Wellington, FL – March 31, 2018 – In the biggest grand prix of the season, it was Margie Engle of Wellington, FL who was victorious with Gladewinds Farm Inc.’s Royce in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* in the final “Saturday Night Lights” event of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Forty top combinations vied for a chance to win the final five-star grand prix and the biggest prize purse of the circuit. Six were able to find the key to a clear round over a track designed by 2016 Rio Olympic Games course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil.
The first clear round of the jump-off came from Luis Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) and Comic, owned by Santa Cecilia Stables. They stopped the timers in 42.52 seconds, which held up for second place. Finishing in fourth place was Mexican Olympian Enrique Gonzalez on his own Chacna. They had four faults in 41.47 seconds.
Slotting into third place as the fastest four-faulters were Conor Swail (IRL) and Rose Hill Farm’s Rubens LS La Silla, who stopped the clock in 40.17 seconds.
Engle and Royce were able to speed around the jump-off course to take home their second individual five-star victory in a time of 39.35 seconds.
Katie Jacobs-Robinson and Rocklyn Are Victorious in Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Over 35
Katie Jacobs-Robinson piloted Rocklyn, an entry of Robinson Ridge LLC, to the championship tricolor early on Saturday morning in the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Over 35 3’6” division. The duo has been together for two years and clinched the win with a blue ribbon under saddle and a first, first, and fifth over fences.
TV ALERT! The $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, April 8, at 5-6 p.m. ET. Don’t miss it – watch live or set your DVR.
Hilary McNerney Pilots Contact to Top of $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
Mill Spring, NC – October 30, 2016 – Margie Engle of Wellington, FL and Indigo took home top honors in $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on the final day of competition of the 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District. Engle and Indigo claimed the victory with a speedy jump-off time of 39.42 seconds, while Ilan Ferder of Wellington, FL and Hunter ST Anna Z earned second place honors with a time of 40.121 seconds. Trailing by only milliseconds to claim third with a time of 40.174 seconds was Alberto Michan of Royal Palm Beach, FL aboard Chacco’s Goldy.
Engle and Indigo, a 2000 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Indoctro x Aea Dutch Lorel) owned by Gladewinds Partners LLC, completed the track set by Guilherme Jorge (BRA) early in the order before advancing to the jump-off. The course asked technical questions of adjustability and scope. Engle detailed her specific plan with her veteran partner Indigo.
“I’ve had Indigo for a really long time so the plan was pretty set with him. The first round was built a little bigger than I expected, but it was a very good track. The plank into the double was tricky, but I felt like he handled it great,” Engle added about her first round. “He has a very adjustable stride and he knows where all of his parts are. This course allowed him to open up.”
“In the jump-off, I was hoping to leave out a stride but he jumped so hard that he landed a little shallow. He is very quick and well balanced in the turns, always right there for me. I took a shot with the long gallop down to the last fence and he handled it very well,” Engle added.
Engle and Indigo have been partners for almost a decade now, competing successfully around the world, including a career highlight of winning the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2004. Engle is very selective with what shows she chooses to compete Indigo in now that he is getting a little older.
“He’s been a great horse for me. He loves what he does and is such a fighter in the ring. He is actually quite hard to control in the schooling ring,” Engle added with a laugh. “He is always trying and he would hate sitting at home. In his brain he thinks he is three and he has more energy than all of my horses put together.”
Engle and her team will head down to Wellington, FL for the winter, but she hopes to return to Tryon in the future, specifically during the 2017 season. She reflected on her experiences at TIEC, saying, “It is a fantastic facility. It is a first class facility for everyone and it has everything you want. There are tons of places to ride, big schooling rings, delicious restaurants, and unbelievable crowds. We hope to be back next year.”
The $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix offered competitors the opportunity to dress in costume for Halloween. Brittni Raflowitz of Palm City, FL was presented with the “Best Costume” award dressing herself and her mount, Baloumina Du Ry, as paratroopers.
Hilary McNerney Pilots Contact to Top of $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
Hilary McNerney of Lake Forest, IL and her own Contact collected the win in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). McNerney and Contact finished ahead of a competitive class, edging Fabio Andres Rodriguez of Colombia and Venus for the victory. The winning combination finished the track in George H. Morris Arena with a time of 30.809 seconds, while Rodriguez and Venus collected second place after crossing through the timers in 31.529 seconds. Emanuel Andrade of Wellington, FL and Belita took third place honors, completing their jump-off round in 31.72 seconds.
McNerney and Contact bested the three-horse jump-off after riding a forward and accurate round to finish ahead of Friday’s $5,000 Under 25 Welcome winners Rodriguez and Venus. McNerney has had a strong campaign at TIEC, finishing 10th aboard Z Acodate DDL in the $130,000 Asheville/Greenville BMW Centers’ Grand Prix CSI 3*.
Sunday’s competition marked the conclusion of the 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District. For more information on TIEC and to see full results. please visit www.tryon.com.
