Category Archives: Contributors/Press

Blog writers, press releases and contributors

Greenberg Traurig’s Polo Team Wins Senator Cup during 2023 International Gay Polo Tournament

Photo courtesy of Equinium Sports Marketing

Wellington, FL (April 11, 2023) – Greenberg Traurig’s team won the most fabulous day of the equestrian season this past Saturday when they clinched the Senator Cup during the final match of the 2023 International Gay Polo Tournament. Held at the National Polo Center in Wellington, Florida and designed as a unique competition celebrating and showcasing LGBTQ+ athletes and their supporters in the sport of polo, the 2023 Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament marks the finale of the equestrian season in Wellington. As a mix of sport and horseplay and a significant donation to LGBTQ+ charities, the event’s competition on the polo field is only rivaled by the flamboyance of the tailgates, and the event works to ensure athletes not only have the same opportunities, but also a safe place to learn, grow, and excel in their sport.

Headed by the founder of GT’s Equine Industry Group and shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s West Palm Beach office, Michael Nicodema, the firm’s polo team was made up of Ryan Cronin-Prather (US), Jesse Lee Eller (US), Peter Secor (US), and Juan Diego Rizo Patron (PE). Decked out in blue and gold colors emblazoned with the logos of the Gay Polo Tournament and especially the GT logo, the Greenberg Traurig team won the semi-finals on Friday, April 7th and then delivered a nail-biting win in overtime to clinch the Senator’s Cup on Saturday. As a part of Wellington’s equestrian community, joining this year’s Gay Polo Tournament as a team sponsor was a natural step for Nicodema and Greenberg Traurig’s Equine Industry Group.

“The organizers here always put on a spectacular event, and one that is undoubtedly one of the most unique in the world,” said Nicodema. “The air of inclusion mixed with top polo, amazing attire and themes, champagne, and tailgating really set the Gay Polo Tournament apart, and we are thrilled to be a team sponsor and supporter of all of the athletes and all things equestrian.”

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

Education, Culture, and Equestrian Sport Converge at FEI World Cup Finals for Omaha’s Youth

Young fans at the FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha (USA) in 2017 – Photo Credit: AJ Olnes.

More than 80 of the world’s top athletes from the disciplines of Jumping, Dressage, and Vaulting will congregate at the CHI Health Center Omaha in Nebraska (USA) for the FEI World Cup™ Finals, where, over the course of five days, they will compete for the ultimate honour of becoming FEI World Cup Champion in their respective disciplines – a title steeped in history – in front of an enthusiastic crowd and global media from around the world.

But for the more than 1,000 elementary school students bound for the event through the Omaha Equestrian Foundation’s (OEF) field trip programme, the event might mark the first time several children ever get to lay eyes on a sport horse.

Thirty-eight schools and homeschool programmes will visit the Finals with a mostly academic objective — and a bit of homework.

OEF has partnered with Prairie Stem to create STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) kits for students to create prior to attending the Finals. Based out of Omaha, Prairie Stem is an education-based non-profit organisation that seeks to improve critical thinking and creativity in students, from Pre-Kindergarteners to high school seniors.

The World Cup-themed STEAM Kits challenge students to create their own working horse carousel in one of four designs: Dressage, Jumping, Vaulting, and Lakota painted horse — a nod to Omaha’s cultural history.

The Lakota, a Native American people, were among Nebraska’s earliest settlers, and Lakota is a dialect of the indigenous language, Sioux. “Omaha” means “to go against the current” in Sioux, a nod to the Omaha tribe’s journey to the Nebraska territory. The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska thrived through the 1700s and were known for their hunting and farming. Today, the Omaha reservation located in Macy, NE is home to about 3,000 residents.

Among the field trip exhibits for visiting students will reference Omaha’s Native American roots, from a full-size fiberglass horse (to demonstrate Lakota symbology), Native American tribal artifacts, and live and visual storytellers.

They will also be exposed to equestrian sport and horsemanship. Students will get hands on with grooming and receive an introduction to horse care, go on a virtual ride using Virtual Reality headsets, and explore a variety of equine and agricultural career paths.

