Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

Megan Elphick and Richard Waygood’s Eventing Masterclass Returns to London International 2024

Megan Elphick taking part in last year’s Masterclass at London International Horse Show 2023 @LondonInternationalHorseShow/PeterNixon

The organisers of London International Horse Show are delighted to announce the first in the LeMieux Masterclass series for this year’s Show, which takes place at ExCeL London from 18-22 December 2024.

The eventing-focused masterclass, Grassroots to Glory, will take place on Friday 20 December in the New Horizon Plastics London Arena, and will feature world-renowned coach Richard Waygood MBE alongside YouTube personality and equestrian Megan Elphick. The pair will be joined by a top event rider to be selected this Summer after the Paris Olympics.

Bringing the outdoors indoors, the session will focus on how to improve cross-country riding and technique across a range of obstacles and challenges in an arena setting. Perfect for picking up tips to practice over the long winter months, coach Richard Waygood will use a mix of poles and indoor cross-country fences provided by Jump for Joy to design a series of exercises suitable for all levels, aimed at improving confidence, capability, and technique. The Masterclass provides the perfect way for eventing fans to keep their training momentum up over the winter; Grassroots to Glory will showcase the best of both top-level talent and grassroots graft.

Currently the British Equestrian Federation’s Technical Director and Eventing Performance Manager, Richard Waygood has a string of achievements, including riding at the Mars Badminton Horse Trials and at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, and his long tenure as Riding Master of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, alongside an MBE for services to equestrianism.

YouTuber Megan Elphick will be making her third appearance in a Masterclass at the London International, following packed-out performances in last year’s session with Laura Collett, and 2022’s session with Pippa Funnell.

Richard Waygood stated: “I’m delighted to be coming back to London International Horse Show this year with Grassroots to Glory after we had such a great time last year. Hopefully the crowd around the New Horizon Plastics London Arena will be inspired by this Summer’s sport and enjoy a new take on cross-country training. We had great fun in 2023 with Meg and Laura Collett, so I’m looking forward to pushing Meg out of her comfort zone again this year!”

Megan Elphick added: “I can’t wait to return to London this year for another LeMieux Masterclass – it was brilliant to see such a great turnout in 2023! Richard managed to make last year’s exercises applicable to both me and Laura Collett, which is an impressive gap to bridge… so definitely one to come and watch, regardless of your level! See you there.”

Elsewhere at the Show, Megan will also be making two appearances on the Live Zone for Meet & Greet sessions, on Thursday 19 December at 17:30 and Friday 20 December at 10:00. Both Meet & Greets will be first come, first served, open to that day’s ticket holders.

For more information, please contact: Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Stop Funding Failure That Is Killing Wild Horses – Fund Proven Success Instead

9 years ago, I predicted the current situation in writing, in an article published by HorseTalk NZ.

Some people argued back then that Fertility Control would stop roundups… they were conned by some wild horse advocates and Orgs and the BLM, all making money off the plight of wild horses.

Looking back over the past 30 years, and even over the last 3 years, the use of Chemical Sterilization (a.k.a.: Fertility Control) has NOT STOPPED ANY ROUNDUPS!

Learn more in this 2-minute video.

In fact, roundups have intensified over the past 3 years, and wild horses are now teetering on the cliff of genetic bottlenecking due to genetic erosion, thanks to Orgs like the *greedy American Wild Horse Campaign (a.k.a.: Wild Horse Conservation). (*2022 IRS 990s show them sitting on over $5M in assets almost doubling year over year!)

Three years ago, I once again predicted in writing the situation that has unfolded today! 

For the sake of the survival of wild horses, please read and share this important article.

Today, 9 years later, after a massive group email warning wild horse advocates way back then, people are finally starting to catch on as roundups have intensified to levels never seen before, coupled with Slaughter and unfettered abuses by the Government.

RESULTS is all that matters for wild horses in deep trouble, NOT TALK!

Wild Horse Fire Brigade is the ONLY wild horse Org that:

>Saved and protected an entire herd of heritage wild horses using a legal method.  We now own, naturally manage, and protect 150 Heritage wild horses that have lived on the OR/CA border for centuries.

Wild Horse Fire Brigade is the ONLY wild horse Org that:

> Successfully rewilded nearly 100 wild horses that were headed to slaughter, which includes the 65 we rewilded in 2023.

And we are working on implementing a collaborative pilot to rewild 1,000 horses at risk in Nevada and move them off that economic battlefield into an appropriate wilderness outside Nevada.

