Tag Archives: FEI Jumping World Cup

Jochems and Turbo Z Power to Victory in Oslo

Kevin Jochems and Turbo Z. (FEI/Helene Gjerde Aamdal)

The opening leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League more than lived up to expectations, with young Dutchman, Kevin Jochems, winning through in an edge-of-the-seat jump-off.

Riding the fabulous 12-year-old stallion Turbo Z, the 26-year-old athlete snatched pole position and maximum points towards the series Final in Leipzig, Germany next April with the coolest of cool rounds when last to go in the seven-horse second-round decider.

Jochems was the sole Dutch representative on the 35-strong start-list of horse/athlete combinations that took on the 13-fence first-round challenge presented by Italian course designer Elio Travagliati, who certainly tested riding skills, and the attention of the horses, in the close confines of Oslo’s Telenor Arena. The beginning of the indoor season always takes some adjustment after competing all summer in the great outdoors, and some clever placement of fences ensured that both horse and rider had to be on top of their game to make the cut into the second round.

Bogey

The double at fence six, approached off a bending line from the previous oxer and placed along the very edge of the ringside hospitality area, proved the bogey of the day. However, the triple combination three from home was also influential, while young American, 25-year-old Lillie Keenan, looked en route to a perfect tour of the track until her superstar gelding, Skyhorse, put in an uncharacteristic stop and decanted his jockey at the very final oxer when he couldn’t find his stride.

Also out of luck was host-nation veteran, 61-year-old Geir Gulliksen, whose Olympic ride VDL Groep Quatro hit the very first fence in an otherwise foot-perfect round. “He’s never done that in the whole time I’ve had him!” he said of his 15-year-old gelding who is always a real trier. But Gulliksen was delighted to be competing alongside his daughter and son, Victoria and Johan-Sebastian, and the many other young riders who lined out at this year’s opening leg of the Western European series.

“When you feel you can compete with the younger generation it’s an incredible feeling!” he said.

Set the pace

First to produce a clean run was 24-year-old Austrian, Alessandra Reich, with her big 10-year-old gelding Loyd, and they set the pace in the jump-off with another faultless effort in 50.20 seconds. This was clearly beatable, but the rest had to leave all the poles in place, and when only four managed to do that then Reich slotted into fourth spot in the final analysis.

Second to take on the clock was Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, at 53 years of age by far the elder statesman of the clear-round pack, and he reset the target when bringing the 10-year-old mark Cosmopolit home without fault in 46.72 seconds. Then 28-year-old Belgian, Olivier Philippaerts, set off with Le Blue Diamond v’t Ruytershof, but the tricky double at six was still in place, and when the 10-year-old gelding hit the first element there, four faults in 47.20 seconds would leave them down the order.

Next out was 22-year-old Harry Charles, who made a huge impression as part of the British side that won the Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona, Spain two weeks ago. But the penultimate oxer hit the floor before he crossed the line with Romeo in 46.70 seconds.

Sweden’s Fredricson was still out in front when Belgium’s Pieter Clemens set sail with just three left to go. Fredricson had demonstrated the benefit of a super-tight turn inside the oxer at fence four that shaved time off the run to the single remaining element of the triple combination at fence 11, and Clemens was well up on time when attempting that same line.

But his nine-year-old mare, Huide G, seemed to lock on to the final vertical that was facing her on the turn, and precious time was lost while the pair resolved the situation. “She didn’t really understand where she had to go,” Clemens explained afterwards, but they were still super-fast when breaking the beam without further ado in 46.09 seconds to take the lead.

Far from over

Second-last into the ring, Germany’s Christian Kukuk had seen another short route that meant cutting inside the last fence like several of those ahead of him, but then also turning inside the opening vertical, which left a super-tight turn to the penultimate oxer. He made it work brilliantly until a wild gallop to the last saw his extravagant grey gelding, Checker, kick out all the poles for four faults, so his quick time of 45.31 seconds was still not good enough for top spot.

As Jochems came into the ring, he had a clear plan. “I went in thinking I will risk it all; whether I win or have one down, I don’t want to be too slow.”

But it was the execution of his plan that was so incredibly impressive. His 12-year-old stallion never looked under pressure, or particularly fast, as the 26-year-old rider steered exactly the same course as Kukuk and with complete composure and conviction every step of the way.

The pair was in total harmony from start to finish, and when they crossed the line in 44.77 seconds for the win the spectators, who had been spellbound to the very end, exploded with appreciation. The young Dutchman had given his lovely horse a fabulous ride.

First

“This was my first World Cup today and I’ve had a fantastic show here in Oslo!” said Jochems. “Turbo had a great outdoor season and was placed in several 5* Grand Prix classes, and I was reserve rider in Barcelona at the Nations Cup Final. I had a bit of a mixed feeling being there because I didn’t ride (on the team), so it is great to win today!

“This was my first indoor show in a long time, so this is the best possible start to the indoor season,” he added. Now he’s looking forward to the coming months. “The Netherlands only has one spot in the World Cup series, so it will be difficult, but I was told that if I get some points in Oslo I can do more events, so we will see!” Jochems said. This brilliant result is likely to ensure he gets plenty more opportunities.

At the post-competition press conference, runner-up Pieter Clemens complimented Jochems. Looking back on how the jump-off played out, he said he wasn’t sure he would have been quicker than the Dutchman even if he hadn’t gotten into a muddle on that crucial turn. “My horse is fast, but Kevin rode a great jump-off and I’m very happy with second place. I got some points and I hope I will get the chance to do more qualifiers now,” he said.

Pleased

Third-placed Jens Fredricson was also pleased with his result. “I was delighted to be selected to ride here. I had a good outdoor season and was double-clear in the Nations Cup in Aachen, so things are definitely going in the right direction. For me it’s not so easy to get to the bigger shows because we have a lot of good Swedish riders, but this is a great start to have some World Cup points already,” he said.

Oslo Horse Show Event Director, Morten Aasen, was also a happy man. “I’ve had a few sleepless nights coming into the show. The situation has been so unpredictable, but when the (pandemic) restrictions were lifted a few weeks ago (in Norway), it was like a Christmas present!”

He was also delighted with the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ result. “I want to see new faces in the sport and the crowd wants to see young people beating the older ones!” he said. He got his wish, and it won’t be long before the action resumes with round two of the Western European League scheduled for Sunday 31 October at Lyon in France.

FULL RESULTS

Media contact:

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

Swail Secures Second Straight Longines Victory in Sacramento

Conor Swail (IRL) and Vital Chance de la Roque. (FEI/Julia B Photography)

Conor Swail (IRL) and his mount Vital Chance de la Roque are beginning to develop a winning reputation. After opening the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League season with a victory in Vancouver (CAN), the duo recorded a second straight World Cup victory in Sacramento (USA).

Swail and the enthusiastic 12-year-old gelding topped a thrilling four-horse jump-off in front of a packed crowd at the Murieta Equestrian Center. Using natural footspeed and agile turning, horse and rider seemed to read each other’s minds as they left out strides and shaved more than a second off Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Huberth B’s then-leading time. Swail and “Vinny” crossed the timers of Anderson Lima’s (MEX) shortened track in 36.12 seconds.

“He was wonderful here tonight,” Swail said of his mount, who has now won five grand prix contests since June. “He was probably one of the favourites coming in. I’m delighted that he’s living up to the reputation he’s making for himself.”

Ballard settled for second with her brand-new mount, an impressive feat considering she’d only begun riding the eye-catching bay two weeks ago; their time was 37.25 seconds. Her student Natalie Dean (CAN) and the talented Cocolina finished third as the only other double-clear performers on a time of 43.09 seconds.

“Erynn put up a tough enough round that I thought it was going to be another tough test,” Swail said, “but [my horse] handled himself extremely well.”

His World Cup results have now spanned two countries and two drastically different venues. In Vancouver, the duo navigated a spacious outdoor arena, while in Sacramento, they were met with a small, covered space. In both places, the pair delighted as Vinny complemented his efforts over the fences with playful bucking in between the fences, a trend Swail has come to both expect and respect.

“[Vancouver] was outside, and [course designer Peter Holmes (CAN)] built it quite like an indoor track I thought, but it’s still a covered arena here, and the crowd is up against you,” Swail said. “[My horse] is answering every question, and the crowd was awesome tonight. It’s wonderful having people back [in the stands]. We get a thrill out of it as well.”

Swail now holds a commanding lead in the North American League with 37 points. Ballard and Rowan Willis (AUS) sit second and third, respectively, both with 17 points. The North American League next heads east to Tryon (USA) on 30 October 2021.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Swail Kicks Off North American League with Convincing Victory

Conor Swail (IRL) and Vital Chance de la Roque. (FEI/Quinn Saunders)

It was a triumphant return for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League as Conor Swail (IRL) jumped to victory in front of a packed crowd at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC (CAN) in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver.

A compact but competitive field took on Peter Holmes’ (CAN) 1.60m track with the aim of getting an early jump on points toward qualifying for next April’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Leipzig (GER). A total of 14 athletes from the NAL will punch their tickets to the Final, including seven east coast U.S. athletes, three west coast U.S. athletes, and two athletes apiece from Canada and Mexico.

A clear round did not materialise until more than halfway through the starting order, when world number 13, Kent Farrington (USA), executed Holmes’ test with ease. Three riders would join the former world number 1 for the shortened track. Farrington blazed the trail in the jump-off with a blisteringly quick round, but a rail at the final fence left the door open for another to overtake him.

Swail then put his focus on keeping the fences up, and he accomplished that mission despite losing a stirrup during the round. He crossed the timers in 38.98 seconds, and the remaining riders could not catch him. Swail’s student Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Catinka came closest, finishing second as the only other double-clear performers (40.59 seconds), while Farrington ultimately settled for third (4/36.12).

“If Kent had been clear, I imagine he would have been the winner. He would have been hard to chase,” Swail said. “I did a little bit, after Kent, [because] he was very aggressive and so fast, thought that if I just dialed it back a notch, it would hopefully still be enough to get a win.”

Swail has been partnered with the 12-year-old “Vinny” for less than a year, but the barefoot bay gelding has quickly proven his merit. His World Cup win marked the fourth international grand prix victory for the pair since June 20. The duo also won the $75,000 CSI4*-W tbird Cup at the venue three days prior.

“I’m extremely proud [of my horse],” Swail said. “He’s had a wonderful week: He’s been first, second, and first. He jumped so well today, he deserved it for being so good.

“We’re off to a great start [in the North American League],” he added. “This is the first [qualifier]. We’re going to Sacramento and Las Vegas; we’re going to be on a little tour doing [World Cup events]. We’ll see how we’re going after that.”

Swail claims the early lead in the North American League standings with 17 points. As an Irish rider based in North America, he competes as an “extra” athlete. Mannix sits second with 14 points, two points ahead of Farrington, who earned 12 points. The North American League heads next to Sacramento (CAN) on 9 October 2021.

Results

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

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

Hard Work, Dedication, and Perseverance at the Heart of Time to Beat Campaign

The FEI has set in motion the Time to Beat campaign which highlights the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of equestrian athletes who dedicate their lives to reaching World level sporting success.

Launched at the start of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2021-2022 season, the cross-media campaign brings together the FEI, its Top Partner Longines, and the Organising Committees of the North American League and Western European League to celebrate the human and equine athlete journey to the elite levels of the sport.

“The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ competitions are full of edge-of-your-seat moments where winners can be determined by fractions of a second and it is this sporting drama which engages fans and keeps them coming back for more each season,” FEI Commercial Director Ralph Straus said.

“But these moments of brilliance are the culmination of years of hard work, patience, and endless repetition. And when it comes down to that critical moment in a competition, it is the communication between the athlete and horse that is often the determining factor for a win. This horse-human connection takes years to create, and it is this journey in time that we want to celebrate through the Time to Beat campaign.”

The video, released to mark the start of the campaign, connects the in-competition performance of the human and equine athletes with powerful images of the daily dedication and perseverance that athletes need to cultivate over time to reach their sporting goals.

“The values of the Time to Beat campaign resonate strongly with Longines, as we know from first-hand experience that excellence can only come from years of commitment,” Longines Vice President Marketing Matthieu Baumgartner said.

“Perfection does take time, and with our experience in creating digital engagement campaigns with the FEI over the past year, we can now tell this story in a more authentic way and deliver a message that people from diverse backgrounds, not just equestrian, can identify with.

“The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ has inspired large numbers of fans and we believe that by adding powerful initiatives like the Time to Beat campaign, we can take equestrian sport to another level.”

The FEI’s partnership with Longines has come a long way since it became the International Federation’s Top Partner in 2012. The initial collaboration included a number of major rights packages including the Longines Jumping Rankings, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™, FEI World Equestrian Games™, and the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™.

Over the years, the partnership has grown to include Longines as Partner of the FEI Solidarity project on the retraining of racehorses, as well as Title Partner of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series and Presenting Partner of the FEI Awards Gala. In early 2019, Longines extended its agreement as Title Partner of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup North American League series.

The Time to Beat campaign has found strong support with the Organising Committees of the North American League and Western European League where Longines is the Title Partner. The first leg of the North American League for the 2021-2022 season will kick off in Langley, British Columbia (CAN) on 26 September while Oslo (NOR) will host the first leg of the Western European League on 17 October.

“The pandemic situation has brought home to the sports world that our lives can also change dramatically from one minute to the next,” said Chris Pack, President and Operations Director at the Thunderbird Show Park in Langley.

“While this campaign is meant to highlight the hard work that goes into the making of a sports star, it is also a celebration for our community who have worked hard to find solutions and ways to ensure that our athletes and fans have the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ competitions to enjoy.

“The Time to Beat campaign messages of persistence, tenacity, and dedication are universal and we are looking forward to communicating these values to our local communities to bring them closer to the action and emotion that the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ competitions have to offer.”

Time to Beat will be a three-year campaign that will see a number of activations around the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ competitions to boost fan engagement and involvement.

“We are looking forward to working on this campaign, not just to increase the visibility of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series, but also to create a meaningful conversation around the power of equestrian sport,” said Tomas Torgersen, Show Director Gothenburg Horse Show.

“Both the human and equine athlete require a strong mental connection and it is this special bond that always shines through during the Longines FEI World Cup competitions. It’s always a magical moment when an athlete gets the best out of their horse at that crucial moment of the competition. It’s in those few seconds that World champions are created and we want the world to see and experience this with us.”

The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ was created in 1978 and is currently made up of 12 leagues across all continents. The top placed athlete-horse combinations from all Leagues are invited to attend the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final™ which will be held in Leipzig (GER) in April 2022.

Media contact:

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