What's Happenin'

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Archive for August, 2011

Entries Confirmed for the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions

August 31, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – With six USEF National Dressage Championships and selection for U.S. Dressage Team for the 2011 Pan American Games on the line, the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions is the place to be September 8-11, 2011.

The USET Foundation Headquarters plays host to the prestigious event in Gladstone, NJ which is headlined by the Grand Prix National Dressage Championships and the Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship (which also serves as the USEF Selection Trial for the U.S. Dressage Team for the 2011 Pan American Games).

Returning to vie for the title in the Grand Prix is Ravel. The most decorated American dressage horse in history makes his first trip to compete at Gladstone for owners Akiko Yamazaki and Four Winds Farms. With Steffen Peters, the 13-year-old Dutch gelding was the 2008 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Grand Prix Champion (contested in California), the 2009 Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year, he won the FEI World Cup Dressage Final in 2009 and swept the CHIO Aachen that same year, he was also double Individual Bronze medalist at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Peters (San Diego, CA) will be looking to add another National Championship title to the horse’s resume – and 2011 marks a first for Ravel as well as a return for Peters. Peters hasn’t competed at Gladstone since he won the 2007 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Grand Prix National Championships with Lombardi.

“It’s been a few years for me since I competed in Gladstone,” said Peters. “That’s where it all started and I am definitely excited to compete there again.”

But the 2010 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Champions will also be there to defend her title and guarantee a competition of the highest standard. Tina Konyot (Palm City, FL) and Calecto V were teammates with Peters and Ravel on the U.S. Dressage Team in 2010 and have competed lightly this summer while Konyot recovered from an injury to her knee. The 13-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion returns to Gladstone.

Peters and Konyot are ranked first and second on the Grand Prix Ranking List, the remaining horse/riders combinations are:

Shawna Harding/ Come On III

Lauren Sammis/Sagacious HF

Elisabeth Austin/Olivier

Shannon Peters/Odyssey

James Koford/Rhett

Arlene (Tuny) Page/Alina

Susan Dutta/Currency DC

James Koford/Pharaoh

Melissa Taylor/Schumacker Solyst

David Wightman/Partous

Catherine Morelli/Be Se

Kathleen Raine/Breanna

Susie Dutta and Manette DC

The Intermediaire I National Dressage Championship will be hugely competitive as Pan American Games selection is also at stake. Proving the depth of Peters’ stable, he also has the top ranked horse in this division in the country.

Weltino’s Magic was originally ridden by his Peters’ wife, Shannon, who rides Odyssey in the Grand Prix National Championships in 2011, but Steffen took over the ride as the horse got too strong.  All but one of the 15 horses in the country are coming to Gladstone to take him on and vie for a chance to represent their country.  This includes Paragon, who has been dominating the East Coast circuit for Heather Blitz (Wellington, FL). Paragon stands nearly 18 hands and is an 8-year-old Danish Warmblood.  Weltino’s Magic won two classes on the Small Tour at CHIO Aachen this summer and makes his first trip to Aachen for his owner Jen Hlavacek.

“I’m very excited about Magic,” said Peters about the 9-year-old Westphalian.  “The trip to Europe was quite successful with the two wins in Aachen, it is going to be very exciting to see Paragon – I saw him in Florida and was impressed. I think it will be a very tight race if both horses put in technically clean tests.”

There is plenty of competition in the division, including the 2010 USEF Collecting Gaits Farm/ USEF Intermediaire I National Champion Cesar Parra. He will be looking to defend his title, this time aboard Grandioso. Parra is local, riding out of Whitehouse Station, NJ for owners Susan and Michael Davis.

Peters, Blitz and Parra are ranked in the top three places in the Final Ranking List, but Lisa Wilcox comes in on a winning streak with Pikko Del Cerro HU.

They will try to add a second National title to their record in 2011, last week they won the USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International at Lamplight Equestrian Center. Pikko Del Cerro HU also won the 2009 6-year-old Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship.

The additional horse/rider combinations vying for the Intermediaire I Championship are:

Shawna Harding/Rigo

Marisa Festerling/Big Tyme

Jan Ebeling/Rosenzauber 8

Tami Batts/Ranko

Lisa Wilcox/Pikko Del Cerro HU

David Blake/Lord Albert

Tom Noone/Fred Astair

Jan Ebeling/Sandrina

Endel Ots/Toscano

Claire Darnell/Calimar

Heather Mason/Warsteiner

Chris Hickey/Witness Hilltop

Carolyn Adams/Winterprinz

The remaining four national championships will showcase the best Young Adults (in the Brentina Cup), Young Riders, Juniors and Pony Riders in the country.

The complete list of entries for those championships is available here:

http://www.usef.org/documents/disciplines/dressage/festival/2011/NationalLists.pdf

Article courtesy of Joanie Morris for USEF

Exciting Conclusion for the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship

August 29, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

 USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International, and USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by DressageToday

Wayne, IL – Competition finished up Sunday at the Lamplight Equestrian Center as the top 6-year-olds and developing horses in the U.S. vied for top honors in the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship and USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International. Additionally, nine competitors would ride for medals in the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today in the 14-18 division.

The final day of these USEF National Dressage Championships got underway with the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today. The strong field demonstrated solid fundamentals and poise under pressure throughout the entire class including the challenging pattern. The final three riders to demonstrate the pattern, which called for proficiency in transitions between gaits and the ability to lengthen and collect, would claim the top three spots.

All three riders were competing in their first USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today on borrowed horses.

Marlena Kurz and Ode Photo© Chuck Swan/ Swan Photography LLC

Marlena Kurz (San Antonio, TX) claimed top honors and the Gold medal riding Ode to an impressive 84%. Kurz was able to make the numerous transitions in the pattern look effortless by utilizing a soft and consistent contact and a correct seat.

Despite having only ridden Stephanie Fettig’s Dutch Warmblood since Tuesday, the 16-year-old was delighted with the gelding. “Even when he was tired he gave it his all, he was really with me the whole time. He’s a good boy I really enjoyed riding him.”

Silver medalist, Eleni Econopouly also is short on competition experience with Clair Glover’s big moving Welt Lady. The Rhinebeck, NY, native has only been riding the Hanoverian mare for a month and a half but was able to use the movements in the pattern to her advantage.

“The canter lengthening was hard but the transitions helped,” she said.

Econopouly used her quiet position to score a 82%. Finishing in third place and 3 points behind Econopouly was Macaulay Dukes, who earned a 79% on Ginna Frantz and Grand Prix Equestrian’s Annabella GP.

