Mandy Porter and Milano (FEI/Kristin Lee Photography)
Mandy Porter couldn’t help but hold back tears as she stood for the American national anthem after winning the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier at Sacramento with Milano.
Porter (USA), a Northern California native, and Abigail Weese’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were the only double-clear performers on the evening. Jenni McAllister (USA) and Legis Touch the Sun were second, and Richard Spooner and new mount Chatinus (USA) finished third.
“Milano was so in-form tonight. I couldn’t have asked him to do anything better. As long as I stay out of his way, he’s unbelievable. He just rose to the occasion. I wasn’t sure if he was going to be nervous with the crowd, but in reality, he thrived on it. In the jump-off, he felt solid, not nervous. He basically was saying, ‘Don’t mess this up for me today!’”– Mandy Porter (USA)
Only four riders were able to navigate Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) course without fault in the first round, and when returning for the shortened course, Porter was in the disadvantageous position of having to go first. Not only were she and her mount the only ones to keep all the jumps up, but their blazing time of 39.16 seconds was also good enough to win even if her competitors would have also jumped cleanly.
“Milano is quite fast, and in all honestly, my strategy was not to get too excited rolling back to the vertical [at fence seven],” Porter explained. “I have a tendency to get a little excited, and I wanted to give him the chance to see [the fence] and jump it and be balanced. After that, it was a galloping game.”
Porter’s finish moves her up to fourth place in the standings for the west coast sub league of the North American League with 22 points. The League continues with another west coast stop in Del Mar (USA) on Saturday 21 October 2017.
Mandy Porter (USA) -1st: “We’ll go home [from here], and [Milano] will have a little bit of an easy week next week, and then we’ll be at Del Mar for the [Longines FEI World Cup Jumping™ Del Mar]. Then, we’ll definitely make it out to Las Vegas. I don’t know if we’ll make it out to Calgary, but we’re going to keep plugging away one [show] at a time. This is still new for Milano, too – the indoor shows.”
Jenni McAllister (USA) – 2nd: “[Legis Touch the Sun] is growing up. He’s just turning 11, which is still pretty young, and he’s a very big horse. He’s maturing, and every year he learns one more thing. Every year, he just takes that next step. I tried to sneak inside a fence to the in-and-out [in the jump-off], and it didn’t work out for me. I knew I had to be extra fast [to catch Porter].”
Mill Spring, NC – October 5, 2017 – From a field of 49 entries, Santiago Lambre (MEX) and his own Doloris, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Colinda D), were the only pair to go double clear in the $35,000 Suncast® Commercial Welcome Stake CSI 2*, Thursday’s highlight class for the Tryon Fall III CSI 2* competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Tryon Fall III welcomes back international FEI competition to the venue, beginning a four-week stretch of top show jumping competition, which will conclude on Sunday, October 29.
Lambre and Doloris posted a blazing short course time of 37.60 seconds, while Tracy Fenney (USA) and MTM Farm’s MTM Reve Du Paradis, a 2005 Selle Francais gelding (Crown Z x Kaline De Semilly), stole second place with the fastest four-fault short course, stopping the timers in 38.07 seconds. Michael Morrissey (USA) took third aboard La Lopez 3, a 2008 Westphalian mare (Lenardo x Leandra) owned by QBS Equestrian LLC, with their time of 38.29 seconds.
Lambre complimented his mount’s carefulness around the challenging CSI 2* course, and said, “In the first round, the mare was really good. She is very careful. I gave her a three-week break, so she is fresh. In the jump-off, I was lucky to be the only one clear.”
The pair has been competing together for about a year, Lambre explained, though he’s owned the mare since she was six. “This year she’s winning a lot of classes. I think six or seven FEI classes this year, and she’s very consistent.”
The class saw 49 trips on the course designed by Richard Jeffries (GBR), while only twelve returned for the jump-off round. The short course’s elements posed tough questions to the twelve combinations that contested it, explained Lambre.
“I think the jump-off was big,” he noted about the track. “Sometimes the oxer is less wide, and in this jump-off it was still [the same width], with not so many options, so it was tough, and of twelve clear there was only one double-clear.”
After a successful summer at TIEC, Lambre is hoping that fall is just as fruitful, especially for Doloris. “My plan with her is to ride in the Grand Prix this week and then the CSI 5* in two weeks,” he said. “Tryon is very nice. I did all the summer here and it’s a fantastic facility-one of the best places in the world.”
