Winter Equestrian Festival

Springledge Starts WEF Strongly

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Connor Husain and MTF Betina

The Springledge team of horses and riders, based in The Plains, Virginia, traveled to the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, Florida, for the 2017 winter season and has already enjoyed ample success during the first four weeks.

During WEF 1, held January 11-15 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Connor Husain earned Springledge’s first blue ribbon with victory in the Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers aboard MTF Betina. The pair sped to victory in a field of 75 competitors for an impressive win.

“She’s a really cool horse, and I get along with her really well,” said Connor, who purchased the bay mare in Europe where he spent the summer of 2016 training and showing. “I competed her there in the 1.35m speed classes, and she always placed well. She’s naturally quick without trying.”

After beginning his riding career in the eventing world and achieving international-level success at the Junior and Young Rider levels, Connor, 23, has transitioned full-time to show jumping and is working to rise up the levels in the discipline under the tutelage of trainer Sloane Coles.

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Connor Husain and MTF Saint Simeon

“I’m currently showing in the Low and Medium Amateur-Owners and came to Florida to gain more experience,” he said. “In the eventing world I was pretty far along, but in show jumping I’m still facing a learning curve. I’m improving quickly now, but I’m still making small mistakes and hope to stay it this level until I get confirmed with the horses I have. My aspiration is to represent the United States on a senior team one day. I’m still a long way off, but I’m going to work hard to make that happen!”

Connor’s family owns Morningside Training Farm in The Plains, Virginia, a United States Equestrian Federation elite training center, with the mission to produce top three-day eventing students at all levels. When not on the road, Connor is based there with his string of horses, including Betina, Birmingham, MTF Saint Simeon and MTF Madame X.

Sloane enjoyed ribbons of her own during WEF 1, including 10th place in the $8,000 1.45m class aboard Esprit and seventh out of 51 in a 1.35m class riding Binja. Both horses are owned by The Springledge Group.

During WEF Weeks 2, 3 and 4, Springledge continued to achieve major goals and added more ribbons to the banner.

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Sloane Coles and Binja

Highlights included Binja’s two blue ribbons in the 1.40m classes with Sloane aboard. During WEF 3, she outran a field of 33 for the top call,and during week 4 she repeated the victory over 22 challengers. Sloane found the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Colandro—Naomie) in the Netherlands last summer and imported her as a sales horse.

“She’s stepped up and done the 1.45m classes, too,” said Sloane. “I think she’ll be a super Junior Jumper. She’s extremely fast. I actually didn’t set out to win both classes; she just turns so quickly and doesn’t take much time in the air, so she’s naturally fast. She’s a real competitor. I’ll continue to bring her along until a good kid comes along to buy her.”

Connor debuted  with MTF Saint Simeon during Week 1 in the Amateur-Owner Jumpers and moved up to the Medium level during Week 3, where he earned ribbons at the 1.35m level. During Week 4, the pair moved up to the 1.40m level during the Palm Beach Masters CSI3*, where they produced solid results.

“She’s very exciting,” said Sloane of Connor’s newest horse. “She’s going to be the horse he moves up with. They were great in the $25,000 1.40m this week. He had a couple of rails down, but he was solid from start to finish. Connor is riding great, and being able to get in the ring so often has allowed him to improve so quickly.”

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Connor Husain and MTF Saint Simeon making their 1.40m debut.

During Week 4, February 1-5, Sloane and Esprit contested the $216,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI4* out on the expansive grass field. “The jumps were huge!” said Sloane. “There were some 1.60m fences out there. We had a couple down, but I was thrilled. He tried really hard, and it’s so nice to be out there in that company. I’m especially proud to be able to do those kinds of classes on a horse that was bought as a Junior Jumper. I’m so lucky to have him!”

Sloane was also proud of Connor’s MTF Madame X , a 10-year-old mare he purchased to bring up the ranks. With Sloane aboard, the bay Oldenburg (Continio—Walona) placed fifth out of 43 in the $6,000 1.40m Speed Challenge.

 

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Sloane Coles and MTF Madame X

“I’m really excited about her; she gives you an amazing feeling,” said Sloane. “Jumping is so easy for her, and she’s naturally careful. She’ll have a bright future with me or someone else. She’s only 10, and she’s very talented.”

Springledge will remain in Wellington through the 12-week WEF circuit, where Sloane is accepting new clients and horses.

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Springledge South in Wellington, Florida

 

Winter Equestrian Festival 2016 Mid-Circuit

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Spring Ledge riders and horses have enjoyed a wonderful winter so far on the 2106 Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, Florida, with great ribbons in the Hunter and Jumper sections under the watchful eye of trainer Sloane Coles during weeks 1-6.

Nilani Trent and her hunter Autumn Rhythm garnered top ribbons in the Amateur-Owner, 18-35, sections, with especially impressive showings early in the circuit with wins in the 3’3″ section. The pair moved up to the 3’6″ height, and during the super competitive WCHR Week 6, they collected excellent scores and ribbons.

