Mill Spring, NC – July 1, 2018 – Competition concluded on Sunday, July 1, at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), with a swift victory for Nicole Bellissimo (USA) and Casino. The duo rounded out a successful week by finishing first in the $35,000 1.45m Sunday Classic CSI 2*, crossing through the jump-off timers in 42.762 seconds. Second place honors went to Tracy Magness (USA) and John Bartko’s 2008 Belgian Warmblood mare, Intenz Van HD (Elvis Ter Putte x Nabab de Reve), completing their fast-track round in 46.075 seconds, while third place was awarded to Samuel Parot (CHI) and his own Atlantis, a 2003 Zangersheide gelding (Andiamo x Royal Bravour L), after achieving a time of 78.95 seconds in the first round.
The win was the second podium placing of the week for Bellissimo and the Bellissimo LLC’s 2007 Holsteiner (Cassini II x Carano), as the 24-year-old also guided the stallion to a second-place award in Friday’s Tryon Resort $5,000 1.40m Speed Stake CSI 2* class. Of her mount, she explained: “I got him at the end of his nine-year-old year, and he was doing the high-jumper classes out in California. We slowly moved up; I’ve ridden him in several CSI 2*s at this point, and he’s just been a really excellent horse for me. He’s exceptionally careful, and I always have to think a little bit more when it comes to time allowed with him, but he’s gotten quicker about that.”
The first-place result also happened to be the pair’s second blue ribbon of the Tryon Summer Series, with both victories taking place on the Derby Field at TIEC. “The grass is really fantastic,” said Bellissimo. “I think that the most important thing that you can say about a grass field is that you can’t feel that you’re riding on grass. Not once, during either of the weeks, did I feel him slip out there. He jumped really solid rounds. Sometimes when they’re on grass, as they leave the ground they may slip, but with the security of this field, it’s like you’re riding in a sand ring.”
The partnership between the two has grown over the past few years, and getting to know the stallion has given Bellissimo an appreciation for his minimal antics. “He is a stallion,” she elaborated, “so he can be a bit fresh on the ground. But he has an amazing groom, Alex Mullen, and she does an incredible job with him. However, for the most part he’s pretty sweet, and really isn’t too bad. He’s just a really special horse.”
Bellissimo plans to give Casino some time off over the next week, and then will return to the show ring ready to tackle the Tryon Summer V CSI 2* competition. She concluded, “He’ll get his break, and then we will come back for week five and hope for the same result then!”
Elizabeth Smith and Double Gold Come Up with Blue in $10,000 Pony Hunter Classic
Tryon Summer III competition boasted the Pony Spectacular, with pony classes featured throughout the week and many hosted in the George H. Morris Arena to help competitors prep for USEF Pony Finals later in the summer. Friday’s highlight class, the $10,000 Pony Hunter Classic, saw a win for Elizabeth Smith of Spartanburg, SC piloting her own Double Gold after their two-round score of 164. Just behind in reserve was Maddie Tosh aboard Smallwood Mystic for Peacock Ridge LLC out of Milton, GA, scoring 163, while Lauren Lomel (Ocala, FL) and Woodlands Lightning Thief, owned by Megan Galloway, achieved a score of 158 to finish third.
Smith has been riding “Nugget” for three years, but was a first-time competitor at Tryon’s Pony Spectacular. One of 12 called back for a second round, Smith knew she had a lead and said that she knew she had to take advantage of the arena’s space with her trustworthy mount:
“I just wanted to have fun and do what my trainer told me. I didn’t want to panic – I wanted to make sure I was relaxed,” said Smith. “I knew that going into the second round I had to carry a forward pace because the lines were riding a little forward. My trainer always tells me to take a deep breath and have fun no matter what, so I knew I had to give my pony leg, and then stay out of his way and he would take care of me.”
Smith didn’t seek out a palomino pony, she revealed, but fell in love with him and his steadfast nature. “My favorite thing about Nugget is his personality. He’s the same pony every day and he loves me so much, and he’ll get me out of anything I put him in,” said Smith. “But he hates having his tail braided.”
