Aaron Vale (USA) and Finou 4 earned their second consecutive WIHS Puissance victory last year by clearing 6’7″ to win the $25,000 International Jumper Puissance. Photo by Alden Corrigan Media.
Washington, D.C. – Tickets are now on sale for the 60th Annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), one of the most exciting and entertaining equestrian events in North America, taking place Oct. 23-28 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
“We’re thrilled to be celebrating this historic milestone,” said Victoria Lowell, WIHS President. “It’s going to be an exciting year as we pay tribute to the wonderful horses and riders, supporters, friends and volunteers, over the past six decades with special exhibits and events. We’re proud to welcome more than 26,000 spectators, award $518,000 in prize money, support our charitable partners and bring together equestrians, horse enthusiasts and the local community to experience horse showing at its best in the heart of our nation’s capital.”
Spectators, riders, sponsors, and all attending this year’s 60th event will enjoy historical displays and events plus special pricing going back to the inaugural WIHS held Oct. 10-15, 1958, at the D.C. National Guard Armory. A special $2.00 price per ticket for opening day and evening, Tuesday, Oct. 23, reflects general admission that first year. In addition, a special history-based commemorative souvenir program will be sold at the 1958 price of $1.00.
If you like championship sport and fast-paced entertainment and fun, WIHS is an event you’ll enjoy, young or old. More than 500 of the best horses and riders in the world, including Olympic veterans, will arrive in the nation’s capital for six days of world-class international show jumping and top national hunter and equitation competition. In addition, the event will feature entertaining exhibitions, community and charity events and boutique shopping.
The highlight of the week is Saturday night’s $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington presented by Events DC, featuring the biggest jumps, most challenging course, and richest purse. The winning rider is presented with the show’s most prestigious prize, the President of the United States Perpetual Cup, a trophy given to the show in 1961 by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Other popular events include the $25,000 Puissance, a thrilling high-jump competition on Military Night presented by Caterpillar, Inc. (Friday, Oct. 26), and the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals for the country’s top junior riders (Saturday, Oct. 27).
Special events for young people and children include WIHS Barn Night (Thursday, Oct. 25) with contests, a scavenger hunt and jumping competition including the Top Score Costume Class, where riders and horses jump in surprising and entertaining costumes.
WIHS Kids’ Day is a popular equine street festival with free, fun, and educational horse-based activities, and is held Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 am to 2 pm, rain or shine. This event is located both inside Capital One Arena and on a closed street in front of Hotel Monaco at F and 7th Streets NW.
Not to be missed are this year’s entertaining exhibitions, including renowned Australian horseman and entertainer Guy McLean, who will perform his one-of-a-kind liberty horse demonstration with his team of Australian stock horses on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
The WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series presented by Charles Owen will be back Thursday and Saturday nights with junior jockeys riding the most adorable and wily Shetland Ponies to the enjoyment of spectators of all ages.
Highlighted events support community organizations and charities, including Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the WIHS Official Military Charity, Capital Breast Care Center and U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation.
Tickets are available online on www.Ticketmaster.com, at the Capital One Arena box office, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. The show runs Tuesday through Sunday, with day and evening performances except Sunday (daytime only).
Special $2.00 commemorative pricing is available on opening day, Tuesday, Oct. 23. All tickets, day or evening, are $2.00 (plus applicable service charges), reflecting the cost of general admission at the inaugural show in 1958.
Daytime tickets (general admission) Wednesday through Sunday, are $15 (plus applicable service charge) with children 12 and under admitted free. For evening performances, VIP, reserved and general admission tickets are available starting at $25.
For group discounts, contact Capital One Arena Group Sales at 202-661-5061. For more information on tickets and discounts for military, seniors, and students, visit www.wihs.org/tickets.
Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick put on a spectacular performance to win The Cayenne Puissance in front of a packed-out grandstand with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as the guest of honour in the Presidents Box.
The afternoon session saw Spaniard Eduardo Alvarez Aznar speed to victory in the opening CSI5* Show Jumping class of the Show, with Australia’s Boyd Exell dominating the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving Top Score. The popular Kennel Club Dog Agility returned, with a win for Tracy Moerel and Deutschlander Schnappss in the ABC Dog Jumping Grand Prix and there was an emotional arena appearance by Show charity mascots Teddy and Doris, representing Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity.
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was present to enjoy an action-packed evening of top-class sport and equestrian entertainment, taking to the arena to present the awards for the Musto Inside Edge Stakes, won by Peder Fredricson, accompanied by European gold medal winners Tina Cook and Sophie Wells. The highlight of the evening, The Cayenne Puissance, was a closely contested affair, with Laura Renwick taking the eventual spoils as the only rider to clear the final 7′ 3″ wall.
Laura Renwick was overwhelmed by her spectacular victory on Top Dollar Vl in The Cayenne Puissance. Four riders made it to the fifth round, but Karline De Brabander from Belgium on Fantomas de Muze, Ireland’s Padraic Judge on City Business and 2016 joint winner Holly Smith on Quality Old Joker all faulted and as Laura entered the ring she knew the €7,425 prize was there for the taking.
“That wall is huge and, having seen the other horses hit it, having been jumping really well, I knew it was a big ask,” said Laura afterwards. “I was a little bit lucky – I didn’t have the best stride and the horse really had to use his body to get over it.
“I’ve never won the Puissance outright and so to do it on an eight-year-old horse with not much experience but loads of scope and heart feels amazing. The atmosphere was electric.”
Earlier in the day, Eduardo Alvarez Aznar riding Fidux headed a one-two for Spain in the opening jumping class, the Santa Stakes, holding off a late challenge from his fellow countryman Manuel Fernandez Saro (Cannavaro).
“I was early to go, and Manuel was right at the end. He knew what he had to do but wasn’t quite quick enough,” joked Eduardo, winner of last season’s Zurich Longines FEI World Cup qualifier with Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot. “[Fidux] is a real fighter and very quick across the ground.”
This is Eduardo’s second visit to Olympia, where he won the Six-Bar two years ago. “It’s such a fantastic special show, and a pleasure to ride here,” said Eduardo. “I hope to continue to back here for many, many years.”
Later, there was a Swedish one-two in the Musto Inside Edge Stakes, a speed class, when 2017 European Champion Peder Fredricson (H&M Zoulbet) beat compatriot Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Second Chance) by 0.77 sec to clinch the top prize.
The Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving Top Score competition may act as a warm-up to the FEI World Cup qualifier, but the crowd was treated to a razor-sharp contest. Of the seven drivers, representing six nations, no-one was prepared to give any quarter, but it was reigning FEI World Cup Champion Boyd Exell from Australia who again proved unassailable.
Exell, a seven-time FEI World Cup Champion, already has three qualifier wins under his belt this season. The last driver into the arena, he was one of only two to post a clear round; the other came from Belgium’s Glenn Geerts, but he trailed Exell by some seven seconds.
Exell had a new inexperienced horse in the lead and explained: “He was a bit tired in the second round but he did all I asked of him. I love competing at Olympia – the atmosphere is always superb; it’s like coming home for me.”
McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2017 — It was a bittersweet night for show jumping fans as they saw one of the sport’s best in his final competition. HH Carlos Z went out on top with victory in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, presented by the Man O’ War Project in partnership with Columbia University Medical Center. As HH Carlos Z and McLain Ward (USA) entered the arena for their victory gallop, it was announced that “Carlos” would retire.
