Category Archives: Competitions

Marlon Modolo Zanotelli at Full Throttle in the Masters One Hubside

Photo ©Sportfot / EEM.

The riders got their bearings and found their feet at the Longines Masters of Paris. Among the 74 pairs who started in the Masters One Hubside, opening class at 1,45m of the CSI 5* at the Longines Masters of Paris, Brazil’s Marlon Modolo Zanotelli scored the best performance.

Aboard his 10-year-old KWPN mare Sweet Tricia, he was the only rider to manage a clear round under the symbolic 30 seconds mark in 29’’84. A first win for this relatively new partnership as he only took over the ride a few weeks ago. “This is obviously a very good start to the show. I’m very happy and proud of Sweet Tricia who had already won a lot with her previous rider Darragh Kenny (Ireland). It’s a pleasure for me to be able to ride such a horse,” said double Gold medalist at the 2019 Pan-American Games. The rider who is based in Belgium will be able to take home a very special yellow and black ride, the Ducati Scrambler presented to the winner.

45th to go, Marlon Modolo Zanotelli remained unchallenged until the end of the class. A clear round in 30’’09 enabled the USA’s Jessica Springsteen to take the runner-up spot with Tiger Lily. Young Italian rider and member of the Riders Lab, Filippo Marco Bologni, was clear in 30’18 with Diplomat, for 3rd. A total of 19 combinations managed to keep a clean slate. Best of the French contingent are Max Thirouin and his chestnut mare Utopie Villelongue who started for the first time among the World’s elite at the Longines Masters of Paris.

Find the complete results HERE.

Daniel Koroloff – +33 (0)6 11 02 18 12 –  daniel@blizko-communication.com

Riders to Watch in Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

Photo: Rolex / Kit Houghton.

From 12-15 December 2019, show jumping fans will travel to Switzerland for what is widely regarded as the world’s greatest indoor competition, CHI Geneva. The event, which spans four days, marks the final Major of the year and will welcome the world’s best equestrian combinations. Each rider will compete in front of around 42,000 people at Palexpo, the biggest indoor jumping arena in the world, as they seek to gain show jumping’s highest honors.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

Visitors attending the 2019 edition of CHI Geneva will witness world-class equestrian action at an event that has been voted the world’s best show jumping competition nine times. With several of the world’s most prolific horse-and-rider combinations set to compete, there will be numerous contenders vying to be crowned the next Rolex Grand Slam live contender, further adding to the hype of the highly anticipated event.

One of the favorites to claim this year’s title is legendary Swiss rider and World No. 1, Steve Guerdat. The Rolex Testimonee has built up a great run of form this season after winning the ‘Pan American’ Grand Prix presented by Rolex in Spruce Meadows this summer and finishing second in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in March. Already a three-time winner of Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Guerdat will be eager to impress once more in front of a vibrant home crowd.

American rider Kent Farrington sits just outside of the world’s top 10 but has already established himself as one of the best riders in the world after magnificently winning the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen with his outstanding mare Gazelle. The Rolex Testimonee has been on fine form this season, making him a prime contender for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva title, which he previously claimed back in 2017.

Never far from success is Germany’s Daniel Deusser, who currently sits at third in the Jumping World Rankings. Given his recent form, including a second-place finish in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen back in July, Deusser is expected to be one of the top performers at this year’s event in Geneva.

Current World No. 2, Martin Fuchs, is another rider who will be looking to secure the Major win in his native Switzerland. The young rider has already achieved much success in his career, including a silver medal in the Individual Jumping at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™, and is the current European Champion. Fuchs’ recent results have helped the 26-year-old establish himself as one of the world’s very best competitors, so there will be a high level of expectation for him to finish off the year with his first Rolex Grand Prix title.

A field of 40 combinations will battle it out in the hope of seizing the final Major victory of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at CHI Geneva, which promises to be a weekend of enormous competition starting on December 12th.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Extraordinary Ehning Tops Madrid Thriller with Phenomenal Pret a Tout

Marcus Ehning with Pret a Tout. (FEI/Thomas Reiner)

Pret a Tout more than lived up to his name when carrying German ace, Marcus Ehning, to victory in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League qualifier at Madrid in Spain.

Fourth to go in a breathtaking nine-horse jump-off, the pair took the lead with a spectacular run that stopped the clock in 43.30 seconds and couldn’t be caught. Ehning’s compatriot and 2011 series champion. Christian Ahlmann, came a close second with his exciting nine-year-old stallion Dominator 2000 Z, while Belgium’s Pieter Devos and Espoir finished third. The crowd packed into the IFEMA Arena in the Spanish capital city was treated to a fabulous afternoon of sport.

Course designer, Javier Trenor, set the stage with a 12-fence first-round track in which almost every fence was on a related distance. Absolute accuracy was required to successfully navigate the roll-backs, dog-legs and tight turns in the small arena, and the 66 seconds time-allowed also played its part. But when it came to the jump-off then it was speed and courage that would count, with two exceptionally long runs in the closing stages. And Ehning was at his very best – so fast that he could take a check before the last and still set an unbeatable target.

He wasn’t quite so convinced himself, however. “I thought maybe I had left a small gap, but as it turned out I didn’t!” he said afterwards.

Italy’s Emilio Bicocchi and Evita SG Z produced the first jump-off clear in 44.93 and then Devos and his big-striding gelding Espoir raised the bar with a flyer at the last to break the beam in 43.66. But Ehning and Pret a Tout shaved almost a quarter of a second off that when galloping through the finish in 43.30.

He then had to sit back and watch the five that followed him, only Ahlmann and his lovely nine-year-old Dominator seriously threatening when scorching home in 43.53. A little wobble on the gallop to the final oxer may have made all the difference – “I had a chance to win today but my last line was not the best!” admitted the man who lifted the coveted series trophy back in 2011. But he was still thrilled with runner-up spot on a stallion that is only nine years old and showing such immense promise.

Ehning was delighted with Ruth Krech’s 16-year-old gelding who clearly still loves his job. He’s an extraordinary horse because he shows the same enthusiasm and ability in a massive arena like Aachen (GER) where he won the Grand Prix in 2018 as he does in a much smaller arena like the venue in Madrid.

“He’s a very fast and experienced horse, and I also have a bit of experience!” said the double Olympian and three-time FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion who is one of the most admired horsemen in the sport.

He admires the clever and confident Pret a Tout, because “he has his own style and it’s not classical, but his mind is really, really good and he’s very flexible and that helps him a lot. He’s a real personality – he’s quite lazy, but he knows he’s a very good horse so he always feels very proud of himself!” said the German star who is now targeting the WEL qualifier at Olympia in London (GBR) later this month.

Before that there is one more visit to Spain, for the seventh qualifier that takes place at La Coruna. Pieter Devos will be holding court at the head of the Western European League when that gets underway on 15 December, and although he didn’t repeat the win he posted at the previous leg in Stuttgart two weeks ago, he is feeling very pleased about his consistent results that have earned 55 valuable points and a definite place at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2020 Final next April.

“It is only halfway of the season and I’m very happy to know I’ll be going to Las Vegas! I’ve never ridden there and I’m excited to go!” Devos said.

Watch highlights here.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Riders Lab, the Champions Factory: The Longines Masters of Paris 2019 Promotion Unveiled

A full-fledged player in sport and its future worldwide, EEM World launched its Riders Lab in the first half of 2019; it’s a true Champion Factory! At each event of the Longines Masters Series, five promising young riders are invited to compete among the best. The young riders thus acquire valuable experience at the very highest level. By continually presenting new and exciting riders and combinations to its spectators, the Longines Masters also opens up equestrian sport to new audiences from the younger generation of enthusiasts, who become invested in supporting those emerging icons. The Riders Lab promotion of the Longines Masters of Paris 2019 was unveiled at the November 19th press conference.

