Saturday, January 14, 2012


Don't miss the excitement - Reining returns!
The Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in April 2012 after its fantastic debut during the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event last year!

Action begins on Friday night with the only CRI3* in the world, riders will guide their horses through prescribed turns, sliding stops and flying lead changes in pursuit of $100,000 prize money. On Saturday evening, riders will dazzle you with the crowd favorite, Reining World Freestyle Championship, as they compete for $25,000 in prize money.

Last year spectators cheered for Eventing favorites David O’Connor, Gina Miles, Karen O’Connor as they joined Reining veterans, Shawn Farida and Tom McCutcheon. You never know who will try their hand at Reining...Don't miss your chance to be a part of this electrifying event, reserve your seats today!

WEF: Wellington: Allyson Blais and Camden Yards Top Horseware Products Adult Amateur 3'3" Hunters at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

Allyson Blais and Camden Yards Top Horseware Products Adult Amateur 3'3" Hunters at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival 

Ward Scores Again in Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Jumpers with Espalanade 7

For Immediate Release
Lauren Fisher and Jennifer Wood for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Wellington, FL - January 13, 2012 - Week one of the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, today with more exceptional hunter competition. Showing in the Eugene R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring, the Horseware Products Adult Amateur Hunter 3'3" division presented championship honors. Twenty-three-year-old Allyson Blais, of Delray Beach, FL, guided her nine-year-old Warmblood gelding Camden Yards to the championship tricolor with 38 totals points to top the division. Horseware Products is the Official Horse Blanket/Clothing of the FTI WEF.

The first week of the FTI WEF runs through Sunday, January 15, and is sponsored by Surpass. The 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 1, 2012, and they will be awarding more than $6 million in prize money through the circuit. The highlight jumper class in week one is the $30,000 Surpass Grand Prix on Saturday, January 14, at 7 p.m.

Blais and Camden Yards won both classes over fences on Thursday and returned to place first and third over fences and third under saddle today. The reserve championship was awarded to Margaret O'Meara and Coin Toss, owned by Woodland Way, Inc. The pair placed second, fifth, second and fourth over fences and also finished second under saddle for a total of 21 points.
Allyson Blais and Camden Yards

Blais rides in Wellington year-round and trains with Alan Korotkin at Castlewood Farm. She has owned Camden Yards for about two years. "He has been awesome," she smiled. "He is not the easiest horse to ride. He can be a little quirky sometimes, but he tries so hard and he jumps unreal."

The rider joked that she calls Camden Yards 'Beavis' or 'Butthead' in the barn, depending on his mood that day. "He has a lot of personality; he is really funny," she said. "He comes out and it has to be his way, but he is a really good boy."  

Watch Allyson and Camden Yards in a winning round!
Videos by Shownet - View 2012 FTI WEF Videos at

Blais explained that she usually shows Camden Yards in the Amateur-Owner Hunters, but just started a new job and has not had a lot of time to ride. "This division just happened to work in with my schedule," she stated. "Yesterday I showed and then went right to work."

When Blais is too busy to show, rider Shawn Casady steps in to compete Camden Yards in the Junior Hunters. The gelding is for sale, so Blais hopes to keep him showing throughout circuit to focus on finding him a great new owner.

Even though Blais shows in Wellington all year, she admits that it is very different showing at the PBIEC once the FTI WEF circuit begins. "Sometimes I get a little nervous. I call it 'WEFitis,' but I think that since I show here all the time it calms my nerves a little bit. It is so exciting to see everything finished and to have all of the rings going and all of the people here. I have to step up my game once everyone else gets here. No more slacking and no more chipping," she laughed.

Hunter competition at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue on Saturday when the Marley Goodman Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division will conclude its classes and present championship honors for week one. For full results, please visit

Ward Wins Again, Dobbs Returns to the Winner's Circle

 McLain Ward (USA) made it two wins in a row today, this time with Louisburg Farm's Esplanade 7 in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Jumpers. He guided Esplanade 7 to victory in a jump-off time of 38.883 seconds over 60 other entries in the class. Second place went to Darragh Kenny (IRL) on Obelix, owned by Missy Clark and North Run, who finished in 40.464 seconds. Hillary Dobbs (USA) and The Dobbs Group's Udento VDL were third in 40.516 seconds. 

You can see McLain and Esplanade's winning jump-off ride here! Videos by Shownet - View 2012 FTI WEF Videos at

"I was thrilled with her. She's coming back off an injury and she was out for a year," Ward said. "They (Louisburg Farm) did a beautiful job rehabbing her. We cruised around on Wednesday and today opened her up a little bit. She's a very fast horse, it's not like you really have to put the pedal to the metal, and she's experienced. But she felt really good. It's nice to start her circuit off with a win, and we hope she can win a lot of other classes this year."

Although they went early in the class, Ward felt confident going into the immediate jump-off. "I know her well and where she can make up time. She can turn quite tight. She's just a very efficient horse. I didn't feel like I had to press her hard anywhere. It was just kind of neat. You know what to expect with her," he said.   

McLain Ward and Esplanade 7

Hillary Dobbs has returned to her winning ways as she and Marengo, owned by The Dobbs Group, took the top prize in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge. Dobbs and the well-known speedster Marengo took the win in 60.343 seconds over Nicolas Paillot and Olympic de Chamant, who finished in 62.428 seconds. Luis Larrazabal (VEN) and G&C Lepanto were third.

Earlier in the day, the $1,500 Griffis Group High Junior Jumper class was held. Sydney Shulman and Fit 3 took first place. In the $2,500 High Amateur-Owner Jumpers, Samantha Senft and Early Morning finished in the top spot. The winner of the $1,500 Adequan 7 Year Old Young Jumper qualifier was Ammy V, ridden by Marilyn Little-Meredith. Laura Chapot and Zealous won the $1,500 Adequan 8 Year Old Young Jumper qualifier.

The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. The highlight class of the week, the $30,000 Surpass Grand Prix, will start at 7 p.m.

 Final Results: $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Time First Jump-off  
1 ESPLANADE 7, MCLAIN WARD: 0/0/38.883
5 SIRI, SHANE SWEETNAM: 0/0/42.062
7 FERRERO K, AMY MILLAR: 0/0/42.380
12 COSTA RICA Z, AMY MILLAR: 0/4/40.178

 Final Results: $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge  
11 WAUW, JUAN ORTIZ: 4/74.818

 For full results please visit

Photo Credit: Alyson Blais and Camden Yards, McLain Ward and Esplanade 7 at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, This photo may be used only in relation to this press release.

USEF: Neville Bardos and Sjoerd Named 2011 Horses of the Year by the United States Equestrian Federation - From the USEF Communications Department

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

From the USEF Communications Department

Cincinnati, OH - For the first time ever, the 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 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*.

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: 

Horse of the Year Sjoerd (Rick Osteen Photo)

Sjoerd - Friesian

Horse of the Year Sjoerd (Rick Osteen Photo)
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.

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 Volo - Jumping

Though small in stature (15.3h) and nicknamed "Shrimp," Coral Reef Via Volo 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 Volo 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 Volo 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:

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

The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation® is to provide leadership
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the pursuit
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.

Jumping: Hong Kong: Childrens Classics: VASCONCELLOS SCOOPS DOUBLE-GOLD FOR BRAZIL by Louise Parkes

Venezuela's Sarah Vasconcellos claimed Team and Individual gold riding Cornwall Chief at the FEI Children's International Classics Final 2011 in Hong Kong.  Photo: FEI/Kenneth Chan.

Hong Kong (CHN), 14 January 2012

Brazil's Sarah Vasconcellos clinched her second gold medal of the Championships when taking the Individual title on the final day of the FEI Children's International Classics Final in Hong Kong today.  Silver went to the host nation's Arianna Ladd, while South Africa's Cameron Dawson was the well-deserved recipient of the bronze.  Vasconcellos also helped the Happy Diamonds side to gold in the Team competition, ably supported by Russia's Nikita Pomogalova, Venezuela's Victoria Karm and Hong Kong's Michelle Li.

The youthful enthusiasm and sporting spirit of the competitors, all aged between 12 and 14 years, permeated the event which took place at the Hong Kong Jockey Club's Beas River Country Club - venue for the eventing discipline during the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.  The 20 competitors representing 15 National Federations - Brazil, Hong Kong, South Africa, France, Germany, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela, China, Syria, New Zealand, Guatemala, Russia, Mexico and Canada - rode horses belonging to the Hong Kong Jockey Club, many of which are leased to individuals who generously permitted their mounts to take part in this important challenge.

Competitions for children riding horses initially emerged from discussions that took place during the FEI General Assembly in London in 1986, and the first international event was held in Cali, Colombia in 1988.  Between 1993 and 1997, Alfonso Romo and his company (Pulsar) organised the Intercontinental Youth Championships at the Club Hipico La Silla in Mexico, including classes for Children, Juniors and Young Riders.  The Children's International Jumping Championship was introduced by the Children's Committee in 1995 and has moved around the globe in subsequent years.  It was last held in Abu Dhabi (UAE) in 2009 when Syria's Mohammed Jabri came out on top in the battle for the Individual title.

Initially divided into two sections - Category A for experienced riders and Category B for children with less experience - the concept was further developed with the introduction of a third category in 2011.  Riders now compete at Gold, Silver and Bronze level, and the FEI Children's International Classics Final staged over the last five days in Hong Kong was open to Gold Tour competitors only.

Course designer was Iran's Hossein Shafiee, and the action got underway with a warm-up class on Wednesday during which riders got the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their mounts.  Thursday's first competition was won by South Africa's Cameron Dawson riding Golden Goblet who recorded the quickest time around the track to pip Syria's Fares Al Khouli and Call Me Handsome by a margin of almost two seconds.  Vasconcellos showed early promise when slotting Cornwall Chief into third ahead of South Africa's Taryn Rault and Gagnant in fourth.  Impressively, 12 of the 20 starters jumped clear in their opening effort.

The second competition on Friday decided the team medals, and it was a close-fought affair with the top three teams all finishing on a four-fault total, but Pomogalova (Noble Boss), Karam (Magical Lot), Li (Phoenix Fortune) and Casconcellos (Cornwall Chief) clinched gold with fastest combined time.  The Happy Sport foursome of Camille Conde-Ferreira (Spare a Dime) from France, Joao Victor Lima (Fame and Fortune) from Brazil, South Africa's Cameron Dawson (Golden Goblet) and Hong Kong's Arianna Ladd (Mountain Treasure) finished just over two seconds in arrears to clinch silver while Team Chopardissimo's Lily Tootill (Wafer King) from New Zealand, Ashley Keary (Hot Pot) from Canada, South Africa's Taryn Rault (Gagnant) and Ecuador's Simon Fernandez-Salvador Fallet (Tennessee) were almost 18 seconds further adrift when taking the bronze.

Individually, Dawson came out on top once again, and the South Africans were dominant when Taryn Rault and Gagnant slotted into second ahead of Kiwi rider Tootill who steered Wafer King into third. Vasconcellos was stalking the leaders yet again however when claiming fourth, and it was her turn to shine on the final day.

With the fences raised to 1.10m the pressure was increased, and when Vasconcellos produced one of just two first-round clears this morning - the other delighting the home-side supporters when coming from Hong Kong's Arianna Ladd - then these two went into a 10-way jump-off to decide the fate of the Individual gold medal.  It seemed South Africa might well be in line for the main honours, but although Rault had the quickest time when breaking the beam in 47.60 seconds he left two on the floor while Dawson's Golden Goblet picked up four faults in the fast time of 47.89 seconds.

Ladd thrilled the Hong Kong supporters club when bringing Mountain Treasure home clear once again, but her time of 53.11 seconds was cautious and when Vasconcellos galloped through the finish in 48.47 seconds she sealed the result.

The Brazilian rider is about to start her Secondary School education in the USA and has four horses in her string.  Vasconcellos earned her place at the final when winning her home qualfier with a seven-year-old mare she bought from Holland last July.  "I prepared for the Children's Final by riding my four horses which are all very different - that was good experience for me" Vasconcellos explained today.  She admitted that she was "not completely at home" with her allocated ride, Cornwall Chief, on the first day, "but it got better and better and I was told my riding style was similar to the horse's own rider so people were confident we would get along and do well" she explained.

"I was nervous going into the jump-off today, but after the first jump I knew my horse was in good form and that I had a chance!" she pointed out.  By sheer coincidence she met Cornwall Chief's owner while on a trip to Germany last summer, and everyone concerned was delighted with the end result.  Very much in keeping with the spirit of these Championships, Vasconcellos said her trip to Hong Kong was a great all-round experience.  "It's been awesome making so many new friends and connections - I've already teamed up with the South Africans and we have become great friends!" she said.

Hong Kong's Arianna Ladd took the prize for Most Stylish rider, while Ecuador's Simon Fernandez-Salvador Fallet took the Sportsmanship Award which was also presented by sponsors, Chopard.  FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, said, "The Hong Kong Equestrian Federation did an amazing job in organising this event, and I would like to say a special thanks to the Hong Kong Jockey Club for providing us with a great venue, and tremendous sport".


Individual: GOLD – Cornwall Chief (Sarah Vasconcellos) BRA; SILVER - Mountain Treasure (Arianna Ladd) HKG; BRONZE - Golden Goblet (Cameron Dawson) RSA.

Team: GOLD - Team Happy Diamonds - Noble Boss (Nikita Pomogalova) RUS, Magical Lot (Victoria Karam) VEN, Phoenix Fortune (Michele Li) HKG, Cornwall Chief (Sarah Vasconcellos) BRA; SILVER - Team Happy Sport - Spare a Dime (Camille Conde-Ferreira) FRA, Fame and Fortune (Joao Victor Lima) BRA, Golden Goblet (Cameron Dawson) RSA, Mountain Treasure (Arianna Ladd) HKG; BRONZE - Team Chopardissimo - Wafer King (Lily Tootill) NZL, Hot Pot (Ashley Keary) CAN, Gagnant (Taryn Rault) RSA, Tennessee (Simon Fernandez-Salvador Fallet) ECU.