Mill Spring, NC – July 16, 2016 – Margie Engle (USA) and Royce have been a fixture in the sport of show jumping since 2011, and Saturday the pair captured their first major victory at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), besting a class a talented class of international competitors. The pair finished with an incredibly fast jump-off time, finishing two seconds faster than Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, who set the pace and stopped the timers in 36.69 seconds. Matt Williams (AUS) and Valinski S, who will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil later this month in their Olympic Games debut, secured third place with a time of 38.35 seconds.
Engle took over the ride on the 2004 Oldenburger Springpferd stallion owned by Elm Rock Partners LLC five years ago, and has established a strong and trusting relationship with Royce, which was a major contributing factor to their win. Engle, who is not easily deterred from laying everything on the line to earn a win, made a quick dash through the jump-off track set by Manuel Esparza (MEX), ultimately proving that the gutsy and bold round was worth the risk.
“Both Michelle Grubb and Alison Robitaille told me that when they walked one to two of the jump-off, they thought there were seven strides there. I think most of the combinations did eight and I felt like there was nothing to lose because we’re in the jump-off,” she detailed. “I then decided to do eight up the middle. They raised the jumps a little bit for the jump-off, which helps him because he’s really a power jumper.”
“I am just so thrilled. He tried his heart out and I wanted to move it up a notch from what I did on Thursday here. I knew I had some fast combinations coming up behind me and I had to take the shot when we had the chance,” elaborated Engle. “This has been a great week for us and he’s jumped fantastic here. I’ve been so impressed with each part of this competition.”
The class featured 41 entries and saw eleven combinations return for the jump-off round, which proved to be problematic for many of those who advanced to contest the short course. Only Engle, Vanderveen, and Williams finished the evening with a double clear effort, while the other eight combinations accumulated faults.
“In the first round, I thought there were more clean than I had anticipated. The course walked hard enough. This was a nice break for Royce though, in a way, because he’s only been doing the CSI 5* shows in Europe,” commented Engle. “He was thrilled to be here on good solid footing and I was very happy with the way he went on Thursday too.”
Engle and Royce were selected as a potential combination to represent Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to be hosted later this summer, and Engle noted that Royce gained valuable experience competing at the observation events in Europe throughout the spring and summer. The stallion received a lengthy rest period after arriving back stateside and this week’s competition proved to be a welcome return back to the international ring.
“He’s been learning how to go faster and faster and I have to thank the owners of this horse, who have been very patient with us from the beginning. He’s always had all of the jump in the world, but we’ve really focused on rideability with him,” commented Engle. “We started working with U.S. dressage rider Lisa Wilcox this past winter to help us with the flatwork and the adjustability.”
“I haven’t pushed him in a jump-off since Europe, so I figured today I was going to go for it and that was fast for him. We left out strides in the first two lines and then he turned super for me to the Horseware® vertical,” she explained. “To the skinny oxer I just kept squeezing and the distance was really far away, but I relied on his natural scope and he jumped it incredibly.”
This was Royce’s first trip to TIEC and Engle felt the pair was able to apply much of what they had worked on in Europe in their two appearances this week, which led to their top finishes. She stated, “He’s a horse that does better in a bigger ring, which is why he has done so well here. He’s naturally a little bit of a slower horse, so indoors is not his cup of tea. He’s really good in new places. This is his first time here and I have been so happy with how he feels and the way he’s been going.”
Engle has competed around the world and remains one of the most decorated riders of the sport, having made appearances for Team USA in nearly all of the major championship events during her career. Her return to the winner’s podium elated the crowd, as many spectators have idolized and followed Engle’s lengthy and successful career very closely through the years.
“They had a great spectator turnout tonight, which always makes a class special. It is more fun to ride in front of a crowd that is engaged and energetic. I couldn’t have asked for a better result,” she smiled. “This is a spectacular venue all around, one of, if not the best in the world. The rings and the footing are incredible and we’re very happy to be here. We’ll be staying next week for the CSI 4* and hope to continue with the success from this week.”
Engle’s longtime groom Joy Montgomery was awarded with the Groom’s Initiative Award presented by Mark Bellissimo and Tryon Equestrian Partners, for her commitment and care of Royce and the other FEI horses in Engle’s string. Montgomery has been a staple of Engle’s program for many years and her dedication and hard work continue to ensure their team’s success. Engle was presented with the Leading Lady Rider Award, presented by real estate broker Meg Atkinson, for her top performances in this week’s FEI classes.
Competition at Tryon Summer III concludes Sunday, July 17, featuring the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Classic CSI 4* and the $10,000 High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic in the George H. Morris Arena. Tryon Summer IV will begin on Wednesday, July 20, and continue through Sunday, July 24. For more information about TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.
La Baule, France – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team took the Silver medal in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at CSIO5* La Baule in France on Friday. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, the team of Lucy Davis, Margie Engle, Lauren Hough, and Todd Minikus put in solid rounds to finish on four faults. This performance sets an excellent tone for the summer as the event served as the first of four observation events for members of the Short List for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team, as part of the selection process for the Team. The field of eight nations was stacked with some of the world’s top talent, producing a close competition to the very end. The Netherlands topped the leaderboard on one fault and the home country of France came in third on five faults.
