Charlotte Dujardin. Photos: Kit Houghton/Hpower.
8 December 2014 – An exceptional line-up of equestrian athletes are set to compete at this year’s Olympia, The London International Horse Show which takes place on 16-22 December, including the three FEI World No. 1s in Dressage, Show Jumping and Carriage Driving.
The definite entries, which were published today, reveal Dressage supremo Charlotte Dujardin, Show Jumping sensation Scott Brash, and Australian Driving legend Boyd Exell will head the incredible quality of competitors during the week-long event. In addition, seven out of the Top 10 Longines FEI World Ranked Show Jumpers will also compete at London’s premier horse show.
This year, organisers have seen the fastest ever sale of tickets, with 11 out of the 12 performances sold out before the doors even open on Tuesday 16 December.
Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said: “As well as maintaining the Olympia tradition of staging family entertainment in the build-up to Christmas, our challenge has always been to put on world class sport, and the fact that we now stage three FEI World Cups™ clearly shows how far Olympia has developed over the years. When you add three World No. 1 competitors to this mix – Charlotte Dujardin, Scott Brash and Boyd Exell – it provides a compelling proposition.”
Charlotte Dujardin will compete Valegro in front of a UK audience for the first time this year in the Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Leg supported by Horse & Hound which takes place on the first and second day of Olympia. Dujardin has had a momentous year since smashing the world record in freestyle at last year’s Olympia, by adding the FEI World Cup™ Finals and the World Championship titles to her already impressive collection of achievements. She was recently announced on the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Joining Dujardin at Olympia will be her mentor and GBR team mate Carl Hester who will be riding 10-year-old gelding, Nip Tuck on whom he won Team Silver at the World Equestrian Games. Completing the British line-up are Spencer Wilton, making his Olympia debut with his exciting new ride Numberto, Nikki Crisp with her own mare Pasoa and Hannah Biggs with stallion Weltzin.
Dutch riders Edward Gal and Danielle Heijkoop, who were placed second and third respectively behind Dujardin last year, are confirmed to compete again this year with the same horses, Glock’s Undercover and Kingsley Siro N.O.P.
There are several exciting riders making their Olympia debuts this year. These include Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who was star of Junior and Young riders and twice German Champion. The 28-year-old broke into the highest senior level competition with the stallion who she rides at Olympia, Unee BB. The pair was seventh in the FEI World Cup Final in April and they have since won their last three competitions. Fellow German, Sonke Rothenberger, is also confirmed to compete at Olympia for the first time. The 20-year-old business student won Team Gold at the European Young Riders and was seventh in his World Cup debut in Odense this year. Completing the German line-up is Dorothee Schneider, who was part of the German team to take Team Silver at London 2012. Schneider makes her Olympia debut on Silvano 71. Spain’s Morgan Barbanςon Mestre, aged 22, will make his first Olympia appearance with Anky van Grunsven’s former ride, Painted Black. The pair was placed 10th at the FEI World Cup Finals and 15th at the World Equestrian Games this year.
Seven of the Top 10 riders in the Longines FEI World Rankings are among the definite entries for the five-star Show Jumping at Olympia, including World No.1, Scott Brash.
The Scotsman, who has now held the top spot for over twelve months, will be joined by some of the biggest international names in the sport, including an incredibly strong team of German riders. This includes Ludger Beerbaum, Daniel Deusser and Marcus Ehning, who are three, four and five in the world rankings respectively. Three times FEI World Cup Final winner, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, also competes for Germany.
Dutch riders, Maikel van der Vleuten and Jur Vrieling, who were part of the team who won Team Gold at the World Equestrian Games this year, are both on the confirmed list. Regular Olympia visitor, Pénélope Leprevost (FRA), is on the list and is joined by her French teammates, Kevin Staut and Patrice Delaveau, who won Team Silver at the World Championships. New kid on the block 19-year-old Bertram Allen (IRL) will compete with the mare that propelled him into the limelight at the World Equestrian Games this year, Molly Malone V.
It would not be Olympia without the Whitaker dynasty competing en masse and this year Michael, John, Robert and William are all confirmed to ride with a team of top horses. The youngest, William, is currently in remarkable form, having won the fifth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup series in Stuttgart in November. The UK’s No.1 female rider Laura Renwick returns to defend her H&M Leading Rider title which she scooped in 2013 and last year’s Olympia Grand Prix winner Ben Maher brings a strong team of horses, including Puissance specialist, Noctambule Courcelle. Tim Gredley, Spencer Roe, and Guy Williams complete the British line-up.
Last year’s Olympia Christmas Puissance winner, Luca Moneta (ITA), will return to the capital to defend his crown, but will face strong competition from Puissance specialists, Jean-Christophe De Grande and Karline De Brabander, both from Belgium, and Irish riders David Simpson and Liam O’Meara. British rider Joe Clayton, who shared the Puissance victory at the Horse of the Year Show in October with David Simpson, also lines up for the nail-biting high jump competition.
Show Jumping takes place during every performance from Thursday 18 December to Monday 22 December. Highlights include the Alltech Olympia Puissance on Thursday 18 December, the Longines FEI World Cup™ Leg on Sunday 21 December, and the Olympia Grand Prix on Monday 22 December.
Current World Champion, Boyd Exell (AUS), and last year’s Olympia winner, IJsbrand Chardon (NED), head the quality line-up for the FEI World Cup™ Driving Leg presented by Dodson & Horrell.
A total of seven of the world’s leading four-in-hand drivers will attempt to manoeuver their horses in the fastest time round the twists and turns of the Olympia arena on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 December, with the Final taking place on Saturday 20 December.
Triumphant from winning the gold medal at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in August, in-form Boyd Exell will be bringing his usual masterly rein-handling skills and split-second timing which always thrills the Olympia crowd. Last year’s Olympia winner, IJsbrand Chardon, himself many times World Champion, will no doubt be looking to defend his title, but Chardon will face strong competition also from his fellow countrymen Theo Timmerman and Koos de Ronde. Together these three took the Team Gold medal at this year’s WEG with Timmerman claiming Individual Bronze.
Representing Great Britain as a wild card is Daniel Naprous, who previously competed at Olympia in 2012. Naprous, who combines his sport of carriage driving with a successful career in stunt riding and driving, will have the support of the home crowd as the only Brit competing in the competition. Completing the competitive line-up are Fredrik Persson (SWE) and Glenn Geerts (BEL), both highly accomplished and successful four-in-hand drivers.
For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit the website at www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.
For more information, please contact Hannah Grissell email@example.com or +44 (0)207 592 1207
Olympia will broadcast live on BBC2 on Sunday 21 December and available to view on Eurosport, the BBC Red Button, online and connected TV on Wednesday 17, Thursday 18 and Monday 22 December. In addition a special highlights program will be aired on BBC2 on Tuesday 23 December at 13:45.
Olympia, The London International Horse Show
The first international horse show took place in the Olympia halls in 1907. Olympia, The London International Horse Show, the event we see today, was started by Raymond Brooks-Ward in 1971. This year’s show takes place on 16-22 December 2014 in the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington London. The show will play host to a packed timetable of all things equestrian and is expected to welcome over 90,000 visitors. It is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious equine competitions. The show mixes top class equestrian action, including FEI World Cup™ Jumping, Dressage and Driving with family entertainment, such as the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Kennel Club Dog Agility. The show’s official charity for 2014 is The Injured Jockeys Fund.