What's Happenin'

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Archive for January, 2012

Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Unveils New York Retraining Program

January 31, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Organizations from every corner of the Thoroughbred industry have come together to support a new program created by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation to develop second careers for horses racing at New York Racing Association tracks. The program, forged from a $225,000 start-up grant from the Harriet E. Pfleger Foundation, will provide rehabilitation and retraining for as many as 100 horses a year. NYRA, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and The Jockey Club, as well as the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. and The Jockeys’ Guild, have all stepped forward with commitments to fund the initiative.

“With the spark created by a large donation from a private foundation, we were able to put together a consortium of racing partners to fund and oversee this valuable new program,” TRF Director of External Affairs Diana Pikulski said. “We have a model here in New York that embodies what everyone is trying to accomplish in the industry nationwide. We are excited that this has become a reality.”

The first step will be the redevelopment of the TRF retirement farm at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, N.Y. Wallkill, established in 1983, has been home to hundreds of Thoroughbred retirees, all of whom are cared for by Wallkill Correctional Facility inmates. A state-accredited vocational training course in horse care and management developed by the TRF at Wallkill has served as the prototype for TRF programs around the U.S., as well as a blueprint for other Thoroughbred retirement organizations.

Thoroughbreds at Wallkill. Photo ©Deborah Miles

Wallkill will be expanded to include the capability for short- and middle-term rehabilitation. According to Pikulski, horses will be sent from NYRA tracks to Wallkill for an evaluation that will determine if they are sound enough for the program, and whether they need short- or long-term rest before they begin the retraining process prior to adoption. The TRF is also exploring potential sites to be used as the retraining centers, which will showcase the horses for those looking to adopt.  The first horses are expected to be accepted into the program early this spring.

“Wallkill has the facilities now for basic retirement, with the inmates grooming the horses and keeping them happy and healthy, but this is a genuine effort to repurpose the horses that are sound enough to have a future in other equine disciplines,” said NYTHA President Rick Violette, Jr. “That’s a significant challenge, for sure, but it’s a challenge that can be met, and it coincides with other initiatives that NYTHA and NYRA are developing to find second careers for racehorses. Horses that are physically able don’t need to be turned out – they really are much happier if they have jobs to do.

NYRA and NYTHA have partnered to commit a total of $185,000 to the initiative. The Jockey Club will contribute $50,000, and more than $135,000 has been collected from fundraisers and private donations.

A committee comprised of representatives from NYTHA, NYRA, TRF, NYTB, the Jockey’s Guild and the public will provide oversight for the program.

“I think it is significant that all of these industry stakeholders are rallying with substantial financial support around an expansion of the TRF’s signature and award-winning project,” NYTB Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo remarked. “We are also grateful for the very substantial generosity of the Harriet Pfleger Foundation. This is an initiative that has a documented success in the rehabilitation of criminal offenders while at the same time advancing the TRF’s horse rescue mission. It’s a tribute to all involved.”

Added Violette, “Everyone recognizes that, ultimately, this is all about the horses.”

Photo ©Deborah Miles

About The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York’s three major tracks through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state’s thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2011, more than 1.8 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring in nationwide off-track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races totals more than $8.1 million. NYRA has a vast network of websites, including www.nyra.com, www.belmontstakes.com, and www.nyragroupsales.com. You can also follow NYRA on social media platforms Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube.


For over half a century, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association has represented the interests of horse owners and trainers at NYRA tracks. NYTHA was founded with the objective of serving as a collective voice for the broad interests of Thoroughbred owners and trainers and to improve and increase the effectiveness of its constituents in the day-to-day activities of racing. Today, NYTHA serves as the New York State Racing and Wagering Board’s recognized representative of owners and trainers and has taken a primary role in the New York horseracing industry. NYTHA strives to protect the economic interests of all horsemen and to gain public recognition of horseracing as a vital form of entertainment, deserving support, protection and preservation. More information is available at www.nytha.com. You can also follow NYTHA on Facebook.


About The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has provided compassionate care to retired racehorses for 30 years and proudly serves more than 1,000 Thoroughbreds at 29 farms around the nation. For more information, visit www.trfinc.org.

Pin Oak Charity Horse Show Will Host Working Equitation

January 31, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Haras Dos Cavaleiros Working Equitation Championships offer nearly $6,000 in cash prizes! 

The discipline of Working Equitation is sweeping the globe, with high-level competition in both Europe and the Americas.  Haras dos Cavaleiros is bringing Opportunity Working Equitation to the 2012 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, Texas, with three levels of competition and a course designed by the first World Champion of Working Equitation, Jorge De Sousa of Portugal.  On March 22 and 23, during Week One of the show’s two-week run, Pin Oak will host Championships in three levels, Novice, Basic and Intermediate. Open to all breeds, the three levels of Working Equitation competition offer $1,950 in prize money at each level, plus ribbons for each phase, and trophies. The event is sponsored by Lusitano breeder Haras Dos Cavaleiros of Magnolia, Texas

Working Equitation

Working Equitation is a discipline based upon the tradition of field work on ranches, highlighting the clear partnership between horse and rider, with an emphasis on athleticism, collection and versatility. The three phases will run over two days, with the Dressage phase on Thursday, March 22, and the Ease of Handling (obstacles for precision) and Speed (obstacles for speed) phases on Friday, March 23.  The classes are open to all breeds.  The Working Equitation Championships will be run using the IALHA 2011 rules with updated 2012 Dressage tests available for download at www.pinoak.org. One important change for 2012:  the Intermediate (highest) level must be performed with only one hand on the reins.  Two hands are not allowed at the intermediate level.

European countries hosting international competitions in Working Equitation also include a cattle-handling phase that is not yet common in the United States.  Working Equitation is gaining ground in Austria, Belgium, Germany, England, Portugal, Spain, France, Holland, Italy, Mexico and Brazil, all members of the World Association for Working Equitation (WAWE.)

“I believe that Working Equitation has an excellent chance of becoming the next FEI Olympic sport in future years, because there is already substantial international support and high-level competition in Europe and South America,” says Linda Graham, Andalusian and Lusitano breed chair at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.  “It has gotten off to a slower start in the United States, but Haras Dos Cavaleiros is working hard to change that, by putting up substantial prize money and tireless support for competitions, which are open to all breeds.  However, as Carmina Zamorano will tell you, the Lusitano is the horse that is most successful in this sport internationally!  The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in its 67th year is a fitting venue for this new sport, combining decades of horse show tradition with what is cutting-edge in equine competition.”

The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show has raised over $5.5 million for charity since its inception in 1945, donating $125,000 in 2011 to Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston’s Ronald McDonald House, Family Rooms, and Candlelighters.

Pin Oak Charity Horse Show’s dates for 2012 are March 21 – 25 and March 27 – April 1. For additional information, call 713-621-6290 or visit the website at www.pinoak.org.

