(WELLINGTON, FLORIDA) – February 5 2017 – Land Rover North America returned to Week Four of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, which included the Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase. The Winter Equestrian Festival is held over 12 weeks, from January to April.
Re-live the excitement of the unique competition held in the glamorous setting close to West Palm Beach and look back at the historic win for defending champion, Boyd Martin riding Welcome Shadow, clinching his third consecutive Eventing Showcase title.
(WELLINGTON, FLORIDA) – February 4, 2017 – Defending champion Boyd Martin, riding Welcome Shadow, clinched a superb victory to secure a historic third consecutive title with a score of 27.9 in the Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase held in Week Four of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Fellow U.S. rider Buck Davidson took second place riding his bay mare, Petite Flower, on a score of 30.9, with Doug Payne (USA) climbing four places in the cross-country to finish third riding Vandiver on a score of 34.2.
The glamorous setting of Wellington, Florida (Palm Beach County) attracted equestrian’s most talented eventers who competed under clear blue skies and the Florida sunshine for two days of intense competition all vying for the $100,000 prize money on offer. Sir Mark Todd (NZL) and Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt were included in the strong line-up but it was USA’s Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous who rose to the top of the leader board at the end of day one following the dressage phase, with an impressive score of 24.9. The overnight standings were incredibly tight with just four penalties separating the top six riders.
Marilyn Little continued her good form in the show jumping phase steering RF Scandalous around the course, set by Richard Jefferies, to a stunning clear round and within the time. But defending champion Boyd Martin made sure to keep the pressure on, producing a flawless round on his grey mare, Welcome Shadow, sitting just 1.4 penalties behind the leader as they entered the final cross-country phase.
The cross-country course, built by world renowned designer Captain Mark Phillips, proved to be challenging, with only two riders going under the optimum time of 3 minutes and 59 seconds. The technical course also included a unique phase with the final jump being placed inside the VIP hospitality tent, much to the delight of the packed spectators.
An unfortunate run-out and fall for Marilyn Little riding her first horse, RF Demeter, resulted in her withdrawal from the competition paving the way for defending champion, Boyd Martin, to move into first place ahead of his final round. The pressure was building as Buck rode under the optimum time keeping his score of 30.9 and closing the gap on the leaders. A small mistake from Alison Springer resulted in a run-out at fence 17 for Arthur and took them out of contention.
This left the door open for Boyd and Welcome Shadow. However, the unforgiving nature of the cross-country phase meant one mistake could see the world-class combination slip down the rankings. In a nail biting finish Boyd held his nerve through the Land Rover Offset obstacle and galloped passed the packed crowds to victory. Finishing just two seconds over the optimum time, the pair received 0.8 of a time penalty and Boyd claimed his unprecedented third consecutive Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase title and the $33,000 winner’s prize money.
Boyd commented on his hat-trick of titles: “It was really great to win the Land Rover Eventing Showcase here in Wellington. It is such a privilege to be here and be part of this great event. I have a wonderful horse in Welcome Shadow; we had some of the best riders in the world here and was the toughest competition yet so I am really pleased.”
Helen McDonald, Events and Partnerships Manager, Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC, spoke of this year’s event: “It’s been a great weekend of competition and the riders who came from far and wide did not disappoint! Land Rover is proud to once again support such a wonderful event and we congratulate Boyd Martin and Welcome Shadow on his third straight win at the Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase.”
Eight-time Olympian Sir Mark Todd spoke of his first experience at the Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase: “It’s great to be here; the facilities are incredible and the location is so unique. It’s an amazing platform for us to showcase the sport of eventing to a new audience and events like this will only help us to grow the sport.”
To learn more about the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Wellington Eventing Showcase, please visit: www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL – February 4, 2017 – Boyd Martin (USA) was victorious with Welcome Shadow in the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase held on Saturday at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Beginning the weekend with a class of 39 entries, Boyd Martin climbed to the top after a clear show jumping round and a great trip on cross-country to finish on 27.30 penalties with Welcome Shadow, a 2005 Thoroughbred mare owned by Gloria Callen, and an overall Showcase win for the third year in a row.
Buck Davidson (USA) and Carlevo, a 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Caresino x Levernois) owned by Carlevo LLC, finished second on 30.9 penalties after moving up from 13th place after dressage. Doug Payne rode Vandiver, a 2004 ATA gelding by Windfall x Mystic Replica XX owned by Debi Crowley and Doug and Jessica Payne, to a third place finish with 34.2 penalties.
Commenting on his victory, Martin said, “This year was by far the hardest one to win. It was a much more competitive field; the caliber of horses was the best we’ve seen here. I’ve got to say, the show jumping was bigger and wider, (and) I think the show jumping was even bigger than at Rolex. The cross-country was a real test. I think that it’s been good that they’ve gently built it up like this, but the cross-country was influential this year compared to other years.
“My horse is one of my favorites in training at the moment,” he said of Welcome Shadow, who was originally owner Craig Callen’s fox hunter. “You couldn’t get a horse that tries any harder than Welcome Shadow. I thought she was great in all three phases, and I was proud to win. I will quite happily take the check home.”
The pair has a plan that will lead them up to the Kentucky Rolex Three-Day Event CCI4* within the next few months. “She’ll go home tonight and (we will) give her an easy week and back off her a bit. I don’t think [this event] knocks the horses around too much because it was only a four-minute track,” Martin explained. “It was four-star questions in intermediate height, so it tuned her up a little bit.”
