Category Archives: Competitions

Tears of Triumph as USA Wins Bank of America Team Jumping Title on Home Turf

McLain Ward and Clinta. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Team USA won the Bank of America Team Jumping Championship at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA, but they were chased all the way to the line by a brilliant Swedish side that took silver, while Germany claimed the bronze. It was an epic battle on this final day of the team event, and nothing came easy.

“It was unbelievable! First off, the odds were miniscule that there would be a jump-off for first place… it wasn’t what we were looking for, but the sport doesn’t get any better than this!” — Robert Ridland (Team USA Chef d’Equipe)

Out in front as the action began, the Swiss lost their grip when Werner Muff’s 13-fault round with Daimler was followed by elimination for Janika Sprunger when Bacardi VDL crashed through the first fence and then refused to tackle the second on the 14-obstacle course. With six Olympic qualifying places also up for grabs all eyes were also on the minor placings, and in the end the Swiss booked their ticket to Tokyo 2020 when finishing fourth ahead of The Netherlands in fifth and the astonishing Australians who pipped the reigning European champions from Ireland for that coveted sixth spot.

It was a roller-coaster ride from start to finish, and the Swedes, lying fourth as the action began, piled on the pressure when adding nothing to their previous day’s scoreline of 20.59 when Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Indiana), and Fredrik Jonsson (Cold Play) posted three brilliant clears. This was enough to overtake the Germans whose total rose to 22.09 despite foot-perfect runs from Simone Blue (DSP Alice) and Marcus Ehning (Pret a Tout), four faults from Laura Klaphake (Catch Me If You Can) having to be taken into account when Maurice Tebbel (Don Diarado) picked up five.

And although American hopes were high, the result was hanging in the balance right to the very end. Devin Ryan opened the host nation account with a single mistake at the second-last fence and when Adrienne Sternlicht and Cristalline picked up five then the Swedes were out in front. But Laura Kraut rode to the rescue as only she can, steering Zeremonie home with a clean sheet to a great roar from the crowd. If McLain Ward could follow that with another clear the job was done and the gold would be in American hands. But the Olympic double-gold medallist faulted at fence seven and suddenly everything changed once again. The USA and Sweden were tied on 20.59 penalties and it would take a jump-off to separate them.

“McLain made us all work a little harder – he could have made it a whole lot easier!” joked his team manager.

But in the end, it was Ward who won it for them too, with a scorching last-to-go run with the grey mare Clinta. Both teams produced three clear rounds against the clock but Ward’s gallop through the timers saw USA post an accumulated time of 100.67 while the Swedes were two seconds slower.

Youngest team member Adrienne Sternlicht (25) was overcome with emotion at the post-competition press conference, and she wasn’t the only one to shed a tear.

“My best friends and family are here and I’m just thinking – what just happened?! You really don’t want to be woken up from this dream!” — Adrienne Sternlicht (Team USA)

“I love my horse so much. McLain has been the most unbelievable mentor for me, such an important part of my life; for me it’s been a battle of overcoming my own mind and I’m so grateful that Robert trusted me and trusted McLain enough to put me on this team and to be with Laura and Devin and McLain, three riders I’ve honestly looked up to my entire life. I’m so grateful for this opportunity – it’s been a wonderful day!” she said.

Results here.

Media contact:

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

Superb Dressage Display Puts Peerless Exell in Control

Boyd Exell with his dream team of horses, Carlos, Celviro, Checkmate, and Zindgraaf. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Australian Boyd Exell produced a driving dressage masterclass at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon (WEG) backed by a team of horses he rates as his “best ever” as he took a giant step towards claiming his third successive individual gold medal.

The man who has dominated driving for much of the past decade shook off the lingering effects of breaking his ankle in July, finished with a score of 31.68, putting him 3.42 points clear of the USA’s Chester Weber. For Exell it was his greatest dressage performance to date.

“In Kentucky in 2010 I did a 30 and the crazy thing is that was a beautiful test but we did not have the same power and movement of this team,” said Exell, who has seven FEI World Cup™ driving titles to his name.

“Even when the crowd cheered on the way in, which some horses don’t like, I could just feel my team power up. It was like turning a V8 engine into a V10.” — Boyd Exell (Australia)

Fierce rival Weber, who finished second to Exell at the 2014 WEG in Normandy, entered the arena with the crowd still cheering the two-time champion.

“That was sort of motivating for me, to be honest,” Weber said. “I sort of shook my head like a prize fighter and said to myself ‘c’mon’.”

It worked with a particularly fine rein-back among the highlights as Weber delighted the crowd yet further and finished with 35.10 points.

The Dutch veteran Ijsbrand Chardon, winner of the prestigious Aachen Championships this year, showed all his undoubted class and skill to grab third with a score of 41.06 in what is his weakest discipline. The five-time WEG team champion and 2002 individual gold medallist was the last of the 19 drivers to enter the arena, not that he minded.

“I was fairly relaxed, last driver is the best position. I saw Boyd’s and Chester’s points but then it was very important I made my performance,” Chardon said, before he admitted he might require some help to catch the leader.  “Boyd I need to make a big mistake – 10 points is too much. Six points to Chester is possible.”

