Wellington, FL – January 8, 2019 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) jumped into first place in the $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix in the ESP Holiday Finale at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Sweetnam crossed through the timers in 40.154 seconds to secure the win with Kirschwasser SCF, a 2010 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Amaretto D’Arco x Nabab De Reve), owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC. Sliding into second, Lauren Tisbo (USA) stopped the clock in 40.754 seconds aboard Coriandolo Di Ribano, a 2007 Sella Italiano stallion (Cassini II x Baldini), owned by Tequestrian Farms, LLC. Tomas Yofre (ARG) claimed third place with a time of 39.265 seconds riding Fantasy, a 2005 Hanoverian mare (For Pleasure x Acord II), owned by Oakland Ventures LLC.
Sweetnam stayed ahead of the 35 competitors in the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). “He [Kirschwasser SCF] jumped very, very well. It was a nice track and it was a great way to start the year,” commented Sweetnam.
“He felt great and he’s improving all the time. He’s one of Spy Coast Farm’s homebred, so it’s great that they’ve bred something that’s good and can win a grand prix already. He’s very scopey, and very careful, but he’s still learning, so I still think there’s still room for improvement,” he said.
On preparing for the upcoming season, Sweetnam stated, “We know the routine, so we’re preparing for a busy 12 weeks ahead and hopefully we will have some success.”
For full results from the $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix, click here.
Wellington, FL – November 28, 2018 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Palina De L’Escaut produced a double clear in the $35,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener CSI 4* to begin 2018 Holiday & Horses competition at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), conquering their first FEI-level class together with ease and stopping the second-round timers in 30.499 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) rode his own Thriller P, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Lucky Light), to second and double clear in 30.59 seconds, while Daniel Bluman (ISR) rounded out the podium in 31.327 seconds on the speed portion aboard Cartouche, a 2007 stallion, owned by Bluman and Over the Top Stables, LLC.
Forty-five entries tested the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), and Sweetnam remarked that the 2009 Hanoverian mare (Perigueux x Gottard), owned by Sweetnam, Paul Tracy, and Spy Coast Farm, LLC, proved herself quite capable of answering the questions posed to the course’s challengers, despite the fact that it was their first FEI class.
“I’ve had her since the end of the summer and she’s a bit green still,” Sweetnam explained. “I knew from the courses I’ve done on her that she’s quite nifty at turning and she’s very careful, so I knew she could do that turn, though I wasn’t sure it would be enough to win the class. It definitely worked out in my favor.”
In particular, the manner in which Palina De L’Escaut attacked said turn made a significant difference in the speed portion of the class. Sweetnam elaborated: “The second half in the speed part, there was an option with a turn that obviously not everybody did and that made a big difference for the win. I think naturally she covers the ground and is quite a quick horse, but I do think she saved two seconds when she turned the way she did, because she literally came off the jump before, turned and looked, and we went straight for it. She zoned in on it perfectly.”
Sweetnam stated that he has been trying horses in Europe frequently throughout the year and first partnered with the mare in Belgium. Right away, he noticed some qualities that he liked. “Honestly, she gives a great feel and she’s very sensitive, but at that stage she was still quite raw,” he admitted. “And she still has little things to learn, but she’s a very quick learner and she’s picking up everything very fast.
“This week, since I’m still getting to know her, she’ll do the [$35,000 Dever Golf Cars 1.45m Classic] class Friday and hopefully she can do a lot more in Florida this year. I definitely think she’ll do a couple Grand Prix classes, but I’m not sure yet [what she’ll do this winter]. When the timing is right, I’m sure she’ll let me know if she’s ready or not,” Sweetnam concluded.
Up-and-Coming Athletes Set for $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship at Holiday & Horses Show
The $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship is ready to begin at the Holiday & Horses Show in the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s International Arena. The championship’s fourth edition will run from November 29 to December 2. Athletes between the ages of 16 and 25 will compete in three competitions with fences up to 1.50 meters in height in hopes of claiming top honors.
The $10,000 faults-converted competition will kick off the championship on Thursday, followed by a $15,000 jump-off competition on Friday. The championship will be decided after the $25,000 two-round competition on Sunday. The champion will be the competitor with the lowest number of penalties after the three phases of the championship, with $50,000 in prize money awarded to the top-10 overall.
Twenty-four-year-old Abigail McArdle (Barrington, Ill.) claimed individual bronze with Adamo in 2016 and Chuck Berry 8 in 2017. She started a partnership with Victorio 5, Victorio Equine Group, LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion, earlier this year and aims for a top performance in the championship. McArdle and Victorio 5 earned three top-six finishes at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October as they continue to develop as a team.
Several competitors from this summer’s Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North (NAYC) are stepping up to this championship to further their education with the challenging competition format. Seventeen-year-old Samantha Cohen, young rider team gold and individual silver medalist, and 18-year-old McKayla Langmeier, young rider individual bronze medalist, bring their NAYC mounts, Carmen and Durosa W, respectively. Cohen (New York, N.Y.) and Langmeier (East Granby, Conn.) were also teammates on the U.S. team in the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth Final held in Opglabbeek, Belgium, in September.
For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Mill Spring, NC – June 2, 2018 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) guided Main Road right to the top of the podium in the $132,000 U.S. Trust & Bank of America Merrill Lynch Grand Prix CSI 3*, the week’s highlight class at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), after speeding through the short-course timers in 44.672 seconds. Juan Andres Rodriguéz Silva (GUA) piloted his own Bugatti, a 2006 Royal Dutch Sport Horse gelding (JPC Modesto x Emilion), to second after a fast 44.866 second clear jump-off round, while third place honors went to Hunter Holloway (USA) and Hays Investment Corporation’s Eastern Jam, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lexicon x Monaco), blazing to a fast 39.932 second trip, but finishing with four faults.
Thirty horse-and-rider combinations tested the first-round course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), with four pairs returning to prove themselves around the short track. Sweetnam and the 2008 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Heartbeat x Irco Marco) owned by Sweet Oak Farm & Seabrook LLC, were last to go in the jump-off round and Sweetnam commented that his mount was feeling fresh to contest their second trip.
“I’ve had him since he was seven, so I know him really well. He’s had good results everywhere. He’s placed in the Dublin Grand Prix. He was good in Mexico City earlier this year. I went to Europe recently to compete and didn’t bring him with me because he couldn’t travel due to health restrictions for the U.S. horses coming back from Mexico,” Sweetnam explained. “This is his first show back since I got back into town, so we were a little wild in the first round, but the second round was better.”
