Category Archives: Championships

Swedes Overtake Swiss in Race for Jumping Team Gold

Photo: Peder Fredricson and H&M All In. (FEI/Claes Jakobsson)

On a day of drama and very mixed fortunes, the host nation climbed to the top of the team Jumping leaderboard at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg (SWE). The crowd went wild when Peder Fredricson sealed it with another spectacular clear from his Olympic individual silver medal-winning ride H&M All In, and this result has also cemented the pair at the top of the individual rankings.

“It was a great feeling walking out of the arena after taking my country into the lead!” — Peder Fredricson (SWE)

The cream came to the top over Louis Konickx’s 14-fence track, and clear rounds counted for a lot, the Belgians rocketing up from eighth place to lie joint-third with the Irish going into the medal-deciding final round after producing four spectacular fault-free efforts. The leaders from Switzerland lost their grip when they had to add five faults from Steve Guerdat (Bianca) and a single time penalty from Romain Duguet (TwentytwodesBiches) after Nadja Peter Steiner (Saura de Fondcombe) racked up 13 faults. Martin Fuchs was clear with the enigmatic Clooney, however, so they only dropped one place, and Fuchs remains well within sight of the individual podium, in fifth behind Frenchman Kevin Staut (Reveur de Hurtebise), while Portugal’s Luciana Diniz is in third and Germany’s Marcus Ehning is in runner-up position.

Despite Staut’s second brilliant clear, French chances of adding the European team title to last summer’s Olympic gold now seems like a distant dream. In silver medal position after the opening competition they plummeted down the leaderboard when all three others collected nine faults each. The time-allowed was influential, “but if you rode it smart it wasn’t impossible to get,” said Swedish pathfinder Henrik von Eckermann. “My individual placing isn’t interesting anymore. I’m too far behind, but I think it was a better choice to take the one time fault for the team than trying to get the time,” he added. Team-mate Malin Baryard-Johnson (H&M Cue Channa) produced a brilliant clear so Douglas Lindelow’s (Zacramento) single mistake at the bogey last fence, a water-tray vertical that fell multiple times, could be discounted leaving Sweden with only von Eckermann’s single fault to add to their running scoreline of 8.21.

Ireland’s Denis Lynch (All Star) looked set for a clear that would have left his team in gold medal position only to fault at that same final fence. And, not for the first time, it fell to Cian O’Connor (Good Luck) to ride to his country’s rescue despite a brilliant opening round from Shane Sweetnam (Chaqui Z), because Bertram Allen (Hector van d’Abdijhoeve) was eliminated for a fall at the matchstick oxer. O’Connor kept a clean sheet and lies individually seventh, behind fellow-countryman Sweetnam in sixth, and it’s all to play for going into the final team round, under lights.

Sweden heads Switzerland by less than three faults and the Irish and Belgians are less than a single fault further behind as the action gets underway. Get ready for a nail-biter.

Martin Fuchs SUI, talking about his crucial clear round with Clooney that kept Team Switzerland in silver medal position ahead of the final round of the team event: “It was a bit of a wild ride, but at the end the clear round counts. My horse jumped amazing today. I am ready for tomorrow. There is no water tomorrow and that’s good for us!”

Cian O’Connor IRL, talking about his ride that kept Ireland in joint-third position: “Good luck jumped fantastic today again. Okay, we had a misfortune with Bertram’s ride, but that’s what team-mates are for. Hopefully we will do better and we will keep fighting tomorrow!”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Dressage Team Gold for Germany Once Again

Photo: Chef d’Equipe Klaus Roeser (left) with the gold medal winning German Dressage team – Isabell Werth, Dorothee Schneider, Helen Langehanenberg and Sonke Rothenberger. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Reigning Olympic champions are in a class of their own; Danes pip host nation Sweden for silver

