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Archive for November, 2012

Great American Insurance Group/ United States Dressage Federation Region 9 Dressage Championships Hosted by the Houston Dressage Society Showcases Region’s Talent

November 29, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Written by: Lindsay McCall

Photos by: Susan Stickle

The Great American Insurance Group/ United States Dressage Federation Region 9 Dressage Championships brought forward the highest caliber of riders November 1-4, 2012. The Houston Dressage Society proudly hosted the USDF Region 9 equestrians at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas where the weather maintained warmer than average temperatures over the weekend except for a Saturday afternoon thunderstorm that disrupted the outdoor classes. Among the top performing riders were Professional rider Claire Darnell of Georgetown, Texas, junior rider Anna Campbell of Wylie, Texas, and Elizabeth “Bit” Fingerhut of Houston, Texas. In addition to the championship presentations, multiple riders were recognized for their accomplishments in 2011-2012. Para-equestrian Jonathan Wentz, who passed away at the end of September, was also recognized for the highest Region 9 honor. Wentz was recognized for his achievements during the year and his outstanding performance at the 2012 London Paralympics.


Over four days Region 9 riders competed for 2012 year-end championships and multiple 2013 qualifying opportunities including:


-Official qualifying competition for the 2013 Great American Insurance Group (GAIG)/USDF Regional Dressage Championships and the 2013 Southwest Dressage Championships

-Official qualifying competition for the 2013 FEI North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championships and Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Junior, Young Rider & Brentina Cup Championships

-Official qualifying competition for the 2013 Dover/USDF Adult Amateur Medal Program.


Eight dressage judges were on hand to score the competition including: Janet Foy, USEF “S”, FEI “4*”from Colorado Springs, Colorado; Lorraine McDonald, USEF “S”, FEI “4”, from Caledon, Ontario, Canada; Lilo Fore, USEF “S”, FEI “4*”of  Santa Rosa, California; Bill Solyntjes, USEF “S”, from Hamel, Minnesota; Mike Osinski, USEF “S”, Lacey, Washington; Sue Mandas, USEF “S”, of Dayton, Ohio; and Dolly Hannon, USEF “S”,  from Arvada, Colorado; and Janine Malone, USEF “R”, from Zebulon, NC.

One of the top open riders at the Region 9 championships was Claire Darnell. Claire is the professional rider for Darnell Dressage, a lesson, training and sales barn she runs with her mother, Joan Darnell, a USEF “S” Dressage Judge. Claire rode multiple horses at the show but had her greatest successes on Calimar, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Contucci, and Flintstone, a 9 -year-old Oldenburg gelding. Calimar won the GAIG/USDF Intermediare II Open Championship with 66.316% and was third in the FEI Extreme Freestyle with 67.312%. Claire says Calimar is fun, but challenging. She purchased him when he was 18 months old. Her mother has helped with his training but Claire is the only rider who has shown him. Claire Darnell commented, “Calimar finally figured out how to piaffe during the show’s awards ceremony. Some of his Grand Prix movements are green so getting piaffe has been hit-or-miss until now.”


Flintstone was the GAIG/USDF Third Level Open Reserve Champion with 68.462% and the GAIG/USDF Third Level Freestyle Champion with a score of 73.917%. Flintstone was imported as a jumper after being purchased at the Oldenburg auction in Germany. With a height of 15.3 hands his show jumping career came to an end when the jumps became too big for him. Darnell noted, “Flintstone is a firecracker who likes to bolt and buck.” Claire quickly moved him up to Third Level in 2012 to keep him busy and rides with a double bridle to help keep his enthusiasm under control. In the National (Training to Fourth Level) tests, Claire wore a purple riding coat she custom ordered in England to “have some fun.” It was the first show for the purple coat and was easy to spot in the warm-up ring. In spite of her show success, Claire had a few tense moments including a show boot mishap and a technology nightmare as she was copying her freestyle music for the horse show office.


Among the Region 9 junior dressage riders Anna Campbell made 2012 a year to remember. Anna Campbell of Wylie, Texas was a member of the first-ever Bronze medal winning Region 9 Junior Rider Team at the 2012 NAJYRC. Campbell noted, “NAJYRC was certainly a highlight for the year and it was pretty special to ride in the same arena as the greats.”  She continued, “However, the GAIG USDF Region 9 Championships at Great Southwest Equestrian Center are familiar and feel like home because I have shown here so often and have so many great memories here.”  Campbell plans on competing as a junior for one more year through 2013.


Over the November Championship weekend, Anna Campbell showed horses Mai and Wandango 12 winning multiple accolades. Campbell was the GAIG/USDF Championship winner of Prix St. Georges Jr/YR on Mai with 65.78% and Reserve Champion of the GAIG/USDF Junior Team Test on Wandango 12 with a score of 63.446%. Campbell also earned her USDF Rider Achievement Silver Medal at the show.


Campbell’s Mai is an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare born in Denmark during the month of May which is spelled “Mai” in German. She explained, “Mai is a ‘love child’ because no one knows who her sire is. Her dam became pregnant while pastured next to a field of young colts.” Mai is sensitive and had a spook from crowd noise during the Prix St. George shoulder-in on one side but managed to recover quickly. Also, Campbell almost went off course but caught herself just in time. Wandango 12, Campbell’s horse for the Junior Team Test Championship class, is usually ridden by her older sister, Rachel. However, Rachel has been busy with school, so Anna has ridden the 17.3 hand gelding in several shows during the 2012 calendar year. Wandango 12 is a 14-year-old Hanoverian imported from Germany by Kai Handt of North Texas Equestrian Center. Campbell commented, “I enjoy riding both horses but they are very different. Wandango’s large size makes him more difficult to maneuver in the arena while Mai’s downhill balance can be challenging.”


