Category Archives: Competitions

Germany Takes the Early Lead in Dressage

Photo: Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH. (FEI/Claes Jakobsson)

Chasing down their 23rd European team Dressage title, Germany took a firm grip on the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Grand Prix at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg (SWE).

Helen Langehanenberg got them off to a great start when posting the biggest score of the day, 74.986%, with Damsey FRH, and team-mate Dorothee Schneider (48) cemented that when slotting into second place on a mark of 74.586 with Sammy Davis Jr. With two more riders still to go, including their superstar combination of Isabell Werth and Weihegold, the Germans have almost a six-point lead over their nearest rivals, the defending champions from The Netherlands.

And it’s incredibly tight going into the second half of the competition with Denmark breathing down those Dutch necks just a fraction further behind, while the hosts from Sweden are in fourth place only another 1.0% adrift. A total of 16 teams are contesting the medal placings.

Langehanenberg (35), who, during her sensational career with the brilliant stallion Damon Hill, was a member of the victorious German team at the Europeans in Herning (DEN) in 2013 and the silver medal winning Olympic team at London 2012, has a relatively new ride in Damsey FRH.

“Although he is 15, we are a young couple, just one and a half years together now. He’s a wonderful horse but he’s like a lucky bag – you never know what’s going to come out! He is in a good mood today, and he’s different again tomorrow. Today he was great!” — Helen Langehanenberg GER

Patrick van der Meer (46) and Zippo were the first Dutch partnership into the ring, scoring 71.114, and Diederik van Silfhout added a competitive 72.528 with Four Seasons to back that up. But van Silfhout’s Danish pupil Anna Zibrandtsen (23) and Arlando, the brilliant horse her Dutch tutor steered to team gold at the FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) in 2015, produced a stunning performance to earn a mark of 72.957 which, when added to team-mate Agnete Kirk Thinggaard’s 70.629 with Jojo AZ ensured the Danes are right in the mix.

Only the second German partnership of Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr pinned Zibrandtsen back to third place when putting a mark of 74.585 on the board. Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi’s 72.857 filled fourth slot.

Austria, Spain, France, Russia, Finland and Belarus are lining up between fifth and 11th places, but don’t discount the British yet. Down a man since Gareth Hughes withdrew Don Carissimo they could still be in with a shout according to Emile Faurie who steered another relative novice, the 12-year-old Lollipop, into sixth spot on a mark of 72.285.

When asked about his hopes for the 2011 team gold and 2015 European silver medal winning nation, he said “that Spencer (Wilton) scores 80 and Carl (Hester) rides 90, which they both can, and must! 72 (his own score) has been a counting score in the past; we’ve got two brilliant riders with two brilliant horses coming so I don’t see that as too big an ask!”

By Louise Parkes

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Gold Rush for GB and Dutch as Para Dressage Starts with a Flourish

Photo: Pepo Puch (Europeans/ Claes Jakobsson)

Great Britain and the Netherlands flexed their considerable muscles and claimed two gold medals apiece in the Para-Equestrian Dressage on a glorious, sun-drenched first day of the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

Julie Payne (GBR) led the charge in Grade I, posting a huge 77.642% score to leave the competition trailing far behind.

“That is one of the best feelings I have ever had. It’s the best test I have done on her; she was just so in my hand; if I asked her to correct she was just answering.” — Julie Payne (GBR)

The 55-year-old was riding Athene Lindebjerg, the mare who won triple gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with former rider Sophie Christiansen (GBR). Remarkably, Payne and her new mount have only been together for three months, with the newly-crowned European champion grateful that they “just clicked”.

Grade I is for the most severely impaired athletes, with Payne describing her multiple system atrophy (MSA) as like combining motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and chronic fatigue syndrome into one.

German Elke Philipp was delighted to take silver with 73.428%, while Rihards Snikus (LAT) held off the challenge of current freestyle world champion Sara Morganti (ITA) to snatch bronze.

Great Britain’s Suzanna Hext, a debutant on the team like compatriot Payne, edged a tight battle for Grade III glory with a score of 71.588%. She was “over the moon” with her horse Abira’s performance.

“He loves a party, loves to show off and that’s exactly what he did today. He is a horse of a lifetime.” — Suzanna Hext (GBR)

Claudia Schmidt (GER) won a second silver for Germany, with a score of 70.617% placing her just ahead of Hext’s teammate, Erin Orford (GBR).