Despite the big atmosphere, Smith commented on Double Gold’s tolerance for the arena’s size and energy, as well as his talent contributing to the win, saying, “In this big arena, I can open up his stride more and he doesn’t get too antsy, so he’s good for this ring. Yes, I’m excited for the win, but it’s all my pony,” she concluded.
Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.
Conor Swail and Simba De La Roque. Photos by Josh Walker for The Chronicle of the Horse.
Nicole Bellissimo Conquers U.S. Open $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
New York, NY – U.S. Open Show Jumping commenced at the second-annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show in Manhattan’s Wollman Rink on Thursday evening with a $40,000 FEI Speed Class, presented by Canadian Pacific Railway, and the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix. Ireland’s Conor Swail, who also took top individual honors in the 2014 $50,000 “NYC vs. The World” Team Speed Challenge in Central Park, jumped to victory again in the FEI Speed, this time aboard Simba De La Roque. Also earning U.S. Open accolades, Nicole Bellissimo took top honors in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix in the irons of Harley David to kick off day two of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, which continues through Sunday, September 27.
International designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil set the track for the $40,000 FEI Speed Class, presented by Canadian Pacific Railway, which served as an opening round to the U.S. Open $212,000 FEI 3* Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. Twenty-seven competed in the speed test with faults converting to points and carrying over to the U.S. Open Grand Prix on Friday, Sept. 25.
Swail and Simba De la Roque entered the ring, backed by the New York City skyline, from 14th in the original order, and the nine-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kannan x Allegreto) left all the rails intact in Jorge’s 13-effort course. He stopped the clock clear and fast in 57.36 seconds for owners Susan & Ariel Grange.
Swail’s time bumped fellow Rolex Central Park Horse Show veteran Todd Minikus (USA) from the lead into second. Minikus and Quality Girl, owned by Quality Group, finished as the runner up in 58.10 seconds. Daniel Bluman and Conconcreto Believe capped the top three in 59.33 seconds for owners Blue Star Investments and Colombian colors.
Hardin Towell (USA) and the aptly-named New York, owned by Jennifer Gates, LLC, took fourth in 61.57 seconds, while Kent Farrington and RCG Farm’s Uceko rounded out the top five finishers on 62.17 seconds.
Coming off a win in the $125,000 New Albany Classic last week, Swail and Simba De La Roque have enjoyed a string of recent successes, topped by Thursday’s U.S. Open win.
“It’s great to be here again. The horse was great and the venue is just amazing,” said Swail. “The course builder wanted us to ride it a certain way and I don’t think there was any other way to do it. We all did similar numbers all the way around.”
Swail gave credit to Simba De La Roque for being careful and accurate in striking surroundings, but acknowledged that his challengers were sitting on horses with similar talents. “The 1-2-3 horses are all very careful and very shifty with quickness off the ground. You need to be on something that can be that way in this atmosphere. Now and again you try and make the horse fit the venue and I think it’s working so far,” he added.
Bluman agreed, saying, “It’s about picking a horse that can jump like it’s an indoor competition. You also have to have a horse that can walk into a very impressive venue right off the bat, feel comfortable with the crowd and rise up to the occasion.”
Bluman and Conconcreto Believe jumped near the end of the order, leaving Minikus’ time with Quality Girl from the 9th place in the order intact.
“My plan was not to go as quick as I did, and when I came in the ring, Quality Girl seemed like she woke up a little bit. I overrode the first jump, but then she felt on her game and we just tried to stay on the same page the whole way around,” said Minikus.
All three top riders agreed that the class was the perfect preparation for Friday’s signature event. The U.S. Open $212,000 FEI 3* Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, takes center stage in Wollman Rink on Friday at 8 p.m., when riders will not only aim to take home the blue ribbon, but an exciting bonus as well. While cashing in on their share of the $212,000 purse, the winning rider will be presented with an additional $25,000 for the U.S. Open honor.
After Thursday’s win, Swail set his sights on preparing for Friday, but was quick to acknowledge his gratitude for being invited to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, and to Canadian Pacific Railway for their dedication to promoting horse sport.
