Tag Archives: Meredith Darst

Philipp Weishaupt and Chico 784 Win Progress Energy Cup at Spruce Meadows

Philipp Weishaupt and Chico 784. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Tiffany Foster and Meredith Darst Top 1.50m Competitions on Thursday of the ‘North American’ Tournament

Calgary, AB, Canada – The ‘North American’ Tournament CSI5*, presented by Rolex, continued on Thursday with a win for Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and Chico 784 in the feature Progress Energy Cup 1.55m at Spruce Meadows. The pair topped a 13-horse jump-off to win over Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Check Picobello Z in second, and Richard Spooner (USA) with Chivas Z third.

The Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m was also held on Thursday with a win for Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Brighton. Earlier in the day, young rider Meredith Darst (USA) won the ATCO Cup 1.50m with her horse Quester de Virton.

Spain’s Santiago Varela set the courses on Thursday and saw 20 starters in the day’s highlight Progress Energy Cup 1.55m with 13 moving on to the jump-off. Six entries completed the short course without fault, with the fastest time of 42.08 seconds completed by Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt aboard Madeline Winter-Schulze’s Chico 784.

Eric Lamaze (CAN) was close on his heels in 42.84 seconds to finish in reserve aboard Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Check Picobello Z. Richard Spooner (USA) and his own Chivas Z placed third in 43.45 seconds.

Weishaupt has earned a lot of top finishes this summer, but a win had eluded him until Thursday. The rider from Germany was thrilled to finally get his victory in one of the biggest competitions of the series with Chico 784, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Cordalme x Sandro) that he brought along from four years old.

“It was so nice to get my first win in the International Ring here, especially in that competition,” Weishaupt stated. “It was one of the highlights of the weekend, and the competition with the second best money of the whole tournament, so I am so excited that I won it. I had a good feeling on Chico in the first round and I thought I would try in the jump-off. I risked a little bit more than I did in the first weeks and I am so happy it worked out.”

Detailing his winning jump-off, Weishaupt noted, “I thought that if somebody went crazy they would beat me, but they had to try hard to get that time. I think I had a pretty good jump-off and Chico is a fast horse. He loves those big grass arenas and he has a huge stride. I knew that if they wanted to beat me they would have to go quick today.”

Before this summer, Weishaupt had only competed at Spruce Meadows in the ‘Masters’ Tournament, but decided to try out the Summer Series this year for the great competition and excellent ranking points.

“I came to Spruce Meadows three or four times to the Masters with the German team,” he explained. “Every year I did very well, I just never had the win. We won the Nations’ Cup two times as a team, but I never had an individual win here, so it feels really good today. It is a special moment.”

Weishaupt recently jumped from 139th to 81st in the Longines FEI World Rankings thanks to his great results at Spruce Meadows.

Commenting on his major move, the rider remarked, “I did not do much for half a year and that gets you to the bottom of the ranking list fast, so that is another reason that I came here this summer. It is a great place to earn points to come up in the rankings. I was shocked when I saw the list that I moved up so much; it was amazing. You have to have the right horses; it does not come automatically. You have to be strong, and you have to have the right horses, and you have to be competitive; otherwise you are not moving anywhere.”

Weishaupt plans to jump Chico 784 again in Saturday’s ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup. His horses will then fly back to Germany where he will compete at the CHIO in Aachen.

Concluding the day, Weishaupt stated, “I love Spruce Meadows. Calgary is a great place to compete; the horses love it, the riders love it, and it is just an amazing place. I am definitely coming back again.”

Foster Gets a Win in the Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m

The Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m jump-off was held Thursday evening with a win for Canada’s Tiffany Foster aboard Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Brighton. Foster and the ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Contendro II x Quick Star) topped an eight-horse jump-off out of 27 starters over the Santiago Varela (ESP) designed course. They completed the fastest of six double clear rounds in 35.54 seconds.

Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Wishing Well Farm’s Cherrypop finished second in 35.94 seconds. Richie Moloney (RL) and Equinimity LLC’s Merquisio placed third in 36.08 seconds. Lucy Deslauriers (USA) with Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester, and Peter Lutz (USA) aboard Katherine Gallagher and Michael Meller’s Retiro, tied for fourth place with matching times of 36.53 seconds. Brian Morton (CAN) and Grafton Farm’s Atlantis T placed sixth in 37.89 seconds.

Tiffany Foster and Brighton
Tiffany Foster and Brighton

Commenting on her winning mount, Foster smiled, “He is awesome. We got him when he was seven, and from right when we first started competing together, he has always been a winner. This year he has actually really stepped into his own. He has won a few times this year and he is just the coolest; I love him.”

Foster has also had many top placings throughout the summer series, and already this week, and was happy to finally win one in the ‘North American’ Tournament.

She stated, “Spruce Meadows is so special in any ring, but especially in the International Ring, and I have been second a lot here. I have been so close so many times. I have been trying to win all of them and I just keep being not quite fast enough. I know with this horse that I can take all of the risk. It is funny, because Philipp Weishaupt and I have been joking that we have been the bridesmaids of this tournament because we have both been second a lot. Then he won the big competition today, and I won this one, so we were the brides today!”

Foster detailed her plan for the jump-off, noting, “I find Brighton a little bit short-strided, so I do not always try the big leave outs. But as has been the case in a few of the competitions that we have won, Eric (Lamaze) said to me, ‘Nope, you can do it, you can leave that stride out,’ and I kind of went with it. If Eric says I can do it, I know I can do it, and it generally works out.”

Foster added, “Every course suits Brighton. He can do anything. He goes forward, he adds, he is so clever, and so quick. His legs move so fast. He is a really cool, very special horse, and I feel really lucky to have him. It really shows this initiative that we have had at Artisan Farms with Andy and Carlene Zielger buying young horses and bringing them along. All of our horses that are so successful, most of them we have started as young horses. They are really patient owners and they have really encouraged us to bring the young horses here to Spruce Meadows and develop them, and then we come back with horses that can win a lot of competitions.”

Meredith Darst Takes First International Victory

The ATCO Cup 1.50m jump-off was the first event to be held in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows on Thursday with a significant win for 19-year-old Meredith Darst (USA). The young rider took her very first FEI victory aboard Quester de Virtonafter only jumping clear over her first 1.50m track just 24 hours before.

Course designer Santiago Varela (ESP) saw 45 starters over his first round course, yielding 12 to advance to the jump-off, where Darst had the advantage of being last to go. After watching the early competitors, she stole the lead in 46.89 seconds

Antonio Maurer (MEX) and Mario Onate’s Balarina 3 finished second in 47.56 seconds. Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Candy Tribble’s Brugal VDL placed third in 49.08 seconds. Leslie Howard (USA) jumped into fourth place aboard her own and Peter Howard’s Up & Blue Chapelle in 49.13 seconds, and Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) placed fifth aboard his own Chacna in 49.51 seconds.

Darst, who usually trains in the U.S. with Max Amaya, has had the privilege of being coached by Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN) this summer. With Lamaze looking on, she laid it all on the line with “nothing to lose” in Thursday’s competition.

“It is my first FEI win, so it is incredible,” Darst remarked. “Yesterday was the first time that I was clear in a 1.50m ever. I am just honored to show here, and compete in this ring, and I do not think it has really hit me yet.”

Detailing her jump-off round, Darst explained, “The first half of the course is where I made up speed I think. Eric Lamaze is helping me and he said to go for it on jumps one, two, three, four, and I do not think I have ever gone so fast in my life. I just galloped! Then I took my time a little bit in the end, just because there were harder, more careful parts at the end of the jump-off course. My horse jumped great. He was with me everywhere and I just felt really confident.”

Darst had never even met Lamaze before coming to train with him in Calgary this summer, but has learned a lot in the last several weeks.

“It has been an incredible experience,” she noted. “Eric was like, ‘If you want to go for it, just go!’ And I was not going to say no, so I went for it.”

