Olympic show jumper Margie Engle on her pony at five years old.
Gladstone, NJ – The U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation announces a unique opportunity for fans of equestrian sport with a book signing for the coffee table-style book, Riding for the Team, at the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) on Saturday, October 26, at 6:15 p.m.
The 302-page hardback volume contains memories, images, and stories from 47 top riders and drivers in all eight international equestrian disciplines who competed and won medals for the U.S. over the last 30 years, including show jumping stars like McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Laura Kraut, Margie Engle, and more.
Copies of Riding for the Team will be available for purchase at WIHS at the US Equestrian booth on the concourse of the Capital One Arena and will be sold in line during the autograph signing. Some of the riders featured in the book will join fans next to the Land Rover booth on the concourse on Saturday night of WIHS to sign copies of the book.
In the book, McLain Ward recounts just what went through his mind at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as he walked into the ring knowing that the U.S. team’s medal depended on his performance. “[I] took a moment to tell myself, ‘Okay, it’s a little bit disappointing. But now there’s a job to be done, and I have to focus on the things I can control and let the bigger outcome sort itself out.’” Ward gives readers of the book an insightful glimpse into the mental aspect of the sport.
Renowned equestrian journalist Nancy Jaffer compiled and edited the first-person accounts from the athletes for Riding for the Team. Along with stories of athletes at major games competition, the book features fantastic photographs, including behind-the-scenes moments and images of top riders in their younger years, such as Margie Engle’s pony ride as a five-year-old and Phillip Dutton in his Australian Pony Club days.
“The compelling stories collected in this volume, as told by the athletes who have become part of equestrian history, demonstrate how to make dreams reality, while acknowledging sacrifice as the other side of achievement,” Jaffer writes in the opening introduction. “Those who compete at the highest level share several characteristics in addition to the love and appreciation of the horse. All have demonstrated singular focus to achieve excellence, putting aside other pursuits as they strive to represent their country.”
The book is a sequel to Riding for America, published in 1990 and also compiled by Jaffer. Riding for America highlighted key figures on the American equestrian scene from 1976 to 1990. It followed the tradition of the 1976 volume, The USET Book of Riding: The First Quarter Century of the USET, which was produced by the late USET chairman emeritus and Olympic show jumping gold medalist, Bill Steinkraus.
Published by Trafalgar Square Books, Riding for the Team is available for pre-order on the USET Foundation website. A rare opportunity to learn more about the stars of American equestrian sport, the book also makes an excellent gift and is sure to be a treasured addition to any horseman’s library.
Proceeds benefit the USET Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that helps provide funding for the High Performance competition, training, coaching, travel, and educational needs of America’s elite and developing athletes and horses in partnership with the national federation, US Equestrian.
For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.
Wellington, FL – December 1, 2018 – Margie Engle (USA) and Royce dashed to a well-deserved victory in the $205,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Engle and Royce were the only pair to finish the evening with a double clear effort, securing their win ahead of Susan Horn (CAN) and Lillyfee, who captured second place with a time of 60.14 seconds in the jump-off. Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and H5 Quintol rounded out the top three placings with four faults and a time of 49.32 seconds.
Engle and Royce are a notorious pair on the international competition circuit and with their win this evening, concluded one of their best seasons together yet as a partnership. Engle and Royce looked in top form, besting a class of 37 entries, finishing faultless in both the first round and the jump-off. The course, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), saw rails fall throughout class and proved difficult for most entries.
“He’s been showing lightly for the last few months and has really only done big shows, probably for the whole year. I think this is only his second show that wasn’t a CSI 5*,” explained Engle. “I’ve been able to save him a little bit with Dicas coming up and the young ones. He’s quite fresh.”
Emphasizing their attentiveness to flatwork over the past few seasons, Engle commented that their efforts are beginning to pay off in the ring, as Royce’s rideability has drastically improved as a result of their commitment to dressage work.
“It’s nice because he’s been home for a little over a month and Lisa Wilcox helps work with him on the flat and whenever she works with him, he goes that much nicer,” she chuckled. “She helps me with the flatwork with quite a few of the Grand Prix horses. She does an unbelievable job and it makes my job that much easier.”
The duo is concluding a banner year together, which featured top results in nearly each of the major international competition they attended. With her new mount, Dicas, on the rise, the balance it has provided for Engle works in Royce’s favor.
