Tag Archives: McLain Ward

US Show Jumping Team Prepared for Podium Battle in FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Aachen

Kent Farrington and Gazelle (RedBayStock.com)

Aachen, Germany – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team will be composed of four Olympians when it competes in FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Aachen on Thursday, July 20. The powerhouse team of Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, and McLain Ward will face eight nations, all fielding elite talent in their own right, as they seek to secure a podium finish. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland will lead the U.S. team, having drawn second in the order, and has set the following order of go:

Kent Farrington and Gazelle: Farrington (Wellington, Fla.), the current world number one ranked show jumper, and Gazelle return to Aachen riding high off a successful few weeks in Spruce Meadows. The Olympic team silver medalist and his and Robin Parksy’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare won the prominent ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup during the ‘North American’ CSI5* presented by Rolex earlier this month and the ATB Financial Cup in June. Additionally, in May, they narrowly edged out a victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid CSI5*.

Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden and Coach: Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) began testing Coach at the five-star level at the beginning of the year where he showed his Grand Prix potential early. With the two-time Olympic team gold medalist aboard, Abigail Wexner’s 2008 Holsteiner gelding impressed early on with standout performances during the Winter Equestrian Festival. They collected a fifth-place finish in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* and a fourth-place finish in the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO4* Grand Prix. Most recently, the budding combination placed third in the CP Grand Prix during the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI5* and are prepared for their toughest challenge to date in Aachen.

Laura Kraut and Zeremonie: The Olympic gold medalist and Zeremonie return to Aachen after helping the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team to a bronze-medal finish in the 2016 FEI Nations Cup Final and a tie for the team silver medal in the 2016 FEI Nations Cup at CHIO Aachen. Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), continues to develop Zeremonie, Old Willow Farms 2007 Holsteiner mare, at the five-star level, where they earned a third-place finish at CSI5* Knokke, Belgium earlier in the month.

McLain Ward and HH Azur: The Olympic gold medalist and current world number two ranked show jumper, along with the 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare, have risen to the top of some of the world’s most prestigious competitions. They secured an Olympic team silver medal in Rio de Janeiro and captured the lucrative Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final title in April. In a year that garnered massive success, Double H Farm and Francois Mathy’s HH Azur got a much-earned rest following the World Cup Finals. In June, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) added HH Azur back into the rotation seeking their next big victory. Most recently, they placed fifth in the CP Grand Prix during the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI5*.

Watch the event live beginning Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EST on ClipMyHorse.tv.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

McLain Ward Wins $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*

McLain Ward and Rothchild (Photos: The Book LLC)

Devon, Pa. – June 1, 2017 – Thursday night at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair belonged to world number two ranked rider McLain Ward of Brewster, New York, who surpassed 28 contenders to claim the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4* for the ninth time in his career. Ward rode the 16-year-old chestnut Warmblood, Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farms, around the famed Dixon Oval in front of a packed crowd, consisting of diehard show jumping fans to Pennsylvania locals, hoping to witness some of the greatest names in the sport of show jumping go head-to-head for the most coveted trophy in the Devon collection: the Celeste McNeal Harper Perpetual Trophy.

Great Britain’s Kelvin Bywater put riders to the test, challenging the international field of athletes with his technical first round track consisting of 12 obstacles each set at 1.60m in height.

Jonathan McCrea (USA) set the tone for the evening as the first to navigate the course fault-free aboard Candy Tribble’s Aristoteles V. Second to turn in a clear ride was Devin Ryan (USA) riding his own Cooper, while Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) gave Luibanta BH a clear ride for Gochman Sport Horse LLC. The remaining riders to join the jump-off were Aaron Vale (USA) riding Finou 4, owned by Thinks Like A Horse, and Ward and Rothchild.

In the end, Rothchild reigned supreme for the second time, after also winning with Ward in 2013, in the five-horse jump-off, thrilling spectators and galloping through the timers in a speedy 41.21 seconds.

McCrea was first to return to take on the shortened course, and set the time to beat at 4 faults in 46.260 seconds, which would earn him fifth place at the end of the evening. Ryan was second to return and was the first to clear the course penalty-free in 42.110 seconds, garnering him second place honors in the final standings. Derbyshire followed with another fault-free round, finishing just behind Ryan in 42.560 seconds, which would be good enough for third place. Vale returned as fourth in the jump-off order-of-go, but added 4 faults to his name in 42.950 seconds to finish in fourth place.

The enthusiastic crowd erupted as Ward and his longtime partner, Rothchild, were the final pair to cross the finish line with all of the rails intact. The ever-expressive gelding threw his infamous buck at the end of his stellar performance, knowing he had secured the title of $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4* champion.

Rothchild and Ward continue to make headlines with their impressive performances throughout the world, including those at the 2015 Pan American Games where the pair won individual gold.

