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United States Para-Equestrian Association Remembers Organization President Hope Hand

Hope Hand at the Tryon CPEDI3* in Mill Spring, NC. Photo by Lindsay Y. McCall.

Newtown, Pennsylvania – June 29, 2022 – Hope Hand, USPEA President, passed peacefully surrounded by family at age 73 on June 12, 2022. Surviving is her husband, Stanley Hand, daughter Amy Cappozzoli and son in law Eric and their children, Parker and Lincoln, a brother, Charlie Kean and sister-in-law Pamela Kean, and her westie, Finley.

Sleep may be the only thing Hope Hand did not do well, and it would be no wonder since she gave 110% of her boundless energy and time to Para Equestrian Sport and Para Dressage. Constantly promoting, recruiting, educating, and encouraging everyone she met as she traveled at her own expense to all US International and National Championship competitions and to numerous Para Dressage symposiums, clinics, and Centers of Excellence. Hope not only knew every US Para Dressage athlete from emerging to elite, but recruited many of them, and was available 24/7 to all to advise, encourage, and educate them on their journey to be the best. Hope is well known in the equestrian world globally for her tireless work in advancing Para Equestrian sport and has served on numerous boards and committees, all in the pursuit of bringing competition excellence to the US in Para Dressage.

Two-time Paralympian Barbara Grassmyer and close friend of Hope remembered their time together. “Hope and I traveled many miles together. We were competitors first then became close friends. It was always an adventure when traveling with Hope. From flat tires in Germany to her being carried up two flights of stairs to the train by my Dad and the Mayor of the small town in Germany. She had a big smile and thrived on the adventures we had together. While we were in England, we decided to go to a safari park. While driving through the monkey area, a few came through the sunroof, making us laugh. Hope had a heart of gold and made sure everyone around her had a fantastic time. She became my mentor and then when my parents couldn’t make the international trips, she became my show mom. While I was horse shopping, I called her to tell her I found my dream horse. She didn’t like it when I informed her that Mibis was a chestnut mare. She came to love Mibis almost as much as I did. When Hope retired from competition, she took on yet another role as president of the USPEA. Without Hope the United States Para Dressage program would not be where it is today. In 2021, we had a watch party for the Tokyo Paralympics. We all stayed up all night cheering on the USA team. We both had tears of happiness when the team won the bronze and Roxie Trunnell won the gold medals for the United States. I enjoyed my time with the Hand family especially when I stayed with them for two summers before the Athens and Hong Kong Olympics. Their family was my family, and I watched her daughter Amy grow up, I watched Hope become a grandmother to two grandsons, and I met many of Hope’s dogs over the years. Hope was one amazing lady who never took no for an answer. She is greatly missed by her west coast family.”

Hope’s list of accomplishments and committee representations were always to help promote and grow the sport of Para-Dressage. Her achievements are as follows:

  • Established and served as President of the United States Para Equestrian Association 2010-2022
  • FEI Para Dressage Technical committee 2016-2020 & 2006-2010
  • USEF IDC member 2013-2022
  • USEF Para Dressage Sports Committee Vice Chair 2013-2022, Chair 2006-2013
  • Para Dressage Centers of Excellence panel 2017-2022
  • Path International Advisory Board 2018-2022
  • USEF Board member 11years 2002-2013
  • USDF Para Dressage Committee Chair 2006 up to restructuring ~2013
  • Instrumental in helping with the transition of Para Dressage into the USEF and FEI in 2006
  • Para Dressage Athlete representing the US at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics serving as Team Captain, 1999 World Dressage Championships Denmark earning a bronze, 1997 British Invitational earning a gold and bronze, and the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics
  • 1997 Bradshaw Challenge Cup at the Festival of Champions, competed with fellow team members Steffen Peters and Guenter Seidel
  • Spearheaded the first Para Dressage group fundraiser – webathon in 2010
  • Initiated clinics with high profile AB dressage clinicians stand alone and after CPEDI3* for PD riders, including Debbie McDonald 2011, Mette Rosencrantz 2012, and more
  • Initiated clinics/symposiums with FEI Para Dressage judges/trainers Hanneke Gerritsen 2011, Carlos Lopes
  • Worked to secure two spots for Para Dressage in Able-Bodied dressage clinics 2009-2011 with top clinicians Sue Blinks and Robert Dover
  • Has attended all US CPEDI3* to meet with new riders, parents, and clinicians for education information and recruitment.
  • Production of Para Dressage promo videos 2009 & 2011
  • Instrumental in the development of Para 101 for athlete education
  • Consistently works with show secretaries and regional dressage areas to include Para dressage classes at their licensed shows, and developed education sheet for how to include classes working with USDF
  • Recruitment of Para Dressage sponsors
  • Instrumental in working with show secretaries & USEF to hold CPEDI3* in the US
  • Initiated Train, the trainer program with FEI 5* judge & trainers Hanneke Gerritsen working with Carlisle continued developing symposiums for Train the trainer & developing HP athletes 2012-2014
  • Instrumental in working with USDF to establish Para Dressage year-end awards
  • Working with USEF to include Para Dressage in NAJYRC, and sponsor 2015 & 2016
  • Established & Developed the Para Dressage mentor program through USPEA
  • Worked with US Pony Club Association to mainstream Para Dressage riders

