Tag Archives: FEI

Espoir Lives Up to His Name and Produces a Brilliant Win for Belgium’s Devos in Bordeaux

Photo: Pieter Devos and Espoir. (FEI/Richard Juillart)

Three-time champion Marcus Ehning from Germany finishes second ahead of Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro in third

A brilliant performance from his horse called Espoir secured a place at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 Final for Belgium’s Pieter Devos (31) at the second-last leg of the Western European League in Bordeaux (FRA). Setting a sizzling standard at the halfway-stage of the 10-horse jump-off against the clock, the pair couldn’t be caught despite the best efforts of three-time champion Marcus Ehning (43) from Germany who had to settle for runner-up spot and Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro (43) who lined up in third.

With 29 points already to his credit, Devos knew he had it all to do. Something in the region of 40 points is required to confirm that ticket to the finale in the French capital city next April and time is running out. But it wasn’t just the win and those 20 extra valuable points that pleased him most; it was the two spectacular rounds produced by his 14-year-old gelding, whose name in English translates to “hope”, that really lifted his spirits.

“I came here in the hope of qualifying; this was one of the last chances and even though I had a good indoor season I needed those extra points. Of course, the win is great and I’m excited to go to the Final; it will be my first and I’m really looking forward to the experience. But to be honest the very best thing is the feeling Espoir gave me today. He had a break and did his first World Cup in Leipzig when we had one down, and tonight he felt like he is right back in great shape and that makes me very, very happy!” — Pieter Devos BEL

Switzerland’s Paul Estermann and Lord Pepsi were first to go clear over Italian course designer Uliano Vezzani’s jump-off track, but Saro and Cannavaro set a new target when clearing the line in 38.40 seconds. Sixth to go, Devos always looked like he meant business, galloping into the ring and setting off with fierce determination.

“Before I went in I thought I’d be happy to finish in the top five, but in the end I took a risk between the first two fences and that went well, so of course then I got more ambitious and I just wanted to win! The crowd was great; they were shouting at me all the way to the last so I took the risk there as well!” — Pieter Devos BEL

His time of 36.53 seconds was always going to be difficult to beat, and although Ehning, second-last into the arena, looked set to put up a big challenge with Cornado NRW they broke the beam in 38.09 seconds for second place.

Ehning has now moved up to third place on the Western European League table which continues to be dominated by Frenchman Kevin Staut, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann lies second and Devos makes a meteoric rise to seventh position. The top 18 qualify for the Final and the pressure will be at boiling point when the last qualifier gets underway in Gothenburg (SWE) in three weeks’ time.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Pacific and Central European League Athletes Earn Tickets to Paris Final

Photo: Mary Hanna riding Calanta. (FEI/Stephen Mowbray)

Australia’s Hanna tops the Pacific League Final; Russia’s Merkulova and Karasiova from Belarus claim the two Central European slots

Mary Hanna (63) claimed the single available qualifying spot for the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) in April when coming out on top at the Pacific League Final at Boneo Park, Boneo (AUS) last Saturday. Riding the 11-year-old KWPN mare Calanta, the five-time Olympian, who has also competed at three FEI World Equestrian Games and three FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals, posted a strong Freestyle score of 75.390 to pin fellow-Australians Alex Hellyer (Bluefields Floreno) and Brett Parbery (DP Weltmieser) into second and third places.

Hanna’s campaign began when claiming first and second with Boogie Woogie and Sancette at Werribee almost 12 months ago, but she didn’t line out in Sydney last August where Judy Dierks steered Diamond Star into pole position ahead of Parbery and Weltmieser while Rozzie Ryan slotted into third with Harrah R.  And when the action moved on to Boneo in October it was Parbery who reigned supreme ahead of New Zealand’s Julie Brougham (Vom Feinsten) while Dierks finished third.

Hanna once again dominated when returning to the arena for the fourth leg of the series in Werribee in December where Calanta scored 74.400 for the win ahead of her other ride, Boogie Woogie. But when it was Boogie Woogie that finished second to Parbery’s Weltmieser in last weekend’s Grand Prix in which Hanna’s World Cup nominated ride Calanta had to settle for eighth place, it seemed the 2018 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final might not be on the cards for the seasoned veteran. It all changed on Freestyle day, however, when a personal-best score booked her spot in spectacular style.

In the Central European League, riders qualify for the Final using a points system based on finishing places at the qualifying legs, and the two spots up for grabs went to Russia’s Inessa Merkulova (53) and Hanna Karasiova (33) from Belarus. The 11-leg series began in Minsk (BLR) last April where Russia’s Elena Shaivoroniskaya (Sandra) pipped Karasiova (Arlekino) and then moved on to Mariakalnok (HUN) where Spain’s Morgan Barbancon Mestre (Sir Donnerhall ll), Germany’s Banjamin Werndl (Der Hit) and Portugal’s Bonaventura Freire (Sai Baba Plus) filled the top three placings.

At Lipica (SLO), Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj (Smeyers Molberg), Austria’s Belinda Weinbauer (Sohnlein Brilliant MJ) and Italy’s Valentina Truppa (Ranieri) filled the top three steps of the podium and then it was on to Nizhnly Novgorod (RUS) in June where Merkulova (Avans) pipped Karasiova (Arlekino). Later that month, Swedish star Patrik Kittel (Well Done de La Roche) claimed maximum points for his win in Brno (CZE) where Hungary’s Nikolett Szalai (Willy the Hit) finished second. Karasiova dominated at Taillinn (EST) in August where she steered Zodiak into pole position and Arlekino into third but it was Merkulova who stole the limelight in Moscow (RUS) in September when first with the fabulous Mister X and third with Avans, and following another win at the New Century venue in Moscow later that same month she cemented her position on the leaderboard. Merkulova has competed at three FEI European Championships, four FEI World Equestrian Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She has also lined out at six FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals, and with Mister X has posted top-10 finishes in the last four editions.

Estonia’s Dina Ellermann (Landy’s Akvarel) pipped Karasiova for the top spot in Taillinn in October and Denmark’s Malene Kohlschmidt Ebbesen (Mira) won the tenth leg in Zakrzow (POL) before Karasiova concluded her impressive campaign with a first and third placing at the final Freestyle in Moscow in December which earned her the second berth for this region at the Paris Final.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Luis Alejandro Plascencia O Leads Longines Podium Sweep for Mexico in Guadalajara

Photo: Luis Alejandro Plascencia O and Da Vinci. (FEI/ Peter Llewellyn)

Heading into the jump-off of his World Cup qualifier debut, 26-year-old Luis Alejandro Plascencia O (MEX) was confident despite the pressure and channeled that to a victory in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Guadalajara (MEX).

“There was only one clear round, and I knew my horse was naturally faster – I was confident I could catch [the leader] without going crazy!” — Luis Alejandro Plascencia O (MEX)

Plascencia, the penultimate competitor in a seven-horse jump-off set by 2016 Rio Olympic Games Course Designer Guillerme Jorge (BRA), guided home the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Da Vinci to victory in just his second four-star grand prix, crossing the timers in 40.66 seconds. Gustavo Ramos (MEX) and his longtime partner Izzy Miaki, the only other combination to produce a double-clear effort on the day, held on to the runner-up position with a time of 42.50 seconds, while defending champions Francisco Pasquel (MEX) and Naranjo finished third, capping a sweep of the top three placings for the host nation.

“I’ve had my horse for a little more than a year and half now, and he jumped amazing today,” Plascencia said. “He’s very consistent, and today, the track was very, very nice. [Jorge] is my favorite designer. Everything was technical, there were no tricks, there was not a specific hard [area on course where all the rails fell], and well, I loved it!”

Last to go in the jump-off, Sarah Scheiring (USA) and Dontez knocked a rail at the final fence, earning them a fifth-place finish and the designation of being the highest-placing American pair. The points accumulated from the effort moved Scheiring from 11th to fifth in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League. The top seven U.S. riders from the east coast will qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris (FRA) in April. Jamie Barge (USA) and Luebbo finished 13th and sit fifth in the west coast sub league standings, just a point away from Jenni McAllister (USA), the current cutoff for that sub league.

There are three stops remaining on the 2017-2018 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League calendar. Competition resumes on the east coast in Wellington (USA) on Sunday, 4 February 2018. The west coast sub league concludes in Thermal (USA) on Saturday, 10 February 2018.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Werth and Weihegold Are Awesome in Amsterdam

Photo: Isabell Werth and Weihegold. (FEI/Digishots)

Defending series champions, Germany’s Isabell Werth (48) and her magical mare Weihegold OLD, cruised to victory at the sixth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League in Amsterdam (NED). The dynamic duo floated through their Freestyle test to post 88.540, almost a full percentage point more than their winning score at the third leg of the series on home ground in Stuttgart in November.

The capacity crowd packed into the RAI Arena included stars of many other sports along with Dutch royal family member Princess Margarita, Countess of Colorno, who is a Board Member of the show organisation, Jumping Amsterdam. But it was the German Dressage queen who claimed centre stage when pinning the home side’s Edward Gal (47) with Glock’s Zonik into second, and her compatriot, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (31), into third with Unee BB.

“Weihe was really fantastic today. I can’t describe the feeling of this power and collection; she’s like a metronome – we can do whatever we want! The atmosphere in the arena was electric so I had to be careful because she was very hot. She produced really magnificent piaffe/passage, but I stopped breathing in the collected walk because she was SO ready for the canter!” — Isabell Werth GER (1st)

Last to go, she was chasing the super leading mark of 81.860 produced by Gal and his exciting young stallion who really settled to his job. “It’s five weeks since we finished third at Olympia (London) and there is a visible improvement,” said the man who claimed the FEI World Cup™ Dressage title in 2010 with the great Totilas. This was just the third Freestyle test for the 10-year-old Zonik. “He’s getting stronger and stronger and more motivated; suddenly we are making big steps forward and I have high hopes for him for the future!” he added.

As Werth rode into the arena, her compatriot Jessica von Bredow-Werndl was just leaving after posting an impressive 81.195 with Unee BB who couldn’t take his eyes off Weihegold. “The older he gets the more powerful he gets – I think he’s going through a second youth; he certainly had plenty of extra energy today!” said von Bredow-Werndl of her 17-year-old stallion. And her result has moved her up to second place on the Western European League leaderboard behind Sweden’s Patrik Kittel who once again wowed the crowds with a great performance from Deja to finish fourth.

As title defender Werth doesn’t earn points at the qualifiers but must compete in at least two legs of the Western European League with the horse she intends to take to the Final in Paris in April and with two in the bag, and both winning ones, with Weihegold she is now turning her attention to her back-up ride, Emilio, who topped the line-up in Lyon in November. “Obviously Weihe is my first choice, but Emilio will go to the last two qualifiers in Gothenburg (SWE) and ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED),” she explained. She’s missing the next leg on home ground in Neumunster in three weeks’ time due to another commitment, but she has her fourth FEI World Cup™ Dressage title clearly in her sights.

When asked how she is feeling ahead of the 2018 Final which will take place in the French capital from 10 to 15 April, she replied, “I’m happy but I never say I’m confident; that’s not my way. This is sport – you never know what’s going to happen so you always have to stay awake!”

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Taloubet Triumphs One Last Time for Germany’s Christian Ahlmann at Leipzig

Photo: Christian Ahlmann and Taloubet Z. (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)

In a fairytale finish to his fabulous career, the 18-year-old super-stallion Taloubet Z carried Christian Ahlmann to victory in front of their home crowd at the tenth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League in Leipzig, Germany. Last to go in an edge-of-the-seat 15-horse jump-off it seemed it would be almost too good to be true if they could beat the rest of the world-class field at a show where they enjoyed so many successes over the years. But they did it and, in his usual style, the extraordinary Taloubet made it look like a walk in the park one last time. There was hardly a dry eye in the house during the prize-giving ceremony in which the German duo took centre stage ahead of runners-up Carlos Lopez and Admara from Colombia and Dutchman Harrie Smolders with Zinius.

Ahlmann isn’t normally one for big emotion, but the 43-year-old rider’s voice kept breaking when he tried to talk about the horse that was such a prolific winner, and that carried him to four World Cup Finals, who claimed the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title at this very same venue in 2011 and who was so tough that he was still capable of claiming team bronze and individual ninth place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The German star admitted that he felt under incredible pressure.

“I really didn’t want to mess it up for him! This was just a normal World Cup, like we have every week. But it was very special because it was the last class for Taloubet, and we took the risk to jump him so he could say goodbye, here where everyone knows him, and leave the sport in great shape. So to have a good result and to finish with a proper round like that under pressure, it makes me so happy! It’s the greatest day of my life for sure, not for the points or for the money; it’s much more than that. It’s because this great horse who still has all this power even at this age is ending his career in a great way, with a great win!” — Christian Ahlmann GER (1st)

“Yes, for everyone else today was a dream, but for me it was a nightmare!” said course designer Frank Rothenberger after 15 horse-and-rider combinations made it into the jump-off. It was a cracker, however, and Lopez appeared to have it in the bag when scorching through the finish in 43.39 seconds with the gelding Admara who seems to have found his perfect “other half” since partnering up with the Colombian rider two years ago. Smolders and Zinius, winners at the previous leg in Mechelen (BEL) last month, gave it their best shot but fell short by two-tenths of a second when second-last to go.

The arena fell silent as Ahlmann and Taloubet set off on their final adventure together, but it exploded with sound when, turning to the last full of running and at a flat gallop, the German duo broke the beam two-tenths of a second quicker than Lopez for the win. Even the Colombian runner-up wasn’t disappointed: “Today is all about Taloubet anyway,” Lopez said.

And with just three qualifiers still left to go, the next in Zurich (SUI), Ahlmann has now qualified for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2018 Final in Paris (FRA) in April. Like Smolders, who has also made the cut, that wasn’t on the German rider’s radar until now. “I’ll have to have a re-think about that now,” he said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Smolders Is the Master at Mechelen

Harrie Smolders and Zinius pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos.

Dutchman Harrie Smolders (37) out-paced all comers to win the ninth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at Mechelen in Belgium. Riding the 13-year-old gelding Zinius, he set an unbeatable target with a fearless run when fourth to go in a seven-horse jump-off. Runner-up spot went to Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (36) who has now soared to the top of the league table while Italy’s Luca de Lorenzo (30) lined up third. Smolders was a man with a plan.

“I never won before at Mechelen and I really wanted to do it, so I was totally focused. When I got into the jump-off I just wanted to win. I was never riding for second place so I took the risk by taking a stride out to the last. And this is very special because I came here with all my family – my kids, my wife and my parents – it was an unforgettable moment and I’m very thankful to the crowd. The atmosphere here is always really intense and it gives us even more of a push to show what we can do!” — Harrie Smolders (NED)

This result with Zinius was particularly rewarding because this is a horse that is stepping up to the plate.

“He is still developing, but now that Emerald and Don (his other two top horses) are having a break he gets a chance to show in the biggest classes and he has picked it up very quickly. I’m a bit surprised that he makes it look so easy!” Smolders added.

It was no walk in the park either, with Eddy Geysemans’ tough first-round track getting the better of many of the best in the sport. The time-allowed of 67 seconds saw three miss the cut into the jump-off when picking up just one annoying time penalty, but German ace, Ludger Beerbaum, already had four on the board with Chacon before getting four more for an awkward jump at the last and then hitting the deck when Chacon mistakenly took on part of the double at fence five in the wrong direction. The man who claimed Germany’s first-ever FEI World Cup™ title back in 1993 is under medical care with an open shoulder fracture, and the horse world is wishing him a very swift recovery.

Two more former World Cup champions, Beerbaum’s fellow-countrymen Christian Ahlmann with Taloubet Z and Daniel Deusser with Cornet d’Amour, led the way against the clock with Deusser setting the standard when clear in 40.51 seconds. But Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Mary Lou were almost two seconds quicker when breaking the beam in 38.74 to put it up to the rest of them. Smolders wasn’t intimidated, however, stopping the clock on 38.19, so when de Luca and Halifax van het Kluizebos were clear in 39.97 seconds and Frenchman Roger Yves Bost posed no challenge in 42.17 seconds it was game over.

As 2018 begins and with just four of the 13 Western European league qualifiers remaining, the next taking place in Leipzig (GER) on 21 January, Smolders has 25 points on the board and may re-think his new year agenda.

“I wasn’t planning to go to the Final in Paris but now we might have a meeting and set some new goals,” he said. “I will do a few qualifiers anyway and I want to get Emerald out to a few shows, maybe get him ready by Gothenburg (in February) if I can. We will see, but this win is the perfect end to a great year for me!” said the delighted winner.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy Is First-Ever Winner of FEI Pony Jumping Trophy Final in Mechelen

Seamus Hughes-Kennedy pictured with FEI President Ingmar de Vos. (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Ireland’s Seamus Hughes-Kennedy wrote his name into the history-books of equestrian sport when winning the inaugural FEI Pony Jumping Trophy™ Final at Mechelen in Belgium.

Riding the 12-year-old mare, Cuffesgrange Cavalidam, the 15-year-old schoolboy had to hold his nerve when in the lead and last to go of the top 10 who qualified for the deciding round.

“I tried to think of it as just another day in the ring but I couldn’t help but be nervous – this is unbelievable!” — Seamus Hughes-Kennedy IRL (winner)

His partnership with his pony, however, has already been marked by his seventh-place finish individually at this summer’s FEI European Pony Championships in Hungary. Runner-up was another of the strong Irish contingent, Abbie Sweetnam with Dynamite Spartacus, while Belgium’s Aaron Tijskens steered Superbre de Laloena into third.

The series is devised along the same lines as the FEI World Cup™ and this first Final more than lived up to expectations. The Irish took early command when team gold and European individual silver medallist, Kate Derwin (Cul Ban Mistress), topped Wednesday’s opener ahead of Hughes-Kennedy in second and Sweetnam in third. A win for Thibeau Spits and Cleostrade on Thursday, however, put this young Belgian on level pegging with Derwin, both going into the finale on a zero scoreline after results were converted into points.

From a start-list of 15, a tough and technical first-round track brought the cream to the very top and with the only clear of the course it was Hughes-Kennedy who went out in front carrying just the four points he collected over the first two competitions. And when Spits disappeared from the reckoning with three fences on the floor and Derwin lost her grip with two mistakes, then it was Sweetnam who was stalking her compatriot, just one point in arrears, while Tijskens was only another two points further adrift going into the second round.

It was gripping, and with no room for error after a clear from fourth-placed Derwin, the three ahead of her all coped with the incredible pressure to hold their places. You could hear a pin drop as, last to go, Hughes-Kennedy set off with his mare who is something of a phenomenon. Cuffesgrange Cavalidam, whose sire Luidam was competed by Irish international rider Billy Twomey, was found by Seamus’ mother Clare running around field as an unbroken 10-year-old.

“She was still green enough this time last year when we did our first 1.30m competition in Millstreet and we haven’t really done a lot, the Spring Tour at home, the European Championships trials and then the Championships – she’s wonderful, she’s always trying to help me, she’s the pony of a lifetime!” — Seamus Hughes-Kennedy IRL (winner)

Talking about the concept of the FEI Pony Jumping Trophy series which has been staged alongside Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping qualifiers in Oslo (NOR), Herning (DEN), Verona (ITA), Lyon (FRA) and Stuttgart (GER) this season, the new champion said, “It’s been brilliant. We learn so much from being around top riders and watching what they do. They talk to us and help us – it’s a great experience!”

FEI Jumping Director, John Roche, said, “The FEI is happy and proud to give these young athletes a platform to show their talent and riding skills, especially with the Olympic Movement’s focus on the development of youth sport right now.” The FEI Pony Jumping Trophy™ Final will return to Mechelen again in 2018.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Edwina Tops-Alexander Is the Queen of La Coruna

Photo: Edwina Tops-Alexander celebrating victory with her lovely mare, California. (FEI/Manuel Queimadelos)

Australian wonderwoman, Edwina Tops-Alexander (43), scorched to victory with the lovely mare California in the seventh leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League at La Coruna, Spain. In an eight-rider, eight-nation jump-off against the clock the three-time Olympian simply out-raced all the others who managed to leave Santiago Varela’s track intact, and the result leaves her within a few points of qualification for the Longines Final in Paris, France next April.

Austria’s Max Kuhner lined up second with Chardonnay while the home crowd-pleaser was third-placed Manuel Fernandez Saro with Cuidam. Tops-Alexander was filled with her trademark determination.

“California has been jumping great, but here and there we kept having stupid faults and I was getting a bit mad! I was determined to have a good class here yesterday, but it didn’t work. Today I did my best and it DID work, so now I’m really happy!” — Edwina Tops-Alexander (Australia)

Fernandez Saro produced the first clear of the jump-off when third to go, but his time of 43.89 seconds always looked beatable. Two horses later, Ireland’s Denis Lynch was also fault-free, but he didn’t pressure All Star who broke the beam in 45.77 seconds so eventually slotted into fourth place.

Tops-Alexander was taking no prisoners, however, galloping from the start and resetting the target at 40.08 seconds as she flew through the finish. She wasn’t entirely satisfied with her own performance: “I did one too many strides from (fence) 1 to (fence) 2, but that just made me go faster the rest of the way! I wasn’t convinced I was quick enough to win, I thought maybe I’d be second if I was lucky!” she pointed out afterwards. But Austria’s Max Kuhner trailed her by more than two seconds when second-last to go with his fabulous grey stallion who clinched runner-up spot.

Tops-Alexander said her 10-year-old mare had “a nice break” while the Australian star, who only stopped competing in March, waited for daughter Chloe to be born at the end of July. The horse-and-rider partnership returned to the ring in early September. “She’s an amazing horse, and when we both went back to work I came strong and she did too!” said the amazing athlete.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Schneider and Sammy Scoop the Honours in Salzburg

Dorothee Schneider and Sammy Davis Jr. (FEI/Daniel Kaiser)

It takes two to tango as every top-class Dressage rider knows, and Dorothee Schneider (48) and her lovely 11-year-old gelding Sammy Davis Jr. nailed it with the harmony they showed in their tango-themed test that won the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2017/2018 Western European League at Salzburg in Austria.

“Sammy wants to present himself and he loves to dance, so he’s the perfect Freestyle horse! He’s good-looking with a character to match, and today was our best score so far – it’s exciting because we are coming together as a pair more and more!” — Dorothee Schneider (GER)

In a start-list of 12 combinations from seven countries, Frenchman Ludovic Henry took the lead when posting 75.673 percent with After You when seventh to go, but Schneider and Sammy blew the class wide open when next in, putting 83.415 on the board. “I could feel in the warm-up that he was in really good shape – he’s been doing an amazing job over the last month!” Schneider said of the horse who helped her claim individual 11th spot at this summer’s Longines FEI European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.

It was never going to be easy to better that, and although the popular duo of Agnete Kirk Thinggaard and Jojo Az were in sparkling form they didn’t threaten when following with a score of 76.405. Their Danish counterparts, Daniel Bachmann-Andersen and Blue Hors Zack, came a lot closer, however, the talented 27-year-old rider and the 13-year-old KWPN stallion oozing promise of even better to come as they strutted their way to a mark of 80.375.

That moved them into runner-up spot, but they would have to settle for third when the penultimate partnership of Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (31) and Unee BB stormed in to post 81.565. This pair has a wonderful record in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage series, and has twice finished third at the Finals, in Lyon (FRA) in 2014 and Las Vegas (USA) in 2015. At 16 years of age, Unee is still flying, and von Bredow-Werndl is very much hoping to make the cut with him to the 2018 Final in Paris, France next April. Each national federation can only send a maximum of three riders, however, and with defending champion, Germany’s Isabell Werth, guaranteed a place once she completes the qualification criteria of two qualifying scores with her chosen horse, the competition between the Germans themselves is intense.

“I’m really fighting for our place at the Final. Even though Unee turns 17 next year, he’s still in top form, so I want us to be there!” von Bredow-Werndl said.

Schneider also has Paris in her sights with Sammy Davis Jr. who only stepped up to Grand Prix level in March of this year and who is clearly coming along in leaps and bounds. However, although she has moved to the top of the leaderboard after the win, she’s not taking qualification for granted. She knows von Bredow-Werndl and Fabienne Lutkemeier are snapping at her heels and that it’s far from done and dusted yet. “Sammy is going to have a rest over Christmas and then maybe we will go to Neumunster (GER) because I want to get Paris too, but it’s not going to be easy!” she said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Brilliant Bosty and Super Sydney Turn On Their Magic in Madrid

Photo: Roger Yves Bost and Sydney Une Prince. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Roger Yves Bost (52) posted the second French win of the season at the sixth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2017/2018 Western European League in Madrid, Spain. Riding the brilliant chestnut mare Sydney Une Prince, who he partnered to clinch team gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the enigmatic horseman set a super-hot target time when eighth to go in an epic 18-horse jump-off and couldn’t be caught.

Breaking the beam in 42.23 seconds he was a half-second quicker than Belgian runner-up Niels Bruynseels (33) who was second-last into the arena with Cas de Liberte and who pinned new Irish star Mark McAuley (30) and the grey gelding Miebello into third place by a tiny margin of just 0.01 seconds. McAuley has rocketed up to fourth on the league table, and with 37 points to his credit it seems a place at the Longines Final in Paris next April is now well within the Irishman’s grasp.

Bosty, as the Frenchman is better known, is always guaranteed to keep spectators on the edges of their seats with his unorthodox riding style, and this was no exception. He wasn’t quite convinced he was quick enough to take the win when he left the arena for the second time, however.

“I thought maybe it was good enough for third or fourth place, but I tried my best and Sydney always gives me 100 percent! I lost one stride in the middle of the course, but she is so fast over the fences and I think that’s why we won – she is so brave and so consistent!” — Roger Yves Bost (FRA)

He is determined to qualify for the Final on home turf, particularly because the venue holds some happy memories. “I won the Grand Prix in Paris Bercy in 1996 and that was special, so getting to the Final is my first goal right now,” he said. Lying eighth on the leaderboard and carrying 30 points he looks well on his way, and with seven more qualifying opportunities yet to go in the 13-leg series he still has plenty of time.

The top-18 will make the cut from the Western European League and Bruynseels holds that 18th spot going into the next round as the series moves to La Coruna in Spain’s north-west in two weeks’ time.

By Louise Parkes

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