Tag Archives: Shane Sweetnam

Irish Riders Sweetnam, Kelly Sweep $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt.

Emma Kurtz Dominates Junior Hunter Divisions at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Lexington, KY – July 30, 2016 – The luck of the Irish certainly favored the winners of Saturday’s $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Irish riders Shane Sweetnam and Christina Kelly rode away with the top three ribbons, with first and third won by Sweetnam and Kelly earning second.

The first round saw 30 entries over fellow Irishman Alan Wade’s course, with 14 horse-and-rider combinations eventually advancing to the short course. The spectators cheered from the stands, enjoying the top-quality show jumping during the Kentucky Horse Park’s 14th annual Hats Off Day.

Kelly and Andrea O’Brien’s Kingdom were among the first to turn in a clear round, securing their place in the jump-off early on in the class.

“Kingdom has come such a long way,” Kelly said. “He jumped his first grand prix in April in Aiken, and he has moved up slowly. He has been unbelievable, and this is the biggest venue he has competed at, especially with the crowds and the night class. He showed so much potential, and he is getting better and better.”

Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt jumped their clear effort shortly after, and later Sweetnam followed up with another jump-off-qualifying round aboard Main Road, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC.

“Cobolt is a lot of fun to ride,” Sweetnam said. “It’s taken me a little while to figure out the buttons, but we seem to have figured it out in the last couple months. He’s been very consistent, so I’m very happy with him. He’s a really quick horse, and he jumped really well here the other night.”

As the riders returned for the jump off, only five of the 14 qualified would repeat their clear efforts. Kelly returned with Kingdom to lay down a quick round, saving time by taking tight turns and opening up the 17.3-hand horse’s massive stride between the combinations. Kelly and Kingdom stopped the timers in 45.474 seconds, securing her hold on the lead.

“I was very happy with him,” Kelly said. “I was going into this hopeful that he was going to jump well. My strategy was just to go double clear, but he was jumping so well I figured I could push him a bit to go faster. The track rode fantastic; I love Alan Wade’s courses.”

Sweetnam entered the ring on Cobolt shortly after, taking his turns even tighter and using his smaller horse’s agility to its full potential to shave an impressive two seconds off of Kelly’s leading time, finishing the course in a mere 43.882 seconds to take over the top spot.

“Christina was really fast,” Sweetnam said. “I know she was really quick everywhere, but Christina’s horse is a big-strided horse, and I think my fellow may just be a bit niftier and quicker through the corners. He’s definitely more competitive that way; he’s bouncy, you can turn quicker, and he gets his eye on the jumps. I think he was excellent in the jump-off. He likes going fast; he’s a bit like his dad [Cyklon 1083], so it’s great that Cobolt is winning, too.”

During his career with Cyklon 1083, Sweetnam has experienced a lot of success. At 10 years old, Cobolt is one of Cyklon’s oldest sons and is following in his father’s footsteps. Sweetnam got the ride on the gelding in January, and has since won the $130,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI3* at Tryon, among other successes at the 1.50m level.

The final rider to return to the ring, it was clear that Sweetnam would be taking home the blue ribbon, but it was a question of whether he could beat his earlier time on his next mount, Main Road. Despite coming close with their clear effort, Sweetnam and Main Road’s time of 46.444 seconds would earn them the third-place ribbon.

“Main Road is only an 8-year-old,” Sweetnam explained. “He’s had a bit of success already this summer, and he’s coming along all the time. He was pretty quick tonight, and I think if I had to, I could have been quicker, but I would have taken more risks. I was already happy with his round, and he did exactly what I wanted to do. He can be very, very quick, and I think he’ll have other days where he’ll win, too.”

Sweetnam concluded, “I love Kentucky, and we always have success here. It’s our home for the summer, so that makes it nicer. I also want to thank my sponsors, between Lisa Lourie, the Buckle Up Group, the Gilbertsons and Paul Tracey; I’m just lucky to have such great owners. I’ve been very lucky this year to have these horses.”

Also going double clear, Adrienne Sternlicht and Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Toulago tripped the timers in 49.442 seconds to take home fourth place. Trailing very closely behind, Juan Ortiz and the Synchronicity Group’s D’ulien Van De Smeets ended up in fifth place with their time of 49.842 seconds. Despite having the second-fastest time at 44.372 seconds, Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios and A S D Farfala rounded out the top six after catching an unfortunate four faults for having a rail down.

The final highlights during the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix. The action will resume next week during the Kentucky Summer Classic.

Emma Kurtz Dominates Junior Hunter Divisions

Emma Kurtz dominated the Stonelea Ring on Saturday at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show with wins on Dominik in the Small Junior Hunter division, as well as a clean sweep in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division on Frederick.

“My rounds on Frederick went really well today,” Kurtz said. “He was amazing considering it was so late in the day due to the weather delay. He is very flashy with his white socks and blaze, and he has a great rhythm to his canter.”

Emma Kurtz and Frederick
Emma Kurtz and Frederick

Kurtz has had the ride on David Gochman’s chestnut gelding for over a year, and the pair are no strangers to winning blue ribbons and championship titles. In Saturday’s Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, Kurtz and Frederick won both over fences classes and the under saddle class.

“Frederick is a quiet horse. He is so fun to ride and I love him,” she continued. “He may be a bit looky at times, but he is usually on it and he was great today.”

Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio also impressed the judges on David Gochman’s gelding Dominik. This was the third show the duo has competed together and though they are a relatively new pair they were Grand Champions at Brandywine. On Saturday, they earned the blue ribbon in both over fences classes during the Small Junior Hunter division.

“Dominik was feeling great today,” Kurtz explained. “He was a bit frisky which was kind of good because he is usually too quiet, so the rides today were nice. He is very simple and sweet.”

She plans on riding him in next week’s Kentucky Summer Classic and then Sophie and Mimi Gochman will pick up the ride.

“I love Kentucky,” Kurtz explained. “I love to be back here! The show is always run so nicely. The jumps are beautiful and it’s just a really nice show to come to.”

Brett Burlington of Miami, Florida leads the way in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division on Popish Farms LLC’s Due West. The pair won an over fences class as well as placed second in the under saddle class.

“I thought my rounds went really well today,” Burlington said. “He is very easy and straightforward. I float the reins and everything usually works out well.  Basically the less I involve myself the easier it is. If I ride everything smooth and not change much, the distances come up nicely. The more adjustments I try to make, the distances can get a bit iffy.”

Burlington competed the 12-year-old gelding during the winter season at WEF and they were champions in Traverse City earlier in the summer.

“He is owned by a client at Sweet Oaks Farm and she is very nice to let me show him,” she explained. “I have been riding him on and off for a couple of years now. For the rest of the season we will work on having more consistent rounds and try my best.”

All junior hunter divisions will wrap up on Sunday morning at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

On Saturday morning, championships were awarded in the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions. Jane Gaston won the Visse Wedell Grand Hunter Championship, as well as the Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship aboard Because. The KWPN gelding had also earned the Green Hunter Championship with Kelley Farmer earlier in the week.

Lisa Butzer earned the tricolored ribbon for the Amateur-Owner 3’3 18-35 division on Pure Imagination, while Didi Mackenzie and MTM Do Right was crowned champion in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3 Over 35 division.

On Sunday, the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby will take place and it will be the third class in the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series. The $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus will award a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the five classes that make up the 2016 Hallway Feeds series. The series-leading amateur and junior riders accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on August 21.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Sweetnam Secures 2nd Victory during Tryon Spring 7 with Cobolt in $130k Ariat Grand Prix CSI 3*

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt. Photos: ©FlyingHorsePhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – June 4, 2016 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) powered to another win at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) this week, piloting Cobolt to victory in the $130,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 3* under the lights in the George H. Morris Arena. Sweetnam and Cobolt saved the best for last, completing the jump-off course in 41.58 seconds to secure their top place finish. Daniel Bedoya (BOL) and Quattro earned second place, finishing in 42.424 seconds, while David Beisel (USA) and Call Me Hannes collected third place with a time of 45.351 seconds.