“He’s felt great all week. Earlier in the week I was able to do him in the smaller class. I did the 1.45m and he was double clean and jumped great. I was able to save him and use Dicas in the qualifier and Royce jumped great under the lights and fresh. I honestly think he jumped better in the jump-off. The more I started kicking him at the jumps the higher he got.”
While the pair has been a staple combination for the United States for the past few years, Engle feels that her and Royce are beginning to hit their peak as a pair, both growing together and developing a much stronger bond in the past twelve months.
“He’s really matured. I know it sounds funny, but we’ve both matured a little late together. He’s just starting to get the rideability so nice. He’s getting more manageable and he’s really become seasoned and it’s made my job quite a bit easier. He’s always had the jump and been super careful, super powerful, but we lacked in the rideability, but now he’s riding nice so it makes my job easy.”
The two-round format of the class brought the top twelve combinations back to contest the short course and Engle knew that she sat in an enviable position with Royce heading into their final round.
“I knew going into it that there was only one more behind me that was clean and the one ahead of me that was clean had one down. I know Marilyn [Little] is very fast with Clearwater and I had better take a shot, so that even if I had one down, I’d at least get a good piece of it. I was just going to go medium fast, but the further we got around course the better he felt, so I just went with it. It felt like he was getting into so I went with it and keep going.”
For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL – November 30, 2018 – Margie Engle (USA) flew to first place in the $35,000 Dever Golf Cars 1.45m Classic CSI 4* with her mount, Dicas, at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The swift duo halted the timers in 57.52 seconds to ensure top honors. Engle and Dicas, a 2009 Rhenish Warmblood gelding (Diarado x Cassini I) owned by Storm Ridge Capital LLC, Show Horses, Garber & Gladewinds, Inc., took home the win in their final competition for the year. Also representing the USA, Kristen Vanderveen earned second place with Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Darco) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC. Vanderveen completed the course in 57.77 seconds. Todd Minikus (USA) merited third place riding Amex Z, a 2009 Zangersheide mare (Andiamo Z x Landaris) owned by Bit by Bit Group, with a time of 58.86 seconds.
Jumping against 33 pairs, Engle’s speed and accuracy resulted in first place in the course set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) with her attentive and willing mount. “It was his last class of the year, so he gets a couple of months off now. He’s a young horse and just started moving up the FEI levels this year. I figured I would give it a shot since it’s his last class and now he gets a nice, well-earned vacation.
“He’s a big horse, but he’s gotten quicker and quicker as the years progressed. He’s really fun and he’s been consistent. He’s easy to ride even though he’s really large. He’s got quick thinking and turns quick, so he’s really nice and easy. He’s always really game,” she said.
“I think [it was] the rollback to fence 3 [that] was a big oxer off of a tight turn, but he handled it really well. He just turned well and fortunately everything came up nice and easy off the turns. He’s very trusting and kind of young. He’s kind of naive in trusting in a good way so far, so as long as I don’t do anything to break his trust, then whatever I ask him to do he’ll give it a shot,” concluded Engle.
For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Holiday Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Wellington, FL – March 31, 2018 – In the biggest grand prix of the season, it was Margie Engle of Wellington, FL who was victorious with Gladewinds Farm Inc.’s Royce in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* in the final “Saturday Night Lights” event of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
Forty top combinations vied for a chance to win the final five-star grand prix and the biggest prize purse of the circuit. Six were able to find the key to a clear round over a track designed by 2016 Rio Olympic Games course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil.
The first clear round of the jump-off came from Luis Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) and Comic, owned by Santa Cecilia Stables. They stopped the timers in 42.52 seconds, which held up for second place. Finishing in fourth place was Mexican Olympian Enrique Gonzalez on his own Chacna. They had four faults in 41.47 seconds.
Slotting into third place as the fastest four-faulters were Conor Swail (IRL) and Rose Hill Farm’s Rubens LS La Silla, who stopped the clock in 40.17 seconds.
Engle and Royce were able to speed around the jump-off course to take home their second individual five-star victory in a time of 39.35 seconds.
Katie Jacobs-Robinson and Rocklyn Are Victorious in Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Over 35
Katie Jacobs-Robinson piloted Rocklyn, an entry of Robinson Ridge LLC, to the championship tricolor early on Saturday morning in the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Over 35 3’6” division. The duo has been together for two years and clinched the win with a blue ribbon under saddle and a first, first, and fifth over fences.