“We feel that a very important part of running such historically important events such as the FEI World Cup Finals is to inspire and educate the next generation of equestrian athletes and horse lovers,” said Julie Boilesen, CEO of Equestrian Omaha. “The equine legacy in Omaha is deep-rooted in our culture and history, so we are proud to honour our equine athletes by introducing our youth to them in this way.”

The legacy continues for Omaha after hosting the FEI World Cup Finals™ back in 2017, and they are providing the kids with undoubtedly one of the more unique types of classroom, as the young students will be learning in the arena and schooling area from some of the best equestrian athletes in the world.  As they experience horsemanship and our majestic equine athletes up close and personal – valuable lessons that will stay with them for a long time to come.

Perhaps it will mark the start of an equestrian pursuit for a few young, stargazing students.

The 2023 FEI World Cup™ Finals is set for 4-8 April 2023 in Omaha. To learn more, visit https://omaha2023.fei.org/.

By Catie Staszak

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Hadrian Interagro and Tyra Vernon Featured in Kyra Kyrklund Masterclass

Hadrian Interagro and Tyra Vernon (Photo by Carmen Franco)

Loxahatchee, FL (March 15, 2023) – Some of the best examples of the modern competitive Lusitano horse were on display during February’s 2023 US Lusitano Conference, held this February at May Faire Oaks in Loxahatchee. On day two, attendees and riders enjoyed a targeted day of dressage training with one of the legends of the sport, Kyra Kyrklund, who covered topics from neck position, steadiness of connection, quiet hands and legs, and body control. One of the Grand Prix level exhibitors was Tyra Vernon and the grey Lusitano gelding, Hadrian Interagro, and with Ms. Kyrklund’s guidance demonstrated the power of weight, body control, and how the rider must use her body effectively to control the impulsion and balance of the horse at the higher-level movements.

Carmen “Queca” Franco of Q-Equestrian was on the ground at the Conference, and gives a detailed account of Hadrian Interagro and Tyra Vernon’s ride:

“With this wonderful combination, Kyra worked the execution of the [canter] zig-zag [a movement required in the Grand Prix]: In the change, he looks into the new direction.

“We were able to learn also some very helpful tips to improve the piaffe and passage, like using turn on the forehand at the piaffe with a small flexion to the outside and produce very small steps to improve engagement. For the passage Tyra was asked to do rising trot, go slower, push the hindlegs out, then make the horse straight, find short steps. If you lose the hindleg, push them out.

“Kyra used this explanation: if you want to bounce a beach ball, you variate how quick your hand meets the ball, but your hand needs to be flexible for the ball to bounce. [The] same happens with the back of the horse: the rider needs to know how to maintain control of his own energy to move up and down. ‘Your weight is the one thing that’s influencing the horse all the time.’

While stressing that the rider needs to be patient training horses, she also said: ‘Don’t go on and on practicing a movement; at some point in a dressage test it has to happen the first time you ask.’

I wish I could put in writing every single word and phrase Kyra said, but I’m happy I can share here some of my notes. Her approach is always interesting as she has a wonderful way to break down the movements, for both horses and riders, to improve their performances. All that added to very entertaining stories and funny jokes. Absolutely inspiring in so many ways!”

Carmen Franco’s excerpt on Hadrian Interagro is part of a larger article written for EuroDressage.com on the US Lusitano Conference. Read the full article by clicking here.

Hadrian Interagro was bred by Interagro Lusitanos of Brazil before being sold as a young horse to Tyra Vernon’s BREC Dressage in Ocala, Florida. By FEI Dressage Champion Baldor Interagro, Hadrian Interagro embodies much of the athleticism, trainability, and rideability that have been the staples of Interagro’s breeding program for more than 4 decades.

For more information on Interagro Lusitanos, Interagro’s horses for sale, or the Lusitano bloodlines, visit Interagro’s website at www.lusitano-interagro.com.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

Countdown to the XXXIII Olympiad, Paris

Laura Collet (GBR) with London 52 at the FEI Eventing World Championships 2022 © FEI/Christophe Taniére.