To conclude the night, Beezie Madden (USA) was presented with the Richard E. McDevitt Style Award for displaying the best style of riding throughout the evening aboard Breitling LS.

Maggie Jayne and Standing Ovation Victorious in $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

After cooler weather earlier in the week, blue skies and sun set the stage for the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Wheeler family, at the iconic Devon Horse Show. Thirty-one horse-and-rider pairs were put to the test and brought many spectators elbow-to-elbow on the fence line of the Dixon Oval to catch a glimpse of the action.

Maggie Jayne and Standing Ovation

The two panels of judges consisted of Rick Fancher, Chris Wynne, Bob Crandall and Bobbie Reber. The lead score of 178 in the classic round was tied between Tori Colvin aboard John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC’s Cuba and Pony Lane Farm’s Standing Ovation, ridden by Maggie Jayne, for much of the first round. Allen Rheinheimer designed the course, which consisted of 11 obstacles with four high-option fences for those looking to increase their score. Both riders opted to jump all high-option fences in the classic round.

It was not long before Tracy Fenney entered the ring and laid down a trip worthy of the new leading score with MTM Farm’s MTM Outbid, collecting a score of 182.5 after expertly navigating all four high-options.

The top 12 riders in the classic round were called to the winner’s circle to take their ribbons before competing in the handy phase. Taking home top honors in the classic round was Fenney and MTM Outbid, while Standing Ovation earned the second place ribbon and Cuba secured third place.

The leading combinations returned in reverse order in hopes of impressing the judges to move up in the standings and collect valuable points towards the upcoming USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in August.

In the handy phase, Standing Ovation and Jayne were third to last to go. They separated themselves from the pack to ultimately claim the highest overall score of 375 points, once again nailing every high-option and proving the 10-year-old Warmblood stallion’s rideability to nab a score of 197 from the two judging panels in the handy phase.

The reserve champion tricolor award was given to Colvin and Cuba, who jumped three of the four high-options in the handy to end with a total of 367 points overall. Cuba also walked away bearing the Shapley’s Best Turned Out award.

Redfield Farm’s Baranus rounded out the top three with Cassandra Kahle in the irons after returning from the first round sitting in eighth place with 167 points. Kahle knew she had to step up her game if she wanted a chance to move up in the ribbons so she and Baranus successfully took on all four high-options in the handy round. The duo garnered the third place ribbon after collecting an overall total of 361 points.

In fourth place with a total score of 360.50 was Candid, owned by veteran hunter rider Jennifer Alfano, ridden by Kristy Herrera. Herrera, longtime student and friend of Alfano, was the winner of the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship aboard another Alfano-owned mount, Miss Lucy. The winners of the first round, Fenney and MTM Outbid, finished the class in fifth place overall with 356.5 points.

Amanda Murchison Earns Back-to-Back Devon Blues in Three-Gaited English Show Pleasure

Word after waiting nearly 30 years to compete at the historic showgrounds. It has also always been one of Murchison’s dreams to win a Devon blue in front of the Dixon Oval crowds. Murchison fulfilled that dream not once, but twice as she rode away with the Robin Hill Challenge Trophy for the second year in a row in the Adult Three-Gaited English Show Pleasure class on Thursday.

Murchison of Hookset, New Hampshire and CH Spread The Word have been working together for about three years. In that time, the duo has claimed some of the highest honors within their discipline. Together, they’ve won the United Professional Horsemen’s Association American Saddlebred Adult Amateur Show Pleasure Horse of the Year and the reserve World’s Champion of Champions Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure.

In the Junior Five-Gaited Saddle Horse division, Sallie-Mason Wheeler and Ceil and Kenny Wheeler’s Bodidly rode away with the first place prize. Gabriella Snyder and Callaway’s There’s No Stopping Us earned second place, while Julia Wester and The Paper Girl JJW finished in third place.

Devon Donates $430,000 to Bryn Mawr Hospital

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair and the Bryn Mawr Hospital have been longtime partners in the community. This past December, following its 120th anniversary, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair presented a $430,000 donation to Bryn Mawr Hospital.

The donation is the third installment of a five-year, $2 million pledge made by the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in support of Bryn Mawr Hospital’s modernization project.

Devon Horse Show chair Wayne W. Grafton, Devon Horse Show president Richard O’Donnell and the 2016 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair co-chairs Karin Maynard and Beth Wright presented the donation to Bryn Mawr Hospital president Andi Gilbert.

“Devon has been extremely generous towards Bryn Mawr Hospital for nearly 100 years. Their extraordinary $2 million pledge towards our ‘For Every Generation’ capital campaign is just the latest example of their generosity,” said Gilbert. “These volunteers give up themselves year round so that we can provide an enhanced experience for our patients and families.”

