Category Archives: Show Jumping

Eric Lamaze Scores Back-to-Back Wins at Spruce Meadows

Eric Lamaze and Chacco Kid. Photo by Spruce Meadows Media.

Calgary, Alberta – Canada’s Eric Lamaze scored back-to-back victories at the CSI5* Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ tournament on June 15 and 16.  Hot off his win in Friday night’s $131,600 Scotiabank Cup, Lamaze returned to the Meadows on the Green arena on Saturday to claim victory in the $70,200 Canadian Utilities Cup.

On Friday night, Lamaze qualified both Chacco Kid, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On) owned by the Chacco Kid Group, and his 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, for the jump-off, joining six other horse-rider combinations.  Once Chacco Kid posted a time of 37.13 seconds over the course designed by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge to move into the lead by over two seconds, Lamaze elected to withdraw Fine Lady 5 in the hopes his leading time would stand up for the win.  Stand up it did, with Lamaze and Chacco Kid claiming the Scotiabank Cup over 19-year-old American Lucy Deslauriers who stopped the timers in 39.16 seconds riding Hester.

“Most grand prix events don’t even offer $100,000 in prize money so when you’re going for $131,000 on a Friday night, you are jumping for real money,” said Lamaze.  “It was an incredible class.  The track that Guilherme set was built for speed.  If you wanted to win, you had to be committed.

“After the jump-off round I had with Chacco, I didn’t think I could possibly go any faster with Fine Lady!” said Lamaze of his decision to withdraw Fine Lady 5, automatically placing the pair eighth.

The leading all-time money winner at Spruce Meadows, Lamaze increased his lead even further on Saturday by winning the Canadian Utilities Cup.  A total of 12 riders jumped clear in the first round to advance to the tie-breaker including Lamaze aboard a new mount, Saura de Fondcombe, owned by Katharina Peter.  As the tenth rider to return for the jump-off, Lamaze was chasing a time of 36.07 set by Daniel Coyle of Ireland riding Quintin.  Despite the new partnership, Lamaze guided the 12-year-old selle francais mare (Balou du Rouet x Paladin des Ifs) home in a time 35.38 seconds to claim his second victory in as many days at the iconic Canadian show jumping venue.

“Last night, the jump-off was insane!  Today was a little more subdued,” laughed Lamaze, 50, who also finished runner-up in Thursday night’s $40,000 1.50m Husky Energy Classic with Saura de Fondcombe.  “It was a solid 1.50m course with 12 clear, and I had a good position going towards the end.  She is a very careful, genuine mare.  She’s had a lot of experience at this level and you can take a lot of risk.  She’s a really good horse.

“As I always say, if you win a class at Spruce Meadows, you can win anywhere in the world,” said Lamaze.  “Horses learn a lot and riders learn a lot by competing here.  It’s real sport.  If you want to participate in any major championships, you have to prove you can survive Spruce Meadows!”

Lamaze will saddle up Fine Lady 5, the 15-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) he owns in partnership with Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms, for Sunday’s $385,000 CSI5* ‘Continental’ Grand Prix beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Following the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, concluding on July 8, Lamaze will return to his home base in Brussels, Belgium.  From there, he will compete at the CSI5* Global Champions Tour in Chantilly, France, from July 12 to 15 followed by CHIO Aachen, Germany, from July 17 to 22.

For more information on Eric Lamaze, please visit www.ericlamaze.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Ward | cell: 613-292-5439 | www.startinggate.ca

Charleston Summer Classics Designated a USEF Heritage Competition

The Classic Company is thrilled to announce that the USEF Board of Directors voted unanimously to award Heritage Competition status to Charleston Summer Classic I & II. Heritage designations are reserved for those competitions within the sport of Equestrian that have been established for a long period of time and have made a substantial contribution toward the development and promotion of the sport of equestrian, both within the sport and as well as within the broader community, by achieving, maintaining and promoting the equestrian ideals of sportsmanship and competition.

The Charleston Summer Classic started in July 1992 at the Seabrook Equestrian Center on Seabrook Island, South Carolina. The show was very successful for seven years then the land that surrounded the event was sold for development and the show was forced to move. The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC welcomed the event and it was held on the Estate behind the Biltmore house in a converted cornfield for seven more years. While this worked very well, Bob Bell, Classic Company President, knew the show needed to return to Charleston one day. Mullet Hall, a former plantation owned by Charleston County Parks and Recreation, was chosen to be the site for an equestrian center. Permits, public meetings, funding and construction took six years and a lot of community support, during which time the show remained at The Biltmore Estate. The show then moved to the Georgia International Horse Park for one year. The Charleston Summer Classic finally returned to the lowcountry to Mullet Hall the following year. The show’s sterling silver perpetual trophies document the show’s 26 year history recalling the dates and the names of the horses and riders that have shaped the equestrian sport.

“We are so pleased that the Charleston Summer Classic has been designated a USEF Heritage Competition,” commented Bell. “Our flagship show has been a part of the equestrian sport’s history. It took a village to make this happen! The community support has been phenomenal and the Charleston Summer Classic is a perfect example of how the community and a horse show community can come together as one. We wholeheartedly thank the USEF for granting the Charleston Summer Classics this prestigious USEF Heritage Competition designation,” he added.

ClassicCompany.com
GulfCoastClassicCompany.com
Phone/Fax: (843) 768-5503
Post Office Box 1311, Johns Island, SC 29457

Koksalan Achieves Victory aboard Quincy 137 during ESP Summer II

Selcuk Koksalan and Quincy 137. Photo Credit ©Nina Barr/PBIEC.

Wellington, FL – June 13, 2018 – The ESP Summer Series continued last week at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The weekend saw a win secured by Wellington, FL native Selcuk Koksalan in the $5,000 DeNiroBootCo Welcome Stake, the highlight class of the week.

Koksalan and his own Quincy 137 bested the class of 19 horse-and-rider combinations, clinching the blue ribbon after crossing through fast-track timers. The second-place finisher Samantha Senft of Wellington, FL rode the Morgan Hill Partners-owned Desperado around the course designed by Andy Christiansen of Wellington, FL. Third place was awarded to Andres Soto of West Palm Beach, FL and Isabel Sanchez’s Cento Per Cento CG.

The ESP Summer Series will break for the month of July and will resume on Friday, August 17, continuing through August 19, with the restart of the series offering USEF “A” National hunter classes and USEF Level 2 jumper competition. The ESP Summer Series is set to finish on Sunday, September 30, 2018, at Equestrian Village.

For more information on PBIEC and the ESP Summer Series, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Wilhelm Genn and Bugatti Seal the Win in the $40,000 George Hennessy Grand Prix

Wilhelm Genn and Bugatti. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

Havens Schatt and Mostly Sunny Top the $30,000 USHJA Hunter Derby

Lexington, Ky. – June 11, 2018 – The first week of the Country Heir I & II Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park showcased of some of the finest hunters and jumpers in North America.

$40,000 George Hennessy Grand Prix
An audience gathered to watch exciting show-jumping action in the Rolex Stadium Sunday. International course designer Steve Stephens and his team set the track for a lively afternoon of sport. Of the 30 entries, eight left all the rails in the cups and progressed to the jump-off round. Wilhelm Genn (GER) and Bugatti, owned by Eduardo Leon, were nearly two second faster than the second-place finishers, Liza Finsness and her own Shiver. Hector Florentino (DOM) and Heliante Ter Wilgen, owned by Marion S. Head, were just two-tenths of a second behind Finsness.

“There was only one big question for me on the course and that was the line to the triple combination,” Genn said. “When I walked it, I thought I would do six strides — it was a long five. I took a shorter approach to the oxer and it set me up to do the six to the triple and he listened beautifully. In the jump-off he was his usual self. He was really super.”

Bugatti, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding (Heartbreaker x Pilot), has been a successful partner for Genn for seven years. They have at least 10 grand prix wins to their credit and recently won two FEI grand prix events, one in Mexico City during the Longines Global Champions Tour and another at San Miguel de Allende, also in Mexico.

“He’s a big goofball,” said Genn about Bugatti’s personality. “He’s like a little kid. He’s basically lazy but he’s a curious horse. He’s sweet, but he can be a little bit of a bully.”

Genn was quick to compliment the show. “I’ve known Frankie (Stark) for years and I love Julie (Agar) in the office,” he said.  “It is a very nice show — very well-run.”

$30,000 International Hunter Derby
Havens Schatt piloted Mostly Sunny, owned by CH Farms LLC of Delano, Minnesota, over the Steve Stephens-designed course to the win of the $30,000 Hunter Derby. In an exciting match-up of 40 top-notch horses and riders, Emma Kurtz and Dedication, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, led after the first round with a huge score of 186 points but were left out of contention in the second round.

Second-place finisher Kelley Farmer and Todd Minikus’ Exceptional were in fourth place after the initial round, with 178.5 points and added 185 points to their second round. Schatt and Mostly Sunny, a striking 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding, earned 364 evenly-split points to win the event just .5 points ahead of Farmer. Caitlyn Shiels and Cassius, owned by Durpetti Equestrian LLC, were in the eleventh spot after the first round. The pair stepped up with an outstanding second round to take the third-place prize.

Schatt imported Mostly Sunny from Europe when he was 5. A football fan, Schatt gave him his barn name, Larry, in honor of the legendary Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. As a 7-year-old, he was already competing in the High Performance Hunters and some derbies.

“He’s a very scopey and quiet horse,” Schatt said. “He was always a little inconsistent because he was still green. He had a couple of little injuries and he had to take time off. Now, he’s becoming the horse I always knew he could be.”

His owner, David Lubben (CH Farms), now rides with top hunter trainer Scott Stewart and offered Schatt the opportunity to continue to campaign him as a derby horse. She was thrilled to have him back. “He’s my favorite horse ever,” she said.

Schatt said that the first round rode very nicely but, for whatever reason, the handy round under the lights turned out to be challenging. After watching the first horse on the course, Schatt adjusted her plan. It worked out in their favor and earned them the victory gallop.

“Flowers for the champions, trees and shrubs everywhere, the VIP tent between the hunter rings — for a venue where show at a lot, they know how to make it a special horse show,” she said about the Country Heir I & II management.

Click here for complete results of Country Heir Week I.

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili Win $204k Coca-Cola Grand Prix CSI 4*

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – June 9, 2018 – The $204,000 Coca-Cola® Grand Prix CSI 4* for the Governor’s Cup at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) ended in victory for Kristen Vanderveen (USA) aboard Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, navigating the short course in 36.573 seconds to capture the highlight class of the 90th Tryon Riding & Hunt Club (TR&HC) Charity Horse Show Spring 6 competition. Aaron Vale (USA) took second aboard Finou 4, a 2006 Hanoverian gelding (Flashlight 16 x Concetto Famos) owned by Thinks Like a Horse and Donald Stewart, completing his jump-off round in 38.028 seconds, and Pablo Barrios (VEN) rounded out the podium steering his own Elana 22, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Almox Prints), to third place honors in 38.807 seconds.

Thirty-one entries tested the first-round track set by Ireland’s Alan Wade, and nine horse-and-rider pairs returned for a shot at the podium. Vanderveen and the 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Udarco), owned by Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC, were sixth to go and put down a fast, clear run that could not be contested.

Vanderveen described how her crowd-favorite mount has been competing for three weeks following a four-week break, and she “just had a feeling” about her win. “I can feel it with him,” she said. “He loves this sport so much and he has a lot of personality. He had about a four-week break, and this is our third week back showing. Typically the first week he is a little fresh; the second week we work out the kinks, and by the third week he is really focused. He gave me a really good feeling,” she said.

Explaining that she initially planned to try a new mount in the CSI 4* competition, Vanderveen said, “It was actually never my plan to jump him tonight, either. I have a new horse that I am really excited about, so I thought this class was where I really wanted to try and see where we were at together as a team. However, Frosty jumped so well on Thursday, I just couldn’t not use him! He’s my main man.”

Although she went late in the short-course order of go, Vanderveen elected not to watch the riders before her. She elaborated, “My horse has such a huge stride. It is deceiving, which allows us to do things that other horses can’t do. I had my plan pretty much set before any of them went. It is crazy how much ground he can cover,” she said of the stallion’s forward stride.

“I had to really focus on not rushing him and just letting his stride help him out tonight without me trying to force the issue,” she continued. “Sometimes I get a little too excited and it’s not necessary. Every time I start to mentally rush, I rush him and I might have a fault. I have to focus on the fact that I have a super fast horse. He’s got it covered and I just have to keep my cool.”

A frequent blue-ribbon recipient at Tryon, Vanderveen relayed that she’s glad to be back winning big, and in a familiar place. “It is really exciting to win tonight. It sounds silly, but it feels like it has been a while since we have had a big win. We went and did FEI World Cup Finals™ in Paris and it was a great experience to be in Miami, New York, and all of those big places. It was a lot of traveling and good placings and going from CSI 5* to CSI 5*, so it is nice to pull in a win back here at our venue. It feels like home,” she concluded.

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Luis Pedro Biraben Scores Big Win with Caillou in $70,000 1.50m Welcome Stake CSI 4*

Louis Pedro Biraben and Caillou. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – June 7, 2018 – Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) and Caillou flew through the short-course timers in 38.827 seconds to claim victory in the $70,000 1.50m Welcome Stake CSI 4*, a highlight jumper class during the 90th Tryon Riding & Hunt Club (TR&HC) Charity Horse Show Tryon Spring VI at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Fernando Cardenas Jr. (COL) and his own Quincy Car, a 2004 Oldenburg stallion (Galiani Car x Amour Parfait), put in the only other clear jump-off round to earn the red rosette in 40.132 seconds, while Samuel Parot (CHI) and the Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc. entry Thriller P, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Lucky Night), rounded out the podium on their four-fault, 36.294 second short-course performance.

Fifty entries tested the Alan Wade (IRL) course before six horse-and-rider pairs returned to tour the short course. Biraben and the 2007 gelding were second to go and were uncatchable after putting in a fast and clear performance. Biraben complimented his mount’s success in the past year, saying, “He finished the Wellington season nicely and then [did well] in Kentucky. Now he has a win here after competing well last week.”

“It rode really nicely,” said Biraben of the track. “There were not so many clears today. When I walked it I thought there would be ten, maybe twelve clear, and to have only six return in such a big field and others with so many faults on different obstacles throughout the course is significant.”

Based on his performance, Biraben explained that he has changed his plan to include piloting Caillou in Saturday’s $204,000 Coca-Cola Grand Prix CSI 4* instead of Colorado 210, who finished on 15 faults, he joked: “I don’t know what happened with [Colorado 210], but Alan is a top course designer. It was a very nice course to ride, with distances maybe a little bit short, but still very nice.”

After competing for the past two weeks at TIEC, Biraben plans to take the next two weeks off before setting off on a tour that includes competing in Kentucky, two additional weeks of competition at TIEC, and tentative appearances at competitions in Michigan, Chicago and New York.

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Irish on Song at Langley

Photo: Richie Moloney with Carrabis Z. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

Canada and USA clinch qualifying spots for Longines 2018 Final in Barcelona

Team Ireland posted a convincing victory in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Canada at Langley (CAN). In a five-country challenge they established their authority when holding the lead with just two faults on the scoreboard at the halfway stage, and then they wrapped it up in round two without having to call on anchorman Conor Swail for a second time.

Their final total of 12 faults didn’t truly reflect their supremacy which could have been even greater if Swail had returned to the ring. But they still finished six faults ahead of their Canadian hosts in runner-up spot while Team Mexico rallied brilliantly to line up third on 25 faults. USA had to settle for fourth when racking up a 34-fault total but that was still good enough to see them qualify, along with Canada, for the series Final in Barcelona (ESP) as the top two finishers in the North/Central America and Caribbean League qualifying series.

Brazil filled fifth and last place, but started with only a three-man side so had no drop-score, yet in keeping with the pattern of this fascinating competition the team showed a dramatic improvement second time out to finish on a total of 40.

When asked about the recipe for the Irish team’s recent successes, Chef d’Equipe Michael Blake said it is about putting a new strategy in place in order to expand the pool of horses and riders.

“Like a lot of countries, we had started to rely on the old guard too much. When I got the job, I decided the best thing we could do was develop as many riders as we could and give them Nations Cup experience. So last year 29 riders jumped on 20 different teams and we had 17 podium finishes out of 20. Obviously winning the European Championship was a big thing for us. This year, as of today, 25 riders have jumped on a Nations Cup team – we also had a win in Lisbon this weekend and for us to have two winning teams in the same weekend, that showed some depth!” — Michael Blake (Team Ireland Chef d’Equipe)

The Canadians always looked Barcelona-bound after winning the first two league qualifiers in Ocala (USA) and Coapexpan (MEX), but they couldn’t make it a hat-trick today when, despite a brilliant double-clear from pathfinders Tiffany Foster and Victor, they lost their second-line partnership. Keean White’s 13-year-old For Freedom Z took a severe dislike to the water-tray under the oxer at fence six and was eliminated. And water was a recurring theme all afternoon as the rain poured down on the Thunderbird show arena while American anchorman, Richard Spooner, gave a master-class in horsemanship at the open water obstacle. His 11-year-old Chatinus needed some serious encouragement just to splash through it first time out, but actually managed to clear it at his second attempt much to the delight of the crowd.

Daniel Coyle’s (23) uncharacteristic 13-fault result with Cita was Ireland’s only weak point in the first round. Richie Moloney (36) opened the competition with a foot-perfect run from the 15-year-old Carrabis Z, so when both former Irish armyman Brian Cournane with Dino and Swail with Rubens LS la Silla collected just a single time fault each then the team was well out in front going into round two. A second clear from Moloney meant that even adding the nine collected by Cournane and a single time fault from Coyle at his second attempt, the win was in the bag without Swail’s assistance.

Chef d’Equipe Blake said he was particularly pleased with today’s victory. “We targeted this event a year ago and put the team together early. All four riders managed to go one-time clear and Richie was brilliant – I’m so proud of him; he rode out of his skin. Daniel’s first round didn’t go to plan but he came back and did a great job, making a success out of potential disaster. That’s what Nations Cups are all about!” he said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Parot Jumps to Success during Conclusion of Tryon Spring V CSI 3*

Samuel Parot and Quick du Pottier. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – June 3, 2018 – Chile’s Samuel Parot concluded competition at Tryon Spring V on a high note, guiding his own 2004 Selle Francais gelding Quick du Pottier (Hurlevent de Breka x Silnette de Menell) to a first place victory on the Derby Field at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in the $35,000 1.45m Sunday Classic CSI 3*.

Parot piloted his mount across the fast track in 39.44 seconds, besting more than 25 combinations and riding more than two seconds ahead of second place pair Aaron Vale (USA) and Cassevel, a 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Cassini II x Quidam de Revel) owned by Hays Investment Corp., who claimed the red rosette after a jump-off time of 41.57 seconds. Third place honors were awarded to Manuel Torres (COL) aboard Santa Catalina Farm’s Alejandro, a 2009 Rheinlander gelding (Acorado’s Ass x Continue), who rode through timers in 41.7 seconds.

Parot and the gelding have been competing at the FEI level together since 2016 and have notched several top finishes at the venue. Of his turnout for the day’s class, Parot explained, “This horse has a lot of experience out on the grass. I’ve taken him out on it a lot in Europe at shows over there. It’s easy for him to come out here. This footing is fantastic.”

The duo competed throughout the course of the week, placing fifth in the $35,000 1.50m Welcome Stake CSI 3*, after riding to the fastest jump-off time of 33.505 seconds, but adding four faults to their score.

“He jumped out here the first day and we had a fast jump-off, but knocked a rail,” exclaimed Parot. “Yesterday he competed in the Grand Prix, but had two down very quickly, so I retired him to save him for today. That was the right choice and today he was fantastic.”

Parot plans to continue on with competition next week during the CSI 4*, and will stay at the venue until the end of July. He concluded, “For the summer I will stay here and then I will figure it out from there!”

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Andrew Kocher and Mattias Tromp Share Open Jumper Championship Honors at Devon

Mattias Tromp (left) and Andrew Kocher (right). Photo: The Book LLC.

Devon, Pa. – June 2, 2018 – Since Tuesday, international horses and athletes have been competing for valuable points towards the week’s coveted Open Jumper championship. Following their top performances throughout the 2018 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, Top Line Sport Horse International, LLC’s Kahlua, ridden by USA’s Andrew Kocher, and Beyaert Farm Inc.’s Eyecatcher, ridden by USA’s Mattias Tromp, were crowned the 2018 Open Jumper champions and winners of the Little Big Man Challenge Trophy. Both horses tied with 16 points at the conclusion of Saturday’s $70,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI4*, sponsored by Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar – Radnor, which was won by Kocher and Kahlua.

Lisa Arena Davis and Balou Fulfill Devon Dream with Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter Championship

The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions crowned their respective champions on Saturday at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, where Lisa Arena Davis returned to Devon after six years to earn the Devon Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter championship title aboard Balou.

Miller Young Fina and Maximum Velocity Find Victory in English Pleasure Saddle Seat Championship

The Dixon Oval hosted the English Pleasure Saddle Seat championship on Saturday evening, where 11 competitors put on their best show to vie for the tricolor ribbon. At the end of the evening’s class, it was Miller Young Fina who claimed the top prize with Maximum Velocity. Reserve champion was awarded to Elizabeth Ruffner and SSL Ringo.

For more information, please visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
info@phelpsmediagroup.com

Foot-perfect French on Fire at St Gallen

Photo: Nicolas Delmotte and Ilex VP. (FEI/Gustavo Lorenzo)

Second-placed Swiss move further ahead on leaderboard; Belgium takes third

There were great big smiles on French faces when Philippe Guerdat’s side won the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Switzerland at St Gallen (SUI). The French may be Olympic champions, but what made their victory all the sweeter is that there were no riders from Rio 2016 in the team that simply swamped the opposition when never putting a foot wrong all day in this third leg of the Europe Division 1 series.

And to make it all the more impressive, it took only three of their team-members to do it, fourth-line rider Olivier Robert (42) languishing on the sidelines as his compatriots ensured his services were not required in either round.

This was the 15th French win at the Swiss fixture since 1987, and the first time in 20 years for any country to win the Swiss Nations Cup with a zero score. The hosts lined up second with eight faults while Belgium finished third with 13. There were seven teams in contention and it was Germany who slotted into fourth (16 faults) ahead of Great Britain in fifth (17 faults), Spain in sixth (20 faults) and Brazil, winners at the previous leg in La Baule (FRA) two weeks ago, in seventh spot (21 faults).

Mathieu Billot (32) and the 12-year-old stallion Shiva D’Amaury led the French offensive while Nicolas Delmotte (39) and the 10-year-old gelding Ilex VP were third to go for the winning nation. But the biggest surprise of the day was the superb performance of Alexandra Francart (38) who was on a mission with her lovely nine-year-old stallion Volnay du Boisdeville. The lady who runs a relatively small 12-horse competition yard near the Belgian border, not far from Reims, was competing in her very first 5-Star Nations Cup and only her second 5-Star show. And she admitted that she got her chance only by pestering Chef d’Equipe Guerdat over the last few months.

“My horse is very talented and the first time we placed in a 3-Star Grand Prix I told Philippe – okay, we are ready; it’s time to give us a chance! Then I told him again a second time, and when I called him a third time he agreed!” — Alexandra Francart (Team France)

She took that chance in both hands when bringing her horse home twice without a hiccup to prove her point. The French were already in the lead after the first round followed by the Swiss carrying just four faults and the Belgians carrying nine. Riding the brilliant mare Bianca, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat was also double-clear, while the British were unlucky.

Their pathfinder, William Whitaker, produced two spectacular clears from Utamaro d’Ecaussines and Holly Smith followed suit with Hearts Destiny. But Samuel Hutton and Happydam racked up 17 first-round faults and these had to be counted when Louise Saywell’s Golden Wave was eliminated at the open water. Hutton was fault-free second time out and while it was too late to rescue them from a minor placing, the British effort suggests Di Lampard’s pool of team contenders is steadily growing.

The winners from France will next line out in round four of the eight-leg Europe Division 1 series in Sopot, Poland in two weeks’ time, where they will be hoping to add to their points tally on the league table which continues to be dominated by the Swiss.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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