Tag Archives: USEF

Impressive Field Ready for 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship Up for Grabs

Lexington, Ky. – The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (LRK3DE) is set to begin at the Kentucky Horse Park following the first horse inspection on April 25. A total of 46 athlete-and-horse combinations from nine nations will vie for top honors at America’s only CCI4* event, which also serves as the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship, awarded to the highest-placed U.S. athlete. The Roger Haller Trophy, honoring the late, internationally respected eventing official, will be awarded to the national champion.

The 2018 field is full of talented combinations, and several returning national champions hope to stake their claim on the overall and national title. Defending Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Champion Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) already has the most titles at five, but he could add another to his resume with I’m Sew Ready or Z. Dutton rode I’m Sew Ready, Kristine and John Norton’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, to a 10th-place finish at the 2017 Kentucky event in the horse’s CCI4* debut. This year, they finished fifth in The Fork CIC3*/FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG) Eventing Test Event to prepare for the LRK3DE. Z, a nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Thomas Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran, will make his CCI4* debut with Dutton. The pair comes to Kentucky in fine form after winning The Fork CIC3*/WEG Eventing Test Event.

Looking ahead to cross-country day, Dutton said, “We have been around the course this morning and, as we expected, it is big but fair, so I’m sure it will be a great competition.”

Three-time national champion Buck Davidson (Unionville, Pa.) has three mounts at the LRK3DE: Carlevo, Copper Beach, and Park Trader. Park Trader, Carl and Cassandra Segal’s 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, will make his fifth appearance at the LRK3DE, while stablemate Copper Beach, Carl Segal and Sherrie Martin’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, will make his third consecutive appearance. Carlevo, the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Carlevo LLC, makes his CCI4* debut in Kentucky and is coming off a second-place finish in the Chattahoochee Hills CIC3* with Davidson.

Two-time national champion Lauren Kieffer (The Plains, Va.) brings two mounts to Kentucky: Landmark’s Monte Carlo, Jacqueline Mars’s 12-year-old Irish Thoroughbred cross gelding, and Vermiculus, Mars’s 11-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding. Both horses collected top-15 finishes in CIC3* competition this spring in preparation for the LRK3DE.

Kim Severson (Charlottesville, Va.), a three-time Kentucky Three-Day winner and national champion, will aim for a strong showing with Cooley Cross Border, The Cross Syndicate’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding. The pair finished second in The Fork CIC3*/WEG Eventing Test Event behind Dutton and Z and won the 2017 SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials CCI3* in England last fall.

Rising stars of the sport hope to gather more experience at the CCI4* level. Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program participants Savannah “Woodge” Fulton (Finksburg, Md.) and Caroline Martin (Miami Beach, Fla.) plan to tackle the LRK3DE for the second time. Fulton brings her 2017 mount, Captain Jack, Full Moon Farm Syndicate’s 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, while Martin has two mounts: The Apprentice, Sherrie Martin’s 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, and Spring Easy, Sherrie and Caroline Martin’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.

“I think this weekend speaks for itself, how much Leslie and the program have helped my riding,” Martin shared when asked how the Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program has helped her development. She added, “Being able to have a camaraderie with all the other riders is great. I wouldn’t know Mackenna Shea [an Emerging Athlete Eventing 25 Program alum] if it wasn’t for the program.”

Dressage begins Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET with Davidson and Park Trader.

For more information about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, visit kentuckythreedayevent.com.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Hamilton and Makari Design Defend Their Title at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship came to a conclusion on Sunday with the cones phase at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE). The athlete-and-horse combinations had to face Barry Hunter’s tough cones course to determine the ultimate winner. Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design kept their cool in the final phase to win back-to-back national champion titles.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design began the national championship by winning the dressage and marathon phases with scores of 48.09 penalties and 81.92 penalties, respectively. They drove a great cones round to add 2.96 time penalties to their score and win the final phase. Hamilton and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton claimed their second national champion title after finishing on an overall score of 132.97 penalties.

“The cones course drove very well, but it was pretty technical and tough to make the time on,” Hamilton explained. “It was great because it is the kind of course that will make you better.”

Commenting on how Makari Design performed throughout the competition, Hamilton said, “He is definitely more connected than he has ever been, which allows me to ask for more. With more work and work on getting him stronger, he is going to be even better in a few years.”

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco earned the reserve national champion title due to their strong performances. They were in third place after Friday’s dressage phase with a score of 52.89 penalties and then moved up to second place after tallying 82.53 penalties in Saturday’s marathon phase. Arnold piloted Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding around the cones course to have one ball down for 3.00 penalties. In their first year competing together, Arnold and Uminco garnered an impressive finish on an overall score of 138.42 penalties.

Barbara Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Meara Beval were third in the national championship with an overall score of 149.25 penalties.  Chapman and her 14-year-old American Warmblood mare scored 53.96 penalties in the dressage phase to sit in fourth before rising to third place following the marathon phase that added 88.34 penalties to their score. They closed out the national championship with two balls down and time penalties for 6.95 penalties in the cones phase.

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Laura Graves and Verdades Second Place at FEI World Cup Dressage Final

Laura Graves and Verdades. Shannon Brinkman Photo.

Paris, France – With the FEI World Cup Dressage Final title on the line, Laura Graves and Verdades defended their 2017 second-place finish with a personal record score Saturday evening in the Freestyle to Music in Paris. Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and the 16-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Curt Maes finished on a score of 89.082 percent, just behind the reigning World Cup Final champion Isabell Werth (GER). Werth and Weihegold OLD scored a 90.657 percent, while Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB finished third on a score of 83.725 percent.

“I am very proud,” said Graves. “It feels like first place, and the horse won’t know the difference, that’s for sure. Now I have a little homework in my book bag and we will take that back and be prepared for the next time… I have to pay respect to my horse because without these top horses who want to do the job for us, who want to learn, who allow us to learn with them, none of this would be possible.”

The atmosphere was electric as first Graves, and then Werth, put on a show for the ecstatic French crowd. Chasing the title, both of these powerful, yet poised athletes, gave it their best and turned out performances aimed at contesting the FEI World Cup record of 94.300 percent set by Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro in 2014. In the end, it was Werth who came out on top, but Graves had much to be proud of. “Today, we are second,” she said. “But still a big personal best for us.”

The Olympic bronze medalist began developing this particular freestyle test back in December 2017 to her previous music. The program was designed to be very competitive, difficult, and technical. The test included four pirouettes – two full double pirouettes and two that were a pirouette and a half. The combination performed its first full left piaffe pirouette into the full right piaffe pirouette in Saturday’s Freestyle.

“He was super today,” continued Graves. “I was really pleased with the half-passes and keeping clean in all the changes. He really felt super rideable through the whole thing. We changed the music and I haven’t ridden to it since. We have added a second piaffe pirouette down the centerline. I was really proud of him doing the pirouette both ways and directly into the right pirouette. For me, that was really a highlight.”

Fellow American Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Danilo, Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, performed a freestyle to an acapella accompaniment, finishing 12th on a score of 74.189 percent. When asked about her first FEI World Cup Dressage experience, Francis replied, “It feels good. I feel like we redeemed ourselves a little bit from yesterday, so that is good. He really felt very good. He is really trying and likes his music, so it’s awesome.”

Complete Results

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Hamilton and Makari Design Maintain Their Lead at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship continued on Saturday with the marathon phase at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE). The athlete-and-horse combinations headed out on the Carolina Horse Park’s grounds to tackle Barry Hunter’s marathon track. Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design held onto their lead to stay atop the overall leaderboard heading into the final phase on Sunday.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Defending national champions Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design continued their quest for back-to-back titles by blazing around the marathon course. The duo won the marathon phase with a score of 81.92 penalties, having the fastest times in two of the seven obstacles. Hamilton and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton head into the cones phase with an overall score of 130.01 penalties.

“[Makari Design] was perfect,” Hamilton said. “It was a wonderful course; Barry Hunter is a great course designer. The course drove very smooth, but there were two water hazards, so it was a tough course.”

Hamilton also had high praise for the combinations in the national championship. “It is a great field of competitors. Today was a good effort on everyone’s part. We all work together studying courses and sharing routes; it is a great group to be a part of.”

