Category Archives: FEI

US Olympians Claim Longines FEI Awards for Best Jumping Rider and Best Horse

Left to right: FEI President Ingmar De Vos, McLain Ward (USA), Kent Farrington (USA) winner of the Longines FEI Best Rider Award, Claudia Mathy, François Mathy and Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing (Longines/Pierre Costabadie)

Paris, France – World number one Kent Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) has claimed the award for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider and HH Azur, the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Double H Farm and François Mathy, was declared the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse at a special presentation in the Paris City Hall.

Olympic silver-medalist Farrington took over the number one slot in the Longines World Rankings in May 2017 and refused to allow anyone to break his winning streak, remaining at the top of the elite list for the rest of the year. The 37-year-old, who is well on the road to recovery after breaking his right leg in a fall in mid-February, received the award for the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider after finishing the year on 3,313 points.

HH Azur, whom McLain Ward rode to victory at last year’s Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha (USA), added another major accolade to her collection when being named the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse. Affectionately known as “Annie,” the Olympic mare is owned by Double H Farms and Francois Mathy (BEL), who collected the award accompanied by his wife Claudia Mathy and McLain Ward.

“We are delighted to present the Longines FEI best rider and best horse here tonight in Paris in this beautiful setting of the Mairie de Paris, a fitting prelude to the FEI World Cup Finals,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said.

“We are all inspired by how these athletes – both human and equine – ignite the passion in our sport and show us what it takes to succeed on the world stage. In addition, the successful partnership we have established with Longines, demonstrating the synergies between the brand and our sport, not only give extra recognition to our athletes, but the creation of these awards has given additional value to the Longines rankings and provides a further incentive to our athletes worldwide.”

“The Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse and Rider Awards ceremony has enabled us to once again celebrate the common passion for equestrian sports we share with our Top Partner, the FEI,” Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said. “As we have seen here tonight, through these awards, we are increasing the visibility of jumping and bringing together the heroes of the discipline on a global level. We are delighted to crown the 2017 best jumping athletes in the context of these prestigious FEI World Cup Finals.”

Farrington, and HH Azur’s co-owner François Mathy, were each presented with an elegant Longines watch from the Longines Saint-Imier Collection as well as a replica trophy of the magnificent crystal winged hourglass representing the brand’s emblem at the inaugural ceremony in Paris, alongside the FEI World Cup Finals 2018 draws for Jumping and Dressage.

To see more on the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Rider, click here.

To see more on the Longines FEI World’s Best Jumping Horse, click here.

Edited Press Release from the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)

FEI Sports Forum 2018 Live and On-Demand

The seventh edition of the FEI Sports Forum 2018, which will be held at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne (SUI) on 26 and 27 March, will be live-streamed on fei.org.

The FEI Sports Forum 2018 will have a prominent focus on Youth.

Day 1 will host a panel of eight young and talented athletes from around the world, representing FEI disciplines. Discussions will centre around their experiences, how they see the future, the challenges they face, and the impact on their careers. In addition, we will hear from experienced professionals and experts on discussion topics of athlete welfare as well as the IOC’s toolkit regarding harassment & abuse.

Day 2 will continue the discussions on athlete welfare, focusing on concussion, medication & recreational drugs and Eventing risk management, all of which have a substantial significance and impact on present day sport and competition. Further discussion topics include optimising performance in a challenging climate, in view of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon and Tokyo 2020, FEI Officials, as well as an update from the FEI Dressage Judging Working Group.

Timetable of sessions:

26 March
Morning session 09.00-13.00 CET
Afternoon session 14.00-18.00 CET

27 March
Morning session 09.00-13.00 CET
Afternoon session 14.00-17.30 CET

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

Paris Is the Field of Dreams for Aussie Duo as Longines Final Beckons

Photo: Jamie Kermond and Yandoo Oaks Constellation (FEI/Equestrian Australia/Thomas Reiner)

For Australia’s Billy Raymont and Jamie Kermond, these are very exciting times. The pair claimed the top two places in the FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Australian League and are on their way to the Longines 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) which kicks off on 11 April. Raymont (38) cemented his place at the top of the League table with four wins and a host of strong placings that left him 12 points clear of Kermond (32), whose victory in Melbourne was boosted by another good result in Sydney last December. These are two seasoned veterans with a world of experience behind them and good horses underneath them.