“It definitely went well today; we beat some really good teams. Going head-to-head with the best in the world is why we are here,” said Ridland. “To come out with four clear rounds right off the bat was impressive. It was a great effort. The course was not tricky or highly technical, but it wasn’t easy. This is a wonderful show with a great crowd; it was great to be back here at one of the best shows in the world.”
The Americans had a foot-perfect round one, with the first three combinations, Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala, Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm Inc.’s Barron, and Engle (Wellington, Fla.) and Elm Rock Partners, LLC’s Royce, all turning in clear rounds. These performances put the U.S. forward to round two in a four-way tie for the lead on zero faults. Anchor combination, Minikus (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Jack Snyder and Two Swans Farm’s Babalou 41, put in a round one performance in an effort to qualify for Sunday’s Grand Prix. The pair also produced a clear round, giving the U.S. the only clean sheet in round one.
Round two did not start as smoothly as round one, with lead combination Hough and Ohlala pulling three rails. Davis and Barron got the U.S. back on track with a second clear round that was followed by another double-clear effort from Engle and Royce. When the order got down to the final combinations for each nation, the competition was extremely tight. The U.S. and The Netherlands were on zero faults, followed closely by Switzerland and Great Britain on four faults. Going before the U.S. in the order, Switzerland’s anchor rider had the last fence down to add four faults to their score, and the Dutch came home with one time fault. The pressure was on Minikus and Babalou 41 as they entered the arena. The pair had a solid round over the wet ground, but an unfortunate rail at fence four meant it would be the Silver medal for the U.S.
“They all handled the pressure great,” said Ridland of his team in round two. “That part of it is the fun part, and they certainly all buckled down. Margie and Lucy were able to duplicate their clear round one efforts and we were more than in the game when Todd went in. It was ours to win, and Todd came really close; the horse had a little slip in the turn and then the rail down, but that’s show jumping. With so many great teams here, we are pretty pleased with today.”
“The course was straight forward, and we had a lot of clears in first round,” said Engle. “I was really pleased with how Royce jumped as he is fresh off a break. It did take him a little bit to get used to the footing because it was soft, but he handled it well. They raised the jumps a bit in round two, and he felt even better. He held his composure and kept his energy level up which was nice – he was super. The whole team here felt really positive; everyone has been in good spirits.”
This Nations Cup competition marked the fourth of the year for the U.S., having showcased great results in Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup events at Ocala and Coapexpan, where they placed first and second, respectively. The U.S. also finished second at the FEI Nations Cup in Wellington.
“The year is young, but so far we are having a really good year,” said Ridland. “We have competed in four Nations Cups with 16 different horses, that shows incredible depth in both the riders and horses we have.”
Margie Engle and Abunola. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Kelley Farmer and So to Speak Are High Performance Hunter Champions
Wellington, FL – March 17, 2016 – Week ten of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Thursday with a win for Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock LLC’s Abunola in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10. Competing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, Engle and Abunola bested a field of 83 horses and riders, with Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Houston finishing second, and Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) aboard Venturo 9 placing third.
Please note that the $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* has been moved to Saturday morning due to expected heavy rainfall in the evening. The grand prix will begin at 11 a.m. in the International Ring at PBIEC.
WEF 10, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, features CSI 3* jumper and ‘AA” rated hunter competition running March 16-20, 2016. The week features the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic on Friday, the $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, and the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.
Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set the course for 83 starters in Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup, with 14 entries going clear to advance to the jump-off. Vaillancourt’s tiebreaking short course then yielded six double clear rounds. Engle and Abunola clocked the winning time of 41.68 seconds, sixth to go in the jump-off order.
Eric Lamaze with Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Houston immediately followed in the second place time of 41.87 seconds. Lorcan Gallagher and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Venturo 9 completed their round in 43.78 seconds to finish third. Danielle Torano (USA) and Callas III earned fourth place honors in a time of 43.94. Ilan Bluman (COL) and Blue Star Investments’ Ladriano Z placed fifth in 43.98 seconds, and Chris Surbey (CAN) and Linda Southern Heathcott’s Doremi finished sixth in a time of 50.97.
Engle put together a partnership with Rich DeMartini and Lea Allen to purchase Abunola in September of 2015 and has been taking her time to get to know the horse over the last several months. She won her first class with the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Numero Uno x Voltaire) in November competing in a $50,000 HITS Welcome Stake in Thermal, CA. She has since had consistent results competing in Wellington throughout the winter.
“She is a lovely mare,” Engle detailed. “I watched her some last year and liked her. I was then fortunate enough to have Rich DeMartini help me put a partnership together to buy her, and they have been very patient as I have been getting to know her.
“She has a lot of blood,” Engle continued. “When I first went out to California she was great. I think here I maybe left her a little too fresh. Even though the heat is not great for everyone else, it is perfect for her. It just kind of settled her down, and it did not hurt her one bit. She has a lot of energy and nice blood. She is light on her feet and just lovely to ride.”
Speaking of the first round course, Engle stated, “I was thrilled with the way she went. She rode beautifully the first round. I thought the course was tough enough. It was very technical, and it was a tricky track. He actually got not that many clean for how many were in it. It is a hard class to build for, and I thought he did a fantastic job without making it crazy big.”
