Category Archives: Competitions

Super Swiss Head the Leaderboard Going into Day 2 of Bank of America Jumping Championship

Steve Guerdat and Bianca. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

A brilliant round from Steve Guerdat (36) and the fiery mare Bianca put the 2012 Olympic champion and Team Switzerland into pole position as the Bank of America Jumping Championship got underway at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA. A colourful, testing but honest 14-fence track built by Irishman Alan Wade created spectacular sport for spectators and the 124 horse-and-rider combinations from 49 nations.

The defending world champions from The Netherlands jumped into second ahead of Brazil in third and USA in fourth. But the biggest story of the day was the stunning performance of the Australians who slotted into fifth and whose final rider, Rowan Willis (38), is lying individually third behind Brazil’s Pedro Veniss (35) in silver medal position and Guerdat at the top of the leaderboard.

France, Sweden, Germany, Colombia, and Ireland fill the remaining top-10 team places in the field of 25 nations.

Guerdat was second-last to go and raced into the lead in the individual rankings when clear in 76.33.

“It was a long day waiting; we walked the course before 9am and it was nine hours later when I got on my horse, but I was kind of confident because the course walked well. The fastest horses were not leading so I thought if I stick to my plan, I had a good chance to be in the top three today, so I actually really enjoyed my round and I can’t ask for much more!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Veniss and his fabulous stallion Quabri de l’Isle were poetry in motion, their tight turn to the third-last fence ensuring they were really competitive against the clock as they cruised through the finish in 76.68 seconds. And Willis and his chestnut mare Blue Movie were only 0.27 seconds slower through the timers.

“She just tries so hard for me. I don’t worry about trying to go fast because she’s naturally fast, so I just have to keep my rhythm and make sure I don’t make a mistake. It was a nice day. All four of us have just got off to a brilliant start and that’s really encouraging.”

“Obviously it’s not easy for our team because half of us are based in Australia so it’s a long way to go to any shows, but those boys (Jamie Kermond and Billy Raymont) have had a good summer in Europe and Scott (Keach) and I have had a good summer over here (in North America) and it’s just brilliant that we all had a good day today. This is something I’ve dreamed of. It’s the first time I’ve represented Australia since I was about 18 at an invitational in Hong Kong!” — Rowan Willis (AUS)

The British-based rider who hails from Armidale in New South Wales made a big impression when finishing 11th in the Grand Prix at the Masters in Spruce Meadows (CAN) earlier this month.

Swiss supremacy was underpinned by great rounds from Martin Fuchs (26), who lies individually fifth behind Germany’s Marcus Ehning, and Janika Sprunger (31) who is in 16th place with Bacardi VDL. “The course suited Clooney really well. I knew I could do it and I’m glad it worked out so well. Werner (Muff) had two down so the pressure is on Steve now, but we all know that he handles pressure better than anyone else!” Fuchs said before Guerdat proved that this is absolutely true.

Sprunger was Swiss pathfinder. “I had to concentrate to open this well for my team and give confidence to myself and the rest of the others, and I know that Bacardi and I are not the fastest combination, so we just try to go as quickly as possible. Maybe a half-second or one second faster was possible but I’m very happy with the end result. I said I wanted to be on 80 seconds and we almost did it!” she said after stopping the clock on 80.26 seconds.

With only a fence separating the top three countries and less than two separating the top 10, it’s all to play for again when the action resumes with Team Belgium first into the ring ahead of Ireland, Japan, Portugal, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Germany, USA, and Mexico. Egypt will be next to go and then Venezuela, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Hungary, Australia, Brazil, and Great Britain will take their turn. Team Colombia has been drawn ahead of the Swiss and they will be followed by Argentina, Spain, and Italy so the last team into the arena will be Israel.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

US Para-Driving Team Successful at FEI World Single and Para Driving Championships

Tracy Bowman (in the Marathon Course). Photo by Marie de Ronde-Oudemans, Hoefnet’s Krisztina Horvath, and Daphne White.

