Tag Archives: Michael Hughes

USET Foundation Presents 2015 Maxine Beard Award to Michael Hughes

Michael Hughes and Luxina. By: Shannon Bower/PMG.

Wellington, FL – March 28, 2015 – The United States Equestrian Team Foundation is pleased to announce that 18-year-old Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Maxine Beard Show Jumping Rider Award. Hughes was presented with the Maxine Beard Award trophy at the Winter Equestrian Festival Finale on March 28, 2015 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

The selection was based on Hughes’s competitive record and potential to represent the United States in international competition. Winning his first grand prix at just 16 years old, Hughes went on to win the 2013 USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East, as well as the 2014 Washington International Horse Show Equitation Championship. He claimed the 2014 Individual Young Rider Silver medal at the North American Junior and Young Riders Championship, and was most recently a member of the winning Young Riders team for the second year in a row at the CSIO Wellington Nations Cup.

“It means so much to win this,” said Hughes. “Looking at all of the past winners and where they are today is amazing, so it’s an honor to just be acknowledged for this award. I am really lucky to have the year I had and to have the horses that I am riding.”

The award provides Hughes the opportunity to be credentialed and travel with the U.S. delegation to the 2015 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 15-19. He will observe the operations of an international championship, including the stabling area, veterinary inspections and schooling, and will walk the courses with the U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe, Robert Ridland.

U.S. Show Jumping Young Rider Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer has worked closely with Hughes over the last two years, and is thrilled to see his talent recognized with this award. “Michael Hughes is the real deal,” stated Langer. “He is incredibly effective on many types of horses, he is personable, he is serious about his work, and he’s successful in the equitation and the jumpers. I feel that he has a huge international future in front of him.”

Hughes noted, “I think it’s a going to be a lot of fun and be a great experience to be with Robert and DiAnn during World Cup Finals and get to watching an amazing competition.”

Hughes trains with his father Eamonn Hughes at their family’s Drumnacross Farm, as well as Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run. This summer, he hopes to compete in Europe and also travel to Spruce Meadows. His goal is to one day represent the United States on a Senior Team internationally. With the talent, drive and determination to be a top-notch competitor, Hughes has proven that he will be a part of the future for show jumping in the United States.

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.

The USET Foundation has been awarded Charity Navigators’ highest honor, a Four Star rating for good governance, sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
USET Foundation
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Michael Hughes and Luxina Top HITS Ocala $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

(c) ESI Photography. Michael Hughes and Luxina.

OCALA, Florida (March 12, 2015): Michael Hughes of Allendale, New Jersey, riding his Luxina, topped a field of 31 contenders and nine in the jump-off to win the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix with one of only two clear rounds in the jump-off. The Dutch-bred Luxina is only 15.2 hands but Hughes used her big stride to his advantage for the win.

Aaron Vale and Hunter Holloway each had two horses in the jump-off but neither could match Hughes’ performance. Hughes said of the win, “The course had a lot of options. My horse doesn’t spend a lot of time in the air and she has a really big stride. She’s always better when you really keep up the pace and just keep galloping.”

Vale and Acolina R were the first to attempt the short course but had two rails down for eight faults. Hughes was up next and, knowing that there were seven more to follow, pulled out all the stops and rode clear in 38.104. Two four-fault and two eight-fault performances followed, including David Beisel and Amaretto, the winners of the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix Week VI, with four faults and a time 40.113 for fourth place.

Scott Keach and Southern Cross Equestrian’s Viriato were able to turn in the only other clear round in 40.533 to earn second. Keach has had 10-year-old Viriato for a year-and-a-half. He said, “I went at about 85 percent. There was only one place where I could have left a stride out. I wanted to go fast but leave them all up.”

The final horse to enter the jump-off was Cassevel with new owner Hunter Holloway, who posted the fastest four-fault performance in 39.467 for third place. Wednesday’s Brook Ledge Open Welcome winner Lexy Reed and Afandina had four faults for fifth place. Reed said she was happy to show in her first Grand Prix in six years and it was also her new horse’s first Grand Prix.

Lexy Reed and Afandina Return to Winner’s Circle in $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome

Lexy Reed from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania won the Brook Ledge Open Welcome two weeks ago, and won it again Wednesday by turning in the only double clear of the day. Reed has had 8-year-old Afandina for just six weeks and is thrilled with the repeat win.

(c) ESI Photography. Lexy Reed and her Afandina
(c) ESI Photography. Lexy Reed and her Afandina

“My horse was so good today,” she said. “The time allowed was so tight that you had to ride the first round like a jump-off. I cut inside on one of the rollbacks and just kind of ran everywhere else.”