A strong performance from Ijsbrand’s 25-year-old son Bram Chardon helped the Netherlands claim second place in the team competition. But the 2010 and 2014 WEG team champions are facing a real battle to hold onto their title.

Led by Weber and boosted by a beautifully controlled performance from dressage specialist Misdee Wrigley-Miller, who scored 42.00 and lies fourth in the individual standings, the USA will take a 10.33 point lead into Saturday’s marathon phase.

“Everyone has been telling me it is just another competition and not to worry about it,” laughed Wrigley-Miller. “But when I came into the arena it was like ‘ooomph’ – the weight of the world fell on my shoulders.”

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

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

Italian Victory in Vaulting Pair’s Competition

Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha ©Sportfot .

Italian flags flew high when Lorenzo Lupacchini and Silvia Stopazzini jumped on the podium winning gold in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting Pas de Deux at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). Silver went to Austria’s overnight leaders Lindner/Wacha and Bronze was for Germany’s Derks/Kay.

The world’s No.1 pair from Italy set all their heart in the Freestyle, earning 9.027 with high 9s for artistic value as well as the technical execution.

Lupacchini had set his own ambitions as an individual vaulter aside for the sake of the pair’s competition and it was worth it.

“We are really happy because we did what we prepared in training over this year,” he said.

In the end, it was the horse’s scores and a little wobble that put the Austrian title holders from WEG 2014 on Silver. Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha have trained together for eight years and won the first ever Pas de Deux World Championship title in 2012. Understandably they were quite disappointed after they lost first place by 0.014 point, finishing on 9.013.

“We had invested a lot and then a small mistake in the beginning of the Freestyle made all the difference,” said the 31-year-old physiotherapist, Wacha.

Germany’s Janika Derks and Johannes Kay interpreted the emotions of energy to score 8.872.

“We showed the utmost what we can do and are happy with a medal. Competition was very tight and it was a great final.”

Torben Jacobs and partner Theresa-Sophie Bresch (GER), finishing fourth with a Spanish medley, and summed it up. “This must have been the strongest pairs’ competition ever. So many 8’s and 9’s – and to be here at WEG will be in our hearts forever.”

Boe Leads Heading into Women’s Finale in Individual Vaulting Competition

Germany’s Kristina Boe leads the overall Individual Female’s ranking going into Saturday’s final Freestyle on 8.278 in front of Austria’s Lisa Wild (8.229) and her compatriot Janika Derks on 8.228.

Derks is known for her power and strength in Vaulting, but could not quite stand her dismount from Carousso Hit. Despite this mishap her technical was the best of the day.

“The dismount was expensive. Touching the ground is one point off (from the performance score). But the others have to get everything right as well,” said Derks.

World cup winner Boe kept her lead from the previous Compulsory and Freestyle even though strong Janika Derks topped her in the technical movements.

Italy’s defending WEG-silver medalist Anna Cavallaro injured a knee when dismounting, and although she is still ranked fifth overall, it is doubtful that she will participate in the final competition on Saturday.

France’s Leclezio Moves into First Place in Men’s Individual Program

France’s Lambert Leclezio put his best foot forward showing the top technical program of the day with fluid sequences between the prescribed movements, earning 8.443 points, placing him in front of Colombia’s 18-year-old Juan Martin Clavijo (8.166) and Jannis Drewell (GER) on 8.166.

“I just wanted to go out on the good vibes after the Freestyle yesterday, which was not good at all,” said 21-year-old Leclezio who had moved from the island of Mauritius to France for better Vaulting opportunities.

At his second WEG, the top technical score pushed Leclezio in the overall lead before the final Freestyle for the medals on Saturday.

Germany’s Jannik Heiland and Jannis Drewell are in second and third. The third German Thomas Brüsewitz, fourth at WEG 2014 and vaulting as the Prince of Bel Air in the technical, lost his lead and now ranks fourth.

“It is not all lost yet,” said Brüsewitz.

Team Germany Leads the Squads Ranking

Team Germany leads the Squad standings on 8.405 after two rounds before going into the final Freestyle for the medals to be hosted on Saturday. The defending title holder’s advantage from Team Norka is the thinnest possible, as they are only 0.001 points ahead of Team Luetisburg for Switzerland. The silver medalists from WEG 2014 are on 8.404.

Austria (7.977) has more to catch up on if they want to improve their medal with Italy breathing down their necks (7.846), and it will be a hotly contested lunging circle at TIEC’s Indoor Arena on Saturday, starting at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Race for Team Medals Underway in Adequan® Para-Dressage

Great Britain’s Sophie Wells led from the front as the race for team medals took center-stage in Adequan® Para-Dressage on Thursday.

Britain’s Para-Dressage team boasts one of the longest unbeaten records in sport, having won every Team Gold medal available at World, Paralympic and European levels.

Wells ensured a strong start for them at Tryon Stadium after posting a score of 77.233% to top Grade V by an emphatic margin from the Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar, riding Alphaville N.O.P.

Wells’ teammate Sir Lee Pearson, meanwhile, put behind his retirement in the Grade II Individual championship with Styletta on Tuesday to finish third in his section and ensure Britain were well-placed overnight, with two more riders – Natasha Baker and Erin Orford – set to complete their tests on Friday.

