Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jumping: USEF: U.S. Young Riders Win Big in Austria By Joanie Morris

The U.S. Junior and Young Riders.
Photo USEF Archives.

Lamprechtshausen, Austria - In an incredible finish, the U.S. Young Rider Show Jumping Team scored their first Nations Cup victory of their summer tour, triumphing over the Swiss with a total of five faults.

The U.S. and Switzerland were tied after the first round, each country carrying only one time fault forward to the second round. Catherine Pasmore led things off for the U.S. - she had one rail in the first round on My Boy, but bounced back to jump clear in the second round. Ricky Neal picked up one
time fault in round one, but had 15 faults in the second round - eventually the drop score from that round - on Transmission. Reed Kessler jumped two flawless rounds on Onisha. Jessica Springsteen rode Vornado van den Hoendrik to a four-fault effort in round two (after a first-round clear) to bring the total to five.  

The Swiss weren't going to let Chef d'Equipe Michele Grubb's American squad get away easily with the win. They kept the pressure on until their very last rider went in the ring. Nicole Muller, picked up nine faults on Chansing Wind to bring the Swiss total to 10 and give the U.S. team the win.

After two runner-up efforts at CSIOY Bonheiden and CSIOY Reims, the Young Riders got their win.

The European Young Rider Tour heads to CSIOY Hagen, in Germany, for the next week of competition June 15-18.


Full results are available here:

Read Catherine Pasmore's blog here: 

Jumping: Saugerties: Margie Engle returns to HITS Saugerties and captures the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome and $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health

© ESI Photography.
Margie Engle and Ashland Farms' Lord Spezi on course in Friday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

                   SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (June 11, 2011) — Margie Engle made a triumphant return to HITS Saugerties this week and reignited her winning streak in the Strongid C 2X Stadium when she captured both the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome on Wednesday and the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard Ashland Farms’ Lord Spezi on Friday.

On Wednesday, Engle of West Palm Beach, Florida and Lord Spezi beat out 38 starters in the Brook Ledge Open Welcome, with Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, Florida and Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables Inc.’s Sweetheart in second, followed by Richard Moloney of Wellington, Florida with Equinimity LLC’s Alsvid in third.

In Friday’s feature class, Engle, Minikus and Moloney were at it again as three of 42 starters on a course designed by International Course Designer Olaf Petersen Jr. of Muenchen, Germany. After the first round, ten horse-and-rider combinations returned to navigate the short course in an exciting jump-off.

Nicholas Dello Joio of Wellington, Florida returned first in the jump-off aboard his own Geledimar and set the Great American Time to Beat at 41.479 seconds. Dello Joio was joined in the jump-off by his father, Norman Dello Joio aboard Thelma Romero-Cloud’s Notre Star De La Nutria. Father and son finished third and fourth, respectively.

The all-star duo of Minikus and Pavarotti, owned by Todd Minikus, LTD., were second to jump-off and went clear with a fast time of 38.139 seconds and put a tight grip on the lead. The next six riders failed to go clear and it was starting to seem like Minikus had it all wrapped up until Engle and Lord Spezi entered the ring.
© ESI Photography.
Lisa Engel and Christine Pankratz of HITS present Margie Engle and Lord Spezi with the awards for the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

“After I watched Todd go, I thought I was riding for second place,” said Engle, a former U.S. Olympian who is also the winningest Grand Prix rider of all time. “I think we all thought we were riding for second place, but I knew it had to be all or nothing and I need all the help I can get!”

Engle and Lord Spezi posted a clear jump-off in 37.410 seconds to take the lead, pushing Minikus into second place. “I’ve only been riding this horse for a short while and I just started going fast with him,” she commented. “He’s really handy and galloped up nicely for me.”

Rounding out the top five in Friday’s Grand Prix was Moloney aboard Equinimity LLC’s Let’s Go in fifth.
© ESI Photography.
Christine Pankratz joins Margie Engle and Lord Spezi in the winner's circle after the duo captured Wednesday's $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

Engle, who competed in the 2010 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, is back on course to qualify for this year’s installment, which is set to take place on September 11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. “I hope to qualify for the Pfizer Million Grand Prix again this year,” said Engle. “I will definitely be here a lot this summer.”

