Category Archives: FEI

Guerdat Gallops Them All into the Ground at Stuttgart

Photo: Steve Guerdat and Hannah. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

On a day when a host nation win seemed all but a given, Swiss superman Steve Guerdat (35) and his flying machine Hannah galloped the opposition into total submission with a whirlwind jump-off round at the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at Stuttgart, Germany. Never a man to flinch against the clock, the 2012 Olympic champion and winner of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title in both 2015 and 2016 was third-last to go of the 16 that made the cut into the deciding second round. And to the disbelief of almost everyone including long-time leader Philipp Weishaupt, he shaved more than a half-second off the German rider’s scorching-fast target time to clinch it.

“You have to really believe you have a chance, especially when you are going at the end of a jump-off. I’ve been five times second in the Grand Prix here in Stuttgart and I really wanted to win it one day. I would have preferred to have one down in the fastest time than not to be fast enough today, so I really went for it!” — Steve Guerdat SUI (1st)

There were 11 German contenders on the 40-strong start-list so the result seemed heavily weighted in favour of a home victory. But in the end the best they could do was line up behind the speedy Swiss partnership, Weishaupt in runner-up spot with Asathir ahead of Christian Ahlmann with Epleaser van’t Heike in third and Simone Blum and DSP Alice in fourth.

Guerdat is delighted with his 10-year-old mare. “Hannah has been amazing all season. She never jumped indoors before we went to the first World Cup leg in Oslo last month and she wasn’t perfect there, but she was much better in the next round at Helsinki, and here in the big Stuttgart arena it’s more like jumping outdoors so she was very happy with that,” he explained.

“She feels like she really loves her job – as soon as she sees a fence she really wants to jump it and it’s lovely to compete with a horse that loves so much what she does. I think she has fantastic times ahead!” — Steve Guerdat SUI (1st)

Guerdat now tops the Western European League table and, with 43 points, is already qualified for the Longines 2018 Final in Paris next April.

Next stop in this thrilling series is Madrid, Spain on Saturday 25 November.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Richard Spooner and Chatinus Claim Longines Victory

Photo: Richard Spooner and Chatinus (FEI/Amy McCool)

The old adage claims that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but it will be hard to keep secret the talent of Richard Spooner’s (USA) new equine star, Chatinus. Spooner piloted the 10-year-old Hanoverian to the gelding’s first World Cup qualifier victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas (USA).

“I’m just very optimistic for the future with this horse. It’s just absolutely blowing my mind!” — Richard Spooner (USA)

Spooner defeated Alison Robitaille (USA) and Serise du Bidou to claim the top check, outpacing that duo’s time by nearly three seconds. First to go in a select jump-off field of three, Robitaille and her mount crossed the timers in 40.20 seconds; Spooner and Chatinus finished in 37.30 seconds. Karrie Rufer (USA) and Georgie d’Auvray EC, the only other combination to advance to the shortened track, finished in the third position. Last to go and Spooner to catch, Rufer elected to retire after her mount pulled a rail, but it was still a career-best finish for the amateur rider, who was competing in just the second World Cup qualifying competition of her career.

The course designed by Oscar Soberón (MEX) made for great show jumping, as the crowd on hand was on the edge of their seats waiting for a clear round. They did not get one until 21 horse and rider pairs had competed, but they did not have to wait much longer for a second: The west coast audience showed their appreciation when fan favorite Spooner, 24th to go, guaranteed a jump-off. A total of 29 competitors jumped in Round 1.

“I stuck with my plan. I walked the course and just did what my original plan was, and it worked out!” — Richard Spooner (USA)

Spooner now sits atop the standings of the west coast sub league of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League with 58 points. Robitaille leads the east coast sub league standings; she has 52 points.

“For me, it’s unfamiliar ground to have a horse that just kind of goes in the ring and is just like an ATM machine at this point!” Spooner said of Chatinus, whom he has only had since the summer. Chatinus also posted top five finishes in World Cup qualifiers at Sacramento (USA) and Del Mar (USA) this season.

