Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Top Ten Finish for Ten-Time Olympian Ian Millar

Ian Millar and Star Power

London, England - In a world record setting tenth Olympic appearance, Canadian Olympic Team member for Show Jumping Ian Millar, 65, of Perth, ON, enjoyed a top ten placing in the Individual Final held Wednesday, August 8.

Finishing tied for ninth place riding Star Power with a total of eight faults, Millar had his best ever individual Olympic result.  Millar and the 11-year-old Dutch-bred gelding owned by Team Works incurred four faults in the first round at fence number five, an airy white plank, and had the 'b' element of the triple combination in the second round of competition.

"There are so many subtleties to this thing," said Millar of the demanding tracks set by course designer Bob Ellis of Great Britain.  "The rider and the horses are so good, and the course designer has to be so good.  The competition is really against the course designer."

Prior to London, Millar's best Olympic result to date had come at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where he placed 13th riding Dorincord.  He also placed 14th individually at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 15th at the 1988 Seoul Olympics riding Big Ben on both occasions.

"Each Olympics stands out well on their own; London is outstanding," said Millar, who has now competed in more Olympic Games than any athlete in any sport, debuting at the 1972 Munich Olympics.  "The public have been so supportive and sympathetic.  I am very much a team rider, and I would have liked more team company with me today."

Millar and 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze were the only two members of the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping to advance to the Individual Final.  The top 37 athletes from the original starting field of 75 qualified for Wednesday's two-round Individual Final.

Lamaze, 44, of Schomberg, ON, incurred 12 faults in the first round of the Individual Final and did not advance to the second and final round of competition.  He tied for 29th position in the final individual standings.

"I didn't wake up this morning seeing myself on the podium, so I am not disappointed," said Lamaze, who was riding the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Derly Chin de Muze, owned by the Fleischhacker family's Ashland Stables and Lamaze's Torrey Pines Stable.  "She's jumped a lot of big tracks this week, which she's not used to, and maybe it was just fatigue.  She's young, but she gained experience and came out of this a better horse."

Lamaze continued, "These were supposed to be Hickstead's Games and when the tragedy happened, we just didn't have time to prepare."

Hickstead collapsed and died of an aortic rupture last November while competing at a world cup qualifying event in Verona, Italy.  Under 2012 Olympic Games qualifying rules, horses must be registered in the ownership of the nation they will represent by December 31, 2011.

On Monday, August 6, the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping comprised of Tiffany Foster, 28, of Schomberg, ON, Jill Henselwood, 49, of Oxford Mills, ON, Lamaze and Millar of Perth, ON, finish fifth in the Team Final from the original starting field of 15 nations.  Great Britain won the Team Gold while the Netherlands claimed the Team Silver.  Saudi Arabia was awarded the Team Bronze medal.  Switzerland placed fourth.

The Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping is supported by Chef d'Equipe Terrance Millar; Assistant Chef d'Equipe Mark Laskin; Veterinarian Dr. Sylvie Surprenant; Stable Manager Lori Green; and Team Manager Karen Hendry-Ouellette.  Grooms include Cristian Canobbio (Foster), Jessica Dooley (Henselwood), Delphine Rouston (Lamaze), Sandy Patterson (Millar) and Anne-Sophie Canut (Candele).  Kerri McGregor is the Team Leader for the Canadian Olympic Team for Equestrian and Tina Collins is Assistant Team Leader.

For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.

Photo - Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com
PRESS RELEASE: Equine Canada.  jcull@equinecanada.caa

L’International Bromont Raises Nearly $13,000 for JustWorld International

Roger and Mario Deslauriers at L’International Bromont show jumping tournament held July 18 to 22 and July 25 to 29 in Bromont, Quebec.

 Bromont, Quebec – It was all about fierce competition, friendly rivalries and fun during the annual L’International Bromont show jumping tournament in Bromont, Quebec, as JustWorld International supporters staged a series of fundraising activities throughout the two-week competition, held July 18 to 22 and July 25 to 29.  The Canadian equestrian community came together to raise $12,949 for JustWorld International, a not-for-profit, humanitarian organization working as a catalyst for positive change in the developing world by helping impoverished children.

The popular Horseless Horse Show kicked off the fundraising efforts on Saturday, July 21, raising more than $500 for JustWorld’s project sites in Cambodia, Honduras, Guatemala, and Brazil.  Competitors raced around a course of obstacles on foot, attempting to leave all the jumps in place while finishing in the fastest time. 

On Monday, July 23, the fourth annual JustWorld International Benefit Golf Tournament, sponsored by Samuel & Fils & CIE (Quebec) and the Samuel Group of Companies, and organized by JustWorld Technical Official Ambassador Phillip Rozon, an international judge from Canada, was held at the beautiful Chateau Bromont Golf Course, followed by a delectable dinner, raffle and live auction at ‘La Trattoria’ restaurant at Auberge Chateau Bromont.  

Motivated by JustWorld and its mission, Rozon developed the golf tournament as a means of bringing together the show jumping community while, at the same time, raising awareness and funds for JustWorld International.

“Before getting involved with JustWorld, my wife, who is an investment banker, looked carefully at JustWorld and did comparisons,” said Rozon, who is one of JustWorld International’s original Technical Official Ambassadors.  “She couldn’t find any other charitable organization that even came close to JustWorld in terms of the percentage of the amount raised and the amount that goes directly to its projects.  Founder Jessica Newman’s dedication is remarkable, and after seeing how devoted she was, we had to get involved.  It’s amazing how much so little can really help these children.  There’s no safety net in these countries.  If you don’t have money, you don’t eat.  What Jessica is doing is truly remarkable, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

Teams comprised of various members of the equestrian community took to the fairways to raise funds and earn great prizes.  Emile Beaulieu and Steve Bodi, both members of the team fielded by the Samuel Group, tied for the top score of the tournament with an impressive 76.  All the participants received a leather golf belt courtesy of Landes Belts, and swag donated by The Samuel Group.