Competition at Tryon Spring 7 concludes Sunday with the $25,000 The Lodge on Lake Lure Grand Prix at 11:30 a.m. The Tryon Spring Series continues next week, hosting the first ever CSI 5* at the venue, which begins on Wednesday, June 8, and continues through Sunday, June 12, featuring the $380,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, June 11.

The $130,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 3* featured 33 entries and saw only five combinations move forward to contest the jump-off round. Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set both tracks, which proved to test speed and accuracy, as two pairs finished the evening with a single time fault and eight combinations dropped a rail for four faults. Cobolt and Sweetnam were the last pair to secure a clear jumping effort, making them the fifth pair to enter the jump-off round and also the final combination to test the short course.

“I definitely felt pressure. You have to understand the goal, but you can’t be silly about it either. He’s quite a quick horse and I knew that he was feeling good because he was bucking from fence one to two,” explained Sweetnam. “We were a little lucky at fence two because of it, but he responded great and jumped the rest very well.”

Sweetnam also took the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome on Thursday aboard Cyklon 1083, who is the sire of tonight’s winner, Cobolt. Displaying his experience and expertise, Sweetnam piloted Cobolt, a 2008 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cyklon 1083 x Selena) owned by The Blue Buckle Group, to their first major FEI win together.

“He’s a new enough ride for me. He’s ten and his father is actually Cyklon who won the other day, so it’s a father and son kind of thing this week,” chuckled Sweetnam. “We haven’t done so many big classes together yet, so for the jump-off I wasn’t sure how it would pan out but he handled it very well.”

“I thought he jumped great in both the first and second round. It was a great win for him,” he added.

The Blue Buckle Group acquired Cobolt in January and Sweetnam has taken his time getting to know the talented gelding, who joined Sweetnam’s string with a proven FEI record in Europe. The duo competed together for the first time this past February and only contested a handful of 1.50m classes during the winter circuit.

“I did a couple of 1.50m classes with him, but this is obviously our first big result,” commented Sweetnam. “He jumped the 1.50m class the other day and I made a few little mistakes but he jumped great. My plan was always to get a good result tonight and I have to say, I was very pleased with the way he jumped. Now I need to figure out what our next big class will be.”

Daniel Bedoya and Quattro
Daniel Bedoya and Quattro

While Sweetnam has three mounts entered in the Tryon Spring 8 FEI CSI 5* next week, Cobolt will not contest the week’s main event, the $380,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix, but Sweetnam is looking forward to producing more top results with the gelding throughout the rest of the season.

“I was very impressed with him tonight and I know that he is a quick horse. He has a lot of real talent and I’m hoping that this win is the first of many to come for us,” concluded Sweetnam.

Sweetnam’s groom, Lilly Johnson, was presented with the Groom’s Initiative Award on behalf of Mark Bellissimo and Tryon Equestrian Partners, honoring her for the meticulous care and dedication to Sweetnam’s winning mount, Cobolt.

Kristen Vanderveen (USA) received the Leading Lady Award, presented by realtor Meg Atkinson, in recognition of Vanderveen’s performances in FEI classes during Tryon Spring 7.

The Tryon Spring Series continues next week with Tryon Spring 8, featuring the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Mirimichi Green on Friday, June 10, and the $380,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, June 11. For more information on TIEC and to see a full list of weekly results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Top $35,000 1.50m Suncast Welcome at TIEC

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083. Photo Credit: ©FlyingHorsePhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – June 2, 2016 – Clinching his first victory at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) this season, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 secured the win in the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome, finishing the track in 35.393 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) finished in second place aboard Bull Run’s Testify, stopping the jump-off timers in 35.944 seconds, and piloted Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili to third place with a time of 36.624 seconds.

Tryon Spring 7 continues at TIEC throughout the week featuring FEI CSI 3* competition and will highlight the $130,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, June 4, with gates opening to the public at 6:00 p.m. and competition beginning at 8:00 p.m. General admission and parking are free.

The course set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) saw 12 pairs move forward to the test the short course, while 28 original entries tackled the first round track. Five combinations finished the class with a double clear effort, while Vanderveen was the only competitor to finish the day with a double clear effort on both of her entries.

“I thought Michel did a good job. It was stout enough and I don’t think that it was overly technical, but it was big enough,” said Sweetnam. “He’s a great course designer and I think he had the right number of clears with 12 in the jump-off and in the ribbons.”

Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC, is an experienced mount for Sweetnam and has accumulated a number of top placings this year, including eight top five finishes in FEI competition throughout the winter circuit in Wellington, FL. The 2001 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Cassandra) has spent ample time in many of the world’s biggest classes with Sweetnam in the irons and that experience is easily noted when the pair enter the ring.

“I thought my horse jumped very well in the first round and he’s fifteen so he has enough experience,” he stated. “Every Classic that I do with him I hope that I have a chance at winning it. He’s been having a great year and has had plenty of results. I feel like if I get into the jump-off with him I always have a chance.”

Sweetnam has established a working relationship with Cyklon 1083 that allows him to understand when to push for more, but also where it is safer to add, which was evident in the duo’s jump-off round. The pair opted to take several inside turns and Sweetnam felt it differentiated their time enough for the win.

He explained, “In the jump-off today I think a lot of people did five strides from fence two to three and I did six. I just felt for him, that I turned tightly back to two and three, so I think that’s where I made that time. Doing five in that line wouldn’t have been the ideal plan for him because he’s a little horse.”

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run's Testify
Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Testify

Vanderveen set a strong pace aboard Bull Run’s Testify early in the jump-off, which seemed too good to beat until Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 dashed through the timers just five-tenths of a second faster. Sweetnam is gearing up for a big week ahead, as he will have three horses entered in the Tryon Spring 8 FEI CSI 5*.

“I’m going to jump him in the class this Saturday night and hopefully we can have the same type of result. Next week is obviously a very big week and he’ll go again. I’ll have Chaqui Z and Buckle Up entered as well. Between the three of them I’m hoping that we can get some good results. There’s plenty of money and during the 5* week Thursday and Saturday will be very big for everyone.”

Competition at TIEC continues tomorrow featuring a $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix and a $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. The Tryon Spring 7 “Saturday Night Lights” event will welcome the $130,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 3* with gates opening to the public at 6:00 p.m. and the first horse on course set for 8:00 p.m. For more information on TIEC and to see a full list of weekly results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Ben Maher and Sarena Triumph in $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*

Ben Maher and Sarena. Photos copyright Sportfot.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Capture $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final; Shane Sweetnam Leads 2016 Series Overall

Wellington, FL – April 2, 2016 – Grand prix action at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded with an exciting international showdown Saturday night as Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Sarena jumped to victory in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*. The finale grand prix for the winter circuit, Maher and Sarena topped a seven-horse jump-off, with McLain Ward (USA) and HH Azur in second, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Fibonacci 17 third.

Forty of the circuit’s best horses and riders representing 13 different countries jumped for the winter’s top prize competing under the lights in front of a packed house at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The star-studded competition concluded a fantastic 12-week circuit for the international show jumpers. The circuit wraps up on Sunday, April 3, with the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the grass derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC.

The $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final was also held on Saturday with a win for McLain Ward (USA) and HH Carlos Z in an 18-horse jump-off, presented by SOVARO®. Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam earned the leading rider award for the 12-week series overall.

Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the courses in the International Ring at PBIEC for the final week of WEF competition. With 40 starters in the grand prix, D’Ambrosio’s first round course yielded seven clear for the jump-off, and only one clear over the short course for the win.

Chloe Reid (USA) and Codarco were the first combination to clear the course in round one, but opted not to continue on to the jump-off to automatically finish seventh. Yann Candele (CAN) and the Watermark Group’s First Choice 15 were then the first pair to jump the short course, finishing with 12 faults in 52.31 seconds to place sixth. Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Cynar Va jumped next, with eight faults in 48.69 seconds to finish fifth.