Dukes (Auburn, WA) displayed maturity in the face of some unfortunate circumstances. She not only began college a week and a half ago and flew to Illinois to ride in the Finals but had to contend with broken tack. Just before the class was set to begin, Annabella’s bridle broke. With quick thinking and the help of some duct tape and tying pieces of the bridle together, the pair was able to compete.

In her pattern, Dukes had a few bobbles but demonstrated a great amount of tact and a polished position throughout.

“My transitions were rough and have been a problem in the last two days and the changes over the diagonals were the toughest.” Despite these challenges, Dukes was very pleased with her horse. “She a fun mare, I want to take her home with me.”

The judging panel of Janet Foy, Christel Carlson and Michael Osinski was very pleased with the level of equitation displayed.

“We were all impressed with the quality of the class,” Osinski said. ” The top grouping was so strong; it’s great to see such strong positions. This is a great program and we all want to encourage it in the future.”

The USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International proved to be a showcase of both the U.S. breeding programs and the success of the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Program. Three of the horses that contested these Championships, including winner Pikko del Cerro HU, are U.S. bred, while seven are graduates of the Young Horse program.

Lisa Wilcox and Pikko del Cerro HU Photo© Chuck Swan/ Swan Photography LLC

Horses Unlimited’s Pikko del Cerro HU (Pik L- Rohweena  by Rohdiamant) claimed the championship with rider Lisa Wilcox (Loxahatchee, FL) after earning an overall score of 70.482%. In today’s test which counted for 60% of the Championship score, the Hanoverian stallion again displayed the great ring presence he showed on Friday but appeared less settled in the Final Test resulting in a few miscues with Wilcox.

“I underestimated his condition, I didn’t have him on my leg today.” Of the horse’s added enthusiasm today, Wilcox said, “He was a bit squirrely.” They were the second-place finishers for today’s Final Test with a score of 70.686. They also were awarded the highest U.S.- bred horse award for their performance over the weekend.

Pikko Del Cerro HU and Wilcox head to Gladstone, NJ, in two weeks to contest the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm National Intermediare I Championship and Selection Trials for the 2011 Pan American Games Dressage Team. Wilcox believes the 2009 6-year-old Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Champion is a star for the future.

“There is a lot of potential there; it’s just a matter of unveiling it,” she said. “There is a lot more trot and passage, he is definitely a Grand Prix horse.”

The winner of today’s Developing Horse Final Test was Pie (Worldly – World Lady by World Cup I) ridden by Caroline Roffman, who put in polished performance to score a 71.176%. Roffman collected Reserve Champion honors piloting her own Hanoverian gelding to an overall score of 69.653%.

Pie, who Roffman has had since he was 4 years old, has always been a bit of challenge – but the Wellington, FL,resident has kept at it because she believe the future shines brightly for him.

“He is very sensitive and emotional,” she said. “He has developed very quickly and shows a lot of talent for the future.” Roffman reflected about the Final Test, “Today he was a little tired which is out of character but he did everything I asked for.”

Third place in both today’s Final Test and the Championship went to Sharon McCusker and her own Wrigley (Son Deniro – Pinomia by Rohdiamont). The pair from Ashby, MA, scored a

70.196% in today’s test and earned an overall score of 69.205%. The Dutch Warmblood gelding demonstrated an expressive trot today and executed quality flying changes.

McCusker is ecstatic with the way the powerful horse has matured this year and performed over the weekend.  “I am thrilled with him. He has come on so well this year.”

Judging the Final Test for the 2011 USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by The Dutta Corp. and Performance Sales International were Jeanne McDonald, Linda Zang and Maryal Barnett.

The Final Test for Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship 6-year-old division, again judged by McDonald, Zang and Barnett, was the final class of these Championships. And in a fitting end to fabulous weekend that showcased the best up-and-coming horses in the country, top honors were left up for the taking until the final horse of the day.

Emily Wagner and Wakeup. Photo© Chuck Swan/ Swan Photography LLC

Emily Wagner and her own American Warmblood stallion Wakeup (Wagnis – Maiden Montreal by Macho), the winners of Friday’s Preliminary Test, were the last pair to compete. They trotted their way to third place in the Final Test scoring an 8.64, which earned them an overall score of 8.736. Four horses earlier, Roffman rode her own Bon Chance (Bellisimom – SPH Wintersong DE by Weltmeyer) to an impressive score of 8.88 in the Final Test. With scores from Friday’s test counting for 40% of the overall, Bon Chance finished on a score of 8.736.

After consolation of the rules and procedures, Wakeup was crowned Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championship for the 6-year-old division, as in the result of a tie for National Champion or Reserve Champion, the U.S.-bred horse prevails.

Wagner (La Cygne, KS) was pleased with her horse’s performance in today’s test, for which he earned a 9.0 for submission and 8.7 for General impressions.

“I was really happy with him,” Wagner said. “Today, the thing was he was tired. At the end of a five-day horse show, he was just lacking flair. His flying changes and half pass were great.”

For the third time in the week, Roffman claimed Reserve Champion honors.

“I am so happy, you don’t dream that will ever happen,” Roffman said. “I hoped to get one Championship or Reserve throughout the weekend. I am on cloud nine.”

Bon Chance, last year’s 5-year-old Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Champion, displayed a ground covering walk, for which he scored a 9.2, and a phenomenal uphill canter which was rewarded with an 8.8. The canter score would have been significantly higher without mistakes in the flying change.

However, Roffman was elated with the Hanoverian gelding, who obviously loves the limelight of the championship stage. “He shows off, he loves to do this. He’s always fun to ride; ambitious, fun and spirited. He’s everything.”

Third place overall in the Markel/USEF National

Young Horse Dressage Championship 6-year-old division was awarded to Faye Woolfe’s Aesthete (Trento B – Unusual by Gribaldi), who earned an overall 8.728. Silva Martin (Unionville, PA) guided the lovely KWPN gelding to a score of 8.8 in the Final Test, earning them second place in today’s class.

The winner of the 4-year-old division in 2009, earned scores of 8.7, 8.8 and 8.9 for the walk, trot and canter respectively today and was rewarded for his expressive movement with a general impression score of 8.8. Martin was pleased with the horse throughout the weekend.

“He couldn’t have gone better,” she said, “I have a fabulous horse.”

Scott Hassler, USEF Young Horse Dressage Coach, has been involved with this program since 2005 and was extremely impressed with the week’s competition and the talent and diligence displayed. “There was no clear winner coming into the Championships. You really had to ride and work for it.”

