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“Darren Chiacchia and Windfall II on their way to victory at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event.”
Photo credit – © 2004 Charles Mann
Darren Chiacchia and Windfall II Victorious at Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

Lexington, Kentucky – Darren Chiacchia of Buffalo, NY, emerged victorious at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event held April 21-25 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Competing in the Bayer Modified Four Star division open only to horse/rider combinations already qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Chiacchia earned the victory with a total score of 45.2 penalty points and ensured his position as one of the United States Equestrian Team’s top hopefuls for the Olympics.

“The horse has an amazing record, he’s been prepared well and I think I’ve prepared myself well,” noted Chiacchia of his chances of being selected to the Olympic Team with Windfall II, an 11-year-old black Trakehner stallion owned by Timothy Holekamp. “I think that Windfall has answered all of the questions, but it still up to the Selectors. We’ve positioned ourselves well, and Windfall has proven that he is a horse that you can count on for a world-class performance in all three phases.”

Similar to a triathlon, three day eventing is an equestrian sport where horse/rider combinations compete in three distinct phases – dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping, held over three consecutive days. The reigning 2003 Pan American Champions, Chiacchia and Windfall II opened the competition with a score of 40 penalty points in the dressage phase. Over Saturday’s challenging cross-country phase, Chiacchia added just 1.2 time penalties to an otherwise perfect performance when, by three seconds, he exceeded the prescribed ten-minute time allowed to complete the test set by 2000 Olympic course designer, Michael Etherington-Smith of Great Britain.

“I am just thrilled with this horse,” praised Chiacchia of the stallion that was imported from Germany in 2000. “People doubted whether he could jump around a course like this, but I never doubted him for a minute! He just ate it up! I am very proud of my horse.”

In Sunday’s final phase, stadium jumping, heavy rain did not damper Chiacchia’s competitive spirit as he guided Windfall II around a technical course, leaving every rail in its place until the final fence fell, adding four penalties to his score. With a final three-day total of 45.2 penalty points, Chiacchia clinched the win ahead of two-time Olympic gold medallist for Australia, Phillip Dutton, who incurred 49.6 penalties to finish as runner-up.

Earlier this season, Chiacchia and Windfall II topped a 58-horse starting field to claim victory in the CIC*** World Cup Qualifier division at Red Hills Horse Trials in Tallahassee, FL, before winning an advanced division at Popular Place Horse Trials in Hamilton, GA, the following weekend.

In 2003, the pair topped a 90-horse starting field to win the 2003 United States Equestrian Team (USET) Three-Star Spring Championship title before earning the Individual Gold Medal at the Pan American Championships. At year’s end, Windfall II garnered numerous accolades, including being named the United States Eventing Association (USEA)’s Horse of the Year as well as topping the World Breeding Federation’s year-end rankings.

In 2000, Chiacchia was the traveling alternate for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, before successfully representing the United States at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.

Chiacchia, who operates Independence Farm, divides the year between his training facilities in Ocala, FL, and Springville, NY, just outside of Buffalo. In addition to operating one of the country’s top breeding, training and sales barns, Chiacchia is committed to the improvement of the sport and volunteers his expertise as the Chair of the USEA’s Events Rating Task Force, the USEA’s Area Rider Representative Committee and is also actively involved with the USEA’s Instructors Certification Program (ICP). As one of four ICP-certified instructors and faculty members, Chiacchia has been extremely successful working with the next generation of three day eventing riders, coaching talented junior and young riders to numerous victories.

Chiacchia’s impressive international career has garnered him support from such major sponsors as Purina Mills, Merial (GastroGard), FarmVet.com, Sundowner horse trailers, Tally Ho Ltd. riding apparel, Charles Owen, Antares custom saddles, Equuskreen flyspray, NowPac, and Buffalo Games.

For further information on Chiacchia and Independence Farm, please visit www.eventrider.com.


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Updated: October 2005.