Monday, December 22, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Congratulations to Margie Engle as the 2008 USEF Show Jumping Champion.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Engle Wins 2008 Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship; Farrington takes $60,000 Holiday & Horses FEI World Cup Qualifier
December 7, 2008

Margie Engle and Hidden Creeks Quervo GoldWellington, FL – The second and final leg of the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach showcased some of the country’s best horses and riders. Todd Minikus won the first leg on Friday night with Pavarotti but Sunday brought a whole new challenge.

35 riders went to task in Sunday’s $60,000 Holiday & Horses FEI World Cup Qualifier which included riders from six nations and featured the final USEF National Championship of 2008. Veteran rider Margie Engle put in the most consistent performance over the two rounds to end up on top. Despite placing eighth overall on Sunday – their third place from the first leg propelled them into the winner’s spot. Riding Hidden Creek’s Quervo Gold on Sunday (and Hidden Creek’s Pamina L on Friday) she ended up on 44 points,, beating out Kirsten Coe and Starlight for the coveted Rolex watch.

“There were so many different things going on,” said Engle. “So I wasn’t sure – so it was kind of a nice surprise.”

Engle won the National Championship a decade ago on Hidden’s Creek Glory in Gladstone, NJ, and she felt this year’s course was plenty tough.

“I thought it was a good test and it was big enough and some technical parts to it,” said Engle. “The rails seemed light. I saw a couple roll off easily. It was a big enough course for what we do this time of year. I didn’t think their would be a ton clears when I walked it.”

Engle, who celebrated her 50th birthday in 2008, rode Hidden Creek Farm’s dependable campaigner, Quervo Gold to an eight fault round but her overall placing was good enough for the championship. The 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding jumped up from third for his rider, after Minikus had four down on Pavarotti and Hillary Dobbs, who was second after the first round, had 13 faults on Marengo.

Engle, who has been a cornerstone of the US show jumping programs for decades sees this season as a rebuilding year.

“I’m trying to rebuild my string a little bit,” said Engle. “I have two young horses and hopefully have one for the WEG (the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games) so this year I hope to have those young horses gain some experience here over the next few months. Going to the World Cup Final would be a bonus because I love Las Vegas.”

Coe and Starlight were crowned the Reserve Champions on their score of 42 points, they too had an eight fault performance on Sunday, and were slightly slower than Engle to slip into the runner-up spot to remain one spot behind Engle.

28-year-old Coe from Johnson, SC, and Laura King’s 9-year-old KWPN gelding recently represented the US on the winning Nations Cup Team at the CSIO Buenos Aires in November.

Anthony D’Ambrosios’s track proved difficult and only two managed clear rounds. Russia’s Ljubov Kochetov jumped the first fault-free round on Aslan, as the 12th combination in the arena. Seven horses later, the 2007 National Champions, Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui, guaranteed a jump-off by putting in one of their signature impressive clear rounds. Neither rider was in the hunt for the National Championship, but when the dust settled after the jump-off, Farrington and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood prevailed with a faster clear in the jump-off and won the World Cup Qualifier.

“I had to be a little bit careful because I had to go clear,” said Farrington, who followed Kochetov in the jump-off. “I had a light rub in the in and out and got away with that so then I just let him go. My horse is naturally faster, he’s that type of horse so I knew I had to make one or two neat turns, going last is a huge advantage.”

Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui won the Grand Prix second legFarrington’s goal for Up Chiqui is to pick up enough World Cup points to qualify with the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final in Vegas.

“He’s a funny horse when he hasn’t shown in a while, he felt a lot better today than he did the other night,” said Farrington of the incredibly consistent Up Chiqui. “I have a lot of confidence in that horse and I always think there is a chance I can win even when I might not have a chance.”

Farrington finished fifth in the National Championship standings after he finished 14th in the opening round.

“Of course I was disappointed, I knew after the other night that it was probably unrealistic,” said Farrington about defending his title from 2007.

Kochetov was delighted with her horse’s performance, the 8-year-old Aslan hasn’t competed since the Olympic Games, so his rider had ‘no complaints’ with her second place finish.

For more information please contact Joanie Morris at For complete results please see

Written by Joanie Morris · Filed Under Hunters & Jumpers, Joanie Morris, USA, WEF

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Minikus and Pavarotti Cruise to the Top of the Leaderboard of the 2008 Rolex/USEF National Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach
Release: December 06 2008

Wellington, FL – The 2008 Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motor Coach kicked off the Florida season in grand style at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL on Friday December 5. Under the lights in the International Ring, 43 horse and rider combinations including 2007 National Champions Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui went to task for the $40,000 Holiday & Horses Opener which served as the first of two legs of the National Championship.

Todd Minikus and Pavarotti were the best of the 29 American combinations in the running for the national title. With a lightning fast performance in the speed class where faults are converted into time they finished on a time of 69.11 as the third pair in the ring.

“I was disappointed that I had to go early especially with Marengo and Hillary coming right behind me and with 40 some entries – going third usually doesn’t hold up. Kent and Up Chiqui and probably a dozen horses in the class that could have been the winner. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”

The 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (owned by Todd Minikus Ltd.) stands less than 16 hands but found serious airtime as he flew around the course. The Loxahatchee, FL rider liked the fact that he can utilize Pavarotti’s versatility.

