Show World

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Archive for June, 2015

Preparing For Pony Finals 2015

June 29, 2015 By: janwest Category: General

Every pony rider's dream — Sydney Flashman and barn mate, Mara Chemerinsky, the afternoon before Pony Finals began. (Photo courtesy of Sydney Flashman)

Every pony rider’s dream — Sydney Flashman and barn mate, Mara Chemerinsky, the afternoon before Pony Finals 2014 began. (Photo courtesy of Sydney Flashman)

By Sydney Flashman

U.S. National Pony Finals. Every pony rider’s dream. The most prestigious event available to any equestrian under 18 who’s partner in the ring is a four-legged beast under 14.2 hands. In my opinion, the best show ever.

The venue is gorgeous, the judges are reputable, the ponies are fancy and each and every rider competing in the finals is talented.

The gorgeous venue — the Walnut Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. (Photo courtesy of Sydney Flashman)

The gorgeous venue — the Walnut Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.
(Photo courtesy of Sydney Flashman)

The competition itself is extremely difficult — the Walnut Arena, where the ponies compete, is only open to ponies the week of Pony Finals and only for hacking. There is never a chance to jump in the ring, and the ponies see the jumps for the first time when they start the course. The huge arena is surrounded by people watching, golf carts zipping along the road and ponies waiting to enter the ring for their one and only jumping round. One side of the ring is lined with waving flags — perfect for a pony to spook at on a windy day. To add to the busy scene, rain falls from the Kentucky skies at random intervals, introducing yet another challenge the skillful ponies and riders must face while attempting to complete a perfect course. It is the experience of a lifetime, no matter where a rider places.

For some, Pony Finals is a career changing event — winning a class or division at Pony Finals guarantees that the entire pony community will know your name. A pony could go from an adorable member of the barn family, not well known but well loved, to a pony recognized and loved by hundreds, even thousands of riders from across the country.

The calm before the storm — the Walnut Arena, where the ponies compete, early the morning of the first day of competition. (Photo courtesy of Sydney Flashman)

The calm before the storm — the Walnut Arena, where the ponies compete, early the morning of the first day of competition. (Photo courtesy of Sydney Flashman)

To win a class or division at Pony Finals is extremely difficult. Many riders go just hoping to have fun. Of course everyone wants to do well, but when there are 80 plus ponies in your class, you have to be absolutely perfect to be on the top of the podium, or even to place. Yes, you get four chances to ribbon and are offered many other awards — the top ten scorers in the model, under saddle and over fences classes earn ribbons, and ribbons through twentieth are provided to the overall high scorers in each division. Everything from sportsmanship awards, awards based on a pony’s birthplace or breeding, even awards for the best turned out pony are offered. If one does extremely well in their division, they may be in the running for the Overall Grand Pony Champion or Overall Grand Green Pony Champion award, which is given to the highest scoring green and rated pony at the show.

But even with all of the awards offered, it is very difficult to do well as many ponies at Pony Finals have it all — they are great in the model, they move beautifully and they jump a 10. With so many quality ponies, it is difficult to stand out, even if your pony is a triple threat. And even in the greens, a division for inexperienced ponies, one can find at least one example of a “green pony” that simply has more show experience than the others or one that refuses to be spooked by anything, even the chaos of Pony Finals. But 20 young riders in each division come home with more than fun memories from the experience of a lifetime — one or more rosettes from Pony Finals, earned by being a member of the top 20 overall in their division or divisions, and any ribbons earned from between the model, the first class, and the jumping round, the last.

Sydney Flashman riding Alliance Bowregard at HITS Thermal. (Photo courtesy of Sydney Flashman)

Sydney Flashman riding Alliance Bowregard at HITS Thermal.
(Photo courtesy of Sydney Flashman)

That’s where I come in. My name is Sydney Flashman, and I’m from Zone 10 — California. I compete in both the pony jumpers and pony hunters, but at Pony Finals 2015, I’ll be returning to Pony Finals for a second time; this  year on a Small Green Pony Hunter, Alliance Bowregard (Bo), and possibly a Large Green Pony Hunter named Miss Penny Lane, known around the barn as Nala. I will also be competing in the USEF Pony Medal Finals, but I have yet to choose my mount. With enough practice, determination, dedication and luck, I can bring home a ribbon or two from both divisions and do well in the Pony Medal.

EEM Announces Longines as Title Partner for Masters Series on Three Continents

June 24, 2015 By: janwest Category: General

EEM is proud to announce that Longines will become the official title partner of the Longines Masters series on three continents. (Photo courtesy of EEM)

EEM is proud to announce that Longines will become the official title partner of the Longines Masters series on three continents. (Photo courtesy of EEM)

American Leg Will Kick Off the 2015/2016 Longines Masters Series as the World’s Best Show Jumpers Converge in Los Angeles October 1st to 4th to Compete for Over $1 Million

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 24, 2015) – EEM is proud to announce that the Swiss watchmaker Longines will become the official title partner of the Longines Masters series on three continents, with elite equestrian events in Europe, Asia and America. The Longines Masters of Los Angeles will kick off the 2015/2016 series as the world’s top show jumpers and equine athletes compete for $1 million in prize money at the Los Angeles Convention Center October 1st to 4th.

