Category Archives: Dressage

The Discipline of Riding Dressage

Bridget Hay Flying US-Bred Flag in Dressage Ring

Bridget competing on Amy Price’s Fauna, a mare Bridget bred, foaled, and trained (©2018 by Nancy Jaffer)

Bridget Hay has a simple reason why she began breeding dressage horses at her Hunterdon County, N.J., farm.

“It started years ago because I could never afford to import horses or buy well-bred horses,” she explained. “So I make them myself and train them myself.”

She has quite an array of homebreds at the Rainbow Ridge Equestrian Center, from which she has turned in successful performances at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® in Lexington, Ky., the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions in Wayne, Ill., and Dressage at Devon in Devon, Pa.

Hay, who operates Rainbow Ridge with her mother, Barbara, is one of a growing number of U.S. dressage breeders who are enjoying success in a discipline that long has been dominated by European warmbloods. She is unusual, however, because she not only breeds and foals her horses, but she also goes on to train and show them herself.

Bridget recalled that five years ago during Dressage at Devon, a man who was watching while she warmed up her stallion, Faolan, asked, “Why are people importing horses when there are horses like this bred in this country?”

Her answer: “I don’t know why they’re not.”

But reconsidering the question this autumn, she commented, “My horses don’t start out moving the fanciest. But they have three decent gaits and the brain and temperament to be very trainable. You teach them how to move. I have to make them myself.”

And it has worked. Last year, Faolan was U.S. Dressage Federation Intermediate 2 Horse of the Year, and won the Intermediate 2 Open Finals class at the US Dressage Finals in November.

Hay takes lessons, often via video, from Olympian and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 team silver medalist Adrienne Lyle.

Lyle competes successfully in the U.S. and Europe on a U.S.-bred horse, Duval Partners LLC’s Harmony’s Duval.

Duval was spotted by Bob McDonald in a field at Leslie Malone’s Harmony Sport Horses in Colorado. McDonald, the husband of U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor Debbie McDonald, years earlier also selected Brentina, the Hanoverian mare purchased in Germany who headlined for U.S. dressage with his wife during the late 1990s and well into the 2000s.

Lyle thinks U.S. breeders have the potential to compete with those producing horses abroad.

“The possibilities are very good. There’s no reason, structurally, when you look at our country versus Europe, that we can’t replicate what they’ve done with breeding and training programs,” she stated.

There’s an advantage in finding top prospects in America “because the Europeans aren’t always going to let the best horses go,” she pointed out. And, of course, it’s possible to save money on a U.S. purchase, because the horse doesn’t have to be flown across the ocean and no expensive trans-Atlantic shopping trips are involved.

However, Lyle noted, “Right away we’re at a bit of a disadvantage because they’re (the Europeans) scraping the cream off the top. So if we can make our own cream here and keep it in the country, that would be hugely beneficial.”

Duval, she noted, “walked into Aachen (this year) and got a 75 in the Grand Prix. There was nothing holding him back there for being U.S.-bred.”

Lyle called Hay’s efforts “inspiring,” adding, “That’s one of the reasons I make sure I carve time out to help her. I really admire people who find a way to do this.”

Lyle observed that Hay is “mainly on her own, not with a big budget, but really trying to do things the right way and trying to get help any way she can.”

Hay’s example, she commented, “could show people you don’t have to be a huge multi-million-dollar factory in order to produce and train horses up to Grand Prix.  If we had more people like that, it betters our chances. It can be intimidating otherwise for people to think there’s any place for them in a breeding program, unless they’re some big state stud or something like that, but you don’t have to be.”

During Dressage at Devon this year, USEF Dressage Youth Coach George Williams told a group of competitors that it’s a goal to have at least some U.S. riders on U.S.-bred horses for the team at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Williams, a former Grand Prix competitor and former president of the United States Dressage Federation, said that concept came out of a meeting among USEF dressage coaches, knowing “how important it is to use an event like this to set a goal. If we could have U.S. riders on U.S.-bred and -trained horses, that would be terrific. And certainly we’d like to be on the podium with that as well.”

There are precedents for U.S.-bred horses succeeding in key international championships. Hilda Gurney’s Thoroughbred, Keen, won team gold and individual silver at the 1975 Pan American Games, a pair of gold medals at the 1979 PAG, and was part of the 1976 Olympic bronze medal team. More recently, Paragon, from the Oak Hill Ranch in Louisiana, was ridden by Heather Blitz to team gold and individual silver medals at the 2011 Pan American Games.

“The thinking is that we want to use a major event, like having the Olympics back in this country for the first time since 1996, as a motivator to come together as a community of athletes, trainers, breeders, and owners and see what it can do for the U.S.,” Williams commented.

He believes it is realistic to think “we should be able to have at least part of the (2028) team on U.S.-bred horses.”

The prospects for future U.S. success are in the cards. A few years ago, Williams watched Lehua Custer’s horse, FJ Ramzes, at a California clinic and was impressed.

“I said, ‘This is the best horse I’ve seen in a long, long time,’” he recalled about Ramzes, who was bred by Cornell University and competed at the U.S. Nationals in 2017, when he won the Third Level Open.

Another of Custer’s promising horses, Fortunato H2O, was bred by Kendra Hansis’s Runningwater Warmbloods, located in the same New Jersey county as Hay’s operation. Hansis, an adjunct English professor at several colleges who began her breeding operation in 2001, explained, “I wanted to breed the kind of horse I could not afford to buy.”

Custer, who trains with McDonald and was Hilda Gurney’s assistant trainer for 10 years, spent the summer at Betsy Juliano’s Havensafe Farm in Middlefield, Ohio. The owner of Lyle’s 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games mount, Salvino, Juliano was inspired to buy a foal from Hansis and purchased the filly Starlight H2O earlier this year.

Juliano understands what American breeders have to go through to produce their prospects, and appreciates the desire to see U.S.-bred horses with U.S. riders in the Olympics and other championships.

But as she puts it, “Until you get behind these people, it’s not going to happen. I feel one of the next phases of development in my ownership career is going to be to look very seriously at the U.S. horses, and, when possible, buy them.”

by Nancy Jaffer
© 2019 United States Equestrian Federation

Paralympian Sophie Wells and Judge Stephen Clarke to Join ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ at Olympia

Following the announcement of ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ which takes place at Olympia, The London International Horse Show on Monday 16 December, Paralympic champion Sophie Wells MBE and renowned dressage judge Stephen Clarke are the latest stars to be unveiled to take part.

Sophie and Stephen will join other celebrated dressage personalities, including Carl Hester, Gareth Hughes, and Richard Davison as they unwrap the secrets of the discipline of dressage. The brand-new ninety-minute session will take place at 4pm on the opening day of the Show and provide a unique insight into the sport, from training and producing dressage horses to competing on the world stage.

Sophie Wells MBE, a double Paralympic gold medalist as well as multiple World and European champion, will be taking to the saddle to demonstrate various dressage elements, from the basic movements to the more complex components of championship tests. Sophie will be joined in the arena by Stephen Clarke, widely regarded as one of the best international dressage judges on the circuit, as he talks the audience through what he is looking for from horse and rider during a test and the main considerations when scoring each of the movements.

Stephen’s experience in this field is second-to-none, with previous roles including President of the Ground Jury at the London 2012 Olympic Games and FEI Dressage Judge General, which involves creating and coordinating discussion among international judges to ensure equality and uniformity across the sport.

This unique insight will complement previously announced components of ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ which include appearances by Performance Manager to Britain’s Senior Eventing Team, Richard Waygood, and one of Britain’s best loved eventers, Olympic, World, and European medalist Pippa Funnell.

Olympia Show Director, Simon-Brooks Ward, said: “We’re delighted that Sophie and Stephen will be joining the high-profile team set to be part of Dressage Unwrapped. Their experience and talent are world-renowned, and their participation will significantly enhance the programme, providing an unprecedented insight into competitive dressage.”

Dressage Unwrapped is part of the evening performance at Olympia, The London International Horse Show on Monday 16 December, which also features the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix, as well as numerous international display acts, including The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry and spellbinding horseman Jean-François Pignon.

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

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

Harper JR Named ‘Sport Horse of the Week’ at IFHSA World & Grand National Championships

Photo Courtesy of IFSHA and Avalon Photography.

Springfield, Ohio (November 4, 2019) –Nearly 300 classes were presented over five days in October when the International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) 2019 World and Grand National Championships came to the Champions Center in Springfield, Ohio, but it didn’t take long for N2 Saddlery to find its Sport Horse the Week: Part-Bred Friesian English Pleasure World Champion, Harper JR, owned by Lauren Riehle of Kernersville, NC, and competed by amateur rider Anaiah Powers, who trains under one of the top handlers ever to enter a Dressage at Devon ring, Bruce Griffin, of Griffin Sport Horses in Virginia.

Griffin, whose professional training career with Friesians like Harper JR began under the tutelage of great horsemen like Jeff Wonnell and Barbara Cross, says, “It’s a dream come true to be blessed with such talented and versatile horses.” The 2019 World Champion and N2 Saddlery Sporthorse Award winner had previously earned overall Part Bred High Point and overall High Point in Hand Horse titles at the 2016 IFSHA World Championships.

But the real story of this gentle giant, says Riehle, just keeps growing. “I lucked into my dream horse. I met him the day he was born,” she says of her nine-year-old, 17.3-hand (“he just keeps growing!”) Friesian/Percheron/Thoroughbred cross.  “You may not see the Thoroughbred but he’s got a whole lot of go. He’s also a kind, fun guy and he’s great with Anaiah.”

When Riehle brought the young Friesian to Griffin Sport Horses, she told its trainer, “I just want a nice trail horse. Let’s take our time.” Then three months later Bruce called her back and told her, ‘I don’t know what you think you got, but you’ve got yourself a show horse here.’”

The N2 Saddlery Award recognition couldn’t have come at a better time. “Saddles have always been a challenge for him. So thank you, N2, for your sponsorship and this lovely award.” Because, as Riehle lovingly notes, finding anything to fit her great big World Champion can be a challenge, “Do you know how hard it is just to find a 90” blanket? Ninety inches – I’m not kidding!”

Contact: Sue Newell
www.n2saddlery.com
sue@n2saddlery.com

Werth Pips Dujardin in Exciting Second Leg at Lyon

Isabell Werth riding Emilio. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

Germany’s Isabell Werth showed exactly why she is known as The Queen of international dressage when, on her debut in the 2019/2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League at the second leg in Lyon, France, she produced yet another of her right-royal victories.

Partnering the 13-year-old gelding Emilio, she was pinned into second place in the Grand Prix won by Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and her latest shining star, the 10-year-old mare Mount St John Freestyle. But the German legend did what she does best and fought back to win the Lyon leg for the third consecutive year when putting a massive 87.090 on the board.

There was great anticipation of the clash between Werth, who has taken the series title a total of five times including the last three in succession, and Dujardin who was twice crowned champion with the great Valegro. It was at the 2014 Final in Lyon that the British rider first lifted the coveted FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy, and fans are super-excited to see her back fighting for the supremacy she held in the sport during the heady years before Valegro’s retirement in December 2016. She’s aiming for a spot at the 2020 Final in Las Vegas, USA next April so made a great start to her points campaign when collecting the maximum 20 – as defending champion Werth doesn’t need to collect points; instead she is only obliged to compete twice with her horse of choice in order to qualify.

Werth is the ultimate competitor, already relishing the return of potentially her biggest rival over the coming season and beyond. She always says that competing against the best raises everybody’s game.

“Welcome back Charlotte! It’s good to have the best in the field, and that is also what the public like to see! It’s great to have Charlotte away from her island – now the World Cup season will be really exciting!” said the lady who is herself a longtime legend, with more medals in her trophy cabinet than any other athlete in the history of equestrian sport.

When she came into the ring, fifth-last to go, she was chasing the leading score of 80.015 set by compatriot, Frederic Wandres, riding Duke of Britain. And the crowd were clapping even before she started. “It was a wonderful crowd; the stands were full and the atmosphere was great. This is the second time I rode this Freestyle with this music and I really like it. I’m really happy and proud of Emilio. When you ride the last line and the crowd starts to clap you know you are in a good position!” Werth said after putting that 87.090 up in lights, despite taking the time out during her test to signal, on three occasions, for her music level to be turned up.

She was still holding sway when, last to go, Dujardin came into the ring, aware that her mare was more tense. “Yesterday at the prize-giving she was quite stressed, and today when she saw so many people, she thought we were doing another prizegiving. I felt her stressed and a little worried going into the arena but I’m very proud and happy with how she behaved. She lacks experience and I have to keep her with me, but this was super experience for the future and I think she will become hard to beat!” she said after putting 83.925 on the board for runner-up spot.

Dujardin is already looking down the road to the series Final, and the experience her mare can pick up along the way. “I will go to Olympia (London, GBR) and this will again be a big show with a big crowd and a great atmosphere. Then I plan to go to Amsterdam and hopefully Las Vegas!” she pointed out.

Third-placed Wandres, who posted a mark of 80.015, was delighted with his result. “When I saw the rider-list here I thought it could be difficult to do well, but now being third behind the two Dressage Queens is fantastic! With Duke it is special as we learned together. It is now our second Grand Prix season and we keep progressing,” he said.

Her winning Freestyle score was just fractionally below a personal best for Werth and Emilio as a combination, and the lady who is in the privileged position of having multiple top rides, including her two super-mares Weihegold and Bella Rose, is delighted that the 2019/2020 Western European League is off to such an impressive start. “Herning (the first leg in Denmark) has already taken place and the level was already very high. It is not only Charlotte but lots of good riders taking part, so it will be interesting to see what will happen in Vegas,” said the rider on whose home ground in Stuttgart (GER), the third round of the 11-leg league, will take place in two weeks’ time.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Charlotte Is Back

Image copyright PSV.

British rider Charlotte Dujardin was the fourth rider to enter the dressage arena for the FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix presented by CREARA, and she managed to put in a great performance to hold off the competition. Taking first place in the provisional ranking with 79.978%, she held on to her lead throughout the class, even finishing ahead of Isabell Werth, who scored 77.826%.

This result in Lyon represented a major comeback for the English star. Indeed, she had not competed in Lyon since 2014, riding her famous Valegro. Charlotte Dujardin introduced the ten-year-old Mount St John Freestyle to the judges. It was a first for her horse, which was participating in its first FEI World Cup class. “I’m so happy. This was Mount’s first indoor World Cup class. She is really courageous and has worked a lot for this event. I felt great and I think it was one of the best dressage tests we have done together. Looking forward to tomorrow, I adore Freestyle and I love my music – The Snow Queen! – and my horse loves it too! This is the second time that I’ll be presenting this routine. It’s great music for horseback riding.”

The event was also a first for Anne-Sophie Serre and her very young mare Actuelle de Massa. Tenth in the final ranking with a score of 70.565%, the French rider can be extremely proud of her performance. The couple performed a very pretty, fluid routine, under the watchful eye of the French coaches. When she left the arena, Anne-Sophie could not hide her joy: “This is a first for me and my horse in a World Cup! I am really happy about the way I felt in the arena and with how Actuelle behaved. She was really concentrated despite her young age and the little experience she has at this level. This is just our fifth Grand Prix together, so she is newcomer at this elite level. So, I am really pleased to be part of the event and with my horse’s performance. Tomorrow I’ll be doing my third Freestyle to music test, but I was particularly under pressure today, because the first class is often decisive for the rest of the competition. So, I have done what I set out to do, so far. I did a little over 70% by doing a routine without pushing things too much, so now it’s just about having fun!”

The top French rider in the ranking was Morgan Barbaçon-Mestre on her faithful Sir Donnerhall II Old, with 72.109%. The couple finished eighth in the class. Finally, a quick word about the third French couple involved. Despite their 13th place with a score below 70 (69.739%), Amorak and Stéphanie Brieussel completed a nice, smooth dressage test. “I am very happy with the performances of all three of them, since they managed to complete the tests without making any faults, as they say,” said Emmanuelle Schramm, Deputy Technical Director in charge of dressage for the French Equestrian Federation.

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

Indoor Eventing and Dressage Derby Dazzle at 2019 Royal Horse Show

Jessica Phoenix. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, Ontario – Indoor eventing and a dressage derby are two of the unique events highlighting the schedule during the 10-day Royal Horse Show, held as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, from November 1 through 10, 2019, at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, ON.

The $20,000 Horseware Indoor Eventing Challenge headlines events in the Coca-Cola Coliseum on the evenings of Friday, November 1, and Saturday, November 2. The thrilling concept of tackling cross-country obstacles and conventional show jumping fences, all against the clock, is a spectator favourite on opening weekend of the Royal Horse Show. Olympic team gold medalist Mark Phillips of Great Britain will once again design the intricate tracks for a roster of top eventing athletes.