Tina Wentz who serves as interim President of the USPEA is also a mom of Jonathan Wentz who was a Para Dressage rider that rode on the U.S. Team 2010-2012. Wentz noted, “I had the incredible privilege of working alongside Hope since the time she first formed the USPEA, and I have yet to figure out how she was able to do the work of ten every single day, always with a twinkle in her eyes. I met Hope because of my son Jonathan. Hope and Jonathan, also a Paralympic equestrian, shared the same competitive spirit and independent mindset of never considering their disability but in developing their abilities. They saw themselves as parallel to able bodied athletes and fiercely promoted that to others. Para means parallel.”

Wentz continued, “The board of USPEA and all who knew and loved her will strive to continue her vision of Para truly being parallel, with ALL athletes focused and working together to improve their ability in equestrian sport and life. Hope was a remarkable and irreplaceable individual that I am so thankful to have known as a kindred spirit and friend. And I know she’d say to all of us don’t stop now, you must carry on!”

A memorial service is being planned later this year. Details will be published once confirmed. Follow United States Para Equestrian Association (USPEA) on Facebook to up to date on information.

USPEA accepts tax-deductible donations, and they may be sent to USPEA c/o Ellie Brimmer, USPEA Secretary, 12359 Westhall Pl, Wellington, FL 33414.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org.

Winning Never Gets Old

Week I of the Aiken Summer Classic wrapped up after a well-attended week at Bruce’s Field.

Aiken’s own Daniel Geitner had a heck of a week at the office, winning the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the $5,000 Marshall & Sterling Classic Hunter Derby, and the $35,000 Nutrena Grand Prix.

“Winning never gets old,” Geitner laughed.

Geitner wrapped up his successful week with the win in the $35,000 Nutrena Grand Prix over a course designed by world renown course designer and Olympian, Michel Vaillancourt.

Of the sixteen horse and rider teams entered, only five would advance to the jump off round where the time allowed was set at 48 seconds. Geitner had five horses entered in the class and three qualified for the jump off round.

Geitner and his first ride, November Hill’s Cilia M, turned in a four fault jump off round with a time of 38.347 seconds. Sarah Hubbard of Wellington, Florida in the irons of Hubbard Horses, LLC’s Latino Van De Looise Heide followed in the order and their one jump fault in a time of 34.793 seconds took the lead.

The lead was short lived when James Billington, also of Wellington, rode Samantha Mackenzie’s Halifax Des Rosiers WB, posting the first clear round in the jump off with a time of 39.733 seconds and took the lead.

Geitner followed, this time in the irons of November Hill’s Lotus Van Het Hagehof. The pair turned in a fault free jump off round in a time of 37.00 seconds and set the new time to beat.

Geitner and GFZ Sport Horses, LLC’s Igo Van De Heibos sat in the last to go spot. The pair turned in a fault free round in a time of 37.699 seconds, securing the second-place ribbon and his victory with Lotus Van Het Hagehof.

Geitner commented, “It was plenty, of course. Michel [Vaillancourt] designed it in his usual fashion which made it look and walk like it was a pretty easy course,” commented Geitner. “The most challenging part of the course was the triple combination line and an oxer in the corner. It felt a little downhill to the oxer, even though it wasn’t and then basically standing still to the skinny was the most difficult part,” he said.

“It walked nice but rode difficult. Michel is an absolute master and somehow, he always gets it right. He had a great number with 5 clean and I had 3 of them. I had some young horses to show, and it was great mileage for all of them,” Geitner added.

“Lotus is a 10-year-old and just stepped up this past year to the Grand Prix level. He tries hard, he’s fast, loves to show and the heat, and he is a really game horse. I was lucky that I rode Celia earlier and then was able to watch a couple of other rides and I knew what I had to do with the last two horses,” said Geitner.

