Tag Archives: John French

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.

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French Dazzles in $100k WCHR Peter Weatherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular

John French & Milagro. Photo © Sportfot.

World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week, sponsored by KASK, at the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to a peak on Saturday night. The country’s best hunter combinations went head-to-head in the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. For John French, it was a night of firsts as he finally captured the Spectacular win, one that has been eluding him throughout his career.

From a 42-horse field at 3’6”, 3’9”, and 4’ heights, 12 returned for a handy round. French guided Milagro, a 2015 Hanoverian gelding owned by Kent Farrington, LLC, to a high score of 94 in the opening round and returned for the handy with a few points in his pocket. They impressed the judges again and scored 93.5, finishing with a score of 187.5 and the victory.

“I think riding in this kind of atmosphere brings out the best in all horses,” said French of the impressive International Ring environment at WEF. “They were all jumping so well tonight, and I think the lights, the crowds, and the jumps really showcased the hunters. There aren’t a lot of these classes left, so we get excited for nights like this and so do our horses.”

Kenny Comes Back in CaptiveOne Advisors CIS3* 1.50m Classic

After a win in the CSi3* 1.45m slipped from his grasp on the opening day of WEF 6, Darragh Kenny (IRL) was determined to check the win column in Saturday’s CHF37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors CSI3* 1.50m Classic. He and Vancouver Dreams did just that from a stacked 15-horse jump-off over courses designed by Ana Catalina Cruz Harris (MEX) on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village.

Kenny is making quick work of finding success with a new partnership after recently acquiring Vancouver Dreams from Austria’s Max Kühner.

“I’ve actually never done a jump-off on her before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Kenny of the 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Valentino 240 x Stakkato). “She’s unbelievably careful, so I knew I could take a bit of a risk at the double, and I did and it paid off and she was brilliant.”

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John French and Milagro Master $25k USHJA International Hunter Derby Hunt-N-Go

John French & Milagro. Photo © Sportfot.

Competition in the International Ring at Wellington International drew to a close Friday afternoon with a total of 47 top hunter combinations taking to the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Perfect Products. Over a course designed by Andy Christiansen as an efficient hunt-and-go format, the lead changed hands several times throughout the one-round challenge, but ultimately the top honors were awarded to John French and eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding Milagro.

“He stands out in the hunter derbies because he has a lot of scope; he is slow in the air so I can make the tight turns on landing easily; he is very brave, and I never have to worry he’s going to look at anything,” French gushed of the gelding.

As no stranger to the victory gallop, once French got through the first half of the course, which he expressed had a few tests for himself, he knew that Milagro’s exceptional form and athleticism would take care of the rest.

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John French and Milagro Win WEF Premiere $25k USHJA International Hunter Derby

John French & Milagro. Photo © Sportfot.

John French set a high bar for the 2023 hunter season at Wellington International with Milagro on Friday. The pair jumped around effortlessly to steal the win in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during opening week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Thirty combinations set out to conquer the classic derby format class as a highlight to professional, amateur, and junior hunter competition during WEF’s 2023 debut.

Right behind French came Michael Britt-Leon and Bacchus, a 2013 Hanoverian gelding owned by Kelly Sims, in second place, followed by Greg Crolick and Zanziebar R Z, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jon Cotton, in third place.

French and Milagro, the coming eight-year-old gelding owned by Kent Farrington, LLC, claimed the derby victory over an interesting course plan in front of two panels of judges.

“The course was different; it wasn’t your typical turns, so you had to really pay attention to where you were going. There were times you thought you’d be going left, but really you were turning a little sharper to the right,” he said after posting a first-round combined score of 186. “Sometimes you do that in the handy, but there were a lot more turns today. It was definitely a true derby course and not your normal hunter course.”

Tomas Yofre Has What It Takes in Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge

Argentina’s Tomas Yofre is off and running at WEF with a victory in the Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge on Friday riding Eliante Z, a 2013 Zangersheide mare by Ermindo W. From a starting field of 62 over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck USA, Eliante Z proved she had the speed to top them all for owner by Stellium Sport Horses LLC.

“I am so thankful to Olivia Broder and her family for trusting me with this special mare,” said Yofre of the mount he’s only been partnered with since the end of the 2022 season. “She gets better and better. She is super careful and competitive, and I think she can win any class she wants.”

Sweeping the rest of the podium, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny took second on California Pie, owned by Oakland Ventures, and third aboard Cicomein VDL for owned HKC Collection LLC.

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Martin Fuchs Flies to Win in $137,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 7

Martin Fuchs and Stalando 2. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – February 20, 2020 – Swiss rider Martin Fuchs showed why he is ranked number two in the world with a win aboard Stalando 2 in Thursday’s $137,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 7 CSI5* at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Fuchs and Stalando 2 were one of 49 entries to contest Thursday’s featured class, and the duo was one of 13 combinations to jump the first-round track without fault to qualify for Spain’s Santiago Varela-designed short course.

When Fuchs entered the ring as the penultimate rider, the time to beat had been set at 40.75 seconds by Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire and Luibanta BH, owned by Gochman Sport Horses LLC.

With his spot in the order on his side and with strides left out throughout the course aboard Stalando 2, Fuchs shot straight to the top of the leaderboard with a double-clear time of 40.69 seconds.

“I watched all the riders before me,” said Fuchs. “I planned to do a stride fewer from one to two, which I did, and then also through the double, I saw Daniel Bluman leave out a stride. I tried to do the same as he did. Everything worked out very well. To the last fence, I pulled once and it scared me a bit that I wouldn’t have the time! I’m very happy with this.”

John French Pilots Babylon to Top Honors in Pre-Green 3- and 4-Year-Old Hunters

The Rost Ring began on Thursday morning of week seven with the Pre-Green 3- and 4-Year-Old Hunter division. John French rode Babylon to the championship after winning three blue ribbons in the division.

Babylon arrived in the United States from Europe in December, and French began riding and working with the horse in January. The four-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Crumbie x Die Cera) is owned by Kent Farrington LLC. French, of San Juan Bautista, CA, has shown Babylon three times this year, and the duo has been champion every time.

“He has a great expression and is so careful up front. With all of his flash the judges are just drawn to him,” French commented. “I can just tell that one day he is going to be a famous junior or amateur-owner hunter.”