McLain Ward and HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm and Francois Mathy, jumped off next, finishing with a fast time in 46.10 seconds, but added an unfortunate four faults that left the pair in second place. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum aimed for a safe clear round aboard Artemis Equestrian Farm’s Fibonacci 17, but also dropped a rail along the way, finishing third overall with her time of 51.41 seconds. Maher and Sarena followed, completing the only clear round over the second course for the win with a steady round in 53.72 seconds. Last to go, Todd Minikus (USA) and Two Swans Farm’s Babalou 41 had one rail down as well, finishing fourth with their time of 52.63.

Speaking of his winning mount, a ten-year-old Selle Francais mare (Calvaro Z x Damoiseau d’Or), Maher stated, “I have had Serena for just over a year now, and it has been a tough ride. She was a horse that was bought to jump these big classes, but she was young when we got her, and it really took a year to get to know her and for her to get to know me. It has been a lot of hard work and patience from Jane Clark, who supported me the whole way through last year, because I had a lot of disappointing rounds. I told her to stick with me, and we worked hard with the whole team at home. This is the first class she has won, but she picked the right time and I hope there will be many more.”

Maher spoke further about how he has gotten to know Sarena more over the last 12 weeks at WEF and really used the circuit to develop their partnership.

“We had a careful plan,” he explained. “She did not jump much since November and became pretty consistent over the last few grand prix. The worst she has had is one down since November. I found in the jump-offs, when I try to go quick, she starts to run backwards a little bit and it is not always a nice feeling. She has to get confident and get used to running and jumping.

“The course tonight, I thought she jumped the first round excellent,” Maher continued. “It was the first time under the lights for her, and she did not seem to be affected by that. It was a tough course, but the jump-off really played into my hands. Had McLain’s turn pulled off, and had Meredith left the jumps up, I do not know if I could have actually been quick enough to beat them, so I decided to play it a little safe and leave the jumps up. That is not my nature normally, but I think I played a smart game tonight and put the pressure on Todd. Fortunately for me, it worked out. It could have gone either way.”

The cards did not play in Ward’s favor this time around, but the rider was happy for Maher, and felt that HH Azur jumped two great rounds. The ten-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui) took a big win in week seven’s $380,000 Suncast® Grand Prix CSI 5*. Ward gave it everything in this week’s jump-off hoping for another victory, but one unlucky rail came down.

“We have been building up towards this trying to get her fit,” Ward noted. “Our plan was to try to not totally peak her, but pretty much peak her at this point and then drop back a little, have a little rest, and then aim for Rio. She felt another gear tonight and to be honest, with these guys coming behind me, I was not trying to leave anything on the table. I was kind of trying to put the knife in them. I think her pole was a little bit unlucky to be honest. I do not think she hit it very hard. I maybe started to press to the last line a touch early. The horse performed great, I was happy with the riding, and you have a great winner. Ben is a super, top, world-class rider, one of the best in the world. It is always nice to win, but you can live with being beat by a guy like this.”

Michaels-Beerbaum also thought Fibonacci 17 jumped great and just had an unlucky rail in the jump-off. The 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (For Feeling x Corland) finished the night in third place, and his rider was happy to be in the top three alongside Maher and Ward.

“Fibonacci was in great form tonight; he felt amazing, and he jumped two beautiful rounds,” Michaels-Beerbaum stated. “I did not actually expect to knock one down in the jump-off because he was jumping so well, so maybe I took that jump a little casually or underestimated it perhaps. I was delighted with him. I am very pleased to be in the top three. That is always where a rider would like to end up, and with these two in front of me, my Chef d’Equipe Otto Becker will read their names in Germany and know the class was really hard and good, so it works for me.”

Maher spoke of the night’s first round track, stating, “I thought it was a great course. For my horse in particular, it started a little bit bold. I knew the water to the double verticals was going to be a difficult ride. It did not feel so comfortable how I got that done, but I got it done. The last line, the horses were tired and it was a big oxer coming out. The Rolex oxer was wide at the end, and for sure a lot of hopes were dashed there. I thought there would be more clears actually. They all jumped well, but it is hard to jump double-clear in these grand prix.”

Ward added his thoughts on the course, stating, “I thought Anthony did a great job. He had the right number of clear, faults all over the place, and it was a very smooth course to ride. The water line was a little tricky, but I thought it gave the riders a fair chance, and was an excellent course.”

Commenting on the end to a fantastic evening, Equestrian Sport Productions’ CEO Mark Bellissimo added his final thoughts, stating, “I want to commend this group. It is such an international crowd with USA, Great Britain, and Germany represented with all world-class riders. It is exciting to see such great sport here and to end on a very high note. I am pleased that everyone was so spectacular in their performances this evening. I would also like to thank Rolex. This festival took a big transition a number of years ago when Rolex came on board, and it was a transition to four five-star [shows]. It was nice to finish this year on a great five-star and a great class.”

Along with the winner’s share of $165,000, Maher was presented the Dennis D. Dammerman Perpetual Trophy. The trophy was created to honor the contributions to equestrian sport of Dennis D. Dammerman, a longtime owner of horses and founding member of the Wellington Equestrian Partners.

Sarena’s groom, Tracey Edge, received the Groom’s Initiative Award presented by Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners, to reward her dedication and hard work as an integral member of the winning team.

In addition to the grand prix, several other awards were presented Saturday evening for the final week of competition in Wellington. Equinimity LLC, owners of Carrabis Z, were presented the Simba Run Perpetual Trophy as the owner of the open jumper who has earned the most prize money in classes held at 1.45m or more during the 2016 WEF. Carrabis Z’s grooms, Hector Paz and Rodrigo Pimentel, were presented with the Oliver O’Toole Perpetual Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the groom of the horse who has earned the most money in the grand prix jumper classes.

Artisan Farms was presented with The Harrison Cup Perpetual Trophy, which is awarded to the owner whose horses won the most jumper money in all of the open jumper classes held throughout the circuit.

Other awards included the Overall Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for the 2016 circuit, which was presented to Canada’s Tiffany Foster on behalf of Martha Jolicoeur of Douglas Elliman. Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and owner Lisa Lourie accepted the Overall Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for Spy Coast Farm’s Cyklon 1083, as the jumper whose style best exemplifies a show jumper based on scope, rideability, technique and competitive spirit.

Jessica Springsteen (USA) earned the Hermès Talented Young Rider Award as the young jumper rider between the ages of 16-25 that has earned the most points in all WEF FEI rated jumper competition. Lillie Keenan (USA) was the recipient of the USET Foundation’s 2016 Maxine Beard Award, an honor based on a rider’s competitive record and potential to represent the United States in international competition.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z Capture $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final; Shane Sweetnam Leads 2016 Series Overall

The $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final concluded on Saturday with a win for McLain Ward (USA) and HH Carlos Z. The competition had 62 entries over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) first round course during the day, with 18 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off in the evening, presented by SOVARO®.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z
McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z

Out of 18 in the jump-off, only seven were able to clear the short course without fault. Ward and Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z won in the fastest time of 43.92 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Rosana du Park finished second in 44.96 seconds.

Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) guided Citizenguard Cadjanine Z, owned by Pessoa and Alain van Campenhoudt, to third place honors in a time of 45.46 seconds. Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Tiger Lily placed fourth in 45.74 seconds. Pessoa also took fifth place honors aboard his own and Caroline Lloyd’s Sans Soucis Z in 48.24 seconds. USA’s Beezie Madden and Abigail Wexner’s Quister finished sixth in 49.43 seconds, and Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum jumped the final clear round in 50.59 seconds aboard Artemis Equestrian Farm’s Apsara to take the seventh place prize.

HH Carlos Z has been an incredibly successful mount for Ward, even winning last year’s $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, among many top accolades. Once again, the 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire) did not disappoint with his victory in the 1.50m final.

“For Double H Farm, and me, he is an ATM machine,” Ward stated. “He can do any class at this show, as everyone has seen. He has been in great form, so we are thrilled with him. He is a super careful horse. He fights and digs his way to win some very big classes.”

