Tag Archives: Todd Minikus

Todd Minikus and Uraguay Speed to Victory in $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix

Todd Minikus and Uraguay. Photos – © The Book LLC.

North Salem, NY – May 12, 2013 – Todd Minikus and Legacy Stables’ Uraguay won the highlight event of the first week of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by Suncast. They were fastest in the jump-off to beat Darragh Kerins (IRL) on E-Muze Yek and Christine McCrea (USA) with Romantovich Take One. Along with top show jumping, there were Grand Hunter Champions awarded, as well as Classics for the Medium and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. This concluded the first week of competition at Old Salem Farm. Week two runs May 14-19.

There were 47 entries in today’s grand prix and they jumped a course designed by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge. Nine found the way to a clear round to advance to the jump-off.

Minikus said of the course, “The way it was playing out, it was jumping plenty difficult. The triple bar to vertical-vertical combination was tricky. Green horses didn’t jump that that well. There were some unfortunate (rounds for) horses that I expected to go well, an odd four faults here and there. It ended up being enough clear, and ended up being an almost perfect course for the course designer.”

The early pacesetter in the jump-off was Christine McCrea of East Windsor, CT, on Romantovich Take One, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables. They won Friday’s Welcome Stake and set a very fast pace of 39.06 seconds that would hold up for third place in today’s class.

Three horses later it was Minikus and Uraguay, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino, who were speedy through the first part of the jump-off, but it was a long run across the field to the Suncast oxer that had the crowd holding their breath. Uraguay gave a great effort, made two more rollbacks, and galloped to the final oxer to stop the timers in 37.36 seconds for the win.

“Boy, he sure gave some good efforts today,” Minikus said with a smile. “That was lightning fast in the jump-off. He was really fast.”

Minikus said he watched McCrea in the jump-off. “For sure with that horse, she’s always very fast,” he acknowledged. “She blistered the course the other day. I legitimately thought that maybe we were all going for the red ribbon and Chris might have closed the door on us. But I took a pretty good chance and long run to the Suncast jump, and I think that’s where the difference was.”

Following Minikus, Leslie Howard and Tic Tac, owned by Jane Clark, were clear in 40.33 seconds for fourth place.

Darragh Kerins and E-Muze Yek, owned by Kerins and Maarten Huygens, were the only others to contest Minikus’ time. Another big grey gelding like Uraguay, E-Muze Yek thundered around the course but couldn’t quite catch the time. Their time of 38.87 seconds was fast enough for second place, the same red ribbon that they received in Friday’s Welcome Stake.

Kerins said afterward, “I just didn’t know how he would handle it after going so quick on Friday, if he was just going to be a little bit rushed today. I thought he handled it very good. The jump-off today was just crazy fast. I saw Chrissy go on the screen and I thought she was unbeatable. It was just so, so, so quick. I didn’t get to see Todd’s round; I just saw his time. After that I didn’t know what to think. But I thought the horse was going good and I was going to give it a shot. That’s probably about as fast as I could go, at this stage in his career. But I’m delighted with him.”

Kerins has ridden the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by For Pleasure x Carthago off and on since he was imported as a six-year-old by Norman Dello Joio from Belgium. He and Maarten Huygens bought him in the middle of the winter circuit.

“He’s progressed really quickly. We’ve thrown him in there,” he smiled. “In Florida he was good; he placed in a couple 1.50m (classes). My other good mare Lisona got sold, so he really had to step up.”

Kerins added, “Well done to Todd. He had a great round. The numbers are huge and the courses were tough courses. He’ll jump again here next week, have a break, and then go to Spruce Meadows. Actually this was good to see how he’ll handle grass before he goes up there, and he seems to handle it pretty good.”

Minikus started riding Uraguay toward the end of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival after the horse showed successfully in Europe with Dutch rider Albert Zoer and in the United States with Mario Deslauriers.

This was a great win for Minikus, who gave credit to the people around Uraguay. “I’d like to thank everybody at Legacy and Sarah Middleton, who really does all the work. She even flats him before the class. I just get on and ride him in the class, so most of the credit goes to Sarah. And I thank the rest of my sponsors, Purina, Charles Owen, and VitaFlex. Without all of the support and one big team, you can’t do it.”

Minikus was presented with a pewter cheese plate for his win today. Before the grand prix, the smallest riders at the show gathered on the grand prix field for the Dyer Equestrian Leadline class. All of the kids participating were congratulated with blue ribbons and prizes.

Junior/Amateur-Owner Classics

After a week of final exams at Harvard University, Katie Dinan came to Old Salem Farm ready to get back on her horse and in the ring. She and her trusty partner of five years, Vancouver, galloped to victory on the grass Grand Prix Field in the $10,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. She and Vancouver, a 15-year-old gelding by Voltaire II, beat a list of 33 competitors and five in the jump-off after they finished in the fastest time of 41.24 seconds. Second place went to Michael Hughes on Luxina as the only other double clear in 42.76 seconds. Finishing in 39.55 seconds, but with four faults, Lillie Keenan and Vanhattan were third.

