Engle Wins 2008 Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach; Farrington takes $60,000 Holiday & Horses FEI World Cup Qualifier
RELEASE: December 7, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Wellington, FL – The second and final leg of the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach showcased some of the country’s best horses and riders. Todd Minikus won the first leg on Friday night with Pavarotti but Sunday brought a whole new challenge.
35 riders went to task in Sunday’s $60,000 Holiday & Horses FEI World Cup Qualifier which included riders from six nations and featured the final USEF National Championship of 2008. Veteran rider Margie Engle put in the most consistent performance over the two rounds to end up on top. Despite placing eighth overall on Sunday – their third place from the first leg propelled them into the winner’s spot. Riding Hidden Creek’s Quervo Gold on Sunday (and Hidden Creek’s Pamina L on Friday) she ended up on 44 points,, beating out Kirsten Coe and Starlight for the coveted Rolex watch.
“There were so many different things going on,” said Engle. “So I wasn’t sure – so it was kind of a nice surprise.”
Engle won the National Championship a decade ago on Hidden’s Creek Glory in Gladstone, NJ, and she felt this year’s course was plenty tough.
“I thought it was a good test and it was big enough and some technical parts to it,” said Engle. “The rails seemed light. I saw a couple roll off easily. It was a big enough course for what we do this time of year. I didn’t think their would be a ton clears when I walked it.”
Engle, who celebrated her 50th birthday in 2008, rode Hidden Creek Farm’s dependable campaigner, Quervo Gold to an eight fault round but her overall placing was good enough for the championship. The 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding jumped up from third for his rider, after Minikus had four down on Pavarotti and Hillary Dobbs, who was second after the first round, had 13 faults on Marengo.
Engle, who has been a cornerstone of the US show jumping programs for decades sees this season as a rebuilding year.
“I’m trying to rebuild my string a little bit,” said Engle. “I have two young horses and hopefully have one for the WEG (the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games) so this year I hope to have those young horses gain some experience here over the next few months. Going to the World Cup Final would be a bonus because I love Las Vegas.”
Coe and Starlight were crowned the Reserve Champions on their score of 42 points, they too had an eight fault performance on Sunday, and were slightly slower than Engle to slip into the runner-up spot to remain one spot behind Engle.
28-year-old Coe from Johnson, SC, and Laura King’s 9-year-old KWPN gelding recently represented the US on the winning Nations Cup Team at the CSIO Buenos Aires in November.
Anthony D’Ambrosios’s track proved difficult and only two managed clear rounds. Russia’s Ljubov Kochetov jumped the first fault-free round on Aslan, as the 12th combination in the arena. Seven horses later, the 2007 National Champions, Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui, guaranteed a jump-off by putting in one of their signature impressive clear rounds. Neither rider was in the hunt for the National Championship, but when the dust settled after the jump-off, Farrington and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood prevailed with a faster clear in the jump-off and won the World Cup Qualifier.
“I had to be a little bit careful because I had to go clear,” said Farrington, who followed Kochetov in the jump-off. “I had a light rub in the in and out and got away with that so then I just let him go. My horse is naturally faster, he’s that type of horse so I knew I had to make one or two neat turns, going last is a huge advantage.”
Farrington’s goal for Up Chiqui is to pick up enough World Cup points to qualify with the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final in Vegas.
“He’s a funny horse when he hasn’t shown in a while, he felt a lot better today than he did the other night,” said Farrington of the incredibly consistent Up Chiqui. “I have a lot of confidence in that horse and I always think there is a chance I can win even when I might not have a chance.”
Farrington finished fifth in the National Championship standings after he finished 14th in the opening round.
“Of course I was disappointed, I knew after the other night that it was probably unrealistic,” said Farrington about defending his title from 2007.
Kochetov was delighted with her horse’s performance, the 8-year-old Aslan hasn’t competed since the Olympic Games, so his rider had ‘no complaints’ with her second place finish.
For more information please contact Joanie Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org. For complete results please see www.equestriansport.com.