France currently leads the way, but all four team riders have performed their tests, with the in-form Netherlands second and Japan third. Strongly-fancied trio Britain, Denmark, and Brazil all have half their team line-ups still to ride, while the Netherlands are also strong Gold medal contenders.

“I knew I needed to up my game from the other day for the team,” Wells said. “I had a look at my test with my coaches and looked at different areas. You learn to deal with the pressure and I just focused on what I needed to do. All the other nations are getting so much stronger and the horsepower is incredible in the sport. We want to retain our title, but we can only do the best that we can do.”

For Pearson, who needs one medal in Tryon to become the most decorated Para-Dressage rider in FEI World Equestrian Games™ history, it was a case of him showcasing all his ability and experience to score 71.606% in a section that saw Individual Gold medallist Stinna Tange Kaastrup again come out on top.

“I was not worried about the placing today,” Pearson said. “I rode calmly and passionately in there, and said thank you to her (Styletta) on every transition. She has been brilliant here, with the environment, with the arenas. I thought she would be petrified, but she hasn’t been, and I do believe that she will be a fantastic championship horse for the future.”

Kaastrup, meanwhile, continued her impressive championship on Horsebo Smarties, recording a winning margin of almost two per cent from the Netherlands’ Nicole den Dulk, who finished second on Wallace N.O.P.

“Everything that we talked about that I was supposed to do in there, we did, and I am super proud about that,” Kaastrup said. “The horse is amazing and I learn a lot from him. I am feeling really good, especially with the score I delivered.”

Grade IV riders closed the opening day of team competition – medals will be awarded following Grade III and Grade I on Friday – and it was Individual Gold medalist Sanne Voets who again delivered the goods with Demantur N.O.P.

Their score of 76.550% beat Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla and Don Henrico into second, with Belgium’s Manon Claeys taking third.

“He was amazing. He was so sharp, willing and obedient, and I think this is what makes it so beautiful when two becomes one – when a horse and you are in perfect harmony,” Voets said.

“The pressure is on the British now, and we like that. We came here with one aim, and that was to win a team medal to qualify directly for Tokyo.”

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and to view start lists and results, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

Swiss Stay on Top, but USA Stalking Closely Going into Jumping Team Medal-Decider

McLain Ward and Clinta. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

The Swiss held on to the lead in the Bank of America Team Jumping Championship at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA but the hosts have moved up from overnight fourth into second spot ahead of the medal-decider in which the top 10 nations will compete.

And they are dangerously close, stalking the leaders by less than a single penalty point and leaving them with absolutely no room for error. Germany is in third ahead of Sweden, The Netherlands, and Ireland, while France, Australia, Great Britain, and Canada have also made the cut.

And the individual placings got a big shake-up, with overnight leader, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, dropping to eighth following a single mistake, while Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca rocketed all the way up from ninth to pole position when producing one of just five clears over another masterful track designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade. America’s McLain Ward is now in second, with individual European champion Peder Fredricson from Sweden in third, Germany’s Simone Blum in fourth, and Ireland’s Cian O’Connor in fifth place.

The Swiss looked vulnerable when pathfinder Werner Muff (Daimler) left three fences on the floor, but Janika Sprunger pulled it back when collecting just a single time penalty with Bacardi VDL. Martin Fuchs and Clooney hit the second element of the penultimate double which proved one of the trickiest places on the 14-fence track, and when Guerdat’s mare, Bianca, lowered the oxer at fence nine then Andy Kistler’s side added nine to their first-day tally but still maintained the advantage, albeit a very narrow one.

Devin Ryan kicked off the US effort with a pole down from Eddie Blue, but both Adrienne Sternlicht (Cristalline) and anchorman McLain Ward (Clinta) picked up just a single time fault so Laura Kraut’s double-error with Zeremonie could be discarded.

“I woke up this morning and had some kind of epiphany that I needed to relax, and I think that translated into my ride! It’s a really difficult course… there’s fences falling everywhere and they are massive, so I really thought about taking each fence at a time and I think that’s where my time fault came. I was more focused on jumping a clear round because that’s what our team needed.” — Adrienne Sternlicht (USA)

Germany’s Blum and DSP Alice produced the first clear of the day to set her side on the road to a rapid recovery from eighth place after the opening competition. and when team-mate Laura Klaphake followed that with a lovely clear over the poles and just one time fault things were looking very good indeed. But Klaphake wasn’t getting over-confident with two of her team-mates still to go.

“We’ve had two good rounds but sport is so hard, from one second to the other it can change, like yesterday until the fault (where her horse stopped) I had an amazing round, so we cross our fingers!” she said wisely. Maurice Tebbel and Don Diarado returned a nine-fault scoreline and then Marcus Ehning and Pret a Tout added eight more, but their final tally left them on 18.09, so less than two fences behind the Swiss at the head of affairs.

Meanwhile, the Italians crashed out, when, already reduced to a three-man side, Luca Marziani’s stallion Tokyo du Soleil decided he wouldn’t jump the wall at fence three and the pair was eliminated. However, de Luca, who competes in the uniform of the Italian air force, was determined to soldier on even though he’s only been riding the 10-year-old grey mare, Irenice Horta, since June of this year.

