High jump contest the Lido de Paris Masters Power was the first highlight of the day at the Longines Masters of Paris. Seven of the seventeen pairs entered came from the Masters Two category and ten from the Masters One. Tied at 1.97 meter, Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs are joint winners of the Masters One while the Netherlands’ Elise van de Mheen, the only rider from her category to clear 1.87 meter, was the best of the Masters Two section.
After an initial round at 1.45m, all riders but Italy’s Filipo Marco Bologni started in the first jump-off at 1.72m. With an extra 27cm, things were getting a bit trickier. Nonetheless, twelve pairs gave the second jump-off (1.87m) a go! Now, the added 15cm proved much more challenging. Of the Masters Two field, only The Netherlands’ Elise van de Mheen managed to clear the line. On the Masters One side, Nayel Nassar, France’s Philippe Rozier, and Martin Fuchs remained in contention. The Egyptian and the Swiss easily cleared the next round at 1.97m while Philippe Rozier’s Prestigio LS La Silla refused to launch himself at the impressive vertical.
The competition was then coming to an end. Both leaders had a final attempt at 2.07m, both a record height and a challenge with a 10 000 euros Super Bonus for all riders clearing over 2.05m at each leg of the Longines Masters Series. Were they going to be able to fly even higher? Despite their determination and the support of the Paris audience, neither managed to clear the huge jump. No Super Bonus, then, but a nonetheless superb victory for the riders who were both partnered with horses who were novices at this type of competition.
“This was a good class in which I had entered my Grand Prix horse Silver Shine. We gave a go at 2.07m and it didn’t work. 2.07m is actually quite high. Especially as it was Silver’s first puissance. I like entering this kind of class before a Grand Prix. The gymnastics are very good preparation,” explained the European champion Martin Fuchs. “It was Can Can Della Caccia’s first puissance. Honestly, I did not know how he would react. I’m not very experienced either at this kind of class. But he got better and better after each round. He felt like he kept growing up.”
Sydney Shulman and Villamoura. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
The 61st Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Friday, October 25, with thrilling displays of speed and power. Israeli rider Sydney Shulman of Greenwich, CT topped the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final on Villamoura, while Aaron Vale and Schuyler Riley of the United States shared victory in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance. The classes were part of a full schedule of exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions during Military Night, presented by Caterpillar, Inc.
Shulman, 24, came to WIHS to jump in the international jumper division for the first time with a pretty specific goal. “I came here with the plan to do just these two speed classes and hopefully be in the top five, with all these elite riders in the classes,” she said.
She ended up winning both of them. Shulman rode Villamoura, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare by Diamant de Semilly and owned by Jill Shulman, to the blue in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, adding her name to the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by the late Arthur J. Morris. The night before, she and Villamoura won the $36,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class.
“I’m definitely in shock!” Shulman said.
Aaron Vale and Schuyler Riley Share the Win in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance
The win in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance came down to a battle between a three-time WIHS puissance-winning horse and a horse contesting the class for the first time. In the end, they tied for the win, with both Aaron Vale and Finou 4 and Schuyler Riley on Very Chic Du Tillard clearing the 6’9″ height.
Vale and Finou 4, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by For Pleasure owned by Thinks Like A Horse, had won the class the last three consecutive years and were hot favorites. Five other horse/rider combinations joined them on the starting list. “There was a good group of horses and riders tonight, so it was a little tougher class than maybe the last few years,” Vale said. “You never go in thinking you’re going to win.”
Riley described E2 Show Jumpers’ Very Chic Du Tillard, a 10-year-old Selle Francais by Diamant de Semilly, as a horse with the experience level of younger horse. He was jumping in his first Puissance class and has spent the majority of his show experience at the 1.45m level. “I knew he has the scope and the talent, but I knew he’d never done one before, so I sort of expected to go in there and jump one or maybe two and then come out, but he jumped it so easily,” Riley said.
