April 2015 - The Gallop: World Cup News

Susan Artes realizes a 30-year dream in Las Vegas & big changes for jumping league next year.

by Kim F. Miller

The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles gave Susan Artes her first taste of what it would be like to fulfill her dream of competing internationally. The next year, she attended the World Cup Finals in Berlin, and those memories have been a big part of her motivation ever since. In the intervening 30 years, Susan has been a prominent rider and trainer on the West Coast circuit and this year the stars aligned for her and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood Zamiro. They finished first in the West World Cup league and are headed to Las Vegas as one of three pairs to represent our region against the world’s best in the Longines FEI World Cup Final.

Susan Artes and Zamiro finish their World Cup finals preparation with a fifth place finish in the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Thermal. Photo ©Erpelding Photography

She’ll be joined there by Karl Cook and 2012 World Cup champs Rich Fellers and Flexible, along with nine Americans from the East league. In order of their league finish, those are likely to be Todd Minikus, Laura Kraut, Jack Hardin Towell, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Leslie Howard, Katie Dinan and Candice King.

Zamiro is owned by Alix Fargo, an accomplished rider in her own right and a longtime friend of Susan’s. Susan’s partner and fellow horseman, Max Dolger, is another key member on Team Zamiro.  In their last competition before Las Vegas, the AIG $1 Million at Thermal March 15, the pair were one of only five, of 43 starters, to go clear. They took a rail in the jump-off, but Susan was thrilled with the outing as a great preparation. In her Practical Horseman Magazine blog, she writes that Zamiro is equally brave outdoors and indoors. Their qualifying season and Susan’s relatively small ring at her Los Angeles Equestrian Center base have given him plenty of practice with tight turns and fast-approaching obstacles and he’s at his best in the most amped up settings, which the finals will surely be.

Show jumping will be staged April 15-19 along with the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final. Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 were odds-on favorites to be one of two pairs to represent the States, but the final North American qualifier, March 22, was yet to take place as we went to press.

Best of luck to all contenders and especially those carrying our West Coast flag!

Less Is More

In related news, the West league of qualifiers will look very different next year on the show jumping side. As part of a FEI-dictated restructuring, the East and West North American leagues have been consolidated to seven qualifiers, down from nine in the West and 13 in the East. What was lost in number of qualifiers is offset, experts say, by additional prize money and the cache of Longines’ sponsorship for the entire league. Fewer qualifiers with more prize money and top-flight presentation should attract more of the region’s best international contenders to each class.

Twenty-five shows applied to be part of the newly christened league and, of those seven out West, four are in Zone 10. The 2015-2016 West league will start in August in Vancouver, B.C., at the Thunderbird Horse Show, then come to California for the Sacramento International in September. The Del Mar International in October and the Las Vegas National in November follow and HITS Thermal will host a final qualifier in February. The West league’s two other qualifiers will be held in Calgary, Canada in October and Valle de Bravo Mexico in February.

Lost in the restructuring were one of the two qualifiers held at HITS Thermal this year and the qualifier held at the National Sunshine Series at Thermal in the fall. The latter had long been held at the now-defunct Los Angeles National.

The new World Cup schedule should have a very positive impact on Zone 10’s (California and Nevada) fall jumping season, with the Longines Los Angeles Masters adding extra oomph and pizzazz in September.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait another six years for the World Cup Finals to return to the West, but whatever that interim turns out to be, there’s plenty of elite jumping action to look forward to in the near future.

The Gallop welcomes news, tips and photos. Contact Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 949-644-2165.