Category Archives: Championships

Individual Gold for Thieme on a Magnificent Day of Sport

Andre Thieme. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Individual glory for Germany’s Andre Thieme and his lovely mare DSP Chakaria brought the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2021 to the perfect close at Riesenbeck (GER). On an afternoon of spectacular sport, the 46-year-old rider rose from overnight silver into gold medal position in the first of two final rounds. Once there, he held on tight, pinning Friday’s team gold medallists, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei, into silver while Sweden’s Olympic team gold and individual silver medallist Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not took bronze.

And the new champion wasn’t holding back. At a press conference filled with joy, relief, reflection, and laughter, Thieme said, “I’m just as much in love with that horse as I am with my wife – and she accepts that!” before turning his attention to Fuchs.

The Swiss rider had teased him by calling Thieme “one of the happy ones!” when he met him in the aftermath of Friday’s team competition, in which the hosts had to settle for silver. But the German rider pointed out that the result had been very close. “And he looked at me and said, ‘Did you really think you guys could beat us? He really said that!” Thieme said with a laugh, very pleased that he had managed to turn the tables on the 29-year-old defending champion, who had to settle for runner-up spot this time around.

Vintage

It was vintage stuff from start to finish and course designer, Germany’s Frank Rothenberger, played a big part in ensuring drama and excitement all the way.

Fuchs was in the lead as the action began, but there was less than a fence between the first seven and less than two fences between the top 12 in the opening round in which the top-24 started. And when the Swiss rider’s fabulous nine-year-old, Leone Jei, hit the oxer after the water at fence nine, then he opened the door for his German rival whose mare made it look pretty easy as she posted a clear to take the lead.

Only the top 12 returned for the second-round medal-decider, and Fuchs was lying fourth on a score of 5.31 this time out, with the sensational partnership of Ioli Mytillneou and Levis de Muze from Greece in third on 4.64 and Sweden’s Fredricson now in silver medal spot, just over two points behind Thieme.

So when the Swiss star lowered the first element of the triple combination in the final round, it seemed his chance was gone. But that fence caused multiple problems and when Mytillneou and her brilliant stallion met it all wrong, she decided to retire. At 24 years old, and with relatively little experience compared to those she was competing against, it was a mature decision as Show President Ludger Beerbaum pointed out later in the day.

So that let Fuchs into bronze medal spot, and when Fredricson’s grey gelding hit the second fence, Fuchs moved up into silver. Thieme could now afford one fence down but no more, and at the bogey triple combination he used up all his luck. But he kept his nerve to bring it home to the delight of the home crowd who roared their approval.

Challenge

The new champion talked about the challenge of that second course: “Walking it you could see that triple combination was going to be very difficult for everybody. The course designer was just very smart.

“From fence three to four he gave us a floating forward six strides to a big oxer with bushes underneath, so you arrived with a lot of impulsion and then it was a bit downhill coming into those two tall verticals. So you had to ride it perfect, and even then there was a chance to have it down,” he explained.

“I got there (to the first part of the triple combination) exactly the way I wanted to, and then boom! I hit the front rail and I thought we have a long way to go. So I tried to stay calm, and she stayed calm with me and I don’t know how many times I can say it, but I’m very blessed with that horse! It’s something very special. Tokyo (Olympic Games) came too early for us; we thought we could do it and then we paid our price, but she learned something in Tokyo and I learned something in Tokyo and I’m glad it came out this way!” he added.

Show President, Ludger Beerbaum, paid tribute to Mytillneou, whose copybook clear rounds throughout the week put her well in contention until things didn’t go right for her. “She showed us how a trusting relationship between a rider and horse can make such difficult courses look easy. And the way her horse jumps, your heart starts smiling by watching it…. I’m absolutely sure we will see this pair again in the top classes, and some day probably on the podium!” he said.

Fuchs admitted that playing second fiddle doesn’t come easy for him. “For the first few minutes I was disappointed about the result, that it wasn’t good enough for gold, but now I’m really happy with silver! I’ll go home with two medals, one gold (team) one silver (individual). Andre was just better than me today and I hope one day I’ll be better than him!” said the 2019 champion.

Fredricson blamed himself for the mistake with Catch Me Not made at the second fence, after he changed his original plan on how to ride that line. And as he said, his time fault was also expensive. “But I think the course designer built in a really clever way: questions all the way around, time just tight enough. Like Martin, at first I was really disappointed with the choice I made, but 45 minutes later I feel happy for my bronze medal,” he said.

Huge task

Multiple champion Ludger Beerbaum admitted that he took on a huge task when he offered to step in and run this Championship at Riesenbeck after it was cancelled last year. But he was happy and relieved.

“I couldn’t be more happy or grateful for having the opportunity to host such an event. It was a brave decision, and the whole team knows what we had to deal with, and it was a tough job, no question. But once we decided to go ahead with it, we had a lot of support and positive energy from everyone. You have to be fortunate to get two weeks weather like this and we are thankful. We’ve seen great, great sport, a super podium, and an unbelievable winner – and I’m also really pleased with number 4 Christian Kukuk who was really close. I’m delighted and well done to everyone!” he said.

He wasn’t the only one feeling grateful after an amazing week at his fabulous venue surrounded by the Surenberg Forest.

Speaking on behalf of all the riders who competed at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2021, silver medallist Martin Fuchs said, “Ludger, thank you very much for organising this. We have seen many shows that have years and years of putting on a show; you didn’t have that and for all of us riders, you are one of the most inspiring people in the sport. We call you the legend behind your back!

“And now that you start to do even more for our sport and that you hold this European Championship during these difficult times, everybody really appreciates it. Everyone has great things to say about the whole organisation and the competition, and I think this deserves a big and warm thank you from all of us!”

No-one was disagreeing with that.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Europe’s Dressage Superstars Head to Hagen

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Just a few short weeks since they claimed all gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Team Germany will line out at next week’s FEI Dressage European Championships 2021 on home ground in Hagen where they look set to claim their 25th team title.

There may have been brief lapses in their domination of the European team gold medal leaderboard – the Dutch coming out on top in 2007, 2009, and again in 2015, and Great Britain victorious in 2011 – but in the 58-year-history of this event that takes place every two years, the German record is phenomenal.

They posted their 24th team victory in Rotterdam (NED) two years ago where longtime legend Isabell Werth brought her personal European medal collection to a staggering 24 when adding both the individual Grand Prix Special and Freestyle titles riding Bella Rose. In the Special it was a German one-two when Dorothee Schneider (Showtime) lined up in second, and they were completely dominant in the Freestyle when Schneider and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (TSF Dalera BB) took silver and bronze.

Compatriots

At the 2021 edition, Werth is joined by the same two compatriots, although von Bredow-Werndl is the only one who will ride the same horse – the fabulous Dalera with which she won triple-gold in Tokyo. This pair is now the dominant force in the sport and the ones everyone else have to beat.

Werth will partner Weihegold, the 16-year-old mare with which she won Olympic team gold in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) in 2016 and triple-gold at the FEI European Championships in 2017, while Schneider will compete Faustus 94, the 13-year-old gelding with which she has been posting some big results this summer.

Rounding up the formidable German side will be Helen Langehanenberg, who rode on the winning European team in Gothenburg (SWE) in 2017 and who was individual silver medallist in Rotterdam in 2011 and Herning (DEN) in 2013 partnering Damon Hill. In Hagen she will ride Annabelle, the 13-year-old mare with which she won the Grand Prix Special at the CDI3* in Aarhus, Denmark last October and who finished fourth behind team-mates Schneider (Showtime), von Bredow-Werndl (TSF Dalera BB), and Werth (Bella Rose) at CDI4* Kronberg (GER) in June.

A total of 72 athletes from 23 countries will contest the medals this time around. And of the 15 participating teams, the biggest challenge to the defending champions look set to be the British who clinched Olympic team bronze.

Olympic side

They are fielding their full Olympic side and, in the four-horse format, their Olympic reserve partnership of Gareth Hughes and Sintano von hof Olympia will get to perform this time around.

Charlotte Dujardin’s 10-year-old Gio set hearts fluttering in Tokyo, with the emergence of another dream partnership to follow in the footsteps of the great Valegro always a possibility. Carl Hester’s En Vogue and Charlotte Fry’s Everdale will complete their line-up and, fresh and rested after their trip Japan, the British horses will be on familiar territory in Hagen having competed there before.

There is plenty of experience in both the Dutch side of Adelinde Cornelissen (Governer-STR), Hans Peter Minderhoud (Glock’s Dream Boy), Marlies van Baalen (Go Legend), and Dinja van Liere (Hermes) and the Swedish selection of Jeanna Hogberg (Lorenzo), Therese Nilshagen (Dante Weltino), Juliette Ramel (Buriel KH), and Jacob Noerby (Moegelbjergs Romeo).

Cathrin Dufour and Bohemian headline the Danish foursome while Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Elegance will lead the Spanish team when the action gets underway with the first group of riders in the Grand Prix on Tuesday, 7 September. The Team medals will be decided when the Grand Prix concludes on Wednesday and the Grand Prix Special will take place on Thursday followed by the Freestyle on Saturday 11 September.

The FEI Dressage U25 European Championships will also take place at Hagen during the week, coming to a close on Sunday 12 September.

Details here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Swiss Sweep to Victory in Thrilling Team Final

(L to R): Bryan Balsiger, Martin Fuchs, Chef d’Equipe Michel Sorg, Steve Guerdat, and Elian Baumann. (FEI/Christoph Taniere)

The Swiss stole the show when grabbing Team gold at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships 2021 in Riesenbeck, Germany. The final round of the team competition was a breathtaking affair, with everything hanging in the balance to the very end when Germany had to settle for silver, while the defending champions from Belgium leap-frogged Sweden to take the bronze.

Spectator numbers were limited due to pandemic restrictions, but the 2,100 who watched from the grandstands were treated to an epic day of top sport. They too showed great sporting spirit, cheering every horse-and-athlete combination that came into the ring.

As the action began there was no room for error, as less than a fence separated the leading Swiss from the chasing Germans while Team Sweden was only one fence further behind. The Swedes couldn’t hang on when Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not S was the only pair in their side to keep a clean sheet.

That opened the door for the Belgians who carried 17.34 points into the round and added absolutely nothing. All four team-members have qualified for Sunday’s top-25 Individual final, with Pieter Devos lying third with Jade vd Bisschop, Nicola Philippaerts in seventh with Katanga v/h Dingeshof, Jos Verlooy in 17th with Varoune, and Olivier Philippaerts in 21st place with Le Blue Diamond v’t Ruytershof.

The real excitement was the intensity of the battle between Germany and Switzerland for gold. It came right down to the wire and, not for the first time, all the pressure fell on the shoulders of Swiss anchor, Steve Guerdat, who withstood that pressure to bring it home.