TV ALERT! The $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, April 8, at 5-6 p.m. ET. Don’t miss it – watch live or set your DVR.
Hilary McNerney Pilots Contact to Top of $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
Mill Spring, NC – October 30, 2016 – Margie Engle of Wellington, FL and Indigo took home top honors in $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on the final day of competition of the 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District. Engle and Indigo claimed the victory with a speedy jump-off time of 39.42 seconds, while Ilan Ferder of Wellington, FL and Hunter ST Anna Z earned second place honors with a time of 40.121 seconds. Trailing by only milliseconds to claim third with a time of 40.174 seconds was Alberto Michan of Royal Palm Beach, FL aboard Chacco’s Goldy.
Engle and Indigo, a 2000 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Indoctro x Aea Dutch Lorel) owned by Gladewinds Partners LLC, completed the track set by Guilherme Jorge (BRA) early in the order before advancing to the jump-off. The course asked technical questions of adjustability and scope. Engle detailed her specific plan with her veteran partner Indigo.
“I’ve had Indigo for a really long time so the plan was pretty set with him. The first round was built a little bigger than I expected, but it was a very good track. The plank into the double was tricky, but I felt like he handled it great,” Engle added about her first round. “He has a very adjustable stride and he knows where all of his parts are. This course allowed him to open up.”
“In the jump-off, I was hoping to leave out a stride but he jumped so hard that he landed a little shallow. He is very quick and well balanced in the turns, always right there for me. I took a shot with the long gallop down to the last fence and he handled it very well,” Engle added.
Engle and Indigo have been partners for almost a decade now, competing successfully around the world, including a career highlight of winning the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2004. Engle is very selective with what shows she chooses to compete Indigo in now that he is getting a little older.
“He’s been a great horse for me. He loves what he does and is such a fighter in the ring. He is actually quite hard to control in the schooling ring,” Engle added with a laugh. “He is always trying and he would hate sitting at home. In his brain he thinks he is three and he has more energy than all of my horses put together.”
Engle and her team will head down to Wellington, FL for the winter, but she hopes to return to Tryon in the future, specifically during the 2017 season. She reflected on her experiences at TIEC, saying, “It is a fantastic facility. It is a first class facility for everyone and it has everything you want. There are tons of places to ride, big schooling rings, delicious restaurants, and unbelievable crowds. We hope to be back next year.”
The $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix offered competitors the opportunity to dress in costume for Halloween. Brittni Raflowitz of Palm City, FL was presented with the “Best Costume” award dressing herself and her mount, Baloumina Du Ry, as paratroopers.
Hilary McNerney Pilots Contact to Top of $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
Hilary McNerney of Lake Forest, IL and her own Contact collected the win in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). McNerney and Contact finished ahead of a competitive class, edging Fabio Andres Rodriguez of Colombia and Venus for the victory. The winning combination finished the track in George H. Morris Arena with a time of 30.809 seconds, while Rodriguez and Venus collected second place after crossing through the timers in 31.529 seconds. Emanuel Andrade of Wellington, FL and Belita took third place honors, completing their jump-off round in 31.72 seconds.
McNerney and Contact bested the three-horse jump-off after riding a forward and accurate round to finish ahead of Friday’s $5,000 Under 25 Welcome winners Rodriguez and Venus. McNerney has had a strong campaign at TIEC, finishing 10th aboard Z Acodate DDL in the $130,000 Asheville/Greenville BMW Centers’ Grand Prix CSI 3*.
Sunday’s competition marked the conclusion of the 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District. For more information on TIEC and to see full results. please visit www.tryon.com.
Mill Spring, NC – July 16, 2016 – Margie Engle (USA) and Royce have been a fixture in the sport of show jumping since 2011, and Saturday the pair captured their first major victory at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), besting a class a talented class of international competitors. The pair finished with an incredibly fast jump-off time, finishing two seconds faster than Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, who set the pace and stopped the timers in 36.69 seconds. Matt Williams (AUS) and Valinski S, who will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil later this month in their Olympic Games debut, secured third place with a time of 38.35 seconds.
Engle took over the ride on the 2004 Oldenburger Springpferd stallion owned by Elm Rock Partners LLC five years ago, and has established a strong and trusting relationship with Royce, which was a major contributing factor to their win. Engle, who is not easily deterred from laying everything on the line to earn a win, made a quick dash through the jump-off track set by Manuel Esparza (MEX), ultimately proving that the gutsy and bold round was worth the risk.
