Tag Archives: Show Jumping

Luis Alejandro Plascencia O Leads Longines Podium Sweep for Mexico in Guadalajara

Photo: Luis Alejandro Plascencia O and Da Vinci. (FEI/ Peter Llewellyn)

Heading into the jump-off of his World Cup qualifier debut, 26-year-old Luis Alejandro Plascencia O (MEX) was confident despite the pressure and channeled that to a victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Guadalajara (MEX).

“There was only one clear round, and I knew my horse was naturally faster – I was confident I could catch [the leader] without going crazy!” — Luis Alejandro Plascencia O (MEX)

Plascencia, the penultimate competitor in a seven-horse jump-off set by 2016 Rio Olympic Games Course Designer Guillerme Jorge (BRA), guided home the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Da Vinci to victory in just his second four-star grand prix, crossing the timers in 40.66 seconds. Gustavo Ramos (MEX) and his longtime partner Izzy Miaki, the only other combination to produce a double-clear effort on the day, held on to the runner-up position with a time of 42.50 seconds, while defending champions Francisco Pasquel (MEX) and Naranjo finished third, capping a sweep of the top three placings for the host nation.

“I’ve had my horse for a little more than a year and half now, and he jumped amazing today,” Plascencia said. “He’s very consistent, and today, the track was very, very nice. [Jorge] is my favorite designer. Everything was technical, there were no tricks, there was not a specific hard [area on course where all the rails fell], and well, I loved it!”

Last to go in the jump-off, Sarah Scheiring (USA) and Dontez knocked a rail at the final fence, earning them a fifth-place finish and the designation of being the highest-placing American pair. The points accumulated from the effort moved Scheiring from 11th to fifth in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League. The top seven U.S. riders from the east coast will qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris (FRA) in April. Jamie Barge (USA) and Luebbo finished 13th and sit fifth in the west coast sub league standings, just a point away from Jenni McAllister (USA), the current cutoff for that sub league.

There are three stops remaining on the 2017-2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League calendar. Competition resumes on the east coast in Wellington (USA) on Sunday, 4 February 2018. The west coast sub league concludes in Thermal (USA) on Saturday, 10 February 2018.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Darragh Kenny Celebrates 30 with Win in $35k Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic

Darragh Kenny and Important de Muze. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 24, 2018 – The third week of the Winter Equestrian Festival began on Wednesday, January 24, and Ireland’s Darragh Kenny celebrated his 30th birthday with victory in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic with Important de Muze at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

The third week of WEF, sponsored by Adequan®, runs January 24-28 and features the $132,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, January 27, at 7 p.m.

The $35,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Classic had 53 entries competing in a two-phase power and speed format over a course designed by Peter Grant of Canada.

Kenny and Important de Muze, a 10-year-old BWP gelding by Erco van’t Roosakker x Nabab de Reve owned by Kerry Anne LLC, were the fastest clear in the second round with a time of 30.98 seconds.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Taloubet Triumphs One Last Time for Germany’s Christian Ahlmann at Leipzig

Photo: Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z. (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)

In a fairytale finish to his fabulous career, the 18-year-old super-stallion Taloubet Z carried Christian Ahlmann to victory in front of their home crowd at the tenth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League in Leipzig, Germany. Last to go in an edge-of-the-seat 15-horse jump-off it seemed it would be almost too good to be true if they could beat the rest of the world-class field at a show where they enjoyed so many successes over the years. But they did it and, in his usual style, the extraordinary Taloubet made it look like a walk in the park one last time. There was hardly a dry eye in the house during the prize-giving ceremony in which the German duo took centre stage ahead of runners-up Carlos Lopez and Admara from Colombia and Dutchman Harrie Smolders with Zinius.

Ahlmann isn’t normally one for big emotion, but the 43-year-old rider’s voice kept breaking when he tried to talk about the horse that was such a prolific winner, and that carried him to four World Cup Finals, who claimed the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title at this very same venue in 2011 and who was so tough that he was still capable of claiming team bronze and individual ninth place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The German star admitted that he felt under incredible pressure.

