Category Archives: Competitions

The Longest Horse Races in the UK

Grand National. (2024, January 18). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_National

Jumps season is now in full swing with some of the most significant dates in the National Hunt calendar just around the corner. Horse racing fans will soon be piling into racecourses around the country in the early months of 2024 as they watch jockeys and trainers test their mettle in some fierce conditions. UK horse racing fans have fallen in love with the National Hunt format over the years; some of the country’s most iconic and well attended races are National Hunts and have made the careers of several legendary jockeys and trainers. They are some of the most challenging races out there on the calendar given the arduous obstacles and taxing length and the UK boasts some of the best National Hunt tracks in the world. Here’s our look at some of the longest races the UK has to offer.

Grand National

Aintree hosts the world’s most famous National Hunt race every April when racing fans flock from the world to watch the Grand National. The iconic race originated in 1839 and is by far the longest race on this list at four miles, two and a half furlongs long. The event routinely sees record TV viewership and well over 70,000 fans come to Liverpool each year. Its popularity is largely down to the treacherous nature of the track as well as the massive number of entrants with 40 horses competing for the honour of winning the National. As if getting the better of 39 other runners wasn’t difficult enough, its iconic fences have ended the hopes and dreams of many a top jockey over the years. The ominous five foot high Becher’s Brook, Valentine’s and The Chair have all helped establish the Grand National as one of the most fearsome and prestigious races on the circuit. It’s considered a bucket list attraction for any racing fan worth their salt and 2024’s meet promises to be another enthralling affair. Corach Rambler is currently the frontrunner at 14/1 followed by Fastorslow but with the meet still several months away, it’s hard to say with any certainty whether the early favourites will make good on their billing. The CopyBet sign up offer will give you more to bet on these races.

Scottish Grand National

Sharing the same name as the iconic meet in Merseyside is the Scottish edition of the Grand National, the most prestigious race on the calendar north of the border. The racecourse in Ayr is known to be a slightly tamer edition of the National than the one Aintree serves up but there remains a large field to contend with as 30 runners compete each year. The 27 fences are not as taxing for the jockeys to navigate but by dint of taking place in Scotland in the early stages of Spring, the erratic weather can serve up some treacherous conditions to navigate often making it a thoroughly exciting and unpredictable contest. At four miles long it is the longest race in Scotland and comfortably one of the longest in the UK. 2024 will mark the 50 year anniversary of Red Rum’s victory at both Aintree and Ayr and hopes will be high amongst racing fans that this year’s edition can serve up another historic landmark for the sport.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Widely considered to be the best National Hunt race in the UK, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a staple of the country’s most popular horse racing event of the year in the Cheltenham Festival. The best and brightest names of the Jumps season arrive in Gloucestershire to tackle the 22 fences over a distance of three miles, two and a half furlongs. The tough downhill fences have been known to trip up plenty of riders and while the course length isn’t the longest on this list, the pressure of competing in front of 68,000 roaring fans in March has seen many of horse racing’s biggest names buckle under the pressure. It may not be the most difficult test out there for jockeys and trainers but it certainly is the most famous and the one that everyone who competes dreams of winning.

Eider Chase

Newcastle isn’t exactly renowned for its racing scene but that doesn’t mean the racecourse can’t serve up some of the most exciting meets the UK has to offer; case and point is the Eider Chase at the Newcastle racecourse. This meet takes place in February each year and features 26 fences over a distance of four miles, half a furlong with many considering it a precursor/trial to the Grand National. With a similar length and number of fences, it offers up a good indication of where the field is at coming into the famous Aintree race given the short turnaround before April and similarities between the tracks. It was first introduced in 1952 and given its significance in the buildup to the Merseyside meet, it will likely be a staple of the National Hunt schedule for years to come.

Dujardin Dances to Victory on Second Day of London International Horse Show

Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) riding Imhotep @LondonInternationalHorseShow/Ashley Neuhof

Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep set the ExCeL alight on day two of the London International Horse Show as they took the victory in the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music presented by Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd supported by Horse & Hound. The International Arena also saw action from the Extreme Driving supported by Karen and Hugh Scott-Barrett and the Yeti Under-25 British Show Jumping Championship.

Meanwhile, in the New Horizon Plastics London Arena, Showing kicked off with highlights coming from the Rising Star of Cob Type Championship, and the Rising Star of Hunter Type Championship. Spectators were also treated to the first of the LeMieux Masterclass series, ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ featuring FEI Eventing World Champion, Yasmin Ingham, Richard Davison, and Gareth and Ruby Hughes.