Amateur rider Elizabeth “Bit” Fingerhut topped her division earning the GAIG/USDF First Level Adult Amateur Championship on Vanessa Mae with a score of 69.677%. Vanessa Mae is a 10 year-old Dutch mare by Ferro. Pennock Point Sport Horses in Reddick, Florida bred Vanessa Mae for the original purpose of becoming a broodmare. She had one foal and was put under saddle to earn her IBOP (mare performance test) breed score. However, when the economy slowed, Vanessa Mae’s breeder decided to downsize and found it was easiest to sell the horses under saddle. Fingerhut purchased Vanessa Mae two years ago and plans to move her up to Second Level in 2013. In the First Level Championship class, Fingerhut had a “fabulous, relaxed” ride but ended up tied with another rider at the end of the class. Fingerhut and Vanessa Mae had higher collective marks for the win. In the past, Vanessa Mae has stressed at shows, stopped eating and hid her head in the stall corner. “This was the first show the mare seemed more comfortable which translated into more relaxed rides,” smiled Fingerhut. A former President of the Houston Dressage Club, Fingerhut faces many of the same challenges as other amateurs trying to balance riding with family and career. She works long hours as the Controller for an independent oil and gas company, Renaissance Offshore. Fingerhut lives with her husband, Steve, in an airpark over 50 miles from her office. This means she only has time to ride Vanessa Mae three times per week. Fingerhut’s trainer, Julie McGee Harkness, rides Vanessa Mae the other days.


The Region 9 Championships were also an opportunity to celebrate the region’s rider accomplishments throughout the 2012 competition year. Over 65 USDF Rider Achievement medals were earned and three new Century Club Members were named in 2012. During the Collecting Gait/USEF National Dressage Championships, Festival of Champions held in Gladstone, NJ, Ayden Uhlir riding Sjapoer of Arlington, Texas earned the National Junior Championship. Ayden also conquered the North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) winning an Individual Gold Medal in Lexington, Kentucky. The Region 9 Junior Team was quite successful as well at the NAJYRC winning the Bronze team medal for the first medal in Region 9 history. Another Region 9 standout was Emma Patterson riding Wynshire’s Valiant who earned the National Champion 13-and-under division at the Dressage Seat Equitation Medal Finals held in Lamplight, Illinois.


The highest Region 9 honor went to para-equestrian Jonathan Wentz, the USEF Para-Equestrian 2012 Reserve Champion and 4th placed individual Paralympian in London. Jonathan was the highest placed United States equestrian athlete at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Jonathan Wentz and NTEC Richter Scale photo by Lindsay Yosay McCall

With 2013 approaching, Region 9 and the Houston Dressage Society look forward to another exciting calendar year hosting multiple dressage shows as well as clinics with world-renowned instructors.


For more information please visit the Houston Dressage Society at For press inquiries please contact


About the Houston Dressage Society:

The Houston Dressage Society (HDS) is 501 (c)(7) social non-profit organization. HDS was incorporated in November of 1977. The club is dedicated to furthering the art of dressage through education for its members and by hostingshows in order for its members to achieve their goals. HDS is a Region 9 Group Member Organization (GMO) of the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) and an Affiliate Member of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

Join Us at the Holiday and Horses Show to See the FEI World Cup Qualifier, Draw for FTI GCC Charities, WinterFest Concert, and More!

November 28, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

For Immediate Release

Wellington, FL – November 27, 2012 – Equestrian Sport Productions is excited to announce that this week’s Holiday and Horses Show will feature many great events for equestrians and the local community at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The Holiday and Horses Show offers great competition, including the $50,000 Holiday and Horses FEI World Cup Qualifier on Saturday, December 1, at 5:30 p.m. A drawing of the charities that have registered to be selected to participate in the fourth annual FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (FTI GCC) will take place throughout the evening’s competition. Immediately following the grand prix, everyone is welcome to stay and enjoy WinterFest, a concert featuring Vanilla Ice. General admission for World Cup Qualifier and WinterFest is free!


The Holiday and Horses show will have top classes each day on November 28-December 2 and is rated CSI 2*-W, Jumper 5*, and “AA”. Wednesday’s feature class is the $10,000 Holiday and Horses Open Stakes, while on Thursday riders will compete in the $33,000 Holiday and Horses Opener Grand Prix presented by Horse Gym USA. The $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class is featured on Friday, and everyone will gather for the biggest class of the week, the $50,000 Holiday and Horses Grand Prix, on Saturday. Hunters will be featured on Sunday in the International Arena with the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. A full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation classes will be offered this week.

Last year’s $50,000 Holiday and Horses FEI World Cup Qualifier winners, Margie Engle and Indigo.
Photo © ManciniPhotos.


Charities from all over Palm Beach County have applied to be a part of the fourth annual FTI GCC, where 32 charities will be paired with a team of riders to compete for donations on January 26, 2013. In its first three years, the event raised over $2.7 million for over 50 Palm Beach County charities. The goal this year is to raise over $1 million with 100% of all proceeds being donated to 32 local charities.

All charity representatives must check-in between 4:30 and 5 p.m. at the Special Events Pavilion. The first drawing will take place at 5:15 p.m.


Charities will be drawn randomly during three presentations on the evening of Saturday December 1, and 25% of the selected charities are guaranteed to be Wellington-based this year. Two wild card spots will be left open. The first wild card spot will be drawn at the $100,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix at The Mar-a-Lago Club on January 6 and the second on the night of the FTI GCC. For more information on the FTI GCC, please visit or like their Facebook page.

The WinterFest concert featuring Vanilla Ice will take place in the International Arena immediately following the conclusion of the World Cup Grand Prix. Everyone is invited to attend. The evening will also feature other special performances, vendors of PBIEC and local Wellington businesses, as well as a special Food and Wine Festival for $15 per person or $25 per couple.


The Holiday and Horses Show is the opening event of the Holiday Horse Show Series, which includes:

ESP Year End Awards Show – December 8-9, 2012 – “C” Rated and Jumper 4*

$10,000 Open Stake, Saturday, December 8

ESP Year End Awards Banquet on Saturday, December 8, at 6 p.m.

$25,000 Year End Awards Grand Prix, Sunday, December 9, at 2 p.m.


Holiday I Show – December 14-16, 2012 – “A” Rated and Jumper 4*

$10,000 Open Stake, Friday, December 14, at 2 p.m.

$25,000 Holiday I Grand Prix, Sunday, December 16, at 2 p.m.


Holiday II Show – December 20-22, 2012 – “A” Rated and Jumper 4*

$10,000 Open Stake, Thursday, December 20, at 2 p.m.

$25,000 Holiday II Grand Prix, Saturday, December 22, at 2 p.m.