Speaking of Quester de Virton, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Aiglon Rouge) that she has owned for one year-and-a-half, Darst added, “I really just started doing big jumpers when I got Quester. I always did a lot of hunters in the U.S., and getting my confidence up has been enough of a project, but when you have a horse that has all the scope and all the heart it really makes your job easy. I just have to find the jumps. Last year I did a 1.55m here, which was my first big competition on him. I have gotten to know him well, so we are really clicking now, and it is so much fun. He is a really great horse.”

The ‘North American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, continues on Friday featuring the Pepsi U25 Challenge and the LaFarge Cup 1.50m in the International Ring in the evening.

For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Spruce Meadows Media Services

Lauren Fisher
Jump Media

Darst Finishes One-Two in USHJA National Hunter Derby at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

Meredith Darst and Lightning Z. Photo by Emily Riden.

Lexington, KY – August 18, 2013 – A week of the nation’s best hunter derby competition came to a close today at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show with the final hunter highlight event, the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby.

Today’s USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Horse Park marked the fifth event in the seven-part Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series, throughout which Meredith Darst has been extremely successful. She currently stands as the leading junior in the series, and she widened that lead today. Darst finished first in the 42-horse class aboard Lightning Z and second in the class aboard last week’s second place finisher, Capstone. Finishing in third place were Kelli Cruciotti and Premonition, owned by Serenity Farm of Elizabeth, CO.

Following the completion of the first hunter round, Darst sat in the fourth place position aboard Capstone, owned by Norgan, Inc. of Wellington, FL, and in first place aboard Lightning Z, owned by her family’s Lochmoor Stables of Lebanon, OH.

She and Capstone came into the second round with a score of 86 prepared to demonstrate their abilities over the handy course. The course utilized a trot jump, provided a number of opportunities for tight inside turns and set the high option fences in such a way that they were separate from the low options, requiring different tracks.

Again electing to take all four of the high options, Darst and Capstone moved into the lead with a handy round score of 89, for a 175 overall.

Kelli Cruciotti returned for the handy round in third place aboard rookie derby mount Premonition.

“This was his first time ever doing a hunter derby,” Cruciotti said of the 8-year-old gelding. “He’s rather green so I was very, very thrilled with how he jumped and handled all of the brush and the jumps.”

Cruciotti continued: “For the handy I obviously wanted to try to win and step up, but at the same time, I wanted to give my horse a positive ride that will teach him how to do it right. It was more about giving him a positive experience so that I can build a great derby horse.”

Cruciotti proved was able to give Premonition a confidence-building ride while also impressing the judges. The pair earned a score of 86.5, including the four high option points, to put them into position just behind Darst and Capstone in the rankings with an overall score of 174.5.

As the first round winners, Darst and Lightning Z were the last to return, and they pulled out all of the stops.

“Lightning lives with us so I know him really well,” Darst said. “I know I can do all of the turns with him. I was pretty tight to the first jump of the handy, and everywhere else that I could I took the inside turn options.”

Their expert handiness and high fence options resulted in a second round score of 91 and an overall total of 182, earning them the final victory gallop of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

Following the completion of the Hallway Feeds Series, the $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Awards will present a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the seven classes that make up the Series. The amateur rider and junior rider accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Kentucky National Horse Show on September 21, 2013.

Hallway Feeds’ close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park provides the opportunity to utilize the freshest feed, manufactured with time-honored commitments to high standards of quality and the latest scientific advances. Combining a premium nutrition package with a professional level of dedication in horsemen and women provides equine athletes with the Formula for Success. For more information on Hallway Feeds, please visit www.hallwayfeeds.com.

The Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series would not be possible without many generous sponsors including Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Central Equipment, Alfagreen Supreme, Sweet PDZ Horse Stall Refresher, Caddel Equine Therapy Center, KER Sport Horse Nutrition, The Tack Shop of Lexington, Turf Town Properties, Trouw Nutrition and PNC Bank.

