Helios Heats Up with Second Win in MLSJ Team Competition

Team Helios made it clear they are not done winning. After securing the first Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) Team Competition at Thunderbird Show Park, the team, with an entirely different roster this time, repeated their success and claimed the gold medal in Traverse City during the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.

Simon McCarthy (IRL) and Gotcha. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

The three competing team members for Helios, Karl Cook (USA), Mark Bluman (COL), and Simon McCarthy (IRL) had just one rail between the three of them in round one, putting them in second place behind the Spy Coast Spies, also on four but with a quicker combined time.

“We have a strong team,” Bluman stated after the team’s win. “We have a good thing going on. We’re pretty strong and we are always cheering each other on, and it just feels great. From the beginning we said that the main goal was to win the overall and we’re putting a strong team in every event that we go to.”

Mark Bluman (COL) and Noortje van de Windheuvel. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Cook, who was on the winning team at the Desert International Horse Park for A.I.M. United in 2021, piloted Signe Otsby’s Fecybelle to a time of 36.05 seconds, which proved to help the team significantly as they advanced into the jump-off for gold. Combined with Bluman’s time with Over The Top Stables, LLC’s Noortje vd Windheuvel of 37.63 seconds, they put themselves in pole position for gold as the fastest combined pair in the initial jump-off phase.

Karl Cook (USA) and Fecybelle. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“Each one of us has a strong string of horses,” said Cook. “We’re all very capable riders. And kind of because of that, we don’t want to let anyone down because we know we’re good enough. It pushes us to be better so that we’re not the weak one.”

As the medal-deciding jump-off got underway, it was Crusaders versus ShowPlus Northern Lights, then Helios versus leading team Spy Coast Spies. Jim Ifko (CAN) edged out Callie Schott (USA) for ShowPlus Northern Lights, securing them the bronze-medal spot on the podium.

In the gold medal matchup, the competition took a turn. Jordan Coyle (IRL) faced unfortunate elimination after a double refusal with Picador at the combination, which led McCarthy to alter his plan and do whatever he could to avoid elimination. He secured a clear round and the gold medal aboard his partner Gotcha.

Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Picador. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“We have an unbelievable team and it’s actually really fun to compete as a team with all different nationalities,” said McCarthy, the lone Irishman on the team of six. “It’s not something that we do in our sport that often. And I felt a lot of pressure, not because we don’t think we’re good enough; it’s more pressure to do right by our team.”

“When he had the first stop I thought, I have no idea what to do now,” McCarthy reflected on the moment he learned Coyle was in trouble. “And then I looked up and the two boys, [Cook and Bluman] were sprinting down to me. Thank God they were because I didn’t know what to do. Then when he stopped the second time, I really didn’t know what to do. I’ve never been so nervous about not finishing and I’ve got one of the bravest horses here. It was incredible when we crossed the line and got the win for the two boys and for our teammates as well.”

Jim Ifko (CAN) and Un Diamant Des Forets. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

All three of the winning riders are permanent fixtures of a MLSJ team for the first time this season. Cook, having competed for A.I.M United once in 2021, credits team manager Ashlee Bond (ISR) with his decision to join a team. After taking the win on that occasion in Thermal with Fecybelle, he pointed out the mare is undefeated in MLSJ team action.

CSI5* athletes return to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring Saturday evening for the $206,000 MLSJ CSI5* Grand Prix. MLSJ competition will make one more stop in Traverse City in 2022 during the final week of the Tournament of Champions, set for September 15-18.

