Tag Archives: T. J. O’Mara

T. J. O’Mara Wins Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show

T. J. O’Mara riding Kaskade (©Al Cook – alcookphoto.com)

Harrisburg, Pa. – T. J. O’Mara was in disbelief after taking top honors in the Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final presented by Randolph College, at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund. Just one week earlier, the 17-year-old Rumson, N.J. resident won the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East.

“It is a little unbelievable; last weekend really hasn’t sunk in and the fact that it happened again today is unbelievable,” said O’Mara. “I am in shock right now. I never expected this to happen. My goal was just to be in the test. I would have been happy with a top four ribbon and I just can’t believe it right now.”

Annabel Revers of Weston, Mass. jumped from 13th place after the first round to the runner-up spot and McKayla Langmeier, East Granby, Conn., was third.

Following a preliminary round of 276 riders, the top 25 were called back for the second round, which was whittled down to an additional test for the top four. Revers placed fourth, Taylor St. Jacques was called back third, O’Mara was second, and McKayla Langmeier was the rider to beat.

The final test required riders to complete a course of six jumps including a roll back from the second fence, counter canters at the third and fourth fences and a hand gallop to the final fence. The counter canters proved to be the deciding factor. Riding in reverse order of merit, Revers was the pathfinder and chose to do a simple change for the counter canter.

“I was hoping to land both leads on the counter canter, but that didn’t work out for the first one so I had to do a simple change, which was fine,” said Revers. “This was a really exciting day for me because coming here I was definitely not expecting to be second. I’ve never even gotten a ribbon at a major equitation final. Today was really my day.”

O’Mara turned in two flawless flying changes on Kaskade. “My mare is just incredible at doing flying changes,” said O’Mara. “I was expecting her to land right at the first counter canter but when that didn’t happen I had to switch gears and focus on the next part of the test and completing the test.”

Langmeier ran into a bit of trouble with her second change, which, according to judges Jimmy Torano and Marylisa Leffler, cost her the championship.

“McKayla came in on top and even when she did the first simple change, she played it safe, which was a smart thing to do because she was winning the class,” said Torano. “Then for one second she maybe let up and it cost her, but she still rode great.”

O’Mara is trained by Stacia Madden and Max Amaya. He will have his name added to the Adrian Van Sinderen Memorial Perpetual Trophy, not far from his sister Meg, who won the Medal Final in 2012.

One additional award was given out on Sunday. Charisma, owned by Heritage Farms, LLC and ridden by Taylor St. Jacques, won the Doris H. Clark Memorial Perpetual Trophy as Best Equitation Horse.

Top Ten Results:
1. T. J. O’Mara, Rumson, N.J.
2. Anabel Revers, Weston, Mass.
3. McKayla Langmeier, East Granby, Conn.
4. Taylor St. Jacques, Glen Allen, Va.
5. Emma Kurtz, Hudson, Ohio
6. Sydney Hutchins, Westlake Village, Calif.
7. Lucy Deslauriers, New York, N.Y.
8. Madison Goetzmann, Skaneateles, N.Y.
9. Katherine Strauss, Southampton, N.Y.
10. Louisa Brackett, Grayslake, Ill.

Watch competition highlights on demand at USEFNetwork.com.

Classic Communications for the USEF

T. J. O’Mara Comes from Behind to Win USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East

T. J. O’Mara and Kaskade (The Book LLC)

Gladstone, N.J. – The 2016 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East came to close on Sunday following four phases of intense competition amongst the field of 57 top young riders. Beginning Saturday with Phases I and II, the field was then narrowed down on Sunday following Phase III to the final four who performed over a shortened course on their own horse, as well as the horses of the other finalists. T. J. O’Mara was ultimately crowned the 2016 champion. Riding Kaskade, O’Mara sat in fifth place overall after day one, but impressed judges Kristen Coe and Karen Healey in Sunday’s Phases III and IV with impeccable performances over the challenging courses.

Competition commenced Saturday morning with Phase I, the flat phase, where riders entered the ring in small groups to demonstrate their aptitude for executing the questions asked by the judges. Riders worked their horses at all gaits, showing collection and extension, and movements such as haunches-in, shoulder-in, and a halt and rein back. Daisy Farish (Lexington, Ky.) made a strong impression early on aboard Nathalie De Gunzburg’s Ganjana, winning the phase with a score of 92. McKayla Langmeier (East Grandby, Conn.) was not far behind in second on a score of 90, while Taylor St. Jacques (Glenn Allen, Va.) rounded out the top three on an 89. O’Mara (Rumson, N.J.) and Walstib Stables LLC’s Kaskade earned a score of 86 and putting them in 11th on the leaderboard.