“With the Olympics happening so close to the start of the show, the field was a little smaller in the golf tournament than in previous years, but that didn’t stop us” explained Rozon.  “We had great support from our sponsors and we were still able to raise the same amount, or even a little more, than last year’s tournament, and everyone had such a great time doing it!”

Raffle winners included Michel Daviau, who took home the ready-to-play SkyCaddie Rangefinder, generously donated by Burkman Capital Corp; Lisa Rozon who won a signed reproduction of Claude Le Sauteur’s painting “L’humour Noire” donated by Alain Cousineau, and Susan Burkman who claimed a dinner for two at Le Macpherson.

The highlight of the evening was the live auction of a giclée of Kim Penner’s Hickstead ‘Moment in Time’, signed by Canadian Olympic Champion and JustWorld Rider Ambassador, Eric Lamaze.  Susan Burkman, Lisa Rozon, Roger Deslauriers and Dagmar Scherff, placed the winning bid.  The group plans to put the iconic piece of artwork on display at the Parc Équestre Bromont, where future competitors and spectators at the L’International Bromont show jumping tournament will have the opportunity to see it.

During the second week of L’International Bromont, the Horseless Speed Derby, held on Thursday, July 26, saw grand prix riders competing in a foot race over a course designed by Canadian Pierre Burch.  The competition was fierce between the high-profile competitors, making for some fun entertainment for spectators, who had the chance to choose their favorites and place bets, raising even more money for JustWorld International in the process.

In the end, Francois Lamontagne proved too quick to catch, with his younger brother, Hubert Lamontagne, finishing second and Ben Asselin taking third.  Maude Boulanger-Bouchard, Lauren Hayes, Natalie Bova, Lauren Hunkin and Agatha D’Ambra made up the rest of the starting field.  As the winner, Francois received a voucher for one stall at the 2013 L’International Bromont, while the other competitors received prizes generously donated by Ogilvy Equestrian.

Maya Frati won two VIP passes for the second week of L’International Bromont after betting on Francois to win.  Amy Masterson also received gift certificates for a custom pair of ProChaps and to the Bromont Souvenir Shop for her winning wager.

Other fundraising initiatives included sales of JustWorld hand sanitizer, created and sold by the Bolduc Family, and JustWorld bracelets, created and sold by Lauren and Aylen Ferguson and Abby McCorriston.

“We are proud to be partnered with JustWorld International,” said L’International Bromont Show Manager Roger Deslauriers.  “We like the work they do and want to support it as much as we can.  For us, it’s a good opportunity to do our share and we look forward to continuing our relationship with JustWorld International in the years to come.”

Founded in 2003 by Jessica Newman, JustWorld International is a not-for-profit, humanitarian organization which funds life-changing nutrition, health and hygiene, education, and leadership and cultural development programs for impoverished children in Cambodia, Honduras, Guatemala, and Brazil.  There are currently more than 500 Rider and Technical Official Ambassadors representing 40 different countries, whose efforts to support JustWorld’s projects have helped raise more than $4.5 million to date.  For more information on JustWorld International, or how to support the ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign, please visit www.justworldinternational.org.

Photo by François Gougeon, La Tribune
PRESS RELEASE: Starting Gate Communications. jward@startinggate.ca 

Who Lives in Your Horse's House?


OVC researcher, Dr. Scott Weese is going boldly forward- looking into what has been referred to as the "secondgenome" by looking at the microbial residents of a horse's gut. When you consider that a horse is thought to have 100 times more bacterial cells in its intestinal tract than 'horse' cells in its entire body, the scope of this secondgenome becomes apparent. New and innovative technology recently developed to study this area is simply groundbreaking. One major breakthrough has been the development of 'next generation sequencing'. The University of Guelph was the first laboratory in Canada to obtain a new next generation sequencing system, the Roche JS Junior. With the equipment and technology to perform Next Generation Sequencing, and the expertise present at the University in equine infectious diseases, the horse industry stands to reap the benefits.  

Currently, diagnosis for diseases pertaining to gut function is difficult, mainly because little is known about the gut in health or disease. For example, even with severe diarrhea (colitis), a cause is only identified in 30 - 40 % of horses. Next Generation Sequencing will allow researchers to explore huge components of DNA and assess many bacteria at once (between 70 - 100,000 in one fecal sample). This is a giant leap forward from traditional molecular diagnostic methods which are very time consuming and look at only one sequence of DNA at a time, and an astronomical advance from traditional culture-based methods. "We are looking at faster and better ways to diagnose disease" says Weese, "Little is known about gut content- If we can figure out what the gut normally looks like we can figure out ways to treat and prevent disease. There are several types of bacteria in the gut we don't even have a name for yet."  

Through studying the complex bacterial population of the gut, which is comprised of trillions of bacteria and up to 1000 different bacterial species, Dr. Weese will be examining the components that are critical to health. There is more evidence now drawing links between gut function and a healthy immune system or metabolic diseases, and even potentially obesity and cancer. "There is a huge potential impact because the bacterial population is so complex and it is interacting with the body" says Weese. "We are trying to sort out what goes on, what bugs are present, how they interact, how they change and how we can potentially change them." Better understanding of gut flora will provide important information regarding effective feed conversion and could have applications for diagnostics surrounding colitis, diarrhea, and colic and lead to better prevention methods. Results could lay the foundations for future applications using probiotics to improve gut health. Intestinal disease is a common problem in the horse, ranging from mild colic to rapidly fatal colitis (severe diarrhea). The gut microflora is probably involved in various other more common conditions such as gas colic and pasture-associated laminitis, so an understanding of what happens in those conditions may be useful to help determine better ways to prevent them. Imagine the cost savings to the industry if new ways to prevent colic (the number 2 killer right behind old age) could be identified, saving owners from expensive treatment and potentially saving horses lives. Using Next Generation Sequencing to better identify what bacteria are living in the horses' gut and how they interact could change how the next generation uses diagnostics. 
PRESS RELEASE: Equine Guelph. jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping in Sixth Position


August 5, 2012, London, England - Despite the disqualification of Tiffany Foster, the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping is currently ranked in sixth position following competition on Sunday, August 5, at the London Olympic Games.  Canada will compete in the team final at the Olympic equestrian venue of Greenwich Park on Monday, August 6.

