Tag Archives: FEI

Schneider Makes It Three-in-a-Row When Topping Madrid Leg with Sammy

Dorothee Schneider with DSP Sammy Davis Jr. (FEI/Thomas Reiner)

Dorothee Schneider secured the third successive German victory in this season’s FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League when coming out on top with DSP Sammy Davis Jr. in Madrid, Spain; Claudio Castilla Ruiz (Alcaide) lined up second for the host nation ahead of The Netherlands’ Hans Peter Minderhoud (Glock’s Zinardi) in third.

At the opening leg of the 2019/2020 qualifying series in Herning, Denmark in October it was the home side’s Cathrine Dufour who reigned supreme, but Schneider’s compatriot’s Isabell Werth and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl dominated at the next two rounds. Schneider made it a back-to-back German hat-trick, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the partnership whose record includes European team gold in 2017, World Championship team gold in 2018, and a fifth-place finish at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Paris (FRA) three years ago. Because Sammy was really on his toes.

“He was very good in the Grand Prix yesterday, but in the beginning of the Freestyle today he felt really fresh and we made one mistake in the extended trot and then in the two-tempis,” Schneider said.

“I know him so very long now; I’ve been riding him for five years and he has a lot of his own ideas about how we should be doing things! But that’s one of the reasons I love him – he has so much character, we have a great feeling together, and he just keeps getting better all the time!” — Dorothee Schneider (GER)

Spain was well-represented with five starters in the 13-strong field, and it was Jose Daniel Martin Dockx and Manchego Arb who were in the lead on a score of 73.265 at the halfway stage. But fellow-countryman Juan Matute Guimon steered Don Diego out in front as the final group of competitors took their turn, only for his mark of 74.460 to be immediately overtaken by Great Britain’s Richard Davison and Bubblingh who put 74.615 on the board.

Castilla Ruiz blew the competition wide open with a spectacular ride on his handsome 14-year-old stallion Alcaide when fifth-last to go. When Madrid joined the Western European League series for the first time last year, this pair wowed the home crowd with a really enjoyable performance to take runner-up spot behind Spanish legend Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and Delgado. And they didn’t disappoint this time out either. Once again kicking off their floorplan with one-handed one-tempi changes, and consistently producing quality piaffe/passage, they completed with a confident final halt to raise the bar all the way up to 80.230.

That was always going to be challenging, and when Schneider’s average was hovering around 79 percent it wasn’t clear if her double of errors was going to leave the double-Olympian vulnerable in the final analysis. But the pure quality of Sammy’s work, including his grace and elevation in passage and his fabulous pirouettes along with strong artistic scores, edged the pair up to a final tally of 82.295 which clinched it definitively.

Second-last to go, Dutch star and 2016 FEI Dressage World Cup champion, Hans Peter Minderhoud, was pleased that his 15-year-old grey stallion, Glock’s Zinardi, coped with the arena atmosphere. “It wasn’t easy for him because he’s a bit spooky, but it was great to be here for the first time in Madrid and with today’s points I’m now almost qualified for Las Vegas – I’ve been there three times before and I would love to ride there again!” he said after slotting into third place on 78.350 and moving up to the top of the Western European League table. Last to go, Morgan Barbancon Mestre from France (Sir Donnerhall) finished fourth which leaves her lying joint-fourth in the League moving on to the next leg in Salzburg, Austria next Saturday.

The top nine in the WEL rankings will qualify for the 2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final and Schneider, now in joint-seventh after four of the 11 qualifying legs, has qualification clearly in her sights. But it’s not easy being German it seems, because as it stands her compatriots Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, Frederic Wandres, and Benjamin Werndl are ahead of her on the league table and they all want the same thing – to be one of the two Germans who will join defending champion Isabell Werth for the season finale in the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas, USA next April.

“We have so many very good riders, and we all want to go!” said Schneider.

Result here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Multiple Olympian Klimke Takes FEI Best Athlete Award in Moscow

(left to right): Ingrid Klimke, Uno Yxklinten, Madeleine Broek, Semmieke Rothenberger, Zuxian Li, and Yaofeng Li.

Double Olympic team gold medallist and five-time Olympian Ingrid Klimke was announced as winner of the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award at the FEI Awards Gala presented by Longines in Moscow (RUS).

The glittering gala awards ceremony, which took place in the splendid surrounds of the Kremlin State Palace in the Russian capital, was attended by more than 400 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, National Federations, FEI partners, and stakeholders.

The award is the latest in a series of accolades for German Eventing legend Klimke, who was also nominated for the Best Athlete honour in 2015 and 2017. Klimke received the award from Peden Bloodstock’s Managing Director Martin Atock.

In September, the 51-year-old successfully defended her title at the Longines FEI Eventing European Championships on home turf in Luhmühlen with SAP Hale Bob OLD, becoming only the second person in European history to win back-to-back titles on the same horse. Klimke’s stunning performance in Luhmühlen also led Germany to team gold.

Klimke is the third German female to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete award, following in the footsteps of six-time Dressage Olympic gold medallist Isabell Werth in 2017 and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Jumping champion Simone Blum in 2018.

“I’m really proud that after Isabell Werth and Simone Blum, I’m now winning,” Klimke said. “It’s three women from Germany from three different disciplines. I’m very proud to be here and to win the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award.”

The evening saw Semmieke Rothenberger also flying the flag high for Germany when she took home this year’s Longines FEI Rising Star Award. The 20-year-old has won 22 FEI European Championship medals ranging from ponies category through to Young Riders.

“To win the Longines FEI Rising Star Award it’s really special for me as it sums up this year perfectly,” Rothenberger said. “What makes it really special is that my brother has won it before. So now we’ve got two people in this family who’ve won the Rising Star award. That just makes me very, very happy. My future goal, after following in the footsteps of my brother, is to compete in the Olympic Games. Now that’s a very big goal but it would be a nice thing to work towards.”

Rothenberger received her award from Longines Vice President of Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner. “This award celebrates youth, talent, determination, and the stars of tomorrow,” Baumgartner said. “The work ethic and drive that you see in rising stars like Semmieke is closely aligned with our brand values and one of the main reasons why Longines supports this award. We are proud to be part of this journey in such a talented young athlete’s life.”

The Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award was presented to Madeleine Broek (NED) in recognition of her tireless efforts behind the scenes for Dutch Olympian and Jumping star Marc Houtzager. The award, presented by Cavalor’s Founder and Managing Director Peter Bollen, is given each year to grooms who work behind the scenes providing the best possible care for their equine athletes.

“It’s not really a job but a way of living and you get so much back from the horse, so that’s why it will never be a boring day or a boring week,” Broek said. “Winning the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award means a lot to me because you feel really appreciated for everything you do. It’s a lot of work and I feel really appreciated.”

This year’s FEI Solidarity Award went to Uno Yxklinten (SWE), the Educational Leader of the first Farriers’ training programme in Zambia, set up with the aim of increasing the know-how of farriers in order to improve the well-being of horses in the African country.

Presented by Russian National Federation President Marina Sechina, the award is given each year to an equestrian development project or an individual or organisation that has demonstrated skill, dedication, and energy in expanding equestrian sport. “Winning the FEI Solidarity Award 2019 is of course something big,” Yxklinten said. “I’m humbled and I’m so happy that we actually got this prize. It makes a difference in Zambia for many people.”

Taking the FEI Against All Odds Award was Zhenqiang Li (CHN) who started riding at the age of 27 and became a professional athlete just two years later. He was the first Chinese equestrian athlete to obtain the minimum eligibility requirements for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Sadly, in 2009, his horse Jumpy passed away from cancer leaving Zhenqiang without his beloved equine partner and in financial trouble. Zhenqiang recovered from those difficult times, setting up an equestrian centre in Guangzhou.

“I hope that other Chinese riders will now follow the title of this award, Against All Odds, to work together to overcome the challenges of developing Chinese equestrianism,” Li said. “Thank you to the FEI for supporting the sport in China and for all the people who voted for me at home and abroad. Your support and encouragement will inspire other Chinese riders to reach their goals.”

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez presented the award to Li’s children Yaofeng Li and Zuxian Li who were in the Russian capital on their father’s behalf. Zhenqiang Li competed with his son Yoafeng Li, a former Youth Olympic Games athlete, to earn China’s qualification earlier this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The FEI Against All Odds Award is for someone who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances.

“Each year we receive a high calibre of nominees for the FEI Awards,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Our winners this evening are perfect examples of the excellence, commitment, dedication, and courage that are required in equestrian sport.

“When my predecessor HRH Princess Haya introduced these awards 11 years ago, our hope was to celebrate not just sporting achievement but also the unsung champions of our sport. This evening’s winners have inspired everyone at tonight’s gala here in Moscow as well as a new generation of athletes who need heroes to emulate.”

For the second year running, Paralympic gold medalist Natasha Baker (GBR) and Dressage ace Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) took to the stage to emcee the Awards ceremony.

The winners of the five awards were decided by combining 50% of a public vote and 50% of the judges’ vote for the final result. There were 130,000 online votes cast this year for the nominees.

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

Devos and Apart Do It Again in Stuttgart

Pieter Devos and Apart. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

For the second year in a row, Belgium’s Pieter Devos and his 14-year-old gelding, Apart, came out on top at the super-competitive fifth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League in Stuttgart, Germany where defending series champion, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, had to settle for second ahead of last week’s winner, Great Britain’s Scott Brash, in third.

As always, German course designer Christa Jung didn’t make it easy for the 39 starters in the first round, but the quality of the field ensured an 11-horse jump-off against the clock that had the crowd sitting on the edges of their seats.

“In my opinion this was the toughest leg of the series so far. They always build big here; it’s always technical and tough, but because of the big arena and the very good ground, horses jump well,” Devos said. And he’s delighted that, now lying second on the League table with 40 points already on the board, he looks well set for the Longines Final 2020 in Las Vegas, USA next April. “I’ve done three qualifiers with three different horses, I’m almost there and I’m very happy!” he added.

Ireland’s Richard Howley and Chinook led the way in the jump-off with a fast round in 45.56 seconds but leaving a fence on the floor. Third into the ring, Guerdat, was clear but a little slower when breaking the beam with Venard de Cerisy in 45.87, and Brash challenged that with a strong run with Hello Senator but was a little off the pace when crossing the line in 46.05 seconds.

It was clear Guerdat’s leading time could be beaten when Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot galloped through the finish in 45.20 seconds, leaving an element of the double on the floor. But as Devos set off, he wasn’t convinced he would be the man to do it, and when Apart lost his footing on the turn after the wall three from home, he reckoned his chance was definitely gone.

“I saw Steve’s ride on the screen and I thought this would not be my day because he was very fast! And then after my slip after the wall I thought I wouldn’t be quick enough, but when I rode over the finish line I was – so I’m very, very happy!” he said after posting what turned out to be the winning time of 45.35.

But the excitement lasted to the very end, with the penultimate partnership of Philip Weishaupt and Che Fantastica producing a breathtaking round that drove the home crowd into a frenzy of excitement. Way up on time coming to the last, the German partnership stormed home in 43.63 seconds, but an awkward jump at the last saw the pole fall for four faults which left them in fifth place at the end of the day, just behind Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer and Cortney Cox whose double-clear in 46.25 slotted them into fourth.

“I need to try to do better and leave the poles up in the jump-off next time!” Weishaupt joked afterwards. “For four or five months I had not so many clear rounds so I really wanted to do it today. Maybe I went a little too wild at the last one and should have given the mare a chance to jump it, but I’m still happy with her; she jumped great!” he said.

Runner-up Guerdat congratulated Devos on his winning performance – “Pieter did a great job!” he said. Talking about his own result, he said, “I’m happy to be second as I did not have the jump-off I expected on the last line. My horse responded too well after the wall and turning back to the skinny oxer, and I planned eight (strides) to the last but I changed my mind and I ended up with 10! There were other riders faster than me but they had an unlucky one down, so I was lucky today to finish second, but I’m very happy with my horse.”

Devos was delighted with Apart. “I think he must like the arena here, and the Stuttgart crowd! He felt amazing here last year and again this year he was super!” he. And he was very pleased when awarded a brand new Mercedes-Benz as his winner’s prize. “My wife needs a new car so she’ll very happy!”

World No. 1 and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion, Guerdat, still leads the Western European League table going into the sixth of the 14 qualifiers in Madrid (ESP) in two weeks’ time, with Devos in second and Brash in third. The British rider has now accumulated 35 points and, with something in the region of 40 normally sufficient to secure one of the top 18 places that will make the cut to the Final, also looks well on the road to the bright lights of the Las Vegas where the 2020 champion will be crowned.

Watch highlights here.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Sternlicht Records Second Longines Victory in as Many Weeks with Las Vegas Success

Adrienne Sternlicht and Bennys Legacy. (FEI/Andrew Ryback)

Despite recording a World Cup victory just a week prior in Thermal (USA), Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Bennys Legacy came to Las Vegas’ South Point Arena (USA) with some unanswered questions. The duo had never before competed indoors, but the smaller venue proved no problem for them, as they recorded a second straight World Cup victory.

They topped the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas via a two-horse jump-off and were the only double-clear performers on the evening, crossing the timers of Leopoldo Palacios’ (VEN) shortened course in 37.68 seconds. Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Stranger were faster, but a rail put them in second; they finished on 4 faults in 35.90 seconds. In a unique result, Sarah Segal (USA) and Uma O’Neill (NZL) finished in adjoint third, as both riders recorded a single time fault in the first round with identical times of 73.39 seconds.

“Tonight, I mainly learned that he was super indoors,” Sternlicht said of her still-new mount, having only debuted with the 11-year-old gelding in September. “I really had no idea how he would be! In some ways, I found him easier to ride inside.”

“He’s a horse that goes exactly the way I like to ride: strong and aggressive. I like to help and support the horse, and he leans on me as a rider in that capacity.” — Adrienne Sternlicht (USA)

Knowing there were just two clear rounds and having to return first in the jump-off, Sternlicht approached the shortened course with a nothing-to-lose mentality while being wary of the quick challenge that followed her.

“I think Andrew has the fastest horse in the class, probably the fastest horse in FEI this week,” Sternlicht said. “I knew that if I didn’t stick to my plan, it might be costly. I think my jump-off round showed the quality of my horse. I think, personally, there are a few things I want to work on, but I couldn’t be happier with the way he jumped, and I’m happy that I stuck to my plan.”

The win moved Sternlicht into third in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with 46 points. Brian Moggre (USA) leads those standings with 56 points, while Beezie Madden (USA) is second with 49 points. The top seven from these standings at the end of the 2019/2020 season will advance to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, which will also take place in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center in April.

“World Cup Finals are 100 percent on my radar,” Sternlicht said. “I am planning already. [My trainer McLain Ward] is a big planner, and we had a meeting and planned out my schedule for the next five months. I plan on being here and look forward to coming back!”

On the west coast, Karl Cook (USA) maintains his lead in the standings with 49 points, followed by Ashlee Bond (ISR) with 39 points and Will Simpson (USA) with 34 points.

The North American League continues in Guadalajara (MEX) on 25 January 2020.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Dalera and von Bredow-Werndl Beat Weihegold and Werth in Classic Clash at Stuttgart

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was “over the moon” with delight after winning the third leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2019/2020 Western European League on home ground at Stuttgart (GER). Riding the 12-year-old Trakehner mare TSF Dalera BB with which she claimed team gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA) and individual Freestyle bronze at this summer’s European Championships in Rotterdam (NED), she produced a breathtaking performance to pin defending triple-champions Isabell Werth and Weihegold into second place.

The host nation completely dominated the line-up with Helen Langehanenberg, Dorothee Schneider, and Benjamin Werndl finishing third, fourth, and fifth. For von Bredow-Werndl this was a very special result. “It’s like Christmas coming early!” she said.

Werth, winner with Emilio at the second leg of the series in Lyon (FRA) two weeks ago, looked set to march to victory once again after topping the Grand Prix in which von Bredow-Werndl had to settle for second place. But a couple of blips saw the legendary lady trailing her team-mate who set a massive target-score of 88.440 when second-last to go.

The Freestyle began with Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K putting 80.755 on the board, and this pair, who got the worst of the draw after finishing an uncharacteristic 11th in the Grand Prix, were still out in front with just five of the 15 starters – all of them German – left to compete.

Helen Langehanenberg demoted the Irish duo with a brilliant performance from her 17-year-old stallion Damsey FRH who danced up the centreline with foot-perfect tempi-changes to post 83.735. And when Dorothee Schneider and DSP Sammy Davis Jr slotted in close behind with 83.395 and Benjamin Werndl and Daily Mirror scored 80.900, then it was 2013 series champion Langehanenberg who was still in command with just two left to run.

But Benjamin’s sister, 33-year-old Jessica, turned the class on its head with a technically brilliant performance from Dalera that also sparkled.

“She gave me a feeling I’ve never had before! In Rotterdam she was already amazing but today it felt even lighter and easier. Every piaffe was amazing, every transition every passage and pirouette, every half-pass… I’m so excited about our future now!” — Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (GER)

As Werth set off with her last-to-go ride, it seemed only a matter of form that she would overtake her compatriot’s score. But Weihegold’s test wasn’t clean, and despite a confident one-handed passage to finish, their mark of 87.240 would only be good enough for runner-up spot. “I had super piaffe/passage but had two little mistakes. I maybe risked too much – Jessica deserves to win tonight,” said the five-time champion who is chasing down four titles in a row.

“Stuttgart is one of the toughest qualifiers for the World Cup, so it feels like winning at Aachen or at a Championship! I couldn’t be happier; I knew this was possible but it’s still like a dream come true!” said von Bredow-Werndl.  She’s aiming for the series Final in Las Vegas, USA next April but not with Dalera. “I want to take Zaire to Las Vegas, and I’m trying to prepare Dalera for the Olympics next summer. Tokyo is already for sure somewhere in my head, and I would be delighted to be part of Team Germany there,” she said.

The top nine on the Western European League will qualify for the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2020 Final, and after the first three qualifiers the leading four on the league table are all Germans, von Bredow-Werndl and Frederic Wandres sharing pole position followed by Langehanenberg in third and Benjamin Werndl in fourth place.

The next leg will take place in Madrid (ESP) in two weeks’ time.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

FEI President Opens In-Person Board Meeting at FEI General Assembly 2019

FEI President Ingmar De Vos opened the first in-person meeting of the FEI Board at the FEI General Assembly 2019 in Moscow (RUS) with a vote of thanks to outgoing Board members and a particular vote of thanks to the Russian hosts.

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, posted a personal message on the Kremlin website welcoming the FEI President and delegates of the FEI General Assembly to the Russian capital for the first time.

Persons whose terms of office have come to an end and who were personally thanked by the FEI President for their distinguished service include FEI Vice President H.E. Sheikh Khalid (BRN) and Chair of FEI Regional Group VII from 2006 to 2019, Sadyr Mamytov (KGZ), who has chaired Regional Group III from 2015 to 2019, Medical Committee Chair Dr Peter Whitehead (GBR) from 2009 to 2019), and FEI Tribunal Chair Henrik Arle (FIN) from 2011 to 2019. Betty Wates (JAM), who has chaired the FEI Nominations Committee since 2015, has also completed her four-year term.

The FEI Board, the body responsible for the general direction of the FEI and for all relevant matters not consigned to the General Assembly, held its meeting at the Hyatt Regency Moscow Petrovsky Park, venue for the full FEI General Assembly 2019.

Details of the main decisions and talking points at the meeting are available here.

FEI media contacts:

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

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

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