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Archive for September, 2012

Megan MacPherson Rides to Victory in North American Junior Flat Equitation Championship to Kick Off Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend

September 30, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Upper Marlboro, MD – September 29, 2012 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show opened up competition today at the Show Place Arena. This is the first day of the Capital Challenge Equitation Championship Weekend, presented by The Capital Challenge Horse Show runs through Sunday, October 7.

The North American Junior Flat Equitation Championship is a fun and competitive class only found at Capital Challenge. Megan MacPherson of Boulder, CO, was able to outlast the field to return into the lineup in first place on her horse, Great Expectations. The reserve champion ribbon went to 14-year-old Hannah von Heidegger.

Champion Megan MacPherson and reserve champion Hannah von Heidegger with Caraneen Smith of
© Shawn McMillen Photography

McPherson has had her horse for a year and a half and said, “He’s perfect in all ways.” The pair made the callback rounds last year in the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals and this winter in the George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation class. She noted, “I think that we click. He’s always there and so easy, and there’s really nothing that I can say is wrong with him.”

McPherson finished second in the 15 Year Old Equitation flat class, which qualified her for the Championship class. The judges, Rob Bielefeld and Cynthia Hankins, asked the top 10 riders to ride nearly all of the work-off without stirrups, and included many tests like counter cantering, extensions, and flying lead changes.

She said of the special format, “I love it. It’s a really cool, unique class and good to have fun opportunity like that. I just went in saying whatever happens, happens. No pressure. He flats beautifully and does all of the flat tests perfectly. I felt like I tried to hold on a little bit!”

Kilian McGrath and Clarequest Chippy Cruise. © Shawn McMillen Photography

The 17 Year Old Equitation championship, sponsored by Old Salem Farm and Frank Madden Show Stables, went to Kilian McGrath of Thousand Oaks, CA, on Clarequest Chippy Cruise, a horse she rode for the first time this weekend. The pair got into a groove early in their relationship. “This is the best Capital Challenge yet!” McGrath smiled. “I haven’t gotten a blue ribbon until this year. I’m really happy about that, especially since I was on a horse that I just rode for the first time this weekend.”

McGrath feels like “Chippy” is meant to be her mount for this year’s Indoor equitation finals. Both he and her jumper, Salerno, came from Olympian Laura Kraut. Salerno is called “Salsa” in the barn. “It’s Chips and Salsa. They go together!” McGrath laughed.

McGrath and Chippy won the over fences class in the indoor arena and were third under saddle. She noted, “The second round, I felt like I got to know him a little bit better. After the first round I kind of figured out what I needed to do for the second round. I just rode the horse I had and was happy with the results. I felt more confident going into the second round.”

The 17 Year Old Equitation reserve champion was Savannah Jenkins on Capilan 2, who finished with two third places over fences and was second on the flat.
© Shawn McMillen Photography

Local Brookeville, MD, rider Ashley Foster took the 16 Year Old Equitation championship, sponsored by Old Salem Farm and Frank Madden Show Stables, riding Raindance, owned by Megan McPherson. Foster said of her mount, “She’s perfect. I got her the end of Ocala. I’ve been riding her for awhile now and we’ve gotten used to each other. I think we make a pretty good pair.”

Foster has shown at Capital Challenge for years. She felt confident coming into this year’s show and that it was great to win here in the equitation. “I always rode here in the ponies. It’s great to get out of that and onto the horses and start winning some big stuff,” she said.


Michael Janson and Fortune Cookie finished as the 16 Year Old Equitation reserve champions following a win in an over fences class.

The 15 Year Old Equitation championship was awarded to Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, on Clearway. The pair finished second and fourth over fences and won the flat class. Keenan has been riding Clearway regularly since the end of the winter season. “He is one of Andre’s equitation horses. He bought him at the end of WEF from Brian Walker,” Keenan said.

Lillie Keenan and Clearway. © Shawn McMillen Photography

Clearway was successful at the Devon Horse Show with Keenan and Michael Murphy, but came to Capital Challenge for more exposure. Keenan explained, “We just brought him here for experience; he’s never really shown inside. Outside, he’s awesome. In here he was really good. You can imagine a horse’s first time inside with the scoreboard and everything. It’s a lot, but he handled it quite well. He’s nice to flat, so that clearly helped me.”

This was the first time Keenan has ever shown at Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend. “The last time I was here, I was on ponies,” Keenan recalled. “It’s fun, and I like this horse show. Being here the first time and doing well is a plus. It’s a great experience for some of the younger horses that have never been inside. You don’t really want to go to the finals on a horse that’s never done it. This is what the ring feels like when you go to any of the finals. It’s got the stands, it’s got the screen. They make this feel special. It’s good practice, and it’s fun and it’s meaningful.”

© Shawn McMillen Photography

The 15 Year Old Equitation reserve champion was Sydney Callaway on Van Radjah. They were first and second over fences and finished sixth on the flat.

Hannah von Heidegger of Chatsworth, CA, captured the 13/14 Year Old championship sponsored by Citrus Hill Farms. She rode Beckham, a mount she has had for two years. Although she has shown at Capital Challenge twice before, this was her first time in the equitation.

Hannah von Heidegger and Beckham. © Shawn McMillen Photography

She said of Beckham, “He’s my favorite horse to ride in the entire world. He’s my baby. He’s just so much fun to ride and he has a great personality. He tries so hard. It’s such a fun and great feeling to get to ride him.”

She and Beckham finished second and third over fences and won the flat class. On her championship, she commented, “It feels great. I’m really excited about winning the flat because there were a lot of people in there and a lot of really beautiful riders. It was a great win, and I’m just happy to be here. I think this will give me some really good confidence going into the other finals.”

