Wellington, FL – April 23, 2021 – Kicking off another beautiful day of the ESP Spring Series, Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Jack Van’t Kattenheye, owned by Lindemann Barnett Sporthorses, flew to the top of the leaderboard to claim victory in the $37,000 Equine Tack and Nutritionals Qualifier CSI3* on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village.
A field of 55 entries contested the two-phase track set by Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA). A total of 13 horse-and-rider combinations from the starting field qualified for the jump-off, with eight pairs electing to give it a shot. Ballard and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Diabeau x Canadian River posted the fastest time of the day, finishing on a double-clear jumping score in 34.39 seconds.
“Jack is quite new for me,” said Ballard of her winning mount. “It’s only our fourth week showing together. So far it has been very straightforward. He is just a reliable guy; he knows the game, he does what he’s supposed to do when he’s out there, and he tries his best to give us a good effort every time. Darragh [Kenny] is hard to beat so we just ran from start to finish and it ended up in our favor, so that was pretty cool. It’s a privilege to be able to ride in these classes.”
Wrapping up an exciting Friday afternoon on the grass Derby Field, a pair of winners were crowned in Section A and Section B of the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake.
Sam Walker (CAN) rode Evita, owned by Marbill Hill Farm, to a victory in Section A. The 19-year-old rider completed a fault-free jump-off round in an impressive time of 38.55 seconds. Paul O’Shea (IRL) finished in the runner-up spot with his own Primo Havall, leaving the jumps in their cups in a jump-off time of 38.96 seconds. Rounding out the podium to cap off a fantastic day, Walker rode his second mount Coralissa, owned by Marbill Hill Farm, to a double clear effort in 39.76 seconds.
Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) and Filemon, owned by E2 Stables, captured the blue ribbon in Section B, finishing with a double-clear effort in 40.25 seconds. Cormac Hanley (IRL) and RMF Chacco Top, owned by Rushy Marsh Farm, LLC, finished in second, stopping the clock in a fault-free 41.36 seconds. Anna Dryden (USA) finished third aboard Carioca K, owned by Double Meadows Farm, LLC, with a clear jump-off round in a time of 42.06 seconds.
January 9, 2021 – Wellington, FL – Erynn Ballard captured her second major win of the week on Saturday, January 9, in the $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Classic at the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Ballard and Ilan Ferder’s Harvester were the fastest of seven in the jump-off for victory.
There were 23 entries in the $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Classic, and they competed over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). Seven clear rounds advanced to the jump-off. Riding out of the fourth spot in the jump-off, Ballard and Harvester were able to speed through the short course to end up double clear in 35.765 seconds for the top place.
Julia Gildea and Tristram 7 Secure the Win in the Ariat National Adult Medal
Equitation competition began on Saturday morning with the Ariat National Adult Medal taking place in the South Ring. The class saw 27 riders and called back the top six for a test. Returning to the test in third place, Julia Gildea and Tristram 7 moved up two places to take home the blue ribbon.
Waltham, MA resident Gildea has been paired with Holly Hill Farm’s Tristram 7 since the summer. The duo trains with Holly Hill Farm, who bred the 14-year-old Holsteiner/Oldenburg gelding by Ramsey.
January 7, 2021 – Wellington, FL – In the first week of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), competition continued on Thursday, January 7, 2021, with the $35,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Premiere Round at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), and Erynn Ballard (CAN) riding Ilan Ferder’s Walter White sped to victory.
Thirty-seven entries went to the post in the $35,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Premiere Round over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). There were 14 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off.
Riding out of the third spot in the jump-off, Ballard was chasing fast times set by the first two in the ring. U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward and Poden Farms’ Kasper van het Hellehof were clear in 37.062 seconds, which would hold up for third place. Just tipping Ward was Shane Sweetnam (IRL) riding Ideal, owned by Sweet Oak Farm & Seabrook. They posted a time of 36.901 seconds, which would hold up for second place.
