24 May 2018
Spencer Smith to Make Team USA Debut at CSIO5* Nations Cup of Rome
“My goal is to jump on a Nations Cup team for sure. Hopefully by the end of the year, maybe. If there is a Nations Cup I can be a part of—that is what I really want to do.” Little did Spencer Smith know that less than two weeks after he spoke those words in a friendly interview, he would receive the call-up to represent his country in one of the world’s most prestigious Nations Cup competitions. Twenty-one-year-old Smith will compete in the CSIO5* FEI Nations Cup of Rome on Friday, marking his first appearance on a USA team. Veteran riders Kent Farrington and Lauren Hough were planned to ride on the team, but withdrew at the last minute. The young American rider, whose parents are well-known trainers Ken and Emily Smith, is in the middle of a planned semester away from his studies at University of Miami, Florida. With the opportunity to work for Eric Lamaze from his European base at Ecurie D’Ecaussines in Belgium, Smith relocated with Torrey Pines Stable at the end of this past winter season. Smith has been competing at three and four star shows in Europe this spring as he juggles riding duties with his job working for Eric Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stables. Over the winter season in Wellington, he made headlines when he picked up his first, career Grand Prix victory in the CSI3* Horseware Grand Prix with the 13-year-old Selle Francias gelding Theodore Mancais (Kashmir Van Schuttershof). Smith likely didn’t expect that win any more than he expected to wear the Team USA colors this weekend. Now, on the eve of his debut Nations Cup appearance, get to know America’s newest breakout rider. Q: When did you start training with Eric Lamaze? How did that connection come about? That connection came about through my parents. When I was a junior, Eric sent a lot of horses to me. When they were finished with the big sport they would come to me, and my parents would sell them, but in the meantime I would ride them and be able to jump the high juniors, the U25 and classes like that. He sent me horses from when I was 14, up until now. He’s really helped me a lot. Two years ago, Eric called and invited me to ride a horse in Gijon in the five star in Spain. That was my first show really with him, and that’s how it all started. It was a big shock, but it was awesome. Q: And now that you’re working for Eric full time in Europe, what do your days look like? At the beginning of the week I come back from the show, I ride all morning. We school horses, or jump horses that didn’t go to the show, and then in the afternoons I drive all over the place and scout horses and try a bunch of horses. There are literally four small shows within 30 minutes of where I am in Belgium, all the time. So no matter what, I can always be looking at horses. A lot of them are not tapped, whereas in America, everything is covered, nothing slides through a crack. And here there are still some cracks. So I do that every afternoon basically until about Wednesday and Thursday every week, depending on the show. Then I leave to the show, and show my horses and Eric’s horses. And then I come back and do it all again. Q: What kind of horses do you look for, and what’s the toughest part of scouting? I’ve found a bunch of equitation horses that we’ve sold to the States. We have some partners in Germany that we do a lot together and they find and scout for me. We are starting to get more into young jumpers, finding some jumpers that are prospects for the big classes. The hardest part is just being at the right place at the right time and noticing something a bit different. That’s the biggest thing; being able to look through whatever is going on and seeing the picture that it will be in the end, which I can’t say that I really know how to do, but I’m working on it. Q: What’s it like working with Eric Lamaze? It’s awesome. It’s an opportunity that I think that very, very few people ever get to do and will ever get to do. I’m super lucky that he let me be a part of his team. In everything Eric says, you just keep your ears open because you’re learning something all the time, 100% of the time. You pick up on this or that, he’ll tell you one little thing and it’s like, wow, it’s crazy. Basically being with someone who is at the absolute top of the sport, getting to see the sport from their perspective is really cool. Q: Can you pinpoint one thing in particular that’s changed in your riding since you went to work for Eric? He’s made me a change a lot of my riding. He’s made me more competitive for sure, and hungrier to go fast and try. He never gets mad at me if I mess up trying. As long as I’m trying to win, or trying to go for it, he doesn’t discourage me if I have a rail in a jumpoff from going fast. He wants me to do try, it doesn’t matter about the rail. It’s all about the trying and competitiveness. Q: Can you describe your development with that Theodore Manicais since you started riding him last fall? It’s a horse that Eric found. Eric had gotten me into the Spruce Meadows Masters , so I was super excited. He got Theodore in the week that we were flying to Canada and I jumped it at home. Eric said that I should just bring it to the show because it’s nice to have another horse there. So I brought it there and jumped the first day in the 1.50m, he had the last down— which was my fault. And then he jumped in the 1.50m the day after and was clear, and jumped the 1.60m the next day and was 11th, and it just kind of took off from there. He’s an absolutely unreal horse. For sure, he’s the best horse I’ve ever had, no question. Q: What are some of your goals I just want to stay consistent at the higher level, jumping these international grand prix classes. And just try to be competitive and get some results. Q: What are some of the skills you’re learning to help achieve your goals? When I really started doing real grands prix two three years ago, I’d go in the ring and be super tense. I’d really want to jump clear, and I was just nervous. You’re not thinking your way around the course yet. Now, I’m able to go into the ring, and I can think my way through it. The more you can go in and do it, the more you’re able to think your way around the course instead of just riding and attacking whatever you see. Being able to pass up distances and choose, while you’re on course, what’s going to work later in the course, and being able to see a bunch of steps ahead is what I’m starting to learn how to do. Q: What advice would you give to someone your age or younger who wants to get to where you are? Any way that you can, try to make a connection with someone who can bring you to the next level or who is willing to help you. If you have someone, like I do, then you’re already a step ahead but if you don’t, you have to find someone. I’m lucky because my parents make sure I always have opportunities. Without them I would really have nothing. It’s just about working hard and being picked up by the right people. Keeping your head down and working hard but still being able to talk to people and ask for advice and ask for help. Not being afraid to ask for advice is always super important.