Engle also appreciated the short course, noting, “I liked the jump-off when I walked the course, which was nice. She is very easy to accelerate, so you just kind of think it, and she is ready to go. I ride her in smaller spurs than any horse I have ever ridden. She was really good in the rollbacks. Rolling back on the liverpool, I was very pleased with her there, and also the rollback on the Rolex jump, the second to last jump. I was very happy with her. She has been very consistent here; we just needed a little bit of luck to go our way.
“I was teasing Eric (Lamaze) that he was kind enough to share a class with me,” Engle laughed. “He has dominated, and when I knew he was going after me, I thought I would be happy with second place because he has been kind of unstoppable in these classes.”
Despite a case of mononucleosis, Engle battled through for a great win on Thursday. Always a fierce competitor, she was determined to compete and came out with a worthy result.
“This is good medicine,” Engle stated. “This win was very much needed.”
Engle will now prepare Abunola to jump in Saturday’s $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*, which has been moved to the morning instead of being held at night under the lights due to expected rainfall.
Commenting on the change, Engle stated, “I hope it will suit her. I will have to see how much I undid her by going fast today because sometimes with a horse that is a little sensitive, if you go quick with them, sometimes they get a little buzzy. Those are things I will have to figure out with her, but if she goes even close to like she did today, I will be very happy.”
In addition to the winning prize money on Thursday, Engle picked up a $3,000 bonus for wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion.
Also competing in the International Ring on Thursday, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Main Road, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC, won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m jump-off class.
Kelley Farmer and So to Speak Are High Performance Hunter Champions
In the early morning fog, Kelley Farmer and So to Speak, owned by Glefke & Kensel LLC, won the High Performance Hunter championship. They placed first, third, and third over fences, won the stake jumping class, and were second in the under saddle.
The reserve championship went to Autumn Rhythm, ridden by Sloane Coles for Nilani Trent. They won two over fences classes and placed third and fourth in the remaining two. In the under saddle, they were third.
Farmer and her veteran partner So to Speak, a past USEF Horse of the Year winner, have been consistently winning at the Winter Equestrian Festival this winter. With his experience, the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Stakkato had no trouble with the foggy conditions.
“He’s pretty consistent,” Farmer said. “He’s shown enough everywhere that that kind of thing doesn’t bother him. He’s a pretty straightforward guy. It probably made him focus more.”
As one of Farmer’s favorites, So to Speak can get away with being “a little bit of a brat around the barn.” Farmer laughed, “He’s a little bit of his own character. He’s got an interesting personality, but I love that. I like my horses to have a little character. He wants to be careful and jumps in really good style. I love him. He’s one of my babies.”
Farmer and So to Speak will be back in action at WEF during week 12 for the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
The tenth week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday with the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic featured in the International Ring in the morning.
The Ariat National Adult Medal will be the highlight class in the Rost Arena. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
SAUGERTIES, NY (June 9, 2014) – Margie Engle spent much of the HITS Saugerties spring series on the bench recovering from the flu, but returned to the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium in top form Sunday. Engle rode young-gun stallion Royce, owned by Elm Rock Partners, to take a high-stakes blue, winning the $100,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix.
She also jumped her faithful Indigo, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Garber, Griese, Hidden Creek and Gladewinds, to second place.
Engle bested 27 contenders to qualify both mounts, resulting in an eight-horse jump-off. She had vastly different expectations for each horse. “Indigo is seasoned but when I go too fast he gets flat. While Royce is just starting to learn how to put on the gas when it’s most needed,” she said.
With Indigo, Engle was precise but visibly conservative before putting Royce to the test. The latter’s turns were all tighter than the track she chose with Indigo, and the clock confirmed their efforts flawless.
Despite Royce’s inexperience, the 10-year old Oldenburg Stallion is proving to be the horse Engle hoped and envisioned he could become, with solid training, from day one. Her face lit up as she reviewed his performance. “We have been working on his rideability a lot the past year… Had I tried for this speed when we started there would have been a lot of drive-by fences out there today,” she said. “He has a big stride, but coiled up over those fences and added perfectly.”
Course Designer Martin Otto, of Muenster, Germany created a track of 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts. Many felt the greatest challenges were technical. Variations in striding were wide-spread in several lines during the first round, while the jump-off ideally suited those with a longer reach. Both horse and rider had to think and adapt quickly.
Leann Kelly of Valatie, New York was the first to crack Otto’s course aboard Leander for Honorway Farm, LLC. Next to go, Engle and Indigo guaranteed a jump-off before six more eventually joined them. This included Kevin Babington and Mark Q, Laura Chapot on ISHD Dual Star, Lillie Keenan with Pumped Up Kicks, Julie Wells and Daloubet du Rouet, Engle on Royce and Todd Minikus aboard Aries.
Kelly returned first and set an immediate Great American Time to Beat at 44.53 seconds, but was quickly bumped from the top by Engle who crossed the timers in 41.87 seconds on Indigo.
Four more competitors followed but were unable to take the lead from Engle. Aiming to beat her own time in the second-to-last spot, Engle put Royce’s emerging speed and turning capabilities to good use. “We were so sharp to the last vertical that he was almost parallel to it,” admitted Engle.