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco moved up from third place to second place overall on the strength of a strong marathon round. Arnold piloted Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding to the fastest times in four obstacles and finished the phase with 82.53 penalties. The combination heads into Sunday on an overall score of 135.42 penalties.

Barbara Chapman (Metamora, Mich.) and Meara Beval climbed from fourth place on the leaderboard to third following Saturday’ phase. With her 14-year-old American Warmblood mare, Chapman finished the marathon course with 88.34 penalties. She and Meara Beval sit on an overall score of 142.30 penalties.

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Hamilton and Makari Design Lead after Day One at Southern Pines CDE

Photo: Nifty Hamilton and Makari Design (Picsofyou.com)

Raeford, N.C. – The USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship at the Southern Pines Combined Driving Event (CDE) began Friday with the dressage phase. Thirteen athlete-and-horse combinations headed down centerline to perform their tests, but Jennifer “Nifty” Hamilton and Makari Design stood out to the Ground Jury. The defending national champions lead the field heading into Saturday’s marathon phase.

USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Hamilton (Alva, Fla.) and Makari Design had a lovely test to impress the judges with well-executed movements and a nice flow. Their steady performances this year have set them up for success at the Carolina Horse Park. Hamilton piloted the 10-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Milton Hamilton to a score of 48.09 penalties to take the early lead in the national championship.

“I thought [my test] was very good. [Makari Design] was strong and rhythmic today,” Hamilton said. “I am really happy with the way he is progressing; I wanted to bring him along slowly. He is just 10, so I think in another two years, he is going to be terrific.”

Gary Yeager (Ocala, Fla.) and Spring Brooks Galipso are in second place in the national championship after scoring 50.84 penalties in the dressage phase. Even though the duo only began competing at the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) level last fall, they have been consistent performers. Yeager and Sigrid Edwards’s seven-year-old American Dutch Harness gelding had a solid test in a strong field of competitors to position themselves well for the next phase.

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, N.C.) and Uminco round out the top three after receiving a score of 52.89 penalties. Arnold is coming off a win at Live Oak International with Leslie Berndl’s 17-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood gelding and aims to continue their momentum at the national championship.

The exciting marathon phase is up next for the competitors.

“The marathon course looks great,” Hamilton explained. “It is gated really smooth, and I found really good routes. Today, [Makari Design] was really in my hand, so I hope to pick up speed and do it again tomorrow.”

Find more information on the Southern Pines CDE.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Laura Graves and Verdades Win FEI Grand Prix at FEI World Cup Dressage Final

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Graves and Francis advance to FEI Grand Prix Freestyle

Paris, France – In their triumphant return to the FEI World Cup Dressage Final, Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and Verdades claimed victory in the FEI Grand Prix to open the competition. On a grand prix personal best score of 81.413 percent, the powerful combination rode the centerline with poise and grace, showing the world that they arrived to compete. Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD placed second with a score of 78.261 percent, while Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER) and Unee BB came in third on a 75.668 percent.

“I am very happy with the performance,” said Graves. “It was our first time in this stadium with fans and it is going to be very exciting tomorrow. Everything is special. This is our third World Cup now, and I am hoping maybe third time is the charm for us. Today is actually Friday the 13th, isn’t it? That’s supposed to be bad luck, but not for us. So, a lot of special things. This is a big year for us. It is our first World Cup Final in Europe and a personal best today, so I am very excited going into tomorrow, and the rest of this year.”

Coming straight from competing in Florida, Graves and Verdades, the 16-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Curt Maes, were undefeated at the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, scoring over 80 percent in all the freestyle tests in which they entered. At the 2017 CHIO Aachen, Graves and Verdades bested Werth for the first time in the FEI Grand Prix Special with an 81.824 percent, making Friday’s FEI Grand Prix at the Finals their second win over the talented German athlete.

“I always say it is a little scary with such a fierce competitor, because I know [Isabell] is going to ride even harder tomorrow,” continued Graves. “But that’s why I’m here. I like to put myself in a situation to also be challenged. I think it makes me a better competitor, a better rider, and we will certainly continue to put ourselves against the toughest competition.”

The 17 riders receiving scores above 60 percent in the Grand Prix will move forward to compete in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, which will determine the champion of the 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Final.

