Sweetnam and Alejandro Claim $140k Hagyard Grand Prix CSI3* at Kentucky Spring Horse Show

Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Lexington, Ky. – May 14, 2022 – Jumper competition at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show reached its pinnacle on Saturday night with $140,000 Hagyard Grand Prix CSI3* in the Rolex Stadium. 38 horse-and-athlete combinations gathered to vie for the victory and the lion’s share of the prize money, and ultimately it was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam aboard Alejandro who was triumphant in the competitive field at the conclusion of the jump-off.

Austen Carries Stephanie Danhakl to Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship

Amateur-Owner hunter competition took to the StoneLea Ring on Saturday morning as riders presented their best performance to vie for the title of Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion. Awarded to the competitor with the most points accumulated in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” and 3’6” 18-35 divisions and Amateur-Owner 3’3” and 3’6” 36+ divisions, Stephanie Danhakl and Austen emerged victorious to be named Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

Swiss Team Prove Age Is No Barrier in Eventing with Nations Cup Win

L to R: Beat Sax, Mélody Johner, Nadja Minder, Robin Godel, and Chef d’equipe Dominik Burger. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

It was a double victory for the Swiss, when Robin Godel’s Jumping clear round clinched the individual prize and a win for Team Switzerland. This was the first leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ and took place in Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA). France, who were overnight leaders going into the final day, finished a close second, and Sweden, who were overall winners of the Series in 2021, finished third. The home side Italy was fifth.

It was a tense finish after the French team left Godel no room for error in the Jumping phase. The 23-year-old athlete kept his cool on Grandeur de Lully CH, to incur just one time penalty which sealed the deal for his team. “I was very focused, but I tried to have only good pressure,” he said after his round. “It was an amazing week for the team. We did good on the cross-country; the four riders were very impressive and the horses gave all they had. For the World Championships it is exciting.”

Speaking about this as a test event for this year’s FEI World Championships for Eventing, Godel said, “It is amazing here; the ground is wonderful; I have never cantered on ground like this. For the World Championships, we want qualification for Paris (Olympics) and that’s the main focus and for sure we will be going for the podium too.”

Pratoni has proved a happy hunting ground for the Swiss, who won the Nations Cup here in 2019. The team this year consisted of two Nations Cup first timers: 62-year-old Beat Sax, who has just one horse to compete and has been eventing for 45 years, and 20-year-old Nadja Minder. They were joined by Tokyo Olympic riders Godel and Mélody Johner.

Six-time Olympian Andrew Nicholson has been coaching the Swiss team for several years and summed up their performance: “It was outstanding. They keep getting better, more confident, and are pulling together as a team. They are passionate and want to do it and they are making the younger ones hungry, which then pushes the older riders.”

Saturday’s Cross-Country shook up the leaderboard and left it tight at the top. Switzerland finished just 0.1 of a penalty behind France going into the final phase. Germany, who led the way after the dressage phase, was relegated to 9th after just two of their team members completed. Sweden, who was in eighth after the dressage, produced four strong Cross-Country performances to climb to third.

Pratoni del Vivaro will be hosting the FEI World Championships for Eventing and Driving, from 15-25 September. Course Designer Giuseppe della Chiesa and Director of the Championships concluded: “From a sports side the cross-country went well here this week. From the side of the organisation, there’s a lot to do yet but we are getting there, and it was very important to have this competition as a Nations Cup and also as a test event. The nature of the soil here is something unique. Horses love it and if it rains, it doesn’t change it and there are very few places in the world like that. It is an important venue as the Olympic venue in 1960 and is one of the very few Olympic venues which is still used for the same purpose.”

The FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing action moves to Houghton Hall (GBR) from 26-29 May, the second of nine events in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ Series.

Full results here.

by Eleanore Kelly

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

The Sun Shines on Smith at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Photo: Holly Smith pushes to the finish to claim victory in the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup.

The top class international competition continued on day three of Royal Windsor Horse Show, with the world’s best show jumpers and carriage drivers in action. Other action included the Inter Schools Show Jumping Competition supported by Mochara, which was won by Seaford College. There was also a presentation to the Best Turned Out Trooper, which was awarded to Prince Ainuson riding Northumberland.

