Tag Archives: Holiday & Horses

Holiday & Horses Wraps with Win by Erynn Ballard and Canora Z in Omega Alpha National Grand Prix

Erynn Ballard and Canora Z. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

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.

Victory for Adrienne Sternlicht and Just a Gamble in $209k Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4*

Adrienne Sternlicht aboard Just a Gamble. ©ESP.

Wellington, FL – December 1, 2019 – Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, CT galloped to victory aboard Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Just a Gamble in the $209,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission. The pair raced through the timers in 44 seconds flat to take home the champion ribbon. Kristen Vanderveen of Wellington, FL piloted her Bull Run’s Risen to a close second, stopping the clock at 45.91 seconds in the second round. Conor Swail of Ireland claimed third place with Koss Van Heiste, owned by Eadaoin Collins, after a 46.39-second jump-off round.

The first night class of the ESP Holiday Series saw a total of forty-six entries contest the track, built by FEI designer Anthony D’Ambrosio. The course challenged many riders in round one, with only four total combinations finishing with double-clear efforts at the end of the evening. Sternlicht explained, “For the first round, there were a few elements that I had to be disciplined about as a rider. My horse is extremely hot, and I knew I had to add [strides] in several places. With her, I worry about managing her anxiety a bit, so I wanted to be smart and take my time in necessary spots, while also getting myself a good position for the second-round.”

The top twelve riders returned for a second round. Sternlicht and Just a Gamble were the penultimate pair, and had a lot to prove in this class: “It’s my horse’s last class of the year and we’ve had some serious ‘four-fault-itis,’” commented Sternlicht. “We’ve had four faults in the past seven Grand Prixs that we’ve jumped, so I wanted to end the year on a different note and I knew I had nothing to lose! She is incredibly fast naturally and has great foot speed, and she’s so willing and brave, so I tried to take advantage of all those attributes as well as her big stride. I sort of believed in that double leave out to the last jump, and it worked out so I’m very thankful!”

To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili Dominate Holiday & Horses Opener

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, pictured with ring master, Steve Rector. ©ESP.

Wellington, FL – November 27, 2019 – Kristen Vanderveen of Wellington, FL and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, dominated the $36,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener to begin the 2019 ESP Holiday Series at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). A total of 59 total competitors contested the track, which followed a power and speed format. Vanderveen and her well-known mount “Frosty” went twenty-eighth in the set order of go, stopping the timers at 31.179 seconds in the second round to set the time to beat. Molly Ashe Cawley of Wellington, FL and Louisburg Farm’s Balous Day Date came close, finishing the second round in 31.422 seconds to claim second place. Vanderveen almost beat her own time when she entered the arena aboard Bull Run’s Prince of Peace, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, but a 31.975-second round would ultimately clinch the pair a third-place position.

The course was set by FEI designer Anthony D’Ambrosio, which saw only eighteen of the fifty-nine ride double-clear. Vanderveen commented that her plan when she went in for her trip with “Frosty” was just to go fast and be clean: “He’s like my ‘old faithful’ partner, so I don’t have to worry too much with him.” Vanderveen and the 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion have had great success over the years at PBIEC and across the country.

“We just got back from competing out west. This is actually his first show back in three or four weeks, because I gave him some time off after we were out in California and at Las Vegas. I was there mostly showing my younger ones and getting them ready for season.” Over the next few days Vanderveen plans to save Frosty for the smaller Grand Prix, and will ride Bull Run’s Risen in Friday’s $72,000 Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center 1.50m Qualifier and Saturday night’s $209,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Tiffany Foster Rides Vienna to Victory in the $1,000 FEI 1.40m Class

Earlier in the day, Tiffany Foster of Canada rode Artisan Farms LLC’s Vienna to victory in the $1,000 FEI 1.40m class after completing the jump-off track in 32.838 seconds. Jonas Vervoort of Belgium and Cicomein VDL, owned by HKC Collection LLC, crossed through the timers at 33.435 seconds to take home the red ribbon, while Rebecca Conway of Wellington, FL clinched third-place honors with Hilington Farm’s Calle Cool 14 after their 34.464-second performance in the second round. Thirty-six entries challenged the course with thirteen turning in a double-clear effort.

To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Shane Sweetnam Sweeps $35,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener CSI 4*

Shane Sweetnam and Palina De L’Escaut. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – November 28, 2018 – Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Palina De L’Escaut produced a double clear in the $35,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener CSI 4* to begin 2018 Holiday & Horses competition at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), conquering their first FEI-level class together with ease and stopping the second-round timers in 30.499 seconds. Samuel Parot (CHI) rode his own Thriller P, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Lucky Light), to second and double clear in 30.59 seconds, while Daniel Bluman (ISR) rounded out the podium in 31.327 seconds on the speed portion aboard Cartouche, a 2007 stallion, owned by Bluman and Over the Top Stables, LLC.

Forty-five entries tested the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), and Sweetnam remarked that the 2009 Hanoverian mare (Perigueux x Gottard), owned by Sweetnam, Paul Tracy, and Spy Coast Farm, LLC, proved herself quite capable of answering the questions posed to the course’s challengers, despite the fact that it was their first FEI class.

“I’ve had her since the end of the summer and she’s a bit green still,” Sweetnam explained. “I knew from the courses I’ve done on her that she’s quite nifty at turning and she’s very careful, so I knew she could do that turn, though I wasn’t sure it would be enough to win the class. It definitely worked out in my favor.”

In particular, the manner in which Palina De L’Escaut attacked said turn made a significant difference in the speed portion of the class. Sweetnam elaborated: “The second half in the speed part, there was an option with a turn that obviously not everybody did and that made a big difference for the win. I think naturally she covers the ground and is quite a quick horse, but I do think she saved two seconds when she turned the way she did, because she literally came off the jump before, turned and looked, and we went straight for it. She zoned in on it perfectly.”

Sweetnam stated that he has been trying horses in Europe frequently throughout the year and first partnered with the mare in Belgium. Right away, he noticed some qualities that he liked. “Honestly, she gives a great feel and she’s very sensitive, but at that stage she was still quite raw,” he admitted. “And she still has little things to learn, but she’s a very quick learner and she’s picking up everything very fast.

“This week, since I’m still getting to know her, she’ll do the [$35,000 Dever Golf Cars 1.45m Classic] class Friday and hopefully she can do a lot more in Florida this year. I definitely think she’ll do a couple Grand Prix classes, but I’m not sure yet [what she’ll do this winter]. When the timing is right, I’m sure she’ll let me know if she’s ready or not,” Sweetnam concluded.

Up-and-Coming Athletes Set for $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship at Holiday & Horses Show

The $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship is ready to begin at the Holiday & Horses Show in the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s International Arena. The championship’s fourth edition will run from November 29 to December 2. Athletes between the ages of 16 and 25 will compete in three competitions with fences up to 1.50 meters in height in hopes of claiming top honors.

The $10,000 faults-converted competition will kick off the championship on Thursday, followed by a $15,000 jump-off competition on Friday. The championship will be decided after the $25,000 two-round competition on Sunday. The champion will be the competitor with the lowest number of penalties after the three phases of the championship, with $50,000 in prize money awarded to the top-10 overall.

Twenty-four-year-old Abigail McArdle (Barrington, Ill.) claimed individual bronze with Adamo in 2016 and Chuck Berry 8 in 2017. She started a partnership with Victorio 5, Victorio Equine Group, LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion, earlier this year and aims for a top performance in the championship. McArdle and Victorio 5 earned three top-six finishes at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October as they continue to develop as a team.

Several competitors from this summer’s Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships presented by Gotham North (NAYC) are stepping up to this championship to further their education with the challenging competition format. Seventeen-year-old Samantha Cohen, young rider team gold and individual silver medalist, and 18-year-old McKayla Langmeier, young rider individual bronze medalist, bring their NAYC mounts, Carmen and Durosa W, respectively. Cohen (New York, N.Y.) and Langmeier (East Granby, Conn.) were also teammates on the U.S. team in the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth Final held in Opglabbeek, Belgium, in September.

