All posts by Associate Editor

Evana Somareddy and Goldrush Win $10k USHJA Pony Hunter Derby

Evana Somareddy and Goldrush ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 10, 2021 – Ponies stepped into the spotlight in Tryon Stadium during Tryon Summer 4/Tryon Riding & Hunt Club Charity II at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) during Saturday’s $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby presented by Star Stable. Evana Somareddy (Clearwater, FL) aboard her own Goldrush took first place honors with a combined score of 170. Elle Boyd (Camden, SC) received second and third place honors on Finally Farm’s Sugarbrook Pink-N-Blue, the 2007 medium Welsh Pony (Blue Who x Tropical Breeze) producing a score of 168, along with Baby Blue, the 2003 small Welsh Pony (Blue Rain x Unknown), who earned a two-round total of 167.

Thirty-six pony riders cantered around the Andres Christiansen course resulting in a handy cutoff score of 76. Somareddy and the 2008 medium Welsh Pony Cross with unknown breeding tackled the classic round with a score of 85, and earned another 85 in the handy round to come out on top. Somareddy said she owes all success to “Monty,” who was “perfect” and “so much fun.” Somareddy enjoyed riding the course, saying, “I kind of was just going around saying, ‘Okay! We’re doing this! First line is done. I love this!’ And before I knew it, it was at the end and we were jumping through the two-stride! And I was just like, ‘Good boy!’”

Somareddy walked in the ring with a mix of jitters and confidence, saying, “I was kind of nervous because I’ve never shown in a big stadium before. But Monty just came in for me and he was amazing. Also, I just want to give my thanks to Schuler Dayner for helping me prep Monty and making him perfect. It was really so much fun! I couldn’t have done it better.”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

It’s All Go for Tokyo

Photo: Baji Koen Equestrian Park.

Before the action even begins, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are already unforgettable. Running a year later than scheduled and with multiple challenges along the way, the best of the best are now putting in their final preparations ahead of the Opening Ceremony on 23 July 2021.

It has been a difficult lead-in period, with so many interruptions due to the pandemic that has affected the entire world and the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) impacting Mainland Europe, then this week’s news that there will be no spectators at any of the venues in order to ensure safe and secure Games. But the statistics for equestrian sport are more impressive than ever, with a record number of countries fielding teams and individuals in the three disciplines of Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping.

The Tokyo 2020 sport entries (FEI Definite Entries) reveal that the flags of 50 nations will fly high during two weeks of spectacular sport. A total of 200 athlete-and-horse combinations are listed, along with an additional 48 Alternate/Reserves.

Formats

The new three-member format has changed the dynamic of the team competitions. Not only is the pressure more intense as each individual performance will count for so much, but it has also opened the door for many more countries to take part.

At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games a total of 27 nations lined out in Jumping, with 15 of those sending teams, while this time 20 teams and individuals from a further 15 countries will take part to boost the number of National Olympic Committees (NOC) represented in Tokyo to 35. In Eventing the number of participating countries has increased from 24 to 29, with 15 teams compared to 13 in Rio, and in Dressage the numbers jump from 25 to 30 nations and from 11 teams to 15.

Centred

The equestrian events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be principally centred at Baji Koen Equestrian Park in Setagaya. This is a public park owned by the Japan Racing Association, which was also the venue for Dressage at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.

Back then Eventing was staged in Karuizawa and Jumping took place at the National Olympic Stadium. For the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the fully refurbished Baji Koen will host Dressage, Jumping, and two of the three phases of Eventing.

Course designer, Derek di Grazia (USA), has spent the last five years creating the Eventing Cross Country course on what was previously a landfill site at the waterfront at Sea Forest with a stunning backdrop of Tokyo Bay and the city. Equestrian shares the venue, which will become a public park after the Games, with Olympic rowing and canoeing.