With Foster's disqualification on Sunday under the International Equestrian Federation's (FEI) hypersensitivity protocol, Canada was reduced to three members.  In team competition, the best three of four scores are counted, giving Canada the disadvantage of having no drop score.  Counting all three scores, the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping placed sixth in Sunday's first round of team competition with a total of five faults.  Saudi Arabia leads with zero faults while Great Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland are tied for second position with four faults.
Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, and Derly Chin de Muze
Individually, defending Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, 44, of Schomberg, ON, is currently tied for 13th position with one fault.  Lamaze jumped clear, but one time fault for exceeding the 88-second time allowed left him one point behind the 12 riders tied for the lead on zero penalties.  Lamaze, whose Olympic Champion partner Hickstead tragically died last November, is riding the newcomer Derly Chin de Muze, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Ashland Stables and Lamaze's Torrey Pines Stable.

"I was debating bringing this horse to the Olympics because she lacked experience, but (Canadian Chef d'Equipe) 'Torchy' Millar convinced me to keep going, and I'm glad he did," said Lamaze.
Ian Millar of Perth, ON, and Star Power
Setting a world record in his tenth Olympic appearance, Ian Millar, 65, of Perth, ON, enjoyed a fault free performance over the London-themed track set by course designer Bob Ellis.  Riding Star Power, Millar is tied for 17th position with a two-day total of four faults, carried forward from Saturday's first round of individual competition.

"He was tense yesterday but today he was perfect," said Millar of the 11-year-old Dutch-bred gelding owned by Team Works.  "He was sharp, up in the air, and listening to me.  I am very pleased with the step up from yesterday when he was a little over-impressed by the atmosphere."
Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, ON, and George
Jill Henselwood, 49, of Oxford Mills, ON, was first to jump for Canada on George, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Brian Gingras.  Incurring four faults for one rail down, Henselwood now carries a total of nine faults and is tied for 47th place.

"If you were scouting for a basketball team, you would scout him - my horse can jump a building in a single bound!" laughed Henselwood.  "George was phenomenal.  He's setting the stage, and positioning himself in the world of international show jumping.  Perfection is earned, and I'm still on the journey."

Henselwood, Millar and Lamaze were all members of the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping that won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Show Jumping competition continues on Monday, August 6, after which team medals will be awarded.  The top 35 athletes from the original starting field of 75 will advance to the two-round Individual Final on Wednesday, August 8, where they will all start with a clean slate of zero penalties.

The Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping is supported by Chef d'Equipe Terrance Millar; Assistant Chef d'Equipe Mark Laskin; Veterinarian Dr. Sylvie Surprenant; Stable Manager Lori Green; and Team Manager Karen Hendry-Ouellette.  Grooms include Cristian Canobbio (Foster), Jessica Dooley (Henselwood), Delphine Rouston (Lamaze), Sandy Patterson (Millar) and Anne-Sophie Canut (Candele).  Kerri McGregor is the Team Leader for the Canadian Olympic Team for Equestrian and Tina Collins is Assistant Team Leader.

For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.

Photo Credit - Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com
Source: Press release Canada Hippique

Tiffany Foster's Olympic Dream Comes to an Unfortunate End

"Canadian Olympic Team member for Show Jumping Tiffany Foster was disqualified from further competition on Monday, August 5, at the 2012 London Olympic Games."

FEI clearly stated that "there is no accusation of malpractice"

August 5, 2012, London, England - Canadian Olympic Team member for Show Jumping Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, ON, was disqualified from Olympic competition on August 5.

Less than one hour before the start of team competition, scheduled to commence at 11 a.m., FEI veterinarians entered the stall of Victor, the horse ridden by Foster.  Following a routine examination of the horse in its stall, Terrance Millar, chef d'équipe of the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping, was informed that Foster was disqualified under the International Equestrian Federation's (FEI) hypersensitivity protocol.

An official communication issued by the FEI read: "The Veterinary Commission have stated that the horse has an area of inflammation and sensitivity on the forelimb just above the hoof.  There is no accusation of malpractice, but the horse has been deemed unfit to compete by the Ground Jury."

Millar lodged a protest which was heard by the FEI Appeal Committee before the end of the competition.  However, the protest was denied based on Annex XI of the FEI Veterinary Regulations, which state: "there is no appeal against the decision of the Ground Jury to disqualify a horse for abnormal sensitivity from an Event."

Foster and Victor, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable, were disqualified from further Olympic participation.

"We are extremely disappointed with this decision as Tiffany Foster should have been allowed to compete," said Terrance Millar.

Terrance Millar further explained, "The horse has a scratch on its coronary band that occurred overnight."

"This is an unfortunate application of a rule in the absence of context, which has shattered a young woman's Olympic dream," concluded Millar.

Despite the disadvantage of having no drop score following Foster's disqualification on Sunday, the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping qualified for Monday's team final and is currently ranked sixth. The scores of Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, ON, defending Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, and ten-time Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, will all be counted towards the final result.

For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.


Photo Credit - Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com
Source: Press release Canada Hippique


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Eric Lamaze Leads Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping

Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, and Derly Chin de Muze.
Photo Credits - Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com
August 4, 2012, London, England - Defending Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, is currently tied for first place in the individual rankings following the opening day of show jumping competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Lamaze, 44, was one of 32 riders to jump clear in the first individual and team qualifying event held Saturday, August 4.  Lamaze, who lost his Olympic Champion partner Hickstead last November, is riding the newcomer Derly Chin de Muze, owned by Ashland Stables and Lamaze's Torrey Pines Stable.
"It's good to have a clear round behind me," said Lamaze of his performance with the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare.  "I couldn't have asked for a better day with a young horse."

Lamaze and his inexperienced mount were competing in front of a packed stadium of 21,000 spectators at the Olympic equestrian venue of Greenwich Park. "For me, it was great to get her in the stadium and see how she reacted," said Lamaze, who is making his second Olympic appearance.  "Today we read her well with how much to work her in the warm-up, and she gave me a good effort.  It's great to start with zero faults, and to have that confidence."

