Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

Young Jockeys Set to Star at Olympia

Another sensational Shetland Pony Grand National season will reach its climax at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, which takes place from 16-22 December 2019. A steppingstone for young up-and-coming jockeys, The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National will feature daily, showcasing the next generation of jockeys coming through the pony racing ranks.

The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National at Olympia is the pinnacle of the season for the runners and riders, following months of competing around the country, with the aim of being selected to compete at the prestigious Show. The 11 jockeys and their ponies have been chosen on merit based on their performances throughout the season, which included appearances at Newmarket’s infamous Rowley Mile Racecourse and Burghley Horse Trials.

There will be several familiar names taking centre stage at Olympia Grand this year, with five children of well-known racing families taking the spotlight from their famous fathers. Nine-year-old Lucas Murphy, son of Grand National-winning jockey Timmy Murphy, made a successful start to his Shetland Pony Grand National career in 2018 culminating in victory at Olympia last year, something he will be seeking to repeat in 2019. Wearing the famous colours worn by his father when winning the Grand National aboard Comply or Die in 2008, Lucas will be one to watch as he takes to the track on Mr D Shepherd’s Cranford Fantastic, the winning combination at the Burghley Horse Trials leg in September.

Another former Grand National winner, Leighton Aspell, who was victorious in the prestigious Aintree race in both 2014 and 2015, will be on the sidelines at Olympia as he makes way for daughters Niamh and Lucy, who will both be making a deserved return to the iconic venue and will be using their experience to navigate the miniature Grand National course to the best of their abilities.

Freddie Keighley, son of National Hunt trainer Martin Keighley, will be making his Olympia debut at this year’s Show. The eight-year-old is in his first year on the Shetland Pony Grand National circuit, which is for children between the ages of eight and 14 years old, who are under five feet tall.

Following his selection, Freddie said: “I can’t believe I’ve managed to be selected for Olympia in my first season on Blackie [Brewards Kerwen]. He’s improved so much and I’m so proud of him. My parents have been taking me and my brother Harry to Olympia specially to watch the Shetland Pony Grand National for years and I am so excited to now be riding in it. It’s a dream come true!”

Lily Phelan will also be representing a renowned National Hunt family as she returns to Olympia, this year with new ride Sedgehill Talisman, who has shown remarkable improvement throughout the season and will be coming to the Show in excellent form.

Bringing further illustrious racing links to Olympia Grand this year will be Zak Kent, who will be wearing the famous blue and white silks of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, colours carried to victory in more than 50 international Group One races including 14 European Classics, the Melbourne Cup, Breeders’ Cup Classic, and the Dubai World Cup. The 12-year-old was involved in one of the highlights of the season, when beating rival Lucas Murphy by a nose-length in a photo finish at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire Meeting, holding off a late challenge from Murphy at the end of the two-and-a-half-furlong contest.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National is always a crowd pleaser at Olympia and it’s great to be able to provide a platform for the country’s next generation of jockeys to demonstrate their talents on the international stage.”

In addition to the competitive element of The Saracen Horse Feeds Shetland Pony Grand National, the young jockeys will be using the Show to raise funds and awareness for The Bob Champion Cancer Trust. The Trust was set up by Grand National-winning jockey, Bob Champion, who won the race aboard Aldaniti in 1981, having been diagnosed with cancer just two years previously. To date the children involved in the Shetland Pony Grand National 2019 series have raised over £70,000 for the charity and will continue with their fundraising efforts at Olympia.

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

‘Old Times’ Traditions Preserved at Royal Horse Show

Harvey and Mary Waller and their ‘Old Times’ road coach. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.

Toronto, ON – Mr. and Mrs. Harvey and Mary Waller of Stockbridge, MA and their ‘Old Times’ road coach claimed their fourth consecutive victory in the Green Meadows Four-In-Hand Coaching Appointments Class at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 97th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.

The Green Meadows Coaching division, sponsored by Hugessen Consulting, Inc., features six classes dedicated to the great tradition of the road coaches and park drags of years gone by. The Green Meadows Appointments Class is judged on the performance of the horses and the presentation of the road coach or park drag, with strong emphasis on appointments that include authentic lunch chests, stick and umbrella baskets, coachmen’s aprons, and other accoutrements.

“It’s so much a part of the elegance of The Royal and its history,” said Willa Gauthier, Chair of the Royal Horse Show, of the Green Meadows competition. “It’s something that is so historical and almost ‘other world’ that you don’t get anywhere else. I think it’s critical to the tradition of The Royal.”

The Wallers’ ‘Old Times’ coach exemplifies a fine example of those days gone by, as it was famously driven from London to Brighton, England in the 1880s. It has since been conserved in its entirety by the Wallers, who purchased the road coach in 2001 and had the paint stripped down to find the original color and lettering, enabling it to be restored to its exact original appearance.

In addition to earning victory in the appointments class on Friday, November 8, the Wallers also earned wins in the Green Meadows Four-in-Hand, held on Thursday, November 7, and the Green Meadows Four-in-Hand Suitable for Pleasure class held on Saturday evening, November 9.

The Green Meadows division is only one example of the diverse equestrian competition offerings that make the Royal Horse Show so special. The 10-day horse show features a variety of classes including the highest level of international show jumping, in-hand breeding classes, an array of driving divisions, as well as hunter, jumper, and equitation competition for a wide range of levels.

“The Royal is an event that is all encompassing,” added Gauthier. “If you don’t support divisions such as the Green Meadows and you don’t keep them coming, they are gone.”

For more information, visit royalfair.org/horse-show.

Paralympian Sophie Wells and Judge Stephen Clarke to Join ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ at Olympia

Following the announcement of ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ which takes place at Olympia, The London International Horse Show on Monday 16 December, Paralympic champion Sophie Wells MBE and renowned dressage judge Stephen Clarke are the latest stars to be unveiled to take part.

Sophie and Stephen will join other celebrated dressage personalities, including Carl Hester, Gareth Hughes, and Richard Davison as they unwrap the secrets of the discipline of dressage. The brand-new ninety-minute session will take place at 4pm on the opening day of the Show and provide a unique insight into the sport, from training and producing dressage horses to competing on the world stage.

Sophie Wells MBE, a double Paralympic gold medalist as well as multiple World and European champion, will be taking to the saddle to demonstrate various dressage elements, from the basic movements to the more complex components of championship tests. Sophie will be joined in the arena by Stephen Clarke, widely regarded as one of the best international dressage judges on the circuit, as he talks the audience through what he is looking for from horse and rider during a test and the main considerations when scoring each of the movements.

Stephen’s experience in this field is second-to-none, with previous roles including President of the Ground Jury at the London 2012 Olympic Games and FEI Dressage Judge General, which involves creating and coordinating discussion among international judges to ensure equality and uniformity across the sport.

This unique insight will complement previously announced components of ‘Dressage Unwrapped’ which include appearances by Performance Manager to Britain’s Senior Eventing Team, Richard Waygood, and one of Britain’s best loved eventers, Olympic, World, and European medalist Pippa Funnell.

Olympia Show Director, Simon-Brooks Ward, said: “We’re delighted that Sophie and Stephen will be joining the high-profile team set to be part of Dressage Unwrapped. Their experience and talent are world-renowned, and their participation will significantly enhance the programme, providing an unprecedented insight into competitive dressage.”

Dressage Unwrapped is part of the evening performance at Olympia, The London International Horse Show on Monday 16 December, which also features the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Grand Prix, as well as numerous international display acts, including The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry and spellbinding horseman Jean-François Pignon.

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Boyd Exell(s) in Lyon

Image copyright PSV.

For his first appearance at the Longines Equita Lyon, the world number 1 in the discipline confirmed his standing in the first round of the FEI Driving World Cup stage, which will decide the order for the final. This first round, a kind of dress rehearsal for Sunday, allowed the leaders to get their bearings, test their options, and allowed the horses to discover the arena, the atmosphere, the light, and so on. Combining speed and maneuverability, the leaders of the discipline had to go as quickly as possible between the posts, gates, and over a bridge, each fault adding 4 extra seconds to their initial time. Speed and precision are therefore the watchwords in this event. After the first round, the three best teams are measured in a “drive-off”, by adding the two rounds together to give the final ranking of the day. The first to start the drive-off was the Dutchman Koos de Ronde who set the pace with his carriage, crossing the finish line in 313.51 seconds. The challenge was then taken up by the Swiss Jérôme Voutaz and his four Franche-Montagne horses, the holders of the title for the Lyon stage (312.74 sec.). Their fast pace got the crowds on their feet, as they eagerly awaited to see the world’s number one, the Australian Boyd Exell, who was competing for the first time in Lyon. The master did not disappoint the public, performing a quick round with impressive fluidity, placing first in the class (297.48 sec.). “I was surprised by the warmth and enthusiasm of the audience at 9am! This is my first time in Lyon, and I must say that the organisation is brilliant. You get helped when you arrive, and the hotel is really nice. I feel good here. My horses are great. We did the first round without forcing too much and went faster for the second. They are just the best.”

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

Werth Pips Dujardin in Exciting Second Leg at Lyon

Isabell Werth riding Emilio. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

Germany’s Isabell Werth showed exactly why she is known as The Queen of international dressage when, on her debut in the 2019/2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League at the second leg in Lyon, France, she produced yet another of her right-royal victories.

Partnering the 13-year-old gelding Emilio, she was pinned into second place in the Grand Prix won by Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and her latest shining star, the 10-year-old mare Mount St John Freestyle. But the German legend did what she does best and fought back to win the Lyon leg for the third consecutive year when putting a massive 87.090 on the board.

There was great anticipation of the clash between Werth, who has taken the series title a total of five times including the last three in succession, and Dujardin who was twice crowned champion with the great Valegro. It was at the 2014 Final in Lyon that the British rider first lifted the coveted FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy, and fans are super-excited to see her back fighting for the supremacy she held in the sport during the heady years before Valegro’s retirement in December 2016. She’s aiming for a spot at the 2020 Final in Las Vegas, USA next April so made a great start to her points campaign when collecting the maximum 20 – as defending champion Werth doesn’t need to collect points; instead she is only obliged to compete twice with her horse of choice in order to qualify.

Werth is the ultimate competitor, already relishing the return of potentially her biggest rival over the coming season and beyond. She always says that competing against the best raises everybody’s game.

“Welcome back Charlotte! It’s good to have the best in the field, and that is also what the public like to see! It’s great to have Charlotte away from her island – now the World Cup season will be really exciting!” said the lady who is herself a longtime legend, with more medals in her trophy cabinet than any other athlete in the history of equestrian sport.

When she came into the ring, fifth-last to go, she was chasing the leading score of 80.015 set by compatriot, Frederic Wandres, riding Duke of Britain. And the crowd were clapping even before she started. “It was a wonderful crowd; the stands were full and the atmosphere was great. This is the second time I rode this Freestyle with this music and I really like it. I’m really happy and proud of Emilio. When you ride the last line and the crowd starts to clap you know you are in a good position!” Werth said after putting that 87.090 up in lights, despite taking the time out during her test to signal, on three occasions, for her music level to be turned up.

She was still holding sway when, last to go, Dujardin came into the ring, aware that her mare was more tense. “Yesterday at the prize-giving she was quite stressed, and today when she saw so many people, she thought we were doing another prizegiving. I felt her stressed and a little worried going into the arena but I’m very proud and happy with how she behaved. She lacks experience and I have to keep her with me, but this was super experience for the future and I think she will become hard to beat!” she said after putting 83.925 on the board for runner-up spot.

Dujardin is already looking down the road to the series Final, and the experience her mare can pick up along the way. “I will go to Olympia (London, GBR) and this will again be a big show with a big crowd and a great atmosphere. Then I plan to go to Amsterdam and hopefully Las Vegas!” she pointed out.

Third-placed Wandres, who posted a mark of 80.015, was delighted with his result. “When I saw the rider-list here I thought it could be difficult to do well, but now being third behind the two Dressage Queens is fantastic! With Duke it is special as we learned together. It is now our second Grand Prix season and we keep progressing,” he said.

Her winning Freestyle score was just fractionally below a personal best for Werth and Emilio as a combination, and the lady who is in the privileged position of having multiple top rides, including her two super-mares Weihegold and Bella Rose, is delighted that the 2019/2020 Western European League is off to such an impressive start. “Herning (the first leg in Denmark) has already taken place and the level was already very high. It is not only Charlotte but lots of good riders taking part, so it will be interesting to see what will happen in Vegas,” said the rider on whose home ground in Stuttgart (GER), the third round of the 11-leg league, will take place in two weeks’ time.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

FEI Publishes Tokyo Horse Monitoring Research Project Findings

Michael Jung (GER) with Fischerwild Wave. (FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi)

The results of a major research study commissioned by the FEI, aimed at identifying best practices and management of horses training and competing in hot and humid environments, have been published.

Conducted at the Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event in August 2019, and led by the FEI’s climate expert Dr David Marlin, the study monitored the combined effects of long travelling times and distances, time zone disruptions, and heat and humidity on competing horses.

Horses were monitored before and during the test event, including how they adapted to the challenging climate in Tokyo. Central to the report is data collected on-course and post-competition, which allowed for detailed analysis of the cross-country test.

The study findings show that horses generally coped extremely well with the conditions and remained in good health for the duration of the test event, held at the same time of year as the Games in 2020, despite the fact that conditions were thermally challenging, with Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer* (WBGT) Index readings frequently in the region of 32-33°C.

The report confirms that on cross country day (13 August), the high WBGT Index, steep initial climb, and sharp turns on the course produced a significant challenge for competing horses. Heart rates during cross country, and blood lactate, heart rate, and rectal temperature after cross country indicated that horses were working at close to maximal capacity.

A new heart rate monitor that also displays the ECG plus infra-red thermal imaging to provide a rapid and accurate estimate of horses’ temperature were key pieces of technology used in data collection for the study.

The report highlights that “all possibilities must be explored to mitigate the effects of the likely climatic conditions, including reduction in distance appropriate for the conditions and bringing the cross country start time forward to avoid the highest WBGT conditions that would normally peak between late morning and mid-afternoon.”

Following discussions between the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), the IOC, and the FEI, consensus has been reached on advancing the cross country start time to either 07.30 or 08.00 on 2 August 2020 as part of the heat countermeasures. A final decision on the move, which is fully supported by the findings in the Marlin report, will be made by the IOC Executive Board.

“We have worked very closely with TOCOG to put in place the best possible heat countermeasures for both our equine and human athletes for Tokyo 2020, and the findings in this important research study will play a crucial role in guiding final decisions on appropriate facilities and support,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said. “The report will also be a valuable tool for athletes and National Federations as they prepare their horses in the build-up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Heat countermeasures that are already in place for horses include air conditioned stables at both equestrian venues (Bajikoen and Sea Forest), early morning and evening training and competition sessions under floodlights, constant and close monitoring by a world class veterinary team, and multiple cooling facilities including the provision of shade tents, cooling fans, ice and water, and mobile cooling units.

The FEI has been working on optimising equine performance in challenging climates with Dr Marlin since before the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Dr Marlin has been working with the FEI for the past three years specifically on Tokyo, reviewing historical climate records, analysing data collected at the main venue at Bajikoen (EQP) and at the cross-country course at Sea Forest (SFC), and leading the test event research project.

The findings from the research project have been sent to TOCOG, the IOC, all National Olympic and Paralympic Committees with athletes competing in equestrian sport, and all National Federations affiliated to the FEI.

The full report is available here.

*The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index is used to measure heat, humidity, solar radiation, and wind factor.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Tom McEwen Still in the Lead after Cross-Country at Pau 5-Star Event

Image copyright Nicolas Hodys.

Elated after the semi-finals of the rugby World Cup, the English can also be delighted with the performance of their riders on the cross-country riders in the CCI 5*-L at the Pau 5-Star eventing competition, one of the six most demanding of its kind in the world. Already in first place after the dressage test in the equestrian triathlon, British rider Tom McEwen on his French mount Toledo de Kerser maintained his lead, with just 0.8 penalty points on the cross-country course for overshooting the authorized time. He rode home ahead of his compatriot Alexander Bragg on Zagreb, the only horse-rider pair to complete the course without a single mistake and within the authorized time. Australian rider Christopher Burton on Quality Purdey came in third with 2 penalty points. The highest-ranking French rider after two out of three tests, Olympic team champion Mathieu Lemoine, ranks ninth on Tzinga d’Auzay. It’s the young mare’s first CCI 5*-L competition, at the highest level in the international eventing competition classes defined by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Since 2015, victory has always gone to a French rider: Astier Nicolas (Piaf de B’Neville) in 2015, Maxime Livio (Qalao des mers) in 2016, Gwendolen Fer (Romantic Love) in 2017, and Thibault Fournier (Siniani de Lathus) last year.

Tom McEwen (GBR):

“The course rode exactly as I expected it to when I walked it yesterday: very technical at the start, with lots of turns. The next section was more fluid and I really enjoyed riding the course. For the show-jumping competition tomorrow, I wouldn’t want any other horse: Toledo is a great jumper and it’s up to me to make sure I don’t make any mistakes.

“You had to be concentrated from start to finish when riding the course, because there were potential incidents all the way along. There were some imposing obstacles and sizeable jumps to negotiate at several different points, and there was nowhere really to make up lost time.”

Alexander Bragg (GBR):

“Zagreb is a big horse but hasn’t really got that big a stride. I had to be firmly in control and negotiate the combination fences without slowing him down too much or changing pace. It was a very fluid ride, and I really enjoyed it, especially as it’s the first time here in Pau that I finished within the authorized time.  He’s a great jumper too and in general he responds really well to the sunny French climate, the surface here and the crowds. So it’s going to be a nail-biting competition right up to the end.

“It was a perfect course, a course for riders who make decisive choices and totally assume them.  There was no room for half-choices, and that’s a sign of an intelligently designed course, a fair course for both horses and riders, but which can cause incidents as we saw today.”

Christopher Burton (AUS):

“I’d like to congratulate course designer Pierre Michelet who did an incredible job today. The course was amazing to ride, because it was difficult to ride home while the clock was still green. My horse was great today too, and we’ll do our best tomorrow too. She’s a good mare, but we know that here in Pau, the courses can be extremely technical so we’re crossing our fingers that everything will go well on Sunday.

“When riders have walked the course, I think they come away thinking that everything is feasible and it doesn’t look that difficult, but in the end, there were incidents on almost all the fences, which is a sign of a well-designed course, and an incredibly intelligent course designer.”

Mathieu Lemoine (FRA):

“Tzinga was tired at the end of the course, but I’m really pleased with her performance today. It was a demanding 5-star cross-country course and it was the first time she has competed at this level. As it is her first 5-Star event, I don’t know how she’ll recover before the show-jumping competition tomorrow, and it’s not easy to make a clean round on a show-jumping course with her. Anything could happen, but I’m really delighted with the way she rode today.”

Pierre Michelet (course designer):

“I knew that the first part of the course was going to slow the horses down. Then in the second part, where the riders can gallop through the training centre, the combination fences also slowed the pace. The surface was very soft as it has rained a lot over the last few days. If the surface had been dry, perhaps it would have been easier for the riders to complete the course within the authorized time and we would have had a few more zero penalty rides. Some of the riders perhaps underestimated the course and there were more difficulties than they first thought, like the water in the middle of the track, that looks simple, but caused a few incidents, just as I thought it would.”

Pascal Sayous (Organiser of the Pau 5-Star eventing competition):

“Pau is historically a very English town, and they proved it today before the record crowds we had here today, probably the highest attendance rate we’ve ever had at the Pau 5-Star event. It’s a real honour to work with a course designer like Pierre Michelet and when I ask him to set the difficulty at a certain level, he sets it exactly where I want it.”

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

New Opportunities for Young Horses Announced for 2020 Global Dressage Festival

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Benetton Dream.

Wellington, FL – October 24, 2019 – The 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival will add to their offerings for young horses competing at the Prix St. Georges and Grand Prix levels with the $15,000 Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series and the $10,000 Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series. Both series will have qualifiers throughout the (AGDF) circuit, which runs January 8 through March 29 at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

With the aid of dressage journalist and owner Ken Braddick, AGDF launched the Young Horse Series in 2019 and classes are dramatically expanded for 2020. The Lövsta Future Challenge/Young Horse Grand Prix series was organized with the help of seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén, who is the professional rider and trainer for Lövsta Stuteri, based in Sweden and Wellington, FL.

The original Lövsta Future Challenge was set up by Vilhelmson Silfvén and Louise Nathorst in its home country of Sweden as a talent development program in both dressage and show jumping for young grand prix horses and Under 25 riders, giving them the arena and the conditions to advance toward the top level of international sport.

“We not only promote the horses and riders but also the teams behind them, including grooms, trainers, breeders, horse owners, and sponsors,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén. “All are incredibly important for developing talent. Lövsta Future Challenge also strives to create forums where riders and equestrian professionals can exchange knowledge and work together towards a sport where the environment and horsemanship are central themes.”

Lövsta is now bringing their ideas to AGDF to implement with young grand prix horses in dressage. Vilhelmson Silfvén said, “We want to give them a platform to develop and with this series help them take the step towards the highest grand prix level. We hope that the interest for educating and producing young grand prix horses will grow. Our goal is that this series will be successful so we can take it to an international level in the future.”

The Lövsta Future Challenge series will hold qualifiers for horses age eight to ten years old at AGDF 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, with the final held during AGDF 12 for $15,000 in prize money. The best horse/rider combination of each qualifying week will qualify for the final, plus two wild cards will be determined for the final. If a horse/rider combination who is already qualified wins more than once, the next placed horse/rider combination of that week will go forward to the final. The test used in the qualifiers is the FEI Intermediate II.

“The series will give them the routine and hopefully the confidence to take the last step towards the highest grand prix level,” said Vilhelmson Silfvén. “We at Lövsta also believe a series like this with a goal of becoming an overall winner will boost both riders and horses and the teams behind them. We believe that one of the most important parts to reach success and growth is to set up goals.”

The Summit Farm Future Challenge/Young Horse Prix St. Georges series will have qualifiers in the same weeks for horses age seven to nine years old, with their final also held during AGDF 12, with prize money of $10,000. The two best horse/rider combinations of each qualifying week will qualify for the final, plus two wild cards. The same qualifying applies for those combinations that win more than one qualifier. The test used for the qualifiers and the final is the FEI Prix St. Georges, but in the final, two Prix St. Georges tests will be offered, with one as a warm-up class and the second as the final.

Top dressage rider and trainer Scott Hassler said of the Summit Farm Future Challenge, “A series like this is important because it’s one of the most exciting group of horses. Germany’s Nürnberger Burg-Pokal Prix St. Georges has shown us what a championship at this level can do. This is the most critical stage in making a grand prix horse – getting them in good hands, competing, and training well to make a grand prix horse.”

The United States has developed Prix St. Georges as a national program in recent years, said Hassler, who was involved in creating the program. “Now it’s one of our most competitive championships,” he noted. “For AGDF to have a prize like this and have a series with a final be available is so exciting and awesome.”

AGDF looks forward to hosting the best and brightest young dressage horses in the world at the 2020 circuit and wishes all competitors the best of luck. For more information on the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Tom McEwen Takes First Place after Dressage at the Pau 5-Star Event

Image copyright Nicolas Hodys.

British rider Tom McEwen, currently ranked world no. 12, takes first place at the top of the provisional leaderboard after dressage on Toledo de Kerser (24.0), just ahead of the New Zealander Tim Price, ranked world no. 3, riding Wesko (25.6). The highest-ranking French horse-rider pair, Arnaud Boiteau on Quoriano*ENE HN, comes in fifteenth place in the provisional rankings before the cross-country event (33.2).

Quote from Tom McEwen (GBR)

“I’m delighted to be in first place on the provisional leaderboard after the dressage test.  I could tell that my performance was very smooth, and I think that’s what the judges were looking for today. There’s a lot of good competition in the CCI 5*-L Pau 5-Star event, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s cross-country event.”

On the cross-country course: “I really came here expecting a twisty track. But now I’ve walked it, it is tricky, but in general a really fluent track with some big fences and positive lines. I wouldn’t say that there are difficulties in one specific area: there are some really big questions all along the track. Perhaps the first water, with the sequence of five very close jumps in sequences: it’s a bit like doing Spring Garden at home, so you need to keep some energy for the end of the course. Then there’s a really big final fence with a difficult corner. The last water is perhaps also a difficulty.”

On Toledo de Kerser: “He’s a really great horse! The start and finish sections of the course are fairly twisty at the start and finish, but there are some really open stretches in the middle where you can make up time. Toledo knows how to handle it all so I’m feeling confident about tomorrow.”

You will find all the results here: https://www.worldsporttiming.com/results/les-5-etoiles-de-pau-2019-265/schedule.html

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com

Luxemburg Carriage Driver Franz Schiltz Has Taken the Lead in Provisional Ranking

Image copyright Nicolas Hodys.

At the end of the first day of dressage in the CCI 5* – H1 competition in Pau, Luxemburg carriage driver Franz Schiltz is has taken the lead in the provisional ranking. The 2015 world champion is one step ahead of Saskia Siebers, the current star in the discipline, world champion titleholder in team driving and vice world champion in individual driving. Third place goes to Spanish driver Ana Muñoz Fernandez.

In the provisional ranking, the best French carriage driver, Tony Ecalle, is currently in fifth place. French driver Magalie Aillaud will kick off the events in the second half of the dressage tests of the CAIO 4*-H1 competition in the Pau 5* horse trials. Eyes will be riveted on defending champion Marion Vignaud, currently ranked third in the world in this discipline, scheduled to perform her test at 11:10 AM.

You will find all the results HERE.

JULIETTE FEYTOUT PEREZ
juliette@blizko-communication.com