Category Archives: Driving

Les 5 Étoiles de Pau 2020: Let’s Go!

Kelly Houtappels-Bruder ©S. Bailly/Centaure Production.

The 2020 edition of the “5 Étoiles de Pau” began with part one of the dressage test, the first test in the FEI Driving World Championships for singles. At the end of the opening day of this international event, the Canadian driver Kelly Houtappels-Bruder is at the top of the provisional leaderboard. Fabrice Martin gave the best French performance, finishing sixth. For this 30th edition, the “5 Étoiles de Pau” is also hosting the only CCI5*-L in the world this year (full equestrian eventing competition). After the vet inspections, the leading international riders will enter the arena for the dressage test, the first in this equestrian triathlon.

From now until Sunday the Domaine de Sers will be welcoming the best international riders and drivers for five days of competition at the highest level. The starting lists, results, maps, practical information, and ticket office are available on the mobile App “Les 5 Étoiles de Pau” or on the website for the event:  www.event-pau.fr.

Juliette Feytout – E-mail: juliette@blizko-communication.com

FEI Driving World Championships Cancelled due to Covid-19 Pandemic

Lausanne (SUI), 2 October 2020 — The FEI Driving World Championships, due to be held behind closed doors in Valkenswaard (NED) from 7-11 October, have been cancelled due to increased case numbers of Covid-19 in the Netherlands. The decision to cancel the Championships, which were for four-in-hand horse teams, was made by the City of Valkenswaard.

“It is devastating that the FEI Driving World Championships at Valkenswaard have had to be cancelled at the last minute, as everyone involved has put in so much effort to try and make them happen,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but sadly the new Government restrictions in the Netherlands make it impossible for the Championships to go ahead next week.

“The start list for the Championships was looking very strong in such a challenging year for our sport, with 13 nations lined up to take part, including eight with full teams, but it is clear that health considerations have to take priority.

“We have done everything possible to hold these Championships, including looking at a possible alternative venue in Germany, and we are very grateful for the proposal we received, but regrettably it is simply not feasible given the short timeframe, ongoing concerns around Covid-19, and restrictions imposed by the authorities.”

The United States of America, which won gold on home ground at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA), was not going to be defending its team title as they had just one driver heading for Valkenswaard, but Australia’s Boyd Exell, who took the individual title on the final day in North Carolina two years ago, was aiming to defend his crown.

Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, and Poland were all due to send teams to the Championships, while Austria, Romania, Switzerland, Uruguay, and the USA were the five nations sending individuals.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

There Will Be Sport October 21-25, 2020 at the Domaine de Sers in Pau (64)

Pau is part of the very closed club of the CCI5*L, which includes only six competitions of the highest level in the world, among which the mythical Badminton and Burghley (GB), but also Lexington (USA), Luhmühlen (GER), and Adelaide (AUS). This year, the health crisis forced the five other organizers to cancel: Pau becomes the only CCI5*L of 2020 and thus the must-attend competition of the season.

For its 30th anniversary, Pau hosts the FEI World Championship of Single Horse Driving. The best leaders of the world will come to compete in this competition composed of a dressage, handling, and marathon test and try to win the supreme title.

This festive event, much awaited by the general public, has become a must-attend event in the southwest. For five days, it celebrates equestrian sports, horses, and the “art de vivre” in Béarn.

Press Contact – Blizko Communication
Juliette Feytout – E-mail: juliette@blizko-communication.com

Tryon CDE Announced for September at TIEC

Mill Spring, NC – July 23, 2020 – The American Driving Society, Inc. (ADS) announced that Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort will host the 2020 ADS North American Preliminary and Intermediate Championships at the Tryon CDE, September 17-20. The Tryon CDE will also offer USEF Advanced classes. The Tryon CDE marks the first return of Driving to the venue since the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, following the postponement of the Katydid CDE moving to the venue in 2020.

“We are pleased to be able to host the NACs at TIEC,” said Organizer Jennifer Matheson. “This is an excellent opportunity for our driving community to compete at a world championship venue.”

