Category Archives: Competitions

Tracy Fenney and MTM Caepten Dash for the Cash in $25k Ocala/Marion County VCB Grand Prix

Tracy Fenney and MTM Caepten. Photo by: ESI Photography.

Ocala, Fla. – Dec. 4, 2022 – Sunday marked the conclusion of the first week of the HITS Holiday Series, with Tracy Fenney capturing her second big victory of the week with MTM Caepten. After winning Friday’s $10,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, the pair was revved up and ready to go. They bested the seven-horse jump-off during the $25,000 Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau Grand Prix by over a full second to take home the lion’s share of the prize money.

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Morgan Ward and Party Time Celebrate $1,500 HITS Hunter Prix

The HITS Ocala Holiday Series is in full swing at HITS Post Time Farm, with hunters highlighting the action on Saturday during the $1,500 HITS Hunter Prix. Morgan Ward was ready to celebrate after leading the two-round event from start to finish aboard Party Time. Saturday marked Party Time’s hunter prix debut with Ward, and with the new year underway for USEF, she was thrilled to kick off the season with a victory.

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For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

Meet the Next Gen: Gilles Thomas

(Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

You have had a great year; what has been your highlight?

I have an such an amazing year; it is hard for me to pick just one highlight! I had my first 5* victory in the King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead in July, which was amazing, and then coming third in the CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament was a fantastic result. Most recently being on the Belgium team and winning the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final was incredible for me. I don’t think I can choose just one of those moments!

What are you hoping to achieve between now and the end of the year?

I am hoping to ride at CHI Geneva – that would be amazing. Then in Belgium we have the have a 5* show which includes a FEI Jumping World Cup™, in Mechelen, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This show is always very important to Belgian riders, and my family are involved in the organisation of it, so I really hope I can have a good result in the FEI Jumping World Cup™ there.

What are your hopes and ambitions for 2023 and beyond?

My ultimate dream is to compete at CHIO Aachen; in my opinion, it is the best show in the world and the Rolex Grand Prix there is one of the most prestigious classes in the calendar. I am also aiming to compete in a Belgium senior team at a big championship. I have competed in Junior and Young Rider teams, but to be part of the Belgium team at the FEI World Championships or the Olympic Games and win a medal would be a dream come true.

After your great performance in the CP ‘International’, how will you prepare for CHI Geneva?

I’m not totally sure whether I will be competing there yet, but I hope that I will. They are two very different shows, but I would still take Aretino 13, as even though the arena at CHI Geneva is indoors, it is still very big. If I go to CHI Geneva, it will be the only indoor show that Aretino 13 competes in because he is a big horse and needs more space, so he suits outdoor arenas better. CHI Geneva is such an amazing show and so I will plan to take my three best horses if I go.

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© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Kent Farrington and Orafina Finesse $139k Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*

Kent Farrington and Orafina ©Lisa Thomas Dufresne for TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – October 22, 2022 – Kent Farrington (USA) and Kent Farrington LLC’s Orafina were victorious in the $139,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* with a time of 39.06 seconds. Luiz Francisco De Azevedo (BRA) and Eurohorse BVBA’s Nashville (Diamant De Semilly x Darco), the 2013 Belgian Warmblood gelding, took the second place position with a time of 39.39 seconds. Rounding out the podium was Maria Gabriela Brugal Gasso (DOM) and BG Stables LLC’s J’Adore Flamenco, the 2012 Anglo-Arab gelding (Je T’aime Flamenco x Corofino 2), with a time of 41.69 seconds.

Thirty-three entries contested Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) course, with seven pairs advancing to the short course. Farrington and the 2012 Dutch Warmblood mare Orafina (For Fashion x Canturo) were able to produce a round that couldn’t be bested, despite some communication issues in the first round, he recapped.

“I tried a new bridle today. It felt great in the practice class, and then as soon as I went over number one, I knew that I was in trouble and it was going to be a long way around the ring. We managed to get through the first round, and then I changed the equipment a little bit for the jump off, and it was so much better.