Fourteen riders had time faults in the first round with only three clear rounds within the 83 second time allowed. The 1.4 meter course, designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico, featured long distances between the fences and turns.

Erin Haas, riding North Face Farm’s As Di Chupito, went first in the jump-off and earned second place with four faults in a time of 47.600. Reed went next and jumped clear in 47.640. Third to go was Thaisa Erwin, riding Hollberg Equestrian’s Wild Card, with four faults in 50.367 for third.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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Michael Hughes Becomes Two-Time Winner of Region 2 Maclay Regional Championships

Michael Hughes.

North Salem, NY – September 13, 2014 – Every year, junior riders from around the country strive to earn points to qualify for the ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Regional Championships.

On Saturday, 52 of those young, qualified riders gathered at the American Gold Cup CSI4*-W to compete in the Region 2 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Regional Championships and to vie for their shot to ride at the esteemed ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championship Finals at the National Horse Show this November.

Of the riders competing at the Region 2 Maclay Regional Championships, there was one rider in particular who has stood out to the judges for two years in a row: Michael Hughes. Hughes took the top call in the class last year, and he came back to do the same on Saturday.

The 18-year-old from Allendale, NJ shot to the top of the judges’ scorecards following the over fences phase, conducted over a course of multiple bending and broken lines and in-and-out combinations in the indoor arena of Old Salem Farm. Hughes then held that lead through the flat phase that is unique to the Maclay equitation format, clinching the victory, just as he did last year.

This year however, Hughes also got to earn the win alongside longtime friend and North Run barn mate, Ailish Cunniffe who finished in second.

“Together we both owe a lot to Missy [Clark] and John [Brennan]. They have taken us so far along in the equitation,” Cunniffe said. “We’re both so thankful for all of their help and both of our parents as well. My mom and dad and his mom and dad have both been big factors.

“My parents are professionals just like Mikey’s,” Cunniffe said, in speaking of her parents, Frank and Bonnie Cunniffe, and Hughes’ parents, Eamonn and Cathy Hughes. “We’ve known each other for quite some time. It’s neat to be doing well together.”

While both Hughes and Cunniffe credit their parents and North Run for much of their success, they are also quick to recognize the horses they competed today. For Cunniffe, that meant recognizing Venice, the equitation horse that she has owned for over a year, but for Hughes, up until this morning he still had the decision to make as to what horse he would be on.

“I didn’t really know which horse I was going to do,” Hughes said. “I had to choose between a younger horse of Missy’s and an experienced horse that had already been there, Campreoll. I knew [Campreoll] was going to go in and be really good. I really have to thank Cailin McNamara, the owner, and Brian Feigus for letting me ride him.”

With their performance together today, Campreoll will most likely be the mount that Hughes rides for the Maclay Finals at the National Horse Show, but he will be deciding for sure over the next month.

“I still have a few horses to choose from that weren’t even here. I have to thank all of the people that have given me horses to ride,” Hughes said.

Choosing the right horse to allow him to ride his best at the Maclay Finals is particularly important this year, as it is Hughes’ last year competing as a junior.

“He’s a grandpa!” joked Cunniffe.

While Cunniffe still has another shot at the Maclay Finals victory after this year, it is guaranteed that they will both work equally hard for their shot at the victory and the possibility to earn their place in the record books.

“The fact also that it’s been around for so long and that it used to be at [Madison Square Garden] makes it a special class,” Cunniffe said.

“It means a lot,” Hughes added. “Doing the equitation has been so much fun. You learn so much from it, and going to finals every year and having a new experience is great whether you win or not.”

Rounding out the top three in Saturday’s class was Lucy Deslauriers riding Lucky D’etenclin. Fourth place went to Megan MacPherson and Great Expectations.

All of the top entries from today’s Regional Championship have qualified for the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Championship Finals at the National Horse Show, to be held Nov. 2, 2014. For more information, visit www.nhs.org.

2014 National Horse Show Fast Facts

The Alltech National Horse Show is a week-long championship event featuring “AA”-rated hunters, open jumpers, junior/amateur jumpers, and the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals. The event will run October 28 – November 2, 2014, indoors in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The Kentucky Horse Park has waived the normal parking fee during the Alltech National Horse Show. Parking is free. While dogs are permitted at the Kentucky Horse Park on a leash, no dogs are allowed in the Alltech Arena during the ANHS.

The Kentucky Horse Park is located at 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. The KHP is 8 miles northeast of Lexington at Exit 120 on Interstate 75.

