Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ecogold rider McLain Ward and Sapphire Repeat Huge Victory In $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix, CSI 5* at 2010 FTI WEF

Jennifer Wood/WEF Press Release/photos: Randi Muster/Mustphoto Inc.
Wellington, FL - March 27, 2010 - Tonight's $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix, CSI 5* drew the largest crowd in the history of equestrian sport in Wellington. More than 9,000 spectators came to see who would win one of the biggest show jumping purses in North America. Sapphire, ridden by McLain Ward (USA) and owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, came home with the win and repeated their victory from last year over Laura Kraut (USA) and Cedric, owned by Happy Hill Farm, and Todd Minikus (USA) with his own Pavarotti.

The class was also the final qualifier for the $100,000 FTI Rider Challenge, where the top four riders of the circuit were awarded with bonus checks. The top four riders were Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), who earned $50,000, Pablo Barrios (VEN) who received $25,000, McLain Ward, who took home $15,000, and Laura Kraut, who received $10,000.

The eleventh week of the FTI WEF is sponsored by FTI and concludes on Sunday, March 28. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and they will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.

Tonight's course designer was Conrad Homfeld of Wellington, FL. He designed a 14 numbered obstacle track for the first round, which had 40 entries. Four riders found the clear path to advance to the timed jump-off.

Kraut said of the course, "Conrad is just one of the most genius course designers. The course was technical and it was big, but the fences were nice. There weren't a lot of gimmicky jumps."

Pessoa added, "Conrad was an unbelievable rider and he's just as good as a course designer. There was a lot of feeling; he knows courses well. The fences are always in the right places. He really did a tremendous job without jumping mountains."

Todd Minikus and Pavarotti

First to go was Minikus on Pavarotti. They flew around the jump-off course to try and set the time to beat. They stopped the timers with no faults in 36.84 seconds, and would finish in third place.

Minikus joked about having to go first, "Life's all about position right? I wasn't in the best position going first. I think ultimately that ended up being an awesome class. My horse was absolutely awesome. I was a little slow to the white gate being careful. That was where I was slow, (but) I've lost a lot of grand prixs going fast."

He added, "I'm personally very proud to be able to sit with Rodrigo, McLain and Laura. That's a pretty good list of show jumping riders right there."

Kraut and Cedric were next in, and they were very fast across the middle of the ring from the orange oxer to the upright gate vertical, to the double combination. They came just under Minikus' time with no faults in 36.02 seconds. Their time would hold up for second place in tonight's class.

Ward and Sapphire, last year's winner of the FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix were next. They sped around the course and were very fast turning back to FTI oxer and down the final line. They came home in 34.89 seconds, which would set the winning time.

McLain Ward and Sapphire

"I went tonight with Rodrigo coming behind me and thought I wasn't going to leave any room. I saw Rodrigo land on the same time as me at the double, and he's got a quick horse, but it went our way. I tried to lay it down, and I think it's the fastest that I've ever gone with her," Ward revealed. "It was a great jump-off course for my horse because there were a lot of places to leave out strides."

The last to contend were Pessoa and Let's Fly, owned by Double H Farm. Pessoa went quickly and would have finished second with a time of 35.97 seconds, but four faults at the FTI oxer left them in fourth place.

"I knew exactly what was coming my way. On a night like this, you know they're not going to make mistakes," Pessoa said. "You have to be on your best to beat them. You just have to give it a try. My horse jumped really, really well. My mistake in the jump-off was when I turned out of the double, I was on a good time, and I couldn't get square to the oxer. That made it a little bit wider and he hit the back pole. But he tried really hard."

For Ward, today's win just shows once more the incredible talent of Sapphire and her amazing consistency. "It's a nice way to finish the circuit, and I think she's rounding into good form for the FEI World Cup Finals. I'm so lucky to have this horse and the people around me. She just keeps giving and giving and giving," he expressed.

Ward finished third in the FTI Rider Challenge and said of FTI's sponsorship at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, "It's a great incentive, and it shows consistency over the circuit. What FTI does for the sport is phenomenal, and we can't thank them enough."

McLain Ward rides in Ecogold saddle pads:

“I feel Ecogold pads are the best on the market to allow close contact while providing comfort and protection to my horses back, ensuring their best possible performance.”

Click here to view: McLain Ward's profile in our Hall of Champions with videos!

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's Showtime! TC Youth Event on April 11

We are very excited to be part of “It’s Show time!” the most fun event of the spring! Toronto Cadora Youth is organizing an innovative, hands-on clinic to prepare young riders (21 and under) for the upcoming show season - “less young” riders are also welcome!
click on the poster for details:
Stations will be set up in the arena, each will be a different topic: braiding, show turnout for both horse and rider, know your tests, show etiquette, the warm up etc. It will work in a rotation, a group of people at each station where they'll learn about each topic, no more than 5 minutes and 2 min for questions. Then they'll move on to the next station.

The young riders will be given a sheet to take note of 3 main things they learned at each station. After they have been to all the stations and filled in their sheet, their name will be put in a draw for a great prize.

After the educational clinic, there will be a fashion show, featuring the latest collections from Equestrian Factory Outlet.