In Grade V, defending European individual champion Frank Hosmar (NED) pushed his long-time rival Sophie Wells (GBR) into silver.

“To beat them is always what gets me out of bed,” said Hosmar of his battles with Wells and Rio 2016 freestyle gold medal winner Michele George (BEL), who finished a surprising fifth.

“We see each other in the stables, say hello and kiss-kiss; it’s not like we hate each other, but it’s fun to beat each other.” — Frank Hosmar (NED)

Compatriot Sanne Voets (NED) revealed some timely pre-competition motivation made all the difference for her gold medal-winning routine in Grade IV.

“Yesterday in the familiarisation he got really tense and today in the warm-up he was a little tense too, but I said to him ‘c’mon boy, we can do this’ and I’m really, really proud of the way he handled everything,” Voets said after scoring 72.353%.

Belgium’s Manon Claeys claimed silver with a mark of 71.560% and Louise Etzner Jakobsson (SWE) delighted the home crowd by claiming bronze.

“I am proud to be a Swede in the Championships here,” Jakobsson said. “I always try to ride like I am home, wherever I am.”

Veteran Pepo Puch (AUT), a former international three-day eventer, defended his European title in Grade II, triumphing with 73.382%, ahead of Nicole de Dulk (NED) and Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup.

By Luke Norman

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Eventing Gold for Great Britain and Germany’s Ingrid Klimke at Strzegom

Photo: The victorious British team at the FEI European Eventing Championships at Strzegom in Poland: Nicola Wilson (also individual bronze), Ros Canter, Oliver Townend and Kristina Cook (FEI/Jon Stroud)

A jubilant British team was celebrating after jumping three superb clear rounds in the final phase to hold onto their overnight lead and clinch the longed-for team title at the FEI European Eventing Championships in Strzegom (POL).

“We are very excited to be back on top. We’ve got some amazing riders and horses and we’ve worked hard for this.” — Kristina Cook, British gold medal team member

Ingrid Klimke, who has been such a key member of the German team for 17 years, also delivered a jumping perfect round under pressure on Horseware Hale Bob to win her first individual title and lead Germany to team silver.

Triple European champion Michael Jung’s winning run finally ended and the German sportingly settled for individual silver with a clear round on fischerRocana.

“You just have to keep going and after 20 years it will happen! I always want to be a team player, but this was my dream” — Ingrid Klimke (GER), new European champion

Sweden held onto team bronze, but Sara Algotsson Ostholt had a less than happy jumping round on Reality 39 and dropped from third to ninth.

Britain’s Nicola Wilson went clear on Bulana to take bronze, her first individual medal, while Cook and Canter lined up behind her in fourth and fifth. Oliver Townend, who was the discard score, did not present Cooley SRS at the final horse inspection.

Ten teams and 56 riders completed the competition, although there was disappointment when host nation Poland’s best rider, Pawel Spisak, was denied a fairy-tale finish after Banderas did not pass the final horse inspection.

www.strzegom2017.pl

By Kate Green

FEI Press contact:

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

Victoria Colvin and Cuba Capture USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship Honors

Photo: Tori Colvin and Cuba.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 19, 2017 – The country’s best hunter horses and riders returned to the Rolex Stadium for the second and final phase of competition in the 2017 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. Competitors returned with their classic round scores in tow, and had one last chance to show off their horses and their skills around designers Allan Lohman and Danny Moore’s skillfully-planned course. John French, the 2009 champion, sat in the prime position with the one-two lead after day one, trailed by Victoria Colvin and rookie Geoffrey Hesslink in the next two spots. As the early leaders, these three were targets for their counterparts, with Colvin and Cuba ultimately pulling away from the pack with a standout round to secure the 2017 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship Honors.

Young rider Taylor St. Jacques and Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Charisma separated from the field for the early lead as the seventh of 25 pairs to take their turn in the handy round, pulling in a score of 299.75 for the day and an impressive total score of 559.75. Just a few turns later, sitting in 12th position entering the day, Amanda Steege knew she needed to ride boldly aboard Wendy Salomon’s Maitre D’ if she were to have a chance at the title, and instead of focusing simply on where she could cut strides to promote handiness, the veteran rider honed her efforts on exemplifying a steady and confident pace. Based on the scores of 88.00, 86.75 and 85.25, plus handy scores of 8, 8 and 7 that she received from the judges panel, it was obvious Steege did her job well. She and “Mr. Lucky” earned a nightly score of 295.00 once the high option points were added, bumping her to an overall score of 560.50 and the class lead with 11 pairs still to ride.

