Miami, FL – April 3, 2014 – It was a home win for the USA in the feature class of the day on Thursday, the Artisan Farms Trophy. Hardin Towell and Cadence, owned by Jennifer Gates, were just too fast for the rest of the combinations who took to the testing Uliano Vezzani course – the pair stopped the clock at a lightening 37.15 seconds, second place went to Steve Guerdat and Concetto Son in 38.25 seconds and third to Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Arera C in 38.71 seconds. The American really showed just how fast he could be to beat two of the quickest European riders on the circuit!
The first round of the class was a deceptively testing course with no real bogey fences, though a smattering of tricky rails caught out many. Of the 56 starters, 13 jumped clear in the stunning arena, watched closely by the crowds drawn to see these fantastic riders in action. The jump-off course offered some daring turn-backs and risky gallops but Hardin never faltered, taking a commanding win. With tomorrow’s American Invitational and Saturday’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix still to come, the home team is on flying form and we could well see another big U.S. victory over the coming days.
Carlos Lopez gallops to victory in first Miami Beach CSI5*
Carlos Lopez (COL) and Zephyr II claimed a fast and furious opening victory in the CSI5* schedule on Thursday at the truly special Miami Beach venue. Second place went to two-time LGCT Champ Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Questina who stopped the clock just under 1.5 seconds behind Lopez. Third went to World No15 Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Egano van het Slogenhof who finished a nail-biting 0.06 seconds behind Tops-Alexander.
Sunbathers and paddlers enjoying the spectacular weather and warm seas were lured over to watch world-class riders take to the competition arena just metres from their loungers. One of the greatest and most popular course designers in the world, Italy’s Uliano Vezzani, set a fair and welcoming course for the very first CSI5* class of the inaugural Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach event which finished with 12 double clears.
Many riders in hot form were introducing their Grand Prix horses to the arena for the very first time. All eyes were on defending Champ Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Sanctos who jumped round clean with just two time faults. Other big names to watch out for are McLain Ward (USA), Beezie Madden (USA), Daniel Deusser (GER) and Michael Whitaker (GBR), who all looked to be pumped up for a top performance in Saturday afternoon’s Grand Prix.
Third Time Is the Charm for Catch Me and Scott Stewart in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals First Year Green Hunter
Wellington, FL – March 5, 2015 – Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V earned victory in Thursday’s $127,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL. The highly contested, weekly competition saw a 17-horse jump-off with few clear rounds in the tiebreaker. Towell and Jennifer Gates’ Lucifer V were victorious over Ramiro Quintana (ARG) and Whitney (2nd) and Charlie Jayne (USA) aboard Valeska (3rd).
Douglas Elliman is the title sponsor of week nine’s CSI-W 5* competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Week nine runs March 4-8, 2015, featuring the $372,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI-W 5*, presented by Douglas Elliman, on Saturday, March 7. Several classes throughout the week will be live streamed at www.coth.com. Watch Saturday night’s grand prix beginning at 7 pm here – http://bit.ly/1FY5PkK.
Sunday’s $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will be shown live beginning at approximately 10:00 a.m. at http://bit.ly/18QxRVj. The week also features the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Semi-Final, presented by Kingsland Equestrian, on Friday evening.
Ireland’s Alan Wade set the course for round nine of the WEF Challenge Cup Series with 67 competitors on Thursday. He narrowed the field down to 19 clear rounds, but two opted out of the jump-off. Seventeen advanced, and only four were able to clear the short course without fault.
Richie Moloney (IRL) was the first rider to take his time and clear the jump-off course without fault in 43.47 seconds aboard Equinimty LLC’s Slieveanorra, and his clear round eventually paid off for fourth place honors. Quintana and St. Bride’s Farm’s Whitney were next to go clear and finished second in their time of 38.76 seconds. Jayne and Pony Lane Farm’s Valeska followed in a slower time of 40.42 seconds to place third. Towell and Lucifer V were the last pair to clear the short course, and jumped the winning time of 38.21 seconds. First to go in the jump-off, Kent Farrington (USA) finished fifth with the fastest round of the day in 38.09 seconds with one rail down on Willow.
Lucifer V is a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding (Lord Dezi x Grandeur) that Towell began riding at the end of the horse’s seven-year-old year, but has taken some time to move up.
