Tag Archives: Sharn Wordley

Hunt Tosh and Flamingo-K Earn Victory in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Hunt Tosh and Flamingo-K. Photos ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 7, 2017 – Hunt Tosh of Milton, GA and Flamingo-K, owned by Ceil Wheeler, finished as the winning pair in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo were tied for second place after the first round with a combined score of 177 and turned in another strong performance in the handy round, earning a score of 200, for a total score of 377. Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, NC and Celtic Gold, owned by Meg Valnoski, secured the second place honors with a two round total of 368, while Jennifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Olympic Fire, owned by Roger Smith, rounded out the top three with a score of 363.

Tosh and family made a special trip to TIEC for the weekend, bringing only Flamingo-K to contest the duo’s abilities in this very class. Navigating the handy round with precision and beauty, the duo ended the day with a blue ribbon, proving the journey to be well worth their travels. Tosh and Flamingo-K have only been partnered for a short time and this was Tosh’s second class with the 12-year-old chestnut gelding.

“He is very new to us,” Tosh explained. “The Wheelers bought him for me at Devon this year because they have been looking for that special derby horse. I showed him in one other derby before this, so I am really just getting to know him.”

Flamingo-K only started competing in the hunter discipline this year, originally coming from the jumpers, and his transition to the hunter derby ring has been flawless. Tosh detailed how Flamingo-K is very well suited for derbies, saying, “He finds the jumps really well. I hate trot jumps. I think I’ve lost more classes because of trot jumps, but he is a good trot jumper and that helps out! With his scope, you just have so much range. You can be where it’s not optimal and he makes up for it. He has a great rhythm and is just really fun to ride.”

Although the mount is rather new, he spoke very highly of the horse’s ability to perform in the big George H. Morris Arena.

“He is a blast to ride. He is super scopey, brave, very careful, and really just a sweet horse. I think he is going to be an amazing derby horse.”

Tosh’s daughter, Maddie Tosh, competed multiple mounts in last weekend’s $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Tosh had never showed in this arena and therefore relied on his daughter’s insight for the class.

“The best part about Maddie is that she is so hands on in the barn and she knows all of the horses just as well as I do and everything about them. I told her tonight she would have to give me pointers on how to show in this ring because I have never shown in it before! So I asked her how it rode and for her advice,” laughed Tosh.

Tosh and his team have loved their experience at TIEC, especially after his impressive win. Tosh commented on the layout details of the TIEC, saying, “We love it here. The footing and the facility overall is just so nice. You are standing under shaded covers with fans in-between rounds. I mean you can’t ask for more accommodations at a horse show. What they have done here is phenomenal.”

Tosh was very appreciative of the opportunity to compete in such a large ring, while also expressing his gratitude to the Wheeler family, saying, “I can’t thank them enough for buying him for me to ride. They have been after me for a derby horse for quite some time, and we finally got one!”

Todd Minikus and Exceptional Take $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL and Exceptional were just that in the $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC. Minikus and Exceptional bested twenty-six other pairings with phenomenal scores of 92 and 96, capturing the win by more than ten points with a final score of 188. Taylor Ann Adams of Ocala, FL and Lucretia finished in second place with a two round score of 177.5, while Kianna Luscher of Hawthorne, NJ and Carissima W took third place with 175 points after two rounds.

Todd Minikus and Exceptional

Minikus explained that he wasn’t sure how to approach the inside turns for the handy round in particular with this horse, and needed to improvise a bit on course, which Exceptional, owned by Todd Minikus LTD, handled with ease.

He commented, “I thought it was a very nice course. The inside turns in the handy were really inside, which I do have some practice with, but he’s a very green horse and I didn’t know how he would take it. He handled it exceptionally well and evidently the judges thought he did it as well as I did!”

The pair has been together since midway through the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit in Wellington, FL when a friend of Minikus found Exceptional in Belgium and connected the two. A six-year-old bay gelding, Exceptional has only done six or seven shows in his career.

“He was champion both this week and last week, so he’s turned himself into a real winner,” said Minikus. “We make our living selling horses, so hopefully somebody wants to have a winner and buys him from me, but until that time, I’ll continue to show him in his prospective division and these derbies. Hopefully we’ll keep winning,” he added with a smile.

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z Take $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Classic CSI 3*

Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z topped the $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Classic CSI 3* on the Grass Complex at TIEC, stopping the jump-off timers at 37.09 seconds. Kyle Timm (CAN) and Georgie B sped to second with a 38.179 second dash, while Erynn Ballard (CAN) took third place aboard Thalys Z, stopping the timers in 39.845 seconds.

Famoso D Ive Z, a 2007 Zangersheide gelding (For Pleasure x Chin Chin) owned by Sky Group & Sharn Wordley, has been with Wordley for two years now and the pair have amassed an impressive record together.

“The horse came from Europe, so he jumped on grass quite a bit, but I’ve had him for two years and this was my fifth class on grass,” he explained. “We don’t have much grass around. He loved it today and he was fantastic.”

In the last year, Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z have won seven ranking classes together at TIEC alone and Wordley emphasized that he is an important horse in his successful string.

“He wins a lot of classes. He’s fast. He does the ranking classes to save the grand prix horses or if there’s a grand prix that’s appropriate to him. He’s a good horse and very fast.

“I love TIEC. It’s one of my favorite horse shows. I think now, too, they’ve got the grass fantastic to ride on and it’s really good,” he said. “Oscar [Soberon] did a great job and always builds good courses. He’s a great course designer.”