“Both Michelle Grubb and Alison Robitaille told me that when they walked one to two of the jump-off, they thought there were seven strides there. I think most of the combinations did eight and I felt like there was nothing to lose because we’re in the jump-off,” she detailed. “I then decided to do eight up the middle. They raised the jumps a little bit for the jump-off, which helps him because he’s really a power jumper.”
“I am just so thrilled. He tried his heart out and I wanted to move it up a notch from what I did on Thursday here. I knew I had some fast combinations coming up behind me and I had to take the shot when we had the chance,” elaborated Engle. “This has been a great week for us and he’s jumped fantastic here. I’ve been so impressed with each part of this competition.”
The class featured 41 entries and saw eleven combinations return for the jump-off round, which proved to be problematic for many of those who advanced to contest the short course. Only Engle, Vanderveen, and Williams finished the evening with a double clear effort, while the other eight combinations accumulated faults.
“In the first round, I thought there were more clean than I had anticipated. The course walked hard enough. This was a nice break for Royce though, in a way, because he’s only been doing the CSI 5* shows in Europe,” commented Engle. “He was thrilled to be here on good solid footing and I was very happy with the way he went on Thursday too.”
Engle and Royce were selected as a potential combination to represent Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to be hosted later this summer, and Engle noted that Royce gained valuable experience competing at the observation events in Europe throughout the spring and summer. The stallion received a lengthy rest period after arriving back stateside and this week’s competition proved to be a welcome return back to the international ring.
“He’s been learning how to go faster and faster and I have to thank the owners of this horse, who have been very patient with us from the beginning. He’s always had all of the jump in the world, but we’ve really focused on rideability with him,” commented Engle. “We started working with U.S. dressage rider Lisa Wilcox this past winter to help us with the flatwork and the adjustability.”
“I haven’t pushed him in a jump-off since Europe, so I figured today I was going to go for it and that was fast for him. We left out strides in the first two lines and then he turned super for me to the Horseware® vertical,” she explained. “To the skinny oxer I just kept squeezing and the distance was really far away, but I relied on his natural scope and he jumped it incredibly.”
This was Royce’s first trip to TIEC and Engle felt the pair was able to apply much of what they had worked on in Europe in their two appearances this week, which led to their top finishes. She stated, “He’s a horse that does better in a bigger ring, which is why he has done so well here. He’s naturally a little bit of a slower horse, so indoors is not his cup of tea. He’s really good in new places. This is his first time here and I have been so happy with how he feels and the way he’s been going.”
Engle has competed around the world and remains one of the most decorated riders of the sport, having made appearances for Team USA in nearly all of the major championship events during her career. Her return to the winner’s podium elated the crowd, as many spectators have idolized and followed Engle’s lengthy and successful career very closely through the years.
“They had a great spectator turnout tonight, which always makes a class special. It is more fun to ride in front of a crowd that is engaged and energetic. I couldn’t have asked for a better result,” she smiled. “This is a spectacular venue all around, one of, if not the best in the world. The rings and the footing are incredible and we’re very happy to be here. We’ll be staying next week for the CSI 4* and hope to continue with the success from this week.”
Engle’s longtime groom Joy Montgomery was awarded with the Groom’s Initiative Award presented by Mark Bellissimo and Tryon Equestrian Partners, for her commitment and care of Royce and the other FEI horses in Engle’s string. Montgomery has been a staple of Engle’s program for many years and her dedication and hard work continue to ensure their team’s success. Engle was presented with the Leading Lady Rider Award, presented by real estate broker Meg Atkinson, for her top performances in this week’s FEI classes.
Competition at Tryon Summer III concludes Sunday, July 17, featuring the $35,000 1.50m Suncast® Classic CSI 4* and the $10,000 High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic in the George H. Morris Arena. Tryon Summer IV will begin on Wednesday, July 20, and continue through Sunday, July 24. For more information about TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.
La Baule, France – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team took the Silver medal in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at CSIO5* La Baule in France on Friday. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, the team of Lucy Davis, Margie Engle, Lauren Hough, and Todd Minikus put in solid rounds to finish on four faults. This performance sets an excellent tone for the summer as the event served as the first of four observation events for members of the Short List for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team, as part of the selection process for the Team. The field of eight nations was stacked with some of the world’s top talent, producing a close competition to the very end. The Netherlands topped the leaderboard on one fault and the home country of France came in third on five faults.