Setting a world record in his tenth Olympic appearance, Ian Millar, 65, of Perth, ON, had one rail down at fence 11.  He is currently tied for 42nd position from the starting field of 75.
"One less rail would have been good, but he reacted to the ring and the ambiance," said Millar of Star Power, an 11-year-old Dutch-bred gelding owned by Team Works.  "Horses sense the atmosphere, and he walked in here and was a little over-impressed.  He'll relax and ease into it."

Henselwood of Oxford Mills, ON, incurred four faults for a rail down at the 'b' element of the double combination at fence three, which proved to be one of the most problematic elements on the course designed by Bob Ellis of Great Britain.  She also barely exceeded the 82-second time allowed, stopping the clock at 82.02 seconds, for one time penalty.  With a total of five faults, Henselwood is tied for 53rd place with George, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Brian Gingras.

"Whether I go first or last doesn't change anything for me mentally, but what it doesn't give me is the library of information," said Henselwood, 49, who, as Canada's lead-off rider, was only the fourth competitor out on course.  "I didn't get to see anyone else go - George doesn't stand at the ingate!  Had I watched and been a little later, I would have done seven strides instead of six (to the double combination at fence three)."

In her Olympic debut, Tiffany Foster, 27, of Schomberg, ON, had two rails for eight faults and is currently tied for 60th position in the individual standings.  Foster's rails came at the back rail of the 'a' element of the double combination at fence three, and the back element of the 'a' element of the double combination at fence 12.

"There's always tomorrow, and I'm going to let him have a little more energy," said Foster of her training preparations for Sunday's events, noting that she was not sure how Victor, her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by the Ziegler family's Artisan Farms and Lamaze's Torrey Pines Stable, would react to the stadium environment.  "Our team is very cohesive and everyone is relaxed.  They are all the veterans and I am the baby."

Henselwood, Millar and Lamaze were all members of the Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping that won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Of Canada's chances in the team competition, Millar said, "Jill and Tiffany will get in the groove; Jill's horse is temperamental and should be better tomorrow.  Eric is going to do what Eric does, and that is to perform superbly.  I'm optimistic that Star Power will just relax into it as we get further along."

Show Jumping competition continues on Sunday and Monday, August 5 and 6, after which team medals will be awarded.  Both rounds of competition also count towards the individual standings.  The top 35 athletes from the original starting field of 75 will advance to the two-round Individual Final on Wednesday, August 8, where they will all start with a clean slate of zero penalties.

The Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping is supported by Chef d'Equipe Terrance Millar; Assistant Chef d'Equipe Mark Laskin; Veterinarian Dr. Sylvie Surprenant; Stable Manager Lori Green; and Team Manager Karen Hendry-Ouellette.  Grooms include Cristian Canobbio (Foster), Jessica Dooley (Henselwood), Delphine Rouston (Lamaze), Sandy Patterson (Millar) and Anne-Sophie Canut (Candele).  Kerri McGregor is the Team Leader for the Canadian Olympic Team for Equestrian and Tina Collins is Assistant Team Leader.

For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping Prepared to Compete

London, England - The Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping is prepared to begin competition on Saturday, August 4, at the Olympic equestrian venue of Greenwich Park in London, GBR.

The Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping is comprised of Tiffany Foster of Schomberg, ON, riding Victor, owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable; Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, ON, riding George, owned by Brian Gingras; Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, riding Derly Chin de Muze owned by Ashland Stables and Torrey Pines Stable; and Ian Millar of Perth, ON, riding Star Power owned by Team Works. The alternate is Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, riding Carlotta Singular owned by Susan Grange.

All five team members, including the alternate, presented their horses at the horse inspection on August 2 and were accepted. All five athletes will participate in a training session in the early evening of August 3. Substitutions may be made up until two hours before the start of competition on August 4, in the event that any country wishes to use its alternate.

Eric Lamaze riding Derly Chin de Muze. Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CanadianPress
Lamaze, 44, enters the London Olympics as the defending champion. In 2008, he claimed the individual gold medal in a dramatic jump-off against Rolf-Goran Bengtsson of Sweden. Lamaze then suffered an incredible loss that stunned the sporting world when his Olympic partner, Hickstead, collapsed and died of an aortic rupture during a world cup qualifying event in Verona, Italy, on November 6, 2011.

"With the tragedy that happened, I don't feel like I am coming to London to defend my title," said Lamaze, who is competing in his second Olympic Games. "If I still had Hickstead, I feel that he would have been in good shape and we would have had a good chance to defend.

"I came with a good young horse," continued Lamaze of Derly Chin de Muze, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. "She's lacking experience, but she has the quality to go all the way. She has the quality to leave the rails up, and I think she's ready."

Having won the team silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, Canada will once again be looking to bring home the hardware from London.

Of the Canadian Team's chances, Lamaze said, "The team is very strong. Any time you have Ian on the team, it's a great team. Jill was part of our team in Beijing and you can always count on her. Tiffany and Yann are both on good young horses, but I would say that every team here has a younger rider or horse. I am happy to be here, and to be a part of this team."

Ian Millar 65 years old
Photo: (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI AGENCY)
Competing in his 10th Olympic Games, Millar, 65, of Perth, ON, is setting a world record in London with the most Olympic appearances by any athlete in any sport.

"The whole thing is such an interesting journey," said Millar, who made his Olympic debut in 1972 riding Shoeman at the Munich Olympics, marred by what is now referred to as the 'Munich massacre'. "What I notice the most is the evolution of the sport. It is not at all what it was in the 1970s. The type of horse, style of riding, and the type of jumps used are virtually unrecognizable. It has been an interesting challenge for me to change with it."

Show Jumping competition opens with the first team and individual qualifier on Saturday, August 4, and continues on Sunday and Monday, August 5 and 6, after which team medals will be awarded. The top 35 athletes from the original starting field of 75 then advance to the two-round Individual Final on Wednesday, August 8.