Wild Horse Fire Brigade is the ONLY wild horse Org that:

>Teaches a successful wild horse ecology ethology and equine wildfire fuels field study/research program, managed via a university and equine PhD with CAL STATE Univ.  Our Org funds the program with CAL STATE students.

Wild Horse Fire Brigade is the ONLY wild horse Org that:

>Has proven (during an actual wildfire) that wild horses can mitigate wildfire via fuels management and studied wild horse behavior during an actual wildfire.

Your donations have helped us accomplish these things and more.

However, even though we are an all-volunteer org and we receive NO salaries like some others (we do it because it’s the right thing to do), we must fund the costs of our multiple effective programs. And we are growing, so our hard costs are also growing!  We are totally dependent upon donations to continue these critically important programs.

WE URGENTLY NEED DONATIONS TO KEEP UP THESE EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS.

Please go to our secure PayPal portal and make a donation today that will have a positive effect! We can accept any credit or debit cards at our secure PayPal link:

PayPal Donation Portal

— By William E. Simpson II, Wild Horse Fire Brigade

Visit www.wildhorsefirebrigade.org for more information.

The Fifth Leg of the Nations Cup in Eventing Takes Place in June in Strzegom

Photo: Leszek Wójcik

The competition for the Nations Cup in equestrian triathlon and medals of the Polish championships will take place in June at the hippodrome in Morawa during LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials.

The FEI Eventing Nations Cup competition season kicked off in May in Montelibretti, Italy. The race for valuable points features eight legs held in Europe. The fifth one will be decided in Strzegom. In Poland, it will be the highest-ranked eventing competition, i.e. the equestrian triathlon in which the riders compete in three trials: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.

In addition to the Nations Cup, the sports programme includes as many as ten international classes with a difficulty level of one to four stars, including competitions for all youth categories. The event will also feature a battle for medals of the Polish Young Riders and Junior Championships. It will also be the last chance to check out the form of the Polish representatives, whom we will soon see at the Olympic Games in Paris.

There is more to fight for than the podium placings alone. For some pairs, the event will be the last chance to obtain the minimum qualification requirements for participation in the Olympic Games in Paris. And for many riders in the junior categories, it will be an important stage of preparation for the European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors in Eventing, which will be held in Strzegom in August.

“In Strzegom, we are in for more than just a sporting spectacle. We are planning many attractions for the public, and the cross-country route has been designed so that the spectators will have the chance to witness incredible sporting emotions at their fingertips,” says Marcin Konarski, chairman of the organising committee.

The programme includes, among other things, performances of stuntmen who will showcase their voltaic skills in a demonstration of the jigit, which originated in the Caucasus, and a dog agility show.

The competition will take place from 20 to 23 June at the hippodrome in Morawa near Strzegom in Lower Silesia. Entry to the competition is free of charge.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

A Beginner’s Guide to Equestrian Eventing Competitions

Introduction to Eventing

This is my favorite riding discipline. I was working toward riding in cross-country/eventing competitions, but I had too many falls off of my other horse, with broken ribs and more, that I had to promise my employer that I wouldn’t jump.

That was tough. I didn’t really quit jumping, but I didn’t compete in it. I stayed with Dressage, which is usually easier on the body.

Table of Contents

Cross-country equestrian jumping is one of the three phases in the sport of eventing. It can also stand alone as a competition, often called hunter trials or simply “cross-country,” typically held as lower-level, local events.

EVENTING/CROSS-COUNTRY

I will walk you through the ins and outs of eventing. Suppose you’re new to the equestrian scene. In that case, you’ll find out about this thrilling sport, which combines the elegance of dressage, the adrenaline rush of cross-country, and the precision of show jumping into one competition. Eventing is not just an athletic challenge for horses and riders; it’s a rigorous test of their communication, skill, and endurance.

Eventing has three distinct phases, each assessing different aspects of horsemanship.

  • First is Dressage, the ballet of equestrian sports, where horses and riders perform a sequence of predetermined movements called ‘tests’.
  • Next is the cross-country phase, which is like a steeplechase with natural obstacles and varying terrain.
  • Show jumping rounds out the competition, testing the duo’s ability to navigate a course of fences accurately.

Most people are keen to watch the cross-country phase. This phase can also stand alone as a competition, often called hunter trials or simply “cross-country,” which is typically held as lower-level, local events.

What is the history behind all this? Eventing has its roots in a comprehensive cavalry test requiring soldiers to master a variety of riding skills. It evolved into a competitive sport and made its Olympic debut in 1912. Today, eventing is a celebrated equestrian discipline with events held worldwide, attracting riders who relish the challenge of excelling in all three phases.