Using his order draw to his advantage, Sweetnam mentioned that he cut it close with the time, but successfully opposed Silva’s large-strided mount. “I watched on the screen when Juan went, and he’s got a bigger mover and a different type of horse than me. He was actually quicker than I thought he was and it was tight,” he explained. “I was lucky and dodged a bit of a bullet there because my fella is a very quick horse, so I just kept it kind of even and did the turns and the numbers, but it was a bit close.”
Sweetnam plans to spend another week competing at the venue before continuing on with his summer schedule, which includes CSI 5* appearances in Belgium, Germany and Ireland, as well as a host of other top competitions abroad. He stated, “I’m showing here next week and he’ll show again because he hasn’t really done much these past six weeks. His next show would be back in Europe after that.”
Following his win, Sweetnam climbed atop the podium surrounded by his three young children. He complimented TIEC’s welcoming nature, and noted that the facility was the perfect horse show to enjoy with his equestrian-focused family. “It’s great to have my family here,” he said. “They enjoy it as well and it’s a lovely show for that. We’re here for two weeks and the whole family is here. My daughter is showing in the pony classes, and the other two are roaming the place. There’s a good group of kids here. Jimmy Torano’s kids are here, too, so it’s a great place to have them with us. We love coming here.”
Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.
Mill Spring, NC – June 11, 2017 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 secured the final FEI win of the week, taking the $35,000 Tryon 1.50m Challenge CSI 4* at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), as the pair stopped the timers in a blazing time of 35.583 seconds. David Beisel (USA) and Ammeretto made an impressive effort to catch the lead, ultimately earning the second place honors with a time of 36.553 seconds, while Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou 24 took home the third place position with a time of 37.736 seconds.
Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083, a 2001 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Cortus), owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, frequent the winner’s circle at TIEC, and proved yet again to be unbeatable, taking their second win of the week. The duo won the $35,000 Tryon 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 4* on Friday, before earning another blue ribbon in the conclusion of FEI CSI 4* competition.
Sweetnam spoke highly of the extraordinary stallion and his ability to remain consistent in the ring, which has brought the duo countless wins from around the world at the international level.
“He is an older horse and he has won everywhere. He is an unbelievable winner. The goal is always to try and win. When Cyklon comes out to show he always ends up at the top and he has a great success rate. He felt especially great today and he really is just a brilliant jumper.”
The track set by Alan Wade (IRL), who has built impressive courses throughout the week at the TIEC, tested combination’s scope and ability to perform tight rollback turns, ultimately setting the class up for an exciting finish.
Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 were the first pair to attempt the short course, proving to set the pace at an unbeatable speed, which helped to solidify their win. Sweetnam detailed his jump-off plan saying, “With Cyklon, who is a naturally fast horse, I pick up a rhythm and I have a plan. I execute it the way I wanted to do it and if someone beats me after that, it is what it is.
“I did seven in the first line as opposed to six because I thought the seven set you up well for the tight turn that followed,” he detailed. “For me and my horse, adding a stride in was the best option. After I went in the jump-off I thought my time would be hard to beat. David Beisel gave it a good run, but my round was enough in the end.”
Sweetnam and his team will head back to Lexington, KY for a few weeks before heading to Europe with several horses currently in his string. Sweetnam has his sights set on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, which will be held at TIEC in September of 2018, and is competing at the venue in preparation for the event.
“We are planning for the games right now. I have a couple of good horses and fingers crossed I will have something when the time comes,” Sweetnam concluded.
The $10,000 High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic was topped by Elisa Uribe Gutierrez of Madellin, FL and her own Havana De La Lande with a jump-off time of 40.505 seconds. Daniela Stransky of Wellington, FL and Wauw, owned by the Stransky’s Mission Farm Inc., earned the second place position with a time of 43.691 seconds, while Nicole Bellissimo of Wellington, FL and VDL Bellefleur, owned by Bellissimo LLC, rounded out the top three with a time of 42.667.
The $5,000 Medium Junior/Amateur Owner Classic was won by Daniel Rihan Jr. of Mexico City, Mexico aboard his own Deperado after stopping the jump-off timers in 38.626 seconds. Jamie Buis of Wellington, FL and Bull Run’s Revelation, owned by Bull Run Jumpers, Inc., received the red rosette, following behind with a close time of 38.669 seconds. Lacey Gilbertson of Lake Forest, IL and Echo D, owned by Seabrook LLC, earned the third place with a time of 38.851 seconds.
The $3,000 Low Junior Jumper Classic was dominated by Katherine Benard of Cumberland Foreside, ME aboard her own entry Dominicus B with a jump-off time of 38.504 seconds. Victoria Zelch of Novelty, OH, aboard Sniper, owned by Musical Woods, LLC, earned themselves the red rosette with a time of 35.450 seconds and adding four faults to their efforts. Daniel Rihan Jr of Mexico City, Mexico and his own Chousa Shoz finished in third with a time of 37.037 seconds, also adding four faults to their final score.
The $3,000 Low Amateur Owner Jumper Classic was won by Catherine Wachtell of Long Valley, NJ aboard Elarina, owned by The Coverboy Group, with a jump-off time of 39.901 seconds. Mackenzie McGehee of Jacksonville, FL and her own Pegasus took home second place honors with a time of 40.577 second, while Sarah Kerins of Wellington, FL and Conero, owned by Darragh Kerins, were presented with third place after finishing the short course with a time of 42.109 seconds.
Daniel Geitner of Aiken, SC and Eleventh Hour, owned by Brenda Mackay, rode to victory in the $1,000 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive with a score of 87. Geitner also took second place aboard Willow, owned by Andrea Guzinski, after receiving an 82. David Beisel of Goshen, OH guided The Girl from Ipanema, owned by Caron Stucky, to third place with a score of 78.
The Amateur Owner Hunter 3’3″ Combined Divisions saw Suzanna Treske of Waxhaw, NC and her own Cabalina take championship honors in the division ahead of Emily Jones of Jacksonville, FL and her own Game Boy, who collected reserve champion.
Sally Kay of Charlotte, NC and her own Autonomous earned divisional champion honors in the Adult Amateur Hunter 36+ Division, while Page Tredennick of Wellington, FL and her own Hidden Lane finished with reserve.
Jennifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Ocean Mist, owned by Jennifer Smith, earned top honors in the Performance Hunter 3’3″ Division, while Daniel Geitner of Aiken, SC and Three Olives, owned by Anna Sharp, secured the division’s reserve champion accolades.
The Medium Pony Hunter Division saw Savannah Welch of Elon, NC and her own Mapleside Magic Wish finish atop the division after a week of top performances, while Sally Ives of Durham, NC and her own Sequin finished with the reserve champion title.
