Lucy Deslauriers, 15, of New York, NY, emerged victorious in the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, following the final event held Sunday, March 22, at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
It was a race to the very end as, in the seventh and final event in the Series, Deslauriers surpassed Nicole Bellissimo in the point standings to be named the overall winner of this year’s Series. Riding Hester, Deslauriers was one of eight riders to post a clear round in the $50,000 CSI-U25 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final, giving her enough points to take over the lead.
“It’s amazing!” said Deslauriers who, at 15, is the youngest champion in the five-year history of the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series. “Hester is ten now, and I’ve had him since the beginning of his eight-year-old year, so we’ve really grown together and formed a strong partnership. I knew going into today that he would give me everything I asked and more, and he really did. He jumped incredible. He’s been super consistent and done everything I could have asked of him.”
As the overall winning rider, Deslauriers receives a Bruno Delgrange saddle valued at $6,000, and an invitation to compete at the CSI2* Chantilly Horse Show, part of the Global Champions Tour, from – , in France. Traveling in style, Deslauriers also receives two tickets to the Chantilly VIP lounge, transportation for one horse generously provided by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, and layover at Artisan Farms in Vrasene, Belgium.
“I am really excited to win!” continued Deslauriers. “I think it’s amazing that people have stepped up and been so generous to provide such an incredible Series for us.”
Now in its fifth year, the popular Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series is open to competitors of all nationalities under the age of 25 and gives up and coming riders the opportunity to compete under FEI rules while also gaining valuable grand prix experience against their peers. With varying conditions offered for each class, riders have the opportunity to compete at a height of 1.45m on grass, all-weather footing, under the lights at night, and in team competition, all of which are important elements that they will face as their international careers progress. Past winners include Reed Kessler of the United States (2011), Nayel Nasser of Egypt (2012), Chloe D. Reid of the United States (2013) and Victoria Colvin of the United States (2014).
“It’s a fantastic opportunity that they’ve given us,” said Bellissimo, 21, who finished as the 2015 Series runner-up. “We can take different horses in different events if we want to give one horse the opportunity to go in the smaller ring, or go under the lights, or go in the main International ring, or go out on the field. If you want to get to know one horse more, it gives you the opportunity to test them out in every single venue during one circuit.
“As a young rider, before you head to different venues for the summer, it’s great to see what you need to improve, or where you’re going to excel,” continued the Harvard sophomore who appreciated the various conditions offered throughout the Series’ seven events. “It is fantastic!”
“I could not be more grateful for the opportunities that the Ziegler family of Artisan Farms have given us as young riders,” said Catherine Tyree, 21, who placed second in the $50,000 CSI-U25 Final riding Don’t Go and third overall in the Series. “It is great to have a Series where you can experiment with different types of classes and different venues. The team competition, going out on the field, having speed classes; it’s really something that there aren’t many chances for us to practice. It has been a great stepping stone from the junior and amateur ranks and bridging into the international jumper level. I am very thankful for being able to participate in these classes.”
Adrienne Sternlicht posted the only double clear performance on the Stadium Derby Field riding Quidam MB to win the $50,000 CSI-U25 Final. For the 21-year-old sophomore at Brown, the camaraderie that developed throughout the Series this year was one of the highlights.
“It’s amazing what the Series has done to create a niche community among the Under 25 riders that I didn’t really feel was present until now,” said Sternlicht. “Last summer, I had the opportunity to be on the U.S. Young Rider team at Hagen (Germany), and we felt this kinship among all the different competitors. They see each other all the time, know each other, and it’s really competitive. What this circuit has really done, which is incredible, is start to establish that niche community in America. For that, I’m incredibly grateful.”
Andy and Carlene Ziegler of Artisan Farms identified the need for a bridge from the junior and amateur divisions to the top grand prix ranks as being an imperative part of a young rider’s development. For the past five years, their commitment to providing the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series has resulted in a unique educational experience for the next generation of show jumping athletes.
“Every year has grown bigger and bigger; we had a lot of prize money going into this year, and a lot of opportunities with various classes offered,” said Carlene Ziegler. “It has been exciting to see the consistency and to see so many good rounds put in by these riders. I am so impressed with what they’ve been able to do and wish them all the best as they move up the senior grand prix ranks. We would like to congratulate all of them, and are especially excited to have Lucy come to Europe. It’s a special opportunity, and really fun, to compete at Chantilly.”
In 2015, Equine Couture/Tuff Rider, EnTrust Capital, the McNerney family, and Kingsland Equestrian stepped forward to be presenting sponsors of individual classes within the Series, strengthening the efforts of title sponsor Artisan Farms and presenting sponsor, The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte. A total of $170,000 in prize money was offered throughout the seven events comprising the 2015 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series.
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 Canadian Olympian Tiffany Foster.
Photo by Starting Gate Communications