the CSIO4* Nations Cup week at Palm Beach Masters in Wellington, Florida and a special effort to support Kevin Babington as he continues to recover from the catastrophic fall he sustained in 2019.

The Palm Beach Auction will present 16 elite young jumpers for sale via live auction on February 13th at 7pm in the VIP tent at Deeridge Farm. The 16 horses are the result of a selection process that involved a wide search across Europe and the involvement of the sport’s best breeders, trainers, and selectors.

Kevin Babington’s journey to recover from life-changing injury became a touch point upon which the entire equestrian industry rallied around because Kevin himself is a sportsman who is held in the highest esteem both for his show jumping accomplishments and for his unselfish manner and help delivered to so very many of us. The Palm Beach Auction gratefully accepted his assistance in the selection process, and to give back, a 17th horse will be auctioned off on February 13th, with 100% of the sale proceeds going directly to Kevin and his family to help offset the costs of his recovery.

A stunning three-year-old Balou du Rouet x Clinton gelding named “Balou Son” was donated by friends of Kevin to be auctioned as the first horse of The Palm Beach Auction. All are invited to attend the auction on February 13th, and the official Presentation of horses on February 2nd, directly following the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier at Palm Beach Masters.

Register at www.thepalmbeachauction.com.

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Kevin Babington Sweeps $100,000 Great American Grand Prix at Lake Placid

Kevin Babington and Shorapur (Photo courtesy of The Book LLC)

Lake Placid, NY (July 12, 2019) – Olympian Kevin Babington took peak performance to a new level this Sunday in Lake Placid, where he achieved a rare Grand Prix hat trick. In what he described as a major highlight of his career, the Irishman finished first, second, and third on three of his horses for a clean sweep of the $100,000 Great American Insurance Group Grand Prix. Babington piloted Shorapur (33.212 seconds), Super Chilled (35.436 seconds), and Mark Q (38.430 seconds) to the top three spots out of 64 entries, marking his fourth Grand Prix win in Lake Placid.

“I’ve been pinching myself ever since my last round. I never would have foreseen something like this happening,” said Babington. “My horses have been in really good form and I was hoping for a couple of good rounds, but if someone had wanted to bet me that I’d be one-two-three, I never would have taken the bet. I think I had the luck of the Irish with me. Shorapur had a really hard rub at the third-to-last fence of the first round and easily could have had it down. She’s the fastest of my three horses and normally I’d prefer to have her go last; but since she was first, I decided to go for broke and it all just played out beautifully after that.”

2019 George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Champion and defending 2018 ASPCA Maclay National Champion Sam Walker was once again a top contender, winning two major classes on Sunday after securing the $7,500 Chevrolet Low Junior Jumper Classic on Saturday. Walker won the Kathy Scholl Equitation Classic presented by Kate Levy & Family for the second consecutive year, then topped a field of 34 horses with two fault-free rides on Gidora S in the $10,000 Crowne Plaza Resort & Golf Club Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.

Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
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holly@equinium.com

Devon Grand Hunter Championship Claimed by Victoria Colvin and Private Practice

Devon, Pa. – May 29, 2019 – Wednesday at the Devon Horse Show and County Fair saw the return of the highly anticipated Ladies’ Day, along with the presentation of the Devon Grand Hunter Championship, sponsored by Hermès, in the Dixon Oval. Taking home the prestigious honors for 2019 was Victoria Colvin with Brad Wolff’s Private Practice. Colvin also claimed the coveted Leading Lady Rider award to complete the special day in addition to being awarded the Fourth Sally Deaver Murray Memorial Challenge Trophy with Private Practice after their beautiful rounds in the High Performance Working Hunter division.

Kevin Babington and Super Chilled Are Super Fast in $36,000 Devon International Speed Stake CSI4*

International show jumpers returned to the Dixon Oval on Wednesday to compete in the $36,000 Devon International Speed Stake CSI4*, sponsored by Herr’s Food. Local athlete Kevin Babington (IRL) of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania outpaced 16 combinations with Debra J. Wycoff’s Super Chilled to ride away with the win and the George T. Pew Jr. Memorial Perpetual Trophy in the one-round speed competition.