Getting Started in Eventing

I will walk you through the initial steps to ‘jump’ into the world of eventing. This isn’t just about getting your feet wet; it’s a full plunge into a thrilling equestrian sport.

First, understanding the different levels of competition is crucial. Eventing tiers range from beginner or intro levels to advanced, each with its own challenges and requirements. I suggest starting at a comfortable level for both you and your horse.

Andrew Hoy and Master Monarch jump one of the mushrooms at Coutts Curve during the cross-country phase of Burghley Horse Trials 2007.

By Sffubs - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2707874
Andrew Hoy and Master Monarch jump one of the mushrooms at Coutts Curve during the cross-country phase of Burghley Horse Trials 2007. “Skinny” fences are designed to test the training of the horse and the rider’s ability to ride accurately, and provide the horse an easy “way out” if the rider does a poor job.

Don’t be surprised if, at the beginning, you select a tier that is too tough for you. The jumping part may seem easy to people just starting out in eventing. You may have jumped obstacles like this before. The Dressage phase may look easy to a novice. It’s not. This is where you need to concentrate. You need the lower scores in Dressage to advance in the jumping phases.

Understand This – Your Equipment is Your Best Ally

What You Need – The Basics

  • a saddle,
  • bridle,
  • protective boots,
  • and safety gear like
    • a helmet
    • and body protector for yourself.

Always opt for quality and comfort because in eventing, gear isn’t just about looks—it’s about performance and safety.

Finding a qualified coach or trainer can make a world of difference. I was lucky to find a good trainer, Kathy Daly, fairly early in my competition life. A good trainer will guide you through the complexities of the sport and ensure you and your horse are competition-ready. Choose someone that resonates with you—you’ll be spending a lot of time together.

You can always adjust your approach as you grow in the sport, but it’s key to start on the right ‘hoof’, lol. So, as you mull over this information, don’t focus too much on perfection. Your first attempt doesn’t need to be your last. Instead, it’s about learning and enjoying the journey with your equine partner.

Training for Your First Event

Embarking on your first eventing competition can be exhilarating, but it will also require dedication. Your trio of disciplines—dressage, cross-country, and show jumping—demand distinct skill sets, both for you and your horse.

DRESSAGE PHASE IN EVE NTING/CROSS-COUNTRY COMPETITION Photo by chris clark: https://www.pexels.com/photo/young-female-jockey-riding-horse-during-training-in-arena-5784513/

Let’s start with the choreography of horse and rider: dressage. This phase lays the foundation for the rest of the competition, emphasizing precision, elegance, and harmony. Begin with the basics—work on your posture, the horse’s gait transitions, and maintaining a steady rhythm. The secret here is consistency, so regular practice sessions are key.

EVENTING PHASE Photo by TheOther Kev: https://www.pexels.com/photo/an-equestrian-in-action-5655497/

Now for the adrenaline rush—cross-country. Building trust between you and your mount is crucial, as you’ll face natural obstacles like water, ditches, and logs. Start with lower fences, and gradually introduce more complex challenges as your confidence grows. Cross-country is a test of endurance, so cardiovascular fitness for you and your horse is paramount.

SHOW JUMPING & FINAL PHASE OF EVENTING Photo by Aliaksei Semirski: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-riding-a-horse-jumping-on-a-hurdle-13814413/

Show jumping is all about accuracy and timing. Jump courses are designed to challenge your ability to navigate a series of obstacles. Practice will include lots of repetitive drills to help your horse understand stride lengths and improve your reflexes for tight turns and swift corrections.

In my opinion, the most successful eventing pairs are those with a strong bond. So, don’t forget to invest time in simply getting to know your horse—its likes, dislikes, and cues. This connection will shine through in competition.

Remember, eventing is a marathon, not a sprint. Your first attempt doesn’t need to be your last, so learn from every round and every jump. Now, you’re ready to take the final steps before the big day.

Preparing for the Competition

You’ve clocked in countless hours of training, and the event day is just around the corner. Here’s what you’ll find out about ensuring you’re as ready as your horse when the big day arrives.

Know the itinerary. Eventing competitions typically start with dressage, followed by cross-country, and end with show jumping on the last day. Each phase has its schedule, and you must be fully aware of the timings.

Your pre-competition checklist is essential. This isn’t just about ensuring you have all the necessary tack and attire for you and your horse; it’s also about attending to all those last-minute details.

It’s critical that you have

  • your competition numbers,
  • health papers for your horse,
  • and any other required documents.