© Shawn McMillen Photography

The reserve championship in the 13/14 Year Old Equitation was Victoria Colvin on VIP Z, who was first and second over fences (scoring a 92 along the way) and fourth on the flat.

Emma Wujak of Grosse Point Farms, MI, took the 12 Year Old Equitation championship on Sim Sala Bim. Although they are a new combination, they were able to win an over fences class and the flat class. They also placed tenth in the North American Junior Flat Equitation Championship.

Emma Wujak and Sim Sala Bim. © Shawn McMillen Photography

She pointed out, “I don’t know much about him because I’ve only been riding him for two days, but he’s really awesome and a lot of fun. He’s like my horse that I have at home. I couldn’t expect much because it was the first time showing him, but it was really fun. He was a really good boy.”

Of her experience today, Wujak said, “It’s amazing and a dream come true. It was so much fun to go out there and then trot down the middle.” Wujak will try to repeat her winning performance tomorrow in the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals.

© Shawn McMillen Photography

Alexandra Worthington and Romina 58 were reserve champions in the 12 Year Old Equitation division. They were first and fifth over fences and third in the flat class.

April Wehle of Wellington, FL, won the Adult Amateur Equitation championship on Icarus. Wehle explained how she got the ride today, “I actually just rode him for the first time yesterday. I didn’t have a horse for the weekend and luckily my trainer Tiffany Cornacchio searched everywhere and Ken and Emily Smith were nice enough to let me use their son’s horse. They were really, really good to me and let me show him.”

April Wehle and Icarus. © Shawn McMillen Photography

The pair won an over fences class and the flat class. Wehle described, “He is just the real deal. He goes around and is completely soft and smooth. He just guides you around and it’s really great.”

Wehle showed once as a junior at Capital Challenge, so winning here for the first time as an adult was a great experience. “I was so excited because I really thought I was just going to be here warming up horses. I was so exited to show. It was really fun.”

© Shawn McMillen Photography

The reserve champion in the Adult Amateur Equitation was Annie Finch, who rode W.C. Swing to two second places over fences and another second place on the flat.

The THIS National Children’s Medal division championship went to Melanie Selleck, while the reserve champion was Sydney Hutchins.

Tomorrow’s schedule concludes the Capital Challenge Equitation Championship weekend, presented by The day starts with the North American Equitation Championships of two rounds. Following that is the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Children’s Medal Finals and the North American Adult Amateur Equitation Finals.

For full results and more information, please visit . If you can’t attend the Capital Challenge Horse Show, remember you can log on  to see all the action live.

Highlights of the Capital Challenge Horse Show will include the North American Equitation Championship (Sep. 29), the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Finals (Sep. 29), the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Emerging Pro Challenge (Oct. 3), Added Future Hunter North American Championship (Oct. 3), the North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup (two rounds held on Oct. 5-6), the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals (Oct. 5), and the WCHR Professional Finals (Oct. 5).

About Capital Challenge
In its 19th year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show will take place on September 29-October 7.

Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.

For more information, please visit  or visit the Capital Challenge Horse Show page  on Facebook!

Dressage at Devon Day 4: Performance Classes

September 29, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Ladies Hat Day

Alexandra Reid; winner of FEI Young Rider Test

Dressage at Devon Day 4:

Performance Classes


September 28, 2012 (Devon, PA) Friday was the first full day of performance classes plus wonderful exhibitions by Aussie horseman Guy McLean and the Delaware Valley Combined Training Association Quadrille.


“Remember Hope; this is your dream to do dressage at Devon,” said Guy McLean to his horse, Hope, explaining to the audience that following his performance last year they had a conversation that ended with a commitment by both horse and rider to perform dressage in the Dixon.


Later on the Delaware Valley Combined Training Association (DVCTA) Quadrille team – the Quad Squad – performed “Think Pink,” sponsored by the Unionville Equine Associates of Oxford, PA.  Their performance was comprised of a 13-horse team, which performed an inspirational, moving and upbeat medly of musical favorites.


                                                            – more –

Fashion at the Forefront


Spectators at Dressage at Devon expect to see stunning horses groomed to impress.  Sometimes, however, people also deck themselves out to capture attention.  The first event centered on human fashions took place on Thursday night when SmartPak showed off the Kingsland dressage line.  Models donned jackets, shadbellies and breeches with cuts designed to flatter the fit physiques of equestrian athletes. These stylish fashions are likely to turn heads with details like Swarovski crystal buttons, gold rivets and embroidery.


Ladies Hat with John DeBella

Friday afternoon brought the annual Ladies’ Hat Contest.  After entrants displayed their haberdashery in the Dixon Oval, John DeBella, from WMGK 102.9, announced the winners.  ‘Prettiest Hat’ went to Tiffany Arey, wearing a black hat named ‘Anastasia’ that was adorned with a deep-red rose.  ‘The Best Representative of Devon’ award was captured by Laura Silverberg whose hat was decorated with a menagerie including all the dressage letters.


Adrienne Brason, an interior designer and event planner, won ‘Most Creative’ after using her artistic talents to create an intricate ‘Mardi Gras’ hat. It was artfully decorated with feathers, beads and sequins and hard not to notice as it towered two feet above her.  Finally, a team of three ‘Dressage Queens’ won ‘Funniest Hats.’  Lorraine Wacaster paraded in ‘Purple Passion’, Laine Barney glowed in ‘Golden Sunshine’ and Mary McKee sought the limelight as ‘Lime Salsa.’


In the Dressage Today tent was a display of the winning designs for their 2012 Centerline Contest—fashions for the horse and rider inspired by the 2012 London Olympics.  Winners included a cooler that looks like a variation on the U.S. flag—red up front, a midriff of red and white stripes, and a blue posterior covered with stars.