Holly Orlando and Fable Claim the 3’6” Green Hunter Championship
Competition in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring began on Thursday morning with Holly Orlando and Fable taking home top honors in the 3’6” Green Hunters, presented by Equine Tack and Nutritionals. The duo received a high score of 89 for a blue ribbon on the first day of the division, as well as a second-place finish in the under-saddle. They added another two second places as well as a third to their total tally.
Orlando, of Wellington, FL, is going into her third year showing James Anderson’s nine-year-old Warmblood gelding by Coupe De Alb. Anderson also takes over the reins on Fable in the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunters.
Wellington, FL – January 17, 2020 – Canada’s Erynn Ballard rode Hathina Z to with the Spy Coast Farm 7-Year-Old Young Jumper 1.30m on Friday, January 17, during the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.
The future of show jumping was featured in the Spy Coast Farm 7-Year-Old Young Jumper 1.30m with Ballard and Hathina Z taking the victory with more than a second to spare over fellow Canadian Mario Deslauriers riding Cantinori. Ballard stopped the clock double-clear in 36.209 seconds in the two-round class set by course designer Ana Catalina Cruz Harris (MEX), while Deslauriers posted a time of 37.371 seconds for owners Aram Ampagoumian LLC and Wishing Well Farm LLC.
“She’s careful and one that goes better with speed so she excels in the jump-off,” continued Ballard. “We have some good young horses but she is extra special.”
Tracy Scheriff-Muser Catch Rides Bode Well to Adult Amateur Middle Hunter (Section A) Champion
Friday morning in the Rost Ring began with Tracy Scheriff-Muser and Bode Well taking the championship title of the Adult Amateur Middle Hunter (Sec. A). Scheriff-Muser, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, rode Bode Well to two firsts, a second, and two third-place ribbons.
The partnership between Florida resident Scheriff-Muser and Bode Well, owned by Melissa Burns, only began last summer. “I live down here full time so I really look for any rides to keep in shape,” Scheriff-Muser explained. She felt very fortunate that owner Burns allowed the pair to compete together.
Although Scheriff-Muser and Bode Well are still new to each other, she knows that she can trust him. “You can always count on him! It’s so nice to have one that you can go in on and not have to worry about anything,” she said. The gelding’s beautiful rhythm is one of Scheriff-Muser’s favorite qualities about him.
Wellington, FL – December 1, 2019 – The 2019 ESP Holiday & Horses show wrapped up with more exciting hunter and jumper competition. The highlight class of the day was the $25,000 Omega Alpha National Grand Prix, which was ultimately championed by Erynn Ballard of Canada and Emma Waldgoel’s Canora Z. Twenty-seven horse-and-rider combinations turned out for the first round, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio, and five returned for the jump-off. Ballard flew through the timers at 39.311 seconds to claim first, while Kent Farrington of Wellington, FL piloted Kaprice, owned by Kent Farrington & Haity McNerney, to second place in 39.548 seconds. Marie Demonte of France stopped the timers at 36.886 seconds, but had four faults added to her score to consequentially take home the yellow ribbon aboard Guy Beloossoff’s Stella Levista.
Ballard commended her horse’s performance, stating, “Canora came over in the spring, and this is only about my fourth show with her, but she’s been doing really well. She’s just an 8-year-old and we sort of had this class in mind for her this week. She did two 1.40m classes earlier this week to gear up for this and I think that our plan worked and she jumped beautifully today.”
This week featured the first FEI competition to take place in the International Arena on the brand-new surface. Ballard commented, “I think the horses really like it. They jump very consistently from beginning to end. You can go very fast on it and you don’t feel them slipping out through the turns. It just feels like it’s ‘with you’ all the time so I think it’s great.” Ballard plans to focus on her young horses during the rest of the ESP Holiday Series to get them “up and running for circuit.”