The day before the competition, pack up your gear. Double-check that you have everything you need – helmets, boots, saddles, bridles, grooming supplies, and of course, treats for your horse.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. A good night’s sleep will keep you sharp, and eating a healthy meal will give you the energy you need to compete at your best.

Your horse’s well-being is paramount. In the run-up to the event, stick to your usual feeding and exercise routine to keep your horse settled. If you make nutritional adjustments for increased energy or focus, plan to do this well in advance to avoid any adverse reactions.

Remember, a successful competition is about showing up well-prepared. You can always adjust your approach down the road, but a solid foundation will set you up for success on your first eventing experience.

Essential Eventing Rules and Etiquette

What’s an eventing competition without a set of ground rules and proper conduct? This section will explain the framework that keeps the sport fair and enjoyable for everyone involved. It’s not just about the dos and don’ts; it’s also about embracing the spirit of eventing. Each element plays a vital role, from scoring intricacies to the value of good sportsmanship.

Scoring in eventing is unique, blending precision, speed, and form. Your performance in each phase determines your overall score. Lower scores mean better performance here, which is a bit different from what you might expect in other sports. Understanding penalties for refusals, falls, or time penalties is crucial. I’ll walk you through the common reasons for penalties so you can avoid them.

Safety is paramount. Helmets, body protectors, and proper footwear are more than just recommended—they’re often mandatory. This event isn’t just about looking good; it’s about staying safe. Always check the rules about equipment for both horse and rider; they’re updated regularly to prioritize welfare.

Your attire speaks volumes in eventing. It’s part of the tradition, but don’t worry too much about it; choose something that fits well and is within the regulations. For dressage, think polished and poised. Cross-country colors can express your personality, but in show jumping, tradition usually retakes the reins.

I’m here to teach you sportsmanship, too. Acknowledge your fellow competitors, be gracious in victory, and be considerate in defeat. This community is thrilling and supportive, so show gratitude to organizers, volunteers, and fellow eventers whenever you can. A thank you can go a long way here.

Closing Thoughts on Beginning Your Eventing Journey

I will wrap up our beginner’s guide to eventing, but this is just the starting point of an exhilarating adventure. Eventing isn’t just about the competition; it’s also about the incredible bond you’ll form with your horse and the personal achievements you’ll experience along the way.

Don’t worry too much about getting everything perfect on your first try. Eventing is a learning process; every competition can teach you something new about your horse, your skills, and yourself. You can always adjust your approach as you gain more experience and confidence.

Choose something that resonates with you – a particular phase of eventing, a style of training, or a role model in the sport – and use that as your inspiration. Remember, this sport has a lot of opportunities to grow and push your boundaries.

If you’re excited about the prospect of entering your first eventing competition, I hope you take that next step. Start attending events, get involved with your local eventing community, and maybe even volunteer. It’s not just about riding but being part of something bigger.

Finally, I’d love to hear your feedback on this guide or any questions you might have as you embark on your eventing journey. Drop your comments below, and let’s help each other progress in this thrilling sport. Here’s to your success in the eventing arena!

Faurie’s Fairytale Freestyle at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Emile Faurie (GBR) and Bellevue @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

Dressage once again was at the forefront of the action on day two of Royal Windsor Horse Show. Competitors pulled out all the stops with high-energy performances accompanied by complex musical productions in The Defender CSI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle in the Castle Arena.

Elsewhere across the private grounds of Windsor Castle, Showing got underway with Championships taking place for the Working Hunter sponsored by Irish Horse Board, the Coloured divisions sponsored by the Leeman Family, and the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Horse supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse.

National Showjumping saw some of the country’s best up-and-coming horses take centre stage in The Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises, with The LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition providing a thrilling competition for spectators.

BELLE(VUE) OF THE BALL

The pinnacle class of the day, The Defender CSI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle, took place with 10 combinations competing for the highly sought-after prize. Ever-popular, the Freestyle sees horses and riders competing to their own specifically chosen music track and floorplan, matched to a set number of the complex moves required at this level of Dressage. Unlike in the Grand Prix, judges provide two sets of marks, one for the technical execution and the other for artistic impression.

First into the Castle Arena was Britain’s Lisa Marriott, who was making her debut at the Show. Set to the iconic soundtrack from ‘The Holiday’, Marriott impressed judges to set the standard with a total score of 67.160%. Compatriot Nicholas Kröncke and Flanell – competing in only their second Freestyle test together – then took the lead with 71.100%. The German-born rider, who took a 17-year hiatus from top level sport and returned in 2021, changed nationalities at the beginning of this year to compete for Great Britain, having previously ridden successfully as part of the German Youth teams.

