Category Archives: Contributors/Press

Blog writers, press releases and contributors

Kent Farrington and Kaprice Win the $25,000 #1 Education Place National Grand Prix

Farrington and Kaprice. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – December 8, 2019 – Kent Farrington of Wellington, FL and Kaprice, owned by Kent Farrington & Haity McNerney, dominated the $25,000 #1 Education Place National Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday, scooping up their second win of the week with a jump-off time of 40.616 seconds. In second, Wilhelm Genn of Lebanon, OH and Van Gogh, owned by Wilhelm and Patty Genn, finished the short course in a time of 42.925 seconds, while Luis Larrazabal of Wellington, FL and San Francisco Stables LLC’s Caristina took third after stopping the timers at 43.747 seconds.

Anthony D’Ambrosio saw 28 entries test his course in the first round, with 12 returning for the jump-off. Farrington reflected that the course was well-suited for greener horses or horses that need to build confidence: “You didn’t see any triple combinations today but there were three doubles, which for greener horses or for horses that are building, is a more fair test. For her [Kaprice], it’s great because she’s getting to see multiple types of combinations.

“Kaprice is really a special horse; she’s unbelievably careful. I’ve moved her up and down because of that,” Farrington said of Kaprice. “She’s similar to a lot of the great horses I’ve had in the past where she borderlines on too careful, so it’s all about keeping her confidence level high,” Farrington concluded.

To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Olympia Announces Live TV and Streaming Schedule

Olympia, The London International Horse Show announced the live TV broadcast and streaming schedule which will take the Show out beyond the four walls of the Olympia halls. High viewing demand is anticipated for the Show which has eight of the world’s top ten show jumpers lined up to compete including British number ones and Olympic Gold medalists Ben Maher (jumping) and Charlotte Dujardin (dressage). Olympia continues to be the most watched show jumping event in the UK.

Olympia Show Director, Simon-Brooks Ward, said: “We are grateful for the BBC’s continued support of the Show. Over the years their coverage has provided an important platform for equestrian sport in the country and is not only hugely beneficial for the Show but for equestrian sport as a whole.

“This year the competition is shaping up to be better than ever and we hope the extensive viewing opportunities on offer will allow fans from around the world to be involved in what is truly a festive equestrian extravaganza.”

Live Coverage

In the UK, the BBC will be showing over 14 hours of live coverage on BBC Two and on their online platforms including the Red Button.

For those wanting to watch live from outside the UK:

All FEI World Cup™ classes can be viewed internationally on FEI TV.

In the US and Canada the full programme of classes with the exception of the FEI World Cup™ classes will be available on Horse & Country TV.

In Scandinavia, the full programme of classes, with the exception of the FEI World Cup™ classes will be shown on Riders Live TV.

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

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

Holiday & Horses Wraps with Win by Erynn Ballard and Canora Z in Omega Alpha National Grand Prix

Erynn Ballard and Canora Z. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – December 1, 2019 – The 2019 ESP Holiday & Horses show wrapped up with more exciting hunter and jumper competition. The highlight class of the day was the $25,000 Omega Alpha National Grand Prix, which was ultimately championed by Erynn Ballard of Canada and Emma Waldgoel’s Canora Z. Twenty-seven horse-and-rider combinations turned out for the first round, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio, and five returned for the jump-off. Ballard flew through the timers at 39.311 seconds to claim first, while Kent Farrington of Wellington, FL piloted Kaprice, owned by Kent Farrington & Haity McNerney, to second place in 39.548 seconds. Marie Demonte of France stopped the timers at 36.886 seconds, but had four faults added to her score to consequentially take home the yellow ribbon aboard Guy Beloossoff’s Stella Levista.

Ballard commended her horse’s performance, stating, “Canora came over in the spring, and this is only about my fourth show with her, but she’s been doing really well. She’s just an 8-year-old and we sort of had this class in mind for her this week. She did two 1.40m classes earlier this week to gear up for this and I think that our plan worked and she jumped beautifully today.”