NO CONFUSION FOR FTS KILLOSSERY KONFUSION

The opening CSI5* class of the day, the Falcon Stakes, took the top 10 riders from the first round into a jump-off against the clock. It was left to third to go, Jos Verlooy riding Fts Killossery Konfusion, to set the target with the first double clear in an impressive 39.64 seconds. The Belgian rider pulled off some impressive turns with the 11-year-old grey gelding to put the pressure on those to follow. David Will showed that the time could be beaten; however, his four faults meant he was only able to finish fifth. Wilm Vermeir gave it his best shot as last to go, but he was not able to catch his Belgian teammate, posting a time of 39.83 seconds with Linguine de La Pomme to finish in second and make it a Belgian one-two. Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Belheme took third, with Lorenzo de Luca in fourth.

Speaking after the class, Verlooy said: “It is fantastic to win here – it is such an amazing Show, probably one of the best in the world. Fts Killossery Konfusion was great today; he is a naturally fast horse and wants to leave the jumps up, so I feel very lucky to ride him. I am very excited for the Rolex Grand Prix tomorrow – I will ride Luciano van het Geinsteinde who was second in the CSI5* Pearl Stakes yesterday, so I am feeling very confident.”

Later in the day, attention turned to the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup. The 1.55m course set by Bernardo Costa Cabral proved challenging, with just three combinations progressing through to the jump-off. First into the arena for the second round, Lorenzo de Luca, set the standard with a clear round in the time of 33.63 seconds. Holly Smith, a former winner of this class in 2019, made up time with tight turns throughout and galloping down to the last to take over the pole position aboard Fruselli. Abdel Saïd put in a strong performance to threaten Holly’s lead, but in the end could only manage enough for second place.

A delighted Smith said: “I am elated with Fruselli today – he was incredible, and I am so pleased for his owners Sue and Gordon Hall. I won this class in 2019, on the Hall’s Hearts Destiny, who sadly passed away two years ago, so to win here today on this horse feels extra special. The course rode really well, so I was surprised there were so few clears. In the jump-off, I took risks and really went for it, as the worst I could be was third, but those risks played off! I love it here and the crowd has been amazing – it is such an honour to win on home soil.”

LAND ROVER SERVICES JUMPING

In a stellar year of competition, a fantastic morning of action in Her Majesty The Queen’s Challenge Cup for Services Team Jumping Competition supported by Land Rover set the scene in the Castle Arena.

The Challenge Cup presented by Her Majesty The Queen, awarded to the first placed service team riding United Kingdom Service horses was awarded this year to the Defence Animal Training Regiment A team. The team, consisting of Captain Harry Grantham and Willow Clover Promise, CoH Andrew Mancey with Paardeburg, and WO2 Michael McGrath riding Middleham finished on a team score of 4 penalties after the latter posted a careful clear round in the second phase. The team won clear ahead of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery A Team on 12 penalties.

Of the non-horsed units competing for The Queen’s Plate, the Army 3 team of Captain Amy Lambert and Pirate’s Puzzle, Trooper Dylan Hinton and Ultimate II, and Major Daniel Gregory with Neighbourhood Watch Archie finished on a score of 0 to take the title. Lambert – nominated to ride the second phase – completed the jump-off clear with a time of 57.53 in front of cheering crowds.

The new section introduced for 2022, The Jorrocks Challenge Trophy for international teams, was lifted on its inaugural occasion by the Bahrain Defence Force team of Ahmed Mansoor Ali Maki and Zamzam, Mohamed Saif Alnairi and Consuela Van Verst, and Basel Mohamed Aldoseri on Amalfi. With a time of 43.22, the latter was also presented the prize from The Worshipful Company of saddlers to the highest placed rider in phase two.

MAJESTIC DAY OF SHOWING

Although missing out on a win, Her Majesty The Queen still had plenty to celebrate when Sunbeam, her home-bred In-Hand Coloured Reserve Champion from Thursday, returned under saddle to stand third in a very strong CHAPS UK ridden class. The delightful five-year-old gelding was ridden by producer Katie Jerram-Hunnable, whose husband Chris led him to Thursday’s win.

Her Majesty collected another rosette when young rider Libby Grota partnered the prolific-winning Highland stallion Balmoral Mandarin to stand third in an extremely strong BSPS Ridden Large Breeds Native class supported by Smart Grooming.

Chris Hunnable partnered another of The Queen’s homebred stars, the ex-racehorse First Receiver to be third in the Tattersalls RoR In-Hand Show Series Qualifier, following his second place in the ridden equivalent on Thursday.