Royce, with an unbeatable pace and some breathtaking turns, stopped the clock at 40.33 seconds for the win. Welles piloted Daloubet du Rouet to third with a double clear performance in 42.44 seconds.
Babington guided his own Mark Q to two fault-free rides and finished the jump-off in 42.65 seconds for fourth, while Kelly rounded out the top five.
The sweet surprise after a $30,000 check and blue ribbon for Engle was one ton of Purina horse feed, courtesy of Purina Animal Nutrition. A faithful Purina customer, Engle was ecstatic with the prize. “We already feed Purina, so it’s the perfect end to this day,” she said.
Grand prix action returns to HITS-on-the-Hudson during the summer series which runs July 16 through August 3 as the race to qualify for the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix heats up. Keep track of HITS Championship qualifying at HitsShows.com.
$10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic presented by Bayer’s Legend®
The Bayer’s Legend® (hyaluronate sodium) Injectable Solution $250,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after classes of the HITS Championship. After a win in Sunday’s qualifier, successful junior rider Michael Hughes of Allendale, New Jersey, has his sights set on competing in this newest addition to the HITS Championship.
Hughes rode the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Luxina, owned by Christina Fried, to blue in the $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic presented by Bayer’s Legend® and continues to climb the Jumper Prix standings. “When I first saw the announcement of the final, I was ecstatic to do it and the million,” joked Hughes.
“This is my final year as a junior and last opportunity to compete in this class, so I’m focusing on it.”
Coming off a rest after competing at Devon, Luxina carried Hughes to a double-clear effort and the clock approved with 40.68 seconds. “She was impressed by this ring and jumps were big, which was great for us,” he said. “She’s smart – when she has to go big and fast, that’s exactly what she does.”
After winning the Week I Jumper High Classic, Mckayla Langmeier of East Granby, CT and her mare Classic Care were still in top form, taking second after Hughes. They were double clear with a time of 41.37, besting the other eight who advanced to the jump-off.
Lisa Deslauriers of New York, New York took third in 41.39 seconds aboard her own Hester. Fourth was Hannah Patten of Williamstown, Massachusetts and McLain Ward’s Carany, while Erin Haas of Ann Arbor, Michigan capped the top five in the irons of North Face Farm’s Udo DV.
Lexington, KY – May 17, 2014 – For the second year in a row, Margie Engle and Royce galloped to victory in the $75,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, at the Kentucky Spring Classic. This year was different though, as the talented duo had to best a 22-horse jump-off, showcasing not just power, but speed as well. Engle and Royce, owned by Elm Rock Partners LLC, made perfect turns and left each rail in place to finish ahead of eight other double clears and lead the victory gallop. Shane Sweetnam with Eregast van’t Kiezelhof and Pablo Barrios aboard Ambosell set the early pace, but had to settle for second and third, respectively.
Forty-five riders showed over Michel Vaillancourt’s first round track, which yielded a surprising 22 clear rounds, making the jump-off a true horse race, not unlike today’s Preakness Stakes. “They jump so well on this footing,” explained Engle. “You get a lot clean. It’s a good group of horses, and the horses love this footing.”
For the tiebreaker, riders had to make three major rollbacks, including two at the beginning from a wide oxer to a tall vertical and back to an oxer-vertical double combination. The horses that were able to make the tightest turns without a mistake ended up at the top of the leader board.
The first to return were pathfinders Pablo Barrios of Venezuela and Ambosell. They set the target at 41.937 seconds, and while they were able to do it without fault, many that tried to catch them did not have the same luck. One of the only horse and rider combinations to do so was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam riding Eregast van’t Kiezelhof for Spy Coast Farm. They were able to make the rollbacks nicely and gallop quickly to the final oxer to finish in 40.171 seconds.
“Eregast van’t Kiezelhof can really cover the ground, but he’s not used to doing jump-offs so he has to learn that a little bit,” noted Sweetnam. “I thought he did a good job. Maybe when he’s done a few more jump-offs, he can be even a little quicker than that. I was happy with him though.”
When Margie Engle entered the Rolex Stadium with Royce she knew there were multiple riders left to show and that she would need to give it her all. They picked up a quick gallop to the first oxer and never looked back, slicing the next vertical as sharply as possible and then rolling back quickly to the double combination. Engle and Royce left out a stride to the final fence, and all of the risks paid off when they blazed through the timers in a clear 39.801 seconds.
“I went faster than I normally do with Royce,” admitted Engle. “Slow and clean wasn’t going to be a big piece of it, and I’ve spent a lot of time just going slow with him. It was good practice for him to take a shot and practice going quicker. He’s starting to ride so much better. He sliced so quickly to the second jump, and then back on the double. That’s where it’s nice to have scope – he just exploded over it.”
Eleven riders tried to beat Royce, but no one was able to do so without error. Callan Solem was the only rider that came close after Engle’s round, completing a clear round with Horsehoe Trail Farm’s VDL Wizard, but her time of 41.939 seconds would only be good enough for fourth. Sweetnam and Barrios took home second and third, respectively, while Engle was the clear winner.
