Category Archives: Contributors/Press

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Sydney Collier and All in One Make a Winning Debut Together

Sydney Collier with All in One. Photo by susanjstickle.com.

New York, NY – August 21, 2019 – U.S. Paralympic rider Sydney Collier won all three classes in her national-level showing debut with her new horse All in One. On August 16-18, they showed at the Centerline Events at HITS on Hudson in Saugerties, NY and earned blues in two classes of Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Para Equestrian Test of Choice and also in the FEI Para Equestrian Freestyle.

“I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am of ‘Alle’ and our developing partnership — his talent and heart are endlessly giving!” Collier said. “Friday at Saugerties, we showed our team test under FEI four-star judge Ulrike Nivelle of Germany and retired FEI five-star judge Cara Whitham of Canada and received a score of 74.10 percent. We studied the judges’ comments from that test and then focused on them in our warm-up for the individual championship test on Saturday. We showed our individual championship test under Kari McClain, an FEI three-star judge from the U.S., and Nivelle, and earned our best score to date of a 78.57 percent!”

On Sunday in her Freestyle test, Collier scored 79.90 percent from judges Nivelle and Cesar Torrente, an FEI four-star judge from Colombia, to win the class. “I can’t even say enough how proud I am of Alle,” said Collier. “It is our first time showing a freestyle in a competition, and freestyles are my favorite part of a show by far. He really is the best dance partner a girl could ever ask for! I can’t wait to dance with him again soon.”

Collier is aiming to be selected for the U.S. team for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games with All in One. Working toward that goal, she plans to show next at the Tryon Fall Dressage CPEDI3* and US Equestrian Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships on September 12-15 in North Carolina. She intends to begin 2020 by competing in CPEDIs at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL, aiming for Paralympic team selection.

“I feel really excited by how much he and I have connected so early on in our partnership,” Collier said of All in One, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Abanos — Dauphina). “His nature is trusting and hard-working, and I can tell each time we enter the ring — whether it’s at home or at a show — that he understands and enjoys his job.”

Top U.S. show jumper Georgina Bloomberg purchased All in One in July to help support Collier’s Paralympic bid. Collier, 21, has represented the United States at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in Caen, France, and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, where she finished seventh individually riding Western Rose. In 2014, she won the Against All Odds award from the FEI.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to support someone like Sydney,” said Bloomberg. “I want to see her be able to pursue her dreams. It’s nice to be able to help someone who’s working so hard and wants something so badly and deserves to get somewhere, but just has a financial roadblock preventing her from doing that.”

Collier rides at the Grade I para-equestrian dressage level, in which the tests are performed at the walk only. She began riding as able-bodied at the age of seven but switched to para-equestrian at age 11 after being diagnosed with the rare Wyburn Mason Syndrome. The congenital birth defect caused tumors and a massive stroke and subsequent brain surgery left her with limited use of the left side of her body, completely blind in her right eye, and three-quarters blind in her left eye. Collier’s hometown is Ann Arbor, MI, but she lives in Stanfordville, NY in order to train with Wes Dunham at Woodstock Stables in Millbrook, NY.

“I want to say a huge thank you to the people in my life who have made this success on the path towards Tokyo possible,” Collier said. “None of this would be possible without my sponsor, Georgina Bloomberg. As well, a big thank you to my trainer, Wes Dunham, who has invested thousands of hours into my training over the years. I don’t know where I would be without him.”

For more information on Sydney Collier, visit www.sydsparaquest.com.

Molly Sorge
molly@jumpmediallc.com

2019 Southeast Medal Finals Adds NEW Poles Medal Final

Tampa, Fla. – August 16, 2019 – Entries are filling fast for the 2019 Southeast Medal Finals, held in just a few weeks from August 30 to September 1. This year’s exciting competition will return to the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa, Florida. Classes are available for all levels and ages, and entries can be mailed in or submitted online through HorseShowsOnline.

New to this year, competition will feature a Poles Medal Final, presented by MCF Equestrian, held Sunday, September 1. The Poles Medal Final is open to qualified beginner junior and non-professional adult riders who have not shown over anything higher than cross rails. Be sure to submit your entries for this exciting addition.

The Southeast Medal Finals will offer hunter, jumper, and equitation competition for all levels and ages. USEF-rated and sanctioned by the CFHJA, this regional competition is the perfect season culmination for riders seeking an affordable and attainable horse show experience.

For questions regarding this year’s Southeast Medal Finals or to submit stall counts, call (352) 397-9315 or email semedalfinals@gmail.com.