To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL — March 20, 2019 — The penultimate week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) got off to a wet start on the morning of Wednesday, March 20, when Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Ilan Ferder’s Ceitasi took the win in the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m class. Out of an original field of over 100 horse-and-rider combinations, only 86 entries elected to contest Olaf Petersen Jr.’s (GER) course after significant weather issues forced the class to be moved to the Global International Ring at Equestrian Village.
The Wednesday class at WEF was held in a one-round speed format due to the large volume of entries and 17 of the 86 came home fault-free. Tiffany Foster of Canada took the early lead aboard Artisan Farms, LLC’s Galino when she put in the first clear round with a time of 71.23 seconds; she ultimately ended in 14th place at the class’s completion. Harrie Smolders (NED) also went early in the class and shaved nine seconds off of Foster’s time to end on 62.598 seconds with Copernicus Stables, LLC’s 11-year-old KWPN mare (Oklund x Orrada), Corrada. The performance held strong and the pair finished in third place overall. Only several trips after Smolders, Chris Pratt (CAN) laid down a time of 62.49 seconds with Caron Stucky’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Larino x Paguera), Luigi, which was good enough to earn the second place finish.
Ballard was the first to return after the drag break with her second mount of the day, the nine-year-old Westphalian mare (Caratello B x Ceitas), Ceitasi, and crossed the timers in 58.55 seconds. After shaving four seconds off of the previous top time, it was clear the new combination was unbeatable.
Wellington, FL – February 7, 2019 – Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Darko’s Promise topped the $134,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 5 CSI 5* on Thursday, February 7, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
On her way to the win in Thursday’s Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 5, Ballard was one of seven entries from a 50-horse starting field to advance to jump-off over the Kelvin Bywater (GBR) designed short course. As the final rider to return, Ballard’s time to beat had been set at 39.40 seconds by Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and H5 Chaganus, but she and Darko’s Promise would prove to be just a touch faster, tripping the timers in a winning 39.28 seconds.
Victoria Colvin and Cake Walk Breeze to Champion in the 3- & 4-Year-Old Pre-Green Hunters
The 3- & 4-Year-Old Pre-Green Hunters returned to the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Ring 6 in an effort to take home the tricolor ribbon for Week 5 of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival. Seven horse-and-rider combinations entered the ring for the division’s under saddle and final over fences class. Returning in top standing, Wellington native Victoria Colvin piloted Melissa Burns’ Cake Walk to the champion title with a total of 31 points across the division.
The win was a “cake walk” for the four-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding (Hero’s Tribute x Inka W) and Colvin as the pair captured the win in two of three over fences classes. They placed fifth in the remaining jumping class and also won the under saddle. With all classes completed, the duo took the top spot by more than 10 points above the reserve champion. Steve Gregorio and the Bill Schaub/Aster Hill-owned four-year-old Warmblood gelding, Dominik, received the reserve champion title after rounding out the division with two seconds and a third over fences and second under saddle.
Erynn Ballard and Fantast. Photo by World Red Eye for EEM.
Canada’s Erynn Ballard (CAN) emerged victorious riding Fantast in the $100,000 Longines Speed Challenge at the Longines Masters of New York. It was an all-female podium finish as the women outran the men in one of the only Olympic sports where the sexes compete as equals. Contesting the identical track that riders already faced in the Season III Longines Masters of Paris and Hong Kong, Ballard’s speed prowess allowed her to take a two-second penalty for a dropped rail yet still emerge victorious with a time of 60.62 seconds. Considered the world’s speed championship, Ballard’s time in the Longines Speed Challenge was faster than the 60.99 achieved by Julien Epaillard on home ground in Paris and eclipsed the time of 63.47 that Philipp Weishaupt of Germany posted riding Chacon in Hong Kong.
Leading into the competition, Longines Ambassador of Elegance and Co-founder of The Golden Hat Foundation Kate Winslet met local New York children with Autism and accepted a check on behalf of The Golden Hat Foundation, the Longines Masters of New York official nonprofit partner. The Longines Masters of New York also honored Long Island military with a procession by the Marine Corps color guard and mounted police, and EEM received an official citation issued by Nassau County officials, welcoming the Longines Masters Series to New York.