For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Sharn Wordley Pilots Casper and Barnetta to Top Three in Grand Prix CSI 3*

Sharn Wordley and Casper. Photo ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – October 29, 2016 – Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Casper made a quick dash to the finish in the $130,000 Asheville/Greenville BMW Centers’ Grand Prix CSI 3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to top the final FEI Grand Prix of the season at the venue. Wordley and Casper bested the class after crossing through the timers in 40.614 seconds, while Conor Swail (IRL) and Hetman of Colors took second place with a time of 42.372 seconds. Wordley then added to his first place finish, taking third place honors aboard Barnetta after completing the jump-off track in 43.37 seconds.

Wordley was one of two riders to bring back two mounts for the jump-off alongside Hardin Towell (USA) who finished in fourth and fifth, respectively. Aboard Casper, Wordley fought to outpace Swail and finished the course nearly two seconds ahead of the leading time. The class saw 36 original entries take to the first round in George H. Morris Arena, while nine combinations progressed to the jump-off round. Guilherme Jorge (BRA), who led course-designing responsibilities at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, built both tracks.

“The first round was another very good course done by Guilherme. He’s just a fantastic course designer. I felt like it suited the class very well and it was technical enough but also was flowing and smooth,” commented Wordley. “I thought he was spot on with the number of clears.”

Attesting to the difficulty of the jump-off track, Wordley noted that both of his horses handled the pressure of the second round with ease, but also jumped exceedingly well in the first round, which set both horses up for a strong finish.

“The time allowed was certainly tight but it just happened to suit both of my horses. They both went pretty quick in the first round,” he explained. “It was a good because I think a few got caught out because of the time.”

Touching on the differences between Casper, a 2006 Oldenburg gelding (Contender x Baloubet du Rouet) and Barnetta, a 2004 Westphalian gelding (Baloubet du Rouet x Polydor), both owned by Sky Group, Wordley discussed his unique approach to each horse as they both take a different style of ride in the jump-off.

“Barnetta isn’t the quickest horse in the jump-off, but I went about as fast as I could with him to ensure that we went clean,” he said. “I was just lucky enough that a few of the guys had a rail down. I think I was a bit slower in the combinations, both of them are a bit green there, but they’re getting better.”

“You really have to read the jump-off and ride it the way that suits your horse depending on who’s in the jump-off and how fast they’re going,” he detailed. “I’m 42 and the ego has gone out of it a bit. I just try to scoop up as much prize money as possible and I don’t try to outdo the horses and what they’re capable of.”

The conclusion of the class marked the end of international show jumping at the facility for the 2016 season. Wordley leaves TIEC as one of the most decorated riders at the venue this year, guiding his string to more than fourteen top five finishes in FEI competition. Wordley took a moment to reflect on his achievements and explain what makes this venue so special to him as a competitor.

“Some people just have shows that they do well at and this one happens to be mine. The top riders in the world have been here and we’ve still won classes. It’s one of the shows where the horses enjoy it and I enjoy it,” he smiled. “I love atmosphere and there is always so much great atmosphere here. I love it and it’s just absolutely fantastic.”

Casper and Barnetta have proven to be influential mounts for Wordley, who has represented his home nation of New Zealand well in major FEI competition this season, currently sitting in 57th on the FEI World Ranking List.

“Both of these horses have had a phenomenal year. Casper has one more show, which will be Holiday & Horses CSI 4* in Florida and then Barnetta will go to The Royal Winter Fair in Toronto,” elaborated Wordley, discussing his plan for both mounts looking forward. “They both have a lot of time off after that. They’ve both had a very busy and successful year.”

“I pretty much have every class planned out for them looking into 2017. We’re going to be very strategic with what we do, but I already have a schedule for where I’d like them both to be at certain points in the season,” he added.

“I have to thank the Sky Group for their continued support and dedication to these two horses. We have a few other horses together, but they’re just the most fantastic supporters,” he detailed. “They’re brilliant. They let me make a plan for the horses that I think is best. They’re both horse people so they understand the good times and the bad and I can’t thank them enough.”

Margo Thomas, Wordley’s groom, was recognized for her passion and hard work as the recipient of the Grooms’ Initiative Award presented by Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP). Thomas oversees the care of Barnetta and Casper, playing an integral role as a valued member of Wordley’s team.

Meg Atkinson of Town & Country Realty presented Tracy Fenney (USA) with the Leading Lady Rider Award for her success in FEI classes throughout the week aboard MTM Reve Du Paradis.

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.

Scott Stewart and Storm Watch Take Over Lead in USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship

Scott Stewart and Storm Watch.

Sharn Wordley Claims Win in 1.40m Open Jumpers at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Lexington, Ky. – August 17, 2016 – Scott Stewart guided Rivers Edge’s Storm Watch into the new leading position on the second day of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship with a total of 520.5 points. Storm Watch is a 6-year-old Oldenburg by Chacco Blue, and even as a relatively new addition to the River’s Edge team, he has made his mark at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

“We bought him at the end of last year, when he was still a stallion,” Stewart explained. “He got castrated, and then he was shown a couple times in Florida in the Pre-Green Hunters. Then, he did Kentucky Spring Horse Show and I haven’t really shown my horses since then, so he’s just been at home getting trained.”

The gray gelding placed fifth over the Patrick Rodes-designed course, after being tied for second place Tuesday.

“He was awesome. He was great both rounds. He’s very laid back. He likes to go like a hunter with his head and neck low,” Stewart said. “He’s probably one of the best jumpers I’ve ever had. He really tries hard every time over these jumps that are kind of small for him.”