Hassler also was supportive of the process to break the tie. “I think the rule where we pick the American horse over the European is the right thing.”

Wagner was also completely supportive of the program that allowed for horses to be scored closely, as it is a chance to recognize all the effort put in to training.

“It is cool, the two best horses should tie. I’ve known Caroline throughout Young Riders and she works so hard. Silva works so hard. So it’s great.”

For more information about the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage, Developing Horse Dressage, and Dressage Seat Equitation and Medal Programs please visit:

http://usef.org/_IFrames/breedsdisciplines/discipline/alldressage/natDressage.aspx.

For news, results, video and photos from these Championships please visit http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2011USEFDressageNationalChampionships

118 Years of History in the Making on Boston Common

August 26, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Boston, MA, August 25, 2011:  At the second annual Putnam Boston Equestrian Classic Preview Party, Bruins Principal, Charlie Jacobs made history aboard his mount Quidditch II after jumping the coveted 118-year-old Stanley Cup trophy on Boston Common today.  It was a surprise to the enthusiastic and substantial crowd of spectators that had gathered to view this once-in-a-lifetime event.  Mayor Menino and his staff were in attendance to support this historic occasion.  The outdoor event was a preview to the main event taking place September 8 – 11, 2011 at the prestigious Myopia Hunt Club in Hamilton, MA.

Charlie Jacobs, Principal of the Bruins aboard his mount Quidditch II, makes history by jumping the 118-year-old Stanley Cup to preview the Putnam Boston Equestrian Classic. Photo ©Glenn Kulbako of KulbakoPhoto.com

Olympic Gold Medalist and native Bostonian, Peter Wylde flew in from a recent competition in Germany to add to the majesty of the show jumping component.   “What an amazing event, the rain held off and Charlie surprised us all.  Being home to jump on Boston Common was personally gratifying for me,” said Peter Wylde, Olympian.  Other world-renowned equestrians that rode the course were two-time Olympic Medalist Leslie Burr Howard, international champion Schuyler Riley, up-and-coming talent Nick Della Joio and accomplished rider and trainer, Bill Lowry.

The event benefited the Boston Park Rangers Mounted Unit, the equestrian troop responsible for policing the nine parks throughout the city known as the Emerald Necklace.

Despite threats of rain and thunder storms, the event went off without a hitch and concluded with a successful fundraiser reception on the elegant Roof of the Taj Boston hotel honoring the Park Rangers.

______________________________

About the Putnam Boston Equestrian Classic:

The 2011 Putnam Boston Equestrian Classic is an Olympic-caliber show jumping event that will be held from Thursday, September 8, through Sunday, September 11, 2011 at the Myopia Hunt Club in Hamilton, Massachusetts. For the second consecutive year, Putnam Investments will serve at the title sponsor for the event, which has a top prize of $50,000 for its showcase Grand Prix event, an increase from last year’s $30,000.  The Putnam Boston Equestrian Classic is planning a 9/11 tribute with local firefighters, jousting, skydiving, cabaret singing, boutique shopping, ladies hat contest and the much anticipated, Patrons Luncheon. For more information please visit www.bostonequestrianclassic.com.

About Boston Park Rangers:

First established in 1983, the Boston Park Rangers Mounted Unit is the equestrian troop responsible for protecting the nine parks throughout the City of Boston known as the Emerald Necklace, which covers over 1000 acres and spans more than 9 miles.  For many years the Mounted Unit was funded by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD), however, budget constraints removed this funding and the horses and seasonal rangers are now supported by a public and private partnership.  At one time BPRD stabled and managed over 16 horses, employed 35 individuals and now, because of the challenges with the economy, has reduced to only 6 mounts and 12 staff members.  This change has created a significant imbalance when considering the vast acreage and volume of events the Rangers manage thus, noticeably impacting their patrolling duties.  The Rangers have been an integral part of Boston’s historic park system for many years, providing safety and security as well as a wonderful attraction for all of us to enjoy with their stately and stunning horses.  For more information, visit www.savebostonshorses.org.

About Putnam Investments:

Founded in 1937, Putnam Investments is a leading global money management firm with over 70 years of investment experience. At the end of July 2011, Putnam had $129 billion in assets under management. Putnam has offices in Boston, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney. For more information, visit putnam.com.

About Taj Boston:
Taj Boston occupies the city’s most celebrated location at Arlington and Newbury streets. Overlooking the Public Garden, the property is within walking distance of historic sites, theatre and financial districts as well as fashionable boutiques and galleries, and is just four miles from Boston’s Logan International Airport. Opened in 1927, the luxury hotel features 273 guestrooms, including 44 suites, many of which offer wood-burning fireplaces. As a preferred social and business center, Taj Boston is noted for its prix fixe and a la carte dining in The Cafe, weekend afternoon tea in The Lounge, cocktails in The Bar, monthly Wine Dinners and Spirits Dinners and seasonal Champagne Sunday Brunch on The Roof, as well as state-of-the-art business and guest services. Acquired by Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces in January 2007, Taj Boston joins The Pierre in New York and Taj Campton Place in San Francisco as the U.S. members of Taj Hotels’ luxury www.tajhotels.com/boston.

Six USEF Dressage National Championships Up for Grabs at Lamplight Equestrian Center

August 23, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY- The future of dressage in the United States will be on full display this weekend in Wayne, IL, as many of the nation’s top up-and-coming horses vie for coveted USEF National Championship titles. Champions will be crowned at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in six separate divisions. In the 2011 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships the top 4, 5 and 6-year-olds in the country will be recognized. Seven- to 9-year-olds will stake their claim on the USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by the Dutta Corporation and Performance Sales International. Finally, the USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today is split by age categories, and two championships will be awarded: 13 & under and 14-18 divisions.

The Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Championships will showcase the most promising 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds that U.S. dressage has to offer. In the 4-year-old division, 15 of the most exciting horses from the 2007 foal crop will vie for top honors. In this championship is Melissa Mulchahey’s Furst Fiorano, who topped the final rankings of the 2011 Markel/USEF National Young Horse Ranking List four-year-old division with an overall average of 8.460.