This week featured the first FEI competition to take place in the International Arena on the brand-new surface. Ballard commented, “I think the horses really like it. They jump very consistently from beginning to end. You can go very fast on it and you don’t feel them slipping out through the turns. It just feels like it’s ‘with you’ all the time so I think it’s great.” Ballard plans to focus on her young horses during the rest of the ESP Holiday Series to get them “up and running for circuit.”

To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Victory for Adrienne Sternlicht and Just a Gamble in $209k Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4*

Adrienne Sternlicht aboard Just a Gamble. ©ESP.

Wellington, FL – December 1, 2019 – Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, CT galloped to victory aboard Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Just a Gamble in the $209,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission. The pair raced through the timers in 44 seconds flat to take home the champion ribbon. Kristen Vanderveen of Wellington, FL piloted her Bull Run’s Risen to a close second, stopping the clock at 45.91 seconds in the second round. Conor Swail of Ireland claimed third place with Koss Van Heiste, owned by Eadaoin Collins, after a 46.39-second jump-off round.

The first night class of the ESP Holiday Series saw a total of forty-six entries contest the track, built by FEI designer Anthony D’Ambrosio. The course challenged many riders in round one, with only four total combinations finishing with double-clear efforts at the end of the evening. Sternlicht explained, “For the first round, there were a few elements that I had to be disciplined about as a rider. My horse is extremely hot, and I knew I had to add [strides] in several places. With her, I worry about managing her anxiety a bit, so I wanted to be smart and take my time in necessary spots, while also getting myself a good position for the second-round.”

The top twelve riders returned for a second round. Sternlicht and Just a Gamble were the penultimate pair, and had a lot to prove in this class: “It’s my horse’s last class of the year and we’ve had some serious ‘four-fault-itis,’” commented Sternlicht. “We’ve had four faults in the past seven Grand Prixs that we’ve jumped, so I wanted to end the year on a different note and I knew I had nothing to lose! She is incredibly fast naturally and has great foot speed, and she’s so willing and brave, so I tried to take advantage of all those attributes as well as her big stride. I sort of believed in that double leave out to the last jump, and it worked out so I’m very thankful!”

To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Daniel Bluman Wins $72k Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center 1.50m Qualifier

Daniel Bluman aboard Colestina H, pictured with ring master, Steve Recto. ©ESP.

Wellington, FL – November 29, 2019 – Daniel Bluman of Israel raced to a first-place finish aboard Colestina H, owned by Blue Star Investments & Kim Douglas, in the $72,000 Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center 1.50m Qualifier. The pair stopped the jump-off timers in 34.779 seconds, putting in a double-clear effort. Taking home second place was Nicole Shahinian-Simpson of Wellington, FL and Carol Rosenstein’s Akuna Mattata after their 34.958-second jump-off. Michael Morrissey of Wellington, FL rode Chance Ste Hermelle, owned by Qbs Equestrian LLC, through the timers in 35.132 seconds to claim the yellow ribbon.

The 1.50m track, set by FEI designer Anthony D’Ambrosia, challenged a total of fifty-three competitors. Fourteen pairs returned for the jump-off, while six completed the tracks double-clear. “It was a nice round. I thought it was a good number of people in the jump-off,” commented Daniel Bluman after his win. “Honestly, the most important thing is that the footing is amazing. We’re so happy to have nice footing, it’s pleasurable for the horses, safe for us, and honestly, we’re just very grateful. It makes a huge difference. It makes the show a different quality and you can feel the excitement of everyone around.” Bluman revealed that he will be riding his 16-year-old mare Sancha LS in the Saturday night Grand Prix.

Tiffany Morrissey Claims Top Honors with Sebastian in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Tiffany Morrissey of Wellington, FL claimed top honors with Stacey Shore Werner’s Sebastian in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by #1 Education Place, achieving a total score of 177.5 after two impressive rounds. Jennifer Bliss of Loxahatchee, FL was close behind, putting in a final score of 177 with Harris Hill Farm, LLC’s Face the Music. The early class leader, Sydney Shulman of Greenwich, CT, took home third place after a beautiful performance aboard No Doubt, owned by Elizabeth Phillips, and receiving a final score of 176.5. Shulman and No Doubt also received the “Best Turned Out Award” presented by Enviro Pet.