“It definitely went well today; we beat some really good teams. Going head-to-head with the best in the world is why we are here,” said Ridland. “To come out with four clear rounds right off the bat was impressive. It was a great effort. The course was not tricky or highly technical, but it wasn’t easy. This is a wonderful show with a great crowd; it was great to be back here at one of the best shows in the world.”
The Americans had a foot-perfect round one, with the first three combinations, Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala, Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Old Oak Farm Inc.’s Barron, and Engle (Wellington, Fla.) and Elm Rock Partners, LLC’s Royce, all turning in clear rounds. These performances put the U.S. forward to round two in a four-way tie for the lead on zero faults. Anchor combination, Minikus (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Jack Snyder and Two Swans Farm’s Babalou 41, put in a round one performance in an effort to qualify for Sunday’s Grand Prix. The pair also produced a clear round, giving the U.S. the only clean sheet in round one.
Round two did not start as smoothly as round one, with lead combination Hough and Ohlala pulling three rails. Davis and Barron got the U.S. back on track with a second clear round that was followed by another double-clear effort from Engle and Royce. When the order got down to the final combinations for each nation, the competition was extremely tight. The U.S. and The Netherlands were on zero faults, followed closely by Switzerland and Great Britain on four faults. Going before the U.S. in the order, Switzerland’s anchor rider had the last fence down to add four faults to their score, and the Dutch came home with one time fault. The pressure was on Minikus and Babalou 41 as they entered the arena. The pair had a solid round over the wet ground, but an unfortunate rail at fence four meant it would be the Silver medal for the U.S.
“They all handled the pressure great,” said Ridland of his team in round two. “That part of it is the fun part, and they certainly all buckled down. Margie and Lucy were able to duplicate their clear round one efforts and we were more than in the game when Todd went in. It was ours to win, and Todd came really close; the horse had a little slip in the turn and then the rail down, but that’s show jumping. With so many great teams here, we are pretty pleased with today.”
“The course was straight forward, and we had a lot of clears in first round,” said Engle. “I was really pleased with how Royce jumped as he is fresh off a break. It did take him a little bit to get used to the footing because it was soft, but he handled it well. They raised the jumps a bit in round two, and he felt even better. He held his composure and kept his energy level up which was nice – he was super. The whole team here felt really positive; everyone has been in good spirits.”
This Nations Cup competition marked the fourth of the year for the U.S., having showcased great results in Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup events at Ocala and Coapexpan, where they placed first and second, respectively. The U.S. also finished second at the FEI Nations Cup in Wellington.
“The year is young, but so far we are having a really good year,” said Ridland. “We have competed in four Nations Cups with 16 different horses, that shows incredible depth in both the riders and horses we have.”
Margie Engle and Abunola. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Kelley Farmer and So to Speak Are High Performance Hunter Champions
Wellington, FL – March 17, 2016 – Week ten of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Thursday with a win for Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock LLC’s Abunola in the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 10. Competing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, Engle and Abunola bested a field of 83 horses and riders, with Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Houston finishing second, and Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) aboard Venturo 9 placing third.
Please note that the $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* has been moved to Saturday morning due to expected heavy rainfall in the evening. The grand prix will begin at 11 a.m. in the International Ring at PBIEC.
WEF 10, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, features CSI 3* jumper and ‘AA” rated hunter competition running March 16-20, 2016. The week features the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic on Friday, the $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, and the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.
Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set the course for 83 starters in Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup, with 14 entries going clear to advance to the jump-off. Vaillancourt’s tiebreaking short course then yielded six double clear rounds. Engle and Abunola clocked the winning time of 41.68 seconds, sixth to go in the jump-off order.
Eric Lamaze with Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Houston immediately followed in the second place time of 41.87 seconds. Lorcan Gallagher and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Venturo 9 completed their round in 43.78 seconds to finish third. Danielle Torano (USA) and Callas III earned fourth place honors in a time of 43.94. Ilan Bluman (COL) and Blue Star Investments’ Ladriano Z placed fifth in 43.98 seconds, and Chris Surbey (CAN) and Linda Southern Heathcott’s Doremi finished sixth in a time of 50.97.
Engle put together a partnership with Rich DeMartini and Lea Allen to purchase Abunola in September of 2015 and has been taking her time to get to know the horse over the last several months. She won her first class with the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Numero Uno x Voltaire) in November competing in a $50,000 HITS Welcome Stake in Thermal, CA. She has since had consistent results competing in Wellington throughout the winter.