Grand Performances


Of course, it’s really all about the tremendous dressage performances.  Witness Hilltop (Hamlet x Francis), ridden by Christopher Hickey and owned by Hilltop Farm, won first place in the FEI Prix St. Georges Open with a score of 69.825.  Don Kontes (Don Schufro x Kontessa), ridden by David Marcus and owned by owned by Deborah Kinzinger won first in the FEI Grand Prix O. The FEI Young Rider Team Test was won by Alexandra Reid on V.I.P. (Rousseau x Nastrade), owned by Deborah Miculinic, with a score of 70.482


The highlight of the evening was the FEI Grand Prix Open (OGS) CDIW USEF HP GAIG/USDF Qualify, won by David Marcus atop Chrevi’s Capital (Chrevi’s Lavallo x Indira Ghandi), owned by Deborah Kinzinger, with a score of 71.213.




Saturday includes the FEI Intermediaire I, FEI Young Rider, FEI Fourth Level Tests, FEI Pony Team Test and the FEI Junior Individual Test.  And, of course, Saturday night’s highlight, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, won last year by Adrienne Lyle on Wizard.


About Dressage at Devon


Dressage at Devon, the largest CDI show in the US and the largest open breed show in the world, combines world-class international dressage competition and one of the world’s few complete sport horse breed shows with the family fun of an International Fall Festival, featuring food and shopping for all tastes.

Simply Nymphenburg Named Grand Champion FEI 6 Year Old in Young Horse Finals with an 80.02% During Dressage at Devon

September 28, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Dr. Cesar Parra and Simply Nymphenburg won the Five-Year-Old division of the FEI Young Horse Finals at Dressage at Devon with an impressive 80.60%.

Devon, PA (September 28, 2012) – Simply Nymphenburg, a striking 17.2 Hanoverian gelding, outshone the competition in the 6-Year-Old division in the FEI Young Horse Finals at Dressage at Devon, taking the Grand Champion title with an impressive score of 80.60%.  Ridden and trained by Dr. Cesar Parra of Piaffe Performance Farm and owned by Michael and Sarah Davis, Simply Nymphenburg (Sir Donnerhall I x Weltmeyer) is fresh off a Reserve Championship finish in the 6-Year-Old division at the Young Horse Dressage Championships, and his improvement was evident in his performance at Dressage at Devon. Reserve Champion in the 6-Year-Old division went to Lars Petersen and Rohannah with a 78.2% and in third was Inga Hamilton and Fabregas with a 76.6%.

“Simply was fantastic,” said Dr. Parra.  “He has improved so much since the Young Horse Championships; he was a bit nervous as it was his first time under the lights, but he was always listening and always on the aids.  We are thrilled to have received such an excellent score from a judge of Stephan Clark’s caliber and in such a competitive class.”  Simply and Dr. Parra received an 8.5 for their trot and an 8 for their walk, for an overall total of 80.60%.  Simply Nymphenburg is no stranger to top placings against stiff competition as he took the bronze in the 5-Year-Old division during the 2011 Bundeschampionate in Germany.  “Simply is maturing well and improving everyday,” said Parra.  “I look forward to the future with him, to continuing to advance his training and hopefully take him to the FEI level.”

Michael Davis, owner of Simply Nymphenburg, was thrilled with their performance.  “Simply was spectacular, and we are lucky to have the knowledge and expertise of coach Volker Moritz,” said Davis.  “His understanding of dressage and years of experience are a huge help to our team.  Even before I saw the score I knew the horse had performed to the best of his ability and we are so thrilled with the results.  Simply was absolutely floating, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this talented young horse.”

For more information on Parra or Piaffe-Performance visit their website at

Nation’s Top Hunters to Compete at the 2012 Capital Challenge Horse Show

September 28, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Many of the top horses in the country will travel from near and far to compete next week at the 2012 Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family, in Upper Marlboro, MD. The show runs September 29 through October 7 at Prince George’s Equestrian Center and will feature many horses that are currently at the top of the national standings for their divisions for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

Meet some of this year’s competitors!


Puppet, a six-year-old Warmblood gelding by Palladium Ex Poladii, is currently leading the country in money won in the First Year Green Working Hunter division. Puppet is owned by Katherine Dash, of Yarrow Point, WA, and will be shown in the First Year division at Capital Challenge by Shelley Campf, of Canby, OR. Campf also plans to show Puppet in the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Challenge and the WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge. The talented young gelding is also qualified for the WCHR Children’s Finals with his owner Katherine Dash after winning the Northwest Regional Championships.

“Puppet is actually quite remarkable because he didn’t do any of the winter circuit and he didn’t do any pre-greens,” Campf noted. “I just kind of started him in the first years right off the bat here and he has really come into himself.”

Campf will also train Exposure, owned by Alexandra Zell, Greyscale, owned by Maggie Dennis, and Padarco Dolce, owned by Bailey Smith, throughout the week. Greyscale sits fifth in the national standings in the Regular Conformation Hunters and Exposure is sixth in the Performance Working Hunter 3’3” division nationally. Exposure and Zell were reserve champions in the Adult Amateur Hunter 51 and Over at Capital Challenge last year and hope for another great year.

It is a big commitment to fly horses and riders 3,000 miles across the country to compete, but Campf enjoys the experience. “I have been coming to Capital Challenge on and off for many years since the very first one,” she noted. “I love the Capital Challenge Horse Show because we see the top hunters in the country all come together at the same place. For me personally, I run into my East Coast friends that I don’t get to see all year long. It is always a first-rate venue with top-class management, great production, and my clients love it.”

