Tag Archives: FEI World Cup

Longines Renews Long-Term Title Partnership for FEI Jumping World Cup North American League

Photo: FEI/Simon Stafford.

Longines has extended its agreement as title partner of the FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League series. Through this long-term commitment, the Swiss watchmaker extends the opportunity for continued exposure of equestrian sport and particularly of Jumping to new and emerging markets in North America and the equestrian community worldwide.

Longines became title partner of this prestigious series when it launched in 2015. The North American League, which hosts events across USA, Canada, and Mexico, is now heading into its fifth season 2019-2020. It is one of 16 leagues that form the global FEI Jumping World Cup™ series, which has been in existence since 1978.

The North American League has continued to grow in stature and, as part of the world’s premiere individual Jumping series, boasts a minimum of US $2.4 million prize money, attracting the world’s top human and equine athletes.

With this new agreement and the evolution of the North American League comes the implementation of a new format and structure of the series. Among the planned innovations, the series will feature eight top-class events, all at a minimum 4* level, with live broadcast at each venue. The TV coverage of the series will be distributed internationally, showcasing equestrian sport at its best.

A new bidding process has been opened for the allocation of qualifiers of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League series 2020/2021 which will be approved by the FEI Board, based on the recommendations of the FEI Jumping Committee.

“This new extended agreement with Longines reinforces our joint commitment to grow the North American League series and invest in the development of sport in the region, while continuing to raise the profile of Jumping around the world,” said FEI President, Ingmar De Vos.

“With Longines as the title partner, we have the perfect brand alignment to benefit this League and the global series over the coming years. We are delighted with the ongoing confidence Longines has put in our sport.”

“We are delighted to renew our association with the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup North American League, of which we have been the title partner, Official Timekeeper and Watch since its inception in 2015,” said Matthieu Baumgartner, Longines Vice President Marketing.

“We are committed to supporting the development and promotion of the jumping discipline across North America and are looking forward to taking part in the upcoming season comprising eight legs, each of them promising great sports performance.”

Longines is a strong supporter of equestrian sport around the world, and continues its role as FEI Top Partner, title partner of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League, the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ China League and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™, and also remains Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of the FEI. In 2019 Longines will act as the title partner for the Longines FEI European Championships Rotterdam (NED) and the Longines FEI Eventing Championships Luhmühlen (GER)

Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
+41 78 750 61 46

Equestrian Sport Boosted with Allocation of Major Events through 2021

Photo: FEI/Richard Juillart.

The Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) has allocated host cities for 13 FEI Championships for the next two years and nine FEI Driving World Cup™ legs for the 2019/2020 season.

Budapest (HUN) will lead the way as host of the FEI Jumping, Dressage, Para Dressage, Driving, and Vaulting European Championships in August 2021. This will be the first time that the Hungarian capital, which has a long tradition in equestrian sport, will host a multi-discipline FEI European Championships. The event will mark the 50th anniversary of the first FEI Driving European Championships, which were held at the same venue – Kincsem Park in the heart of the city – in 1971.

Two other major Championships were also allocated for 2021, with the FEI Eventing European Championships going to Haras du Pin (FRA) and the FEI Endurance European Championships to Ermelo (NED).

“The FEI European Championships are among the FEI’s most important events, attracting top class athletes and horses for over six decades,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “During the next two years equestrian fans will have the opportunity to enjoy thrilling sport in some of Europe’s biggest cities. The allocation of the FEI Jumping, Dressage, Para Dressage, Driving, and Vaulting European Championships to Budapest will further promote horse sport in Hungary, which already has a remarkable equestrian history.”

The FEI Board also allocated nine legs of the FEI Driving World Cup™ series for the 2020-2021 season. This is the first time that the FEI has launched a bidding process for the FEI Driving World Cup™ legs, as previously only the FEI Driving World Cup™ Final was open for bids.

