Category Archives: FEI

New Champions to Be Crowned and Scores to Be Settled at Sizzling Spanish Showdown

Felipe Amaral and Premiere Carthoes BZ, pictured at the qualifier in Ocala, Florida (USA) earlier this year. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

Like the annual gathering of the clans, Jumping riders from all around the globe are descending on the beautiful city of Barcelona in Spain for this week’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2018. For the sixth year in succession, this celebration of all that’s best in team sport takes place in the quietly sophisticated surroundings of the Real Club de Polo, venue for Jumping at the 1992 Olympic Games.

But coming just two weeks after the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in Tryon, there’s an extra edge to it this time around. There are points to be made, scores to be settled, and muscles to be flexed, especially for the countries that had high hopes going to the USA last month only to have them dashed when the pendulum of sporting fortune didn’t swing in their direction.

The defending Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ champions from The Netherlands didn’t make it onto the Tryon podium but they did manage to claim one of the six qualifying spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. And Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens clearly means business again this week, bringing three of his Tryon team – Marc Houtzager, Frank Schuttert, and World No. 1, Harrie Smolders – along with Leopold van Asten and Maikel van der Vleuten.

The Swiss looked set to carry off WEG gold but had to settle for fifth in the final analysis, although the individual silver and bronze medals collected by Martin Fuchs and Steve Guerdat demonstrated their super strength and commitment.

Guerdat’s loyalty to the Nations Cup format is second to none, and the London 2012 individual champion will be back in the ring this weekend giving it everything he’s got along with Paul Estermann, Bryan Balsiger, Arthur Gustavo, and Barbara Schneiper. We won’t be seeing the newly-crowned individual world champion Simone Blum, but her Chef d’Equipe, Otto Becker, will be keen to follow up WEG team bronze with a strong result from another formidable German side that includes Hans-Dieter Dreher, Marcus Ehning, Maurice Tebbel, Andre Thieme and Philipp Weishaupt.

And the Irish will be there. The reigning European Champions missed out on a ticket to Tokyo when finishing seventh at the WEG – “We will be trying to try to erase the bad taste that our result in Tryon has left,” said team manager Rodrigo Pessoa, after confirming his selection of Shane Breen, Anthony Condon, Darragh Kenny, Billy Twomey, and Michael G Duffy last week.

The real tension may well be between the Americans and Swedes. It took an edge-of-the-seat jump-off to separate them in the battle for world championship gold, and it would be very sweet revenge if the Swedes could turn the tables this time out.

So Henrik Ankarcrona has selected Jonna Ekberg, Peder Fredrison, Stephanie Holmen, Irma Karlsson, and Erica Swartz who will be on a mission. American confidence should be at an all-time high, however, and although Laura Kraut is the only member of that gold-medal-winning Tryon team to be called up again this week, she and her compatriots Lucy Deslauriers, Alex Granato, Andrew Kocher, and Jessica Springsteen should have an extra spring in their step.

A total of 15 nations – Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, and USA – will line out when the first round of the Final gets underway at 20.00 local time on Friday evening. Teams go in order of the draw that takes place Thursday evening, and only the top eight nations will qualify for the series title decider on Sunday afternoon.

The remaining sides will compete in Saturday night’s Challenge Cup, and with €1,700,000 in prize money on offer, it promises to be a superb weekend of sport. It will be another interesting one for America’s Lucy Deslauriers as the 19-year-old will compete against her father, Mario Deslauriers, who will line out for Team Canada and who was just 19 years old himself when setting a record, that still stands, as the youngest ever rider to win the coveted Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping trophy back in 1984.

Following an agreement announced last year, Longines became the brand new long-term title partner of the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series, and after 13 qualifiers on three continents, this 109th season of Nations Cup Jumping is coming to a thrilling climax.

It’s going to be spell-binding so check out the full entry list here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

US Para-Driving Team Successful at FEI World Single and Para Driving Championships

Tracy Bowman (in the Marathon Course). Photo by Marie de Ronde-Oudemans, Hoefnet’s Krisztina Horvath, and Daphne White.