As the $100,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, approaches this Sunday to highlight the spring series of horse shows, Engle and Lord Spezi have plenty of momentum to potentially sweep the competition.

Sunday’s Purina Mills Grand Prix will be Engle’s and the rest of the High-Performance roster’s last chance this spring to capture prize money in order to qualify for the Pfizer Million before the summer circuit kicks-off at HITS Culpeper on Wednesday, July 6 for two consecutive weeks. The Culpeper shows in July will feature two more $40,000 Pfizer Million Qualifying Grand Prix and then it’s back to HITS-on-the-Hudson for three consecutive weeks of competition and six more Pfizer Million Qualifiers starting on Wednesday, July 20.

About SmartPak Equine
Founded in 1999, SmartPak Equine is the country’s largest online and catalog retailer serving the needs of the active and engaged horse owner. The patented SmartPak™ supplement feeding system has simplified the process of feeding horse supplements and medications, making it easier for thousands of riders to keep their horses healthier by ensuring their supplements are being fed correctly. SmartPak’s diverse and expansive product offering includes its own line of supplements, tack, and horse blankets as well as an extensive selection of leading brands of equine health, apparel, tack, and equipment. SmartPak is a six-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree and is the only equine company ever named to the Inc 500 list. SmartPak is backed by Waltham, Massachusetts-based North Bridge Growth Equity.

HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, September 10-11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!


Lausanne (SUI), 10 June 2011

The 150-plus delegates representing nine different nationalities at the Australasian FEI Endurance Conference and Forum have now moved onto the Al Reef Endurance Festival, which takes place in Toorbul, Queensland (AUS) 11-14 June.

All the action from the Australasian Championship, which follows the highly successful conference, can be viewed on a live feed from

Footage begins on Saturday 11 June at 12.30pm with vetting and a pre-ride talk later that afternoon. Sunday morning is when the action unfolds - coverage starts at 5.00am and runs all day. On Monday 13 June there will be a live feed for a series of work-outs and presentations.


FEI NATIONS CUP™ 2011 - Promotional League Update
Lausanne (SUI), 9 June 2011

The Swiss, relegated from the Top League in 2010 but clearly on form when making a guest appearance in the FEI Nations Cup™ on their home ground at St Gallen last week, are heading the 2011 European Promotional League table after the first three legs of the series and look set for an early return to the elite level of the sport.

This year the Promotional League looks a little different, with teams from three qualifying groups entitled to battle it out for a place in the 2012 Top League.  The 12 nations which have competed in the European series so far are Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Brazil, Australia, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Portugal, Hong Kong and Hungary, but the Swiss advantage is a slender one going into the fourth of the six rounds at Drammen, Norway next week.

The Swiss finished sixth at the opening leg in Linz-Ebelsberg, Austria early last month, and ninth at round two in Copenhagen, Denmark a week later.  However runner-up spot behind Sweden at Lisbon, Portugal two weeks ago has given them a 0.5 point advantage over the Spanish who have registered an eighth and two fifth-place finishes so far.  The Spanish put up some tremendously spirited performances when joining the Top League last season and are making a determined effort to qualify once again.

Sweden lies only 0.5 points further adrift and one point ahead of the Italians on the league table right now.  Double-clears from Erika Lickhammer (Hip Hop) and Lisen Bratt-Fredricson (Matrix), a foot-perfect opening effort from Alexander Zettermann (High Yummy) and a second-round clear from Helena Persson (Bonzai) provided the Swedes with a zero score and a clear victory at Lisbon where the Swiss side of Steve Guerdat (Ferrari), Jessy Putallaz (Kolebo des Cabanes), Martin Fuchs (Principal) and Marc Oertly (Tambur) lined up second carrying just four faults.

Last Friday, following his side's equal-second finish in St Gallen, Guerdat explained that there is a clear plan for the Swiss campaign as they march back to the top level of the sport.  It's a realistic one, based on ensuring plenty of back-up for the more experienced team members.  So a broader pool of riders are being given the chance to show what they can do.