Samuel Parot and Couscous Van Orti Rise to Take Top Honors in $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Power and Speed
Samuel Parot (CHI) and Couscous Van Orti captured the win in the $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Power and Speed class to start FEI competition at TIEC. Parot and Couscous Van Orti stopped the timers in 25.78 seconds to take the victory ahead of Ibrahim Barazi (JOR) and Omnia Incipit, who earned second place on a time of 26.01 seconds. Parot also captured third place position aboard Dazzle White, completing the short course in 28.08 seconds.
“It was a very nice course today,” commented Parot. “The track laid for the jump-off was clear and not too complicated. I knew that in the line I could win if I took it in five strides instead of six. That was the plan and that’s what we did.”
Parot has had the ride on the 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nabab De Reve x Vroni Van Orti), for several years, competing successfully around the world, as well as at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
“I’ve had this horse for a long time,” explained Parot. “I rode him in the Pan American Games and he won a Grand Prix class here at TIEC last year. He’s a nice horse. He’s 15 but acts very young at heart.”
Parot is a horse show regular at TIEC, and has spent a great deal of time competing at the venue. “The facility is one of the top horse show facilities,” said Parot. “It’s my favorite show to compete at. The main ring is incredible. The footing is amazing. It’s just a fantastic place to be.”
It was a clear-cut victory for The Netherlands on a thrilling night at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP) where a fused floodlight failed to spoil the party. Finishing with just a single time fault, the new champions pinned Team USA into runner-up spot while Belgium, who also finished on a four-fault scoreline, lined up third when combined times were taken into account.
It was almost two hours after the scheduled start-time when the action got underway with the lighting fully restored. But the man who clinched victory for his country, Harrie Smolders (37), said it didn’t matter.
“In Spain everything is always later. They start later in the morning, and they finish later in the evening – we wanted to win anyway.” — Harrie Smolders (Team Netherlands)
Another masterful course designed by Santiago Varela ensured that it came down to the last-line riders to decide the result of this 2017 title-decider, and it was cliff-hanger until Smolders sealed it with a copybook round from his European individual silver medal-winning ride Don VHP. Jur Vrieling (48) set the stage with a similarly impressive run with the fabulous stallion, VDL Glasgow V. Merelsnest and the only fault they would count would come from Michel Hendrix (30) and Baileys who went just over the time-allowed of 81 seconds. Third-line rider Marc Houtzager was the only one to post a single error, with Sterrehof’s Calimero, at the first element of the double at fence five for the discount score.
“Barcelona is wonderful and the Final of the Nations Cup is always thrilling. It’s very difficult already on the first day, you start with 15 countries and separating the teams is very hard. We saw that by what happened to Ireland who were the gold medal winners at Gothenburg (Longines FEI European Championships staged in August), but that is the jumping sport and that is what makes it exciting.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)
Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, was delighted with the performances of all his team members and their horses.
“Jur is experienced but Glasgow is quite green; this year is his first time in a Championship and he was extremely good this week. That’s a horse for me to keep over the winter season because I think this should be a combination for the World Equestrian Games next year. Michel Hendrix is an up-and-coming rider, very talented; he produced this horse himself. And Harrie is in brilliant form this year; he’s in the flow. I’m very happy for him and also for the country. He is a top jockey and an unbelievably good team player.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)
Smolders was delighted to bring it home for The Netherlands, but admitted that it took a bit of an effort.
“I felt he (Don VHP) started to get a little tired and that I had to carry him around a bit in the second round today, but he gave everything. He gets a rest now that he really deserves. I’m super confident this season because he jumps clear after clear, but still you have to do it, and it was a big track today, a big challenge; the time was really tight so I couldn’t afford to leave it somewhere. I had to be really on it, but my horse was incredible.” — Harrie Smolders (Team Netherlands)
Rob Ehrens is an exceptional team manager, leading the Dutch to a series of brilliant results in recent years and now adding the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 title to his long list of spectacular achievements. With typical humour, however, he said that the success has little to do with him but was all down to his team.
“The only thing I have to do is tell them what time to get out of bed, what time to get into bed and what time to walk the course. I have an easy job and I’m a happy coach.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)
Rob Ehrens – Team Netherlands Chef d’Equipe (winners): “This formula in the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final is excellent and very exciting. Also when we had a little struggle starting tonight, a yes, a no, lights on, lights out, they are professionals and they finished the job really well so we are very, very happy. This is a bit of a new team, new horses, and they were in a good shape already at the European Championships, although we had a little bit of a slow start there. But we had a good feeling and here on the first day on Thursday the horses also jumped very nicely; they were fit to compete, the riders were motivated and today again they showed that they can do what they have to do.”