2245 Stone Garden Lane Lexington, KY 40513
Cindy Bozan
email: cindy@nhs.org
Phone: (859) 608-3709
Fax: (866) 285-9496



Vendors offering equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry and home furnishings are located in the Alltech Arena.

Additional Contacts:
Vendors – Matt Morrissey at matt.morrissey@stadiumjumping.com or call (941) 915-3457
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Sponsorship – Mason Phelps at mpjr@phelpsmediagroup.com or 561-753-3389 or Susie Webb at webb_susie@yahoo.com or 301-520-6162

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For further information on housing in the Lexington area, we invite you to visit www.visitlex.com and www.georgetownky.com.

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Margie Engle and Royce Are on a Roll, Winning the $100,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix

©ESI Photography. Margie Engle was unstoppable in the $100,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix.

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.

©ESI Photography. Michael Hughes and Luxina jump to a win in the $10,000 Junior Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic
©ESI Photography. Michael Hughes and Luxina jump to a win in the $10,000 Junior Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic

“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.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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HITS Equitation Championship Belongs to Michael Hughes

©ESI Photography. Michael Hughes topped both rounds of the HITS Equitation Championship to win aboard Landis.

OCALA, FL (March 23, 2014) – Michael Hughes is on top of his equitation game with two top finishes in two days. After finishing second to Victoria Colvin in the George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation class on Friday in Wellington, he dominated both rounds of the HITS Equitation Championship to win at HITS Ocala on Saturday.

All eyes were on the 28 riders who qualified throughout the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit in a unique event. Competitors were offered an opportunity to show off, not only as riders, but as horsemen as they turned in their cell phones and left their trainers in the stands. A warm-up judge was solely assigned to evaluate how efficiently the riders utilized their time in the warm-up ring and their effectiveness in schooling their horses. Riders banded together as they walked the courses, warmed up and competed all on their own, forming a sense of camaraderie among opponents.

Hughes, who hails from Allendale, New Jersey, has only shown Sabrina Kalimian’s Landis three times, but they have won every class they have entered. “He basically gets in the ring and does everything for me,” said Hughes. “He’s very simple, never spooks and is a lot of fun to ride.”

Leading after the first round with a score of 86, Hughes was last to go in the second round and again topped the premier 12 with a score of 90. The class took place in the recently-debuted Ocala Horse Properties Stadium and second-round riders rode their final jumps under the lights.

“It certainly brings a new level of difficulty because some horses get so spooky with the lights on – it was like some were riding a different horse in the second round,” commented Hughes. “Landis is older and nothing fazes him anymore. I have jumped in this new ring a lot in the past few weeks and it’s a lot bigger and different than what we usually get to show equitation in, so it was a great experience.”

The first round of competition included several significant rider tests, including a triple line of two bounces, as well as a six-stride line to a trot fence. With lofty goals to win at the Medal and Maclay Finals this year, Hughes rode the tests flawlessly. “Landis is so responsive, so I just touched the reins and he was already trotting,” said Hughes. “I have big plans this year, but you never know what can happen.”

Behind Hughes, Morgan Ward of Milford, New Jersey rode to scores of 81 and 85 for second and Amanda Gellis of Charlotte, Vermont was third after posting a 78 and 80, respectively. Mackenzie Michaels of Orlando, Florida earned an 83 and 71 for fourth and Sunny Drescher of Hinesburg, Vermont capped with top five with a 72 and 80.

With sufficient equitation success pocketed this week, Hughes now turns his attention to Monday’s Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. He will return to the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium this time with a chance to win the richest prize in show jumping and will pilot McArthur for Christina Fried.

“McArthur is like a big equitation horse, so I guess I won’t have much of a transition,” joked Hughes.

The Great American Million will take the stage at HITS Post Time Farm on Monday at 6 p.m. ET and will be available worldwide via live webcast, presented in cooperation with HRTV, iEquine.com and A Good Show. Tune in on Sunday at iEquine.com or HRTV.com.

©ESI Photography. Haleigh Landrigan and Acovibo on course in the $10,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
©ESI Photography. Haleigh Landrigan and Acovibo on course in the $10,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix

$10,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
The stakes for the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix reached their pinnacle this week and Haleigh Landrigan cashed in on the $10,000 offering. She piloted Acovibo to a pair of 87s for Nancy Vinal and won the final HITS Ocala qualifier for the Platinum Performance $250,000 Hunter Prix Final, which takes place during the HITS Championship this September.