The man who competes for Stephan Conter’s Stephex Stables in Belgium said:

“Zoe Conter rode her before, but unluckily Zoe had an accident in Rome, she fell off, so they decided to give me the horse and this is our fifth show together! The Nations Cup in Aachen was our first big class and then we did the Nations Cup and Grand Prix in Dublin where she finished third. That was really tough but it was the same course designer, so I had a feeling I could do it here!” — Lorenzo de Luca (ITA)

The top 65 athletes go into the final competition including individuals and the 10 qualified teams who will all compete in reverse order of merit. And the Australians are still in there, lying eighth and flying their flag with honour and pride. Their performances have been exemplary, but they have sprung a really big surprise, apparently outsiders but really rising to this world championship challenge. As Irish Chef d’Equipe Rodrigo Pessoa commented, “They’re doing great – and that’s the beauty of our sport!”

Results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

A Golden Day for the Dutch as Rixt van der Horst Enjoys Para-Dressage Glory in Tryon

Rixt van der Horst and Findsley ©Sportfot.

Netherlands star Rixt van der Horst reflected on the “amazing” feeling of winning another Gold medal after she headlined day two of Adequan® Para-Dressage at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

Van der Horst, who took double Gold at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in France, sealed top spot in the Grade III Individual Championship on her bay mare Findsley.

Their score of 73.735% edged long-time leader Natasha Baker, of Great Britain, into second place as she excelled with new top horse Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, while American Rebecca Hart and El Corona Texel collected Bronze to become her country’s first world Para-Dressage medalist.

“I am really thrilled,” Van der Horst said. “It is so amazing to be world champion again. During my test, I didn’t realize it was that good.

“I was just riding my test and doing what I do and it was not until afterwards that I realized it was good. In the beginning I was nervous, but I relaxed during the test and it got better and better. It’s our first international competition together and I am so proud of her.”

Baker, a mainstay of Britain’s all-conquering Para-Dressage teams in recent years, was similarly delighted with the performance of her horse in what was a major championship debut for the partnership, as it had been for Van der Horst and Findsley.

“She was amazing, so, so, good and she went in there like she owned it,” Baker said. “I am just so proud of everything that we have achieved in such a short space of time.

“It is an honor to get called up for the team, especially after such a short space of time. I’ve only had her since January, and to have done everything we have and for the selectors to have the trust in us to come and do our best is fantastic.”

Italy’s Sara Morganti came out on top in the Grade I Individual Championship, winning an anticipated head-to-head battle with Singapore’s current world number one Laurentia Tan.

The pair was drawn as the last to two to ride in Tryon Stadium, and did not disappoint, with Morganti’s score of 74.750% on Royal Delight enough for victory as Tan and Fuerst Sherlock finished on 73.750%. Germany’s Elke Philipp claimed the bronze medal aboard Fuerst Sinclair with 73.143%.

“It was wonderful,” said Morganti, who won world Individual Gold and Silver medals in 2014.

“It’s incredible. I’ve had a very difficult year because of health problems and for a moment I thought I couldn’t go on.

“My horse was amazing and I have to thank my trainers who have been with me all along the way. I am happy because I wanted to get a medal for me, but also for them.”

Tan, meanwhile, added, “It’s really important to get a medal for my country. I felt relaxed and I just had to keep going.”

Philipp could scarcely believe the scale of her achievement as she completed the medal podium.

“I can’t have any words for this,” she said. “I hoped that I would win a medal, but now I have a medal! The arena is perfect for me and my horse and I think we did a good job.”

Long Standing Partnership Catapults Sheena Bendixen to Christie’s International Real Estate Vaulting Freestyle

Denmark’s Sheena Bendixen won the Individual Female’s Freestyle of the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Wednesday, her score of 8.539 piping Germany’s Janika Derks and Sarah Kay.

Sheena Bendixen and Klintholms Ramstein ©Sportfot

The 25-year-old Bendixen, ranked in the world’s top ten, danced to victory and credited her long-standing partnership with black gelding Klintholms Ramstein and lunger Lasse Kristensen for the success. She won her first European Bronze medal with the same duo seven years ago in 2011.

“One stand was a bit shaky, but I just continued and smiled,” Bendixen said, earning top score for the Trakehner breed horse Ramstein, owned by her groom.

“We call him the psycho mouse. He loves the arena and always says ‘Here, look at me!’ I wanted to dance my emotions at this WEG, relaxation, power, elegance, harmony – everything should be in it,” Bendixen said.

“I had warned her that there is nothing more difficult than really dancing on a horse, not only with expressive hands, but also with your feet and she did it,” Kristensen said, a former world class Vaulter himself.

Janika Derks scored 9.473 for her technique, the best of the morning. For her Freestyle she used the music “La Terre en Ciel” that had already brought a Bronze medal on ice, dancing for Germany.

“I wanted it to look easy, soft and fluffy, quite a contrast to my usual vaulting. I am a very technical and strong vaulter and to show elegance and harmony is the hardest for me,” Derks said.

“It is always the same, the easier something looks the harder it is,” Derks’ lunger Jessica Lichtenberg said.

Several female competitors managed to dance a complete story. U.S. athlete Tessa Dirks danced to the music of the movie “Little Red Riding Hood.”

“I am kind of an upbeat person and I had to pretend to be afraid which is not quite like me. The panic of the wolf is more like the panic of the vaulter of not finishing on time.”