Lauren Hough – Team USA (2nd), talking about her brilliant mare, Ohlala, and the performance of the US team: “She’s been amazing this week. I’m so proud of her double clear. There was a lot of waiting obviously; being the first rider I think I got on three times to do that round so under the circumstances I’m absolutely thrilled and so proud to be part of such an extraordinary team. Everyone performed brilliantly; both Laura and Beezie are on younger horses, but they are incredible riders and they kinda held their horses’ hands and we are thrilled with the result today.”
Photo: Victory gallop for Team United Arab Emirates (FEI/Libby Law)
It was history in the making when the United Arab Emirates crushed their considerably more experienced opponents to win the Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final under the lights of the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP). They finished second-last of the 15 participating nations in the first qualifier when collecting a total of 34 faults so looked way out of contention going into this competition reserved for the seven teams that didn’t make the cut into the series title-decider.
But they never touched a pole, and even more impressively they came out on top without having to call up their fourth team member. It was something of a walkover, with their three time faults leaving them six faults clear of the recently-crowned European champions from Ireland, while Team Brazil slotted into third with an 11-fault finishing score.
They even had the worst of the draw, with 33-year-old Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri first to take on Santiago Varela’s 13-fence course which demanded both accuracy and speed. With his mare, Sama Dubai FBH, he made it look easy when picking up just two time faults, and then Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi and Cha Cha Cha posted an extraordinary clear only to be followed by a single time fault for Mohammed Ghanem Al Hajri and Pour le Poussage. There was a look of near-disbelief on many UAE supporter’s faces when they realised that, even without the help of anchorman Sheikh Majid Al Qassimi and Celtion, they already had it all wrapped up.
Delighted UAE Chef d’Equipe, Karl Schneider, reckoned it was their poor start that spurred his side to success.
“Sheikh Majid is normally our best rider, but yesterday he was first to go and he didn’t have a good time – maybe his horse didn’t travel well, but anyway I think that shocked all the other boys and that’s why they didn’t ride well. So we changed the team order for today and put him in last, and I was only joking when I said that maybe he might not have to jump tonight.” — Karl Schneider (Team UAE)
This result is no fluke, however; it’s the result of years of effort.
“We’ve been working really hard setting the basis for the sport in our country, and for the first time we had more than four riders to choose from for a Nations Cup which was brilliant, and we chose the four that were in form and thankfully we did well.” — Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri (Team UAE)
He is based in France where he works as a policeman and has been training with America’s Alice Debany Clero for the last 12 years.
“The other three boys are in my stable in Bonn, Germany, the same place as Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), and they were all the summer with me. So we made a good plan about Abdullah’s shows and he came with Alice to join us, and the boys got a bit of experience of being together and finally it worked really well.” — Karl Schneider (Team UAE)
Alice Debany Clero, who suffered a badly-broken leg in a fall from a young horse five months ago and has been course-walking all week on crutches, explained her connection to the winning team.
“I started working for Princess Haya back in 2000 and I coached her at the Olympics in Sydney and we remained very close friends. She hired me in 2005, so I’m about to start my 13th season with Dubai.” — Alice Debany Clero (Team UAE)
Princess Haya, Former FEI President and wife of Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai, said:
“I’m so thrilled, so proud of this success – after all the hard work they’ve invested over the years they really deserved this.” — Princess Haya
Karl Schneider – Team UAE (winners): “To win with only three riders, that was really amazing, especially after yesterday when we didn’t have best start. But there was good team spirit, they didn’t give up, they were still fighting tonight, and finally it came good for us.”
Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri – Team UAE, talking about his mare Sama Dubai FBH: “I have her for six years and I know her very well. She always had potential; I always believed in her and I’m glad she was able to shine in such an amazing place.”
Yann Candele and Theodore Mancaias (FEI/Liz Gregg)
Team Canada posted the only zero score in the first qualifier to claim pole position going into the title-decider at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP). On a day of high drama, The Netherlands, USA, France and Germany were next in line when they all finished with four faults, while Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland claimed the last three qualifying places with eight faults apiece.
Team Ireland also finished with eight, but their slower combined times saw the country that claimed team gold at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE) four weeks ago line up ninth, and just outside the qualification zone.
As the last side of 15 into the arena, the Canadians had the best of the draw and Yann Candele (46) got them off to a flying start with a clear round riding Theodore Manciais. Another from Tiffany Foster (33) with Tripple X was followed by eight faults for Chris Pratt (48) and Concorde. But with the best three scores to count, it was 2008 Olympic champion Eric Lamaze (49) who wrapped it up with a fault-free effort from Coco Bongo.
Canadian Chef d’Equipe, Mark Laskin, admitted however that he wasn’t entirely confident about how things might play out. And he was more than pleasantly surprised with Candele’s opening effort.