The Canadian Olympic Team for Show Jumping is supported by Chef d'Equipe Terrance Millar; Assistant Chef d'Equipe Mark Laskin; Veterinarian Dr. Sylvie Surprenant; Stable Manager Lori Green; and Team Manager Karen Hendry-Ouellette. Grooms include Cristian Canobbio (Foster), Jessica Dooley (Henselwood), Delphine Rouston (Lamaze), Sandy Patterson (Millar) and Anne-Sophie Canut (Candele). Kerri McGregor is the Team Leader for the Canadian Olympic Team for Equestrian and Tina Collins is Assistant Team Leader.

For more information, including live scoring and results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.

Source: Press release Equine Canada, Julie Cull, jcull@equinecanada.ca

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Equine Guelph Combats Colic with Your Help!

Guelph, ON. - Colic is the number one killer of horses (other than old age!) and Equine Guelph is launching a comprehensive colic survey across Canada to better understand colic management practices in the industry and how people are dealing with colic. "Understanding the horse owners' experiences with colic will assist in developing targeted educational programs," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph.  

Results from the survey will help develop Equine Guelph's Colic Prevention Program that includes a Colic Risk Rater and a Colic Prevention eWorkshop (a two-week online short course) with the aim of reducing horse owners' risk of colic. Dr. Judith Koenig, associate professor at the Ontario Veterinary College, states, "Colic is a major health issue facing horse owners both emotionally and financially. If horse owners are able to reduce their risk of colic through management, it will improve both the overall health and welfare of the horse."  

This is the first survey of its kind in Canada. The survey takes about 15-20 minutes and is available online through www.EquineGuelph.ca. The survey will be open from July 25th September 25th, 2012.
Participants of the survey will be entered into a draw for a chance to win one of two registrations to Equine Guelph's upcoming Colic Prevention eWorkshop!

In addition to funding from Standardbred Canada, investment in this project has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.  

For more information about Equine Guelph's Colic Prevention Program, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca/education/colic
PRESS RELEASE: Equine Guelph. jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Horse | Study: Match Personalities for Strong Horse, Woman Bond


Editor's note: This article is part of TheHorse.com's ongoing coverage of topics presented at the 2012 International Society of Equitation Science conference, held July 18-20 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

All right ladies, this one's for you. Do you think personalities matter when it comes to getting the right horse-rider relationship? According to a recently completed equitation science study, they certainly seem to. Research shows that women who "match up" their horses' personality traits to those of their own are more likely to have a better relationship with their animals.
Inga Wolframm, PhD, senior lecturer of equine leisure and sports at the University of Applied Science Van Hall Larenstein in Wageningen, The Netherlands, presented her research at the 8th International Society of Equitation Science conference, held July 18-20 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
"We know from studies on humans that personality traits affect the way people cooperate and communicate with each other," Wolframm said. "Coaches and athletes who share personality traits seem to have better relationships than those who do not, and the same is true with marriage partners. Research has also shown this applies to dogs and their masters. So what I wanted to know was: what about horses and their riders?"
Wolframm's study was based on a Facebook questionnaire that spread "like a virus" in The Netherlands among equestrians between the ages of 18 and 70. The women were asked to rate 15 of their own personality traits (such as excitability, liveliness, consideration, and leadership). And--"as horses can't fill out questionnaires," Wolframm added--respondents were also asked to rate 15 of their horses' corresponding personality traits (such as emotional reactivity, ability to learn, how affectionate and sociable ["gregarious"] they are, and how easily riders felt their horses cooperated). Finally, they were asked to rate how they viewed their relationship with their horse, as low, medium, or high quality.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hawley Bennett-Awad Stars on Opening Day for Canadian Olympic Team for Eventing


Hawley Bennett-Awad of Langley, BC and Gin & Juice
July 28, 2012, London, England - Hawley Bennett-Awad of Langley, BC, was the highest placed member of the Canadian Olympic Team for Eventing as competition opened on Saturday, July 28, at Greenwich Park for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Three Canadian Olympic Team members for Eventing competed on the first of two days of dressage competition with Bennett-Awad currently ranked 11th in the provisional standings after scoring 48.70 penalty points riding Gin & Juice.  Michele Mueller of Port Perry, ON, earned a score of 57 penalty points to place 25th while Peter Barry of Dunham, QC, is currently ranked 32nd in the individual standings with 61.70 penalty points.

Two German competitors, Ingrid Klimke riding Butts Abraxxas and Dirk Schrade riding King Artus, currently top the leader board with scores of 39.30 and 39.80 penalty points respectively.  Great Britain's Mary King is ranked third after scoring 40.90 with Imperial Cavalier.

"Amazing, what a feeling going into that ring!" said Bennett-Awad, 35, following her dressage test.  Bennett-Awad is making her second Olympic appearance, having also represented Canada in 2004 in Athens.

Of Gin & Juice, a 12-year-old American thoroughbred mare that she co-owns with Linda Paine, Bennett-Awad said, "She actually surprised me with how rideable she was.  I had a few tears coming down center line.  I am so proud of her!"
Michele Mueller of Port Perry, ON, and Amistad
In her Olympic debut, Mueller is riding Amistad, a 13-year-old chestnut thoroughbred/Belgian-cross gelding owned by Julie-Anna Pring.

"I am pleased with it, I am happy with it," said Mueller, 48, of her dressage test.  "I would have loved to have been better; everyone wants to do better, of course!  I am pleased that my horse didn't lose it in the ring; he kept it together, he listened and he tried hard.  I couldn't ask for any more."
Peter Barry of Dunham, QC, and/et Kilrodan Abbott
Barry was awarded a score of 57 penalty points from the three-member ground jury to currently rank 32nd in the individual standings riding Kilrodan Abbott, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Peter, Susan and Dylan Barry.

"I had two mistakes which cost me," explained Barry, 56, who is also making his Olympic debut.  "After the halt when we trotted off, he wanted to go into a canter, and then there was an error in the test. It was not my best dressage score, but I think we were respectable."