Holiday III Show – December 23, 2012 – “B” Rated and Jumper 2*


ESP New Year’s Show – December 26-30, 2012 – “AA” Rated and Jumper 4*

$10,000 Open Stake, Thursday, December 27, at 2 p.m.

$25,000 Citibank New Year’s Grand Prix, Sunday, December 30, at 2 p.m.


A-T Children’s Benefit Show – January 2-6, 2013 – “AA” Rated and Jumper 4* (Pending CSI 2* approval)

$10,000 Open Stake, Thursday, January 3

*New Date – $25,000 A-T Benefit Grand Prix, Saturday, January 5, at 7 p.m.*


Spy Coast Farm Young Horse Finals – January 5-6, 2013 – at The Stadium at PBIEC


Join us at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center this Saturday night for a fun night of show jumping and music, and see what’s ahead for our holiday season!


For more information on Equestrian Sport Productions, please visit For inquiries about the FTI GCC, please contact Anne Caroline Valtin at 561-784-1133 or


About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) has 12 weeks of world class competition running from January 9 through March 31, 2013. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. All 12 weeks are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, with approximately $7 million in prize money awarded.

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at

About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $3.8 trillion, including managed assets of $1.6 trillion, as of October 31, 2012.  Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms.  For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit

Please visit or call 561-793-5867 for more information.


G&C Farm Prepares for 2013 Competition and Increased Sponsorship of Top Equestrian Events

November 27, 2012 By: janwest Category: General



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEWellington, FL – November 27, 2012 – G&C Farm is celebrating a successful 2012 season of competition and sponsorship, and they look forward to continuing in 2013. G&C Farm is one of the top sponsors in show jumping in North America, and in 2012 that expanded overseas to the Gucci Paris Masters show. G&C Farm looks forward to increased sponsorship in 2013 as well as supporting their riders, Rodrigo Pessoa, Luis Fernando Larrazabal, and Mark Bluman, at the top shows. G&C Farm is owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal of Venezuela and based in Wellington, FL.

G&C Farm is sponsoring the Leading Rider Award at the Gucci Paris Masters, held November 30 – December 2. They will present a check to the top two riders at the five-star competition; the leading rider will receive 25,000 Euros, while the second place rider wins 5,000 Euros.

Gustavo Mirabal expressed, “We are excited to sponsor the Leading Rider Award at the Gucci Paris Masters. It is a stunning example of what an indoor show jumping event can be, and we are honored to present a special award for the riders.”

Rodrigo Pessoa stated, “Since the beginning of their sponsor relationships, G&C Farm has really tried to invest money in the sport and make it worthwhile for the riders. Their sponsorship is testimony that they are really concerned about making it better for the riders. It started in Wellington and Calgary with adding ROLEX FEI ranking classes and continues here in this new venture. The riders really appreciate their support of the sport as well as the bonus for them.”

Rodrigo Pessoa and Gustavo Mirabal. Photo © Jennifer Wood Media

In addition to the Gucci Paris Masters this week, G&C Farm is also sponsoring the $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class at the Holiday and Horses Show at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).Looking Ahead to 2013 Sponsorship

G&C Farm continues their sponsorship at PBIEC in 2013 at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). They are the sponsor of the 1.45m Jumper division throughout the 12-week circuit, and many of those classes offer ROLEX FEI ranking points for riders and increased prize money.

They are the weekly sponsor during the CSIO week 8 of the FTI WEF, which includes the presenting sponsorship of the $75,000 FEI Nations Cup on Friday, March 1, and the title sponsorship of the $35,000 Puissance on Saturday, March 2.

“Our sponsorship at the FTI WEF is our most intensive,” said Mirabal. “We are proud to be a part of the best horse show in the United States.”

G&C Farm is a major sponsor at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.
The Mirabals are shown here in a presentation last year with ringmaster Cliff Haines
and Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo. Photo © Kenneth Kraus/

G&C Farm will also be the presenting sponsor of the 41st Gene Mische American Invitational, held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, on April 6. The American Invitational is one of the most esteemed events on the show jumping circuit in the United States, and G&C Farm enjoys helping keep the tradition of this event alive.2013 will be the fourth year that the $50,000 G&C Farm Rider’s Cup will be offered at the Spruce Meadows summer tournaments. G&C Farm created the $50,000 G&C Farm Rider Cup in 2010 to honor the top FEI level show jumpers during the summer series at Spruce Meadows. The award is calculated through accumulated points given to riders who compete in eligible competitions at the 1.50m and 1.60m divisions during the Summer Series. The top three athletes accruing the most G&C Farm Riders’ Cup Series Points at the “National”, “Continental”, “Canada One”, and “North American” Tournaments will be awarded the 2013 Championship Bonus on the final day of the “North American” Tournament.

Expanding their sponsorship reach in 2013 will include events in the Mirabals’ native country of Venezuela. G&C Farm has been sponsoring in the Central and South American regions for many years, and this coming year will include two horse shows in Venezuela.

Continuing Excellence in Competition

G&C Farm has been sponsoring up-and-coming grand prix riders Luis Fernando Larrazabal and Mark Bluman and they have had success at shows across the country this summer including victories in Vermont, Saugerties, Lake Placid, and Upperville. The G&C Farm riders are training with Helio and Rodrigo Pessoa and will be riding at the grand prix level at events in 2013.

Mark Bluman and Luis Fernando Larrazabal
with Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal. Photo © Erin Gilmore

Two new horses have joined the string at G&C Farm as well. Pessoa said, “We have been looking for several months for good young prospects. The focus has been on securing the best young ones that we could find, and we came across two we really liked. I think they’ll be a great addition to the string.”G&C Carmela, a six-year-old mare by Indoctro, is “really special, careful, with a lot of blood and potential,” Pessoa described. G&C Consigliere, a seven-year-old gelding by Cavalier, will compete with Pessoa this winter, along with G&C Atlanta, who performed well in the 6 Year Old Young Jumper classes in Europe this summer.

Pessoa said, “I’m really excited to start competing in Florida and hopefully these young horses will be good winners for the farm.”

G&C La Gran and G&C Quick Star, two seasoned grand prix horses, will also be returning to the show ring. “I’ll be competing these two in Florida apart from the Double H Farm horses, which are my main horses in the big classes. They are my primary owner with horses of more experience,” Pessoa explained. Along with HH Rebozo, HH Ashley, and HH Let’s Fly, Pessoa will also have two top performers returning in HH Ciske and HH Rufus.