Billington and Halifax Des Rosiers placed third overall and Hubbard and Latino Van De Looise Heide earned a fourth place ribbon. Geitner and Cilia Hill earned a fifth-place finish, and he also won a sixth place ribbon with Oak Ledge Farm’s Fazous as the fastest four fault first round in a time of 70.139 seconds.

Quinn Larimer of Mableton, Georgia rode Nestledown Equine Services, LLC’s Olympia Van Het Eikenhof to a seventh-place finish with their four fault first round in a time of 70.299 seconds.

Megan Rosenthal of Charlotte, North Carolina in the irons of Fairy Tale Farms, LLC’s Caliente earned an eighth-place finish for their four fault first round in a time of 70.995 seconds, and ninth was awarded to Hakini, owned by Ellen Walker and ridden by Adam Sklansky of Birmingham, Alabama.

Larimer returned for a tenth-place ribbon with Nestledown Equine Services, LLC’s Bronson CR for their four fault first round in a time of 74.603 seconds.

Hubbard also placed eleventh with Hubbard Horses International’s Japardie for their four fault first round in a time of 74.269 seconds. Samantha Mackenzie and her own Inajottie WB wrapped up the class with a twelfth-place finish for their four fault first round in a time of 75.541 seconds.

For more information, please visit horseshowsonline.com.

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Training Tougher Than Competition for Ukraine’s Equestrian Vaulting Girls

Ukrainian Vaulting team in training in Bernolákovo (SVK) (Copyright: FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Bratislava (SVK), 30 May 2022 – There is no easy way to prepare for an international competition. But five young equestrian Vaulters have needed to dig extra deep for grit and determination as they trained for their first ever international competition.

Polina Shovkova (14), sisters Katya (14) and Jenya (11) Panasenko, Sonia Shulga (14), and Marta Lopaienko (15) became the first team to ever represent Ukraine in international Vaulting when they participated in the one star competition in Kaposvár (HUN) from 20 to 22 May.

The team’s participation in Kaposvár came just a few short months after fleeing their hometown of Poltova to escape the war that has upturned the lives of millions of Ukrainians. They are currently living and training in Bernolákovo, a suburb of Bratislava (SVK), where they have been welcomed by members of the local Vaulting community and supported financially by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Solidarity Fund.

“We didn’t have competitions in Ukraine because we are the first Vaulting team,” Marta explained.

“We didn’t feel too comfortable with the horses here in Slovakia at first because they are bigger and have a different rhythm to our horses at home. But now we know the character of each horse.

“We were a bit worried about taking part in our first international competition and it was important for us. But as Katya, our trainer from Ukraine, always says: ‘You have to do this performance just for you.’”

Joining the Vaulters on their sporting journey is 29-year-old Anthony Bro-Petit, himself a former international competitor for France, who has played a key role in developing the sporting infrastructure for Vaulting in Ukraine prior to the war.

“Preparing young athletes for a competition or a Championship is always tough because even when they are motivated, the mental focus is very hard to maintain. The war has added an extra layer of mental difficulty for these girls. It’s not easy to fully concentrate on your training when you know your family is not safe.

“The girls are still very young, and it is hard to know how much I can push them during their training session. But this is a good learning experience for me. I’m still learning as a coach and I have to develop my skills.

“We would have been able to prepare more if there was no war. But the team did really well in their first international competition and now we know which aspects we need to focus on more during our training.”

With their competition experience in Kaposvár under their belt, the team now have their sights set on the international Vaulting competition that will be held in Samorin (SVK) next month. The road ahead will be easier to navigate than the one they took in March this year.

“We knew that we would have to leave Poltava about a week before we had to go,” said Marta. “We first thought that we were going to France, but two days before we left, we were told that we’re going to Slovakia.

“We were on the road for three days. It was a very long journey, because of the traffic jams everywhere. It usually takes us one day to drive to the Slovak border.

“The first night we didn’t stop and we kept going. But the second night we stopped near the Carpathian Mountains, and we stayed in a flat with just two rooms. There were 15 of us, and the girls and I slept on one sofa, and the others slept on the floor. Then the third day we crossed the border very quickly. We thought it would be slow with all the traffic, but we crossed over very fast.

“We were not frightened, but we were really sad and tired. And when we crossed the border, we all started to cry.”

The girls’ trainer Kateryna (Katya) Andreiva and her 18-month son David, as well as three mothers, have accompanied the Vaulters to Slovakia, while other members of their families have all stayed back in Ukraine.

