Fox Lea Farm Venice Equestrian Tour 2018 Finale

From The Tower

From Atop the Spiral Staircase at Fox Lea Farm:
Review of the 3rd Annual Venice Equestrian Tour

Let me begin the final week by saying, the competition in week 7 was just as strong as it has been for the entire tour.  It’s no surprise the course for the Welcome was a challenge to all but to the select few who got around clean and it was our top riders making it around fault free.


$7,500 Welcome      

1st FVF Sailor Man/Maryann Charles C/C 39.676
2nd Shining De Reve/Thomas John Russell C/C 43.772
3rd Cracky Z/Christi Israel C/C 45.629
4th Melleficent/Clayton Russell 4/71.107
5th Judge Not/Bill Worthington
6th Any/Thomas John Russell
7th Santos/JF Gagne
8th Contino VDL/Madeline Reich


Week 7’s Grand Prix was in honor of Pauline D. Russell, a horsewoman of the first order, a woman who was respected by all, loved and missed by hundreds every day. The First annual Pauline D. Russell Grand Prix is named for a renowned horsewoman with many accolades, including holding a World Record in the Quarter Horse 150 Yd. Sprint at 7.02 seconds, being awarded Canadian Trainer of the Year, and organizing the first ever  $100,000 Showjumping event in North America.  Pauline also trained many of the world’s top hunter/jumper equestrians.

The Russell name is a well-known name in the equestrian world and the Russell’s have been friends of Fox Lea Farm for many years and was a wonderful way to end the Tour.  The crowd of spectators that evening was probably the largest ever seen at the Friday Night Under the Lights Grand Prix’s. Fox Lea has become the place to go for many of the locals and they have become regulars just like many of the competitors.  Speaking of the competitors, the Grand Prix class was 23 strong, 10 of which would return for the jump off to compete for their share of the $25,000.  FEI course designer, Michael Peck of Canada designed the course that would prove to be the biggest competition of the year.

The trophy is named in honor of Pauline Russell and was donated by Debbie & Steve Stephens of Centennial Equestrian Farm and presented by Vick Russell as a tribute to a woman who was important to so many.

Born in Ealing, England and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Pauline was extremely proud to realize her lifelong dream of becoming an American citizen in July 2017.

As the evening began, we welcomed back a few of our friends to help us kick off the competition.  The local Boy Scout Troop #77 of Grace United Methodist Church of Venice presented the Colors.  Ericka Miller of Special Ops Warrior Foundation returned to the ring to sing God Bless America and John La Roix of the Venice-Nokomis Rotary did the honor of singing the nation anthem.

The third horse in the original drawn order would be the first of ten horses that would show the way to the jump off. Ca Va Bien ridden by Agatha D’Ambra, who rides for the owners, Trade Winds Farm in Rexford NY. It would be the sixth horse in the order that would confirm a jump-off. Fittingly, it was Thomas John Russell riding Shining De Reve, owned by Vick Russell, to ensure we would have one of Pauline and Vick Russell’s sons, honor her in the jump-off.

The 3rd place ribbon was awarded to an up and coming rider who I am looking forward to watch as her career develops. Jenna Friedman, of Morriston Fl, is a 22 year-old who was riding her own 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood by Labamba, Glorix Van De Mispelere. Ms. Friedman started her Grand Prix career right here at Fox Lea in 2012. Great ride Jenna!!!

2nd place was awarded to Shining De Reve and Thomas John Russell (we call him Tommy John). Shining De Reve is an 11-year-old Selle Francis by Zandor Z. Having placed 3rd and 5th already during the Tour, helped Tommy John secure the title Champion of the Grand Prix by being the rider who has earned the most prize money in the Grand Prix classes this season.

1.507 seconds would separate 1st and 2nd place in the end. The winner was the seventh in the posted order of go and owned by the Gaston Family Investments LLC of Morgantown West VA. The horse is a fifteen year old Dutch Warmblood named Vanita and ridden by Matthias (Matti) Hollberg. This was the first time this season we’ve seen Matti at Fox Lea this season. Mr. Hollberg made the move to the United States in 2006 and has been showing up and down the East coast ever since. Congrats to Vanita and Matti on a great win!!!

