Tag Archives: FEI

Zazou Hoffman Earns Electrifying First Longines Win in Del Mar

Zazou Hoffmann (USA) with Samson II. (FEI/ Lindsey Long)

When Zazou Hoffman (USA) was asked whether the Longines watch that sat before her was her first, her initial response was a dead giveaway: “I get to keep the watch?”

Hoffman, 26, topped the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Del Mar with Samson II, besting a compact yet furiously competitive jump-off field of four. Jumping cleanly over Marina Azevdeo’s (BRA) jump-off track, the duo crossed the timers in 41.68 seconds. Olympians Eduardo Menezes (BRA) and Quintol finished second as the leadoff pair (42.64), while Georgina Bloomberg (USA) and Chameur (44.73) were third. Last to go, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) and Akuna Mattata posted the winning time (41.15) but fell to fourth after they pulled the rail at the final fence.

“Tonight was super exciting for me. I have a lot of amazing things to say about my horse and how lucky I am to have him. In the jump-off, he was incredible! Everything came up kind of just by moving forward.” — Zazou Hoffman (USA)

Clear rounds were hard to come by in the first round. In fact, the first faultless performance did not come until Menezes and Quintol jumped at 22nd in the order. The pair, veterans of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, used their experience to their advantage and put the pressure on when first to go in the jump-off, and Hoffman formulated her plan based off their smooth execution. She followed up Menezes’ round with a confident, flowing ride of her own, which was highlighted by a tidy turn back to the jump-off’s third fence and a bold, time-shaving angle to the wall that came two fences later.

“I think I based my plan off of watching Eduardo,” she said. “I hadn’t really considered how fast or not I was going to go. After watching him, I realized I was going to have to be quite quick. I’ve ridden a lot of jump-offs this year on Samson with 4 faults, and I know that I can trust him and go fast, but it’s just that fine line of risking too much. I did one extra stride than Eduardo to first line, and then my turn backs were quite tight. I took a little bit of a risk to the wall, and that’s where I think I saved a little bit of time.”

Commuting Coasts

After earning 12 points in Vancouver, Hoffman skyrocketed to the top of the west coast sub league standings of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League with her win under the lights in Del Mar; she has 32 points through three legs. Eve Jobs (USA) sits second with 31 points, and Uma O’Neill (USA), winner of Vancouver’s qualifier, is third with 24 points.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, moved into second in the east coast sub league standings. She has 28 points, one behind leader Molly Ashe Cawley (USA), who won New York’s qualifier. Bloomberg is six points ahead of Mattias Tromp (USA), who sits in third with 22 points.

Bloomberg, a New York native, migrated west specifically for the World Cup competition.

“I had shown out here a couple years ago, and I’ve loved being out here,” she said. “It’s fun to be in a different environment with different people and a great crowd. We always jump at the opportunity to come out here and show, but part of it is also that my goal is really to qualify for World Cup Finals now that I have the right horse.”

The North American League continues in Washington, D.C. (USA), on 27 October 2018.

Click here to watch Zazou Hoffman’s winning round.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Lindelöw Scorches to Victory at Opening Leg in Oslo

Sweden’s Douglas Lindelöw and Zacramento. (FEI/Satu Pirinen)

It takes courage to give it everything you’ve got, and Sweden’s Douglas Lindelöw (27) and his brilliant bay gelding Zacramento threw down a really courageous performance to win the first leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League in Oslo, Norway.

Fourth to go in the 12-horse jump-off, and followed by many of the world’s best, they posted a formidable target that proved way too fast for the rest. When he was told afterwards that he’d been very brave after stopping the timers in 44.67 seconds, the Swedish star laughed and replied, “I thought so too!” He’d just pinned Rio 2016 Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut (37) from France into runner-up spot and Australian star Edwina Tops-Alexander (44) into third, so he had every reason to be happy.

There were seven double-clear rounds, with Italy’s Luca Moneta (Connery) and Michael Cristofoletti (Belony) slotting into fourth and fifth places ahead of Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher (Twenty Clary) in sixth and Ireland’s Denis Lynch (The Sinner) claiming seventh spot.