The Five Riders of the Longines Masters of Paris 2019 Riders Lab

Filippo Bologni (ITA)
25 years old. 122nd in the Longines FEI Ranking as of October 31st, 2019. Team Bronze medalist at the 2014 European Young Rider Championship.

Kara Chad (CAN)
23 years old. 495th in the Longines FEI Ranking as of October 31st, 2019.

Pieter Clemens (BEL)
25 years old. 79th in the Longines FEI Ranking as of October 31st, 2019. European Young Rider Team Champion in 2015, European Young Rider Team runner-up in 2012.

Arnaud Doem (BEL)
27 years old. 826th in the Longines FEI Ranking as of October 31st, 2019.

Edward Levy (FRA)
25 years old. 80th in the Longines FEI Ranking as of October 31st, 2019.

Daniel Koroloff – +33 (0)6 11 02 18 12 – daniel@blizko-communication.com
Juliette Feytout – +33 (0)7 50 39 37 40 – juliette@blizko-communication.com

 

Ten Riders from the World’s Top 12 Expected on the Longines Masters of Paris Course

The eleventh edition of the Longines Masters of Paris, due to be held between the 5th and the 8th December, will welcome the very best of international of show jumpers. You can judge for yourself!  In front of an expected audience of 50,000 spectators, ten riders from the World’s Top 12 and no fewer than seven Olympic champions will compete in Paris-Villepinte on courses designed by Gregory Bodo, the French course designer.  They will take part in the “made by EEM World” events that secured the international reputation of the competition organized by Christophe Ameeuw, the Longines watchmaker, and their teams.

Simply the best
If you take the Longines rankings on October 31, then remove Ben Maher from the UK and Beezie Madden from the US, you get the ten names of the headliners of this 11th edition of the Longines Masters of Paris. It’s quite simple. For the best riders in the world, the Paris meeting is a must for their indoor season, and they are loyally returning to a course they particularly like. So, Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, World No 1, as well as reigning European champion, Martin Fuchs, his runner-up in the ranking, will be present. From Germany, Mannschaft is sending both its most suitable ambassadors at the moment, Daniel Deusser, 3rd in the world, and Christian Ahlmann, 10th. Sweden won’t be left out either with Peder Fredricson, 4th best rider at the moment and 2017 European champion, as well as Henrik von Eckermann, 12th in the Longines rankings, also present. The new European team champions from Belgium will be represented with Pieter Devos (7th), Jérôme Guery, Grégory Wathelet, and Jos Verlooy. Other expected competitors are Kent Farrington from the US, 8th in the world, Darragh Kenny from Ireland, 9th, and Harrie Smolders from the Netherlands, at number 11 in the world.

Seven Olympic Champions
An Olympic champion is a champion for life. Seven other gold medalists answered the call to take part in the 2019 Longines Masters of Paris. Steve Guerdat (London 2012) of course, but also Rodrigo Pessoa from Brazil (Athens 2004) and the iconic Eric Lamaze (Beijing Hong Kong 2008). The spectators will also be able to count on the four reigning Olympic team champions: the French tricolours – Pénélope Leprévost, KevinStaut, Roger-Yves Bost, and Philippe Rozier. The Rio 2016 quartet will be accompanied by Simon Delestre and Julien Epaillard, all representing France.

Young riders
The Longines Masters of Paris has always been committed to opening its courses to promising talents. This spirit of openness and opportunity offered to budding young riders to acquire valuable experience is the DNA of the Riders Lab launched by Christophe Ameeuw in June 2019, during the Longines Masters of Lausanne. The young riders selected to join the 2019 Paris launch of the Riders Lab – Kara Chad of Canada, Pieter Clemens of Belgium, European Young Riders champion in 2015, his compatriot Arnaud Doern, Edward Levy from France, and the Italian carabiniere Filippo Bologni – will be on the prestigious Longines Masters course in Paris from December 5 to 8. Another highly awaited rider is Jessica Springsteen from the US. She will be 28 years old in a few weeks’ time and she’ll have the opportunity to confirm her excellent results recently achieved on French ground. Springsteen, considered a future star of her discipline, was triumphant in the Saint-Tropez CSI 5* in September and finished second at the Longines FEI World Cup in Lyon, only 58 hundredths behind a certain Martin Fuchs.

Daniel Koroloff – +33 (0)6 11 02 18 12 –  daniel@blizko-communication.com
Juliette Feytout – +33 (0)7 50 39 37 40 – juliette@blizko-communication.com

Devos and Apart Do It Again in Stuttgart

Pieter Devos and Apart. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

For the second year in a row, Belgium’s Pieter Devos and his 14-year-old gelding, Apart, came out on top at the super-competitive fifth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League in Stuttgart, Germany where defending series champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, had to settle for second ahead of last week’s winner, Great Britain’s Scott Brash, in third.

As always, German course designer Christa Jung didn’t make it easy for the 39 starters in the first round, but the quality of the field ensured an 11-horse jump-off against the clock that had the crowd sitting on the edges of their seats.

“In my opinion this was the toughest leg of the series so far. They always build big here; it’s always technical and tough, but because of the big arena and the very good ground, horses jump well,” Devos said. And he’s delighted that, now lying second on the League table with 40 points already on the board, he looks well set for the Longines Final 2020 in Las Vegas, USA next April. “I’ve done three qualifiers with three different horses, I’m almost there and I’m very happy!” he added.

Ireland’s Richard Howley and Chinook led the way in the jump-off with a fast round in 45.56 seconds but leaving a fence on the floor. Third into the ring, Guerdat, was clear but a little slower when breaking the beam with Venard de Cerisy in 45.87, and Brash challenged that with a strong run with Hello Senator but was a little off the pace when crossing the line in 46.05 seconds.

It was clear Guerdat’s leading time could be beaten when Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot galloped through the finish in 45.20 seconds, leaving an element of the double on the floor. But as Devos set off, he wasn’t convinced he would be the man to do it, and when Apart lost his footing on the turn after the wall three from home, he reckoned his chance was definitely gone.

“I saw Steve’s ride on the screen and I thought this would not be my day because he was very fast! And then after my slip after the wall I thought I wouldn’t be quick enough, but when I rode over the finish line I was – so I’m very, very happy!” he said after posting what turned out to be the winning time of 45.35.

But the excitement lasted to the very end, with the penultimate partnership of Philip Weishaupt and Che Fantastica producing a breathtaking round that drove the home crowd into a frenzy of excitement. Way up on time coming to the last, the German partnership stormed home in 43.63 seconds, but an awkward jump at the last saw the pole fall for four faults which left them in fifth place at the end of the day, just behind Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer and Cortney Cox whose double-clear in 46.25 slotted them into fourth.

“I need to try to do better and leave the poles up in the jump-off next time!” Weishaupt joked afterwards. “For four or five months I had not so many clear rounds so I really wanted to do it today. Maybe I went a little too wild at the last one and should have given the mare a chance to jump it, but I’m still happy with her; she jumped great!” he said.

Runner-up Guerdat congratulated Devos on his winning performance – “Pieter did a great job!” he said. Talking about his own result, he said, “I’m happy to be second as I did not have the jump-off I expected on the last line. My horse responded too well after the wall and turning back to the skinny oxer, and I planned eight (strides) to the last but I changed my mind and I ended up with 10! There were other riders faster than me but they had an unlucky one down, so I was lucky today to finish second, but I’m very happy with my horse.”

Devos was delighted with Apart. “I think he must like the arena here, and the Stuttgart crowd! He felt amazing here last year and again this year he was super!” he. And he was very pleased when awarded a brand new Mercedes-Benz as his winner’s prize. “My wife needs a new car so she’ll very happy!”

World No. 1 and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion, Guerdat, still leads the Western European League table going into the sixth of the 14 qualifiers in Madrid (ESP) in two weeks’ time, with Devos in second and Brash in third. The British rider has now accumulated 35 points and, with something in the region of 40 normally sufficient to secure one of the top 18 places that will make the cut to the Final, also looks well on the road to the bright lights of the Las Vegas where the 2020 champion will be crowned.

Watch highlights here.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Sternlicht Records Second Longines Victory in as Many Weeks with Las Vegas Success

Adrienne Sternlicht and Bennys Legacy. (FEI/Andrew Ryback)

Despite recording a World Cup victory just a week prior in Thermal (USA), Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Bennys Legacy came to Las Vegas’ South Point Arena (USA) with some unanswered questions. The duo had never before competed indoors, but the smaller venue proved no problem for them, as they recorded a second straight World Cup victory.

They topped the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas via a two-horse jump-off and were the only double-clear performers on the evening, crossing the timers of Leopoldo Palacios’ (VEN) shortened course in 37.68 seconds. Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Stranger were faster, but a rail put them in second; they finished on 4 faults in 35.90 seconds. In a unique result, Sarah Segal (USA) and Uma O’Neill (NZL) finished in adjoint third, as both riders recorded a single time fault in the first round with identical times of 73.39 seconds.

“Tonight, I mainly learned that he was super indoors,” Sternlicht said of her still-new mount, having only debuted with the 11-year-old gelding in September. “I really had no idea how he would be! In some ways, I found him easier to ride inside.”

“He’s a horse that goes exactly the way I like to ride: strong and aggressive. I like to help and support the horse, and he leans on me as a rider in that capacity.” — Adrienne Sternlicht (USA)

Knowing there were just two clear rounds and having to return first in the jump-off, Sternlicht approached the shortened course with a nothing-to-lose mentality while being wary of the quick challenge that followed her.

“I think Andrew has the fastest horse in the class, probably the fastest horse in FEI this week,” Sternlicht said. “I knew that if I didn’t stick to my plan, it might be costly. I think my jump-off round showed the quality of my horse. I think, personally, there are a few things I want to work on, but I couldn’t be happier with the way he jumped, and I’m happy that I stuck to my plan.”

The win moved Sternlicht into third in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with 46 points. Brian Moggre (USA) leads those standings with 56 points, while Beezie Madden (USA) is second with 49 points. The top seven from these standings at the end of the 2019/2020 season will advance to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, which will also take place in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center in April.

“World Cup Finals are 100 percent on my radar,” Sternlicht said. “I am planning already. [My trainer McLain Ward] is a big planner, and we had a meeting and planned out my schedule for the next five months. I plan on being here and look forward to coming back!”

On the west coast, Karl Cook (USA) maintains his lead in the standings with 49 points, followed by Ashlee Bond (ISR) with 39 points and Will Simpson (USA) with 34 points.

The North American League continues in Guadalajara (MEX) on 25 January 2020.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

IHSA Members Lead Nation at USHJA Emerging Athletes Program and Horsemanship Challenge Finals

Julianna Empie aboard Woody. Photo by Rachel Sowinski/USHJA.

Fairfield, Conn. – Nov. 16, 2019 – Members of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) from across the country participated in the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program (EAP) National Training Session and Horsemanship Quiz Challenge held at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio Nov. 7-10.

Out of the 252 riders that applied for the EAP this year, 192 participated in a Regional Training Session. Sixteen riders and three stable managers were invited to the finals, six of whom are IHSA members.

The 2019 Horsemanship Quiz Challenge had 426 registrants. Of the entrants, 309 completed the Level One quiz and 106 of those made it to the Level Two quiz. Only 24 were invited to participate in the HQC Finals. Three IHSA members made the shortlist of finalists.

The EAP was created in 2009 to provide opportunities for young riders to advance their horsemanship and riding skills. EAP winners and participants have gone on to win numerous championships in the hunter, jumper, and equitation arenas including the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals, ASPCA Maclay Finals, USEF Prix des States, and at IHSA Nationals.

Finalists are evaluated on their riding skills, stable management, combined with their score on a written test. Throughout the four-day event, riders train with Olympic Gold Medalist and IHSA Cacchione Cup winner Peter Wylde. Each finalist trained and cared for a horse generously provided by the University of Findlay, Lake Erie College, and Henry Pfeiffer.

Julianna Empie, a 19-year-old Penn State Equestrian Team member, bested the field of 15 nationally-qualified riders after a rigorous four days of evaluation and a Nations-Cup Style competition. Empie has ridden at regional training sessions since 2016 with clinicians Kip Rosenthal, Anne Kursinski, Joe Fargis, and Karen Healey.

“I was excited to just be at EAP National Finals,” Empie said. “It was amazing because I’ve looked up to other riders and past winners, and now to be a winner of this program is just crazy.”

Empie spent the first few days of the EAP Finals figuring out her mount Woody, provided by Henry Pfeiffer. She said that he was a different ride than she is used to but her consistency in the saddle helped her secure the win.

“Riding multiple horses through the IHSA has given me the skill to feel my horse out in those first few moments and put it all together for a smooth ride,” Empie said.

Wylde complimented Empie as a natural rider with a big future. He commented on her effortless and consistent her rounds aboard Woody in the Nations Cup-style competition. Four riders were called back for a ride-off on different mounts after two rounds of competition on Sunday. Empie’s ride-off round was aboard Clark, owned by the University of Findlay, and won the EAP Outstanding Horse Award. The judges gave Empie the nod and the national finals honor.

As this year’s winner, Empie received a spot in the 2020 USHJA Gold Star Clinic in the 1.10/1.15m section. “I’m so excited for the Gold Star Clinic,” Empie said. “The opportunity to ride in Florida and learn from other professionals in stable management is huge.”

The IHSA members that took part in the EAP National Training Session are:

  • Julianna Empie, 19, Chester Springs, Pennsylvania – Penn State University
  • Joelle Hylton, 19, Manteca, California – Cal Poly
  • Rose Kauffman-Skloff, 19, Los Angeles, California – Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Evelyn Smith, 18, Morristown, New Jersey – Delaware Valley University
  • Alicia Weismann, 19, Southampton, New Jersey – Rider University
  • Mara Picciochi, 20, Morristown, New Jersey – Centenary University

Also held at the University of Findlay was the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge (HQC) Finals. The HQC consists of two levels of online horsemanship quizzes comprised of multiple choice and true/false questions that cover horsemanship, anatomy, nutrition, riding theory, and welfare. To be eligible for finals, participants must score an 80 or higher on Level One and a 90 or higher on Level Two. The HQC Finals includes the written test and a hands-on practicum that puts the finalists to the ultimate test.

Keedysville, Maryland native Chloe Bellerive topped the field of HQC finalists to stand atop the podium as winner of the overall competition.

“The IHSA has helped a lot participating over the years,” said Bellerive, a 20-year-old University of Kentucky senior. “The horsemanship you learn from being able to figure out your horse while riding and what it needs from bits and tack to barn management.”

Bellerive is no stranger to HQC competition. She has participated since its inaugural year in 2012. “It was truly very rewarding to take my years of experience after competing for so many years to rise above and win,” she said.

Part of her winner’s package includes a two-month paid internship at Spy Coast Farm in Lexington, Kentucky during the summer of 2020. Bellerive said that she is excited to experience all aspects of the top-notch Warmblood breeding and training facility.

On her way to the overall win, Bellerive scored third on the written exam, first on the horsemanship/identification exam and second on the practicum.

When asked what advice she’d give to those looking to ride in the IHSA, Bellerive said, “Ride as many horses as you can and take every opportunity to keep learning because you can truly never learn enough.”

Two other IHSA members competed in the HQC Finals. University of Michigan student Rebecca Hopkins (Northville, Michigan) scored second on the written exam and fourth on the horsemanship/identification exam. Lauren Obermeyer from Hamilton, Ohio, who rides at the University of Findlay, scored third on the horsemanship/identification exam and fourth on the practicum exam.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

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