That fear was unnecessary because she finished on rank 7, with lunger Christoph Lensing, a double WEG Silver medalist himself.

Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz Turns In His Second Vaulting Win at Tryon 2018

Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz won the Individual Freestyle at Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting discipline at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Wednesday, duplicating his success from Tuesday’s compulsory. Vaulting for a score of 8.987, he kept France’s Lambert Leclezio and Jannis Drewell for Germany at bay.

It was fireworks in the arena when world No.3, Brüsewitz did his Freestyle following the theme of the movie “The Truman Show.”

“The person in the show is a star because he is true to himself, a real person. Our vaulting is true as well. I thought this a fitting theme for the world championship here.”

Brüsewitz did not go the limit and kept it safe, omitting one handstand.

“When I had my signature movement out of the way, the flic flac backwards, I felt I should play it safe. I will keep it up my sleeve for the final Freestyle,” the student at a sports university in Cologne, Germany said.

FEI World Cup™ winner Jannis Drewell “danced with wolves” for his Freestyle, collecting 8.924 with four scores of 9 from the judges’ panel.

“I had this theme ten years ago for my very first national youth championship and I thought it was a good moment to come up with it again. It was much better than ten years ago.”

French Lambert Leclezio was not happy with his performance, finishing on 8.832.

“Two big movements did not go to plan, but maybe people on the outside did not notice.”

Austria’s Lindner/Wacha Set to Defend Their Pairs Title in Vaulting

The sparkle of 15,000 rhinestones lit the Indoor Arena in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting competition at Tryon 2018, when the world’s best pair met for their first round of Freestyle.

Austria’s Jasmin Lindner and Lukas Wacha look set to defend their WEG title from 2014. They scored an average of 9.138, topping their Freestyle performance at WEG 2014.

Wearing a black-and-white costume, they interpreted the theme of the literature piece Chess Novel. It was the first time the freestyle was shown in public. It has been a work in progress since they started planning it two years ago.

“It was a wonderful feeling to go out and to know it will stun everybody. When you then get it all together at the right time the feeling is just hard to describe,” said Lukaas Wacha.

Their costumes had been handcrafted by both of their grandmothers, who are tailors in Vienna and Salzburg. It had been Jasmin Linder’s job then to attach the close to 15,000 rhinestones.

“Luckily Svarovski sits in Tyrolia where those two come from,” said team chief Manfred Reber.

The world’s highest ranked pair Italy’s Lorenzo Lupacchini and Silvia Stopazzini set the tone for a great competition. Vaulting as a pair for two years, they came out first into the competition and vaulted for a 9.057, earning six scores of 9s.

Breathing down their necks, only 0.001 point behind, are Germany’s Janika Derks and Johannes Kay. Her neon pink costume stood out against horse Dark Beluga when they showed their stunning lifts and elevations, defying gravity.

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and to view start lists and results, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

Super Swiss Head the Leaderboard Going into Day 2 of Bank of America Jumping Championship

Steve Guerdat and Bianca. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

A brilliant round from Steve Guerdat (36) and the fiery mare Bianca put the 2012 Olympic champion and Team Switzerland into pole position as the Bank of America Jumping Championship got underway at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA. A colourful, testing but honest 14-fence track built by Irishman Alan Wade created spectacular sport for spectators and the 124 horse-and-rider combinations from 49 nations.

The defending world champions from The Netherlands jumped into second ahead of Brazil in third and USA in fourth. But the biggest story of the day was the stunning performance of the Australians who slotted into fifth and whose final rider, Rowan Willis (38), is lying individually third behind Brazil’s Pedro Veniss (35) in silver medal position and Guerdat at the top of the leaderboard.

France, Sweden, Germany, Colombia, and Ireland fill the remaining top-10 team places in the field of 25 nations.

Guerdat was second-last to go and raced into the lead in the individual rankings when clear in 76.33.

“It was a long day waiting; we walked the course before 9am and it was nine hours later when I got on my horse, but I was kind of confident because the course walked well. The fastest horses were not leading so I thought if I stick to my plan, I had a good chance to be in the top three today, so I actually really enjoyed my round and I can’t ask for much more!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Veniss and his fabulous stallion Quabri de l’Isle were poetry in motion, their tight turn to the third-last fence ensuring they were really competitive against the clock as they cruised through the finish in 76.68 seconds. And Willis and his chestnut mare Blue Movie were only 0.27 seconds slower through the timers.

“She just tries so hard for me. I don’t worry about trying to go fast because she’s naturally fast, so I just have to keep my rhythm and make sure I don’t make a mistake. It was a nice day. All four of us have just got off to a brilliant start and that’s really encouraging.”

“Obviously it’s not easy for our team because half of us are based in Australia so it’s a long way to go to any shows, but those boys (Jamie Kermond and Billy Raymont) have had a good summer in Europe and Scott (Keach) and I have had a good summer over here (in North America) and it’s just brilliant that we all had a good day today. This is something I’ve dreamed of. It’s the first time I’ve represented Australia since I was about 18 at an invitational in Hong Kong!” — Rowan Willis (AUS)

The British-based rider who hails from Armidale in New South Wales made a big impression when finishing 11th in the Grand Prix at the Masters in Spruce Meadows (CAN) earlier this month.

Swiss supremacy was underpinned by great rounds from Martin Fuchs (26), who lies individually fifth behind Germany’s Marcus Ehning, and Janika Sprunger (31) who is in 16th place with Bacardi VDL. “The course suited Clooney really well. I knew I could do it and I’m glad it worked out so well. Werner (Muff) had two down so the pressure is on Steve now, but we all know that he handles pressure better than anyone else!” Fuchs said before Guerdat proved that this is absolutely true.

Sprunger was Swiss pathfinder. “I had to concentrate to open this well for my team and give confidence to myself and the rest of the others, and I know that Bacardi and I are not the fastest combination, so we just try to go as quickly as possible. Maybe a half-second or one second faster was possible but I’m very happy with the end result. I said I wanted to be on 80 seconds and we almost did it!” she said after stopping the clock on 80.26 seconds.

With only a fence separating the top three countries and less than two separating the top 10, it’s all to play for again when the action resumes with Team Belgium first into the ring ahead of Ireland, Japan, Portugal, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Germany, USA, and Mexico. Egypt will be next to go and then Venezuela, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Hungary, Australia, Brazil, and Great Britain will take their turn. Team Colombia has been drawn ahead of the Swiss and they will be followed by Argentina, Spain, and Italy so the last team into the arena will be Israel.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
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Stinna Steals the Show as Adequan Para-Dressage Makes Its Entry at Tryon

Stinna Tange Kaastrup and Horsebo Smarties ©Sportfot.

TRYON, NC, USA – September 18, 2018 – Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup won her first world gold medal as Adequan® Para-Dressage began in exciting fashion at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, hosted in Tryon Stadium at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

The 24-year-old European champion, who was born without legs, continued a memorable year by taking Grade II Individual honors ahead of prolific medal-winning Austrian Pepo Puch.

Kaastrup, riding 17-year-old Horsebo Smarties, posted a score of 72.735%, and Puch – the last of nine competitors – fell just short aboard Sailor’s Blue on 72.676%, with Netherlands challenger Nicole den Dulk and Wallace N.O.P. finishing third, just under two percent behind Puch.

There was disappointment for Great Britain’s Sir Lee Pearson, though, who needs one more medal to become the most decorated Para-Dressage rider in FEI World Equestrian Games™ history, as he retired his new ride, nine-year-old mare Styletta, two-thirds of the way through his test.

Kaastrup said, “I was upset because of a mistake I made because the horse was feeling amazing and doing such a wonderful job, but still it was enough [to medal] and it didn’t matter in the end. I was so nervous looking at the scores as it was so close all the way through, and I wondered if we were going to make it. My horse is really enjoying it, and as soon as we got into the arena his ears were like ‘hey, I’m here, is everyone watching me’? He is a darling.”

The Adequan® Para-Dressage program began with a thrilling Grade IV competition that saw the three medallists separated by just 0.781%, with the Netherlands’ Sanne Voets taking gold.

Voets, who won a freestyle Gold and two Silvers at the last FEI World Equestrian Games™ in France four years ago, led from a number one draw on Demantur N.O.P. as their score of 73.927% edged out Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla and Don Henrico (73.366%), with Danish rider Susanne Jensby Sunesen third aboard CSK’s Que Faire (73.146%).

“Nobody wants to be the first to go, but it doesn’t change the job,” Voets said. “You just have to do what you do and do it best. I think we smashed it.”

Riskalla’s life was turned upside down in 2015 when he contracted bacterial meningitis on a trip home to Brazil from his Paris base following the death of his father, and he had to have both legs amputated below the knee, in addition to losing his right hand and two fingers on his left hand.

Reflecting on his test, Riskalla said, “It was super. His style sometimes can be super-sensitive, but he performed just like he was at home.”

Grade V action concluded the opening day, and there was a victory for Britain’s Sophie Wells, riding C Fatal Attraction.

As with Voets, 28-year-old Wells went first in her class, and she delivered a commanding performance to finish on 75.429%, beating the Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar and Alphaville N.O.P. on 73.167%, with the bronze medal going to Belgium’s Regine Mispelkamp and Look At Me Now on 71.452%.

Wells, a mainstay of Britain’s dominant Para-Dressage team, won the world individual title at Kentucky in 2010, and three medals at the 2014 Normandy FEI World Equestrian Games™ including team gold.

“I am really pleased,” she said. “I had a little bit of a blip at the beginning where he was just a bit nervous, but compared to last year at the Europeans where the first day was the individual and he was a bit nervous there, he was so much better here and came back to me and built his confidence back up.”

Vaulters Reignite Friendly Rivalry

European neighbors Switzerland, Germany and Austria are taking on the rivalry again in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting discipline at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Vaulting team competition. The Swiss squad finished first in the compulsory, scoring 7.979. Germany ranks second on 7.794 and Austria (7.355) is third.

The score for the horses decided first and second place, with Swiss gelding Rayo de la Luz getting an average of 8.3. Germany’s Danny Boy Old collected 8.11 from two of the eight judges whose task it is to solely assess the horses’ performance.

“With four years of vaulting under his belt, we [have been] vaulting him since two years and he has developed fantastically,” said lunger Monika Winkler-Bischofberger on the 13-year-old gelding.