The prestigious Royal Windsor Show Pony Championship went to Harpenden-based Poppy Baxter-Davies who delivered a great performance on the 128cm winner, Roxair’s Aphrodite.

The Show’s Chief Showing Steward, Sebastian Garner, was able to witness his niece, India Till, repeat last year’s Novice Show Pony victory with the lovely 148cm winner, Rotherwood Fancy That, who is only five years old and relatively inexperienced, but performed like a seasoned campaigner.

EXCITEMENT BUILDS IN THE INTERNATIONAL DRIVING

The top 15 four-in-hand drivers in the world drove true to form over Jeroen Houterman’s open and flowing, yet questioning, marathon course. All the drivers chose to follow different routes and show their skills to the large and appreciative crowd which had gathered round the eight beautifully designed obstacles.

Germany’s marathon specialist Michael Brauchle put in a brilliant and consistent performance to lead the Marathon and go up one place overnight to sixth. Dressage leader, Boyd Exell, had a few costly knock-down balls and although he only finished fifth on the Marathon, retains his lead after the dressage. Chester Weber drove his up-and-coming team of horses smoothly to go from fourth to second place, having flown them in from the USA on Wednesday. The heat suited the team who are used to the Florida temperatures, and they performed to their best.

The two Belgian drivers Glen Geerts and Dries Degrieck are neck and neck after the two phases, and lying in third and fourth place, respectively, with less than a point separating them. Top lady driver Mareike Harm drove an elegant round and, although not quite as fast on the clock, sits in fifth. Speaking after her round, the German driver said: “We really enjoy being here at Windsor. It was fantastic yesterday in the dressage and I was so happy to be third. The marathon was brilliant and I’m very happy.”

The three British drivers accrued penalty points for corrected errors of course. British driver Karen Basset said: “I’ve had a great time and it was a great learning curve, but I felt I let them down today as I went sailing past Gate A in the last obstacle before I corrected my course! My horses gave me everything.”

Andrew Counsell, Director of Driving, said: “A lot of work was put into the eight obstacles and we felt that they really flowed. They didn’t cause the horses difficulty and there were both tight turns and flowing routes. There was some really good driving which is what Jeroen and I planned ahead of the event. We really appreciate having the world’s top drivers here in this wonderful setting.”

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Her Majesty The Queen in Jubilant Spirits at Royal Windsor Horse Show

The CSI5* Show Jumping and CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving got underway on day two of Royal Windsor Horse Show, with the world’s best horse and rider combinations in action. Elsewhere, Her Majesty The Queen was in attendance to watch her beloved Fell Pony, Balmoral Leia, being crowned The Horse & Hound Mountain and Moorland Supreme In-Hand Champion and the Jack Wetzel Coaching Marathon provided a spectacle as they headed down the Long Walk.

WORLD’S BEST SHOW JUMPERS RETURN TO CASTLE ARENA

The opening CSI5* class of the Show, a two-phase competition, went to 2020 Olympic team gold medalist Henrik von Eckermann. Guy Williams took the early lead aboard Rouge de Ravel, making all the turns to set a time to beat of 25.66 and giving the crowd something to cheer about. For much of the class, it looked like Williams was going to bring home a British victory; however, Christian Ahlmann riding Calvino 16 rode a masterful second phase against the clock to take the lead. With just four to go, von Eckermann, partnering the nine-year-old mare Iliana, jumped a flawless round to shave 0.04 seconds of Ahlmann’s time to secure the victory.

The feature class of the day, The Pearl Stakes, was a 1.55m jump-off class featuring some of the best horses and riders in the world. Of the 13 combinations going through to the second round, 10 were former World No. 1s. Daniel Deusser set the pace as third to go, with the first double clear in a time of 36.32. Bernardo Costa Cabral’s course proved challenging, with many riders accruing faults when trying to catch Deusser. Jos Velooy came closest with Luciano van het Geinsteinde, posting a time of 37.46. John Whitaker showed his experience to go into third with just two left to go; however, no-one was able to match Deusser’s performance, leaving the German to take the spoils.

Speaking after the class, Deusser said: “Royal Windsor Horse Show is a fantastic event; it is a great feeling to be standing here as the winner in front of such a big crowd and with Windsor Castle in the background. Bingo Ste Hermelle is a small and nimble horse, so I can go very fast in the jump-off. I will give him tomorrow off in preparation for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday. I think if I make it to the jump-off on Sunday then we have a very good chance of winning!”