“The Golden Hat Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the way people on the autism spectrum are perceived, by shining a light on their abilities and emphasizing their potential. With proper education and career training, these individuals can truly realize their dreams. Tonight is a shining example of how organizations, like Longines and the Longines Masters of New York, can make an impact to further Autism Awareness in their community,” said Winslet.
New York’s Brianne Goutal-Marteau (USA) kept all the rails in place aboard Fineman, owned by Rose Hill Farm, but finished more than a full second behind Ballard’s time, stopping the clock in 61.86 seconds. As the first rider on course, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) set the early pace with a time of 62.04 seconds that kept her on the podium in third place with Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili.
“I don’t think there’s anything better!” said Ballard of her Longines Masters debut. “I was excited to ride here tonight in front of a big crowd; they were cheering for you and cheering for Canada. As soon as you walk in the ring, you are excited to be here. It’s really an honor.”
Speaking of the key to her victory with the13-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Sagamore Farms, Ballard said, “I think the biggest difference is that my horse has so much natural speed. His legs are fast, he has a big-stride, and he can turn fast. I think we won from start to finish. He’s that fast!”
Created in 2010 by EEM, Founder and Producer of the Longines Masters Series Paris Hong Kong New York, the Longines Speed Challenge is the fastest show jumping competition in the world and always a crowd favorite. The Longines Speed Challenge is presented by Longines, Title Partner and Official Timekeeper of the Series.
Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet Tops International Jump-Off in Masters One Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.50m
Gregory Wathelet stood atop an international podium following his sensational win in the $35,000 Masters One Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.50m on Friday evening, April 27, at the Longines Masters of New York. As the first of six riders to contest the shortened jump-off track set by Dutch course designer Louis Konickx, Wathelet laid down the gauntlet by steering Iphigeneia de Muze to a clear round in a time of 31.74 seconds. None who followed was fast enough to catch the Belgian Olympian, with French speed master and 2014 World Championship double silver medalist Patrice Delaveau posing the biggest threat with a time of 32.13 seconds aboard Aquila HDC, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Haras des Coudrettes. Canada’s Erynn Ballard ensured podium representation from north of the U.S. border by taking third with Catoki’s Son Z for owners Ilan Ferder and Tal Milstein.
“She is ten, but she hasn’t done so much at this level,” said Wathelet of his winning mount, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Dawa Invest – JL Horses. “I have had her for three years, but I took my time. In the last few shows she got better and better. This was the first time she has been on the plane and I was a bit worried, but she did fine.
“We are all familiar with the Longines Masters in Paris and Hong Kong and this is the same concept with a big show that has a great atmosphere,” continued Wathelet. “This is new and the place is good. I hope the weekend brings the same kind of atmosphere as Paris because that is what makes a show!”
Mavis Spencer Reigns over Masters Two 1.45m
Los Angeles, CA native Mavis Spencer dominated the jump-off of the Masters Two Eastern Hay 1.45m competition to earn her first win at the Longines Masters of New York. Riding Sweet Tricia, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare that she characterizes as having everything one looks for in a top horse, Spencer bested a three-horse jump-off with a double-clear performance in 39.10 seconds.
“I did the Longines Masters of Los Angeles two years ago and I think it is incredible to have the European environment and horse show that they are able to create here,” said Spencer, whose family spends a lot of time in New York, making it her second home. “This is a super venue and the Longines Masters has done a really nice job. I was really excited to be able to come and show here in New York.”
Joining Spencer on the podium, New York, NY resident and trainer at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY, Lucy Davis (USA) rode Cassis 54 to second. They were also clear over the short course in 44.27 seconds. Canada’s Bretton Chad rounded out the top three with The Pugilist on five faults.