Kermond has spent plenty of time honing his skills on the European circuit in recent years. He was crowned Australian Jumping Champion for the third time last season and began introducing his massive 12-year-old gelding Yandoo Oaks Constellation to the delights of the French capital city when lining out at the CSI5* Saut Hermes in the Grand Palais in Paris last weekend.

Raymont, also a multiple national champion, was there too with his 13-year-old gelding Oaks Redwood who had just a single fence down in the first round of last Sunday’s super-tough Grand Prix. These two athletes, and their horses, epitomise the essence of the FEI World Cup™ Jumping series as they complete their preparations for the Final of the series that every rider wants to win.

Kermond has been there before, competing at the 2014 Final in Lyon (FRA), but despite his extensive experience this will be a first for Raymont. “Seems crazy to be honest… I probably felt this kind of thing was out of reach these days, but I’m very lucky with the owners. They’re very excited about the horse… and they’re really keen to keep going and seeing what we can do, and for sure I’m the same!”

“I’m really excited to finally get this opportunity. My whole career has been about doing something like this one day!” — Billy Raymont (Australia)

Joining the Australians at the Final will be the top three finishers in the 13-leg Arab League, Jordan’s Ibrahim Hani Bisharat, Egypt’s Mohammed Osama El Borai and Saudi Arabia’s Abdulrahman Alrajhi. However New Zealand’s Rose Alfeld and Samantha Morrison won’t be travelling. Alfeld had a great run in the seven-round series that began at Hawkes Bay last October but feels she doesn’t have sufficient experience to tackle the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final. “I’m not sure it’s my time yet!” said the 22-year-old rider after bagging the title with her home-bred horse, My Super Nova. Keisuke Koike claimed the single qualifying spots in the Japan League but won’t be making the trip to Europe either.

Thailand’s Jaruporn Limpichati won the South East Asia series at the end of a fantastic run with Irregular Choice. The pair posted three wins on the way to their regional Final where they again reigned supreme to earn the coveted qualifying spot. The Central Asian League champion was Uzbekistan’s Nurjon Tuyakbaev, and winner of the Caucasus/Caspian League was Shalva Gacheciladze from Georgia.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Unstoppable Isabell Werth Crowned 2017 Best Athlete at FEI Awards

Photo: Harry Allen (IRE), winner of the Longines Rising Star Award (centre), pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos (left) and Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli (right) at the FEI Awards ceremony in Montevideo, Uruguay. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Montevideo (URU), 21 November 2017 – Isabell Werth (GER), one of equestrian sports most decorated champions, has once again stolen the show, receiving the Best Athlete Award at the ninth edition of the FEI Awards Gala 2017 presented by Longines at the KIBON Avanza in Montevideo (URU).

The German superstar (48) was unable to attend the ceremony but spoke to guests via video message, and Soenke Lauterbach, Secretary General of the German Federation, received the award on her behalf.

“To receive the best athlete award is really fantastic it makes me really proud, really happy to get this support from so many people and that they’re really behind me and they respect what we have done in the last months,” Isabell Werth said.

“2017 was just amazing; it was a really great year. It was all horses, I have to say! Of course the highlight was Omaha with the World Cup final with Weihe; it was a fantastic freestyle!”

To the delight of the Montevideo audience, the festivities were opened by Swedish pop artists Matilda Frommegård and Martin Cederlöf, performing the world premiere of their “Two Hearts” song.

Joint-Masters of Ceremonies, TV news anchor Victoria Rodriguez (URU) together with author and entertainer Guillermo Lockhart (URU), host of Voces Anonimas, went on to present the winners of the five categories, in front of more than 270 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, FEI partners and stakeholders representing the member Federations.