FABULOUS FREESTYLE

The pinnacle class of Thursday’s schedule came from the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music, which saw a packed International Arena wowed by perfect piaffes and exceptional extensions.

Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and the 10-year-old chestnut stallion Imhotep followed up on their Grand Prix victory, and produced a breathtakingly beautiful performance to the sheer delight of the home crowd to take the win with a score of 89.465%.

It was once again a British top three, with double FEI World Championship gold medallist Lottie Fry claiming the runner-up spot. Fry, who was last to go in the competition with the stunning black stallion Everdale took to the arena with a brand-new Freestyle routine that featured numerous highlights including their phenomenal final line. It was a father-son one-two, with the success of Everdale, the sire of Charlotte’s Imhotep, proving the strength of this bloodline.

Third place went to Becky Moody and her homebred Jagerbomb with a score of 83.675%. The combination was not only making their debut at the Show, but also in the FEI World Cup Qualifier Series. The highest placed international rider was Denise Nekeman, who scored a personal best of 77.035% to claim the fourth spot.

Speaking on her win, Dujardin stated: “This was Imhotep’s first indoor show, and it was a full house tonight; you could hear the crowd in the warm-up, which was really incredible. I was so proud of him; he has never been in that kind of atmosphere before, and so it was a great learning experience for him. Even though he was nervous, he was still with me, which is all I can ask for. He is still a young horse and has so much more to give. I am very excited for what is to come next year!”

Third placed Moody continued: “You dream about riding at this Show. It is somewhere that we all aspire to compete at. I was incredibly nervous in the buildup, and my horse is a legend. Being on the podium with Lottie Fry and Charlotte Dujardin is amazing. They both inspire me on a daily basis. They are incredible role models, and it is incredible being sat next to them. But I do have every intention of beating them in the future!”

THE STARS OF THE FUTURE

24 British pairings faced the challenging 1.45m course in the Yeti Under 25 British Show Jumping Championship. The difficulty of the course became evident as the initial three combinations encountered issues with early faults. The fourth participant, Oliver Fletcher, son of Tina Fletcher – one of Britain’s leading female riders of recent decades – rode Hello William, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, securing the first flawless performance of the competition. The second faultless round was delivered by Alexander McLean and Gino F, who wisely steadied their stride in the triple combination towards the finish, a section that posed challenges for many. The third clear round came from the winner of the 2023 Ella Popely Award, the Shane Breen-trained Lauren Caroline, riding Gait L.

By halfway – after Nicole Lockhead Anderson, with the small but mighty chestnut stallion I Am a Harley, and Jennifer Billington, with Flipper Darco Uk Z, both jumped clear rounds – it meant only those with a faultless first round score would progress to the jump-off. To take the total number of second-round contenders to eight, there were three more clears from Jessica Hewlett, followed by London International Horse Show Ambassador and the Show’s 2022 leading rider, Jodie Hall McAteer, as well as Antonia Platt and Marvin van de Waterhoeve – 2023’s Royal Windsor Horse Show Under 25 Grand Prix winners.

The eight-fence jump-off had the audience gripped to their seats, with the young riders giving their all to win. The number of strides between the penultimate and last fence proved to be the differentiating factor in overall time. Jennifer Billington and Flipper Darco Uk Z led from the outset, being the only clear with the next to follow all having four faults – often, including the likes of Oliver Fletcher, heartbreakingly at the last fence. The only other clear round came from Scotsman Alexander McLean and the meticulously careful Gino F, who, building on their intelligently crafted first round, jumped fence one on an angle, taking out one stride to the second fence, resulting in them becoming champions.

Speaking on his win, McLean said: “I am over the Moon. I didn’t think we were going to be anywhere near fast enough, but we battled hard and performed under the pressure. I’m so proud of Gino; he has done so much for me over the last two years and is the horse of a lifetime. The atmosphere at the London International Horse Show is fantastic; it’s my second time competing here and I love this show – it’s one of the best shows in Britain by far, with a great Christmas feel to it.”

STUNNING SHOWING TO START THE NEW SERIES IN THE NEW HORIZON PLASTICS LONDON ARENA
Written by Nicola Jane Swinney

It is appropriate that the Showing programme for the London International Horse Show began with the Rising Stars sections — looking forward to the New Year with some names to watch.

Sections include Hunters and Cobs, and there was plenty to like. Sarah Moreland, who won the opening class for Small and Lightweight Hunter Types, was quite overcome, kissing her beloved horse before pulling herself together to comment, admitting she was “quite emotional.”

Coulthard, a bay gelding bred in Aberdeenshire, means everything to Sarah, not least because when buying him four years ago, she had to choose between him and a car.