For Phase II, judges Coe and Healy opted to include three of eleven gymnastic exercises developed by Beezie Madden and Anthony D’Ambrosio, which were published and released to qualified riders and trainers over the summer. D’Ambrosio was present as Technical Delegate to set the courses to the correct specifications, a role he also fulfilled at the West Coast Final where Peyton Warren was the Champion in September.

As in the West Final, the Phase II course included a vertical-vertical combination in a line with an oxer-oxer combination, jumped in both directions. Coming off the right lead, judges asked for a forward five strides between the combinations and returning over the line off the left lead, to steady the horse for six strides. Vivian Yowan (Lexington, Ky.) riding McLain Ward’s Clearline topped Phase II with a beautifully executed round that scored 93, moving her up from eighth to second overall going into day two. Farish placed second in the phase, matching her flat score of 92, to continue to lead the field overall. Langmeier moved into third overall with a Phase II score of 90.75. On the strength of a 91.50 score, O’Mara began his ascension up the leaderboard, landing in fifth at the end of day one.

Phase III asked a number of questions of the riders throughout the 12-obstacle track again  designed by the judges and built by D’Ambrosio, that included three one-stride double-combinations. The course was demanding from the start, beginning over a triple-bar set at the end of the arena, requiring riders to approach off the turn. Fences eight, nine, and ten, a wall to an oxer to a single, were off-set on a serpentine, necessitating thoughtful and careful riding before the last line that included an oxer to a double-combination over liverpools. O’Mara took the narrow win with a fluid and smart ride over the track that was rewarded with a score of 92. With excellent performances from all the riders at the top of the leaderboard the scores were very close. Yowan finished second on 91.50, Sophie Simpson (Wellington, Fla.) moved into a coveted finalist position with a score of 91 aboard Ashland Farms’ Breckenridge, and Farish rounded out the top four with 90.50.

Daisy Farish and Ganjana (The Book LLC)
Daisy Farish and Ganjana (The Book LLC)

Featuring the top four riders on the overall leaderboard following three phases, Phase IV tested the riders’ abilities to catch ride three different horses over a nine-effort track. In round one of the ride-off, the riders presented their own horses over the winding course. Farish maintained her three-phase lead going into the final event, but all four finalists started equal in Phase IV where she ran into trouble in rounds one, two, and four. Following a costly refusal at fence four aboard her original mount Ganjana in round one, she dropped rails on Yowan and Simpson’s mounts, leaving the door open for the other three finalists who rose brilliantly to the occasion. O’Mara rode with quiet confidence aboard each horse, executing near foot-perfect courses to secure the Championship title with a score of 355. Like O’Mara, Simpson went from strength-to-strength throughout the weekend, climbing the leaderboard from an eighth place finish in Phase I to Reserve Champion. In Phase IV, Simpson earned the two highest scores, earning a 92 aboard both her own horse and O’Mara’s Kaskade. Yowan placed third and Farish finished in fourth.

Speaking to the difficulty of the final phase, O’Mara, who finished fourth in the 2015 Final, said, “It’s hard because you really have to show who you are as a rider. I hadn’t seen the [other three] horses go and didn’t really have an idea of how they would ride so I had to have confidence in myself as a rider. I knew I could focus and put in a good ride regardless of the horse.”

O’Mara was awarded the French Leave Memorial Perpetual Trophy donated by the Gerald A. Nielsen Family. He also received an engraved iPad mini from Platinum Performance. Max Amaya and Stacia Madden, who train O’Mara, took home the Leading Trainer(s) Award, donated by the late Mr. Hugh J. B. Cassidy, III. The Grappa Trophy, donated by Sarah Willeman, was awarded to McLain Ward’s Clearline, Yowan’s entry, whom the judges chose as the best horse of the competition.

Complete Results

Prior to the start of Phase IV, USEF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals were awarded in recognition of wins in Talent Search Classes. Bronze medals are awarded to riders who win at least five classes, Silver to those who win at least 10 classes, and the coveted Gold goes to riders with 20 or more wins.

