Fox Lea Farm Venice Equestrian Tour 2018 week IV in review

From The Tower

From Atop the Spiral Staircase at Fox Lea Farm:
Week 4 in review


What can one say about week IV of the Venice Equestrian Tour? As an announcer it was an emotional rollercoaster ride and if you wrote this is as a storyline no one would believe you…but it did happen.

I am going to take the week out of order a bit and I hope you stick around to the end of this article.
It begins with the Welcome, there were 19 in the class with very tight competition from the beginning to the end. In came down to the 12th, 16th and 18th horse to go, as to who would determine our eventual winner. Gustavo Prato and Hip Living would jump the fastest and with just a bear hair separating 1st and 2nd or 0.186 of a second…that’s just about as close as it gets, but with Clayton and Marylisa right there in striking distance of the blue.

$7,500 1.35M Welcome Stake was officially recorded as:

1st Hip Living/Gustavo Prato C/C 34.124
2nd Quontine De La Rouge/Clayton Russell C/C 34.310
3rd Luminous/Marylisa Leffler C/C 34.543
4th Coteus/Gustavo Prato C/C 35.021
5th Finisterra/Gustavo Prato C/C 35.704
6th Deliante M/Marylisa Leffler C/C 36.527
7th Philadelphia 54/Maryann Charles C/4 35.683
8th FVF Sailor Man/Maryann Charles C 1t/86.093
9th Triomphe Platiere/Juan Hidalgo 4/76.784
10th Melleficent/Clayton Russell 4/77.187


Sticking with some of the bigger jumping class for a few minutes:

Week 4 in the $7,500 1.25M Jumper Prix it was owner/rider Lily Hahn winning the big blue by a frog hair or a mere 0.136 of a second. Lily has been showing very well during the VET.

The class was officially recorded as:

$7,500 Jumper Prix 1.25M

1st Utopie De La Vigne/Lily Hahn C/C 35.844
2nd Dollard Jessy/Gustavo Prato C/C 35.980
3rd Zidactro/Jordyn Friedman C/C 37.178
4th Karenina/Lily Hahn C/C 37.770
5th Isaura S Doll Van Wittenberg/John Brown C/C 38.123
6th Glorix Van De Mispelaere/Jenna Friedman C/C 39.524
7th Lalainy/Maryann Charles C/4 34.387
8th Dafina/Gustavo Prato C/4 35.131
9th Philadelphia 54/Maryann Charles C/4 35.261
10th Celista 2/Allen Nabors C/4 36.403


McKenna Nagy and Romeo took home the silver trophy in the $1,000 Veredus Mini Mini Prix. McKenna has been riding exceptionally well this Tour in both the jumper and hunter rings. The top 13 went double clear in this truly large standout class.


$1,000 Veredus Mini Mini Prix 0.95M Jumpers

1st Romeo/McKenna Nagy C/C 23.818
2nd Zahir/Scout Davis C/C 24.059
3rd Cancan De Ligny/Maya Stratemann C/C 24.245
4th Catokio/Stephen Foran C/C 24.968
5th Matrix Z/Juliette Richmagui C/C 25.063
6th Cherubino/Kelly Ford C/C 26.184
7th Carlin/Maryann Charles C/C 26.267
8th Fuigy Van Lozerhof/Elizabeth Brock C/C 26.293
9th FVF Victor/Maryann Charles C/C 27.205
10th O’Danny Boy/Laura Shinn C/C 27.419


McKenna and Romeo would also go on to win the $750 Low Child/Adult Jumper Classic on Sunday with a very impressive time in the jump off just shy of 4 seconds faster.

$750 Low Ch/Ad Jumper Classic

1st Romeo/McKenna Nagy C/C 41.332
2nd Callione/Tyler Bunn C/C 45.296
3rd Cambridge/Lily Vassalo C/C 1t 45.625
4th Bellanca/Lavinia Criswell C/C 3t 47.937
5th Cherubino/Kelly Ford
6th Fuigy Van Lozerhof/Elizabeth Brock
7th Zahir/Scout Davis
8th O’Danny Boy/Laura Shinn


Congratulations are also in order for Arianna Tucker and her horse Cludy with the win in the $1,500 NAL Low A/O Jr Jumper 1.25M class.

1st Cludy/Arianna Tucker C/C 39.295
2nd Effect Van Den Bisschop/Molly Wolfe C/C 40.402
3rd Cassius Clay/Ashley Foster C/C 43.872
4th Scarlet/Arianna Tucker
5th Geronimo Van Berkenbroeck/Amanda Pennington
6th Wanted K/Kali Barnes


The equitation riders taking home the blue ribbons this week were

In the Maclay Reagan Landrum

and in the Dover Amanda Pennington.

The Venice Equestrian Tour Hunter Challenge was as competitive as ever. We would like to give a special shout out to Amateur Owner/Rider and Fox Lea Farm family member Laurie Birnbach a great big “Whoop Whoop!!” for the win!! Congrats Laurie and Zico!!!! Laurie is a big part of the behind the scenes at Fox Lea and she has been up in the ribbons in many of the hunter classes. We’d just like to say thanks for all you do Laurie and keep it up…we expect to see you in the big $9,999 class next week!!

$5,000 VET Hunter Challenge

1st Zico/Laurie Birnbach
2nd Corton Charlemagne/Daniel Berrio
3rd Arbor Hill/Ashleen Lee
4th Tall Paul/Vick Russell
5th Fernhill Starboy/Lauren Miller
6th Calvin/Makenna Nagy
7th Finn/Alice Joy
8th Hudson/Vick Russell
9th Chantima De Z/Erica Cohen
10th Gioia/Vick Russell
11th Speak Your Mind/Ashleen Lee
12th Li-Loop/Savannah Peterson


And last but certainly not least the Grand Prix.

This Grand Prix was the first annual William Byron Israel Memorial Grand Prix and if you know anything about Fox Lea it is that we are very much like a family. You may also know that the winner Christi Israel is often a rider in our Grand Prix classes. What you might not know is Bill Israel was Christi’s dad and business partner.  He was co-owner of Byron Hill Show Jumpers and was often seen here at Fox Lea with his daughter. The trophy for the winner was presented by his wife and Christi’s mom Linnea.

The event started off with a twist as the honor guard of the evening was the Silk and Sable Mounted Drill Team. The members are from the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Ms. Suzi Jennings coaches the team and their team Captain is Lisa Pratt.

Ms. Maya Nalluri was here to sing the national anthem. Maya is an 8th grader at Pine View School and hopes to inspire people through her music.

The main event of the night had 25 in the order of go in the first round of the class and the 1.50 M fences were big and wide. The horses were truly giving it their all in a tough field of talent.

The second horse to enter the ring would be the first of eight to see the way clear in the first round. Stephan Foran riding Compis, an 11 year old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Camaro, owned by Lauren Robishaw of Chicago. Mr. Foran has over 30 International starts for the USA.

It would be six horses later that we would see the first of two rides tonight for Christi Israel who would put up a clear round assuring us of a jump off. Christi of Birmingham AL is the owner and rider of Clouseau the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve.

If you were at the show on Friday night, you know what happened in the Grand Prix…if weren’t here you missed one of the best Grand Prix Classes I’ve seen in a long time. Not just because of who won the class and on what horse, but also the ride of a lifetime and the pure love of show jumping.

In the end, we would see three go double clear. Stephan and Compis put up the first double clear with a time of 43.649, which was indeed fast. Christi saw a different line with a daring turn to the second fence in the jump off with Clouseau and put up a faster time and had to watch as the five remaining riders took the same line as Christi!! With everyone else pulling a fence or more, it came down to the last horse of the night…Shining De Reve and Tommy John Russell. It was close…it was 00.165 close. In the end it was Clouseau and Christi Israel for the win on this very special night. Who says fairy tale endings can’t happen?

Congratulations again to Christi!!!

I caught up with Christi via Facebook messenger the next day and we chatted for a bit. This is what she wanted to share:

“Cracky tried his heart out for me, in both rounds! I joke that they didn’t have power steering back when he was made, 19 years ago! So we missed one turn in the jump off but I couldn’t be happier with the way he performed tonight.

Clouseau… how can I even begin to describe what we accomplished. It was Clouseau’s first Grand Prix win. And to win a class in memorial of my dad. I know for a fact my dad was with me stride for stride. And I think Clouseau felt him too!

We had some tricks up our sleeves to get from number 1 to number 2 in the jump off and it proved to be just enough to pull off the win!”

From me:

“You really did great last night. I’ve never seen you hit every stride and spot so accurately. You really kicked a** last night. I heard you had a huge smile on Cracky when you had a little difficulty in the turn by the big oxer”

“Haha I shrieked til seeing that standard come up so fast then giggled and everyone said KEEP GOING I said I’m working on it! And continued on

Both boys had so much fun and that really made it a win”.

Following the many Facebook posts on Christi’s win, her response was so touching and everyone who knows Christi and knew her dad know what she said was true:

“He was with me every stride. I can never thank y’all enough for making such a special event in his honor.

1st 483 Clouseau/ Christi Israel C/C 42.437
2nd 401 Shining De Reve/Thomas John Russell C/C 42.602
3rd 530 Compis/Stephen Foran C/C 43.649
4th 255 Luminous/Marylisa Leffler C/4 44.988
5th 320 Cracky Z/Christi Israel C/4 48.303
6th 450 J’Adore RF/Lincoln Russell C/4 49.144
7th 561 Triomphe Platiere/Juan Hidalgo C/8 48.128
8th 423 Coteus/Gustavo Prato C/C 12 39.511
9th 479 Quontine De La Rouge/Clayton Russell 4/79.420
10th 337 Mimmo T.Z/Brian Murphy 4/79.749
11th 239 FVF Sailor Man/Maryann Charles 4/80.761
12th 400 Ragnar/Thomas John Russell 4/83.210

Next week we are of course looking forward to all the classes but the exciting class of the week will be the $9,999 Hunter Challenge. I am looking very forward to seeing that class go on Saturday at 3:00 in what has been our jumper ring all Tour.

JXB Photography are shooting some fantastic pictures, and I appreciate them allowing me to use them.  If you need a photographer for your event, be sure to check them out!

As a reminder, Fox Lea Farm is hosting a clinic on February 20th with Richard Watson. VET and the USHJA present:

Clinic with Richard Watson on February 20th Clinic cost is $100. Clinic will be a one hour session. Clinic will have a maximum of 2 participants per slot. 
A maximum of 10 clinics will be held on each date.
Clinic is geared to both hunter & jumper disciplines.
No charge for auditors.

Thanks again to everyone for another fabulous week!!

Out from behind the Mic



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