“I really didn’t want to mess it up for him! This was just a normal World Cup, like we have every week. But it was very special because it was the last class for Taloubet, and we took the risk to jump him so he could say goodbye, here where everyone knows him, and leave the sport in great shape. So to have a good result and to finish with a proper round like that under pressure, it makes me so happy! It’s the greatest day of my life for sure, not for the points or for the money; it’s much more than that. It’s because this great horse who still has all this power even at this age is ending his career in a great way, with a great win!” — Christian Ahlmann GER (1st)

“Yes, for everyone else today was a dream, but for me it was a nightmare!” said course designer Frank Rothenberger after 15 horse-and-rider combinations made it into the jump-off. It was a cracker, however, and Lopez appeared to have it in the bag when scorching through the finish in 43.39 seconds with the gelding Admara who seems to have found his perfect “other half” since partnering up with the Colombian rider two years ago. Smolders and Zinius, winners at the previous leg in Mechelen (BEL) last month, gave it their best shot but fell short by two-tenths of a second when second-last to go.

The arena fell silent as Ahlmann and Taloubet set off on their final adventure together, but it exploded with sound when, turning to the last full of running and at a flat gallop, the German duo broke the beam two-tenths of a second quicker than Lopez for the win. Even the Colombian runner-up wasn’t disappointed: “Today is all about Taloubet anyway,” Lopez said.

And with just three qualifiers still left to go, the next in Zurich (SUI), Ahlmann has now qualified for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) in April. Like Smolders, who has also made the cut, that wasn’t on the German rider’s radar until now. “I’ll have to have a re-think about that now,” he said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Eric Lamaze Claims First Win of 2018 Competition Season

Eric Lamaze riding Chacco Kid. Photo by Starting Gate Communications.

Wellington, Florida – Eric Lamaze scored his first win of the 2018 season, claiming victory over 109 starters in the $35,000 CSI2* Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round II on Thursday, January 18, at the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Mexican course designer Oscar Soberon whittled the enormous 109-horse starting field down to nine for the tie-breaking jump-off.  None was faster than Lamaze and Chacco Kid, with the pair stopping the clock in the winning time of 34.68 seconds.  Remarkably, there was a three-way tie for second place as Emanuele Camilli of Italy and Cian O’Connor and Paul O’Shea, both of Ireland, crossed the timers in exactly 36.76 seconds.

Lamaze concluded his 2017 show season by competing at CSI5* events in Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland in December, before relocating to Florida for the winter season.

“Every year at the start of WEF, I use a horse that is coming off Paris and Geneva; rather than give him a rest, I keep him going and compete with him in Florida as he is already in form,” explained Lamaze, who has won Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medals during his illustrious career.  “For a lot of the riders, their horses have been on a lay-off.  Today’s class was very competitive with 109 starters, but it was nice for Chacco Kid to do a round at a lower height of 1.45m than he was jumping in Paris and Geneva.  When it comes to the jump-off, he has the experience going fast. I know him well, and I don’t mind taking some risks that perhaps a year ago I wasn’t comfortable doing.”

Lamaze welcomed Chacco Kid to his Torrey Pines Stable during the Winter Equestrian Festival two years ago by way of Colombia.  The now 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On) is owned by the Chacco Kid Group, comprised of Sara and Rick Mershad, Carol and Ludi Sollak, and Carlene and Andy Ziegler.

“The development of this horse has been a little backwards,” explained Lamaze of Chacco Kid’s progression since 2016.  “Although he had been ridden by good riders in Colombia, he had never been exposed to big international shows.  He was very inexperienced that way but, with it being an Olympic year, we wanted to save my Olympic horse, Fine Lady 5, as much as possible.  Normally you would have him start out competing at 1.45m, but he ended up doing the big Nations’ Cups in Aachen and Rome, and the grand prix at La Baule, so it went a little backwards.  Now I’m doing what we should have done in the beginning.  He has the biggest heart, and always tries 100 percent.  It is very impressive what this little horse has done.”

While Lamaze is traditionally based in Wellington for the duration of the winter season, his competition schedule is a little different for 2018.

“I will have a different strategy this year as I’m going to do the Rolex show in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Holland, as well as the Global Champions Tour in Mexico City, which are both in March.  I’m planning my winter season around those two events,” said Lamaze, 49, who splits his time between training bases in Wellington and Brussels, Belgium.  “I did quite a bit of the Global Champions Tour last year, and I really enjoyed being part of the Hamburg Diamonds team with Harrie Smolders, Audrey Coulter, and Jos Verlooy; it was great to be among great riders and enjoy good team spirit.  Of course, we have World Championships to think about this year as well.  You try to target one or two horses towards that, keep competing, and pick the one that is performing the best at the time.”

