McLain Ward Soars to Victory in the $65,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem

Saturday, May 21, 2022
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Five-time Olympian McLain Ward (USA) returned to the International Arena on Friday to fly to the top of the leaderboard in the $65,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem presented by The Kincade Group aboard his and Susie Heller’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Faro. Fresh off his win in Thursday’s (May 12) $37,000 FEI CSI3* Two-Phase, Ward claimed two victories throughout the day, his first being the $25,000 National 1.40-1.45m Jumper Classic. 

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows are one of the premier stops on the nation’s hunter-jumper horse show circuit, offering a full schedule of world-class competition May 10-15 and May 17-22 that features the nation’s best in equestrian sport. 

Photo: McLain Ward and Faro won Friday’s $65,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem presented by The Kincade Group. (© RandolphPR)

Ireland’s Alan Wade set a winding 16-effort, 1.50m course to challenge the 39 entries representing eight countries in the $65,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem presented by The Kincade Group. With 14 horse-and-rider combinations moving on to the jump-off, Ward was the first rider to go double clear in a time of 40.460 seconds. The only ones to catch his time were Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Ballyoskill Big Bucks, who stopped the clock at 40.370 seconds, but a downed rail at the penultimate fence kept them out of the top rankings.

"It’s been a great day,” Ward said. “Faro is a bit of a new horse for Susie Heller, his owner, and myself. We actually sold him about a year and a half ago, but he wasn’t a great match for his rider, so we bought him back. I’m really excited about competing him. He’s a very careful, very competitive horse, and he can do some really great things. In the first round, my strategy was to not make any mistakes. He jumped great last week and was third in the Grand Prix Qualifier, so I knew he was comfortable in the ring. This class had a big jump-off with quite a few clear initially, and I planned to go as fast as I thought I could to put a little pressure on everyone else.”

Rodrigo Pessoa aboard Quality FZ
Rodrigo Pessoa aboard Quality FZ (Photo: © RandolphPR)

Six-time Brazilian Olympic veteran Rodrigo Pessoa finished in second with his double-clear time of 41.260 seconds aboard Quality FZ, Artemis Equestrian LLC’s 13-year-old Italian Sport Horse gelding. Captain Brian Cournane (IRL) rode his 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding Armik to a third-place finish in 42.690 seconds.

Ward, who is also the Spring Horse Shows Co-Chair, started his day with a victory in the $25,000 National 1.40-1.45m Jumper Classic aboard his speed specialist Catoki, tripping the timers in 37.231 seconds. The Alan Wade-designed course featured 15 jumping efforts, narrowing a field of 50 entries to just 12 in the jump-off. 

“This is exactly what his job is,” Ward said of Marilla Van Beuren’s 13-year-old Westphalian gelding. “He’s a speed horse, one that I take internationally for these types of competitions as well. He’s got his own way and a unique character that’s a little bit special. I think he’s won a competition at every show this year. He’s a pretty incredible little horse. 

“I had quite a few horses in this class,” Ward added. “I think it’s a wonderful class for a wide variety of horses like young horses coming up, horses that you’re still building, and of course horses like Catoki. It was a strong field and a nice jump-off. I knew we would have a nice placing with Callas (who finished fifth), and it just set up for Catoki to take a real shot at the end.”

The International Arena concluded in the evening with the $5,000 Old Salem Farm Annual Grooms Class presented by McLain Ward, Inc., and Mane ’n Tail. Recognizing their efforts as the backbone of the equestrian industry, professional grooms were judged on their horse show attire and horse’s overall turnout in the hunter and jumper divisions. Edwin Soto of Castle Hill claimed top honors in the hunter section for his care of McLain Ward’s Salvatore, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding ridden by Baylee McKeever. Jumper groom Allen Henvey was awarded for his care of Little Lumi, an 8-year-old American Warmblood mare ridden by Georgina Bloomberg, on behalf of Gotham Enterprizes LLC. Both winners received a $1,000 share of the purse, blue ribbon, and professional grooming backpack presented by McLain Ward, Inc.

Grooms finishing in second through fifth place were awarded with their own ribbons, shares of the prize money, and a ringside backpack presented by Old Salem Farm. All grooms will be further recognized on Saturday, 6:30-8:00 a.m., with a Grooms’ Breakfast presented by Maarten Huygens Horse Sales.

Other highlights included the crowning of Adult Amateur Hunter champions in the Hedge and June Road rings, with Lexi Maounis of Greenwich, CT, and Rindy Dominiguez of Barrington, RI, tying for the ultimate prize of Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship. Maounis rode her 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding Chevito to championship honors in the Adult Amateur 18-35 Years division, while Dominiguez claimed the Adult Amateur 50 & Older Championship aboard Forever Dance, Seahorse Show Stable’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Both earned a total of 36 points, including 30 points over fences that would have broken their tie.

The Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search 3* also took place in the June Road ring, where Emily Clee of Bethel, CT, topped a field of 16 entries aboard Envol De Riverland, a 7-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by Victoria Haynes. 

“This was the first time I’ve ever done a big USET class, so I’m definitely super proud of us as a team,” Clee said. “I got him after the indoor circuit, and we did a lot at (the Winter Equestrian Festival), working on getting a strong bond. He felt amazing today, and I’m just really happy with how we’ve been doing.”

Trained by Abby Ferrigno, Clee comes to Old Salem Farm every year. “I love this horse show,” she said. “It’s right in our backyard, which is very nice. The weather this year has been pretty good, and I just love being here with Abby and everyone from Rabbit Hill.”

En plein air (outdoor) artists were among the exhibitors and spectators onsite Friday, capturing the facility’s exceptional charm and overall beauty of equestrian sport with their skill. Leslie Carone of South Salem, NY, takes inspiration from all kinds of nature for her pastel, oils, and acrylics; Anik McGrory of Rye, NY, is a renowned children’s book author and illustrator with a photographer’s unique artistic style; and Lori McQueeney of Katonah, NY, specializes in watercolor paintings to capture the unique world around her. 

Analytical statistics posted throughout the show have been powered by Jumpr App. For live show results, visit

Emily Clee and Envol De Riverland
Emily Clee and Envol De Riverland earned top honors in the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search 3*. (Photo: © RandolphPR)

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows host competitions for riders of all levels and ages, from young children on their polished ponies to Olympic veterans aboard their grand prix mounts. Each week’s show is USEF ‘Premier-6’ rated for hunters and jumpers and designated FEI CSI3* for May 10-15 and CSI4* for May 17-22. Each day, the Old Salem Farm action starts at approximately 8 a.m., with classes running simultaneously in three incredible rings. 

Week 1 highlights included the $40,000 New York Welcome Stake and the $125,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix. Week 2 competition is highlighted by the $65,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem, $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, and the $5,000 Old Salem Farm Grooms Class. The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows conclude on Sunday, May 22, with the $200,000 Empire State Grand Prix at approximately 2:30 p.m. 

Hollow Brook Wealth Management is a proud supporter of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows and is the sponsor of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows weekend livestream available on ClipMyHorse.TV. Hollow Brook is also honored to present the second annual Hollow Brook Junior Sportsmanship Award, which will be announced on Sunday, May 22, as part of the opening ceremonies to the $200,000 Empire State Grand Prix. 

Located just one hour north of New York City, Old Salem Farm has a long history of hosting world-class horse shows. The ambiance at Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows is unlike any other venue in the country with over-the-top hospitality and unique shopping offered along Old Salem’s popular Boutique Row. VIP table seating offers an unbeatable view of the new International Arena and gourmet farm-to-table fare. Old Salem Farm food vendors provide meals to go and delicious snack options. 

Family fun activities include weekend face painting and an ice cream party each Saturday, hosted by Pegasus Therapeutic Riding on May 14 and the Wolf Conservation Center on May 21. There will also be an onsite dog adoption hosted by A New Chance Animal Rescue on May 21 and a parade of adoptable horses presented by the EQUUS Foundation during Week 2. Admission is FREE for everyone Tuesday-Friday and $10 Saturday-Sunday.  

For more information on Old Salem Farm and the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, visit