2010 Champ Bon Chance Returns for More in 2011. Photo ©Fire&Earth Photography

Last year’s 4-year-old champion, DG Brendo, and Reserve Champion, DG Banta, return to the Lamplight Equestrian Center to try to repeat their 2010 efforts. They and 13 challengers will contest the five-year-old championship to make for a strong competition between 15 horses. In the 6-year-old division, seven separate breeds are represented in the field of 15; American Warmblood, Andalusian, Dutch Warmblood, Friesian, Hanoverian, Oldenburg and Royal Dutch Warmblood. Champion, Bon Chance, and Reserve Championship, Adje, from last year’s 5-year-old division are among the contenders in the 2011 6-year-old championship.

The National Developing Horse Dressage Championship sponsored by the Dutta Corporation and Performance Sales International looks to be as strong as ever in 2011. The top 15 combinations from the 2011 USEF National Developing Horse Dressage Championship Ranking List will all be in attendance and looking to collect top honors. Last year’s Reserve Champion, 9-year-old Rheinlander gelding, GP Delano, is one of two entries this year for Yvonne Barteau, who also rides Eclipse BR.

Now in its fifth year, alumni of this program include Dick and Jane Brown’s UII who won the USEF National Developing Horse Championship in 2008. Now 10, UII won the Freestyle at CDI Fritzen in Austria and represented the U.S. at CHIO Aachen in the summer of 2011.

The USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals presented by Dressage Today will crown champions that demonstrate excellence in equitation in the dressage ring. In the 13 & Under division, 2010’s runner-up Jorde Trudel looks to go one better this year in the field of nine competitors. The 14-18 division is also comprised of nine combinations from across the country. Rachel Robinson of Orlando, FL, will ride Mis Diversify, a Paint mare she has won 12 World and Reserve World Champion titles with at the Pinto World Championships.

Competition gets underway at the Lamplight Equestrian Center Thursday morning with the Dressage Seat Medal 13 & Under Warm-Up.

For more information about the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage, Developing Horse Dressage and Dressage Seat Equitation and Medal Programs please visit: http://usef.org/_IFrames/breedsdisciplines/discipline/alldressage/natDressage.aspx 

 For news, results, video and photos from these Championships please visit www.USEFNetwork.com 

By Helen Murray for USEF

 

 

 

Lillie Keenan and C Coast Z Win the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show

August 21, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – August 20, 2011 – It was an incredible night for the Final Round of the 2011 $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Spectators gathered in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park to see who would take home tonight’s victory. Junior Rider Lillie Keenan rode to success with C Coast Z proving to be unbeatable throughout tonight’s competition. Scott Stewart and Declaration took home the second place honors while Tammy Provost and Carlson earned the third place award.

After a 12-month qualifying period, the top 75 horses were invited to compete for championship honors. Yesterday the qualifying round was held in the Rolex Stadium, and the top 25 horse and rider combinations returned to show during tonight’s Second Round competition. Riders were tested over a Classic Hunter Course with the top 12 scoring combinations advancing to the Handy Hunter Course. Scores from yesterday’s qualifying round did not carry over and riders began with had a fresh start to impress the judges. However, the scores earned in the Classic Hunter Round did carry over in the Handy Hunter Round and was a factor in determining tonight’s results.

Scott Hofstetter, Otis Brown, Russell Frey, Julie Winkel, Carleton Brooks, Jimmy Torano, Jim Clapperton, and Mike Rosser had the pleasure of judging each of tonight’s rounds. The courses were designed by Bobby Murphy and Patrick Rhodes and were created to replicate traditional hunt country. The course was beautifully set, mimicking a picturesque hunt field and barnyard with a winding stream and fence separating the barnyard from the open fields. The courses included hedges, stonewalls, oxers, coops, hay bales, gates, logs, and an in-and-out. During the Handy Round there were several elements to test both horse and rider and plenty of opportunities to show off handiness and earn bonus points as well as four higher options that would add an additional point per fence to their base score due to their added heights and elevated difficulty.

“I thought the courses were beautiful. I thought that there were a lot of options, especially in the handy where you could show off,” remarked tonight’s winner fourteen-year-old Lillie Keenan. “I think most of us took advantage of that. They were beautiful. For me I think that most of the longer lines walked pretty open. Going in, I thought I would have to ride off my eye and trust that what I saw would be the right distance. As it turned out, riding the lines became a lot easier. I think it is a place where you know you have to trust your horse, trust your eye, and ride what you feel.”

The Handy Course was challenging from the start with the first fence heading straight away from the in gate and winding around to the first stonewall. Next, riders cantered down to the end of the ring where three fences were set to rollback from one to the next offering the opportunity to showcase a horse’s handiness. From there, a hand gallop had to be executed as they exited to the open field set before the crowd. Following the gallop was a coop set on an angle over the river, which required a precise ride after the open gallop. Then, riders were required to come to a walk and proceed through a narrow gate by the barnyard, after which, riders picked up the canter to jump the oxer just a few strides away, around the corner. They broke again this time to a trot over a small natural vertical and canter off to the right across the hedge in-and-out. Finally they turned right, entering the lane way and galloped to the last fence, a gate oxer. The pressure was on for all the horse and rider combinations as there were multiple options to showcase horse and rider abilities.

“I thought it was really cool how it looked like a farm. I felt like you could be driving down the road and see a farm,” said Panel Two Judge Julie Winkel. “It looked like an old hunt field with horses jumping through the hedges and past the barn, that was very cool.”

Scott Hofstetter, Panel One Judge added, “I liked the course. There were not a lot of cheap rails. All of the jumps were inviting. You didn’t have to judge all the rails being knocked down. It was different. The horses were able to jump around the jumps and there weren’t a lot of disappointing rails it seemed, which was nice to judge.”

Tammy Provost and Carlson, owned by Alliy Moyer, took over the lead early on. They were the third pair to enter the ring and combined their first round total score of 339.5 with scores of 88, 85, 88, and 83. Provost and the seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Carlson, also earned 9, 6, 7, and 8 bonus points after a bold hand gallop and smooth transitions from the canter to the walk and trot. They chose three of the four high options, but their efforts were only good enough for the third place honors at the end of the night.

“Carlson did fantastic. He is very young and he did great,” said Provost. “I maybe could have taken more risk in the first round but I was a little more conservative with the hedges because he was a little green with them yesterday, but he was fantastic. He is very green for this, but incredibly brave. Carlson is great in the handy courses. We took a little more risk, jumped the bigger hedges, and he was terrific.”

“The courses were just beautiful. So much time and effort was put into it, it really showed. I was really nervous, because I am famous for going in the wrong direction,” Provost explained about staying on track after a handful of riders were eliminated for going off course. “I had to go into my own little corner for about twenty minutes to think about it by myself. I have never gone off course during a Derby, but I have done it a couple of times in the same day in the hunters.”

A few rounds later Scott Stewart entered the ring aboard Declaration, owned by Fashion Farm. and stole the lead. Stewart showcased their talent beautifully, pulling up to walk just three strides before the gate and just a few strides before the trot keeping a nice smooth appearance and flow. The duo sliced across the trot jump beautifully cantering on to the hedge in-and-out. Stewart jumped all four of the higher options and rode a nice bold hand gallop across the arena earning scores of 90, 88, 84, and 90 with 9, 10, 9, and 10 bonus points awarded combined with the 339.5 total from their first round. They held onto the lead until the second to last ride, and were presented with tonight’s reserve honors.

“I thought Declaration was fantastic,” smiled Stewart. “I thought for sure I was chipping after galloping to the last fence, but he was great, he really gave me everything. He’s naturally lazy. I have the opposite of my ride on Carlos Boy and have to wake Declaration up in the schooling area. He does the 3’3″ Amateur-Owner Division and I actually haven’t really jumped him that large in a while. This is the best he has ever done.”

“I thought the courses were excellent,” added Stewart. “I thought it was exactly what this class should be like. It was huntery and you could show off what you want. It was really traditional. The options and the track were definitely something that you had to think about. You definitely had to know exactly where you were going. I only walked the outside line and didn’t really count. I get in trouble if I count.”

Tammy Provost returned to the ring with her second mount Valiant, owned by Alliy Moyer, to try and regain the lead. Provost needed high scores to combine with her first round total of 347.50. The pair chose three of the higher fences and had a confident gallop, but had to go wide around one of their turns to swap leads, and while she was awarded scores of 83, 84.50, 83, and 81 with 6, 8, 6, and 5 bonus points it would not be good enough for the win. They were awarded the sixth place honors for their efforts.

Patricia Griffith entered after Provost and guided Lexi Maounis’ Sienna to the fourth place finish after earning scores of 84, 83, 75, and 85 with 6, 8, 6, and 7 bonus points combined with their first round total score of 355. The pair jumped all of the higher options and executed every element of the course smoothly demonstrating a strong confident hand gallop.

Lillie Keenan and C Coast Z earned the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Championship at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Photo ©Heather Bellock/PMG

Lillie Keenan would be the rider to dominate the competition with C Coast Z. The strong team stayed consistent throughout the competition remaining at the top until securing the win. Keenan and Chansonette Farm LLC’s C Coast Z jumped all of the higher options, wowing the crowed and impressing the judges during their handy round, jumping with smooth tight turns and a strong open hand gallop across the arena collecting very nicely before the next fence. They finished with another bold gallop to the last fence. The judges awarded them scores of 89, 91, 90, and 88 with 8, 10, 8, and 10 bonus points on top of their 355.5 total score from the first round. Keenan and C Coast Z led the final victory gallop for their incredible performances.

“My first round I thought I should take more risk than I would have yesterday prior to the elimination,” commented Keenan. “I wanted to make sure that I was high enough to be in the top three, but not take too much risk to maybe have a rail. But I knew that if I really wanted it I was going to have to give it my all and make sure that my horse was really there for me. Scott was way ahead of me going into the handy round and I knew I was going to have to go for it. When it came time for the hand gallop I knew that I was really going to have to run. I had to take even more risks. I knew after my first round that I could really trust my horse. It’s great to know that he is ready to go in there and win, but I had to give it my all, too.”

“I am extremely grateful because all the horses I have are wonderful,” noted Keenan. “I had originally bought Coast as an equitation horse, but we decided to turn him into a hunter. At home we do very difficult courses. He definitely took care of me, but I think most of my other horses would have done the same. I can’t give him more credit; he really is a wonderful horse. He went in there and wanted to win, he wanted me to win. I love him.”

Keenan trains with Patricia Griffith and Andre Dignelli of Heritage Farm out of Katonah, NY and is extremely grateful for all of the help she receives from them, and all of her trainers. This isn’t the first time the two have competed against one another and Keenan would not have been disappointed to be second to her. “She has taught me so much of what I know,” said Keenan. “I knew she had a good round, but I didn’t even really think about it that much. She wished me luck. I mean we’re all walking together and she’s helping me, which I think is wonderful because in these classes she is a competitor. I think it’s wonderful that we can still be so close and helpful. I’m really grateful for her being here and competing in the class with me.”

Dignelli added, “She has been awesome to teach since she was seven years old. The horse is nice, and he’s a stridey, scopey horse with a great jump. The advice I gave was for her to gallop and want to win, and I thought she did that well. I am proud of her. It has been an exciting four weeks for us.”

Scott Stewart held onto yesterday’s lead heading into the handy round with the highest scores aboard Carlos Boy owned by Krista and Alexa Weisman. Stewart was the last rider to enter the ring to try and take back the lead. The duo entered the ring with a total of 382 points, but unfortunately the long-time jumper, thought he was headed back in for a jump-off and was a little too excited. They earned scores of 76, 78, 73, and 74 with 6, 7, 6, and 6 bonus points awarded, resulting in the fifth place finish.

“Carlos’ first round was one of his best rounds. I can’t imagine it could have been any better,” expressed Stewart. “Unfortunately Carlos lost it for the handy round. He thought he was going into something more exciting. He thought it was a jump-off. Usually when he is like that before the class, it doesn’t carry into the ring, but obviously tonight it did.”

Tonight marked the end of the 2010/2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series, but soon the 2011/2012 Series will get underway, and a new group of horses will vie for the top honors at each event and the opportunity to compete at next year’s Finals.

The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will conclude tomorrow. The final event will be the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, which will be held in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. The top horses and rider combinations will compete for the winning title beginning at 2 p.m.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

Article courtesy of Heather Bellock for Phelps Media Group.

Stewart And Keenan Dominate During USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Qualifying

August 20, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Catch the Finals live Saturday night on the USEF Network!

Lexington, KY-After 59 contenders concluded the qualifying round of the $100,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby Finals, presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, it was Scott Stewart and Lillie Keenan who took the lion’s share of the awards. Stewart placed his mounts in the top-three positions, while Keenan finished in fourth and fifth.

Scott Stewart and Carlos Boy

With the top-25 pairs returning for action with clean slates on Saturday, August 20, you can watch the excitement of the final two rounds live on the Internet. The USHJA, in partnership with the USEF Network, is providing a free live webcast of Saturday evening’s activities, beginning with the opening ceremonies at 6:25PM.