The medals were awarded as follows:

Gold: Alexandria Desiderio

Silver: Catherine Apostol, Katherine Bundy, and Madison Goetzmann

Bronze: Elizabeth Ekberg, Coco Fath, Carly Hoft, Hayley Mairano, and Taylor St. Jacques

On the West Coast, Ransome Rombauer was awarded a Gold medal.

Learn more about the Talent Search Program

From the USEF Communications Department

Bright Start for T. J. O’Mara in Equitation Divisions at Devon Horse Show

T. J. O’Mara and Kaskade.

Devon, PA – May 26, 2016 – As the sun rose over the Dixon Oval, T. J. O’Mara rode into the ring ready to make the most of his final junior season at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. The rising talent did just that, riding away with his first blue ribbon in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search. O’Mara was also awarded the Honey Craven Perpetual Memorial Trophy for delivering the highest-scoring round in the Talent Search.

“I’ve been coming here since I was 12,” O’Mara said. “I’ve been here for the equitation for many years. I’ve received every other ribbon except for first, so it feels good! That was my goal for this year, and it feels great. Kaskade is really just amazing; I couldn’t have asked for a better horse.”

O’Mara, who trains with Max Amaya, said he began working with the 10-year-old mare in early 2013, making this year the duo’s fourth appearance at Devon.

“I know her temperament pretty well,” O’Mara commented. “She’s normally pretty chill in the ring and tends to build up towards the end of the course. So, I was a little worried about the water, but she was really just amazing. She was a hunter before this, so she has a nice extension.”

The day began with the WIHS Jumper Phase, which was split into three sections. It was Lucy Deslauriers’ score of 94 that took the top spot, while Maya Nayyar’s score of 92 also earned her a blue ribbon. The third blue ribbon was awarded to McKayla Langmeier with a score of 90.

“Skyfall was really great for his first class,” Langmeier said. “He went in there, didn’t spook at anything and went right to it. I really liked the course. For the first course, you never know what you’re going to get. You don’t know if it’s going to be hard, and if the time allowed is going to be really short, but it was nice and inviting.”

The second-place finishers in the WIHS were T. J. O’Mara, Summer Hill and Katherine Bundy, while the third-place ribbons were awarded to Samantha Cohen, Adele McKenna and Daisy Farish.

In the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, which was split into two sections, Lucy Deslauriers joined O’Mara as the second winner.

“I had just come from doing the [WIHS] jumper phase, and I knew Class Action was going well today,” Deslauriers said. “Everything was going according to plan, so I just tried to ride the plan. I had to take care of the time and the jumps are a little bigger, but I felt pretty confident going in. It was a good first course to start the weekend. I usually ride Class Action in both the Washington and USEF, so I knew going in that he knew his job.”

Deslauriers, who trains with Stacia Madden, said she has been riding the 17-year-old gelding, Class Action, for two years.

“He’s a veteran,” Deslauriers added. “He’s been coming to this show for a number of years, so he knows his job. As long as I don’t get in his way, he rides according to plan.”

The second-place spots in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search went to Carly Hoft and McKayla Langmeier, with Madison Goetzmann and Daisy Farish taking home thirds.

“They stepped it up for the USEF,” Langmeier commented. “But I know Skyfall pretty well, like the back of my hand. He’s a pretty special horse to me. He’s won all over. I always know going into the ring that he’s going to be there and try to win.”

As the day continued with the Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal, which was also divided into three sections, Daisy Farish, Madison Goetzmann and Katherine Bundy took home the top honors. Second place went to Samantha Cohen, Lucy Deslauriers and McKayla Langmeier, with third place going to Taylor St. Jacques, Emma Kurtz and Ellyn Fritz.

Thursday’s winners will continue on to compete for the R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship High Point Award on Friday morning, which, for the first time, will awarded by class results instead of on a point basis.

O’Mara, whose sisters have each missed claiming the Ronnie Mutch High Point Award by one point, said he is looking forward to competing in the class for the honor.

“Meg and Abbey say they would’ve won it if it was a class, and now it is,” O’Mara commented. “I hope I win, but I know there is going to be a bunch of great riders in there, mostly from my barn. Hopefully it’ll be friendly competition. I’m excited to see what happens.”

Regardless of the results, the riders and horses alike are glad to be back at Devon.

“This is such a fun show,” Deslauriers said. “I’ve been coming here since I was doing the medium ponies. So, everyone knows what to expect. The fair, the fudge, the tea sandwiches – everything about it is so much fun. I’m really excited to be back.”