“This bidding process reinforces the FEI’s policy of transparency and fairness,” the FEI President commented. “It is a key step forward in harmonising the bidding for all FEI Championships, Finals, and Series.”

The allocations were made by the FEI Board, the body responsible for the general direction of equestrian sport’s global governing authority, at its in-person meeting at FEI Headquarters in the Olympic Capital, Lausanne (SUI).

The FEI Driving World Cup™ Final 2021 which will take place from 4-7 February was allocated to Bordeaux (FRA) by the FEI Board in March 2019.

The FEI Board decided to re-open the bid process for a multi-year allocation for the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Championships for Young Horses in the disciplines of Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing for the years 2021, 2022, and 2023. Allocations will be made at the FEI Board meeting in November 2019 at the FEI General Assembly in Moscow.


The full list of Championships allocated at the FEI Board meeting at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne (SUI) is:


  • FEI Dressage European Championships U25 – Pilisjászfalu (HUN), July or August (dates to be confirmed)
  • FEI Dressage European Championships for Children – Pilisjászfalu (HUN) July or August (dates to be confirmed)


  • FEI European Championships – Jumping, Dressage & Para Dressage, Driving, Vaulting – Budapest (HUN), 9-22 August or 16-29 August (dates to be confirmed)
  • FEI Jumping European Championships for Young Riders, Juniors & Children – Oliva, Valencia (ESP), 19-25 July
  • FEI Jumping European Championships for Veterans – Le Mans (FRA), July or August (date to be confirmed)
  • FEI Dressage European Championships U25 – Donaueschingen (GER), 12-15 August
  • FEI Eventing European Championships for Young Riders & Juniors – Segersjö (SWE), 26-29 August
  • FEI Eventing European Championships – Haras du Pin (FRA), 11-15 August
  • FEI Driving World Championships for Ponies, Four-in-Hand, Pairs, Singles – Haras du Pin (FRA), 16-19 September
  • FEI Endurance World Championships for Young Riders & Juniors – Ermelo (NED), 6-11 September
  • FEI Endurance European Championships – Ermelo (NED) 6-11 September
  • FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Horses – Arbore, Sardinia (ITA), 15-19 September
  • FEI Vaulting World Championship for Juniors – Le Mans (FRA), July – August (date to be confirmed)

FEI Driving World Cup™ series legs

The legs of the FEI Driving World Cup™ series for the 2019-2020 season were allocated as follows:

  • Lyon (FRA) 30 October – 3 November 2019
  • Maastricht (NED) 8-10 November 2019
  • Stuttgart (GER) 13-17 November 2019
  • Stockholm (SWE) 28 November – 1 December 2019
  • Budapest (HUN) 30 November – 1 December 2019
  • Geneva (SUI) 12-15 December 2019
  • London (GBR)         16-22 December 2019
  • Mechelen (BEL) 26-30 December 2019
  • Leipzig (GER) 16-19 January 2020

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
+41 78 750 61 56

FEI Vaulting World Cup Finals: German and Colombian Podiums

Janika Derks, copyright PhotosLesGarennes.

The Grand Manège du Cadre Noir in Saumur, the world capital of equitation and equestrian arts, was full! Some 1500 people were present for the consecration of the new winners of the FEI Vaulting World Cup Final in Saumur 2019. The public at the international vaulting championships is said to be fantastic: the public in Saumur has once again demonstrated this. A thrilling atmosphere among the riders of the Cadre Noir!

First to go, the ladies were living an important moment in vaulting history. The queen Kristina Boe (GER), double current world champion, Europe champion, defending title of the FEI World Cup Vaulting Final, was doing her goodbye run on the majestic ring of the Cadre noir de Saumur. Second on the provisional ranking before this second round of the competition, the German falls off just a couple of seconds before the end, and finally finishes at the 4th place. “I think my horse decided to retire a couple of strikes before me,” she said, smiling. The misfortune of some makes the happiness of others: her compatriot Janika Derks, 1st in the provisional ranking, had a way free to present the energetic and athletic vaulting that represents her. For the first time in her career, Derks climbs on the highest step of the podium. Switzerland’s Marina Mohar is second and Switzerland’s Nadja Büttiker third.

For the males, the Colombian phenomenon Juan Martin Clavijo didn’t disappoint and made a freestyle like a virtuoso. Settled in Switzerland since October, running his first FEI Vaulting World Cup Final, he was sensational during these three days of competition in Saumur. The young Colombian explained during the press conference that he ran a freestyle on the theme of slavery on a Russian music with an evocative title of “Horses.” He outstrips some of the international championships vaulters: Germans Jannik Heiland, world champion in title in the nations cup and vice champion of the world individual, was second, and Thomas Brusewitz qualified for the third time in his career in the FEI Vaulting World Cup. Clément Taillez, only French vaulter qualified for this World Cup Final in Saumur, finishes at fourth place, reaching his goal of being in the top 5.

Last category running their FEI Vaulting World Cup Final, the pas-de-deux is won by the Germans Theresa-Sophie Bresch and Torben Jacobs, outstripping the Americans Haley Smith and Daniel Janes and Switzerland’s Zoe Maruccio and Syrra Schmid. Starting to be a habit for the German couple, who together have won two times this FEI Vaulting World Cup, Torben having it won even a third time with another partner. The pair decided also to say goodbye to the competition to focus on new projects.

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First Round of FEI World Cup Vaulting Final in Saumur

Juan Martin Clavijo, copyright PhotosLesGarennes.

The FEI Vaulting World Cup Final competition is now open in Saumur, the world capital of horseriding and equestrian arts. The first of the two rounds counting for the ranking was played, which will determine the winners of the Final in three categories: female, male, and Pas-de-deux.

In the females round, defending champion, Germany’s Kristina Boe, two-time world and European champion, disappointed in the warm-up. The first to set off on the Grand Manège of the Ecole Nationale d’Equitation, which generally hosts galas and demonstrations by the Cadre noir de Saumur’s riders, the vaulter has returned to her best form. There is only one chance left for her to shine in front of an international audience as Kristina Boe will retire from the sport at the end of the competition. She finished second behind her compatriot Janika Derks, already in the lead in the warm-up. In a more athletic and powerful vaulting than her rival, Janika won over the jury and the public. Third place goes to Switzerland’s Nadja Büttiker.

Among the men, let’s say there was the Colombian Juan Martin Clavijo and the others. This 19-year-old kid, who this year competed in his first FEI World Cup season in vaulting, competes in his first Final, is a phenomenon of grace and flexibility, a legend of equestrian sports in his country. All equestrian disciplines combined, he was the first (and only) Colombian to win world gold in a championship! “I had a lot of pleasure vaulting tonight,” he said after his performance. “That was my main goal.” The FEI World Cup format, which gives us an extra 20 seconds in our freestyle programs, is very welcome. “A star is born! Juan Martin Clavijo leads Germany’s Jannik Heiland in second and Thomas Brusewitz in third. On the French side, Clément Taillez, the only Frenchman to qualify for the FEI Vaulting World Cup Final, is in fifth place. Satisfied with his performance, the external resident of the Saumur’s vaulting Pôle France flew in front of his audience, on a delicate Ave Maria. “I promised myself a day of vaulting on an Ave Maria; I said to myself, ‘When I get strong, I’ll vault on it.’ I just had to wait until I was ready to face such a musical masterpiece.” The time for Taillez seems to have come and the Frenchman will be keen to aim for a podium, at the second round of this FEI World Cup Final.

Last category, the Pas-de-Deux, is led again by a German couple, Theresa-Sophie Bresch and Torben Jacobs, who are on track to win a second title in this FEI Vaulting World Cup Final, after their victory last year.

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FEI Vaulting World Cup Final Warm-up in Saumur

Theresa-Sophie Bresch and Torben Jacobs, copyright PhotosLesGarennes.

Saumur, France hosted the warm-up of the FEI Vaulting World Cup Final. Even if the warm-up does not count for the final classification that will determine the winners of the FEI Vaulting World Cup Final 2019, it was important at least for two reasons: “The warm-up allows to determine the starting order for tomorrow’s test, the first test on the two which will be taken into account in the final classification,” explains Davy Delaire, coach of the French vaulting team. It was also very important for the familiarization of the horses with the environment of the competition. For the first time organized in Saumur, the competition takes place in the splendid Grand Manège, where usually the riders of the prestigious Cadre Noir de Saumur perform.

For the Female category, the surprise comes from Germany’s Kristina Boe, defending champion, two-time world champion (individual and in the Nations Cup) and reigning European champion, who runs in Saumur her last competition before retiring and points to the last place of this warm-up. But let’s repeat: this warm-up is not taken into account for the ranking that will determine the winner of the FEI Vaulting World Cup Final. Her compatriot Janika Derks, team world champion in 2014 and team European champion in 2015, finishes at the top of this warm-up. She is followed by Switzerland’s Nadja Buttiker, second, and Marina Mohar, Swiss vaulter as well, third. Nadja Büttiker finished second in the World Cup Final last year, behind Kristina Boe. Switzerland’s vaulter will be eager to take her revenge in Saumur.

On the men’s side of the competition, it was a great start for the one who broke all the acclaimed records, the Frenchman Clément Taillez, the only French representative in the three categories of this FEI Vaulting World Cup Final. He finishes at third place in the warm-up, behind German Viktor Brusewitz, second, and the surprise of the evening, the Colombian Juan Martin Clavijo, first. Juan Martin Clavijo was world champion in 2015 and 2017, and is a real star in Colombia: he is the first athlete who won gold in an international championship, all equestrian disciplines combined. He was vaulting on an orthodox choir of men: splendid!

Last category in this FEI Vaulting World Cup Final, the pas-de-deux. Germans Theresa-Sophie Bresch and Torben Jacobs won over their American competitors, Daniel Janes and Haley Smith, second, and Swiss Zoe Maruccio and Syra Schmid, third. Theresa-Sophie and Torben won the FEI Vaulting World Cup Final in 2018 and are also current European Vice-Champions.

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Guerdat Shows Nerves of Steel to Seal His Third Title

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (centre) celebrates in style with his compatriot and runner-up Martin Fuchs (left) and third-placed Peder Fredricson from Sweden (right). (FEI/Liz Gregg)

Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36) showed exactly why he is the No. 1 rider in the world right now when holding his nerve under the most intense pressure to take the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2019 title at the Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg (SWE). This was his third time to lift the trophy in the long history of the prestigious series, and his glorious win sees him join an elite group of three-time champions.

He had thrown down the gauntlet when topping Thursday’s opening competition, but a fence down on Friday saw him come into the two-round finale in third place, and two points off Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (35) at the head of the leaderboard. Guerdat wondered if his 11-year-old gelding Alamo was ready to step up to the level of sport they faced. The horse had never jumped courses as big as this before. Course designer, Spain’s Santiago Varela, set them an enormous test, but Alamo didn’t crumble.

“I was a bit unsure going to the final today as this is his first championship and I was a little nervous on Friday after the speed class, but in the end he has been amazing all week!” said the man whose won his first title in Las Vegas (USA) in 2015 and his second in Gothenburg a year later.

There were only five first-round clears, and Guerdat moved into pole position when Alvarez Aznar dropped out of contention with two fences down, and second-placed Swede, Peder Fredricson (47), faulted once with Catch Me Not at the bogey water-try vertical at fence 10 on the tough 13-fence track to the dismay of the crowd. But the home hero and reigning European champion was still very much in the hunt, in third carrying five penalty points as round two began with Guerdat at the head of affairs carrying two, but only a single point ahead of fellow-countryman Martin Fuchs (26) and Clooney who had three on the board.

You could hear a pin drop when Fredricson returned to take on the simply colossal second-round track, but there was an explosion of sound when he brought his grey gelding home with nothing to add. The Swiss pair now had no breathing space: any mistake would ensure a Swedish victory, but Fuchs didn’t falter, Clooney showing all the class that secured individual silver for his talented young rider at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon (USA) last September.

Now Guerdat had no room for manoeuvre – nothing but a foot-perfect run would do. Alamo showed a little inexperience on the way but there’s nothing quite like a horse that gives you everything it’s got, and the Dutch-bred did just that to bring it home.

“It’s up to the horse to jump the fences, so I really tried to focus on my riding and give the him his best chance, and he responded really well,” Guerdat said. He’s growing ever-fonder of Alamo, although he admitted that the horse he holds closest to his heart will always be his great partner Nino des Buissonnets who carried him to Olympic glory in London seven years ago.

It was a bit of a frustrating result for Fuchs because he has now finished second in two major events, last year’s World Championship and the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final. “But if I have to be beaten it is great if Steve wins; he is my friend and training partner. Clooney was amazing; he jumped both rounds easy; he is one of the best horses in the world. Two times second place is already a great achievement, and I am already looking forward to the European Championships this summer!” he said. That top step of the podium will surely come their way very soon.

But it was Guerdat who reigned supreme, and he now joins an elite group of three-time World Cup winners that includes Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning, Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, and Austria’s Hugo Simon, the man who won the very first title in Gothenburg in 1979.

“When I was young, I used to dream of winning the World Cup, and when I finished second twice I wondered if it would ever happen. So when I won in 2015 it was very special, and to win here in Gothenburg the next year was even better, because this is such a great show; the crowd is like nowhere else and the atmosphere is unbelievable. To win three times, and to do it in Gothenburg again today – this makes me very proud!” — Steve Guerdat (SUI)

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
+41 78 750 61 46

Graves Earns World Cup Silver for Third Time in Gothenburg

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Gothenburg, Sweden – In the dramatic conclusion of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final, Laura Graves and her loyal mount Verdades piaffed their way to silver in front of an enthusiastic Swedish crowd of more than 11,500. Showing the strength of the American dressage program, all three U.S. combinations broke the top seven with scores over 80%.

“I was thrilled. [Verdades] was so rideable, and I was just really thrilled with his focus and his energy today,” said Graves. “Like Isabel [Werth] said, the crowd was amazing. They all have this ticker of a live score, and as riders you are going ‘yeah, this feels pretty good.’ You kind of hope that the judges are agreeing with [the crowd]. You hear the crowd clapping along and you think ‘okay, well at least everyone is enjoying it as much as I am,’ and that’s really special.”

With a final score of 87.179%, Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her and Curt Maes’s 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding gave now three-time World Cup champion Isabel Werth (Germany) and Weihegold OLD a run for their money. With 10 combinations scoring over 80%, it was a tight race to the finish and Graves rode 14th in the order.

© 2019 US Equestrian Federation

Werth Proves Unbeatable One More Time

Isabell Werth. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

In a competition that built to an incredible climax, Germany’s Isabell Werth (49) stood firm to win the FEI Dressage World Cup™ title for the fifth time in her extraordinary career. They came from all around the globe to take on the most successful equestrian athlete of all time and gave it everything they had, but she didn’t buckle under the pressure. That’s not her style.

As she entered the arena, second-last to go of the 18 starters, the crowd held its breath in anticipation. They had watched rider after rider throw everything they had at her, piling on the pressure as they also bid for the trophy they all want to win. The spectators were in a frenzy when Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Don Auriello drew the first half of the competition to a close with a breathtaking ride on her great Don Auriello, and they went into complete over-drive when it re-started with a new leading score from their own Patrick Kittel and Delaunay OLD.

But Laura Graves (31) blew the competition wide open when strutting to a score of 87.179 with just five left to go. As the American pointed out, her gelding Verdades, one of the five stunning 17-year-old horses who have graced this Final, is just getting better with age and she stayed out in front despite a spectacular ride for Denmark’s Daniel Bachmann Andersen (28) who didn’t hold anything back when steering the stallion Blue Hors Zack to a score of 85.468.

With a beautifully balanced test during which her elegant horse Goerklintgaards Dublet looked like he could do one-tempi changes all day, another of the strong American contingent, Kasey Perry-Glass, slotted in behind him. So, Graves was still holding court at the head of the leaderboard as Werth set off. But it wouldn’t be for long.

“My ride was really fantastic; my mare did a perfect test and she really deserved the win!” said the lady whose trophy cabinet is laden with gold medals, including six from Olympic Games, eight collected at World Games, and 12 from European Championships who put 88.871 on the board. Werth is never altogether pleased when asked what still drives her, at almost 50 years of age, to still be hungry for success, but she replied simply, “I live what I do… and this is what keeps me so competitive!”

Reflecting on her performance she said, “I could take all the risks at extended canter and take her back and the pirouettes were great. We could not have been better!” Except, as she admitted, in the one-tempi changes where there was a little blip. “I was arrogant there, so that was my fault!” she said.

She may have been brilliant once again, but the prize for the most exciting test went, without a shadow of doubt, to her compatriot and 2013 champion Helen Langehanenberg who finished third on a mark of 86.571 after a performance that, quite literally, ended with onlookers gasping in disbelief. None more than Judge at C, Magnus Ringmark, whose expression was priceless as the German rider’s 17-year-old stallion Damsey FRH exploded down the centreline in a massive extended trot, halting only inches from his table. “I thought he was going to end on my lap!” the Swedish Ground Jury member laughed afterwards.

“The sport has changed a lot since I won my first Final,” Werth reflected. That was 27 years ago, also in Gothenburg riding a horse called Fabienne. “We now have such a professional team around us, and there are great improvements on all sides. It is very important for us to keep the respect for the horse for the future and it’s great to see so many older horses still performing at this level; it shows how well they are cared for and how much respect their riders have for them,” she said.

Both runner-up Graves and third-placed Langehanenberg were riding two of those 17-year-olds, still full of the joys of life and still intensely competitive. Langehanenberg said of the hard-pulling Damsey FRH, “I am thankful and really proud of him. The clapping motivated him at the end of the test and I think he would have been quite happy to start all over again!”

This didn’t just mark Werth’s fifth victory; it was also her third in succession and, each time over the last three seasons, it has been Graves who she has had to pin back into runner-up spot.

“Like Isabell said, it is our duty to take care of our horses and try to keep them healthy. My horse likes his job and never puts a foot wrong when I ride him, although at the barn he knows he’s the boss! He was so rideable today, the crowd was amazing, and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as me!” said the American.

The greeting the riders received in the prizegiving suggested that the crowd most certainly did.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
+41 78 750 61 46

Graves Takes Second in FEI Dressage World Cup Final Grand Prix

Laura Graves and Verdades (Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Gothenburg, Sweden – In an exciting day of competition, U.S. dressage and jumping combinations found their rhythm at the FEI World Cup™ Finals. Laura Graves and Verdades earned second in the FEI Dressage World Cup Final Grand Prix, while Beezie Madden and Breitling LS advanced to fourth after the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final II.

With poise and grace, the U.S. dressage combinations trotted down centerline on Friday ready to represent American dressage. Their hard work and dedication paid off, resulting in all three combinations placing in the top eight in the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final Grand Prix. Laura Graves and Verdades led the way for the U.S., placing second on 80.109% closely behind Germany’s Isabel Werth.

Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own and Curt Maes’s 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding found their rhythm in the large Scandinavium Arena in front of a knowledgeable Swedish audience.

