Tag Archives: dressage

US Dressage Festival of Champions to Host 14 USEF Dressage National Championship Titles

US Dressage Festival of Champions to Host 14 USEF Dressage Lexington, Ky. – The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions has been named as the home for all 14 USEF Dressage National Championships in 2018. Hosted at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill. from August 21 through 26, the Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships as well as the USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championship presented by Dressage Today will be hosted in conjunction with the other dressage divisions.

The U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions will host the following championships and divisions:

  • USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Young Adult ‘Brentina Cup’ Dressage National Championships presented by Dressage Today
  • USEF Young Rider Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Junior Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship
  • USEF Children Dressage National Championship
  • Markel/USEF Young and Developing Horse Dressage National Championships for four-, five-, and six-year-olds, as well as Developing Grand Prix and Developing Prix St. Georges
  • USEF Dressage Seat Medal Finals for the 13 & Under, and 14-18 divisions

Previous years have seen the championships held at two separate locations. 2018 will be the first time that all 14 USEF Dressage National Championships are held under the same roof, at the same event, under the banner of the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions.

“Previously, our USEF Dressage National Championships have felt splintered by having two different events, in different locations,” says Hallye Griffin, Managing Director of Dressage. “Holding the full spectrum of the championships in one location, over a weeklong period, will give us the opportunity to showcase the talented athlete/horse combinations across the full spectrum of the divisions. We hope that this will also prove to be an exciting event for spectators, sponsors, vendors, and supporters as we look to grow the event into something very special, while continuing to highlight our dressage competition pathways and programs in an effort to deliver continued sustainable success in our sport.”

Find out more information on the 2018 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions or contact Kristen Brett, Director, Dressage Programs at kbrett@usef.org.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Rodrigo Matos Wraps Up US Tour with Clinic in South Florida

Photo courtesy Ashley Graham Photography.

Palm City, FL (December 15, 2017) — Dressage clinician Rodrigo Matos spent this Thanksgiving holiday sharing his knowledge and gift for teaching with a lucky group of riders in South Florida. Matos’s clinic was held at Treasure Coast Equestrian Dressage and Arts in Palm City, Florida, November 24-26. Clinic participants were able to benefit from Matos’s unique style of teaching, which is a product of his extensive background in classical Dressage combined with years of teaching experience all over the world.

Matos, of Portugal, began riding at a young age and has always had a passion for horses. He spent 20 years as a principal rider at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Arts where he gained his knowledge of the classical style of Dressage. Matos travels eleven months out of the year, giving clinics all over the world, including Europe, Australia, Dubai, Central America, and now the United States. This was his first year teaching in this country.

When teaching in the United States, Matos is employed by the Academy of Portuguese Equestrian Arts, LLC, which was founded by Sabine Schran-Collings of Heavenly Andalusians in Rogue River, Oregon. His tour of the United States this fall was organized by Schran-Collings, with clinics held in Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Arizona, and South Florida.

Hosted by Heather Bender and Standing Oak Farm in Palm City, FL, the three-day clinic was open to Dressage riders of all levels. “Rodrigo has an amazing knack for working with all breeds of horses and all levels of riders. I feel that this is what makes him so special as a clinician,” said Bender.

Matos emphasizes respect for the horse in his teaching and focuses on making subtle changes to improve the relationship between horse and rider. “Be kind and be respectful to the horse. That’s the most important thing,” explained Matos.

Matos is a proven master, working from the ground to help improve movements such as the piaffe, passage, and pirouettes.  Focusing on horse and rider relationships helps Matos to make minor adjustments that have a big impact.  During his Palm City, Florida clinic the majority of horse and riders were riding at the more advanced levels of the sport. His days were spent helping riders make adjustments and schooling exercises that helped improve their Grand Prix movements and connection.

His compassion for the horses as well as extensive knowledge of classical Dressage creates such a unique style that there is no question as to why he is in such demand for clinics. Riders left the clinic feeling enlightened and very lucky to have had the chance to work with such a gifted teacher.

Matos has several more clinics on the agenda for this year including stops in England, Norway, and Denmark. He plans to return to the United States in the spring of 2018.