Katie Dinan and Vancouver
Katie Dinan and Vancouver

Dinan came in just for today’s class. She explained, “I love this horse show; it’s one of my favorites of all year. When I realized I had exams these two weeks, I was really upset because I always look forward to coming here. My horse felt like he’s jumping the best he has in a while. I think that really speaks about the venue. He’s impressed with this place. To be able to gallop around the big field is really great.”

Dinan showed indoors at the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in Sweden in April, so it took a bit of an adjustment to the big grass field. “I think when the ring is this big, you have to make sure to keep your pace everywhere. When you’re in an indoor, everything comes up much quicker. Here, especially in the first round, you can have time faults without even feeling slow. In the jump-off today, I planned on being very prompt to the first few jumps. There was a little bit of an inside angle that I took to the third oxer. One of the nice things about a big grass field, you have more range of stride. They can really get on a big stride.”

Since he is 15 years old, Dinan is keeping Vancouver’s show schedule light. “It’s nice though that for when he does show, he steps up to the plate like this and to bring home a big win is really fun,” she acknowledged. “This is a great venue for him. I won my first grand prix ever, on him two years ago here. This horse show has always been very special for me.”

She added with a smile, “I didn’t have a Mother’s Day gift, so I was hoping one of my horses could bring one home! Vancouver did that.”

The winner of today’s $7,500 Medium Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic sponsored by The Manocherian Family was 15-year-old Kira Kerkorian of East Hampton, NY. She rode Leopold 221, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding by Lordanos, to the top of the 48-entry class. There were 13 that made it through to the jump-off, and the best pair of Kerkorian and Leopold stopped the timers in 40.703 seconds. Second place went to Taylor Burns on Cordero Zaffiro in 40.840 seconds, while Wesley Newlands and Vertigo were third in 41.198 seconds.

For her win today, Kerkorian was also presented with a $500 Der Dau gift certificate.

It was an auspicious start for Kerkorian and Leopold (right) as it’s their first show together, having only been together for a month. “I’ve been learning him. I just wanted to go clear and have a nice, solid round so I could maybe move up to the Highs later on,” Kerkorian said. “I want to take it slow with him because I want to build a good partnership. I think today was great.”

She said of Leopold, “He’s very fast actually. He pulls me to the jump, which is great, because I like something in my hand. He’s super brave; he just wants to go and win. He has his own motor.”

“It feels amazing,” Kerkorian said of her victory. “I really wasn’t expecting it, but I’m so happy.”

In this morning’s 7/8 Year Old Young Jumper Qualifier sponsored by Watershed Agricultural Council, Jeffery Welles rode Bilion to victory for owner Triton Ventures Farms Inc. Darragh Kenny and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Cequila was second, and Penny Brennan on Class Act, owned by Jacquelyn Ventorino, was third.

Grand Champions Reign in Hunter Divisions

Lillie Keenan and Parkland
Lillie Keenan and Parkland

The Grand Junior Hunter Champion was Parkland, owned by Jennifer Gates and ridden by Lillie Keenan. The pair was champion in the Small Junior Hunters and placed fifth, second, and second over fences and won the under saddle. The reserve champion in the Small Junior Hunter division was Wonderland, ridden by Morgan Ward for John Skinner. Keenan was also named Best Junior Rider on a Horse.

Keenan has been paired with Parkland since the beginning of January and they had incredible success at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Keenan said, “After WEF, where he was really successful consistently, we gave him a little break. He went to South Carolina and had a nice vacation for a few weeks, just to get time away from a show. I think it’s good for them to get away and relax. This was his first show starting up again in the spring. He was fantastic. We did what we always do. He’s not a difficult horse to prepare, and he wants to win.”

One of their wins this week was in the Handy class. Keenen called Parkland “really game” and said that he has learned to be more handy and adjusted to her style. “I like to do tight turns and really gallop at the long approaches, to really test the boundaries,” she explained. “He’s gotten used to me and the way that I like to ride him. He’s really learned to go with it. He’s happy to do whatever I ask him. He’s really good at trot fences too, so it’s nice to have a horse that you can really spin back to that. He’s gotten really handy.”

Keenan plans to show Parkland at the Devon Horse Show. “He is really the kind of horse that you can count on for special events, so hopefully that works out for us. He’s fancy, and everything you’d want in your ride to go to Devon,” she remarked.

The Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division awarded the championship to Catwoman, ridden by Ailish Cunniffe for Missy Clark, and Sophie Michaels and Further Lane Farm’s Mahalo picked up the reserve championship.