Ireland Victorious in Masters Two 1.35m
Jonathan Corrigan won for his home country of Ireland in the first class of Day 2 at the Longines Masters of New York on Friday, April 27. Fifth in the ring from a field of 21, he claimed the Masters Two Écuries d’Ecaussinnes 1.35m accumulator competition with a clear round for 65 points – the class sponsor is the breeding and sport stable founded in 1997 by Christophe Ameeuw, CEO of EEM. A time of 44.14 seconds riding Javas Keltic Mist, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, gave the Irish duo the win. Also jumping clear for podium appearances, Tori Corts (USA) took second on Chellini and Cara Raether Carey (USA) finished third riding Cocarie.
Summer Paulos Can’t Be Beat
For the second day in a row, Summer Paulos stood atop the Longines Masters of New York podium after winning the Masters Three The Fuel Stop 1.25m speed competition. Hailing from Newtown, CT, Paulos and Balans RV, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, topped the field by recording a clear round in 49.53 seconds. The time was just over a second ahead of runner up and New York native Charles Stevens. He and Balando finished second, while Lilli Hymowitz took third riding Cylana.
Alexandra Cherubini Has the Speed
Speed was key in the Masters Three Old Salem Farm 1.15m competition. Alexandra Cherubini of Boston, MA had just that to top the field riding her own Lando, a 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding. They broke the timers clear in 49.03 seconds for the victory. Gabrielle Freund set an early lead as the first to go, but settled for second riding No Sunday Sales. Rounding out the podium positions was Grace Busch, who took third for the second day in a row aboard Royal Landor.
Erynn Ballard and Easy. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Adolpho Franco and Mia Top $15,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Six-Year-Old Final; Garland Alban and Imagine Crowned Champions of Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section A
Wellington, FL – April 1, 2016 – The young jumpers took to the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Friday to compete in their final classes of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Easy were victorious in the $20,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Seven-Year-Old Final, Adolpho Franco (BRA) and Mia won the $15,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Six-Year-Old Final, and 13 horse and rider combinations jumped clear in the $10,000 Gut Einhaus Young Jumper Five-Year-Old Final to earn prizes, rewarding clear rounds from the circuit’s youngest horses.
The 2016 WEF circuit concludes with its twelfth and final week of competition, sponsored by Rolex, featuring CSI 5* jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter competition through April 3, 2016. Saturday highlights include the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final Jump-off, presented by SOVARO®, at 6:30 p.m. followed by the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*. The circuit concludes on Sunday featuring the final round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC.
Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the course for 52 starters in the $20,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Seven-Year-Old Final, with 13 clear rounds to advance to the jump-off, and five double clear rounds. Riders were given an a/b option to either jump-off immediately following their round or wait until the end of the class, and all but one chose option a to go immediately following their first round.
Alexandra Paillot set the pace in 40.32 seconds aboard Paillot Equine Consulting Inc.’s Jalanta P, eventually finishing fourth. Laura Kraut jumped a faster round in 38.95 seconds with Poden Farm’s Cicero’s Electric, but settled for second place in the end. Katie Dinan jumped into third place with Grant Road Parnters’ Chiara M in a time of 39.45 seconds. Erynn Ballard and Javier Salvador Stables’ Easy were next to clear the course, shaving over three seconds off of the leading time to win it in 35.42 seconds. Cody Auer later jumped into fifth place with a clear round in 41.29 seconds riding Sarah Ryan’s Elertina.
Seven-year-old winner, Easy, is a Dutch Warmblood mare (Mr. Blue x Burggraaf) owned by Javier Salvador. Ballard explained that she purchased a new horse named Z Diamanty from Salvador at the beginning of the winter, and through the process of getting to know each other and showing that horse, he asked if Ballard would show Easy in the seven-year-olds. She just got the ride on Easy halfway through the circuit, and their plan was to gear the mare up for this final class.