Stewart’s plan for Thursday’s third and final round of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship will be simple and straightforward.

“He’s pretty laid-back, so I only jump a few verticals before I go in. He’s brave, so I’m not going to do too much. He’s pretty quiet as well,” Stewart said.

He continued, “Today, I only jumped three jumps and went in. They’re all getting a little tired.”

When asked about the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship, Scott said, “I think it’s great. It’s nice prize money for these young horses and we get to showcase them a little bit. It’s a very good thing for the hunters.”

While Storm Watch is currently in the lead overall, it was Tim Goguen and Davidson that captured the blue ribbon during the second over-fences round of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship.

Goguen was quick to mention that Davidson really tries to give it his all in the show ring, and that is what helped him both days.

“He went really well today and yesterday,” Goguen stated. “He’s just a trier; he’s been really good. He’s been going well for the past two days. He got a low score the first day from one of the judges. I think he was like 25th overall going in, but I think today moved him up a little bit.”

Davidson, a homebred warmblood, has only been showing under the expertise of Goguen since the end of June. Despite their short time together, Davidson has made it to the winner’s circle every time out.

“I started riding him at the Country Heir Horse Show, which was in June or July, and I’ve shown him maybe three times,” Goguen shared. “He’s been champion all three times. He’s just been a great horse.”

Davidson enters Thursday’s phase in the ninth place position, with a total of 513.5 points.

Dr. Betsee Parker’s Liberty Road is now in second place overall with 519 points. Chicago, owned by Douglas Wheeler, narrowly missed the second place spot with 518 points. Both horses were ridden by esteemed hunter rider, Hunt Tosh.

On Wednesday afternoon, a new winner for 2016 will be crowned as the championship will culminate after the top 30 horses battle it out for the coveted title. The course walk for the third and final round is set to begin at 3:15 p.m. and officials can begin walking the course at 4:15 p.m. The opening ceremonies will take place at 4:30 p.m., and the championship round is planned for a 5 p.m. start.

Sharn Wordley Claims Win in 1.40m Open Jumpers

As the jumper action began on Wednesday in the Rolex Arena, it was Sharn Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek who brought home the blue ribbon in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper division at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

The Rolex Arena was filled with intricate sand sculptures, fully decorated and ready for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, which begin on Friday. Despite the decorations and the light rainfall, Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek navigated the course successfully, going clear in a time of 66.018 seconds.

Sharn Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek
Sharn Wordley and Glamour Van De Kakebeek

“My plan was to just go fast,” Wordley said. “There were a lot of fast people in this class, including Aaron Vale and Tori Colvin. I had to go reasonably quick if I wanted to beat those guys. With the course, I know Glamour Van De Kakebeek doesn’t spook at anything, so the sand sculptures didn’t bother him at all. I could have jumped over the sand pile, and it wouldn’t have mattered to him. He felt great today.”

Wordley said that he got the ride on the Kerry Anne LLC entry two months ago, and has been showing the 10-year-old gelding to successful finishes in the 1.40m division. His goal is to eventually show the gelding in FEI ranked classes.

“It’s been really easy getting to know him,” Wordley said. “The first show I went to with him, we won a class. The second and third shows, he was champion in the 1.40m. I’d say I’ve done about seven classes with him, and he’s won five of them.”

The gelding was previously owned by Darragh Kenny, who alerted Wordley when he realized the two would be a great match.

“I had a horse that I bought from Darragh,” Wordley explained. “But he called me saying he had another horse that would be more suited to me. So, he sent me Glamour Van De Kakebeek, and he was right – this one is a great little horse. He’s a real winner, and he just wants to get out there and go as fast as he can.”

Finishing second to Wordley was another rider known for his speedy rounds – Aaron Vale. Vale turned in a clear round aboard Acolina R, tripping the timers just behind Wordley in 66.871 seconds. With a time of 67.328 seconds, Wordley also came in third with Caiman De Sequoias, who is owned by Sharn Wordley and The Sky Group.

Earlier in the day, the 1.35m Open Jumpers had the stage in the Rolex Arena, and it was Richard Rinehart and Virginia Bartholomay’s Donnalaris who swept the field of 32 entries to earn the win.

“I took it as a good sign that it stopped raining before my round,” Rinehart said. “Donnalaris was just awesome. My plan was to try not to take any chances, but to save time where I could. I’m really lucky to have Donnalaris to ride.”

Rinehart, who is based in Indianapolis, said he began riding the 8-year-old mare during July of last year.

“She’s got girl-power,” Rinehart laughed. “She’s very brave, and she gets it done. She’s so nice to ride, and she’s really obedient. I feel like she’s always trying to please. And she likes this ring, even with the sand. I just really wanted her to jump the Diane Carney jump clean, because she’s my trainer, so I’m happy that she did.”

The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Thursday with the finale of the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. Other highlight events include the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days, and the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. For more information, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

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Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Famoso D Ive Z and Sharn Wordley Set Tone in $35k 1.45m Horseware Ireland Opener at Tryon

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z. Photo ©LizCrawleyPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – July 20, 2016 – Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z have established an impressive record this season at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and the duo recorded another win at the venue, taking the $35,000 1.45m Horseware® Ireland Opener at Tryon Summer IV with ease. Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z completed the track in 36.223 seconds, ahead of Samuel Parot (CHI) and Couscous Van Orti, winners of the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Classic at Tryon Summer III. Alise Oken (USA) and Belmont earned third place, finishing in 42.625 seconds.

Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z started off this season looking to gain experience together at the FEI levels and establish a strong relationship that would make them competitive at the top tiers of the sport. The 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding (For Pleasure x Chin Chin) owned by Sky Group & Wordley, has greatly surpassed the expectations of Wordley and their goals coming into this season, as he now looks to be top contender at the international level.

Catsy Cruz (MEX) will design this week’s FEI tracks and competition saw 27 entries, while 10 combinations moved forward to the jump-off round.

“I thought this was a good course today. I always like Catsy’s [Cruz] courses and they’re always very well built,” said Wordley. “The numbers were perfect too. We had ten clean and that was about right for the class.”

“It flowed very well and there were some tough questions that created some challenges out there. It was easy to pull a rail down, but it also wasn’t tremendously big,” he added.

The pair went late in the jump-off order, allowing Wordley to analyze the course, as well as previous competitors before he entered the ring. Noticing that multiple combinations were exiting the difficult one stride combination with a rail, Wordley turned his focus to that specific component of the course.

“As I was watching I noticed that some scopey horses had the back rail down. My plan going into it was to do seven from the oxer around to the double and I changed that after I saw the few pairs have that rail down,” he detailed. “I wanted to get ahead in there so I did eight strides instead.”

Their victory marked Wordley’s seventh win at the facility this season as he currently has four incredibly talented mounts representing New Zealand at the international level.

“There’s no secret really. I just have some incredible horses. I’ve had them now for just about a year and I think that it takes about that long to get to know them and train them,” commented Wordley. “It takes you that long to be able to get to do everything you want with them and I can’t say enough about the team of horses we have here.”

With three horses entered this week in FEI, Wordley will look to continue with the impressive consistency he has showcased this season, as well as improve on what seemed to be an off outing for his top mount Casper in the $216,000 Hollow Creek Farm CSI 4* Grand Prix. Wordley also plans to return to the venue during the 2016 Tryon Fall Series to contest the FEI CSI 5* with all three mounts.

“We brought Casper out today to give him a good go after last week. He jumped great and was confident today so we’ll probably do the class on Saturday this week,” said Wordley. “We’ll definitely be back in the fall for the FEI classes and I hope we’ll have three in the FEI CSI 5*.”

Competition at TIEC continues throughout the week, featuring the hunter and jumper disciplines, while FEI competition will resume Thursday in the George H. Morris Arena with the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome beginning at 8:00 a.m. For more information on TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z Win $35k 1.45m Horseware Ireland Opener CSI 4* at Tryon

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z. Photos ©LizCrawleyPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – July 13, 2016 – Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z claimed top honors once again, this time starting off Tryon Summer III at Tryon International Equestrian Center in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland® Opener CSI 4* with an impressive jump-off time of 34.969 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, who have also finished with great results this season at TIEC, completed the course with a time of 35.339 seconds. Third place honors were awarded to Sarah Segal (USA) and Ubris, who stopped the clock in 35.587 seconds.

Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z have continued to wow at TIEC, securing multiple victories and accumulating an impressive record throughout the 2016 Spring and Summer Series thus far. With 16 of 32 entries advancing to the jump-off, Wordley commented on the extraordinary competition in the feature class this morning and the consistent flow of the first round, saying, “There are a lot of good horses here for the CSI 4* week and for the first day it was a nice, easy going 1.45m course.

“With that many advancing to the jump-off, there were a couple of really tough inside turns that you had to be a little lucky to make happen. You had to ride the turns well, which weeded out a few competitors. You had to hit them just right or they would slow you down,” he elaborated.

Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z went relatively early in the order to contest their abilities in the jump-off, which pressured Wordley to lay down a speedy time. They were the only pair to finish under the 35 second mark, completing the course with a time of 34.969 seconds.

“I was fortunate to get a good gallop from the beginning, which allowed the turns to come up quite nicely. I was able to make a big move down to the last oxer and not take a feel of my horse’s mouth. Famoso is also very fast, and he was exceptionally good in the corners today.”

He continued to detail his ride in the jump-off, adding, “He could have been quite a bit faster, but he has such a big step that I really had to wait down the five stride line. I even thought if I could redo it again, I would probably do four strides instead of five. Then he could have been close to a second faster with the momentum that would have carried us.”

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run's Faustino De Tili
Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili

Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z have been partners nearly ten months now and the Belgian Warmblood gelding (For Pleasure x Chin Chin) is only nine years old, with a bright future ahead. The gelding has won three $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland® Opener classes at TIEC and Wordley mentioned that he focuses on competition mileage with this horse in particular to gain more experience.

“I have jumped him in some big classes for just being nine. Now he’s really beginning to step up his game and his education level is great. It doesn’t matter how talented they are; they must have a certain education level and capacity to compete in the big classes. Famoso D Ive Z is really starting to learn his trade and when he knows what he is doing, he is very hard to beat.

“He has a big future that horse,” Wordley noted.