“She’s an incredible horse,” Farrington described. “She’s lightning fast and she’s unbelievably careful. The hardest part is just the control, so that’s my limitation right now. If I can get the control, I think she will be a top horse in the world. Right now I’m still managing the controls, so I have been moving up and down in my classes. We’ll see how far I get, but on days when she’s good, it feels great.”

Orafina and Farrington have been quite a winning combination, currently ranking 6th in the FEI World Rankings as a pair. “I got her from Leon Thijssen. I’ve done business with him for over 20 years. He said, ‘I think this horse could be great, but she is very difficult, and she needs a particular ride and will be hard to train. But if you can make her go well, I think she can be exceptional.'”

Farrington has competed at TIEC consistently for the past few years, saying, “The facility here is great, especially with the upgraded footing a couple years ago. In terms of a showjumping venue, I think it’s great.”

Leading Lady Maria Gabriela Brugal Gasso was given the Leading Lady Award, presented by Marthaler Jewelers, as the highest-placing female rider in the Grand Prix. With a young – and somewhat nervous – horse beneath her, Brugal Gasso was thrilled to reach the podium and even more overwhelmed at the gift she received from the presenting sponsors.

“I have no words. I don’t know what to say! I’m just very thankful,” Brugal Gasso emphasized. “In my eyes, my horse was the best one in there. We gave it our best shot. And today, it was good enough for a lot of things. This is his last show of the season, so I think he knew it mattered. I love my horse!”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Melissa Strawser and Darwin De Mars Master $20,000 HITS Open Prix at Culpeper Finals

Melissa Strawser and Darwin De Mars. Photo by: Alison Hartwell.

Culpeper, Va. – October 2, 2022 – On Sunday, Melissa Strawser celebrated her one-year anniversary with Darwin De Mars in winning style, earning the victory in the $20,000 HITS Open Prix at the Culpeper Finals. Their partnership began at the same competition last year, and together they have become a dominating force – besting Sunday’s three-horse jump-off after also winning Friday’s $10,000 Open Prix to close out the season at HITS Culpeper.

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North Shore Nabs $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Win with Isabella Bertozzi

Hunter competition took center stage on Saturday during the HITS Culpeper Finals at Commonwealth Park. Once again, Isabella Bertozzi claimed the winning title in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, this time aboard her veteran partner North Shore. Although it was Bertozzi’s first Hunt & Go Derby, she stayed smooth under pressure to lead the class from start to finish with her talented mount.

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For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

Highlights News Film from the CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’

Geneva, Switzerland, 12 September 2022 – The 2022 CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex at The CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament was won by Daniel Deusser from Germany riding Killer Queen VDM.

The 2022 CP ‘International’ at The CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament in Canada was the third equestrian Major of 2022, which together with the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters, CHIO Aachen, and CHI Geneva form the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, considered to be the sport’s most demanding challenge.

The highlights film can be seen here:

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Daniel Deusser and Killer Queen VDM Win the CP ‘International’

(Photo: Spruce Meadows Media / Dave Chidley)

A typically enormous and challenging Leopoldo Palacios-designed course awaited 40 of some of the world’s finest horse and rider combinations, as they contested the pinnacle class of ‘Masters’ week, the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, part of the Rolex Grand Slam series, in Spruce Meadows’ iconic International Ring.

In the opening round, no clears after the first 20 starters and a string of DNFs was testament to the gravity of the test that the partnerships faced, with the triple combination after the water jump just one of the obstacles catching lots out. However, 24-year-old Gilles Thomas from Belgium and his 14-year-old gelding Aretino 13 soon proved that Venezuelan Palacios’ course was rideable, after confidently clearing the 14 obstacles fault-free in a time of 84.72. Despite accruing four faults, Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender Gerrit Nieberg and his partner in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen in July, Ben 431, jumped fluently and remained very much in contention. Shortly afterwards, McLain Ward demonstrated his and his superstar mare HH Azur’s class and harmony, notching up the second clear of the round in 83.73 seconds.

