Tag Archives: USEF

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

New Leaders Emerge Following Marathon in USEF Combined Driving National Championships

Photo: Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – All five divisions of the USEF Combined Driving National Championships faced an intimidating yet thrilling marathon course at the Live Oak International on Saturday. The course included seven technical, compact obstacles questioning the obedience and athleticism of the equine athletes. This influenced the fluctuation in the top three across all divisions, while two new drivers took the lead in the intermediate single pony and intermediate pony pair divisions.

The 14-time advanced four-in-hand national champion Chester Weber maintains his lead with 170.44 points and Jennifer Thompson holds the intermediate single horse division lead with 140.73 points. Scott Adcox has the intermediate pair horse lead off default as Shane Doyle elected to retire. Jennifer Keeler moved into the lead in the intermediate single pony division with 144.70 points, and Katie Whaley advanced to the intermediate pair pony lead with 140.29 penalties.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

Weber (Ocala, Fla.) is one phase closer to acquiring his 15th four-in-hand national title. He and his powerful team of KWPN geldings (First Edition, eight years old; Boris W, 11 years old; and Asjemenou, 12 years old) and Reno (eight years old) maneuvered the course efficiently, picking up 123.58 penalties. Despite a broken piece of equipment on course which cost them 10 penalties, they hold a dominating lead.

“There’s a lot going on for my entire family and the crew here to produce this tournament of sport, but I try to jump on the carriage, clear my mind and do my best,” said Weber. “I was pleased today with the horses. They really performed well for me and I think they’re in a good way as [FEI World Equestrian Games™] approaches.”

Lisa Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Willow Star, LLC’s team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Anesco 4, 12 years old; Ulco, 16 years old; Olando; 21 years old; and Enzo, eight years old) added 127.72 penalties to move to second place going into Sunday’s cones phase.

“It’s a really fun, challenging course here. Lots of good questions are asked. I’ve been really fortunate with 10 years of experience with the ponies. The ponies weren’t little. They were big, so the transition to horses was not as difficult because it’s the same style of driving. That’s been really helpful,” said Stroud.

James Fairclough (Newton, N.J.) and his team of Dutch Warmblood geldings (Bento V, 11 years old; Dapper, nine years old; and Zenden, 13 years old) and a KWPN (Citens, 10 years old) gelding advanced to third place. He accumulated 133.59 penalties in the marathon for a score of 189.34.

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) remains as the only competitor in the intermediate pair horse division as Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) elected to retire from competition due to an injury to one of his marathon specialist horses. He drove his KWPN geldings Nupafeed Auto Pilot (13 years old) and Pepe (six years old) in the marathon and finished with 105.07 penalties. He was impressed with his young horses’ willingness throughout the course.

“This is only the third time [Pepe’s] been out, so he’s kind of a little shell-shocked, but he handled it. He stepped up to the plate and did his job. That’s all you can ask for. He was startled at the first [water obstacle] hazard, and he decided he didn’t want to go in the water, so I didn’t push him and that paid off,” said Adcox. [Losing Shane] is disappointing because nobody wants to win by default. I want to win because I earned the win, not because somebody [is a horse down]. You never want to win that way if you can help it.”

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Thompson (Lodi, Wis.) and her seven-year-old Funnominial C.G. carried their momentum from Friday’s dressage phase over to an excellent marathon phase to remain the intermediate single horse leaders. She and the Dutch Warmblood gelding drove a consistent, cautious marathon to end the day with 86.89 penalties.

“Coming into the [first] water [hazard] there were lots of people and tents, but it went very well for us and it was a good start. The conditioning really paid off in ‘The Gulch’ and he soared through the path. My navigator [Terry Shaw] and I were pleased with his performance,” said Thompson. “This is such a top venue and a world championship level course, so it tests you and questions teams a bit more.”

Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) and Katydid Duchess, owned by Katrina Becker, added 83.20 penalties for an overall score of 142.24 penalties to move from fourth to second place following two phases. This is the toughest atmosphere the nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare has faced but handled the environment exceptionally well for a first-timer.