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

John French Caps Stellar Week at Capital Challenge with WCHR Pro Finals Victory

John French. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Allison Fithian Captures ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals

Upper Marlboro, MD – October 7, 2016 – Hunter and equitation expertise were featured at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by World Equestrian Center, on Friday. In the WCHR Professional Finals, sponsored by Madison Hills Farm, the top six hunter riders in the country went head to head over three rounds, with John French leading the victory gallop. Allison Fithian won the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals, sponsored by ARIAT International.

The Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, runs through Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.

The WCHR Pro Finals used the same three-round format as last year. Riders switched on two donated horses for the first two rounds, then brought a horse of their own for the third and final handy round.

French set the tone for the night and started with an unbeatable lead by riding Alant, an eight-year-old gelding owned by Elli Yeager, to a score of 90.66 (90, 93, 89). In the second round, he piloted Everglow, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Quidam de Revel owned by Whish, LLC. French jumped ahead again with judges’ scores of 91, 89, and 92 for an average of 90.66.

In the final handy round, French rode Small Gesture, a seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Catoki owned by Chris Iwasaki and Elizabeth Reilly. Yet again he had the best score, this time a 90, for a three round total of 271.32 and the win.

French had a dominating nine-point lead over second place finisher, Scott Stewart, to take his fourth WCHR Professional Finals win in the 23-year history of the class.

French is comfortable with the format of the WCHR Pro Finals, in that he often hops on horses for the first time at a horse show. Catch-riding two horses tonight was nothing new. What was new, however, was his mindset.

“I actually this year just tried to not think so much,” he said with a smile. “That was my new thing, just to go in there and don’t even think. That’s something that I read in sports books about how people like golfers get ready or get in the zone. I always read ones that say you just don’t think when you get nervous or for a big competition like this. I just tried that, and it worked pretty good.”

Stewart placed second with scores of 86.16 on Show Me, 87.83 on Redeemed, and 88.33 on Reality for a total of 262.32.

Stewart was unsure of how his horses would go, but was pleasantly surprised at the results.

He described, “I had a couple of rubs in the first round, but he was really fun to ride. He was really easy. The bay mare I got to see her go first. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d ride her because she seemed a little sensitive. She was nice, but she actually was probably the hardest ride for me. You couldn’t use your leg too much. You had to just let her be. In the end, she went around quite nice. Reality I’ve had forever, so I know him really well. He’s fun. He did a good job.”

Third place went to Katie Gardner, who was riding in her very first WCHR Pro Finals. She scored an 84 on Redeemed, 87.5 on Show Me, and 87.33 on Crush for a total of 258.83.

Gardner admitted she was too quick to the single oxer on her second ride, Show Me, and Redeemed had more of “an equitation feel”, which suited her just fine.

“It was really my comfort zone. I love the equitation, and I wish I could do it all over again. So it was really neat that way,” she said.

“Just to get to do it was such a thrill,” Gardner said. “Honestly being a little bit of an underdog was, I think, an awesome thing for me. My first time in there – just go in there and do the best I could. It was just a blast. I’m really honored.”

Hunt Tosh received fourth place after scoring 86.33 on Dreamliner, 87 on Pure Imagination, and 85.16 on Gotham for a 258.49 total.

Tosh remarked about the camaraderie that the riders have with each other when preparing for the WCHR Pro Finals. “We’re usually talking (and) comparing notes,” he said. “You always try to help each other out. It’s a fun class. It’s special to be in it every year. It’s a very special class, and just to be in this group of riders is always fun.”

Slotting into fifth place was John Bragg. He rode Everglow for an 86, Alant for 86.66, and Early August to an 82.66 for a total of 255.32.

“Unlike John, I don’t ride that many different horses,” Bragg revealed. “I sort of produce my own and show them. I’m sort of spoiled that way. So it for sure was a challenge for me to just sort of get on and go for it, if you will. It was fun and challenging. It makes you a better rider, to go out there and feel the pressure to perform.”

Kelley Farmer placed sixth. She scored 87.66 on Pure Imagination, 80.33 on Dreamliner, and 73.33 on Publicized for a 241.32 total.

“It was a great class as usual,” Farmer said. “Thank you to everyone who loaned us those horses. That was very generous of them.”

She added with a smile, “I screwed up tonight, but that was on me, nothing else. I was excited to be here and be in this group.”

For his win tonight in the WCHR Professional Finals, French was presented with the “All the Way” Perpetual Trophy, donated by Elizabeth Busch Burke and Lysa Burke Horkan. The Far West Farms Perpetual Trophy donated by the Karazissis Family was given to Alant, owned by Elli Yeager, given to the donated horse with the highest cumulative points of the WCHR Professional Finals.

Fithian Tops ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals

Since its inception in 1994, the ARIAT National Adult Medal has given adult riders the opportunity to compete in a competitive equitation class over fences 3′ in height. The classes are held at select shows across the country and riders collect points to qualify for the Finals.

Allison Fithian and Lucky D' Etenclin
Allison Fithian and Lucky D’ Etenclin

One of those riders is 23-year-old Allison Fithian of Monterey, CA. She and Lucky d’Etenclin, a 17-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Narcos II, completed two fantastic rounds to win. In the first round, they scored an 88.33 and led the class of 30 entries.

The top 10 from the first round returned for the second round over a course designed by Ken Krome. Fithian rode to an average score of 88.66 for her second round and a total of 176.99 for victory.

She noted, “I felt pretty confident that if they were going to test, I could at least get in that top four, and I’d be alright. I was more nervous this morning before anything started and before I knew how I was going to ride today. I felt pretty confident going into the second round.”

Second place with a total score of 172.83 (86.83, 86) was Helen Voss. With scores of 86 and 86.33 and a total of 172.33, Tonya Johnston placed third.

Fithian has owned “Lucky” for nine years, and he was her equitation horse when she competed in the big equitation as a junior rider. They placed third in the USEF Medal Finals together, but a small injury kept Lucky out of the rest of the finals for Fithian’s final junior year. Fithian went to college at New York University, and Lucky was leased out to several top junior riders at Beacon Hill, such as Lucy Deslauriers, Victoria Press, Gabriella Bausano, and Megan MacPherson.