Whittled down to only the top three individuals left to go, Steege still sat atop the leaderboard. French and Hiller Farms, LLC’s Center Court, his second-place horse, rode ahead of their place in the reverse order to allow French time to swap mounts, but they were unable to overtake Steege with their two-day composite score of 535.50. Hesslink and his own 6-year-old Cadoretto took the stage sitting in fourth place after the first phase, and though the young Hesslink professed to be nervous in his debut USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship showing, he exuded confidence in the ring and was rewarded by the highest scores of the night to eclipse Steege and take over the lead. Hesslink and his chestnut gelding garnered scores of 90.00, 88.50 and 87.00 from the three panels of judges and, when combined with handy scores of 8 across the board plus 12 option points, broke the 300-point barrier with their nightly tally of 301.50. Combined with Friday’s score, Hesslink earned a lofty 574.50 points over the two phases, and was one of only three pairs to hit the 90 mark.

Unfortunately for Hesslink, his score would not hold, as Colvin, no stranger to the winner’s circle in the hunter ring, out did herself aboard Cuba, the 11-year-old gelding owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC. Colvin navigated the handy round like a seasoned pro and, like Steege, paid attention to not just taking the tightest turns possible, but treated her high position with respect and rode a steady round, which paid off. She and Cuba earned scores of 92.00, 88.75 and 88.25, plus the highest handy scores of the night at 10, 9 and 9. The four high option fences further added to her score for a grand total of 309.00 and a two-day score of 584.25, nearly 10 points ahead of Hesslink. As the day-one leader and last to go in the class, French and Laura Wasserman’s Skyhawk had a high standard to beat with Colvin’s score, and though the pair laid down an efficient round, an unfortunate knockdown at the stone wall, not an uncommon occurrence for the night, knocked them out of contention, solidifying Colvin and Cuba as the 2017 champions.

Colvin rode to a total payout of over $45,000 to go along with her championship winnings, followed by Hesslink in the reserve position. Prior to competition, Hesslink and Cadoretto had accrued only $1,200 together in derby winnings, but the pair, who have only been a team since the spring season, will leave the Rolex Stadium not only with the nearly $30,000 check that goes to the overall reserve champion, but also prize money for the highest-placing Section B pair, an amount that exceeds $10,000. Steege and Maitre D’ retained their third place position to stay on the podium, and St. Jacques, also in her debut showing, and Charisma finished in fourth place by less than a full point. Kelli Cruciotti and her own Monterrey nabbed the next spot with their total score of 553.50 to round out the top five finishers.

Earlier in the afternoon, 38 horses and riders who did not qualify for the handy round took another shot at some prize money, riding in the $10,000 Derby Challenge, sponsored by Spring Gathering Charity Horse Show and PJP Farm. Like the handy round, Lohman and Moore’s course included plenty of option jumps and inside turn options, allowing riders to exhibit their mount’s handiness. As the first to go in the order, Timothy Maddrix and Wimberly Debono’s Indecision did not have the luxury of seeing any competitors ride the track, but as it turned out, they did not need the insight. The pair navigated the course brilliantly and was rewarded with scores of 89.00, 87.00 and 83.00, in addition to 12 option points and 24 handy points from the judges’ panel, for a composite score of 295.00 to set a high standard at the onset of the class. Though they were hunted by all subsequent entrants, only two managed to come within 10 points of the class leaders. David Oliynyk and Generous, owned by Lori Gaudet, laid down a spectacular trip but ended up just shy of the top prize, finishing on a 294.50 score, just one-half point behind Maddrix and Indecision.

Steege, with the ride aboard Loxley, owned by Finale Partners, LLC, was the next-closest competitor, earning a 291.00 with the bay stallion, followed by Evan Coluccio and Lisa Vesterstein’s Anthem with total marks of 281.00. With a score of 279.00, Daniel Geitner and True Story, owned by Kelly Sims, rounded out the top five.