While the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show has come to a close, competition at the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows continues on Wednesday, August 21, with the KHJA Horse Show. For more information on the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
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Grand Pony Hunter Championship Title Goes to Meredith Darst at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

Julia Curtis and The Waterboy Win the Pony Jumper Individual Finals

Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forest. Photo by Shawn McMillen

Lexington, KY – The fifth day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals was warm and sunny as the Large Pony Hunter Over Fences kicked off the day in the Walnut Ring. For the third year in a row, For The Laughter claimed the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship, this time with Meredith Darst in the irons. As the USEF National Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans came to a close, the Grand Hunter Pony Championship title was awarded to Darst and Enchanted Forest for their efforts in the Medium Pony Hunter division earlier in the week. The final event of the day was the Individual Pony Jumper Finals where Julia Curtis and The Waterboy jumped to the championship honors.

Earlier this week, Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forest, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, had an incredible performance in the Medium Pony Hunter division. They were in the lead going into the over fences phase and with a beautiful trip they scored the blue ribbon prize and were eventually presented with the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Championship. The Large Pony Hunters were the last to compete this week, but Darst and Enchanted Forest’s excellent effort prevailed and they scored the Grand Hunter Pony Championship. The duo was awarded the International Jumping Derby Perpetual Trophy, and also has the “Trip of the Show.”

“Enchanted Forest has been really good,” smiled 13-year-old Darst. “I started to ride him at the beginning of WEF. He has a huge stride, so I can go really slowly, but you have to sit up a little bit at the jump because he likes the gap. He has easy lead changes and his canter is very comfortable. Enchanted Forest has been there and done that, so he’s pretty made, plus he’s very pretty and moves very nicely.”

Continue reading Grand Pony Hunter Championship Title Goes to Meredith Darst at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

Daisy Farish Awarded Overall Small Pony Hunter Grand Championship at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

Daisy Farish and Ballou (Photo: Shawn McMillen).

Lexington, KY – Another cool summer day greeted exhibitors for the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Pony Finals at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park. The Large Pony Hunters took center stage in the Walnut Ring this morning as they completed their Model and Under Saddle phases, where Meredith Darst and For the Laughter took home both blue ribbons. The Small Pony Hunter Over Fences were next, and at the end of the day Daisy Farish and Ballou earned the Overall Small Pony Hunter Grand Championship with their consistency throughout the division. Finally, in the Covered Arena, riders participated in the USEF National Pony Jumper Team Championship.

“Third time is the charm” proved to be the lucky phrase for today’s winning combination in the Small Pony Hunters. This is Daisy Farish’s third year competing at Pony Finals and it proved to be the best. Farish and Ballou, owned by Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, took home the Overall Small Pony Hunter Championship, presented by Sallee Horse Vans, and the Professional Horseman’s Association of America Perpetual Trophy. The duo was ranked eighth going into today’s Over Fences phase, and with scores of 84.7, 83.25, and 87 they scored the third-place award, jumping to the top of the leaderboard and earning the coveted title.

“I have been riding Ballou for about three years,” explained 10-year-old Farish, who trains with Scott Stewart. “He jumps really well and he is very easy to find the distance on, he’s very smooth. I rode him at Pony Finals before, but we weren’t as good as this year. We have been coming to Pony Finals for about three years and I felt ready this year. I chose to show Ballou because I have ridden him for a long time and have a good relationship with him. Ballou has shown a lot, so it helps me to stay confident. He also has a really sweet barn personality; he is very sweet and he loves apples.”

The winner of today’s Small Pony Hunter Over Fences phase was also the division’s reserve champion. Bergen Sanderford and First Edition, owned by Katie Dinan LLC of New York, NY, received scores of 87, 85.25, and 85.25 to take home the blue ribbon prize as well as the Overall Small Pony Hunter Reserve Grand Champion title. The second-place finisher during the Over Fences was last year’s champion mount, Elation, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, who was ridden by McKayla Langmeier. The pair earned scores of 86, 83, and 86 for their beautiful round.

Continue reading Daisy Farish Awarded Overall Small Pony Hunter Grand Championship at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

Meredith Darst Scores Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forrest. Photo by Shawn McMillen

Lexington, KY – It was a sunny and warm at the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals. The day began in the Walnut Ring with the Small Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle phases. The Medium Pony Hunter Over Fences were up next, and after three days of competition the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship was awarded to Meredith Darst for her ride aboard Enchanted Forrest. The final event of the day was the Pony Jumper Welcome Class and first qualifier for the Individual medals, which was held in the Covered Arena this evening.

Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forrest, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, have had a fantastic week in the Medium Pony Hunter division. They held the lead going into the final phase, and with scores of 86.9, 87 and 87, the duo garnered the top call over fences. Darst and Enchanted Forrest’s efforts eventually earned them the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship and the Beagle Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by Jennifer Miller and Beagle Brook Farm in honor of “Special Effects.” All of this week’s USEF National Hunter Pony Championships are presented by Sallee Horse Vans.

“I began riding Enchanted Forrest at the beginning of WEF, and I really like the under saddle and over fences phases with him,” noted Darst. “He is really quiet and has a really big stride, so you can go pretty slow, but you need to have impulsion and keep him in front of your leg. He moves really well and jumps over fences smoothly.”

Darst added, “It’s great to do well at Pony Finals because it validates all of our hard work during the year. It is one of my favorite competitions, and I like that it is on different days, so I do not have to run around as much; I like the separation of the classes.”

Continue reading Meredith Darst Scores Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

Kirklen Peterson Garners Overall Green Grand Hunter Pony Championship at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

Kirklen Peterson and Magical Diamond. Photo by Shawn McMillen

Lexington, KY – The 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals continued today at the picturesque Kentucky Horse Park with the conclusion of the Green Pony Hunter divisions. Ponies and riders from each division completed their over fences phases, competing for the top honors, as well as the championship and reserve championship titles. At the end of the day, Kirklen Petersen and Magical Diamond claimed the Green Pony Hunter Grand Championship title after winning the Medium Green Pony Hunter Over Fences and the Medium Green Pony Hunter Championship.

The first class of the day for the USEF National Hunter Pony Championships, presented by Sallee Horse Vans, was the Small Green Pony Over Fences. Emma Lemke and Chatterbox, owned by Frank Hernandez of Cordova, TN, jumped to the top of the leaderboard with scores of 85, 82, and 85, taking home the blue ribbon prize. Lindsay Levine and Bit of Laughter, owned by Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL, followed in the second-place position after earning an 83, an 83, and an 81. The third-place ribbon went to Emma Kurtz and Quicksilver Butterfly, owned by Kate Taylor of Pittsford, NY, who received scores of 84, 79, and 80. At the end of the class, the overall points were tabulated and Levine was named with Overall Small Green Pony Hunter Champion aboard Bit of Laughter. The reserve championship honors were presented to Kurtz and Quicksilver Butterfly.

“This is Bit of Laughter’s first time at Pony Finals,” commented Levine. “He is still very young and very green, so you have to stay in the middle and keep him going because if you fall out he falls off his lead. The course today was good. I thought he was going to spook on the out of the diagonal line because he isn’t as experienced as my other ponies, but he was really good.”

Continue reading Kirklen Peterson Garners Overall Green Grand Hunter Pony Championship at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

Pony Hunters Are a Force to Be Reckoned With during Week 11 of the FTI WEF

Kate Ross and Won Up. Photo © Sportfot

Wellington, FL – March 27, 2011 – It is the last day of action for week 11 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, which means that numerous championships were awarded throughout the day. One place where there was a particularly large amount of awards being given out was Pony Land. Rings 11 and 12 were packed with children and their ponies and family members. Competition was fierce as they vied for some last minute points in their divisions.

A busy rider that always has a presence at the pony rings is Meredith Darst. The second day of competition, Darst rode the KAR LLC entry, Won Up, to secure the championship in the Equisport Insurance Large Pony Hunters. Won Up is usually ridden by Kate Ross. Won Up was awarded three blue ribbons and a third place ribbon in the division.

Darst was also awarded the reserve championship on the Megan MacPherson entry, Mapleside Magic Dancer. Darst secured the reserve championship by winning two classes, placing second in two more classes, and also receiving a fifth place ribbon as well.

Continue reading Pony Hunters Are a Force to Be Reckoned With during Week 11 of the FTI WEF