Canadian Pacific’s President and Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel joined riders at the closing press conference and expressed his satisfaction with being part of the second-annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show. “I was here last year and this exceeded expectations again – it’s phenomenal,” he said. “I sat here sending pictures to my wife and my daughter – it’s just an incredibly special place for a competition and was first class. We’re so happy to be a part of it.”
This year serves as the unveiling of the U.S. Open at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, a concept that Mark Bellissimo, International Equestrian Group (IEG) CEO, is confident will expand. “We’re already seeing the riders bringing their better horses this year and I think it will just continue in the right direction,” he said. “Over time, we want this to be one of the greatest stops in show jumping. Bringing something to the market like this is very different and I think there’s an amazing opportunity for the sport here.”
U.S. Open $25,000 U25 Grand Prix
Earlier in the evening, 21-year-old Nicole Bellissimo and Harley David made her father, Mark and The Bellissimo Family proud with a win in the U.S. Open $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix. She piloted her eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (HarleyVDL x Libby) to the only double-clear effort of the class, finishing in 38.07 seconds after a four-horse jump-off.
Abigail McArdle and Harriri V.D. Maltahoeve posted the first clear round from the first position in the original order for owners Plain Bay Sales. She was later joined by Kelli Cruciotti aboard Serenity Equestrian Ventures’ Chamonix H, Hayley Barnhill with The ISB Group, LLC’s Beezie, and finally Bellissimo.
Returning first in the jump-off, McArdle had two rails to finish fourth. Next, Cruciotti and Barnhill both pulled one rail apiece before Bellissimo returned with an open door.
“I was obviously in the advantageous position of going last,” said Bellissimo. “At the same time, I wanted to make sure that if I had a rail I wasn’t too slow and I tried to ride that plan.”
Bellissimo broke the beam clear in 38.07 seconds for the win, while 18-year-old Cruciotti claimed second on four faults in 37.31 seconds, and 22-year-old Barnhill third with four faults in 37.34 seconds.
“I’m so thrilled to be here, and I want to thank The Chronicle of the Horse and Rolex for putting on this fantastic event. To think that we’re competing in the middle of New York City with that skyline behind us is an incredible experience,” added Bellissimo. “I’m so happy with my horse. He’s only eight, so he really had to step up this year and he absolutely did tonight.”
The Under 25 Grand Prix Series is designed to give young riders a valuable stepping-stone from the junior and amateur ranks to the grand prix level and was spearheaded by Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) and Artisan Farms at the Winter Equestrian Festival in 2010.
“I’m very proud of all three riders, but especially proud of the winner,” said Mark Bellissimo, CEO of both ESP and IEG. “As a father thinking of the strategy, you know there were no clear rounds so I thought she would go slow, but she took some turns that I wouldn’t have taken. That’s why I’m sitting in the stands and she’s not.”
Bellissimo continued, “It was the perfect kick-off to a great event and I’m excited to see the Under 25 division emerge.”
The Rolex Central Park Horse Show continues through Sunday, September 27, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport. In addition to Arabians, the schedule includes the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, and U25 Jumpers. All classes will be streamed live at www.centralparkhorseshow.com.
About Rolex Central Park Horse Show
Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. In its second year, Rolex Central Park Horse Show will make its triumphant return from September 23 to 27, 2015 and will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, U25 Jumpers, and Arabians. For more information, visit http://centralparkhorseshow.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow, and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.
Ben Maher and Aristo Z Top $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Speed; Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur Win $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Semi-Final
Wellington, FL – March 7, 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) hosted a full schedule of international show jumping at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Friday with several feature competitions during the day and night. The morning kicked off with the remaining jump-off competitors from Thursday’s $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 and a victory for Kent Farrington (USA) and Voyeur. A $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class was held later in the afternoon with a win for Ben Maher (GBR) and Aristo Z. The $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Semi-Final was also held in the evening with a win for Nicole Bellissimo (USA) and VDL Bellefleur.
FTI WEF week nine, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies, continues through Sunday, March 9. The $280,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix CSI-W 4*, presented by The Bainbridge Companies, will be the highlight on Saturday night and the $84,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will be held on Sunday. The FTI WEF features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.