“In the first round, I always try to do what’s best for him and hope for a good score,” stated Morrissey after her win. “Then Jen Bliss went in for the Handy round and got a very high score, so I knew I had to go in and pull out all the stops and jump all the bigger options. It was kind of a ‘go big or go home’ move!”

Morrissey has been riding the 8-year-old for several years now: “His owner Stacey rides him in the Low Adults and I get to do him once in a while. He was good last week, really in the groove, and then great again this week. Before that, he actually hadn’t shown with me since last year’s WCHR week when he was champion in his 3’3″ Performance Hunter division. So he’s doing really good and we’re excited to compete at WEF, maybe chase some derbies!”

To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Highlights from GCL Super Cup and LGCT Super Grand Prix on Horse & Country TV

Ben Maher and Explosion W. Photo by LGCT/Stefano Grasso.

Prague, Czech Republic – Nov. 29, 2019 – Show jumping fans will be able to enjoy an exciting evening of thrilling sport Saturday as Horse & Country TV (H&C TV) will air highlights of both the Global Champions League (GCL) Super Cup and the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Super Grand Prix back-to-back on Saturday, Nov. 30, starting at 8 p.m. EST.

Hosted in the historic Czech capital Prague, also known as “the city of spires”, the awe-inspiring championship format saw top competition over four days in the O2 Arena with over 14,000 spectators. From dramatic entrances to dazzling pyrotechnic shows and top entertainment, the Global Champions Prague Playoffs was one of the year’s most thrilling equestrian events.

With a €6.4 million purse on the line, the GCL Super Cup was an intense battle for the top spot on the leaderboard. At the end of the four rounds of action, it was the Shanghai Swans who delivered stand-out performances to walk away with the lion’s share. The winning team was made up by Sweden’s Peder Fredricson on H&M Christian K, Germany’s Daniel Deusser on Jasmien vd Bisschop, and Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer on Cortney Cox. The full roster of the Shanghai Swans team included Shane Sweetnam, Kim Emmen, and Alexandra Thornton.

“The pressure was on and it was really exciting competition,” Fredricson said. “It was three riders on each team with no drop score – so much could happen. The best horses are here with the best riders, and it was two big courses. It was hard work but we’re finally in the spot we wanted. I didn’t believe it!”

Don’t miss the exciting action of the GCL Super Cup and find out how the other top teams including the Paris Panthers, Cannes Stars, Madrid in Motion, and Monaco Aces performed at the penultimate conclusion of the tour’s season.

Following the highlights from the GCL Super Cup and kicking off at 8:30 p.m. EST on Saturday will be the epic individual finale, the €1.25 million LGCT Super Grand Prix. The competitors earned an invitation to compete in the class in Prague if they won one of the grand prix events earlier in the series or they had the chance to qualify by placing second or third in grand prix events throughout the year. The pressure was on during the LGCT Super Grand Prix as 18 world-class combinations navigated two rounds of a challenging course with the results still up for grabs until the last rider cleared the final fence.

It was Great Britain’s Ben Maher who proved to be unstoppable once again with his talented stallion, Explosion W. The pair won the league’s overall championship last year after solidifying the win in the LGCT Grand Prix of Doha CSI5* and they have continued to dominate the series winning the overall 2019 LGCT championship for a second consecutive year after their stand out performance at the LGCT Grand Prix of New York CSI5* in September.

“[It was] amazing sport with top horses and riders in the world,” Maher said. “It is an amazing feeling to be able to win here with this horse and the people who are around me to make this possible. [He’s] magic. No words can explain him – what he has done over the past two years and how he has learned. He proved how good he is tonight.”

Joining Maher on the podium was Ireland’s Darragh Kenny on Balou du Reventon in second place while Martin Fuchs of Switzerland rode Clooney 51 into third.

If you missed any of the action from Prague or just want to relive the spectacular performances, join H&C TV to watch the exciting highlights!

H&C TV broadcasts in Europe, Australia, and in the United States on cable, satellite, and broadband television, including Roku, and online at www.horseandcountrytv.us.

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili Dominate Holiday & Horses Opener

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, pictured with ring master, Steve Rector. ©ESP.

Wellington, FL – November 27, 2019 – Kristen Vanderveen of Wellington, FL and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, dominated the $36,000 Dover Saddlery Holiday & Horses Opener to begin the 2019 ESP Holiday Series at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). A total of 59 total competitors contested the track, which followed a power and speed format. Vanderveen and her well-known mount “Frosty” went twenty-eighth in the set order of go, stopping the timers at 31.179 seconds in the second round to set the time to beat. Molly Ashe Cawley of Wellington, FL and Louisburg Farm’s Balous Day Date came close, finishing the second round in 31.422 seconds to claim second place. Vanderveen almost beat her own time when she entered the arena aboard Bull Run’s Prince of Peace, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, but a 31.975-second round would ultimately clinch the pair a third-place position.

The course was set by FEI designer Anthony D’Ambrosio, which saw only eighteen of the fifty-nine ride double-clear. Vanderveen commented that her plan when she went in for her trip with “Frosty” was just to go fast and be clean: “He’s like my ‘old faithful’ partner, so I don’t have to worry too much with him.” Vanderveen and the 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion have had great success over the years at PBIEC and across the country.

“We just got back from competing out west. This is actually his first show back in three or four weeks, because I gave him some time off after we were out in California and at Las Vegas. I was there mostly showing my younger ones and getting them ready for season.” Over the next few days Vanderveen plans to save Frosty for the smaller Grand Prix, and will ride Bull Run’s Risen in Friday’s $72,000 Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center 1.50m Qualifier and Saturday night’s $209,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI 4* presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

Tiffany Foster Rides Vienna to Victory in the $1,000 FEI 1.40m Class

Earlier in the day, Tiffany Foster of Canada rode Artisan Farms LLC’s Vienna to victory in the $1,000 FEI 1.40m class after completing the jump-off track in 32.838 seconds. Jonas Vervoort of Belgium and Cicomein VDL, owned by HKC Collection LLC, crossed through the timers at 33.435 seconds to take home the red ribbon, while Rebecca Conway of Wellington, FL clinched third-place honors with Hilington Farm’s Calle Cool 14 after their 34.464-second performance in the second round. Thirty-six entries challenged the course with thirteen turning in a double-clear effort.

To learn more about the ESP Holiday Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Up-and-Coming Stars Set to Feature in National Classes at Olympia

In addition to hosting the world’s top riders, Olympia, The London International Horse Show is proud to welcome the country’s leading national competitors as they contend for National Championship titles.

The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship

The Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship runs under a new format in 2019, with 24 riders selected to compete in the initial qualifying round on Friday 20 December. The top ten from this qualifier will advance to the final on Sunday 22 December.

The new qualification criteria for the class rewards achievements across the year, ensuring a top-class field. The first ten places go to the members of the Great British Junior European and Young Rider European teams, which includes Jack Whitaker, Britain’s top performer at the Junior Europeans, who is also making his mark on the senior international circuit, and William Fletcher, another rising star of the international ranks having already represented Great Britain at Senior FEI Jumping Nations Cup level.

William’s brother, 16-year-old Oliver, will also take his place on the starting line-up having been part of the Junior European Team which finished sixth at this year’s Championships, along with Oli Tuff, Sienna Charles, and Lily Attwood.

Joe Stockdale will be looking to back up his victory in the Under 25 class at Royal Windsor Horse Show in May and will be joined by his Young Rider European teammates Graham Babes, Leonie Aitkenhead, and Jodie Hall McAteer.

Others to automatically gain a coveted spot in the competition are those who have represented Great Britain at Senior FEI Nations Cup level in 2019, including James Wilson and Emily Moffitt, who will also be taking part in the 5* competition at the Show, along with Georgia Tame, Emily Ward, and wildcard Harry Charles, who was second in last year’s Championship.

James Wilson has broken into the top ranks in 2019, representing Great Britain on several occasions, including in the FEI Nations Cups at Hickstead, La Baule, and St Gallen, where he was one of only a few combinations to jump double clear. Another increasingly familiar name on the international scene is Emily Moffitt, who was a pivotal part of the team that won the prestigious Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Ireland in August.

The final places in the competition go to qualifiers from dedicated classes at selected British Showjumping Shows. Qualifying at the Aintree Equestrian Centre Winter Classic was Charlie Jones, Millie Allen, Chloe Reynolds, and Joe Trickett, whereas Alanna Clutterbuck, Yazmin Davis, Flo Norris, and James Whitaker made it through from the Addington Equestrian Winter Classic.

The Pony Club Mini-Major

The Mini-Major is a popular class which sees Pony Club members pair up with top international riders in a thrilling competition to each complete a fault-free Show Jumping round in the quickest time. Last year’s competition saw leading British female riders Laura Renwick and Holly Smith, as well as crowd favourites William Funnell and Guy Williams, line up alongside young Pony Club riders from across the country.

Travelling across from Northern Ireland to represent the Iveagh Pony Club will be Charlotte McCracken, who along with Millie Lawson from Deeside in Scotland and Tom Hogan from Gwynedd in Wales, will be reigniting the battle with their English counterparts. Essex will have two representatives, Hollie Gerken from the Essex Branch and Liala Ramaci from Essex Hunt North, with Bisley and Sandown Chase, North Warwickshire, and Banwell represented by Tommy Goody, Isabella Beecroft-Luckett, and Emmie Horner, respectively.

The furious competition between the young riders and their 5* counterparts is set to take place during the afternoon of Wednesday 18 December.

BSPS Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux

The last day of Olympia, Sunday 22 December, will play host to one of the most prestigious Showing finals in the country, The BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux. A place in the Olympia final is the most coveted prize within the native pony ranks and competition to qualify for Olympia has been greater than ever.

The 2019 final will welcome ponies and riders from around the country, including last year’s Reserve Supreme Overall Champion, Cadlanvalley Buzby and 14-year old Libby Grota. Following a hugely successful year, Libby returns to Olympia determined to go one better than 2018 and clinch the top prize aboard her family’s home-bred Welsh Section B stallion.

Libby will face competition from old rival Emma Boardman, owner and producer of last year’s third-placed Dyffryngwy Sir Picasso, a Welsh Section D who scored the highest performance marks at Olympia in 2018.

Competing at Olympia Grand for the first time will be nine-year-old Olivia Brightmore, with her home-produced Shetland Pony Lotuspoint Cassisus. The pair qualified at the BSPS Heritage Championships, where they also won the Restricted Open Ridden Small Breeds and the Open Ridden Small Breeds, an astounding feat given it was the young rider’s first attempt at open level. Following her qualification, Olivia described her debut at Olympia as “beyond exciting.”

Another to make her debut at the Show will be April Gilmartin with her home-produced Gems Malt Whiskey. Blackpool-based April, a beautician, and her mother Kathleen, a former champion ballroom dancer, bought ‘Malty’ as a two-year-old, and form the ultimate amateur team, producing the Welsh Section C at home. Qualifying for Olympia at the BSPS Heritage Championships on their first attempt was extra special for the team as it will provide trainer Pam Prickett, who is battling cancer, the chance to tick off a major event on her bucket list.

Also taking to the Olympia Grand for the first time will be Skellorn Royal Anniversary, the Welsh Section B star of the Netflix series ‘Free Rein’, owned and ridden by Victoria Oakes. Conversely, it will be the last-ever appearance under saddle for Lynda Calcutt’s Dartmoor stallion Shilstone Rocks North Westerly, as the prolific winner will retire at the Show. Ridden by regular partner Chloe Chubb, they recently won their final class at Horse of the Year Show and will hope to bow out in style at Olympia.

The Final of the BSPS Mountain and Moorland Championship sponsored by LeMieux will take place on the afternoon of Sunday 22 December, alongside 5* Show Jumping action and displays from The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and Jean-François Pignon.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “The quality of the National classes at Olympia is improving year-on-year, and really adds to the Show. It’s a privilege to see the next generation of riders coming up through the ranks and be able to provide a unique opportunity for them to be able to compete amongst their heroes at a 5* Show like Olympia.”

In addition to the National classes, spectators can also expect top international action, as the Show hosts three FEI World Cup™ competitions across the seven-day event, in Dressage, Driving, and Show Jumping, alongside an exciting array of international display acts and competitions. New features, such as the ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ masterclass, will join old favourites such as The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National and classes such as The Cayenne Puissance and the prestigious Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix to provide entertainment for the whole family.

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

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

ESP Fall Series Wraps with Win by Santiago Lambre and Doloris in $25k Pilates Rocks Grand Prix

Lambre and Doloris. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – November 19, 2019 – Last weekend, the ESP Fall Series came to a conclusion with the ESP Pre-Charity show held from November 15-17 at the main grounds of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Santiago Lambre of Mexico secured the blue ribbon of Sunday’s $25,000 Pilates Rocks Grand Prix aboard his exceptional mount, Doloris, after completing the jump-off in 44.862 seconds. Hector Florentino of the Dominican Republic and Carjo Z, owned by Scott Head, flew through the timers in just 44.875 seconds with four faults to claim second place. Rounding out the top three champions was Theo Genn of Lebanon, OH with Chaccomo 11, owned by Bridlebourne Stables, LLC, once they stopped the clock at 47.812 seconds with four faults.

Sunday’s feature class was designed by Hector Loyola. A total of 23 pairs contested the first track, while only four competitors returned for the jump-off. “I think only four clear [riders] is a good number for how many were in the class total,” Lambre commented after his win. “And the course was quite technical this week, especially that last line, so I think that’s what got several horses with the rails. The footing feels really good, and it was a great improvement for the horses ahead of the winter season.”

Lambre won this weekend’s feature class with his 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare, Doloris, who had great success this summer season: “This year she has won everything! In Tryon, New York, Michigan, she’s always competitive and has been going really well the last few months.” The popular pair will continue to reside in Wellington, FL through the ESP Holiday Series and into the new year for the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival.

On Friday, the $10,000 Pilates Rocks 1.40m Open Stake was bested by Mark Bluman of Colombia and his mount Arcange De L’arc after completing the jump-off in 42.229 seconds. Taking second place was Santiago Lambre of Mexico aboard his Doloris with a 44.084-second jump-off. Todd Minikus of Lake Worth, FL rode his Juju VDM to a third-place finish after completing the jump-off in 48.332 seconds.

To learn more about the ESP Fall Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Multiple Olympian Klimke Takes FEI Best Athlete Award in Moscow

(left to right): Ingrid Klimke, Uno Yxklinten, Madeleine Broek, Semmieke Rothenberger, Zuxian Li, and Yaofeng Li.

Double Olympic team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke was announced as winner of the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award at the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Moscow (RUS).

The glittering gala awards ceremony, which took place in the splendid surrounds of the Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital, was attended by more than 400 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, National Federations, FEI partners, and stakeholders.

The award is the latest in a series of accolades for German Eventing legend Klimke, who was also nominated for the Best Athlete honour in 2015 and 2017. Klimke received the award from Peden Bloodstock’s Managing Director Martin Atock.

In September, the 51-year-old successfully defended her title at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships on home turf in Luhmühlen with SAP Hale Bob OLD, becoming only the second person in European history to win back-to-back titles on the same horse. Klimke’s stunning performance in Luhmühlen also led Germany to team gold.

Klimke is the third German female to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award, following in the footsteps of six-time Dressage Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth in 2017 and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018.

“I’m really proud that after Isabell Werth and Simone Blum, I’m now winning,” Klimke said. “It’s three women from Germany from three different disciplines. I’m very proud to be here and to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award.”

The evening saw Semmieke Rothenberger also flying the flag high for Germany when she took home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award. The 20-year-old has won 22 FEI European Championship medals ranging from ponies category through to Young Riders.

“To win the Longines FEI Rising Star Award it’s really special for me as it sums up this year perfectly,” Rothenberger said. “What makes it really special is that my brother has won it before. So now we’ve got two people in this family who’ve won the Rising Star award. That just makes me very, very happy. My future goal, after following in the footsteps of my brother, is to compete in the Olympic Games. Now that’s a very big goal but it would be a nice thing to work towards.”

Rothenberger received her award from Longines Vice President of Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner. “This award celebrates youth, talent, determination, and the stars of tomorrow,” Baumgartner said. “The work ethic and drive that you see in rising stars like Semmieke is closely aligned with our brand values and one of the main reasons why Longines supports this award. We are proud to be part of this journey in such a talented young athlete’s life.”

The Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award was presented to Madeleine Broek (NED) in recognition of her tireless efforts behind the scenes for Dutch Olympian and Jumping star Marc Houtzager. The award, presented by Cavalor’s Founder and Managing Director Peter Bollen, is given each year to grooms who work behind the scenes providing the best possible care for their equine athletes.

“It’s not really a job but a way of living and you get so much back from the horse, so that’s why it will never be a boring day or a boring week,” Broek said. “Winning the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award means a lot to me because you feel really appreciated for everything you do. It’s a lot of work and I feel really appreciated.”

This year’s FEI Solidarity Award went to Uno Yxklinten (SWE), the Educational Leader of the first Farriers’ training programme in Zambia, set up with the aim of increasing the know-how of farriers in order to improve the well-being of horses in the African country.

Presented by Russian National Federation President Marina Sechina, the award is given each year to an equestrian development project or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication, and energy in expanding equestrian sport. “Winning the FEI Solidarity Award 2019 is of course something big,” Yxklinten said. “I’m humbled and I’m so happy that we actually got this prize. It makes a difference in Zambia for many people.”

Taking the FEI Against All Odds Award was Zhenqiang Li (CHN) who started riding at the age of 27 and became a professional athlete just two years later. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to obtain the minimum eligibility requirements for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sadly, in 2009, his horse Jumpy passed away from cancer leaving Zhenqiang without his beloved equine partner and in financial trouble. Zhenqiang recovered from those difficult times, setting up an equestrian centre in Guangzhou.

“I hope that other Chinese riders will now follow the title of this award, Against All Odds, to work together to overcome the challenges of developing Chinese equestrianism,” Li said. “Thank you to the FEI for supporting the sport in China and for all the people who voted for me at home and abroad. Your support and encouragement will inspire other Chinese riders to reach their goals.”

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez presented the award to Li’s children Yaofeng Li and Zuxian Li who were in the Russian capital on their father’s behalf. Zhenqiang Li competed with his son Yoafeng Li, a former Youth Olympic Games athlete, to earn China’s qualification earlier this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The FEI Against All Odds Award is for someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

“Each year we receive a high calibre of nominees for the FEI Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our winners this evening are perfect examples of the excellence, commitment, dedication, and courage that are required in equestrian sport.

“When my predecessor HRH Princess Haya introduced these awards 11 years ago, our hope was to celebrate not just sporting achievement but also the unsung champions of our sport. This evening’s winners have inspired everyone at tonight’s gala here in Moscow as well as a new generation of athletes who need heroes to emulate.”

For the second year running, Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker (GBR) and Dressage ace Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) took to the stage to emcee the Awards ceremony.

The winners of the five awards were decided by combining 50% of a public vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. There were 130,000 online votes cast this year for the nominees.

FEI media contacts:

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

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56