Riding out of the 11th spot in the order in the faults converted (Table C) format class, Ward and HH Carlos Z, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z owned by Double H Farm, finished in 57.77 seconds.
“I love the format of this class,” Ward said. “It’s a 1.50m, but a Table C, so people can have a fence down and still be in the mix. I think it makes it a much more exciting class for the spectators.”
Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue, owned by LL Show Jumpers LLC, were second in 58.50 seconds, while Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Lady Maria BH placed third with a time of 59.05 seconds.
Following the class, Ward stated, “That’s it. He’s done. He’s given more than he had to give. He’s been an incredible horse, an incredible winner. He’s won everything from five-star grand prixs and jumped Nations’ Cups to being a day in and day out winner.
“I wanted the horse to win a good class to finish on,” he continued. “I didn’t want him to end poorly. This is a nice moment, and I’m very, very grateful to Mr. Harrison and Double H Farm to have the opportunity to ride this horse and also for the opportunity to care for him and retire him in the way he deserves.”
Ward concluded, “He’s always been a winner when it counted. He did it again. It’s a little bittersweet, but he doesn’t owe us anything.”
The Jump for TAPS Challenge raised $16,000 on Friday night, with every clear over the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) fence raising money for the WIHS Official Military Charity.
Aaron Vale Clears 6’7” to Win $25,000 International Jumper Puissance
Aaron Vale (USA) and Finou earned their second consecutive WIHS Puissance victory on Friday night, this year clearing 6’7” to take the win in the $25,000 International Jumper Puissance, presented by The Boeing Company.
“It’s the horse,” said Vale on the secret to tying with McLain Ward in 2016 and winning outright in 2017. “This horse actually has quite a bit of talent for this. It feels like he could actually jump a very big wall if the class played out that way. He’s very comfortable at it, and it’d be exciting to try something pretty high with him if it ever happened. My personal best is 7’2 ¼”. If I made higher it than that – that’s pretty high to me.”
The Puissance wall began set at a height of 1.80m (5’11”) and gradually progressed to the 6’7” height through four rounds of competition. Four horse and rider combinations all successfully contested the first round, with Paulo Santana (ESA) being the first eliminated after failing to clear the wall in the second round with his mount Una du Keske Z, owned by Santana Stables LLC.
Finishing in third were Kama Godek (USA) and her own De Grande. Following Godek and De Grande’s elimination in the third round, only Vale and Hunter Holloway (USA) aboard Cassevel, owned by Hays Investment Corp., remained, and Holloway elected to save the gelding jumps for another day, opting out of the fourth round. Vale could have chosen to also call it a night and accept a tie, but much to the enjoyment of the crowd, he chose to return for a fourth and final round.
“We’ve got a big crowd here today, number one,” Vale said on his reasoning for choosing to return. “Number two, my horse actually is a very fresh horse, so he needs work. He’ll be jumping the grand prix tomorrow night. Last year he jumped five rounds, and then he jumped clean in the grand prix, so four rounds might not have been enough work for him! Maybe I should have come back one more time!”
Emma Kurtz Rides Dedication to Grand Junior Hunter Championship
The 2017 WIHS Grand Junior Hunter Championship and the Ides of March Perpetual Trophy, donated by Linda Lee and Lee Reynolds and given to the grand championship winner, were presented to Emma Kurtz of Hudson, OH and Dedication, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker.
On their way to winning the grand championship, Kurtz and Dedication, a 12-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding (by Casado), earned two firsts and a third over fences to take the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter Championship and the Chance Step Perpetual Trophy, presented by Chansonette Farms and donated by Brooke Carmichael-McMurray-Fowler and Pam Carmichael Keenan. The division reserve championship went to MTM Hands Down, ridden by Annabel Revers of Weston, MA and owned by Beechwood Stables LLC.
At the 2016 WIHS, Kurtz rode Wisdom, owned by Rivers Edge, to the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter championship, but this year marked her first time claiming the WIHS Grand Junior Hunter Championship.
“It’s amazing [to win here],” said Kurtz of Hudson, OH. “For [Dedication] to come in here and be bombproof is awesome.”
Kurtz, 16, acquired the ride on Dedication in mid-2016 and has made winning on the gelding look easy ever since, but the 17-hand gelding has his quirks.
“He’s a little funny about his leads. We never practice lead changes at home, so that he doesn’t get nervous for them,” Kurtz explained “He’s also particular about the way you hold your body over the jump. You have to give him enough time off the ground, but bend over enough the he doesn’t hit it behind. It’s a formula for sure.
“But he jumps amazing. He’s beautiful, he’s a good mover – he’s the whole package,” said Kurtz. “We love him.”
In the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters, sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation, the championship went to Annabel Revers and Kingpin, owned by Beechwood Stables. The reserve championship was awarded to Haley Redifer of Barboursville, VA and her own Linus.
The Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter division championship, also sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation, went to Stella Wasserman of Beverly Hills, CA riding Boss, owned by Laura Wasserman. Finishing in reserve were Sophie Gochman and Dominik, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC.
In the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division, it was Augusta Iwasaki of Calabasas, CA who claimed the championship aboard Small Affair, owned by Lyn Pedersen. For her performances and display of horsemanship and sportsmanship, Iwasaki was selected as the Best Child Rider on a Horse, sponsored by Gotham North, and she was presented with the DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Mark DiVecchia, for the win.
“It’s really exciting,” said Iwasaki, 13, of her win. “It’s very exciting to come into the city. I think it’s just so different and so cool because when do you get to drive into a city and just show on the streets?”
Taking the reserve championship in the Large Junior 15 & Under Hunters were Brooke Morin of Calabasas, CA and Seaside, owned by Strasburg Morin Inc.
The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals also kicked off on Friday, and Ava Stearns currently sits at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 89 in the hunter phase. Sam Walker, Alexandra Worthington, Annabel Revers, Haley Redifer, and McKayla Langmeier round out the top six riders, consecutively, heading into the jumper phase. The hunter and jumper scores will then be averaged to determine the top ten riders who will then participate in the final work-off phase.
Todd Minikus riding VDL Excel. (Photo courtesy of Sportfot)
New York, NY – Central Park is a common meeting place in New York City for tennis, baseball, basketball, and ice skating – but this past Thursday night, sports in Central Park rose to new heights. The U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance took center stage in the Wollman Rink, exposing city dwellers to a nail-biting equestrian show jumping competition.
The three winners – Todd Minikus, Kama Godek, and Emanuel Andrade – each could have jumped basketball player LeBron James with an inch to spare as they soared over the 6 foot, 9 inch wall.
The Puissance, a traditional crowd favorite, returned this week to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show for the second year in a row. Competition began with a brick wall obstacle set at 4 feet, 6 inches high. Horse and rider pairs took turns jumping the wall, which was raised after each round. The event was called to an end after the three longest-lasting pairs each cleared the 6 foot, 9 inch wall with apparent ease. Todd Minikus on VDL Excel, Kama Godek on De Grande, and Emanuel Andrade on Clouwni were all named victors.