The next event on the North American League will take place in Guadalajara (MEX) on Saturday, 27 January 2018.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Werth and Weihegold Head Home-Side Whitewash at Stuttgart

Photo: Isabell Werth and Weihegold FRH. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

With style, panache and the greatest of ease, defending series champions Isabell Werth (48) and her wonderful 12-year-old mare Weihegold cruised to victory at the third leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League on home ground in Stuttgart, Germany. And in a feast of fabulous performances it was fellow-countrywomen Dorothee Schneider (Sammy Davis Jr.) and Helen Langehanenberg (Damsey FRH) who slotted into second and third places.

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (Paridon Magi) finished fourth, but only fractionally ahead of Germany’s Fabienne Lutkemeier (Fabregaz) and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (Zaire-E) in fifth and sixth spots. There was nothing fractional about Werth’s win, however, her score of 87.575 percent leaving her well ahead of Schneider who posted 82.805. And it was a particularly satisfying result for the phenomenal athlete who this year alone claimed her third FEI World Cup™ Dressage title along with triple-gold at the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

“Weihe has had such a great year, and after Gothenburg we gave her a long break but we thought it would be lovely to bring her to Stuttgart for the home crowd to see her and it was really nice. She’s only been working lightly for the last few weeks so we didn’t take the full risk like we did in Aachen or Gothenburg this summer, but I’m very happy with how she went; it was a great day!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

The Freestyle test wasn’t perfect – “the mistake in the two-tempis was all mine!” Werth admitted, but it was still nothing short of spectacular. Taking “the full risk” in Dressage terms means chasing down marks by challenging the horse to produce each movement to the maximum, although when it doesn’t come off it can prove expensive. The fluency of Werth’s work with Weihegold was so exquisite, however, that even an error couldn’t prevent their absolute supremacy.

Schneider’s 11-year-old stallion Sammy Davis Jr. continues to impress in his first season at Grand Prix level and this pair posted some massive artistic scores, while Langehanenberg’s 15-year-old stallion Damsey FRH produced breath-taking extended trot on his way to earning a score of 79.615 for third place. “He was super-fresh but really happy to be out competing and really keen to perform. He really came to life in his test and it’s great for an older horse like him to be still enjoying competition so much!” said the 2013 FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion.

Werth doesn’t earn points in the Western European League series and only has to line out in the qualifiers with whichever horse she chooses to defend her title at the 2018 Final in Paris, France next April. She has three to choose from, Don Johnson taking runner-up spot at the opening qualifier in Herning, Denmark last month before Emilio came out on top in Lyon two weeks ago, and then Weihegold followed suit. She’s spoiled for choice, and her next outing will be at the sixth leg in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in January.

Before that, however, the rest of those chasing down a much-coveted place at the Final will be battling it out in round four at Salzburg (AUT) and the fifth qualifier at London Olympia (GBR) in December. Sweden’s Patrik Kittel continues to top the league table by a considerable margin ahead of Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj in second place, Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre in third and Germany’s Dorothee Schneider who has moved up from 13th to fourth spot thanks to her runner-up finish.

Watch Isabell Werth and Weihegold take the win in front of the home crowd here on YouTube.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Farrington’s World No. 1 Dominance on Display in Longines Victory at Toronto

Photo: Kent Farrington with Voyeur (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

At a milestone 95th edition of the prestigious Royal Winter Agricultural Fair, Kent Farrington (USA) proved why he is the world’s top-ranked rider on the Longines Rankings. He and his 2016 Olympic Games partner Voyeur topped the $150,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto in front of a packed, enthusiastic crowd at the only indoor competition in Canada.

Farrington and his 15-year-old mount laid down a flawless jump-off round, winning with a final time of 35.51 seconds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Main Road made a gallant run at the winner, and it came down to the final fence, but the duo crossed the timers just off the pace in 36.84 seconds to finish second. Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Barnetta were the only other double-clear performers to finish third; their time was 43.48 seconds.

“Voyeur’s really been a career horse for me,” Farrington said. “[Owners] the Nusz family have been long-term supporters of my career and bought Voyeur for me with the hope that he’d be a Champion horse for me. He has been — every bit of it and more. Tonight he really showed why he’s special.”

“Voyeur’s really been a career horse for me!” — Kent Farrington (USA)

Six competitors produced clear rounds over the Guilherme Jorge (BRA) designed track in the first round, which included four 1.60m verticals, an imposing wall, and a wide, airy final liverpool oxer that proved to be a frequent heartbreaker on course, ending early the night of four-time defending champion McLain Ward (USA), among others. The number of clears was halved in the jump-off, and none made their work look quite as smooth as Farrington and his veteran partner.

