01 April 2018
California Raises the Level at San Juan Capistrano
The West Coast of the United States added a new, internationally rated week of show jumping to its calendar this past week in San Juan Capistrano, California. Springtime through the summer season in the Western US usually means a complete lack of FEI show jumping classes, but the Blenheim Equisports marked a positive change from March 28 – April 1, 2018 at its Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park location with a new CSI3* week of competition. The biggest class of the week, the $80,000 CSI3* Gold Tour Grand Prix, saw a field of 23 riders from eight countries. The USA’s Keri Potter topped a jumpoff of seven with Bitalica, a 12-year-old AES gelding by Viento Uno W x Lancelot. "The course was definitely a notch up in regards to technicality and height, but the forward distances suited my horse. It was a good track for him," Potter noted. "This is a pretty cool horse. I've been riding him for about a year now. He was pretty scared when I got him, so it's been great to form a relationship with him." The newly formed Founders Club, a group of equestrians who want to raise the level of sport on the West Coast, were recognized in opening ceremonies ahead of the grand prix. Team USA show jumping chef d’equipe Robert Ridland, who is an owner of Blenheim Equisports, was also in attendance and welcomed all in attendance. "The FEI classes have been a big step up for California,” added Potter. It raises the horses and riders to a certain level that we should be at in order to compete with the rest of the world."
01 April 2018
California Raises the Level at San Juan Capistrano
The West Coast of the United States added a new, internationally rated week of show jumping to its calendar this past week in San Juan Capistrano, California. Springtime through the summer season in the Western US usually means a complete lack of FEI show jumping classes, but the Blenheim Equisports marked a positive change from March 28 – April 1, 2018 at its Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park location with a new CSI3* week of competition. The biggest class of the week, the $80,000 CSI3* Gold Tour Grand Prix, saw a field of 23 riders from eight countries. The USA’s Keri Potter topped a jumpoff of seven with Bitalica, a 12-year-old AES gelding by Viento Uno W x Lancelot. "The course was definitely a notch up in regards to technicality and height, but the forward distances suited my horse. It was a good track for him," Potter noted. "This is a pretty cool horse. I've been riding him for about a year now. He was pretty scared when I got him, so it's been great to form a relationship with him." The newly formed Founders Club, a group of equestrians who want to raise the level of sport on the West Coast, were recognized in opening ceremonies ahead of the grand prix. Team USA show jumping chef d’equipe Robert Ridland, who is an owner of Blenheim Equisports, was also in attendance and welcomed all in attendance. "The FEI classes have been a big step up for California,” added Potter. It raises the horses and riders to a certain level that we should be at in order to compete with the rest of the world."
28 March 2018
Billy Raymont to Make World Cup Final Debut With Australian Warmblood Oaks Redwood
Billy Raymont is currently on what could be described as a grand tour of the world. The Australian born and based show jumper has hit several career milestones in the last few months, and is looking ahead to his biggest one yet, in a few weeks time in Paris, France. With an active yard in Queensland, Australia, where he brings along 15-20 horses at a time, teaches and competes, 38-year-old Raymont has, in the past, taken horses across to the USA or Europe for short trips. Last summer, he was paired with a horse that has changed everything, the Australian-bred Oaks Redwood, a 13-year-old warmblood by ASB Conquistador x Verdi owned by the Tucker family. Known as "Basil", he was sent to Raymont to compete, and together the two won a string of World Cup Qualifiers in the Australian League last fall. That put Raymont at the top of the Australian League rankings, and raised his sights as to what could be next. “To be honest, a short conversation with [fellow Australian rider] Jamie Kermond a couple of months before the end of our World Cup Series initiated all this,” Raymont says. “He asked if I was interested in going to the World Cup Final, and that we should maybe plan on going there and work on doing things together.” Australia’s chef d’equipe, Todd Hinde, had already been planning a schedule for Jamie that included the Longines Masters of Hong Kong CSI5*, and Raymont suddenly found himself on the entry list. “I didn’t quite understand what it was like getting into these five star shows, but it ended up that Hong Kong was my first five star show, which was quite crazy,” Raymont said. “It’s been really good to be able to go along with Jamie and Todd. They’ve organized so much, and made it stress free for me.” At Hong Kong in February, Raymont and Oaks Redwood jumped three clear rounds amid the big atmosphere of the glittering indoor competition. “Being around riders who we’ve mostly only watched on TV is a bit crazy, but I felt comfortable enough,” Raymont says. “I had a plan when I went to the Hong Kong Masters that I would just do the medium tour and small classes. My horse went so well the first two days that I was keen to start in the Grand Prix on Sunday, but I decided to stick to my plan. The experience gave me a lot of confidence that my horse was good for it, and that I was too.” With that experience under their belt, Raymont and Oaks Redwood flew onward to Europe, where they are based with Yves Houtacker in Holland, and jumped Peelbergen and Braunschweig. But Raymont wanted one more good indoor experience before April’s World Cup Final. With the indoors season winding down and few opportunities left, Raymont and Hinde called the prestigious Saut Hermés CSI5*, and were granted an entry. Suddenly, Raymont was staring down his first international grand prix under the glass-ceilinged Grand Palais over a notoriously challenging 1.60m track in the tight confines of the grandest of indoors. “Last year, with all of our Australian World Cups being certificates of qualifications for the WEG, they were all pretty full standard, but I was sure a 1.60m grand prix in Europe would be different,” Raymont explains. “We don’t even dream of seeing a 1.60m track indoors in Australia. But it wasn’t hugely different. My horse handled it really well, and I needed that class to really be ready going to the World Cup Final.” In their first international grand prix start, Raymont and Oaks Redwood put in a solid performance at Saut Hermés, with just one fence down. In less than three week’s time, they will return to Paris for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final. “It’s a bit of a new level for Australian breeding, to have a couple of horses at this level, going to Europe and doing this sort of thing,” Raymont mentions. “It’s nice to give people at home that confidence that our horses are coming over and doing this.” Oaks Redwood has certainly proven his mettle to compete at the very top level in the world, and will have his biggest chance yet at the Final. For now Raymont is focused on a good performance in April, but he’s also found himself penciled in for another big entry—the long list for Team Australia at September’s World Equestrian Games. Raymont will take it step by step, with a bit of optimism that the world’s biggest stage still awaits.