Buck Davidson (USA) and Carlevo jumped a clear stadium course and went on to a clear cross-country round.
“I was really happy with the mare,” said Davidson. “She couldn’t have been better this whole weekend. I was really happy with the dressage, and she tried her heart out in the show jumping, and was as straight as could be today. She is very fast and a fun horse to ride around these kind of events.”
Doug Payne (USA) and Vandiver rose through the standings from eleventh place after dressage to tenth place after show jumping, and came back strong after a flawless cross-country run to land in third place.
Payne said of his experience this year, “This is an incredible competition, and I think it will prove to be valuable for these horses able to come here early in the season. There is more atmosphere here than you are going to see anywhere except for maybe Rolex, domestically. It’s a great preparation because we seldom have the opportunity to have these horses in such an environment. It’s an incredible asset to the sport, and I couldn’t have been more happy with Quinn.
“I was disappointed I had the last jump down (in show jumping), but on cross-country he’s a bit of a dirt bike, and we go out there and cruise,” he continued. “I am learning to trust him more and more, and I’m incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to ride and work with him.”
Equestrian Sport Productions’ CEO Mark Bellissimo highlighted once again the importance of growth within the sport of Eventing and amongst the equine community.
“It takes a great team to pull this off,” he said. “I want to thank Land Rover for stepping up and distinguishing this event. We wanted to create an environment where we could demonstrate the great athleticism of the both the horse and rider in a compact environment which would allow for many new spectators and owners who have never seen Eventing to come and experience this.”
Bellissimo continued, “I think we are at a point now where we have a really good format. Next year we are going to try to push this event and make it something very, very special. We are very excited about this event and the future of Eventing in this country.”
Event Organizer Jim Wolf concluded the conference by discussing his thoughts on the event and its future.
“I think we are on to a really great product here,” he said. “We try to create sports entertainment properties, and I think today was really great sport and was great entertainment. Mark Phillips did a brilliant job on the course. I would especially like to thank Land Rover. They are a great supporter of the sport and of Eventing worldwide, and we are thrilled they are doing this with us. We thank them for their support and making it possible.
“Mark saw Eventing as an underserved audience as he saw dressage as an underserved audience several years ago and put together investors, owners, and supporters to elevate dressage to a whole new level in this country,” Wolf said. “I think we can do that if given a chance for Eventing. We see an audience that has an opportunity to put some money in this sport. This sport isn’t easy and you can’t go collect a big check every weekend like in show jumping, so when we see these riders come out and put it on the line like these guys do, they deserve to be recognized. Nothing says thank you more than a check.”
Helen McDonald, Events and Partnerships Manager for Jaguar Land Rover NA, spoke of the positive partnership that the company has with the Eventing Showcase. Said McDonald, “I just want to say thank you to Mark and Jim. This is an unbelievable event, beautiful facilities, and congratulations to the riders. I look forward to pursuing what’s available next year here.”
Caroline Moran presented awards to the grooms of the top three riders, in memory of Bruce Duchossois, to Sergio Reyes, Kathleen Murray, and Courtney Carson.
The 2017 $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase event was a great success, and Equestrian Sport Productions looks forward to planning for the 2018 event. For more information on the Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase, and for a full list of results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Wellington, FL – February 3, 2017 – Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous established an early lead in the dressage phase of the 2017 $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase on Friday at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
Little and RF Scandalous, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia x Lario) owned by J. Mars, R. Parsky, P. Manders, & M. Manders, took the lead after the dressage phase with 24.9 penalties. Ryan Wood (AUS) and Powell, a 2006 Oldenburg gelding (Pablito x Dinara x Donnerwerth) owned by Summit Sporthorses LTD, Inc. & Ryan Wood, will continue on to the show jumping phase in second place on 26.1 penalties, while last year’s event winner Boyd Martin (USA) and Welcome Shadow, a 2005 Thoroughbred x mare owned by Gloria Callen sit in third place with 26.5 penalties.
“We are using this time to work on her (RF Scandalous) dressage and her show jumping. She’s actually in her fourth week of competition already this year,” said Little of the mare she rode to individual and team gold medals at the 2015 Pan American Games. “She’s been competing at [the Winter Equestrian Festival] and has been doing lots of dressage. I was happy that today went well.”
She continued, “Today I wasn’t entirely sure if the result would be positive or negative. Sometimes it’s one step forward, two steps back. I was worried because I’ve been trying to add more spark and add more control to the changes, that she could be a bit fresh today and maybe we would see that in the ring. I was pleasantly surprised with her demeanor; she was very business-like and was as lovely to ride as she always is.”
Wood credited his recent dressage training with Silva Martin for his second-place standing.
“I’ve had a lot of help from Boyd’s wife on the dressage. It gets a little tough at the dinner table when I end up beating him,” joked Wood.
Regarding his thoughts on the cross-country course, Wood said, “This is a challenging course, and it’ll be my horse’s first start for the year. We’ve got some great schooling places around us in Aiken so they’ve been able to get out a few times. It’s going to be challenging. [Course designer Capt.] Mark [Phillips] has made some changes, and accuracy is going to be a factor.”
Boyd Martin has won the Wellington Eventing Showcase two years in a row and could make it a three-peat victory if his rides go as planned. “Mark Phillips has really beefed the course up here, and it is considerably trickier than it has been in the last few years. The time should be a fair bit harder to make, so I think that if you want to win a prize here you’re really going to have to take a chance and go for broke,” said Martin.
Welcome Shadow has been competing at the Advanced level for two years and was a reserve horse for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. “I feel like we are just starting to get some of our best work,” Martin said. “She’s (Welcome Shadow) a wonderful mover and a real pleaser and a trier. Tomorrow will be a big test. It’s our first event for the year.”
Currently sitting in fourth place on 27.1 penalties, Hannah Sue Burnett (USA) commented on her start to the season with mount Harbour Pilot. “Instead of butting heads, we are teaming up. I’m excited to ride both of my horses here. They are both very, very, very bold so that’s a huge advantage for me.”
Equestrian Sport Productions’ CEO Mark Bellissimo concluded the day’s press conference by discussing possible expansions for the sport of Eventing in Wellington. “We are very happy to have this event in its third year. It is an opportunity for us to expose a much broader audience to Eventing, and we are very excited for the future,” said Bellissimo.
Competition continues on Saturday, February 4, at 10:30 a.m. with show jumping and continues with cross country at 1 p.m. For more information on the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL – January 21, 2017 – The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) will welcome back the $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase from Friday, February 3, to Saturday, February 4, hosting renowned international eventing athletes in Wellington, FL. General admission to the event is free.
Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team member and Olympian Boyd Martin won both previous editions of the Wellington Eventing Showcase, riding Trading Aces in 2015 and then again with Blackfoot Mystery, his 2016 Olympic Games mount from Rio de Janeiro. The talented rider, currently ranked fourth in the world, will aim to “three-peat” his success, but will have tough competition from newcomers to the showcase and legends of the sport, seven-time Olympian and two-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Mark Todd of New Zealand and five-time Olympian and three-time Olympic medalist William Fox-Pitt (GBR), along with 17 other riders representing the United States and Australia.
While known as the winter destination for show jumping and dressage competitors, a third Olympic discipline was added to the schedule at PBIEC in 2015 at the Wellington Eventing Showcase. It was an immediate success, and along with an increase in prize money every year, its popularity has grown as well.
Now offering $100,000 in prize money, the Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase is one of the largest purses for eventing competitions in the United States.
The following riders have been invited to compete in the exhibition event and may compete up to two horses:
Angela Bowles (USA)
Jennie Brannigan (USA)
Hannah Sue Burnett (USA)
Buck Davidson (USA)
William Fox-Pitt (GBR)
Clayton Fredericks (USA)
Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA)
Dan Jocelyn (NZL)
Sara Kozumplik-Murphy (USA)
Marilyn Little (USA)
Kylie Lyman (USA)
Boyd Martin (USA)
Joe Meyer (USA)
Doug Payne (USA)
Holly Payne-Caravella (USA)
Colleen Rutledge (USA)
Kim Severson (USA)
Allison Springer (USA)
Erin Sylvester (USA)
Mark Todd (NZL)
Ryan Wood (AUS)
Competition for the Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase will begin with dressage on Friday, February 3, at 8:30 a.m. at The Stadium at PBIEC, home of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). Stadium jumping and cross-country phases of competition will run on Saturday, February 4, starting at 10 a.m., with cross-country taking to the field in reverse order of standing at 1 p.m. A special awards presentation will follow.
The cross-country track, designed by Captain Mark Phillips (GBR), an Olympic team gold medalist for Great Britain and established FEI CCI 4* course designer, was built by Eric Bull, and will span across the grass derby fields at PBIEC, concluding with an exciting finish in The Stadium arena. The stadium course will be designed by 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games designer Richard Jeffery (GBR).
Hospitality packages for the event are currently available and can be reserved by contacting email@example.com. General admission for the event is free to spectators.
For more information on the 2017 $100,000 Land Rover Wellington Eventing Showcase, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL – February 6, 2016 – Boyd Martin (USA) piloted new mount Blackfoot Mystery to victory in the $75,000 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, held at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and produced by Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP). Martin bested a class of 35 entries with a final score of 30.60. Colleen Rutledge (USA) and Covert Rights finished in second place with a 31.00, while Daniel Jocelyn (NZL) rode catch-ride Devil Munchkin to third with a score of 32.30.
The 2016 event proved to be the most successful yet, as a large crowd of spectators and fans packed the Global Pavilion and lined the fences of the polo and derby fields used to host cross-country competition. Martin and Blackfoot Mystery, owned by the Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate, jumped to an early lead after going clear in the show jumping phase around the difficult track set by Richard Jeffrey. They then continued fault-free on cross country to earn a double clear effort. The cross country track was designed by Captain Mark Phillips and was built by Eric Bull of ETB Equine Construction.
“This year was a much more competitive field, and it was definitely of a higher standard. The course was a bit tougher, and it was harder to win this year than last year. By saying that, I knew this horse I had, Blackfoot Mystery, had a good chance,” said Martin. “We’ve just purchased him thanks to a group of supporters and this is the first time a few of the owners have come to see him. [There are] not many better ways to impress our owners than to bring them to Wellington in this beautiful marquee and have this horse win. I was very pleased on all levels.”
Blackfoot Mystery, a 2004 Thoroughbred gelding (Out of Place x True Mystery), has come into his own with the experienced Martin. The pair was only one of eight clear efforts (no jumping or time faults) in the stadium round, which has been an aspect of training Martin has focused on since acquiring the talented gelding in July.