HER MAJESTY’S DELIGHT AS FELL PONY TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP

Showing success continued for Her Majesty The Queen, who was on hand to watch as her beautiful home-bred Highland mare, Balmoral Leia, claimed the prestigious Horse & Hound Mountain and Moorland Supreme In Hand Championship in the Castle Arena.

The five-year-old was beautifully shown by producer Lizzie Briant to win a strong adult class — also watched by Her Majesty — before the reins were handed over to Lizzie’s friend and fellow native pony enthusiast, Henry Hird, in the final reckoning.

“She’s a beautiful mare, and this success is entirely down to Lizzie, who has produced her beautifully — I was just handed the lucky reins for the Championship,” said Henry, who earlier showed The Queen’s yearling colt, Balmoral Duke, to be third in the Strong Youngstock class.

“Leia is such a pretty mare and a joy to have,” added Lizzie. “She is also broken-in to ride, and I have high hopes for her.”

Yorkshireman Robert Walker claimed an impressive fourth consecutive Hunter Championship sponsored by ClipMyHorse.TV title aboard Jill Day’s extraordinary reigning Horse of the Year Show champion View Point.

The prestigious Novice Hunter Championship supported by Alan Marnie Manwah title — always another major aim at Royal Windsor — fell this year to racing enthusiast Liz Prowting’s five-year-old lightweight victor Bloomfield President, ably partnered by young rider Alice Homer.

BOYD EXELL TAKES EARLY LEAD IN INTERNATIONAL DRIVING

Day one of the Royal Windsor CAIO4* Land Rover Grand Prix went to current indoor and outdoor FEI Driving World Champion Boyd Exell (AUS), who scored just shy of 80% to clinch a lead in the Dressage. With a margin of just over 5%, he sits ahead of multiple Dutch champion Isjbrand Chardon with a score of 74.3%. In third with 71.8% is Germany’s Mareike Harm, one of two ladies in the Horse Fours class. The USA’s Chester Weber is in fourth. The highest placed British competitor is Daniel Naprous who scored 60.6% to take him into 10th place.  Ahead of Saturday’s Marathon phase – which promises to be an exhilarating test for all 15 drivers – the obstacles look challenging but flow well around the scenic parkland of Windsor Castle. Boyd will be the firm favourite to retain the title he won last year, but Marathon specialists Koos de Ronde and Glenn Gerts will be pushing him all the way.

A WELCOME RETURN TO INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION AT ROYAL WINDSOR ENDURANCE

The Royal Windsor Endurance ride, kindly supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain, took place with fifty-four combinations riding tracks round the stunning Windsor Great Park to compete in CEI3* 160km, CEI2*/YJ 120km, and CEI1*/YJ 100km classes.

Riders representing countries including Uruguay, South Africa, Portugal, Spain, and India set out on Friday morning in near perfect weather conditions. The day remained sunny but cool, and although dusty, the tracks benefitted a little from the rain earlier in the week.

News of the death of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates emerged during the ride, and as a result some of those representing UAE made the decision to retire.

The CEI3* 160km was won by Bahrain’s HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Coeur De Ghazal in a total time of 07:41:27. The CEI2* 120km had a Bahrain one, two, three and was won by Mohamed Abdulhameed Alhashemi riding Darco la Majorie in a time of 04:58:17. In the CEI1* 100km, it was Kuwait’s Abdalaziz F M D Al Mutairi on Dune Du Claud in 04:36:10. The young riders did not complete.

Great Britain had eleven competitors in total and seven finished, with a particularly strong showing in the 100Km, where all British Riders finished. Nicola Thorne placed second on L.I.Wallonia in 05:00:08 and Annie Joppe third on HS Chiara in 05:22:47.

Royal Windsor Endurance Director, Nick Brooks-Ward, said: “We were so pleased to welcome international competitors back to Royal Windsor Endurance today. The course was excellent and there was a tremendous atmosphere of care and cooperation amongst competitors and crews. We are grateful to the officials, sponsors, and to the Crown Estate whose hard work ensures the fabulous environment in the Great Park. Our very grateful thanks also to the Kingdom of Bahrain for providing the funding for such a tremendous ride.”

President of the Ground Jury, Brian Dunn (IRL), said: “As usual for Royal Windsor, it was a well-run and well-organised event. The course was great, technical, and testing and we had an experienced, capable team of officials. Horses were ably cared for with welfare at the forefront of everyone’s minds.”

