AQHA Racing to Begin Microchip Identification

The American Quarter Horse Association will begin the transition to microchips in place of lip tattoos to identify racing American Quarter Horses effective January 1, 2024.

Any horse that was not previously tattooed as of January 1, 2024, will have their microchip number scanned and used as part of the identification verification done by an approved AQHA-contracted identifier. Horses who were identified by tattoo before January 1, 2024, shall be allowed to continue to utilize their tattoo as a means of identification.

The microchip must be ISO compliant. This means the microchip must operate at a radio frequency of 134.2 kHz and contain 15 digits.

Read Microchipping FAQs.

AQHA is currently in the process of building an application to be used by our Identifiers named QHChip, and training will be provided to them soon.

Once a horse is microchipped and inspected by an official identifier, the information will be available on the identification platforms, both in InCompass Solutions and the QHChip app.

Read More.

Brittany Burson Dominates with Five Regional Champion Titles en Route to 2023 US Dressage Finals

Brittany Burson and Fiorenza. John Borys Photography

October 13, 2023 – Lexington, KY – The second of three weekends of 2023 Great American Insurance Group (GAIG)/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Regional Championships, held across a total of nine USDF regions, offered more riders the chance to pick up qualifying berths for the 2023 US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® at the Kentucky Horse Park on November 9-12.

Five for Burson at Region 4

At Fourth Level it was Furst Emilio’s turn in the spotlight — once he overcame his fear of the spotted horse in the warm-up arena. Patricia Joy’s 13-year-old gelding by Fürst Fugger is another bought from Germany unseen during the pandemic, and was intended for Joy, but he can be complicated, so Burson is sharing the ride with his 70-year-old owner.

Linda Phifer’s seven-year-old Leonardo Z delivered Burson’s fifth victory. The Glamourdale son clinched the Third Level Freestyle with 74.688% and was reserve champion in the opening class with 71.188%. Leonardo has recently jumped up the levels.

Growing and Winning Together in Region 4

It was a memorable weekend for Adult Amateur (AA) Casey Eiten. Not only did she and the 14-year-old Eschaton win the Region 4 Intermediate II Championship title with 60.074%, but they also contested their first ever Grand Prix, gaining a score towards the rider’s USDF Gold Medal in one of the warm-up recognized classes that ran alongside the Regional classes. Eiten, who is 28 years old now, was 15 when she and her parents bought Eschaton, and they have climbed the competition ladder together.

“We didn’t know very much about what kind of baby horses we were looking for,” admitted Eiten, who liked the look of the young son of Sir Sinclair. “He was actually born and bred at the farm where I took lessons, and the breeding seemed right. I was out there every day when I was younger, getting him used to all the little stuff, like brushing and bringing him in.

“We started him, and I was the first person on him. It’s kind of crazy because I went through high school and college and now my adult career and life with him; he’s been there with me through it all. I feel really lucky that he turned out the way he did.”

Allen’s Four Wins Dominate Region 5

Adult Amateur Andria Allen had a stellar show at the Region 5 Championships on September 29 – October 1 in Scottsdale, AZ with her two horses. She scooped three Regional Championship titles and a reserve with the six-year-old Dutch-bred Mardeaux (Ferdeaux x Connoisseur) and Keno SSF (Governor x Contango).

Her double champion Mardeaux — at Second and Third Level — was yet another bought unseen from the Netherlands two years ago, mid-pandemic, and has been a little challenging since he arrived.

A fresh approach to saddle fitting has been the key for Allen’s other ride, the eight-year-old Keno SSF, whom she bought in-vitro from Shooting Star Farms.

“He’s such a big powerful horse, and as a five-year-old he was so naughty,” she explained. “We found a little bit of kissing spine, not much, but it needs managing. My Colorado trainer rode him in a different saddle — a Dresch — that sits further forward so the scapula can go underneath it. It puts my weight about four inches further forward, and it’s been an absolute game changer for Keno.”

Stacey Knox and Frosty Fox led an enormous Region 4 Second Level AA class, putting down an unassailable 71.429%, which was the only score above 70% out of the 25 starters. The seven-year-old Hanoverian by Floris Prince finished third at the Region 4 Championships in 2022 at First Level, and will be making his first trip to Finals.