FTI WEF hosted the start of its $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 on Thursday with 89 entries and 23 jumping clear to advance to the jump-off over the Alan Wade (IRL) designed course. Unfortunately, only ten of the jump-off entries were able to complete their rounds before a severe storm blew through the show grounds. The remaining 13 entries showed on Friday morning with Kent Farrington (USA) and Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur jumping to victory. The pair cleared the course in the fastest time of 42.86 seconds.
Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala were the leaders coming into Friday morning after completing their jump-off round on Thursday in 45.21 seconds. Hough then beat her own time in 44.91 seconds aboard Karina Rotenburg’s Böckmanns Lazio on Friday. Hough finished third and fourth with her two mounts when Farrington and Voyeur blazed the fastest pace, followed by the second fastest round of Daniel Deusser (GER) and Stephex Stables’ Cornet d’Amour in 44.55 seconds.
Farrington explained that Voyeur, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Tolano van’t Riethof x Goodwill, has had some time off since an injury last summer and is just coming back. “This is his first bigger class back,” the rider noted. “I have been bringing him back real slow and jumping just smaller classes here. He is naturally very fast and he is a spectacular horse, so hopefully he stays healthy. He’s an unbelievable horse.”
“He is on the attack right from the get go,” Farrington said of his impressive jump-off round. “He has a massive, massive stride and he is very fast on his feet at the same time, so he has sort of the best of both. He has the foot speed of a small horse and the stride length of a big horse.”
“Over the time bringing him back, I have really worked on his control,” Farrington added. “He has always been a great jumper and obviously his gallop has always been like that, but my control wasn’t very good before. He was running off with me a lot of times in the jump-offs, so rollbacks or a very short line at the end was a real challenge with him.”
It was a little bit of a different situation for the riders that had to compete in the jump-off on Friday as their first round of the day, but that did not affect Farrington or Voyeur’s performance. “It was a little strange,” he admitted. “It is kind of like a speed class with only eight jumps, but it is very good money for this class and for me it is more about getting this horse back and going well. I wanted Voyeur to be able to do this jump-off more for my practice and his experience.”
“I think you have to make the best of the situation,” he said of the decision to postpone the remainder of the jump-off. “Had there been a way to see the weather coming, obviously it would have been better if everybody in the jump-off went together, but that wasn’t possible. I don’t think they had any other choice.”
Farrington plans to show Voyeur again on Saturday and will plan the horse’s schedule from there. “I haven’t planned too far ahead,” he explained. “I am just excited that he is back in the sport and that he feels good and that he is going as well as he is. I will go step by step and see where it takes us.”
In addition to the prize money for the class, Farrington earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion for wearing his SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.
Ben Maher and Aristo Z Top $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m
A $34,000 G&C Farm 1.45m speed class was held Friday afternoon in the International Arena at PBIEC with an exciting win for Ben Maher (GBR) and Jane Clark’s Aristo Z. The class saw 60 competitors with 20 clear rounds and an increasingly fast pace as the rounds went on. Fifth to go, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Cyklon 1083 set a very tough time to beat at 63.23 seconds. The pair held the lead through most of the class until two of the finals competitors eventually pushed them into third.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo were the first combination to edge out Sweetnam’s time in 62.97 seconds, eventually finishing second. A few rounds later, Ben Maher and Aristo Z completed the fastest round in 62.23 seconds. Last to go, Meagan Nusz (USA) and Amalaya Investments’ Vesuvius jumped into fourth in 64.11 seconds.
Aristo Z is a ten-year-old Zangersheide gelding that Maher has had for several years, but is showing this year under new ownership for Jane Clark. Since the change, this is Aristo Z’s first win.
“He is normally a winner at those sorts of speed classes,” Maher noted. “Jane secured him for me just before Christmas. He was with another owner for the last couple of years, and he has won a lot of classes in different arenas. He is a great asset to the team.”