Speaking of the track and the unique format of the class, Ward remarked, “I was very surprised by the first round. I thought the course walked very difficult. The lines were very tricky. He (D’Ambrosio) has a height limit in that class, so the verticals can go up to 1.55m, but it is tough. It is the end of the circuit, and you have a lot of horses in form. With only 40 in the grand prix, people were trying to get some gas money to go home. It is a pretty competitive class always, and it is an interesting test. You have the afternoon round early in the day. It was very hot today, and I think that was a factor. Then the horses are put away and come back at night, and I think you saw some problems up the first line, and to me that was a lot to do with that.”

Ward detailed the second round further, stating, “I lost my footing a little bit rolling back on the wall, but he was good to me. Then everything showed up so well that I decided to take the around option. I knew I was fast. I left a little room, but luckily the rest made mistakes.”

Following the completion of the final class, Suncast® once again presented the leading rider of the 1.50m Series a fantastic prize. As the most consistent competitor in the 2016 series overall, Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam received a pre-paid one-year lease on a beautiful new 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport, as well as a SOVARO® Cooler. In 2016, the series offered a total purse of $699,000 with 10 FEI world ranking classes. Sweetnam won week four’s $35,000 1.50m class aboard The Blue Buckle Group’s Buckle Up and also had top ribbons with four other mounts throughout the series.

On winning the award, Sweetnam stated, “It is fantastic. It shows consistency over the whole circuit. It is not just one horse. Between my oldest horse and my youngest horse, they all played a part in it.

“I had an eight-year-old named Main Road that was placed twice, and they were his first 1.50m classes,” Sweetnam detailed. “Cyklon 1083, who is 15 years old, was placed in two of the $84,000 classes. It is great to see the range of my old guys coming through and then the younger guys coming up. Buckle Up is only ten years old, and he jumped an important clear today to finalize it, and he won one also.”

In total, Sweetnam had five different horses competing in the series throughout the 12-week circuit. Along with Main Road, Buckle Up, and Cyklon 1083, he also had consistent finishes aboard his experienced mount Eregast van’t Kiezelhof, as well as Cobolt, a ten-year-old gelding sired by Cyklon.

Speaking of the special prize, a pre-paid one-year lease on a 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport, Sweetnam acknowledged, “It is brilliant. It is a reward for all of your hard work as a rider, and it is a great thing to be getting. I am very happy.”

Also competing in the International Ring on Saturday, Bretton Chad and Stone Ridge Farms’ Cornishman won the $15,000 MAYBACH – ICONS OF LUXURY SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.

Russell Frey and Kodachrome Lead Round One of $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

The first round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby was held in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring on Saturday. Round one’s standings determined the top 25 competitors that will then continue on to round two, to be held Sunday afternoon on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC beginning at 1 p.m.

Russell Frey and Nina Koloseike Moore’s Kodachrome lead the standings heading into Sunday’s final round with the high score of 185 in round one. Samantha Schaefer and her own Classified sit second with a score of 184. Callie Seaman and Carrico finished third in round one with a score of 182. Jennifer Hannan and Reilly Cookingham’s All Time head into Sunday’s round with the fourth place score of 179.5. Jane Gaston and Because finished the first round in fifth place with a score of 178.5, and Jennifer Bauersachs and Spring Hill Farm’s For Love ended the day with a score of 176.5 to return for Sunday’s final round sitting in sixth place overall.

The 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes with the final round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Win $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic at WEF 9

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083. Photo copyright Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 9, 2016 – Week nine of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), sponsored by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, began Wednesday morning at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL with a win for Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumper Classic.

WEF 9 runs March 9-13, 2016, featuring CSI 5* jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter divisions. The week will feature the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 on Thursday. Friday features the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic in the morning and the $25,000 Artisan Farms U25 Grand Prix Semi-Final, presented by Seabrook LLC, in the evening. Saturday night highlights the $380,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5*, and Sunday concludes the week with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Alan Wade (IRL) is the course designer in the International Ring for WEF 9. Wade kicked off the week with 59 entries competing over his 1.45m speed track and 18 clear rounds. The fastest time belonged to Sweetnam aboard Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Cyklon 1083 in 59.25 seconds.

Conor Swail (IRL) and Susan and Ariel Grange’s Dillinger finished second in 59.76 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) and Couscous van Orti placed third in 60.93 seconds, and Lisa Goldman (USA) and Morocco took fourth place honors in 61.88 seconds.

Cyklon 1083 is a 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Cortus) that Sweetnam has had immense success with over the last four years. The stallion continues to show his talent with top finishes throughout the WEF circuit.

“He has felt great. I have just been rotating him over the weeks,” Sweetnam said of Cyklon. “I think this is his ninth ranking class of the winter, and it is the ninth time he has been placed, so he is having a great circuit and he feels great. Even though he is 15 now, he still feels as good as ever.”

Speaking of his winning round, Sweetnam detailed, “Alan did a great job. There was an option at fence three, which was a big vertical, 1.55m probably. A lot of people went for the other vertical, but Cyklon is very careful and so I turned back tight to that, and he was very good there. Then the rest, I just had a plan and I stuck to all of my numbers for him. I did what I thought would suit him, and if that was fast enough, then that was fast enough, and if it was not, he would have been there or about. I am glad it worked out because Conor was just after me, and he has a bigger stride, and he left out in different places. Lucky enough, he did not catch me.”

Sweetnam spoke further of course designer Alan Wade, stating, “Alan is a world-class course designer. He builds everywhere. He has a great feel for the job, and he is one of the best out there, so it is great to have him here. He tries to be very smart about his courses. He never wants to kill anyone in a class, but he definitely catches people in different areas, which is quite clever course building sometimes. That is a sign of a good course designer, when everyone at the end of the day is happy, and he also gets the amount of clears he wants. He is very good that way.”

Cyklon 1083 has been a successful breeding stallion for many years, and Sweetnam now has the opportunity to ride one of his progeny, Cobolt, a ten-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cyklon 1083 x Camaro M). Sweetnam purchased Cobolt in partnership with several owners that make up the Blue Buckle Group and has been showing the horse lightly throughout the WEF circuit as they get to know each other.

“Cobolt is an exciting ten-year-old,” Sweetnam stated. “I bought him in Sweden this year, and Cyklon is his dad. They are quite similar actually. He is still a little green, but he is going to be a good horse.”

Also competing in the International Ring on Wednesday, the $6,000 1.40m speed, sponsored by Illustrated Properties, was held in a California split with a win for Laura Chapot (USA) aboard Mary Chapot’s Shooting Star in Section A, and Julie Welles (USA) riding Poden Farms’ Double Quick in Section B.

The ninth week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Thursday with the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 featured in the International Ring. The Pre-Green Hunter Three- and Four-Year-Old division will award championship honors in Ring 6. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Top $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic at WEF 5

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Leslie Campbell Captures Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 50 & Over Section A Championship

Wellington, FL – February 12, 2016 – Week five of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Friday with a win for Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic. Cyklon made Friday’s class his comeback to the winner’s circle after suffering a difficult year with illness and multiple surgeries.

WEF 5, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, runs February 10-14, 2016. The week will feature the $380,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, February 13. The $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will conclude the week’s competition on Sunday. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

Bob Ellis (GBR) set the course for Friday’s 1.45m speed competition with 71 entries and 21 clear rounds. Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, were the winners with an impressive round in 55.76 seconds. The 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Cortus) is a master of the speed rounds and has won in competitions all around the world, but this summer Cyklon had two close calls with his health.

“Cyklon had a tough year,” Sweetnam stated. “He nearly died twice in June. We went to Europe, and just before we were to go to Mannheim, he colicked and he had to go for surgery. Then a week later, he got an infection in the guttural pouch. It was totally not linked to the colic, but it is very serious and a lot of horses start to bleed out and can die from it. He was in the stall, and he was lucky that it was during the day because if it were during the night, he could have just bled out. We were in Belgium, and the clinic was only ten minutes away, so he got straight to the clinic. A specialist came in from France and did a couple of surgeries, and with the help of everyone there, he recovered. It is very rare. They do not know how it happens, but some horses just get it and a lot of horses do die from it.”