“It’s never over until it’s over,” laughed Engle. “With that many in it, and with me going early in the pack, I knew there were fast ones behind me, but I feel like we’re really starting to form a partnership now. He’s not naturally a fast horse. He’s a slower, scopier type, but he covers a ton of ground. I knew that I could turn hard to the double because he has so much scope that he can jump through there easily. He sliced the vertical in the middle really nicely too. He hasn’t done many jump-offs like that, so I am really happy with him.”
It has been a great two weeks for Engle in Kentucky, who just won last week’s $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix with Indigo. Tonight, she defended her title in the $75,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, having won it in 2013 with Royce. “Last year was kind of a turning point with him. I didn’t go as fast as tonight, but it was the first time I really started to push him. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a horse with his scope and ability. The rideability is getting better and better, and I am really happy with the partnership.”
Engle is part of the short list for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland was onsite to witness Engle’s victory. “Last summer I did the [Longines Global Champions Tour], and even showing two rounds was not really taxing on him,” said Engle. “That was the first time I had to show him a couple days in a row, and I think he’s got the ability to do that and not just do one class a week. At the World Equestrian Games it’s a lot of rounds. His natural scope and carefulness is amazing.”
The next stop for Engle and Royce will be the Devon Horse Show, followed by the Lake Placid Horse Shows, and then they will head to Hickstead and Aachen as part of the Observation Events for the short listed riders.
Engle concluded, “I am lucky to have nice owners. They have been really supportive, and they stood by me when I was injured. I feel really lucky to have people like that supporting me. Royce had a lot of raw ability when we got him, and they were fine with me taking our time and not going fast. Now it’s paying off.”
The jumper action at the Kentucky Spring Classic concludes tomorrow with the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior and Amateur-Owner Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch & Audi of Lexington in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Lexington, KY – May 11, 2014 – Reigning USEF National Show Jumping Co-Champions Margie Engle and Indigo may not have been making headlines this winter, but today they proved they are still a force to be reckoned with when they outpaced a 16-horse jump-off to win the $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix. Although Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra consistently top the leader board at the Kentucky Horse Shows, their two second lead over the other competitors was not enough to take home the win when Engle and Indigo produced a faultless effort, just fractions of a second faster.
“Indigo really felt back to his old self today,” smiled Engle after the victory gallop. “In Florida this year, he was clean in one of the classes earlier in the year, but he bruised his foot a little bit. He was a little uncomfortable, so I didn’t get to do very much with him there. He just wasn’t on his game. We gave him some time off, and since then he’s felt right back to himself.”
Thirty-nine riders showed over Richard Jeffery’s opening course, which ended up yielding 16 clears for the tiebreaker. With multiple top combinations to return, the short course became a horse race, which included a vertical-oxer double combination, a large brush vertical by the open water, and multiple bending lines, as well as opportunities to pick up a big gallop. Seven of the return combinations produced a faultless second round, but it was Engle who produced the fastest time.
Paige Johnson set the pace to beat as the first to return with Cambito, owned by Salamander Farm. The pair easily cleared all the fences and broke the beam at 41.540 seconds, which would hold up for the third place award. Young rider Ali Wolff was the first to come close to catching Johnson’s time with John Wolff’s Casall IV, but their clear round would be just shy in 41.723 seconds for the fourth place award.
When Pablo Barrios entered the arena with the ZL Group’s Zara Leandra, the crowd expected Thursday’s victor to be quick, and when he galloped through the timers 38.697 seconds, almost three seconds ahead of Johnson, it looked like he was the clear winner.
Margie Engle can never be counted out though, and as the last to return she had luck on her side. Engle and Indigo, owned by Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek and Gladewinds, easily made it over the first obstacles. They picked up a quick gallop to the combination, taking a huge risk and Indigo gave it his all over the large fences. As they galloped towards the final line the time was tight, but they edged out Barrios by stopping the clock at 38.113 seconds with all the fences intact.
“I knew that Margie would try to beat mine time, and I knew that if she could leave all of the rails up like she did she could definitely have the victory,” admitted Barrios. “I’m very happy. The other day I was after Margie in the jump-off, and I beat her time. Today, I was before her and she beat me. That’s the sport. The draw now has a lot to do with the winners. The horses are fast. The riders are fast. Whoever has a better draw has a better opportunity to win, and that’s what happened.”
Although Engle did not get to watch Barrios’ round, Donald Cheska gave her the winning tip. “Donald Cheska was very nice and had watched some of the rounds,” she explained. “He told me to take my time at the brush vertical by the water because a lot of horses were getting confused there, and he said everyone was slowing down and to take a shot at the in-and-out, so I followed what he said. He gave me a really good hint and it worked out. I took a very big shot going into the in-and-out and Indigo helped me out a lot there.”
Engle continued, “Indigo is a funny horse. I don’t go fast with him that often because he wants to go fast all the time. I felt like there were so many clean today I had to take a little bit of a shot, but he’s very good with turning. He’ll turn back to something and keep his impulsion really easily. I wasn’t in love with the long gallop to the in-and-out, but I came in at enough of an angle that it helped set him up a little bit. He tends to get a little flat if I leave out too many, but he jumped really well today.”