Dana Cooke, Colleen Loach, Jessica Phoenix, and Karl Slezak, all members of Canada’s bronze medal team at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, have confirmed their attendance.

“It’s so fun to demonstrate this incredible sport in front of so many spectators, which is something that we don’t often get to do,” said Phoenix, who hails from Cannington, ON. “For this event you want a horse that’s super careful. If you have that, you’ve got a good chance of finishing in the top three.”

Traveling from Ireland to make his Horseware Indoor Evening Challenge debut is 2018 World Equestrian Games™ team silver medalist Sam Watson. Additional competitors include Canadian athletes Lindsay Beer, Diana Burnett, Lisa Marie Fergusson, Kendal Lehari, Brandon McMechan, and Holly Jacks-Smither.

From the fast-paced thrills of indoor eventing to the intricate artistry of dressage, the Royal Horse Show has it all. Returning for the second year is the Royal Dressage Derby, which will see four riders go head to head riding borrowed horses in a ‘knock-out’ format. But there’s a twist! This year, Canadian eventing and dressage athletes will face off against one another.

2019 Pan American Games dressage team gold medalists Lindsay Kellock and Naima Moreira Laliberte will each perform a Prix St. Georges test on the same horse. Representing the eventers, Phoenix and Cook will put their dressage skills to the test riding another horse at Third Level. The winner of each ‘knock-out round’ will move forward to a second round, where they will ride a new horse, in the hopes of being crowned the Royal Dressage Derby Champion. To level the playing field, riders compete on borrowed horses and have only minutes to get to know their mounts before performing their tests.

Highlighting a theme of Canadian pride that defines The Royal, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride will perform during all ticketed Royal Horse Show performances from November 1 to 3. The epitome of Canadian tradition, the RCMP Musical Ride dates back to 1876, and was created to showcase riding ability and entertain the local community. The full troop of 32 riders on horseback performs intricate figures and drills choreographed to music, displaying the riders’ precision and coordination.

The equestrian entertainment at this year’s Royal Horse Show continues with horsewoman Sylvia Zerbini delivering mesmerizing Grande Liberté performances with her string of breathtaking Arabian horses from November 5 through 9.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Contact: Lindsay Brock
lindsay@jumpmediallc.com

New Opportunities for Young Horses Announced for 2020 Global Dressage Festival

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Benetton Dream.

Wellington, FL – October 24, 2019 – The 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival will add to their offerings for young horses competing at the Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix levels with the $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series and the $10,000 Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series. Both series will have qualifiers throughout the (AGDF) circuit, which runs January 8 through March 29 at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

With the aid of dressage journalist and owner Ken Braddick, AGDF launched the Young Horse Series in 2019 and classes are dramatically expanded for 2020. The Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series was organized with the help of seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén, who is the professional rider and trainer for Lövsta Stuteri, based in Sweden and Wellington, FL.

The original Lövsta Future Challenge was set up by Vilhelmson Silfvén and Louise Nathorst in its home country of Sweden as a talent development program in both dressage and show jumping for young grand prix horses and Under 25 riders, giving them the arena and the conditions to advance toward the top level of international sport.

“We not only promote the horses and riders but also the teams behind them, including grooms, trainers, breeders, horse owners, and sponsors,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén. “All are incredibly important for developing talent. Lövsta Future Challenge also strives to create forums where riders and equestrian professionals can exchange knowledge and work together towards a sport where the environment and horsemanship are central themes.”

Lövsta is now bringing their ideas to AGDF to implement with young grand prix horses in dressage. Vilhelmson Silfvén said, “We want to give them a platform to develop and with this series help them take the step towards the highest grand prix level. We hope that the interest for educating and producing young grand prix horses will grow. Our goal is that this series will be successful so we can take it to an international level in the future.”

The Lövsta Future Challenge series will hold qualifiers for horses age eight to ten years old at AGDF 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, with the final held during AGDF 12 for $15,000 in prize money. The best horse/rider combination of each qualifying week will qualify for the final, plus two wild cards will be determined for the final. If a horse/rider combination who is already qualified wins more than once, the next placed horse/rider combination of that week will go forward to the final. The test used in the qualifiers is the FEI Intermediate II.

