Tag Archives: Andres Rodriguez

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito Earn Top Prize in $127,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. Photos © Sportfot.

Ellen Toon Wins Two in a Row, Pilots Mirror Image to Top in Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35

Wellington, FL – March 14, 2015 – Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez and Caballito emerged victorious in Saturday night’s $127,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* during week ten of the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The pair topped a six-horse jump-off with Juan Ignacio Rojo (ARG) and Percine Dream in second and Meagan Nusz (USA) with SRI Aladdin third.

Watch Andres Rodriguez and Caballito in their winning round!

Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set the course for Saturday night’s grand prix at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with 45 competitors and six clear rounds. In the jump-off, Rojo guided Gianni Gabrielli’s Percine Dream to the first clear round in 48.38 seconds to eventually finish second. Freddie Vazquez (PUR) and Messenger Hill’s Zippo Z followed with four faults in 52.47 seconds to place fifth. Nusz and Amalaya Investment’s SRI Aladdin were clear in 49.12 seconds to end up in third.

Ali Wolff (USA) and Blacklick Bend Farm’s Casall placed sixth after a refusal and a rail down on the short course in 57.78 seconds. Kent Farrington (USA) and Robin Parsky’s Blue Angel followed with the fastest time of 46.94 seconds, but knocked a rail at the final fence to finish fourth. Last to go, Rodriguez and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Caballito cleared the track in 48.13 seconds for the win.

“I’m very happy,” Rodriguez said of his victory. “I saw the jump-off start. Juan was pretty fast, but I knew Kent was going to go faster than him. It is a very lucky night when you have Kent in front of you in the jump-off. I was thinking something good was going to happen. He was just in front of me, so I was going to watch him from the gate and he had an unlucky rail down. I had a plan for jump three. That was a hard jump for me in the first round. I rubbed it pretty hard. I knew I needed to take a little bit there and I did. Coming in the last line there was either the seven strides or the eight and I thought I was faster than Juan already, so I went for the eight and then I looked at the clock. This is my first grand prix win at WEF and I have been here for six years, so this is a big night for me.”

Rodriguez has had a great winter in Wellington, including back to back wins in week eight’s $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 and $34,000 Nutrena CSIO 1.45m Classic with his mount Fifty Fifty 111. Saturday night it was Caballito’s turn, and the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Contendro x Argentinus) earned the biggest win of his career.

“My horses are really jumping great,” Rodriguez acknowledged. “This week is interesting for me because I entered in two 1.45m classes. I have always had Caballito as my main horse and this year I have had more horses coming, so I said this week I was going to use him in the two 1.45m classes and try to get some world ranking points. I entered the first class, and jump one was in the corner and he really did not want to go to it. We managed to get there and he had a rail and I was a little bit upset with him. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll put him in tomorrow in the WEF (Challenge Cup).’ Then he was fourth, qualified for the grand prix and this is the best result of his career.”

“He is very special,” Rodriguez added. “He sometimes will not like a jump and he will be funny about going to it, but most of the time he goes and gives big results. I really do not worry anymore when he does something funny because really going at him does not make a difference. You just let him be and the next time he might win you the class. The perfect example is this week.”

“I bought him at the end of his eight-year-old year and I won international classes with him four years ago, and he is still winning,” Rodriguez continued. “We always try to buy new horses and think that they are going to be way better than him, and then championships and big shows come and we look at the barn, and the one who is ready to go is him. He is the one we can count on.”

Placing second, Juan Ignacio Rojo had a great night with Percine Dream and has also done well with his mount throughout the circuit. Originally from Argentina, Rojo lived and showed in Europe for many years and then moved to Venezuela. He got Percine Dream from a horse dealer in France.

“He said he thought she was a horse that can jump any class, and he was right,” Rojo detailed of when he got Percine Dream. “The mare went to Venezuela and was national champion. Then this is the first time she got a chance to go in big sport and she is coming up with all the solutions. She was clear in a 5* grand prix already, so my hopes are very high. She keeps developing. I am really happy with my horse, and I am happy that a friend of mine won tonight.”

Third place finisher, SRI Aladdin, is a horse that Meagan Nusz bought in Wellington last year and has taken some time to get to know.

“I have kind of taken it slow with him. I think he has all the talent and all the scope to be a top horse, but he is a little bit unrideable,” Nusz stated. “He is quite strong and he likes to go very downhill, which is not ideal for adjustment in lines. He is also very straight, so he doesn’t really move with the lines. You have to be very accurate and set him up way before the fence so he can give it a good jump. He has a lot of scope and he is learning how to use his body more, which is what we want. I let him do his thing a little bit and that will never change. That is just the horse, but he is getting there and I can’t complain.”

“Every time I get on him I know that I am so lucky to have one like that in my string,” Nusz continued. “Tonight is the first of many for that one I think, and I am sure he has a win in there somewhere. He has really stepped up for me. This is only his second night class. He is really a trier, and I trust him so much. He is such a fun horse to ride.”

In addition to the night’s third place prize, Nusz was presented the award for Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider (presented by Martha Jolicoeur in memory of Dale Lawler) for her success throughout the week.