The 2023 US Dressage Finals will be held November 9-12 in Lexington, KY at the Kentucky Horse Park, and is a national championship competition that showcases the Adult Amateur and Open divisions. Classes run at Training Level through Grand Prix, plus divisions for Junior/Young Riders at Training Level through Fourth Level. There is $120,000 in prize money up for grabs over the four days. Learn more at www.usdf.org/usdressagefinals/index.asp.

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a non-profit membership organization dedication to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit www.usdf.org or e-mail usdressage@usdf.org

By Alice Collins for Jump Media/USDF

Swede Victorious in the Four-Star Competition in Strzegom

Christoffer Forsberg with Hippo’s Sapporo. Photo: Mariusz Chmieliński

Christoffer Forsberg with Hippo’s Sapporo wins the CCI4*-L class, the most demanding competition at Strzegom October Festival.

Christoffer Forsberg was third after dressage, went double clear in the cross-country and showjumping, and won the with a score of 30.5 penalty points. Belgian Julien Despontin jumped up into second with Clever Man Waf after a faultless parkour with a mere two-second delay – 34.9. Third place was taken by Australian Andrew Hoy riding Cadet De Beliard – 37.3. The leader of the competition after two trials, New Zealander Clarke Johnstone with Aces High, had three knockdowns, and with a score of 39.3 finished just behind the podium, in fourth place. The only Polish pair taking part in the competition, current Polish champions Julia Gillmaier and Red Dream Princes, were in 10th position after dressage, and a good cross-country performance only with time faults ensured their promotion to seventh. Unfortunately, two knockdowns and overtime resulted with a final score of 64.3 penalty points and placed the pair in ninth place.

The first place on the podium in the 4*-S competition went to Sara Algotsson Ostholt riding Dynamite Jack – 33.9. The representative of Sweden was fourth after the dressage and took the lead after a clear cross-country round. With a significant advantage in points over her rivals, not even one knockdown in the jumping arena threatened her position. Second place went to French rider Maxime Livio with Enjoy De Keroue – 35.6, and third to German representative Katharina Meyer with Aspen T – 40.9.

Sara Algotsson Ostholt was also the best in the CCI3*L riding Dinathia – 30.3. They went up one notch after each trial, starting from third place after dressage. Second and third places were taken by the German representatives: Jan Matthias with Peppermint Patty Frh – 30.3, and Jerome Robine with Avatar – 31.7.

The final showdown in the CCI3*S kept the spectators in suspense until the end. The leader, Germany’s Michael Jung with Palm Beach, had one knockdown and the penalty points added to his score equaled that of the runner-up, Julia Krajewski with Ero De Cantraie, who rode a faultless round. As a result, the riders finished the competition with the same score – 30.1. The final classification was determined by the penalty points from the dressage test, during which Michael Jung was better, and ultimately, he became the winner. Third place went to the Czech Republic’s Eliška Orctová with Kirea – 30.5.

First place in the CCI2*L, after faultless cross-country and jumping, went to Switzerland’s Eveline Bodenmüller with Dark Gambler – 26.7, ahead of Germany’s Emma Hartmann with Baloucor – 27 and Ann-Catrin Bierleinwithn Come On Lotti – 30.2.

The best rider in the CCI2*S, after a double clear, was Germany’s Pia Leuwer riding Cascada – 32, the second went to her compatriot Nicoletta Massmann with CARLSON – 35.1, and third to Danish rider Anne-Dorthe Möller with First Class Gs – 35.2.

The 1*-Intro class ended with the victory of Pole Mateusz Pabijanek riding Tango 310 – 30.6. Dutchman Dennis Huits with Perseverance Luxery from Second Life Z was second – 30.6, and Germany’s Amelie Reisacher on Tissot finish third – 31.8.

European Youth Eventing Masters

In the European Youth Eventing Masters tournament, only the German team took part in the young rider category. In the individual classification the best score belonged to Linn Klümper with Candyman 145 – 30.8, second went to Emma Wiedenhöft with Naughty Girl 5 – 34.2, and third to Amelie Reisacher with Quintus 155 – 40.4.

The junior competition ended with the win for the team from Belgium – 110.6, consisting of: Lise Matton and Kenzo Van ‘T Farsenhoven, Clarisse Walbrecq and Fussac De La Quairelle, Anais Van Vaerenbergh I Marion Van De Perelaar, and Max Thual QC and Rock and Roll. Second place went to Germany with 115.9 and third to Poland with 118.3.