All six riders started over the wall set at 5’9″, and it was subsequently raised to 6’3″, 6’5″, and 6’9″. Only Riley and Vale cleared the 6’9″ height, and both returned to attempt 6’11”. When they both knocked blocks off at that height, the class ended in a tie between them.
The Puissance is a favorite event for Vale, of Williston, FL, who has now won the class six times. His first win came in 1996 with Big Joe. “In America, we don’t have great crowds too often, and this night is one of the best crowds of the year for the Puissance here,” he said.
For more information and results, please visit www.wihs.org.
Day three of Olympia, The London International Horse Show attracted a sell-out crowd for The Cayenne Puissance, one of the star attractions of the week-long event. The Puissance title was eventually shared by Great Britain’s Guy Williams (Mr Blue Sky UK) and France’s Mathieu Billot (Dassler), after both pairs cleared the formidable 7ft 4in (2.23m) high ‘red wall’ in the fifth and final round.
The opening day of the Show Jumping competition was certainly one to remember for Darragh Kenny. The 30-year-old Irishman (Cassini Z) first pipped Great Britain’s Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV) by just one hundredth of a second to take top spot in The Santa Stakes supported by Olympia. Kenny then made it a memorable double after he and his 10-year-old bay gelding, Carlson, fought off a valiant effort from Great Britain’s William Funnell (Billy McCain) to take the honours in The Musto Inside Edge Stakes. The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Meredith Reader-Smith and Holydell Poseidon, while the evening performance was won by Poppy Dadson and Merkisayre Sea Duble.
Katie Bradburne Scores a Runaway Victory
British international rider Holly Smith (Grennanstown Sarco Lux Hill) and 10-year-old Katie Bradburne (Runaway Dolly) won the ever-popular Pony Club Mini-Major from the front.
After Smith’s faultless start, Bradburne raced against the clock with the Irish-bred pony her brother, Thomas, had finished third with in this class last year.
“Holly advised me to try not to let my nerves get to me, and act like I was at home… but go a bit faster,” said Bradburne, a member of the Old Berkshire Hunt branch of the Pony Club.
However, Bradburne is well bred when it comes to jumping at speed over fences. She comes from a family steeped in racing history. Her parents are successful former jockeys, Gee Armytage and Mark Bradburne, with her uncle being 1990 Grand National winner, Marcus Armytage.
The Cayenne Puissance
A thrilling Cayenne Puissance class had the crowd roaring with excitement at Olympia, The London International Horse Show when four riders took on the 7ft 4in wall in the fifth and final round.
Only two, however, managed to leave all the bricks intact: Britain’s Guy Williams on Mr Blue Sky UK and French rider Mathieu Billot on Dassler, a horse jumped in the 2017 Cayenne Puissance by Louise Saywell.
The wall was at its highest since 2006, when John Whitaker, Robert Whitaker and Markus Fuchs shared first prize, also at 7ft 4in. Coincidentally, Williams, who lives in France, and Billot had shared the spoils in a puissance class in Rouen recently, jumping the same height.
“C’est magnifique!” said an elated Billot, who was paying his first visit to Olympia.
Williams is considering trying for a record on Mr Blue Sky because he jumps so smoothly. The horse has been taken slowly because of his height and has had some dressage training to calm him. “He makes it look easy but he’s actually quite sharp and nervous and he becomes strong to ride,” Williams explained.
Young rider Alfie Bradstock, riding H.d’Or, and regular puissance specialist Karline de Brabander from Belgium (Fantomas de Muze) also reached the final round but Bradstock hit the wall and de Brabander suffered an unfortunate fall.
Darragh Kenny’s Olympia got off to a splendid start with a double of victories. The Netherlands-based Irishman took the Santa Stakes on Cassini Z and set an unmatchable target of 48.56 seconds on Carlson in The Musto Inside Edge Stakes, a speed class. For good measure, he was also second in the opening Welcome Stakes on Billy Dorito behind Dutch rider Doron Kulpers on Freestyle. “It’s been a great day – it’ll probably all go downhill from here on,” he joked.
