Tag Archives: FEI

Helen and Annabelle Turn On the Magic in Madrid

Helen Langehanenberg and Annabelle. (FEI/Stefano Grasso)

It was a very particular triumph for German star Helen Langehanenberg when topping the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League in Madrid, Spain. The 39-year-old athlete is a former winner of the prestigious series, an Olympian and this summer became a European team gold medallist. But her success was all the sweeter because her brilliant but sensitive mare Annabelle really showed what she can do when she settles to her job.

“She is such a very special horse, full of talent but with so much temperament that she is not always easy, but I’m very happy today. I was last to go and there was plenty of pressure but that’s good for me; it means I just have to go for it! And today she allowed me to support her and it felt really good,” Langehanenberg said.

Chasing

She was chasing the score of the very first of the 12 athletes into the ring, Spanish superstar Beatriz Ferrer-Salat who set a really tough target for the rest when posting 79.220 with the 12-year-old mare Elegance, and who stayed out in front until the very last pair overtook her. On an afternoon of great sport, the home crowd had plenty to cheer about with five Spanish starters and two of them finishing in the top three when Juan Matute Guimon steered the 15-year-old gelding, Quantico, into third place.

Ferrer-Salat is a five-time Olympian and six-time national champion, and with the 12-year-old Elegance was a member of the Spanish team at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Putting her strong score on the board as the action got underway, she could then sit back and let the rest try to better it.

Compatriot Juan Matute Guimon was the first to come really close when scoring 78.160 with his 15-year-old gelding who put on a lovely show without ever looking under any pressure when third-last to go. The quality of the horse’s one-tempi changes down the centreline were a joy to watch, as was the athlete’s smile as he cruised to a great finish in piaffe/passage. At just 24 years old, the highly popular and super-talented Matute Guimon is already a legend, making a remarkable recovery from a brain bleed in May 2020 to bounce back to the very top of the game.

Grand Prix

Second-last into the ring was Germany’s Frederic Wandres who won the Short Grand Prix with Bluetooth OLD, but their mark of 77.230 would only be good enough for fourth spot when Langehanenberg and the extravagant mover Annabelle soared out in front with a score of 80.500.

Annabelle’s reach in the lateral movements is extraordinary, and she showed moments of real flamboyance. But for her rider it is always a case of getting the balance right in order to maintain control and to keep her confidence.

“When she was young, she was a real mare – when you touched her there wasn’t a centimetre between too much and not enough; it was so difficult to find the perfect aids for her, but I’m so happy with what we have reached now,” Langehanenberg said.

“It’s still only the beginning. I feel there is so much more we can do if she allows me to support her.  The more she does the more relaxed she becomes. She always has enough expression, but she doesn’t always have enough relaxation but routine will bring relaxation so I’m working on that. She’s easy to train, but she almost tries to be too perfect,” she explained.

Retirement

Runner-up, Ferrer-Salat, couldn’t attend the post-competition press conference because she was busy with a retirement ceremony for her great old campaigner, the 20-year-old Delgado. Third-placed Matute Guimon, meanwhile, was proud and honoured to be in the prizegiving ceremony with his compatriot, and with winner Langehanenberg.

“It’s such a cool feeling after my comeback in Lyon,” he said, referring to his eighth-place finish at the French fixture that hosted the second leg of the 2021/2022 Western European League four weeks ago. Until making such a successful return to the series, he had been intending to head for the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, USA in January, but now he may change his plans. “I might join Helen in Amsterdam (NED) or Den Bosch (NED) instead,” he said.

He’s delighted to be back in partnership with Quantico. “When I got back to the barn the first time after my accident, he looked at me as if to say, ‘Is that really you?’ He is such a special horse, not the easiest but such a nice horse and we have a unique bond – we are two hearts together,” the young Spanish star said.

Final

This result leaves him lying tenth on the Western European League leaderboard from which the top nine will make the cut to the series Final in Leipzig, Germany next April. Langehanenberg’s win moves her into the fifth spot when adding the maximum 20 points to the 13 she collected for fourth place at the opening round in Herning, Denmark last month. However, it is Wandres who continues to head the standings going into the next round in London (GBR) in three weeks’ time.

For German athletes getting to the Final is a really tough task, because so many of them are vying for places and only three per country are permitted to compete. As Langehanenberg explained, “Isabel (Werth, defending champion) is going anyway and Jessica (von Bredow-Werndl) will try as well – and if she goes with Dalera, then nobody can beat her! Frederic (Wandres) has good points already and he will try to qualify too, but we will for sure try out best and we will see if we can make it.”

The Western European League action will resume at the London International Horse Show, with the Short Grand Prix taking place on Thursday 16 December followed by the points-deciding Freestyle on Friday 17 December.

Result here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Holloway Unveils a Star in Vegas

Hunter Holloway (USA) riding Pepita Con Spita (FEI/Andrew Ryback Photography)

Hunter Holloway (USA) knew she had a talented mount in the 10-year-old Westphalian mare Pepita Con Spita well before stepping her up to the World Cup level last month in October. But the 23-year-old professional was insistent upon waiting before she allowed her mare to make the next step in her career. In fact, it took six international grand prix victories in 2021 to convince her. The patience paid off, as it took just three World Cup starts for the pair to top the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas (USA) at the South Point Arena, just minutes from the iconic Las Vegas Strip.

Holloway led an all-American, all-female podium in Vegas, finishing ahead of 21-year-old Natalie Dean (USA), who earned a third World Cup placing in as many starts aboard her own Chance Ste Hermelle. Laura Hite (USA) finished third after jumping the first clear round of her World Cup career aboard her longtime partner, Calypso van de Zuuthoeve.

“She’s been a fantastic horse to bring along,” Holloway said. “Hopefully she’ll be a team horse for the future, so that’s something we’ll look forward toward.

“Building a relationship with her has been awesome. She’s a sensitive type of mare that gets better and better with each class in each year.”

Guilherme Jorge (BRA) designed the course for Saturday night’s feature event in the South Point Arena, a most unique venue on the North American League in that the competition arena is located within the South Point Hotel. Rails fell throughout his winding track, which featured technical tests at every turn, particularly through the final line. The final 1.60m vertical fell for Conor Swail (IRL) and Vital Chance de la Roque, who kicked off the 2021/2022 NAL season with wins at Vancouver (CAN) and Sacramento (USA).

Six other combinations advanced to the shortened track, but clear rounds were still hard to come by. Holloway was the first to produce a double-clear effort, and she set a stiff standard at 37.77 seconds. Only Natalie Dean could replicate a second clear round, but she settled for second, more than three seconds (40.83 seconds) behind the winner.

“That mare is super consistent going quick, and the faster she goes, the better she is,” Holloway said. “So, I was always going to go for it. That was my plan from the start with her, to give it my best go.”

From here, Holloway’s focus is forward, and she continues on with the NAL with the confidence that her mare is fully prepared for bigger tests ahead.

“[The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final] is something that we’re aiming for with that horse. She’s a perfect age for it, and she’s going to be really ready for it by then,” Holloway said. “We’re excited to keep going with her and see how things shake out.”

While Swail did not make the jump-off, his 11th place finish helped him regain his lead in the NAL standings with 43 points. Tiffany Foster (CAN) sits second with 42 points, while Dean moved into third with 41 points. The North American League continues in Fort Worth (USA) on 18 December 2021.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Hermes Ryan, the Little French Lion, Wins Verona Qualifier for Delestre

Simon Delestre and Hermes Ryan. (FEI/Massimo Argenziano)

The brilliant little Hermes Ryan showed horses half his age how it should be done when galloping to victory for Simon Delestre in the third leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League series at Verona in Italy. The 16-year-old gelding has provided the 40-year-old Frenchman with some of the greatest moments in his career. His success ranks up there with the best of them.

“It is amazing that he can win again here at his age! I have been so lucky to have him with me for all these years, and I will not have another horse like him again,” said an emotional Delestre.

From a starting field of 39 there were 13 qualified for the second-round jump-off, and when The Netherlands’ Willem Greve withdrew Grandorado TN, then twelve battled it out against the clock in the race for those precious points towards qualification for the series Final in Leipzig, Germany next April. Few could have expected the drama that would ensue, however.

Target

British veteran, John Whitaker, was first out in the second round with Unick du Francport who clipped the vertical second fence in an otherwise foot-perfect run to set the target at four faults in 40.47 seconds. But Germany’s Kendra Claricia Brinkop and her 11-year-old mare Kastelle Memo shaved almost three seconds off that with a fearless clear run that stopped the clock in 37.80. That would prove tough to beat.

Sweden’s Jens Fredricson and Markan Cosmopolit then cruised home in 40.73 but, fourth into the ring, Britain’s Emily Moffitt was eliminated when an awkward approach to the second fence saw her 12-year-old gelding, Winning Good, grind to a halt and unseat his rider. Then Finland’s Noora Forsten set off with Con Cava who ducked out at a fence later on the track, and they came home with six faults on the board before Carlos Lopez and Admara took their turn.

The 56-year-old Colombian and the ultra-experienced 16-year-old gelding, who carried him to individual fifth place at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018, looked set to take a stride out to that vertical second fence but, missing their distance, they came tumbling down on the landing side. While Admara quickly picked himself up and cantered away, Lopez received medical attention before being taken to Verona’s Borgo Trento Hospital with a suspected shoulder injury.

Temporarily

When the action resumed, Germany’s Christian Kukuk brought his grey gelding, Checker, through the finish with a clear round in 39.08 to slot temporarily into runner-up spot behind Brinkop. That didn’t change when America’s Jessica Springsteen and the horse that carried her to Olympic team silver in Tokyo this summer. the fabulous Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, put in what would be the quickest time when racing through the finish in 36.83 seconds, only to leave the very last fence on the floor.

Then both Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca with F One USA and Belgium’s Niels Brynseels and the fiery mare Frenchy VDS left one on the ground before Delestre set off with his little flying machine.

Hermes Ryan doesn’t know he’s a lot smaller than the rest, and as Delestre said, “He’s such a fighter!” Setting off with his characteristic determination and enthusiasm, the little French-bred dynamo just flew around the nine-fence track and raced through the finish in 37.32 seconds to go way out in front. Ireland’s Denis Lynch and GC Chopin’s Bushi followed with a solid last-to-go round in 38.62, good enough for third place behind Brinkop in second and Delestre at the top of the order. The Frenchman was very happy with his great result.

On the podium

“Ryan has won or was on the podium of most of the big Grand Prix competitions around the world, and it feels so good to win here again six years after the last time, and to have him in such good shape!” said the rider who also won the Italian leg of the series with Ryan back in 2015. Uliano Vezzani’s course suited a shorter-striding horse. “The jump-off was good for him; all the distances were perfect – where all the other horses had to slow down, I could just go, and this was a big advantage today,” he explained.

The talented and ambitious Brinkop had mixed feelings about finishing second. “This is my first time in Verona and also my first year doing the World Cup shows, and I am very happy today, but also a little disappointed that I didn’t win,” said the 26-year-old who looks to have a spectacular career ahead of her.

She will have plenty more opportunities to show how good she can be during the remainder of the 11-leg Western European League, which continues with round four in Madrid, Spain in three weeks’ time.

Result here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Strategy Brings Farrington to the Top in Lexington

Kent Farrington riding Gazelle. (FEI/Andrea Evans)

As a thrilling nine-horse jump-off unfolded in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington (USA), Kent Farrington (USA) changed his plan.

The World No. 7 had put the pressure on his competitors before he had even entered the arena. Knowing he, along with championship athletes Daniel Bluman (ISR), McLain Ward (USA), Tiffany Foster (CAN), and Margie Engle (USA), made up the final half of the lineup for Bernardo Costa Cabral’s (POR) shortened course, athletes early in the start order repeatedly took risks, hoping to gain a winning edge. Instead, they were met with rails.

The penultimate rider to compete, Farrington adjusted his strategy and instead sought a clear round that was efficient without quite laying everything on the line. The move paid off, and he and his longtime partner Gazelle swept to the top of the leaderboard and remained there. The only double-clear performers of the evening, their winning time was 35.96 seconds. Ward and Contagious finished second (4/32.60), with Bluman and Ladriano Z third (4/32.62).

“It changed my strategy a lot. I only had one rider after me, so I thought a neat clear was a smarter play,” said Farrington.

The pair’s first clear effort was more eventful. Gazelle, the 2020 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) International Horse of the Year, was ready for the occasion and jumped the first round enthusiastically — so much so, Farrington lost his right stirrup with three jumping efforts remaining on course. He rode the final fences without that stirrup, his position remaining effortlessly unchanged.

“In the first round, she was hyper careful, so it took a bit of jockeying around,” Farrington said. “I thought the jump-off was a good opportunity to let her settle down and go for a cruise. Luckily, that paid off for me with the win.”

Farrington and Gazelle have been partnered for eight years, and their list of accolades is lengthy, including an Olympic appearance this summer in Tokyo. But at 15, the mare still has more to give.

“This is an experienced horse. She’s been an amazing horse for me and my career,” Farrington said. “[Her co-owner] Robin Parsky has been supportive of my management of this horse, and that’s part of what has made her last so long.”

Just off the podium in fourth was Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Figor, who just a week ago took the win at Washington (USA). The finish — Foster’s third top five finish of the NAL season — propelled her to the top of the North American League standings with 42 points. Conor Swail (IRL) sits second after winning the first two legs of the season at Vancouver (CAN) and Sacramento (USA) with 37 points, while Farrington 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

FEI Celebrates 100 Years with Urban Art Intervention

(Photo credit: FEI/Richard Juilliart)

To mark its 100 year milestone, the FEI has invited French graffiti artist Ludovilk Myers to transform the statue of the White Horse, located on the outer façade of the FEI Headquarters in Lausanne, into a one-of-a-kind urban art intervention.

The FEI kicked off its year-long centenary celebrations in May 2021, with a video highlighting the achievements, successes and milestones of the organisation and the sport.

“We have been looking for a unique way to celebrate our centenary year and it was natural that the White Horse become the focal point,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez explained.

“Equestrian sport is unquestionably about the ‘love of the horse’ which binds together our athletes from different disciplines. But our noble friend, the horse, has also always captured the imagination of artists around the world, for their movement, grace, and beauty. And this is why we’re pleased to welcome the very talented Ludovilk Myers who, like our equine partner, is in his element when carrying out his art in the great outdoors.”

Ludovilk Myers, was born in the Seine St. Denis district of the Paris suburbs where he lives and works today. He started writing graffiti in Paris in 1998, taking his inspiration from the geek and street culture that defines the French capital.

Myers’ playful art, scattered with funny shapes and colours, stands in opposition to the darkness that we sometimes experience in our everyday world. His unique style earned him a position as ambassador for Converse Cons in 2014, and accolades for his design of the iconic Timberland Yellow Boot in 2016. His exhibitions in Paris, Zurich, Munich, and other European cities continue to gain attention.

The FEI was created in 1921 and was headquartered in Brussels, Belgium until the 1970s when it moved to Bern, Switzerland. The FEI moved its headquarters to Lausanne in 1991, but the current building, now located next to the Délices metro station in Lausanne, was officially opened in 2011.

The building, a gift from former FEI President HRH Princess Haya, was thoroughly renovated in accordance with the Swiss MINERGIE® construction standard for environmental responsibility, reducing energy consumption by 25 percent. At the time, only two percent of renovated buildings in Switzerland met the high Minergie standards.

“The city of Lausanne, which has housed the FEI’s Headquarters for 30 years now, has become an integral part of the equestrian family’s identity and character over the past decades,” Sabrina Ibáñez said.

“This is why we also wanted to involve the local Lausanne community in our celebrations. Just as street artists make their work more accessible to people by using urban settings as their canvas, sport also aspires to being universal. We hope this urban art intervention will be a unique introduction to equestrian sport, and that more people will discover the beauty of our sport as a result.

“And if you decide to ride the Lausanne metro to get to the FEI’s Headquarters, make sure you listen carefully as the train pulls into the Délices station!”

Media contact:

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

Fuchs Seals Second-Leg Win with Cracking Performance from Chaplin

Martin Fuchs and Chaplin. (FEI/Christophe Taniére)

“My horse gave me his all today – he has such a big heart,” said Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs after winning the second leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League in Lyon, France partnering the 14-year-old stallion Chaplin. Spectators were treated to a real edge-of-the-seat thriller, with an 11-horse jump-off that saw Brazil’s Eduardo De Menezes finish second with H5 Chaganus, while Austria’s Max Kühner and Elektric Blue P pipped Britain’s Holly Smith and Denver for third place.

With seven of the top ten athletes in the world bidding for precious qualifying points for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2021/2022 Final in Leipzig, Germany next April, this leg of the series was never going to be easily won. Out of ten French contenders, only Edward Levy made the cut into the jump-off in which Argentina’s Jose Maria Larocca and Finn Lente, who could have lulled everyone into a false sense of security with their effortless pathfinding run first time out, led the way once again.

Clever track

French course designer, Grégory Bodo, set them another clever track and when the Argentinian duo left two the on floor, Britain’s Smith and Denver lowered the final vertical and Switzerland’s Bryan Balsiger and AK’s Courage had three fences down, then the door was still wide open. So when De Menezes stepped in with a brilliant clear with his 13-year-old stallion, he shot right out in front.

The Brazilian had produced the smoothest of smooth first rounds and again cruised home to set the target in the fast time of 35.14 seconds. When last weekend’s winners, young Dutchman Kevin Jochems and Turbo Z, hit the very first fence, Ireland’s Denis Lynch and Cristello collected eight faults and world number two, Germany’s Daniel Deusser riding the brilliant mare Killer Queen VDM, hit the first element of the double at the halfway stage on the course, then De Menezes was still in the lead.

Max Kühner and his 11-year-old gelding Elektric Blue P made no mistake when fourth-last to go, slotting temporarily into runner-up spot when breaking the beam in 35.87 seconds. Then Fuchs and Chaplin set off like a whirlwind, and even though several of the fences didn’t come up as the pair would have liked, they stormed through the finish in 34.50 seconds to take over at the top of the order.

He couldn’t be sure he had it in the bag, because compatriot and defending Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion, Steve Guerdat, was following him into the ring with Victorio des Frotards. But when this pair lowered both the first element of the double and the final fence and Frenchman Levy’s mare, Rebeca LS, had one down, then the story was all about the formidable Fuchs who was celebrating his third consecutive Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ victory in Lyon.

Over-motivated

He gave all the credit to the big-striding Chaplin who, as Fuchs explained, is so keen to do his job well that he can sometimes get a little “over-motivated.” Organising their ride down the line from the penultimate vertical to the final oxer was a case in point, but Fuchs said, “He’s such a fast and careful horse, that in a jump-off I know I can beat anyone – and the best in the world were in that jump-off!

“I didn’t get a great shot to fence two and I felt I had to take all the risks over the rest of course. He’s a real fighter so it’s not always easy to have the smoothest round with him, because he gets so aggressive and excited and wants to do well, so I try to stay quiet on top. With him it’s a thin line between too much excitement and being too careful,” he explained.

Eduardo Pereira De Menezes was delighted with his second-place result with H5 Chaganus, the horse that carried him to team gold at the Pan-American Games in 2019. It seems the 41-year-old rider keeps a cool head under pressure.

“In a jump-off like this you have to concentrate on yourself, and not on the rest of the riders, when you have such great riders against you. I also had an extra stride (to the second fence). I saw the previous one but didn’t risk it. My horse has a big stride and two lines on the course came up too easy, so I knew I was a little too slow,” he said.

Third-placed Kühner said, “The course was demanding but good, and great to ride. The course designer did a good job.” He felt in retrospect he might have taken out a few strides in the jump-off and been better placed, but that “qualifying for the Final is definitely an aim and I will not put all the pressure on my top horses. I want to bring new horses to the top of the sport.”

The host nation’s Edward Levy slotted into sixth with his single second-round error, and that leaves him lying eleventh on the league table going into the next round in Verona, Italy next weekend. So he was well pleased with his result too.

“The crowd gave me wings today!” he said. “It was amazing and the sport was great. This show has brought us back to normal life and it is great to be back in the ring with the grandstands full again,” he added.

Celebrated

Meanwhile, winning rider Fuchs was feeling on top of the world as he celebrated his third consecutive win at the French fixture, and a big moment on the home front. “It is really amazing to win a Grand Prix three times in a row, and to do it here in Lyon is even better! All the riders want to come here and bring their best horses. I’m so happy tonight! With Clooney coming back home last week and Chaplin, his stable-mate, winning today, it’s just amazing,” he said.

It was the great grey Clooney who carried him to victory on both previous occasions in Lyon in 2018 and 2019. Clooney also carried him to individual silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018, to the individual European title in 2019, to European team bronze in 2015 and 2017, and to runner-up spot behind compatriot Guerdat at the last Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg in 2019. The pair was an extraordinary partnership, but the horse was injured in a freak fall in his paddock in August. However, he has made an amazing recovery and after a period of rehabilitation at a clinic in Zurich is settling into happy retirement after some worrying months for Fuchs and his tight-knit team.

“He’s going out to grass and behaving well; he’s very happy to be back in his old stable surrounded by his friends and we are all so happy to have him home. He’s had such a great reaction from people all around the world who love him, and that has helped us all get through this,” Fuchs said.

So no wonder he’s feeling good, and after this success, he’s looking forward to the rest of the Western European League season – and very proud of Chaplin who is also owned by Clooney’s owner, Luigi Baleri. “I’m going to Verona next week and then Madrid,” the Swiss star said.

FULL RESULTS

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Foster Brings Figor Back to Form at Washington

Tiffany Foster (CAN) riding Figor (FEI/Andrea Evans)

When Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Figor topped the CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington (USA) Saturday night at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, it marked the successful execution of a long-term plan.

Foster wanted the competition to be her horse’s first big test following his recovery from an injury sustained at the end of the winter season. The 11-year-old gelding exceeded expectations, topping a four-horse jump-off that was not lacking surprises. Foster’s winning time was 35.73 seconds. The youngest rider in the field, Alessandra Volpi (USA), finished second with Berlinda (36.52 seconds), with Alex Granato (USA) and Carlchen W coming third (4/35.01).

“I was really aiming for this horse show and next week [in Lexington] as his first time back out at the 1.60m level,” Foster said. “We took our time, and I have to say a huge thank you his veterinarian Eduardo Felix and his groom Caroline Holmberg. They did a great job getting him back. He’s in awesome form.”

Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) set a stiff first round test for the 33-strong field that asked questions of both scope and stamina, with 14 numbered obstacles that wove around the Tryon Stadium. An adjusted time allowed from 82 to 84 seconds allowed Granato and Carlchen W to punch the first ticket to the shortened course. In the jump-off, the veteran pair turned up the heat with a swift round, but a rail at the final fence left them on four faults.

“The [jump-off] field was small, but it was mighty tonight. There were three riders on very, very fast horses. Alex’s horse is super, super fast and very competitive, so I had a bit of a sigh of relief when that last jump knocked down!” said Foster.

Next in the ring, Cook and Caillou were not in sync heading to the first fence, and some miscommunication between horse and rider resulted in a refusal. Volpi then recorded the first double-clear performance of the evening, but the young rider left the door open for her more experienced opponent. Foster and Figor jumped pulled away on their way to the last fence.

“It would probably be a risk for most horses to do nine strides to that last jump, if you walk the distance between those two jumps, but I knew my horse would just eat that up, and that would really suit him. That was really my favorite part [of my round] tonight.”

Foster’s result catapulted her up the NAL standings, and she now sits second with 29 points, behind only Conor Swail’s (IRL) 37 points; Rowan Willis (AUS) sits third with 20 points. Foster plans to continue on with Figor to the NAL’s next leg in Lexington (USA) on 6 November 2021.

“I’m thrilled to have him back,” Foster said. “I’m really excited about the next few years with him.”

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Werth Steps Back into the Lyon Limelight

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

For the fifth time in a row, German supremo Isabell Werth won the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League qualifier in Lyon, France. She did it with the 16-year-old mare Weihegold OLD with whom she claimed the last three series titles.

Twelfth to go in an exciting 15-strong field filled with many rising stars, the pair earned a score of 84.910 and that couldn’t be beaten. But Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald and Atterupgaards Orthilia came close when putting a personal best 83.695 on the board for a test that oozed consistency and class.

This 16-year-old mare, formerly competed by Danish compatriot Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, and before that by Great Britain’s Fiona Bigwood, and before that again by Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour at Young Rider level, just keeps on giving and, in the hands of this talented 28-year-old Dane, continues to thrive in the ring.

New series

Dufour, who has risen to the very top of the game and who won the first leg of the new series last weekend with her 18-year-old super-hero Atterupgaards Cassidy, competed the nine-year-old gelding Vamos Amigos this time around. The young horse showed remarkable maturity in a test that included lovely passage/piaffe work to take the lead with 81.135 when the action resumed after the halfway break.

That proved good enough for fourth place at the end of the day, behind Werth at the head of affairs, Nanna Skodborg Merrald in second, and Germany’s Frederic Wandres who slotted into third when last to go with Duke of Britain FRH.

Wandres has been enjoying a good year, collecting the maximum 20 points for a win at the Central European League leg in Samorin (SVK) in August which, when added to those collected at the first two legs on the Western European circuit, leaves him heading the league table going into the next qualifier in Madrid, Spain in a month’s time.

Currently, Dufour lies second on the leaderboard ahead of The Netherlands’ Thamar Zweistra in third and Nanna Skodborg Merrald in fourth place. But there’s a long and winding road leading to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Leipzig, Germany next April to which the top nine finishers on the Western European leaderboard will be invited.

Defending

Werth earned no points for her win, as defending champion she is automatically qualified for the Final with a horse of her choice which must have competed in the Freestyle to Music in at least two qualifiers. But it looks like Weihegold won’t be the one fighting that fight in 2022.

The athlete who has collected a mountain of medals during her spectacular career said that she was “super happy” with her horse but “not super happy with my own management! I made a mistake and she was then not as good as she can be!” Her self-criticism is one of the characteristics that has kept her at the very top of the game for so many years, always wanting to do better.

Outlining her plans for the coming months, she said she would take Weihegold to the Top Ten dressage final in Stockholm, Sweden in November, and then to Frankfurt in December “for what will be her last show, because that’s where it all started!”

It was with Weihegold that her back-to-back run of victories at the Lyon qualifier began in 2016. Riding Emilio, she won again in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and Weihegold showed she can still do all the fancy footwork. The mare’s staggering record includes the FEI Dressage World Cup™ titles in 2017, 2018, and 2019 along with team gold and individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and five European gold medals.

Delighted

Meanwhile, Nanna Skodborg Merrald was delighted to find herself in runner-up spot. “I really like the pressure and it’s great to ride in front of an audience again after nearly two years without shows and the public,” said the 28-year-old who, partnering Blue Hors Zack, was a member of the fourth-placed Danish team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer.

Winner Werth agreed with that. “The atmosphere here was great; it felt like we are nearly getting back to normal life, so well done to the Organising Committee for what they have done!” she said.

Show Director Sylvie Robert was very happy. “We really suffered with no event for nearly two years, so it is a great achievement to be back and to have the crowd with us again this year!” she said.

Result here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

OS and Holsteiner Mares Claim 2021 Titles

Kevin McNab and Cute Girl. (FEI/Libby Law)

Mares topped both divisions at this year’s FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses 2021 at Lion d’Angers in France, where Germany’s Anna Lena Schaaf steered the OS studbook’s Lagona 4 to victory in the 6-Year-Olds, while Australia’s Kevin McNab and the Holsteiner, Cute Girl, topped the 7-Year-Old category.

The hugely popular event, which is designed to help develop future stars, attracted a massive 40,000 spectators along with many of the world’s best Eventing athletes and super-talented young horses once again.

6-Year-Olds

Anna Lena Schaaf only turned 20 in August, but she already has a reputation for producing quality horses, and with Lagona 4 (Lavagon/Ile de Cartina/Cartani 4) she led the 6-Year-Olds from start to finish. Posting 25.8 in the Dressage phase, the pair had a narrow advantage of just 0.7 penalties over Thomas Carlile and the mare Fair Lady des Bourcks in second.

Fellow Frenchman Nicolas Touzaint was lying third with another Selle Francais, the gelding Fibonacci de Lessac HDC, who was awarded a score of 26.8 by judges Nice Attolico Guglielmi (ITA), Xavier Le Sauce (FRA) and Nikki Herbert (GBR), while newly-crowned Olympic individual Eventing champion Julia Krajewski from Germany was lying fourth with the Hanoverian gelding Chintonic 3 on a score of 27.9 going into Saturday’s cross-country phase.

A total of 46 starters set off over the 22-fence cross-country track and three were eliminated while one retired, but the top six places remained unchanged.

Schaaf said, “It’s still a really crazy feeling being in the lead in such a good competition! It was great riding the cross-country today; my horse was really focused and I had the feeling she really enjoyed the crowd so I’m super excited for tomorrow! Usually she is a great showjumper but we have to see… maybe she will be a little bit tired after the cross-country but I’m looking forward to it.”

As it happened, Lagona was foot-perfect once again to leave the final result beyond doubt. But three fences down saw Thomas Carlile and Fair Lady des Broucks plummet to 17th place, so when Touzaint was clear, he rose to runner-up spot. Meanwhile, a single error saw Krajewski and Chintonic drop from fourth to fifth and two new names appeared at the top of the final leaderboard.

Bounced up

Rebecca Chiappero was lying 14th with the Irish Sport Horse Bonmahon Chelsea after dressage, but bounced up to tenth on Saturday after a brilliant cross-country clear. When the pair collected just 0.8 for time in an otherwise flawless showjumping round, their final tally of 31.7 saw the Italian rider stand on the third step of the podium. Fourth went to Australia’s Isabel English and the ACE-bred Cil Dara Dallas who were ninth after dressage, eighth after a clear cross-country run, and who moved up four places when collecting just two time faults.

This win adds yet another gold medal to the collection Schaaf has already accumulated. It’s only five years since she won double-gold at the FEI Eventing European Pony Championships in 2016; she was a double-gold medallist again in Juniors in 2019 and she claimed team gold and individual silver at this summer’s Young Riders European Eventing Championships in Sweden.

She was delighted for her winning mare: “Like yesterday, she was focused and concentrated, and in the end she really enjoyed the galloping around after the prizegiving and listening to everybody screaming. I think she felt ‘Yes! I’m the best!’”

Also happy was Schaaf’s former trainer at Junior level, Julia Krajewski, who sees big things ahead for her former student. “Anna Lena is an excellent rider as she has proven this weekend, and last weekend when she won her first 4* event. The German team always needs new talent, particularly those who are capable of training young horses,” said the Olympic champion.

7-Year-Olds

In the 7-Year-Old division Australia’s Kevin McNab and Cute Girl (Coventry/Caligula/Clearway) also took the early lead and didn’t let go. Judges Emmanuelle Olier (FRA), Katarzyna Konarska (POL), and James Rooney (IRL) scored their test at 26.9, and they added nothing over the following two phases.

Also competing on their dressage score were second-placed Laura Collett and the Trakehner, Outback, whose dressage mark of 27.2 left them only fractionally ahead of British compatriot Hayden Hankey and Heads Up on 27.4, while yet another of the British contingent, Selina Milnes, was lying fourth with the Irish-bred Cooley Snapchat on 27.5 going into cross-country day – just 0.6 penalty points separating the leading four.

It was a star-studded line-up after dressage, 43-year-old McNab a member of the Australian silver medal winning team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where 32-year-old Collett claimed team gold, while 42-year-old Hankey is one of the best-known and successful show-horse competitors on the British circuit.

His versatile Irish Sport Horse, Heads Up, was Working Hunter champion at the Horse of the Year Show in 2019 and finished second in the British 7-Year-Old Eventing Championship at Osberton this year. But the pair paid a big price when just over the cross-country optimum time of 9’ 04”, which left them with two time penalties and dropped them to overnight ninth place.

A total of 58 combinations headed out on the cross-country track in the 7-Year-Old championship and five were eliminated, while three retired and just 13 made it home within the optimum time.

McNab had every reason to get it absolutely right. A year ago, he and Cute Girl were eliminated in the 6-Year-Old Championship when missing a fence, but this time the pair cruised home and maintained their lead.

Surprised

“I was actually surprised I didn’t lose more time towards the end, so I came in a little bit quicker than I’d planned. But the round felt really good; she was really solid and she’s matured a lot from last year,” he said.

Collett was equally pleased after her cross-country run. “I’m very, very happy; he was a bit scared of the crowds, but he stayed very honest and kept answering the questions. It’s an awful lot for them to come here if they don’t have much experience and to see so many people and the fences. They are very beautiful and well-built but they are quite spooky for the horses, so it was a very educational day and I’m delighted with him,” she said after galloping home comfortably within the time with Outback.

“It’s such a big atmosphere here and tomorrow is another day and hopefully he comes out feeling well. He’s already exceeded all our expectations this week; he has performed brilliantly and fingers crossed he can do the same tomorrow.” And he did, leaving all the poles in place in the final phase while McNab’s Cute Girl did likewise.

Milnes added 0.8 time penalties to her tally, but still held on for third ahead of compatriots Gemma Tattersall with Johan-Some in fourth and Hankey who climbed back up to fifth when adding only 0.4 for time. British riders filled all the places from second to seventh, and the most prolific studbook in the top-seven was the ISH, taking third, fifth, sixth, and seventh spots.

But the Holsteiner, Cute Girl, was the golden girl, and after numerous attempts to make the podium at this prestigious fixture, McNab was plenty pleased with his result.

Great event

“Le Lion is one of those events we always love coming to, and it’s great when you are at this step of the podium, but at the same time it’s always a great event regardless. It’s great for the horses looking towards their future and even if we weren’t winning, we still enjoy it,” he said.

Collett said that in the final showjumping phase, “The time was very tight and the atmosphere in there was like a Championship, like a Badminton; these young horses haven’t experienced that, so I’m so proud of my horse!”

She echoed the sentiments of many when showering praise on the event organisers. “A massive thank you to the team at Le Lion. Every year they put on a phenomenal event and it’s so important for these young horses to bring them to a place like this – it’s a real honour to be here,” she said.

Results here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Cathrine and Cassidy Are the Show-Stealers at Herning

Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

They were billed as the superstars that everyone wanted to see, and the brilliant Danish partnership of Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy didn’t disappoint. In a field sprinkled with both blossoming and established talent they reigned supreme to win the exciting first leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League on home ground at Herning.

They had to work hard, however, because compatriots Carina Cassøe Krüth and Heiline’s Danciera put on a spectacular performance to finish second, while the Dutch duo of Dinja van Liere and Hermes were sensational when slotting into third.

Young horses were really impressive, showing so much promise for things to come. But the crowd went wild when the old boy of the pack, the 18-year-old Cassidy, showed that he still has all the moves when stealing the limelight.

Opened

The action opened with Jennie Larson and Zircoon Spring Flower, the sole Swedish representatives when Patrik Kittel was withdrawn as his ride, Fiontini, was sold.

It was German Eventing idol, Ingrid Klimke, who led the way at the halfway stage when posting 78.750 with Franziskus 15. And when the action resumed after the break, Denmark’s Lone Bang Larsen went out in front with a lovely test from the 11-year-old mare Thranegaardens Rostov that earned 79.525. But then Van Liere and her fabulous nine-year-old stallion Hermes, who took the sport by storm when winning the Grand Prix in Aachen (GER) last month, forged a massive lead when putting 84.360 on the board.

With three left to go. Cassøe Krüth bettered that with a beautiful Freestyle from her 10-year-old mare that, despite a mistake in the one-tempi changes, earned a massive 86.395. So, second-last to go, Dufour and Cassidy had to do something special. But they’ve done it many times during their many years together and this was no exception. Posting 87.115 they bagged victory and brought the Danish crowd to their feet.

Crying

“I was crying my heart out; it was really fantastic!” said Dufour afterwards. With her younger horse, the 11-year-old Bohemian, she earned silver and bronze at the FEI Dressage European Championships last month, not long after returning from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But achieving what she did with Atterupgaards Cassidy, who carried her to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and who has collected 12 European Championship medals, including Young Rider gold and double-bronze at Senior level, during their hugely successful career together was just so very special. It’s about 18 months since he last appeared at an international event, but he showed he still loves every moment of it.

“He is turning 19 in one month and he’s just one of a kind. He’s been with me for 11 years and I have really had enough, but he hasn’t yet! I brought him here so that he could feel important again and he could show the crowd that he still wants to do it, so I’m over the moon!” Dufour said.

He had already made it clear he’s still very much in the game when winning the Grand Prix. He posted his Freestyle victory with apparently effortless ease.

Fit

Dufour says the horse she calls “Cassie” keeps himself fit. “You don’t have to do too much at home. I ride him once, maybe twice a week in dressage and the other days he’s just stretching and jogging or doing pole-work or hacking, so I think that’s why he’s so super healthy. “He’s just clever; he’s never using himself too much; he gives that much extra in the competitions, but back home I never ask for that. I just keep my fingers crossed when I bring him out and hope that he will do it, and he shows me again and again that he will!”

She insisted that she came out with no huge expectations. “I said at the beginning of this competition that there was no pressure; I wasn’t going to ride to win. I didn’t want to push Cassie to win; everything he offered me I took, but I wouldn’t have pushed him to do any more than he wanted,” she said. Will this be his last public appearance before going into well-earned retirement? Possibly not, it seems.

“We’ll see what this season brings, and I might do one more show with him, but he will be the one who decides, not me!” said the 29-year-old Dane who will take another horse, Vamos Amigos, to the second leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League at Lyon, France next week.

Cheer

The Danish crowd had plenty to cheer about, and for runner-up Cassøe Krüth, it was an extra test for her 10-year-old mare when they clapped loudly as the pair progressed up the final centreline. But Danciera seemed to enjoy it, “and she has never felt so good!” said the 37-year-old Dane.

“When they started clapping, I thought Ohh, we still have a long way to go! But she stayed focused, and it was okay and actually I think she liked it, so now they can do it any time!” she added.

Dutch 31-year-old Van Liere was delighted with her result with Hermes. “Yesterday we had a couple of mistakes, but it was our first Short Grand Prix and of course he still lacks experience. I’m riding him since he was three years old, and I hope I will be able to ride him for many more years. I plan to do more World Cups, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on him because he is still young,” said the athlete who hopes to bring him to the qualifiers on her home turf in Amsterdam in January and ’s-Hertogenbosch next March.

Show Director at Herning, Jens Trabjerg, was also very pleased. “It’s always nice as an organiser to have such fantastic sport as we had today. We have tried for the past five years to get the audience to stay for the prize-giving and I have to say we have been quite successful,” he pointed out. Not too surprising perhaps when the home-side contenders steal all the glory in front of their home crowd.

Results here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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