The 2024 Paris Olympic Games will host equestrian sports 27 July through 6 August at the iconic Palace of Versailles. For athletes in the Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping, the biggest objective on the road to Paris remains qualification. Some key nations — including host nation France — have secured their quota places, with these National Federations focused on team appointment. Others, meanwhile, are set on fielding their best teams for remaining events with qualification opportunities.

Dressage

Including the host nation, seven nations have qualified for Dressage competition in Paris, accounting for 24 of 45 available team quota places (3 athletes per team). This group includes all three medalists from Tokyo 2020 (JPN). Defending champions Germany, the United States, and Great Britain all earned their places from their results at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Herning (DEN) — as did Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, and Australia.

All eyes will be on Germany on the road to Paris, as not only did they top the team competition in the last Olympics, but its athletes Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Isabell Werth also claimed the individual gold and silver medals, respectively. Bredow-Werndl remains at the top of her game and sits atop the FEI Dressage World Rankings with her partner from Tokyo, TSF Dalera BB.

Twenty-one team quota places (accounting for seven teams) remain, many of which will be decided at the year’s continental and regional championships. Most notable will be the 2023 FEI European Dressage Championship, set for Riesenbeck (GER), 4-10 September. Fifteen individual quota places are also available, awarded to athletes from nations that have not already accepted a team quota place. Of course, these athletes will be a mix of males and females, as equestrian sport remains the only Olympic event in which men and women compete as equals.

Eventing

Nearly half of the team quotas places have already been secured in the sport of Eventing.  Germany is among the first nations qualified, which should provide some excitement. After all, the nation produced Eventing’s first ever female individual Olympic gold medalist in Julia Krajewski in Tokyo. In addition to the host nation, the United States, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland have also qualified. These places were all earned at the FEI World Championships in Herning, where the United States secured its first team medal at a World or Olympic Championship since 2004. The United States is the only nation from North, Central, or South America to have secured a team quota place.

Most notably, Tokyo’s silver medalists Australia have yet to secure their place. They have remaining opportunities at the Group F and G FEI Designated Olympic Qualification Event at Millstreet (IRL), 01-04 June and the FEI Eventing European Championships 2023 in Haras du Pin (FRA) and via the 2023 FEI Eventing Nations Cup Series.

The competition for ranking points for the Individual slots has started, and will continue through the rest of the year.

Jumping

Jumping offers the most quota places of all the equestrian disciplines, with 75 up for grabs, including 60 team athletes.

Sweden is undisputedly the team to watch on the road to Paris, having claimed team gold medals at both the Tokyo Olympic Games and the FEI World Championships 2022. Safely qualified, their concern will be trying to replace Peder Fredricson’s incredible All In, who earned a most celebratory retirement in February. “Allan,” as the barefoot bay was affectionately called, won six championship medals in his career. In Tokyo, he became just the second horse in history to jump the entire Olympic Games without having a single rail.

The Netherlands, Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany also secured their places in Herning, while Belgium earned its spot at the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2022 in Barcelona (ESP). Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates secured team quota places at their Group F Designated Olympic Qualification Event, but 33 team quota places remain.

The United States earned the silver medal in Tokyo, but they will rely on the 2023 Pan American Games to qualify for Paris. Among the powerhouses of the sport, the U.S. won back-to-back team gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games and has medalled at seven of the last 10 Olympics, but the pressure will be on in Chile for them to add to that Olympic resume. If they do not qualify at the Pan Ams, they would have one last opportunity at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2023 In Barcelona.

The 2023 FEI European Championship in Milano (ITA), 29 August – 03 Sept. will also offer three team quotas for European nations from Group A and/or B. Fifteen additional individual quotas are also available for athletes from nations that have not already accepted a team quota place.

By Catie Staszak

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Larrazabal Leads in Week 7 Rising Star at The Ridge

Luis Larrazabal and Kadansa B.

Loxahatchee Groves, FL (February 24, 2023) – Luis Larrazabal claimed his second consecutive $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic win on Wednesday, this time riding Kadansa B. With a total of 7 double clear efforts, the $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic saw a field of 22 horses tackle the course set by Maricio Garcia.