For additional information, please visit www.southeastmedalfinals.com.

Olympian Ben Maher Tops LGCT Grand Prix of London

Maher and Explosion W (Photo courtesy of Stefano Grasso)

Rome, Italy (August 16, 2019) – Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Maher’s show jumping prowess has been the subject of championship stories at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, the 2012 London Games, and numerous international competitions around the globe. On the famed Longines Global Champion Tour (LGCT) circuit, Maher has consistently topped its destination events over the past two years, and this summer was victorious not only in his nation’s capital of London while representing the home team London Knights, but is well positioned to reclaim his 2018 LGCT Champion of Champions title for 2019.

Maher kicked off the 2019 LGCT season with a second-place finish aboard his anchor KWPN stallion, Explosion W (Chacco Blue x Untouchable), in the LGCT of Doha. Subsequent top finishes for Maher and teammates on the London Knights in Stockholm, Sweden and Casais/Estoril, Portugal further cemented their prestige in the LGCT ranks. From August 2nd to 4th, Maher truly proved his star power, winning the LGCT Grand Prix of London and skyrocketing both himself and his team to top rankings in the tour and league. In a four-horse jump-off and aboard Explosion W, Maher edged out Shane Sweetnam aboard Alejandro and Darragh Kenny aboard Classic Dream to take the win on a time of 38.98. It was double gravy for Maher, who won not only for his home team, the London Knights, but also in his nation’s capital.

Following the LGCT in London and the subsequent LGCT Valkenswaard, Maher sits perfectly poised to pounce at future destinations and be named the 2019 LGCT Champion of Champions for the second year in a row. Maher no doubt has his sights set on further victories and ultimately Tokyo 2020.

Media contact:
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

A Stellar Cast Chases Jumping Gold and Glory

Peder Fredricson. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

There’s a whole lot hanging in the balance as the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2019 gets underway in Rotterdam, The Netherlands next Wednesday (21 August). Not only will the best horse-and-rider combinations from all across Europe try to etch their names onto the prestigious Roll of Honour that dates all the way back to 1957. But the competition for the three Olympic qualifying spots up for grabs will also be ferocious, so it won’t all be about who stands on the top step of the podium.

Of course, when it comes to European gold, they all want it. And every two years when this event comes around then the ones they all have to beat are the Germans, because their record is just incredible. Germany has claimed the most team golds with a total of seven, and also tops the individual leaderboard with 14 victories. And with Christian Ahlmann, Daniel Deusser, Marcus Ehning, Maurice Tebbel, and the lady who took the individual title at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA, Simone Blum, on call-up this time around, then the rest will have to be at the top of their game to keep them in check.

The very first FEI European Jumping Championship took place in Rotterdam, so we are returning to where it all began. Just 8 riders from 5 nations competed at that inaugural fixture in 1957, but a total of 70 athletes from 24 nations will line out in the 2019 edition, and 15 countries will be represented by teams.

The Irish are defending team champions, but few would deny that the Swedes, who finished second on their home turf in Gothenburg two years ago and who only lost out on gold at last year’s World Championships in a nail-biting jump-off against the clock, will be ones to watch this time around. They’re strong, they’re hungry, and they are on a roll, picking up a series of extraordinary wins in recent months thanks in no small part to sensational performances from Peder Fredricson, the man who brought individual European glory to his country in 2017. Fredricson spearheads an awesome Swedish side that includes Malin Baryard-Johnsson, Fredrik Jonsson, Henrik von Eckermann, and Evelina Tovek.

And the Swiss look a formidable force, Martin Fuchs and World No.1 Steve Guerdat, who took individual silver and bronze at last year’s World Championships, join Paul Estermann, Beat Mandli, and Niklaus Rutschi, and with their best horses in tow you just know they mean business.

It was a golden era for the Dutch when they swept all before them at Aachen (GER) in 2015, and Chef d’Equipe Rob Ehrens, who himself won team bronze in Munich in 1981, sends out Maikel van der Vleuten who was on that 2015 winning side along with Bart Bles, Marc Houtzager, Doron Kuipers, and Frank Schuttert.

The Irish won against the odds last time around when the team was reduced to just three riders in the closing stages. And Cian O’Connor, who clinched it on that memorable night before going on to take individual bronze, is joined by 2017 team-mate Shane Sweetnam, the on-fire Darragh Kenny, Paul O’Shea, and Peter Moloney.