“Between the surgeries and everything, it took a long time for him to come back,” Sweetnam continued. “He could not travel back to the U.S. for a while. He was there in the clinic for three or four months – nearly the whole summer. Then he came back and did quarantine in October. Lucky enough, Spy Coast can do their own quarantine, so he did quarantine there. I started riding him again there towards the end of October and then I started showing him again the first week of December.”

“He feels great,” the rider declared. “He is only back properly in the ring since December. I did a couple of smaller shows, and this is his second week at WEF and he has been placed in all four classes, so I think he is happy to be back. He is an unbelievable horse, but that just shows you how much of a winner he is and what a horse of a lifetime he is, especially in these divisions. He is just a great horse.”

Sweetnam and Cyklon went 66th in the order to take over the lead. The pair’s time of 55.76 seconds pushed Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Davendy S into second place on their round in 55.95 seconds. Adam Prudent (FRA), who took an early lead in 56.78 seconds, settled for third with Plain Bay Sales’ Vasco. Conor Swail (IRL) finished fourth aboard Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita with a time of 57.03 seconds, and Reed Kessler (USA) and Kessler Show Stables’ Ligist finished fifth in 57.71 seconds.

“I saw Adam Prudent go, and I said after that, I did not think he would be beat,” Sweetnam admitted. “I had a plan to see where I would finish up; I thought I could be top four maybe. Then everything just came up really nice, and he is such a quick horse. I did the inside turn at the top of the ring. I do not know if Adam did that, but I saw Conor Swail do it. When I walked the course originally, I was thinking of doing the inside turn, and then I saw that nobody was doing it. Then I walked in with the horse and looked at it, and I thought, ‘Okay, he can do that.’ And I think that is what made the difference.”

In addition to their winning prize money, Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 were presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week five, a special award presented by Laura Fetterman of Champion Equine Insurance. Speaking of the honor, Sweetnam agreed, “Cyklon has great style. He has great conformation, and he is a great horse. His technique is very good and obviously he is a beautiful looking horse when he is going around.”

Sweetnam is still deciding whether he will jump Cyklon again in Sunday’s $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, but the horse will definitely have a couple of weeks off after this week. “He deserves them, but he does not really like time off,” Sweetnam laughed. “He likes to be in the ring.”

Also competing in the International Ring on Friday, Jacob Pope and Zilvana won the $2,500 MAYBACH – ICONS OF LUXURY High Amateur-Owner jump-off, and McKayla Langmeier topped the $1,500 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper jump-off class riding Jane Clark’s Whistler. The $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m Speed Challenge concluded competition in the International Ring for the day. The class was held in a California Split with a win for Richard Spooner and MH Warbucks LLC’s MH Wardance in Section A and Georgina Bloomberg aboard Gotham Enterprizes LLC’s South Street in Section B.

Leslie Campbell Captures Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 50 & Over Section A Championship

Leslie Campbell rode her own E. L. Raymond to the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 50 & Over Section A championship. Campbell, who is from Arkansas, topped the under saddle and placed first, second, third, and fifth over fences over the two days of competition. Reserve honors went to Lynn Rogers and her nine-year-old Selle Luxembourgeois gelding Blue Point. The pair earned fourth in the under saddle and first and second over fences.

Leslie Campbell and E. L. Raymond
Leslie Campbell and E. L. Raymond

Campbell began riding as a child on Quarter Horses and Saddlebreds, but started showing hunters following her college graduation. “When I finished college and started paying my own way for horses I rode with John French for a few years, and then I took 16 years off to work on my career,” Campbell explained.

When Campbell began competing again four years ago, she teamed up with Bill Schaub. “It was just a perfect fit, and we found Raymond. I leased him first. Then I decided I was ready to buy a horse, and made a list of all the things I wanted in a horse, and looked down and realized I was sitting on it. So I bought him,” she detailed. “It’s been wonderful since then. He’s a fantastic horse.”

E. L. Raymond has had an illustrious career, beginning as Hardin Towell’s first junior hunter. Since then many riders have showed the Warmblood gelding to great success. “His name is E. L. Raymond and it stands for Everybody Loves Raymond, which everybody does,” Campbell laughed. “He’s had a long, long career and now he’s with me for life. It’s a really good partnership, and I feel very privileged,” she stated.

Despite Raymond’s age at 18 years old, Campbell insists, “he shows no signs of slowing down.” “He feels great physically. We take really good care of him,” she said. “He’s our precious Raymond, so whatever he wants he gets.”

Campbell has battled some health issues, which made competing difficult. “This is kind of a comeback year for me. I had heart surgery, so I’m so grateful I can have a horse like Raymond that I can trust and know is going to help me get back in the saddle in the right way,” she stated.

Campbell enjoys showing in the competitive Adult Amateur division. “It’s fun to have lots of friends riding with you that are rooting for you, so this is a really nice division,” she explained. “I was just happy to put in two consistent rounds. I think as adult amateurs, that is a really important piece of this whole thing, just to be consistent.”

Campbell lives in Wellington for the entirety of the WEF circuit. Each year she sets a goal to be champion at least once, which she has accomplished each year. “I’m delighted because this is really good company. These horses are good, these riders are good, and so it’s an honor to be champion ever in this division,” she said.

Hunter action continues on Saturday morning with the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3″ 18-35 division presented by Osphos. Jumper action resumes in the International Arena as well, featuring the $380,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI 5*. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Shane Sweetnam and Buckle Up Win $35,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

Shane Sweetnam and Buckle Up. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Alliy Moyer Rides Carlson to the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 Division Championship

Wellington, FL – February 6, 2016 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) was the winner of the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic with a brand new mount on Saturday during week four of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the course for 38 entries in the morning’s 1.50m, with four clear rounds, and a win for Sweetnam aboard The Blue Buckle Group’s Buckle Up. WEF 4 concludes on Sunday, February 7, with a feature class, the $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 4*, in the International Arena on the WEF show grounds at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Cian O’Connor (IRL) was first to jump-off in the 1.50m riding Callisto, owned by Ian O’Grady, Philippe de Balander and Ronnoco Jump Ltd. The pair set the pace at 39.70 seconds, eventually settling for second place. David Blake (IRL) and Pine Hollow Farm’s Binkie were next to go, dropping one rail in the short course to finish fourth in 44.95 seconds. Sweetnam and Buckle Up followed with the winning double clear in 38.93 seconds. Last to go, Jordan MacPherson (CAN) jumped into third place with one rail in a time of 39.57 seconds, riding Sved Stables’ Aldine.

Buckle Up is a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Colandro x Caretino) that Sweetnam recently got the ride on.

“It is a new horse. I have only had him two weeks,” Sweetnam explained. “I bought two horses in a syndicate including Lisa Lourie, the Gilbertsons, the Devries, Paul Tracy, and me. We are excited to get such a good result already.”

Buckle Up was purchased from Norwegian rider Ole Meland and has shown in major Nations Cup and World Cup competitions.

“He did a couple of 4* Nations Cups last year and he did the World Cup in Madrid in November, so he was ready to go and do this already,” Sweetnam noted. “He is very careful. I am still getting to know him, but he makes life easy for you. He wants to leave the jumps up, and he is brave. He is nice to ride.”

Commenting on the course and his winning jump-off round, Sweetnam detailed, “I thought Guilherme did a great job. The first round was nice. It was a full 1.50m: nothing stupid, but enough to make us pay attention. Then the jump-off, I was later to go of the four. I saw what Cian did, and I did what he did, just a little quicker. Then I just hoped that the last one did not beat me.”

Buckle Up will jump again in next week’s CSI 5* competition and possibly come out again during week seven.

“I’m just getting to know him at the moment, so I just have to play it by ear, but hopefully we will do big things,” Sweetnam concluded.

Also showing in the International Ring on Saturday, Emanuel Andrade won the $15,000 MAYBACH – ICONS OF LUXURY SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic riding Belita.