The $253 million modernization project, the most significant investment in Bryn Mawr Hospital’s history, was put into motion so that the 123-year-old hospital can continue to provide and improve upon its exceptional patient care. The project will include a new intensive care unit to be named in honor of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.

“It’s an honor to be a longstanding contributor to Bryn Mawr Hospital,” said Grafton. “The ability to present this check each year is directly tied to the success of the show, which is run by thousands of volunteers to whom we are grateful.”

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Win $35k New York Welcome Stake CSI2* at Old Salem Farm

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z. Photo by The Book.

Two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward topped the $35,000 New York Welcome Stake CSI2* riding HH Carlos Z on Friday, May 12, at the 2017 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, running May 9-14 and May 16-21 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY.

“Carlos felt really good today. We tried to bring him back slowly throughout the Florida season and stepped back up to 1.50m at the end of WEF, and I really felt that he was back in a good place.” — McLain Ward on HH Carlos Z’s comeback after being sidelined by an injury in the fall.

Currently ranked number two in the world, Ward and longtime partner HH Carlos Z, owned by Double H Farm of Ridgefield, CT, won top honors over a field of 62 horses. The pair crossed the timers in 36.23 seconds from the 28th position in the original order. Their time over a power and speed track built by designer Ken Krome of Westminster, MD stood for the win.

Peter Wylde Wins $6,500 Open Jumper 1.35m

U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Peter Wylde topped the $6,500 Open Jumper 1.35m, presented by Wells Fargo Advisors Blaustien-Clancey, riding Canamera 2 on the Grand Prix Field at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows.

“She’s a superstar! She is certainly one of the best horses I have, but I also think she might be one of the best horses I have ever had. She’s extremely careful, has all the scope in the world, and is very brave. I’ve been to championships, have had horses that have gone to championships and she feels like that kind of horse, but I want to do what’s right for the horse and not rush. If we get there, great!” — Peter Wylde

Wylde and Canamera 2, an eight-year-old Holsteiner mare (Clarimo x Carthago) owned by Kathleen Kamine, were double clear and quick to top a starting field of 58.

www.oldsalemfarm.net
www.jumpmediallc.com

Newly Crowned FEI World Cup Champion McLain Ward Moves to World Number One

McLain Ward with HH Azur (Liz Gregg/FEI)

McLain Ward (USA), the newly crowned Longines FEI World Cup™ champion and two-time Olympic team gold medallist, has reclaimed the world number one spot in the Longines Rankings.

“It is always a great honour to be number one. It reflects the consistency at the top level that we all strive for. Being named number one in the Longines Rankings immediately after my World Cup win is just a great feeling!” — McLain Ward

Ward and his 2016 Olympic mount HH Azur clinched victory at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha (USA) last Sunday, bringing the 2016/17 season to a fairytale close and boosting Ward up from fourth to the number one spot in the Longines Rankings.

He replaces Germany’s Daniel Deusser, who has held pole position since January and now drops back to third. Fellow US Olympic teammate, Kent Farrington, remains in second, with Christian Ahlmann (GER) dropping from third to fourth and Eric Lamaze (CAN) holding onto fifth place.

Ward made his Olympic debut at Athens 2004 when he was a member of the US gold medal-winning team. He earned a second Olympic team gold at the Beijing 2008 Games, and finished sixth individually at London 2012. Ward also won individual gold and team bronze at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games with Rothchild.

Despite announcing his retirement in April 2016, two months later Ward took over as world number one from French Olympian, Simon Delestre. Heading into the Rio Olympic Games in incredible form, Ward and HH Azur were foot-perfect throughout to help the US to team silver.

Press contact:

At FEI:

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

McLain Ward and HH Azur Deliver Five Flawless Rounds to Win FEI World Cup Jumping Final

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Omaha, Neb. – On his 17th attempt, McLain Ward with HH Azur won the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final title on Sunday in front of an electric home crowd in Omaha’s CenturyLink Center. The 2016 Rio Olympic team silver medalist combination jumped five consecutive clean rounds to secure the title that has eluded him his entire career. Switzerland’s Romain Duguet and Sweden’s Henrik Von Eckermann finished second and third, respectively. Seven additional U.S. combinations joined Ward, who all put forth great effort despite varying levels of experience.

“I’ve been a fighter, digger, and grinder my whole career. I try never to give up and try to keep working at it. The team works at it, and today’s just a culmination of a lot of people’s hard work,” said Ward.

A total of 26 combinations, including four U.S. combinations, advanced to Sunday’s Jumping Final where two rounds determined the champion. One rail separated the top three keeping the competition extremely tight. Switzerland’s Romain Duguet went clear to remain on four penalties putting extra pressure on Ward for a clear round. Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet had one rail, which put him at seven penalty points, overall, giving Ward extra breathing room. Resting on zero penalties heading into the first round of competition, the crowd watched in excitement and anticipation as Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Double H Farm & Francois Mathy’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare took on the course. Ward and HH Azur delivered a clean round to move to the second round still in the lead.