However, the surprise package could well be the British. They’ve been in the doldrums for quite some time now but their winning performance in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ in Dublin last Friday was more than convincing. Chef d’Equipe, Di Lampard, has at last got a super-talented and totally committed pool of riders, and the emotional reaction from the relatively young but hardened veterans Scott Brash and Ben Maher who were on the last winning British side in Herning (DEN) six years ago said it all that day. There’s no doubt but that the British, team champions on five previous occasions, are back with a bang, and the side that will also include Amanda Derbyshire, Laura Renwick, and Holly Smith will be gunning for gold next week.

Ladies had their own Championship until 1973, and since they’ve been competing against their male counterparts, they have only twice broken the mould by taking the individual title. Alexandra Ledermann from France was the first to do it with the mighty Rochet M at Hickstead in 1999, and there has only been one other, Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum who topped the podium with the great Shutterfly in 2007 at Mannheim (GER). All eyes will be on the reigning World Champion, Simone Blum, to see if she can extend the short list of lady winners.

While gold is the goal for many, those three tantalising Olympic qualifying spots will also be a major focus. So far 14 nations have booked their tickets for Tokyo 2020 – Japan, USA, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Australia, Ukraine, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, and China. Next week, however, 10 more teams will be trying to make the cut, because Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and Spain also have their hopes and dreams, and none are prepared to give up without a serious fight.

The Jumping action gets underway on Wednesday and following two more days of competition on Thursday and Friday the team medals will be decided. Sunday’s finale is bound to be a thriller as the new Longines FEI Jumping European Champion will be crowned, and by then the road to Tokyo 2020 will be more clearly marked.

Event website here.

Full list of entries here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Can Dutch World Champions Make European History on Home Turf?

Team Netherlands. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhurst)

Rotterdam (NED) will host the Longines FEI European Championships for para dressage, the third to be held alongside Jumping and Dressage, from Wednesday 21 – Sunday 25 August. Some 66 riders from 21 countries will compete for medals. Who will be the riders and rivalries to look out for?

Great Britain and The Netherlands are set to renew their para dressage rivalry at the competition with The Netherlands clearly determined to add the European team title to the world title it famously won at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon (USA). That was the first time in the history of the sport that Team GB lost the team competition at European, World, or Paralympic level and potentially represented a major power shift in the sport.

And with a home Europeans, the Dutch will be looking to replicate that achievement. The WEG winning team of Nicole Den Dulk (grade II), Rixt van der Horst (grade III), Sanne Voets (grade IV) , and Frank Hosmar (grade V) will enthrall the crowd, while Great Britain has chosen three new riders to join established team member, the European, World, and Paralympic champion Sophie Wells (grade V).

The team competition will also see a strong challenge from the likes of Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, and Norway too. It’ll be an exciting one to watch.

66 riders from 21 countries across five grades will compete for team and individual medals.

Ones to watch in each grade

Italy’s Sara Morganti will have high hopes of winning her first European titles in Rotterdam. Currently the world number one ranked rider across all five grades, she comes to the championships as a double WEG 2018 gold medallist. Latvia’s Rihard Snikus will be her main challenger, and also in the mix is likely to be Germany’s Elke Philipp and the Nordic trio of Jens Lasse Dokkan (NOR), Anita Johnsson (SWE) and Katja Karjalainen (FIN).

Grade II will likely see the continuation of the constant tussle for medals between Austria’s Pepo Puch and The Netherlands Nicole Den Dulk. The pair is part of a quarter of riders (the other two being Great Britain’s Sir Lee Pearson and Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup) who swap places on the podium regularly. Puch comes in as a double gold medallist from the 2013 and 15 Europeans, and the individual champion from 2017. He’ll be wanting the double again this year, but Den Dulk will be gunning for her first major international title too.

Great Britain’s Georgia Wilson could spoil the party though, having had a great run up to these competition, and Germany’s Heidemarie Dresing could also feature.

Rixt van der Horst will be the home favourite for the titles in grade III. She’s a triple gold WEG gold medallist from 2018 (and double gold from 2014) and double European Champion from 2015. As competition records go that should be enough. However, Denmark’s young superstar rider Tobias Thorning Joergensen is currently ranked number one in the grade, and he’ll be vying for his first major title having come so close on his debut two years ago. Joergensen’s teammate Caroline Cecilie Nielsen will push hard for a medal too, and look out for Belgium’s side saddle rider Barbara Minneci as well. She’s been on the verge of a podium finish for a long time.