Final Results: $200,000 CSI5* Major League Show Jumping Team Competition

1. FECYBELLE: 2010 KWPN mare by Carambole x Sjapoo
KARL COOK (USA), Signe Otsby: 0/0/36.05
1. NOORTJE VD WINDHEUVEL: 2013 BWP mare by Farfelu De Muze x Kannan
MARK BLUMAN (COL), Over The Top Stables LLC: 0/0/37.63
1. GOTCHA: 2011 HOLST mare by Stakkato x Cassini I
SIMON MCCARTHY (IRL), Rock Ridge Farms: 0/0/48.13

2. DICAS: 2009 RHEIN gelding by Diarado x Cassini I
MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Gladewinds Partners, LLC: 0/0/38.46
2. KARLIN VAN’T VENNEHOF: 2010 BWP mare by Fantomas De Muze x Quasimodo Van De Molendreef
LACEY GILBERTSON (USA), Seabrook LLC: 4/0/37.02
2. PICADOR: 2007 AES gelding by Lupicor x Concorde

3. TOULOUSE Z: 2011 ZANG mare by Toulon x Quintus v/d Dwerse Hage
JUAN ORTIZ (COL), Blue Trim LLC: 0/0/37.93
3. COQUELICOT VH HEUVELLAND Z: 2012 ZANG stallion by Catoki x Cassini II
SEAN JOBIN (CAN), Foxridge Farms Stables: 0/0/39.23
3. UN DIAMANT DES FORETS: 2008 SF stallion by Diamant de Semilly x Papillon Rouge
JIM IFKO (CAN), Eventyre Farms Ltd.: 0/0/35.97

4. CONTHARGOS: 2011 OS stallion by Conthargos x Quidam’s Rubin
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), The Berry Group: 0/0/40.14
4. PEPITA CON SPITA: 2011 WESTF mare by DSP Con Spirit x Com On
HUNTER HOLLOWAY (USA), Hays Investment Corp.: 0/0/39.29
4. TEDDY Z: 2011 ZANG gelding by Candillo x Limbus
CALLIE SCHOTT (USA), Southern Arches LLC: 4/0/39.33

5. THEO 160: 2012 HOLST gelding by Christian 25 x Calando IV
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Team Philippaerts: 4/66.02
5. SQUIRT GUN: 2011 OS gelding by Diarado x Quick Star
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Eye Candy Jumpers: 0/62.06
5. FREAKY: 2010 KWPN gelding by Darco x Litho X
JACQUELINE STEFFENS (CAN), Team Eye Candy: 8/65.52

An Electric Finish for Kent Farrington in National Grand Prix

A 2016 U.S. Olympic team silver medalist, Kent Farrington is accustomed to finding himself in the winner’s circle, but lately his victories have been coming on newer, young partnerships. Friday morning’s $35,000 National Grand Prix was no exception as Farrington topped the field with the Haity McNerney-owned Electrique.

Kent Farrington and Electrique in their awards presentation. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“This is an upcoming horse for me,” Farrington said of the 8-year-old Zangersheide mare (Emerald van’t Ruytershof x Voltaire). “She’s done a handful of national grand prixs. She’s hyper competitive, as she showed today. My plan is always horse-specific, but for her, it was just to go on her normal cruise speed which is quite fast. That was enough to do it today.”

Kent Farrington and Electrique. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Farrington was one of 12 pairs to jump clear over Cédric Longis’s (FRA) first-round track and returned around the halfway point in the jump-off, where he cruised the mare to a time of 36.850 seconds. Class leader prior to Farrington, Sydney Shulman Desiderio with Nanini Van D’Abelendreef, owned by Esperanza Imports, LLC, took second with a time of 37.062 seconds. Conor O’Regan and the Delshore Horses, LLC-owned Manchester slid into third as one of the last to jump off in a time of 38.037 seconds.

Farrington admired the young horse from afar, first seeing Electrique jump when she was five years old and just a couple shows into her career. “Janne Friederike Meyer [Zimmerman] was riding her as a young horse,” he continued. “She’s a good friend and a great rider. [The mare] was always an exceptional young horse. I had my eye on it for a while. Always a spectacular horse; you could see that it had great power and great athleticism for a taller horse.”