Bases Loaded

• Ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding
• Owned by Am Free, Inc. of St. Petersburg, FL
• Number one in USEF national standings by money won in the Performance Working Hunter 3’6” -3’9” division
• Will be shown by Holly Orlando and Ava Free

Bases Loaded and Madison Free at last year’s Capital Challenge. Photo copyright 2011 Parker/Russell – The Book LLC

Paul Stuart

Paul Stuart is leading the nation in money won in the Green Conformation Hunters this year and is ridden by Martien Van Der Hoeven, of The Woodlands, TX. Paul Stuart is a seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Augusta Pines in Spring, TX.

Van Der Hoeven will make his debut riding performance at Capital Challenge this year after several years of attending the show with junior and amateur students. Van Der Hoeven also has a top mount in the First Year Green Working Hunter division with Black Label. Black Label is a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding, also owned by Augusta Pines, and sits third in the country in money won in his division.

“Both horses have had a very successful year leading up to indoors and I am excited to see how they do,” Van Der Hoeven stated. “This will be the first time that I have ridden at Capital Challenge myself. I have been there several years in the past, but always with clients just training. This is the first year that I have had the caliber of horses to show there in a professional position, so I am looking forward to that.”
“It is a fantastic show as far as showcasing the hunters the way that it is run,” Van Der Hoeven acknowledged. “I don’t think you are going to find many more show managers and sponsors that put that much effort into the hunters. It is one of the premier indoor shows.”


• Nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding
• Owned by Jessica Stitt, of Elburn, IL
• Number two in USEF national standings by money won in the High Performance Working Hunter division
• Will be shown by Kelley Farmer and Jessica Stitt

Taken and Kelley Farmer. Photo copyright Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.


Ostentacious is a ten-year-old gelding old Belgian warmblood owned by Louise Graves, of Nashville, TN. Graves, 15, purchased Ostentacious in December last year and he currently leads the country in points in the Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division. This will be Graves’ fourth year showing at Capital Challenge and she hopes to get some good ribbons and have the best year yet.
“Capital Challenge only comes once a year, so I always look forward to going,” Graves expressed. “I like it because it is such a prestigious horse show. I also look forward to seeing a lot of my horse show friends who live far away because we all show different places during the summer. It is one of my favorite horse shows.”

On Ostantacious, Graves stated, “He is really good. He has a really great personality. When I walk in the barn he always has his head out of the stall. He is really fun to ride because he has such a good jump. He is just really sweet.”

Ostentacious showing in last year’s WCHR Professional Finals with Kelley Farmer. Photo copyright Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.


Libretto is a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Alliy Moyer of Carmel, IN. Libretto is one of the top young hunters in the country, currently sitting in second place in the standings for the Second Year Green Working Hunter division in money won showing with Tammy Provost, of Westfield, IN. Libretto will show at Capital Challenge with his owner Alliy Moyer in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division, trained by Provost, who describes the gelding as a “good minded horse, a beautiful mover, and a beautiful jumper.”

Provost has multiple Pre-Green horses to show at Capital Challenge this year and looks forward to the competition.

“I just enjoy all of the special classes they have for the hunter riders,” Provost stated. “They have special classes for the pros and for the juniors, amateurs and even the pony kids. They make it really fun for everybody. The scoring is always fun. It is just one of my favorite places to show. It brings all the best of the best there.”

Other top nationally ranked horses coming to Capital Challenge this year include:

• 14-year-old Warmblood gelding
• Owned by Meadow Hill Stables, of Camden, SC, and ridden by Kaitlin Porath
• Number one in USEF national standings in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 35 & Under 3’6” division

• 14-year-old Westphalian mare
• Owned and ridden by Meaghan Felts of Manhattan, KS
• Number one in USEF national standings in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 35 & Under 3’3” division

All In
• Ten-year-old Warmblood gelding by Grand Cru
• Owned and ridden by Kelly Champion of Washington, NJ
• Number One in USEF national standings in the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over 3’3” division

• Ten-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Radiator
• Owned by Lily Blavin, of Scottsdale, AZ
• Number two in USEF national standings by money won in the Performance Working Hunter 3’3” division
• Will be shown by Lily Blavin and Archie Cox

These are just a few of the top horses that will compete this coming week at the 2012 Capital Challenge Horse Show, presented by The Gochman Family. Don’t miss out on all of the action! The show will be streamed live in its entirety on the SmartPak Live Feed at

In addition to the original live streaming, five featured competitions will be aired with color commentary by Mike Moran on USEF Network presented by SmartPak. On Wednesday, the USEF Network will package and show the $20,000 Added Future Hunter North American Championship (sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Wheeler, Makoto Farms, Inc., and Kocher Tack), the $25,000 WCHR Professional Challenge, and the $5,000 WCHR Emerging Pro Challenge.

About Capital Challenge

In its 19th year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show will take place on September 29-October 7.

Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.

For more information, please visit or visit the Capital Challenge Horse Show pageon Facebook!

*2012 USEF National Points as of 9/24/2012

Dressage at Devon Day 3: Individual Breed Classes and the Start of the Performance Division

September 28, 2012 By: janwest Category: General


Winner of Hanovarian class Age 2 and under Francheska AH
Sophie and Sarah

September 27, 2012 (Devon, PA) Dressage at Devon attendees were treated to an amazing array of individual breed classes in the world’s largest open Breed Show.

From Andulusians to Gypsy Vanners, and Hanovarians to Knabstruppers, each breed had the opportunity to show off its unique qualities.

In the Hanovarian – Age 2 and under, Francheska AH (Fielding/SPS Malena), bred and owned by Kate Palmquist,  took home the blue.   In the 3 year old and older KWPN-NA class, Toraya (Goodtimes x Lora), bred by J.  Boorsma and owned by Iron Spring Farm, Inc., won first place.  (Complete results are available at

As the evening drew near, the performance division kicked into gear. It started with the USEF Fourth Level Test of Choice in which two former Dressage at Devon volunteers competed.