“She is a lovely mare,” Engle detailed. “I watched her some last year and liked her. I was then fortunate enough to have Rich DeMartini help me put a partnership together to buy her, and they have been very patient as I have been getting to know her.
“She has a lot of blood,” Engle continued. “When I first went out to California she was great. I think here I maybe left her a little too fresh. Even though the heat is not great for everyone else, it is perfect for her. It just kind of settled her down, and it did not hurt her one bit. She has a lot of energy and nice blood. She is light on her feet and just lovely to ride.”
Speaking of the first round course, Engle stated, “I was thrilled with the way she went. She rode beautifully the first round. I thought the course was tough enough. It was very technical, and it was a tricky track. He actually got not that many clean for how many were in it. It is a hard class to build for, and I thought he did a fantastic job without making it crazy big.”
Engle also appreciated the short course, noting, “I liked the jump-off when I walked the course, which was nice. She is very easy to accelerate, so you just kind of think it, and she is ready to go. I ride her in smaller spurs than any horse I have ever ridden. She was really good in the rollbacks. Rolling back on the liverpool, I was very pleased with her there, and also the rollback on the Rolex jump, the second to last jump. I was very happy with her. She has been very consistent here; we just needed a little bit of luck to go our way.
“I was teasing Eric (Lamaze) that he was kind enough to share a class with me,” Engle laughed. “He has dominated, and when I knew he was going after me, I thought I would be happy with second place because he has been kind of unstoppable in these classes.”
Despite a case of mononucleosis, Engle battled through for a great win on Thursday. Always a fierce competitor, she was determined to compete and came out with a worthy result.
“This is good medicine,” Engle stated. “This win was very much needed.”
Engle will now prepare Abunola to jump in Saturday’s $130,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*, which has been moved to the morning instead of being held at night under the lights due to expected rainfall.
Commenting on the change, Engle stated, “I hope it will suit her. I will have to see how much I undid her by going fast today because sometimes with a horse that is a little sensitive, if you go quick with them, sometimes they get a little buzzy. Those are things I will have to figure out with her, but if she goes even close to like she did today, I will be very happy.”
In addition to the winning prize money on Thursday, Engle picked up a $3,000 bonus for wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves as part of the SSG Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion.
Also competing in the International Ring on Thursday, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Main Road, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC, won the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m jump-off class.
Kelley Farmer and So to Speak Are High Performance Hunter Champions
In the early morning fog, Kelley Farmer and So to Speak, owned by Glefke & Kensel LLC, won the High Performance Hunter championship. They placed first, third, and third over fences, won the stake jumping class, and were second in the under saddle.
The reserve championship went to Autumn Rhythm, ridden by Sloane Coles for Nilani Trent. They won two over fences classes and placed third and fourth in the remaining two. In the under saddle, they were third.
Farmer and her veteran partner So to Speak, a past USEF Horse of the Year winner, have been consistently winning at the Winter Equestrian Festival this winter. With his experience, the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Stakkato had no trouble with the foggy conditions.
“He’s pretty consistent,” Farmer said. “He’s shown enough everywhere that that kind of thing doesn’t bother him. He’s a pretty straightforward guy. It probably made him focus more.”
As one of Farmer’s favorites, So to Speak can get away with being “a little bit of a brat around the barn.” Farmer laughed, “He’s a little bit of his own character. He’s got an interesting personality, but I love that. I like my horses to have a little character. He wants to be careful and jumps in really good style. I love him. He’s one of my babies.”
Farmer and So to Speak will be back in action at WEF during week 12 for the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
The tenth week of competition at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues on Friday with the $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic featured in the International Ring in the morning.
The Ariat National Adult Medal will be the highlight class in the Rost Arena. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
SAUGERTIES, NY (June 9, 2014) – Margie Engle spent much of the HITS Saugerties spring series on the bench recovering from the flu, but returned to the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium in top form Sunday. Engle rode young-gun stallion Royce, owned by Elm Rock Partners, to take a high-stakes blue, winning the $100,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix.
She also jumped her faithful Indigo, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Garber, Griese, Hidden Creek and Gladewinds, to second place.