“I said to Jane before we got here that he might not love Florida,” Maher said. “It is a really big ring, and he is quite good in small arenas where he can kind of bounce off the walls a little bit. He has been jumping well, but we put him back in his old bridle today because I switched him to something else when I arrived and he wasn’t winning. I spoke to Jane on the phone, and I said that I was going to try him in the old bit. We put it on and Jane made it back to watch and he won, so I am just happy that he has kind of ‘broken the duck’ for Team Clark.”
Maher explained that Aristo Z’s speed and agility are what gave him the winning time in Friday’s class. “He is a useful horse,” he stated. “He has jumped some bigger classes in one or two grand prix when I have needed him to, but this is kind of his division here, the 1.45m or 1.50m speed classes. He can bend his body very well. He is naturally very fast everywhere and today there were options to leave strides out in the course and I actually didn’t. I kept the correct amount of strides, especially early on, and luckily his speed over the jumps and across the ground just was fast enough. These are difficult classes to win. There are quite a lot in them and a lot of galloping, and I am just happy he won a class here now.”
Also showing on Friday, Laura Chapot earned her fifth win of the week in the International Arena at FTI WEF. Chapot has been unstoppable this week, winning back to back classes on Wednesday in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class with Bradberry and the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class riding Mary Chapot’s Umberto. On Thursday, she won the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m jump-off class aboard Quointreau un Prince, a horse she co-owns with McLain Ward. On Friday, Chapot added two more wins to her week, topping the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge with Bradberry and the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class riding Umberto.
Bradberry, a 16-year-old Selle Francais gelding, has been winning classes for several years with Chapot in the irons and kept his streak alive this week. He also posted back to back victories in both the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class and the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge during weeks six and eight.
Chapot has won classes outside of the International Arena this week as well, winning both the $2,500 Derby Gold Pine Shavings 1.35m speed and jump-off classes with Mary Chapot’s Castellana, and topping a $1,500 Adequan 8-Year-Old Young Jumper class with Out of Ireland for owner The Edge. She continues to be one of the top riders at FTI WEF each year.
Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur Win $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Semi-Final
The $25,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series Semi-Final was held on Friday night, presented by the Dutta Corporation in association with Guido Klatte. Fifty young riders under the age of 25 competed under the lights in the International Arena, with seven clear rounds to jump-off, and a win for 20-year-old Nicole Bellissimo of Wellington, FL.
Riding Bellissimo LLC’s VDL Bellefleur, an eight-year-old KWPN mare by Cardento x Emilion, Bellissimo jumped the only double clear round in the jump-off to take top honors in 51.64 seconds. Twenty-four-year-old Jordan MacPherson of Toronto, Ontario finished second aboard JEM Stables’ Piccobello du val de Geer with the fastest four-fault round in 45.39 seconds. Twenty-year-old Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, CT jumped into third with four faults in 47.24 seconds aboard Starlight Farms’ Oreade de Dames.
The young rider series was developed thanks to Artisan Farms as a stepping stone for up-and-coming riders as they gain experience competing at the grand prix level. In addition to great experience for the riders, it can also be a stepping stone for young horses. In the case of Nicole Bellissimo and VDL Bellefleur, the series serves as an amazing opportunity for both horse and rider.
“She is actually a very special horse for me,” Bellissimo stated after her win. “I have had her for about a year and a half. She is only eight, so I got her when she was turning seven, and I am the only one that has shown her. I did her throughout her seven-year-old year and I brought her to Spruce Meadows last summer, so she has done a lot as a young horse. We moved her up this year and this is the biggest class that she has ever done, so it is really exciting for me that she went out and did so well. She is just stepping up to doing this level.”
Bellissimo showed in the young rider series two years ago in 2012, but explained that she did not have a horse to compete with last year. “This year is the first year that I have done all of the classes,” she noted. “It is fantastic for bringing up young horses that aren’t quite ready to go in the WEFs (Challenge Cup) or the grand prix classes, but maybe you want to step them up from the High Amateurs or the High Juniors. It is also great for riders such as me who are stepping up to the WEFs, but maybe aren’t as competitive in that, and want another stepping stone. I want to thank Artisan Farms for sponsoring the series because it is really great for the young horses and riders such as me that are moving up to the next level.”