From Behind the Scenes to In Front of the Crowd 

Quite simply, there would be no Dressage at Devon without its hundreds of dedicated volunteers, and Sarah Campbell and Sophie Ghedin, took their commitment to the next level – actually to the fourth level. Outside the CDI barn they were bursting with enthusiasm for their new opportunity to compete in the USEF Fourth Level Test of Choice.  Understandably, they were having a hard time believing they were really here as competitors.


Sarah first visited Dressage at Devon as a young spectator when the show started in 1975.  She began volunteering in 1999, serving in roles such as bit check, and ring and area steward. Sophie learned about the volunteer opportunity Dressage at Devon when she moved to Pennsylvania and was thrilled to be able to participate in such a prestigious show. Her first assignment was to handle the trophies, a challenge because there was no procedure in place.  ‘Sophie Trophy’, as she was nicknamed, tackled the job with gusto, taking photographs of every trophy and developing a system that is used to this day.

They were inspired by the riders, judges and trainers they came in contact with at Dressage at Devon. “You stand next to people you only see in magazines,” says Sophie.  As they became more immersed in the dressage community through their volunteerism, they were encouraged to further develop their own dressage skills.  To that end they have both trained with JJ Tate, Scott and Susanne Hassler.  Sarah also trains with Sally Lofting.


While Sarah and Sophie think having a professional trainer who believes in you is essential to becoming a better dressage rider, hard work is also vital.  They both ride six days a week and engage in cross training, supplementing dressage in the ring with cross country rides that include a few shoulder-ins and a Piaffe in the middle of a field.  Sarah strengthens her core with Pilates and yoga while Sophie opts for Pilates and weight training.  After all this, they both agreed that all they hoped to achieve in their test at Devon was their personal best.

FEI and USEF tests rounded out the evening.  The FEI Young Horse Test for 6 Year Olds was won by Simply Nymphenburg, ridden by Dr. Cesar Parra and owned by Michael and Sarah Davis, with a score of 80.600, The 5 year old class was won by Leonardo (Landtinus/Rambala), ridden by Kim Gentry, with a score of 76.200.  (Complete results are available at



Friday’s classes will feature FEI Prix St. Georges; the FEI Young Riders Team Test, the Grand Prix Qualifier for Grand Prix Special and the Grand Prix Qualifier for Grand Prix Freestyle and much more.   Plus the ever-popular Ladies Hat Contest judged by top DJ, John DeBella, the Aussie horseman Guy McLean and the Delaware Valley Combined Training Association’s Quadrille team.


About Dressage at Devon 

Dressage at Devon, the largest CDI show in the US and the largest open breed show in the world, combines world-class international dressage competition and one of the world’s few complete sport horse breed shows with the family fun of an International Fall Festival, featuring food and shopping for all tastes.

Uphill Farm’s Taylor Schmidt Wins Region 4 ASPCA Maclay Regionals at Kentucky National

September 27, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Taylor Schmidt guided Acortaire to the Region 4 ASPCA Maclay Regional first place finish at the Kentucky National.

Lexington, KY – September 26, 2012 – It was a weekend full of anticipation and exhilaration as the top junior riders in Region 4 gathered to compete for the coveted championship title at the ASPCA Maclay Regionals. Not only did Uphill Farm capture numerous championships throughout the hunter divisions, but Taylor Schmidt rode to the first place finish in the prestigious equitation class, coming out on top with fellow student Meredith Darst on her heels for the second place award.

Beads of sweat sat upon the competitors’ brow as the Region 4 Maclay Finals got underway. Taylor Schmidt laid down a beautiful course over fences, using the 7-year-old Acortair’s large stride to traverse the challenging course smoothly and maintained a strong and consistent rhythm.

“I cannot thank the Patton family enough for allowing me to borrow Acortaire for the Regionals,” Schmidt explained. “The original horse I was going to ride was not the right match, and even though I only had one day to prepare with Acortaire, he is so smooth and very well put together.”

Schmidt was called back into the flat phase in the third place position; however, she moved into first place at its completion. The standings stood solid with no test, and Meredith Darst aboard Copyright, owned by Lochmoor Stables, captured the second place honors.

Schmidt continued, “I think Acortaire’s large stride was what really gave us the edge. He has a very nice way of going, and we were able to leave a stride out in the first line. We really had an advantage.”

“I am still in shock,” Schmidt laughed. “I wouldn’t have thought this was even a possibility back in June when I didn’t even have any equitation points for qualification. None of this would have happened without Tom, he really helped me, and it was through him that I connected with Missy Clark. The two of them prepared me mentally and worked with me constantly on my rhythm, tack work and lower leg position. I am so grateful for everything and this opportunity.”

Hayley Barnhill was very active in the preparation and training for both the riders and their horses. It was only two years ago, that Barnhill added the 2010 ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals to her ever-growing resume. She assisted each of the riders by giving numerous helpful hints, showing their horses in the Special Hunter division and supporting them throughout the extent of the demanding Regionals.

Darst continued her success into the Zone 5 Horsemanship Finals. She secured the first place finish aboard Copyright. She once again rode to the top honors in the Pessoa/USEF Hunt Seat Medal, finishing a phenomenal week with an array of prestigious awards. Aboard Tilou, owned by Lochmoor Stables, Darst was awarded the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunter Reserve Championship upon earning two first place ribbons and a third over fences, as well as the second place in the under saddle. She also piloted Lightning Z, owned by Lochmoor Stables, to the Large Junior 15 and Under Hunter Championship with three first place ribbons over fences and the third in the under saddle.