Bishonen, ridden by David Oberkircher for Southlands Farms LLC was named champion in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters, while Cameo, ridden by Mallory Edens for Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Caristo, was the reserve champion.

The Grand Pony Hunter Championship went to Isport, ridden by Morgan Ward for Redfield Farm. They won all four over fences classes and were third in the under saddle to win the championship in the Green Pony Hunters. The reserve champion in the division was Pride, ridden and owned by Francesca Dildabanian.

Fifteen-year-old Ward is from Milford, NJ, and started riding Isport this winter when they started the 11-year-old mare in Ocala. Competing in both the Green and Large Pony Hunters, Ward described, “She goes like one of my junior hunters. She’s very scopey and has a big stride. She’s always honest, with whatever you put her at.”

Imported from Europe by Emil Spadone, Isport had not competed in hunter classes before coming to the U.S., but she learned immediately. “She started out like this and she’s never changed. It’s really weird. We never get (horses like) these!” Ward said with a laugh.

Of the grand championship, Ward said, “It’s nice to have. It means a lot to me, especially on a green pony. It’s nice to have that from schooling her all week and it’s proven in the ring.”

The Small Pony Hunter division, sponsored by Gotham North, awarded the championship to Rolling Stone, owned by Further Lane Farm and ridden by Madeline Schaefer, while the reserve champion was Coco Fath and Blueberry Hill, owned by Jordyn Rose Freedman.

Mimi Gochman swept the Medium Pony Hunters with David Gochman’s True Love as champion and Truly Noble, owned by Pegasus Show Stable Inc., as reserve champion. For her great success this weekend, Gochman was named as the Best Junior Rider on a Pony.

In the Large Pony Hunter division, Pride and Francesca Dildabanian picked up their second championship of the week. Daisy Farish and her pony Beau Rivage were reserve champions.

The Grand Children’s Hunter Champion was They Say, ridden and owned by 16-year-old Page Soper of Southport, CT. They were awarded the Hunter Horse Challenge Trophy. The pair was the Children’s Hunter 15-17 champion. The reserve championship went to Qrocus Landais, ridden and owned by Sabrina Kalimian.

Soper and They Say won all three classes in their division along with the Marshall & Sterling Children’s Hunter Classic. Coming into the second round, they were leading the class. “I was a little nervous, but I knew I could trust him,” Soper said.

They have been together for a year and have competed at shows like Fairfield, Vermont Summer Festival, and Old Salem. This was their first Grand Champion award. “I’m really happy. He was so good. My trainer, Jenni Martin-Rudaz, was so helpful. He’s smooth and listens well,” she noted. Soper hopes to go to the Marshall & Sterling Finals later this year.

The Children’s Hunter 14 & Under championship went to Allura, ridden and owned by Samantha Cohen. For her top riding, Cohen was named Best Child Rider on a Horse. Reserve champion was Troubador, ridden and owned by Daisy Farish.

The Best Children’s Rider on a Pony Award went to Eliza Altman, who was champion in the Children’s Hunter Pony Large division. They were given a plate donated by Pegasus Therapeutic Riding. The reserve champion was Celtics Creek Irish Belle, ridden by Siena Vasan for Peacock Ridge LLC. In the Children’s Hunter Pony Small/Medium division, Beaucatcher, ridden by Sienna Pilla for owner Abigail Blankenship, won the championship and Canterbrook Prince Charming, ridden by Kathryn McCarthy and owned by Joe Currais, was reserve champion.

For full results, please visit www.horseshowsonline.com. The second week of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show continues on May 14-19.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows celebrate its 31st year in 2013 and offer two weeks of exceptional equestrian sport on May 7-12 and May 14-19 at one of the nation’s premier and newly renovated equestrian facilities, Old Salem Farm, in North Salem, New York. Old Salem’s beautifully manicured grounds, list of elite horses and riders, and fantastic social gatherings draw spectators from Westchester County and beyond to watch horses and ponies of every size compete for almost $500,000 in prize money. The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows feature over 130 hunter and jumper classes each week, bringing together top competitors, including Olympic show jumpers, from across the country. For more information, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net/mayhome.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Todd Minikus Wins $50,000 CSI2* Live Oak International Grand Prix

Todd Minikus and Quality Girl won the $50,000 CSI2* Live Oak International. Photo by Mark Astrom.

Ocala, Florida – Todd Minikus of Wellington, FL, made it three for three, winning the $50,000 CSI2* Live Oak International Grand Prix on Saturday, March 23, in Ocala, FL.  The only equestrian event in North America to feature both world-class driving and show jumping, the Live Oak International takes place at Live Oak Plantation from March 20 to 24.

Live coverage of the Live Oak International on the USEF Network will continue on Sunday at www.usefnetwork.com.