Prior to Saturday’s handy round of the 2017 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, Jersey Boy, famously ridden by Jennifer Alfano and owned by Susie Schoellkopf, was honored and recognized for his incredible athleticism, talent and success as one of the best international hunter derby horses in a special retirement ceremony held during the opening ceremonies. The pair won the 2012 $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, and also claimed the reserve championship in the prestigious competition in 2009 and 2014. In addition, the hunter derby superstar still firmly stands atop the USHJA lifetime money-won leaderboard and has won the George H. Morris Perpetual Trophy four times as the highest money earner. Next, Jersey Boy will enjoy his well-deserved retirement at Stacy Sandbothe’s farm in Prospect, Tennessee.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Great Britain Bounces Back at Eventing Championships to Take Lead after Cross Country

Photo: Ingrid Klimke with Horseware Hale Bob. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Great Britain has swept into the lead after cross country at the FEI European Eventing Championships in Strzegom (POL) with three brilliant clear rounds from team rookie Ros Canter on Allstar B, Kristina Cook (Billy the Red) and anchorman Nicola Wilson (Bulana).

“Bulana is so honest and good on a line. She was in a rhythm from start to finish. It’s very exciting! We had a group team hug and a jump around!” — British team member Nicola Wilson (GBR), lying 4th individually

But Britain has only two fences in hand over the defending champions, Germany, who is known for their skill in the final jumping phase. German duo Ingrid Klimke (Horseware Hale Bob) and triple European champion Michael Jung (fischerRocana FST) completed flawless rounds and are in individual gold and silver medal positions.

Germany slipped behind Britain when pathfinder Julia Krajewski, riding Samourai du Thot, picked up 20 penalties for a runout at fence 8 and dressage leader Bettina Hoy (Seigneur Medicott) ran out at the influential double of angled brushes at fence 4 and was then eliminated for a fall at the 10th.

“I felt under pressure for sure, but Bobby was in such good form that I was nearly laughing and really had to concentrate. We had such fun out there!” — Ingrid Klimke (GER), individual overnight leader

Sweden was the only nation to achieve four clear rounds and is in bronze medal position, with Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Reality 39 in individual third place.

Ten nations completed as teams, with the hosts, Poland, in sixth place behind Italy and Belgium. The French, who were second after dressage, finished with only two riders after Gwendolen Fer had a fall with Traumprinz and Thomas Carlile, lying in sixth place, was eliminated for three refusals with the stallion Upsilon.

Britain’s day started shakily when pathfinder Oliver Townend had two runouts on the inexperienced Cooley SRS, but he still completed with only 1.2 time penalties, which was one of the fastest times of the day. There were 63 completions, 35 clear rounds and four inside the optimum time of 10 minutes.

“Oliver did a great job because he never gave up and the team was fantastic. It’s where preparation meets opportunity. I get a lot of teasing from my German friends, but I am thrilled to be working with the British team again.” — Christopher Bartle, former German trainer, now training Team GB

Follow live scoring on www.strzegom2017.pl.

By Kate Green

FEI Press contact:

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

World Eventing Record Total Puts Germans Out in Front after Dressage in Strzegom

Photo: Michael Jung on fischerRocana. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

France and Great Britain locked in battle for silver and bronze

Germany, winners of the last three FEI European Eventing Championships, have risen to new heights with a record team score of 87.7 penalties after dressage at Strzegom (POL). The defending champions have an incredible 24.1-penalty lead over France, with Great Britain breathing down their necks just 0.1 behind the French in bronze medal position.

Bettina Hoy (GER) riding Seigneur Medicott is still out in front with a 5.7-penalty lead over her team mate Ingrid Klimke (GER), who scored 30.3 on Horseware Hale Bob. Jung is third on 32.8 with fischerRocana FST, the mare visibly relaxing after a slightly nervous start.

“It’s an unbelievable start for the team, but tomorrow (cross country) is a strong day and we’ll have to concentrate. You’ve got to focus on yourself and not worry too much what’s happening to other people because it’ll be a long day.” — Michael Jung (GER), defending champion

British individual rider Gemma Tattersall interrupts German domination with a personal best score of 33.1 on the attractive grey mare Quicklook V for fourth place ahead of Sara Algotsson-Ostholt (SWE) on Reality 39 with 34.2, which puts the Swedish team into fourth place at this stage.

Fifteen riders have scored below the 40-penalty mark. Thomas Carlile is still the highest placed French team member in sixth place on Upsilon, with teammate Lt Thibaut Vallette in eighth on Qing du Briot, members of the French gold medal team in Rio.