It is a situation that has caused Katya’s and Jenya’s mother Ekateryna a great deal of anguish. “When you first come from war, you think that it would have been better to stay at home because your mind cannot feel safe,” Ekateryna said.

“It’s harder to be in a safe country because you feel at fault for leaving your family. My mother is in the Kharkiv region and I know that she’s sitting in a bomb shelter while I’m here in Slovakia. But we are mums and everything we do we do for our children. You don’t think about yourself. You just think about your children.”

The Vaulters have settled into a routine at the local school, which is currently housing the group from Poltava, as well as 40 refugees from other parts of Ukraine. The girls begin each weekday morning by joining online lessons with their school in Poltova, which leaves them the rest of the day to train at the local riding school, and at the school gym that has a mechanical horse and barrels.

“It is good to see that the girls are training really hard,” said the Secretary General of the Slovak Equestrian Federation Zuzana Bačiak Masaryková.

“The community here in the Bratislava area have been extremely generous to the team. The owner of the shop that sells Vaulting shoes has given the girls free pairs, and other people have provided us with everything they require.

“My aim is to give these girls all that they need to train, so that they can forget about the war, at least for a few hours each day.”

The Vaulters and their mothers still hope that they can return home to Poltava after the competition in Samorin (SVK) that will take place from 9 to 12 June.

Until then the girls are determined to continue their training. “We are not sure if Vaulting is our sport in the long term,” Marta explained. “But in 2023, our aim is to take part in the Vaulting World Championship and we’re going to train hard for this.”

FEI Solidarity Relief Fund for Ukraine

Media contact:

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

World Champion Hunter Rider Week Shines Light on Hunters

Matt Martin and Cadouch Z ©Bailey Beck Photography for TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – May 23, 2022 – Tryon Spring 3 featured World Champion Hunter Rider Week (WCHR) at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC), with two derbies in the International Stadium on Friday and heightened celebrations for Hunter divisions all week long, in addition to marking the first edition of 2022 Saturday Night Lights presented by Tryon Horse & Home.

Matt Martin and Cadouch Z Capture $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Win

Matt Martin (USA) and Cadouch Z scored a total of 190 points in the first round to lead after the classic, producing a handy score of 203 to clinch the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby win in what was only “Teddy’s” second competition ever as a Hunter, on a final score of 393 points. In reserve, Michael Britt-Leon (USA) scored a class-record 205 points in the handy round with Midas, the 2013 Holsteiner gelding (Casall x Belunye HH) owned by Paul McCracken, to claim second place and a total of 389 points. Caroline Willard Briles piloted Necofino, the 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Nerrado x Sienna), to third place on a total score of 376 for Rein Family LLC, completing the podium.

Twenty-one horses took on the Andy Christiansen, Jr. (ECU) track, with a minimum score of 130 qualifying the top twelve combinations to return for the handy test. Martin and the 2009 Zangersheide stallion (Calvaro Z x Nadouch Z) owned by Amy Hassinger were in the neighborhood for the first time in a few years, and decided to test Cadouch Z in only his second Hunter Derby ever, at his third Hunter show in America.

“We imported him a few months ago,” Hassinger said. “He was a winning Grand Prix horse in Europe, and now he stands at Hassinger Farm as a breeding stallion. We did not plan to show him this early,” she revealed. “But Matt did a warm-up class a couple of weeks ago and he just loves when Matt rides him. So, we put him in the Derby and he won that classic round and then he came here! This is the only class he does. He’s just good at it. He doesn’t need to practice!”

When asked about his strategy for the class, Martin points at his horse. “We tried a new bridle today, and I wanted him to be a hair slower off the ground. And then, he really does the rest! For the handy I was trying to be handy while still a little conservative,” trying to remind Teddy he’s not in a Jumper jump-off these days. “He loves turning in the air, and he loves leaving a little soft off the ground. So, there’s not a whole lot of strategy; it’s just keeping him in the corner and finding the middle of the jumps.”

Brady Mitchell and Cornet Blue PS Ace First $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Brady Mitchell (Wellington, FL) and Cornet Blue PS attempted their first USHJA National Hunter Derby at Tryon Spring 3, producing two scores of 91 from the judges for a winning total of 182 points in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby in the International Stadium. Timothy Maddrix (Mountain Brook, AL) scored a class-record 94 in the handy round to earn reserve and a total score of 181 aboard Cypress, Missy Nolen’s 2011 Warmblood gelding of unknown breeding. Wengen, the 2013 Warmblood gelding (Casdorff x Fanfarone) owned by Kate Preston and piloted by Riley Hogan (Warrenton, VA), was named to third on a two-round score of 175.