This victory was the fifth for Switzerland in the 46-year history of the FEI Jumping European Championships and the first since 2009. But it wouldn’t be easily won.

Kicked off

The Swiss effort kicked off with a 12-fault result for Elian Baumann and Campari Z who lowered the last element of the Longines triple combination at fence six, the oxer near the arena entrance at fence 11 and the first element of the penultimate double of uprights.

So when both Andre Thieme with DSP Chakaria and Marcus Ehning and Stargold jumped clear, then the title seemed to be slipping away from the overnight leaders and into Germany’s grasp. But youngest Swiss team member, 24-year-old Bryan Balsiger, held his nerve to bring AK’s Courage through the finish with a zero on the scoreboard, and when compatriot and defending individual champion, Martin Fuchs, did likewise with Leone Jei then things were looking a little more optimistic for the eventual winners.

By now, Germany’s Christian Kukuk and Mumbai had faulted at the triple combination, so when David Will made it all the way to the penultimate double only to fault at the first element there with C Vier, then one of those two errors had to be counted so the German team tally had risen to 12.77.

That gave Swiss anchorman Guerdat a fence in hand, but he was hoping he didn’t need it. However, that bogey triple combination played its part once again. He made it safely through, but Albfuehren’s Maddox got all fired up going down the line that followed it, and when they turned to the oxer at fence nine the stride just didn’t come up right. With four faults now on the board, they still had five obstacles to clear before the finish. Another error and the game would be over, and it would be Germany in gold medal spot.

Out of control

“It wasn’t that I got worried about the mistake I had, but I got a bit nervous because I was running out of control with my horse; he got really strong after the line of the triple combination, and I had to really try to stay calm to bring him home without thinking of the result, but getting him back together with me which I managed to do. The relief was great after that,” he said.

Guerdat’s impressive European Championship record includes team bronze in 2003, team silver in 2005, team gold in 2009, and team bronze in both 2015 and 2017. When it comes to team competition, the London 2012 Olympic champions is rock-solid reliable, and he brought it home once again.

He insisted afterwards that this win was very definitely not all about him. “I had pressure but no more than my colleagues here. Bryan did an unbelievable job to get us back in the race after Elian today was not as good as we expected, although he’s been amazing the first two rounds. That’s the thing, everyone wants to fight not just for himself but for the whole team; there is a great atmosphere in the team. I think it makes you strong when you fight for four and not just for yourself,” Guerdat said.

For Martin Fuchs there was another reason that this win was extra special. He was following in the footsteps of his father, Thomas, who was on the first Swiss team to win the title back in 1983 at Hickstead, Great Britain.

A huge moment

“It’s a huge moment for me and my career to win alongside three friends and after my dad some years ago. It is great to bring another gold medal back to the family. It is amazing to have his knowledge with us and his precious advice as Swiss team trainer. I am so lucky to be able to do all this with him!” said Fuchs, who goes into Sunday’s Individual Final in pole position.

Meanwhile, the German team reflected on their silver medal result. Marcus Ehning was happy because he was keeping a promise to his son, Lyas. “Today is his birthday and I told him I was going to bring him a medal!” said the man who has been at the heart of German showjumping for many years and who is lying 14th with Stargold going into the Individual medal-decider.

Andre Thieme lies second in the Individual rankings and was thrilled with his silver medal. “It is everybody’s dream to ride a big championship in front of his home crowd!” he said.

Rider’s mistake

David Will insisted his four faults were “a rider’s mistake. I did not have the perfect distance and it is a shame as my horse jumped very well,” but he was still delighted with his silver medal. Christian Kukuk is pleased to be lying eighth individually with the fabulous grey stallion Mumbai.

“The last two days everything went exactly how I wanted, but today I made it just a little too difficult for Mumbai at the last double. But he’s still only nine years old and the way he finished the course made me very proud of him. We are looking forward to Sunday!” he said.

So is Belgium’s Pieter Devos who is lying third with the lovely mare Jade. It’s only a few weeks since he stood on the bronze medal step of the podium at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following a great performance with another of his string of horses.

“It is Jade’s first championship and she gives me a lot of confidence for Sunday,” he said. His Chef d’Equipe, Peter Weinberg, celebrated his team’s result.

“We didn’t want to use the same horses who jumped the Olympics – all our horses are competing in their first championship here. Today when we walked the course, we saw it was a step bigger, so ending the day with four clears, team bronze, and all riders qualified for the final on Sunday – now that makes me very proud!” he said.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

It’s Tight Going into Team Medal Decider, but Swiss Are Out in Front

Martin Fuchs and Leone Jei. (FEI/Christoph Taniere)

Switzerland moved into the lead in the first round of the Team competition at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships 2021 at Riesenbeck in Germany. However, the same three countries continue to dominate the leaderboard, with the overnight leaders from Sweden now in third behind the hosts from Germany who maintained their second-place ranking.

With one more day to decide the team medals, the result is still very much hanging in the balance because the margins are really tight.

The Swiss start with a score of 5.47, thanks to superb clears from Elian Baumann (Campari Z), Martin Fuchs (Leone Jei), and Steve Guerdat (Albfuehren’s Maddox). Second-line rider, and at 24 years old the youngest on the team, Bryan Balsiger faulted just once on the 14-fence track when the grey mare AK’s Courage hit the water-tray oxer at fence 10 in an otherwise super round.

However, they don’t have even a fence in hand over Team Germany who added just the four picked up by their last man into the ring, David Will. Will and C Vier fell afoul of the second element of the penultimate double of oxers, which proved hugely influential throughout the afternoon.