In the meantime, Lamaze is building on his success by adding more horses to his competition roster.  Last year, Lamaze put together a group of owners to purchase Jewel 8, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kannan x Indoctro), and continues to strengthen his stable with horsepower.

“We have some promising young horses coming up including Viva, a new mare that I think a lot of,” said Lamaze, who was double clear earlier on Thursday in the 1.45m competition riding Viva.  “I have another new nine-year-old that is spectacular, so we are adding some new horses to our string thanks to the continuing support of Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms, as well as some wonderful new owners who have gotten behind me.  It’s very exciting!”

For more information on Eric Lamaze, please visit www.ericlamaze.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | cell: 613-292-5439 | www.startinggate.ca

Luis Larrazabal and G&C Close Up Light Up 1.30m Rising Star Classic

Wellington, Florida (January 17, 2018) – Venezuela’s Luis Larrazabal and G&C Close Up put hoof to turf in Wednesday’s 1.30m Rising Star Classic, leading the class for most of the day with a blistering jump-off time of 28.841 seconds. No one could best the brilliant effort, and their ride highlighted a utopian day of show jumping during the fifth week of Turf Tour competition. With two rings of grass courses at Carben Farm, which included Low, Medium, and High Jumpers as well as 1.20-1.25m and the 1.30m Rising Star Classic, Wednesday’s event welcomed a diverse selection of riders from juniors and adult amateurs to internationally competitive professionals, all seeking the exceptional footing and spectacular venues of the Turf Tour.

Larrazabal and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding were one of the early combinations to test their skills over the 1.30m Rising Star Classic course designed by Eric Hasbrouck. With Larrazabal having the ride on G&C Close Up since the horse was a 5-year-old, the performance was demonstrative of their rapport and partnership. “I know him very well, and we were able to jump very fast today,” said Larrazabal. “I decided to leave out a few strides, do a few inside turns, and just give him a real chance to be very quick. We did only 7 strides to the combination, and as soon as he landed we galloped to the final fence. My goal with him was to give him a very competitive round and eventually move him back into the 1.40-1.45m, where he is a very competitive horse.”

With a string consisting of both young and seasoned jumpers, Larrazabal has used the Turf Tours as the stage for their development. “I love the Turf Tour’s atmosphere and especially the option to show at different venues,” he said. “It’s a super advantage for the riders to be able to get in experience at different venues and environments, especially for the young horses. Last week’s Turf Tour at Polo West was super cool; we had a fantastic time jumping on the giant grass fields there and getting a different feel at each location. Having a change to ride on the grass is also very important, and I plan to continue to take advantage of these events. They also treat you exceptionally well, with food and drinks as well as being very accommodating of riders’ schedules and training goals.”

For a full schedule of events hosted by The Ridge at Wellington, visit www.TheRidgeFarm.com.

Media contact:
PR and Marketing
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
www.equinium.com
holly@equinium.com
+1 954 205 7992

Men’s Team Captures 10th Annual Battle of the Sexes at WEF

The final match race was close, but it was Spencer Smith who sealed the win for the men’s team over Maggie Jayne. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 13, 2018 – On the opening “Saturday Night Lights” and in the 10th annual Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, the men’s team was victorious for the first time in the history of the class. The event is one of the most popular events at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

Teams of ten men and ten women battled it out for this year’s Battle of the Sexes title, with team captains Charlie Jayne and Nicole Bellissimo at the helm. Bellissimo led Heather Caristo-Williams, Amanda Derbyshire, Maggie Jayne, Caelinn Leahy, Abigail McArdle, Chelsea Sundius, Annabella Sanchez, Sydney Shulman, and Alexandra Welles on her team.

Jayne’s team included David Blake, Andrew Bourns, Jordan Coyle, Alex Granato, William Hickey, Darragh Kenny, Luis Larrazabal, Spencer Smith, and Michael Tokaruk.

The contest was held in three phases, consisting of a faults converted speed round, a relay race, and a match race. The men and women were pitted against each other in each phase over courses set by Eric Hasbrouck (USA).

In round one, it was a tie with both teams scoring five points. Ireland’s Jordan Coyle had the fastest time of 49.21 seconds.