Mitchell and the 2015 Hanoverian stallion (Cornet Obolensky x Chaccina) owned by Everlong LLC were one of 33 horse-and-rider pairs to navigate the Andy Christiansen, Jr. course, with the top twelve scoring 81 or higher to contest the handy round. In just the horse’s first week showing as a Hunter, whose first trot jumps ever took place in the show pen and the warm-up ring, Mitchell revealed, his potential as seen by owner Ann Thompson is already clear:

“This is just the horse’s first week ever showing as a hunter. We’re ecstatic. This horse is owned by Ann Thompson, who’s obviously a huge supporter of Grand Prix horses in this country, so it’s kind of cool. Ann sent [Brian Moggre and team] this horse to see what they thought of him this winter; she’s owned him since he was three. They thought he was a hunter, and they asked me to come over.”

Amanda Flint and Hudson Win $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake

Amanda Flint (Bourbonnais, IL) and her own mount Hudson, the 2012 Cutch Warmblood gelding (Arezzo VDL x Orchidee), posted a double-clear round in Thursday’s $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake for the win on a jump-off time of 41.931. Fernando Cardenas, Jr. (New Hill, NC) and his own Madeira SCF, the 2012 Belgian Warmblood mare (Diktator van de Boslandhoeve x Lilli Marlen), earned reserve honors in a time of 43.78 seconds, while third place belonged to Ashley Fleischhacker (Lexington, KY) aboard Davall VDL, the 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zavall VDL x Rhamanta) owned by Ashland Show Stables LLC, on a time of 46.197.

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

New FEI Solidarity Relief Fund initiatives for Ukraine launched in May 2022

Photo: Ukraine’s Diana Borovyk and Baby Royal at the FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 for Youth in Oliva (ESP) © Lukasz Kowalski.

A recent visit by a Ukrainian delegation at the FEI Sports Forum 2022 in Lausanne sees additional initiatives and projects approved for funding by the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Established in February 2022, the dedicated CHF 1 Million FEI Solidarity Relief Fund for Ukraine has been actively supporting a number of equestrian related schemes across Ukraine and neighbouring nations receiving Ukrainian horses and athletes. This includes, among others, the creation of a logistical hub in Granat (UKR), located between Lviv and the Polish border, to prepare horses for transfer into the European Union; funding and distribution to regional hubs of critical horse supplies such as feed and bedding; and the emergency evacuation of a Vaulting team.

In order to deliver the aid efficiently and have the desired impact in situ, the FEI has been working hand in hand with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and the UEF Charity Foundation, with FEI President and Chair of the Solidarity Committee Ingmar De Vos (BEL) referring to their Ukrainian colleagues as their “eyes and ears on the ground.”

For the FEI and the Ukrainian delegation, headed up by Secretary General Mykhailo Parkhomchuk from the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) and accompanied by members from both the UEF and the Charity Foundation, this recent in-person visit provided a platform to discuss the priorities, review ongoing support systems in place, but also establish new programmes and set long term objectives for Ukraine and the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

Following these discussions, among the programmes being launched in Ukraine throughout May, four new athlete scholarships have been allocated; bespoke veterinary supplies have been sourced and prepared for dispatch; as well as financing for the purchase of 80 temporary horse boxes in order to support the setup of additional horse hubs in Ukraine.

Based on the existing FEI Solidarity Athlete Scholarship scheme, two Ukrainian Jumping athletes – Oleksandr Prodan and Anastasia Bondarieva – and two Ukrainian Dressage athletes – Danylo Konovalov and Diana Borovyk – have been selected to receive the scholarship grant to support training and competition related preparation with the ultimate goal of representing Ukraine at FEI Championships in 2022 and 2023.

Aged between 17 and 24, they were already competing at international level before the onset of the war, but the current circumstances meant they had to put many of their aspirations on hold. For Diana Borovyk, having survived the blockade of Sumy and taking up residence in her local equestrian centre to be with her horses while the war raged around her, being able to continue training and competing is “a dream come true.” She has also received a personal invitation to participate in a Young Riders Class at the CHIO Aachen Festival 2022, where she has every intention of showing her sporting determination and perseverance in the face of adversity.

The dedicated emergency veterinary supplies, which are being packaged into specialised kits and dispatched to strategic locations around Ukraine, include over the counter as well as prescription medication so the veterinarians onsite have all the necessary supplies to care for the horses remaining in the country. The bespoke veterinary kits have been sourced through the FEI Veterinary Department and are entirely funded by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Ukraine Relief Fund, which is supplementing the FEI Solidarity Fund with 100 percent of all donations raised being distributed through the FEI to ensure effective and targeted use of the funds.

