Category Archives: Eventing/H.T.

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+

Great Britain Takes Early Lead in Dressage Phase of Eventing

Oliver Townend. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

World number one, Oliver Townend, gave the British team the best possible start when taking the individual lead as the Dressage phase kicked off equestrian Eventing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Baji Koen.

Going second in the first of the two sessions, with a further 20 horse-and-rider combinations to go, the 38-year-old athlete who is a triple European team gold medallist, produced what he described as “a very safe test” for a score of 23.6 with the Irish-bred grey, Ballaghmor Class.

Team-mate, Laura Collett, then backed that up with a score of 25.80 for overnight fourth place individually with London 52, but she wasn’t overly pleased with her own performance. “He’s been phenomenal all year and I was aiming for (a score of) 21/22. This year he’s been very close to Ballaghmor Class, but unfortunately it didn’t come off today,” said the rider who, with the same horse, won the CCI5*-L at Pau, France last October.

However, her result was plenty good enough to secure pole position for her country.

Leaderboard

It’s a fascinating leaderboard with two-thirds of the dressage competitors now completed. Lying second are Team Sweden, with the hosts from Japan in third and China in fourth place. Few would have expected Germany to be lying fifth and New Zealand, France, Switzerland, USA, and Australia stacking up behind them in the field of 15 nations.

A brilliant ride by China’s Alex Hua Tian with Don Geniro brought him closest to Townend’s leading score when putting 23.90 on the board for individual second place, while Germany’s Julia Krajewski and Amande de B’Neville lie third on 25.20.

The short action-packed dressage test, specially created for these Olympic Games, takes just 3.5 minutes to complete and, underlining the quality of the field, a total of seven combinations scored below 30 during the first session. Three more joined that elite group as the day progressed and amongst them was India’s Fouad Mirza riding the experienced 15-year-old gelding Seigneur that competed so successfully for Germany’s Bettina Hoy. “I’m so lucky to ride such a great horse; he’s a gentleman in every sense, kind and honest,” said the athlete who is only the third rider from his country to compete in Olympic Eventing.

Overnight there were some changes to the teams, with both Australia’s Stuart Tinney (Leporis) and Ireland’s Cathal Daniels (Rioghan Rua) withdrawing. Tinney has been replaced by Kevin McNab (Don Quidam) and Daniels by Austin O’Connor (Colorado Blue).

Pressure

Townend said he wasn’t bothered by the pressure of being second into the arena and first to ride for his country. “It wouldn’t be my chosen job in life to be pathfinder, but at the same time the first bit is out of the way, and he’s (Ballaghmor Class) done a very commendable job. So fingers crossed we keep the work up over the next three or four days and see where we end up.”

There is a lot of talk about the course at Sea Forest where the cross-country phase will take place.

“It’s very intense,” Townend said about the track designed by America’s Derek di Grazia. “You’re always on the climb or camber or in the water, or in a combination. The questions are extremely fair; it’s very horse friendly, and if you took each fence individually there wouldn’t be too many problems, but at the same time when you add the heat, the terrain, the Olympic pressure, and then speed on top of that, it’s going to be causing a lot of trouble and it’s going to be very difficult to get the time.

“Derek is a horseman to start with, and I think he’s a special, talented man at the job. He wants the horses to see where they are going; there’s no tricks out there. Derek doesn’t try to catch horses out; he builds very see-able questions and lets the terrain and the speed do the job for him,” Townend added.

Quotes:

Doug Payne USA (lying 21st): “We prepped at Tryon and to me this course feels a lot like there, lots of turn backs…”

Germany’s Julia Krajewski (lying 3rd), talking about her mare Amande de B’Neville: “She’s a real galloping machine and a great jumper; she’s always willing to perform and especially this year after Sam (Samurai du Thot, her team silver medal winning horse at Rio 2016 Olympic Games) got seriously ill, it felt as if she really stepped up. Sometimes I think it’s when they feel they are the number one in the stable that they step up then!”

Philip Dutton USA (lying 12th), talking about Sunday’s cross-country course:  “I’ll spend tomorrow getting to know the course well so I can shave off every second I can, and figure out how close I can get to the jumps before I steady up, really get to know it well. It’s a course you have to understand; you have to keep thinking ahead before the next combination comes up.”

Kevin McNab AUS (lying 18th), who was called onto the Australian team when Stuart Tinney had to withdraw: “Unfortunately, one of those sports where it does happen. I’m sorry for Stuart but it’s great to be here and there’s such a wealth of knowledge between the team that I’m lucky to be making my debut with them.”

Victoria Scott-Legendre RSA (lying 37th), talking about the challenges of competing in her home country: “We are lucky enough to have some really nice venues in South Africa that have wild animals on the property, and I’ve had a dressage test where a herd of zebra have come through, and there are a couple of places where some giraffe have popped over the trees – the horses really are quite spooky with that; they do a 360 and off we go!”

Results here.

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 Comes under the Tokyo Spotlight

Lara de Liedekerke-Meier (BEL) presenting Alpaga d’Arville at the Eventing 1st Horse Inspection. (FEI/Libby Law)

It’s the turn of the world’s best Eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days, as all but one of the horses presented at the horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.

The Polish reserve combination of Jan Kaminski and Jard have been called up because Pawel Spisak’s gelding, Banderas, did not get through. Meanwhile, Castle Larchfield Purdy, competed by Lauren Billys from Puerto Rico, was sent to the holding box but was subsequently declared fit to compete. Canada’s Jessica Phoenix did not present her gelding Pavarotti, so the number of starters in the opening Dressage phase has been reduced from 65 to 63.

First

First into the arena will be Thailand’s Arinadtha Chavatanont with Boleybawn Prince. The pair was on the bronze medal winning team at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018. It’s a history-making moment because both Thailand and China are fielding an Olympic Eventing team for the very first time.

Also making his mark, and elegantly turned out, is the first-ever Eventing athlete to represent Hong Kong, Thomas Heffernan Ho, who will partner the stallion Tayberry.

There will be two sessions of Dressage Friday and another on Saturday morning before the horses are transported for a sleepover at Sea Forest in Tokyo Bay, where the Cross-Country phase will take place early on Sunday morning. They return to Baji Koen that afternoon and on Monday the final Jumping phase will decide the team and individual medals.

New test

A brand new Olympic Dressage test, taking just under four minutes to complete, will be performed for the very first time, and second to go will be world number one Oliver Townend with Ballaghmor Class. The British rider will be aiming to put as much pressure as possible on reigning individual double-champion Michael Jung from Germany, who will be second-last to go on Saturday morning with Chipmunk. France will be defending the team title.

There’s a 40-year gap between the oldest athlete in the field, 62-year-old Andrew Hoy from Australia, and the youngest, 22-year-old Lea Siegl from Austria. Every one of them will be hoping to hog the Olympic limelight, and you can keep up with all the results live at this link here.

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+

Jung Aims to Make More History with a Hat-Trick of Gold

Germany’s Michael Jung rides his 2019 European Championship horse fischerChipmunk FRH in Luhmuhlen, (GER) and is aiming to make history with a hat-trick gold in Tokyo (JPN). FEI/ Oliver Hardt/Getty Images.

After Germany’s Michael Jung won the second of his two consecutive Individual Olympic Equestrian Eventing titles at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he was asked what he had next in his sights. “Tokyo 2020 of course, and the Europeans and maybe the world title along the way!” he replied.

He wasn’t joking of course, because the 38-year-old who made Eventing history by becoming the first to hold the European, Olympic, and World Championship titles at the same time is one of the most formidable athletes in all of equestrian sport.

He didn’t make it to the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018 when his horse had an injury, but at the FEI European Championships the following year, he took team gold and was just pipped at the post for the individual title by team-mate Ingrid Klimke.

This is a man who sets the bar really high for everyone else, and if he can do the individual hat-trick in Tokyo, then he will set a new Olympic record. Charles Pahud de Mortanges from The Netherlands came out on top in Amsterdam in 1928 and again at the following Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932, and New Zealand’s Mark Todd won in Los Angeles in 1984 and again in Seoul in 1988. Both riders partnered the same horse on each occasion, the Dutchman riding Marcroix and the Kiwi riding the legendary Charisma.

Jung was also riding the same horse, the mighty Sam, when coming out on top at London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This time around he will partner his 2019 European Championship horse Chipmunk, and the world waits to see what more magic he can bring.

Team silver

He’ll be joined on the German team by two of the three athletes who helped clinch team silver in Rio, Sandra Auffarth (Viamant du Matz) and Julia Krajewski (Armande de B’Neville). However, it is the French who line out as defending team champions, with Thomas Carlile (Birmane), Nicolas Touzaint (Absolut Gold HDC), and Christopher Six (Totem de Brecey) flying the flag for Les Bleus.

The British arrive as reigning world champions with the world number one, Oliver Townend (Ballaghmore Class), number five Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser), and number 22 Laura Collet (London 52) in their side, backed up last-minute replacement reserve Ros Canter with Allstar B, the horse she rode to individual gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018. There’s great strength in depth in this selection, while the Irish world silver medallists, and the Kiwi side that includes husband-and-wife Tim and Jonelle Price, also look highly competitive.

But there are further Olympic records hanging in the balance. Australia’s Andrew Hoy, Shane Rose, and Stuart Tinney have 166 years of life experience and eight Olympic medals between them. And 62-year-old Hoy could make Olympic history by becoming the first athlete to win gold medals an incredible 29 years apart. He won his first team gold in Barcelona in 1992 and if he could do it again, he’d break the all-time record set by Hungarian fencer Aladár Gerevich, who triumphed in 1932 and 1960.

Hoy went on to win two more team golds, at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, and just by turning up in Tokyo he will set an Australian record with his eighth Olympic appearance since his debut in Los Angeles in 1984 at the age of 25.

Changes

The sport of Eventing has been subject to many changes down the years, and at the Tokyo 2020 Games there will be a new and shorter Dressage test, which will take just under four minutes to complete. The Dressage and Jumping phases will be staged at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre in the city, while the Cross Country action will be held at Sea Forest Park in Tokyo Bay.

Following the Ready Steady Tokyo Equestrian Test event staged at Sea Forest in August 2019, during which an FEI official climate impact study and horse monitoring project took place, the Cross Country course was shortened to approximately eight minutes.

It’s all a long way from the first time Eventing was included in the Olympic programme back in 1912 in Stockholm when the competition began with Phase A, “an Endurance ride over 55km in four hours,” and Phase B, “Cross-country over 5km in 15 minutes with 12 obstacles.”

After a rest day, the all-military competitors then set out to tackle “Steeplechase over 3,500m in 5 minutes and 50 seconds with 10 obstacles,” while on day four there was “Jumping over 15 obstacles up to 1.30m high and 3.00m wide,” before finally finishing up on day five with “Dressage.” From seven starting teams, four completed and Sweden took both Team and Individual gold.

Times have indeed moved on, but the partnership between horse and athlete remains at the heart of equestrian sport, and in Olympic Eventing that partnership is at its zenith.

How it will play out….

The Team and Individual competitions will run concurrently on consecutive days as follows: Dressage test (over two days, 30/31 July), Cross Country test (1 August), and First Jumping Competition (2 August) to determine the Team classification.

The Individual Final Jumping test will take place after the Team Jumping Final on the same day (2 August), with the top 25 battling it out for the medals.

Eventing Dressage and Jumping will both be staged at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre, with horses travelling to Sea Forest Park for Cross Country day.

To enable a finish by just after 11.00, the start time on Cross Country day will be 07.45 JST.

Horses can be substituted for the team competition, and a horse/athlete combination may be substituted by a reserve combination for medical/veterinarian reasons in any of the three tests after the start of the competition.

The top 25 horse/athlete combinations go through to the Individual Final.

The athlete rides the same horse throughout for the Individual classification.

There will be two horse inspections – on 29 July, the day before the Dressage phase begins, and on 2 August before the final Jumping phase takes place.

A drawn starting order will be used for the Dressage and Cross-Country tests but in the final Jumping test horse/athlete combinations will go in reverse order of merit.

The full list HERE.

FEI Olympic Hub HERE.

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

TIEC to Host USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championships for 2021 and 2022

Lexington, KY – June 24, 2021 – US Equestrian is pleased to announce that the USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship will return to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C. in 2021 and 2022. The National Championship will be held in conjunction with the Tryon International Three-Day Event.

The USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championship was held at TIEC for the first time in 2020, and competitors had high praise for the facilities at the venue and the staff’s dedication to producing a world-class event. Tryon’s White Oak cross-country course was created for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ and is known for its scenic rolling terrain in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“We are very excited to host the Tryon International Three-Day Event CCI4*-L again this November,” said Sharon Decker, President of Tryon of Tryon Equestrian Properties, Carolinas Operations. “Our 2020 event was extraordinary, and with spectators welcomed this year, we will have the chance once again to showcase the highest levels of this sport on what many of our riders have declared one of the best cross-country courses in the world. We cannot wait!”

The 2021 Tryon International Three-Day Event is set to take place November 10-14. The event will host CCI1*-L, CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L, and CCI4*-S divisions in addition to the CCI4*-L. Additionally, the East Coast Final for the inaugural Adequan® USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge will be held in conjunction with the event, making for an exciting week of late-season eventing.

For more information, visit Tryon.com/eventing.