Fellow American Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Danilo, Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, finished the Grand Prix with a score of 68.236 percent. They will be the first combination down the centerline in the Freestyle.

Complete results.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Beezie Madden and Breitling LS Win Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final I

Beezie Madden and Breitling LS. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Paris, France – With the poise, grace, and horsemanship that fans adore her for, Elizabeth ‘Beezie’ Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) guided Breitling LS to a win in the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final I (Jumping Speed Class), the first round of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final. The four-time Olympian was the first U.S. athlete of the evening to ride clear over Santiago Varela Ullastres’s course, stopping the clock at 61.89 seconds. Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour finished in second with 62.61 seconds, and Final newcomer and fellow American, Devin Ryan (Long Valley, N.J.), placed third at 62.84 seconds.

“I thought [Breitling LS] was fantastic today,” said Madden. “You know, I think this [class] is one of the hardest parts of the world cup. The courses get harder, but today is strategy and trying to execute it perfectly is difficult, and it went according to plan. He was fantastic; he was right there for me every time I called on him.”

Madden and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Abigail Wexner come fresh off wins during the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival, including winning the $205,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI4* and the $205,000 CSIO4* Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix.

“He has gotten quite fast and he’s won quite a few classes in the last year,” continues Madden. “Some horses you might not take such a risk today because you need the horse to be rideable and careful for the rest of the competition, but those are his strong points: he’s rideable and he’s careful. So I thought it was okay today to take a shot.”

Madden won the Final in Göteborg in 2013 aboard Simon. When asked if she remembered what position she was in after the first class in 2013, she stated that she won that first class as well.

Ryan and Eddie Blue, the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC, made a splash in their FEI World Cup Jumping Final debut with a clear round, heading into the second class in the third position.

“I know I have a really good horse,” stated Ryan. “He has been competing very well in the States. It has always been a dream of mine to represent the United States, so here we are. I am very happy to be here, and it’s great that there are two of us up here tonight.”

View full results.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Graves and Francis Primed to Compete for US in 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Final

Laura Graves and Verdades. Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Paris, France – Two strong dressage combinations will represent the U.S. in the 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Final at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France, April 13 and 14. Coming off high scores at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), both Laura Graves and Shelly Francis, and their horses, are prepared and ready to compete.

Meet the Athletes

Olympic bronze medalist Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) will look to defend her FEI World Cup Dressage Final second-place finish in 2017. She and Verdades, a 16-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with Curt Maes, were undefeated in their showing at the 2018 AGDF. The combination topped the leaderboard in the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week three, the Grand Prix CDI5* and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5* during week five, and the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week eight. Earning one of their highest scores ever, an 84.975 percent in the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle, Graves and Verdades are hoping to squeeze every point they can out of their tests in Paris.

“Omaha was an especially important event for us,” said Graves. “It is always terrific to ride in your home country, but this is my third World Cup [Final], and we’re here in Paris and honestly, just as excited. Hopefully, we are better than last year; hopefully we are better than we were yesterday. That is always our goal. It is also the first time [Isabell Werth] and I will be head-to-head since Aachen last year, where we were able to come out on top in the grand prix special. A lot of top competitors are here from other countries. We are certainly going to give it our best shot.”

Graves and Verdades were a valuable combination in The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team’s silver-medal finish and gold-medal finish in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ Germany, at CHIO Aachen, and the FEI Dressage Nations Cup The Netherlands, respectively, in 2017.

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) will show at her first FEI World Cup Dressage Final with Danilo, Patricia Stempel’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding. The combination placed second in the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week one of the 2018 AGDF. Francis and Danilo placed second in the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle during week three of the 2018 AGDF with a 77.72 percent, earning Danilo’s highest freestyle score ever. The combination then posted a personal best score for their grand prix special test of 73.979 percent when they won the Grand Prix Special CDI4* during week 10 of the 2018 AGDF, then placed second in the Grand Prix CDI4*.

Although a new face to the Final, Francis is a veteran and skilled competitor, selected as the traveling reserve with Doktor for the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as well as with Pikant in 1996 for the Atlanta Olympic Games and in 1998 for the WEG in Rome.