Just a year ago, Landrigan of Medway, Maryland brought the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding Acovibo back to work after a three-year hiatus. The pair started in the Adult Equitation ring and just broke into the hunter prix this season with much success and several top finishes, including a win during Week I.

“Today’s course was set up perfectly for him [Acovibo],” said Landrigan. “He likes the left lead and today’s course was really open to the left lead.”

The 22-year-old rider and her former big equitation mount seemed to have both met their match and Landrigan is hopeful that they will make an appearance in the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

“We get along really well – and I think it’s because of all the time we spent together when I was getting him back into shape,” she said. “I can’t thank his owner enough for giving me the opportunity to ride him.”

Kimberly Maloomian of Needham, Massachusetts piloted Terry S. Maloomian’s Urlala to scores of 85 and 83 to finish second. Marissa Sterba of Mundelein, Illinois rode Seas Smoke to a pair of 82s for Mary Beth Canfield, while Jordynn Shaffer jumped her own Wonder Street to a 77.5 and 84 for fourth. Jenna Weiner of Miami Beach, Florida and Ferragamo’s Feature posted scores of 78.5 and 80 to cap the top five.

Platinum Performance Hunter Prix qualifiers will continue to be offered throughout the HITS Saugerties and HITS Culpeper summer circuits before the final returns to the HITS Championship this fall and offers junior and amateur hunter riders the opportunity to show for unprecedented prize money.

About Platinum Performance
Platinum Performance provides more than 10 supplements essential to your horse’s health and conditioning in just one scoop. Platinum Performance Equine addresses a horse’s total body health from joint and hoof care to athletic performance and coat health, and is the 2014 sponsor of the $250,000 Hunter Prix Final and all qualifiers. For more information on Platinum Performance, visit platinumperformance.com.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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Michael Hughes and Luxina Impressive in First Grand Prix Win of HITS Ocala Circuit

©ESI Photography. Michael Hughes and Luxina on their way to a win in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix.

OCALA, FL (March 14, 2014) – Michael Hughes is fresh off a win in the FEI Young Riders Nations Cup, where he was one of only two riders to put in a double clear performance. The momentum paid off for Hughes of Allendale, New Jersey who jumped Christina Fried’s Dutch Warmblood mare Luxina to a win in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis.

With a time allowed of 86 seconds, 32 riders attempted to best a technical course presented by grand prix course designer Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico. The course consisted of 12 obstacles and 15 jumping efforts with a long gallop from an oxer at fence seven to a vertical-oxer double combination at eight, which proved to be the most difficult line. Only seven horses qualified to return in the jump-off, which was a 10-jump course with four new fences.

The first of seven riders to challenge the jump-off was Lisa Goldman, who already has three grand prix wins this circuit, riding Centurion B for owner and trainer Mary Goldman, of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. Goldman and Centurion B jumped clean in 43.13 seconds, establishing the Great American Time to Beat, which would eventually put them in fifth place. Next to challenge the course was heavy-hitter Tracy Fenney for MTM Farm of Flower Mound, Texas on MTM Centano. With six grand prix wins already pocketed this season, Fenney bested Goldman’s time and raised the bar by one full second with a time of 42.02 seconds to finish in third place.

It was almost a ‘hat-trick’ for Michael Hughes as he narrowly missed qualifying all three of his Christina Fried-owned rides for the jump-off. With two chances for the win, Hughes returned third in the order with the first of his two mounts, Luxina. With less than two-tenths of a second to spare, Hughes and Luxina took the lead with an all-out gallop over the last two verticals, kicking clear of the timers in 41.80 seconds to take the win.

“Luxina is a very special horse; I have been riding her for three years now and she pretty much handles whatever comes her way,” said Hughes. “I sincerely want to thank Christina Fried, the owner of these great horses.”

Brandie Holloway, professional rider and trainer who is no stranger to grand prix wins herself, was fourth in the irons of Any Given Sunday, for Hays Investment Corporation of Topeka, Kansas. They were fault-free and stopped the timers at 42.05 seconds. The speedster David Beisel of Goshen, Ohio and Equine Holdings, LLC’s Ammeretto jumped clear, and appeared they might have the time, but the timers clicked at 41.87 seconds, just a single one hundredth off the top spot.

“It was really close,” said Hughes. “I had to ride hard with the tight times and in the end there was only three-tenths of a second separating the top three. It’s a great feeling when you see the board, and you think, ‘Wow, we got it’.”

Grand prix action continues this Sunday as HITS IX, the Ocala Celebration, features the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, on Sunday. Next week, all attention will turn to the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, which debuts as the second jewel in the HITS Triple Crown of Show Jumping Monday, March 24 in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium.