The USEF Ukraine Relief Fund has already reached over 100,000 USD and continues to work closely with US based philanthropic organisations to leverage their fundraising networks to support the horses and people of Ukraine.

In addition to the existing horse hub in Granat which was financed by the FEI to prepare all the necessary documentation for horses to cross the border and has been operational since March, the FEI is now working with the UEF Charity Foundation to supply 80 horseboxes to two new hubs which are being built to allow horses to remain safely in Ukraine. The new hubs are located near existing stables so the horses will have access to all the necessary infrastructures and can continue to train in good conditions.

These last two initiatives are especially relevant given the unknown when it comes to the duration of the conflict and the need to work together to keep horses and athletes safe in Ukraine. For FEI President Ingmar De Vos (BEL), there is a clear progression in the support structure and goals of the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund. “At the onset of the war, the FEI reacted quickly to the situation and set up the Solidarity Fund with the initial outreach aimed at sourcing and funding for immediate and vital supplies as well as evacuation related procedures, unaware of how long the conflict would perdure and how devastating it would be.

“We have now reached a point where we can be more strategic because we have the systems in place, so the meetings in Lausanne with the Ukrainian delegation at the end of April were really fruitful, and we can already see several programmes and initiatives launched as a result.

“The initiatives are a mix of short to mid-term objectives aimed at keeping individuals and horses safe and well in Ukraine, but also long-term future proofing to ensure the sport is not entirely put on hold and can recover after the war. It has been awe-inspiring to see the global equestrian community come together to support Ukraine and we will continue to do everything in our power to maximise the reach of the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to help the equestrian community and the horse lovers of Ukraine.”

About the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund:

The FEI set aside a CHF 1 Million Solidarity Relief Fund for the equestrian community in Ukraine, following the invasion by Russian military forces. The allocation was approved by the FEI Executive Board during a meeting convened on 28 February 2022, where members also unanimously condemned the invasion and agreed to remove all international equestrian events in Russia and Belarus from the 2022 FEI calendar. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has also joined forces with the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund, establishing the USEF Ukraine Relief Fund to Support Ukraine horses and equestrians, with 100% of funds raised going to the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund to be distributed by the FEI.

About the UEF Charity Foundation:

The Charity Foundation is registered in Belgium and its mission is to help the Ukrainian equestrian community during the crisis. The Foundation works closely with the FEI and national equestrian federations. For all the latest information and activities, visit https://helpukrainehorses.eu/.

Media contact:

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

World’s Elite Riders Return to Eternal City for Rolex Gran Premio

Geneva, 18 May 2022 – The world’s elite show jumpers will gather in the magnificent gardens of Villa Borghese from 26-29 May to contest the 89th edition of the CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena. Staged in the heart of the Italian capital, the five-day event will feature some of the world’s finest horse and rider combinations and culminate on the Sunday with the 5* Rolex Gran Premio.

The CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena is steeped in history and tradition, having first been staged at this beautiful venue in 1926. In 2018, the 18th century oval was re-grassed, returning it to its original splendour. The organizers have strived for continuous improvement, ensuring the event’s stature as one of the most revered in the equestrian calendar.

Switzerland’s World No. 2 Martin Fuchs will be aiming to emulate his uncle Markus Fuchs, who won the Grand Prix here in 2001. He will face stiff competition from compatriot Steve Guerdat, with whom Fuchs won team gold at the 2021 FEI European Championships. Both riders won Rolex Majors last year – at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament and the CHI Geneva, respectively – and appreciate the horsemanship, precision, and refinement required to win in Rome.

Looking ahead to the show, Fuchs said: “The CSIO Roma Piazza Di Siena is always one of my favourite events of the year. It is so magical to compete in such an amazing setting right in the centre of the city. With it being a Rolex show, you know the standard will be high and that you will face the toughest competition in the world, which always pushes riders to perform at their best.”

Bertram Allen, part of the Rolex New Guard, will be striving to become the first Irishman in 13 years to win this prestigious Grand Prix, along with in-form Kevin Staut and Scott Brash, the only rider to have claimed the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

Tegan Vincent-Cooke: “Whether I win or not, I’m a face that is a role model for people of colour”

The May edition of The Para Equestrian Digest is now out!

In this edition of The Para Equestrian Digest, British Para Dressage athlete, four-time British Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Dressage Champion, aspiring Paralympian and TikTok (@teganvincentcooke) star Tegan Vincent-Cooke talks about race in equestrian sport.