Zeros

His team-mates Andre Thieme (DSP Chakaria) and Christian Kukuk (Mumbai) had both put zeros on the board while Marcus Ehning and Stargold picked up five faults. By the time Will set off, a clear from him would secure the advantage for the host nation going into the final day. His single mistake moved their scoreline on to 8.77. but it still leaves them ahead of the first-day leaders from Sweden, who slipped to third when Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Ermindo W were the only pair to keep a clean sheet for their side.

On a running score of 11.59, the Swedes are a fence behind the Swiss at the head of affairs, but less than a fence behind the Germans.

Bengstson was delighted with his horse’s performance, and despite the slip down the rankings, he reckons the Swedes shouldn’t be written off yet for the title. “It’s still wide open – Peder (Fredricson) and Douglas (Lindelow) were unlucky, and I didn’t see Angelica (Augustssib Zanotelli) go, but she only picked up four faults too.

“Sometimes it’s good not to be in front on the last day because that means the other teams have to go clear and they feel the pressure. But we need clear rounds tomorrow, that’s the thing!” he said with a big smile.

Both Andre Thieme’s DSP Chakaria and Christian Kukuk’s Mumbai were at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games just a few weeks ago, and yet produced two fantastic rounds for Germany.

Developmental

The two riders talked about how the trip to Japan proved developmental for both horses.

“We all said if she’s sound and fresh when she comes home, and the jumping feels normal and loose, then we will come here for the European Championships. She only learned from being the Olympics. In Tokyo she was maybe a bit too green; it may have been a bit too early for her, but today she felt really good!” Thieme said of his mare.

Kukuk said his stallion Mumbai came home fresh, and that their relationship has really grown thanks to the Tokyo experience. “I think going there made me and him, and brought us together. He is only nine years old, and he was probably a bit shy in himself there, but what is very good with him is that after coming back, it’s nearly like he’s thinking about it all, and when we see him now here he looks even better than before. He’s a wonderful horse; even when you have a mistake he thinks about it and wants to do it better next time,” Kukuk said today.

Meanwhile, the Swiss reflected on a great day when they were the only team to produce three clear rounds to leave them in pole position going into the final day of the team competition.

Fuchs’ tour of Frank Rothenberger’s 14-fence course was epic, Leone Jei’s extravagant jumping drawing gasps of delight from onlookers. “He has extreme potential and a huge gallop and is easy to ride. He has unlimited scope and he’s extremely good in his head – he really wants to jump!” said the man who at 29 years old is defending the individual European title he won two years ago with the great Clooney.

Swiss supremacy

This result saw him take over the lead in the individual rankings, and it says something for Swiss supremacy when they hold three of the top-five individual placings at this stage of the competition, with Baumann and Guerdat currently sharing fourth behind Sweden’s Bengtsson in third and Germany’s Kukuk in second spot.

They may be in a strong position, but they are not getting too carried away. There’s more work to be done before those medals are presented.

“It’s still a long way to go; everything is still out there. The teams are quite close, but our horses are jumping good and we will give it a try tomorrow,” Guerdat said.

He has had Albfuehren’s Maddox since he was seven. “He’s a Swedish horse that Peder Fredricson used to ride. He’s a really nice horse and I always thought that one day he would do something big. He didn’t win much as an 8-year-old; he started a bit last year; he’s only ten and still has a lot to improve, but he’s powerful and has what it takes to jump big fences. Maybe he’s not quite ready yet to jump five big rounds but we will try,” he added.

Mixed bag

The year 2021 has been a mixed bag for the London 2012 Olympic champion. “I’ve had great success and pleasure in my personal life; it’s been enjoyable every minute,” said the popular athlete whose daughter, Ella, was born in April. But as he pointed out, it has been a tough year from a sport point of view. In June he lost the mare he always called his “Queen,” Bianca, who died of a brain tumour.

“It was not the nicest time, but it’s one of those things that happen. I was on a little bit of a down after that. I won’t say it’s because of that, but sometimes things don’t go well and that’s the run I’ve been having at the moment. That’s why today was important – everything doesn’t feel as confident and smooth as normal, but I have to at least fight. That’s the one thing I have control over. To show the good spirit out there, I’ve got to fight even more than normally, but this is sport; it’s what I’m trying to do and I have my horse on my side and I hope together we can fight for the best result possible!”

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Sweden Leads Team Ranking, but Germany and Switzerland Are Close Behind

Germany’s David Will and C Vier. (FEI/Christoph Taniere)

Team Sweden swept into the lead on the opening day of the Longines FEI Jumping European Championship 2021 at Riesenbeck, Germany, but the newly-crowned Olympic champions have only a narrow advantage over the host country, who in turn lie just ahead of Switzerland going into the first round of the team competition.

The beautiful big grass arena at the charming new venue created by multiple Olympian Ludger Beerbaum and his team provided the perfect backdrop to a great day of sport. And the hosts had plenty to cheer about when David Will was quickest around Frank Rothenberger’s 13-fence track for a German victory with C Vier in the opening Speed class.

Second-last to go, and chasing the target time set by Tokyo Olympic individual silver and team gold medallist Sweden’s Peder Fredricson riding Catch Me Not, Will shaved almost a second off that without seeming to turn a hair.

“My plan was not necessarily to win this class. I wanted to land a really good round and do everything right leading up to the next days, but of course winning is a very big plus so I couldn’t be happier for myself or my horse. His jumping was amazing; he made it easy for me, so the credit really belongs to him!” said the 33-year-old Will who is competing in his very first Championship.

Pathfinders

Swedish pathfinders, Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli and Kalinka van de Nachtegaele, had a clear but relatively slow tour of the track to come home in 80.92 seconds. But when Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Ermindo W broke the beam in 75.58, Douglas Lindelow and Casquo Blue stormed home in 73.59, and then Peder Fredricson produced his country’s fourth clear of the competition in 72.58, they clinched pole position in the team rankings when the top three scores were counted.

On top of that, Fredricson lies second and Lindelow third individually, with Olivier Robert from France in fourth with Vivaldi des Meneaux and defending individual champion Martin Fuchs from Switzerland in fifth with Leone Jei.

The German team looked compromised when Maurice Tebbel’s Don Diarado was withdrawn. “Of course it was bad for us that Maurice couldn’t ride, but this decision had to be made for the horse. But if you have Marcus Ehning as the fifth you are still pretty OK! We have a good team and a good team spirit; we are working well together and we’ll see where this leads us. I think we can be very happy with this start,” Will said.

Christian Kukuk’s Mumbai and Andre Thieme’s DSP Chakaria are not long back from Tokyo, but both German horses were looking great when slotting into tenth and 17th individually. The Swedes will be under plenty of pressure if they are to stay ahead of the home contingent. Although the Swiss were a little unlucky.

On course

Anchorman Steve Guerdat looked on course for a really fast result with Albfuehren’s Maddox that could challenge for the lead but, coming down to the wall of planks at fence nine on a seven-stride distance, the stallion put down for an extra one at the last minute and ploughed through the timber. The pair cleared the finish in 71.96 which would have been the second-quickest time of the class, but the addition of four seconds for that mistake left them in 14th place instead, just behind Swiss team-mates Elian Baumann with Campari Z and Bryan Balsiger and AK’s Courage. Fuchs’ great fifth-place result was therefore pivotal at the end of the day.

The Netherlands lies fourth, France fifth, and the defending champions from Belgium are in sixth place. Belgian chances were undermined when, in what looked set to be another good round, Olivier Philippaerts’ Le Blue Diamond v’t Ruytershof did exactly the same thing as Guerdat’s stallion at the planks at fence nine.

At the post-competition press conference, Peder Fredricson said, “There was something about that fence that was a bit spooky. When my horse came in, he also had a little look at it – I showed it to him and he really didn’t like it but when he was up and going, he didn’t mind it!” he explained.

Commenting on the course in general, the Swedish star added, “It was really well built, quite welcoming for the horses – a nice start but with a few good questions, including the turn inside to the water and the two combinations at the end. He (Frank Rothenberger) did a really good job; most horses jumped well and confidently and still there were mistakes,” he pointed out.

Temptation

Lindelow described his feeling after steering his 11-year-old gelding into third individually and helping to anchor his country’s team lead. He also talked about the temptation to try too hard where speed was so important. “It’s easy to get drawn in when the class is running so that you try to ride faster than you planned initially. But I think I stuck to my plan, and I’m very happy with the result, and with my horse,” he said.

He wasn’t the only one feeling pleased. “I’m pleased, relieved, a little bit proud, and a little bit honoured!” said event creator Ludger Beerbaum, who was anxious that everything went right at this first major fixture on his home turf. It’s less than a year since the Championship was allocated to his venue which has been rapidly developed since then.

“It’s my name up front but it’s definitely not all my achievement or glory; we have a great group of people: Karsten (Lütteken, Show Director) and the whole team at Riesenbeck International. You never really know when you do an event for the first time – are we really able to do this, are we competent enough, will the ground last, will we have a nice competition, especially in the speed class? You never know 100%. But I couldn’t be more pleased,” he said.

Results and startlists here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Dutch and Danish Stallions Steal the Show

The KWPN stallion Jovian with Denmark’s Andreas Helgstrand on board. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

Stallions from the KWPN studbook claimed both the 6 and 7-Year-Old titles while a Danish Warmblood was crowned 5-Year-Old champion at the FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses, which returned to Verden in Germany for the 2021 edition from 24 to 29 August.

6-Year-Olds

Tokyo 2020 Olympic team bronze medallist, Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry, posted 94.000% in Wednesday’s 6-Year-Old qualifier with the KWPN stallion Kjento (Negro x Jazz), earning 10s for both trot and canter, and the pair never looked back. In Saturday’s Final they shone even brighter, with judges Peter Storr (GBR), Adriaan F. Hamoen (NED), Maria Colliander (FIN), and Jean-Michel Roudier (FRA) awarding them gold with a score of 96.000. Kjento earned 10s for trot, canter, submission, and perspective.

Silver went to the Rheinlander stallion Escamillo (Escolar x Rohdiamant) ridden by Spain’s Manuel Dominguez Bernal who posted 93.4%, while the Hanoverian gelding For Magic Equesta (For Romance OLD x Jungle Prince) scored 86.4 for bronze with Poland’s Beata Stremler in the saddle.

Fry is no stranger to success in these Championships, taking the 7-Year-Old title with Glamourdale in Ermelo (NED) in 2018, and in Gert-Jan Van Olst’s Kjento she has found another exceptional ride. “When I got all those 10s, I got very emotional, and it is thrilling to see that everyone sees the same quality as we do. He felt his best ever, and I don’t know how to describe this horse – if you look up the word power, he is it!” she said.

Judge Jean-Michel Roudier praised the quality of both the horses and horsemanship he witnessed.

“The improvement in breeding and riding is incredible over the last years. The winner Kjento was a happy horse like all the three medallists – a happy horse means wonderful training and it gives a wonderful willingness in the horse.” — Jean-Michel Roudier

5-Year-Olds

Germany’s Eva Moller had a sensational day in the 5-Year-Old Qualifier on Thursday when steering the Hanoverian stallion, Danciero 7 (Dancier x Fuechtels Floriscount), into pole position and the Oldenburg stallion Global Player OLD (Grand Galaxy Win T x Blue Hors Don Schufro) into third. Sandwiched in between these two was the KWPN mare Lightning Star (Ferguson x De Niro) ridden by The Netherlands Kristen Brouwer.

Danciero 7, owned by Helgestrand/Schockemohle, scored 96.600, Lightning Star posted 95.200% and Global Player OLD was awarded 95.000%.

But in Sunday’s medal decider it was the Danish Warmblood stallion Hasselhoej Down Town (Hasselhoej Donkey Boy x Blue Hors Zack), ridden by Sweden’s Jeanna Hogberg, who grabbed the gold with an amazing score of 97.000%. The pair had finished fourth in the opening competition three days earlier, but with 10s for trot and perspective, and 9.5s for walk, canter, and submission, this time they left the rest in their wake. Danciero 7 had to settle for silver with 96.600% while Lightning Star took the bronze with 92.8%. Moller’s second ride, Global Player OLD, just missed out on the podium when earning a mark of 92.600%.

Hasselhoej Down Town was real crowd pleaser. “When I got him, everyone said he’s so cute and he really is, but he’s also a really fantastic horse!” Hogberg said. “I have a great team behind me and I have a lot of support from Andreas (Helgstrand), and I think today it was a matter of riding a really solid test without faults and at the same time showing the best of the horse, and he really stayed with me,” she explained.

“He was a bit surprised by the environment on the first day, but today he was much more relaxed,” Hogberg said. However, she pointed out that the young stallion is no pushover. “He’s also the only horse at Helgstrand that I have fallen off!” she added with a laugh.

Brouwer was delighted with bronze for the mare Lightning Star. “I’ve been riding Lily a long time and know her well but of course with Corona I didn’t get the chance to show her a lot. But she makes me every day happy, also here; she’s always fresh and willing to work. Today maybe there was a bit more tension because there was a lot of applause when you were warming up. But she’s only five and has a great future. I hope I can ride her a lot longer,” the Dutch athlete said.

7-Year-Olds

The last Championship to be decided was the 7-Year-Olds, and Danish riders completely dominated the podium, but it was the KWPN stallion Jovian (Apache x Tango) who claimed the title with Andreas Helgstrand on board.

The Helgstrand name was all over these Championships as owners, sponsors, riders, and producers of top-class Dressage horses, and in Friday’s qualifier, Andreas steered Jovian to victory ahead of the Danish Warmblood stallion Elverhøjs Raccolto (Sezuan 2 x Sandro Hit) ridden by his wife Marianne Yde Helgstrand.

The Hanoverian stallion Quando Unico (Quantensprung 3 x Fidertanz 2), partnered by Australia’s Simone Pearce, lined up in third while Andreas Helgstrand also finished fourth with the Danish Warmblood mare Queenpark Wendy (Sezuan 2 x Blue Hors Soprano). But in Sunday’s final, only Jovian stood his ground.

A mark of 89.136 from judges Sharon Rhode (RSA), Ulrike Nivelle (GER), Maria Colliander (FIN), Mariette Sanders van Gansewinkel (NED), and Kurt Christensen (DEN) gave Jovian the title, while silver went to the Danish Warmblood gelding Blue Hors Touch of Olympic L (Don Olymbrio x Fidermark) who posted 83.965 with Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald on board. And the third Dane on the podium was Anne-Mette Strandby Hansen, who steered the Westphalian gelding Eternity 75 (Escolar x Sir Donnerhal) to a score of 83.75% to pin Pearce and Quando Unico back into fourth place.

“To win with Jovian is special; he is my favourite horse. He is a PR machine for us, and he will have a lot of very nice foals coming up,” said Helgstrand.

Nanna Skodborg Merrald was very pleased to take silver for the Danish Warmblood studbook. “We have had so many good horses for DWB and it is good to give back,” she said. She’s been riding Blue Hors Touch of Olympic L since he was a four-year-old and is looking forward to watching him develop. “I will go into small tour shows with him now, I think he is a future Grand Prix horse,” she added.

And Anne-Mette Skodborg Hansen had every reason to be pleased with Eternity 75 because she’s only been riding him for two months. “Cathrine Dufour trained him and this is my first competition with him!” she said after collecting 7-Year-Old bronze.

Reflecting on another great FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses, German judge Ulrike Nivelle commented that this year “we saw huge quality and the level is much better than before, both in breeding and riding. We saw more harmony and softer riding,” she concluded.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Vaulting Favourites Reign Supreme

Lambert Leclezio with Estadoifce and lunger Loic Devedu. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Vaulting legends reigned supreme in Budapest (HUN) as FEI Vaulting made a successful return to the world stage, with Lambert Leclezio defending his World title for France, Jasmin Lindner (AUT) reclaiming the female individual gold medal, and Germany proving dominant in the Pas de Deux, Squad, and Nations Team categories.

After its triumphant debut at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018, The Nations Team event once again returned to great acclaim, delivering the first medals of the FEI Vaulting World Championships 2021.  The competition which sees two individuals and one team from each nation line up in the quest for national glory, once again provided a stage for history to be made.

Lambert Leclezio (FRA) defends his World title, Jasmin Lindner (AUT) reclaims the female individual gold, and Germany dominate the Pas-de-Deux, Squad, and Nations Team at the World Championships.

Team Germany, consisting of Jannik Heiland (9.048), Janika Derks (8.884), and Team Germany (9.157), was in a league of its own, posting an incredible average of 9.030 to retain the Nation’s Team World title. The silver medal was awarded to Eva Nagiller (8.938), Jasmin Lindner (9.061), and Team Austria (8.207), whilst history was made with the bronze medal going to Denmark, marking their new-found eminence on the world stage after impressive performances from Sheena Bendixen (8.988), Anna Damm (7.751), and Team Denmark (8.264).

In the female category, golden girl Jasmin Lindner reclaimed the World title she won at the FEI World Championships in Le Mans in 2016. The multi-talented, highly decorated vaulter added to her already impressive collection of Individual and Pas De Deux World gold medals after again showing her formidable talent and unmatched expression within the sport.

Renowned for her story-telling ability, Lindner, the only female vaulter to post a freestyle score over 9.0, dominated both freestyle rounds.  Partnering with her long-term team of lunger Klaus Haidacher and Dr Doolittle 5, Lindner’s Greta Thunberg inspired freestyle helped secure her unprecedented fifth Vaulting World title (3 Pas De Deux, 2 Individual), further contributing to her legacy within the sport (8.759).

Silver individual medallist from the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ Janika Derks (GER) once again took the second step on the podium with Dark Beluga and Barbara Rosiny.  Lindner’s fellow compatriot and training partner Eva Nagiller (8.578) took bronze after posting the highest technical test score of the female competition. Denmark’s Sheena Bendixen (8.461) and France’s Manon Moutinho (8.427) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

The male category lit up the arena in Budapest with France’s Lambert Leclezio retaining the World title he won so emphatically at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™, once again pushing the boundaries of the sport and rising to the top of the highly competitive class.

Leclezio got his quest to retain his World title off to the best possible start, leading after the compulsory round on 8.849 – a score rarely seen within the sport and evidence of his outstanding technical ability. His nearest competitor, Jannik Heiland from Germany, finished round one on 8.584, with the chasing pack narrowly behind.

This exceptional standard was further evident in the first freestyle round where Leclezio, Heiland, and rising star France’s Quentin Jabet all posted scores in excess of 9.0. The skill, flexibility, expression, and harmony of those chasing the medals thrilling to watch.

Saturday’s technical test round saw Leclezio perform a breath-taking masterclass.  The flawless, technical elements coupled with his intricate, clever composition saw him post a previously unheard-of technical test score of 9.083, creating breathing space between him and his nearest competitors Heiland and France’s Theo Gardies. A fall for Quentin Jabet in the technical round saw him fall away from medal contention.

In their first championship together, Leclezio, lunger Loic Devedu and Estado IFCE performed a jaw-dropping final freestyle to retain Lambert’s World title, and further cement his legacy within the sport (8,989). Germany’s Jannik Heiland with Barbara Rosiny on the lunge and horse Dark Beluga also retained the world silver medal from the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™.

Further evidence of France’s dominance within the male category, Theo Gardies took bronze converting his previous junior success into senior acclaim (8.659), with Quentin Jabet posting the highest final freestyle score of 9.126 to finish fourth and again prove that he is one to watch for the future.

In the squad competition Germany led through all three rounds of the competition, dominating the event.  Together with lunger Gesa Buhrig and Claus 51, the team from Fredenbeck upheld Germany’s rich history within the Squad competition to take gold. Their perfect final freestyle saw them awarded 9.224 to finish on an astonishing total of 8.735, scoring 0.7 more than second place Team Austria.  A masterclass in teamwork, coupled with incredible artistry and strength, saw the gold medal never in doubt. A commanding win for the powerhouse vaulting nation.

Representing Austria, URC Wildegg with Cornelia Trimmel and Leokado added to their already impressive tally of World and European medals taking second place (8.044). The United States of America finished in bronze medal position, the first time they have won a medal at the senior World Championships in squad since the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games™, marking their ascent back to prominence on the world stage (7.914).  Denmark rounded off a history making Championship to finish fourth (7.856).

The ever-entertaining Pas De Deux class lived up to its highly entertaining billing, once again providing edge of the seat action.  Vaulting legends from the 2014 gold medal winning team, Team Neuss, Johannes Kay and Janika Derks (GER), converted the silver medal they won at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ into gold in untouchable fashion. A fall by their fellow countrymen and nearest competitors 2019 FEI European Gold medallists Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven in the first round saw them enter round 2 with an impressive 0.7 advantage.  Together with Humphrey Bogart and lunger Nina Vorberg, they proved unbeatable, finishing on an impressive total of 8.936 and taking the top step on the podium.

Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven came back from their round one mistake in spectacular fashion to post the highest second round freestyle of 9.092, thus securing the silver medal (8.646).  The bronze medal went to USA’s Daniel Janes and Haley Smith, securing their first ever FEI medal as a pairing after bravely changing their freestyle between round 1 and round 2 (8.469).

By Hannah Eccles

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Senior Manager Sport Communications
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Tiffany Hammack and Crack Elle Chavannaise Triumph in $40k Bluegrass Grand Prix

Tiffany Hammack and Crack Elle Chavannaise.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 22, 2021 – The $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, presented by Audi of Lexington, was the marquee event in the Rolex Stadium on Sunday afternoon, capping off an exciting week of hunter and jumper competition at the Kentucky Horse Park. The class had a list of 36 equestrian athletes ready to take on a challenging track designed by Canadian course designer Peter Grant. After a competitive class, Tiffany Hammack and Crack Elle Chavannaise took home the winner’s spoils. Theo Glenn and Damokles captured the runner’s up spot, while Lexington native Daisy Farish and Gerko rounded out the top three.

Custom Made Carries Mary Caroline Nolan to Grand Junior Hunter Champion

Junior Hunter riders took to the StoneLea Ring on the final day of competition at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show to vie for the coveted Grand Junior Hunter Champion title. Awarded to the horse and rider combination with the most points accumulated in the Large Junior 3’6” 16-17, Large Junior 3’6” 15&U, Small Junior 3’6”, Junior 3’3” 15&U, and the Junior 3’3” Hunter 16-17 divisions, Mary Caroline Nolan and Custom Made were the pair to emerge victoriously and be crowned the Grand Junior Hunter Champion title amongst a competitive group of athletes.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

Eleanor Rudnicki Sets the Pace for USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2*

Eleanor Rudnicki and Flugel. Photo Courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 21, 2021 – The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* was the lead Equitation event in the Walnut Arena on Saturday morning at the Kentucky Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Texan Eleanor Rudnicki topped a field of 12 young athletes in the competitive division. Augusta Iwasaki was awarded second place with Lion King Van’T Eigenlo and Natalie Jayne rounded out the top three on Charisma.

The Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* track, designed by Jasen Shelley, consisted of 14 efforts and included a one-stride, a triple combination, and several technical bending lines around the ring. Riders had the option to jump an open-water jump or an oxer for the fifth obstacle on the course. Following the jumping phase, all 12 riders were invited back for the flat portion of the class, bidding them one final chance to make a positive impression on the judges. Rudnicki and Linda Langmeir’s Flugel continued to impress the judges, ultimately capturing the win at the conclusion of the two phases.

Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek Cap Off Successful Week as Champion of USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship

The grand finale of the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship took center stage on Saturday night in the Rolex Arena. The best hunter athletes from all corners of the United States came prepared to showcase their talents in front of the fixated spectators vying for a share of the prize money totaling more than $300,000. After 38 total trips between the Section A and Section B rounds, Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek emerged victorious after dominating the competition from the get-go. Samantha Schaefer and Caristo were awarded Reserve Champion honors, while Elizabeth Boyd and Cassico ended up third. Laena Romond had the unique distinction of being fifth in Section A while also being named the Champion of Tier II with Uptown. Evan Coluccio and Radio City were the Reserve Champion of Section B class.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

Hunt Tosh and Christopher Payne Emerge Victorious in USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship

David O’Brien and Olivia SCF. Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 19, 2021 – The conclusion of the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship took place Thursday morning in the Walnut Ring at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Round 1 of the Green Hunter 3’6” and 3’9” Championship was first in the ring to try their hand at the 8-obstacle course that was set forth to challenge the 48-horse and rider combinations by course designer Bobby Murphy. After a competitive first round, 30 athletes were invited back for the final round of the Incentive Championship, with Hunt Tosh taking the lead in round one aboard Chorus.

The Green Hunter 3’0” and 3′ 3” Championship section saw another set of 30 top athletes who had been competing for their seed position over the last two days. Hunt Tosh and Twain once again rode to victory in the Green Hunter 3’0” and 3’3” Incentive Championship after earning an outstanding score of 276 in the Championship Round.

The Green 3’6” and 3’9” Incentive Championship was the feature class for the day, with 30 of the top horse and rider pairs battling for the top position. In the end, Christopher Payne and Reign were crowned the title of Green 3’6” and 3’9” Incentive Champion.

David O’Brien Pilots Olivia SCF to Win $5,000 140m at Kentucky Bluegrass Festival

Elite jumpers converged on the Rolex Stadium Thursday morning during the third day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Fourteen horse and rider pairs contended for the top prize offered in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper class. Only four competitors accomplished clear rounds, and of those four, it was David O’Brien (IRL) and Olivia SCF who finished out their day with the blue ribbon. Nicholas Dello Joio and Centuria 7 took second, while Wim Janssen rounded out the podium aboard Durango VDL.

Tosh and Cannon Creek Clinch Round One of USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 20, 2021 – Friday morning in the Rolex Arena saw the start of one of the most famous hunter competitions on the annual calendar, the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. With a list of 86 athletes on the roster, the order of go was a who’s-who of the top hunter riders from all corners of the United States. After successfully navigating an impressive 12-obstacle course designed by Bobby Murphy, Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek topped the field with a score of 291, followed by Victoria Colvin and El Primero, who were awarded a score of 284, and rounding out the top three was Scott Stewart and Hudson who earned a score of 279.5.

Daniel Geitner and Fazous Take Top Honors in $25,000 Bluegrass Classic

Show jumping competition at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show returned to the Rolex Arena Friday, August 20, to welcome athletes for the $25,000 Bluegrass Classic. As the concluding class of the day, 52 horse-and-rider combinations entered hopeful to close out Friday’s competition with a win. Just nine pairs managed clear rounds over the tactful course, and it was ultimately Daniel Geitner and Fazous who managed two double-clear efforts to take home the lion’s share of the prize money. Grace Debney aboard her mount Boheme De La Roque is crowned second, while Camille Maddrix and Jack Straw round out the top three.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.