Swiss Steve Guerdat and his 13-year-old gelding Venard De Cerisy looked inspired, recording the day’s third clear in a time of 85.53 seconds. After exceeding the 86-second limit, a time fault for Dutchman Harrie Smolders and his 2019 CP ‘International’ winning horse, Darry Lou, blemished what was an otherwise flawless round. 2021 CHIO Aachen Major-winning Daniel Deusser recorded the fourth clear of the day and the final one of the first round. Six further combinations progressing to the second round, included Mexicans Eugenio Garza Perez and Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane, Swede Peder Fredricson, Martin Fuchs of Switzerland, Irishman Paul O’Shea, and Brazil’s Francisco Jose Mesquita Musa.

The top 12-placed horses and riders from the first round faced a second round comprising even taller fences over a slightly shortened course, with a time limit of 72 seconds. Fifth to go, Martin Fuchs and his 10-year-old grey gelding looked pure class, breezing the course without fault in 69.80 seconds, the first of three consecutive clears with bringing four faults from the first round, which also included Gerrit Nieberg and Eugenio Garza Perez and his 11-year-old stallion, Contago. However, their hopes were short-lived after 2021’s winning duo of the CP ‘International’, Steve Guerdat and Venard De Cerisy, was the first pair to go double clear. Current world number 39-ranked rider Gilles Thomas went next and, much to the delight of the Calgarian crowd, also went clear, meaning a jump-off was triggered. Daniel “Double D” Deusser and his 12-year-old mare Killer Queen VDM made it three in jump-off. And it appeared that Friday’s winner of the Tourmaline Oil Cup, McLain Ward, would make it four, but agonisingly rolled the first of the double Liverpool. A wide-open third round jump-off was set and the knowledgeable crowd waited in anticipation.

First up, Steve Guerdat put down the first of the double, crossing the finish line with four faults in 41.70 seconds. Next to go, Gilles Thomas nudged and rolled the CP fence and put the final fence down, crossing the line with eight faults in 42.31 seconds. Daniel Deusser calmly entered the International Ring and meticulously navigated the eight-fence jump-off, crossing the finish line within the time limit, thereby winning the 2022 CP ‘International’ and becoming the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender.

On winning the CP ‘International’, Deusser said: “It is an historic Grand Prix here; it’s a class that I’ve followed since I was very, very small. I watched it on television, and I still have VHS cassettes at home that have the Grand Prix here. I’ve watched it over and over again, and I could never imagine to be here, so to win the CP ‘International’ here in Spruce Meadows is a fantastic feeling.”

Thrilled with his mare Killer Queen VDM, Deusser commented: “She had a fantastic week, to be honest. I started the first day with a small class and I was doubting to jump her in a big competition, but in the end, I jumped her in the big class on Friday, just because she has never been here in the International Ring. I think it was a good decision today; she jumped three fantastic clear rounds and she will definitely have a big, big dinner tonight and some carrots and sweets!”

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© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

McLain Ward and HH Azur Capture the Tourmaline Oil Cup

(Photo: Spruce Meadows Media/Jack Cusano)

No fewer than 49 horse and rider combinations, including four of the world’s current top-10-ranked riders, contested the highlight class of day two of the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, the 1.60m Tourmaline Oil Cup. Venezuelan course designer Leopoldo Palacios appeared to have set a tough task, with many of the world’s leading riders unable to negotiate the 12-obstacle course fault-free and progress to the jump-off. However, much to the delight of the International Ring’s crowd, a small flurry of partnerships bucked the trend towards the end of the class, thereby setting up a scintillating six-horse jump-off, which was later reduced to four after Daniel Bluman from Israel with Ladriano Z and third placed in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen, Nicola Philippaerts with Katanga v/h Dingeshof ,decided not to compete.

The four duos contesting the final show-down included American McLain Ward and HH Azur, Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson, Daniel Deusser from Germany and his 11-year-old stallion, Bingo Ste Hermelle, and Harrie Smolders and his superstar stallion Darry Lou, who knows this arena better than most, having triumphed here in the CP ‘International’ in 2019 with previous partner Beezie Madden.

