Tag Archives: FEI

Super-Cool Briton Brash Bags Victory in Verona

Scott Brash and Hello M’Lady. (FEI/Massimo Argenziano)

The saying “it’s never over until the fat lady sings” rang loud and true at the fourth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League in Verona, Italy where Great Britain’s Scott Brash posted a spectacular last-to-go victory with Hello M’Lady.

It seemed as if Ireland’s Darragh Kenny was about to provide the perfect post-competition headline for the competition staged in the “City of Love” when setting a super-fast target with the 10-year-old Romeo in the 16-horse jump-off. It was fast and furious from the outset, and when this pair galloped down the final line and stopped the clock on 36.06 seconds, there really didn’t seem to be any room for improvement on that.

But Brash, team gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is the king of cool.

“I was fortunate enough to be at the end so I could see how fast I had to go. Darragh had done a really good round; he was very, very fast so I had to take all the risks today. M’Lady was really fantastic and I’m delighted with her!” — Scott Brash (GBR)

He described Uliano Vezzani’s first-round track as “tough and delicate,” the angled oxer at fence eight and the line from the vertical white planks at nine to the double at fence 10 claiming a significant number of victims. He said the time-allowed of 80 seconds was “maybe a bit too generous, but it showed the calibre of horse and rider here today that we got 16 clears!”

It was The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante who were holding the lead with a time of 36.64 seconds when Kenny rode into the ring. The 31-year-old Irishman and his handsome horse were smooth and fast through all the twists and turns, and the always-vocal Verona spectators roared with approval when they scorched through the finish to reset the target at 36.06 seconds.

World No. 1, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, came close to that with Alamo, the horse with which he claimed his third Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title earlier this year, when breaking the beam in 36.19. And home hero Emanuele Gaudiano, third last to go, drove the crowd into another frenzy of excitement when just fractionally slower with the extraordinary Chalou whose toe-pointing jumping technique is quite unique.

As Brash set off with his 13-year-old mare, he looked cool, calm, and completely collected. He had worked out every inch of his run to perfection, and by the time he came racing down the long run to the last, it was clear he was out in front, the timers confirming his win when showing 35.55 seconds after he landed over the final fence to a wall of sound.

“I finished second here in Verona a couple of years ago (with Ursula) so it’s great to go one better here this time around! M’Lady is a delicate mare; she can get a little stressed with the atmosphere, so it took be a bit of time at this show just to get her relaxed in the collecting ring, but her talent showed through in the end in the jump-off today – I thought she was amazing!” — Scott Brash (GBR)

Kenny would have to settle for second while Guerdat finished third.

Guerdat, who now heads the Western European Leaderboard going into the next leg in Stuttgart, Germany next weekend, described the jump-off as “very fast!”

He said, “This last few weeks I missed most of my jump-offs so I wanted to keep my head a bit cooler today and try to not risk anything stupid, and the horse being naturally fast it was enough for the third place. But you know today if you don’t risk it all it just isn’t possible anymore to win a class like this. But I’m very pleased with the horse; he couldn’t have been any better today. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season with him.”

Meanwhile, Brash reflected on his result and what it means for him and his brilliant mare. When asked if he might have Tokyo 2020 on his radar for her, he replied, “Yes, the Olympics is certainly on my mind and I would hope to think M’Lady is going to be one of my strongest contenders for next year.”

He is careful about how he is managing her with that in mind. “She was off for quite a while through injury a few years back, but she jumped at this summer’s European Championships to help qualify Great Britain for Tokyo,” he explained. He then dropped her down a level, jumping her at St Tropez in recent weeks before asking her to step up again in Verona. This result has confirmed for him that she’s very happy to be back at the sharp end.

“It’s nice to feel that she feels competitive at the top end of the sport again – so I’ve high hopes for next year!” he said.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Allen Brings Sold-Out Crowd to Its Feet with Last-to-First Victory in Toronto

Bertram Allen and GK Casper. (FEI/Simon Stafford)

Bertram Allen (IRL) landed off the final fence and brought a sold-out crowd to its feet with his victory in the $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto (CAN).

The 24-year-old’s elation was evident as he rode GK Casper to the top of the class in the gelding’s World Cup debut. Last to go in a four-horse jump-off, their winning time over Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) shortened track was 34.70 seconds. Jos Verlooy (BEL) and Igor led until that final ride and settled for second with a 35.41-second time, while Brian Moggre (USA) finished third with MTM Vivre le Reve. After topping World Cup competition in Lexington (USA), they rounded out an international podium with a time of 35.83 seconds.

“That’s what it’s all about. Everyone wants to win the grand prix, last to go, in front of a full house. It was one that I really wasn’t expecting, so it made it all the more sweet.” — Bertram Allen (IRL)

With five riders from the top 15 on the Longines World Rankings in the field, the competition was formidable, but Vaillancourt set a stern challenge. GK Casper was especially eager when meeting the enthusiastic crowd for the first time, but after riding a textbook round, Allen brought back a more relaxed partner for the jump-off. The gelding’s massive stride brought the duo positively flying down the last line and into the lead.

“I was struggling a bit in the first round — all week to be honest,” Allen explained. “He went in on the first day [of the competition], and he was very spooky. He wasn’t supposed to come here as my [top] horse, as I was meant to take another one, and he had to step up a bit. I knew if I got the first round behind me, I wouldn’t have to worry about the jumps as much in the second round. I could really give it a lash.”

Allen has had the 11-year-old for nearly five years, and his patience with the gelding is paying off in spades.

“He’s always been fantastic,” Allen said. “He’s a very good jumper and very careful. It’s taken him longer to get to this height. For most horses, their first season doing this [level] is as 9-year-olds. This is his first season now. I’ve always said, ‘Whatever he can jump, he can win.’ I knew he could be very competitive over here for these few weeks. He had been jumping fantastic, but we were just missing the last bit of luck. It all came through today.”

With his podium finish, Moggre takes over the lead in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with 56 points. Beezie Madden (USA) sits second with 49 points, and Rowan Willis (AUS) is third with 34 points.

The North American League continues with west coast action in Las Vegas (USA) on 16 November 2019.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Sternlicht Saves Best for Last in Thermal

Adrienne Sternlicht aboard Bennys Legacy. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) had only jumped Bennys Legacy at three events before heading to the west coast for World Cup competition, but the pair proved their partnership is already strong with a statement-making victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Thermal (USA).

Last to go in a five-horse jump-off, Sternlicht and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding jumped right to the top of the podium, crossing the timers of Alan Wade’s (IRL) shortened course in 39.56 seconds. Keri Potter (USA) and Ariell la Sirene finished second with a 40.89-second time, while Adam Prudent (USA) and Baloutine, the only other double-clear performers on the day, finished third. Their time was 41.83 seconds.

“It’s my third show with him and my third jump-off. I thought that this jump-off played to his strengths. He’s not a horse that’s particularly used to going fast, as he’s incredibly careful. I just tried to ride a smooth round and take advantage of his stride, take time where I needed, and challenge him in a few places.” — Adrienne Sternlicht (USA)

Bennys Legacy has been in Sternlicht’s string since the summer, and the gelding’s victory held special meaning given its timing.

“He’s named after an Irish boy that bought him as a foal. He passed and they named the horse after him,” she explained. “It’s a really special story. My groom and manager Emma Chapman was there with him the night before he died. For her, when I got the horse, it was a bit emotional. Thursday was the anniversary of his death. Those that knew Benny say the horse reminds them a lot of him. The horse knows that he has something special.”

Sternlicht was making her first trip to Thermal, traveling with Chapman while her trainer, McLain Ward (USA), was competing in Toronto (CAN) on a double-header weekend of North American League action. She sealed her win by leaving out strides in the first and final lines of the jump-off.

“It gives me a lot of confidence to prepare on my own,” Sternlicht said. “The two grooms I have here know me and my horses inside and out, and I know I can always call on them. As a rider, I’ve learned a lot from these experiences of being on my own. [Ward] called me after the first few went and asked if I had any questions. He tries to watch as much as he can, and I watch him. It’s a real team effort the way we do the sport.”

Following her win, Sternlicht moved into third place in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with 26 points. She trails only Beezie Madden (USA) with 48 points and Brian Moggre (USA), who has 41 points. On the west coast, Karl Cook (USA) remains atop the standings with 49 points, while Ashlee Bond (ISR) is second with 39 points. Potter (USA) moved into third with 32 points.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Fuchs and Clooney Take Lyon by Storm Again

Martin Fuchs with Clooney. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs and his brilliant gelding Clooney showed exactly why they are the superstars of the sport right now when scorching to victory in the third leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League at Lyon in France.

The 27-year-old rider, who is reigning European champion and No. 2 on the current Longines world rankings, was back on familiar territory, having also won this leg 12 months ago with his same grey wonder-horse. And it was just another magic Sunday for the Swiss star and his equine flying machine when they romped to success once more in the 13-horse jump-off, rocketing to the top of the WEL League leaderboard.

They were chasing the target-time set by America’s Jessica Springsteen and RMF Zecilie who zoomed around the jump-off track in 41.85 seconds, the lovely 12-year-old mare almost clearing the wings of the oxer three from home as she put on an exhibition of enthusiastic athleticism. But, fifth-last to go, somehow Fuchs and Clooney put the result almost beyond doubt when stopping the timers just over half a second sooner.

“I was lucky to start at the end of the jump-off because I could watch Jessica as I know her horse has about the same stride as Clooney. So I planned to do like her, except I made one less stride to the last fence which made me win today!” — Martin Fuchs (SUI)

French course designer, Gregory Bodo, described the 14-fence first-round course as “quite long but horse-friendly,” and it was the triple combination at seven and the double at fence nine that claimed most victims along with the time-allowed of 84 seconds. However, 13 found the key, and 27-year-old Springsteen really put it up to the rest of them with her breathtaking ride when third to go against the clock.

No-one had really challenged her until Fuchs set off with all guns blazing, but once the Swiss rider put 41.27 seconds on the board there were still four more to follow, and none of them were shrinking violets. However, his compatriot and World No. 1 Steve Guerdat (Venard de Cerisy) clipped the penultimate vertical, and despite being double-clear the final three – Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano (Chalou), Belgium’s Pieter Devos (Claire Z), and Frenchman Julien Epaillard (Queeletta) – didn’t jostle the leading pair out of place, Devos taking third when breaking the beam in 41.95.

Talking about her mare RMF Zecilie, runner-up Springsteen described her as “an amazing horse – it took me about six months to get to know her but now we are all set up and she is great!”

Fuchs meanwhile has the world at his feet, and is already looking forward to next year and what it will bring. “It’s a big victory today. Clooney was in great shape and he jumped wonderfully,” he said, adding that he’s not specifically targeting any more Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifiers with his super-champ.

“I just wanted to do one (qualifier) with him so I can take him to the Final if I need to, but because of the Olympic Games next year the plan is not to take him to Las Vegas. I will go to Verona, Stuttgart, and London with other horses to try to qualify, and if I do then I will decide which horse I will bring,” the Swiss rider explained.

With or without Clooney, he looks a very good bet to make the cut to the Longines 2020 Final which will take place in Las Vegas, USA from 15 to 19 April, especially since he already has more than half the points required at this early stage of the 14-leg Western European League which moves on to Verona, Italy next weekend.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Moggre Is Magnificent in Lexington

Brian Moggre and MTM Vivre le Reve. (FEI/Ashley Neuhof)

At just 18 years old, Brian Moggre (USA) recorded his second career World Cup victory in the $225,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington (USA).

Riding MTM Vivre le Reve, Moggre became the youngest rider to win the class in the event’s history. The duo topped an eight-horse jump-off that included the likes of Olympic gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champion Beat Mändli (SUI) and others among the star-studded cast of competitors.

Opening up the stride to a full gallop, Moggre and his mount positively soared over the final fence, crossing the timers of Ken Krome’s (USA) shortened course in 34.22 seconds. Karen Polle (JPN) and Kino finished second, just two-tenths of a second behind them on a time of 34.44 seconds, while David Blake (IRL) and Keoki finished third. Their time was 36.87 seconds.

“That moment, for me, was something I never expected to feel, especially this year and where I am in my career. That horse is really special to me. He’s really taken me through the ranks. He was really on his game today, and luckily I was on mine!” — Brian Moggre (USA)

While Moggre only began competing at the World Cup level this year, his partnership with his mount extends back nearly four years.

“We were both young when I got him,” he explained. “I was 14, and he was seven, so we’ve grown a lot together. I jumped my first five star this year, and it was also his first five star. I really think this horse is a product of having a good relationship with your horse and excellent training. To grow with him is something that is very special to me. These major first victories — I wouldn’t want to do it with any other horse.”

After recording his first World Cup victory at the end of last season in Ocala, Moggre is out to earn his first trip to the Finals, set for April in Las Vegas (USA). His victory in Lexington moved him into second in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League, behind only two-time World Cup Final Champion Beezie Madden (USA). Madden boasts 48 points, while Moggre now has 41. Andrew Welles (USA) sits third in the standings with 26 points.

The North American League continues with a double-header of World Cup action in Thermal (USA) and Toronto (CAN) on 9 November 2019.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Werth Pips Dujardin in Exciting Second Leg at Lyon

Isabell Werth riding Emilio. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

Germany’s Isabell Werth showed exactly why she is known as The Queen of international dressage when, on her debut in the 2019/2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League at the second leg in Lyon, France, she produced yet another of her right-royal victories.

Partnering the 13-year-old gelding Emilio, she was pinned into second place in the Grand Prix won by Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and her latest shining star, the 10-year-old mare Mount St John Freestyle. But the German legend did what she does best and fought back to win the Lyon leg for the third consecutive year when putting a massive 87.090 on the board.

There was great anticipation of the clash between Werth, who has taken the series title a total of five times including the last three in succession, and Dujardin who was twice crowned champion with the great Valegro. It was at the 2014 Final in Lyon that the British rider first lifted the coveted FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy, and fans are super-excited to see her back fighting for the supremacy she held in the sport during the heady years before Valegro’s retirement in December 2016. She’s aiming for a spot at the 2020 Final in Las Vegas, USA next April so made a great start to her points campaign when collecting the maximum 20 – as defending champion Werth doesn’t need to collect points; instead she is only obliged to compete twice with her horse of choice in order to qualify.

Werth is the ultimate competitor, already relishing the return of potentially her biggest rival over the coming season and beyond. She always says that competing against the best raises everybody’s game.

“Welcome back Charlotte! It’s good to have the best in the field, and that is also what the public like to see! It’s great to have Charlotte away from her island – now the World Cup season will be really exciting!” said the lady who is herself a longtime legend, with more medals in her trophy cabinet than any other athlete in the history of equestrian sport.

When she came into the ring, fifth-last to go, she was chasing the leading score of 80.015 set by compatriot, Frederic Wandres, riding Duke of Britain. And the crowd were clapping even before she started. “It was a wonderful crowd; the stands were full and the atmosphere was great. This is the second time I rode this Freestyle with this music and I really like it. I’m really happy and proud of Emilio. When you ride the last line and the crowd starts to clap you know you are in a good position!” Werth said after putting that 87.090 up in lights, despite taking the time out during her test to signal, on three occasions, for her music level to be turned up.

She was still holding sway when, last to go, Dujardin came into the ring, aware that her mare was more tense. “Yesterday at the prize-giving she was quite stressed, and today when she saw so many people, she thought we were doing another prizegiving. I felt her stressed and a little worried going into the arena but I’m very proud and happy with how she behaved. She lacks experience and I have to keep her with me, but this was super experience for the future and I think she will become hard to beat!” she said after putting 83.925 on the board for runner-up spot.

Dujardin is already looking down the road to the series Final, and the experience her mare can pick up along the way. “I will go to Olympia (London, GBR) and this will again be a big show with a big crowd and a great atmosphere. Then I plan to go to Amsterdam and hopefully Las Vegas!” she pointed out.

Third-placed Wandres, who posted a mark of 80.015, was delighted with his result. “When I saw the rider-list here I thought it could be difficult to do well, but now being third behind the two Dressage Queens is fantastic! With Duke it is special as we learned together. It is now our second Grand Prix season and we keep progressing,” he said.

Her winning Freestyle score was just fractionally below a personal best for Werth and Emilio as a combination, and the lady who is in the privileged position of having multiple top rides, including her two super-mares Weihegold and Bella Rose, is delighted that the 2019/2020 Western European League is off to such an impressive start. “Herning (the first leg in Denmark) has already taken place and the level was already very high. It is not only Charlotte but lots of good riders taking part, so it will be interesting to see what will happen in Vegas,” said the rider on whose home ground in Stuttgart (GER), the third round of the 11-leg league, will take place in two weeks’ time.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

FEI Publishes Tokyo Horse Monitoring Research Project Findings

Michael Jung (GER) with Fischerwild Wave. (FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi)

The results of a major research study commissioned by the FEI, aimed at identifying best practices and management of horses training and competing in hot and humid environments, have been published.

Conducted at the Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event in August 2019, and led by the FEI’s climate expert Dr David Marlin, the study monitored the combined effects of long travelling times and distances, time zone disruptions, and heat and humidity on competing horses.

Horses were monitored before and during the test event, including how they adapted to the challenging climate in Tokyo. Central to the report is data collected on-course and post-competition, which allowed for detailed analysis of the cross-country test.

The study findings show that horses generally coped extremely well with the conditions and remained in good health for the duration of the test event, held at the same time of year as the Games in 2020, despite the fact that conditions were thermally challenging, with Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer* (WBGT) Index readings frequently in the region of 32-33°C.

The report confirms that on cross country day (13 August), the high WBGT Index, steep initial climb, and sharp turns on the course produced a significant challenge for competing horses. Heart rates during cross country, and blood lactate, heart rate, and rectal temperature after cross country indicated that horses were working at close to maximal capacity.

A new heart rate monitor that also displays the ECG plus infra-red thermal imaging to provide a rapid and accurate estimate of horses’ temperature were key pieces of technology used in data collection for the study.

The report highlights that “all possibilities must be explored to mitigate the effects of the likely climatic conditions, including reduction in distance appropriate for the conditions and bringing the cross country start time forward to avoid the highest WBGT conditions that would normally peak between late morning and mid-afternoon.”

Following discussions between the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), the IOC, and the FEI, consensus has been reached on advancing the cross country start time to either 07.30 or 08.00 on 2 August 2020 as part of the heat countermeasures. A final decision on the move, which is fully supported by the findings in the Marlin report, will be made by the IOC Executive Board.

“We have worked very closely with TOCOG to put in place the best possible heat countermeasures for both our equine and human athletes for Tokyo 2020, and the findings in this important research study will play a crucial role in guiding final decisions on appropriate facilities and support,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said. “The report will also be a valuable tool for athletes and National Federations as they prepare their horses in the build-up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Heat countermeasures that are already in place for horses include air conditioned stables at both equestrian venues (Bajikoen and Sea Forest), early morning and evening training and competition sessions under floodlights, constant and close monitoring by a world class veterinary team, and multiple cooling facilities including the provision of shade tents, cooling fans, ice and water, and mobile cooling units.

The FEI has been working on optimising equine performance in challenging climates with Dr Marlin since before the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Dr Marlin has been working with the FEI for the past three years specifically on Tokyo, reviewing historical climate records, analysing data collected at the main venue at Bajikoen (EQP) and at the cross-country course at Sea Forest (SFC), and leading the test event research project.

The findings from the research project have been sent to TOCOG, the IOC, all National Olympic and Paralympic Committees with athletes competing in equestrian sport, and all National Federations affiliated to the FEI.

The full report is available here.

*The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index is used to measure heat, humidity, solar radiation, and wind factor.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

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

Natural Horse Power Provides Heat and Electricity to Helsinki

Photo: © FEI / Satu Pirinen.

For the fifth year in a row, all electricity used at the Helsinki International Horse Show, which hosted a Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifier, was generated entirely from horse manure. Over 150 megawatt hours of energy was created from the 100 tons of manure collected from competing horses during the four-day event in the Finnish capital.

The manure-to-energy system developed by Fortum, an international company specialising in electricity generation, heat production, and waste recycling, met all the equestrian event’s electricity needs, including lighting, scoreboards, and cell phone charging stations. The surplus energy that was generated went back into the national grid to heat homes in the Helsinki area.

What started off as a desk project in 2014 is now a resounding endorsement of the power of horse manure as a reliable source of renewable energy, not just at equestrian competitions but also for local communities.

“The manure-to-energy system holds immense potential for countries with large horse populations and has shown that out-of-the-box solutions are needed if we are to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels,” Fortum HorsePower Vice President Anssi Paalanen said.

“It’s possible to charge a phone with only 0.2 decilitres of horse manure and the manure produced daily by two horses can generate heat for a single family home for a year.”

Electricity generated from horse manure is just one of the many initiatives under the ‘Helsinki Jumps Green’ environmental concept that aims to make the event the most ecological horse show in the world. The Jumps Green concept also includes recycling and paper reduction initiatives, the use of environmentally friendly procurement practices, and sustainable food consumption at the event.

“As event organisers it’s our responsibility to create partnerships with local industry to make sustainable sporting events a real possibility and not just a nice-to-have,” Helsinki International Horse Show Event Director Tom Gordin said.

“Our vision is to become the worldwide leader for sustainability in equestrian events. We know from first-hand experience that this takes commitment and dedication, but the end results are so worth it. We are proud to work with Fortum and to be part of the renewable energy solution.”

The manure-to-energy system has also provided a way of dealing with the waste disposal issue for stables in a country with stringent controls on the use of horse manure as a fertiliser and the disposal of manure in landfill sites.

Fortum provides stables with horse bedding made out of sustainable wood shavings generated by Finland’s forest industry. The manure that is collected from the stables is then delivered to plants around Finland, where it is used as raw material to produce clean, renewable, and eco-friendly local energy.

Approximately 70,000 tons of manure have been collected from horses stabled around Finland since the manure-to-energy system started in 2015. The power and heat plant in Järvenpää, located just outside Helsinki, provides heat to 1,250 customers in the area and electricity to the national power grid.

The system partly replaces the reliance on fossil fuels in energy production and helps lessen the impact of climate change. When horse manure replaces other biomass in power and heat production it reduces carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 200 kilos per ton of manure. And if horse manure replaces fossil fuels like coal, the benefits are even greater.

“The manure-to-energy system has demonstrated that ideas for alternate energy solutions can come from the most unexpected places,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The Helsinki initiatives make a tremendous contribution, not just in terms of the value they deliver to equestrian sport, but also for the wider implications they have for local and regional communities. It clearly shows that the equestrian community is serious about its responsibility to preserve the environment.”

With environmental sustainability a priority for the FEI, the international governing body has worked towards the implementation of equestrian-specific reporting indexes and the creation of a comprehensive guidebook for event organisers world-wide.

The FEI Sustainability Handbook for Event Organisers was published in 2014 to encourage event organisers to implement sustainability initiatives that help reduce the negative environmental impact of their events and create a positive social and economic legacy.

The FEI is also a signatory of the United Nations Climate Change Sports for Climate Action Framework which calls for parties to “undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility.”

In addition, the FEI has adopted a number of sustainability initiatives at its Headquarters in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne (SUI). The FEI head office is recognised as a “Minergie” certified building, a Swiss standard indicating low energy use, with a reduced energy consumption of 25 per cent. When the Headquarters were refurbished in 2011, only two per cent of renovated buildings in Switzerland met these standards. Increased recycling and staff training have also featured in the FEI’s Green Office project.

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

Whitaker Clinches First-Ever World Cup Win in Nail-Biter at Helsinki

Robert Whitaker with Catwalk IV. (FEI/Satu Pirinen)

Britain’s Robert Whitaker posted a sensational victory in the second leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League at Helsinki in Finland with his long-time ride, Catwalk IV.

In a competition that had spectators on the edges of their seats from start to finish, the pair pinned Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and his super-talented young horse Jet Run into second place while Belgium’s Celine Schoonbroodt de Azevedo (Cheppetta) and Germany’s Christian Kukuk (Quintino) lined up in third and fourth.

It’s not often that a single fence plays such a major role in the outcome of any competition, but the big blue wall presented by Brazilian course designer, Guilherme Jorge, proved pivotal. The tenth obstacle on the 13-fence track, it was built on a curving line and approached off a tight left-hand turn, and in both rounds it put paid to the chances of some of the best horse-and-rider combinations in the business. Not the 36-year-old Briton and his feisty 16-year-old gelding, however. They took it on with gusto both times out to give Whitaker a career-defining first-ever World Cup win.

The close confines of the Ice Hall in Helsinki wouldn’t be to every horse’s liking, but Catwalk, it seems, is in his element there.

“He just likes arenas like this – he has a lot of power and he can easily jump big fences off a turn, although today to be honest he was unbelievable!” said the son of the legendary John Whitaker who was a back-to-back winner of the coveted FEI World Cup™ trophy with the great Milton back in 1990 and 1991.

One of the most surprising victims of the wall in the first round was World No. 1, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat partnering Alamo, the horse with which he claimed his third Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ title last April. The 11-year-old gelding seemed totally taken aback when seeing the big blue edifice as he swung around to it, and he ducked out to the left, jumping it at the second time of asking but collecting five faults which left this duo out of contention. And another rock-solid citizen, Francois Mathy Jr’s Uno de le Roque, also made a big mistake here and then stopped at the next for elimination.

However, a total of nine made it through to the jump-off in which Irishman Eoin McMahon was pathfinder, clipping the top of the wall which was now three from home to set the target at four faults in 40.97 seconds. Next in, Spain’s Moya and his fabulous nine-year-old Jet Run, heroes of the host nation’s victory in the Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP) earlier this month, really put it up to the rest of them with a blistering run that saw them through the timers to take the lead in 39.81 seconds.

Schoonbroodt de Azevedo wasn’t intimidated, throwing down a great run in 40.09, and although the phenomenal Swede, Peder Fredricson, broke the beam in 37.96 there were eight faults on the board when he galloped through the finish with H&M Christian K who was brave to continue after a big mistake at the wall. Whitaker and Catwalk were foot-perfect, looking full of confidence as they galloped home in 38.13 seconds to reset the target and really pile on the pressure. But they weren’t quite home and dried yet because Frenchman Kevin Staut was yet to go and he’s always to be feared against the clock.

But once again it all went wrong at the wall, Staut parting company with For Joy van’t Zorgvliet HDC when they got into a scramble to gasps of disbelief of the crowd. So when Kukuk opted for a safe clear then he was guaranteed fourth place and it was Whitaker’s moment to shine.

Whitaker and Catwalk finished 19th at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Paris in 2018 and the pair was in flying form in Helsinki, winning the Grand Prix before coming out to steal all the glory once again.

“He hasn’t been over-jumped recently so he was fit enough to go well in both classes here – I just think when he jumps good he’s as good as any!” said the rider who now has his sights set on the 2020 Longines Final in Las Vegas (USA) next April.

So does Alvarez Moya who was delighted with his second-place finish with the nine-year-old Jet Run, a horse he has only had for four months and which he has only competed at 10 shows so far. “I didn’t expect him to be as good and as quick today!” he said. “The more he jumps the better he gets – I would like to go to Stuttgart and try to qualify for the Final before Christmas,” he pointed out.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Kraut Wins Match Race for FEI Jumping World Cup Victory in Washington

Laura Kraut and Fleurette (FEI/Ashley Neuhof)

Laura Kraut (USA) is an Olympic gold medalist, a World Equestrian Games Champion and a fixture in U.S. show jumping, but until Saturday night in downtown, D.C. (USA), she hadn’t won a World Cup in Washington.

Kraut won the $136,300 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington for the first time in her decorated career, topping a two-horse match race of a jump-off over Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s (GER) shortened course. Her winning mount was a relatively new partner, the 10-year-old mare, Fleurette; they finished the jump-off with 4 faults in 40.99 seconds. Andrew Welles (USA) and Primo Troy, pathfinders in the jump-off, finished second with 12 faults and a 45.69-second time. Brianne Goutal-Marteau (USA) completed an all-USA podium with a third-place finish aboard Viva Columbia. That duo had just a single time fault in the first round.

“This has been a class I’ve wanted to win for many, many years. I’ve had quite a few seconds, thirds, and fourths, but a win always seemed to elude me. At the beginning of the week, I said, ‘This is going to be my week.’ I felt good about it. [Fleurette] jumped really well [all week]. It’s very special.”– Laura Kraut (USA)

The packed crowd on hand was forced to wait in hopeful anticipation for a jump-off to be guaranteed. Welles posted his first round clear before the competition’s halfway point, and Kraut didn’t replicate his performance until the bitter end. She was the last to jump in the first round.

“I didn’t change my strategy [in the first round], but I watched [Welles] go,” Kraut said. “When he came out, I said to him, ‘You rode that perfectly.’ He rode it right on. He and I had sort of walked the course at the same time and talked about it. That was the plan we had. I just thought I would do that. [Fleurette] lets you ride her, and she’s really good at letting you place her to the jumps. It was just a matter of making sure I stuck to it!”

In the jump-off, Welles started with a bold pace, but a refusal at the second fence led to his 12 faults. That took the pressure off Kraut, who clinched the win with a single rail.

“For sure, when you know [your competitor] had 12 faults, it allows you to take a breather, but I didn’t want to muck it up! It’s a bummer that happened for him, but it was good for me!” Kraut exclaimed.

Kraut and Fleurette have only been paired since June, and the mare flew in from Europe specifically to compete in Washington.

“She has so many strengths,” Kraut said. “It’s fantastic. I think she’s got all the jump, all the scope; she’s careful, brave, and sensible, and she lets you ride her. The only thing missing is mileage at this level. My goal would be [the Olympic Games in] Tokyo for her.”

At the conclusion of the competition, the east coast sub league standings of the North American League still had a commanding leader in Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden, who boasts 48 points. Welles moved into second in the standings with 26 points, having also posted a top 10 finish in World Cup competition in Vancouver to start the season. Devin Ryan (USA) sits third in the standings with 21 points.

The North American League continues in Lexington, KY (USA) on Saturday, 2 November 2019.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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