Tag Archives: Rich Fellers

Rich Fellers and Flexible Win FEI World Cup Jumping North American League at Thunderbird

Longtime partners, and perennial crowd favorites, Rich Fellers (USA) and Flexible, claimed victory at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League qualifier at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia, yesterday. (FEI/Rebecca Berry)

Lausanne (SUI), 17 August 2015 – Longtime partners, and perennial crowd favorites, Rich Fellers (USA) and Flexible yesterday topped a field of 25 to claim the victory of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League class at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia.

Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted a record-breaking number of spectators to the beautiful, green show grounds, where the sport’s top athletes attempted to clear the first round of 13 obstacles with 16 jumping attempts. A variety of rails dropped throughout the 1.60-meter track, indicating a well-designed course. And multiple riders accrued faults at the triple combination that followed the sliced turns from the jump-eight oxer.

The questions asked by course designer Alan Wade (IRL) proved difficult for the inexperienced and the experienced pairs alike. Just a few months after appearing at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Las Vegas, Vinton Karrasch (USA) and Coral Reef Follow Me II were eliminated after two refusals. Two additional horse-and-rider teams did not finish the round.

Sixteen pairs unsuccessfully attempted clears before the first clear round came from America’s Will Simpson and The Dude. Following a record-breaking HITS Thermal winter circuit earlier in the year, the 2008 Olympian efficiently maneuvered the sprawling course without a single fault.

“When you’re riding The Dude, anything can happen,” Simpson said about the nine-year-old gelding.

A few rounds later, 2012 Olympian Fellers and his 19-year-old chestnut stallion added a second clear round to make for a jump off. Canada’s Ben Asselin, aboard Plume de la Roque, was the third and final clear as the 24th in the order of go.

Winning experience

“We’re probably the most experienced pair in the world, if you add our two ages together,” Fellers, 55, commented, as he and Flexible exited the arena after their first round. “He’s just a dream. He keeps getting smarter and better.”

Fellers drew on this experience in the jump off, shaving just over a second off of Simpson’s clear round. Asselin attempted to improve on Fellers’ score, but a pulled rail in the seven-obstacle course forced him to settle for third place.

“I have so much experience with that horse that there’s not too many things that I see anymore that we haven’t seen before,” Fellers explained. “I really thought it was a difficult course when I walked it, but I rode just like I walked it, and he rode just like I wanted him to ride.”

But Fellers knew he would have to push hard to beat Simpson. He and Flexible entered the ring for the jump off after only jumping one, small vertical as a warm up. The first round had taken a lot out of the horse, and Fellers wanted to allow for Flexible’s breathing to return to normal before asking for another big effort.

“I watched Will (ride the jump off), and I’ve seen him ride for years,” Fellers said. “I think he’s a phenomenal and fast jump off rider, perhaps the fastest in the world. I watched him win and win at Thermal this year. He laid down a brilliant round, and the horse jumped super all the way around and was quite fast. I knew I couldn’t take it easy.”

So in his plan of attack, he shaved tighter turns, almost hitting his knee on a ditch jump in the ring. He also opted to take out a stride in his approach to the double combination.

“It went great,” he said. “It was one of those rounds that everything came up sweet, so there wasn’t a lot of stress on Flexible, which is one of my goals at this state in his career. He’s never been better. I know that doesn’t make any sense with his age – that he could be as good as he ever was – but he feels as good as ever.”

Simple planning

Regardless of winning the first West Coast event for the North American League, Fellers’ goals for Flexible aren’t set on the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Gothenburg (SWE), just yet.

“He’s never sharp coming out of the winter, and I think it might have something to do with his testosterone and that he’s a stallion,” Fellers explained. “I know the Finals are in March so that makes it a little more unlikely (in terms of timing).”

Flexible is scheduled to remain at Thunderbird for another week to compete in an upcoming three-star class on Sunday. Then he’ll return home to Oregon for a couple of weeks to rest before traveling to the Spruce Meadows Masters and to the next North American League event on the West Coast at the Sacramento International Horse Show.

“At this stage, he’s feeling great, super sound and loving the sport and craving competitions,” Fellers explained. “As long as that’s the same, I’ll keep carefully picking and choosing where he competes. I’m into ‘simple.’ That’s how I evaluate everything (for Flexible).”

See full results: http://bit.ly/1PuvkPN.

Facts & Figures

The course designer was Alan Wade (IRL). Every year, he designs at least three to four FEI World Cup™ qualifier events. He is confirmed to design the courses at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League classes at the American Gold Cup and at the Sacramento International in September.

Three riders, out of a starting field of 25, jumped clear in the first round to advance into the jump off.

In the first round, there were six horse-and-rider pairs with four faults, two pairs with five faults, two pairs with eight faults, three pairs with nine faults, a pair with ten faults, a pair with 12 faults, a pair with 13 faults, a pair with 22 faults and two pairs with 24 faults. Three pairs were eliminated.

Hannah von Heidegger (USA) was the youngest competitor, having just turned 18 in May. She finished in ninth place aboard Geledimar with four faults.

Rich Fellers and Flexible have a combined age of 74.


Alan Wade (IRE): “I’m sure most of the four faulters, if they had a second chance, they would jump clear.”

“I prefer grass for footing. When you have proper footing, it takes a lot of pressure off me as a course designer. I liked that the footing (at Thunderbird) was the same from start to finish.”

Jane Tidball (CAN): “Our partnerships with Longines and with Asmar Equestrian, as a presenting sponsor, are raising the level of show jumping in North America. We’ve never seen show jumping this great here in Langley, B.C.”

Ben Asselin (CAN): “I was on a relatively new mount today, Plume de la Roque, and we wanted to use this competition as a builder for the rest of her career. We had a great result today, and I think that that momentum is just going to carry on to the future to bigger things.”

Advice for aspiring riders in university: “The best advice that I ever got was perseverance. These guys have been doing it for a very long time. I was even talking to Will Simpson earlier in the week, and he said it takes a long time to get to the top and to stay at the top; it’s a game of perseverance. People lose a lot more than they win.”