“Anthony did a nice job of giving you inside or around options but if you did the inside option for the most part you had to do the add option in the lines,” said Minikus of the course. “Pavarotti has the ability, although he is very short has the ability of a very long stride. As far as a championship course it was good, it maybe could have been 1.50 m not 1.45m.”

Minikus was relieved he went fast enough for the win, because he knows there are places on the course where he could have gone even quicker.

“I made very tight turns but they weren’t forward riding tight turns but they were tidy,” she said.

Minikus and Pavarotti were .71 seconds fast than the pair that followed them as Hillary Dobbs and Marengo also blazed around Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course. Owned by the Dobbs Group, the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding jumped a brave round under the lights.

“I was really lucky,” said Dobbs. “It is always hard going early. The first two horses were big horses with big strides and mine is quicker. Todd did all the inside turns, I was debating which ones to do, so I made myself do them all for practice. My horse was amazing. I did some dicey angles… He’s always a brave horse and he was backed off just enough so he was super careful.”

Dobbs felt she could have gone faster but that she added strides in a couple of places where Minikus left them out.

“From the triple to the triple bar, I had such a sharp angle I had to do six after the triple bar and Todd did five.,” said Dobbs. “There were two or three places where I could or should have left out but didn’t.”

Dobbs, a 20-year-old student at Harvard University enjoys a distraction from school by coming to Florida even at the end of a long season.

“I don’t get sick of it,” said Dobbs who hasn’t had much of a break all year. “I just want to be at the horse shows and get better. It is also a nice break from school, especially during midterms.”

A Herculean effort has gone in to preparing the venue at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for the Final USEF Championship of 2008 and the 2009 show season. Organizer Mark Bellisimo and hundreds of staff worked around the clock to ensure that the stage was ready when the curtain was drawn.

The second and final leg of the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship gets underway Sunday afternoon when the riders take to the ring for the $60,000 Holiday and Horses World Cup Qualifier at 2 p.m.

For more information, please contact Joanie Morris at For complete results please see:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday & Horses CSI-W/CDI*** Opens at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Release: December 04 2008

By Ken Braddick

Holiday & Horses CSI-W/CDI*** opened Wednesday in the made-over Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with about 200 horses competing in hunter and jumper classes. Dressage begins Thursday.

Competitors expressed amazement at the multimillion dollar improvements to PBIEC, especially seating around the showcase International Arena. Spectator seating for the International Club, VIP boxes, rider stands and general admission seating were all rebuilt from the ground up.

Opening of the show that features the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach was rated about perfect, under blue skies and the temperature reaching 70 degrees.

The $10,000 Dever, Inc., Welcome Stake was the only class held in the International Arena Wednesday. Kent Farrington of Wellington, FL, on Thunder-ball took first place ahead of Ireland's Shane Sweetnam on Amaretto d'Arco in second and Chris Kappler and VDL Oranta in third.

About $5 million was spent prior to the 2008 Winter Equestrian Festival by Equestrian Sport Productions, the management company of the Wellington shows. ESP is owned by Wellington Equestrian Partners.

Another $5-million has been invested in recent months to complete renovations and improvements.

Holiday & Horses highlights, all in the International Arena, are:

—7 p.m. Friday - Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach - Speed Class
—7 p.m. Saturday - CDI*** Dressage Musical Freestyle
—2 p.m. Sunday - Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach - Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier.

Prize money for the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach is $40,000 for the Speed Class, $60,000 for the Grand Prix and $25,000 for the top finishing U.S. rider.

In addition to the competition, there will be a children's fair, pony rides, Santa Claus and a tree lighting ceremony.

Hunter and jumper competition kicked off Wednesday while horses entered in the CDI*** dressage will perform a veterinary jog.
Ken Braddick, Press Releases, WEF
Over 40 Entries in Friday Night’s First Round of Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship

December 4, 2008

WELLINGTON, Fla., Dec. 4–More than 40 horse and rider combinations from six nations will compete Friday night in the first phase of the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Kent Farrington of Wellington, Fla. will ride Up Chiqui on whom he won the 2007 title against a field that includes several Olympians, including riders from three different countries at this year’s Games.

Laura Kraut, a member of the USA’s gold medal team, will ride Olympia 90 and Canecko Z, Russian Olympian Ljubov Kochetov will ride Chambertino, Comet and Aslan while Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios will ride Sinatra and Lagran.

Ireland’s Darragh Kerins will be competing with HH Carlsson vom Dach that was on the USA gold medal team in Hong Kong ridden by Will Simpson.

Friday night’s speed class with prize money of $40,000 starts at 7 pm in the International Arena.

The Grand Prix that is the second phase and carries $60,000 in prize money and $25,000 to the top finishing U.S. rider will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tables for both the Friday night and Sunday afternoon competitions are still available in the International Club.

Reservations can be made by telephoning Kiki Umla at 561 793 5867 or 904 607 5541.

Written by Ken Braddick · Filed Under Ken Braddick, Press Releases, WEF

Monday, December 1, 2008

Looks like we will be wintering in Florida for the remainder of 2008 and through March 2009. We're very excited that home-base will be at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington. We plan to go to Ocala, Tampa and other horse shows in Florida as well.