“I think what you’re seeing is a horse that I know really well,” Farrington said. “I know his weak points, and I know his strengths. I’m very confident in him to do what he can do. My strategy was to put pressure on the last two so that they were really going to have to try. It’s a great partnership, and I hope he still has some more wins down the road also.”

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Daring Delestre and His Super-Fast Ryan Race to Home Victory in Lyon

Photo: Simon Delestre and Hermes Ryan. (FEI/Christophe Tanière)

Size really doesn’t matter as the diminutive Hermes Ryan proved yet again when racing to victory with Simon Delestre (36) onboard at the fourth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League leg on home ground at Lyon, France. In the 11-horse jump-off the little chestnut gelding, who carried the Frenchman to individual European bronze at Aachen, Germany two years ago, simply destroyed the opposition with his amazing turn of foot to finish ahead of Mary Lou, ridden by Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (36), while Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (35) and Bianca lined up in third.

French course designer, Grégory Bodo, received many compliments for a track that wasn’t over-tall or wide but which brought the top combinations through to the decider against the clock. And that was a thriller, Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Claire Z setting a new target in 39.28 seconds when fifth to go, and first to take a daring short-cut to the double, three fences from home. Twice series champion, Steve Guerdat, shaved almost a quarter of a second off that when next out but, with just three horses left to run, Delestre scorched through the finish in 37.72 seconds to leave the remaining two with a near-impossible task.

Fellow-countryman, Roger Yves Bost, had two fences down while trying to catch him and although von Eckermann was quick, his decision to take the longer route to the double saw him settling for second place in 38.85 seconds.

“I was lucky to go near the end of the jump-off because I knew the best route to take, but Ryan is a naturally fast horse and in Verona I tried to go as fast as I could but we had a fence down. Today I asked even more and he jumped amazing! It’s especially nice for me to win this leg at home!” — Simon Delestre FRA (1st)

Meanwhile, Von Eckermann, third-place finisher at the 2017 Final, was delighted to find himself heading the Western European League going into the fifth round in Stuttgart, Germany in two weeks’ time. With 34 points already accumulated he is well on his way to the 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) next April, and that is his main goal right now. He is a big fan of Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping.

“This is the leading series in our sport – it’s fantastic competition and always attracts a great crowd – I just love it!” — Henrik von Eckermann SWE (2nd)

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Denis Lynch and RMF Echo Take Top Class Longines Win in Lexington

Photo: Denis Lynch and RMF Echo. (FEI/Ashley Neuhof)

Six months ago, Denis Lynch (IRL) almost lost his ride on RMF Echo. But in Lexington, the Irish show jumper and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding clinched top place at the $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Lexington (USA) at the Kentucky Horse Park’s National Horse Show.

In May, RMF Echo was about to be sold out of Lynch’s stables, but owners Monica and Frank McCourt of Rushy Marsh Farm stepped up to purchase the chestnut so that he could stay with Lynch. That proved a worthwhile decision when the duo prevailed over a world-class field which included three of the top 25 riders on the Longines World Rankings.

“The horse ended up in our stable this winter, and I was actually short a horse,” Lynch recalled. “Then, I started jumping him in some shows at the beginning of the year, and he started progressing to a better horse. He was sold after [CSI 5* Versailles (FRA)], and I was very, very lucky that Rushy Marsh stepped in overnight and secured me the horse, which I’m incredibly grateful for. It was incredible. I’m very, very lucky to have him.”

“Echo’s been unlucky a few times this year, when he’s been beaten at the post. He really deserved this win tonight.” — Denis Lynch (Ireland)

Lynch and “Echo” were one of nine horse-and-rider pairs to advance to the jump-off. They blazed through Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) shortened track, stopping the timers in 36.16 seconds and overtaking the lead, which up to that point had been held by Beat Mändli (SUI) and Dsarie, who were winners just last week at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington (USA). Mändli ultimately finished third with a time of 37.80 seconds, while Lauren Tisbo (USA) and Coriandolo di Ribano slotted into second, just missing the top spot when crossing the timers in 36.52 seconds.

“I went as quickly as I could,” Lynch said. “Echo is a naturally very, very quick horse. He’s been unlucky a few times this year, when he’s been beaten at the post. I think there were three or four grand prix where he finished second. I think he really deserved it tonight.”