About The Para Equestrian Digest
The FEI launched The Para Equestrian Digest in February 2022.  The online magazine was created for Para Equestrian athletes and the people connected to the sport so they can share – in their own words – their personal experiences and disability stories. Every month, the Digest will put the spotlight on an athlete or project in Para Equestrian sport with the aim of improving disability awareness and inclusion.

Previous editions of The Para Equestrian Digest: https://www.fei.org/stories/lifestyle/my-equestrian-life/para-equestrian-digest

April 2022: Paralympic & World Championship medallist Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) provides his views of what businesses can do to provide a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities.

March 2022: US Paralympian and 2021 FEI Against All Odds Award winner Beatrice De Lavalette (USA) talks about mental health and how she coped with losing both her legs in the airport terrorist attack in Brussels (BEL) on 22 March 2016.

February 2022: Five-time Paralympic gold medallist and two time European Para Dressage champion Natasha Baker, MBE, OBE (GBR) talks about ableism and what can be done to change people’s attitudes towards disability.

Media contact:

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

Beth Underhill Wins €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix of La Baule

Beth Underhill riding Dieu Merci van T&L. Photo by Pierre Costabadie/Scoopdyga.com.

La Baule, France – Canadian Olympian Beth Underhill of Mulmer, ON won the €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix of La Baule on Sunday, May 8, to close out the CSIO5* International Jumping La Baule in France.

On Friday, Underhill delivered double clear rounds to lead Canada to a third-place finish in the €250,000 Nations’ Cup riding Dieu Merci van T&L. The pair carried their form into Sunday’s €500,000 Rolex Grand Prix where they again jumped clear in the opening round of competition to join 11 other riders who qualified for the second round.

Underhill and Dieu Merci van T&L tackled the second-round course set in the François André Stadium by French course designer Gregory Bodo and delivered yet another clear round in a time of 43.77 seconds to put the pressure on those who followed. None were able to catch her time and leave all the rails up, giving the win to Underhill and the 13-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion (Toulon x Corrado I) owned by the Rein Family LLC and Torrey Pines Stable Inc. Yuri Mansur of Brazil riding Vitiki was the only other rider to produce two clear rounds, but his slower time of 45 seconds left him in second. There was a tie for third place when both Pierre Marie Friant of France riding Urdy d’Astree and Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet riding Nevados S counted four faults in the exact same time of 41.66 seconds.

“He was spectacular all week and didn’t put a foot wrong,” said Underhill of her winning mount. “He gave me everything he had without question and felt better every round.”

Underhill, who operates her own Beth Underhill Stables training business in King City, ON, began riding horses for Eric Lamaze at the beginning of this season when health issues forced the 2008 Olympic champion to take a step back. Lamaze has since formally announced his retirement from the sport but has taken up his new role as chef d’equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team with gusto.

Underhill, 59, recounted, “When I went in the ring for the second round, Eric said, ‘It’s yours to take.’ It galvanized me. I thought about all that Eric has done for us and has given me a renewed opportunity at this stage in my career. All the Canadian riders wanted to make this week count. I wanted to hold my own and put into practice all the things that we had been working on. I wanted to do it for Eric. To have a result like this is thrilling.”

Dieu Merci van T&L was acquired in the summer of 2020 and is owned in partnership between Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable and Mark Rein and Tara Dow-Rein’s Rein Family LLC. Prior to La Baule, Underhill had only competed the horse during two weeks of competition in March at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.

“Mark has been texting after every round encouraging us; we couldn’t ask for better owners,” said Underhill of the 2021 Equestrian Canada Jumping Committee’s ‘Owner of the Year.’ “I grew up riding with Mark years ago as a junior. He is a Canadian and someone who loves the sport. We are so appreciative that he and Tara have brought their support to this level, and all that they’ve done to get us to this point. I’m very thankful to have a horse at this level.

“To watch the Canadian flag being raised and hear the anthem being played was an emotional moment, with the whole team there supporting us,” continued Underhill who represented Canada at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona with Monopoly. “To be part of a competition like La Baule is a dream come true for me. The crowd was electric and so supportive of the Canadians. Because of Eric’s history with the show, I think they have a soft spot for Canadians. It was an incredible week. We did what we came to do.”

Lamaze has won the Grand Prix of La Baule on three occasions, in 2007 and 2011 riding his Beijing Olympic individual gold and team silver partner, Hickstead, and again in 2014 aboard Powerplay.

“As Canadians, we couldn’t be happier; Beth continued the form she had in the Nations’ Cup,” said Lamaze. “It was an excellent course. It was a big grand prix track that was built with a lot of thought behind it. Beth was fast enough in the second round but not fast enough to do something stupid. She did what she needed to do at that stage of the class, and it worked out for her. Beth looks strong on that horse and winning the Grand Prix of La Baule is a major achievement in your career.

“I proud not only of Beth for the win, but for the entire Canadian team and their attitude, the way that they handled everything and supported each other this week,” continued Lamaze. “Competing in Europe is something I’ve done by myself for so many years; we eventually managed to get some teams over here, but it was never properly organized. This week shows that good things are to come for Canada.”

“This morning I was walking through the vendor area and I came across the place where they have all the plaques of the past winners,” concluded Underhill. “I saw that Canada had won the Nations’ Cup in 1970, and that Eric had won the Grand Prix twice with Hickstead and again with Powerplay. I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be magical to be part of that hallowed group?’”

During the event’s 61st edition, Underhill and Dieu Merci van T&L have indeed written their names in the history books of La Baule.

For more information on CSIO5* La Baule and full results, including video footage of Underhill’s winning round, visit www.labaule-cheval.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | www.startinggate.ca

FEI Publishes Second Part of EHV-1 Report on 2021 Outbreak in Mainland Europe

Lausanne (SUI), 22 April 2022 — The FEI has published Part 2 of the Report into the 2021 outbreak of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in mainland Europe. This section of the Report focuses on the Return to Competition protocols put in place to ensure the safe resumption of FEI Events after the six-week FEI-imposed lockdown on international sport in Continental Europe.

Part 2 of the Report also focuses on the EHV-1 By-Laws and sanctioning system, and evaluates their effectiveness, along with the elements that were subsequently incorporated into the FEI Veterinary Regulations 2022 approved at the FEI Hybrid General Assembly in November 2021.

The 30-page Report (Part 2), together with over 200 pages of Annexes, has been produced by FEI Veterinary Director Dr Göran Åkerström and Grania Willis, former FEI Communications Director and now Executive Consultant to the FEI.

“It was important to take a really forensic look at the 2021 EHV-1 outbreak itself, and this was the basis of Part 1 of the Report, but it was equally important to review the Return to Competition measures post-lockdown,” Dr Åkerström said. “This is what we have done in Part 2, along with the related By-Laws and the resulting amendments to the FEI Regulations.

“Knowing how busy the members of our community are in their daily lives, we have simplified things to make the Report a more user-friendly experience by adding a dynamic Table of Contents, so that readers can go directly to the elements/sections they wish to read, as we did with Part 1 of the Report.”

Part 2 of the Report is published here, on a dedicated page within the Biosecurity Hub of the FEI website home to all the content related to the investigation into the 2021 outbreak in mainland Europe.

It sits alongside Part 1 of the Report published on 28 February 2021, which provides a comprehensive and factual picture of the outbreak, including the series of events, causes, roles, and responsibilities, and analysis.

Part 3 of the Report, elements of which will be presented at the FEI Sports Forum 2022 (25-26 April), will incorporate further risk mitigation of EHV-1, including conclusions from the scientific EHV-1 vaccination review commissioned by the FEI, and the suggested way forward. This concluding section of the Report, with the Sports Forum presentations incorporated as Annexes, will then be published as Part 3 in May 2022.

Media contacts:

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46+

Rodolpho Riskalla: “You can do the job even if you’re disabled”

Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) riding Don Henrico at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (© FEI/Liz Gregg)

The April edition of The Para Equestrian Digest is now out!

This month, Paralympic & World Championship medallist Rodolpho Riskalla (BRA) provides his views of what businesses can do to provide a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities.

About The Para Equestrian Digest

The FEI launched The Para Equestrian Digest in February 2022.  The online magazine was created for Para Equestrian athletes and the people connected to the sport so they can share – in their own words – their personal experiences and disability stories. Every month, the Digest will put the spotlight on an athlete or project in Para Equestrian sport with the aim of improving disability awareness and inclusion.

Previous editions of The Para Equestrian Digest: https://www.fei.org/stories/lifestyle/my-equestrian-life/para-equestrian-digest

March 2022: US Paralympian and 2021 FEI Against All Odds Award winner Beatrice De Lavalette talks about mental health and how she coped with losing both her legs in the airport terrorist attack in Brussels (BEL) on 22 March 2016.

February 2022: Five-time Paralympic gold medallist and two-time European Para Dressage champion Natasha Baker (MBE, OBE) talks about ableism and what can be done to change people’s attitudes towards disability.

Media contact:

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