Viewers will be treated to the Parade of the Top 25, the carriage arrival of the officials, a mounted color guard, and a special guest to sound the arrival of the first horse on course. No need to search the Internet for results during or after the show-just sign on towww.usefnetwork.com at 6:25PM and enjoy the event live!

The qualifying round featured a course of 12 obstacles designed by Bobby Murphy (KY) and Patrick Rodes (TX). Created to simulate a hunt field-using natural fences such as logs, hay bales and stone walls-the heights ranged from 3’6 to 4′ and offered riders an opportunity to pick up bonus points by taking any one or all of the four optional fences set from 4′ to 4’3.

The judges included Scott Hofstetter (FL), Otis Brown (KY), Russell Frey (MD), Julie Winkel (NV), Carleton Brooks (CA), Jimmy Torano (FL), Jim Clapperton (MI) and Mike Rosser (NC) who were split into panels of two and placed in strategic positions around the arena.

At the halfway point, Keenan, New York, NY, one of the youngest competitors at age 14, led the pack aboard the brilliant 9-year-old warmblood mare Madison, owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC. “I loved the course; it was a true hunter course. It reminded me of the pictures of my mom when she was a kid riding an outside course,” said Keenan, who scored 354 points.

The 35th horse in the order, Carlos-Boy, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding and veteran grand prix show jumper who has transitioned to the hunter derbies, was in complete harmony with Stewart and garnered a score of 366 to take the lead.

“I thought the course was great. I thought for once I couldn’t complain if I had a bad day, because it was really huntery and exactly what I would expect this type of class to be,” Stewart said.

Eight rides later aboard the 9-year-old bay Westphalian gelding Declaration (owned by Fashion Farm), Stewart, Wellington, FL, jumped into second place with a score of 364.50. “He [Declaration] has been doing the amateurs with his owner, and, to be honest, I haven’t jumped him myself since last winter in Florida,” said Stewart. “He was great today.”

The final 11 horses in the order included many favored to qualify for the top 25; however, a few stunned the crowds when they fell short of advancing. Not so for either Keenan or Stewart. Keenan’s next mount, C Coast Z, an 11-year-old gray warmblood also owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC, posted a 351.65 for fifth, while Stewart’s greenest mount, 8-year-old Empire (owned by Becky Gochman), cinched a top-three sweep for Stewart with a 363.50. “He did great, and I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Stewart said of the youngster.

Check out the Order of Go for the Top 25 headed into the Classic Round on Saturday evening, and don’t forget to visit www.usefnetwork.com beginning at 6:25PM to catch all the excitement of the Finals live.

To learn more about Dietrich Equine Insurance’s line of quality products, please visit them at www.dietrich-insurance.com or call 800-942-4258.

For additional information on the 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, Presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, please visit www.ushja.org or contact Kelley Mallery atkmallery@ushja.org or 859-225-6717.

Article courtesy of USHJA

Kids’ Coloring Contest Returns to the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic Horse Show

August 15, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Seacoast Media Group to Publish Contest

August 15, 2011, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire — New England’s largest international horse show event returns to Hampton Falls, New Hampshire and is once again partnering with Seacoast Media Group for the annual coloring contest. Winners will receive a four general admission tickets for Sunday, September 18th, the final and most exciting day of horse show competition at the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic.

Meredith age 7 from Pittsfield, MA-Winner from the 2010 Coloring Contest

Children ages 4 to 15 can enter the coloring contest through Seacoast Media Group. Winners will not only receive tickets to the event, but will also be invited to a special event on Thursday at the show where they will meet some of the nation’s top equestrians on the show grounds of the Silver Oak Equestrian Center in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.

This is the third year that Seacoast Media Group has held the coloring contest and this year’s sponsor is Core Physicians.

“The coloring contest was very well received last year with over 50 entries submitted,” said Sandra Titus, Special Sections Manger at SMG, “The judging was very close as the artistic ability of the children was exceptional. The contest winners especially enjoyed going to the rider ‘meet and greet’ that was added to last year’s contest. We are very excited about this year’s contest because we are adding an online component where children can print the coloring page from www.seacoastonlinecom/coloringcontest color it and then mail it in.”

Examples of last year’s entries, colored drawings of a horse, were displayed at the 2010 Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic in the Riders’ Tent during the annual “Meet and Greet,” where the media and fans of the sport are invited to meet a panel of the top athletes and can ask questions of the riders. “The contest was a big hit with the riders who were quite impressed with the kids’ artistic talent,” said Jumper Classic Chairman, Jeff Papows, also a competitor in the show.

The contest will publish on Wednesday, Aug 17th in the York Weekly, Thursday, Aug 18th in the York County Coast Star and Friday, Aug 19th in the Portsmouth Herald, Hampton Union and Exeter News-Letter. Judging will be by age group, there are 6 age groups, starting at age 4 and going up to 15 year olds. The deadline for submitting entries will be Tuesday, Aug 30 and winners will be notified on Friday Sept 2nd

For more information please contact Sandra Titus at Seacoast Media Group at stitus@seacoastonline.com. To download form click www.seacoastonlinecom/coloringcontest

For information about the 2011 Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic please visit www.jumperclassic.com or call 978.283.7708.

Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of more than $3.6 trillion, including managed assets of more than $1.6 trillion, as of June 30, 2011. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.

Madison Goetzmann and Denmark Win 2011 Equisport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal Finals

August 15, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY -­ The last day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals National Championships began bright and early with exciting competition in the Covered Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. The EquiSport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal Finals brought the 2011 Pony Finals to an end. Leading the class from beginning to end with a solid two rounds over fences was Madison Goetzmann and Denmark to garner the championship prize.

The top 20 riders returned for the second round including nine medium ponies, four small ponies, and seven large ponies. Today’s courses were designed by Bobby Murphy and consisted of short lines, rollbacks, a halt, and a trot jump. Goetzmann was at the top of the order for today’s second round and executed another flawless trip making the lines look easy. Goetzmann of Skaneateles, NY, and Denmark proved to be unbeatable, eventually earning them the Easter Sunday Memorial Trophy donated by Catherine A. Kaiser and Jennifer T. Pesko. Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, and Sumerland were originally ranked tenth during their first course; however, with an exceptional second round they earned the reserve championship honors. Lucy Deslauriers of New York, NY, and Macy Grey were ranked eighth coming into the second round and earned the third place honors after an impressive round.

Madison Goetzmann and Denmark. Photo by Shawn McMillen.