Having won both the $5,000 1.30m Waldron Wealth Management Power &Speed competition and the $10,000 E2 Show Jumpers Welcome Stake on Friday, Minikus returned to the John Deere Arena on Saturday to win the $50,000 CSI2* Live Oak International Grand Prix.

A total of 31 entries attempted the track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela with seven jumping clear to add their names to the jump-off list.  In a thrilling and truly international finale, Minikus and Quality Girl set the pace by blazing to a clear round in a time of 39.47 seconds.  Andre Thieme of Germany gave it his best shot, leaving all of the rails intact and crossing the timers in 41.03 seconds, which would prove to be good enough for second place.  2004 Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil was right behind him in time of 41.07 seconds riding G&C Lagran to take third.

Callan Solem of the United States also jumped double clear in 43.76 seconds for fourth place with VDL Wizard while Sharn Wordley scored a top five finish for New Zealand with a clear jump-off performance in 44.21 seconds with Derly Chin de Muze.

New York’s Brianne Goutal had the fastest time of the jump-off, 39.45 seconds, but a heartbreaking rail at the final fence would leave her sixth in the final line-up with Onira.  Angel Karolyi representing Venezuela rounded out the jump-off contenders with a four fault performance in 43.91 seconds with Indiana 127, owned by Hollow Creek Farm.

In the end, it was Minikus who stood in the winner’s circle yet again with Quality Girl, a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Chris Brems of Belgium.

“Being second in the order and with Rodrigo and Brianne behind you, you can approach it two ways,” said Minikus of his jump-off strategy.  “You can try to shut the door right from the beginning, or go clear conservatively and hope they make mistakes.  Quality Girl won the speed yesterday, so I decided to go for it, but I did chicken out down the last line and did six strides instead of the five they were planning to do.

“It’s not my first day at the rodeo,” he concluded with a wink, before adding, “In fact, I’m probably the oldest one in the class!”

After winning all three of show jumping competitions held so far, it is no surprise that Minikus sits atop the leaderboard for the $10,000 Leading Rider bonus, presented by G&C Farm, with one competition remaining.  Jerry Parks Insurance Group will also be recognizing the Leading Junior Rider and the Leading Amateur Rider.  All will be decided in Sunday’s $33,000 CSI2* Hollow Creek Farm Winning Round at 2:30 p.m.

“I’d like to thank the entire family at Live Oak for the wonderful production they do here,” said Minikus, who is competing at Live Oak for the first time.  “It has been a great weekend here at Live Oak.  The footing held up nicely for everyone; you could turn well and go fast on it, so that was great.  I love Live Oak!”

The Live Oak International is unique in that it is the only event in North America to feature both international show jumping and driving events.  As the driving marathon phase was held in the morning before the start of show jumping competition, Minikus was able to join the approximately 5,000 spectators that turned out for a great day of world-class equestrian sport.

“When I was a kid, the shows I went to always had saddlebreds along with the hunter jumpers, and I like it when there is one than one discipline at the show; I think it makes it fun for everybody,” said Minikus, 50.  “I enjoy the other disciplines.  I rode on the back of a carriage one time and that was enough to scare the daylights out of me!  I appreciate what they are doing, and I can watch anything when the people are skilled at it.  On the marathon today, there was some speed there and some excellent driving, so that was fun.”

Chester Weber and his FEI Four-In-Hand team powers through The Sanctuary Water Hazard. Photo by PicsOfYou.com
Chester Weber and his FEI Four-In-Hand team powers through The Sanctuary Water Hazard. Photo by PicsOfYou.com

Local favorite Chester C. Weber of Ocala, FL, did not disappoint his fans, with loud cheering resonating throughout the showgrounds as the two-time World Championship individual silver medalist negotiated the seven hazards conceptualized by course designer Hartmut Kaufmann of Germany.  Having set a new world record with his score of 37.22 in test number 11 in Thursday’s opening dressage phase, Weber continues to lead the FEI Horse Four-in-Hand Team division with a combined score of 127.42 penalty points.

Paul Maye of the United States took over the lead in the FEI Single Pony division with a score of 112.48 penalty points while Wendy O’Brien held on to top spot in the FEI Pair Pony division with 112.04.  Allison Stroud stayed atop the FEI Pony Team division with a combined total of 142.40.

Leslie Berndl continues to lead the FEI Single Horse division with 111.95 penalty points while Rae Fischer moved into first place in the FEI Pair Horse division standings with a two-phase total of 126.67 penalty points.

Offering the highest amount of prize money of any driving event in North America, Live Oak International is also hosting the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Championship for Pairs.  Zenon Gal is one phase closer to claiming the title, having posted a two-phase total of 124.87 penalty points following marathon.