Will Simpson (USA): “It’s great to be in a jump off when there’s only three, but that was the problem with these two guys. I’ve been watching Ben ride all week. He’s been working hard; he’s got an unbelievable, quality ride going, and it’s great to see a young guy work hard like that. I knew he was going to be tough. And this guy right here (Fellers) – I’m sick of looking at this guy. (Laughs.) He’s been hounding me my whole life. I love being in a jump off with him. He’s a great competitor, and I don’t feel bad at all by being beat by a horse-and-rider combination like that. I had a great day.

Rich Fellers (USA): “I think (the long-term partnership with Flexible) is similar to any long-term relationship in life – you just have more knowledge, more experience, more details and you can anticipate the outcome better.”

Andrea Strain (CAN): “I haven’t done too many of these big tracks, and it was big enough for me. A few of the early riders had some complications, and for sure there was a little bit of doubt in my mind whether I should go. But the amazing thing about my horse that I have, she gives me amazing confidence, and the course was great and it was built well. It was a learning track. I made a couple of mistakes later on, but it was a confidence-building round.”

Thunderbird Show Park

Thunderbird Show Park is one of North America’s premier equestrian facilities. Situated on 85 acres, it is located just 35 minutes from Vancouver, in beautiful Langley, British Columbia. It is the largest venue of its kind on Canada’s West Coast, and it features seven competition arenas with award-winning footing.

“The first priority is footing, next is great sponsors, like Longines and Noel Asmar, and the final touch is a welcoming attitude,” said Jane Tidball, co-owner of Thunderbird and the President and Tournament Director.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League

A total of 14 athletes from the new North American League will qualify for next year’s prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden on 23-28 March 2016.

The top seven athletes from the East Coast US, top three from West Coast US and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico will qualify for the Final, alongside winners of the 13 other leagues from around the world.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League

The new North American league was launched by Beezie Madden, the most decorated US female equestrian athlete of all time, American Gold Cup winner and FEI Solidarity Ambassador Jessica Springsteen, and Hannah Selleck, team and individual gold medallist at young rider level and one of the sport’s up-and-coming stars. The full launch release is available here: https://goo.gl/kCIsyW.

The North American League boasts a minimum of US $2.4 million prize money across the series, and offers the best Jumping athletes from North America and around the world the chance to qualify for the jackpot of more than US $1.4 million (€1.3 million) on offer annually at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.

By Esther Hahn

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Farrington and Voyeur Excel in $400,000 RBC Grand Prix

Kent Farrington and Voyeur. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Fellers and Colgan Cruise Conquer $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse

Calgary, AB, Canada – June 6, 2015 – Saturday at Spruce Meadows was packed with excitement and a full house of spectators as two of the highlight events of the 2015 ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, were held. Continuing a fantastic winning streak, Kent Farrington (USA) raced to victory on top horse Voyeur to win the $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. Reed Kessler (USA) finished second with Cylana and Jaime Azcarraga (MEX) placed third aboard Anton. Earlier in the day, Rich Fellers (USA) guided Colgan Cruise to victory in the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse.

Watch highlights from Saturday’s competition at Spruce Meadows!

The ‘National’ Tournament is the first in five weeks of competition during this year’s Summer Series at Spruce Meadows. The week concludes on Sunday with the $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby.

On Saturday, Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani set the track for the afternoon’s feature competition in the $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. Twelve out of 50 entries qualified for the jump-off, where fans were on the edge of their seats as many of the world’s very best battled it out for a top prize of $132,000. Only five were able to clear the short course without fault as times got faster and faster.

Francois Mathy (BEL) was the first competitor to go clear in the jump-off aboard his own and Team Harmony’s Polinska des Isles and finished fourth with a time of 46.55 seconds. Jaime Azcarraga jumped next with his family’s Anton and earned the third place prize in 44.22 seconds. Reed Kessler upped the speed with her round in 42.69 seconds aboard Kessler Show Stables Cylana, eventually settling for second place. Yann Candele (CAN) and Watermark Group’s First Choice 15 then clocked the fifth place time of 47.57 seconds. Last to clear the short course without fault, Kent Farrington notched the winning time of 41.75 seconds with Amalaya Investment’s Voyeur.

This win marks Farrington’s 24th FEI victory at Spruce Meadows since 2011 and brings his all-time money earnings at the competition to an impressive $1,306,560. The rider has been on a role with Voyeur, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding (Tolano van’t Riethof x Goodwill), including their most recent victory in the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Grand Prix of Hamburg in Germany.

When asked the secret to his success, Farrington simply stated, “The secret is to get really good horses.”

“Luckily, I have some great people behind my career,” he detailed. “The Nusz family that owns Voyeur have been really supportive of me, and that is why I am able to do it at this level today, because of them and a bunch of other people that have really stepped up to help me get here.”

Commenting on his jump-off round, Farrington explained, “I did not see the horse that finished second go. People just told me that it was full speed all the way around. My plan with Voyeur is usually just to match one rhythm and keep him even the whole way. He is a very hot horse, so if you go too hard on him, you will sort of blow his mind a little bit. I would I say I was a more consistent speed throughout the whole course. He has been on form. This is his third big class in a short time, so he is up and running so to speak.”

When Farrington first got Voyeur almost three years ago, he saw great potential and hoped that the horse would be successful. Voyeur has now turned into his top ride.

“I always have high expectations for the horses that I get. Even when they are young, I try to see their qualities and their best abilities and hope that I can pull it out of them,” Farrington said. “It is really more a realization of what I hoped that he could be, but I always thought that he could get there.”

Farrington credits jumping at Spruce Meadows as one of the factors that helped Voyeur advance to the top level.

“The jumps here are very big and I think all of the horses, if they can jump a grand prix here, they can jump anything in the world,” Farrington acknowledged. “I really think that it helps build a lot of the horses. Especially for a lot of the North American riders that produce horses here, you usually see them go on to do really big things at championships. Horses like Hickstead, and Authentic and Sapphire, they grew up jumping here and I think this field and this jumping really helps bring them to that level.”

Second place finisher, Reed Kessler, can attest to the experience that she has gained at Spruce Meadows, especially with her top mount Cylana. The pair finished second in the $1.5 million CP International Grand Prix presented by Rolex at last year’s ‘Masters’ Tournament, and Kessler is thrilled to be back for this year’s Summer Series.

“I think I just have the most amazing horse to come here. She loves it here,” Kessler stated. “I have the kind of horse that she rises to the occasion when she feels it is really important, so to step through the clock tower and into the International Ring with tens of thousands of fans, that is when she is really at her best. When you jump here and then the pressure is on at any big competition in the world, the horses really learn to step up to the occasion.”

Commenting on the jump-off and her final outcome with another second place finish, Kessler admitted, “It is a little frustrating, but I was not too upset because when I came out I really felt like my horse gave me everything and I really gave it everything I had. I think even if I went after Kent I would not have done anything differently. He is an amazing rider and I think everyone in the world would say that he is just about the last person you want to go after you in a grand prix, so I am pretty happy. I think that is one of the fastest jump-offs I have ever ridden.”

Jaime Azcarraga returned as the reigning champion of the RBC Grand Prix from 2014 with his mount Anton, but settled for third place this time around.

“The conditions here at Spruce Meadows are always top. I think the horses can really jump at their best when they are in the International Ring,” Azcarraga stated. “Anton loves it here too. Last year was the first time that he jumped in the International Ring and when he comes in he is always trying.”

Course designer Uliano Vezzani was happy to see many of the top riders in the world excel over his course, and following the competition, Farrington praised Vezzani’s efforts.

“I think Uliano is one of the best course designers in the world, if not the best, and that is why he is working all over the world,” the rider remarked. “I see him all the time at the LGCT competitions and I think he really has the modern sport down to a science. I thought the grand prix today was excellent. It was intelligently built. It was a great day in Spruce Meadows with beautiful weather and an exciting jump-off.”

Fellers Flies to Victory

The $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse was the first competition to award honors in the International Ring on Saturday with a win for USA’s Rich Fellers with Colgan Cruise, a horse he owns in partnership with Harry Chapman.

Rich Fellers and Colgan Cruise
Rich Fellers and Colgan Cruise

The Parcours de Chasse is a speed competition in which horse and rider combinations complete a course where faults are converted into time. The course features twisty turns and varied obstacles, including derby-style natural obstacles such as the bank, table top and devil’s dyke. One of the final competitors, Fellers and Colgan Cruise were the fastest combination of the day and cleared the course without fault in a time of 86.45 seconds.

Sixth to go in the order of 35 entries, Eric Navet (FRA) cleared the course in 87.24 seconds, a time that would hold on for second place aboard Signe Ostby’s ASB Conquistador. Leslie Howard (USA) put her experience to good use for the third place prize, clear in 88.80 seconds, with her own and Peter Howard’s Lennox Lewis 2.

Fellers had a busy day of riding and also teaching students in other rings and did not get to see any of the competition before he went in the ring. He stuck to his original plan for the course and trusted in the speed and experience of his horse. He has owned Colgan Cruise, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Cruising x Clover Hill), since the horse was five years old.

“I know her so well and I was so busy at the other rings with my junior and amateur students that I did not even watch anyone. I just rode my plan from my course walk,” Fellers stated. “My horse is kind of fast on the ground, she is fast in the air, and when she is smooth and she is riding well I know she is going to be right there at the end. I really did not have a beat on where I needed to be, I just felt like I trusted her speed, her instincts and her experience. You can’t replace experience.”

“She was a winner when we bought her,” Fellers noted. “She was third or fourth at the five-year-old world championships for young horses. We bought her after that and she has been a great horse. She did not turn out to be a 1.60m horse, but she has just become a real money machine. In the speed stuff, and the 1.45m, she is very consistent.”

Colgan Cruise is by the same stallion as Fellers’ longtime champion mount, Flexible, who is still going strong at 19 years of age.

“She is 13 now, which as an Irish horse is still young,” Fellers stated. “All I had for years was Irish horses. That is where I bought all my horses. I had a great agent there, Dermot Forde, and I had a lot of luck with the very first Irish horse I bought, McDougal. He won this class in 1998. He was on the trophy and that was the last time I won it. Irish horses are typically very bold, very brave and instinctive about jumping the natural obstacles.”

The ‘National’ Tournament concludes on Sunday featuring the $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby in the International Ring. The day will also highlight the $40,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics 1.45m.

For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Comeback Award Added to Kentucky Experience Schedule

Rich Fellers and Flexible. Photo by Fire and Earth Photography.

Lexington, KY – October 27, 2014 – Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital has announced that an award honoring the remarkably hardy show jumper Flexible has been added to the schedule of the Kentucky Experience on Friday, Oct. 31, during the National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. The Comeback Award is being presented by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, an all-breeds organization whose mission is to fund veterinary research for the benefit of horses.

“We are pleased that one of the co-sponsors of our Kentucky Experience has stepped up to further recognize the relationships between research, veterinary practice, and sport horse competition,” said Dr. Tom Riddle of Rood and Riddle. “Our practice will donate $10,000 to Grayson to further its program of funding research projects for the betterment of the horse and we challenge Flexible’s fans to also contribute to Grayson.”

Flexible, owned by Sam and Mollie Chapman and trained and ridden by Rich Fellers, suffered three distinct and seemingly career-ending problems over a decade. They involved fracture, atrophy, and vascular blockage.

Yet, he overcame them all with expert veterinary care and Fellers’ own acumen, and this year at the age of 18 won the $55,000 Land Rover of Sacramento. Fellers has already begun making plans to try for the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup, which they won in 2012.

“The ultimate benefits of equine research require various stages,” noted Edward L. Bowen, president of Grayson. “We seek the best research projects available, but the expertise of research scientists is then handed off to veterinarians who must be up to date and willing to accept new science. Of course, the owner/trainer also has to be ‘flexible’ enough, so to speak — to accept change as well.”

Rich Fellers and Flexible won the opening World Cup Qualifier at Thunderbird Show Park. Photo courtesy of client
Rich Fellers and Flexible won the opening World Cup Qualifier at Thunderbird Show Park. Photo courtesy of client

The Grayson Comeback Award trophy will be accompanied by a $500 check to the groom and will be presented on the evening of Oct. 31 during the Rood and Riddle Sport Horse Seminar. The seminar is part of the Kentucky Experience, which also involves visits to horse farms, social events, and free admission to all sessions of the National Horse Show. More than 400 individuals signed up to attend the second annual Kentucky Experience.

“Although we are affiliated with the Thoroughbred industry, the preponderance of the research we fund is as helpful to all other breeds and activities as it is to Thoroughbreds,” noted Bowen. “We like to call Grayson ‘The Friend You Can’t Do Without,’ and regardless of your specialized interest in horses we are there for you by funding research on laminitis, tendon and ligament issues, placentitis — the whole gamut.”

The foundation, which relies on private donations, is funding 19 projects for slightly more than $1 million this year and since 1983 has provided $20.9 million to underwrite 310 projects at 41 universities.

“I’m very proud to be a part of Flexible winning the Grayson Comeback Award. What an amazing horse he has been!” said Fellers, who was asked to elaborate on the amazing sequence of problems and expert solutions Flexible has experienced:

“The first of his three career ending issues began in the fall of 2003 (7 years old). He started going very lame on his right front about 15-20 minutes into a ride. After a few minutes of rest he would be sound again. Needless to say, there were many different diagnoses from different vets. As he lost fitness over time the issue became more severe.

“Late Summer 2004 we took Flexible up to Washington State University Vet School where Dr. Robert Schneider went to work on solving the mystery. He discovered a blockage in the main vein that drained blood out of his right front leg. After numerous practice procedures on test horses he executed angioplasty on Flexible’s vein with little hope that it would help. Afterward, Dr. Schneider advised me to take Flexible home and let him be a horse again. He would monitor his own pain while turned out by resting. We brought him home in early September and gradually started back to work.

“Next ‘career-ending’ injury occurred late summer of 2005. After a successful circuit in Calgary (Spruce Meadows), we shipped back to New York for two weeks of competition at the new HITS venue in Saugerties. During a rest week at Castle Hill farm in Brewster, Flexible had a bad accident in a grass paddock. He fractured his left scapula. We left him at Castle Hill for 5-6 weeks until he was sound enough to load on a trailer and airplane to fly home.

Rich Fellers and Flexible won three World Cup Qualifiers last year at HITS Desert Circuit and finished second at the 2008 Rolex FEI World Cup Finals. Photo by Flying Horse Photography
Rich Fellers and Flexible won three World Cup Qualifiers last year at HITS Desert Circuit and finished second at the 2008 Rolex FEI World Cup Finals. Photo by Flying Horse Photography

“A couple weeks after returning home we noticed all the muscles in his left shoulder were atrophied. Diagnostic work revealed damage to his Supra-scapular nerve. He had a condition known as ‘Sweeney Shoulder’. In rare cases the nerve repairs itself and the horse recovers. Most cases the horse is a cripple for life. You know the outcome.

“His most recent issue showed up in June 2013 (17 years old). He started going very lame on his right hind leg 5-10 minutes into a ride. After a couple minutes of rest he would be perfectly sound again. This didn’t take long for my vet, Dr. Mark Revenaugh, to diagnose as the lameness pattern was very similar to that of the vascular blockage issue he overcame 10 years prior. This time it was clotted arteries to the right hind leg. With extensive diagnostics at University of California-Davis vet hospital, Dr. Monica Aleman was able to diagram all of the clotted vessels. The treatment options were: 1) A five and a half hour surgery to clean out the arteries that were accessible, or 2) put him on a daily blood thinner to hopefully halt the clotting process so he could have a somewhat comfortable retirement.

“The experts all agreed that the existing clots would never disappear. We started Flexible on Warfarin upon his return home from UC Davis (end of August 2013). We gradually increased his exercise each week and never looked back.”

2014 National Horse Show Fast Facts

The Alltech National Horse Show is a week-long championship event featuring “AA”-rated hunters, open jumpers, junior/amateur jumpers, and the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals. The event will run October 28 – November 2, 2014, indoors in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The Kentucky Horse Park has waived the normal parking fee during the Alltech National Horse Show. Parking is free. While dogs are permitted at the Kentucky Horse Park on a leash, no dogs are allowed in the Alltech Arena during the ANHS.

The Kentucky Horse Park is located at 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. The KHP is 8 miles northeast of Lexington at Exit 120 on Interstate 75.

2245 Stone Garden Lane Lexington, KY 40513
Cindy Bozan
email: cindy@nhs.org
Phone: (859) 608-3709
Fax: (866) 285-9496



Vendors offering equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry and home furnishings are located in the Alltech Arena.

Additional Contacts:
Vendors – Matt Morrissey at matt.morrissey@stadiumjumping.com or call (941) 915-3457
VIP Table Sales – Cindy Bozan at cindy@nhs.org Phone: (859) 608-3709
Advertising and Program Sales – Dee Thomas at jmstables@aol.com Phone: 561-310-7679
Sponsorship – Mason Phelps at mpjr@phelpsmediagroup.com or 561-753-3389 or Susie Webb at webb_susie@yahoo.com or 301-520-6162

HILTON – DOWNTOWN – 859-231-9000 – Approximately 6 miles
CLARION HOTEL (formerly Holiday Inn North) – 859 – 233-0512 – Approximately 4 miles
FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES BY MARRIOTT – 859 -977-5870 – Approximately 4 miles
FOUR POINTS SHERATON – 859-259-1311 – Approximately 4 miles
LA QUINTA – 859-231-7551 – Approximately 4 miles
KNIGHTS INN – 859-231-0232 – Approximately 4 miles
EMBASSY SUITES – 859-455-5000 – Approximately 4 miles
MARRIOT GRIFFIN GATE – 859-231-5100 – Approximately 4 miles
RESIDENCE INN – 859-231-6191 – Approximately 5 miles
COURTYARD BY MARRIOT – 859-253-4646 – Approximately 5 miles
HOLIDAY INN GEORGETOWN – 502-570-0220 – Approximately 6 miles
RAMADA INN – 859-299-1261 – Approximately 6 miles
RED ROOF INN – 859-293-2626 – Approximately 6 miles
HAMPTON INN – 502-867-4888 – Approximately 6 miles
SUPER EIGHT – 502-863-4888 – Approximately 6 miles
MICROTEL INN & SUITES – 502-868-8000 – Approximately 6 miles

For further information on housing in the Lexington area, we invite you to visit www.visitlex.com and www.georgetownky.com.

Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC
P. O. Box 11428
Lexington, KY 40575-1428
859-233-0492 (phone)
859-233-0495 (fax)
email: hakshows@earthlink.net
website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Horse Show Secretary:
Cindy Bozan
Email: secretary.nhs@aol.com


Re: News and Information:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12230 Forest Hill Blvd.
Suite 214
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Fellers and Flexible Top ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.55m at Spruce Meadows

Rich Fellers and Flexible. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 Win 1.50m Jump-Off; Simpson & Axl-Rose, Kenny & Picolo Triumph in 1.45m Speed Rounds

Calgary, AB, Canada – July 2, 2014 – The Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ Tournament CSI 5* kicked off on Wednesday with a big schedule in the International Ring to continue a fantastic summer series in Calgary. The $85,000 Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.55m competition was the feature event of the evening with a win for Rich Fellers (USA) and Flexible. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 got a win in the $33,500 ATCO Energy Solutions Cup 1.50m, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Picolo won the $33,500 AON Cup 1.45m, and Will Simpson (USA) and Axl-Rose began the day with victory in the $33,500 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m.

Watch highlights of Wednesday’s competition!

The ‘North American’ Tournament continues through July 6, featuring the $210,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday, July 5, and the $210,000 Cenovus Energy Classic 1.50m Derby on Sunday, July 6. Highlights also include the $85,000 Progress Energy Cup 1.55m on Thursday, July 3, as well as the $85,000 TD Cup 1.50m on Saturday, July 5, and the $85,000 Enbridge Cup 1.50m on Sunday, July 6.

Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela is the course designer in the International Ring for this week’s ‘North American’ competition. In Wednesday’s highlight $85,000 Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.55m, Palacios saw 44 entries with eight very fast horse and rider combinations advancing to the jump-off and four double clear rounds.

Pablo Barrios (VEN) and ZL Group Inc.’s Zara Leandra were the first pair to clear the short course without fault in 46.28 seconds to eventually finish second. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Hyperion Stud LLC’s Imothep jumped clear in 49.32 seconds to place fourth. Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Candy Tribble’s Special Lux stopped the clock in 47.01 seconds to take third place honors. Last to go, Rich Fellers and Harry and Mollie Chapman’s Flexible raced to the winning time of 45.35 seconds.

Flexible, the amazing 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion (Cruising x Safari) and 2012 FEI World Cup Finals Champion, proved that he has still got it. Fellers explained that the win was even more incredible as Flexible came back this year after a big set back after last summer’s ‘Continental’ Tournament.

“I have been trying to sort out some things with him, and obviously age is not one of those things,” Fellers stated. “He had a real serious problem last year with a blood clot. They said he was finished, but it has been sorted out. He had a huge blood clot in his aorta and femoral artery going to his right hind leg, and he would exercise about two and a half minutes at the trot and go crippled lame. His right hind leg would cramp up. I think that’s behind him.”

“The hard part is that, emotionally, it has been difficult for me to put all that behind me and just not worry,” Fellers admitted. “I’m very attached to the horse. I’ve had him a long time and the last thing I want to do is put him through any kind of pain. It’s just sorting out the blood clot issue, and it took a lot of time. Then thinking about why am I even doing this? He’s 18 years old, but he just loves it. He craves it; it’s all he knows. Fortunately I have an incredible vet. It didn’t take long to diagnose it. When he was seven, he had a blood clot in the front leg. It was a similar thing. It was pretty easy to figure out.”

Flexible had excellent veterinary care and eventually, Fellers and the Chapmans opted not to perform any kind of risky surgery. The horse went on blood thinners that have gotten him back to the show ring.

“We sent him down to UC Davis, and he was there for four weeks,” Fellers detailed. “They had human cardiologists involved, and we had conference calls. They basically said, ‘No horse has ever recovered from this. We can lay him down and do a five-hour surgery. He could possibly retire comfortably to stand at stud. The clot won’t go away. We can slow down the clotting so it doesn’t get bigger, but we can’t get rid of it, other than going in surgically.’ They said there was no chance. I told Harry and Mollie, the owners, that I think if you lay him down for five hours, I don’t think he’s gonna get up. That’s tough on a horse. So I said, ‘Why don’t we just put him on blood thinners and see what happens?’ And it worked, miraculously. They still can’t believe it at UC Davis. They’ve never seen it. 60-70% of the clotting just disappeared. They don’t know where it went.”

After getting Flexible back in the ring, winning Wednesday’s class was very momentous for Fellers. It has also been quite a while since he won a class in Spruce Meadows’ International Ring.

“It’s difficult to describe. It’s almost unreal,” the rider acknowledged. “You look at the history of the sport, and an 18-year-old horse at the top of the sport is so rare. You see them occasionally, but they’re not usually winning those kind of classes. I just feel so fortunate. I can’t even explain how lucky and fortunate I feel to have him going as well as he’s going.”

Heading into the jump-off, Fellers did not get a chance to watch the leader, Pablo Barrios, over the short course. He just went with his plan.

“I didn’t really have any kind of feel other than experience, and I have a lot of that,” Fellers smiled. “My wife said Pablo was fast everywhere, so I just went fast everywhere. Flexible is fast. There’s just no getting around it. If I let him gallop and I don’t mess things up for him, he is fast across the ground and he is fast in the air and he turns very quickly. He’s easy to ride at speed because he likes to go fast. There weren’t a lot of options in that jump-off course. To the last fence, you could have cut inside and angled to it, but I had enough momentum over the yellow oxer that I just didn’t feel like it was fair to 18-year-old Flexible to crank him to the right to get inside there, so I just let him sweep around.”

The pair galloped down to the last fence and cleared it to the cheer of the crowd. With Flexible back in winning form, Fellers looks forward to Saturday’s $210,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup, which the pair finished second in, in both 2011 and 2012. As a good omen for the weekend, they also won this same class leading up to the grand prix both years as well. Fellers plans to stay with the winning formula.

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5
Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5

Another Win for Lamaze and Fine Lady 5

The $33,500 ATCO Energy Solutions Cup 1.50m was held in the afternoon with a 16-horse jump-off out of 47 first round starters. Only four competitors were able to clear the short course without fault, where Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Artisan Farms LLC’s Fine Lady 5 took top prize.

Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Victor, owned by Torrey Pines & Artisan Farms LLC, were first to jump off and set the pace at 46.03 seconds to finish fourth. McLain Ward (USA) upped the ante in 44.44 seconds, next to go with Carl Rijcken’s d’Ulien van de Smeets, to eventually place second. He was bested a few rounds later by Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 in a blazing 43.03 seconds. Ian Millar (CAN) completed the only other double clear round in 44.53 seconds with Susan and Ariel Grange’s Dixson to finish third.

Fine Lady 5 is a brand new ride for Lamaze, but the pair has already won two classes with several other top finishes at this summer’s tournaments. The 11-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Hauptstutbuch) had lots of success with her previous rider, Holger Wulschner of Germany, and Lamaze explained that he knew they would be a great match.

“She was winning way before she met me,” he stated. “She has been a winner for a long time. With her previous rider, she did nothing but win. I’m just getting what the other rider had. I don’t think I’ve added anything to it. It is a horse that I knew I was going to click with for sure. That type of horse you definitely have to click with, but one thing she knows is how to win, so it took a very short time to get together.”

Detailing his speedy jump-off round, Lamaze noted, “I didn’t see McLain go, but he is really a fast rider. I know him well and I knew that this was going to be a fast jump-off, but I was sitting on the right horse. She is incredibly fast, and she is really careful. I knew that the turn at the top end meant a lot for me. She doesn’t have the longest stride, so the long gallop is the hardest part, but in the roll back and the turns she is extremely quick. I went from fence one to two nicely fast and then I really risked that turn at the top end. The skinny I went quite fast to and then risked that turn again and then got a really forward ride to the last fence to be quick.”

“Sometimes it’s the distance that you see that determines how fast you go,” he continued. “The opportunity is not always in front of you to take, other than doing something really stupid and risking something. This time it was there to be a fast last fence. A vertical or an oxer, it doesn’t really matter for her. She is just so careful.”

“She reminds of riding Hickstead at this height,” Lamaze acknowledged. “She is just so careful and the jumps are sort of just in your way. You don’t have any worries of knocking them down. It’s like she has eyes in her legs. She knows where the poles are, so as a rider you just have to put her in security and not do anything stupid. That’s my job.”

Simpson and Kenny Top 1.45m Speed Rounds

Will Simpson and Axl-Rose
Will Simpson and Axl-Rose

Wednesday’s competition began in the morning with the $33,500 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m in the International Ring. The one round speed course saw 61 entries in total with 21 clear rounds. Will Simpson (USA) completed the fastest clear clear round in 61.98 seconds for the win aboard Monarch International’s Axl-Rose, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Ti Amo van het Lambroeck x Forever).

Richard Spooner (USA) and Maxine and Robert Jack’s Zaprilia M finished second in 62.29 seconds. Nick Dello Joio (USA) took third place honors with Coker Farm’s Contiki in 62.85 seconds. Simpson also finished fourth aboard Monarch International’s Warrant in 63.07 seconds.

Axl-Rose is another horse that Simpson is showing for owner Hannah von Heidegger after the rider had a fall last week. Although Simpson has ridden Axl-Rose before, Wednesday was his first time competing the gelding.

“He thinks he’s a rock star. He came with that name, but it fits him well,” Simpson stated after their win. “The last class he rode, he had a little bobble, so I didn’t know what to expect. He’s very game. He was very, very quick across the ground. He’s not shaken up at all, and he is ready to go.”

“He was a little bit rambunctious in the schooling area,” Simpson detailed. “He was acting like he wanted to accelerate after the jump, and I didn’t really want him to. My plan, I said, ‘Ok, I’m just going to let you go,’ and I did. By the end he was waiting for me like a gentleman. It worked out really good today.”

Simpson also had a great round with his mount Warrant and was happy with two top finishes to kick of the ‘North American’ Tournament.

“I can’t even remember the last time I won in International Ring,” he stated. “I am really happy with both of those horses. I’m really happy that Axl is jumping and responding. Warrant – that was the first time I’ve shown him FEI for quite a while. I just got him last year. I was thrilled with him. I just chickened out to the skinny; I made a little bit of a wide turn there. It’s good to be back in the International Ring.”

The $33,500 AON Cup 1.45m speed competition followed with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo. Fifty-four entries showed with 20 clear rounds. Kenny and the 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Alme) stopped the clock in 54.17 seconds. Colombia’s John Perez guided Utopia to second place honors in 56.68 seconds. Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios placed third in 57.24 seconds aboard The Romeo Group’s Romeo.

Before his round with Picolo, Kenny had the opportunity to see some of the competition and plan his ride accordingly. In particular, he watched the very fast round of Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083, who had an unfortunate rail to finish out of the ribbons.

“Picolo is just really fast. I went as fast as he could go, and he was very good today,” Kenny stated. “I knew that Shane had been very fast. He went in 55 (seconds), but had the last jump down. His horse and my horse are quite similar in the speed they can go. The leading time was 56, so I knew if I just stayed on it the whole way, he should be able to do it. I had a plan from the start, and I stuck with it. I think it’s a good way to do it. I just look at someone who’s usually pretty fast and see what their time was, how many strides they did, how fast they were, and what I need to do to be faster. It worked out great.”

“He’s a real winner,” Kenny said of Picolo. “He just keeps doing as much as I ask him. The horse was a genius when I bought him. He teaches me things. From the day I got him, he has always been a winner. He doesn’t need to improve on anything. I might need to improve, but he doesn’t. He is so fast that a couple of the days I went too fast. I just figured out that to be really fast on him, I actually don’t need to go so fast at the start. I need to not think about it too much, just get going at a nice pace and he picks it up.”

Picolo jumped his first 1.50m competition at Spruce Meadows in last week’s ‘Canada One’ Tournament and Kenny hopes to step him up to that height again this week.
The ‘North American’ Tournament continues on Thursday with a full schedule of competition in the International Ring starting with the $33,500 Suncast Cup 1.45m. The day will also feature the $35,000 PwC Cup 1.50m and the $85,000 Progress Energy Cup 1.55m. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Spruce Meadows Media Services

Rich Fellers and Flexible Take It Class by Class, Win $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

©Flying Horse Photography. Rich Fellers and Flexible were on top of their game Friday in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix.

THERMAL, CA (March 8, 2014) – Rich Fellers of Wilsonville, Oregon and the famed Flexible climbed the ranks at HITS Thermal on Friday to win the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, over a field of 58 starters.

Earlier this year, the fate of 2012 USEF International Horse of the Year Flexible was an uncertain one. The 18-year-old gelding was diagnosed with blood clots in his right hind leg in June and his showing career was put on hold.

“His future is a mystery right now,” said Fellers of the chestnut stallion owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman. “The vets say that he shouldn’t be able to handle full work, let alone jump – there is no real explanation as to how he is happy and able to still perform.”

Fellers admits that he is listening closely to Flexible and is taking every day class by class. “If he’s not right, he won’t jump,” said Fellers confidently. “I love him too much to take any risks.”

On Friday, there was no indication that Flexible was anything other than at the top of his game. He carried Fellers to join 11 other clear contenders, setting the stage for a 12-horse jump-off.

The SmartPak Grand Prix course was designed by Bernardo Cabral of Carnaxide, Portugal and faults were mostly isolated to the second half of the 13-obstacle track. “This guy is top class,” said Fellers of Cabral. “Today was super, fair and nobody had any real problems on course. The jump-off was certainly entertaining.”

Richard Spooner of Agua Dulce, California proved early that the course could be jumped, piloting Chivas Z for SN Stables, LLC to a clear round from the second spot in the original order. In the jump-off, Spooner set a challenging standard with a clear effort in 39.52 seconds.

Fellers returned one trip later and mirrored Spooner’s approach, taking inside-turn options and letting Flexible gallop every line. “Richard [Spooner] is a brilliant rider and it’s helpful to watch a top rider lay down an efficient, quick round,” said Fellers. “I was standing at the gate watching everything he did and my plan was to copy that.”

The difference, according to Fellers, was Flexible’s speed. Arguably one of the fastest horses in the field, Flexible shaved more than a full second off the Great American Time to Beat, crossing the timers in 38.27 seconds. “He’s faster than most horses and when we follow the same track, he usually ends up ahead,” said Fellers.

The two international stars stayed at the top with Spooner finishing in second. Mandy Porter of Encinitas, California jumped the stallion Con Capilot, owned by Plum Creek Hollow Farm, to third with a clear jump-off round in 40.18 seconds. Eric Navet of Panileuse, France piloted Signe Ostby’s Tembla to fourth in 41.43 seconds. Spooner capped the top five on his second ride – Cristallo, owned by Show Jumping Syndications – with a clear effort in 43.15 seconds.

With the second annual AIG Million on the horizon, grand prix action returns to the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium on Sunday with the $50,000 CardFlex Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. A live stream of Sunday’s event will be available at iEquine.com.

About SmartPak
SmartPak powers healthy horses and happy riders. The patented SmartPak Supplement Feeding System makes it easy for riders across the country to take the best care of their horses. Founded in 1999, with the purpose of simplifying the administration of nutritional supplements and medications to horses, the system has been adopted by thousands of barns and horse owners across the country, who value knowing that their supplements will be fed correctly. For more information, visit SmartPak.com.

About Zoetis
Building on 60 years of experience as Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis delivers quality medicines and vaccines, complemented by diagnostics products and genetics tests and supported by a range of services. They work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals in ways they find truly relevant. Zoetis produces a comprehensive range of safe and effective products, including equine vaccines, dewormers and sedative analgesics, to help professionals and individual horse owners keep their animals healthy. Both veterinarians and horse owners know and trust the Zoetis will help their horses live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • Media_Info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Fellers and Flexible Back on Top, Win the $25,000 Smartpak Grand Prix

©Flying Horse Photography. Rich Fellers and Flexible rode to the winner’s circle over an impressive field this weekend to collect first-place honors in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix.

THERMAL, CA (March 2, 2013) – Fifty-three horse-and-rider combinations took the field, but it was the reigning World Cup winners who ruled the day Friday, when Rich Fellers and Flexible rode to victory in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis.

The rider from Wilsonville, Oregon and the chestnut stallion owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman, laid down a pair of sizzling rounds, although they were chased to the finish by Lane Clarke of Laguna Niguel, California and Horsemanship Unlimited’s Kiss the Sky, who finished second. Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Windward Farm’s Unbelievable 5 placed third.

“He’s coming back into the zone,” said Fellers of Flexible, who finished in the money for all three HITS Desert Circuit CSI-W2* World Cup qualifier grand prix last month, scoring as high as third.

The duo presented one blazing round after another on a course well-suited to Flexible’s ability to shave time off the turns, turning in six strides where others were putting in eight. Brazilian designer Marina Azevedo’s track of 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts was set at up to 1.50m. It included three twisting loops, which was just technical enough to make, “Oh! Just that one rail,” a recurring theme from the announcer’s booth. Seventeen finished the first round with a single knock-down and eleven were clear.

In all, eleven combinations returned for the jump-off, including Tomba Mercedes Benz and Calavda, ridden by their owner Eduardo Menezes, who lives in Carlsbad, California, but rides for Brazil. Menezes was one of two jump-off riders to return on multiple horses; the other was Mexico’s John Perez, riding Zeidler Farm Canada, LTD’s Ranville and his own Utopia.

Menezes, who is sponsored by Mercedes Benz of Mexico, is known to be quite a speed demon. As the first in the ring for the jump-off, he established a formidable Great American Time to Beat of 35.65 seconds against a time-allowed of 45. He was followed by Perez on Ranville, who went clear, but was about a single second slower at 36.51, good for fourth.

Fellers and Flexible went next and when they broke the beam at 32.91 seconds, the audience was breathless. Clarke and Kiss the Sky, however, came close to catching them. With the clock at 33 seconds as they cleared the final jump the crowd let out a collective shriek, but it would be fractions of a second before they crossed the timers in 33.43, and Fellers and Flexible retained their lead.

“My horse was amazing,” Clarke said afterwards of his 15-year-old French mare. “I tried to pull out all the stops – I took the inside slice to the last fence, and I did a lead up to the in-and-out, a five stride for six after the skinny, but Rich and Flexible are amazingly fast.” By the time Menezes and Calavda entered the ring as the last pair in the jump-off, tension was at a fever pitch. They tried, but a time of 39.59 seconds and two rails put them in ninth.

“That’s Flexible!” added Fellers. “He had a nice little run for fun there. I let him open up and gallop a little, and he loved it.” Fellers and Flexible have set their sights on the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix, sponsored by Lamborghini Newport Beach, on March 17.

Earlier in the day, Jill Blunt of Lake Stevens, Washington, won the Level 6 Rocky Mountain Show Jumping class on her own Shannondale and was awarded a $600 prize. Vinton Karrasch of Rancho Santa Fe, California, and Coral Reef Ranch’s Coral Reef Carmel Z took second, for $400, and Jenni Martin-McAllister of Sun Valley, California, earned $280 for third place on LEGISequine.com’s LEGIS Rockstar.

In the Level 5 FarmVet Jumper at 1.20m, it was Peter Breakwell of Menlo Park, California, and Hillstreet, owned by Connacht Sport Horse, who took the blue and pocketed the top prize. Helen McNaught of San Ramon, California and Carnutelabryere placed second, while Becky Warner of Scottsdale, Arizona rode Ashley Kaplan’s Aquilles to third.

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • Media_Info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com

Rich Fellers Honored with 2013 Whitney Stone Cup from USET Foundation

The USET Foundation presented Rich Fellers with the Whitney Stone Cup. Photo By: Susan J. Stickle

Wellington, FL – January 28, 2013 – The United States Equestrian Team Foundation is pleased to announce that reigning Show Jumping World Cup Champion Rich Fellers of Wilsonville, OR, is the recipient of the 2013 Whitney Stone Cup. The award is presented annually to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport. Fellers was the winner of the 2012 FEI Show Jumping World Cup Finals aboard Mollie and Harry Chapman’s Flexible in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. The pair then went on to be the highest placed American competitors at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Fellers was unable to be present the USET Foundation Reception on January 25th, in Wellington, Florida. Accepting this award was his friend and U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, who also read Fellers’ acceptance speech.

Continue reading Rich Fellers Honored with 2013 Whitney Stone Cup from USET Foundation

Rich Fellers Named 2012 USEF Equestrian of the Year

Rich Fellers, 2012 USEF Equestrian of the Year (Susan J. Stickle/PhelpsSports.com)

Louisville, KY – He was the first American in 25 years to win the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final, highest placing U.S. Equestrian at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and winner of all four observation classes he entered. Now you can call Rich Fellers 2012 USEF Equestrian of the Year as well.

Eight equestrians were nominated for the award and Fellers was revealed as the winner Saturday night at the USEF Pegasus Awards in Louisville, KY.

Fellers’ successes in 2012 made for a season few fans of show jumping will soon forget. With Harry and Mollie Chapman’s small but spectacular mount Flexible (who was named USEF International Horse of the Year on Friday), Fellers was unbeatable for a good portion of the year. Their memorable stretch began in s’Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands where they bested eventual Olympic Gold medalists Steve Guerdat and Nino de Buissonnets by .64s in a jump-off for the Rolex/FEI World Cup Finals Championship. After returning to the U.S. Rich and Flexible, already on the long list for London, entered four Observation Event classes and won them all. Included in those victories were such prestigious classes as the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar and the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows.

Continue reading Rich Fellers Named 2012 USEF Equestrian of the Year

Ravel Makes His Final Competitive Appearance at the 2012 Olympic Games

Steffen & Ravel during Thursday's Olympic Grand Prix Freestyle (Shannon Brinkman)

Greenwich, UK – The equestrian competition at the 2012 Olympic Games ended today and the U.S. medal drought continued. Steffen Peters and Ravel carried the weight of a nation into main arena for the Freestyle, which would determine the Individual medals, and the most consistently clutch combination in U.S. Dressage history didn’t have the day they were hoping for.

Great Britain did.

Charlotte Dujardin scored a historic 90.089% on Valegro to win Individual Gold on the heels of the Team Gold she scored earlier in the week. That Gold was the first dressage medal ever won by Great Britain, Dujardin and teammate Laura Bechtolsheimer (on Mistral Hojris), who won Bronze, tripled that count in one afternoon. Adelinde Cornelissen and Parzival scored Silver for The Netherlands.

Ravel, who has been so reliable through the last four years, was visibly distracted during his test. Mistakes meant the mark suffered at 77.268%. This horse’s resume is clearly so much stronger. The 14-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Four Winds Farm was fourth individually at the 2008 Olympic Games; he won the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Final, the 2009 Aachen CDIO, won two Bronze medals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and has twice been the USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Champion. He’s a modern day legend for the American sport. But today was not his day.

Continue reading Ravel Makes His Final Competitive Appearance at the 2012 Olympic Games

Top Ten Individual Finish for Fellers at 2012 Olympic Games

Rich Fellers and Flexible (Shannon Brinkman)

Greenwich, UK – Rich Fellers and Flexible put in a valiant effort in the Individual Show Jumping Final at the Olympic Games and came up with a top 10 finish on just five faults. Swiss rider Steve Guerdat put forward an immaculate effort to take Gold on Nino des Buissonnets while Gerco Schröder’s clear jump-off round meant he takes Individual Silver home to Holland with the appropriately named London. Irishman Cian O’Connor would have stopped the clock quicker in that jump-off on Blue Lloyd 12 but had the very last fence down to settle for Bronze.

The United States was represented by both Fellers (Sherwood, OR) and McLain Ward (Brewster, NY) in the Individual Final. Ward rode Antares F to a 12-fault effort in Round A, putting a foot in the water in addition to lowering the heights of two of the fences on Bob Ellis’ track. Five faults was the cut off for the top 20 who qualified for Round B, so only Fellers returned to the ring.

“It was a great course,” said Ward after Round A. “It was hard but fair. At this point you’re starting to run on fumes. But my horse should have been better. I felt like I rode the course better today than I rode a Nations Cup so I was pleased with my riding. As always, I will look to see what I could have done better down the last line.”

Continue reading Top Ten Individual Finish for Fellers at 2012 Olympic Games