Minikus, an internationally successful show jumper with a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medal and over 150 Grand Prix wins to his name, was left wishing they’d had a chance to jump even higher. “VDL Excel jumped the 6 foot, 9 inches very easily,” he said. “Six feet and 9 inches is a big enough jump, but I think if they had raised it again, he would have been able to do that easily enough. He seemed really brave and comfortable.”
Minikus and the eight-year-old horse, owned by Autumn View Farm, have had an impressive summer even before the Puissance. Last month, the pair claimed the reserve title in the $20,000 Jumper Derby at Equifest II in Wayne, Illinois. “He’s is a very scopey jumper. I just knew he would do well in the Puissance,” said Minikus. “He’s young, and just breaking into the upper level classes. He’s got a lot of talent.”
With Minikus in the saddle, there’s no doubt that VDL Excel is not finished with his time in the limelight. Minikus’s own highest jump cleared to date is 7 feet and 4 inches, and he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The Wellington, Florida based rider is next taking his talented team to compete at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, where they will jump through the month of October.
To learn more about Todd Minikus and his winning record as he jumps around the world, follow him Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.
New York, NY – September 21, 2017 – The second day of the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS) featured international and national show jumping competition, showcasing top equestrians from around the world on Thursday, September 21, in the heart of New York City’s Wollman Rink.
The evening was presented by CSX, highlighting the $40,000 U.S. Open CSX FEI Speed Class, which saw a win for Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V, as they opened elite show jumping competition for the week. The evening’s competition also featured the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance, which saw Emanuel Andrade (VEN), Kama Godek (USA), and Todd Minikus (USA) split the victory three ways after each cleared the traditional brick wall at a height of 6’9″ inches. The $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Class was topped by Mimi Gochman of New York, NY aboard Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s entry, Avoloma BH.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA), course designer of the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, returns to Wollman Rink as the show jumping course designer for this week’s national and international competition. The U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class saw 30 horse and rider combinations take to Wollman Rink for their first night of competition, including some of the world’s very best, highlighting rounds by Kent Farrington (USA), and McLain Ward (USA), alongside rising talent Lucy Deslauriers (USA), who finished in a competitive fifth place.
The winner of the U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class, Hardin Towell (USA), guided Evergate Stables’ Lucifer V, a 2006 Westphalian gelding (Lord Pezi x Grandina), improving upon the pair’s third place finish last year and crossing through the timers in 53.53 seconds. Towell was the last entry on course and ultimately overtook Daniel Bluman (ISR) aboard Bacara D’Archonfosse, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare (Asca Z x Queen D’Archonfosse) owned by Kim Douglas and Alexa Schwitzer, who stopped the clocks in 55.75 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Bijous Van De Vijfheide) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, rounded out the competition in third place, finishing in 55.98, adding four faults to their converted time.
“I felt the course was nice. It had a twisty turning start, but it wasn’t so big and my horse has been jumping big classes all year,” he said. “Tonight was a very competitive class, but I had a lot of confidence in my horse, so I took some shots and it was fantastic. I felt he was pretty quick to the second to last jump, and I thought my turns were nice. Last week at Gold Cup I only got third, but I didn’t trust my horse or myself through the first line and in the second line I had the third jump down. I would’ve ended up third even if I’d gone clean, so today I decided to believe in my horse. I felt fast today and I knew it was quite good.”
Towell and Lucifer V have been partnered together for several year and amassed top finishes around the globe in international competition. The pair has excelled during the summer season and Towell felt that the size and structure of the ring helped the duo secure the win and spoke to the versatility of Lucifer V.
“He’s a very diverse horse. In big fields like Spruce Meadows, he’s also great. He doesn’t have the biggest stride, so in an arena like this it’s even better because he’s quicker in the turns, but this is quite a good ring. I’d also like to add that Daniel is one of my very close friends and we’re very competitive, so it’s always fun to win, but to beat one of your friends is even better,” laughed Towell. “I’m not going to lie, the reason I really tried was because Daniel was winning, and he’s won enough the past couple of weeks.”
Bluman is also coming off of a very successful European tour, like his friend Hardin Towell, and was pleased with Bacara D’Archonfosse and her performance, as they look towards the $216,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* presented by Rolex.
“The mare jumped really well again tonight. We’ve been jumping great the past few shows and winning some classes. I walked the course and like Hardin said it wasn’t too big,” he explained. “I got to see Kristen [Vanderveen] go after me and she had a beautiful round and was super-fast. At that point I figured Hardin would get me at the end. He’s a competitive guy. We work together and grew up together, and I knew he was going to try and he got me, so I’m happy for the second place, happy for him, and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Bluman explained that though the mare is a serious competitor in the competition arena, she’s extremely relaxed outside of the ring. He commented, “Hardin and I were joking in the warm-up that if she were a horse used for transportation two hundred years ago, it wouldn’t do. She doesn’t want to work because she’s so relaxed. It took her twice the amount of time to get from stabling to the ring than any other horse, but she goes in the ring and she knows what she has to do. She’s a competitor and she likes to win. She allows me to do my job. She’s really fantastic horse who always wants to jump clear.”
Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili were incredibly close to stealing the win in Wollman Rink and used the tight course to their advantage, posting the third fastest time despite knocking the first rail at the one-stride combination.
“He is super-fast and the small ring here actually plays to his advantage because he’s really quick on the turns. I felt that we were very tight everywhere and he ended up catching me off guard by the end of the course. He was so ready for the turns that I cut him a little too aggressively at the combination and it caught up with me,” she explained. “But I was very pleased with him tonight. He’s so rideable for me. He’s listening all the time and asks where I want to go, and that really helps in a ring of this size, and with his size as well. He’s right where I want him.”
Emanuel Andrade, Kama Godek, and Todd Minikus Split Top Honors in U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance
The evening’s competition concluded with the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance, which saw a three-way tie between Emanuel Andrade (VEN) aboard Clouwni, a 2003 Holsteiner gelding (Colman x Odessa XVII) owned by Andrade, Kama Godek (USA) and her own De Grande, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Verdi x Concorde), and Todd Minikus (USA) piloting VDL Excel, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Douglas and owned by Autumn View Farm.
The class boasted five entries that began the competition at a wall height of 5’3″. All five entries contested a height of 6’9″, before Andrew Kocher (USA), and Paul O’Shea (IRL) were eliminated in the fourth and final round of competition.
“I started to train last year and I had an equitation horse,” smiled Godek. “I got an email asking if anyone wanted to do the Puissance at Central Park and I mean say no more! I had another client riding this horse in the 3’6″ Equitation and I knew he jumped big. I practiced a couple of times last year and we came back to win this year!”
Emanuel Andrade, a notable name on both the national and international show jumping circuits, contested his first Puissance class under the lights aboard his own Clouwni, ultimately clearing the massive wall set at 6’9″.
“This was my first Puissance and it was very exciting. It was impressive the first time I jumped that wall, but after that I started getting confident and it got much better. It was huge! I’m very happy about it,” he said. “I’m very happy about the group of horses that went this year. They were all so good.”
Veteran of the group, Todd Minikus, guided a young talent in his string in the class, also clearing the impressive wall at its top height. At only eight-years-old, VDL Excel looks to be a strong contender for the future and Minikus commented on the experience for both horse and rider under the lights in Central Park, while thanking class sponsor Spy Coast Farm for the opportunity.