The Ride for a Green World Initiative Arenus Makes Big Strides Towards Eco-Friendly Barns and Horse Shows

January 28, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

St. Charles, MO – The Arenus family of products for horses and pets is giving a whole new meaning to “green.”  Beyond the individual eco-conscious horse-and-rider, Arenus is encouraging equestrians to dig deeper and plant a vision of a sustainable planet through green barns, green horse shows and green events, through its new Ride for a Green World initiative.

People who share the vision of a sustainable planet can join the Ride for a Green World initiative by displaying the “Our Barn is Eco-Friendly” card with simple guidelines on going greener, such as: composting your manure and keep it from contaminating water, use eco-friendly products, recycle and reuse, conserve water.  Find more Eco-friendly Barn tips at Arenus booths during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) series.

“Stop by and talk with us about a vision of caring for horses, people and the planet,” says Brady Karren, Arenus Sales Manager & Equine Nutritionist.  “We have lots of fun events planned to help you and your horses go greener.  Check our Facebook page often to get dates, times, and locations.”  Arenus-sponsored events through its Ride for a Green World initiative will include a Green World Day and Spa Days for wellness education where you can learn more about caring for your horse, yourself, and the earth while feeling good, too.

“We are driven by a vision of a sustainable world,” adds Jeremy Moore, Executive Director of Novus Nutrition Brands.  Arenus is the companion animal health and nutrition division of Novus Nutrition Brands LLC, which is a growing business within Novus International Inc. “Our values – providing products with demonstrable value, long-term customer satisfaction, acting with integrity, and protecting our employees, public, and environment – guide our business objectives and shape our organization’s culture.”

The Novus International, Inc. global headquarters for Arenus and the Novus International Research Center has been awarded Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certification in energy efficiency from the U.S. Green Building Council. Thad Simons, Jr., Novus president and CEO, says, “Sustainability begins on an individual level, offering the opportunity for people, the environment, and businesses to benefit.”

Ride for a Green World offers the same message of sustainability to facilities and venues reflected in its recyclable Arenus packaging.  “We don’t want to stop there,” says Brady Karren.  “We want to Ride for a Green World with other partners who share a vision for protecting and caring for the earth through education and awareness about water use, protection of streams and waterways, innovative energy use, and clean-composting technology.” To learn more about Arenus products, visit www.arenus.com.

About Arenus

Arenus is a premier provider of innovative health and nutrition products for pets and horses. Arenus is a growing division within Novus Nutrition Brands, a global company dedicated to Health and Nutrition Through Science. To learn more about Arenus products, or find an Arenus event near you call (866) 791-3344 or visit www.arenus.com.

Equestrian Mom’s ‘MyPokit’ Helps Daughter Pursue Dreams of Riding Despite Lifelong Illness

January 24, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Commerce, MI – For 13-year-old Bayley Saville, having a permanent feeding tube does little to hinder her equestrian aspirations. Bayley was born with a rare intestinal motility disorder called pseudo-obstructive disease. She had her first stomach surgery when she was three months old and had a feeding tube placed to help with her nutrition. Many children with illnesses cannot participate in athletic activities because of tubes or IVs necessary for their well-being, but when Bayley was an infant her mother Melissa designed a special pocket to hold the feeding tube in place. As Bayley grew up, she developed a love for riding horses, and her “pocket” has made her riding dreams possible.

Melissa and Bayley live in Commerce, MI, where Bayley rides out of Hidden Hollow Farms with trainer Tara Golaszewski. Bayley started riding when she was eight years old and has done very well competing in the Pony Hunters.

“She just can’t get enough of it,” Melissa laughed. “She is at the barn five days a week and she rides three different ponies. She rides a lot. Her first full year of showing was 2010 and she was champion in five of the six divisions that she was involved in for the Michigan Hunter Jumper Association’s year end awards. Last year she was Green Pony Hunter Champion. Last year was also her first year showing on the ‘A’ circuit and she did about ten shows.”

Bayley Saville

“She wants to be a professional rider and trainer,” Melissa added. “She just loves it. She tried a few other things before riding, but they were just not working well because of her feeding tube. She tried gymnastics, but she couldn’t bend over the bar, and she can’t play contact sports. I am so happy that she found something that she is passionate about and she is doing very well at it. The ‘MyPokit’ gives her more confidence when she is riding. She is not afraid to go up in the two-point and she loves jumping. She can ride without worrying because it is safer for her to have it on.”

The idea for MyPokit originated when Bayley was just two years old. Melissa got nervous watching Bayley crawl around with her feeding tube when she was a baby, always worrying that the tube would get caught on something or somehow get pulled out. Taping the tube to Bayley’s stomach left the child’s skin red and irritated. After researching and discovering that no product existed to solve the problem, Melissa took matters into her own hands. She created MyPokit with the help of a friend and local seamstress, who helped come up with a prototype.

MyPokit is a specially designed, wearable pouch which straps around the child or adult’s torso if they have a feeding tube or a central line. MyPokit prevents the patient’s tube from accidentally getting pulled or kinked, even during use, providing safety and comfort for the patient. A front strap attachment allows the patient to put on and remove MyPokit without assistance. It can easily be adjusted while an infant is laying on their back. MyPokit is lovingly handcrafted with soft, gentle fabric that will feel comfortable against a patient’s skin and it fits discreetly beneath the patient’s clothing.

Bayley was just a baby when she first started wearing her pocket, but Melissa says that she instantly fell in love with it and started asking for it all of the time. “She would say ‘I want to wear my pocket’ and ‘where is my pocket’. That is how I came up with the name. How could I not call it that? That is what she always called it,” Melissa smiled.

Melissa and Bayley Saville

After many years of encouragement, Melissa finally decided to starting selling and marketing MyPokit this year in an effort to help other children in similar situations feel safe, comfortable, and accepting of their medical condition.

She explained, “When the medical staff and the doctors at the hospital started seeing MyPokit they absolutely fell in love with it. They have been encouraging me to make it available to anybody and everybody for the last ten years, but I just was not in the right place in my life to tackle that whole endeavor.”

“I just about three or four months ago said ‘Ok, I’m ready to go’ and it has taken off,” Melissa stated. “There are a couple of medical supply companies that are making them available and a couple of hospitals here in the area that have started carrying them. There are also a couple of support groups that have started carrying them on their websites. It has been a good thing. I always thought it was a good idea, but I didn’t really know, and I have just gotten nothing but positive feedback. It has been pretty exciting!”

Now a teenager, Bayley is in seventh grade and just started home schooling with Melissa. She has also gotten involved in the business, helping to design the MyPokits and attending meetings to tell her story. Melissa is very proud of Bayley’s involvement.

Bayley Saville pursuing her dreams

“I have to okay all of the styles and designs through her,” she laughed. “She comes to the fabric store with me and picks stuff out. She has actually come to a lot of the presentations with me at the hospitals as well because they like to hear her story and she does a really good job. She models her pocket for them and she answers questions that they have. I’m sure they appreciate hearing from someone that is directly dealing with it.”

Melissa hopes to see MyPokit become more successful as the year goes on and would like to spread the word that this product is now available. “I know that even 11 years after I came up with the idea, still to this day there is nothing out there that addresses safety concerns of having a feeding tube or semi-permanent IV,” she said. “I just want people to be aware and be able to get the product to make family members or patients safer and more comfortable. It’s no fun for kids to go through medical procedures and this helps them get through whatever they need to get through. If getting a new MyPokit can bring a little bit of a smile to someone’s face and make them happy, then it is worth it. That makes my day.”

MyPokit is available for purchase at the product’s website, www.mypokit.com. For more information, please visit the website or contact 248.342.9448 or info@mypokit.com.

Equestrian photos copyright Diana Hadsall

Article courtesy of Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media

World Dressage Masters: European Horses Arrive at Jim Brandon Equestrian Center

January 23, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Wellington, FL – Four European horses arrived at the venue for the 2012 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach on Sunday afternoon, following their release from quarantine in Miami. Charlotte Dujardin’s Valegro (GBR), Carl Hester’s Wie Atlantico (GBR), Anja Plönzke’s Le Mont D’Or (GER) and Minna Telde’s Deinhardt (SWE) all came off the transport truck looking eager and well rested. Transport of the WDM horses from Europe and California was provided by The Dutta Corp. International Horse Transport. For Valegro, the flight to Miami was his first time on an airplane.

Photo ©Susan Stickle

“He travelled very, very well,” said Dujardin, who arrived in Florida on Saturday evening. “I think he’s glad to be in a bit of sunshine.” Dujardin rode Valegro for the first time at the Jim Brandon Center the morning after his arrival. “He has arrived fresh and in great shape. He was very jolly when I rode him this morning,” she said.

Valegro, one of the world’s newest international dressage stars, is expected to be Steffen Peters’ number one rival as Peters seeks to defend his 2011 WDM Palm Beach title. Peters’ horse Ravel arrived in Florida by air from California on Thursday, and will move to the Jim Brandon Center from his Florida home at Carol Cohen’s Two Swans Farm on Thursday, January 26th for the FEI horse inspection. Most of the remaining horses competing in the WDM Palm Beach are already in South Florida; many of their riders are based in the area each winter to take advantage of the climate and high concentration of FEI competitions.

Photo ©Susan Stickle

“I love it here! It’s absolutely amazing,” said Dujardin, who is visiting Wellington and the area for the first time. “I will definitely come back next year.” Carl Hester has recommended that he and Dujardin, who trains with and works for Hester, bring their horses to Wellington for the 2013 winter season.

Dujardin and Hester were the strongest members of the gold medalist British Team at the 2011 European Dressage Championships. Hester, riding the stallion Uthopia, won the Grand Prix test, beating Adelinde Cornelissen of the Netherlands and Jerich Parzival, the current number one ranked pair in the world, as well as the legendary stallion Totilas with his current rider, Germany’s Matthias Rath. Hester went on to win the individual silver medal. He will compete at the WDM Palm Beach on Wie Atlantico, the horse Fiona Bigwood rode on the silver medalist British Team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

A total of 15 horses and riders from six countries have accepted invitations to participate in the WDM Palm Beac, where they will compete for €100,000 ($130,000) at the only WDM event to take place outside of Europe. The entry list will swell to 17 following the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3* Grand Prix on Thursday, January 26th, when the top two horse and rider combinations from that class will be invited to compete in the WDM CDI5* Grand Prix on Friday. Wellington Classic Dressage is the organizer of both competitions.

The World Dressage Masters presented by Axel Johnson Group is the world’s richest and most prestigious dressage series. The WDM Palm Beach, whose presenting sponsor IPC Palm Beach stepped in at the eleventh hour to rescue the event after its former sponsor suddenly pulled out, is the only CDI5* to take place annually in North America. A stunning success with only a few weeks of preparation in 2011, the 2012 WDM Palm Beach is certain to exceed last year’s event, both for calibre of top international dressage competition and for unsurpassed catering and decoration provided by the renowned IPC Catering.

Confirmed entries for WDM Palm Beach presented by IPC Palm Beach

Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) – Gran Gesto
Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) – Valegro
Todd Flettrich (USA) – Otto
Carl Hester (GBR) – Wie Atlantico
Adrienne Lyle (USA) – Wizard
Ashley Holzer (CAN) – Pop Art
Tina Konyot (USA) – Calecto V
Yvonne Losos de Muñiz (DOM) – Dondolo Las Marismas
Steffen Peters (USA) – Ravel
Anja Plönzke (GER) – Le Mont d’Or
Pierre St. Jacques (USA) – Lucky Tiger
Per Sandgaard (SWE) – Lomumba Havdal
Minna Telde (SWE) – Deinhardt
Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfven (SWE) – Favourit
Victoria Winter (CAN) – Proton

In addition, the two top placed horses from Thursday’s CDI3* Grand Prix will be invited to compete in the WDM Palm Beach CDI5*.

Competition schedule January 26 – 28, 2012

*Gates open at 11:00 am each day for WDM Palm Beach ticket holders only. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the gate. Ticket holders are encouraged to arrive for Saturday evening’s Grand Prix Freestyle at 5:30 pm.

Thursday January 26:
11:30 am – CDI 3* Horse Inspection
12:30 pm – CDI 5* (WDM) Horse Inspection
2 pm to 5 – CDI 3* Grand Prix (top two horses to receive invitations to CDI5*)

Friday January 27:
2 pm to 5 – CDI5* Grand Prix

Saturday January 28:
2 pm to 4:30 – CDI5* Grand Prix Special
7:30 pm to 10:30 – CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle

General admission for the WDM Palm Beach is sold out. For information on any remaining VIP tables go to http://www.internationalpoloclub.com, or contact Maria Feola at 561-282-5334, 561-282-5301 or mfeola@internationalpoloclub.com

Courtesy of Karen Robinson for Phelps Media Group

College Preparatory Invitational Hosts Second Event with Great Success

January 20, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

[Wellington, FL]  The second annual College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show was held this weekend at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, with great success. The competition drew 175 riders competing in four hunt seat and two dressage seat divisions. There were also five different scholarships awarded.  The CPI aims at introducing young equestrians (grades 8-12) to the many options of collegiate riding featured throughout the country. To find out more information on the 2013 College Preparatory Invitational, please visit www.collegeprepinvitational.com.

