New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley set an unbeatable target with Mick Jagger on Sunday during the $50,000 Voltaire Design Grand Prix at HITS Ocala. He was the first to return during the jump-off, and with a quick and clear effort that left the remaining riders trying to chase him, he took home the winning title. The only other fault-free effort belonged to Australia’s Scott Keach and Wild Thing for second place. Keach also placed third aboard his second mount, Noble De La Chapelle.
Comissario and Morgan Ward Cash In to Win $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix
Morgan Ward once again returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday, this time aboard Comissario after garnering the top score during the $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix. Turning in impressive scores of 85 and 86, the pair jumped to victory just ahead of Alexa Bayko, who claimed two of the top three spots with All of Me and MTM Dixon, respectively.
“Comissario is my solid citizen that I’ve had for a few years, and we’ve accomplished a lot of big wins,” said Ward. “He is my main man – the spoiled rotten king of the barn! I don’t ever ride him with a bridle at home. He would jump around this derby with no bridle if it were allowed. He’s the sweetest horse in the world!”
Callan Solem and Horion De Libersart. ESI Photography.
Ocala, Fla. – Dec. 18, 2022 – Callan Solem will have two more reasons to smile this holiday season after capturing two of the top three spots during Sunday’s $25,000 Masters Golf Cars Grand Prix at HITS Ocala. Solem piloted Horion De Libersart to victory during the four-horse jump-off and placed third aboard her first mount in the tiebreaker, Essenar Crixus.
Comissario Commands $2,500 HITS Holiday Hunter Prix with Morgan Ward
It was a very merry Saturday for Morgan Ward during the HITS Ocala Holiday Classic as she and her veteran partner Comissario dominated the $2,500 HITS Holiday Prix. The 17-year-old Warmblood gelding only competes during special events, and he once again shined in the show ring, earning scores of 92 and 95 to garner the winning title. The duo was also honored with this week’s Healthy Horse Award, sponsored by Omega Alpha.
Tracy Fenney and MTM Caepten. Photo by: ESI Photography.
Ocala, Fla. – Dec. 4, 2022 – Sunday marked the conclusion of the first week of the HITS Holiday Series, with Tracy Fenney capturing her second big victory of the week with MTM Caepten. After winning Friday’s $10,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, the pair was revved up and ready to go. They bested the seven-horse jump-off during the $25,000 Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau Grand Prix by over a full second to take home the lion’s share of the prize money.
Morgan Ward and Party Time Celebrate $1,500 HITS Hunter Prix
The HITS Ocala Holiday Series is in full swing at HITS Post Time Farm, with hunters highlighting the action on Saturday during the $1,500 HITS Hunter Prix. Morgan Ward was ready to celebrate after leading the two-round event from start to finish aboard Party Time. Saturday marked Party Time’s hunter prix debut with Ward, and with the new year underway for USEF, she was thrilled to kick off the season with a victory.
Mill Spring, NC – April 11, 2021 – It seemed like David O’Brien (Lexington, KY) had clinched a podium sweep in the $15,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix, a 1.35m-1.40m Jumper Classic, until Taylor Land (Atlanta, GA) rode the Pinetree Farms Inc. entry, Get Go, to a 32.316-second jump-off performance to claim top honors in the highlight Jumper class of the week at Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (TIEC). O’Brien piloted One in a Million SCF, the 2014 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Presley Boy x Werly Chin de Muze) owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, to reserve on a time of 34.33, while he guided Newton Ocean, the Sweet Oak Farm-owned 2011 Swedish Warmblood mare (VDL Atlantic x Nicole), to third on a clear jump-off time of 34.51. In fourth, O’Brien cleared the short course in 36.071 seconds aboard El Balou OLD, the 2012 Oldenburg gelding (Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Sunshine’s Botox) owned by Chansonette Farm LLC.
Land is revving back up after a quiet winter, which followed a months-long recovery from falling off and breaking her arm last August. Get Go, the 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Grey Top x Wantana) known as “Grumbles,” is just a few shows back into competition mode and “really stepped up to the plate” to navigate a tricky jump-off course set by Keith Bollotte (Hendersonville, NC), Land explained.
“I thought it was a pretty difficult [track]. Everything came up quickly, so you really had to be organized and know where you were going. The horse really had to be focused. There were a lot of turns and options for leave-outs in the jump-off. He listened really well and just went for it right when I asked, so I was able to not get too flat and be smooth.”