An eight-fence jump-off awaited the four pairs with Scott Brash first to go, who notched up a double clear in 45.92 seconds. He was followed by McLain Ward, who stormed around the course without a fault, beating Brash’s time by over five seconds. That left Deusser and Smolders, who both went clear, but neither were able to better the American’s unassailable lead, with the German slotting into second place and the Dutchman finishing third.

Thrilled with his win and his 16-year-old mare, McLain Ward commented: “Horses understand the importance and the energy differently than we do. I think these great horses sense the atmosphere and want to do well and want to please and want to rise to the occasion. She walks up to the gate today and she raises her head, her eyes are right on the arena, ears pricked — this horse is pulling me in to go and do the job, so she understands it in some ways for sure.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s CP ‘International’ and how he will prepare himself, Ward said: “I have enough experience now. I just try to focus on my job and believing in our plan and believing in the horse, and you need a bit of good fortune also.”

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© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Jordan Coyle and Centriko Volo Conquer $100,000 HITS Grand Prix at Saugerties

Jordan Coyle and Centriko Volo. Photo by: ESI Photography.

Saugerties, N.Y. – September 4, 2022 – Returning from his home country of Ireland, Jordan Coyle brought a bit of luck back to the United States with him this week, jumping to victory in the $100,000 HITS Grand Prix during HITS-on-the-Hudson VII with Centriko Volo. Coyle proved that his horses are in top form ahead of the HITS Championship’s $405,300 Grand Prix CSI5*, which will be held Sunday, September 11, by besting the seven-horse jump-off to claim the winning title.

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Hannah Isop and Believe Bring Home $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix

The final event ahead of the $200,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final was held on Saturday during HITS-on-the-Hudson VII ahead of the HITS Championship. Riders gathered at the Outside Course to vie for the win during the $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix, presented by Patti Howard of Compass Real Estate. At the end of the day, it was Hannah Isop and Believe who led the class from start to finish with two impressive scores of 88 to earn the victory.

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For more results and information, visit HitsShows.com.

Rolex Grand Slam: CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2022

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping returns to the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ from 7-11 September 2022, with the CP ‘International’ presented by Rolex on the Sunday providing a thrilling finale to five days of outstanding sport. Located in the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains in Calgary, the show will welcome the world’s best horse and rider combinations to what is often regarded to as the leading equestrian venue in North America.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

Following his spectacular win at CHIO Aachen with Ben 431, Gerrit Nieberg comes to the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ as the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender. This will be the first time that the combination will make the journey across the Atlantic Ocean to this iconic venue, with the duo looking to carry forward their winning momentum from CHIO Aachen to continue their quest to become the next Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping victor.

Joining Nieberg are a host of world-class horse and rider combinations. Three of the Swedish FEI World Championship gold medal-winning team come to Calgary with their medal-winning horses. Jens Fredricson, Peder Fredricson, and Henrik von Eckermann will all be aiming to claim their first victory in the CP ‘International’ at the beautiful venue. Von Eckermann and King Edward are sure to be the hot favourites heading into the third Rolex Grand Slam Major of the year, having won the Individual gold medal in Herning. Peder Fredricson is also expected to be at the top of the leaderboard, having won two Rolex Grands Prix in the last two months at Knokke Hippique and the Brussels Stephex Masters. These combinations will be riding full of confidence and will be looking to continue their top form into the show.

Out of those competing at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, current World No. 2 Martin Fuchs will lead the way. The Swiss, who made history by winning consecutive Rolex Grands Prix at CHI Geneva in 2019 and 2021, will be hoping to claim the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping bonus for winning two out of four Majors. Fuchs has had a phenomenal 2022 season thus far, winning the FEI World Cup™ Final and the Rolex Grand Prix at Jumping International de Dinard.

Read more here.

© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

US Para Dressage Qualifies for Paris 2024 with Their World Championship Bronze in Herning

Roxanne Trunnell, Kate Shoemaker, Rebecca Hart, Beatrice de Lavalette, and Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline. Photo courtesy of U.S. Equestrian.