President of the Treating Veterinarians, Tom Eaton-Evans (GBR), said: “The sign of a good ride today was that we treated very few horses. Some were kept under observation, but the treating team was quiet all day.  One horse has been taken to Newmarket Equine Hospital for assessment for a hindlimb lameness. No others needed any medical intervention.”

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Royal Winners on Opening Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show 2022 got off to a scintillating start with top-class national Show Jumping and Showing competitions and impressive international displays from The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The Royal Cavalry of Oman.

DOUBLE DELIGHT IN ROYAL WINDSOR PUISSANCE

The Puissance provided a fittingly spectacular finale to the opening day of the 2022 Show. Five riders made it through to the fifth and final round to face the 2.15m wall. As second to go in the final round, Derek Morton jumped the imposing wall clear aboard KBS High Quality to put the pressure on those to follow, who were now fighting for a share of the winner’s prize fund. Guy Williams, a joint winner of the class in 2021, cleared the wall itself but knocked the triple bar to finish on four faults. It was the last combination to go, Trevor Breen riding Chankar Mail, who had shown signs of greenness in the first round but grown with confidence throughout, who was able to match Morton’s feat, demonstrating all the power and agility required to conquer the daunting wall and share the spoils.

After the class, Breen said: “I’m just so happy with the horse. I haven’t had him too long, but he’s been really good and I’m over the moon with his attitude and bravery tonight.”

Morton added: “KBS High Quality has only done three Puissance before, but he has won twice at Bolesworth and then I gave him a run last weekend at Chard. With the Puissance, it is a leap of faith for both the horse and rider as you can’t see what’s on the other side! Tonight, he felt super – he is such an amazing horse!”

Earlier in the day, Sally Goding made an inspiring return from injury to capture the Land Rover National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition, a single-phase class where the second half of the track was against the clock. Coming forward towards the end of the 47-starter competition, Goding knew what was required to take the victory from Oliver Fletcher, who finished in eventual second having led from the midway point. Goding, riding the eight-year-old Spring Willow, produced a foot-perfect performance, shaving 0.04 seconds from Fletcher’s time, with Sophie Fawcett finishing in third.

Of the chestnut mare Spring Willow, Goding said: “She’s a homebred so it’s extra special for us. I actually just came back from a broken ankle ten-and-a-half weeks ago so I’m not meant to be riding, but she’s the bravest horse in the world and there’s no other horse I would rather be riding, so I couldn’t miss coming here.”

The 12 highest placed six-year-old horses from the Equitop® GLME Senior Foxhunter Jumping Competition went through to the Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship, supported by Martin Collins Enterprises, to win the Challenge Trophy, in memory of the late Lt. Colonel C T Walwyn. Victory went to Emma-Jo Slater riding Kimba Time, who jumped a double clear, posting a jump-off time of 32.77 seconds, almost half-a-second faster than second-placed John Crippen.

ROYAL SUCCESS AT ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW

Her Majesty The Queen started the 2022 Show in style with a two wins in the Showing. In the Coloured, Non-Native in Hand Horse section, her five-year-old skewbald gelding Sunbeam, led by Chris Hunnable, won his class but then had to settle for reserve in the Coloured in Hand Championship. The top spot went to Isle of Wight-based police officer, Megan Champney, with her piebald mare — also five — Penrock Perfect Puzzle. Her Majesty’s second victory came in the Flat Ridden Sport Horse, with Daydream III winning under the guidance of Katie Jerram-Hunnable.

Working Hunters occupied centre stage in the glorious Castle Arena and after two excellent classes, the top spot went to Alice Homer — granddaughter of legendary showman David Tatlow, himself a double champion here in the section some years ago. Reserve fell to the second-placed Heavyweight combination, Windsor debutantes Eleanor Hirst and Noble Gladiator.

The Amateur Ridden Hunter section was well-supported by competitors and spectators alike, and after two great classes the top spot went to Cheshire rider Camilla Stowell-Davies with her home-produced Lightweight winner, Glenteeran Dance in the Deep.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Help Protect Nevada’s Marietta Wild Burros

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has so mismanaged America’s wild burros that the hardy little animals are currently facing a genetic crisis.

Despite knowing this, BLM does nothing to address the crisis they’ve created. Instead, they continue to round up our wild burros, knowing full well they’re keeping the burro populations so low that the animals are forced to inbreed.