Kronenberg, The Netherlands – September 17, 2018 – Over six days the 2018 FEI World Driving and Para-Driving Championships for singles took place at Grandorse in Kronenberg, The Netherlands. U.S. Para-Driving Team included Driver and horse combinations Tracy Bowman and Taylormore Laurabelle in Grade 1, Bob Giles and First Lady in Grade 2, and Diane Kastama and horse Oosterwijk’s Kasper in Grade 1, with Coach Sara Schmitt and Chef d’Equipe Marcie Quist. Drivers contested the dressage, marathon, and cones courses, over the August 28 – September 2, 2018, week. The Singles and Para-driving championships were held simultaneously for the first time in the history of this equestrian sport. The top international drivers competed for the coveted title in their category: World Champion. U.S. Para-Drivers had a successful showing earning fourth in the Team competition.

“We would like to thank world class four-in-hand driver Koos De Ronde and his wife, FEI Combined Driving judge Marie De Ronde, in Zwartewaal, Netherlands for hosting the para-driving training camp at their home farm Stal De Ronde. We would also like to thank the navigators including Diane Kastama’s navigator Lila Hewitt, Tracy Bowman’s navigator Jolie Wentworth, and Bob Giles’ navigator Barbra Hewitt and everyone who so generously offered their support.  We would especially like to thank team coach Sara Schmitt, our Chef d’Equipe, Marcia Quist, Danielle d’Aamodt Single’s Chef and Thorsten Zarembowicz Singles Coach.”

Following the Championships, Para-drivers headed back to the United States where they will be cheering on the U.S. Equestrian Teams at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC and heir Dutch host and hostess Koos and Marie de Ronde who will be competing in the four-in-hand driving at the World Equestrian Games.

Results can be found on Hoefnet at: https://www.hoefnet.nl/en/kalender-uitslagen-startlijsten/wk-enkelspannen-wk-paramennen-horst/.

For more information about USA Para-Driving, please visit United States Driving for the Disabled at http://usdfd.org.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit www.USPEA.org or contact USPEA President: Hope Hand by e-mail: hope@uspea.org or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Eventing’s Major Medal Contenders Pass Final Horse Inspection Despite Moments of Tension

Sarah Ennis with Horseware Stellor Rebound (© Sportfoto.com).

The British team, overnight leaders after cross country, all sailed through the rain-soaked horse inspection, as did individual leaders, German Ingrid Klimke’s SAP Hale Bob OLD and Briton Rosalind Canter’s Allstar B.

But Irish hearts were in their mouths as both Horseware Stellor Rebound, the mount of third-placed Sarah Ennis, and teammate Sam Watson’s ride were asked to represent. Ultimately both Irish horses and the rest of the 70 horses presented were deemed fit to compete in the final Jumping phase.

The tension was palpable among the fans, owners, media, and other riders when Ennis brought Horseware Stellor Rebound back for re-inspection. Following a long consultation, however, Anne-Mette Binder (DEN), Jane Hamlin (USA), and Andrew Bennie (NZL) nodded their assent and, accompanied by loud cheering, the Irish medal hope was declared good to go.

Irish nerves had already been tested in the non-stop rain when Sam Watson’s 14-year-old Horseware Ardagh Highlight was sent to the holding box. To the relief of Team Ireland, who currently sits in silver medal position, the bay was swiftly given the green light when re-presented.

Three other horses were sent to the holding box. Dutch horses Rumour Has It N.O.P. (Merel Blom) and team mate Jane Z (Renske Kroeze) along with Magnum’s Martini (Brazil’s Nilson Moreira Da Silva) were all passed on re-inspection.

New Zealand’s four athletes lit up the soggy afternoon parade by opting to ignore the pelting rain and wear their Sunday best. For Sir Mark Todd a suit and smart black shoes were the only option.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t pack any wellies. I thought it was going to be fine,” laughed the two-time WEG team champion.

Britain’s quartet has a two-fence advantage over the Irish in the team competition, who have no breathing space over the French, with the Japanese a further two fences adrift in fourth. But it’s much tighter at the top in the individual standings, with less than a fence covering the top seven horses.

