Category Archives: FEI

Fifteen Para-Equestrian Nations Earn Team Slot for Tokyo 2020

Photo: FEI/Liz Gregg.

The identity of the 15 nations who will contest the Para Dressage Team title at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has been revealed. By qualifying, each country will be able to send up to four athletes to Tokyo.

Joining Great Britain, The Netherlands, and Germany, who secured their places at FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon in 2018, are the USA, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, and Austria. They qualified by being either in the top seven teams in the International Equestrian Federation’s world rankings (apart from those three who qualified at WEG), or the top team in either Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. As host nation, Japan will also field a full team.

Currently Russia has also qualified, but its participation in the Games is yet to be confirmed.

“Team Canada is delighted to have secured a team slot for Canada Tokyo,” Canada’s Coach and Chef d’equipe Clive Milkins said. “It is a recognition of the determination hard work, committed effort and motivation from all our grooms, athletes, and coaches involved from grass roots to international level. The hard works starts now.”

The team competition in Tokyo will be a hotly contested one. In the race for medals, USA who are currently ranked world number one, will mount a strong challenge, while Denmark has significant talent. Belgium will also be in with a shot as will a resurgent Australia and Austria. The Netherlands, currently European and World champions, will be desperate to add Paralympic gold to that pair, while the British will do everything in their power to defend the title, having won at every Paralympic Games since Para Dressage was introduced in Atlanta in 1996.

And in Tokyo, the team competition is given extra tension by changes to the format. The team medal will now be decided over two days by just three riders per country (it used to be four). Not only that, the three competing riders won’t be chosen until the Games themselves, on completion of the individual titles on the first two days of competition.

Outside of the team competitions, a host of other nations have gained slots for up to two of their top athletes, so the Games will see individual competitors coming from South Africa, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Latvia, and Brazil. There’ll also be athletes from Norway, Finland, and Mexico in the mix too. Further individual allocations will also be made as the year progresses according to the rules of the bipartite commission.

The Para Dressage competition will be held at the Tokyo 2020 Equestrian Park from Thursday 27 to Monday 31 August. Individual medals will be decided on the first two days, the team completion takes place on the Saturday and Sunday, and the whole competition rounds off with all five grades’ freestyle titles being decided on Monday.

Click here for more information on the Paralympics qualification.

Names of athletes competing will start to be announced from mid-July, on completion of nations’ individual selection processes.

By Rob Howell

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

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

FEI President Opens In-Person Board Meeting at FEI General Assembly 2019

FEI President Ingmar De Vos opened the first in-person meeting of the FEI Board at the FEI General Assembly 2019 in Moscow (RUS) with a vote of thanks to outgoing Board members and a particular vote of thanks to the Russian hosts.

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, posted a personal message on the Kremlin website welcoming the FEI President and delegates of the FEI General Assembly to the Russian capital for the first time.

Persons whose terms of office have come to an end and who were personally thanked by the FEI President for their distinguished service include FEI Vice President H.E. Sheikh Khalid (BRN) and Chair of FEI Regional Group VII from 2006 to 2019, Sadyr Mamytov (KGZ), who has chaired Regional Group III from 2015 to 2019, Medical Committee Chair Dr Peter Whitehead (GBR) from 2009 to 2019), and FEI Tribunal Chair Henrik Arle (FIN) from 2011 to 2019. Betty Wates (JAM), who has chaired the FEI Nominations Committee since 2015, has also completed her four-year term.

The FEI Board, the body responsible for the general direction of the FEI and for all relevant matters not consigned to the General Assembly, held its meeting at the Hyatt Regency Moscow Petrovsky Park, venue for the full FEI General Assembly 2019.

Details of the main decisions and talking points at the meeting are available here.

FEI media contacts:

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

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

Natural Horse Power Provides Heat and Electricity to Helsinki

Photo: © FEI / Satu Pirinen.

For the fifth year in a row, all electricity used at the Helsinki International Horse Show, which hosted a Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier, was generated entirely from horse manure. Over 150 megawatt hours of energy was created from the 100 tons of manure collected from competing horses during the four-day event in the Finnish capital.