Wellington, Florida – August 24, 2022 – Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team continued to prove themselves at another world event with multiple medal wins at the Orifarm Health FEI Para Dressage World Championship held in the BB Horse Arena. The 2022 ECCO FEI World Championships were held August 6-14 in Herning, Denmark. This was the ninth edition of the Games, which are held every four years and run by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI). These championships which were formerly the World Equestrian Games included jumping, dressage, para-dressage, and vaulting. Eventing, driving, and endurance will be held at a later date. The Adequan® U.S. Para Dressage Team included Roxanne Trunnell and Fortunato H20, owned by Lehua Custer; Kate Shoemaker and her own Quiana; Beatrice de Lavalette and Sixth Sense, owned by her parents Elizabeth and Nicolas; Rebecca Hart with El Corona Texel, owned by Rowan O’Riley; and Chef d’Equipe Michel Assouline. The team had top scores earning them a team bronze, an individual silver, and an individual bronze. They have now qualified the United States for a team berth at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Kate Shoemaker of (Wellington, Fla.) and Quiana earned a fantastic score in the FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Freestyle, receiving an 80.275 percent. For Shoemaker and her 2014 Rhinelander mare, this was a personal best, winning them the FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Freestyle silver medal. Rebecca Hart (Wellington, Fla.) and El Corona Texel had some new experiences, but the veteran duo secured a bronze medal in the Individual para-dressage championship test grade III. They provided excellent scores for the team helping to secure the team bronze medal. In Grade II, Beatrice de Lavalette (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Sixth Sense did quite well, placing 4th in both her Grade II Individual and Team tests. Roxanne Trunnell (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) rode her new mount Fortunato H20. The pair had a great showcase and Trunnell was quite proud of the six-year-old Oldenburg stallion, scoring the pair’s personal best of 76.447 after only a very short time together.

In 2018, the trio of Shoemaker, Hart, and Trunnell made history with their unprecedented four medal wins for para dressage at the World Equestrian Games held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, United States. In 2021, at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the same trio secured a team bronze medal, Trunnell earned two gold medals, and the fourth current team member in Denmark, Beatrice de Lavalette, was an individual at that 2020 games.

Trunnell noted, “I cannot believe that Fish (Fortunato H20) handled that show as well as he did. The atmosphere at a big Championship is very different from any kind of show he had ever done. It was a big question mark whether he could keep it together for the whole event. He not only kept it together, but he scored above a 75% in only his second International show. Lehua Custer, Karin Flint, Andrea Woodard, and I all took a chance on Fish, and it paid off. Fish is definitely a superstar in the making and we’ll be back for more dancing down the centerline in the future.”

President of the USPEA Tina Wentz was alongside the riders and U.S. staff while in Denmark. She remarked, “The World Championships at Denmark exceeded our expectations and was truly a team effort. Watching each athlete, horse, trainer, and groom give 110% toward producing their best performances was a joy. Beginning at training camp under the leadership of Michel Assouline the athletes showed improvement each day leading up to the first day of competition. The goal was to secure a Team spot for Paris 2024, but the cherry on top was their team bronze, and individual silver and bronze. This definitely would not have been possible without everyone pulling together to help the athletes succeed including their sponsors and horse owners Karin Flint and Rowan O’Riley, Elizabeth & Nicolas De Lavalette, Deena & Craig Shoemaker, Lehua Custer, their trainers, Andrea Woodard, Nicole Wego-Engelmeyer, Jennifer Baumert, and Shayna Simeon, grooms Lillie Durbin, Molly O’Brien, Esteban Quintero, Rafael Hernandez Carrill, along with Chef d’Mission Will Connell, Team Leader Laureen Johnson, Chef d’equipe Michel Assouline, Team Vet Meg Mullins, and team Physio Joanna Frantz. A huge thanks to these and everyone who supported and worked hard to produce this tremendous result. I can’t help but think how proud both Hope Hand and Jonathan would be with the Team’s performances.”

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.