Fellow junior rider Reid Patton navigated her own mount Lennon to the Small Junior 16-17 Hunter Reserve Championship. Patton guided the gelding to the top finish in the over fences, also earning two additional third place ribbons and the first place honors in the under saddle. She also guided Von Dutch to very consistent ribbons throughout the divisions, but it was Lennon’s day to shine. Von Dutch did however catch the judges’ eyes in the Regional Maclay Warm-up, earning the fourth place finish. The pair also rode to the tenth place finish in the ASPCA Maclay Regionals, and will continue to the Alltech National Horse Show for their chance to compete against the nation’s best.

Hayley Banas also put forth a great effort this past week at the Kentucky National Horse Show. Banas piloted Royal Step, owned by Brampton Woods Farm, to the second place honors in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search. She also rode Royal Step in the ASPCA Maclay Regionals, earning the 25th place for her solid round and efforts in the flat phase. Her success did not end there as the pair picked up the fifth place in the WIHS Equitation class.

Martha Ingram took the Kentucky National Horse Show by storm, capturing the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunter Championship with Glass Castle, owned by Elm Rock LLC. The pair earned the blue ribbon prize over fences, as well as two second place awards. Martha also rode Glass Castle to the first place finish in the under saddle. She continued her success aboard Cayero, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram LLC, where the talented pair took home the first place award, two seconds and the third place ribbon in the over fences, riding to the reserve championship in the Large Junior 15 and Under Hunters. Ingram also had a phenomenal finish in the Region 4 ASPCA Maclay Regionals with Tenacious, finishing in the 11th position.

Martha’s father, John Ingram, also had a fantastic horse show. John showed Superman to two first place finishes in the Amateur-Owner 35 and Over Hunters, laying down beautiful rounds over fences and in the under saddle.

Hayley Barnhill piloted Missy Luczak-Smith’s top mount Encore to the top of the leader board during the Second Year Green Working Hunters. Luczak-Smith and Encore have had a fantastic season, and with Barnhill in the irons, the gelding continued to leave nothing to chance, garnering the Second Year Green Working Hunter Reserve Championship tricolor. Barnhill steered Encore to two first place ribbons, the third place over fences, and the second place award in the under saddle. Luczak-Smith was also awarded two first place ribbons over fences in the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunters with Encore, also scoring top ribbons with Surf’s Up in the Adult Amateur 36-49 Hunters.

Laura Karet was right on Luczak-Smith’s heels, riding her very own mounts Caliber and Ocean Front to good ribbons throughout the Adult Amateur 36-49 Hunter division. She was awarded the third place honors with both of her mounts, earning a nod from the judges in both the over fences and the under saddle with her talented horses. Karet also rode to the first place finish in the WIHS/NAL amateur Hunter Classic with Caliber.

“Everyone really rose to the occasion for the Kentucky National Horse Show. It was a great week of competition,” Tom Wright concluded.

Although originally from California, Wright has trained show hunters, jumpers and equitation on the East Coast since 1980. Wright and his team of trainers and riders at Uphill Farm, have become an unstoppable force in the equestrian sport, earning top honors at the best nation’s most prestigious horse shows. Using a training technique that stresses methodical preparation, encourages strong horsemanship, and uses forward thinking; Wright has worked his way to the top. Wright is the only trainer to have won the AHJF Hunter Spectacular of Palm Beach an astounding five times. He has trained numerous Maclay and Medal winners, including 2010 USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals and 2010 ASPCA Maclay Finals winner, Hayley Barnhill.

Peter Leone and Lincourt Gino Make History at the American Gold Cup

September 26, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Peter Leone and Lincourt Gino won the
$200,000 American Gold Cup

Wellington, FL – September 24, 2012 – Peter Leone and Monica Carrera’s Lincourt Gino received a huge ovation from the spectators as the only horse and rider team to go double clear around Steve Stephen’s challenging long and short tracks around the rolling terrain of the Old Salem Grand Prix field in the American Gold Cup. It was Leone’s second American Gold Cup win; in 1988 he won the prize aboard the amazing American Quarter Horse, Threes and Sevens.

Leone’s clean jump-off round (44.050 seconds) placed him ahead of Kent Farrington, who came in second riding Voyeur with a time of 41.630 seconds with four faults in the second round. McLain Ward, riding Antares F, claimed third place with a time of 42.00 seconds with four faults in round two, while Beezie Madden, riding Cortes C, earned the fourth place ribbon with a time of 43.140 seconds, also with four faults in the jump-off.

“It felt good to be in the jump-off with three of the best riders in America, three of the best riders in the world,” said Leone.

Watch Leone and Gino’s rounds by clicking the links below:

First Round:

Jump Off:

Peter Leone and Lincourt Gino. Photo by Parker/Russell The Book LLC

Monica Carrera brought Gino and Tiffany to Leone in August of last year. After Carrera suffered an injury, she gave Leone the opportunity to see what Gino, the 9-year-old Irish Sporthorse, could do.

Leone started him in the 1.40m in Wellington, where the pair had great success. Then the duo was clear with a second place prize at the Live Oak International in Ocala, FL, Gino’s first 1.45m. The pair was third in the 1.50m in the World Cup in Bromont, where the ever-vigilant gelding was clear once again.

“When they’re careful like that, you don’t really know if they can jump the big tracks until you get there,” confided Leone. “Gino is one of the most careful horses I’ve ever ridden. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve gone into a competition and not gotten a ribbon. He had a great round at the Pfizer Million but had an unfortunate rail at the last fence. He is a typical Irish horse – huge heart, he loves the game of show jumping, but he does it his own way. He jumps every jump just a little bit different, but he loves going out there and doing everything he can to jump clean.”

And owner Monica Carrera added, “I’m just ecstatic. After the Million, I did not expect him to do that well; he’s jumping so well and has a great heart. It seems easier for him. He really likes his program. He is really happy.”