Bettina Scherer held onto her lead in the Intermediate Single Pony division with 111.55 while Boots Wright is still out in front in the Intermediate Pair Pony division with 111.26.  Robin Groves moved into the lead in the Intermediate Single Horse division, which attracted a total of 12 entries.

The final day of competition begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday with the third and final cones phase for driving competitors.  Following the driving competition, the $33,000 CSI2* Hollow Creek Farm Winning Round will begin at 2:30 p.m.

While show jumping is being offered for the second year, Live Oak International has hosted an annual driving competition for more than 20 years.  Held at Live Oak Plantation, the private 4,000-acre farm of the Weber family, the Live Oak International is produced by nine-time winner of the USEF Four In Hand Driving Championship Chester C. Weber of Ocala, FL, and his sister, Juliet W. Reid, who led the Washington International Horse Show as President of the Board for the past four years.

In addition to the competition, spectators can enjoy the Classic Car Show, sponsored by Palm Chevrolet & Kia, as well as a vendor village and the Signature Brands Kids Zone featuring pony rides and a bounce house.  Admission is $10 per person, $5 for children under 12, with proceeds benefiting the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association.

Live Oak International wishes to recognize its generous sponsors for their support, including 14 Hands Vineyards, ABBA, Adequan, American Invitational, Michael Ayers, BB&T Chazel Insurance, Beloved Farm, Ned Bliss, Brandywine Tent, Camping World, Cannon Carriages, Cape Code Finished Wood Siding, Charles Owen, Cheney Brothers, Jane Forbes Clark, The Clothes Horse, Coast to Coast Truck & Trailer, Connollys Nursery, Dever, Don Stewart Stables, Dutta Corp, E2 Show Jumpers, Equine Journal, Fidelity Investments, Dr. Rae and Nancy Fischer, Florida Express, Freund, G&C Farm, Gloria Austin, Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, Grand Oaks Resort & Carriage Museum, Great American Insurance Group, Hermitage International Training Center, Hillcroft Farm, Hilton, Hollow Creek Farm, Wayne Humphreys, Insight Credit Union, Iron Spring Farm, Jerry Parks Insurance Group, Joan Pletcher Realtor, John Deere, Johnson Horse Transportation, Pixie Keating, Kentucky Classic, Kentucky Equine Research, Mary Mott-Kocsis, John Levy, Louisburg Farm, Lugano Diamonds, Marion County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Mark’s Steak House, Mid State Electric, Morgan Stanley, Ocala Star-Banner, Palm Chevrolet & Kia, Party Time Rentals, Pine Flakes, PlaneSense, Peterson & Smith, RBC, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, The Sanctuary, Seminole Wellness, Shepherd Kaplan LLC, Signature Brands ,Sleepy P Farm, SmartPak, Christine Smith-Byerly, Stella Artois, Stonecliff Farm, Tequestrian, Trout Walk Farm, Waldron Wealth Management, Harley Waller, Waterside Environmental Care, Woodside Stables, WR Ranch and Dave and Boots Wright.

For more information on the Live Oak International, including VIP Hospitality seating and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.liveoakinternational.com.

Contact:  Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Live Oak International Underway with Show Jumping and Driving Competition

A driving competitor enjoys the scenic competition venue of Live Oak International. Photos by Mark Astrom.

Ocala, Florida – Competition is underway at the Live Oak International in Ocala, FL.  The only equestrian event in North America to feature both world-class driving and show jumping, the Live Oak International takes place at Live Oak Plantation from March 20 to 24.

For the first time, live coverage of Saturday and Sunday’s events from the Live Oak International will be available to view on the USEF Network, www.usefnetwork.com.

In show jumping, Todd Minikus got the weekend off to a strong start by winning both featured show jumping events on Friday, March 22.  In the $5,000 1.30m Waldron Wealth Management Power & Speed competition, Minikus was clear through the power phase to immediately advance to the speed phase.  Riding Edulcee d’Hulst, a mare he’s only had the ride on for a couple of weeks, he was again clear in a time of 22.53 seconds to easily overtake the lead from Colombia’s Daniel Bluman, who finished second with Cantando Lyngriis in a time of 24.97 seconds.

Of his mount, the nine-year-old Belgian-bred mare Edulcee d’Hulst, Minikus noted, “Friends of mine in Belgium sent her to me to be sold.  I’ve had her for a couple of weeks, and she won two classes in Wellington before coming here.  She’s pure winner, so that’s good news!”

Todd Minikus guided Edulcee d’Hulst to victory in the $5,000 1.30m Waldron Wealth Management Power & Speed competition
Todd Minikus guided Edulcee d’Hulst to victory in the $5,000 1.30m Waldron Wealth Management Power & Speed competition

While Edulcee d’Hulst was a winner, Quality Girl also lived up to her name by carrying Minikus to victory in the $10,000 E2 Show Jumpers Welcome Stake.  Two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios set a track in the John Deere Arena that saw nine of the 26 entries jump clear.  With time being the deciding factor, Minikus was once again untouchable, posting a time of 56.60 seconds that no one else could catch.  Fellow American Brianne Goutal came closest, stopping the clock in 60.10 for second place, while Daniel Bluman settled for third this time out, again riding Cantando Lyngriis.