Engle bested 27 contenders to qualify both mounts, resulting in an eight-horse jump-off. She had vastly different expectations for each horse. “Indigo is seasoned but when I go too fast he gets flat. While Royce is just starting to learn how to put on the gas when it’s most needed,” she said.
With Indigo, Engle was precise but visibly conservative before putting Royce to the test. The latter’s turns were all tighter than the track she chose with Indigo, and the clock confirmed their efforts flawless.
Despite Royce’s inexperience, the 10-year old Oldenburg Stallion is proving to be the horse Engle hoped and envisioned he could become, with solid training, from day one. Her face lit up as she reviewed his performance. “We have been working on his rideability a lot the past year… Had I tried for this speed when we started there would have been a lot of drive-by fences out there today,” she said. “He has a big stride, but coiled up over those fences and added perfectly.”
Course Designer Martin Otto, of Muenster, Germany created a track of 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts. Many felt the greatest challenges were technical. Variations in striding were wide-spread in several lines during the first round, while the jump-off ideally suited those with a longer reach. Both horse and rider had to think and adapt quickly.
Leann Kelly of Valatie, New York was the first to crack Otto’s course aboard Leander for Honorway Farm, LLC. Next to go, Engle and Indigo guaranteed a jump-off before six more eventually joined them. This included Kevin Babington and Mark Q, Laura Chapot on ISHD Dual Star, Lillie Keenan with Pumped Up Kicks, Julie Wells and Daloubet du Rouet, Engle on Royce and Todd Minikus aboard Aries.
Kelly returned first and set an immediate Great American Time to Beat at 44.53 seconds, but was quickly bumped from the top by Engle who crossed the timers in 41.87 seconds on Indigo.
Four more competitors followed but were unable to take the lead from Engle. Aiming to beat her own time in the second-to-last spot, Engle put Royce’s emerging speed and turning capabilities to good use. “We were so sharp to the last vertical that he was almost parallel to it,” admitted Engle.
Royce, with an unbeatable pace and some breathtaking turns, stopped the clock at 40.33 seconds for the win. Welles piloted Daloubet du Rouet to third with a double clear performance in 42.44 seconds.
Babington guided his own Mark Q to two fault-free rides and finished the jump-off in 42.65 seconds for fourth, while Kelly rounded out the top five.
The sweet surprise after a $30,000 check and blue ribbon for Engle was one ton of Purina horse feed, courtesy of Purina Animal Nutrition. A faithful Purina customer, Engle was ecstatic with the prize. “We already feed Purina, so it’s the perfect end to this day,” she said.
Grand prix action returns to HITS-on-the-Hudson during the summer series which runs July 16 through August 3 as the race to qualify for the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix heats up. Keep track of HITS Championship qualifying at HitsShows.com.
$10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic presented by Bayer’s Legend®
The Bayer’s Legend® (hyaluronate sodium) Injectable Solution $250,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after classes of the HITS Championship. After a win in Sunday’s qualifier, successful junior rider Michael Hughes of Allendale, New Jersey, has his sights set on competing in this newest addition to the HITS Championship.
Hughes rode the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Luxina, owned by Christina Fried, to blue in the $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic presented by Bayer’s Legend® and continues to climb the Jumper Prix standings. “When I first saw the announcement of the final, I was ecstatic to do it and the million,” joked Hughes.
“This is my final year as a junior and last opportunity to compete in this class, so I’m focusing on it.”
Coming off a rest after competing at Devon, Luxina carried Hughes to a double-clear effort and the clock approved with 40.68 seconds. “She was impressed by this ring and jumps were big, which was great for us,” he said. “She’s smart – when she has to go big and fast, that’s exactly what she does.”
After winning the Week I Jumper High Classic, Mckayla Langmeier of East Granby, CT and her mare Classic Care were still in top form, taking second after Hughes. They were double clear with a time of 41.37, besting the other eight who advanced to the jump-off.
Lisa Deslauriers of New York, New York took third in 41.39 seconds aboard her own Hester. Fourth was Hannah Patten of Williamstown, Massachusetts and McLain Ward’s Carany, while Erin Haas of Ann Arbor, Michigan capped the top five in the irons of North Face Farm’s Udo DV.
Lexington, KY – May 17, 2014 – For the second year in a row, Margie Engle and Royce galloped to victory in the $75,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, at the Kentucky Spring Classic. This year was different though, as the talented duo had to best a 22-horse jump-off, showcasing not just power, but speed as well. Engle and Royce, owned by Elm Rock Partners LLC, made perfect turns and left each rail in place to finish ahead of eight other double clears and lead the victory gallop. Shane Sweetnam with Eregast van’t Kiezelhof and Pablo Barrios aboard Ambosell set the early pace, but had to settle for second and third, respectively.
Forty-five riders showed over Michel Vaillancourt’s first round track, which yielded a surprising 22 clear rounds, making the jump-off a true horse race, not unlike today’s Preakness Stakes. “They jump so well on this footing,” explained Engle. “You get a lot clean. It’s a good group of horses, and the horses love this footing.”
For the tiebreaker, riders had to make three major rollbacks, including two at the beginning from a wide oxer to a tall vertical and back to an oxer-vertical double combination. The horses that were able to make the tightest turns without a mistake ended up at the top of the leader board.
The first to return were pathfinders Pablo Barrios of Venezuela and Ambosell. They set the target at 41.937 seconds, and while they were able to do it without fault, many that tried to catch them did not have the same luck. One of the only horse and rider combinations to do so was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam riding Eregast van’t Kiezelhof for Spy Coast Farm. They were able to make the rollbacks nicely and gallop quickly to the final oxer to finish in 40.171 seconds.
“Eregast van’t Kiezelhof can really cover the ground, but he’s not used to doing jump-offs so he has to learn that a little bit,” noted Sweetnam. “I thought he did a good job. Maybe when he’s done a few more jump-offs, he can be even a little quicker than that. I was happy with him though.”
When Margie Engle entered the Rolex Stadium with Royce she knew there were multiple riders left to show and that she would need to give it her all. They picked up a quick gallop to the first oxer and never looked back, slicing the next vertical as sharply as possible and then rolling back quickly to the double combination. Engle and Royce left out a stride to the final fence, and all of the risks paid off when they blazed through the timers in a clear 39.801 seconds.
“I went faster than I normally do with Royce,” admitted Engle. “Slow and clean wasn’t going to be a big piece of it, and I’ve spent a lot of time just going slow with him. It was good practice for him to take a shot and practice going quicker. He’s starting to ride so much better. He sliced so quickly to the second jump, and then back on the double. That’s where it’s nice to have scope – he just exploded over it.”
Eleven riders tried to beat Royce, but no one was able to do so without error. Callan Solem was the only rider that came close after Engle’s round, completing a clear round with Horsehoe Trail Farm’s VDL Wizard, but her time of 41.939 seconds would only be good enough for fourth. Sweetnam and Barrios took home second and third, respectively, while Engle was the clear winner.
“It’s never over until it’s over,” laughed Engle. “With that many in it, and with me going early in the pack, I knew there were fast ones behind me, but I feel like we’re really starting to form a partnership now. He’s not naturally a fast horse. He’s a slower, scopier type, but he covers a ton of ground. I knew that I could turn hard to the double because he has so much scope that he can jump through there easily. He sliced the vertical in the middle really nicely too. He hasn’t done many jump-offs like that, so I am really happy with him.”
It has been a great two weeks for Engle in Kentucky, who just won last week’s $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix with Indigo. Tonight, she defended her title in the $75,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, having won it in 2013 with Royce. “Last year was kind of a turning point with him. I didn’t go as fast as tonight, but it was the first time I really started to push him. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a horse with his scope and ability. The rideability is getting better and better, and I am really happy with the partnership.”
Engle is part of the short list for the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, and Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland was onsite to witness Engle’s victory. “Last summer I did the [Longines Global Champions Tour], and even showing two rounds was not really taxing on him,” said Engle. “That was the first time I had to show him a couple days in a row, and I think he’s got the ability to do that and not just do one class a week. At the World Equestrian Games it’s a lot of rounds. His natural scope and carefulness is amazing.”
The next stop for Engle and Royce will be the Devon Horse Show, followed by the Lake Placid Horse Shows, and then they will head to Hickstead and Aachen as part of the Observation Events for the short listed riders.
Engle concluded, “I am lucky to have nice owners. They have been really supportive, and they stood by me when I was injured. I feel really lucky to have people like that supporting me. Royce had a lot of raw ability when we got him, and they were fine with me taking our time and not going fast. Now it’s paying off.”
The jumper action at the Kentucky Spring Classic concludes tomorrow with the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior and Amateur-Owner Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch & Audi of Lexington in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park.