Alliy Moyer Rides Carlson to the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 Division Championship

Alliy Moyer, of Indianapolis, IN, won three of the four over fences classes aboard Carlson on her way to the Bainbridge Companies Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division championship. Moyer also placed fourth over jumps and first in the under saddle atop the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Vivian Yowan piloted Ransom to the reserve title, placing first, second third and six over fences, and second in the under saddle.

Alliy Moyer and Carlson
Alliy Moyer and Carlson

Moyer, a 21-year-old student at the University of Indianapolis, is no stranger to the winner’s circle with her mount Carlson. The pair has numerous championship honors and a USHJA National Hunter Derby win under their belts. As a full-time student, Moyer commutes to Wellington on Thursdays to compete in the Amateur-Owner divisions.

“I have had him for six years, so we know each other really well,” she explained about her longtime partnership with Carlson. “He is kind of like my pet now; I just love him to death.

“He is so good. He knows what he is supposed to do in the ring and he is just great,” she remarked.

Moyer’s strong bond with Carlson was on full display this weekend, beginning with their two wins over fences on Friday.

“The rounds yesterday were really good,” Moyer stated. “He was just spot on and knew what he was supposed to do. Today he was a little extra fresh than what he normally is, but he still jumped great.”

Moyer, who trains with Tammy Provost, spoils her horses with cookies every morning as incentive to perform their best. “They have all been great this week, so I am really lucky,” Moyer said.

Moyer will continue to show Carlson in the Amateur-Owner Hunters during the WEF circuit. She also plans to compete with him in some of the national derbies this year. “But we don’t push him too much. Sometimes he’ll just have a few weeks off. He doesn’t really take much prep. He is just a natural,” she said.

WEF 4 competition comes to a close on Sunday, featuring the Palm Beach Adult Medal in ring 8. Jumper competition also concludes with the $216,000 Ariat® CSI 4* Grand Prix taking place in the International Arena at 2:00 p.m. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Callie Seaman for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Tracy Fenney & MTM Personalized Win USHJA Pre-Green Incentive at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Tracy Fenney and MTM Personalized.

Lexington, KY – August 13, 2015 – For grand prix rider Tracy Fenney, the 2015 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship was nerve-wracking, yet it did not keep the Texan from riding to the top of the hunter championship event on Thursday. Fenney ranked second after the first day of competition, and stayed consistent throughout the three-day event, topping the leader board with MTM Personalized and besting a field of the 30 top qualified horses from the original 160 entered.

“It really is a lot of pressure. I am so much better in the jumpers,” Fenney laughed. “This is so special. When he did well the first day, I got so nervous for the second day. I feel so privileged to ride against such prestigious hunter riders. You hear about them, you read about them, you see them and it is just amazing. What a great group of people to ride with.”

A fixture in the grand prix ring, Fenney and partner Michael McCormick operate MTM Farm out of Flower Mound, Texas, training and selling horses imported from Europe. MTM Personalized arrived at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show while Fenney was competing in the grand prix, and from the moment she saw him she knew that the 7-year-old grey gelding was going to be special.

Fenney noted that McCormick always looks for two things, conformation and size, saying, “Sexy is number one, because everyone wants a pretty horse, and big is number two.” MTM Personalized lives up to both of those eye-catching qualities.

As only the fourth horse in the order, Fenney utilized MTM Personalized’s big stride and elegant movement, opting for the outside route where many of the other riders took handier options with an inside strategy. Her plan caught the judges’ eyes, earning them the scores of 91, 92 and 90 points. Her score would prove untouchable, with Fenney and MTM Personalized leading the class from start to finish.

“You take it step by step; they are horses. You are dealing with a whole other emotion, not just your own. Aside from mine, which is nervous,” Fenney smiled. “It’s not like tennis where you only have to worry about your swing and your racket. That horse is just so elegant how he canters so slow; I think he stands out on his own. He carries himself so well that the more time he is in the ring the better; he just does it so well.”

Twenty-five rounds later professional hunter rider Sandy Ferrell rode Grand Luxe, owned by Rebecca Stepanoff, to the second place finish with scores of 89, 89.5 and 88.5 to fall six points shy of Fenney. This was Ferrell’s first time competing in the USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive, with a bit of good luck on her side helping her gain the ride aboard the Mecklenburg gelding.

Grand Luxe has an interesting background, one rooted in an entirely different discipline – dressage. The 9-year-old gelding only began showing in the Baby Greens last year, and has continued to impress his owner and those fortunate enough to sit in his saddle.

“All I know is that he needs to be in this ring,” Ferrell said of the second place horse. “I think it is safe to say that his jump is incomparable to most horses out there. He just tries incredibly hard at all the jumps, which is his natural way of going. He is actually pretty small, so to be able to jump that high and have that much scope is an amazing feature. He taught me to be tight in the tack. He wasn’t going to lower [his jump] any time soon.”

The 2015 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship is the kick-off event for the annual USHJA Hunter Derby Championships, the capstone event of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. The Stonelea Arena was lined with spectators, providing a sense of camaraderie that Fenney appreciated and elaborated on its importance.

“It is such an incredible week, this whole week. Now we are headed up to the ring to ride the derby horses,” Ferrell said. “The quality of the horses is just incredible. They are presented so well, trained so well; it is just one nice horse after another. This event helped to level the playing field; it is different than the Derby Championships; they are all young and new at the game, and everyone was so supportive.”

It was up and coming rider Molly Sewell of Winter Park, Florida, who claimed the third place finish with Casparo, owned by White Hill Farm of Greenwich, Connecticut. Over the course of the competition, Casparo consistently placed high scores, building every day to rank with the best of them.

“He tries so hard,” Sewell described. “He gives 100 percent all the time, and he always rises to the occasion. He was so good; his scores just kept getting higher and higher. I am so proud of him.”

Sewell is not new to the hunter game, but she is thrilled to be moving up in the ranks, especially at her first Pre-Green Incentive Championship.

“This is my first year doing it, and I never imagined that I would be third place. I just wanted to make the top 30; even to begin to imagine where I got tonight is unbelievable,” Sewell grinned. “The quality of the program showcases the younger horses. I think it promotes owners to buy young horses and bring them along which is great for the sport.”

Riding over the final oxer of the course is a moment that Sewell will never forget, and when she saw her scores of 88, 89 and 88, she was nothing but smiles.

“He jumped amazing the whole trip and I galloped down to that last oxer and he just fired over it,” expressed Sewell. “It was so exciting and everyone was so supportive. I am the ‘little man’ in this group of people. It is fun to be in there and start making a name for myself. It feels like everything is coming together.”

Fenney echoed Sewell’s enthusiasm, saying, “This is what we do, and it is so fun. It is such a wonderful feeling, the pleasure of bringing them along, seeing how far they have come. To have that feeling of accomplishment that you made a horse into something that someone else wants.”

Hunter championship competition continues tomorrow with the Classic Round of the 2015 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in the Rolex Stadium.

Emanuel Andrade and Shane Sweetnam Top Open Jumper Leader Board at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

With Thursday marking the last day to prepare for the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic that will take place Friday night, riders took to the Rolex Stadium in the 1.40m Open Jumper class. Emanuel Andrade and his own Rufus De Violaines proved to be the best of the field, speeding to the fastest double clear ride over 42 other entries.

Emanuel Andrade and Rufus De Violaines
Emanuel Andrade and Rufus De Violaines

“This was the first 1.40m class for me, since I just got here yesterday, so I thought it was pretty big, but it went well,” Andrade said. “There were more than 40 horses and there were not a lot of clear rounds. The time was very tough. It’s never easy to win here, as there’s always tough competition, but I have been coming to the Kentucky horse shows for a very long time and I love it here.”

Andrade and his horse were one of fourteen pairs to advance to the jump-off, which eight navigated to another trip that left all the jumps in the cups. With a time of 30.640 seconds, and no other contender coming within a second of their mark, it appeared that Alejandro Karolyi and Arena Du Pachis would be crowned champions, until Andrade and his gelding took their turn as one of the final entries. Andrade and Rufus De Violaines trumped the standard set by Karolyi and his mount after tripping the timers in 30.059 seconds.