The manure-to-energy system developed by Fortum, an international company specialising in electricity generation, heat production, and waste recycling, met all the equestrian event’s electricity needs, including lighting, scoreboards, and cell phone charging stations. The surplus energy that was generated went back into the national grid to heat homes in the Helsinki area.

What started off as a desk project in 2014 is now a resounding endorsement of the power of horse manure as a reliable source of renewable energy, not just at equestrian competitions but also for local communities.

“The manure-to-energy system holds immense potential for countries with large horse populations and has shown that out-of-the-box solutions are needed if we are to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels,” Fortum HorsePower Vice President Anssi Paalanen said.

“It’s possible to charge a phone with only 0.2 decilitres of horse manure and the manure produced daily by two horses can generate heat for a single family home for a year.”

Electricity generated from horse manure is just one of the many initiatives under the ‘Helsinki Jumps Green’ environmental concept that aims to make the event the most ecological horse show in the world. The Jumps Green concept also includes recycling and paper reduction initiatives, the use of environmentally friendly procurement practices, and sustainable food consumption at the event.

“As event organisers it’s our responsibility to create partnerships with local industry to make sustainable sporting events a real possibility and not just a nice-to-have,” Helsinki International Horse Show Event Director Tom Gordin said.

“Our vision is to become the worldwide leader for sustainability in equestrian events. We know from first-hand experience that this takes commitment and dedication, but the end results are so worth it. We are proud to work with Fortum and to be part of the renewable energy solution.”

The manure-to-energy system has also provided a way of dealing with the waste disposal issue for stables in a country with stringent controls on the use of horse manure as a fertiliser and the disposal of manure in landfill sites.

Fortum provides stables with horse bedding made out of sustainable wood shavings generated by Finland’s forest industry. The manure that is collected from the stables is then delivered to plants around Finland, where it is used as raw material to produce clean, renewable, and eco-friendly local energy.

Approximately 70,000 tons of manure have been collected from horses stabled around Finland since the manure-to-energy system started in 2015. The power and heat plant in Järvenpää, located just outside Helsinki, provides heat to 1,250 customers in the area and electricity to the national power grid.

The system partly replaces the reliance on fossil fuels in energy production and helps lessen the impact of climate change. When horse manure replaces other biomass in power and heat production it reduces carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 200 kilos per ton of manure. And if horse manure replaces fossil fuels like coal, the benefits are even greater.

“The manure-to-energy system has demonstrated that ideas for alternate energy solutions can come from the most unexpected places,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The Helsinki initiatives make a tremendous contribution, not just in terms of the value they deliver to equestrian sport, but also for the wider implications they have for local and regional communities. It clearly shows that the equestrian community is serious about its responsibility to preserve the environment.”

With environmental sustainability a priority for the FEI, the international governing body has worked towards the implementation of equestrian-specific reporting indexes and the creation of a comprehensive guidebook for event organisers world-wide.

The FEI Sustainability Handbook for Event Organisers was published in 2014 to encourage event organisers to implement sustainability initiatives that help reduce the negative environmental impact of their events and create a positive social and economic legacy.

The FEI is also a signatory of the United Nations Climate Change Sports for Climate Action Framework which calls for parties to “undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility.”

In addition, the FEI has adopted a number of sustainability initiatives at its Headquarters in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne (SUI). The FEI head office is recognised as a “Minergie” certified building, a Swiss standard indicating low energy use, with a reduced energy consumption of 25 per cent. When the Headquarters were refurbished in 2011, only two per cent of renovated buildings in Switzerland met these standards. Increased recycling and staff training have also featured in the FEI’s Green Office project.

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

South Africa Clinches Final Olympic Team Dressage Slot in Exloo

(L to R) Ingeborg Sanne, Tanya Seymour, Nicole Smith, Laurienne Dittmann, and Gretha Ferreira. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

It was a big moment for South African Dressage when qualifying a team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Hippisch Centrum in Exloo, The Netherlands.

