Category Archives: Eventing/H.T.

Super-Tight Contest Going into Cross-Country Day

Maxime Livio with Api du Libaire. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Great Britain maintained the lead in the Dressage phase, but there will only be a hair’s breadth between them and the defending team champions from Germany when the cross-country phase of the FEI Eventing European Championships 2021 gets underway.

A margin of 4.9 penalty points is all that separates the two sides as the best horse-and-athlete combinations from all across Europe continue to battle it out for the prestigious team and individual medals at these 35th bi-annual Championships.

Germany’s Ingrid Klimke took another step towards an historic first-ever three-in-a-row individual title with the same horse, when steering the brilliant SAP Hale Bob OLD into pole position in the Dressage arena. But Great Britain’s Ros Canter and Allstar B, who took double-gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games two years ago, came dangerously close to toppling them when third-last to go.

Scoring 20.6, Canter lies just 0.4 behind Klimke when the horses set out to take on the challenging cross-country track designed by Great Britain’s Mike Etherington-Smith, which consists of 40 jumping efforts and 32 fences over a distance of 5,678 metres that must be covered in 10 minutes 7 seconds to avoid time penalties.

And lying third, only 0.3 further behind, is Canter’s team-mate and first-day Dressage leader Nicola Wilson with JL Dublin, while a super test from Maxime Livio and his attractive 11-year-old grey gelding Api du Libraire leaves him individually fourth and secured third place for Team France.

Reshuffle

Klimke was always expected to reshuffle the order with her 17-year-old gelding whose career record includes Olympic team silver, individual World Championship bronze, and four European gold medals, the last two of the latter clinched on home ground in Luhmuehlen two years ago. He certainly didn’t disappoint again, but Bobby was full of beans before starting his test.

“Maybe he thought we were in cross-country already! I didn’t warm up for long because he knows all the movements and I thought it would be good if he was a bit fresh, because the ground is a bit deep (in the arena), but I didn’t know he was that fresh! I should have cantered a few more rounds outside!

“I had to take an extra loop to calm him down, but the moment I entered the ring, I knew exactly that he knows his job inside out and I could really enjoy it and I could ride very precisely from point to point. After so many years now, it is really a pleasure to ride through the test knowing he is absolutely focused and there is so much trust between us,” she pointed out.

She says the cross-country course reminds her of the track at Wiesbaden in Germany, “which feels like seven minutes in a jump-off – you can’t breathe very much!” But Bobby is a past-master over fences. “The good thing is that he has a very handy canter for the turns, and he doesn’t mind the ground,” she explained.

His lazy self

Canter gave the German star a real run for her money when third-last to go. Albie, as her 16-year-old horse is known to his friends, didn’t make it entirely easy for her though because, as she explained, “He was his usual lazy self! I wanted everyone to clap and cheer as we came in and he pricked his ears for about half a second but then he went ahhh… he’s always listening to me, and in a way it’s a benefit, but I was possibly sweating more than he was!” she said.

“But honestly, he’s just the most rideable horse I’ve ever had in a dressage test. He doesn’t change, regardless of the atmosphere or anything else; he just lets me ride for every mark, and that’s where his heart shines really and always has done. Time and again, he does mistake-free tests. It’s a lot of pressure coming out on him again (after their World Championship success), but I want to try and enjoy every minute because I know I haven’t got many left with him,” she added.

Impressive

While both Klimke and Canter’s horses are super-experienced, Livio’s fourth-place ride with Api du Libaire was all the more impressive because it’s this pair’s first Championship together, and you’d never have guessed it.

“We knew since the beginning this horse’s talent for the three phases is really nice; he can fight with the best horses in the world. This is his first Championship so it’s good to be where we are today and it’s a good score for the team, but it’s a three-day event also so we take it day by day,” said the 34-year-old Frenchman.

He described his handsome and characterful gelding as “a strange horse; he’s like a kid but not a bad kid, just someone who is pleased to be here and wants to see everything! My job is to show him a lot, and I’m pleased because he was totally connected to me, and when he is like that, he is a super student because he tries all the time,” he added.

Challenging

Meanwhile, looking ahead to the cross-country test, Canter said, “It’s a really challenging course in terms of the full circles we do and all the accuracy questions and the difference in surfaces which will affect horse’s balance. We’ll need to prepare for every fence, riding and planning the bits in between. Albie gets very wound up at the start but he’s a wise old man, so I’ll keep his warm-up limited and keep his energy and adrenaline for the course.”

Klimke said the most important thing will be to maintain the horse’s rhythm and “not lose any stride, just keep a wonderful flow,” all very possible perhaps when you are partnering a creature of the calibre of SAP Hale Bob OLD who she affectionately calls “the professor.”

Livio agreed. “The rider who can be fluent in their riding will do the best. This course is a good test of the ability of the rider to be fluent – if we manage to do that it will go well,” he said.

