Tag Archives: FEI

Endurance Temporary Committee Holds First In-Person Meeting at FEI HQ

Lausanne (SUI), 12 December 2018 – The Temporary Committee, established by the FEI Board in October to urgently review the Endurance rules in order to address the issues currently affecting the discipline, held its first in-person meeting at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI).

Dr Sarah Coombs (GBR), who chairs the Temporary Committee, said after the meeting: “Today’s meeting generated really strong and productive debate and, together with input from a broad spectrum of stakeholders, we have already drawn up a list of our key focus areas. Your voices are being heard. We are under no illusions about the challenges of the task ahead, but the future of the discipline is under the spotlight and we will do whatever is necessary to rebuild the trust of our community and restore the image of a discipline that has every right to remain a part of the FEI, provided the rules are adhered to and enforced to ensure that our horses are protected and cheating is stamped out.”

The Temporary Committee has already received a huge amount of feedback from the Endurance Community on a number of key areas, including:

  • Increased testing of horses for prohibited substances;
  • Increased sanctions for horse abuse;
  • Review of speeds;
  • Reassessment of rules on mandatory rest periods;
  • Redefinition of elimination codes (particularly Catastrophic Injury);
  • Elite athlete status and “jockey riders”;
  • Qualifications, including qualification as a combination;
  • Increased completion percentage before allowing upgrade to next level;
  • Reinstate and redefine two-hour invasive treatment rule;
  • Hyposensitivity screening (the use of the FEI Hyposensitivity Control System (HCS) was voted in at last month’s FEI General Assembly for implementation in 2019);
  • Heart rates and presentation times at Vet Gate;
  • Definition of and registration of trainers;
  • Over-training/over-competing;
  • Mandatory medication logbook and out of competition testing;
  • Extended provisional suspension for horses testing positive to Banned Substances
  • Course design
  • Tack and equipment
  • Crewing numbers

This first meeting also provided the Temporary Committee with the opportunity to establish the methodology it will use to fulfil its remit to carry out an in-depth review of the rules that will bring the discipline back to its original roots of Endurance riding as opposed to Endurance racing, with horse welfare and horsemanship at its core, while still maintaining the competitive aspect of the sport. The Temporary Committee also agreed a consultation process that will involve further liaison with stakeholders to avail of their expertise and in-depth knowledge of the discipline.

In addition to the chair Dr Coombs, the other members of the Temporary Committee are Endurance athlete and member of the FEI Athletes’ Committee Tarek Taher (KSA), chef d’équipe of the Dutch Endurance team Pieter Wiersinga (NED), FEI Veterinary Committee member Dr Tim Parkin (GBR), who heads up the scientific research conducted at the University of Glasgow as part of the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study (GEIS), and Valerie Kanavy, a former member of the FEI Athletes’ Committee and the Athletes’ Representative on the Endurance Committee (2014-2018).

FEI Vice President Mark Samuel (CAN) joined the meeting and will facilitate communications between the Temporary Committee and the FEI Board. The FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, FEI Endurance Director Manuel Bandeira De Mello, FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström, and other FEI staff members also attended the meeting.

The Temporary Committee will hold its next in-person meeting on 15 January 2019 and there will be a dedicated Endurance session at the FEI Sports Forum 2019 (15-16 April) during which the Temporary Committee will provide an update to delegates.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

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

Tops-Alexander Makes It a Back-to-Back Double at La Coruña

Edwina Tops-Alexander with Vinchester. (FEI/ Manuel Queimadelos/Oxer Sport)

“Pretty amazing!” was how Australia’s Edwina Tops-Alexander (44) described her victory in the seventh leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League series in La Coruña, Spain.

For the second consecutive year she out-paced all her rivals to head the line-up at the Casas Novas Equestrian Centre where the packed stadium of spectators enjoyed a thrilling 10-horse jump-off that held them on the edges of their seats to the very end. Last year she came out on top at the same venue with the mare, California, who was just 10 years old at the time. But what made her success all the more spectacular was the fact that she was partnering a nine-year-old stallion called Vinchester who was jumping the biggest track of his entire career.

“I never would have believed that this would happen – he only jumped 1.50m for the first time earlier this week and today was his first 1.60m! If you told me he’d have a few down I wouldn’t have been surprised, so I’m a little bit taken aback!” — Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS)

Runner-up spot went to another nine-year-old, Chalou, ridden by Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano (32) while German legend, Ludger Beerbaum (55), slotted into third with his new ride Cool Feeling.

It was Beerbaum’s compatriot Christian Kukuk who set the target over Javier Trenor’s jump-off track, bringing the handsome stallion Colestus home with a smooth run in 46.85 seconds when first to go. Next in, Sweden’s Irma Karlsson looked set to seriously improve on that, but her quick 10-year-old mare Ida van de Bischop misunderstood the instructions on the approach to the remaining two elements of the triple combination and ran past the second element to put paid to their chances.

Faster rounds were then posted by Frenchman Olivier Robert (Tempo de Paban) and Belgium’s Jos Verlooy (Igor), and when both Helsinki winner Gudrun Patteet (Sea Coast Pebbles Z) and The Netherlands’ Leopold van Asten (VDL Groep Beauty) left a fence on the floor, then it was Verlooy’s 44.24 seconds that Tops-Alexander was chasing. And despite her horse’s inexperience, she set off like a rocket to produce a cracking round that demonstrated the extraordinary courage and ability of her young mount, shaving almost a full two seconds off the target time when clearing the line in 42.26 seconds.

Gaudiano gave it his best shot when breaking the beam in 43.01 with the enigmatic Chalou, whose toe-stretching jumping technique sets him apart from the rest, and when Austria’s Max Kuehner and Chardonnay hit the second fence. then only Beerbaum could steal Tops-Alexander’s thunder. The German giant has only been riding the 10-year-old gelding Cool Feeling, formerly competed by Canada’s Ben Asselin, since September, but the man who has taken four gold medals from seven Olympic Games and who has lined out in 21 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals should never be under-estimated. Beerbaum looked well in touch all the way to the final line where a check saw him stop the clock on 43.26 seconds for third place and a considerable improvement up to 15th spot on the current standings.

This win has boosted Tops-Alexander, who also collected points at the opening leg in Oslo (NOR), to joint-fifth spot and, with 35 points, she is within easy reach of a qualifying place for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April. She’s planning to go to the next leg at Olympia, London (GBR) in two weeks’ time and to Basel in Switzerland where the Western European League will resume on 13 January.

In London her fans will get to see the amazing Vinchester whom she only started riding in August. “He was previously competed by a young French rider called Arthur Le Vot who I never met!” she explained. “He’s a horse with a lot of blood and a great mind; he wants to do everything for me and he’s very sure of himself – he’s great!”

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Werndl Secures Spectacular Win in Salzburg

Benny Werndl with Daily Mirror. (FEI/ Lukasz Kowalski)

Germany’s Benjamin Werndl (34) threw his hat into the ring for a place at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final next April when producing a spectacular victory with Daily Mirror at the fifth leg of the 2018/2019 Western European League in Salzburg, Austria.

The pair’s performance wasn’t perfect, with a few glitches along the way, but the best bits weren’t just good – they were breathtaking. And with only three riders from each nation allowed into the Final, Werndl is putting intense pressure on his German counterparts for one of those slots after moving to the top of the leaderboard alongside compatriot Dorothee Schneider.

It was Sweden’s Patrik Kittel (42) who lined up second with Delatio while Schneider slotted into third with Faustus on a day when all of the leading partnerships really stepped it up to another level. Werndl was almost speechless with delight after topping both Grand Prix and Freestyle.

“This horse is a gift… I’m having an unbelievable trip with him; he’s developed so much over the last few months and I can’t find the right words to describe how much it means to me!” — Benjamin Werndl (GER)

Werndl, whose sister Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was on the gold medal winning team at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) 2018 in September, was already lying second on the league table, following his win in Budapest (HUN) in September and points collected for fifth place at both the WEL opening leg in Herning (DEN) in October and the third leg in Stuttgart (GER) last month. It’s been a strong and steady progression, and it was clear that there’s a lot more to come from Daily Mirror despite the fact that the gelding son of Damon Hill is 14 years old.

“There’s so much more potential in this horse, and now my job is to find out how to bring it out!” said the rider who was on the German long-list for the WEG. “He had a break of two years before he came to us a couple of years ago, so he still feels a bit like a young horse building up experience, and I really wasn’t expecting him to be so cool in this arena today – he’s just the perfect gentleman!” Werndl added.

He was eleventh to go of the 15 starters, and when his test kicked off with a double-pirouette followed by two-tempi changes and another double-pirouette on the centre line, then it was obvious he meant business. Daily Mirror’s ground-eating extended walk earned a 9 from four of the five judges as the daring duo marched to the first over-80% score of 80.790. And then he had to sit back and watch four more formidable contenders.

Australia’s Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil posted 79.330 before Patrik Kittel and his new ride Delatio, which was competed by Great Britain’s Emile Faurie until July of this year and was runner-up for the Swede on their World Cup debut in Lyon last month, put 80.010 on the board to slot into second spot. And that’s where they would remain despite a lovely performance from European and World team gold medallist Schneider and her super-exciting “Grand Prix baby,” the 10-year-old gelding Faustus who scored 79.730 for third place.

Now that he has the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2019 in his sights, Benny Werndl really wants to get there, but he knows the battle for one of the German slots is not yet over. “All the other ladies want to go there too, but at least now I have a good chance, and I’m hoping to get to another qualifier in either Amsterdam (NED) or Neumünster (GER) in the new year,” he said.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old Back to Top FEI Dressage World Rankings

Isabell Werth (GER) and Weihegold Old. (FEI/ Leanjo de Koster)

Olympic silver individual and gold team medallist duo, Isabell Werth and Weihegold Old, have topped the FEI Dressage World Rankings once again (2742 points), following their win in the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music at the Sweden International Horse Show (“Saab Top Ten Dressage 2018”) in Stockholm (SWE). The famous combination, who were number one for almost two years, from November 2016, only sat in second place for a couple of months behind Laura Graves and Verdades (USA). The American duo now drop back to second place again with 2714 points.

Dressage Queen Isabell Werth can be found three times in the top four of the ranking list, as she holds the third place with Bella Rose 2 (2690 points) and the fourth place with Emilio 107 (2658 points).

A number of other combinations moved up in the rankings, thanks to the Saab Top Ten Dressage 2018 and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ qualifier in Madrid (ESP) on 23-25 November 2018. Patrik Kittel with Delaunay Old (SWE) moved from the 97th to the 11th place (2280 points), whilst Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zepter (DEN) jumped from the 175th to the 33rd place (2030 points). Claudio Castilla Ruiz and Alcaide (ESP) also made an enormous leap from the 118th to the 43rd place (1923 points).

With the FEI Dressage World Cup™ season continuing over the next few months there will certainly be more impressive changes in the ranking list.

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

Ferrer-Salat Posts Definitive Victory as Madrid Makes Its Series Debut

Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Spanish dressage legend, Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (52), posted a definitive victory with Delgado when the FEI Dressage World Cup™ visited Madrid, Spain for the very first time. Host nation riders dominated at this fourth round of the 10-leg 2018/2019 Western European League series when Claudio Castilla Ruiz (35) finished second with Alcaide ahead of Portugal’s Maria Caetano (32) and Coroado in third.

Showing some lovely work with her 11-year-old Lusitano stallion, the Portuguese rider went to the top of the scoreboard with a mark of 77.655 when sixth to go of the 14 starters. And she stayed out in front despite the best efforts of 2016 FEI Dressage World Cup™ champion Hans Peter Minderhoud from The Netherlands when he posted 76.110 with Zinardi in the closing stages.

But Castilla Ruiz raised the temperature dramatically when next into the ring, starting out with one-handed one-tempi changes down the centre line that drew a gasp of amazement from the crowd. He smiled in delight as his impressive 13-year-old stallion showed great activity in his piaffe/passage, and when the Spanish showman completed his test with another display of one-handed control then the audience rose to their feet and roared with approval as he posted the new leading score of 78.915.

Ferrer-Salat’s style has always been more understated, but the level of excellence shown by this consummate horsewoman has brought her many great moments, including team silver and individual bronze at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with the wonderful Beauvalais and individual bronze at the FEI European Championships 2015 with Delgado.

At 17 years of age, the Westphalian gelding is now in the twilight of his career, but he showed he’s not finished yet when placing 13th in the Grand Prix Special at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA in September. And he rose to the occasion once again, working in complete harmony with his rider as he pumped out his trademark clockwork passage to post the winning score of 81.285 despite a single error in canter.

When the penultimate partnership of Great Britain’s Richard Davis and Bubblingh retired after the 12-year-old Dutch gelding reared in over-excitement at the start of their test, the Spanish rider could be seen walking Delgado on a long rein in the warm-up area as they prepared to enter the arena – cool as a pair of cucumbers.

“Before he does his test, I always let him walk so he can relax and breathe, and then he’s ready to perform. I talk with him a lot and it’s always a wonderful feeling with him; he trusts me and I trust him!” — Beatriz Ferrer-Salat (ESP)

She is thinking ahead to Delgado’s retirement – “sometime next year, depending on how he feels,” she said. And she has a “very nice nine-year-old” who she hopes will begin to follow in his footsteps at the beginning of next year.

But she was delighted that he performed so well in front of her home crowd once again. “Delgado is very fresh lately and willing to perform – he’s very much with me still and I’m very proud of him!” Ferrer-Salat said.

The FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League now moves on to Salzburg (AUT) in two weeks’ time.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Deusser Makes It a Double in Madrid

Daniel Deusser (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Germany’s Daniel Deusser (37) rocketed up to third on the Western European League leaderboard and booked his ticket to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April when posting his second win of the 2018/2019 qualifying season at Madrid in Spain. He topped the line-up with Calisto Blue in Verona, Italy last month, and in this sixth round of the 13-leg series he steered Tobago Z to the quickest time in a tension-filled 10-horse jump-off to take maximum points once again.

Runner-up was World No. 2, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36), who has now forged a significant lead on the league table, and third place went to Irma Karlsson (25), one of three Swedish riders to make it into the timed round.

Karlsson led the way against the clock with a beautifully-ridden, fast and accurate ride on the lovely 10-year-old mare Ida Bisschop to set a strong target in 48.28 seconds. But it was like watching a piece of precision engineering as Deusser’s handsome Zangersheide stallion shaved 1.55 seconds off that with effortless ease when fifth to go.

“We found a good rhythm from the first to the second, and it lasted to the very end of the course. Tobago is very careful and very scopey, and he’s not a hot horse so that really helps in the jump-off because he never rushes even when he’s under pressure – you get the same jump whether you are going fast or slow.” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

Having set the standard at 46.73 seconds, the 2014 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion then had to sit it out as the remaining five took their turn over Javier Trenor’s shortened track. Niels Bruynseels slotted in behind Karlsson when clear with his exciting nine-year-old Delux van T&L in 48.42, and when both his Belgian compatriot Pieter Devos (Claire Z), winner at last weekend’s leg in Stuttgart, and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou) left a pole on the floor, it was still all to play for with two left to run.

Guerdat looked well set to challenge for the lead with his 10-year-old mare Ulysse des Forets. However, a wider turn to the double three from home may have cost valuable fractions of seconds, so when the pair broke the beam in 47.12 then only the reigning European individual champion, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, stood between Deusser and his second success of the season.

Fredricson was fully focused as he set sail with H&M Christian K, but an unscheduled stop at the third fence put paid to his chances and when the pair completed with a total of 16 faults, they lined up in tenth place. Deusser, currently world no. 7, was really pleased with his horse’s performance.

“Tobago has developed very well this year. His first World Cup was in Bordeaux in February and he has done a few Grand Prix classes and is showing a lot of promise for the future,” he said. He intends taking either Tobago or Calisto Blue to Gothenburg – “You ride your best at the Final!”

With 40 points now on the board he looks set to be inside the top-18 who make the cut from the Western European League for the Longines 2019 Final, even though there are another seven legs left to go. Pieter Devos has 49 so is also well on his way, while double-champion Guerdat, who has collected points at all six legs to date while riding four different horses, is in full command at the top of the table with a big tally of 58.

The action stays in Spain for the next leg of the Western European League, with the port city of La Coruña in Galicia playing host next weekend.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

World Jumping Champion Simone Blum Takes Fosun Best Athlete at FEI Awards 2018

FEI Awards winners (L to R): Philip Wong (CHN), Lee McKeever (USA), Simone Blum (GER), Alex Hua Tian (CHN), FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibanez (SUI), Victor Levecque (FRA), FEI President Ingmar De Vos (BEL), Leila Malki (PLE), Juan Carlos Capelli Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, Natasha Baker (GBR), Juan Matute Guimon (ESP). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Manama (BRN), 20 November 2018 — Germany’s golden girl Simone Blum (29) has undoubtedly had the best year of her career to date, and she added another accolade to the list, taking home the Fosun Best Athlete Award at the FEI Awards 2018 presented by Longines in Manama (BRN).

Crowned individual world champion and winner of a team bronze medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (USA) in September, she became the first woman in the 28-year history of the Games and only the second female athlete in 65 years of the World Jumping championship to win individual gold.

“I am very proud to be the Fosun best athlete. I think it’s a dream of every rider,” Simone Blum said. “A lot of really good riders got it before and to the people I want to say thank you a lot; it was a pleasure for me and I have the best fans and supporters. Thank you.”

Hosts for the gala evening were five-time Paralympic gold medallist and multi world and European title holder, Natasha Baker (GBR), and Spain’s rising star, Juan Matute Guimon, FEI Dressage European Junior champion in 2015 and at 20, one of the youngest Dressage athletes at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018.

Presenting the winners of the five categories, in front of more than 300 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, National Federations, FEI partners and stakeholders, these awards celebrate outstanding achievements within the equestrian community, tapping into the sporting excellence and celebrating the champions, the unsung heroes and the incredible individuals and organisations backstage making it all happen.

Groom to four-time Olympian McLain Ward, the USA’s Lee McKeever, took the award for FEI Best Groom. After 30 years working with McLain, he is still as dedicated about his work as when he started, going above and beyond to ensure the best possible care for his horses, and always willing to help others in the sport working tirelessly behind the scenes. McLain and Lee’s shared victories include the recent FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 team gold medal with Clinta, the 2017 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title with HH Azur in Omaha (USA), individual gold medal with Rothchild at the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto (CAN), and team gold medals at the Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Sapphire.

French Eventing athlete Victor Levecque was presented with the Longines Rising Star Award by Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, Juan-Carlos Capelli. This award highlights the achievements of athletes between the ages of 14 and 21 who demonstrate outstanding equestrian sporting talent. At the age of 20, Victor is already multiple winner, with 10 European medals, including two gold medals and five French national champion titles to his name.

“For a second consecutive year the online public vote has become very popular and a peer to peer recognition is one of the most powerful,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The influence of one’s peers and the recognition of talent and hard work is a testament to the strengths and development of the growth of the sport.

“Development, like youth, is key to our future and has been a strong focus throughout 2018 as we can see here tonight in the results of the youth of our sport shining through. With our top partner Longines, and their ever-increasing support, their commitment to these awards and equestrian sport globally, and for the first time to celebrate the Fosun Best Athlete award, we are delighted to be here in Bahrain to reward these fantastic achievements.”

Alex Hua Tian and Philip Wong of China accepted the FEI Solidarity award for the Horsemanship charity programme in China. Ten years ago, Alex won the Rising Star Award and he was here as part of the team working to communicate the core value of “Equestrianism as Horsemanship” to the world’s fastest growing equestrian market.

Leila Malki from Palestine was presented with the Against All Odds award. Her dedication to equestrian sport and her passion have made her a role model for young women in Palestine through her encouragement of girls and women to become involved in equestrian sport in her country.

“As FEI’s Top Partner, Longines is very proud to take part in the 2018 FEI Awards Ceremony in Manama,” Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, said.

“Our connection with the equestrian world dates back 150 years, and we attach great importance to supporting events that are aligned with our core values of tradition, elegance and performance. We are particularly delighted to present the Longines Rising Star award, acknowledging our commitment in supporting new generations of athletes in each sport that we are involved in.”

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

Devos Delivers a Strategic Win at Stuttgart

Pieter Devos and Apart (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

Belgian star pips Austria’s Kuehner in extraordinary 10-horse jump-off

Belgium’s Pieter Devos (32) and Austria’s Max Kuehner (44) put paid to the myth that men don’t multi-task when taking the top two places in the fifth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League on a fascinating afternoon in Stuttgart, Germany.

Unlike the majority of their opponents, they both divide their time between top-class showjumping and full-scale commitments in the business world. And they put their business-brains to work in an extraordinary 10-horse jump-off that took everyone by surprise.

“There were some options in the jump-off that were not easy to do, and there were a lot of misunderstandings from the horses so it wasn’t fluid; riders were trying everything they could, but it was not working out well. I decided I would go for a clear round, but I knew I had to keep my head and stay concentrated!” said Devos after pipping Kuehner by almost eight seconds when last to go against the clock with the chestnut gelding Apart.

The big blue wall at fence three had already created plenty of excitement in the first round, with two eliminations and several refusals, but it came as a bit of a shock when jump-off pathfinder, Germany’s Christian Kukuk with Colestus, ground to a halt in front of it this time out. German course designer, Christa Jung, had set them a track full of twists and turns, and both Sweden’s Stephanie Holmen (Flip’s Little Sparrow) and Germany’s Maurice Tebbel (Don Diarado) lost their chances on the sharp roll-back to the second and third elements of the double before Kuehner set off with PSG Final.

The Austrian, who finished a superb sixth individually with his top ride Chardonnay at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ two months ago and who manages a leasing company when not in the saddle, wasn’t taking any risks with his lovely eight-year-old gelding who is showing massive potential. He steered him home for the first double-clear of the competition, although their slow time of 56.62 seconds looked to have left the door wide open for the six yet to go.

However, Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt (Asathir) knocked a brick out of the bogey wall, Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts (H&M Legend of Love) slipped on the approach to the second-last which hit the floor, and 2012 Olympic champion Steven Guerdat from Switzerland (Alamo) faulted at the second fence. So when Germany’s Christian Ahlmann (Tokyo) decided to take a leisurely tour with his inexperienced horse, posting a clear in 57.68 seconds, then Kuehner was, even to his own obvious amazement, still out in front.

Last in, Devos knew what he had to do. “I could see I could go six or seven seconds quicker but I also knew if I knocked a fence then I would be nowhere anymore. But Apart jumped really well, he already won a lot of classes for me but never anything as big as this, so I’m really happy for him!” said the Belgian after stopping the clock in the winning time of 49.05 seconds.

He talked about the challenge of mixing his business and sporting careers and says it has just become a way of life.

“Everyone asks me how I do it and I don’t have the answer because I ask myself that sometimes too! My brother and I inherited a big fruit company from our parents when I was 17 or 18… it’s a second-generation business and I’m Commercial Director. I’ve grown up doing both jobs, the fruit business and the horse business, and it works because I have a great team on both sides!” — Pieter Devos (BEL)

Devos, now 16th in the world rankings, is lying second on the Western European League table with 39 points and is only a whisper away from qualifying for the Longines Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next April.

“I will go to Madrid (ESP) next week and then Mechelen (BEL) in December. After that I’ll make a plan for the second half of the season, but I don’t need too many more points now which is great!” he added.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Longines Streak Continues for Nassar and Lordan in Las Vegas

Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Lordan. (FEI/Andrew Ryback)

Just a week after topping the World Cup qualifier in Thermal (USA), Nayel Nassar (EGY) and his longtime partner Lordan led another victory gallop after clinching the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas (USA).

Nassar, 27, and his 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding were fastest in a six-horse jump-off set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). The pair used their natural foot speed and tidiness to their advantage, coming through the timers in 34.57 seconds, over a second fastest than their closest competitors. It was an international podium, with Wilhelm Genn (GER) and Bugatti earning runner-up honors (35.73 seconds) and Harley Brown (AUS) and Mylord Cornet finishing third (40.34 seconds).

“It was a fast jump-off,” Nassar said. “Wilhelm set a really tough time to beat, and he was really efficient everywhere on a horse that has a bigger stride than mine. I just knew I had to be nice and neat in the turns and not go too crazy down the long lines.”

“It was a fast jump-off… Wilhelm set a really tough time to beat… I just knew I had to be nice and neat in the turns and not go too crazy down the long lines.” — Nayel Nassar (Egypt)

The top three were the only combinations to turn in double-clear rounds on the evening. Brown was the first to navigate the jump-off without fault, but he was forced to take a more conservative route with his less experienced 8-year-old. Genn, who won Sacramento’s (USA) World Cup qualifier in October, jumped ahead by nearly four seconds with an outstanding right turn to the jump-off’s second fence and a bold gallop down to the final obstacle. As the last to go, Nassar knew exactly what he had to do to win his second straight World Cup qualifier, and he executed, despite having a precarious rub two fences from home.

“I had the luck of the draw a little bit. I had the pole position coming in,” Nassar said. “It always helps when you know what you need to do, and I relish the pressure as well. Lordan can feel that, too; I was getting tingly walking in [the ring], and he really tried his heart out.”

Shifting Standings

Richard Spooner (USA) may have been kept off the podium, but he took over the lead in the west coast sub league standings of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League with his fourth-place finish aboard Quirado RC. He now boasts 49 points, one ahead of Eve Jobs (USA). Nassar moved up to third in the standings; he now boasts 46 points.

“[Quirado RC] is just knocking my socks off,” Spooner said. “He’s been unbelievable in the World Cup season. He’s a huge horse — he’s about 18.1, maybe 18.2 hands — but he somehow is still very elastic with his body. I just feel graced every time I get to ride him, because the power that you feel with that horse is absolutely awesome.”

Genn took over second in the east coast sub league standings, behind only Molly Ashe Cawley’s (USA) league leading 55 points. Genn has 47 points, one ahead of defending World Cup Champion Beezie Madden (USA).

“Bugatti is 12, and every year when I take him to a new level, and I think it is about as big as he can jump, he surprises me and makes it work,” Genn said. “Who knows what the future brings? I’m super proud of him.”

After a brief holiday, the North American League resumes in Guadalajara (MEX) on 26 January 2019.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Werth Breezes to a “Special” Victory with Bella Rose in Stuttgart

Isabell Werth with Bella Rose. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

She has won everything there is to win in her sport, many times over, but there was a huge sense of achievement for Germany’s Isabell Werth (49) when she steered Bella Rose to victory in the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at the German Masters in Stuttgart (GER).

“This was her last show before her injury four years ago, so to come back today and to win like this is something special!” said the super-champ who scooped double-gold with the 14-year-old mare at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA two months ago.

On a day when Germany dominated the podium as Werth’s Rio 2016 Olympic gold-medal-winning team-mate, Dorothee Schneider (49), finished second with Sammy Davis Jr and 2013 FEI Dressage World Cup™ champion Helen Langehanenberg (36) lined up third with Damsey, spectators were treated to a feast of top sport. And the fourth-place finish for Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen and Blue Hors Zepter was another highlight. Not only was the 10-year-old stallion competing in his very first World Cup competition, he was also doing his very first Freestyle test, yet he was relaxed, confident and full of promise for even greater things to come.

From the outset there was a big buzz in the Schleyer Halle, with The Netherlands’ Emmelie Scholtens and Desperado, who finished last of the 14 starters in the Grand Prix, bouncing back to set the standard with a nice pathfinding test at 75.365. Marie Emilie Bretenoux and the expression-filled Quartz of Jazz from France kept spectators spellbound with their intriguing floorplan for a mark of 75.225, and then seven-time Olympian, Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, pushed the target score up to 79.670 with the veteran Don Auriello.

But Germany’s Benjamin Werndl was the first-half show-stealer when, last before the break with the 14-year-old gelding Daily Mirror, he carried the crowd through a test that oozed energy and excitement to throw down a new marker at 80.340.

With extraordinary accuracy and control, Langehanenberg went into the lead when posting 81.470 when fourth-last to go, and she was still out in front when Bachmann Andersen put 81.190 on the board. But it was compatriot Dorothee Schneider’s 81.840 that Werth was chasing when last into the arena. And she nailed it by a considerable margin, posting 85.660 despite one major blip.

“She was a bit tense in the canter work and I got behind the music, so I had to push it and that was the reason for the mistake in two-tempis!” — Isabell Werth (GER)

But as the athlete who has collected eight World Championship and six Olympic gold medals pointed out, “She was brilliant again for the rest of the test. The piaffe/passage couldn’t have been better and her half-pass extensions were super!” she said, and that was borne out by the number of maximum scores she earned from the judges which put the result beyond doubt.

It was some busy day for the defending series champion who will be going for a back-to-back hat-trick of wins, and her fifth in total, at the Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next April. It began with a practice ride at 06.00 and then a win riding Emilio, with whom she topped the qualifier in Lyon (FRA) two weeks ago, in the German Dressage Masters before flying to Northern Germany for an awards ceremony and then rushing back to compete in the FEI World Cup qualifier.

Werth seems to thrive on pressure, however, and she really wanted to show the home crowd that her precious mare is back to her best after that long four-year injury break during which she was patiently nursed back to full health. “It was a special situation and a special atmosphere here today; the arena was absolutely full of spectators and a lot of horses were tense and spooky, but Bella Rose was fantastic; she really wanted to give everything; she was just brilliant!” Werth said.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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