“I’d like to thank Spy Coast Farm for sponsoring this. We all really appreciate it and the crowd seems to really appreciate it,” said Minikus. “I rode a young horse tonight. We just started doing some smaller grand prix and this is great for giving the horses experience under the lights.”
The revival of the Puissance in New York City was sparked by the once popular National Horse Show hosted at Madison Square Garden for many years. Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group (IEG), felt it was necessary to keep the tradition alive in Central Park, once again bringing the entertaining brick wall back to the iconic city.
“The National Horse Show used to be here and no one can replace that show, but we are hoping in time we can bring that type of energy with us to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show,” he commented. “This is the opportunity to do that, so last year we decided to add the Puissance class. It’s a great thing to have in this sport. It engages the crowd and gives people something to root for that they understand. It’s simple, if you leave the wall up, you move on to the next round.”
Spy Coast Farm, a sport horse breeding and training operation based in both Lexington, KY, and Wellington, FL, was a first year sponsor of the U.S. Open $50,000 Puissance class and Lisa Lourie of Spy Coast Farm was on hand to discuss their participation in the event this year and discuss her love for Puissance, which was sparked by watching the entertaining class at the Dublin Horse Show each summer.
“I was so happy that we got this group of riders this year and we were so thrilled that they all came out. That’s what the Puissance is all about. If you don’t have good riders and good horses, then the class falls flat. We had the right group tonight, and that’s what it comes down too,” she said. “I called Mark after watching the Puissance at the Dublin Horse Show and told him that I was in for Central Park because it’s such a fantastic class.”
Mimi Gochman and Avoloma BH Ride to Win in $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Class
The night commenced with the $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Speed Class, which awarded a victory for New York City’s own Mimi Gochman, piloting her new mount, Avoloma BH, a 2005 Dutch Warmblood mare (Quasimodo Z x Voloma) owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC.
“I used to have parties in Wollman Rink for my birthday,” commented Gochman. “It’s amazing to see the transformation from an ice skating arena to an amazing show with a beautiful backdrop. It’s such a privilege to be able to show in the middle of New York City. Central Park has always been a fun place to hang out, but I never imagined I’d be riding in a horse show here.”
Of her round, Gochman said, “It was a nice course. It was a little complicated with the angles but our trainer really helped. She told us where to go and set us up for the best possible route, so that was very helpful. She’s a new mare for me, and we’ve had a lot of success so far. I’m really starting to figure out what she likes and doesn’t like. She’s game for anything and she always tries to jump her best. She’s just a really good mare.”
Gochman completed the track in 52.97 seconds, almost three full seconds ahead of the second position finisher, Alexandra Crown, also of New York, NY, who rode her own Quentucky Jolly, a 2004 Selle Francais gelding (Nirvan V x Fabiola Depinette), to second place on 55.82 seconds.
“I got this horse in the middle of July,” said Crown, “We’ve only gone to about five shows together or so. He’s incredibly competitive and he’s very good at venues like this. He’s comfortable with the tight rings. This worked out in his favor, but we still couldn’t beat Mimi. That was fast! We gave it a go and he was fantastic, so I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
The class continued with an impressive New York native streak as Sophie Gochman took the third place slot aboard Wirina, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harlem x Sarina) also owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, after finishing the course in 55.87 seconds.
“I’ve been competing against Mimi for basically my entire life,” commented the eldest Gochman sister. “This doesn’t really change anything. I’m always rooting for her and she’s always routing for me. Tonight I was just taking one for the team. Whoever wins, it’s still good because go team Baxter Hill!”
New York, NY – September 14, 2017 – The U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance will return to Central Park for the second consecutive year, showcasing the courage and finessed communication between participating horse and rider combinations. Always a spectator favorite, the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance will begin after the conclusion of the U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed on Thursday, September 21, and is set to start at 9:00 p.m. in Wollman Rink.
The competition will begin with a traditionally decorated brick-wall obstacle set at 4 feet, 6 inches high. As combinations clear the jump, the wall is raised for reach round and the thrilling competition continues until only a single combination remains. Who will clear the towering wall as it grows taller and taller? Join us and find out!
Last year’s competition saw a tie for McLain Ward riding Evergate Stables’ ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z and Andrew Kocher aboard Eagle Valley Partners’ C’Havinia. Seven entries started over the imposing Puissance wall and the competition continued up through four more rounds as Ward and Kocher jumped head-to-head at the final height of 6’9″. Neither rider was able to clear the wall at that height, leaving them tied for the win.
Ward entered 2016’s competition at the last minute, though he’s no stranger to Puissance competitions. In fact, he has won many (including seven times at the Washington International Horse Show), and noted that the highest he has cleared is a staggering 7’3″.
“I also attempted to jump an 8-foot wall six different times, but never cleared it. I have no intention of doing that again!” Ward laughed. “2016 was interesting though, because I thought in the second to last round my horse jumped it better, and I thought in the last round Andy’s horse jumped it better. So it was pretty even at the end. I thought it was a nice, exciting class with horses jumping very well.”
Kocher was a first-year competitor at the RCPHS last year, and he had only attempted the Puissance a few times prior. “That mare (C’Havinia) has never done anything like that,” he said. “I have done the Puissance three times at the Washington International Horse Show, and the first time was really bad, but this time I have been practicing for a few weeks. I didn’t have a big enough wall, so I put some hay bales in there to stack it up. It was fun,” he laughed.
Kocher is excited to return to this year’s competition, and commented, “I really like the Central Park Horse Show. It’s just really exciting because it’s right in the middle of New York City, and they have a big crowd. I love the Puissance and I love the high jump. It’s one of my favorite classes and I wish they had it at more horse shows.” He added, “These classes really highlight everything we are supposed to be. We are supposed to be fearless and tough, we have to go out there and go for it.”
Regarding the addition of the Puissance competition to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in 2016, Ward added, “It is a fun way to end the evening. It gets everybody into the competition, and I think the draw of this class is that it is something that everybody can easily understand-how high can you jump?”
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Olympia, the London International Horse Show had crowds sat on the edge of their seats, as the Cayenne Puissance took flight. Holly Smith (GBR) and Christopher Megahey (IRL) both went clear in the 5th round to take home the title in front of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Olympic Gold Medallist Nick Skelton, was also in attendance as he took part in a Q&A session with some lucky fans.
Holly Smith, who had never ridden in a puissance competition until this year, and the teenager from Ireland, Christopher Megahey, 18, a first-timer at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, shared the spoils in a thrilling finale to the Cayenne Puissance.
With The Duchess of Cornwall, who was paying her annual visit to the show, looking on, the pair both cleared 7ft 1in in the fifth and final round.
Holly (nee Gillott), riding the huge bay Irish sport horse Quality Old Joker, showed all her experience from the hunting field, saw the perfect stride and cleared the massive wall in superb style.
But then the young Irishman matched her for nerve and pinged over on another Irish-bred horse, his brother’s former eventer Seapatrick Cruise Cavalier, in a result that will thrill fans of horses from the Emerald Isle.
Norwegian rider Rebekka Lie Andersen finished third, having retired in the third round on Want To Do, and Britain’s Laura Renwick, who withdrew from the third round, was fourth on Top Dollar Vl.
“It’s fantastic,” said Holly, 27. “All my friends are here to watch. I tried to treat it as a normal show, but it’s just got such an amazing atmosphere. The first three rounds didn’t actually go that well, but then I managed to see a forward stride in the fourth and he jumped brilliantly.”
Christopher was equally thrilled. “I loved it – it didn’t faze me at all. It’s just brilliant being here, being around top riders like Marcus Ehning and Scott Brash.”
Earlier on in the day the Stephex Stables enjoyed a fantastic start to the show, with its riders claiming the first two international Show Jumping classes.
The initial victory came from Germany’s Daniel Deusser, who took the Santa Stakes with nine-year-old stallion Hidalgo VG.
“It’s great to start with a win as it gives you confidence for the rest of show,” said Daniel, who beat 11 rivals in the jump off and relegated Britain’s Ben Maher (Don Vito) to second.
Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca took the Christmas Pudding Stakes, a speed class, riding Halifax van het Kluizebos, one of the Belgium operation’s nine-year-old stallions.
“He’s a very good horse now, having continued to improve and become more competitive in bigger classes,” said Lorenzo, who is an Olympia first-timer. “Getting the invitation to compete here was a dream come true,” he said. “To win on the first day is just fantastic.”
Preceding the first round of the FEI World Cup™ competition, the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving at Olympia saw all seven competitors representing five countries. But it was the world’s leading driver, current reigning World Champion both indoors and out, Boyd Exell (AUS), who snatched victory.
Over a challenging course set by course designer, Johan Jacobs from the Netherlands, Exell was the last to go in the first round and was fastest at the midway point. However, the brakes locked on his carriage as he drove over the bridge in the centre of the arena, making for a difficult turn into the first gate of the second obstacle. A resulting knockdown gave him penalties and put him into third place behind Koos de Ronde from The Netherlands and Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary. Dobrovitz, whose son is also competing in the competition, was the only driver to post a clear round at this stage, giving him the top slot.
In the second round, in which the top three placed drivers compete again for first to third place, Exell set the bar high with an excellent round despite one knockdown. Even with 5 penalties added the other two were unable to better his score and he claimed the win again, repeating last year’s success in this competition.
“I’ll be making a few changes in my team for the World Cup competition tomorrow,” Exell remarked. “But today’s competition was outstanding. This Show produces an amazing atmosphere and really allows us to showcase our sport. To compete to such an enthusiastic crowd and a full house spurs us all on.”
Course designer Jacobs commented, “I expect all the drivers to make fewer mistakes tomorrow – there are always difficulties in the first competition. They will be competing over a different course although the obstacles are in the same place – I don’t plan to make it any trickier than today though!”
Along with the evening’s Show Jumping and the Dodson & Horrell Extreme Driving, a special presentation took place as Tim Wilks was awarded the Raymond Brooks-Ward Memorial Trophy, presented to young riders demonstrating potential for future success in the forthcoming season.
The Kennel Club ABC Dog Agility Final thrilled the crowd, but Jo Gleed and her dog Bonvivant With Extra Zoom were too quick for fellow four-legged competitors to clinch the victory.
Olympic champion Nick Skelton spent the day being feted by journalists and the crowd, who will no doubt be voting in their thousands for him on Sunday night in BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Speaking of his Olympic Gold Medal, Nick said, “I never thought it would happen – I’d tried and failed so many times, but I think it means more to me winning a gold medal at my age than it would have done if I was younger.”
McLain Ward and ZZ Top v/h Schaarbroek Z. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Amanda Derbyshire and Luibanta BH Take $50,000 GE International Jumper Speed Final; Eve Jobs and Beth Von Brecht Victorious in Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers; Annabel Revers Earns Grand Junior Hunter Championship and Best Child Rider Title
Washington, D.C – The 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) featured a wide range of equestrian sport on Friday showcasing the grace, power, and speed of some of the world’s finest horses and riders. Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire was victorious with Luibanta BH in the $50,000 GE International Jumper Speed Final. Eve Jobs riding Calizz and Beth Von Brecht aboard Melody earned wins in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. The Junior Hunters concluded their competition for the week, presenting their Grand Junior Hunter Championship to MTM Hands Down and the award for Best Child Rider on a Horse to Annabel Revers.
A fantastic day of competition concluded with the $25,000 International Jumper Puissance, presented by The Boeing Company, where six horses and riders attempted the impressive wall, and USA’s McLain Ward and Aaron Vale tied for first place with clear rounds jumping seven feet.
Reaching Great Heights in the Puissance
The Puissance began with the wall set at 1.72m (5’8”) in height and moved all the way up to 2.13m (7’) through five rounds of competition. All six horse and rider combinations cleared the first round at 5’8”. Danielle Torano (USA) jumped the Puissance for the first time riding her own and Jimmy Torano’s Cash and faulted in round two to finish sixth. Kama Godek (USA) and her own De Grande, and Andrew Kocher (USA) riding Eagle Valley Partners’ C’Havinia, each cleared 1.85m (6’1”) and knocked the wall down in round three to finish in a tie for fourth place. Lauren Tisbo (USA) and Tequestrian Farms’ Mr. Visto cleared three rounds up to 1.97m (6’6”) and dropped a block in round four to place third.
Aaron Vale riding Thinks Like a Horse and Don Stewart’s Finou 4, and McLain Ward aboard his own ZZ Top v/h Schaarbroek Z, cleared round four at 2.00m (6’9”) and continued on to a fifth and final round at 2.13m (7’). Two veterans of Puissance competition, with Ward having won this class seven times and Vale twice. Each rider guided their mount easily over the imposing height, ending in a tie.
Remarking on the excitement and great competition of the night, Vale stated, “Puissance at Washington on Friday night is always a big night. There are lots of people in the stands, and they always cheer a lot. It is good to have a class where two horses went pretty far. It was a good class.”
Ward agreed, “This has always been a special night at Washington. Both Aaron and I have a good history in this class and we enjoy it and the crowd enjoys it. It is nice when it works out well.”
Ward and ZZ Top, a 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Zandor Z x Latus), also tied for a win in the Puissance in Central Park in September, clearing 6’9”.
Commenting on his horse’s effort Friday night, Ward noted, “This is only the second time I’ve shown him, so as far as I know this is the biggest he has jumped. He is a wonderful horse. I have bought and sold him a couple of times now. He has been a great horse for many people and after this he will probably go and be a great teacher for somebody else next year.”
Vale plans to jump Finou 4, a ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding (For Pleasure x Concetto), in Saturday night’s $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, and used the Puissance as preparation to jump the big fences.
He explained, “He is a very fresh, energetic horse, so my plan was to jump him tonight to hopefully take the edge off him and give him some focus for tomorrow. He has a lot of power and he is pretty limber, so I had an idea he could maybe jump a big fence pretty well. The class was great fun and hopefully it sets me up pretty well for tomorrow night.”
Ward and Vale were awarded The Sweet ‘N Low Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Tober, as well as The Armed Forces Cup, presented by The Boeing Company. They were also presented The Congressman’s Challenge Trophy, donated by the Late Honorable Rogers C. B. Morton and the Late Honorable F. Robert Watkins, for the owners of the winning horses.
Derbyshire Dashes to Victory in International Speed Final
Prior to the Puissance, the $50,000 GE International Jumper Speed Final was held in a faults converted format with a win for Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire riding David Gochman’s Luibanta BH. The pair was first to go, and cleared Alan Wade’s (IRL) speed course in a time of 54.72 seconds that held on through 21 rounds for the win.