Lindelöw knew he was in with a big chance at this opening round of the 13-leg series.

“Zacramento has been in really good shape since finishing second in the Grand Prix in Brussels last month, so I came here with a great feeling and from the first day I believed we could give it a go!” — Douglas Lindelöw (SWE)

A total of 38 horse-and-rider combinations from 16 countries arrived at the Telenor Arena in the Norwegian capital city with the same goal of picking up some precious early qualifying points for the Final which, in this 41st season, returns to where it all began in Gothenburg (SWE) next April. That’s Lindelöw’s big target right now.

“I am based in the south of Sweden so of course I want to get to Gothenburg!” said the rider who was a member of Sweden’s silver-medal-winning team at the FEI European Championships last year, and who has an impressive record at Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals. He finished eighth with his former ride, Casello, in Las Vegas (USA) in 2015 and 11th with Zacramento at the Final in Paris (FRA) earlier this year.

It was Italy’s Michael Cristofoletti (Belony) who set the target at 46.70 seconds when second to go in the jump-off, but Lindelöw shaved more than two seconds off that with a fearless run from his 13-year-old Swedish-bred horse. Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Legend of Love) and Italy’s Alberto Zorzi (Contanga) were quicker, but both left a fence on the floor, and it was last man in, Kevin Staut, with Silver Deux de Virton HDC who came closest to Lindelöw’s time as he crossed the line in 45.51 seconds.

The Frenchman complimented Norwegian course designers Terje Olsen-Nalum and Anders Hafskjold.

“It was fair for the first indoor of the season, there were not too many clears and it was a great competition.” — Kevin Staut (FRA)

He also pointed out that they made the right decision when sticking with the time-allowed they had set before the action began, even though even though some of the early starters picked up time faults. “The time was exactly as it should be, and it was good they didn’t change it at the start,” Staut said.

Lindelöw’s next plan is to collect some more qualifying points at the third leg of the Western European League in Verona (ITA) in two weeks’ time. Before that, however, there will be another afternoon of edge-of-the-seat excitement when the series visits Helsinki (FIN) next Sunday.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Giacomo Casadei Claims Individual Gold in Fantastic Five Way Jump Off

Giacomo Casadei (ITA) with his mount Darna Z (FEI / Liz Gregg)

A day of fantastic sport capped off the equestrian events of the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 with a last decisive dash for the individual medals in a five-way jump off.

Having produced clears all week, Giacomo Casadei (ITA) sailed through the six fences of the jump off and did so at an impressive pace to claim gold, followed by UAE’s Omar Almarzooqi and La Corina Lala producing the only other clear of the jump off in silver. The bronze went to Pedro Espinosa from Honduras riding Llavaneras Genquina who was quickest of them all, but picked up four faults on his way around.

Five-way jump-off

USA’s Mattie Hatcher was first to enter the arena for the jump-off, as she set out an impressive pace with her mare Santa Rosa Valery but knocked two fences along the way. Next into the arena was the UAE’s Omar Almarzooqi, who successfully produced the first clear at a very reasonable pace of 34.37s to pick up silver, followed by Italy’s Giacomo Casadei, who went and produced the second and final clear round of the jump-off beating Almarzooqi’s time by nearly three seconds at 31.79. The pressure was on for Argentina’s home-grown hero Richard Kierkegaard as he entered the arena to huge acclaim, and under pressure to secure a clear and fast round. It was unfortunately not to be for the local hero, with a refusal and two fences down, but the crowds nonetheless gave him a standing ovation as he exited the arena, knowing they would see him again soon. Last to enter the arena, team gold medallist Pedro Espinosa gave it all he had, producing the fastest round but knocking one rail down and picking up four faults to claim the bronze.

Click here to view the final results.

About the new Youth Olympic Games gold medallist

When speaking to Giacomo via an interpreter, he explained that he did not expect to win at all, and it was clearly the highlight of his equestrian career so far. Having won team silver and individual gold, he clearly exceeded all his expectations. From an equestrian family, Giacomo lives in Bologna, Italy and started riding at four years of age under the watchful eye of his father who is a riding instructor. Before the Youth Olympic Games competitions began, we asked Giacomo what his strengths were, and he said “against the clock competitions,” which clearly is true, and he went on to say he sincerely hoped one day to compete at the senior “Olympic Games,” so Giacomo Casadei is one to watch.

National champions

Both UAE’s Omar Almarzooqi with his individual silver and Pedro Espinosa from Honduras with his team gold and individual bronze are currently the sole medallists for their nations at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.

They have also secured the first ever equestrian medals at the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games.

Click here to view video highlights throughout the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.

For more information, go to: www.buenosaires2018.com.

FEI Media Contact:

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

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Historic Gold for Team North America at Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018

USA’s Mattie Hatcher on Santa Rosa Valery. (FEI / Liz Gregg)

Round 2 of the equestrian team competitions at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 had everyone on the edge of their seats, as Team North America and Team Europe battled for the gold medal in a nail-biting jump off, whilst Team Africa settled for the bronze.  Full results can be found here.

Victory was no easy feat, with both teams fighting and producing the three clear rounds, which would count towards their final score of 0. It was all down to the speed with which the five riders from each team tackled the jump-off course. Both teams showed tremendous calm under pressure, but at the end of the day Team North America made the difference with some very speedy and precise performances, relegating Team Europe into a very respectable second place.

The five nations making up the North American team – Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and USA – were clearly over the moon. On the one hand, they had won gold, and on the other, this was the first time North America claimed the team gold following consecutive wins from Team Europe in 2010 and 2014. For Haiti and Honduras, this was their very first gold medal ever won at Olympic and Youth Olympic level across all sports since the reinstatement of the modern Olympic Games in 1896!

For USA’s Mattie Hatcher, the YOG experience so far is second to none with her horse Santa Rosa Valery delivering everything and more:

“Well you know we only had 4 days (to get to know each other) but it went really well. She was easy to click with and she was so willing with everything, so great.”

In silver medal position, and literally seconds behind Team North America, the all-male Team Europe put on a great performance. For Great Britain’s Jack Whitaker, who was also celebrating his 17th birthday, this silver medal came 34 years after his father Michael Whitaker won team silver at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games alongside his uncle John Whitaker. A family affair which clearly keeps on giving.

Team Africa was delighted with their bronze medal on 1 penalty point. Chance would have it that Zimbabwe’s Youth Olympic Games Young Change Maker Yara Hansen was nominated to hand out the gifts to the bronze medal winning team. Yara had been in their very shoes eight years prior, when Team Africa had won the equestrian bronze team medal at the Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010.

All in all, it was a wonderful day of sport: exciting, full of suspense, and impressive! But beyond the sport in the field, what was truly remarkable was the team spirit around the field. The teams – which are made up of five separate nations brought together by the pure coincidence of qualification and geography – have clearly bonded. Athletes, coaches, parents, and all the accompanying persons have built relationships in a matter of days. Everybody has come together for a unique experience and unique Games here in Buenos Aires.

For more information, go to: www.buenosaires2018.com.

FEI Media Contact:

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

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Eugenio Garza Perez Soars, Taking Longines Victory at Columbus

Peter Lutz, Eugenio Garza Perez & Kelly Cruciotti. (FEI/Winslow Photography)

A victory in the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Columbus stamped the 10-year-old Zangersheide Victer Finn Dh Z as a horse to watch this season on the North American League.

Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) rode the bay gelding to the top of the podium in the horse’s World Cup qualifying debut. After missing nearly a year of competition while recovering from injury, Victer Finn Dh Z showed off his ability — and his fitness — by topping a jump-off field of 10. The pair crossed the timers in 41.33 seconds, less than two-tenths of a second faster than Peter Lutz (USA) and Robin du Ponthual (41.49 seconds), veterans of the 2016 World Cup Finals. Kelli Cruciotti (USA) and Chamonix H (42.65 seconds) finished third.

“That was an amazing course and a fun jump-off,” Garza Perez said. “With the horses and riders that were in the jump-off, you knew it was going to be fast. We definitely went in there with the plan of trying to be as fast as possible and playing to the strengths of my horse. He’s a naturally fast horse and covers a lot of ground, and it worked out our favor, which is amazing.”

Alan Wade (IRL) set the track for the newest leg on the North American League, which saw 39 combinations compete. The field featured four veterans from the 2018 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Paris (FRA), including Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, Charlie Jacobs and Cassinja S, Alison Robitaille and Ace, and current World Cup champions Beezie Madden and Breitling LS.

“It’s for sure [a highlight],” Garza Perez said. “[Victer Finn Dh Z] is 10 years old, but he’s not that experienced. He took a while off. He came out [today] as good as ever. It was amazing. I really didn’t expect that result, but I’ll take it!”

Maintaining Momentum

After recording her first World Cup victory in New York with D’Arnita, Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) solidified her place atop the east coast sub league standings of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League with an eighth place finish in Columbus aboard another mount, Cat Ballou. She boasts 29 points. Mattias Tromp (USA), who finished third in New York, also proved his consistency, finishing 10th in Columbus and securing second in the standings with 22. Sacramento’s World Cup winner, Wilhelm Genn (GER), sits third with 20 points.

Eve Jobs (USA), who finished fourth in Columbus, is declared on the west coast, and she now leads those standings with 24 points, ahead of Karrie Rufer (21 points). Garza Perez has moved into a joint third with Uma O’Neill, who won in Vancouver. They each have 20 points.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Belgium’s “Never Give Up Team” Beats Them All in Barcelona

Team Belgium showering their Chef d’Equipe, Peter Weinberg, in a champagne celebration after winning the FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2018. (FEI/Jim Hollander)

French second and Ireland third in super-tight finish

Belgium won through on the tense and thrilling final afternoon of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2018 at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP). With all eight nations that qualified from Friday night’s first round starting again on a zero scoreline, and just one more round of jumping to decide the new champions, it was a roller-coaster ride over a big, challenging track set by Spanish course designer Santiago Varela. And in the best sporting tradition, it was impossible to guess the outcome until the very end.

Like so many of the other teams, the Belgians had mixed fortunes, Niels Bruynseels kicking off with a superb clear from Gancia de Muze, but both Pieter Devos (Claire Z) and Jos Verlooy (Caracas) each leaving three fences on the floor. However, last man in, Nicola Philippaerts, kept a cool head to bring H&M Harley v. Bisschop home with a foot-perfect run that would prove plenty good enough to clinch it.

“We call ourselves the ‘Never Give Up Team’ because in the middle we had two with 12 faults already but still we were fighting to the last rider, so this victory means a lot to us!” — Peter Weinberg (Chef d’Equipe, Team Belgium)

It seemed to have fallen into the lap of the Italians in the closing stages, as a clear from their anchor rider and last man into the ring, Lorenzo de Luca (Ensor de Litrange), would see them complete on eight faults to win it. But Varela’s extraordinary track was one that had to be ridden with absolute precision, and when, like so many before him, it unravelled for the Italian on the final line, his team completed on a total of 16. And because their combined times were slower than the French and Irish, this dropped them into fourth place ahead of the Dutch when all four teams finished on a 16-fault tally. Sweden and Austria slotted into sixth and seventh places when both posting 20-fault finishing scores and Switzerland lined up eighth and last when putting 32 on the scoreboard.

It’s no surprise that Varela has been selected as course designer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The track was a masterpiece that questioned control, balance, judgement, and skill every inch of the way. As Varela pointed out, it wasn’t about the number of faults the riders collected. “A score of 8 or 12 didn’t mean they had a bad round; horses jumped unbelievably, but the course was difficult, tough and big… and everything was connected,” he explained. That was borne out by the number of riders who lost out over the last four fences where an oxer to a vertical could be tackled on a five long or six short strides, but where an error of judgement often led to mistakes at the penultimate double and final oxer.

In the end the Belgians were the only side that managed to produce two clear rounds – “and two clear rounds today was a super result!” Varela said.

Bruynseels was asked if he had a plan when setting off with Gancia de Muze to produce the first clear round of the competition. Bur apparently, he doesn’t really “do” planning with his brilliant but quirky 12-year-old mare.

“I have a little bit of a special horse, so she’s not like all the others. She has really a lot of temperament so I have to do my course and my round. So I don’t mind going first and I don’t have to see the other horses, because we always have a different plan!” — Niels Bruynseels (Team Belgium)

Philippaerts said his team-mates told him “everything is still possible” when he was last to go. “I just tried to ride my own class and it worked out well – today it was me that could make the clear round that would make a difference, and another time it will be one of the others,” he said. And he had even more reason to be pleased when sharing the €100,000 bonus for double-clear performances with team-mate Bruynseels, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, and Italy’s new star, Riccardo Pisani.

This was Belgium’s second time to claim the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping title in Barcelona, their last in 2015. As Chef d’Equipe Weinberg said, “It was an interesting day, first ups and then in between downs, but in the end, we won anyway so it was really great sport!”

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Wilhelm Genn Puts On a Show in Sacramento to Notch First Longines Victory

Wilhelm Genn (GER) with his mount Bugatti. (FEI/McCool Photos)

Less than three hours from the city of Columbus, which hosted its first ever Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier this weekend, is German rider Wilhelm Genn’s Rheinland Farm. Genn wasn’t there but found himself on top in the World Cup competition, more than 2,400 miles away.

Genn (GER) and his mount Bugatti topped a nine-horse jump-off to win the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento, their first victory in a World Cup event. With a clear jump-off in 36.88 seconds, the duo topped Karrie Rufer (USA) and Georgie d’Auvray EC (37.31 seconds) by just under a half-second. Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou finished third, crossing the timers with a clean round in 38.47 seconds.

“I was hoping I got a chance to run for it today, and it worked out. Bugatti likes the footing, and he likes the crowd — it gets him a little excited, and that makes him better, because normally he’s a very lazy horse. It all kind of played a little bit in my favor.” — Wilhelm Genn (Germany)

The stands were packed to capacity Saturday night at the Murieta Equestrian Center as 25 combinations lined up to take on Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s (GER) 1.60m course. The first clear round did not come until the 14th horse in the order, but eight others quickly followed suit.

“My horse felt great,” Genn said. “I like to plan things, so before we came here, we showed in Kentucky, because they have a grand prix Friday night under the nights [indoors]. That was our warm-up, and we jumped very well there, so I felt pretty confident.”

Genn had not originally planned to compete on the west coast, but when his son Theo, who also jumped Saturday night with Taylor Reid’s Boucanier, elected to make the journey, he decided to join him. The decision proved to pay off in spades.

“I really came here for my son,” Genn said. “And then I thought, ‘I’ll bring my two horses.’”

Two New Leaders

New names sit atop the standings in both the east and west coast sub leagues of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League. Genn, who is declared on the east coast, now leads those standings. He is tied at the top with Molly Ashe Cawley (USA), who earned her first Longines victory in New York. Both have 20 points.

Rufer may have finished second in Sacramento, but she also ended the night a winner, going to the top of the west coast standings with 21 points. She earned 17 points for her runner-up finish, combined with the four points she received in at Vancouver (CAN) in August, the first qualifier of the 2018-2019 season.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Team Germany Clinches the Challenge Cup

Marcus Ehning riding Comme Il Faut. (FEI/Jim Hollander)

USA finishes second ahead of Brazil in third 

Marcus Ehning was the hero of the hour when clinching the Challenge Cup for Germany at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final 2018 in Barcelona (ESP) riding Comme Il Faut. Team-mate Philipp Weishaupt produced a foot-perfect pathfinding run from the lovely mare Asathir, but when Hans-Dieter Dreher left two fences on the floor with Berlinda and youngest team member Maurice Tebbel had a fence down and a time fault with Chacco’s Son, then all the pressure was piled on Ehning’s shoulders. He knew exactly what he had to do because he’s done it so many times before.

“I had to go clear to win the class. This last 20 years I’ve been doing the sport I’m used to the pressure. Especially this year I had a few rounds where I had to be clear and I was lucky I was clear, but I hope that will change and that in future years the pressure is on someone else!” — Marcus Ehning (Team Germany)

Of the seven competing nations there were two with just three team-members, Canada who started out that way in the first round of the Final and USA whose numbers were reduced when Jessica Springsteen and RMF Zecilie were a late withdrawal. But Alex Granato really rose to the occasion by steering Carlchen W through a foot-perfect round. So when all the US had to count was a double-error from Andy Kocher and Kahlua and a single time fault from Lucy Deslauriers with Hester, then their nine-fault total was good enough for runner-up spot.

That time fault was costly, however, because Deslauriers was the last of the five riders chasing down a €50,000 bonus on offer to anyone producing clear rounds. If she had been just that little bit faster, she would have had it all to herself.

Brazil lined up third on 10 faults ahead of Spain with 15, Canada with 16, Great Britain with 20, and the United Arab Emirates on a big score of 40 faults.

The Germans had mixed feelings about their success. The competition was open to the teams that did not qualify in the first round for the top-eight Final. Philipp Weishaupt said it was tough to miss the cut by such a narrow margin when time was taken into account after four teams completed with an eight-fault scoreline. “We missed out by less than a second, and it wasn’t so easy to keep the motivation up today. We put our breeches on in the hotel and came out to jump tonight but all the other teams had their jeans on. But we knew we had to do it and we knew we had to try our best,” he added.

Ehning, who along with Tebbel was a member of the German team that claimed bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA two weeks ago when their team-mate, Simone Blum, also took the individual title with the lovely mare DSP Alice, is one of the world’s most admired horsemen. He had the crowd spell-bound as he cruised at high speed around the track to bring glory to his country once again.

When asked how he prepared to go into such a pressure round, he explained that Comme Il Faut had been jumping too high in the practice arena, so he schooled him over small fences to get him to jump lower which would allow them to take on the course at greater speed.

“Especially at the first fence I wanted him to be fast. The time was a bit tight… but if you can flow with him then you just have to follow him and he makes it very easy for the rider; he’s a very clever horse!” — Marcus Ehning (Team Germany)

Meanwhile, his Chef d’Equipe described the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series as “the biggest thing we have in our sport! All of our different stakeholders are fighting for it: the breeders, supporters, owners, the riders, the Chefs’ d’Equipe, the Federations, everybody. It’s something special to be in a team, to fight with a team, to lose or win together for your country. I love this!” Otto Becker said.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Vote Today for Your Equestrian Heroes in the FEI Awards 2018

The public vote for the FEI Awards 2018 is now open! For a second consecutive year the public gets to vote and celebrate its equestrian heroes following publication of the shortlisted nominees.

A record of outstanding achievements on the field of play, horsemanship, commitment and behind-the-scenes dedication are just some of the qualities of the 20 nominees selected across the five categories.

The shortlisted nominees for the FEI Awards 2018 are:

Longines Rising Star – for the young stars aged 14 to 21 who demonstrate outstanding sporting talent and commitment.

  • Felix Koller (AUT), Jumping
  • Esmee Donkers (NED), Dressage
  • Victor Levecque (FRA), Eventing
  • Bunty Howard (ZAM), Jumping

Best Athlete – paying tribute to some incredible performances during the year, notably at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 and the Asian Games, which took the sport to a new level.

  • Simone Blum (GER), Jumping
  • Yoshiaki Oiwa (JPN), Eventing
  • Lambert Leclezio (FRA), Vaulting
  • Stinna Kaastrup (DEN), Para Dressage

Best Groom – for the behind-the-scenes hero who ensures the horses he or she looks after are given the best possible care.

  • Lucy Miles (NZL), Eventing, groom for Jonelle and Tim Price
  • Alex Tyler-Morris (GBR), Jumping, groom for Harrie Smolders
  • Lee McKeever (USA), Jumping, groom for McLain Ward
  • Steffi Wiegard (GER), Dressage, head groom for Isabell Werth

Against All Odds – for an inspiring individual who has pursued their equestrian ambitions and overcome challenges and obstacles along the way.

  • Sammie Fritz (USA), Dressage
  • Leila Malki (PLE), Jumping
  • Sara Morganti (ITA), Para Dressage
  • Kate Shoemaker (USA), Para Dressage

FEI Solidarity – for an FEI Solidarity or equestrian development project, an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication and energy in expanding the sport.

  • Julie Battams and Equine Pathways (AUS)
  • The Horsemanship charity programme (CHN)
  • Riders of Hope (BIH)
  • Mercedes Campdera (MEX)

Make sure you have your say and vote here!

The online public vote will be open from 5 to 15 October and will count for 50%, with a panel of expert judges deciding the remaining 50%.

The winners will be announced at the FEI Awards 2018 Gala presented by Longines in Manama, Bahrain on 20 November. Presenters on the night of this prestigious ceremony will be five-time Paralympic gold medallist Natasha Baker (GBR) and young Dressage star Juan Matute Guimón (ESP). “I am beyond excited and honoured to have been asked to host the awards with Juan!” Natasha Baker said. “I can’t wait to meet all of the deserving award winners and hear their stories and celebrate our fantastic sport.”

Vote for your equestrian heroes and stay tuned to learn everything about the FEI Awards 2018 on fei.org.

FEI Media Contact:

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

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Italy and Austria Top Thrilling First Round, but Sunday’s Decider Will Be Whole New Ball Game

Julia Houtzager-Kayser and Sterrehof’s Cayetano Z. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

“We won already!” said Austrian Chef d’Equipe Marcus Wallishauser after his team shared top spot with Italy at the end of the first round of competition at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2018 at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain. But there’s still a long way to go before the new champions are crowned on Sunday afternoon when the top eight teams return to the arena for the second and deciding round.

The Austrians and Italians collected just a single time fault each, and with just four faults apiece Sweden, Belgium, and The Netherlands have also made the cut along with the Irish who picked up five faults. But it came down to the combined times of team riders to separate the Swiss, French, Germans, and Americans when they all completed with eight faults on the board.

And when the calculations were done it was the Swiss and French who were signed up for Sunday afternoon, while the Germans and Americans will join Canada, Great Britain, Brazil, the UAE and host nation of Spain in the Challenge Cup for those that didn’t make it.

Wallishauser’s team booked their tickets to Barcelona when winning the Europe Division 2 qualifier in Budapest (HUN), but they were not hot favourites even though that victory in August was a convincing one when they trounced the opposition with a zero score.

“For us to be in the final is already perfect – now we just need to focus like we did today and let’s see what we can do!” said the Austrian team manager who is hoping that Roland Englebrecht (Chambery), Julia Houtzager-Kayser (Sterrehof’s Cayetano Z), Felix Koller (Captain future 3), and Max Kuhner (PSG Final) can continue this run of great form.

But as Italian anchorman, Lorenzo de Luca, pointed out, the next challenge from Spanish course designer Santiago Varela is going to be considerably more testing.

“There’s still a big day ahead – Sunday is going to be huge!” — Lorenzo de Luca (Team Italy)

He picked up four faults with Ensor de Litrange but was under absolutely no pressure when last to go because team-mates Luca Marziani (Tokyo du Soleil) and Riccardo Pisani (Chaclot) had both jumped clear while Bruno Chimirri (Tower Mouche) clocked up just a single time fault. So that was all they would have to put on the board when the best three scores were taken into account.

“It was a very good night for Italy; my team all jumped great so I didn’t have to jump but I decided to bring my horse in to let him see the fences. We are going to celebrate tonight but we will still be focused for Sunday, I promise you!” de Luca added.

In stark contrast to the Italian rider, Irish anchorman Darragh Kenny had no room for error when he came into the ring. With five faults already on the board, another four would leave his team well outside the qualifying zone, but he kept a cool head to steer Balou du Reventon through the finish with nothing to add. “Our goal was to get into Sunday; that was the most important thing for us so we were very happy we did that. We have a great team and we’re all working really well together so I think we should do well. We’ll go out there trying to do our best and see what happens, that’s for sure!” he said.

By Louise Parkes

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