Sanne Voets became the first non-British rider to ever win three gold medals at a single championship when she took the team, individual, and freestyle medals at last year’s WEG (compatriot Rixt van der Horst achieved the same, but later that same day). Voets is the para dressage ambassador at these Championships and rides for the home team in grade IV. She comes into the championships on the back of a stellar year so far which has seen her win a number of international competitions, and rack up personal best scores. Competition will come from Belgium’s Manon Claeys, currently third in the world for the grade, and Sweden’s Louise Etzner Jakobsson. All three of them shared the medals at the last Europeans and are likely to do the same again this year too.

In grade V Great Britain’s Sophie Wells and The Netherlands Frank Hosmar resume their Europeans rivalry. Wells was the double gold winner at the 2009, 11, and 13 Europeans before Hosmar took both titles in 2015. In 2017 Hosmar took the individual gold, and Wells the freestyle. The pair have the top two positions in the grade’s global ranking, but are closely followed by Russia’s Natalia Martyanova, who returns to European competition for the first time since 2015, where she was fourth in both individual competitions. Germany’s Regine Mispelkamp will make her European Championships debut in Rotterdam, doubtless hoping to make as impressive appearance as she did at her first world’s last year, where she picked up two bronze medals.

The competition starts on Wednesday 21 August with two days of individual competition. Then comes two days of team competition, with the best riders in each grade competing for the freestyle titles on Sunday 25 August.

Longines FEI European Championships 2019 website here.

Watch all the action live on FEI.tv.

By Rob Howell

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

FEI 4* Judge Evaluates Interagro’s Top Dressage Lusitanos at 2nd Ranking

Zepelim Interagro and Johnny Miranda.

Itapira, SP, Brazil (August 12, 2019) – International caliber Lusitano dressage competitors came under the watchful eye of FEI 4* Judge Claudia Mesquita during the 2nd Interagro Dressage Ranking of 2019, held on July 31. With the backdrop of Interagro’s 1,300-acre stud farm and training facility, Ms. Mesquita delivered her scores and comments to Interagro’s 3 riders and 11 horses, which represented both young horses from Interagro’s H, I, and L Generations as well as established FEI competitors and breeding stallions. Interagro’s head trainer, Martina Brandes, also oversaw the combinations’ preparations and training leading into the ranking.

Interagro’s L Generation, the youngest group currently showing and competing under saddle, included Lord Interagro and Laertes Interagro, who with riders Johnny Miranda and Alexandre Souza, took first and second in the Training Level. Leucon Interagro and Luca Interagro, coming 5-year-old L Generationals, finished first and second in the FEI 4-Year-Old Division with Souza at the reins. The fourth and final L Generation stallion, Lavagante Interagro, took Edmar to the win at First Level.

Moving up the levels and up the generations, coming 7-year-old Ímpio Interagro and Alexandre Souza conquered Third Level, demonstrating the bay gelding’s balance and impulsion. Edmar Brito and the exceptionally modern Hanibal Interagro took the win at Fourth Level. Hanibal’s elegance, height, active hindleg, and freedom of the shoulder, as well as his exceptional bloodlines, have made him one of Interagro’s top breeding stallions.

At the FEI level, a number of Interagro’s internationally successful competitors who also double as top producing breeding stallions put hoof to dressage arena. Edmar Brito rode stallions Zíngaro Interagro, Empreiteiro Interagro, and Fellini Interagro to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Small Tour (Prix St. Georges) in a showcase of Interagro’s breeding and competitive talent. Zingaro, a stunning black stallion with presence and a willing, unflappable temperament, is one of Interagro’s most important and influential studs as well as a top competitor in dressage and working equitation. Empreiteiro’s talent for collection, easy-going attitude, and enjoyment of his work has been evident during each of Interagro’s Rankings. Finally, Fellini Interagro, who debuted internationally in the Small Tour at the 2018 Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, represents a blending of two of the most proven and decorated dressage bloodlines in Interagro’s breeding program (Nirvana Interagro x Ofensor (MV)).

To cap off the FEI levels during the 2nd Ranking, Johnny Miranda rode Zepelim Interagro to the win in the Medium Tour / Intermediaire A. Zepelim, who competed in the Medium and Large Tour during the 2016 and 2018 Global Dressage Festival and is a highly decorated Brazilian competitor, is a Grand Prix level stallion who epitomizes all the presence, movement, temperament, and rideability that has defined Interagro’s breeding program.