For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Todd Minikus Warms Up for WEF with Stellar Performances at Holiday & Horses

Todd Minikus and Babalou 41 (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Wellington, FL (December 6, 2016) — Todd Minikus commanded the attention of audiences this past week in the Holiday & Horses show series, held November 30 through December 4, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. Minikus, who was named to the Short List for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Show Jumping squad, highlighted the week with a top three placing on Babalou 41, owned by Two Swans Farm, in the $216,000 CSI 4* sponsored by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. Minikus didn’t stop there, placing at the top of his classes aboard a varied group of horses throughout the week.

In addition to competing with the seasoned Babalou 41, Minikus competed Vita 24 and I Am Nala, both also owned by Two Swans Farm. Minikus also took the reins on several new rides, including Coverboy, Eldorado VDL, and VDL Excel, whom are all owned by The Coverboy Group, as well as Zephyr and Valinski S, both owned by Wyndmont Inc.

Minikus piloted Zephyr to a first place finish – ahead of 50 competitors – in a 1.40m Jumper class, and also placed in the top ten in the $25,000 Omega Alpha Grand Prix. The aptly named ‘Coverboy’ took first and second places in two different 1.40m classes. Eldorado VDL also showed his promise by placing third in a 1.35m class. Minikus commented, “I was really pleased with my horses’ performances in the show ring, and I’m really looking forward to taking these horses to their next level this season.”

The Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center begins on January 11, 2017, and is the largest and longest-running hunter/jumper show circuit in the world. Last year, Minikus started his winter competition season with back-to-back victories in consecutive Saturday Night Lights Grand Prixs. Aboard Quality Girl, owned by the Quality Group, Minikus won the opening $86,000 Marshall and Sterling CSI 2* and then won the $130,000 Adequan CSI 3* with Babalou 41.

Minikus keeps his Grand Prix horses at the top of their game with the support of his generous sponsors. Most recently, sponsor Schneiders Tack restocked Team Minikus on all essential barn supplies and products to keep his horses’ coats gleaming and competition ready. When not competing nationally and internationally, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington, Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival show grounds. Follow the action from Team Minikus on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus

Samuel Parot and Couscous Van Orti Wins $25k Omega Alpha Grand Prix at Holiday & Horses

Samuel Parot and Couscous Van Orti. Photo ©ManciniPhotos.

Wellington, FL – December 4, 2016 – Samuel Parot of Wellington, FL piloted his own Couscous Van Orti to a win in the $25,000 Omega Alpha Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) to conclude the 2016 Holiday & Horses competition. Parot and Couscous Van Orti dashed through the short course to finish with a time of 40.043 seconds. Eduardo Menezes of Carlsbad, CA and Chacgrano rode to second place with a time of 42.237 seconds. Alvaro Tejada who rides internationally for Guatemala and Voltaral Palo Blanco took third place after dropping a rail to add four faults to their time of 41.052 seconds.

Parot has had a phenomenal week at PBIEC taking an FEI victory on Friday, as well as securing top honors in the grand prix aboard experienced mount Couscous Van Orti, a 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nabab De Reve x Cash).

“It was a very good class with almost 45 riders. I think that with only seven clear out of that it shows how difficult the course was. For the money, I thought that it was a great and competitive class,” said Parot. “It was a very strong class and only two riders went clear in the jump-off round.”

“This horse jumped the first day of FEI and I made a mistake at one jump and the second day I decided to retire. I won with the other horse I had in the class on Friday, but I thought that Couscous went well too,” added Parot. “Normally I don’t jump more than two classes with a horse per week, but I felt that he was ready to do this class today.”

Parot noted that the course rode well and was a good test for his mount. The pair, who started the week contesting the FEI classes, chose to compete in the $25,000 Omega Alpha Grand Prix to conclude their successful week.

“I was really happy with the way that the class went today for us,” he elaborated. “All of the horses went very well this week and they will all get a vacation until January so that they are ready for the next circuit.”

All three of Parot’s horses are quick by nature and incredibly efficient. Parot discussed the similarities between each of his three top mounts in Atlantis, Quick Du Pottier, and Couscous Van Orti.