“I had him down here last year, and he was a bit of a handful,” Towell detailed. “He was spooky, and he liked to buck a lot. It took a while; not a lot of people believed in him. He does it his own way, but I always knew that he tried quite hard and he was very careful. It was kind of a learning experience with him here, and then at Spruce Meadows I just jumped 1.30m and 1.35m. After Calgary we started to step up and do some bigger classes. I did him in the 2* in L.A., and he won two classes there. I did him in his first World Cup qualifier in Las Vegas, and he had the fastest time but one down in the jump-off. He was fifth in that. Then I gave him some time off.”
Lucifer has shown lightly throughout the WEF circuit and stepped up to do last week’s grand prix, but it did not go quite as planned.
“It was quite big for his experience. He had 12 faults, but it was just green mistakes,” Towell explained.
For his winning round on Thursday, Towell trusted his horse’s speed, but was also wary of a rail coming down.
“A lot of times you get a jump-off like this and you get a lot clean and everybody thinks they have to go so fast, and before you know it, the class is halfway over and everybody has tried to go so fast they have a rail,” he noted. “I think Richie set the pace by just jumping clean and then I thought, ‘Okay, Richie wasn’t flying.’ Kent went in 38 seconds and Richie went in 43, but then I saw that Ramiro was 38 and change and I watched Kent go and he went about the same, so I knew kind of what I had to do.”
“I did not see Ramiro go, but my horse is a very fast horse. My issue is that I’m always quick, but I have one down,” Towell admitted. “I did eight strides from one to two. Then I really wanted to get straight for the in and out because that was a problem for a lot of people, and I actually got him straight, but I was pretty deep and he gave me a great jump there. Then I know he is good at long gallops. I galloped him to the vertical and the oxer and then the last line he was just great. It makes it a lot of easier with a horse that quick.”
Lucifer V will now have a couple weeks off and show in some smaller classes at the end of the WEF circuit as Towell gears him toward the first leg of the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas in April.
Towell thanked his staff and barn manager Chris Howard as well as his father and owner Jennifer Gates.
“Chris is one of my best friends and I couldn’t do it without him, and thanks to Jennifer for all the support,” Towell stated. “It has been fun for her with Lucifer because he has had his ups and downs, and she has really been behind me when I believed in him so much. Last year there were some questionable moments, so it is nice to have someone with so much patience, and it is nice to have such a great team behind you.”
Also showing in the International Arena on Thursday, Andrew Ramsay (USA) got a win with Shalanno Farms LLC’s Adamo van’t Steenputje in the $8,000 1.45m jump-off class. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and Fananka A won the High Amateur-Owner Jumper speed class.
Third Time Is the Charm for Catch Me and Scott Stewart in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals First Year Green Hunter
Scott Stewart and David Gochman’s horse, Catch Me, took home championship honors in the Equine Tack and Nutritionals First Year Green Hunters. This week was just the third time that Stewart has shown Catch Me. After only placing third in the under saddle the first day of competition, Catch Me came back on Thursday on his game and won both over fences classes. The highlight of Catch Me’s performance was his score of 95 in the first over fences round today. “Yesterday he was a little bit fresh, so he acted a little goofy,” Stewart started, “Today he came out and was ready to compete.”
Symbolic, an entry of Glefke and Kensel, LLC, was piloted to reserve championship honors by Kelley Farmer. The pair topped the handy hunter round and finished second and fourth in two of the over fences classes.
Catch Me, an eight-year-old warmblood, was purchased by Gochman three weeks ago. Stewart is currently showing Catch Me in the First Year Green Hunters to get him ready for Becky Gochman to do in the Amateur-Owner Hunters later in the year. “He [Catch Me] is very straight forward, has a big step and jumps great. He is going to make a great horse for Becky [Gochman],” Stewart commented.
“He [Catch Me] has been awesome! Right now we are still getting to know him and making sure he is ready for the rest of the summer,” Stewart noted.
At home Catch Me is called Snoopy because he acts like a big dog. When Catch Me is not getting ready for a show, he is often caught napping and loves trail riding.
With only a few weeks left of WEF, Stewart is looking forward to spending some down time in Wellington during the month of April, before the rest of his busy summer schedule.