Many exciting scholarships were awarded this year, rewarding the young riders on their social conduct and academic success, as well as competitive success. The High Point Hunt Seat Rider was Barclay Powell, of Gainesville, FL, class of 2014. The Reserve High Point Hunt Seat Rider was Taylor Leigh, Northport, FL, class of 2013. 
Scholarship winner Barclay Powell thanked her longtime trainer Henrietta Borst for helping her get to this point in her riding. Powell stated, “I want to thank my trainer, because she has gotten me through all of this. I have been with her for nine years and she has put me on many different horses. The experience she has given me helped a lot for this and I owe a lot to her.”

This was Powell’s first time competing at the CPI and she won both of her classes in the Limit Hunt Seat Equitation.  “I had a lot of fun; there were a lot of cool horses to be able to ride and the show grounds are gorgeous. It was definitely a great opportunity,” Powell smiled. “It is great to win this award. I am really excited that this happened and I am definitely planning to continue to ride and do well with it.”

Reserve finisher, 16-year-old Taylor Leigh, showed in the Limit Hunt Seat Equitation as well. Leigh also shows in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), and felt the similarities between the competitions. “I am in the IEA, so it is sort of like this, so it just felt like I was at home,” Leigh explained. “We have done this before, so I wasn’t too nervous. They were both really good horses and I had a lot of fun.”

The 2012 College Preparatory Invitational scholarship winners. Photo copyright Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

The High Point Dressage Rider was awarded to Rachel Robinson, of Orlando, FL, class of 2014. Reserve High Point Dressage Rider was Alexandra Antonicelli, Jersey Shore, PA, class of 2013.

Scholarship winner Rachel Robinson showed in both the hunt seat equitation and dressage this weekend. This was Robinson’s first time competing at the CPI and she enjoyed the experience. “It was really fun riding all the different horses,” Robinson smiled. “I got a really good horse in the dressage, Godiva; she was just really good to ride for that class. Meeting all of these different people and seeing how each person works with the different horses was cool. You see multiple riders on the same horse and get to see how each one does.”

Robinson’s mount, Godiva Degordios, owned by Melanie Peterson, was named the Best Performance Dressage Horse of the show. Best Performance Hunt Seat Horse was Cumberland Blues, owned by Wall Street Farm.

Alexandra Antonicelli also had a great time at this year’s CPI for her first time at the competition. “It was really fun and I had a lot of fun with my horse,” Antonicelli said. “I had no idea what to expect, but I definitely want to continue to do this in the future.”

The winner of the Horsemanship Test this year was fifteen-year-old Madison Specht, of Winter Garden, FL, class of 2015. Runner-up was Amy Blazej, of Windham, VT, class of 2012.

Commenting on her win, Specht stated, “I thought the test was really good. There were a lot of different questions about different subjects and a lot of good information to know about horses. I felt pretty confident; there were a few questions I wasn’t sure about, but most of it was good.”

Specht rode in the Intermediate Hunt Seat Equitation and enjoyed the event. “I thought it was amazing; it was very educational,” she said. “I learned a lot about riding in college and it was great to get to talk to all the different coaches from the universities.”

Fourteen-year-old Cassie Crotty, of Coral Gables, FL, class of 2015, was this year’s CPI Essay winner. Runner-Up was Lauren Abunassar, of Gettysburg, PA, class of 2013.
Crotty is an avid rider and writer. She explained that she wrote her essay about the experience of taking her family horse from a jumper to a hunter. “My family had him since he was four and I wrote about his journey as well as ours, because my mom rode him before me and he did the jumpers,” Crotty said. “We had a whole disastrous journey with that and a couple years ago I moved barns and I ended up switching and doing the hunters with him. It was a whole process of having to change the way my family thought about him and the way that we changed.”

Crotty has also shown in the IEA and enjoyed her time at the CPI. She noted that riding and writing are both very important in her life. “I will never stop riding, and writing is something I have done throughout my whole life,” she acknowledged.
In addition to these scholarships, a special community service award was presented this year to Natasha Walters, of Paoli, PA, class of 2016. Each of these riders contributed greatly to the wonderful experience of the 2012 CPI and helped make the event a huge success.

Watching the action.

The competition at the 2012 CPI was bigger and better than ever with a total of 175 young riders participating this year. CPI extends a big thank you to all of the riders, families and coaches that took part, as well as everyone that donated horses for the event.

One trainer who far exceeded expectations at this year’s competition was Jane DaCosta, of Medford, NY. DaCosta is the Training Manager at Jamaica Day Riding Academy in Brooklyn, NY, which is owned by the Danza family. She coaches the Metropolitan Equestrian Team, one of the top middle school and high school teams in Zone 2 Region 4 of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association. The Metropolitan Equestrian Team is a NYS 501c3 Not for Profit Organization.

DaCosta brought seven riders to this year’s event and had a great experience. She explained that an event like the CPI is very important to the kids on her team. “These kids are from New York City; they are not from large horse show communities and they do not have horses in their back yards,” DaCosta stated. “The CPI puts them in a position where they can excel and not even own their own horse. Three-quarters of my team do not own horses, but the CPI gives them the opportunity to ride at a multi-million dollar event and be seen by great schools that offer a lot of potential.”

“Putting these kids in the CPI definitely gives them a great educational basis for what they are doing,” DaCosta added. “It gives them an avenue; a guide for what they need to do to get to the next step. It also gives them motivation and confidence. A lot about riding is confidence building, and the CPI gives them that competitive edge and education. It is a fabulous horse show.”

“I loved how all of the college coaches approached the kids and talked to them and I loved the organization of the event this year,” DaCosta said. “I would not hesitate to bring more kids next year.”

The management at the CPI Horse Show would also like to acknowledge rider Maggie Adair from Los Angeles, California, who, despite a fall on course, showed great sportsmanship and enthusiasm. Horse show organizers were very impressed with Adair’s demeanor. Adair’s mother, Jody, was present at the event as well and had nothing but great things to say after the weekend. “We had so much fun! We saw friends at the Winter Equestrian Festival and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience,” Adair stated. “We enjoyed everything! What a nice group of teenagers, coaches and college representatives. Again, thank you for an incredible weekend.”

Robert Dover speaking with the dressage riders. Photo copyright Majestic Images courtesy of Dru Gassner.

CPI thanks its many amazing sponsors, advertisers, and volunteers for helping to make this great event possible. Special thanks go to the event’s host, Equestrian Sport Productions, as well as the United States Equestrian Federation, United States Hunter Jumper Association, and the Equus Foundation.

Many thanks to seminar sponsors: Mississippi College and Charles Owen Helmets;

coaches reception sponsor: FootingFirst;

show saddles pads and embroidery: Dover Saddlery;

rider arm bands: Taylor Harris Insurance Services;

back numbers: Centenary College;

saddles: CWD and On Course Consignment Shop;

horsemanship test: Practical Horseman Magazine;

horse view book: Alfred University;

horse coolers: Royal Riders;

rider awards and gifts: Essex Classics, Dover Saddlery, Coca-Cola, and Dr.
Janice Lima-Maribona;

golf carts: Dever, Inc;

and promotional video: Kylar Productions.


The winners of the 2012 CPI competition were as follows:

The winners in the Open Flat Hunt Seat classes were:
Emily Rhodes, Sag Harbor, NY, Class of 2012, on Harley
Kendall Pedigo, Vancouver, WA, Class of 2014, on Mont Sciricco
Hannah Huntington, Beverly Hills, FL, Class of 2013, on Iris
Marielle Golden, Boca Raton, FL, Class of 2012, on Felix

The winners in the Open Hunt Seat Equitation Over Fences were:
Victoria Cribb, Jupiter, FL, Class of 2012, on Churro
Samantha Van Winter, East Greenwich, RI, Class of 2014, on Frangelico
Hannah Huntington, Beverly Hills, FL, Class of 2013, on Jr. Mint
Lauren Schmeiske, Punta Gorda, FL, Class of 2013, on Mont Sciricco

The winners in the Intermediate Flat Hunt Seat classes were:
Carlin Counter, Winter Haven, FL, Class of 2013 on Avoline
Meg Phippin, Owings Mills, MD, Class of 2013, on Athena
Emilee Smigel, Loxahatchee Groves, FL, Class of 2015, on Twilight
Jacqueline Sewell, Sarasota, FL, Class of 2014, on Duchess

The winners in the Intermediate Hunt Seat Over Fences were:
Olivia Easton, Key Biscayne, FL, Class of 2016, on Callaway
Meredith Denny, Knoxville, TN, Class of 2013, on Hugo
Blythe Daniel, Greer, SC, Class of 2013, on Aveline
Jo Phippen, Owings Mills, MD, Class of 2013, on Iris

The winners in the Limit Flat Hunt Seat classes were:
Sarah Jansen, Chester Springs, PA, Class of 2013, on My Heartbreaker
Barclay Powell, Gainesville, FL, Class of 2014, on Confetti
Veronica Llewellyn, Wadsworth, OH, Class of 2013, on Brandy
Taylor Leigh, Northport, FL, Class of 2013, on Peter Pan

The winners in the Limit Hunt Seat Over Fences classes were:
Brittany Kriegstein, Huntington, NY, Class of 2013, on Cumberland Blues
Barclay Powell, Gainesville, FL, Class of 2014, on Peter Pan
Ofelia Del Principe, New York, NY, Class of 2013, on Joey
Taylor Leigh, Northport, FL, Class of 2013, on Seminole

The winners of the Novice Flat Hunt Seat classes were:
Armine Mencia, Wellington, FL, Class of 2016, on Bella
Melissa Kerr, Granville, OH, Class of 2014, on Reason
Victoria Convey, Coral Gables, FL, Class of 2013, on Jesse

The winners of the Novice Hunt Seat Over Fences classes were:
Gabriella Hurtado, Pinecrest, FL, Class of 2015, on Sonny
Bayley Morton, Guilford, CT, Class of 2013, Walk the Line
Victoria Convey, Coral Gables, FL, Class of 2013, on Joey

The winner of the Dressage Seat Equitation class was Rachel Robinson of Orlando, FL, Class of 2014, on Godiva Degordios. Alexandra Antonicelli of Jersey Shore, PA, Class of 2013, rode Harley to the win in the second Dressage Seat Equitation class. The winner of the Alumni class was Lauren Hill, who attended North Carolina State.

For those interested, there is still a chance to get involved with this year’s show. The CPI will award $50 each for the best eight pictures taken by CPI riders of the 2012 competition. Photos will be judged in eight categories, including: CPI Horse Athlete (horse only), CPI Sponsor signage or presence, CPI Spectators, CPI Event Seminar, CPI Rider(s) Receiving Ribbon/Prize Photo, Friends Together at CPI (candid), CPI Rider(s) in action (over fences, flat, or dressage) or Miscellaneous CPI Photo (any moment of your choice captured during the event). All entries must be submitted and received by 11 a.m. on January 22, 2012.

Entries can only be submitted via email to JeanneRC@collegeprepinvitational.com  with the required information:  rider name, telephone number, email address, and photo caption. For photo contest entry instructions, please visit the scholarship page of the CPI website.

The CPI would like to thank everyone involved for another great year at their second annual event in Wellington. For more information on the College Preparatory Invitational, please visit www.collegeprepinvitational.com  or visit their Facebook page.

World Dressage Masters Palm Beach: List of Competitors and Schedule

January 20, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

[Wellington, FL] Excitement is mounting for the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach, which gets under way in just one week. The World Dressage Masters presented by Axel Johnson Group is the richest dressage series in the world; over half a million dollars in prize money was awarded at four WDM competitions in 2011. The WDM Palm Beach is the only WDM event outside of Europe, and the only five star CDI in North America. International Polo Club Palm Beach became the presenting sponsor for the WDM Palm Beach in 2011.

Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven and Favourit, second place in the freestyle at WDM Palm Beach in 2011

An elite group of horses and riders, including several of the world’s top ten ranked pairs, will compete at the 2012 WDM Palm Beach. Six nations are represented by 14 riders who have now confirmed their participation. The 2011 WDM Palm Beach champions, Steffen Peters of the US and Akiko Yamazaki’s charismatic horse Ravel, will seek to defend their title against stiff rivals from Europe and North America. The number of Swedish competitors has now swelled to three, following the addition of Per Sandgaard and his horse Lomumba Havdal to the list of entries. Sandgaard represented his native Denmark at the 2004 Olympics in Athens before moving permanently to Sweden and changing his citizenship.

The WDM Palm Beach CDI5* will take place concurrent to the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI3* at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. The top two placed horses in the three star Grand Prix competition will receive invitations to compete in the five star WDM Palm Beach.

The FEI ground jury for the WDM Palm Beach Grand Prix Freestyle has five FEI judges, four of whom have a five star (Olympic) ranking. Wim Ernes (NED) will be President of the ground jury. Also on the ground jury for the Freestyle is Stephen Clarke (GBR), who has been appointed President of the ground jury for the 2012 Olympic Dressage competition. Isabelle Judet (FRA), Gary Rockwell (USA) and Lois Yukins (USA) are the other three judges.