The Games of the XXXII Olympiad promise to be like nothing that has gone before and equestrian sport is already breaking records.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Executive Advisor
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Harold Chopping and Catchphrase Collect $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Win

Harold Chopping and Catchphrase ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 9, 2021 – Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) hosted its second $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby of the season during the Tryon Summer 4/Tryon Riding & Hunt Club Charity II Horse Show, with top honors earned by Harold Chopping (CAN) and Catchphrase, who combined for a two-round total score of 384. Havens Schatt (USA) and Cascartini, the Holsteiner gelding owned by Ken and Amy Wexler LLC, were named to reserve after their two-round score of 378. Finishing on a score of 374, Dorothy Douglas (USA) and MTM Lolah LOL, the 2013 Westphalian mare (Los Angeles x Palma) owned by Abigail Davenport, took home third-place honors.

Chopping and the 2010 Zangersheide gelding (Marome NW x Prelude) owned by Barbara Scott were leading on a score of 181 after the classic round, and navigated the Andres Christiansen (USA) course design with a past loss in mind to maintain their lead, Chopping revealed.

“Years ago, I remember I was leading by quite a bit going into the handy round on a horse that I really trusted – he was really a winner – and I was a bit conservative and I ended up second. I cannot forget riding around in the ring that night because it drives me crazy that I didn’t just walk in there and try and win both rounds,” he explained. “So, my strategy this time was to just be aggressive and try and put in a good score.”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5 Victorious in $25k Tryon Resort Sunday Classic

Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5 ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 5, 2021 – Abigail McArdle (Wellington, FL) and Victorio 5 conquered the competition in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) to conclude Tryon Summer 3 competition. Kady Abrahamson (Loveland, OH) and Vancouver, the 2009 Westphalian gelding (Valentino x Cocco) owned by Abrahamson Equestrian LLC, collected second-place honors with a time of 40.78 seconds. Rounding off the podium and earning third place was Hector Florentino (Rutherfordton, NC) aboard D’artagnan, the 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Mr. Blue x Tamellie) owned by Santiago Lambre, with a jump-off time of 41.05 seconds and one rail to the floor.

McArdle stopped the jump-off timers after a mere 39.846 seconds to take the win on Victorio 5, the 2006 Hanoverian stallion (Uccello x Graefin) owned by Victorio Equine Group LLC. Fourteen riders tackled the first round alongside McArdle and Victorio 5, but the pair topped a three-horse second round. After her win, McArdle shared that her connection with Victorio 5 has developed to cultivate a winning strategy. “He [Victorio 5] has been my mount for almost three years now. I know him very well and we’ve had a lot of Grand Prix wins together,” she explained. “I don’t want to say it was an easy class, but I know him well that I just went in, rode my plan, and came out with success!”

McArdle and Victorio 5’s long-standing partnership led to a jump-off performance that was more than a second faster than the previous leader. With a tight cohort of competitors challenging the jump-off test. “For the jump-off, I had to go all-out, because I didn’t know what was going to win it,” she admitted. “I did all of the inside turns, and it turned out great!”

McArdle and her mount will continue to compete at TIEC for the next two weeks. She hopes to have the same good fortune in the weeks to come, and plans to enter the $137,000 Night in the Country Grand Prix CSI 3* during Tryon Summer 4. “We love Tryon!” she concluded. “All of our clients and horses love showing here. It’s a great place to be with lots of space to ride, and the stables are excellent.”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Rolex Grand Slam Riders Watch

Ben Maher riding Explosion W (Photo: Rolex / Kit Houghton)

As the countdown to the next Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major continues, with the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ taking place from 8-12 September 2021, there is no shortage of Rolex Grands Prix action to whet fans’ appetites in the build-up.

For three weeks from 23 June will be the Rolex-supported Knokke Hippique, featuring horses and riders at all levels, from the future stars in the Young Horse competitions, to world-class international jumping, with the CSI3* Top Series Grand Prix taking place on the Sunday of each week. The Rolex Grand Prix took place on Sunday June 27th and was brilliantly won by Jérôme Guery aboard Quel Homme de Hus.

From 1-4 July, attention turned to CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, taking place in the private grounds of Windsor Castle. Reigning champion of the Rolex Grand Prix, Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), returned to the famous Castle Arena to defend his title; however, he faced stiff competition from Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Kent Farrington (USA), also former winners of the prestigious competition. The Rolex Grand Prix was eventually won by Briton Ben Maher and his exceptional gelding Explosion W, with Guerdat finishing a brilliant second with his gelding Venard de Cerisy, and Martin Fuchs (SUI) aboard Clooney 51 and Harry Charles (GBR) with Borsato finishing in third and sixth places, respectively.

Show jumping returns to Chantilly Racecourse from 8-11 July for the Masters of Chantilly, the highlight of which will be the Rolex Grand Prix on the final day. This ground-breaking new event – which sees Rolex join as Title Sponsor and Official Timekeeper – will take place in front of the Château de Chantilly and its Great Stables, and is set to be a spectacular four days of competition.

For four days from 30 July, the Val-Porée Equestrian Center will host Jumping International Dinard CSI5*, which culminates with the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday 2 August. Located a stone’s throw from the sea and recognised for requiring precision and technicality, Jumping International Dinard is a popular show on the international show jumping circuit and is once again set to host the world’s best horses and riders as they vie to take the Rolex Grand Prix Ville de Dinard title.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

British Show Jumpers Dazzle Delighted Crowds on Final Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

2021’s edition of the Royal Windsor Horse Show closed in spectacular style, with champions crowned across the disciplines of Show Jumping, Driving, and Showing. Once again, the enthusiastic and informed spectators were treated to the very best displays of world-class equestrian talent by both horse and rider.

Opening the final day of the Show was the Under 25 Jumping, featuring Britain’s up-and-coming Show Jumping stars. The title went to Lily Freeman-Attwood riding Cor-Leon VD Vlierbleek Z, who jumped a double clear, posting an impressive time of 32.64 in the jump-off. Flo Norris, with her striking grey Gin Chin Van Het Lindenhof, formerly ridden at 5* level by the likes of Bertram Allen and Geir Gulliksen, was a close second with Oliver Fletcher coming home in third.

It went to the wire on the final day of the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games. With only a few points separating two of the five teams, England was just ahead on 88 points, and Wales closely followed on 83. With it all to play for, the Games began! It was fast and furious with seven disciplines to master, but it was the persistence and precision of the Welsh team that paid off. They took the glory and the win, with 141 points to England’s 138, and the Three Nations finishing third on 106 points. The Welsh team comprised Sam Hopkins, Megan Hopkins, Charlie Gallagher, Poppy Latham Hill, Sophie Locking, and Rose Connor Jones. Team Wales managed to keep their ponies’ heads cool, and they certainly look like ones to watch.

The ever-dominant Australian Boyd Exell claimed his 11th Royal Windsor title after a near flawless display in the Obstacle phase of the Driving competition. Scott Brash trounced the rest of the field in the CSI5* Manama Rose Show Stakes, while it was home favourite, Ben Maher and his exquisite chestnut gelding, Explosion W, who took the honours in the pinnacle Show Jumping class, the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix – much to the delight of the iconic Castle Arena’s vocal crowd. The Show finished on a jubilant high for Her Majesty The Queen, whose home-bred, Fools Illusion, finished a very respectable second in the Small Riding Horse class.

Scott Brash, recently announced as part of the British team heading to the Tokyo Olympic Games, landed the spoils in the CSI5* Manama Rose Show Stakes with his 12-year-old bay gelding Hello Shelby. Both horse and rider looked calm and collected in what was an incredibly neat and nippy round. The 1.50m class was one round against the clock and had a total of 17 riders taking on the 12-jump test. The course looked tight, with sharp turns required between fences two – an oxer – into three – an upright – with a similar set-up between six and seven, requiring both precision and agility from horse and rider.

John Whitaker was first to go, going clear and setting a comfortable time of 61.54. Scott Brash, next to go, wiped six seconds off Whitaker’s time, making him the one to beat. Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca recorded a time of 58.98, with America’s Lillie Keenan – fresh from her win in Friday’s CSI5* Manama Speed Stakes – one hundredth of a second slower with 58.99. In the end, however, Brash and Hello Shelby’s scorching time was unbeatable.

Speaking after his victory, Brash was full of praise for his horse: “I just tried to keep it as neat and tidy as I could. Hello Shelby is naturally a very fast horse; he is very experienced and used his strength keeping it tight, and he jumped great.”

The pinnacle Show Jumping event of Royal Windsor Horse Show, the Rolex Grand Prix, took centre stage in the Castle Arena for the final session of the 2021 Show and did not disappoint the jubilant crowd. A top-class field of 29 contested the 1.60m course, designed by international course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral. The field included five of the top six ranked riders in the world. With 10 combinations going through to the jump-off, pressure was on from the start.

First to go, Britain’s Harry Charles – travelling reserve for the Tokyo Olympic Games next month – set the standard, jumping clear in 38.21 seconds. However, with some of the best riders in the world to follow, Charles had a nervous wait as the remaining nine riders took on the challenging shortened course. Reigning RWHS Rolex Grand Prix champion, Henrik von Eckermann, as fifth to go, put in an impressive effort aboard the aptly named King Edward to take over pole position, although his lead was short lived. He was followed into the Arena by the current European Champion and World No. 3, Martin Fuchs, riding the phenomenal grey gelding Clooney 51, who made up speed across the ground, jumping clear in 36.87 and topping the leaderboard.

Next up was Britain’s Ben Maher with his Tokyo Olympic mount Explosion W. The 12-year-old chestnut gelding put in an exceptional performance, demonstrating his scope and athleticism, and posting a remarkable time of 35.16 – over a second faster than Fuchs. Swiss World No. 2, Steve Guerdat, put in a worthy challenge but his effort aboard Venard de Cerisy was only good enough for second place.

Maher, the current World No. 4, said: “I’ve said it before, but Explosion is just incredible; he helped me out a bit today, but he jumps better faster and he was fantastic. Royal Windsor is such a special show; it hasn’t been my luckiest show in the past, so it’s nice to finally win here in front of my owners and in front of a British crowd, and in the Queen’s back garden. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Five-time world champion, Boyd Exell produced a near perfect Obstacle Driving masterclass on the final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show, finishing with 131.03 points. Accruing just one time penalty, the Australian beat the Dutch contingent of Koos De Ronde (136.74 points) and IJsbrand Chardon (138.58 points) into overall second and third places, respectively. After former Royal Windsor champion and Friday’s Dressage winner IJsbrand had an Obstacle Driving phase to forget – knocking down one ball and exceeding the time limit – De Ronde leapfrogged his compatriot into second place in the overall standings, where he stayed after a flawless double clear, the only one of the final phase, a test of the driver’s competence and the horses’ obedience.

On his 11th title victory at Royal Windsor Horse Show, Exell commented: “I lived in the UK for 25 years, so it’s like driving at home. But that also brings pressure, the same as when we drive at Olympia. We’ve got a really good team of people, and really good horses. We just keep our focus over the course of the weekend, through ups and downs, and do our best for the sport. It was so nice to see everybody yesterday on the cross-country, not quite as many as other years, but that’s understandable. The good thing is that the sport carries on, and we keep fighting on for our passion and our horses. My left leader, Zac did his first cones course competition at an international, and I’m delighted that he did a really good job for me in there. Taking a young horse around an international course isn’t ideal, but it was really worthwhile for his experience.”

This year’s Showing classes concluded in fine style, and among the last finales to the 2021 Show was the Riding Horse Championship sponsored by Mr & Mrs Phil Swallow, decided against a backdrop of an appreciative crowd.

Katie Jerram-Hunnable was able to give Her Majesty The Queen further cause for celebration when her home-bred Small Riding Horse, Fools Illusion, stood a close second in a very strong class, pipped only by the eventual champions, Jayne Ross and Casino 111.

Illusion, now five, is a son of Her Majesty’s former Riding Horse winner here, Stardust – who was also ridden by Katie during her Showing career – and in only a few outings this year, has already gained his ticket to Horse of the Year Show.

The ever-popular Working Hunter Pony section saw some memorable performances, none more so than the flying 143cm class winner Charleville Farah, beautifully ridden by a delighted Bea Wheeler.

Team Walker struck yet again in Show Hunter Pony ranks when Zara Brookes piloted the consistent 153cm campaigner Parkgate Royal Visit William to the very top spot.

For full results from Royal Windsor Horse Show, CLICK HERE.

To find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Kati Dagge to Campaign Zen Elite Equestrian Center’s New Grand Prix Import

Kati Dagge riding Sai Baba Plus. (Joanna Jodko Photography)

Southwest Ranches, FL (July 2,2021) — Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Kati Dagge is excited about the talented new horse she will be campaigning as part of her association with an idyllic equestrian center. The USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist scored the ride on Sai Baba Plus (Sir Donnerhall – Daylight, De Niro), a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding, also known as “Rolex,” owned by Heidi Humphries. Humphries owns Zen Elite Equestrian Center in Southwest Ranches near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where Dagge is the head dressage trainer.

“She’s really good with the horses,” Humphries said of the 2014 Young Adult Brentina Cup Champion. “She’s really gentle with them and I like her style of riding. Every horse she gets on seems to respond to her. She’s more than a trainer; she truly cares about every horse.”

Dagge and Rolex are just getting acquainted, so the “Rollout for Rolex” is yet to be determined, but Humphries thinks their competition debut in the Large Tour in the Florida isn’t too far off. “They’re just getting to know each other, but they’re already clicking very well,” she said.

Endel Ots, who will be collaborating with Dagge as her coach on Rolex’s training, found the talented Grand Prix horse for Humphries with Kati in mind. Rolex was competing internationally in Europe and Humphries thought he was the perfect horse for Dagge to ride and represent the Zen Elite Equestrian Center.  Earlier in the year, Humphries purchased the young KWPN approved stallion King’s Pleasure (Dark Pleasure x Johnson) for Ots to develop through the levels. “Endel has an amazing eye for selecting horses. He found King’s Pleasure and now Sai Baba Plus. I am thrilled with both these horses,” Humphries shared. Dagge and Ots have known each other for about 10 years, and he has coached her on other horses she has brought up through the levels.  “Kati is young, ambitious, and a very talented rider. I am thrilled to have her as lead dressage trainer at Zen Elite. I am so excited to watch Kati and Rolex in the show arena. I truly believe this dynamic duo will be a winning team,” added Humphries.

Dagge, who grew up in a horse-loving family, knows she hit the horse jackpot with Rolex.  “I’m super thankful to Heidi for the opportunity to ride such an amazing horse and for the trust she has in me to be the one to represent the farm,” she said. “She’s got an incredible vision for what she’s doing there. I really think we’re going to have one of the top facilities.” From a huge covered arena to dry and wet treadmills to cold water therapy and an air-conditioned barn, Humphries has thought of everything to make the equestrian center first rate. “She’s an avid horse and animal lover with an amazing vision for the sport,” Dagge continued. “I’m so thankful that I’m part of it.”

Humphries’ goal when creating the facility was to develop a world-class sport horse center with the feel of a spa featuring amazing trainers and fantastic horses. She noted there are several first-class facilities in Wellington and Ocala, but there are horse enthusiasts, ambitious riders, and their equine partners in Dade and Broward county as well.  “Why should they have to drive an hour or two to Palm Beach when they can have it here in Broward County?” she said. “We want our boarders to think of Zen as their home away from home or a vacation close to home, a place where they can shoot for the stars with their amazing horses and learn from top-quality trainers at a state-of-the-art facility.” With a 20,000 sq. ft. insulated covered arena, two huge outdoor arenas, and a full rehab/spa/gym for equines and humans, Zen Elite Equestrian Center is poised to be the premier boarding and training center in the area.

For more information, email zenelite6200@gmail.com or find Zen Elite Equestrian Center on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zenelite6200 on in Instagram @zeneliteequestriancenter.

Kayla Savard and Bogota Nantuel Win $73k Cleghorn Golf & Sports Club Grand Prix CSI 2*

Kayla Savard and Bogota Nantuel ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 3, 2021 – In their first class under the lights and on the eve of America’s Independence Day holiday, Kayla Savard (USA) and Bogota Nantuel broke a tie by nearly three seconds to win the $73,000 Cleghorn Golf & Sports Club Grand Prix CSI 2* at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC), with a time of 36.653 seconds. The second-place tie was captured by two riders with a jump-off time of 39.02 seconds: Richie Moloney (IRL) and Coco Beach, a 2012 Holsteiner mare (Casall x Miss Marpel) owned by Equinimity LLC, and Victoria Heurtematte (PAN) and her own Flying Dutchman, the 2010 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Quasimodo Van De Molendreef x Burggraff).

Forty-one horse and rider combinations challenged the course designed by Andy Christiansen (ECU), with 13 pairs returning for the second round jump-off. Savard and her 2011 Selle Francais mare (Dollar Dela Pierre x Carnute) conquered the shortened course, going in with a third place standing and jumping to a first place win.

Savard praised her rookie mare for her efforts during the evening, sharing, “This is her first FEI class, and both of our first class under the lights! She’s awesome. She’s naturally so fast, so that’s how I was able to be so much faster. She just lands and goes!”

Despite being new to competing under the lights, the pair managed to pull out a win in the jump-off, finishing far ahead of the second place winners. The pair sped around the jumps starting from the second they walked into the ring. “My coach, Alberto Michan, gave me instructions to go from [jump] one to two as quickly as I could, so I did that, then the rest I just went tidy,” Savard shared. “I think jump one to two was the spot to win that people were missing.”

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Her Majesty The Queen Triumphant on Day Three of Royal Windsor Horse Show

The action on day three of Royal Windsor Horse Show came thick and fast, opening with the Land Rover Services Team Jumping in the Castle Arena. Traditionally split into Military Working Horses and Non-Military Riding Horses, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery D, with a team made up of SSgt Shaun Kershaw, LBdr Tara Kelly, and Sgt Hiliary Oldfield, took the Challenge Cup for the former. In the latter, Army Blenheim, comprising Capt Mary Pearson, Lt Fiona Denton, and Capt Zoe Andrew, claimed The Queen’s Plate. Both teams and the individual winner, FAC Amy Pritchard from Royal Air Force 1, had the honour of receiving their prizes from Her Majesty The Queen.

Her Majesty The Queen also presented the award for The Household Cavalry Best Turned Out Trooper supported by RBO Gold, with Trooper Gemma Dickinson from the Blues and Royals Squadron receiving The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.

Over in the Frogmore Arena, the Inter Schools Show Jumping Competition supported by Martin Collins Enterprises was won by Hurstpierpoint College. Overjoyed with the win, team member Harry Wilkins said: “The competition was a lot of fun, and in the end it felt quite easy! It’s my first time competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show – the atmosphere and the experience has been amazing, and I love competing near the Castle. My favourite memory from today was winning the Inter Schools with my teammates, Harry Wilkins, Antonia Wade, and Scarlett Chatterton-Sim, and also watching the 5* show jumping.”

Holly Smith’s striking chestnut gelding Fruselli made it two from two taking the CSI5* Falcon Stakes in style, on the back of an impressive win in the Pearl Stakes. The 1.50m class was run over two rounds, with the top 10 riders from round one going through to a jump-off against the clock. As second to go in the jump-off, Jack Whitaker set the standard, jumping clear in a time of 38.99 seconds; however, it was Jessica Springsteen who was the first to pull out all the stops to take the lead in an impressive 36.09 seconds.

Springsteen’s lead was short-lived as following her into the famous Castle Arena was Britain’s Holly Smith – full of confidence following her Olympic selection – who shaved off valuable seconds, leaving out strides in the distances and making the tightest of turns to come home in an unbeatable time of 34.10. Israel’s Daniel Bluman put in a great effort to finish second aboard the 11-year-old gelding Colestina H, just 0.02 seconds faster than Springsteen in eventual third.

Speaking after her victory, Smith was full of praise for her horse: “Fruselli is very willing, very genuine and very forward going – he’s just a great type of guy. Once I’d done [jumps] one to two in seven strides instead of eight, I knew I was going to be able to keep galloping at the fences and keep turning and he’d be fine.” Holly continued, “It’s great to be back here at Windsor; you can tell everyone is so pleased to be here and really enjoying it; it’s such a great atmosphere.”

A top-class field contested the day’s feature class, The Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup. Six combinations went through to the jump-off, with World No. 5 Kent Farrington first to go to set the target. Riding the brilliant chestnut gelding Creedance, Farrington posted a fantastic round, making all the moves to finish in a time of 34.72. Ireland’s Daniel Coyle followed, also riding a superb round, but his time was no match to that set by Farrington. Several riders incurred penalties trying to catch the time required, including two of Britain’s upcoming Olympic team members, Ben Maher and Harry Charles. With just Laura Kraut left to go, the title was guaranteed to go to America; however, despite her best efforts, she posted a time of 37.83, finishing in third place, behind Daniel Coyle in second.

Following his win, Farrington said: “I’m thrilled with Creedance; he’s one of my favourite horses – so much blood; he’s naturally fast, he’s a real winner, and he has been his whole career. It’s one of my favourite shows so I’m happy to win here today.”

Looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix, Farrington continued: “It’s a world class field; tomorrow’s going to be the same; it’s always a great competition here and you’ve got the best of the best. It’s big money, with the best riders, with their best horses; it’s going to be tough competition and I think the course builder will set the course accordingly, so I think it’s going to be difficult and big and fast and not so easy to win.”

All is to play for going into the final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show following the Marathon phase of the CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix. Five-time Four-in-Hand Driving World Champion, the ever-consistent Boyd Exell, finished in second place, matching his result in the Dressage phase, meaning the Australian becomes the overall leader with 130.68 points. Dressage winner Dutchman Ijsbrand Chardon had a disappointing Marathon phase, finishing fifth, and drops one position on the overall leader board (133.21 points), slotting into second place behind Exell. Chardon’s fellow countryman, Koos de Ronde, triumphed and moves from fifth place overall to third, meaning he’s still in with a slim chance of being crowned champion. However, it looks as though Exell and Chardon will be battling it out for supremacy, with the 10-time Royal Windsor Horse Show title-holder knowing he can’t afford to knock down any balls if he is to guarantee an extraordinary 11th title.

Her Majesty The Queen had a great start to the third day of the Show when her home-bred former racehorse, First Receiver – a bay gelding by New Approach, and out of Her Majesty’s dam Touchline – headed a hotly contested Retraining of Racehorses class in her own back garden. The four-year-old, formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute and now produced by the Jerram-Hunnable team, won four times – netting almost £20,000 – in his two-season Flat career, running his final race in June last year under Frankie Dettori, when finishing second to Russian Emperor at Royal Ascot. Here, he was beautifully shown in-hand by Chris Hunnable who, with wife Katie, is producing him in preparation for a new career in the showring, following in the footsteps of the great Barbers Shop, a former Royal Windsor ridden Supreme.

India Till claimed the prestigious Novice Show Pony title with her new ride, the delightful four-year-old Rotherwood Fancy That. This victory went some way to making up for the sudden recent loss of her reigning Horse of the Year Show and previous Royal Windsor Champion Show Pony, Drakemyre Puttin On The Ritz.

The Open equivalent fell to an overjoyed stand-in jockey and an equally overcome breeder. Lisha Leeman’s aptly named 128cm Kellythorpes Tiny Dancer glided to the top spot and the coveted trophy, partnered by 11-year-old Macie Donaldson, who was deputising for England team junior show jumper Cate Kerr. Although the Leeman family has had many wins at this Show, this was their first with a home-bred pony.

For full results from Royal Windsor Horse Show, CLICK HERE.

To find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Dutch Do Themselves Proud in Rotterdam

Maikel van der Vleuten and Beauville Z. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

In the presence of the former Queen of the Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, Rob Ehrens’ Dutch team did themselves proud when coming out on top in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ in Rotterdam (NED).

There was a super-sharp edge to this fourth and last leg of the 2021 series as the 10 teams took on the 12-fence track set by Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games course designer Santiago Varela. Just three days ahead of the Olympic Definite Entries deadline, every rider was out to impress, and it was the home side that proved most equal to the challenge.

A final tally of seven faults gave Maikel van der Vleuten (Beauville Z), Willem Greve (Zypria S NOP), Marc Houtzager (Sterrehof’s Dante NOP), and Frank Schuttert (Lyonel D) a narrow victory over Swedish runners-up Douglas Lindelow, Angelie von Essen, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, and Peder Fredricson who completed with nine faults on the board. It was only a foot in the open water for Fredricson’s Catch Me Not S that prevented the Swedes from making it a double in this year’s shortened series following their win at the opening leg at St Gallen, Switzerland just four weeks ago.

France pipped Germany for third place when combined times separated the two teams that finished on 12 faults apiece, while Ireland was close behind in fifth with 13. And the Tokyo Olympic hosts from Japan gave a great account of themselves. Reduced to a three-man side when Taizo Sugitani withdrew before the competition began, Daisuke Fukushima, Koki Saito, and Eiken Sato racked up just 14 faults for sixth place, and Sato and his fabulous Saphy des Lacs produced one of the five double-clear rounds posted on the day.

Close-run thing

It was a close-run thing at the halfway stage when France, Sweden, Germany, and the USA all shared the lead on a zero score, followed by Ireland and the eventual Dutch winners carrying just a single time penalty each.

But when the course was raised and the fences widened for the second round, and the evening light drew long shadows across the arena, then the competition took on a completely different complexion.

The Americans lost their grip when Beezie Madden withdrew and they had to count 16 faults, while the Germans and French also slipped when adding 12 to their scorelines.

French pathfinders Penelope Leprevost and GFE Excalibur de la Tour Vidal produced a superb double-clear and it seemed possible their side might stay in front if anchorman Kevin Staut could bring Visconti du Telman home clear for a second time. But the pair was one of many to fault at the open water in the fading light and when they also lowered the oxer at fence seven, then that had to be added to the four picked up by Gregory Cottard’s mare Bibici who, also like many before her, clipped the oxer at the end of the penultimate line this time out.

Strong

The Dutch also kicked off the second round with a double-clear from Van der Vleuten, and when Greve added just a single time fault to his first-round foot-perfect run, then they began to look strong. Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante faulted at the narrow vertical at fence 10 and also collected a time fault, and when Schuttert’s Lyonel D racked up the discard score of 12 faults, then they had to add six second-round faults to the single first-round time penalty for a total of seven.

As Sweden’s Peder Fredricson set off it seemed that might not be good enough. Because a clear from the World No. 7 would mean one of the four-fault results racked up by Lindelow and Von Essen could be dropped, because Bengtsson and the hugely impressive Ermindo W, who clinched that St Gallen win in a thrilling jump-off, had collected just a single second-round time fault, so they could finish with just five faults in the final analysis.

But Catch Me Not S put a foot in the water in an otherwise effortless round, so it would a Dutch celebration.

Happy

Talking after the prizegiving, Van der Vleuten pointed out, “A water jump is always difficult, but I was happy with my horse because he jumped it nice and stretched well over it both times today.”

He was really pleased with the 11-year-old Beauville Z. “He jumped fresh and it’s always nice to be double-clear. He jumped even easier in the second round.”

Talking about the increased level of faults in the second half of the competition, he said, “We started late (17.00 local time) so the shadows were maybe a factor, but also the course was bigger – the middle of the combination (fence 8) was taller and the triple bar (fence 9) went up one hole and was 10cms wider, and the next vertical went up and the last oxer was wider too – all that makes a big difference.”

Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens said he hadn’t had much sleep. The Dutch last won in Rotterdam in 2016, but they were waiting a long time for that to happen.

“I tried to win here so many times, so I was a bit angry with the course designer after the first round because they were so many clears! But of course you win a Nations Cup over two rounds,” he said with a smile. And course designer Santiago Varela agreed. “More mistakes in the second round is typical in a Nations Cup.”

Meanwhile, Ehrens has to be feeling positive after this great result because, as Varela added, “This was a perfect Nations Cup to get a good feeling before the Olympic Games.”

The Dutch should indeed be feeling good not just about Tokyo, but also about their chances at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021 which will take place in Barcelona (ESP) in October where all 10 teams from Division 1 will be eligible to compete.

By Louise Parkes

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