California Riding Magazine • March, 2013

Winner's Circle

Rich Fellers Awarded Whitney Stone Cup

Reigning Show Jumping World Cup Champion Rich Fellers of Wilsonville, OR, received the 2013 Whitney Stone Cup. The award is presented annually to an active competitor who displays consistent excellence in international competition and high standards of sportsmanlike conduct while serving as an ambassador for the United States and equestrian sport. Fellers was the winner of the 2012 FEI Show Jumping World Cup Finals aboard Mollie and Harry Chapman's Flexible in 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. The pair then went on to be the highest placed American competitors at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Fellers was unable to be present the USET Foundation Reception on January 25th, in Wellington, Florida. Accepting this award was his friend and U.S. Show Jumping Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland, who also read Fellers' acceptance speech.

"I would like to thank the USET Foundation for honoring my achievements with this prestigious award," commented Fellers. "I am humbled to be included with the elite group of former winners. We all talk about having the horse of a lifetime. Mollie and Harry Chapman have, without a doubt, been owners of a lifetime. Their support, confidence, and trust in Shelley and me over the years have been amazing. The majority of my success in the sport has been a direct result of their commitment. Looking forward, my biggest wish for the success we enjoyed this past year to in some way to inspire the future stars of our sport."

After a whirlwind year, Fellers was named the 2012 USEF Equestrian of the Year, while 16-year-old Flexible took home the honor of 2012 USEF International Horse of the Year. Fellers was the first American to win the Show Jumping World Cup Finals in 25 years after a nail-biting jump-off in Europe. When they returned to the United States, Fellers and Flexible went on a winning streak that featured all four of their Olympic Observation Events, including the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar and the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows.

Selected as the anchor rider for the U.S. Show Jumping Team at the Olympic Games, Fellers and Flexible helped the Team place sixth. They also returned to the arena for the individual competition, finishing eighth as the highest placed American duo.

Fellers and Flexible will continue to compete in 2013 and hope to return to the Show Jumping World Finals to defend their winning title, during this year's final next month in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Press release provided by USEF.

Mandy Porter Logs HITS Win

In a thrilling a contest that came down to the final seconds of the jump-off, the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, brought the first week of competition on Jan. 28 at HITS Desert Horse Park to a heart-pounding conclusion as Encinitas rider Mandy Porter on My Equine Ventures' Con Capilot snatched victory from Mexico's Enrique Gonzales on his own Quilebo Du Tillard.

Gonzales sat comfortably in first, but in a dramatic turn of events, Porter advanced to first. She was next-to-last in the ring among 32 starters and last to go in a jump-off that saw 12 advance fault-free past round one of Canadian designer Danny Foster's course of 13 jumping efforts that included lots of tight turns and combinations.

First up in the jump-off was Gonzalez riding Criptonite, laying down an early Great American Time to Beat of 41.22 seconds. The next two – Helen McNaught of San Ramon and her own Caballo, and Tammie Phillips of Stratmore, Alberta and her own Lerche 37 – both upped the ante until Gonzalez returned with a redeeming ride on Quilebo Du Tillard. They ended in second in a time of 40.64 seconds.

Only Canadian rider John Pearce of Bermuda Dunes, CA, and Forest View Farms' Chianto were faster, at a blazing 39.68 seconds, but a rail put them out of contention. There would be no clear riders under 42 seconds for the remaining rounds until Porter and the Plum Creek Hollow stallion shaved .3 seconds off Gonzalez's time.

"They went really fast in the jump-off, I felt, and I have to admit, I was really nervous because I haven't done many big tracks for speed recently," said Porter. "I was developing this horse, so while I'd go fast, I rated it to what I thought the horse was ready for. Today, I felt he was ready."

Porter has ridden Con Capilot for Plum Valley's Barbara Gooding since he was seven. The horse took its eighth year off due to injury. "But he matured that year too. He just turned 10 and he is really coming into his own. He is super careful, so I know I can push him to be quick. Every time I challenge him he tries really hard to answer the question and answer correctly," said Porter. She admitted that the mantra she played in her head through the jump off round was, "Be like Rich Fellers! Be like Rich Fellers! Just keep galloping!"

Press release provided by HITS.