The equitation will conclude on Friday with the R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship class and resulting High Point Award. Highlight events during the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will include the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*.

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is the longest running and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. With the grandeur of Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line setting the stage, the event features a world-class field that annually ranks among the most prominent internationally. The event also includes the Country Fair that offers world-class shopping, rides and games for kids, multiple dining options and special entertainment events.

Brian Moggre and MTM Flutterby Master Junior Jumper Welcome Speed

For many riders, competing at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is at the top of their list of goals – winning is just icing on the cake. For Brian Moggre, his first trip to Devon is proving to be a dream come true. Qualifying for the Junior Jumper division after a successful winter season at HITS Ocala, he and his 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding MTM Flutterby showcased their skills with a win in the $3,750 Junior Jumper Speed Stake.

The first event in the Junior Jumper Championship, 26 of the top horse and rider combinations in the country competed in front of the opening day crowd at the Dixon Oval. Giavanna Rinaldi and Dulf Van Den Bisschop set the pace to beat as the first to cross the finish line in under 60 seconds, breaking the beam at 55.355 seconds with all the rails intact.

Katherine Strauss tried to catch the time set by Rinaldi with her mount All In, but was a few seconds shy with a clear time of 59.062 seconds, which would be good enough for fourth place. Eve Jobs slipped ahead of Strauss, piloting Sandor de la Pomme to a faultless effort in 58.659 seconds for third place. Only one rider was able to best Rinaldi – her friend Brian Moggre.

Brian Moggre and MTM Flutterby
Brian Moggre and MTM Flutterby

Moggre and MTM Flutterby picked up a fast gallop to the first fence and never let off the gas. Carefully clearing all of the fences, they dashed across the finish line in 55.355 seconds, just 5/10ths of a second faster to take over the top spot and lead the lap of honor at the end of the night.

“I made up time in the air,” explained Moggre. “Gia’s horse just jumps more lofty in the air, but we rode similar tracks. My horse is a little closer to the jumps and doesn’t jump as high. She’s not as lofty in the air, and I think that’s what made the difference between the two.”

Moggre has been riding MTM Flutterby for just over a year, and the horse has proven to be much more than he imagined. “She’s not what we expected,” he admitted. “She was a diamond in the rough. We were expecting to buy her and make her an investment horse and sell her later on, but I was like ‘No. I’m keeping this one!'”

The decision certainly paid off. The chestnut Thoroughbred is currently leading the nation in the High Junior Jumper standings, and now has secured Moggre his first victory at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.

“She’s a very uphill, hot kind of ride,” noted Moggre. “You have to be really cold. If you’re a rider that gets tense and crazy, you’re not right for her. If you put crazy with crazy, it’s uncontrollable. She’s just awesome and so cool.”

Moggre concluded, “It’s pretty awesome to win the first Junior Jumper class. It’s such a cool horse show and it’s awesome to be here, especially to win. I’m star struck!”

The Junior Jumpers will compete again on Friday, and the champion will be crowned after Saturday night’s $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic. Junior riders will take center stage throughout the weekend, competing in the Junior and Pony Hunters, as well as the R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship.

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T. J. O’Mara Wins Ninth Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship

T. J. O’Mara and Kaskade. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Darragh Kenny Claims $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic with Chanel

Wellington, FL – March 25, 2016 – Week eleven of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Friday with a win for T. J. O’Mara riding Kaskade in the Ninth Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship and victory for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Chanel in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic.

WEF 11 features CSI 4* rated jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter competition running March 23-27, 2016, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Saturday highlights the $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, presented by Equiline, on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC beginning at 11:00 a.m. with a brunch hosted by Equiline in the Tiki Hut at The Stadium beginning at 10:30 a.m. The $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* will be the feature event in the International Ring on the main show grounds on Saturday evening beginning at 7:45 p.m.

Competition concludes on Sunday with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic also held on the derby field at The Stadium beginning at 11:30 a.m. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.

The Ninth Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship was held in three rounds with 35 riders competing in round one. The top 15 returned for round two, and the top four rode for additional testing in round three to determine final placings. Course walk plans and schooling were the sole responsibility of the riders as competitors were allowed no contact with their trainers during the class, turned in their cell phones before the start of the class, and were responsible for time management, warm up, and schooling of their own horses with the assistance of one groom.

