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Sharn Wordley Caps Dream Year with $30,000 Grand Prix at First Coast Invitational

Colleen Scott for Equestrian Sports Promotions

Jacksonville, FL---New Zealand native Sharn Wordley culminated a

stellar year with another Grand Prix win, this time at the First Coast

Invitational, held in December in Jacksonville, Fl. Wordley bested a

field of 52 competitors aboard the 17-year-old show ring veteran Mr.

Flanagan to claim the blue ribbon and paycheck. He also finished third

with Epsom Pierreville. Michael Morrissey claimed the second place

position with Eugene Mische’s Crelido.

This most recent victory, over the two-time Olympic Silver Medal winner

and international coach Frank Chapot’s course, culminates three years

of impressive wins for Wordley on various mounts in the United States.

Competing against the best U.S. riders, Wordley has continuously

maintained a position at the top, winning dozens of high-dollar Grand

Prix events since coming to the United States in 2004. Although

competing primarily in East Coast now, Wordley’s victories have been

coast to coast and include Grand Prix titles in Kentucky, Arizona,

California, Colorado, Tennessee, Connecticut and Florida.

The 2007 season has been a highlight of Wordley’s career and included

winning the $25,000 EMO Grand Prix at Atlanta Fall Classic III, the

$40,000 Footings Unlimited Grand Prix at HITS Culpepper V, the $25,000

Ox Ridge Grand Prix and the $25,000 Fairfield Grand Prix. He also

finished third in the $100,000 United States Grand Prix League (USGPL)

Invitational Grand Prix.

Although the paychecks and titles have been important, it was the ride

in Balve, Germany in June 2007 to qualify the New Zealand show jumping

team for the 2008 Olympics that was the most memorable for Wordley.

Aboard Fall Kaheer, a Belgian Warmblood, Wordley jumped a four-fault

round in the Nations Cup, earning his Certificate of Capability,

necessary to be considered for the New Zealand Olympic squad. Both a

personal victory and one for teammates Kirk Webby, Daniel Meech and

Bruce Godin, the foursome had to beat Korea, Japan and Taiwan in order

to join Australia as the two countries from “Group C” for the Olympic

Games.

“Since I was 10 years old, this is something I’ve wanted to do,” shares

Wordley about helping qualify the team to compete at the Olympics. “It

was truly an incredible feeling – it is one more step toward achieving

a lifelong dream,” he says. Although he did qualify previously for the

1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, only an individual rider was sent to

represent New Zealand on that occasion. Wordley had only been

partnered with Fall Kaheer for a short week when the two competed at

Balve, but they quickly developed a rapport. Besides their qualifying

ride there, Wordley and the gelding jumped a double-clear round to

finish fourth among more than 50 competitors in the Grand Prix du CSI**

de Wisbecq just days before. “He is a great competitor,” says Wordley

of the gelding. “He knows his job, gets out there and does it.”

Lest anyone think realizing his goal of qualifying for the New Zealand

team will allow Wordley to rest on his laurels, it is quite the

opposite. He’d still like to get his 9-year-old KWPN gelding,

Rockville, qualified for the team. “He’s a young horse and quite game.

But he needs more miles under his belt so he can start making good

decisions for himself. At the moment, I have to curb his enthusiasm a

bit.” Rockville placed in the top four in three Grand Prix this

season, including the exclusive $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix.

Of the competition, Wordley said, “Rockville is really coming along.

This is a great feeling going into next year.”

Wordley will spend several months in Ocala this winter, both competing

and growing a newly formed business bringing the best of European

design to North America. This high-tech arena footing company with

bring the best designs and surfaces to rings throughout the country.

After a balmy winter in Florida Sharn will then travel to Europe to

compete for several months prior to the Hong Kong Olympics. “Competing

against the top riders and horses in the United States, then combining

that with competition overseas is a great way to prepare for 2008,” he

says.

 

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