“[The marathon] was a lot to ask because she is fairly green. Coming into the first water hazard I was a little nervous, but when she saw the first gap she never second guessed me,” said Bradish, who is competing in her second Live Oak competition. “This year I [especially] I want to do well. I knew [my] horse could [complete the marathon], so I really pushed us. Live Oak is the best show in the country, and you want to do well.”

Anna Koopman (Middleburg, Va.) and Night Chief LMS, Robert Koopman’s seven-year-old American Dutch Harness gelding, moved down to third place, adding 96.37 penalties, with an overall score of 150.69.

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Whaley (Paris, Ky.), no stranger to Live Oak combined driving events, is using this opportunity to train her youngest Welsh Cob Pony Teddy (five years old), who competed in Friday’s dressage phase on behalf of the team with Tommy (14 years old). Not ready, for the challenges of a Live Oak marathon course, she hooked up Tommy and Tanner (11 years old) for marathon. Their experience propelled them to the lead, adding 78.53 penalties.

“My navigator [Colton] says this was our best [Live Oak marathon] round in years. The sixth [fountain] hazard was the most difficult, but we found the best route; Colton was exceptional,” said Whaley.

Boots Wright (Ocala, Fla.) dropped to second place adding 92.73 marathon penalties to her overall score of 143.37. She drove Mista Q, her 11-year-old German Riding Pony gelding, and Rio, her 14-year-old Welsh ‘B’ Pony gelding.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

After a conservative dressage phase, Keeler and Zeppo exploded through the marathon course. They added 82.30 penalties and move into the lead by less than one penalty point. She is competing her six-year-old Hackney gelding in his first intermediate event and could not be more pleased with his development and heart.

“This is the toughest course in the country, and we didn’t know what to expect with him. However, everything drove according to plan, and his size played to his advantage,” said Keeler, who had the fastest time at hazard four, the Ariat maze. “To be competing for our first national championship with the pony that no one expected anything from, it’s pretty special, and none of this would be possible without [my navigator] David.”

Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) and Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare, earned the fastest marathon time in the division to advance to second place, adding 78.85 penalties for an overall score of 145.89 penalties.

“Her fitness and air intake was huge [for the marathon]. In the sixth [fountain hazard], she was a machine and stayed very true and honest, so I was super proud of her,” said Marshall.

Kristin Whittington (Edinburgh, Ind.) and Symphony dropped to third place overall with a score of 150.52 penalties. She and the eight-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare added 93.08 penalties to their dressage score.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department 

Adcox and Weber Take Division Leads in USEF Combined Driving National Championships

Photo: Scott Adcox (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – The USEF Combined Driving National Championships got underway with the first of three phases at Live Oak International. Two of the five championship divisions completed their dressage tests; Scott Adcox takes the early lead in the Intermediate Pair Horse division with a score of 60.88 penalties. Chester Weber tops the leaderboard in the four-in-hand division with a score of 40.11 penalties.

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) and Shane Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) broke in the arena footing as the Intermediate Pair Horse division opened the first day of competition. Adcox, who returned to combined driving this year after taking a year off from competition, finds himself in the lead with Harley, Tom Warriner’s 14-year-old Saddlebred/Friesian gelding, and Pepe, his six-year-old KWPN gelding.

“Dressage is not my strong suit. I borrowed Harley from Tom Warriner a week ago to see if we could do a bit better and help with my other horse’s [Pepe’s] weak points. However, in a week there is not a lot of time to change that, but he tried. [Harley] is such a steady eddie, so I can count on him to do his job, whereas [Pepe] the six-year-old I had to manage a little more.”

Doyle follows with a score of 66.64 penalties with his geldings Valentino, a 15-year-old KWPN, and Bono, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

The 14-time USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) carries the early lead in the four-in-hand division. He and his KWPN geldings, First Edition (eight years old), Boris W (11 years old), and Asjemenou (12 years old), along with Jane Clark’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Splash (14 years old), executed a near flawless test to finish on 40.11 penalties.

“I was very pleased with my horses today; they are coming together. Tryon [FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018] is our goal in September. We had two minor errors in the walk, and without those we may have been in the 30s, but I was pleased with them and how they showed up,” said Weber, who also serves as Co-President of the Live Oak International alongside his sister Juliet Reid. “The [USEF Combined Driving] national championships, whether the first or 14th, mean a lot. It’s one of the two goals we go after every year. It’s important to me, and I would like to see us get it done.”