When: April 11, 2010 2pm-5 pm
Where: Stoney Lake Equestrian @ Strathfield Farms 12623 Warden Ave, Stouffville
Admission: FREE for Youth (up to 21) and $10 for Toronto CADORA members and $15 for non-members.
For more information:

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Helmet cam: experience a 3*-World Cup Cross-country ride!!!!

Wow!!! Now, we can all experience a 3*-World Cup Cross-country ride thanks to Peter Atkins, who was wearing a helmet-cam at Red Hills Horse Trials, riding HenryJota Hampton (HJ Hampton). Love the horse's ears!

Peter Atkins and HJ Hampton - Red Hills Horse Trials

Here are the videos we took of this team last summer (from a normal angle = sans helmet-cam):

Peter Atkins and HJ Hampton - Showjumping at 2009 Bromont

Peter Atkins and HJ Hampton - Cross-country at 2009 Wits End

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sponsorship 101 - tips for the upcoming rider

There are a lot of questions about sponsorship that pop up regularly on bulletin boards. From the other side of the sponsorship request, here are my "Sponsorship 101" tips:

• I would recommend targeting companies you are familiar with and already use and like their products or services.
• Before contacting anyone, do a bit of research on the company. Find out who they already sponsor, in what area… if they already have a ton of riders in your geographical area, your chances are lower than if you can help promote the company in a new market.
• With that information, think of how you are a good fit and some good reasons why they should sponsor you.
• Find out who the person in charge of sponsorships is + their personal contact info.
• Send him/her an email outlining who you are, a list of accomplishments and how you can help the company.
• Starting the email with a bit of flattery never does any harm: “I use your products/services and they are fantastic”
• Always focus on what you can bring to the table, instead of a “riding is expensive, please help” approach.
• Always keep a positive mindset, you’ll definitely get more “NOs” than “YES’s”. But failure is just practice for success.
• If you get a NO, reply with a “Thank you for your time” email. Doesn’t cost anything and will make you stand out. Who knows, the company might say YES in the future.
• And after you get a sponsorship, following up + keeping in touch is a big plus.

Answering specific questions:

Should I email? Yes.
Write a letter? I don’t personally like letters, much rather do email but could be different for other people.
Email then Call? Sure.
Email my proposal to several people in the company? NO. That’s annoying.
Try different reps? Not a big fan of that idea. Get the right contact from the get go.

Can you be an amateur and gets sponsors? Maybe if it’s a young riders’ team or something like that.

I get tons of requests weekly and unfortunately, have to say no more often than yes so don’t get depressed if you don’t succeed right away.

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” - Edison
Patricia Da Silva
VP Marketing - ECOGOLD, High-performance Saddle pads and Horse boots

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A tour of Boyd Martin's winter training facility in Aiken, SC

It was great to see US event rider Boyd Martin on our trip to Aiken, SC. Boyd has been riding in ECOGOLD saddle pads and horse boots for the past year and has since skyrocketed to #3 on the USEA leaderboard and #34 worldwide - FEI ranking. Coincidence? Hmmm…we’ll take all the credit anyway.
Boyd runs Windurra USA LLC, a succesful training and sales business based in West Grove, PA but spends the winter months in Aiken, SC. Here's a tour of his fantastic facility in the Bridle Creek Equestrian Development.

The barn:The paddocks: Boyd riding Neville Bardos, winner of 2009 Fair Hill International CCI*** Horses can enjoy a fantastic view* Barn seen from the side Nice detail on barn doors Inside the barn
Neville Bardos, after his training session Boyd's secret weapon: Ecogold saddle pads! Finn
Remington XXV Remi says: "Thanks for visiting!"

Click here to see Boyd's profile in our Hall of Champions - with videos!

Wellington Dressage Classic - Here comes Ayscha!

Our time at the Wellington Dressage Classic in Florida was anything but boring. A big storm destroyed our tent during the competitors' party. No worries...Grand Prix rider Shannon Dueck and Maryann Shingler came to the rescue and all our inventory was saved! The wonderful show organizers lent us another tent and we were in business the next morning.

On the dressage side of things, We had the chance to witness multiple wins by riders in Ecogold saddle pads...and a very special performance by Shannon Dueck and her fabulous new mare Ayscha, in their first Grand Prix Freestyle, to the crowd’s delight (see video!). Shannon was riding with a broken hand, which is even more incredible. This team will be one to watch!

Canada’s top rider Ashley Holzer and Pop Art won both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special. The pair, unbeaten in the Wellington Dressage series this year, will take a break from competition until the spring.
Also, two great wins from talented upcoming riders Krystalann Shingler riding Tividor (Intermediaire I) and Jaimie Holland with Fleurina (FEI Young Rider Class and Freestyle). Enjoy the videos!

Shannon Dueck and Ayscha - Grand Prix Freestyle

Ashley Holzer and Pop Art win Grand Prix Special

Ashley Holzer and Pop Art win Grand Prix

Jacqueline Brooks and Balmoral - Grand Prix Freestyle

Krystalann Shingler and Tividor - Intermediaire I

Jaimie Holland and Fleurina - FEI Young Rider Freestyle