“He is a very nice horse. I got him less than a year ago. He is very competitive, and I am very happy with the result of all of our training,” Andrade said of his horse. The pair showed to considerable success in Wellington this past season, and after a stint apart while Andrade showed on the grass surfaces at Spruce Meadows, not Rufus’ favorite footing, the two were reunited and have been off to a good start in Lexington.

Andrade plans to vie for the lion’s share of the purse in Friday’s Grand Prix with multiple mounts, Rufus De Violaines being one of them. After hopefully earning more accolades in Kentucky, Andrade will head north to the Hampton Classic, followed by a trek across the pond for European competition.

Sharn Wordley in the irons aboard Crown Jewel, owned by Ashland Farms out of Wellington, Florida, clinched the reserve spot with a 30.470 second time, followed by Alejandro Karolyi and Arena Du Pachis, owned by Nicolas Mignon and Karolyi Showjumping, also out of Wellington, Florida, whose 30.640-second time was quick enough to land them in the third position.

Shane Sweetnam produced two strong rides in the morning’s Seven Year Old class, riding to both first and second places aboard Main Road, owned by Sweetnam’s Sweet Oak Farm, again out of Wellington, Florida, and USA D’Horset, of the same owner. Sweetnam had the final two entries of the class, and needed to surpass the 34.665 second standard set by another Andrade ride: HH Rochambeau. In his first of two attempts, Sweetnam cut time to the tune of 33.968 seconds, roughly half a second ahead of Andrade, with Main Road. He and USA D’Horset once again sped past the bar set by the previous leader, which landed them in second position after tripping the timers in 34.068 seconds.

“I think the course designer [Allen Rheinheimer] did a nice track today. I’m sure it will be tougher on the final day of the Seven Year Olds, but for the middle day, I think it was nice. There were a few lines where rideability was important,” Sweetnam said.

Sweetnam and Andrade were not the only ones to qualify for the jump-off. Of the 11 total entrants, nine navigated the 13-effort course without fault. Although seven of those nine laid down another clean and clear round around the short track, Sweetnam and Main Road outmaneuvered them all.

“I’ve only had him about two months. He is a very talented horse and we have big plans for him for the future. He’s very competitive, a very quick horse,” Sweetnam commented. “With his age he keeps improving every time he goes in the ring. The more he is doing, the better he is getting.”

Sweetnam is no stranger to the Bluegrass horse shows, with owners Spy Coast Farm, a recurring client, just a stone’s throw away from the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the conclusion of the Kentucky circuit, Sweetnam’s schedule stays busy, highlighted by the Hampton Classic, U.S. Gold Cup at Old Salem, and a showing in New York City.

Tomorrow the jumpers will return for the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show features five days of jumper competition; the highlight jumper events in the Rolex Stadium include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Friday and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix on Sunday.

By: Kendall Bierer and Elaine Wessel

For more information, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

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

Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Prove Too Quick to Catch in $34,000 FEI 1.45m Speed Stake

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083. Photos ©Sportfot.

Steve Heinecke and So Lucky Win Close Contest in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Mill Spring, NC – June 5, 2015 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 easily topped the $34,000 FEI 1.45m Speed Stake, finishing almost 10 seconds faster than Ali Wolff (USA) and Brianda who followed in second with a time of 70.36 seconds. Sweetnam bested the class of 19 entries in the first speed class of the week at Tryon Spring 8 hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Ljubov Kochetova (RUS) and Wilford Z finished in third completing the course in 73.95 seconds. Competition continues tomorrow at TIEC with the highlight class of the week, the $210,000 Tryon Grand Prix CSI 4* for the Governor’s Cup, which will be aired on NBC Sports on Sunday, June 7, at 4pm. The class will begin at 7pm in the George H. Morris Stadium.

Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 went early in the class and knew that they needed a fast round to stay in prize contention. The duo laid down an incredibly fast round, which proved to be uncatchable for the rest of the class.

“I thought the course designer did a good job here today. When I walked it I thought it was nice and fair. There were a couple of options for fast riders and also some for the younger horses looking to get experience,” said Sweetnam. “It was definitely fair and when I walked it; I quite liked it.”

The pair took advantage of the fast options on course and dominated the class, taking a commanding lead early in the class with a time of 61.48 seconds. Sweetnam commented that he felt the course was very suitable for Cyklon 1083 and that his consistency throughout his career has been extremely impressive.

“The round went exactly how I planned it when I walked it earlier in the morning. I went for all of the numbers and turns that I wanted to do. It all worked out perfectly. When I went through the timers I was even thinking, ‘They’ll really have to do something to beat that time,'” he commented. “He’s won everywhere. He’s a great little horse. He’s won in Gothenburg, Spruce Meadows, and Wellington, all of the big places. He’s still 14 and going strong, so I’m very happy with him.”

Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm will take two weeks off before heading to Spruce Meadows to contest some of the big classes in Calgary.

“We’ll have to make a pretty big decision after Spruce if we want to go to Europe or come back here to Tryon. There are the FEI shows here in July, and I’m sure I’ll be back here for those at some point and we’ll just see how everything goes,” said Sweetnam. “It’s a great facility. Mark [Bellissimo] and the partners have done a great job. I don’t think there is a better facility anywhere, and it’s still getting bigger and better. They’ve really made a big effort, and it’s great for the sport. I’m very happy to be here.”

FEI competition at TIEC will continue tomorrow with the $210,000 Tryon Grand Prix CSI 4* for the Governor’s Cup at 7pm in the George H. Morris Stadium. The $34,000 FEI Tryon 1.50m Challenge will take place on Sunday, June 7, and will mark the conclusion of the Tryon Spring Series.

Steven Heinecke and So Lucky Win Close Contest in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Steven Heinecke of Charlotte, NC and Jane Olsen Fisher’s So Lucky rode two consistent rounds, receiving a total score of 170 points, to ultimately top the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, besting Donald Sheehan and EHM Equestrian, LLC’s Kenan, who followed closely behind with a 168.5. Kathryn Haefner and Kathryn Haefner LLC’s Bentley rounded out the top three with a total score of 165.

Steve Heinecke and So Lucky
Steve Heinecke and So Lucky

Heinecke, based at Hi Hopes Farm in Weddington, NC, competed Jane Olsen Fisher’s So Lucky last year in the Pre-Green 3’3 classes. This has been his first year out of the division, and he has garnered some incredible success.

“We did the derby class in Kentucky a few weeks ago and he was third overall. That will be the direction we continue to take him in. He’ll do the amateur classes with Jane, but we would really like to ultimately aim him for some of the USHJA International Hunter Derbies in the future,” said Heinecke. “He’s just seven so we still have some time with him and we don’t want to rush to Derby Finals, so we’ll take this summer to focus on doing more National Derby classes with him.”

The duo scored a 77 in the first round and an 85 in the second handy round, adding 4 points to their score for taking the high obstacle options provided around the course. Heinecke also piloted another Jane Olsen Fisher mount, Swag, to a sixth place finish in the class.

“The course today was nice and not too complicated. It was pretty straight forward which was good in the morning because that always helps,” he laughed. “Swag, my second mount, is only five and he was excellent in the first round, but never had really tried a handy round, which is where we lost some points. But overall I am very happy with both of them and how they went today.”

Heinecke and Hi Hopes Farm typically travel around the East Coast for their summer season, hitting the big shows like Devon, Lake Placid, and Kentucky before returning to their home base to pack for their journey to Florida for the winter. This year though, the plan has changed and Heinecke would like to stay at TIEC to compete throughout the year.

“These Tryon shows are just so nice. They’re offering every division possible and that helps all of my clients and students. It’s affordable, and they’re so close to our farm. It only takes an hour to get here,” commented Heinecke. “We’re definitely tailoring our show schedule to make sure that we can stay here as long as possible. We’ve had a great time here and will continue to add it to our yearly plan and support the show here. It’s worked out so great for us.”

Competition at TIEC continues tomorrow, June 6, with the highlight $210,000 Tryon Grand Prix for the Governor’s Cup which will begin at 7pm in the George H. Morris Stadium. The night will provide an array of entertainment for guests including a highly anticipated performance by Grammy-award winning Lee Greenwood singing “God Bless the U.S.A”. The Special Forces Parachute team will also be doing a four-person tandem jump with a 20-foot by 40-foot American flag. A live showing of the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes will take place on the jumbotron in the main arena at the 6:50 post time.

For more information on TIEC and the events tomorrow, please visit www.tryon.com. Please “Like” the TIEC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tryonresort to be eligible for various contests and promotions.

About Tryon International Equestrian Center

The Tryon International Equestrian Center is destined to become one of the premier centers in the equestrian world. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and initial supporting amenities including 10 riding arenas, 850 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a sports complex, two hotels, sporting clay course, and an 18-hole golf course plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities. It is a spring, summer and fall haven for eastern and northeastern American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts. For more information, call 828-863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.

Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 Kick Off Kentucky Classic with $34k Welcome Stake CSI3* Victory

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083.

Lexington, KY – May 13, 2015 – Each summer, Irishman Shane Sweetnam returns to the Bluegrass State with his string of top horses. It has become custom to see his name at the pinnacle of the ranks, and Wednesday afternoon, he topped the leader board once again during the opening day of the Kentucky Spring Classic. Sweetnam rode Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farm, to the $34,000 Welcome Stake CSI3* victory, outrunning the competition.

Forty-five contenders gathered at the Rolex Stadium to compete in the opening FEI CSI3* competition, and with a start list of some of the country’s best riders, Sweetnam knew that it would be a dash for the cash.

Pablo Barrios (VEN) laid down an exciting speed round in 70.720 seconds with Zara Leandra, owned by the ZL Group, easily topping the previous times midway through the class. He took all of the inside turns throughout Bernardo Costa Cabral’s track, setting the pace three seconds ahead of then leader, Luifer Larrazabal and G and C Close Up, owned by San Francisco Stables. Eight trips later, Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20 climbed into the ranks with the time of 70.340 seconds, nearly 4/10ths of a second faster.

McArdle continued to hold onto the lead, even with the formidable Todd Minikus hot on her heels with Babalou 41, owned by Two Swans Farm. The pair finished just shy of McArdle’s time in 70.350 seconds.

Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20
Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20

“It was a very fast class,” McArdle said. “I know that the last couple of times were really right together. I thought my horse went great, and it was a good course for her. This is a fabulous ring and she can really open up out there. It is the perfect venue for her. I am glad I had a little bit of luck today.”

Sweetnam was able to watch Barrios lay down his round, and opted to take a similar path by utilizing the inside turns. He raced inside the timers from fences 3 and 4 and kept a consistent pace across the ground, altering the plan only slightly to add down the final line to compensate his horse’s smaller stride.

“All of us were within tenths of a second of one another and I can’t pinpoint where I made up the time,” Sweetnam explained. “Cyklon 1083 is a very fast horse. He has won classes all over the world and is 14 years old now. I had a fair idea that it was going to be a very fast class. I had seen Pablo go, and he seemed really fast, and then I heard that Abigail had beaten that, so I knew we had to give it our best out there, and we did. He was great; he tried his heart out.”

The course allowed for some of the fastest riding of the spring series; however, Cabral also designed with those who needed to school their horses in mind. The options on the course proved essential to the time, although several of the riders in the top 12 took a more conservative approach that would set up their mounts for a full week of slated FEI CSI3* classes.

Sweetnam said, “I think it was good course designing. It gave people room if they were schooling to jump a nice round, and also the designer included the water, which is always good to practice over, especially for the greener horses. If people were trying to be fast, they could do the inside turns, so it really was a great round for the opening day.”

The order of go saw names from across South and Central America, as well as Canada, Ireland and of course, the United States. With the FEI competition returning to the Kentucky Spring Horse Show series, riders have raved about the classes, increase of competition and the opportunity to earn the valuable world ranking points.

“As a rider, it is great. It gives you a chance to get more ranking points, and the numbers are huge here. It is great for us as riders and the show as well. It gives an international feel,” Sweetnam said. “There is a diverse group of riders, and new faces. You don’t see these riders all the time, and now they will see how great the facility is.”

McArdle finished in the second place position with Minikus picking up the third place. The fourth place was awarded to Barrios, while the fifth place went to Alise Oken and Kaid Du Ry, who laid down a clean round in a speedy 71.660 seconds, beating out sixth place finisher, Eugenio Garza and Lucca Toni. Luifer Larrazabal collected the seventh place award with Emanuel Andrade and ZZ-Top VH Schaarbroek Z rounding out the top eight.

The Kentucky Spring Classic continues Thursday with the $34,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, where riders will try to accumulate valuable points for the Hagyard Leading Rider Bonus. On Saturday, May 16, riders will compete under the lights in the Rolex Stadium during the $127,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix. All three of these FEI classes will count for the Longines Rider Ranking List. The $34,000 Hagyard Classic and the $127,000 Hollow Creek Grand Prix will also count for the USEF/Rolex Show Jumping Ranking List as will the $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix on Sunday, May 17th.

For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Kentucky Horse Shows 2015 Horse Show Series Fast Facts

Events: 2015 Kentucky Spring Horse Shows

The Kentucky Horse Shows 2014 series includes two weeks of top hunter/jumper competitions during the month of May. The Kentucky Horse Show Series is the host of the Hagyard Challenge Series and Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series.

Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, home to the United States Equestrian Federation.

$34,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI2*
$85,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI2*
$25,000 Bluegrass Classic
$25,000 U25 Classic
$15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby
WCHR Recognized Hunter Competition

$34,000 Welcome Speed CSI3*
$34,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3*
$127,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI3*
$50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix
$20,000 Bluegrass Classic
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

A special thanks to the generous sponsors of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows: Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Hallway Feeds, Hollow Creek Farm, Audi of Lexington, Sleepy P Ranch, CWD, Farm Vet, Dietrich Insurance, Take2 Thoroughbred Program and the Official Hotel The Clarion.

8am – 5pm daily

Horse Show Exhibitors may purchase a weekly parking pass at the main Horse Park entrance for $15.00. Dogs are permitted at the Kentucky Horse Park on a leash.

The Kentucky Horse Park is located 8 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky at Exit 120 on Interstate 75.

Before Show – (859) 233-0492, Email: hakshows@earthlink.net
During Show – Telephone: (859) 254-3343, Fax: (859) 231-6097
Stabling – Email Tom Blankenship at tomblank@bellsouth.net
Stable office – Before Show: (843) 269-4737, During Show: (859) 255-0605
Prize List Advertising – Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709
Vendors – Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709
Shownet – www.shownet.biz

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Vendors offering equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry and home furnishings are located adjacent to the Stonelea Ring.


CLARION HOTEL (Formerly Holiday Inn North) – 859-233-0512 – Approximately 4 miles (OFFICIAL HOTEL)
Discover the place where elegant comfort in an ideal location meets excellent service and affordability. At the Clarion Hotel Lexington, you’ll find well-appointed accommodations with options of double/doubles, double queens, king rooms or suites, exceptional amenities such as our free hot breakfast buffet, and Southern hospitality at its finest. The best hotel for Keeneland – located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region – home of the Kentucky Horse Park, the Lexington Convention Center, University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail – our Lexington hotel is on Newtown Pike at Exit 115 on I-75, close to all the big attractions, and is the perfect place to stay whether you’re here to get down to business or have some fun. Best of all, bring your furry friends for any trip because the Clarion Hotel in Lexington is also pet-friendly.

Reservations may not be made through the Horse Show office. To reserve a campsite at the Kentucky Horse Park for any of the horse shows, please call the Campground store at (800) 370-6416 or 859-259-4157 or email Sherry Logan at sherryd.logan@ky.gov. Be specific as to the show name and the dates you wish to stay. Check-in time is 2:00 p.m. and check-out is 12:00 noon. You must make arrangements with the Campground store if you plan to arrive earlier than 2:00 p.m. or stay later than 12:00 noon. Vehicles that are not removed from a campsite by check-out time will be towed.

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

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