McLain Ward (USA) and his own Malou were faster, but added two seconds to their time with one rail down, finishing close behind in 54.87 seconds. Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Davendy S also dropped one rail, but with a very fast time, to place third on 55.19 seconds.
Derbyshire has been to WIHS six times helping with the Gochman Family’s Baxter Hill horses and riders, but this is the first time that she has competed herself. She just started showing Luibanta BH, an eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Luidam x Abantos), at the end of August and this is their fourth show together.
“I am very proud of her. She is eight years old, and she has never been to a venue like this before,” Derbyshire detailed. “She is fazed by nothing so far that we have ever put her to, so I am thrilled. She just tries her heart out every time. She really is so special.”
Commenting on her round and going first to set the challenge, Derbyshire explained, “I saw the order online this afternoon, and I said, ‘Well, I just have to give it all I’ve got.’ So I did. I did the right strides everywhere and then I did leave one stride out in the last line. I was trying to go as fast as I could. I thought at the end they were all going to beat me, but thankfully they didn’t. Last time McLain and I were in a speed class together, he was first and I was second, so it was kind of nice for it to be the other way around for once. For sure it won’t happen very often, but it was nice tonight.”
Remarking on her first experience competing at WIHS, and one of the biggest wins of her career, Derbyshire stated, “This is pretty special. It has been so much fun. It has been tiring; we haven’t had much sleep, but it has been better than I ever expected.
“We have a show like this in England called the Horse of the Year Show, and I would say this is comparable to that,” Derbyshire added. “The ring is small, the crowds are big, and it is really special. I have watched the competition here for the last few years, the international classes at night, and this year I thought that I would like to do it. This year I got two horses good enough to do it, so I am lucky for that.”
Luibanta BH will now have a few weeks off before picking up again at the Holiday & Horses competition in Wellington, FL at the end of November. Derbyshire then plans to show the mare in Wellington’s Winter Equestrian Festival.
In the “Jump for TAPS” Challenge, 21 riders were clear over the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) jump in the speed class, raising $21,000 for the WIHS Official Military Charity.
Revers Leads Junior Hunters
The Junior Hunter divisions concluded their second day of competition at WIHS on Friday morning with the presentation of their championship awards. The Grand Junior Hunter Championship, sponsored by Shamrock Ventures, was awarded to Beechwood Stables’ MTM Hands Down ridden by Annabel Revers of Weston, MA. The pair was presented with the Ides of March Perpetual Trophy, donated by Linda Lee and Lee Reynolds. Revers then earned the award for Best Child Rider on a Horse, sponsored by Gotham North, and received the special DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy donated by Mr. and Mrs. Frederick DiVecchia.
On the way to earning the grand championship, Revers took championship honors in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by Sheila and Britton Sanderford, with MTM Hands Down. The pair placed first, first, and second over fences. David Gochman’s Papyrus ridden earned the reserve championship with a win under saddle ridden by Taylor St. Jacques and third, third, and sixth place ribbons over fences with Mimi Gochman in the irons.
Revers also took home the reserve championship in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, sponsored by the Wasserman Foundation, with Beechwood Stables’ Kingpin. The pair won two classes and placed fourth in one class over fences. Emma Kurtz guided David Gochman’s Wisdom to that championship with a win under saddle and over fences, as well as two fourth-place ribbons over fences.
Grand champion, MTM Hands Down, is a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding that Revers has had for almost three years. “Cody,” as he is known in the barn, lives at Revers’ farm in Massachusetts and has a special bond with his young rider since she gets to see and ride him almost every day.
“He doesn’t live with my trainer, so I know him really well and I have a really strong bond with him since he does live at home,” Revers stated. “I think that is a really special thing for me since I have had him for so long. I feel like he has been knocking on the door and coming really close to having a major championship a couple of times, but this is the first really big thing that he has won in a while, so it is really exciting.
“He might not be your traditional hunter,” Revers detailed. “He goes in a little bit more of a frame than my horse Kingpin, but he is a really soft ride and I was happy that he was so brave with the atmosphere here today. He just has a great jump and a really comfortable canter, so he is a really fun ride for me.”
Revers and Kingpin had a fantastic year that included a Grand Championship at the Hampton Classic Horse Show and Best Child Rider titles at the Hampton Classic and Upperville Horse Shows.
“Kingpin is more of your traditional hunter,” the rider explained. “I can really get a good gallop with him and just find the distances. They come out of stride really nicely with his pace. I try to keep a very consistent pace around, which he is really good at, and I think his jump is just awesome. He is really fun and soft, and it is so fun to have confidence in him and be able to gallop and show off a good pace.”
For their winning stake round with a high score of 93 on Friday, Revers and Kingpin earned the award for best Junior Hunter stake to earn the Lyrik Challenge Trophy, donated by Ashley and Courtney Kennedy. Revers was also presented with the Georgetown Trophy as the high score Junior Hunter Rider on a Horse.
“That was probably my favorite round that I have ever had with him,” said Revers, who has owned Kingpin for almost two years. “I think that it was so good because I was able to keep the same pace all the way around and all of the distances just came up right out of stride. He jumped amazing, so I was really happy with it.”
Commenting on winning the Best Child Rider on a Horse award, Revers added, “It is really exciting. I was just excited to show that I could consistently ride well over the course of the show, which is something that I have really been working on over the last couple of years.”
Revers has trained with Olympian Peter Wylde for two years and had her trainer by her side throughout the week’s competition. Commenting on her success, Wylde stated, “Annabel is incredibly talented. She has a great eye. She rides forward to the jumps, which a lot of kids don’t, and she has a beautiful position. Horses jump well for her. She is harmonious with the horse, which promotes good jumping. She rode absolutely beautifully this week in every jumping round. Through her riding, these horses have gotten better and better. Cody (MTM Hands Down), I think went the best he has ever jumped for us this week.”
Revers’ next stop is the CP National Horse Show in Kentucky next week. She then plans to work on moving up to the High Junior Jumpers in the coming year.
The Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division, sponsored by Rose Hill Farm, also presented championship honors on Friday. The championship tricolor went to Laura Wasserman’s Boss, ridden by Katherine Dash, with a win over fences and under saddle. Hunter Holloway showed Vlock Show Stables’ Boris to reserve honors, with first, fourth, and sixth place ribbons over fences and a third place finish under saddle.
Mountain Home Stables’ As Always and Hunter Siebel earned the championship in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, sponsored by the ALTEC/Styslinger Foundation, to conclude hunter competition for the day. The pair earned a win and two second-place finishes over fences and capped their week off with a third place ribbon under saddle. They were awarded the Chance Step Perpetual Trophy, donated by Brooke Carmichael McMurray-Fowler and Pam Carmichael Keenan. Hunter Holloway and Hays Investment Corp.’s The Governor won two classes over fences to take reserve honors.
Also competing earlier on Friday, the hunter phase of the WIHS Equitation Finals saw matching scores of 96 at the top for Hunter Holloway riding Any Given Sunday and Lucy Deslauriers with Class Action. Kendra Gierkink, Taylor St. Jacques, Madison Goetzmann, and Maya Nayyar round out the top six riders heading into Saturday’s jumper phase. Holloway placed first in the WIHS Equitation Final Hunter Phase based on her higher score from the Judge 1 panel.