G&C Farm is excited for the 2013 season to help support the sport of show jumping along with their talented horses and riders.

For more information on G&C Farm, please visit their website at, like their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

G&C Farm brings exceptional horses and top jumper riders to the highest levels of competition. Their state-of-the-art, full-service facility is located in Wellington, FL.

The vision of G&C Farm is to improve the instruction and training of their top jumper riders and horses in order to seek a place at all high level tournaments and top competitions, including the World Equestrian Games and Olympic Games. G&C Farm sponsors Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa, as well as other up-and-coming riders. Passion. Pride. Escuderia. G&C Farm.


© 2012 Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.: Writing. Photography. Equestrian Public Relations and Marketing.



South Florida Hunter Jumper Association Charity Horse Show Wrap-Up, November 21-25, 2012

November 27, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

For Immediate Release

Wellington, FL – November 26, 2012 – The South Florida Hunter Jumper Association (SFHJA) hosted their annual charity horse show on November 21-25 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The competition was held as a benefit for the A-T Children’s Project, Danny & Ron’s Rescue, Equestrian Aid Foundation, Horses & The Handicapped, and Pure Thoughts, Inc. Horse & Foal Rescue. A highlight for exhibitors was the Exhibitor’s Party, Auction, and Calcutta presented by A-T Children’s Project on Friday. The show wrapped up a great week of competition and featured many exciting classes.


Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra Triumph
in $25,000 Spy Coast Farm Grand Prix

The $25,000 Spy Coast Farm Grand Prix was featured on Saturday, November 24, in the International Arena at PBIEC with a win for Pablo Barrios (VEN) and the ZL Group, Inc.’s Zara Leandra.

Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra


Pablo Gamboa set the course for Saturday night with 39 competitors. Only four entries cleared the first round without fault, and Pablo Barrios and Zara Leandra had the only double clear round in the jump-off, as well as the fastest time in 37.737 seconds, to earn victory.
Richie Moloney (IRL) had one rail down in the jump-off in 39.539 seconds to finish in reserve aboard Equinimity LLC’s Carrabis Z. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve finished with eight faults in 38.666 seconds to earn third place honors. Kenneth Berkley (USA) and Ax-Cent, owned by Rivers Edge, had eight faults in 45.342 seconds to place fourth.
Pablo Barrios has had Zara Leandra, an eight-year-old KWPN mare by Metropole x Ahron, for less than a year. He started showing the mare in Kentucky this summer and recently finished fifth in the World Cup qualifier there in September.
“This is her first victory at the grand prix level and I am very pleased,” Pablo stated after his win Saturday night. “I think she is the best horse I have ever had. She is the horse that every rider wants to ride. She is very simple, she tries so hard. She has scope, technique, she is brave, careful. She has everything. She is so kind; she is kind in the trailer and the stall, she is easy to clip. She is a perfect horse and she is improving every time she goes in the ring, so I am very happy with her.”
Barrios went third in the jump-off out of four. Sweetnam and Berkley each had eight faults, but Richie Moloney was still to come. Commenting on his plan, Barrios detailed, “I didn’t know what to do, go for the second place or try to go fast, because even with one rail I would still be second since the first two had two rails down. I decided to go a little medium and put a little pressure on the last one to see if he would make a mistake and it worked.”

Final Results: $25,000 Spy Coast Farm Grand Prix













Sweetnam Finishes One-Two in $10,000 Open Welcome Stake    
On Friday afternoon, Shane Sweetnam took the first and second place honors in the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, sponsored by Paul Tracy Farrier Services. Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm’s Solerina had the fastest of five double clear rounds in 30.890 seconds for the win. Sweetnam finished second aboard Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof in 33.026 seconds. Hector Florentino and Ultimo, owned by Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc., finished third in 36.478 seconds.

Shane Sweetnam and class winner Solerina

Class winner Solerina is a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad that Sweetnam started showing this summer. The pair has already had great success.
“I have had her since the middle of the summer and she has been really competitive,” Sweetnam noted. “She won in Kentucky, she won a class in Harrisburg and she placed in three classes in Washington, so she has been very consistent and I am very happy with her. She is very quick.”
Eregast is an eight-year-old Belgian Warmlood gelding by Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Latano that Sweetnam started riding last year.

Shane Sweetnam and Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof

“I spent all year developing him and just jumping and getting him fit at this level, so now for the circuit I am hoping he will push on,” Sweetnam explained. “He is a bit green. This is the first open welcome that I have done him in but he jumped well. He has a lot of potential; he just needs more mileage, so I was really happy with him.”

$10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Sponsored by Paul Tracy Farrier Services











Daryl Portela and Winner Top $10,000 Equestrian Aid Foundation
USHJA National Hunter Derby Classic     

The $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Classic, sponsored by Equestrian Aid Foundation and Linda Luster Studios featured two rounds of competition on Sunday with a win for Daryl Portela and James B. Pirtle Enterprises Inc.’s Winner. In a very close competition, Portela and Winner ended up tied with Holly Orlando and Biale’, owned by Catherine Nicholas, overall, but their second round score put them on top.
Portela and Winner scored an 86.5 and then a 92 for their 178.5 total and the win. Orlando and Biale’ scored a 90 and 88.5 for their 178.5 and second place honors. Kelley Farmer and David Glefke and Ken Garber’s Mythical finished third with a 178 point score. Orlando took fourth and fifth place honors as well, finishing fourth with Garber and Petersen Glefke’s Beyond Words (177) and fifth with Ken and Selma Garber’s Praise (176.5).
It was an emotional win for Portela whose father, James B. Pirtle, passed away recently.
“My father passed away a week and a half ago, so it has been hard,” Portela acknowledged. “He was a great supporter of the SFHJA and we are going to donate a memorial perpetual trophy to the show next year for this class, so it is really nice that I won it this year.”
Portela was without trainer Jimmy Torano on Sunday, but had help from Torano’s employee Jill Briggs.
“This is the first derby I have won with him,” Poretla noted. “Jimmy did two derbies in Vermont with him. They won the first one and were second in the final. I did him last year and got a ribbon, but this is my first derby win.”