There isn’t a worse example of their utter FAILURE to adhere to best practices and carry out their responsibility to manage “healthy self-sustaining populations.”

Please take a minute to speak up for the Marietta Wild Burros today.

The BLM wants to remove 400 of the 500 burros in this area — 80% of the population! We MUST stop this dangerous, broken cycle of roundups and stockpiling — and that starts with raising our voices to tell BLM we DO NOT support this plan.

The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Beth Underhill Wins €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix of La Baule

Beth Underhill riding Dieu Merci van T&L. Photo by Pierre Costabadie/Scoopdyga.com.

La Baule, France – Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Mulmer, ON won the €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix of La Baule on Sunday, May 8, to close out the CSIO5* International Jumping La Baule in France.

On Friday, Underhill delivered double clear rounds to lead Canada to a third-place finish in the €250,000 Nations’ Cup riding Dieu Merci van T&L. The pair carried their form into Sunday’s €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix where they again jumped clear in the opening round of competition to join 11 other riders who qualified for the second round.

Underhill and Dieu Merci van T&L tackled the second-round course set in the François André Stadium by French course designer Gregory Bodo and delivered yet another clear round in a time of 43.77 seconds to put the pressure on those who followed. None were able to catch her time and leave all the rails up, giving the win to Underhill and the 13-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion (Toulon x Corrado I) owned by the Rein Family LLC and Torrey Pines Stable Inc. Yuri Mansur of Brazil riding Vitiki was the only other rider to produce two clear rounds, but his slower time of 45 seconds left him in second. There was a tie for third place when both Pierre Marie Friant of France riding Urdy d’Astree and Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet riding Nevados S counted four faults in the exact same time of 41.66 seconds.

“He was spectacular all week and didn’t put a foot wrong,” said Underhill of her winning mount. “He gave me everything he had without question and felt better every round.”

Underhill, who operates her own Beth Underhill Stables training business in King City, ON, began riding horses for Eric Lamaze at the beginning of this season when health issues forced the 2008 Olympic champion to take a step back. Lamaze has since formally announced his retirement from the sport but has taken up his new role as chef d’equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team with gusto.

Underhill, 59, recounted, “When I went in the ring for the second round, Eric said, ‘It’s yours to take.’ It galvanized me. I thought about all that Eric has done for us and has given me a renewed opportunity at this stage in my career. All the Canadian riders wanted to make this week count. I wanted to hold my own and put into practice all the things that we had been working on. I wanted to do it for Eric. To have a result like this is thrilling.”

Dieu Merci van T&L was acquired in the summer of 2020 and is owned in partnership between Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable and Mark Rein and Tara Dow-Rein’s Rein Family LLC. Prior to La Baule, Underhill had only competed the horse during two weeks of competition in March at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

“Mark has been texting after every round encouraging us; we couldn’t ask for better owners,” said Underhill of the 2021 Equestrian Canada Jumping Committee’s ‘Owner of the Year.’ “I grew up riding with Mark years ago as a junior. He is a Canadian and someone who loves the sport. We are so appreciative that he and Tara have brought their support to this level, and all that they’ve done to get us to this point. I’m very thankful to have a horse at this level.

“To watch the Canadian flag being raised and hear the anthem being played was an emotional moment, with the whole team there supporting us,” continued Underhill who represented Canada at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona with Monopoly. “To be part of a competition like La Baule is a dream come true for me. The crowd was electric and so supportive of the Canadians. Because of Eric’s history with the show, I think they have a soft spot for Canadians. It was an incredible week. We did what we came to do.”

Lamaze has won the Grand Prix of La Baule on three occasions, in 2007 and 2011 riding his Beijing Olympic individual gold and team silver partner, Hickstead, and again in 2014 aboard Powerplay.

“As Canadians, we couldn’t be happier; Beth continued the form she had in the Nations’ Cup,” said Lamaze. “It was an excellent course. It was a big grand prix track that was built with a lot of thought behind it. Beth was fast enough in the second round but not fast enough to do something stupid. She did what she needed to do at that stage of the class, and it worked out for her. Beth looks strong on that horse and winning the Grand Prix of La Baule is a major achievement in your career.

“I proud not only of Beth for the win, but for the entire Canadian team and their attitude, the way that they handled everything and supported each other this week,” continued Lamaze. “Competing in Europe is something I’ve done by myself for so many years; we eventually managed to get some teams over here, but it was never properly organized. This week shows that good things are to come for Canada.”