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Nilani Trent and Autumn Rhythm

Nilani also guided her Casablanca 108 to consistent performances in the Adult Amateur Jumper, 18-35, section, with ribbons throughout the circuit.

Rocky Rochlin’s Fabricio 23 has also made his presence known in the hunters, with nice ribbons in the 3’6″ Performance Working Hunters with Sloane and in the 3’6″ Amateur-Owner, 36 and over, section with his owner.

Over in the jumper rings, Spring Ledge has found success as well. Rose Alba has been doing double duty in the Adult Amateur and Children’s Jumpers, earning ribbons with Alexandra and Madison Christina Warner. Bon Vivant and Helena Le Picart earned good prizes in the Medium Amateur-Owners, and Ilona has carried multiple riders to ribbons, including Gabriela Reutter and Robert Murphy.

Esprit and Sloane have continued on with their grand prix success, taking an impressive eighth place in the $50,000 WEF 6 National Grand Prix during, along with ribbons throughout the circuit in a variety of 1.35m and 1.40m classes.

Please enjoy the gallery of special moments (below) in and around the horse show. Best of luck to everyone at Spring Ledge for the remainder of the 12-week circuit!

 

Winter Equestrian Festival

Spring Ledge riders and horses enjoyed a wonderful winter on the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, Florida. In addition to ribbons and trophies, everyone collected fond memories and made great progress toward their competitive goals. We look forward to a great 2015 show season and congratulate you all for starting out the year so strongly!

Julie Coles and Cobalt Triumph

RELEASE: March 6, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

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Julie Coles and Cobalt

Wellington, Fla. – Julie Coles of The Plains, VA, and Remarkable Farm LP’s Cobalt were champions of Section B of the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51 & Over division on Sunday morning at the FTI WEF. Coles and the nine-year-old Wurtemberger gelding, out of Little Lou by Cornet Obolensky, won the final two over fences rounds for the division, as well as jumping to third and second place ribbons. The pair also earned seventh place under saddle.

The reserve champion for the division was Contral, owned and ridden by Martin Schlaeppi. Schlaeppi piloted Contral to third, fifth, second, and third over fences and placed third under saddle.

Cobalt is yet another hunter enjoying success after transitioning out of the jumper ring. The gelding originally belonged to grand prix rider Brianne Goutal as her speed horse before coming to Coles and her daughter, trainer Sloane Coles.

“Brianne’s a really good friend of my daughter’s. They were trying to figure out what division he would be happy in, because he just wasn’t quite comfortable as a speed horse or as a jumper. So we shipped him over from France. We thought he’d be a really good hunter and he is,” Coles recounted.

“He just loves being a hunter,” Coles continued. “It’s nice that horses can transition divisions. A lot of times, the jumpers that can’t jump the big jumps, there’s no place else for them to go. It’s amazing, he’s settled right in. This week is the first week that I feel like that he’s really settled in and been quiet about doing the hunters.”

Coles admitted there wasn’t a lot of retraining to be done to prepare Cobalt for his new career. While Coles’ daughter has given her plenty of help along the way, time has been the biggest factor in Cobalt’s newfound success.

“Nobody really had to retrain him. Basically, it’s been very uncomplicated, it’s just giving him the time to realize that he doesn’t have to jump 1.40m!” Coles described.

She continued, “Giving him time [has been the most important part of transitioning Cobalt]. It’s just letting him take a deep breath. Everybody knew that. He had an excellent background with Brianne, excellent horsemanship there, he just wasn’t going to be a top jumper. It’s really nice that he doesn’t have to go down the ranks as a jumper and be worried; he can be a hunter and have a very easy life.”

Cobalt looked every bit the part of a happy hunter, calmly standing ringside while searching Coles’ pockets for treats. It took some time for the ability to relax and hang out by the ring to develop, but his puppy dog personality has been there since day one. Coles has been grateful to enjoy the opportunity to return to the show ring, especially with a gelding that is just plain fun.

“I don’t show very often. It’s fun for me to have a nice, quiet horse. He’s just a real sweetheart,” she smiled. “It’s like riding a made large pony, really!”

Of riding Cobalt, Coles described, “He always jumps in good form. He always jerks his knees. I’m 59 years old, and he doesn’t throw me out of the tack. He’s very uncomplicated. Unless I do something really stupid, he always changes his lead. He’ll land on either lead. It’s just a pleasure [riding him].”

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After just six weeks in the hunter ring, Cole declared that Cobalt had “passed the test” of whether he would be suited to life as a hunter. She’s heavily considering making Cobalt her own, but is weighing whether to buy a horse for her daughter instead, an upcoming professional that Coles is eager to support.

“Sloane was very successful as a junior,” Cole noted. “This is her first year as a professional, taking clients and everything. She’s doing really well and has some young jumpers she’s been winning on. I’m very proud of her.”