Harry Allen (IRL), double gold medallist at the FEI European Pony Championships in Kaposvar (HUN) last August, was recognised for his numerous outstanding performances throughout the year, winning the Longines Rising Star Award. Presented by the FEI’s top partner Longines, this award celebrates youth, talent, determination and the stars of the tomorrow. The talented Irish athlete (16) was also presented with a Longines Conquest Classic Chronograph watch by Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli.

Alan Davies (GBR), recognised for his tireless effort behind the scenes for Dressage stars Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, was presented with the FEI Best Groom Award.  Praising the unsung heroes of the sport, Alan (48) was visibly moved by the public support for his dedication, commitment and hard work, saying, “Words can’t describe how I feel; it’s just amazing!”

The former Vice President of the Indian Equestrian Federation, Manoj Jalan, accepted the FEI Solidarity Award for the inaugural Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) project in Assam (IND).

Emma Booth (AUS) was commended for her strength, resilience, determination and drive as she was presented with the Against All Odds Award. Emma (26) was left paralysed after a road traffic accident in April 2013, yet nothing stops her passion for equestrian sport and is already planning her campaign around the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

“We received over 100,000 votes and were overwhelmed with the response to this year’s Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We have incredible athletes, with remarkable stories, and this year we had the highest number of nominations from more countries than ever before, which clearly shows the universality of our sport.

“The public involvement in the voting process was phenomenal and was an essential part of the judging process for these prestigious awards. It is outstanding to see the tremendous support for our athletes, who deserve the recognition, not just from within our community but of the wider sports industry and fans globally.”

Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli, said: “It is my great pleasure to be here in Montevideo and to be a part of the FEI Awards Ceremony to reward remarkable people for their outstanding dedication to equestrian sports. As we have seen here tonight, all winners have shown what hard work and passion are all about.

“On behalf of Longines, I would like to address my warmest congratulations to all winners of the 2017 FEI Awards, and in particular our Longines Rising Star, the 16-year-old talented jumping rider, Harry Allen. It’s very exciting to see all these incredible people pursue their dreams and continue to be great ambassadors for their sport.”

Media contacts:

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

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

Werth and Weihegold Head Home-Side Whitewash at Stuttgart

Photo: Isabell Werth and Weihegold FRH. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

With style, panache and the greatest of ease, defending series champions Isabell Werth (48) and her wonderful 12-year-old mare Weihegold cruised to victory at the third leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League on home ground in Stuttgart, Germany. And in a feast of fabulous performances it was fellow-countrywomen Dorothee Schneider (Sammy Davis Jr.) and Helen Langehanenberg (Damsey FRH) who slotted into second and third places.

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (Paridon Magi) finished fourth, but only fractionally ahead of Germany’s Fabienne Lutkemeier (Fabregaz) and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (Zaire-E) in fifth and sixth spots. There was nothing fractional about Werth’s win, however, her score of 87.575 percent leaving her well ahead of Schneider who posted 82.805. And it was a particularly satisfying result for the phenomenal athlete who this year alone claimed her third FEI World Cup™ Dressage title along with triple-gold at the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

“Weihe has had such a great year, and after Gothenburg we gave her a long break but we thought it would be lovely to bring her to Stuttgart for the home crowd to see her and it was really nice. She’s only been working lightly for the last few weeks so we didn’t take the full risk like we did in Aachen or Gothenburg this summer, but I’m very happy with how she went; it was a great day!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

The Freestyle test wasn’t perfect – “the mistake in the two-tempis was all mine!” Werth admitted, but it was still nothing short of spectacular. Taking “the full risk” in Dressage terms means chasing down marks by challenging the horse to produce each movement to the maximum, although when it doesn’t come off it can prove expensive. The fluency of Werth’s work with Weihegold was so exquisite, however, that even an error couldn’t prevent their absolute supremacy.