Australia’s Championship combination of Jayden Brown and Willingapark Quincy B could not quite match the personal best of 75.485% they set at CDI3* Hartpury last summer. However, their score of 74.415% was enough to put them into the top spot at this stage of the competition. Two further riders took to the iconic arena prior to the midway break – China’s Sarah Rao and Italy’s Nathalie Wahlund – however, neither could reach the score set by Brown.

After an interval, it was the second placed combination’s turn to canter down the centre line. Emile Faurie once again proved why he has represented Britain at Championship level so many times as he – much to the delight of the crowd – set the new standard of 76.280% with Bellevue. None of the remaining combinations, which included Gareth Hughes and Classic Goldstrike, could produce a test which matched the harmony and precision set by Faurie. Faurie’s victory in The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Freestyle capped a fabulous competition at Windsor, with Britain’s Lewis Carrier taking second and Singapore’s Caroline Chew completing the top three.

Following his win, Emile Faurie said: “It’s been a weird build-up to the Show because she [Bellevue] threw a splint six weeks ago, but she’s such an incredible, honest mare and she came and did her thing. Unfortunately, at the beginning of last year, I was diagnosed with cancer, so that led to significant time off and some serious operations, but I luckily had my great team and my rider Tom behind me to be able to get back on and go on to win today.”

Faurie went on to say: “I kept the programme quite simple as this was only Bellevue’s third ever Freestyle, but the music was composed by Tom Hunt especially; it’s an original score for us as a pairing.”

The victor closed with: “It’s always special to be here at Royal Windsor; it has that little extra magic – you don’t find that backdrop of the Castle anywhere else in the world. The English are such a ‘horse nation’ so the atmosphere from the crowd is amazing; you can feel their energy, and even when they’re silent you can hear them willing every rider on.”

HERE COME THE GIRLS

National Show Jumping got under way with the Redpost Equestrian Senior Foxhunter – First Round, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises. Of the 98 starters, it was Sally Goding with the seven-year-old mare Red Head who triumphed with a double clear in a time of 31.81, almost a second faster than Natasha Hewitt in second. Goding is a previous winner at Royal Windsor Horse Show, having also won The LeMieux 1.40m Open Jumping Competition in both 2022 and 2023. The 12 highest placed six-year-olds from this class qualified for The Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship, sponsored by Martin Collins Enterprises. Of these, five combinations made it through to the jump-off against the clock, with the Billy Stud’s Billy At Last coming out on top under Lucy Townley, and Nicole Lockhead Anderson coming in second by just a third of a second.

It was a successful day for Lockhead Anderson, who went one better in the next class to claim The LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition with the eight-year-old gelding Mecoblue PS, by Messenger. The ‘Single Phase’ competition is always hotly contested, and this year included notable entries from World No. 2 Ben Maher and Royal Windsor Horse Show Ambassador Joseph Stockdale, who placed seventh and eighth, respectively.

Lockhead Anderson stated: “It’s great to be here riding in the beautiful Castle Arena in the LeMieux National 1.40m Open Jumping Competition at Royal Windsor Horse Show, we’re very lucky in Britain to have a show like it, and winning makes it even more special!”

Talking about her horse, Lockhead Anderson said: “Mecoblue PS is fantastic; he just gets better and better.” She went on to say: “He is very green but finds jumping the big jumps easy – he’s definitely one for the future – he gives you the feeling he could be here in the 5* next year.”

The British rider closed by saying: “We ended up flying to the last fence; he has a huge stride and luckily he trusted me to go for it; it paid off because we only just beat Ronnie Jones by a second.”

HM THE KING TAKES THE CROWN

HM The King struck gold twice in the Showing at Royal Windsor Horse Show, courtesy of First Receiver.

His Majesty’s ex-racehorse First Receiver first strode to victory in the hugely popular RoR (Retraining of Racehorses) Tattersalls Thoroughbred In-Hand Show Series Qualifier (Flat) supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse for the second year running, and then captured the overall Championship, exhibited by Chris Hunnable. Not long afterwards, First Receiver changed modes to win the RoR Tattersalls Ridden Show Series Qualifier (Flat) supported by Royal Windsor Racecourse with Katie Jerram-Hunnable in the saddle. To Jerram-Hunnable’s amazement and delight, they went on to land that Championship too.

Essex-based Jerram-Hunnable has shown horses for the Royal Family for many years, and one of her major success stories came with Her Late Majesty The Queen’s ex-racehorse Barbers Shop, who took every title on the show circuit in his second career and even stood overall Supreme of Show here at Royal Windsor.