Following Weber is the 2017 USEF Four-in-Hand Reserve National Champion Misdee Wrigley Miller (Paris, Ky.) and her KWPN geldings Beau (11 years old), Bravour 54 (10 years old) and Bolino D (11 years old) and her Dutch Warmblood gelding Calipso 86 (10 years old) with 46.84 penalties.

“The history here at Live Oak [International]; we know we are going to get the best America has to offer when we come to compete,” said Wrigley Miller. “I took a bit of a gamble today and used a new leader [Bravour 54] to see how he reacted to the atmosphere. I was really pleased with him until towards the end of the test at our last extension near the television screen. He saw himself on the screen, so that unsettled the team a little bit.”

Allison Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) and Willow Star, LLC’s Dutch Warmblood gelding team of Anesco 4 (12 years old), Ulco (16 years old), Olando (21 years old) and Enzo (eight years old) sit in third place with 53.15 penalties.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Five USEF Combined Driving National Championships on the Line at Live Oak International

Photo: Chester Weber (Picsofyou.com)

Ocala, Fla. – Combined driving athletes will descend upon the majestic Live Oak Plantation this week for a shot at a USEF Combined Driving National Championship title. Live Oak International, running Thursday, March 15 through Sunday, March 18, returns as the host for the USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship and welcomes four new USEF Intermediate Combined Driving National Championship divisions.

Advanced Four-in-Hand

USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship

The 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ individual silver medalist and 2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand individual silver and team bronze medalist Chester Weber (Ocala, Fla.) looks to extend his USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Combined Driving National Championship record. He will harness his powerhouse team of Splash, Jane Clark’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, and his First Edition, an eight-year-old KWPN gelding; Boris W, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding; Asjemenou, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding; and Reno, an eight-year-old gelding, as he chases his 15th national title at his home farm.

However, the 2017 USEF Advanced Combined Driving Four-in-Hand Reserve National Champion Misdee Wrigley-Miller (Paris, Ky.) will be in hot pursuit with her Beau, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding; Bravour 54, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding; Bolino D, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding; Calipso 86, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding; Daan 8, a 10-year-old KNHS gelding; and Saco, an 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Both join championship veterans James Fairclough (Newton, N.J.), 2012 FEI World Driving Championships for Four-in-Hand team bronze medalist, Paul Maye (Fairfield, Va.) and Allison Stroud (Kennett Square, Pa.) as well as newcomers Wiebe Dragstra (Southern Pines, N.C.) and Mary Ruth Marks (Verona, Wis.), who will attempt to win their first title.

Intermediate

USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship

Scott Adcox (Myakka City, Fla.) and Shane Doyle (Hillsborough, N.J.) will go head-to-head for the USEF Intermediate Pair Horse Combined Driving National Championship. Adcox has competed in single horse combined driving events for the past several years. He will compete in his first pair horse division for at Live Oak, entering Nupafeed Auto Pilot, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding; Nupafeed’s Leap of Faith, a 14-year-old mare; and Pepe, a six-year-old KWPN gelding.

USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship

In the largest combined driving division at Live Oak International, 11 athletes will vie for the USEF Intermediate Single Horse Combined Driving National Championship. Taylor Bradish (Windsor, S.C.) won the preliminary single horse division at the Palm Tree Combined Driving Event at Little Everglades in January with her own Katydid Duchess. She makes the leap with Katrina Becker’s nine-year-old Welsh Pony Cross mare to the intermediate division aiming for her first title. However, she can expect tough competition from veteran drivers including 2014 FEI World Para-Equestrian Driving Championships for Singles individual silver and team bronze medalist Bob Giles (Morriston, Fla.), 2010 FEI World Singles Driving Championships competitor Robin Groves and her husband Wilson Groves (Brownsville, Vt.), Anna Koopman (Middleburg, Va.), Cathy Thomas (Verona, Wis.), and Marcie Quist (Vass, N.C.). Robin Groves won the FEI Single Horse Division at Live Oak International in 2009 and placed second in 2011, while Quist placed second in the FEI Single Horse CAI2* at the 2017 Live Oak International.

USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Katie Whaley (Paris, Ky.) and Esther “Boots” Wright (Ocala, Fla.) will battle it out for the USEF Intermediate Pair Pony Combined Driving National Championship. Whaley is the 2016 and 2017 USEF Advanced Pair Pony Combined Driving National Champion. She will compete with her own Welsh Cross pony geldings Tommy, 14 years old, and Tanner, 11 years old. She also brings along her five-year-old Teddy to give him experience as he is not old enough for Fédération Equestre Internationale competition.

USEF Intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship

Six entries make up the USEF intermediate Single Pony Combined Driving National Championship division. Jennifer Keeler (Paris, Ky.) has won every single pony combined driving event she has entered and aims to keep that streak alive with a title victory. She brings her Zeppo, a six-year-old Hackney gelding. Janelle Marshall (Williston, S.C.) has only finished outside the top three twice out of 13 single pony combined driving competitions. She brings Kennebec Joyce, John Merritt’s 10-year-old Morgan mare. Others competing in the division include Nancy Dimick (Randolph, Vt.), Jackie Kane (Hudson, Mass.), Tayler Roundtree (Auburn, Calif.), and Kristin Whittington (Edinburgh, Ind.).

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Equine Herpesvirus: What You Need to Know

Photo: Taylor Pence.

Ask horse owners to name their most-feared horse diseases, and chances are equine herpesvirus, or EHV, will be on the list. With the competition season underway, it’s important for equestrians to be vigilant and take preventive measures, from vaccination to biosecurity.

A good first stop for information is the Equine Disease Communication Center’s website, which tracks outbreaks and provides disease information and biosecurity protocols.

EHV spreads from horse to horse through nasal discharge, whether by nose-to-nose contact, aerosol droplets sneezed or coughed into the air, or shared equipment and feed or water. The types equestrians are most likely to see, EHV-1 and EHV-4, often cause only respiratory illness with few long-term aftereffects, but EHV’s easy movement between horses and the fact that the virus can cause potentially fatal neurological symptoms have made it a serious concern for horse owners, facility managers, and competition organizers alike.

Fortunately, the neurological form of the disease – which is most often associated with EHV-1 and causes a horse to lose coordination to varying degrees – is rare. And there are steps you can take to reduce your horse’s risk, says Dr. Nathan Slovis, director of the McGee Medicine Center at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky. Slovis also noted that although there is a greater awareness and increased reporting of EHV cases, the incidence of the disease is not on the rise.

General Symptoms of EHV

Fever is a key symptom of both EHV-1 and -4, and in some cases it might be the only warning sign, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Equine Disease Communication Center. But horses can also display other symptoms in conjunction with an elevated temperature. Signs of the infection can include:

  • Fever, the single most significant symptom
  • Lethargy
  • Nasal discharge accompanying fever
  • Coughing
  • Swelling in legs
  • Hind-end weakness or lack of coordination
  • Conjunctivitis, or swelling and redness in the pink area at corner of the eye

“They won’t get neurologic without having had a fever,” Slovis said. “They’ll have fevers of 103 to 105 degrees, not a mild fever, but a significant fever. So if there’s a horse with a fever, don’t blow it off, especially if they just came back from a competition. Anyone with a fever should be isolated. The incubation period is 21 days, so if your horse has been exposed, they should spike a fever in a 21-day period. So keep checking their temperatures.

“Now that we have sophisticated testing, we can break it down and identify one strain versus another,” Slovis added. “But the bottom line is that herpes can cause severe illness and severe disease, and I can’t tell you which horse is going to get sick and which horse isn’t, if they have it. Each horse is different, and it depends on things like their immunity, their age, and their stress level. Just because a horse has it doesn’t mean it will come down with neurological signs, and it doesn’t mean it won’t come down with neurological signs.”

Neurological symptoms also can vary in degree, and horses can recover if the neurological signs are mild. “It all depends on the severity,” said Slovis.