Schneider’s 11-year-old stallion Sammy Davis Jr. continues to impress in his first season at Grand Prix level and this pair posted some massive artistic scores, while Langehanenberg’s 15-year-old stallion Damsey FRH produced breath-taking extended trot on his way to earning a score of 79.615 for third place. “He was super-fresh but really happy to be out competing and really keen to perform. He really came to life in his test and it’s great for an older horse like him to be still enjoying competition so much!” said the 2013 FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion.

Werth doesn’t earn points in the Western European League series and only has to line out in the qualifiers with whichever horse she chooses to defend her title at the 2018 Final in Paris, France next April. She has three to choose from, Don Johnson taking runner-up spot at the opening qualifier in Herning, Denmark last month before Emilio came out on top in Lyon two weeks ago, and then Weihegold followed suit. She’s spoiled for choice, and her next outing will be at the sixth leg in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in January.

Before that, however, the rest of those chasing down a much-coveted place at the Final will be battling it out in round four at Salzburg (AUT) and the fifth qualifier at London Olympia (GBR) in December. Sweden’s Patrik Kittel continues to top the league table by a considerable margin ahead of Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj in second place, Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre in third and Germany’s Dorothee Schneider who has moved up from 13th to fourth spot thanks to her runner-up finish.

Watch Isabell Werth and Weihegold take the win in front of the home crowd here on YouTube.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

FEI Takes Lead on Sustainable Equestrian Future

Photo: FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez delivered one of the case studies in the opening session at the IF Forum 2017 in Olympic capital Lausanne (SUI). (Getty Images. IF Forum 2017).

Lausanne (SUI), 10 November 2017 – FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez led the way on equestrian sustainability at the IF Forum 2017, which brought together over 350 experts in sports, environmental and sustainability experts in the Olympic capital Lausanne (SUI).

The FEI’s own sustainability strategy and green practices, and its wider commitment to conserve the environment, were highlighted on the first day of the two-day IF Forum 2017 – Leading the Way towards a Sustainable Agenda – an invite-only collaboration between the International Olympic Committee and International Federations, hosted by the SportAccord Convention.

“Equestrian sport is one of the most interested in conserving the environment because we are a truly global, Olympic and Paralympic sport that is in constant contact with our outstanding ambassador of nature – the horse,” Sabrina Ibáñez said.

The FEI Secretary General delivered one of the case studies in the opening session at the Forum, before joining a panel discussion focused on Infrastructure and Natural Sites. Talking on sustainable infrastructure, she revealed that the FEI is taking its sustainability strategy to the next level at its state-of-the-art Lausanne headquarters, in line with Recommendation 5 of Olympic Agenda 2020 which focuses on including sustainability in day-to-day operations.

The FEI headquarters were refurbished in 2011 using the internationally recognised Minergie sustainable building standard, which reduces energy consumption by 25 per cent. Only two per cent of renovated buildings in Switzerland met these standards at the time.

“The FEI is aiming to become the first office in Switzerland to be green office certified and all our 92 employees are looking forward to green office practices becoming an integral part of our daily work,” she said.

“We also take sustainability and a green future for our sport very seriously. Since establishing our sustainability programme in 2013, born from our desire to make a serious contribution towards conserving a sound environment for our sport, we are continuing to focus the attention of everyone involved in horse sport on the importance of green and sustainable practices.”

Earlier in the week, FEI Director of Education and Standards Dr Harald Müller addressed the European Parliament’s Equine Conference in Brussels (7 November), addressing over 70 politicians and equestrian specialists on the need for sustainable initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of events and create a positive social and economic legacy.

Dr Müller’s Innovation in Equestrian Sport roundtable fellow panellists included Member of European Parliament Hilde Vautmans, Belgian jumping athlete Bert Prouvé, Christophe Ameeuw, founder and CEO of equestrian event specialist EEM World, Young Riders Academy student Boy-Adrian van Gelderen and Frederic Bouix, Director General of the French Equestrian Federation and Chairman of FITE, the Equestrian Tourism Federation.

