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Game, Set and Match to Center Court and John French in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Presented by Dr. Daryl K. Hoffman

August 12, 2016 By: maryhaley Category: General

John French & Center Court lead the victory gallop in the $25,000 Hunter Derby Photo:Alden Corrigan Media

John French & Center Court lead the victory gallop in the $25,000 Hunter Derby
Photo:Alden Corrigan Media

ATHERTON, CA – August 12, 2016

One of the highlights of the Menlo Charity Horse Show is the USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by Dr. Daryl K. Hoffman, this anxiously anticipated class on Thursday afternoon is steeped in tradition never ever disappoints.

“The Menlo Horse Show in general is a very special show, it’s unique event held in the middle of a beautiful residential neighborhood. Menlo is a gorgeous show, with great jumps and the crowd is always involved,” said Nick Haness, the winner of back-to-back Derbies in 2014 and 2015. “There is a certain element of excitement to the show, and it’s always been a fun Derby to participate in and to watch.”

As the excitement builds on the MCHS showgrounds and the VIP tent begins to fill, the Grass Hunter Field is prepared for the late afternoon event.

Winners of the $25,000 Hunter Derby Photo:Alden Corrigan Media

Winners of the $25,000 Hunter Derby
Photo:Alden Corrigan Media

“When the other classes are over and the volunteers are decorating the jumps for the Derby. It looks like the Rose Parade is coming through the horse show.” laughed Nick. “The volunteers are out on the field; placing flowers, and decorating with all sorts of materials, greenery, flowers and plants. It’s definitely a production. You can see the care that goes into it, another element that makes the Derby extra special and fun to compete in and to watch.”

There are many differences between the MCHS Derby and other events on the circuit, as one of a handful of venues in California that run Derbies on grass, the MCHS in Northern California is pretty special. When 4.30pm arrives all eyes were on the 20 horses competing in the first of the two rounds.

“It’s a really inviting and pretty course, this venue is awesome and as you only show here once a year that makes it much more unique. Often times many other Derbies get put to the end of the day or moved to another ring and people aren’t always able to watch, this event people want to see. There is obviously people here that are not horse people, they are here to watch pretty horses go round, you get a lot of those people oohing and aahing from the sides, that’s always really fun.” said Nick.

Nick was especially looking forward to this year’s class, because for once he actually got to hang up his show clothes, grab a glass of wine and sit and watch, no pressure. Nick not only was able to support his fellow competitors and friends, but he was also able to help his student, Karina Sanchez on Way Out West. Karina is a big part of Nick’s business and her family owns multiple horses in partnership with him. Riding in the class had been a goal and a dream for Karina, and she did an exceptional job, just missing the cut off in the first round, not bad at all for the first time in such a prestigious Derby.

The first round of the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented twenty wonderful Hunters. The top scores as they moved into the Handy Round with a cut off score of 150 were as follows:

  1. Tara Metzner and Cy Young 186
  2. John French and Center Court 181
  3. Hugh Mutch and Bunistar 179.5
  4. John Bragg and Early August 179.5

As the twelve riders prepared to come back for the Handy round a very special event took place, a celebration of Widget and his retirement from competitive life. Widget’s owner Lindsay Maxwell also announced a new trophy in Widget’s honor. The Widget Perpetual Trophy will go to the highest scoring single round in the Junior Hunters or Amateur Owner Hunters.

Widget and Lindsay Maxwell Photo: Alden Corrigan Media

Widget and Lindsay Maxwell
Photo: Alden Corrigan Media

When Lindsay Maxwell first moved to California, Archie Cox told her, “I know a horse who is a movie star…and you’ll be so grateful for him.” The movie star was Widget. Like many things precious and rare, Widget never truly “belonged” to any one rider. He embodies the spirit of California – ambitious, courageous, and bold. Widget retires from showing healthy, happy, and forever a champion in residence at Brookway Stables.

Through the years, Widget enjoyed great success at the Menlo Charity Horse Show. A winner of countless championships, hunter prixs, hunter classics, and medals, Widget also recently won top ribbons at the Devon Horse Show. In imitable Widget fashion, at his final show in the amateur owner hunter division, Widget won both the championship and classic.

Lindsay graciously provided a champagne toast for all in attendance in honor of Widget.

In preparation for Widget’s retirement Lindsay looked to Archie and her friends at Brookway Stables to suggest a suitable venue.

“I spoke with Archie about where we would do it and Archie said Menlo is such a special show with wonderful tradition and Widget has won here so many times that I felt this would be a really special place to do it.” Lindsay explained.

“True to its reputation, the Show is proving to be a fast favorite of mine. Its history of excellence and charity is second to none – it is such a wonderful asset to the community and I am humbled to share in its tradition.”

The Show also has an additional significance for Lindsay due its support of the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Lindsay has close friends and family members who have been challenged by sight-related issues. Her charitable fund has a programmatic focus on access for special needs and at-risk children, and the Vista Center’s work in the Bay Area is an outstanding model for communities nationwide that provide counseling, support, and life skills for the visually impaired.

Lindsay explained,” The volunteers who donate thousands upon thousands of hours to support the MCHS for the benefit of the Vista Center personify the generous spirit that makes the equestrian community so wonderful. More than being a spectacularly beautiful event, the spirit of the Show is made most manifest in the generosity of its volunteers.”

As Widget left the ring for the last time a beautiful garland around his neck, the final round of the Hunter Derby began.

As the shadows began to fall in the field the 12 leading horses completed the course in reverse order, a beautiful scene with the exceptional fences and a course providing opportunity for all to show the handiness of there horses.

At the end of the competition the same four hunters remained at the top of the field. The overall results:

1st Center Court and John French

2nd Early August and John Bragg

3rd Bunistar and Hugh Mutch

4th Cy Young and Tara Metzner

5th Osilvia and Ashlin Bowen

6th Lulavani and Sami Milo

7th Pacific Heights and John French

8th Lukatoni and John Bragg

9th Boss and Brooke Morin

10th Dinner For Two and Hugh Mutch

11th Frederick and Natalie Dean

12th Sambuca and Kylee Arbuckle

John French who has been attending MCHS for almost 30 years was delighted with Center Court, and praised the work of the volunteers who prepared the fences, many known to John; people he has trained with or used to train with, in his home town.

Talking about Center Court John explained, “I liked the fact that in the first round he was good, he was not quite awake at the beginning of the course, but then all of a sudden of realized, we were jumping bigger jumps. He hasn’t been showing for a while so we have not done much with him. We showed him at HITS Thermal where he was circuit champion in the winter. He has had some time off now, so we were debating wither to bring him here.” I just showed him in one class earlier in the week, he’s not afraid of anything. He seemed like he was fine to me and I wanted to save him for this class today and not tire him out. The more impressive it is the better it is for him that’s why you save him. I like coming in second or third after the Classic round because there isn’t as much pressure on you going into the Handy round when you have to move up. Center Court was super smooth in the Handy I think they rewarded him because he can turn really tight to the jumps and does it effortlessly, he does it easily your not trying to create the jump or legging him to get him over he can do it in his sleep that’s how scopey he is .