“I have ridden her in six classes, and she has been clear in every single one,” Ballard stated. “The first two weeks I showed her, she was fourth in the first class and second in the qualifier. Then this week, I was sixth in the first class and I was like, ‘I think that’s good, because if I was fourth, I was going to end being second again.’ I changed it up, but I was pretty serious about giving it my best shot to win. I saw Laura (Kraut) go and she was fast, so I went as fast as I could, which held up to be incredibly fast.”
Speaking of her track in the jump-off, Ballard detailed, “My plan was to do six strides from one to two, put a little curve in it, and then get me in on the third jump in the jump-off. Then I left out one stride for seven, but that horse is so competitive and so smart. She always knows where she is, and even when I was going so fast, she still knew that her job was to jump the jumps.”
Easy jumped some six-year-old classes last year and spent her summer showing in Europe in 2015. She is a sale horse and came to WEF to be promoted. If she does not get sold, she will continue on with Ballard through the summer.
“I don’t know what her destiny is, but she is going to be quite good at whatever she does,” Ballard stated. “If she stays with me, I will continue to develop her as a seven-year-old. Not that seven-year-olds are limited, but she is so smart and so careful that she probably does not need to do so much in different rings for exposure. I would say as an eight-year-old she could be great in the 1.45m ranking classes, but as a seven-year-old, I would just want to make sure she gets good experience and stays competitive at her level. That way she will be ready to move up as an eight-year-old.”
In addition to her winning prize, Easy was presented the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week twelve. Commenting on Easy’s style, Ballard remarked, “She is pretty flashy. She is a very impressive jumper. When you look at her pictures, she is not centimeters over the jump; she is feet over the jump. I was saying earlier, in the jump-off, even though she is so high, she does it out of stride so she is not wasting time in the air. She puts in an impressive effort over every single fence, but she is still very competitive. She does not waste any time, and she knows that she is supposed to win first place.”
Adolpho Franco and Mia Top $15,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Six-Year-Old Final
The $15,000 Adequan® Young Jumper Six-Year-Old Final was held in the International Ring Friday morning with a win for Adolpho Franco aboard Beth Franco’s Mia. Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the course for 45 entries, and yielded 24 to advance to the jump-off. The jump-off was held with an a/b option for riders to either jump the short course immediately following their round or wait until the end. Franco jumped at the end of the class and returned for his jump-off last to go with Mia, clocking the winning time of 33.98 seconds.
The pair finished well ahead of second place finishers Ronan McGuigan and Blythe Masters’ Maximus, who jumped off immediately after their earlier round in a time of 36.26 seconds. David Beisel and Harlow Investment Enterprises’ For Sunday also jumped off at the end with a time of 37.14 seconds to finish third. James Wingrave and his own Casio-Royale also took the b option and finished their jump-off round in 37.80 seconds to place fourth.
Class winner, Mia, is a six-year-old Holsteiner mare by Quick Star x Contender, owned and home bred by Franco and his wife, Beth Goodwin Franco.
Speaking of his winning mount, Franco stated, “Since she was four years old she has just been nice, wanting to go, and wanting to do the right thing. She just took care of me. I do not know if she is going to jump big classes like 1.60m or 1.50m, but whatever she does, she will do very well.
“My wife rides her more than I do, but she is nine months pregnant, so I took the ride,” Franco noted. “Whatever she does, and for whoever it is, she is going to give her best every single time. Even at home when she is flatting, she is a happy horse. She is always lovely. She is just a great horse.”
Franco explained that week six of WEF was the first time that he got a good feel for how competitive Mia could be.
“In week six in the Mogavero Ring, that was the first time that I actually went for it in the jump-off with her, and she loved it,” he stated. “When I came in here (in the International Ring), I knew that I could go for everything and that she would give me everything. She is a small horse, but she has very long legs. If you keep her contained, she has a nice sized stride, but when you open her up, her stride is huge. I knew I could count on that. From jumps one to two, everybody else did eight or nine strides, and I did eight short. To the oxer by the in-gate, it looked like she knew where she was going, but she came flying and then when I did the turn I think she saw something outside the ring and she jumped it way inside. I really have no idea how she cleared it, but then she ran for the last two, and finished great.”
