Category Archives: Competitions

Super-Cool Briton Brash Bags Victory in Verona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Sternlicht Saves Best for Last in Thermal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

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

Winn Alden and Question de Cour ©TIEC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more, visit www.Tryon.com.

Ava Stearns Wins ASPCA Maclay National Championship at National Horse Show

Ava Stearns on Acer K.

Lexington, Ky. – Nov. 3, 2019 – On the final day of its 136th anniversary, the National Horse Show welcomed junior equitation riders to the Alltech Arena for the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm, the last of the four major equitation finals held each fall season. The National Horse Show has come to be known as one of America’s premier indoor equestrian events thanks to its rich history and classical traditions, one of which is the prestigious championship that is regarded as one of the most coveted equitation distinctions in the sport. Since 1933, an elite junior rider’s name has been etched into history as the annual champion, and this year the deserving victor was 18-year-old Ava Stearns, who topped the scorecard during her final junior year ahead of 175 athletes to capture the tricolor honors as the 2019 ASPCA Maclay National Champion and winner of the esteemed ASPCA Horsemanship Trophy.

Throughout the majority of the day, entries contested designer Bobby Murphy’s course one-by-one in attempts to showcase their abilities over the expertly created 14-effort pattern. The efficient course featured a diverse collection of fence types ranging from sturdy to airy, with the majority of the jumps not implementing standards, and was a nod to popular obstacles of the past as Murphy incorporated a series of fences that were reminiscent of those seen in previous generations. Exhibitors were offered fair opportunities to shine or fall short, with a forward 5-stride line, a collected 6-stride line, two in-and-outs, and an obstacle jumped twice both directions all integrated into the course.

Faced with the task of whittling down the initial start list of 176 pairs to only the top 25 performers, judges Jimmy Torano and Tamara Provost ranked the collection of participants who had earned a callback into the next rounds of competition. As the 92nd to ride in the original order-of-go, Stearns, riding Acer K, proved to answer Murphy’s questions the best as they exemplified the pinnacle of equitation, completing a textbook trip to jump to the head of the standby list following the first phase of competition. Headed into the under saddle and second over fences portions of riding, Stearns, Isabelle Song, Breanna Bunevacz, Emma Fletcher, Alexa Aureliano, Juliette Joseph, Catalina Peralta, Jordan Toering, and Savannah Hemby were pegged as the frontrunners, all riding head-to-head in the same flat section.

During the under saddle phase, riders’ balance and strength, as well as their horses’ adjustability, were put to the test through a series of directives from the judges, which included lengthening of stride, flying changes, and changes of gait, most of which was done without stirrups. Thanks to impeccable showings, both Bunevacz and Fletcher managed to usurp the early leader to claim the first and second positions, respectively, ahead of the final over fences phase. Hemby, Casas, Pielet, and Griffiths also performed well and leapfrogged up the ranks to inch that much closer to the top spot.

Returning in reverse order of the standings for their last chance to display their skills, all of the top 25 contenders navigated the Alltech Arena once more in an effort to either win the competition or force a work-off. With the points too close to make a championship decision yet following the second jumping phase, the judges requested a final test for six riders, which included highest-placed Stearns, Fletcher, Casas, Hannah Hoch, Sophie Gochman, and Elli Yeager. Originally outside of the top six, Hoch, Gochman, and Yeager were each able to maneuver their way up the leaderboard to keep them in contention.

For their final ride-off, competitors were asked to canter directly to fence one, counter-canter fence 11, canter fences 12a and 12b, canter to fence 13 in six strides, halt, canter fence eight, hand gallop fence five, and exit at the walk. The first five partnerships each turned in solid performances with no major errors, keeping the competition tight as the final entry walked through the arch for the last over fences trip of more than 200 throughout the day. As the ultimate challenger to ride, and with the lead to lose, Stearns jockeyed Acer K to an exemplary and seemingly effortless round, concluding the day’s activities on a high note with her precision, correct form, and aid effectiveness. After waiting through the nerve-wracking announcement of results, Stearns was rewarded for her superior efforts with Acer K as the 2019 ASPCA Maclay National Champion.

As the 2019 victor, Stearns’ name now sits amongst some of the sport’s greatest athletes and icons, including past winners such as Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, Lillie Keenan, Victoria Colvin, and 2018 winner Sam Walker. Even more impressive is the fact that the junior rider claimed the championship aboard 8-year-old Acer K, North Run’s gelding who has just completed his first indoor season competing in the equitation finals. Though their partnership is relatively new, Stearns and Acer K have already achieved an incredible amount of success together, earning the reserve champion honors in both the 2019 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East as well as 2019 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final, in addition to topping the inaugural Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival during the summer. As the trainers of the winning rider, Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run were also awarded a one-year lease of an Audi, courtesy of Audi of Lexington.

Hot off third place honors in Saturday’s Hollow Brook Wealth Management $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix CSI4*, 18-year-old Casas continued her successful weekend with the reserve champion honors. The 2018 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Equitation Final winner, 17-year-old Yeager added to her equitation reputation by earning the overall third place status. The 2019 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final winner just weeks ago, Fletcher clinched fourth place, while Gochman earned fifth place and Hoch rounded out the top six.