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

Media contact:
holly@equinium.com
www.equinium.com

USET Foundation Presents 2019 Maxine Beard Award to Sophie Gochman

Sophie Gochman and Carola BH. Photo by: Lindsay Brock/Jump Media.

Gladstone, N.J. – Aug. 8, 2019 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is excited to announce this year’s recipient of the coveted Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award is Sophie Gochman of New York City, New York. At just 16 years old, the accomplished athlete will be adding this prestigious award to her growing list of achievements.

The presentation of the Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award takes place at the FEI North American Youth Championships (NAYC) each year.

Gochman earned the award after being the highest placing United States Young Rider at the 2019 NAYC in the Individual Show Jumping Final, held this year from August 1 to August 4 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, New York. Gochman’s sister, Mimi Gochman, took home the gold medal in the junior division.

With the ongoing mission to support and further the level of America’s developing horses and athletes, the USET Foundation Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award was established to elevate athletes’ opportunities on their journey to equestrian excellence.

“It was a great week for the Gochman family!” said Sophie. “I think we’re both just really grateful for our parents, who supported us, our trainer Ken Berkley, everyone at our Baxter Hill Farm, and [Zone 2 Chef d’Equipe] Ralph Caristo. I don’t think many sister pairs have won gold medals at NAYC, so it’s pretty cool that we got to do that.”

Sophie rode Gochman Sport Horses LLC’s Carola BH, a 12-year-old KWPN mare, to earn a spot on the podium wearing the gold medal after her incredible performances over the course of a few days.

“This week was a bit of nail-biter for me because it was so close between me and Sam [Walker],” Sophie said. “But [Carola BH] is the best horse in the world, and she kept getting better and better. It was great for it to all come together. To win at NAYC and get to do that victory gallop is such an honor. I’m just so thankful for [Carola BH]. We’ve created such a bond at this point that I just think it and she does it for me. She puts her heart into every single round.”

The top U.S. athletes were selected to go to compete in the 2019 FEI Jumping Nations Cup Youth Final in Opglabbeek, Belgium this September, so Sophie will be venturing to Europe shortly alongside bronze medalist Natalie Dean, and is hoping for further success with the United States Young Rider Teams.

As the winner of this immense honor, Sophie will also receive a trip to a senior FEI Nations Cup Show Jumping competition. This will give the young athlete a look at a major international competition, including the chance to observe operations in the horse show office, stabling area, veterinary inspections, and schooling rings. Sophie will also walk and discuss each course and have the chance to strategize with U.S. team riders and the chef d’equipe.

Sophie expressed, “I am looking forward to learning from some of the best riders in the world, and I hope that the lessons I learn from observing a senior Nations Cup will not only better my riding, but also my horsemanship.”

Sophie acknowledged how having the support of the USET Foundation has benefited her as she continues on her path toward competing for the United States at the highest level of the sport.

“It’s such an honor to receive the Maxine Beard Award,” Sophie concluded. “It means a lot to me to have the support of the USET Foundation because it’s so important to invest in young riders as they’re the future of the sport.”

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Amy Speck-Kern & Zenanta Debut First FEI Grand Prix at White Fences

Photo courtesy of Equinium.

Loxahatchee, FL (August 1, 2019) – The first official Grand Prix is a defining moment in any dressage horse’s career. The relatively quiet test is usually the result of buckets of tears and sweat, sleepless nights, endless training, and a significant emotional investment on the part of the rider; this was the case for Amy Speck-Kern of Excel Dressage as this July she and her bay KWPN mare Zenanta (Krack C x Ferro) hit that important milestone, debuting their Grand Prix at the White Fences Summer Fun II held at White Fences Equestrian Center in Loxahatchee, Florida. Just a few weeks later, the pair logged a qualifying score at a second Grand Prix outing during the Wellington Classic Dressage Tropics I & II held at the Global Dressage Festival Stadium.

After debuting the Prix St. Georges just two years before, the high powered Zenanta’s piaffe-passage and tempi changes were the highlight of her test, and despite a few typical mistakes for a first Grand Prix, Speck-Kern was thrilled with her performance. Under the guidance of Olympian Ali Brock, Excel Dressage’s founder has been training Zenanta since her first days under saddle. Exceptionally athletic and sensitive, Zenanta’s Grand Prix debut has been an eagerly anticipated moment for the Excel Dressage team, and is the second horse Speck-Kern has trained from young horse through the Grand Prix.