“He is incredible,” she said. “He does everything. He also jumps so we are doing the Working Hunter class on Saturday.”

The judges, Robert Walker and Jenny Banks, clearly agreed with Sarah’s opinion of her splendid horse, awarding him the Rising Stars Hunter Type Championship over the Middleweight and Heavyweight winner, Eleanor Liddle riding Val Doidge’s Cu Chulainn Carrabawn Rebel. A former hunt horse, Bruce — which is much easier to say — has taken to showing with aplomb, although he hasn’t always been easy. Hunt horses are not used to standing still!

Relishing the atmosphere at the London venue, Carly Chapman and Frazer Foxes Covert headed the Rising Stars Heavyweight Cob class and claimed the Championship.

“It was a fantastic experience; the ring is absolutely great and he gave me a great spin in the go-round, so I’m really delighted,” said Carly. She was enthusiastic about the new venue at the ExCel, the New Horizon Plastics London Arena, saying the atmosphere was “really buzzy.”

The Maxi Cob class and reserve went to Alex George and his six-year-old Paulines Boy, who, he says, “has done very well for a young horse, very well behaved. He’s a good boy.”

The electric atmosphere at this centre is appreciated by riders, horses, and the public alike, and the showing classes over the next few days look set to end 2023 on a high note.

More information about The London International Horse Show can be found at www.londonhorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact: Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Kent Farrington Claims Top Spot in the Trophée de Genève for the Sixth Time

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Thomas Lovelock)

The beautiful city of Geneva once again welcomed the world’s most talented horse and rider combinations to what is often considered to be the best indoor equestrian show in the world, the CHI Geneva. The show hosts the final Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major of the calendar year.

In total, 48 combinations started in the feature class of the day, the coveted 1.60m Trophée De Genève. The competition also provided the first chance for riders to secure their place in the pinnacle event of the show, the Rolex Grand Prix. As is often the case at the CHI Geneva, the field was truly star-studded and included the current Olympic, World, and European individual Champions of Ben Maher, Henrik von Eckermann, and Steve Guerdat.

First to canter into the Palexpo’s iconic Geneva Arena was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam riding the chestnut gelding, Cjoxx Z. The duo produced a faultless jumping round, but picked up an agonising time fault. Fourth to go, the in-form Vitor Bettendorf, winner of two of the classes, produced the first clear round. Next to jump, Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer, secured a jump-off after a super performance, much to the delight of the home crowd. At the halfway point, there were eight clear rounds, with faults coming throughout the masterfully designed course.

Read more here.

© 2023 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Britain’s Dressage Golden Girls in Action at London International Horse Show

Lottie Fry at London International Horse Show (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

Organisers of London International Horse Show have confirmed a stellar list of international Dressage entries to this year’s edition of the Show which runs from 13-18 December at ExCeL London.

The Show will host FEI World Cup™ action in three disciplines, including the CDI5* Dressage that takes place on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 December, with a new presenting sponsor – Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd, supported by long-time sponsor Horse & Hound. Britain’s golden girls of Dressage, Charlotte Fry and Charlotte Dujardin, head the high-quality list of entries for the 2023 FEI Dressage World Cup™ competition at London International Horse Show.

2022 double FEI Dressage World Champion, Fry, will be looking to reclaim the titles that she won at the Show last year, when she took home both the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix and the Freestyle to Music. This year, Fry – a London International Horse Show ambassador – will bring her Olympic bronze medal-winning mount Everdale, with whom she won the CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle to Music at Compiègne earlier this year.

Looking ahead to the Show, Fry said: “The London International Horse Show is one of my favourite shows of the year. Being able to compete at this level in front of my home fans is very special, and there is always an amazing atmosphere. The 2022 Show was incredible for me, and I hope to be able to do the same again.”

Fry’s British teammate, Dujardin, will return to the Show where she achieved her World Record breaking performances with her Olympic gold medal winning partner, Valegro. Dujardin has had an impressive season following the birth of her daughter in March. Having made a successful international comeback at Royal Windsor Horse Show, Dujardin and Imhotep – the horse she will bring to London – have gone from strength to strength, including winning team gold, individual silver in the Grand Prix, and individual bronze in the Freestyle, with a score of over 90%, at the FEI European Championships in Riesenbeck in September.

Compatriot Lewis Carrier was another to have a strong performance at Royal Windsor, and will head to London with Diego V, a KWPN warmblood he has produced himself from a four-year-old. Also achieving a podium position at Royal Windsor was Emile Faurie, who will ride Bellevue in London. Adding to the British entries and looking to impress selectors ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be Becky Moody, riding Jagerbomb – the horse she rode to victory in the CDI3* Freestyle to Music at both Hickstead and Hartpury and at the LeMieux National Dressage Championships during the summer.

The home riders will be challenged by a strong international contingent. France’s Morgan Barbançon will partner Sir Donnerhall II, a horse who recently led her to victory in the Freestyle to Music at CDI-W Wierzbna Bialy Las, and with whom Barbançon has competed at multiple championships. Fellow French rider, Alexandre Ayache, will also make the trip to London with his FEI European Championship mount Jolene.

The sole representative from Germany comes from United Kingdom based Kathleen Kröncke, whilst Caroline Chew will represent Singapore aboard Blue Hors Zatchmo, and Abigail Lyle will ride Giraldo for Ireland.

For tickets to London International Horse Show, please visit www.londonhorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Champion Jockeys to Jump at London International Horse Show

Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy at London International Horse Show 2022 (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

The ever-popular Markel Jockeys Jumping in aid of The Injured Jockeys Fund class returns to London International Horse Show on the evening of Monday 18 December. The Show, which takes place from 13-18 December at its new home of ExCeL London, is a true equestrian Christmas extravaganza filled with top-level competition and entertainment.

This unique class sees two teams of five world-class jockeys each put their Show Jumping skills to the test in the prestigious International Arena – all in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

This year’s class comes with exciting additions: Great Britain’s Eventing Chef d’Equipe, Dickie Waygood, will be responsible for setting the height of the course, having watched the jockeys warm up, and a Markel Joker fence will be included as the last obstacle in the course, which, if cleared successfully, will subtract four seconds off the jockey’s time – making the competition even more exciting. In addition, Team Trainers Pippa Funnell and Nick Skelton CBE will be on hand prior to and throughout the competition, offering the jockeys guidance and Show Jumping tactics.

The 2023 teams, who have over 16,000 winners between them, will be captained by the legendary Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy and Tom Scudamore. McCoy is a 20-time Champion Jump Jockey and has ridden 4,358 winners, making him the most successful jump jockey of all time. McCoy is also the President of the Injured Jockeys Fund, and a regular at London International Horse Show having led his team to victory in last year’s competition.

His rival captain, Tom Scudamore, is one of the UK’s most successful jump jockeys and is the third generation of the famous Scudamore Racing dynasty. Whilst he retired in February of this year, Scudamore rode an impressive 1,499 winners over jumps and 12 on the flat throughout his career.

Full teams will be decided in the run-up to the Show and released in due course; however, fans will be excited to learn that Harry Skelton, son of Olympic gold medallist show jumper, Nick Skelton CBE, will join the line-up. Harry will also be looking to retain his title from last year, and with a Show Jumping background, he will be one to watch.

Jim Crowley, who names London International Horse Show as his ‘favourite event of the year,’ will also be seen in action. Crowley used to be a jump jockey before he switched paths to become a flat jockey, becoming Champion Flat Jockey in 2016. The three-time and current Champion Jump Jockey, Brian Hughes, is another of the headline names set to fly around the International Arena at the Show.

Representing the women are Joanna Mason and Saffie Osborne. Mason rode as an amateur for many seasons before turning professional on the flat in 2020 and has an impressive tally of over 100 winners already. Meanwhile, Osborne is the daughter of famous jockey turned trainer, Jamie Osborne; having turned professional this year, she is undoubtedly one of the rising stars of the weighing room. Currently recovering from a knee injury, she hopes to make a return to the saddle for the class.

Rounding off this stellar line-up are James Doyle, Ryan Moore, and Harry Cobden. Doyle rides for the mighty Team Godolphin and has just announced a new retainer as a jockey to the Wathan Racing operation for 2024. Moore is a three-time Champion flat jockey, who has ridden over 3,000 winners and won at all the major Classics, including the recent Breeders’ Cup on the Derby winner, August Rodin. Finally, Cobden is one of the UK’s leading jump jockeys as stable jockey to Champion Trainer, Paul Nicholls. With over 750 winners to date, Cobden is undoubtedly a superstar jockey; however, he has stated he has ‘never jumped a course of Show Jumps in his life!’ and so will be looking for expert guidance from the Team Trainers.

Juliet Redfern, Head of Equine Insurance at Markel, added: “Markel is delighted to be sponsoring this fabulous event again and supporting a charity that looks after its own so well. As a specialist equine insurer, we are committed to supporting the wider equine industry through such charitable initiatives, and this is one of our favourite events!”

The Markel Jockeys Jumping in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund will be part of the Show’s thrilling final performance, which also includes the 5* London Grand Prix, featuring the finest international Show Jumping horse and rider combinations.

For more information, including how to purchase tickets to watch the jockeys at London International Horse Show, visit www.londonhorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Oh No, It Doesn’t; Oh Yes, It Does – Pantomime Comes to London International Horse Show

Manuel Fernández Saro dressed as Olaf at London International Horse Show 2022 (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

London International Horse Show, which takes place at ExCeL London from 13-18 December 2023, is excited to announce that following last year’s successful reintroduction of the fan favourite Fancy Dress Relay, the class will return on Sunday 17 December, this time with a Christmas Pantomime twist!

2022 Fancy Dress Relay competitors at London International Horse Show (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

The evening class promises to be a highly entertaining festive celebration and is not to be missed. The competition will see nine pairs of riders from all disciplines of the equestrian community, including top international Show Jumpers such as John Whitaker and Harry Charles, compete against each other wearing ingenious fancy dress costumes, with prizes awarded to the fastest partnership and the most entertaining pair.

Last year saw characters such as Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story franchise and Olaf from the Frozen movies fly around the International Arena at London International Horse Show to the sheer delight of the packed-out crowds. This year, fans will be treated to an evening of merriment as family favourite pantomime duos, including Peter Pan & Captain Hook, Snow White & the Wicked Queen, and Robin Hood & Friar Tuck, race against each other to claim the top spot.

The whole evening will be rounded off in the Champagne Taittinger Bar and Brasserie with a ticketed After Party, where you can join in the fun and dance the night away with your favourite riders and celebrities to a sensational live band from 22:30 until 00:30. Additionally, anyone attending the evening’s performance wearing Fancy Dress will receive free entry to the fabulous After Party.

Looking ahead to party night, Show Organiser Simon Brooks Ward said: “The Fancy Dress Relay is always such a high-energy class, which has been a highlight of the Show for spectators and riders alike over the years. We are thrilled to have reintroduced the class last year, and following its huge success, the class will be back with some of the sport’s most successful stars, in even better costumes.”

Tickets to watch the Fancy Dress Relay and the After Party can be found here.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

British Dressage Riders Line Up to Compete at London International Horse Show

Gareth Hughes riding Classic Briolinca at London International Horse Show 2022 (London International Horse Show/Peter Nixon)

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ competition at London International Horse Show is one of the key events at the Show and has, in the past, seen some of the most important record-breaking achievements in the sport. This year, Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd is the new presenting sponsor and the class continues to be supported by Horse & Hound. The competition is set to feature some of the world’s best Dressage combinations including several of Britain’s most accomplished riders.

Taking place on the first two days of the Show, the Grand Prix provides a fitting opening on Wednesday 13 December, and the Freestyle to Music is always an exciting end to the competition on the evening of Thursday 14 December.

Last year, Great Britain’s double world championship-winning combination, Lottie Fry and the 12-year-old black stallion Glamourdale, wowed both the audiences and judges with their spell-binding performances, featuring their immaculate piaffe, passage, and signature extended canter to take home both the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix and the Freestyle to Music.

The London International Horse Show provides one of the final chances for British riders to impress selectors on home soil before Paris 2024 Olympic selection. Whilst entries are yet to be confirmed for this year, spectators can expect to see breathtaking and inspirational performances from elite dressage riders, including members of the British gold medal-winning team from this summer’s FEI European Championships.

British Olympic Dressage rider and Dressage consultant to the Show, Richard Davison, stated, “British Dressage is in fantastic shape at the moment with many new combinations starting to compete at top level. This class in London is the pinnacle of the sport in the UK where we have seen many records, and hearts, broken. I know that my fellow British riders, Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin, and Lottie Fry, are really looking forward to getting back in the International Arena again to show what they and their horses are made of. All British riders fight for a place at the Show and this year Becky Moody and Lewis Carrier stand as good a chance as any to make the cut.”

Dressage aficionados can also watch Richard in action when he presents the LeMieux Dressage Masterclass on the afternoon of Thursday 14 December in the Show’s new arena – the New Horizon Plastics London Arena. Richard will appear alongside his compatriot, Gareth Hughes, and Gareth’s daughter Ruby, who has had a very successful year in Young Rider classes, plus the audience can watch medal winning eventer, Yasmin Ingham, being put through her dressage paces.