The hunter and jumper scores will then be averaged out to determine the top ten riders who will participate in the final work-off. The riders change horses by determination of a random draw by lot and then compete over the jumper course for final scores.
Jobs and Von Brecht Top Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers
WIHS hosted the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers in their first jump-off classes of the week on Friday afternoon with wins for Eve Jobs and Beth Von Brecht.
The $5,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper time first jump-off class, sponsored by Staysail Farm, saw 21 entries, with seven clear rounds to advance to the jump-off and three double clears. Eve Jobs of Palo Alto, CA, won for the second day in a row. She topped Thursday’s speed class with Sandor de le Pomme and won Friday’s jump-off with another mount named Calizz. The pair clocked the winning time of 28.66 seconds and was presented with the Cover Story Perpetual Trophy, donated by Rolling Acres Farm.
Katherine Strauss and All In were the runners up for the second day in a row with their time of 29.30 seconds. Brian Moggre and Major Wager LLC’s MTM Flutterby stopped the clock in 29.75 seconds to place third. Madison Goetzmann and her own Wrigley were fastest in the jump-off in 27.46 seconds, but dropped one rail to finish fourth.
The $2,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper time first jump-off was held earlier in the afternoon, sponsored by The Strauss Family, with 23 entries and six advancing to the jump-off. Only one combination was able to clear the short course without fault. Beth Von Brecht and her own Melody jumped double clear in 34.41 seconds for the win. The pair was awarded the Eleanor White O’Leary Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ashton Hill and Miss Linden Joan Hill.
Madison Dehaven and her own Chanel finished second with four faults in 32.61 seconds. Louisa Brackett and her own Memphis Belle placed third with four faults in 33.41 seconds.
Competition continues on Saturday with the opening classes for the pony hunters followed by the $7,500 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by The Strauss Family, and the $15,000 Ambassador’s Cup SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, sponsored by Staysail Farm. The jumper phase for the WIHS Equitation Finals will close out the afternoon session.
The evening session begins at 7 p.m. with the WIHS Equitation Finals work-off with the top ten riders. The $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, will conclude the night. For full results, please visit www.wihs.org.
McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Ward and Andrew Kocher Tie for Win in $50,000 Engel & Völkers Puissance; Daniel Coyle Tops $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 FEI Grand Prix
September 22, 2016 – New York, NY – Day two of the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS) featured international show jumping set to the backdrop of the New York City skyline on Thursday, September 22, in Central Park’s Wollman Rink.
Thursday was deemed “Canadian Pacific Day”, as competition highlighted the $40,000 U.S. Open Canadian Pacific FEI Speed Class, which saw a win for McLain Ward (USA) aboard HH Carlos Z. The evening’s competition also featured the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Puissance, where Ward and Andrew Kocher (USA) tied for victory by clearing the impressive wall in four rounds, and jumping off at 6’9″ inches. The $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 FEI Grand Prix was held on Thursday as well, with a win for Daniel Coyle (IRL) aboard Fortis Fortuna.
The Rolex Central Park Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 25, with five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport for Arabians, jumpers, dressage, and hunters. The $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, and Friday night ceremonies will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, September 25, from 9-10:30 p.m. EST.
The course designer for international show jumping competition in Central Park is this year’s Rio Olympic Games designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA). In the $40,000 Canadian Pacific Speed class, which was held in a faults converted format, Jorge saw 34 horse and rider combinations that included some of the world’s very best.
Two-time Olympic Team Gold Medalist and Rio Olympic Team Silver Medalist McLain Ward was the winner in a blazing fast time of 58.63 seconds aboard the 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding HH Carlos Z (Chellano Z x Voltaire). Ward and ‘Carlos’ have won in some of the greatest destinations and biggest competitions in the world and led the victory gallop for the first time this year in the world-famous Central Park event.
Conor Swail (IRL) won the class in the first two years of RCPHS competition, but settled for second place this year, with a time of 60.26 seconds riding Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita. Hardin Towell (USA) and Evergate Stables’ Lucifer V finished third in 60.45 seconds. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and his own Hardrock Z placed fourth in 64.77 seconds.
Commenting on two victories in one night, Ward noted, “For me, it is a good comeback, because my record here is not so good. I think my best score is 16 and I think I have fallen off twice, so I was actually having a little nervous laugh about that on the way down to the ring tonight.
“Carlos is a great campaigner for me,” Ward stated. “He just does every job at the horse show – other than the Puissance. If he is in form, he really is tough to beat against the clock, and I was thrilled with the way he handled the evening. It is a unique atmosphere and some horses handle it better than others, so I was thrilled that he handled it well, and I think I have a nice set up for tomorrow night.”
Remarking on his second place finish, Swail detailed, “I think right from the start Hardin put up a very good time. It seemed that it was going to hold quite well throughout the class, but there are a lot of world-class competitors here this year. McLain went in, and he is a very fast rider and he has a very fast horse, so I think everything came off very well for him.
“It was a little bit the same for me,” Swail continued. “I was trying to etch out somewhere that I could maybe leave out a step that no one else did. Even my turn to the last fence, I thought I could try something a little different just to try and pip McLain, but I did not quite get it.”
Swail started riding Cita this time last year and was happy with the mare’s performance Thursday night.
“She is an extremely careful horse, and she has proven to be a very good jumper,” he praised. “I was very pleased with her tonight. She did everything I asked of her, and second place was a good result for us tonight.”
Though his time did not hold up for the win, Hardin Towell had a great experience with his mount Lucifer V and feels confident in his horse heading into Friday’s grand prix competition.
“The last place I showed was Spruce Meadows, and this is definitely a lot different jumping,” Towell noted. “I knew it was going to be a fast class, and my plan was to be quick. I hoped to be top three, and I could not have done anything different at the end. Maybe I could have been a little smoother, but I know my horse, and I was happy with how he jumped.”
Ward and Kocher Attempt 6’9″ in the Puissance
The evening’s competition concluded with the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Puissance, which saw a tie for McLain Ward riding Evergate Stables’ ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z and Andrew Kocher aboard Eagle Valley Partners’ C’Havinia. Seven entries started over the imposing Puissance wall set at a height of 5’3″, and the competition continued up through four more rounds as Ward and Kocher jumped head-to-head at the final height of 6’9″. Neither rider was able to clear the wall at that height, leaving them tied for the win.
Ward rode ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z in the Puissance competition after the gelding also competed in the Under 25 class with young rider Oliver McCarthy. It was a last minute decision to enter the class, but Ward already knew the horse well and got a little encouragement from longtime manager Lee McKeever.
“We had the horse here with my rider Oliver, and I have actually sold this horse a couple of times and bought him back a couple of times,” Ward explained. “I have not ridden the horse in five years, but he is an easy catch ride. He is a wonderful grand prix horse who really knows his job.”
Ward continued, “Everyone knows the story of Lee and me – we have been together 30 years – and when we were driving here tonight, he said, ‘Why don’t you want to do the Puissance? Are you getting a little chicken?’ I said we didn’t really have a Puissance horse, and he said that horse could do it. I thought about it for a few miles, and I said, ‘Do you think we can still enter?’ He kept saying that I was afraid, and we went back and forth for about 10 miles, and so I told him to enter me in the class.”