They may have been thrown slightly off course a few times in recent years, but Team Germany showed that they most definitely have the bit between their teeth once again when following up their Rio 2016 Olympic team victory to claim their 23rd Dressage team title at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“This is the latest press conference I’ve ever been at in my life, and the driest, so I hope we can go to the bar and have a little party soon! We really couldn’t expect at the beginning of the year that with two horses out of the team that went to Rio we really would dominate the Europeans here in the team competition. All of us are really happy!” — Isabell Werth GER, world no. 1

Already in the lead after the first two team-members completed their Grand Prix tests, they inched ever-closer to that top step of the podium when third-line rider Sonke Rothenberger (22) took his turn with Cosmo. This is a partnership that has matured splendidly, and such was the quality of their work that they were trending with a score over 80% early in their test, eventually posting 78.343 to become the new leaders despite a spooky moment and a mistake in the tempi changes.

Rothenberger’s score brought the German total to 227.915, so victory was already well within their grasp long before anchor rider Isabell Werth (45) came into the ring. Meantime, a fierce battle was raging between neighbours Denmark and Sweden for silver and bronze, with that result finally sealed by a very special performance from Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour. Riding the 14-year-old Atterupgaards Cassidy which she has partnered since her Junior years, the 25-year-old sparkled for a score of 78.300 which put the result beyond doubt. Denmark had not been on a European medal podium since 2001 so there was plenty to celebrate along with team-mates Anna Kasprzak, Anna Zibrandtsen and Agnete Kirk Thinggaard. And for Sweden it was their fourth team bronze, and Rose Mathisen, Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, Therese Nilshagen and Patrik Kittel were all riding horses that still have something to learn so Chef d’Equipe, Bo Jena, rightly admitted to feeling “really proud” of them.

Carl Hester (Nip Tuck) made a valiant effort to claw back a podium place for the beleaguered British who were always compromised once reduced to a three-member side, and his score of 74.900 placed him individually fifth but Team GB finished two percentage places behind the Swedish bronze medallists while the defending champions from The Netherlands lined up fifth.

Last to ride into the ring, it was only a matter of putting the icing on the German cake as Olympic silver medallists Isabell Werth and her fabulous mare Weihegold swaggered their way through a lovely test that demoted team-mate Rothenberger to runner-up spot in the individual rankings while Denmark’s Dufour finished third and Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg (35) and Dorothee Schneider (48) slotted into fourth and six spots, respectively. The top 30 riders now go through to the Grand Prix Special.

Isabell Werth GER, talking about her mare Weihegold OLD: “She’s in really great shape; always the question is: can you bring it into the competition, and it was really really fun to ride her this evening. It was really a pleasure and so easy. But we all know it was today, and the next day will come and I hope we can keep it up, but you never know. This will be the hardest thing, to keep her in great shape until the end of the week.”

Sonke Rothenberger GER: “I was really happy that my team-mates did such great results on the first day. Of course it was a pity for the mistakes I made in the gallop, but my horse was probably the best he’s ever been and the judges rewarded that and that’s always nice – that the results also reflect the feeling of the rider.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Great Britain and Dynamic Danes Share Honours as Para Dressage Draws to a Close

Photo: Stinna Tange Kaastrupd with Horsebo Smarties (FEI/Liz Gregg)

For the second day running Denmark went head-to-head with Para-Equestrian Dressage powerhouse Great Britain as the two nations dominated a compelling final day of Freestyle to Music action in Gothenburg’s Heden Arena at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017.

Once again Great Britain edged ahead of the Scandinavians at the finish, a bold ride from serial winner Sophie Wells (GBR) on C Fatal Attraction giving them a third Freestyle gold of the day, one clear of Denmark’s haul.

It has been another glorious Championships for the Brits who, despite fielding three debutants, take home six of the 11 gold medals on offer. But Denmark will be proud of how far they pushed their illustrious rivals on day two and three, with their dynamic mixture of teenage talent and seasoned know-how promising much for the future.