“At the moment it looks very promising and this horse has a great future,” said Martin. “The ding in this horse when we bought him was his show jumping and I’ve been working very closely with an English show jumping trainer named Richard Pickett. He’s gone well above the call of duty and has been studying the horse’s videos and making trips to Pennsylvania and Aiken, SC to help us. We changed his canter around a bit, just a few little things, but I think we started to see more improvement in the show jumping. He’s careful, but we’re working on getting that blend between confidence and carefulness too in the ring. I’d like to keep on this path. The horse has a wonderful jump, and it’s more about keeping him in the right balance.”
The event, which saw four different nations represented, offered new owners and fans the opportunity to experience the third equestrian Olympic discipline at PBIEC. Martin, who thrives in pressure situations, rose to the occasion once again and found himself crossing the finish with a double clear round in hand, ultimately securing his second victory.
Martin said, “I’ve got a lot of respect for (ESP CEO) Mark Bellissimo, and I think we’ve got a similar personality. His ideas are out of this world, which I love. Wellington is a place for the Olympic disciplines, except for eventers, until this (competition), and I think he’s got the sport we love in front of a lot more people.”
Colleen Rutledge and her impressive home-bred Covert Rights made another bold statement early in the season, adding this top finish to their list of accolades over the past two years. The 2006 Thoroughbred cross gelding (Black Fox Farm Incognito x Let’s Get It Right) has amassed two FEI CCI 4* finishes to its resume over the past two years and looks primed to take the international limelight again, as the duo are headed to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day CCI 4*.
“The cross-country course was fabulous today,” said Rutledge. “I was so proud of the way that CR went out and ran. The amount that he’s grown up since Rolex last year is just leaps and bounds. He’s a completely different horse. This was just fantastic to run on and the course was great. It asked some very good questions and for me, this was my horse’s first run of the year. It was a fantastic start, and I’m just thrilled with everything. I’ve had a great time and a great run.”
The relationship Rutledge has forged with Covert Rights, known as “CR” in the barn, is strong, and the pair made easy work of both the stadium and cross country courses this afternoon. The talk of the event was the gallop through the Global Pavilion VIP tent, which dropped riders into the sand ring on the other side for their final fence before the finish line. Questions about the obstacle prompted Rutledge to comment on the mentality and partnership between horse and rider.
“I’ve had my horse since he was a baby and I know him inside and out. When I asked him to go through the tent he didn’t question it. I mean really and truly, that looks like a huge deal and it was amazing to ride, but these horses jump ‘key holes’ and stuff along these lines. I think our horses were relatively prepared for it, but it really is about the mind of the horse,” Rutledge described. “It’s great to have a horse that’s a phenomenal mover and a horse that is a phenomenal jumper, but if you have a horse with a great mind you can make up abilities there.”
Daniel Jocelyn was one of two non-U.S. based riders representing the nation of New Zealand who made the trip to PBIEC to test the waters of the event. Tim Price also made the journey to Wellington to ride in the showcase. Both Jocelyn and Price currently reside in the U.K. and were paired with two catch rides for the event. Jocelyn made the most of his time aboard Devil Munchkin a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Casiro I x Rhona), owned by Sable Giesler. Jocelyn had sat on the gelding just one time before entering the dressage ring on Friday afternoon. They added nothing to their original score of 32.30 for third place.
Jocelyn said, “Firstly, thank you to Sable [Giesler] and Jessica [Bortner-Harris] for lending the horses to me for this weekend. I’m very happy to have had the ride on these horses, and they’ve obviously done a good job on the groundwork because they felt fantastic.”
While the notion of catch riding may be intimidating to most, especially at the Advanced level, Jocelyn took the opportunity in stride, noting that he actually enjoys catch riding and felt prepared on both mounts. He also rode Win the War, owned by Jessica Bortner-Harris, to 21st place.
“This is a fantastic facility, and I’ve enjoyed the three days I’ve been here. It’s an unbelievable experience and something certainly I’ll be taking home and telling everyone about. It’s a great time,” he continued.
Representatives from Asheville Regional Airport and Wellington Equestrian Realty were on hand to discuss their involvement with the event and continued support for eventing and all disciplines of equestrian sport.
“This was such a pleasure to sponsor. It’s an interesting thing to have an airport in western North Carolina sponsor an event in this beautiful area. We are on the periphery of this amazing event that everyone has provided today,” said Tina Kinsey of Asheville Regional Airport. “There is a sister corporation, the Tryon International Equestrian Center, and Asheville Regional Airport is the gateway to that equestrian center. To be here on this gorgeous course with amazing riders, it’s just been a true pleasure.”
Matt Varney of Wellington Equestrian Realty also spoke to the importance of broadening the fan base for the sport of eventing, as the realty company is heavily involved with the sport in Ocala, FL, the home base for many eventing athletes during winter months.
“We’ve had a long relationship with eventing through our sister company, Ocala Horse Properties, started by Chris and Rob Desino. Craig Martin and I have been in Wellington for a number of years now. This is a chance for people to come here and experience what we see every week basically for four months,” said Varney. “What’s so cool [is that] these riders [and horses] are unbelievable athletes. It’s amazing to watch. Any chance that we get to help bring more people to the state of Florida during the winter months, whether that be Ocala or here, is our main goal. We know eventers go back and forth, and we want to see as many shows here as possible for you guys.”
The mastermind behind much of the operation, Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners and Wellington Equestrian Partners, discussed the need to bring all three equestrian Olympic disciplines to Wellington while touching on the overall success of the event.
“Thank you to Asheville Regional Airport. They’ve been a great partner here and a great partner in Tryon. We appreciate everything you do for us. We’ve had a great relationship with Wellington Equestrian Realty since they stormed Wellington six years ago. We’re very proud of this event and it really takes a village,” Bellissimo said. “It’s amazing to see a group of athletes, both human and animal, go through this course and everywhere I walked there were so many people who were just excited because they had never seen this before. I’d also like to thank Rolex, Land Rover, Adequan®, and Ariat for their continued support and contribution to this event.”
“It was a high-risk strategy to do this eventing. We have tried to push the envelope a little bit and really engage the audience. The goal of this event was to bring new owners into the sport. I think we’ve had great success in generating interest for owners and my goal is to generate ten new owners for the sport. We had three or four last year, and I’m actually an owner now working with Jimmie and Dom Schramm. I want to engage this at different levels, and I think there will be others who will too,” he continued.
Several new awards were distributed during the awards ceremony, highlighting the dedication and support of owners and team members for all participating horse and rider combinations. Caroline Moran of Goshen Hill donated $10,000 for the Grooms’ Awards, which was distributed to all grooms at the event in honor of their continued hard work and commitment to the sport. Martin’s groom, Sergio Reyes, took top honors earning $2,500, while Colleen Rutledge’s groom Alex Ambelang received $1,500, and $1,000 went to Sabel Giesler, the groom for Daniel Jocelyn this week. The Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate, owners of the winning horse, were awarded with a $10,000 check to be donated to the charity of their choice, which will be made to Guillain-Barre syndrome research, in honor of syndicate member Anne Laver. Martin also collected a $10,000 bonus for winning the event two consecutive years in a row.
“We hope to see this event grow, and I think we’re going to up the stakes a bit. We will increase the prize money to $100,000 and a big part of that is to reward the owners and the riders. This year we added a grooms’ awards, and I’d like to thank Caroline Moran and Goshen Hill,” explained Bellissimo. “I’m a big advocate of supporting the team behind these riders and I think the grooms are, in many ways, the pit crew for these horses and riders and we’d like them to get more recognition. I think it’s a great way to reward some unheralded people in the sport.”
Equestrian Sport Productions would like to thank the team who made the Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, a great success and looks forward to the 2017 edition. For more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL – February 5, 2016 – Allison Springer (USA) and her veteran mount Arthur secured an early lead in the dressage phase of the $75,000 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty. Competition will continue with the show jumping phase beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the Global International Ring at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) Saturday morning, February 6, with the cross-country phase starting with the first rider on course at 1 p.m.
Springer and Arthur took the lead with a score of 29.1. Buck Davidson (USA) and Ballynoecastle RM will move into the show jumping phase in second place, receiving a 30.1, while Boyd Martin (USA), winner of last year’s event, sits in third place aboard new mount Blackfoot Mystery with a 30.6.
Allison Springer and Arthur have a storied partnership, as the duo have tested some of the largest CCI 4* events in the world, including the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day CCI4* multiple times, and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials CCI 4*, where the duo has finished 6th and 21st respectively. Arthur, known to be a generally spooky mount, braved the atmosphere of the Global International Ring on a windy day in Wellington, FL, and Springer was proud of the 17-year-old gelding.
“He feels great,” Springer said. “He’s 17 this year and it’s fun to see him and Reggie, Buck’s horse, here. They really started out together, and it’s been so many years. He feels great and is so happy to be out doing stuff again. He’s jumping really well and I’m hoping that I can stay focused tomorrow and give him a good ride.”
Springer has waited to bring Arthur back into competition after an injury last year sidelined him for majority of the 2015 season. Looking in top form, the combination impressed in their first run of 2016. They are using this event to prepare for their first CCI4* run of 2016 at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in April.
“He got hurt before Rolex last year and now he feels strong and well. This for me is one of our big preps for Rolex this year. He’ll do this and an easy February getting him fit and we’ll maybe do a run at The Fork,” commented Springer. “This is the perfect event for him because it has the noise and the stadium. I’m really grateful (that) Mark [Bellissimo], Jim [Wolf], and Michael [Stone] have put this together for us. We all can’t thank [them] enough. Arthur is happy to be here.”
“We haven’t had a run since last year’s showcase here,” Springer continued. “This is good practice for my horse. He can be a bit of a spook, but he’s pretty good with the technical stuff. I’ve worked really hard on my show jumping because it’s not Arthur’s strongest phase, but he’s fully capable and it just requires a lot of focus on my part. I’m going to be thinking positive.”
Buck Davidson (USA) and crowd favorite Ballynoecastle RM shot to the top of the standings before Springer’s ride as the third to last pair to go on the first day of competition. The pair, who has represented the United States on numerous occasions, is back in action for the 2016 season.
Davidson commented, “It’s a great experience for all of us to come to a new venue and have some new fans and bring a new kind of excitement to Wellington. As for Reggie, you end up saying the same thing every time. He’s just a professional. I’m disappointed in myself that I missed the one change, but he was perfect as usual and we’re on to focusing on the next day.”