“I like to ride horses that have a similar style. I try to ride all of the horses the same. I like the horses a little bit hot who are naturally fast,” he explained.

After their return from a well-deserved break, Parot is looking forward to making his mark on the FEI competition to be hosted at PBIEC during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit.

“They won’t show at all but will stay in work every day in our program. When they come back I hope that we will be able to have top results in the ranking classes and big grand prixs.”

Jumper Highlights

Viggo Bjorklund of Wellington, FL guided Artiflex R, owned by Gyllebo Farm LLC, to top honors in the $2,500 High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic presented by Equiline with a jump-off time of 36.781 seconds. Abigail Ron of Wellington, FL and her own Tuja 6 took second place after crossing through the timers in 37.785 seconds, while Joyce Green of Melbourne, FL and her own Cassidy finished in third.

The $2,500 NAL Low Junior Jumper Classic saw Katherine Benard of Cumberland Foreside, ME and Alaika, owned by Sagamore Farm Inc., take top honors in the division with a jump-off time of 37.289 seconds. Abbie Sweetnam of Wellington, FL and Mr. Lopez, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, took second place after completing the short course in 37.314 seconds ahead of Coco Fath of Fairfield, CT and Cohbanta, owned by Coco Fath & Hillside Farm, who secured third place with a time of 38.168 seconds.

Alex Parrish of Midway, KY piloted Divace, owned by Alexander Farm, to victory in the $2,500 NAL Low Amateur Owner Jumper Classic with an efficient jump-off time of 31.187 seconds. Danielle Stacy of Ipswich, MA and Hot Topic, owned by Michelle Stacy, collected second place with a time of 32.532 seconds, while Taylor Burns of Blairstown, NJ and her own Ice Lord, rounded out the top three finishers with a time of 33.82 seconds.

Taje Warrick of Wellington, FL and her own Mufasa rose to the top of the leaderboard in the $1,500 Children’s Jumper Classic after stopping the short course timers in 32.485 seconds ahead of Hailey Berger of Parkland, FL and her own Shannondale Gino who finished in second place with a time of 34.036 seconds. Katie Sansone of Coconut Creek, FL and Tropobella 3K, owned by Golden Creek Farm LLC, earned a third place finish with a time of 34.667 seconds.

The $1,500 Adult Amateur Jumper Classic was championed by Jorge Gomez of Wellington, FL and his own Dallas De La Bonnet, as they finished a speedy jump-off round to take the win in 31.872 seconds. Avery-Anna Hogan of Wellington, FL and her own Eurocommerce Tampa captured second place after stopping the clock in 34.419 seconds. Sara Ballinger of Marion, OH and Memory Lane, owned by Nicole Loochtan, cleared the track in 35.954 seconds for third.

Taje Warrick of Wellington, FL also championed the $1,500 NAL Child/Adult Jumper Classic aboard her own Dersey, as the pair finished three seconds ahead of second place finishers Olivia Parr of Houston, TX and Uccella, owned by Oakland Ventures LLC, who secured a time of 36.361 seconds. Sara Ballinger of Marion, OH and Memory Lane, owned by Nicole Loochtan rounded out the top three after finished the track in 37.226 seconds.

Ty Simpson of Wellington, FL piloted Mister Cash Van Der Veldmden owned by Thiele Schroeder, took home the blue rosette in the $1,500 Low Children’s Jumper Classic presented by Equine Couture & Tuff Rider. Zayna Rizvi of Greenwich, CT and Forget Me Knot, owned by Peacock Ridge, LLC, were presented with second place honors after completing their jump-off track in 36.117 seconds. Ava Hoffman of North Palm Beach, FL and Kalle, owned by Siboney Ranch, captured third place with a time of 37.819 seconds.

Hunter Highlights

Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and her own Quincy finished atop the Amateur Owner Hunter 3’3″ Division while Tina Allen of New Canaan, CT and her own Galaxy were presented with reserve champion honors.

Kelley Corrigan of Lexington, KY and her own Game Day found themselves atop the leaderboard in the Amateur Owner Hunter 3’6″ Division, while Krista Weisman of Sherborn, MA and Reality, owned by herself and Alexa Wiseman, collected the reserve title.