“We had a couple of question marks, a couple of unknowns – some of our horses and riders were not available to come. And Yann Candele, that was only the third time he’s ever ridden that horse, that was the first course he jumped with it, and this is the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona! With Yann I always said I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a couple of rails down, so to come through like that as first rider, it really gave us a spark!” — Mark Laskin (Team Canada)
Candele has his own way of going about things, as his team manager explained.
“He’s been traditionally our lead-off rider because he doesn’t count strides, he just adjusts; he improvises. Even after he went into the ring he did some numbers (of strides) that we weren’t planning, and Eric Lamaze said to me, ‘Why do we even walk the course with him? He might as well just go in and wing it!’” — Mark Laskin (Team Canada)
It seemed that the French would also share a zero score, but last-line rider Roger Yves Bost was disqualified for using hind boots on his horse that weren’t in accordance FEI regulations. But the 2016 Olympic team gold medallist and 2013 European champion will still be part of the French side on Saturday night as that is a separate competition.
Brazil, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the United Arab Emirates will line out for the honours in the Longines Challenge Cup which is always guaranteed to be a thriller. But for the Canadians, and the seven other qualified nations, it’s all about lifting that very special Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping trophy the following night.
Mark Laskin is hopeful for Canada in the Final, but he’s not prepared to anticipate too much. He said:
“Anything can happen once you get to the dance! We don’t get ahead of ourselves; there are clichés for a reason because it’s a good way to think: one step at a time, one round at a time; we’ll see what happens.” — Mark Laskin (Team Canada)
Mark Laskin – Team Canada, talking about his team’s chances of winning the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping title: “I’m very happy we qualified; in fact definitely ecstatic! We’ll be there on Saturday night; we are fighters!”
Lauren Hough – Team USA, talking about the course: “This is a fantastic course builder (Santiago Varela). That triple at the end is quite fearsome, but I think it is very jumpable.”
Todd Minikus riding VDL Excel. (Photo courtesy of Sportfot)
New York, NY – Central Park is a common meeting place in New York City for tennis, baseball, basketball, and ice skating – but this past Thursday night, sports in Central Park rose to new heights. The U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance took center stage in the Wollman Rink, exposing city dwellers to a nail-biting equestrian show jumping competition.
The three winners – Todd Minikus, Kama Godek, and Emanuel Andrade – each could have jumped basketball player LeBron James with an inch to spare as they soared over the 6 foot, 9 inch wall.
The Puissance, a traditional crowd favorite, returned this week to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show for the second year in a row. Competition began with a brick wall obstacle set at 4 feet, 6 inches high. Horse and rider pairs took turns jumping the wall, which was raised after each round. The event was called to an end after the three longest-lasting pairs each cleared the 6 foot, 9 inch wall with apparent ease. Todd Minikus on VDL Excel, Kama Godek on De Grande, and Emanuel Andrade on Clouwni were all named victors.
Minikus, an internationally successful show jumper with a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medal and over 150 Grand Prix wins to his name, was left wishing they’d had a chance to jump even higher. “VDL Excel jumped the 6 foot, 9 inches very easily,” he said. “Six feet and 9 inches is a big enough jump, but I think if they had raised it again, he would have been able to do that easily enough. He seemed really brave and comfortable.”
Minikus and the eight-year-old horse, owned by Autumn View Farm, have had an impressive summer even before the Puissance. Last month, the pair claimed the reserve title in the $20,000 Jumper Derby at Equifest II in Wayne, Illinois. “He’s is a very scopey jumper. I just knew he would do well in the Puissance,” said Minikus. “He’s young, and just breaking into the upper level classes. He’s got a lot of talent.”
With Minikus in the saddle, there’s no doubt that VDL Excel is not finished with his time in the limelight. Minikus’s own highest jump cleared to date is 7 feet and 4 inches, and he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The Wellington, Florida based rider is next taking his talented team to compete at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, where they will jump through the month of October.
To learn more about Todd Minikus and his winning record as he jumps around the world, follow him Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.
September 24, 2017 – San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – The third time in the top 10 of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – West was the charm for Halie Robinson. Having placed second and fifth in years past, Robinson rode with precision, consistency and previous experience that earned her the top call in this year’s challenging four-phase competition.
USEF Talent Search judges, Andre Dignelli of Katonah, NY and Patricia Griffith of New York City, designed the courses with Anthony D’Ambrosio serving as Technical Delegate. Well-suited for their roles, Dignelli won the prestigious class in 1986, and has since taken countless riders to success at this level; Griffith was second under Dignelli’s tutelage in 1998 and has been a part of Dignelli’s Heritage Farm since 1997. D’Ambrosio has been a technical delegate as well as a course designer at venues all over the world.
