Tag Archives: FEI

2019 Kentucky Spring Prize List and FEI Approved Schedules Available Online

Lexington, Ky. – March 21, 2019 – Kentucky Spring Horse Shows’ management company, Kentucky Horse Shows LLC, is excited to announce that the unparalleled hunter/jumper competition will be returning to the stunning Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, from May 8-19, 2019. The FEI CSI3* show jumping event will feature both international and national competition for horses and riders of all levels at the magnificent venue which is nestled in the heart of horse country. To access the prize list, entry forms, weekly schedules, and FEI approved schedules for both weeks, please click here.

The first week of competition, the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, will kick off starting on May 8-12 and will feature a FEI CSI3* rating. Highlights include the $36,000 Welcome Speed on Wednesday, followed by the $36,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Thursday, which will start off the seven-part Hagyard Challenge Series, and then the $134,000 Kentucky Spring Grand Prix on Saturday. All three FEI classes will count for the Longines Ranking List and the Thursday and Saturday classes will also count for the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List. In addition, the featured national classes will be the $35,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix on Sunday, which will also count towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, and the $15,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 12.

A new addition that will take place during both the Kentucky Spring Horse Show and the Kentucky Spring Classic is the Classic Champions Developing Jumper Tour, sponsored by Classic Champions, Inc., which will offer classes for 5, 6, and 7-year-old horses. This exciting eight-part tour will conclude with championship events that will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky National Horse Show from Sept. 18-22.

The Kentucky Spring Horse Show will also be a World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) member event, where riders can earn points towards year-end awards. Hunters will take center stage on Sunday in the Stonelea Ring with the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, the first of 15 World Equestrian Center/Kentucky Horse Shows USHJA National Hunter Derby Series events.

Competition will continue the next week with the Kentucky Spring Classic, will take place from May 15-19, also with a FEI CSI3* rating. The $36,000 Welcome Speed will be held on Wednesday, followed by the $36,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Thursday, as riders try to accumulate valuable points for the Hagyard Leading Rider Bonus. On Saturday evening, May 18, riders will battle it out for top honors under the lights of the Rolex Stadium in the $134,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix. Once again, all three FEI classes will count for the Longines Ranking List and the Thursday and Saturday classes will also count for the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List. The featured national classes are the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix on Sunday in the Rolex Stadium, which counts towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List and the $15,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 19.

The Kentucky Spring Classic features the second competition of the 15 event World Equestrian Center/Kentucky Horse Shows USHJA National Hunter Derby Series in the Stonelea Ring. Both weeks of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows will offer WIHS and NAL qualifiers plus $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com. To request a prize list, please e-mail prizelist@kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Swiss Look Strong as Final Line-Up Takes Shape

Martin Fuchs and Clooney. (FEI/Christophe Tanière)

America’s Madden chasing her third title

The numbers are in as the definite entries for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019 were confirmed earlier this week, with 35 athletes from 18 countries set to line out when the edge-of-the-seat action gets underway at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE) on 3 April. And while American superstar, Beezie Madden, returns to defend the title she claimed for the second time in her stellar career 12 months ago, she will face a mighty battle to hold on-form contenders from all around the globe at bay as she chases down her hat-trick.

This is the 41st finale to the prestigious series that began way back in 1978. Austria’s Hugo Simon and the brilliant Gladstone were the first champions when the inaugural Final was staged in Gothenburg a year later, and in 2019 the title-decider returns to the Swedish city for 15th time.

As always, it’s like something of a homecoming, and if there’s one man who would dearly love to become the very first Swedish winner it is world No. 12, Henrik von Eckermann, because he finished third with the brilliant Toveks Mary Lou in both 2017 and 2018 and right now the two of them are on fire.

The formidable partnership played a key role in Sweden’s team silver success at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA) and have maintained form ever since. However, they’ll have to be at the very top of their game if they want to see off the challenge thrown down by the world individual silver and bronze medallists, Martin Fuchs and Steve Guerdat from Switzerland.

Fuchs’ performance with Clooney in Tryon was inspirational, and the grey wonder-horse showed just how tough he is when still fresh and strong on the final day.

As for Guerdat, he is a past-master of pressure riding as he has demonstrated on so many occasions. He already has two Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ titles with two different horses under his belt, and he posted the second of those two victories in the Scandinavium Arena three years ago. He’s completely at home in a pressure-cooker environment, and that’s exactly how it’s going to feel when he rides into the ring with Albfuehren’s Bianca, who finished eighth at the Omaha (USA) Final in 2017 and 10th in Paris (FRA) last time around.

There are other former champions also taking another crack at the title this year, and perhaps the most remarkable of all these is Ludger Beerbaum who provided the first-ever German victory with the legendary Ratina Z in Gothenburg in 1993. The German challenge is intimidating, with 2014 champion Daniel Deusser and 2011 winner Christian Ahlmann both armed with great horses after enjoying an impressive qualifying season. They finished first and second on the super-competitive Western European League table, with three wins boosting Deusser to pole position ahead of his compatriot who will be showing off his fabulous young stallion, Clintrexo Z.

Only five female athletes have taken the title in the 40-year history of the series that every rider wants to win, and they all have American roots. There will be eight lady riders competing this time around, but Madden has to be firm favourite, especially since the first of her two previous wins was recorded in the Scandinavium Arena.

The countries that will be represented at this year’s Final are Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and USA. Each and every athlete will be hoping to realise the dream of holding the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ trophy in their hands as they take the top step of the podium on the final afternoon on 7 April.

Confirmed entries list here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Bachmann Andersen Wins Dramatic Last Leg in Den Bosch

Daniel Bachmann Andersen pictured with his wife Tiril Bachmann Anerud and Robbie Sanderson. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

Langehanenberg pips reigning champion Werth for runner-up spot

Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen (28) threw down the performance of a lifetime to win the edge-of-the-seat tenth and last leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at ’s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands. Last to go, it seemed he had a mountain to climb to overtake the fantastic score of 84.875 posted by Helen Langehanenberg (36) who had just pushed her German compatriot, and reigning series champion, Isabell Werth, off the top of the leaderboard.

But the Danish rider and his 14-year-old stallion, who began the season with a brilliant victory on home ground last October in Herning (DEN) where they also left Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH in their wake, really pulled out all the stops to do it once again. Their winning margin was tiny, just 0.015, but their mark of 84.890 rocketed them into pole position on the day and into fourth in the final standings on the Western European League table.

On an afternoon of sparkling sport there was plenty to keep the Dutch crowd pleased, with both Anne Meulendijks (MDH Avanti NOP) and Emmelie Scholtens (Apache) giving a great account of themselves before Hans Peter Minderhoud took the lead with Glock’s Dream Boy when posting a score of 81.635. However, third-last to go, World No. 1 Isabell Werth, put 82.930 on the board to go out in front, and that was the target Langehanenberg was chasing when next into the ring.

And the lady who was crowned 2013 FEI Dressage World Cup™ champion was on fire, Damsey completely composed and concentrated as they forged way into the lead. The smile on her face as she punched the air after the final halt said it all. “This was the best test we’ve ever done!” Langehanenberg pointed out. But Bachmann Andersen wasn’t going to be intimidated. “I saw Helen’s score just before I went in and I decided I was just going to go for it – and I did!” he said.

And Zack answered his every call, demonstrating his ever-growing confidence and immense ability. He’s an extraordinary horse, because he lost an eye due to an injury when he was six years old, but it certainly doesn’t hold him back. “He’s well used to it and he knows his job and he believes in me – but he is truly amazing!” the Danish rider said of his 15-year-old stallion.

“Today he just rocked it and it felt so good; he has so much power and now he can really absorb the degree of difficulty in this Freestyle. We finished very close, Helen and I, and it’s amazing to ride against these great German and Dutch riders who are bringing out their ‘A’ game. This is another really important moment in my career!” — Daniel Bachmann Andersen (DEN)

Now he’s really looking forward to the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg (SWE) which kicks off on 3 April. His strong league result will ensure a good place in the drawn order, and he can’t wait to take on the best of the rest when the moment comes. “Zack will have a little rest now and I will slowly build him up for Gothenburg. I know what the Swedish crowd will be like: it will be electric, but that only makes him better!” he pointed out.

There are nine spots at the Final available to riders from the Western European League and Germany’s Langhanenberg and Dorothee Schneider will join their fellow-countrywoman and defending champion Isabell Werth when the action begins. But despite finishing third, eighth. and tenth respectively on the WEL League table, Germany’s Benjamin Werndl, Frederic Wandres, and Fabienne Muller-Lutkemeier will miss out because only three riders from each National Federation are permitted to compete.

Completing the WEL line-up will be Bachmann Andersen, Sweden’s Patrik Kittel and Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven, The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud, Portugal’s Maria Caetano, and Ireland’s Judy Reynolds.

Watch highlights here.

Final Western European League Standings here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Events at Ocala and Warsaw Bring Qualifying Season to a Close

Jarosław Skrzyczyński (centre), Wojciech Wojcianiec (left), and Krzysztof Ludwiczak (right).  (Photo: FEI/MRPhotos)

Defending series champion, America’s Beezie Madden, finished top of the North American Eastern Sub-League when that series drew to a close in Ocala (USA) last weekend with victory for teenage sensation Brian Moggre. And across the globe in Warsaw (Poland), Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski clinched pole position at the hotly-contested Central European League Final on home ground on Sunday.

The two events drew a line under the exciting FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 season qualifiers which saw 894 athletes compete in 16 different leagues across six continents.

As usual, the Western European League was the largest, with 151 riders chasing down points. However, the combination of the 91 starters in the North American Eastern Sub-League and the 74 that lined out in the North American Western Sub-League ensured this region attracted the biggest entry of all with a total of 165.

Central Europe is also sub-divided into Northern and Southern Sub-Leagues and also enjoyed a strong turnout with 150 athletes taking part. Skrzyczynski was already leading the Northern Sub-League standings going into last weekend’s Final, bringing forward his best five scores of the season. And although his Polish compatriot, Wojciech Wojcianiec, had a dream weekend with victory aboard Nacord Melloni in Sunday’s Grand Prix, it was Skrzyczynski who topped the overall leaderboard. A win with Chacclana on Friday had strengthened his position, and he completed on a total of 138 points to claim his spot at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019 which will kick off in Gothenburg (SWE) on 3 April.

He didn’t make it into the Grand Prix jump-off, however, having to settle for fourth place with the quickest first-round four faults. Third spot was already assured for Estonia’s Kullo Kender and Artas who had collected just a single time fault, and it was left to Wojcianiec to battle it out with compatriot Radoslaw Zalewski (Ilatina) against the clock. Both men faulted at their second attempt, but Wojcianiec’s much quicker time clinched it and he didn’t hide his excitement when he realised the result ensured he has also qualified for Gothenburg along with Skrzyczynski and Kender.

Meanwhile, the result of the Caucasus-Caspian League is also confirmed, with Iranian athletes completely dominating this series. There were three qualifiers in total, the first and last taking place in Tehran (IRI) and the second staged in Tbilisi (GEO). Clear winner was Masoud Mokarinezhad, with Mohammad Zarrin in second place and fellow-Iranians Davood Pourrezaei and Danial Mahzoun sharing third in the final standings.

The invitations have now been issued to all eligible riders, and the North American contingent is filled with big names. Madden is automatically invited as defending champion and is joined on the Eastern Sub-League qualified list by fellow-Americans Molly Ashe Cawley, McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, Devin Ryan, Lucy Davis, Georgina Bloomberg, and Mattias Tromp. Extra eligible athletes from this series also include Germany’s Wilhelm Genn, New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley, and Switzerland’s Beat Mandli, along with Irishmen Conor Swail and Shane Sweetnam and the Canadian duo of Nicole Walker and Mario Deslauriers. The three qualified from the Western Sub-League are America’s Richard Spooner, Eve Jobs, and Kelli Cruciotti, while Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Mexico’s Salvador Onate and Eugenio Garza Perez have also made the cut through this series.

Check out the Final Standings for all Leagues here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Moggre Shines in Longines Debut at Live Oak

Brian Moggre with Vivre le Reve. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

Brian Moggre (USA) made his World Cup debut a winning one, racing to victory with MTM Vivre le Reve in the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Live Oak, the final leg of the 2018-2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League at the Live Oak International in Ocala, Florida (USA).

Moggre and his 10-year-old Westphalian gelding topped a six-horse jump-off, crossing the timers of the Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER)-designed shortened course in an unbeatable 41.29 seconds. Andre Thieme (GER) and Aretino finished second by a narrow margin with their 41.56-second time, while Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Casper were third (43.96 seconds).

Moggre, who turns 18 this year, is in his first year of eligibility to jump in World Cup competition. He also won Friday’s ranking class, which qualified him for Sunday’s World Cup event.

“I had a little bit of low expectations for myself — never for my horse, because he’s amazing. I wanted to go and jump a clear round; that was my main goal. Once that happened, it was pedal to the metal in the jump-off.” — Brian Moggre (USA)

Moggre attributed stride and efficiency to his jump-off win, along with a superior effort from his horse over the course’s penultimate fence.

“There was one small place where my horse had to save me, and he did,” Moggre explained. “I’m so appreciative of him. That’s what makes him so special.”

The Stage Is Set

The points have been finalized, and the stage is set for North American League riders headed for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April.

Beezie Madden (USA) finishes the season at the top of the east coast sub league standings with 58 points, but as the reigning World Cup Final Champion, she automatically qualifies. Molly Ashe Cawley (USA), with 55 points, finishes the season in second place, with Wilhelm Genn (GER) finishing third. With 47 points, Genn qualifies as an Extra Athlete.

Richard Spooner (USA) is the leading rider on the west coast with 49 points. Eve Jobs (USA) finishes second on 48 points to qualify for her first World Cup Final, while Nayel Nassar (EGY) finishes third in the standings with 46 points.

The top seven U.S. riders from the east coast sub league qualify for Gothenburg, along with the top three U.S. riders from the west coast, and the top two riders from Canada and Mexico. The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final takes place 3-7 April 2019.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Team Germany Scoops the Honours in Abu Dhabi

Sven Schlüsselburg and Bud Spencer. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

On a day of high drama in Abu Dhabi, Team Germany pipped Ireland to win the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United Arab Emirates while the hosts and Saudi Arabia claimed the two qualifying spots on offer for the 2019 series Final in Barcelona (ESP) next October.

It was a convincing German victory as Mario Stevens (36), Sven Schlüsselburg (37), Miriam Schneider (38), and Philipp Weishaupt (33) took a firm grip on the leaderboard with just a single time fault to count in the first round, and they finished well clear of the chasing Irish who had to settle for runner-up spot with a final score of six. Schneider was particularly delighted, because she only got the call-up when her boyfriend, Jörg Naeve, had to withdraw from the team two days ago. She wondered if her lovely nine-year-old chestnut gelding, Fidelius G, was ready for this test.

“I hoped he was experienced enough; this was really my first tough course to do with him but over the last few days I had a great feeling with him – he was trusting me, and he showed me that again today!” — Miriam Schneider (GER)

It wasn’t just about winning, however, as four nations – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates – were chasing just two places for teams from the Middle East region at the 2019 Longines Final in Barcelona (ESP) next October. UAE and Saudi Arabia each completed on an 18-fault total to clinch those spots, their quicker combined times leaving the hosts in third at the end of the day ahead of their Saudi neighbours in fourth place.

The 3.8m open water at fence four in the first round proved a challenge to many and Irish chances were rattled when David Simpson’s 11-year-old stallion, Jenson, took fright here and, losing his concentration and nerve, was eliminated a few fences later. But with the open water replaced by an oxer in the second round, the pair returned to post a classic clear over the course designed by Spain’s Santiago Varela at their next attempt.

Team Jordan’s chances of claiming one of the coveted qualifying spots were crushed when last-line rider, Ibrahim Hani Bisharat, was given the ejector-seat by his grey stallion, Chactino, over the oxer at fence five. And he wasn’t the only rider to hit the floor. Saudi Arabian pathfinder, Abdulrahman Bader Alrajhi parted company with Domingo when the gelding put in a stop, while Irish anchor, Mark McAuley, also got to eat some of the desert dirt.

Second-last to go, McAuley looked set to wrap up the now-recovered Irish effort with a lovely double-clear from Jasco vd Bisschop. But the talented 10-year-old suddenly seemed to see a ghost and pulled violently left in front of the very last fence. Miraculously the Irishman persuaded the horse to get airborne, but the pair landed in a heap of poles, and both looked completely mystified as they left the arena, fortunately unscathed.

There was no drama for the Germans, however, with Mario Stevens and Talisman de Mazure leading off with a clear and lowering only the new oxer at fence four second time out, and Sven Schlüsselburg giving a superb account of himself with just a single time penalty in each round with his handsome grey, Bud Spencer. Schneider had two fences down in the first round but Fidelius grew in confidence with every step, and this promising pair secured the top step of the podium with their lovely second-round clear even before Weishaupt headed back into the arena.

Weishaupt’s Catokia had been foot-perfect in round one, but after the 12-year-old mare who won Thursday’s Longines Grand Prix faulted twice at the triple combination, three fences from home, the world no. 31, and the most experienced rider on the team, opted to retire. Nothing to be gained, because the win was already in the bag.

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 series now moves on to Coapexpan (MEX) in early May where the second leg of the North/Central America and Caribbean League will take place.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Endurance Temporary Committee Holds Third In-Person Meeting

Lausanne (SUI), 22 February 2019 – The Endurance Temporary Committee held its third in-person meeting at FEI Headquarters following previous meetings with stakeholders. Stéphane Chazel (FRA), member of the elected FEI Endurance Technical Committee, currently unable to function as a full committee, and Dr Martha Misheff (USA), member of the FEI Veterinary Committee, were invited to attend the meeting in an advisory role and share their expertise and insights on the future and sustainability of the sport.

The Committee summarised the conclusions of previous meetings, which touched on a wide range of topics, with the aim of bringing the discipline back to its roots while maintaining its competitive status.

“The input from the Groups and the ability to dialogue with our stakeholders has been an invaluable contribution to the Committee’s deliberations,” said FEI Vice President Mark Samuel (CAN), who attends each of the Temporary Committee meetings to facilitate direct communications with the FEI Board. “We noted a great deal of alignment in thinking on most subjects and a notable spirit of engagement and optimism. The priority now is to distill our work into proposals and topics of interest for consideration at the FEI Sports Forum in April.”

The Committee also discussed rule changes still to be addressed, such as mandatory rest periods, CEI1* distances, tack and equipment, and optimising the performance of FEI Officials, including education, appointments, rotation, and evaluation.

The FEI Sports Forum 2019 (15-16 April) will have a prominent focus on the sport of Endurance, with Day Two sessions dedicated to the ongoing discussions of the “Future of Endurance”. Delegates will be provided with an update by the Temporary Committee as part of the full consultation process prior to voting on proposed Rules amendments at the FEI General Assembly in November.

FEI Media Contacts:

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

Endurance Temporary Committee Meets with Stakeholders at FEI HQ

Lausanne (SUI), 21 February 2019 – The Endurance Temporary Committee, set up by the FEI Board in October 2018 to review the discipline with the remit of bringing the sport back to its original roots of Endurance riding rather than Endurance racing, has met with a total of 26 stakeholders representing each of the FEI Regional Groups, World Horse Welfare, and the Alliance of Endurance Organisers.

The purpose of the meetings was to allow stakeholders to provide the Temporary Committee with feedback on a series of topics, including the qualification system, mandatory rest periods, track design covering natural features, number of loops, access to water and proximity of cars, elimination codes, heart rates and presentation times, weight of athletes, officials, increased sanctions for anti-doping violations, limits on number of starters, and continuous crewing.

The European Equestrian Federation (former FEI Groups I and II), together with FEI Group III, was represented in the first of five sessions.

“It was a very positive meeting and it was very important for those who participated, that they were being asked for their contributions,” said Quentin Simonet (FRA), Chair of the EEF Endurance Working Group. “Our position is that we have to tackle the real problems which concern a fairly limited number of people. There are plenty of places where the sport of endurance is going very well.”

Also at FEI HQ for meetings with the Temporary Committee were representatives from Groups IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX.

World Horse Welfare also met the Committee, together with representatives of the Alliance of Endurance Organisers, an affiliate of the International Equestrian Organisers Alliance.

“We are heartened that the FEI is taking the strong initiative to “take back,” in the FEI President’s words, the sport of endurance, placing far greater emphasis on equine welfare in what has been a rapidly growing, but all too often, controversial discipline,” said Roly Owers, Chief Executive Officer of World Horse Welfare. “We hope the committee will come up with substantive, and in places radical, changes to better protect equine welfare and so secure the future of endurance.”

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

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

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

Ridden by 35-year-old Shino Hirota, this special horse competed in five of the six legs of the FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Japan League, and with three wins and two runner-up placings topped the series leaderboard by a long distance to claim a qualifying spot for the Swedish showdown. It will be a huge step up for Shino, but her horse is likely to take it all in his stride.

Sold as an unbroken three-year-old to Stefan Karlsson who is based in Markaryd in the south of Sweden, Life Is Beautiful was originally named Tour de France and was already showing promise when finishing eighth at the Swedish Young Horse Jumping Championships as a four-year-old. However, he wasn’t altogether straightforward. “He was troublesome at competitions, getting spooky and agitated, and I wanted to find a way to help him to settle down – I believe that horses should do a bit of everything!” Stefan explained.

So with help from a good neighbour he put him in long reins, and then Stefan began driving him in a single-harness gig. By the time the pair competed together in a Dressage Driving competition at Krapperups Castle on the west coast of Sweden, the transformation was already taking place.

The horse we now know as Life Is Beautiful was able to focus on his work, and was also proving quite successful in the Jumping arena under the saddle of Swedish rider Jörgen Larsson.

“He was a nice horse but a little too good for me to keep on,” said Stefan who has produced many good horses down the years, including one sold to Finland for a national team rider and a thoroughbred mare that found her way into Peder Fredricson’s string when the multi-talented Swede, and current European Jumping champion, was competing in the sport of Eventing.

Life Is Beautiful was eventually spotted by Kiwi rider Bruce Goodin who advised his business partner, Ryuma Hirota, to buy him. Ryuma, who represented Japan at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney (AUS) and at three FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals, wasn’t overly impressed when he tried him at first because he had such an economic jump. But the higher the fences were raised the higher the horse would go, and from the moment Ryuma’s wife, Shino, took up the reins, they really clicked. Now the pair is seen as potential candidates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on their home turf, so they couldn’t have arrived at the peak of their performance potential at a better time.

Stefan meanwhile is planning a visit to Bruce’s yard in Sweden next week to see the horse he still calls Tour de France.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All the results to date can be found here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

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

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

Impressive Israeli side finish second, Team USA third

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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