The Children’s Pony Hunter Division presented by The Wanderers Club saw Elodie Watrous of Wilmette, IL take both the champion and reserve champion honors aboard Beaverwood’s Foxberry and Crystal Acres Chocolatier, respectively.

Jennifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Best Regards, owned by Patricia Fulchino took top honors in the Green & High Performance Hunter Division, while Jennifer Bliss of Wellington, FL and Face Time, owned by Harris Hill Farm, LLC, rode to reserve.

The High Performance Hunter 4′-4’6″ Division saw Erica Quinn of Cincinnati, OH and Smoke, owned by Jane Gaston, split top divisional accolades with Jimmy Torano of Wellington, FL and Pandora, owned by Teton Farms, LLC. Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL and Onyx RCF, owned by Rivercross Farm, secured reserve champion awards in the division.

The Green Pony Hunter Division saw Alexandra Lynn Willner of Boca Raton, FL and Pursue the Blue, owned by Kim Wolf, presented with champion awards, while Ella Bostwick of Wellington, FL and Dolce Via, owned by Christine Bostwick, earned reserve champion.

The Performance Hunter 3’6″ Division witnessed Jennifer Hannan rise to the top of the class once again to earn champion awards aboard Flamingo-K, owned by Equinimity, LLC. Marisa Metzger of Modesto, CA and Continental, owned by Use the Ring, LLC, rode to reserve champion.

For more information on Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Jessica Springsteen and Davendy S Take $35k Holiday & Horses Opener CSI 4*

Jessica Springsteen and Davendy S. Photo Credit ©ManciniPhotos.

Wellington, FL – November 30, 2016 – Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Davendy S rose to the top of the class in the $35,000 Noble Outfitters Holiday & Horses Opener CSI 4* at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), taking the class with a time of 58.95 seconds. Richie Moloney (IRL) and Alsvid took second place in the class after crossing through the timers in 59.05 seconds. Eugenio Garza (MEX) piloted Bariano to third after the pair completed the track in 59.28 seconds.

Springsteen and Davendy S, owned by Stone Hill Farm, made a quick move to the top of the leaderboard and held their winning position for most of the class, which welcomed the first day of FEI competition of the 2016 Holiday & Horses competition. The pair made easy work of the track designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), which saw 64 entries.

Davendy S, a 2003 Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Pachat II), is one of the quicker mounts in Springsteen’s growing string and excels in speed format classes. The pair amassed an impressive record during their time on the indoor circuit this year, taking four top five finishes in FEI competition, including a win at the CSI 4* in Lexington, KY at the beginning of November.

Garza set a blazing pace as the eighth rider to go in the class, which was not overcome until ten rounds later when Springsteen catapulted ahead. A total of sixteen combinations finished inside of the time allowed with no faults, as the class served as good experience for the days of competition ahead.

Springsteen is back in Wellington, FL after a strong campaign throughout the summer and fall seasons, which took her throughout Europe and the United States. The talented rider will look to continue her success during the winter in Wellington and the competitive Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season set to begin in January 2017.

With three horses entered in FEI competition this week, the rising star will guide Davendy S, Tiger Lily, and Cynar VA in the first week of FEI competition back at PBIEC since the conclusion of WEF last April, with high hopes for a top finish in the $216,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Competition at PBIEC continues throughout the week and will be highlighted by the $216,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission on Saturday, December 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The evening will also host the first round of charity drawings for the 2017 Great Charity Challenge (GCC) presented by Fidelity Investments® to be hosted on February 4, 2017.

To learn more about Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), please visit www.pbiec.com.

Swail Adds Another Win in $34,000 1.45m Consolation Classic at PBIEC

Conor Swail and Cita. Photo: ©ManciniPhotos.

Wellington, FL – November 29, 2015 – In another brilliant effort, Conor Swail (IRL) concluded his season with back-to-back wins at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) as he rode Cita to victory in the $34,000 1.45m Consolation Classic on the final day of the Holiday & Horses CSI 4* competition. Competition at PBIEC will resume Saturday, December 5, with the Equestrian Sport Productions Year-End Awards show.