Susan Sisco and Ringfort Tinkaturk Top Ladies’ Side Saddle

The Ladies’ Side Saddle division took center stage following the hunters during Ladies’ Day at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. The division featured an undersaddle and hunter hack competition, both sponsored by Courtyard by Marriott, as well as an over fences class, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds. Susan Sisco and Ringfort Tinkaturk ultimately took home the championship tricolor and the True Blue Challenge Trophy after earning first place in the undersaddle and in the hunter hack, and second over fences.

For more information, visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.

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

Kevin Babington and Mark Q Win $40,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Spring III Grand Prix

Kevin Babington and Mark Q. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – April 25, 2019 – Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, PA made his mark on the $40,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Spring III Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), piloting both his mounts Mark Q and Shorapur to a first and second place finish, respectively. Babington and his own Mark Q dashed through the short course in 35.967 seconds, while stopping the timers in 36.865 seconds aboard Shorapur, owned by Shorapur, LLC. Luiz Francisco de Azevedo and so What HP Z took third place after completing the jump-off course in 37.085 seconds.

Babington and Mark Q have a stored partnership together, collecting wins across the country at the Grand Prix level. The pair navigated the track, built by Richard Jeffery, well, which ensured a solid performance in the jump-off from the duo. A total of 12 combinations moved forward to contest the jump-off, with six pairs completing the course with a double clear effort. Over 35 total combinations attempted the first-round track, with two riders finishing on just a single time fault to keep them from advancing to the jump-off round.

“I thought the course was difficult enough and understand why [Richard] had to build it the way he did. I thought it suited Mark Q really well and he’s a very good oxer jumper. Shorapur is more of a vertical jumper because she’s super careful, but they both rode it well,” said Babington.

“I was glad the time was a little bit tight because for my horses, they’re both experienced and I was able to do a couple of inside turns that kept me inside of the time. It was tight enough and the first three jumps were a little bit difficult, but there were a few places you could make it up.”

Babington had a fantastic week with both horses, particularly with his mount Mark Q, who finished in second place in the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Spring Grand Prix on Friday. Babington commented that he felt Mark Q jumped much better in the jump-off than in the first round on Friday and the feeling was mimicked on Sunday.

“Mark Q was second on Friday and when he came back on Friday, he jumped much better in the jump-off than he did in the first round. I knew that I could really challenge him and take some risks. I did eight strides from one to two, which was the leave-out number,” he explained. “When I was approaching the jump, he swapped leads, so I found a waiting distance and really had work for the eight and then I knew I could stay on that rhythm and everything came up just fine.”

Discussing the ride on his second mount Shorapur, Babington commented, “On Shorapur I knew the eight from one to two may be too much for her. She’s super careful at her oxers, so I stayed wide in nine and everything came up just the way I wanted it. I knew that if I added a stride down the line, I was taking a risk, but it worked for her to do the nine to the last jump and jumped it super well. I figured that if everything came up just right maybe Kent or Darragh would catch me, but all worked out well.”

Following his success at ESP Spring III, Babington will head straight to Kentucky to compete Shorapur, before gearing Mark Q back up for FEI competition in Kentucky during the month of May, with the ultimate goal of competing him at Devon in June.

“The reason I jumped Shorapur is because she’s going to do the class in Kentucky this weekend, we’re leaving tonight, so it was just a prep class for her. Mark Q did a lot at the beginning of circuit and very little at the end. He’ll do the regular FEI shows in Kentucky and then hopefully I will jump him in Devon in the Grand Prix. Shorapur will skip Devon and potentially do Upperville instead. I also have Super Chilled and we’ll just try to break it up a little bit with them to see where they will do best.”

Hardin Towell and Hollywood Be Good Capture Top Honors in $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Spring Welcome Grand Prix

Hardin Towell of Camden, SC found himself atop the leaderboard once again during ESP Spring III, this time aboard Hollywood Be Good, owned by Kirsten Ostling, after the pair finished ahead of the class in the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Spring Welcome Grand Prix. The pair finished with a time of 35.683 seconds in the jump-off ahead of Kevin Babington and Mark Q, who completed the course in 36.486 seconds. Alberto Michan of Wellington, FL and El Pacho, owned by Pablo Mejia, rounded out the top three in 37.099 seconds.