The first of Great Britain’s triple Championship gold medal-winning newcomers, Suzanna Hext, kicked off proceedings riding Abira in the Grade III finale. The individual and team champion responded to the imposing marker of 76.173% set by Germany’s Steffen Zeibig and Feel Good with a confident ride to edge another gold, this time by 0.233%.

“Coming to my first Championships is enough; winning three gold medals is insane!” — European Grade III Freestyle champion Suzanna Hext (GBR)

Teenager Tobias Joergensen (DEN) on Bruunhiolms Caribian opened up Denmark’s account for the day with bronze behind Zeibig. The 17-year-old hails from a fine line of Para Dressage athletes, as his mother Line Joergensen (DEN) competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Inevitably, Great Britain’s Julie Payne was not going to let a day go past at these Championships without producing a huge score and grabbing another gold in Grade I. The 55-year- old and her incomparable mare Athene Lindebjerg showed the virtues of doing the simple things to perfection as they strutted to 80.393%, comfortably the highest mark of the week.

Three rides, three gold medals and the three highest scores of the Championship.

“I’ve certainly had more than my 15 minutes of fame,” said the ever-modest Payne, who, in case anyone should forget, was making her Championship bow.

Rihards Snikus (LAT) on King of the Dance and Elke Philipp (GER) on Regaliz swapped places from Monday’s individual test, taking silver and bronze in the Freestyle, respectively.

In the fourth category of the day, Denmark hit back once again with Susanne Sunesen levelling the tally at two gold medals each. The Dane broke the home crowd’s hearts on the way by snatching gold from Louise Jakobsson and Zernard with the final ride of Grade IV. Sunesen has a wonderfully symbiotic relationship with her horse CSK’s Que Faire.

“Before I got my injury (a farm accident in 2006 left her with incomplete paraplegia) I was riding her, until she was six years old, then she had a foal, then I got my injury and I rode her a little bit after. And then I had a foal (her daughter Sara was in the Heden Arena crowd) and she had another foal and then I started riding her again.” — Grade IV Freestyle gold medallist Susanne Sunesen (DEN)

A disappointed Sanne Voets (NED), riding Demantur, took Grade IV bronze.

And then it was the moment for two-time Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Wells (GBR) to shine in the final test of the Para Dressage Championships. She and C Fatal Attraction knew what they had to beat: Frank Hosmar (NED) and Alphaville N.O.P.’s impressive 76.955%.

“I had no idea what I was going to get out there, but he pulled it out of the bag when it mattered.” — Grade V Freestyle champion Sophie Wells said referring to her spooky horse C Fatal Attraction

The duo stormed to a Championship closing gold with 78.350%. Switzerland’s Nicole Geiger picked up her second bronze of the week with Phal de Lafayette.

By Luke Norman

FEI Media Contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

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

Sweden’s Fredricson Wins Thrilling Jumping Opener While Swiss Take Lead in Team Standings

Photo: Peder Fredricson and H&M All In. (FEI/Claes Jakobsson)

As if scripted to perfection, Sweden’s Rio Olympic individual silver medallists, Peder Fredricson (45) and the 11-year-old gelding H&M All In, galloped to victory on the opening day of Jumping at the FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg (SWE).

However, it was the Swiss who gained the early advantage in the team event when brilliant rounds from Romain Duguet (Twentytwo des Biches) and Martin Fuchs (Clooney) were backed up by a breath-taking run from Steve Guerdat (Bianca) who slotted into fourth place individually at the of the day. Portugal’s Luciana Diniz (Fit for Fun) lies third and Germany’s Marcus Ehning (Pret a Tout) is in runner-up spot in the individual rankings. But as Fredricson said, there’s a long week of great sport ahead before the medals are decided.

“My plan was not to win today but to place in the top 10, but then I saw Marcus and I thought, ‘I want to beat him!’ Okay, I’m joking, but the main thing is that there are many days to go, and the most important thing is to have the horse jumping well for the rest of the week and not be too far back (in the standings). All In is a horse that has very big strides so it’s not difficult to take away strides with him and still have him jumping in a good way, so this course suited us very well.” — Peder Fredricson SWE

You couldn’t say that for many others, although Swiss pathfinder Nadja Peter Steiner (Saura de Fondcombe) was one of the very many to be clear all the way only to fall victim to the penultimate double, where the combination of a turn down the final line, bright red poles and strong shadows led to expensive poles on the ground. However, with the best three scores to count, her team-mates pulled it back so they hold pole position when the action resumes.

It’s incredibly close between the leading sides, the reigning Olympic team champions from France stalking the Swiss by a margin of just 1.63 after the results were calculated into penalty points, and the hosts from Sweden just 0.43 behind and shadowed by the Irish who are only 0.9 further adrift. The Spanish are a close fifth, followed by Austria, Germany, Belgium, Italy and then Portugal who lie tenth of the 17 competing nations.

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Cesar Parra Warms Up for Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage Nat’l Championships

Photo courtesy of Susan J Stickle.

Wayne, IL (August 22, 2017) –  Performance Farms has yet again earned top spots in the rankings of horses qualified to compete in the elite Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships. A consistent and strong competitor in this annual competition, Dr. Cesar Parra, founder and head trainer at Performance Farms, is ranked second in this year’s Developing Grand Prix Division with Fashion Designer OLD. Assistant trainer Katie Riley is also ranked second in the Five-Year-Old Division with GK Sir Beckmann.

Qualifying not one but two horses for the upcoming National Championships is an impressive feat, although one that is not surprising to anyone who has been watching Performance Farms’ horses competing this year. The qualification period for the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse Dressage National Championships began on January 1, 2017, and concluded on July 31, 2017. Throughout that timeframe, qualifying took place at designated USEF/NAJYRC Qualifying Competitions. The National Championships will take place at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois on August 24-27, 2017.

Parra and Fashion Designer OLD received qualifying scores as high as 75.313 percent in the Developing Horse Grand Prix Division. Bred by Heike Kind in Germany, Fashion Designer OLD is a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Faustinus x Forst-Design, De Niro) owned by Parra and Martin Sosnoff. “Fashion is a star, and I am thrilled with how he is developing,” said Parra. “His results are great, but it is his development that brings me the most joy.”

In last year’s competition, Parra and Fashion Designer OLD won the Reserve Champion title in the Developing Prix St. Georges division.

Riley and GK Sir Beckmann also ranked second, consistently earning scores over 80% during the qualifying period. GK Sir Beckmann is a Hanoverian gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Witchita, Wolkenstein II) bred in Germany by Norbert and Petra Fockenberg. “Sir Beckmann is such a special horse and I am so very proud of him. He is an amazing five year old, but an even more amazing horse for the future. I am blessed and lucky to have the ride on him, and I’m grateful to Cesar Parra and his wife Marcela Ortiz for always supporting me,” said Riley, who is a founding member of Performance Farms.

Performance Farms is based in both Jupiter, Florida and Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and is dedicated to developing top notch horses and riders for the dressage ring. Founder Dr. Cesar Parra is an Olympian, a Pan American Games Dressage Team Gold Medalist, and a Nations Cup Silver Medalist, as well as a two-time World Cup Finalist and two-time World Equestrian Games competitor. To learn more about the training and lessons offered by Parra and Riley at Performance Farms, visit www.piaffe-performance.com.

Contact: Dr. Cesar Parra
Piaffe-Performance Farm
(410) 977-8352
www.piaffe-performance.com

Germany Takes the Early Lead in Dressage

Photo: Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH. (FEI/Claes Jakobsson)

Chasing down their 23rd European team Dressage title, Germany took a firm grip on the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Grand Prix at the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 in Gothenburg (SWE).

Helen Langehanenberg got them off to a great start when posting the biggest score of the day, 74.986%, with Damsey FRH, and team-mate Dorothee Schneider (48) cemented that when slotting into second place on a mark of 74.586 with Sammy Davis Jr. With two more riders still to go, including their superstar combination of Isabell Werth and Weihegold, the Germans have almost a six-point lead over their nearest rivals, the defending champions from The Netherlands.

And it’s incredibly tight going into the second half of the competition with Denmark breathing down those Dutch necks just a fraction further behind, while the hosts from Sweden are in fourth place only another 1.0% adrift. A total of 16 teams are contesting the medal placings.

Langehanenberg (35), who, during her sensational career with the brilliant stallion Damon Hill, was a member of the victorious German team at the Europeans in Herning (DEN) in 2013 and the silver medal winning Olympic team at London 2012, has a relatively new ride in Damsey FRH.

“Although he is 15, we are a young couple, just one and a half years together now. He’s a wonderful horse but he’s like a lucky bag – you never know what’s going to come out! He is in a good mood today, and he’s different again tomorrow. Today he was great!” — Helen Langehanenberg GER

Patrick van der Meer (46) and Zippo were the first Dutch partnership into the ring, scoring 71.114, and Diederik van Silfhout added a competitive 72.528 with Four Seasons to back that up. But van Silfhout’s Danish pupil Anna Zibrandtsen (23) and Arlando, the brilliant horse her Dutch tutor steered to team gold at the FEI European Championships in Aachen (GER) in 2015, produced a stunning performance to earn a mark of 72.957 which, when added to team-mate Agnete Kirk Thinggaard’s 70.629 with Jojo AZ ensured the Danes are right in the mix.

Only the second German partnership of Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr pinned Zibrandtsen back to third place when putting a mark of 74.585 on the board. Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi’s 72.857 filled fourth slot.

Austria, Spain, France, Russia, Finland and Belarus are lining up between fifth and 11th places, but don’t discount the British yet. Down a man since Gareth Hughes withdrew Don Carissimo they could still be in with a shout according to Emile Faurie who steered another relative novice, the 12-year-old Lollipop, into sixth spot on a mark of 72.285.

When asked about his hopes for the 2011 team gold and 2015 European silver medal winning nation, he said “that Spencer (Wilton) scores 80 and Carl (Hester) rides 90, which they both can, and must! 72 (his own score) has been a counting score in the past; we’ve got two brilliant riders with two brilliant horses coming so I don’t see that as too big an ask!”

By Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Gold Rush for GB and Dutch as Para Dressage Starts with a Flourish

Photo: Pepo Puch (Europeans/ Claes Jakobsson)

Great Britain and the Netherlands flexed their considerable muscles and claimed two gold medals apiece in the Para-Equestrian Dressage on a glorious, sun-drenched first day of the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

Julie Payne (GBR) led the charge in Grade I, posting a huge 77.642% score to leave the competition trailing far behind.

“That is one of the best feelings I have ever had. It’s the best test I have done on her; she was just so in my hand; if I asked her to correct she was just answering.” — Julie Payne (GBR)

The 55-year-old was riding Athene Lindebjerg, the mare who won triple gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with former rider Sophie Christiansen (GBR). Remarkably, Payne and her new mount have only been together for three months, with the newly-crowned European champion grateful that they “just clicked”.

Grade I is for the most severely impaired athletes, with Payne describing her multiple system atrophy (MSA) as like combining motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and chronic fatigue syndrome into one.

German Elke Philipp was delighted to take silver with 73.428%, while Rihards Snikus (LAT) held off the challenge of current freestyle world champion Sara Morganti (ITA) to snatch bronze.

Great Britain’s Suzanna Hext, a debutant on the team like compatriot Payne, edged a tight battle for Grade III glory with a score of 71.588%. She was “over the moon” with her horse Abira’s performance.

“He loves a party, loves to show off and that’s exactly what he did today. He is a horse of a lifetime.” — Suzanna Hext (GBR)

Claudia Schmidt (GER) won a second silver for Germany, with a score of 70.617% placing her just ahead of Hext’s teammate, Erin Orford (GBR).

In Grade V, defending European individual champion Frank Hosmar (NED) pushed his long-time rival Sophie Wells (GBR) into silver.

“To beat them is always what gets me out of bed,” said Hosmar of his battles with Wells and Rio 2016 freestyle gold medal winner Michele George (BEL), who finished a surprising fifth.

“We see each other in the stables, say hello and kiss-kiss; it’s not like we hate each other, but it’s fun to beat each other.” — Frank Hosmar (NED)

Compatriot Sanne Voets (NED) revealed some timely pre-competition motivation made all the difference for her gold medal-winning routine in Grade IV.

“Yesterday in the familiarisation he got really tense and today in the warm-up he was a little tense too, but I said to him ‘c’mon boy, we can do this’ and I’m really, really proud of the way he handled everything,” Voets said after scoring 72.353%.

Belgium’s Manon Claeys claimed silver with a mark of 71.560% and Louise Etzner Jakobsson (SWE) delighted the home crowd by claiming bronze.

“I am proud to be a Swede in the Championships here,” Jakobsson said. “I always try to ride like I am home, wherever I am.”

Veteran Pepo Puch (AUT), a former international three-day eventer, defended his European title in Grade II, triumphing with 73.382%, ahead of Nicole de Dulk (NED) and Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup.

By Luke Norman

FEI Media Contacts:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

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

Eventing Gold for Great Britain and Germany’s Ingrid Klimke at Strzegom

Photo: The victorious British team at the FEI European Eventing Championships at Strzegom in Poland: Nicola Wilson (also individual bronze), Ros Canter, Oliver Townend and Kristina Cook (FEI/Jon Stroud)

A jubilant British team was celebrating after jumping three superb clear rounds in the final phase to hold onto their overnight lead and clinch the longed-for team title at the FEI European Eventing Championships in Strzegom (POL).

“We are very excited to be back on top. We’ve got some amazing riders and horses and we’ve worked hard for this.” — Kristina Cook, British gold medal team member

Ingrid Klimke, who has been such a key member of the German team for 17 years, also delivered a jumping perfect round under pressure on Horseware Hale Bob to win her first individual title and lead Germany to team silver.

Triple European champion Michael Jung’s winning run finally ended and the German sportingly settled for individual silver with a clear round on fischerRocana.

“You just have to keep going and after 20 years it will happen! I always want to be a team player, but this was my dream” — Ingrid Klimke (GER), new European champion

Sweden held onto team bronze, but Sara Algotsson Ostholt had a less than happy jumping round on Reality 39 and dropped from third to ninth.

Britain’s Nicola Wilson went clear on Bulana to take bronze, her first individual medal, while Cook and Canter lined up behind her in fourth and fifth. Oliver Townend, who was the discard score, did not present Cooley SRS at the final horse inspection.

Ten teams and 56 riders completed the competition, although there was disappointment when host nation Poland’s best rider, Pawel Spisak, was denied a fairy-tale finish after Banderas did not pass the final horse inspection.

www.strzegom2017.pl

By Kate Green

FEI Press contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Victoria Colvin and Cuba Capture USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship Honors

Photo: Tori Colvin and Cuba.

Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 19, 2017 – The country’s best hunter horses and riders returned to the Rolex Stadium for the second and final phase of competition in the 2017 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. Competitors returned with their classic round scores in tow, and had one last chance to show off their horses and their skills around designers Allan Lohman and Danny Moore’s skillfully-planned course. John French, the 2009 champion, sat in the prime position with the one-two lead after day one, trailed by Victoria Colvin and rookie Geoffrey Hesslink in the next two spots. As the early leaders, these three were targets for their counterparts, with Colvin and Cuba ultimately pulling away from the pack with a standout round to secure the 2017 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship Honors.

Young rider Taylor St. Jacques and Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Charisma separated from the field for the early lead as the seventh of 25 pairs to take their turn in the handy round, pulling in a score of 299.75 for the day and an impressive total score of 559.75. Just a few turns later, sitting in 12th position entering the day, Amanda Steege knew she needed to ride boldly aboard Wendy Salomon’s Maitre D’ if she were to have a chance at the title, and instead of focusing simply on where she could cut strides to promote handiness, the veteran rider honed her efforts on exemplifying a steady and confident pace. Based on the scores of 88.00, 86.75 and 85.25, plus handy scores of 8, 8 and 7 that she received from the judges panel, it was obvious Steege did her job well. She and “Mr. Lucky” earned a nightly score of 295.00 once the high option points were added, bumping her to an overall score of 560.50 and the class lead with 11 pairs still to ride.

Whittled down to only the top three individuals left to go, Steege still sat atop the leaderboard. French and Hiller Farms, LLC’s Center Court, his second-place horse, rode ahead of their place in the reverse order to allow French time to swap mounts, but they were unable to overtake Steege with their two-day composite score of 535.50. Hesslink and his own 6-year-old Cadoretto took the stage sitting in fourth place after the first phase, and though the young Hesslink professed to be nervous in his debut USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship showing, he exuded confidence in the ring and was rewarded by the highest scores of the night to eclipse Steege and take over the lead. Hesslink and his chestnut gelding garnered scores of 90.00, 88.50 and 87.00 from the three panels of judges and, when combined with handy scores of 8 across the board plus 12 option points, broke the 300-point barrier with their nightly tally of 301.50. Combined with Friday’s score, Hesslink earned a lofty 574.50 points over the two phases, and was one of only three pairs to hit the 90 mark.

Unfortunately for Hesslink, his score would not hold, as Colvin, no stranger to the winner’s circle in the hunter ring, out did herself aboard Cuba, the 11-year-old gelding owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC. Colvin navigated the handy round like a seasoned pro and, like Steege, paid attention to not just taking the tightest turns possible, but treated her high position with respect and rode a steady round, which paid off. She and Cuba earned scores of 92.00, 88.75 and 88.25, plus the highest handy scores of the night at 10, 9 and 9. The four high option fences further added to her score for a grand total of 309.00 and a two-day score of 584.25, nearly 10 points ahead of Hesslink. As the day-one leader and last to go in the class, French and Laura Wasserman’s Skyhawk had a high standard to beat with Colvin’s score, and though the pair laid down an efficient round, an unfortunate knockdown at the stone wall, not an uncommon occurrence for the night, knocked them out of contention, solidifying Colvin and Cuba as the 2017 champions.

Colvin rode to a total payout of over $45,000 to go along with her championship winnings, followed by Hesslink in the reserve position. Prior to competition, Hesslink and Cadoretto had accrued only $1,200 together in derby winnings, but the pair, who have only been a team since the spring season, will leave the Rolex Stadium not only with the nearly $30,000 check that goes to the overall reserve champion, but also prize money for the highest-placing Section B pair, an amount that exceeds $10,000. Steege and Maitre D’ retained their third place position to stay on the podium, and St. Jacques, also in her debut showing, and Charisma finished in fourth place by less than a full point. Kelli Cruciotti and her own Monterrey nabbed the next spot with their total score of 553.50 to round out the top five finishers.

Earlier in the afternoon, 38 horses and riders who did not qualify for the handy round took another shot at some prize money, riding in the $10,000 Derby Challenge, sponsored by Spring Gathering Charity Horse Show and PJP Farm. Like the handy round, Lohman and Moore’s course included plenty of option jumps and inside turn options, allowing riders to exhibit their mount’s handiness. As the first to go in the order, Timothy Maddrix and Wimberly Debono’s Indecision did not have the luxury of seeing any competitors ride the track, but as it turned out, they did not need the insight. The pair navigated the course brilliantly and was rewarded with scores of 89.00, 87.00 and 83.00, in addition to 12 option points and 24 handy points from the judges’ panel, for a composite score of 295.00 to set a high standard at the onset of the class. Though they were hunted by all subsequent entrants, only two managed to come within 10 points of the class leaders. David Oliynyk and Generous, owned by Lori Gaudet, laid down a spectacular trip but ended up just shy of the top prize, finishing on a 294.50 score, just one-half point behind Maddrix and Indecision.