First Receiver, a seven-year-old bay gelding, joined Jerram-Hunnable three years ago, after Her Late Majesty The Queen was considering a replacement for Barbers Shop.

“Her Majesty asked me to go to Sandringham and give her an opinion on this one,” said Katie. “He was still entire then, but I thought he had enormous potential as a future riding horse — three weeks later he came to my yard and he hasn’t left since!”

Jerram-Hunnable said: “It’s always very special to win at Windsor, but to do so with a horse belonging to the reigning monarch is a moment to treasure and I was amazed to take the Ridden Championship against some very strong competition.”

As a five-year-old, First Receiver won the Novice RoR title at the Royal International Horse Show, and the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Final at Horse of the Year Show.

“We put him away after Windsor last year, as we felt he would benefit from some time out,” added Jerram-Hunnable, who intends to show him in Novice Riding Horse ranks.

Courses for the popular Working Hunter classes proved as testing as ever, and after two absorbing competitions, the overall Working Hunter Championship sponsored by Irish Horse Board title in the Castle Arena went to first-time Royal Windsor winner, Lancashire-based Adele Hanson with her upstanding Heavyweight victor, 12-year-old Irish-bred The Top Drawer.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Simon McCarthy Speeds to Victory on Opening Day of ESP Spring III

Simon McCarthy & Gotcha © Sportfot

Ireland’s Simon McCarthy opened the second week of the 2024 ESP Spring Series, presented by Florida Coast Equipment, on Thursday with a win in the $32,000 Florida Coast Equipment CIS3* 1.45m on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village, home of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival during the winter season.

For a field of 63 horses, Andy Christiansen Jr. (USA) set the two-phase course. McCarthy, 28, and Gotcha, owned by Rock Ridge Farms, topped the clock of the speed phase in 30.42 seconds, only fractions over the runner-up, Kelli Cruciotti-Vanderveen (USA) riding Forever SFN for owner Serenity Farm Show Stables, in 31.02 seconds. Third went to Grace Debney (GBR) riding Boheme de la Roque, two one-hundredths slower than Cruciotti-Vanderveen in 31.04 seconds for owner Temple Equestrian, LLC.

“I knew I needed to get through the first phase and then go for it,” said McCarthy. “In the last couple of lines there was a leave out, which I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do. When I was there, I kicked, closed my eyes, and hoped I got there. And she was right with me, so I think that’s what was the winning factor at the end.”

John French Dominates Professional Hunters

2023 USEF Equestrian of the Year, John French, was a force in the International Arena to highlight professional hunter competition on Thursday during week two of the 2024 ESP Spring Series. He piloted Royale AM to champion in the Greenberg Traurig 3’6”/3’9” Green Hunter division and Crooner Brimbelles Z to top position in the All Paws Animal Hospital High Performance/3’6” Performance Hunters.

French of Wellington, FL broke into the 90s with Royale AM, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Lasandos, owned by Robinson Ridge, LLC. Together they scored three wins and third over fences and finished third in the under saddle among Green Hunters.

The reserve champion tri-color in the Greenberg Traurig 3’6”/3’9” Green Hunter division was awarded to Corino, owned by Victoria Chaconas. Jacob Pope of Columbia, MD piloted the gelding with a win in the under saddle highlighting their performances.

Later in the day, French went on to claim top call in the All Paws Animal Hospital High Performance/3’6” Performance Hunter riding Crooner Brimbelles Z, owned by Crooks Show Jumping. The nine-year-old Zangershiede gelding by Windows vh Costersveld scored two wins and two reserve finishes over fences as well as a second-place ribbon under saddle.

Wellington International
news@wellingtoninternational.com
www.wellingtoninternational.com

Belgian Rider Victorious in Four-Star Class in Strzegom

Tine Magnus won the 4*-S class, the highest ranked one at the season-opening Strzegom Spring Open event.

The Belgian rider, riding Dia Van Het Lichterveld Z, was 11th after the dressage and jumped up into fourth thanks to a clear showjumping round. She crossed the cross-country finish line six seconds late, with no mistakes on the obstacles, and won the competition with a total of 35 penalty points.

With a loss of only 0.2 penalties to the winner, the second place went to Christoph Wahler riding D’Accord FRH – 35.2. The final placing of the German representative was determined by his dressage score. The rider scored a clear in the jumping and rode the cross-country course in exactly the same time as Tine Magnus.

Runner-up after two trials, Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt on Dynamite Jack, with cross-country time penalties, was third on the podium with 37.