Minikus Goes for Gumption in Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

Out of 20 entries in the 1.50m Classic, five went clear over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA), and three of those were double clear. Taking the win in a time of 36.676 seconds was Todd Minikus (USA) on Carlo, a 2006 Holsteiner gelding by Casall x Landlord owned by North Face Farm.

Tina Allen Claims Blue Ribbon Aboard Two Mounts in Osphos® Amateur Owner 3’3” 36 & Over

Saturday’s third class of the day came to a close with Tina Allen, from New Canaan, CT, taking first place honors in both Osphos® Amateur Owner 3’3” 36 & Over jumping classes. Allen claimed the first blue aboard her 7-year-old Westphalian mount, Sinatra, and rode Galaxy, her 12-year-old partner of six years, to victory in the second round over fences.

“I’m thrilled about it,” said Allen. “I made a mistake on each horse in both classes, but I am very happy to come out on top.”

Having recently purchased Sinatra here in Wellington, FL, Allen praised her new grey gelding on his performance.

“This is my third show on him in the 3’3”,” said Allen. “I am ecstatic with him. He is so fun to ride and has a huge stride. He gives you confidence when you go in the ring even though he is so young.”

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Jordan Coyle Takes Round One Victory in $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup

Jordan Coyle and Eristov. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 11, 2018 – The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival continued with its second day of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL on Thursday. Jordan Coyle (IRL) rode Eristov, owned by Andrew Kocher, to victory in the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round One.

There are two highlight events for week 1 of WEF, sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center. They include the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, to start the “Saturday Night Lights” series on Saturday, January 13, at 7 p.m., and the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix, the first grand prix of the season, on Sunday, January 14, at 2 p.m.

There were 36 entries in the first round of the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup and they competed over a course set by Eric Hasbrouck of the United States. Eleven were clear to continue to the jump-off, to which 10 returned. Coyle and Eristov were fourth in the jump-off order, and had to follow a very quick time set by Todd Minikus (USA) and Victorio 5 of 37.999 seconds.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

First International Victory at 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival Goes to McLain Ward

McLain Ward and Hija van Strokapelleken. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 10, 2018 – The 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival started in fine form, kicking off the 12-week circuit of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. WEF continues through April 1, 2018, and offers more than $9 million in prize money.

There are two highlight events for week 1 of WEF, sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center. They include the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, to start the “Saturday Night Lights” series on Saturday, January 13, at 7 a.m., and the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix, the first grand prix of the season, on Sunday, January 14, at 2 p.m.

Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward won the opening class of the day, the Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers, in the International Arena over a speed course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). He and Hija van Strokapelleken, an 11-year-old BWP mare by Calido I x Azur Depaulstra owned by Evergate Stable LLC, were fast and clear in a time of 69.938 seconds for victory.

Equestrian Sport Productions | 561-793-JUMP | news@equestriansport.com | www.PBIEC.com

Smolders Is the Master at Mechelen

Harrie Smolders and Zinius pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos.

Dutchman Harrie Smolders (37) out-paced all comers to win the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at Mechelen in Belgium. Riding the 13-year-old gelding Zinius, he set an unbeatable target with a fearless run when fourth to go in a seven-horse jump-off. Runner-up spot went to Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (36) who has now soared to the top of the league table while Italy’s Luca de Lorenzo (30) lined up third. Smolders was a man with a plan.

“I never won before at Mechelen and I really wanted to do it, so I was totally focused. When I got into the jump-off I just wanted to win. I was never riding for second place so I took the risk by taking a stride out to the last. And this is very special because I came here with all my family – my kids, my wife and my parents – it was an unforgettable moment and I’m very thankful to the crowd. The atmosphere here is always really intense and it gives us even more of a push to show what we can do!” — Harrie Smolders (NED)

This result with Zinius was particularly rewarding because this is a horse that is stepping up to the plate.

“He is still developing, but now that Emerald and Don (his other two top horses) are having a break he gets a chance to show in the biggest classes and he has picked it up very quickly. I’m a bit surprised that he makes it look so easy!” Smolders added.

It was no walk in the park either, with Eddy Geysemans’ tough first-round track getting the better of many of the best in the sport. The time-allowed of 67 seconds saw three miss the cut into the jump-off when picking up just one annoying time penalty, but German ace, Ludger Beerbaum, already had four on the board with Chacon before getting four more for an awkward jump at the last and then hitting the deck when Chacon mistakenly took on part of the double at fence five in the wrong direction. The man who claimed Germany’s first-ever FEI World Cup™ title back in 1993 is under medical care with an open shoulder fracture, and the horse world is wishing him a very swift recovery.