Bobby Murphy designed the course, in conjunction with the judges. The riders were judged by two panels and also received a score in the schooling area after the first and second rounds. Judging Panel 1 included Jimmy Torano and Candice King; Panel 2 included Bobby Braswell and Chris Kappler, with Karen Golding as the Schooling Ring Judge.

T. J. O’Mara led through both rounds to make it to the final four and come out on top riding Kaskade, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. The rider earned the high score of 91.5 in round one and returned for round two to score a 92. His two round total of 183.5 combined with an excellent test in the final four put the rider in first place overall.

McKayla Langmeier finished second riding Eclipse with scores of 91 and 83.75 for a 174.75 heading into the final four, and a bold test that was rewarded in the work-off. Sophie Michaels rode Acortair to third place honors, and Ava Stearns finished fourth aboard Micah.

Judge Jimmy Torano spoke about the class and what went into the final decision on the top four placings.

“I think it is a great class. This is the ninth year, and I think I have judged it seven times,” Torano noted. “I love judging these championship classes, and I think the format really makes the kids think for themselves. It is at the end of the circuit, and you are seeing the top riders. Especially when you got to the second round, and then you saw the top four work off, it was really some top riding from the kids.

“Obviously T. J. and McKayla are outstanding,” Torano continued. “They are both going to ride on the team, and they are both going to go anywhere they want to go in the future. Unfortunately for McKayla, that horse clobbered one jump in the second round. In my mind I said 89, take off the four points for the rail and give her an 85. I think they [judged] her a little harder on the other judging panel. T. J.’s rounds were good, time and time again. He came in and nailed it in the first round. He led for both rounds, and to be honest, he would have had to really flub up in the test not to win it. McKayla came in and knew that the first two riders did not really hand gallop, so she really got our attention. She hooked the corner and turned and went for it, and that horse landed and was at a standstill. T. J. I would say did not gallop as strong as she did, but he did not really need to. He was far enough ahead.”

Commenting on his win, O’Mara stated, “It feels great. This is my third year doing the class and I have slowly moved up the ranks, so I am really happy. My horse felt great today, and I could not have asked for better rounds.

“The first round, me and my barnmates were not really sure what we should do,” O’Mara admitted. “We were originally planning on going around and just catching a nice second jump, but as the class went on, more and more people started doing the inside turn, so we thought that in order to stay with the competition we needed to step it up a little bit. I thought the gymnastic was very steady, and it really tested the rider’s ability to stay collected and maintain the position while keeping impulsion at the same time.”

O’Mara continued, “The second round was a little confusing for some riders on what to do in strides. The beginning of the class we saw some doing six strides in the one line, but with my horse I was worried about her swapping off to the left at that vertical, so I opted to go around and do a steady seven to get straight and soft to the inside. We were also thinking to go inside at that vertical after the triple bar, but we thought it looked better going around and catching a flow to the oxer.”

Without trainers to tell the riders what to do, they had to work together to come up with a solid plan.

“We really focused on teamwork in this,” O’Mara detailed. “As each person was going, one of us was at the in-gate telling them the new plan and giving them helpful hints. In the course walk, we really collaborated on what we should do for each line and what we should do as an entrance. I felt bad at the beginning of the class because the riders in my barn were a little unsure what to do and I was not really sure myself, so I really just told them to go with their gut and see what their horse was best at, and most of them did.”

Speaking of his mount, Kaskade, O’Mara stated, “I have had her since 2013. She has really just become my horse of a lifetime. We have really bonded together, and we have a great connection. She was amazing through all of these rounds. She listened to every single thing I asked her to do. She really was amazing and I could not have asked for her to be better.”

Langmeier also worked together with her barn mates, and although she had a rail in the second round, she finished out strong in the work-off and was happy with her mount, Eclipse.

“It is nice having a team to walk the course with you with all of the other juniors that qualified from your barn,” Langmeier noted. “It is like having multiple trainers with you.

“I liked my first round,” she said. “I really liked my second round besides the rail; I kind of let him shift in too much. I could have done the six strides there in the second round, and I probably should have to avoid the rail. Then in my test, my hand gallop jump was my favorite.”

Speaking of Eclipse, Langmeier detailed, “I have not ridden him that much. I [rode] him at Medal Finals and WIHS Finals. I showed him last week in one class and then this week. He is somewhat newer, but I have had multiple lessons on him.”

