What's Happenin'

A Sidelines blog

Archive for February, 2010

USEF Selection Trials for the US Show Jumping Team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Get Underway

February 25, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

By Joanie Morris, courtesy of the USEF
Lexington, KY – Thirty-three of the country’s best riders are going to line-up for a nod to represent the United States at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The Road to Lexington will run through the Winter Equestrian Festival when the USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping grace the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Club. Five trials over 11 days means an action-packed time in Wellington, FL – further highlighted by America’s only Nations Cup which will be held on Friday, March 5 during CSIO4* week.

The field includes all four riders from the Gold medal-winning team at the 2008 Olympic Games. Will Simpson, McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Laura Kraut will all be vying for spots on back-to-back teams. Only Kraut will ride her horse from 2008 – Cedric. The diminutive grey with an ever-growing fan club will be jumping with a heavy heart as his owner, Peter Wetherill, passed away last week. His obituary is available here: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/newsdisplay/viewPR.aspx?id=5371.

Ward will rely on Sagamore Farm’s Rothchild in the Trials – as his unstoppable champion, Sapphire, was named by the USEF Ad HOC Committee on Selection to the long list for the2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Sapphire jumped into the record books last year with immaculate performances from coast to coast throughout the year. Read more about this here: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/newsdisplay/viewPR.aspx?id=5372.

Madden added Individual Bronze to her Team Gold with Authentic in 2008 – one of the most clutch horses in history. Madden and Ward were also on the 2004 Gold medal winning team in Athens and on the Silver medal winning team at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games, where Madden added Individual Silver. Madden will ride Danny Boy, Mademoiselle, and Coral Reef Via Volo in the Trials.

Simpson has Linda Smith’s Archie Bunker in the fold for 2010. Simpson brought his entourage east from his California base to prep for the trials in Florida. His wife Nicole Shahinian-Simpson also has two horses entered.

The California invasion has plenty of depth in addition to the Simpson family. Richard Spooner and Cristallo are always in the hunt as are Rich Fellers and the Irish Sport Horse stallion Flexible (who is owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman). The woman with the biggest breakthrough year in recent memory in 2009 is back on a mission in 2010 and 24-year-old Ashlee Bond will jump superstar Cadett 7 and Chivas Z in her first selection trials for a championship.

At the conclusion of the Trials, per the USEF Selection Procedures nine horse/rider combinations will be named to the USEF Long List based on their final overall placing from the USEF Selection Trials for Jumping. There are also up to six places on the long list available at the recommendation of the USEF selectors. A total of 15 horse/rider combinations will be named on Monday, March 5, 2010.


For a complete list of entries, selection procedures, coverage, photos and all the info on the best show jumpers in the US, please visit: http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/alljumping/sjSelectionTrials.aspx or www.clubequestrian.com.

The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation® is to provide leadership

for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the pursuit

of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a

foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare

of its human and equine athletes.

Upcoming George Morris Clinic at Pinehurst

February 24, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Pinehurst Stables, in Jupiter, Florida will be hosting a 2-day clinic with Mr. George Morris on April 29-30, 2010. Move in/schooling date will be April 28th.

Three height sections will be offered both days, open to the public:

* 2’6 Hunter/Equitation

* 3′ Hunter/Equitation

* 3’6+ Equitation/Jumper

Auditor tickets are also available!

See George Morris Biography, clinic details and registration forms at http://www.PinehurstStables.com/clinics

Register early; spaces are expected to fill very quickly!

A fabulous catered lunch is included for riders and auditors this year!

Feel free to contact Sean & Christina Jones with any questions.

Pinehurst Stables

(561) 758-1664


Challenge of the Americas to Feature New Figure Skating Dressage Spectacular

February 18, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'


Wellington, FL – February 18, 2010 – The Ninth Annual Challenge of the Americas is excited to announce a very unique new dressage and figure skating performance to the Challenge lineup. Held in Wellington, FL on Saturday, March 13, 2010, the evening will get underway at 5:30 p.m. with musical grand prix team quadrilles, four bar jumping and a figure skating dressage exhibition. The event is presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) and will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

The new performance, sponsored by Platinum Seamless, will feature a combination of dressage and figure skating unlike anything seen before. Four figure skaters will perform their graceful moves on ice set on the Polo Club’s main field, with horses and riders performing around them. Featured riders will include Mary Ann Grant and Dr. Michael Kohl on their horses, along with figure skaters Julie Mulvey, Curtis Chornopysky, Jenna Dviervamowsky, and Vinny Dispenda from ‘Incredible ICE’ in Coral Springs, FL. The display will feature two four-minute numbers including a tango and a Latin number performed to Enrique Iglesias. The horses and skaters will dance to the beats of the music in what skating director Nancy Mariano calls, “an absolutely beautiful and elegant dressage and figure skating spectacular.”

“This is a very important evening to support because it helps raise money for breast cancer,” Mariano stated. “It is very posh and it is an absolutely gorgeous event that has all the bells and whistles. The animals are stunning, it is for the who’s who of the area, and I am just thrilled to be part of it.”

One of the dressage riders, Mary Ann Grant, will be competing in the Challenge for the first time this year, but has been involved with the event since its beginning in 2002. She is also a member of the Purina Mills USA quadrille team and will be riding in the Challenge aboard a beautiful gray stallion named Tamaro. Grant is a Lymphoma survivor and views raising money to help find a cure for breast cancer as a very important cause. She looks forward to performing under the lights at IPC with Tamaro, who is a 15-year-old Spanish bred stallion owned by Linda Cramer of Chelsea, MI. Cramer has owned Tamaro for five years and described the horse as a very special teacher. “He has taught me a lot,” she said with a smile. “He has not done the Challenge before, but he loves to show and I think that he will have a lot of fun.”

“I am very excited to be involved,” Cramer said. “This is our third year coming down to Wellington for the season and we are getting more involved with the community down here. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people and give to a great cause.”

Carole Grant, Mary Ann Grant’s mother, is a lifelong horsewoman who has been very competitive in the sport of dressage and is good friends with the riders and trainers who have participated in the Challenge throughout the years. “I think it is great for the equestrians to help with breast cancer fundraising because everyone knows that they are riding for such a good cause,” Grant stated. “My daughter is riding in the Challenge for the first time, but all of my friends have participated for many years and I have always admired it. I think it is more competitive each year and everybody wants to be in it more than ever before because it is really growing in excitement.”

Dr. Michael Kohl will be the other half of the equestrian pair with a nine-year-old Spanish stallion named Jazmin VII, owned by Marc Ulanowski. Dr. Kohl helped create the choreography for the performance and looks forward to riding in the Challenge with the talented horse. Jazmin VII recently did a wonderful musical freestyle at the United States PRE Association party and also has experience from performing in Spain as a young horse. “It is in his background and he really gets into it,” Dr. Kohl said. “When you get in front of the crowd people are hooting and hollering and clapping and it definitely makes him get puffed up and perform.”

Dr. Kohl has been involved with COTA since the onset, attending as a donor and observer since the first year it was held. “It is a great event and a great charity and it is an important cause for me, even as a man,” he stated. “I have a friend who died of breast cancer as a man and a lot of men don’t think it pertains to them and it does; the figures are alarming. It is a great cause and we have made a lot of headway in terms of treating it and demystifying the cancer itself, so I am all for helping.”

Following The Challenge of the Americas will be an elegant evening of dinner and dancing at the Challenge Gala. The Challenge Gala, always a sell-out, will once again be held in IPC’s spacious and decorative catering tent off of Piaget Field. VIP COTA/Gala Tickets are available for $250 per person. General admission Challenge tickets can be purchased for $20 at the gate, $15 pre-purchase at the Palms West Chamber of Commerce. Children under 12 are admitted free. For more information, please visit the Challenge of the Americas website, www.challengeoftheamericas.com, or contact Mary Ross at 561.852.2591.

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

USEF Horse of the Year Ravel Reigns at 2010 Exquis World Dressage Masters

February 04, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Wellington, FL – Somehow it keeps getting better. After just collecting the United States Equestrian Federation’s Horse and Rider of the Year accolades for 2009, US dressage superstars Steffen Peters and Ravel ran their streak to six major wins with a convincing effort at the Grand Prix at the 2010 Exquis World Dressage Masters.

Ravel, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding (Contango-Hautain) owned by Akiko Yamazaki’s Four Winds Farm appeared even stronger and more confident than he did in 2009. He didn’t disappoint his American fans with a hugely professional performance, and a top score of 76.851%. There was a sense of ease in his work that has come with the experience of two years of international competition under his belt. Ravel rose to the occasion again with a very lovely test.

“He felt, in the last six weeks, already better than last year,” said Peters (San Diego, CA). “The ride today was one of his best ones, he was supple and a little bit more energetic than Aachen. It was a wonderful start to the season.”

Ravel was as relaxed as any horse at the competition in the atmosphere at America’s only CDI5* and his changes and lateral work were spot on as he picked up the majority of the $13,800 USD purse.

The rivalry between Peters and The Netherland’s Anky van Grunsven has gained serious momentum in the 12 months: they split this competition last year, with Peters winning the Grand Prix and van Grunsven winning the Freestyle. Peters then swept the 2009 FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas and remained invincible at CDIO Aachen, turning the tides on a dressage world what had been Eurocentric for so long. They went head to head and back to back on Thursday in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, and Peters prevailed again.

van Grunsven’s mark of 74.596% meant that she settled for second on the 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Salinero. The reigning Olympic Gold medal had a couple of bobbles which marred an otherwise classy performance by the very seasoned duo.

“The first two days we were here, he was hot and tense,” said van Grunsven about coming over from a very frigid European continent. “The last two days he has settled down. I am very pleased. There were little things I could have done better – tiny things, not big things, I am very pleased with Salinero.”

Isabell Werth, recently a new mother to baby Frederik, was third with her superstar Satchmo on a score of 72.553% for Germany. Another stalwart of the sport, Werth harnessed the enthusiasm of her veteran Hanoverian gelding and coaxed him to a confident effort – Satchmo is a horse visibly very aware of what is going on around him.

“I have done so many competitions, but in the last eight months I have done no competitions,” said Werth about knocking off the competitive rust after becoming a mother. “It’s not new again but I missed the fine tuning – I have to work to get the little mistakes and details away. He was quite concentrated, but the three mistakes were expensive, especially when you have to compete against Steffen and Anky. But in the end I was really happy with Satchmo.”

Peters is looking forward to Saturday’s freestyle, but will base his strategy on how his horse feels on the occasion as he has reworked his freestyle to have a couple of different options.

“You want to increase the degree of difficulty, but having a clean test and a confident horse is the priority,” said Peters. “There is so much to lose at this point – but I pretty much know going down the center line what I have… I’m a big believer in preserving things.”

The competition continues on top eight riders contesting the Grand Prix Freestyle under the lights in the International Arena at 7pm on Saturday evening. The second half of the group will contest the Grand Prix Special beginning at 3pm. For more information, results and ticket information, please visit: www.palmbeachdressagemasters.com.

By Joanie Morris for USEF