Charlie Jacobs (Boston, Mass.) with Cassinja S, CMJ Sporthorse LLC’s 2006 Zweibrücker mare, and Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) with Zeremonie, Old Willow Farms, LLC’s 2007 Holsteiner mare, joined Ward in the second round and ended with 20 and 23 penalties, respectively. After accumulating faults during each day of competition, Kraut ended on a high note with a clear round on Sunday.

“This was the first round where she actually felt like she normally does outside. She was loose and relaxed, listened to me, and was not so overwhelmed with the environment. She will come out of this with more mileage and experience, and I am looking forward to the future,” said Kraut.

Duguet continued to put the pressure on Ward, going clear in the second round to remain on four penalty points. Wathelet followed and dropped another rail giving him 11 total penalties. With no room for error, Ward and HH Azur remained focused and determined entering the arena. The dependable mare gave Ward everything she had to help Ward seal the victory.

“[Owners Hunter Harrison and François Mathy] are huge father figures in my life. I learned a tremendous amount from both of them. Much of who I am is because of these two men, and to have them both own what I consider the best horse I ever sat on in my life – it’s emotional enough,” said Ward, following his double-clear performance on Friday.

By Dana Rossmeier, US Equestrian Communications Department

Dream Finish for Ward as He Lifts Longines FEI World Cup in Omaha

McLain Ward on the winner’s podium with Romain Duguet (SUI) in second and Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) third. (Liz Gregg/FEI)

McLain Ward (41) couldn’t hold back the emotions when he finally clinched the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping trophy in Omaha (USA). It’s been a long time coming, and the victory was very, very sweet.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years or more, and I’ve come so close so many times and one way or another I’ve messed it up. I’m so grateful for my horses and the people around me like my groom, Lee, who has been with me for 29 years, they all helped me pull this off!”

Favourite from the outset and faultless all week with the brilliant mare HH Azur, the double Olympic gold medallist got a little more breathing space when second-placed Gregory Wathelet from Belgium had a fence down with Forlap in the first round. But Switzerland’s Romain Duguet stalked the New Yorker to the very end to take runner-up spot with TwentyTwo des Biches, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann moved up from sixth to third place when also jumping double-clear with Mary Lou.

Ward knew a pole down would lead to a head-to-head against Duguet, and any more than that would hand the trophy to his Swiss rival, so you could hear a pin drop as he set off, last to go over Alan Wade’s massive second course.

“I’ve been in this situation where I’ve cracked, so I took a breath and believed in my horse – and she did it!” he said after raising the roof of the CenturyLink Centre and taking his place in the history books as the 10th American to take the title in the 39-year history of this prestigious series.

McLain Ward USA – 1st: “My only game plan was to do the best I could every day and hopefully be in the hunt today. You have to go into these championships now knowing that you have to jump clear rounds to win. There’s no room for error.”

Romain Duguet SUI – 2nd: “I came here with no pressure. For me if I finished in the first 10 I was going to be really happy. I go day by day, so for me this second place was just a bonus today!”

Henrik von Eckermann SWE – 3rd: “When I decided to leave Ludger (Beerbaum’s) stables and go out on my own, Karl Schneider said he had this horse and I should come and try it and if I liked it he would keep it until September. So I tried her and I knew she was something special right away.”

By Louise Parkes

Press contacts:

At FEI:

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

At Omaha:

Marty Bauman
marty@classic-communications.com
+1 508-698-6810

Ward Wows the Home Crowd with Another Win on the Amazing Azur

McLain Ward and HH Azur. (Cara Grimshaw/FEI)

That longed for Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title is only one more competition away for America’s McLain Ward (41) who, for the second night in a row, rocketed to victory at the Centurylink Center in Omaha (USA) with the brilliant 11-year-old mare HH Azur.

“She’s an independent woman. I don’t think she needs me very much! I have to try to keep a handle on her, but she tries to give you everything she has, and she has a tremendous amount to give!”

The double Olympic gold medallist has wanted this title for a very long time and, at his 17th Final it is almost in his grasp. But with only a three-point advantage over runner-up Gregory Wathelet (36) from Belgium and just a fence separating him from third-placed Swiss rider Romain Duguet (36) going into Sunday’s decider, it’s far from done and dusted.

Wathelet won’t be a pushover, and is thrilled to have re-established his partnership with Forlap who he brought to top level before the gelding was sold. This is something of a #TwoHearts story. “He lost his confidence because he was passed around to several different riders, so it was a bit of a risk buying him back,” said the 2015 European silver medallist, who is clearly delighted the 12-year-old gelding is back home where he started, and relishing his job once again.