Hunter coverage moves across the street tomorrow with the Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunter Classics on the Derby Field. The $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m will run during the day and the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Semi-Final, presented by Kingsland Equestrian, will be featured in the International Arena on Friday evening. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Lauren Fisher and Maddy Stover for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Victoria Colvin and Dedication Are Champions in Large Junior 16-17 Hunters at FTI WEF
Wellington, FL – February 2, 2014 – Week four of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded with the exciting $50,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI 2* on Sunday afternoon held on the grass derby field at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). An exciting eight-horse jump-off finished with a win for Hardin Towell (USA) and Man in Black, with Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito in second and Lauren Hough (USA) aboard Ohlala finishing third.
The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue with its fifth week of competition, sponsored by Rolex, on February 5-9, 2014. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.
Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela was the course designer for week four’s finale event. There were 45 competitors on the beautiful grass derby field with eight clear trips in round one to advance to the tie-breaking jump-off. In the second round, four entries cleared the short course without fault.
Lauren Hough set the pace with her clear round in the jump-off aboard The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala in 43.24 seconds to eventually finish third. Andres Rodriguez and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Caballito upped the ante with their time of 42.94 seconds to end up in second place. Roosje Brouwer (NED) and Stal Heijligers and A. Vogels’ SRI Aladdin also completed a clear round over the short course in a slower time of 49.56 seconds to earn fourth place honors. Last to go in the second round, Hardin Towell and Jennifer Gates’ Man in Black got the winning edge, completing the course in 42.47 seconds.
Man in Black is a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Gentleman x Calvados that Towell has been riding for one year. Gates showed the gelding in the Junior Jumpers last year and then handed him over to compete at the higher level with Towell. Sunday’s win was the biggest of Towell’s career – his second grand prix victory, and his first major win at the FTI WEF. The rider is 26 years old and from Camden, South Carolina.
“With him in the past year, probably starting last year in Thunderbird, I was really close in a lot of classes and I would go too fast,” Towell said of his partnership with Man in Black. “On Thursday I was quite close to winning and I knew I should slow down, and I just kept running down the last line. I’m just glad I beat Andres, because in L.A. in November I was winning the World Cup class and was really fast, and everybody was like ‘Congratulations you won!’ and I said, ‘No, Andres still has to go,’ and he beat me by about one-tenth of a second. I think today was really close again, so I’m glad I could repay him the favor!”
“It feels very good (to win), and especially since I just started showing him,” Towell noted. “He’s a little bit strong. I have had a lot of trouble the last six months finding the right bit. I have changed a lot of bits and probably made a lot of mistakes using the wrong bits, but I think we have kind of figured it out. He’s a really sweet horse. He is very brave, very scopey, and this is a great venue out in this grass field. He is always good at places like that. He is so brave that he is a little bit impressed out here sometimes, so today he jumped unbelievably. I could not ask for any more; he was fantastic.”
Commenting on his winning round in the jump-off, Towell detailed, “I thought in the jump-off I was a little bit smarter. I thought about running and being crazy, and then I remembered, ‘You know what, let’s just try to be clean,’ and I thought I was close enough. I landed and I actually saw a leave out to the last jump, which maybe six months ago or Thursday I would have done and knocked it down, but I decided to try to cut it close and win by just a little bit.”
Towell got to compete at some different venues around North America this past year and explained that the experience has helped him grow as a rider.
“It helps a lot,” he stated. “I went to different places and competed against different people. My whole life I have kind of stayed in the Southeast. I have never had that opportunity, so I met a lot of new people, and it was nice showing at Spruce Meadows and everywhere we went. I have had a great last year; it has been very lucky. Jennifer has been great the whole year and I want to thank Chris, my barn manager, and my mom and dad, and my sister. We just have a very good team.”
Andres Rodriguez was happy for Towell’s success this week and had a great round with his horse, Caballito. He acknowledged the beautiful venue at The Stadium at PBIEC, which has hosted classes throughout the week.
“I really enjoy this venue,” Rodriguez stated. “The ring where they had the young riders grand prix the other day and this open field are a great change from the main stage. I think the horses appreciate the change and not jumping the same jumps in the same ring all the time. Leopoldo had a great course out there and I think with the time allowed, we had the right amount of people in the jump-off.”