In her freshman year at Harvard University in Boston, Bellissimo commutes back and forth from Wellington each week to compete between a full schedule of classes. This week was especially busy, but the extra traveling paid off in the end.
“This week was a little bit hectic because I had a midterm,” Bellissimo detailed. “I go to school in Boston, and I actually had an exam yesterday. I usually fly in Wednesday nights so I can show my horse on Thursdays. I am the only one that shows her, so we didn’t want to change anything and have my trainer (Candice King) show her, but I was a bit panicked because I couldn’t fly in to show yesterday. She just had to walk into the class tonight and I was really scared going in, but she really took care of me. She ended up being fantastic.”
Going second to last in the jump-off with everyone before her having rails, Bellissimo’s main goal was a clear round. “I just wanted to go in and do a nice clear and hope that it was nice enough to be quick enough if the last person went clear, but at the same time if the last person had a rail also,” she said.
This is the biggest win of the young rider’s career, and a very exciting accomplishment on home turf. “It is my biggest win so far and it is extra special with a horse that I have kind of brought along myself,” Bellissimo acknowledged. “She means a lot to me, and she is always fighting for me so much every time she goes in the ring. She has never done anything wrong. It was just really exciting that other people can see how great she is.”
A student in her fourth year at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, Jordan MacPherson has had success in the young rider series before and was very happy with her rounds aboard Piccobello du val de Geer, a 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Kannan x Skippy II).
“It was exciting,” MacPherson smiled after the class. “I have had her for about four years now, and I have done two other years with her in this series. She came out here like a pro tonight and was amazing. She gave me her heart, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Adrienne Sternlicht, a sophomore at Brown University, also had a great experience with her mount Oreade des Dames, a 12-year-old Selle Francais mare by Kannan x Hurlevent. “I have had her for three years, and she was really my horse that we intended for these classes,” Sternlicht explained. “I bought her as a nine-year-old for these young rider classes, and she has ended up doing some more. She jumped the ‘WEF’ yesterday. I think it is nice for her to be challenged with a bigger class every once in a while and then we bring her in this level and 1.45m/1.50m is really her comfort zone and she is quite a fast horse. I was really just trying to be a medium double clear and that didn’t work out, but she was fantastic tonight and I am thrilled with the way she went.”
Sternlicht first jumped in the young rider series two years ago and then was out last winter with an injury. “This year for me has been the first year that I really feel competitive at this level, and I am starting to be competitive at a bigger level,” Sternlicht acknowledged. “For me, I was more nervous for today than I was for the WEF (Challenge Cup) because I kind of put pressure on myself in these classes to really perform. I think it is a fantastic series, and it is a really neat experience.”
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About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.
Lexington, KY – May 23, 2011 – As the Kentucky Spring Classic hosted another night of show jumping, the incredible duo of Kent Farrington and Uceko continued their complete domination of the last two weeks by securing the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix victory. Tonight’s event was sponsored by Audi of Lexington and honored Mary Rena Murphy, a horsewoman whose dedication to equestrian sport was unmatched. Once again, speed proved to be the determining factor during the thirteen horse jump-off, and that is something Farrington and Uceko are proving to master. The duo was a full two seconds ahead of second place finishers Ali Wolff and Lanoo, while Christian Heineking and River of Dreams took home third for the second time this week.
“During the first round, there were more clear than I expected,” admitted Farrington. “The outside line started with a wall and then an awkward distance to an oxer-oxer combination, and then a very steady distance to a liverpool. I thought that would catch more horses than it did. I think the footing here is excellent, and these horses have been here for two weeks now, so I think they are really comfortable in the ring. I think that’s why there were more clear rounds than Richard expected. It’s under the lights, so they are a bit impressed, and I think the horses were just really going well on the ground.”
For the final test, Jeffery had riders start over a single oxer to the liverpool and make a bending line to a single oxer. They then made a sharp roll back to a vertical-oxer double combination and galloped across the ring to a wide oxer. Finally, riders made another sharp turn to a tall vertical before they galloped towards the timers over the last oxer. Of the thirteen qualifiers, seven were able to make it a perfect night and finish without any faults added to their score.