Kenny plans to ride Cassini in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ on Saturday, but might consider Carlson, a new ride, in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix on Sunday: “He’s a special horse, competitive and brave. I think he’ll be good.”
The Pony Club Mini-Major, a special class in which Pony Club members have the unforgettable experience of being paired with senior riders in Olympia’s atmospheric arena, was won by Holly Smith and Old Berkshire Hunt member Katy Bradburne, whose parents, Mark and Gee (Armytage), were successful National Hunt jockeys.
Harry Charles may not have won a class, but he collected two awards for the most promising under-25 rider: The Raymond Brooks Ward Trophy, presented by brothers Simon, James, and Nick Brooks-Ward in memory of their father, and a saddle from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers as voted for by members of the British Equestrian Writers’ Association.
Aaron Vale and Finou 4. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Washington, D.C. – October 26, 2018 – The 60th Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Friday, October 26, with some of its most exciting competition yet, featuring the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, won by Georgina Bloomberg of New York, NY on Paola 233. Reaching great heights with victory in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance were Aaron Vale of Williston, FL and Finou 4. The classes were part of a full schedule of exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions during Military Night, presented by Caterpillar, Inc.
The $25,000 Land Rover Puissance is one of the most popular classes at WIHS to attend, and Friday night’s feature class didn’t disappoint. Aaron Vale and Finou 4, owned by Thinks Like A Horse, jumped to a height of 6’11 ½” to capture victory for the third year in a row.
With a small field in the class, it came down to two very game riders that kept going over five rounds of competition. The wall started at 5’9” and was raised to 6’2”, 6’6”, 6’8 ½”, and finally to 6’11 ½”. Vale and Finou 4 stayed clear, while Andy Kocher and Blaze of Glory II, owned by Erica Hatfield, made it to the final round before knocking blocks off the top of the wall to finish in second place.
“I was just hoping somebody could hang in there a while, so we could get a decent class for the crowd. It was great. Andy’s horse jumped it well and hung in there until the last round. It made a really good class and worked out the way that I wanted. I got a little competition, but I still got the blue!” – Aaron Vale
This is Vale’s fifth win in the puissance class at WIHS, with previous wins coming in 1996 with Big Joe, in 1998 on Happyness, and now three consecutive years with Finou 4, who seems to have a certain something that makes him successful over the big wall – despite blindness in his left eye.
“He’s got a lot of ability,” said Vale of the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by For Pleasure. “He’s very limber, plus he’s got a lot of power, so it just seems to be easy for him. I think they could keep raising it, and I’d keep riding him to it.”
Georgina Bloomberg Bests $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final
Riding over a faults-converted speed course designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany, Georgina Bloomberg and Paola 233, an 11-year-old Westphalian mare by Pontifex owned by Gotham Enterprizes LLC, sped to victory in the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final. The handy grey mare and Bloomberg finished clear in 52.90 seconds, edging out McLain Ward (USA) on Walstib Stables LLC’s Queen Jane, who recorded a time of 53.15 seconds.
Third place went to last night’s winner, 17-year-old Brian Moggre (USA), this time riding MTM Vivre le Reve, owned by Major Wager LLC, in 53.39 seconds. Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Catoki’s Son Z, owned by Ilan Ferder & Tal Milstein, were fourth with a time of 53.52 seconds. Aaron Vale (USA) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Major were fifth in 54.66 seconds.
Bloomberg used Paola’s natural ability to rise to the top of the class.
“She has a good enough stride, but she doesn’t need to leave out strides. She’s really quick in the turns, and she’s very quick in the air. Given the option, I always play it safe, and I add a stride because I know I can be quicker other places. Really any of the other options of leaving out strides I didn’t love for her. I felt like I could just be quicker by turning and using her natural speed.” – Georgina Bloomberg
With a light competition schedule since the Hampton Classic Horse Show in late August, Bloomberg aimed Paola for WIHS.
“We brought her here with these two [speed] classes at WIHS in mind. This was my goal for her.”
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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