Elly Ficca of Charlotte, NC and her own Quatrain finished atop the leaderboard in the Junior Hunter 3’3″ Division, while Caroline Holland, also from Charlotte, NC, and Toulouse, owned by Coleman Holland, followed behind in reserve.
The Green Hunter 3’3″ Division saw Tommy Serio of Aberdeen, NC and Christoph take champion honors, while Meagan Bennett of Apex, NC and Bender, owned by Rebecca Ives, secured reserve champion.
Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Race to Win $35,000 Tryon 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 4*
Mill Spring, NC – June 9, 2017 – Schuyler Riley of Wellington, FL and Cleopatra’s Smile, owned by Wolfstone Stables and Sales Inc., was the winning pair in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo paved the way after the first round with a combined score of 181.5 and turned in another strong performance in the handy round, earning a score of 187 for a total score of 368.5. Liza Boyd of Camden, SC and O’Ryan, owned by Stella Styslinger, secured the second place honors with a two round total of 367, while Jennifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Olympic Fire, owned by Roger Smith, rounded out the top three with a two round total of 365.
Riley and Cleopatra’s Smile were sitting in first place after the first round, returning last to test their abilities in the handy. Navigating the handy round with precision and beauty, the duo ended the day with a blue ribbon. Having only been partnered as a team since this past March, Riley was thrilled with the mare’s performance on the large derby field.
“She is new at this, so I tried to take as much time as possible to get to the first jump to allow her to take a breath by the time I was there. Everything rode exactly like I planned it,” Riley detailed.
Cleopatra’s Smile, a 9-year-old-mare, was competing in the jumpers when Riley imported her from Europe and knew the horse was destined to be a derby horse. “Whenever I go to Europe to try a horse to be a hunter, I let them loose to see what they do. A lot of them don’t understand, but she got it by the second jump. She is really smart and really easy,” she explained.
“I decided to bring her to Tryon because I just love her character. I think she has just blossomed because her character is so good. Her personality is just like a Labrador Retriever and as you watch her expression going around the course she zones in on the jump and her ears go forward. She really enjoys it,” she said.
Well-known in the jumper ring, Riley is loving her time participating in the hunters and is excited to continue contesting opportunities with Cleopatra’s Smile.
“For me, there is a lot more riding that has to go on. It is a lot more technical and you really have to be able to feel the horse because you are out there for a long time. You have to know what is happening underneath you and ride each jump separately. You also have to have a good sense of communication with the horse and they have to trust you. For me, I have as much fun in the derby field as I do in the jumper ring.”
“I am not used to looking at the jumps so far away. I saw the distance fifteen strides out and I was thinking to myself, ‘You can’t see a distance that far away,’ but it all worked out and was a lot of fun,” Riley added.
Standing out in the Team USA red show jumping jacket, Riley touched on her choice of outfit, saying, “I don’t own a shad belly and never have. Even as a junior I didn’t own one. I was reading the derby rules for proper attire and it says that if you have ridden for a U.S. team and have a red coat, you are allowed to wear it, so I thought why not? It goes with my grey mare and a blue ribbon!”
Riley looks forward to the future with Cleopatra’s Smile and she was very thankful of the opportunity to ride on the Grass Complex at TIEC, saying, “I just really appreciate that Tryon has made such a big effort to make the jumper venue special, but also with hunter events too. The footing rode fantastic and we appreciate all of the effort that the management and organization has made into putting these types of classes on.”
Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Race to Win $35,000 Tryon 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 4*
Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 secured the win in the $35,000 Tryon 1.45m Speed Stake CSI 4*, stopping the timers in a blazing 60.230 seconds. Eric Navet (FR) and Basimodo finished in the second place position with a time of 62.080 seconds, while Kyle Timm (CAN) and Javas Georgie B earned third place honors with a time of 62.730 seconds.
Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083, a 2001 Swedish Warmblood (Cardento x Cortus), owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, have been frequent visitors to the winner’s circle at the TIEC. The track set by Alan Wade (IRL), who has built impressive courses throughout the week at the TIEC, tested the horses’ speed and agility.
“Alan [Wade] set a really nice track today. The way the course was set made everyone do the same route and there was not a big gap in any of the times. I was early in the order so I went as fast as I thought I needed to, to win the class and my time held up.” Sweetnam described.
Giving credit to his longtime partner Cyklon 1083, Sweetnam commented, “Cyklon is naturally a quick horse and I made a tidy roll back to fence four and fence eight. I think that made the difference and how I won the class.”
Sweetnam spoke highly of the impressive stallion, Cyklon 1083, and his ability to win all of the world, as well as here in North Carolina at TIEC. “He has won everywhere. He is sixteen years old now and I have had him for six years. When he comes out to compete he always has a chance to be at the top. He is one of my favorites. He can do everything. He is a great horse and his record speaks for himself.
“This is a great facility, and the atmosphere is always fantastic. There is a great competition here this week and Alan [Wade] will for sure build tough enough tomorrow night. It will be a great class for the spectators,” Sweetnam concluded.
Victoria Herran and Con-Grande Top Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter 15-17
Wellington, FL – March 5, 2017 – Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam concluded an exceptional week of CSIO 4* competition at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, with a win aboard Chaqui Z in Sunday’s $216,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4*, presented by Lugano Diamonds.
After winning Thursday’s $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 aboard Cobolt, and Friday’s $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup riding Chaqui Z for team Ireland, Sweetnam led the round of honor ahead of teammates Conor Swail and Rubens LS La Silla in Sunday’s feature event. Ali Wolff and Casall placed third after also helping team USA to a silver medal in Friday’s Nations’ Cup.
Course designer Ken Krome (USA) concluded the week with 43 entries in Sunday’s grand prix and a 17-horse jump-off. The large number over the short course set an interesting challenge, as riders raced against the clock, and only seven cleared the tiebreaking course without fault. Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm’s Chaqui Z took the win in 41.79 seconds. Swail and Vanessa Mannix’s Rubens LS La Silla were close behind in 41.82 seconds. Wolff and Blacklick Bend Farm’s Casall clocked in at 43.02 seconds.
USA’s Beezie Madden jumped Abigail Wexner’s Coach to a fourth place finish in 43.11 seconds. Great Britain’s Jessica Mendoza and Toy Boy placed fifth in 43.23 seconds.
Sweetnam swept international competition during WEF 8 to be awarded the Niall Grimes “Cheers” Perpetual Trophy as the top Irish rider during CSIO week, an honor he also received in 2011. His winning mount for Nations’ Cup and grand prix competition was Chaqui Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide stallion (Chacco-Blue x Quinar Z)
“It was brilliant. Honestly, this is a dream week for me,” Sweetnam acknowledged. “Any week of WEF, if you can win the WEF (Challenge Cup) and the grand prix, it nearly can make a WEF [circuit]. So to win the WEF, the Nations’ Cup, and then the grand prix – it is amazing.”