Widget Perpetual Trophy perpetual trophy will go to the highest scoring single round in the Junior Hunters or Amateur Owner Hunters at either height

Widget Perpetual Trophy perpetual trophy will go to the highest scoring single round in the Junior Hunters or Amateur Owner Hunters at either height Photo: Alden Corrigan Media

It’s so nice to be on the Grass Hunter Field, with a big crowd which great preparation for Derby Finals. We were waiting to see how well he did here today and whether to send him back to Kentucky next week, you never know, we just might go for it.

Center Court’s owner Kristen Hiller was also delighted with her seven-year-old horse in only his second Menlo Derby outing “Last year we just missed by a lead change, but this year he was awesome,” said Kristen “I live two blocks away, so Menlo is the horse show that I grew up going to and was always hoping that I would have a champion like Billy (Billy the Kid aka Center Court) he’s made Menlo very special very quickly.”

Day Seven at Royal West Features Dramatic Jump-Off Win for Erynn Ballard

October 30, 2015 By: Editor Category: General


Erin Ballard and Appy Cara winner on the second night of the Calgary leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League $45,000 GGT Footing/Whiteline Structures Classic 1.45 m at Royal West, Calgary, AB, Canada. Photo Credit Katy Whitt Photography

Erin Ballard and Appy Cara winner on the second night of the Calgary leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League $45,000 GGT Footing/Whiteline Structures Classic 1.45 m at Royal West, Calgary, AB, Canada. Photo Credit Katy Whitt Photography

October 28, 2015, Calgary, Alberta: The pulse has quickened at the Royal West in Week Two as the big names began gearing up for the weekend’s big prizes. On Wednesday Canada’s Erynn Ballard sharpened her game in the  $45,000 GGT Footing/ Whittling Structures Classic 1.45 m with a dramatic win in an all-Canadian 11-horse jump-off.

In what was an all-female winning podium, Ballard rode her chestnut 10-year-old gelding Appy Cara to a clear round that beat out Ali Ramsay on  the bay 8-year-old mare Hermelien vd Hooghoeve by 1.82 seconds, also with a clear round.  Third place in the tightly bunched field went to Vanessa Mannix on the bay 14-year-old gelding Nirvanan de Terlong) who rode clean as well.

Other riders making the jump-off were Laura Jane Tidball (Prim’ de Lairaud), John Anderson (Terrific), Jill Henselwood (Farfelu du Printemps),  Keean White (For Freedom Z, Carrera van de het Westleven Z), Ben Asselin (Plume de la Roque), Chris Sorenson (Bobby), Yann Candele (Granit S).

Cynthia Brewster-Keating, Christof , Christof, Pedro Cebulka and Erin Ballard and Appy Cara of the $45,000 GGT Footing/Whiteline Structures Classic 1.45 m at Royal West, Calgary, AB, Canada. Photo Credit Katy Whitt Photography

Cynthia Brewster-Keating, Christof , Christof, Pedro Cebulka and Erin Ballard and Appy Cara of the $45,000 GGT Footing/Whiteline Structures Classic 1.45 m at Royal West, Calgary, AB, Canada. Photo Credit Katy Whitt Photography

In the afternoon’s feature event, the $25,000 Salentein Wines Canadian Hunter Derby 3’6”,   Brent Baliski riding  Viogolo Z took home top honours with 106.00 points. Darcy Hayes aboard CrushIn captured second place second with 104.5 points. And in third was Ashton Belcher aboard Contifax.

In the afternoon’s $10,000 Hunter Derby 3’.0”, Canada’s Rodney Tulloch took top spot aboard Glory Bound. In second was Shannon Haney and her mount Erek. Third place ribbon was won by on Michelle James Picasso.

Rebecca Clawson and Freeport Capture Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter Championship at Fieldstone Summer Showcase II

August 25, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Halifax, MA – August 24, 2013 – The Adult Hunters took center stage today in the Main Hunter Ring as the Fieldstone Summer Showcase II came to a close this weekend. Laurie Barna led the way by capturing both the championship and reserve championship honors in the Adult Amateur 36 & Over Hunters with Laguna and Tycoon, respectively. Rebecca Clawson and her young mount Freeport topped the Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunters for the championship prize. The day wrapped up with the $1,000 WIHS/NAL Adult Hunter Classic, where the winning honors went to Kelly Lively and Tarzan, who earned scores of 83.5 and 85.

Kelly Lively and Tarzan Win $1,000 WIHS/NAL Adult Hunter Classic

Kelly Lively and Tarzan Win $1,000 WIHS/NAL Adult Hunter Classic

Lively and Tarzan, owned by Betty Oare of Warrenton, VA, were ranked third coming into today’s $1,000 WIHS/NAL Adult Hunter Classic with a score of 83.5. They returned for the second round with a commanding presence, and flowed easily through the course, jumping each fence in perfect form. When the pair exited the ring they were rewarded with a score of 85 for a two round total of 168.5 to claim the victory.

“This is my first show with Tarzan,” explained Lively. “He’s a really good boy. I’ve just been trying to figure him out, but he was awesome and went right around for me. Every round is a new round with him because I don’t know him that well, and he was perfect when we came back today.”

Lively trains with the winner of yesterday’s $15,000 NEHJA 3’3″ Hunter Derby Finals victor David Oliynyk, and will now travel to HITS-on-the-Hudson for two weeks, but she’s had a wonderful show at Fieldstone. “They’ve really done a great job, especially in the last few years,” she commented. “It attracts great competition and the courses are always beautiful.”

Lively’s victory in the Classic came shortly after earning the Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter Reserve Championship with Tarzan earlier today, winning the first over fences class. The division’s championship award went to Rebecca Clawson of Halifax, MA, and Freeport, who won the second over fences class today, as well as placing first and second yesterday.

Rebecca Clawson and Freeport Capture Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter Championship at Fieldstone Summer Showcase II

Rebecca Clawson and Freeport Capture Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter Championship at Fieldstone Summer Showcase II

“Freeport has been so good,” smiled Clawson. “He is kind of tired because this is his second week of showing, but he’s jumping really well and making everything look so smooth.”

Clawson placed fifth in yesterday’s $10,000 NEHJ 2’9″ Hunter Derby Finals, and added, “He’s only 5 years old. He’s grown up a lot this summer, so I am really happy with him. He’s very brave, and he doesn’t spook at all. He likes a soft ride. You need to help him a little bit, but he likes to do his own thing.”

This afternoon, Clawson and Freeport placed second in the $1,000 WIHS/NAL Adult Hunter Classic. The pair followed Lively with scores of 85 and 82, for a two round total of 167. The third place award went to Laurie Barna of Dallas, PA, and Laguna, who earned scores of 82 and 84, for a two round total of 166.

Barna and Laguna were the winners of today’s second class in the Adult Amateur 36 & Over Hunters, and combined with a win yesterday they took home the division’s championship prize. Barna’s second mount Tycoon was also victorious yesterday, and picked up the reserve championship award.

“I am really excited,” expressed Barna. “This is the second time this season that this has happened, and it’s very exciting because I am just starting out with Tycoon, and Laguna is a long-time partner.”

Barna continued, “They are both good, seasoned horses, but they are very different. Tycoon is lazy and you really have to push him to go along, but Laguna helps you out every way that he can. Tycoon takes a little more effort to get around, and we are still figuring each other out. Laguna has been a family heirloom. He was passed down from my cousin, and I’ve been riding him for about four years now. They are very different horses but they are both great in their own way.”