“The biggest challenge for me is to keep my head right,” admitted Ward. “It’s something I need to master, and I hope I can do that this weekend,” the man from Brewster, New York said.

FULL RESULTS can be viewed here.

McLain Ward USA – 1st: “In our sport there are three major events – the Olympic Games, World Championships and the World Cup Final – that we all very much want to win in our career: It’s a big deal!”

Gregory Wathelet BEL – 2nd (talking about his horse, Forlap): “I never expected him to get his confidence back so quickly but three weeks ago he started feeling good again. Today I decided to go a bit for the time; it’s always easier when you have a horse that fights for you. I knew McLain would be fast so I went quick but not crazy.”

Romain Duguet SUI – 3rd: “I’m very happy with TwentyTwo (his horse TwentyTwo des Biches). I have her since she was five years old; she’s never spectacular but she jumps clear rounds. It wasn’t my plan to ride her in the Final but my other horse was injured. TwentyTwo is only 10 but she proved she can be really good this week. We go day by day at this Final.”

By Louise Parkes

Press contacts:

At FEI:

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

At Omaha:

Marty Bauman
marty@classic-communications.com
+1 508-698-6810

Ward Wins First Round of Longines Final by a Whisker

McLain Ward and HH Azur. (Liz Gregg/FEI)

McLain Ward’s victory with HH Azur in the first leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final was so smooth that defending double-champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, showered his American opponent with praise. The double-Olympic team gold medallist, who posted the quickest time in 59.27 seconds, explained the course didn’t leave riders with a lot of options.

“It was big enough for the first night! In reality there was just a whisker between the top three. I was very fortunate.”

It was indeed a close-run affair as runner-up, Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (35), may well have overtaken him but for a small error between the second and third fences which saw him stop the clock on 59.58. “It should have been seven strides there but I did it in eight, and that was the whisker I think!” he said.

“I’m one of McLain’s biggest fans. On the circuit in Florida I like watching him any time,” the 2012 Olympic champion Guerdat said, after finishing third with a thrilling ride on the fiery mare, Bianca. With this result turned into points, Ward has only a two-point advantage over von Eckermann going into the second competition, while Guerdat is only a single point further adrift.

There’s €1,300,000 in prizemoney and the glory of taking the coveted Longines title to be sorted out by Sunday afternoon.

FULL RESULTS can be viewed here.

McLain Ward USA (1st): “We’re very lucky to have Santi (Santiago Varela ESP) and Alan (Wade IRL) the two very best course designers here. They put the test in front of you and they’re not afraid to put up big fences but they make subtle problems that always have a solution. Nothing tricky, Alan’s track always rides smoothly if you solve the test.”

Henrik von Eckermann SWE (2nd): “My horse is quite green. I started riding her in September when I started running my own yard and she’d only been jumping 1.45m before.”

Steve Guerdat SUI (3rd): “I’m happy with my position and the way my horse jumped. She felt very good but I think we have the right winner. I’m happy for McLain today. We knew he would be the man to beat this week and I hope we have a good fight to the finish!”

By Louise Parkes

Press contacts:

At FEI:

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

At Omaha:

Marty Bauman
marty@classic-communications.com
+1 508-698-6810

Sergio Alvarez Moya and Charmeur Win $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* at WEF

Sergio Alvarez Moya and Charmeur. Photos © Sportfot.

Kent Farrington and Dublin Top $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final; McLain Ward Takes 1.50m Series Overall

Wellington, FL – March 25, 2017 – Olympian Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) was the big winner in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* riding Charmeur on Saturday, March 25, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. Alvarez Moya beat out two-time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) aboard veteran partner Rothchild, and young up-and-comer Karen Polle of Japan riding With Wings.

Earlier in the night, Kent Farrington (USA) took the win in the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final riding Dublin, and McLain Ward (USA) won the 2017 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Series overall.

Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the course for the highlight event of the WEF circuit featuring 40 of the season’s top competitors from 17 different countries. Five entries conquered the first round course without fault to jump-off, and only two were clear in the tiebreaker.

Polle and With Wings were first to jump the short course in 39.54 seconds, with one rail down, and ultimately finished third. Alvarez Moya and Charmeur followed, setting the challenge with a clear round in 37.76 seconds. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Coach had one rail in 40.20 seconds to place fifth. Laura Kraut (USA) and St. Bride’s Farm’s Confu also dropped one rail in 39.81 seconds to take the fourth place prize. Last to go, Ward and Sagamore Farm’s Rothchild raced through the course, taking a different inside turn that no one else tried, but still crossed the timers in second place with a time of 38.30 seconds.

“I am super happy. My horse jumped amazing,” Alvarez Moya said of his ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Numero Uno x Gelha’s VDL Emilion). “I just went as fast as I could. I saw Karen go, and then I knew I had to start fast from jump one, and keep going to the end. My plan was to go one more stride to the combination, but I had a good eight strides, and I just trusted my horse. Then to the next oxer I had a good gap as well, so I could go and keep on pushing. I actually saw one stride less to the next vertical, but I thought that was maybe too much. I don’t think I left much room for the others, and it worked out well.”

