Liz Atkins –From International Derby to International Competition

Liz Atkins is heading to Spruce Meadows with her grand prix mount, Undine.

Benchmark Stables Heads to Spruce Meadows8

Hampshire, IL – June 22, 2018 – Liz Atkins of Benchmark Stables in Hampshire, Illinois, spent quality time in the tack the last two weeks at Showplace Spring Spectacular at Balmoral Park with her clients to prepare for her next road trip. After finishing the USHJA International Derby this past Tuesday, Atkins gave her horses a few days off before heading to Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada for the first time for the North American and Pan American Tournaments. Atkins will take her grand prix mounts, Undine and Rodeo VDL.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to go there, and now I have the horses and education to realistically go,” said Atkins. “It’s a great opportunity to expand my knowledge and experience, and hopefully after this trip it will show up on my schedule more often.”

Liz Atkins and Rodeo VDL.

Spruce Meadows stands alone in many respects. In fact, Spruce Meadows has been recognized as the “Best Show Jumping Venue” in the world by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). Spruce Meadows is committed to being the leading venue for international horse sports with a focus on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. *

“This past winter I went to Gulfport where I had the chance to jump on grass and my horses loved it,” added Akins. “Undine has always been my go to girl so I knew she would make the trip to Calgary no matter what. Rodeo moved up to the 1.40m this winter and has really excelled. I know both of these horses will go and perform for me, which is nice for my confidence since it’s my first time going. This trip will expand my resume, along with my horses’, adding experience from the highest levels of the sport. We will be really ready for the Grand Prix ring in Traverse City when I get back.”

Rodeo VDL is a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Wittiner VDL x Lorena), whom Atkins rode to win the $25,000 Beau Rivage Grand Prix and the Open Welcome during the Gulf Coat Winter Finale VI. The pair also earned top finishes at the World Equestrian Center in April, including second place in the $5,000 Welcome Stake.

Undine is a Holsteiner mare (Ocean I x Atlanta) with top grand prix and welcome stake finishes all winter as well.

Liz Atkins and Niro 8 in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Atkins and Undine placed 5th in the $5,000 Open Welcome at Showplace Spring Spectacular I and Rodeo VDL finished 8th in the $10,000 Kindred Bio Open Prix. Atkins also took 4th in the National Hunter Derby with her stallion Niro 8, who is new to the hunter rings. She stepped up to the $25,000 USHJA International Derby during week III to finish in the top 12.

Samantha Wagner and L’toile – Champion Low Amateur Owner Jumpers.

Client Samantha Wagner rode her way to the championship in the Low Amateur Owner Jumpers with her L’toile.

Leslie Quillen and Timeless – Champion Adult Hunters.

Lesley Quillen and Timeless took home the championship in the Adult Hunters while Emilie Fruin and Claymont earned the Reserve Championship in the 1.0m Jumpers.

Emilie Fruin and Claymont – Reserve Champion 1.0m Jumpers. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography

After returning from Calgary, Atkins and her customers will show at Traverse City, Lamplight Equestrian Center in Elgin, Illinois, St. Louis and Kentucky in September.

*From Spruce Meadows Almanac – www.sprucemeadows.com