This is Barna’s first time competing at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase, and she has enjoyed being at the New England facility. “I love the fact that it’s like a little horse park,” she commented. “It feels very cozy and it’s very beautiful here.”

Laurie Barna and Laguna

Laurie Barna and Laguna

Today marked the conclusion of the Fieldstone Summer Showcase II, but competition will continue tomorrow at the Fieldstone Showpark at the 2013 Massachusetts Hunter Jumper Finals take place. Qualified riders will compete for the championship title in their respective divisions.

For more information about the Fieldstone Showpark, please visit

Jennifer Bliss and Knockout Capture $2,500 Fieldstone 2’9” Hunter Derby Victory at Fieldstone Summer Showcase I

August 18, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Halifax, MA – August 16, 2013 – The hunter riders stole the spotlight today at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase as they took center stage for the $2,500 Fieldstone 2’9” Hunter Derby. Posting two fantastic rounds for the winning score of 188 points was Jennifer Bliss and Knockout. It was a day of firsts for the pair as they tackled the derby course with dexterity and finesse. Earlier in the day Skyler Fields and Silly Putty took the win in the $2,500 Fieldstone Pony Classic.

Phil DeVita of Apopka, Fl, designed today’s intricate derby courses, which included four high options, many inside turn options and a jump on a table. Riders were also faced with a tight two-stride combination, as well as unrelated distances, bending lines and natural obstacles reminiscent of a traditional hunt field. The top 13 of the starting 52 entrants in the derby returned to showcase their talents over a handy course.

After starting off with a vertical, riders rode directly to a red oxer, where they had an option to jump the higher fence set at 3-feet. With a roll back turn after the third fence, riders were faced with a trot jump at the far end of the field, leading them up the bank to another vertical. They then rode through an in-and-out combination, and completed the course with a final option. Many of the riders opted for the higher options, but it came down to the best of the best out on the field.

Frank Perla and Samuel, owned by Kathleen Mitchell, were the first to be seen out of the select few to return. They laid down a consistent round, and earned the second round score of 89 points. Combined with his first round total of 84.5 points, Perla proved to be the pathfinder. Each consecutive rider attempted to best his score, as the horse and rider combination wore a target on their back.

Although Caschmier with Kathryn Griffin in the irons earned an 87 in the handy, for an overall score of 169, Perla’s score proved unstoppable with Griffin riding to the fourth place finish. Perla once again entered the all-grass field, but this time aboard his second mount Implicit, owned by Laurie Gundlach of Somers, CT. He left no room for error aboard Implict, riding to the high-scoring second round score of 92 to surpass Samuel in the standings.

“Implicit is a Pre-Green 3’ Hunter horse, and it seemed as though he was very happy out there, we had a great time,” Perla explained. “He did the derby a couple of months ago, but he was a little greener then, he was much happier today. It was a beautiful course, the footing is great, and the horses love it on the field. Its good for the babies, I had two out there, and it keeps them happy and wanting to be out there. My two, were both great, they did everything they needed to do. We had consistent rounds, and one beat the other. I couldn’t be happier.”

The game changed when Jennifer Bliss returned to the ring for her shot at the day’s win. Bliss had navigated Knockout to the first round high score of 90 points, and was the last to return to the ring for their turn to shine. They left nothing to chance as they took the handy course with precision, fluidity and consistency.

“I love this horse and have high hopes for him,” Bliss exclaimed. “He’s so much fun. He is brave to the jumps, quiet, and I can just loop the reins and gallop. He was smooth in both rounds, and I tried to just go for it in the handy. The courses were great, and the footing on the field was wonderful, it was very flowing and made for a great time.”

Jennifer Bliss and Knockout delivered two consistent rounds for the overall score of 188 points to capture the $2,500 Fieldstone 2'9" Hunter Derby victory at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase I. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group.

Jennifer Bliss and Knockout delivered two consistent rounds for the overall score of 188 points to capture the $2,500 Fieldstone 2’9″ Hunter Derby victory at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase I. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group.

They were dually awarded for their efforts on the field today, earning the judges’ nods with the final handy score of 98 points. A resounding applause erupted from the sidelines as spectators celebrated their success.

Knockout, or Rocky as he is more commonly called, only recently moved from the Baby Green Hunters to the Pre-Green Hunters. Bliss has high hopes for the young horse, with aspirations to see him one day compete in the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.

“We are trying to get him some derby mileage so maybe he’ll move up and do the bigger derbies,” Bliss explained. “I had one older horse that qualified for the derby finals, but we decided to just focus on the younger ones and it’s been a building year for us.”

Bliss also rode Bolero, owned by Marigot Bay Farm, LLC of Dover, MA, to the fifth place finish after taking all the high options and riding to the cumulative score of 168 points. Kristen Bumpus rounded out the top six with Inspired, owned by Hannah Curran of Concord, MA.

Bliss concluded, “I came to Fieldstone a lot when I was little and competed on ponies. I hadn’t been back in a while, so I came two years ago because I wanted to do the NEHJA Derby Finals. We loved it, and now we make it a point to come back.”

Earlier in the day, ponies and their riders were given the opportunity to compete on the prestigious derby field in the $2,500 Fieldstone Pony Hunter Classic. The class was an enormous hit, drawing in a large field of entrants, and showing fierce competition as riders contended for the ribbons.

Phil DeVita’s course asked many questions of both Skyler Fields and Silly Putty rode away with the win. Fields posted the second highest scoring first round effort, riding to a score of 75 points, but when she returned to the ring she had her eyes set on the blue. They took the second round of the classic with precision, and their flowing canter led them right into the hearts of the scrutinizing judges. They won the $2,500 Fieldstone Pony Hunter Classic with a final score of 154 points.

“I’ve had him for about a year, and he’s been a very good boy,” Fields stated. “His canter is really comfortable, its like a couch, he just needs you to sit up and keep your leg on. He’s a good jumper, and I think that is what gave us the edge.”

“It was love at first sight,” Fields concluded. “We got him at the 2012 Pony Finals, and he was the perfect pony. He just keeps on trying his heart out, and I think he really likes it here. After a week like Pony Finals, it is so nice to escape to Fieldstone. It’s so much more relaxing, it’s so pretty here, I have been coming since I competed in the short stirrup division.”

Abigail Brayman and Jumanji, also owned by Skyler Fields, rode to the second place, with the overall score of 153 points, hot on Fields’ heels. It was Caroline Ellis and Millpond Patchwork who took home the third place today.

The Fieldstone Summer Showcase will continue tomorrow with the Adult Amateur Hunter divisions, and the Adult Equitation classes. All eyes will turn to the Grand Prix Field at 3 p.m. as the world’s top riders gather on the grass to vie for the lion’s share of the $50,000 Fieldstone Grand Prix. The attention will once again return to the hunters this Sunday, Aug. 18 as riders gear up for the $10,000 GGT Footing 3’3″ Hunter Derby on Sunday, Aug. 18. For more information on Stadium Jumping and the Fieldstone Summer Showcase, please visit . You can also follow the Fieldstone Horse Shows on Facebook at

Jennifer Tate and Florestan Take to the Top of the Pre-Green Hunters at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase I

August 15, 2013 By: janwest Category: General


Halifax, MA – August 14, 2013 –  Strikingly set courses greeted hunter riders for the first day of the Fieldstone Summer Showcase I. The professional hunter divisions kicked off the competition in the Main Hunter Ring, where Jennifer Tate rode Florestan to the top of the Pre-Green Hunter division. Competitors were thrilled to return to the Fieldstone Show Park, noting the new improvements to the facility, as they soaked in the sun and brisk summer breeze.


The morning began with the Pre-Green Hunter division in the Main Hunter Ring. Tate showcased the 6-year-old Westphalian gelding Florestan to the first and third place ribbons, setting the stakes high as each consecutive rider attempted to best her rounds. Jennifer Smith of Wellington, FL, and Quincento rode to the blue ribbon during the second round over fences. Jacqueline Roberts guided Olivia K, owned by Trestle Tree Farm of Downington, PA, to the second and third place over fences.


“He needs lots of leg. He is very quiet, and he likes to go very slow, so I have to keep squeezing the whole time,” Tate explained. “He also is much more interested in well-decorated bright jumps, versus plain jumps. Our goal has been to get him into Harrisburg for the Pre-Greens.”


Tate continued, “He has been coming along so well. The courses today were nice and flowing, and they worked out perfectly for him. I thought that they rode really well out of the turn. Fieldstone always does a nice job. I think it is a beautiful facility. I think the management, the rings and the competition are so well done, it is a pleasure to come here and show.”


Jennifer Tate and Florestan led the first day of Pre-Green Hunters at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.

Jennifer Tate and Florestan led the first day of Pre-Green Hunters at the Fieldstone Summer Showcase. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.


Rounding out the hunter divisions for the day were the Performance 3’3″-3’6″ Hunters. Holly Mitten and Balou, owned by Katherine Steenberg of Westfield, NJ, rode to the first and second place ribbons over fences. Fifi Schmidt and Gotta Dance, owned by Alexis Anderson of New Canaan, CT, rode to the first place during the second over fences.


It was Rachel Clawson and Montenegro, owned by B&B Ltd, who stayed hot on the pair’s heels. Clawson competed over the 3’6″ height with the bay gelding, and they captured the judges’ attention with their finesse. They were awarded the second and third place ribbons over fences, as well as the second place award in the under saddle.


“He needs a soft, yet strong ride,” Clawson explained. “David was giving up the ride last September, and I showed him at the Buffalo International Horse Show, and we clicked. He was champion in the Performance 3’6″ Hunter division one weekend at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and I have kept him ever since.”


Clawson concluded, “I am hoping to start to do some of the really big derbies with him, I will continue to move him up. I am excited to see how he does in the derbies at Fieldstone. He is has really come a long way, it will be great to see what he can do out on the grass field.”


The Fieldstone Summer Showcase will continue tomorrow with the conclusion of the professional hunter divisions, where championship and reserve championship honors will be awarded. This week’s highlight events will be the $2,500 Pony Hunter Classic and the $2,500 Fieldstone 2’9″ Hunter Derby on Friday, August 16. Riders will also be able to show off their mounts on the turf during the $10,000 3’3″ Hunter Derby on Sunday, August 18.For more information on Stadium Jumping and the Fieldstone Summer Showcase,please visit . You can also follow the Fieldstone Horse Shows on Facebook at

Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam Storms to Victory with Solerina in $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix

August 04, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Lexington, KY – August 3, 2013 – For the second week in a row, the Irish had all the luck, specifically Shane Sweetnam during the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington, at the Kentucky Summer Classic. This time he was aboard Solerina for the win, shaving valuable seconds off his jump-off time to beat fellow countryman Richie Moloney and Carrabis Z, who placed second. Sweetnam’s winning mount from last Saturday’s grand prix, Fineman, also cleared the short course, capturing the third place honors.

Shane Sweetnam and Solerina

Shane Sweetnam and Solerina

Forty of the country’s top horse and rider combinations gathered at the Rolex Stadium under perfect skies to show over the first round track designed by Marina Azevedo of Brazil, which included an open water, a skinny jump to a triple bar, a vertical-vertical double combination and an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination. Twelve entries completed the course without fault and 11 returned for the jump-off. The short track began over a single vertical to a new oxer and a sharp roll back over a new vertical before they had to gallop across the ring and angle another vertical. Then the competitors jumped the first two fences in the triple combination before galloping home over the last oxer.

Shane Sweetnam and Fineman

Shane Sweetnam and Fineman


The first double clear was posted by Venezuela’s Juan Ortiz riding Accordance, but in attempt to leave all of the  airy verticals in place they had a conservative pace and stopped the clock at 38.077 seconds for fourth place.

Richie Moloney attempted to catch Ortiz’s time with his first mount, Call Me Number One, owned by Equinimity LLC of Stonybrook, NY, and although the duo was faultless, they were a fraction to slow, finishing in 38.373 seconds for fifth place.

The winners of last week’s $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix, Shane Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm’s Fineman, were ready to lay on the gas when they took their turn over the track. As they wound their way through the course, they left each rail in place, breaking the beam at 36.211 seconds, which would hold up for third place.

“Fineman is very careful and very competitive, as he showed last week, but I didn’t go all out because I knew that the winning round wasn’t that fast at the time, and I wanted to be sure that I was clear,” said Sweetnam. “I think if he had been last he could have also been as quick as Solerina.”

Fellow countryman Richie Moloney was willing to fight for one of the top spots with his second mount, Equinimity LLC’s Carrabis Z. They were right on Sweetnam’s heels as they carefully cleared the track, dashing through the timers in 36.149 seconds, which would claim second place.

“Before the jump-off started, I planned not to go too quick and just have a nice round, but you didn’t have to gallop too much to win so it suited him,” said Moloney. “I could have done one less stride down the first line and been a little quicker to the middle vertical. I am very happy with second place though and happy the horse jumped well.  I think there are big things to come for him.”

Richie Moloney and Carrabis Z

Richie Moloney and Carrabis Z


Sweetnam and Solerina, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Spy Coast Farm, were the last to show during the first round, the last to qualify for the jump-off and the last to have a chance at the win. They left nothing to chance, picking up a quick gallop and never slowing down as they sliced over each vertical and made quick turn-backs. The veteran mare never wasted a second in the air as she left each rail in its cups and blazed across the finish line in 34.056 seconds, two seconds ahead of Moloney to lead the victory gallop.

 Shane Sweetnam and Solerina

Shane Sweetnam and Solerina

“Solerina is a very quick horse, so when Richie was clear and quicker I went for it,” explained Sweetnam. “I was very fast at the turn backs to the two verticals. I had a really good angle to the second vertical, and you can really trust her with a bit of a gallop to a vertical. She’s naturally very quick.”

Moloney and Sweetnam have represented Ireland together on many occasions, and Sweetnam was pleased to see his friend do so well tonight. “Richie is a good friend of mine. I was hoping he would do well, but obviously I wanted to better,” he laughed.

Solerina is a 14-year-old Irish Sporthorse mare by Cruising, the father of the legendary Flexible. Sweetnam purchased her from Irish rider Conor O’Regan last year, and during the Winter Equestrian Festival they won the $101,000 Pennfield Feeds CSI 4* Grand Prix.

“It took a bit of time for me to get her going and get used to her,” admitted Sweetnam. “She is very good at moving up and down in the height, and she is very fast. She is very versatile. She likes to pick up a rhythm and stay with it. If you get too much in her face she gets really annoyed and shows a bit of character. She jumps her best when you let her go in a rhythm.”

Sweetnam is the professional rider for Spy Coast Farm, located next door to the Kentucky Horse Park, and the Kentucky Horse Shows are always on their schedule. “We love the shows here,” he commented. “We’ve had a great two weeks here. The clients have done well, and the young horses get great experience. Hugh and the management do a great job.”

The Kentucky Summer Classic will conclude tomorrow with the NAL/WIHS Child and Adult Jumper Classics in the Rolex Stadium. Next week, Kentucky Horse Park will host the 2013 USEF Pony Finals, followed by the Bluegrass Classic Horse Show and the 2013 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals.

For more information on the Kentucky Summer Series please go to

RESULTS: $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix
1    1313    SOLERINA     SHANE SWEETNAM     0    0    0    79.679    0    0    0    34.056
2    1333    CARRABIS Z     RICHIE MOLONEY     0    0    0    81.994    0    0    0    36.149
3    1020    FINEMAN     SHANE SWEETNAM     0    0    0    82.899    0    0    0    36.211
4    399    ACCORDANCE     JUAN ORTIZ     0    0    0    84.257    0    0    0    38.077
5    1334    CALL ME NUMBER ONE     RICHIE MOLONEY     0    0    0    82.208    0    0    0    38.373
6    57    ZARA LEANDRA     PABLO BARRIOS     0    0    0    84.058    4    0    4    34.641
7    216    RIVER OF DREAMS     CHRISTIAN HEINEKING     0    0    0    82.022    4    0    4    34.753
8    220    NKH SELENA     CHRISTIAN HEINEKING     0    0    0    83.646    4    0    4    36.085
9    79    CYRANEIKY     DEREK BRAUN     0    0    0    83.167    4    0    4    37.337
10    663    PALM SUNDAY     AARON VALE     0    0    0    79.321    8    0    8    33.879
11    1285    ROMEO     VICTOR SEGOVIA     0    0    0    84.211    8    0    8    47.409
12    501    DRYDEN     DEBBIE STEPHENS     0    0    0    84.632    2    0    Withdr    0.000

Molly Ashe and Kennzo Top the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Horse Shows by the Bay

July 22, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

The Connecticut-based professional travels to Flintflields Horse Park for 

the blue ribbon she lost last year.


Traverse City, MI – July 20, 2013 – Molly Ashe returned to Horse Show by the Bay this year on a mission. After a disappointing performance in last year’s $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, she sought redemption.


And she got it. Ashe guided Kennzo to victory on July 19, in Traverse City, taking the top call in this year’s edition, hosted by The Gochman Family. The two-round hunter competition was Friday evening’s featured event.


“Last year I sort of felt like I let him down. [The class] was handed to me, and I didn’t pick up the gift,” she reflected. “I didn’t ride well in the handy; I never got going, and I was too slow. It wasn’t a good ride on my part, and I could have won it and I didn’t.”



Kennzo and Molly Ashe in the Classic Round


This time, Ashe, of Newtown, CT, placed second aboard Kennzo in the Classic Round, just behind Kelley Farmer aboard Mythical. Then, when Ashe went in for the Handy Round, things were much different.


“From the first round to the second round, [Molly] came in the ring and galloped the first jump and didn’t take a couple of cautious jumps and start to get comfortable with the course, which I think separated her in both rounds,” said judge Chris Wynne. “She showed us right from the beginning that she was trying to win, which she ended up doing.”


Although Ashe was satisfied with her Handy Round ride–which gave her a two-round total of 370 points–she knew with Farmer yet to come aboard the phenomenal Mythical, victory wasn’t a given. Ashe chose not to take an inside turn option to the Riviera Gate after the hand gallop, instead electing a straight approach around the Mackinac Bridge oxer.


“I could have been beaten, but it was safer for me to go outside,” she said. “It backfired a little bit. Reitz, my first horse, did it beautifully, but it surprised Kennzo a little, and he shook his head afterward, but it all worked out.”


Farmer, the leader in the USHJA Lifetime Derby Rider Money-Won standings, went all out aboard Mythical to try for the overall victory. But the ambitious inside turn to the Riviera Gate–which she’d successfully accomplished on earlier mounts–proved to be their downfall, dropping them to 12th with a refusal.


Farmer, of Keswick, VA, with six rides in the class, wasn’t without ribbons. She placed second aboard Quail Run Partnerships’ Skorekeeper (362.5), third with CH Farm LLC’s On Q (360) and fifth with Jessica L. Stitt’s Taken (355).


Peter Pletcher, of Magnolia, TX, guided Alexandra Crown’s KN Nemo to fourth (356) and Spruce Meadows’ Charlie Brown to sixth (352).


Ashe said she’d thought about this class all year long and was thrilled that she could finally put the mistake behind her.


Molly Ashe and Kennzo receive their awards from, right to left, Sophie and Mimi Gochman, Francesca Dildabanian, show manager Alex Rheinheimer and judge James Zulia

“I was mad at myself, and I really wanted to shed that feeling,” she said. “Now, I feel better. And then poor Kelley here, trying the inside turn on Mythical. I know how she feels. I felt bad for her, but I needed that win for me. So, that one’s gone and shelved now, and I don’t have to think about how I messed up the handy for another year. So I’m happy!”


This year’s featured derby class, designed by Blake Alder, Scott Starnes and Robbie McGregor, attracted a field of 39 competitors to the Horse Shows by the Bay expansive Grand Prix Ring. Spectators filled the Morgan Stanley/VIP tent, the bleachers and lined the berms, enjoying the Outback Derby Dinner and a lovely Northern Michigan evening.


Four judges presided, with Panel 1 consisting of Jimmy Lee and Chris Wynne, and Panel 2 with Hap Hansen and Tony Sgarlata.


Kelsie Brittan received the high-score Junior Award in the Derby from, right to left, Francesca Dildabanian, Mimi Gochman and Sophie Gochman


After the Classic Round, the highest-scoring Junior and Amateur riders were recognized, with Kelsie Brittan taking the Junior award for her performance aboard Argentum, and Callie Seaman earning the Amateur ribbon with Aha.


In addition to the awards from the United States Hunter Jumper Association, Ashe will also have her name engraved on the Stanley W. Rheinheimer Perpetual Trophy, donated by Valerie Rheinheimer, widow of Stanley W. Rheinheimer, and given in his honor.


The winning horse, Kennzo, is an 11-year-old Finnish Warmblood (Coriano-Anita) owned by Kristen Abbatiello-Neff. Ashe has enjoyed many derby successes with the bay gelding, including victory in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Hampton Classic in New York in 2012.


“I’m so thankful to have this horse and thank my owners and sponsors for making this possible,” said Ashe, whose children Taylor, 5, and Connor, 3, were also ringside to cheer her on. “Everyone’s been supportive through thick and thin. It’s nice for them that he keeps doing to so well.


Kennzo and Molly Ashe in the Handy Round


“Kennzo is really good at the derbies, and this one last year was the second one he’d ever done,” she added. “He’s really become reliable. He’s good at it, he’s trustworthy and he has the scope and now he knows the game a bit, so it’s a lot of fun.”


Ashe also placed ninth overall aboard Elisee P. Browchuk’s Original Du Rietz, an 11-year-old Selle Francais, making his derby debut.


“Rietz was a jumper, and he was adorable in the jumpers to a certain level, but it got harder for him as the jumps got bigger and bigger,” she said. “And so I said, ‘Let’s try him in the hunters.’ This was his maiden voyage in the derbies, and I thought he was pretty darn good.”


Judge Jimmy Lee, of Virginia, was impressed with the quality of the competition and the top performances he saw.


“I thought it was a wonderful class with a lot of quality,” he said. “And I thought it was nice to see some juniors and amateurs in it stepping up, and that’s always encouraging and exciting. The quality of the horses and the rides were great.


“The horse that won is a quality horse, and he had a beautiful round,” Lee added. “She rode him terrific, and Peter Pletcher, Kelley Farmer and Greg Crolick, those top riders, all rode well. They had some really outstanding rounds, there were some really high scores and deservedly so. I thought it was a very special class, a great evening and fun to do.”


To watch Ashe’s winning rides aboard Kennzo, please click here.


$20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Overall Top 12


  1. Kennzo/Molly Ashe/Kristen Abbatiello-Neff/370
  2. Skorekeeper/Kelley Farmer/Quail Run Partnerships/362.5
  3. On Q/Kelley Farmer/CH Farm LLC/360
  4. KN Nemo/Peter Pletcher/Alexandra Crown/356
  5. Taken/Kelley Farmer/Jessica Stitt/355
  6. Charlie Brown/Peter Pletcher/Spruce Meadows/352
  7. Grey Street/Greg Crolick/Adrienne Marciano/341
  8. Comprende’/Greg Crolick/Courtney Schwabauer/334.5
  9. Original Du Rietz/Molly Ashe/Elisee P. Browchuk/329
  10. Ferrari/Russell Frey/Alexis Cohen/324.25
  11. Laredo/Maria Dritsas Rasmussen/Whitney Sinclair/316
  12. Mythical/Kelley Farmer/Larry Glefke/279

In the $10,000 North Face Farm Leading Hunter Rider Cash Bonus Award standings, Michigan professional Greg Crolick holds on to the lead with 150 points. But by virtue of her second-placed finish in the USHJA International Hunter Derby, Kelley Farmer leapt up the standings to 147.5, and Molly Ashe, the International Derby victor, now holds third with 140.


Caitlyn Shiels stands fourth (75), Peter Pletcher is fifth (57.5) and Hayley Barnhill is sixth (55). Hunter riders can earn additional points toward the award in tomorrow’s USHJA National Hunter Derby.


In the $10,000 Hagyard Leading Jumper Rider Cash Bonus Award standings as of July 20, the top six riders include: Yann Candele (205 points); Aaron Vale (163.25); Ali Wolff (94.5); Sharn Wordley (65); Erin Haas (49); and David Beisel (47). With 90 points on the line for victory in the $30,000 Grand Prix of the Great Lakes tomorrow and the top four riders on to other shows, competitors lower in the standings will have the opportunity to close the gap.


Follow the action on July 17-21 during Horse Shows by the Bay Series III. Competition will be held in all five rings, with the Grand Prix Ring and R.L. Polk Family Main Hunter Ring streaming live thanks to ShowNet LLC and this week’s free streaming partner, Alltech Equine TV. They’re bringing the action right to your screen every day, beginning at 8 a.m. Go to and click on “Watch It Live.”

Horse Shows by the Bay Series III


Featured events for July 21:

  • $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Walgreens – Sunday, July 21
  • $2,500 The Harvey Family NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic – Sunday, July 21
  • $2,500 Olde Welbourne Farm NAL/WIHS Adult Jumper Classic – Sunday, July 21
  • $30,000 Grand Prix of the Great Lakes, Sunday, July 21

Special Exhibitor functions this week included the Wine & Cheese Social on Thursday, with wines from Bel Lago Vineyard and Winery in Cedar, MI, sponsored by Northern Pines Farm/Melissa Hirt, Maureen Wendon and Robin Vilter. The ice cream socials will be sponsored by the Harvey Family on the weekdays & the Gochman Family over the weekend. The Outback Derby Dinner, sponsored by Wrenwood Farm, will take place on Friday evening., and the Morgan Stanley VIP/Sponsor Luncheon will be held on Sunday afternoon.


For full show results, please visit


For daily updates and photos, please visit the Horse Shows by the Bay Facebook Page.


For more information, schedules, directions, or to Watch It Live, please visit

Horse Shows by the Bay – Flintfields Horse Park – 6535 Bates Road – Williamsburg, MI 49690

Miss Lucy and Jennifer Alfano Victorious in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

April 01, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Wellington, FL – March 31, 2013 – Jennifer Alfano rode Miss Lucy, an eleven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Helen Lenahan, to the top of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the final day of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The final round of competition was held on the grass derby field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Alfano and Miss Lucy were fourth going into the second round of competition for the derby with a first round score of 186. The pair galloped into first place with a round two score of 198.5 for an overall score of 348.5.


Watch an interview with Hunter Derby winner Jennifer Alfano!


Inclusive and Victoria Colvin finished second with a combined score of 382. The pair was in fifth place after scoring a 182 in round one. Colvin and Inclusive’s spectacular second round performance earned the pair a 200, which helped them take over the lead late in round two before being succeeded by Alfano and Miss Lucy.


Temptation and Kristy McCormack rounded out the top three finishers with an overall score of 380. Temptation, owned by Autumn Janesky, earned a first round score of 166 before finishing with a second round high score of 203.


Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy.  Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy.
Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.


The first round of competition for the derby was held Saturday afternoon at the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter arena of the PBIEC. Forty-one attempted the course, but only the top twenty-five competitors would advance to the handy round held Sunday at The Stadium. Horses and riders faced a sprawling spread of several major tests of their horses’ bravery, including a derby bank, hand gallop, and four high option fences.


Alfano, no stranger to derby victories, ultimately clinched victory with Miss Lucy after beating both Colvin and McCormack’s top scores. Alfano’s name is most synonymous with 2012 USEF National Horse of the Year Jersey Boy.


Despite being the lesser known of Alfano’s derby mounts, she acknowledged the mare was actually the more dependable of the two. “You can always count on Lucy to give 110%. She’s actually a little more reliable than Jersey Boy. You never wonder [with her]. With him, he has his moments, as everybody knows. She’s one of those horses that just tries to do everything right all the time,” Alfano, of Buffalo, NY, commented.


Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy in their winning presentation with ringmaster Cliff Haines. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.


Lucy’s consistency and remarkable suitability for the tests of a derby class are undeniable, given she has been on vacation for the past two weeks. “I did show her in the High Performance here [at the FTI WEF] this week, but that’s it. She doesn’t really take any special preparation.”