Competition Information

Competition for the Final begins Friday with the FEI Grand Prix at 9:30 a.m. EST. Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle begins at 8:00 a.m. EST, with its results determining the FEI World Cup Dressage Champion. Watch the live stream on FEI TV.

View more information about the 2018 FEI World Cup Dressage Final.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Olympians Claim Longines FEI Awards for Best Jumping Rider and Best Horse

Left to right: FEI President Ingmar De Vos, McLain Ward (USA), Kent Farrington (USA) winner of the Longines FEI Best Rider Award, Claudia Mathy, François Mathy and Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing (Longines/Pierre Costabadie)

Paris, France – World number one Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) has claimed the award for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider and HH Azur, the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Double H Farm and François Mathy, was declared the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse at a special presentation in the Paris City Hall.

Olympic silver-medalist Farrington took over the number one slot in the Longines World Rankings in May 2017 and refused to allow anyone to break his winning streak, remaining at the top of the elite list for the rest of the year. The 37-year-old, who is well on the road to recovery after breaking his right leg in a fall in mid-February, received the award for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider after finishing the year on 3,313 points.

HH Azur, whom McLain Ward rode to victory at last year’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha (USA), added another major accolade to her collection when being named the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse. Affectionately known as “Annie,” the Olympic mare is owned by Double H Farms and Francois Mathy (BEL), who collected the award accompanied by his wife Claudia Mathy and McLain Ward.

“We are delighted to present the Longines FEI best rider and best horse here tonight in Paris in this beautiful setting of the Mairie de Paris, a fitting prelude to the FEI World Cup Finals,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said.

“We are all inspired by how these athletes – both human and equine – ignite the passion in our sport and show us what it takes to succeed on the world stage. In addition, the successful partnership we have established with Longines, demonstrating the synergies between the brand and our sport, not only give extra recognition to our athletes, but the creation of these awards has given additional value to the Longines rankings and provides a further incentive to our athletes worldwide.”

“The Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards ceremony has enabled us to once again celebrate the common passion for equestrian sports we share with our Top Partner, the FEI,” Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said. “As we have seen here tonight, through these awards, we are increasing the visibility of jumping and bringing together the heroes of the discipline on a global level. We are delighted to crown the 2017 best jumping athletes in the context of these prestigious FEI World Cup Finals.”

Farrington, and HH Azur’s co-owner François Mathy, were each presented with an elegant Longines watch from the Longines Saint-Imier Collection as well as a replica trophy of the magnificent crystal winged hourglass representing the brand’s emblem at the inaugural ceremony in Paris, alongside the FEI World Cup Finals 2018 draws for Jumping and Dressage.

To see more on the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider, click here.

To see more on the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse, click here.

Edited Press Release from the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)

Veteran and New Faces Comprise US Show Jumping Contingent at FEI World Cup Jumping Final

McLain Ward and HH Azur. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

McLain Ward looking to complete back-to-back wins

Paris, France – Ten of the nation’s top U.S. show jumpers will compete for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Paris, France, April 11-15, at the AccorHotels Arena. The U.S. contingent will face stiff competition from the likes of Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann, Frenchman Kevin Staut, and other top Europeans coming off an indoor season. Thirty-eight athletes will seek the illustrious title, as a string of veterans and newcomers compete for the United States.

Meet the Athletes

Longines FEI World Cup, North American East Coast Sub-League

Among the veterans, McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.), the reigning Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final champion, will ride HH Azur, Double H Farm and François Mathy’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. The four-time Olympian and three-time FEI World Equestrian Games™ competitor will look to defend his title on the bold, bay mare that carried him in 2017.

“Any of the 37 best riders in this final are able to win the title. The bottom line for me will be focusing on my job and our performance,” said Ward. “But with HH Azur, my main concern will be to ride her as best as possible and if I succeed, I will have a good chance of winning.”

The combination most recently placed third in the $384,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* and won the $132,000 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) Challenge Cup Round V CSI5* during week five of WEF. Ward and HH Azur anchored the U.S. Show Jumping Team to a silver-medal finish at the 2017 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona, Spain, last September.