Sunday’s competition concluded the 2019 National Horse Show, but the equestrian event will return in 2020 to once again host the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.

To learn more about the National Horse Show, click here.

The Legendary Boyd Exell Comes Flying Through

Image copyright PSV.

The 2019/2020 season of the FEI Driving World Cup has begun. The very best drivers got together at Longines Equita Lyon, Concours Hippique International for this first four-horse indoor driving meeting. At the end of a drive-off reserved for the three best teams from the first round, Boyd Exell – the world number one and a true legend in the discipline – won the event with a masterful performance. The Australian combined speed and precision in this spectacular class. He won the event in a time of 142”70, with second place going to the young and promising Dutchman Bram Chardon (26) – who won the FEI World Cup Driving Final last year – in a time of 148”99. Third place went to the Hungarian József Dobrovitz in 173”14.

Leading their four horses with their guiding reins and the sound of their voices, the drivers demonstrated the full potential of their horses and the true teamwork achieved with their grooms. “We had a great day of sport. I competed for a long time against Ijsbrand Chardon. Today, it is his son Bram who has taken over. He is a great competitor and improving each year. It’s great for our discipline: it pushes everyone to get better and it will take elite driving to a new level,” said Boyd Exell, four-time world champion and seven-time FEI World Cup Final winner. The Boyd Exell/Bram Chardon duel has truly started. “This time it was Boyd’s turn to win. Next time, it’ll be mine!” said the young Dutchman, with a smile.

Benjamin Aillaud represented France at the event, with four new horses. “I have gone back to my first love by assembling a new team of Lipizzan horses. The objective is to really make a mark in indoor driving with these horses,” said the Frenchman, who was seventh in the event.

Part of the Longines Equita Lyon, Concours Hippique International for the second year in a row, four-horse indoor driving was once again a great success on the last day of the show. “We are very proud to host this discipline in Lyon. The audience is really starting to enjoy the discipline. I am really pleased that the best drivers in the world come to compete here;” said Sylvie Robert, President of GL events Equestrian Sport, before adding: “This year’s Equita Lyon attracted a record number of visitors. All the people involved contributed to making this year’s show a success.”

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

Martin Fuchs and Clooney: What Else?

Image copyright PSV.

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

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

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

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

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

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

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

Fuchs and Clooney Take Lyon by Storm Again

Martin Fuchs with Clooney. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Scott Brash Makes It Two in a Row

Image copyright PSV.

A full house for the Equita Masters presented by Hermès Sellier in Lyon. Twenty of the world’s top riders competed in this 1.60m class. You needed to ride fast and true to be among the ten qualifiers for the second round. Two riders conceded a penalty point, Christian Ahlmann on Ailina, and the world number two, Martin Fuchs on Silver Shine, who finished sixth and fifth, respectively. Mark McAuley and Miebello were the first to complete a second clear round and set the benchmark time of 43”00, but the following riders notched up faster and faster rounds to try and win the class in front of a vociferous crowd. Finally, the British rider Scott Brash came out on top, for the second year in a row. He rode an extremely fast jump-off on Hello Shelby, full of poise and fluidity. “There was a great atmosphere. It was a very exciting class that I am proud to have won again. Shelby jumped incredibly well, and even better in the jump-off. I am delighted to see how he is improving day after day. He seems to be enjoying it more and more. He’s a real class act. It makes my life easier,” said Brash after his win.

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

Moggre Is Magnificent in Lexington

Brian Moggre and MTM Vivre le Reve. (FEI/Ashley Neuhof)

At just 18 years old, Brian Moggre (USA) recorded his second career World Cup victory in the $225,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington (USA).

Riding MTM Vivre le Reve, Moggre became the youngest rider to win the class in the event’s history. The duo topped an eight-horse jump-off that included the likes of Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champion Beat Mändli (SUI) and others among the star-studded cast of competitors.

Opening up the stride to a full gallop, Moggre and his mount positively soared over the final fence, crossing the timers of Ken Krome’s (USA) shortened course in 34.22 seconds. Karen Polle (JPN) and Kino finished second, just two-tenths of a second behind them on a time of 34.44 seconds, while David Blake (IRL) and Keoki finished third. Their time was 36.87 seconds.

“That moment, for me, was something I never expected to feel, especially this year and where I am in my career. That horse is really special to me. He’s really taken me through the ranks. He was really on his game today, and luckily I was on mine!” — Brian Moggre (USA)

While Moggre only began competing at the World Cup level this year, his partnership with his mount extends back nearly four years.

“We were both young when I got him,” he explained. “I was 14, and he was seven, so we’ve grown a lot together. I jumped my first five star this year, and it was also his first five star. I really think this horse is a product of having a good relationship with your horse and excellent training. To grow with him is something that is very special to me. These major first victories — I wouldn’t want to do it with any other horse.”

After recording his first World Cup victory at the end of last season in Ocala, Moggre is out to earn his first trip to the Finals, set for April in Las Vegas (USA). His victory in Lexington moved him into second in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League, behind only two-time World Cup Final Champion Beezie Madden (USA). Madden boasts 48 points, while Moggre now has 41. Andrew Welles (USA) sits third in the standings with 26 points.

The North American League continues with a double-header of World Cup action in Thermal (USA) and Toronto (CAN) on 9 November 2019.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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