The only country to field a side in the Group F (Africa and the Middle East) qualifier incorporated into the CDI 3* Grand Prix at the Dutch fixture, the foursome of Tanya Seymour, Laurienne Dittmann, Gretha Ferreira, and Nicole Smith produced solid performances to make it happen.

This was the final Tokyo slot to be filled, bringing the total number of nations that will line out in Japan next summer to 14. The full list of qualified countries in Dressage is now Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Russia, and the USA. Teams in Tokyo will consist of three riders.

All four South Africans who competed are based in Europe, and the most experienced of all is Seymour who lives in Addrup, near Vechta in The Netherlands. The trail-blazing 35-year-old was a member of her country’s first-ever team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Caen, France, and was also the very first South African athlete to compete in Olympic Dressage when lining out at the Rio 2016 Games.

Seymour finished individually 18th at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2019 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden last April and all of her major results have been recorded with the 17-year-old Ramoneur who she steered into ninth position in this Grand Prix with a score of 67.065. She clearly adores the Oldenburg stallion with which she has achieved so much, and she’s planning his campaign for the coming months very carefully. He’s the one she would like to take to Tokyo.

“If all stays well and if he’s still happy and sound that would be the plan,” she said. “I’ll play it by ear; he loves his job, he’s still bucking and playing, and he’s in a great place at the moment. What I’d love to do with him now is to qualify for the World Cup Final in Las Vegas next April and then take him to Tokyo before giving him a very well-earned retirement after that!”

Gretha Ferreira and the 14-year-old mare Lertevangs Lavinia followed Seymour into the ring and posted 63.652 for 21st place in the field of 27 starters. The 30-year-old rider who hails from Johannesburg and is trained by top Danish rider Daniel Bachmann Andersen only started this mare at Grand Prix level in March of last year. So it was some achievement to make it to the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA last September where they finished 66th individually.

First of the South Africans to compete was Laurienne Dittmann with the Hannoverian Don Weltino K. The German-based 48-year-old who was awarded the Golden Rider Badge by the German NF in 2018 posted a score of 62.239 for 23rd place. And last to go was the youngest South African representative, 28-year-old Nicole Smith, who looked set to finish inside the top-10 until penalised for a costly mistake in the one-tempi changes with the 12-year-old KWPN mare Chi La Rou which saw them complete in 18th on a mark of 64.913.

The Grand Prix was won by The Netherlands’ Jeanine Nieuwenhuis partnering TC Athene, with Sweden’s Michelle Hagman Hassink placing second and another of the Dutch contingent, Lynne Maas, slotting into third with Eastpoint.

Full results here.

by Louise Parkes

Oliver Townend Takes Over Eventing World Number One Slot

Oliver Townend. (FEI/Libby Law)

Oliver Townend (GBR) has returned to the head of the FEI Eventing World Rankings, with former girlfriend Piggy French making it a British one-two and relegating New Zealand’s Tim Price (NZL), who has held the top spot for the last four months, to third place.

This is the third time that Townend has been world number one, having featured in both 2018 and in 2009. The 37-year-old has won team gold at three editions of the FEI Eventing European Championships, at Pratoni del Vivaro 2007 (ITA), Fontainebleau 2009 (FRA), and Strzegom 2017 (POL).

2019 has been a stellar year for the hard-working Yorkshireman, who won team silver at last month’s FEI Eventing European Championship in Luhmühlen (GER) and also claimed victories at Lexington CCI5* (USA), Burnham Market CCI4* (GBR), and the Irish CCI3* in Ballindenisk.

Piggy French (GBR), this year’s Badminton winner and runner-up at Burghley, is now within 50 points of the top spot, having moved up from third to second place, with former world number one Tim Price (NZL) dropping to number three in the rankings.

Big movers in this month’s FEI World Eventing Rankings are Ludwig Svennerstal (SWE) from 35th to 13th place, Pippa Funnell (GBR) from 47th to 14th, Tomoto Kazuma (JPN) from 29th to 15th, Andrew Nicholson (NZL) from 33rd to 16th, Peter Flarup (DEN) from 91st to 22nd, and Sarah Bullimore (GBR) from 43rd to 25th.