Confirmed entries for WDM Palm Beach presented by IPC Palm Beach

Jacqueline Brooks (CAN) – Gran Gesto

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) – Valegro

Todd Flettrich (USA) – Otto

Carl Hester (GBR) – Wie Atlantico

Adrienne Lyle (USA) – Wizard

Ashley Holzer (CAN) – Pop Art

Tina Konyot (USA) – Calecto V

Yvonne Losos de Muñiz (DOM) – Dondolo Las Marismas

Steffen Peters (USA) – Ravel

Anja Plönzke (GER) – Le Mont d’Or

Pierre St. Jacques (USA) – Lucky Tiger

Per Sandgaard (SWE) – Lomumba Havdal

Minna Telde (SWE) – Deinhardt

Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfven (SWE) – Favourit

Competition schedule January 26 – 28, 2012

*Gates open at 11:00 am each day. Spectators are encouraged to arrive for Saturday evening’s Grand Prix Freestyle at 5:30 pm.

Thursday January 26:

o   11:30 am – CDI 3* Horse Inspection

o   12:30 pm – CDI 5* (WDM) Horse Inspection

o   2 pm to 5 – CDI 3* Grand Prix (top two horses to receive invitations to CDI5*)

Friday January 27:

o   2 pm to 5 – CDI5* Grand Prix

Saturday January 28:

o   2 pm to 4:30 – CDI5* Grand Prix Special

o  7:30 pm to 10:30 – CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle

A very limited number of VIP tables are still available for the 2012 WDM Palm Beach. For information on pricing and availability go to www.internationalpoloclub.com, or contact Maria Feola at 561-282-5334, 561-282-5301 or mfeola@internationalpoloclub.com.

Steffen Peters Named 2011 USEF Equestrian of the Year

January 15, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Cincinnati, OH – To cap off a record-setting year, dressage superstar Steffen Peters added one more record to his résumé on Saturday night at the United States Equestrian Federation’s Pegasus Awards dinner. He became the first person to score the USEF’s Equestrian of the Year title three times.

Steffen Peters (right)won the William C.Steinkraus Trophy as one of the 2011 Equestrians of Honor and then the Robert P. Strub Trophy (shown here being presented by USEF President David O'Connor on left) as the overall USEF Equestrian of the Year. Photo by Kim MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Peters (San Diego, CA) won the top honor in 2008 and 2009 based largely on his accomplishments with Akiko Yamazaki’s phenom Ravel – but in 2011, Ravel had some help. Peters capitalized on his first trip to the Pan American Games and scored Team and Individual Gold in a tremendous effort with Jen and Bruce Hlavacek’s Weltino’s Magic. From California to Aachen, Germany Peters was undefeated in 2011 with the now 9-year-old Westphalian gelding.

Both Ravel and ‘Magic’ scored at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Dressage Championships in Gladstone, NJ in September sweeping the Grand Prix and Intermediaire I divisions respectively. Peters won all six classes in the effort and secured his Pan Am spot with Magic in the process.

The trip to Mexico proved worth the miles as Peters and Magic dominated at the Guadalajara Country Club. The competition was hard fought for Individual honors but Peters led an American sweep. Heather Blitz and Paragon won Silver while Marisa Festerling and Big Tyme secured Bronze. Peters also won the William C. Steinkraus Trophy , awarded to an equestrian in an Olympic discipline, for the third time. As a result, he was one of six equestrians in the running for the USEF’s top honor.

Steffen Peters, 2011 Equestrian of the Year, at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Listen to a portion of Steffen Peters acceptance: Steffen Peters Accepts 2011 Equestrian of the Year Award

The following awards were presented on January 14, 2012, at the Cincinnati Netherland Plaza:

The Becky Grand Hart Trophy was presented to Four-In-Hand Driver Chester Weber. The Becky Grand Hart Trophy is presented to international-level non-Olympic athletes. Weber had a banner year with his team, winning four CDEs in the in the United States. He took his team to Europe and won at CAIO Veces, CAI Altenfelden and CAIO Riesenbeck. He was the Reserve USEF National Four-in-Hand Driving Champion. Chester also spent a significant amount of time serving as a chef d’equipe. He commandeered a Bronze-medal winning performance at the 2011 FEI World Pony Team Championships and a 10th-place U.S. Team finish at the FEI World Pair Championship.

Karen Waldron (Shawsville, VA) was awarded the Bill Robinson Trophy for her diversity of success with Saddlebreds, Hackneys and Friesians. The Bill Robinson Trophy is presented to an equestrian competing with horses or ponies across all the breeds in harness or for driving performance in non-international competitions. She won World Championships in two breeds – including titles in the Amateur Ladies Harness and Hackney Pony World Championships at the prestigious Kentucky State Fair’s World’s Championship Horse Show. She also scored with World and Grand National Championships in several divisions at the 2011 IFSHA Friesian World and Grand National Championships.

Scott Stewart (Flemington, NJ) picked up his fourth Emerson Burr Trophy for his success in the Hunter Ring. The Emerson Burr Trophy is presented to a rider in the hunter divisions in any breed over fences. He won Leading Hunter Rider titles at the Devon Horse Show and Alltech National Horse Show in 2011 and other top honors across the country. He consistently produces and trains the best horses in the country and is renowned for recognizing quality within his discipline.

For the first time, Debbie Foley‘s name will be added to the list of equestrians to win the C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy. The C.J. “June” Cronan Trophy is presented to those excelling in under saddle show breeds. Foley’s name has been synonymous with the breed she loves for more than 30 years. Foley (Louisville, KY) trained and showed Callaway’s Annabel Allison to the Five-Gaited Mare World Champion title. Under Foley’s expertise, Callaway’s The Best and Brightest earned the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare World Championship and Just Plain George won the World’s Championship Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class – all in 2011.

The Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy was awarded to Janice Giles (Pleasureville, KY). This trophy is presented to an equestrian showing in a non-reining Western discipline. She made huge strides for the Friesian breed in 2011 with Friesian Victor FC. He was crowned the International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) National Champion Western Pleasure Open, National Champion Junior Western Pleasure, and World Champion Open Western Pleasure.

Steven Stiller (Elkhorn, WI) won the Norman K. Dunn Trophy, presented to an equestrian competing at halter or in-hand. A consistent showman, his results from the 2011 IFSHA World and Grand National Championship were record-setting. Over just two days he won five World Champion, two National Champion, six Reserve World Champion, two Reserve National Champion, and 10 Top Five Champion titles.

The Vaughn Smith Trophy was awarded to Danielle Barrasso (Chicopee, MA) for her success with Arabians and Friesians in 2011. The Vaughan Smith Trophy is presented to the best rider of any horse or pony breed shown in hunter pleasure, show hack, hunter hack, dressage hack, costume, side saddle, or Western dressage. Barrasso won impressively with Klaas fan Synadea, Steffen S, Renaissance and Hilbrand fan Fjildisah in 2011. She scored eight World Championship titles and a National championship.

It was a banner year for these eight equestrians across the USEF breeds and disciplines. The USEF membership, board of directors and designated equestrian media voted to decide the winner.