“When we went to the jump-off there were a lot of really fast horses,” Rodriguez pointed out. “I think five horses in the jump-off have won international classes, so I knew it was going to be fast. It started with the first two having two jumps down, so that started to make me think, but then Lauren went and had a fast round so I went back to the first plan. From Hardin I knew he was going to get back at me at some point. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be today, but it was! I only saw the last line of his round. I thought he was going to take the six strides, which I was kind of hoping he would, and he didn’t. It was his turn to win, and I am happy for him. He’s been too close too many times, and this was his day.”
Third place finisher, Lauren Hough, had a great week with Ohlala, including a win in Friday’s $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 4. Hough was very happy with Sunday’s conclusion to the week and in addition to the third place prize, was named the Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider for week four. The award is sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.
Commenting on her jump-off round with Ohlala, Hough explained, “I have to stick to my plan with that mare. She doesn’t have a huge stride, but she jumped fantastic and I think Leopoldo did a super job today. He had just the right amount of clear, the time was short but not impossible, and I knew the first two had two jumps down, but I went with what I could do. This is a huge field, so I just had to hope that maybe I would get a little lucky today, but unfortunately these two young men with big horses and big canters went just a little bit faster than me.”
“I went as fast as I thought I could go,” Hough acknowledged. “I don’t know if I could have gotten them, to be honest. She is who she is, and she wins a lot of classes, but they got me today. She was fantastic the whole week and one of her owners is here today, so I’m thrilled that she was able to see her.”
Victoria Colvin and Dedication Are Champions in Large Junior 16-17 Hunters at FTI WEF
Victoria Colvin added yet another accolade to her name when she topped the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, presented by Antarés, during week four of the FTI WEF. Colvin and the nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Dr. Betsee Parker were third under saddle and third, second, first, and second over fences before being crowned division champion Sunday morning.
The reserve champion for the division was Vida Blue, ridden by Meredith Darst and owned by Elm Rock, LLC. Darst piloted Vida Blue to two blue ribbons over fences and jumped to second and fifth place on the second day of competition for the division.
Owner-rider championship honors were also awarded for the division. Cloe Hymowitz and her horse Perfectionist were announced as division champion owner-rider. There was a tie for reserve champion owner-rider between Piper Benjamin and Corvine and Vivian Yowan and Gretsky.
Parker was determined to have sixteen-year-old Colvin finish out her junior years on Dedication and is happy to see Colvin gel with the sometimes difficult gelding.
“Dedication is a very complicated horse to ride, and he’s very opinionated and strong. When Tori rides him, he has a very wonderful relaxation that occurs. I think it’s what I’ve spoken of [before] that she does to all the horses [she rides]; you can almost see the stream of confidence going from her into the horse,” Parker described.
She continued, “We saw this at the Hampton Classic. I said to Scott, ‘Let’s let Tori ride him and see what happens,’ because I want her to go out of her junior years on this horse. We tried, and she won with the highest score in history. She had a 98. So we thought we had a real good match.”
Parker went on to explain that like the rest of her horses, Dedication adores Colvin. The gelding transforms into a quieter, more settled animal with Colvin in the saddle. The feeling is mutual, and Colvin actually considers Dedication one of the easiest horses she rides.
“He is difficult,” Colvin admitted. “But [for example], Inclusive is really easy but he has a short stride and he’s like a little pony. But Dedication is so big, and he has the biggest stride. He’ll just lope down [the lines]. He could do like Olympic height, so for [the junior hunters] he just lopes over everything.”
Having the support of an owner like Parker means the world to Colvin, who acknowledged she wouldn’t be where she is today without Parker’s help.
“She’s amazing. If she wasn’t, I’d probably be doing small ponies still! Yeah, I’d still be doing small green [ponies],” Colvin joked.
Colvin’s victory wrapped up another week of competition at the FTI WEF. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
About FTI Consulting, Inc.
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.
About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.
September 11th, 2012 – Week one of the 2012 Aiken Fall Festival Show series came to a close on Sunday and what a busy week it was. The event in its 5th year took place at Highfields in historic Aiken, SC and is managed by locally based Equus Events, Inc. and show manager J. P. Godard.