Tom MacGuinness, owner and founder of Horseware Ireland, was also on hand for the evening and detailed his company’s long-term involvement with the horse show, having first come to WEF in 1987 to visit. MacGuiness saw the huge changes at PBIEC when he returned seven years ago, which is when Horseware Ireland became directly involved at WEF.

MacGuinness recalled, “I could really see that this was going to be the number one venue in the world and that is when we got serious about sponsoring here. I don’t think we were wrong. Mark (Bellissimo) and his team are doing a hell of a job, and I think they are going to make show jumping into a spectacle like Formula 1 or the Indy 500. They have a good thing going here and we are happy to support them.”

Also showing in the International Arena on Saturday, Alexandra Crown and Von Cim won the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, Kelli Cruciotti and Serenity Equestrian Ventures’ Wallenberg won the $10,000 Sleepy P Ranch High Junior Jumper Classic, and Hilary McNerney and Balans topped the $1,500 Animo USA Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.

Ellen Toon Wins Two in a Row, Pilots Mirror Image to Top in Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35

Earlier this week, Ellen Toon admitted that she was feeling a little rusty in the tack, but it didn’t show as she won her second division championship during Week 10. After clinching the Adult Amateur 50 and Over Section A yesterday, Toon and James Toon’s Mirror Image took the top tricolor in the Hunt LTD. Amateur-Owner Over 35 Division today.

Ellen Toon and Mirror Image
Ellen Toon and Mirror Image

Still in her first year with the Toons at JT Farm in South Salem, New York, Mirror Image – an eight-year-old Oldenburg mare – was imported at the end of the winter season in 2014 before competing in the 3’3″ Pre-Green and Amateur divisions. Toon first had a leg over Mirror Image in June and last at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show before WEF, but maintains that she just gets better and better.

“This is only my third or fourth time showing her in the Amateurs and she gets better each week – this was her best so far,” said Toon. With wins in both the handy and stake after a pair of 86s, Toon was also first and third in the two remaining over fences classes and third under saddle.

“There’s nothing complicated about riding her – she has the right amount of stride, the right jump, doesn’t spook, and I never worry about leads,” said Toon. “If I go in, keep her straight, and in the middle of the fences, she’s going to take any distance and make the jump work. I really couldn’t have asked more of her today. There are always parts that can be improved and I was maybe a little over the pace in places, but overall I felt terrific and she handled everything perfectly.”

While still a new addition to Toon’s string, Mirror Image was a sure thing from the start. She found the then seven-year-old mare in Europe and immediately noticed a resemblance to her decorated hunter mount Invincible. Matching in looks with three white legs, she caught Toon’s eye and sealed the deal with similar scope, presence and straight-forward way of going. “She reminded me so much of him, that’s why we named her Mirror Image,” added Toon.

With plans to qualify for The Devon Horse Show, Toon has a ringer of a team helping her get here. Amanda Steege rides in the professional divisions for Toon, but while Steege competes in Ocala over the winter, Havens Schatt and Liza Towell Boyd have been trading off trips. Mirror Image was also Champion in the First Year Green Hunters this week with Schatt aboard.

“I am so lucky to have Jimmy on the ground and three of the best riders on earth riding this horse,” said Toon. “Who could ask for more?”

Taking Reserve Champion honors behind Toon was Kelley Corrigan and her own 12-year-old Holsteiner stallion Macallan. They took second place in the under saddle, second in the stake and first over fences with a high score of 88.

The tenth week of WEF competition, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, concludes on Sunday with the $34,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The class will be live streamed here – http://bit.ly/1wZSYz4. The Coldwell Banker Children’s Hunter 14 & Under will be featured in Ring 8. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Lindsay Brock for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111 Capture Second Win of the Week at 2015 WEF

Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111. Photos © Sportfot.

Victoria Colvin Scores Major Win with New Mount in $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Classic; McKayla Langmeier and Castelli Dominate the Equestrian Sotheby’s International Reality Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under

Wellington, FL – February 28, 2015 – Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Fifty Fifty 111 (Action-Breaker x Major de La Cour) have had a tremendous week at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), taking home two major career wins. The duo took home Thursday’s $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 and continued their hot streak with a first in Saturday’s $34,000 Nutrena CSIO 1.45m Classic. Victoria Colvin also had a win on Saturday with her new mount Cafino in the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.

Due to intense rainfall in the area this afternoon, equestrian competition and special events for Saturday evening at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center were cancelled.

The current schedule for Sunday, March 1, at the Winter Equestrian Festival is available online – CLICK HERE TO VIEW CURRENT SUNDAY SCHEDULE.

The Winter Equestrian Festival’s eighth week will conclude with the Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Grand Prix classes as well as the conclusion of their Nations Cup team events, followed by the $150,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4* presented by Lugano Diamonds, which will be live streamed here: http://bit.ly/1wrDbZB.

Anthony D’Ambrosio’s track for the $34,000 Nutrena CSIO 1.45m Classic on Saturday morning saw 14 clear rounds out of 39 trips. Laura Kraut (USA) and Constable II finished just behind Rodriguez in 59.61 seconds. “I saw Laura’s round, and I knew that it was six strides between Fences 7 & 8, but my horse has a big step and if I could do it in five I would take the class, so I went for it,” commented Rodriguez. Meagan Nusz (USA) aboard Vesuvius rounded out the top three finishing fault-free in 60.12 seconds.