Remarking on his win on Sunday, Sweetnam stated, “It was a fantastic first round, but then there were 17 in the jump-off, and I was thinking that I had no hope. Chaqui is very good at turns, which he proved, but he is not always the fastest. I was quick, and Chaqui did the turns super. Lucky enough, my time lasted.”
Sweetnam is a fan of Ken Krome’s courses after the success he had throughout the week. The rider noted, “I think all week he did a great job. I was impressed with the WEF starting off, because it was not just a speed class. It was a lot of jumping, but you did not have to run your horse off its feet. Friday night, he only had three double clears, which was a great course. Today, okay there were probably more clears than you would want, but then it was a very good jump-off. That is the way the sport seems to be going. It makes it more exciting, and it makes people want to come watch. It just gets faster and faster. There were a lot of good horses, and it made for a very good class.”
For his second place finish, Swail was also aboard his winning Nations’ Cup mount with the 11-year-old Mexican Sport Horse stallion (Rebozo LS La Silla x Cash) Rubens LS La Silla. Remarking on his round, Swail stated, “I think I felt a little bit the same as Shane when there were 17 clear. My horse is not the fastest horse. He is a big, rangy, slower type. I was thinking, ‘Okay, if we can get into the top four, I am building on what is becoming a very consistent and promising horse.’ I was lucky with a good draw; I was second to last to go. When I was going into the ring, I felt I could beat Shane. The big key for me was I needed six strides from one to two. Unfortunately, I got a slow shot to number one, and I was not able to get it. I was a little bit chasing after that, but how the horse jumped and how he did, I was so pleased with him.”
Wolff’s mount for CSIO week was Casall, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Casall ASK x Capitol I) that she has been partnered with for five years.
“We have just kind of been bringing him up the ranks,” Wolff detailed. “I bought him as a sales horse to maybe do the Junior/Amateurs on, but he ended up just jumping higher and higher. He still has a bright future ahead of him. He is pretty seasoned now, but he has just been phenomenal for me and my career.”
Describing her jump-off round, Wolff added, “Going early on, it is a little hard because I knew I had about 12 other people behind me, including Shane and Conor. But then I saw Kent go, and he made an error and was a little rushed. I just had to go in knowing that I had to go my own speed. I started off with my pace that I wanted. I was able to finish on the same pace, and everything kind of came up naturally. I got a little bit of a lucky rub on the last fence, but he was really good for me.”
For her success this week, Wolff was also presented the Leading Lady Rider Award for week eight, presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Also competing in the International Arena on Sunday, Tracy Williams and Bendoctro won the $10,000 Horseware Ireland Don Little Masters Classic. Lucy Deslauriers and Mario Deslauriers’ Curo won the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior Jumper Classic, presented by Sleepy P Ranch.
Victoria Herran and Con-Grande Top Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter 15-17
Victoria Herran and Con-Grande were named champions of the Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter 15-17 division on Sunday morning. Herran piloted her mount to a win over fences, third, fourth, and sixth place finishes over fences, as well as a third place finish under saddle. Herran lives in Miami, FL and commutes to WEF to show on the weekends.
Speaking of her over fences rounds, Herran said, “He felt great. My first round went very well. We had a consistent pace and didn’t chip anywhere. My horse was right on the game. The second round wasn’t our best, but we still did okay. Overall, I’m very happy.”
Con-Grande, an entry owned by CPS Equest, LLC, is a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Conterno Grande.
“I’ve had him for about a year now,” Herran continued. “I love him. He’s a very serious horse; he knows what he has to do, likes to work, and isn’t really the fun and play kind of dude. We’ve been showing in the Children’s Hunters, and next year we’re planning on moving up to the 3’6″ Juniors.”
The division had a three-way-tie for reserve champion with Sophia Soja, Sarah Ekola, and Abigail Tinsley each earning a tricolor ribbon. Soja of Chappaqua, NY piloted Casco De La Vie Z, an entry owned by Jimmy Torano, to a win and a fourth place finish over fences. Abigail Tinsley of Sudbury, MA rode her own Zonder Z Quattro to two second place finishes over fences. Sarah Ekola of Blythewood, SC guided Zanzibar to a win and a fourth place finish over fences.
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in its ninth week of competition on March 8-12, 2017. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Top $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic; Scott Stewart Wins Tricolor Ribbon in CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″
Wellington, FL – March 2, 2017 – It was an Irish victory on day two of CSIO 4* competition at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), as Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt captured the win in round eight of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
Also competing earlier in the day, McLain Ward (USA) returned to the winner’s circle for week eight with a win aboard HH Carlos Z in the $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic.
This week’s edition of WEF Challenge Cup competition was held as a one-round speed class with 59 entries starting over Ken Krome’s (USA) course with ten clear rounds. Sweetnam, aboard his own and The Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt, clocked the winning time of 69.13 seconds. The pair edged out Todd Minikus (USA) and Wyndmont’s Valinski S, who settled for second place in 69.91 seconds. Reigning World Champions Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED) and SFN Zenith, owned by Springpaarden Fonds Nederland and W. van der Ham, placed third in 71.43 seconds.
“He jumped great today,” Sweetnam said of Cobolt. “Obviously these classes are never easy, so it was great to win it. I was thinking I would get caught because we went in the first half of the class. Normally the second half, towards the end of the class, can get really hot. Leslie (Howard) was pretty quick at the end there, but luckily she knocked a fence.”
Describing his round, Sweetnam stated, “I think the course builder did a good job. There were a lot of numbers, and a couple of rollback turns that you could make up time. In the last line there was a leave-out, which I did take a chance there. That could really help you win or lose a class. I felt the course suited my horse beforehand, and then it did work out well.”
Eleven-year-old Cobolt is a Swedish Warmblood gelding sired by Sweetnam’s winning mount Cyklon 1083 (x Camaro M). Sweetnam admitted that although the gelding has many similarities to Cyklon, it took some time for the partnership to develop.
“He is similar to Cyklon. He looks similar and they have the same sort of attitude,” Sweetnam detailed. “He likes to go fast, and he is naturally quick. Cyklon is still going and I have a very special place for him. He has won everywhere, and I do not think there are many horses as good as Cyklon at what he does, so it is hard to compare them. We judge Cobolt as a different character.