Steege, with the ride aboard Loxley, owned by Finale Partners, LLC, was the next-closest competitor, earning a 291.00 with the bay stallion, followed by Evan Coluccio and Lisa Vesterstein’s Anthem with total marks of 281.00. With a score of 279.00, Daniel Geitner and True Story, owned by Kelly Sims, rounded out the top five.

Prior to Saturday’s handy round of the 2017 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, Jersey Boy, famously ridden by Jennifer Alfano and owned by Susie Schoellkopf, was honored and recognized for his incredible athleticism, talent and success as one of the best international hunter derby horses in a special retirement ceremony held during the opening ceremonies. The pair won the 2012 $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, and also claimed the reserve championship in the prestigious competition in 2009 and 2014. In addition, the hunter derby superstar still firmly stands atop the USHJA lifetime money-won leaderboard and has won the George H. Morris Perpetual Trophy four times as the highest money earner. Next, Jersey Boy will enjoy his well-deserved retirement at Stacy Sandbothe’s farm in Prospect, Tennessee.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
rjw@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Great Britain Bounces Back at Eventing Championships to Take Lead after Cross Country

Photo: Ingrid Klimke with Horseware Hale Bob. (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Great Britain has swept into the lead after cross country at the FEI European Eventing Championships in Strzegom (POL) with three brilliant clear rounds from team rookie Ros Canter on Allstar B, Kristina Cook (Billy the Red) and anchorman Nicola Wilson (Bulana).

“Bulana is so honest and good on a line. She was in a rhythm from start to finish. It’s very exciting! We had a group team hug and a jump around!” — British team member Nicola Wilson (GBR), lying 4th individually

But Britain has only two fences in hand over the defending champions, Germany, who is known for their skill in the final jumping phase. German duo Ingrid Klimke (Horseware Hale Bob) and triple European champion Michael Jung (fischerRocana FST) completed flawless rounds and are in individual gold and silver medal positions.

Germany slipped behind Britain when pathfinder Julia Krajewski, riding Samourai du Thot, picked up 20 penalties for a runout at fence 8 and dressage leader Bettina Hoy (Seigneur Medicott) ran out at the influential double of angled brushes at fence 4 and was then eliminated for a fall at the 10th.

“I felt under pressure for sure, but Bobby was in such good form that I was nearly laughing and really had to concentrate. We had such fun out there!” — Ingrid Klimke (GER), individual overnight leader

Sweden was the only nation to achieve four clear rounds and is in bronze medal position, with Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Reality 39 in individual third place.

Ten nations completed as teams, with the hosts, Poland, in sixth place behind Italy and Belgium. The French, who were second after dressage, finished with only two riders after Gwendolen Fer had a fall with Traumprinz and Thomas Carlile, lying in sixth place, was eliminated for three refusals with the stallion Upsilon.

Britain’s day started shakily when pathfinder Oliver Townend had two runouts on the inexperienced Cooley SRS, but he still completed with only 1.2 time penalties, which was one of the fastest times of the day. There were 63 completions, 35 clear rounds and four inside the optimum time of 10 minutes.

“Oliver did a great job because he never gave up and the team was fantastic. It’s where preparation meets opportunity. I get a lot of teasing from my German friends, but I am thrilled to be working with the British team again.” — Christopher Bartle, former German trainer, now training Team GB

Follow live scoring on www.strzegom2017.pl.

By Kate Green

FEI Press contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38