Barry is looking forward to Monday's challenging cross-country phase, stating, "I am happy to say that I don't think it is going to be a dressage show here.  I think the cross-country course will be influential.  I will try hard to ride my turns well, and I think there is time to be made, so I hope we move up after cross-country."

Canada's other two team members, Jessica Phoenix of Uxbridge, ON, riding her own Canadian-bred Exponential, and Rebecca Howard of Salmon Arm, BC, riding the Canadian-bred Riddle Master, owned by Blithe Hill Farm, will contest the opening phase of dressage on Sunday, July 29.  Once all five team members have completed the dressage phase, the best three scores will be used to determine the overall team standings.  A total of 12 countries are contesting the team medals.

Often referred to as the triathlon of horse sports, is comprised of three consecutive phases.  The first phase of competition, dressage, will be held over two days, Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, at the 2012 London Olympic Games.  The second phase, cross-country, will be held Monday, July 30, and features 28 fences with 39 jumping efforts over a track set by British course designer Sue Benson.  The third and final phase, show jumping, will take place on Tuesday, July 31.  Team medals will be decided following the first round of show jumping, while the top 25 athletes in the individual rankings, limited to a maximum of three representatives per nation, will advance to a second round of show jumping to determine the individual medals.

The Canadian Olympic Team for Eventing is supported by Coach/International Technical Advisor David O'Connor; Chef d'Equipe Graeme Thom; Veterinarian Christiana Ober; Stable Manager Deb Furnas; Ferrier Randy Pawlak; Team Manager Fleur Tipton; and Therapist Jo Ann Wilson.

For more information, including results, please visit the equestrian sport section of the official 2012 London Olympic Games website at www.london2012.com/equestrian.

Photos - Cealy Tetley, www.tetleyphoto.com
Source: Julie Cull, Canada Hippique, jcull@equinecanada.ca

Friday, July 27, 2012

FEI Open Jumper 1.50m: Lamontagne first throughout



Francois Lamontagne & Underground 1.50m. Photo Normand St-Jacques

Bromont, July 27, 2012 – The FEI (Fédération Équestre Internationale) events, which will start tomorrow at International Bromont will include about thirty participants, notably Mario Deslauriers, Jonathan and Ben Asselin, Amy Millar, Leslie Howard as well as Nicolas Dello Joio, winner of the BonjourQuébec.com World Cup qualifier on July 22, 2012.

While last week’s number of participants in the FEI events at International Bromont fluctuated between 25 and 28, this week’s International events should count and additional 10 horse/rider teams. "`For fans of high level competitions, this is probably the nicest of the two weeks of the show." Indicated show manager, Roger Deslauriers. "We have essentially the same number of horses altogether, however, a higher number participate in the FEI events (than last week). With more competitors, the level of difficulty and the pressure tend to go up."

There will be two FEI events at International Bromont: the first, the Open Jumper 1m50 class on Friday July 27 starting at 3h30, while the second, the Grand Prix with fences at a maximum height of 1m60, will take place on Sunday July 29, starting at 2h30.

In addition to International classes, this weekend’s programme will include highlights such as the Hunter Derby, new this year, and the Modified Grand Prix, both on Saturday July 28, as well as many medal classes for Junior/Amateurs (Aubert Brillant, Jump Canada, François Ferland) on Sunday, and the not to be missed Royal Canin Challenge, on July 29.

International Bromont promises an unforgettable 2012 edition with five FEI events, the return of the Royal Canin Challenge on both Sundays, as well as its two new events. For more details on the programme, visit our Internet site at www.internationalbromont.org.

The International Bromont, a Hunter and Jumper competition, presents its thirty-seventh edition at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park, from July 18 to 22, and July 25 to 29, 2012. International Bromont would like to thank the Ministère de l’Éducation du Loisir et du Sport and the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec for their support. Admission is $10 per person and free for children under 12 years-old.  

Source: Alexandra Hill Communications. Parc Équestre Olympique de Bromont, communications@internationalbromont.org

Jimmy Toon and Tigger Win $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby in Vermont



Jimmy Toon and Tigger won the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on Thursday, July 26, during week four of the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Photo by David Mullinix Photography

 East Dorset, Vermont – Jimmy Toon of South Salem, NY, rode Jane Clark’s Tigger to victory in the $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby on Thursday, July 26, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  The six-week Vermont Summer Festival continues in East Dorset, VT, through August 12, 2012.

The $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby is a qualifier for the $15,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, which will be held on Thursday, August 9, during week six of the Vermont Summer Festival.  In order to qualify for the $15,000 Hunter Derby, a rider or owner must have competed in a Hunter Derby during weeks one through five of the 2012 competition.  The $15,000 Hunter Derby is generously sponsored by Oughton Limited, a Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer that is also presenting a beautiful ‘Wellie’ barn tote to the weekly derby winner.

A total of 22 entries competed over the week four Hunter Derby course designed by Gerry Briggs, which spanned two rings and featured beautiful natural obstacles at the rural show grounds of Harold Beebe Farm.  Jimmy Toon and Tigger won the class with a total score of 170 after coming out on top in round one with a score of 88 and then scoring 82 in the handy round.

Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, MD, rode Rolling Acres’ Gerona 92 to a second place finish with scores of 83 and 84 for a two-round total of 167.  Penny Lombardo, of Loxahatchee, FL, guided Kelly Cartwright’s Big Girl Don’t Cry to third place with scores of 82 and 83 for a total score of 165.  Fourth place honors were awarded to Darren Graziano of Wellington, FL, riding Paula Kennedy’s Monte Cristo to scores of 80 and 81 for a 161 total.  Cory Hardy of Waltham, MA, had a great finish with Connor, owned by Mary Chase, to earn fifth place.  The pair scored a 73 in the first round and then jumped to an impressive score of 87 in round two for a 160 point total.

Toon’s winning mount, Tigger, is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Jimtown x Ramiro Z.  Having formerly competed in the show jumping divisions, Tigger began his hunter career with Toon less than two years ago.  The pair has done very well in the High Performance Hunter divisions, and recently began competing in the derby classes together.