“He is improving. He is getting better and better all the time,” Sweetnam said of the horse that he has only been riding for a year. “Sometimes it is easier to get a younger horse and develop them through because you get to know their buttons earlier. When you get an older horse that has done a bit with another rider, it can be hard to get them into your program. It honestly took me six months to really click with him, but since the start of the summer he has won a lot. Between Kentucky, Toronto, Tryon, and now here, he has had a great year.”
Ward Wins with HH Carlos Z
2016 Olympic team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) returned to the winner’s circle during week eight at the Winter Equestrian Festival with a victory aboard veteran mount HH Carlos Z in Thursday’s $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic. Despite some time off due to an injury sustained in October, the speedy 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire) was in fine form to top a field of 78 competitors.
Ken Krome (USA) set the course, which yielded 17 starters for the jump-off, and another ten clear entries over the short track. Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and G&C Durania K were first to go in the jump-off, setting the pace with a clear round in 40.66 seconds to eventually finish third. Ward and Double H Farm’s pint-sized gelding soon took over the lead in 39.50 seconds. Later, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny jumped into second place with a time of 40.32 seconds riding Kerry Anne LLC’s Bolero III.
Following some recuperation for his injury, ‘Carlos’ started out in a few small classes this winter and came out ready to play on Thursday.
“We have just been giving him some time to heal and slowly getting him back,” Ward detailed. “This is the first time I have actually moved him up to a 1.45m event, so it was good.
“Carlos is a funny horse,” Ward continued. “He always feels a little bit like a pony, and then he steps up and does the job. He is just so fast everywhere. He felt like he got a bit stronger through the class today, and that is always a good sign.”
Commenting on his focus while getting Carlos back in top form, Ward added, “Funny enough, he is not a hot horse. He is actually a cold horse, and you have to really energize him. He is so careful, so I just try to keep him confident. He has been such a great speed horse over the years, and he anticipates everything, so you just have to monitor that a little bit.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Thursday, Katherine Strauss and All In won the $10,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series Welcome, and Christina Firestone (USA) and Arwen were victorious in the $1,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 1.40m.
Scott Stewart Wins Tricolor Ribbon in CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″
Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL and Status, an entry owned by Rivers Edge, earned an impressive total of 40 points in the CaptiveOne Green Hunter 3’3″ division to win the championship title. Stewart piloted the gelding to two wins, as well as second and third place finishes over fences. The pair also won the under saddle.
“He’s really easy and laid back,” Stewart said of the coming six-year-old Oldenburg by Straviaty. “We bought him as a three-year-old. He did well in both the Pre-Green Incentive and Future Hunters class at Capital Challenge last year.”
Week eight is Status’ third show of the 2017 season. The gelding was reserve champion during weeks five and six in the same division.
Katherine Newman of Wellington, FL guided Dandelion, owned by Allwyn Court, Inc., to the reserve tricolor ribbon. The duo won an over fences, placed second in the other three jumping classes, and sixth under saddle. Dandelion is a 2006 Dutch Warmblood Mare by Heartbreaker.
“We imported her as a nine-year-old and took our time getting her in the ring,” Newman explained. “We started showing her in July of last summer in the Baby Greens. She moved up here at the start of circuit. She’s really laid back and is actually a huge tomboy, not mareish at all. She’s very easy and is really fun to ride.”
Newman was a successful junior rider in the equitation and jumper rings. As an aspiring professional, she runs Allwyn Court with her parents, Kathy and Gerry Newman.
Speaking of her winter circuit, Newman said, “I’ve had a great winter circuit here at WEF this year. I’m not as busy as a lot of the other people, but it’s been a really fun year so far!”
Competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival continues in the International Arena on Friday featuring the $10,000 Griffis Residential CSIO Speed Stake during the day and the $150,000 FEI Nations’ Cup CSIO 4* in the evening. The Young Hunter 3’6″ division will award championship honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Wellington, FL – February 4, 2017 – The team of riders Shane Sweetnam, Lindsey Tomeu, and Sedona Chamblee, team sponsors Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Equine Tack & Nutritionals earned the top prize of $150,000 for their charity, Urban Youth Impact, on Saturday night in the 8th annual Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Also competing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL on Saturday, Olympic silver medalist Kent Farrington won the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic riding Sherkan d’Amaury.
The 2017 GCC donated a record $1.5 million to 35 local Palm Beach County charities, bringing the eight-year total up to $10.7 million distributed through the event to date. The winning charity received the top prize of $150,000, with a sliding scale for the balance of the proceeds down to 35th place, which wins $15,000.
The competition is held as a pro-am team relay with each team made up of junior and amateur riders competing side by side with top professionals. The event also featured a fun theme, as riders (and their horses) dressed up as characters from their favorite animated movies.
Representing Urban Youth Impact, Sweetnam, Tomeu, and Chamblee rode for team sponsor Spy Coast & Preston, and corporate sponsor Equine Tack and Nutritionals dressed as characters from The Flintstones. All three riders cleared the course without fault and clocked the fastest combined time of 85.27 seconds for the win. Sweetnam and Tomeu were also part of the winning team in 2016, while Chamblee was competing in the event for the first time.
“It is a fantastic cause, not just for our team, but for a lot of different foundations in the area,” said Sweetnam, who anchored the team as professional rider. “I do not know if there is anything else like it in the country or anywhere really. Every year we try to do our best for whatever cause we are given. Obviously the girls did a great job, and I just finished it off. They were really motoring, so it was great.”
Tomeu (23), who has been competing in the event for the past four years, stated, “Every year we really try hard to win. We put together a good team, and last year we had a great team. We really wanted to step it up and do it again, and we did, which is amazing. We were even faster this year than we were last year, which I did not think was possible. Sedona was fantastic with her switch-off. It was really amazing.”
Chamblee (15) added, “This was my first year doing the Great Charity Challenge, and it was really fun. It was a great experience, and you get to ride for an amazing charity, which is really cool. Like Lindsey said, it was just amazing.”
Representing team sponsor Spy Coast Farm, Lisa Lourie commented on her team’s win for the second year in a row.
“I think it is a great way to involve the community here with our sport, as well as for us to give back to the community,” Lourie stated. “It is a win-win for both the community and for us. When we get to be involved with either educational or urban youth organizations, we are especially happy. We are very happy to be involved with Urban Youth Impact.”
Team sponsor Monica Preston added, “I am so proud to be a part of this group, and it is really wonderful that a small charity can benefit so greatly. I am so proud of the riders, and thank you to Lisa for getting me involved in this event.”