The best one in the 3*S was Calvin Böckmann from Germany with Altair de la Cense – 29.4. He took the lead after the jumping and secured with a clear inside the time in the cross-country. Second place went to Malin Asai with Maggan V – 35.4. The Swedish combination was 22nd after dressage and jumped up into second after a double clear in the jumping and cross-country trials. Third place, only 0,1 behind Asai, was taken by Australia’s Andrew Hoy with Vassily de Lassos – 35.5. The best Pole of the class was Paweł Warszawski riding the Polish-bred Hatteria II, finishing 5th with 36.6.

In the 2* class, Germany’s Sophie Leube was unbeatable, taking the two first places. With Isselhook’s Asaro she won after clear jumping and XC rounds – 26.2, and with Heda she was second with 26.4. Belgium’s Lara de Liedekerke-Meier with Quintus rounded up the Top Three with 27.9.

In the 1* Intro, the win belonged to Lara de Liedekerke-Meier with Jungle Drum 3 – 27.9, followed by Germany’s Juliane Barth with Can’t Stop Caspar – 30.8 and Polish athlete Halszka Wiktowska-Nowak with Apollo – 32.2.

In the national CNC100 class, the best one was Dutch athlete Tim Lips with Quiwi – 27.5, in the CNC100-18, Polish rider Julia Rohde with Kingston – 29.1., and in the CNC80, Daria Kobiernik from Poland with Las Vegas – 30.8.

The Strzegom Spring Open kick-started the season of international eventing competitions in Poland. Four international classes in short format and three national ones were held. Almost 320 horse-and-rider combinations representing 19 countries took part.

The next edition of the Strzegom Spring Open will take place in two weeks, from 18 to 21 April.

Online results: https://livejumping.com/ap/event/10006/competitions

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl­

Adrienne Lyle Scores Grand Prix Special Win during Final Week of AGDF

Adrienne Lyle & Lars Van De Hoenderheide © SusanJStickle.com

Saturday of the last CDI of the Wellington winter season gave team USA much to be excited about. In the CDI3* Grand Prix Special, sponsored by Beatrice Marienau Dressage, Olympic team silver medalist Adrienne Lyle (USA) opted to ride Lars Van De Hoenderheide — with whom she finished second in the qualifying grand prix, just behind her other horse Helix — and the decision proved fruitful.

On the penultimate day of the 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), she and Zen Elite Equestrian Center’s 13-year-old Negro gelding, who was previously campaigned at the level by Lottie Fry (GBR) until December 2023, scored 73.192% with a solid, mistake-free performance to win the class of 14 starters.

Winners of the qualifying grand prix, Endel Ots (USA) and Zen Elite’s Bohemian — another new high-profile acquisition for owner Heidi Humphries — slotted into second in the Special with 72.49%. Their test attracted many eights, but a hop into canter at the beginning of the trot half-pass right and a miscommunication at the start of the one-time changes on the centerline quashed the score. Despite the mistakes, the 14-year-old Bordeaux gelding presented a harmonious, relaxed picture with his new rider.

The top six riders were all from the home nation, with Kasey Perry-Glass going one better than in the grand prix and finishing on the podium, in third, with Heartbeat WP. She rode the 12-year-old Charmeur gelding to 71.383% in their second ever CDI.

Lyle, who trains with Debbie McDonald, said, “I think it’s 10 weeks now that we’ve had Lars and this is the first full Special I’ve ridden through on him. I’m so incredibly happy at his energy and his honesty and his willingness. It seems like he’s starting to understand what I want and fight for me in there, which is really special in such a new relationship.

“I was really happy with his piaffe/passage tour. I got a bit braver to make the piaffe stay on the spot more and feel like I could trust that more. His canter tour is always super; he’s got super power and the changes are just a treat to ride,” she continued.

For more information and results, visit https://gdf.coth.com.

Endel Ots and Adrienne Lyle Debut New Olympic Hopefuls and Dominate in Final CDI of AGDF 2024

Endel Ots & Bohemian © SusanJStickle.com

Much-anticipated appearances by new horse-and-rider combinations — spearheaded by Endel Ots and Zen Elite’s Bohemian — were the flavor of the day on Thursday, March 28. It marked the opening day of week 12 — the final CDI of the 2024 season of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.

In the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix, sponsored by Beatrice Marienau Dressage, Zen Elite Equestrian’s team of three new top horses filled every podium step. Owner Heidi Humphries bought the high-profile horses Bohemian, Helix, and Lars Van De Hoenderheide for the U.S. riders Endel Ots and Olympic team silver medalist Adrienne Lyle at the end of 2023, and this was the first CDI appearance for all three.

