Tag Archives: FEI Nations Cup

Brazilians Triumph over Europe’s Elite in Hard-Fought Battle at La Baule

Photo: Yuri Mansur and Vitiki. (FEI/Thomas Reiner)

It took nerves of steel for anchorman Pedro Veniss (35) to clinch the honours for Brazil at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of France in La Baule (FRA). In a contest that came right down to the very last ride of the afternoon he had absolutely no room for error if he was to give his country an historic first-ever win at the Francois Andre Stadium in the beautiful French seaside town, and pin Europe’s elite into the minor placings. But partnering the fabulous 14-year-old stallion, Quabri de l’Isle, he produced a super-cool clear that left the 2017 series champions from The Netherlands in runner-up spot and Switzerland into third.

Veniss admitted he was feeling the pressure when last into the arena, but he knew he could rely on his horse.

“Quabri is my very best friend; he has so much scope and always tries his best for me – that’s the greatest feeling in the world!” — Pedro Veniss (Team Brazil)

The pair has a spectacular track record, having been on the Brazilian sides that finished fifth at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, fourth at the Pan-American Games in Toronto (CAN) in 2015 and fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Team spirit played a big part in Brazil’s success story, but, just like the Swiss who won the first Europe Division 1 leg in Slovakia three weeks ago, things weren’t looking altogether optimistic for them earlier in the week. Veniss’ first choice horse was unable to compete and then Felipe Amaral’s (27) ride came down with an allergy so he also had to change mounts.

But there’s a sense of rising momentum in the Brazilian camp, and Yuri Mansur’s (38) exciting 10-year-old, Vitiki, provided a major boost when clear in the first round in which both Veniss and Luiz Felipe de Azevedo Filho (43) riding Chaccomo collected just a single time fault to leave their country out in front at the halfway stage carrying just two faults. Amaral’s replacement ride, the inexperienced Germanico T, provided the drop score in both rounds.

Mansur’s Vitiki has literally come along in leaps and bounds over the last few months. “I bought him in October and he only jumped his first 1.30m track in November and now he has won the Nations Cup at La Baule – he’s developing so quickly!” said his delighted rider.

It was a super-close finish, Brazil posting a final tally of seven faults with the Dutch on eight and the Swiss on nine. The Netherlands had the satisfaction of collecting the maximum points of the six Europe Division 1 nations chasing points towards the 2018 Final. And their anchorman and new World No. 1, Harrie Smolders (Don VHP Z), took a one-third share of the €50,000 bonus on offer for double-clear rounds along with Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro (Cannavaro 9) and Germany’s Maurice Tebbel (Chaccos S).

Spain chased the leading pack all the way to finish fourth on 12 faults, Germany lined up fifth with 14, and Ireland slotted into sixth with 17 faults. It was a disappointing day for the French hosts who had to settle for seventh with 20 faults on the board, while Team Canada lined up eighth and last on a 35-fault total.

The result bodes well for the Brazilians who also finished an impressive second at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America at Ocala (USA) in February and who now have the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA) clearly in their sights.

For the Europe Division 1 teams, however, their next port of call is St Gallen on Sunday 3 June, where the host nation of Switzerland will be hoping to further boost their lead on the league table with another good result. That’s going to be a busy day of top sport as the third and final qualifier of the North/Central America & Caribbean League also takes place in Langley (CAN).

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Swiss Sweep to Victory at Opening Leg of Europe Division 1 Series in Šamorín

Photo: Martin Fuchs and Chaplin (FEI/Łukasz Kowalski)

Irish finish second ahead of Belgians in third

Switzerland secured a definitive victory in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Slovakia in Šamorín. With seven nations chasing points at this first leg of the 2018 Europe Division 1 qualifying series, it was a hotly-contested affair, and the eventual winners already looked well poised for success when leading at the end of the first round on a zero scoreline.

However, the second tour of the track designed by Uliano Vezzani saw a big shake-up, with Italy dropping from runner-up spot to joint-fifth and replaced by the Irish, while Belgium finished third ahead of Brazil in fourth place. Sweden lined up joint-fifth while the German team collected a total of 24 faults for seventh place and Spain accumulated 38 faults to finish last of the eight competing countries.

The Swiss picked up nine faults in round two, but that was without the services of anchorman Steve Guerdat (35) who didn’t have to return to the arena with his mare, Hannah, because the result was already decided, the Irish finishing on 13, Belgium on 16 and Brazil on 18 faults apiece.

“I managed her really well in the first round, and then the team did so good they made it a nice Sunday afternoon for me!” — Steve Guerdat (Team Switzerland)

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Swiss Chef d’Equipe Anky Kistler, however, because he had to give Paul Estermann (54) a late call-up after selected team-member, Jannike Sprunger, had taken a fall. And Estermann’s 10-year-old stallion, Curtis Sitte, was competing in his very first Nations Cup. The pair collected the discard score of eight faults in round one and put five more on the board in round two, but when youngest team member Martin Fuchs (25) produced one of four double-clears on the day then just the single mistake by pathfinders Werner Muff (44) and Daimler at the influential vertical one fence from home had to be added for the final winning scoreline.

“We brought a really good team here and we were aiming for the win – we knew we could do it!” said Fuchs, whose 11-year-old stallion, Chaplin, was sensational. He was particularly delighted because the horse is just returning to top level after injury.

“He won the Grand Prix in Mexico and in Zurich and Doha but after the GCT in Miami he got hurt and this was his first big show back,” Fuchs explained. About the course, he said, “The back bars on the oxers were wide and square so there were quite a few faults, but for me it felt quite easy because Chaplin was jumping so well. He was fresh all the way to the last fence in the second round and this makes me very happy because I knew my planning was right – I gave him more time instead of going to some more indoor shows and today he was fit and just perfect!”

The Swiss now head into the second round of the eight-leg Europe Division 1 series in La Baule (FRA) in three weeks’ time at the top of the league table but only 10 points ahead of the Irish whose runner-up finish was bolstered by a brilliant double-clear from US-based Paul O’Shea riding Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu. The other double-clears came from Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts (Chilli Willi) and Brazil’s Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (Comic).

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

More Millar Magic Helps Clinch Second Canadian Success

Photo: Jonathon Millar with Daveau. (FEI/Anwar Esquivel)

Team Mexico rallies brilliantly, but Team USA takes runner-up spot

In a case of “like father, like son,” Jonathon Millar (43) helped seal victory for Team Canada with a foot-perfect performance at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Mexico in Coapexpan. His legendary father, Ian (71), produced a pivotal double-clear to put their country at the top of the leaderboard at the opening leg of the 2018 North/Central America and Caribbean League qualifying series two months ago, so Jonathon was following suit. And adding even more of a family flavour to the excitement, Jonathon’s wife, Kelly Soleau-Millar, made her Nations Cup debut on the American side that lined up second ahead of Mexico in third.

It seems Millar has team spirit coursing through his veins due to the influence of his dad.

“I was brought up on Nations Cups and Championships being such a big part of his success, and it has rubbed off on me, knowing that being there for the team is more important than winning the Grand Prix – so when it all comes together like it did today then it’s a really great thing!” — Jonathon Millar (Team Canada)

The Canadian foursome that also included Laura Jane Tidball (40), Jenn Serek (35) and Keean White (35) already led the way after the first round of the three-nation contest, but their eight-fault total only gave them a single-fault advantage over the USA carrying nine, while Mexico’s 21-fault first-round effort put paid to their chances. However, in a brilliant second-round rally, Patricio Pasquel (Babel), Luis Alejandro Plascencia (Davinci) and Jose Antonio Chedraui Eguia (Ninloubet) did themselves proud with faultless runs to ensure they added nothing more to the host nation tally.

When impressive American pathfinder Alex Granato produced his second clear of the competition with the bouncy bay gelding Carlchen W, that kept the pressure on the Canadian leaders. But single errors from both Soleau-Millar (Cacharel) and Ali Wolff (Casall), and two mistakes from Jennifer Gates (Pumped Up Kicks), moved the US on to a final total of 17 faults. And this meant that although Tidball (Concetto Son) and Serek (Wicked) each left a single fence on the floor second time out, anchorman White (For Freedom Z) could stay in the clubhouse because even without his help Team Canada would finish with just 16 on the final scoreboard.

Millar was delighted with his 10-year-old gelding Daveau. “He didn’t do the Nations Cup in Ocala because it came too early in the season, but it’s been a really fun process working with him so far and now he’s coming into his own. He gives a thousand percent in the ring, he’s a real fighter and a dream to ride – I couldn’t be more proud of him!” he said. And he was proud and happy for his American wife too. “This was her first Nations Cup, and it was exciting and rewarding that we could do this together today, even on two different teams!”

His Chef d’Equipe, Mark Laskin, is already looking forward to the third and final leg of the North/Central America and Caribbean League, which will take place on home turf in Langley next month, and he was very pleased with the team effort. “We had a great group; they all contributed to our score and to our victory,” he said.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

All-Female American Team Seals Victory in Historic Nations Cup Contest at AGDF

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

Wellington, FL — March 29, 2018 — The all-female American team dominated the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO3* team competition in the 12th and final week of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida.

In the first leg of the 2018 FEI Nations Cup series, the USA romped home with gold, while last year’s winners, Canada, clinched silver and Australia took a historic bronze — the first time the nation has ever won a dressage Nations Cup medal of any color. Spain finished fourth.

Unlike some other stages of this worldwide seven-leg Nations Cup series, teams at AGDF can be made up of big tour, small tour, or a mixture of big and small tour combinations. In order to level the playing field, 1.5% is added to each grand prix score, with the small tour results remaining unaltered. Teams consist of three or four riders, with the best three scores from day one and the best three from day two determining the final results.

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino posted personal best scores in both the grand prix and the special tests, culminating in 76.894% (78.394% after adjustment) in the special, a huge new best for the pair. A team from the USA has won six of the seven Nations Cup contests held at AGDF.

“This is an incredible event to be part of,” said Lyle, who was riding Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Juliano’s superb 11-year-old Sandro Hit stallion, Salvino. “I’m so proud of my boy, putting two really solid, clean, powerful tests in for our team. He was a little tired today, but came out fighting — and that’s what you want.”

Her performances were supported by Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Lonoir), impressive newcomer Sabine Schut-Kery (Sanceo), and Ashley Holzer (Havanna 145).

Schut-Kery logged two plus-72% performances on Alice Womble’s 12-year-old San Remo stallion Sanceo, despite only performing their first CDI grand prix test in January of this year.

“I could not be happier with my horse in our first season of grand prix,” said the German-born rider who is now based in California. “It was really good practice to ride in another climate and see what your horse gives you. I’m super happy and look forward to the future.”

LaGoy-Weltz added more power to both her performances with Lonoir, and as a result ended up with a couple of small mistakes.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” she said. “There were still some bobbles, but when you go for more powerful, it can cause other things to happen. Then again, taking risks is how you make progress.”

Despite two solid performances on Diane Fellows’ inexperienced mare Havanna 145, Ashley Holzer was the drop score. An error of course meant a costly 2% deducted from her grand prix special score, and prompted a teasing text from Fellows to Holzer that read: “Which test did you prefer — yours of the FEI’s? Don’t worry; it’s about the big picture.”

Holzer added: “Nobody will beat me up about that mistake more than myself. My mare was a little green this week, but luckily my team-mates said, ‘Don’t worry, we’re all human’. They’re amazing girls and I’m very honored that everyone in the States has been so welcoming [since switching nationalities from Canadian].”

American Nations Cup team chef d’equipe, Robert Dover, added: “Since the inception of the AGDF, this show has been a dream come true. I’ve watched the state of both American dressage — and all the countries that are here — rise up because of this amazing venue and the shows put on here. It’s fantastic what it’s done for the sport.”

Of his team, he added: “I’m so proud of these amazing women who are not only rising to the occasion, but they are changing the game for American dressage as we go towards the [World Equestrian] Games. Of course, that wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for incredible people like [trainer] Debbie McDonald and [owner] Betsy Juliano, to whom we owe so much — and so many more people.”

Spearheading the Canadian charge with a new best in the grand prix special test of 71.304% (72.649% after adjustment) was Brittany Fraser and her 13-year-old powerhouse by Tango, All In, who has blossomed during AGDF 2018.

“I had a personal best today,” she said. “We still had a mistake in the ones — but I’ll fix that tomorrow in the freestyle! I was proud of All In today; he was tired, but he tried.”

Fraser’s team-mate Megan Lane had double cause for celebration. Not only did she help Canada to team silver riding Caravella, but she also won the Grand Prix CDI3*, presented by Grand Prix Services (for special) on Zodiac MW. The Canadian team was rounded out by Jill Irving (Degas 12) and Diane Creech (Chrevis Christo).

The bronze-medal winners, Australia, were delighted with their historic result. Small tour rider Kelly Layne (Furst Amante) said: “Australia is a very, very long way from here and to put a team together is not so easy. This AGDF competition series is something we could never even imagine; it’s brought us here and, over the years, helped improve our performances. I’m so happy we could do it this year — and put ourselves in a bronze medal position. My horse is really green, but really fancy. He was with me the whole ride and the little mistakes were completely mine.”

Individual medals were awarded in the under-25 Grand Prix CDIO, presented by Diamante Farms, with Spain’s prodigious talent, Juan Manuel Guimon, taking the gold. He rode his father Juan F Matute’s 15-year-old Don Diego Ymas to 71.669%.

“His performance today was quite good, apart from a mistake in the twos,” said the self-confessed perfectionist. “Once again, his overall attitude was quite competitive and fresh. We were indoors today, which I think helped. He’s a dark horse so he doesn’t have so much stamina; I think being indoors really benefited him.”

The 20-year-old flies to Europe at the end of April for the Segovia CDI before heading to the Spanish national championships in a bid for a place on his nation’s team for the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, in September. Failing that, his goal will be the under-25 FEI European Championships.

Molly Paris improved on her score from the inter II to scoop silver for the USA. She rode her own 16-year-old mare Countess to 68.508%, edging out Spain’s Rodrigo Encinas Fuentes on Van The Man (67.778%).

“I enjoyed that test more than in I-2,” said Paris. “Countess has strong passage and piaffe and I really like to showcase it. She’s not the easiest, but once you get her going, she’s brilliant.”

Encinas Fuentes said: “Van The Man has been the horse that’s taught me how to ride a grand prix and compete at a high level. He’s a very competitive horse; every time he goes in the ring he proves it and wants to give everything.”

The USA’s Sarah Daehnert rode just one CDI test this week, but she capitalized on it, winning the Prix St Georges CDI1* on her own and Robert Price’s nine-year-old Vivaldi x Jazz gelding, Evander 3. Their 70.784% marked a giant improvement from their one and only other showing, a month ago, where they scored 65.8%.

For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Canadians Claim Clear Victory at Longines Leg in Ocala

Photo: Tiffany Foster and Brighton. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

Team Canada won the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America with more than a touch of class. The six-nation contest was a roller-coaster ride for most of their opponents, but double-clears from both ten-time Olympian Ian Millar (71) and Rio 2016 Olympic individual bronze medallist Eric Lamaze (49) ensured that all they had to add were single errors from team-mates Francois Lamontagne (34) and Tiffany Foster (33) for the winning total of eight faults. Brazil finished second on 16, while Ireland and USA shared third place with 24 faults in a competition filled with unpredictability.

“It sure switched around; it looked one way in the first round but then it changed like crazy in the second when the Germans got into trouble and the Brazilians came steaming out!” — Ian Millar (Team Canada)

Germany and Canada shared the lead with just four faults apiece at the halfway stage, but when Christian Heineking (NKH Caruso) was eliminated at the open water then 12-fault results from Andre Thieme (Conthendrix) and Markus Beerbaum (Cool Hand Luke) had to be added to the four collected by Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Daisy), dropping Germany right out of contention. Meanwhile, a second-round clear from Felipe Amaral (Premiere Carthoes BZ) consolidated Brazil’s eight-fault scoreline and they posed a real threat in the closing stages.

The Canadians began to look shaky when Lamontagne’s single second-round mistake with Chanel du Calvaire was followed by 16 faults from Foster and Brighton who had faulted just once first time out. But the amazing Millar, who made his Olympic debut 46 years ago, in Munich (GER) in 1972, steadied the decline with another rock-solid run from his 15-year-old gelding Dixson. And when Lamaze kept a super-cool head to back that up with Coco Bongo then it was a done deal because the Brazilians had added eight more to their tally.

As Millar, who long ago earned the revered title of “Captain Canada”, pointed out, “Eric and I are like the bookends – you just have to put someone in the middle and away we go and do our best to deliver!”

They did just that, each earning a half-share of the €50,000 bonus on offer to riders jumping double-clear this season in the process. And having bagged the maximum 100 points on offer to the three teams chasing points in the North/Central America and Caribbean League, the Canadians will be hoping to maintain their advantage over the next two legs of the series in Coapexpan (MEX) in April and on home ground in Langley (CAN) in June. The target is a coveted qualification spot for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2018 in Barcelona (ESP) in October.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

US Show Jumping Team Begins 2018 FEI Jumping Nations Cup Season at CSIO5* Ocala

Ocala, Fla. – The U.S. Show Jumping Team returns to action this week, taking on six countries in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA on Sunday, February 18 at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Fla. U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland will lead the team of Lauren Hough and Ohlala, Laura Kraut and Confu, Beezie Madden and Darry Lou, and McLain Ward and HH Callas as they compete for a strong start in the North American standings. The U.S. Show Jumping Team will compete second in the order. Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue will serve as the reserve combination.

The U.S. Show Jumping team placed second in the 2017 FEI Nations Cup CSIO4* Ocala.

Hough and Ohlala had a strong start to the 2018 competition year, finishing in the top 10 in the FEI NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* at the Winter Equestrian Festival on Saturday.

Kraut and Confu placed second in the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington presented by Sovaro® at the Palm Beach Masters earlier this month.

Madden and Darry Lou last competed at the CP National Horse Show in Lexington, Ky., placing third in the $130,000 CP Grand Prix International Open Jumpers CSI4*.

Ward and HH Callas earned fifth-place finishes at the Palm Beach Masters in the $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Wellington presented by Sovaro® and $35,000 Sovaro Palm Beach Masters Qualifier CSI3*.

Career Highlights:

  • Hough: Member of the silver-medal winning 2017 Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final team, 2017 member of the first all-women’s FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Dublin gold-medal winning team and recipient of the Aga Kahn Trophy, team and individual bronze medalist at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games, and member of the 2000 Sydney Olympics U.S. Show Jumping Team
  • Kraut: Member of the silver-medal winning 2017 Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final team, 2017 member of the first all-women’s FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Dublin gold-medal winning team and recipient of the Aga Kahn Trophy, 2017 recipient of the “Prize of the Federal Minister of the Interior” award at CHIO Aachen, and two-time Olympian, including a team gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games
  • Madden: Member of the silver-medal winning 2017 Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final team, 2017 member of the first all-women’s FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Dublin gold-medal winning team and recipient of the Aga Kahn Trophy, four-time Olympian, including team gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games, and a team silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games
  • Ward: Member of the silver-medal winning 2017 Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final team, first place at the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, four-time Olympian, including team gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games, and a team silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games

Competition begins Sunday, February 18, at 1 p.m. EST at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Fla. The event will be streamed live on FEI TV.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Kiwis Are the Kings at Series Opener in Abu Dhabi

Photo: Daniel Meech and Fine. (FEI/Martin Dokoupil)

Samantha McIntosh (42) clinched victory for New Zealand in the nail-biting Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of United Arab Emirates staged in Abu Dhabi. This first leg of the new 13-round worldwide series went right down to the wire, the Kiwi rider settling the result in a jump-off against Ireland’s Shane Breen when the two countries were tied on 12 faults after the first two rounds. Italy lined up third, and when the host nation and Saudi Arabia shared fourth spot along with Switzerland, the two Middle East countries earned qualifying spots for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 Final in Barcelona (ESP) next October.

McIntosh said afterwards that the victory was totally unexpected. And along with her team-mates, she wondered if they had just made history as the first-ever winning Jumping Nations Cup side for their country.

“It’s ridiculous; it was like watching a movie. Honestly, I never thought we could do it!” — Samantha McIntosh (New Zealand)

Team pathfinder Daniel Meech (44) is a double-Olympian, but second-line rider Richard Gardner (47) is relatively unknown. “He doesn’t have a lot of experience and nor does his horse, but they have been together since Calisto was young and they know each other inside out. He believed in his horse and he was very grateful to get the chance to show what they could do,” McIntosh explained. “And as for Bruce Goodin (48), he’s the rock of our team. He borrowed this horse (Backatorps Danny V) and was riding it for the very first time at this show. He’s just amazing!” said the French-based rider.

New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Ireland and Italy all shared the lead at the halfway stage with just four faults on the board, but although the Saudi team lost their grip, it seemed Italy would also go into the jump-off if anchorman, Natale Chiaudani, could leave the poles all in place in the second round. However, two mistakes from the 19-year-old Almero put paid to that and it was McIntosh who was selected to take on Breen in the third-round race against the clock.

She had already been fault-free with her 15-year-old stallion Check In, so was guaranteed a half-share of the €50,000 bonus on offer for double-clear rounds along with Ireland’s David Simpson (Keoki). She threw down a jump-off target in 40.16 seconds and when Breen’s horse, Laith, hit the third fence this time out, eventually collecting 17 faults in total, it was all over.

The second leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2018 series will take place in Ocala (USA) 18 February, where teams from the North/Central America and Caribbean League will battle it out in the first of three qualifiers in their region.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

US Equestrian Announces US Show Jumping Team for FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian (USEF) has named the following athletes to the U.S. Show Jumping Team for the Longines FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala. As part of the new 2018 FEI Nations Cup series format, the competition will occur on Sunday, February 18, taking the place of the Grand Prix, which will move to Friday, February 16. The Longines FEI Nations Cup CSIO5* Ocala is the exciting finale to the Ocala Winter Festival running February 13-18.

Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.)
Laura Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.)
Devin Ryan (Long Valley, N.J.)
McLain Ward (Brewster, N.Y.)

Robert Ridland will serve as the Chef d’Equipe.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Germany Crowned FEI Nations Cup Eventing Champions 2017

(L-R) Felix Etzel, Anna Siemer, Andreas Dibowski and Jörg Kurbel. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Germany has won the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing for the fourth time since the series began in 2012. A fine performance for second place behind New Zealand at the final leg at Boekelo (NED) took Germany 80 points ahead of Great Britain on the series leader board, with France finishing in third overall.

FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing is contested over nine events across Europe plus The Plains (USA), and is the world’s only team Eventing series.

Germany contested seven out of nine legs of the 2017 FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, scoring a remarkable five wins: at Strzegom (POL), Houghton Hall (GBR), Wiener Neustadt (AUT), on home ground at Aachen (GER) and at Waregem (BEL). The team was also third at Haras du Pin (FRA).

Britain, twice winners of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, travelled out to the US leg at The Plains as well as all eight European legs. Their seven best scores included five runner-up spots (at Strzegom, Houghton Hall, Tattersalls, Haras du Pin and Waregem) and they had a 10-point advantage over Germany going into the final leg. However, Boekelo proved a disappointing weekend with the horses and riders facing tough weather conditions: Laura Collett was eliminated for a cross country fall and both Tom McEwen and Matt Heath had to withdraw before jumping.

France, always enthusiastic supporters of FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing, which aims to give team experience to a wide range of riders, contested five legs and won two, at Tattersalls (IRL) and the home leg at Haras du Pin.

“A total of 18 nations took part this year, which is very exciting for the development of the sport,” says Catrin Norinder, FEI Director Eventing and Olympic. “We have seen countries field teams for the first time, including Austria, Hungary the Czech Republic, and there have been great performances from some of the world’s top athletes alongside many new names making their team debuts. This year we also welcomed a new venue, Wiener Neustadt in Austria, which attracted eight teams.

“This is a valuable series in terms of offering team experience to a wide range of athletes and we’re thrilled that so many have taken up the challenge.”

The final event of the series at Boekelo saw Team New Zealand lead throughout to triumph out of 11 starting nations, with Tim Price also taking the individual honours on Cekatinka. German Olympian Andreas Dibowski led his three less experienced team mates to a close second place, just 4.4 penalties behind, and Australia finished in third, with Christopher Burton and Cooley Lands the only combination to finish inside the time across country.

By Kate Green

Press contact:

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

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