First to go double clear was Alex Granato and Cupcake, who set the standard with a quick jump-off in 38.290 seconds. This first double clear proved hard to beat, with a number of other jump-offs clocking through the timers with no faults but a slower time. Hallie Grimes and La Belle Dame Z were the first to overtake Granato and Cupcake, flashing around the shortened course in an impressive 34.853. After having a rail in the jump-off with his Week 6 Rising Star Champion Billy Spiral, Larrazabal and Kadansa B proved to be just faster than Grimes and La Belle Dame Z, stopping the clock only a few tenths of a second faster in 34.238.

For more, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

Hercules and Holly Shepherd Win $25k EMO Grand Prix at Gulf Coast Winter Classic

The 25th Anniversary of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic Circuit wrapped up after a week of fun filled competition at the beautiful Harrison County Fairgrounds.

Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama, in the irons of Loretta Patterson’s Hercules, kicked off the Gulf Coast Winter Classic with a win in the $25,000 EMO Grand Prix and also picked up a second place with Patterson’s Warmachine.

With a first-round time allowed of 84 seconds, only three advanced to the jump off round. Shepherd commented, “The combinations got a little bit tight, and you needed to be able to adjust. It really depended on what size horse and what size step you had to figure out how you’d ride the course and I had to package my horses for the combinations,” she said.

The first round saw Kelly Arvidson of Nashville, Tennessee, aboard Ark Partners LLC’s Oak Groves Celebrity, turn in a clear first round in a time of 74.891 seconds. Shepherd and Warmachine followed with a clear round in a time of 77.540 seconds and she also had the final clear first round with Hercules in a time of 76.891 seconds.

Arvidson and Oak Groves Celebrity were first to go in the jump off round. Their fault-free time in 37.135 seconds beat the 40 seconds time allowed and set the new time to beat.

Shepherd and Warmachine followed and their fault free round in 35.481 seconds took the lead. “I knew I had it in the bag after Warmachine,” commented Shepherd. “I just put the pressure on Hercules to see if he could outrun his ‘big brother’ and he did!” Shepherd and Hercules passed through the timers in 34.104 seconds and won the first Grand Prix of the Gulf Coast Winter Classic’s 2023 season and a second with Warmachine. “He [Hercules] has really come into his own this past year and is really growing up. He’s been a rock star in the Grand Prix lately,” Shepherd commented.

Arvidson and Oak Groves Celebrity placed third and Gianna Aycock of Argyle, Texas placed fourth with Dalman Show Jumping’s Con Sorpresa H as the fastest four fault first round with a time of 72.320 seconds.

Fifth was awarded to Colby Coltrain of Argyle, Texas and Gianna Aycock’s Conquer after earning four faults in the first round with a time of 736.36 seconds.

Katherine Le Blanc of Folsom, Louisiana and David O’Donnell’s MTM Turbojack earned a sixth-place finish after posting a four fault first round in a time of 77.512 seconds, and Shepherd picked up a seventh with Brenda Peurifoy’s Gladjas for their four fault first round in 78.384 seconds.

Le Blanc returned for an eighth-place ribbon with David O’Donnell’s MTM Vinze for their eight fault first round in 71.753 seconds and Trina Green of Corinth, Texas placed ninth with Madison Ann Skarzenski’s Tinito Paulowna Z.

“We had a great day. The grass grand prix field felt great, the weather was beautiful, and the horses jumped well,” said Shepherd.

For more information and results, please visit horseshowsonline.com.

Wild Horse Fire Brigade Video Collection on YouTube Now

Wild Horse Fire Brigade, an all-volunteer 501-c-3 nonprofit organization, is pleased to present our growing collection of unique videos about free-roaming American wild horses living in the wilderness at Wild Horse Ranch, the remote mountain research station for our Org.

Living in a remote off-grid mountain wilderness is not easy by means. There are many serious risks and hardships endured by living so far out in the wild.

But the knowledge that is gained by living among the wild ones, as William and Michelle do, is priceless and worth the risks and hardships.

We hope you’ll enjoy these videos, many of which are filmed at Wild Horse Ranch with genuine free-roaming wild horses in the wilderness. Watching these videos is like taking a mini-course in wild horse ethology!

https://www.youtube.com/@wildhorsefirebrigade2191/videos

Feel free to share them with your friends and on social media.