Eleven-year-old Goetzmann has been riding Denmark for four years and this is her fourth Pony Finals competition. “He’s amazing, I was very excited,” she smiled. “I was definitely prepared and we have been practicing a lot. Patricia [Griffith] never lets me go to shows unprepared.”

Goetzmann’s trainer, Patricia Griffith of Heritage Farm, added, “The course looked easier than it rode. I knew she could do it, because she has ridden much harder courses. Whenever you need this pony, he is usually there. At Heritage Farm we really try to have no stone left unturned as far as preparation. What I do well, or I hope I do well, is try to teach them how to think for themselves and figure out how to get it done with out me helping them all the time.”

The judges were confident with their decision after the second round and the riders were not asked to return for a test phase. At the end of the day, Goetzman was named the 2011 EquiSport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal Winner aboard Denmark, while Strauss and Sumerland earned the reserve championship honors. Taking home third place honors was Deslauriers and Macy Grey, who performed excellent rounds during both phases of today’s event.

“I like Sumerland because of his stride and he landed on all of the leads and was really brave, he was perfect,” said Strauss. “I knew there was a really open two-stride but because Sumerland has such a big stride he was able to get down it. He also is so adjustable that I was able to halt afterwards easily. This is my last Pony Finals ever and honestly I was just happy to make it into the top five with a pony I had just started riding. Pony Finals is the right way to end it.”

Today marked the conclusion of 2011 USEF Pony Finals. Next week’s competition will begin on Wednesday at the Kentucky Horse Park for the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. This exciting event will feature the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the $25,000 CSIW Hagyard Lexington Classic World Cup Qualifier, and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix.

For more information about the 2011 USEF Pony Finals, visit 

http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2011PonyFinals/

 

By Heather Bellock/Phelps Media Group
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Grand Pony Hunter Championship Title Goes to Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forest at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

August 14, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY – August 13, 2011 – The fifth day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals was warm and sunny as the Large Pony Hunter Over Fences kicked off the day in the Walnut Ring. For the third year in a row, For The Laughter claimed the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship, this time with Meredith Darst in the irons. As the USEF National Hunter Pony Championships presented by Sallee Horse Vans came to a close, the Grand Hunter Pony Championship title was awarded to Darst and Enchanted Forest for their efforts in the Medium Pony Hunter division earlier in the week. The final event of the day was the Individual Pony Jumper Finals where Julia Curtis and The Waterboy jumped to the championship honors.

Earlier this week, Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forest, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, had an incredible performance in the Medium Pony Hunter division. They were in the lead going into the over fences phase and with a beautiful trip they scored the blue ribbon prize and were eventually presented with the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Championship. The Large Pony Hunters were the last to compete this week, but Darst and Enchanted Forest’s excellent effort prevailed and they scored the Grand Hunter Pony Championship. The duo was awarded the International Jumping Derby Perpetual Trophy, and also has the “Trip of the Show.”

“Enchanted Forest has been really good,” smiled 13-year-old Darst. “I started to ride him at the beginning of WEF. He has a huge stride, so I can go really slowly, but you have to sit up a little bit at the jump because he likes the gap. He has easy lead changes and his canter is very comfortable. Enchanted Forest has been there and done that, so he’s pretty made, plus he’s very pretty and moves very nicely.”

Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forest win Grand Pony Hunter Championship at 2011 USEF Pony Finals. Photo By Kendall Bierer/PMG.

The main highlight in the Walnut Ring today was the Large Pony Hunters. Darst and For The Laughter, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, were the winners of yesterday’s Model and Under Saddle phases, and held the lead going into today’s competition. The pair had an unlucky rub at the first fence but still received good scores to place tenth in the final phase. Their consistent performance over the last two days earned them the Overall Large Pony Hunter Championship and the Pony Cross Perpetual Trophy, donated by Stephanie Abronson and Pony Cross Farm. This is For The Laughter’s third consecutive year to earn the prestigious title, having won it in 2009 and 2010 with Victoria Colvin in the irons. Darst and For The Laughter were also the winners of the Overall Grand Pony Hunter Reserve Championship.

“Today was a little bit stressful coming in on top,” admitted Darst. “I was the most nervous with his lead changes because I haven’t really figured them out 100%, so I just tried to land on the correct lead. I thought my round was really good except for my first jump. For The Laughter is really fun, he jumps really well, and he has a really nice stride. He’s quiet, you just have to keep him in front of your leg. I feel like I focused better with the pressure we had today.”

Trainer Scott Stewart added, “Meredith rode great all week, very consistent and obviously had a great week. It is so nerve-wracking going at the end of everybody, but she does great under pressure, it definitely helps her. She is very fortunate to have such excellent mounts thanks to Dr. Betsee Parker. She knows all of the ponies very well.”

Darst concluded, “It’s really exciting to have done so well this year at Pony Finals. I was pretty confident with all of my ponies. I knew that as long as I didn’t mess up we would be pretty successful.”

The winner of Saturday’s Large Pony Hunter Over Fences was Daisy Farish and All The Best, owned by Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, who earned scores of 87, 85.5, and 87. Their solid performance also earned them the division’s reserve championship honors. Maria Yzerman of Bloomfield Hills, MI, and Center Ice took home the second place prize with scores of 86, 87, and 85, while Madison Maners riding Love and Laughter, owned by Victoria Pres of New York, NY, received scores of 84, 82, and 84.25 to earn the third place award.

The next events in the Walnut Ring were the Model Championship and the Under Saddle Championship classes where the top three finishers from each division were invited to display their talented ponies once again. Darst and For The Laughter claimed another blue ribbon after earning the top call in the Model Championship, while Kirklen Petersen and Chakko, owned by Lynn Colston of Glyndon, MD, won the Under Saddle Championship.

Today’s other prestigious awards included the High Scoring registered Purebred Welsh and the High Scoring registered Half Welsh in the Regular Pony Hunter divisions. Dr. Betsee Parker’s Elation was the High Score Purebred Welsh, while the High Score Half Welsh was Hands Up, owned by Jordyn Rose Freedman.

This evening, participants gathered at the Covered Arena for the Awards Ceremony where the week’s top finishers were honored once again. The awards included the Best Turned Out Regular Pony, which went to Little Black Dress and the Highest Scoring Auction Pony, Salvandi Coronet. The Buttons N’ Bows Sportsmanship Trophy went to Emily Regan, while Scott Stewart received the Emerson Burr Perpetual Trophy, which is awarded to the trainer of the Overall Grand Hunter Pony Champion and was donated by the 2000 Hunter Pony Committee. The High Score State Team was Virginia and they received the International Challenge Trophy. All three ponies were entries of Dr. Betsee Parker and included Elation, Enchanted Forest, and For The Laughter.