Competition continues Thursday at TIEC, beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome. On Friday, July 15, the venue will feature a $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, a $10,000 Pre-Green Hunter Incentive, and a $35,000 1.45m Speed Stake. This coming Saturday, July 16, TIEC will host another installment of the “Saturday Night Lights” Series presenting the $216,000 Hollow Creek Farm Grand Prix CSI 4* with gates opening to the public at 6:00 p.m. and entertainment beginning at 7:15 p.m. Competition will commence at 8:00 p.m. For more information about TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Wordley Dominates aboard Casper in $130,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI 3* at TIEC

Sharn Wordley and Casper. Photos ©LizCrawleyPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – July 2, 2016 – Sharn Wordley (NZL) continued his dominance at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), taking top honors in the $130,000 Adequan® Grand Prix aboard Casper, dashing through the jump-off course in 41.694 seconds to secure the only double clear effort of the evening. Matthew Williams (AUS) and Valinski S finished in second place, collecting a single time fault around the short course to earn a finishing time of 42.645 seconds. Peter Wylde (USA) and Aimee crossed through the timers in 41.103 seconds, adding four faults to their score for third place.

Wordley and Casper, who have continued to display their combined talent throughout the duration of the season, notched yet another victory at the venue. On a beautiful North Carolina summer evening, the pair exhibited their newfound confidence and finesse around a difficult course set by Oscar Soberon (MEX), which saw 30 entries attempt to advance to the second round. A small contingent of four combinations advanced to the jump-off round. The evening also drew a massive crowd attendance of more than 12,000 spectators, who visited the venue to experience and appreciate the best of equestrian sport.

“There were four in the jump-off and I knew going in that all four could go quite quick. Casper is very careful. I’ve just been teaching him to jump the big jumps and we haven’t really gone fast at all,” noted Wordley. “Slowly, every time we’ve gone out, I’ve been asking him for just a little bit more, a second or two here and there. We’ve finished well and had some top placings.

“I think he has another two seconds faster in him. We’re slowly teaching him to use that speed. I want to keep the confidence,” he added.

Casper has quickly become a crowd favorite at TIEC, with Wordley piloting strongly from the irons. The duo drew second in the order-of-go and secured the first clear effort around the course, finishing just under the optimum time of 86 seconds. The opening track saw four technical combinations spread throughout the course, which created a sense difficulty in securing a completed round under the time allowed.

“The time in the first round was really tight and because I was second to go, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. We got just inside the time,” explained Wordley. “I had a real decision to make in about fourteen seconds about what my plan was going to be. I thought if we went to the outside fence one and two and then hustled that would be better for my horse.”

“It helped us start the course a little bit smoother than I think taking the inside turn would be. I had to hustle along and it just worked. I thought he jumped really well on Thursday. We had a rail down and he doesn’t like to have rails down, so he felt very sharp today,” he added.

For Casper, building and maintaining confidence has been a major key to the pair’s growing success. The 2006 Oldenburg gelding (Contender x Baloubet du Rouet) owned by Sky Group, has seen a tremendous growth in his ability to perform in pressure situations according to Wordley, and the experience gained competing in several jump-off rounds has been necessary for their long-term career goals. Wordley elaborated, “Before if you galloped full noise to a jump, he’d start backing off and you couldn’t let him reach the full length of his stride. Now he’s comfortable and taking it on. This was the best jump-off he’s ever had.”

“He was ready to go tonight. It felt great and it was a technical course, which I think he enjoys. It wasn’t overly big, but it was definitely technical and careful. They had to jump well. If they didn’t jump well they weren’t going to get around,” he detailed.

Peter Wylde and Aimee
Peter Wylde and Aimee

The victory marked the pair’s fourth top five finish in FEI sanctioned competition in the past four months and their eighth top ten finish in the same time frame. Wordley has carefully educated Casper and has perfected the ride needed to be successful at the highest levels of the sport.

“If you’ve noticed, we haven’t won too many, but I just felt really strongly about taking it slowly. He’s only ten and he’s won three grand prix classes now, but he’s been second in many more. I opted to go slower and again, focus on the confidence,” he commented.

As the massive crowd of spectators descended upon the venue, eager to watch world-class show jumping, their presence intensified an electric atmosphere that offered only positive benefits for both the competing athletes and the sport as a whole. Peter Wylde (USA), an Olympic team gold medalist at the 2002 Athens Olympic Games, rounded out the top three finishers aboard Aimee, and in his first grand prix appearance at the venue, commented on the immense and positive response from the crowd.

“First of all, I have to say, it completely increases the level of any sporting event when you have a crowd like what we had tonight,” detailed Wylde. “It’s fantastic for us, as a country, to finally have another venue outside of Wellington that offers a chance to compete in front an incredible public audience that brings energy to the competition, which is something you can’t create. For us as riders, it’s just so positive for our industry.”

“The facility is incredible. From the stabling to the footing and the appearance of the jumps, really the whole venue,” he continued. “The theatre that’s created by the whole venue is one-of-a-kind. I love the size of the ring because it feels like the crowd is with you the entire way around the course, which is a unique experience.”

Wylde guided two horses to strong placings in the class and was impressed with performance of Aimee, a 2005 Dutch Warmblood mare (Solitair x Silvio II), who contested her largest class and handled the large atmosphere and added pressure exceedingly well.

“Everyone says that the horses jump incredibly well in this venue and I think that’s true,” he stated. “The footing is very good and the atmosphere pushes you to really rise to the occasion. The courses all week were great and this was my first real grand prix with this horse. She’s a fighter and a trier. She handled it very well.”

“I was excited that we almost won and I think this horse can do a lot. I’ve had her for a year now and we’ve been slowly building her up. She’s coming into her own and this is the biggest class she’s ever done, so I have to say, I’m really happy.”

Wylde and Wordley both reiterated their excitement for the expansion of the sport, which has found a supportive and passionate audience base in the western Carolina region at TIEC.

