Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

Martin Fuchs Crowned Rolex Grand Prix Champion at CHI Geneva

Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday 12 December 2021 – Martin Fuchs riding Leone Jei claimed the final equestrian Major of 2021, winning the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix at the Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHI Geneva), becoming the first rider in the history of the competition to win consecutive editions, following his victory in Geneva in 2019.

The world’s elite competitors gathered at the Palexpo arena for the Geneva International Horse Show, of which Rolex has been the Main Sponsor since 1996. The event, steeped in history and celebrating its 60th edition in 2021, is traditionally a showcase of precision and consistency, qualities demonstrated in abundance by Fuchs in Switzerland over the weekend, and reflected in Rolex’s own commitment to perpetual excellence in its watchmaking and all other endeavours.

The winning combination highlighted the critical importance of harmony between horse and rider, how trust and communication are the foundation of any successful partnership and the ability to push beyond the known limits of performance.

The demanding first round set by world-renowned course designers Gérard Lachat of Switzerland and Louis Konickx of the Netherlands saw just six of the 40 starters head through to the jump-off. First to go against the clock, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny set a fast but beatable time, leaving the door open to those who followed. Fuchs was next to go and produced a precision-perfect round aboard the nine-year-old Leone Jei, setting the time to beat of 41.54 seconds, almost two seconds faster than Kenny.

Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington followed Fuchs into the arena, and put in a fearless effort, shaving 0.19 seconds off the time, only to accrue four faults at the very last fence. Those that followed were unable to match the accuracy and pace of Fuchs, with Harrie Smolders from The Netherlands and Max Kühner from Austria finishing second and third, respectively.

Commenting on his win, the Swiss rider said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to get my second victory here in Geneva. Leone Jei jumped great in both rounds. I knew that the jump-off suited me very well; I knew that I could leave out strides and that it would be difficult for my colleagues to do the same because Leone Jei has such a massive stride. I’m delighted to once again be the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.”

Equestrian fans will now eagerly look forward to the next Major, The Dutch Masters in March 2022, when Fuchs will be the live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, the sport’s ultimate challenge that rewards any rider who wins three consecutive Grand Prix at the four Majors.

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

The Best Depiction of Horses in Video Games

Image: https://images.pexels.com/photos/7047301/pexels-photo-7047301.jpeg.

Across the world, people have been unable to go and spectate at horse racing events due to the pandemic.

Events across the US have been canceled, such as those at Golden Gate Fields, or they’ve gone on behind closed doors. Then as a consequence of attendees being locked out, they have only been available to be viewed on TV or via streaming platforms. If that wasn’t enough, as we head into winter, some of us who enjoy going riding will struggle with the cold conditions as they’re not conducive to getting out and about too.

So, when considering one or both factors, it means people have resorted to finding alternative ways to enjoy their hobbies. One of those is video gaming, as it’s possible to get on horseback via digitally based platforms. Some titles stand out more than others, so we’ve taken the time to look through the list and bring them to you, so you can concentrate fully on virtually saddling up.

The Witcher 3

The Witcher is a name instantly recognizable to gamers and has since become popular with TV viewers courtesy of the series released on Netflix. However, many do not realize the game has one of the most memorable horse riding experiences available. With the game map being so vast, there’s no better way to get around, and it’s not just a token gesture either. Roach, your steed, is a vital part of the Witcher experience, and there’s a lot of interactivity with your stallion throughout. Players get the chance to upgrade their accessories, from saddles to blinders and more.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Out of all the games available, this is the one that stands out far and beyond the rest when it comes to horse riding and interactions. The graphical representation of the animals is fantastic; the way they move and sound when their hooves hit the floor is exceptional, and it’s not surprising as Red Dead Redemption 2 is revered for so many things. Rockstar’s blockbuster title was released in 2018, and as Gala Casino details, it follows Arthur Morgan on his adventures around the Wild West, who relies on his steed for so much. That importance is also nicely integrated into the game through the bonding system. Yes, you read that right: you have to show your horse affection, feed it, and ensure it is groomed too. In doing so, you expand its abilities as you gain more trust. It will then cross deeper rivers, jump larger obstacles, and have more energy.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

While the other two titles on this list lean towards an ultra-realistic look and have riding physics akin to what we’re used to, the representation in Dragon Quest XI is not as measured, but it’s just outright fun. The mechanics are simple, hold down one button on your controller to get your horse moving, then use the left stick to control its direction. The speed of your steed will force enemies out of your path in this Japanese role-playing game where battles are prevalent. However, there are horse races with varying difficulty levels to get involved in which if you’re the victor, the game gives you a small reward too.

Equestrianism’s Finest Head to CHI Geneva for Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final and Rolex Grand Prix

Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday 7 December 2021 – The Concours Hippique International de Genève (CHI Geneva) returns to the Palexpo arena from 9-12 December for the 60th edition of the prestigious show. The Rolex Grand Prix and the Rolex International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) Top 10 Final are notable highlights during four days of elite competition.

The partnership between Rolex and the Geneva International Horse Show was established in 1996, with 2021 marking the 25-year anniversary, and remains a key element of the brand’s long-standing commitment to equestrianism that dates back more than 60 years. Inaugurated in 1926, the event is among the most revered on the equestrian calendar, demonstrating an unwavering dedication to continuous improvement and quality that fits perfectly with Rolex’s own pursuit of perpetual excellence.

THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX

The competition will culminate on Sunday with the Rolex Grand Prix, one of the four Majors that form the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. As ever, it will be a showcase of the precision, bravery, and athleticism required by horse and rider, working in harmony to take on the challenge set by world-renowned course designers Gérard Lachat of Switzerland and Louis Konickx of the Netherlands.

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, comprising The Dutch Masters, the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, the CHIO Aachen, and the CHI Geneva, was initiated in 2013 and rewards a rider who wins three consecutive Grands Prix at these events. The most coveted prize in show jumping, it has been achieved by only one athlete, Scott Brash of Great Britain, whose epic feat began at Geneva in 2014 and was completed with victories at Aachen and Spruce Meadows in 2015.

Germany’s Daniel Deusser heads to Geneva as the current live contender for the Rolex Grand Slam following his exceptional performance at Aachen in September, taking victory aboard Killer Queen VDM.

THE ROLEX FAMILY OF TESTIMONEES

A strong roster of Rolex Testimonees will challenge Deusser for the Rolex Grand Prix title. Leading the way will be home favourites Martin Fuchs and Steve Guerdat.

Fuchs will be hoping to retain his crown following a successful year that has included team gold and individual silver medals at the European championships. The Swiss World No. 4 said: “CHI Geneva is particularly special for me as it’s my home Major and a show that I always want to do well at. Winning the Rolex Grand Prix in 2019 was an unbelievable feeling and I will be doing my very best to repeat my performance.”

Guerdat is a three-time winner (2006, 2013, and 2015) of the CHI Geneva Rolex Grand Prix, and was also victorious in the 2010 and 2018 Rolex IJRC Top 10 Finals. He heads to Palexpo with the prospect of securing a Rolex Grand Slam bonus after winning the CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ earlier this year.

Brash, currently ranked No. 6 in the world, also understands the accuracy, courage, and determination required to win a Major, as does Kent Farrington, winner of this event in 2017 with his brilliant mare, Gazelle. France’s Kevin Staut and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa join the roll of former winners looking to reclaim the title, while Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Great Britain’s Harry Charles will be seeking to add their names to this illustrious list.

THE ROLEX IJRC TOP 10 FINAL

In the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, the world’s top 10 ranked riders compete against each other for the right to be crowned champion. The unique event, which in 2021 celebrates its 20th anniversary, has been supported by Rolex since its inauguration, and acknowledges the achievements of the best show jumpers over the course of the season.

Farrington will contest the 2021 edition as reigning champion, having ridden Austria 2 to victory in 2019. His second success – the American also triumphed in 2015 – marked the seventh consecutive win for a Rolex Testimonee in the event. He will be up against a strong contingent of in-form riders, including Deusser, Fuchs, Brash, Guerdat, and Staut.

IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani commented: “We are extremely proud to support this unique concept, bringing together the best riders in the world each year. As with the Nitto ATP Finals in tennis, the Top 10 Final is unparalleled in equestrian sport, producing the finest level of competition from the world’s best athletes. In 2021 we mark the 20th anniversary of the event, a testament to its long-standing success, made possible through the partnership with Rolex, a brand that has demonstrated a continuous and invaluable commitment to equestrianism for more than 60 years.”

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

US Horse Racing Top 4 Betting Events

Interest in horse racing in the United States has never been higher, with increased media coverage helping to promote the sport to a much wider audience in recent years.

Nowhere is that point better highlighted than in the United Kingdom, where Sky Sports Racing broadcasts live action from the US on a daily basis. This has created a scenario where the top-class races in the US now attract significantly more international entries, thus boosting the quality of the action.

Read on as we take a look at the four standout events in the US racing calendar – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses held over 10 furlongs at Churchill Downs in early May. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown alongside the Preakness and Belmont, and generally attracts a field of 20 runners.

Horses can qualify for the event by accumulating points in a series of 35 races dubbed the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’, which take place at tracks across the US, Europe, and Asia.

Often called the ‘Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’, the Derby regularly attracts more than 150,000 spectators to Churchill annually.

Preakness Stakes

Run over a slightly shorter distance of one and 3/16 of a mile, the Preakness Stakes is staged at Pimlico Racecourse on the third Saturday in May each year.

Attendance at the Preakness Stakes usually beats all other stakes races including the Belmont Stakes, the Breeders’ Cup, and the Kentucky Oaks. The only exception to this is the Kentucky Derby, which often attracts over 20,000 more spectators when it is staged earlier in the month.

Notable past winners of the Preakness include Secretariat, Affirmed, and American Pharoah, each of whom went on to complete the Triple Crown.

Belmont Stakes

Traditionally the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes is run at Belmont Park on the first or second Saturday in June. Run over one and a half miles, the race is widely viewed as the event which determines the best middle-distance horse in the US, according to the horse racing betting guide.

The most famous winner of the race was Secretariat, whose winning time 2:24.00 remains a track and world record for the distance on dirt.

Justify’s stunning victory under jockey Mike Smith in the 150th running of the race in 2018 saw him become the 13th Triple Crown champion.

The Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is a series of Grade I thoroughbred races staged annually at different tracks in the US or Canada. It was initially a single-day event, before expanding into a second day in 2007 due to the enormous global interest in the meeting.

The Breeders’ Cup kicks off with Future Stars Friday, which comprises five top-class juvenile races featuring racing’s brightest rising stars. Championship Saturday is one of the richest days in racing, culminating with the hugely prestigious $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Helen and Annabelle Turn On the Magic in Madrid

Helen Langehanenberg and Annabelle. (FEI/Stefano Grasso)

It was a very particular triumph for German star Helen Langehanenberg when topping the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League in Madrid, Spain. The 39-year-old athlete is a former winner of the prestigious series, an Olympian and this summer became a European team gold medallist. But her success was all the sweeter because her brilliant but sensitive mare Annabelle really showed what she can do when she settles to her job.

“She is such a very special horse, full of talent but with so much temperament that she is not always easy, but I’m very happy today. I was last to go and there was plenty of pressure but that’s good for me; it means I just have to go for it! And today she allowed me to support her and it felt really good,” Langehanenberg said.

Chasing

She was chasing the score of the very first of the 12 athletes into the ring, Spanish superstar Beatriz Ferrer-Salat who set a really tough target for the rest when posting 79.220 with the 12-year-old mare Elegance, and who stayed out in front until the very last pair overtook her. On an afternoon of great sport, the home crowd had plenty to cheer about with five Spanish starters and two of them finishing in the top three when Juan Matute Guimon steered the 15-year-old gelding, Quantico, into third place.

Ferrer-Salat is a five-time Olympian and six-time national champion, and with the 12-year-old Elegance was a member of the Spanish team at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Putting her strong score on the board as the action got underway, she could then sit back and let the rest try to better it.

Compatriot Juan Matute Guimon was the first to come really close when scoring 78.160 with his 15-year-old gelding who put on a lovely show without ever looking under any pressure when third-last to go. The quality of the horse’s one-tempi changes down the centreline were a joy to watch, as was the athlete’s smile as he cruised to a great finish in piaffe/passage. At just 24 years old, the highly popular and super-talented Matute Guimon is already a legend, making a remarkable recovery from a brain bleed in May 2020 to bounce back to the very top of the game.

Grand Prix

Second-last into the ring was Germany’s Frederic Wandres who won the Short Grand Prix with Bluetooth OLD, but their mark of 77.230 would only be good enough for fourth spot when Langehanenberg and the extravagant mover Annabelle soared out in front with a score of 80.500.

Annabelle’s reach in the lateral movements is extraordinary, and she showed moments of real flamboyance. But for her rider it is always a case of getting the balance right in order to maintain control and to keep her confidence.

“When she was young, she was a real mare – when you touched her there wasn’t a centimetre between too much and not enough; it was so difficult to find the perfect aids for her, but I’m so happy with what we have reached now,” Langehanenberg said.

“It’s still only the beginning. I feel there is so much more we can do if she allows me to support her.  The more she does the more relaxed she becomes. She always has enough expression, but she doesn’t always have enough relaxation but routine will bring relaxation so I’m working on that. She’s easy to train, but she almost tries to be too perfect,” she explained.

Retirement

Runner-up, Ferrer-Salat, couldn’t attend the post-competition press conference because she was busy with a retirement ceremony for her great old campaigner, the 20-year-old Delgado. Third-placed Matute Guimon, meanwhile, was proud and honoured to be in the prizegiving ceremony with his compatriot, and with winner Langehanenberg.

“It’s such a cool feeling after my comeback in Lyon,” he said, referring to his eighth-place finish at the French fixture that hosted the second leg of the 2021/2022 Western European League four weeks ago. Until making such a successful return to the series, he had been intending to head for the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, USA in January, but now he may change his plans. “I might join Helen in Amsterdam (NED) or Den Bosch (NED) instead,” he said.

He’s delighted to be back in partnership with Quantico. “When I got back to the barn the first time after my accident, he looked at me as if to say, ‘Is that really you?’ He is such a special horse, not the easiest but such a nice horse and we have a unique bond – we are two hearts together,” the young Spanish star said.

Final

This result leaves him lying tenth on the Western European League leaderboard from which the top nine will make the cut to the series Final in Leipzig, Germany next April. Langehanenberg’s win moves her into the fifth spot when adding the maximum 20 points to the 13 she collected for fourth place at the opening round in Herning, Denmark last month. However, it is Wandres who continues to head the standings going into the next round in London (GBR) in three weeks’ time.

For German athletes getting to the Final is a really tough task, because so many of them are vying for places and only three per country are permitted to compete. As Langehanenberg explained, “Isabel (Werth, defending champion) is going anyway and Jessica (von Bredow-Werndl) will try as well – and if she goes with Dalera, then nobody can beat her! Frederic (Wandres) has good points already and he will try to qualify too, but we will for sure try out best and we will see if we can make it.”

The Western European League action will resume at the London International Horse Show, with the Short Grand Prix taking place on Thursday 16 December followed by the points-deciding Freestyle on Friday 17 December.

Result here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Charlotte Dujardin and Gio Headline Stellar Dressage Lineup for London International Horse Show

Organisers of The London International Horse Show have confirmed that Charlotte Dujardin, Britain’s joint most decorated female Olympian, will have the ride on her Olympic partner Gio to headline a fantastic line-up of Dressage stars at the Show, which runs from 16-20 December 2021. Dujardin, currently ranked as No. 3 in the world, will be taking part in the Show’s opening event, the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix, which will take place on the morning of Thursday 16 December, and the FEI Dressage World Cup Freestyle to Music, which is part of the evening performance on Friday 17 December.

Dujardin will take centre stage aboard her Tokyo Olympic partner, Gio, and will be looking to retain her title in both competitions following her double victory in 2019. The combination, who claimed individual and team bronze medals in Tokyo – and in doing so took Dujardin’s tally of medals to six – will be firm favourites to reign victorious when they are reunited in December.

They will be joined by her Olympic teammate Lottie Fry, aboard her own and van Olst Horses’ Dark Legend. The 25-year-old, who is based in the Netherlands, has had a successful 2021 campaign with a string of impressive top-level Grand Prix results, including individual bronze and team silver at the European Championships, and Olympic team bronze.

Another member of that silver medal-winning European Championship team, Gareth Hughes, will be joining Fry and Dujardin at ExCeL London. Hughes, who won the Grand Prix at the British National Championships, will be looking to retain that form as he heads to The London International Horse Show.