Charity winner Urban Youth Impact’s mission is to love, equip, and empower inner-city youth and their parents to fulfill their God-given purpose. Representing the organization, volunteer Sarah Armada detailed, “It is an organization that provides a safe place for kids to go after school. They get reading support; they get the arts. There is African drumming and ballet. There are things that these children would not be otherwise exposed to. They do so much for the community, and I think this is a great way to get their name out there and just provide them with all of the resources that those kids so desperately need. This is going to make a huge difference.”
Armada continued, “It is all about building their capacity and letting the kids feel empowered and equipped so that they can go out and be successful in their community.”
Adopt a Family was the second wildcard draw of the night, and ended up in second place overall, with riders Sydney Shulman, Lilli Hymowitz, and Hannah Patten representing the charity. Team sponsor the Patten family and corporate sponsor H5 Stables supported the riders, dressed as characters from Lilo & Stitch, with a combined time of 94.02 seconds.
Representing the charity Hepzibah House, Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster, and amateur riders Alexandra Crown and Alexandra Welles, placed third. Dressed as My Little Ponies and riding for team sponsor the Crown family and corporate sponsor Stone Hill Farm, all three ladies jumped their courses without fault and clocked a combined time of 97.47 seconds.
GCC co-founder Paige Bellissimo was thrilled with the success of the eighth annual event and praised everyone involved on a fantastic evening of sport and charitable giving.
“It is really special year after year to have so many great riders participating in the event,” Bellissimo stated. “It is amazing that people donate their time to give back. The executive directors of all of the charity organizations are the lifeblood of these communities, and it is just really amazing that we can all come together to support the community and see it grow. I want to thank the riders and the sponsors. Thank you Lisa and Monica for supporting year after year. It is so cool to see the charities and everyone’s unique way of helping. Urban Youth Impact is empowering our youth, and the youth are our future, so thanks go to them for everything they do.”
Farrington Tops Suncast® 1.50m
2016 U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington was the winner of week four’s $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Saturday at the Winter Equestrian Festival riding Sherkan d’Amaury. Jumping a track set by course designer Steve Stephens (USA), Farrington topped a class of 29 entries and an eight-horse jump-off.
Sherkan d’Amaury, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kannan x Quick Star) owned by Farrington, Haity McNerney, and Daniel Crown, carried his rider to victory in a time of 39.54 seconds over the short course. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) took second and third place honors, riding the Blue Buckle Group’s Cobolt through the timers in 39.92 seconds, and stopping the clock in 40.56 seconds aboard Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC’s Main Road. Canada’s Beth Underhill finished fourth, riding Sandy Lupton’s Count Me In to a clear round over the jump-off track in 40.59 seconds.
Remarking on his winning round with Sherkan d’Amaury, Farrington stated, “For him, I just did what I thought his strengths were. I think what won the class today was the leave-out to the last fence. He has a very big stride and big scope, and he is so careful that he is actually better if I am catching every jump accelerating, or out of rhythm. I think that is where we got it today.
“I think a lot of this horse,” Farrington continued. “I had him last year, and then he had a terrible colic surgery, and he just started showing this winter two weeks ago. The first class in the week he was third, and then yesterday he was second, and today he won, so he is really on the mend and I’m happy to have him back.”
Sherkan d’Amaury has a fast pace and a unique way of going that suits Farrington’s strengths as a rider.
“He is my style. He is super careful, which I try to find in all of the horses I buy,” Farrington stated. “I try to get extreme quality, and sometimes that works against me, but in the end I think that is the way you get the best horses. They tend to be a little bit the weirdos. They are spooky and not always the easiest to ride, but that often goes hand-in-hand with an extreme horse that has that kind of blood and that kind of carefulness. It is a double-edged sword, but that is what I like to ride.”
Sherkan d’Amaury is just getting back in top form and Farrington will continue developing him throughout the winter circuit.
“I think he can jump anything,” the rider noted. “It is just a matter of building him the right way, and seeing where his confidence is, and what his body is ready for. He came off of a long gap there not doing anything all last year, so we’ll see where he goes. It is a long winter and we have lots of time to build him up, so I am looking forward to it.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Sarah Bagworth and Goldfinder vd Hengstenpoel won the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers.
Staszak Captures Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Victory
The Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal concluded Saturday morning with Catie Staszak of Boynton Beach, FL emerging as the winner. Staszak shows in the Adult Amateur Medals while also focusing on her career as a multimedia sports journalist. All 11 competitors participated in a jumping and a flat phase.
“Flatwork has typically been my weakness,” Staszak detailed. “The jumping phase felt phenomenal. Everything worked out well and was smooth, which is key. It wasn’t the most technical course, so it was really about position and keeping on a nice rhythm.”
Staszak was aboard Agnes Augusta, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare owned by East Wind Farm, LLC. The pair has been partnered together for about four years.
“We just click,” Staszak explained. “She’s really sensitive, and I’m a very soft rider so we get along well. She’s come so far, especially in the past year. I couldn’t be prouder of her. She’s really special, and I love her to death.”
Staszak rode in the equitation classes as a junior, but took a break from showing to get her degree in broadcast journalism at the University of Miami. She does grand prix commentary for live streaming events, which combines for a career of two of her passions – horses and journalism.
Rounding out the top three competitors were Sara Ballinger taking second place and Elissa Davis being awarded third place.
The fourth week of WEF concludes on Sunday with the $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4* on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village. The Bruno DelGrange Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division will award championship and reserve honors in the Rost Arena. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Luis Larrazabal and Atlodetto FZ Fly through Timers to Capture $25,000 U25 Grand Prix; Carolinas’ Challenge Cup Series Concludes
Mill Spring, NC – October 16, 2016 – Shane Sweetnam of Wellington, FL and Cornwall earned top honors in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix on the Grass Complex at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to conclude competition at Tryon Fall IV. Sweetnam and Cornwall completed the jump-off track in 37.838 seconds ahead of Emanuel Andrade of Wellington, FL and Boy IV who crossed through the timers in 40.399 seconds. Darragh Kerins of Wellington, FL and Rebeca LS completed the final double clear effort of the class, completing the track with a time of 48.176 seconds.
Sweetnam and Cornwall, a 2008 Holsteiner stallion (Con Air x Cambridge) owned by Siboney Ranch, bested the class of 31 entries, riding to a smooth first round on the track set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN). The jump-off featured nine combinations and only the top three finishers completed both rounds of the class without faults.
“Michel did a great job today and I thought that it was a very nice course. It was big enough and not too technical I thought,” explained Sweetnam. “It was nice that the horses who were going to do this class had the opportunity to compete on the grass on Friday as well. The class had the right number of clears with nine and that always makes for an exciting jump-off.”