Repeating a nearly flawless performance, Swail and Cita crossed the timers in 36.726 seconds to edge Ali Wolff (USA) and Brianda, who set a fast pace late in the jump-off order with a time of 36.868 seconds. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and Nokia de Brekka finished the class in third place with a time of 37.707 seconds.

Making good on his word, Swail added yet another ranking class win to his record, celebrating his 24th FEI victory this season. With each of his three FEI horses performing consistently throughout the week, Swail tackled the day’s course, set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), with the same ease and efficiency he displayed last night aboard Viva Colombia in the $212,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4*. An original 40 entries contested the first round of the $34,000 1.45m Consolation Classic, with 13 combinations moving forward to the second round and seven pairs finishing the day with a double clear effort.

“It feels truly great to win two big FEI classes in a row. I have three great horses here this week. This one is still a bit new for us. She’s just nine and is by Casall. I think this is only her sixth or seventh show with me so far this year,” explained Swail. “She has a lot of quality, and I think she has really a lot to offer. I’m hoping that by the end of circuit this year, near April, she’ll be doing some of the bigger grand prix classes.”

There are high hopes for the 2006 Holsteiner mare (Casall x Vorr.) owned by Susan & Ariel Grange, who made her FEI debut with Swail in early September. Her raw athleticism and speed set her apart, adding another competitive edge to Swail’s string, which is based at Lothlorien Farm.

“I think she’s going to be really special. She’s unbelievably careful, and is just a feather off the ground. She really has a lot of blood, but just needs a bit more experience. It was really nice for her to run around and do a great job today,” he continued.

With a competitive line-up set for the jump-off, Swail knew that a win would not come easy, and a carefully planned but quick effort around the course would be needed to top the class. He commented, “It was a course where there was a lot more running than turning, and she actually felt a bit green to fence one and two. We did one more step than I had wanted, but she’s still very quick across the fences so I thought it would be okay if I kept a good rhythm and a nice high pace. Thankfully again, it was my day and I felt I did just enough for the win because Ali had a great round,” he remarked.

Piloting his second mount, Martha Louise, also owned by Susan & Ariel Grange, to a top ten finish, Swail concluded his final competition of the year on an incredibly positive note, as he believes the pieces are finally falling into place with the beginning of a new year approaching quickly.

“Martha had a lovely round today also. I felt like she was just a tad unlucky this week but jumped beautifully in all of the classes. It’s a great way to end as this is our last show of the year, and I’m so pleased that it went as well as it could have gone for us,” noted Swail. “I’m quite lucky that I have such a good group of horses around me now, and you know, Lothlorien is incredible. We have a few nice new ones coming up and are always looking for carefulness, blood, and quality. We try to find the good athletes, as that’s what you need in the sport today. I have great owners behind me and have a lot to look forward to as we move into another year. I think over the next few years, we’re going to create something really positive.”

For a full list of results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Swail and Viva Colombia Impress in $212,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4*

Conor Swail and Viva Colombia. Photos: ©ManciniPhotos.

Wellington, FL – November 28, 2014 – In an exciting jump-off finale, Conor Swail (IRL) and Viva Colombia finished with top honors in the $212,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach Sports Commission and Discover the Palm Beaches at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Swail and Viva Colombia bested the talented jump-off of eight competitors with a time of 37.922 seconds. Eugenio Garza (MEX) and Bariano finished just off the pace for second place, crossing the timers in 38.25 seconds while Hardin Towell (USA) and New York posted the remaining double clear effort of the night with a time of 39.072 seconds. Competition will conclude at PBIEC tomorrow with the $34,000 Consolation Classic beginning at 1pm.

The class of 32 competitors in the grand prix faced a difficult track set by course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), which had eight competitors move forward to the second round, while nine pairs dropped a rail on course, incurring four faults. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Victor were the only duo to finish with a single time-fault in the first round and would finish in ninth place.

Swail rode late in the order aboard Viva Colombia, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Couleur-Rubin x Lando Lady) owned by Ilan Ferder, and made the most of his trip around the track, which called for scope and adjustability.

“We had planned to leave Viva for tonight. A good friend of mine, Ilan Ferder, owns her and I’ve had a really good year with her. She’s just getting better and better,” said Swail. “I thought tonight she was just wonderful and jumped great in the first round. Things worked out for me in the second round with Samuel [Parot] and Kent [Farrington] being a bit unlucky, but for me it felt like we were going to be close and I wanted to go for it.”

Eugenio Garza and Bariano
Eugenio Garza and Bariano

Garza would finish with the first double clear effort of the night, which seemed tough to beat, as Towell followed but couldn’t reach the 38 second mark. A single rail burdened Parot and Farrington, who blazed around the course, both finishing in less than 37 seconds. Farrington, piloting longtime partner Uceko, seemed to have all but added another win to their record after dashing through the course in a nail-biting effort, but a rub at the final vertical kept Farrington from his second win this week, as the duo added four faults for fourth place.

Towell was proud of his third place finish aboard New York, stating, “Tonight was a great class and I was really happy with New York’s performance. We got him a couple of months ago and he’s been out of the spotlight a bit compared to my other horses Emilie and Lucifer. I was really proud of how he handled everything tonight.

“I think he’s really stepping it up and I’m looking forward to what he has in store for the future. I am so thankful to have the support of Jennifer Gates behind me with all of the horses and it feels great to have finished so well in a very competitive class,” he continued. “Conor is a close friend and it’s never fun to lose but I’m so happy for him that he won. Eugenio rode great and is really stepping up to the plate in the bigger classes. I think it was a great show of talent tonight.”

Motivated to finish with a respectable result, Swail felt the course was well-suited for his mare, even though the track proved difficult for many of the night’s competitors. He elaborated, “I thought the course looked quite nice when we walked it and it wasn’t so big, but it was extremely careful and there was a bit of width on the oxers. In that respect, you needed a really good horse to jump around it.”

In a careful but quick effort, Swail nudged out Garza for the fastest double clear effort in the jump-off, pushing for the final finish and earning his 23rd FEI victory of the year. Viva Colombia, both talented and scopey, has proven her consistency in many of the large FEI classes the duo has contested together this year.

“For me, when I got her in the beginning, I felt like it was really important for her to gain confidence in our program and our system. I worked on her balance a lot this year. The carefulness and scope was always there with her. I wanted to focus on making her stride a bit more adaptable and adjustable. I think now she’s really learned that throughout the year and has been very successful,” he continued. “Viva has been quite fast and has won several speed classes too, which has helped her be a little bit quicker in her mind. The balance has gotten a lot better, and she’s much more adjustable.”

Swail had a tremendous fall season and collected numerous wins during the indoor circuit season. He will now give his string a rest before looking towards the commencement of the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in just a few short weeks at PBIEC.

“She’ll get a nice break. She deserves it. We probably won’t bring her out again until week four or five during circuit. It’s been great to finish the way we have with her, and she’s just fantastic,” he noted. “Her consistency has been extremely solid, and I’m delighted for Ilan and myself that things are going well. We have a real quality horse on our hands.”

Steadily shifting up the world ranking leaderboard this year and currently sitting in 37th, Swail has set his sights on reaching the top ten in 2016.

“I’d really like to get into the top ten in the world. It’s a pretty big goal, but I’m 37 now and feel like that’s where I need to be. I know that what I need to do is get a few bigger grand prix wins this year. I think I have enough ranking class wins, and it’s time to focus on getting good results in those bigger classes. I don’t think I could have had a better start than tonight,” he said. “I want to focus on improving those results so that’s kind of what the main goal is right now. We have some very nice horses, and we’re looking forward to another great go at it this season.”

The Holiday & Horses CSI 4* will conclude tomorrow with the $34,000 Consolation Classic beginning at 1pm in the International Ring. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Moloney and Alsvid Race to Victory in $34,000 Equiline 1.45m Speed Classic

Richie Moloney and Alsvid. Photos: ©ManciniPhotos.

Victoria Colvin and Pepie Lu Take $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Wellington, FL – November 27, 2015 – Richie Moloney (IRL) and Alsvid made a dash up the leaderboard in the $34,000 Equiline 1.45m Speed Classic at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) today, as FEI competition resumed at the venue for the Holiday & Horses CSI 4*. Moloney and Alsvid rose to the occasion, crossing through the timers in 62.28 seconds to capture the win. Ali Wolff (USA) and Artemis followed in second with a time of 62.90 seconds while Kent Farrington (USA) and Blue Angel, winners of the $34,000 Equiline Holiday & Horses Opener Grand Prix held this past Wednesday, finished in 63.51 seconds for third place.

Competition continues at PBIEC tomorrow with the highly anticipated $212,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix presented by Palm Beach Sports Commission and Discover the Palm Beaches beginning at 6:30pm. The night will also host the Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s Winterfest and showcase the first round of drawings for the 2016 Great Charity Challenge (GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments®.

Moloney and Alsvid entered the International Ring in the middle of the 40-horse order of go, several rounds after reigning class leader Farrington posted the quickest double clean trip aboard Blue Angel. Maintaining a bold pace throughout the Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) designed course, Moloney made the most of his round aboard the 2001 Hanoverian gelding (Escudo I x Adonca) owned by Equinimity LLC.

“It was a full 1.45m class, and the first four jumps really made you open up. That’s where you could make up some of the time, which is where I think we did,” said Moloney. “I took a bit of a chance to the last two fences on course and did probably one less than most people, and I think that is what earned us the win.”

Alsvid is Moloney’s top FEI Speed horse, and the pair has produced several major international victories this season. The win this afternoon marked the duo’s fifth FEI win this year and third FEI Speed class victory. Moloney will return to FEI competition on Sunday for the $34,000 1.45m Consolation Classic before beginning a period of rest for Alsvid with the remainder of Moloney’s string before the beginning of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit in mid-January.

“He’s very good in these types of classes and has proven to be very consistent this season placing in the top three at least five times since the beginning of the summer. It was a strong class today, and I felt very good about his performance,” he noted.

The seasoned gelding has proven throughout his career with Moloney that he excels and enjoys difficult speed classes, which allows Moloney to take major risks that are rewarded when faced against some of the world’s best combinations. He explained, “He really enjoys these speed classes because he naturally wants to go forward so you just let him go and steady him a bit at the jumps, but try not get in the way,” Moloney remarked. “It’s nice to start off the season here with a win. We’ll look for another good result in the 1.45m class on Sunday and then bring him back in February for some of the big FEI classes during circuit.”

Victoria Colvin and Pepie Lu Take $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL and Pepie Lu, a 2007 Warmblood gelding (Sergeant Pepper x Mecklenburger) owned by Nathalie Mathers of Wellington, FL, stole the show in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at PBIEC, receiving a combined score of 180. The total must be correct for the win, but if you don’t know the correct individual scores just stay with the total. Kathryn Haefner of Hamburg, NY, and Bentley finished in second with an overall score of 176, while Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Palm Beach Gardens, FL piloted Shoreline to third place honors with a combined score of 168.5.

Victoria Colvin and Pepie Lu
Victoria Colvin and Pepie Lu

Colvin and Pepie Lu impressed the judging panel in the first round of competition, scoring the highest mark of the class with a score of 87. Haefner and Bentley received the highest score of the second handy round of competition with an 86, which helped them secure the second place finish.

“This is the first class I’ve ever done on him. He used to show in the jumpers, but was a bit too quiet so he switched to the hunters,” said Colvin. “He’s super fun and incredibly easy to ride. I thought today was a great start for the both of us.”

The duo performed a lovely handy round, which Colvin remarked was a highlight of the class for her, as she thought it was the better of their two rounds. She explained, “The handy round was great because he’s really experienced with tight turns from his past life as a jumper so I was able to go for it, which I think was reflected in our score. It was a great way to start off the winter season, and it was a very competitive class.”

Competition at PBIEC continues tomorrow with the $212,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach Sports Commission and Discover the Palm Beaches beginning at 6:30pm. Admission is free to the public. FEI competition will conclude on Sunday, November 29, with the $34,000 1.45m Consolation Classic beginning at 1pm.

For more information on Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and to see a full list of results, please visit www.pbiec.com.