Last year’s inaugural event was a tremendous success and immediately rated as the number one indoor show jumping competition according to the North American Riders Group. The Longines Masters of Los Angeles will once again bring together 30,000 spectators for four unforgettable days of top-level equestrian sport, heart-pounding emotion, and an unparalleled class of entertainment and glamour.

Tickets to this must-attend event can now be purchased at Longines Masters of Los Angeles to witness each day’s key class highlighting a different aspect of the sport.

Friday showcases speed with the Longines Speed Challenge, considered to be the world’s fastest class. Created in 2010 by EEM, it puts the speed, agility, power and precision of the riders and horses center stage. Faults are less heavily penalized than usual, giving free rein to speed, and resulting in an intense and highly entertaining race against the clock.

Saturday is the day of glamour, entertainment and generosity with the Gucci Gold Cup and the Charity Pro-Am Style and Competition, in which riders and celebrities dress up to raise money for charity partners. Each team will be judged on the number of penalties over the fences, the team’s style and elegance, as well as the horse’s style. Last year, the competition featured celebrity riders including Kaley Cuoco, Jessica Springsteen, Jennifer Gates, and Hannah Selleck, as well as Olympic champions such as Laura Kraut, Rodrigo Pessoa, Beezie Madden, Los Angeles rider Will Simpson, and many more.

Sunday is about elite performances with the Longines Grand Prix, an Olympic-level class with a course featuring jumps up to 1.60m in height, rounding off the second edition of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles.  This Grand Prix will be particularly important for legendary British rider John Whitaker, who won the Asian leg of the circuit, the Longines Grand Prix of Hong Kong, and now has the chance of going home with the €500,000 Grand Slam bonus if he wins the Los Angeles Grand Prix as well.

Alongside the major classes, the Masters will also welcome the USA’s best junior, amateur and professional riders for the Prestige Trophy and Invitational Trophy classes, where the stars of tomorrow will rub shoulders with world champions of today.

In addition to the competition, spectators can attend a magnificent dressage exhibition and Master Classes given by the best international riders, dine on refined cuisine from two Michelin-star chef Yves Mattagne, and enjoy live music in the exquisite lounge; additionally, they can explore the Prestige Village with its Kids Corner and shops from exclusive international partner brands.

 

About the Longines Masters:

Established in three of the biggest cities — Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong — the Longines Masters series is recognized by the FEI Fédération Equestre Internationale and is one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions worldwide. Created by EEM, the concept of the Masters was born in 2009 with the first edition of the Gucci Paris Masters, now renamed the Longines Masters of Paris. Inspired by the Grand Slam tournaments in tennis, the circuit rapidly developed abroad, with the Longines Masters of Hong Kong in 2013 and the Longines Masters of Los Angeles in 2014.

The world’s best riders and horses will compete for one million dollars in prize money at each leg of the series. In addition, any rider who consecutively wins the Longines Grand Prix in Paris, Hong Kong and Los Angeles will be rewarded with one million euros Master Grand Slam Bonus.  For two successive victories, the rider will be awarded €500,000, and winners of two non-successive victories within a series of three Longines Grand Prix will receive a €250,000 bonus.

EEM’s objective is to create emblematic events that showcase the magic of show jumping and put equestrian sport in the international spotlight. These events are broadcast in more than 120 countries and reach almost 550 million viewers. Every edition of the Masters is a monumental event that brings together sports enthusiasts, amateurs, celebrities and corporate decision-makers from around the world, who come to enjoy a unique experience, boasting exceptional sport, entertainment, glamour, gastronomy and contemporary art.

  • Longines Masters of Los Angeles October 1 to 4, 2015
  • Longines Masters of Paris December 3 to 6, 2015
  • Longines Masters of Hong Kong February 19 to 21, 2016

About Longines

Longines has been based in Saint-Imier in Switzerland since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. Longines has generations of experience as the official timekeeper of world championships and as a partner of international sporting federations. Over the years, Longines has established solid, long-term relationships with the sporting world. Renowned for the elegance of its timepieces, Longines is a member of the Swatch Group Ltd., the world’s leading manufacturer of horological products. Using the winged hourglass as its emblem, the brand has outlets in over 140 countries. www.longines.com

About EEM

Reinvent Show Jumping! What an ambitious goal Christophe Ameeuw and his team at EEM have set for themselves! For over ten years they have been dedicated to bringing equestrian sports to the international front stage. Inspired by the Grand Slam in tennis and its legendary tournaments, EEM gathers under one roof the best of the sport, entertainment and glamour.

2009 was a crucial milestone for EEM with the revival of the Jumping de Paris and the creation of the Gucci Paris Masters, as it marked the beginning of their international development. EEM then set off to conquer new continents. An Asian edition took place in Hong Kong in 2013, followed in 2014 by the first American stage of the Longines Masters in Los Angeles. This first edition on the American continent was welcomed by renowned sports channel ESPN with the headline “The Next Big USA Sport.”

In 2015 the intercontinental trilogy becomes the Longines Masters, presented by EEM.