For more information on Rodrigo Matos’s clinics or to inquire about his 2018 schedule in the United States, email: MatosRodrigo@hotmail.com or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RodrigoMatosClassicalDressage/.

Contact: Rodrigo Matos
MatosRodrigo@hotmail.com
www.Rodrigo-Matos.com

Patrik Kittel Wins FEI World Cup Dressage Freestyle to Music

The world’s greatest dressage riders took to the arena for another night of thrilling competition which saw Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Delaunay OLD clinch the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound title with the smallest of margins ahead of Great Britain’s Emile Faurie.

Alongside the world-class dressage, spectators were treated to a jam-packed programme including performances from the Chilean Huasos and the Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police, a breath-taking dressage masterclass with Olympic stars Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin and speedy Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National, which saw Beth Casasola riding Clothie Night Idiot finish in first place. The first show jumping class of the week took to the arena, with Staff Sgt Moore of the Defence Animal Training Regiment and his partner, Lucas, riding to victory in the Services Jumping Championship as the only horse and rider combination to finish clear in the time of 53.95 seconds.

A close competition was promised and the riders did not disappoint but it was Patrik Kittel and Delaunay OLD (Dude) (80.560%) that rocked the auditorium with a strong, rhythmic and faultless routine to win the FEI World Cup™ Freestyle to Music, supported by Horse & Hound, at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The Swedish combination displayed a high degree of difficulty in the programme set to a medley by the rock group Guns and Roses that opened with a zig-zag of passage and piaffe, showed controlled double pirouettes to tempi changes and was on the beat throughout.

“The sport was really good and the standard was amazing tonight so I am just really happy to secure this win,” said Kittel, whose previous visit to Olympia was 13 years ago – when he then came last.

“I just loved how easy Dude found this test which has a high degree of difficulty – he just felt like he was cruising.”

The win takes Kittel to the top of the Western European World Cup™ League and he now looks certain for a place in the FEI World Cup™ final in Paris in April.

“I really love Paris and Dude is now qualified for the final so I hope nothing stops me going,” said Kittel.

It might have seemed a hard act to follow for British rider Emile Faurie and his new ride Delatio (80.405%) but the final combination of the night put in an impressive performance in their first competitive freestyle that made the most of the 13-year-old’s expressive paces, to come within a whisker – 0.155% – of the winner’s score. He is now just the fourth British rider to score over 80% at this venue.

“I just feel so lucky that after so many years without a really top horse, I now have a whole string,” said Emile who is now based part-time in Germany.

“Delatio does not have a lot of competitive experience but he is an awesome horse, such a trier and his ability to concentrate incredible.”

Grand Prix winners Edward Gal and Glock’s Zonik (79.340%) were close behind in third place. The Dutch Olympian was third last year and has been in the top three here on no less than four occasions since his last win at Olympia in 2009.

“We made a few mistakes tonight and Zonik was a little tense as he is not used to such a crowd, and you don’t get this atmosphere anywhere else but the crowd really appreciates the riders and it was good experience for Zonik,” said Gal.

British riders Lara Butler (Rubin Al Asad), Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubins Nite) and Richard Davison (Bubblingh) all put in strong performances to finish in 5th, 6th and 7th place respectively and within 1.33% of each other.

Carl Hester once again took to the Olympia Grand Hall to put Charlotte Dujardin through her paces as part of his ‘the making of a Grand Prix horse’ masterclass. Charlotte was riding Carl’s Hawtins Delicato, a nine-year-old future prospect for which Carl has high hopes.

The session provided an exclusive insight into the transition required for a horse to step up to Grand Prix level, from perfecting the piaffe to mastering the mentality. Making his debut at Olympia, Hawtins Delicato took the ambiance in his stride, demonstrating the huge potential he has to be a star of the future.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Edward Gal Dominates on Opening Night of Olympia

The World’s best Dressage riders were out in force on the opening night of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, where Edward Gal (NED) was crowned winner of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound.

In addition to the top-class competition, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester took centre stage to give a dressage masterclass showcasing the training routine of a champion and performances from The Chilean Huasos and the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch gave the crowd a night to remember. The Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National got off to a flying start with Ollie Proctor and Holydell Sensation passing the post in front to take the first victory of the week.