Alvarez Moya had a fantastic WEF circuit, placing third in week three’s $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* and second in week four’s $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4* with G&C Unicstar de l’Aumone, third in week seven’s $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5* aboard Arrayan, and again third in week nine’s $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5* with Charmeur before taking the biggest prize in week eleven.

Remarking on his success, Alvarez Moya stated, “For me, this is one of the best shows in the world. Most of the best and most competitive riders in the world are here. I think that to have so many weeks here, and to be so consistent, is a great opportunity to bring a horse up like this. I have had Charmeur since he was six years old, and I just feel very happy and very proud that we got to win a five-star grand prix here. I have a feeling that this is the grand prix that every rider in the circuit wants to win, and I was just lucky that I won this one, and not the others.

“The horse does not have so much experience at this level,” Alvarez Moya continued. “He just got better and better here at this show. I think it is a great place to bring horses up, and obviously to jump such a grand prix they have to be really ready. I think from here on, we can go anywhere in the world.”

Saturday night concluded Alvarez Moya’s time in Wellington for the winter circuit. The Olympian, European Championships silver medalist, and reigning Spanish champion is now headed to compete in next week’s FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final with top mount Arrayan before continuing his season in Europe.

For Ward and longtime mount Rothchild, the pair gave it their best on Saturday night, but settled for second place. Detailing his round, Ward stated, “I have to watch (Rothchild) a little bit on the slice to the verticals, so the first two jumps were a bit of a challenge for me. I went in and I looked at the cut inside the gazebo, and I decided not to do it. Then when I turned back on the oxer, I kind of saw the line, and I knew I was too slow one to two to have a chance, so I figured at that point it was worth the risk. I thought maybe at that point, the turn did so much that I did not have to go as fast to the last fence. I took a little bit off, but Sergio did not leave much room.

“I’m thrilled with the horse,” Ward said of the 16-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding (Artos x Elegant de l’Ile). “This is his eighth year jumping grand prixs in Palm Beach. He is just a remarkable animal. I am blessed to have had him, and I am really excited to be able to keep doing it with him.”

Polle and her 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Larino x L. Ronald) With Wings also finished out an excellent 2017 WEF circuit with their top three finish. The pair earned back to back victories in week nine’s $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup and $380,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, leading up to Saturday night.

“It is definitely a great feeling,” Polle noted. “I am really happy that Wings and I are so consistent at this level now, and that we are in these jump-offs. I thought the course tonight was really, really tricky. It was definitely the trickiest grand prix that I have jumped this circuit. It was very big. I had to work hard, but I thought it was very nice to ride.”

Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo wrapped up a fantastic evening of show jumping with his remarks and congratulated the top riders.

“I think there is consistently great sport at WEF,” Bellissimo stated. “The crowd has become a lot more engaged, and you can see the people really following the sport. I think there is top sport here, and we are very excited about it.

“I want to thank Rolex,” Bellissimo continued. “This festival went into a different transition when Rolex came on board. We started four five-star events and have some of the best riders in the world competing. I am hopeful that next year will be even more exciting and an even better series of outcomes.”

Margie Engle (USA) earned the Leading Lady Rider Award for week 11, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Farrington Tops Suncast® 1.50m Final; Ward Takes Suncast® Series Overall

2016 U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington and his mount Dublin were the winners of the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final on Saturday night at the Winter Equestrian Festival. After the final competition of the 2017 series, two-time Olympic team gold and one-time team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) secured his lead in the standings and took home the championship title overall.

The 1.50m final held its first round on Saturday afternoon, with forty-nine entries starting over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) first-round course, and 13 advancing to the evening jump-off. Only four riders cleared both rounds without fault.

Portugal’s Luciana Diniz was first to clear the short course in 44.26 seconds aboard her own and Arnaldo Diniz’s Lennox to end in third place. Ali Wolff cleared the track next in 48.93 seconds riding Quirie 2 to a fourth place finish. Canada’s Tiffany Foster upped the pace in 43.05 seconds with Artisan Farms’ Brighton to place second. Last to go, Farrington took the win in 41.90 seconds with his own and Tanma Corp.’s Dublin.

Kent Farrington and Dublin

“I am really excited. I thought the horse went great today; I thought both of my horses did,” Farrington stated following his win, as well as an eighth place finish aboard Sherkan d’Amaury. “I have been bringing them along this winter really slowly. I started them both in the 1.35m and built them up this whole winter. To finish off with them both going clear in the 1.50m final was a great accomplishment for them regardless of their results. The win was a bonus.”