“It’s an awesome course,” Davidson said of tomorrow’s cross-country track. “It’s perfectly laid out and I wish the fairways at my golf course looked as nice as this. We’re all appreciative of that and all of the horses should be able to have a good, quick run. It’s not very long, and the fences are well presented. The ground is perfect, and I think you’ll see a great competition tomorrow.”
With two new mounts entered in the competition for the first time, Boyd Martin (USA) made the most of both rides, piloting Welcome Shadow to a score of 35.9 to sit in 20th place moving into show jumping tomorrow, and rode Blackfoot Mystery to a third place finish after the first phase.
Martin said, “We had a great event last year, but it just feels bigger and better this year. I think the field of riders is actually higher quality than last year. There’s a lot more of the top horses here. I was really happy with my two horses today. I brought a green one named Welcome Shadow that did quite well and my new horse Blackfoot Mystery came in and did a good test. We had a few little mistakes, but I think he’s all class. I’m looking forward to building a partnership with him and bringing him up for Rolex later this spring.”
“It’s the beginning of the season. My fellows haven’t had a run since last year and it’s a big pressure show jumping atmosphere. It’s an enclosed and proper ring. The cross country isn’t too big, but it’s a bit trickier than last year. I think riders will have to be decisive on course.”
Event Director Jim Wolf was on hand to comment on the improvements that have been made to make the 2016 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, better than ever.
“Last year was a start-up event and we went a bit cautious with the course. We wanted to understand the venue and get the riders comfortable with the format. I’d really like to thank all of the riders and their owners for believing in the event,” he noted. “We were trying to create something a bit different for eventing because it was a showcase, giving us a way to introduce the sport to this community. I used to event and that’s where my heart still lies. I knew that there was a real fan base and owner base for eventing that they hadn’t tapped into yet.”
“All of the owners in equestrian sport are incredibly important and event horses are a special leap of faith because there isn’t great prize money, but that’s something that we’re addressing here and want to change within this sport. We also thought that we could introduce some new owners to the sport and last year we were successful doing that,” he continued. “People have really supported this event, which is great, and we have an incredible group of sponsors behind this. They have really stepped up and these are very long term supporters of eventing like Land Rover, Rolex, Adequan®, Ariat, and then we have Asheville Regional Airport and Wellington Equestrian Realty who are great partners for this new event.”
Competition will be live streamed tomorrow beginning at 10:30 a.m. with show jumping and continue with cross country at 1 p.m. provided by The Chronicle of the Horse. Please visit http://bit.ly/1NTWM6t to watch the competition live.
For more information on the $75,000 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous at the 2015 event.
Wellington, FL – February 4, 2016 – The 2016 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, will be held on February 5-6 at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Twenty-two top Eventing riders from four countries will compete in this three-phase competition for $75,000 in prize money.
In the inaugural year of the event, Boyd Martin (USA) and Trading Aces took home top honors in what was then the $50,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase. This year, with increased prize money, the stakes are even higher for the 35 participating horse and rider combination, as many pairs will use the event as a first prep run for a spring CCI 4* event, the highest distinction of international eventing. Returning champion Martin will ride two horses in the event, Blackfoot Mystery and Welcome Shadow.
Competition will begin with a dressage test ride at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, February 5; the first rider will enter the ring at 8:30 a.m. Dressage competition hosted in the Global International Ring will continue through 2:00 p.m.
Show jumping will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Global International Ring on Saturday, February 6, in the reverse order of standings from the dressage phase. The final phase, cross-country, will start at 1:00 p.m., with combinations riding in reverse order of standings after dressage and show jumping. They will be contesting a course designed by Captain Mark Phillips and built by Eric Bull.
An autograph signing session with riders will be open to the public following the conclusion of competition on the vendor deck above the Global International Ring. The top three riders will join the session after the awards ceremony and press conference. Complimentary posters will be available for signing.
The 2016 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, will offer limited-edition merchandise available for purchase throughout the event, both on-site and online, including a bundle package with a t-shirt, baseball hat, and poster. Orders can be placed at https://pbiec.coth.com/page/eventing-merchandise#top.
For more information, ride times, and results for the 2016 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, please visit www.pbiec.com or call 561-793-5867.
Boyd Martin and Trading Aces landing from the final cross-country jump for victory. Photos copyright SusanJStickle.com.
Wellington, FL – January 31, 2015 – Boyd Martin (USA) and Trading Aces proved to be unbeatable this weekend at the first-ever $50,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase presented by Asheville Regional Airport. Martin and Trading Aces led the competition from start to finish, completing the weekend on their original dressage score of 24.80. Michael Pollard (USA) and Cyrano Z finished in second place on a 25.7 with Laine Ashker (USA) and her own Anthony Patch in third, ending the weekend with their original score, 29.1.
The Derby Field at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center was packed with more than 2,000 spectators on a beautiful Saturday afternoon as visitors from around the country came to see the first-ever eventing competition in Wellington unfold. Martin commented that the entire competition was first-class, and it was a privilege to be a part of such a unique competition. “I’ve been lucky enough; I’m 35 and I’ve competed in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Holland, U.S., France, England, and this is by far the best competition I have ever been to,” he expressed. “The organizers have put on something I have never seen before, and I am just so proud to be here.”