By Luke Norman

Media contact:

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

Fonck and What A Wave Conquer Scoreboard and Gold Medal in Individual Reining

Bernard Fonck and What A Wave (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Reining competition closed the week at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 with great performances and big scores as some of the world’s best riders battled it out for the FEI medals at the Johnson Controls Individual Reining Competition finals. When the curtain fell upon the TIEC Indoor Arena, the dream team made up of Bernard Fonck (BEL) and What A Wave once again made history by claiming the gold medal for Belgium with a perfect execution of pattern #12.

The Belgian rider has won close to $1,800,000 in reining competition and his mount, an 11-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion owned by Gina De Pauw and Steve Vannietvelt, who has left his mark in many an international arena with Fonck in the saddle, scored a 227 for the win claiming the highest step of the podium. “This is the first time in history that a European rider leaves the World Equestrian Games with the individual gold medal and I could not be any prouder,” said Fonck. “What A Wave is the sweetest horse I have ever had the pleasure of riding. I am very fortunate to have had more than one ‘once in a lifetime’ horse, and he is at the top of this list. Every time we show, he gives me all he has and every time it gets better and better. When I came here I knew that we could probably make it to the top five positions, but I would have never imagined that we would claim the gold.”

Team USA’s Dan Huss and his double-registered American Quarter Horse and American Paint Horse mare Ms Dreamy, owned by Frederick Christen, set the crowd on fire as they burst into the arena setting the dirt flying and spinning fast to mark a 226.5. The duo clinched the silver medal and they too made history: The talented 8-year-old horse is the first mare to earn an individual medal in reining at the FEI World Equestrian Games™.

“Mares are a little more sensitive, so you have to be very good as far as technique and horsemanship are concerned,” said the 58-year-old professional. “They are not so forgiving but, if you understand them, your better mares will step up and compete with the boys. [Ms Dreamy has] probably taught me more than I’ve taught her, and it’s been a great experience.”

A run off determined who would take home the bronze medal as both Cade McCutcheon (USA), riding Custom Made Gun, and Joao Felipe Lacerda (BRA) aboard Gunner Dun It Again scored a 225 during the finals. They returned to the arena to battle it out and both horse-rider combinations once again thrilled the crowd.

Lacerda and Gunner Dun It Again, a 7-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion owned by Paulo Francisco Tripoloni, laid down a powerful performance paid back by the judges with their highest score of the Games: a 227. “I am so proud of my mount,” he said. “He has a heart as big as this arena and is one of the most powerful horses I’ve ever ridden. He was great for me from day one and I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity.”

Fighting until the bitter end was 18-year-old Cade McCutcheon aboard Custom Made Gun, the flashy 7-year-old double registered AQHA/APHA palomino stallion owned by his grandparents, Tim and Colleen McQuay. Having topped the first individual qualifier with an outstanding 229 score, the pair was last to go in the seeded Individual finals. Once it was time to ride back into the arena, they performed to a 228 score and firmly captured the bronze medal.

“I was a little disappointed with myself after my first ride so I let him catch his breath and, when we went back in, I tried to perform a cleaner run,” said the young rider. “He was incredibly good for me and I am thrilled to have represented my country and to have won the team gold and individual bronze medals. I could not have done this without my team, my coach and my family and I still cannot believe that I made it to the podium. It will take a while before it sinks in!”

Amazingly enough, both Gunner Dun It Again and Custom Made Gun were both bred by McCutcheon’s grandparents and they are both by the legendary stallion Gunner (AQHA Colonels Shining Gun) and out of two mares by yet another stallion that has made history, Hollywood Dun It. Both stallions are owned by the McQuays.

Reining competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 will go down in the history books as the event that showcased some of the world’s most talented reining horses guided by the some of the world’s elite western horsemen.

Click here for full results.

By Simona Diale

Media contact:

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

Helgstrand Dressage Freestyle Cancelled

Following the announcement of the intention to hold the Helgstrand Dressage Freestyle competition on Monday morning due to extreme rainfall forecast for Sunday’s original time slot of 8.30am, further discussions have been taking place to review the options available to reschedule.

Despite the best efforts of the whole Tryon 2018 team and the Officials, who have been working on plans for rescheduling, including meetings with the Chefs de Mission and Chefs d’Equipe, the logistics of putting all necessary elements into place in time have proved insurmountable. As a result, and very regrettably, the Dressage Freestyle will now be cancelled.

“This was not an easy decision, but we have explored every option, including trying to reschedule the horse departures, and even looking at moving the competition into the indoor with a change of footing, but the logistics of making all this happen are just not possible,” Tryon 2018 Organising Committee President Michael Stone said.

“We know this is desperately disappointing for the 15 athletes who had qualified their horses for the Freestyle, and of course for all the spectators who had bought tickets, but the weather has simply left us with no choice. Horse welfare has to be the top priority and flying the horses out on the same day as competition doesn’t work, so sadly the decision to cancel the Freestyle had to be taken.

“Although we are devastated that this decision has had to be taken, we’ve had two absolutely world-class competitions here at Tryon, including yesterday’s Grand Prix Special, and to see Germany’s Isabell Werth and Bella Rose taking double gold and Team USA claiming silver was a real treat for Dressage fans.”

The decision does not affect the Olympic qualification process, as this was completed on Thursday. The teams that have earned their ticket to Tokyo 2020 are Germany, USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Netherlands and Spain.

A separate notification will be sent to ticket holders.

This decision has been taken in accordance with Article 109.12 of the FEI General Regulations which states:

“Subject to the unanimous agreement of the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate and President of the Veterinary Committee in consultation with the Organiser, a Competition (either before or during) can be postponed and/or cancelled, not only due to force majeure, catastrophic occurrences, extreme weather conditions but also for non-compliance with FEI Rules and in specific situations where the welfare or safety of the Horses, Athletes, Officials or the public is compromised.

Media contact:

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

Stars from across the Globe Fly the Flag at World Equestrian Games Opening Ceremony

Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Tryon, NC USA – September 11, 2018 – The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 were officially opened with a stylish two-hour ceremony at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

Some of equestrian sport’s most famous names took a central role for their countries during the traditional parade of flags that highlighted proceedings at a packed Tryon Stadium before a crowd of athletes, grooms, National Federation staff, and spectators. Rising country musician Joe Lasher opened for Grammy-nominated artist Hunter Hayes, while athlete representatives were welcomed into Tryon Stadium to officially commence the start of competition.

Carrying the American flag was dressage sensation Laura Graves, who said, “Tonight is really special for me. It is September 11, so getting the chance to raise this flag was very emotional.

“I am looking forward to a really great next few days of competition. It is going to be exciting for us in Dressage and it looks like all the horses have a terrific venue and great facilities. We are ready to get going,” she continued.

Triple Olympic Team Eventing Gold medalist Andrew Hoy had the honor for Australia and he said, “Last time I rode in a World Eventing Championship in America it was in 1978, so it is absolutely wonderful to be back.

“It is a great honor to be a flag-bearer for my country. I’m looking forward to getting out there and the competition starting.”

Dressage rider Julio Mendoza, who represents Ecuador, but lives relatively locally to the venue, added, “I’m really excited to be here in Tryon. This is my first FEI World Equestrian Games and I am beyond happy to be here representing my country and to have such a great opportunity. To be in the same ring with such amazing athletes and great horses is so exciting and I can’t wait for the competition to get started,” he concluded.

Eventing icon Ingrid Klimke (GER), a winner of numerous major championship medals, did the honors for Germany and she commented, “I am really happy to be here with my horse. We are ready for the next adventure. We have a wonderful venue and I am very proud to be here and be a part of it all.”

China’s Alex Hua Tian is also set to be among the field when Eventing gets under way on Thursday.

