Leipzig, Germany – The Rolex/FEI World Cup Final came to a close Sunday afternoon in Leipzig, Germany, with two final rounds of jumping. The U.S. had strong representation in this competition as they sent seven of the 27 riders into the ring. In the third and final competition, riders jumped two rounds over Frank Rothenberger’s demanding 1.60m courses. The entire field would contest the first round, with 19 riders returning to the arena one last time to determine who would be crowned champion.
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, NY) and Coral Reef Via Volo jumped two impressive clear rounds to tie for the win of the class as well as tie for fourth place in the overall World Cup Final ranking on a score of 12. Coral Reef Ranch’s exciting Belgian Warmblood mare made easy work of the 12-obstacle course. In the second round, Madden made an incredible save heading to the double combination, fence 11, after Coral Reef Via Volo spooked at the crowd heading to the double combination after fence 10.
“She went amazing,” Madden said. “There’s probably nothing she can’t jump, and I had a lot of confidence in that when I went out there.”
Leipzig (GER), 1 May 2011 – Germany’s Christian Ahlmann claimed the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping 2010/2011 title in a thrilling finale on his home ground in Leipzig today with superb jumping from his stallion, Taloubet Z. Sharing the lead with fellow-countryman Marco Kutscher, the 36-year-old rider added just four faults to an otherwise foot-perfect performance to finish ahead of reigning Olympic champion Eric Lamaze from Canada, while The Netherlands’ Jeroen Dubbeldam rocketed up from overnight 11th to finish third when producing one of only two clear double clears on the final afternoon.
There was huge disappointment for Kutscher who had the world’s most prestigious indoor title in his sights until his luck ran out at the very end. Such was the unforgiving nature of Frank Rothenberger’s testing courses however that the slightest of errors proved very costly indeed. Today’s jumping was about scope, speed, courage, accuracy and, most importantly, the rideability of the horses. In the end it was Ahlmann’s 11-year-old Taloubet Z who put all the ingredients together to create the winning formula.
Leipzig, Germany – A strong field of 15 riders from nine nations contested Saturday evening’s Grand Prix Freestyle, to bring the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final to a close. There were three nations that qualified three riders each for tonight’s class: the United States, The Netherlands and Germany. America’s Catherine Haddad-Staller, Shawna Harding and Jan Ebeling performed up-tempo freestyles in front of a large audience in Hall One of the Leipzig Exhibition Center.
Haddad-Staller (Vechta, Germany) and her own Winyamaro started the evening’s competition with an impressive freestyle. The music selection played up the Hanoverian gelding’s expressive gaits and allowed for his character to shine through. Highlights of Haddad-Staller’s test included expressive lateral work and her one-handed canter extension. The pair rode to a score of 70.161% and finished the Grand Prix Freestyle in 12th place.
Fellow American, Shawna Harding, followed Haddad-Staller into the ring with an equally fun ride, scoring 67.625%. Harding (Aiken, SC) and her own Come On III started their test with a high degree of difficulty by performing tempi-changes upon her entrance on the centerline. Come On III was more relaxed in his extended walk tonight than he was during Thursday’s Grand Prix test and had beautiful half-passes in both the trot and canter. This pair ended their test with an exclamation point by finishing completely in sync with their music. Harding and Come On III finished in 14th place.
Leipzig (GER), 1 May 2011 – Boyd Exell from Australia has successfully defended his FEI World Cup Driving title in a thrilling finish in Leipzig (GER) to become only the second driver to score a hat-trick of World Cup victories. The popular Australian sped to victory in front of an enthusiastic and ecstatic crowd that packed the Leipzig Messe to capacity. Hungary’s Jozsef Dobrovitz drove two brilliant rounds with his team of Lipizzaner horses to finish second, ahead of IJsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands.
Happy to be first Jozsef Dobrovitz was happy to go first in the Final round. In Budapest he had won the warm-up competition but made mistakes in the Final round, so he felt the starting grid Leipzig would favour him. His only goal in the first round was to equal Boyd’s time on the first night and to stay clear as well. Dobrovitz put in an amazing performance to meet both his goals and pile the pressure on his opponents.
Second starter IJsbrand Chardon was determined to make up for his mistake on the first night, but his leader horses started pushing against each other in the warm-up arena and there was not enough time left for IJsbrand to fix it. The result was three knockdowns on course, but Chardon kept on driving at such high speed that he finished in a record time of 113.89 seconds, to slot into second behind Dobrovitz. Chardon had no expectations of making it to the Winning Round but Georg von Stein (GER), Werner Ulrich (SUI), Koos de Ronde (NED) and Tomas Eriksson (SWE) all made mistakes, which kept Chardon in second place. After Exell had conquered the course in a fast time despite one knockdown, it was clear that the colourful trio was going to battle it out in the Winning Round.
Leipzig (GER), 30 April 2011 – The dream came true for the Netherlands’ Adelinde Cornelissen tonight when the biggest Sugar Plum Fairy of them all, the magnificent Jerich Parzival, danced to victory in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup 2010/2011 Final at Leipzig, Germany. To the strains of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite the 14-year-old gelding produced another powerful performance in the hands of his 31-year-old rider who has endured plenty of disappointments over the last few years. But at last it was her turn to stand in the limelight she has so long deserved. The spotlight is not something Parzival revels in, as his post-presentation antics confirmed, but the partnership has now entered the equestrian history books as the 11th Dutch winners of the coveted title.
Repeating the result of yesterday’s Grand Prix, Denmark’s Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and Digby finished second, while Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber steered Herzruf’s Erbe into third. The 2010 title-winner, Edward Gal (GER), finished fourth with a great performance from the ever-more-confident Sisther de Jeu, while Germany’s Isabell Werth and Satchmo were fifth ahead of Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Watermill Scandic in sixth.
The spectators had strong opinions about what they saw in the Leipzig arena tonight and didn’t hold back in expressing them, but they celebrated Cornelissen’s win with all the enthusiasm a new champion deserves.
Leipzig, Germany – The EY Cup, held in conjunction with the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final, came to close in Leipzig this morning with the final round of the CSI2*. The six Americans riders that have been contesting the competition all week looked to complete their time in Germany on a high note. With each competitor limited to riding one horse, there was all to play for over Frank Rothenberger’s 1.45m course. Twenty-nine combinations would start the first round with six returning to the jump-off.
Reed Kessler of Armonk, NY lead the American effort placing fifth with her Swedish Warmblood Ligist. Throughout the three rounds of the EY Cup, Kessler improved her performance each time she entered the ring. As the sixth horse in the ring, Ligist jumped a confident clear round to be the first to qualify to return for the shortened course.
“I had some really bad luck yesterday, I had a really fast time and he just nicked the back rail in front which is so unlike him. The luck evened out today, as he nicked the first couple, after the first few jumps he started jumping really well. I was definitely excited to be the only clean American.”
Leipzig, Germany – The Rolex/FEI World Cup Final saw a shuffle throughout the standings after the conclusion of the second round this afternoon. With forty-four World Cup points up for grabs and the chance to head into the final round on zero faults, clear rounds were at a premium. Forty horse/rider combinations jumped Frank Rothenberger’s impressive track, with seven riders representing six different nations returning for the jump-off.
In Sunday’s final only the top twenty-nine riders from the first two rounds will have the opportunity to jump in the championship. The US will be represented by seven riders in this round and McLain Ward (Brewster, NY) will lead the charge as the top placed American.
Ward rebounded from Thursday’s first round, which saw him lower two rails despite posting a competitive time. Today Ward riding Antares F and the pair jumped a stylish clear round to be the third horse to qualify for the jump-off. The Wurttemberger gelding owned by Grant Road Partners, LLC demonstrated immaculate jumping to make light work of Friday’s initial course.