25 March 2018
Big Money for Madden in Winning Florida Weekend
Last year, after the retirement of her World Cup Final winner Simon, Beezie Madden set out to rebuild her string of top horses. “We retired Simon last year and Cortes the year before that, so there was a big hole in my string for a bit. We made a big push starting in the fall of 2016 to make some big purchases and so far it’s been successful.” Successful is an understatement: after this weekend’s success, there is no doubt that her stable is one of the strongest in the USA. The 55-year-old Olympic veteran earned a total of $417,650 in prize money over two days of competition in Florida, by winning two major grands prix with two different horses that can now be counted as her two top mounts. She has been bringing both horses along up the levels for several years. On Saturday riding Breitling LS, she won the $205,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix CSI4* in Wellington, earning first place prize money of $67,650. And on Sunday, March 25, Madden and many other Wellington-based riders traveled three and a half hours to the north, to HITS Ocala, in order to compete in the annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix.The nationally-rated competition offers the biggest single-class prize money in the United States, along with corresponding $1 Million grand prix classes at HITS Coachella in California and HITS Saugerties in New York. Madden, who already won a $1 Million grand prix in 2015, jumped to the top of Sunday’s class riding Coach, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Con Air x Corofino I. Both Coach and Breitling LS are owned by Madden’s longtime supporter, Abigail Wexner. Five horses jumped off in the class that earned the fifth-place rider a healthy $75,000. Prize money paid out to 20th place. “This is a horse with a lot of scope and he has really nice ride-ability,” Madden said about Coach. “He’s German bred, but we bought him in Holland. We’ve had him since he was 7 years old and he’s been a pleasure to have the whole time.” American riders placed in the top three of the class, with young Lillie Keenan riding the 2nd place aboard Super Sox, and Charlie Jayne claiming 3rd place with former broodmare Tou La Moon.
25 March 2018
Big Money for Madden in Winning Florida Weekend
Last year, after the retirement of her World Cup Final winner Simon, Beezie Madden set out to rebuild her string of top horses. “We retired Simon last year and Cortes the year before that, so there was a big hole in my string for a bit. We made a big push starting in the fall of 2016 to make some big purchases and so far it’s been successful.” Successful is an understatement: after this weekend’s success, there is no doubt that her stable is one of the strongest in the USA. The 55-year-old Olympic veteran earned a total of $417,650 in prize money over two days of competition in Florida, by winning two major grands prix with two different horses that can now be counted as her two top mounts. She has been bringing both horses along up the levels for several years. On Saturday riding Breitling LS, she won the $205,000 CaptiveOne Grand Prix CSI4* in Wellington, earning first place prize money of $67,650. And on Sunday, March 25, Madden and many other Wellington-based riders traveled three and a half hours to the north, to HITS Ocala, in order to compete in the annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix.The nationally-rated competition offers the biggest single-class prize money in the United States, along with corresponding $1 Million grand prix classes at HITS Coachella in California and HITS Saugerties in New York. Madden, who already won a $1 Million grand prix in 2015, jumped to the top of Sunday’s class riding Coach, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Con Air x Corofino I. Both Coach and Breitling LS are owned by Madden’s longtime supporter, Abigail Wexner. Five horses jumped off in the class that earned the fifth-place rider a healthy $75,000. Prize money paid out to 20th place. “This is a horse with a lot of scope and he has really nice ride-ability,” Madden said about Coach. “He’s German bred, but we bought him in Holland. We’ve had him since he was 7 years old and he’s been a pleasure to have the whole time.” American riders placed in the top three of the class, with young Lillie Keenan riding the 2nd place aboard Super Sox, and Charlie Jayne claiming 3rd place with former broodmare Tou La Moon.