The U.S. team of Pacific Coast Vaulters finished fourth on their squad horse, Diva, with lunger Carolyn Bland.

“The horse and the lunger were amazing,” the vaulters raved afterwards. “That was the best it has gone all year and it is great to be on home turf.”

Fifth-placed Italy had a bad start when going over time and therefore the last movement was not scored.

“That was not our best compulsory, but we are better in the Freestyle anyway. We are Italians!” said Laura Carnabuci, lunger for former dressage horse Hot Tek Date.

The confrontation at the top of the field of eleven teams even goes down to a personal level, with Swiss lunger Monika Winkler-Bischofsberger and counterpart Patric Looser for Germany originally coming from the same club in Switzerland, in Luetisburg near the city of St. Gallen.

“It is a friendly rivalry between us, but we both treat it as a fair competition. I wished Monika lots of luck back at the stables before we started out,” said Patric Looser, who won the individual World championship title at WEG 2010 in Kentucky for Switzerland and founded the German team based in Cologne three years later. He still carries a Swiss passport.

“But I am at home there now. And vaulters are one big family anyway,” Looser said.

Austria Tops the Vaulting Female Compulsory

Austria’s Katharina Luschin scored 8.506 in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Vaulting discipline at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Tuesday, thus topping the winning compulsory result from the previous WEG in France. All three Austrian female competitors are in the top four spots with Germany’s Kristina Boe wedged in between on second position (8.347).

“It was a super feeling to go in here. I just did my thing, but I never thought this result could be possible,” said leading Luschin after the first of three more rounds to come towards the individual title. The 26-year-old is at her second WEG, after finishing 4th individually in Normandy and taking Bronze at the previous World Championship in Le Mans 2016.

With Daniela Fritz on 8.294 in third place and 23-year-old Lisa Wild sitting fourth, Austria has set a solid foundation for their road to medal success.

“We took a risk, putting all three of them on this one horse, Fairytale, but it worked out,” said Manfred Rebel, team chief for Austria.

Germany’s Vaulting World Cup winner Kristina Boe showed extraordinary elevation in her compulsory and led the competition until Luschin took over.

“The higher the pressure, the better I do,” said the 32-year-old trauma surgeon.

The top ten female vaulters of 30 in total all scored above 8.0, showing the new class of the sport.

The placing also shows how tight the competition at the top has developed. Germany places all three female vaulters in the top ten, with Sarah Kay and Janina Derks trailing Boe in sixth and seventh place.  Switzerland has Nadja Büttiker, Marina Mohar and Ilona Haennich placed in a row up to currently rank 11th.

World’s No.1 Anna Cavallaro, silver medalist at WEG 2014, is sitting with Derks on 7th place. The medical doctor is known for her freestyle abilities.

German Thomas Brüsewitz Earns Vaulting Male Compulsory’s Top Score

Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz took the lead in the Christie’s International Real Estate’s Individual Male Compulsory at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 on Tuesday. The No. 3-ranked athlete scored a 8.480 in the Individual Male Compulsory, besting compatriot Jannik Heiland on 8.468 and Lambert Leclezio (8.440) representing France.

The compulsory was the second appearance for Brüsewitz on Danny Boy Old after he had competed within the team in the morning.

“The double burden does not phase me. I am used to it. It is like that since two years,” said the 24-year-old who comes from a vaulting family. Danny Boy got out much fresher the second time and helped Thomas to a good score after he had to be on as the first vaulter this morning because he knows the horse best and could set him up for the others in the team,” said lunger Patric Looser.

Jannik Heiland, twice an FEI World Cup™ Bronze medal winner, might have lost the lead in the first part of the compulsory, he acknowledged. “The scissors could have been a bit better, but the rest went okay. I felt very well-prepared and was mentally up to it,” Heiland said

France’s Lambert Leclezio, the 21-year-old World Champion 2016, had to go out first. His 8.440 average was the lead until Brüsewitz performed.

World’s No.1 Jannis Drewell from Germany sits fourth, competing for the first time without his mother at the lunge line. He opted for Lars Hansen and experienced Feliciano 44 instead.

“We did not want to overstrain our young horse at this world championship level,” said Drewell, who serves in the German military and devotes his time professionally to vaulting.

The surprise of the day was young Juan Martin Clavijo from Colombia, scoring 8.146 and finishing within the top six vaulters out of 19 who finished above 8.0. The 18-year-old is one of only around 150 vaulters in Colombia. After he had finished school near Bogota in June, he is now preparing for a year in Switzerland and spends his time either vaulting or learning German.

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and to view start lists and results, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

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.

It’s a Golden Glow for British Eventers as They Win Team Title in Tryon

Ros Canter and Allstar B. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Tryon, NC USA – September 17, 2018 – Great Britain’s eventers claimed a golden double on an unforgettable day of action at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). Rosalind Canter not only led the British team to glory – their first world Gold medal since 2010 – but she also won the Individual title with her brilliant 13-year-old gelding, Allstar B.

It is the first time Britain has won both competitions in one single FEI World Equestrian Games™, and 32-year-old Canter is the first British Individual Gold medalist since Zara Tindall 12 years ago in Aachen, Germany.

A breath-taking finish to both events in the Mars, Inc. Eventing saw Canter enter the U.S. Trust Arena knowing that she could afford to have one jumping fence down and Britain would still beat eventual runners-up Ireland to top spot.

She looked as though she was the coolest customer on show, delivering an immaculate clear round, and also retained the second spot individually before leader after Cross-Country, Germany’s Ingrid Klimke, with SAP Hale Bob OLD, had the last fence down and dropped from first to third behind Canter and Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy, on Mr. Chunky.

Current Olympic champions France finished third, with Britain adding the team world title to their European crown won in Poland last September.

First British rider Gemma Tattersall had three fences down with Arctic Soul, with Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser) and Piggy French (Quarrycrest Echo) each accumulating four faults before Canter took centre-stage.

Canter remarked, “Allstar B was absolutely amazing. He was an absolute hero.

“I had an amazing experience in there,” she said. “I kept saying to myself just let him do his job and I am so proud. He is just phenomenal. There were quite a few tears when I found out, which isn’t normal for me. It’s just incredible for me and the whole support team behind Team Great Britain. It’s just the most incredible feeling, and a very surreal day.”

British Eventing Performance Manager Richard Waygood added, “It’s been an amazing day in the office, really great team work. They all pulled together. They all went in there for the team and stuck to the system. It was close at the end, but even before Ros jumped the last fence, I knew she had it. Our primary objective coming here was qualifying for Tokyo (2020 Olympic Games), and our next objective was to win as many medals as possible, and we’ve achieved both goals.”

The Irish quartet of McCarthy, Sarah Ennis, Cathal Daniels and Sam Watson secured Ireland’s first major championship Eventing medal in more than 20 years, finishing 6.8 penalties ahead of reigning Olympic champions France in third, with Japan fourth, Germany fifth, Australia sixth and New Zealand seventh.

All top seven finishers, including 2020 Olympics host nation Japan, cleared the qualification hurdle for the highly anticipated competition in two more years’ time.

Ireland Chef d’Equipe Sally Corscadden said, “This is huge for us. We are making history today. I had belief that we could be competitive here, and we just stuck to our goal.”

But while Ireland might have been the surprise package, 2014 World Champions Germany and their team of Klimke, Julia Krajewski, Kai Ruder and Andreas Dibowski had to settle for a finish comfortably outside of the medals.

Inspired by their coaching mastermind to London 2012 Olympic Gold medal glory, Chris Bartle, Germany could only look on as Bartle achieved his latest triumph – as coach of the British team.

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and to view start lists and results, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

Double Gold for Team GB and a Ticket to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Eventing fans at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 were treated to one of the thrilling afternoons of sport as four days of compelling competition came down to the very final show jumping fence.

Ultimately, it was Great Britain’s Rosalind Canter, riding Allstar B, who proved to be the star of a spectacular show with her double clear round proving critical in securing her individual gold and giving Great Britain the world title to go with their 2017 European crown.

Ireland, led by individual silver medallist Padraig McCarthy, broke records all over the place. The country’s team silver was their first team medal at a world championships since the inaugural event in 1966, while McCarthy’s individual success was the nation’s first since John Watson – father of current team member Sam Watson – finished second 40 years ago.

“There were quite a few tears which really isn’t very normal for me. It’s absolutely incredible,” said Canter, who entered the arena with Team GB just 0.20 points ahead of Ireland, after poles down for both Tom McEwen and Piggy French. “In the back of my mind I did know (the team situation) but I was just focused on my horse and my warm-up. You have to try and block that out.”

Canter, who won European team gold with Great Britain in 2017, was quick to praise legendary eventing coach Chris Bartle, emphasising how the 66 year old has made her “less intense” since he joined the team at the end of 2016.

Ireland, who started the day a significant 8.20 points behind the British, was in rampant form throughout, highlighted by the confident McCarthy on Mr Chunky.

“In a previous life I used to be a show jumper, so it gave me a lot of confidence,” McCarthy said, before confirming medals have long been on his mind. “I have dreamt about it for the last six months, at least. With a horse like this you have to dream big.”

With joy for some came heartache for others. Germany’s Ingrid Klimke seemed destined to add the ultimate sparkle to her glittering career with a first ever individual world championship gold right up until the moment she and mount SAP Hale Bob OLD flicked the last fence and handed the glory to Canter.

“If somebody had told me before I would come here and get individual bronze I would have been very happy,” said the WEG 2014 team gold medallist. “It was very close, last fence, last rail, for sure the first moment I was disappointed, but it was the only mistake that we did on the whole weekend.”

Reigning Olympic team champions France took team bronze, although their celebrations were tinged with regret as Lieutenant Colonel Thibaut Vallette and Astier Nicolas, lying fourth and fifth respectively after the cross country, both knocked a pole down to ruin hopes of climbing onto the individual podium.

Team Japan produced a stunning display to finish fourth overall, suggesting that the home nation could be one to watch come the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

With hosts Japan already guaranteed a place at the 2020 Games, Germany and Australia booked their tickets by finishing fifth and sixth respectively before New Zealand, buoyed by Burghley 2018 winner Tim Price’s eighth place overall, snatched the final qualification spot.

Click here for full results.

By Luke Norman

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Shannon Gibbons
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shannon.gibbons@fei.org
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