“I am so proud of this horse. He’s such a character. He really wants to jump clear and win. He is the most adorable horse to take care of,” said Valerie Huckstepp, who recently returned as a member of the Lionshare Farm team. Huckstepp was a handler and groom to Leone’s Olympic Silver Medal mount, Legato.

It was special and busy week at the American Gold Cup for Lionshare Farm with other important wins to their credit.

On Wednesday, Leone won the Fairfield Equine $1,500 1.30m on Monica Carrera’s Tiffany. On Thursday, Lionshare Farm sponsored the $1,000 Children’s Jumpers. Leone awarded his book, Peter Leone’s Show Jumping Clinic: Success Strategies of Equestrian Athletes to the winners.

Then, the excitement began to build when Leone and Gino were third in the $50,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier on Friday.

Lionshare Farm clients Brittain Ezzes and her Empire were sixth with two faultless rounds in the $1,000 Mitchell-Innes Nash Adult Amateur Jumpers and Kiva Iscol and Alias went double clear in the $1,500 Low Junior/Amateur Jumpers.

On Saturday, Monica Carrera and put in two clear rounds in the NAL $10,000 Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic to finish 8th, and Brittain Ezzes piloted Empire to sixth place in the $10,000 Mitchell-Innes Nash Adult Amateur Classic.

Leone, a Samshield-sponsored rider, held a book signing hosted at the Samshield booth on Saturday and connected with old and new friends.

Leone signs a copy of his book at the Samshield booth

Peter Leone is an Olympic equestrian, trainer, producer of hunter/jumper instructional DVDs and author. He owns and operates Lionshare Farm in Greenwich, CT. His clients successfully compete in the pony, equitation, hunter and jumper divisions. He is one of three brothers, internationally known as Team Leone, for their success in the show ring. Leone was a member of the 1996 Silver Medal United States Olympic Show Jumping Team and winner of numerous national and international Grand Prix show jumping competitions.

For more information about Peter Leone and Lionshare Farm, go to:

USEA Calendar Highlights

September 25, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Events Currently Open To Enter


Open August 28, 2012 Closing Soon!

  • Course Brook Farm Fall Horse Trials (MA, A-1)
  • Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3)
  • Grass Ridge H.T. (AZ, A-10)
  • Pine Top October HT (GA, A-3)
  • Fall Horse Trials at the Ark (NC, A-2)
  • Middle Tennessee Pony Club Horse Trials (TN, A-3)
  • The Maryland H.T. at Loch Moy Farm (MD, A-2)
  • Radnor Hunt H.T. (PA, A-2)
  • Greenwood Farm Inc. Fall H.T.(TX, A-5)
  • The Ethel Walker School (CT, A-1)

Open September 04, 2012

  • Ram Tap Horse Trials (CA, A-6)
  • Hagyard Midsouth Three-day Event & Team Challenge (KY, A-8)
  • “The Event” at Kelly’s Ford (VA, A-2)
  • Paradise Farm H.T.(SC, A-3)
  • The Virginia CCI * and H.T. (VA, A-2)
  • Galway Downs International Three-Day Event & H.T. (CA, A-6)

Open September 11, 2012

  • Holly Hill Fall H.T. (LA, A-5)
  • Chattahoochee Hills H.T. (GA, A-3)
  • Heritage Park H.T. (KS, A-4)
  • Waredaca H.T. and Classic Training 3 Day Event (MD, A-2)

Open September 18, 2012

  • The Virginia CCI * and H.T. (VA, A-2)
  • Galway Downs International Three-Day Event & H.T. (CA, A-6)
  • Rocking Horse Classic 3-day & H.T. (FL, A-3)
  • Pine Hill Fall H.T. (TX, A-5)

Upcoming Activities 

  • 9/29/2012 Two Rivers Pony Club Schooling Jumper Show (WI, A-4)
  • 9/29/2012 FEH East Coast Championships (VA, A-2)
  • 10/01/2012 Jim Graham Clinic (TX, A-5)
  • 10/03/2012 Burns Farm YEH Qualifier (GA, A-3)
  • 10/06/2012 Robin Walker Clinic, sponsored by Area 8 Young Riders (KY, A-8)
  • 10/13/2012 Coyote Springs Fall Derby (TX, A-5)
  • 10/14/2012 FEH at SE Farm (CA, A-6)
  • 10/14/2012 Blue Ridge Eventing Association 2012 Competition (VA, A-2)
  • 10/15/2012 ICP Levels I/II Teaching of Jumping Workshop (TX, A-5)
  • 10/18/2012 East Coast YEH Championships (MD, A-2)
  • 10/19/2012 West Coast FEH Championships (CA, A-6)
  • 10/27/2012 The Event Derby® at the Flintridge Riding Club (CA, A-6)
  • 10/27/2012 FEH Educational Seminar (MD, A-2)
  • 11/05/2012 ICP All Levels Assessment (TX, A-5)
  • 11/18/2012 The Fork Schooling Horse Trials (NC, A-2)
  • 11/24/2012 Boyd Martin Clinic (TX, A-5)
  • 12/01/2012 Will Faudree and Clark Montgomery Clinic (LA, A-5)
  • 12/06/2012 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention (CO, A-9)
  • 12/09/2012 High Point Farm Candy Cane Derby (TX, A-5)



World Dressage Masters Returns to Palm Beach County Jan. 23-27, 2013

September 25, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

2012 World Dressage Masters

Wellington, FL-September 24, 2012-The excitement is building for dressage fans and aficionados worldwide as the countdown begins for the must-see event in 2013—the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach. The internationally acclaimed World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach will return to the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center January 23-27, 2013 during the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3*.

World Dressage Masters (WDM), presented by Axel Johnson Group, is an elite competition series at the highest international level, featuring the world’s leading dressage shows and riders, and offering an unprecedented €425,000 in prize money (over $550,000 US).  The WDM Palm Beach, produced by Wellington Classic Dressage, is one of only four 5-Star shows held worldwide and the only one to be held on U.S. soil.  The World Dressage Masters Palm Beach drew nearly 10,000 spectators and competitors throughout the four-day show in 2012 and set records for attendance in North American dressage.

The 2012 event featured the only appearance in North America for two of Great Britain’s Olympic Gold Medal Team Members: Charlotte Dujardin, and her coach and fellow teammate, Carl Hester.  It also showcased to the North American audience the world’s soon-to-be crowned Individual Olympic Gold Medal Grand Prix Freestyle pair of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.

Since the event’s organization was taken over by Wellington Classic Dressage two years ago, it has garnered a unique reputation for fabulous food and entertainment, and of course, top-notch competition from the leading international dressage riders. The event brought world-class equestrians to the area including Olympians Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester, Steffen Peters, Adrienne Lyle, Tina Konyot, Minne Tilde, Ashley Holzer, Jacqueline Brooks, Per Sandgaard and Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven along with superstar dressage riders Todd Flettrich, Heather Blitz, James Kofford, Pierre St. Jacques and Anja Plönzke.

Steffen Peters, joyful winner of the
WDM Palm Beach Exquis Grand Prix Freestyle

The grand finale of the 2012 WDM Palm Beach was the Grand Prix Freestyle presented by the Axel Johnson Group, where the final eight of the world’s top- ranked horses and riders competed.  U.S. Olympic team member Steffen Peters aboard Ravel, owned by Akiko Yamazaki, performed a breath-taking freestyle and narrowly beat the stunning combination of Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro to win the freestyle for their share of the €70,000 ($92,000) in prize money for that class.  A total of €100,000 ($130,000) at each WDM competition makes the WDM presented by Axel Johnson Group the richest dressage series in the world.

Todd Flettrich and Otto at the
2012 WDM Masters

“The World Dressage Masters has been the crown jewel of the Wellington Classic Dressage circuit,” said U.S. Olympic Dressage Team Technical Advisor Anne Gribbons. “It brings enough riders from Europe to make it a very exciting competition. It’s been very well run for the past two years. They take the facility at the Jim Brandon Center and make it intimate−cozy and exciting at the same time. The place was packed the past two years, which gives it a really good atmosphere. It prepares horses for indoor shows like they have in Europe.”

Noreen O’Sullivan, show manager and managing partner for Wellington Classic Dressage, is thrilled to be hosting the event once again. “We are looking forward to welcoming top riders, both from North America and abroad, to the 2013 World Dressage Masters CDI5*,” she said. “It will be the premiere dressage event of the season in Palm Beach County and it’s certainly a coup that we can again host such a prestigious event and showcase Wellington and Palm Beach to the world.”

Phelps Media Group will release information about ticket sales soon and news will be posted on the Wellington Classic Dressage website as well as the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Facebook page and on Twitter.

Steffen Peters is a happy winner at the 2012 World Dressage Masters

Be sure and “like” WDM Facebook page at

Follow us on Twitter @WldDrsgMstrPB.

For more information about Wellington Classic Dressage, log onto or check out the Facebook page at

To learn more about World Dressage Masters, log onto

McClain Ward takes his third New Albany Classic: Event benefits The Center for Family Safety and Healing

September 24, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

McLain Ward on his winning mount at the New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix
Photo ©Curtis Wallis

[New Albany, OH, September 23, 2012] The New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix & Family Day celebrated 15 years of support for the fight against family violence at the home of Abigail and Les Wexner in New Albany, Ohio today, attracting a crowd of 18,000 people to cheer on the participants in the Grand Prix competition.

U.S. rider McClain Ward prevailed again aboard Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve (PJ), whom he won the class on in 2011, as well. Ward and PJ had a winning time of 42.12 in a jump off field of nine riders.

Awards are presented to McLain Ward for his second consecutive year to win the New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix
Photo ©Curtis Wallis

The Classic hosted a total of 27 riders from around the world including five Olympic competitors. This year, The Classic also welcomed a handful of younger riders at the beginning of their Grand Prix careers including seventeen-year old New Albany resident, Gabriela Mershad, seventeen-year old Mattias Tromp out of North Salem, New York and nineteen-year old Emily Short, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a sophomore at nearby Denison University.

Abigail Wexner said, “This was an anniversary party like no other and I’m thrilled that we had nine competitors go to the jump off. The crowd was really enthusiastic and it made for a wonderful ending to this picture perfect day. I’m thankful to all of the families, volunteers and sponsors that came out to help others in need. It’s truly a team effort and I’m so very grateful.”

The Classic drew 18,000 people to the home of Abigail and Leslie Wexner, again raising more than $1 million to support the work of The Center for Family Safety and Healing. The Tween Brands Concert presented by Justice featured Nashville-based pop music sensation Hot Chelle Rae as the headline act with British YouTube phenom Conor Maynard as the opening act. These performers added to the roster of previous Classic talent including Big Time Rush, David Archuleta, The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Jordin Sparks.

Along with the Grand Prix show jumping competition featuring some of the world’s leading equestrians and the national headline concert, guests were treated to a myriad of other activities including carnival rides, petting zoos, pig races, crafts, games and so much more.

About The Classic:

The Classic is a family-focused event founded and hosted by Abigail Wexner as the primary fundraiser for The Center for Family Safety and Healing. The Center is the result of a recent merger between The Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence and The Center for Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s. The all-day event is held at the Wexner home in New Albany and features traditional carnival rides, games and activities as well as the Tween Brands Concert. The day culminates with an internationally sanctioned invitational show jumping Grand Prix featuring thirty of the top professional riders from around the world. To date, The Classic has generated more the $18.5 million in support for The Classic.