Friday morning’s flat phase asked riders to demonstrate knowledge of the elementary principles of dressage training as they affect a show jumper’s performance. Divided into three groups, riders were tested with half-pass, counter-canter, flying lead changes and other exercises. The gymnastics phase asked riders to apply mastery of that flat work to jumping patterns, including the skills of shortening and lengthening the horse’s stride while riding the track, which proved challenging for many.
Aboard Caracas 89, owned by Elvenstar, Robinson earned high scores in the competition’s first two phases, the flat phase and the gymnastics phase. With her cumulative 217.5 score going into the jumping phase, she had 16-point lead, which helped her maintain a top position. However once the top four were named, they each started the Final Phase with a score of zero.
Jayme Omand, Emma Catherine Reichow and Natalie Dean joined Robinson in a work-off patterned like that used in the World Equestrian Games. The final four rode a shortened course on their own horse, then on each other’s horses. After the 16 rounds were complete, all handled the questions asked on the different mounts without major fault. To all who watched, including the judges, Robinson dominated this phase.
“It’s always nice when the winner is so obvious, even to the crowd,” commented Griffith. Dignelli concurred: “Our winner was clear and away the winner. She rode beautifully throughout all phases: accurate and she has a beautiful style.” An elated Robinson promised she’d be working on her pace. Currently studying abroad in Europe, she had flown home specifically for the Talent Search. She called Caracas 89 “the sweetest horse I’ve ever met and he tries his heart out no matter what.” He’s also a miracle. This was his third show back after having a 27-pound “artifact” tumor removed in February.
For her prestigious win, Robinson received the Denali Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mrs. Maya Z Hamburger. Caracas 89 earned the Gulliver Perpetual Trophy, donated by Karen Healey, as the best horse per the judges. Jim Hagman received the Leading Trainer Award, donated by Mr. Hugh J. B. Cassiday III. Hagman also credits all those who work at Elvenstar, including those not pictured in the presentation photo below, Kay Altheuser and Rachel Mahowald.
Reserve champion Jayme Omand topped the flat phase and recovered from challenges with the gymnastics exercises to finish in the top four. The 21-year-old credited her lifelong trainer Kelly Van Vleck for preparing her and her relatively inexperienced jumper, Zador, specifically for the USEF Talent Search. Schooling courses with S-tracks and striding options were the substance of their summer and it paid off. Regularly riding unfamiliar horses as a member of the Texas Christian University NCAA Equestrian Team was a big help in the horse-swapping final round.
The youngest of the final four riders by several years, 15-year-old Emma Catherine Reichow had never competed in this final and came into the competition with no expectations. She felt her spot as an alternate for the Zone 10 North American Junior Young Rider Championships and its difficult courses helped prepare her for this event. A student of Harley and Olivia Brown, Reichow likened the USEF Talent Search to the NAJYRC Championships because “you need to be consistent and get the job done.”
Both Reichow and fourth-place finisher Natalie Dean have aspirations to represent the United States in international jumping. Dean trains with Butch, Lu and Guy Thomas of Willow Tree.
U.S. Show Jumping Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer commented that riders ought to target the USEF Talent Search early in the year and tailor their practice and show schedule to prepare for its unique tests. She emphasized that the program is a prestigious step in the pathway of the sport’s young athlete development program.
The format of the Talent Search has evolved considerably since it originated in the 1950s, but it has always been a method for identifying and helping prepare young riders aspiring to represent the U.S. in international jumping competition. McLain Ward (1990), Lauren Hough (1994) and California-born German rider Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (1986) are among the Talent Search winners who went on to become show jumping Olympians. Several winners of the West Finals are major players on the Grand Prix circuit, Joie Gatlin (1982), Richard Spooner (1988), Kirsten Coe (1996) and Kasey Ament (2004) among them.
“It really gave me a leg up in my career,” said Dignelli, as it put him on a track to his current role as one of the country’s top hunter/jumper trainers.
New York, NY – September 21, 2017 – The second day of the 2017 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS) featured international and national show jumping competition, showcasing top equestrians from around the world on Thursday, September 21, in the heart of New York City’s Wollman Rink.