“She doesn’t have to practice,” Alfano continued. “She was here last year and did this and was great out here [on the derby field]. You don’t have to worry about anything on her. When you’re looking between her ears, you can aim at anything.”


Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy in their victory gallop. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy in their victory gallop. Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.


Colvin, of Loxahatchee, FL, bested McCormack’s leading score late in the second round, determined to take over the lead from her fifth place finish in round one. Colvin took an exceptionally technical track aboard Inclusive as she attempted to climb the rankings and was overall pleased with their performance.


“I had a light rub, but I thought the rest [of our course] was really good. My plan today was to go as handy as I could and jump the big ones. If I had a rail, I had a rail. I had to move up,” Colvin acknowledged.


Despite not having a comparable course at home, Colvin had no doubt Inclusive would handle the demands of the derby field like a professional. “We just got a field [at home], but it’s not anything like this. I was confident he would be fine. I think he’s actually better out in the field than in a ring,” Colvin described.


Victoria Colvin and Inclusive.  Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

Victoria Colvin and Inclusive.
Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.


McCormack, of Boston, MA, finished third with Temptation with the highest round two score, but was ultimately exceeded by Colvin and than Alfano. McCormack gave it her all knowing Temptation would be happy to step up to the plate.


“My strategy on that horse is always just to give as much as we’ve got. If we take a risk here or there, I’m okay with that. He’s the kind of horse that is so game, especially for this type of course. I got to show him here last year and I was just trying to go for it and move up as much as I could and he brought it,” McCormack expressed.


McCormack had plenty of ground to make up for after finishing seventh in the first round of competition, but knew the grass field would give Temptation the chance to shine. “He loves pace. He loves getting out there and galloping. He’s never as strong in the first round, when I’m going a bit slower and taking my time. Once we get out in the field, all we do is gallop,” McCormack explained.


Kristy McCormack and Temptation.  Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

Kristy McCormack and Temptation.
Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.


Final Results: $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby


R1/J1 88.00 4.00

R1/J2 90.00 4.00 186.00

R2/J1 88.50 6.00 4.00

R2/J2 89.00 7.00 4.00 198.50 384.50



R1/J1 84.50 3.00

R1/J2 91.50 3.00 182.00

R2/J1 92.00 9.00 4.00

R2/J2 83.00 8.00 4.00 200.00 382.00



R1/J1 85.00 4.00

R1/J2 84.00 4.00 177.00

R2/J1 89.00 8.00 4.00

R2/J2 90.00 8.00 4.00 203.00 380.00



R1/J1 86.00 4.00

R1/J2 83.00 4.00 177.00

R2/J1 87.50 9.00 4.00

R2/J2 86.00 7.00 4.00 197.50 374.50



R1/J1 89.00 4.00

R1/J2 91.00 4.00 188.00

R2/J1 77.00 7.00 4.00

R2/J2 75.00 8.00 4.00 175.00 363.00



R1/J1 74.00 3.00

R1/J2 82.00 3.00 162.00

R2/J1 88.00 7.00 4.00

R2/J2 87.00 6.00 4.00 196.00 358.00



R1/J1 82.00 4.00

R1/J2 80.00 4.00 170.00

R2/J1 86.00 5.00 4.00

R2/J2 84.00 5.00 4.00 188.00 358.00



R1/J1 80.50 4.00

R1/J2 80.25 4.00 168.75

R2/J1 87.00 5.00 4.00

R2/J2 80.00 5.00 4.00 185.00 353.75



R1/J1 86.75 4.00

R1/J2 79.75 4.00 174.50

R2/J1 82.00 4.00 4.00

R2/J2 70.00 5.00 4.00 169.00 343.50



R1/J1 81.75 2.00

R1/J2 81.00 2.00 166.75

R2/J1 85.00 3.00 4.00

R2/J2 78.00 2.00 4.00 176.00 342.75



R1/J1 87.00 4.00

R1/J2 92.00 4.00 187.00

R2/J1 71.00 3.00 4.00

R2/J2 69.00 3.00 4.00 154.00 341.00



R1/J1 87.50 4.00

R1/J2 91.50 4.00 187.00

R2/J1 73.00 3.00 4.00

R2/J2 67.00 1.00 4.00 152.00 339.00


Rachel Boggus Claims Another Equitation Victory with SS Whisper in Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final; Kathryn Haefner Awarded Top Honors for Series


Rachel Boggus, of Fort Wayne, IN, catch rode her way to another first place finish, this time with SS Whisper, in the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final during the final day of competition for the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). SS Whisper, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding is owned by Wee Enterprises. Boggus was awarded a Beval bridle and gift certificate for her blue ribbon finish in the final class of the series.


Brett Burlington and Cassidy, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, finished second and won an Essex show shirt from Beval for their performance. Third place was awarded a Beval Saddlery logo saddle pad, which went to Sara Ballinger and her own Wanderprinz.


Overall high point finisher for the 2013 FTI WEF was Kathryn Haefner, who rode her own Bentley in Sunday’s class. Haefner was awarded the ultimate prize of a new Butet saddle, also courtesy of class sponsor Beval Saddlery.


Boggus recently brought home a blue ribbon in the Ariat National Adult Medal class aboard a completely unfamiliar horse and was equally successful on new mount SS Whisper, an experienced junior equitation mount. “When I sat on it yesterday, I loved it immediately,” Boggus smiled. “It was so trained, just light and ready to go. It framed up really easily. It was my type of ride, didn’t take too much leg.”


Boggus considers the Beval Palm Beach Medal course an integral part of her annual campaign for Ariat National Adult Medal Finals, held at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in September. She enjoyed the challenging course of Sunday’s class that allowed riders to show off their skills.


Rachel Boggus and SS Whisper.  Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

Rachel Boggus and SS Whisper.
Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.


“We started with a rollback and there were some inside turn options, which I always like when they put those in. Abby and I always try to think about what I’m going to do at the National Medal Finals, so we try to make it as hard as we can and practice more difficult options. I liked that there was an inside turn option and some tighter rollbacks so you could tighten up and make it fancy if you wanted to,” Boggus described.


For the flat phase of the class, Boggus was thankful to have a mount so well-suited for the demands of the test. “I’m not admittedly the best flatter ever, so we really have to do a lot of work on the flat to get my heels down and I tend to grip too much-I clench my hands,” Boggus explained.


“The flat is really challenging for me, but with this horse it was really nice because it was so supple. I just barely had to put any pressure on the reins and it framed right up. It’s really big and slow and comfortable, so that was really nice,” Boggus commented.


While Boggus has shown at the FTI WEF intermittently in years past, the 2013 season was her first full circuit. “I lived in Denver until this past July, so I would go to [HITS] Thermal. Now that I’m back down in the Midwest and living in Indiana, we come to WEF because we have a barn down here,” Boggus explained.


“I really like it, the weather’s always nice. The competition is the best in the country, and that’s one thing we really wanted to concentrate on-putting myself in these higher pressure situations at bigger shows,” Boggus expressed.


Boggus’ dedication has clearly paid off as she stands on top of the current national standings for the Ariat National Adult Medal. She will take April off to let her horses recuperate before starting back up again in Kentucky next month and setting her sights on the Devon Horse Show on her way to finals.


Kathryn Haefner and Bentley.  Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.

Kathryn Haefner and Bentley.
Photo © Anne Gittins Photography.


Haefner has also been a force to be reckoned with this season at the FTI WEF, coming in first in circuit standings for the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal class. Haefner swapped between her geldings Columbus and Bentley on the path to first place and finished the series on Sunday aboard Bentley, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding. The pair finished fourth.


Haefner describes Columbus as more of a typical equitation horse, but is quick to acknowledge Bentley’s ability to be competitive in both hunter and equitation divisions. “Bentley is super comfortable. He’s really easy to flat. Columbus may have more of the equitation look, and Bentley’s a good mover, so he does well in the hunters. But when you put a Pelham on [Bentley], he’s got that smooth, pretty way of moving and going round,” Haefner explained.


Haefner also enjoys the opportunity that the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal class gives adults to show off their equitation skills and compete for a top prize. “I love these classes, they’re really fun. There are not a whole lot of medals for the adults to do, so this is a really nice opportunity to do something like that,” Haefner commented.


“The saddle incentive is great,” she continued. “I ride in a Butet, so that’s always a good incentive because I get the saddle that I like. It’s really fun [to compete in the class] because besides the handy rounds, you never get the opportunity to do a course that’s a little more interesting [in the hunter divisions]. There’s also a flat test, which the other adult medals don’t have. They either don’t have a test or there’s a jumping test, so the flat test makes things a little more interesting, and I like that.”


Haefner, of Buffalo, NY, juggles competing on weekends at the FTI WEF with attending classes full-time at the University of Miami as an aerospace and electrical engineering student. “Sometimes it’s difficult, engineering is challenging. I’m in the top 5% of my class and I try to stay there, so it’s been a challenge, but I like it,” Haefner described.


Haefner’s trainer, Stewart Moran, also of New York, travels south with her each winter and Fort Lauderdale trainer Jimmy Torano also trains the busy young amateur. “It’s a lot of hard work and everybody at the barn works really hard to get the horses ready while I’m not there,” Haefner acknowledged.


The Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final was the among the final divisions to award end of circuit honors to the competitors of the FTI WEF, which concluded competition on Sunday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.


Jumper Competition Concludes


Wrapping up the final week of Jumper FTI WEF competition in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, several of the Amateur-Owner Jumper divisions competed in their classics for week 12. The $10,000 Charles Owen Low AO Jumper Classic was first to go with 73 entries, ten advancing to the jump-off, and just one double clear round over the short course. Cynthia Fuller and Full Stride Farm’s Ingaletta had the winning round without fault and completed the course in 39.857 seconds. Megan Fellows and Belle Nuit had the fastest round of 33.92 seconds, but incurred four faults to finish second.


The $10,000 Maria Mendelsohn Low Junior Jumper Classic was held next with a win for Emanuel Andrade and Stransky’s Mission Farms’ Quebec Star. Seventy-six entries jumped in the class with 12 advancing to the jump-off. Six went clear over the second round course and the winning time of 32.882 seconds belonged to Andrade and Quebec Star. Kady Abrahamson and Basco H2 finished second in 33.429 seconds.


The final win of the circuit also went to Andrade with Hollow Creek Farm’s Crossfire 10 in the $10,000 Griffis Residential High Junior Jumpers. Twenty-two entries showed with only two clear rounds. The winning pair had the only double clear round and stopped the clock in 41.412 seconds to earn top prize. Second place honors were awarded to Eugenio Garza and El Milagro’s Bariano with eight faults in the jump-off in a time of 38.568 seconds.


For full results, please visit


Photo Credit: Photos © Anne Gittins Photography, An Official Photographer of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.


About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 9 through March 31. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.


About FTI Consulting

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Kennzo and Molly Ashe Win $20,000 Holiday & Horses USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by Dietrich Insurance

December 03, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Wellington, FL – December 2, 2012 – Kristen Abbatiello-Neff’s Kennzo and Molly Ashe jumped their way to victory in two rounds of competition in the $20,000 Holiday and Horses USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Dietrich Insurance, on Sunday, December 2, 2012. Concluding the week-long competition, the class was held in the spacious International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with a beautifully designed course set by Skip Bailey, of Wellington, FL.
The class was judged by two panels, including Danny Robertshaw and Scott Williamson on panel one and Robert Bielefeld and Julie Winkel on panel two. For their victory, Kennzo and Molly Ashe earned the high scores in both the classic round and the handy round for the winning overall total. The pair scored a 175 in round one and a 201 in round two for a two round total of 376.
Darragh Kenny and Star Lane Farm’s Martel finished in second with scores of 171 and 194.5 for a 365.5 total. Kelley Farmer and Jessica Stitt’s Taken placed third with a 152 and 203 for a two round total of 355. David Oliynyk rode Lori Gaudet’s Generous to scores of 162.5 and 185.5 for a 348 total and fourth place honors.
Class winner Kennzo is a ten-year-old Finnish Warmblood gelding by Coriano. Molly Ashe owns Kennzo in partnership with Dr. and Mrs. Abbatiello. Ashe purchased the gelding when he was seven years old. He started out as a jumper prospect, but has now proven himself as an excellent hunter.

Molly Ashe and Kennzo

“He had a bit of an incident here with a water jump in this ring and he basically decided that he didn’t want to be a jumper after that,” Ashe explained. “We dabbled in the equitation for a little bit and then I started doing him in the hunters and he really likes it. This is his third derby and he has now been first twice and second once. He won in Southampton this year and now this one and then he was second in Michigan at Horse Shows by the Bay.”
“It is fun to have him,” Ashe smiled. “He didn’t work out as a jumper, but it is nice to have him work as a hunter. He seems to have found his niche.”
Ashe described each of her rounds, in which she earned points for taking all of the high options and impressed the judges with handiness in the second round.
“The high options felt very high today,” Ashe noted. “From the initial entrance this morning when they let you flat in the ring I thought they were big. I was happy to be showing Kennzo to be honest. The course was great though. It was a fun class.”
“I thought he was very good in the first round,” she stated. “I got a low score, so he must have looked funny somewhere to one side. I did all of the high options though, that is the only thing that saved me.”
“The second round he was beautiful, really just high and lofty and everything came up just how I wanted it to,” Ashe continued. “The trot jump was perfect and he felt great. He has really turned into a great horse. He is really fun to ride too; he is slow and lazy. The second you think of something other than keeping him going, you are standing still! But it is nice, and he is very simple. You get on and go basically, there is no prep. He is a laid back kinda guy and he booms the jump. His jump gives you a great feeling.”

Ashe explained that she showed Kennzo in the 3’6″ Performance Hunter division this year and will now move up to the High Performance classes.
“In the beginning, after being a jumper, he would really set himself,” she detailed. “He would get light on his feet and get bouncy in front of the jump, so I stayed low for last year mostly and now he has settled in.”
Kennzo and Ashe hope to continue their success showing throughout the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival this winter and have their sights set on competing in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the conclusion of the circuit in March.
The major sponsor of the USHJA International Hunter Derby, part of the 2012-2013 series, was Charles Owen & Co., while awards sponsors include Dover Saddlery, The Clothes Horse, and Essex Classics.
For more information, please visit For full results, go to

Final Results: $20,000 Holiday & Horse USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Dietrich Insurance


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