Category Archives: Competitions

Werndl Secures Spectacular Win in Salzburg

Benny Werndl with Daily Mirror. (FEI/ Lukasz Kowalski)

Germany’s Benjamin Werndl (34) threw his hat into the ring for a place at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final next April when producing a spectacular victory with Daily Mirror at the fifth leg of the 2018/2019 Western European League in Salzburg, Austria.

The pair’s performance wasn’t perfect, with a few glitches along the way, but the best bits weren’t just good – they were breathtaking. And with only three riders from each nation allowed into the Final, Werndl is putting intense pressure on his German counterparts for one of those slots after moving to the top of the leaderboard alongside compatriot Dorothee Schneider.

It was Sweden’s Patrik Kittel (42) who lined up second with Delatio while Schneider slotted into third with Faustus on a day when all of the leading partnerships really stepped it up to another level. Werndl was almost speechless with delight after topping both Grand Prix and Freestyle.

“This horse is a gift… I’m having an unbelievable trip with him; he’s developed so much over the last few months and I can’t find the right words to describe how much it means to me!” — Benjamin Werndl (GER)

Werndl, whose sister Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was on the gold medal winning team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) 2018 in September, was already lying second on the league table, following his win in Budapest (HUN) in September and points collected for fifth place at both the WEL opening leg in Herning (DEN) in October and the third leg in Stuttgart (GER) last month. It’s been a strong and steady progression, and it was clear that there’s a lot more to come from Daily Mirror despite the fact that the gelding son of Damon Hill is 14 years old.

“There’s so much more potential in this horse, and now my job is to find out how to bring it out!” said the rider who was on the German long-list for the WEG. “He had a break of two years before he came to us a couple of years ago, so he still feels a bit like a young horse building up experience, and I really wasn’t expecting him to be so cool in this arena today – he’s just the perfect gentleman!” Werndl added.

He was eleventh to go of the 15 starters, and when his test kicked off with a double-pirouette followed by two-tempi changes and another double-pirouette on the centre line, then it was obvious he meant business. Daily Mirror’s ground-eating extended walk earned a 9 from four of the five judges as the daring duo marched to the first over-80% score of 80.790. And then he had to sit back and watch four more formidable contenders.

Australia’s Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil posted 79.330 before Patrik Kittel and his new ride Delatio, which was competed by Great Britain’s Emile Faurie until July of this year and was runner-up for the Swede on their World Cup debut in Lyon last month, put 80.010 on the board to slot into second spot. And that’s where they would remain despite a lovely performance from European and World team gold medallist Schneider and her super-exciting “Grand Prix baby,” the 10-year-old gelding Faustus who scored 79.730 for third place.

Now that he has the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019 in his sights, Benny Werndl really wants to get there, but he knows the battle for one of the German slots is not yet over. “All the other ladies want to go there too, but at least now I have a good chance, and I’m hoping to get to another qualifier in either Amsterdam (NED) or Neumünster (GER) in the new year,” he said.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Daniel Deusser Wins Trophée de Genève, the First Rolex Grand Prix Qualifier of CHI Geneva

Daniel Deusser riding Calisto Blue at the Trophée de Genève (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Kit Houghton)

The first qualifier for the Rolex Grand Prix saw nine horse and rider combinations compete in a hotly contested jump-off. Setting the bar high, Daniel Deusser riding Calisto Blue was the first to produce a clear round with a thrilling time of 37.31 seconds.

Last to go, Pieter Davos, looked on par to emulate Deusser’s clear round but was a fraction too slow and had to settle for second place, with Simon Delestre finishing in third, both excellent contenders for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday.

How did the course feel?

Daniel Deusser: The time was really tight in the first round so everybody was forced to ride forwards, and in the end the horses got quite long which accumulated a lot of faults. There were 10 combinations clear and a couple more with time faults, which is a good amount for a jump-off, but it was certainly not an easy class.

Going into the jump-off did you think you were in with a good chance?

Daniel Deusser: To be honest, I was not sure. There were a lot of fast combinations to compete against and I thought that one or two might be a little bit quicker, but I think my clear round put the pressure on and some of the horses were forced to go quicker which made them go a bit flat. I had a good round and was really pleased with my horse.

Looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday, who do you think your biggest competition is?

Daniel Deusser: There are quite a few really good competitors here this weekend, so it is hard to say. I think McLain Ward and Clinta will go well, Steve Guerdat and Bianca are hard to beat when they are on form as well – it will be a good competition for sure.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Inside the CHI Geneva: The Elite Contenders for the Rolex Grand Prix

Steve Guerdat riding Alamo (Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

From 6-9 December 2018, more than 40,000 spectators are set to flock to the Swiss city for the 58th edition of the CHI Geneva, the final Major of the year. Taking place in the Palexpo, which at 5,200 m2 is the largest indoor arena in world, visitors can expect to be thoroughly entertained at an event that has won the Best Equestrian Sports Show Worldwide award no less than nine times.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

With several prolific horse and rider combinations set to compete in the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHI Geneva, there are a whole host of contenders who will undoubtedly be among the discussion as to who will be crowned champion in this historic Rolex Major.

A hot favourite to claim the title this year is the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, Sameh El Dahan. The Egyptian rider clinched victory at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in Calgary riding Suma’s Zorro, and will be tipped by many to continue his fine form in Switzerland. With a potential €500,000 bonus for winning two Majors successfully, Sameh will be doing his utmost to repeat his performance in Canada.

Never far from success is Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat, who currently sits at second in the World Official Jumping Rankings. Being a Swiss rider competing in Geneva, Guerdat is likely to be well supported, and when combined with his unquestioned ability, it would be a surprise if he is not one of the top performers in the competition, especially given that he has already won the Rolex Grand Prix on three occasions.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Skidmore College and SCAD to Be Honored at the Pegasus Awards Ceremony

SCAD won the ANRC National Intercollegiate Equitation Championship for the fourth time in 2018. Photo courtesy of SCAD.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Nov. 26, 2019 – US Equestrian, the national governing body of equestrian sport, will hold their annual meeting and Pegasus Awards in Palm Beach, Florida in January. New to the Pegasus Awards celebratory evening, the 2018 Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Equestrian Team Awards will be presented Thursday evening, Jan. 10.  US Equestrian’s Pegasus Awards honor some of the great men and women of equestrian sport. The 2018 Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Equestrian Team award winners demonstrated their excellence in USEF-affiliated collegiate and scholastic organizations in 2018 and will be recognized for their achievements and success during Pegasus night.

Skidmore College, the IHSA Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat Championship Team, led by head coach Cindy Ford and assistant coach Belinda Colgan, will be presented with a 2018 Intercollegiate Award. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), coached by Ashley Henry and assistant Abbie Gibson, the 2018 ANRC National Intercollegiate Equitation Overall Championship Team, will also be honored.

IDA National Championship Team Intermont Equestrian at Emory and Henry, ISSRA Championship Team University of Louisville, NCEA National Championship Auburn University and USEA Eventing Championship Team Auburn University, and IEA Champion Upper School Hunter Seat Team Lucky Stables will also receive awards.

During the Pegasus Award event, US Equestrian will also present awards to the recipients of the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award the Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award, the Pegasus Medals of Honor and other prestigious equestrian industry awards.

To learn more about US Equestrian’s 2019 Annual Meeting, visit usef.org/annual-meeting.

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

From Baborówko to Tokyo 2020

Photo: Oliver Townend.

Baborówko, November 26, 2018 — FEI General Assembly in Bahrain has announced that an eventing qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will be held during Equestrian Festival Baborówko 2019 in Baborówko, Poland. For athletes from C group, that includes countries from Central and East Europe, it is one of the two opportunities to qualify for the Olympics.

“Such a decision from the FEI is a great honour for us, validating the high level of the organisation of shows in Baborówko,” says Henryk Święcicki jr, the director of Equestrian Festival Baborówko. For the athletes from C group, another opportunity to qualify for the Olympics are the European Championships in Lumuehlen in August 2019.

The qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be played out in Baborówko as the CCI4*-L class. In the cross-country trial for this class, the athletes will have to finish a 6000m distance in the course of 10 minutes, overcoming almost 40 fences.

Within the team classification of the CCI4*-L class during Baborówko Equestrian Festival, the athletes will compete for the individual qualification to the Olympics, and the right to compete will only be granted to the best team.

Once again we will have the opportunity to witness the best athletes compete not only for the Olympic qualification. Thanks to the support of the Patron of the event, Mr. Roman Roszkiewicz, the prize money at Baborówko Equestrian Festival will once again reach ca. 100 000 EUR.