Farrington purchased Dublin, a ten-year-old German Sport Horse (Cobra x Calido), at the start of the winter. The gelding previously showed with Carly Anthony (USA) under the ownership of Artisan Farms.

“He is extremely careful,” Farrington detailed. “He is actually quite difficult to ride. He is so careful that he borderlines on too careful almost, where he goes too high. I think this horse really needs to bond with a rider and have a lot of confidence. I actually carry a lot of speed with him, even in the first round, to give him confidence so that he does not go too high.

“Whether or not he will allow you to really have total control over him, I do not know,” Farrington continued, “but if we can find a good compromise in the middle like today, then I think he has a big future. Time still has to show us, but we are off to a great start, and we will see where it takes us from here.”

Remarking on his jump-off, Farrington added, “I trust that horse’s quality, so I know that I can really go at high speed to the jumps and trust that he is going to miss the rails. I thought he did an incredible roll back to the vertical by the in-gate. I do not think I even touched the reins there; he just flew back on that jump. That is probably where he won it.”

Saturday’s competition brought the overall Suncast® 1.50m Series standings down to the wire, but USA’s McLain Ward held onto his lead coming into the night’s event and earned the championship title for 2017. Ward qualified for the jump-off with two mounts, Tina la Boheme and HH Carlos Z, finishing sixth and seventh in the final class to secure his lead overall.

For his win, Ward was presented a two-year lease on a beautiful new Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE. Ward remarked, “It feels great to win the series. It would have been nice to win the final, but the horses jumped well all winter. I had some nice young ones that really stepped up well. I am really proud of how Tina La Boheme has continued to be a great competitor, and it is nice to have Carlos back. He is still maybe a touch rusty, but close.

“I think it is a great series, a very competitive series,” Ward continued. “These classes are hard. I think it gives an older horse a chance to get going in the season, and it gives a younger horse a class to step up into where hopefully they are not over-faced by the height. I was happy with both of my horses tonight, and we had a nice year.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, David Oberkircher and Southfield Farm’s Castelino van de Helle won the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers. Giavanna Rinaldi topped the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch, aboard Nuvolari Holdings’ Commissario.

Gochman Sisters Prevail in Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under

Mimi Gochman captured the championship honors in the Engel & Völkers Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, while her younger sister, Sophie Gochman, earned the reserve title. Both girls show out of Palm Beach, FL. Mimi Gochman piloted Scott Stewart’s Caldwell to the win in the handy and in one over fences trip, to second place finishes under saddle and in the stake round, as well as a sixth place ribbon over fences.

Mimi Gochman and the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding have come a long way over their two years partnered together.

“The first year I rode him, I had some complications getting his leads and stuff,” she detailed. “Now, I have him in a good stride, and he is a very good boy. He is very lazy, and it just took me a while to get things right on him. He tries so hard and is so sweet around the barn. I am really proud of our trips this week and happy that we finally got it right.”

Commenting on the success she has achieved with her sister at WEF, Mimi Gochman said, “It is really nice to do so well down here with my sister. We switch on and off all the time, sometimes she is champion, and today it was my turn. It is nice we share the victory.”

Sophie Gochman guided Garfield, an entry owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, to two second place finishes over fences, a third place ribbon under saddle, and a third place finish in the stake round.

“Garfield is 15, so he really knows what he is doing,” Sophie Gochman said of the chestnut Holsteiner gelding by Coriano. “I can trust him with any distance. He is so sweet and cute, but he can also be a bit of a shark at home and when jogging. I love him a lot! It feels really good to be reserve and have my sister be champion because WEF is a really competitive show, and there are so many good riders here.”

The eleventh week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 2* in the International Arena. The Visse Wedell, Realtor Small Pony Hunters will determine championship and reserve honors in Ring 11. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt Capture $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt. Photos © Sportfot.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Top $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic; Scott Stewart Wins Tricolor Ribbon in CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″

Wellington, FL – March 2, 2017 – It was an Irish victory on day two of CSIO 4* competition at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), as Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt captured the win in round eight of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Also competing earlier in the day, McLain Ward (USA) returned to the winner’s circle for week eight with a win aboard HH Carlos Z in the $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic.

This week’s edition of WEF Challenge Cup competition was held as a one-round speed class with 59 entries starting over Ken Krome’s (USA) course with ten clear rounds. Sweetnam, aboard his own and The Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt, clocked the winning time of 69.13 seconds. The pair edged out Todd Minikus (USA) and Wyndmont’s Valinski S, who settled for second place in 69.91 seconds. Reigning World Champions Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED) and SFN Zenith, owned by Springpaarden Fonds Nederland and W. van der Ham, placed third in 71.43 seconds.

“He jumped great today,” Sweetnam said of Cobolt. “Obviously these classes are never easy, so it was great to win it. I was thinking I would get caught because we went in the first half of the class. Normally the second half, towards the end of the class, can get really hot. Leslie (Howard) was pretty quick at the end there, but luckily she knocked a fence.”