“I finally got him back this year and got to ride him again,” Fithian said. “I’m just really happy to have been nearly as successful on him. He’s a really special horse, and I just get along with him really well. It kind of felt like unfinished business on him, like I could have done a little bit more. I was a little sad at the end of my junior year when I knew I wasn’t going to be able to ride him again and (I wanted to) see if I could do something more on him.”

Fithian got the ride back on Lucky in May, and they competed at three horse shows before Capital Challenge. The Ariat National Adult Medal Finals were always a goal. “We were like, ‘If we’re going to do the equitation on him, we’ll go win Ariat Finals.’ That’s what we’re going to go do,” she confirmed.

Preparing at Beacon Hill with the junior riders for their finals helped, Fithian said. “I felt super prepared because back at the barn all of the juniors are getting ready for indoors, and I get to practice on all of those courses and occasionally get to have lessons with them which is always very enlightening and makes me work a little bit harder. I definitely felt very prepared especially with the win last Sunday,” she recalled.

Fithian was referring to her victory in the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Championships during Equitation Weekend at Capital Challenge. Winning another final in one week was made extra special when her family was here from California to watch her.

While Fithian didn’t ride Lucky for four years, giving him up is something that she says will never happen.

“He is very special. I’m never going to sell him ever; he’s too special,” she said. “When I bought him, we really made him into what he is. He was just some horse that someone imported from Europe. I did his first equitation class on him, and he’s my baby. I’ll never sell him. He’s not going anywhere.”

Fithian felt like her victory was a redemption of sorts. “It feels really, really good. I want to cry. I just have the best horse and a great team behind me. It feels really good to do this well as an adult still. I feel really proud of myself that I’m still able to compete at that level. It’s kind of verification for my riding abilities. It means a lot. I’m so happy that he’s feeling so great still and is doing so well.”

The winner of the $2,500 WCHR Adult Amateur Challenge, sponsored by Kate Considine & Willow Brook Farm, was Mahalo, ridden by Katie Robinson, with a score of 86. Lindsey Evans-Thomas and Valencia placed second, while Dawn Fogel riding Spotlight was third.

Round 1 of the North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup kicked off with a $5,000 speed class. Lacey Gilbertson and Bijzonder came away with the win with a clear round in a time of 59.740 seconds. Second place went to Sandra Zimmerli and Zaza, who posted a time of 63.111 seconds. Callie Seaman and Dakota were third in 65.060 seconds.

CORRECTION: Missy Luczak-Smith and Executive won the 3’3” WCHR Amateur-Owner Challenge, held Thursday, Oct. 6. Lindsay Maxwell, who was announced as the winner following the class, was determined to be ineligible due to cross entering in the 3’6” Amateur-Owners.

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media

Scott Stewart and John French Claim Major Championships at Capital Challenge Horse Show

Scott Stewart and Private Life. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – The Wednesday afternoon session of the Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by the World Equestrian Center, featured the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championships, sponsored by the Wheeler Family and Madison Hills Farm, and the awarding of the professional hunter grand championships. Scott Stewart rode Private Life to the win in the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championship, while Boss claimed the Grand Hunter Championship with John French in the irons. The 2016 Capital Challenge Horse Show, held at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, continues through Sunday, October 9. Every class of the show is live streamed and available to watch online at tv.coth.com or www.capitalchallenge.org.

The $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championships featured a start list of 30 of the best young horses in the country, with the top 12 returning for a second round. Stewart and Private Life scored an 88.00 in the first round to move into the third place position, and they sealed the victory with a score of 90.16 in the second round for a 178.16 total.

For their win, Private Life and Stewart were awarded the Beverly Brooks Solter Memorial Trophy, donated by Hilary Scheer Gerhardt and Zan Martin Dillon.

“He was awesome. This is his first time jumping indoors with me, so I was really happy with him,” Stewart, of Wellington, FL, said of Private Life, a five year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding purchased by Stewart’s own Rivers Edge in November 2015. “He’s five, but he acts like he’s ten. He acts like an old horse. He’s really easy going.”

Private Life was not the only mount ridden to success by Stewart. With six total entries in the class, Stewart claimed five of the top seven placings.

“All of my horses were good today. I was really happy with all of them,” Stewart said. “This is a great class. It’s just a great showcase for the young horses.”

The only rider able to edge Stewart out of the top four was the 2014 and 2015 class winner Hunt Tosh, of Milton, GA. This time Tosh finished in second riding Chicago for owner Douglas Wheeler. Tosh and the seven-year-old Warmblood gelding earned scores of 89.33 and 88.50 for a 177.83 total.

“This is such a good class,” Tosh said. “They always have such nice horses here. It can be a little overwhelming (being in) this ring for the first time, but he went in there very relaxed. I think he was a little tired with it being day three [of competition], but the atmosphere helped out a little bit. He jumped beautifully both rounds.”

Rounding out the top three were Stewart and Luster, also owned by Rivers Edge. The pair earned a 173.99 total with a first round score of 87.33 and a second round score of 86.66.

Following the conclusion of the $25,000 Future Hunter North American Championships, Tosh and Chicago were also presented with the Grand Future Hunter Championship title, sponsored by David Belford & Christopher Payne and New Hope LLC & Susan Moriconi. They were awarded the “A Rare Diamond” Perpetual Trophy, donated by “The Friends of Mickey.”

The EMO Future Trip of the Show went to Peter Pletcher riding Entourage, who scored 91.5.

Capital Challenge Names Grand Hunter Champions

Concluding the 2016 Capital Challenge professional hunter divisions, the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship went to John French of Woodside, CA and Boss, owned by Laura Wasserman. The ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding claimed two firsts and two seconds over fences, as well as second in the model and second under saddle before taking the championship.

John French and Boss
John French and Boss

The championship came down to an extremely close race between French and Boss and the eventual reserve champions, Stewart and Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. Stewart and the eight-year-old gelding claimed two firsts and a second over fences and the wins in both the model and the under saddle.

“I didn’t even know I was champion!” French said. “It was so close between Scott and me. Lucador is awesome to be champion over. It’s pretty hard, and that’s a super horse. We were kind of neck-and-neck. There was just one class where Lucador maybe had a mistake, and I guess that was enough.”