"We would like to be back at the top level again soon, but on the other hand we have to be able to call on many more riders and horses than we did previously.  You can't send Pius (Schwizer) and myself to every event, we have to build up a new, bigger team slowly and carefully so that we are not always relying on the same few all the time.  We want to be really competitive when we get back to the top - and that may be next year or it could be the year after, but one way or another we will be back!" he insisted.

A total of three teams from the European series will qualify for the Promotional League final at Barcelona in September where the winning side will earn the last available place for the 2012 Top League.  Three more will qualify for the final from the new Challengers League which is currently led by The Ukraine.  To date eight nations have competed in this series, and following their victory on home ground at Bojourishte recently, the Bulgarians lie second.

The result of the North and South American League is already decided, with the Canadians emerging as clear winners ahead of Mexico in second and Argentina in third place.  There were just three legs - at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada last September, at Buenos Aires, Argentina in November and at Wellington, USA in March of this year.  The USA won all three competitions, but since they, and the Irish who finished second in Calgary, are already competing in the top level FEI Nations Cup™, it was the Canadians who picked up maximum points with a third-place finish and two runner-up spots.

The challenge, both financial and logistical, of sending teams to Europe to compete in the Top League however is an enormous one for the countries on the other side of the Atlantic.  So whether there will be any representatives from this series at the 2011 Promotional League final remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, five rounds of the Challengers League have yet to take place - at Athens, Greece and Sopot, Poland later this month, at Minsk, Belarus in July, Bratislava, Slovakia in August and Praha, Czech Republic in September while, after Drammen next week, the European series moves on to Hamina in Finland in July and Gijon, Spain in early September.

The European Promotional League series champions will replace one of the two teams relegated at the end of the 2011 FEI Nations Cup™, and the winners of what promises to be the thrilling qualifying series final in Barcelona on Sunday 25 September will replace the other.  There is plenty more action before the 2012 FEI Nations Cup™ line-up is finalised, and plenty of big battles to be fought between the nations who want to be where it counts - at the top end of this popular and highly-competitive sport in which national pride and great horsemanship go hand-in-hand.

THE FEI PROMOTIONAL LEAGUE consists of three separate series - the European Promotional League, the Challengers League and the North and South America League - from which countries can qualify for the Top League FEI Nations Cup™.  A total of three teams from the European and Challengers Leagues, and one from the North and South America series, are eligible to compete at the FEI Promotional League Final in Barcelona, Spain in September.  The winning team from this competition will qualify for the 2012 FEI Nations Cup™ along with the 2011 European Promotional League champions.


Lausanne (SUI), 8 June 2011

Over 150 delegates representing nine different nationalities are attending the Australasian FEI Endurance Conference and Forum, which began in Brisbane (AUS) today.

Delegates from Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, the UAE and the USA are taking part in three days of lectures and discussion sessions across a wide range of topics relating to international Endurance.

This is the first time the world forum has been held outside Europe and guest speakers have travelled from Canada, America, the UAE, Malaysia and Switzerland, and from across Australia.

The members of the FEI Endurance Technical Committee who are in attendance will also meet during the Forum and attend the Australian Endurance Festival taking place this weekend featuring FEI competitions at 1*, 2* and 3* level.

The conference organisers state that the primary goal of the three-day meeting is to achieve the aspirations of the FEI Code of Conduct, which states “The FEI urges all involved with the sport to attain the highest levels of education in their areas of expertise.”

As well as a debate on the future of international competitions in Africa, Asia and Australia, the conference will also discuss:

•    implementation of the new rules and implications of the new star rating for treatment veterinarians
•    improving the understanding of the roles of officials
•    changes to the Veterinary Regulations with regard to medication control
•    examination of horses during competition especially metabolics and lameness
•    issues relating to the treatment of horses at endurance rides
•    improved nutrition and training methods for endurance horses and issues related to rider safety

“This conference and forum has given representatives from the regional nations a unique opportunity to meet together and exchange views with other nations from both within the region but also from much further afield”, FEI Director of Non-Olympic Sports Ian Williams said.

Further information on the conference, including a full list of speakers, plus details of the Endurance Festival can be found here.