The pair also won the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3″ division for the week and Portela was named Best Amateur Rider.
“He has been great, we have been on a roll,” she smiled. “I had an incredible indoors and he was great this week. I know him really well, so I can just trust him and go for it. The handy round he was amazing. He is always good in the handy, so I can really show off.”
Final Results: $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Classic Sponsored by Equestrian Aid Foundation and Linda Luster Studios

1. Winner, Daryl Portela, James B Pirtle Enterprises, Inc.: 86.5, 92, 178.5

2. Biale, Holly Orlando, Catherine Nicholas: 90, 88.5, 178.5

3. Mythical, Kelley Farmer, David Glefke & Ken Garber: 88, 90, 178

4. Beyond Words, Holly Orlando, Garber & Petersen Glefke: 92, 85, 177

5. Praise, Holly Orlando, Ken and Selma Garber: 87.5, 89, 176.5

6. Kennzo, Molly Ashe, Kristen Abbatiello-Neff: 86, 88, 174

7. On Q, Kelley Farmer, CH Farm, LLC: 87.25, 84, 171.25

8. Voice of Reason, Holly Orlando, David Glefke and M/M Ken Garber: 89, 82, 167

9. Pacino, Mary Eufemia, Kathryn A. Morris: 81.75, 86, 167.75

10. Act of Valor, Kelley Farmer, David Glefke and Ken Garber: 83, 81, 164

11. Sun Light, Britan Bailey, Bailey Mews, LLC: 82, 74, 156

12. Bull Run’s Kaleo, Kristen Vanderveen, Bull Run Jumpers LLC: 87, 43, 130


SFHJA Adult and Junior Medals Conclude With Wins for Wehle and Katz
The SFHJA Adult Amateur Hunt Seat Medal Final, sponsored by Fox Stone Farm, was held on Sunday with a win for April Wehle aboard All Seasons Farm’s Seraldo.

Twenty-four-year-old Wehle lives in Wellington and rides with Tiffany Morrissey at East Wind Farm. Seraldo is a horse that Wehle borrowed to ride from Ken and Emily Smith.

April Wehle and Seraldo with presenter Kathy Tessaro

“This was my first time showing or ever riding him,” she stated. “I got to show their son Spencer’s equitation horse at Capital Challenge a few weeks ago and was champion there. He just had done all of indoors with Spencer, so he is getting some downtime and so they let me ride this one.”
“I was expecting my jumping round to be a little different because I had never actually ridden him over a course, just single jumps warming up, but it was nice,” Wehle smiled. “He has such a nice, soft easy pace, but you can fit a stride in or leave one out. He was so handy and smooth throughout the entire thing.”

The riders jumped and tested on the flat in two combined rings with lots of space. Wehle commented, “It was so fun riding in the two rings and the natural jumps were really nice because they changed it up a bit and made it feel like more of a final instead of just a regular class.”
In the SFHJA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Final, sponsored by Carriage Hill, Jordyn Katz and Seth Vallhonrat’s Can Fly took top honors. Fifteen-year-old Katz is from Fort Lauderdale, FL, and also trains with Tiffany Morrissey. Katz has been leasing Can Fly for a year and her lease is coming to an end.

“He is the best horse. He is going back next week unfortunately, so it is a good ending,” she acknowledged.

Commenting on her round and test, Katz explained, “I thought it felt really smooth and it was really consistent and nice. He was a really good boy. For the test, I have been practicing a lot on the flat at home, so it was pretty easy for me; kind of an everyday thing. He’s perfect at everything.”

Other Results:

$1,500 Low Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic – Charina and Julia Jenkins

$1,500 M&S Children’s/Adult Jumper Stake – and Skylar Rogalny

$500 NAL Children’s Hunter Classic – Hadfield’s Saddlery – Jouet and Katie Jacobs
$5,000 Low Jr/AO Jumper Stake – Spezi and Spencer Smith
$7,500 James B. Pirtle High Jr/AO Jumper Stake – Kalle and Kaely Tomeu

$1,500 NAL Children’s Adult Jumper Classic – Mephisto and Hannah Patten
$5,000 Pony Hunter Classic – Sweet Oak Farm – Goldfish and Addison Piper


Best Child Rider on a Pony – Katie Jones

Best Child Rider on a Horse at 3’6″ – Victoria Colvin

Best Child Rider on a Horse at 3′ – Addison Piper

Best Amateur Rider – Daryl Portela
Sportsmanship Award – Candice King
For the Holiday Horse Show Series prize list and more information, please visit


Photo Credit: photos © ManciniPhotos, These photos can be used only in relation to this press release and with photo credit.



Angel Karolyi Begins New Partnership with $30,000 Raleigh Grand Prix Win

November 21, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Raleigh, North Carolina – Competing in their first show together, Venezuela’s Angel Karolyi and Indiana 127 scored victory in the $30,000 Raleigh Grand Prix at the RMI Raleigh Benefit Horse Show held November 14 to 19 in Raleigh, North Carolina.


2008 Olympic course designer Steve Stephens whittled a large starting field of 26 entries down to four jump-off contenders in the Saturday night feature event.  Karolyi had the advantage of being the last to go, having watched Sloan Coles post a clear round riding Chantilly while Tracy Magness and Regan Roberts both faulted.


“I was able to watch Sloan go with her very quick, careful mare,” said Karolyi.  “She was the only one clear in the jump-off, however she chose to go around one of the inside options.  I thought if I had a chance to beat her, that would be my opportunity to do so.”


Not only did that inside turn help Karolyi win the $30,000 Raleigh Grand Prix, it also got his new partnership with Indiana 127 off to a great start.  Formerly ridden by Peter Lutz, Indiana 127 is a 10-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding (Indoctro x Voltaire) that Karolyi and business partner Andrea King purchased at the end of October.


“The first time I tried him, I thought he was a lovely horse,” said Karolyi, 25.  “He has an enormous amount of scope and he really wants to be careful.  He has been beautifully produced by Peter; he’s well-educated and easy to ride.  Even though he’s a big horse, he is very handy, which I didn’t expect when I first saw him.”