With two wins to his credit, Minikus is enjoying his Live Oak International debut.

“I have not been here, this is my first time, and I didn’t realize what I was missing,” said Minikus of Wellington, FL.  “It’s fantastic.  It’s nice to get away.  We’re in one spot for six months, really, and that’s a long time, especially when you have a little gypsy in you.  The family here at Live Oak, and all of the people behind the scenes that I don’t even know about, are doing a great job.  It’s beautiful, and has excellent footing.”

In driving, the FEI divisions competed in the opening phase of dressage with U.S. drivers sweeping the top spots.  Tracey Morgan currently leads the field of seven entries in the FEI Single Pony division with a score of 49.28 penalty points while Wendy O’Brien is out in front in the FEI Pair Pony division with 39.94.  Allison Stroud with her FEI Pony Team is at the top of the leaderboard after posting 55.87.

Leslie Berndl topped six other competitors to take the lead in the FEI Single Horse division with 43.39 penalty points while Misdee Wrigley Miller is leading the FEI Pair Horse division with an impressive 41.41.  Two-time World Championship individual silver medalist Chester C. Weber came out on top in the FEI Horse Four-in-Hand Team with the best score of the day, a 37.22, to place ahead of Casey Zubek with 53.98% and Canada’s Darryl Billing with 71.84 penalty points.

“The team was fantastic, we set a new world record with test number 11,” said Weber in reference to the new driving dressage test released by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) at the beginning of 2013.  “It was great because we have a jury comprised of officials that have all judged at World Championship events.  It was a real international jury, and a real world record.  It’s always a pleasure to do it at home in front of our local fans and sponsors.”

Offering the highest amount of prize money of any driving event in North America, Live Oak International is also hosting the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Championship for Pairs.  Zenon Gal is currently eying the honor, having earned a dressage score of 47.58 over Peter Harding, who lies second with 62.47.  Bettina Scherer leads the Intermediate Single Pony division while Boots Wright is out in front in the Intermediate Pair Pony division.  Attracting a total of 12 entries, the Intermediate Single Horse division is led by Canadian Tina Sully with 52.66 penalty points.

In addition to being one of the world’s foremost four-in-hand driving competitors, Weber is one of the driving forces behind the Live Oak International, acting as Co-President alongside his mother, Charlotte C. Weber, and his sister, Juliet W. Reid.

“It’s fantastic,” said Weber of this year’s event.  “The horses all seem to be doing well, and it’s so much fun to see the jumper horses standing outside the ring with their heads down, eating grass.  It was a special view.  You don’t see that in many places.  I think this is paradise for horses, and my mom had a lot of vision many years ago in creating Live Oak.”

Saturday brings the thrills of marathon driving, beginning at 9 a.m.  Competitors will negotiate seven obstacles conceptualized by course designer Hartmut Kaufmann of Germany.  Following the driving marathon competition, the $50,000 CSI2* Live Oak International Grand Prix will begin at 2 p.m.

A total of 14 nations are represented in the show jumping competition.  Featured show jumping events include Saturday’s $50,000 CSI2* Live Oak International Grand Prix at 2 p.m., and Sunday’s $33,000 CSI2* Hollow Creek Farm Winning Round at 2:30 p.m.  As an added incentive for competitors, G&C Farm will offer a $10,000 Leading Rider bonus while Jerry Parks Insurance Group will reward the Leading Junior Rider and the Leading Amateur Rider.

While show jumping is being offered for the second year, Live Oak International has hosted international driving competition for more than 20 years.  Sanctioned as a CAI-B driving event by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and offering single, pair and four-in-hand divisions for horses and ponies, Live Oak International attracts the top driving competitors from across North America.

Held at Live Oak Plantation, the private 4,000-acre farm of the Weber family, the Live Oak International is produced by nine-time winner of the USEF Four In Hand Driving Championship Chester C. Weber of Ocala, FL, and his sister, Juliet W. Reid, who led the Washington International Horse Show as President of the Board for the past four years.  Offering unparalleled hospitality, competitors will enjoy the fun and excitement of Saturday night’s Denim & Lugano Diamonds Exhibitor’s Party.

In addition to the competition, spectators can enjoy the Classic Car Show, sponsored by Palm Chevrolet & Kia, as well as a vendor village and the Signature Brands Kids Zone featuring pony rides and a bounce house.  Admission is $10 per person, $5 for children under 12, with proceeds benefiting the Marion County Therapeutic Riding Association.