Please visit www.wildhorsefirebrigade.org for more information.

Daniel Coyle Delivers Again with Win in $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic aboard Jasper

Daniel Coyle and Jasper (Photo by Equinium)

Loxahatchee Groves, FL (February 10, 2023) – Daniel Coyle answered his cousin’s back-to-back Grand Prix victories with back-to-back Rising Star victories. On Wednesday the Irishman piloted Ariel Grange’s Jasper to a wire-to-wire victory, proving untouchable against a field of more than thirty competitors in The Ridge at Wellington Groves’ $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic. The win during the first day of Week 5 marks Coyle’s second consecutive victory in the Classic, while his cousin Jordan Coyle marked his second consecutive Grand Prix win at The Ridge during Week 4.

Coyle was the first rider to go in Wednesday’s $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic, and his double clear effort and jump-off time of 36.650 seconds stood the entire day despite fierce opposition. The only two riders to come within a second of his time were Lola Head aboard Adelita (37.352s) and Rupert Winklemann aboard Omar van de Hunters (37.508s).

For more, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

Daniel Coyle and Amalia Swoop In to Claim Victory in Week 4’s $5k 1.30m Rising Star Classic

Daniel Coyle and Amalia.

Loxahatchee Groves, FL (February 3, 2023) – Daniel Coyle and the sporty, spotty bay mare Amalia were the last to go and the fastest pair in Wednesday’s $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic. The pair edged out two previous jump-offs to win the class, and with just tenths of a second separating the three.

Coyle, an internationally acclaimed show jumper representing Ireland, was contested by Abbygale Funk and Ryan Sassmannshausen over the course designed by Jaime Morillo. Sassmannshausen was an early double clear effort, galloping around the jump-off in 38.814 seconds. His round stood most of the day, until Abbygale Funk and Alastor edged them out by less than a tenth of a second, flying through the timers in 38.806 seconds. Coyle, however, would establish his dominance with the nimble Amalia, taking an amazingly tight inside turn to the final vertical to post a time of 38.039 seconds and win the class.

Coyle and Amalia have been successful up through the FEI level and the Irish rider stated that the course at The Ridge was a great warmup for the future FEI rounds they had planned during their 2023 Wellington show season. Coyle and his cousin, Jordan, have won multiple titles over the years at The Ridge.

Funk, an aspiring U25 Grand Prix rider, is new to The Ridge’s events this year, having discovered them during USEF Equitation Tuesdays in 2022. “I had two great rounds over the lovely course here at The Ridge,” said Funk. “It’s an amazing chance to show at the Grand Prix level while also still being able to develop the horses and prepare for bigger classes.”

For more, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

First Hunter Derby of ‘23 and Irish Grand Prix Victory at The Ridge at Wellington Groves Week 4

Jordan Coyle and Picador (Photo by Romeo Ghete)

Loxahatchee Groves, FL (February 1, 2023) – The Ridge at Wellington Groves wrapped up its third week of competition with an Irish victory in the $15,000 1.40m Grand Prix, their first $1,000 2’6″ National Hunter Derby, and two extra days of classes for hunters, jumpers, and equitation riders, both recognized and unrecognized. On Friday Ireland’s Jordan Coyle and Picador fought their way to victory in The Ridge’s Week 3 $15,000 1.40m Grand Prix, besting a field of 30 over a course designed by Leopoldo Palacios. Second went to Week 3’s $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic winner, Israel’s Daniel Bluman riding Corbie V.V.Z Et, while third went to Coyle as well, this time aboard Ariso. The competition included some of the world’s top riders, including Adrienne Sternlicht, Beat Mandli, and Cian O’Connor, mixed in with freshly minted Grand Prix riders and horses over a dynamic course intended to challenge while allowing for growth and development.

Saturday’s Hunter Derby was the inaugural Derby event of the 2023 Ridge season, offering $1,000 in prize money and a course designed by Nona Garson with high options up to 2’6″. Julie Hogan riding Gigi Stetler’s Imagine That bested the three rounds, which included an optional Warm Up, first round, and handy round. Second went to Samantha Carp and Conchita 128, while Sara Kate Long and Delivered by Hand finished in third.

For more, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.