The good news, Slovis said, is that the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus is also rare.

What Can You Do to Prevent EHV?

  1. Vaccinate.

“For the backyard horse that goes on an occasional trail ride, once or twice a year is more than adequate,” said Slovis. “For the horses that are competing more often, they’re going to need to get it done about every 120 days, about three times a year. That’s a good ballpark: early spring, late summer or early fall, and then again in the middle of winter.”

But don’t just think about your horse’s own activities. Consider what the horses around him are doing, too. You may only ride your horse at home, but if his stablemates travel regularly to compete, his exposure risk will be greater.

“If you board at a high-traffic barn, you might have to do the two- or three-times-a-year vaccine program,” Slovis explained. “Your animal won’t be stressed like an animal that travels a lot more, but if there’s intense traffic in and out of that barn, maybe three times a year is good for your horse, too.”

For information on vaccinating your horse against EHV, consult your veterinarian.

  1. Plan ahead.

“You don’t want to vaccinate a horse two days before a show. Do it at least seven days before a show and ideally two to three weeks before,” advised Slovis. “Some horses may get sore in the neck area, which is possible with any vaccine, so plan ahead. Some horses may have an active herpes infection and you might not even know, and when you go to vaccinate them their body will react tremendously: the legs will swell up, they’ll get a fever, they’ll feel blasé.”

  1. Monitor your horse’s temperature.

Know your horse’s baseline temperature, and monitor your horse’s temperature daily during and after a competition. “A horse with a temperature might act perfectly fine, so taking the temperature can give you a heads-up,” Slovis explained. “It’s good basic information to have.”

  1. Establish good biosecurity on the farm, at competitions, and in the trailer.
  • Even for a vaccinated horse, it’s always important to use good biosecurity protocols to reduce the chances of exposure to or spread of the disease.
  • Don’t share water troughs, buckets, or sponges.
  • If a barn or event facility has a communal hose, don’t use it. Use your own (and don’t share it) or remove the hose and fill your water and bathing buckets directly from the faucet. “People will often dip the end of the hose in a water bucket, and if a horse has the virus, this will contaminate the end of that hose,” said Slovis.
  • Clean and then disinfect hay nets, bags, or troughs after use, and don’t share them between horses. “The virus can live in that environment for a time under ideal conditions, and that can set you up for future infection,” said Slovis. “You can use any disinfectant. Even commercial household cleaners like bleach wipes can kill herpes.”
  • Clean and disinfect areas in the trailer where a horse’s nose or nasal discharge might be.
  • If you handle multiple horses, wash your hands before moving from one horse to the next.
  • For biosecurity guidance, see the USEF brochure “Biosecurity Measures for Horses at Home and at Competitions” and the Equine Disease Communication Center’s website, which features an area devoted to biosecurity.

by Glenye Cain Oakford

© 2018 US Equestrian Federation

First Members of Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program Declared

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) and the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) are pleased to announce the first members of the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program. USEF Dressage Youth Coach George Williams and USEF Dressage Assistant Youth Coach Charlotte Bredahl-Baker selected the following eight athlete-and-horse combinations for membership based on their evaluation at the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic January 2-5, 2018, as well as their likelihood of developing into future team athletes.

Aleyna Dunn (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and Bivera, Dunn’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare

Benjamin Ebeling (Moorpark, Calif.) and Behlinger, Amy Ebeling, Elizabeth Meyer, and Ann Romney’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding

Isabel Linder (Kewadin, Mich.) and Elvis, Hai Wei’s 14-year-old Westphalian gelding

Tillie Jones (Lincoln, Neb.) and Apachi, Tillie and Tish Jones’ 13-year-old KWPN gelding

Rebekah Mingari (Depauw, Ind.) with Allure S, Kerrin Dunn’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare

Natalie Pai (Wellington, Fla.) and Unlimited, Melanie Pai’s 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding

Chase Shipka (Marshall, Va.) and Zigal, Chase, and Darcie Shipka’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding

Christian Simonson (Ventura, Calif.) and FRH Rassolini, Christina Morgan’s 15-year-old Hessen Warmblood stallion

“It is inspiring to see the up-and-coming young talent and exciting to think that through the [Discover Dressage USEF/USDF] Emerging Athlete Program we can help these athletes develop to their fullest potential, while at the same time incentivize others to continue to push to make their dreams a reality. On behalf of all of us involved, we are very grateful for the generous support of Discover Dressage, without which this would not be possible,” said Williams.