“Zenanta, or Z as we call her, has come a long way in terms of balance, trust, and strength,” said Speck-Kern. “Ali and I have really strived to build a training plan to best match her personality and play to her strengths. Reducing tension and encouraging relaxation without losing her spectacular movement has been the ultimate goal. Despite a few easily corrected errors in our first official Grand Prix, it was a very successful debut.”

Speck-Kern and Zenanta’s second Grand Prix during the Wellington Classic Dressage Tropics I & II reflected a steady improvement, with Zenanta gaining even more confidence and consistency in the more trying moments of the test. Ali Brock, who has been coaching Speck-Kern for the past year and half, was also pleased with Zenanta’s performance: “Very respectable first outing,” said Brock, 2016 Olympic Team Bronze Medalist for the USA. “Now Zenanta needs to get mileage at this level. I think she will be very confident at the Grand Prix within the next year and I’m excited to watch their progression!”

Going into August, Zenanta gets a well-deserved break from training in the Florida heat while Speck-Kern travels to Old Salem, New York to coach working student Katie Teehan and Zinca as they compete in the 2019 Adequan/FEI North American Youth Championship presented by Gotham North. Teehan is a working student for Excel Dressage and Stal Hoog, both located in the Deer Run community of Loxahatchee.

For more information on Amy Speck-Kern, Excel Dressage, or its services, visit www.ExcelDressage.com or call 414 550 1176.

Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
www.equinium.com
holly@equinium.com

Gigantic Medal Haul for Germany at FEI Youth Dressage Championship in San Giovanni

Semmieke Rothenberger and Dissertation. (FEI/Riccardo Di Marco)

Team Germany almost completely dominated the FEI Dressage European Championship 2019 for U25, Young Riders, Juniors, and Children staged at the fabulous Horses Riviera Resort at San Giovanni in Marignano, near Rimini in Italy (23-28 July).

They claimed nine of the 11 gold medal placings on offer, with only a Dutch double standing in the way of a total German whitewash. High temperatures in the early part of the week were followed by rain on the final day, but nothing could get in the way of sparkling sport filled with great promise for the future in this demanding equestrian discipline.

With its six floodlit arenas, top-class stabling, and extensive hospitality areas, the venue, which lies on the Adriatic Sea, was something of a paradise for the record number of young athletes from 26 countries who turned up with their support teams, families, and friends. As Maria Schierholter Otte, team leader of the German Junior and Young Rider squads, said, “It is essential for the teams to be able to compete in all four categories in the same place so, from this point of view, San Giovanni is the ideal solution!”

Juniors

It was triple-gold for Jana Schrödter and her stallion Der Erbe who, along with her German team-mate Anna Middelberg partnering Blickfang, posted the two leading scores on the opening day of the Junior team test last Wednesday. When compatriot Valentina Pistner posted the biggest mark of the entire competition with Flamboyant the following day, then the Junior Team title was in German hands. Henriette Schmidt and Rocky’s Sunshine were the fourth combination in the winning side, and such was the quality of the German performances that her strong score of 74.182 was the discard.

The final leaderboard showed the gold medallists on a team total of 76.081, with The Netherlands’ Pam Verbeek (Fernando Torres), Annemijn Boogaard (Fullspeed TC), Sanne van der Pols (Excellentie), and Marten Luiten (Fynons) in silver medal spot on 73.485. Denmark took the bronze when the average score for Sofie Hansen (Dieu D’Amour 3), Frederikke Gram Jacobsen (Ryvangs Zafina), Maria Mejlgaard jensen (Uno lV), and Sara Aagaard Hyrm was 71.959.

Awarded a massive 77.971, 18-year-old Schrödter then went on to win the Individual title ahead of The Netherlands’ Luiten in silver on a mark of 75.588 and Schrödter’s team-mate Pistner in bronze (74.794). And these three horse-and-rider combinations remained on precisely the same steps of the podium when the Freestyle medals were awarded on Sunday. It was an extraordinary series of results for the new triple champion who was originally a reserve for her team but who was called into action at the last moment to substitute for Lucie-Anouk Baumgurtel.

A total of 78 athletes and teams from 19 countries contested the Junior medals.

Young Riders

The Netherlands’ Daphne van Peperstraten and Greenpoint’s Cupido topped the Young Riders team scoreboard with a mark of 74.265 after the first day, but Germany’s Semmieke Rothenberger demoted her to runner-up spot when the second tranche took their turn the following day and, like her Junior squad-mate, went on to score a hat-trick of victories.

Rothenberger’s strong score of 77.559 with Dissertation was backed up by Paulina Holzknecht (Wells Fargo), Alexa Westendorp (Four Seasons), and Lia Welschof (Linus K) to ensure the German average mark of 74.745 for the gold. Once again, the Dutch had to settle for silver when Paperstraten, Kimberly Pap (Vloet Victory), Thalia Rockx (Verdi de la Fazenda), and Esme Donkers (Chaina) rounded up their results to an average of 73.030. Sweden’s Linnea Williamson (Tabasco), Elin Mattsson (Beckham), Cecilia Bergakra Berglund (Primavera), and Evelina Doerstrom (Weihenstephaner) claimed team bronze on 69.687.

In the Young Riders Individual, Rothenberger’s impressive mark of 78.941 pinned The Netherlands’ Pap into silver and her German team-mate Welschof into bronze. It was closer in the Freestyle, with just over half a percentage point separating her from team silver medallist Donkers, and the Dutch were particularly strong here, Pap clinching the bronze just ahead of van Paperstraten.

Success is no stranger to Rothenberger whose family are steeped in Dressage history. She already had eight European gold medals in the bag by the end of her career in ponies, highlighted by brilliant partnerships with both the wonderful Golden Girl and the delightful Deinhard B. She won three more at Junior level with Geisha and Dissertation, and although she has claimed two Young Rider golds with Geisha in recent years, she pulled out Dissertation, who helped her become double Junior champion at Oliva (ESP) three years ago, to do the hat-trick this time around.

“It couldn’t have been better – I am particularly proud of these results obtained against very strong opponents. And I really like the system here; this is a perfect place to both train and compete!” — Semmieke Rothenberger (GER)

A total of 57 horse-and-rider combinations battled for the Young Riders medals, and 13 countries were represented in the team competition.

Children

Allegra Schmitz-Morkramer’s big score of 78.385 with Lavissaro led Germany to the Children’s team title. Clara Paschertz (Belvedere), Kenya Schwierking (Dinos Boy), and Lisa Steisslinger (Havanna Negra) helped secure the winning average of 74.667 and The Netherlands’ Maura Knipscheer (Amaretto), Senna Evers (Happy Feet), Lara van Nek (Fariska), and Anniek van Dulst (Isala’s Arielle) took the silver with 73.833. Russia’s Arina Makhileve (Titanie), Stefania Mechetina (San Calida), Yanina Frantsuzova (Flitslampje), and Karina Zakhrabekova (Ein Stern) pushed Team Belgium off the podium for the bronze when putting 69.859 on the board.

And continuing the overwhelming German theme, 13-year-old Schmitz-Morkramer went on to scoop the Children’s Individual title. An impressive score of 78.607 clinched it, and it was Dutch girl Lara van Nek who earned the silver with a great score of 75.786 while Denmark got onto the podium when Annabelle Rehn and Aros A Fenris posted 74.893.

Double-gold medallist Schmitz-Morkramer put in excellent preparation for this year’s Championship with a series of great results at the Olympic test event in Hagen (GER) where she pinned team-mate Steisslinger into second and van Neck into third in the Children’s Individual competition.

A total of 50 competitors and nine teams lined out in this division.

U25

The only category in which the Germans were thrown off course was in the U25 in which The Netherlands’ Jeanine Nieuwenhuis broke their stranglehold. However, even though she posted the top score in the Intermediate ll which decided the team medals, it was Germany who claimed the team title here yet again when Jill-Marielle Becks (Damoris Delorange) finished second, Bianca Nowag (Sir Hohenstein) finished third, and Raphael Netz filled fifth place. Fourth member of the gold-medal-winning German side was Ann Kathrin Lindner (Gunfire).

Nieuwenhuis had to settle for team silver along with Dutch team-mates Carlijn Huberts (Watoeshi), Jasmien de Koeyer (Esperanza), and Denise Nekeman (Boston STH), while Denmark’s Nana Gajhede (Overgaards Lowell), Emma Skov (Cracker Jack), Soren Wind (Diego), and Josefine Hoffmann (Hoenerups Driver) stood on the third step of the podium.

But 24-year-old Nieuwenhuis and the 14-year-old TC Athene reigned supreme in both Friday’s Grand Prix and Sunday’s Freestyle, pinning Nekeman into silver and Germany’s Becks into bronze in the former, and Germany’s Nowag into silver, and Denmark’s Hoffmann into bronze in the latter. She first stood on a Championship podium when helping claim European Junior team gold in Bern (SUI) in 2012, and with TC Athene also won the Young Rider Individual title at Oliva (ESP) in 2016.

A total of 34 horse-and-rider combinations, and teams from seven nations, lined out in the U25 division.

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

It’s Dressage Team Gold and a Tokyo Ticket for Canada

Canada’s Dressage team. (FEI/Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)

USA clinches silver while Brazil bags bronze and the second Olympic team qualifying spot

Canada came out on top in a tight battle with the USA when the Team Dressage medals were decided at the Pan American Games 2019 taking place at the Army Equitation School at La Molina in Lima, Peru. The three-member US side had a fractional advantage after opening competitions, but consistently strong performances from the Canadian crew saw the defending champions having to settle for silver in the final analysis, while Brazil stood on the third step of the medal podium.

This was Canada’s third time to take the team title in the 68-year history of equestrian sport at the Pan Americans, their first victory posted in Cali, Colombia in 1971 and their second in Havana, Cuba in 1991.

The Pan Am format sees team members compete at both Small Tour and Big Tour level, and Team USA, already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following their silver-medal-winning performance at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 on home ground in Tryon, sent an all-Small-Tour side of just three horse-and-rider combinations. Canada fielded two Small Tour and two Big Tour partnerships, and when Lindsay Kellock (Floratina), Tina Irwin (Laurencio), and Naima Moreira Laliberté (Statesman) all posted scores of 73 percent, their final tally of 440.111 left them 2.32 points ahead of USA in silver and over 31 points clear of the Brazilians in bronze. Fourth team member Jill Irving (Degas 12) provided Canada’s discard score when the top three results for each team were counted.

Canada’s star performer was 22-year-old Moreira Laliberté, daughter of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, who won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special with her 12-year-old Sandro Hit gelding, Statesman. “This is my first year of Grand Prix, my sixth competition at this level, and my first major Games,” said the talented rider. Irving is also a Big Tour contender, and the 56-year-old steered her WEG 2018 ride, the 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding Degas 12, into third behind her team-mate.

In the Small Tour Intermediate 1, Irwin and Kellock finished second and third. This is Irwin’s second Pan Am Games, having helped her country to team silver in Guadalajara (MEX) in 2011. The 38-year-old rider and her 12-year-old gelding Laurencio are Small Tour stars, setting a world record at that level in 2017 before moving up to Big Tour. However, they moved back down to Small Tour this year with the specific goal of helping Canada earn their spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and it has worked a treat. “The whole team gave it our all today. Yesterday it was close behind the Americans, and today we were on our ‘A’ game!” Irwin said.

Kellock and her 11-year-old Hanoverian, Floratina, are a relatively new combination who clicked from the moment they came together. The mare was bought as a schoolmaster for a friend who couldn’t find the time to ride her as much as she would like, so loaned her to Kellock who got a really high score with her on their first outing and they have blossomed from there. “The next goal in our minds is Tokyo; we all three have horses that are aimed at that!” said the ambitious 29-year-old.

Irwin and Kellock finished second and third on the Individual leaderboard ahead of Wednesday’s Individual Final in which the top 50% in the rankings from both the Big and Small Tour competitions will battle it out in the Grand Prix Freestyle and Intermediate 1 Freestyle for the Individual Pan American Dressage title, and in which everyone starts from scratch.

Team USA’s Sarah Lockman topped the individual leaderboard with her lovely nine-year-old Dutch-bred stallion, First Apple, who won both the Prix St Georges and Intermediate 1. After accepting her team silver medal alongside compatriots Nora Batchelder (Faro SQF) and Jennifer Baumert (Handsome), Lockman said her Pan Am experience so far has given her “a feeling like no other! It’s my first time to represent the US and it’s such a different feeling for us, as sport is for the most part an individual sport. This (the team competition) has brought a different element and I love it; it’s amazing seeing our flag raised; it’s definitely a rush and something I will never forget!” she added proudly.

And the experienced bronze-medal-winning Brazilian side of Joao Paulo Dos Santos (Carthago Comando SN), Joao Victor Marcari Oliva (Biso das Lezirias), Leandro Aparecide Da Silva (Dicaprio), and Pedro Manuel Tavares de Almeida (Aoleo) also have every reason to be pleased as they, like the winning Canadians, are now Tokyo-bound. Marcari Oliva said, “We are very happy with this qualification; we came here for this, we trained for this, so thank you to my team mates and to everybody who is behind us. Now we have to celebrate!”

All results here.

by Louise Parkes