About SmartPak
SmartPak powers healthy horses and happy riders. The patented SmartPak Supplement Feeding System makes it easy for riders across the country to take the best care of their horses. Founded in 1999, with the purpose of simplifying the administration of nutritional supplements and medications to horses, the system has been adopted by thousands of barns and horse owners across the country, who value knowing that their supplements will be fed correctly. For more information, visit SmartPak.com.

About Zoetis
Building on 60 years of experience as Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis delivers quality medicines and vaccines, complemented by diagnostics products and genetics tests and supported by a range of services. They work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals in ways they find truly relevant. Zoetis produces a comprehensive range of safe and effective products, including equine vaccines, dewormers and sedative analgesics, to help professionals and individual horse owners keep their animals healthy. Both veterinarians and horse owners know and trust the Zoetis will help their horses live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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Hughes Cruises to Victory in the 2013 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East

Gladstone, N.J. – On Sunday, riders returned to the Dick and Jane Brown Arena at the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation Headquarters for the final day of the 2013 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East. For Phase III judges Ronnie Beard and Anne Kursinski set a demanding track that would determine which four riders would come back to contest the final phase. After showcasing their skill and poise throughout the weekend, Michael Hughes, Mattias Tromp, Charlotte Jacobs, and Allison Toffolon were called back for the final phase to determine the 2013 champion.

At the conclusion of Phase IV, Hughes was announced as a very popular winner after demonstrating phenomenal equitation and potential for future success at the highest level of the sport.

Phase III

For Phase III, the jumping phase where scores were multiplied by two, Beard and Kursinski set a track which replicated the final round course of the 2013 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final and would test the skill of every combination. Problems and rails were spread throughout the course, as riders challenged themselves to leave all the poles in place and finish within the time allowed, all while displaying supreme equitation and talent for the future.

Hughes (Allendale, N.J.) entered Phase III standing in fourth place and once again demonstrated the talent that saw him earn high scores in the flatwork and gymnastics. The John Brennan and Missy Clark trainee and Drumnacross Farm LTD’s Zagreb produced an immaculate effort over the 12 obstacle course to score 190 and finish on a three phase total of 414 and book their place into the final four.

“I knew I was in the top four (going into Phase III),” said Hughes of his strategy for the morning session. “I just wanted to maintain that position.”

Tromp (North Salem, N.Y.), who is trained by Andre Dignelli, cantered into the Dick and Jane Brown Arena standing in third place. Riding Chasonette Farm, LLC’s Zentina B, the 18-year-old stylishly answered all the questions put forth by the judges to score 184 and finish on a three phase score of 410.

Jacobs (East Aurora, N.Y.), who is also trained by Brennan and Clark, and North Star’s Stallone VDL entered Phase III in second place.  Despite lowering a rail at the Swedish oxer, the pair was able to earn a Phase III score of 176 and finish three phases on overall total of 403.

Toffolon (Bronxville, N.Y.) and her own Class Action entered Phase III just outside of a qualifying position in fifth place. The Dignelli trained paired also had a rail but their solid performance over the rest of the challenging track earned them a 174 and a three phase score of 397 vaulted them into a coveted Finals place.

The leader following the first two phases of competition, Lillie Keenan (New York, N.Y.) looked determined to earn a spot in final. However, refusals at the planks at fence three and the open water at five resulted in elimination for Keenan and Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Clearway.

Phase IV

The fourth and final phase of the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search utilizes the Show Jumping World Championships’ format where all competitors start on a score of zero and would see Hughes, Tromp, Jacobs, and Toffolon ride their own horses as well as those of the finalists over a shortened course.

After Jacobs and Stallone VDL had an uncharacteristic refusal resulting in a fall of Jacobs at fence three and subsequent refusals with Tromp and Hughes, trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan made the decision in consultation with management and the judges to withdraw Stallone VDL from the remainder of Phase IV. It was determined that no scores would be counted for the gelding and the final placings would be decided by the scores produced on Hughes’, Tromp’s and Toffolon’s horses.

“The welfare of the horse comes first,” said Beard of Stallone VDL who was later diagnosed with a strained muscle but not found to have a serious injury. “It wasn’t in his best interest to try one more time.”

Hughes proved to be a popular winner as he not only guided his own horse around the course excellently but also found a rapport with the other finalist’s partners. With his own horse the 17-year-old showcased the ability he had demonstrated throughout the weekend to produce a confident and stylish round, scoring 95. Hughes followed that up with a polished effort on Zentina B for which he was awarded a 95 and completed the day scoring a 95 on Class Action after a forward and flowing round.

