Tag Archives: FEI

Dutch Are Simply the Best in Barcelona

It was a clear-cut victory for The Netherlands on a thrilling night at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP) where a fused floodlight failed to spoil the party. Finishing with just a single time fault, the new champions pinned Team USA into runner-up spot while Belgium, who also finished on a four-fault scoreline, lined up third when combined times were taken into account.

It was almost two hours after the scheduled start-time when the action got underway with the lighting fully restored. But the man who clinched victory for his country, Harrie Smolders (37), said it didn’t matter.

“In Spain everything is always later. They start later in the morning, and they finish later in the evening – we wanted to win anyway.” — Harrie Smolders (Team Netherlands)

Another masterful course designed by Santiago Varela ensured that it came down to the last-line riders to decide the result of this 2017 title-decider, and it was cliff-hanger until Smolders sealed it with a copybook round from his European individual silver medal-winning ride Don VHP. Jur Vrieling (48) set the stage with a similarly impressive run with the fabulous stallion, VDL Glasgow V. Merelsnest and the only fault they would count would come from Michel Hendrix (30) and Baileys who went just over the time-allowed of 81 seconds. Third-line rider Marc Houtzager was the only one to post a single error, with Sterrehof’s Calimero, at the first element of the double at fence five for the discount score.

“Barcelona is wonderful and the Final of the Nations Cup is always thrilling. It’s very difficult already on the first day, you start with 15 countries and separating the teams is very hard. We saw that by what happened to Ireland who were the gold medal winners at Gothenburg (Longines FEI European Championships staged in August), but that is the jumping sport and that is what makes it exciting.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens, was delighted with the performances of all his team members and their horses.

“Jur is experienced but Glasgow is quite green; this year is his first time in a Championship and he was extremely good this week. That’s a horse for me to keep over the winter season because I think this should be a combination for the World Equestrian Games next year. Michel Hendrix is an up-and-coming rider, very talented; he produced this horse himself. And Harrie is in brilliant form this year; he’s in the flow. I’m very happy for him and also for the country. He is a top jockey and an unbelievably good team player.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Smolders was delighted to bring it home for The Netherlands, but admitted that it took a bit of an effort.

“I felt he (Don VHP) started to get a little tired and that I had to carry him around a bit in the second round today, but he gave everything. He gets a rest now that he really deserves. I’m super confident this season because he jumps clear after clear, but still you have to do it, and it was a big track today, a big challenge; the time was really tight so I couldn’t afford to leave it somewhere. I had to be really on it, but my horse was incredible.” — Harrie Smolders (Team Netherlands)

Rob Ehrens is an exceptional team manager, leading the Dutch to a series of brilliant results in recent years and now adding the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 title to his long list of spectacular achievements. With typical humour, however, he said that the success has little to do with him but was all down to his team.

“The only thing I have to do is tell them what time to get out of bed, what time to get into bed and what time to walk the course. I have an easy job and I’m a happy coach.” — Rob Ehrens (Team Netherlands)

Rob Ehrens – Team Netherlands Chef d’Equipe (winners): “This formula in the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final is excellent and very exciting. Also when we had a little struggle starting tonight, a yes, a no, lights on, lights out, they are professionals and they finished the job really well so we are very, very happy. This is a bit of a new team, new horses, and they were in a good shape already at the European Championships, although we had a little bit of a slow start there. But we had a good feeling and here on the first day on Thursday the horses also jumped very nicely; they were fit to compete, the riders were motivated and today again they showed that they can do what they have to do.”

Lauren Hough – Team USA (2nd), talking about her brilliant mare, Ohlala, and the performance of the US team: “She’s been amazing this week. I’m so proud of her double clear. There was a lot of waiting obviously; being the first rider I think I got on three times to do that round so under the circumstances I’m absolutely thrilled and so proud to be part of such an extraordinary team. Everyone performed brilliantly; both Laura and Beezie are on younger horses, but they are incredible riders and they kinda held their horses’ hands and we are thrilled with the result today.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

UAE Springs a Big Surprise with Victory in Longines Challenge Cup

Photo: Victory gallop for Team United Arab Emirates (FEI/Libby Law)

It was history in the making when the United Arab Emirates crushed their considerably more experienced opponents to win the Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final under the lights of the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP). They finished second-last of the 15 participating nations in the first qualifier when collecting a total of 34 faults so looked way out of contention going into this competition reserved for the seven teams that didn’t make the cut into the series title-decider.

But they never touched a pole, and even more impressively they came out on top without having to call up their fourth team member. It was something of a walkover, with their three time faults leaving them six faults clear of the recently-crowned European champions from Ireland, while Team Brazil slotted into third with an 11-fault finishing score.

They even had the worst of the draw, with 33-year-old Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri first to take on Santiago Varela’s 13-fence course which demanded both accuracy and speed. With his mare, Sama Dubai FBH, he made it look easy when picking up just two time faults, and then Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi and Cha Cha Cha posted an extraordinary clear only to be followed by a single time fault for Mohammed Ghanem Al Hajri and Pour le Poussage. There was a look of near-disbelief on many UAE supporter’s faces when they realised that, even without the help of anchorman Sheikh Majid Al Qassimi and Celtion, they already had it all wrapped up.

Delighted UAE Chef d’Equipe, Karl Schneider, reckoned it was their poor start that spurred his side to success.

“Sheikh Majid is normally our best rider, but yesterday he was first to go and he didn’t have a good time – maybe his horse didn’t travel well, but anyway I think that shocked all the other boys and that’s why they didn’t ride well. So we changed the team order for today and put him in last, and I was only joking when I said that maybe he might not have to jump tonight.” — Karl Schneider (Team UAE)

This result is no fluke, however; it’s the result of years of effort.

“We’ve been working really hard setting the basis for the sport in our country, and for the first time we had more than four riders to choose from for a Nations Cup which was brilliant, and we chose the four that were in form and thankfully we did well.” — Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri (Team UAE)

He is based in France where he works as a policeman and has been training with America’s Alice Debany Clero for the last 12 years.

“The other three boys are in my stable in Bonn, Germany, the same place as Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), and they were all the summer with me. So we made a good plan about Abdullah’s shows and he came with Alice to join us, and the boys got a bit of experience of being together and finally it worked really well.” — Karl Schneider (Team UAE)

Alice Debany Clero, who suffered a badly-broken leg in a fall from a young horse five months ago and has been course-walking all week on crutches, explained her connection to the winning team.

“I started working for Princess Haya back in 2000 and I coached her at the Olympics in Sydney and we remained very close friends. She hired me in 2005, so I’m about to start my 13th season with Dubai.” — Alice Debany Clero (Team UAE)

Princess Haya, Former FEI President and wife of Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai, said:

“I’m so thrilled, so proud of this success – after all the hard work they’ve invested over the years they really deserved this.” — Princess Haya

Karl Schneider – Team UAE (winners): “To win with only three riders, that was really amazing, especially after yesterday when we didn’t have best start. But there was good team spirit, they didn’t give up, they were still fighting tonight, and finally it came good for us.”

Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri – Team UAE, talking about his mare Sama Dubai FBH: “I have her for six years and I know her very well. She always had potential; I always believed in her and I’m glad she was able to shine in such an amazing place.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Canadians Clinch Pole Position in First Qualifier

Yann Candele and Theodore Mancaias (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Team Canada posted the only zero score in the first qualifier to claim pole position going into the title-decider at the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona (ESP). On a day of high drama, The Netherlands, USA, France and Germany were next in line when they all finished with four faults, while Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland claimed the last three qualifying places with eight faults apiece.

Team Ireland also finished with eight, but their slower combined times saw the country that claimed team gold at the Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg (SWE) four weeks ago line up ninth, and just outside the qualification zone.

As the last side of 15 into the arena, the Canadians had the best of the draw and Yann Candele (46) got them off to a flying start with a clear round riding Theodore Manciais. Another from Tiffany Foster (33) with Tripple X was followed by eight faults for Chris Pratt (48) and Concorde. But with the best three scores to count, it was 2008 Olympic champion Eric Lamaze (49) who wrapped it up with a fault-free effort from Coco Bongo.

Canadian Chef d’Equipe, Mark Laskin, admitted however that he wasn’t entirely confident about how things might play out. And he was more than pleasantly surprised with Candele’s opening effort.

“We had a couple of question marks, a couple of unknowns – some of our horses and riders were not available to come. And Yann Candele, that was only the third time he’s ever ridden that horse, that was the first course he jumped with it, and this is the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona! With Yann I always said I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a couple of rails down, so to come through like that as first rider, it really gave us a spark!” — Mark Laskin (Team Canada)

Candele has his own way of going about things, as his team manager explained.

“He’s been traditionally our lead-off rider because he doesn’t count strides, he just adjusts; he improvises. Even after he went into the ring he did some numbers (of strides) that we weren’t planning, and Eric Lamaze said to me, ‘Why do we even walk the course with him? He might as well just go in and wing it!’” — Mark Laskin (Team Canada)

It seemed that the French would also share a zero score, but last-line rider Roger Yves Bost was disqualified for using hind boots on his horse that weren’t in accordance FEI regulations. But the 2016 Olympic team gold medallist and 2013 European champion will still be part of the French side on Saturday night as that is a separate competition.

Brazil, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the United Arab Emirates will line out for the honours in the Longines Challenge Cup which is always guaranteed to be a thriller. But for the Canadians, and the seven other qualified nations, it’s all about lifting that very special Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping trophy the following night.

Mark Laskin is hopeful for Canada in the Final, but he’s not prepared to anticipate too much. He said:

“Anything can happen once you get to the dance! We don’t get ahead of ourselves; there are clichés for a reason because it’s a good way to think: one step at a time, one round at a time; we’ll see what happens.” — Mark Laskin (Team Canada)

Mark Laskin – Team Canada, talking about his team’s chances of winning the Longines FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping title: “I’m very happy we qualified; in fact definitely ecstatic! We’ll be there on Saturday night; we are fighters!”

Lauren Hough – Team USA, talking about the course: “This is a fantastic course builder (Santiago Varela). That triple at the end is quite fearsome, but I think it is very jumpable.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

FEI Awards 2017 Shortlist Announced – Public Voting Now Open

Photo: Taiko traditional Japanese Drummers perform at the FEI Awards 2016 ceremony in Tokyo (JPN)

Lausanne (SUI), 20 September 2017 – The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has opened the public voting for all the shortlisted nominees of the FEI awards 2017.

For the first time since the creation of the awards in 2009, the public can cast a vote for their heroes and impact who they think deserves to win. A billing packed with champions and those who go above and beyond, the twenty nominees have been shortlisted across five categories for their outstanding contributions and dedication to the sport, showcasing some of the most successful achievements and talent within the Equestrian community.

We received hundreds of nominations from around the globe over the twelve week nomination period. The calibre of entries for this year’s awards was exceptional. Now it’s over to the public to choose their favourites from the final shortlist of candidates for Best Athlete, Longines Rising Star, Best Groom, Against All Odds and FEI Solidarity by registering through this link from now until 1 October 2017. The public vote determines 50% of the total vote whilst the other 50% will be decided by a star studded expert judging panel.

The winner of each of the five categories will be announced at the FEI Awards 2017 gala presented by Longines in Montevideo (URU) on 21 November 2017, in front of more than 350 distinguished guests, including top sporting legends, equestrian fans, FEI partners and stakeholders representing the 134 National Equestrian Federations. The awards will be broadcast live on FEI platforms, providing a valuable opportunity to celebrate the best of the best of Equestrian worldwide.

Follow along with all of the festivities of the FEI Awards 2017 on the FEI social media channels. More information on the nominees will also become available in the upcoming days on fei.org.

Who will walk away with one of these prestigious titles at this year’s ‘Equestrian Oscars’? Get voting for your favourites now!

FEI Media Contact:

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

Ryan Sees Plenty of “Blue” with Longines Win in New York

Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue (FEI/Rebecca Berry)

Devin Ryan entered the jump-off for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York with an eight-year-old rookie and left with a World Cup qualifier Champion.

Devin Ryan (USA) and LL Show Jumper’s Eddie Blue topped a five horse jump off at Old Salem Farm (NY) to claim the blue ribbon and the first World Cup qualifier victory of their respective careers. They did so by defeating reigning World Cup Final Champion McLain Ward (USA) and new mount HH Callas, the only other pair to put forth a double clear performance on the day. Jack Towell (USA) and Lucifer V finished third.

“I knew going into it that I had a great horse, and I knew that there was a great field out there. I was the least experienced of the jump-off riders out there, and I’ve been watching them all year. I went out there and rode my plan.” — Devin Ryan (USA)

Ryan began the North American League at Bromont aboard the 10-year-old Cooper, but he saw New York as the ideal place to test his younger mount in tougher waters, a decision for which he was rewarded. Eddie Blue excelled over the testing track set by course designer Alan Wade (IRL); less than 13 percent of the 39 competitors advanced to the shortened course.

“I’ve slowly brought him along throughout the season and used him as second horse in ranking classes,” Ryan explained. “I built him up, and he’s been going so strong. A field like this suits him with his brig stride and big scope, and it gives us time to organize. The field fits the horse, and I thought it was a great place to step up and see what he brought.”

Ryan plans to compete in the next World Cup qualifier on the east coast sub league, which will take place in Washington, D.C. (USA) on Saturday 28 October 2017. The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League resumes with the west coast sub league at Sacramento (USA) on Saturday 7 October 2017.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

French Stand Firm to Win Last Qualifier in Gijon

Photo: Nicolas Delmotte and Ilex VP. (FEI/Xurde Margaride)

Team France won the last qualifying leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 Europe Division 2 series in Gijon, Spain where, in a roller-coaster of a competition, The Netherlands finished second ahead of Ireland in third.

The French were already out in front on a zero score at the halfway stage, but were being closely chased by Canada carrying just a single time fault. However, the course designed by Spain’s Avelino Rodriguez-Miravalles saw some serious shuffling of the pack as the second round progressed. And the Dutch, lying joint-third with Spain and Mexico, and Irish who were in joint-sixth with Great Britain, were rewarded for holding their ground while those around them lost theirs.

When Kevin Staut (36) and For Joy van’t Zorgvliet HDC hit the middle element of the triple combination three fences from home and Gregory Cottard (39) and Regate d’Aure lowered the bogey final fence to also collect four faults second time out, then it fell to French anchorman Nicolas Delmotte (39) and Ilex VP to save the day as the best three scores per team would be counted and his side was now carrying four faults. Edward Levy (23) and the fabulous stallion Sirius Black had followed up their single first-round error with a great clear, but only the same from Delmotte would prevent a jump-off against the Dutch who, like the Irish, were fault-free at their second attempt.

“Being last to go I felt the responsibility, but I had confidence, and I had a horse that responded brilliantly!” — Nicolas Delmotte (Team France)

One mistake and France would be on level pegging with The Netherlands on eight faults and forced into a jump-off. Any more than that and victory would be lost. But Delmotte held his nerve to bring Ilex home with a classic clear when posting one of four double-clear rounds on the day.

Ireland lined up third on their first-round total of 12 faults and the Canadians, hampered by second-round elimination for Jaclyn Duff and Eh All or None who had collected just a single time fault in the first round, had to settle for fourth place with 13 faults on the scoreboard. Great Britain (20 faults) finished fifth, Mexico (24 faults) lined up sixth, Germany (28 faults) finished seventh and the host nation (29 faults) finished eighth. Team Egypt collected 18 faults in the first round so didn’t make the cut into round two.

French Chef d’Equipe, Philippe Guerdat, was delighted with his country’s eleventh FEI Nations Cup™ success at the famous Las Mestas Arena in Gijon. “This is a lucky venue for us!” he said.

Kevin Staut FRA (winning team): “I am very happy – this is my second Nations Cup win in this city!”

Shane Breen IRL (3rd placed team), talking about the bogey fences: “Fence eight was like a gate, a stile type fence and it was narrow. There was a roll-back up to it and some lost a bit of balance on the turn and found they didn’t have the space to jump it. It was very light and short and it looked quite tall. The last fence came after the triple bar and there was a floaty six strides to it. It was cleverly designed with a white plank at the bottom and on the top, and some horses slightly misjudged it.”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Oliver Townend Takes His Second Burghley Title with Ballaghmor Class

Photo: Oliver Townend riding Ballaghmor Class. (FEI/lLibby Law)

British fill first four places while Michael Jung (GER) easily secures his second FEI Classics™ title

Oliver Townend (GBR) kept his head in a tense final jumping round at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, last leg of the FEI Classics™, to score his first CCI4* victory for eight years and head a British sweep of the top four places.

He overcame a nerve-racking moment when the 10-year-old Irish Sports Horse Ballaghmor Class crashed through the upright gate but, fortunately for him, the previous pair in the arena, Gemma Tattersall (GBR) and Arctic Soul had given him breathing space when they had a fence down.

“This is very, very special. Such a lot can go wrong with a young horse – and he’s only just learned to do flying changes – but he’s in a different class to anything else I’ve ridden recently.” — Oliver Townend (GBR), Burghley winner

Tattersall finished third, slipping one place behind Piggy French (GBR), who jumped clear on the mare Vanir Kamira to move up from fifth after cross country to the runner-up slot. It was a particularly triumphant return for French, who has taken a year off from the sport to have a baby.

“Our jumping round wasn’t that pretty, but who cares? Burghley is the toughest four-star in the world and to do well here is a dream!” — Piggy French (GBR), runner-up

Tom McEwen (GBR) riding Toledo de Kerser rose three places to fourth, a career best, with a beautifully judged clear round and Kristina Cook (GBR), one of the British gold medal team at last month’s FEI European Championships in Strzegom, moved up from 10th to seventh on Star Witness.

Richard Jeffry’s track produced seven clear rounds from the 40 finishers, two of which were with time faults.

New Zealander Tim Price was the highest-placed non-British rider, in fifth on Ringwood Sky Boy. America’s Lynn Symansky was sixth on Donner and Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and the gallant 17-year-old Nereo were eighth with two rails down.

FEI Classics™

Although Michael Jung had retired across country after a rare mistake with La Biosthetique Sam, the German still secured the top prize in the FEI Classics™ following a win at Kentucky and second places at Pau and Badminton.

French rider Maxime Livio, who was not competing at Burghley, remained in second place, counting a win at Pau and a second at Kentucky, and Nicola Wilson (GBR) remained in third with a fourth place at Pau and a second at Lühmuhlen.

“It’s been a brilliant season,” summed up the FEI’s Catrin Norinder, head of the Eventing and Olympic department. “All six events have been thrilling and we’ve seen some fantastic performances from athletes and horses who have portrayed our sport in the very best light.”

By Kate Green

Press contacts:

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

At Burghley:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class Head a British Trio at Burghley after Cross Country

Photo: Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. (FEI/Libby Law)

Oliver Townend (GBR), very last out on the cross country at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, sixth and final leg of the FEI Classics™, produced a superb display of horsemanship on the inexperienced Ballaghmor Class to head a British one-two-three.

Townend, 31, won Badminton and Burghley in 2009 and is the British number one, but has struggled to find a consistently top horse since then. However, the Irish-bred 10-year-old by Courage galloped and jumped easily and looks a star for the future, finishing on a score of 40.6.

“Ballaghmor Class was wild as youngster – everyone’s had a go at falling off him – and he has done lots of things he shouldn’t, but then so have I!” — Oliver Townend (GBR), cross-country leader

Fellow Briton Gemma Tattersall held the lead for most of the day on the ex-racehorse Arctic Soul with one of only three rounds inside the time and she is within a rail of Townend going into the final jumping phase with 43.0 penalties.

“Arctic Soul felt strong and feisty, which was not helped by my having a cold, but we have an amazing partnership.” — Gemma Tattersall (GBR), second after cross-country

Izzy Taylor (GBR), whose great-aunt Anneli Drummond-Hay (GBR) won the first Burghley in 1961, is in third place on a new ride, Trevidden, by the great eventing sire Fleetwater Opposition, on 45.6.

“It was one of those rides when you’re having such a great time that you have to remind yourself to concentrate!” — Izzy Taylor (GBR), third after cross-country

A huge crowd enjoyed perfect sunshine and thrilling sport with 29 clear rounds and plenty of excitement right until the very end on Mark Phillips’s cleverly designed track.

As the Brits surged up the leaderboard – Piggy French (Vanir Kamira), Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser) and pathfinder Kristina Cook (Star Witness) are fifth, seventh and 10th – there were some unexpected mishaps for senior riders.

Dressage leader Sir Mark Todd (NZL) was up on the clock with Leonidas II when he fell off on landing over the brush at the Discovery Valley (fence 26) and third-placed Michael Jung (GER) and La Biosthetique Sam made the first mistake of their championship career with a runout at a skinny brush in the Trout Hatchery and subsequently retired.

Kristina Cook, fifth on Calvino ll, was held on course in front of the Discovery Valley and perhaps lost concentration as she had a frustrating runout and dropped to 18th place.

Andrew Nicholson (NZL) had a fall with first ride Qwanza at the new Storm Doris fence – angled logs from a tree which fell in the February storm – but is in sixth with 7.6 time penalties on his Badminton winner Nereo.

In an international line-up, Tim Price (NZL) is fourth on Ringwood Sky Boy, by the same sire as Ballaghmor Class, US athletes Lynne Symansky (Donner) and Boyd Martin (Steady Eddie) are eighth and ninth and dressage runner-up Lauren Kieffer (Veronica, USA) is 13th with 28 time penalties.

Follow all the action with live results on www.burghley-horse.co.uk.

By Kate Green

Press contacts:

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

At Burghley:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

Legendary Todd and Leonidas II Take Over Dressage Lead at Burghley

Photo: Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II. (FEI/Libby Law)

Dressage day two influential as Sir Mark Todd (NZL) leads from USA’s Lauren Kieffer and Michael Jung (GER)

Nearly 40 years after the legendary Sir Mark Todd (NZL) first rode at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) he is in the lead after dressage with Leonidas II on a mark of 36.7. In a star-studded line-up, the double Olympic champion heads the USA’s Lauren Kieffer on Veronica II by just 0.3 of a penalty, with world number one and FEI Classics™ leader Michael Jung now in third on La Biosthetique Sam.

The tall, lean New Zealander, 61, who last triumphed at Burghley in 1999, made an elegant picture on the German-bred 13-year-old, the bay gelding remaining obedient yet lively and light in his paces as well as beautifully supple.

“I may have won Burghley five times, but I haven’t won it this century! Finally, this horse is starting to grow up. When I got him as a six-year-old he was so impetuous, but now he knows what he’s meant to do and I’ve got every confidence in him.” — Sir Mark Todd (NZL), overnight leader going into cross country

Kieffer and the mare Veronica have a second place at Kentucky 2016 and 17th at Badminton this year under their belt, but it is their first visit to Burghley.

“Most of the American riders are sitting on thoroughbreds, so we’re pretty happy about tomorrow’s cross-country, but Burghley is something that’s in a class of its own and we have all studied it pretty carefully.” — Lauren Kieffer (USA), second after dressage

Two more senior riders, Andrew Nicholson (NZL), 55, on Nereo and Britain’s Kristina Cook, 46, on Calvino II, scored under 40 penalties and are in close contention in fourth and fifth places. Nicholson, currently fourth in the FEI Classics™, has also won Burghley five times, although never on the 17-year-old Nereo, his winning mount at Badminton this year.

Cook, a multiple winner of team medals, including at the recent FEI European Championships in Poland, is renowned for her skill as a cross-country rider but has never won a CCI4*, and her mark of 39.6 may give her the best chance yet.

“I don’t really do dressage in the 30s! So I’ll be going for it tomorrow. Calvino is only small-framed but he has the heart of a lion.” — Kristina Cook, fifth after dressage and highest-placed of the home side

Cook will be first out on the cross-country course on Star Witness, currently 40th after dressage.

Follow all the action with live results on www.burghley-horse.co.uk.

By Kate Green

Press contacts:

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

At Burghley:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

Michael Jung Tops Dressage after Day One at Burghley

Photo: Michael Jung with La Biosthetique Sam FBW. (FEI/Libby Law)

GBR’s Gemma Tattersall in overnight second with Arctic Soul and Mackenna Shea (USA) third on Landioso

World number one Michael Jung (GER) has yet again set the target with a beautifully ridden dressage test on his old friend La Biosthetique Sam, now 17, to take an early lead at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, sixth and final leg of the 2016/2017 FEI Classics™.

The double Olympic champions, winners here in 2015 and current FEI Classics™ series leader, impressed the ground jury — Martin Plewa (president, GER), Katarzyna Konarski (POL) and Harry Payne (GBR) — to earn the only sub-40 mark of the day, 38.9 penalties, and lead over British national champions Gemma Tattersall and the former racehorse Arctic Soul by 4.1 penalties.

“Sam is on good form. You have to be 100% perfect in all es to win and this was not our best dressage performance, but I think the cross-country is tough enough to change the result.” — Michael Jung (GER), first-day dressage leader

Tattersall, fifth individually at the FEI European Championships in Poland recently, has worked hard at containing the sensitive thoroughbred Arctic Soul in the dressage. This represents a considerable improvement on their mark of 55.8 at Badminton when brilliant performances in the jumping phases elevated them a remarkable 60 places to eventual seventh.

“I’m chuffed to bits. Arctic Soul is very shy, so the key is getting him to feel confident, rideable and relaxed. Today he allowed me to place him so that all his movements were correct.” — Gemma Tattersall (GBR), second after dressage

American rider Mackenna Shea, 24, has made a great start to her first run at Burghley and is in third place on a score of 46.1 on Landioso, a 15-year-old Dutch-bred gelding that she has produced since he was four. Shea has based herself this summer with British rider Rodney Powell, but their campaign started late due to Landioso suffering from shipping fever.

“‘I didn’t realise what a big step Burghley would be after Kentucky. Just walking the course takes so long!” — Burghley first-timer Mackenna Shea (USA), third after dressage

Jung may have an unassailable lead in the FEI Classics™ — his nearest rival, Maxime Livio (FRA) is not competing — but has he left the door open in the dressage for Burghley honours?

A host of stars could challenge for the lead. These include Zara Tindall (GBR) and High Kingdom, the pair that finished third behind Jung (on fischerRocana) at Kentucky (USA) in April, and American rider Lauren Kieffer on the lovely mare Veronica.

A quartet of New Zealanders is also likely to feature at the top of the leaderboard: Badminton winners Andrew Nicholson on Nereo, five-time Burghley winner Sir Mark Todd on Leonidas ll, 2010 winner Caroline Powell with Onwards and Upwards, and Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy).

Nicola Wilson (GBR), currently third in the FEI Classics™, does not have a Burghley ride and looks vulnerable to being overtaken in the series by the likes of Nicholson, fourth on the leaderboard, Price, eighth, and Tindall, ninth, all three holding obvious chances to take the prize money on offer for third.

By Kate Green

Press contacts:

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Media Relations and Communications Manager
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

At Burghley:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601