“This morning I was walking through the vendor area and I came across the place where they have all the plaques of the past winners,” concluded Underhill. “I saw that Canada had won the Nations’ Cup in 1970, and that Eric had won the Grand Prix twice with Hickstead and again with Powerplay. I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be magical to be part of that hallowed group?’”

During the event’s 61st edition, Underhill and Dieu Merci van T&L have indeed written their names in the history books of La Baule.

For more information on CSIO5* La Baule and full results, including video footage of Underhill’s winning round, visit www.labaule-cheval.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | www.startinggate.ca

Jennifer Bliss and Flight Land the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Jennifer Bliss and Flight ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – May 7, 2022 – The Spring IV week of the ESP Spring Series saw hunters compete on the grass Derby Annex field of Equestrian Village throughout the week. The week’s feature class for hunter competitors took place on Friday, with Jennifer Bliss of Wellington, FL and Dandelion Farm LLC’s Flight topping a field of 16 competitors to capture their first derby win together thanks to two high-scoring rounds in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equiline.

As the groom of the winning derby horse, Deywi Rodriguez was the recipient of the Schneiders Groom Award following the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. As part of the recognition, Rodriguez was presented with a bag of high-quality grooming supplies courtesy of Schneiders Tack.

On Saturday afternoon, competitors jumped for the blue ribbon in the $1,000 2’6″-2’9″ Hunter Derby, presented by Score At The Top. Nabbing the win by more than ten points, Samantha Senft of Wellington, FL and her own La Roux 11 led the victory gallop with a total score of 177 points.

Ava Scharbo of Winnetka, IL and her own Logan impressed in the USHJA 3’ Hunter division, presented by Perfect Products. Though the pair only competed in three of the division’s five classes, they earned first place in all of their showings, which included two over-fences classes and the under saddle, to accrue the most points towards the overall championship honors.

In the 15-17 Equitation, Natalie Groulx of Bloomfield Hills, MI piloted Kate Abajian’s Lambada to a dominating victory in the divisional standings. The partnership was awarded three first-place finishes in three classes to earn the championship tricolors by a wide margin.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Please Speak Up for Oregon’s Wild Horses

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Oregon is pushing a management plan that would take effect for 10 YEARS until 2032. NOW is your time to speak up!

The BLM’s plan to round up these horses, leaving just 75 in each HMA, is dangerous. It will threaten the long-term genetic health of these herds, increase the risk of inbreeding and the threat of physical health problems.

Taking these herds to such low levels will severely limit opportunities for the public to view and enjoy the horses in their natural environment.

BLM also plans to use Gonacon on these mares, a fertility control which has been shown to shut down and shrivel the ovaries. In studies, only 30% of mares reversed to fertility within 10 years after 2 shots of Gonacon. The BLM shut down that study, but based on the data, it’s safe to say that Gonacon may cause permanent sterilization after just two injections.

We’re asking you to take a stand against these actions, and to tell BLM to make sure cameras are put on helicopters and trap sites at roundups. As Americans, we have a constitutional right to observe the action of our government, and we’re demanding they provide this opportunity.

We all know that the treatment of wild horses and burros during a roundup is abusive. With video documentation will we be able to change things for these beloved animals.

Please take a minute to submit your comments NOW.  Every voice counts. Please use YOURS now — stand against cruelty to wild horses and burros.

The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Eric Lamaze: The Retirement of a Legend

Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof.

Eric Lamaze is one of the world’s most respected show jumpers and achieved so much throughout his stellar career. Following the announcement of his retirement, the Rolex Grand Slam team reached out to some of Eric’s biggest fans and dearest friends to highlight what makes him the legend he became.

Steve Guerdat

What is your favourite Rolex Grand Slam Major memory with Eric Lamaze?

There is more than one moment that stands in my memory; it is more about the history between Eric and the Rolex Grand Slam Major of Calgary. Over the years he has built a legacy over there and both Eric and Spruce Meadows have benefited from all the successes they have shared; it is unimaginable what he has achieved in that ring.

Which of Eric’s horses stands out the most and why?

Hickstead. He is one of the all-time greats and so similar to Eric – one pair I can’t stop watching again and again.

What is the most useful thing you have learnt from Eric?

Never doubt, always stay positive, and keep moving forward.

If you could use one word to describe Eric, what would it be?

Confident and positive.

Read more here.

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