“When we got to the top four I was hoping for consistent rounds within the time allowed and no rails down,” said Hughes of his plan for the final phase.

Hughes, who was a Team Gold medalist at the 2013 Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North, will head to many of the top equitation finals this fall but feels that the challenges presented at the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals are extremely important.

“I think it really challenges us,” said Hughes. “Having to prepare your horse and having to walk (the courses) on your own, and with the gymnastics are you going to trot in or canter. It’s a good challenge.”

Tromp rode to Reserve Champion honors after producing three polished trips in Phase IV. In round one, the 18-year-old rode Zentina B in an efficient trip to score 93. He then secured his second place finish riding Class Action to a score of 89 and Zagreb to a 90.

“My plan in the beginning was to be in the top five or 10 so I had a shot for the final four,” said Tromp of his plan for the week. “I was happy with my performance.”

Toffolon finished the weekend in third place after scoring 90 with Class Action, 84 with Zagreb and 88 with Zentina B. Additionally, the 17-year-old was thrilled when Class Action was awarded the Grappa Award as Best Horse in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East.

“I know he’s a straight-forward horse, and he would be good for them (Hughes, Tromp, and Jacobs)”, said Toffolon. “I was hoping he would be Best Horse.”

Jacobs rebounded quickly from her fall from Stallone VDL to produce solid efforts with her competitor’s horses and finish in fourth place. With Class Action she was awarded an 85, then rode Zagreb to a 89 and finished the competition with a score of 65 for her round on Zentina B.

Beard and Kursinski were pleased not only with the top finishers but with all the riders that traveled to Gladstone.

“This competition is meant to challenge all the riders and find future team members,” said the judges. “Everyone will have learned something.”

By Helen Murray

Video-on-Demand from the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East can be found on the USEFNetwork.com presented by SmartPak. To find video, photos and news, visit: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2013USEFShowJumpingTalentSearchFinals/.

To learn more about the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals, visit: https://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsdisciplines/discipline/alljumping/sjTalentSearch.aspx.

Michael Hughes Earns Top Call at Region Two ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Regional Championships

Michael Hughes and Curtis. Photos by Rebecca Walton.

North Salem, NY – September 14, 2013 – Each year, junior riders work diligently to earn points for the ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Regional Championships. Today, the top competitors from Region 2 gathered at Old Salem Farm during the at 2013 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W to showcase their skills and qualify for the ASPCA Maclay Championships at the Alltech National Horse Show. After an over fences phase, a flat phase, and a test of the top four, it was Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ, earning the win aboard Curtis, owned by North Run of Warren, VT.

Sixty-one entries competed in the first phase over fences for judge Ralph Caristo in the Indoor Arena at Old Salem Farm. The course began with ‘S’-shaped bending line from a vertical to an oxer to a vertical. The competitors then continued to a direct vertical-oxer line, before making a bending line from a single vertical to a vertical-oxer in-and-out. Riders then continued to another bending line, before finishing with a long approach to a single oxer on the diagonal.

After the over fences phase, riders were divided into four groups for the flat phase. Beginning on the left lead, they were asked to drop their irons and showcase a sitting trot, rising trot, and canter. They then were able to pick up their irons, reverse direction, and show the same gaits on the right lead.

At the end of the evening four riders were called back for the final test in reverse order: Victoria Colvin, Megan MacPherson, Michael Hughes, and Lillie Keenan. They had to begin with the ‘S’-shaped line, cantering the first vertical, counter cantering the oxer, and trotting the second vertical. They then hand galloped a single oxer on the diagonal before halting at the end of the ring and trotting back to the line.

Victoria Colvin went first with VIP Z, showcasing a beautiful hand gallop that helped her edge up into the third place position. Megan MacPherson was the first rider to land in the counter canter with Great Expectations, but a slower hand gallop garnered the fourth place award.

Michael Hughes was next with Curtis, and despite their new partnership they were ready to win. The duo landed in the counter canter before taking a sharp inside turn to the trot jump, and making a precise halt after hand galloping the oxer.

Lillie Keenan and Clearway
Lillie Keenan and Clearway

Lillie Keenan made the same inside turn with Clearway, and executed a very even trot jump, but Hughes’ brilliant test was enough for him to claim the lead while Keenan placed second.

“The first round I just wanted to have a smooth round. I wasn’t really trying to win it; I just wanted to get qualified for Kentucky,” admitted Hughes. “This is only the second time I have shown Curtis, so I was just hoping it would go well.”

Hughes only began showing Curtis at the Hampton Classic, where the won two classes, but the flat phase and test added a new element for the pair. “He’s very easy; he’s very straightforward,” noted Hughes. “He has a big stride and he’s easy to find the jumps on. I had never been in a flat class with him, but I know he doesn’t have a bouncy trot, so we would be fine without our stirrups. In the test, I was going to try and land the lead after the first jump, but I never counter cantered him or did a trot jump on him. I figured I would try it because I knew I was in the top four and knew I was qualified. It all worked out.”

Hughes trains with Missy Clark of North Run, who was very pleased with his first round of the day. “I thought it was a really beautiful trip,” she stated. “It was accurate an efficient, and he answered the questions that were posed by the course. His position is so strong; he’s such a strong, accurate rider, so I was really pleased with both his performance and the horse because Michael hadn’t done a lot with the horse. It was a good match.”

Clark continued, “During the test he really went and got it. He started the test and when he landed the lead he was in it to win it. That’s the hardest test, and it was a really short turn. I thought it was a great test.”

Old Salem Farm has proved to be the perfect venue for the Regional Championship. “They have done such a beautiful job,” expressed Clark. “It is probably one of the best shows in the country. It feels very European in flavor with the grass field and the setting. It was great effort on the part of everyone that manages the show and it’s exciting for the kids to be here and have the opportunity to watch the Gold Cup.”

All of the top entries from today’s Regional Championship have qualified for the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay National Championship at the Alltech National Horse Show. The 2013 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W at Old Salem Farm will continue tomorrow with the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W World Cup Qualifier, presented by Suncast, which gets underway at 2:00 p.m. on the Grand Prix Field.

About the American Gold Cup

The American Gold Cup features world-class and Olympic athletes, such as Beezie Madden, reigning FEI Rolex World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward. Also confirmed to compete are show jumping mega-stars Kent Farrington, Margie Engle, Pan American Games Gold Medalist Christine McCrea and many more, all vying to secure their position at the World Cup Finals in Lyon, France.

The featured event, the coveted $200,000 American Gold Cup, Presented by Suncast, will be held on Sunday, September 15, 2013 and broadcast on NBC Sports Network the following Sunday, September 22, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. EST.

Old Salem Farm, located an hour north of New York City, boasts a state-of-the-art stabling facility, an historic pristine grass Grand Prix field and outstanding competition and schooling arenas, all of which are surrounded by one of the world’s most quaint and picturesque competition venue settings. For the past two years, the Old Salem Farm competitions have been recognized by the North American Riders Group (NARG) on their NARG Top 25 List. For more information on Old Salem Farm, including its year-long competition schedule, prize lists, clinics, boarding, lessons and training, visit www.oldsalemfarm.net.

For further information, visit: www.stadiumjumping.com or www.theamericangoldcup.com.

43rd Annual American Gold Cup Fast Facts

What: The $200,000 American Gold Cup FEI World Cup Qualifying Competition CSI4*-W

When: September 11-15, 2013

Where: Old Salem Farm, 190 June Road, North Salem, NY

8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday with the ASPCA Regional Championships on Saturday afternoon
Sunday: Gates open at 11 a.m. with family activities with the $200,000 American Gold Cup, Presented by Suncast, an FEI World Cup Qualifying Competition CSI4*-W at 2 p.m.

Facility: Old Salem Farm is New York State’s Westchester County’s premier equestrian facility, offering 26 annual competitions, boarding, top-level training and sales. It offers state-of-the-art facilities surrounded by 120 gorgeous acres.

Stalls are 10 x 10 and housed under canvas. The FEI stalls are 10 x 12 and stabling area will be secured by fencing with 24/7 security. FEI horses will be scheduled to school separately from non-FEI horses. Schedules will be posted and riders will be given notification of times during the horse inspection.

Available on the grounds

From Interstate 84 or Interstate 287: Take interstate 684 to exit 8 (Hardscrabble Road), turn right. Old Salem Farm is on the right.

Before Show – before 9/7/12 941-744-5465 800-237-8924
During Show – 914-669-5610  ext 201
Stable office – 941-744-5465
Prize List Advertising – 941-744-5465
Vendors – Matt Morrissey 941-915-3457

Website – www.theamericangoldcup.com


Results are available at www.ShowNet.biz. Coverage of American Gold Cup will be provided by ShowNet to the USEF Network at: http://usefnetwork.com/.

Televised Broadcast: The 2013 American Gold Cup, Presented by Suncast will be broadcast on NBC Sports Sunday, September 22 at 4:30 p.m. EST.


