Gladstone, NJ - May 15, 2009 - The USET Foundation is pleased to announce that Michael Pollard of Dalton, GA, won the Gladstone Challenge Trophy at the National Open Spring Championship. Pollard rode his horse Icarus, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, to the CCI 3* victory at Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event in Allentown, NJ.
Pollard joins an elite group of riders that have won the Gladstone Challenge Trophy in its 45 year history. Of having his name on the trophy, Pollard said, "It means a lot. I like to study the past and understand the history of the sport. I think that's important if you want to be a great rider, to understand what made great riders before you. Having my name on the Gladstone trophy is incredible. There are certain trophies that are special in our sport. I was lucky enough as a young rider to get my name on the Markham trophy twice. That's always been really special. Obviously the Gladstone trophy is even more of an achievement for me. To have my name on there with all the other great riders - it doesn't get any better than that."
Pollard and Icarus started out the competition at Jersey Fresh in third place after the dressage phase. They added just 2.4 time faults in cross-country to move into the lead. Going into the stadium jumping round, they had a rail in hand. They finished double clear with a score of 46 for the win.
"The horse went beautifully," Pollard remarked. "I didn't know what to expect for the jumping, but honestly he could not have jumped any better. When I jumped the second to last fence and knew I had a rail in hand, it was really an amazing feeling. I was reflecting on it on the way home, that it's been 10 years since I did my first CCI. To win one is something that a lot of really good horses and riders don't ever get. For it to come together like that for me was really special."
Pollard and Icarus won the Pine Top Spring Advanced Horse Trials and Pine Top Winter II Horse Trials this year before heading to Jersey Fresh. The pair is relatively new, although Icarus has been in Pollard's barn for six years. His wife Nathalie campaigned him through 2007 and brought him up to the Advanced level. When she became pregnant, the horse went to Will Coleman to ride, who piloted him to fourth place at Jersey Fresh in 2007. After time off and some Intermediate competitions, Pollard and Icarus started competing together at the Advanced level this spring.
"He's just a fantastic horse; he's really quite good at every phase. He's the best in all three phases that I've ever sat on," Pollard revealed. "He makes you look like you know what you're doing. With that, combined with the work that Nathalie did at home, he was just beautifully prepared."
Their win at Jersey Fresh gave them a qualifying score to compete at the four-star level. Pollard is still contemplating whether he will compete at a four-star this fall in Europe. "Hopefully he'll come through the competition well. Barring any injuries or setbacks, we would look at trying to go to Europe and do a fall four-star event. We haven't made a decision on Burghley (England) or Pau (France)," he explained. "Burghley is a dream for any rider to get to. This is a horse that deserves to be in competition with the best in the world. I really believe that he is one of the better horses in the world, and I'd love to have him at one of those bigger competitions."
Although Pollard has not represented the United States on a team yet, it is one of his goals. The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are on the horizon, but still far enough away for Pollard. He said, "I hope to represent the U.S. some time. We'll do our best to manage him to have him ready for the WEG competition, but a lot of that is not in my hands. We'll just do our best!"
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (http://www.uset.org
) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America's elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.
For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at http://www.uset.org
The Gladstone Challenge Trophy Previous Winners
National Open Spring Three-Day Championship
1964 Kevin Freeman - Royal Beaver
1965 Charles D. Plumb - M'Lord Connolly
1966 Kevin Freeman - Royal Imp
1967 James C. Wofford - Killkenny
1969 Hilda Gurney - Fligs Elf
1970 J. Michael Plumb - Johnny O
1971 James C. Wofford - The Regent
1973 Sue Hatherly - Harley
1975 Bruce O. Davidson - Golden Griffin
1976 Edward E. Emerson, Jr. - Victor Dakin
1977 J. Michael Plumb - Laurenson
1978 J. Michael Plumb - Better and Better
1979 Edward E. Emerson, Jr. - York
1980 James C. Wofford - Alex
1981 Bruce O. Davidson - J J Babu
1982 Grant Schneidman - The Flying Dutchman
1983 Bruce O. Davidson - J J Babu
1984 Bruce O. Davidson - Dr. Peaches
1985 Derek diGrazia - Sasquatch
1986 James C. Wofford - The Optimist
1987 Kerry Millikin - The Pirate
1988 Bruce O. Davidson - Dr. Peaches
1989 Bruce O. Davidson - Dr. Peaches
1990 David O'Connor - Wilton Fair
1991 Karen Lende - Mr. Maxwell
1992 Todd Trewin - Sandscript
1993 Bruce O. Davidson - Happy Talk
1994 Julie Gomena - Treaty
1995 David O'Connor - Custom Made
1996 Stephen Bradley - Dr. Doolittle
1997 Karen O'Connor - Worth the Trust
1998 Tiffani Loudon - Makabi
1999 Karen O'Connor - Prince Panache
2000 Tiffani Loudon - Makabi
2001 Karen O'Connor - Prince Panache
2002 Bonnie Mosser - Jenga
2003 Darren Chiacchia - Windfall II
2004 David O'Connor - Outlawed
2005 Stephen Bradley - Brandenburg's Joshua
2006 Jan Byyny - Task Force
2007 Bonnie Mosser - Merloch
2008 Amy Tryon - Leyland
2009 Michael Pollard - Icarus
Photo Credit: Michael Pollard and Icarus won the CCI 3* at the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event to capture the Gladstone Trophy from the USET Foundation. Photo © stockimageservices.com. This photo may be used free of charge once only in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/uset-michael-pollard-gladstone-challenge-05-09.html">USET Foundation Awards Michael Pollard and Icarus with Gladstone Challenge Trophy</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com