Commenting on their win, Toon stated, “This is only the second derby I have done with him, but I think he will be good at them in time.  I think he needs to forget about the jumper career a little bit, but he is getting better and better about that.  He is a good horse; he wants to be a good horse.  He is making a lot of good efforts."

“The class was nice,” Toon continued.  “The first round was better than the second.  I have to work on a few things for the second round.  Maybe I lost my concentration a little bit, but it wasn’t bad.  In the first round, he was quite smooth and the second round, there were just tiny things.  Maybe he got a little antsy, but there were parts that he was very good at.  He is quite good at the handy and quite competitive; I think it is just both of us being smoother.  It is me being smoother with him and him being smoother with me.  He is doing nicely though, he is a sweet horse and I am lucky to have the opportunity to ride him.”

Toon showed in Vermont last year as well and has also judged at the show for the last two years.  He is a big fan of the competition and picturesque setting.

“Vermont is beautiful; the weather’s great and the scenery is fabulous,” he declared.  “We love the stores in town and the restaurants.  They do a very nice job here.  They keep it very clean and the management is very easy to get along with.  They are super people; we can’t say enough nice things about them. Billy (Glass) is a great manager and his crew is great, and John and Dotty (Ammerman) have done a great job for everybody.”

Now qualified, Toon plans to compete with Tigger in the $15,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby, sponsored by Oughton Limited, on August 9.

Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont.  The first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix.  The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held during the sixth and final week on Saturday, August 11.  The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, are now held each Thursday.

Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday.  Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children.  All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.

For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont.  The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL).  For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: info@vt-summerfestival.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
PRESS RELEASE: Starting Gate Communications. jward@startinggate.ca 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Planning For a Profitable Equine Business


Guelph, Ontario - July 24, 2012 - When it comes to operating a business in the equine industry, a bit of planning can certainly make the difference between its success or its downfall. Equine Guelph, University of Guelph, provides the tools necessary to those who are looking to operate a profitable horse business through its online course in Equine Business Management which runs this September.

"Many who work with horses have no business knowledge, yet they want to turn their passion for horses into a business," says Heather Gentles, instructor of the Equine Business Management Program at the University of Guelph. "This course covers the basics of setting up a business and is overseen by instructors who have extensive business and horse knowledge, so that they are able to guide the students on their journey. The interaction with other students helps spur ideas, and gives feedback and support, which are invaluable."

Gentles, who has a Bachelor and Masters of Science in Biology from the University of Northern Arizona and a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing and General Management from the Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio, has over 20 years of experience in marketing research and product management. She also helps small businesses get off the ground and develop their marketing initiatives.

Throughout the 12-week course, students will learn the time management and readiness skills to start a business, examine SMART goals, understand market research, and how to identify profitable products and/or services, as well as pricing strategies, and marketing, legal and insurance needs. Topics also covered include basic financials such as start up costs, income statements and cash flow, human resources, business organization and establishing a business team. At the completion of this course, students will have developed a business plan entirely geared to their business.

"It is surprising how many businesses start without writing any kind of business plan," notes Gentles. "They have an idea and passion, but have not thought out all the details that can make or break a business. It has been estimated that 30 to 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years due to weak general business, financial and/or marketing knowledge. The Equine Business Management course forces students to sit down and think through a variety of areas that will help them succeed in their horse business."

Other courses offered in Equine Guelph's Fall 2012 lineup include Management of the Equine Environment, Equine Health & Disease Prevention, Equine Nutrition, Growth & Development, Exercise Physiology, Advanced Equine Behaviour, Equine Journalism, and Stewardship of the Equine Environment. Registration is now open, with early bird registration ending August 10. Courses run from September 10 to December 2, 2012.

For more information, please contact the Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support at info@coles.uoguelph.ca, call 519-767-5000 or visit www.equinebusinesscertificate.com.
Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicenter for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.

About The Centre of Open Learning and Education Support

The Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support provides expertise and leadership to the University of Guelph community and our partners in the following: the scholarship and practice of teaching, technology-enhanced education, open learning and professional development. We provide support for teaching and learning that is evidence-based, responsive, developmental, and based on best practices.

PRESS RELEASE: Equine Guelph. jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

Washington International Horse Show Prize List Now Available

Washington, D.C., - July 26, 2012 - The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), is pleased to announce the 2012 WIHS Prize List, which includes several exciting changes to the show program, is now available online. The country's leading metropolitan indoor equestrian event, now in its 54th year, will take place October 23-28, 2012, at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C.

"We take great pleasure in welcoming many of the finest horses and riders in the sport and appreciate all the hard work it takes to get to Washington,” said Bridget Love Meehan, WIHS Executive Director. “We strive to make it a very special experience for exhibitors, spectators and sponsors.”

The U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) has granted WIHS a presidential modification to increase the number of WIHS Equitation Finalists to 40 (from 35), with 10 spots available to qualifiers from the West Coast League and 30 from the East Coast League. The increase will give more riders the opportunity to compete in one of the most prestigious equitation finals in North America.

WIHS will also introduce the Amateur-Owner 3'3” Hunter division for the first time with 20 entries accepted, 10 each in the 18-35 and 36 & over age groups.

Entries must be postmarked by midnight September 4. The qualifying period ends August 29, except for the WIHS Children’s and Adult Hunter and Jumper Championships, which ends August 31. For more details, download the Official WIHS Prize List at www.wihs.org/prize-list/. Entries may also be submitted using Equestrian Connect.


Nearly half a million dollars in prize money and special awards will be presented at the show, including Washington favorites like special treats from Georgetown Cupcake and luxury timepieces for the leading hunter and jumper riders, courtesy of Tiny Jewel Box.

Some of the industry’s most respected judges will preside over this year’s competition, including McLain Ward, Alison Robitaille and Todd Karn for the WIHS Equitation Finals; Ralph Caristo, Jimmy Clapperton and Scott Williamson for the hunters; and Ralph Alfano, Neil O'Connor and John Taylor for the jumpers.

WIHS is one of the most historic and well-known equestrian events in the world with a significant record of hosting Olympians, national champions, our country’s most talented young equitation riders, and top ranking junior, amateur and pony competitors, all of whom take to the ring each October in the nation’s capital.