In the individual classification, the winner was Andrea Novotna from the Czech Republic riding Eldorado – 30.4, before Neel Friedrich Dehn (GER) with Better Luck – 31.9, and Polish rider Laura Gillmaier with Ding Dong – 34.

In the pony rivalry, Germany’s Hannah Pfitzmann and Mary Poppins P, Nell Röming and Majestro, Pita Schmid with Sietlands Catrina. and Anni Müller riding Nightys Flashlight were unbeatable with 126.6. Second place on the podium went to the Netherlands with 132.9 and third to Belgium with 152.2.

Individually, the first place went to German rider Pia Sophie Schreiber with Motsi Mabuse – 33.4, Julie Geurts from Belgium was second with Kinou Des Marronniers – 35.9, and Thilde Holm Nielsen from Denmark topped off the podium with Karlshoejgaard’s Monique – 36.5.

The national class CNC100 ended with a win for Austrian Harald Ambros with Mogli 45 – 31.6, in the under 18-year-old category, the best rider was Dominika Mączyńska (POL) with Avenido – 30.4, and in the CNC90, the first place went to Patrycja Pastuszek (POL) with Monaco – 26.1.

Online results: https://livejumping.com/ap/event/9191/competitions

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Sad Days Indeed for American Wild Horses and American Taxpayers

An Iberian mare reducing wildfire fuels on the Oregon-California border near the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. She is also re-seeding the native plants and grasses she is consuming in her droppings (dung), which completes the life cycles of the native flora that is critical to the co-evolved native fauna, including small and large mammals, insects, and pollinators. Photo: William E. Simpson II

There’s really no such thing as a ‘feral wild horse’; it’s an oxymoron. So why do some people and agencies keep using that tag?

Recent news that 6,500 Wind River wild horses were rounded up is distressing to say the least. It’s a move designed to make room for the more profitable use of public and tribal lands for livestock production.

A preponderance of the latest scientific data strongly suggests that wild horses are not an ‘invasive species’.

On the other hand, it is settled history and science that cattle, sheep, and goats are an invasive species in North America, and are devastating* when introduced into American wilderness ecosystems.

*Land Held Hostage: A History of Livestock and Politics; Thomas L. Fleischner, Ph.D.
Citation by: Professor Thomas L. Fleischner, Ph.D.: “The most severe vegetation changes of the last 5400 years occurred during the past 200 years. The nature and timing of these changes suggest that they were primarily caused by 19th century open land sheep and cattle ranching.” View here.

The term ‘feral’ as used by some people in regard to wild horses is just a name tag assigned to wild horses that have wondered off the protected Herd Management Areas (‘HMAs’) run by the Bureau of Land Management or Wild Horse Territories run by the United States Forest Service.

The term ‘feral horse(s)’ is nothing more than a construct that is used for legal jurisdictional purposes and has no relevance as to evolutionary biology or genetics of any horse, let alone a wild horse with genetic markers traced back 500,000 years and more, as with some of our local Iberian horses.

The ongoing mismanagement of native species American wild horses is about greedy people who have no vision other than for money, not what’s right, not what should be, not what the Creator would want, not what’s good for ecosystems, and certainly not what’s good for the American taxpayer.

The ongoing widespread decimation of wild horses, a native herbivore, and even elk in some areas is only about eliminating low value herbivores and replacing them on the landscape with animals that make more money for a small group of profiteers, which now includes some Tribal Nations.

This exchanging of native herbivores for invasive species herbivores (cattle & sheep) is about money and not preserving or protecting wilderness ecosystems. In fact, introducing invasive species ruminant herbivores (cattle & sheep) into North American wilderness ecosystems is the worst thing anyone could do.

It’s become clear that greed will be the undoing of humankind on this planet, unless more intelligent, logical people prevail.

As we now clearly see, even some indigenous tribes are rounding up wild horses (a.k.a.: Spirit Horses) and selling them off with many (most) ending up in slaughterhouses.  So much for indigenous wisdom? So much for preserving cultural and spiritual heritage?

It seems that these tribal nations have forgotten their past and what the Creator and Nature intended for the lands…

Not that long ago, 50-60 million buffalo, millions of elk and deer, and 20 million wild horses ranged over North America. Then European settlers came and decimated the buffalo and now some indigenous peoples have joined the government’s effort to decimate the Spirit Horses. In a way, it just seems to be a continuation of government’s agenda to erase all traces of the culture of the indigenous peoples here in American and around the world, just to steal resources. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Then we have the scientifically ignorant (or willfully ignorant) advocates and gold plated big dollar nonprofit orgs who are shooting wild horses with high powered (deadly) rifles using heavy syringes filled with chemicals that sterilize them, ending their life cycles — a highly unnatural and idiotic process to make money.

That right, it’s now profitable for even some wild horses advocates like American Wild Horse Campaign and others to join ranks with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Forest Service (USFS), and state Fish and Game agencies and get millions in Federal grant dollars to chemically sterilize native species American wild horses to help accomplish the monetary agenda of exterminating wild horses from the American landscape to make more landscape into cheap livestock grazing (welfare ranching) available!

The Brazilians wrecked much of the Amazon rainforest for money. They’ve burned off hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest to create cheap livestock grazing. It has been said, ‘no rainforest — no rain.’ And now there are reports that the water temperature in the Amazon River has reached nearly 100 degrees!

Now American government agencies are showing their banana republic logic as well, by arguably allowing wildfires to burn extensive areas of forest as ‘managed burns’, thereby creating large deforested areas that fill in with grass and brush, thus trading life giving forests for livestock grazing areas.

Wild Horse Fire Brigade has a proven, nature based solution that gives wild horses a valuable place in the wilderness, where each wild horse deployed into a wilderness wildfire fuels management role provides value in the amount of approximately $72,000.00 to Americans. That is at least forty times (40x) the value of a fatted steer at market.

Will YOU help our all-volunteer nonprofit organization, Wild Horse Fire Brigade, to accomplish its re-wilding and relocation goals to save genetically relevant populations of American wild horses before it’s too late?

It’s easy to donate to our work via PayPal: Click Here.

Wild Horse Fire Brigade is results oriented and driven!  We don’t rescue 2 horses and then ask donors for $25,000 like American Wild Horse Campaign recently did, even as they are sitting on $3 Million in their fat bank account!

We have already saved one entire heritage herd of approximately 150 wild horses by gaining the ownership and management rights to the herd that were once considered ‘feral’ horses. And now they are protected under California law.

There is strong fossil and cultural archaeological evidence that our local herd, here on the Oregon California border on and around the present day Cascade Siskiyou National Monument (‘CSNM’), are the descendants of wild horses documented by Sir Francis Drake in 1580 during his exploration of the area, as cited in the doctoral thesis of Dr. Yvette ‘Running Horse’ Collin.

We also have and have studied the historic photo album and personal diary of the famous local cowboy George F. Wright (born in Henley Hornbrook, CA 1897), who was a Deputy Sheriff for Jackson County Oregon and a BLM range rider, whose personal diary and photo album (dated 1911-1957) contains mentions of ‘wild horses’ and the ‘wild ones’ in the area of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument on both sides of the Oregon-California border.

Interestingly, the local Bureau of Land Management depended heavily upon George F. Wright for information about the natural history and cultural archeology of the area that is today the CSNM.

We recently sued the BLM and won, stopping the roundup of the remaining Pokegama Herd of American wild horses. (See Siskiyou News article here.)

We are a tiny all volunteer 501 c 3 nonprofit public benefit organization. And we need your help! We cannot do our work unless we are properly funded. People need to clearly understand that fact.

We are the ONLY organization that is doing this important work, while some others pretend and fake it… and pay themselves nice fat salaries and live in the lap of luxury using donations.

In addition to saving the herds mentioned above, our team of volunteers have worked cooperatively to successfully rewild 61 Mustangs into the heritage native herd that we own and manage.

And we are conducting the scientific research with free roaming wild horses in a balanced wilderness ecosystem that is desperately needed to show the important value and benefits that wild horses provide to wilderness ecosystems. We cannot do these things without proper funding.

It’s up to you… Will you help our genuine program?

We are currently under-funded for the effective programs we have envisioned. We are making progress with every dollar we get!

PLEASE make a tax-deductible donation: CLICK HERE.

Or please send a check make payable to:

‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’
404 So. Main St.
Yreka, CA  96097

Thank You!

Visit www.wildhorsefirebrigade.org for more information.

Urge Park Service to Preserve Horses in Teddy Roosevelt National Park

Previously we have asked you to submit comments to save wild horses in the Teddy Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). We are sorry to say, we have to ask you to speak up once more. Despite North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and the state’s Senator John Hoeven pushing to keep the wild horses, the Park Service is still pushing to remove the vast majority of horses or all of them.

TRNP, located in North Dakota, is dedicated in honor of President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and his leadership in conservation policy.  While these horses are not protected under Federal law and are referred to as “livestock,” they have been cherished cultural icons for decades. When Teddy Roosevelt was young, he visited the area and experienced the magnificence and beauty of the natural landscape which included wild bison and wild horses exhibiting natural wild behaviors — living in family bands, with stallions protecting their families.

The Park Service continues to propose to either get rid of all of the horses or allow only 35-60 — of the nearly 200 horses living in the area — to remain. The Park Service manages the Park for cultural and natural resources and claims to rely on public input for Park management. PLEASE SPEAK UP for these magnificent horses NOW — they truly are CULTURAL ICONS!

Please tell the Park Service the following (in your own words):

  • Preserving the Teddy Roosevelt horses MUST be a cornerstone of the Park’s livestock management plan, since they contributed to President Teddy Roosevelt’s wonder at the natural world, leading to his CREATION of the NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM.
  • Horses have lived “wild” in TRNP for generations and MILLIONS of Park visitors cherish these animals as an integral part of the cultural heritage of the Badlands.
  • These horses must be managed to preserve natural behaviors just as Teddy Roosevelt would have experienced. He would have seen stallions protecting their families, foals with their mothers and aunties, and the entire repertoire of natural “wild” horse behaviors.
  • To protect the GENETIC HEALTH of the herd and promote its genetic viability, the minimum population should be 150 or more. By allowing the horses to use additional areas of the TRNP, the herd can – and should – be managed at a HIGHER MINIMUM POPULATION LEVEL.

Your voice makes a difference.  Please submit your comments directly to the Park Service by clicking here. The deadline for submitting comments is October 25, 2023.

The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

CAS Upholds FEI Tribunal Decision Imposing 10-Year Suspension for Horse Abuse Case

Following lengthy appeal proceedings, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed and upheld the FEI Tribunal’s decision in the case against Andrew Kocher delivered in June 2021, which saw the US Athlete suspended for 10 years for the use of electric spurs on several horses throughout a prolonged period of time.

Other sanctions in the FEI Tribunal decision rendered two years ago also included the disqualification of results from eight FEI events between June 2018 and November 2019 where evidence supported the athlete’s use of electric spurs on horses, alongside a CHF 10,000 fine and legal costs to the amount of CHF 7,500. Kocher appealed the said FEI Tribunal decision on 1 July 2021, seeking to eliminate or otherwise reduce the sanctions imposed.

The FEI Tribunal decision was the result of a lengthy investigation by the FEI, starting in June 2020 following allegations of electric spur use reported to the independent Equestrian Community Integrity Unit (ECIU). It was alleged that Kocher had used electric spurs on a number of FEI registered and national horses in international and national events, as well as during training.

Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the FEI formally opened disciplinary proceedings against Kocher in October 2020. During the proceeding before the FEI Tribunal, it was also discovered that Kocher instructed his employees to use the electric spurs on specific horses. For that purpose, Kocher provided to his employees several electric spurs devices which he manufactured himself.

In its decision, the CAS Panel reached the same conclusion as the FEI Tribunal, to the effect that a ten-year suspension was merited, during which Kocher is barred from participating in or attending, in any capacity, including as a spectator, any competition or event that is authorised or organised by the FEI or any National Federation. The provisional suspension served by Kocher since 28 October 2020 shall be credited against this period of suspension, which will therefore come to an end on 27 October 2030. The CHF 10,000 fine was also upheld, and Kocher is furthermore ordered to pay costs of CHF 7,500.

“We are extremely satisfied with this outcome and that the sanctions the FEI Tribunal imposed, to reflect the severity of the offenses committed by Mr Kocher, have been upheld by CAS,” said FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch.

“It may have taken two years to complete this process, but it confirms that we had the right decision to start with, and that there is no room for leniency when it comes to cases of horse abuse.

“We have rules and regulations in place to protect the integrity of our competitions and the wellbeing of our horses, and when these rules are breached and their welfare is jeopardised, we will continue to seek to impose maximum sentences.”

The full CAS decision is available here.

The FEI Tribunal Decision is available here.

Media contact:

Olivia Robinson
Director, FEI Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org

FEI Issues Decision Regarding Eric Lamaze (CAN) Tampering Violation

The FEI has suspended Eric Lamaze (FEI ID 10000439) for a period of four years (12/09/2023 – 11/09/2027) following an anti-doping rule violation under the Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes ADRHA Article 2.5 (Tampering), due to the submission of fabricated medical documents during an ongoing CAS proceeding.

A summary statement has been published here explaining the FEI decision in relation to the tampering violation within the ongoing CAS proceeding. Therefore, because the CAS proceedings are still ongoing, the FEI will not be providing any further details at this moment.

Media contact:

Olivia Robinson
Director, FEI Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org

Titles Shared between Nations at the FEI Driving World Championship for Young Horses

Fabrice Martin (FRA) & Idromel Noir – FEI/FFE/Mélanie Guillamot

Venturing outside Hungary for the first time since the event was established in 2016, the 7th FEI Driving World Championship for Young Horses was held at the superb equestrian centre Parc Equestre Fédéral at Lamotte-Beuvron, south of Orleans (FRA).  It has been a busy time for the French as the event followed the FEI World Pairs Championship in Haras-du-Pin in Normandy last weekend.

First to be crowned World Champion on a bright Sunday morning was Swiss singles supremo Mario Gandolfo in the 6-year-old class with the Franches-Montagnes Lemmy-K, owned by Lisby Bastin.  Maintaining the winning momentum he showed last year to win the 5-year-old title in Szilvásvárad (HUN), the powerful Swiss bred gelding was in front at each stage of the competition to end on 15.93. Mario is currently ranked number two in FEI Singles.  Runner-up was Lars Krüger (GER) with the German Sathu mare Salome on 14.80, and in third was Sabrina Melotti (NED) driving the KWPN mare Melotti Texel with 13.67.

The next class to find a new champion was for the youngest category, the 5-year-olds.  Fabrice Martin (FRA), driving for the host nation, also led at each stage with the stunning black Selle Français mare Idromel Noir, owned by the IFCE, and they topped the leaderboard with 15.30.  Matching his position from the previous class, runner-up once again was Lars Krüger with the Sathu stallion Valentino on 14.12.  Trading a first for third, Mario Gandolfo drove his own Franches-Montagnes gelding Johnson Du Signal to take the remaining podium place with 12.98.

Despite a slight delay to the start of Sunday’s competition due to water problems in the arena, by late lunchtime, the third title of the weekend had been awarded in the 7-year-old category to Marie Schiltz (LUX).  Currently ranked number three in FEI Singles, Marie was another to lead throughout the competition, driving her father Franz’s Oldenburg mare Freaky Friday 12 to end on 14.53, who impressed the judges with her supple and uphill movement.  Franz drove the mare two years ago in the 5-year-old category, but he is also a previous world title winner in the 7-year-old category, which he took at the first World Championship in 2016 with his Oldenburg stallion Frodo, who Marie now drives.

Placed second was Wilbrord Van Den Broek (NED) with his own KWPN gelding Love to Dance with a total of 12.46, marginally ahead of Agnes Paulovics (HUN) with Józef Vida’s KWPN stallion L-Grappa-WK on 12.31.  As well as appearing at the last two Young Horse World Championships, where he was third last year in the 6-year-old class, this versatile horse also drives in Józef’s Four-in-Hand, and with Agnes competes in Horse Singles classes.

The competition, like other championships, takes place over four days, after the initial ‘fit to compete’ inspection.  However, in all other areas the format is different.  On Thursday, athletes and horses enter a qualifying ‘Aptitude Test’ which combines a series of Dressage movements and a sequence of Cones. The top 50% proceed to the Dressage on Saturday, but on Friday, the lower 50% drive again to try again to gain a place in the final phases.  The number permitted to through after the second qualification is determined by the officials, but there is a maximum of ten athletes in the final rounds for each class.

Sunday’s Combined Marathon takes place in one arena and consists of two Marathon type obstacles plus Cones, but the course varies between the classes to alter the complexity depending on the age category, for example in the 5-year-old class, only one of the Marathon obstacles was used.  The course designer was Josef Middendorf, who also designed at the Four-in-Hand World Championships in Pratoni (ITA) last year.

The marking system is also different from most Driving competitions, which are penalty based, so the lowest overall score wins.  Here it is the highest score which wins and marks are awarded together by the four judges, who decide collaboratively what mark out of 10 will be given, which is then averaged to give a single mark at the end of each phase.  For the final placings, two marks count, which are from the Dressage and the Combined Marathon.  Penalties are deducted from the total and can be for a knocked ball, which is 0.3, or for time and other errors, such as a groom down.

“Having the judges sit together allows for really good discussion around the way of going expected from the age range.  The key point is this is judged around the performance of the horse, not a series of Dressage movements. It is refreshing to look at the horse according to age and have a good discussion between colleagues. It is also important to understand how we train horses correctly, giving them time to develop and mature. It’s such a special event, being able to look at some amazing horses and really getting into the movement, training scale, and minds of some wonderful equines,” said Andrew Counsell, President of the Ground Jury.

In total, 50 athletes and 50 horses came forward from 10 nations.  Athletes compete as individuals and there is no team competition.  Each athlete can enter two horses per age category.  Throughout the event, the emphasis is on the performance of the horse. Marks are given in accordance with the scales of training in the context of the age and stage of its development.

FULL RESULTS

by Sarah Dance

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

Oliver Townend Soars to the Top of FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings

Photo: Oliver Townend at the FEI Eventing World Championship 2022 in Pratoni del Vivaro (ITA). FEI – Massimo Argenziano

British equestrian athlete Oliver Townend has claimed the top spot in the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings with 504 points, a spot he takes from his fellow countrywoman, Rosalind Canter, who held the coveted position for just one month.

Townend’s ascent to the summit of the rankings comes as no surprise for the Olympic gold medalist, who previously held the world’s number one ranking over a year ago. He temporarily relinquished his position to New Zealand’s Tim Price, who enjoyed an 11-month reign before being surpassed by Canter.

“It is and always will be an honour to be at number one in your sport and it’s great to be back in that spot. The horses are incredible – they’re improving every day, have been so consistent, and will always be my ultimate teammates. I also want to thank the massive amount of people behind me that make this happen, including the team at both yards,” Townend explained.

Townend’s career has seen him hold the top position in the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings for a total of 50 months, with a streak of 37 consecutive months at number one.

Rosalind Canter now stands at second place with 467 points, while American athlete Martin Boyd has made a remarkable jump from eighth to third place with 436 points. Meanwhile, Tim Price (NZL) continues to slip in the rankings, currently occupying the fourth spot with 434 points, closely followed by Tom McEwen (GBR) in fifth place with 431 points.

Great Britain’s stronghold in the top end of the Rankings is unequivocal, with three out of the top five in British hands; they also have back up and can count on Harry Meade (408 points), David Doel (393 points), William Oakden (383 points), and Laura Collet (371 points) in 6th to 9th respectively, making that a total of seven British athletes within the Top 10 rankings. Coming in tenth place is USA athlete Philipp Dutton with 367 points.

FULL RANKING HERE

FEI Contact:

Didier Montes Kienle
Manager, Sport Communications and Media Relations
didier.montes@fei.org

British Are Best on Opening Day

Robert Whitaker and Vermento. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Team Great Britain got off to a flying start when topping the first round of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2023 at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain with the only zero scoreline of the afternoon.

Foot-perfect runs from pathfinder Tim Gredley (Medoc de Toxandria), Robert Whitaker (Vermento), and anchorman Harry Charles (Aralyn Blue) meant that the 12 faults collected by Lily Attwood (Cor-Leon VD Vlierbeek Z) would be their discard. They finished a full fence ahead of Brazil, Germany, and Switzerland, who filled second, third, and fourth places with four faults apiece and separated only by their combined times.

The top eight nations have qualified for Sunday’s title-decider in which they will all start again on a clean sheet, and the remaining countries that have made the cut are the defending champions from Belgium and Team USA, who each posted eight-fault results, and Ireland and France who finished with 12.

Team Mexico just missed out when also putting 12 on the board but in a slower time, and on Saturday night they will once again defend the Challenge Cup trophy they won so memorably 12 months ago.

Meanwhile, the battle for the single qualifying spot on offer for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games has been whittled down to a two-way contest between Brazil and the USA, because the other contenders from Mexico, Argentina, Italy, and Australia didn’t make it to Sunday’s second round, which already looks set to be another cracking contest.

Think about

Spanish course designer Santiago Varela gave them lots to think about with a 14-fence track with plenty of height and curving lines that tested power and accuracy. The vertical with a yellow plank on top at fence nine and the penultimate double of verticals were the bogeys of the day.

Harry Charles clinched top spot for the British with a superb clear with the 12-year-old mare Aralyn Blue. Talking about the challenges of the course, he said fence nine, which followed the beefy Longines triple combination, “was on an unusual line and angle; you were coming straight out of the corner. You could see at the start of the class the horses weren’t jumping it well. I just made sure to give myself a bit more room there.

“Coming to the double of verticals (fence 13) it was either five or six (strides) and on the six you take away a bit of the power, slowing down so much to jump it. For me it was a waiting five and my mare was able to have a bit of room and kept the power, so not too many problems there for me,” he explained.

Like all the British, he was delighted with the result. “I’m really proud of us today actually!” he said. “My horse is pretty new at this level; she’s only done one Nations Cup prior to this, and it was a tough enough course, not overly big but delicate with some fun lines in there! The other guys did a good job; there were two clears already (for the British team) so I luckily could go in and do the clear.”

When asked if he felt under pressure, he replied, “Today probably wasn’t the most pressure I’ve ridden under, but we wanted to be in there on Sunday, so there was that to it.” He admitted that the result for his team was a bit of a surprise. “Probably an unexpected result if you told us at the start of the day, but we’ll take it and hopefully we can do something similar on Sunday!

“We will go back to a blank slate unfortunately (in Sunday’s final round), it would be nice if we carried it through, but it’s been really good and hopefully we will be in good enough nick for Sunday,” he added.

Anticipation

There’s a lot of anticipation of a great final day. The Swiss have never won the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ title, but their fourth-place finish gives them another opportunity to clinch it. However, it hasn’t been plain sailing ahead of this year’s event.

“We’ve always been a bit unlucky with this Final, and this year the horse from Edouard is injured and Bryan (Balsiger) lost his horses and the horse of Pius (Schwizer) was injured, so we don’t have our ‘A’ team. But still our horses jumped good today and we’ll see if Elian (Baumann) goes on Sunday. We won’t be the favourites on Sunday, but we’ll try!” said Steve Guerdat who, just a few short weeks ago, added the individual European title to the Olympic gold he won back in 2012.

“We’ve had a very good year and it would be a great way to finish, and for the horses to finish as well. My horse (Venard de Cerisy) didn’t have a rail down in the whole Nations Cup season – St Gallen double-clear, Aachen double-clear, Dublin double-clear, and now clear today, so I hope I can do a clear again! We are here, we will try, the sport is great, and we are looking forward to Sunday now!” said the man who sits third in the current world rankings.

Focus

In contrast, the focus for Brazil is fully on that Olympic qualification and the battle against the USA. Pathfinder Marlon Modolo Zanotell and Grand Slam VDL produced a perfect clear and team veteran, Rodrigo Pessoa, did likewise. Pessoa has won Olympic and World titles and is as hungry as ever to help take his country to Paris next summer. His top ride, the 10-year-old gelding Major Tom, made nothing of the course.

“It’s a freak of a horse – the intelligence, the ability to jump, the whole package. He’s very straightforward and has a lot of blood, a lot of temperament, but at the end he wants to jump clear; that’s all he wants to do,” Pessoa said.

When asked about the recent addition of former Portuguese rider Diniz to the Brazilian side, he said she is a real asset. “Yes, she’s super-experienced and her horse is really good and it’s always good to have one more – the more soldiers the better!”

As for Sunday, “It’s just about us, the USA!” he said. “They are a big nation with a very strong team as well. Today was just a warm-up and we have to go again. I think it went well today; the two mistakes that we had (a fence down each for Stephan de Freitas Barcha and Chevaux Primavera Imperio Egipcio and Luciana Diniz with Vertigo du Desert) were silly mistakes that I think we can get rid of, but better to do those little ones today than on Sunday!”

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

press@fei.org
www.fei.org

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