Both Dressage and Cones phases will be held in a sand fiber mixture footing arena and the Marathon course will wind through the White Oak Cross-Country Course, a former golf course that was also utilized at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

The venue features onsite lodging in one, three, and five-bedroom log cabins, a 50-room inn, nearby golf and sports club with an Olympic-sized pool, a nearby gun club, eight onsite restaurants from sushi to Italian and local fare, shopping, and more for competitors and spectators alike to enjoy. Permanent stabling throughout property is being utilized in compliance with all state, local, USEF and ADS COVID-19 guidelines.

A “First-Time Competitor’s Guide to TIEC” can be found here.

View the Omnibus and learn more at www.Tryon.com/Driving.

Learn more at www.Tryon.com.

FEI Board Approves Resolutions Based on Calendar Task Forces Proposals

The FEI Board held an extraordinary meeting 27 April 2020 to review proposals from six of the discipline-specific Calendar Task Forces. Discussions at the meeting, which was held via videoconference, were on Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Vaulting, and Reining.

During the meeting, the FEI Board agreed that discussions and decisions on FEI Championships for all age categories and disciplines, and potential initiatives to help Organisers, will be deferred to its June meeting.

National Federations and Organisers whose Calendar date applications/modifications have been approved by the FEI during the Covid-19 period have been informed that no guarantee of exclusivity will be provided to them for the new Calendar dates and that equal consideration of all future Calendar date applications/modifications will be given by the relevant Calendar Task Force and by the FEI Board.

Other key takeaways from the meeting are:

Jumping: Due to the uncertainty about the organisation of Competitions worldwide during July and August 2020, the Board has approved all Calendar date applications/modifications for Jumping Events that take place up to and including 30 August 2020. No date clash rules will apply for this period.

Dressage: date applications and/or modifications for high level events (CDI5*/CDI4*/CDI3* and CDI-W) must reach the FEI eight weeks prior to the event. Date clash rules will not apply to CDI3*.

Eventing: date applications and/or modifications for CCI5* & CCI4* Long Format must reach the FEI six weeks prior to the event; date applications and/or modifications for CCI4* Short Format and all other Events must reach the FEI four weeks prior to the Event.

Driving: date applications and/or modifications must reach the FEI four weeks prior to the Event.

Vaulting: date applications and/or modifications must reach the FEI four weeks prior to the Event.

Reining: date applications and/or modifications must reach the FEI four weeks prior to the Event.

Detailed information on resolutions for each discipline are available here.

The Dressage Calendar Task Force held its second meeting 28 April to review applications received for higher-level events. The Jumping Calendar Task Force will hold its third meeting on 4 May 2020, followed by Eventing’s second meeting on 14 May when its Task Force will review applications for higher-level event date changes.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

FEI.TV Available Free of Charge while Live Sport Is on Hold

Swedish Dressage athlete Patrik Kittel tries out the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ trophy for size, whilst compatriot, former European Champion Peder Fredricson, takes hold of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

FEI.TV, the FEI’s online television platform, will be providing all its coverage of past events and special equestrian features free of charge to everyone while live sport is on hold until end of June.

Under normal circumstances, FEI.TV live-streams all major FEI Series and Championships, with an extensive range of replays, special features, and historic events coverage available on-demand combining to provide unparalleled coverage of equestrian sport year-round.

But with no live sport, access to FEI.TV will be free and existing subscribers will be compensated for the months of April, May, and June. They will get automatically refunded on their accounts. All content on the platform, including VOD, will be freely available to all users who will need to register, meaning that fans can re-live all the action from past events so there’s no need to miss out on your fix of equestrian sport.

“Premium content like this usually sits behind a paywall and is normally available only to subscribers, but while there is no ‘live’ sport, we want to give equestrian fans the chance to binge-watch for free during this terrible pandemic,” FEI Commercial Director Ralph Straus says.

This week’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ and FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas were one of the early high-profile victims of the Covid-19 outbreak when they were cancelled in mid-March. But Jumping and Dressage fans now have the opportunity to relive some of the very best moments of the FEI World Cup™ Finals from the past five years – 2015 to 2019 – live and free on FEI.TV, FEI Jumping and Dressage Facebook pages, and FEI YouTube channel daily. And if you can’t watch it live, catch it on replay on FEI.TV.

For fans of the other equestrian disciplines, FEI.TV has lots more unique content, ranging from FEI Vaulting and Driving World Cup™ highlights to wrap-ups of the FEI Eventing and Dressage Nations Cup™ series.

An additional broadcast offering has been made available by the FEI, equestrian sport’s global governing body, providing free access to video archive footage to TV broadcasters in EBU member territories across Europe through its partnership with EBU, and to key territories in the rest of the world via its partnership with IMG.

“Our broadcast partners are struggling to fill their air-time without live sport, so this initiative has been put in place to ensure that they have access to top equestrian footage and, together, we can keep our fans around the world happy with their daily dose of equestrian content,” Straus says.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

2020 Katydid CDE at TIEC Announced for April 23-26

Mill Spring, NC – March 4, 2020 – The Katydid CDE will be celebrating its 17th year of competition with a move to Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort in Mill Spring, NC hosted April 23-26, 2020, bringing national and FEI Driving competition back to the venue for the first time since the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG).

The week will serve as a selection trial for both Single Horses and Four-in-Hand Horses to represent the United States at FEI World Championships this summer in Europe. Katydid CDE at TIEC is one of only a handful of FEI Driving events on the USEF 2020 calendar. As at WEG, the Marathon phase competition will be hosted on the White Oak Cross Country Course at TIEC, following two days of Dressage phase competition. The Cones phase will round out the week in Tryon Stadium, giving spectators an easy way to get an up-close look at the sport throughout all three phases of competition. USEF Preliminary and Intermediate levels will also be hosted.

“I’m very excited about bringing Driving back to a world-class venue. There is a lot of enthusiasm from the Driving community about coming back to TIEC,” said Jennifer Matheson, event co-founder and organizer who also served as the Clerk of Driven Dressage during the 2018 WEG at TIEC.

Entries are now open to competitors, and more information can be found at Tryon.com/Driving. There, competitors can book onsite lodging and receive a special discount, plus browse onsite restaurant options.

“The Katydid Combined Driving Event is a historic and esteemed competition for our combined driving community. We’re excited to see them take their talents to Tryon International Equestrian Center for the 17th edition of the event this spring,” said Bill Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of US Equestrian.

“We are so happy to once again host Driving at TIEC and permanently include this discipline in our competition calendar. As we continue to feature multidiscipline competition, Driving is a sport we are thrilled to highlight,” said Eric Straus, TIEC General Manager of Equestrian Operations.

The Katydid CDE at TIEC is free and open to the public for spectators. The full 2020 competition calendar for Tryon International Equestrian Center can be found at Tryon.com/Compete.

Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Unveils Inaugural “Devon Legends”

Devon, Pa. – January 30, 2020 – The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair (DHSCF) will be kicking off a year-long celebration for its upcoming 125th anniversary with an induction ceremony honoring the “Devon Legends” at the storied Ardrossan Estate in Villanova, Pa. on Saturday, April 25, 2020. This prestigious group of inaugural honorees includes Olympians, national champions, and other luminaries connected to the success of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.

This is the first time in the history of the distinguished competition at Devon that the legends of the sport have been recognized. The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair looks forward to annually recognizing the many more legends that have made the event a unique and unparalleled horse show.

The first group of Show Jumping athletes includes Laura Chapot, Norman Dello Joio, Joe Fargis, Charlie Jacobs, Peter Leone, Michael Matz, and McLain Ward, as well as Hunter athlete Louise Serio. Ed Ochsenschlager and Richard L. Ridge will represent the Hackney and Saddlebred legends, while Paul Martin, Donald Rosato, and John White represent the Coaching division.

The “Devon Legends” include many of those outside of the historic Dixon Oval, that have helped create the magic at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. These legends include Ringmasters John E. Franzreb III and Alan Keeley, as well as Show Manager David Distler.  The final group of Legends being honored feature distinguished supporters who have worked to improve the event over many years, including Mrs. Edith R. Dixon, Leonard A. King, Jr., Mrs. J. Maxwell Moran, and Mrs. Lawrence A. MacElree.