The final Grand Prix of the 2018 tour was officially recorded as:

1st Vanita/Matthias Hollberg C/C 38.087
2nd Shining De Reve/Thomas John Russell C/C 39.594
3rd Glorix Van De Mispelere/Jenna Friedman C/C 39.801
4th Clarion/Kristen Sanger C/C 41.478
5th Luminous/Marylisa Leffler C/4 38.551
6th Ca Va Bien/Agatha D’Ambra
7th FVF Sailor Man/Maryann Charles
8th Any/Thomas John Russell
9th Biscayo/Paulo Santana
10th Gigolo John/Allen T. Nabors
11th Calisto 26/Candice King
12th Quontine De La Rogue/Clayton Russell


The $1,000 Veredus Mini Mini Prix winner for week 7 was won by Ashlynne Blanton riding Full I’Candy.






Veredus Mini Mini Prix
0.95M Jumper

1st Full I’ Candy/Ashlynne Blanton C/C 33.215
2nd Carlin/Maryann Charles C/C 33.377
3rd Mr. Reddit/Tracey Corey C/C 35.972
4th Sting/Shelley Wynn C/8 38.943
5th Revenge 5/Aeden Irullo 4/60.587
6th Lady Clearway/Amelia Pellecchia
7th Sky’s the Limit/Tracey Corey
8th O’Danny Boy/Laura Shinn

The 1.25M Jumper Prix was won by FVF Sailor Man and Maryann Charles.  Maryann and Oliver have been having a great year at VET and during the tour her husband Brad Charles and I became Facebook friends allowing me to share with him almost ‘live’ updates as the tour hit the midway point.  Someday I hope we meet in person.  This is just another reason I love my job, connecting with the people I announce so that the riders and their families become more than names on a sheet of paper.

As you’ll see from the results, this was a very competitive class.  Not only did you have to go clear…but you had to be fast…and careful.  In the early goings Allen put up not one but two great times that I thought would not be beat and once again…horses fool me still!

$7,500 Jumper Prix

1st FVF Sailor Man/Maryann Charles C/C 32.734
2nd Quontine De La Rogue/Clayton Russell C/C 33.677
3rd  Ragazzo/Allen Nabors C/C 33.968
4th Bon Chatsworth Pierre/Allen Nabors C/C 36.194
5th J’asore RF/Lincoln Russell C/C 37.292
6th Lyons Creek Dragon Blue/JF Gagne C/C 37.649
7th Contino VDL/Madeline Reich C/C 38.195
8th SS Val Berit/Kristen Sanger C/C 43.556
9th Cassinis Valentine/Timothy Hooker C/8 52.235
10th Cara Z/Sherry Hill C/no score recorded

The hunter challenge was won by one of our top riders of the Tour…in fact he came in 1st , 2nd , and 6th.  Winning the card riding Tall Paul was rider/owner Vick Russell.  Vick Russell had a great Tour in both the hunter and jumper ring.

$5,000 VET Hunter Challenge

1st Tall Paul/Vick Russell
2nd Corton Charlemagne/Vick Russell
3rd Latigo/Kathryn Griswold
4th Fernhill Starboy/Lauren Miller
5th Laarsant D/Daniel Barrio
6th Hudson/Vick Russell
7th My Way/Stacey Verullo
8th Zico/Laurie Birnbach
9th Violets Are Blue/Diane Welter
10th Vantage/Megan Erickson


We had two very special classes this week.  Children’s & Adult Amateur Handy Hunter Challenge and Children’s Handy Hunter Pony Challenge were both were sponsored by the USHJA.  Congratulations to Farnley Planet ridden by Gabriella Santucci in the Pony Challenge and Optimus Prime ridden by Emma Breneisen in the Ch/Ad amateurs.








After taking a few weeks off, John Angus riding Ninetowfive came back to win the $2,500 NAL Jr/Ao class .

Mr. Reddit and Tracey Corey were in the winner’s circle again this week in the low Ch/Ad jumper classic.  Tracey and Mr. Reddit are certainly a match that were difficult to beat in any class they entered on Tour.

The $1,000 VET One K Mini Challenge was won by Bold Encore and owner/rider Grace Erickson of Largo Fl.


1st Bold Encore/Grace Erickson
2nd Zara/Ava Smith
3rd High Society/Valarie Grimm


High Ch/Ad jumpers this week’s blue ribbon winner was Tell Me Ramoni and Molly Hennemann of Lithia Fl.



1st 687 Tell Me Ramoni/Molly Hennemann C/54.253
2nd 764 Batman/Bethany Burns C/61.233
3rd 676 Leopold 221/Elizabeth Kneibert 4/64.869

2018 Venice Equestrian Tour proudly announces the Circuit Champions and Reserve Champions as well as the results of fantastic showing all Tour. Congratulations to all of the horses, owners and riders.  This list is of all those who took home some of the top ribbons at the Tour.

Unfortunately the list does not recognize everyone who may have had a breakthrough.   Maybe you put up a personal best score in a Challenge class, perhaps you made it around a 0.95M jumper course fault free.  There were a few that went into their first ever Grand Prix or first Opportunity Class.

I had the privilege of doing a few course walks with spectators during the last 2 Grand Prix classes and some were non-horsey people.  I explained to the crowds that not every rider is trying to win.  That’s why it is impossible to actually bet on show jumping.  Many were shocked by this revelation as I shared that while most were there to win…others wanted to do better than they thought possible and some would likely walk away disappointed they hadn’t reached their goal.  Maybe they were trying to train the horse to be better or get some “good mileage”.  Some were giving the riders a lesson on “how to” because a horse or rider doesn’t know the how to, by just wanting to.  That knowledge only comes from experience.

As you are reading through this list you will surely recognize names you know…that’s why you are reading it after all.  This list does not represent all the successes or failures, it represents the best of seven weeks.  These seven weeks of sportsmanship and camaraderie of amateurs, children, and professionals in a sport we all love.  We congratulate the winners for sure, but also congratulate everyone who came to show and gave it their all.  For giving it your all, IS winning!

Please join me in congratulating:

In the Hunters:

Champion: USHJA 2′
Captivate Owner Marianne Stout Rider Catherine Rinehart
Reserve: USHJA 2′
Casablanca Owner The Pickering Horse Center Rider Quorra Giacommi

Champion:  USHJA 2’3/2’6
Time Out Owner Anna Tsambis Rider Claire Kellner
Reserve:  USHJA 2’3/2’6″
Eclipse By Color Owner Katrina Ruotsalo Rider Cathy Inch

Champion: USHJA 2’9’/3
Remington Owner Greta Pogue Rider Claire Kellner
Reserve:  USHJA 2’9/3′
Cupido Katie Mansour Rider Daniel Berrio

Champion:  Hunter Breeding Horse           
Reflection Owner Harriet Schiele
Reserve:  Hunter Breeding Horse
Dank’s Corner Gypsy Biker
Owner Meg Miranda

Champion:  Hunter Breeding Pony
Dank’s Corner Livin’ In The Future
Owner Meg Miranda

Champion:  3’3″ Performance
Real Time Owner Nes, Llc Rider Ben Guanciale
Reserve:  3’3″ Performance
Carlot Owner Rolling Acres Rider Marylisa Lefner

Champion: 3’6″ Performance
Corton Charlemagne Owner Skipping Foalsport Horses Rider Daniel Berrio
Reserve:  3’6″ Performance
Chacco’s Man Owner Keri Guanciale Rider Ben Guanciale

Champion:  Baby Green
Veneto Owner Lilly Lane Farm Rider Keri Guanciale
Reserve:  Baby Green
Black Pearl Owner Troylynn Ball Rider Kristen Cox

Champion: 3’/3’3″ Green Hunter
Elepe Real Owner Kristin Cox Rider Kristin Cox
Reserve: 3’/3’3″ Green Hunter
Crimson Sky Kristen Gill Rider Ben Guanciale

Champion:  3’6″ Green Hunter
Carero Owner Taylor Mitchell Rider Keri Guanciale
Reserve: 3’6″ Green Hunter
Ego Owner Chelsea Director Rider Ken Krome

Champion:  Amateur Owner Older
Brigadier Mary Barben
Reserve:  Amateur Owner Older
Zico Laurie Birnbach

Champion:  A/O Younger
Real Time Owner Nes, Llc Rider Nicole Shaw
Reserve:  A/O Younger
Ego Owner Chelsea Director Rider Chelsea Director

Champion:  Junior Hunter
Esprit De Corps Owner Ben Guanciale Rider Ethan Maye
Reserve:  Junior Hunter
Knockout Owner Ben Guanciale Rider Ethan Maye

Champion:  Child Hunter Older
Dhirector Owner Darby Madden Rider Darby Madden
Reserve: Child Hunter Older
Pura Vida Owner Lily Pollin Rider Lily Pollin

Champion:  Child Younger
Li Loop Owner Savannah Peterson Rider Savannah Peterson
Tied For Champ
Axtrex Owner Addie Jabin Rider Emily Kossup

Champion:  Adult Hunter Older
Surf’s Up Owner Cindy Schmidt Rider Cindy Schmidt
Reserve:  Adult Hunter
Thoughful Owner Kristen Gill Rider Kristen Gill

Champion: Adult Younger
In Our Time Owner Nes Llc Rider Nicole Shaw
Reserve:  Adult Younger
Urban Owner Chelsea Director Rider Chelsea Director

Champion:  Pony Hunter
Sugarbrook Game Plan Owner Savannah Strasberg Rider Savannah Strasberg
Reserve:  Pony Hunter
Star Bound’s Everyday Love Owner Savannah Strasberg Rider Savannah Strasberg

Champion:  Child Pony
Best Of The Best Owner Clay Farrell Rider Clayton Farrell
Reserve:  Child Pony
Lucky Charm Owner Haley Belcher Rider Kate Neily

Champion:  Shark Tooth
Crimson Sky Owner Kristen Gill Rider Kristen Gill
Reserve:  Shark Tooth
Z Owner Redfield Farm Rider Mary Michel

Champion:  Seahorse
In Our Time Owner Nes, Llc Rider Ben Guanciale
Reserve:  Seahorse
Thoughtful Owner Kristen Gill Rider Keri Guanciale

Champion:  Short Stirrup Htr
Casablanca Owner The Pickering Horse Center Rider Quorra Giacomini
Reserve:  Short Stirrup Htr
Pep Talk Owner Courtney Hayden-Fromm Rider Ava Picard

Champion:  Intermediate Htr
Mr. Opportunity Owner Lauren Muller Rider Jolie Kosloske
Reserve:  Intermediate Htr
Northern Lights Owner Katrina Ruotsalo Rider Katrian Ruotsalo

Champion:  Crossrails Htr
Danny Boy Owner The Pickering Horse Center Rider Amelia Gatti
Reserve:  Crossrail Htr
She Played Three Owner Kelly Oliver Rider Eva Hurlbaus

Champion:  Low Ch/Ad Hunter
Femme Fatale Owner Chelsea Blackie Rider Chelsea Blackie
Reserve:  Low Ch/Ad Hunter Atterbury Owner Rhonda Bartolacci Rider Rhonda Bartolacci

In the Equitation:

Champion:  11-14 Equitation
Emily Kossup
Reserve:  11-14 Equitation
Abigail Perry

Champion:  15-17 Equitation
Darby Madden
Reserve: 15-17 Equitation
Lilly Pollin

Champion:  Low Ch/Ad Equitation              
Kate Neily
Reserve:  Low Ch/Ad Equitation
Chelsea Blackie

Champion: Adult Equitation
Gabriella Solamon
Reserve:  Adult Equitation
Chelsea Director

Champion: Short Stirrup Eq
Quorra Giacomini
Reserve: Short Stirrup Eq
Ava Picard

Champion:  Intermediate Eq.
Charlotte Mack
Reserve: Intermediate Eq.
Jole Kosloske

Champion:  Crossrail Eq
Amelia Gatti
Reserve:  Crossrail Eq
Evanna Somareddy

For the Jumpers:

Champion:  .75
Quincy Owner Lindsay Wolf Rider Kristen Gill
Reserve:  .75
Dulce De Leche Owner Pam Heuberger Rider Pam Heuberger

Champion:  .85
My Valentine Owner Jennifer Gandy Rider Melanie Markham
Reserve: .85
Vivaz Owner Michael Doyle Rider Claudia Doyle

Champion:  .95
Fvf Victor Owner Fox View Farm Rider Laura Gaither
Reserve:  .95
Carlin Owner Maryann Charles Rider Maryann Charles

Champion:  1.00
Carlin Owner Maryann Charles Rider Maryann Charles
Reserve:  1.00
Cilke Quality SC Owner Halle Quadracci Rider Kathleen Caya

Champion:  1.05
Artic Tiger Owner Justine Dutton Rider Justine Dutton
Reserve:  1.05
Batman Owner Bethany Burns Rider Bethany Burns

Champion:  1.10
Vico Owner Jill Mcmanus Rider Mary Ann Charles
Reserve:  1.10
Lord Carlino Owner Arianna Tucker Rider Arianna Tucker

Champion:  1.15
Cassinis Valentine Owner Timothy Hooker Rider Timothy Hooker
Reserve:  1.15
Annarilla Owner Erica Roberts Rider Erica Roberts

Champion:  1.25
Baron Owner Wendy Geoff Rider Kris Dicarlo
Reserve:  1.25
Garda Owner Euro Equine Imports Rider Laura Gaither

Champion:  1.30
Eastwood Owner Santiago Lambre Rider Gustavo Prato
Reserve:  1.30
Lamondale Bisou Owner Bridget Earl Rider Kallie Schaefers

Champion:  Low Ch/Adult Jumper
Vico Owner Jill Mcmanus Rider Jill Mcmanus
Reserve:  Low Ch/Adult Jumper
Alfa Yaso Owner Riley Baker Rider Riley Baker

Champion: High Ch/Adult Jumper
Bravo Zulu Owner Jody Scudder Rider Jody Scudder
Reserve:  High Ch/Adult Jumper
Tell Me Ramoni Owner Molly Hennemann Rider Molly Henneman

Champion:  Low Junior Jumper
Philadelphia 54 Owner Fox View Farm Rider Christina Webb
Reserve:  Low Junior Jumper
Eye Catcher Owner Sharon Brown Rider Sharon Brown

Champion: High Jr Jumper 
Cassius Clay Owner Rolling Acres Rider Ashley Foster
Reserve:  High Jr Jumper
Lalainy Owner Fox View Farm Rider Christina Webb

Grand Prix Points Based On Money Earned By Rider:

Tommy John Russell
Christi Israel

Congratulations to you all for your hard work and amazing rides!

As I write this final week wrap up, I find myself already missing everyone.  It never fails that I always get into a funk when a show ends.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a 2-day schooling show or a 7-week run of rated shows.  I get into a funk.  The longer the show…the harder it is to pick myself up and get motivated again to be sure.  Okay, yes I have a dressage show coming up at Fox Lea that I am really looking forward to and while writing this article, I’ve just booked 3 days at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington so that helps ease things a bit.  Then it’s 3 weeks off…okay 18 days…but that might as well be a month right??

I enjoy announcing shows, whether they are hunter jumpers, dressage, or breed shows.  I take pride in what I do.  I am pretty good at it too, or so I am told.  Going to a show, any show, to announce is an honor and a privilege. I give the same effort at every show, as I believe everyone should.  Rider, trainers, grooms and the show moms & dads all have a job to do.  From the backyard one ring shows to regional or international shows alike.  When we stop trying is when we start to fail.  Like many a rider, I also hope to make it to the “big show” someday.  To some, that might be Fox Lea, it might be Wellington or HITS.  Perhaps its WEG or the Olympics or Paralympics.  For Me…it’s every show.  It’s every show because for every rider at every show…that trip in the cross rails, that 2 foot hunter trip, that one meter jumper is the most important class.  I want every round, trip, or test to be as special as I can make it.  Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed.  However, I will never stop trying and that is always a win for me as an announcer.

I love what I do.  Can you tell?

Out from behind the mic one last time for ’18 Venice Equestrian Tour.  My name is Jason Curtis, and I am Horse Show Announcer.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *