Tag Archives: FEI Nations Cup

Historic Home Win for Italy, but Dutch Take 2020 Title

Arianna Schivo (ITA) and Quefira de L’Ormeau. (FEI/Massimo Argenziano)

Team Italy posted a runaway win at the third and last leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ 2020 series on home ground at Montelibretti, but the overall title goes to The Netherlands. In the lead after the first two legs at Le Pin au Haras (FRA) and Strzegom (POL) in August, the Dutch could only be threatened by Poland at this final competition.

A Polish victory would have left them on level pegging with the Dutch at the top of the leaderboard, but it wasn’t to be as they lined up third of the four competing nations who enjoyed a great weekend of sport in the autumn sunshine at the Montemaggiore Estate which is home to Italy’s Military Riding Centre.

Austria finished second while the three-member Swiss side lined up in fourth place. For the Italians this was a really special day because it marked their first-ever FEI Nations Cup™ success according to veteran team member Juan Carlos Garcia.

“We had a good lead after cross-country yesterday, so we had a good feeling going into the showjumping today. But you never know the result until the horses and riders are over the last jump. We are very happy this evening!” — Juan Carlos Garcia (ITA)

Held the lead

Poland held the lead after Dressage, buoyed up by a strong test from Mateusz Kiempa and Lassban Radovix who put 33.79 on the board. However, their team total of 106.00 left them only 1.5 points ahead of Austria in second and just over two points ahead of the Italians in third at this stage, and cross-country day would change everything.

“It wasn’t a difficult course, but the time (6 mins 49 secs) was tight,” explained Garcia who galloped through the finish with Ugo du Perron in 7 mins 11 secs to add 8.8 time penalties to his scoreline. All four Italian team members stayed clear over the fences and they had a commanding lead going into the final phase on a score of 132.20. Austria lay second on 159.60 but less one rider following cross-county elimination for Lea Siegl and Van Helsing P, while Poland sat in third on 178.30 ahead of Switzerland in overnight fourth on 189.4.

The Italians sealed it confidently when both Garcia and Arianna Schivo riding Quefira de L’Ormeau were foot-perfect and within the time, while both Pietro Majolino riding Vita Louise DH Z and Marco Cappal partnering Santal Du Halage dropped only a single pole and added a few time faults.

Debut

At 23 years of age, and making his Nations Cup debut, Majolino was the baby of the winning side but his team-mates have a world of experience behind them. Garcia is a veteran of two Olympic Games and four FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG), competing in both Jumping and Eventing at the very top level. Schivo and her 16-year-old mare were on the Italian team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the WEG in Tryon, USA in 2018 while Cappal finished individually 14th at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA in 1996.

The final Italian team total of 138.60 left them well clear of the rest of the field and celebrating a big moment. They finished second in the final classification after lining out in all three legs of the series this season, and as Chef d’Equipe Giacomo Della Chiesa said, “It’s been a very good competition for us and we finish the year in a very good way.”

Title

The Netherlands can also celebrate tonight after taking the title. Tim Lips (Eclips), Janneke Boonzaauer (ACSI Champ de Tailleur), Elaine Pen (Divali), and Laura Hoogeveen (Wicro Quibus NOP) flew the Dutch flag when runners-up behind French winners Thibaut Vallette, Thomas Carlile, Christopher Six, and Karim Florent Laghouag at the opening leg at Le Pin au Haras.

And when Germany’s Ingrid Klimke, Andreas Dibowski, Beeke Jankowski, and Heike Jahncke came out on top in Strzegom later in August, then Hoogeveen was joined by Merel Blom (Ceda NOP), Jordy Wilken (Burry Spirit), and Raf Kooremans (Dimitri NOP) to fill second spot.

Results from Montelibretti here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Germany Wins the Nations Cup in Strzegom, Poland on the Podium

Photo credit: Leszek Wójcik.

German riders were victorious in the second leg of the FEI Nations Cup in eventing, winning both the team and individual classification. Poland finished on the third place.

The win for the German team was guaranteed after the cross-country trial, leaving the previous leaders – Netherlands – in the second position. Ingrid Klimke with SAP Asha P had the best result in the team, and Andreas Dibowski with FRH Corrida, Beeke Jankowski with Tiberius 20, and Heike Jahncke with Mighty Spring were competing alongside her. The current European champion also won the class individually. She took the lead with the 16-year-old gelding SAP Hale Bob OLD after dressage, and even a knockdown in the jumping and points for time in the cross-country did not take away her best position.

Dutch riders Merel Blom with Ceda N.O.P, Jordy Wilken with Burry Spirit, Raf Kooremans with Dimitri N.O.P, and Laura Hoogeven with Wicro Quibus were in the lead after two trials, but eventually ended up on the second position. The best result in the team and third place individually belonged to Merel Blom.

The cross-country trial made the Polish team go up into the third position: Mateusz Kiempa with Lassban Radovix, Joanna Pawlak with Fantastuc Frieda, Jan Kamiński with Senior, and Michał Hycki with Moonshine. The best result among them belonged to Mateusz Kiempa, as he finished fourth in the individual classification. He was in the second place after dressage and jumping, but points for time on the cross-country course made him miss the podium.

„I’m happy with my performance, but I think that we should firstly look at the team score – everyone did very well, and I think we should all be pleased about it,” said Kiempa after the prizegiving ceremony.

Saturday was also cross-country day for the long format classes. The new best result in the CCI4*-L is that of Jonelle Price with Grappa Nera. The rider from New Zealand went clear in the XC and took the lead away from her husband Tim Price. The current number one in the CCI3*-L class is Julia Mestern from Germany with Monarts Masterpiece, and the leader in the CCI2*-L is Dutch rider Merel Blom with Corminta vom Gwick.

Saturday’s cross-country was the last trial of the CCI1* Intro, where the winner was Sophie Leube (GER) with Skyjacker 3.

More than 270 horses from 11 countries compete in 11 classes during LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials.

Nations Cup classification:

  • Germany – 105,90
  • Netherlands – 108,30
  • Poland – 136,80

Online results: http://results.strzegomhorsetrials.pl

Contact:
www.strzegomhorsetrials.pl
press@strzegomhorsetrials.pl

War Horses, Cavalrymen, and the FEI Jumping Nations Cup

Capt Xavier Bizard from the French Cavalry School at Saumur with Honduras after winning the King George V Gold Cup in 1937.

Riders and sports fans all around the globe are pining for the cut-and-thrust of FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ this year. Since it was first staged back in 1909, war is the only thing that has ever stopped this great annual tournament in its tracks, and it is another kind of war that is getting in the way of the 2020 Longines sponsored series as the world currently grapples with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Only two of the 11 qualifying events were completed this season, in Wellington (USA) where the hosts wrestled victory from Great Britain in a thrilling jump-off, and in Abu Dhabi (UAE), also in February, where New Zealand posted an historic back-to-back double.

However, the resilience of this particular branch of equestrian sport, so often described as the “jewel in the crown of the FEI,” is second to none. It emerged from epic sporting battles between military men, and it still stirs the blood in spectators today as they roar on their own national teams, which now of course also include female athletes, at many of the most prestigious horse shows around the globe.

It’s the unique sense of national pride that gives it the edge, with riders often talking about how their horses are “fighting” for them as they tackle the tough courses set by world-class designers. A steed with great courage was what was needed by cavalrymen of old. And in the story of two war horses from very different periods of military history, there’s a reminder of the fighting spirit that continues to set the best apart from the rest to this day.

Vonolel

In the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin (IRL), built in the 1680s for retired soldiers but now home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, there is a gravestone that marks the final resting place of Vonolel, a brave and special horse.

He was the charger of the decorated Anglo-Irish Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, a Victorian era general who became one of the most successful British military commanders of his time. Lord Roberts, aka “Bobs”, was only 160cm tall so was a perfect match for the beautifully-bred Arab horse who stood at just 148cm.

Named after a great Lushai chief, the little grey was bought in Bombay (now Mumbai, IND) as a five-year-old and served Roberts for the next 23 years. Vonolel played a pivotal role in the relief of the Siege of Kandahar (AFG), and also saw action in India, Burma, and South Africa. The horse was a legend in his day and was repeatedly decorated by Queen Victoria, receiving amongst others the Kabul medal and the Kandahar Star for bravery in battle, both of which he wore around his neck on ceremonial occasions.

He travelled about 50,000 miles during his career without ever taking a lame step, and when he passed away at the Royal Hospital in June 1899, Roberts was said to be heartbroken. Vonolel was buried in the rose gardens of the Royal Hospital with full military honours, and there is a painting of him, with “Bobs” on board, in London’s Tate Gallery.

It’s that tradition of horses and riders battling as part of a team on behalf of their country, albeit in peace time and in a spirit of healthy competition rather than antagonism, that underpins the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series to this day.

Honduras and Nipper

Vonolel’s glorious send-off was in stark contrast to that of a black 160cm gelding of unknown breeding who is no less deserving of an honorable mention in dispatches. His name was Honduras when he clinched the coveted King George V Gold Cup for Capt Xavier Bizard in London in 1937. The rider from the French Cavalry School at Saumur was a showjumping star of the 1920s and 30s with a formidable record of success on Nations Cup teams riding a variety of horses.

Bizard was on the winning French sides at Nice (FRA) in 1924, New York (USA) in 1925, and Lucerne (SUI) and Rome (ITA) in 1927. He was back in Rome in 1928 for another victory and the following year helped post two more Nations Cup top spots in Naples (ITA) and Dublin (IRL). In the 1930s he was on three winning teams in London as well as in Nice, Lucerne, Vienna (AUT), Rome, and Riga (LAT). It was partnering Apollan that he won the Nations Cup in the Latvian capital in 1937, and that same year he scooped the King George V title in London with Honduras.

It seems that the ride on Honduras was then handed over to Amador des Busnel who won the Grand Prix with him in Brussels (BEL) in 1939, before the onset of World War ll brought everything to a shuddering halt.

What is intriguing about this horse is not his success-rate, but the fact that he was captured during the German occupation of France, and then re-appeared after the war on the US Army showjumping teams that won the Nations Cups in both London and Dublin in 1948, now competing under the name “Nipper” and ridden by Lt Col Charles (Chuck) Symroski.

He was well-travelled at this stage of his life because, after being captured along with the rest of the German team horses near the town of Bayreuth in Bavaria (GER) in 1945, he was shipped to the United States in August of 1946. He competed across America and Canada that year, and again in 1947 before returning to Europe in the spring of 1948 to compete at a number of shows in the lead-up to the London Olympic Games for which he was selected as the reserve horse.

The Nations Cup win in Dublin in 1948 was historic, as it was the first time for a US side to lift the Aga Khan Cup, the first time for non-Europeans to take the title, and the last time an official US army team would line out at the Royal Dublin Society showgrounds. Nipper and Lt Col Symroski were joined by Capt JW Russell riding Airmail, Col JF Wing with Democrat, and Lt Col CH Anderson with Riem when New York-born Eamon De Valera, then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and later President of Ireland, presented the coveted Aga Khan trophy.

One more time

And Honduras/Nipper would get to meet his old friend, Capt Bizard, one more time. Their encounter took place in London, but whether it was following their Nations Cup win or during the Olympic Games in the English capital that summer is unclear, as it has been separately reported at both venues. Wherever it happened it was an emotional reunion when the Frenchman accidentally came across his former mount who he had thought was long dead.

The story goes that when Capt Bizard told the Americans how old the horse was they were really surprised. However, the 19-year-old gelding wasn’t called into action for the one-round Olympic contest which proved to be a marathon, defeating all but three of the 14 participating teams. Mexico, Spain, and Great Britain clinched gold, silver, and bronze while the USA was amongst the 11 countries eliminated.

Following the Games, the US army team was disbanded and replaced by a civilian side. Although unconfirmed, it is believed that Honduras/Nipper returned to America to live out his days on the family farm of three-time Olympian Jimmy Wofford near Fort Riley in Kansas (USA) whose parents accepted all the remaining remounts for retirement following the mechanisation of the cavalry.

This horse’s life wasn’t celebrated with the pomp and ceremony that marked the passing of Vonolel a half-century earlier, but his story lives on as another symbol of survival in the face of destructive world conflict. And the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ is also a survivor, just waiting in the wings for a return to centre stage as soon as the current pandemic crisis is sufficiently resolved.

Hopes are still high that a revised version of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final will take place in October this year, but one way or another nothing will stand in the way of a renewal of the series that has been engaging and delighting spectators for well over a century and which remains the best-loved brand ambassador for equestrian sport.

And as for the once much-loved Vonolel and Honduras aka Nipper, they will not be forgotten. We’ll leave them with the words carved into that gravestone in Dublin, which reads:

“There are men both good and wise
Who hold that in a future state
Dumb creatures we have cherished here below
Shall give us joyous greeting when
We pass the golden gate
Is it folly that I hope it may be so?”

With special thanks to:
Olympian and coach Jimmy Wofford
Jane Garland, artist

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Major Revision to Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2020 Rules

Photo: FEI/Lukasz Kowalski.

With the global sporting calendar decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has made drastic changes to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 rules in a bid to maintain the series Final at Barcelona in October this year.

Under changes proposed by the FEI Jumping Committee and approved by the FEI Board during its teleconference this week, a total of 22 nations will be invited to compete at the Longines Final, staged at the prestigious Barcelona Polo Club. The 22 teams would be 10 from Europe, three from North America, two from South America, two from the Middle East, two from Asia/Australasia, one apiece from Africa and Eurasia, plus the host nation Spain.

The event held in February this year in Wellington (USA) will no longer be considered as a qualifier, and while events in North America and Europe that are still scheduled to take place over the next few months can be hosted as a Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™, no qualifying points will be awarded for the Final.

The three teams from North America and the 10 teams from Europe Division 1 will qualify directly for the Final, while the UAE and Syria, who claimed the two top spots at the Middle East qualifier in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, will retain their places for the Final.

The qualification system for the other divisions will be based on the Longines Rankings, using the combined points of each National Federations’ four best Athletes on the Longines Ranking published one month prior to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final:

  • South America: 2 teams via Longines Ranking
  • Asia/Australasia: 2 teams via Longines Ranking
  • Africa: 1 team via Longines Ranking
  • Eurasia: 1 team via Longines Ranking

With Spain as the host nation of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final, this brings the maximum number of teams competing to 22.

As the EEF has announced the postponement of the Longines EEF Series launch until 2021, there will be no promotion and relegation this year, so Division 1 will start with the same 10 teams for the 2021 season.

“The global pandemic has meant that sadly we have had a number of cancellations in the series, and even though we still don’t know what events will take place later in the season, we needed to provide clarity to all our stakeholders as soon as possible, so out of respect to all our Organisers, to our National Federations and their athletes, and of course to our Top Partner Longines, making this decision now was the only way forward,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“There is no certainty that teams would be able to travel to any of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup events that are able to go ahead, and without a fair qualification system and the impossibility of being able to offer a level playing field where all teams have the same possibility to train and participate at events, this was a decision that had to be made.

“Of course all this is dependent on what happens with the pandemic, and we truly hope that there will soon be respite from all the terrible suffering around the globe, but we need to be optimistic and having the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona in October with up to 22 countries competing for our sport’s most prestigious team title is a goal we are hoping can be realised.”

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

Steffen Peters Extends Unbeaten Run to 11 with Nations Cup Freestyle Gold in Week 10 of AGDF

Steffen Peters (USA) and Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 13, 2020 – Steffen Peters (USA) conjured yet another winning performance from his blossoming partner, Suppenkasper, to claim the gold in the Nations Cup™ FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3*, presented by Stillpoint Farm. This takes his tally of wins to 11 from 11 starts in the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The pair scored 81.535%, their second plus-80% freestyle score of the year. The 10th week of AGDF continues through Sunday, March 15, which is also the conclusion of the 2020 season, a decision announced earlier today due to the Coronavirus.

Right behind Peters, personal bests abounded on the podium. The Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz smashed her previous best by 2% to land an emphatic 78.91% and the silver medal on her 15-year-old mare Aquamarijn, by United. Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu (CAN) also pulled off a career high, riding All In, a 15-year-old gelding by Tango to 78.72% and the bronze.

Watch Steffen Peters’ winning test in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3* here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.

Benjamin Ebeling Crowns a Winning Week with Third U-25 Nations Cup Gold Medal

In the under-25 Nations Cup division, Benjamin Ebeling (USA) fist-pumped the air at the final halt of the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIOU25, presented by Diamante Farms.

He was right to celebrate: his energetic ride on Illuster Van De Kampert, which he’d finished with a piaffe fan in both directions, was rewarded with 75.13%. It was their best ever score at the level and earned the gold medal — their third of the week.

Freestyle silver went to Canada’s Camille Carier Bergeron, who moved up a place from the previous day, riding Gilles Bergeron’s 13-year-old Acordelli gelding, Acoeur. Natalie Pai (USA) scooped bronze, adding to her team silver from the opening day of week 10. All three podium finishers rode to music put together by Karen Robinson.

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

Steffen Peters Leads U.S. Dressage Team to Nations Cup Victory in Week 10 of AGDF

Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 12, 2020 – On the second day of competition for the FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO3* presented by Stillpoint Farm on Thursday, March 12, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), the team from the USA took the gold medal with 439.992 points. The Canadian team took silver with 436.034 points, and Denmark was awarded the bronze with 424.501 points.

Benjamin Ebeling (USA) Adds Individual Gold to Previous Day’s Team Gold in U-25 Nations Cup Contest

In the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 CDIO-U25, presented by Diamante Farms, Benjamin Ebeling (USA) and Illuster Van De Kampert, Nuvolari Holdings LLC’s 12-year-old Spielberg gelding, led the class with 71.179%, claiming his second gold medal after helping his team, Team USA “Stars and Stripes,” to victory the previous day. Fellow American Emma Asher scooped the silver on Elegance N, an 11-year-old by Jazz. Canada’s Camille Carier Bergeron claimed the bronze medal riding Acoeur.

“The win today is up there for me,” said 20-year-old Ebeling, who has been on quite a journey with Illuster Van De Kampert. “My favorite thing is riding on a team, so the win yesterday was really important, but for my self-confidence with this horse, today meant a lot. The first two times that I did a grand prix with him, we had to retire. He’s such a hot horse and it’s taken me a while to get to know him and to understand how to control him. These last few shows have been really positive for us. I think it’s just been about getting to know my horse better and he’s trusting me more.”

Cesar Parra Beats 11 Other Combinations to Claim the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI3*

At small tour, Cesar Parra (USA) claimed victory from the 12 starters in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI3*, presented by The Dutta Corp. He rode GK Don Cesar, a 10-year-old by Desperados, to 71.274%, a new personal best at the level. This was their second win of the 2020 AGDF. Ariana Chia (CAN) on Fiderflame finished second with 70.196%, with the USA’s Jami Kment filling third with 70.147% on Gatino Van Hof Olympia.

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

Strong Entries and Flying Flags Highlight Nations Cup Week at AGDF

The teams competing in the 2020 FEI Nations Cup CDIO3*. ©️Susan Stickle.

Wellington, FL – March 10, 2020 – The 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) will host the second largest CDI of its nine-year history this week with 150 horses jogging to compete in week 10 on March 11-15 at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. The week will include the FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO3* presented by Stillpoint Farm and the Nations Cup CDIO-U25 presented by Diamante Farms.

This is the eighth edition of the FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO3*. This year’s event welcomes teams from the USA, Canada, Denmark, Israel, and Japan, along with individuals from Spain and the Dominican Republic. The event is part of the FEI Nations Cup™ Dressage Series.

This Nations Cup marks an historic event as it includes the first ever international-level dressage team fielded for Israel.

Team medals for the FEI Nations Cup™ CDIO3* are decided after the FEI Grand Prix/FEI Prix St. Georges and FEI Grand Prix Special/FEI Intermediaire-1 competition on Wednesday and Thursday. Individual medals will be presented after Friday’s FEI I-1 Freestyle and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle competition.

In addition to the full schedule of large and small tour competition throughout the week, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3* will be a feature event as part of the “Friday Night Lights” series on Friday, March 13.

The Nations Cup CDIO-U25 debuted in 2017 and this year will welcome teams from USA and Canada along with individuals from Canada, Colombia, Spain, and USA. Team medals will be decided with the CDIO-U25 Intermediaire-2 on Wednesday, while individual medals will be given for the CDIO-U25 Grand Prix on Thursday and the CDIO-U25 Grand Prix Freestyle on Friday evening.

For more information, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Kiwis Make It an Historic Double in Abu Dhabi

Tom Tarver-Priebe, Bruce Goodin, Daniel Meech, and Richard Gardner of New Zealand. (©FEI/Helen Cruden)

UAE and Syria Qualify for Final

New Zealand claimed the honours in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United Arab Emirates at Abu Dhabi (UAE) for the second time in two years when pinning Egypt into runner-up spot and the host-nation into third.

It was another piece of Kiwi equestrian history in the making as anchorman, Daniel Meech, explained: “This is only the second time a New Zealand team has ever won a Nations Cup – our first was here in Abu Dhabi in 2018, so this is a really special place for us!” said the 46-year-old rider who was also a member of that first-time winning side and who helped clinch today’s victory with the only double-clear of the competition.

This second round of the 11-leg Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 series was the single qualifying competition for teams in the Middle East region. And after a spirited battle filled with plenty of drama, the UAE and Syria have made the cut to the Final in Barcelona (ESP) next October. Only three countries fought that particular battle, and it was the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who lost out when finishing last of the six competing nations.

At the halfway stage New Zealand and the UAE shared the lead on a zero score despite elimination for second-line Kiwi rider Richard Gardner who took a fall at the first fence with his 12-year-old gelding Calisto. The United Arab Emirates team looked very comfortable indeed, not requiring the services of their anchor partnership of Mohammed Al Kumeiti and Dalida van de Zuuthoeve when Abdullah Mohd Al Marri (James VD Oude Heihoef), Hamad Ali Al Kirbi (Quel Cadans Z), and Mohammed Ahmed Al Owais (Uto Kerved) all jumped clear.

But Spanish course designer Santiago Varela, the man who will build the tracks at the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, upped the pressure second time out by replacing deeper cups with flat ones and raising a few poles. There were eight clears in the first round, including a particularly gutsy one from Saudi Arabia’s Dalma Rushdi Malhas and Impero Delle Schiave, but Meech produced the only clear of the second round to leave his team on the winning score of just eight faults.

The Egyptians were lying third, carrying just five faults as the second round began despite elimination for their pathfinders Mouda Zeyada and Morocco who won Friday’s President of the UAE Grand Prix in which Egyptian riders filled three of the top ten placings. The innocuous-looking oxer at fence one put paid to Zeyada’s first-round effort when his 12-year-old stallion slammed on the anchors there, and when the pair collected eight faults second time out that was the team discount score as Mohd Osama El Borai (Quintero), Mohamed Talaat (Darshan), and Abdel Said (Arpege du Ru) each had a fence down to bring their final total to 17.

However, they found themselves neck-and-neck with the UAE at the end of the day when a single mistake from Al Marri, double-errors from Al Kirbi and Al Owais, and five for Al Kumeiti second time out saw UAE also complete on a score of 17 faults. And when the combined times of the best three riders from each team were taken into account, an agonising 2.12 seconds separated the two sides with the hosts dropping to third while Egypt clinched runner-up position.

The three-man German team lined up in fourth with 37 faults while Syria finished fifth with 44. The Syrians collected just 11 faults first time out but their second-line rider, 19-year-old Osama Al Zabibi, was eliminated for a fall in round two while the rest of the team added 33 more. However, they are on their way to the 2020 Barcelona Final.

In the end the Kiwi victory was clean and clear even though they were reduced to a team of three when Gardener didn’t return to the ring. Four-time Olympian Bruce Goodin and Backatrops Danny V lowered only the first element of the penultimate double second time out while Tom Tarver-Priebe, in only his second-ever Nations Cup outing, hit the same fence with Popeye. So when double-Olympian Meech made no mistake it was all done and dusted, and it was another great moment for New Zealand sport.

Talking about the ups and downs of the day, Meech said afterwards, “It was disappointing for Richard (Gardner) because he aimed his horse for this class, but you get used to performing in adversity in this game and we put our heads down and ground out the win!”

His lovely 11-year-old grey mare, Cinca, a daughter of Casall, was very impressive and with Tokyo 2020 selection very much in his mind, Meech was happy with her performance.

“She’s really nice. I felt she jumped even better in the second round when a few of the fences went up. She’s quite green at this level and it was amazing how she just walked in and did it so easy. She’s really grown into herself this year,” he added.

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 series next moves to Coapexpan in Mexico for the second leg of the North/Central America and Caribbean League in early May.

FULL RESULTS

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Beezie Bags It for USA, but British Girls Are Brilliant

(L to R) Team USA’s Margie Goldstein-Engle, Laura Kraut, Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, Beezie Madden, and Jessica Springsteen. (FEI/Shannon Brinkman)

The 2020 series got off to a galloping start with a home victory for Team USA in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of United States of America at Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida (USA). But despite fielding a crack four-member side, the hosts were pushed to a third-round jump-off by a relatively rookie British team that consisted of just three riders.

And making competition all the more exceptional was the fact that, in this sport in which men outnumber women by a considerable margin at top level, it came down to a clash between two all-female teams, with America’s Beezie Madden pipping Britain’s Alexandra Thornton in the third-round tie-breaker.

“The British girls were excellent!” said double Olympic gold medallist Madden who piled on the pressure with a brilliant first-to go run with Darry Lou in the jump-off.

There were eight teams in action but only USA, Mexico, and Canada were chasing down qualifying points in the North and Central America and Caribbean League series from which two of those three countries will qualify for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 Final in Barcelona, Spain next October. The American winners claimed the maximum 100 points while Mexico collected 80 when lining up third and Canada picked up 60 points when finishing fourth in a competition filled with plenty of excitement.

The open water was the source of the greatest drama, Israel’s Ashlee Bond having to call it a day with Donatello in the second round when the nine-year-old gelding refused to have anything to do with it after giving himself a fright first time out. And Brazilian pathfinder, Cassio Rivetti, took a real soaking there when his 13-year-old mare, Bacara d’Archonfosse, dumped him in it at their second attempt.

Meanwhile, there were impressive firsts for both Canadian 17-year-old Sam Walker (Kelstar du Vingt Ponts) and 22-year-old Israeli rider Teddy Vlock (Volnay du Boisdeville) who collected just four faults in each round on their Nations Cups debut. Israel and Ireland finished joint-fifth while Australia and Brazil shared seventh place at the end of a very eventful afternoon.

Team Ireland, series champions in 2019, shared the lead with Great Britain on just four faults at the end of the first round, but the addition of 16 faults second time out put paid to Irish chances. In contrast, despite having no discard score, the British added just four more when anchor rider Amanda Derbyshire (Cornwall BH), who had been fault-free first time out, lowered the bogey second fence after team-mates Thornton (Cornetto K) and Emily Moffit (Winning Good) both kept a clean sheet.

Now with a total of eight they found themselves on level pegging with the multi-medalled Americans who recovered from single errors for three of their four team-members at their first attempt to squeaky clean runs from Jessica Springsteen (RMF Zecilie), Margie Goldstein-Engle (Royce), and Laura Kraut (Confu) next time out which meant Madden’s services were not required in round two. And Goldstein-Engle was at her gutsy best, returning to battle despite an unscheduled dismount when her big stallion spooked after going through the finish in the opening round.

Madden set the pace against the clock with a great run from the 12-year-old Darry Lou who broke the beam in 33.11 seconds.

“He does love to gallop! He’s actually really super to ride; he’s not delicate so you can wind him up a bit and let him off and he rises to the occasion – he’s a lot of fun to ride!” — Beezie Madden (USA)

Thornton and the experienced 14-year-old Cornetto K also put in a perfect run, but crossing the line 36.34 seconds they were well short of Madden’s winning time.  However, British showjumping got a big boost, Di Lampard putting her faith in three US-based riders – 27-year-old Thornton, 21-year-old Moffit, and 31-year-old Derbyshire – who didn’t let her down and finished runners-up behind a superstar American selection.

In the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when riders are looking to impress, there was plenty to see at this opening leg of the 111th Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ season during which this much-loved series will visit 11 top venues around the world en route to the annual decider in eight months’ time.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Olympic Year Adds Extra Zest as Wellington Opens Exciting New Season

Rodrigo Pessoa holds the trophy aloft as Team Ireland celebrate victory in Barcelona (ESP). (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

There’s nothing quite like an Olympic year for raising hopes and dreams, and as the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 series kicks off there are plenty of horse-and-rider combinations looking to impress over the coming weeks and months with a view to making that trip to Tokyo. Talent-spotting will be the order of the day for team managers and selectors throughout the early part of the new season, which will take in prestigious events in the Middle East and across Europe as well as North America.

Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida (USA) is again the venue for the show-opener of the 11-leg 5-Star series, and hosts the first of the three qualifiers in the North/Central America and Caribbean League Sunday, 16 February. The action then moves to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the single qualifier for the Middle East region later this month. Just two countries from each of these leagues will qualify for the annual Final at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain in October.

May is going to be hectic, beginning with round two of the America/Caribbean series, at Coapexpan in Mexico, followed by the first leg of Europe Division 1 at La Baule, France followed swiftly by the second leg at St Gallen in Switzerland a week later. And then it’s back across the pond again, this time to Langley in Canada where the last leg of the North/Central America and Caribbean series will take place as the month draws to a close.

From there the Europe Division 1 teams will continue to battle it out for a place amongst the seven nations from this series that will make the cut to the Final. They will visit Sopot (POL) and Rotterdam (NED) in June and Falsterbo (SWE), Dublin (IRL) and Hickstead (GBR) in July, finishing at the British fixture the day before the equestrian events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begin. The 10 nations competing in Europe Division 1 this season are Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Ireland won the edge-of-the-seat 2019 Final, and the celebrations were noisy because this result also gave them the hotly-contested last team qualifying spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. And although only Canada, Mexico, and USA can chase down the early-season points in Wellington, the Irish will be out in force again.

There is a super-strong field of runners, with a total of eight teams including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, and the USA going in to battle. Big names in the mix include the man who led that Irish team to victory, 1998 World Champion and 2004 Olympic champion Rodrigo Pessoa, who has now returned to the saddle to fly the Brazilian flag once again, and two of his Barcelona-winning team-members, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Paul O’Shea.

Rowan Willis, who produced a superb performance from his mare Blue Movie to finish individually 12th at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon, USA, will be on the Australian team, while the seven-strong Canadian contingent includes 2008 Olympic champion Eric Lamaze.

Great Britain fields an all-female side that includes Amanda Derbyshire and Emily Moffitt, and Team Israel has listed brothers Daniel and Steven Bluman in its squad. The US selection is filled with super-stars including the multi-medalled Laura Kraut and Beezie Madden, but the ones they may all have to fear are last year’s winners, Team Mexico. Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane is the only member of that victorious side listed again this year, but the passion with which this country’s riders compete makes them a serious force to be reckoned with, so this opening leg looks set to be a cracker.

Check it out here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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