Bohemian was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics and won freestyle silver in 2021 under Denmark’s Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour, and under the saddle of Ots he once again graced the upper echelons of the scoreboard, topping the class of 24 starters with 72.761%. The pair picked up healthy helpings of eights — particularly for piaffe and passage — but the final score was suppressed by mistakes in the two-time changes, which earned twos and threes from the panel of five judges.

Lyle, who was first to go down the centerline with Lars Van De Hoenderheide, held on to third place with the 13-year-old Negro gelding, scoring 70.652% on the horse previously campaigned by Great Britain’s Lottie Fry. Lyle went one better with her second ride, the 12-year-old Apache son Helix, whom she has taken over from Sweden’s Marina Mattsson. They slotted into second with 71.065%. Ots and Lyle led a clean sweep for the home nation, with U.S. riders filling the top six places in the class, which was a qualifier for Saturday’s Grand Prix Special.

Remarkably, Ots was making his international grand prix debut with the 14-year-old by Bordeaux. Although a seasoned competitor nationally, this was the rider’s very first grand prix in a CDI. Bohemian is no stranger to AGDF, however, as his previous owner, Dong Seon Kim (KOR), campaigned him in Wellington in 2023, but this is the horse’s first win on the circuit. He was subsequently sent to Patrik Kittel to be shown in Europe and sold, before returning stateside at the beginning of the year for new owners Zen Elite Equestrian.

“It’s all very surreal,” admitted Ots, who has trained with Albrecht Heidemann since he was 18. “You always see all the famous people like Adrienne Lyle and Kasey Perry [who finished fourth with 70% on Heartbeat WP], and I am just thankful and happy to be in there with them and part of the group.”

For more information and results, visit https://gdf.coth.com.

Grand National 2024: Assessing the Leading Contenders at Aintree

Photo: Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7446990

The Grand National at Aintree Racecourse is one of the highlights of the sporting year, providing fans with one of most thrilling spectacles on the planet.

This year’s event is scheduled to be staged on Saturday, April 13, and will once again generate massive interest in global gambling industry.

Punters often strive to build up their bankroll ahead of the big race at Aintree by wagering on other major sports events and popular casino games.

There is every chance that bettors will try their luck on blackjack on PowerPlay before the Grand National in a bid to win more money to play with on the big race.

Picking the winner of the long-distance steeplechase is no easy task, and punters who achieve the feat undoubtedly deserve to give themselves a pat on the back.

With that in mind, we have scoured the 2024 Grand National entries to pick out some of the leading contenders for victory this year.

Corach Rambler

Although the 2023 Grand National winner has been well-backed to add another victory to his CV, he will have another 13lbs to carry this time around.

Corach Rambler ran a fine race on his most recent outing, finishing third behind Galopin Des Champs in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and he should be firmly in the mix at Aintree.

However, the additional weight makes things much more difficult and it would be no surprise to see another horse triumph in this year’s race.

Vanillier

Vanillier came from a long way back to finish second in the National 2023 and is just 4lbs higher this year. That 9lb swing in the weights could be crucial against Corach Rambler.

However, the nine-year-old was disappointing in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse last month, finishing a long way behind I Am Maximus.

A record of three wins in 21 career starts is another negative, and that slight increase in the weights could be enough to scupper his chances of victory.

I Am Maximus

The aforementioned I Am Maximus appeals as the value bet in the Grand National and he may well give top Irish trainer Willie Mullins another big race winner.

The horse broke his duck over fences in last year’s Irish Grand National, prompting talk from Mullins that he would be aimed at the Aintree showpiece in 2024.

I Am Maximus has won two graded chases this season and could be well treated with just 11st 2lbs to carry in the Grand National.

Panda Boy

Panda Boy ticks plenty of ‘key trends’ boxes in the Grand National, and has been well-backed by punters since being allocated 10st 3lbs in the race.

However, while the eight-year-old has run a couple of eye-catching trials this season, he finished seven-and-three-quarter-lengths behind I Am Maximus in the 2023 Irish Grand National.

A 4lbs weight pull is useful for the Martin Brassil-trained horse, but is unlikely to be enough to turn the tables on his Fairyhouse conqueror.

Mahler Mission

Mahler Mission will bid to defy recent statistics by coming the first horse in the 21st century to win the Grand National without a prep run in the same year.

Trainer John McConnell has opted to keep his powder dry with the eight-year-old, who finished runner-up in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury in early December.

The horse was unlucky not to win the National Hunt Challenge Cup at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, and could run his rivals ragged if allowed an easy lead in front.