Category Archives: Championships

Emily Kowalchik Claims Boggs Hill KHJA Equitation Championship at National Horse Show

Emily Kowalchik on Fernleigh. Shawn McMillen Photography.

Lexington, KY – October 27, 2018 – The highly-anticipated National Horse Show returned Saturday to its home in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park for its 2018 installment, the culmination of the east coast summer equestrian season. This year, the National Horse Show offers new equitation championships throughout its opening weekend, with the Boggs Hill NHS KHJA Equitation Championship, presented by the Goguen Family, serving as the first to crown a winner and the feature event of day one’s competition. The inaugural champion, Emily Kowalchik, masterfully directed Kelsey Taylor’s Fernleigh to top marks across two phases to earn the top slot on the leaderboard, while nine different junior and adult combinations each rode to victory in their respective age-group classes.

In its debut year, the Boggs Hill NHS KHJA Equitation Championship saw its first crop of qualified contenders take their turns around course designer Bobby Murphy’s track for a shot at the blue ribbon. Entries into the inaugural class were determined by the year-end standings of the KHJA based upon showings throughout the year, so only the top performers were eligible to compete in the grand finale, consisting of a preliminary over fences round and a flat phase. Over the course of the class, Kowalchik and her mount consistently displayed their equitation talent to pull away from the group and distinguish themselves as the class leaders, ultimately claiming the championship title.

The 27-year-old Kowalchik reigns from Loveland, Ohio and has been training with David Beisel for 13 years. Though she has a long relationship with her trainer, the tenure with her horse is newer, having only just picked up the ride this past July. Fernleigh has experience in the equitation and showed up at Beisel’s stables as a sale horse at the time that Kowalchik learned she had qualified for year-end classes, and the fit seemed perfect. Kowalchik will return to the show ring Sunday hoping for another championship title, this time in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship.

Larissa Hufnagel of Lexington, Kentucky earned the reserve championship just behind Kowalchik, a positive start to her first appearance at the National Horse Show. Hufnagel piloted her own Devout, the horse she has been paired with for the last three years, and used her knowledge of the horse’s normal way of going to ensure they set themselves up for success. Owner-rider Adeline Pavlin of Cincinnati, Ohio rounded out the top three podium spots with her horse, Ragazzo Carino.

Earlier in the day, age group equitation classes for juniors and adults offered exhibitors opportunities to display their precision and correct form in the show ring, both over fences and under saddle. In the Under 14 Equitation, Emma Borders aboard her own Chapot Z claimed the top honors under saddle, while the duo of Madison Nadolenco and her own Quieri finished in first place over fences. Owner-rider Hensley Humphries and Ixion Van Het Netehof similarly proved their prowess in the ring to earn the highest distinction in the 14-15 Equitation Section A on the flat, and Sheridan Johnson maneuvered Palmyra Partners’ Brad Pitt to the blue ribbon over fences. In Section B, Maggie Hill and Charmeur, owned by North Run, earned first prize under saddle, while Dominic Gibbs and Limitless, owned by Erin R Gibbs, scored the highest in the over fences class.

In the slightly older age bracket, Marcus Cmola Au and Barn Rat LLC’s Nobel Laureate were double winners, laying down the best showing of the division to earn the top position in the 16-17 Equitation under saddle and over fences. Elizabeth Chenelle, in the irons aboard Armand Chenelle’s Li Bond, claimed first place in the Adult Equitation on the flat, and Hannah Brown and Dimacho, owned by A. Brooke Farr, rounded out the series of winners in the Adult Equitation over fences.

For a detailed event schedule, click here.

For tickets, click here.

Eliza Kimball Claims $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship

Eliza Kimball and Available Ohio. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography.

Jumper riders took their turn in Capital One Arena during the second day of competition at the 60th Anniversary Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) on Wednesday, October 24. WIHS continues through Sunday, October 28, with coveted hunter, jumper, and equitation competition in the heart of Washington D.C.

Eliza Kimball of New York, NY had never competed at WIHS, but her mount is no stranger to success in the city. Available Ohio, a 16-year-old Selle Français gelding by Flipper d’Elle that Kimball leases from owner Carly Hoft, won the WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship in 2017 with Hoft in the irons before carrying Kimball to her debut win this year.

Available Ohio topped a competitive jump-off field of 19 horses by crossing the timers in 30.719 seconds over a course designed by Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany. Kimball was just fractions ahead of second-place finisher Erin Floyd of Austin, TX, who stopped the clock at 30.932 seconds riding Russell, owned by Floyd Sport Horses, LLC. Emily Aitken of Bedford, NY took third on Zabelle S in 31.266 seconds for owner Lima Bean, LLC, while Layla Kurbanov of Greenwich, CT placed fourth riding Wamira, owned by Jill Shulman, in 31.726 seconds. Calista Bell of East New Market, MD rounded out the top five with her own C’est Bon Cidane in 33.348 seconds.

“I’ve never done an indoors circuit before. I used to focus mostly on the hunters, but when I started riding with Ken and Emily Smith at Ashland Farms a year and a half ago, I got very serious about the jumpers and equitation.” – Eliza Kimball

King and Co-Starr Speed to Top of $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship

Riding in her second time at WIHS, Stephanie King of St. Augustine, FL sped to the top of the class in the $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship, presented by Days End Farm Horse Rescue, riding Co-Starr, her 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Promise. For the win, King was presented with The Dorothy Foote “Goodie” Taylor Memorial Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Ashton Hill and Miss Linden Joan Hill.

King and Co-Starr were one of 16 combinations that qualified for the jump-off. They were the fastest of nine double-clear rounds with a time of 27.175 seconds. Second place went to Morgan Baugher of Buckeystown, MD and Down the Rabbit Hole, who had a time of 27.911 seconds, while Leslie Schillat or Malvern, PA and SLF Destiny were third in 28.095 seconds.

WIHS President Vicki Lowell of Lexington, KY piloted Phineas, owned by Sleepy P Ranch LLC, to fourth place in 28.226 seconds, and Alyson Gurney of Washington, DC and Black Friday rounded out the top five with a time of 28.286 seconds.

King, who trains with Chad and Brooke Watridge, made the plan to stay steady with striding, but “focus on being tidy” in the turns. The plan worked, and they led the victory gallop at the end of the night.

“We came last year and didn’t quite make it to the jump-off. After I went clean in the first round today, I was super happy. Then to go in and have such a great jump-off, I was just thrilled.” – Stephanie King

Lindsay Maxwell and Belgravia Sweep Amateur-Owner 35 & Under 3’3” Hunters for Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Championship

Lindsay Maxwell of Beverly Hills, CA and her own Belgravia delivered an impressive sweep of the Amateur-Owner 35 & Under 3’3” Hunter division on Tuesday and Wednesday at WIHS, winning all three of the over fences classes and the under saddle to take the division tricolor. The pair’s perfect score in the division ultimately guaranteed them the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter championship, sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest M. Oare.

“This is one of my absolute favorite shows; it means a lot to me to win here,” said Maxwell, a strong supporter of the WIHS through her own Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund. “[Belgravia] has just been incredible throughout this indoor season. I had him for indoors last year, but I’d only had him for about a month. We had some great shows, and having a whole other year with him under our belt has really gotten him and us to a place where we know him really well and can rely on him being the same horse every time we come out.”

Maxwell came into the day with over fences and the under saddle wins.

“The pressure was still definitely on today. It’s fantastic competition [at WIHS].” – Lindsay Maxwell

“In the handy, we got to go last, which was definitely an advantage because I knew where the scores were and where I needed to be. He’s gotten handier and handier; we sort of have that aspect of his ride down which is really nice,” continued Maxwell.

For more information on WIHS, please visit www.wihs.org.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jwood@jumpmediallc.com

Lily Pollin and Allison Cederberg Claim $10k WIHS Children’s and Adult Hunter Championships

Lily Pollin and Pura Vida. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography,

The six-day, 60th anniversary Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) kicked off on Tuesday, October 23, at the Capital One Arena in the heart of Washington, D.C. Tuesday’s opening day of competition featured the start of the professional and amateur hunter divisions, as well as year-end championships for child and adult hunter riders.

Earning wins in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship were Lily Pollin riding Pura Vida and Allison Cederberg on Zero Tolerance, respectively.

Twenty-six entries contested the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship, with the top 12 from an opening round returning in reverse order of their standings for a second round. At the conclusion of the first round, Pollin sat in fifth place aboard Pura Vida with a score of 82. However, a score of 86 over the second, Alan Lohman-designed course shot her to the top of the leaderboard with a 168 overall score.

“It means everything to win. I love [WIHS] because I’ve been coming here and watching my mom since I was really little. I think it’s so cool to be able to ride in the city and at the Capital One Arena!” – Lily Pollin

Allison Cederberg and Zero Tolerance Score Debut Victory at WIHS

When Allison Cederberg heard the final scores of the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship, she knew she had won and threw her arms around the neck of her mount, Zero Tolerance. Cederberg, 22, hails from Fort Collins, CO and earned a score of 168 to take the tri-color riding her own 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Roven during their first-ever appearance at WIHS.

Cederberg was one of the 12 riders who qualified to return for a second round from an original starting field of 26. Coming back for the final course, she sat in first by a narrow margin, and she held on for the win, with Britta Lippert of Sea Girt, NJ finishing a single point behind on a 167 score riding Indigo for owner Gianna Zanghi. For the win, Cederberg was presented with the Diane Wade Memorial Award.

Addie Jabin of Columbia, MD, took third with a score of 160 in the irons of her own Axtrex, while Clare Karlovec of Cleveland, OH, finished fourth riding her own Milord du Valon to a score of 159. Lydia Davidson of Fairfax, VA, rounded out the top five with her own Park Avenue on a final tally of 155.

“To win here is amazing. To be here is amazing, and Zero was incredible. He walked in [Capital One Arena] like he had been doing it his whole life. Everything came up really well, and he jumped amazing. That’s all you can really ask for.” – Allison Cederberg

For more information on WIHS, please visit www.wihs.org.

Contact: Jennifer Wood
jwood@jumpmediallc.com

Irish Sport Horse Studbook Reigns Supreme Once Again

Kitty King and Cristal Fontaine. (FEI/Libby Law)

The Irish Sport Horse Studbook won the overall title for the second consecutive year at the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses 2018 which drew to a close at the Haras National at l‘Isle de Briand in Le Lion d’Angers (FRA). The title is decided by the best three scores of each Studbook in both categories, and it was the performances of Emerald Jonny ridden by Great Britain’s Piggy French, Cooley Moonshine with America’s Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp, and Universal Cooley with Britain’s Camilla Millie Dumas that decided the result when these three finished second, third and fourth in the 6-year-old division.

The combined score for the Irish-bred horses was 79.5, giving them almost three points of an advantage over the second-placed Selle Français Studbook while the KWPN Studbook of The Netherlands finished third on a score of 102.0.

There were 25 Irish horses representing eight nations in the two categories, but it was the Selle Français gelding Cristal Fontaine that claimed the 6-Year-Old title for Britain’s Kitty King while the Brandenburg mare, Asha P, was steered to success in the 7-year-old class by Germany’s Ingrid Klimke.

6-Year-Olds

King and the French-bred grey owned by Alex Wakeley posted a score of 25.4 for third place on Dressage day and never faltered. America’s Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Moonshine were the dressage leaders ahead of Dumas and Universal Cooley in second while British compatriot, Piggy French, sat in fourth spot going into cross-country day when the 20-fence track presented relatively few problems.

However, single showjumping errors cost the top two dearly, dropping Halliday-Sharp to third and Dumas to fourth while clears for King and French saw them claim the top two places.

King (36) is an Olympian and a veteran of multiple Young Horse Championships at Le Lion where she previously finished third with Zidante as a 6-year-old before returning to win the 7-year-olds with the same horse the following year. She was filled with emotion when she realised she’d done it again and was mighty proud of her lovely grey gelding.

“He’s just tried really, really hard. I always said to the owner he was as good as Zidante… and I’m just chuffed to bits with him. Millie (Dumas) and Liz (Halliday-Sharp) are on really good jumpers; I know what their English form is like so I would have been delighted to just finish third on my dressage score. It’s wonderful; I’m so pleased for my team at home, my sponsors and especially my owners!” — Kitty King (GBR)

A total of 40 horse-and-rider combinations started in this category and 36 completed.

7-Year-Olds

In contrast to the younger horses, the 7-year-olds found the cross-country test set by master course designer Pierre Michelet much more challenging, with 19 different horse-and-rider combinations racking up penalty points including three that retired and seven that were eliminated. A total of 69 started in this category, and 56 completed.

Newly-crowned team and individual world champion, Great Britain’s Rosalind Canter, made it all the way to fence 20, four from home, before her Irish-bred Rehy Royal Diamond collected 20 penalties for a refusal. Well down the line in 17th place after dressage she finished 44th in the final analysis, while dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, was eliminated for a fall with Chocolat at fence 8 which left the three-time Olympic gold medallist with a shoulder injury.

As a result, second-placed Klimke and Asha P rose to pole position when cruising round the cross-country track well inside the time-allowed of 9’14”, but going into the final phase they had only 0.3 of a lead over Britain’s Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin who posted the second-quickest cross-country time. However, a fence down saw this pair drop to fifth and it was Great Britain’s Tom Jackson with the Irish-bred Capels Hollow Drift who slotted into runner-up spot behind Klimke and her bay Brandenburg mare who never put a foot wrong. Third place went to Astier Nicolas from France with Babylon de Gamma (SF) and Belgium’s Karin Donckers and Leipheimer van’t Verhah (BWP) finished fourth.

Double Olympic and double World Championship team gold medallist Klimke, who clinched individual bronze with SAP Hale Bob at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA last month, was delighted with her result.

“It’s my third win at the Mondial du Lion and the happiness is still the same! I love more and more bringing young horses to top level, and winning here is really important. My mare is really good and I believe she will easily rise to 3-Star level. I have no doubt she will step into Hale Bob’s shoes!” — Ingrid Klimke (GER)

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap to Represent U.S. at FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) introduced the Holekamp/Turner Young Event Horse Le Lion d’Angers Prize and Grant in 2012 with the support of Dr. Timothy and Cheryl Holekamp and Christine Turner to encourage the development of future U.S. Eventing Team horses by providing them with increased international exposure and opportunity as young horses. The grant is awarded yearly to the highest scoring horse from the USEA Young Event Horse 5-year-old East and West Championships combined during their 7-year-old year that is qualified, willing, and able to compete in the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses at Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers in France.

Horses must have completed one CCI* and one CIC2*, both with no cross-country jumping penalties and no more than one rail in show jumping, in order to be qualified to compete in the FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships 7-year-old CH-2* division and therefore be eligible for the grant.

In the interest in promoting domestic breeding, North American-bred winners of the Grant are awarded with a cash prize of $17,500 to offset the expenses of traveling to France for the Championships, while imported horses are awarded $8,000. Since the intention of the prize is to create a pipeline for U.S. Team horses, the eligibility of top-placing YEH horses remains with the horse, regardless of change of rider after the YEH 5-year-old Championships. However, the horse must be ridden by a United States citizen to receive the grant.

Doug Payne’s Quantum Leap (Quite Capitol x Report to Sloopy), a 7-year-old Zweibrucker gelding, is the recipient of the 2018 Holekamp/Turner Grant and will be traveling to Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers to represent the United States at the 2018 FEI World Breeding Eventing Championships. Bred by Elizabeth Callahan of Cool Na Grena Sporthorses in Oxford, Maryland, Quantum will be the second North American-bred horse to compete at the Championships with assistance from the grant. The first North American-bred horse to receive the grant was Fleeceworks Royal (Riverman x Marisol), a Holsteiner mare owned by Judith McSwain and bred by Charlotte Wrather of Cottonwood Ranch. Twilightslastgleam (National Anthem x Royal Child), an American-bred off-the-track Thoroughbred owned by Tim and Nina Gardner and bred by Nina, was named the recipient of the 2017 Holekamp/Turner Grant but had an unfortunate minor injury before boarding the flight to France.

Payne selected Quantum as a yearling and produced Quantum all the way up to the two-star level without a single cross-country jumping penalty on his record. Most recently, Payne and Quantum won the Intermediate division at the Millbrook Horse Trials in August and were second in the CCI2* at Ocala International in April.

“He was well bred and put together,” recalled Payne of Quantum as a yearling. “We trusted Didi in that this was the second of four horses that we currently have of hers. We try to buy at least one yearling a year to ensure a pipeline of talented horses for the future. Being that we have the space, it’s the most affordable means to do so.

“In the barn is a just like a big dog, and he’s an odd combination of quiet and sharp when riding,” shared Payne. “He’s very quick and careful to jump and his flat work is coming along very well. He’s just starting to be able to use his body as a cohesive unit rather than some massive unattached spider legs. He’s absolutely a future champion!”

Payne has competed overseas on three separate occasions: in the CCI3* at Boekelo aboard Running Order in 2010, in the CCI3* at Saumur aboard Crown Talisman in 2014, and in the Blenheim CCI3* with Vandiver last fall. “I have looked forward to our return to France ever since [competing at Saumur],” Payne commented. “It’s an incredible honor to attend such a competition and I think Quantum will greatly benefit from the experience.”

“I think [the Holekamp/Turner Grant] is a great asset for U.S. eventing,” stated Payne. “In the end these talented young horses will go on to represent the United States. International trips like this will only better prepare them for that experience. This is, after all, the stated goal of the Young Event Horse program, to develop future talent for team success in the years to come.”

Payne expressed his gratitude to Susan and Dave Drillock, who joined the team behind Quantum when he was a 4-year-old. “Without their help I would not have the opportunity to ride such an incredible horse.”

The 2018 Le Mondial du Lion d’Angers will take place on October 18-21, 2018, just 2 hours and 30 minutes southeast of Paris, France.

Authored By: Jessica Duffy – USEA Staff
© United States Eventing Association

International Equestrian Athletes Gather in Lexington for National Horse Show

Lexington, KY – Oct. 15, 2018 – Equestrians from around the world will soon arrive at the Kentucky Horse Park to compete at the National Horse Show, Lexington’s biggest show jumping event of the year held October 27 – November 4, 2018.  An exciting 8 days of world-class equestrian competition, the National Horse Show feature events include the $135,000 International Open Jumper Classic on November 1, the $50,000 NHS Hunter Classic on November 2, and our premier event, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ on Saturday, November 3. With over $845,000 in total prize money, the National Horse Show is proud to welcome Olympians, World Champions, and top international equestrian athletes, including the United States Gold Medal World Championship Team.

On Saturday, November 3, join us for the National Horse Show 5k to benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Center at 5pm, followed by a Breeders’ Cup Viewing Party in Maxwell Place, a boutique shopping and dining experience.  Local barns are eligible for complimentary tickets and prizes as part of Barn Night.

We are proud to offer a unique opportunity for local charities to earn a cash bonus as part of our new NHS Bluegrass Charity Initiative, presented by Goshen Hill and Meralex Farm. Various Bluegrass charity organizations are encouraged to register for their chance to win cash bonuses on either Friday November 2 or Saturday November 3.

For complimentary tickets to support one of our participating charities, use one of the following ticket codes at nhs.org/tickets:

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation: JOCKEYCLUB

Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center: SECRETARIAT

Making a Difference Now Kentucky: MADNKY

Old Friends Equine (Thoroughbred Retirement Farms): OLDFRIENDS

Paris Animal Welfare Society: PAWSPETS

United Professional Horsemen’s Association: UPHA

The first two days of competition are all about the amateur and young riders. Saturday, October 27, the National Horse Show is proud to host age group equitation classes and the Boggs Hill National Horse Show KHJA Equitation Championship. Sunday October 28th features another full day of equitation beginning with the inaugural Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championships, followed by the Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championship. Admission is free of charge and boutique shopping will be open!

Hunter classes begin at 7am on Tuesday, November 30th with Jumper classes beginning on Wednesday evening with the Free x Rein $35,000 International Jumper Welcome Speed class at 7pm. The excitement will continue to build on Thursday with the $35,000 Palm Beach Masters Series International Open Jumper Speed class and the $135,000 International Jumper Classic at 8pm. Friday night’s competition features the Salamander Hotels and Resorts $35,000 Accumulator class followed by the $50,000 NHS Hunter Classic.

Saturday will host the main events, kicking off with the NHS 5k benefitting the Kentucky Equine Humane Center at 5pm. After the race, join us for a Breeder’s Cup Viewing Party in Maxwell Place before the featured show jumping event, the $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington at 7:00pm. Watch the top show jumpers in the world compete for a chance to qualify for the Longines FEI Jumping™ World Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden next year.

Sunday will conclude the week’s events with the prestigious ASPCA Maclay National Championship presented by Chansonette Farm in which the top junior riders from across the country will compete for the 2018 title.

Admission is free and open to the public October 27-30.  Tickets are required for evening competitions on Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2, and for all competitions on Saturday November 3 and Sunday November 4. Boutique shopping and dining will be open in Maxwell Place during show hours.

For a detailed event schedule, click here.

For tickets, click here.

Sportsmanship Takes Center Stage at Arabian Horse Association Sport Horse Nationals

Hillary Boothe at the AHA Sport Horse Nationals. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Boothe)

Nampa, ID (October 4, 2018) – The 2018 Sport Horse National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Show held in Nampa, Idaho is known for its glitz, glamour, and high spirited horses. This year one young lady outshined all of the sparkle with her outstanding smile and sportsmanship. Hillary Boothe, of Lompoc, California, competed two horses over the weekend and greeted everyone she encountered with warmth and sincerity.

Boothe was overjoyed that her outstanding sportsmanship was recognized during the show. The Sportsmanship Award is presented to one competitor at the National Arabian Championships who displays exemplary sportsmanship during the competition. Boothe was presented with a tri-colored sportsmanship ribbon and a silver engraved tray presented by the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

Boothe owns and runs Promises Ranch LLC alongside her mother, Sarah. Together, they have built a strong presence on the Arabian horse scene and have won countless Champion and Reserve Champion titles along the way. Boothe competed in a wide variety of classes over the weekend with her mounts. My Khinda Party, a six-year-old stallion, was bred and raised by Boothe herself. This made his stellar performance that much sweeter. She was thrilled with his performance the entire weekend. Boothe’s second mount was Susan Claycamp’s six-year-old Khiamo Ko, who stole the show.

For more information, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Blum Breezes into Jumping History Books When Clinching Individual Title at Tryon

Simone Blum celebrates winning the Bank of America Individual Jumping title. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Germany’s Simone Blum (29) etched her name into the record books when becoming the first woman in the 28-year history of the FEI World Equestrian Games™, and only the second female athlete in the 65-year history of the World Jumping Championships, to take the individual title when coming out on top in the Bank of America Championship at Tryon, USA.

In a finale that kept spectators on the edges of their seats she produced two more fantastic clear rounds with the extraordinary mare, DSP Alice, to put the result beyond doubt. And it was a super day for the Swiss when Martin Fuchs (26) claimed silver with Clooney and Steve Guerdat (36) and Bianca bagged the bronze.

“This was a perfect day. Alice jumped great for the whole week; she had no fault in five rounds of competition; she was unbelievable! And she’s so careful… she has the biggest heart and I think this week she knew that she could win the hearts of all of the sport… she really wanted this win today!” — Simone Blum (GER)

In pole position as the action began, Blum made Alan Wade’s first-round course, that caught out so many of the other 25 starters, look like a walk in the park. Guerdat was one place off the medal podium in fourth spot and just over a fence off the leader. And he was on fire today with the mare Bianca, never putting a foot wrong but unable to overtake compatriot Martin Fuchs who collected two time faults in an otherwise blissful tour of the track.

When Austria’s Max Kuhner slipped out of silver medal spot with two fences on the floor from Chardonnay then Blum had a fence in hand and Fuchs and Guerdat were now stalking her. She couldn’t afford both a fence and a time fault, however, but she wasn’t quite clear about that going into the US Trust arena for the last time. “Actually, when I came into the course I was so focused that I wondered, ‘can I have one down or not?’ Maybe I should try to ride a clear round!” and that’s exactly what she did, never looking in any danger as the incredible Alice soared high and wide before galloping through the finish with just a single time-fault to add.

Going last and keeping her head is all in a day’s work for the rider who, during her early career, was often specifically chosen as anchor rider on teams because of her coolness. And although this was her very first major Championship, she was selected for Tryon because she has shown incredible form at top level in recent years, winning the German Ladies title in 2016 and then coming out to top the 2017 German Men’s Championship in which the best German ladies are also entitled to compete.

The sense of achievement of all three who were presented with their medals by IOC President Thomas Bach and FEI President Ingmar De Vos was tangible. For Fuchs it was particularly special moment because his 12-year-old gelding Clooney underwent colic surgery this spring, but has made a tremendous recovery.

And 2012 Olympic champion, Steve Guerdat, was elated – hardly surprising as Bianca produced two breathtaking tours of two enormous tracks.

“My biggest pride today is for my horse. We had a few championships where I think she jumped better than any other horse, but we kept just having one down and I always went home a bit disappointed because I really wanted to give her the medal that she really deserves. And I thought it was going to go the same again this year – she was jumping amazing since the beginning of the week; she touched two fences all week… so I tried to get it together today and I’m so proud of her and so happy that today the world can see how special she really is!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

When asked if it felt special to have two Swiss riders on the podium, he replied, “Yes, but to have like another brother is even more special! I think everybody knows that I’m the son of Philippe Guerdat and I have an amazing family and I have an amazing brother, but everyone also knows how special Family Fuchs is to me. We train together, we are neighbours, we talk every day. They are like my second family and they treat me like I’m their third son so that makes it as special as it gets!”

For Blum, who also collected team gold on Friday, there is now another very big day ahead. She said she owes her success to her fiancée, Hansi Goskowitz, because “he found Alice, and he is the most wonderful man for me in the world and it’s just because of him I am sitting here! I will marry him in the next four weeks – he will become Mr Blum!”

Full results here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Vaulting Championships Come to an Epic Conclusion

Chiara Congia and Justin van Gerven of Team Germany. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

In a breathtaking finale to Vaulting at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA, Team Germany, their individual female star Kristina Boe, and Lambert Leclezio from France all took gold under supreme pressure in the Christie’s International Real Estate arena.

Boe, a formidable competitor and ambassador for the sport, now holds the European, World Cup, and World Championship titles.

Her innate story-telling and characterisation have been stand-out characteristics throughout her years of success in the sport.  Her astonishing achievements have been aided by her incredible relationship with lunger Winnie Schlüter and the impressive horse Don de la Mar. Posting an unbeatable combined score of 8.388, she managed to halt the challenge launched by compatriot Janika Derks.

“As a result of the new Nations Team Championships, it is the first time that it is possible to win two medals for an individual.  To come away from Tryon with two gold medals makes me speechless and more than grateful,” Boe said.

“Last night, Winnie and I sat together and said all that we hope for this last freestyle is to do one round in utter harmony, where I can enjoy my performance. I love my music, my whole programme and I didn’t even care what would come in the end. I just wanted to have that one goose-bump round.” — Kristina Boe (GER)

Derks, who took the bronze medal alongside Johannes Kay two days ago in the Pas de Deux competition, came out all guns blazing.  With Carousso Hit and renowned lunger Jessica Lichtenberg, her final freestyle highlighted her impressive strength yet was beautifully contrasted with classical music. Finishing on 8.374, she kept the pressure on Boe right to the end. Bronze went Austria’s Lisa Wild for the second time this week.

The highest freestyle score of the day went to Germany’s Sarah Kay who posted 8.880 in the final test (8.308).  However, her assault on the medals came too late in the competition as she finished on a combined total of 8.308 to line up fourth.

Lambert Leclezio from France dominated the individual male category as his execution, artistic impression, and utter control meant he was in a league of his own. “It is the accumulation of hard work over the past four years. Every day waking up with the end goal of the 2018 World Equestrian Games in mind. It is a real honour to win here for France,” he said. He got a standing ovation from the Tryon spectators as he once again changed the face of the sport.  It was his partnership with Poivre Vert and Francois Athimon that allowed him to perform with such confidence to finish on 8.744.

This lunger and horse partnered Jacques Ferarri to the gold medal four years ago in Normandy (FRA), so it was a very special moment when they did it all over again, but with a new vaulter this time around. Poivre Vert, who has done so much for the sport, will now retire.

“This was his last competition and I had the honour to finish his career. He is an amazing horse and by far the best I have competed with. I spent one year with him; it was short but really intense,” Leclezio said.

“I have had him for ten years and he is an absolute warrior! He is mentally very strong and the most incredible horse – unbelievably reliable.” — Francois Athimon (FRA)

The standard throughout the class was exceptionally high, but it was Germany that continued their impressive form to secure both second and third places on the podium. A second silver at these Games went to Jannik Heiland on Dark Beluga lunged by Barbara Rosiny, who were consistent, fluid and harmonious to finish on 8.606. Fellow-countryman Thomas Brüsewitz claimed bronze supported by Danny Boy who was lunged by 2010 Individual Male gold medallist Patric Looser (8.533), and who managed to overtake yet another of the powerful German contingent, Jannis Drewell (8.509).

The squad championship was a perfect conclusion to an amazing week. With only 0.001 separating overnight leaders Team Germany and Team Switzerland it was always destined to be a nail-biting final and it was the Germans who really rose to the occasion, leaving no doubt that they would walk away double gold medallists from these Games.

With competitors taking to the arena in reverse order of merit, it was the Swiss who were the first of the two big-hitters to stake their claim to the title. But with gold on the line they had some nervous moments and had to settle for silver together with their horse Rayo de la Luz and lunger Monika Winkler-Bischofberger (8.433). However, their head-to-head battle with Team Germany will go down as one of the greatest of all time.

Last to go, the German squad produced a stunning performance of their captivating ‘Now You See Me’ freestyle. With their horse Danny Boy and Patric Looser on the lunge they looked at ease despite the immense pressure and their freestyle, laced with big lifts and eye-catching dismounts, delighted both the audience and judges alike.  By the end of their routine gold was guaranteed (8.638).

It was Team Austria who rounded off the podium, taking bronze alongside Alessio L’Amabile and Maria Lehrmann on the lunge (8.198), with USA in fourth (8.000) and Italy in fifth (7.986).

Results here.

By Hannah Eccles

Media contact:

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

Stunning Day of Freestyle Rounds Off Para Dressage Championships

Italy’s Sarah Morganti. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

On the day of the “dancing horses,” The Netherlands’ Sanne Voets became the first ever non-British rider to win three gold medals in one major international championship before team-mate van der Horst put the icing on the Dutch cake by doing exactly the same. And topping off an incredible five days of competition there was a history-making moment when Japan secured its first ever Para Dressage medal at the Adequan© World Para Dressage Championships at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA.

Competing in the Grade V competition, and less than two years out from the Tokyo Paralympic Games, Japan’s Tomoko Nakamura and Djazz F scored 73.540 to take a surprise bronze. Nakamura said, “I was so nervous and it went so quickly and I feel so honoured to be in such a big competition.”

An imperious score of 80.150% was more than enough for Great Britain’s Sophie Wells to pick up her second gold of these Games in the grade’s Freestyle. Riding C Fatal Attraction, she finished ahead of The Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar and Alphaville N.O.P. who scored 79.155% to take his second silver.

Speaking after the test, Wells said her horse was “a little bit tense today and on edge but he’s come out this week and given me everything. When you miss out on an Individual Gold [WEG 2014] after training every day it’s hard, but to achieve this after a big gap like I’ve had is amazing. That’s why Rio 2016 was so special because I missed out on the gold in London 2012 too!”

The day started with victory for Sanne Voets, and that first ever non-British triple in the Grade IV competition. Riding her beloved Demantur N.O.P. she scored 79.645% to finish ahead of Brazil’s Rodolpho Riskalla on Don Henrico who posted 77.780%.

“This horse two years ago won the first ever Paralympic gold medal for the Netherlands, and he contributed very much to our first ever team gold medal on Friday, and now he is the first one taking home triple gold for the Netherlands in the World Games. I couldn’t be happier!” — Sanne Voets (NED)

There was double joy for Team USA too, as Kate Shoemaker claimed the bronze on Solitaer with 73.230%. It was the host nation’s second medal of the Games and comes hot on the heels of their amazing fifth place in the team competition.

A stunning display of control and grace by Italy’s Sara Morganti took the freestyle gold in the Grade I competition – her second of the Games. Riding Royal Delight, her horse for the past eight years, Morganti scored 78.867 ahead of Rihards Snikus of Latvia. Snikus, a keen DJ in his spare time, rode King of the Dance to score 76.113% and pick up his first ever global medal, having broken onto international scene at the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg in 2017, where he picked up a silver and a bronze.

“It’s incredible and so big an emotion I can’t even describe it,” Morganti said after waiting for confirmation of her win. “We won three out of three [the pair had the highest score in their grade’s team test as well] and I was hoping for a medal, but I didn’t dare hope for two gold medals. It’s a dream come true and so very fantastic!”

The two wins here at WEG will help Morganti put the disappointment of Rio 2016, when her horse didn’t pass the compulsory veterinary check, behind her. “I needed to come out here with my horse and show how good she is,” she said, “and we worked so hard at home to do our best and she’s improved. The beautiful thing is she continues performing at the top of the ranking and competitions. This is even more than a gold!”

And double US joy turned to triple when Roxanne Trunnel, riding Dolton scored 75.587 to pick up her nation’s third Para Dressage medal by taking the bronze.

There was a huge squeal of delight from Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup when she saw her score in the Grade II contest. Riding Horsebo Smarties she posted 78.947%% to take the gold ahead of Austria’s Pepo Puch on Sailor’s Blue with 75.500. The Netherlands’ Nicole den Dulk took bronze on Wallace N.O.P. with 74.573 – a replay of the grade’s individual and freestyle contests.

“I don’t think there are any words for how amazing I feel. It’s been out of this world and incredible and much more than we ever hoped for. I’m really proud and really happy. I don’t know what else to say. All the years of hard work make this all meaningful.” — Stinna Tange Kaastrup (Team Country)

The Grade III freestyle rounded off the day and The Netherlands’ Rixt van der Horst joined team-mate Voets as a triple gold winner, scoring 77.437% on Findsley. Continuing the USA’s incredible run, Rebecca Hart added silver to her bronze from the individual on El Corona Texel with an impressive 73.240%. Germany’s Angelika Trabert continued her return to the sport by taking the bronze on Diamond’s Shine, with a score of 71.840%.

“It has been such an amazing year for the Netherlands. I have no words for it, both in terms of me and what the team did!” van der Horst said.

But there was high drama when Great Britain’s Paralympic Champion Natasha Baker was thrown from her horse, Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, during her test, eliminating her from the competition. “My ego was bruised and so was my backside,” she joked afterwards, “but at least I landed on the centre line!”

So at the end of a brilliant week of competition, The Netherlands sits comfortably atop the overall medal table, with five golds, two silvers and two bronzes, followed by Great Britain with two golds, and one silver. Denmark is third with two golds and a bronze, while Riskalla’s two silvers give Brazil the fourth spot. The USA sits fifth with one silver and three bronzes.

Results here.

By Rob Howell

Media contact:

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