Weekdays: Admission is free to the public
Saturday and Sunday: Admission is $15 per person, $10 per child 4-12 years and seniors 65+, children 3 and under are free.

Gates open at:
Wednesday – Saturday: 8 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.

Tickets are available at the gate and online at www.theamericangoldcup.com.

Jockey Club:

The Jockey Club offers full service gourmet cuisine and beverages for tables of six and eight. Click here to reserve your Jockey Club table. New this year, The American Gold Cup is adding luxury suites for parties of 10 or more on the second floor of the Jockey Club. For more information and to reserve your American Gold Cup luxury suite, contact Matt Morrissey at: matt.morrissey@stadiumjumping.com.

Charity Partners:

JustWorld International


Sponsorship Opportunities:

April Wehle

Connie Sawyer

Advertising Opportunities:

Mary Silcox 800-237-8924

Ring dimensions and footing:
Grand Prix Field 350′x450′, footing bluegrass mix turf. Grand Prix Annex 200′x250′, Schooling 130′x170′. Jumper Annex 146′x307′, Schooling 155′x173′. Indoor 115′x195′, Schooling 74′x135′. Hunter 138′x243′, Schooling 108′x158′. Footing in all arenas is all weather German-designed fiber and sand.


Official Hotel of the American Gold Cup
Danbury Crown Plaza
(877) 270 1393

Ridgefield, NY
West Lane Inn (203) 438-7323

Brewster, NY 5-10 min
Heidi’s Motel (845) 279-8011

Mt. Kisco, NY 5-10 min
Holiday Inn (914) 241-2600

Danbury, CT 10-20 min from grounds
Hilton Gardens (203) 205-2000
Comfort Inn (203) 205-0800
Danbury Plaza (203) 795-0600
Ethan Allen (203) 774-1776
Spring Hill Suites (203) 744-7333
Residence Inn (203) 797-1256

Stadium Jumping, Inc.
1301 Sixth Ave. West, Suite 406
Bradenton, FL 34205
Tel: 941-744-5465
Fax: 941-744-0874

Media Contact:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Boulevard, Suite 105 Wellington, FL 33414
Tel: 561.753.3389  Fax: 561.753.3386

Michael Hughes Pockets SSG Riding Gloves Bonus

Michael Hughes won a $1,000 bonus from SSG Riding Gloves for wearing SSG ‘Digitals’ at the 2013 Equestrian Festival. Photo – Sportfot

January 13, 2013 – Wellington, Florida – Michael Hughes of Allendale, NJ, scored his first bonus in the SSG Riding Gloves ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion by winning the $10,000 High Junior Jumper Classic on Sunday, January 13, at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

Of the 21 entries in Sunday’s $10,000 High Junior Jumper Classic, 17 were wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style riding gloves to be eligible for the $1,000 cash bonus.  Nine horses qualified for the jump-off, including Hughes who posted a clear round in the winning time of 32.25 seconds riding MacArthur.

“It’s a great way to get people to wear the gloves,” said Hughes, 17, of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion.  “They are great gloves.  They never seem to wear down.  Even after lots of wear, they are still totally fine.”

Coached by his father, Eamonn Hughes, Hughes is a veteran of the Junior Jumper division.  He has been riding MacArthur for the past year and, in September, competed with him in the $1 million Grand Prix in Saugerties, NY.

Continue reading Michael Hughes Pockets SSG Riding Gloves Bonus

Michael Hughes Pockets His First Grand Prix Victory in Thursday’s SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala

©ESI Photography. Michael Hughes and Drumnacross Farm Ltd.’s Mac Arthur sailed to victory in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

OCALA, FL (March 9, 2012) – Michael Hughes was all smiles at the conclusion of Thursday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Ocala. The sixteen-year-old from Allendale, New Jersey posted the only double clear round of the day to win his first-ever Grand Prix aboard Drumnacross Farm Ltd.’s Mac Arthur.

“My dad [Eammon Hughes] and I picked this horse to be my first Grand Prix horse because of his speed and scope,” said Hughes. The decision paid off this week as Hughes cashed a $7,500 first-place check.

Course Designer Danny Foster of Milton, Ontario challenged 30 horses and riders to 13 obstacles in Thursday’s class, which included a triple combination at fence six, a double at fence nine and a sizable final effort at fence 13.

“I designed the course to make it challenging, but not so big,” said Foster. “It was long, so the horses got a little tired.”

Continue reading Michael Hughes Pockets His First Grand Prix Victory in Thursday’s SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala