Category Archives: FEI

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

Porter Records Emotional Longines Victory in Sacramento

Mandy Porter and Milano (FEI/Kristin Lee Photography)

Mandy Porter couldn’t help but hold back tears as she stood for the American national anthem after winning the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier at Sacramento with Milano.

Porter (USA), a Northern California native, and Abigail Weese’s 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were the only double-clear performers on the evening. Jenni McAllister (USA) and Legis Touch the Sun were second, and Richard Spooner and new mount Chatinus (USA) finished third.

“Milano was so in-form tonight. I couldn’t have asked him to do anything better. As long as I stay out of his way, he’s unbelievable. He just rose to the occasion. I wasn’t sure if he was going to be nervous with the crowd, but in reality, he thrived on it. In the jump-off, he felt solid, not nervous. He basically was saying, ‘Don’t mess this up for me today!’”– Mandy Porter (USA)

Only four riders were able to navigate Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) course without fault in the first round, and when returning for the shortened course, Porter was in the disadvantageous position of having to go first. Not only were she and her mount the only ones to keep all the jumps up, but their blazing time of 39.16 seconds was also good enough to win even if her competitors would have also jumped cleanly.

“Milano is quite fast, and in all honestly, my strategy was not to get too excited rolling back to the vertical [at fence seven],” Porter explained. “I have a tendency to get a little excited, and I wanted to give him the chance to see [the fence] and jump it and be balanced. After that, it was a galloping game.”

Porter’s finish moves her up to fourth place in the standings for the west coast sub league of the North American League with 22 points. The League continues with another west coast stop in Del Mar (USA) on Saturday 21 October 2017.

Mandy Porter (USA) -1st: “We’ll go home [from here], and [Milano] will have a little bit of an easy week next week, and then we’ll be at Del Mar for the [Longines FEI World Cup Jumping™ Del Mar]. Then, we’ll definitely make it out to Las Vegas. I don’t know if we’ll make it out to Calgary, but we’re going to keep plugging away one [show] at a time. This is still new for Milano, too – the indoor shows.”

Jenni McAllister (USA) – 2nd: “[Legis Touch the Sun] is growing up. He’s just turning 11, which is still pretty young, and he’s a very big horse. He’s maturing, and every year he learns one more thing. Every year, he just takes that next step. I tried to sneak inside a fence to the in-and-out [in the jump-off], and it didn’t work out for me. I knew I had to be extra fast [to catch Porter].”

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Dutch Are Simply the Best in Barcelona

It was a clear-cut victory for The Netherlands on a thrilling night at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP) where a fused floodlight failed to spoil the party. Finishing with just a single time fault, the new champions pinned Team USA into runner-up spot while Belgium, who also finished on a four-fault scoreline, lined up third when combined times were taken into account.

It was almost two hours after the scheduled start-time when the action got underway with the lighting fully restored. But the man who clinched victory for his country, Harrie Smolders (37), said it didn’t matter.

“In Spain everything is always later. They start later in the morning, and they finish later in the evening – we wanted to win anyway.” — Harrie Smolders (Team Netherlands)

Another masterful course designed by Santiago Varela ensured that it came down to the last-line riders to decide the result of this 2017 title-decider, and it was cliff-hanger until Smolders sealed it with a copybook round from his European individual silver medal-winning ride Don VHP. Jur Vrieling (48) set the stage with a similarly impressive run with the fabulous stallion, VDL Glasgow V. Merelsnest and the only fault they would count would come from Michel Hendrix (30) and Baileys who went just over the time-allowed of 81 seconds. Third-line rider Marc Houtzager was the only one to post a single error, with Sterrehof’s Calimero, at the first element of the double at fence five for the discount score.

“Barcelona is wonderful and the Final of the Nations Cup is always thrilling. It’s very difficult already on the first day, you start with 15 countries and separating the teams is very hard. We saw that by what happened to Ireland who were the gold medal winners at Gothenburg (Longines FEI European Championships staged in August), but that is the jumping sport and that is what makes it exciting.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, was delighted with the performances of all his team members and their horses.

“Jur is experienced but Glasgow is quite green; this year is his first time in a Championship and he was extremely good this week. That’s a horse for me to keep over the winter season because I think this should be a combination for the World Equestrian Games next year. Michel Hendrix is an up-and-coming rider, very talented; he produced this horse himself. And Harrie is in brilliant form this year; he’s in the flow. I’m very happy for him and also for the country. He is a top jockey and an unbelievably good team player.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Smolders was delighted to bring it home for The Netherlands, but admitted that it took a bit of an effort.

“I felt he (Don VHP) started to get a little tired and that I had to carry him around a bit in the second round today, but he gave everything. He gets a rest now that he really deserves. I’m super confident this season because he jumps clear after clear, but still you have to do it, and it was a big track today, a big challenge; the time was really tight so I couldn’t afford to leave it somewhere. I had to be really on it, but my horse was incredible.” — Harrie Smolders (Team Netherlands)

Rob Ehrens is an exceptional team manager, leading the Dutch to a series of brilliant results in recent years and now adding the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 title to his long list of spectacular achievements. With typical humour, however, he said that the success has little to do with him but was all down to his team.

“The only thing I have to do is tell them what time to get out of bed, what time to get into bed and what time to walk the course. I have an easy job and I’m a happy coach.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Rob Ehrens – Team Netherlands Chef d’Equipe (winners): “This formula in the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final is excellent and very exciting. Also when we had a little struggle starting tonight, a yes, a no, lights on, lights out, they are professionals and they finished the job really well so we are very, very happy. This is a bit of a new team, new horses, and they were in a good shape already at the European Championships, although we had a little bit of a slow start there. But we had a good feeling and here on the first day on Thursday the horses also jumped very nicely; they were fit to compete, the riders were motivated and today again they showed that they can do what they have to do.”

Lauren Hough – Team USA (2nd), talking about her brilliant mare, Ohlala, and the performance of the US team: “She’s been amazing this week. I’m so proud of her double clear. There was a lot of waiting obviously; being the first rider I think I got on three times to do that round so under the circumstances I’m absolutely thrilled and so proud to be part of such an extraordinary team. Everyone performed brilliantly; both Laura and Beezie are on younger horses, but they are incredible riders and they kinda held their horses’ hands and we are thrilled with the result today.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Ryan Sees Plenty of “Blue” with Longines Win in New York

Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue (FEI/Rebecca Berry)

Devin Ryan entered the jump-off for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York with an eight-year-old rookie and left with a World Cup qualifier Champion.

Devin Ryan (USA) and LL Show Jumper’s Eddie Blue topped a five horse jump off at Old Salem Farm (NY) to claim the blue ribbon and the first World Cup qualifier victory of their respective careers. They did so by defeating reigning World Cup Final Champion McLain Ward (USA) and new mount HH Callas, the only other pair to put forth a double clear performance on the day. Jack Towell (USA) and Lucifer V finished third.

“I knew going into it that I had a great horse, and I knew that there was a great field out there. I was the least experienced of the jump-off riders out there, and I’ve been watching them all year. I went out there and rode my plan.” — Devin Ryan (USA)

Ryan began the North American League at Bromont aboard the 10-year-old Cooper, but he saw New York as the ideal place to test his younger mount in tougher waters, a decision for which he was rewarded. Eddie Blue excelled over the testing track set by course designer Alan Wade (IRL); less than 13 percent of the 39 competitors advanced to the shortened course.

“I’ve slowly brought him along throughout the season and used him as second horse in ranking classes,” Ryan explained. “I built him up, and he’s been going so strong. A field like this suits him with his brig stride and big scope, and it gives us time to organize. The field fits the horse, and I thought it was a great place to step up and see what he brought.”

Ryan plans to compete in the next World Cup qualifier on the east coast sub league, which will take place in Washington, D.C. (USA) on Saturday 28 October 2017. The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League resumes with the west coast sub league at Sacramento (USA) on Saturday 7 October 2017.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Werth Wins Ferocious Battle for Dressage Freestyle Gold

L to R: Sonke Rothenberger GER (silver), Isabell Werth GER (gold), Cathrine Dufour DEN (bronze). (FEI/Richard Juillart)

Isabell Werth (45) secured her third Dressage gold medal of the week when topping the individual Freestyle at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. But she had to pull out all the stops to pin German team-mate Sonke Rothenberger (22) into silver medal position while, mirroring the result of the Grand Prix Special, Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour (25) took bronze.

Multi-medalled Werth was under no illusions about the quality of the performance she needed to produce.

“We all pushed each other today. When I went in, both Weihe and I knew there was no little mini-mistake allowed, and that made it very exciting!” — Isabell Werth GER

That’s because Rothenberger is on the rise, producing stunning rides from his 10-year-old gelding Cosmo all week, joining Werth to take team gold, and then chasing her home in the Grand Prix Special to finish just over a mark behind. Sweden’s Therese Nilshagen produced the first over-80% score with the stunning stallion Dante Weltino before Britain’s Carl Hester and Nip Tuck fractionally improved on that to change the lead. But when Dufour, third-last to go, posted 84.560 with Atterupgaards Cassidy, the real battle commenced.

Rothenberger is a young man on a mission, oozing confidence and pizazz. Mastering the most difficult movements with the greatest of ease, he marched down the final centreline to throw down a massive score of 90.614 which really put it up to his compatriot.

But Werth thrives under pressure, and she had her game face on as her Freestyle music began. Weihegold listened to her all the way, producing a flawless performance that the crowd really enjoyed. But the tension on the German rider’s face as she waited for her mark to light up the scoreboard said it all. She knew it was going to be dangerously close.

“I was really hoping it would be good enough because Weihe was a good as she could be; it was her best test so I was happy and hoping it would be enough – and it was!” she said, having edged ahead by just 0.368 marks. In fact all three medallists produced personal-best Freestyle scores.

Werth, who also steered Weihegold to victory at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha (USA) in April, couldn’t hold back the tears on the medal podium. “I was full of adrenaline when I went in to ride, so it’s a mixture of all the emotions you have during the week – I’m really grateful and thankful for what this week has brought me,” said the lady who has experienced more golden moments in her extraordinary career than any other athlete in the history of equestrian sport.

Rothenberger looks like a real threat to her supremacy, however. Holding his silver medal he said with a smile, “If you look closely, it’s silver with a golden edge!” — Sonke Rothenberger GER

However, Werth remains the queen of all she surveys, her latest golden haul still just another good week at the office. It’s exactly 10 years since she first took European Freestyle gold at La Mandria (ITA). That was with another of her super-star rides and, looking at her final medal of the week, she said, “Satchmo would be proud!”

Sonke Rothenberger GER (silver), talking about his attitude to competition and his horse, Cosmo: “I don’t go into a test thinking of what others can do and then try to be better. I go into the test trying to show in the ring everything we practice outside and today was really a day where we made a plan and we trained outside in the warm-up, and today was a day when he gave me back exactly what I was asking for and that’s just what I do it for. He is a character of a horse and I just love him the way he is; he has this shiny edge and with his ears to the front he does the most difficult movement and I get goosebumps every time!”

Replying to a question about the Dutch connection in his family: “Maybe there’s a slight touch of orange to this medal!”

Cathrine Dufour DEN (bronze): “Cassidy was more calm today he really did everything he could, and I knew I had to be no 1 when I left the arena because I knew these two were coming. So I was really happy when I saw my score at the bit-check, and I knew these two would really ride for their lives and I’m very very happy!”

By Louise Parkes

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