The course, designed by Richard Jeffery, saw 26 entries tackle the main track, with 11 entries advancing to the jump-off. Kevin Babington piloted his two entries into the second round, while Towell also guided his two mounts successful into the short course phase as well. A total of seven combinations finished fault free.

Hardin Towell Guides Billy Cool to $10,000 Triple Crown Open 1.40m Stake Win

Towell and Billy Cool, owned by Oakland Ventures, LLC, rode to the top of the $10,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Open 1.40m Stake after stopping the course timers in 37.787 seconds. Towell also piloted Corona 93, owned by Oakmont Stables, LLC, to second place with a time of 41.134 seconds, finishing nearly four seconds faster aboard his first-place mount, Billy Cool. Lorcan Gallagher of Wellington, FL and Cassandra F, owned by Southern Arches, LLC, rounded out the top three with a time of 41.444 seconds.

The class saw a total of 40 entries with eight combinations advancing to contest the jump-off track. Towell and Paul O’Shea were the only two riders with two horses in the jump-off round, as half of the advanced field completed the class with zero faults.

For full results from the $40,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Spring III Grand Prix, click here.

For more information on PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Kevin Babington and Mark Q Win $72,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 4

Kevin Babington and Mark Q. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 31, 2019 – Irish Olympian Kevin Babington rode Mark Q to the win in the $72,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 4 CSI 4* on the grass derby field of the Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Thursday, January 31, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

Sixty-five entries contested Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup track set by Anderson Lima (BRA), with six horses qualifying to come back for the jump-off. When Babington and Mark Q entered the ring as the penultimate entry to return, Carly Anthony (USA) and Clochard, owned by Neil Jones Equestrian Inc., had set the time to beat at 44.13 seconds. However, Babington and his longtime partner, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, would make short work of that time, shaving off more than four seconds to ultimately clinch the win with a time of 40.03 seconds.

Jeff Gogul and Quintessa Stand Out in Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’6”

The E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Field kicked off competition Thursday at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a field of 20 horse-and-rider competitions contesting for the championship in the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’6” division. Ultimately, Jeff Gogul of Wilmington, Ohio won the top title with a total of 30 points to just narrowly overcome Kelley Farmer.

Gogul was aboard the nine-year-old warmblood mare Quintessa, who is owned by Roberts Stables, LLC. The pair earned first place in three of the five classes comprising the division which was enough to push them several points ahead of Farmer.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Babington Wins Second National Grand Prix to Close Kentucky Spring Horse Shows

Photo: Kevin Babington and Mark Q.

Lexington, Ky. – May 20, 2018 – The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic concluded jumper competition in the Rolex Stadium with the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, to close out the spring horse show series. Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) tested 31 athletes across his 16-efforts track, but Ireland’s Kevin Babington (IRL) was the only double-clear pathfinder with Mark Q to claim his second consecutive National Grand Prix victory of the series.

The technical track only saw four clear rounds consisting of just three different riders as Babington directed two mounts to the jump-off. Babington first entered the second round aboard his own Double O Seven 7, but with one rail the pair ended on four faults in a time of 43.260 seconds, to be overtaken and they finished in fourth place.

Next in the ring, Alex Granato (USA) and Moyer Farm LLC’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Beorn, followed to better their time in 41.221 seconds, but with one rail down they still left room for improvement. The duo once again claimed the third place prize, repeating their finish in last week’s $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix.

Todd Minikus (USA) returned next aboard Amex Z, the 9-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by the Bit By Bit Group, to fly to the speediest time of 39.168 seconds, but also misplaced one unfortunate rail and the 4 fault total placed the pair into the second position.

The last to enter the jump-off round, Babington knew all he needed was a clear, conservative round aboard Mark Q and the duo delivered as the only horse-and-rider combination to produce the long-awaited double-clear effort in a time of 47.272 seconds. He and the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding claimed the win to repeat Babington’s victory in last week’s $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix with Super Chilled.

Earlier in the day, the $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix saw 18 horse-and-rider combinations tackle the 16 effort track created by Guilherme Jorge (BRA). Six athletes jumped clear rounds to qualify for a competitive jump-off that saw each athlete pushing the time limit. Abigail McArdle and Plain Bay Sales LLC’s Fanta Light B were the fastest pair in the jump-off to stop the timers at 35.025 seconds.

The 8-year-old mare recently moved up the ranks during the Florida winter season with McArdle. The pair secured big wins at the Palm Beach Masters and a CSI2* at the Winter Equestrian Festival class. McArdle plans to continue to bring the young mare up the Grand Prix level ranks.

Lacey Gilbertson and her superstar mare, Baloppi, come in close for second at 35.037 seconds. Gabriela Reutter and Juan Reutter’s Atticus Diamant jumped to third with a time of 34.707 seconds.

Jordan Allen and Eclypse Eliminate Competition to Win $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic saw hunter competitors vying for the top prize in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by the World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows. Twenty-five horse-and-rider combinations entered the Stonelea Ring with hopes of capturing the top prize, but no one could catch Jordan Allen and Eclypse, who claimed first place with a total score of 184.

The first round of competition asked athletes to demonstrate their skills over a lengthy course which involved bending lines and multiple combinations. After all 25 horse-and-rider teams completed their course, the top 12 athletes who scored an 80.5 or higher were asked to return for a second handy round. During the handy round riders demonstrated their horses’ handiness by executing tight turns and a trot fence was also added to the course.

Allen and Eclypse dominated both rounds of derby competition by scoring a 92 during round one and again during round two. Their scores could not be caught by any other competitor, which included veteran riders such as Jeff Gogul and David Beisel. Allen utilized all available opportunities for points, including all four high option fences during round one and round two. Allen and Eclypse, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Holly Orlando, teamed up during Week 11 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida where they placed consistently in the Junior Hunters.

Second place was earned by Samantha Cooper and Nandino, a 10-year-old Brandenberg Warmblood owned by Ellen Malson. The pair put in a first round score of 89 and a second handy round score of 93 for a combined total of 182.

Last week’s National Derby winner at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Jeff Gogul and Quite Ruffy, captured third place with an 86 in round one and a 91 in round two for a 177-point total.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
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Super Chilled Keeps His Cool to Win $35k Commonwealth Grand Prix with Kevin Babington

Photo: Kevin Babington and Super Chilled.

Lexington, Ky. – May 13, 2018 – The final day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show highlighted national jumper competition in the Rolex Stadium with the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, presented by AUDI of Lexington, and the $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Hollow Creek, to conclude the first week of competition in the spring series. Sunday’s featured victories were awarded to Kevin Babington (IRL) and Eugenio Garza (MEX) in their respective classes.

In the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, the first round saw 32 starters over Robert Murphy III’s 17-effort course, resulting in a 10 horse jump-off. With two mounts in the class, Babington increased his odds when he piloted both Super Chilled and Shorapur to clear rounds and into the jump-off. Babington and the first of his two rides, Debra Wycoff’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Super Chilled, scored a double-clear round in a time of 38.761 seconds to capture the gelding’s first grand prix win. An unfortunate rail with Shorapur LLC’s Hanoverian mare ended with the pair in seventh place.

Ramiro Quintana (ARG) rode Corento VH Dingenshof, the 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Smith Hogan LLC, to a double-clear finish in 40.217 seconds for the second place ribbon. Third place was awarded to Alex Granato (USA) aboard Moyer Farm LLC’s Beorn. Granato and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding finished just behind Quintana with a time of 40.449 seconds.

Prior to the National Grand Prix, 25 riders challenged a very difficult 1.50m track in the $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by Hollow Creek. Many of the athletes found trouble at the final combination, consisting of a triple combination to a liverpool oxer, and only the final two riders of the class cleared all 17 efforts fault-free with room to spare under the altered 88 second time allowed.

The head-to-head jump-off saw Sloan Hopson and her own Costa Rica VH Waterschoot Z put the pressure on as they flew to a clear second round in a time of 46.081 seconds. Eugenio Garza followed as the final rider in both the first and second rounds, knowing he had nothing to lose with longtime partner Bariano. Garza and the 17-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, owned by El Milagro, flew to the finish in 41.127 seconds to earn the victory. Garza concluded a successful first week at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, hot off his third place finish in Saturday night’s $131,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3* with Armani SL Z. Hopson and her 10-year-old Zangersheide mare settled for the second place finish.