Live Oak International wishes to recognize its generous sponsors for their support, including 14 Hands Vineyards, ABBA, Adequan, American Invitational, Michael Ayers, BB&T Chazel Insurance, Beloved Farm, Ned Bliss, Brandywine Tent, Camping World, Cannon Carriages, Cape Code Finished Wood Siding, Charles Owen, Cheney Brothers, Jane Forbes Clark, The Clothes Horse, Coast to Coast Truck & Trailer, Connollys Nursery, Dever, Don Stewart Stables, Dutta Corp, E2 Show Jumpers, Equine Journal, Fidelity Investments, Dr. Rae and Nancy Fischer, Florida Express, Freund, G&C Farm, Gloria Austin, Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, Grand Oaks Resort & Carriage Museum, Great American Insurance Group, Hermitage International Training Center, Hillcroft Farm, Hilton, Hollow Creek Farm, Wayne Humphreys, Insight Credit Union, Iron Spring Farm, Jerry Parks Insurance Group, Joan Pletcher Realtor, John Deere, Johnson Horse Transportation, Pixie Keating, Kentucky Classic, Kentucky Equine Research, Mary Mott-Kocsis, John Levy, Louisburg Farm, Lugano Diamonds, Marion County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Mark’s Steak House, Mid State Electric, Morgan Stanley, Ocala Star-Banner, Palm Chevrolet & Kia, Party Time Rentals, Pine Flakes, PlaneSense, Peterson & Smith, RBC, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, The Sanctuary, Seminole Wellness, Shepherd Kaplan LLC, Signature Brands ,Sleepy P Farm, SmartPak, Christine Smith-Byerly, Stella Artois, Stonecliff Farm, Tequestrian, Trout Walk Farm, Waldron Wealth Management, Harley Waller, Waterside Environmental Care, Woodside Stables, WR Ranch and Dave and Boots Wright.

For more information on the Live Oak International, including VIP Hospitality seating and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.liveoakinternational.com.

Contact:  Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

Todd Minikus and Quality Girl Master $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic at FTI WEF 6

Todd Minikus and Quality Girl. Photo © Sportfot

Wellington, FL – February 13, 2013 – The sixth week of competition at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) began on Wednesday, February 13, with a full schedule of world-class jumper competition in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). In the highlight class of the day, an impressive roster of top riders vied for Longines FEI world ranking points in the $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumper Classic with a win for Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, and Quality Girl.

Week six, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, will run February 13-17. The week will feature three more world ranking classes, including the $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Round 6 on Thursday, February 14, the highlight $125,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier CSI 3*-W Grand Prix, presented by Spy Coast Farm, on Saturday, February 16, and the $33,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday, February 17.

Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge set the speed track for 48 entries in Wednesday’s 1.45m class. Ten entries completed successful rounds without fault in the race against the clock, and Minikus and Quality Girl came out on top with their time of 54.51 seconds.

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Todd Minikus Conducts Successful Show Jumping Clinics during Equine Affaire

Photo courtesy of Vita Flex Nutrition

Springfield, MA (December 5, 2012) – International show jumping veteran Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, Florida conducted four highly successful clinics over two days at the 46th Equine Affaire in Springfield, Massachusetts which ran November 8 to 12, 2012. Following his time in the ring on Friday and Saturday, Minikus headed up to the Vita Flex Booth for a “Meet & Greet” where he signed autographs for fans and chatted with attendees.

Minikus, who has won over 75 Grand Prix show jumping events to date, was part of the “Ride with the Best Program,” which offers clinics for various levels and disciplines throughout the popular equestrian event.  Known not only for his own riding talent but for his skill as an educator, Minikus employed a variety of proven theories, supplemental training techniques and show jumping exercises that benefited both the riders and the thousands of equestrian enthusiasts auditing from the stands.

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Katie Dinan Victorious in $50,000 Holiday & Horses FEI World Cup Qualifier

Katie Dinan and Nougat du Vallet © ManciniPhotos

Wellington, FL – December 1, 2012 – Nineteen-year-old Katie Dinan (USA) and Grant Road Partners’ Nougat Du Vallet earned an exciting victory in Saturday night’s $50,000 Holiday and Horses FEI World Cup Grand Prix at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. American riders took top four honors in the eleven horse jump-off. Dinan beat Todd Minikus and Macoemba and Margie Engle and Royce, who finished second and third respectively.

More than 4,000 spectators were at PBIEC tonight to partake in an evening full of activities, including watching the FEI World Cup Qualifier and the drawings of charities for the 2013 FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge, as well as the Wellington Chamber of Commerce WinterFest sponsored by International Polo Club Palm Beach, The Wellness Experience, Equestrian Sport Productions/PBIEC and LED Source.

Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, set the course for the 41 entries in Saturday night’s class with eleven returning for the jump-off and four of those entries completing double clear rounds.