From the 23rd to the 26th of May 2019, at Equestrian Festival Baborówko, apart from the CCI4*-L class, athletes will also compete in the CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S classes, and the CCIYH2*-S class for young horses. The organisers are preparing an additional programme for the audiences, and as every year, admission is free.

Eventing is one of the three equestrian Olympic disciplines (along with dressage and showjumping), which the audience will have the opportunity to watch at Japan’s capital. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will take place from the 24th of July until the 9th of August 2020.

More information on: www.festiwal.baborowko.pl.

Ferrer-Salat Posts Definitive Victory as Madrid Makes Its Series Debut

Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Spanish dressage legend, Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (52), posted a definitive victory with Delgado when the FEI Dressage World Cup™ visited Madrid, Spain for the very first time. Host nation riders dominated at this fourth round of the 10-leg 2018/2019 Western European League series when Claudio Castilla Ruiz (35) finished second with Alcaide ahead of Portugal’s Maria Caetano (32) and Coroado in third.

Showing some lovely work with her 11-year-old Lusitano stallion, the Portuguese rider went to the top of the scoreboard with a mark of 77.655 when sixth to go of the 14 starters. And she stayed out in front despite the best efforts of 2016 FEI Dressage World Cup™ champion Hans Peter Minderhoud from The Netherlands when he posted 76.110 with Zinardi in the closing stages.

But Castilla Ruiz raised the temperature dramatically when next into the ring, starting out with one-handed one-tempi changes down the centre line that drew a gasp of amazement from the crowd. He smiled in delight as his impressive 13-year-old stallion showed great activity in his piaffe/passage, and when the Spanish showman completed his test with another display of one-handed control then the audience rose to their feet and roared with approval as he posted the new leading score of 78.915.

Ferrer-Salat’s style has always been more understated, but the level of excellence shown by this consummate horsewoman has brought her many great moments, including team silver and individual bronze at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with the wonderful Beauvalais and individual bronze at the FEI European Championships 2015 with Delgado.

At 17 years of age, the Westphalian gelding is now in the twilight of his career, but he showed he’s not finished yet when placing 13th in the Grand Prix Special at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA in September. And he rose to the occasion once again, working in complete harmony with his rider as he pumped out his trademark clockwork passage to post the winning score of 81.285 despite a single error in canter.

When the penultimate partnership of Great Britain’s Richard Davis and Bubblingh retired after the 12-year-old Dutch gelding reared in over-excitement at the start of their test, the Spanish rider could be seen walking Delgado on a long rein in the warm-up area as they prepared to enter the arena – cool as a pair of cucumbers.

“Before he does his test, I always let him walk so he can relax and breathe, and then he’s ready to perform. I talk with him a lot and it’s always a wonderful feeling with him; he trusts me and I trust him!” — Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (ESP)

She is thinking ahead to Delgado’s retirement – “sometime next year, depending on how he feels,” she said. And she has a “very nice nine-year-old” who she hopes will begin to follow in his footsteps at the beginning of next year.

But she was delighted that he performed so well in front of her home crowd once again. “Delgado is very fresh lately and willing to perform – he’s very much with me still and I’m very proud of him!” Ferrer-Salat said.

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League now moves on to Salzburg (AUT) in two weeks’ time.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Deusser Makes It a Double in Madrid

Daniel Deusser (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Germany’s Daniel Deusser (37) rocketed up to third on the Western European League leaderboard and booked his ticket to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April when posting his second win of the 2018/2019 qualifying season at Madrid in Spain. He topped the line-up with Calisto Blue in Verona, Italy last month, and in this sixth round of the 13-leg series he steered Tobago Z to the quickest time in a tension-filled 10-horse jump-off to take maximum points once again.

Runner-up was World No. 2, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36), who has now forged a significant lead on the league table, and third place went to Irma Karlsson (25), one of three Swedish riders to make it into the timed round.

Karlsson led the way against the clock with a beautifully-ridden, fast and accurate ride on the lovely 10-year-old mare Ida Bisschop to set a strong target in 48.28 seconds. But it was like watching a piece of precision engineering as Deusser’s handsome Zangersheide stallion shaved 1.55 seconds off that with effortless ease when fifth to go.

“We found a good rhythm from the first to the second, and it lasted to the very end of the course. Tobago is very careful and very scopey, and he’s not a hot horse so that really helps in the jump-off because he never rushes even when he’s under pressure – you get the same jump whether you are going fast or slow.” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

Having set the standard at 46.73 seconds, the 2014 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion then had to sit it out as the remaining five took their turn over Javier Trenor’s shortened track. Niels Bruynseels slotted in behind Karlsson when clear with his exciting nine-year-old Delux van T&L in 48.42, and when both his Belgian compatriot Pieter Devos (Claire Z), winner at last weekend’s leg in Stuttgart, and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou) left a pole on the floor, it was still all to play for with two left to run.

Guerdat looked well set to challenge for the lead with his 10-year-old mare Ulysse des Forets. However, a wider turn to the double three from home may have cost valuable fractions of seconds, so when the pair broke the beam in 47.12 then only the reigning European individual champion, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, stood between Deusser and his second success of the season.

Fredricson was fully focused as he set sail with H&M Christian K, but an unscheduled stop at the third fence put paid to his chances and when the pair completed with a total of 16 faults, they lined up in tenth place. Deusser, currently world no. 7, was really pleased with his horse’s performance.

“Tobago has developed very well this year. His first World Cup was in Bordeaux in February and he has done a few Grand Prix classes and is showing a lot of promise for the future,” he said. He intends taking either Tobago or Calisto Blue to Gothenburg – “You ride your best at the Final!”

With 40 points now on the board he looks set to be inside the top-18 who make the cut from the Western European League for the Longines 2019 Final, even though there are another seven legs left to go. Pieter Devos has 49 so is also well on his way, while double-champion Guerdat, who has collected points at all six legs to date while riding four different horses, is in full command at the top of the table with a big tally of 58.

The action stays in Spain for the next leg of the Western European League, with the port city of La Coruña in Galicia playing host next weekend.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Devos Delivers a Strategic Win at Stuttgart

Pieter Devos and Apart (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

Belgian star pips Austria’s Kuehner in extraordinary 10-horse jump-off

Belgium’s Pieter Devos (32) and Austria’s Max Kuehner (44) put paid to the myth that men don’t multi-task when taking the top two places in the fifth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League on a fascinating afternoon in Stuttgart, Germany.

Unlike the majority of their opponents, they both divide their time between top-class showjumping and full-scale commitments in the business world. And they put their business-brains to work in an extraordinary 10-horse jump-off that took everyone by surprise.

“There were some options in the jump-off that were not easy to do, and there were a lot of misunderstandings from the horses so it wasn’t fluid; riders were trying everything they could, but it was not working out well. I decided I would go for a clear round, but I knew I had to keep my head and stay concentrated!” said Devos after pipping Kuehner by almost eight seconds when last to go against the clock with the chestnut gelding Apart.

The big blue wall at fence three had already created plenty of excitement in the first round, with two eliminations and several refusals, but it came as a bit of a shock when jump-off pathfinder, Germany’s Christian Kukuk with Colestus, ground to a halt in front of it this time out. German course designer, Christa Jung, had set them a track full of twists and turns, and both Sweden’s Stephanie Holmen (Flip’s Little Sparrow) and Germany’s Maurice Tebbel (Don Diarado) lost their chances on the sharp roll-back to the second and third elements of the double before Kuehner set off with PSG Final.

The Austrian, who finished a superb sixth individually with his top ride Chardonnay at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ two months ago and who manages a leasing company when not in the saddle, wasn’t taking any risks with his lovely eight-year-old gelding who is showing massive potential. He steered him home for the first double-clear of the competition, although their slow time of 56.62 seconds looked to have left the door wide open for the six yet to go.

However, Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt (Asathir) knocked a brick out of the bogey wall, Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Legend of Love) slipped on the approach to the second-last which hit the floor, and 2012 Olympic champion Steven Guerdat from Switzerland (Alamo) faulted at the second fence. So when Germany’s Christian Ahlmann (Tokyo) decided to take a leisurely tour with his inexperienced horse, posting a clear in 57.68 seconds, then Kuehner was, even to his own obvious amazement, still out in front.

Last in, Devos knew what he had to do. “I could see I could go six or seven seconds quicker but I also knew if I knocked a fence then I would be nowhere anymore. But Apart jumped really well, he already won a lot of classes for me but never anything as big as this, so I’m really happy for him!” said the Belgian after stopping the clock in the winning time of 49.05 seconds.

He talked about the challenge of mixing his business and sporting careers and says it has just become a way of life.

“Everyone asks me how I do it and I don’t have the answer because I ask myself that sometimes too! My brother and I inherited a big fruit company from our parents when I was 17 or 18… it’s a second-generation business and I’m Commercial Director. I’ve grown up doing both jobs, the fruit business and the horse business, and it works because I have a great team on both sides!” — Pieter Devos (BEL)

Devos, now 16th in the world rankings, is lying second on the Western European League table with 39 points and is only a whisper away from qualifying for the Longines Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next April.

“I will go to Madrid (ESP) next week and then Mechelen (BEL) in December. After that I’ll make a plan for the second half of the season, but I don’t need too many more points now which is great!” he added.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Longines Streak Continues for Nassar and Lordan in Las Vegas

Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Lordan. (FEI/Andrew Ryback)

Just a week after topping the World Cup qualifier in Thermal (USA), Nayel Nassar (EGY) and his longtime partner Lordan led another victory gallop after clinching the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas (USA).

Nassar, 27, and his 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding were fastest in a six-horse jump-off set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). The pair used their natural foot speed and tidiness to their advantage, coming through the timers in 34.57 seconds, over a second fastest than their closest competitors. It was an international podium, with Wilhelm Genn (GER) and Bugatti earning runner-up honors (35.73 seconds) and Harley Brown (AUS) and Mylord Cornet finishing third (40.34 seconds).

“It was a fast jump-off,” Nassar said. “Wilhelm set a really tough time to beat, and he was really efficient everywhere on a horse that has a bigger stride than mine. I just knew I had to be nice and neat in the turns and not go too crazy down the long lines.”

“It was a fast jump-off… Wilhelm set a really tough time to beat… I just knew I had to be nice and neat in the turns and not go too crazy down the long lines.” — Nayel Nassar (Egypt)

The top three were the only combinations to turn in double-clear rounds on the evening. Brown was the first to navigate the jump-off without fault, but he was forced to take a more conservative route with his less experienced 8-year-old. Genn, who won Sacramento’s (USA) World Cup qualifier in October, jumped ahead by nearly four seconds with an outstanding right turn to the jump-off’s second fence and a bold gallop down to the final obstacle. As the last to go, Nassar knew exactly what he had to do to win his second straight World Cup qualifier, and he executed, despite having a precarious rub two fences from home.

“I had the luck of the draw a little bit. I had the pole position coming in,” Nassar said. “It always helps when you know what you need to do, and I relish the pressure as well. Lordan can feel that, too; I was getting tingly walking in [the ring], and he really tried his heart out.”

Shifting Standings

Richard Spooner (USA) may have been kept off the podium, but he took over the lead in the west coast sub league standings of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League with his fourth-place finish aboard Quirado RC. He now boasts 49 points, one ahead of Eve Jobs (USA). Nassar moved up to third in the standings; he now boasts 46 points.

“[Quirado RC] is just knocking my socks off,” Spooner said. “He’s been unbelievable in the World Cup season. He’s a huge horse — he’s about 18.1, maybe 18.2 hands — but he somehow is still very elastic with his body. I just feel graced every time I get to ride him, because the power that you feel with that horse is absolutely awesome.”

Genn took over second in the east coast sub league standings, behind only Molly Ashe Cawley’s (USA) league leading 55 points. Genn has 47 points, one ahead of defending World Cup Champion Beezie Madden (USA).

“Bugatti is 12, and every year when I take him to a new level, and I think it is about as big as he can jump, he surprises me and makes it work,” Genn said. “Who knows what the future brings? I’m super proud of him.”

After a brief holiday, the North American League resumes in Guadalajara (MEX) on 26 January 2019.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Kentucky Three-Day Event Early Bird Pricing Ends Dec. 6

The best tickets at the best prices for the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event are available now.

If you haven’t bought yours yet, HURRY. Early Bird pricing ends Dec. 6 at midnight.

The “Best Weekend All Year” returns to the Kentucky Horse Park April 25-28, 2019.

Visit KentuckyThreeDayEvent.com/tickets for ticket information.

The Official Event Program is half price when you pre-order it. Just $5 when pre-ordered, the program is the ultimate guide for planning and navigating your Best Weekend All Year. Add a program to your order here.

The Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix is coming back to LRK3DE 2019. Get your tickets now.