James C. Wofford (Upperville, VA) collected Lifetime Achievement accolades in front of legions of his fans. A lifelong servant and student of the sport he was a multiple medal-winning eventing rider, coach, trainer, author, AHSA president, administrator, broadcaster…and legend.

Learn more about Wofford by watching this video about his life: 2011 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award Video Remembrance

Listen to his acceptance speech: James C. Wofford Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance

Jacob Arnold (Snow Camp, NC) picked up his laurels for Junior Equestrian of the Year. One of the few young drivers in his sport, he has caught the attention of many in his discipline for his ability and poise.

Learn more about Jacob by watching this video: 2011 Junior Equestrian of the Year

Read more about Wofford and Arnold here:

The USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award was presented to Morgan enthusiast and competitor Sascha Mills for her style and contributions both in and out of the competition arena. She was nominated by the American Morgan Horse Association.

More information about Mills is available here:

Raymond Francis, Nancy Nathanson and Marvin McCabe received Pegasus Medals of Honor.

The McDevitt Award of Merit is awarded posthumously to people who have passed away during the preceding competition year. In 2011 Johann SennCornelia Serpell and Art Gayan were honored.

Sportsmanship Award and Walter B Devereux Trophy was given to Georgine Winslett in 2011.

The Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy is given, at the discretion of USEF President David O’Connor, to honor distinguished service in equestrian sport. The winner of this award is known only to the president until it is presented and in 2011, O’Connor chose Howard Simpson.

USEF Equus Foundation Humanitarian Award was awarded to Molly Sweeney.

Read more about her life and volunteer work here:

Charles DennehyElizabeth Searle and Edward Teater were added to Honor Roll of Distinguished Officials for their service to equestrian competition.

Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy was awarded to Morgan Silver for her work with the Florida Horse Protection Association.

Joan Hamilton, an acclaimed Saddlebred breeder at Kalarama Farm, was honored with the Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Trophy.

Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award was bestowed to Dr. Margaret “Meg” Sleeper for topping the USEF Endurance Rider Ranking List in 2011.

The reception before the Pegasus Dinner was made possible by Publishers Press, and the Pegasus Dinner was sponsored by the USA Equestrian Trust. Makes sure to check out all of the Annual Meeting Sponsors here:

On demand video from the Pegsus awards will be available here:

-Courtesy of USEF Communications

Neville Bardos and Sjoerd Named 2011 Horses of the Year by the United States Equestrian Federation

January 14, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

Cincinnati, OH – For the first time ever, USEF crowned two horses with its highest honor, one from an International Discipline and one from a National Discipline. Neville Bardos and Sjoerd were named 2011 Horses of the Year at tonight’s USEF annual Horse of the Year celebration. Honored for their accomplishments in 2011 their roads through the last 12 months, while both exceptional, have been very different.

Videos of all of the Horses of Honor are available here:


Neville Bardos – Eventing

He shouldn’t have lived. But he did. He shouldn’t have returned to his life as an event horse. But he returned better than ever. Trapped in a burning barn for 45 minutes, Neville Bardos made a miraculous recovery from injuries sustained in a fire that claimed the lives of six other horses at his rider Boyd Martin’s barn in West Grove, PA. The now 13-year-old Australian Thoroughbred gelding won the USEF National CCI3* championship in 2009 and was 10th at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games – leading the U.S. effort. But his life changed dramatically in the early hours of Memorial Day in 2011. Martin pulled him out of the burning barn to safety. Neville Bardos was left with horrific injuries due to massive amounts of smoke inhalation and the subsequent damage to his throat.

Neville, who is owned by 10 members of a syndicate bearing his name, never seemed to feel as badly as he should have and he began making a miraculous recovery. Through the help of his vet (Dr. Kevin Keane), his groom (Lindsey Taylor) and the Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center (where he visited the Hyperbaric Hyperbaric Chamber) Neville defied the odds and made a miracle trip to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in England in September. He rocketed around the cross-country course clean and fast and finished seventh at the world’s toughest CCI4*.

Horse of the Year Neville Bardos (Photo Courtesy of USEA)

Braver than brave, Neville Bardos’ courage saw him through more than just a difficult cross country course it helped see Martin through the rebuilding of his own life. Shortly after the fire, Martin lost his father in a bicycling accident in Australia. Shortly after that Martin’s wife Silva lost her father to cancer. It was a nightmare summer for the Martin’s and Neville’s success helped them find their way through it.

In 2011, he was also second at the Red Hills Horse Trials in the CIC3*(in March), fourth in the Advanced at the Millbrook Horse Trials in August. If Neville Bardos had lived the rest of his life in the field this story would have had a no less incredible and happy ending. But Neville was looking to make a miracle and tonight was the next chapter in that mission.

Hear the reaction to Neville Bardos’s win here:


Sjoerd – Friesian

Not to be outdone by a tearjerker Sjoerd’s year on the National circuit was one of insurmountable success. Xena Vimercati’s stallion won and won and won. He transcended divisions, riders and classes. Anyone lining up against the striking jet black Friesian knew that to try to beat him they better bring their A game.

He was honored for his confirmation and presence in the ring and with his panache and personality he garnered fans everywhere he went. He was undefeated in 2011 in the Halter division.

Sjoerd was named World or Grand National Champion 14 times in 2011. He also added four World/Grand National Reserve Champion titles to his list.

At just six years of age, Sjoerd is beginning to build a dynasty.

Horse of the Year Sjoerd (Rick Osteen Photo)

He won back-to-back Shakespeare Perpetual Hi-Point Friesian Trophies and Jeff Wonnell Memorial Versatility Silver Belt Buckles continuing a streak that began in 2010. He also scored the Robin ut de Warren Memorial Perpetual Trophy, World Champion Saddle Seat Open, 19 Regional titles and 5 Reserve Championships. He won with 10 different people in 2011, demonstrating his versatility and trust. He won across the country, picking up championships in California, Colorado and Virginia. He won with multiple riders across divisions at the same show, exemplifying his ability to adapt to different styles of riding in the different classes he contested. He won Equitation, Dressage, Liberty, Walk/Trot, English Pleasure, Trail, Hunt Seat Pleasure, Saddle Seat, Western Pleasure, Junior and Amateur Classes.

As a sire, he is already beginning to prove his mettle. He is the sire of TDR Zivah the Diva who was the 2011 USEF Grand National Champion Part-bred Friesian. In 2010 and 2011 she was the Grand National Part-bred Halter Champion. Sjoerd’s foals, although only yearlings and weanlings, are consistently winning top honors in the show ring. They carry his looks and his talent with them.

Hear the reaction to Sjoerd’s win here:


The other four Horses of Honor are:

Starr Llight – Arabian

Starr Llight is frequently referred to as both Dynamic and a Diva. Every time the now 16-year-old Arabian mare enters the ring she rises to the occasion. With her young owner Leah Beth Boyd in the stirrups, Starr Llight ended up winning a spectacular ride-off for the coveted Open Purebred English Pleasure title at the 2011 Arabian National Championships. With that victory, Starr Llight became the winningest Purebred English Pleasure mare of all time and is only the second mare since 1988 to win the title.She is also the oldest mare, and second oldest horse overall, ever to garner the coveted prize.