Kronenberg, The Netherlands – September 17, 2018 – Over six days the 2018 FEI World Driving and Para-Driving Championships for singles took place at Grandorse in Kronenberg, The Netherlands. U.S. Para-Driving Team included Driver and horse combinations Tracy Bowman and Taylormore Laurabelle in Grade 1, Bob Giles and First Lady in Grade 2, and Diane Kastama and horse Oosterwijk’s Kasper in Grade 1, with Coach Sara Schmitt and Chef d’Equipe Marcie Quist. Drivers contested the dressage, marathon, and cones courses, over the August 28 – September 2, 2018, week. The Singles and Para-driving championships were held simultaneously for the first time in the history of this equestrian sport. The top international drivers competed for the coveted title in their category: World Champion. U.S. Para-Drivers had a successful showing earning fourth in the Team competition.

“We would like to thank world class four-in-hand driver Koos De Ronde and his wife, FEI Combined Driving judge Marie De Ronde, in Zwartewaal, Netherlands for hosting the para-driving training camp at their home farm Stal De Ronde. We would also like to thank the navigators including Diane Kastama’s navigator Lila Hewitt, Tracy Bowman’s navigator Jolie Wentworth, and Bob Giles’ navigator Barbra Hewitt and everyone who so generously offered their support.  We would especially like to thank team coach Sara Schmitt, our Chef d’Equipe, Marcia Quist, Danielle d’Aamodt Single’s Chef and Thorsten Zarembowicz Singles Coach.”

Following the Championships, Para-drivers headed back to the United States where they will be cheering on the U.S. Equestrian Teams at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC and heir Dutch host and hostess Koos and Marie de Ronde who will be competing in the four-in-hand driving at the World Equestrian Games.

Results can be found on Hoefnet at: https://www.hoefnet.nl/en/kalender-uitslagen-startlijsten/wk-enkelspannen-wk-paramennen-horst/.

For more information about USA Para-Driving, please visit United States Driving for the Disabled at http://usdfd.org.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Youth Shines Bright as Israel’s Sternbach Grabs the Gold in Tashkent

Nadav Sternbach and Aragon (FEI/Yong Teck Lim).

Israel’s Nadav Sternbach (18) scooped the FEI World Jumping Challenge Final 2018 title in a nail-biting jump-off in Tashkent (UZB). It came down to a head-to-head against Argentina’s Richard Kierkegaard (15), and there was little between the two of them in the end.

“I came to just have fun, but this is really exciting!” said Sternbach who left 19 competitors from 15 countries in his wake as he seized the crown at this 17th edition of the event which moved to Central Asia for the very first time this year.

All the competing athletes qualified in 2017 when the Challenge was also used by 44 countries as the official qualifier for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires (ARG). A total of 23 out of 30 athletes who are on the way to the YOG have made the cut through the Challenge series, and six of those used this week’s fixture as the perfect final run, because, just like at the YOG, the biggest test of all is that they must ride a horse they’ve never sat on before.

The flags of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Israel, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Senegal, South Africa, Uzbekistan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all flew high as the Warm-up class got underway on Thursday when the host nation’s Abdushukur Sobirjonov (16) steered Rejayna into the winner’s enclosure. The age range of riders varied from 16 to 55, but it was the younger generation that dominated from start to finish, Turgunboev topping the line-up in Friday’s First Qualifier and Kyrgyzstan’s Kamil Sabitov, who turns 18 next week, pinning Guatemala’s Jose Ignacio Rosal (23) into runner-up spot in the Second Qualifier in which Sternbach finished third.

There were nine starters in the Farewell class for those who didn’t make it through to the medal-decider, and victory went to Bolivia’s Gonzalo Bedoya Aguilar (18) who produced the only clear round with Coupette. There was great excitement when Hamoudi Kazoun (35), Senegal’s first-ever entry for this event, finished second with just a single time penalty while the next two places went to Zimbabwe’s Brianagh Clark (17) and Zambia’s Anna Bunty Howard (16) whose next stop is the YOG.

All 10 of those qualified for the Final started again on a zero score, but although five managed to stay clear in the first round, only Sternbach and Kierkegaard kept a clean sheet second time out over the course designed by Australia’s John Vallance. The hosts were already happy, because Turgunboev, riding Ambassador, had secured the third step of the podium for Uzbekistan before Kierkegaard led the way into the jump-off against the clock. And when he lowered the second fence, the young Argentinian, who claimed Children’s team gold at the FEI South American Championships in both 2015 and again in 2016, galloped on to put in the quickest possible time on the board.

So, last into the arena, Sternbach knew that he had four faults in 64.8 seconds to beat. But his confidence took a major blow when he hit the very first fence.

“I meant to go in and jump a slow, nice clear and then the fence fell – luckily it was number one, so I had the time to catch up, but I was super-stressed trying to make it home as quick as I could!” Sternbach said after posting the faster time of 61.87 for the win.

He knew he was fortunate to be partnered with the 15-year-old gelding Aragon, who is normally ridden by Uzbekistan’s Timus Sadikov. “He’s a really nice horse but it took a little bit of time to get used to him. In the Warm-up class we had 13 faults but that was a bit of a wake-up call and we got a lot better after that! He’s very strong and has a very big stride and the courses were built on short distances which was not to my advantage, but he’s a really good jumper and he’s very careful, and as the competition went on we connected really well. He really helped me, especially in that jump-off!” Sternbach said.

Result

FEI World Jumping Challenge Final 2018: Gold – Aragon (Nadav Sternbach) ISR 0/0 61.87; Silver – Ramiro (Richard Kierkegaard) ARG 0/0 64.8; Bronze – Ambassador (Saidamirkhon Turgenboev) UZB 0/1.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Team Silver for Vade Mecum Interagro in North American Youth Championships

Vade Mecum Interagro and Annika Tedlund (Photo courtesy of Annika Tedlund)

North Salem, New York (September 7, 2018) – Winning Team Silver on a silver horse was a dream come true for Annika Tedlund: in her first ever Junior/Young Rider Championship effort, Tedlund and the 17-year-old Lusitano gelding put in strong scores at the USDF North American Young Rider Dressage Team Championship, held during the 2018 Adequan/FEI North American Youth Championships in North Salem, New York. With scores through 67%+, Tedlund was the second highest scoring of her four team members for the combined team of US Regions 4 and 7.

Tedlund began her relationship with Vade Mecum three years prior. After trying him on her birthday in Wellington, she stated that he was different from any horse he had ridden before and he was purchased by her mother, Linnea Tedlund, for Annika to campaign with the goal of qualifying for and competing in the Juniors and Young Riders. Bred and trained by Interagro Lusitanos in Itapira, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Vade Mecum Interagro is by Noblissimo Interagro and out of Pecunia Interagro. Noblissimo Interagro is by the celebrated Lusitano stallion Xique-Xique (CI) and maintains a legacy of successful sport competition and highly decorated offspring. With wins at the FEI level in Brazil and the US, Vade Mecum was no exception to this legacy.

Tedlund, with the help of her trainer Alison Sader Larson, began the long road of perfecting the Young Rider test and earning qualifying scores. Working on Vade’s fitness, as well as Tedlund’s execution, the pair progressed quickly and Tedlund notes that Vade’s exceptional temperament, willingness, and ride ability were major factors in their success, including their own personal best score of 67.029%. “Vade felt amazing at the show, and every day he got better and better,” said Tedlund. “Getting Team Silver was incredibly exciting, and Vade was really excited to be in the arena but stayed focus on his job! After two days we were ranked in the top 18 so we were able to do our Freestyle, which I wasn’t expecting as it was my first time at the Championships. We had a few little mistakes, but I’m thrilled with Vade and our results. He really gave it all he had the whole week.”

While Vade is all business in the ring, Tedlund also noted his wonderful personality in the barn as well as under saddle. “Every single time I hop on him just gets better,” she said. “He tries so hard to do everything right and loves to show off. He’s very supple, and the lateral movements come easy for him, which made it easy for us to up the degree of difficulty in our Freestyle. He also collects very well and his piaffe is exceptional. His intelligence makes training him very easy for me; we do an exercise once. He never acts up at the show, likes to go hacking even after being inside all winter, and is a total goof around the barn. He just loves being with people and enjoys grooming time. He loves to be pampered. Vade also gets very attached to his rider, and I think this contributes to him trying so hard in training and at shows.”

Naturally Tedlund’s goals with him are to move up the levels, with the ultimate goal of competing in the Grand Prix, but she also thinks another trip to the Young Rider Championships isn’t out of the question: “[The Championships] were an amazing experience. Being part of a team was something I really enjoyed and would like to do again. I loved being with riders my age that were competing at the same level as me, and who were all so skilled and talented. The horses were amazing to watch, and riding in front of 5 judges was really a unique experience. It definitely left me craving for more, and I’d also like to show in Wellington. I can’t thank my trainer enough for her guidance; her time and effort helped us come so far and reach my goals. With her help I achieved beyond what I ever could have expected at our first big show. I’m very lucky to have such a great horse, a great trainer, and supportive parents.”

With over 40 years of experience breeding, training, and exporting Lusitanos, Interagro’s mission is to preserve the exceptional bloodlines and qualities of the breed while showcasing their talent, beauty, and intelligence, especially in the FEI and sport horse disciplines. Established in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga, Interagro’s initial vision was to preserve and restore the original foundational Lusitano bloodlines and lineages, many of which were in danger of extinction following the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. Through meticulous breeding, exceptional care, and world-class training, the Interagro Lusitanos of today continue that legacy as they compete across four continents.

For more information on Interagro Lusitanos, Interagro’s horses for sale, or the Lusitano bloodlines, visit Interagro’s website at www.lusitano-interagro.com.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com
+1 954 205 7992

O’Neill Stands Alone with Only Clear to Earn First Longines Victory in Vancouver

Uma O’Neill with Clockwise of Greenhill Z. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

It only took one round of jumping to determine the winner of the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver (CAN). Uma O’Neill (USA) jumped the only clear round aboard Clockwise of Greenhill Z to win the class without a jump-off.

Second to jump the Alan Wade (IRL) designed track, O’Neill’s round held sway as the only faultless performance throughout the remainder of the 29-strong field. Defending champion Conor Swail (IRL) and Rubens La Silla finished second with the fastest 4-fault round (74.26 seconds), knocking only a careful plank vertical that fell often throughout the afternoon. Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) and Tino la Chapelle (4, 75.87) finished third. O’Neill’s win was her first in a World Cup qualifier.

“I am ecstatic. I just went out and gave it everything I could today and asked a little bit extra of myself and my horse, and it really paid off!” — Uma O’Neill (USA)

Wade challenged the riders with numerous technical nuances on course. The course designer from the 2018 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Paris (FRA) said he never designs with a number of clear rounds in mind.

“There were a lot of little tests out there,” he said. “[The course] was solved very early on — second horse in — so we knew it was solvable. There were a lot of riders with 4 faults that, I believe, felt that if they had a second chance, they would have gone clear. But that’s one of the great things about show jumping: You get one chance, and you have to take it. We got a lot of excitement and anxiety from people knocking polls late [in the class]. It doesn’t all have to be about speed [in a jump-off]. It is showjumping after all. I think it was good sport.”

The competition at Vancouver was the first of the 2018-2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, which will send seven east coast U.S. riders, three west coast U.S. riders, two Canadian riders, two Mexican riders and defending World Cup Champion Beezie Madden (USA) to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg (SWE) in April 2019. O’Neill, 23, now leads the standings of the west coast sub league with 20 points.

Swail declared for the east coast sub league, so he takes over those standings with 17 points. Salgado, meanwhile, will move into the runner-up slot in the west coast with 15 points.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

FEI Jumping World Cup North American League Enters Season with 2nd Straight World Champion

Beezie Madden (USA) clinches her second World Cup title riding Breitling LS in a cliffhanger at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals 2017/18 Paris, (FRA). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

When Beezie Madden (USA) landed off the final fence at the 2018 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Paris (FRA) with Breitling LS, her final, nearly perfect score of 4 not only secured the Cazenovia, NY native her second career victory in a World Cup Final, but it also marked the second straight year the North American League (NAL) produced the World Cup Champion.

The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League will begin its fourth season Sunday 26 August 2018 at 2:00 pm (PT) at Thunderbird Show Park, Langley (CAN). The CSI 4*-W event kick-starts a league that has continued to grow in stature, as Madden’s Parisian victory followed up a win for McLain Ward (USA) and HH Azur in Omaha (USA) the previous year. The back-to-back American triumphs in show jumping’s most prestigious individual indoor championship give the North American League a 2/3 strike rate at the World Cup Final since the league’s inception in 2015.

The North American League is divided into two sub-leagues, with both the East Coast and West Coast receiving a new location in the 2018-2019 season. Columbus (USA) will serve as the second stop on the east coast on Sunday 7 October 2018, while Leon (MEX) will conclude the west coast sub league on Saturday 9 February 2018.

In addition to Madden, who receives automatic qualification as the event’s defending Champion, seven east coast USA riders, three west coast USA riders, two Canadian riders, and two Mexican riders will punch their tickets to the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg (SWE), which begins on 3 April 2019. Riders may earn points in up to seven qualifying events throughout the league season, and their four best results from those classes will count toward their final league standing.

An exciting cast of riders is headed to Langley, including the USA’s Jennifer Gates, Eve Jobs, three-time World Cup Final veteran Karl Cook, and 2012 World Cup Champion, Richard Fellers. The entries also include the California-based Ashlee Bond, who is set to represent Israel in the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (USA) in September. Alison Robitaille (USA) and Richard Spooner (USA) who both qualified for the World Cup Final last season, are also slated to compete. Together, they have 20 World Cup Final appearances between them.

“The World Cup Final is the type of competition where you really have to have the right horse at the right time, and all cylinders have to be firing…” — Richard Spooner (USA)

“Anytime you start a World Cup season, you’re just hoping to get some good points early, so there’s not a lot of pressure on you at the end,” said Spooner, who led the west coast standings of the North American League last season. “The finals are in Gothenburg this season, and it’s a nice, big arena with a lot of history — that’s where it really all began with the World Cup. It’s an exciting year.”

Spooner plans to compete the 9-year-old Quirado RC in the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Langley. The big grey, who finished fourth in Thermal’s World Cup class last season, won two five-star ranking classes this summer at Spruce Meadows (CAN). The gelding also finished fourth in the CSIO5* $235,000 Longines Grand Prix at Langley in May. His partner in Paris was the 11-year-old Chatinus, who won the World Cup qualifier at Las Vegas in 2017.

“I’m looking forward to [Langley],” Spooner said. “Quirado is a 9-year-old and a little green, but he’s an extraordinary horse. I’m hoping to have Chatinus do some of the indoor [qualifiers] in the tighter indoor rings later in the season.”

“The World Cup Final is the type of competition where you really have to have the right horse at the right time, and all cylinders have to be firing,” Spooner said. “The [North American League qualifiers] really set you up for that and let you know if everything is going in the right direction, or if you’re better off waiting for another year and another opportunity. The World Cup Final is always the highlight of the indoor season, and as a major, I enjoy it.”

View the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League Calendar here.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Fry Cooks Up a Storm at Exloo

Jil-Marielle Becks GER (silver), Charlotte Fry GBR (gold), and Lisa Maria Klossinger GER (bronze) at the FEI European Dressage Championships U25. FEI/Leanjo de Koster, DigiShots,

Exciting British newcomer, Charlotte Fry (22), posted her second sensational victory of the past two weeks when winning the Freestyle at the FEI European Dressage U25 Championships 2018 in Exloo, The Netherlands. Just days ago, the Dutch-based Yorkshire rider, who trained with British legend Carl Hester during her teenage years, claimed the 7-Year-Old title with Glamourdale at the Longines FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships in Ermelo (NED). She added another gold medal to her collection when posting a great score of 82.145 with the lovely 10-year-old gelding, Dark Legend, to be crowned U25 Freestyle champion.

The result ensured she went home with a full set of colours, having posted the biggest individual score in Wednesday’s Team Championship to boost Great Britain to bronze medal position, and slotting into silver medal spot behind Grand Prix winner Jil-Marielle Becks (20) from Germany.

“I’m in shock – this is all really unexpected!” — Charlotte Fry (GBR)

Becks was joined by Bianca Nowag (Fair Play), Juliette Piotrowski (Sir Diamond), and Lisa-Maria Klossinger (FBW Daktari) to top the team standings with a score of 219.706 which left them well ahead of their Dutch rivals in silver medal spot. Carlijn Huberts (Watoeshi), Maxime van der Vlist (Bailey), Denis Nekeman (Boston STH), and Jeanine Nieuwenhuis (TC Athene) racked up a final tally of 212.765 for The Netherlands. But the British foursome of Fry, Ryan Todd (Charlex Eskebjerg), Rebecca Jane Edwards (Headmore Delegate), and Claire Gallimore (Annette Ballerina) were hot on their heels in bronze when posting 212.118.

Becks, who with her 10-year-old chestnut gelding Damon’s Satelite was an individual bronze medallist at the Young Rider Championships in Valencia (ESP) in 2016, won the Grand Prix with a score of 75.385, while Fry took silver when posting 75.308. Bronze went to Denmark’s Victoria Vallentin (20) who rode Ludwig der Sonnenkoenig to a mark of 74.000.

Fry turned the tables, however, when pinning Becks into silver in the Freestyle, and it was the German rider’s team-mate, Klossinger (25), who scooped bronze this time around with FBW Daktari.

“I trained with Carl when I was 14 to 17 years old, and then moved to Holland when I just turned 18. Carl actually suggested I should come over to work with Anne Van Olst who is my trainer now, so he put this opportunity my way and I’m very grateful for that!” — Charlotte Fry (GBR)

She said that Dark Legend is a very nervous horse. “This is the first show he felt confident in the ring, so he peaked at a good time!” she pointed out. “Today was a really good test; he couldn’t have been better; he really rose to the music and danced to it!” she added.

And her plans for the future? “To compete at the Olympic Games someday – but for now I just want to get my feet back on the ground and start training again!” she said.

Everyone was singing the praises of the venue at Hippisch Centrum Exloo where the Organising Committee stepped up to the plate at very short notice following the withdrawal of Roosendaal. And the quality of the performances from the Dressage world’s rising stars left even the judges in awe. “What we saw here this week was almost at the same level as senior riders, and it’s really very exciting!” said Ground Jury President, Francis Verbeek-van-Rooy.

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Lots of Gold for Germany and Great Britain while Sweden Tops Individual Jumping

The British Eventing team of Ellie Healy, Hattie Grace, Saffron Osborne, and Daisy Proctor. (FEI/Adam Fanthorpe)

Germany claimed all gold in Dressage while Great Britain dominated Eventing and took the Jumping team title. However, the Swedish flag also flew high on the final day of the FEI European Pony Championships 2018 at Bishop Burton College in Yorkshire (GBR) when Ingemar Hammarstrom stood top of the individual Jumping podium.

Dressage

The German Dressage whitewash began in the Team event in which Moritz Treffinger (Top Queen), Jana Lang (NK Cyril), Julia Barbian (Der Kleine Konig) and Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel (Massimiliano FH) joined forces to post the winning score of 226.286. Denmark took silver on 219.028 and The Netherlands finished close behind in bronze on a final tally of 218.715.

Treffinger was outstanding all week, taking triple gold when also topping the Individual and Kur to Music competitions with his 10-year-old mare. And Denmark’s Alexander Yde Helgstrand was also highly impressive when claiming triple silver with his 12-year-old gelding Adriano B. Jana Lang claimed Individual bronze, but it was her German team-mate Barbian who stood on the third step of the podium in the Kur.

Treffinger looks to have real star potential, judges Jacques Van Daele, Yuri Romanov, Isobel Wessels, Elke Ebert, and Maja Stukelj all placing him first for a big total of 81.875% in the Kur which he performed to David Guetta music.

Eventing

It was a story-book finish when Britain’s Saffron Osborne claimed Eventing Team and Individual gold with the extraordinary 13-year-old Little Indian Feather – a lucky pony who was given a second chance and never looked back.

In very poor condition when rescued from a pound as a two-year-old by the Hennessy family from Waterford in Ireland, the mare survived a near-fatal injury and then produced a surprise foal before beginning her Eventing career and eventually moving on across the Irish Sea. She took Team and Individual silver for Osborne at last summer’s Championships in Hungary, and this year the pair went one better when claiming double-gold.

In fifth place on a score of 28 after Dressage, they added nothing on cross-country day to move into the individual lead, and the 16-year-old daughter of trainer and former National Hunt jockey Jamie Osborne found herself with a fence in hand coming to the closing stages of yesterday’s final showjumping phase.

“I didn’t say to myself that I could have a fence down. I didn’t want to jinx anything and rode it like there was nothing in hand. I know that my pony’s a careful jumper but until you’ve gone over the finishing line you can’t be certain!” — Saffron Osborne (GBR)

Ireland’s Sophie Foyle claimed silver with Little Miss Fernhill while Osborne’s team-mate, Daisy Proctor, took bronze with Holiday Chase. And the British side that also included Hattie Grace riding Noble Superman and Ellie Healy partnering Midnight Dancer were crowned Team champions ahead of Ireland in silver and France who finished just one penalty point further adrift in bronze.

Jumping

The battle for the Jumping Team title was a thriller, with the hosts claiming gold ahead of Sweden and a fierce fight between France and Ireland for the bronze. Clare Whitaker, wife of Olympic legend John Whitaker and mother of Louise and Robert, who also compete at the very top end of the sport, was British Chef d’Equipe. “It meant a lot to win on home soil,” she said.

As other nations started to struggle during the second round the GB girls kept their cool. Shaunie Greig with Casino Royale and Claudia Moore riding Elando van de Roshoeve knew they had the gold medal in the bag after third rider Perdi Digby posted a clear with Kayleighs Star to leave them on eight faults. They had a nine-fault advantage over Sweden in silver, but the French and Irish were tied on 20 faults so all four riders from each team had to jump off once more for the bronze. And it went right to the wire, with France shaving a few precious seconds off the time to clinch it.

Although the gold was won, fourth British team member Nicole Lockhead Anderson still rode her final round with Gangham Style – yet another clear – to keep her very much in the running for the individual medals, but it was Moore who came off best for the home side on the final day. The winner was undisputed as 15-year-old Ingemar Hammarstrom and his bay gelding Ocean des As were just too good for the rest when not touching a pole all week to take the title for Sweden.

With just four faults on the board, Ireland’s Max Wachman and Cuffesgrange Cavalidam earned the silver but it took a two-way showdown with the French partnership of Romane Orhant and Quabar des Monceaux before Moore claimed the bronze with the quickest time in a third-round jump-off.

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Awesome Austrians Win Europe Division 2 Final in Budapest

Felix Koller with Captain Future 3. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Team Austria earned promotion to Division 1 next season with a definitive victory at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Hungary in Budapest (HUN). And they’ll join their Hungarian hosts at the Longines 2018 World Final in Barcelona (ESP) in eight weeks’ time, as the top two teams in this Europe Division 2 decider are entitled to contest the lucrative annual clash of champions.

Three clears in the first round gave the Austrians the early edge and they didn’t flinch to finish on a zero scoreline. It was a superb weekend for anchorman Max Kuhner (44).

“I’m feeling pretty good because I won the Longines Grand Prix on Friday with Cielito Lindo and now I’m on the winning Nations Cup team with PSG Final!” — Max Kuhner (AUT)

All the more creditable was the fact that his Nations Cup horse is just an eight-year-old, the lovely bay gelding securing one of those pivotal foot-perfect runs in the opening round. It was Christian Rhomberg (27) who led the way for the winning side with an eight-fault result from Saphyr des Lacs, but when Julia Houtzager-Kayser (44) and rising star Felix Koller (21) made no mistake, then Kuhner wrapped up the early advantage.

However, the Hungarians were in hot pursuit as round two got underway, sharing a four-fault tally with Portugal and the Czech Republic while Norway was next in line carrying nine. The Norwegian side was almost a completely Gulliksen-family affair with son and daughter, Victoria and Johan-Sebastian, joining their father Geir along with Lisa Ulven. And they just missed the cut to the Barcelona Final when completing with 13 faults, only one point behind Hungary at the end of the day. Portugal finished fourth while Czech Republic had to settle for fifth ahead of Poland, Greece and the three-man Bulgarian team who brought up the rear.

The course designed by Germany’s Werner Deeg had some difficult lines as Houtzager-Kayser explained. “The water to the double at fences six and seven, and the line from the triple bar to the vertical and the oxer from eight to ten – none of that was easy!” she pointed out. However, she was well-pleased when her 14-year-old stallion Sterrehof’s Cayetano Z racked up an impressive double-clear, the only other coming from the 11-year-old Captain Future 3 ridden by team-mate Koller.

This young man, who has been based with the legendary Paul Schockemohle in Germany for the last six months, claimed individual Young Rider bronze at the Longines FEI European Championships in Fontainebleau (FRA) four weeks ago and looks to have a big future ahead of him.

“This was my first 5-Star Nations Cup and my horse was amazing; he is owned by my Austrian sponsor and he always gives his heart to me whenever we go in the ring!” — Felix Koller (AUT)

The prospect of fielding a team at the Longines 2018 Final in a few weeks’ time and of competing in Europe Division one next year all seemed quite overwhelming because Austria has a limited number of horses and riders at the top end of the sport. “Christian and Max will be competing at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon so we may have to find different horses for Barcelona, but this is so exciting – I can hardly believe it!” Koller said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Mexicans Live the Dream in Dublin

Patricio Pasquel celebrates in a sombrero after jumping two brilliant clear rounds with Babel. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

They arrived as complete underdogs to take on many of the best nations in the world, but Team Mexico turned the sport on its head when winning the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Ireland in Dublin (IRL). This last leg of the Europe Division 1 series was electrifying from beginning to end, and incredibly tense in the closing stages with the home crowd willing their own boys to win it.

But Eugenio Garza Perez (22) and his veteran team-mates Federico Fernandez (50), Patricio Pasquel (46) and Enrique Gonzalez (54) enjoyed the warmest reception, including a great big Mexican wave, from the 20,000 spectators when producing three second-round clears to pin Ireland, France, and Italy into joint-runner-up spot. Mexico had never won at the Irish fixture before and it was 37 years since they last contested the coveted Aga Khan trophy at the historic Royal Dublin Society showgrounds. So along with their delighted Chef d’Equipe Stany van Paesschen they didn’t hold back on the celebrations afterwards.

“I’ve been doing this sport a long time and I’ve never had a day like this!” said Gonzalez, whose last-to-go effort proved the clincher. “The Mexicans were really incredible; they came back in the second round with real determination and when you’re in contention in a Nations Cup that’s how you have to ride,” Irish Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa added.

It seemed the reigning European Champions from Ireland would have it all their own way when they cruised into the lead on a zero score at the halfway stage, with Italy snapping at their heels on four faults followed by USA, Mexico and France carrying eight apiece. The Swiss, British, and Dutch were already down the line, eventually finishing sixth, seventh and eighth while USA slotted ahead of them in fifth despite being hampered by elimination for Jamie Barge (Luebbo) at the water in both rounds.

Mexican pathfinder Garza Perez (Victer Finn) showed a dramatic improvement from his 12-fault first-round effort when clear second time out, and when Pasquel (Babel) produced one of four double-clears of the day and Gonzalez (Chacna) wrapped it up by also being foot-perfect all the pressure was on the Italians and Irish. And both faltered, adding four faults to complete along with France on a total of 12 as Team Mexico made history and a whole lot of new Irish friends.

“It’s a dream come true. Since we got the invitation we have not stopped dreaming about this moment. We worked hard to be here and we enjoyed every second!” said Fernandez who posted two four-fault scores with Landpeter do Feroleto. This is a very unique horse-and-rider partnership; both are survivors. Federico was involved in a devastating air-crash that left many dead in 1987, and Peter, as the horse is known, also suffered serious injury in a lorry accident that nearly took his life. The pure joy of success was written all over every Mexican face, and Federico was in tears at the post-competition press conference.

“After what happened to me I feel an obligation to be happy, and today was one of the happiest days of my life!” he said. Garza Perez was happy too because he is trained by Irish showjumping legend Eddie Macken and was disappointed with his three mistakes in the first round.  But he put it all right when clear at his second attempt. “I was anxious not to let Eddie down and I hope today was as good for him as it was for me. It’s really out of a dream; it’s incredible!”

This result confirms Belgium as winners of the Europe Division 1 series with Ireland finishing a close second, just five points behind. Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Great Britain, and Sweden fill the next five places on the leaderboard and all seven countries will compete at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October. However, Germany and Italy have missed the cut and the Spanish who have finished last at the end of the 2018 season will be relegated to Europe Division 2 next year.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145