Endurance became an FEI discipline in 1982. It is now the fastest growing of all the FEI disciplines and is second only to Jumping in competitor numbers.

In 2010 alone there were 799 CEIs (Concours d’Endurance International), with 706 taking place in 2009 and 467 in 2008.

CEIs are divided into four different star levels as follows:

1*: All rides are between 80 - 119 km in one day
2*: All rides are between 120 - 139 km in one day or 70 - 89 km over two days
3*: All rides are between 140 - 160 km in one day, or 90-100 km over two days, or 70-80 km over 3 days or more.
4*: Senior Championships of a minimum of 160 km in one day; Junior and Young Rider Championships of a minimum of 120 km and maximum of 130 km in one day.

USEF: This Week in International Disciplines From the USEF Communications Department


American dressage star Guenter Seidel returned to top form at CDI Hamburg, winning the Grand Prix Freestyle on UII. Seidel, who has represented the United States on numerous occasions, broke his pelvis a year ago and has made an amazing recovery to the top of the sport. After a third place finish in the Grand Prix in Hamburg, Seidel topped the field in the Freestyle with a score of 73.400%. Lillann Jebsen of Norway was second on Pro-Set and Alexandra Bimschas was third for Germany on Dick Tracy.
Results from Hamburg are available here:

Not far away at the Munich CDI5*, Shawna Harding rode Come On III to sixth place with a score of 66.542% in the CDI5* Moorlands Grand Prix Special. Harding has been training and competing in Europe since the Reem Acra World Cup Dressage Final.

Results from Munich are available here:

Back in the U.S. at the CDI in Raleigh, NC Susie Dutta dominated the Grand Prix division on Currency DC. They scored a victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 71.025% over James Koford on Rhett and Tuny Page on Wild One. Dutta and Currency DC's score of 66.319% meant they topped the Grand Prix field as well. Susanne Dansby Bollman was second and Page and Wild One were third again. Page picked up a win of her own in the Grand Prix Special riding Alina. They scored 65.971% to take top honors over Luis Reteguiz-Denizard on Nalando and Dansby Bollman on Cooper.

In the small tour, Tami Batts topped big fields to win both the Intermediaire I and the
 Freestyle on Ranko. She won the Freestyle with a score of 71.417% over Endel Ots and Toscano and Venezualan rider Alejandro Gomez on Revenge. Batts took the top prize in the Intermediaire with a score of 69.430% over Lars Petersen on Willano (from Denmark) and Chris Hickey on Witness Hi
lltop. Petersen won the Prix St Georges, Ots and Toscano were second again and Hickey and Witness Hilltop were third again.

Information about the Raleigh CDI is available here:


Chester Weber (USA) won the dressage and stayed in the lead throughout the competition in Vecsés to claim the first CAIO victory of his career.                © Marie de Ronde-Oudemans.

Chester Weber scored a major victory in Hungary - he stormed to the win at the CAIO Veces (an FEI World Cup Driving qualifier) over Dutch Driver Koos de Ronde. Weber celebrated his 36th birthday as well as celebrating his first CAIO victory - which began with a winning dressage performance. Weber's sixth place marathon effort was enough to maintain the overall lead going into the cones. His faultless cones performance meant his final score of 145.51 gave him a four point lead over de Ronde. Jozsef Dobrovitz from Hungary was third. Weber nows sits fifth in the FEI World Cup Driving Final standings with 25 points.

Please visit the event website for more information:


Rich Fellers and Flexible Before the Rain
Photo by Beatrice Scudo
The U.S. Nations Cup team jumped to fourth place at CSIO St. Gallen in Switzerland on Friday. The Nations Cup was a good effort by the U.S. squad over a very difficult track. Margie Engle and Indigo, Charlie Jayne and Athena, Rich Fellers and Flexible and Christine McCrea and Romantovich Take One fought hard until the end with McCrea jumping clear in both rounds. This result moved the U.S. into fifth in the FEI Nations Cup Series standings after the first three legs.

The efforts kicked off on Thursday where Ashlee Bond and Cadett 7 were fifth in the Radisson Blu Hotel, St. Gallen, which was a speed class. On Saturday, Fellers and McGuinness were runners-up in the Wegelin & Co. Privatbankiers Table C class, and on Sunday Fellers returned to the irons on Flexible and put in a heroic effort in the Longines Grand Prix of Switzerland in a deluge of rain and wind to place second behind Great Britain's Nick Skelton. McCrea was third in the Grand Prix on Romantovich Take One.

Please visit for complete information or visit: for highlights, photos and coverage of the American effort in the FEI Nations Cup Series. 

At CSI Hamburg, Alexandra Thorton kicked off the horse show by winning the Prize of Eurogate Container Terminals Opening Competition for the CSI3*/CSI5*. She rode Silvana in the 1.40m class, beating  96 starters. This pair was then third in the CSI3* First Qualifier for the German Jumping Derby. Laura Kraut and Cedric were eighth in the Mercedes-Benz Championat of Hamburg CSI5*, which was won by Denis Lynch from Ireland on Latinus. Kraut was then second on Dona Evita in the illbruck-Poresta Youngster Cup CSIYH1* (for young horses) just a fraction behind Roger Yves Bost from France. Kraut and Dona Evita were then fifth in Saturday's Youngster Cup. Thorton and Silvana finished the weekend with a ninth place finish in the LGT Speed Derby CSI3*.

Please visit for complete information.

At CSI Munich in Germany, American Peter Wylde picked up ribbons all week. He was second and sixth in the CSI1* 1.40m classes with Wetter and fourth in the CSIYH 1* class with Zidane. In the CSI3*, Wylde was sixth on Lipton De L'Othain.

Complete results are available here:

At the CSI Eindhoven in The Netherlands, Cara Raether and Andrew Ramsay represented the U.S.  Ramsay began the week with an eighth place finish in the CSI3* Plospan Prijs on Julia des Brumes. Raether and Saskia 269 were then tenth in the International Jumping Competition CSI3* on Saturday and Ramsay rounded out the weekend with a sixth place finish on Woitchek in the VDL Groep Derby Eindhoven.  Sunday's class proved difficult class and there were no clear rounds.

Jumping results from Eidhoven are available here:

In British Columbia, the U.S. riders made their trip to Canada a productive one. Karl Cook led the U.S. charge in the CSI, he was sixth with Uno de Laubry and ninth with ASB Conquistador in the $55,000 CSI2*W Mibroc World Cup Grand Prix. Tammy Chipko and Zico 13 finished just ahead of ASB Conquistador in the World Cup class in eighth. The pair was also eighth in the $30,000 CSI2* Thunderbird Show Park Spring Classic in which Kirsten Coe rode Vernon G to a fifth place finish and Shelly Fellers was ninth on Revenge 421 while her husband Rich was jumping in St. Gallen.

There were a number of riders representing the U.S. in National level classes, please see: for complete information and results   

Endurance: USEF: Four Candidates Named to the Endurance Chef D' Equipe Short List

From the USEF Communications Department

Lexington, KY - The USEF High Performance Endurance Committee has named four candidates to the Endurance Chef d'Equipe Short List. During this extensive process, the USEF received 14 applications from three different nations. The Chef d' Equipe Search Committee interviewed six applicants in April. Prior to these interviews, athletes were given the opportunity to provide questions to the Search Committee to be included. Following the interviews, Joe Mattingley presented the Search Committee's rating of all 14 candidates to the USEF Eligible Athlete Committee who then made their recommendations to the Endurance High Performance Committee.  Taking into account the ratings of the candidates and the recommendations of the Athlete Committee, the Endurance High Performance Committee established the following to the short list:

Mark Dial (USA)
Dr. Flavia Ferraro (BRA)
Emmett Ross (USA)
Dr. Michele Roush (USA).

The four candidates have been invited to the Ashland CEI June 10-12, 2011 held in Ashland, Montana.  Endurance athletes will have the opportunity to meet and talk to candidates over the course of the event in an informal setting and on June 13th the Athlete Committee and Endurance High Performance Committee will conduct formal interviews with each individual candidate.

Following the interviews, the Athletes will once again make their recommendation to the High Performance Committee.

Members of the USEF Endurance Eligible Athlete Committee are:

Kathrine Brunjes, Chair
Carolyn Hock
Carol Giles
Jan Worthington
Valerie Kanavy
Heather Reynolds
Jeremy Reynolds
Stephen Rojek
Michele Roush
Christoph Schork
Margaret Sleeper

If you have any questions regarding the process, please don't hesitate to contact Joe Mattingley, or Vonita Bowers at

Dressage: USEF: 2011 Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trials Conclude

Eastern Selection Trial 5-year-old champion Lauren Chumley and Somer Hit.
Photo by Pics of You.
2011 Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trials Conclude with Three Horses Meeting the Qualification Requirement for FEI World Breeding Championships - By USEF Dressage Department

Lexington, KY - The Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Selection Trials 2011 qualifying season concluded last week at the Eastern Selection Trials in Leesburg, Va.

The top five 5-year-olds and top five 6-year-olds that earned a minimum score of 7.8 from the three competitions will make up the short list of horses moving forward to the 2011 Markel/USEF Dressage National Championship at Lamplight in Wayne, IL, August 26-28.

The first selection trial was held at Dressage at Lamplight, May 20-22. The 6-year-old class was dominated by Emily Wagner and WakeUp (Wagnis - Maiden Montreal by Macho), an American Warmblood owned by Wagner and bred in the United States by Beverly McLean. WakeUp's final score was an 8.244. Wagner and WakeUp were the only U.S. pair to compete at the 2010 FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships. Reserve Champion in the 6-year-old class went to Angela Hecker-Jackson and Allure S (by Rousseau - Sizarma by Farrington). The Dutch Warmblood is owned by Kerrin Dunn and was bred in the U.S. by Sonnenberg Farm with a score of 7.156. There were no 5-year-olds that qualified for the Central Selection Trials.

The second leg of the series, the Western Selection Trials, were held the following weekend at Dressage at Flintridge, May 26-29 in La Canada-Flintridge, CA. The 5-year-old champion was the bay Hanoverian stallion Sanceo (San Remo - St. Pr. Hauptstutbuch Rivera), owned by Alice Womble-Heitmann and bred by Gerhard Dustmann. Sabine Schut-Kery rode the stallion to a score of 8.228. Reserve champion went to Willy Arts and Bakara (Sir Sinclair - Thea by Idocus) with a score or 7.512. The Dutch Warmblood was bred and is owned by Janice Kissel. The 6-year-old champion was Sherry Van't Riet and Sir Deauville (Sir Donnerhall - Estella), a brown Oldenburg gelding owned by Van't Riet and bred by Karl-Heinz Drees. The pair earned an overall score of 7.092. Reserve Champion went to Bekki Vrono and Soleil (Sunny Boy - Ricoletta), a bay Oldenburg gelding owned by Vrono and bred by Werner Martens Achternhoff, with a score of 6.744.

The final selection trial was held in Leesburg, VA, at the VADA/NOVA Summer Dressage Show, June 3-5. The Eastern Selection Trial saw the third qualifying score for the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championship when Lauren Chumley and Somer Hit earned an 8.376 overall in the 5-year-old division. Somer Hit (Sandro Hit - Rhussia by Rotspon) is a black Hanoverian stallion owned by Alice Tarjan and bred in the U.S. by Mo Swanson of Rolling Stone Farm. Somer Hit earned a fourth-place finish in last year's Markel/USEF Dressage National Championship ridden by Tarjan. Reserve Champion went to Ulla Parker and Biscaya (Johnson - SPS Hauptstutbuch by Argentinus), an Oldenburg mare owned by Nancy Holowesko. Their final score was a 7.996. The Eastern Selection Trial 6-year-old champion was Silva Martin and Aesthete (Trento B - Unusual by Gribaldi) with an overall score of 8.148. Aesthete is no stranger to the Markel/USEF Young Horse Program; he was the Reserve Champion as a 5-year-old at these trials in 2010 and was the 2009 Markel/USEF National 4-year-old Champion. The bay, Dutch gelding is owned by Faye Woolf. Reserve Champion, with an overall score of 7.864 went to Jules Nyssen and Allegro (Son de Niro - Sonate by Ferro). The black Dutch gelding is owned by Nyssen.

During this three competition series, three horses earned overall combined scores of more than 8.2, and an invitation to the 2011 FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships in Verden, Germany, August 3-7. Additionally, U.S. horses competing abroad have the opportunity to earn qualifying scores for this prestigious World Championship. Invitations will be extended to the selected horses in June.

For more information regarding the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program please visit the USEF website here at or by contact Jeannie Blancq, National Director of Dressage Programs, at or 859.225.6918.

Para Dressage: Top British Para Equestrian Dressage rider Lee Pearson to miss out on selection for the 2011 European Championships

BEF Press Release: 8 June 2011
For immediate release

Nine times Paralympic gold medallist Lee Pearson will miss out on selection for the 2011 European Championships in September this year, the last major championships in the sport before London 2012. The 37 year old from Cheddleton in Staffordshire fell from his horse during a training session, injuring his back and putting him out of the saddle for the next eight weeks.

As a member of the elite World Class Performance Squad Lee received specialist medical support through the Lottery funded Programme where an MRI scan revealed he had fractured three vertebrae and crushed a fourth. “The news came as quite a shock” revealed Lee “I thought I must have sprained it as I’m able to carry on with life pretty much as normal. It’s just uncomfortable to ride; I never dreamed it could be broken.”

Although the fractures are stable and Pearson expects to make a full recovery he has been advised not to ride to allow everything time to heal and will be working closely with World Class Programme medical professionals as he recuperates. The enforced rest will mean he will miss the vital selection events, putting him out of contention for selection for the Para Equestrian Dressage European Championships that take place in September this year. It will also deny him the opportunity to add to the tally of 27 championship gold medals he has won so far in his illustrious career at the top of his sport.

Pearson is philosophical about the news: “Nothing is set in stone and I could be riding again sooner than I think but either way it’s much more important that I’m injury free and back in form for the London Paralympics next year.”

Equestrian Team GBR Performance Director Will Connell commented;
"All within the World Class Programme and the Federation wish Lee a speedy recovery and we will ensure he receives the very best support along the road back to the Podium.  Lee has been at the epicentre of the Para-Equestrian Team's many medal successes and we will miss him at the European Championships this year.  I am sure however that all the other riders on the Programme will re-double their efforts to ensure GBR secure a number of medals at the Championships.  We look forward to Lee's return in time for London 2012".

Para-Equestrian Dressage Performance Manager David Hunter added:
“It’s very unfortunate that Lee has had this accident and as a result will miss out on the selection process for the European Championships this year. We are relieved to hear though that it has been picked up early thanks to the excellent medical help we have been able to offer through the World Class Programme. We expect to see him back on board soon and fighting fit for London 2012.”

Once the two remaining selection events at Hickstead and Hartpury competitions have concluded in July, five British riders will be selected to compete at the Para Equestrian Dressage European Championships to be held in Moorsele in Belgium, 1-4 September 2011. The squad will each compete for individual medals and four riders will also contest the team competition where GBR will be looking to retain their unbeaten title. British riders have won team gold at every Paralympic, World and European Championship since the sport began. Lee Pearson will undoubtedly be missed by his fellow team mates but with so much strength in depth British medal hopes will still be high.

Driving: Vecses: WEBER WINS IN VECSES - by Cindy Timmer

Photo caption: Chester Weber (USA) won the dressage and stayed in the lead throughout the competition in Vecsés to claim the first CAIO victory of his career.
Please note that this picture is strictly for editorial use. (c) Marie de Ronde-Oudemans.

Vecsés (HUN), 5 June 2011

Chester Weber, the USA’s top four-in-hand driver, has won the international combined driving competition in Vecsés, Hungary this weekend. Weber took the lead in the dressage and held onto the top spot throughout the weekend. Dutch driver Koos de Ronde was runner-up, ahead of Vecsés-organizer József Dobrovitz, but it was the home side Hungary that won the nations competition, ahead of The Netherlands and Germany.

Birthday present
Chester Weber celebrated his 36th birthday on 3 June with the victory in the dressage competition at Vecsés. The five O-judges, chaired by Dr Franz-Josef Vetter from Germany, were impressed and unanimously awarded Weber’s test first place. Chester used Jane F. Clark’ s two KWPN-geldings Uniek and Splash, which previously formed the pair of US pair driver Keady Cadwell. Before the dressage, Chester had some discussions with his trainer Michael Freund about whether or not to use the new horses at Vecsés, but Chester decided he had to try them somewhere. Chester got his way, the team went beautifully and put down a fantastic performance. József Dobrovitz came second in the dressage, ahead of Zoltán Lázár.

Marathon heat
The marathon was won by Werner Ulrich of Switzerland. Ulrich drove his team of three Lusitanian horses and a Swiss-bred gelding very fast through the eight difficult obstacles, designed by Gabor Fintha from Hungary. The thermometer at the start of the marathon indicated no less than 39 degrees Celsius, but the Portuguese Lusitanian horses proved that they are used to the heat and took Ulrich into first place. Koos de Ronde had to take an extra loop in the last obstacle which cost him precious seconds and the victory in this exciting phase. Zoltán Lázár finished third in the marathon. Weber was further down the order in sixth, but still held onto the overall lead going into the cones.

Exciting cones competition
József Dobrovitz, in third place after dressage and marathon, was the first to drive a double clear round in the arena today. Dobrovitz put the pressure on De Ronde, but the team gold medallist from the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky kept his head cool despite the heat and crossed the finish line with a double clear round as well. Chester Weber was four penalty points ahead of De Ronde but showed his confidence in his very good cones team and equalled ‘Dobro’s’ and De Ronde’s clear rounds. Weber has been the USEF four-in-hand champion eight times, but this was his first CAIO win in his very successful career so far. Weber will compete at several shows in Europe this summer and hopes to qualify for the FEI World Cup Driving™ season 2011-2012.

Family business
The Hungarian team in Vecsés was made up of Hungary’s top four-in-hand drivers - Zoltán Lázár, József Dobrovitz and Dobrovitz’ 18-year-old son József Dobrovitz junior., who celebrates his 19th birthday tomorrow, 6 June. Dobrovitz junior has been competing with a pony four-in-hand for several years and recently made his debut in the horse teams class. Father and son hope to be on the Hungarian team for Aachen 2011. Dobrovitz junior has another goal this year and is bidding to qualify his pony team for the FEI World Driving Championships 2011 - Combined Ponies in September in Lipica, Slovenia.

Chester Weber (USA): “I am happy that I used Uniek and Splash. I have some cleaning up to do, but they will be ready by Aachen. The marathon was very heavy and I was surrounded by the best marathon drivers of the world, so I was happy to come sixth in the marathon! It was a true marathon driver show and I am proud that I set the fastest time in the sixth obstacle. The obstacle driving competition went very well for me. It is probably the easiest cones team I have ever driven.”

Koos de Ronde (NED): “I had a slight disadvantage in the dressage being the first starter, but my team went much better than in Windsor three weeks ago. I used a new horse for the first time, the seven-year-old Palero. It was his first competition in my team and he did very well. I used him in the wheel in dressage and cones and he was in the lead of my team in the marathon.”

Individual results CAIO Vecsés (HUN) 2-5 June 2011:

Chester Weber (USA) 145.51
Koos de Ronde (NED) 149.63
József Dobrovitz (HUN) 150.22
Zoltán Lázár (HUN) 151.70
Werner Ulrich (SUI) 152.08

Team results CAIO Vecsés (HUN) 2-5 June 2011:

Hungary 301.92
The Netherlands 320.46
Germany 369.63

Standings FEI World Cup qualification after 4 of 14 competitions:

1       Koos de Ronde                 NED    35

2       Zoltán Lázár                     HUN    33

3       József Dobrovitz               HUN    28

3       Werner Ulrich                    SUI     28

5       Chester Weber                 USA    25

6       Boyd Exell                        AUS    20

7       Herman ter Harmsel          NED    19

8       Jozsef Scheik                   HUN    17

8       IJsbrand Chardon             NED    17

10     Tomas Eriksson                SWE    16