“To have a public that is so enthusiastic and to think about how quickly it’s picked up in this area is inspiring,” Wylde noted. “I’m excited for this facility because it seems like it’s already grown to find huge success, but I’m also excited for us, as an industry. This is a venue working the way it intended to and provides access to our sport in a fun and entertaining way.”

Wordley added, “They’re making a big effort to create a vibe here that is unlike any other venue in the world. I think that was really just a fantastic turnout. That atmosphere is what is going to make people come back and continue to enjoy the sport. I was so impressed, yet again.”

Wordley’s groom, Louise Gaytan, was awarded with the Groom’s Initiative Award presented by Mark Bellissimo and the Tryon Equestrian Partners, in honor and recognition of the dedicated and continuous work of the grooms and essential team members who make grand prix victories possible.

Sarah Segal (USA), who finished in fourth place aboard Zelda, received the Leading Lady Rider Award presented by realtor Meg Atkinson, acknowledging the competition achievements of Segal throughout Tryon Summer I FEI competition.

Competition at TIEC continues Sunday with the final day of Tryon Summer I. Classes will resume on Wednesday, July 6, with the start of Tryon Summer II, which will continue through Sunday, July 10. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z Win $35k 1.45m Horseware Ireland Opener CSI 3* at Tryon

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z. Photos ©LizCrawleyPhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – June 29, 2016 – Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z, owned by the Sky Group & Sharn Wordley, kicked off the first day of competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) ringing in the start of the 2016 Tryon Summer Series with an impressive win in Wednesday’s $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Opener CSI 3*. The pair clinched the win with a hasty time of 69.14 seconds, besting a talented field of 33 competitors.

Finishing in a close second place position was David O’Brien (IRL) aboard his mount O’Splendido with a time of 71.40 seconds, while Cantara 59, piloted by Sarah Segal (USA), produced another fast time clear round, crossing the timers in 71.05 seconds for third place.

Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding (For Pleasure x Chin Chin), have been partners for little over a year now, and have exhibited their talents in multiple FEI classes so far this season across the United States, as well as at TIEC. Wordley mentioned that Famoso D Ive Z is a spooky horse, yet he continues to deliver winning rounds and improve his technique.

“Famoso D Ive Z has won several opening classes, which is a little humorous because he is such a spooky horse. You would think he would get better as the week continues on, but he seems to be superior on the first day,” said Wordley.

He went on to speak of the challenging speed track set by Oscar Soberon (MEX), saying, “In the beginning of the course, it suited me to go quite fast. In the later part though, I had to go slower than some of the other competitors, but he jumped fantastic.”

Famoso D Ive Z excels in any type of class, which Wordley elaborated is a major component of his versatility and athleticism. The duo had amassed a string of consistent performances throughout the spring circuit and Wordley has fine-tuned what makes the gelding truly competitive in the ring.

“He has a massive stride and you can go really fast into big jumps and combinations,” he detailed. “I made up a lot of time between fences two and three because I could keep galloping down the long approach to the combination.”

“He is just an extremely fast horse. When he is clean, he is hard to beat. He is great to have on my team,” he elaborated. “Looking forward for the rest of the week, Famoso D Ive Z will compete in tomorrow’s FEI ranking class, and then my main mount, Casper, will also contest the ranking class tomorrow and the Grand Prix on Saturday night.”

David O'Brien and O'Splendido
David O’Brien and O’Splendido

Wordley is no stranger to TIEC, having solidified an impressive record at the facility throughout the spring season. Wordley and his team will remain in Mill Spring, NC for all four weeks of the summer series, as well as for the full duration of the 2016 Tryon Fall Series beginning in September. Wordley noted that he’s eager to stay at venue, especially after the quality finishes his string has produced in the major classes hosted so far this year.

“We love it here. It is fantastic. We like to support TIEC because the money is great and the competition is very respectable. We’ve continued to place well,” he added. “It’s also a very convenient location to our home base in Lexington, KY. It’s just an incredible spot.”

Competition will continue to heat up this week at TIEC, as competition on Thursday will showcase the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome CSI 3*, while Friday will host a $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby and a $10,000 Pre Green Hunter Classic. The inaugural Great Charity Challenge of the Carolinas (GCCC) is set for Friday, July 1, with gates opening at 5:00 p.m. and competition beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The popular “Saturday Night Lights” series will return for four consecutive weeks of weekend fun, beginning Saturday, July 2. Entertainment will start at 6:00 p.m. and the class is set to commence at 8:00 p.m. Following competition on Saturday evening, TIEC will host a one-of-a-kind laser light show in the George H. Morris Arena in celebration for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Wordley Goes Two for Two with Win in $130k 1.50m Suncast Welcome CSI 5* aboard Casper

Sharn Wordley and Casper. Photos: ©FlyingHorsePhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – June 9, 2016 – Sharn Wordley (NZL) continued his dominance at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), earning his second consecutive win during the FEI CSI 5* week at the venue. Wordley piloted Casper to a commanding victory in the $130,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome CSI 5* finishing the track in 46.34 seconds. Andrew Bourns (IRL) collected second place aboard Hyakari with a time of 48.65 seconds, while Richie Moloney (IRL) and Carrabis Z crossed the timers in 52.15 seconds for third.

A series of special of events at TIEC will begin Friday, June 10, in celebratory anticipation of the first FEI CSI 5* Grand Prix in venue history. The $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Mirimichi Green will begin at 7:00 p.m., while legendary show hunter Brunello will be honored between the first and second rounds of competition. During the ceremony Breyer will present owners Janet Peterson and Liza Boyd, as well as groom Alberto Ramirez, with the first manufactured model horse of Brunello. The highlight event of the week, the $380,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 5* for the Governor’s Cup will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 11. Gates will open to the public at 6:00 p.m. General admission and parking are free for all events throughout the weekend.