The evening was presented by CSX, highlighting the $40,000 U.S. Open CSX FEI Speed Class, which saw a win for Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V, as they opened elite show jumping competition for the week. The evening’s competition also featured the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance, which saw Emanuel Andrade (VEN), Kama Godek (USA), and Todd Minikus (USA) split the victory three ways after each cleared the traditional brick wall at a height of 6’9″ inches. The $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Class was topped by Mimi Gochman of New York, NY aboard Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s entry, Avoloma BH.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA), course designer of the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, returns to Wollman Rink as the show jumping course designer for this week’s national and international competition. The U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class saw 30 horse and rider combinations take to Wollman Rink for their first night of competition, including some of the world’s very best, highlighting rounds by Kent Farrington (USA), and McLain Ward (USA), alongside rising talent Lucy Deslauriers (USA), who finished in a competitive fifth place.
The winner of the U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed Class, Hardin Towell (USA), guided Evergate Stables’ Lucifer V, a 2006 Westphalian gelding (Lord Pezi x Grandina), improving upon the pair’s third place finish last year and crossing through the timers in 53.53 seconds. Towell was the last entry on course and ultimately overtook Daniel Bluman (ISR) aboard Bacara D’Archonfosse, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare (Asca Z x Queen D’Archonfosse) owned by Kim Douglas and Alexa Schwitzer, who stopped the clocks in 55.75 seconds. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Bijous Van De Vijfheide) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, rounded out the competition in third place, finishing in 55.98, adding four faults to their converted time.
“I felt the course was nice. It had a twisty turning start, but it wasn’t so big and my horse has been jumping big classes all year,” he said. “Tonight was a very competitive class, but I had a lot of confidence in my horse, so I took some shots and it was fantastic. I felt he was pretty quick to the second to last jump, and I thought my turns were nice. Last week at Gold Cup I only got third, but I didn’t trust my horse or myself through the first line and in the second line I had the third jump down. I would’ve ended up third even if I’d gone clean, so today I decided to believe in my horse. I felt fast today and I knew it was quite good.”
Towell and Lucifer V have been partnered together for several year and amassed top finishes around the globe in international competition. The pair has excelled during the summer season and Towell felt that the size and structure of the ring helped the duo secure the win and spoke to the versatility of Lucifer V.
“He’s a very diverse horse. In big fields like Spruce Meadows, he’s also great. He doesn’t have the biggest stride, so in an arena like this it’s even better because he’s quicker in the turns, but this is quite a good ring. I’d also like to add that Daniel is one of my very close friends and we’re very competitive, so it’s always fun to win, but to beat one of your friends is even better,” laughed Towell. “I’m not going to lie, the reason I really tried was because Daniel was winning, and he’s won enough the past couple of weeks.”
Bluman is also coming off of a very successful European tour, like his friend Hardin Towell, and was pleased with Bacara D’Archonfosse and her performance, as they look towards the $216,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* presented by Rolex.
“The mare jumped really well again tonight. We’ve been jumping great the past few shows and winning some classes. I walked the course and like Hardin said it wasn’t too big,” he explained. “I got to see Kristen [Vanderveen] go after me and she had a beautiful round and was super-fast. At that point I figured Hardin would get me at the end. He’s a competitive guy. We work together and grew up together, and I knew he was going to try and he got me, so I’m happy for the second place, happy for him, and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Bluman explained that though the mare is a serious competitor in the competition arena, she’s extremely relaxed outside of the ring. He commented, “Hardin and I were joking in the warm-up that if she were a horse used for transportation two hundred years ago, it wouldn’t do. She doesn’t want to work because she’s so relaxed. It took her twice the amount of time to get from stabling to the ring than any other horse, but she goes in the ring and she knows what she has to do. She’s a competitor and she likes to win. She allows me to do my job. She’s really fantastic horse who always wants to jump clear.”
Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili were incredibly close to stealing the win in Wollman Rink and used the tight course to their advantage, posting the third fastest time despite knocking the first rail at the one-stride combination.
“He is super-fast and the small ring here actually plays to his advantage because he’s really quick on the turns. I felt that we were very tight everywhere and he ended up catching me off guard by the end of the course. He was so ready for the turns that I cut him a little too aggressively at the combination and it caught up with me,” she explained. “But I was very pleased with him tonight. He’s so rideable for me. He’s listening all the time and asks where I want to go, and that really helps in a ring of this size, and with his size as well. He’s right where I want him.”
Emanuel Andrade, Kama Godek, and Todd Minikus Split Top Honors in U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance
The evening’s competition concluded with the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance, which saw a three-way tie between Emanuel Andrade (VEN) aboard Clouwni, a 2003 Holsteiner gelding (Colman x Odessa XVII) owned by Andrade, Kama Godek (USA) and her own De Grande, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Verdi x Concorde), and Todd Minikus (USA) piloting VDL Excel, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Douglas and owned by Autumn View Farm.