French started riding Boss as a pre-green horse and has brought him along ever since, successfully earning numerous championships along the way.

“He used to have steering issues at the beginning,” French said. “He just wants to pose with his neck instead of turning his neck. He just keeps it in his posed position. We had to work on turning. He’s gotten better and better. I was really happy with him today in the handy because of that. Sometimes that can be a little bit harder. He really was good in that.

“He has such a nice head carriage. Some horses you have to try to get them round. He has such a beautiful arch in his neck; his way of going just always looks like he’s posing because of the way he’s going around the course, but it’s just the way that he’s put together,” French said.

French and Boss’s performance was not only enough for the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship, it secured them the Grand Conformation Championship, sponsored by Eight Oaks, the Grand Hunter Championship, sponsored by RSB Farms, Inc., Rob Bielefeld, and Chrystal Knight, and the Tribute Perpetual Trophy, donated by Scott Stewart. It also earned French his first Capital Challenge Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by the Gibson Family & The Shadyside Farm.

“Again, I didn’t even realize that was going to happen,” French said. “This is the toughest, I think, of all the horse shows because everybody’s here. There are a lot more horses here than any of the other indoors. To be grand champion at this show is pretty special.”

French continued, “This horse show’s great. The top horses come here. It’s the biggest divisions, and they’ve got the special young horse classes. It’s not only a great show for the horses, but for the riders. The riders get a lot of recognition here too with the [WCHR Professional Challenge] and the [WCHR Professional Finals]. It showcases the riders as well as the horses.”

For French, making the trip to Capital Challenge from California each year is extra special, as he called Maryland home for 25 years.

“To come back home is always nice,” French said. “I’ve gotten a few people who have come up to me today: ‘Do you remember me from 25 years ago?’ or ‘We used to ride together when we were kids!’ It’s always fun when people come up and say things like that.”

In the Green Conformation Hunters, the Championship went to Fun, ridden by Scott Stewart for owner David Gochman. The six-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding won both the under saddle and the model, as well as taking two firsts and a second over fences. The reserve championship in the Green Conformation Hunters went to Tosh and Patriot, owned by the Wheeler Family.

Taking the championship in the First Year Green Hunters Section A were Hope Glynn, of Petaluma, CA, and Fandango HX for owners Redfield Farm and Karen Trione. Glynn and the six-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion finished first, first, and third over fences. Stewart and William Hill, owned by Rose Hill Farm, claimed the reserve championship.

In the First Year Green Working Hunters Section B, Kelley Farmer of Keswick, VA rode Publicized to the championship for owner Amanda Hone. The eight-year-old Zangersheide gelding swept three of the four over fences classes and finished second in the fourth before taking the division tri-color. Finishing in reserve were Stewart and Evermore for owner David Gochman.

Hone purchased Publicized in the fall of 2015, and it ended up being the horse that first connected her to Farmer and Lane Change Farm.

“I got a phone call from this guy who I’ve done business with before,” Hone explained. “He said, ‘We’ve got this really amazing horse. You’ve got to pull the trigger because we have someone coming to look at it tonight.’ We were questioning it, but we pulled the trigger. I called Kelley and told her that we had this horse, and I’d really like her to see it. It turns out, they actually had sent somebody over to look at it, and they were the ones coming to see it that night!”

“She bought the horse out from under us!” joked Larry Glefke of Lane Change Farm. “It’s now one of the best horses we’ve ever had.”

With his top performances in the First Year Green Working Hunters, Publicized was named the Grand First Year Green Working Hunter Champion, sponsored by Summer Hill Farms, Jordan Gilchrist, and Laura Hightower, and ultimately the Grand Green Working Hunter, sponsored by Balmoral – Traci and Carleton Brooks.

“What a horse. He’s such a beautiful jumper, and he’s so athletic and scopey,” Farmer said. “He’s a blast to ride. He has his own personality, but we like that. He’s beautiful to ride. There’s nothing that’s not available to you. He always wants to be careful; he always wants to be high in the air.”

The $1,000 Professional WCHR Under Saddle victory, sponsored by Arcadia Farm, went to Louise Serio and Eleventh Hour, owned by Meredith Lipke. They were presented with the Hollywood Challenge Trophy, donated by Paula Polk Lillard.

The EMO Professional Trip of the Show, sponsored by the EMO Agency, Inc., went to Stewart riding David Gochman’s Catch Me, who scored a 93.

Green Hunter and Young Hunter to Replace Future Hunters at Capital Challenge in 2017

Since 2001, the Future Hunters has been one of the premier divisions at the Capital Challenge Horse Show for young, up-and-coming hunters. The division was originally established to provide an avenue for pre-green horses to compete against their peers without encountering eligibility issues because Pre-Green specifications differed by zone. While this division has always highlighted great talent, it has never offered an opportunity for national points. In 2017, this will be changing as the Future Hunter division aligns with the new Green and Young Hunter divisions set forth by the USHJA and USEF. Competitors will still be given multiple sections in which to compete, but with the added benefit of accruing national points.

“At Capital Challenge we strive to promote the young horses in the format that we have utilized for over a decade,” said show manager Oliver Kennedy. “We are glad to see that our national governing body is transitioning into a format that has evolved from our original ideas.  Now our competitors can earn national accolades for their success at Capital Challenge.”

In 2017, as the Pre-Green, First Year, and Second Year Green divisions transition to the Green Hunter 3’0”, 3’3”, 3’6”, and 3’9” and a Young Hunter division is established, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will transform the Future Hunters into the Green and Young Hunter divisions.

The shift is part of comprehensive rule changes that go into effect on December 1, 2016. Under these changes, Pre-Green, First Year, and Second Year Green Hunters will be replaced with a simpler, more descriptive naming structure – Green Hunter 3’0”, 3’3”, 3’6” and 3’9.” In addition, Young Hunter sections based on age will be offered at 3’0”, 3’3” and 3’6”.

“It is normal to be attached to familiar names like First Year and Second Year Green, but this new structure provides very clear pathways for two distinct types of horses – horses that are young, and horses that are green. We know that young horses are almost always green, but green horses may not always be young,” explained Geoff Teall, USHJA National Vice President. “Now, we have a system that recognizes this and embraces horses no matter how they enter our sport. Also, the new section names make it easy for someone new to the sport to quickly understand what to expect from those classes.”