Wordley and Casper took a bold approach to the Alan Wade (IRL) designed track, which rode appropriately for the class according to many of the participating competitors. The course was large and technical, but incredibly fair. Wordley reiterated his comments from Wednesday, giving another testament as to why Wade is one of the best course builders in the world.

“I think the course rode exactly how it walked. It was a tough course and I knew that there weren’t going to be too many clears. The time allowed was quite tight and I was clear on my first horse too, but finished with time faults,” he said. “You had to go fast but you had to have your horse short as well into the tight lines. He did a brilliant job building a course that was big enough, technical enough, and took skill to ride, but was still very safe.”

Comparing his win Wednesday aboard Barnetta with his win Thursday with Casper, Wordley explained the differences between the two rides, but also described his individual approach to each horse in order to generate the most success in the ring.

“Barnetta rides very long so I have an easy go at making up some of the time with him in open lines. With Casper, he’s so careful; I have to keep him a bit closer with me. I added a stride today in one of the lines in the jump-off, but still made a go at the course. I didn’t get to see Andrew [Bourns] ride. I only saw it for a bit on the monitor, but it was hard to tell how fast I needed to go,” he commented. “I didn’t plan on going two seconds faster, but Casper is just such a quick horse.”

The course proved to be a difficult test, as only five combinations of 41 entries finished clear and inside the time. Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Carlos Ramirez (COL), and David Raposa (USA) each finished the afternoon with a single time fault, while Wordley piloted his other two mounts, Auckland De L’Enclos and Barnetta, to tenth and eleventh place, respectively.

Casper is an incredibly talented mount for Wordley, and at only ten years old, there is a very bright future for the 2006 Oldenburg gelding (Contender x Baloubet du Rouet) owned by Sky Group. Wordley also noted that Casper will be his potential mount poised for a run to the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 2018.

“He’s been a very special horse for us and I still think there is so much more that he’s capable of. I’m really pleased with the way we finished today,” he commented.

Andrew Bourns and Hyakari
Andrew Bourns and Hyakari

Andrew Bourns, who finished in second in the class, originally sourced Casper from Belgium and competed him up to the CSI 3* level before Wordley took over the ride with Sky Group as the new owners in late 2015.

“It’s great to watch Sky Group and Sharn have so much success with this horse and watch him start to reach his real potential. They’re so supportive of the sport and we all appreciate people like that coming in and helping it to grow,” said Bourns. “It’s a great feeling to see them do so well here and if there’s any pair that I am fine with taking the class ahead of me today, it’s Sharn and Casper.”

Wordley has worked with the gelding on developing a more open stride, but his innate quickness and agility always places them close to the top of the leaderboard. Wordley commented, “He’s a really smart horse. His weakness may be that it’s hard to leave out down a line where someone else may be able. His stride is a little bit short, but it helps him in the first round. When people do double leave outs, I can’t get to that on him, but he is so careful and is such fast horse anyway that I rarely find that to be a problem.”

Aside from this week’s competition, Wordley plans to contest some of North America’s biggest competitions this season with Casper in hopes of continuing their success at the CSI 5* level together. Less than a year into their partnership, it is obvious that there is tremendous success on the horizon for the duo.

“He’s only ten and this horse has done so much for me already. This is his second 5* show and he was second in Wellington, FL at WEF in the 5* night class. Just this year I’ve started to go quicker with him and ask for a bit more. We’ve worked on jumping bigger so that he could learn to believe in himself at the top levels. He feels so confident now and that’s why I’ve been able to go for it in these classes,” he added.

Competition will resume at TIEC Friday with the $35,000 1.45m Speed Stake beginning at 12:00 p.m., while the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Mirimichi Green will begin at 7:00 p.m. Only a few table reservations in Legends Club remain available for Friday evening. Please contact legendsclub@tryon.com for more details or call (828) 863-1130. The $380,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 5* for the Governor’s Cup will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, with gates opening to the public at 6:00 p.m. General admission and parking are free for all events.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Wordley Pilots Barnetta to Win $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Open at TIEC

Sharn Wordley and Barnetta. Photos: ©FlyingHorsePhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – June 8, 2016 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) ushered in the first ever FEI CSI 5* week, as spectators watched Sharn Wordley (NZL) take the win in the $35,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Open aboard Barnetta with a time of 41.985 seconds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Cyklon 1083 collected second place, finishing in 43.219 seconds, while Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou 24 rounded out the top three, crossing the timers in 44.231 seconds. Competition at TIEC continues Thursday with the $130,000 1.50m Suncast® Welcome beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the George H. Morris Arena.

Wordley has secured a number of top finishes at TIEC throughout the Tryon Spring Series, rotating a strong string of four horses through the winner’s circle. The track, designed by Alan Wade (IRL), who will build the FEI courses for the remainder of the week, saw nine combinations of twenty original entries move forward to the jump-off round. David Raposa (USA) and Eric Navet (FRA) both voluntarily withdrew from the short course, which left seven pairs to vie for the win.

“The course was just fantastic. Alan always builds beautifully and he’s one of the best course builders around. Very rarely do you ever say anything negative about his courses,” said Wordley. “I didn’t feel a ton of pressure going into the jump-off. He’s jumping well and I was able to go last so I had the chance to see what everyone else did.”