Alison Robitaille (Upperville, Va.) will ride Ace, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Bertram and Diana Firestone, in her fifth FEI World Cup Jumping Final appearance. Most recently, the duo were top-five in the $265,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI5* during week five of the 2018 HITS Ocala Winter Festival. They also were top-five in the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington CSI4*-W for the President’s Cup at the 2017 Washington International Horse Show, and were members of the 2017 silver-medal winning U.S. Show Jumping Team at FEI Jumping Nations Cup Mexico. Robitaille served as part of the U.S. team at the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games Rome.

Devin Ryan (Long Valley, N.J.) and Eddie Blue will make their Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final debut. Ryan and the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC, recently placed second in the $35,000 Longines FEI World Ranking Class CSI3*-W at the 2018 Live Oak International. They also served as the reserve combination for the NetJets® U.S. Show Jumping Team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA in February. They placed second in the $265,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI5* during week five of the 2018 HITS Ocala Winter Festival.

Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.), a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time FEI World Equestrian Games competitor, won the FEI World Cup Jumping Final in 2013 in Göteborg, Sweden, with Simon. For the 2018 final, Madden will ride Abigail Wexner’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Breitling LS. They arrive at the Final with wins at the $205,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI4* and the $205,000 CSIO4* Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix during week 11 and week eight of WEF, respectively. Madden and Breitling LS placed second in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Thermal CSI3*-W at the 2018 HITS Coachella Desert Circuit. Madden contributed to the silver-medal finish of the U.S. Show Jumping Team at the Longines FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain last September, with Darry Lou.

Kristen Vanderveen (Wellington, Fla.) appears in her first Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final aboard Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC. The North American Junior and Young Rider Championship alum earned her spot in the Final after winning the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Ocala Grand Prix at the 2018 Live Oak International. She and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili also placed in the top 10 in the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping New York CSI4*-W at the 2017 American Gold Cup.

Sarah Scheiring (Chester, N.J.) will ride Cheval Equestrian LLC and Molly Ben-Menachem’s 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Dontez. The pair comes off of an impressive season with several strong finishes. Those include top-five finishes in the Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier and the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Guadalajara at the 2018 Triple Copa Scappino CSI4*-W presented by Audi, as well as a third-place finish in the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Calgary presented by Pure North at 2017 Royal West CSI3*-W. This will be the combination’s first Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final.

Andrew “Andy” Kocher (Howell, N.J.) will make his Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final debut with Navalo de Poheton. Kocher and the 17-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by MKO Equestrian LLC won the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Del Mar at the 2017 Del Mar International World Cup Week.

Charlie Jacobs (Boston, Mass.) returns for his fourth Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final. He and Cassinja S, the 12-year-old Zweibrücker mare owned by CMJ Sporthorse LLC placed in the top 10 in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Ocala CSI3*-W at the 2018 Live Oak International, as well as in the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington CSI4*-W for the President’s Cup at the 2017 Washington International Horse Show. The combination also contributed to the gold-medal win of the U.S. Show Jumping Team in the 2017 BMO Nations’ Cup at Spruce Meadows.

Longines FEI World Cup, North American West Coast Sub-League

Richard Spooner (Agua Dulce, Calif.) will ride in his 15th  FEI World Cup Jumping Final on either Chatinus, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding that he owns with Tracy Katayama, or Arthos R, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by CNS Logistics, Inc. Spooner and Arthos R most recently won the $40,200 Desert Classic CSI3*-W during week four of the 2018 HITS Coachella Desert Circuit, as well as the $50,000 Las Vegas National Winning Round Jumper Classic at the 2017 Las Vegas National Horse Show. On Chatinus, Spooner claimed the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Las Vegas CSI4*-W presented by Interactive Mortgage at the 2017 Las Vegas National Horse Show to qualify for the Final.

Jamie Barge (Malibu, Calif.) and Luebbo return to the Final for their second consecutive year. She and the 13-year-old Oldenburg Springpferd gelding owned by Kylie Co. placed in the top 10 in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Ocala Grand Prix CSI3*-W at the 2018 Live Oak International and the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Thermal CSI3*-W at the 2018 HITS Desert Circuit, respectively.

Competition Information

The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final gets underway Thursday evening with the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final I (Jumping Speed Class).

Watch it live on FEI TV beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST.

View more information about the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department