Chantilly, France – Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, proudly represented the United States in the Global Champions Tour event in Chantilly, France, claiming two victories. The opportunity to compete in Chantilly, France, from July 24 to 27 was one of the prizes on offer to the winner of this year’s Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series (AFYRGPS), presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, held during the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
Comprised of four competitions held throughout the 12-week FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, Colvin emerged victorious in the AFYRGPS over the more than 50 participants competing for increased prize money under FEI sanctioning. The AFYRGPS is open to riders of any nationality between the ages of 16 and 25, making 16-year-old Colvin one of the youngest competitors.
As part of her prize, Colvin was awarded entry to the CSI2* division of the Global Champions Tour at Chantilly and two tickets to the Chantilly VIP lounge, courtesy of event director Gérard Manzinali. Transportation for her winning mount, Don Juan, was generously provided by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte. In addition, Artisan Farms’ lead rider, 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, lent Colvin a second horse, Cesanna, to compete.
Colvin proved on international soil why she was a deserving recipient of the prize, winning back-to-back 1.35m classes on Friday and Saturday in the CSI2* division with Cesanna, an 11-year-old grey Oldenburg mare (Cento x Centauer Z). Riding Don Juan, Colvin took a strong third place finish among a 96-horse starting field in Friday’s 1.40m competition.
“It was amazing; I never would have thought I would be able to go and show in Chantilly!” exclaimed Colvin.
Of her catch ride, Colvin noted, “They were very nice to let me use Cesanna. I went on Tuesday to ride her, and then I went to the show and showed her. She was really fun, straight-forward and easy. She is definitely a good speed horse, considering that both of the classes I won were speed classes. I just turned and went and she left!”
For an American rider who has never before competed in Europe, there were some adjustments to be made.
“I had to get used to it, first of all because I did not speak French,” related Colvin. “They don’t post the orders of go until the morning, and they don’t tell you the jump-off course until the end of the first round. And everyone was so calm! It is completely different than showing in the U.S. Next year, it will be easier if I get to go again.”
Competing in the AFYRGPS, which featured four events held in three different venues, helped prepare Colvin for the new experience.
“The Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series got you acclimated to come to a new venue,” said Colvin who was accompanied by her parents, her trainer, Ken Berkley, and Don Juan’s owner, Karen Long Dwight. “There were a few Americans here, like Kalvin Dobbs and Adrienne Sternlicht, but also a lot of French people that I have never shown against. The show itself was amazing, and it was on grass. I really gained from the experience, because everything is so different. It was so much fun!”
Carlene and Andy Ziegler of Artisan Farms created and developed the AFYRGPS to provide a bridge between the junior and amateur divisions to the grand prix level, allowing up and coming riders to gain experience at the upper levels of show jumping sport while still competing against their peers.
“Tori’s success in Chantilly was so gratifying to us,” said Carlene Ziegler, who was in Chantilly to witness Colvin’s two victories. “It is a validation of what our Young Riders Series is all about. She works so hard, and to see Tori make so much of the opportunity that was presented to her was fantastic. We are sure this won’t be her last international competition!”
In four short years, the Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series has produced an elite list of champions including Reed Kessler of the United States (2011), Nayel Nassar of Egypt (2012), Chloe D. Reid of the United States (2013), and Colvin. All four riders are currently enjoying incredible success as their international careers advance.
The fifth annual Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Series will be held during the 2015 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival from January 7 through March 29 in Wellington, FL.
Leading by example, Artisan Farms is committed to the continued improvement and promotion of competitive show jumping. Based in Wellington, FL, and Vrasene, Belgium, Artisan Farms is home to rising amateur Andy Ziegler, young professional Caitlin Ziegler, 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, and Olympian Tiffany Foster.