“Not only does equestrian sport promote excellent social values, but it is also innovating and carrying further sustainable value to increase European mobility, promote green events, popular events and new educative programmes, and creating new fans,” MEP Hilde Vautmans said. “As such, equestrian sport perfectly meets today’s values of welfare, social coherence and sustainability.”

“The FEI has a vital interest in establishing sustainable standards for the future,” Dr Müller said. “We are helping owners of training facilities as well as event organisers to ensure proper construction and maintenance of arena surfaces. The FEI has also developed a handbook to encourage event organisers to implement various sustainability initiatives to reduce negative environmental impact of events and create a positive social and economic legacy.”

FEI Media Contact:

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

Daring Delestre and His Super-Fast Ryan Race to Home Victory in Lyon

Photo: Simon Delestre and Hermes Ryan. (FEI/Christophe Tanière)

Size really doesn’t matter as the diminutive Hermes Ryan proved yet again when racing to victory with Simon Delestre (36) onboard at the fourth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League leg on home ground at Lyon, France. In the 11-horse jump-off the little chestnut gelding, who carried the Frenchman to individual European bronze at Aachen, Germany two years ago, simply destroyed the opposition with his amazing turn of foot to finish ahead of Mary Lou, ridden by Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (36), while Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (35) and Bianca lined up in third.

French course designer, Grégory Bodo, received many compliments for a track that wasn’t over-tall or wide but which brought the top combinations through to the decider against the clock. And that was a thriller, Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Claire Z setting a new target in 39.28 seconds when fifth to go, and first to take a daring short-cut to the double, three fences from home. Twice series champion, Steve Guerdat, shaved almost a quarter of a second off that when next out but, with just three horses left to run, Delestre scorched through the finish in 37.72 seconds to leave the remaining two with a near-impossible task.

Fellow-countryman, Roger Yves Bost, had two fences down while trying to catch him and although von Eckermann was quick, his decision to take the longer route to the double saw him settling for second place in 38.85 seconds.

“I was lucky to go near the end of the jump-off because I knew the best route to take, but Ryan is a naturally fast horse and in Verona I tried to go as fast as I could but we had a fence down. Today I asked even more and he jumped amazing! It’s especially nice for me to win this leg at home!” — Simon Delestre FRA (1st)

Meanwhile, Von Eckermann, third-place finisher at the 2017 Final, was delighted to find himself heading the Western European League going into the fifth round in Stuttgart, Germany in two weeks’ time. With 34 points already accumulated he is well on his way to the 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) next April, and that is his main goal right now. He is a big fan of Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping.

“This is the leading series in our sport – it’s fantastic competition and always attracts a great crowd – I just love it!” — Henrik von Eckermann SWE (2nd)

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Dufour Dominates at Opening Leg in Herning

Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy. (FEI/Everhorsephoto.com)

Danish fans had everything to shout about when their home-grown superstar partnership of 25-year-old Cathrine Dufour and her wonderful 14-year-old gelding, Atterupgaards Cassidy, claimed victory at the opening leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League in Herning (DEN). Although the 14-strong field included Isabell Werth who took triple-gold at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden eight weeks ago, the 48-year-old German rider wasn’t competing her no 1 ride, the great mare Weihegold. So the reigning FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion had to settle for runner-up spot with Don Johnson FRH ahead of Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Delaunay OLD in third, mirroring exactly the results of the preliminary Grand Prix.

There was a huge sense of achievement for Dufour.

“The last time I competed in a World Cup was two years ago, and we finished second-last. So I wanted to improve on that for sure. Isabell has beaten me the whole season, but yesterday and today my horse was so relaxed and easy. And yes, I did smile during the Freestyle, because if you practice something at home and finally bring it into the ring then you feel really good about it.” — Cathrine Dufour (DEN)

Going sixth of the 14 starters, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Paridon Magi posted a leading mark of 76.320 but were overtaken by another of Denmark’s rising talents, 23-year-old Anna Zibrandtsen who held the advantage with Arlando at the halfway break when putting 76.945 on the board.