Angel Karolyi of Venezuela guided a new mount, Indiana 127, to victory in the $30,000 Raleigh Grand Prix at the RMI Raleigh Benefit Horse Show held November 14 to 19 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Karolyi chose the RMI Raleigh Benefit Horse Show to make his competitive debut with Indiana 127, explaining, “I didn’t even plan to jump him in the grand prix.  I just wanted to take it one day at a time and see how he handled it.  We did a 1.15m class on the first day, just so I could get to know him and see how he would react.  I entered the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake on Thursday night and said I would decide on the grand prix depending on how that went.  He placed third, so I couldn’t say “no”!  It turned out to be a good week.”


While victory came with a new partner, Karolyi also enjoyed results with a sentimental favorite, Mississippi L.S.  Bred by La Silla in Mexico, the chestnut stallion has carried several members of the Karolyi family to success over the years.  In Raleigh, Karolyi and Mississippi L.S. placed third in the $7,000 Futures Stake and sixth in the $5,000 Challenge Stake.


“It was a lot of fun,” said Karolyi.  “John Rush and his team did a nice job running the horse show, and everything ran on schedule.  They put on a nice event with featured classes every day.  It’s also really exciting because it was the first show with Indiana, and it’s always nice to start off that way.”


Karolyi’s impressive resume includes a team gold medal at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games, as well as representing Venezuela at the 2011 Pan American Games.  He has also ridden on several Nations’ Cup teams, including at the 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.


Karolyi and King operate Hollow Creek Farms, a large training business focusing on both horses and riders, in Aiken, South Carolina.  For more information, please visit

Cook Beats The House In The $50,000 Fisker Automotive World Cup Grand Prix

November 20, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Saturday night opening ceremonies


Las Vegas, NV – November 17, 2012 – The $50,000 Fisker Automotive World Cup Grand Prix was the pinnacle of the Las Vegas National beginning with a fiery opening ceremony act. Welcoming the local crowds, fans and competitors was a one-of-a-kind fire infused performance that set the stage for some hot competition. Thirty-five rounds of international talent prepared to take on German course designer, Olaf Petersen Jr.’s World Cup Qualifying test. From an early stage it looked as if the young stars were taking control of the class.

Lucy Davis and Nemo 119


Petersen (GER) set a track that was not intimidating as riders perused the course, however it proved to be more difficult than many had anticipated. “After the course walk, majority of the riders told me it was an easy course,” Petersen added, “I built a technical track and I think they noticed that once they rode it.” A tough time allowed caught up with the first five rounds, however even after an adjustment, time was still one of the many challenges. The sixteen effort track featured three verticals set at 1.60M and a very wide triple bar spread. Many riders found themselves questioning their game plan as they approached the oxer-vertical-oxer combination. After clearing the oxer, the middle element came up quickly, causing four faults for a large group of contenders.


Only five of the thirty-five horse and rider duos were able to the master the track and move on to the jump-off. Coming off his win in the $30,000 EQU Lifestyle Speed Classic on Friday night, the young and fearless Karl Cook (USA) took to the track on his first of two mounts, ASB Conquistador, to post the first clear round. Just two rounds later, veterans Helen McNaught (GBR) and her seventeen-year-old Caballo were able to produce a clear round. Thursday night’s $32,000 Markel Insurance Jumper Classic twenty-year-old victor, Sear Coutler (USA), guided her winning mount to a blazing fault free round. Fifteen rounds and several four faulters later, nineteen-year-old Lucy Davis (USA) and her rambunctious gelding, Nemo 119 joined the second round group with a clean effort. The final of the five to qualify for the jump-off was twenty one-year-old Karl Cook on his second mount, Jonkheer Z.

Karl Cook and Jonkheer Z

Petersen designed a long, flowing jump-off that demanded riders to cut corners, angle jumps, and gallop between obstacles. Cook returned on his first mount, ASB Conquistador. With an unfortunate rail, Cook charged to the final oxer, stopping the clock in a speedy 44.46 seconds. McNaught (GBR) and her trusty Caballo attempted to top the leaderboard, but with a similar unlucky rail down and not quite as speedy, McNaught would have to settle for a four fault score in 45.93, good enough for third place.         

Coulter attempted to cover the ground between jumps with Graciella 50’s speed, however ended up with two rails down in 46.14 seconds and a fourth place overall. Despite Nemo 119’s usual parade of bucking and kicking, once the clock started Davis and her talented mount were all business. Well on her way to a winning round, Davis attempted a tough angle at an oxer. The risk didn’t pay off when Nemo 119 refused. The pair ended up with 13 faults, settling for 5th respectively.

Saer Coulter and Graciella 50

Cook came into the final round knowing that all he needed to do for the win was post a fault free effort. With a few rubs and nerve wracking approaches, Cook was able to guide Jonhkeer Z to the only double clear round of the night, securing the top two spots on the leaderboard. “I’m lucky I guess,” Cook smiled, “I have a great trainer, a great program and great horses. I’ll admit that I also thought the course walked easy, but it rode much harder. Overall, after last night and tonight, I couldn’t be happier.” Within a two day span Cook earned four top placings aboard four remarkable horses owned by Signe Ostby.

Karl Cook finishes 1st and 2nd in the $50,000 Fisker Automotive World Cup Grand Prix

Leading up to the Grand Prix was the $10,000 Royal Champion Classic. A class with a unique format, the top ten scoring teams from the first round return for a second round with a clean slate to compete for the win. Eduardo Menezes (BRA) came back in the jump-off with two mounts, Quintol Mercedes Benz and Audi’s Reflection, taking the top spot as well as 4th place.

Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and Quintol Mercedes Benz

The evening concluded with a raffle drawing where over 30 fabulous prizes were up for grabs. Spectators, exhibitors and fans lined up around the corner of the main entrance for a chance to meet the evening’s competitors as well as course designer Olaf Petersen Jr., reigning World Cup Champion and Olympian Rich Fellers, and the newly knighted U.S Show Jumping coach, Robert Ridland.
The Las Vegas National show wraps with the North American League West Coast Finals on Sunday. For more information on the Las Vegas National Horse Show, please visit the Blenheim EquiSports website,

Photos © Amy McCool Photography. High resolution photos available upon request.