“Winning the WEF Cup Challenge on Thursday and then winning the class today, I’m so happy. This horse is really important to me, and I couldn’t be happier. She used to be pretty difficult, but she’s coming along very nicely. When you have a young horse and give them a fair chance, they’ll do well. She’s been so fast, so my expectations with her are very high because she’s getting consistent,” said Rodriguez, who finished the course in 59.55 seconds for the win.

The two will look to improve upon their fantastic performances throughout the remainder of season and for the rest of the year. Rodriguez, who rode for the fourth placed Venezuelan Team in Friday night’s $100,000 Nation’s Cup presented by Kingsland Equestrian, said he believes the future is bright. “I’m really looking forward to the future with Team Venezuela. We have great veteran anchor riders and some extremely talented young riders coming up. It’s taken us a while to get here, but I think we’re moving into the top tier of teams in the sport,” he remarked.

Victoria Colvin Scores Major Win with New Mount in $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Classic

Seventeen-year-old Victoria Colvin (USA) and newly acquired mount Cafino, owned by Take The High Road LLC, topped the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Classic today, riding clear through the jump-off in 35.57 seconds to take the win. Laura Kraut (USA) and Nouvelle were close behind completing the jump-off course in 36.085 seconds for second and Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Winn Winn crossed the timers in 36.101 seconds to take third.

Victoria Colvin and Cafino
Victoria Colvin and Cafino

Colvin, coming off a record-breaking performance at WEF 6 $100,000 USHJA/WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Ovation, has recently started riding Cafino, who was purchased from Alexander Zetterman to help jump-start her show jumping career. Even though the two have not been partnered for long, Colvin’s skills in the ring come naturally, as she piloted the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding to a win in the large class full of veteran pairs.

“I’m so happy with the win today. It was just amazing. I haven’t been riding him for a very long time; it’s really only my second week! He was great last week in the High Classic and I went fast there too, so it was good preparation for today,” smiled Colvin.

The switch from the hunters to the jumpers has come easily for Colvin, who enjoys the excitement of the jumper ring. “It’s nice to be able to go into the hunter ring and be slow and soft and then be able to flip a switch to the jumper ring which is just faster and spicier,” she laughed. “It really does help with the handy classes and the equitation too though, so it all balances out for me.”

The pair will contest the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Semi-Final, presented by Kingsland Equestrian, in Week 9 of WEF and will continue to map their plans from there. “I’m really excited to have the ride on this horse, and he’s just great. He’s perfect on the ground and when you bring him next to the ring he understands it’s time to go and get the job done, which I love,” commented Colvin.

McKayla Langmeier and Castelli Dominate the Equestrian Sotheby’s International Reality Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under

Before the rain cancelled the end of classes on Saturday, McKayla Langmeier, from East Granby, CT, piloted Khaki Run LLC’s horse, Castelli, to championship honors in the Equestrian Sotheby’s International Reality Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under. Castelli won both over fences classes the first day and was second in both over fences classes on Saturday. “He [Castelli] is so much fun to catch ride! I’m thankful that I get to ride him,” Langmeier exclaimed.

Finishing the day as reserve champions was Eloise, ridden and owned by Stella Styslinger. The duo finished first and third over fences, combined with a second place finish in the under saddle. Styslinger was also awarded the owner/rider championship in the division.

Langmeier started riding Castelli during WEF 4 and has enjoyed getting to show him in the Small Junior Hunters. When talking about Castelli, Langmeier commented, “He [Castelli] has a really big stride and is really brave.”

A highlight for Castelli this week was his winning handy round. “He [Castelli} is a blast in the handy. I can do any inside turn I want, and I know he will stay with me,” Langmeier explained.

When Langmeier is not competing with Castelli in the hunters, she also shows in the Junior Jumpers and 3’6″ equitation. “Showing in the hunters helps me stay smooth when I’m showing in other divisions,” Langmeier noted.

Looking forward to the rest of the 2015 show season, Langmeier is hoping to qualify for the FEI North American Junior Young Rider Championships held in Kentucky, as well as earn top ribbons again at the four national equitation finals in the fall.

The Autism Speaks Small/Medium Children’s Pony Hunters will conclude hunter competition for WEF 8 tomorrow in ring 11. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Carly Weilminster and Maddy Stover for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111 Win $34k Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8

Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111. Photos © Sportfot.

Celebration and Scott Stewart Take Home the Championship Prize in Perfect Products Pre-Green Hunter Level 2

Wellington, FL – February 26, 2015 – The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) hosted show jumping for all ages and nationalities in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Thursday. Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111 won the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 in a speed round over Kent Farrington (USA) and Blue Angel. Laura Kraut (USA) earned an incredible one-two-three finish in the morning’s 1.45m jump-off class, and the Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Welcome classes saw victories for Alejandra Godoy (VEN), Santiago Orifici (ARG) and Spencer Smith (USA).