Purchased by her young owner in 1999 from a dispersal sale, this mare has now won 11 National or Reserve Championship titles. Boyd and Starr Llight are the only Arabian horse/rider team to win a National Championship in the Junior exhibitor, the Amateur exhibitor, and the Open division.

CHThe Daily Lottery – Saddlebred

When it comes to the Five-Gaited division for Saddlebreds, High Hickory Farm’s CHThe Daily Lottery put together an undefeated record in amateur competition in 2011. CHThe Daily Lottery scored Grand Champion titles at the UPHA/American Royal, Kentucky Fall Classic, Midwest Charity Horse Show, Bonnie Blue National, and the Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show and dominated every time he set foot in the ring.

The now 8-year-old is no stranger to success with his rider Gabe Deknatel and his consistency and big motion are impossible to ignore. Trained by John and Tammie Conatser, CHThe Daily Lottery is handsome, fast and seemingly invincible.

Coral Reef Via Violo – Jumping

Though small in stature (15.3h) and nicknamed “Shrimp,” Coral Reef Via Violo is a giant when it comes to jumping. With one of the world’s best riders, Beezie Madden, aboard she topped the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List for much of the 2011 competition year and went on to impress the world at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. She led Team USA’s Gold-medal effort, which also secured 2012 Olympic qualification. She added only one time fault through five rounds of jumping and won Individual Silver to back up the Team Gold.

In 2011, Coral Reef Ranch’s Via Violo and Madden racked up numerous wins across the globe. They were on the winning team in the Nations Cup at the CSIO4* Wellington. They won the D-LINE Cup 1.60m Spruce Meadows and the Longines International Grand Prix of Rotterdam (CHIO). A recent partnership, having won their first competition together just over a year ago, the future for Coral Reef Via Violo is bright.

Weltino’s Magic – Dressage

Bruce and Jen Hlavacek’s Weltino’s Magic was undefeated in 2011, winning with Steffen Peters at the Intermediaire I level at the Festival of the Horse CDI and the Del Mar National CDI in California before heading to CHIO Aachen and taking on the best small tour horses in the world. Together they continued their unbeaten streak in Aachen, Germany, and then returned home to sweep all three tests in the USEF National Intermediaire I Dressage Championships at the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions in September to earn their spot on the U.S. Team for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

They continued to set a remarkably high standard at the Pan American Games and brought home Team and Individual Gold medals. ‘Magic’s’ character comes through in his performance and he has evolved into a top contender since he was started by Peters’ wife, Shannon. With Shannon he was Markel/USEF National Young in the Six-Year-Old division.

Dozens of champions were honored across the USEF’s 28 Breeds and Disciplines tonight. From jumpers to hackneys, vaulting horses to parade horses, the evening recognized the best horses from 2011. The reception and the HOTY dinner were made possible by Adequan, a steadfast supporter of the USEF. For more information about our other Annual Meeting Sponsors please visit: http://www.usef.org/convention/2012/sponsors.aspx.

More information about the Horses of the Year and the 2012 Annual Meeting is available here:


Boyd Martin poses with members of the Neville Bardos syndicate. Photo by Kim MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Boyd Martin poses with members of the Neville Bardos syndicate. Photo by Kim MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Boyd Martin is congratulated by USEF President David O'Connor for Neville Bardos' International Horse of the Year award. Photo by Kim MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Jen & Bruce Hlavacek, owners of Pan American Games gold medalist in dressage Weltino's Magic, accept Magic's 2012 USEF Horse of Honor from dressage from David O'Connor. Photo by Kim MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Owner Gwendolyn Southern Meyer and family with rider Beezie Madden, accepted Coral Reef Via Violo's 2012 USEF Horse of Honor Award at the USEF Horse of the Year Banquet. Photo by Kim MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Trotting into 2012

January 13, 2012 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'

By Sarah Dodge for Sean O’Keefe Events

Happy New Year to all our SOE friends out there! 2011 was surely a fabulous year for Sean O’Keefe Events, and we’re looking forward to making 2012 even more eventful and beautiful. We’re already off to a trotting start with the upcoming second annual Sidelines Tetrathlon benefiting the Equestrian Aid Foundation happening February 5th, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The event is chalk full of dressage, show jumping, reining, and a lively polo match to round out the event’s horse activities. The evening will feature enticing culinary fare from local chefs Dustin Parfitt of Oli’s, Clay Carnes of The Grille, and Darryl Moiles of the Four Seasons Resort of the Palm Beaches. Along with food from these talented and passionate chefs, the event will also include tastings from other local restaurants including the International Polo Club Catering, Field of Greens, Top Notch Catering, White Horse Tavern, Pangea Bistro, Taylor Made Café, and Christy’s New York Cheesecake. Needless to say, this event will fill your belly and engage your senses in every way possible.

A 2011 tetrathlon participant. Photo ©Emily Allongo

A few months ago, I had the honor of sitting down with Sheryl Kursar, EAF’s managing director, to get a little insight into what this amazing nonprofit organization is all about. The Equestrian “AIDS” Foundation was founded in 1996 as a national nonprofit aimed at providing assistance to those horsemen or horsewoman living with HIV/AIDS. Over time, the foundation has expanded to aid the general horseman population in need while still remaining true to its original cause. It is “rescue for horse-people” as Sheryl put it, and over the years the foundation has helped people get back on their horses by “giving them the leg-up they need.” By providing medical, food, housing, and insurance assistance, EAF provides that “leg-up” that horsemen seek but cannot readily find after a traumatic injury or accident. The foundation works case-by-case, working with generous donations from individuals such as yourself as well as fundraising events, hence why the upcoming February 5th fundraising event is so important.

People come in from all over the country to take part in the horse events, the culinary delights, and the overall camaraderie and support that exists between the horse community and the Equestrian Aid Foundation. Sean O’Keefe Events is certainly looking forward to this upcoming event and we hope you are too. For more information about this amazing foundation, the work they do, as well as how you can be involved in this event or others, head to equestrianaidfoundation.org. Also, stay connected through this website and the Sean O’Keefe Events Facebook page to stay current on this event and other 2012 events.

West Palm Beach, Florida will certainly be ablaze with activity come the weekend of February 3-5th, 2012. But Sean O’Keefe Events is already building the anticipation and excitement leading up to the event, starting this Thursday, January 12th with the Tick Tock to the Tetrathlon launch party at Oli’s Fashion Cuisine. We’ll see you at 7:00!

Via http://seanokeefeevents.com/blog.php