As participants in the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program, these combinations will receive access to resources such as score analysis, the USEF human sport science and medicine program, strategic planning meetings, possible financial assistance towards agreed-upon targets, opportunities to participate in USEF Training Sessions and clinics, as well as one-on-one coaching. Members are reviewed approximately every six months. In order to retain membership, athletes must meet their respective established targets within six months of their acceptance into the program unless the youth coaches grant an exception. In addition, athletes must continue to meet the minimum selection criteria of 68% through completion of three USEF Dressage National Championship/Adequan® FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) qualifying competitions and/or CDI or CDIO-Y/J/P/Ch events.

Membership to the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program is on a rolling basis following each Training and Evaluation session. Athletes in the U25 division who are not qualified for the USEF Dressage Development Program are also eligible for support and membership to the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program, as well as Children and Pony riders looking for educational opportunities. The next training and evaluation session will be at Hampton Green Farm in Wellington, Fla., March 6-7, 2018. The application deadline is February 21.

In order to participate in the Training and Evaluation sessions, athletes must submit an application and have competed at a minimum of three qualifying competitions for the USEF Dressage National Championships and NAJYRC and/or CDI or CDIO-Y/J/P/Ch events over the course of six months. Wild card invitations will also be considered. Athletes are welcome to reapply for Training and Evaluation sessions if not selected for a session or membership into the program.

Find out more about the Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program online or contact Hannah Niebielski, Director of Dressage, National Programs at hniebielski@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

US Equestrian Announces US Show Jumping Team for FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) has named the following athletes to the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the Longines FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala. As part of the new 2018 FEI Nations Cup series format, the competition will occur on Sunday, February 18, taking the place of the Grand Prix, which will move to Friday, February 16. The Longines FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala is the exciting finale to the Ocala Winter Festival running February 13-18.

Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.)
Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.)
Devin Ryan (Long Valley, N.J.)
McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.)

Robert Ridland will serve as the Chef d’Equipe.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

HH Azur and Cuba Win 2017 Horse of the Year Titles

HH Azur (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Lexington, Ky. – On a night dedicated to celebrating the horse, US Equestrian is pleased to share that HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm and François Mathy, has been voted the 2017 International Horse of the Year and Cuba, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC, has been voted the 2017 National Horse of the Year.

International Horse of the Year

HH Azur (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sion van de Zuuthoeve/Sir Lui)
2006 Belgian Warmblood mare
Owners: Double H Farm and François Mathy

HH Azur’s raw athleticism and keen instinct for the sport was evident from the moment her hooves stepped into the show ring with her superstar rider McLain Ward at the reins. Known as “Annie” in the barn, her storybook year began with a win in the $380,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI5* at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in February. Continuing to demonstrate her dependability and undeniable talent in a major championship, HH Azur delivered three perfect rounds to guide Ward to his first Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final title in April. Following the World Cup Finals, HH Azur returned to competition at Spruce Meadows in the prestigious $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Cup CSI5*. From there, she and Ward anchored the U.S. team to a silver-medal tie in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup™ at CHIO Aachen in July and a silver-medal finish in the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final in September. It should be noted that HH Azur has not had a single fault in team competition in 2017.

National Horse of the Year

Cuba (Namelus R x Ups-A-Daisy/Mermus R)
2007 KWPN gelding
Owners: John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC

Cuba, John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding, had an impressive year in 2017. Having proven himself a successful hunter, Cuba started his campaign as a Derby horse just one year ago. With rider Victoria Colvin, the pair stood out at the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby Championship in August, placing third in the Classic Round, winning the Handy Hunter Round, and finishing as the overall champion by a significant margin of 9.75 points. Cuba closed the competition year as the USHJA International Derby horse with most money won. Over the course of only five competitions, Cuba earned $55,853.

by US Equestrian Communications Department