And the standard just kept rising as the last six took their turn, Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, a member of the Danish silver medal winning team in Gothenburg alongside Zibrandtsen, Dufour and Anna Kasprazak, scoring 78.500 with Jojo Az before Werth changed the whole tempo of the competition when posting 83.755.

The sometimes naughty “Johnny”, as Don Johnson is better known, was clearly on top form, throwing a buck before entering the arena and then producing a really fluent Freestyle, full of power and collection. Werth knew she had thrown down the gauntlet to the remaining four left to go, but, second-last into the ring, Dufour didn’t flinch. A high degree of difficulty in the early stages of their floorplan suggested a big score might well be on the way. And so it was, with the loveliest walk included in their beautifully executed test for the massive winning mark of 85.945, all five judges putting the pair in pole position and the crowd rising to their feet in sheer delight.

Swedish showman, Patrik Kittel, gave it his best when last to go, and his mark of 81.095 pinned Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zack back into fourth spot, but the Danish party had already begun. And now Dufour is having a whole new re-think about her competition programme over the coming months.

“I didn’t plan to do the World Cup season, but of course I’m getting a bit hungry after this.” — Cathrine Dufour (DEN)

Dufour also earned Grand Prix Special and Freestyle bronze at this summer’s Europeans. She wants to do her best by the wonderful Cassidy, however, who has been her loyal partner since she was competing at Junior level.

“I didn’t train with him since Gothenburg until the last few days before coming here to Herning. My end goal is always to take care of him, so I better go home and make a plan and discuss things with my coach. We will see….” — Cathrine Dufour (DEN)

Herning certainly provided a great start to the new season, and Ground Jury President, Denmark’s Susanne Baarup, couldn’t hold back her emotion about a day of fantastic sport. It wasn’t just the home win that brought tears to her eyes.

“When it came down to the last five riders I almost had to take some tissues out. It was really an honour to judge such good riders, and Cathrine’s win was well deserved. This has been a fantastic show for her.” — Susanne Baarup (Ground Jury President)

Jens Traberg, Show Director Dressage at Herning: “This was the first time to have this World Cup qualifier in Herning – we have wanted to bring it here for a long time.”

Patrik Kittel SWE (3rd): “The audience here in Herning was really amazing; they were really supportive of everyone, not just the Danish competitors. It’s important to make the audience part of the competition – I have no problem if they start clapping before the end of the test because it makes the competition more fun and they are getting involved.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Kocher Records First Ever Longines Win at Del Mar

Andy Kocher (USA) with Navalo de Poheton. (FEI/Nick Souza)

It was a day of many “firsts” for Andy Kocher. Last to go in an eight-horse jump-off, Kocher (USA) and Navalo de Poheton claimed their first World Cup qualifier victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Del Mar. As a result, Kocher has now pushed into lead position of the standings in the east coast sub league of the North American League.

Kocher and the 16-year-old Selle Francais gelding bested Eric Navet (FRA) and Catypso for the top prize. Chris Pratt (CAN) and Concorde finished in third.

“I looked up at the board and thought I was going to be second, and I would have been very happy to be second,” Kocher said. “Believe me, I would have been thrilled! But it was me this time! I was first! So, it was fun today.”

In a class where a tight time allowed proved problematic for riders in the first round, Kocher got inventive with his often-strong mount. He took three inside turns, two that no other rider attempted, in order to add strides down some of the lines and still make the time.

“There was a really good rider named Terry Rudd, and she had a horse named PS Gazpacho, and my dad always talks about it.” Kocher said. “Last week, he said, ‘I think you should ride Navalo de Poheton like she used to ride that horse. Go any possible inside turn around the course that you can, so you can keep the horse on a slow, short stride and kind of keep him in check.’ Today, I made two kinds of ridiculous inside turns and kind of shocked him, and it worked. So, I took that theory from my dad and a little history from Terry Rudd.”