Popular Dutch dressage rider Edward Gal and the young stallion Glock’s Zonik (76.68%) claimed the FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix supported by Horse & Hound at Olympia, The London International Horse Show.

The win made a cold, slow journey from The Netherlands, that was beset by delays caused by the wintery weather, worthwhile. It was also an impressive display of horsemanship from Gal and talent from the expressive and elegant nine-year-old Glock’s Zonik, who was competing in just his third ever Grand Prix, and now has two wins and a second place on his CV. Highlights of the test include ground covering half-passes and particularly impressive elastic piaffe and passage.

“The journey here was really no fun at all,” said Gal, a winner of the FEI World Cup qualifier at Olympia in 2009 with the record breaking Totilas, before going on to win the FEI World Cup Final later that season. “We left home at 6am on Sunday and finally arrived in London at 6pm on Monday evening, but this win makes up for all that. I was really happy with Zonik especially as it was his first time in such a big atmospheric arena – this is really promising for the future.”

Swedish Olympian Patrik Kittel, who also endured a marathon journey to London, came a close second with the Oldenburg gelding Delaunay (75.10%). The pair performed a well presented and confident error free test. “I am very happy to be here for the second time,” said Kittel. “London is such a great show.”

Olympia debutant Madeleine Witte-Vrees from The Netherlands was third with the bright chestnut Cennin (73.72%), with whom she made her senior championship team debut in this year’s Europeans, while Emile Faurie and Delatio (72.86%) were the highest placed British combination. It was an impressive competitive Grand Prix debut for the pair, who has only been together for two months.

“Tonight’s Grand Prix was quite a challenge for the judges,” said Stephen Clarke, President of the Ground Jury. “They were many good combinations, some exciting expressive horses and scores that were close together.”

Charlotte Dujardin took to the Olympia Grand Hall for the first time since the retirement of her triple Olympic gold medal winning partner, Valegro, this time last year. Riding Mount St John Freestyle, Charlotte was put through her paces by mentor and Olympic team mate, Carl Hester, to display the key attributes and training methods for producing a champion.

Mount St John Freestyle, an eight-year-old Hanoverian mare, nick-named “Mrs Valegro” by Carl during the demonstration, is looking to step up to Grand Prix level next year, with the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games as the target. The composed performance showcased the exceptional talents of both horse and rider, who have already attained several titles together, including the recent Future Elite Championship and the Summer British Dressage National Championship.

To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Dressage on the First Coast Kicks Off December Events at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Shelly Van Den Neste and The Governer SRF. (Photo courtesy of Shelly Van Den Neste)

Jacksonville, FL (December 11, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center recently began an eclectic month of events with the Dressage on the First Coast Fall Show this December. The show was put on by the Northeast Florida Dressage Association, and featured nearly 40 classes ranging from Training Level through Grand Prix. Riders competed for top scores in the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s beautiful outdoor show rings.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center has been known for years as a host of successful dressage shows in Florida. “The staff was professional and on the ball,” said show manager Carlie Evans. Organizations like the Northeast Florida Dressage Association benefit from the facility’s knowledgeable staff, first-class amenities, over 400 permanent stalls, superior arena footing, and close proximity to major highways, downtown Jacksonville, and sunny Florida beaches.

At the Dressage on the First Coast Fall Show, the horses arrived at the equestrian center for a weekend of fun and friendly competition.  “We received lots of great comments on the facility from the old regulars and a few new people that had never been there before that said they will definitely come back,” said Evans.  Winner of the FEI Freestyle Test of Choice, Shelly Van Den Neste, said that “the Jacksonville Equestrian Center has always been one of my favorite but the outdoor arena is so much better now with the new all-weather footing!”  Van Den Neste rode The Governer SRF to a win with a score of 67.525.  The show included Great American/USDF Regional Qualifying classes, USDF/Dover Adult Amateur Medal Program classes, and a USEF Dressage Level 3 Competition. Now that the show has concluded, the Northeast Florida Dressage Association plans to return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in March 31 – April 1, 2018, for the Dressage on the First Coast Spring Show.

In an East meets West scenario the Jacksonville Equestrian Center also hosted the Florida Quarter Horse Association (FQHA) Last Chance show in their beautiful 150’ x 300’ indoor arena.  The event featured two days of competition ranging from trail classes to driving for juniors, amateurs and professionals alike.  This show was the last show of the calendar year to earn points and double points towards the year end awards.

The month will finish up with Community Schooling Day on December 27, which horses and riders are welcomed from 10am – 4pm to ride in the state-of-the-art indoor arena for a fee of $10 per rider ($20 if the rider has more than one horse).

Nearly every event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is free to spectators. To find out more about the facility and about upcoming events in December and throughout 2018, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Schneider and Sammy Scoop the Honours in Salzburg

Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr. (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)

It takes two to tango as every top-class Dressage rider knows, and Dorothee Schneider (48) and her lovely 11-year-old gelding Sammy Davis Jr. nailed it with the harmony they showed in their tango-themed test that won the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League at Salzburg in Austria.

“Sammy wants to present himself and he loves to dance, so he’s the perfect Freestyle horse! He’s good-looking with a character to match, and today was our best score so far – it’s exciting because we are coming together as a pair more and more!” — Dorothee Schneider (GER)

In a start-list of 12 combinations from seven countries, Frenchman Ludovic Henry took the lead when posting 75.673 percent with After You when seventh to go, but Schneider and Sammy blew the class wide open when next in, putting 83.415 on the board. “I could feel in the warm-up that he was in really good shape – he’s been doing an amazing job over the last month!” Schneider said of the horse who helped her claim individual 11th spot at this summer’s Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

It was never going to be easy to better that, and although the popular duo of Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Jojo Az were in sparkling form they didn’t threaten when following with a score of 76.405. Their Danish counterparts, Daniel Bachmann-Andersen and Blue Hors Zack, came a lot closer, however, the talented 27-year-old rider and the 13-year-old KWPN stallion oozing promise of even better to come as they strutted their way to a mark of 80.375.

That moved them into runner-up spot, but they would have to settle for third when the penultimate partnership of Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (31) and Unee BB stormed in to post 81.565. This pair has a wonderful record in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series, and has twice finished third at the Finals, in Lyon (FRA) in 2014 and Las Vegas (USA) in 2015. At 16 years of age, Unee is still flying, and von Bredow-Werndl is very much hoping to make the cut with him to the 2018 Final in Paris, France next April. Each national federation can only send a maximum of three riders, however, and with defending champion, Germany’s Isabell Werth, guaranteed a place once she completes the qualification criteria of two qualifying scores with her chosen horse, the competition between the Germans themselves is intense.

“I’m really fighting for our place at the Final. Even though Unee turns 17 next year, he’s still in top form, so I want us to be there!” von Bredow-Werndl said.

Schneider also has Paris in her sights with Sammy Davis Jr. who only stepped up to Grand Prix level in March of this year and who is clearly coming along in leaps and bounds. However, although she has moved to the top of the leaderboard after the win, she’s not taking qualification for granted. She knows von Bredow-Werndl and Fabienne Lutkemeier are snapping at her heels and that it’s far from done and dusted yet. “Sammy is going to have a rest over Christmas and then maybe we will go to Neumunster (GER) because I want to get Paris too, but it’s not going to be easy!” she said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Over 14 Hours of Live Coverage for Olympia, the London International Horse Show

Olympia, the London International Horse Show (12-18 December 2017), will be coming to homes across the UK with extensive broadcast coverage of London’s international equestrian event on the BBC.

Over fourteen hours of live action will be aired throughout the week, indicating the importance of Olympia as an international equestrian event and providing equestrian and sporting fans alike excellent access to the top-class competition.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: ‘We are thrilled to be working with the BBC at Olympia once again.  The BBC coverage is important not only for the show but also for the sport.  Bringing world class Dressage, Show Jumping and Carriage Driving to a wider UK audience keeps equestrianism on the map and it provides viewers with the opportunity to see Olympic champions competing in world class competitions.’

Highlights to look out for include the FEI World Cup™ competitions in Dressage and Show Jumping in which the world’s top riders and Olympic gold medallists, including Ben Maher and Scott Brash, will compete. In addition, coverage will include international classes such as the Cayenne Puissance and the Olympia Grand Prix, as well as the Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Further coverage will include footage of Olympia’s equestrian displays, The Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police Activity Ride and the Chilean Huasos, along with the Kennel Club Dog Agility, The Shetland Pony Grand National and the Olympia Christmas Finale.

Internationally live coverage of the Dressage, Jumping and Driving FEI World Cup competitions is available on FEI TV and additional post-event coverage will be broadcast on Horse & Country TV.

Olympia, the London International Horse Show, may be viewed online and on TV. The day-by-day coverage listing is as follows*:

Wednesday 13 December

  • The FEI World Cup™ Dressage Freestyle to Music supported by Horse & Hound
    19:20-22:15 – LIVE on BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV, and FEI TV

Thursday 14 December

  • The Cayenne Puissance
    21:15-22:15 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV

Friday 15 December

  • The Entire Evening Performance
    18:45-22:30 – LIVE on BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
    Featuring The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund and The Longines Christmas Cracker

Saturday 16 December

  • The FEI World Cup™ Driving
    18:30-19:15 – LIVE on FEI TV

Sunday 17 December

  • The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping
    13:30-16:35 – LIVE BBC Two HD, Online & connected TV 14:35-16:30 – LIVE on FEI TV

Monday 18 December

  • The Entire Evening Performance
    18:45-22:25 – LIVE on the BBC Red Button, BBC Online & connected TV
    Featuring The Mince Pie Stakes and The Olympia Grand Prix

Tuesday 19 December

  • Highlights
    11:00-12:00 – BBC Two HD, Online & connected TV

*All programmes are subject to change

Horse & Country TV will feature highlights from the Show from 18 December onwards, including the FEI Dressage, Driving and Show Jumping, along with the Cayenne Puissance, the Longines Christmas Cracker and the Olympia Grand Prix.

Horse & Country TV is available on Sky Channel 253, H&C Play, and Amazon Video. For more information, visit their website.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Top International Line-Up Announced for Olympia, the London International Horse Show

A stellar line-up of the world’s best Dressage and Driving competitors has been announced for Olympia, The London International Horse Show, taking place from 12-18 December 2017.

Adding to this year’s spectacular Show will be a world-class selection of riders contesting the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music, supported by Horse & Hound, taking place on the Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 December, respectively.

Contending for the title and making a welcomed first appearance at the Show, Swedish Olympian and current leader of the FEI World Cup Western League, Patrik Kittel, a long-standing Grand Prix rider with an equally long list of achievements to his name. Kittel will be competing aboard Delaunay Old, who together took team bronze at the 2017 European Championships in Gothenburg.

The 2016 Irish Rider of the Year and holder of Ireland’s highest ever Grand Prix score, Judy Reynolds, (Vancouver K) is another who will be gunning for glory. Certain to give Reynolds a run for her money is renowned Dutch rider, Edward Gal, triple gold medallist at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games™, the first rider to claim all three available medals. Gal will be pulling out all the stops aboard the young stallion Glock’s Zonik.

Making her Olympia debut will be Madeleine Witte-Vrees riding the Dutch-bred stallion Cennin, who together represented the Dutch team for the 2017 Europeans in Gothenburg and were selected as reserves for the 2016 Olympic team. The pair has also claimed several Grand Prix Freestyle victories, including in Roosendaal, Rotterdam and Mallorca. Adding to the Dutch challenge and returning to Olympia for the third time will be Katja Gevers with Thriller, a combination that are into their seventh season of Grand Prix.

Flying the flag for the home-side will be 2017 British Dressage National Champion Hayley Watson-Greaves (Rubin’s Nite), Emile Faurie (Delatio) Team GB representative at a staggering six European Championships, three World Equestrian Games™ and two Olympic Games, former British team medallist Gareth Hughes (Don Carissimo) returning after a five-year absence from the Show, and Lara Butler (Rubin Al Asad), reserve for the 2016 Olympic team.

The strong home contingent also includes four-time British Olympian Richard Davison, who has been at the forefront of international dressage for over three decades. Fresh from victory in the Grand Prix at CDI Roosendaal at the end of November with the homebred Bubblingh, Davison will be in confident spirits as he comes up against some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world. The British quintet has much opposition, however, and the Grand Prix promises to be a close and exciting competition.

The UK’s largest indoor horse show is also set to welcome top international four-in-hand drivers for the FEI World Cup™ Driving leg, presented by Dodson & Horrell. Their first encounter will be on Thursday afternoon during Olympia’s Extreme Driving competition, familiarising them with the arena and its highly-charged atmosphere. The first round of the FEI competition follows on Friday with the final starting in Saturday evening’s packed performance.

Reigning World Champion, both indoors and out, Boyd Exell, returns to compete with a wild card. With seven FEI World Cup™ titles to his name, including the 2016 and 2017 seasons, he is a regular contender and winner at the prestigious Show. Challenging Exell, and representing the home team, will be the notorious Dan Naprous, who will be wowing crowds with his supreme pace and agility.

Joining Naprous will be Ijsbrand Chardon, the most experienced, and multi-medalled of all the drivers in the starting line-up, having been at the top of the sport since the 1980s. Chardon is making a welcome return to Olympia Horse Show, after his absence in 2016. Fellow countryman, Koos de Ronde, who has shared the World and European Championship team gold medal winning rostrums with Chardon on eight separate occasions, will be giving Chardon a run for his money, having competed at the Show each year since the competition began.

This is a line-up not to be missed. To find out more about Olympia, the London International Horse Show, and how to get tickets, visit www.olympiahorseshow.com.

For more information, please contact:
Olympia, The London International Horse Show:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk 0203 176 0355

Unstoppable Isabell Werth Crowned 2017 Best Athlete at FEI Awards

Photo: Harry Allen (IRE), winner of the Longines Rising Star Award (centre), pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos (left) and Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli (right) at the FEI Awards ceremony in Montevideo, Uruguay. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Montevideo (URU), 21 November 2017 – Isabell Werth (GER), one of equestrian sports most decorated champions, has once again stolen the show, receiving the Best Athlete Award at the ninth edition of the FEI Awards Gala 2017 presented by Longines at the KIBON Avanza in Montevideo (URU).

The German superstar (48) was unable to attend the ceremony but spoke to guests via video message, and Soenke Lauterbach, Secretary General of the German Federation, received the award on her behalf.

“To receive the best athlete award is really fantastic it makes me really proud, really happy to get this support from so many people and that they’re really behind me and they respect what we have done in the last months,” Isabell Werth said.

“2017 was just amazing; it was a really great year. It was all horses, I have to say! Of course the highlight was Omaha with the World Cup final with Weihe; it was a fantastic freestyle!”

To the delight of the Montevideo audience, the festivities were opened by Swedish pop artists Matilda Frommegård and Martin Cederlöf, performing the world premiere of their “Two Hearts” song.

Joint-Masters of Ceremonies, TV news anchor Victoria Rodriguez (URU) together with author and entertainer Guillermo Lockhart (URU), host of Voces Anonimas, went on to present the winners of the five categories, in front of more than 270 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, FEI partners and stakeholders representing the member Federations.

Harry Allen (IRL), double gold medallist at the FEI European Pony Championships in Kaposvar (HUN) last August, was recognised for his numerous outstanding performances throughout the year, winning the Longines Rising Star Award. Presented by the FEI’s top partner Longines, this award celebrates youth, talent, determination and the stars of the tomorrow. The talented Irish athlete (16) was also presented with a Longines Conquest Classic Chronograph watch by Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli.

Alan Davies (GBR), recognised for his tireless effort behind the scenes for Dressage stars Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, was presented with the FEI Best Groom Award.  Praising the unsung heroes of the sport, Alan (48) was visibly moved by the public support for his dedication, commitment and hard work, saying, “Words can’t describe how I feel; it’s just amazing!”

The former Vice President of the Indian Equestrian Federation, Manoj Jalan, accepted the FEI Solidarity Award for the inaugural Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) project in Assam (IND).

Emma Booth (AUS) was commended for her strength, resilience, determination and drive as she was presented with the Against All Odds Award. Emma (26) was left paralysed after a road traffic accident in April 2013, yet nothing stops her passion for equestrian sport and is already planning her campaign around the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

“We received over 100,000 votes and were overwhelmed with the response to this year’s Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We have incredible athletes, with remarkable stories, and this year we had the highest number of nominations from more countries than ever before, which clearly shows the universality of our sport.

“The public involvement in the voting process was phenomenal and was an essential part of the judging process for these prestigious awards. It is outstanding to see the tremendous support for our athletes, who deserve the recognition, not just from within our community but of the wider sports industry and fans globally.”

Longines’ Vice President and Head of International Marketing Juan-Carlos Capelli, said: “It is my great pleasure to be here in Montevideo and to be a part of the FEI Awards Ceremony to reward remarkable people for their outstanding dedication to equestrian sports. As we have seen here tonight, all winners have shown what hard work and passion are all about.

“On behalf of Longines, I would like to address my warmest congratulations to all winners of the 2017 FEI Awards, and in particular our Longines Rising Star, the 16-year-old talented jumping rider, Harry Allen. It’s very exciting to see all these incredible people pursue their dreams and continue to be great ambassadors for their sport.”

Media contacts:

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

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Werth and Weihegold Head Home-Side Whitewash at Stuttgart

Photo: Isabell Werth and Weihegold FRH. (FEI/Cara Grimshaw)

With style, panache and the greatest of ease, defending series champions Isabell Werth (48) and her wonderful 12-year-old mare Weihegold cruised to victory at the third leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League on home ground in Stuttgart, Germany. And in a feast of fabulous performances it was fellow-countrywomen Dorothee Schneider (Sammy Davis Jr.) and Helen Langehanenberg (Damsey FRH) who slotted into second and third places.

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (Paridon Magi) finished fourth, but only fractionally ahead of Germany’s Fabienne Lutkemeier (Fabregaz) and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (Zaire-E) in fifth and sixth spots. There was nothing fractional about Werth’s win, however, her score of 87.575 percent leaving her well ahead of Schneider who posted 82.805. And it was a particularly satisfying result for the phenomenal athlete who this year alone claimed her third FEI World Cup™ Dressage title along with triple-gold at the FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE).

“Weihe has had such a great year, and after Gothenburg we gave her a long break but we thought it would be lovely to bring her to Stuttgart for the home crowd to see her and it was really nice. She’s only been working lightly for the last few weeks so we didn’t take the full risk like we did in Aachen or Gothenburg this summer, but I’m very happy with how she went; it was a great day!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

The Freestyle test wasn’t perfect – “the mistake in the two-tempis was all mine!” Werth admitted, but it was still nothing short of spectacular. Taking “the full risk” in Dressage terms means chasing down marks by challenging the horse to produce each movement to the maximum, although when it doesn’t come off it can prove expensive. The fluency of Werth’s work with Weihegold was so exquisite, however, that even an error couldn’t prevent their absolute supremacy.

Schneider’s 11-year-old stallion Sammy Davis Jr. continues to impress in his first season at Grand Prix level and this pair posted some massive artistic scores, while Langehanenberg’s 15-year-old stallion Damsey FRH produced breath-taking extended trot on his way to earning a score of 79.615 for third place. “He was super-fresh but really happy to be out competing and really keen to perform. He really came to life in his test and it’s great for an older horse like him to be still enjoying competition so much!” said the 2013 FEI World Cup™ Dressage champion.

Werth doesn’t earn points in the Western European League series and only has to line out in the qualifiers with whichever horse she chooses to defend her title at the 2018 Final in Paris, France next April. She has three to choose from, Don Johnson taking runner-up spot at the opening qualifier in Herning, Denmark last month before Emilio came out on top in Lyon two weeks ago, and then Weihegold followed suit. She’s spoiled for choice, and her next outing will be at the sixth leg in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in January.

Before that, however, the rest of those chasing down a much-coveted place at the Final will be battling it out in round four at Salzburg (AUT) and the fifth qualifier at London Olympia (GBR) in December. Sweden’s Patrik Kittel continues to top the league table by a considerable margin ahead of Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj in second place, Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre in third and Germany’s Dorothee Schneider who has moved up from 13th to fourth spot thanks to her runner-up finish.

Watch Isabell Werth and Weihegold take the win in front of the home crowd here on YouTube.

By Louise Parkes

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