18 May 2018
Patrice Delaveau Edges Out Kent Farrington in Grand Prix of La Baule
Kent Farrington has almost made his comeback to the sport after three months off from injury completely flawless—but on Friday, May 18th at La Baule CSIO5*, home rider Patrice Delaveau got in the way of the American when he won the €150,000 Longines Grand Prix Ville de La Baule with Aquila HDC (Ovidus). A beautiful day in France set the stage for the full spectator stands to witness one of the spring’s most prestigious grand prix classes. A start list of 47 tried their best to come back for the jumpoff, but just seven made it through without fault. From that, Gudrun Pateet of Belgium was first to go and laid down a super time with Sea Coast Just the Music (Tornedo FCS) that held for 3rd place. It was a super day for the Belgian rider, as she also won the Prix Bouygues Immobilier CSI5* earlier in the day with Sea Coast Atlantic (Schilling). With two French riders in the jumpoff, the home crowd had a good chance to witness what played out with a French rider standing atop the podium. Delaveau’s time of 38.53 seconds couldn’t be beat, but Farrington gave it all to try aboard Gazelle (Kashmir Van Schuttershof). His time of 39.28 seconds earned him the 2nd place sash. The Longines Grand Prix, traditionally held on Sunday afternoon of La Baule, is new on Friday this year in order to feature the FEI Nations Cup CSIO5*, now held on Sunday with eight nations set to start. Full result Photo ©Psvphoto.com/Jumping International La Baule
11 April 2018
Kent Farrington & HH Azur Recognized as 2017 Longines FEI World's Best Jumping Rider & Horse
In Paris on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Longines and the FEI presented two awards during the World Cup Final draws, held in the Mairie de Paris (Paris City Hall). The Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards were established last year, as a recognition of the world’s highest officially rated jumping horse and rider. The recipients of the awards were HH Azur, owned by Francois Mathy and Double H Farm, and the USA’s Kent Farrington. The two awards are determined from accumulated points throughout the whole calendar year; the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse is determined from the horse’s 10 best results of the year in the Longines Rankings, and the FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider is the leading rider in the Longines Rankings at the end of the year. Despite spending the last two months on the sidelines due to a broken leg, Kent Farrington has maintain his Longines FEI World Number One Ranking for over 12 months. In 2017, he ended the year on 3313 ranking points, well ahead of World Number 2 Harrie Smolders, with 2953 points. In addition to winning the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Omaha with McLain Ward, HH Azur earned ranking points throughout the year with many top finishes and wins. Francois Mathy was in attendance with McLain Ward to accept the award, and a Longines timepiece as well as a crystal trophy. Farrington was also in attendance in Paris for the ceremony—it was his first public appearance since his injury in Florida earlier this year.
