The PonyWorld Weekly
By Nina Fedrizzi
Henrik von Eckermann & Toveks Mary Lou are too hot for the hot tub; a growing up essay that makes for mandatory #ponykid reading; a look back at the classiest supermare of them all, and more—all this week in the #PonyWorld! Ph. ©Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
Quote of the Week
“She has class all the way down to her hoofprints.”
-Five-time Olympian and all around #legend Bill Steinkraus on Touch of Class, the little, off-the-track Thoroughbred who could.
Henrik von Eckermann & Toveks Mary Lou Master the Dutch Masters
The Story - This weekend during the Dutch Masters in Den Bosch, Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann took home the event's highest honor (plus a slick new timepiece): the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Grand Prix.
Wait, why does this sound familiar? - Because it should. This is the second big win for von Eckermann and the 13-year-old Westphalian mare in the Netherlands in less than two months. The first came during the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier of Amsterdam, securing their bid for World Cup™ Jumping Finals in Gothenburg this April.
Left and Below: Henrik von Eckermann & Toveks Mary Lou. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
Who else came out on top? - You might say the hotly contested battle for the Rolex Grand Prix was a test run for the year’s coming Championships, with five of the globe’s top partnerships returning for the jump-off, including World #1, Steve Guerdat & Albfuehren´s Bianca (SWI), who took second place; 2016 individual Olympic silver medalist Peder Fredricson (SWE) & H&M Christian K, who took third; and World #3 Daniel Deusser (GER) & Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z, who finished fourth (Niels Bruynseels of Belgium & Gancia de Muze took fifth).According to von Eckermann, designer Louis Konickx’s first round course, which did not allow for an add-stride into the final combination, wasn’t necessarily well suited to Mary Lou. But in the jump-off round, the mare’s speed across the ground—and in the air—ultimately gave them the winning edge (you can watch it go down below). “[Bianca] loses so much time in the air going so high… but it’s very enjoyable to have this ‘problem’ in a grand prix like this,” joked Steve Guerdat after that class. “You actually go around and have a lot of fun—in the air!”
PonyApp Take - Von Eckermann & Mary Lou are looking to make 2019 their year, and now, they’ll have two big opportunities to do so: FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals in April, and the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping competition, in which they are now the leader. You can bet the Swedish rider will be planning his spring around Gothenburg, and his summer around the next, Major tournament event at CHIO Aachen in July. Should von Eckermann win that class, and the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September, he’ll net a cool €1 million in bonus prize money—though that is certain to be a tall order.CHIO Aachen’s sprawling grass stadium is a competition unlike any other, and the pair has not competed there before. Still, it’s clear von Eckermann has ample confidence in his horse. “She has so much nerve, but she still manages to be calm, somehow,” he said. “I can feel it when we enter the ring, it is like she knows what it is all about and gives you that little extra.”
"All this for that?" -Mary Lou © Jenny Abrahamsson/World of Show Jumping
If You Can Only Watch One Round…
Watch Henrik & Mary Lou Earn Top Marks All Around at Den Bosch
One of the unique pleasures of show jumping sport is watching a horse and rider performing at the peak of their ability, and there’s no question that’s just what Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and Tovek’s Mary Lou did this weekend during the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Grand Prix at the Dutch Masters. It’s clear by watching that Mary Lou is enjoying her job as well as excelling at it, and the results speak for themselves. Watch here!
This Just In…
Fire at Kelli Cruciotti’s Farm Kills Three Horses
There is sad news from Florida this week in the wake of a barn fire, which destroyed U.S. show jumper Kelli Cruciotti’s farm in Wellington. The rider’s team managed to rescue 18 horses, but tragically, three were unable to be saved. The fire happened just days after Cruciotti announced that she had qualified to compete at FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals for the first time in April. Our thoughts go out to Kelli, her team, and the owners of the three horses who were lost. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Sad, Sweet, Relatable: An Essay Every #PonyKid Should Read
For many ponygirls and boys who grow up to be ponyadults, our love of the sport is tempered by the real-life ups and downs—horse-related and otherwise—inherent to growing up. As the winner of The Plaid Horse’s Constance Wickes Prize in Creative Nonfiction, Paige Cerulli writes about her dual passions, horses and music, and the lessons both taught her on that, long, bumpy road to adulthood.
We Have a Crush on Cormac Hanley (and You Will Too)
Yesterday was not only St. Patrick's Day, but very appropriately, it was also Irish rider and PonyApp #U25Ambassador Cormac Hanley's Birthday. To celebrate the most Irish of all days, we spent some time with Cormac at his homebase in Wellington, where we asked him our most pressing questions about leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows, and more. Tune in to hear his answers—or just to watch Cormac talk. Either way, zero judgment.
HITS One Million (Thermal, California)
Yesterday, East Coast dynamo Beezie Madden took the West Coast by storm in the HITS $1 Million during Desert Circuit Week VIII. Here's how it all shook out:
- Beezie Madden / Darry Lou / $350,000
- Nayel Nassar / Lordan / $200,000
- Ali Ramsay / Hermelien VD Hooghoeve / $120,000
- Erynn Ballard / Fellini S / $100,000
- Rowan Willis / Blue Movie / $75,000
- Andre Thieme / Aretino 13 / $40,000
- Mathis Schwentker / NKH Carrido / $30,000
- Everardo Hegewisch / Ircos lV / $20,000
- Lane Clarke / McLord's T.K.O. / $15,000
- Laura Hite / Calypso VD Zuuthoeve / $12,000