The class boasted five entries that began the competition at a wall height of 5’3″. All five entries contested a height of 6’9″, before Andrew Kocher (USA), and Paul O’Shea (IRL) were eliminated in the fourth and final round of competition.
“I started to train last year and I had an equitation horse,” smiled Godek. “I got an email asking if anyone wanted to do the Puissance at Central Park and I mean say no more! I had another client riding this horse in the 3’6″ Equitation and I knew he jumped big. I practiced a couple of times last year and we came back to win this year!”
Emanuel Andrade, a notable name on both the national and international show jumping circuits, contested his first Puissance class under the lights aboard his own Clouwni, ultimately clearing the massive wall set at 6’9″.
“This was my first Puissance and it was very exciting. It was impressive the first time I jumped that wall, but after that I started getting confident and it got much better. It was huge! I’m very happy about it,” he said. “I’m very happy about the group of horses that went this year. They were all so good.”
Veteran of the group, Todd Minikus, guided a young talent in his string in the class, also clearing the impressive wall at its top height. At only eight-years-old, VDL Excel looks to be a strong contender for the future and Minikus commented on the experience for both horse and rider under the lights in Central Park, while thanking class sponsor Spy Coast Farm for the opportunity.
“I’d like to thank Spy Coast Farm for sponsoring this. We all really appreciate it and the crowd seems to really appreciate it,” said Minikus. “I rode a young horse tonight. We just started doing some smaller grand prix and this is great for giving the horses experience under the lights.”
The revival of the Puissance in New York City was sparked by the once popular National Horse Show hosted at Madison Square Garden for many years. Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group (IEG), felt it was necessary to keep the tradition alive in Central Park, once again bringing the entertaining brick wall back to the iconic city.
“The National Horse Show used to be here and no one can replace that show, but we are hoping in time we can bring that type of energy with us to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show,” he commented. “This is the opportunity to do that, so last year we decided to add the Puissance class. It’s a great thing to have in this sport. It engages the crowd and gives people something to root for that they understand. It’s simple, if you leave the wall up, you move on to the next round.”
Spy Coast Farm, a sport horse breeding and training operation based in both Lexington, KY, and Wellington, FL, was a first year sponsor of the U.S. Open $50,000 Puissance class and Lisa Lourie of Spy Coast Farm was on hand to discuss their participation in the event this year and discuss her love for Puissance, which was sparked by watching the entertaining class at the Dublin Horse Show each summer.
“I was so happy that we got this group of riders this year and we were so thrilled that they all came out. That’s what the Puissance is all about. If you don’t have good riders and good horses, then the class falls flat. We had the right group tonight, and that’s what it comes down too,” she said. “I called Mark after watching the Puissance at the Dublin Horse Show and told him that I was in for Central Park because it’s such a fantastic class.”
Mimi Gochman and Avoloma BH Ride to Win in $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Jumper Speed Class
The night commenced with the $5,000 1.20m Junior/Amateur Speed Class, which awarded a victory for New York City’s own Mimi Gochman, piloting her new mount, Avoloma BH, a 2005 Dutch Warmblood mare (Quasimodo Z x Voloma) owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC.
“I used to have parties in Wollman Rink for my birthday,” commented Gochman. “It’s amazing to see the transformation from an ice skating arena to an amazing show with a beautiful backdrop. It’s such a privilege to be able to show in the middle of New York City. Central Park has always been a fun place to hang out, but I never imagined I’d be riding in a horse show here.”
Of her round, Gochman said, “It was a nice course. It was a little complicated with the angles but our trainer really helped. She told us where to go and set us up for the best possible route, so that was very helpful. She’s a new mare for me, and we’ve had a lot of success so far. I’m really starting to figure out what she likes and doesn’t like. She’s game for anything and she always tries to jump her best. She’s just a really good mare.”
Gochman completed the track in 52.97 seconds, almost three full seconds ahead of the second position finisher, Alexandra Crown, also of New York, NY, who rode her own Quentucky Jolly, a 2004 Selle Francais gelding (Nirvan V x Fabiola Depinette), to second place on 55.82 seconds.
“I got this horse in the middle of July,” said Crown, “We’ve only gone to about five shows together or so. He’s incredibly competitive and he’s very good at venues like this. He’s comfortable with the tight rings. This worked out in his favor, but we still couldn’t beat Mimi. That was fast! We gave it a go and he was fantastic, so I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
The class continued with an impressive New York native streak as Sophie Gochman took the third place slot aboard Wirina, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harlem x Sarina) also owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, after finishing the course in 55.87 seconds.