Ward is no stranger to Puissance competitions. In fact, he has won many (including seven times at the Washington International Horse Show), and noted that the highest he has cleared is a staggering 7’3″.
“I also attempted to jump an 8-foot wall six different times, but never cleared it. I have no intention of doing that again!” Ward laughed. “The last round I thought looked quite big tonight. It jumped up a little bit in the last round (from 6’3″ to 6’9″). It was interesting though, because I thought in the second to last round my horse jumped it better, and I thought in the last round Andy’s horse jumped it better. So it was pretty even at the end. I thought it was a nice, exciting class with horses jumping very well.”
Commenting on the Puissance class in general, Ward added, “It is a fun way to end the evening. It gets everybody into the competition, and I think the draw of this class is that it is something that everybody can easily understand – how high can you jump?”
For Andrew Kocher, this was his first time competing at the RCPHS and one of few times he has attempted the Puissance.
“This is my first time here, so we are having a really good time and we were excited to get invited for sure,” Kocher acknowledged. “That mare (C’Havinia) has never done anything like that. I have done the Puissance three times at Washington, and the first time was really bad, but this time I have been practicing for a few weeks. I didn’t have a big enough wall, so I put some hay bales in there to stack it up. It was fun.”
International Equestrian Group and RCPHS founder Mark Bellissimo enjoyed all of Thursday evening’s competition and spoke after the event, thanking riders and sponsors.
“We had great competition tonight. It is interesting to see classes like that happen on a night like this, with perfect weather and a perfect backdrop, so I thank all of the participants for their great effort,” Bellissimo stated. “We want to thanks Canadian Pacific – Hunter Harrison, Keith Creel, and Mark Wallace – they have been very generous supporters of the sport. Events like this are very complex and take a lot of support, and Canadian Pacific has been a great partner with us on this event and we really appreciate. We also have to thank Rolex, who is the title sponsor of the event since the first day. Also Land Rover and Adequan®, who have supported this event for three years. Those four have been stalwarts in making sure that this event has been successful, so I really want to thank them for that.”
Mark Wallace, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Chief of Staff of Canadian Pacific, added, “It was great being here this week in New York. I was in Calgary last week for the CP International, and it was a different experience than this was under the lights in Central Park. It is a great event, and we have been a partner here for the last three years. It was fun to watch tonight, and McLain is a little bit a part of our family at CP. He has a close relationship with our CEO Hunter Harrison, so it was exciting to watch him win. Congratulations to everybody, and we are thrilled to be a part of this.”
Ireland’s Daniel Coyle Tops U25 Grand Prix
The $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 FEI Grand Prix was the first competition held on Thursday evening with a win for Daniel Coyle of Ireland riding the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Fortis Fortuna (Quidam de Revel x Carthago).
Course designer Guilherme Jorge saw 14 competitors in round one, with three advancing to the tie-breaking jump-off. Bryn Sadler (USA) and Showcase 81 LLC’s Bon Giorno were first to return over the shortened course, with one rail down in a time of 40.28 seconds to finish third. Coyle followed aboard Susan and Ariel Grange’s Fortis Fortuna, also dropping one rail, but in a faster time of 35.57 seconds for the win. Alexandra Crown (USA) and her own Von Cim were last to go, but were also unable to complete the course without fault, clocking in at 37.35 seconds to finish in second place.
Commenting on his win, Coyle stated, “It is great for me to be here, and to be here for my first time and win. It is the horse’s first time here as well, so I just tried to concentrate on getting a clear round to start off, and I did. It just kind of went my way in the jump-off, so I am really happy.”
Coyle continued, “Conor (Swail) rode the horse and very nicely gave her to me to ride. I won a few classes at Spruce Meadows and Angelstone with her this year, so she has been a very good one for me to get, and I am happy to have her. I had a plan tonight, and I tried to just stick to it.”
Competition in Central Park’s Wollman Rink continues through Sunday, September 25, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport for jumpers, dressage, and hunters. Friday features the U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson, at 1:30 p.m. The evening session includes the $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Jumper class and the $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex. For more information, visit 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. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show 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 second annual U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers; Dressage; Hunters; U25 Jumpers; and Arabians. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.
Jos Verlooy and Sunshine clearing 6’11” on their way to winning the Puissance at WIHS. Photo by Lauren Fisher/Jump Media.
Hollow Creek Farm Presents U.S. Open $25,000 Under 25 FEI Grand Prix; Engel & Völkers Sponsors First Annual Puissance
New York, NY – September 20, 2016 – The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will bring together power and speed on Thursday, September 22, at Wollman Rink in Manhattan. Dubbed “Canadian Pacific Day”, the schedule features the U.S. Open $25,000 Under 25 Hollow Creek Farm FEI Grand Prix, the U.S. Open $40,000 FEI Canadian Pacific Speed Class, and the $50,000 Engel & Völkers Puissance.
“We look forward to everyone enjoying ‘Canadian Pacific Day’ at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show,” said Mark Bellissimo of International Equestrian Group. “It will be a thrilling night of competition showcasing the best of equestrian sport. We hope that we can set new world records in the Puissance and provide a fantastic event for spectators too.”
“Canadian Pacific Day” begins with gates opening at 6 p.m. The U.S. Open $25,000 Under 25 Hollow Creek Farm FEI Grand Prix kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Some of the best young show jumpers in North America will compete under the lights in Wollman Rink to determine the U.S. Open champion.
Following the U25 competition is the U.S. Open $40,000 FEI Canadian Pacific Speed class at 8 p.m., where international show jumpers like McLain Ward, Kent Farrington, Georgina Bloomberg, and Todd Minikus will go head to head against the clock. The fastest horse and rider combination will be awarded.
“CP is proud to be back as a sponsor for the Rolex Central Park Horse Show and a partner in putting on a tremendous show in one of the sport’s most unique venues,” said CP CEO E. Hunter Harrison. “We wish all the horses and riders well as they face off in front of enthusiastic fans in the heart of New York City.”
The $50,000 Engel & Völkers Puissance is a new addition to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in 2016 and will start at approximately 9 p.m. The unique event requires a special horse with power to clear a wall that is raised in height with each round. Phenom rider Jos Verlooy of Belgium, who is just 20 years old, won the $50,000 Boeing Company Puissance at last year’s Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). He will contest the Puissance and hopes to have the opportunity to set the new world outdoor puissance record, breaking the current height of seven feet, three inches.
Irish rider Susan Oakes and her horse Cicero will also tackle the Puissance wall in a special addition to Thursday evening. The pair, who compete in side saddle style, will try to set a new world record as well.
Oakes currently holds the world record for jumping six feet, eight inches in a puissance side saddle, and she hopes to break the seven-foot barrier on Thursday.
Want to see high-flying jumpers, dancing dressage horses, stunning Arabians, and elegant hunters? Tickets are selling fast! To get yours, go to http://bit.ly/29LwkkD.
The official hotel is the JW Marriot Essex House and special rates are available for a limited time at http://bit.ly/1qV3FBt. In the “Please Select Guest Type” box, select “Attendee” when making a reservation.
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. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show 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 second annual U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers; Dressage; Hunters; U25 Jumpers; and Arabians. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.