Lacey Gilbertson and Teddy Vlock ended the first round with just one time fault, but as the faster of the two, only 10 milliseconds over the time allowed, Gilbertson earned the third place ribbon, finishing in 88.018 seconds with Seabrook LLC’s Cobolt. Vlock received the fourth place prize.

Darragh Kenny also concluded a successful week, capturing the Leading Open Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Envisian Products, with a total of 28 points based on wins in Thursday’s $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* and Saturday’s $131,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3*.

Kelley Farmer and Jeff Gogul Claim Top Prizes in USHJA Hunter Derbies

Hunter competition continued in the Stonelea Ring with the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, which concluded competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. At the end of the handy round of competition, it was Jeff Gogul and Just Ruffy that put in the best effort to take home top honors in the National Hunter Derby. Directly after, it was veteran rider Kelley Farmer and Aizlynn Radwanski’s Because who claimed the blue ribbon in the International Hunter Derby.

During the USHJA International Hunter Derby, 24 competitors tried for the champion ribbon, but no horse-and-rider combination could catch Farmer, who took home the top prize with a cumulative score of 392 after both rounds of competition. Farmer sat in a good position to claim the lead in some fashion, as she had entered with four different horses. Farmer and Because tackled the first round of competition with ease, despite some technical elements to the course including a wall fence that was placed in challenging location. During the handy round the pair secured the highest score of the day by utilizing all four of the high option fences in addition to accumulating 15 handy bonus points from the judges.

In second was another veteran hunter rider, Jennifer Alfano aboard her own Candid, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding. The pair rode to second place with a cumulative score of 382. Alfano also claimed third place with Sharon O’Neill’s Miss Lucy with a score of 380.50. The pair recently placed second in the $50,000 USHJA Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.

Earlier in the day, the USHJA National Hunter Derby took place in the Stonelea Ring as well. Athletes navigated over a 10-fence course that offered four high option fences. The top twelve riders were asked to return to complete a handy round where they demonstrated their capabilities over a trot fence and multiple options for tight turns.

Despite being a relatively new combination, Jeff Gogul and Just Ruffy dominated the first round of competition with a score of 91. They were the only competitors of the day to achieve a score in the nineties, which put them in a good position entering the handy round. After the handy round, the pair had a cumulative score of 180. Just Ruffy has been a reliable derby mount for Gogul, having won six derbies during the winter season at the World Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina.

Second place was captured by Jordan Allen and Eclypse, a 10-year-old Hanoverian owned by Holly Orlando. The pair narrowly missed tying for first place with Gogul, acquiring a final cumulative score of 179. In a similar fashion, Alyssa Mansfield and Candor placed in a third with a score of 178 after two rounds of competition.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
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Minikus and Babington Claim Top Finishes during ESP Spring III

Todd Minikus and Amex Z. ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – April 25, 2018 – The third installment of the ESP Spring Series concluded on Sunday, April 22, after a successful week of wins for Todd Minikus and Kevin Babington at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

The week boasted yet another win for Todd Minikus of Lake Worth, FL and Amex Z, owned by Chris Brems, in the $25,000 Spring Welcome Grand Prix on Friday, April 22. This victory was Minikus’ fourth Grand Prix win of the series, and the second for this specific mount. The pair topped the class of 39 entries, blazing through fast track timers in 39.592 seconds. Second place was captured by Fabio Levias da Costa of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Tosca de L’esques after contesting the eleven-horse jump-off in 39.592 seconds. Third place was rounded out by Celso Ariani of Wellington, FL and Dali T, owned by Rodrigo Padilla and Ricardo Romero, who completed the jump-off in 41.893 seconds.

A total of 31 entries contested the $40,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Grand Prix on Sunday, April 23, but none could catch Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, PA and Shorapur, owned by Shorapur LLC, who stopped the clock in a winning time of 39.258 seconds.