Two more former World Cup champions, Beerbaum’s fellow-countrymen Christian Ahlmann with Taloubet Z and Daniel Deusser with Cornet d’Amour, led the way against the clock with Deusser setting the standard when clear in 40.51 seconds. But Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou were almost two seconds quicker when breaking the beam in 38.74 to put it up to the rest of them. Smolders wasn’t intimidated, however, stopping the clock on 38.19, so when de Luca and Halifax van het Kluizebos were clear in 39.97 seconds and Frenchman Roger Yves Bost posed no challenge in 42.17 seconds it was game over.

As 2018 begins and with just four of the 13 Western European league qualifiers remaining, the next taking place in Leipzig (GER) on 21 January, Smolders has 25 points on the board and may re-think his new year agenda.

“I wasn’t planning to go to the Final in Paris but now we might have a meeting and set some new goals,” he said. “I will do a few qualifiers anyway and I want to get Emerald out to a few shows, maybe get him ready by Gothenburg (in February) if I can. We will see, but this win is the perfect end to a great year for me!” said the delighted winner.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy Is First-Ever Winner of FEI Pony Jumping Trophy Final in Mechelen

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Ireland’s Seamus Hughes-Kennedy wrote his name into the history-books of equestrian sport when winning the inaugural FEI Pony Jumping Trophy™ Final at Mechelen in Belgium.

Riding the 12-year-old mare, Cuffesgrange Cavalidam, the 15-year-old schoolboy had to hold his nerve when in the lead and last to go of the top 10 who qualified for the deciding round.

“I tried to think of it as just another day in the ring but I couldn’t help but be nervous – this is unbelievable!” — Seamus Hughes-Kennedy IRL (winner)

His partnership with his pony, however, has already been marked by his seventh-place finish individually at this summer’s FEI European Pony Championships in Hungary. Runner-up was another of the strong Irish contingent, Abbie Sweetnam with Dynamite Spartacus, while Belgium’s Aaron Tijskens steered Superbre de Laloena into third.

The series is devised along the same lines as the FEI World Cup™ and this first Final more than lived up to expectations. The Irish took early command when team gold and European individual silver medallist, Kate Derwin (Cul Ban Mistress), topped Wednesday’s opener ahead of Hughes-Kennedy in second and Sweetnam in third. A win for Thibeau Spits and Cleostrade on Thursday, however, put this young Belgian on level pegging with Derwin, both going into the finale on a zero scoreline after results were converted into points.

From a start-list of 15, a tough and technical first-round track brought the cream to the very top and with the only clear of the course it was Hughes-Kennedy who went out in front carrying just the four points he collected over the first two competitions. And when Spits disappeared from the reckoning with three fences on the floor and Derwin lost her grip with two mistakes, then it was Sweetnam who was stalking her compatriot, just one point in arrears, while Tijskens was only another two points further adrift going into the second round.

It was gripping, and with no room for error after a clear from fourth-placed Derwin, the three ahead of her all coped with the incredible pressure to hold their places. You could hear a pin drop as, last to go, Hughes-Kennedy set off with his mare who is something of a phenomenon. Cuffesgrange Cavalidam, whose sire Luidam was competed by Irish international rider Billy Twomey, was found by Seamus’ mother Clare running around field as an unbroken 10-year-old.

“She was still green enough this time last year when we did our first 1.30m competition in Millstreet and we haven’t really done a lot, the Spring Tour at home, the European Championships trials and then the Championships – she’s wonderful, she’s always trying to help me, she’s the pony of a lifetime!” — Seamus Hughes-Kennedy IRL (winner)

Talking about the concept of the FEI Pony Jumping Trophy series which has been staged alongside Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifiers in Oslo (NOR), Herning (DEN), Verona (ITA), Lyon (FRA) and Stuttgart (GER) this season, the new champion said, “It’s been brilliant. We learn so much from being around top riders and watching what they do. They talk to us and help us – it’s a great experience!”

FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, said, “The FEI is happy and proud to give these young athletes a platform to show their talent and riding skills, especially with the Olympic Movement’s focus on the development of youth sport right now.” The FEI Pony Jumping Trophy™ Final will return to Mechelen again in 2018.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46