Franco also explained that Mia is very calm at home, but she knows when it is show time and gets her energy up.
“With these performance horses, you have ones that just know when it is time to go,” he said. “You flat her in the morning at the show and she flats nice and holds herself up, but when you start warming up, she knows. She is pretty smart, and she knows where she is going. She kind of finds her own distances, and you have to respect that.”
Franco’s wife is due to have the baby next week, and when she comes back to riding, she will take over the ride on Mia again.
Franco is originally from Brazil, but came to the U.S. in 2009 to work for Paulo Santana. He has known Santana since he was six years old and trained with Santana his whole life. Now that Franco is married, he and his wife are based in Wellington and have their own business. They plan to stay in Wellington for a couple of months with the new baby and then head to Tryon, NC and Lexington, KY to show for the summer.
The $10,000 Gut Einhaus Young Jumper Five-Year-Old Final was held Friday morning, awarding prize money for clear rounds overall from the promising young horses of show jumping sport. Thirteen entries jumped clear rounds to be rewarded for their efforts.
Concluding the day in the International Ring on Friday, Alonso Valdez Prado and Chichester 3 won the $2,500 MAYBACH – ICONS OF LUXURY High Amateur-Owner Jumper power and speed.
Garland Alban and Imagine Crowned Champions of Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section A
Garland Alban finished the WEF circuit on a high note as the champion of the Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section A, which was presented by Triple Crown Blankets. Alban and Imagine topped two of the four over fences classes and placed seventh in another. Imagine also took home a second-place ribbon in the under saddle to clinch the championship title. Danielle Baran rode her own Say When to the reserve honors. Baran earned two second place ribbons, a first, and a fifth over fences aboard her eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding.
Alban, of Lutherville, MD, was humbly pleased with her championship win this week. Imagine, a 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Kerry Anne LLC, partnered with Alban for the first time this week. “It feels really good to win this championship,” Alban remarked. “This was my first time with this horse, and he’s wonderful, and he put up with the mistakes I made here and there. It was really nice to end circuit on this note.”
Alban aimed to spend this week getting to know her new mount, but winning the championship was a pleasant surprise. “He’s done the 3’6″ divisions quite a bit and has been very successful with his owner Kerry Anne,” Alban explained.
Imagine proved to be a great match for Alban. She was quick to praise the gelding’s performance this week. “I definitely didn’t ride him perfectly in all the over fences classes, and he worked out the kinks for me,” she laughed.
Imagine is a big horse with a big stride, which helps him float down the lines beautifully. “He has a very good pace and is easy to find the jumps on,” Alban commented. “He’s nice with his changes as well. He’s a very forgiving and kind horse. He’s good for an amateur!”
“I definitely liked my first round the best today,” Alban commented. “I certainly misjudged the first fence in the second class. I came out pleased with my first round, but maybe wasn’t quite as focused as I wish I had been in the second,” she admitted.
Alban said, “I’m not used to getting on a new one and showing right away, so it’s a little bit nerve-racking. He’s such a nice horse, and I wanted to do right by him.”
The opportunity to compete at WEF is one that Alban does not take lightly or for granted. As a mother of eight, four of her own children and four stepchildren, she feels lucky that riding fits into her busy schedule. When in Maryland, Alban rides with Katie Francella at Caves Farm. The team at Boggs Hill Farm, including Tim and Kelly Goguen, has been training Alban in Florida.
“My trainers Tim and Kelly Goguen do such a wonderful job with the horses. They always have them in great shape and doing really well. They have to put up with me flying in to town and giving my amateur rides and then leaving again!” Alban laughed.
Alban currently shares her passion for riding with her ten-year-old daughter Georgia, who shows in the Small Pony Hunter divisions. “The schedule at WEF is very helpful for me, because I can come down on Wednesday and compete Thursday and Friday,” Alban stated.