Along with the top prizes, several other awards were presented at the end of the evening. Sophie Michaels’ mount, Acortair, was named Best Turned Out Horse by the judges and her groom, Moses Hernandez, received a special prize to acknowledge his hard work. O’Mara’s mount, Kaskade, also received the award for Best Equitation Horse. Stacia Madden and Krista Freundlich received awards as the trainers of the winning rider. Special awards were also presented to the families of the champion and reserve champion, and the top eight trainers received prize money.

Darragh Kenny Claims $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic with Chanel

Darragh Kenny (IRL) continued his recent string of successes at the Winter Equestrian Festival on Friday with a win in the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic aboard Chanel for owner Kerry Ann, LLC.

Darragh Kenny and Chanel
Darragh Kenny and Chanel

The pair bested a field of 59 over a one-round speed track built by course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER). From the 48th position in the order, Kenny and Chanel, an eight-year-old Oldenburg mare (Challan x Lordanos) stopped the clock in 62.43 seconds for the win. Two trips later, Andrew Ramsay (USA) set out to take the lead, but came up nearly two seconds short with a time of 64.88 seconds to settle for second place in the irons of The Doodle Group’s Cocq A Doodle.

Abdel Said (EGY) and California took third in 65.39 seconds for owner American Equestrian Association II, LLC. Conor Swail (IRL) and Cita, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, claimed fourth in 54.50 seconds, while Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock, LLC’s Böchmann’s Lazio rounded out the top five in 65.60 seconds.

With two grand prix wins to his credit and coming off the heels of a victory in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 11 on Thursday, Kenny is pleased with how the 2016 season is shaping up for him and his horses.

“It’s been going really well, and the horses have been great,” he said. “I haven’t rushed at all this circuit, and I never tried to pressure the horses. I have been waiting until they feel like they are ready to do the classes that I want to do well in and it has worked out.”

Kenny got the ride on Chanel in September and has jumped the mare sparingly throughout the winter season with goals to produce it into a young rider mount for Kenny’s student and owner, Kerry McCahill.

“She jumped clear on Wednesday and today she felt like she could go fast, so we did,” said Kenny. “She felt great in the warm-up, and I knew she was jumping well. I was quick to fence one and two and then very tight back to three. I got there deep and she tried really hard, and then kept the pace and felt like she got better and better.”

Week 11 of WEF is the first time Chanel has competed at the FEI level, and while Kenny has worked to perfect the mare’s rideability, he feels she has what it takes to be competitive at the top level.

“She is still young, but she really wants to be careful,” he said. “We bought the mare with the intention of her jumping big classes, and I think she is going to be very good.”

Also competing in the International Ring on Friday, the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m Speed Challenge saw a win for Lucas Porter (USA) and B Once Z, owned by Sleepy P Ranch, LLC.

WEF 11 continues on Saturday with the $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, presented by Equiline, on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC beginning at 11:10 a.m. with a brunch hosted by Equiline in the Tiki Hut at The Stadium beginning at 10:30 a.m. The $130,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* will be the feature event in the International Ring on the main show grounds on Saturday evening beginning at 7:45 p.m. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Lindsay Brock for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

HITS Dishes Out $1.75 Million Dollars and Crowns New Grand Prix, Hunter and Equitation Champions

©ESI Photography. McLain Ward and Antares F capped a banner year with a win in yesterday’s Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix

SAUGERTIES, NY (September 10, 2012) – While the tunes of concert headliner Michael McDonald played in the background, McLain Ward soaked in another Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix victory last night. After riding to a win in the inaugural event in 2010 aboard the famed mare Sapphire, Ward returned to glory, this time in the irons of Grant Road Partners, LLC’s Antares F, who is fresh off the Olympic Games in London.

“With being injured and trying to qualify for the Olympics, our schedule was a little unpredictable this year, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of this class and it was a great thing to aim this horse to at the end of his year,” said Ward. “The jumps were beautiful and the course was hard. You needed a real Olympic caliber horse to jump a lot of those obstacles.”

Ward of Brewster, New York was one of three riders to produce clear rounds over Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s intimidating track. Petersen tested riders with scope, turns, distances and everything in between. The 14-obstacle course offered several options for both approaches and striding, but specifically tested riders at a one-stride to a one-stride triple combination at fence 11. He also included a four-meter wide water element and a long two-stride double combination early in the course.

Continue reading HITS Dishes Out $1.75 Million Dollars and Crowns New Grand Prix, Hunter and Equitation Champions