Second place went to Margie Engle of Wellington, FL and Gladewinds Farm Inc.’s Bockmanns Lazio, who rode through the Richard Jeffery designed jump-off course in 40.409 seconds. Emanuel Andrade of Wellington, FL took third with his own Hardrock Z, jumping off in 40.867 seconds.

Jumper Highlights

Avery-Anna Hogan of Wellington, FL and her own Eurocommerce Tampa rode to victory in the $1,500 NAL Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic after completing their jump-off trip in 38.268 seconds ahead of Emerson Lane of Miami, FL and Diddlina D’Ive Z, owned by Lane, who took second with a time of 39.756 seconds. Katie Sansone of Coconut Creek, FL and Tropobella 3K, owned by Sansone, earned third place after riding to a jump-off time of 39.925 seconds.

The $10,000 Triple Crown Nutrition Open Welcome Stake awarded the win to Pablo Barrios of Wellington, FL and Gut Einhaus, LLC’s Le Vio with a jump-off time of 29.246 seconds. Emanuel Andrade of Wellington, FL and his own Jenni’s Chance were presented with second place after completing the track in 29.753 seconds. Joaquim Malta de Abreu of Wellington, FL placed third with Two Swans Farm’s Arino du Rouet with a jump-off time of 30.207 seconds.

The $5,000 Omega Alpha® 1.35m Stake saw Alexis Trosch of Wellington, FL and her own Cortex Z, owned by Trosch, take first place, stopping the jump-off timers in a quick 33.929 seconds. Fabio Leivas da Costa of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Luziada Jmen, owned by Bonne Chance Farm LLC, took home second place after finishing the track in 34.601 seconds. Leslie Howard of Darien, CT scooped up third place aboard Flo, owned by GJ Stable, finishing with a time of 35.412 seconds.

Hunter Highlights

The $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby saw Kaitlin Porath of Charlotte, NC and her own Breaux take the championship title, after earning a total of 182 points after round two of competition. Lisa Rex of Westbury, NY and Over the Top Stables LLC’s Overjoyed secured reserve champion honors on 178.5 points. The yellow ribbon was snatched by Kelsey Duff of PBTD Ruffian, FL aboard Renee Eddy’s Playin’ for Keeps after riding to 175 points.

Nancy Hooker of Wellington, FL and Coolidge, owned by Richard Prant, took top honors in the Adult Amateur Hunter Older Division during ESP Spring. Marcie Marcus of Villanova, PA and Caliber Z, owned by Marcus Equestrian Enterprises, LLC, rode to reserve.

Katherine Newman of Wellington, FL aboard Dandelion, owned by Allwyn Court, secured champion honors in the Triple Crown Nutrition Green Hunter 3’6″ Division, ahead of Maria Rasmussen of Oak Creek, WI aboard Sidarta, owned by Over Fences Farm, LLC.

Alexa Elle Lignelli of New York, NY and Fox Creeks Curious George, owned by The Lignelli Family, finished atop the Score at the Top Medium Pony Hunter Division ahead of Georgia Schmidt of Lutherville, MD, who collected reserve champion with Cleverist, owned by Emily Aitken.

Maggie Gould of Wellington, FL was awarded champion of the USHJA 2′ & 2’3″ Hunter Division aboard winning mount Masterpiece, owned by Alexandra Raffy. Reserve champion was presented to Alliyah Antoniadis of Middletown, NY and True Colors, owned by Joe White.

Margaret O’Meara of Kirkland, WA captured a tricolor ribbon aboard Just Nick, owned by Woodland Way, Inc., in the USHJA Hunter 3′ Division. Denise Monopoli of Loxahatchee, FL and Poetry in Motion, owned by McKenzie Wade, finished as reserve champions.

The Gold Coast Feed Performance Hunter 3’3″ & 3’6″ Division saw Havens Schatt of Georgetown, KY riding Aristocrat, owned by Tracy Scheriff-Muser, collect the division’s champion honors. Reserve champion also went to Schatt and Use the Ring LLC’s Noble Blue.

Amelia Ruth of New York, NY and Broadway, owned by Carol Ruth & Sumner Hill Farms LLC, finished atop the #1 Education Place Junior Hunter 3’6″ Division. Reid Arani of Lexington, KY and Margot Bay Farm, LLC’s Soldier captured reserve placement.