Morgan Ward and Colourful RW Claim $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake Win
Morgan Ward (Milford, NJ) and Colourful RW, the 2011 Holsteiner gelding (Carrico x Zypria II) owned by Morlynn Farm, raced to a win in Friday’s $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake in Tryon Stadium, stopping the timers in 33.614. Second place went Taylor Land (Atlanta, GA) and Get Go, dropping one rail in a time of 33.728. Allen Nabors, Jr. (Ocala, FL), piloting Bon Chatsworth Pierre, the 2011 Zangersheide gelding (Revaou de la Bergerie x Little Star Z) owned in partnership with Jessie Grabowski, scored third place on a time of 34.028 with one rail to the floor.
Ward said she appreciated the nice, flowing course set by Keith Bollotte (Hendersonville, NC), preferring to compete in Tryon Stadium when given the choice, she shared. “The courses rode really well. It was nice and flowing. My strategy in the jump-off was to go as fast and tight as I could, to challenge myself. I’m a bit of a slower rider. He’s such a good boy!”
Morgan Ward and Enjoy the Laughter took the first day lead in Large Pony division at the 2015 USEF Pony Finals.
Lexington, KY – August 4, 2015 – Morgan Ward is no newcomer to the USEF Pony Finals, and although she had not planned to attend the 2015 edition of the competition, she was recently presented with an offer she could not refuse. Dr. Betsee Parker asked Ward to ride Enjoy the Laughter, and on the opening day of the competition, the duo did not disappoint, winning first place in the Large Pony Model, and racking up enough points to lead the way on opening day.
“I just started riding him a couple of times at home, and shortly after they asked me to show him,” Ward explained. “I was told that he always wins the model, so it was my good point. He is a beautiful pony overall.”
Ward continued, “There were a lot of ponies out there, so it felt great to be able to win. I was a little bit nervous because Dr. Parker has a lot of ponies on hand, and having her ask me is a great opportunity. I had a good feeling going in. Hopefully we keep it up for the over fences phase.”
At 17 years old, Ward is bittersweet about her eighteenth birthday next week, knowing that she will be closing a successful chapter in her life to begin her career as a professional rider.
“It’s sad in a way because I have so many junior rides, but I am going professional next year and I cannot wait to start that life,” Ward elaborated. “I was not going to come at all this year, but then Scott [Stewart] asked me to show for Dr. Parker and my sister [Lindsey Ward] asked me because she has a Large Green Pony. It is still a good time being here.”
Ward currently sits atop the leader board in the first position, just ahead of Emma Kurtz and All My Love, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. Ward leads with 519.35 points, with Kurtz hot on her heels with 513.36 points. The final division standings for the large ponies boils down to tomorrow’s over fences classes, which kick off beginning at 11 a.m. in the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Ward explained, “I feel confident going into the over fences because he rides a lot like my junior hunters. He goes slow, has a big step, jumps great and has expression, so now it is on me.”
Kurtz captured the third place in the Large Pony Model, as well as the eighth place in the under saddle to earn enough points to return as the penultimate rider tomorrow afternoon.
It was first-time U.S. Pony Finals competitor Katherine Kemps, of Austin, Texas, who captured the blue ribbon during the under saddle with Occhio. Kemps is making her first appearance as an exhibitor, and she exuded confidence as she gushed over Occhio, the bay pony who clinched the first place during the Large Pony Under Saddle.
“He is probably my favorite pony that I have every ridden,” Kemps said. “He is super sweet and is probably one of the most loving animals I have ever met. He hugs my groom, Manny, every morning.”
Kemps continued, “I am really excited right now. It hasn’t set in yet; to win at Pony Finals is very exciting. It has been a year and a half now of working with Occhio, but he really stands out. I think he just has his own way of moving. He is so calm every time I am on him. He is so well put together.”
Currently, Katie Ray and Rockaway, owned by Ramble On Farm of Malvern, Pennsylvania, sit in the third position going into Wednesday’s over fences and division championship, while New York’s Lily Ezrow and Empire’s Victory are fourth. Whitney McKinley of Macon, Georgia, and Just My Style sit in the fifth place, and Taylor St. Jacques with Glynhafan Re Kestral, owned by Peacock Ridge LLC of Greenwich, Connecticut, round out the top six.
Sophia Calamari Duplicates Efforts to Return to Winner’s Circle in Small Green Pony Hunters
In the Small Green Pony division, Sophia Calamari, no stranger to the U.S. Pony Finals winner’s circle, rode With Applause, owned by Jessie Spade of Terrell, North Carolina, to two high-ranking finishes in the model and hack portions of the division. The pair earned the first place in the under saddle and the red ribbon in the model to secure the spot at the top of the leader board headed into the second day of competition, a situation with which Calamari is all too familiar.