“I thought [feeling super]. He was super rideable today,” said Graves. “I think tomorrow will be an interesting competition for everyone, and, hopefully, my horse gives me the same great feeling that he did today… I feel really, really confident in how we have prepared him for this competition.”

Madden Moves Up, Tied for Fourth after Round II of Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final

With ground to cover, the U.S. combinations headed into Friday evening’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final II looking to improve their positions in the second round of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final. Round II saw a shift in the leaderboard, and Madden and Breitling LS jumped a commanding and nearly flawless round to place fifth in the class and fourth overall.

After jumping a clear round on a time of 76.41 seconds, Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion headed into the jump-off with seven other top combinations. Their jump-off time of 34.75 seconds was the fastest of the round but a rail at the final jump cost them the double-clear. Sitting on just three penalties, and tied for fourth with Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels and Olivier Philippaerts, as well as Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs, Madden and Breitling LS sit less than one rail from the current leader headed into Sunday’s final.

By US Equestrian Communications Department

Spain’s Alvarez Aznar Jumps into Lead, but Sweden’s Fredricson Steals the Show

Peder Fredricson and Catch Me Not. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

When the first-round winner, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, said the second competition at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2019 in Gothenburg (SWE) would shake up the leaderboard, he wasn’t wrong. A single mistake tonight sees him go into Sunday’s two-round title-decider lying third on the leaderboard, but only two points behind Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar at the head of affairs and a single point behind Peder Fredricson who set the Swedish crowd alight with a sensational home victory this evening.

Defending champions, America’s Beezie Madden and Breitling, posted by far the quickest time in the eight-horse jump-off but, like many others, fell victim to the turn the very last. She has moved right into contention, however, up from tenth to equal-fourth place in the overall rankings alongside Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels and Olivier Philippaerts and Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs. And there’s only a single fence between Poland’s Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski and the top of the leaderboard. It’s really tight and all to play for going into the finale which is guaranteed to be a thriller.

Yesterday Fredricson looked forlorn as he sat at the post-competition press conference as best Swedish rider after finishing in eleventh place with H&M All in, but what a difference a day makes. Tonight’s victory with the aptly-named grey, Catch Me Not, has changed everything.

“I was so disappointed yesterday and was not expecting to win today, so I’m really happy tonight!” said Fredricson.

Austria’s Max Kuhner and Chardonnay led the way against the clock and set a sensible target when clear in 39.44 seconds. “First to go is never easy. As my horse is not really a naturally fast horse the strategy was to be fast enough and clear,” he explained. Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum and Cool Feeling hit the first fence when next to go but Frenchman Olivier Robert made it all the way to the last before faulting there.

Skrzyczynski’s 10-year-old mare, Chacclana, was foot-perfect in a time of 39.68 before Fredricson nearly lifted the roof off the Scandinavium Arena when scorching in to take the lead in 37.94 seconds. Madden was almost three seconds quicker coming to the last, only for that to fall and when Bruynseels suffered the same fate with Delux an T&L; only Alvarez Aznar was left to threaten Fredricson for the win.

“Going into the jump-off I felt it was safer to be in the top places for the final on Sunday so I didn’t risk all,” he explained afterwards, but his time of 37.97 was still plenty good enough for runner-up spot ahead of Kuhner in third and Skrzyczynski in fourth place. “I was not expecting to be leading tonight but to have a good round. My horse is not the fastest, but he is very consistent,” said the modest Spanish rider who finished sixth at last year’s Longines Final in Paris (FRA) and who now has the best of the draw for Sunday’s finale.

“I want to be on the podium of a Championship and I am now in a good position, but I have to stay focused and have a good ride on Sunday,” he added.

His compatriot, course-designer Santiago Varela, pointed out that the game is far from over yet.

“I want to say congratulations to the riders; they did a great job tonight. Today was a new day but a lot can change on Sunday because we have two more rounds. We are only half-way through this evening – there’s a lot more jumping to do,” he warned.

Result here.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

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