“Riding has always been my passion, and I am lucky now that I get to share that with one of my children,” Alban commented. “I’ve been riding on and off my whole life, but I always come back to it.”
WEF 12 continues on Saturday featuring the $130,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final Jump-off, presented by SOVARO®, at 6:30 p.m. in the International Ring, followed by the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*. The first round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will also be held on Saturday in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. The top 25 competitors will then continue on to the second round on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday at 1 p.m. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Erynn Ballard and Valentino Now. Photos by Ben Radvanyi Photography.
Toronto, Ontario – Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON riding Valentino Now won the $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby on Monday night, November 9, at The Royal Horse Show®, held as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.
The top 17 horses in the Canadian Hunter Derby Series standings, held at various events across the country all season long, were invited to contest the National Final at the 2015 Royal Horse Show based on points accumulated in the Eastern (Quebec and Ontario) and Western (Alberta and British Columbia) qualifying divisions.
All horse and rider combinations jumped one round of competition, earning scores for their performances. Ballard was the sixth rider into the Ricoh Coliseum and laid down a trip that earned a score of 86 points from judges William Ellis of Ocala, FL and Mike Rosser of Southern Pines, NC. Ballard was also awarded ten bonus points for taking all of the high options, as well as seven bonus points for handiness, giving her an overall score of 103 points for the victory.
Already successful in the show jumping ring having won a 1.30m class at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB this year, Ballard decided to test Valentino Now, owned by MVB Group, in the hunter ring.
“He’s at an advantage because he’s seen more through his jumper experience than your average hunter,” explained Ballard, 35. “I think any experience is good experience, and Valentino’s days as a jumper paid off tonight. He made the transition to hunters easily; it’s a pleasure to have one that’s not complicated.
“He’s such a commercial, beautiful type so we thought his best option was to be a hunter,” she added. “We gave it a try to see what we have, and we have a superstar.”
Ballard will compete in both the hunter and international show jumping divisions as the Royal Horse Show continues through to November 15, and is proud to be one of the select few riders that have the opportunity to compete at The Royal.
“Anybody who is from Canada lives for The Royal,” said Ballard. “It’s important to be here, and it’s important to win here.”
Ryan Roy of King City, ON and Bayridge, owned by Doug Bannister, placed close behind Ballard in second with an overall score of 102, while Laurie Bucci of St. Jean, QC took third on a score of 101 aboard Quatro Z Fortuna for owner Monique Geseron.
Acclaimed equitation trainer Brent Balisky of Langley, BC has been coming to the Royal Horse Show for 30 years, but had never before competed himself. For the $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby, Balisky traded his usual ringside view to take fourth in the irons of Vigolo Z, owned by Wendy Valdes, with a score of 98. Rounding out the top five was Ballard with a score of 96, this time aboard Contact, owned by Heather Delfino, Looking Back Farm and Redfield Farm.
Hunter Derby Course Designer Robert Carey of Caledon, ON utilized jump obstacles designed and constructed by Jeff Brandmaier of Guelph, ON and his wife Margaret ‘Muffie’ Guthrie, who are the founders and presenting sponsors of the Canadian Hunter Derby Series.
“To see everyone get excited and go after each other tooth and nail to get here put a lot of pressure on the riders,” Brandmaier said of the qualifying competition that took place throughout the 2015 season.
Giving a nod to fox hunting and traditional hunter courses, Brandmaier’s fences utilized rustic materials, but also introduced a new opportunity for sponsors within the hunter discipline.
“Sponsors have come through to present a unique set of jumps that have never been seen before tonight,” Brandmaier said. “They are on the edge of commercial, but still derby-oriented. The course encourages people to take risks, so it’s fun to watch. You saw people testing their limits with big gallops and inside turns.”
Hunter riders will return to the Ricoh Coliseum to kick off Tuesday night’s program with the $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby. International jumper competitors also move into the spotlight on Tuesday with the Jolera International Jumper Welcome.
Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.
About The Royal
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.