“Team GB wanted me to ride as an individual so I could fight for myself and get a medal, which is my dream. It’s incredible pressure, but I’ll be trying my absolute best.” — Gemma Tattersall (GBR), fourth after dressage on Quicklook V

Nicola Wilson heads the British team in seventh place on another mare, Bulana, with Kristina Cook 12th on Billy the Red and Ros Canter 15th on Allstar B.

Attention now turns to Rüdiger Schwarz’s cross-country track and, although the Germans have the luxury of such a strong lead, riders predict that his course will be influential with a tight time and a number of accuracy questions which will require full focus from both horse and rider.

“Riders like Ingrid and Michi will make it look easy, but I think it’s a clever course in that the time will be difficult but many riders will complete. We’re all very much looking forward to it.” — Bettina Hoy (GER), dressage leader

Follow live scoring on www.strzegom2017.pl.

By Kate Green

FEI Press contact:

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

Bettina Hoy Puts Germany in Control at Eventing Championships in Strzegom

Bettina Hoy with Seigneur Medicott. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Bettina Hoy (GER), competing at her 10th FEI European Eventing Championships, set the standard for the rest of the field with a flawless display of dressage and has now set up a commanding lead after the first day’s competition at Strzegom (POL).

Hoy, 54, who took the title 20 years ago with Watermill Stream at Burghley (GBR), scored two 10s for her riding and set a European Championship record with her mark of 24.6 penalties which will significantly boost Germany’s chances of a fourth successive team gold.

“’Micky’ is a pleasure to ride, which makes my job easier. The team is feeling very positive. We are lucky to have such a good system of training riders in Germany and we all motivate each other.” — Bettina Hoy (GER), current Dressage leader

The defending champions are well ahead at this early stage, with Luhmühlen winner Julia Krajewski, who takes the team pathfinder role for the first time, in third place on her brilliant little Selle Francais gelding Samourai du Thot with a score of 36.3.

Thomas Carlile of France had the unenviable job of following Hoy into the arena, but he is currently in second place on 34.4 penalties with the impeccably behaved nine-year-old grey stallion Upsilon, already the sire of around 380 foals.

“Bettina is a super rider to watch. I expected to be behind her, but perhaps not quite so far behind! Upsilon is mature for his age and very precise, so I was able to put the pressure on myself, but in a good way.” — Thomas Carlile (FRA), currently in second place

The atmospheric arena at Strzegom has brought out the best in others too, as three more combinations have scored below 40 penalties. Swiss team member Felix Vogg, who works part time for his father’s real estate company, is in fourth place with Onfire with 37.2; Sweden’s Louise Svensson-Jahde (Wieloch’s Utah Sun) is fifth; and Ros Canter (GBR), making her senior team debut, is sixth on Allstar B with a personal best of 38.6.

Defending champion Michael Jung’s (GER) pupil Pawel Spisak, a member of the host team, Poland, is currently 11th on the former racehorse Banderas with the excellent score of 43.4.

“Team GB is lucky to have Chris Bartle as trainer, we are missing him,” Bettina Hoy said, but commented that the Germans are delighted to have Badminton 2017 winner Andrew Nicholson as their new cross country advisor. The Kiwi master has already walked Rüdiger Schwarz’s (GER) accuracy-testing track several times and has pronounced it “strong but fair”.

Follow live scoring on www.strzegom2017.pl.

By Kate Green

FEI Press contact:

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

19 European Nations Line Up at Eventing Championships in Strzegom

Michael Jung will be bidding for a record fourth individual title at the 2017 FEI European Eventing Championships (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Can anyone break Germany’s firm grip on the FEI European Eventing Championships? That is the question as riders, horses, owners, grooms and trainers from 19 countries, plus a host of volunteers, have been welcomed to the first senior Eventing championships to be held at the Stragona Equestrian Center in Strzegom (POL) from August 17-20 and the first one in Eastern Europe since Bialy Bor (POL) in 1986.

The German team is bidding for a fourth successive European team gold medal and world number one Michael Jung, whose extraordinary winning run began in Luhmühlen (GER) in 2011 with the great La Biosthetique Sam, will again be one of the favourites to take the title and, in the process, make Eventing history.

The Jung story continued to Malmö (SWE) in 2013, where he triumphed on Halunke, and then in 2015 he produced an unforgettable display of horsemanship on fischerTakinou, galloping through torrential rain at Blair Castle (GBR) in the Scottish Highlands to equal Ginny Eliot’s (GBR) record of three successive titles on three different horses and receive team and individual gold medals from HRH Queen Elizabeth ll.