“The series will give them the routine and hopefully the confidence to take the last step towards the highest grand prix level,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén. “We at Lövsta also believe a series like this with a goal of becoming an overall winner will boost both riders and horses and the teams behind them. We believe that one of the most important parts to reach success and growth is to set up goals.”

The Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series will have qualifiers in the same weeks for horses age seven to nine years old, with their final also held during AGDF 12, with prize money of $10,000. The two best horse/rider combinations of each qualifying week will qualify for the final, plus two wild cards. The same qualifying applies for those combinations that win more than one qualifier. The test used for the qualifiers and the final is the FEI Prix St. Georges, but in the final, two Prix St. Georges tests will be offered, with one as a warm-up class and the second as the final.

Top dressage rider and trainer Scott Hassler said of the Summit Farm Future Challenge, “A series like this is important because it’s one of the most exciting group of horses. Germany’s Nürnberger Burg-Pokal Prix St. Georges has shown us what a championship at this level can do. This is the most critical stage in making a grand prix horse – getting them in good hands, competing, and training well to make a grand prix horse.”

The United States has developed Prix St. Georges as a national program in recent years, said Hassler, who was involved in creating the program. “Now it’s one of our most competitive championships,” he noted. “For AGDF to have a prize like this and have a series with a final be available is so exciting and awesome.”

AGDF looks forward to hosting the best and brightest young dressage horses in the world at the 2020 circuit and wishes all competitors the best of luck. For more information on the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

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

Tom McEwen Takes First Place after Dressage at the Pau 5-Star Event

Image copyright Nicolas Hodys.

British rider Tom McEwen, currently ranked world no. 12, takes first place at the top of the provisional leaderboard after dressage on Toledo de Kerser (24.0), just ahead of the New Zealander Tim Price, ranked world no. 3, riding Wesko (25.6). The highest-ranking French horse-rider pair, Arnaud Boiteau on Quoriano*ENE HN, comes in fifteenth place in the provisional rankings before the cross-country event (33.2).

Quote from Tom McEwen (GBR)

“I’m delighted to be in first place on the provisional leaderboard after the dressage test.  I could tell that my performance was very smooth, and I think that’s what the judges were looking for today. There’s a lot of good competition in the CCI 5*-L Pau 5-Star event, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s cross-country event.”

On the cross-country course: “I really came here expecting a twisty track. But now I’ve walked it, it is tricky, but in general a really fluent track with some big fences and positive lines. I wouldn’t say that there are difficulties in one specific area: there are some really big questions all along the track. Perhaps the first water, with the sequence of five very close jumps in sequences: it’s a bit like doing Spring Garden at home, so you need to keep some energy for the end of the course. Then there’s a really big final fence with a difficult corner. The last water is perhaps also a difficulty.”

On Toledo de Kerser: “He’s a really great horse! The start and finish sections of the course are fairly twisty at the start and finish, but there are some really open stretches in the middle where you can make up time. Toledo knows how to handle it all so I’m feeling confident about tomorrow.”

You will find all the results here: https://www.worldsporttiming.com/results/les-5-etoiles-de-pau-2019-265/schedule.html

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

Laure Philippot Took the Lead after Second Series of Dressage at Les 5 Etoiles de Pau

Image copyright Nicolas Hodys.

The dressage test of the CAIO 4*-H1 is now over, leaving the way open for the cones competition at the Domaine de Sers, as part of the Pau 5-star eventing competition. Belgian carriage driver Laure Philippot took the lead after the second series of dressage tests. Laure won the Belgian championships in 2018 and now ranks world no. six. Here in Pau, she ranks just ahead of French driver Fabrice Martin, and Dutch driver Rudolf Pestman, on the individual provisional leaderboard of the CAIO 4*-H1.

The brilliant performance given by French team Fabrice Martin and Marion Vignaud, currently fourth in the individual competition, and winner of last year’s event, put them in the lead ahead of Germany and the Netherlands.

Result here: https://www.hoefnet.nl/wp-content/uploads/uitslagen/2019/FRA/PAU.20191023.20191027/PDF/DRESSAGE_HORSES.pdf

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com