“I am here in the U.S. for the first time ever, competing in my second FEI World Equestrian Games. It’s the largest equestrian festival in the world, so to fly the flag for China for the first time ever in Eventing is a wonderful thing.”

Meydan Endurance Set to Launch Competition

Meydan Endurance will have the honor of launching the eighth FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) on Wednesday, September 12. Eight different equestrian disciplines governed by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) will be showcased throughout the duration of the two-week event, which will conclude on Sunday, September 23.

The discipline of Endurance takes center stage from before sunrise, beginning at 6:30 a.m. EST, when competitors tackle a course of 100 miles (160 kilometers) that will traverse through the states of both North and South Carolina.

More than 100 athletes from 40 countries will head into the countryside with the winner expected to return home and across the finish line later in the evening.

The long-distance competition, viewed as the ultimate test of the partnership between horse and rider, is against the clock and tests speed and stamina of both horse and rider, challenging each combination to ensure an effective use of pace and navigational skills of undulating terrains. Mandatory veterinary inspections are required following each course loop, where horses are cooled, their heart rates monitored, and jogged for soundness in order to further continue. Rest periods are also a key aspect of the competition, ensuring horse and rider welfare throughout the 100-mile test.

The Tryon 2018 track will feature the region’s natural and spectacular terrain, starting and finishing on the main TIEC property.

The horse inspection took place on Tuesday afternoon, with a bumper nominated entry list being highlighted by defending champion HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum from the UAE, who won the world title in Normandy four years ago.

A strong finish is also expected of Spain’s Jaume Punti Dachs, who starred when his country won 2010 Team Endurance Gold and is aiming for a top finish in this year’s competition.

Host Nation Aiming to Rein In Their Rivals

It should come as no surprise whatsoever that the United States remains Johnson Controls Reining’s dominant force.  Other countries have barely had a look-in since the WEG first welcomed the discipline of Reining during the early 1990s. The United States has won a remarkable seven titles, with only Canada breaking that sequence 12 years ago.

Reining originates from the working movements of horses and riders when herding cattle and is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of ranch-type horses in an arena setting.

With large fast circles, flying lead changes, 360-degree spins and sliding stops all required within individual performances, Reining is a truly thrilling spectacle. It is also the only western discipline showcased at WEG.

There is also considerable crowd involvement, with the audience clapping and cheering loudly at every turn as competitors go through their paces. Team USA newcomer Cade McCutcheon, a first time WEG competitor, comes from a long lineage of top Reining competitors, and will take center stage at the international event.

Dark Horses Face Each Other in First Day of Helgstrand Dressage Competition

Dressage is predictable, people say, but it won’t be at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

Horses from 31 countries were declared fit to compete on Tuesday following their jog inspection. Discipline competition opens with the Grand Prix over two days and deciding the medals for teams, to be handed out on Thursday. The top 30 move on to the Grand Prix Special on Friday with the top 15 showing their Grand Prix Freestyle to music on “Super Sunday” on September 16, concluding the first week of WEG.

Isabell Werth from Germany might add more gold to the already incredible seven WEG medals she already holds. Werth stunned insiders by her decision not to bring her top horse Weihegold OLD, instead opting to bring her favorite mount, Bella Rose, who has recently returned from a long-term illness.

One of Werth’s strongest contenders will be one of her own teammates. The scores for Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo have been rising since they were members of the winning 2017 European Championship team for Germany.

The United States’ has hopes set on Laura Graves and her ride Verdades, breathing down the current necks of both Werth and Rothenberger since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where they finished fourth, followed by a second-place finish at the FEI World Cup™ Finals in early 2018.

Adding to this roster of elite riders, the defending champion from the WEG in Normandy, France, as Charlotte Dujardin and her new partner, Mount St John Freestyle will represent Great Britain. The mare is only nine and the “dark horse” of the competition. “I’m not sure what to expect, but she’s felt brilliant this far and taken everything on board, so we’ll see what the next few days bring,” Dujardin said confidently.

Team Germany won their 11th World Championship Gold medal in Normandy 2014 and brings a strong squad to Tryon, to complete the dozen. Fourteen other teams will attempt to prevent that, with the USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden set to be the most optimistic for a medal.

For more information on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, please visit www.Tryon2018.com.

A First Major Victory for Sameh El Dahan, Winner of the CP ‘International’

Sameh El Dahan winning the CP ‘International’ (Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk)

After some light mid-morning rain, the Calgary skies cleared and 38 of the world’s most talented horse and rider partnerships accepted Venezuelan course designer Leopoldo Palacios’s challenge to jump his huge 1.70m course in the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex.

Third in the first round’s starting order, Germany’s Andre Thieme and his 10-year-old bay gelding, Aretino 13 produced a faultless display in a time of 88.84 s. However, not one of the next 30 riders to follow were able to produce a clear round, which was testament to the immensity of the contest the field was up against. It was Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan who broke the drought, piloting Suma’s Zorro, his 14-year-old mare, to the second clear round of the competition. Palacios’s course continued to be ruthless, claiming the scalps of some big-name horse and rider pairings, and just five further clear rounds were recorded.

The second round proved too tough for 10 of the 12 combinations that progressed from round one, and in the end, it was just The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and Egypt’s Sameh El Dahan, who produced double clears, and in doing so set up a nail-biting jump-off. Van der Vleuten was first to go, going clear and setting a quick time of 42.98 s. El Dahan confidently entered the tense International Ring and breezed the course, going clear and triumphing over the Dutchman in a time of 42.21 s, thereby being crowned the new live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

So Sameh, what does winning a Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Major mean to you?

I’m delighted and absolutely over the moon. When I looked up at the big screen, because I wasn’t sure of the time, and I saw first place, it was a very difficult feeling to explain. To be a winner of one of the four prestigious Grands Prix, as part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, is something I think every rider in the world dreams of.

Tell us a little bit about Suma’s Zorro.

Suma’s Zorro was bought as a foal by Joanne Sloan Allen and Sycamore Stables. When she was brought to the yard she jumped a five-bar gate when she was just six months old, so they knew they had a jumper on their hands. Joanne did an amazing job building her up until she was about seven years old, and then I also started riding her. Today Joanne does most of the riding, and I only jump her, so she’s done a great job.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Youth Shines Bright as Israel’s Sternbach Grabs the Gold in Tashkent

Nadav Sternbach and Aragon (FEI/Yong Teck Lim).

Israel’s Nadav Sternbach (18) scooped the FEI World Jumping Challenge Final 2018 title in a nail-biting jump-off in Tashkent (UZB). It came down to a head-to-head against Argentina’s Richard Kierkegaard (15), and there was little between the two of them in the end.

“I came to just have fun, but this is really exciting!” said Sternbach who left 19 competitors from 15 countries in his wake as he seized the crown at this 17th edition of the event which moved to Central Asia for the very first time this year.

All the competing athletes qualified in 2017 when the Challenge was also used by 44 countries as the official qualifier for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires (ARG). A total of 23 out of 30 athletes who are on the way to the YOG have made the cut through the Challenge series, and six of those used this week’s fixture as the perfect final run, because, just like at the YOG, the biggest test of all is that they must ride a horse they’ve never sat on before.

The flags of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Israel, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Senegal, South Africa, Uzbekistan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all flew high as the Warm-up class got underway on Thursday when the host nation’s Abdushukur Sobirjonov (16) steered Rejayna into the winner’s enclosure. The age range of riders varied from 16 to 55, but it was the younger generation that dominated from start to finish, Turgunboev topping the line-up in Friday’s First Qualifier and Kyrgyzstan’s Kamil Sabitov, who turns 18 next week, pinning Guatemala’s Jose Ignacio Rosal (23) into runner-up spot in the Second Qualifier in which Sternbach finished third.

There were nine starters in the Farewell class for those who didn’t make it through to the medal-decider, and victory went to Bolivia’s Gonzalo Bedoya Aguilar (18) who produced the only clear round with Coupette. There was great excitement when Hamoudi Kazoun (35), Senegal’s first-ever entry for this event, finished second with just a single time penalty while the next two places went to Zimbabwe’s Brianagh Clark (17) and Zambia’s Anna Bunty Howard (16) whose next stop is the YOG.

All 10 of those qualified for the Final started again on a zero score, but although five managed to stay clear in the first round, only Sternbach and Kierkegaard kept a clean sheet second time out over the course designed by Australia’s John Vallance. The hosts were already happy, because Turgunboev, riding Ambassador, had secured the third step of the podium for Uzbekistan before Kierkegaard led the way into the jump-off against the clock. And when he lowered the second fence, the young Argentinian, who claimed Children’s team gold at the FEI South American Championships in both 2015 and again in 2016, galloped on to put in the quickest possible time on the board.

So, last into the arena, Sternbach knew that he had four faults in 64.8 seconds to beat. But his confidence took a major blow when he hit the very first fence.

“I meant to go in and jump a slow, nice clear and then the fence fell – luckily it was number one, so I had the time to catch up, but I was super-stressed trying to make it home as quick as I could!” Sternbach said after posting the faster time of 61.87 for the win.

He knew he was fortunate to be partnered with the 15-year-old gelding Aragon, who is normally ridden by Uzbekistan’s Timus Sadikov. “He’s a really nice horse but it took a little bit of time to get used to him. In the Warm-up class we had 13 faults but that was a bit of a wake-up call and we got a lot better after that! He’s very strong and has a very big stride and the courses were built on short distances which was not to my advantage, but he’s a really good jumper and he’s very careful, and as the competition went on we connected really well. He really helped me, especially in that jump-off!” Sternbach said.

Result

FEI World Jumping Challenge Final 2018: Gold – Aragon (Nadav Sternbach) ISR 0/0 61.87; Silver – Ramiro (Richard Kierkegaard) ARG 0/0 64.8; Bronze – Ambassador (Saidamirkhon Turgenboev) UZB 0/1.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’: SUNCOR Winning Round 1.50m

Philipp Weishaupt (Photo: Spruce Meadows Media / Mike Sturk)

29 horse and rider combinations navigated the Leopoldo Palacios-designed course in Spruce Meadows’ iconic International Ring, each hoping to take home the spoils in the SUNCOR Winning Round at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’.

Local favourites Eric Lamaze and his 22-year-old prodigy, Kara Chad, wowed the excited spectators in the arena’s packed stands, both going clear and posting impressive times of 71.10 s with Chacco Kid and 71.45 s with Viva, respectively, well within Palacios’s 74-second limit. Also progressing to the second round was Calgarian Jim Ifko and his 10-year-old bay stallion, Un Diamant des Forets, who went clear in a time of 71.80 s. Seven further riders from six nations successfully negotiated the Venezuelan course designer’s tough challenge to set up a 10-pairing showdown in the Winning Round, with notable top-class riders including The Netherlands’ Maikel van der Vleuten and Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt.

First to go was Ireland’s Connor Swail, setting the early pace after going clear in a time of 54.38 s. Five-time Major winner Eric Lamaze and Chacco Kid demonstrated the strength of their bond by going double clear, while Lamaze’s mentee, Kara Chad, piloted Viva superbly before clipping the final rail. France’s Edward Levy, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle, and Australia’s Rowan Willis all put rails down to finish below Chad in the final standings. Jim Ifko notched up a double clear, fractionally beating Lamaze’s time. Philipp Weishaupt and Solitaer 41 entered the Ring looking sharp and impressively knocked Swail off top spot in a time of 53.25 s. Last to go was Maikel van der Vleuten, but his best wasn’t good enough to deny Weishaupt a well-deserved victory.

Weishaupt – who has had a memorable week after securing victory aboard Sansibar 89 in Thursday’s CANA Cup – etched his and his 10-year-old grey gelding Solitaer 41’s names on to the SUNCOR Winning Round trophy after a jumping display of the highest order.

Having won the CP ‘International’ in 2017 aboard LB Convall, the duo heads into Sunday’s $3 million blue ribbon class full of confidence and are sure to push the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender and Weishaupt’s fellow countryman Marcus Ehning all the way.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Regional Qualifying Starts This Weekend for the 2018 US Dressage Finals

“It’s such a nice finish to the year in coming to the Finals because it really feels like a national championship. You hear the announcer saying riders’ names from all over the country, and it’s definitely something special to be a part of.”

For the last four years, rider/trainer Michael Bragdell has wrapped up his competition season by bringing horses to Lexington, KY for the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® on behalf of Hilltop Farm in Colora, MD. And once again, this unique championship show is a “can’t miss” event on his calendar as he prepares several mounts for the upcoming Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Regional Championships, where Bragdell hopes to qualify for a coveted invitation to return to the Kentucky Horse Park this November.

Every year excitement for the US Dressage Finals and Regional Championships seems to grow, and as competition gets underway this week in Region 4, it appears 2018 will be no exception: show officials report a 23% increase in the number of Regional Championship rides from when the competition was held at the same venue in Mason City, Iowa two years ago. Anticipation will only build as additional championships are scheduled across the country in the coming weeks, including Region 6 and 8 on September 20-23; Region 7 on September 27-30; Regions 5 and 9 during the week of October 4-7; and wrapping up with an exciting final weekend of qualifying in Regions 1, 2, and 3 on October 11-14. Besides providing a pathway for competitors to qualify for November’s US Dressage Finals, each of the nine Regional Championships will offer over $20,000 in prize money and awards, for a whopping total of more than $180,000 for the season.

Bragdell has already found his way to the winner’s circle at the US Dressage Finals several times and will compete in the upcoming Great American/USDF Region 1 Championships in Virginia in pursuit of qualifying 2017 Intermediate II Open Champion Qredit Hilltop, two-time Finals Champion Sternlicht Hilltop, and newcomer SenSation HW for this year’s Finals. He will be joined by Hilltop Farm Assistant Trainer Jessica Fay, who is also hoping to punch her ticket for her first trip to Kentucky.

As an internationally-renowned center for sport horse breeding and training, Hilltop Farm has made the US Dressage Finals an important part of their successful program. “The Finals have a real championship feel to them – the venue at the Kentucky Horse Park, especially the Alltech Arena, offers a ‘big’ environment for the horses that is important for their development and confidence,” said Managing Director Natalie DiBerardinis, who has attended the Finals three times to cheer on Hilltop Farm entries. “Our country is so large that most riders stay within their region, so to get exposure to top horses and riders from around the country gives you an entirely different perspective.

“The Finals also get a lot of coverage through the livestreaming, press coverage, etc. and that can be a great boost for a stallion, sales horse, or farm/trainer’s overall program,” DiBerardinis continued. “And there’s something for everyone: for the young horses, it offers an alternative goal for some that for a variety of reasons may not be pointed towards the young horse programs; for trainers with adult amateur students, it’s a great opportunity to combine their own championship goals with their students’ goals; and the Regions Cup competition adds a fun element as well. It’s just an extremely well-run and fun show, which keeps growing and each year seems to get better and better.”

As a reminder for all competitors, a horse/rider combination must declare their intention to participate in the US Dressage Finals by completing the Declaration of Intent form by midnight on the day prior to the first day of their Regional Championship competition (including any open class day before the start of championship classes). There is no fee to declare, but horse/rider combinations must declare at the level(s) and eligible division(s) they intend to compete in at the US Dressage Finals. Declarations may be submitted at this link: https://www.usdf.org/usdressagefinals/competitors/eiq.asp.

Don’t miss your chance to compete! The US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® is a unique national head-to-head competition which offers a wealth of championship titles and over $100,000 in prize money, all while showcasing adult amateur and open riders from across the country in Training Level to Grand Prix. To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, declare and nominate for the Finals, and sign up to receive news and updates, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com.

Source: Yellow Horse Marketing for the US Dressage Finals