Kocher, an east coast rider, has competed on both coasts through the first five North American League events and plans to make several other cross-country journeys in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to Calgary (CAN), Lexington (USA), Toronto (USA), Las Vegas (USA), and then I think we’ll come back for one of the weeks of Thermal (USA). I might hit that show in Mexico [at Guadalajara]. We’re going to do a little more out here [on the west coast].”

Andrew Kocher (USA) – 1st: “We had a really good time here [at Del Mar]. The jumps were nice, the footing was nice, and it was a really good course. Thanks to Longines and West Palms Events for having the show. I’m happy now, because I had a good day, but the whole show was nice.”

Eric Navet (USA) — 2nd: “When we have Andy behind, we’re never sure we can win. He’s such a fast rider, and he’s very confident. I knew I had a big chance to be beaten, and that’s what happened. He beat me by just a little bit. That was so close. That means that my horse is getting faster and improving in that area. He’s not very fast by nature. I’m very proud to have a time that close to Andy.”

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Deusser Wins Electrifying Opening Leg in Oslo

Photo: Daniel Deusser and Cornet. (FEI/Mette Sattrup)

Germany’s Daniel Deusser (36) and the unusually-coloured gelding Cornet produced a spectacular winning round at the first leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League in Oslo, Norway. Second-last to go in the seven-horse jump-off, the pair pinned Rio Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut from France (36) into runner-up spot with For Joy van’t Zorgvliet HDC while Australian wonder-woman, Edwina Tops-Alexander (43), clinched third with the mare California, just 11 weeks after giving birth to her baby daughter, Chloe.

Deusser was delighted with his new horse which was previously competed by America’s Lauren Hough.

“He’s very sensitive; you have to get to know him a little bit but he has great character – he wants to help you in the end; he wants to win and he has a great instinct in the ring!” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

The move from outdoor shows to the confinement of an indoor arena for the first time this season tested reflexes, control and accuracy, and even some of the biggest star partnerships of the past summer found it difficult to leave all the timber intact over the 13-fence first-round track designed by Britain’s Bob Ellis. It was Tops-Alexander who set the early target in the jump-off with her fiery 10-year-old mare that was formerly competed by Egypt’s Abdel Said when galloping through the timers in 38.22 seconds, and recently-crowned individual European champion, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, was just 0.2 seconds shy of that with H&M Christian K when fourth to go.

Staut blew the competition wide open with a breath-taking run from his 12-year-old gelding, putting his foot on the accelerator from the very start and racing through the finish in 36.96 seconds to really raise the bar. He thought he’d done a pretty good job.

“I had a plan, and I wasn’t expecting anyone to be faster!” — Kevin Staut (FRA)

But Deusser also had a strategy, and his worked out even better.

“I didn’t see Kevin go, but I did see the first two (Douglas Lindelow SWE and Mark McAuley IRL) and I realised it would be easy to get too deep to the second-last. I thought maybe if I just stayed in the same canter stride I might get a better jump there and then really go for it to the last.” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

And that was exactly how he clinched it, with a flowing run and a super-fast finish in 36.83 seconds that couldn’t be bettered by last man in, Ireland’s Bertram Allen, who faulted at the penultimate oxer.

Deusser took the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping title with his great Cornet d’Amour, also by the stallion Cornet Obolensky, back in 2014 in Lyon (FRA) and his victory has set him on the path to the 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) next April. This was his first indoor show with Cornet whose colour scheme seems to suggest he has splashes of black ink on his grey coat. And he’s excited about his future with the horse which came his way from Hough, who, as the tall German rider explained at the press conference, “is an American rider with an American way of riding – and she’s half my size so there’s been a period of adjustment! Lauren asked me to help her a little bit with him in July and it worked out good so my owners, Stephex Stables, bought him for me to ride and I’m really happy with him.” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

Deusser is now targeting more qualifying points at the second leg of the Western European League in Helsinki (FIN).

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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