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Werth and Emilio Are Sublime at Second Leg in Lyon

Photo: Isabell Werth and Emilio. (FEI/Christophe Tanière)

Where sport meets entertainment is where you find the world’s best Dressage riders and those two planets collided to explosive effect at the second leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League in Lyon, France, where reigning champion, Germany’s Isabell Werth (47), came out on top. In a competition that built to a thrilling climax, it was Spain’s Beatriz Ferrer-Salat who finished second ahead of Sweden’s Patrik Kittel in third while Werth’s compatriot, Dorothee Schneider, lined up fourth.

Werth had to settle for runner-up spot with Don Johnson at the first leg in Denmark two weeks ago, but partnering the 11-year-old gelding Emilio, she threw down an unbeatable mark of 86.115 percent when fifth-last to go of 15 starters from eight different countries.

“This was a personal-best score with Emilio and I’m so happy because he worked so well; he was really relaxed but with so much power that he gave me goosebumps!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

From the moment they danced into the arena the German duo had the audience completely spellbound. To a gloriously classical musical score they demonstrated dramatic changes of rhythm and pace, and it was captivating from the very start to the perfect final halt. It was no surprise when they were awarded three artistic scores over 90 percent including 92.800 from Judge at E, Vincenzo Truppa from Italy. All five members of the Ground Jury were in agreement as they put them in pole position, and as they left the arena the spectators rose to their feet to salute the lady whose medal-winning record in equestrian sport is second to none. But the excitement was far from over.

Ferrer-Salat’s Delgado put 82.630 on the board as the four-time Olympian and 2015 European silver medallist showed that her 16-year-old horse is coming right back on form after the injury-break that followed the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. And then Kittel set the arena alight with one of his trademark electrifying rides. This ultimate showman and his Olympic partner, the 13-year-old mare Deja, simply swung to the funky sounds of Stevie Wonder, all but willing the crowd to sing and clap to the strains of “Isn’t She Lovely,” because Deja most certainly is. The wait for the judges’ marks was a tense one, but 81.555 wouldn’t threaten Werth’s domination and when fellow-German Dorothee Schneider and the elegant Sammy Davis Jr posted 80.315 for fourth place, it was a done deal.

Werth was delighted with Emilio. “He has become so much more confident; even in the warm-up he was focused and concentrated; he’s becoming more professional and improving all the time,” she said. And now she plans to bring out her top ride, the brilliant mare Weihegold, who helped her take the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Dressage title last March and triple-gold at the Longines FEI European Championships this summer, to the next leg of the Western European League which will take place on home turf in Stuttgart, Germany in two weeks’ time. Following that she will compete in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in January and she intends to campaign all three of her horses ahead of the series Final in Paris, France next April even though she is automatically qualified as defending champion.

Kittel, meanwhile, is sitting pretty at the top of the league table going into the next round with 54 points, a whopping 23 points ahead of second-placed Marcela Krinke Susmelj from Switzerland who finished seventh with Smeyers Molberg. “I’m over the moon about being so far ahead!” Kittel said. “And my goal is definitely Paris – it’s going to be awesome,” he added.

Media contact:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Beat Mändli Claims Top Prize in $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington

Beat Mändli and Dsarie. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

October 28, 2017 – Beat Mändli of Switzerland made his first visit to the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) a successful one, claiming the victory in the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, on Saturday night.

Competing for the coveted President of the United States Perpetual Cup, donated by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, as well as valuable Longines FEI World Cup™ qualifying points, the grand prix was the highlight event of the week-long show, continuing through Sunday, at the Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C.

Mändli was one of 26 international jumper competitors to contest the first round track set by course designer Alan Wade (IRL), and he and his mount Dsarie, owned by Grant Road Partners GmbH, were one of 11 combinations to advance to the jump-off. As the sixth to return, Mändli and the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare set what proved to be an untouchable time of 32.07 seconds.

U.S. Olympian and reigning Longines FEI World Cup™ champion McLain Ward came the closest to besting Mändli, finishing in second aboard HH Callas, owned by Double H Farm, with a time of 32.30 seconds. Young U.S. rider Catherine Tyree, 23, rounded out the top three in a time of 33.83 seconds aboard Enjoy Louis, owned by Mary and Joseph Tyree.