With the final team quota place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on offer at the FEI Nations Cup™ fixture in Boekelo (NED) next weekend, and plenty of other Eventing action over the next month, more changes in the ranking list can be expected.

View full FEI World Eventing Rankings here.

About Oliver Townend

Townend started riding aged seven and came to prominence after making his international debut for Team GB in 2005 at the FEI European Championships Eventing in Blenheim (UK).

2009 was a sensational year for him, with CCI4* (now CCI5*) wins at Badminton (GBR) and Burghley (GBR). He reclaimed his Burghley title in 2017, and the following year he won the CCI4* in Lexington (USA).

He has also flown the flag for Great Britain at two FEI World Equestrian Games™, at Aachen 2006 (GER) and Normandy 2014 (FRA).

FEI media contacts:

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

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

Sporting Rivalries Feature between FEI Awards 2019 Nominees as Public Voting Begins

Steve Guerdat (L) and Martin Fuchs after winning first and second place respectively at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019 in Gothenburg (SWE). FEI/Christophe Taniere

Swiss Jumping stars Steve Guerdat and Martin Fuchs will see their long-standing sporting rivalry play out in the polls as the public vote for the FEI Awards 2019 opens.

An impressive billing of equestrian athletes, individuals, and projects have been shortlisted across five Awards categories following the FEI’s call to action for nominations from the global equestrian community.

Flying the flag for 15 nations on five continents, the 22 shortlisted nominees have been selected for their outstanding achievements on the field of play, inspirational outlook, and unparalleled dedication.

World number one Guerdat (37) and his great friend and rival Fuchs (27), who was crowned FEI European Jumping champion last month, are amongst the five nominees in the running for the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award 2019, along with Eventing legend Ingrid Klimke (GER), this year’s FEI Driving World Cup™ winner Bram Chardon (NED), and Dutch Paralympian and triple European gold medallist Sanne Voets.

The 2019 Awards winners will be celebrated at a star-studded ceremony at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow (RUS) on 19 November.

The public has from 25 September to 7 October to cast votes for their heroes. Make sure you have your say and vote here.

Shortlisted nominees for the FEI Awards 2019 are:

Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete – paying tribute to the athlete who over the past year has demonstrated exceptional skill and taken the sport to a new level.

  • Steve Guerdat (SUI), Jumping
  • Martin Fuchs (SUI), Jumping
  • Ingrid Klimke (GER), Eventing
  • Bram Chardon (NED), Driving
  • Sanne Voets (NED), Para Dressage

Cavalor FEI Best Groom – for the behind-the-scenes hero who ensures the horses they look after are given the best possible care.

  • Tim Varlec (SLO), groom for Irish Para Dressage athlete Tamsin Addison
  • Madeleine Broek (NED), groom for Dutch Jumping star Marc Houtzager
  • Yann Devanne (FRA), groom for French Olympic Eventing team gold medallist Thibaut Vallette
  • Ann-Christin De Boer (GER), groom for Olympic Dressage golden girl Helen Langehanenberg

Longines FEI Rising Star – for the youth athlete aged 14 to 21 who demonstrates outstanding sporting talent and commitment.

  • Max Wachman (IRL), 16, Jumping
  • Juan Martin Clavijo (COL), 19, Vaulting
  • Semmieke Rothenberger (GER), 20, Dressage
  • Costanza Laliscia (ITA), 20, Endurance

FEI Against All Odds – for an inspiring individual who has pursued their equestrian ambitions and overcome challenges and obstacles along the way.

  • Marie Vonderheyden (USA), Para Dressage
  • Eric Lamaze (CAN), Jumping
  • Tobias Thorning Jørgensen (DEN), Para Dressage
  • Zhenqiang Li (CHN), Jumping

FEI Solidarity – for an FEI Solidarity or equestrian development project, an individual or organisation that has used skill, dedication, and energy to expand the sport.

