Tag Archives: Sam Walker

Sam Walker and Waldo Win George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship

Sam Walker and Waldo. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL — March 22, 2019 — Sam Walker of Nobleton, ON piloted Missy Clark’s and North Run’s Waldo to the win in the 12th Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship. Forty combinations of young equitation athletes and their mounts took to the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on the evening of Friday, March 22, at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Elli Yeager collected second place, Sophee Steckbeck was third, and Emma Fletcher rounded out the top four.

To qualify for the 12th Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship, each of the entries had to have previously won an equitation class during the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival circuit or during the 2018 Holidays & Horses circuit leading up to it. The competition was held in a three-round format with all participants contesting first-round course designed by Steve Stephens and Nick Granat. Only the top 15 were asked to return for the second phase in reverse order. Unlike a regular equitation class, the championship requires riders to turn off and hand in cell phones before its start and prohibits any interaction with trainers or staff. Riders were in charge of conducting their own course walk and schooling their own horses with the help of only one groom.

Ballard, Jayne, and Verswyvel Capture Spy Coast Farm Developing Jumper Series Classic Wins

Opening up Friday’s competition in the International Arena at the main grounds of PBIEC for the eleventh week of WEF, the Developing Jumper Series Classics, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, offered top prize money and a chance to compete in the grand prix arena for up-and-coming equine show jumping stars.

There were 25 entries in the $20,000 Spy Coast Farm Seven-Year-Old Developing Jumper Series Classic, and 11 were clear to advance to the jump-off held at the end of the first round. Of those, seven were double clear. The fastest in the class was Maestro Vica v/d Ark, ridden by Erynn Ballard for owner Natalie Dean. They stopped the timers in 31.502 seconds for victory.

The $15,000 Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic hosted 25 entries as well, with nine clear and only two finding the path to a double clear finish. The fastest of those in 38.434 seconds – faster by 5.5 seconds – was Charlie Jayne riding his father Alex Jayne’s Virginia ODF.

The $10,000 Spy Coast Farm 5-Year-Old Developing Jumper Classic had 17 entries and was held in an immediate jump-off format. Eight were clear in their first round and went straight into their jump-off, where four were able to go double clear. With a leading time of 34.667 seconds, Jorge Verswyvel rode his own Majesty to victory.

Luiz Francisco de Azevedo and Collin Are Comeback Kids in $36,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic

Brazil’s Luiz Francisco de Azevedo brought his horse Collin back from the brink of slaughter to lead the victory gallop of the $36,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic CSI 4* on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Friday, March 22.

Germany’s Olaf Petersen, Jr. set the single-round speed track for 42 starters with 12 jumping clear, leaving the clock to decide their placings. Azevedo and Collin, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Colandro x Amethist), broke the timers in 63.90 seconds for the victory.

Azevedo bested Mexican rider Santiago Lambre, who finished on a time of 64.96 seconds for second riding Dingeman. U.S. rider Hunter Holloway took third with a time of 65.96 seconds aboard VDL Bravo S for owner Hays Investment Corp. Francisco Jose Mesquita Musa took fourth in 66 seconds on Filou Imperio Egipcio, owned by Haras Imperio Egipcio/Equivarandas, LDA, while Canada’s Erynn Ballard rode Z Diamanty to round out the top five in 66.23 seconds for owners The Z Group, Javier Salvador Stables, and Diamante Atelier.

For full results, please visit pbiec.coth.com.

Daniel Bluman Wins for Israel at Royal Horse Show

Daniel Bluman riding Ladriano Z. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Israel’s Daniel Bluman won the $85,000 GroupBy “Big Ben” Challenge on Thursday night, November 8, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Twenty-two of the world’s top show jumping athletes entered the Coca-Cola Coliseum in the hopes of scoring victory in the $85,000 GroupBy “Big Ben” Challenge, a sentimental favourite at the Royal Horse Show named for Ian Millar’s former mount. Eleven mastered the track set by 2018 World Championship course designer, Alan Wade of Ireland, to advance to the jump-off.

In the tie-breaker, Bluman saved the best for last, cruising to a clear round in a time of 32.34 seconds riding Ladriano Z, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Alexa Schwitzer and Blue Star Investments. As the final challenger, Bluman knew the victory was his, and celebrated along with the packed house. Devin Ryan, who recently helped the United States become World Champions, rode his top mount, Eddie Blue, to a clear round in a time of 32.53 seconds to finish runner-up.

“I had the advantage of going last,” said Bluman, who represented the Israeli Show Jumping Team in its first World Championship appearance in September. “Devin’s horse is a very fast horse. It has pretty much the same weapons that mine has to win a class like this one. I won by a fraction of a second. I got lucky also. I could have been second place, but it was meant to be for me tonight.”

At 28 years of age, Bluman has been competing at the Royal Horse Show for several years and appreciated the crowd’s support as he went for the win.

“My first year competing here was 2011; Eric Lamaze got me an invitation,” said Bluman. “I’ve come almost every year since then. I really, really love it. It’s a fantastic city, and it’s a fantastic crowd. When you jump in a place that has a crowd and has an atmosphere, the whole energy changes and your desire to win also changes. We go to a lot of competitions, but when you’re at a show like this, every class you compete in, you want to perform. Forget about the prize money, forget about the world ranking points, forget about anything else; you just want to be the best that you can be for the crowd. That’s what makes it fun!”

Catherine Tyree of the United States took third place with a clear round in a time of 33.32 seconds riding Bokai while Australia’s Rowan Willis and Blue Movie were fourth after crossing the timers in 34.52 seconds. Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON set the pace as the first to go in the jump-off, delivering a fantastic clear in 35.26 seconds aboard Count Me In, owned by Sandy Lupton, to round out the top five.

Captain Brian Cournane Captures $36,000 Brickenden Trophy Victory

Captain Brian Cournane of Ireland enjoyed a win in the $36,000 Brickenden Trophy International Jumpers riding Penelope Cruz on Thursday afternoon.

From a starting field of 19 entries representing eight different countries, nine combinations advanced to the jump-off over Wade’s course. The leading time continued to get progressively faster throughout the jump-off, with the final entry of Cournane and Penelope Cruz, his 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, stopping the clock in 28.69 seconds to take the win.

“She’s naturally a very quick horse, so I knew that if I could do the distances and be tight, she covers the ground very quickly,” said Cournane, who acquired the mare from fellow Irishman Darragh Kerins a year ago. “I had to have a lot of confidence in her to do the tight turns and trust that those jumps would stay up and that we’d be fast.

“I’m so honoured to be here,” continued Cournane, who is competing at The Royal for the first time. “It’s a wonderful show, and I’ve heard so many great things about it. I was first reserve on the invited riders’ list for a couple of weeks; I was really hoping I’d get in and, at the end, I did!”

While Cournane is new to the Royal Horse Show, he’s very familiar with this year’s Royal Horse Show course designer.

“It’s very funny; when I was a kid doing hunter trials in Ireland, I was 16 or 17, and Alan was building the courses back then,” said Cournane, 36. “Now we’re at The Royal, and he’s building! It’s incredible.”

With less than a second separating the top four finishers, second place with a time of 29.09 seconds went to Canada’s Keean White aboard Tahiorn while third place was awarded to Daniel Bluman of Israel with a time of 29.18 seconds riding Colestina H. Rounding out the top four with a time of 29.58 seconds was Kent Farrington, the defending champion of the Royal Horse Show’s marquee event, the $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Toronto, riding Daddy Cool.

Sam Walker Rides Winning Streak Into Royal Horse Show

Also claiming a major victory on Thursday afternoon was 16-year-old Sam Walker of Nobleton, ON. Fresh off a win in the prestigious ASPCA Maclay Final at the National Horse Show in Lexington, KY on Sunday, November 4 – where he became only the fourth Canadian winner in the event’s storied history – Walker returned home to Canada to also top the Running Fox CET Medal National Final.

“It feels a little bit surreal!” said Walker of his dual wins, first aboard Waldo on Sunday at the National Horse Show and then four days later riding Willem, a mount owned by Nicole Loochtan that was a last-minute ride for Walker after his intended mount for the final was sold.

“He came up here for the CET from Castlewood Farm in Wellington, FL,” said Walker, who trains with his parents, Scott and Dee Walker of Forest Hill Farm, and John Brennan and Missy Clark at North Run. “He was amazing this week; I couldn’t be happier with how he performed. I’m just really, really grateful that I got the opportunity to ride him.”

Reserve Champion in the Running Fox CET Medal National Final was Beatrice Daviault of Saint-Damase, QC riding Lia; third place went to Mackenzy Nadeau of Carleton Place, ON aboard Ferraro K, owned by Brookstreet Stables. Rounding out the top four was Kyara Semrau of Foothills, AB with Cori Coletta.

For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horseshow.html.

Sam Walker Makes History as 2018 ASPCA Maclay National Champion at NHS

Photo: Sam Walker on Waldo.

Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 4, 2018 – Celebrating its 135th year, the National Horse Show has come to be known as one of America’s premier indoor equestrian events thanks to its rich history and classical traditions, with the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm, adding even more prestige as one of the four major equitation finals held each fall season. Since 1933, an elite junior rider’s name has been etched into history as the annual champion, and this year the competition tested 175 horses and riders over a series of challenging phases to determine the deserving victor. The culmination of a week at the Kentucky Horse Park, the 2018 National Horse Show concluded with a dream realized for Sam Walker of Ontario, Canada, now the newest champion of the ASPCA Maclay National Championship and winner of the esteemed ASPCA Horsemanship Trophy.

Over the course of the day, the initial field of participants took turns tackling Bobby Murphy’s (USA) expertly designed equitation track, which looked deceptively straightforward at first glance. Incorporating most jumps as part of lines, the efficient course offered competitors multiple opportunities to either spotlight their talents or fall victim to the design’s tests, with distances between fences varying and requiring riders to lengthen or collect quickly within the same series of obstacles. Structurally, the fences presented a different type of challenge, with Murphy’s creative collection of jumps including plenty without standards in addition to a handful of skinny jumps, a gate, and an airy triple bar. As the 39th in the order-of-go, Walker and North Run’s Waldo exemplified the pinnacle of equitation, completing a flawless trip to jump into the first standby list.

Separated from the rest of the pack as the creme of the crop, 25 partnerships were hand-selected by the judges’ booth, which was occupied by esteemed horsemen Walter T. Kees and Chance Arakelian, to return for the second phase of the contest after top-notch performances over fences. Headed into the under saddle and second over fences portions of riding, Walker, Brian Moggre, Ava Ellis, Emma Kurtz, Catalina Peralta, Paige Matthies, Daisy Farish, and Coco Fath were pegged as the frontrunners, all riding head-to-head in the same flat section.

During the under saddle phase, horse-and-rider combinations’ adjustability, balance and connection were put to the test by the judges, who asked for a series of skill demonstrations such as the counter-canter, extended canter, and sitting trot, among others. With one final chance to prove their abilities, the top contenders returned to the Alltech Arena for a second trip over Murphy’s track, this time consisting of almost no fences with standards, a hand gallop, a counter-canter, a trot fence, and an airy fence jumped in both directions.

Returning in reverse order of the standings for the second over fences phase, Moggre had the advantage as the last entry to ride, with Walker, Farish, Fath, Kurtz, Matthies, Ellis, and Alexandra Worthington sitting in second through eighth positions, respectively, and all aiming to knock him from the top of the leaderboard. Following the completion of the top 25, the judges needed one last look at the top six, and asked for testing from Walker, Moggre, Fath, Kurtz, Matthies, and Mimi Gochman, who leapfrogged from 12th place into the work-off. Of the remaining contenders, Moggre was the only one to have been victorious in a national equitation final previously, having won the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show earlier this fall, but it was Walker who had moved to the top of the standings headed into the last display of riding. Sunday afternoon’s test asked riders to canter fence 7, canter fence 2, counter-canter fence 6a, canter fence 6b, canter fence 4, halt, and return to the line.