“I feel great. Everything worked out better than I was thinking at the start of the week,” said Mändli. “I’m just super happy for the horse and for the whole team. It was a great night for me.”

It was a good night for Ward as well, who only partnered with HH Callas, a ten-year-old warmblood mare, at the beginning of the 2017 show season.

“I was pleased. We didn’t have a brilliant grand prix last week in Tryon. It was nice to rebound and have a good finish today,” said Ward. “Beat had a spectacular jump-off tonight. You were going to have to be pretty perfect to be able to catch him.”

With 11 horses in the jump-off, the first-round course proved slightly easier than Alan Wade anticipated, but the course designer was still happy with the outcome.

“I thought they’d have had to ride harder to jump clear, but horses seemed to be jumping very well,” said Wade. “Still at the end of the jump-off, the cream rose to the top, and the best competitors are here on the podium.”

Part of the reason for the horses jumping well could be attributed to new footing installed in the Capital One Arena for the 2017 horse show, something that WIHS President Victoria Lowell spoke to following the class.

“There was no question that we had to invest in the best possible footing for the horses,” Lowell said. “I was so happy to hear the positive feedback that we had this year because [the footing] was the most important thing to our board this year. The World Cup designation is very, very important to us. We need to make sure that this event continues. It’s a very historic event; it’s a very special event because it’s downtown in the city much like Madison Square Garden was. We work very, very hard to make it the best show possible.”

Following the conclusion of Saturday night’s class, several special awards were presented along with the top grand prix prizes. Mändli was presented with the $10,000 Leading International Rider Award, sponsored by Robin Parsky; the Leading Foreign Rider Award, and the International Jumper Championship. Tyree was awarded the $10,000 Leading 25 Years of Age & Under Award, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch, and the Leading Lady Rider Award, sponsored by Longines. The Leading Jumper Owner Award went to Grant Road Partners.

The George Morris Style of Riding Award was also presented earlier in the day to Mändli, as the International Jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation and jumping and the respectful, dignified, and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman.

Newly introduced this year in honor of the late Dr. John Steele, the “Doc Steele” Spirit Award, presented by M. Michael Meller, went to Cristalline, ridden by Adrienne Sternlicht and owned by Gabrielle Kuna, recognized as the horse that best exemplifies the heart and athleticism necessary to be competitive at the highest levels of show jumping.

www.wihs.org

Dufour Dominates at Opening Leg in Herning

Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy. (FEI/Everhorsephoto.com)

Danish fans had everything to shout about when their home-grown superstar partnership of 25-year-old Cathrine Dufour and her wonderful 14-year-old gelding, Atterupgaards Cassidy, claimed victory at the opening leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League in Herning (DEN). Although the 14-strong field included Isabell Werth who took triple-gold at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden eight weeks ago, the 48-year-old German rider wasn’t competing her no 1 ride, the great mare Weihegold. So the reigning FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion had to settle for runner-up spot with Don Johnson FRH ahead of Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Delaunay OLD in third, mirroring exactly the results of the preliminary Grand Prix.

There was a huge sense of achievement for Dufour.

“The last time I competed in a World Cup was two years ago, and we finished second-last. So I wanted to improve on that for sure. Isabell has beaten me the whole season, but yesterday and today my horse was so relaxed and easy. And yes, I did smile during the Freestyle, because if you practice something at home and finally bring it into the ring then you feel really good about it.” — Cathrine Dufour (DEN)

Going sixth of the 14 starters, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Paridon Magi posted a leading mark of 76.320 but were overtaken by another of Denmark’s rising talents, 23-year-old Anna Zibrandtsen who held the advantage with Arlando at the halfway break when putting 76.945 on the board.

And the standard just kept rising as the last six took their turn, Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, a member of the Danish silver medal winning team in Gothenburg alongside Zibrandtsen, Dufour and Anna Kasprazak, scoring 78.500 with Jojo Az before Werth changed the whole tempo of the competition when posting 83.755.

The sometimes naughty “Johnny”, as Don Johnson is better known, was clearly on top form, throwing a buck before entering the arena and then producing a really fluent Freestyle, full of power and collection. Werth knew she had thrown down the gauntlet to the remaining four left to go, but, second-last into the ring, Dufour didn’t flinch. A high degree of difficulty in the early stages of their floorplan suggested a big score might well be on the way. And so it was, with the loveliest walk included in their beautifully executed test for the massive winning mark of 85.945, all five judges putting the pair in pole position and the crowd rising to their feet in sheer delight.

Swedish showman, Patrik Kittel, gave it his best when last to go, and his mark of 81.095 pinned Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zack back into fourth spot, but the Danish party had already begun. And now Dufour is having a whole new re-think about her competition programme over the coming months.

“I didn’t plan to do the World Cup season, but of course I’m getting a bit hungry after this.” — Cathrine Dufour (DEN)

Dufour also earned Grand Prix Special and Freestyle bronze at this summer’s Europeans. She wants to do her best by the wonderful Cassidy, however, who has been her loyal partner since she was competing at Junior level.

“I didn’t train with him since Gothenburg until the last few days before coming here to Herning. My end goal is always to take care of him, so I better go home and make a plan and discuss things with my coach. We will see….” — Cathrine Dufour (DEN)

Herning certainly provided a great start to the new season, and Ground Jury President, Denmark’s Susanne Baarup, couldn’t hold back her emotion about a day of fantastic sport. It wasn’t just the home win that brought tears to her eyes.

“When it came down to the last five riders I almost had to take some tissues out. It was really an honour to judge such good riders, and Cathrine’s win was well deserved. This has been a fantastic show for her.” — Susanne Baarup (Ground Jury President)

Jens Traberg, Show Director Dressage at Herning: “This was the first time to have this World Cup qualifier in Herning – we have wanted to bring it here for a long time.”

Patrik Kittel SWE (3rd): “The audience here in Herning was really amazing; they were really supportive of everyone, not just the Danish competitors. It’s important to make the audience part of the competition – I have no problem if they start clapping before the end of the test because it makes the competition more fun and they are getting involved.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Kocher Records First Ever Longines Win at Del Mar

Andy Kocher (USA) with Navalo de Poheton. (FEI/Nick Souza)

It was a day of many “firsts” for Andy Kocher. Last to go in an eight-horse jump-off, Kocher (USA) and Navalo de Poheton claimed their first World Cup qualifier victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Del Mar. As a result, Kocher has now pushed into lead position of the standings in the east coast sub league of the North American League.

Kocher and the 16-year-old Selle Francais gelding bested Eric Navet (FRA) and Catypso for the top prize. Chris Pratt (CAN) and Concorde finished in third.

“I looked up at the board and thought I was going to be second, and I would have been very happy to be second,” Kocher said. “Believe me, I would have been thrilled! But it was me this time! I was first! So, it was fun today.”

In a class where a tight time allowed proved problematic for riders in the first round, Kocher got inventive with his often-strong mount. He took three inside turns, two that no other rider attempted, in order to add strides down some of the lines and still make the time.

“There was a really good rider named Terry Rudd, and she had a horse named PS Gazpacho, and my dad always talks about it.” Kocher said. “Last week, he said, ‘I think you should ride Navalo de Poheton like she used to ride that horse. Go any possible inside turn around the course that you can, so you can keep the horse on a slow, short stride and kind of keep him in check.’ Today, I made two kinds of ridiculous inside turns and kind of shocked him, and it worked. So, I took that theory from my dad and a little history from Terry Rudd.”

Kocher, an east coast rider, has competed on both coasts through the first five North American League events and plans to make several other cross-country journeys in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to Calgary (CAN), Lexington (USA), Toronto (USA), Las Vegas (USA), and then I think we’ll come back for one of the weeks of Thermal (USA). I might hit that show in Mexico [at Guadalajara]. We’re going to do a little more out here [on the west coast].”

Andrew Kocher (USA) – 1st: “We had a really good time here [at Del Mar]. The jumps were nice, the footing was nice, and it was a really good course. Thanks to Longines and West Palms Events for having the show. I’m happy now, because I had a good day, but the whole show was nice.”

Eric Navet (USA) — 2nd: “When we have Andy behind, we’re never sure we can win. He’s such a fast rider, and he’s very confident. I knew I had a big chance to be beaten, and that’s what happened. He beat me by just a little bit. That was so close. That means that my horse is getting faster and improving in that area. He’s not very fast by nature. I’m very proud to have a time that close to Andy.”

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46