11 April 2018
Kent Farrington & HH Azur Recognized as 2017 Longines FEI World's Best Jumping Rider & Horse
In Paris on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Longines and the FEI presented two awards during the World Cup Final draws, held in the Mairie de Paris (Paris City Hall). The Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards were established last year, as a recognition of the world’s highest officially rated jumping horse and rider. The recipients of the awards were HH Azur, owned by Francois Mathy and Double H Farm, and the USA’s Kent Farrington. The two awards are determined from accumulated points throughout the whole calendar year; the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse is determined from the horse’s 10 best results of the year in the Longines Rankings, and the FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider is the leading rider in the Longines Rankings at the end of the year. Despite spending the last two months on the sidelines due to a broken leg, Kent Farrington has maintain his Longines FEI World Number One Ranking for over 12 months. In 2017, he ended the year on 3313 ranking points, well ahead of World Number 2 Harrie Smolders, with 2953 points. In addition to winning the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Omaha with McLain Ward, HH Azur earned ranking points throughout the year with many top finishes and wins. Francois Mathy was in attendance with McLain Ward to accept the award, and a Longines timepiece as well as a crystal trophy. Farrington was also in attendance in Paris for the ceremony—it was his first public appearance since his injury in Florida earlier this year.
21 March 2018
Flanders Foal Auction Brings First Ever Embryo Auction to USA
The very first Flanders Embryo Auction, held at Live Oak International CSI3*-W in Ocala, Florida, USA on March 16, 2018 proceeded in a way that any scriptwriter would dream of. The collection included a grandchild of the world’s best earning showjumping horse at the moment, Gazelle, ridden by Kent Farrington, and it was to be expected that Gazelle’s owners Farrington and Robin Parsky would be interested. And there they were on Friday, sitting at a table at Live Oak International, calmly waiting, watching the goings-on, until lot 18 came up. Then they struck and for $30,000 they bought the still unborn foal. The good reputation of Flanders Foal & Embryo Auction is rapidly growing world-wide. After the regular foal auctions in Bonheiden and Opglabbeek, Luk Van Puymbroeck and Gerald Lenaerts further developed their format. Their motto: ‘Do not wait for the client to come to you, you should go to the client’ last year resulted in the first embryo auction in the United Emirates and a super foal auction last June in Bolesworth, where one record after the other was broken. ”Are the Americans ready yet for buying embryos, was a question we were often asked. Well, you never know, but the Arabs were ready! We have had two successful embryo auctions there already,” Gerald Lenaerts said. “They are the risks you have to take”, Luk van Puymbroeck explained. “It will all go easier once you have a good reputation. We are extremely pleased that we constantly attract new clients as buyers, people we would never get to come to our auctions in Belgium.” The embryo auction in Ocala was hosted at the impressive, 2,000 hectares estate from the family of top-class combined driver Chester Weber, one of the active powers behind Live Oak International. Where the sale of embryos already has become customary in Europe, the Americans still have to be introduced to the idea. The word embryo is somewhat confusing, because they are often foals about to be born. The first will come in April. Bids by telephone came from all over the world to get hold of the unborn foals with the genetic backgrounds. Including the sales on the spot, the twenty embryos went for $345,500 altogether, at an average price of $17,275. “We consider that a good start already. The idea still has to grow, but it certainly has potential here,” said Luk van Puymbroeck. Van Puymbroeck himself got $18,000 for his embryo by Taloubet Z out of the full sister of Air Jordan Z, bought by the Muny Sunk Stables. “In two years time I have bought five via Flanders,” laughed Christine Vanneck from the Muny Sunk Stables, who also laid down $16,000 for the Cornet Obolensky x Heartbreaker out of the full sister to Primeval Dejavu. For a price of $18,000, the American Lauren Tisbo bought the Balou du Rouet x Chin Chin out of the full sister to the Grand Prix showjumping horse Gin Chin van het Lindenhof. Auctioneer Dirk Zagers got things really moving in the second part of the auction. The Canadian team member Francois Lamontagne bid $22,000 for the Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Plot Blue out of the line of Kashmir van Schuttershof. The Canadian Kristine Semrau from Semrau Farms acquired the Diamant de Semilly x Cornet Obolensky. The Irish rider Marion Hughes bought the Urano de Cartigny x Wandor van de Mispelaere on the sport for $23,000. Robin Parsky can not wait to see her ‘grandchild’ by Bamako de Muze x Elvis ter Putte x Kashmir Van Schuttershof born. She will have to wait until August, however. She bought Gazelle, who has since earned world fame, five years ago in Belgium. “Kent has his stables near Antwerp and we often visit him,” she said. “Once the foal is born, I will have a good reason to travel to Belgium even more often. I am very happy about it all. I will soon have to come up with a suitable name for the foal. I will make a phone-call to Kent. He must believe that I have gone mad. Kent, we have a grandchild!” Photo via Flanders Foal Auction