Alltech National Horse Show’s Black Tie Gala Benefits KY Equine Humane Society

November 19, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

By Carrie Wirth 

Lexington, KY- October 31, 2012- A black-tie gala at the Lexington Hilton kicked off the 129th Edition of the Alltech National Horse Show in its second year at the Alltech Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park. It was a night of glitz and glamour reminiscent of the horse show’s rich and storied past.  The evening’s festivities benefitted the Kentucky Equine Humane Center.

Dr. Pearse Lyons, President of Alltech, welcomed the attendees and introduced singers from the University of Kentucky Opera Program. The guests were treated to an evening’s entertainment from Director of the Opera Program, Everett McCorvey and students who sang a range of classical and contemporary pieces.

Lexington’s Corbett-Frame Jewelers donated a custom designed, 18-karat white gold and diamond necklace for evening’s auction to benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Society. This was their second year to donate an impressive piece of jewelry to the organization, which sold for over $14,000 to Margaret Jewett.

“This year the piece was inspired by an Alltech advertisement- it was a jumper. My daughter was a competitive Saddlebred rider, so this cause is near and dear to us,” said Jennifer Frame Lykins, from Corbett-Frame Jewelers. “It was a great opportunity for us to participate.”

Successful Debut at GCDA Fall Fling- Heidi Degele and Don Fredo Score 78.5% to Win

November 19, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Heidi Degele and Don Fredo enjoy a victory pass after scoring 78.5% at the recent GCDA Fall Fling.

Wellington, FL (November 19, 2012) – USDF Gold Medalist, Heidi Degele, rode to the win aboard Don Fredo at their first show together during the Gold Coast Dressage Association Fall Fling November 10-11, 2012.  Scoring 78.5% in the 4 and 5-year-old Materiale Class and earning an 8.5 at the Walk, 8.0 for Trot, 7.0 for Canter, and an 8.0 overall Impression, this dynamic new duo made quite a spectacular debut.  “From the first time I saw Don Fredo, I truly believed in him and felt that he is a truly special horse,” Degele said about the 16.2h Oldenburg gelding. “The Fall Fling was so special because it was his first show with me riding him.  We have only had him a little over a month,” she continued. “He had such a great work ethic in the warm up ring and in the show ring, and he never looked at anything. He was all business and acted more like a 10-year-old. It pleased me so much to have a young horse act that way.”

USDF Silver Medalist Jessica Beier, M.D. owns Don Fredo. Beier is an adult amateur rider based in Tifton, Georgia.  Don Fredo is by Don Frederico, who was just proclaimed Hanovarian Stallion of the Year at the 2012 Hanovarian Stallion Licensing ceremony in Verden, Germany. His grand sire is Donnerhall and his dam’s sire is Pik Bube.  “He is super sweet and playful,” says Degele about Don Fredo’s personality.  “He is always putting something in his mouth, like most babies,” she laughs.  “He knows me already, even though we haven’t had him that long, and when the owner is riding him in a lesson, he likes to slow down or stop by wherever I am sitting in the ring just to say hello.”  Degele is excited to see what else Don Fredo has to bring this season, along with the other horses and clients she has in training.

Degele trains with Lars Petersen on a consistent basis, and has two clients’ horses staying at his barn for the Florida winter season.  Degele trained with Hubertus Schmidt in Germany for 3 years, and tries to attend clinics regularly with both Schmidt and Olympian Steffen Peters.  Degele is based year round out of her Mesa Farms in Loxahatchee, Florida and has several adult amateur clients’ horses in training for the season, including one who flies her horse back and forth from England for the season.

For more information on Degele, visit her website at

Calling All Palm Beach County Charities! Participate in the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge Presented by Fidelity Investments®

November 17, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

For Immediate Release
Wellington, FL – November 16, 2012 – Equestrian Sport Productions is now accepting applications for the 2013 FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments® (FTI GCC). The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) will host the 4th annual FTI GCC on Saturday, January 26, 2013, under the lights of the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The FTI GCC is an exhilarating pro/amateur event where amateurs are paired with world-class riders and randomly assigned with charities to compete for prize money raised by equestrian families and corporate donors. In its first three years, the event raised over $2.7 million dollars for over 50 Palm Beach County charities. The goal this year is to raise over $1 million with 100% of all proceeds being donated to 32 local charities. These will be randomly selected from a pool of applicants at Wellington’s annual WinterFest, on the grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, on December 1, 2012. The winning charity will be awarded $150,000 and every participating team will receive a minimum of $10,000.

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, co-founder of the event with his daughter Paige, commented, “This event allows the equestrian community to showcase and to financially support the broad missions of 32 randomly selected Palm Beach County charities. The people that run these charities are amazing and we need to support them during these difficult times. Including so many different charities in one single event and having each one of them come out a winner is unique. This event is not about a specific charity, but the spirit of giving while celebrating the heroes in our community.”
Dennis Shaughnessy, Chairman of FTI Consulting, the Title Sponsor of the FTI WEF and the FTI GCC, added, “Through our sponsorship of the annual FTI WEF, our firm is able to extend our support into the local Palm Beach community, where our executive headquarters are based, and contribute to the success of this important fundraising effort. This event continues to grow and it is fantastic to be part of the equestrian world’s initiative to give back to the community that supports it.”

To apply, please visit and click on the red button labeled “Apply FTI GCC”. Once the questionnaire is filled out, please send the necessary documentation along with a copy of your charity’s 501(c)(3) letter of determination and Consumer’s Certificate of Exemption from the Florida Department of Revenue to Anne Caroline Valtin at Applications are due by November 26, 2012 at 5 p.m. EST. The drawing of charities will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2012, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The FTI GCC will follow the format of FTI WEF’s “Saturday Night Lights” at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. This family fun event will feature a child’s fair, live band and many dining options.

Don’t miss out on the excitement and come join us to support your favorite participating team and charity on Saturday January 26, 2013 at 6 p.m. The FTI GCC is free to attend. If you would like to help or participate in this wonderful event, please contact Anne Caroline Valtin at 561-784-1133 or

More on the 2013 FTI GCC, including sponsor and charity information, and other exciting news will be announced throughout the fall via our website: and Facebook page (FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge).

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) has 12 weeks of world class competition running from January 9 through March 31, 2013. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. All 12 weeks are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, with approximately $7 million in prize money awarded.

