News & Results

Lauren Hough & Ohlala: A Mighty Triumph at the Great American Million

American Olympian Lauren Hough joined the “million dollar club” with her win in the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at the HITS Ocala Circuit in Ocala, Florida. Hough rode her longtime partner Ohlala, a 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Orlando x Carrera) to first place in the class.

The final event of the 10-week winter circuit in Ocala, Florida was well attended, with a total of 49 first-round entries. German-born course designer Werner Deeg set a stout 1.60m track with challenging elements that would create some persistent problems for the horse and rider combinations. The first round featured a challenging triple combination that knocked out many riders from the jump-off round. It was the middle oxer of the 7 A/B/C combination that was consistently the trouble spot, though time allowed in the first round did not seem to be a factor. Fourteen combinations went clear and challenged each other for the big prize money.

Deeg commented on the comfortable time allowed, which led to a slightly larger jump-off field than he had hoped. “I agree completely that the time allowed was [a] little bit too comfortable. I measured twice and I had a difference of meters, so I decided to take the shorter one and [the time] was a bit long.” He also was very conscious of safety in the class, knowing he was building the course for a wide range of riders. Commenting on young rider Emily Moffitt’s dramatic fall, which occurred early in the class, Deeg said, “We have some top riders here and some not so experienced ones. I have to be aware of everybody. It was a little bit tough what we had happen with the second horse, but that happens sometimes in our sport.”

Among the other jump-off competitors were American household names including three-time million dollar grand prix winner and Olympian, McLain Ward; and two-time million dollar grand prix winner, Todd Minikus. Last weekend’s West Coast AIG $1 Million Grand Prix winner Mandy Porter also successfully navigated the first round.

The second round provided an intensity that reflected the larger group size of the jump-off and matched the high caliber of competitors. For the jump-off, the 7 A/B/C combination was condensed into an in-and-out, beginning with the oxer. The second pair to compete in the jump-off, Alberto Michan and GC Chopin’s Bushi, found difficulty at the 7 B/C element, as a slightly angled approach caused Michan’s mount to refuse, resulting in a dismount.

Jump-off competitors following Michan made sure to give their mounts a good look at the combination before beginning their round. British Olympic showjumper Ben Maher delivered the first double-clear round aboard Don Vito, with a jump-off time of 50.874. Maher was immediately followed up by McLain Ward and HH Callas, who were just a split second slower than Maher, with a jump-off time of 51.379.

However, it was Hough and Ohlala who had the fastest time of all. Hough went mid-way through the jump-off aboard her slightly built 15.2-hand mare. Mimicking the slice executed by Ward at the first jump, she and Ohlala kept up the quick pace throughout the course, not sparing a second to deviate from her jump-off plan. This confidence proved successful as the pair crossed the timers with a time of 48.966—a pace that proved unbeatable throughout the rest of the class.

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As she left the ring, Hough wasn’t sure the time would hold, however. Going mid-way through the jump-off, Hough said, “I was not feeling confident because there were seven more behind me, so it was a long wait. There were places where other horses left strides out, but I rode the fastest round I could with her. Obviously, you always need a little bit of luck on your side with events like these.”

Germany’s André Thieme was one rider who put particular pressure on Hough. The 2014 Great American $1 Million Grand Prix winner had just returned from a successful trip to California, where he competed in last weekend’s AIG $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Coachella. Thieme rode clear in the jump-off with a time that bested both Ward and Maher at 50.086, securing a 3rd place finish for him and his mount Conthendrix. Thieme earned fourth place last week in the AIG $1 Million class and, combined with his performance in the class today, has secured roughly $200,000 in prize money.

Near the end of the jump-off, Aaron Vale and Finou 4 were the closest to rival Hough’s blazing fast time. With Finou 4’s huge stride working in their favor, Vale galloped down to the final jump for a clear round. Unfortunately, he was half a second too late when he stopped the clock at 49.442. That time was enough to beat out other double clear contenders and assure Vale a 2nd-place finish.

Vale commented on his strategy going into the second round.

“In the jump-off, it’s the riders against each other but in the first round, it’s the riders against Werner [Deeg]. You’re trying to play to your horse’s strengths and avoid his weaknesses the best you can. We all rode the best round that suited our horse. That’s the cards we put on the table and that’s the order we finished in. We’re all pretty happy.”

Now that Ohlala is 13 years old, Hough said she is becoming more selective about the types of events the mare competes in. “I want to preserve her for as long as possible. I’m going to pick and choose the right venues for her and try to show her without over using her.” Hough is looking toward the LCGT event in Miami next and down the line, she hopes to show Ohlala in May at Hamburg. Hough says she is also keeping an eye on the WEG for 2018.

Both the top-finishing riders and Deeg commented on how the professionalism of HITS Ocala and the quality footing and jumps for the prestigious event helped to make the class such a success. Hough said, “I was lucky enough to come here for the week of the Nations Cup and I said to Tom [Struzzierri] how fantastic the footing was. I had a bit of a slow season with Lala. She wasn’t happy at WEF, so I pulled way back and made this class a real focus for this week.”

As Lauren Hough said at the outset of the press conference, she’s been knocking on the door for a while in her past performances in million dollar classes. Today, that door opened.

Photos ©Dominique Gonzalez for NF.

Source: Noelle Floyd.com

Lauren Hough & Ohlala Win $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington

Top U.S. show jumpers Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut, and Kent Farrington were the top three in Saturday night’s $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, on Saturday night at the 2016 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Competing for the coveted President of the United States Perpetual Cup, as well as valuable Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifying points, the grand prix was the highlight event of the week at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. Hough and Ohlala took the victory, with Kraut and Confu in 2nd, and Farrington aboard Creedance 3rd.

Course designer Alan Wade of Ireland set the tracks for jumper competition throughout the week at Verizon Center. In Saturday night’s feature event, Wade saw 28 starters over his first round course, with seven advancing to the jump-off and two double clear rounds in the race against the clock. Carrying on their winning momentum from Thursday’s $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, which was also the grand prix qualifier, Hough and Ohlala earned another exciting victory.

Kraut and the St. Bride’s Farm’s 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding Confu (Contact me X Cambridge) were first to clear the jump-off track without fault in 37.80 seconds for their eventual second place finish. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Quister, followed by Kent Farrington and the R.C.G. Farm’s 9-year-old KWPN gelding Creedance (Lord Z X Notaris), both had the same fence down in the last line and finished with four faults each. Madden’s time of 36.89 seconds took fourth place, and Farrington’s blazing time of 34.28 seconds placed third. Last to go, Hough and Ohlala were clear, topping Kraut’s time to take the win in 36.56 seconds.

“She was incredible the whole week,” Hough said of the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Orlando x Cardento) owned by The Ohlala Group. “Thursday was a really nice warm-up for her. I ended up winning, but I tried not to take every risk in that class with tonight in mind.”

“I was really lucky to be able to go last,” Hough continued. “In the first round, she touched a couple and then jumped the end of the course very well. Then I was able to see Kent go in the jump-off, who took every risk I thought, and ended up having one down. I saw the difference in time between Kent and Laura, and I thought it was smarter to ride the round that I thought suited my horse. I did one more step in the first line and also in the last line than everybody else, but she is very quick across the ground. All the stars were lined up for me this week, so I’m thrilled.”

Hough has been second in the WIHS grand prix multiple times, but never got the win until now and was happy to get the honor on home turf in the U.S. and earn points to qualify for the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha, Nebraska.

“I think being second a couple of times makes you hungry for it,” Hough remarked. “I really had to stay focused and not get ahead of myself. Some of Ohlala’s owners were here tonight, and they don’t get to see her that often because she is based a lot of the time in Europe, so it was special for everyone. I haven’t ridden in a World Cup Final in some years and I think Ohlala is very suited for the format, so I am making it a big priority to try to qualify. This is the first one that I have done, and my next one is in Toronto.”

Hough was also presented with the $10,000 Leading International Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Robin Parsky, along with the Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy. She also earned the Leading Lady Rider Award, presented by Longines. Ohlala was International Jumper Champion, and The Ohlala Group accepted the Leading Jumper Owner Award, sponsored by The Reid Family. 

Course designer Alan Wade was happy with the track he set for Saturday night and acknowledged that it is a challenging class to set.

“The horses come from the warm-up into the lights, and the crowd, and the razzmatazz,” Wade remarked. “I tried to build the track up, but problems appeared at certain fences that I was surprised at. I think it was fair. I think there were a lot of people that had an unlucky four faults and would feel that if they got a second chance at it they could have been clear too, but it’s down to the athletes and the horses at the end of the day. Whether the course was good or bad, they would have provided good sport and entertainment."

Source: Jump Media

Lauren Hough & Ohlala Top $35,000 Welcome Stake At Washington CSI4*-W

The 2016 Washington International Horse Show CSI4*-W hosted its third day of equestrian competition at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. on Thursday, October 27.

USA’s Lauren Hough and Ohlala were the winners in the $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by CMJ Sporthorse LLC. Another win for the USA went to Laura Kraut riding Andretti S in the $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class, presented by the Gochman Family.

In Thursday’s $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by CMJ Sporthorse LLC, course designer Alan Wade (IRL) set for 29 entries with seven clear rounds over his first round track. Last to go, Lauren Hough (USA) and The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala clocked the winning round in 35.27 seconds.

Hough first partnered with Ohlala, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Orlando x Cardento), five years ago and last competed at WIHS in 2012 when the pair won the $32,000 International Open Jumper faults converted class. At that time, Hough had been riding Ohlala for just one year and was stepping the mare up to the grand prix level with high hopes. Ohlala has since lived up to great expectations and won major classes all over the world.

Explaining her decision to return to WIHS after a three-year hiatus, Hough said, “I am really trying to concentrate on the World Cup qualifiers. I would like to go to the World Cup Finals with her this year, and so I decided to do a tour here. I did Tryon last week. I will go back to Europe to go to Doha next week and then carry on to Toronto.”

“She is wonderful. She loves to win,” Hough said of Ohlala. “I think her favorite part was the prize giving today. Indoors obviously suits her, being a small horse. I felt in the jump-off I did what I needed to do without taking too much risk, and still keeping Saturday night in the back of my mind and having a good prep for that. I feel like I have left enough in the tank to try to win again on Saturday as well.”

The pair will compete in Saturday night’s $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, so Hough did not want to take too much risk in the jump-off.

“She is naturally very quick, so I just rode my round and kept the turns a little bit short,” Hough detailed. “I made quite a short turn into the double and she did that great. Then I still took my time to the last. I didn’t leave out, but just her natural rhythm and the pace she carries over the ground made my job very easy.”

Hough added, “We bought her the end of her seven-year-old year and she has won her whole life. She jumps at a very high level, and I have been concentrating a lot on Nations’ Cups, so it is nice to let her go enjoy it a little bit and be able to go fast.”

Hough is based part of the year in the United States and part of the year in Europe. Being back at WIHS after several years, she has enjoyed the competition.

“I love America, and I love riding here. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to compete all over the world and be based in both places, but it is always really special to be back in America in front of a home crowd,” Hough acknowledged. “This is a great horse show. In the nighttime they get great crowds, and to be in the middle of D.C. is something special. I know they try really hard, and I like to support good American shows.”

-Source: Jump Media LLC

Lauren Hough Welcomes Haygain as New Sponsor

Lauren Hough is delighted to announce a new sponsorship with Haygain, a range of scientifically proven hay steamers that eliminate respirable dust in hay to dramatically improve equine respiratory health.

"I am very pleased to welcome Haygain into my team of sponsors,” said Hough. “I always want the best for my horses, and incorporating Haygain steamers into my horse’s feed program ensures they are getting the full nutritional value of their hay without the risk of respiratory problems. Not only does Haygain put my mind at ease when it comes time to feeding, but the horses too are really enjoying their steamed hay!"

Haygain’s unique manifold system distributes high-temperature steam evenly throughout the forage, killing harmful mould, fungal spores, bacteria and dust mites.  Haygain produces highly palatable, hygienically clean forage, contributing towards improved respiratory health in horses that retains its digestibility, minerals, protein and fibre, making it the top choice for riders, trainers and vets around the globe. 

“We are thrilled to have Lauren as a Sponsored Rider,” said Déborrah Flament, Haygain’s Director of Marketing. “Her track record over the years has firmly established her as a top class international showjumper and we look forward to working with her and supporting her career in the years to come.  We are proud to be supporting her team of horses by helping to keep them fit and healthy and ensuring that they get the best possible forage as they compete around the world and Haygain is delighted that Lauren has made Haygain steamers an integral part of her feeding regime.”

 

 

Lauren Hough and Ohlala Land a Top 5 Finish in LGCT Grand Prix of Valkenswaard

On August 7th, 2016, Lauren Hough and Oh La La finished earned a top 5 finish in the LGCT Grand Prix of Valkenswaard after three rounds of competition. Uliano Vezzani’s first round course was a true test for the world’s best, with 49 athletes taking part in the 1.60m Grand Prix in front of a passionate local crowd.

Hough and Ohlala were the early pace setters in Round One-  they were first combination to jump clear and fastest initially in a time of 77.87 seconds.

Hough went on to jump clear again in Round Two, again finishing with the fastest time to earn the pride of place as last to go in the six-horse jump off.

Stopping the clock in 41.36 seconds, Hough was fastest in the shortened track, but an unlucky rail had her finish in the 5th place position with the talented mare, Ohlala. 

Source: LGCT

Lauren Hough Named to Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Teams for CSIO5* Dublin and CSIO5* Hickstead

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named Lauren Hough to the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Teams for CSIO5* Dublin and CSIO5* Hickstead. Hough is one of only two members that will compete on both teams.

CSIO5* Dublin will take place July 20-24, 2016, in Dublin, Ireland, while CSIO5* Hickstead will run July 28-31, 2016 in West Sussex, United Kingdom. Robert Ridland will serve as Chef d'Equipe for both teams.

At CSIO5* Dublin, Hough's teammates will be Georgina Bloomberg, Audrey Coulter, Laura Kraut, and Jessica Springsteen.

At CSIO5* Hickstead, Hough will compete alongside Katie Dinan, Lillie Keenan, Reed Kessler, and Laura Kraut.

Source: USEF