As the last to ride in the work-off, Walker capped off the day’s championship with an exclamation point, navigating a textbook trip aboard Waldo seemingly with ease and displaying high levels of precision, correct form, and aid effectiveness to secure the championship tricolor and the prestigious honor of ASPCA Maclay National Champion. As the 2018 victor, Walker’s name now joins the ranks of past winners that include some of the sport’s icons such as Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, and George Morris, as well as recent superstars Lillie Keenan, Victoria Colvin, and Madison Goetzmann.

Sunday’s distinction for Walker is one of the highlights of his competitive equitation career, although he has come close to the top call more than once. This year alone, he has placed within the top 10 in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show as well as the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final. A multi-talented equestrian, Walker also campaigns in the upper level jumpers, having won U25 and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes across the United States and Canada under the tutelage of his trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan from North Run. For training the winning rider, Audi of Lexington donated a one-year lease of an Audi to Walker’s trainers.

The men represented well this year, with Moggre capturing the reserve honors behind his peer, Walker. Moggre rode Efendi, owned by Donald Stewart, over the course of the contest. Jacob Pope was the last male athlete to claim the top honors in 2012, and prior to that was Brian Walker in 2001. Coincidentally, Sam got paired with Waldo partly with the help of the previous winner that shares his namesake. Jumping from sixth place after the second over fences phase, Paige Matthies piloted Barbara Smith’s Blurred Lines to third overall thanks to her standout work-off test to round out the podium finishers.

For more information, please visit www.nhs.org.

Junior and Adult Amateur Competitors Take Center Stage at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Sam Walker aboard Twan.

Sam Walker Speeds to the Win in the High Junior/Amateur Owner Speed Class

Lexington, KY – May 12, 2017 – Sam Walker sped to the top of the High Junior and Amateur Owner Jumper class on Friday morning at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Walker was aboard Missy Clark’s Twan and completed the speed course in the fastest clear time of 61.198 seconds. Addison Gierkink rode Wisconsin III to a second place finish one second slower in a clear time of 62.484 seconds, and Noel Fauntleroy took home the third and fourth place ribbons with Arbitrage and Mae, respectively.

Thirty-four entries competed in the Rolex Arena over a course that was designed by Maria Azevedo and was very similar to the track that was featured in the first round of the $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* from Thursday evening.

Walker, a Canadian junior rider from Ontario, completed the speed course on the 16-year-old bay gelding who is owned by Missy Clark of North Run Farm. Walker and Twan have been competing together since March and had multiple top place finishes in the Junior Jumper and 1.30m divisions at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

No stranger to the show ring, Walker was raised on his families Forest Hill Farm and began riding at the age of four. Once his parents placed him on top of a horse, he has never looked back and has excelled at hunter, equation and jumpers.

Sara Santisi Scores Ariat National Adult Medal Win

Competing in her first show of the year, Ohio State University student Sara Santisi of Dublin, Ohio was on form, winning the Ariat National Adult Medal Friday morning at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Exhibitors were asked to navigate a course of eight fences designed by Bobby Murphy in the Claiborne Ring for the first round, and the top four to place returned for additional testing.

Returning in the reverse order of preference, riders were instructed to enter the ring at a walk, canter directly to fence two, halt, canter to fence eight, trot fence one, and exit the ring at a walk. Santisi was aboard her own Swedish Warmblood, Jackson, and scored an 83 in round one to come into the test in second place behind Emily Kowalchik who had an 88 in the first round.

The test played to Jackson’s strengths, and Santisi took over the lead to win the class. The duo executed a beautiful, consistent round, where Jackson immediately picked up the left lead after the halt.

Santisi purchased Jackson, a 12-year-old gelding, five years ago and the duo showed together in the junior hunters in 2016 before she aged out. Having also competed in the jumpers for a year, Santisi enjoys watching the professional jumper classes while at Kentucky Horse Park. Lyriss Jaeger of Georgetown, Kentucky rose from a score of 78 in round one to claim second place aboard her own Catanova while Lindsey Tomeu piloted Red Drum, owned by Elm Creek Holdings, LLC, to the third place honors.

On Saturday, the hunters will take center stage in the Stonelea Ring where the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter will be named. The Kentucky Spring Horse Show will come to a close on Sunday after the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $5,000 World Equestrian Center/Kentucky Horse Shows USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
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