The last event today was the Pony Jumper Individual Finals where Julia Curtis of Villa Rica, GA, managed to conquer the competition with her third clear round aboard The Waterboy. The pair earned the USEF Individual Pony Jumper Gold Medal and led the final victory gallop.  With the only fault free score after all three rounds of competition Curtis was also awarded the Swan Creek Farm Perpetual Trophy donated by William J. Moroney in honor of Alvin and Patsy Topping. After advancing to the jump off with just four faults from the weekend Noah Buehler of Wall, NJ, and Porsche won the Silver Medal with a clear round in a time of 33.508 seconds. The Bronze Medal went to Sarah Walker of Dallas, TX and La-Ti-Da, who had four faults going into tonight’s Finals and laid down a clear trip in the jump off breaking the beam at 32.928 seconds.

”The Waterboy came out and he was perfect all week. I can’t say enough good things about him. I definitely was a little nervous today, but he has always been there to support me throughout the courses,” noted Curtis. “He has just been perfect every day. It is heart pounding and amazing to win this.”

The 2011 USEF Pony Finals will come to a close tomorrow following the Equisport Insurance/USEF Pony Medal. The nation’s top pony riders will gather in the Covered Arena tomorrow to vie for the coveted winning title.

For more information about the 2011 USEF Pony Finals, please visit www.USEF.org.

Article courtesy of Phelps Media Group

Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forrest Score Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship at 2011 USEF Pony Finals

August 12, 2011 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Lexington, KY -­ It was a sunny and warm at the Kentucky Horse Park for the third day of the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Pony Finals. The day began in the Walnut Ring with the Small Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle phases. The Medium Pony Hunter Over Fences were up next, and after three days of competition the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship was awarded to Meredith Darst for her ride aboard Enchanted Forrest. The final event of the day was the Pony Jumper Welcome Class and first qualifier for the Individual medals, which was held in the Covered Arena this evening.

Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forrest, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, have had a fantastic week in the Medium Pony Hunter division. They held the lead going into the final phase, and with scores of 86.9, 87 and 87, the duo garnered the top call over fences. Darst and Enchanted Forrest’s efforts eventually earned them the Overall Medium Pony Hunter Grand Championship and the Beagle Brook Farm Perpetual Trophy, donated by Jennifer Miller and Beagle Brook Farm in honor of “Special Effects.” All of this week’s USEF National Hunter Pony Championships are presented by Sallee Horse Vans.

Meredith Darst and Enchanted Forrest. Photo by Shawn McMillen.

“I began riding Enchanted Forrest at the beginning of WEF, and I really like the under saddle and over fences phases with him,” noted Darst. “He is really quiet and has a really big stride, so you can go pretty slow, but you need to have impulsion and keep him in front of your leg. He moves really well and jumps over fences smoothly.”

Darst added, “It’s great to do well at Pony Finals because it validates all of our hard work during the year. It is one of my favorite competitions, and I like that it is on different days, so I do not have to run around as much; I like the separation of the classes.”

The Medium Pony Hunter Reserve Grand Championship title was presented to Bergen Sanderford of Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and Swingtown, who were ranked third going into today’s final event and placed sixth over fences. The second-place finisher over fences was Devin Ashley Seek and Toblerone, owned by Jodie Camberg of Calabasas, CA, who earned scores of 87, 86, and 86. Samantha Cohen and Kodak, owned by Kate Considine of Sherman Oaks, CA, took home the third-place prize after receiving scores of 81, 88, and 85.

Earlier in the day, the Small Pony Hunter Model was held in the Walnut Ring, and the winning prize was presented to Hana Bieling and Anakin, owned by Richard Cunkle of Wellington, FL. Emma Ubriaco of Blue Ridge Summit, PA, and Picante took home the second-place honors, while Lilli Hymowitz and Rafael, owned by Bridlebourne Stables LLC of Elkton, FL, scored the third-place award.

“It feels great to win the model, Anakin is very pretty,” commented 10-year-old Bieling. “He’s a catch ride and I only started showing him about two months ago. I am only showing Anakin at Pony Finals this year, but I really like coming here. Anakin just needs a soft and sweet ride.”

Madeline Schaefer and Flashback. Photo by Shawn McMillen.

The Small Pony Hunter Under Saddle was next, and it was Madeline Schaefer of Westminster, MD, aboard Flashback who received the day’s top call and blue ribbon. Lucy Deslauriers showed Carolina’s Shenanigans, owned by RHR Partnership of Wellington, FL, to the second-place award, while Hymowitz and Rafael once again placed third.

“Flashback was really good in the under saddle today so I am very excited,” smiled Schaefer. “He needs a loose and forward ride, and I like his jump the best. I have had him for over two years, and he is always on you looking for cookies, but he will never bite you. Our miniature donkey is his best friend; he goes out with him every day!”

The final event during today’s competition was the Pony Jumpers Welcome Class in the Covered Arena. Seventeen-year-old Nicole Kehrli of Glenmore, PA, managed to conquer the competition with the fastest clear round aboard her pony Northwind’s Opus. The duo stopped the clock in 68.603 seconds and led the final victory gallop. Claire Salopek of Lafayette, LA, and Sir Lance-A-Lot took home the second-place honors finishing just a quarter of a second behind Kehrli. Brooke Gunther of Chester Springs, PA, earned the third-place ribbon aboard Fire Van Battenbroek with a fault free round, breaking the beam at 70.756 seconds.

Nicole Kehrli and Northwind's Opus. Photo by Rebecca Walton/Phelps Media Group.

“I have had Northwind’s Opus for almost seven years, and he is 10 years old. I wasn’t actually riding for time today because it counts for the whole overall score, so I just wanted to be clear,” noted Kehrli. “I took my turns carefully, and he was listening so well. He just loves to go fast and he loves his job, he is always excited to get in the ring. This is my third year at Pony Finals, and I always look forward to the team night because it is something different and gives you a chance to work together.”

The 2011 USEF Pony Finals will continue tomorrow with the Large Pony Hunter Model and Under Saddle. Later in the day, the Small Pony Hunters will complete their over fences phase and the Overall Small Pony Hunter Grand Champion will be named. The final event will be the second phase of the Pony Jumper Individual Championship, combined with the Pony Jumper Team Championship, in the Covered Arena.

For more information about the 2011 USEF Pony Finals, visit http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2011PonyFinals/.

 By Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group