Over the years, Engle has won many major events at the Kentucky Horse Shows, and she loves returning to the Kentucky Horse Park. “It’s such a beautiful facility, and no matter what the weather does, the footing stays fantastic,” she commented. “The horses seem to really like the footing here. The footing couldn’t be better. It’s probably some of the best footing I show on anywhere in the world. It’s also nice to have open space to ride in. We’re able to ride the horses in the field, and it’s good for their brains and good for their muscles.”
Engle will be heading to Europe to compete at Aachen and Hickstead this year as one of the short listed riders for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and while she is away, Indigo will take some time to rest, focusing on the Lake Placid and HITS Saugerties Horse Shows for his next events.
Earlier today, the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Amateur-Owner and Junior Jumper Classics sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch and Audi of Lexington were held in the Rolex Stadium. The Amateur-Owner competitors showed first, and while seven advanced to the jump-off, only Ali Wolff was able to clear the short course aboard Brianda for the winning honors. Christina Firestone and Arewen were the fastest four-faulters to take home the second place honors, while Haley Gassel and Quite Dark 2 picked up the third place prize.
The High Junior Jumper Classic was next where it was Eugenio Garza claiming the top honors with Huapango, as well as the division’s championship title. The duo was almost four seconds faster than second place finishers Emanuel Andrade and AD Vangelys in the jump-off, and as Garza crossed the finish line he yelled “Happy Mother’s Day” to his mother, who was watching from the stands. Kelli Cruciotti was very close to catching Andrade’s time with Chamonix H and earned the third place award.
The jumper action at the Kentucky Horse Park will continue next week with the Kentucky Spring Classic, scheduled for May 14-18, 2014. Highlight events include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Thursday, the $75,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix sponsored by Audi of Lexington on Saturday, and Sunday’s $20,000 Bluegrass Classic.
Lexington, KY – May 9, 2014 – It can take time for new partnerships to come together in the sport of show jumping, but today that happened for Olympian Margie Engle and her new mount Eckham Van Het Steentje. The pair captured their first victory together with a double clear effort in the 1.45 Open Jumpers at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Engle only began riding Eckham Van Het Steentje for owners Elm Rock LLC in December, but today they proved they have been developing a winning partnership.
“He’s starting to ride better and better all the time,” smiled Engle. “I am really happy with Eeckem. He really felt like he put everything together today. He’s really elastic; he’s got a lot of talent, and I am really excited about him.”
Six riders advanced to the short course by completing Richard Jeffery’s first round track without fault, but only three managed to go faultless a second time. Pablo Barrios and Antares were the pathfinders, setting the time to beat at 33.201 seconds, which would eventually earn second place. Blythe Marano came very close to his time on Askarielle P, breaking the beam in 33.209 seconds for third place. Engle was one of the last to compete, and a sharp rollback early in the course had her finishing in a time of 32.963 seconds to capture the victory.
“He turned so nicely,” smiled Engle. “Before, he was rooting around the turns, so it was hard for me to get to the distances I wanted out of the turns. Today he turned really nicely and kept going. It was the nicest he’s felt. I was getting bits and pieces of it. He’s always been careful and scopey, but he really put it together today.”
Elm Rock LLC purchased Eckham Van Het Steentje in England last November, where the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood was being ridden by David MacPherson. “David is such a good rider, but he rides in a different style,” explained Engle. “He keeps them more collected, and Eckham needed to learn when I soften a little to back up. I was really happy with how he rode today. He’s really learning to back himself up in the combinations. I jumped into the triple, and now I am able to soften; he backs himself off.”
Engle continued, “I’ve been bringing him along kind of slowly during WEF. We just started moving him up to the 1.45m, and I am hoping to show him a grand prix in the coming weeks. It’s just a matter of us working together as a team and building a rapport. It felt like it was really starting to come together toward the end of WEF. It was nice to have a month at home because I was able to work him continuously and play over little jumps and really start putting everything together and not just be at the show all the time.”
Engle plans to show at HITS Saugerties and Lake Placid this summer, and she will also be traveling to Europe to compete at Aachen and Hickstead, having been named to the short list for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. She will be showing in the main events with Elm Rock Partner’s Royce, and Eckham Van Het Steentje might also make the trip to compete in some of the secondary classes.
The next event in the Rolex Stadium today was the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers, where Harrison Shure took home the winning honors with No Fear. Only two riders were able to produce double clear efforts, but Shure was a second faster than Alexa Lowe-Wiseman and Ami Du Houssoit, who scored the second place award. Whitney Lyon had the fastest four-fault jump-off with Bugs Bunny V Overis Z to take home the third place honors.
“I’ve ridden [No Fear] for about a year now,” said Shure. “He’s a fairly spooky horse, but once you go in the ring he knows his job and goes around nicely. This is the first time we’ve jumped in Highs in a few months, so he’s stepped it up a little bit. I thought we were pretty neat after the in and out during the jump-off, so we made up some time there. I got a late start in Florida because of a wrist injury, but it’s nice to be back in the groove now.”
Shure will be staying for the full two weeks of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows. He commented, “The horses are all really happy here. They love jumping on the footing, and it’s nice to be able to go out and ride in the field after showing.”