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Todd Minikus and Macoemba Win $25,000 ESP Fall III Grand Prix

Todd Minikus and Macoemba. Photos © ManciniPhotos

Wellington, FL – October 31, 2012 – Equestrian Sport Productions, the management company of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), hosted its ESP Fall III Horse Show this weekend on October 26-28, 2012. Competing in the International Arena at the beautiful Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, Todd Minikus and Macoemba were the winners of the $25,000 ESP Fall III Grand Prix on Sunday, October 28.

The ESP Fall III Horse Show hosted “A” rated hunter and 3-star jumper competition all weekend. Competition featured the $25,000 grand prix as well as a $10,000 Open Jumper Stake class on Friday, October 26.

In Sunday’s Grand Prix, 24 horse and rider combinations jumped the course with only two clear rounds. Todd Minikus and Macoemba went sixth in the original order and were the first pair to clear the course. Hayden Morresey and Filip Amram’s L. B. Stanislaus were last to go and completed the only other clear round to make it a jump-off.

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Vita Flex Victory Team Member Todd Minikus to Teach Show Jumping Clinics during Equine Affaire

Todd Minikus will teach four clinics during the Massachusetts Equine Affaire. (Photo courtesy of Todd Minikus)

W. Springfield, MA (October 18, 2012) – Vita Flex Nutrition is proud to announce that Victory Team member Todd Minikus, a Grand Prix show jumper based in Loxahatchee, Florida, will teach four clinics during the 2012 Equine Affaire in Massachusetts.  Minikus’s clinics will take place on Friday and Saturday, November 9-10, and will address important exercises and theories in show jumping, from starting a young horse at the 3 foot level to strategies for riding in a jump off.

“We are very pleased to have Todd representing Vita Flex and the Victory Team at Equine Affaire,” said Alyssa Barngrover, Product Manager at Vita Flex Nutrition.  “His long career as a successful Grand Prix show jumper makes him an ideal clinician and auditors are sure to learn something from him.  They can also meet Todd at the Vita Flex booth at Equine Affaire, and we encourage everyone to visit us.”

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Magnificent New Venue for American Gold Cup Is a Hit on Opening Day

McLain Ward and Esplanade sail away with the win in the Hallmark Feeds 1.40m. Photos: Parker/Russell-The Book LLC

North Salem, NY − September 12, 2012 – The first day of The American Gold Cup FEI CSI 4* dawned clear and cool with a cloudless sky in North Salem, NY. The magnificent Old Salem Farm is the new home of the 2012 show after an off-and-on hiatus and it’s back and better than ever. The American Gold Cup is one of the world’s most prestigious show jumping events, now celebrating its forty-second year.

The highlight of Wednesday’s action was the $7,500 Hallway Feed & KER Sport Horse Nutrition Open Jumpers held in the meticulously groomed grass Grand Prix field.

McLain Ward came away with the win aboard Esplanade 7.

“Esplanade is a nice seasoned horse, has a lot of experience on grass fields like this,” he said. “I went pretty early in the order but I knew what my plan was and I was lucky enough she performed great and then held up for the whole afternoon.” Ward said he has been riding the 14-year-old chestnut mare for the owners, Louisburg Farm, off and on for about two years. “I don’t show her too often because she’s a Iittle bit in her sunset years but when she comes out, she’s normally in the prizes.”

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Todd Minikus and Sweetheart Blaze to Victory in Sasco Creek Farm $50,000 Welcome Stake at the Alltech National Horse Show

Todd Minikus and Sweetheart won the Sasco Creek Farm International Open Jumper $50,000 Welcome Stake at the Alltech National Horse Show. Photo By: Shawn McMillen.

Lexington, KY – November 2, 2011 – It was a thrilling night of competition in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park as the Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, made its debut at its new home. The top horses and riders from around the world showed up tonight to compete during the Sasco Creek Farm International Open Jumpers $50,000 Welcome Stake, benefiting the Alltech Sustainable Haiti Project. Riders raced over the technical track set by Richard Jeffery, and with a blazing pace of 57.93 seconds the winning honors went to Todd Minikus riding Sweetheart, owned by Candy Tribble and the Windsor Show Stables of East Windsor, CT. McLain Ward and Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve, owned by Louisburg Farm of Boston, MA, followed in second with a clear time of 58.02, while Laura Kraut and Teirra, owned by Stars and Stripes of Middleburg, VA picked up the third place honors with a time of 60.56 seconds.

Jeffery built an excellent course for tonight’s event, big but inviting. It included multiple inside options, as well as striding options and a technical oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination. Fourteen horse and rider combinations managed to complete clear efforts.

Continue reading Todd Minikus and Sweetheart Blaze to Victory in Sasco Creek Farm $50,000 Welcome Stake at the Alltech National Horse Show