“The inaugural ‘Devon Legends’ represent the top athletes in the sport, as well as those who have helped make the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair the best event in the country for over a century. We are thrilled to be recognizing the people that have given back to the sport and to the community in so many ways. We are looking forward to this new chapter in this event’s legendary history,” expressed DHSCF Chairman and CEO Wayne W. Grafton.

Tickets for the induction ceremony at the Ardrossan Estate are expected to be available in late February and will be limited. The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will be celebrating its 125-year legacy with many special events, commemorations, and future-focused initiatives, all leading up to a gala event in May 2021.

For more information, visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.

Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson, Laura Lee Brown Continue USET Foundation Gift-Matching Initiative

Dr. Jennifer Thompson is one driving athlete who has seen the benefits of the Developing Athlete Program. Photo by Pics of You.

Gladstone, NJ – Misdee and James Miller, Steve Wilson, and Laura Lee Brown initiated the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation Driving Challenge in 2017 with a goal of raising $1,200,000 for the U.S. Equestrian High Performance Driving program, and today, the loyal supporters and active drivers remain committed to closing in on that goal.

Through the Driving Challenge, multi-year gift commitments of $20,000 or more are matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000, by the Millers, Wilson, and Brown, who encourage fellow drivers, owners, and enthusiasts to help create a legacy for the High Performance Driving program by rising to the Driving Challenge.

“We created the Challenge because driving, historically, is such a small discipline, and it hasn’t been able to be very well-funded,” said Misdee Miller. “Early on, we recognized that we not only needed to raise funds for our athletes traveling abroad, but most importantly, fund programs and drivers at home.”

The Driving Challenge created a source of funding that can be drawn upon each year and has provided increased support for the Developing Athlete Program (DAP), which has been instrumental in the careers of up-and-coming drivers. A large percentage of the funds are allocated to hiring coaches running educational clinics across the country. There are also plans to develop an international working student program so that drivers can gain valuable first-hand experience competing in Europe.

“So far, the program has thrived and blossomed and has helped a lot of drivers,” continued Misdee Miller. “We’ve taken them from Preliminary all the way to becoming national champions. That’s the best way to recognize if a program has been successful or not.”

Dr. Jennifer Thompson is one such athlete who has seen the benefits of the program first-hand, after coming up through ranks from the Preliminary level all the way to being named the 2019 USEF Advanced Single Horse Combined Driving National Champion.

“I look back to where my horse and I were and to where we are now, and I just think, ‘Wow, we’ve come a long way!’ I have to attribute the vast majority of my success to the opportunities I’ve gotten through the DAP,” said Thompson, who works as a full-time equine veterinarian in Wisconsin. “I’m so thankful to those who have contributed to this program because it has helped me get to where I am today.”

Nifty Hamilton, who was the highest placed U.S. Combined Driver at 2018 FEI World Driving Championships for Singles, also credits the program with her success.

“The High Performance Program has been the cornerstone to my development as a driver and the training of [my horse] Makari Design up through the levels,” said Hamilton. “The quality and variety of the clinicians, in both training and lectures, that the USEF has offered, continue to move me forward toward my goals.”

“We’re really hoping we can get people excited about funding new drivers,” concluded Misdee Miller. “It’s training and developing and supporting drivers on their pathways from the grassroots all the way to ‘pre-podium.’ If we realize our goals, we would raise over a million dollars for driving. That would be quite historic.”

Learn more about being a part of history and making a donation to the Driving Challenge by contacting Bonnie B. Jenkins at bjenkins@uset.org or by phone at 908-234-1251.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Sheer Exell-ence at Olympia

The penultimate day of Olympia, The London International Horse Show featured two top-class FEI World Cup™ competitions in Show Jumping and Driving, where the world’s best athletes went head-to-head in thrilling performances which wowed the crowds.

The FEI Driving World Cup™ presented by Eurofip International was once again dominated by Australia’s Boyd Exell in a gripping two round competition, with Koos de Ronde, his closest challenger, over 4 seconds behind.

Earlier in the day, the Longines FEI World Cup™ was won by reigning European Champion and current World No. 2 Martin Fuchs riding The Sinner, whose spectacular jump-off round was over a second faster than Max Kühner in second.

Two runnings of The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National saw victories for Alfie Diaper riding Damerham Briar Lilly and Leighton Aspell’s daughter Niamh Aspell aboard Magheradartin Beeswax. The Kennel Club Large Agility Stakes Finals was won by Claire Bacon with Tynevermoor Secret Mission and Megan Hunt with A Moment in Thyme.

Three days of flawless and thrilling rounds culminated in victory in the FEI Driving World Cup™ Leg, presented by Eurofip International, for maestro Boyd Exell. “One of the most incredible things was the crowd,” said Boyd. “They are really loud and they are really with us.”

Dutch course designer Jeroen Houterman’s course included twisting but flowing obstacles and cones requiring accurate curving to remain faultless. However, there were plenty of places for gallops as well. “The plan was to keep everything as simple as possible. For most of the course they could go at 90-100% [speed],” said Jeroen. “But when you go too fast, that’s when there is the risk of having a ball.”

That was certainly the case in round one, where over half the field picked up additional time penalties, which decided the three to go forward to the final.

The Netherlands’ Ijsbrand Chardon was first to go. Having driven one of the steadier, but clean, first rounds, he was determined to better his time after an inauspicious start to the show in the first two driving classes. His speed certainly improved, knocking almost six seconds off his initial run’s time. However, this came at the expense of two early balls, leaving the door ajar.

“My first two days at the show were pretty bad,” said Ijsbrand, a multiple championship winner. “My mare Candy was in season at the Budapest show two weeks ago, and still wasn’t great here. I was training at 6am this morning, but it just didn’t work out the way I wanted.”

Following was fellow countryman Koos de Ronde, whose speed in round one gained him access to the drive-off despite having hit cone number two. “Some of the cones were a little tricky and I was mad with myself [in the first round],” he said. “But I was more focused in the second round.”

If the pressure was on multiple medallist Boyd to maintain his rank, he certainly didn’t show it here. However, Koos’ round wasn’t so steady that Boyd could relax. “There was less than a cone between Koos’ time and my time in the first round,” said Boyd, who is based in Valkenswaard in The Netherlands. “So I aimed to go for the same again.” It worked beautifully and secured the win.

Although this class carried points towards qualification for the FEI Driving World Cup™ final, Boyd was competing at Olympia on a Wild Card, so maximum points were passed down to Koos.

Britain’s Daniel Naprous, who has a busy schedule as a stunt rider, finished sixth having had a promising second place at Olympia earlier in the week.

Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir achieved his first Olympia win with a bold display of speed riding in the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes. Riding King Kong d’Avifauna, Vermeir, who was last to go in the six-horse jump-off, had to throw his heart into the round to take the win.

“I thought they were going faster and faster so I knew I really had to go for it,” Vermeir explained. “This show is unbelievable and it’s not easy to win here.”

Holly Smith, who now heads the Leading Rider of the Show standings from William Whitaker by a 15-point margin, rode a brilliant round on Denver, but Vermeir managed to shave 0.9 of a second off her time of 33.82.

Christian Ahlmann (Zampano Z) and Ben Maher (Ginger-Blue) were also clear to take third and fourth places.

Earlier in the day, Cheshire’s Red Morgan, 15, claimed his biggest win to date with the sole double clear in The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes. Riding Bodyssee des Avelines in the class for 148cm ponies, he remained cool under pressure in both rounds of the exhilarating competition.

“It was a tricky course,” said Red, who is based between Britain and Belgium, where he competes internationally. “The track was tight in places with a tight time, and there was a double you needed to be really straight for.”

Hannah Barker (Ammanvalley Santino) was first of three to go through to the jump-off to challenge for this year’s title. A pole down gave Red the advantage: “I just aimed to be quick without being stupid,” he said. It worked perfectly as he and his 12-year-old mare came home cleanly to put the pressure on the final rider, Lila Bremner (Lapislazuli), who with four faults handed the victory to Red.

Please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

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