Team France lies only 7.6 penalty points behind the Germans who currently hold silver medal spot. But the French will need to be on the button because fantastic tests from Harald Ambros (Lexikon 2), Robert Mandl (Sacre-Coeur), and Lea Siegl (van Helsing P) moved Austria up into fourth, less than two points behind.

The Dutch team is in fifth place, Italy in sixth, Sweden in seventh, and Belgium in eighth, while the hosts from Switzerland lie ninth. Spain, Ireland, Russia, and Czech Republic fill the last four places.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Tryon Fall Horse Trials: Boyd Martin Aces Advanced

Boyd Martin and Wabanaki ©Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 13, 2021 – Boyd Martin (Cochranville, PA) and Wabanaki conquered the White Oak Cross-Country Course to win the Advanced A Division at the Tryon Fall Horse Trials at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) with a final score of 47.3. Sitting fourth after the Dressage and Show Jumping phases, Martin stepped up to the occasion and put in the fastest Cross-Country round of the day to add only 7.2 time penalties and take the win. Wrapping up her weekend in second place with a final score of 51.1 was Lillian Heard (Cochranville, PA) and Dasset Olympus, the 2013 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Debbie Greenspan. Third place honors were awarded to Lucienne Bellissimo (Wellington, FL) and Atlantic Vital Spark, the 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Horse Scout Eventing LLC with a score of 51.6.

Martin, who topped the competition aboard Wabanaki, the 2011 Hanoverian gelding owned by The Dawnland Syndicate, began on top after a Dressage test that earned the duo a score of 32.1. Though the tough competition proved to be no big deal for Wabanaki, Martin shared that his mount is still new to the Advanced division: “It’s his third crack at the level. He was absolutely fantastic for where he is in his training. He still needs to grow, learn, and get more seasoned. Tryon put on a spectacular event. Obviously, it was a difficult and tough competition, but it was a great learning experience for the young ones.”

Martin galloped to a time of 6:43 seconds in the cross country phase of the competition, over ten seconds ahead of Heard’s time of 6:54 seconds. The White Oak Cross-Country Course with tracks set by Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) offered Martin the perfect number of challenges, while still building Wabanaki’s confidence. Martin commented, “There were a lot of difficult combinations followed by easier fences. It was good for the young ones to have a tough question and then nice and easy ones to keep them confident.

“Hats off to Tryon, because the footing feels like the golf course it is. The footing out there is spectacular,” Martin emphasized. “I love Tryon and everything about it. The venue is world class from the Dressage rings to jumping under the lights last night in front of the crowd. There’s great stabling. The Cross-Country course takes a bit of riding because it used to be a golf course, so it has those mounds and dips, which is good practice,” Martin relayed. “Tryon has been unbelievable with the irrigation system. Walking out on the course, the grass was all spongey, which the horses love.”

For full results from the Tryon Fall Horse Trials, click here.

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

Make Plans to Attend The Event at TerraNova CCI4*-S

Photo by Lisa Madren Photography.

Myakka City, Fla. – Aug. 31, 2021 – Make your travel plans to attend The Event at TerraNova CCI4*-S Oct. 22-24, 2021. The Event at TerraNova, a US Equestrian-sanctioned event, will host a range of levels including Starter, Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, Preliminary, Intermediate, CCI1*-S, CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S at its new expansive facility just east of Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. Entries open Sept. 7 on EventEntries.com and close Oct. 5.

Enjoy world-class footing and a Capt. Mark Phillips-designed and Eric Bull-crafted cross-country course, VIP tables and tailgating, boutique shopping, and gourmet fare.

When you’re not competing, enjoy all that the area has to offer. Soak up the sun along white-sand beaches. Treat yourself to diverse dining options, the arts and culture, shopping, and Florida fun.

TerraNova Equestrian Center is Florida’s newest equestrian competition venue. Tucked into the picturesque countryside of Myakka City, in Manatee County just east of Bradenton and Sarasota, TerraNova is a welcoming setting for all levels of horse enthusiasts to enjoy equestrian sports. The team at TerraNova built a family-friendly facility designed to deliver an unparalleled experience for competitors and horses while keeping safety a priority. No detail was overlooked with six state-of-the-art arenas and a sprawling cross-country course designed by Olympic gold-medalist Capt. Mark Phillips and built by master craftsman Eric Bull.

For more information about TerraNova Equestrian Center, click here.

German Nicolai Aldinger Wins 4* Class in Strzegom

Photo: Leszek Wójcik.

Nicolai Aldinger with the 11-year-old Timmo was the best in the CCI4*-S, the highest ranked class during Strzegom Summer Tour. Poland’s Julia Gillmaier won the CCI3*-S.

Nicolai Aldinger, who was in the third position after two trials, secured his win with a good round in the cross-country. He went clear over the fences and only 3 seconds over the optimum time. Second place went to Yoshiaki Oiwa riding Tullyoran Cruise JRA. The Japanese rider was tenth after dressage, had a clear round in the jumping, and added some time points in the XC. Third place went to Merel Blom (NED) with Crossborder Radar Love N.O.P.

Polish athlete Mateusz Kiempa, riding Lassban Radovix, was second after dressage and jumping, but added time penalties in the cross-country to his result and it cost him the podium. The pair finished fourth.

Riders from 15 countries competed at the event with over 250 horses. Four international short-format classes and five national ones were played out.

The CCI3*-S ended with the victory of Julia Gillmaier (POL) with Red Dream Princes, whose clear round in the cross-country made her jump up from the eighth position after two trials. The next two places went to German riders. Jan Matthias with Wilbur Larch, the overnight leader, crossed the finish line with time faults, which cost him the win and he had to settle for second. Third place went to Lara Krueger with Lara’s Little Loretta.

The winner of the two-star class was Yoshiaki Oiwa with Calle 44. The Japanese rider took the lead in the dressage and kept it until the end – even despite points for time in the cross-country. Second place went to Merel Blom from the Netherlands riding Denim. Daria Kobiernik (POL) with the Polish-bred Chodów, after clear runs in the jumping and XC, finished third.

The best rider of the CCI1*-Intro was Germany’s Peter Thomsen, who took the first place with Ibsen 27 and second with Portofino 81. Third place went to his compatriot Isabella Von Roeder riding Bob.

Online results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/193/tour/14.

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

FEI Pony European Championships: Triple Gold for France, New World Record by German Athlete

Photo: Asia Bręklewicz.

The French were unrivaled in the FEI Pony European Championships in Strzegom, taking home the gold medals in showjumping and eventing.

Eventing

Both individual and team gold medals in eventing went to riders from France. Germany took silver, and Ireland finished with the bronze. The team Top 3 remained the same after dressage and throughout the next two trials.

The French squad was represented by: Zoe Ballot with Voltair De Lalande, Valentin Quittet Eslan with Winnetou, Mathieu Cuomo with Celeste Du Montier, and the best one in the team, Mae Rinaldi riding Boston Du Verdon, who won the individual gold medal. She took the lead after dressage, kept it through the cross-country in spite of time faults, and went clear in the jumping. The pair finished with the result of 28,4.

“I’m very happy with my individual victory, but also for the whole team. It’s a dream come true. Boston is a great pony; he is amazing in all three trials; he’s always very concentrated and I love him!” said the new European champion.

Silver went to Ireland’s Ben Connors with Cornafest Fred, who was clear in both the cross-country and showjumping, to finish with 30,03. Sophie Weening from the Netherlands took bronze riding Hip Hop – 30,04.

Dressage

German riders were victorious for the third time, as they won the team and individual classifications, and went for the gold in the freestyle. One of them also established a new world record.

The individual medalists repeated their success during the Freestyle and took home double medals. The judges were once again most impressed with the ride of Germany’s Rose Oatley with Daddy Moon. The rider, finishing with the result of 89,700%, broke the world record established in 2015. Silver went to her teammate Antonia Roth with Daily Pleasure WE (85,090%), and bronze to Sophia Boje Obel Jorgensen from Denmark with Adriano B – 83,050%. Polish rider Veronica Pawluk with D’Artagnan 187 finished eighth, with the result of 76,970%.

Showjumping

There was no shortage of sport emotions in the individual final, the last rivalry at the event. After two rounds, the well-deserved gold medal went to the only rider that went clear over all of the 5 courses of the Championships – Jeanne Hirel from France riding Vedouz De Nestin.

Her teammate Marie Ann Sullivan with Ken Van Orchid finished second, with three penalty points. This confirms the great form of the French, who are also going home with a team gold.

The bronze medal was determined by a two-horse jump-off, which ended with the victory of Siebe Leemans with Voodstock de L’Astree.

160 young athletes competed during the FEI Pony European Championships in Strzegom, representing 21 nations.

Results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/50/tour/1142.

Contact:
FEI European Championships for Ponies
www.StrzegomPonies.pl
press@strzegomponies.pl

FEI Pony European Championships: German Dressage Riders Are Double Medalists

Photo: Leszek Wójcik.

Rose Oatley took the individual gold medal after a great test with the 11-year-old Daddy Moon. German riders proved their amazing form, as they stood on the highest step of the podium both after the team and individual classes.

“I can’t really describe what happened today. I’m overwhelmed with my feelings. My pony was just amazing in the test. I can’t believe that we are now the European champions!” said the rider.

The silver medal went to the winner’s teammate, Antonia Roth riding Daily Pleasure WE, and Denmark’s Sophia Boje Obel Jorgensen with Adriano B took the bronze.

Polish rider Veronica Pawluk with D’Artagnan 187 finished in seventh place out of 63 competitors.