From the incredible footing of both the dressage and show jumping arena and out on the cross-country course, the riders were all very pleased with the event as many of them used it to begin their spring season and prepare for the Rolex CCI4* in Lexington, Kentucky later in the spring. “I think this was the right test for this time in the year and certainly for those who haven’t seen this type of atmosphere before. It is always great to get some experience in a place like this because it is similar to Kentucky,” commented Pollard.
Martin concluded a wonderful weekend aboard Trading Aces, piloting the 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding, to his first big win of the 2015 season. The two performed a lovely dressage test yesterday late in the afternoon to take the lead in the large class on a 24.80, the score on which they would finish. Martin was ecstatic to take home the win this weekend and felt the course was perfectly suited for Trading Aces. “For me, at this time in the year, my horses are not that fit yet, so it was perfect. It was right around the three and a half, four-minute mark, and it was a well-designed course with a few galloping questions and then double corners to test for accuracy and Mt. Wellington down to the narrow (jump) is probably a 3 or 4 star question,” he said. “It was spot on for this time in the year.”
Ashker agreed with Martin’s comments, adding that the course had every type of question you need to be asked when going out at the Advanced level. “I was nervous before we left the start box. It had all of the questions you need: water, a ditch, corners, and skinnies. I definitely respected it and felt like I had a horse who was super happy and healthy coming off when we finished. This was pretty much my cross-country school for the Carolina International 3* in March, and it was tough but fair at the same time.”
Captain Mark Phillips, the designer of the cross-country course, was also pleased with the way the course rode for the riders this early in the season. “A lot of the infrastructure was already here. We tried to put together a 3* test that was appropriate for the time of year and the fitness of the horses. When we talk about the future of the sport in this sense, I think we will see a lot more of these types of events as build-ups to Rolex and other large international competitions,” he continued to explain. “It is a huge benefit to the riders, the horses and in particular the owners and the sponsors. When everyone is happy we have a good sport to look forward too.”
Earlier in the day, all of the riders tested themselves on Richard Jeffery’s show jumping course in The Stadium Arena. The course was very technical and proved to be challenging for many of the pairs as numerous rails fell throughout the morning. “I think there are a couple of designers who do a good job at testing event horses, and Mr. Jeffery is one of them,” stated Pollard. “I thought it was tough. You had to have some sort of plan coming to many of the lines and needed to ride well for them to work.”
Ashker agreed that Jeffery’s course was more technical than what she expected when she walked it, as this arena is smaller than what most are used to competing in. “They are always very technical. You had to use a lot of leg, which made it a bit deceiving in that way. You had to really ride forward, but that is exactly what you need before going out on cross-country and it kind of set the precedent for what to expect out there.”
Cyrano Z arrived in Pollard’s barn only a few weeks ago from his father-in-law Carl Bouckaert, who rode the horse in the 2012 London Olympics. The pair, who has only had a few weeks to familiarize with each other, had a stellar performance across the board, and Pollard was thrilled. “He was perfect today. I don’t know him that well, but it couldn’t have gone a whole lot better. Carl has had a lot of clear rounds on this horse and I thought I’d better do a good job so I just held on and let the horse do his job, which he did quite well,” he said.
As for the future, all three riders have different plans for their mounts. Ashker plans on heading Anthony Patch towards the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in April while Pollard and Martin are still trying to figure out where their partnerships will go with Cyrano Z and Trading Aces. “To be honest, this may or may not be the last time I ride Trading Aces. We’ve had some massive highs and lows, and we will just have to see,” said Martin. He also piloted Pancho Villa to a 7th place finish this weekend. According to Pollard, the plan was to just give Cyrano Z a leg up to prepare him for sale, but those plans could be changing after their finish this weekend. “We’ll take it one day at a time and if someone with the right situation comes around we will figure that out, but I wouldn’t mind keeping him around for a while,” he stated.
Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, was excited and grateful to the competitors, sponsors, and owners for coming together to be a part of such a unique opportunity for the sport. Equestrian Sport Productions and the Bellissimo family, who now own both the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, as well as the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado, are looking to help grow and elevate the stature of eventing in the United States.
“We had been contemplating doing this event for probably three or four years, trying to figure out something interesting we could do with eventing,” Bellissimo stated. “When we threw out the idea of doing an event, we talked about what it would take to get people to come down here and my colleague, Jim Wolf, said maybe $25,000 (in prize money). So we decided to double it, and I didn’t realize that it would turn into the second largest event in terms of prize money in the country, which really is a shame. The athletes are spectacular and the owners are amazing in this sport. It is a great group of people, and we are encouraged and inspired to take this sport to the next level.”
As for the fantastic turnout for a first-time event, Bellissimo said this is just the beginning of the vision to bring the sport to the forefront of equestrian competition. “We want to make eventing a major force at all of our venues. We’re talking to a number of different sponsors and we really want to elevate the sport. We’re fired up to take this sport to the next level and are excited to work with other organizers and organizations so that we can make something really interesting here,” continued Bellissimo. “There is a great trajectory, and we’ve already been approached by new sponsors and owners wanting to get involved. This event will only get better and we are anticipating that the prize money will double, as well as the charitable gifts we were able to give. I am very excited about this sport and this group of people. I was honored to see this incredible group of athletes perform at such a high level in an experimental venue.”