“I’ve been competing against Mimi for basically my entire life,” commented the eldest Gochman sister. “This doesn’t really change anything. I’m always rooting for her and she’s always routing for me. Tonight I was just taking one for the team. Whoever wins, it’s still good because go team Baxter Hill!”
Devin Ryan entered the jump-off for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York with an eight-year-old rookie and left with a World Cup qualifier Champion.
Devin Ryan (USA) and LL Show Jumper’s Eddie Blue topped a five horse jump off at Old Salem Farm (NY) to claim the blue ribbon and the first World Cup qualifier victory of their respective careers. They did so by defeating reigning World Cup Final Champion McLain Ward (USA) and new mount HH Callas, the only other pair to put forth a double clear performance on the day. Jack Towell (USA) and Lucifer V finished third.
“I knew going into it that I had a great horse, and I knew that there was a great field out there. I was the least experienced of the jump-off riders out there, and I’ve been watching them all year. I went out there and rode my plan.” — Devin Ryan (USA)
Ryan began the North American League at Bromont aboard the 10-year-old Cooper, but he saw New York as the ideal place to test his younger mount in tougher waters, a decision for which he was rewarded. Eddie Blue excelled over the testing track set by course designer Alan Wade (IRL); less than 13 percent of the 39 competitors advanced to the shortened course.
“I’ve slowly brought him along throughout the season and used him as second horse in ranking classes,” Ryan explained. “I built him up, and he’s been going so strong. A field like this suits him with his brig stride and big scope, and it gives us time to organize. The field fits the horse, and I thought it was a great place to step up and see what he brought.”
Ryan plans to compete in the next World Cup qualifier on the east coast sub league, which will take place in Washington, D.C. (USA) on Saturday 28 October 2017. The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League resumes with the west coast sub league at Sacramento (USA) on Saturday 7 October 2017.
New York, NY – September 14, 2017 – The U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance will return to Central Park for the second consecutive year, showcasing the courage and finessed communication between participating horse and rider combinations. Always a spectator favorite, the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance will begin after the conclusion of the U.S. Open $40,000 CSX FEI Speed on Thursday, September 21, and is set to start at 9:00 p.m. in Wollman Rink.
The competition will begin with a traditionally decorated brick-wall obstacle set at 4 feet, 6 inches high. As combinations clear the jump, the wall is raised for reach round and the thrilling competition continues until only a single combination remains. Who will clear the towering wall as it grows taller and taller? Join us and find out!
Last year’s competition saw a tie for McLain Ward riding Evergate Stables’ ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z and Andrew Kocher aboard Eagle Valley Partners’ C’Havinia. Seven entries started over the imposing Puissance wall and the competition continued up through four more rounds as Ward and Kocher jumped head-to-head at the final height of 6’9″. Neither rider was able to clear the wall at that height, leaving them tied for the win.
Ward entered 2016’s competition at the last minute, though he’s no stranger to Puissance competitions. In fact, he has won many (including seven times at the Washington International Horse Show), and noted that the highest he has cleared is a staggering 7’3″.
“I also attempted to jump an 8-foot wall six different times, but never cleared it. I have no intention of doing that again!” Ward laughed. “2016 was interesting though, because I thought in the second to last round my horse jumped it better, and I thought in the last round Andy’s horse jumped it better. So it was pretty even at the end. I thought it was a nice, exciting class with horses jumping very well.”
Kocher was a first-year competitor at the RCPHS last year, and he had only attempted the Puissance a few times prior. “That mare (C’Havinia) has never done anything like that,” he said. “I have done the Puissance three times at the Washington International Horse Show, and the first time was really bad, but this time I have been practicing for a few weeks. I didn’t have a big enough wall, so I put some hay bales in there to stack it up. It was fun,” he laughed.
Kocher is excited to return to this year’s competition, and commented, “I really like the Central Park Horse Show. It’s just really exciting because it’s right in the middle of New York City, and they have a big crowd. I love the Puissance and I love the high jump. It’s one of my favorite classes and I wish they had it at more horse shows.” He added, “These classes really highlight everything we are supposed to be. We are supposed to be fearless and tough, we have to go out there and go for it.”
Regarding the addition of the Puissance competition to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in 2016, Ward added, “It is a fun way to end the evening. It gets everybody into the competition, and I think the draw of this class is that it is something that everybody can easily understand-how high can you jump?”
A portion of ticket sales will benefit a lengthy list of New York, as well as equestrian based, charities.
Seating is limited and the demand for tickets is expected to be high. All seats have unobstructed views. All ticket sales are final, non-transferable; no refunds and no exchanges. Gates open 30 minutes prior to start of event.
For Reserved Seating questions, please contact 1-844-319-CPHS (2747) or email email@example.com.