For more information about these changes, visit www.ushja.org/rules.

For additional information, full results, and live stream coverage from Capital Challenge, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org.

About the Capital Challenge Horse Show
Now in its 23rd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter and equitation competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, the 2016 edition of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will take place October 1-9. The nine days of competition will include prestigious equitation events and the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Finals with many of the country’s best horses and riders competing in junior, amateur, and professional hunter divisions.

Emily Riden
Jump Media

John French Sweeps WIHS Grand Hunter Championships

John French and Center Court. Photos © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Last Call and Becky Gochman, Winner and Daryl Portela Take Grand Amateur-Owner Prizes

Washington, D.C. – October 21, 2015 – The 2015 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued with its second day of competition Wednesday featuring the presentation of championship honors in the professional and amateur-owner hunter divisions at Verizon Center in downtown Washington D.C. Representing the west coast, rider and trainer John French (CA) dominated the professional divisions, while Becky Gochman (NY) and Daryl Portela (FL) reigned supreme over the amateur-owner championships. WIHS competition continues through Sunday, October 25.

John French, of San Jose, CA, had unprecedented success in this year’s WIHS competition. French capped off his time in the nation’s capital with three championships, three reserve championships, two Grand Hunter Championships, and the 2015 WIHS Leading Hunter Rider title. French guided Laura Wasserman’s Boss to the overall WIHS Grand Hunter Championship, and also won the WIHS Grand Green Working Hunter Championship riding Lee Kellogg Sadrian’s Sochi. He received a special $5,000 bonus for the Leading Hunter Rider Award, sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker, and was also presented The Robert Coluccio Leading Hunter Rider Perpetual Trophy. Laura Wasserman earned the Leading Hunter Owner Award.

“I do not think I have ever had an indoor show like this. To win this many championships and be reserve this many times as well – it means a lot,” French expressed. “This is where I grew up. As a kid, WIHS was the biggest show you could go to. We did not go to the Garden; it was too far away. WIHS you could come and watch. It is my favorite show. I love being in the city; I love the whole atmosphere and ambiance about showing in the city.”

French had one of the greatest shows of his career, impressively winning classes and tricolors with five different horses. He acknowledged Archie Cox as the trainer of Wasserman’s Boss and Fine Design, as well as Montana Coady’s Ranger. French brought Sochi and Center Court for his own clients.

“It is not often that you have that many good ones,” he admitted. “I had five horses and they all won classes. A lot has to do with Archie. He does a great job. Some of the horses are his, and live at his barn, but Sochi and Center Court are with me at my barn. I just think that it is nice that I get to ride these horses a lot here. Every morning I get to ride them throughout the circuit. At home, a lot of times I just get on a horse and go in a class. For indoors, I get to spend three weeks between Capital Challenge, Harrisburg and Washington getting a real feel for each horse, what it needs and how I need to ride it better. I can put myself in the right mindset for the horse.”

“There are things that you tell yourself before you go in the ring. You get a routine, and a lot of times when you are riding so many horses, you do not have the time to do that. I love indoor shows, and shows with one ring, where you can really focus on your horses and watch instead of running ring to ring. You get a feel for the ring, and a feel for the horse. You do not have so many distractions with other things going on. The competition is good, so you have to rise to the competition. You always ride better when you really have to work at it. I like having the challenge.”

On the way to his leading rider title, French began the day with a championship win in the High Performance Working Hunter division, sponsored by Jacqueline B. Mars. He and Hiller Farms LLC’s Center Court accepted The “NOT ALWAYS” Challenge Trophy, donated by Miss Peggy Steinman. The pair placed first, first, and third over fences, and finished second under saddle. Kelley Farmer and Kensel LLC’s Mindful finished in reserve, placing first, second and third over fences, as well as third under saddle.

Mindful and Farmer were also presented the special Protocol Trophy, sponsored by Platinum Performance, for the second year in a row. The trophy is awarded to the overall High Point High Performance Working Hunter from the Devon Horse Show, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and Washington International Horse Show.

In the Regular Conformation Hunters, Scott Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador earned championship honors to be presented with The Mary Farren Perpetual Trophy. The pair finished first and sixth over fences, then topped the under saddle class to secure their championship. French and Laura Wasserman’s Fine Design earned reserve honors, placing first and second over fences, and second under saddle.

The Second Year Green Working Hunters were next to present championship honors. Stewart took another tricolor in that division, finishing third, second, and third over fences, and taking a win under saddle with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Cameo. French rode Montana Coady’s Ranger to the reserve championship, placing first and second over fences, as well as second under saddle.

Competition continued with the Green Conformation Hunter championship, sponsored by The Ingram Family, in which French and Laura Wasserman’s Boss took their first title. The pair earned the Valiant Hark Memorial Challenge Trophy, donated by Mrs. Stephen J. Clark, with two wins and a third place finish over fences, as well as a win under saddle. Stewart and Stephanie Danhakl’s First Light finished in reserve, placing first, second and fourth over fences, and second under saddle.

The First Year Green Working Hunter division was the final deciding factor for this year’s grand championship honors. French solidified his lead by taking the division championship aboard Sochi, with two wins and a third place finish over fences. French also took reserve honors in that division with Boss, placing second, second and fourth over fences, as well as second under saddle.

Sochi was then presented the overall WIHS Grand Green Working Hunter Championship and the Claire Lang Miller Challenge Trophy, as well as the Windy Acres Challenge Trophy for the best Green Working Hunter stake round with a score of 89. Boss was awarded the overall WIHS Grand Hunter Championship and the Rave Review Challenge Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill. French received one final award for the EQUUS Foundation Best Professional Performance of the Day with Boss.

Boss is a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Samba Hit II. Describing the ride, French explained, “With Boss, I have to think about riding a little taller and not let him get too low. Some horses I can relax and lean into the jumps more, but with him I have to tell myself to stay tall, relax about the lead changes, and be soft on his mouth.”

“He is so pretty. You have to like that,” French said of what makes Boss special. “He gets 10 bonus points on that. He just goes like a real hunter. He has a great expression; his ears never go back, and he has a beautiful face and neck.”

Speaking of Sochi, a six-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Quirado, French noted, “I was really happy with him. Capital Challenge at the end of the week, he was acting sort of weird and he got sick. He had a fever and he lost a lot of weight, so I opted not to take him to Harrisburg. I gave him some time off and hoped that he would be ready to come here. He had off from the end of Capital Challenge until last Saturday. It was great that he was able to show here and it ended like this.”

“He is super brave; he is not a hard horse to prepare,” French added. “I just wanted to make sure that he was feeling better. I did not even do that much to get ready this week. I did not ride him in the ring. I just trusted; I did not want to stress him out and work him too hard. He was a little fresh, but I think the judges liked it because he was jumping so high over the jumps.”

In addition to his grand championship mounts, French had a fantastic week with Center Court, earning the High Performance championship. The young Holsteiner gelding gave French his best score of the show with a 92 in Tuesday night’s handy round. French is now done competing for the fall season and looks forward to returning to California with his top prizes.

Gochman and Portela Win Amateur-Owner Titles

The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions concluded their second day of competition at WIHS Wednesday and awarded championship honors. For the second year in a row, the Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” championship was awarded to David Gochman’s Last Call, ridden by Becky Gochman. The pair earned the Frank Counselman Memorial Perpetual Trophy after topping the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” Over 35 division, sponsored by Cembell Industries. They placed first and third over fences and won under saddle. The reserve champion was Airport 48, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram LLC, and ridden by John Ingram. Ingram placed fourth in the first class over fences and then won two more. His stake round score of 87 earned The Shari Hollis Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Late Col. J. B. Hollis and Ms. Jeannie Hollis.

In the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” 18-35 division, the championship was awarded to Libertas Farm LLC’s Chablis, ridden by Kelley Tropin. That pair placed first, fourth and fourth over fences and second under saddle. Krista Weisman and her own and Alexa Weisman’s Reality finished in reserve with first and second place ribbons over fences.

Becky Gochman and Last Call
Becky Gochman and Last Call

Gochman’s results also earned her the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider Award for the 3’6” level, sponsored by Kessler Show Stables. This was her fourth time receiving the honor.

“It has been a lucky show for me. I am so happy because it is a good way to end the year, and now the horses get to go to Florida and relax,” Gochman noted. “All of my horses have been so good this year and I am just very pleased with all of them. I’m sure they’re looking forward to a little break and I’m looking forward to a little break. Everybody needs to rest, but I think they knew that this was important and they tried extra hard. I believe that horses can sense their surroundings and sense the importance of things and they really want to do the right thing most of the time. My horses for sure want to do everything to please me, so I could not be happier.”

Last Call, a 14-year-old Warmblood gelding, is known as Finley in the barn. Gochman explained that he is always determined to get treats.

“He looks for anything that has to do with food at all times,” she laughed. “He is a big horse and you have to be careful around him sometimes, but he’s so good that I can’t help but give him lots of treats. He is such a good boy.”

As Last Call moves into his later years, Gochman is careful to plan every detail of his schedule, and has great help with Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley in their training program at Rivers Edge.

“We try to show him sparingly, and we jump him at home sparingly, because I hope that he can last for a couple more years and then off to a good retirement,” Gochman noted. “He’ll let us know. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. In fact, he can sometimes be the opposite. He can get a little up in the classes. I want this to be fun for my horses and I want it to be fun for myself. There are a bunch of great competitors out there and it is really nice to be with them and the sport has been a great family sport for us. We have a good program. Scott keeps a master eye on the horses.”

Last Call’s groom, Georgie Jacinto, makes sure that his horses are always shining and well cared for, and his hard work paid off this week as well. Last Call was presented the Best Turned Out Horse Award, presented by The Clothes Horse.

“All of our grooms are really good and Georgie works very hard on Last Call,” Gochman acknowledged. “Last Call has a very striking look to him. He is very tall, a dark bay with that big stripe and a little bit of white in his eye. He is just so handsome.”

Continuing the day, the Amateur-Owner Working Hunter 3’3” 18-35 division presented championship honors to Nicole Lyvere and Certainty, with a win and two second place ribbons over fences. Alexis Martin and Budweis’czar placed first, second and fifth over fences to finish in reserve.

At the conclusion of the afternoon, Isalou Inc.’s Winner was named Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Champion, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Earnest M. Oare. Winner’s rider, Daryl Portela, was named the Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider for the 3’3” division overall.

The pair topped the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Over 35 division with three wins over fences and a third place finish under saddle. Portela also accepted the award for Best Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Stake Round with a high score of 88 and was awarded the EQUUS Foundation Best Amateur Performance of the Day. Reserve honors went to Glen Senk and Fashion Farm’s Loyalty, with two second-place ribbons over fences, as well as a second place finish under saddle.

Portela has owned Winner, a 12-year-old Warmblood gelding (by Haarlem), for four years. The pair competes with the help of trainer Jimmy Torano and has consistently swept ribbons around the country since their partnership began. Portela also earned the same division championship, grand championship and leading rider titles in 2012 and 2013 with Winner. Those two years, the duo won all four division classes. She took last year off from WIHS while Torano judged the competition.

“It is a little emotional. It feels really good,” Portela said of her overall accomplishment. “I wanted to come back and do it again after my year off. Winner was great yesterday and won the first class, then he was third in the hack and won both classes today, so it is very exciting. He loves this horse show. I like this horse show. It is exciting to be in the city.”

Portela said that she does about 15 horse shows a year, and tries to keep Winner’s schedule focused on the most important events. The horse also maintains a light work schedule at home.

“I don’t show him a lot. I never jump him at home. I hack him,” she noted. “He has been pretty consistent. I know him really well now and I trust him. I try to just go in and have fun, but I am very competitive. He has just been an awesome horse.”

Portela and Winner travel to Kentucky to compete next week and then make the trip to Wellington, FL for the winter, where Winner will enjoy living at Torano’s brand new farm.

Hunter competition at the 2015 Washington International Horse Show continues on Thursday with the beginning of Junior Hunter competition in the morning. In the jumpers, Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner competition will be featured in the afternoon, along with a $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake. The evening session will welcome local horse lovers, riders, trainers, and their families for Barn Night, presented by Dover Saddlery, beginning at 6 p.m. The $20,000 International Jumper Gambler’s Choice costume class, presented by the Winter Equestrian Festival will be the highlight event of the evening.

For those who cannot make it to the show, it will be live streamed in its entirety at www.wihs.org and is also available on USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com.

About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.

Tim Goguen and Character Capture Championship at Kentucky Summer Classic

Tim Goguen and Character.

Lexington, KY – July 30, 2014 – At the end of today’s Kentucky Summer Classic Second Year Green Hunters, the hotly contested division championship had come down to a tie. Both Character, ridden by Tim Goguen, and Silhouette, ridden by John French, sat tied at 32 points, but with more points earned over fences it was Goguen and Character who claimed the division’s top title.

“He went nicely this week. He tried hard and ended up champion,” Goguen said of Character, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Belhaven Stables LLC of Wellington, FL. “We got him the last week of the circuit in Florida, and he’s been pretty consistent. He’s a good horse.”

Goguen and Character came into today with a blue ribbon already under their belt from yesterday, and they added the points from a second and third place finish today to their cumulative tally. French and Silhouette also started the day with a blue ribbon in the under saddle class to their name, and they added one more win to their list with the victory in the Second Year Green Hunter Handy class.

French originally imported Silhouette, a 10-year-old Westphalian mare, from Germany before selling her to current owner Lyn Pedersen. Pedersen, an Old Greenwich, CT native, has had Silhouette on the East Coast while French calls the West Coast home, but French picked up the ride again in the fall of 2013 and has been extremely successful with the mare since.

“She’s a mare, so she’s a little bit sensitive. She has to have a lot of trust in you,” French explained. “You have to keep everything kind of calm and confident. You don’t have to do anything hard to make her jump well. She’s a little cautious – that’s a good word for her. She needs that positive reinforcement.”

John French and Silhouette
John French and Silhouette

French made the trip to the Kentucky Horse Park with numerous mounts this week in preparation for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, to be held August 14-16 during the Kentucky Bluegrass Horse Show.

“We came for this show, and we’ll give them some time off next week and then have them all ready and fresh for the following week,” French explained. “It’s good to come here and just kind of get a feel for how they’re going to be that week.”

Also feeling out how her horses will be during Derby Finals is Kelley Farmer. She swept this week’s Regular Conformation Hunters with Kensel LLC’s Quotable, winning all five of the division’s classes.

In the High Performance Hunters it was again Farmer who took the tri-color, this time with Why, an 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding.

Since being purchased from Bridget Hallman by Larry Glefke and Kensel LLC, Why has been ridden by Evan Coluccio much of the time, but Farmer took the reins this week, earning back-to-back blue ribbons in today’s High Performance over fences classes.

“When things are going well, I like to change them around,” joked Glefke regarding the rider switch.

“I rode him once when we bought him. I showed him once in Michigan, but I don’t know much about him,” Farmer said. “I do know that he’s big strided; he’s scopey, and he’s quiet. He was great today.”

“He’s probably one of the scopiest warmbloods I know,” Glefke added. “He was jumping jumps a grand prix horse jumps out there. I love him; I genuinely love him. I bought him for Kelley and Evan. I thought he would be a great horse to show. Now I am going to put him in the junior division with Kirklen [Petersen].”

The reserve championship in the High Performance Hunters also went to Lane Change Farm, with Evan Coluccio and Cardozo riding away with the tricolor.

Today marked the end of the professional hunter divisions, but the hunter competition continues tomorrow with the Junior Hunters. In addition to offering a full range of competitive hunter divisions, the Kentucky Summer Classic features the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby on Saturday, Aug. 2.

For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Kentucky Summer Series Fast Facts

Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, USEF National Pony Finals, Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and KHJA Horse Show, and the 2014 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals.

The Kentucky Horse Show LLC’s 2014 series includes five weeks of top competition throughout the summer. These premier hunter/jumper competitions host the Hagyard Challenge Series with seven grand prix competitions that culminate with a Leading Rider Award, as well as the Hallway Feeds National Derby Series.

Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™. Home to the United States Equestrian Federation.


$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

KENTUCKY SUMMER CLASSIC – July 29 – August 3, 2014
$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix sponsored by GGT Footings
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

2014 USEF PONY FINALS – August 5-10, 2014
USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals
USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship
$25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
$40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby
WCHR Member Event

KHJA HORSE SHOW – August 20-24, 2014
$10,000 Hagyard Welcome Stake
$30,000 KHJA Grand Prix
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

A special thanks to the generous sponsors of the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows: Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Hallway Feeds, Audi of Lexington, GGT Footing, Equestrian Services International, Johnson Horse Transportation, Farm Vet, Dietrich Insurance, Take2 Thoroughbred Program, Sleepy P Ranch, and the Official Hotel The Clarion

8am – 5pm daily

Horse Show Exhibitors may purchase a weekly parking pass at the main Horse Park entrance for $15.00. Dogs are permitted at the Kentucky Horse Park on a leash.

The Kentucky Horse Park is located 8 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky at Exit 120 on Interstate 75.

Before Show – (859) 233-0492, Email: hakshows@earthlink.net
During Show – Telephone: (859) 254-3343, Fax: (859) 231-6097
Stabling – Email Tom Blankenship at tomblank@bellsouth.net
Stable office – Before Show: (843) 269-4737, During Show: (859) 255-0605
Prize List Advertising – Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709
Vendors – Email Cindy Bozan at cindy@kentuckyhorseshows.com or call (859) 608-3709

Shownet – www.shownet.biz

Website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Ring Dimensions/Specs:

The Stonelea Ring, Murphy Ring, Walnut Ring, Stonelea/Murphy Schooling Ring, the Alltech Arena and the Rolex Stadium have Otto Sport footing consisting of fine sand and synthetic fiber on pvc mats. The Claiborne, Annex, and Covered Arena (old) rings’ footing consists of a sand cushion on limestone base. The dimensions of the competition areas are as follows:

Stonelea: 140′x 280′, Murphy: 135′x 280′, Stonelea and Murphy Schooling: 110′x 400′
Walnut: 300′x 370′, Claiborne: 140′x 270′, Annex 130′x 250′, Covered Arena (old): 145′x 285′ Rolex Stadium: 360′ x 384′, Alltech Arena: 132′ x 265′

Vendors offering equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry and home furnishings are located adjacent to the Stonelea Ring.