Olympian Richard Davison strengthens the British contingent taking part at the Show. Riding Bubblingh, the horse that he rode to victory in the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music in the CDI3* at Hartpury earlier this year, Davison will be sure to put in a competitive challenge. He will be joined by Fiona Bigwood, riding Hawtins Delicato, the horse which was runner-up in both competitions at The London International Horse Show in 2019, when ridden by Carl Hester. Compatriot Lara Butler will also be hoping to bring her recent form to the Show with Kristjan, having won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the CDI3* at Keysoe last month.

Challenging the British hopefuls will be Nanna Skodborg Merrald from Denmark, part of the Tokyo Olympic team which were pipped to fourth place by Great Britain, and Singapore’s Caroline Chew. Sweden’s Antonia Ramel and Frederic Wandres from Germany will also feature.

World’s Best Carriage Drivers Head to London

The afternoon of Friday 17 December will mark the return of the FEI Driving World Cup to London, featuring the world’s leading Carriage Drivers. 2019 London International Horse Show winner, and former World No. 1, Boyd Exell (AUS) will return to the Show fresh from victory in the FEI Driving World Cup at Lyon. The five-time World Four-in-Hand champion and nine-time FEI World Cup Driving Champion will take on Ijsbrand Chardon, a multiple World Champion and the current World No. 2, who will be looking to improve on his third-place position at the 2019 Show. The Dutchman will be full of confidence following success at the FEI World Cup qualifier in Aachen.

Koos De Ronde’s second place finish split Exell and Chardon at the 2019 Show, and the Dutch World No. 3 will return to London looking to go one step further. Another who is sure to bring some excitement to the action is home favourite, Dan Naprous, who is famed for his stunt Driving and always has the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Dries Degrieck (BEL), buoyed by a successful World Cup at Lyon, Mareike Harm, part of the German team at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, and Jérôme Voutaz from Switzerland complete the line-up.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We’re delighted with this list of entries for The London International Horse Show and are very much looking forward to welcoming some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world to ExCeL London. It is set to be a fantastic competition, providing British fans the only opportunity in the UK to see so many quality athletes under one roof.  We can’t wait to see how the action unfolds.”

The London International Horse Show is the only UK Show to host all three FEI World Cup qualifiers in Show Jumping, Dressage, and Driving. The FEI Dressage World Cup Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music will take place on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 December, with the FEI Driving World Cup taking place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 December. Top international Show Jumping competitions will also take place throughout the week, including the sell-out Puissance, The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup, and the unmissable London International Grand Prix, which wraps up the Show on Monday 20 December.

More information about The London International Horse Show, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Tim Price, the Price of Excellence at 5 Étoiles de Pau

Tim Price and Falco (c) Solène Bailly Photos.

The thousands of spectators who flocked to the Domaine de Sers to encourage the best riders and drivers in the world made the right decision in staying until the end of this 31st edition of the event. There were some very high-level sports performances in both carriage driving and eventing. The morning was dedicated to the driving marathon, where World no. 1 Marion Vignaud and the French team finished in first place, and the afternoon saw New Zealander Tim Price ride to victory after a flawless weekend with his mount Falco. Maxime Livio, bronze medallist in the 2018 team event at the World Equestrian Games, produced the best French performance, ranking 5th at the end of the day. Pascal Sayous, President of the 5 Etoiles de Pau, gave a very positive review of a week of magnificent sportsmanship at the highest level, attended by over 40,000 visitors.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.comv

World No. 3 Tim Price Takes Things in Hand at 5 Étoiles de Pau

Tim Price on Falco (c) Solène Bailly Photos (2).

The cross-country test, the high point in eventing, held its share of surprises. In the lead after the dressage test, Tim Price, currently World no. 3, gave a true textbook demonstration of how to ride a cross-country course on Falco, coming home in optimal time and maintaining his score from the previous day. His wife Jonelle had ranked 2nd, but in spite of the fact that her little horse McClaren gave it all he got, she came home with an overrun of 11 seconds, relegating her to 6th place on the leaderboard. That gave Irish rider Padraig McCarthy the chance to climb up to second place, followed by Australian rider Kevin McNab. Maxime Livio gave the best French performance riding Vitorio du Montet, finishing in optimal time and grabbing 9th place on the leaderboard.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com

Werth Steps Back into the Lyon Limelight

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

For the fifth time in a row, German supremo Isabell Werth won the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League qualifier in Lyon, France. She did it with the 16-year-old mare Weihegold OLD with whom she claimed the last three series titles.

Twelfth to go in an exciting 15-strong field filled with many rising stars, the pair earned a score of 84.910 and that couldn’t be beaten. But Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia came close when putting a personal best 83.695 on the board for a test that oozed consistency and class.

This 16-year-old mare, formerly competed by Danish compatriot Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, and before that by Great Britain’s Fiona Bigwood, and before that again by Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour at Young Rider level, just keeps on giving and, in the hands of this talented 28-year-old Dane, continues to thrive in the ring.

New series

Dufour, who has risen to the very top of the game and who won the first leg of the new series last weekend with her 18-year-old super-hero Atterupgaards Cassidy, competed the nine-year-old gelding Vamos Amigos this time around. The young horse showed remarkable maturity in a test that included lovely passage/piaffe work to take the lead with 81.135 when the action resumed after the halfway break.

That proved good enough for fourth place at the end of the day, behind Werth at the head of affairs, Nanna Skodborg Merrald in second, and Germany’s Frederic Wandres who slotted into third when last to go with Duke of Britain FRH.

Wandres has been enjoying a good year, collecting the maximum 20 points for a win at the Central European League leg in Samorin (SVK) in August which, when added to those collected at the first two legs on the Western European circuit, leaves him heading the league table going into the next qualifier in Madrid, Spain in a month’s time.

Currently, Dufour lies second on the leaderboard ahead of The Netherlands’ Thamar Zweistra in third and Nanna Skodborg Merrald in fourth place. But there’s a long and winding road leading to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Leipzig, Germany next April to which the top nine finishers on the Western European leaderboard will be invited.

Defending

Werth earned no points for her win, as defending champion she is automatically qualified for the Final with a horse of her choice which must have competed in the Freestyle to Music in at least two qualifiers. But it looks like Weihegold won’t be the one fighting that fight in 2022.

The athlete who has collected a mountain of medals during her spectacular career said that she was “super happy” with her horse but “not super happy with my own management! I made a mistake and she was then not as good as she can be!” Her self-criticism is one of the characteristics that has kept her at the very top of the game for so many years, always wanting to do better.

Outlining her plans for the coming months, she said she would take Weihegold to the Top Ten dressage final in Stockholm, Sweden in November, and then to Frankfurt in December “for what will be her last show, because that’s where it all started!”

It was with Weihegold that her back-to-back run of victories at the Lyon qualifier began in 2016. Riding Emilio, she won again in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and Weihegold showed she can still do all the fancy footwork. The mare’s staggering record includes the FEI Dressage World Cup™ titles in 2017, 2018, and 2019 along with team gold and individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and five European gold medals.

Delighted

Meanwhile, Nanna Skodborg Merrald was delighted to find herself in runner-up spot. “I really like the pressure and it’s great to ride in front of an audience again after nearly two years without shows and the public,” said the 28-year-old who, partnering Blue Hors Zack, was a member of the fourth-placed Danish team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer.

Winner Werth agreed with that. “The atmosphere here was great; it felt like we are nearly getting back to normal life, so well done to the Organising Committee for what they have done!” she said.

Show Director Sylvie Robert was very happy. “We really suffered with no event for nearly two years, so it is a great achievement to be back and to have the crowd with us again this year!” she said.

Result here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Mr & Mrs Price Have the Reins Well in Hand at 5 Étoiles de Pau

Jonelle Price & McClaren (C) Solène Bailly Photos.

Couples (in real life) are few and far between at this level, and Jonelle and Tim Price belong to the world elite. Not only do they produce quality performances, but a competitive spirit drives them both, and has spurred them on to the top of the provisional leaderboard in one of the most prestigious eventing competitions in the world. Spectators enjoyed watching a wonderful day of sport where the Anglo-Saxon contingent easily dominated the dressage test, with half the British riders in the top 20. In the French camp, Sidney Dufresne didn’t come off too badly, ranking eighth. However, it’s highly likely that the cross-country event will shake up the leaderboard.

Daniel Koroloff – E-mail: daniel@blizko-communication.com