The Winter Equestrian Festival’s eighth week features CSIO 4* competition on February 25 – March 1 at PBIEC. Upcoming highlights include the $10,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Speed Stake and $100,000 Nations Cup presented by Kingsland Equestrian on Friday; the $34,000 Nutrena 1.45m Jumper Classic, $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic and Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Nations Cup classes on Saturday; and the Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Grand Prix classes followed by the $150,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4* presented by Lugano Diamonds on Sunday.

Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the speed track in the day’s feature $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 with 62 starters and 11 clear rounds. Third in the ring, Kent Farrington and Robin Parsky’s Blue Angel set the leading time at 66.76 seconds, but were pushed to second place nine rounds later when Andres Rodriguez and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Fifty Fifty 111 crossed the timers fractions faster in 66.50 seconds. The pair’s time held on through the end to win it.

Eugenio Garza (MEX) and El Milagro’s Balloon placed third in 70.24 seconds. Kevin Babington (IRL) and Mark Q were fourth in 71.46 seconds.

For Rodriguez, the win with “Fifty” is the payoff of five years of work and dedication with the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Action-Breaker x Major de La Cour).

“She is a very special horse for me,” the rider acknowledged. “The part that I enjoy the most in the sport is developing young horses. I got her at the end of five years old from Eric Lamaze and now she is ten. I brought her up all of the divisions. Last year in the summer I won my first international grand prix with her, and it was a very exciting moment. When you work a horse and you bring it to that level and then you end up winning, it is very satisfying. To win in a venue like this in such a big competition and have second place be one of the fastest riders of the circuit with the fastest horse is very special. For her to win this class really means more than just the victory itself to me.”

“I did watch Kent go, and I knew it was going to be hard to beat,” Rodriguez detailed. “The only place that I thought I could be better was the last line. He did eight strides to the Rolex vertical, and I did the seven. That small difference I think was just there. I saw his round, and he was fast everywhere. The only place he left a little bit of a chance for someone to beat him was on the seven strides to the last.”

Rodriguez will jump Fifty Fifty 111 in the 1.45m speed class on Saturday and has his top horse Caballito ready to jump Friday’s Nations Cup and the grand prix on Sunday. He has big plans for Fifty this summer as she gears up for the challenging jumper derbies in Spruce Meadows.

“Luckily this year we have three horses going in the big circuit, so we can choose the classes better for the horses,” Rodriguez explained. “For her, I would really want to win the derby in Calgary; that would be my main goal and that is what I am going to train her for. Here she is going to do a couple more 1.50m classes and maybe some more WEF (Challenge Cups) and then I will prepare her for Calgary. I really want to train her to become a good derby horse.”

Also showing on Thursday, Laura Kraut (USA) dominated the competition in the morning’s $8,000 1.45m jump-off class. Sixty entries showed and only four were clear to advance to the jump-off. Kraut rode three of them, finishing first, second and third. Kraut’s winning ride was aboard Julius Peter Sinnack’s Deauville S. She placed second with the Evita Group’s Nouvelle, and took third place honors riding Stars and Stripes’ Andretti S.

The Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Welcome classes were also held in the afternoon. Spencer Smith (USA) and Wyndmont’s IV Ever won the $1,500 Young Rider Welcome. Santiago Orifici (ARG) and Eduardo Monaco’s Dolce Vita de Longines were the winners in the $1,000 Junior Welcome, and Alejandra Godoy (VEN) and Francis Clement’s Rhea de L’Ici topped the Children’s Welcome.

Celebration and Scott Stewart Take Home the Championship Prize in Perfect Products Pre-Green Hunter Level 2

To kick off hunter action during WEF 8, Scott Stewart rode Dr. Betsee Parker’s horse, Celebration, to the tricolor ribbon in the Perfect Products Pre-Green Hunter Level 2. Celebration was first and second over fences, paired with an under saddle win. “He [Celebration] had been champion in this division earlier in the circuit,” Stewart stated, “and he went great again this week!”

Finishing behind Stewart and Celebration was Davlyn Farms’ horse, Cy Young, ridden by Tara Metzner. Metzner piloted Cy Young to a second, third, and fourth over fences, as well as a second place finish in the under saddle. The consistent performances over the two days of competition earned Cy Young reserve championship honors.

Scott Stewart and Celebration
Scott Stewart and Celebration

Celebration is a six-year-old warmblood that started doing the Pre-Green Hunter Level 2 at the beginning of the WEF circuit. Having already been in the winner’s circle, Celebration turned in winning performances again this week. “He [Celebration] went really well the first day in the Rost Arena and was very smooth over the two courses,” Stewart noted.

After having several weeks of top results, Celebration has earned some time off. Stewart commented, “We have been very happy with him [Celebration]. I think he is getting a little bored, so we are going to give him next week off so he is ready for the last few weeks of the circuit.”

Already having earned several accolades, Stewart is excited for Celebration’s future. This year the big goal is for Celebration to compete at the Pre-Green Incentive Championship, held at the Kentucky Horse Park, during the summer. Looking ahead to 2016, Stewart plans to move Celebration up to the First Year Green Working Hunters.

Competition continues in the International Arena on Friday with the $10,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Speed Stake in the morning and the $100,000 Nations Cup presented by Kingsland Equestrian in the evening. Equitation competition will kick off with coverage of the Ariat National Adult Medal in the Rost Arena. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Lauren Fisher and Maddy Stover for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Andres Rodriguez Finds Clear Path to Win $33,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m at Spruce Meadows

Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Ward and Wannahave Speed to Derby Victory, Dinan and Sandro Beat Large Jump-off Field in CN ‘Fast Track’ Derby

Calgary, AB – June 15, 2013 – There were three very different but all very exciting competitions today at the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament today. Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito captured the top prize as the only double clear in the $33,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m. McLain Ward won for two days in a row, this time with Wannahave in the $33,000 McDaniel & Associates 1.45m Derby. Katie Dinan and Sandro scored another big win in the $10,000 CN ‘Fast Track’ Junior/Amateur Derby.

The ‘Continental’ Tournament CSIO-W 5* concludes tomorrow with the highlight competition of the weekend, the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix CSI-W. There is complimentary admission and parking for spectators during the ‘Continental’ Tournament.

The $33,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m had 41 entries, and five went through to the jump-off. Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Contendro x Argentinus, were the only double clear. They finished in 48.074 seconds for victory. Second place went to McLain Ward (USA) and Zander, who had four faults at the final jump and finished in 41.707 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Wang Chung M2S were third with four faults in 48.882 seconds.

Rodriguez was able to keep Caballito together and clean in the jump-off despite his horse throwing a shoe after the fourth fence. “I totally felt that, and I was really aware in the turns after that, to help him not slip,” Rodriguez acknowledged. “I was trying to keep him as balanced as possible. I didn’t want him to slip in front of one of those tall jumps. I was being very cautious in the turns, even after he was clear.”

Rodriguez said he has been training with veteran rider Eddie Macken for sixth months, and it was advice from Macken that helped him win his first FEI-level competition at Spruce Meadows. “(Eddie) obviously has a lot of experience in those cases. If I would have been by myself, I would have tried to go fast. He told me in the gate, just try to go clear and hope that McLain has a rail,” he recalled. “I wasn’t so convinced, but I trusted him and he was right. I could have been third or fourth in that class, easy. It played out well.”

Having won the FEI World Cup qualifier in Thunderbird just a few weeks ago, Rodriguez felt that Caballito was ready for Spruce Meadows. After a day of practice, his horse felt more relaxed today and Rodriguez noted, “I really felt he jumped his best today.”

Having been competitive at the 1.45m level, Rodriguez felt comfortable with keeping him at that level. But, he related, “Since I’ve been training with Eddie, it looks like he may do a little bigger. He was fourth in a big four-star class in Wellington and it didn’t feel like a struggle at all. I changed my approach with him totally different. I trust him way more now. I have hopes for him to end up being a 1.60m horse.”

Ward and Wannahave Win with Speed

The $33,000 McDaniel & Associates 1.45m Derby had 24 entries, and six of those were able to clear the course without faults. The track, designed by Werner Deeg of Germany, featured 16 numbered obstacles and 19 jumping efforts, including the grob, open water, dry ditch combination, and jumping off a bank. Speeding around by six seconds faster than the next competitors were McLain Ward and Wannahave, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Manhattan x Ramiro Z owned by The Wannahave Group.

The early leaders were 17-year-old Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, and Stone Ridge Farms LLC’s Alberto II, who set the pace at 110.600 seconds, which would end up in second place. Third place went to Cameron Hanley (IRL) on Player du Quesnoy, who finished in 111.288 seconds.

McLain Ward and Wannahave
McLain Ward and Wannahave

Despite a fast pace through most of the course, including to and from the open water, Ward said, “I actually thought I slowed down in a couple places, to be honest with you. I’m a bit of a fast rider and I have to watch that I don’t overdo it. He’s pretty good on the naturals now after all of his experience last week in the derby. He has a big stride, so the beginning of the course suited him, where I could just set a gallop and go. That allowed me to slow down at the end with the grob and double ditches, which were really tight. It worked out well.”

Wannahave competed in his first derby last week in the Nexen 1.60m Derby. “The derby last week was quite big. He jumped a really good round but got confused at the bank and the grob,” Ward remembered. “This week there was no ‘A’ (element) at the grob, so I thought he handled that better. I think he’ll actually be really good at these classes with more mileage. He can do these naturals without a problem. If they jump the devil’s dyke and the bank, you’re halfway home.”

Ward got the ride on Wannahave through his friend Missy Clark, who trains Wannahave and Sandor de la Pomme, another new mount, with John Brennan at their farm, North Run. “I started riding the horses at the end of Florida (in April). Missy is a great friend of mine and we’ve done some great things over the years, going back to Sapphire and the Harrisons. It’s a pleasure for me to work with her,” he related.

Ward described Wannahave as a “big, scopey horse” with “a big jump.” He remarked, “He’s a little hard to sit to. But that’s a good thing too. He has a very easy stride; you just have to kind of keep it all together. If you let it unravel, that’s where you get a pole down.”

This was their first FEI-level win together, and Ward was happy to have it happen in a derby competition. “It takes a special character and a brave horse, but I think it’s good for the horses. I think it was a good course. It’s a good part of the sport,” he said.

Second place finisher Kara Chad was very happy in her best top level finish at Spruce Meadows. The talented young rider, who was a part of the Developing Rider Tour for Canada last year, said she was “a little surprised,” when she found out she was winning.

“I thought I was efficient, but I wasn’t running around like a speed class. Then there was McLain; it’s hard to beat him. He told me in the line-up (that) I have many years to come, so not to worry about it, and I took that advice,” she smiled. “It was my first derby with him. He has a very big personality and is cocky in some ways, which is what makes him good. Although he’s a big horse, he’s very controllable and adjustable. I’ve been working toward getting up to these results. I’m happy that I finally got in there.”

Katie Dinan and Sandro Continue Winning Ways

The $10,000 CN ‘Fast Track’ Junior/Amateur 1.40m Derby had 34 entries attempt a long derby course, and there were 18 that proceeded on to the jump-off. There were eight double clear in the lengthy jump-off course, but the fastest of those were Katie Dinan and Sandro, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Larino x Casimir owned by Grant Road Partners. They finished in 50.89 seconds.

Second place went to Wilton Porter (USA) on Neolisto van het Mierenhof, who stopped the timers in 51.38 seconds. Clementine Goutal (USA) and Kelline Fonroy were third in 51.86 seconds.

Dinan agreed that the “longer than normal” course for a derby along with a jump-off “played a factor.” She continued, “Sandro has a pretty good engine and is always ready to go, but even for him in the jump-off I felt like I wasn’t really at my fastest. You have to stay focused and ready to jump. It wasn’t that there was one difficult jump; it’s just that there were a lot of jumps and horses were getting a little tired at the end. I went seventh and I was really happy that my time held up.”

In her jump-off ride, she described, “He was so good in the first round to the grob that I knew I could make good time there. I turned very quickly down to that. I tried to be very prompt in the beginning. I did nine (strides) in the last line, but it worked out for me because Sandro has a very fast canter, so even if I’m not doing the most extreme leave-outs, I can be pretty fast.”

Dinan said that Sandro is very happy in his role as a 1.40m amateur horse, and he has helped her improve her riding on all of her horses. “He’s been a great horse for me. It’s great to have a horse in the barn that can come out on any given day and you know if you ride well, you have a good chance of winning. That’s great as a confidence builder,” she said. “In the last year and a half as I’ve moved up with other horses into bigger classes, (and) things get more difficult and your results aren’t as consistent as you’d like, it’s really nice to have a horse that maybe isn’t doing the biggest class at the horse show, but is always there.”

She added, “From a riding perspective, you try to learn how to go faster and be a more competitive speed rider. He’s been a great horse for me to learn that on. I feel comfortable on him and I feel like I can take risks on him that I might not necessarily take on other horses. He’s 14 and I want him to stay happy. I want to keep his energy level up. Maybe he could jump a little bit bigger, but he feels great at that height.”

The ‘Continental’ Tournament concludes tomorrow with the $60,000 Great-West Life Cup 1.50m the highlight competition of the week, the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix CSI-W, at 2 pm in Meadows on the Green. For more information on Spruce Meadows and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations

Andres Rodriguez Captures The Ridge at Wellington Leading Rider Award

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito.

Wellington, FL – May 18, 2013 – The morning fog cleared from an open grass field on that beautiful March morning to reveal one of the most breathtaking show jumping competitions to grace the Wellington equestrian scene – $24,750 Ridge at Wellington Invitational Grand Prix Finale.  Although the Wellington equestrian community has a plethora of breathtaking grass fields, March 23, 2013 was a day that earmarked a page of history, as riders were welcomed to the field of the prestigious Deeridge Farm facility for the concluding event of the $175,000 Ridge at Wellington Invitational Grand Prix Series.

For 10 weeks, the $175,000 Ridge at Wellington Invitational Grand Prix series found a home at differing venues throughout Wellington. The brainchild of Olympic veteran Nona Garson and her business partner George D’Ambrosio, the Friday Grand Prix Invitational Series filled a niche in the equestrian populated community, welcoming riders to compete in an out-of-the-box manner, literally. With the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival running nearby, The Ridge Grand Prix allowed horses to experience new venues, and not grow complacent in the same setting as they competed week after week.

For years, Garson, who operates The Ridge at Wellington, located in Palm Beach Pointe, has put on lower level schooling shows, locally deemed “Nona Shows,” to help young horses and riders grow. This year, the shows took a step in a new direction, offering a weekly 1.40m Grand Prix series to be held over the time period of 10 weeks, concluding with a $24,750 finale. It was met with a positive response as riders made the mile hack to the property to tackle the course.

Marie Hecart and Lalique
Marie Hecart and Lalique

“Really what we are doing is a need. Our focus is to develop our riders and develop our horses. It’s an investment on our end to do that, and that’s something we’re willing to do,” D’Ambrosio explained. “Our goal is to have better riders, better horses, better conditions, better everything. We’re just trying to set some nice standards – a European standard of what show jumping really is.”