For tickets to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ presented by Bret Willson Dressage International Ltd and supported by Horse & Hound, please click here.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Brittany Burson Dominates with Five Regional Champion Titles en Route to 2023 US Dressage Finals

Brittany Burson and Fiorenza. John Borys Photography

October 13, 2023 – Lexington, KY – The second of three weekends of 2023 Great American Insurance Group (GAIG)/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Regional Championships, held across a total of nine USDF regions, offered more riders the chance to pick up qualifying berths for the 2023 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® at the Kentucky Horse Park on November 9-12.

Five for Burson at Region 4

At Fourth Level it was Furst Emilio’s turn in the spotlight — once he overcame his fear of the spotted horse in the warm-up arena. Patricia Joy’s 13-year-old gelding by Fürst Fugger is another bought from Germany unseen during the pandemic, and was intended for Joy, but he can be complicated, so Burson is sharing the ride with his 70-year-old owner.

Linda Phifer’s seven-year-old Leonardo Z delivered Burson’s fifth victory. The Glamourdale son clinched the Third Level Freestyle with 74.688% and was reserve champion in the opening class with 71.188%. Leonardo has recently jumped up the levels.

Growing and Winning Together in Region 4

It was a memorable weekend for Adult Amateur (AA) Casey Eiten. Not only did she and the 14-year-old Eschaton win the Region 4 Intermediate II Championship title with 60.074%, but they also contested their first ever Grand Prix, gaining a score towards the rider’s USDF Gold Medal in one of the warm-up recognized classes that ran alongside the Regional classes. Eiten, who is 28 years old now, was 15 when she and her parents bought Eschaton, and they have climbed the competition ladder together.

“We didn’t know very much about what kind of baby horses we were looking for,” admitted Eiten, who liked the look of the young son of Sir Sinclair. “He was actually born and bred at the farm where I took lessons, and the breeding seemed right. I was out there every day when I was younger, getting him used to all the little stuff, like brushing and bringing him in.

“We started him, and I was the first person on him. It’s kind of crazy because I went through high school and college and now my adult career and life with him; he’s been there with me through it all. I feel really lucky that he turned out the way he did.”

Allen’s Four Wins Dominate Region 5

Adult Amateur Andria Allen had a stellar show at the Region 5 Championships on September 29 – October 1 in Scottsdale, AZ with her two horses. She scooped three Regional Championship titles and a reserve with the six-year-old Dutch-bred Mardeaux (Ferdeaux x Connoisseur) and Keno SSF (Governor x Contango).

Her double champion Mardeaux — at Second and Third Level — was yet another bought unseen from the Netherlands two years ago, mid-pandemic, and has been a little challenging since he arrived.

A fresh approach to saddle fitting has been the key for Allen’s other ride, the eight-year-old Keno SSF, whom she bought in-vitro from Shooting Star Farms.

“He’s such a big powerful horse, and as a five-year-old he was so naughty,” she explained. “We found a little bit of kissing spine, not much, but it needs managing. My Colorado trainer rode him in a different saddle — a Dresch — that sits further forward so the scapula can go underneath it. It puts my weight about four inches further forward, and it’s been an absolute game changer for Keno.”

Stacey Knox and Frosty Fox led an enormous Region 4 Second Level AA class, putting down an unassailable 71.429%, which was the only score above 70% out of the 25 starters. The seven-year-old Hanoverian by Floris Prince finished third at the Region 4 Championships in 2022 at First Level, and will be making his first trip to Finals.

The 2023 US Dressage Finals will be held November 9-12 in Lexington, KY at the Kentucky Horse Park, and is a national championship competition that showcases the Adult Amateur and Open divisions. Classes run at Training Level through Grand Prix, plus divisions for Junior/Young Riders at Training Level through Fourth Level. There is $120,000 in prize money up for grabs over the four days. Learn more at www.usdf.org/usdressagefinals/index.asp.

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a non-profit membership organization dedication to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit www.usdf.org or e-mail usdressage@usdf.org

By Alice Collins for Jump Media/USDF

Swede Victorious in the Four-Star Competition in Strzegom

Christoffer Forsberg with Hippo’s Sapporo. Photo: Mariusz Chmieliński

Christoffer Forsberg with Hippo’s Sapporo wins the CCI4*-L class, the most demanding competition at Strzegom October Festival.

Christoffer Forsberg was third after dressage, went double clear in the cross-country and showjumping, and won the with a score of 30.5 penalty points. Belgian Julien Despontin jumped up into second with Clever Man Waf after a faultless parkour with a mere two-second delay – 34.9. Third place was taken by Australian Andrew Hoy riding Cadet De Beliard – 37.3. The leader of the competition after two trials, New Zealander Clarke Johnstone with Aces High, had three knockdowns, and with a score of 39.3 finished just behind the podium, in fourth place. The only Polish pair taking part in the competition, current Polish champions Julia Gillmaier and Red Dream Princes, were in 10th position after dressage, and a good cross-country performance only with time faults ensured their promotion to seventh. Unfortunately, two knockdowns and overtime resulted with a final score of 64.3 penalty points and placed the pair in ninth place.

The first place on the podium in the 4*-S competition went to Sara Algotsson Ostholt riding Dynamite Jack – 33.9. The representative of Sweden was fourth after the dressage and took the lead after a clear cross-country round. With a significant advantage in points over her rivals, not even one knockdown in the jumping arena threatened her position. Second place went to French rider Maxime Livio with Enjoy De Keroue – 35.6, and third to German representative Katharina Meyer with Aspen T – 40.9.

Sara Algotsson Ostholt was also the best in the CCI3*L riding Dinathia – 30.3. They went up one notch after each trial, starting from third place after dressage. Second and third places were taken by the German representatives: Jan Matthias with Peppermint Patty Frh – 30.3, and Jerome Robine with Avatar – 31.7.

The final showdown in the CCI3*S kept the spectators in suspense until the end. The leader, Germany’s Michael Jung with Palm Beach, had one knockdown and the penalty points added to his score equaled that of the runner-up, Julia Krajewski with Ero De Cantraie, who rode a faultless round. As a result, the riders finished the competition with the same score – 30.1. The final classification was determined by the penalty points from the dressage test, during which Michael Jung was better, and ultimately, he became the winner. Third place went to the Czech Republic’s Eliška Orctová with Kirea – 30.5.

First place in the CCI2*L, after faultless cross-country and jumping, went to Switzerland’s Eveline Bodenmüller with Dark Gambler – 26.7, ahead of Germany’s Emma Hartmann with Baloucor – 27 and Ann-Catrin Bierleinwithn Come On Lotti – 30.2.

The best rider in the CCI2*S, after a double clear, was Germany’s Pia Leuwer riding Cascada – 32, the second went to her compatriot Nicoletta Massmann with CARLSON – 35.1, and third to Danish rider Anne-Dorthe Möller with First Class Gs – 35.2.

The 1*-Intro class ended with the victory of Pole Mateusz Pabijanek riding Tango 310 – 30.6. Dutchman Dennis Huits with Perseverance Luxery from Second Life Z was second – 30.6, and Germany’s Amelie Reisacher on Tissot finish third – 31.8.

European Youth Eventing Masters

In the European Youth Eventing Masters tournament, only the German team took part in the young rider category. In the individual classification the best score belonged to Linn Klümper with Candyman 145 – 30.8, second went to Emma Wiedenhöft with Naughty Girl 5 – 34.2, and third to Amelie Reisacher with Quintus 155 – 40.4.

The junior competition ended with the win for the team from Belgium – 110.6, consisting of: Lise Matton and Kenzo Van ‘T Farsenhoven, Clarisse Walbrecq and Fussac De La Quairelle, Anais Van Vaerenbergh I Marion Van De Perelaar, and Max Thual QC and Rock and Roll. Second place went to Germany with 115.9 and third to Poland with 118.3.

In the individual classification, the winner was Andrea Novotna from the Czech Republic riding Eldorado – 30.4, before Neel Friedrich Dehn (GER) with Better Luck – 31.9, and Polish rider Laura Gillmaier with Ding Dong – 34.

In the pony rivalry, Germany’s Hannah Pfitzmann and Mary Poppins P, Nell Röming and Majestro, Pita Schmid with Sietlands Catrina. and Anni Müller riding Nightys Flashlight were unbeatable with 126.6. Second place on the podium went to the Netherlands with 132.9 and third to Belgium with 152.2.

Individually, the first place went to German rider Pia Sophie Schreiber with Motsi Mabuse – 33.4, Julie Geurts from Belgium was second with Kinou Des Marronniers – 35.9, and Thilde Holm Nielsen from Denmark topped off the podium with Karlshoejgaard’s Monique – 36.5.

The national class CNC100 ended with a win for Austrian Harald Ambros with Mogli 45 – 31.6, in the under 18-year-old category, the best rider was Dominika Mączyńska (POL) with Avenido – 30.4, and in the CNC90, the first place went to Patrycja Pastuszek (POL) with Monaco – 26.1.

Online results: https://livejumping.com/ap/event/9191/competitions

Contact:
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Titles Shared between Nations at the FEI Driving World Championship for Young Horses

Fabrice Martin (FRA) & Idromel Noir – FEI/FFE/Mélanie Guillamot

Venturing outside Hungary for the first time since the event was established in 2016, the 7th FEI Driving World Championship for Young Horses was held at the superb equestrian centre Parc Equestre Fédéral at Lamotte-Beuvron, south of Orleans (FRA).  It has been a busy time for the French as the event followed the FEI World Pairs Championship in Haras-du-Pin in Normandy last weekend.

First to be crowned World Champion on a bright Sunday morning was Swiss singles supremo Mario Gandolfo in the 6-year-old class with the Franches-Montagnes Lemmy-K, owned by Lisby Bastin.  Maintaining the winning momentum he showed last year to win the 5-year-old title in Szilvásvárad (HUN), the powerful Swiss bred gelding was in front at each stage of the competition to end on 15.93. Mario is currently ranked number two in FEI Singles.  Runner-up was Lars Krüger (GER) with the German Sathu mare Salome on 14.80, and in third was Sabrina Melotti (NED) driving the KWPN mare Melotti Texel with 13.67.

The next class to find a new champion was for the youngest category, the 5-year-olds.  Fabrice Martin (FRA), driving for the host nation, also led at each stage with the stunning black Selle Français mare Idromel Noir, owned by the IFCE, and they topped the leaderboard with 15.30.  Matching his position from the previous class, runner-up once again was Lars Krüger with the Sathu stallion Valentino on 14.12.  Trading a first for third, Mario Gandolfo drove his own Franches-Montagnes gelding Johnson Du Signal to take the remaining podium place with 12.98.

Despite a slight delay to the start of Sunday’s competition due to water problems in the arena, by late lunchtime, the third title of the weekend had been awarded in the 7-year-old category to Marie Schiltz (LUX).  Currently ranked number three in FEI Singles, Marie was another to lead throughout the competition, driving her father Franz’s Oldenburg mare Freaky Friday 12 to end on 14.53, who impressed the judges with her supple and uphill movement.  Franz drove the mare two years ago in the 5-year-old category, but he is also a previous world title winner in the 7-year-old category, which he took at the first World Championship in 2016 with his Oldenburg stallion Frodo, who Marie now drives.

Placed second was Wilbrord Van Den Broek (NED) with his own KWPN gelding Love to Dance with a total of 12.46, marginally ahead of Agnes Paulovics (HUN) with Józef Vida’s KWPN stallion L-Grappa-WK on 12.31.  As well as appearing at the last two Young Horse World Championships, where he was third last year in the 6-year-old class, this versatile horse also drives in Józef’s Four-in-Hand, and with Agnes competes in Horse Singles classes.

The competition, like other championships, takes place over four days, after the initial ‘fit to compete’ inspection.  However, in all other areas the format is different.  On Thursday, athletes and horses enter a qualifying ‘Aptitude Test’ which combines a series of Dressage movements and a sequence of Cones. The top 50% proceed to the Dressage on Saturday, but on Friday, the lower 50% drive again to try again to gain a place in the final phases.  The number permitted to through after the second qualification is determined by the officials, but there is a maximum of ten athletes in the final rounds for each class.

Sunday’s Combined Marathon takes place in one arena and consists of two Marathon type obstacles plus Cones, but the course varies between the classes to alter the complexity depending on the age category, for example in the 5-year-old class, only one of the Marathon obstacles was used.  The course designer was Josef Middendorf, who also designed at the Four-in-Hand World Championships in Pratoni (ITA) last year.

The marking system is also different from most Driving competitions, which are penalty based, so the lowest overall score wins.  Here it is the highest score which wins and marks are awarded together by the four judges, who decide collaboratively what mark out of 10 will be given, which is then averaged to give a single mark at the end of each phase.  For the final placings, two marks count, which are from the Dressage and the Combined Marathon.  Penalties are deducted from the total and can be for a knocked ball, which is 0.3, or for time and other errors, such as a groom down.

“Having the judges sit together allows for really good discussion around the way of going expected from the age range.  The key point is this is judged around the performance of the horse, not a series of Dressage movements. It is refreshing to look at the horse according to age and have a good discussion between colleagues. It is also important to understand how we train horses correctly, giving them time to develop and mature. It’s such a special event, being able to look at some amazing horses and really getting into the movement, training scale, and minds of some wonderful equines,” said Andrew Counsell, President of the Ground Jury.

In total, 50 athletes and 50 horses came forward from 10 nations.  Athletes compete as individuals and there is no team competition.  Each athlete can enter two horses per age category.  Throughout the event, the emphasis is on the performance of the horse. Marks are given in accordance with the scales of training in the context of the age and stage of its development.

FULL RESULTS

by Sarah Dance

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