Nationally, WIHS is rated “AA,” the highest possible, by USEF. On the international level, it has a three-star (CSI 3*-W) rating from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). The ‘W’ indicates the show is one of a select few in the U.S. offering a prestigious World Cup qualifying class. At Washington, the highlight event of show week, the $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, is a World Cup qualifier.

In related news, the Washington International’s sister show, the WIHS Regional Horse Show, held on October 19-21, 2012, at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, will now be “C” rated, and will once again host the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Zone 3 Finals. A very popular stop on the local horse show circuit, the WIHS Regional also offers an alternative way for area riders to qualify for competition at Verizon Center.

Download the 2012 Official WIHS Prize List at www.wihs.org/prize-list/. Learn more about the Washington International and the WIHS Regional Horse Show & USHJA Zone 3 Finals at www.wihs.org, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the Washington International Horse Show (www.wihs.org)

An equestrian tradition since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is the country’s only metropolitan indoor horse show and the pinnacle of the equestrian year with top riders, including Olympic medalists and their world-class horses. More than 500 horses participate in show jumping, hunter and equitation events during the six-day show, with many competing all year just to qualify. Highlights include the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix (a World Cup qualifier), the Puissance (high jump) and WIHS Equitation Finals featuring the country’s top junior riders. Exciting equestrian exhibitions, boutique shopping and community activities, such as Kids' Day and Breakfast with the Mounted Police, round out this family-friendly event.

Since its debut, the WIHS has been a Washington, D.C. institution attended by celebrities, business, military, and diplomatic leaders, as well as countless horse enthusiasts of all ages. Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.


PRESS RELEASE: Jennifer Wood Media. info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Darragh Kenny and Tonic Triumph in $10,000 Welcome Stake in Vermont



Darragh Kenny and Tonic triumphed in the $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 26, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.Photo by David Mullinix Photography

 East Dorset, Vermont – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Tonic jumped to victory in the $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 26 at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  The six-week Vermont Summer Festival is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 4 through August 12, 2012.

In a nine-horse jump-off, Kenny and Tonic beat out Georgina Bloomberg and Radio City and Mark Leone and Pleasure de Riverland, who finished second and third respectively.

Ken Krome is the course designer in the grand prix ring for week four’s Valley Classic competition at the Vermont Summer Festival, and had the task of setting the course for Thursday’s $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake.  With 24 entries, nine horses jumped clear to advance to the jump-off, with three again jumping clear.

Mark Leone, of Franklin Lakes, NJ, and Ri Arm Farm’s Pleasure De Riverland were the first pair to clear the course and jumped off in 40.01 seconds to eventually finish third.  Several rounds later, New York City’s Georgina Bloomberg and Radio City, owned by Gotham Enterprizes LLC, also jumped double clear and were quicker in a time of 37.02 seconds to place second.  Darragh Kenny and Tonic were the final duo to jump double clear, stopping the clock in 36.44 seconds for the win.  Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Wayne R, owned by Palm Meadow Farm LLC, had the fastest time in the jump-off with 35.86 seconds, but a rail down left Torano fourth overall in the final standings.

The winning horse, Tonic, is an eight-year-old Hungarian Warmblood gelding by Timorrak Des Isles, owned by Rachael Barnes.  Kenny is riding Tonic this week to prepare him for Barnes, who will show the gelding in the Junior Jumper division next week.

Kenny explained, “Rachael is just getting used to the horse and he is young, so she wanted me to show him a little bit.  He seems really special.  He is careful and scopey and easy.  I am really glad that they let me ride him today; he was excellent.”

Kenny had a total of four horses entered in the $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake, and also earned the sixth and eighth place prizes.  He commented on the course, stating, “I thought it was a really good course for everybody.  I think Ken built a great course.  It looked and walked a little bit easier than it actually jumped.  The jump-off was great; it had a couple of catchy situations in it.”

Kenny rides for Missy Clark and John Brennan at North Run, which is based less than two hours from the competition grounds in Warren, VT.  He enjoys the opportunity to show so close to home in the beautiful environment at Harold Beebe Farm.

“It is a great show and it is run really well,” Kenny said.  “I am lucky that I get so many horses to show in these classes.  Thanks to Missy and John and the owners of the horses that let me show them.  It is a competitive show for us and we like to come and do well here.  It is kind of like home away from home for us being in Vermont.  We go home on Sunday evening and come back on Tuesday.  We get to spend some time at home and spend some time here.  They do the best that they can and when you have people who run a show who try so hard, it makes a huge difference to the exhibitors, to the owners, to everybody.”

Georgina Bloomberg finished second to Kenny in Thursday’s competition and was pleased with her ride on Radio City.

“I was really happy with my round,” she smiled.  “It was a little smaller than last week, so I knew that speed was going to come into play a little bit more in the jump-off, but I was happy with my horse.”

“I just really started back showing,” Bloomberg noted.  “Last week was actually my first grand prix back in a year because I had back surgery, so I am a little timid, especially going fast.  I am not going as fast as I would like to, or maybe need to, to win the classes, but I was really happy with it and I thought the course was a nice introduction to the week.”

Bloomberg showed in Vermont as a teenager when the festival was in a different location and was excited to return to the competition this year.

“We have been in Europe for a few summers and then I had a summer where I didn’t really have any horses, so this is the first summer where it worked out,” Bloomberg explained.  “I was in America and had a few horses that I wanted to be able to show in some nice grand prix events.  We heard great things about the show and I have absolutely loved it.  Not only is the setting great and the area, but the show itself has been really nice and we have just really enjoyed being here.  It is nice to be at a show where you can actually enjoy it as well as enjoy what you are doing in the ring.”

Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont.  The first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix.  The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held during the sixth and final week on Saturday, August 11.  The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, are now held each Thursday.

Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday.  Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children.  All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.

For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont.  The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL).  For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: info@vt-summerfestival.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
PRESS RELEASE: Starting Gate Communications jward@startinggate.ca