Dagny Mactaggart of Millbrook, NY and Ziezo captured the Equiline High Junior Amateur Owner Division, earning champion, while reserve champion was awarded to Mireya Godoy of Wellington, FL and Paddy’s Dream Z, owned by Godoy.

Molly Sewell of Winter Park, FL and Inverness, owned by Leslie Campbell, took champion accolades in the Triple Crown Nutrition Green Hunter 3’3″ Division. Reserve champion was awarded to Havens Schatt and Totality, owned by Jennifer Speisman.

Competition will resume at PBIEC on Friday, May 4, with the fourth week of the ESP Spring Series continuing through Sunday, May 6. For more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Kevin Babington and Super Chilled Earn First Win of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival

Kevin Babington and Super Chilled. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2017 – The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off its first day of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL on Wednesday with a win for Ireland’s Kevin Babington aboard Debra Wycoff’s Super Chilled in the morning’s $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 2, 2017, featuring competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation, with over $9 million in prize money up for grabs.

Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) is setting the jumper tracks in the International Arena at PBIEC for week one competition. Jorge began Wednesday with 13 entries in the 1.45m and six clear rounds. First to go, Conor Swail (IRL) set the pace in 62.36 seconds with Quite Cassini, owned by Vanessa Mannix, and finished in second place. Babington and Super Chilled soon took over the lead with their time of 59.97 seconds. Molly Ashe (USA) took third place in the end riding Audi’s Dimple, owned by Maarten Huygens, through the timers in 64.16 seconds.

Super Chilled is an Irish Sport Horse gelding (by Gelvin Clover) that is coming nine years old this season. Babington and owners Debra and Kirk Wycoff purchased the gelding from Irish Olympian Greg Broderick when the horse was six years old. Babington has taken his time producing Super Chilled over the last few years and stepped up to the grand prix level at the end of the 2016 season.

Remarking on his opening WEF victory, Babington stated, “It is a good start to the season. It feels great, especially on that horse. He did really well as a seven and eight-year-old, so I am really excited for his nine-year-old year. He is really consistent; he doesn’t knock too many rails.”

Babington plans to compete Super Chilled in some three-star classes throughout the circuit and has his ultimate goal to move the gelding up to four-star competition by the end of the winter. Describing the horse and his ride, Babington detailed, “On the ground he is a super sweet horse. He was quite head shy as a young horse. When you are on his back, he is very sensitive. You would never take your jacket off [when] on him, or if I have to adjust my spurs or anything, I have to have somebody hold him. He is very sharp. In the ring, he was always quite rideable. He was a little bit weaker on one side than the other, but now it is coming together and he is lovely to ride.”

Babington was fourth in the order of go and knew what he needed to do after watching the first few rounds before heading into the ring.

“I saw Conor go first, and he had a really smooth round, so I tried to do pretty much the same numbers,” the rider explained. “I think I did one less back on the third jump and that was the plan. For the first day, I thought it was a nice speed track because there were lots of options. There were plenty of places you could leave out a stride right off the bat. He gave you three inside turns that were all very doable for the first day in the ring, and the horse handled it really well.”

With a nice win to start off the 2017 circuit, Babington looks forward to a great winter. In all, Babington has over 30 horses in Wellington for the season, including four horses that he will show at the grand prix level and several nice young horses that he will ride himself. In addition, young professional Oliver McCarthy will be riding for Babington this winter, taking on the rides of some sale horses and helping with client mounts to give Babington more time for training his students. Babington, his wife Dianna, and trainer Sissy Wickes will all make up the team working together this winter for Kevin Babington LLC.

“I have a great group of horses for myself this year, and we have a really good group of clients and an excellent staff here, so I’m excited about the circuit. We will be busy,” Babington concluded.

Also competing in the International Arena on Wednesday, the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40 speed class was held in a California Split with 112 entries. Laura Chapot (USA) and Mary Chapot’s Zealous were the winners in Section A, and Daniel Coyle (IRL) rode Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita to top honors in Section B.

The 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival continues with its second day of competition on Thursday featuring the $25,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup in the International Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.