Describing his round, Sweetnam stated, “I think the course builder did a good job. There were a lot of numbers, and a couple of rollback turns that you could make up time. In the last line there was a leave-out, which I did take a chance there. That could really help you win or lose a class. I felt the course suited my horse beforehand, and then it did work out well.”

Eleven-year-old Cobolt is a Swedish Warmblood gelding sired by Sweetnam’s winning mount Cyklon 1083 (x Camaro M). Sweetnam admitted that although the gelding has many similarities to Cyklon, it took some time for the partnership to develop.

“He is similar to Cyklon. He looks similar and they have the same sort of attitude,” Sweetnam detailed. “He likes to go fast, and he is naturally quick. Cyklon is still going and I have a very special place for him. He has won everywhere, and I do not think there are many horses as good as Cyklon at what he does, so it is hard to compare them. We judge Cobolt as a different character.

“He is improving. He is getting better and better all the time,” Sweetnam said of the horse that he has only been riding for a year. “Sometimes it is easier to get a younger horse and develop them through because you get to know their buttons earlier. When you get an older horse that has done a bit with another rider, it can be hard to get them into your program. It honestly took me six months to really click with him, but since the start of the summer he has won a lot. Between Kentucky, Toronto, Tryon, and now here, he has had a great year.”

Ward Wins with HH Carlos Z

2016 Olympic team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) returned to the winner’s circle during week eight at the Winter Equestrian Festival with a victory aboard veteran mount HH Carlos Z in Thursday’s $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic. Despite some time off due to an injury sustained in October, the speedy 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire) was in fine form to top a field of 78 competitors.

Ken Krome (USA) set the course, which yielded 17 starters for the jump-off, and another ten clear entries over the short track. Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and G&C Durania K were first to go in the jump-off, setting the pace with a clear round in 40.66 seconds to eventually finish third. Ward and Double H Farm’s pint-sized gelding soon took over the lead in 39.50 seconds. Later, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny jumped into second place with a time of 40.32 seconds riding Kerry Anne LLC’s Bolero III.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z

Following some recuperation for his injury, ‘Carlos’ started out in a few small classes this winter and came out ready to play on Thursday.

“We have just been giving him some time to heal and slowly getting him back,” Ward detailed. “This is the first time I have actually moved him up to a 1.45m event, so it was good.

“Carlos is a funny horse,” Ward continued. “He always feels a little bit like a pony, and then he steps up and does the job. He is just so fast everywhere. He felt like he got a bit stronger through the class today, and that is always a good sign.”

Commenting on his focus while getting Carlos back in top form, Ward added, “Funny enough, he is not a hot horse. He is actually a cold horse, and you have to really energize him. He is so careful, so I just try to keep him confident. He has been such a great speed horse over the years, and he anticipates everything, so you just have to monitor that a little bit.”

Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Katherine Strauss and All In won the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series Welcome, and Christina Firestone (USA) and Arwen were victorious in the $1,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 1.40m.

Scott Stewart Wins Tricolor Ribbon in CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″

Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL and Status, an entry owned by Rivers Edge, earned an impressive total of 40 points in the CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″ division to win the championship title. Stewart piloted the gelding to two wins, as well as second and third place finishes over fences. The pair also won the under saddle.

“He’s really easy and laid back,” Stewart said of the coming six-year-old Oldenburg by Straviaty. “We bought him as a three-year-old. He did well in both the Pre-Green Incentive and Future Hunters class at Capital Challenge last year.”

Week eight is Status’ third show of the 2017 season. The gelding was reserve champion during weeks five and six in the same division.

Katherine Newman of Wellington, FL guided Dandelion, owned by Allwyn Court, Inc., to the reserve tricolor ribbon. The duo won an over fences, placed second in the other three jumping classes, and sixth under saddle. Dandelion is a 2006 Dutch Warmblood Mare by Heartbreaker.

“We imported her as a nine-year-old and took our time getting her in the ring,” Newman explained. “We started showing her in July of last summer in the Baby Greens. She moved up here at the start of circuit. She’s really laid back and is actually a huge tomboy, not mareish at all. She’s very easy and is really fun to ride.”

Newman was a successful junior rider in the equitation and jumper rings. As an aspiring professional, she runs Allwyn Court with her parents, Kathy and Gerry Newman.

Speaking of her winter circuit, Newman said, “I’ve had a great winter circuit here at WEF this year. I’m not as busy as a lot of the other people, but it’s been a really fun year so far!”

Competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival continues in the International Arena on Friday featuring the $10,000 Griffis Residential CSIO Speed Stake during the day and the $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup CSIO 4* in the evening. The Young Hunter 3’6″ division will award championship honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.