Quote of the Week
“I can’t really put into words what this horse means to me. All I can say is that for me, he will always be one of the greatest and I will cherish the moments that I had with him.”
—Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster on the retirement of her partner, Tripple X, who retired from the sport this week. The stallion, 17, won Team gold with his previous rider, Ben Maher (GBR), in the London 2012 Olympic Games and Team gold with Foster in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. “Hugo,” you will be missed!
As Easy As 1-2-3: Kevin Babington Sweeps the Field in Lake Placid
Irish Olympian Kevin Babington sailed into the history books on Sunday in the $100,000 Great American Insurance Group Grand Prix, winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place on three different horses in the greatest performance ever witnessed in Lake Placid Horse Show history.
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Only seven horses jumped clear over course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral’s 16-effort first round track, with Babington riding three of them. In the jump-off, the Irish rider pulled even further away from the field, earning the class’s only double-clears on all of his mounts: top horse Shorapur, a 14-year-old Hanoverian mare (1st); Super Chilled, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (2nd); and Mark Q, a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse (3rd). "I've been pinching myself ever since my last round. I never would have foreseen something like this happening," Babington said after the class. “I think I had the luck of the Irish with me.”
Lake Placid is practically home turf for Babington, who has won this particular class four times previously. The County Tipperary native arrived in the U.S. in the 1980s, taking a job as a riding instructor at a Vermont summer camp. He later established a business selling young horses and teaching lessons in New Jersey and was part of the 2001 Irish gold medal-winning team at the European Championships in Holland. In 2004, he tied for Individual fourth place at the Athens Olympic Games.
This summer, Babington, 51—who is based in southeastern Pennsylvania—is officially on a hot streak, earning three, top-10 grand prix finishes in the months of May and June with Shorapur, alone. “My horses have been in really good form, and I was hoping for a couple of good rounds,” the Irish rider says. “But if someone had wanted to bet me that I'd be one-two-three, I never would have taken the bet!”
If You Can Only Watch One Round…
Watch Christian Ahlmann & Take a Chance On Me Z Ace the Jump-Off at LGCT Paris
As the setting sun began to dip behind the Eiffel Tower, German show jumper and new dad (daughter Ella was born on Monday!) Christian Ahlmann proved he would have the last word of the day after all. Riding his homebred, 9-year-old stallion Take a Chance On Me Z—son of the famous Taloubez Z and clearly, a horse for the future—Ahlmann sliced and diced his way around the jump-off course, finding a seemingly impossible turn back from the penultimate combination to the final fence. Watch here!
PonyApp Amateur Spotlight
Get to Know Aspiring International Rider Tory Ketchum
Whether making their first appearance at the local horse show or climbing to the top of the ranking list, amateurs are excelling at doing what they love—and they’re using PonyApp along the way. In our first PonyApp Amateur Spotlight, we catch up with rider Tory Ketchum, a full-time equestrian who has her eye on jumping in her first, CSI2* grand prix in the coming year. Read on!
This Just In...
Athletes Announced for NetJets U.S. Show Jumping Team at CHIO Aachen
(c) US Equestrian
It’s one of the most prestigious events on the equestrian calendar, and U.S. Equestrian has put together a star-studded lineup for the NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team at the World Equestrian Festival at CHIO Aachen (July 12-21). The riders include: Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson, and McLain Ward. Participating horses will be announced at a later date. You can read the full release here.
In the Headlines
Olympic Show Jumper and Former FEI President Princess Haya Flees Dubai
Princess Haya and Sheikh Mohammed (left). (c) Karim Sahib/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/New York Times
The former President of the FEI, Princess Haya of Dubai, the sixth wife of ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and a former Olympic show jumper, fled the United Arab Emirates this week along with her two young children to seek refuge in London. The Princess becomes the third woman in recent years to flee the Sheikh’s palaces, asking for divorce and sanctuary in the U.K. Princess Haya has been criticized for her role in justifying the recapture and subsequent disappearance of the Sheik’s daughter, Sheikha Latifa, who was forcibly returned to the UAE after a failed escape in December. You can read the full New York Times story here.
Trampolines: Not Just for Cirque de Soleil Clowns Anymore
Tall horse? No problem. This new mounting #hack is taking trampolines out of kid’s backyards and creepy circus acts and putting them squarely where we apparently always needed them: in the riding arena. Would your horse stand for this?