Hannah Selleck Named JustWorld International’s Ambassador Representative of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy

Caen, France – July 22 – JustWorld International is pleased to announce that Hannah Selleck will be their ambassador at the upcoming Games in Normandy, France. As one of only four charities chosen, this selection provides JustWorld an unparalleled opportunity to benefit from the outstanding visibility offered by this exceptional international equestrian event.

“It’s a huge honor that Hannah will be both a JustWorld Ambassador and our representative at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy,” JustWorld Executive Director Jessica Newman enthused. “The test event in France was fantastic. We’re looking forward to fabulous Games full of excitement and emotion!”

A Dual Role for Selleck

Selleck’s role as ambassador will be a dual one. Her selection puts her on the Games Ambassadors’ Committee, a small group of distinctive ambassadors who have a connection with equestrianism. The stated purpose of the organizers in creating this committee is to bring together well-known figures, all of whom believe that the equestrian world should be a vector of unity. In this role, Hannah will use her image and her voice to further that goal.

According to Newman, in her role as JustWorld Ambassador, Selleck will also be the spokesperson assisting at all PR, media, and VIP events, raising public awareness of projects funded by JustWorld in Guatemala, Honduras, Cambodia, and Colombia.

JustWorld has a spot in the heart of the Games Village, and from there Selleck will participate in ‘Meet and Greet’ events, autograph sessions, and other activities which are in the planning stages over the next few weeks.

Read the full story here.

Tatiana Dzavik is En Route to Show Jumping Stardom

For Immediate Release – EquestriSol in association with Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Brussels, Belgium and Toronto, Canada

To become a top international competitor, it takes a village – from sponsors and owners, to grooms, veterinarians, farriers, talent, and most importantly, the partnership of some great horses. Twenty-four-year-old Tatiana Dzavik’s dreams are becoming a reality as she advances to the top levels of equestrian show jumping after years of hard work and dedication.

Dzavik said of her motivation, “I have known that I wanted to do this since I was about eight years old and it has never changed. I have been pushing and fighting for it ever since then.” And it is paying off. “I work with the horses and I sleep; that is all I do. But I would say that my dreams are actually starting to come true. I still have a long way to go, but I am very happy with the way things are going.”

With the opportunity to ride and compete on some very special horses and the help of many generous, knowledgeable individuals, her climb to the top is within reach.

EquestriSol News: November 29, 2011

Happily living in both California and Kentucky, we have a wide range of cool projects in development. We are pleased to announce some of our latest releases from ads to web. Nighthorse Farms went through several changes in 2011, including a new ad campaign and a facelift to their web site. The Facebook feed in their new News section allows them to keep a fresh web site while updating their Facebook page. Something to consider if your web site needs an update but your latest news is on your Facebook page. We are happy to help implement some fresh new innovations to your current site…

Lauren Hester had a fabulous finish to the 2011 season, including a Grand Prix win at Sacramento earlier this month. Her new web site at Hester Equestrian is live.

We’ve already started work for Blenheim EquiSports 2012, from Holiday Gift Certificates to new season sensations, so keep an eye out. Before 2012 kicks in with a big bang we will be releasing several more web sites that are underway.

We are looking forward to a stellar 2012, as we enter into some new strategic partnerships, develop new ways to do what we do best and enjoy the journey. What can we do for you?

EquestriSol News: September 26, 2011

Welcome Writers
After a busy summer season, we are especially grateful to our contributing writers. We welcome Aimee Robinson who wrote about the amazing LA Pomeroy. Alexandra Pingree and Laura Thompson, who interned with us this summer, each penned an article. Alexandra’s Strap One On is in this issue and Laura’s IHSA Nationals piece was out earlier this summer. Jenni Martin-McAllister agreed to write about her hot time in Lexington this summer at NAJYRC. Erna Adelson had the pleasure of spending time with Barmen and Brooks of Balmoral Farm and she hopes to do more. Selena Frederick, who has worked with us for almost a year, had some “Conversations with Equestrians” – two in this issue – Nick Haness and Ali Nilfourshan. From Jennifer Wood we have two articles – one on the amazing Spruce Meadows Masters, where not only is the show jumping huge but so are the crowds; and the other about Unbridled Passion, a recently released book that we can all relate to.

Congratulations to the USEF Talent Search Final Four
Considered a true rider’s test, the USEF Talent Search Final Four finished this past weekend at the LA International. Sorry we weren’t there to see it in person, we do want to congratulate the top four. Demi Stiegler (trainers, Archie Cox and Robyn Stiegler) topped the group, Sage Flynn (trainers Hap Hansen and Trudi Fletcher) placed second, Zoie Nagelhout (trainer Archie Cox) was third and Taylor Harris (trainers James Hagman, Katie Gardner, Kay Atheuser and Custis Ferguson) came in fourth.

West Coast Rocks the East Coast
There are several special occasions that spur us to travel east for some keen competition. From a WEF winter in Wellington, Devon in May for those who qualify, Lexington in August for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Final, Saugerties in September for the big money weekend and finally fall for the indoor shows, the west coast continues to make their mark each year.

The most recent rally was the group who ventured to upstate New York for the two biggest money events of the year, the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix and the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. Top west coast riders in both the Hunter and Show Jumper arenas not only held their own but brought home big prizes. Although competing in superb weather is almost a given here, west coast horses and riders braved a deluge of rain while galloping on course on Sunday, September 11th.

Out of sixty-two entries in the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix, Jenny Karazissis and Heidi Kane’s Sin City won BOTH Round 1 and Round 2. Nick Haness and Jessica Singer’s Cruise won Round 3 and finished second overall. Archie Cox and Stephanie Danhakl’s After Five and Hope Glynn and Sabrina Hellman’s Woodstock made the top twenty-five. And Erin Bland on Weatherly (12th), John French aboard Oscany’s Illusion (7th) and Katie Taylor on Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Collection (5th) all finished in the top twelve.

Following that feat, three west coast representatives finished in the top ten of the Pfizer $1 Million. As one of only two clean rides in the entire class, Duncan McFarlane and Simon Coxe’s Mr. Whoopy were second. Coming back from a season in Europe, college hot shots Saer Coulter on Copernicus Stable’s Springtime and Lucy Davis riding Old Oak Farm’s Nemo 119 picked up sixth and ninth. Well-known riders McLain Ward, Margie Goldstein and Christine McCrea, who were also fresh off European tours and are heading to Guadalajara for the Pan Am Games (Margie is an alternate), placed third, twelfth and fourteenth.

Congratulations to all on an outstanding showing, you represented the west coast with style.

HITS Revision
When we sent out the HITS e-blast in August we had a misprint – the 2012 HITS Desert Circuit will have DC I-VI (no seventh week). Circuit dates are January 24th – March 11th, 2012. Check the HITS site for details.

EquestriSol News: July 11, 2011

News from Canada and Europe…
As comfortable as it is to compete in California, illustrated by the solid numbers at the Blenheim June Series, there are groups of west coasters who head for some northern exposure, overseas excitement and even some ‘hot’ competition on the east coast.

Summer in Spruce
Spruce Meadows is a popular summer spot with a five week circuit chock-full of challenging classes for show jumpers. Even when the weather poses challenges, the amazing, immaculate facility, friendly, professional staff and fabulous prize money, always draws riders from around the world.

That of course includes some of the West Coast wonders. This year professionals Rich Fellers, Richard Spooner, Hap Hansen, Will & Nicole Simpson, Jennifer Crooks, Kirsten Coe and junior/amateur riders Karl Cook, Cayla Richards, Hannah Selleck, Sage Flynn, Mavis Spencer (now more east coast but with west coast roots) went north, just to name a few…

$31,000 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m – Richard Spooner and Pariska 2
Scott Riegert, Western Canadian Marketing Manager, Pepsico Canada presents the winner’s cheque to Richard Spooner. Photo Credit: Spruce Meadows Media Services

This group collected quite a few top prizes. No matter the division, bringing home ribbons from Spruce is an accomplishment. And if the collection includes red that color actually represent first in those parts. Congratulations to all, especially our clients Hap Hansen StablesSantana StablesJennifer Crooks & Stella Farm. Here are a few winning highlights:

At the National Mavis Spencer won the AON 1.35M aboard her own Valencia. Rich Fellers was dynamite on Dynamo winning the AKITA Drilling 1.35M. Karl Cook took home the red in the Gienow 1.40M Jr/Amateur Class. Richard Spooner scooped up the prize money in the $60,000 TrancCanada Parcours de Chasse 1.50M aboard Billy Bianca and was 4th on Lady Like. The next day he was 3rd and 4th respectively on Apache and Cristallo in the $175,000 Nexen Cup Derby 1.60M.

Will Simpson rode Black Cherry to the win in the Friends of the Meadow Barrage 1.40M. Richard and Cristallo earned 5th in the $125,000 CN Performance Grand Prix 1.60M.

During the Junior/Amateur week, Custis Ferguson coached the “Princess Plus 3” Team to the win in the Paramount Resources Prix des Nations III 1.30M. The winning team: Crown Princess – Alec Lawler, Abrakadabra – Alexa Anthony, Miss Magic – Taylor Marie Harris, Ulano 13 – Vani Khosla

Cayla Richards rode Faustino to the top spot in the Friends of the Meadows Junior/Amateur Grand-Prix 1.40M, Hannah Selleck was 2nd aboard Arturo Van De Helle and Sage Flynn rode Hot Pants to the 7th place. Sage was also 3rd in the Friends of the Meadows 1.40M Final Four. Cayla was second in the Birchcliff Energy Ltd. Jr/Am Barrage 1.40M.

Again Richard Spooner was in the money. He rode Ilan Ferder’s Wandor Van De Mispelaere to the win in the AKITA Drilling 1.35M, Oscany, Inc’s Lets Dance won the TRIMAC Cup 1.40M and Molly Ohstrom’s Caretol took home red in the Ashcor Techonologies 1.35M. He took the fifth spot in the $60,000 Great-West Life Cup on Apache and both the 2nd and 4th place ribbons aboard Quirino 3 and Pariska 2 in the $31,000 Cargill Cup 1.45M. And Cristallo was 4th in the $50,000 RBC Financial Cup. Great week Richard! And speaking of Rich, Fellers and Flexible won the $65,000 ESSO Challenge World Cup Qualifier.

On Saturday afternoon, the young but active riders advocacy group, NARG (North American Riders Group), held an open meeting at Spruce Meadows. With an overview from Murray Kessler, a passionate and honest perspective from Leopoldo Palicios, touching on issues that interest all those who are heavily involved in the sport, and a lively Q&A with participation from the attending Board Members, McLain Ward, Beezie Madden and Will Simpson, the meeting hosted information, education and interaction. The 50 in attendance were the first to hear about the new 2012 NARG Rider’s Grant Program – $15,000 to one recipient for competition in North America. See more about NARG here.

The final week of the Spruce Simmering Summer Circuit was a big one for west coast riders. Cayla Richards and Faustino were in the winner’s circle again in the Gienow Jr/Am Welcome 1.40M. Brazilian Eduardo Menezes, who is now based in California, won the Horse Health Care Cup 1.45M on Audi’s Reflection. Nicole Simpson on Monarch International’s Candle Light Van de Warande was a close second to young Caitlin Ziegler and Valencia in the AON Cup 1.50M. Amateur Gwendolyn Meyer ended on a high note winning the Canadian Utilities Amateur Barrage. Meyer’s Coral Reef Ranch owns the talented mare Via Volo who won the $35,000 D-Line Cup with Beezie Madden on board.

Both Rich Fellers and Richard Spooner had double whammy days – earning the #1 position in two classes each on the same day. For Rich it was Wednesday when he won the $31,000 Suncast Cup 1.45M Speed on McGuiness and the $35,000 ‘Reach for the Sun’ Sun Life Financial 1.60M on Flexible. On a fabulous Friday Richard took the $31,000 Pepsi Challenge 1.45M on Pariska 2 and the $50,000 Lafarge Cup 1.50M on Apache.

$35,000 D-Line Cup – Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo
Gordon Wilson, President of D-Line, presents the trophy to Beezie Madden. Photo Credit: Spruce Meadows Media Services

US Riders Invade Europe
Five aspiring young riders represented the United States on the Show Jumping European Young Rider Tour. The eager group went to Europe for five weeks. We read and heard that the experience was not only successful but also educational, which is essential for up and coming International riders. Below is a brief summary but listen to Reed’s radio interview and read Catherine’s blog for more heartfelt details and some great photos.

Young Riders
• Reed Kessler, 16, Armonk, NY, and Onisha
• Catherine Pasmore, 19, Crozet, VA, and My Boy
• Jessica Springsteen, 19, Colt’s Neck, NJ, and Vornado van den Hoerdrik
• Richard Neal, 19, Pasadena, CA, and Transmission
• Karen Polle, 18, New York, NY, and What Ever

These horse/rider combinations competed at the following shows:
CSIOY Bonheiden (Belgium): May 19-22
Katie Prudent – Chef d’Equipe

Individually the riders fared well in Belgium. As a team they placed second in the Nations Cup. Not a bad start. In the Young Rider Grand Prix, USA placed in five of the top ten ribbons: Passmore 2nd, Springsteen 5th, Neal 8th and Kessler 9th.

CSIOY Reims (France): May 26-29
Katie Prudent – Chef d’Equipe 

A tough Nations Cup course created rails and time faults for almost all who competed. Kessler had one of the few double clear rounds. In a nail biting finish, Springsteen anchored the team to a 2nd place finish. The YR Grand Prix also proved challenging with Passmore just missing a chance to return and Kessler returning with her 8 fault score (they bring back the top 25% pf the class for the jump off). Kessler rode aggressively and even with her 8 faults from Round One, she moved up from 8th to 4th place.

With a week off the Team had two days of dressage lessons from Hungarian Barnabas Mandi, met with a sports psychologist and then went to St. Gallens to watch the top guns battle it out at the Nations Cup.

CSIOY Lamprechtshausen (Austria): June 9-12
Michelle Grubb – Chef d’Equipe 

As the picture illustrates, the Team won the Nations Cup in Austria and placed in four of the top ten spots in the YR Grand Prix. Kessler took the top spot, jumping the only clear round in the jump-off for the win. With the fastest jump-off by more than five seconds but with four faults, Springsteen settled for second.

CSIOY Hagen (Germany): June 16-19
Michelle Grubb – Chef d’Equipe 

Touted as the toughest competition on the tour, Team USA had to battle it out with the best of the best in Europe, among them were the teams that had beaten them in previous weeks. They rode well and ended up tied for third, right behind those top teams from The Netherlands and Great Britain. The weather was wet on the YR Grand Prix day, but Californian Ricky Neal pulled through and WON the 48 entry class with the fastest double clear rounds of the day!

After the tour the riders went their separate ways as tougher competitors, with more education packed into five weeks of their life than they could’ve imagined as well as some great ribbons and memories. Look for these names on future teams and in major competitions in years to come.


EquestriSol News: March 22, 2011

On the projects completed so far this year front, we hear that the NARG Top 25 booklet we produced in January has started many conversations and opened quite a few eyes. As an advocacy organization, the North American Riders Group analyzed and rated the top 25 horse shows in North America.

We happily launched a brand new website for Hap Hansen Stables. Loved doing logos for Makoto Farms and will soon finish one for Chance Arakelian. Ads abound for for Joie Gatlin, Crown Affair, the newly united Nighthorse Farm, Traci and Carleton Brooks’ Balmoral Farm, Freelance Show Jumping and of course, Blenheim EquiSports…

Staying busy but always up for some great equestrian action, we traveled to both Thermal (briefly, as Selena kept an eye on things) and Wellington this winter. Have to admit the next best thing to being there was watching the USEF Network for Wellington highlights and SJUTV for happenings at Thermal!

Do You Tweet, Facebook and Check your Email Before Breakfast?
So taking a moment to ponder what we’ve accomplished over the last decade and the possibilities of the next, I realize how much interacting has changed in recent years. When I started this venture, many of my equestrian contacts didn’t have email. The pace is fast and sometimes it feels we need to stop the clock in order to catch up. We are spending as many hours as we can spare soaking up the ‘conversation’ and making plans to take a bigger leap into the future.

Speaking of the conversation, social media is the true madness we are all living at the moment. Over one billion tweets are sent during the course of a week, and hundreds of millions of people are on ‘FB’ connecting with anyone and everyone, essentially whoever is joining in at that moment or possibly a few hours before. Isn’t it fascinating that Facebook has become the world’s word of mouth. We are connecting in ways that we never imagined. Blogging is bountiful. When I have the time, I enjoy Erin Gilmore’s well-written and witty On The Line Blog. And if you aren’t Kristin Medall Simpson Hardin’s Facebook friend you are missing out on some hilarious anecdotes. I am not a social media addict. I just don’t have the time. The day could come as I can definitely see the draw. However I do check my email on my phone before I get out of bed…


EquestriSol News: August 16, 2010

Our Nation in Europe
On the International side of equestrian sport, the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cups Series is complete. With the riders chosen for the long list split into three Nations Cups tours, the United States had some stellar performances, including the all-girls team winning in Rotterdam and two second place finishes, one early on in La Baule and one at the last show in Dublin.

After all the points were tallied, the US slipped ahead of Great Britain finishing second overall with 44 points. A very commendable finish that those fifteen riders collectively achieved.
WEG 2010

Less Than 40 Days Until the WEG
The Selection Committee has officially chosen a short list from the long list to represent the United States at the World Equestrian Games. And one name won’t be on it…

First we would like to congratulate the top four: McLain Ward/Sapphire, Laura Kraut/Cedric, Lauren Hough/Quick Study and Mario Desluariers/Urico as well as the ‘traveling substitute’ Candice King/Skara Glen’s Davos. Sitting in the fifth and sixth spots on the list are Richard Spooner/Cristallo and Rich Fellers/Flexible. Since there is over a month until the WEG begins, even if the order of the above names change slightly, they all had a fantastic showing in Europe and would certainly be solid representatives.

Note that one top name that has achieved consistent success since WEF is missing. She did very well throughout the WEG Trials at WEF and in Europe. She made the horse she rode an international name. We interviewed her recently; please read about her experience in Nicole Simpson On Tour. So why is her name not in the top six? The horse she rode so fabulously had to be withdrawn – he never returned from Europe.

Where is Tristan? A Commentary…
Although surprising, this sad situation brings to light a distinct truth about the sport at this level – the riders often don’t own the horses they ride. One would think that an owner with international aspirations is committed to the process from beginning to end. Could it be possible that a unique circumstance supercedes the original goals? If the process is going well and the horse and rider are competing successfully with a strong chance of making a national team, one would hope, even expect, that the owner would remain committed. Certainly the rider would, as this is a rider’s dream – representing their country on a gifted horse that they’ve developed into an international talent.

If the horse is at the top of his game, in Europe, and along comes a potential buyer or offer, what does an owner do? While one perspective would be to stick to the commitment made to the rider, the USEF and his or her fellow USEF long list owners, there are certainly many other considerations. Will Tristan show up at the WEG with a rider from another country and potentially under another name? Time will tell, and if he does compete, even with another rider and for another country, we should all take a moment to appreciate the world class riding and commitment that went into his development into an international competitor.

Of course during our interview we asked Nicki about Tristan’s plan after her successful tour. At the time she mentioned that she thought it odd that the horse had not yet returned, but we didn’t discuss details. Once she knew she had to withdraw the horse from the WEG selection, she called. We added her comments to the article.

EquestriSol News: July 6, 2010

Honorable Mentions
Here at home we witnessed a list of notable equestrian triumphs. And we certainly won’t have room to mention them all. So hats off to all of you who won your first blue, jumped your first 3’6″ course or your first jumper course. As we raise our now three-year-old daughter we relearn so many lessons, and the one we most recently discussed (although I don’t think she completely understood) was looking at the glass as half-full. We would like to raise our glass, full or half-full, to all of you who touch our lives through your achievements.

SoCal Triplets
Honorable mention goes to the tri-earners, Joie Gatlin and Camaron Hills Quick Dollar earned third place in the last three grand prix events at Blenheim. Mike Endicott is currently competing on three grand prix mounts and collected ribbons on all three during the June Series. Susie Hutchison and the cat-like Cantano continue to bring home the checks, placing 2nd, 1st and 5th in the three grand prix events they entered in June. New Zealander Maruice Beatson has joined the California crowd. In the first two grand prix classes in June, he placed in the top ten on all three horses.

Notable Athletes
Honorable mention to the up and coming grand prix horses. Although there are many aspiring stars, Mandy Porter on LaMarque & Chesapeake, Leslie Steele with Oh My Goodness, Rusty Stewart and Bristol, Michael Endicott riding Santiago & Zico 13, Josephina Nor-Lantzman on Chello Z, John French with River Bird, Lauren Hester on Cracky Z, and Justin Resnik aboard Contact Me were all impressive during their time on the field. No matter what ribbons they may have garnered, they are certainly among the ones to watch.

Honorable mention also goes to Harley Brown, Lane Clarke, Michelle Parker, Molly Talla whose consistency is notable. Before heading north to Spruce, Brown won 4th and 2nd aboard Cassiato. Clarke is knocking at the door on his two mounts, McLord’s First John and Bay Rose’s Nikko. Parker earned some dollars with her entries, winning the final grand prix of the series. And when Talla trots in the ring she often earns a spot in the top twelve.

More Zone Ten Zip
From ponies to jumpers, Zone 10 accomplished quite a bit during the Blenheim June Series. Another opportunity applies to any rider who has qualified for Medal Finals under 3’6″ within Zone 10. You are eligible to compete in the USHJA Zone 10 North/South Medal Challenge. The Stirrup Cup Finals are 3′, while the Mini Medal Finals are 2’6″.
July 9 – 11: Southern Challenge at Camelot Riding Club – this week!
Oct. 7-10: Northern Challenge at Brookside Eq. Park
Contact: Raizy Goffman 818/360-4389 or Peggy Fackrell 916/947-3405

Zone 10 – USHJA EAP
The Emerging Athletes Program is well into its second year, with Level II Regional Events beginning this month through September. The Zone 9 & 10 Regionals are July 26-27 at the J Bar J Boys Ranch in Bend, Oregon with clinician Callen Solem. The top 12 finalists will go to the Nationals in Buffalo, New York in November of this year. Look for upcoming content in this newsletter from one of this year’s winners and west coast champ Ricky Neal.

Spruce and Euro Notes:
Congrats to the Girls… and couple of Guys too
Many congratulations are in order but here are a few highlights. For the first time in Rotterdam history, an all girls team won the Nations Cup. And those famous femmes were none other than our US riders – Lauren Hough, Candice King, Laura Kraut and Nicki Simpson. This unprecedented victory moved the US from sixth to third in the 2010 Meydan FEI Nations Cup Standings with four more competitions on the schedule.

Our west coast Olympic Gold Medalist got a taste of the winner’s circle again when he rode Archie Bunker to the win in the $100,000 CN Performance Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows. As well as our west coast triple grand prix crown winner Guy Thomas who led the victory gallop with Peterbilt in the Cargill Cup on opening day of the Canada One Tournament.

And a west coast owner, Gwendolyn Meyer, celebrates back to back wins at Spruce as Beezie Madden pilots Coral Reef Vio Volo to the top spot in both the $65,000 Esso Challenge and the $50,000 RBC Cup. Madden is off to Aachen now for more Nations Cup competition, along with Nicki Simpson and the other US WEG Team hopefuls.

Of course that only covers a fraction of the riders competing up at Spruce and those in Europe, and we certainly congratulate all the gallant efforts. For more in depth show jumping coverage and news see PhelpsSports.com.

News from NARG
Resolution of the McLain Ward/Sapphire World Cup Elimination Dispute
The North American Riders Group believes that to advance the sport of show jumping, all decisions related to its future must put the sport itself above all else. This resolution is an example of just that.

McLain, the USEF and the FEI could have continued a prolonged legal battle, but the additional gains on either side would have been for personal gain or pride. Instead, a positive resolution has been forged that publicly recognizes the decision was INCORRECT and, importantly, has resulted in a revised protocol for hypersensitivity.

Details of the revised protocol will be issued before the Aachen CHIO. From what we understand they will require more checks and balances which should eliminate any misuse of the protocol either by mistake or abuse of power.

While we still recognize that McLain can’t get back the World Cup he lost in Geneva, we applaud those involved for this resolution.

For more information, please visit www.narg.org.

EquestriSol News: May 18, 2010

We Bring You La Baule
As we cruise into summer there are some big events to set our sights on. We have some fabulous content coming in the newsletter that embraces the best from Blenheim, happenings at the Kentucky Horse Park, and stories from our US riders over in Europe.

We wish we could be everywhere as we are passionate about bringing you the stories of the horses, the riders and the events that satisfy our competitive cravings. We will continue to try.

The first leg of the European Tours has commenced, beginning last week with the CSIO5* in La Baule, France. McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Lauren Hough. Richard Spooner, Mario Deslauriers and Hilary Dobbs all competed.

About La Baule:
Although the first show was held in 1931, it was not until 1960 that La Baule was granted “official show” status by the FEI. In 2002, La Baule joined the FEI Nations Cup Series. There were three key events the MEYDAN FEI Nations Cup (Friday, May 15th), The Derby Meeting of the Pays de La Loire (Saturday, May 16th) and the Grand Prix Longines of La Baule (Sunday, May 17th). The courses were designed by Frederic Cottier. The United States and France were the favorites in the Nations Cup and both went into the second round with a total of four penalties. Richard Spooner jumped two clean rounds on Cristallo, with his second clear putting the pressure on France. Mario Deslauriers and Urico were also clean, McLain Ward and Sapphire had 4 faults and Hilary Dobbs, fresh off finals from Harvard, scored 9 faults.

After their first rider scored 4 faults the French continued to put in clean rounds. The final results came in with the French winning the Nations Cup by a rail, with the US second. A good beginning to the tour. It gets better…

Before the Derby class, Beezie Madden rode Coral Reef Vio Volo to the top prize in the Prix Groupe Lucien Barriere / Diane Desseigne, Table A with 69 entries in the class.

Twenty ‘couples’ competed in the Derby. (When reading the French press, they referred to a horse and rider as a couple, which we found to be ever so true). A difficult test of hills and water and other Derby details, not one of the riders was able to go clean. Until Americans Richard Spooner and Pako. The couple made history that day as they were the only clear effort and the first Americans to win the coveted title!

The icing on the French pastry for the Americans came on the final day. The stands were packed to watch the fifty couples compete in the Grand Prix. Thirteen went clean, including Mario Deslaurier on the 9-year-old Urico and McLain Ward on Sapphire. Deslauriers had the leading time, clean and fast in 36.95. Until Ward walked in. The pair galloped through the timers clear in 36.00 for the win. First and second place went to the US.

Certainly an auspicious start to the European Tours. Sincere congratulations to all. And a big thank you to Sophie Durieux for the fabulous photos, as well to Sydney Masters-Durieux for delivering.

Stay tuned, June is going to be a big month for newsletters and we are gearing up to keep the stories coming.

Photos © Sophie Durieux