Sydney Shulman Desiderio and Nanini van de Abelendreef. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Electrique fits flawlessly into Farrington’s string of horses, not only because she’s the same type of ride and has a winning spirit, but also because several of his top mounts are nearing the later years of their careers. When describing what he liked in Electrique specifically, he commented, “the same thing I like in all my horses: she’s a modern show jumper. She’s fast, very careful, and I think she has big power. I’m excited for the future.”

Conor O’Regan and Manchester. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Farrington is in Traverse City this year as a stop on his first Major League Show Jumping tour. As part of the Lugano Diamonds, he credits the league for the way it’s elevating the sport in the United States. “I think it’s great for American show jumping that we’re finding ways to innovate,” he remarked on the creation of the league. “We’re trying to raise the level here in the US and it [is] a great step forward for us, raising the prize money and raising the level of riding. I think that bodes well for future riders coming out of the US.”

Final Results: $35,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix

1. Electrique / Kent Farrington / Haity McNerney / 0/0/36.850
2. Nanini Van D’Abelendreef / Sydney Shulman Desiderio / Esperanza Imports LLC / 0/0/37.062
3. Manchester / Conor O’Regan / Delshore Horses LLC / 0/0/38.037
4. Souplesse / Sloane Coles / Fiddlesticks Farm LLC / 0/0/38.739
5. Lamborghini 98 / Nicholas Dello Joio / Caroline Mawhinney / 0/0/40.088
6. Incento / Jacob Pope / Ash Atkinson / 0/0/40.609
7. El Balou Old / David O’Brien / Chansonette Farm LLC / 0/0/43.170
8. Commander 16 / Rachel Lindsey / Rachel Lindsey / 0/0/47.590
9. Nadale Van Dorperheide / Ilan Ferder / Ilan Ferder / 0/4/40.107
10. Catoki’s Son Z / Michael Murphy / Esperanza Imports LLC / 0/8/39.084
11. Carollo / Giavanna Rinaldi / Anton Marano / 0/8/42.393
12. Cactus De Cosniere / Eric Krawitt / Eric Krawitt / 0/27/70.461


More Team Talent Emerges in USHJA Zone Jumper Championships

The USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships continued Friday with team day for the Childrens, Adult/Amateur, and Junior/Amateur sections. In the Children’s 1.10/1.15m division, the Lions ran away with the gold medal on a total score of 0. Team gold medalists included Hannah Votel, Tara Vizzaccaro, and Ruth McKee. Just behind on four faults were the Panthers – Allie Ray Hayes, Abbie Storandt, and Clayton Martines – claiming the silver medal. The bronze medal went to the Cheetahs, consisting of Maia Russell, Chloe Borrello, Rhyce Symonds, and Evan Warner.

Children’s jumpers stood atop the podium in the Markel/USHJA Zone Jumper Championships. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

In the Adult Amateur 1.10/1.15m division, the Falcons emerged victorious, with Marissa Rose, Marie Wold, Olivia Parr, and Rachel Gracia claiming the gold medal. Silver medal honors went to the Eagles: Jenna Buchan, McKenna Chow, Kacey Vanderbos, and Anna Horton. Securing the bronze medal was Colby Kelly, Elizabeth Chapel, Kylie Cohen, and Katie Brouillet for the Hawks.

Adult Amateur jumpers stood atop the podium in the Markel/USHJA Zone Jumper Championships. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

The combined Junior/Amateur 1.20-1.25m ended with one clear winner, the Rattlesnakes who finished on a 0 score, but forced a jump-off between two teams tied on four faults. Emily June Bobo for the Cobras and Campbell Brown for the Copperheads jumped off, but a rail for Brown secured the silver for the Cobras, including Bobo, Dani Gascoigne, and Elianna Kirson. Bronze went to the Copperheads, consisting of Brown, Taylor Landstrom, Isa Lipman, and Addison Parins.

Junior/Amateur team members stood atop the podium. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography