Tag Archives: FEI

Life Is Beautiful, and He’s Heading Home to Gothenburg

Shino Hirota and Life Is Beautiful. (FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi)

It’s not every day that a skewbald horse who spent many years harness-racing qualifies for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, but dreams do come true. And the 16-year-old gelding, Life Is Beautiful, can expect a very warm welcome when he enters the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden as the Longines 2019 Final begins next April, because he is coming home to the city where he was born.

Ridden by 35-year-old Shino Hirota, this special horse competed in five of the six legs of the FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Japan League, and with three wins and two runner-up placings topped the series leaderboard by a long distance to claim a qualifying spot for the Swedish showdown.

It will be a huge step up for Shino, but her horse is likely to take it all in his stride. Sold to Japan after a career as a harness-racer in Sweden, he was spotted by Kiwi rider Bruce Goodin who advised his business partner, Ryumi Hirota, to buy him.

Ryumi, who represented Japan at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney (AUS) and at three FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals, wasn’t overly impressed when he tried him at first because he had such an economic jump. But the higher the fences were raised the higher Life Is Beautiful would go, and from the moment Ryumi’s wife, Shino, took up the reins they really clicked.

Now the pair is seen as potential candidates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on their home turf, so they couldn’t have arrived at the peak of their performance potential at a better time…

All around the globe horses and riders have been hard at work in their regional leagues, and Tegan Fitzsimon (28) posted two wins and two runner-up placings with Windermere Cappuccino to top the New Zealand FEI Jumping World Cup™ series. In Australia, Aaron Hadlow (31) and his mare Vahlinvader were qualified for the Longines 2019 Final long before the last round of Australian series that took place in Sale, Victoria earlier this month. It’s a huge achievement for the rider who has a day-job as an Accounts Clerk and who has developed his winning horse from the outset.

Brazil’s Luis Felipe Pimenta Alves (34) topped the South American League, Egypt’s Abdel Said (29) won the Arab League North Africa Sub-League, and four-time Olympian Ramzy Al Duhami (47) from Saudi Arabia won the Arab League Middle East Sub-League. Not for the first time, Thailand’s Siengsaw Lertratanachai (22) reigned supreme in the South East Asia qualifying series, while the Chinese League was won by Tongyan Liu (51).

All have their own individual stories, and success didn’t come without effort.

However, if there was a prize for fortitude and determination, courage, team-work, ingenuity, and true grit, it would go to South Africa’s Lisa Williams (52) and her horse Campbell. They will arrive in Gothenburg in six weeks’ time after one of the most tortuous journeys imaginable.

Having won the FEI World Cup™ South African League for the third time in a row in the 2017/2018 season, Williams decided to export the cheeky Campbell, whose stable-name is Dennis the Menace, to Europe. It turned into a four-month adventure that tested the character and resolve of everyone, including her horse.

The first 21 days of quarantine in Cape Town were followed by a further 90 in Mauritius which were very tough on “Dennis” who became chronically ill due to the intense heat and humidity. When eventually he arrived in Belgium in March 2018, Williams had less than six months to prepare him for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA but they made it, and have spent the winter months back in Europe preparing for the Longines Final 2019. What a triumph it will be when they ride into the Scandinavium Arena together, flying that South African flag.

Meanwhile, the complete line-up for the 41st FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final has yet to be decided, with the results of the Central European Northern and Southern Sub-League and the Longines North American series rounding it off during the week ending 10 March.

All the results to date can be found here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Young Mexicans Are the Giant-Slayers at First Round in Wellington

Eugenio Garza Perez and Victer Finn DHZ. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

Impressive Israeli side finish second, Team USA third

Youth had its day when an exciting young Mexican team pinned some of the world’s most successful nations into the minor placings to win the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America at Deeridge Farm in Wellington (USA). This first leg of the 2019 series, which will visit 12 venues around the globe before the Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October, was also the first leg of the three-round North/Central America and Caribbean League which will continue at Coapexpan (MEX) and Langley (CAN) in May. And Team Mexico really flexed their muscles when pinning an impressive new-look Israeli side into runner-up spot, and the reigning world champions from the USA into third.

You could hear them celebrating from a mile away, and in the animated post-competition press conference their supporters didn’t hold back, celebrating just as enthusiastically as they did when their country reigned supreme at the final leg of the Europe Division 1 series in Dublin (IRL) last summer.

Victory was sealed by double-clear performances from the two youngest members of Stany van Paesschen’s side, second-line rider Eugenio Garza Perez (23) riding Victer Finn DHZ and anchorman Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane (24) partnering the lovely grey mare Hortensia van de Leeuwerk. But all four played their part, with pathfinder Fernando Martinez Sommer (29) dropping just a single rail both times out with Cor Bakker, and Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (25) foot-perfect at his first attempt with Tino la Chapelle before double-faulting in round two.

FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 course designer, Ireland’s Alan Wade, set a track that tested rideability, and the final line of a one-stride triple combination to big oxer proved the undoing of many. However, with three first-round clears the Mexicans were already in command at the halfway stage on a zero score, trailed by Ireland and USA on eight, Israel close behind with nine, last year’s Wellington winners from Canada on 12, and the three-member Colombian side already trailing the field with 16 on the board.

In the end the Mexicans held on tight, but Zendejas Salgado’s second-round errors at the open water and the following vertical meant that Gonzalez Dufrane was under a lot of pressure when last to enter the arena. If those eight faults had to be added to Martinez Sommer’s single mistake at the final element of the triple combination, then it would be a completely different story.

“I tried to keep calm and stay really focused – we have a psychologist to help us relax so I knew how to deal with it today,” Gonzalez Dufrane said after bringing his trustworthy 12-year-old mare home fault-free to clinch it.

Team Israel also had plenty to be pleased about, Daniel Bluman’s double-clear with Ladriano Z bolstering an impressive all-round performance that saw them add nothing to their first-round nine-fault tally for second spot. Team USA looked strongest at the outset, with super-stars Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, and Laura Kraut joined by young star Lucy Deslauriers. But single errors proved costly, so they will be hoping to turn the tables when their regional League moves to Mexico next time around. Only Mexico, USA, and Canada were entitled to qualifying points, so they claimed 100, 80, and 60 points, respectively.

Garza Perez, who trains with legendary Irish rider Eddie Macken and is the only member of the Mexican side to reside in the USA, said: “Today’s result is testament to the quality of the next generation of young Mexican riders.”

He was a member of the historic side that posted that spectacular win in Dublin last August. “That day was an inspiration to us all!” he pointed out. And now the main Mexican goal is a place at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2019.

“There’s an Olympic place on offer in Barcelona, and we intend to take it!” — Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX)

Meanwhile, Gonzalez Dufrane hopes to be selected for the next leg of the North/Central America and Caribbean series, “because it’s taking place in my home town.” After his double-clear he’s likely to be a contender.

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 series continues with the single qualifier for the Middle East which will take place in Abu Dhabi (UAE) on Saturday 23 February.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Werth Wins, but Reynolds Prevents German Whitewash in Neumünster

Isabell Werth with Weihegold. (FEI/Stefan Lafrentz)

The undeniable queen of Dressage, Isabell Werth (49), won the ninth and penultimate leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League on home ground at Neumünster (GER) with her multi-medalled mare Weihegold. On a day when the German star and her accomplished compatriots claimed six of the top seven places in a super-hot competition however, Ireland’s Judy Reynolds (37) lifted the hopes and dreams of enthusiasts around the world when snatching third spot with her brilliant little gelding, Vancouver K.

Werth and her super-mare are defending FEI Dressage World Cup™ double-champions having stormed to victory in Omaha (USA) in 2017 and again in Paris (FRA) last season. They took the lead with a score of 86.810 when fourth-last to go, and their closest challengers were the 2018 Neumünster winners Helen Langehanenberg (36) and Damsey FRH, who were last into the arena, posting a mark of 83.825 for second place.

That pushed Reynolds and the little Dutch-bred gelding she calls JP down to third, but this was a sensational result for the pair who fly the flag of a horse-loving country that is really only waking up to the excitement of the sport of Dressage. After becoming the first-ever Irish partnership to take a podium placing in a Western European League Grand Prix, they broke the Irish international Freestyle record score they set in Amsterdam (NED) last month when putting 82.750 on the board.

“I was in the arena training this morning at 6am, and Patrick [her husband] and I were chatting before we got down to work. We were wondering, do people say, ‘If she can get into the middle of the Germans, then maybe I can too!’” — Judy Reynolds IRL (3rd)

“JP is a relatively normal pony but he’s getting in there and shaking them up a bit!” Reynolds added with a laugh.

She temporarily slotted into runner-up position behind Werth whose performance was met with a roar of approval from the knowledgeable Neumünster crowd. You could hear a pin drop during every test in the compact Holstenhallen.

“It’s outstanding – it’s like riding in a hot-spot and there’s a special emotion here, special people, special spectators, supporting us all the time,” Werth said after posting her fourth winning score of the season and her fifth victory at this German venue.

The crowd clearly enjoyed every moment, and the lady who won the first of her four World Cup titles in Gothenburg (SWE) in 1992 with Fabienne is now planning to give Weihegold a break, but will bring her other top ride, Emilio, to the last leg of the series at ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) next month as a kind of insurance policy. “Just in case – it’s always good to have two horses qualified!” said the multiple champion who has a super-talented string to choose from and who will be returning to the Swedish city where she posted that first memorable win 27 years ago to defend her title in April.

Langehanenberg’s second-place finish leaves her lying second on the Western European League leaderboard, behind compatriot Dorothee Schneider who lined up fifth with Sammy Davis Jr and who is celebrating her 50th birthday. The biggest dilemma that German team manager Monica Theodorescu has now is to decide which two of the five German riders currently in the leading pack will join Werth at the Final, because each nation is only permitted to field three horse-and-rider combinations.

This result leaves Reynolds on the edge of the qualification zone, with only the top nine from this league making the cut. One more good run at the last leg in ’s-Hertogenbosch should seal it for the Irishwoman whose new Freestyle music and floorplan are going down a storm with both judges and spectators alike. This was only the third time for them to perform to their “Lord of the Dance” soundtrack and, at 17 years of age, the sometimes quirky Vancouver K looks to be still growing in comfort and confidence in the ring.

“JP is in the best form he’s ever been in! It was never our plan to do so many shows so close together but it seems to suit us better and he’s loving it!” said the rider who, as Ireland’s sole representative at the very top end of the sport right now, is inspiring many others in both her own country and elsewhere to strive to also be the best they can be.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Opportunity Knocks with FEI World Championships 2022 Bid Process

Lausanne (SUI), 13 February 2019 — While 2019 is set to be another busy year for international horse sport, potential bidders are already vying for the possibility of hosting FEI World Championships in 2022. The FEI has already received some exciting expressions of interest for 2022, with more submissions expected before the 28 February deadline.

“I am delighted to say that the level of interest and the quality of submissions to host FEI World Championships in 2022 has been very high so far, and we are confident that we will have an interesting pool of candidates to choose from when the allocations are made later this year,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

The FEI initiated a bid process for individual FEI World Championships in all disciplines for 2022 at the FEI General Assembly in Manama (BRN) in November last year.

The FEI President stressed at the time that this does not necessarily mean the end of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ concept, and bids to host the full seven disciplines together for 2022 will be considered.

The FEI Board unanimously approved the opening of a bidding process for individual world championships in all disciplines for 2022, with preference being given to multi-discipline bids. The Board also agreed that ideally the FEI World Championships for Dressage and Para Dressage should be combined. The world championships for 2022 in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines will serve as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Games.

“Equestrian sport has become increasingly globalised, but there are relatively few countries that have the capacity to host world championships in all disciplines simultaneously,” the FEI President said.

“The new bid process allows for the sustainable and cost-effective use of existing equestrian sports facilities and for the FEI to partner with National Federations that may have hesitated putting forward multi-discipline bids in the past. The door is now open for these Federations to consider submitting an expression of interest for an individual world championship in the discipline of their choice.”

In a key change to the bid process, the FEI will host an interactive workshop at the end of March in Lausanne for all National Federations/Organising Committees that submit an expression of interest in the 2022 World Championships.

“This interactive workshop is a key factor in ensuring that we adequately convey the structure, opportunities and minimum requirements of hosting the FEI World Championships 2022. By working more closely with the National Federations and Organising Committees from the very start of the process, we can ensure a unified vision and establish an achievable set of goals to work towards,” Ingmar De Vos said.

There are over 4,000 FEI events organised world-wide annually across the seven disciplines of Jumping, Dressage & Para-Dressage, Eventing, Endurance, Driving & Para-Driving, Vaulting, and Reining, with world championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines held every four years and every second year for non-Olympic disciplines.

Timeline

  • 28 February 2019 – Deadline for receipt of non-binding expressions of interest to host one or multiple FEI World Championship(s) 2022. All information can be accessed here.
  • 26 March 2019 – Workshop to be held in Lausanne after which interested bidders will be invited to submit a formal bid, outlining their plans and visions for hosting FEI World Championships in 2022.
  • November 2019 – Allocation of FEI World Championships at the in-person Board meeting at the FEI General Assembly in Moscow (RUS). All bids will be fully evaluated over the Spring/Summer of 2019.

Questions concerning the bid process can be sent to bidding@fei.org.

FEI contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 41

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

New Series Bursts into Action at Wellington, Florida

Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

All roads lead to Barcelona where final team ticket to Tokyo will be up for grabs

Deeridge Farm in Wellington (USA) is already buzzing with anticipation ahead of the first major team clash of the year when the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 series gets underway at the charming Florida venue Sunday (17 February). And the host nation is putting down a marker right away, calling up three of the four riders who claimed the team Jumping title in that unforgettable finale at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA) last September.

Wellington stages the first of the three legs in the North America, Central America, and Caribbean League that will continue at Coapexpan (MEX) and Langley (CAN) in May. A total of six countries – Canada, Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, and USA – will line out this weekend, but only Canada, Mexico, and USA will be eligible for points in this regional leg towards qualification for the prestigious Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 Final in Barcelona (ESP) in October.

The star-studded US line-up includes team world champions McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, and Devin Ryan along with two-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion Beezie Madden and the legend that is Margie Engle.

So the rest will have to put in a super-human effort to keep them in check, with Canada fielding a side that includes Tiffany Foster and the on-form Mario Deslauriers, and Colombia naming Ilan Bluman and the experienced Teran Tafur in their selection.

At just 21 years of age, Cormac Hanley will be making his Senior Nations Cup debut on the strong Irish team, while Eugenia Garza Perez and Enrique Gonzalez will lend plenty of weight to the Mexican challenge. The most colourful side of all, however, is likely to be the Israeli team that includes the effervescent Danielle Goldstein who set the arena alight every time she appeared at the WEG in Tryon and who finished joint-third on that super-tough last day of competition, and 20th overall in the final individual rankings, with her brilliant mare, Lizziemary.

Wellington will be swiftly followed by the single Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 qualifier for the Middle East region in Abu Dhabi (UAE) on Saturday 23 February from which two teams will earn a place at the Final, while the seven-leg Europe Division 1 series will get underway at La Baule (FRA) on Friday 17 May.

Team Austria has been promoted to Division 1 after winning last year’s Division 2 Final staged in Budapest (HUN) and so joins France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the 2018 champions from Belgium in this tough 10-nation contest. The top seven teams will make the cut to the series decider in October, but there’s even more hanging in the balance with the last remaining Olympic qualifying spot also on offer. It’s bound to be a mightier battle than ever in Barcelona this year.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Coyle and Eristov Top Two-Horse Jump-Off for Longines Victory in Leon

Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Eristov. (FEI/Anwar Esquivel)

Jordan Coyle (IRL) recorded the biggest win of his career when he topped a two-horse jump-off with Eristov to win the $1,910,000 (~$100,000 U.S.) Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Leon, the newest leg on the North American League.

Coyle, 25, and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding had the disadvantageous position of having to jump first over Anderson Lima (BRA)’s shortened track at the Leon Equestrian Club. However, after crossing the timers in 40.37 seconds, they put the pressure on Salvador Onate (MEX) and Big Red, who were fresh off a win in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Guadalajara just two weeks prior. That pair settled for second with their 41.96-second clear round. Federico Fernandez (MEX) and Davidoff finished third, having recorded just a single time fault in the first round.

“My horse is naturally very fast,” Coyle said. “Going first, I wasn’t sure what to do, as I’m new to Mexico [and this show circuit]. I went as fast as I could go, and it worked.”

Clear rounds were hard to come by in the first round, as Coyle didn’t crack the code to a faultless performance until more than halfway through the class. Even an increase in the time allowed from 79 to 81 seconds only benefited Onate; Coyle was the only competitor to jump the first round cleanly and within the original time allowed.

“On a day like this, I don’t think there are many horses in the world that are as good as him. This is without a doubt my biggest win so far.” — Jordan Coyle (IRL)

One More Chance

The race for points and qualification for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden will come down to the wire.

The west coast sub league has officially concluded, and Richard Spooner (USA) leads the standings with 49 points. Eve Jobs (USA) is hot on his heels with 48 points, and Nayel Nassar (EGY) sits in third with 46 points after prevailing in World Cup competition at both Thermal (USA) and Las Vegas (USA).

Beezie Madden (USA) leads the east coast standings with 58 points, but as the reigning World Cup Final Champion, she automatically qualifies. That leaves Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) in strong position with 55 points, just three behind Madden. Wilhelm Genn (GER), McLain Ward (USA), and Laura Kraut (USA) follow closely behind the top two with 47, 45, and 42 points, respectively.

There’s just one more chance for riders to punch their tickets to Gothenburg. The 2018-2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League comes to a close with its final qualifier at Live Oak, Ocala. Part of the east coast sub league, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Ocala gets underway 10 March 2019.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

It’s a Hat-Trick for Germany’s Deusser with Brilliant Win in Bordeaux

Daniel Deusser riding Tobago Z. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

Daniel Deusser produced his third sensational win of the season at the 13th and last qualifier of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League in Bordeaux, France.

The 37-year-old German cruised to victory with Calisto Blue at round 3 in Verona (ITA) last October, and then rocketed up the series leaderboard when winning again at round 6 in Madrid (ESP) the following month with Tobago Z. Already heading the WEL leaderboard before competition began, the World No 5 rider and 2014 Longines champion has now accumulated a massive 99 points, and looks set to really put it up to the rest of the them when the Longines 2019 Final gets underway in Gothenburg (SWE) on 3 April.

In the six-way jump-off, it was Tobago Z who sealed it for him yet again, pinning Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet and Iron Man van de Padenborre into runner-up spot and Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot into third. Deusser can hardly believe what a run of form he’s been having.

“I’ve never had a season like this to be honest – not only three wins but fourth in Leipzig and third in Amsterdam – it’s just been amazing!” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

He admitted that he was “a bit confused” when two of the first four riders jumped clear over Jean-Francois Morand’s tough first-round track. “It was a big, long course with difficult combinations and the time-allowed was long. I thought he would reduce it, but it was such a good decision not to do that – we still only got six clear rounds, so the course designer did a really good job!” Deusser pointed out.

Celine Schoonbroodt-de Azevedo (Chepetta) led the way against the clock with a fence down in 51.92 seconds, but Belgian compatriot, Francois Mathy Jr, made no mistake with the ever-careful Uno de la Roque to set the first real target at 50.96 seconds. Then Norway’s Marie Valdar Longem, 621st in the Longines world rankings, produced her second superb clear of the day from the supercool Si la Sol de Greenbay Z in 53.14 seconds before Wathelet raised the temperature considerably.

His 11-year-old stallion is not long back after an injury-break and with a really positive and forward round they took the lead in 47.72 seconds, so when Alvarez Aznar broke the beam more than a second slower, it was Wathelet’s time that Deusser was chasing. The German hadn’t finally decided his strategy however, even as he set off.

“I knew there was the option to go inside after the double (third fence) but I only decided to do it after he jumped into the double because he was so confident in the air. I knew then we could do it, and then we got a good run to the plank (the following fence) so I just told myself to bring it home and not do anything crazy after that!” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

The top 18 riders on the Western European League table are all eligible for the Longines 2019 Final and current World No. 1, Steve Guerdat, will be chasing down his third title when the action gets underway in seven weeks’ time.

After the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ prizegiving, the Swiss super-hero, whose extraordinarily successful year in 2018 included individual bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon (USA) last September, was presented with the prestigious Longines FEI World’s Best Rider Award for 2018. Steve also accepted the Longines FEI World’s Best Horse Award 2018 on behalf of his brilliant mare, Albfuehren’s Bianca.

Meanwhile, Deusser has decided that Tobago Z will be his choice as he strives for a second Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series title. “He’ll have four weeks off now and then I’ll take him to ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) for a last run before the Final. It’s not an advantage to go to Gothenburg as the (WEL) leader, but it’s a really good feeling all the same!” he concluded.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

FEI Issues Guidelines on Equine Influenza Outbreak

Lausanne (SUI), 8 February 2019 – The FEI has issued guidelines to the equestrian community to protect horses from and prevent transmission of equine influenza, following confirmed outbreaks of the virus in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Nigeria, United Kingdom, and the United States of America since the beginning of the year.

Equine influenza is a highly contagious virus which causes respiratory disease in horses. The virus is endemic to most countries in the world and outbreaks can have a severe impact on the equine industry, potentially resulting in restrictions on horse movement and cancelled events.

“Vaccinating horses against equine influenza is key to combating the spread of equine influenza,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström said. “It is important that all horses are vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they compete or come into contact with other horses, but there are also biosecurity measures that should be put in place, including best hygiene practices.”

All FEI horses must have an up-to-date vaccination history in their passports and checks are carried out on entry to all FEI events.

The air-borne virus can spread up to two kilometres, depending on the environmental conditions, and can be easily transmitted between horses that are in close contact, such as attending events, group training and hunting, or between vaccinated and unvaccinated horses in the home yard.

Any horse that displays any signs of illness should not leave their home yard. This also applies to any horse that has been in contact with a horse or horses that have equine influenza.

“This year we are seeing a return of the Clade 1 virus in infected horses. Vaccinated horses have suffered only mild clinical signs of the disease and recovered quickly, but unvaccinated horses have been much more severely affected,” FEI Veterinary Advisor Caterina Termine said. “The key message is: get your horse vaccinated, monitor horse health extremely closely, and call your veterinarian if you have any concerns.”

The FEI’s comprehensive question and answer document on equine influenza is available here. Please visit FEI Campus for a course on Equine Influenza: A Horse Owners Guide.

FEI contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 41

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

Granato and Carlchen W Outrace the Field for First Longines Victory in Wellington

Alex Granato and Carlchen W. (FEI/Kathy Russell Photography)

In 2018, Alex Granato (USA) and Carlchen W made their Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ debut in Wellington. A year later, they earned their first World Cup victory at the same venue.

Granato and ‘Carl’ topped a competitive nine-horse jump-off to claim the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington under picturesque conditions at the Jacobs family’s Deeridge Farms. Using footspeed to their advantage, they tore around Alan Wade (IRL)’s shortened track in 42.70 seconds, nearly a second ahead of Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Bardolina (43.48 seconds). Beat Mändli (SUI) and Dsarie were third, finishing with a time of 44.16 seconds.

“It’s all very surreal. It’s been an amazing week. It’s a privilege to ride at a venue like this, against riders like this that I’ve looked up to for a long time.” — Alex Granato (USA)

Granato has had Carl, an 11-year-old Mecklenberg gelding, for five years. Originally meant to be a sales prospect, he put together a partnership with owner Paige Tredennick to develop the horse for top sport.

“He’s a naturally fast horse, so I got to play that to my advantage and let him run at his pace and stay focused on my track and turns,” Granato said. “We got a bit lucky with a rub in the jump-off, but my horse is very fresh, and we were gearing him toward this week. He came out fresh, strong and ready for it.”

World Cup Race Tightens

Reigning Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champion Beezie Madden took over the lead in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with her fifth-place finish but is already pre-qualified based on her 2018 Finals victory in Paris (FRA). She currently has 58 points, three ahead of Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) with 55.

Just five points separate the following three placings — Germany’s Wilhelm Genn (47), the USA’s McLain Ward (45), and American teammate Laura Kraut (42) — with one east coast event remaining at Live Oak (USA).

Richard Spooner (USA) leads the west coast sub league standings with 49 points. Granato sits ninth with 24 points.

“Coming into the season, World Cup Finals was a big goal, but after jumping at Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona, I missed many of the early qualifiers,” Granato said. “I’ll take a look at my points, and if I’m in contention, I’ll go to Live Oak.”

The North American League continues next on the west coast. The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Leon (MEX) gets underway 09 February 2019.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Sensational Victory for von Eckermann in Amsterdam

Henrik von Eckermann with Toveks Mary Lou. (FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (37) worked the Dutch crowd into a frenzy and booked his ticket to the series Final with a sensational victory partnering the brilliant mare, Toveks Mary Lou, at the twelfth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League in Amsterdam (NED).

Last to go in a breathtaking eight-way jump-off, the rider ranked No. 8 in the world did what seemed all but impossible when pinning Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer (56) into runner-up spot by more than half a second, and pushing Germany’s Daniel Deusser (37) down to third.

“I knew it was all or nothing! When you’re last into the ring you have to believe you can do it – if you have any doubt in your mind then it will never work!” — Henrik von Eckermann (SWE)

This marked the most perfect return for the FEI Jumping World Cup™ series to the Dutch capital city after several years of a break. And amongst those celebrating the Diamond (60th) anniversary of Jumping Amsterdam was The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander who, like all the spectators packed into the RAI arena, was treated to an unforgettable afternoon of superb sport.

Only one of the eight Dutch contenders made it into the jump-off which began with a superb second clear for the exciting Portuguese pair, Rodrigo Giesteria Almeida and GC Chopins Bushi. That sole Dutchman, Eric van der Vleuten, was more than a half-second slower with Wunschkind when next into the ring but, as expected, Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels and the ever-ready Gancia de Muze roared into the lead in 35.09 seconds when third to go.

Two rides later, however, Frenchman Kevin Staut and For Joy van’t Zorgvliet HDC out-paced them, only to be immediately overtaken by Germany’s Daniel Deusser with his Madrid winner Tobago Z, who broke the beam in 34.67 seconds. Dutch course designer, Louis Konickx, had set them a superb final test, and both Staut and Deusser risked super-tight roll-backs to the vertical three from home.

But penultimate competitor and former world no. 1, Schwizer, who has been rocketing back up the rankings in recent months, found an even tighter line with his 10-year-old gelding Cortney Cox, and galloped through the timers in 33.34 seconds which looked to have surely settled the matter.

However, when it comes to the will to win, there’s no man quite like von Eckermann. Setting his jaw, he started out like his tail was on fire, and the great 13-year-old mare who has carried him to the third step of the podium at the last two Longines Finals gave him her all. Konickx had ensured that courage on the long run to the final fence would be rewarded, and with the Dutch spectators screaming them on, the Swedish pair threw everything they had at it to break the beam in the astonishing winning time of 33.01.

“I could hear the crowd coming down to the last, so I had to tell myself to stay calm! Mary Lou was lacking a bit of power at that stage so I needed to hold her and not go too much, but she is amazing!” he said.

“She has made me in this sport – I’ve had many good ones along the way, including Gotha, but she is the one that has won the most for me and I’m so very grateful to her owner, Mr Tovek, who has given me the opportunities by keeping a horse like her!” — Henrik von Eckermann (SWE)

With Mary Lou he also helped secure team silver for Sweden at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 last September.

As competition began, von Eckermann was lying 19th on the Western European League table, but he has now rocketed up to seventh ahead of the last qualifier in Bordeaux (FRA) in two weeks’ time. He’s missed out on the glorious Longines title by the smallest of margins over the last two seasons, and he’s hungry to try for it again when the 2019 Final kicks off in Gothenburg on 3 April.

“The way to the Final this year has been very stoney, but getting there was my biggest goal for the year. I’ve had two great Finals with Mary Lou before, and I’m so happy to be coming home to my own country to fight for it once again!” the Swedish star said.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

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