Norten Hardenberg, Germany – U.S. Olympian Lauren Hough of Wellington, Florida, continues to excel on her European tour, winning the €10,000 Preis der Hardenberg-Wilthen AG and placing second in the €50,000 Norten Hardenberg Grand Prix riding Casadora at the CSI3* Norten Hardenberg horse show held May 27 to 30 in Germany.
Following Friday’s victory in the €10,000 Preis der Hardenberg-Wilthen AG, Hough and Casadora were one of nine combinations to advance to the jump-off in Sunday’s €50,000 Norten Hardenberg Grand Prix. The pair had the fastest jump-off time, but a rail down at the final fence left them in second place.
“She won on Friday and she tried to win on Sunday as well, but she had the last rail down in the jump-off, which was my fault,” said Hough of Casadora, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Laura Mateo and Meredith Mateo. “She had an injury at the Dublin Horse Show in 2008 that put her out of the sport for one year, and we were a little bit doubtful that she would ever make it back to the top level. Now I am grateful for every class I have with her. She is a wonderful horse to have to jump these big grand prix events with.”
Hough’s young mount, Winand, placed sixth in the 1.40m Young Horse Final held Saturday at CSI3* Norten-Hardenberg. Two weeks earlier at CSI5* Hamburg, Hough and Winand were clear in all three Young Horse classes they contested, including Sunday’s 1.40m Young Horse Final where they finished second to Great Britain’s Nick Skelton and Big Star. A seven-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding, Winand is a sales horse that Hough campaigns for its Irish owners.
Hamburg was also the site of Hough’s victory in the €285,000 Global Champions Tour Grand Prix held Saturday, May 15. Riding Quick Study, an 11-year-old selle francais gelding owned by Laura Mateo and Meredith Mateo, Hough jumped double clear to advance to the jump-off where they produced yet another clear round to claim the win.
Having enjoyed a two-week break following his victory in Hamburg, Quick Study will contest CSI4* Balve, Germany, from June 3 to 6 in preparation for the upcoming CSIO5* Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and CSIO5* Aachen, Germany, where Hough will ride in the Nations’ Cup competitions as a member of the United States Equestrian Team. In March, after only two of five selection trials, Hough and Quick Study were named to the U.S. Equestrian Team Long List for the upcoming 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky.
While Quick Study heads to Germany, Hough will take Casadora and Available Versace to CSI5* Cannes, France, the following week. The international competition on the French Riviera is the next stop on the Global Champions Tour which links together nine of the world’s premiere show jumping events. Casadora will contest the Grand Prix, having enjoyed a third place finish in the €25,000 Trofeo Massimo Dutti at the Global Champions Tour event held earlier in May in Valencia, Spain. Hough also has high hopes for Available Versace, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Chloe Reid and Chester Weber of AvailableJumpers.com. As her second horse at the 2010 World Cup Final in Geneva, Switzerland, Hough guided Available Versace to a third place finish in Thursday’s 1.40m Prix de l’Arve competition as well as placing fifth in Saturday’s €25,000 Prix ‘En Chatillon’ speed competition.
Rounding out Hough’s string is Prezioso S, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood breeding stallion owned by Highlife Farms. Prezioso S has been earning ribbons at every show he has attended this spring in Europe, including winning the €10,000 Prix des Communes Genevoises in Geneva, placing third in the €20,000 Trofeo Iberia in Valencia, Spain, and again placing third in the €20,000 Premio Publitalia in La Mandria, Italy.
“He is such a consistent horse, he does not leave a show without a ‘top three’ ribbon,” said Hough, who began showing Prezioso S in the winter of 2009 for owners Joan and Kenny Simms of Highlife Farms in Orlando, Florida. “It does not matter if you are jumping big or small, he tries to win every time. And his owners, who also stand his sire, Pilox, have been very supportive.”
With top finishes for all five horses in her string of international show jumpers in Europe, Hough is optimistic as she looks forward to the months ahead.
“I am kind of holding my breath because it is going so well at the moment,” said Hough. “I have great horses, and a top staff that has been with me for many years. Each horse’s schedule is planned out very carefully in terms of which shows they go to and which classes they jump. We are focused on the long-term goals for each horse. All of our organization and long-term planning is paying off. I am pleased, and looking forward to the rest of the summer and, hopefully, to the World Equestrian Games in the fall.”
As members of the United States Equestrian Team Long List, from which the members of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Team will be chosen, Hough and Quick Study will represent the United States at CSIO5* Rotterdam from June 16-20 and will have three weeks to rest before CSIO5* Aachen from July 13-18.
As in 2009, Hough will be based in Europe throughout the 2010 spring and summer show season. This year, she is stabled at Haras de Ligny, the training center of Brazilian show jumping legends, Nelson and Rodrigo Pessoa, located south of Brussels in Belgium.
A member of the United States Equestrian Team at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Hough was also a member of the Gold Medal Team at the 2003 Pan American Games riding Windy City and the Bronze Medal Team at the 2007 Pan American Games riding Casadora. For more information on Lauren Hough, please visit www.laurenhough.com.
Photo: Lauren Hough of Wellington, FL, has been enjoying great success on the European show circuit with a string of five international horses including Casadora , pictured here competing in the 2010 Nations’ Cup in Wellington, Florida. Photo Credit – Cealy Tetley