  • DSA LEAD Programme (RSA)
  • Uno Yxklinten (SWE), farriery training programme in Zambia
  • The Wheatland Farm Equestrian Center, Virginia (USA)
  • The Jack Dodd Foundation (IRL)
  • The Urban Equestrian Academy (GBR)

The winners will be decided through a system in which 50% of the public’s vote and 50% of the judges’ votes will be combined to give the final result. The nine expert judges are as follows:

Ingmar De Vos (BEL), FEI President

Matthieu Baumgartner (SUI), Longines Vice President of Marketing

Marina Sechina (RUS), President Russian Equestrian Federation and member FEI Solidarity Committee

Simone Blum (GER), Jumping athlete and winner of the FEI Best Athlete Award 2018

Peter Bollen (BEL), Founder and chief nutritionist of Cavalor

Martin Atock (IRL), Managing Director of Peden Bloodstock

Robin Parsky (USA), Vice Chairman of the Jumping Owners Club (JOC)

Harald Link (THA), President Thailand Equestrian Federation

Eve Van Den Bol (CAY), President Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF) and member FEI Solidarity Committee

FEI media contacts:

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

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

Allocations Confirmed for Longines FEI Jumping World Cup North American League

Photo: (FEI/Ashley Neuhoff)

The FEI has announced the named qualifiers for the next three seasons of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League.

Following a very competitive bidding and evaluation process, the FEI has allocated the eight qualifiers of this prestigious league in the USA, Canada, and Mexico confirming the location and dates across the continent for seasons 2020/2021 through to 2022/2023.

This newly formatted series of qualifiers, with a minimum 4* level, will form the heart of a truly global qualification process that promotes universality and competitivity. Reducing the number of qualifiers and strengthening the quality of the events, gives a clear and fair pathway into the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Series and will see a higher demand from athletes to compete. Availability of an international live broadcast signal and extensive promotion of the series will be a welcome compliment to the changing landscape of the broadcast product and development of this professional sports league.

The first of the newly formatted seasons will kick off in Sacramento, CA (USA) in early October 2020, it will continue to Washington, D.C. (USA), Lexington, KY (USA), Toronto (CAN), Las Vegas, NV (USA), Fort Worth, TX (USA), and Guadalajara (MEX). The season will finish in Wellington, FL (USA) in February 2021 where athletes will confirm their ticket to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final which returns to Gothenburg (SWE) for the 23rd time. Athletes from the North American League qualify alongside winners of the 15 other leagues including the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western Europe League and the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ China League from this global series which has been in existence since 1978.

“We received an overwhelming number of bids to host these qualifiers. The major changes to the format of the series, the close collaboration between FEI and the National Federations with the support of our top partner Longines together with organisers and stakeholders highlights the continued efforts made to propel the sport forward making it more attractive to the athletes and the fans,” said FEI President, Ingmar De Vos.

“The launch in 2015 established the series’ successful introduction into this region, expanding the international reach of the FEI World Cup as a global series in the emerging North American markets. Now that we are adding an international live broadcast signal, we believe this is an important and exciting decision that will take us to the next step to place jumping in North America in the spotlight as a sport.”

“We are proud to support the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup North American League as its Title Partner, Official Timekeeper and Watch since its inception in 2015,” Matthieu Baumgartner, Longines Vice President Marketing, said.

“This new promising format of the series is perfectly in line with our common goal to promote the show jumping discipline across North America. We are looking forward to taking part in the seasons to come and thus contributing to the continued expansion of the show jumping discipline in these markets.”

Now in its fifth year, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League 2019-2020 season held the first qualifier of the season in Vancouver last month and will continue next month in North Salem, NY (USA) on 15 September 2019.

Click here to view the calendar.

Click here to view all the latest information on the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series.

Media contact:

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

A Stellar Cast Chases Jumping Gold and Glory

Peder Fredricson. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Event website here.

Full list of entries here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Can Dutch World Champions Make European History on Home Turf?

Team Netherlands. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhurst)

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

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

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

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

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

Ones to watch in each grade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Longines FEI European Championships 2019 website here.

Watch all the action live on FEI.tv.

By Rob Howell

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