The opportunity to compete under conditions similar to top national and international events has attracted riders who have their sights set on those shows. The series drew out such top names as McLain Ward, Peter Wylde, Laura Kraut, and Candice King. Andres Rodriguez emerged as the circuit high score winner, with Sarah Segal earning the runner up position. Rodriguez not only earned the bragging rights as the leading rider, but Morristown Mini Cooper, a division of the Open Road, owned by the Ryan family of Edison, NJ, presented the Leading Rider with a 2014 Mini Cooper. Segal was awarded for her efforts with a beautiful watch, presented by Van Dell Jewelers of Wellington, FL. It was Jose Rios who captured the coveted Groom’s Award sponsored by GGT Footing. Rios has been taking care of Sill, ridden by Geoff Case, owned by Group C LLC, for over seven years.

Riders were able to enjoy the exceptional course design, first-rate footing and generous prizes that have become the hallmarks of The Ridge’s Grand Prix series. Top course designers such as David Ballard, Conrad Homsfeld, Pierre Jolicoeur and Eric Hasbrouck created fair courses that provided a good challenge. The pilot series hosted large numbers of entries each week, boasted low entry fees, high prize money and top-of-the-line courses for participating riders. After 10 weeks of competition, the series has found its niche in Wellington, accompanying the Winter Equestrian Festival, and the show managers guarantee its return for the 2014 season.

“We’re really excited and proud of how the series went,” Garson explained. “The riders have all seemed to really enjoy it, as well as warm up to the system. Everyone liked our idea of an open in gate, so they could show and do everything they had to. We thought it was a nice civilized way to horseshow. We wanted everyone to come and relax and take an hour out of his or her day and get away from the grind. It is great for the horses to be ridden on some different footing, and this series was about having fun, as well as developing young riders and horses.”

Sarah Segal and Ladonna
Sarah Segal and Ladonna

Garson concluded, “Everyone seemed to love it, and it seemed to be great as the top riders went very fast and tested the footing nicely. I’ve had people calling to congratulate us; the whole buzz has been really great and upbeat. We’re going to try to hone our ideas and bring in some more venues and keep it fun, civilized horse showing. I think it’s a series for horse people; it’s not about how many times you can go around the ring, or how fast. It gets you to take a little breath and concentrate on what you’re doing and getting back to a little more natural horse training.”

A Letter from The Ridge at Wellington:

Dear exhibitors, owners and supporters of the 2013 Inaugural Ridge at Wellington Grand Prix Series,

George and I, including our management team at The Ridge Farm, would like to say “Thank you, thank you, and thank you again, for participating in our inaugural Grand Prix Series in Wellington, FL.”

We would like to thank you for your efforts to attend and compete on our estate turf venues, while fulfilling our goals of initiating a series that offered variety and excitement for many professionals and their owners. We believe that our series complements not competes against our WEF circuit and makes Wellington, FL, the premiere show experience in the world.

George and I have been involved in show jumping for over 40 years, and have watched horse shows evolve from mere concepts, and develop into what they are today. We have seen them become commercialized and many of them cater to the majority of competitors competing at levels of one meter and plus heights. We see that professionals are pressured to teach, and their own needs are sacrificed in the professional rings. After all, horse shows have to make money.

Our thought was to create a series where the importance of the horse and its development come first – not putting it on the back burner, so to speak, as we see so often done today. We believe these should be the priority of all good professional horsemen and show management teams everywhere.

Our solution to this was to create a couple of days a week – the opportunity for our friends, world-class horseman from around the globe, and a day to enjoy designed around their needs and desires. We offered the finest grass fields in Wellington, an inexpensive entry fee, estate settings, state-of-the-art show jumps, and world-class course designers. Our series offered food and drinks served on linen tables and were offered free throughout the day. As many said, our show provided hospitality at its finest. The efforts to do this were put forth to fulfill all the requests for our peers and their sponsors, along with their newly developed organizations. We, here at the Ridge, want you to know good horsemen are listening and above all, are doing something about it.

We are looking forward to next year’s series and have some exciting ideas and events to add to our schedule for 2014. We hope to see even more of our friends next season.

We would also like to say thank you specifically to Victoria McCullough for her use of Topps Field at her amazing facility, Mida Farm. We would also like to personally thank the Jacobs family for their generosity in supporting the $24,750 Ridge at Riverview Grand Prix Series Finale, which they hosted at their very own Deeridge Farm in Wellington, FL. None of this would have been possible without their support, and those who will provide their support in the future for the love of the horses and this amazing sport.

Our Summer and Fall Horse Shows in Asbury, New Jersey, offer Olympic quality facility with numerous turf and sand arenas. Check out our web site www.theridgefarm.com and follow your adventure in our sport with us. Here we know what you need; we know what you want – our goal is to continue to provide you with all that and more.

Nona Garson

For more information on the Ridge at Wellington, please visit www.theridgefarm.com.

Kendall Bierer for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Andres Rodriquez Tops the Field in The Ridge at Wellington Friday Invitational Grand Prix

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito wore a target on their backs throughout the Ridge at Wellington 1.40m Invitational Grand Prix IV. Photo: Emily Riden

Wellington, FL – February 1, 2013 – Andres Rodriquez and Caballito soared through the jump-off in today’s class in The Ridge at Wellington’s $175,000 1.40m Invitational Grand Prix series in a blazing time of 31.475 seconds. The first to go clean around the immaculate Top’s Field at Mida Farm, Rodriquez picked up the early lead and never lost it. Eleven others went clear, but no one within the talented forty-horse field was able to come within a second of Rodriquez and Caballito’s roaring pace.