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $3.8 trillion, including managed assets of $1.6 trillion, as of October 31, 2012. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit

For inquiries about the FTI GCC, please contact Anne Caroline Valtin at 561-784-1133 or


Please visit or call 561-793-5867 for more information.


The Boys are Back in Town for the 37th New England Equitation Championships!

November 15, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

The 2012 New England Equitation Championships

For Immediate Release by Melody Taylor-Scott

The Boys are Back in Town for the 37th New England Equitation Championships!

The 2012 New England Equitation Championships, now in its 37th year, expanded to a five-day format to accommodate over 430 Junior and Adult competitors an added live streaming video. This impressive equitation Medal final is held annually in October at the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield Massachusetts and brings together riders from all over New England to compete for top honors in their respective divisions and celebrate their passion for their sport, a commitment to excel, and their love of horses.

Amy Eidson and Cookie DeSimone, the show Co-Chairs, show Manager Bob Crawford, Joe Dotoli, Kelly Small, Kristen Bumpus, Carl Catani, Kathy

Fletcher, Patti Harnois, Fred Hunt, Armand Chenelle, Debbie Hoyt-Banfield, Pam Hunt, Olana Laffey, Linda Langmeier, Jay Sargent, Liz Mokley, and Laurel Tinney are to be commended for their tireless efforts in organizing this amazing five day event.

Considered to be one of the finest equitation finals in the country, the NEEC is also the innovative originator of the Horsemanship Challenge and the

Challenge of the States classes.

A panel of 6 Judges from around the country, comprised of Richard Slocum, VA, Otis Brown- KY, Mike Rosser- NC, Keith Hastings-NC, Bill Ellis-FL, and Rob Gage-CA, also the Course Designer, worked in alternating teams of 2 with their scores averaged together to arrive at the choice of Champions from 221 Junior and 209 Adult competitors.

The courses were technically challenging, using the center line of the arena to set the jumps creating multiple bending lines,

combinations, and roll back turns to test the rider’s ability to adjust their horse’s stride to make a correct distance.

The Junior Celebration dinner held at the Springfield Marriot provided a wonderful evening of friends gathering to applaud the Junior’s in their last year. The written phase of the Horsemanship class, held behind closed doors was completed prior to an excellent dinner, seating over 500, and a fantastic hour long video presentation sponsored annually by Oliynyk Stables. Compiled over the year by Cookie DeSimone and Amy Eidson, this commemorative to the show year culminating in the NEEC Finals, is a keepsake DVD and given to each Junior in their last year along with a wooden picture frame, sponsored by Benchmark Farm, customized for each Junior.

The Judges attending the dinner were amazed at the unique content provided in the video presentation and stated repeatedly what an exceptional Finals event this is. Special guest judge for the Horsemanship Challenge, Melanie Smith-Taylor and her longtime friend and Calypso’s former groom, Syd Eustace Goodrich remarked on what a wonderful tribute to the horses and riders the NEEC Finals are.

The NEEC Junior Horsemanship Challenge, sponsored by Volo Farm, is open to all junior exhibitors competing in the New England Horsemen’s

Council Hunt Seat Medal Finals. This award is intended to identify the all-around horseperson; those who can “do it all”, who not only ride well, but understand the importance of quality horse care. Winners are determined by adding together scores in three competition areas; a written test, sponsored by SmarPak, the average first round score in the NEEC Finals, a “hands on” practicum in the stable area officiated by three judges comprised this year of NEEC

Alums, Kate Chope, DVM and Laura Faulkner, DVM and special guest US Olympian Melanie Smith-Taylor. Winning the 2012 Katie Battison Horsemanship Award is Sophie Povirk with the highest scores in both the written and practicum phase.

The hugely popular Challenge of the States fielded 13 teams formed by combining Junior riders who represent their state, with the top six scores from the

open eq. classes creating teams of 6 with the top five riders with the highest scores to ride and the sixth highest score becomes the chef d’equipe. Trainers are not allowed to help or coach, being served a buffet dinner in the stands, sponsored by JT Farm, while the class unfolds and teams each create a themed costume in this no entry fee class. The 2012 NEEC GOLD went to Team 2 from CT and Rebekah Chenelle, Wendy Collins, Sydney Smith, Keeley Gambino,

Alexandra Carlton, and Chef d’eq. Melissa Dander. Silver went to Team CT1 and the Bronze to Team VT1.

The boys were on top this year, with Champion of the 2012 Adult Amateur 18-22 Medal awarded to Colin Quinlan riding with Shachine Belle whose students were also 4th and 6th. Reserve went to Emma Johnson who does her own training.

Besting a field of 221 entries and a very tight ride off of the top 3, the 2012 NEEC Junior Champion is Michael Janson riding with David

Oliynyk. Michael, seen doing his homework between rounds in the show cafeteria, proved to be an example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish.

Reserve is Ali Tritschler and Trainer Timmy
Kees, and third was Genevieve Zock with just fractions separating their scores prior to the call back

The new 5 day format made for a more relaxing schedule of classes, devoting two days to the adults and three days to the juniors. The 2012 Amateur Adult 23-40 Medal winner is Gwen Goodwin and Trainer Gretchen Anderson and Reserve is Steven Violin riding with Cookie DeSimone and Greg Prince.

The 2012 Adult Amateur 41 and Over Medal awarded to Amy Cooper and Trainer Kristy McCormack and Reserve went to Michelle Fallon with Trainer Mark De Blasio.

The NEEC annually honors those people that make a difference in the industry and this year’s Lifetime Achievement award was given to renowned horsewoman Kip Rosenthal. The Nicholas Award for outstanding horse was given to both Condesi, owned by Jean Sheptoff, and Ludo owned by Carly Corbacho and the Judges Choice to Gifford. The Grooms award went to Ashley Pimentail of Riverwind Farm and the Sue Brainard award to Terry Gibbon. Winning the Junior Sportsmanship Award is Alexandra Carlton, and the Adult Sportsmanship Awards to Nicole Stamm and Melissa Welch. The Adult Scholarship went to Alannah Wagstaff and the Junior Scholarship to Kyle Blakeman. The two Blue Ribbon High Point Rider awards went to Adult Colin Quinlan and Junior Rebekah Chenelle. Please visit for all the results and follow the NEEC on Facebook.