The week kicked off on Thursday with plenty of action in both the hunter and jumper rings. The featured class was the $5,000 Open Welcome Stake which took place Thursday afternoon out on the grass field. Hollow Creek Investment’s Boccaccio and rider Angel Karolyi took top honors there with a jump off time of 37.793 just edging out another Aiken based rider Daniel Geitner and Ann Ritter’s Jumbo Jet who finished clean with a time of 37.890. Boccaccio, an 11 year old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Up Chiqui, has had much success with Karolyi winning the $25,000 Equestrian Sport Productions New Year’s Grand Prix in Wellington as well as placing 9th in the $75,000 Nations Cup this winter. Carboni, owned by the Hollow Creek Farm, took home third place with rider Angel Karolyi handling the ride there as well. Following the class, the Aiken Fall Festival Welcome Party took place at The Stables Restaurant at Rose Hill. Exhibitors and sponsors were treated to food and drinks as well as live music by local artist Gavin Reily. Many thanks to The Stables Restaurant for sponsoring the Aiken Fall Festival Welcome Party for the second year in a row. The restaurant features a dining room and bar menu, live music on the patio every Friday, and a full bar all in one of Aiken’s most unique settings. Located just minutes from Highfields accommodations are also available www.rosehillestate.com.
September 12th, 2011 ~ The first week of competition for the 2011 Aiken Fall Festival came to a close yesterday. The two week hunter jumper show series is managed by J. P. Godard and his Equus Events and took place September 8-11 at Highfields Event Center in Aiken, SC. This week’s sold out show was jam packed with many special classes and events and the horse-centric town of Aiken makes it a prime stop on everyone’s calendar. Exhibitors were delighted with the gorgeous weather and the Aiken Fall Festival really stepped it up to make all of its guests feel welcome with good southern hospitality and most importantly a well-organized event. All attending were treated to nightly parties and daily hospitality including breakfast, daily snacks, and an ice cream party on Saturday all courtesy of the show’s hospitality sponsors; Allison Mills, Beaver River Farm, Booth Parker, Christison Stables, Willoughby Stables, DFG Stables, Debi Friedman, Gagne International, Gamboa Veterinary Services, John and Leslie Kasper, Liz Tarumianz, Summit Springs Farm, LLC, The Farm House, The Stables Restaurant, The Wilcox, Travinia Italian Kitchen, and Wendy Arndt and Team IEC. While the VIP tent events are free to exhibitors, donations were taken for this week’s beneficiary Children’s Place of Aiken, SC (www.childrensplaceinc.org). “We are extremely excited with our turnout this year,” said show organizer J. P. Godard. “We are completely sold out this week and even with putting up more stalls next week, we still have a waiting list. In these tough economic times I feel people are picking and choosing what shows to attend and Equus Events is really striving to put on events that are the benchmark in our area.”
The week kicked off on Thursday with the featured class being the $5,000 Open Welcome Jumper Stake. Josh Dolan of Hilton Head, SC guided his Skylands Con Chino Z to the blue taking top honors over Christina Jason and her Tamino who finished second with Claire Lee White and High Roller finishing in third. After the class everyone was invited to an Exhibitor Welcome Party at The Stables Restaurant and Beer Garden at the Rose Hill Estate in downtown Aiken. The party featured food, libations, and the sounds of local Aiken band Preston and Weston with a few Aiken Fall Festival exhibitors even taking to the mic a time or two! A great time was had by all and many thanks to The Stables Restaurant for the wonderful party.
May 13th, 2011 – Competition kicked off this week to beautiful sunny skies at the 2011 Atlanta Spring Premiere Horse Show at the Georgia International Horse Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Aiken, South Carolina resident J. P. Godard and his Equus Events manage the annual two week series which takes place May 11th-15th and 18th-22nd.
The professional hunter divisions took center stage in the hunter rings on Wednesday and Thursday while the jumpers tried their hand in the International Arena at courses designed by international jumper course designer Pierre Jolicoeur. Hunt Tosh of Milton, GA had a stellar start to the week coming away with three tricolors on three Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Wheeler owned entries. Tosh took home the First Year Green Hunter Championship aboard Triton Z, the Second Year Green Hunter Championship on Good Humor, and the Conformation Hunter Championship aboard Cloud Harbor. Tosh is no stranger to the winners circle as he capped off an incredible 2010 season with a win in the coveted $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby finals in Lexington, KY on Lonestar as well as a Grand Hunter Championship and Leading Hunter Rider award at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, just to name a few. He was also the recipient of the United Equestrian Federation’s Emerson Burr Trophy in 2010.