Last year, 14-year-old Calamari, of New Milford, Pennsylvania, rode her own pony, Smitten, to near identical placings in the Small Green Pony classes, and eventually took the overall prize. Now, her seventh trip to Lexington for the Finals, the young rider has picked up a new ride in With Applause, but as of yesterday, that was not the case.
‘Colby,’ as he is known in the barn, was pegged to be ridden by his owner in the Finals this year, but an unfortunate injury prior to the start of competition led to the need for a replacement rider, and luckily Calamari was available. Although she picked up the ride last minute, Calamari had seen the pony go before and came into the day with some knowledge on his way of going.
“I met him in Florida this year, and watched him go a lot in the Greens. He seemed like a really, really sweet pony. I was attracted to his movement and the easy way he goes around, he just looks happy all the time,” Calamari commented.
Regardless of the rider, it is clear that Colby is a once-in-a-lifetime pony, and his owner does not take that for granted.
Spade said, “He is such a good pony, and if you ever get the chance to own him, keep him for as long as you can. I can always count on him. Even though I’m not riding, it’s great to see him win with someone else. My parents are hilarious; they fight over him all the time, saying ‘I wanted him’ and ‘No, I wanted him first.’ It’s so funny.”
As Small Green Pony Champion last year, Calamari was visibly excited to have another shot at the tricolors for the second year in a row.
“It feels amazing, and I hope we can duplicate our results again. I’m definitely feeling confident and excited, and am so glad to have the opportunity to ride this pony here – it means a lot to me,” Calamari said.
Taking the blue ribbon ahead of Calamari and With Applause in the model phase was Caroline Passarelli, of High Falls, New York, in the irons aboard Morgan Ward’s Cabana Boy. The 14-year-old Passarelli rode to a top six finish last year in the Smalls, and is hoping to improve upon her performance this year with her new mount.
“I’ve only ever ridden him one other time, last week at HITS Saugerties, so I’m new to him, but he is really fun and tries his hardest. He is amazing, thinks very highly of himself, and knows that when the judge comes by that he needs to stand and look pretty,” Passarelli said of the pony.
Passarelli was asked just a few short weeks ago by the Ward family, who had a winner of their own earlier in the day, to ride the pony, and she eagerly said yes. Only 5 years old, the small pony certainly acts his age outside the ring, according to Passarelli, but turns on his game once inside the ring.
“It is like playing with a little kid – he licks your face, he bites the reins, bites me, in a playful way! He is so fun and has a huge personality,” the young champion noted, “but once we are in the ring he is very excited and brave, especially for just turning 5.”
Currently sitting in first and fifth overall, respectively, Calamari and Passarelli will ride their ponies against more than 40 other competitors in the over fences section of the Small Green Pony division Wednesday to try and claim the top honor. Libbie Gordon and Glenhaven Astoria, owned by Parker Peacock of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, currently sit in second place, followed by Augusta Iwasaki and Calabasas, owned by California-based Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Addition, in third position. Maddie Stiles and her own Royal Moment earned enough points to put them in fourth ahead of Passarelli, with Devin Seek aboard Woodlands Polar Bear, owned by Bibby Hill of Reddick, Florida, finishing in the top six. The class is scheduled to take place at approximately 4:45 in the afternoon, following the conclusion of the Large Regular Pony division.
The Small Pony Hunters kick off tomorrow, with the Small Pony Model beginning at 7 a.m., followed by the under saddle portion around 8 a.m.
Tampa, FL – April 5, 2012 – Riders demonstrated their proficiency in the equitation classes at the Tampa Equestrian Festival’s Tournament of Champions today. Earning the top accolade in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class was Hanna Marco on Careman. Testing Jose Gamarra’s equitation course to first place in the Pessoa USEF Hunt Seat Medal was Morgan Ward riding Blitz DU Maris. In the Amateur-Owner Hunters Robin Swinderman earned two blues for her efforts aboard INXS.
The ASPCA Maclay course, by Bolivian designer Jose Gamarra, tested the skill and ability of both horse and rider. The course began with a sharp turn to an oxer on the outside line. It continued on the far side of the arena to a tight rollback presenting fence two, and a left lead to a vertical-oxer combination on the outside line. Another turn to the left introduced a long diagonal bending line, and continued into a right turn leading to a vertical. With a right turn and a strong gallop, riders took a single vertical and finished over the final oxer.