Cornwall is typically ridden by Sweetnam’s client, Kaley Tomeu, who sustained and injury and turned over the reins to her trainer while she recovers. The talented young stallion gained competition experience on both the turf and in the George H. Morris Arena this week, as Sweetnam contested the $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Opener CSI 3* and placed second, as well as the $8,000 1.40m Open Jumper Classic presented by Nutrena®.
“He’s only eight and belongs to Kaley Tomeu. She typically rides him but broke her collar bone so I’ll have the ride on him for the next few months. I’m just starting to get the hang of him now and we’re getting together a bit more,” he commented. “We’re aiming him for the last indoor competition in Kentucky. He’s very talented so I’m looking forward to seeing him progress over the next few months.”
Sweetnam finished a strong week of competition at TIEC after collecting first and second place finishes aboard Cornwall, and a top finish with second mount, Main Road, in the $130,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday night. Sweetnam continues to produce and compete a strong string of horses, which will play a major role in his success over the next few weeks.
“I have other horse Chaqui Z competing next week in the CSI 5*, as well as Cornwall and Main Road, who finished second in the class last night. I’ll then have to rotate the horses a bit as we’re going to go to indoors after,” commented Sweetnam. “I’m really lucky that I have such a strong string and they’re all getting mileage. Cornwall is a nice addition.”
The Grass Complex at TIEC is the newest addition to the expanding facility, allowing horse and rider combinations to experience unique competition opportunities on different footing surfaces. Sweetnam is looking forward to the potential of the complex and was pleased with the performance of Cornwall in both outings on the turf.
“Today the footing already feels like it’s opening up a bit since Friday and I think that as we continue to compete over the next few weeks it will continue to get better. The horses are all jumping well on it. I think it’s going to be a very exciting venue for competition in the future and is a great addition to this facility.”
Luis Larrazabal and Atlodetto FZ Fly through Timers to Capture $25,000 U25 Grand Prix
Luis Larrazabal of Wellington, FL and his mount Atlodetto FZ dominated the $25,000 U25 Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) with an incredible jump-off time of 36.934 seconds. Taylor Alexander of Castle Rock, CO and Gipsy King trailed closely behind, securing second place with a time of 36.948 seconds, while Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwhich, CT and Helios earned third place honors with a time of 39.00 seconds.
Luis Larrazabal and Atlodetto FZ, owned by San Francisco Stables LLC, have been partners for almost two years and are building their confidence together as they gain more competition experience. The pair has been based at TIEC all summer, competing in multiple 1.30m and 1.40m classes.
Larrazabal chuckled as he described his strategy going into the jump-off track set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), saying, “My plan was just to go for a conservative round. Taylor Alexander had a crazy fast time and I didn’t think my horse was ready for that speed. I jumped the first oxer and was good to fence two and three, so I got excited.”
“After the double I knew I was coming close to winning,” he continued, detailing his ride. “After the liverpool, I did a short roll back, galloped down to the last oxer, and as soon as I landed I knew I had the time.”
The victory came as a bit of a shock to Larrazabal, which made the victory that much sweeter. The pair have had success moving through the levels and today was a highlight for Larrazabal, as clinching victory in a competitive U25 class is always thrilling.
“I really swear that was not my plan,” he laughed. “Of course I wanted to be clear and fast, but I was not out to beat that time. It was my lucky day for sure.”
Larrazabal and his team are looking forward to heading to the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), as he plans to show Atlodetto FZ in ranking classes and possibly in the Nations’ Cup representing his home nation of Venezuela.
“We’re taking it slow and step by step. He is very confident right now, so when he’s ready for the bigger classes he will show me,” he continued.
Larrazabal nearly took another win today, also jumping clear in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix aboard Quintus Fabius. Larrazabal commented on the new Grass Complex at TIEC, stating, “Jumping on the grass is like dreaming. The footing is immaculate. I showed Friday on the grass and today as well. I actually retired one of my horses from the U25 Grand Prix after two unfortunate rails and decided to enter him in the class out on the turf and we ended up ninth. I just wanted to jump on the grass field!”
Carolinas’ Challenge Cup Series Concludes at Tryon International Equestrian Center Showcasing Five Divisions of Top Hunter Competition
The Carolinas’ Challenge Cup Series concluded at Tryon International Equestrian Center, hosting the best of hunter competition in the region. The week featured five divisions allowing riders of all ages and experience levels the opportunity to compete for top prizes in the George H. Morris Arena.
Kara Jones of Cornelius, NC secured first and second place in the $10,000 Carolinas’ Challenge Cup Junior Hunter class, piloting her own Joyful to first place with a two round score of 160 and Cristallo, owned by Long’s Stable LLC, to second after receiving a 146. Kendall Edwards of Charlotte, NC and her own Quarterback took third place honors in the class after earning a 144 from the judging panel.
The $10,000 Carolinas’ Challenge Cup Amateur-Owner Hunter was championed by Alexandra Maracic of Syosset, NY guided her own Lucky Times to victory after accumulating a two round score of 169. Ashley Hodges of Greensboro, NC and Jet Stream K, owned by Sloan Hodges, rode to second place with a final score of 163, while Lynn Seithel of John’s Island, SC took home third place aboard her own Versace.
Courtney Canizares of Elon, NC guided her own Kiera to victory in the $10,000 Carolinas’ Challenge Cup Adult-Amateur after completing two rounds in the George H. Morris Arena to earn a total score of 167. Vicki Autry of Greensboro, NC and her own Toltec rode to second place honors after receiving a 164. Kimberly Penfold of Lake Bluff, IL and The Spy, owned by Glory Days Farm, LLC, followed closely behind with a two round score of 163.
The $10,000 Carolinas’ Challenge Cup Children’s Hunter class was topped by Catherine Sharp of Tryon, NC and her own Imperio after receiving an 80 from the judging panel in the first round and a score of 75 in the second round for a total of 155. Ann Gray Stedman of Charlotte, NC and her own Winter Romance took second place after riding to a final score of 138, while Isabel Stedman of Charlotte, NC and Arrow K collected third place honors with a 120.
The 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District offers six weeks of hunter and jumper competition, including three weeks of internationally recognized FEI show jumping featuring two FEI CSI 3* weeks and an FEI CSI 5*. For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and surrounding amenities, please visit www.tryon.com.
Lexington, KY – Aug. 6, 2016 – After winning the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix last Saturday, Shane Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt returned one week later to pick up another victory under the lights, this time in the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix, sponsored by GGT Footings.
Forty-seven horse-and-rider combinations attempted Marina Azevedo’s first-round track, with only four eventually advancing to the short course.
Mirroring Thursday’s grand prix, Sweetnam and Cobolt were again the first to go clear, and subsequently the first to return for the jump-off. Their jump-off time of 39.991 seconds would stand for the lead as the remaining three challengers fell short of taking over the top spot.
“Cobolt was brilliant,” Sweetnam said. “It was a difficult course; the designer did a really great job, as she did all week. For the jump-off I knew I had to go quick. The other day I went very quick, but I did get caught. I thought if I did a special turn from fence two to three that I could be the winner of the class. He did that no problem, but we landed and we slipped, which cost a few seconds to get organized. We still could have been beat, but the way it went, my lead stood.”
Sweetnam said he got the ride on Cobolt in January, and said he has been very happy with the horse’s progress. The pair has most recently finished in the top three during all four grand prixs during the Kentucky Summer Horse Show series.
“This summer Cobolt has been getting better and better,” Sweetnam said. “He is very competitive. He really loves his job, but he still has things to learn. We will see what he does when we go to the Hamptons and indoors, but he is really making a lot of progress.”
Finishing in both second and third place was Mavis Spencer on her own Cornetiero and Neil Jones Equestrian Inc.’s Disco Lady, respectively. Spencer returned with Disco Lady first, and an unfortunate refusal and rail down would leave the duo on an 8-fault finish in a time of 61.587 seconds.
“Disco Lady is only 8 years old,” Spencer said. “She jumped Thursday and that was her second night class, and this is her third one, so I’m really happy with her. On Thursday, we had a skinny down. There was a shadow that she looked down at, and I think she got a bit green, to be honest. She is so smart and she never makes the same mistake twice, so in the first round she just knew exactly where the poles were at and she jumped incredibly.”
With Cornetiero, Spencer outpaced Sweetnam with her time of 39.161 seconds, but an unlucky rail dropped at the penultimate fence to earn the duo the second-place spot.
“They are very different types of horses,” Spencer said. “Cornetiero has all the scope, and he’s super brave. He’s a little bit scrappy; he gets the job done. I only started riding Disco last week, and this was my fifth class with her. I rode Coronet last summer until the fall, and this was also my 5th class with him. He is my go-to horse at this level. But, overall, I was really happy with them both.”
Spencer said that just a few hours before the grand prix, a Facebook Timeline Memory reminded her that two years ago she was in Poland grooming for Neil Jones’ horses at a 3* event.
“To see the difference from two years ago to now is incredible,” Spencer said. “Just the fact that I rode three horses in this class is incredible for me. To be second and third, I would never have imagined that this afternoon. It’s an amazing feeling, and I really have a lot to thank Neil Jones for; it is a super support system to have for me.”
The final pair to compete in the jump-off, Juan Andres Rodriguez and his own Bugatti, collected a total of 4 faults and a time of 55.45 seconds to finish in fourth place.
Picking up only 1 time fault in the first round, Max Amaya and Meridian Partners LLC’s Bueno took home the fifth-place ribbon, while the fastest of the 4-fault rounds, Celso Ariani and Ricardo Romero’s Reus De La Nutria rounded out the top six.
Molly Sewell, a professional based in Orlando, Florida with Bill Schaub, was neck and neck with her two talented mounts, Acado and El Raymond, in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. Less than two points separated the horses, but the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Acado came out on top with an overall score of 181.250.
His owner, Sydney Porter, is competing in her last junior year and earlier this week she was reserve champion in the Junior Hunter 3’3″ division with Acado at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. Sewell started riding the horse over a month ago, and is helping to prepare Acado to be Porter’s future amateur horse by giving him experience in the derbies.
“He is a lovely horse,” Sewell said. “He’s a pre-green horse, so it’s even better that he can go into the derby and be that amazing. I would not have changed a thing about the first round with Acado; there was there was nothing that needed to be different.
“Acado is really a lovely ride,” she continued. “He is very comfortable, soft in his mouth, has beautiful lead changes, and he is scopey.”
Sewell and Acado placed third in their first derby together in last week’s Kentucky Summer Horse Show, so she was thrilled that he stepped up to win the large class on Saturday. The pair earned a 93.000 in the first round and an 88.250 in the second round after jumping all three high options in each round.
“I think Acado was more confident this week,” Sewell explained. “He walked into the ring and rose to the occasion. He jumped the high options outstandingly. He just had a bit more mileage and confidence this week.”
Though Acado lead the way after the first round, Sewell’s other mount, El Raymond, had the experience to edge him out in the second round score by only 0.250 points. Owned by Leslie and Stuart Campbell, El Raymond is an 18-year-old Warmblood gelding who has quite an impressive derby record. Sewell and the chestnut gelding have won the Kentucky Summer Horse Show derby three years in a row, and they took the blue ribbon in last week’s derby.
“He was amazing as always,” she said. “I feel like my first round on Raymond today was by far one of the best first rounds I’ve ever had on him. Sometimes he can be too casual on the first round and he gears up for the second round and that’s when he shines.”
Though El Raymond came back to score higher in the second round with an 88.500, it was not enough to win the overall total score. Acado won Friday’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby with a total score of 181.50 while El Raymond placed second with a 179.500.
“I felt a little bit bad because I had to send Raymond back to the barn before the awards presentation…he really is not used to that treatment,” Sewell laughed.
Sewell praised the derby course and she felt the solid high options gave her the opportunity to show off her horses’ jumping talents.
“Raymond has a lot more shows under his belt with a lot more experience and wins,” she explained. “They are very different rides. Acado has a bigger stride, and he has a higher and slower jump compared to Raymond. Raymond is so tidy with his knees, so it depends on what you like.”
Sewell rides with Bill Schaub, and they discussed their strategy of the handy round, which helped solidify her win on Saturday. They emphasized the importance of maintaining a smooth round with quality jumping style.
“People can get carried away in the handy and they forget it is still the hunters,” Schaub explained. “It needs to be smooth and the horse must jump in good style. When you get too carried away you lose that.”
“In the handy a lot of people can get a bit too crazy and it can get messy,” Sewell explained. “I chose to ride more conservative and only do a couple of the inside turns in order to be smooth. It worked out for me today.”
Sewell came to Schaub her first year out of the junior division, and they have been working together for sixteen years.
“I always want Molly to be neat, tight, carry a gallop while having a smooth round,” Schaub continued. “Originally we had some ideas of how to ride the handy but after watching some rides we realized those options made it messy. We did not want to be too risky and lose the style.”
The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.
The Kentucky Summer Classic will wrap up on Sunday to make way for the 2016 United States Pony Finals. The Kentucky Summer Horse Show Series will resume on August 16 with the start of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, which will feature both the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship and the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. Other highlight events include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.