Category Archives: Show Jumping

Rolex and Equestrianism: An Enduring Legacy

Photos: Ms. Baade riding Clemens in the Wallküren-Preis at CHIO Aachen, 1930; Isabell Werth riding Satchmo at CHIO Aachen, 2010.

More than 60 years ago, Rolex formed a partnership with the greatest show jumper in history to represent Great Britain, the pioneering Pat Smythe. Winner of more grand prix events in more countries than any man or woman before her, she was the first female rider to participate in the Olympics and the first to win a medal, a team bronze in Stockholm in 1956. Like Rolex, she was an innovator, always pushing back the boundaries of what was possible. In 1957 Smythe joined the Rolex family, becoming its first equestrian Testimonee, marking the start of one of the strongest alliances in the sport. Since then, Rolex’s bond with the equestrian world has grown stronger each year. In 2019, Rolex celebrates several key anniversaries within the sport, with milestones for two elite equine events and two legendary athletes.

ROLEX GRAND SLAM

Rolex’s association with one of the sport’s four prestigious Majors began 30 years ago when it partnered with the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, the annual show jumping competition held in the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Canada. It was here, in 2015, that Rolex Testimonee Scott Brash etched his name in equestrian history by becoming the first and, to date, only winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the sport’s ultimate prize awarded to the winner of the Grand Prix at three successive Majors. His feat was the result of an unwavering quest for perfection, an unprecedented display of precision and excellence required to win all of these historic Majors.

Preceding the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ is the CHIO Aachen, an event that this year celebrates 20 years of partnership with Rolex. Founded in 1924, this revered event in Germany is the oldest of the four show jumping Majors. Its rich heritage is cherished by the knowledgeable 360,000 fans that annually fill the 40,000-seat open-air stadium over nine days of top-tier competition. Widely considered equestrianism’s “homecoming” event, CHIO Aachen is often likened to The Championships, Wimbledon, being the oldest and most prestigious tournament within the sport. Another quality it shares with the esteemed tennis event, which Rolex is proud to have partnered for more than 40 years, is the unquestionable passion of the spectators who travel far and wide to watch their heroes in action. Isabell Werth is one rider who enjoys superstar status at CHIO Aachen, competing in front of an adoring home crowd whose noisy adulation fills the purpose-built Hauptstadion.

THE QUEEN OF DRESSAGE

Over the years, Werth has become known as “the queen of dressage,” a title bestowed on her due to a glittering career that has helped elevate the discipline to new heights. Werth has won more Olympic medals than any other equestrian athlete in history, 10 in total, six of them gold. Her long list of achievements includes a World Championship victory in 2006 at Aachen, where she was presented with an engraved Rolex Timepiece, and a gold medal for team dressage and a silver for individual dressage at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Speaking of her key achievements, Werth said: “You don’t forget those special moments, even after all these years. Every time I look at my Rolex watch it reminds me of reaching the very top of my sport.”

THE PESSOAS

Another key member of the Rolex family is the Brazilian show jumper Rodrigo Pessoa. Son of Nelson Pessoa, a legendary equestrian athlete in his own right, Rodrigo seemed destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. Commenting on his childhood, Rodrigo says: “My father travelled a lot. Taking me to the shows was a way for us to spend time together and he wanted to see if I would catch the horse and competition bug at a young age, and I did.” As Rodrigo grew up, he had the benefit of his father’s knowledge and expertise to guide him through the highs and lows of being an elite equestrian athlete. Nelson supported his son every step of the way, from the moment he first made an impression on the sport at the age of 19, to winning Olympic gold in Athens in 2004. Rolex also has supported Rodrigo during his decorated career. Throughout this partnership, 20 years old and still going strong, the gifted rider has received many accolades and established himself as one of the most respected names in the sport. Of the partnership, Rodrigo says: “The support from Rolex shows how committed they are to our sport and to raising the level of professionalism. The progress made in our sport over the years has been tremendous and it would not have been possible without Rolex elevating the bar.”

Having competed in the upper echelons of the sport for more than four decades, Pessoa decided to take his career in a new direction towards the end of 2016, turning his focus towards coaching and accepting the highly respected position as Irish Chef d’Equipe. In this role, he found himself mentoring young Irish rider Bertram Allen, Rolex’s youngest equestrian Testimonee. In the same way Nelson imparted his wisdom to Rodrigo, the latter now finds himself tutoring one of the sport’s most exciting prospects. Rolex’s partnerships with key figures in the equestrian community, such as Pessoa, Allen, and Werth, run across generations and continents, enabling knowledge and experience to be shared. Rolex is confident this process will perpetuate a cycle of renewed and enduring excellence, the benefits of which can already be seen through Pessoa’s rapid success as Ireland show jumping team manager, to give one example. Within a year of Pessoa taking the reins, an Irish team featuring Allen claimed team gold at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg. Coincidentally, Werth took gold in all three dressage categories she competed in at those Championships, once again highlighting Rolex’s wide-ranging support to top equestrian athletes.

YOUNG RIDERS ACADEMY

It is worth noting that these top competitors’ partner with Rolex not only when they are at the pinnacle of their careers, but also as aspiring riders striving to make their name in the sport. Allen, for example, is a graduate of the Young Riders Academy, an initiative supported by Rolex and the most prestigious training course available to young equestrian athletes. Since leaving the Academy, Allen joined the Rolex family of Testimonees and represents a new era of equestrian excellence. They serve as a reminder of Rolex’s long-standing support for human achievement, which can be traced back to the brand’s pioneering roots and is demonstrated by its creation of the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, the Rolex Oyster.

By nurturing young talent and supporting them as Testimonees on their journey to becoming champions, the Swiss watchmaker’s presence permeates all levels of the sport. The brand’s belief in unlimited human potential, in striving for continuous improvement, is embodied in a word inscribed on every Rolex Oyster watch. Perpetual. The important equestrian anniversaries being celebrated in 2019 highlight Rolex’s long-standing and continuing commitment to this elegant and historic sport.

Minna Hall
rEvolution
http://revolutionworld.com

Alberto Michan Wins $25k Equine Tack & Nutritionals Grand Prix aboard Zambia Mystic Rose

Alberto Michan and Zambia Mystic Rose. ©ESP.

Wellington, FL – November 12, 2019 – The ESP Fall Series continued this past weekend with the ESP November show, taking place at the main grounds of Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Alberto Michan of Israel maintained his winning streak, claiming top honors in Sunday’s $25,000 Equine Tack & Nutritionals Grand Prix, this time aboard Nilson Da Silva’s Zambia Mystic Rose. The pair flew through the timers in just 37.368 seconds after returning for the second round with only two other horse-and-rider combinations. Heather Caristo-Williams of Saugerties, NY was very close behind, finishing the jump-off track in 37.245 seconds with four faults, aboard Qui Vive Des Songes Z, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo. Finishing in third place was Kyle Dewar of Ocala, FL and F Gunsmoke RHF, owned by Joan Burke, after a 39.719-second jump-off with four faults added to their score.

Course designer, Andrew Christiansen, set the track for a total of 20 competitors on Sunday afternoon. Only three pairs returned for the second round. Michan commented that he felt lucky [to win] because it was a very technical course: “Especially that triple combination line – it rode a little forward then always an oxer-vertical-vertical combo makes it very short and very careful. So I think there the horses had to do a lot for themselves and take care of those rails, so very tricky for sure.” This is Michan’s third victory in a row, twice on the newly engineered footing surface. ” It rides very nice and the horses feel soft in the landing and still have a very good push off the ground. Even for the first weekend, it had great grip and the horses felt secure,” stated Michan. “In the jump-off, I actually lost a shoe and my mare still kept jumping very well for the rest of the course!”

Speaking of horses’ shoes, Heather Caristo-Williams’ mount, Qui Vive Des Songes Z, completed the entire feature class without shoes this past Sunday. “He’s had a lot of problems with quarter cracks in the past, so we took the summer to condition his feet to withstand jumping bigger tracks without shoes,” said Caristo-Williams. “I felt confident enough in the new footing to ride him barefoot and the surface felt incredible this weekend. My horse seemed very comfortable, even when we were speeding around some of those jump-off turns. It had enough bounce and give on the landing side of the jumps and I’m looking forward to competing on it this winter.”

Alberto Michan also rode Zambia Mystic Rose to victory in Friday’s $10,000 Equine Tack & Nutritionals 1.40m Open Stake after completing the jump-off in 44.122 seconds. When asked about the recent wins, Michan commented, “It’s been three great weeks, with three different horses!” This particular pair has not been competing together long: “They gave me this mare a couple of months ago. Nilson [Da Silva] has a big breeding farm in Brazil that produces a lot of top horses, some that recently have been to the Pan American Games, so I’m lucky to have her. She’s a very cool horse.”

Claiming second place was Juan Manuel Bolanos Barrios of El Salvador with his entry, After Eight following a 45.988-second round. Karina Rocha Mello’s Lamina Van’t Gelutt Z was piloted by Joao Eduardo Ferreira De Carvalho of Brazil to a third-place finish once they crossed through the timers in 47.051 seconds.

To learn more about the ESP Fall Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Super-Cool Briton Brash Bags Victory in Verona

Scott Brash and Hello M’Lady. (FEI/Massimo Argenziano)

The saying “it’s never over until the fat lady sings” rang loud and true at the fourth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League in Verona, Italy where Great Britain’s Scott Brash posted a spectacular last-to-go victory with Hello M’Lady.

It seemed as if Ireland’s Darragh Kenny was about to provide the perfect post-competition headline for the competition staged in the “City of Love” when setting a super-fast target with the 10-year-old Romeo in the 16-horse jump-off. It was fast and furious from the outset, and when this pair galloped down the final line and stopped the clock on 36.06 seconds, there really didn’t seem to be any room for improvement on that.

But Brash, team gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is the king of cool.

“I was fortunate enough to be at the end so I could see how fast I had to go. Darragh had done a really good round; he was very, very fast so I had to take all the risks today. M’Lady was really fantastic and I’m delighted with her!” — Scott Brash (GBR)

He described Uliano Vezzani’s first-round track as “tough and delicate,” the angled oxer at fence eight and the line from the vertical white planks at nine to the double at fence 10 claiming a significant number of victims. He said the time-allowed of 80 seconds was “maybe a bit too generous, but it showed the calibre of horse and rider here today that we got 16 clears!”

It was The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante who were holding the lead with a time of 36.64 seconds when Kenny rode into the ring. The 31-year-old Irishman and his handsome horse were smooth and fast through all the twists and turns, and the always-vocal Verona spectators roared with approval when they scorched through the finish to reset the target at 36.06 seconds.

World No. 1, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, came close to that with Alamo, the horse with which he claimed his third Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title earlier this year, when breaking the beam in 36.19. And home hero Emanuele Gaudiano, third last to go, drove the crowd into another frenzy of excitement when just fractionally slower with the extraordinary Chalou whose toe-pointing jumping technique is quite unique.

As Brash set off with his 13-year-old mare, he looked cool, calm, and completely collected. He had worked out every inch of his run to perfection, and by the time he came racing down the long run to the last, it was clear he was out in front, the timers confirming his win when showing 35.55 seconds after he landed over the final fence to a wall of sound.

“I finished second here in Verona a couple of years ago (with Ursula) so it’s great to go one better here this time around! M’Lady is a delicate mare; she can get a little stressed with the atmosphere, so it took be a bit of time at this show just to get her relaxed in the collecting ring, but her talent showed through in the end in the jump-off today – I thought she was amazing!” — Scott Brash (GBR)

Kenny would have to settle for second while Guerdat finished third.

Guerdat, who now heads the Western European Leaderboard going into the next leg in Stuttgart, Germany next weekend, described the jump-off as “very fast!”

He said, “This last few weeks I missed most of my jump-offs so I wanted to keep my head a bit cooler today and try to not risk anything stupid, and the horse being naturally fast it was enough for the third place. But you know today if you don’t risk it all it just isn’t possible anymore to win a class like this. But I’m very pleased with the horse; he couldn’t have been any better today. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season with him.”

Meanwhile, Brash reflected on his result and what it means for him and his brilliant mare. When asked if he might have Tokyo 2020 on his radar for her, he replied, “Yes, the Olympics is certainly on my mind and I would hope to think M’Lady is going to be one of my strongest contenders for next year.”

He is careful about how he is managing her with that in mind. “She was off for quite a while through injury a few years back, but she jumped at this summer’s European Championships to help qualify Great Britain for Tokyo,” he explained. He then dropped her down a level, jumping her at St Tropez in recent weeks before asking her to step up again in Verona. This result has confirmed for him that she’s very happy to be back at the sharp end.

“It’s nice to feel that she feels competitive at the top end of the sport again – so I’ve high hopes for next year!” he said.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Allen Brings Sold-Out Crowd to Its Feet with Last-to-First Victory in Toronto

Bertram Allen and GK Casper. (FEI/Simon Stafford)

Bertram Allen (IRL) landed off the final fence and brought a sold-out crowd to its feet with his victory in the $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto (CAN).

The 24-year-old’s elation was evident as he rode GK Casper to the top of the class in the gelding’s World Cup debut. Last to go in a four-horse jump-off, their winning time over Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) shortened track was 34.70 seconds. Jos Verlooy (BEL) and Igor led until that final ride and settled for second with a 35.41-second time, while Brian Moggre (USA) finished third with MTM Vivre le Reve. After topping World Cup competition in Lexington (USA), they rounded out an international podium with a time of 35.83 seconds.

“That’s what it’s all about. Everyone wants to win the grand prix, last to go, in front of a full house. It was one that I really wasn’t expecting, so it made it all the more sweet.” — Bertram Allen (IRL)

With five riders from the top 15 on the Longines World Rankings in the field, the competition was formidable, but Vaillancourt set a stern challenge. GK Casper was especially eager when meeting the enthusiastic crowd for the first time, but after riding a textbook round, Allen brought back a more relaxed partner for the jump-off. The gelding’s massive stride brought the duo positively flying down the last line and into the lead.

“I was struggling a bit in the first round — all week to be honest,” Allen explained. “He went in on the first day [of the competition], and he was very spooky. He wasn’t supposed to come here as my [top] horse, as I was meant to take another one, and he had to step up a bit. I knew if I got the first round behind me, I wouldn’t have to worry about the jumps as much in the second round. I could really give it a lash.”

Allen has had the 11-year-old for nearly five years, and his patience with the gelding is paying off in spades.

“He’s always been fantastic,” Allen said. “He’s a very good jumper and very careful. It’s taken him longer to get to this height. For most horses, their first season doing this [level] is as 9-year-olds. This is his first season now. I’ve always said, ‘Whatever he can jump, he can win.’ I knew he could be very competitive over here for these few weeks. He had been jumping fantastic, but we were just missing the last bit of luck. It all came through today.”

With his podium finish, Moggre takes over the lead in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with 56 points. Beezie Madden (USA) sits second with 49 points, and Rowan Willis (AUS) is third with 34 points.

The North American League continues with west coast action in Las Vegas (USA) on 16 November 2019.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Sternlicht Saves Best for Last in Thermal

Adrienne Sternlicht aboard Bennys Legacy. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) had only jumped Bennys Legacy at three events before heading to the west coast for World Cup competition, but the pair proved their partnership is already strong with a statement-making victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Thermal (USA).

Last to go in a five-horse jump-off, Sternlicht and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding jumped right to the top of the podium, crossing the timers of Alan Wade’s (IRL) shortened course in 39.56 seconds. Keri Potter (USA) and Ariell la Sirene finished second with a 40.89-second time, while Adam Prudent (USA) and Baloutine, the only other double-clear performers on the day, finished third. Their time was 41.83 seconds.

“It’s my third show with him and my third jump-off. I thought that this jump-off played to his strengths. He’s not a horse that’s particularly used to going fast, as he’s incredibly careful. I just tried to ride a smooth round and take advantage of his stride, take time where I needed, and challenge him in a few places.” — Adrienne Sternlicht (USA)

Bennys Legacy has been in Sternlicht’s string since the summer, and the gelding’s victory held special meaning given its timing.

“He’s named after an Irish boy that bought him as a foal. He passed and they named the horse after him,” she explained. “It’s a really special story. My groom and manager Emma Chapman was there with him the night before he died. For her, when I got the horse, it was a bit emotional. Thursday was the anniversary of his death. Those that knew Benny say the horse reminds them a lot of him. The horse knows that he has something special.”

Sternlicht was making her first trip to Thermal, traveling with Chapman while her trainer, McLain Ward (USA), was competing in Toronto (CAN) on a double-header weekend of North American League action. She sealed her win by leaving out strides in the first and final lines of the jump-off.

“It gives me a lot of confidence to prepare on my own,” Sternlicht said. “The two grooms I have here know me and my horses inside and out, and I know I can always call on them. As a rider, I’ve learned a lot from these experiences of being on my own. [Ward] called me after the first few went and asked if I had any questions. He tries to watch as much as he can, and I watch him. It’s a real team effort the way we do the sport.”

Following her win, Sternlicht moved into third place in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with 26 points. She trails only Beezie Madden (USA) with 48 points and Brian Moggre (USA), who has 41 points. On the west coast, Karl Cook (USA) remains atop the standings with 49 points, while Ashlee Bond (ISR) is second with 39 points. Potter (USA) moved into third with 32 points.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Ben Maher Victorious over Eric Lamaze in Battle of Olympic Gold Medalists at Royal Horse Show

Ben Maher and Tic Tac. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, ON – It was a true battle of excellence as Olympic team gold medalist Ben Maher of Great Britain nudged Canadian Olympic individual gold medalist Eric Lamaze for victory in the $85,000 Big Ben International Challenge on Thursday night, November 7, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 97th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt set a testing track that allowed the best horses and riders in the world to showcase their skills in front of a packed house in the Coca-Cola Coliseum. A total of 15 riders qualified for the jump-off, setting the stage for a battle of epic proportions.

As the 10th rider back for the jump-off, Lamaze set a blistering pace in front of the home crowd, slicing and dicing around the shortened track before galloping through the timers in 37.17 seconds. Next to challenge, Maher used Tic Tac’s huge stride to his advantage. When the clock flashed 36.75 seconds, Maher moved to the top of the leaderboard and remained there to take the win for owner Jane Clark.

“I think a lot of people didn’t like me in the stadium here this evening to beat Eric, but it’s sport; I always try my best!” said Maher, 34, who won a team gold medal as a member of the British team at the 2012 London Olympics.

“[Tic Tac] deserved this win,” continued Maher of the 16-year-old Belgian Sport Horse stallion. “He’s been knocking at the door. He didn’t jump many shows, but he had a couple of second places, so it’s nice to win a class with importance like this this evening.”

While Lamaze, 51, was forced to settle for second with Fine Lady 5, he currently leads both the GroupBy Leading International Rider and Leading Canadian Rider standings, helped by a win in the $37,000 Jolera International Strength and Speed Challenge on Wednesday, November 6.

Third place in Thursday night’s class went to Margie Goldstein Engle, 61, of the United States who stopped the jump-off clock in 37.61 seconds riding Dicas, owned by Gladewinds Partners, LLC.

Earlier in the day, Daniel Coyle of Ireland claimed the win in the afternoon’s featured $37,000 Brickenden Trophy. Riding Farrel for owner Ariel Grange, Coyle topped a 12-horse jump-off after posting the winning time of 31.85 seconds. Next into the Coca-Cola Coliseum, 18-year-old Brian Moggre of the United States made a valiant attempt to catch the leading time riding MTM Flutterby, but he settled for second place when the clock flashed 32.28 seconds. Australia’s Rowan Willis took third place with a time of 33.29 riding Calisto 26, while Lamaze and his mount, Chacco Kid, were fourth with a time of 33.68 seconds.

For more information, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Winn Alden Wins Welcome Stake, Jumper Classic, USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC

Winn Alden and Question de Cour ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – November 6, 2019 – Winn Alden (Bristow, VA) was the star of Tryon Fall Festival 1 at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort, claiming wins aboard Jamie Stryker’s Question de Cour in the $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake and $15,000 Jumper Classic, also piloting Curtis Loew to a win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby.

In the $15,000 Jumper Classic hosted Sunday, November 3, Alden piloted the 2009 Warmblood gelding of unknown breeding to a win by stopping the short-course timers in a time of 37.683 seconds and with one rail down. The pair had previously conquered the $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake on Friday, November 1, continuing their winning ways at the venue. Second place went to John Angus (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) aboard Stephanie Angus’ W. Tonix Hero, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Ogano Sitte x Itaquine de Roll), who stopped the jump-off timers in 39.177 seconds with four faults, while third went to Robert Stucky (Waxhaw, NC) riding Caron Stucky’s Uranus 112, a 2011 Oldenburg gelding (Uccello x Conny), to a first-round score of 75.559 seconds with four faults in the first round.

“This is my first show with him,” Alden revealed of Question de Cour. “I brought him here to see how he would do and get to know him because I have two A shows the next two weeks. I love him! He tries really hard. He gets a little nervous when the course is over, but he tries hard, jumps well, and he’s really careful. He’s jumped some in Europe, but hadn’t done a ton of Grand Prix classes.

“I think it [the course] was perfect for this class,” she detailed. “He [Dean Rheinheimer] does a really good job based on who’s at the horse show and what kind of class it is. I think that it was challenging enough for the horses who were here, without being too hard. It rode really nicely! There were a couple of questions, but not overly difficult.”

As it was her first competition with the gelding, Alden shared that Sunday was also her first jump-off experience with Question de Cour, where she aimed to stay clear, and then to be the fastest four-fault round when the pair knocked a rail:

“It was the first jump-off I’ve done with him. He won the Welcome, but we didn’t have a jump-off, so my strategy was really just to be clear [this time]. He hit the second jump – I think he wasn’t sure that we were going to it – so I knew I had to go a little faster. He’s been great!

“Tryon is one of my favorite places to horse show,” emphasized Alden about the venue. “It’s where I won my very first Grand Prix a few years ago, so it’s really fun to win my first one on him here, too. The staff is really nice and accommodating. We love coming here and look forward to coming back!”

In Friday’s $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake, Alden and Question de Cour stopped the first-round timers in 72.483 seconds and were the only pair to put in a clear round, guaranteeing them the win without a jump-off. John Angus (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and Stephanie Angus’ W. Tonix Hero, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Ogano Sitte x Itaquine de Roll), knocked one rail and stopped the clock at 62.439 seconds to finish in second, while Alden also claimed third with Andrew Kocher’s Altezza du Jardin, a 2010 Selle Francais mare with unknown breeding, ending on four faults in a time of 73.801 seconds.

It was the first time ever Alden had competed with Question de Cour after he’d been imported from Europe, and day one started with two wins, she detailed. “Today is the first day that I have ever shown him. His owner, Jamie Stryker, imported him from Europe and sent him straight to me. I came here to get to know him before I show him next week at an A show. So far, he’s really fun! He feels like he can jump the big jumps.

“The course was perfect for the horses that were here,” Alden continued. “The in-and-out was a bit tight which is what got Altezza du Jardin, my other mount. I think Dean Rheinheimer does a really nice job.” She concluded, “I didn’t know what to expect with Question de Cour. I did him in a 1.20m class this morning and he won, but I had no idea how he would handle the bigger jumps.”

Winn Alden and Curtis Loew Claim $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Alden dominated Tryon Fall Festival 1 competition in the Hunter ring as well as in the Jumpers, claiming Saturday’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Curtis Loew, the David Raposa-owned 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Contender x Fayence), on a total score of 177. Robert Stucky (Waxhaw, NC) and Allie Rae Hayes’ The Girl From Ipanema, a 2009 Hanoverian mare (Clinton I x Vorbuch), totaled 173 to claim reserve, while Tori Bentley (Alpharetta, GA) piloted Charles M. Waters’ Cornesch, the 2010 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Tornesch x Coriria), to a two-round score of 158 for third.

“This is my third show on him, and he hasn’t shown in about a month,” said Alden of the talented gelding. “I plan to do the four-foot division and the International Derby Raleigh next weekend, so I wanted to bring him down here first. He’s the sweetest horse, and is really good at the handy rounds! He loves them.

“It was a nice course,” detailed Alden of the Dean Rheinheimer-set course. “I think he does a really good job with both the Hunter and Jumper courses. I was a little bit late up one line in the first round, so I was a little worried about a lead-change, but he [Curtis Loew] was good. In the handy, I took a couple risks because I knew that Curtis is really good at it. I thought he really stood out in the handy round,” Alden reflected of their second score of 91.”

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

Alberto Michan and El Pacho Conquer $25,000 Osphos Grand Prix during ESP Fall Finale

Alberto Michan and El Pacho. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – November 5, 2019 – The final Hunter and Jumper competition to be hosted at Equestrian Village took place this past weekend with the ESP Fall Finale. Although rain kept this past Sunday’s feature class off of the Derby Field, Alberto Michan of Israel and El Pacho, owned by Pablo Mejia, were still thrilled to conquer the $25,000 Osphos® Grand Prix in the Van Kampen Covered Arena with a 39.58-second jump-off round. Finishing only two seconds behind with 41.036 seconds on the clock was Theo Genn of Lebanon, OH riding Taylor Blackman’s Boucanier, while Maria Schaub of Wellington, FL claimed the third-place position aboard Gotico Di Ca’ San Giorgio, owned by Evergate Stable, LLC, after a 44.182-second jump-off.

Santiago Lambre of Mexico rode his Doloris to a fourth-place finish in 40.565 seconds with four faults, while Diego Perez Bilbao of Spain and Victoria Vargas D’agostino’s Orso Del Terriccio completed round one in 79.661 seconds to claim fifth place. A total of 20 competitors challenged the first track, designed by Andrew Christiansen, with just five returning for a second trip. With a two-second lead, Michan explained where he thinks he shaved off those final seconds: “I was able to see the riders that went before me, and Theo [Genn] did a fast track, but I saw at the end [of the course] that those final 8 strides that we all talked about when walking the course weren’t that forward for him. So I thought there I had a chance to do the seven [strides] and I think that’s where I got the shorter time.”

While the plan was to host the Grand Prix on the Derby Field, Michan expressed his satisfaction that it was held in the Van Kampen covered arena: “I think they were very right to move it under the covered with all the rain we got today. The grass is beautiful here, but it was also very warm on Friday for the Stake so we riders, horses, etc. were happy to be inside and stay cooler today. I think the horses were happier and seemed to jump better too.”

Friday’s $10,000 Osphos® 1.40m Open Stake was bested by Gianni Gabrielli of Argentina and Maidensway’s Chaco 34 after the put in a final time of 37.915 seconds. Crossing through the timers in 38.502 seconds to claim second place was Johan Kachelhoffer of South Africa with his entry Carlos 691, while Joao Eduardo Ferreira De Carvalho of Brazil finished in third with a 43.425 aboard Karina Rocha Mello’s Lamina Van’t Gelutt Z.

To learn more about the ESP Fall Series and PBIEC, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Martin Fuchs and Clooney: What Else?

Image copyright PSV.

It was certainly no easy task to overcome the difficulties of the course designed by Gregory Bodo for this Grand Prix Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Lyon 2019. In particular, the two combinations – the triple at number 7 and the double vertical at number 9 – gave the 40 riders who had qualified for this class a hard time. Several top riders got caught out, such as Simon Delestre and Pénélope Leprevost, who made mistakes on the triple with Hermes Ryan and Vancouver from Lanlore, and the German rider Daniel Deusser, who had a 4-point penalty on the double.

In fact, just thirteen riders found the solution on the first round. The American Jessica Springsteen was the first to do a double clear round and set the bar high with a fast time of 41.85 (second overall). Everyone tried to go faster by taking risks in this high-speed jump-off, but only one rider managed to finish in front of the American, and not just anyone! Riding his faithful Clooney 51, the young Swiss rider Martin Fuchs made his mark in style with a time of 41”27. The world number two – who was silver medallist at the last World Championships, and became European champion this summer in Rotterdam -retained the title he won in the arena in Lyon in 2018. “This is such a great win. Clooney was in great form today. It was amazing. I was lucky going into the double verticals in the first round, when he touched the bars slightly, but then he was very obedient for the rest of the course. I was also lucky to be among the last riders to take to the arena in the jump-off. I had the chance to look at Jessica’s horse, which has the same kind of stride as Clooney, and I wanted to try and jump the course like her. On the last jump, I just tried to remove one stride and that’s how I won,” said Martin Fuchs. Now at the top of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup ranking for Western Europe, the Swiss rider intends to continue on the circuit, but with other horses: “Clooney’s not going to do anymore World Cup stages. I just wanted to do one stage with him to make it to the finals. Normally, I would not have used him for this competition, because there are the Olympic Games next year. But I wanted the do the best stage with Clooney and so I chose Lyon. It was the right decision. I will do the stages in Stuttgart, Madrid, and London with other horses and then see who I take to the final.”

At the end of the class, the American Jessica Springsteen – who was second – said she was delighted with her horse, which she has been riding for almost a year and a half. “It took me almost six months to find my feet with her. She’s a very obedient horse. She was already great on Friday in the qualifying Grand Prix for the World Cup stage, so I am very happy with her. Being based in Europe and competing with the best in the world has really helped me to improve. But I must admit that the good results I’m having on the circuit are also due to the great complicity I have built with my horse. So, we’re doing just fine together.”

Third place went to the Belgian rider Peter Devos, who rode a quick jump-off, finishing within the same second in 41”95. “I was really happy with my horse today. She had a few weeks off and came back in good form. I looked at what Martin did and I know he’s always very fast. Same thing with Jessica. I had to be careful because my horse is not so easy to ride. When I go a little too fast, she can be a little hard to handle. So, I had to keep her calm and I did a good round with the right distances everywhere. There is just the line between the first two obstacles where I thought of removing a stride, but finally I decided against it because no one had tested that option.”

The last rider to set off in the jump-off was the Frenchman Julien Épaillard on Queeletta, and he put in a great performance. With a double clear round, the best-ranked French rider in the class took fifth place in this World Cup stage with a horse that he has only been riding since the beginning of the summer. “This is my first 5* Grand Prix with Queeletta so I’m really pleased; she jumped very well. I had a good weekend. I would have liked to be faster in the jump-off, but the others were better today and… I’ll be back,” he joked. Having already won the first round of the CSI 5* this weekend, this couple is certainly one to keep an eye on.

During the press conference, Grégory Bodo (the course designer) spoke about the layout of this Grand Prix for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup stage in Lyon: “I watched the qualifying class at the Grand Prix on Friday evening, and I understood the approach I needed to adopt for today, despite the fairly large number of clear rounds. I wanted to make a very smooth course. It was quite long, but really with a horse’s mindset. Riders needed to gallop from beginning to end in the class. It should be noted that Lyon is one of the largest indoor arenas in the world, and I don’t think the horses were out of their comfort zone. Just as we wanted, the mistakes came from all over the course. I think there was a good first round and a good jump-off.”

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

Fuchs and Clooney Take Lyon by Storm Again

Martin Fuchs with Clooney. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and his brilliant gelding Clooney showed exactly why they are the superstars of the sport right now when scorching to victory in the third leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League at Lyon in France.

The 27-year-old rider, who is reigning European champion and No. 2 on the current Longines world rankings, was back on familiar territory, having also won this leg 12 months ago with his same grey wonder-horse. And it was just another magic Sunday for the Swiss star and his equine flying machine when they romped to success once more in the 13-horse jump-off, rocketing to the top of the WEL League leaderboard.

They were chasing the target-time set by America’s Jessica Springsteen and RMF Zecilie who zoomed around the jump-off track in 41.85 seconds, the lovely 12-year-old mare almost clearing the wings of the oxer three from home as she put on an exhibition of enthusiastic athleticism. But, fifth-last to go, somehow Fuchs and Clooney put the result almost beyond doubt when stopping the timers just over half a second sooner.

“I was lucky to start at the end of the jump-off because I could watch Jessica as I know her horse has about the same stride as Clooney. So I planned to do like her, except I made one less stride to the last fence which made me win today!” — Martin Fuchs (SUI)

French course designer, Gregory Bodo, described the 14-fence first-round course as “quite long but horse-friendly,” and it was the triple combination at seven and the double at fence nine that claimed most victims along with the time-allowed of 84 seconds. However, 13 found the key, and 27-year-old Springsteen really put it up to the rest of them with her breathtaking ride when third to go against the clock.

No-one had really challenged her until Fuchs set off with all guns blazing, but once the Swiss rider put 41.27 seconds on the board there were still four more to follow, and none of them were shrinking violets. However, his compatriot and World No. 1 Steve Guerdat (Venard de Cerisy) clipped the penultimate vertical, and despite being double-clear the final three – Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano (Chalou), Belgium’s Pieter Devos (Claire Z), and Frenchman Julien Epaillard (Queeletta) – didn’t jostle the leading pair out of place, Devos taking third when breaking the beam in 41.95.

Talking about her mare RMF Zecilie, runner-up Springsteen described her as “an amazing horse – it took me about six months to get to know her but now we are all set up and she is great!”

Fuchs meanwhile has the world at his feet, and is already looking forward to next year and what it will bring. “It’s a big victory today. Clooney was in great shape and he jumped wonderfully,” he said, adding that he’s not specifically targeting any more Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifiers with his super-champ.

“I just wanted to do one (qualifier) with him so I can take him to the Final if I need to, but because of the Olympic Games next year the plan is not to take him to Las Vegas. I will go to Verona, Stuttgart, and London with other horses to try to qualify, and if I do then I will decide which horse I will bring,” the Swiss rider explained.

With or without Clooney, he looks a very good bet to make the cut to the Longines 2020 Final which will take place in Las Vegas, USA from 15 to 19 April, especially since he already has more than half the points required at this early stage of the 14-leg Western European League which moves on to Verona, Italy next weekend.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

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