Bellissimo was proud to award the owners of the top three placed horses large charitable donations. Aside from their earned prize money, they will be able to donate to any 501c3 charity of their choice. “We are so thankful to the sponsors for giving us an opportunity to host an event like this. Asheville Regional Airport stepped up in a very big way very quickly, and Land Rover is always a great partner of ours. Allyn Mann and Adequan® have been spectacular, as has our longtime partner Rolex,” Bellissimo said. As for the future, there are big plans on the horizon to host fully recognized FEI events, with a CCI3* being held in Tryon in August and the hopes of hosting the country’s second CCI4* event, aside from Rolex Kentucky CCI4*, at Tryon International Equestrian Center as well.
For more information on Equestrian Sport Productions and the $50,000 Eventing Showcase presented by Asheville Regional Airport, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL – January 30, 2015 – Boyd Martin (USA) and Trading Aces bested the competition in the first phase of the Wellington Eventing Showcase presented by Asheville Regional Airport, which was held at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Martin and Trading Aces performed a lovely dressage test to the take the lead on a 24.80 as the second-to-last ride of the afternoon. Michael Pollard (USA) and Cyrano currently hold onto second place with a 25.70 followed by Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous in third scoring a 26.60. Tomorrow’s competition will continue with show-jumping beginning at 10:30 am followed by cross-country at 1:30 pm.
Martin was very pleased with Trading Aces’ test and felt he put in one of the best efforts in their partnership together. “He’s one of my favorites. We’ve had some highs and lows in our career; we’ve won lots and came up short a number of times, but today he was absolutely fabulous,” said Martin. “It was the first time I’ve really done a test and felt like I pretty much got everything out of him. It’s great to be riding him here, and I’m so thankful for the group that owns him and who has stood by him for the past couple of years.”
Pollard was also very happy with this test aboard Cyrano, a relatively new mount for him. The horse was campaigned by his father-in-law, Carl Bouckaert, for Team Belgium and competed with him at the 2012 London Olympic Games. “I’m really pleased with him today. When I got here yesterday I probably wouldn’t have bet on myself to be sitting at this press conference,” he laughed. “We’ve basically had him for two months in the barn, and I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made over the past couple of weeks.”
Marilyn Little, a familiar face in Wellington from her days in the show jumping arena, was excited to be back in Florida, this time competing in the sport of eventing. “This is certainly an odd weekend for me, a wonderful weekend in many ways, but funny to be eventing in Wellington,” she commented on returning to the familiar grounds. “It is certainly home turf but also new turf. I’ve jumped a lot of jumps out in that field, but none of them have looked quite like this. It’s just such a pleasure to be back here.”
Little’s horse RF Scandalous is new to the Advanced level, and she will look to give the mare an educational and competitive ride tomorrow. “She is coming from the CCI 1* and Intermediate level. She’s qualified for Advanced on paper, but she is 10 years old now and is still very new to the level,” Marilyn commented. “She put in a great test today and I’m looking for a good performance from her, but there may be some bobbles. It is still early in the season.”
All three riders commented on what can be expected for the next two phases of the competition. The cross-country course, designed by Captain Mark Phillips, gives riders an opportunity to ride fast but also carefully, as there are many technical questions scattered throughout the course. “I think Captain Phillips did a great job building this course. I think it’s going to be very fast out there, and it will be influential as there are a few corners and skinnies that we may see some glances off of and riders will need to take their time, steady up, and balance,” said Martin.
Pollard agreed that the course will be tough, as it is still early in the season for most of these pairs. “They have the time right to make it a competitive day,” he continued. “Going at Intermediate speed would be too intense for this point in the season. These types of courses are always tough, but it is built really well and beautifully presented.”
Little also offered insight on what to expect from Richard Jeffery’s show jumping course in The Stadium arena. “Richard Jeffery always has challenging courses. He is one of the best, and it will be interesting to see how the eventers feel about competing and jumping on the amazing dressage footing. The horses have jumped well on it in competitions past, but it will be interesting to see the response tomorrow.”
Not only did each rider comment on the spectacular footing and the incredible venue of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, but they each thanked the organizers and sponsors – Asheville Regional Airport, Rolex, Land Rover, and Adequan® – for their support of the event. “It is an absolute honor and privilege to be competing in Wellington,” said Martin. “It is probably the best horse trials I have ever been to when you consider the organization, the arenas, and the marquee tent for the owners. It is fantastic to feel like our sport is climbing up to that caliber, and I think all of the riders are just blown away by the standard of competition.”
Pollard echoed Martin’s response by stating that competitions like these only help to strengthen the sport in the United States. “It is a real major addition to the calendar and hopefully we can continue to get more big atmosphere events like this and maybe we will start attracting some Europeans to ride here instead of going over there. To the extent that it is possible, this is exactly what we need to make that sort of thing happen,” he stated.
Little, familiar with Equestrian Sport Productions from previous travels to Wellington, thanked the Bellissimo family and their partners for hosting eventers this weekend at PBIEC. “Knowing I was going to be in Wellington, I knew that there would be a great opportunity here. Mark [Bellissimo’s] family is very involved as his daughters are both great up-and-coming riders and he is an owner himself. He understands what it takes to keep and produce horses of this caliber. Only someone who understands that can appreciate the time and effort it takes to get these horses to this level.”
Competition continues beginning at 10:30am with show jumping followed by cross-country at 1:30pm. To see the full dressage results, stadium jumping order of go, and course map, please visit http://bit.ly/1zp5Lss.