Rodriquez is no stranger to The Ridge at Wellington’s Grand Prix series. He topped the class the first week of the series with Elatrice, and finished in second the following week aboard the talented mount. This week, the fourth event in the series, was Caballito’s first time out. The grand prix horse owned by Arao Enterprises made it look easy as he vied for the $15,000 purse.

The attractive jump-off course, designed by Ken Krome, presented the option for a very fast, but very risky inside turn that Rodriquez opted not to take, instead banking on Caballito’s speed in the footrace.

Continue reading Andres Rodriquez Tops the Field in The Ridge at Wellington Friday Invitational Grand Prix

Todd Minikus and Macoemba Win $25,000 ESP Fall III Grand Prix

Todd Minikus and Macoemba. Photos © ManciniPhotos

Wellington, FL – October 31, 2012 – Equestrian Sport Productions, the management company of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), hosted its ESP Fall III Horse Show this weekend on October 26-28, 2012. Competing in the International Arena at the beautiful Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, Todd Minikus and Macoemba were the winners of the $25,000 ESP Fall III Grand Prix on Sunday, October 28.

The ESP Fall III Horse Show hosted “A” rated hunter and 3-star jumper competition all weekend. Competition featured the $25,000 grand prix as well as a $10,000 Open Jumper Stake class on Friday, October 26.

In Sunday’s Grand Prix, 24 horse and rider combinations jumped the course with only two clear rounds. Todd Minikus and Macoemba went sixth in the original order and were the first pair to clear the course. Hayden Morresey and Filip Amram’s L. B. Stanislaus were last to go and completed the only other clear round to make it a jump-off.

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McGuigan and Capall Zidane, Rodriguez and Aberdeen, Leone and Wayfarer Win Adequan Young Jumper Finals

Ronan McGuigan and Capall Zidane. Photos © Sportfot

Wellington, FL – March 30, 2012 – The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival hosted the Adequan Young Jumper Finals today in the International Arena for three age groups. The $20,000 Adequan 8-Year-Old Young Jumper Final victory went to Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Capall Zidane. Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Aberdeen took the top spot in the $20,000 Adequan 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Final. Riding Lionshare Farm’s Wayfarer, Peter Leone (USA) won the $15,000 Adequan 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Final. In the Rost Arena, Arriana Boardman of New York City won the Horseware Ireland Adult Amateur 3’3″ Hunter championship with Red Carpet.

Sponsored by FTI Consulting, Inc., the final week of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will feature the highlight grand prix of the season, the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix, CSI 5*, on Saturday, March 31. The USHJA International Hunter Derby will host the top 25 on the grass field at The Stadium on Sunday, April 1.

Continue reading McGuigan and Capall Zidane, Rodriguez and Aberdeen, Leone and Wayfarer Win Adequan Young Jumper Finals

Andres Rodriguez Picks Up 2nd Victory of the Week in $50,000 HITS Grand Prix at HITS Ocala

© ESI Photography. Andres Rodriguez and Caballito captured their second Grand Prix of the week at HITS Ocala when they beat out 37 starters in Sunday's $50,000 HITS Grand Prix

OCALA, FL (February 20, 2012) – Venezuelan rider Andres Rodriguez had an unbelievable week at HITS Ocala. On Thursday, he won the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and came back three days later to take first again in Sunday’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Both wins came aboard Caballito, owned by ARAO Enterprises LLC. Rodriguez seems to have his sights locked on making it to this year’s Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix.

Rodriguez, now of Wellington, Florida, was one of 37 competitors to navigate the course designed by International Course Designer Martin Otto of Munster, Germany.

Reigning Pfizer Million champion Andre Thieme of Plau am See, Germany and his own Quonschbob were first to show and posted a beautiful round leaving all the fences intact. Unfortunately, they suffered one time fault to the crowd’s disappointment, which kept them from advancing to the jump-off.

Continue reading Andres Rodriguez Picks Up 2nd Victory of the Week in $50,000 HITS Grand Prix at HITS Ocala

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito Win the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala

©ESI Photography. Andres Rodriguez and Caballito edged out Tracy Fenney by a split second to win Thursday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

OCALA, FL (February 17, 2012) – Andres Rodriguez and Caballito, owned by ARAO Enterprises LLC, won the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health on Thursday at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala to kick off a weekend of action-packed show jumping. High-Performance riders were out in full force yesterday as International Course Designer Martin Otto of Munster, Germany made his debut designing courses in the Grand Prix field at HITS Ocala.

Rodriguez, originally of Venezuela and now residing in Wellington, Florida, was one of 16 to make it to the jump-off from the original 39 horse-and-rider combinations.

“The course was friendly,” he said. “Everyone wants to see a jump off with people going as fast as they can and I’m glad there was a jump off that the crowd could get into, because that’s what makes this sport exciting”.

Continue reading Andres Rodriguez and Caballito Win the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala