Category Archives: FEI

Counting Down to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2019 Series

Nicola Philippaerts of the winning Belgian team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Barcelona 2018 Final (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Celebrating the 110th season of team sport at its very best

The excitement is already building ahead of the opening round of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 series which will kick off at Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida (USA) next month. This top-class team sport, which combines national pride and passion with super-sharp competition, is as fresh as ever as it celebrates its 110th season.

Trust and understanding between horses and their riders, solidarity amongst the team members and their support crews, and the unique camaraderie between athletes from a wide range of countries as they challenge for the title they all want to win sets this series apart from the rest. It’s the battlefield of the greats, and each and every horseman and horsewoman want to place their names amongst those who have gone before them in pursuit of Nations Cup glory.

The Wellington fixture is part of the three-leg North America, Central America & Caribbean league that also includes a visit to Coapexpan (MEX) in May and to Langley (CAN) in June. There will be a single qualifier for the Middle East region at Abu Dhabi (UAE) in February, while the sole Europe Division 2 qualifier looks set to take place in Athens (GRE), with full details yet to be confirmed.

For the 10 Europe Division 1 teams the edge-of-the-seat action gets underway at La Baule (FRA) in May, and from there it moves on to St Gallen (SUI), Sopot (POL) and Geesteren (NED) in June, and then to Falsterbo (SWE) and Hickstead (GBR) in July. This league is always hotly contested, with emotions running particularly high when riders are flying their country’s flag in front of their home crowd. The last of the seven legs in this division will take place in Dublin (IRL) in August, and each team has been allocated four specific qualifying opportunities, with all four results counting in the battle for a qualifying spot at the 2019 Final.

The reigning champions from Belgium have been allocated points-gaining opportunities at La Baule, Sopot, Geesteren, and Hickstead, and after their heady win in 2018 they will be hoping to do it all over again.

Peter Weinberg’s “Never Give Up Team” demonstrated the very essence of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ concept when producing a gutsy, determined performance to clinch victory in the super-tough finale at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP) last October. They had only just climbed back into Europe Division 1 after relegation, so their victory was all the sweeter.

“We call ourselves the “Never Give Up Team” because we were fighting to the very last rider!” said the Belgian Chef d’Equipe that day.

For the seventh successive season the Final will return to the Spanish venue from 3 to 10 October this year, and there will be an extra-special edge to it. Because along with the hugely prestigious Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 trophy, the last remaining qualifying spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will also be up for grabs. This will go to the highest-placed team not already qualified, so as the race to earn a starting spot at the 2019 Final begins there is a whole lot hanging in the balance, and fantastic days of superb sport ahead.

Don’t miss a hoofbeat….

Calendar details here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Communications Department
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 73

Power Brings the Honours Back to Ireland Once Again

Katie Power (centre), Red Morgan (left), and Nicole Lockhead Anderson (right). (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Britain’s Morgan and Lockhead Anderson finished second and third

For the second year running, Ireland stood top of the podium when Katie Power stormed to victory with Ghost Rider in the FEI Ponies’ Jumping Trophy Final at Mechelen, Belgium. In a thrilling deciding class that went right down to the wire, the 15-year-old from Dungarvan in County Waterford produced the only double-clear performance to leave the result beyond doubt.

Britain’s Red Morgan (14) with Bodyssee des Avelines and Nicole Lockhead Anderson (16) riding Gangnam Style ll finished second and third, while Sweden’s Ebba Danielsson, who is only 12 years old, lined up in fourth place with Dynamite Spartacus.

“In the last round I was lying second and I knew I had to go clear. Red was in the lead but he made a mistake and I won – I can hardly believe it!” — Katie Power (IRL)

Power finished tenth individually and was a member of the Irish team that just missed out on bronze at the FEI European Pony Championships at Bishops Burton (GBR) this summer.

At the inaugural FEI Ponies’ Jumping Trophy Final 12 months ago, Ireland’s Seamus Hughes-Kennedy reigned supreme, and the Irish came out in big numbers again this year with Power lying third after the three qualifying legs staged in Herning (DEN) and Lyon (FRA) in October and at Stuttgart (GER) in November. It was Portugal’s Molly Hughes Bravo who topped the leaderboard going into the Final, with Ireland’s Max Wachman, Power, Charlotte Houston, and Aisling McGuinness filling the next four places, and Britain’s Shaunie Greig in sixth ahead of compatriot Lockhead Anderson in seventh place. But there was a big shake-up of the standings during the week.

There was plenty of pressure in the preliminary classes, and it was Lockhead Anderson, a member of the European gold medal winning British side at Bishops Burton, who came out on top in Thursday’s first speed competition in which Power finished eighth. In Friday’s second qualifier it was Morgan who headed the line-up, with Power again down the line in seventh spot.

But her pony, the 16-year-old Irish-bred grey gelding Ghost Rider, is a veteran at this level of competition and just kept improving. He seemed to know that this was the day, and never touched a pole to clinch it. “Day one was not very good because my helmet slipped and I had two fences down. Day two was better with only one down, and today my pony jumped amazing!” Power explained.

Mechelen Sport Director, Peter Bollen, explained the concept of the FEI Jumping Ponies’ Trophy.

“This series was created to help pony riders and young riders to get to a better level. The first year was not easy, but now we have a lot of riders willing to compete and they learn a lot by going to shows alongside the 5-Star riders.” — Peter Bollen (Sport Director, Mechelen)

He had some exciting news about the future of the series which will, once again, conclude at the Belgian venue next December. “In 2019 there will be four qualifiers, because the December show in Paris will join the series,” he confirmed.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Ahlmann Is the Master at Mechelen

Christian Ahlmann and Clintrexo Z. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Kevin Staut is runner-up in four-way battle of legends

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann (44) clinched a thrilling last-to-go victory at the ninth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at the Nekkerhal Stadium in Mechelen, Belgium. In a tense competition from which only four of the 39 starters emerged to battle it out against the clock, the crowd was treated to a feast of legendary proportions, because these were four of the greatest masters of their craft, and they put on an exhibition of showjumping at its very best.

Ahlmann is a four-time Olympian and former FEI World Cup™ champion, and it was Rio 2016 Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut (38) from France whom he pinned into runner-up spot, while World No. 1, The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders (38), lined up in third. Ahlmann’s compatriot, Ludger Beerbaum (55) has long been one of the biggest names in the sport, but this time around he had to settle for fourth when things didn’t quite go his way in the jump-off.

The first-round course set by Belgium’s Eddy Geysemans tested horses every inch of the way, with the first fence, the double at eight, and the triple combination at 10 all taking a steady toll. But only a single time fault kept Ireland’s Denis Lynch (The Sinner), Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca (Armitages Boy), and Celine Schoonbroodt-de Azevedo (Chepetta), one of 13 Belgian contenders, from making the cut into the second round. The 71 seconds time-allowed was tight, but as Geysemans said, “the best riders were able to make it – if we had changed the time after the first three riders, we would have had more clears, but the jump-off was great as it was!”

Staut led the way with a stunning run from his new ride, the 10-year-old Edesa’s Cannary, which he has only been competing since October and which raced through the timers in 40.98 seconds to set the pace. Smolders took time to check his route carefully before setting off with the 14-year-old stallion Don VHP Z, the horse that helped him claim individual silver at the 2017 FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE). But they weren’t quite fast enough when galloping home in 41.42 seconds.

Beerbaum was well in touch when turning to the first of the two remaining elements of the triple combination two fences from home, but he lost his line and the 15-year-old gelding Casello ran past the fence, racking up 14 faults and leaving it wide open for Ahlmann as he set off, last to go. And Ahlmann had his game-face on from the start, weaving his way around the twisting track with the fabulous grey stallion Clintrexo Z who stopped the clock on 39.87 without hardly turning a hair. It was an amazing performance for a horse of just nine years of age.

“We built him up in the stallion approvals and later in young-horse classes, and Judy (his wife Judy-Ann Melchior) did some 3 and 4-Star Grands Prix and then allowed me to take him over and move him up another step. He won in Wiesbaden in May and Münster in August and he’s quickly growing into the big sport now. He really loves it, and he gets better and better week after week.” — Christian Ahlmann (GER)

And he was extra-happy that he did well because his family, including his young son Leon, were watching from the sidelines. He says Clintrexo Z is made of the right stuff for the top end of the sport.

“In the ring he knows exactly what to do and he is afraid of nothing. Whether he’s competing in Aachen or here it wouldn’t make any difference to him; he’s always really positive and tries his best – he’s everything you could wish for!”– Christian Ahlmann (GER)

Now the man who has competed at seven FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals, including Leipzig in 2011 where he came out on top with the great Taloubet Z, has the 2019 Longines Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April in his sights. In sixth place with 46 points on the leaderboard he is easily qualified, and he’s spoiled for choice about which of his horses to take there.

Runner-up Staut was also very happy. “This was my goal coming here – not to be second but to gain more points to get to the Final!” he said, having moved into third with 51 points to his credit.

Basel in Switzerland will stage the next leg of the Western European League series in two weeks’ time.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Dream Win for Minderhoud in Mechelen

Peter Minderhoud and Glock’s Dream Boy NOP. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Glock’s Dream Boy NOP lived up to his name when carrying 2016 champion Hans Peter Minderhoud (45) from The Netherlands to victory at the seventh leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League in Mechelen, Belgium.

At just 10 years of age, this young stallion is demonstrating colossal potential, and his score of 83.665 pinned 2013 series winner Helen Langehanenberg (36) from Germany and Damsey FRH into second, while the super-exciting Portuguese partnership of Maria Caetano (32) and Coroado strutted their way into third.

The final five all produced stunning performances, with Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen (35) finishing fourth with Dante Weltino OLD despite some miscommunications early in their test, and Ireland’s Judy Reynolds (37) making a great comeback with Vancouver K to line up in fifth place.

Mechelen was also making a welcome come-back this week after a few years’ absence from the FEI Dressage World Cup™ circuit. So just before the prizegiving ceremony was perfect timing for an emotional farewell tribute to Tiamo, the 18-year-old gelding that carried Belgium’s Jorinde Verwimp to many great moments and who finished eighth on their very last outing together.

Minderhoud’s win is another milestone in the rapid progression being made by his still quite inexperienced young horse, who won the Grand Prix and finished third in the Freestyle at Olympia, London (GBR) just before Christmas. “He only did a few Grand Prix competitions before qualifying for Tryon (FEI World Equestrian Games) this year – it was a bit early for him in his career, so after that I gave him a long rest and then restarted at Olympia. That wasn’t the most easy show for him to come back to, and I was not so happy with how he felt… he had been going so well at home. But then I bring him to another show here in Mechelen ten days later and he is super – I mean super!” said the delighted Dutchman.

“Here he was much more focused, not like at Olympia where I had to survive it a little! Today I could ride to the point, and he was really trying for me!” — Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED)

Caetano and her adorable grey Lusitano, Coroado, set a whole new standard when posting 80.160 when fifth last to go of the 15 starters. At the fourth leg of the Western European League in Madrid (ESP) last month they scored 77.655 for third place, but things didn’t go to plan at Olympia where their mark of 73.900 left them well down the line. There’s something really special about this pair who have sprung to prominence recently, however, and they both looked radiant after showing the most fabulous passage and piaffe, and a great sense of harmony, during their wonderful performance.

Langehanenberg bettered that when scoring 82.880 despite testing the nerve of Judge at C, Belgium’s Jacques van Daele, as she powered to a very late halt. And although Reynolds and her 16-year-old gelding didn’t challenge for the top spot, their new routine to a wonderful compilation of traditional Irish music had the spectators’ toes tapping and put 78.570 on the board.

Nilshagen’s chances were hampered when her horse dropped the contact early in their test, but with a degree of difficulty of 10 and the stallion’s breathtaking extended canter, they clawed it back to put 80.090 on the board. So Minderhoud was chasing Langehanenberg’s leading score as he set off, last to go, and Dream Boy didn’t let him down. He’s a horse that’s growing in confidence all the time, and after winning the Grand Prix he was always the one to beat.

“He’s a very sweet horse, and because he’s seen all the things that approved stallions see at a young age, he’s not really spooky or anything. In the beginning I felt he went into himself a bit in big arenas, but yesterday and today he was much happier.” — Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED)

With just three more qualifiers to go in the Western European League, the next port of call is on Minderhoud’s home turf in the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam at the end of January. Having moved up to joint-third on the leaderboard, he’s looking forward to getting to the 2019 Final next April in Gothenburg, Sweden, which is where he won the coveted FEI Dressage World Cup™ title two years ago.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

An Exell-ent Day for the FEI Driving World Cup

FEI Driving World Cup™ Presented by Dodson & Horrell was won by Australia’s Boyd Exell in a gripping two round competition.

The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes was won by Daniel Deusser (GER) riding Cornet.

The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Archie Gubb riding Gruntness Inogee and the evening performance by Poppy Dadson riding Merkisayre Sea Duble.

The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals was won by multiple Olympia champion Natasha Wise and Pebbles.

Exell Sets the Standard Again

The world’s most outstanding four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell, crowned an exemplary week of Extreme and FEI World Cup™ driving competition with a win in the final round of the FEI Driving World Cup™ presented by Dodson & Horrell.

“I’m so pleased with my horses,” the Australian driver and trainer said. “Five years ago I had a superb team and I’ve spent the intervening years trying to replicate it. With the two new horses I’ve recently put in to the mix, I feel I’m really getting close. They just get faster and faster.”

Experienced Dutch driver Koos de Ronde, who has competed every year since driving became part of the Olympia programme, was Exell’s closest challenger after the first round, with Belgian Glenn Geerts in third place.

These three returned for a drive-off, which got off to a dramatic start when one of Geerts’ horses slipped turning to come off the bridge. Driving is a close-knit community and fellow competitors flew to help; happily, all four horses were up in moments and the Olympia crowd showed their appreciation by giving Geerts a standing ovation.

Quickly regaining his focus, de Ronde drove a proficient round, bettering his time but picking up a 4-second penalty. Exell again put his foot to the floor to drive his fourth clear round, knocking three seconds off his first-round time to take the victory and extend his lead in the rankings.

“Olympia was very brave to agree to stage this competition eight years ago, but it has been so well supported by Dodson & Horrell and Hugh and Karen Scott-Barrett. The drivers love it; it’s a highlight of the World Cup calendar and it’s an honour to be here.”

British competitor Daniel Naprous, whose stunt work can be seen in Wonder Woman, The Crown, and Peaky Blinders, has steadily improved his times during the week and finished fifth overall.

Cornet Hits a High Note

Germany’s Daniel Deusser, the world number seven, set a fast pace in the jump-off of The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes to take the class on the 14-year-old grey Cornet, by the leading jumping sire Cornet Obolensky.

This class bucked the trend, with only four through to the jump-off. First to go, Deusser, who rides for Stephex Stables in Belgium, set a fast pace with a clear in 31.25 seconds. Simon Delestre for France on Conbelleza also left all the fences up but was fractionally slower in 32.07 seconds.

Maikel van der Vleuten was third for the Netherlands on Idi Utopia and William Funnell, who has now moved up to second place behind Geir Gulliksen in the Leading Rider of the Show rankings, was fourth on Billy Diamo.

“I expected there to be more clear rounds, but the track had lots of bends off corners and that seemed to be causing trouble,” explained Deusser, who will ride Cornet d’Amour in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. “Cornet is one of my top horses, but sometimes it’s nice to drop him into a smaller height competition so that it’s easy for him.”

The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes

Earlier in the day, Shaunie Greig travelled all the way from Fife to add a win in The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes to her list of prestigious 148cm victories. Riding Casino Royale VIII, she produced the sole double clear of the class.

Shaunie, 15, was the fifth of the six riders to go in the jump-off and, with no faultless performers before her, there was everything to play for.

“I was aiming for the win, so I needed to go clear, but not too crazy,” she said. “I had watched Purdi Digby [who was first to go] so I knew where to go on the course.”

Nicole Lockhead Anderson riding Gangnam Style ll finished second with a fence down.

Tribute to the Late Tim Stockdale

Saturday came to a moving close with the Whitaker family’s annual presentation of the Ryan’s Son Trophy for services to the sport. This year, with many of his colleagues looking on, it was presented posthumously to Tim Stockdale whose wife Laura and sons Joe and Mark were there to collect it.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

William Whitaker Wows the Crowd with Emotional Win at Olympia

William Whitaker with Utamaro d’Ecaussines. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

There’s nothing quite like a big win in front of the home crowd to trigger the emotions, but Great Britain’s William Whitaker (29) wasn’t the only one with a tear in his eye after he reigned supreme in the eighth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at Olympia in London (GBR). The packed stadium of spectators went wild with delight when their own man soared to victory over a world-class field in an 18-horse jump-off that was a nail-biter to the final footfall.

“It’s surreal! Since I’ve been coming here as a kid this has been a dream, and I can’t believe it’s actually happened!” — William Whitaker (GBR)

This was the biggest result of Whitaker’s career to date, as he pinned Belgium’s Karel Cox (36) into runner-up spot while American star, Laura Kraut (53), lined up in third.

With so many jumping clear over the first track presented by Portuguese course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral, it was never going to be easy to come out on top, but Whitaker had no doubt about his plan. “The World Cup at Olympia is like a Championship: you get one shot at it every year and it’s all got to come together on the day. I told myself, if you’re clear in the first round then don’t hold back!” – and he certainly didn’t when seventh to go with Utamaro d’Ecaussines.

He’s long had a superb relationship with the courageous 14-year-old stallion, and when the pair set the target at 37.02 seconds with the smoothest of fast rounds in which every fence seemed to come up in exactly the right spot, and every turn was pure perfection, then that really put it up to the rest of them.

However, two horses later it seemed Karel Cox and the nine-year-old Evert might just catch them when galloping down to the last. But the clock showed 37.21 to leave the Belgian contenders trailing by two-tenths of a second. Whitaker could hardly bear the tension.

“It was torture! Especially the last few – every one that goes by you get closer to the win, and it’s not just anyone; it’s the best riders in the world!” — William Whitaker (GBR)

Third-last to go was the magical German and world no. 4, Marcus Ehning, with his Geneva winner Pret a Tout. But when they turned too tight to the penultimate vertical, they paid the price with a pole down in the quickest time of 36.03 seconds.

Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander and Vinchester, winners of the previous leg at La Coruña in Spain two weeks ago, made a wider turn there to come home clear in 38.17, but Laura Kraut and Zeremonie looked a real threat when last into the ring. The pair who helped clinched team gold for the USA at the FEI World Equestrian Games in September stormed home with a determined run, but their time of 37.70 seconds would only prove good enough for third. It was destined to be William Whitaker’s day, and he could hardly believe it.

He was of course following in a proud family tradition. His uncles, John and Michael Whitaker, have enjoyed many major successes in the world-famous Grand Hall at Olympia during their spectacular careers. Following in their legendary footsteps means a great deal to their nephew.

“I have memories of watching John and Michael winning the World Cup here – one of the things that got me out of bed in the morning was thinking that someday I could do it too!” — William Whitaker (GBR)

And he was full of praise for Utamaro. “It helps when you’re on a horse like him; he has such a good brain and mentality. In the collecting ring I was struggling to get him into canter, but he just lights up when he goes in the ring; he grows a foot! I’m delighted for the horse and the owners, Jasmin and Ludwig Criel – he’s had fantastic results over the years, but we never won a Grand Prix and I can’t believe it’s this one!” Whitaker said.

He’s got some changes coming up in the new year when he will be relocating to Germany, so he’s not quite clear if he will be in a position to line out in further World Cup qualifiers. “We’ll sit together after Christmas and make a plan,” he said.

For many others chasing down those precious points towards the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April, however, the next port of call is Mechelen in Belgium next weekend.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Frederic Wandres Victorious after Nail-Biting Finish

Day two of Olympia, The London International Horse Show promised to be a spectacle and it certainly lived up to expectations. The FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle supported by Horse & Hound was won by Germany’s Frederic Wandres on his chestnut gelding, Duke of Britain, in a nail-biting finish.

Ahead of the start of the Show’s evening performance, the top eight Service Show Jumpers competed in the Services Jumping Championship. After a closely fought two rounds it was LCpl Laura Charley from 16 Signals Regiment and Vice Versa who took the spoils, with the Royal Navy’s Petty Officer Sophie Fuller and Infinaty and LCpl Holly Hall of 254 Medical Regiment, The Royal Logistics Corps and WKD San Remo slotting into second and third places, respectively.

After the presentation of the awards for the Services Jumping Championship, the crowd was treated to a mesmerising display of natural horsemanship by Spaniard, Santì Serra, who is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished equestrian artists in Europe. Through an astonishing level of trust and confidence, the 30-year-old “Horse Whisperer” from Barcelona demonstrated his extraordinary talent of controlling three of his horses with his mind and body. The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Alfie Diaper and Damerham Briar Lilly.

Duke Demonstrates His Class

The result could not have been closer with two riders finishing on an equal score in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix Freestyle supported by Horse & Hound. The win, however, was awarded to Frederic Wandres and Duke of Britain (80.030%), the first German combination to win the World Cup leg in London. The pair headed the class by virtue of higher artistic marks, meaning British favourite Charlotte Dujardin and Hawtins Delicato had to settle for second place.

Dujardin and ‘Del’ were the first to set the competition alight with their expressive kur set to the familiar compilation from ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ a freestyle which was first performed by Dujardin on Valegro in 2011. Frederic and Duke, third in last night’s Grand Prix, were, however, always going to be a threat and the pair did not disappoint, performing a fluent and mistake free test with a high degree of difficulty. The attractive chestnut, like Delicato, is also British bred and did not miss a beat, willingly performing canter pirouettes to tempi changes and passage to extended trot and back.

“For me to reach the magical 80% is a dream come true, especially in the company of these riders,” said Wandres, who attributes much of his success to the solid temperament of Duke, who is by the well-known stallion Dimaggio and was bred near Windsor by Tony and Sarah Pidgley .

“I trust Duke totally – I could ride him in any arena anywhere and as long as I don’t make a mistake; he won’t make a mistake,” said Wandres, who is now fourth in the FEI World Cup™ ranking.

Dujardin was equally delighted with her ride on ‘Del’.

“Yesterday he was a bit sticky in the arena so today I was better prepared,” said Dujardin, who was taking Del though only his second ever freestyle.

“He is still relatively inexperienced, and nothing can prepare you or your horse for the atmosphere of this arena – which is just the best and there is no show like it,” said Dujardin. “All I really wanted to do was come away with a positive experience, so I couldn’t be any more pleased.”

Dutch Olympian Hans Peter Minderhoud was not quite as happy, having to settle for third place with the young breeding stallion Glocks Dream Boy (77.990%) who sadly, like many others, made some technical mistakes, which ultimately proved too expensive in the loss of marks.

British rider Hayley Watson-Greaves and her longstanding partner Rubins Nite delighted the home crowd with a fluent and assured freestyle that put them in fourth place.

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ series of qualifiers continues through to next April when the final takes place in Gothenburg, Sweden (3-7 April).

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Dream Win for Hans Peter Minderhoud

Olympia, The London International Horse Show opened its door for the first day of the week-long event. The UK’s largest indoor Show saw many of the world’s best Dressage riders out in full force for the newly formatted FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound, which saw Hans Peter Minderhoud clinch the victory with a score of 73.895%. Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin finished close behind on a score of 73.026% to take second.

The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National got off to a flying start as Olive Nicholls, daughter of renowned racing trainer Paul Nicholls, stormed her way to victory, taking the first win of the week. The Grand Hall also applauded a welcomed-return of La Garde Républicaine for the premier evening of the Show, as they displayed their impressive routine to the evening’s spectators.

Hans Peter Minderhoud Takes First Victory of Newly Formatted FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix

Dutchman Hans Peter Minderhoud and the young stallion Glock’s Dream Boy NOP stole the first win of the show, The FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound, at Olympia, The London International Horse Show. It was also the first win at Olympia for Minderhoud who has been second and third on previous occasions.

The combination headed off British golden girl Charlotte Dujardin, who for the show was paired with Hawtins Delicato, the team horse of her mentor Carl Hester. Dujardin and ‘Del’ had the debatable honour of being the first in the class, meaning they were the first ever combination to ride the newly designed and shortened grand prix being piloted at the show, as part of the FEI Dressage World Cup package. The revamp also included an immediate after test dismount and spotlight interview in the arena before the five judges’ scores were revealed.

“It was all very new and different to what we have been used to, but for me it was a really cool moment when the scores came up and I was very happy,” said Minderhoud.

Dujardin was also pleased with her ride and place, especially as she was the test guinea pig.

“I didn’t have the chance to watch anyone ride through the test and Del has never been to an indoor show like this, so I was pleased with him,” said Dujardin.

“Getting off the horse in the arena and having an interview straight away took me back a bit but it was great to have the support of the crowd.”

German debutant Frederic Wandres and the chestnut gelding Duke of Britain claimed an impressive third place on their first visit to the show. The pair produced a fluent test which could have scored higher but for mistakes in the two tempi changes.

“When I saw the arena for the first time, I thought it was just breath-taking,” said Wandres who enjoyed the new test. “I have never been to a show like this before and it is the nicest show I have ever been to.”

“I was nervous about riding the new test, but for me it rode well and my horse coped with the movements and felt really good.”

British judge Stephen Clarke commented: “Yes, the test was quite difficult as the movements come up quickly and are short – it is undoubtedly easier to judge than ride. But the evening as a whole was great; there was a good crowd and you could really feel the interest and enthusiasm – it was a good evening for the sport.”

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Tops-Alexander Makes It a Back-to-Back Double at La Coruña

Edwina Tops-Alexander with Vinchester. (FEI/ Manuel Queimadelos/Oxer Sport)

“Pretty amazing!” was how Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander (44) described her victory in the seventh leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League series in La Coruña, Spain.

For the second consecutive year she out-paced all her rivals to head the line-up at the Casas Novas Equestrian Centre where the packed stadium of spectators enjoyed a thrilling 10-horse jump-off that held them on the edges of their seats to the very end. Last year she came out on top at the same venue with the mare, California, who was just 10 years old at the time. But what made her success all the more spectacular was the fact that she was partnering a nine-year-old stallion called Vinchester who was jumping the biggest track of his entire career.

“I never would have believed that this would happen – he only jumped 1.50m for the first time earlier this week and today was his first 1.60m! If you told me he’d have a few down I wouldn’t have been surprised, so I’m a little bit taken aback!” — Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS)

Runner-up spot went to another nine-year-old, Chalou, ridden by Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano (32) while German legend, Ludger Beerbaum (55), slotted into third with his new ride Cool Feeling.

It was Beerbaum’s compatriot Christian Kukuk who set the target over Javier Trenor’s jump-off track, bringing the handsome stallion Colestus home with a smooth run in 46.85 seconds when first to go. Next in, Sweden’s Irma Karlsson looked set to seriously improve on that, but her quick 10-year-old mare Ida van de Bischop misunderstood the instructions on the approach to the remaining two elements of the triple combination and ran past the second element to put paid to their chances.

Faster rounds were then posted by Frenchman Olivier Robert (Tempo de Paban) and Belgium’s Jos Verlooy (Igor), and when both Helsinki winner Gudrun Patteet (Sea Coast Pebbles Z) and The Netherlands’ Leopold van Asten (VDL Groep Beauty) left a fence on the floor, then it was Verlooy’s 44.24 seconds that Tops-Alexander was chasing. And despite her horse’s inexperience, she set off like a rocket to produce a cracking round that demonstrated the extraordinary courage and ability of her young mount, shaving almost a full two seconds off the target time when clearing the line in 42.26 seconds.

Gaudiano gave it his best shot when breaking the beam in 43.01 with the enigmatic Chalou, whose toe-stretching jumping technique sets him apart from the rest, and when Austria’s Max Kuehner and Chardonnay hit the second fence. then only Beerbaum could steal Tops-Alexander’s thunder. The German giant has only been riding the 10-year-old gelding Cool Feeling, formerly competed by Canada’s Ben Asselin, since September, but the man who has taken four gold medals from seven Olympic Games and who has lined out in 21 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals should never be under-estimated. Beerbaum looked well in touch all the way to the final line where a check saw him stop the clock on 43.26 seconds for third place and a considerable improvement up to 15th spot on the current standings.

This win has boosted Tops-Alexander, who also collected points at the opening leg in Oslo (NOR), to joint-fifth spot and, with 35 points, she is within easy reach of a qualifying place for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April. She’s planning to go to the next leg at Olympia, London (GBR) in two weeks’ time and to Basel in Switzerland where the Western European League will resume on 13 January.

In London her fans will get to see the amazing Vinchester whom she only started riding in August. “He was previously competed by a young French rider called Arthur Le Vot who I never met!” she explained. “He’s a horse with a lot of blood and a great mind; he wants to do everything for me and he’s very sure of himself – he’s great!”

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Werndl Secures Spectacular Win in Salzburg

Benny Werndl with Daily Mirror. (FEI/ Lukasz Kowalski)

Germany’s Benjamin Werndl (34) threw his hat into the ring for a place at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final next April when producing a spectacular victory with Daily Mirror at the fifth leg of the 2018/2019 Western European League in Salzburg, Austria.

The pair’s performance wasn’t perfect, with a few glitches along the way, but the best bits weren’t just good – they were breathtaking. And with only three riders from each nation allowed into the Final, Werndl is putting intense pressure on his German counterparts for one of those slots after moving to the top of the leaderboard alongside compatriot Dorothee Schneider.

It was Sweden’s Patrik Kittel (42) who lined up second with Delatio while Schneider slotted into third with Faustus on a day when all of the leading partnerships really stepped it up to another level. Werndl was almost speechless with delight after topping both Grand Prix and Freestyle.

“This horse is a gift… I’m having an unbelievable trip with him; he’s developed so much over the last few months and I can’t find the right words to describe how much it means to me!” — Benjamin Werndl (GER)

Werndl, whose sister Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was on the gold medal winning team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) 2018 in September, was already lying second on the league table, following his win in Budapest (HUN) in September and points collected for fifth place at both the WEL opening leg in Herning (DEN) in October and the third leg in Stuttgart (GER) last month. It’s been a strong and steady progression, and it was clear that there’s a lot more to come from Daily Mirror despite the fact that the gelding son of Damon Hill is 14 years old.

“There’s so much more potential in this horse, and now my job is to find out how to bring it out!” said the rider who was on the German long-list for the WEG. “He had a break of two years before he came to us a couple of years ago, so he still feels a bit like a young horse building up experience, and I really wasn’t expecting him to be so cool in this arena today – he’s just the perfect gentleman!” Werndl added.

He was eleventh to go of the 15 starters, and when his test kicked off with a double-pirouette followed by two-tempi changes and another double-pirouette on the centre line, then it was obvious he meant business. Daily Mirror’s ground-eating extended walk earned a 9 from four of the five judges as the daring duo marched to the first over-80% score of 80.790. And then he had to sit back and watch four more formidable contenders.

Australia’s Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil posted 79.330 before Patrik Kittel and his new ride Delatio, which was competed by Great Britain’s Emile Faurie until July of this year and was runner-up for the Swede on their World Cup debut in Lyon last month, put 80.010 on the board to slot into second spot. And that’s where they would remain despite a lovely performance from European and World team gold medallist Schneider and her super-exciting “Grand Prix baby,” the 10-year-old gelding Faustus who scored 79.730 for third place.

Now that he has the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019 in his sights, Benny Werndl really wants to get there, but he knows the battle for one of the German slots is not yet over. “All the other ladies want to go there too, but at least now I have a good chance, and I’m hoping to get to another qualifier in either Amsterdam (NED) or Neumünster (GER) in the new year,” he said.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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