Now he will be trying to make history on Polish soil, and few would bet against him making it four in a row with fischerRocana FST, known as ‘Roxy’. The brilliant little mare is a dual winner of Kentucky CCI4* and won world team gold and individual silver medals at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA) in 2014.

A mighty German squad includes three-time Olympic gold medallist Ingrid Klimke (Horseware Hale Bob), and recent Luhmühlen winners Julia Krajewski (Samourai Du Thot).

Joy of the sport

However, nothing is ever predictable in Eventing – that is the joy of the sport – and the name that has been on everyone’s lips this summer is Frenchman Thomas Carlile on the beautiful grey stallion Upsilon, a horse that is hugely talented in all three phases.

Last year at the Rio Olympic Games, the French beat the Germans to team gold and they come to Strzegom on a wave of confidence. They may be missing the Olympic silver medallist Astier Nicolas, who is injured, but France fields riders of the calibre of Maxime Livio, currently ranked fifth in the world, and 2015 individual bronze medallist Thibaut Vallette. Remarkably, France, so often the silver medallists, have never won the European team title, but they must surely feel the tide is about to turn.

Great Britain have dominated the European Championships for many years with an unbroken winning run of eight titles from 1995 to 2009, and will be equally determined to regain their place at the top of the leaderboard, as will their new team trainer Christopher Bartle who helped Germany to three Olympic golds and multiple championship medals.

The British squad is headed by Kristina Cook (Billy the Red), for whom it is an eighth European appearance. She is the only mother to have taken the European title, which she did convincingly in 2009 on Miners Frolic in Fontainebleau (FRA).

The strong British line-up includes Luhmühlen runner-up Nicola Wilson on the exciting black mare Bulana – Wilson is the highest ranked rider here at world number four after Jung – plus newly crowned national champion Gemma Tattersall (Quicklook V) and Oliver Townend (Cooley SRS), who is ranked eighth in the world.

Look out also for Belgium’s leading lady Karin Donckers, the world number 10, for whom it is a seventh European Championship, Belarusian Olympic rider Alena Tseliapushkina on Passat, Swiss brothers Ben and Felix Vogg, Swedish sisters Sara and Linda Algotsson and leading Irish couple Michael and Patricia Ryan.

There will be teams from Spain, Italy, Russia, and, for the first time in decades, Norway, coached by the great Finnish rider Piia Pantsu-Jonsson, world bronze medallist in 2002.

The action begins 17 August when the dressage test starts at 10:00 CEST in front of ground jury Ernst Topp (GER, president), Sue Baxter (GBR) and Slawomir Pietrzak (POL). The Technical Delegate is Gillian Kyle from Ireland and great anticipation surrounds Saturday’s action on the cross country track designed by the German maestro Rűdiger Schwarz, who produced such brilliant sport for the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Aachen (GER).

History is waiting to be made – but who will be making it?

Follow the action on www.fei.tv.

By Kate Green

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

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

Golds for Belgium, France, Germany and Italy at European and World Reining Championships

Bernard Fonck riding Smart N Sparkin. (Andrea Bonaga)

Bernard Fonck captures first ever gold for Belgium

Team Belgium is no stranger to the highest step of the podium in FEI competition, yet a Belgian rider had never clinched the coveted individual gold medal until Bernard Fonck (BEL) dominated the competition in Givrins, Switzerland. Riding the athletic American Quarter Horse stallion Smart N Sparkin, owned by Golden Paint Ranch, Fonck performed an outstanding pattern which led to a 225 score.

“I’ve had this horse ever since he was a two-year-old and have won quite a few major titles in the reining circuit with him. Since I knew that the competition here was tough and the level high, I was aiming for the podium but was not sure if we would be able to claim the gold. After the first part of the pattern, I felt that we could actually make it. I asked and he delivered and am thrilled for this very first individual gold medal for Belgium.” — Team and Individual gold medallist Bernard Fonck (BEL)

Germany claimed both the silver and bronze medals thanks to the 222 posted by Dominik Reminder (GER) and Dun It with a Splash, owned by Manuela Moser, and to the 221 scored by Julia Schumacher (GER) riding Coeurs Little Tyke for owner Georg Holzwarth.  Both riders were part of the German team, silver medalist in the team competition, with team bronze going to the previous title holders Italy.

France and Germany claim the gold in inaugural FEI World Reining Championship for Juniors and Young Riders

Once again the ‘dream team’ made up of Gina Schumacher (GER) and her Gotta Nifty Gun scored a winning run in the Young Riders competition. The German athlete reined her blue-eyed companion to an amazing 224.5 to take the individual gold medal. The duo had also secured the gold for Germany in the team competition and once again lit up the public stands by performing a superb demonstration of reining at its very best.

“I love my horse. We understand and take care of each other every single time we compete and he always gives me all he has. Whenever I’m nervous, he calms me down and vice versa!” — Germany’s double gold medallist, Gina Schumacher

It took a run-off to determine who would wear the silver and bronze medals. Nico Sicuro (ITA) riding Iam Sailors Brother and Dino Lulli (ITA) riding Sun Dreamin Star both posted a 219.5. The two fellow countrymen went back to the show arena and, once the last maneuver was performed, Sicuro and the 11-year-old stallion’s run was worth a 219. Lulli and his mount also gave all they had, but their final 217.5 score put them behind and they settled for the silver medal.

Last to go in the Junior individual competition, Axel Pesek (FRA) and Uncle Sparky performed an incredible pattern #9. They lit up the arena, had the crowd cheering, and rode to the gold medal thanks to their high score of 221.5. In the Junior team competition, the 16-year-old French rider’s performance had secured the bronze medal for Team France.  Taking the silver medal with a 218.5 score was Matteo Bonzano (ITA) riding his High Point Reiner. The bronze also went back to Italy thanks to Gabriele Landi’s performance aboard Spirit Spanish. The duo closed with a 217.5 score. Once the curtain fell on the stage of the inaugural FEI World Reining Championship for Juniors and Young Riders, seven medals were conquered by Italy.

By Simona Diale

FEI Press contact:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
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It’s Ladies’ Day in Dublin as Team USA Sweeps to Victory

Laura Kraut, Lillie Keenan, Lauren Hough and Beezie Madden with Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Team USA secured a definitive victory in the eighth and last leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 1 League in Dublin (IRL) when producing the only zero score in a hard-fought competition. On level pegging with the Irish at the halfway stage they stood firm while their hosts lost their grip to drop to fifth behind Spain.

In the closing stages the Netherlands and France threw down a challenge, and American anchor Laura Kraut (51) was under pressure when last to go with Confu. But the double-Olympian didn’t crumble, posting the second US double-clear of the competition to seal it ahead of the runners-up from France, while the Dutch slotted into third place.

This was the first all-female team triumph in the 91-year history of Nations Cup Jumping for the world-famous Aga Khan Cup in Dublin.

“We said at the beginning of the year this was one of the shows we are bringing our ‘A’ team to… it’s our view that the Aga Khan is the greatest trophy in our sport. And more than that there are many ways to win a Nations Cup; sometimes you get lucky, but today in my view there was no luck. These four riders did an unbelievable job!” — Robert Ridland (Chef d’Equipe Team USA)

The time-allowed of 80 seconds proved difficult for many over Irish course-builder Tom Holden’s track, and a speedy turn to the final oxer was often costly. Beezie Madden’s (53) mistake here with her new ride Darry Lou was the American drop score in round one, but the pair got it absolutely right in round two after pathfinders Lauren Hough (40) and the brilliant mare Ohlala produced their second clear of the day and rising talent Lillie Keenan (20) made her only mistake at the first element of the penultimate double with Super Sox.

Kraut clinched it with a crisp, clear run to leave a five-fault margin between the winning US side and the French in second while the points earned by the third-placed Dutch, whose final tally was just seven faults, saw them overtake Italy at the top of the Europe Division 1 leaderboard at the end of the eight-leg series.

Beezie Madden – Team USA (winners), talking about her horse Darry Lou: “He’s a new horse. He came from Mexico and the highest he jumped there was 1.55m or so. I got him in May and this was only his third 1.60m course today. It was my mistake in the first round. He’s like a Cadillac to ride!”

Laura Kraut – Team USA, talking about the similarities between her winning ride, Confu, and her legendary 2008 Olympic team gold medal winning horse Cedric, who is now retired: “Oddly enough I found out when we were in Aachen that they share the same grandmother or something. I had no idea that they were remotely related so that’s very exciting. He (Confu) is as much of a cheeky monkey as Cedric, so for me he’s wonderful. I love him, he’s a trier, he’s a pet and he’s fun to ride and be around. But Cedric can’t be replaced.”

By Louise Parkes

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