In the High Junior Jumpers, there were also only two clear rounds, but this time it was Chloe Reid with the fastest time, earning the winning honors aboard Victor E. Emanuel Andrade’s slower clear time with Tiny Tim was good enough for second, and Kelli Cruciotti’s quick four-fault effort aboard Chamonix H captured third place.
Tomorrow’s jumper action in the Rolex Stadium will kick off with the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic, beginning at 8 a.m. The weekend concludes with the $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix on Sunday at 4 p.m., but the riders will return to the Kentucky Horse Park for the Kentucky Spring Classic, scheduled for May 14-18, 2014.
Margie Engle, flying the Dolphins colors aboard the Griese’s horse Indigo. Photos by Kenneth Kraus.
Miami, FL – March 28, 2014 – Born and raised in Miami, Florida, America’s winningest grand prix rider, Margie Goldstein-Engle, is especially excited that the $200,000 American Invitational, presented by G & C Farm, has found a new home at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. After all, Engle attended South Miami High School and graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Business. Despite the business degree, her love since the third grade has always been horses.
Tickets for this year’s $200,000 American Invitational, presented by G & C Farm, are on sale now as well! Order tickets early for the best seating as one of the world’s most exciting and challenging show jumping classic comes to Miami, Florida, for the first time. You can avoid online ticket fees by calling the stadium box office now at (305) 943-6311.
Engle, whose family had little money to pay for her riding lessons, cleaned stalls in exchange for instruction at an early age and parlayed that experience into a career that has her ticketed for the Show Jumping Hall of Fame as one America’s most successful riders of all time. She is the only rider to win more than 200 grand prix classes and over the years Engle has amassed over $5 million dollars in prize money. She competed for the United States at the Olympic Games in Sidney, Australia, won the Team Gold medal at the Pan American Games and the Team Silver medal at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany.
Engle, who has competed in the American Invitational more times than any other rider, would love to post her first win in Miami. “It would be a thrill for me to win such a great class anytime,” she noted. “The American Invitational is one of the premiere events anywhere in the world. I think all of the riders really look forward to this event. But for me to win the inaugural event here in Miami would be just a super bonus for me.”
The Invitational, for forty plus years was held in Tampa, first at the old Tampa Stadium and more recently at Raymond James, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now, with the class moving to Miami Dolphins country and its new home at Sun Life Stadium, it’s the perfect fit for Engle and especially for her owners, Bob and Shay Griese. Bob Griese is the legendary, Hall of Fame quarterback of the Miami Dolphins and a longtime supporter of Engle. “I’m excited for the people of South Florida to have this event come to Sun Life Stadium.” said Griese. “If you’ve never seen this before, it’s really amazing. I look forward to going to these shows and watching all these horses jump and compete. These horses are the finest horses in the world. Fast, quick and very graceful. They are powerful and athletic as they go over these jumps.”
“It’s really special for me. I grew up in Miami. I remember coming to the stadium with my family as a little kid to watch the Dolphins play football,” Engle recalled. “It’s really neat to be able to come back here and compete. I’m so grateful for the support of Bob and Shay Griese, they have been with me a long time and they’ve been great supporters over the years.”
“He’s very excited about being involved in Show Jumping coming to Sun Life Stadium,” Engle reported. He’s just a down to earth, super nice guy; you’d never know what he’s accomplished by the way he acts. He studies the horses. He really looks at them from a different angle. He considers them athletes and really admires them for what they do as athletes. And he knows the difference between a good horse and a not so good horse. He’s gotten into counting the strides between jumps. He’s very intellectual and analytical, just the way you’d expect a hall of fame quarterback to be, but he studies them and knows what makes them jump better and go faster and be more competitive. He’s more knowledgeable than most owners,” she smiled.
Speaking of the American Invitational, America’s most prestigious event, Engle said, “It’s fantastic the way it’s grown. As I kid, even when I was grooming, I always wanted to go watch the American Invitational. Even if I had to hitch a ride and work all week for free, I always made sure I got to watch the American Invitational. It was always more exciting being in a football stadium. You know, it’s funny; I always thought, when we were competing over in Tampa, I thought, ‘This really has to go to the Dolphins Stadium.’ It’s such a great horse area and so good for equestrian sport. But I always thought that was just a dream that it would ever come down here,” she said. “And now, here it is. I remember once we did an event at American Airlines Arena and that was a huge success. So I think this event, given a year or two to build an audience will be just as successful if not more. It’s great for the industry for this event to come to South Florida.”
Tickets for the American Invitational, presented by G & C Farm are on sale now. Also, special up close tables in the Wells Fargo Private Bank Club, ringside at Sun Life Stadium, are on sale as well. The club offers the perfect location to watch America’s most challenging and exciting show jumping event. In addition to the great location, the club will feature sensational catering, your favorite beverages and first class service. The Wells Fargo Private Bank Club will be available for use during both the Hollow Creek $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Amateur Classic, as well as the main event, the $200,000 American Invitational, presented by G & C Farm.
To assure yourself of the best seats available, buy your tickets now. You can avoid online ticket fee by calling the stadium box office at (305) 943-6311.