Eventing

Saturday’s cross-country trial did not bring any changes to the top of the team leaderboard. The French still hold on to the best result with 96,4, Germany sits in second with 101,2, and the Irish are third with 116,3.

Mae Rinaldi from France held on to her lead after dressage with Boston du Verdon, even after time faults – now riding with 28,4.

Irish rider Ben Connors with Cornafest Fred went up to the second position (from the 11th) after a clear round inside the time; their result is now 30,03. Sophie Weening from the Netherlands is now third riding Hip Hop, with 30,04.

Results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/50/tour/1142.

Contact:
FEI European Championships for Ponies
www.StrzegomPonies.pl
press@strzegomponies.pl

FEI Pony European Championships: German Dressage Riders Take Team Gold

Photo: Leszek Wójcik.

The German squad was victorious in the team competition during the FEI Pony European Championships in dressage. Silver went to Denmark, and bronze to the Netherlands.

German riders Rose Oatley with Daddy Moon, Antonia Roth with Daily Pleasure WE, Julie Sofie Schmitz-Heinen with Carleo Go, and Antonia Busch-Kuffner riding Kastanienhof Cockney Cracker finished on the combined result of 236,172 to take home the gold medals.

“All the girls rode great; they gave it all they could, and I can’t find the words to express how proud I am of them,” said the German chef d’equipe, Heike Kemmer.

Individually the best rider of the class was Rose Oatley with Daddy Moon – 82,629.

“The test went great for all of us. Germany was in the top 5 places, and we are super happy about what we’ve done,” said Rose Oatley.

Polish riders finished sixth among 13 teams. The best athlete in the squad was Veronica Pawluk riding D’Artagnan 187 – 73,857.

Showjumping

The first individual and team showjumping competition was also played out. 18 out of 49 pairs went clear over the 1,30 m course. Two teams are tied in the lead for now, with a zero-penalty score: The Netherlands and France.

The French squad was phenomenal, as none of their five riders made any mistakes: Anna Szarzewski and Vaughann de Vuzit, Lola Brionne with Clementine, Marie Ann Sullivan with Ken van Orchid, Jeanne Hirel with Vedouz de Nestin, and Nohlan Vallat with Daenerys D’Hurl’Vent.

The Dutch team riders are Milan Morssinkhof with Carrick 13, Ava Eden van Grunsven with Special Lady, Siebe Leemans with Voodstock de L’Astree, Logan Fiechter with Minerva For Play, and Renske van Middendorp with Jolly.

Third place for now belongs to Norway, with a combined result of 4 penalty points: Dina Nicolaysen riding Electra, Thea Gunleksen with Parc Cookie, Mikkel Fredin Nilsen with Attyrory Warrior, Oda Therese Oddsen with Javas Alun, and Rasmus Aasland riding Poetics Floura.

Results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/50/tour/1142.

Showjumping Gold for the French

The French team was unbeatable in the fight for the showjumping team gold medal at the FEI Pony European Championships in Strzegom. Silver went to The Netherlands, and bronze to Norway.

After two rounds, the French finished on the lowest score of just 8 penalty points. And so the win belonged to Anna Szarzewski with Vaughann de Vuzit, Lola Brionne with Clementine, Marie Ann Sullivan with Ken van Orchid, Nohlan Vallat riding Daenerys D’Hurl’Vent, and Jeanne Hirel with Vedouz de Nestin, who went double clear.

“I think the course design was perfect. I was stressed, because we had very strong teams here: Ireland, Germany, Great Britain. I think today’s course was difficult, especially because the riders were under a lot of pressure. After all, I’m a lucky man today!” said the chef d’equipe, Olivier Bost.

The next medals were determined by a two-nation jump-off. After two knockdowns by riders from Norway and three Dutch clears, it was all decided, and the rivalry did not need to be finished – the silver went to the Netherlands, and the Norwegian stood on the last step of the podium.

Eventing

The first part of the equestrian triathlon – the dressage – has ended. The leading nation is France, with the combined score of 77,7. Second place for now belongs to Germany – 83,5, and third to Ireland – 88,2. A total of 9 teams compete during the championships.

The individual leader is France’s Mae Rinaldi riding Boston Du Verdon, with the result of 23,2, before German rider Merle Hoffmann with Penny Lane WE (25,0) and her teammate Mathieu Cuomo with Celeste Du Montier – 26,4.

Results: https://zawodykonne.com/zawody/50/tour/1142.

Contact:
FEI European Championships for Ponies
www.StrzegomPonies.pl
press@strzegomponies.pl

British Take Team Title and Krajewski Grabs Individual Gold for Germany

Julia Krajewski with Amande de B’Neville. (FEI/EFE)

Britain’s Oliver Townend, Laura Collett, and Tom McEwen were in a league of their own when cruising to Eventing team gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Baji Koen Equestrian Park. This was their country’s fourth team title, but it’s been a very long wait since Richard Meade, Mary Gordon-Watson, Bridget Parker, and Mark Phillips stood top of the podium a full 49 years ago in Munich in 1972. Australia took the silver, while the defending champions from France claimed the bronze.

Germany’s Julia Krajewski has entered the equestrian history books as the very first female athlete to take the Individual Olympic Eventing title. When the Games last took place in Tokyo back in 1964, the USA’s Lana du Pont was the first woman to compete in the three-day event, so female firsts and the Tokyo Olympics seem to be intrinsically linked.

In the battle for the remaining Individual podium places, it was Britain’s Tom McEwen who took the silver while Australia’s Andrew Hoy clinched the bronze. Hoy’s result is nothing short of sensational, because the three-time team gold medallist has a staggering record of participation at eight Olympic Games dating all the way back to Los Angeles in 1984. He was only 25 years old back then, and at the age of 62 now he’s as competitive as ever.

Team

Tom McEwen paved the path to Britain’s team victory with a superb round from Toledo de Kresker over the first of Santiago Varela’s beautifully decorated tracks. He was filled with confidence that his team-mates would do the rest of the work without difficulty.

A four-fence advantage and more after the previous day’s cross-country test had left his side sitting comfortably ahead, and as it turned out his confidence was not misplaced.

“He was incredible,” he said of his 14-year-old horse. “I just put him on the spot and he was up and away. Everyone that follows Eventing knows he’s a great jumper, so it’s just up to me on top,” he added.

However, team-mate Laura Collett had a scary moment when London 52 baulked at the water tray at fence four and scattered poles everywhere before regaining his equilibrium. “He started like his normal self, but just as I came around the corner, the light shone on the water and he suddenly started to draw back ,and I was quite far off it and he just went up and paddled. I was lucky he’s such a great jumper and it didn’t faze him, and he got it back together and finished really nicely. I’m gutted and it’s a shame, but I think it could have been a whole lot worse! I just hope I haven’t put too much pressure on Oliver,” she said.

Pressure

It’s difficult to put too much pressure on Oliver Townend, who was heading the Individual rankings going into the closing stages after a sensational run in both Dressage and Cross-Country with Ballaghmor Class. The first element of the double at fence nine, four fences from home, hit the floor, but that still left Team GB finishing on a score of 86.30 and under no threat from their closest rivals.

The real battle was played out between Australia and France, Kevin McNab opening the Aussie account with a foot-perfect run with Don Quidam, before Shane Rose’s Virgil also fell victim to the first element of fence nine. Meanwhile, Nicolas Touzaint and Absolut Gold, who were part of the gold medal winning French side at the Rio 2016 Games, returned with just 0.4 for time, while second-line rider Karim Florent Laghouag faulted only at the first element of the triple combination at fence five.

The two sides had the started the day with a hair’s breadth between them, and even though Frenchman Christopher Six was clear and clean with Totem de Brecey, Andrew Hoy made no mistake with Vassily de Lassos to bag the silver when last to go, the two sides separated by just 1.3 penalties.

IOC Vice-President and Chair of the Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 John Coates was on hand to see Australia take team silver and offered his congratulations to the three team members.

Individual

The Individual finale was truly gripping as the top 25 slogged it out. Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto collected just 0.4 penalties when seventh-last to go with the lovely Vinci de la Vigne, and when France’s Christopher Six faulted at the last of the triple combination on the new course, Tomoto began to move up the order.

Colletts’s bay gelding left the last two fences on the floor, but when Hoy followed with a clear the top three had absolutely no breathing space. McEwen didn’t need any when executing yet another regal tour of the track, but Townend’s luck ran out, his 4.8 penalties pushing him off the podium.

Last in, Krajewski could have been completely overwhelmed, but held her nerve to deliver a fabulous round from the mare she calls Mandy. She would take the top step of the podium and her place in equestrian history, ahead of McEwen and Hoy in silver and bronze.

The 32-year-old rider who is based in Warendorf, Germany has had a really tough year, beginning with the passing of her father, and then having to retire her top horse Samurai du Thot after he had his eye removed due to a lingering infection. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games seemed an impossible target after that, but when the young mare she calls Mandy won the CCI4* in Saumur, France and the pair took bronze at the German Championships in the spring, suddenly the horizon was completely altered. And now she finds herself an Olympic champion.

A fairytale finish

“It’s the stuff that movies are made of, and yes I cried, because I was thinking of my family and my father and basically everyone who has been behind me. This is very much a fairytale finish for me!” she said.

Silver medallist McEwen is 30 years of age and looks set on a long road of further success, while Hoy was keen to declare that he’s not hanging up his boots anytime soon.

“When I started in the sport, I was really proud of being the youngest person in the team and now it’s just an absolute joy that I’m still here and so healthy. When people meet me in the Olympic Village they say, you are an official, are you? And they look a bit surprised when I say no, I’m an athlete!”

He has enjoyed these Games as much as any and was full of praise for the organisation. “Without doubt, the Japanese people, the country of Japan, and the city of Tokyo deserve the biggest gold medal for putting these Games on. The effort they’ve gone to is incredible, and it’s a privilege to be here,” he concluded.

Quotes:

Julia Krajewski GER: “I won my first Pony title 20 years ago and since then it’s been a roller-coaster really. It’s quite unreal.

“Going in last tonight, I wasn’t thinking about Olympic gold. I said we’re going to do a great round like jumping at home and that is all.”

Oliver Townend GBR, talking about winning team gold: “It’s very unreal and hasn’t sunk in yet, but at the same time we were three riders on exceptional horses and that’s what’s been so special. All three of us have been on horses of a lifetime and we knew that coming here we had a very good chance.

“Looking back at whole week, I feel relieved and very proud of the whole team, not just the people here, but the whole team at home, people who put in the hard graft every day – they deserve this as well.”

Laura Collett GBR, talking about winning team gold: “Being on the podium was a completely surreal experience. I’m a bit lost for words; just to be here at an Olympics is a dream come true let alone win a gold medal. It’s going to take a few days, weeks, months for this to actually sink in.”

Andrew Hoy AUS: “We’ve got the most wonderful relationship, this horse and me. He was so fresh, he was having a little buck in the warm-up; it’s as if I did a dressage schooling exercise with him yesterday. “We got the horse on 13th May 2017, the day Steffi and I got married, so an easy day to remember. Got him from Tom Carlile and for me it’s an absolute joy to work with him every day: every day he puts a smile on my face.”

Shane Rose AUS: “We’re all mates on this team, so you ride everyone’s highs and lows with them, but we obviously think team first in Australia and how you perform individually affects your team-mates, so you always want to give your best foot forward. So for me watching them do well is great, and if I or they has a bad moment, you feel that with them. In Eventing, we don’t get team opportunities very often. I’m based in Australia and these guys are based in Europe, so we only get to see each other every few years, and when we do come together, it’s amazing how quickly we bond.”

Karim Florent Laghouag FRA: “This team medal is very emotional. I miss having the public and would like to share this medal. All the team have received lots of messages and support, and we are very grateful for the support and want to thank all the people that encouraged us. This medal belongs to them too!”

by Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Executive Advisor
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

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

Townend Back on Top and British Hold onto Lead after Cross Country Day

Oliver Townend. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

World number one, Great Britain’s Oliver Townend, regained the individual lead he established on the first day of the Dressage phase with a perfect ride on Ballaghmor Class on Cross Country day of Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at Sea Forest. And with foot-perfect performances from team-mates Laura Collett (London 52) and Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kresker), the British team go into the final Jumping phase with four fences in hand over their nearest rivals.

Oozing confidence, and riding at the top of their game, they look unstoppable for gold. But Townend wasn’t taking anything for granted. With the second horse inspection still ahead in the morning, and a course of coloured poles to be tackled later in the day, he voiced a note of caution.

“This is a three-day sport, and you never know what you’ve got until you’re in the ring on the last day,” he said.

Snatched away

His individual lead had been snatched away by Germany’s Michael Jung as the Dressage phase drew to a close, but the double Olympic champion lost his grip on the top spot when triggering the frangible device at the corner element of fence 14, the Lone Tree Moguls, on an otherwise faultless tour of the track with Chipmunk. The German National Federation lodged a protest against the resulting 11 penalties immediately after the cross country, but the protest was dismissed by the Ground Jury.

Compatriot Sandra Auffarth’s gelding, Viamant du Matz, had a glance-off at the final element of fence nine, a left-hand corner that followed a bank out of water for 22.4.

“It came up very quickly at the beginning of course; he was super fresh and I turned a little bit too early to the step,” Auffarth said. “He’s so quick in his turns, and I came too much to the inside of the line and I think he just was not seeing the question at the corner.”

German pathfinder Julia Krajewski made no mistake with Amande de B’Neville, however, and goes into the final phase in silver medal spot. But the German team have dropped from second to sixth and look well out of medal contention.

Contrast

In stark contrast, both Australia and France enjoyed a superb day with spectacular performances that lifted them into silver and bronze medal spots. Lying sixth after Dressage, the Australians added just the 2.8 time penalties picked up by Kevin McNab and Don Quidam when both Shane Rose (Virgil) and Andrew Hoy (Vassily de Lassos) both kept a clean sheet.

Hoy was stopped on course when Swiss athlete Robin Godel’s Jet Set pulled up very lame after jumping the Mt Fuji water complex five from home. (See statement here.)

The Sydney 2000 Olympic team gold medallist was grateful for the cooling facilities that kept his 12-year-old gelding safe while they waited on course. “It was excellent because until I got under the tent, I could feel his temperature rising all the time. When you are galloping, you have wind in your face and on your body so you stay very cool. But as soon as you stop you don’t have that, so your temperature rises. Vasilly’s temperature went up half a degree from when it was first taken in the cooling area, but it was still very low and his heart-rate was back to 100. He’s phenomenally fit,” said the man who is competing in his eighth Olympic Games.

Defending

The French are defending the Olympic team title, but things hadn’t been going their way until Christopher Six (Totem de Brecey) added just 1.6 time penalties to his scoreline, Nicolas Touzaint (Absolut Gold) was just over the time-allowed of 7.45 minutes to add 0.4, and anchorman Karim Florent Laghouag (Triton Fontaine) was clear inside the time. On a running score of 97.10, they are now just over a single penalty point adrift of the Australians, trailed by New Zealand (104.00) in fourth, USA in fifth (109.40), and Germany in sixth (114.20).

With just their combined Dressage marks of 78.90, however, the British look well in command. Laura Collett lies in bronze medal spot individually after a great round with London 52, and feels the result has confounded her critics.

“I always said he’s a superstar and he just went out and proved to everyone just how good he is. I’m so relieved I did my job and to be selected on this team this year. I know everyone at home will understand this; we’ve had to fight for our place and he’s proved to everybody he well and truly deserved it, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of him!” she said.

The margins are small on the Individual leaderboard, however. Townend’s 23.60 leaves him just two penalty points ahead of Krajewski, and Collett is only 0.2 further adrift, with New Zealand’s Tim Price (Vitali) snapping at her heels carrying 26.80. Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto (Vinci de la Vigne) is on 27.50 and the third British team-member Tom McEwen on 28.90, only fractionally ahead of Australia’s Hoy in seventh spot.

Facts and Figures:

60 horse-and-athlete combinations started in the Cross-Country phase of Eventing.

49 completed the course.

2 Retired and 9 were Eliminated.

Sara Algotsson was announced as replacement for Ludwig Svennerstal on the Swedish team before the cross-country phase, but withdrew when the team was no longer viable due to elimination for Therese Viklund after a fall from Viscera at fence 18B.

The most influential obstacle on the 23-fence course was 14C, a left-handed corner that followed a large oxer, where there were two refusals and the frangible device was triggered seven times.

Quotes:

Oliver Townend (GBR): “Once I got into the course, I started to pick up very good quick fast distances, almost racing distances, to the straightforward fences and he answered beautifully.

“The earlier distances didn’t happen quite the way I imagined, like the first two waters; having said that, they were very comfortable distances, and I have a lot of trust in Derek di Grazia’s courses. I think the man is one of, if not the best in the world in what he’s doing, and even when I think a distance is going to be a certain way, I know even if it isn’t it’s going to be a safe distance.”

Michael Jung (GER): “I’m very happy; he was very good. I had a little mistake there (at fence 14). I didn’t realise it fell down, but when I galloped away from the fence, I heard the sound. It was quite a surprise for me. Everything else was really nice.”

Tim Price NZL, when asked what the course felt like: “It felt fast and furious, with lots of big jumps just around the corner! They come up the hill and even though they’ve warmed up over some fences, it sort of dawns on them that it’s actually another cross country day and not another training day, and it looks like it’s a fairly seriously day at the office and they have to absorb all that in about two minutes. Particularly on a young horse, you want to get them out on the track and let them find themselves, the rhythm, the breathing, the jump, the scope, and out here you don’t have time to give them an easy couple of minutes, so it’s asking quite a lot of a young horse.”

Andrew Hoy AUS: “As those that have seen Vassily run before, he’s just the most phenomenal horse cross-country. I had a really nice ride: up until the time I was stopped, it was really good, just fingertips, and I ride him in the same bridle and bit in all three phases; he’s just so on the ball and so focused.”

Results here:  https://tokyo2020.live.fei.org/

by Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Executive Advisor
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

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

Eventing Leaderboard Gets a Shake-Up before Cross-Country

Michael Jung riding Chipmunk. (FEI/Libby Law)

The leaderboard began to look a bit more familiar after the final session of Eventing dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Baji Koen. Great Britain remains at the head of affairs, but it is now Team Germany that sits second ahead of New Zealand in third, while the host nation of Japan continues to shine in fourth place going into the cross-country phase.

An amazing score of 21.10 from defending double-champion, Michael Jung, lifted Germany from overnight fifth to just over two points behind the British leaders, whose position at the top of the leaderboard was bolstered by a solid test from Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser, who posted a mark of 28.90.

Jung was really pleased with his 13-year-old gelding Chipmunk. “We had a very good partnership; everything worked like I wished. Since the European Championships in 2019, I’ve had more time to train with him. We had a long winter to work more and have had many more competitions this year, so everything is going much better,” he said.

He may not have realised it, but he was being watched by IOC Member HSH Prince Albert II who paid a visit to the Equestrian Park to watch some Eventing Dressage, including the start of Jung’s Olympic title defence. After a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in the Olympic Family Lounge together with fellow IOC Member and FEI President Ingmar De Vos, the Prince was taken on a full tour of the venue, including a visit to the stables and the onsite veterinary clinic.

Dramatic improvement

Meanwhile, world number two, Tim Price, was responsible for the dramatic improvement for Team New Zealand, who rose from sixth to third. His score of 25.60 with Vitali puts his side, which includes his wife Jonelle, on a tally of 86.40, exactly six penalty points behind Germany and just over eight points off pole position. “That’s good; that’s what we want!” Price said when he realised his result had made such a big difference. “We just want to be a solid team; we’re only a little nation with a few riders to choose from,” he pointed out.

Sweden dropped from overnight second to fifth, but Australia was another to rise meteorically thanks to a classic ride from the oldest competitor in Eventing at these Olympic Games. Andrew Hoy (62) and Vassily de Lassos posted 29.60, and all scores below 30 proved highly influential.

“I believe it is the maximum (score) we could have had from today. There were tiny little things that I can always improve. The joy I get from riding this horse is unbelievable, and I use one word to describe what I’m trying to achieve: harmony… when you see the great riders with harmony then it is poetry in motion!” Hoy said.

Chinese team

The Chinese team slipped from fourth to seventh, but pathfinder Alex Hua Tian is sitting in individual bronze spot with Don Geniro going into cross-country day. The 31-year-old made history when becoming the first Chinese athlete to compete in Olympic Eventing at the Beijing Games in 2008. And, based in Cheshire in England since 2013, he took individual silver at the Asian Games in Incheon (KOR) in 2014 before finishing eighth individually at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

He’ll be hoping to hang on to that bronze medal spot at the end of the cross-country contest. As the dressage phase came to an end, Great Britain’s Oliver Townend was in silver medal position behind Jung, who is chasing down his third consecutive individual gold.

But all the athletes are a little in awe of the cross-country challenge that course designer Derek di Grazia (USA) has set for them.

Fantastic

“The ground is fantastic and the fences are beautiful; like at every Olympic Games, the presentation you cannot question. It’s a proper challenge, and I don’t mean just with the height of the fences. The layout of the course, the flow – it’s going to be a challenge to get the time. But I’m sitting on one of the greatest cross-country horses in the world and we’ve got a wonderful relationship, and I believe it’s achievable but only time will tell!” said Andrew Hoy.

“It feels like a proper three-phase test to us this time. Mainly because of what Derek has done, it’s going to be a good competition for us all,” said Tim Price.

However, Germany’s Michael Jung is feeling super-confident, partly because his team has such a good draw. “We have a very good start position; our first rider is number 14, so before she (Julia Krajewski) goes some nice information will have come through which we can use. You need a lot of luck with the weather and other things you can’t control, but definitely it’s good if you start towards the end,” he pointed out.

As German anchorman, he has a great draw himself, going second-last in the field of 61.

Facts and Figures:

There was one withdrawal from the second day of dressage – Katrin Khoddam-Hazrati from Austria.

Lara de Liedekerke-Meier from Belgium, who competed in the first day of Eventing dressage, has also withdrawn.

61 horse-and-rider combinations will tackle Derek di Grazia’s cross-country track at Sea Forest.

Quotes:

Tim Price NZL, talking about his horse Vitali: “He’s had to do everything right, and he’s 95% done that since last year when I first sat on him to now, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I’m very confident in him but it’s a short time in terms of partnership, because that’s one of the key things on display at the Olympics is the partnership between horse and rider and how they can rely on each other. I’m very confident with him; he’s a very genuine guy and I feel very comfortable on him.”

Michael Jung GER, talking about his horse Chipmunk: “He’s a very powerful horse but very nice to ride cross-country; this helps a lot: you don’t need too much preparation before the fence. The time is very tough tomorrow, so you need good communication with your horse; in the end they have to listen and you need to be focused and to concentrate.”

Andrew Hoy AUS, talking about evolution of the sport of Eventing: “We are light years ahead of where we were when I started out. I rode my first championship in 1978 and it’s changed immensely, I believe for the good. In my lifetime I’ve looked at some of the changes and totally disagreed, but now I’m at the stage – if there’s a change I think about what I have to do to be there. It’s not about fighting change; it’s about working with change.”

Boyd Martin USA, talking about his test that didn’t go to plan: “Thomas (Tsetserleg TSF) has been so good in the dressage for years… some great moments and some disastrous. You come here hoping to give a personal best. Cross-country tomorrow is so difficult it’s so hard to get the time, but I think we (Team USA) are in with a chance if we can deliver three good rounds cross-country with three good seasoned horses that are older and experienced. We’ve nothing to lose by going out there and giving it a crack!”

Results here:  https://tokyo2020.live.fei.org/.

by Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Executive Advisor
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

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