CLARION HOTEL (Formerly Holiday Inn North) – 859-233-0512 – Approximately 4 miles (OFFICIAL HOTEL)
Discover the place where elegant comfort in an ideal location meets excellent service and affordability. At the Clarion Hotel Lexington, you’ll find well-appointed accommodations with options of double/doubles, double queens, king rooms or suites, exceptional amenities such as our free hot breakfast buffet, and Southern hospitality at its finest. The best hotel for Keeneland – located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region – home of the Kentucky Horse Park, the Lexington Convention Center, University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail – our Lexington hotel is on Newtown Pike at Exit 115 on I-75, close to all the big attractions, and is the perfect place to stay whether you’re here to get down to business or have some fun. Best of all, bring your furry friends for any trip because the Clarion Hotel in Lexington is also pet-friendly.

Reservations may not be made through the Horse Show office. To reserve a campsite at the Kentucky Horse Park for any of the horse shows, please call the Campground store at (800) 370-6416 or 859-259-4157 or email Sherry Logan at sherryd.logan@ky.gov. Be specific as to the show name and the dates you wish to stay. Check-in time is 2:00 p.m. and check-out is 12:00 noon. You must make arrangements with the Campground store if you plan to arrive earlier than 2:00 p.m. or stay later than 12:00 noon. Vehicles that are not removed from a campsite by check-out time will be towed.

Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC
P. O. Box 11428
Lexington, KY 40575-1428
859-233-0492 (phone)
859-233-0495 (fax)
email: hakshows@earthlink.net
website: www.kentuckyhorseshows.com

Media Contact:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12230 Forest Hill Blvd.
Suite 214
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

John French and Soldier Win $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Thermal

©Flying Horse Photography. John French dominated the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Thermal this weekend with two top placings, including a win with Soldier.

THERMAL, CA (January 27, 2014) – The West Coast’s top hunter riders flexed their muscles this weekend at HITS Thermal and battled for top prizes in the first $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix of the HITS Desert Circuit. John French of Woodside, California and Jenny Karazissis of Calabasas, California traded off at the top, with French collecting first and third, while Karazissis was second and fourth.

French and Elizabeth Gabler’s Soldier were the pair to beat, earning a pair of 87s for the top prize. French imported Soldier, an eight-year-old gelding from Ireland, two years ago and sold him to Gabler. “He is such an easy going horse,” said French. “He has done the Medals and the Maclays with Sophie Simpson and did the WIHS Equitation Finals at the Washington International Horse Show last year as a seven-year old.”

Not only did Soldier compete in Washington, he won the Equitation Final with Maddy Darst aboard, proving that he can win in any ring.

The Devoucoux Hunter Prix took place in the Outside Course at HITS Thermal and was set by Tucker Williams of Houston, Texas. “I built in a few bending lines and added a combination on the bank to really utilize this ring,” said Williams, who owns and operates CCI Jumps in Texas. “This was a spectacular group of horses and riders and they showcased themselves well in the first round, while showing off their handy abilities in the second.”

French agreed that the Outside Course is becoming a favorite among hunter riders at HITS Thermal. “It’s really nice to have the two rings to go in and out of,” said French referring to the layout that combines two regular hunter rings, providing an expansive field for a true hunter prix experience.

Karazissis was only a half point off French in each round, pocketing a pair of 86.5s aboard Kelly Straeter’s Norwegian Wood for second place. French answered back in third with Noelle Wolf’s Bay Lane. They earned an 85.5 in the first round and an 87 in the second. Karazissis was fourth with Straeter’s Undeniable and scores of 86 and 85. Hope Glynn rode to her share of the winner’s purse in fifth with Helen McEvoy’s Campari. They scored a 170 after posting an 84.5 and an 85.5.

This weekend’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix kicks off West Coast qualifying for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. A Devoucoux-sponsored rider himself, French had to sit the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final out last year due to injury, but is confident that he will be present at the HITS Championship at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York this year.

Aside from his win in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix, French was also named the Charles Owen Leading Hunter Rider for Desert Circuit I.

About Devoucoux
Devoucoux, makers of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to the phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. Devoucoux offers a wide range of saddles in many colors and sizes and matching accessories. Devoucoux craftsmen are devoted to creating beautiful products that reflect their obsession with quality and lovingly finished work. For more information on Devoucoux, visit devoucoux.com.

$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
Katie Cook had never jumped a jump on Symphony, owned by Amy Knox before she arrived at HITS Thermal last week. The pair became fast friends, however, jumping to three blue ribbons during Week I, winning the Marshall & Sterling Adult Medal on Friday and guiding Symphony to the top of an Adult Hunter class on Saturday before winning the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix on Sunday.

©Flying Horse Photography. Katie Cook and Symphony jump their way to a win in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at HITS Thermal.
©Flying Horse Photography. Katie Cook and Symphony jump their way to a win in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at HITS Thermal.

“This horse jumps great from anywhere,” said Cook. “I always know that whatever the distance, he is always going to give me a great effort.”

Cook topped the first round with a score of 86 and returned in the second to earn an 81. “This course was perfect – there were plenty of challenges, but it was straightforward enough for the first week,” said Cook.

Sabrina Tirbor of Tustin Ranch, California was second on her own Caspar after riding to an 85 and 80, respectively. Heidi Kane, who hails from Newport Beach, California, earned a 79 and 83 aboard her own Samba Gracious for third. Jerrie Calandra of Encinitas, California was fourth in the irons of Moonlite Beach, LLC’s Wonderwall. They earned a 77 and 81. Caroline Neirenberg rounded out the top five on her own Bachelor with a 75 and 77.

The $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix will be offered weekly coast to coast this winter as a qualifier for the Platinum Performance $250,000 Hunter Prix Final. The final returns to the HITS Championship in Saugerties, New York this fall and offers junior and amateur hunter riders the opportunity to show for exciting prize money over thrilling courses.

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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