As the last pair to enter the jump-off round, Wordley felt that Barnetta’s large stride would come into good use, which is how he felt they secured the win. He explained, “I think I made up the time in a few places here or there around the course because he covers a lot of ground. He stayed very smooth for me and it was a course that you had to ride that way. It suited him very well and I was happy with the way he performed, especially since it’s the first time I’ve really asked him to move in the jump-off.”

This was the first win for Wordley and Barnetta at TIEC this season, but the 2004 Westphalian gelding (Baloubet du Rouet x Polydora) owned by Sky Group, has always finished close to the top of the leaderboard. Barnetta handled the track and added pressure well, according to Wordley, which is what he has been working on since taking over the ride a year ago.

“He feels fantastic. That was the first time I’ve gone fast with the horse because last year I was really just trying to build his confidence in the grand prix classes,” he commented. “That was my main focus last season, but he’s had some great finishes too. He was second in Central Park and he was third in a big class at WEF, so he has the talent.”

Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083
Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083

Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 led late in the jump-off order and looked to have a firm grasp on the win before Wordley maneuvered Barnetta to a quick right turn after the Adequan® one stride to secure the victory.

“We’ve found that he prefers jumping three classes when we bring him out. It’s better for him and he just keeps jumping better with each class. I’m really looking forward to this week with him. He has a big stride so I can kind of just float around the courses with him,” he added.

Wordley has three horses competing in FEI this week and is motivated to add top finishes to his overall record with Barnetta, Casper, and Auckland De L’Enclos, while improving his world ranking, in which he currently holds 79th place. The three horses competing under Wordley’s guidance this week each have a unique strength of their own, but Wordley’s top mount, Casper, will be one to watch during the $380,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 5* for the Governor’s Cup on Saturday, June 11.

“Barnetta has been a really great horse for me. He’s going to jump the class tomorrow and then will have Friday off before we bring him back out on Sunday,” he noted. “Casper and Auckland will both go in the $130,000 class tomorrow, along with Barnetta, and then Casper will do Saturday night for certain. We’ll have to see how the rest of the week plays out.”

Competition at TIEC continues Thursday with the $130,000 1.50m Suncast® Open Welcome beginning at 12:30 p.m. For more information on TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z Win $35k Horseware Ireland 1.45 Opener at Tryon Spring 7

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z. Photo Credit: ©FlyingHorsePhotography.

Mill Spring, NC – June 1, 2016 – Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z began Tryon Spring 7 with a strong finish in the $35,000 Horseware Ireland 1.45m Opener at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), taking the speed stake with a time of 64.33 seconds. Mark Bluman (COL) and Hold On Tight II captured second place, crossing through the timers in 66.59 seconds, while Christian Heineking (GER) and AJE Cluny earned third place with a time of 67.66 seconds. Tryon Spring 7 continues with FEI CSI 3* competition this week, highlighting the $130,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, June 4, with gates opening at 6:00 p.m. and competition beginning at 8:00 p.m.

Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding (For Pleasure x Radetzky) owned by The Sky Group and Sharn Wordley, made quick work of the track set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) to secure the win. The class saw 29 entries test the course while ten combinations finished fault free. Wordley piloted Famoso D Ive Z to an efficient and quick round, which Wordley said will serve as good preparation for the rest of the week ahead.

“I went in with a plan to go as quickly as I could because I knew there were some really fast ones in the class behind me. I had to start fast to begin with because there’s always a lot of speed demons coming in behind you,” laughed Wordley. “I got lucky because there were a few that were pretty fast combinations in here today, but they ended up having rails.”

Impressed with the course design by Vaillancourt, Wordley spoke about the track and how he felt he sealed the win, stating, “Michel’s courses are always great. It was technical, but smooth. You can always ride it well. It was a great course and it had a lot of options, which is what allows you to find different ways to win.”

Mark Bluman and Hold On Tight II
Mark Bluman and Hold On Tight II

As for Famoso D Ive Z, Wordley has taken his time getting to know the gelding, as he was only purchased in late fall of 2015. According to Wordley, he can be a bit quirky, so establishing a routine and instilling a sense of confidence has been important over the course of their partnership.

“I got him at the end of the fall and he has been really good. He’s a really good horse and he’s only nine, but he can be a bit spooky at everything,” said Wordley. “It’s taken him a while to really concentrate, but he seems to now be feeling more comfortable and is starting to focus. He’s going to be a really good horse. He’s fast and he’s careful.”

“I think he has a lot of potential to be a real great horse at the top levels. He’s going to do the 1.50m class tomorrow and then on Sunday we have him aimed at the $25,000 Grand Prix too,” he continued.

Wordley is coming off of a strong winter campaign at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and will look to continue that form through the summer season. With a growing string of top level mounts, he will look to continue securing top placings in the FEI ranking classes, while also giving his greener horses an opportunity to gain experience in the ring.

“Barnetta is feeling a bit fresh this week, but the plan is to jump all three ranking classes including Saturday night with him and then Auckland De L’Enclos will also do the 1.50m class tomorrow as well,” commented Wordley. “I have a great string and they’ve all been going very well to this point in the season. I’m looking forward to what we have in store.”

“This is an amazing facility and the prize money is just fantastic. It is a lot of weeks here and if you can manage to stay focused during each week, it becomes a very competitive facility for all of the riders,” he added.

Tryon Spring 7 continues at TIEC this week and will conclude on Sunday, June 5. Tryon Spring 7 is set to host 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! For more information, please visit www.tryon.com.